Does tiffany use lab grown diamonds

Real Info for Authors

2014.11.12 01:23 ParallaxBrew Real Info for Authors

This sub is a place to ask questions to improve the accuracy and realism of your writing when it involves a real-life area of expertise that you don't know about.
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2023.06.07 23:24 Bobateaplease6079 Would love any advice!

Hi all, I’ll try to keep it short. Husband and I have been TTC for 1 year without luck. Went to my OB and got labs done for both of us, all lab work came back normal.
I had an HSG done and my tubes were patent so no blockages.
Then I had a vaginal ultrasound that showed “bilateral echogenic lesions” on both ovaries measuring about 1.7cm. On the radiology read it says that that may represent Endometriomas, as well as, some multiloculated cystic foci in the left adnexa.
(I’m also confused about what makes it an Endometrioma vs cyst vs lesion?)
I have always had bad cramps with my periods, usually lasting 1-2 days and then the rest of my period is uncomfortable but not painful. Regular 28-33 day cycles most of the time… I temp and use OPKs and usually get a clear picture when I ovulate.
My OB said I may have endometriosis but it can’t be confirmed unless I do a lap, and since they are small and my tubes are patent she doesn’t think I should do one. So I will do a follow up ultrasound in 2 months.
I’m in such a wreck emotionally and I’m so confused, does anyone have silent endometriosis? I’ve spent the last 24 hours on every google page you can think of and I’m still left feeling so confused. Could this be the reason it’s taking us long to conceive?
Does anyone have any experience with this? Were you able to conceive naturally? Is there anything I can do or should do? I kind of hate that I just have to “wait and see” it feels so scary and I never knew I would possibly have Endo.
submitted by Bobateaplease6079 to TTCEndo [link] [comments]


2023.06.07 23:23 Sharp_Perspective_23 Suggest me (a) book(s) about the breakdown of society through the nuclear family

Was just hanging out and thought, “what if parents had to bring their children to the government at certain intervals throughout childhood to ascertain whether they’ve been adequate enough parents before giving the child(ren) (in the case that their parents haven’t been neglectful or abusive per se) a choice of staying with their parents or spending the rest of their childhood in a legitimately better place (no, nothing spiritual. Just a nice place with luxurious accommodations and something like military benefits on steroids for members- in the name of advancing civilization)where they’d essentially be molded into perfect human beings(or drastically improved in every way due to some revolution(s) in social engineering and psychology)? I’m imagining lots of violence and drug use amongst former good willed parents and uncertainty within the ranks of the “lifers”(those whose parents were determined inadequate at birth)- especially when encountering newbies who may have good things to say about their parents(a poor but good willed family might encourage their child or children to leave after they’ve grown a bit- im thinking 5 year intervals for the parent assessment/kid’s choice - to ensure they get a better education, friends, positive hobbies, etc as well as family values). Does such a book exist?
submitted by Sharp_Perspective_23 to suggestmeabook [link] [comments]


2023.06.07 23:21 steak_expert9 UpNorth - Durban Poison 29% pckg: 05/29/2023

UpNorth - Durban Poison 29% pckg: 05/29/2023 submitted by steak_expert9 to ILTrees [link] [comments]


2023.06.07 23:12 Responsible_Bear_492 Daughter and GF do not get along and I may have to choose

I'm definitely the Ahole here but Im trying to navigate the situation the healthiest way for all parties.
I(47F) have 6 children (23M, 21F, 19M, 15M, 12M, 10M, a husband (52M) and a GF(36F).
A little Backstory: I have been with my husband for 26 years, and with my GF for 16 years. My Husband has known about my sexuality as long as I have and was with me on my (very private) journey of self discovery and all decisions about our marriage were made together. My relationship with my GF happened with his support and knowledge.
It was a year into our relationship before she was able to meet the kids and 2 years before she got to be around them. After that when she came to town she would stay in the house with us and no, nothing ever happened between us in front of the kids.
My daughter did know when she was 8 most of the other kids when they were 12. I know I screwed up here, thinking that to normalize our relationship to them would be the best thing. holding hands and sitting close to each other as an expression of love that could be seen in any relationship not just a romantic one, if nothing else, they should just see people that care for one another.
A the same time, I behaved even more affectionately with their father on a day to day basis normally for whatever that is worth. and for clarity, my GF was not there all the time, 1-2 times a year for a few weeks to a month at a time, so her being around was definitely not the majority of time.
So about my daughter. From a very young age she needed more expression of love and attention than my boys. she was very competitive with her brother as they were only 18 months apart. She was always a very good person with a tendency to lie, steal, gaslight and manipulate.
Example when she was 7, I had a new DS and she had taken it. I came to her room to ask if she had seen it, it was sitting behind her under a pillow and I could see it, she swore to me up and down that she didn't take it, suggested many alternatives, questioned my memory, swore that there weren't even any games she liked. Why would she take it? Don't I know her? Don't I trust her? She's very smart. She's only gotten more secretive, sneaky, learned more about how to get at people's (especially mine) insecurities and weaknesses. She will even swear she hates something she likes if it serves the narrative of her lies.
She's gone on to steal other things, especially when she is angry or feeling ignored, she's just learned to hide them better or throw them away. There is usually a grain of truth in her lies. She told a teacher she had to care for her elderly grandparents including changing their depends, her disabled brother, and be the sole after school care provider for her younger siblings. This was her explanation to a HS teacher as to why her assignment would be late. Her grandparents were very able bodied, she helped move some things. Her "disabled" brother is not wheelchair bound, takes care of all of his bodily needs, bathes and feeds himself and is older than her so she doesn't need to do anything there and at the time she was not responsible for watching her younger brothers for more than 30 minutes once a week.
All that said, she is still a very kind, caring, generous, strong and reliable person, as long as the relationship is on her terms. She has just always pushed and demanded and wanted more and I have spend more time, energy, money and effort on her than all her brothers combined. She's the only one with her own room, I pay for her phone, car insurance, and when she was indignant that I was helping her brother with his rent at college, I didn't even remind her that she lives with me and eats my food for free. (She is 21)
What I know I have to own the blame for: I let my GF take the kids during the day while I was at work. She loves them, considers them her stepkids, generally was doing activities with them, hanging out with them. She comes from a very toxic ad dysfunctional family environment (don't we all in some ways) she helped provide routine, structure and love to the kids, I saw this as a good thing.
There were times when either or both of us would be more free with our words when we were talking with her. she did nor (at 8-12) need to be included in any of the nuance of our relationship. positive or negative.
We took her shopping or out with us to movies, at the time I considered this spending time with her she now sees as us using her as a cover.
I have let my GF parent her and her brothers to a degree. I have not kept all the rules and limitations consistent between her being here and not. Things like, portion control, bedtime, pajamas, brushing teeth, not eating in the livingroom, no TV after bedtime etc. She has always been more firm on these things than either me or my husband, and I considered that a benefit to the kids. Whenever she visits, there is another adult contributing to the cost of running the house, folding laundry, doing dishes, sweeping, mopping, everything is better upkept, we have more time for the kids, we play more games with them, take them out to do more activities, get held accountable to showing love for them more consistently.
She also on occasion criticized me or my husband in front of or to the kids. Set rules or punishments for the kids that were consistent with our (their father and I's) normal punishment standards. She would call me out in front of them for being lax and "changing the rules" when she was around and not upholding things when she wasn't.
She would be critical of the kids when it came to some things, I don't have a perfect memory of these things but some of it could easily be seen as "you're too fat", "you're too pushy", "you're too needy". to a young child without those ever being the words that were said or the intended message.
So I was a horrible selfish and negligent parent who ignored my daughter's mental and emotional abuse at the hands of my sometimes sidepiece. At least according to my daughter's therapist.
When my daughter was 16 there was a confrontation, I had promised to take people Christmas shopping, it was Saturday and Christmas was Tuesday. Me GF and Husband went to breakfast together, I went shopping with husband, I took some boys shopping, Husband took other boys shopping, GF doesnt drive. GF spent time with who was home, grabbed dinner, took GF, had a few other obligations that day, Daughter wanted to go shopping alone with me. Great, all other things done by 9pm, live by a 24 hour walmart so we can go there at any time. We get home and Im ready to take her and she is in her room, upset that I ignored or forgot about her. I try to apologize and tell her I had a plan and I could have communicated better and I'm ready to go then if she was still interested. Daughter yells at me that I always prioritize everyone over her, I always put other people first and her last, I'm a bootlicker and a doormat for GF and she means nothing to me. GF steps in to defend me (which I should have stopped) and GF calls daughter a child who doesn't get to dictate how an adult prioritizes her time and that I don't have to tell her anything about my plans and schedule and Daughter should just be glad I'm making time for her.
Screaming, yelling, panic attacks and shutting down later. I spent the entire next day with my daughter out so she won that one and got 5 times more time with me alone than I spent with her brothers collectively.
I told GF she was out of line, she verbally apologized to daughter for implying she didn't have any rights as a child to have an opinion or to be communicated with. The two seemed to get along for the remainder of GF's visit.
After GF leaves, daughter sees new therapist. Daughter Hates GF, never wants to see her again, might be open to forgiving her if she apologized, says she never did. I wasn't there so I can't tell her she's wrong. But the degree and severity to which she does not want GF in her sphere have grown more intense. At first, it was she didnt want to be around her, hear about her, but If I wanted her in my life that was fine. now it is I am siding with her abuser over her, I am not protecting her, I am not trust worthy, she has panic attacks every time GFs name is mentioned, with pandemic and daughter's feelings, I did not see GF for 3 years and that was only when she joined me for a few days on a business trip. Daughter had panic attacks over GF being accross the country with me.
Now Daughter is planning on being out of the house for 3 weeks housesitting, GF has not seen other kids for 4 years so really wants to see them, Husband invited her while daughter is out of the house. I could have told daughter earlier. but she had a lot going on and I didnt want to cause her to have panic attacks. I was going to tell her within 2 weeks of GF arriving about a week after the plans were set. But Grandma (Husbands mom) told her first.
So now daughter has claim to lies and manipulation and noone having her back, and her having panic attacks and how could I let her abuser into our home, (she claimed the same thing about her older brother that she had physical and verbal fights with growing up, the disabled one, and he does have issues) and I am destroying my relationship with her and I am choosing someone who is manipulative, toxic and controlling over her.
Point of clarity No, my daughter was never SA'd by Husband or GF, and absolutely not by me, but I know someone will bring it up. My daughter has said she was SA'd by someone, did not feel safe to tell me about it, does not trust me, and wont tell me more, but not by GF or Husband.
So I am feeling like I have to make a choice here. GF or Daughter. GF votes I choose daughter. If I have to choose, its daughter hands down no contest because she is my daughter. Husband doesn't know what to do, just doesn't want anyone hurting. There is no choice that isn't painful for someone.
Love any advice anyone has for me including that Im a sinner who will burn in hell. I know.
TLDR
Daughter (21F) lives at home with me, has suffered some emotional trauma at the hands of my GF, doesnt like my GF and feels traumatized that I keep GF in her life.
submitted by Responsible_Bear_492 to Advice [link] [comments]


2023.06.07 23:01 Princesstatesyo810 He Works Too Much to Plan a Proposal- But he says it'll happen soon.

My boyfriend (23M) and I (25f, almost 26) have been together for 3 years. We moved in together right away. At the time my son was turning two in a couple of months, he's now almost 5, his birthday is the day after mine. Anyway, my bf has been our protector and provider, he loves us to bits and pieces. He works almost every day, and he loves it. I love it for him. We bought a house seven months ago, our mortgage is very affordable. We are blessed. We both are in his parents' business, I work 3 days a week, he works 6. We all still spend a lot of time together and we're surrounded by family who loves us like crazy. I'm still able to keep up with the house and cook meals and not be overwhelmed.
I've dealt with severe anxiety and depression since I was very little and this year I was finally able to get on medication and I have never felt so clear in my head.
Basically- we're the healthiest and happiest we've ever been and our love and care for each other has been strong since the moment we met.
That being said (uh oh), he told me 2 years ago he would propose soon. So, in March of 2021, I gave him a very serious speech, I told him it was okay to love me but not be ready to marry me yet. There was no pressure of time or hasty decisions. But, also he has never said anything to me that he hasn't meant.
He let me know he was very serious and that it would happen soon. I laughed and said, "Okay but I won't be waiting like, 6 months right?" I was mostly joking because at the time I didn't know his definition of "soon", so I guess this was how I was trying to figure that out.
He also laughed and said "No, it won't be that long"
3 months later (June 2021) I revisit the conversation. Again, no pressure. But his memory is terrible, so when I give him reminders, they're always helpful. He forgets easily.
I ask if there was something he was waiting for or if he just wasn't ready yet, either was completely okay. He said he wanted to talk to my dad about it first. That was what he was waiting for.
Both he and my dad worked 100 hours a week at the time. So, I could understand the struggle to sit down together and have that talk.
September 2021, we go to Zales and try on rings. He has this look on his face when I try on a princess cut, rose gold ring. I remember the ring he tried on and ordered it the second I got home, secretly of course. I ask him if he remembers my size and what kind of ring it was. He remembers every detail. This makes me feel relieved because his memory is awful.
3 more months passed. I asked again about his plans, if there was anything I could do to help him or answer some questions he might have, or if he was waiting for something as I had asked 3 months prior. He said the same thing as before about waiting to talk to my dad. I said "Just call him up and ask him to lunch. My dad will definitely meet with you." My dad loved my bf. Bf agrees with my idea and says he will happily do just that.
Thanksgiving comes.
My dad is so overworked he can hardly speak. That weekend he is in the hospital on a ventilator.
December, two weeks before Christmas, I can't wait anymore. I give BF his ring. It came in a wooden box with a small piece of twine tied around it. It was so precious. He teared up. I told him I just couldn't wait to give it to him and I just wanted to show him how serious I was about us spending our lives together. He tried it on and talked about how natural it felt to wear it, gushy mushy stuff. We have it stored and kept safe for the day we get married.
My dad passed on January 1st, 2022 at 12:15 am.
We had his funeral on the 6th.
I asked Bf if he had talked to my dad yet about the proposal, prior to him getting sick. He had not. I said it wasn't important at that time but I was curious as to what he was going to do then. He was very sweet and said, "We will live our lives and go from there. I promise, it will happen".
It was very easy for me to be angry for him waiting too long to talk to my dad but in the end, it wasn't anyone's fault.
We've discussed it time after time, every couple of months or so since then. It came down to him getting a hold of a photographer and then we bought our house and moved. So he had to change his plans. He has let me know he was struggling with coming up with an original idea. He wants it to be special. He wants to be proud of it and not regret how he did it. I have reassured him it doesn't have to be extravagant, and to please don't wait years because the "perfect" opportunity hasn't come yet. He's again assured me this won't happen and that he will not wait that long.
We agreed that our engagement would last 1 year, to give us time to plan everything and invite our family. We don't want a huge wedding, just big enough for our families to come together.
I've shown him different types of rings he could get that are more beautiful and sturdy than diamonds and a lot less expensive. He is very interested in what I show him. "text me that site" such and such.
I've sat down with him and had a very serious talk about how I didn't want us to hit 4 years and still not be engaged. He agreed. I also told him I didn't want to have any more kids until we were married. He agreed.
He added me to his bank account over a year ago, again, I ask him "Are you sure?? that's a huge decision." We've not struggled with money or argued over it. And he's never given me a hard time for using what he says is "our money". I still feel guilty using it, even though I now make a small income and I throw all the money into that account.
When it comes to meeting people, he refers to me as his wife and vice versa. I don't mind it but it hurts a little because it could very easily be true very soon.
Last week, I brought it up to him again. I gave him suggestions, which he loved and appreciated. I told him I would leave him to it and try not to bring it up anymore. He assures me it will happen soon. He is always very kind to me and I truly don't deserve him.
But I've been hearing that. "Soon".
And I know this man's schedule. I sit behind him at work. I won't go into boring details, but he does not have time to plan a proposal. And I mentioned that to him, yesterday. He was sad to agree with me.

Obviously, I can't do anything here and I definitely don't want to push him any further. This is still his choice. I don't want to force anything. I just think we're miscommunicating on time here and yet I've been very clear to him on what "soon" means to me.
I'm not sure what I'm looking for. Maybe someone who can relate a little? I know I won't be bringing it up anymore, he's heard enough from me and has been very patient with me.
I know "It's only been 3 years, sheesh" but we're adults and I'm closer to 30 than 20. We have a house, we have a child who starts Kindergarten, and we both have wonderful jobs. We are at a plateau in our lives where nothing is happening except time passing. We are very blessed and very happy. So, I'm just confused as to why this proposal hasn't happened yet, and I have a fear that it won't happen for a very long time.
"Maybe if you stop bringing it up, he'll do it" I tried that and my dad died. He waited too long to pick up the phone and call my dad. He admitted he didn't know why he never called. Another time, I gave him 6 months of not saying anything, and then I asked. He gave me a list of our priorities as a family that he would like to take care of first. I was 100% on board, We currently have taken care of all of those things.
There are a million details I can give, but this post is long enough as is. Please feel free to ask questions :)
submitted by Princesstatesyo810 to Waiting_To_Wed [link] [comments]


2023.06.07 23:00 Academic_Wrangler_65 Protein expressed well in E. Coli colonies on agar plates, but when I cultured those colonies, I got nothing???

hi fellow lab rats,
thanks in advance for your help with this. i feel like i must be missing something obvious, so an outside perspective to my own will be very useful.
TLDR; my protein library expressed great in E. coli colonies on agar plates, but when i cultured these colonies to prep and test the protein variants, expression was so bad i got functionally no data. what could cause this?
full explanation:
i recently made a library of a red fluorescent protein (RFP), chemically transformed that library into T7 Express (a commercial line of highly chemically competent E. coli), and plated my transformants on agar plates with appropriate antibiotics. i grew these plates at room temp (just out on my lab bench) over this past weekend. on monday, the plates looked fabulous -- i could easily tell that my protein was expressed well because my colonies were very pink in normal lighting and fluoresced brightly under illumination by a ~500nm wavelength light box. given that my plates looked good, i picked single fluorescent colonies into wells of 96-deep-well culture blocks containing antibiotic autoinduction media, one colony (and therefore one protein variant) per well. i also picked a few wells of the library template into these blocks to use as a control. i then cultured these blocks at 30C for ~48hrs and shaking at ~300rpm. today (wednesday) i took them off the shaker to prep and test my protein variants to see if i got any hits, and noticed immediately that the bacteria pellets, including those expressing my control, were barely pink. i prepped the proteins anyway and got unusable data because they expressed so poorly.
i have been evolving this RFP for the past year; this is my tenth library of this RFP, and i use the same workflow described above for every library with few issues until now.
does anyone have any ideas as to why my protein would express well on agar plates but not in culture? i double checked that the autoinduction media i used was in-date, which it is. i also checked that the shaker was actually on before i left on monday, checked it again on tuesday, and it was still shaking this morning, so i don't think it was stopped at any point during the culture period.
my plan for now is to just re-plate the library (i always save the library DNA for this very reason), re-do the experiment, and hope for the best, but any advice or insight will be much appreciated. thank you!!
submitted by Academic_Wrangler_65 to labrats [link] [comments]


2023.06.07 22:59 Income-Current WIBTA for calling off a wedding because my fiancé is extremely frugal?

https://www.reddit.com/AITAH/comments/142h8xb/wibta_for_calling_of_a_wedding_because_my_fianc%C3%A9/
I 31F struggle with my fiancé’s 32M frugalness and not sure if I want to marry him anymore after 3 year relationship.
Throwaway as my Fiancé follows my regular account.
I met my Fiancé 3 years ago. He came out of an abusive marriage just 2 years before we met. One of her absolute abuses was financial. She bled him dry. Made him buy expensive jewelry only to give it away or break it after an argument. Designer shoes, clothes, big house cars… Caribbean trips. you name it she made him pay for it. She also took him to the cleaners in the divorce.
However. My Fiancé is very well off. He makes far over 6 figures almost 7. On top of that he inherited a few millions from his grandfather and his parents gifted him and his siblings also a few cool millions.
So yes the financial abuse was bad but he does not suffer financially. He has more money than he will ever need.
So last year I moved into his house. I do not pay rent but I split the bills and buy food. I pay for my own clothes and jewelry. I have a good job and I can take care of myself. However things have been taking a turn for the worse and I feel miserable.
His house was empty when I moved in. He had hand me down furniture. Maybe 3 forks and 2 knives. He wouldn’t put on the heating so the house felt cold and moldy. He has no curtains, no decorations. His ex took everything not bolted down and he was too cheap to replace it. Just imagine a million dollar house like that!
I am grateful that I can live in his house. It is something I could never afford myself. But I didn’t want to live in squalor! So I bought some kitchen supplies, some furniture… but at some point I realized I was dipping in my savings all the time and he did nothing. I looked into curtains but those things are expensive. His house has so many windows it is crazy. I didn’t want to pay for this anymore.
I told him I needed a fund to furnish his house. He blew up at me that I was just with him for his money. I pointed out all the money I spend on his house. The gifts and the trips because he pays for nothing ever. Because he wants to be sure I am not here for the money. The fact is, if we break up I have nothing… the house is not mine. If I spend all my savings on his house I will be left with absolutely nothing! He wants a prenup and I am fine with that but I can’t help but feel used.
Next to that I am jealous of his ex wife. I feel like she got treated and I am neglected. He proposed to his ex on a cruise with a 10.000 dollar white gold diamond ring. I got the rhodium plated Swarovski stuff that might cost like 100 bucks. The proposal was at a picnic in the park I organized, paid groceries for and slaved in the kitchen for. I almost said no out of pure disappointment . However I am afraid to bring it up and to be called a golddigger. I don’t want to be funding a millionaire’s lifestyle. He loves everything as long as I pay for it. As soon as he has to pay it is frivolous, unnecessary….
submitted by Income-Current to TwoHotTakes [link] [comments]


2023.06.07 22:31 KyleKKent Out of Cruel Space, part 706

First
Capes and Conundrums
The fire demons conjured by Slade lash out at the huntsmistress but as her idea of protective clothing for hunting on Skathac merely means clothing that isn’t instantly burnt to ash as she leaves the protective embrace of a sky yacht’s forcefield, they’re about as effective as water-balloons against a battleship.
They do block her sight however, and that’s what he uses them for.
Unfortunately she’s the type where trying the same trick twice just gets you slammed like an idiot and verbally lambasted as one to boot.
He learns this as she grabs his boot and proceeds to hammer throw him into the opposite wall of the warehouse.
He skids down the wall and regains himself enough to kick off it and charge through the air while surrounded by fire.
She goes to catch the expected attack and finds only a device that then detonates in a flash of light and a loud bang.
There’s then a brutal spin kick from the blindside and she’s sent careening to the side and rolls twice before gathering herself and trying to shake out the spots and ringing from her head.
“What was that?” She asks.
“Flashbang. Non-lethal alone, but often paired with other techniques.” Slade informs her and she lets out a huff.
“Basic armament?”
“Basic law enforcement are permitted to carry them.” Slade notes and she takes a low stance with her tail high and ready to stab or slash, she still uses her bottom left hand to rub the crest atop her head and try and get some more vision back into it. “Does that actually help?”
“Psychosomatically.” She replies before suddenly there’s a brutal charge in the floor and Slade can’t even shout as his every muscle seizes in the electrical attack.
His nerves unjangle just enough to allow a bellow of pain before a chunk of concrete slams into him. It breaks the circuit and he teleports out of danger before the piece of manufactured stone can shatter against the wall.
Patience for her part only caught a glimpse of him. The fight has shifted around in all sorts of ways. It’s clear that she’s more than happy to play the monster. Well, if that’s the case. Then Robin, in a Deathstroke mask, is more than willing to hunt.
He breathes a bit and then deliberately runs Axiom through a reactive tattoo that bisects his brand. Turning it back on, and causing a passive Axiom intake. He’s now visible to the preternatural sense. However, he’s now also immune to her electrical trick.
She crashes through the walkway he was in and he moves faster than before. She dodges the first kick but that was just to get him in position behind her where he has a heartbeat to act and he USES it to slam down in her back and send her back through the hole she just made to crash into the floor below.
She rolls away and his knee finds the place her back was a moment ago. The concrete cracks and he slowly rises up.
She’s on all six and prowling. Her massive form utterly silent as she slinks around him, a living shadow of hard points and sharp danger. Also still very much a woman, but what has his attention are the claws, bladed tail and snap reflexes that are going to be a BITCH to deal with.
Moving like a shadow over water she circles him multiple times, clearly making a judgment. “Forgotten something?”
“No.” She answers. “I still have the cuffs to claim a win. But this is too much fun. I want to keep going.”
“What kind of example are you setting for your daughter?” He asks.
“A good one. Learn from your hunts and enjoy them thoroughly.” Patience says before letting out a laugh. “Besides. They’ve been watching for a while now.”
“I’m aware.” Slade states.
“Yeah! Go mom!” Migalla the younger shouts out from where she’s watching. Between her and Echosong it hadn’t been too hard to get the cuffs on Ra’s and confirm the win. But they were too busy watching the show to do the next part of the event.
“Don’t you two have a bomb to dispose of?” Slade asks before teleporting as Patience chooses that moment to pounce.
She turns it into a handspring and launches upward to spin in the air and grab onto the underside of the walkway he’s now on and outright catches his boot as he tries to kick her off.
She rips him off the walkway and hurls him along the underside. His fingers dig in and he’s suddenly hanging by them monkeybars style. She’s already chasing after him with the ease of a predator designed to move in three dimensions.
Which is why his counter charge catches her off guard somewhat and he almost gets a good boot to her head but she catches the boot instead. He then throws himself and her reflex to keep a grip on him causes him to swing and start breaking her grip on things.
As they start to fall her tail embeds into the walkway and she gets a good grip on both of his boots but he swings himself and starts to punch at her chest, deflecting her second set of arms and getting a few body shots in until her legs come down and he’s forced to deflect those.
Leaving him open for a huge double punch to the stomach as his feet are let go of.
He slams into the floor of the factory and has to take a moment to get his wind she knocked clean out of him back in.
She’s on him in a moment and is pinned. “I think this counts as a win.”
“Yes... yes it does.” Robin admits.
“... I need a trophy from this. A hunt this much fun needs a trophy.” She says grabbing his helmet and quickly finding the latches to pull it off.
“Hey now, I may need that. Let me up so I can call this in one way or the other.” Robin says and she slinks off as she tosses the helmet a bit. “Also if you want your husband to wear that it may need to be refit for a Dzedin.”
“Hmm... a good point... could I trade?” She asks him even as Robin rises up.
“Let me check.” He states and he brings out his communicator. “Although for the sake of a survey, out of ten how would you rate your experience today?”
“Twenty two.” She says gleefully. “I’m going to be running every member of my family that doesn’t need to be dragged out by the tail through the tests and we’re all going to party in these events.”
“Oh fun. I look forward to our rematch. Or hell... I want to see you up against Pavel. I wonder how you’ll respond to being hunted by a master sniper?”
“Ohh! Like a twinshot assassin?”
“We use kinetic rounds, they travel much longer and faster.” Robin notes as he activates his communicator. “Now let’s see about that trophy of yours.”
Before he can dial anything in the communicator goes off and he simply answers.
“She can keep the helmet, but it will take a day or three to make a custom one for her husband to wear.” Overwatch says.
“You caught that I hope?” Robin asks.
“I’ll hold this one hostage until then.”
“Fair enough.” Robin says before holding out his left hand and concentrating on the inlayed khutha marking on the underlayer of the glove. It builds and builds in power, and then abruptly another helmet is there. “I have a replacement.”
Patience then promptly swaps the unscuffed helmet for the one she’s thoroughly scuffed up and sticks her tongue out at him.
He blows her a raspberry and switches them back. Prompting the older woman to dissolve into helpless giggles.
“You keep being that adorable and I’m going to straight up adopt you little boy.” She taunts him and he snorts.
“Adoption generally doesn’t happen for full grown men.”
“Maybe not in your current society. But there are old family lines and clans that come together due to adopting someone as perky as you.”
“Thank you for the offer but no thank you ma’am.” Robin says quickly.
“Pity, you’d make quite the big brother for Migalla.” Patience says happily. “Ah... so all this was recorded right? Those little electrical bundles sending out signals are cameras right?”
“They are, don’t worry, you’ll get a full recording.” He assures her.
“Is there any rush to us leaving or?”
“Oh, maybe withing fifteen minutes or so. We have at least three different areas to send people to. We’ll be fine.”
•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•
“So, who had a fun first day out?” Robin asks the other three men who had Deathstroke duty.
“Apuk are fucking horrible.” Robin’s opposite states. There’s a distant ‘hey!’ as the Apuk Undaunted nearby overhears. “Oh shut up! That warfire shit is cheating so badly! How do you make fire that does that?!”
“It’s not cheating! It’s an ancient and honourable technique!” The offended Apuk counters as she stomps over.
“That causes things to burn and melt at a quarter of their normal ignition point. I know.”
“I’ll leave you lovebirds to have a friendly chat.” Robin remarks before stepping away from the growing argument.
“Four hundred credits in trytite bars says they’re banging before dinner.” One of the other Deathstrokes says as they follow Robin away.
“Sucker’s bet and you know it.” The other states. “They’ve been slap-slap kiss for a week.”
“So, you boys have as much fun as I did with my Dzedin Huntsmisstress?”’
“I heard she bounced you off every wall in the building and put you through most walkways.”
“To be fair I tossed her like a ragdoll and flashbanged her at least once. If we were allowed to go deadly... hmm... if it was a full deadly contest there’s no telling where it would go. We were both holding back to not kill the other.”
“My money’s on the big scary space monster... with tits.”
“I figured you’d be over that by now.” Robin remarks.
“I’ll never not be over the fact that one of the most universal shapes in existence is a perky orb with nips.” HE answers. “And I think I can beat you. While you were dealing with miss Huntress, I had to deal with what I thought was a suit of power armour.”
“What was it really?”
“A mecha.”
“What?”
“A Gohb in a Mecha. Crazy girl had me thinking I was dealing with a Cannidor.”
“No kidding.”
“It didn’t end there. When I got her out of the Mecha she revealed a mechanical backpack that unfolded into four spider legs and she got huge mobility with that before chucking grenades at me while crawling over every single wall at once.” He finishes with a sigh.
“I think I’m in love.” Robin jokes.
“She is too, she pulled off my mask and then demanded to know where you were.” He says and Robin winces while chuckling.
“Merretta! She remembers me!”
“She called you a childless DILF.” The man intones like he’s at a funeral and Robin snorts hard. “Do you have any idea how freaking weird it is to go through a big flashy fight that ends with some green midget pitching a fit because she wanted to get freaky with someone else? Oh by the way, watch your back Robin. I think she might be going full stalker.”
“I doubt it’s that bad. She was likely just venting, it’s not like we don’t do or say stupid things when we think we can get away with it.” Robin remarks with a yawn. He then checks his communicator. “I’ve got a paperwork shift before dinner. I need to go.”
“I wasn’t kidding about he Gohb. She was contemplating how to get in here and see you.”
“You make it sound like being chased by a gearhead shortstack is a bad thing. It’s not. It’s really not.” Robin says over his shoulder. He then glances back again. Only one of the guys is there. The other must have gotten sneaky and faded away partway during the conversation. Or even at the beginning. It would explain why he didn’t contribute to it.
He shrugs that off. They’re all grown adults in The Undaunted. Unless you HAD to know where someone was then you could trust everyone out of sight.
His shift starts uneventful as he begins pouring through his legal documents with a fine tooth comb. Nothing to egregious beyond some grammatical and spelling mistakes. He does have to make a point to write out a few more paragraphs to ensure that the term SHALL is properly interpreted in the documentation. Just another loophole to close off and make sure that someone can’t try to flog them for stupidity that wasn’t their fault.
The work is however, boring, and he takes a few minutes break every hour to stretch out, caffeinate and turn on some music to clear his mind a touch.
“Mister White?” Someone asks after a bit and he turns. It’s one of the secretarial office workers.
“Yes?”
“You have a visitor.” The woman says and Robin snorts.
“You make it sound like I’m in the hospital or prison.”
“Considering that fight you got into today I’m surprised your not in either.” She states and he chuckles in response.
He opens the door to see who it is and sees... no one. There’s a set of metal clangs and a green woman slowly rises into view. “Hello Merretta. I heard you had some fun with another Deathstroke. Playing the field are we?”
“Really big man?” She asks himas amusent dances across her face.
“Really. Now, how can I help you?”
“I just wanted to make sure that I didn’t scare off that big slab of man I saw crashing through ash dunes on a bike.”
“Not at all.” He says even as her mechanical backpack legs properly space themselves out and she starts looming over him. Suspended by the backpack harness.
“Good. Now... perhaps we can talk about meeting up for a private spar? You humans are fun to fight in armour.”
“I didn’t expect you to be so violent.”
“I didn’t expect humans to be so eager for violence. But if mommy has to get a little rough to get daddy, then she will.”

First Last
submitted by KyleKKent to HFY [link] [comments]


2023.06.07 22:22 Critical-Age4377 As soon as I move out I am never speaking to my mother again.

Throwaway for anonymity.
For context, my fiancé, my almost 2 year old, and I currently live with my mother and father. The plan was to split half of everything until we could afford to purchase our own house. It was supposed to be a “favor” to us so we could save up. We pay $1200 towards the mortgage, $500 in utilities every month and $200 in HOA fees every 3 months. That’s fine right? It’s what was agreed upon when we said we’d go in on this home with them.
Well I’ve come to find out my mom has been telling everyone we are not pulling our weight and they’re financially screwed because of us.
“Oh wow. Mom said you only throw them a couple hundred here and there.” That’s what my sister said when I told her how much we’re contributing here. Honestly, we’re pitching in more most months because my mom cries to me about how much debt she’s put herself in since we’ve moved in here and I feel bad. Hell, I’ve really screwed myself by doing that. Come to find out she’s telling my sister, aunt, and who knows who else something entirely different. I should have known, through the past year I’ve really grown to see who my mother is truly.
I was so blind to it in my younger and teenage years. From a young age she’d used me as her confidant. I heard things about people I should’ve never heard solely because of my young age. I’ve heard her talk terribly about my older sister who I didn’t have a close relationship with so I took it for face value. As I’ve gotten older my sister and I have reconnected and I’ve heard the true story of things. Through my teenage years she ruined various friendships of mine by getting overly involved in dumb teenage drama and would always message my friends about it and they all thought it was weird(it was). I have five older siblings and every single one has had a rocky relationship with her. That should’ve been the first red flag growing up, but I was taught to believe she was perfect and every one else was in the wrong.
Oh boy does she have a temper. I have continuously walked on egg shells around her because the slightest things tip her off. I’ve learned to become her yes man because if you disagree with her then you’re “belittling” her and “think your better than her”. I’ve seen it with my sister. They were so close but once my sister grew a backbone, my mom literally started to hate her. She’s told me,”If she wasn’t my daughter I’d never speak to her again. She’s such a little (whatever fun name she decides to use.” For something as simple as saying,”No mom I don’t wanna talk about that it’s not my business.” My sister has found religion and I’m happy for her. It’s not really my cup of tea, but I’m glad she has found something to give her solace. My mom tells everyone it’s all a front for her “I’m better than you” attitude.
She hates my fiancés mother because of her trying to help with my baby shower as “that was supposed to be my special time with you”. Like… she hates her. My fiancé and I almost split at the time because of the terrible things she said. They met up to try and work things out and my mother all but told this woman she was going to punch her(it was inferred). All because of a baby shower.
The last thing I will discuss here, when I told her I was severely depressed at the beginning of this year and I was scared I was going to harm myself. She looked at me and said,”You don’t think I want to (explicit/graphic suicide) ideation everyday?” It took a lot for me to reach out for help and that was the response I got. I started anti depressants a few months later and when we were talking about how good I was feeling she said,”Why didn’t you tell me how you were feeling?” I was astonished. She loves to be the victim and always will. I can’t take it anymore.
submitted by Critical-Age4377 to offmychest [link] [comments]


2023.06.07 22:15 Makeavellli [WTS] NIKE Jordan 1 Retro Chicago (2013) SZ10 USED [350$], Nike Dunk SB High Diamond Supply Co. "Tiffany" SZ10 USED [325$],NIKE Jordan 3 Retro True Blue (2016) SZ10 VNDS [225$]

[WTS] NIKE Jordan 1 Retro Chicago (2013) SZ10 USED [350$], Nike Dunk SB High Diamond Supply Co. submitted by Makeavellli to sneakermarket [link] [comments]


2023.06.07 22:10 GhostingProtocol Simulate ISP to use NAT in lab

I have a lab assignment that has a pfSense FW with Vlans connected to it in a star topology. One of the required vlans is “ext” acting as wan. Between the FW and ext there is supposed to be a NAT layer. I can’t for the life of me figure out how to configure this correctly.
Outbound NAT works fine. I can ping the computer in ext from anywhere in the network. But inbound NAT doesn’t work at all. I’ve tried adding allow * to all VLANs, I’ve tried every possible NAT configuration pfSense has to offer, I’ve tried to use 1:1 NAT, I’ve tried to disable all internal firewalls, I’ve snooped on the WAN (it’s just a much of arp requests), I’ve looked at blocked traffic on FW (nothing), and I’m running out of things to try.
Based on the fact that the public IP address I received in the assignment is a reserved address and windows literally won’t let you use it. I’m guessing the assignment maker hasn’t put a lot of though into this part of the configuration. Is this even possible to do? Does it make any sense to pretend a VLAN is a WAN and try to add features onto it as if it was actually public? So far I’ve spent 36 hours on the assignment over 3 days. In those 3 days I’ve written a >2k word configuration plan, set up a fully functional infrastructure with a web server, backend for http requests, Active Directory, FW, FS, DNS, DHCP, and more. 6 of those hours have been spent on this problem specifically, and I’m out of things to try…
More info about configuration:
Vlans connected to central firewall acting as router for whole network.
VLAN containing a client acting as “internet” (IP: 42.0.6.9)
WAN interface has IP 42.0.6.1
I’ve tried setting ip NAT different interfaces/hosts but none worked, I’ve watch multiple YouTube videos on how to do it, and I’ve read the official documentation and followed every step.
I’ve tried setting up both ping and http, neither worked.
submitted by GhostingProtocol to sysadmin [link] [comments]


2023.06.07 22:04 AprilLudgatee The Dark Virality of a Hollywood Blood-Harvesting Conspiracy

The Dark Virality of a Hollywood Blood-Harvesting Conspiracy
Published too early. adding in counter-arguments
Important (to me) excerpts:
The most effective conspiracy theories are built around kernels of truth. Adrenochrome is a compound that occurs in the body, but about which little scientific research has been done beyond a few studies in the mid-20th century on whether it could play a role in schizophrenia. The question transfixed the writers Aldous Huxley and Hunter S. Thompson, who were obsessed with mind-altering substances. To them, adrenochrome became a psychotropic, akin to mescaline. In his famous Doors of Perception, written just after the first adrenochrome studies, Huxley described adrenochrome as a clue that was “being systematically followed.” “The sleuths—biochemists, psychiatrists, psychologists—are on the trail,” he wrote. Biologists didn’t find much of interest.
...........................................
Thompson is explicitly invoked in what seems to be the earliest recorded posts about adrenochrome harvesting on 4Chan’s /x/ and /pol/ boards, in 2013 and 2014 respectively. In an anti-Semitic 4chan /pol/ thread an anonymous poster linked a restricted, unsearchable video named “Jew Ritual BLOOD LIBEL Sacrifice is #ADRENOCHROME Harvesting.” Within these same online communities, Pizzagate formalized and grew in 2015–2016 before spreading to more mainstream social media.
...................................
In February 2019, Infowars featured a segment on adrenochrome, linking it to the Clinton Foundation via epipen manufacturers, and to the highly controversial “young blood” transfusion startup Ambrosia. A month later, adrenochrome “documentaries” began to emerge on YouTube, followed by many smaller copycat productions, helping form a searchable foundation for the current day conspiracy.
.....................................
The most effective conspiracy theories are built around kernels of truth. Adrenochrome is a compound that occurs in the body, but about which little scientific research has been done beyond a few studies in the mid-20th century on whether it could play a role in schizophrenia. The question transfixed the writers Aldous Huxley and Hunter S. Thompson, who were obsessed with mind-altering substances. To them, adrenochrome became a psychotropic, akin to mescaline. In his famous Doors of Perception, written just after the first adrenochrome studies, Huxley described adrenochrome as a clue that was “being systematically followed.” “The sleuths—biochemists, psychiatrists, psychologists—are on the trail,” he wrote. Biologists didn’t find much of interest.
Conspiracy "debunked" written June 2023.
THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC has led to a surge in misinformation and conspiracy theories.
One of the most bizarre is the claim that celebrities and the ‘liberal elite’ have a secret child trafficking ring and that they extract a drug called ‘adrenochrome’ from these children.
The use of this drug has also led to a number of Hollywood celebrities catching the coronavirus, according to these conspiracy theories.
...................................
Through this evolution, the harvesting of ‘adrenochrome’ from children in the trafficking ring has been introduced. Adrenochrome, according to the theories, is a Hollywood drug, sometimes taken as part of a Satanic ritual.
Some theories claim that blood is drained from children who are kept at ‘farms’ and tortured. Adrenochrome is then extracted from the blood in a lab and sold to celebrities, or the blood itself is consumed, according to these conspiracy theorists.
Others claim the compound is harvested from an adrenal gland in the brain (adrenal glands are actually located above the kidneys).
So even those making the claims about adrenochome can not agree on how the extraction process or the method of taking the drug works.
............................
Like most conspiracy theories, there is truth to small parts of the adrenochrome story.
Adrenochrome is not completely made-up – it is a chemical compound that is produced by the oxidation of adrenaline.
The SpinOff reported it can be used – though it does not appear to be widely used – to slow blood loss by promoting blood clotting in open wounds. It found most sellers state its source is synthetic.
Psychiatrists Abram Hoffer and Humphrey Osmond in the 1950s claimed that adrenochrome can form in the brain and may play a role in mental illnesses. They speculated that high doses of vitamin C and niacin could cure schizophrenia by reducing adrenochrome in the brain.
Other studies testing the use of megavitamin therapy to treat schozophrenia did not confirm any benefits of the treatment.
There have also been mentions of adrenochrome in fiction, which may be helping to back up the idea of adrenochrome as a recreational drug.
Thoughts?
submitted by AprilLudgatee to conspiracy [link] [comments]


2023.06.07 21:53 jemjon69 What psi please

Hi all
Can someone advise please? Treated myself to my first ‘grown up’ airbrush (I’m 53) an awata neo.
Looking to spray the exhaust dirt on side of 1/48 Tamiya spitfire using Vallejo paints
What psi should I use on my compressor please?
Gonna do 3 fine layers, dark, mid then light to give depth
Does it sound good or should I take up jigsaws?
submitted by jemjon69 to modelmakers [link] [comments]


2023.06.07 21:39 Professional_Boat555 Feeling defeated - 2 failed FETs

Just received the call my second FET failed (chemical pregnancy. 1st beta 42.9, second beta 14). Both FETs were PGT normal day 5 embryos and natural cycles.
I’m 31 and my husband and I are doing IVF due to severe MFI and are using donor sperm. I’ve done one egg retrieval with 27 eggs retrieved, 20 fertilized, 11 blasts, and 2 PGT normal (One 4CB and one 3BB). AMH is great around 4.0, otherwise healthy, lining looked great, no other known health issues.
Feeling so defeated, especially since we are doing IVF due to MFI and no infertility (that I know of) on my end.
Does this just sometimes happen? How do I rationalize and accept this and not worry beyond belief? Will now have to do a second ER just to try to achieve first pregnancy and my clinic’s lab closes the month of July so will have to wait almost two months….
Struggling with infertility is the most debilitating challenge. If anyone is willing to share their experience with multiple failed FETs and then success I’d appreciate it!
submitted by Professional_Boat555 to IVF [link] [comments]


2023.06.07 21:21 Darklands_____ Do you assume larger stones are lab/other gems?

To be clear, I don't think there is anything wrong with lab or other gems - why pay more for a mined diamond? (unless you're looking for something you can't get in a lab grown diamond like a cut that is no longer done, such as old European or old mine cut).
I've been seeing a lot of BIG rings lately in person and it makes me wonder, are people really spending that much on a natural diamond or is it more common/accepted to get a lab grown diamond or use another gem? Does anyone know what percentage of engagement rings sold now are mined diamonds vs. any other option?
submitted by Darklands_____ to EngagementRings [link] [comments]


2023.06.07 21:17 blowdontpopclouds The Soulmate Dilemma

The Soulmate Dilemma
By Tanner Briggs

Introduction

Cinema is a reflection of humanity’s desires. If it wasn’t, people wouldn’t watch it. It’s safe to say, even if you find yourself on the fringe of humanitarian yearnings, you’re probably looking for a life of love as opposed to a life of stoic loneliness accompanied by a TV dinner and a six pack of Rainier each night. Despite the masturbatory mayhem the latter could bring, the former lends a much more effective way of living: someone to lean on, to uphold your values, to socialize with, to fuck. In the theater, no single trope is more common than the guy getting the girl. Romantic, heart wrenching, mind boggling, tingly love in its purest form. Endings are always the same: the airport run, the rainy swoon, the grand gesture, the throwing-aside-all-inhibitions-and-personal-reservations-just-to-be-with-her. All of these lead to the happily ever after, but it’s the last one I’d like to talk about in more detail.

Core Criteria

Core criteria is the criteria you require of a life partner. Any one of these not being met means the relationship is doomed. It’s possible, through communication, to teach your partner to meet criteria that is not being met right now. If a standard deviation bell curve in its entirety represents everything that would attract you to a partner, your core criteria represent about 1.5 standard deviations’ worth of actual requirements. The other 1.5 standard deviations represent nice-to-haves that you’d enjoy in a partner, that would attract you even more to a partner, but that you can ultimately live without.
📷
Statistically, it’s very possible to meet someone that can fit your core criteria – that individual would need to be in the 87th percentile[1] of matches for you, which is not that easy to find, but it’s completely possible especially with dating apps. Remember, if even one of these core criteria is off, it will botch the whole thing – sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly over time.
You’re probably saying – how the fuck does this math play into my happily ever after? This is, admittedly, where the math ends. The numbers demonstrate that it’s not easy to find someone that meets your core criteria and it’s even harder to find someone that meets all of your nice-to-haves.

The Third Bucket

When you’ve been with someone long enough, there comes into existence a third bucket. This manifestation continuously grows, enlarging over time. This third bucket represents everything you didn’t know you wanted and couldn’t have ever fathomed needing, but now you need it, you want it, you’ve gotta have it. We’ll refer to this bucket as the Cold Stone Creamery size: “Gotta Have It.” This bucket is so interesting because its contents are unique to each relationship. The collision of two personalities meeting juxtaposed against environmental factors, social situations, and mutual decisions. The Gotta Have It bucket is structured on top of a confluence of affection, individuality, inside jokes, empathy, hardship, and shared experiences.
📷
Notice this third bucket doesn’t fall on the statistical canvas. This bucket represent tangible value but has an intangible denominator: you didn’t know you needed these things, so you didn’t have requirements built to house this value – your denominator is zero.
“How fulfilling is your sex life scale of one to ten?”
“Seven”
“You’re at 70% satisfaction sexually, which is one of your core requirements.”
Sex is easy to quantify. She put a finger in your butt or she didn’t – she gets one point. But when you try to quantify that look she gives you as you leave the house toward a hard day of work – that unfailing mixture of reverence, sadness, and beguiling cuteness… What is the denominator for that? It’s something you never new you wanted. It’s something you never knew you needed, but it might just break your heart not to get it anymore. The denominator is zero and dividing by zero is undefined, just like the value the Gotta Have It bucket brings. It’s tangible value, but it’s not quantifiable on our core criteria scale.

The Tipping Point

Conceptually, soulmates can mean different things, but the grandly romanticized version of soulmate is often interpreted as a single perfect, permanent match. Since the beginning of time, we were destined to be together as two souls’ recognition of its counterpoint in another.[2] What I posit, however, is that a soulmate is not destiny as much as it is a bit of luck and a lot of hard work.
As the Gotta Have It segment of your connection continues to foster, there reaches a tipping point where the value of your core requirements is outweighed by the value of the tangible, yet unexpected and unsought. This Gotta Have It bucket could not have grown without the core requirements firmly in place – they were the branch from which this fruition bloomed. Yet, is it not true that the fruit is the most sought-after part of the tree? Once tipped, the foundation of the relationship is now the Gotta Have It that makes your relationship unique and special.
📷
Unique and special – isn’t that what a soulmate really is? Something you couldn’t find anywhere else? The relationship over time becomes something you couldn’t have with anyone else.
In this way, you do not find your soulmate, but you effectively create your soulmate. The tipping point, where the incontrovertible connection that you have fostered is irreplaceable, is the tip of the iceberg of your soulmate connection. Yet there is an entire iceberg underneath the surface of the water to explore.

The Catacombs

It seems like every great explorer finds themselves in the catacombs at one point or another. So too do we find ourselves in the catacombs as we explore our relationships. There are catacombs of thought to be fleshed out, to decipher, to sift through, to dive into, to expound upon, to divest, to ignore, to brood, to ponder. As you’re exploring these catacombs, it’s entirely important to be completely invested. After all, if Indiana Jones in the Raiders of the Lost Ark had only gone halfway into the temple, he would have been caught in a trap and would have never made it out alive. The catacombs are where you find fodder for your Gotta Have it Bucket. As you explore your partner’s thoughts, do so with the ideation that you’re going to come out of this with more inside jokes than before. Inside jokes are the pinnacle of connection as they can be used to poke and prod your partner without actually hurting them. They can be used to recall a time of laughter or a time of despair all while enhancing the contemporaneous levity of your current situation. “Things” as I call them, are also a jewel found in the catacombs to be shined into a pendant of connection. Rather than wear the pendant, you use it to show the other person you care. You know “things” from television shows like How I Met Your Mother, where Ted and Robin salute and say, “General Idea,” whenever someone says a sentence like, “you get the general idea, right?” That’s an example of a thing. Examples of things in a relationship are numerous – but here’s three:
· Having a dance party every time you brush your teeth
· Saying a cute phrase when performing a specific activity or triggered by an event
· Sharing a GIF that has a secret meaning only the two of you know
Use the catacombs as an opportunity to understand differences, ignore negativity, and ultimately uncover uniqueness in your soulmate or potential soulmate.

Write the Damn Thing

How many times have you heard practice like you play? You get the concept – so let’s move past that. Practice your relationship like it’s the one – like you’re already married. You can’t effectively explore the catacombs and you’ll never get to the tipping point if you have one foot out the door.
So what does it look like to have your foot completely inside the domicile?
In three words: be the author.
Fairy tales don’t just happen – the greats frame, construct, and execute their fucking fairytales! And only the magnificent understand that guys don’t generally need a fairytale to be happy. So – if it’s not the guy that needs it – who needs it? That’s right hotshot – it’s her. Women need the fairytale and we’re the ones who get to write it for them.
Take moments of alone time with her to call out the amazing things you’ve done together. Remind her just how lucky you are to be with her. Laughingly reminder her just how lucky she is to be with you. Build a vision board with her and frame what your future is going to be like. Shoot for the moon so she knows she’s going to have a lavish, amazing, exciting, adventurous life with you. Update the vision board constantly with new and exciting things you both like. This vision board and these asides where you underscore your connection are framing.
Constructing the fairytale involves lots of planning. The more you construct and execute the more you can frame later – it creates a virtuous feedback loop. You must put in elbow grease to get the dinner reservations, kill at your job to afford the ski weekends, and plan the shit out of that proposal.
A good rule for the proposal: do everything you’re thinking you should do times three. You can’t go big enough. Spend triple the money, get triple the people for the afterparty, get triple the tiki torches. Why? Because this is effectively the climax of the fairytale. You will look back on that moment for the rest of your lives and you’ll want to have pulled out all the stops. You’ll have other climaxes, but this solidifies the fairytale and turns it into something that will live wonderfully in her mind for the rest of eternity.
📷
When you plan well, execution is easy. Do the thing. Go hiking, crush the camping trip, surf the waves. Afterward you can frame. The more you frame, the more she frames to her friends and the more jealous her friends become of you. As a man, you want her talking about you to her friends ALL THE TIME. You want her friends to be annoyed with how much she talks about you and your good qualities. When you frame correctly, her friends will be in a bitch session about their husbands/boyfriends and your partner – rather than add fuel to the vent session – will close the vent with a lovely recounting of that time you took her to see the ballet.
The fun part about this fairytale castle you construct: you get to live in it with her. You get to be the king. Your hard work doesn’t go unnoticed – it’s the pinnacle of why you have a soulmate. It’s the pinnacle of why she loves you. You have played the game correctly and you have won.

Conclusion

“…the throwing-aside-all-inhibitions-and-personal-reservations-just-to-be-with-her.” Coming back to the last listed item from the first paragraph. Your reservations and inhibitions aren’t about you or your principles. They’re about whether you’re ready to play the game – to go all in. So how do you know when? Any time your core criteria are met that’s the time to give it everything. Remember, she’s already at least in the 87th percentile if your core criteria are met. You won’t be able to effectively explore the catacombs and reach the tipping point if you’re only half invested. And moreover, that fairytale will never manifest if you aren’t all-in writing it yourself.
You don’t find your soulmate, you build your soulmate and you write your fairytale.
Happy tipping.
-Tanner J. Briggs
[1] 📷

[2] Dobkin, David, et al. Wedding Crashers. [Los Angeles, Calif.], New Line Home Entertainment, 2005.
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2023.06.07 21:16 ljalja_ Documentary "Nothing lasts forever"

Did anyone else watch the documentary on Netflix about the diamond industry?
Im only half way, but wow, I really had to laugh out loud sometimes when guys from De Beers were telling their stories of all women wanting a real diamond, because this is the only way men can show their true love to them. And beside this, there were some interesting insights in a lab grown diamond factory in China. They say its for industrial use only, but you know, there were many nice little stones shipped out...to..wherever 😉
I can definitely highly recommend it! And I became even more confident in not buying real diamonds anymore..
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2023.06.07 21:10 DTDude Recommendation for a sleep specialist

I have sleep apnea. I know this for sure and have had 2 sleep studies, one last month. Both show I have it. However, I am having a terrible time finding a reliable and available sleep specialist. Meanwhile I am miserable and using all of my energy just to work and make it home.
The doctor (Mercy affiliated) that referred me for the most recent sleep study seems overwhelmed. They are booked out months in advance for appointments. I was told directly by my sleep physician to call 10 days after the study for results and next steps. They weren't ready for me at day 10 and I was told don't call us, we'll call you. The raw reading of the study from the lab has been available for 2 weeks. We're now in week 4 with no contact. Calls to the office go to voicemail. The voicemail greeting specifically tells you not to call back again....so it sounds like they know there's a problem and are not setting realistic expectations. I'm close to just going there in person so they can't avoid me.
I stopped seeing my previous specialist (SLU affiliated) 5 years ago. I really liked him, but once again their appointments were very sparsely available. United dropped coverage for my treatment, accusing me of being non-compliant for not regularly seeing my doctor. I lost an appeal (and thankfully no longer have United). He also does not appear to be practicing anymore.
Does anyone know of a sleep specialist out there that I can count on? Don't care which hospital system, independent, whatever. I'm basically to the point that I just need a prescription for a new machine.
Edit: Finally heard back. Now waiting 5-10 business days for the CPAP provider to call me to schedule an appointment. Progress, but slower than I'd like.
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2023.06.07 21:09 jinnie_bunny My pup is barking/growling at only certain dogs

My Westie/Maltese mix, 14-lbs, 1.5-year-old baby is really easy-going and friendly to people and other dogs alike! He's got a very sweet and amiable personality, and I'm not saying this just because he's mine-- it's been so easy to introduce him to new places and people because his cute little face wins everyone over! From our in-laws who used to be indifferent to doggies, to our neighbors and their dogs, to the staff at our vet office, to complete strangers meeting him for the first time, everybody loves him!
So I have to ask because I'm not sure where this is coming from-- recently, he's been a tad more vocal/assertive when it comes to certain dogs around our neighborhood. The other day, we went for a longer walk by a trail near our house and we ran into a Shiba Inu laying in the grass. Normally, my pup starts quietly wagging his tail and skip/hops towards another dog with excitement to greet him/her, but this time, he stopped dead in his tracks about 10 ft away from this Shiba. After staring at him for a couple seconds, my pup started barking at him, and of course the Shiba started barking back lol! There was no baring of teeth nor did the barking escalate to snarling, but my pup did mix in some growling (and no it wasn't play growling, I know what that sounds like from him). I asked the owner if they could greet each other, and the owner said "your baby might get hurt, my dog treats every other dog like he would a cat" (and he had to yell this over our dogs having their bark-off)! No matter what I did-- calling my pup, using our commands for him to sit and make eye contact with me, treats under his nose-- there was no way to get my pup to focus on anything but the Shiba, so I had to pick him up and walk away.
Then today, we were on our merry way enjoying the nice breezy weather outside-- then mid-walk, he stopped and stood super still/upright to look off at a distance down the street, only to start that same gruff barking! I had no idea what he was barking at until eventually, I saw this Border Collie in our neighborhood and his owner making their way within my line of sight. I don't know this Border Collie's name because I never got to know him-- he too, also growled/snarled at my pup (for what reason, I have no idea because during their first encounter also from a distance, my pup just sat there while this Collie got itself worked up). Maybe my pup remembered that from last time and decided to be assertive first today? It's really perplexing to me because he really does get along with everyone else! It's not just a thing with bigger dogs either, because my pup loves playing with other big friends in our community (i.e. German Shepherd, black lab, Dalmatian, Treeing Walker Coonhound), and Golden Retrievers and Huskies that he's met for the first time at dog parks too.
Anyway, after the Collie and his owner went away, my pup then placed his focus on a UHaul truck nearby and found that to be the next offensive thing, so he started gruff barking at that too-- he normally doesn't do this with cars around our area, so I really think it was because this truck was unfamiliar, maybe with someone new moving in. I had to use a treat and my command for him to follow me and moved us away, but he was really reluctant to go in the direction of where the Collie had been seen.
I do plan to take my pup to school soon and hopefully I'll be able to get a better understanding of how to redirect his reactivity, but thought I'd share here in case anyone has helpful insights! I absolutely love spending time bonding with my pup and I'm constantly looking to learn from his behavior so we can communicate the best we can ❤️
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2023.06.07 21:02 Ashleyhar0130 Rating of this Ring?

Rating of this Ring?
Is 4k a good price for this ring?
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2023.06.07 21:01 Trash_Tia Camp Redwood is running out of counselors! These children ARE NOT CHILDREN. Update: So, you're telling me it's NOT 2018?

Welcome to Camp Redwood!
Are you ready to fight to the death with age regressed forty year olds with the faces of adorable little kids?
How about coming to terms with your entire life, or at least five years of it, being one big fucking lie?
We are so excited to announce our 2018 group! Where you will undoubtedly FIND yourself here. Your true self.
The self you did not know existed.
SO, jump in that military bunker, grab that blunt object to fight against our little campers disembowelling our counselors, and get yourself down to CAMP REDWOOD. WHERE WE START EVERY DAY WITH A CAMP REDWOOD SMILE.
Apply now!
Application end date: 05/02/2018.

It’s been a tough few days.
So, I think I will be posting this update in two chunks so I can get everything down and clear my head. I am alone right now.
Yes. I am the last survivor of Camp Redwood 2023 (?). I’ve been unsure how to start this and end this because I really just want to get into the meat of what has been going on.
But… I must ask. I have to.
What year is it?
That doesn't matter right now. I'll continue where I left off.
Teddy did leave us alone in the end. But his screams were still haunting me hours after the thing with his voice had left. I don’t even think I could call it his voice.
It sounded like him but there were pieces of him missing. Like someone had reached into the boy’s mind and pulled out the skeleton of his consciousness, the bare bones of his being—and cruelly stuffed him into a metal shell.
That is what Teddy sounded like.
He sounded like a wounded animal, confused why he was alive. Terrified. I now know what he is the product of. Teddy is a victim of horrifying, unethical experiments our campers have been forcing on kidnapped counselors after taking over the camp. Have you ever heard of the sound of crying which isn’t human?
That is Teddy. He is the product of forcing life into the dead, and leaving it to suffer with its consciousness. Which, in my opinion, is a fate far worse than death.
You’re probably wondering where my two companions are.
Well, that is why I am writing this.
I want to tell you what happened so I can wrap my head around it myself, and choose between killing all of us and sending these psychopaths to hell, or coming to terms with our truth and fighting back. Well, it’s their truth. I wouldn’t say it’s mine. It took us three whole days to get the guts to risk leaving Allison’s secret bunker inside her cabin, and attempting to find a way out of this hell-hole. Harry and I were the ones to do it, leaving a still-not-completely-himself Rowan to guard our safehouse. I didn’t want to leave him alone for a multitude of reasons but due to Harry actually having a soul and a semblance of empathy, I was overruled.
Despite being heavily under the influence of age-regressing animal crackers which had mentally turned him into a toddler, Rowan was still himself to a degree. Which meant he was back to being our leader. I was sceptical at first, because no matter how many times he insisted he was in fact okay, I couldn’t seem to shake off the feeling that the childish parts of him, the warped parts of his mind which had turned him into a child, were still there.
Even if they were very subtle. I caught him doodling on his clipboard, and much later on, singing to himself with an odd smile on his face he had successfully gaslit Harry and I into believing it was just a coping mechanism. Say what you want about Rowan Atlas, he is damn good at swaying your opinion. Even when we were 100% sure Rowan was not his original self, the guy we had both met at the start of camp.
It was almost like him having two minds. The mind of a child, and the mind of a teenager.
For example, he still ordered us around and attempted to take back his role of leader— which had at least secured some normality back into our lives. But he also hated loud noises, and freaked out every time one of the littles tried to get in. There was also the incident we had agreed not to talk about, because talking about it meant facing the fact that our friend was no longer himself.
It was a hours after Teddy left us in peace. Harry was sleeping, and I was on the cusp of slumber, slipping through more files. Rowan had been oddly quiet. Which wasn’t a Rowan thing. Whether he was mentally a child or a teenager, he was still being loud and obnoxious. I sat up to find him cross-legged, playing with something.
I thought it was a worm at first, but no. It was exactly like what I found at the start of this, an eye attached to a nerve. But this time it was undoubtedly human, and now Rowan’s plaything. When I questioned him, he said he was “studying” it. Though there was definitely a difference between studying something and playing with it. The scary thing was, he saw no wrong in it, holding it in his hands and stripping off the metallic pieces cruelly attached to it.
In the end, I took it from him and stamped on it. Rowan didn’t have the reaction I was expecting. Because he was still hiding behind the façade that his mind hadn’t been warped by de-aging animal crackers.
If that wasn’t bad enough, Eleanor Summers had given me a 24 hour deadline to hand over the boys, and we were well over the limit so an ambush was likely imminent.
I still had so many questions. Why were Rowan, Harry and Carmel so important while the rest of us were seen as nothing but spare parts?
That is what the little bitch said. Now physically eleven years old with the mind of a deranged forty year old scientist, Eleanor told me I was nothing to them but spare parts. God, it’s so weird calling her what she is after looking after her kid self, her fake self, for weeks.
Little Eleanor with her golden pigtails and obsession with teddy bear picnics was in fact a complete fucking sociopath. That much of one in fact, that her and her equally psychotic colleagues who engaged in these experiments had been regressed into little kids inside a rehabilitation camp (Nicknamed: Project Spearhead) which was supposed to fix them and had failed spectacularly. Because they’ve taken over. And this time? We’re the fucking lab rats.
The counselors here at Redwood.
I had seen her adult self being interviewed by mysterious Agent Lemrac, a face behind Project Spearhead, the girl who was far too young to be an agent, and have that kind of authority. Also, someone with a soul—who had a clear biased opinion against the experiments.
Part of me wondered if Lemrac still existed. Maybe she was behind the odd phone calls we kept receiving on an old fashioned rotary phone. With Eleanor’s deadline in mind, the two of us made our journey quick. It wasn’t hard to leave the camp itself. There were guards in the form of Callen and Olive, brainwashed and turned into the kid’s muscle, but they were easy enough to get past as long as we distracted them with something shiny.
They were mentally six-years-old so literally anything grabbed their attention.
I quickly realized my mistake once we managed to escape the camp—Harry in front of me, with me lagging behind. We moved slowly, ducking behind trees and throwing ourselves into the dirt. Very cloak and dagger. It didn’t take us long to slip into the woods. Just past the lake were the exit gates to Redwood which led to a road.
Not exactly civilisation, but I would take it over having my body taken apart for “parts” in these so-called experiments.
When we got to the gate, however, I realized I had given the adults too much fucking credit.
Whoever was in charge of Spearhead clearly did not care about lingering survivors, as long as they were successfully cutting us out from the outside world. And that’s what the giant wall I found myself staring at was, an impossible foot monster towering over us and cementing my earlier thoughts. We were screwed. The woman on the phone had made it clear we were being abandoned, and yet some of me naively held onto them maybe still rescuing us.
“Fuck.” I didn’t know what to do, but kicking the damn thing felt like the right thing. I did, and then regretted it half a second later.
This thing was impenetrable. Impossible to climb unless we had a fucking death-wish.
Blinking at it through fraying sunlight blinding me, the thing almost resembled a mirage. It stood under the sun, a giant roadblock completely blocking us from any form of help.
The sun wasn’t helping, scorching through my shirt. I swiped at my sweaty forehead, unable to resist a frustrated scream I had to muffle-gag with my hand. I risked a look behind us. Thankfully, we were around ten minutes away from the main camp. The lake was nearby glittering under a late afternoon sun, and all I wanted to right then was to wade into the shallows and let the murky water swallow me up. The little shits couldn’t swim, maybe I’d be safe.
“Fuck!”
“This is bad.” Harry Carlisle broke the silence after my frustrated cry. With his eyes glued to the wall, he took off his hat and ran a hand through dark brown curls which were catching the light of the sun, setting strands alight across his forehead. None of us were in great shape after spending days hunkered down in a secret bunker. Harry was no exception.
His short sleeved camp Redwood shirt was still covered with vomit, discoloured with days’ worth of sweat stains and lack of showers.
He bent over, grasping hold of his knees. “What do we do?” I could tell by the tone of his voice he was freaking out, and I didn’t blame him. But Harry was still on my mind.
His signature was undoubtedly all over every Project Spearhead file, despite him repeatedly insisting he had nothing to do with it. At that moment, I could almost believe him. The boy looked exhausted and frustrated, pained.
He surprised me by slipping to his knees and burying his head in the dirt and screaming into rough soil. I was struck, then, by the sudden memory of flames. I had been sitting around campfires for weeks at Redwood, but this one didn’t feel like it took place at camp.
Instead, it felt more personal. I could almost see it, flickering orange sparking at the backs of my eyes and the sour taste of beer in my throat. Like the memory was trying to push itself to the surface. This moment felt nostalgic and yet close—as if it had happened yesterday. Like both the past and present had entangled in one.
If I concentrated I swore I could hear the murmur of voices, phantom laughter in my head and a cool night breeze grazing my cheeks.
“Earth to Josie?”
I snapped out of it quickly. “You’re asking me?” I kicked the dirt again. “I thought Rowan was our camp leader.”
Harry lifted his head after a moment, his eyes flicking to me. “You know he can’t make rash decisions right now.”
“Exactly.” I said. “We both know he’s not back to his normal self. He’s both right now. A little kid, and a teenager.” I shuddered. “I’m sorry, did I forget to mention our so-called head counsellor was playing with a human eye like a fucking cat?”
“Mm."
“Well, why aren’t you taking it seriously?”
Harry’s gaze skated the horizon, cotton candy colored clouds blurring into twilight. “Becauuuse the sun is going to your head.”
I could practically hear his eyes rolling. Harry took three strides towards the wall and pressed his face into rough brick. “So, this is it, right?” He muffled into rough cement. “We are really going to die at fucking summer camp.”
“I’m going to die,” I corrected him. “They want you two and Carmel because apparently you’re special.”
Harry made a scoffing noise into the wall. I was starting to think he was setting up camp there, planning to tell all of his grievances to the cement. “Oh yeah, because that’s a good thing? You’ve seen—no—heard what they’ve done to Teddy and the others, and you think them wanting us for something else is special?” his voice broke a little. “I’d rather have your fate.”
The boy’s words made me realize how little I was compared to the others. While they and Carmel were part of some grand, psychotic scheme, I was just needed for extra bulk. “Why don’t you talk to your friends?” I said, after letting the boy throw several punches into the soil. I wasn’t going to comment on his hits being surprisingly strong enough to shake the ground.
Harry didn’t look at me after calming down, resorting to tracing the earth with the toes of his shoe. “Who?”
"The CIA."
I was surprised by his retort, even if it was equally sarcastic. “Oh, you think I’m in the CIA?” He stepped closer to me, his breath in my face. “In case you haven’t noticed, this is bigger than the CIA. Whoever is in charge of this project is way higher up.”
“So, you’re admitting you’re a sleeper.”
“No, that’s not what I—”
“Then what?” I demanded, cutting him off. “Why are your fingerprints quite literally all over this?”
Harry folded his arms, his expression darkening. "You're still talking about this?" He groaned. “Josie.” He planted his hands on my shoulders. “I am not a spy, okay? Yes, my writing being on those documents was weird, but we’re also dealing with animal crackers which turn us into littles.” His lips curved into the slightest of smirks. “I’m pretty sure it would be easy for a group of scientists to use my writing as some kind of red herring. They’re trying to turn us against each other, obviously. And that’s not going to happen.” He squeezed my shoulders and I felt momentary comfort. I was so tired.
I hadn’t slept properly in days in fear of Eleanor coming to smoke us out—and the urge to just sink into the boy’s chest was suddenly overwhelming. Luckily, I had self-control. I took a step back, and he dropped his arms. “That's sobering, yes,” I said. “But I’m still going to try waking you up with those trigger phrases we found.”
When he tried to speak, I shook my head.
“Like it or not, you’re our only way out.”
I had made it clear several times to the two of them that I had no intention to use the trigger phrases we found taped to the back of the door in the bunker, when searching for more intel. But the more I was really thinking about it, if there were sleeper agents capable of taking down a group of forty-year-old tweens, I had no choice but to at least try. Because it was either that, or I gave the littles what they wanted. The boy’s. Whatever they needed, Rowan, Carmel, and Harry were the keys to their plan.
We needed a miracle, and those trigger phrases were our best shot.
Harry, of course, was against this idea.
He did that thing he always did when he scrunched up his nose and curled his lip. It reminded me of a toddler not getting their way. I saw it exclusively when the littles were taking advantage of his piggybacking service. “Josie, I’m not a fucking spy!”
"You could be." I said stiffly. "And until we figure out what is going on with you, I don't trust you. You said it yourself. Your writing was all over the kid's files, so at some point, regardless of you remembering or not, you have been part of this project.”
“So, why did you bring me out here?” He inclined his head. “You don’t trust me and yet you bring me on your little mission to find an exit.”
I shrugged. “I was partly hoping we would be attacked and your natural instincts would kick in.”
“So, I’m your lab-rat?”
“Partially.”
Harry did the scrunchy-nose thing again. “What the fuck, dude?!”
He looked like he was going to argue before deciding against it. Instead, he slipped on his raybans and gestured behind me with a sigh.
"We should probably get going before those little freaks come looking for us and realize we’ve left our safehouse.” I didn’t know how to explain and put into words that to survive we had to try everything—and if there was a slither of a chance that Harry really was some kind of sleeper agent, I was going to take advantage of that. I hadn’t forgotten about Carmel, Callan, and Olive. Rowan too, no matter how screwed up he was. I was counting on getting all of us out. I turned on my heel and started to head back to camp. I didn’t look at him because doing that would make me weak.
“Right. Let’s go.”
There was something going at the camp when we got back. I was startled by an intense blue light illuminating from the lunch cabin, and I had half a mind to turn and run. Then the screams started. Just like Teddy, they sounded both human and not, a horrifying mix of man and machine wailing for death. I found myself paralysed, crouched behind Cassie’s cabin, their phantom screams rattling my skull sending my thoughts into overdrive. “Josie.” I felt warm fingers wrap around my elbow and pull me back. Harry was thankfully there, dragging me away before I could expose us. It was enough to snap me out of it. Enough to drive me into fight or flight.
When we made it back to Allison’s cabin, Rowan was sleeping. He had conked out halfway through a pack of gummy worms. I spent the next few hours going through each trigger phrase written on the yellow sticky note we found taped to the door. I figured if we were going to try and wake Harry up, he would have to be restrained in case he was triggered to hurt us or even himself. “Is this really necessary?”
“Yes.” I said, squinting at the third trigger phrase. The two of us were sitting cross-legged in front of each other. Harry, breathing heavily, and me, trying to make myself calm. Harry pulled gingerly at the jump-rope restraints we had managed to loop around his wrists. I was expecting something out of him, but all I got were his wide eyes staring back at me.
The latest phrase was twisting my brain. It sounded like a kid’s book. I took a deep breath.
“Green Tigers Do Not Live Independently.”
Harry didn’t move, making a deal of blinking rapidly back at me. “No, I mean,” he gestured to his arms pinned behind his back. “Why did you have to make them so tight?"
“Because you’re a spy, dude.” Rowan had woken up, intrigued by my attempts to wake up a possible sleeper. He was pretending to go through the Eleanor Summers footage again, but the boy was clearly invested in what we were doing. Sitting slumped in the spinning chair, he leaned his fist on his chin. There were various things about Rowan I wanted to point out, but I was too scared to. The tips of his fingers were still stained red, and I had no idea if it was new or old. Rowan Atlas used to be the one guy at camp I used to think looked older than he was—and acted older than he was.
Instead of taking part in camp activities, he chose to sit on a branch and read pretentious classics. Yeah. He was one of THOSE guys. The slight stubble on his chin would definitely get him served alcohol, and his intelligence and quick-thinking would easily sway you if you were sceptical. Now he was the complete opposite. Maybe I was imagining things, but he had definitely gotten younger in the face, even if it was just a year or two.
I am not talking about his appearance, however. Rowan’s mentality was drastically different from the guy who held crisis meetings and ordered all of us around like we were his own children. This guy had a certain childish twinkle in his eye when I happened to catch it, a twitch in his lips which was constantly a wide smile like he was constantly seeing butterflies. Before being force-fed animal crackers, the guy had maintained his hair and hygiene no matter what happened. Now, he looked like he’d been dragged through a forest. Literally. There was still grass and leaves caught in his sandy hair, his camp Redwood shirt torn in odd places.
He yawned, curling up on the chair, apparently getting comfy. “No hard feelings, but we gotta keep you under investigation. Like Josie said, your name was all over those shady documents.”
Even his voice was different. I couldn’t call it a squeak, but it was close enough to one.
“I’m not a spy,” Harry grumbled, ducking his head. “I think I would know if I was—what, some kind of government agent?”
“That’s the whole point of them,” Rowan, still with lingering childish traits, winked at him. “They don’t know either.” He raised his hand and mimed the finger guns, protruding them into his temples and pretending to pull the trigger. Adapting a storytelling tone, he lowered his voice to a whisper. Like he was talking to the kids.
“They can live their whole lives without realizing.” I could tell from his tone he was getting excited with the idea of sleeper agents. Maybe it was a kid thing. Rowan sat up straight with wide eyes. “Cruelly brainwashed by a secret organisation at a young age and turned into super soldiers, these guys have no family. No friends.” His gaze flicked to Harry, his lips twitching into a teasing grin. “Only the insatiable urge to kill and follow orders. They don’t have brains to feel or emotions. And that?”
He did a dramatic spin on the chair. I could tell he was revelling in the look of horror on Harry’s face. “That is the most dangerous thing about them. The inability to have free will. Because what happens when they come face to face with people they used to love? People from their old life?”
With both of us enthralled in his speech, the boy smirked. “They kill them. Family members and friends. With one simple order? BAM.” Harry jumped, and I am ashamed to say I did too. Rowan blew his imaginary finger guns. “With one single and yet perfect headshot, it’s allll over. There’s blood EVERYWHERE. There’s brains!” He giggled. “Brains! And it’s like, sooo gross.”
With the way he kept adding to his story, getting progressively more excited and practically vibrating in the chair, the boy was reminding me more and more of my little sister. Which terrified me. Because if this was him back to himself, was this his new normal?
“Rowan, stop.” It took every ounce of my being not to yell at him. “You’re acting like a fucking child.” I was frowning at a sign on the wall warning us to ‘mind our head’. It wasn’t even a low ceiling, and yet that was the fourth time I had seen that sign.
Harry looked mildly horrified. Usually, he was the one who told the ghost stories. I could tell even he was questioning his own identity at that moment, and I paused interrogating him with phrases. “I’m sorry, but who out of us ate our weight in animal crackers?”
“Against my will.” Rowan yawned again, doing another spin on the chair. I had to turn around and shoot him a glare. “That’s the second time you’ve thrown me being turned into a kid in my face. Which is not fair. Did I ask to be stuffed full of poison?"
“Well, you didn’t exactly fight against Eleanor.”
“I was tied up, asshole—and I’m pretty you were in la-la land at that point.”
“I’m allergic to peanut butter, so no,” Harry rolled his eyes. “I snapped out of it when my body reminded me.”
“That sounds like a you problem, dude.”
Harry groaned, tipping his head back. “Holy shit, Rowan. You used to be cool and now you’re like an annoying little brother.”
“Touché.”
“Shut up. Both of you.” I found my voice, grabbing a pen and scribbling out the first line of trigger phrases which were a no-go.
“Rowan, annoyingly, is right.” I said, ignoring the guy’s noise of glee. If he kept spinning around on that chair, I was going to kill him.
The blur of movement at the corner of my eye was driving me mad. Focusing on Harry, I took a break from the trigger phrases for a moment, poking him in the cheek. It was supposed to be light-hearted, but the guy looked offended.
“For the third time, we can’t ignore that at some point you have signed off on all of those files, which means you were part of Spearhead.” I shrugged. “I’m not saying you are, but we have to be smart if we’re going to survive against a group of deranged scientists.”
Rowan chuckled. “What she saiiiiiid.”
"Why aren't we paying attention to the guy who clearly has allegiance to those freaks?” Harry stuck out his tongue at Rowan, which was surprising on multiple levels. Wasn’t he supposed to be the normal one? “Aren't you their favorite counselor?"
"I was literally mind controlled by preservatives, asshole," Rowan shot back. "And I'm not the only one. You and Carmel are on their radar too."
"Yeah, but we’re not the ones playing with eyes.”
"I'm too tired to argue with you." The boy responded in a yawn, cuddling into the chair armrest like a cat. “Also… you’re a noodlehead.”
“Ignore him.” I told Harry. “Just focus on me, alright? You have to look at me.”
“I am!”
“It’s time to make the donuts.” I articulated it perfectly.
Harry surprised me with a laugh. “That one can’t be real.”
“It is. Shush.” I cleared my throat. “The strawberry moon will rise in July.” When nothing happened, I frowned. “Maybe I’m not saying them right.” I peered at the next one, mentally speaking it and then muttering it to myself to get an idea of the tone.
“Or,” Harry shrugged, pulling at his restraints. “I’m just spit-balling here, but maybe I’m NOT a secret government sleeper agent after all?”
“Be mindful of the deep ravine.” This time I practically shouted it in his face, only to get his wide smile in return.
“Josie, this isn’t working.”
“It will.” I was growing increasingly more frustrated. “Just try and listen to them, okay? Don’t push them out.”
I tried one more time, leaning close and scrunching up the sticky note in my hand. Harry’s expression stayed stoic, though from the contortions in his forehead and the twitch in his lips he was trying so hard not to laugh. “It looks like it will rain tonight.”
I was surprised, then, when Rowan jolted in the chair suddenly. He lifted his head, his eyes wide. I was seeing him back to his usual self for the flicker of a second, his expression contorted with fright, lips curling into a scowl. “Do you guys smell that?”
“Smell what?” I sniffed the air, but there was nothing which was out of the ordinary. I had grown used to the combined stink of our body odour.
Rowan wrinkled his nose. He sat up straighter. “That.” He whispered. “It smells like… burning.”
I opened my mouth to ask what he meant before Harry went stiff suddenly. I sensed his entire body seem to brace itself. His eyes hardened. “Untie me.” He said in a croak.
When my shaking hands went to the boy’s restraints, his were balled into fists. I glimpsed muscles bulging through the back of his shirt and forearms. His demeanour reminded me of an animal growing territorial. “Something is… wrong,” he said in a sharp breath. Harry’s frightened eyes found mine. “Wrong.” He said again, blinking rapidly. “Something is...wr–wrong. ” When I pulled the last of the rope from his arms, Rowan shocked me with a piercing cry which sent him tumbling off of the chair, his trembling hands planted over his ears, lips carved into an O.
His eyes were wide with terror, with agony I couldn't understand. Childish terror. Which catapulted him back to his real age.
Before I could hesitate, I was crawling over to him, attempting to snap the boy out of it. But he was inconsolable, his eyes almost unseeing, his body contorting with every shriek. It took me a moment to realize Harry was the same. But instead of a piercing shriek of a scream, he was wailing into his knees, as if to escape something.
His body seemed to jolt left and right, like he was being electrocuted. When I saw glimpses of sharp red pooling between his fingers and down the back of his neck, something sickly crept up my throat. Rowan was somehow worse, his whole face contorting like it was it's own separate being, rivulets of intense red dripping from his nose and mouth, and staining his hands desperately pressed over his ears.
It was a synchronised cry, I realized, after concluding that no matter what I did, I couldn't save them.
It was a sound only they could hear, a high-pitched screech like a dog-whistle which was only affecting them. It was the kids, I thought. Surely. If they could disembowel counselors, I was sure they would have no problem engineering a sound which would only affect certain people.
Stumbling back, I had two choices. I could either try and help them, try and block out this phantom noise slowly killing them-- or I could leave them and find a safer place. With that choice in my mind, I barely noticed the phone begin to ring under Allison's desk.
That same old fashioned trilling rang in my head, and I managed to reach under and grab the receiver, my heart in my throat. "Please." I managed to squeak out, trying to ignore Harry, who was trying to rip out his hair, his eyes rolling into the back of his head. I saw the whites, blood vessels popping one by one.
When he crumpled to the ground, I thought he was dead. But his wails continued into the floor, and I wanted them to stop. I wanted him to die because I couldn’t stand hearing him screaming for help which wasn’t coming. I couldn't help them, and it was killing me. The kids were clearly trying to smoke us out, this time targeting the boy’s. Still though, I had my secret weapon. The Spearhead project.
"There are three of us left," I panted down the phone. "You have to help us. I am at Camp Redwood. You need to get us out of here. Do you hear me? You need to get us out–"
“Attempts to fix the current situation have been unsuccessful, Miss Greenfield," the woman with the British accent's voice came through in a rush of static, cutting me off. Her voice was monotone, and I wondered if she was in fact a programmed bot.
"All efforts for manual activation have failed from the disaster zone. The signal appears to have been sabotaged. I repeat. The E.485 frequency has been sabotaged. Designated models 0115, 0116, and 0118 are now officiated as being faulty and are no longer needed for protocol 9AXC5. Please stand by for standard protocol deactivation. Thank you for your service. Agent Salta. Agent Elsilrac. Agent Lemrac.”
My grip loosened on the phone, and I felt my legs started to give-way. "You're the one doing this to them?”
When Rowan dropped to his knees, blood dripping from his nose, my stomach jumped into my throat. There was no way. I figured it was an attack from the kids, but I was wrong. Instead, this sound, this frequency, was coming from the phone.
I thought back to the video footage. Agent Lemrac interviewing Eleanor Summers. Harry's signature on the paperwork. “Can you… say that again?” I heard myself say in a breath. But the dead ringing tone was already clanging in my skull, a robotic countdown laced within the static. I grabbed the pen I had been writing with, scribbling those names down, my hands shaking.
“Preparing emergency shutdown protocol. Thank you for your service, Agent Salta, Elsilrac, Lemrac.” The voice continued, which was just another stab in the gut. I heard Salta before. I heard Lemrac. But writing them down, I realized what they meant.
Salta.
Elsilrac.
Lemrac.
I was a fucking idiot. No wonder the littles wanted them and Carmel— why they were so important to their plan. Slowly, I could feel myself start to crumble. The phone slipped from my clammy hands, but I could still hear the woman beginning an emergency shut down.
I didn’t feel the impact when my knees hit the ground, but I did start to sense something twisted and sour tickling the back of my nose and throat. By the time I had noticed it, it was already choking the bunker. But somehow, I didn’t care about the stars in my eyes or my own blood being projected onto my hands with every wet sounding cough exploding from my lungs. I could still hear their names, and every time I said each of them, more and more of me shattered.
Atlas.
Carlisle.
Carmel.
“18…”
“17…”
“16…”
“15…”
Laying on my back while my head spun, I was partially aware the boy’s screaming had cut off.
Instead, they were just sitting there, eyes wide and unseeing, the blankest I had ever seen them. There was so much blood running down their faces, and I imagined something rooted inside of them tearing their minds apart from the inside. Letting out another strangled cough, which was definitely biological warfare courtesy of the kids (not enough to kill, but definitely a warning not to fuck with them) my gaze flicked across the bunker, taking everything in. The paperwork we had been going through. The chair Rowan had been spinning around on. The ropes Harry’s arms had been entangled in. I was frowning at the walls, and then the ceiling.
“Please mind your head when you step down the stairs.”
Drinking in the words slowly, my cotton candy thoughts imploding into one blurry mess.
But then I was a little more awake, this time turning my gaze to the wall where the same sign had been taped to the wall. Please mind your head when you step down the stairs. And… there it was again, taped to the desk, and underneath the laptop. Hidden in plain sight. It had been there all along, and yet I only realised when I wasn't thinking about it, when my mind was being suffocated. Something seemed to snap inside of me, and I sat up, driven by pure adrenaline. With one hand pressed over my mouth and nose, I forced myself into a sitting position and dragged myself to Harry, whose head was lolled at an unnatural angle, his eyes closed.
Part of me wanted to smash up the phone, knowing what these bastards had done to their sleeper agents now they were no longer usable. The boy almost resembled a doll. Was this the so-called sleeper which had been planted inside Redwood? Empty eyes, empty everything. He was like a shell with a human face. No better than Eleanor's experiments.
When I grabbed hold of his arms, I had to hold him steady, his body cut from these puppet strings which had held him. “Harry.” I could barely speak, my voice more of a croak. I knew he was awake and aware, but a singeing, almost burning smell was coming from directly inside his head as blood ran from his nostrils in shades of red and pink. Now I knew what the burning was when I pressed my face against his and sucked in a lungful of poisoned air. It was him. He was a defect being set alight from the inside. “You need to look at me, okay?”
When he didn’t, instead crumbling in my arms, I struggled to hold him upright. Twisting my head to Rowan, he seemed in a better state—kind of. At least he was still sitting straight.
My last words were barely audible. “Please mind your head when you step down the—” no sooner had the words left my mouth before the sounds of footsteps coming from above, the unmistakable murmur of giggling getting closer and closer. Harry dropped to the ground like he had been severed from his puppet strings.
I wasn’t aware when I slipped to the floor, whatever had filled my lungs finally taking its toll. Through flickering eyes, I could see our barricade being blown through, the ground rumbling beneath me, throwing me into something warm.
Rowan.
His body was curled up against the wall, haemorrhaging from the ears.
It was only when I was truly taking in the stink curling in the back of my nose and throat as Eleanor Summer’s mechanical grin popped out of nowhere, when I realized I had smelled it before. I had choked on it before. The circle of kids looming above me let out a shrill squeak of, “Found you!” while I found the dark, and beyond that, a memory I thought was a dream.
Firelight flickered in the backs of my eyelids. The blur of orange and shadowy smoke was mesmerising. I stared real hard at the fire like I was told to, at smouldering shades of yellow and orange colliding, thick black smoke billowing into the air while our faces illuminated the circle. I tightened my grip on my beer, swallowing another mouthful. It was cheap shit, but had just enough burn to get me tipsy. I felt good at that moment. Relaxed.
My head was starting to spin, but it was the good spinning, like I was going round and around on a carousel. I wasn't sure why I felt apprehension at the moment.
It was just a game, right? So, why did I want to jump up and go home? Why did I want to squeeze my eyes shut? Milo's words rattled in my skull as I squinted into the fire. "Come forth, those who are no longer with us." Ghosts weren't real, I thought dizzily. They couldn't be.
Not when science and logic existed. However, when the flames began to grow increasingly more erratic, I couldn't resist leaning forward, and... there. Something warm crept its way up my throat.
There was a shadow twisted in the smoke, a very human-like thing stepping directly from the trees, from the hollowed darkness I had been too scared to fully take in-- finding solace in flickering and illuminated sparks spitting from the fire. The others started to murmur to each other as the thing took a step out of the trees. Clea shuffled back with a cry, and Milo and JJ turned twin shades of sickly pale. It was a guy.
Older, by maybe a year. Shaggy reddish hair tied into a loose ponytail. His clothes were a simple leather jacket and jeans, but looking at his face, he was bruised, every part of him exhausted and battered. His eyes, when I caught them, were nothing but twin pools of oblivion glaring back at us.
"Holy fuck." Milo hissed out. “I didn't think that would actually work!" Downing his beer, he whooped. "Alright! Name, age, occupation, and..."
His lips quirked into a grin. "How you died, man!”
The guy inclined his head, his mouth curling into the start of an amused smile. "I'm not a ghost, Jackass."
His British accent was jarring.
"And?" Milo leaned back, crossing his legs. "Play along, bro. Or I call the cops and tell 'em a grown ass man is fucking with some minors."
"But he looks our age," Clea hummed. "And he's kinda cute."
"I don't give a fuck," Milo's eyes were hard. "State your truth, or I get my dad on the line."
The guy rolled his eyes, raising both arms like he was surrendering. "Samuel Joseph Wilder," he surprised me by responding. Now that I looked at him, this guy definitely was not dead. Unless dead people carried a gun latched to their belt, and a cheap iPhone sticking from their jeans pocket. "Nineteen years old." He shrugged. "I guess you could say I'm an ex-student."
He paused, and I caught emotion flicker across his face, his hands balling into fists. "I was killed– no, murdered, by my town."
Milo leaned back, cracking open another beer and taking a sip. Clea leaned closer to him, her eyes wide. “Playing along, huh? I like it. State your truth."
The guy nodded, lowering his arms. His dark eyes flicked to each of us, drinking all of us in. “I just escaped from a secret government facility doubling as a summer camp which has converted half of my town’s kids into mindless super soldiers.”
There was a pause, before Clea burst into nervous giggles. Milo cocked his head. “I said state your truth, not plagiarise The Hunger Games.”
Ignoring Milo, the guy turned his eyes to me. "Josie Greenfield?" He took a step forward before seemingly deciding against it. I didn't move or speak, my heart in my throat. I didn't have to reply. This strange boy continued, his lips curling. "You're going to die tonight, Josie."
At that moment, I realized why I had been feeling nauseous all night. Why my mind had been anticipating something all day, and why, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't brush off his words. Maybe part of me was expecting this.
The stranger's tone was too cold to ignore, the state of him too real to brush off as a joke.
Suddenly, it was just me, him, and fate itself glaring down on us, my life as I knew it exploding into nothing in the charred remains of the dying fire.
His voice echoed in my head, collapsing into white noise, when I noticed how truly inhuman he looked. I fully took him in, illuminated in firelight. "If you don't get the fuck out of this town, you are going to have the same fate as me."

I’m going to go out on a whim and say it’s… not 2018 and I’ve been at Camp Redwood for way longer than I realized?
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2023.06.07 20:59 Ashleyhar0130 Rate this diamond

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