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Script for "History of the entire world I guess" by Bill wurtz

hi, you're on a rock floating in space. pretty cool, huh? some of it's water. fuck it. actually, most of it's water. i can't even get from here to there without buying a boat. it's sad. i'm sad. i miss you. HOW DID THIS HAPPEN? a long time ago... actually, never. and also now. nothing is nowhere. when? never. makes sense, right? like i said, it didn't happen. nothing was never anywhere. that's why it's been everywhere. it's been so "everywhere," you don't need a "where." you don't even need a "when." that's how "every" it gets. forget this. i wanna be something. go somewhere. do something. i want things to change. i want to invent time and space. and i know it's possible because everything is here, and it probably already happened. i just don't know when to start. and that's exactly where it started. big bang— pause woah. i paused it. i think there's a universe now. what's it made of? quarks and stuff. ah, that's a thing! in a place! don't like it? try a new place, at a different Time™. try to stick together, because the world is gonna get bigger and emptier. but it's not empty yet! it's still very full, and about a kjghpillion degrees. about no seconds later great news! the quarks are now happily married in groups of three, called a "proton" and a "neutron." and there's something else flying around that wants to join in, but can't cause it's too HOT. ten minutes later great news! the protons and neutrons are now happily married to each other! some of them even doubled up. about 380,000 years later great news! the electrons have now joined in. congratulations! the world is now... a bunch of gas in space. but it's getting closer together... ten million years later and it's getting closer together... 500 million years later and it's getting closer togeth—star is born it's a star new shit just got made! some stars burn out and die. bigger stars burn out and die with passion! and make some brand new way crazier shit. space dust! which allows for newer and more interesting stars to be made, and then die and explode into even crazier space dust! so now, stars have cool stuff around them, like rocks, ice, and funny clouds, which can make some very interesting things. like this ball of flaming rocks, for example. meteor hits earth holy shit, we just got hit by another ball of flaming rocks. and it kind of... made a mess. which is now the moon weather update: it's raining rocks from outer space. weather update: those rocks might've had water inside of them and now there's hot steam in the sky. weather update: cooler temperatures today and the floor is no longer lava. weather update... it's raining. severe flooding alert, the entire world is now an ocean. volcano alert. that's land! there'slifeintheocean what? something's alive in the ocean oh, cool. like a plant, or an animal? no! a microscopic speck. it lives in the bottom of the ocean and eats chemical soup, which is being served hot and fresh, made from gnarly space ingredients left over from when it was raining rocks or whatever. microscopic speck asexually reproduces oh yeah, and it can do that. reproduces three more times it has secret instructions written inside itself telling it how to build another one of itself. so that's pretty nifty, i would say. tired of living at the bottom of the ocean? now you can eat sunlight! using a revolutionary technique, you can convert sunlight into food. taste the sun! side effect, now there's oxygen everywhere and the sky is blue. then the earth might've been a snowball for a while. maybe even a couple of times. it's a sponge... it's a plant... it's a worm, and some other types of weird strange water bugs and strange fish. it's the Cambrian explosion: "wow, that's animals and stuff" but we're still in the ocean. hey, can we go on land? NO why? the sun is a deadly laser oh okay. not anymore, there's a blanket now the animals can go on land. come on, animals, let's go on land! "nope, can't walk yet." "and there's no food yet, so i don't care." 100 million years later okay, will you learn to walk if there's plants up here? "maybe," said some bugs. and fish. fish gasps for air five million years later okay, so i can go on land, but i have to go back in the water to have babies! idea: learn to use an egg. "i was already doing that" use a stronger egg. put water in it. have a baby, on land, in an egg. water is in the egg. baby, in the egg, in the water, in the egg. works for me. bye bye ocean 50 million years later and now everything's huge. including bugs. wanna see a map of the land? sure. Permian extinction oh, fuck, now everything's dead. just kidding, here are the survivors. keep your eye on this one, because it's about to become 75 million years later the dinosaurs. here's another map of the land. yeah, it broke apart. don't worry about it, it does that all the time. here comes a meteor. meteor strikes and the dinosaurs are gone it's mammal time, here come the mammals. look at those breasts. now they're gonna dominate the world, but one of them just learned how to grab stuff. and walk. no, like, walk like that. and grab stuff at the same time. and bang rocks together to make pointed rocks. "ouch" and set things on fire. "yeouch" and make crazy sounds with their voice: "gneurshk" which can mean different things. that's a human person! and now they're everywhere. almost. ice age! what? you can walk over here? cool. not anymore well i guess we're stuck here now. let's review: there's people on the planet. and they're chasing their food. fuck it. time to plant some grass. look at this. i get to control the food now. now everyone will want to be my friend and live near me. let's all build houses, except mine is bigger because i own the food. this is great! i wonder if anyone else is doing this. tired of using rocks for everything? use metal. it's underground. better farming was just invented in a sweet dank valley right in between these two rivers, and the animals are helping. guess what happens next? more food. and more people, who came to buy the food. now you need people to help make the food and keep track of the sales. and now you need houses for people to live in and people to make the houses and now there's more people and they invent things which makes things better and more people come and there's more farming and more people to make more things for more people and now there's business, money, writing, laws, power, Society coming soon to a dank river valley near you. meanwhile, out in the middle of nowhere, the horse is probably being tamed. why is all my metal so lame and lumpy? tired of using lame, sad metal? introducing: bronze. made from special ingredient tin from the far lands of Tin Land. i dunno, my dealer won't tell me where he gets it. also, guess what? egypt meanwhile, out in the middle of nowhere, they figured out how to put wheels on a horse. now we're getting somewhere. also, china and did i mention indus river valley civilization society count: 5 ... norte chico the middle east is getting more complicated. maybe because it's in the middle of the east. knock knock, er, clop clop. it's the... people with the horses? and they made an empire. and then everyone else copied their horses. greeks! ah look, it must be the greeks! er, a beta version of the greeks. let's check in with the indus river valley civilization: they're gone. guess who's not gone? china. new arrivals from india... maybe it's those horse people i was talking about... or their cousins or something... and they wrote some hymns and mantras and stuff... you could make a religion out of this. there's the bronze age collapse. now the phoenicians can get down to business also, can we switch to a metal that's a little easier to find? thanks. look who came back to israel, it's the twelve tribes of israel. and they believe in God just one though, and he's got like a ten-step program. here's some huge heads. must be the olmecs. the phoenicians make some colonies. the greeks copy their idea and make some colonies. the phoenicians made a colony so big it makes colonies. here comes the assyrian empire. never mind, it's the babyloni— media—it's the Persian Empire: "wow, that's big" enlightenment ah, the buddha was just enlightened. who's the buddha? this guy, who sat under a tree for so long that he figured out how to ignore the fact that we're all dying. you could make a religion out of this. oops, china just broke. but while it was breaking, confucius was figuring out how to have good morals. enlightenment ah, the greeks just had the idea of thinking about stuff. and right over here, alexander just had the idea of conquering the entire persian empire. it's a great idea. he was... great. and now he's dead. hopefully, the rest of the gang will be able to share the empire evenly between them. knock knock, it's chandragupta. he says "get the hell out of here. will you get the hell out of here if i give you 500 elephants? okay, thanks, bye" time to conquer all of india er most of india but what about this part? that's the tamil kings. no one conquers the tamil kings. who are the tamil kings? merchants, probably. and they've got spices! who would like to buy the spices? "me!" said the arabians, swiftly buying it and selling it to the rest of the world. hey, china put itself back together again, with good morals as their main philosophy. actually, they have three main philosophies: confucianism: have good morals taoism: go with the flow legalism: fuck you, obey the law out here, the horse nomads run wild and free, and they would like to ransack your city. nomads ransack china let's check the greekification levels of the greekified kingdoms: greekification overload. bye, said the parthians. bye, said the jews. hi, said the parthians, taking over the entire place. heyyyyy, said the romans, eating the entire mediterranean for breakfast. "thanks for invading our homeland," said the jews, who were starting to get tired of people invading their homeland. "hi, everything's great," said some guy who seems to be getting very popular and is then arrested and killed for being too popular, which actually makes him more popular. you could make a religion out of this. want silk? now you can buy it from china. they just made a brand new road to the world. conquers vietnam or you can get there on water "sick! new trade routes!" said india, accidentally spreading their religion to the entire southeast. hmm, that's a good place for an epic trading kingdom. there goes buddhism, travelling up the silk road. i wonder if it'll reach china before it collapses again. remember the persian empire? yep, said the persians, making a new one. axum is getting so powerful, they would like to build a long stick. has anyone populated madagascar yet? let's do it together. china is whole again... ...then it broke again still can't cross the sahara desert? try camels. "hell yeah! now we've got business," said the ghana empire, selling lots of gold. and slaves. "hi, i'm a member of the roman empire, and i was wondering is loving jesus legal yet?" "no" "actually, okay sure," said constantine, moving the capital way over here to be closer to his main rival. don't worry about rome, it won't fall. it's the golden age of india there's the gupta empire, not chandragupta, just gupta. first name chandra. the first. guess who's in rome? barbarians. what's a barbarian? "non-romans," said the romans, being invaded by non-romans. r.i.p. roman empire. actually just half of it, the other half is just fine, but it's not in rome anymore, so let's give it a new name. the mayans have figured out the stars oh, and here's a huge city, population: everyone. the göktürks have taken over the entire eurasian steppe. great job, göktürks. how's india? broken. how's china? back together. how's those trading kingdoms? bigger, and there's more of them. korea has three kingdoms. japan has a kingdom, it's the sunrise kingdom. intermission deep in the arabian desert, on the top of a mountain, the real god whispers in muhammad's ear. so, he goes down to the cube where everyone worships gods and he tells them their gods are all fake. and everyone got so mad at him that he had to leave town and go to a different town. you could make a religion out of this, and maybe conquer the world as well. the roman empire is long gone, but somehow the pope is still the pope. plus, there's new kingdoms all over europe. i wonder if there's room for moors. here's all the wisdom. in a house. it's the baghdad house of wisdom! just in time for the islamic golden age! "let's bring stuff to the coast and sell it, and become the swahili on the swahili coast," said the swahili on the swahili coast. remember this tiny space you have to go through to get from here to there? someone owns that now. wanna get enlightened in the middle of nowhere? the franks have the biggest kingdom in europe, and the pope is so proud that he invites the king over for christmas. "surprise! you're the new roman emporer!" said the pope, pretending to still be part of the roman empire. then the franks broke their kingdom into what will later be called france and not-france. the northerners, er, just "norse" if you don't have much time, are exploring. they go north, from the north to the northern north. and they find some land— two types of land!— and they name them accordingly. prankd they also invade some other places and get called many names, such as "vikings." there's the rus! the kievan rus! are they vikings? "i don't think so," said the kievan rus. okay, fair enough. the pope is ready to make some more emperors of the roman empire. the holy roman empire! it's actually germany, but don't worry about it. new kingdoms—CRISTIANIZE ALL THE KINGDOMS!! which brand would you like? "mine's better" "mine's better" "mine's better" "time to conquer england," said william. it's a bird! it's a plane! it's the seljuk turks! "aah!" said the byzantine empire, who's getting so small and almost doesn't exist anymore. "we need help!" they need help! so they call the pope. "hey pope, can you help us get rid of the seljuks? maybe take back the holy land on the way? come on, i know you want to take back the holy land." "yes, i do actually want to do that. let's do a crusade." crusade! they did many crusades. some of which almost didn't fail. but at least the italians got some sweet trade deals. goodbye mayans. hello toltecs! goodbye toltecs. hello mississippi! look at those mounds. there's the pueblo. i always wondered how to build a town in a cliff. guess who's here? khmer. where? here! and pagan is there. vietnam unconquered itself, korea just became itself, and japan is so addicted to art that the military might have to take over the government. china just invented bombs, and typing. and the mongols just invaded most of the universe. nice going, genghis! i bet that will last a long time. some of the islamic turks were unaffected by the mongol invasions because they were busy invading india. is it tonga time? i think it's tonga time. i just figured out where the swahili gets all of their gold. look at this chad! it means "lake." there's an empire there! right in the middle of africa! the king of mali is so rich, he's going on tour to let everyone know. "wow, that guy's rich," everyone said. the christians are doing a great job reconquering iberia, which will soon be called spain and not-spain. please remain christian. we will check in later to see if you're still christian when you least expect. whoops, half of europe just died. ming! china's back, yay! hey, khmer. time to share. new kingdoms, here and there. oh, look who controls all of the islands. it's the mahajapit. majahapit. mapajahit. mahapajit. mapajahit. ma-ja-pa-hit? oh, italy's real rich. time for them to care a lot about art and the ancient classics. it's kinda like a rebirth. here's a printer. let's make books! so you think you can conquer the byzantine empire? yep, said the ottoman turks. nice job, ottoman turks. oops, you missed a spot. don't forget to ban europe from the indian spice trade. "what? that's bullshit," said portugal, spiceless. "well i guess we'll have to find another way to india" "wait!" said christopher columbus, probably smoking crack. "if the world is round, let's go this way to india." "nah, don't worry, we already got this," said portugal. so chris goes to spain. "hey spain, wanna hire me to find india by going around back of the world?" "no" "please?" "no" "please?" "wtf" "no" "please?" "...okay" so he sails into the ocean, and discovers... more ocean. and then discovers the indies, and japan! let's draw a line to decide who gets which half of the world. the aztec and the inca empires are off to a great start. i wonder if they know that europe just discovered their continent. the hapsburgs are marrying into so many royal families, they might have to start marrying each other. move over, lithuania, here comes moscow. ivan wants to make russia great again. move over, timurids, maybe go invade india or something. persia just made persia persian again. let's make it the other kind of islam. the one where we thought the first guy should've been the other guy. hey, christians! do you sin? now you can buy your way out of hell! "that's bullshit. this whole thing is bullshit. that's a scam. fuck the church. here's 95 reasons why," said martin luther, in his new book which might have accidentally started the protestant reformation. "you know what would be magnificent?" said suleiman wearing an onion hat. "what if the ottoman empire was... really big?" which it is now. "what if russia was big?" said ivan, trying not to be terrible. portugal had a dream that they controlled the entire indian ocean, including the spice trade. and then that dream was real. and spain realized that this is not india, but they pillaged it anyway. "damn," said england and france. "we gotta start pillaging some stuff." then the dutch revolt, and all the hipsters moved to amsterdam. "damn," said amsterdam. "we gotta start pillaging some stuff." question one: can you get to india from north america? no, but at least there's beaver. question two: steal the spice trade. that's not a question, but the dutch did it anyway. and sugar... guess where all of the sugar is made? in brazil! stolen! in the caribbean! and it's so goddamn profitable, you might forget to not do slavery. the next thing on russia's to-do list is to get bigger. britain and france are having a friendly discussion about who should control the entire world. more specifically, ohio. then it escalates into a seven-year discussion, giving prussia a chance to show austria who's boss. but what about britain and france, did they figure out who's boss? yes they did! it's britain. guess who's broke? also britain! so they start taxing the hell out of america. "fuck you!" says america, declaring their independence and fighting for it, and france helps them win. now france is broke, and britain will have to send their prisoners to a different continent. wait, if france is broke, why do the king and queen still wear such fancy dresses? "let's overthrow the palace and cut all their heads off!" said robespierre, cutting everybody's heads off until someone eventually got mad and cut his head off. you could make a rel— no, don't. haiti is starting to like the idea of a revolution, especially the slaves, who free themselves by killing their masters. "why didn't we think of this before?" wait, who's in charge of france now? "me," said napoleon, trying to take over europe. luckily, they banished him to an island. but he came back! luckily, they banished him to another island. there goes latin america, becoming independent in the latin american wars of independence. britain just figured out how to turn steam into power, so now they can make many different types of machines and factories with machines in them so they can make a lot of products real fast. then they invent some trains. and conquer india and maybe put some trains there. "hey, china!" said britain. "buy stuff from us!" "nah, dude, we already got everything," says china. so britain tried to get them addicted to opium, which worked, actually. but then china made it illegal and dumped it all into the sea. so britain threw a hissy fit and made them open up five cities and give them an island. britain and russia are playing a game where they try to stop the other person from conquering afghanistan. also, the sultan of oman lives in zanzibar now: "that's just where he lives." india just had a revolution, and they would like to govern themselves now. "nope," said britain, governing them even harder than before. incoming telegram: HI I JUST SENT YOU A MESSAGE THRU A WIRE technology is about to go crazy! the united states finally figured out whether slavery is good or bad. it's bad, they decided, and then they continued manifesting their destiny, which is to kill the rest of the natives and take their land and maybe kick out the mexicans too. "i know! let's rape africa!" said europe, scrambling to see who could rape it the fastest. they never got ethiopia... britain and france are still hungry. they never got thailand... the united states ran out of destiny to manifest, so they're looking for more: hawaii! cuba! wait, spain controls cuba. well, blame something on them and go to war! what should we blame on spain? u.s.s. maine sinks "let's blame the maine on spain." so they blame the maine on spain. now we're in business. to celebrate, they kick panama out of panama and make a canal, connecting the two oceans. britain just found oil in the middle east. it makes cars go... china is so tired of being bossed around that they delete their old government and make a new, stronger government, which is accidentally weaker and is controlled by a guy from the previous government. europe hasn't had a war since the last war, so they start world war one. look at those guns! it's gonna be a great war, so great we won't need a second one. after it's over, they blame germany. russia went on strike, and the workers overthrew the government. now, everyone's paycheck is the same. communism in the soviet union... the arabs revolt and britain helps. now the ottoman empire is gone, so we can give the jewish people a place to live. hopefully the arabs won't mind. "let's cut the cake!" said sykes and picot, carving up the remains of the not-so-ottoman-anymore-empire. except turkey! turkey makes a brand new turkey! and then the saudis conquer arabia. it just seemed like the right thing to do. phone rings hello? yes, it's the 1920's calling. let's get to a car and drive to a party and listen to jazz on the radio and go to the movies. the economy is great and it will probably be great forever. just kidding. germany's back, featuring hitler, the angry mustache model, and he's mad at the jews for existing. japan is finally conquering the east, and they're so excited, they rape nanking way too hard. they should probably just deny it. hitler's out of control, so the international community tackles him and tries to explain to him why killing all of the jews is a bad idea. but he kills himself because they could explain it to him. that's world war two! bonus round! pacific showdown united states vs. japan FIGHT!! united states drops two extinction balls on japan FINISH HIM! let's unite all the nations and have some world peace! seems legit. "hi, im gandhi, and if britain doesn't get the hell out of india, i'm going to starve myself in public." britain leaves "wow, that worked?" bonus! now there's pakistan. actually two pakistans, one of them can be bangladesh later. the jews and the arabs finally figured out which one of them should live in the holy land. "me!" they both said at the same time. let's divide up the lands so we're both happy. SIKE! they both get angrier! look out, china! there's a new china in china. what's on the menu? communism! no thanks, said the other china, escaping to an island. i wonder which one is the real china...? there's the korean war. korea versus korea! nobody wins, then its on pause forever. let's meet the sponsors. oh, it's the two global superpowers. they're having a friendly debate over which economic system is good and which one is an evil virus of satan. and they both have atom bombs. FIGHT!! wait, no, that would be the end of the world. let's just keep it cool and spy on each other instead. and make sure we have enough atom bombs. "i'll race you to space." united states plants a flag on the moon now let's make more countries fight themselves. europe is tired of pillaging other continents, and the continents they were pillaging are tired of being pillaged. so here's a new map with new countries. now you can't tell who they're being pillaged by. the united states finally decided whether racism is good or bad. they decided it's bad, and the world agrees. south africa might need another minute to think about it. let's check the world population! woah. okay. technology is better too, that might keep happening. the soviet union decides to relax a little, and accidentally falls apart. europe makes a union, so now they can all use the same money. except britain, because they don't feel like it. let's check the mail... surprise! it's on the computer! whoops, someone just attacked america. i bet they'll remember that. phone call! surprise! it's in your pocket! wanna learn everything? surprise! it's on the computer! now your phone's a computer, which is in your pocket! whoops, the economy just crashed. don't worry, the big banks won't fail, because they're not supposed to. surprise!... flying robots. with bombs. wanna print a brain? some people have no friends. some people have no food. the globe is warming, and the ocean is full of plastic! "let's save the planet!" said everybody, not knowing how. "let's invent a thing inventor," said the thing inventor inventor after being invented by a thing inventor. that's pretty cool. by the way, where the hell are we? thanks for watching history i hope i mentioned everything
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Why Stupid Horse is a criticism of capitalist America and the American Dream

Stupid Horse is the 5th song on the hyper-pop duo 100gecs’ debut album: 1000gecs. 1000gecs was released on May 31st, 2019, and received heavy approval from the underground and PC music scene. Considered very bombastic and loud, 100gecs received critical reviews from many, who didn’t consider it real music. But as of their sophomore album: 100gecs and the Tree of Clues, 100gecs is beginning to receive more widespread attention and acceptance.
Stupid horse is at its base a highly critical analysis of capitalism and American culture. This biting criticism is demonstrated through absurdist lyrics following the assault of a horse jockey by an aggravated horse derby better. This criticism is played through an upbeat mix of Ska and electro-pop.
The song begins with the narrator talking about how they were in attendance of a horse race and bet their money on a horse. This titular “stupid horse” did not place as well as they had anticipated, so they lost their investment. It is implied that the sum of money that the narrator betted on the horse was incredibly high, as stated in a later lyric: “Lost all the money in my bank account (oh no!).”
The duo wastes no time in beginning their criticism of capitalism and American culture. Betting on horse racing has been a beloved American pastime since the establishment of the first horse racing track in Long Island by British colonizers in 1665.
The narrator is immediately quite aggravated by their unfortunate luck, and blames the horse, calling it stupid. This burst of outrage is common in American sports, especially when money is on the line. The narrator is so outraged in fact, that they go onto the track and assault the jockey in an attempt to quote, “get my [their] cash back.”
Take a look at the following lyrics in the first verse of the song:
“Bet my money on a stupid horse, I lost that So I ran out to the track to get my cash back I just gotta leave this place with a big bag So I found the fuckin' jockey and I grabbed that (pick it up!) Pushed him down to the ground and I Punched him in his face (in his face!) Yeah, I stole his phone, that put him in his place (in his place!) Me and the horse, we ran out of the place (the place!) Then we took my Porsche back to my place”
The narrator expresses their initial intent to leave the horse race with a quote, “big bag”. This hope is immediately torn to shreds when the horse they had placed a bet on performed poorly. The narrator physically assaults the jockey not just out of revenge, but seemingly out of spite as well. This is shown in the 8th line: “Yeah I stole his phone, that put him in his place.”
This lyric clearly characterizes the narrator as a borderline maniac, who views the jockey as lesser due to his poor performance. The narrator proceeds to steal not only the jockey’s phone, but also his horse, in an assumed attempt to recoup the narrator’s financial losses.
At the end of the first stanza, there is an interesting metaphor that is introduced. The narrator and the horse return to his home in a Porsche. I will delve into that a little later.
What proceeds after the first verse is the chorus of the song. It is as follows:
“Stupid horse, I just fell out of the Porsche Lost the money in my bank account, oh no Stupid horse, I just fell out of the Porsche Lost the money in my bank account, oh no Stupid horse, I just fell out of the Porsche Lost the money in my bank account, oh no Stupid horse, I just fell out of the Porsche Lost the money in my bank account”
This chorus just further solidifies the narrator’s distaste of the racing horse, as they believe that the horse is responsible for their loss. The chorus also contains the cryptic line: “I just fell out of the Porsche.” This is a callback to the first verse of the song where the narrator apparently gets into their Porsche with the horse, which would be very difficult considering that an average racehorse weighs 1,100 lbs (__ kg) and are quite large in size. The narrator is apparently pushed out of their Porsche, causing them to subsequently insult the horse again, calling it stupid.
This chorus leads me to question the sanity of the narrator, as any sane person would use proper equipment to transport a horse. It is especially strange considering that if anyone knows about the transportation of horses, it should be someone who observes and bets on horse races often.
The apparent insanity of the narrator is the base of 100gecs’ criticism of capitalist and American culture. The narrator is a well-to-do upper class citizen (which is apparent due to their possession of a Porsche), who wants to further their upper class status by betting a large sum of money (presumably their entire life savings) on a horse race. The satirical bite is incredibly evident, as the narrator is an exaggeration of the 1% in America, who can afford to spend their time betting extravagant amounts on horses while the working class continues to labor and many struggle to survive paycheck to paycheck.
The song’s second chorus, this time sung by Dylan Brady wraps up the satirical song in an incredibly satisfying way:
“Stupid horse and a swordfish dancer (Pick it up) Bet my money on a fishnet carousel Go, go, go, go, go so fast now Go, go, go, go, go so fast now Racing horses at the derby Why am I never getting lucky? I never have any money I never win any money”
This verse is largely self explanatory besides the first two lines. At first, the idea of a “swordfish dancer” confused me to no end, but after pairing it with the second line, I was able to piece together two possible conclusions.
My first take of the two lines is that the narrator was conditioned into a life of betting and money at a young age. By making reference to a “fishnet carousel”, he indicates that as a young child, he would bet on the winner of a carousel race. The third and fourth lines sound like the chanting of a child as he encourages his desired animal (a swordfish) to go quickly and win the race. The irony of this statement is that carousels are fixed, spinning on a vertical axis, they have no winners or losers. This absurd betting at an early age further characterizes the narrator as a person with questionable sanity.
My second theory is similar to the first, but instead of the narrator betting on a carousel at an early age, he is an adult with an addiction so severe that he is willing to bet on anything, including a children’s carousel ride. This theory again, paints him to be an unstable person with an addiction to betting. Which is fairly common in the United States.
Either way, the song paints the portrait of a deranged upper class citizen who seeks to up their status at any cost. The American Dream, although encouraging, can lead to many focusing on monetary success over everything else. The narrator is an example of exactly that. They bet their entire savings on a singular horse race with the hopes of making it big, and instead they lose out, sinking all their funds and emptying their bank account.
With this song, 100gecs are trying to illuminate the stupidity and absurdity that come with this type of blind bid for status, while bringing attention to wealth disparity and the United State’s unhealthy obsession with monetary success, as well as the ultimate futility of the American Dream.
I wrote this as a joke because I was very bored, but feel free to dissect and counter argue. I’d love to hear what points you guys have to make.
submitted by Cicularus to 100gecs [link] [comments]

History of the entire world I guess

hi, you're on a rock floating in space. pretty cool, huh? some of it's water. fuck it. actually, most of it's water. i can't even get from here to there without buying a boat. it's sad. i'm sad. i miss you. HOW DID THIS HAPPEN? a long time ago... actually, never. and also now. nothing is nowhere. when? never. makes sense, right? like i said, it didn't happen. nothing was never anywhere. that's why it's been everywhere. it's been so "everywhere," you don't need a "where." you don't even need a "when." that's how "every" it gets. forget this. i wanna be something. go somewhere. do something. i want things to change. i want to invent time and space. and i know it's possible because everything is here, and it probably already happened. i just don't know when to start. and that's exactly where it started. big bang— pause woah. i paused it. i think there's a universe now. what's it made of? quarks and stuff. ah, that's a thing! in a place! don't like it? try a new place, at a different Time™. try to stick together, because the world is gonna get bigger and emptier. but it's not empty yet! it's still very full, and about a kjghpillion degrees. about no seconds later great news! the quarks are now happily married in groups of three, called a "proton" and a "neutron." and there's something else flying around that wants to join in, but can't cause it's too HOT. ten minutes later great news! the protons and neutrons are now happily married to each other! some of them even doubled up. about 380,000 years later great news! the electrons have now joined in. congratulations! the world is now... a bunch of gas in space. but it's getting closer together... ten million years later and it's getting closer together... 500 million years later and it's getting closer togeth—star is born it's a star new shit just got made! some stars burn out and die. bigger stars burn out and die with passion! and make some brand new way crazier shit. space dust! which allows for newer and more interesting stars to be made, and then die and explode into even crazier space dust! so now, stars have cool stuff around them, like rocks, ice, and funny clouds, which can make some very interesting things. like this ball of flaming rocks, for example. meteor hits earth holy shit, we just got hit by another ball of flaming rocks. and it kind of... made a mess. which is now the moon weather update: it's raining rocks from outer space. weather update: those rocks might've had water inside of them and now there's hot steam in the sky. weather update: cooler temperatures today and the floor is no longer lava. weather update... it's raining. severe flooding alert, the entire world is now an ocean. volcano alert. that's land! there'slifeintheocean what? something's alive in the ocean oh, cool. like a plant, or an animal? no! a microscopic speck. it lives in the bottom of the ocean and eats chemical soup, which is being served hot and fresh, made from gnarly space ingredients left over from when it was raining rocks or whatever. microscopic speck asexually reproduces oh yeah, and it can do that. reproduces three more times it has secret instructions written inside itself telling it how to build another one of itself. so that's pretty nifty, i would say. tired of living at the bottom of the ocean? now you can eat sunlight! using a revolutionary technique, you can convert sunlight into food. taste the sun! side effect, now there's oxygen everywhere and the sky is blue. then the earth might've been a snowball for a while. maybe even a couple of times. it's a sponge... it's a plant... it's a worm, and some other types of weird strange water bugs and strange fish. it's the Cambrian explosion: "wow, that's animals and stuff" but we're still in the ocean. hey, can we go on land? NO why? the sun is a deadly laser oh okay. not anymore, there's a blanket now the animals can go on land. come on, animals, let's go on land! "nope, can't walk yet." "and there's no food yet, so i don't care." 100 million years later okay, will you learn to walk if there's plants up here? "maybe," said some bugs. and fish. fish gasps for air five million years later okay, so i can go on land, but i have to go back in the water to have babies! idea: learn to use an egg. "i was already doing that" use a stronger egg. put water in it. have a baby, on land, in an egg. water is in the egg. baby, in the egg, in the water, in the egg. works for me. bye bye ocean 50 million years later and now everything's huge. including bugs. wanna see a map of the land? sure. Permian extinction oh, fuck, now everything's dead. just kidding, here are the survivors. keep your eye on this one, because it's about to become 75 million years later the dinosaurs. here's another map of the land. yeah, it broke apart. don't worry about it, it does that all the time. here comes a meteor. meteor strikes and the dinosaurs are gone it's mammal time, here come the mammals. look at those breasts. now they're gonna dominate the world, but one of them just learned how to grab stuff. and walk. no, like, walk like that. and grab stuff at the same time. and bang rocks together to make pointed rocks. "ouch" and set things on fire. "yeouch" and make crazy sounds with their voice: "gneurshk" which can mean different things. that's a human person! and now they're everywhere. almost. ice age! what? you can walk over here? cool. not anymore well i guess we're stuck here now. let's review: there's people on the planet. and they're chasing their food. fuck it. time to plant some grass. look at this. i get to control the food now. now everyone will want to be my friend and live near me. let's all build houses, except mine is bigger because i own the food. this is great! i wonder if anyone else is doing this. tired of using rocks for everything? use metal. it's underground. better farming was just invented in a sweet dank valley right in between these two rivers, and the animals are helping. guess what happens next? more food. and more people, who came to buy the food. now you need people to help make the food and keep track of the sales. and now you need houses for people to live in and people to make the houses and now there's more people and they invent things which makes things better and more people come and there's more farming and more people to make more things for more people and now there's business, money, writing, laws, power, Society coming soon to a dank river valley near you. meanwhile, out in the middle of nowhere, the horse is probably being tamed. why is all my metal so lame and lumpy? tired of using lame, sad metal? introducing: bronze. made from special ingredient tin from the far lands of Tin Land. i dunno, my dealer won't tell me where he gets it. also, guess what? egypt meanwhile, out in the middle of nowhere, they figured out how to put wheels on a horse. now we're getting somewhere. also, china and did i mention indus river valley civilization society count: 5 ... norte chico the middle east is getting more complicated. maybe because it's in the middle of the east. knock knock, er, clop clop. it's the... people with the horses? and they made an empire. and then everyone else copied their horses. greeks! ah look, it must be the greeks! er, a beta version of the greeks. let's check in with the indus river valley civilization: they're gone. guess who's not gone? china. new arrivals from india... maybe it's those horse people i was talking about... or their cousins or something... and they wrote some hymns and mantras and stuff... you could make a religion out of this. there's the bronze age collapse. now the phoenicians can get down to business also, can we switch to a metal that's a little easier to find? thanks. look who came back to israel, it's the twelve tribes of israel. and they believe in God just one though, and he's got like a ten-step program. here's some huge heads. must be the olmecs. the phoenicians make some colonies. the greeks copy their idea and make some colonies. the phoenicians made a colony so big it makes colonies. here comes the assyrian empire. never mind, it's the babyloni— media—it's the Persian Empire: "wow, that's big" enlightenment ah, the buddha was just enlightened. who's the buddha? this guy, who sat under a tree for so long that he figured out how to ignore the fact that we're all dying. you could make a religion out of this. oops, china just broke. but while it was breaking, confucius was figuring out how to have good morals. enlightenment ah, the greeks just had the idea of thinking about stuff. and right over here, alexander just had the idea of conquering the entire persian empire. it's a great idea. he was... great. and now he's dead. hopefully, the rest of the gang will be able to share the empire evenly between them. knock knock, it's chandragupta. he says "get the hell out of here. will you get the hell out of here if i give you 500 elephants? okay, thanks, bye" time to conquer all of india er most of india but what about this part? that's the tamil kings. no one conquers the tamil kings. who are the tamil kings? merchants, probably. and they've got spices! who would like to buy the spices? "me!" said the arabians, swiftly buying it and selling it to the rest of the world. hey, china put itself back together again, with good morals as their main philosophy. actually, they have three main philosophies: confucianism: have good morals taoism: go with the flow legalism: fuck you, obey the law out here, the horse nomads run wild and free, and they would like to ransack your city. nomads ransack china let's check the greekification levels of the greekified kingdoms: greekification overload. bye, said the parthians. bye, said the jews. hi, said the parthians, taking over the entire place. heyyyyy, said the romans, eating the entire mediterranean for breakfast. "thanks for invading our homeland," said the jews, who were starting to get tired of people invading their homeland. "hi, everything's great," said some guy who seems to be getting very popular and is then arrested and killed for being too popular, which actually makes him more popular. you could make a religion out of this. want silk? now you can buy it from china. they just made a brand new road to the world. conquers vietnam or you can get there on water "sick! new trade routes!" said india, accidentally spreading their religion to the entire southeast. hmm, that's a good place for an epic trading kingdom. there goes buddhism, travelling up the silk road. i wonder if it'll reach china before it collapses again. remember the persian empire? yep, said the persians, making a new one. axum is getting so powerful, they would like to build a long stick. has anyone populated madagascar yet? let's do it together. china is whole again... ...then it broke again still can't cross the sahara desert? try camels. "hell yeah! now we've got business," said the ghana empire, selling lots of gold. and slaves. "hi, i'm a member of the roman empire, and i was wondering is loving jesus legal yet?" "no" "actually, okay sure," said constantine, moving the capital way over here to be closer to his main rival. don't worry about rome, it won't fall. it's the golden age of india there's the gupta empire, not chandragupta, just gupta. first name chandra. the first. guess who's in rome? barbarians. what's a barbarian? "non-romans," said the romans, being invaded by non-romans. r.i.p. roman empire. actually just half of it, the other half is just fine, but it's not in rome anymore, so let's give it a new name. the mayans have figured out the stars oh, and here's a huge city, population: everyone. the göktürks have taken over the entire eurasian steppe. great job, göktürks. how's india? broken. how's china? back together. how's those trading kingdoms? bigger, and there's more of them. korea has three kingdoms. japan has a kingdom, it's the sunrise kingdom. intermission deep in the arabian desert, on the top of a mountain, the real god whispers in muhammad's ear. so, he goes down to the cube where everyone worships gods and he tells them their gods are all fake. and everyone got so mad at him that he had to leave town and go to a different town. you could make a religion out of this, and maybe conquer the world as well. the roman empire is long gone, but somehow the pope is still the pope. plus, there's new kingdoms all over europe. i wonder if there's room for moors. here's all the wisdom. in a house. it's the baghdad house of wisdom! just in time for the islamic golden age! "let's bring stuff to the coast and sell it, and become the swahili on the swahili coast," said the swahili on the swahili coast. remember this tiny space you have to go through to get from here to there? someone owns that now. wanna get enlightened in the middle of nowhere? the franks have the biggest kingdom in europe, and the pope is so proud that he invites the king over for christmas. "surprise! you're the new roman emporer!" said the pope, pretending to still be part of the roman empire. then the franks broke their kingdom into what will later be called france and not-france. the northerners, er, just "norse" if you don't have much time, are exploring. they go north, from the north to the northern north. and they find some land— two types of land!— and they name them accordingly. prankd they also invade some other places and get called many names, such as "vikings." there's the rus! the kievan rus! are they vikings? "i don't think so," said the kievan rus. okay, fair enough. the pope is ready to make some more emperors of the roman empire. the holy roman empire! it's actually germany, but don't worry about it. new kingdoms—CRISTIANIZE ALL THE KINGDOMS!! which brand would you like? "mine's better" "mine's better" "mine's better" "time to conquer england," said william. it's a bird! it's a plane! it's the seljuk turks! "aah!" said the byzantine empire, who's getting so small and almost doesn't exist anymore. "we need help!" they need help! so they call the pope. "hey pope, can you help us get rid of the seljuks? maybe take back the holy land on the way? come on, i know you want to take back the holy land." "yes, i do actually want to do that. let's do a crusade." crusade! they did many crusades. some of which almost didn't fail. but at least the italians got some sweet trade deals. goodbye mayans. hello toltecs! goodbye toltecs. hello mississippi! look at those mounds. there's the pueblo. i always wondered how to build a town in a cliff. guess who's here? khmer. where? here! and pagan is there. vietnam unconquered itself, korea just became itself, and japan is so addicted to art that the military might have to take over the government. china just invented bombs, and typing. and the mongols just invaded most of the universe. nice going, genghis! i bet that will last a long time. some of the islamic turks were unaffected by the mongol invasions because they were busy invading india. is it tonga time? i think it's tonga time. i just figured out where the swahili gets all of their gold. look at this chad! it means "lake." there's an empire there! right in the middle of africa! the king of mali is so rich, he's going on tour to let everyone know. "wow, that guy's rich," everyone said. the christians are doing a great job reconquering iberia, which will soon be called spain and not-spain. please remain christian. we will check in later to see if you're still christian when you least expect. whoops, half of europe just died. ming! china's back, yay! hey, khmer. time to share. new kingdoms, here and there. oh, look who controls all of the islands. it's the mahajapit. majahapit. mapajahit. mahapajit. mapajahit. ma-ja-pa-hit? oh, italy's real rich. time for them to care a lot about art and the ancient classics. it's kinda like a rebirth. here's a printer. let's make books! so you think you can conquer the byzantine empire? yep, said the ottoman turks. nice job, ottoman turks. oops, you missed a spot. don't forget to ban europe from the indian spice trade. "what? that's bullshit," said portugal, spiceless. "well i guess we'll have to find another way to india" "wait!" said christopher columbus, probably smoking crack. "if the world is round, let's go this way to india." "nah, don't worry, we already got this," said portugal. so chris goes to spain. "hey spain, wanna hire me to find india by going around back of the world?" "no" "please?" "no" "please?" "wtf" "no" "please?" "...okay" so he sails into the ocean, and discovers... more ocean. and then discovers the indies, and japan! let's draw a line to decide who gets which half of the world. the aztec and the inca empires are off to a great start. i wonder if they know that europe just discovered their continent. the hapsburgs are marrying into so many royal families, they might have to start marrying each other. move over, lithuania, here comes moscow. ivan wants to make russia great again. move over, timurids, maybe go invade india or something. persia just made persia persian again. let's make it the other kind of islam. the one where we thought the first guy should've been the other guy. hey, christians! do you sin? now you can buy your way out of hell! "that's bullshit. this whole thing is bullshit. that's a scam. fuck the church. here's 95 reasons why," said martin luther, in his new book which might have accidentally started the protestant reformation. "you know what would be magnificent?" said suleiman wearing an onion hat. "what if the ottoman empire was... really big?" which it is now. "what if russia was big?" said ivan, trying not to be terrible. portugal had a dream that they controlled the entire indian ocean, including the spice trade. and then that dream was real. and spain realized that this is not india, but they pillaged it anyway. "damn," said england and france. "we gotta start pillaging some stuff." then the dutch revolt, and all the hipsters moved to amsterdam. "damn," said amsterdam. "we gotta start pillaging some stuff." question one: can you get to india from north america? no, but at least there's beaver. question two: steal the spice trade. that's not a question, but the dutch did it anyway. and sugar... guess where all of the sugar is made? in brazil! stolen! in the caribbean! and it's so goddamn profitable, you might forget to not do slavery. the next thing on russia's to-do list is to get bigger. britain and france are having a friendly discussion about who should control the entire world. more specifically, ohio. then it escalates into a seven-year discussion, giving prussia a chance to show austria who's boss. but what about britain and france, did they figure out who's boss? yes they did! it's britain. guess who's broke? also britain! so they start taxing the hell out of america. "fuck you!" says america, declaring their independence and fighting for it, and france helps them win. now france is broke, and britain will have to send their prisoners to a different continent. wait, if france is broke, why do the king and queen still wear such fancy dresses? "let's overthrow the palace and cut all their heads off!" said robespierre, cutting everybody's heads off until someone eventually got mad and cut his head off. you could make a rel— no, don't. haiti is starting to like the idea of a revolution, especially the slaves, who free themselves by killing their masters. "why didn't we think of this before?" wait, who's in charge of france now? "me," said napoleon, trying to take over europe. luckily, they banished him to an island. but he came back! luckily, they banished him to another island. there goes latin america, becoming independent in the latin american wars of independence. britain just figured out how to turn steam into power, so now they can make many different types of machines and factories with machines in them so they can make a lot of products real fast. then they invent some trains. and conquer india and maybe put some trains there. "hey, china!" said britain. "buy stuff from us!" "nah, dude, we already got everything," says china. so britain tried to get them addicted to opium, which worked, actually. but then china made it illegal and dumped it all into the sea. so britain threw a hissy fit and made them open up five cities and give them an island. britain and russia are playing a game where they try to stop the other person from conquering afghanistan. also, the sultan of oman lives in zanzibar now: "that's just where he lives." india just had a revolution, and they would like to govern themselves now. "nope," said britain, governing them even harder than before. incoming telegram: HI I JUST SENT YOU A MESSAGE THRU A WIRE technology is about to go crazy! the united states finally figured out whether slavery is good or bad. it's bad, they decided, and then they continued manifesting their destiny, which is to kill the rest of the natives and take their land and maybe kick out the mexicans too. "i know! let's rape africa!" said europe, scrambling to see who could rape it the fastest. they never got ethiopia... britain and france are still hungry. they never got thailand... the united states ran out of destiny to manifest, so they're looking for more: hawaii! cuba! wait, spain controls cuba. well, blame something on them and go to war! what should we blame on spain? u.s.s. maine sinks "let's blame the maine on spain." so they blame the maine on spain. now we're in business. to celebrate, they kick panama out of panama and make a canal, connecting the two oceans. britain just found oil in the middle east. it makes cars go... china is so tired of being bossed around that they delete their old government and make a new, stronger government, which is accidentally weaker and is controlled by a guy from the previous government. europe hasn't had a war since the last war, so they start world war one. look at those guns! it's gonna be a great war, so great we won't need a second one. after it's over, they blame germany. russia went on strike, and the workers overthrew the government. now, everyone's paycheck is the same. communism in the soviet union... the arabs revolt and britain helps. now the ottoman empire is gone, so we can give the jewish people a place to live. hopefully the arabs won't mind. "let's cut the cake!" said sykes and picot, carving up the remains of the not-so-ottoman-anymore-empire. except turkey! turkey makes a brand new turkey! and then the saudis conquer arabia. it just seemed like the right thing to do. phone rings hello? yes, it's the 1920's calling. let's get to a car and drive to a party and listen to jazz on the radio and go to the movies. the economy is great and it will probably be great forever. just kidding. germany's back, featuring hitler, the angry mustache model, and he's mad at the jews for existing. japan is finally conquering the east, and they're so excited, they rape nanking way too hard. they should probably just deny it. hitler's out of control, so the international community tackles him and tries to explain to him why killing all of the jews is a bad idea. but he kills himself because they could explain it to him. that's world war two! bonus round! pacific showdown united states vs. japan FIGHT!! united states drops two extinction balls on japan FINISH HIM! let's unite all the nations and have some world peace! seems legit. "hi, im gandhi, and if britain doesn't get the hell out of india, i'm going to starve myself in public." britain leaves "wow, that worked?" bonus! now there's pakistan. actually two pakistans, one of them can be bangladesh later. the jews and the arabs finally figured out which one of them should live in the holy land. "me!" they both said at the same time. let's divide up the lands so we're both happy. SIKE! they both get angrier! look out, china! there's a new china in china. what's on the menu? communism! no thanks, said the other china, escaping to an island. i wonder which one is the real china...? there's the korean war. korea versus korea! nobody wins, then its on pause forever. let's meet the sponsors. oh, it's the two global superpowers. they're having a friendly debate over which economic system is good and which one is an evil virus of satan. and they both have atom bombs. FIGHT!! wait, no, that would be the end of the world. let's just keep it cool and spy on each other instead. and make sure we have enough atom bombs. "i'll race you to space." united states plants a flag on the moon now let's make more countries fight themselves. europe is tired of pillaging other continents, and the continents they were pillaging are tired of being pillaged. so here's a new map with new countries. now you can't tell who they're being pillaged by. the united states finally decided whether racism is good or bad. they decided it's bad, and the world agrees. south africa might need another minute to think about it. let's check the world population! woah. okay. technology is better too, that might keep happening. the soviet union decides to relax a little, and accidentally falls apart. europe makes a union, so now they can all use the same money. except britain, because they don't feel like it. let's check the mail... surprise! it's on the computer! whoops, someone just attacked america. i bet they'll remember that. phone call! surprise! it's in your pocket! wanna learn everything? surprise! it's on the computer! now your phone's a computer, which is in your pocket! whoops, the economy just crashed. don't worry, the big banks won't fail, because they're not supposed to. surprise!... flying robots. with bombs. wanna print a brain? some people have no friends. some people have no food. the globe is warming, and the ocean is full of plastic! "let's save the planet!" said everybody, not knowing how. "let's invent a thing inventor," said the thing inventor inventor after being invented by a thing inventor. that's pretty cool. by the way, where the hell are we? thanks for watching history i hope i mentioned everything
submitted by TruLiterature to DecreasinglyVerbose [link] [comments]

Welcome to Gettysburg (Day One)

Day Two Here
Day Three Here
Gettysburg is by far my favorite battle of all time.
First, it is an all-American battle in an all-American war, and myself being an old school nationalist it carries significance that other battles simply don’t; I may find Austerlitz or Stalingrad nifty, but nobody there was my people.
More, it was an extraordinarily clean fight. At any point, a soldier on either side could hurl down their rifle and grab some sky and be reasonably assured of having their surrender accepted without reservation, and for that matter their captor could rely on their new POWs to trudge back to the rear under light guard in good faith. Even though much of the fighting took place in an urban environment with embedded civilians, only one civilian died in the fighting. Let me tell you, the more military history you read up on, the clearer it is that massacring civilians before, during, and after a rough fight is par for the course. One might even say that butchering unarmed men, women and children of the enemy tribe is the de facto military objective more than half the time; it might be some weird, half instinctual, proto-game theory going on: “We told them to surrender or else. They didn’t surrender, we won anyway, and now there’s gotta be an ‘or else’ to persuade the next batch of holdouts that we mean business.” In the long run, butchering the first village usually made it morelikely the next three villages would get the message and surrender without a fight, saving the invaders men, materiel, and time. Or perhaps it’s that killing civilians has always been pure bloody-mindedness. But not at Gettysburg. Gettysburg is where the American platonic ideal of soldiers fighting soldiers and leaving the civilians be actually happened.
Another aspect to the battle that fascinates me is how utterly unplanned it was. Neither army had intended to fight there, and between the scale of the brawl, the rapidity of developments, the intransigence of their subordinates, and the communications lag, neither the Confederate general Lee nor the Union general Meade had a grip on the situation at all until the second day of the battle, and neither could enact their ideal plans until the third day. It was something of a clusterfuck for both sides, and the course of the battle depended on the initiative and guts of small unit commanders with little idea of what the big picture was.
Gettysburg tends to be remembered as the turning point in the war, when it stopped being a gallant passage at arms between roughly equal powers and started being a slow, painful inevitable grind towards Union victory. This is not exactly accurate; only with years of hindsight could anybody construct a narrative that framed this fight as the turning point, for at the time Gettysburg was seen as just another grisly slaughter yard in a long series of them. Still, between this fight and the conquest of Vicksburg out west, this does appear in hindsight to be the high watermark in terms of Confederate progress towards successful seccession. Certainly it was the last time any Confederate army went on the strategic offensive. For diehard secessionists (both during the war and in the years after), this was the last hurrah before the war started being truly hopeless.
It is also, I should mention, a place of spiritual significance for me. Myself being secular humanist with a vaccination against Protestantism from my younger days, I don’t have much in the way of codified religion. But when I was a youngin’ visiting relatives out east, I got to visit the battlefield. I found myself standing in front of a monument on the field on the north end of Herbst Wood (where the right flank of Iron Brigade stood and charged on the first day of the battle). It described how a Michigan regiment of about a thousand men stood on that spot and suffered two thirds casualties over the course of the day. I read the details on the monument, and stared up at the mustachioed rifleman staring defiantly to the west.
Looking left and right, I saw more monuments every fifty yards or so in a straightish line, spreading out to mark where a human line had once stood and bled. And I turned my back on the monuments to face away, and behold, I saw an opposing line of Confederate monuments stretched out horizon to horizon about a hundred yards away. Two lines, violently opposed but unmoving; courage and horror frozen into place forever. And the world there seemed very big, and very grand, and I felt very small and unworthy. The air was at once colder and hotter than any air I’d ever felt. The wind cut through my clothing and reminded me that flesh was mortal but spirit was eternal. This was holy ground, soil consecrated by blood. Shi’ite Muslims have Karbala. Catholics have the Road to Calvary. Australian aboriginals have Uluru. I have Gettysburg.
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BACKGROUND
A brief note- I will be including maps periodically to show the progression of the fighting. These maps must be taken with a grain or three of salt. They are intended to show relations between the armies and the terrain, not to mark the exact positions or dispositions of the units, nor to show an exact proportion of numbers involved. This is because I am not an expert mapmaker, and I thank you in advance for your understanding. First, a map of the northern part of the battlefield. Note how many roads lead there, and note the high ground of Cemetery Hill and Culp's Hill to the south of the town.
The Battle of Gettysburg happened because Lee needed to go on the offensive, and Lee needed to go on the offensive because of the big picture. I shall cover the broad outline just so the significance doesn’t pass anybody by.
The Confederacy in the Spring of 1863 was in a terrible dilemma. The leadership had two urgent problems, either one of which could (if unaddressed) destroy their enterprise, and to make things worse they didn’t have the resources to solve either of them alone without a miracle.
One, the Union was fixing to shove yet another army down Richmond’s throat. Two years of failed invasions into Virginia had been brutal to both sides, but the North had immense reserves of cash, food, industrial output, and manpower with which to replenish themselves, and the South simply didn’t. The Army of Northern Virginia on which every invasion thus far had broken was underarmed, underfed, and undermanned, and if these issues were not fixed then they’d be seeing Union soldiers in the Confederate capitol before Autumn. There had already been a push that year, which Lee had staved off at Chancellorsville. There was plenty of time left before winter for a second attack.
And two, Vicksburg, the railway hub that sat on the Mississippi River, was under dire threat. The Union had already grabbed New Orleans at the south end and pushed north up the river, and had been pushing south down the river since day one of the war, but Vicksburg prevented the whole river from falling in to Union hands. Vicksburg alone let the South shift resources and information from its Western half to its Eastern half. Losing it could be a death blow. The garrison of Vicksburg was also underarmed, underfed, and undermanned.
The fresh crops taken off the farm and the fresh host of new recruits also taken off the farm were middling at best. Even throwing all the resources they had at either problem and letting the other develop as it would might mean losing on both fronts. Splitting the resources in half to prop up both didn’t seem promising either. Lee, being something of a strategist, developed a third option. There was no point (he reasoned) in trying to prop up Vicksburg at this point- it would take weeks to shift reinforcements that far west, and by then it would be midsummer. If the siege lasted that long, either the garrison would fold or disease would rip through the Yankee army and drive it back home, as it had the last two years running. In either scenario, further support would affect nothing. Therefore, he proposed a bold plan- don’t sit around waiting to get hit in the face. Invade north. Take the fight onto their turf.
The more the Confederate leadership considered it, the better it sounded. Northern land hadn’t been ravaged like Virginia had- it would be easy to live off of the enemy’s food for once, thus lessening the headache of their constant supply problems. It was also an election year, and the anti-war Democrats were raging at the ocean of blood and gold being wasted on bringing States back into the fold who very clearly wanted to go their own way. One good, solid victory on Northern soil could tip the balance, drive home the point that that war was unwinnable. Get the Black Republican warmonger Lincoln kicked out of the White House, get a reasonable Democrat in, and next year they just might get a negotiated peace that would lead in time to true and recognized independence.
To which end-
Lee snaked his newly reinforced army of about 75,000 men up through the Shenandoah Valley, using the mountain range to mask his movements instead of using to well-worn direct route that the Union was camped on. He would end up north of the bulk of the Army of the Potomac, simultaneously threatening Washington D.C., Pittsburgh, Baltimore, and Philadelphia, which for a guy trying to score a symbolic victory to discourage the enemy voters put him in a pretty nice spot.
Lincoln freaked out, told Hooker and his Army of the Potomac to go out and beat Lee, to utterly destroy his army, and also not leave any weak point undefended, which are just the kind of orders one enjoys receiving. Hooker, having a bit of an ego and a poor history of getting his ass kicked by Lee, got into a feud with Lincoln’s advisors and impulsively offered his resignation as Commander of the Army of the Potomac following some stupid spat with the bean counters back in Washington. Lincoln called his bluff and fired him three days before the battle, putting General Meade in charge of the whole damn army with almost no prep time.
I should cut the narrative here to cast moral aspersions right quick. The Union were the good guys, and the Confederates were the villains. That said, the North made for really terrible heroes, and the South had more than its fair share of virtues. This was not a grand crusade of freedom-loving Yankees tearing down the moral abomination of human bondage. This was a brutal, no holds barred death struggle between the efficient new urban Industrial Revolution and the rural Cavalier latifundias. Only a smallish segment of New England Puritans and bleeding heart Quakers hated slavery on moral grounds- the rest of the North either hated it on financial grounds, didn’t give a fuck one way or another, or were actively supporting racial slavery. And on the flip side, most Southerners who fought in the war perceived quite accurately that outsiders were coming into their world to demand submission, and had decided to give these invaders the William Wallace treatment. This is a normal and admirable response that every healthy society should have in its toolbox, and in my not-even-slightly humble opinion it is a damn shame that so many people endured so much agony in support of so un-American a cause.
For you see, when Lee’s army reached Pennsylvania, they kidnapped every black person they could find, free or not, and sent them all south in chains. There was no attempt to ascertain their status by some legal due process, no splitting of hairs. The bare skeleton of Confederate ideology, the great Truth that would have snuffed out by continued political loyalty to the Union, had been that all men were not created equal. To be more precise, men had white skin, and anyone with black skin was not a man and did not have the rights of man. As such, anyone with black skin was to be sold into slavery and threatened with torture and death if they refused to labor in the cotton fields. The army that invaded the North was, in practice, the biggest slave-hunting gang that had ever set foot on American soil.
The side wearing grey were staunch defenders of a country based on the Ideal of Ethnic Supremacy, and the side wearing blue were fighting for a country based on the Ideal of Equality. There were a million nagging features of material reality in the South and the North that challenged both of these Ideals, but there were no Ideals to challenge these Ideals, save only for each other. We know that this is true, because as the war shifted away from a Federal attempt to rein in wayward states to an all out assault on the institution of slavery, more and more Northerners balked at the idea of dying to set niggers free; men who had fought for years to bring the rebels into the fold again threw down their rifles and went home in disgust after they heard of the Emancipation Proclamation. And as it became clearer that poor whites who never owned slaves were expected to die for plantation owners’ right to stay rich, fewer and fewer Southerners were willing to jump into the meat grinder feet first; many of them deserted to go home and form Unionist bushwhacker gangs instead. Speaking of the draft, a higher percentage of southerners dodged the Confederate draft than in Vietnam, yet Vietnam is remembered as a deeply unpopular war while the Lost Cause has painted the South as a unified bloc striving as one against the Yankee oppressor.
Also, the Confederacy had a draft imposed upon the states by its federal government. So, yeah, State's Rights. Tell me how that worked out.
To reiterate. Both sides are not the same. We are rooting for the Union. Slavery. Etc.
Pushing on-
The two armies surged northward, on parallel tracks with Lee on the west side of the Appalachians and Meade on the east side. Being critically low on recon drones and spy satellites, the only ways to find the enemy army was to send guys out on horseback to physically look at them before riding back, and to talk to locals whether they’d seen anyone wearing the other team’s uniform recently. Clouds of skirmishers, cavalrymen, and small detachments of infantrymen from either side scattered themselves in all directions, straining to catch a glimpse of the other army. The first side to locate the enemy, amass sufficient force, and maneuver against them would probably win, without regard for right or wrong.
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JULY 1st, 1863
Early Morning
General John Buford had a 2,500 strong brigade of cavalrymen patrolling southern Pennsylvania, being one of dozens of detachments sent out to find the enemy army. Using human intelligence from locals in Gettysburg, he learned that there was a column of rebel infantry marching down the Chambersburg Pike.
And indeed there was. Advance scouts from Buford’s brigade made visual contact with a column marching south towards Gettysburg. The ball was now rolling.
The story goes that the Confederates were looking for new shoes and heard that there was a stockpile in Gettysburg. As far as I can tell, this is a baseless legend- inspired by the true fact that the rebel army didn’t have enough shoes, but baseless nonetheless. The three Confederate commanders marching towards Gettysburg (Archer and Davis with a brigade apiece and Heth as division commander coordinating them), were simply doing what their counterpart was doing- reconnaissance in force, hoping to develop a lead for the rest of the army to follow. 7,000 infantry under Archer and Davis were about to pick a fight with 2,500 cavalrymen under Buford. The currents of this morning fight would provide the grooves for the next three days to follow.
Buford’s men fought as dragoons; the horse let you scoot around to where you need to go, but you got off it and fought on foot. They Union cavalry broke into tiny little four man teams to bloody the approaching Confederates’ noses. The terrain was a bushwhacker’s paradise- plenty of rocks and trees to hide behind, and plenty of low, rolling hills to speed off behind to break line of sight. One man would hold the horses while the other three crouch-ran forward under cover to pop off rounds into the enemy column from the sides of the road. When the enemy infantry redeployed from a fast moving but harmless column formation into a slow moving but dangerous line, the three shooters would run back to their buddy to mount up and retreat to a new position.
The cavalrymen were outnumbered nearly three to one, and their carbines had less range and power than the rebel rifles; then again, the terrain was working for them and their breechloading carbines could shoot much faster than the enemy’s muzzleloading long rifles. It was very close to being an fair fight, as long as the cavalry could stay mobile and keep their distance. Buford and Heth both had unclear, contradictory orders- “Push forward aggressively to locate the enemy, but do not enter into a general engagement until we know what we’re up against.” It was an order that must have made sense in the tent when Lee and Meade sent their own versions off. You wouldn’t want to force a battle until you knew the enemy’s location and disposition and the terrain you were going to be standing on, any more than you’d want bet it all on a poker hand before looking at your cards. But to the guys on the front line, it meant “charge forward, but do not charge forward. Attack, but do not engage. Show some initiative, but don’t pick a real fight.” Heth decided they were up against a skeleton crew of skirmishers, and he had orders to check out Gettysburg. He send riders back with a quick report and a request for reinforcements. Buford decided that if the whole damn rebel army was heading his way, he needed to delay their advance for as many hours as he could to give the rest of the Union army time to get to Gettysburg- the high ground south of the town looked like ideal terrain to fight from and he wanted his buddies to get there before the rebels. He too sent riders back with calls for help.
And meanwhile, the murderous, hazardous stalking of the rebel column continued as it trudged towards Gettysburg.
Meanwhile, in the Rear with the Gear
Imagine running a marathon- 26 miles and a bit from start to finish. That’s how spread out a Civil War army is, from vanguard to rear guard. You can’t really concentrate 75,000-100,000 people together that closely. Disease starts killing people off really fast, feeding everyone is a headache, and if you have to march out, the lead element will march all day before stopping for the night, while the rear element hasn’t even left camp yet. It’s unwieldy. So they all spread out to grab some real estate and forage easier and not choke on each others’ dust and crap.
The riders from the Chambersburg Pike were spreading the word through the marathon length of the armies. Units were halting, turning around. Captains and colonels and generals were consulting maps to figure out what roads to take to get south or north to Gettysburg from where they were now. Regiments were putting their heads to together to figure out whose company oughtta go in what order.
The movements were slow and and ungainly and awkward, but they were starting up.
Mid Morning to Noon
The rolling hills on either side of the Chambersburg Pike stopped at McPherson’s Ridge, a grand place to make a stand- plenty of cover, steep incline. In any case, there wasn’t much further to retreat to. Archer and David pushed the cavalrymen, Archer on the south side of the road and Davis on the north. Thoroughly annoyed infantrymen backed up on the Pike behind them, eager to get at the enemy but without frontage to occupy.
Buford dug in on McPherson’s Ridge, and the full force of Heth’s division slammed into him. Denied their mobility by the necessity of holding territory, the fair fight turned into a meat grinder for the dismounted cavalrymen. When Confederate artillery set up on Herr’s Ridge, it turned into a bloodbath.
Buford, at last, got in contact with somebody who outranked him. General John Reynolds, second in command of the whole Union army, rode ahead of his division to get eyes on the situation.
The two struck a deal in the middle of a firefight. Buford promised to hold to the last man, and Reynolds promised to reinforce him. It was an exercise in trust; if Buford’s men held firm and Reynolds let them down, they’d be swamped and slaughtered to a man, and if Buford’s detachment broke and scattered, Reynolds’ reinforcements would march directly into a line of hills held by an entrenched enemy force of equal size. Failure on either side would be fatal. Reynolds rode south again, leaving Buford and his dwindling cavalrymen to fend off 10% of the Confederate army all alone.
Meanwhile, Buford’s thin line was cracking. Outnumbered, outgunned, and unable to advance or retreat... That which was inevitable to start with was happening now. Davis’ brigade was pressing against Oak Ridge on the Union right, and Archer's was taking Herbst Woods tree by tree. Buford’s men were giving ground they couldn’t afford to lose. Confederate artillery was blasting giant holes in the ranks of the defenders.
That’s when the relief came- two fresh brigades of infantry coming up the Emmitsburg road, under generals Cutler and Meredith. Cutler got there first, taking up positions on Oak Ridge and straddling either side of the Pike with cannons. Their massive volleys disrupted Confederate momentum and silenced some of the rebels’ big guns as everyone scrambled for cover. Grateful and exhausted cavalrymen sidled off to the flanks to safety. Meredith’s brigade is still lagging behind- that’s the problem with columns, only the guys in front can do anything.
If Buford and Reynolds expected everything to be right in the world once reinforcements arrived, they were very much mistaken. Those men out there attacking up Oak Ridge were some of the finest infantrymen in the world- dedicated, disciplined, contemptuous of death. They did not stop being efficient killers just because they now fought peers instead of the hornet-like cavalry skirmishers. Cutler’s brigade was facing a small tidal wave of battle-maddened Southern veterans, and had no time to dig in and situate themselves before the moment of impact. Davis’ men ripped into them like a pack of starving wolves. Cutler’s men fell back to safety on the top of Oak Ridge. In pieces.
Meanwhile, Meredith’s brigade was finally in position to retake Herbst Woods on the south side of the road.
Now, Meredith’s brigade were the absolute elite of the Union army. They were the grizzled veterans, the old crew, the best drilled, the most experienced, the hardest of the hard. They were nicknamed the Iron Brigade, and the Black Hat Brigade, because they were authorized to wear dashing black foraging caps to signify their status as the best of the best. With their comrades north of the road falling back, it was imperative that the Black Hat Brigade protect their left flank. To which end, Reynolds frantically snapped orders for them to line up and charge Archer’s men who were occupying Herbst Wood.
Their charge was met by a storm of musket fire that churned the Iron ranks into blood and guts. But this was the Black Hat Brigade. For them, taking ten percent casualties in a single minute was just another Tuesday. They got in close to the rebel line to return the volleys with a vengeance, and then charged with the bayonet. Archer’s men saw the distinctive black hats come for them through the musket-smoke. For the first time, they realized that these were no mere cavalry skirmishers, no half-assed militia company facing them. The best of the best of the Army of the Potomac was coming at them at terrifyingly close range. Archer’s men cracked and scattered. The ones who stood firm, died. The ones who threw down their rifles and grabbed sky were allowed to live as prisoners. The ones who ran, lived, but found the Iron Brigade hot on their heels. Meredith’s elites carved through Archer’s brigade like it wasn’t even there.
Reynolds was a good leader. A great one, in fact. He was decisive, experienced, competent. Many thought he should have gotten command instead of Meade. As his men retook Herbst Wood, he turned behind him to check on how close reinforcements were, some rebel rifleman did his cause a world of good, and shot Reynolds in the back of the head.
Now the situation got pretty weird- Davis’ brigade had kicked the shit out of Cutler’s brigade and was pursuing them on the north side of the road, and the Iron Brigade had kicked the shit out of Archer’s brigade and was pursuing them on the south side of the road. Neither victor was aware of what had happened across from them, and soon enough they would pass each other by almost touching the edges of their lines. The first one to figure out what was happening would get to win.
As it so happened, General Doubleday (in command now that Reynolds was dead) saw the danger and the opportunity first. He broke off an Iron regiment from his reserve to swoop in and protect the flank just in time, setting them up in a defensive stance facing the road. That regiment was joined by another broken off from the Iron assault, and yet another from Cutler’s brigade, who had seen the maneuvering and joined in on its own initiative. It was like a ballet, all three regiments coalescing into a single front facing north across the road, as though they’d spent the last week rehearsing. Under their protection, the rest of the Black Hats gave chase to their prey.
When Davis finally turned and attacked, they were chopped down by a mass of highly accurate fire from the newly entrenched men. Confederates died by the dozens and were maimed by the score. As they reloaded, the Black Hats were astonished to find that the whole Confederate brigade vanish into thin air, like magic. The firing stopped; no more targets. It was bizarre.
The three regiments advanced cautiously. And were gutted by a close range surprise volley by the hidden Confederates as they tried to scale the fences on either side of the Pike.
It turns out that there was a cut in the side of road, deep enough for a man to jump down into with only his head able to peek out. Davis’ men had leapt into it as a source cover when the firefight started and found it was a grand place to shoot out of. But it was also a death trap. Once the Union regiments figured it out, they got in close enough to fire blindly down at point blank range into the milling mass of men.
Davis’ men surrendered, thousands of them all at once. Unable to move, unable shoot back, it was really the only choice. And with that, the first round of Gettysburg was over. Oak Ridge and Herbst Wood had held, and about 150,000 odd soldiers were converging on Gettysburg to shift the tide of war this way and that.
AFTERNOON
The rest of the first day was not free of drama, and heroics, and mass suffering. But it was free of surprises. The iron laws of physics had decreed that more Confederate units would be on hand for the fighting in the afternoon, and so it was. Fresh rebel troops swept down from the north and from the west, relieving their exhausted comrades and preparing themselves to assault Oak Ridge and Herbst Woods. Fresh Union troops arrived from the south to reinforce what they had and to extend their line out east, protecting their right flank and screening off the town itself.
Hours passed without a shot being fired. Everybody was reorganizing themselves, resupplying, carting the wounded to the rear to let the surgeons saw their shattered limbs off. Two small things happened that delivered a Confederate victory on day one, and a Union victory on day three. Union General Barlow pushed his brigade out to occupy Blocher's hill, and Union General Steinwehr plopped two of his brigades on top of Cemetery Hill. The first created a huge gap in the Union right, and the second secured the invaluable high ground for the rest of the battle.
Meanwhile, three Confederate divisions set themselves up for a concerted attack- Heth would press into Herbst Wood on the Union left, Rodes would assault Oak Ridge at the center, and Early would swoop down the Harrisburg road to threaten the Union right. When the big push came at around 2 p.m., it was badly organized and mismanaged. Southern commanders couldn't get it together and attack at the same time. Individual units charged at Oak Ridge alone, like a mob of Hollywood henchmen attacking the hero only to be smacked around one by one. Cutler's men didn't just fight them off; it was closer to mass murder. General O'Neal's brigade swooped down off of Oak Hill only to be cut down by musketry and cannon fire, and they did it without O'Neal, because O'Neal stayed in the rear while his men died. When O'Neal's brigade fell back having suffered heavy losses, Cutler shifted his men to greet the new threat from Iverson's brigade, who also charged without their commander. Iverson's men marched in parade perfect order across open ground, without so much as a molehill for cover. The story goes that during the assault, Iverson looked out from safety and saw half his men lying down on the ground. Iverson was pissed off because he thought his men were surrendering. In fact, he was watching his brigade die in droves.
The issue wasn't morale. The Confederate troops were eager to get at the enemy. The problem was purely organizational in nature. The men in charge of telling people what to do were simply too confused and disoriented to work out the solution in real time. While O’Neal and Iverson were getting bloodied, Barlow’s men on Blocher Hill were getting slaughtered. Barlow’s desire to hold the high ground on the defense was understandable- high ground being a grand place to fight from- but he was about one mile ahead of any friendly units. This meant that it was trivially easy to flank and destroy his brigades.
Georgia men under generals Early and Rodes linked up to flank and destroy Barlow’s isolated brigades. A thick stream of filthy, bloody, and terrified Union men flowed back to the town of Gettysburg, leaving a gaping hole in the Union line and spreading their panic like the plague. Victorious Confederates whooped and hollered. As the men to the north of town trade massacres- the failed assault on Oak Ridge being roughly balanced by the disastrous dissolution of Barlow’s brigades- Heth finally attacked the Iron Brigade still occupying Herbst Wood in the west. He’d been delaying it all afternoon, stymied by the contradictory orders from Lee. Lee, who was several miles away and not at all in touch with the situation, still wanted to avoid a general engagement. But now, Heth has been let off the chain to avenge Archer’s brigade.
Heth’s full division attacked Herbst Wood. It was a slow, hot, gory fight. The attacking rebels are aggressive, but also methodical and well-organized. The Black Hats made them pay for every tree they seized. But there’s only one outcome for a fight like this.
The Iron Brigade has the ghastly honor of having the highest casualty ratio of any Civil War brigade, North or South. Out of the 1,885 men in their ranks that morning, 1,153 (61%) were be dead or maimed by nightfall on the first day. The fates of individual units from within the brigade are even more gruesome- in the 2nd Wisconsin regiment, 397 out of 496 (80%) were killed or wounded. But despite the horrific losses, they didn’t break. They gave ground slowly and in good order, but they gave ground nonetheless. Iron does not break, but it does bend.
By late afternoon, the dominoes fell as they were always going to. With the debacle at Blocher’s Knoll, any hope the Union had to hold the right was lost. The Black Hats were being ground into sawdust on the left. And Rodes has finally gotten his brigades to charge at the same time, overwhelming Cutler’s defense.
Every Union man was running now, some in a blind panic, some withdrawing in good order like professionals.
The open field battle turned into urban warfare as the Confederates chased the Union army through the streets of Gettysburg. Companies blocked the streets to hold off the enemy advance long enough for the comrades to scamper. Marksmen played sniper games in the windows, either shooting men in the back as they ran away or ambushing overly aggressive platoons, depending on the color of their uniform.
The Union men were desperate to reach Cemetery Hill, south of the town. High ground and the reinforcements already stationed there promised safety. The Confederates were just as desperate to catch them first and seize that invaluable terrain for themselves.
Nightfall
A great deal of “woulda coulda shoulda” ink has been spilled over the orders that Lee gave to General Ewell, the man in charge of Rodes and Early: “Take Cemetery Hill if practical”. But Ewell saw two brigades with a lot of artillery standing on top of what appeared to be a natural fortress designed by God to repel infantry, and his men were exhausted to boot. Ewell decided it was not practical, and so did not try. Just one of those things, I expect.
In any case, the day was a Confederate victory. Every spot on the map the Confederate troops wanted to go, they had went. They had crushed all resistance, had even gone toe to toe with the cream of the Army of the Potomac and won. Their enemies were in flight before them.
There was, possibly, a certain amount of disquiet because the enemy had merely been driven from one ridge into another ridge, one even steeper and with more cover than the last. And rumor had it the rest of the Army of the Potomac was coming at them.
But that was a problem for the next day.
submitted by mcjunker to TheMotte [link] [comments]

DKNG - Fundamental DD Inside - DKNG

This is an example of fundamental DD that takes place at ‘smart’ money institutions based on my professional experience in IBD, Private Equity & most recently at a HF (mods can message me for proof). Not thoroughly fleshed out b/c you autists have limited attention spans, but a summary. Figured I’d take the time to give back to this community that has provided many lolz, & should be a good measuring stick when evaluating other forms of fundamental DD posted here.
NFA.
DKNG - DraftKings, Inc.: vertically integrated US mobile betting operator that also provides retail sports betting & back-end betting solutions through SBTech. Think of SBTech as the tech ‘market-maker’ for traditional sports betting, they do all the funny math to set the betting odds & seem to be working on back-end solutions for DKNG Casino
The Big Picture
Only ~2% of the ~$90Bn gambling revenues were placed online which is the lowest in the world where betting online is legal. For example, in other countries online gaming activity represents ~6% - ~52% of total gambling revenues, with ~12% being the average.
Wall Street expects online gaming revenue to be $20Bn-$40Bn within the next 10 years. For this to be achieved, the online gambling market will have to achieve a ~30% penetration rate on total country gaming revenues. There is an expectation that this is could be easily achievable given penetration trends overseas - see page 11 of this: https://s1.rationalcdn.com/vendors/stars-group/documents/presentations/TSG-Investor-Day_March-27-2019.pdf
Other catalysts include increasing adaptation of sports betting in more states. States that have both legal sports betting + online sports betting permitted: NV, NJ, WV, PA, IA. Sports betting permitted but no online: DE, MS, RI, MO, AR. Prior to COVID there was ongoing discussions across many States, especially ones with growing deficits to explore how permitting sports betting could create a fresh avenue of tax dollars. Post COVID there is an expectation that these discussions will be given extra focus as many States will be hungry for incremental tax dollars. Important to note that currently 43/50 States allow DFS, but given the small share DFS has on total Gaming Revenues, it increasingly looks like DKNG is banking on traditional sports betting for a variety of reasons, more later. There are entire articles on Google arguing this catalyst so I’ll end this here.
Digging Deeper
DKNG’s main offerings are Daily Fantasy Sports (“DFS”) products & traditional sports book products to its clients. Long story short, a metric to look for in my opinion (that is curiously not reported by management or remarked on) is the hold % in traditional gaming sector parlance or the ‘rake’ & compare it to the ‘traditional’ gaming products like sports betting & Blackjack.
For DFS: DKNG takes ~15% of the prize pool (note: used to be ~6-11% [2]). Curiously, their main competitor FanDuel also has moved up to a ~15% rake recently. Google searches show the smaller competitors have a rake in the ~13% range.
This ‘rake’ has grown ~2x in 6 years, but it has been a delicate move on behalf of management. Why? B/c the more ‘sophisticated’ DFS players (equal to autistic day traders on Robinhood) have noted this increase & based on some Googling, some have moved down market to the smaller players. As a side note, many live casino games have their rules altered to grow the Hold %. For example, Blackjack games with 6:5 payouts on 21 have materially higher Hold % than the traditional BJ rules that pay out 3:2. Given the findings so far, DKNG may not have much room to materially increase its hold % in DFS games in the near-term from current of 15%. More on this later.
Now why the fuck is this important? This is important b/c the typical sports book (ex-Parlays) have a ~5% hold %/rake. Parlays have up to a ~30% hold (which is why it’s commonly known as the sucker’s bet), & just for reference, the average Blackjack table clocks in 14.5%. What this means: Every dollar put into these games, the “House” or DKNG, will take 15% of your money for DFS games, for sports bets they will be pocketing ~5%, up to ~30% if you’re into parlays, & we’ll just use the standard 14.5% BJ hold for the DraftKings Casino platform.
So why the acquisition of SBTech & a foray into the traditional sports gambling market? As you can see previously, the illegal sports betting market is >30x the size of the current daily fantasy sports market. So it’s clear that the DFS providers including DKNG are foraying into the space to capture this user base & hopefully convert them into games that have a higher hold %, such as DFS/DKNG Casino.
As of May 2020, DKNG has achieved a 30% penetration rate on its ~4mm ‘monetized’ DFS clientele to its Online Sports Book (OSB), from the OSB+DFS clientele, DKNG has converted 50% into its DraftKings Casino platform.
Including non-monetized users, user base totals at 12mm. Based on these unit economics: every 1mm of additional users -> 333k monetized users for DFS -> 100k users for OSB -> 50k users for DraftKings Casino.
Some Numbers – Italicized/Bolded the important
Numbers that represent Risks to Long Thesis
Things to look for when going Long
- Progress of additional States legalizing sports betting – specifically, States with DFS already legalized
- Cost structure evolving to a more fixed mix vs. the mostly variable mix currently as this will be the forward figure that determines profitability
- Increasing User Base (Curr.: 12mm) -> Monetized Base (Curr.: 4mm) -> MUP (1Q’20: 0.7mm)
Share Price Target
Given the cost structure of the company, I’m going to base the price targets around Enterprise Value / Revenues (driven by MUPs & ARPUs).
Bear Case MUP: 5mm -> $20.32 - $45.73
Base Case MUP: 5.5mm -> $22.27 - $50.10
Bull Case MUP: 6mm -> $24.21 - $54.47
These MUPs imply a monetized customer base of 28mm – 33mm. At the high-end, this implies that DKNG monetized customer base will equal MGM’s current total user base.
At yesterday’s close of $43.70, DKNG is trading at 3.5x – 4.5x forward Revenues on an expected >5,000 MUPs.
Share Price drivers / considerations:
- Continued multiple expansion
- MUP Growth exceeding beyond targets
Management Team
Jason Robins, 39 – Co-Founder & CEO. Duke BA, started DraftKings from day 1 in 2011. The 2 other buddies he started the Company with are still at DKNG. Dude navigated the Company through the scandal that rocked them in ’15 & ’16, and was the trailblazer in getting DFS labeled as a non-gambling product that enabled it to open in States without a gaming designation. This shit is the stuff that gets people in history books. His accomplishments make him seem like a very competent guy. Has 3 kids now, and only ~3% economic ownership in DKNG but has 90% of the voting power through his Class B share ownership. Also he actively participates in venture investments, sitting on 10 boards.
His comp plan performance bonus target is pretty murky, but main drivers are EPS growth, revenue growth, then a bunch of margin & return metrics, along with share price returns. Overall, very open-ended & it’s safe to say as long as shit doesn’t hit the fan, he will be eligible for his max payouts year over year. I’m assuming the lawyers tried to encompass everything possible for maximum flexibility to justify him earning his max comp as long as DKNG is still around.
Since he’s got voting control of 90%, I’ll end the specific-person overview here, but want to note that they have a very bloated C-suite. 12 folks at DKNG, 8 folks at SBTech, all with C-suite designations. Whereas their main competitor FanDuel, has 3 guys with a C-suite designations & 1 EVP, but is a sub under a larger ParentCo that has its own management team of ~5 guys.
Looking through glassdoor you can see the biggest complaint among employees giving bad reviews is based on management, all of the specific issues they point out IMO are a result of a top-heavy company. Seems like a good starting point to optimize their cost structure, but given Robins' history of sticking this entire thing through with his co-founders since '11 stuff like this doesn't seem to be a part of his playbook. They’re a public company now though, so it’s going to be interesting to see going forward.
TL;DR:
If I were to initiate a position in DKNG, the stock would have to fall to the $35-$37 range for me to be a buyer of the stock, and based on this rough intro analysis I'll be considering Put options if it breaches $50. I would not touch Calls at this level.

[1] Susquehanna Research – U.S. Online Gambling 6/27/19
[2] https://rotogrinders.com/articles/bang-for-your-buck-a-look-at-dfs-industry-rake-153302
[3] https://draftkings.gcs-web.com/static-files/8f3a5c5a-7228-45bf-aab2-63604111c48d
[4] Goldman Sachs Research – DKNG Initiation 5/19/20
[5]https://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/223071/Dont_monetize_like_League_of_Legends_consultant_says.php
[6] https://rotogrinders.com/threads/how-many-people-actually-play-dfs-regularly-252044
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[Alien Crash] Bk 01 V30 Ch 06 Problem Children and Consulates

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Chapter Six: Problem Children and Consulates

"It is, without a doubt, the greatest pleasure to discover another being who has the sensitivity to become a Scan."
— Xenor / Sensor-Tech / HAS Adjudicator

Briefing: First Hamathi Visit to ICZ HQ

General Jackson speaking.
"Okay, people, the Hamathi will be here in seven days.
"I remind you, if you have any issues with being near Hamathi, you will remain in quarters until they have left. Better that than an incident occurs. However, if you do have such issues, it would be best if we transferred you to another section where you will have either less or no contact with the Hamathi.
"This is NOT a mark against you. We are adopting some of the Hamathi principles for this project. Admitting that you have an issue is actually a bonus, because you are showing maturity to recognize you have the problem, and we can try to work through it with you. As the President said, this is our first contact, don't screw it up.
"Phase one, arrival via helicopter. Why helicopter? They're all curious as hell since only a few of them have ever ridden in one.
"We will be bringing them into the track facility since the primary reason for this is figuring out how fast they can run for the proposed safari. The track meet will continue for at least a day, probably longer, as we explain the various formats and have them run through them.
"Phase two, running concurrently with Phase one: Selected individuals will be withdrawn for discussions with specific members of our first contact team. This includes their Doctor, Bo'sun Gryul, Pilot, and their scan-tech. So far, "Pilot" is apparently both his position and his name. We're not sure why that is.
"Similarly, their scan-tech is known as "Scan", or "Scans". There have been hints that he is not Hamathi, and that has been confirmed. The Hamathi have already requested what amounts to a TEMPEST shielded blackout room, with so little light that anyone wishing to speak with him will have to wear NVG to have any chance of seeing anything. The Hamathi have okayed this, as long as we disable or remove all the illumination built into the NVG.
"Phase three, …"

Phase One: Track Meet

"Hey, Gilford!"
"Tyler? How'd you get back in? Word was that you were oh yew tee out. Uh, not that I'm not happy to see you, it's just a surprise. Connecting with you turned into the best thing that ever happened to me. So far."
"Heh… Apparently, because I risked my neck to save Pilot, I've got some sort of social bonus. Orites suggested that I contact their Bo'sun regarding another matter. Me, because I've got this bonus, and their Bo'sun because he's the most level headed of the bunch."
"Be careful, Tyler. There's some on the FCT that still have their knives out for you."
"Believe me, the General was very … informative on that issue. You've been doing the video for this? How's it going?"
"Pretty well, they're damn fast, the ones who like the short distances come in about a second faster than Usain Bolt, on average. There's a few that would blow past him like he was standing still, but they spend a lot of time huffing and puffing after that before they're good to go again.
The long-distance runners don't have as much advantage, but they're doing respectable Olympic times. The kicker is that these guys haven't been training for the Olympics, so who knows what they could really do. There's a few, like Gryul, who can't run worth a damn, but look like they could lift a horse.
Those kids who thought they looked like Elves were more right than they knew. The ones who love sprinting are the ones who look like High Elves, tall slender, and fast. The ones who like longer distances, or even lifting, look more like Wood Elves. Not so tall, and darker of skin.
Tell me, Tyler? How'd we learn what these guys looked like?"
"Gil, I have no idea. It does make you think, though…"
"Yeah, who you here for?"
"I'm looking for their Doctor. Not only to thank him for doing such a good job on me, but our Doctor wants to compare notes. Good thing they got their translator working better."
"Yeah… real good. Tyler? Did you ever find out what triggered the whole gunfight in the cargo bay?"
"No, I don't think I did. I was rather out of it right then, and no one was interested in telling me anything else. I only heard about the gunfight afterward from Jones."
"It was that blasted translator. First, it translated something that Pilot said into "station blood removal". Then, when Jones said that per your orders, we weren't to take any offensive action, what they got was "order attack offensive". Damn thing nearly got all of us killed."
"Hooo boy… I wonder what other landmines are waiting for us! I haven't had the chance to learn their language, so I'm not going to know when something comes across garbled."
"Best bet? See that bright young lady over there? Her name is Joanne Foxfire. She's probably the best at recognizing when you've stepped on a landmine, but before it goes off completely."
"Thanks, Gil! You really enjoying it here?"
"What's not to enjoy? My footage frequently goes out on the nightly news. I'm getting a rep for outstanding work. I'm getting a regular paycheck, and my room and board are covered outside of my paycheck. If there's anything wrong, it's that I've got no real chance of spending any of that money I'm earning. You can't get Amazon through the OCZ, much less into the ICZ. It's GFE or nothing."
"That doesn't look like your usual camera, but you aren't bitching; it must be good enough for you."
"Yeah, it is. It's heavier, though. I'm taking that trade-off because of the bennies that came with it. Unfortunately, I'm not allowed to talk about them beyond that."
"Yeah… I just hope I get to finally talk with their scan-tech, that's what I'm really missing out on."
"Really? Oh! Right, you were radar, so you're hot to learn all their new stuff. Oops! Another race is getting started, talk with you later!"
"Later, Gil!"
Lost in his camera already. I might as well go introduce myself to Ms. Foxfire. Gil isn't going to be able to help me find the Doctor, and I'll need her for the discussion with Gryul.
"Hello? Ms. Foxfire?"
"Yes?"
"I'm Chief Tyler, may I have a few minutes of your time?"
"Certainly! I'm delighted to make your acquaintance. The actual "first contact" team member to actually live up to the name."

Tyler & Pilot

Even before I find their Doctor, I find Pilot.
"Hello, Pilot!"
"TAYLOR!" Pounce! "How have you been? How goes the training? When can you come back to stay?"
"Woah! Easy there, Pilot! One question at a time, please?" With a big smile on my face and a laugh in my voice. "I've been fine. I'm sorry I could not thank you for pulling me into shelter and that I couldn't thank your Doctor for saving my life. I'd dearly love to work with your scans to learn more about them. But… I have to finish training, which is going well, and by then, who knows where the military will need my training? Which also answers when I can come back to stay… I don't know.
Now, how about you! How have you been? Are you training in anything? Do you think you will be able to come see me?"
"I am doing well enough, although the conditions here are becoming irksome. The milrats get worse every day, and there are issues with providing us with the food we would most prefer. Then there's the matter of a decent place to run! We grow fat, sloppy, and slow. Gryul is training me to be a better leader, it is also going well, but not as fast as I might like. Gryul tells me that I am doing well, but I am not so sure. Coming to see you? I would be pleased, but I think it will not happen. There are reasons it would not be good right now."
"Help me find your Doctor, and get him over to our medical facility. Our Doctor is eager to start comparing notes and treatments. Then we can settle in for a good long chat while they do their stuff."
"Let's go then! HEY DOC! OVER HERE!"

Tyler's View: Doctor's Conference

Eventually, I did get their Doctor to go with me to see ours, taking the time to thank him for saving my life. He was delighted that I remembered and took the time to thank him for his efforts.
While Pilot and I chatted in the background, we were both watching the two doctors trading notes. I shouldn't be surprised, but I am. Our opinions on doctors are pretty similar. Thanks for being there, but I hope I never need you.
The same values and techniques seem to hold. Right off, they got to quizzing each other on what I finally figured out was the "Hippocratic Oath". Lots of agreement right there and everything smoothed out nicely.
Our Doctor is still drooling over their tools and equipment.
Their Doctor is drooling over all the data we have about our species.
In between the drooling, they're still managing to trade emergency procedures in the absence of the correct equipment, and their Doctor got an introduction to the manuals we use to train our medics, as well as the materials we use. He really seemed to like the 'Xstat' idea, which injects a bunch of sponges into a wound to stop bleeding. Apparently, their technique, while more flexible and precise, is also way more expensive.
I had no idea they'd sunk that kind of money into me. It makes me feel a bit guilty.
Okay, take their Doctor back over to the track meet, along with Pilot. Time for that conversation with Gryul. I've made arrangements to have Ms. Foxfire included.

Tyler & Gryul

"Hello, Gryul. I'm Chief Tyler, and this is Ms. Foxfire."
"Ah! Tyler! Orites told me you would be here soon, and that you had questions regarding our treatment of the dead."
If you can imagine a muscular Wood Elf who still looks good, you've probably got him.
"So I was informed, and Gilford suggested that I have Ms. Foxfire along, just in case there were any … issues with translation. Some things are cultural that the translator just doesn't get.
"I was also warned that there are significant differences between Hamathi and Human practices. Differences that pushed him into fight-or-flight. It is good that you trained him so well, he was able to withstand that stress."
"Fight or flight … Ah, the body prepares, and thought becomes difficult. Was it severe?"
"From my view, he was very close to attacking to kill. Ms. Foxfire froze in place, which may be the reason that he was able to resist. At the time, he was in a place where flight was not possible, and fight was not acceptable."
"And it was about death rites. I think I see where this is going. There are very few things that would provoke such a reaction, and it is good that you lead up to it so carefully. I think it would be good to not speak of this with anyone else. They are all young, even Pilot, and would have difficulty in restraining themselves. We will need to find a place where we can discuss this, and they will not be able to overhear.
"If you have a record of Orites' discussion with Ms. Foxfire, I should see that as well. Orites may have earned a citation for proper behavior under stress. Such lead to rapid promotion."
Ms. Foxfire picks up the conversation. "Hello Gryul, I'm pleased to make your acquaintance. There is a place nearby where we can safely discuss this matter. My encounter with Orites was recorded and is available there.
"All through his time with us, he has been a delight to work with. Understanding, caring, and willing to learn anything. While I was momentarily frightened, he did not injure me in the slightest. I value his friendship and that he trusts me to bring up sensitive topics."
"He has said much the same of you. You are both to be commended for your behavior, certain others have not behaved as they ought."
"Gryul? If there are problems with our people, General Jackson should be told."
"There have been, I would classify them as (untranslatable), but they are far too old for that."
"Tyler? Can you arrange for the General to join us?"
"If he's available, but I'm still just a Chief. Yet, he's made it pretty clear that he follows the President's lead "don't screw it up", so if someone's causing trouble, he isn't going to be happy. Let's get over to the FCT building — I've reserved Conference Room #3 — and I'll put in a call for him. This might be something he doesn't want spread around until he's ready."

FCT Building

"Ms. Foxfire? Gryul? Please go on ahead, I'll catch up."
"Sergeant? Would you be so kind as to call General Jackson and inform him that Bo'sun Gryul has certain issues that he wishes to bring up with the General?"
"Yes, Chief Tyler. No guarantees that he'll be able to come, but either way, I'll let you know what he says. Which room will you be in?"
"Conference Room #3."
"Thanks, Chief, I'll get right on it."

Conference Room #3

"Tyler?"
"Yes, Ms. Foxfire?"
"By the sound of it, someone is already using this conference room."
"I see, and hear. Such language! I did sign it out this morning, and no one else should be in there. It might be an impromptu meeting, let me see if they're done."
knock knock "Hello folks, we have this conference room reserved at this time; are you going to be much longer?"
"And just who are you to reserve our facilities?"
"I'm Chief Tyler, who was instructed to reserve this space for a sensitive discussion with Bo'sun Gryul. And you are?"
"Doctor Thistlewaite and you are no longer on the FCT, so you have no right to reserve any of our spaces for any reason."
"Doctor, I strongly suggest that you not carry on in that line. The General has little tolerance…"
"The General has let you people run roughshod over every policy that governs this place; I'm not going to put up with it any longer! Now get out!"
AHEM! "Doctor Thistlewaite, would you care to repeat that to my face? … No? … Then you may vacate this room immediately since it was not signed out to your group in the first place. That is the only policy that matters, and you are in violation of it."
As the three Doctors file out, with Thistlewaite in the lead, Doctor Reyes catches the General's eyes, looks at Thistlewaite's back, and makes a sign with his free hand. Foxfire catches the sign and grabs the General's arm before he can ask anything. When he looks at her, she shakes her head no, very slightly. His eyes narrow, and he nods to Reyes.
"Now, since the conference room is available, let's get to it."
… …
"Ms. Foxfire? Would you please explain what just happened?" Gryul and I are unaware of the exchange between them and Reyes, but Foxfire explains.
"Dr. Reyes made the sign of the horns while looking at Dr. Thistlewaite's back. He did so in the fashion of the malocchio, an Italian gesture warding off bad luck. In some places, the extended fingers can also signify warding off of a demon or the devil. In this instance, with the knowledge of the coarse language we heard from outside… I'd say that Reyes is telling you that Thistlewaite is a problem and that Reyes doesn't feel he has the authority to stop Thistlewaite."
Gryul looks at the General, "This is one of the reasons I asked you to be here. We have issues with some of the people on the first contact team. I would have described them as (untranslatable), but now I'd have to call them (untranslatable)."
It takes some exchanges with Foxfire before she and Gryul come to an agreement. "General, the first phrase would appear to be close to spoiled brats. The second term has the same connotation but includes the concept that these people are far too old to be demonstrating such behavior. It is quite derogatory when applied to someone who supposedly has advanced education. The phrase could be translated as problem children."
We dealt with the "problem children" — I kid you not; that's how Gryul put it after Ms. Foxfire worked it through with him. — and the General looked grimly pleased as he left the room.
We did a review of Orites discussions with Ms. Foxfire, and yeah, he did look about ready to pounce and shred. Gryul was impassive. We didn't know how he felt about it until after the review.
"I am most happy with Orites' response. He faced a situation that not one in ten would be able to deal with rationally and did so. Which would certainly have sent him at your throat, Ms. Foxfire had he failed. Was there a guard present?"
"Yes, there was. He drew his weapon when he saw Orites initial reaction, but withheld his fire. I do not think that Orites saw him. I believe the General has already written up a commendation for the guard. Good judgment to prepare, better judgment to withhold."
"Precisely. I will be writing a similar commendation for Orites. He has a bright future in front of him. One so young who can restrain himself like that is a rare treasure."
The subsequent discussion with Gryul was mostly between him and Ms. Foxfire. She had the cultural references to hand, so they could figure out how to adapt the ceremony to both Hamathi and Human. It would be acceptable to the Hamathi, and it would emphasize the similarities with Human culture. That would make it more understandable to those who weren't already poisoned by hate.
There still remained the quantity of wood needed to carry out the cremation, and the various local, state, and federal regulations covering cremation. It's going to happen, though, no matter what anyone else has to say.

Tyler and Scans

When Scans arrived, he was in a totally blacked out metal box. Even then, you could hear labored breathing, and what might have been sounds of pain. I felt for the guy. It didn't seem fair or right. We could have gone to see him on board the ship, but this is what he wanted.
The Hamathi with him hurried everyone along to the building that was prepared for him. No windows, ventilation through angled tubes that prevented light from getting through. Everything with metal mesh tied into the whole structure.
Jones looked at it and whistled, I asked why he commented that it had been shielded to better than NATO SDIP-27 Level A standards. That's the sort of shielding you use when the enemy may be as close as one meter and have any kind of equipment they like.
His entry was at the back. The entire box was slid in, then the big door was lowered and bolted into place. They laid heavy rubber gaskets on the outside, sealed them in with duck tape, and slapped a large steel panel over the entire wall. I swear, I heard the guy sigh with relief! Ridiculous with that much metal and shielding in the way.
The human-sized door on the other side had been rebuilt in several ways.
A cylinder entryway that you couldn't have both sides open at the same time because the 'door' was an opening cut in the side of the cylinder. Rotate the cylinder, so the opening is towards the outside. Step inside, rotate the cylinder, so the opening is on the inside, and step through.
That leads to multiple light traps, each of which was tied into the mesh core of the walls, the last one of which had a shielded box that Scans would tell you what you needed to put in. I didn't understand at first why the shield box was at the last light trap. It would have made more sense, I thought, to put it at the first light trap.
Big sign out front of all the things you shouldn't ever bring in, like any light sources at all, and an even longer list of electronics you had to leave outside, like cellphones. With all the shielding, that made a lot of sense.
He seems comfortable and has his own rations, quite different from milrats. It doesn't squeak or squirm; it crunches loudly. Certain members of the FCT were seriously put out because Scans wouldn't talk with them. First with Tyler, then with other specific individuals that he chose. None of which included the most insistent of FCT members.
When it was my turn, Jones checked me for any of the listed contraband and provide a modified set of NVG.
"Okay, Tyler. You're clear, according to the sign. You'll need these." Jones is holding out a set of night vision goggles, with the illuminators disabled and covered with dense layers of duck tape too. "Ms. Foxfire says there will be plenty of illumination for you."
"Thanks, Jones. God, I hope I don't screw this up."
"Hey, Tyler, you didn't screw up the last one. You just got caught in the grinder when some stuck up old farts got their shorts knotted over you being the first one to see the Hamathi up close and personal. I wouldn't worry about it too much. The General has got a gleam in his eye, and a shark's grin. Someone is in for a bunch of trouble, and it isn't you."
"You mean?"
"Like he said, don't get your hopes up. But me? I think he's pulling for you; hard."
"Thanks, Jones."
They shake hands, and Tyler enters the dark-lock.

I make my half-blind way, despite the NVG, to the inner light trap and stopped there to announce myself.
"Hello? I'm Tyler. May I enter?"
Scans' voice answers from the other side of the last curtain.
"Please check your person. Anything that emits light must be left in the box to your left as you stand at the curtain. Check carefully, my eyes are extremely sensitive to what you would call visible light, and far into both ends of the spectrum. This includes radio waves. This entire building has been shielded for my comfort, so your devices would not work in any case. Even from here, I can tell you have several emitting radiation. Something at hip level, and something that seems to be attached to your arm."
"Are the night vision goggles going to cause you any difficulty? I will forgo them if they will."
"They have been tested. A pleasing warmth is all."
Warmth, from NVG. Better empty out my pockets and strip everything that doesn't absolutely have to come in with me. The hip item was an electronic car key. I made a note to add that to the sign outside. There's no way you would need them in here. The wrist one was a puzzler until I remembered my watch was a quartz mechanism that had a battery.
"Thank you for being thorough. When you have everything in the box, please close the lid. … Ah, much better. It was almost like staring at the dawn sun on a clear day would be for you. Move slowly as you enter. There is a chair immediately in front of you. There is just enough illumination in this room, in the far-infrared, that your NVG has been modified to work with. I have taken position behind another curtain while you enter. Let me know when you have ensured that the last curtain is fully closed, and you have taken your seat. I will turn off the interior illumination at that time. You will still be able to see me from my body heat."
Jeebus! I wonder if I can learn anything most of his skill seems to be built into his body!
"The curtain appears well sealed. … And I'm finally sitting down."
"Thank you. For your comfort, please understand that I am … in your terms … an herbivore. Also, that my appearance bears a striking resemblance to a figure from your fantasy horror by Lovecraft."
"Cthulu?"
"Indeed, your representations, aside from the imputed size, are quite close."
"I have been duly warned. If you don't mind, I'll start out by staring at the floor, and slowly raise my eyes to see you."
"A wise plan."
rustle "I have moved the inner curtain aside. You are much as I remember, although you look more … confident?"
"I do? So far, I feel like I've been floundering in stupidity."
"It is from mistakes that we learn the most."
"Then, I must be the most learned being in the world."
An odd slithery sound, Laughter?
"Aren't we all. Are you at your ease?"
"Yes, it's exciting, but not frightening."
I slowly raise my eyes. The image that appears before me is as horrifying as the illustrations. Which is to say, not at all to anyone who isn't being ridiculous.
"Yes, you do bear a striking resemblance, but not horrifying to me. I think it is only the people who allow their imaginations to run away with them who would have trouble."
"Then, you do not have imagination?"
"I have plenty of imagination, but I control it."
"Then, you have the basic requirement to become a scan-tech."
"Really? I'd thought with your exceptional senses, that I would never become a scan-tech at your level."
"My senses are as often a hindrance as a help. If I do not constantly adjust my instrument's gain, I can be easily blinded. I will admit that you are unlikely to surpass me at the weakest signals, but those are seldom at issue. Star travelers, as a class, seem to be quite loud, even obnoxiously loud."
"Are you actually speaking our language? I'd thought everyone was using the translator."
"The translator can be a danger in itself, as your companions found out. I have had little to do, so I have spent much time absorbing your broadcasts. There is one final piece that I simply do not understand. The constant interruptions with completely unrelated pieces that last no more than moments, and come several at a time."
"Unrelated… oh my. This is going to be interesting to explain."
"Before you begin, please remove the goggles, there is a test I would perform at some point while you explain. You may keep them with you, but please do turn them off before you remove them."
Tyler has to explain the concept of commercials, which brings in a ton of other ideas, some of which just have to be hand-waved off. If for no other reason than time.
"Can people not go do other things while the commercials are on?"
"Of course, but many will stay and at least peripherally watch the commercials. Others are amused by them or derive some pleasure by ridiculing them. In any case, the mere viewing of the commercial has value to the advertisers. The very best commercials are saved for a sports event called the Super Bowl. It is a national competition that is widely viewed, and the advertisers know they must present their very best to get people to watch them."
A barely perceptible glow appears.
"What is that?"
"My test. And my theory is confirmed. Under the right circumstances, your perception of radiant energy is far better than your fellows. The illumination will continue to rise. Please tell me when you can identify the image."
"Go ahead."
It's … not hard … but I'm having trouble processing the image…
"Stop!"
"And what do you see?"
"Your eye."
"How do you come by that conclusion?"
"I do not know, but that's what it is."
"Most excellent. Your ability to resolve detail is also better. This, combined with your greater sensitivity and imagination, is why you can discern more information from your primitive radar than your fellows. The finest detail that escapes them is easily seen by yourself. I believe humans have a concept called intuition?"
"Yes, we do."
"I suspect that intuition is prevalent throughout your species, but is stronger in some than in others. Yours is particularly tuned to visual information. We can test for other sensitivities later.
I will speak with your General, please inform him that I am available at his discretion.
Oh yes, suggest to him that he come in what I believe are called "sweats" and that he brings nothing metal with him other than the NVG. That will be easier than divesting himself of all the usual attachments.
I will withdraw behind the inner curtain, and then you may choose to don the NVG, or perform one more test for yourself."
"Yes?"
"Find your way out, without using any further illumination. Including picking up everything you left in the box."
"Certainly, and thank you for seeing me."
"Do not thank me. You may yet come to regret being a sensor tech. It is not the easiest task in the fleet. One becomes aware of all the threats and is unable to do anything about them, except point them out to others. Missing one may cost you your life. It will certainly cost your crewmates lives."
"Are you the sole sensor tech on the ship?"
"Ever has it been so."
"Has no one attempted to spread the duty among many?"
"Many times, always with a catastrophic blind spot that isn't noticed until it's too late."
"Scans? Humans have two blind spots, one in each eye."
That certainly sends a shock through him. I guess the idea that someone with two blind spots can be so good at sensors is unheard of; something else to keep in mind.
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The HEL Jumper [Chapter 3.13]

Book 1 of The HEL Jumper
Book 2 of The HEL Jumper
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Today's chapter is made possible by the immense generosity of a certain individual who is welcome to reveal himself but will go unnamed by me. Thank you for your support, my friend.
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“Good morning, First Lieutenant. And you must be Veera? I was told to expect the both of you. Please be seated anywhere you like,” the short, thin gentleman offered, gesturing around his office. It was the oddest and most anachronistic portion of the ship Winters had visited by far, though in that particular case it was not a bad thing. Instead it was an indication that Natori Kaczynski had taken the mental health of his crew into careful consideration when implementing his vision for the Event Horizon. Instead of a sleek, modern cube of metal or plastic polymer, he felt like he’d been transported to a row home in some quaint European city. The floor was richly carpeted by oriental or persian rugs, he didn’t know which. The walls were done up with unassuming, muted green wallpaper, and the moulding and ceiling varnished wood. Bookshelves lined the perimeter of the space, punctuated by a stone bust of an unknown man, a display case of historical medical implements, and a vase on a pedestal that contained what appeared to be live flowers. That particular fixture was of utter fascination to Veera, and with a squeeze of her hand she left Russell’s side to examine them.
“How strange and beautiful,” she murmured, testing the delicate petals of the orchid with her fingertips and giving the plant itself a curious sniff. As she did so Russell watched her closely, and in turn the ship’s psychologist, one Doctor Lamont, watched him. It had been impossible to miss the soldier’s stone-faced expression upon his arrival, but seeing it soften was both curious and reassuring to the medical professional. That the alien spoke english with apparent comfort was also a pleasant surprise.
“Do you not have flowers on your world?” He asked gently.
“No, we do not,” Veera replied. “My husband tells me that our forests are like those of the northern reaches of your planet. Pine trees?”
“Yeah, those are the ones,” Russell affirmed. “That specific type of flower there is an orchid.”
“It’s wonderful. I’m sorry for interrupting,” Veera offered.
“My dear, please! We are here to talk, and unless the two of you have somewhere else you need to be I see no reason why we shouldn’t begin with flowers,” Lamont replied before looking about curiously. “The Admiral informed me that I should expect a rather...unusual guest, as he put it? Given that it does not seem to be an alien I cannot help but wonder.”
‘That would be me,’ Io offered, utilizing the speaker concealed in the ceiling to make her presence known. ‘Due to the lack of projection technology in this room you will simply have to take my word for it. My name is Io. I used to be Lieutenant Winters’ VI partner and I am now his best friend, AI companion, and solemn holder of the trials he has faced while on Mara.’
“And that is, of course, the other reason we are here,” Lamont acknowledged, gesturing to a couple of chairs and a chaise lounge straight out of a twentieth century psychologist’s office. “Please, do make yourselves comfortable wherever you like. I will ask our esteemed Admiral about this apparent leap forward in human technological prowess another time.”
Veera, being a lover of soft things as with most of her species, was happy to be seated upon the recliner, though she did not lay back. Russell didn’t seem to mind, instead choosing the least comfortable looking chair in the room as Lamont was seated on his own, wheeled out from behind his wooden desk. He had a pencil and notebook in hand.
“You don’t mind, do you? I prefer the old ways.”
“Whatever works for you, doc,” Russell replied stoically.
“I presume you would not enjoy hearing how I am here to help you and that I am someone you may consider a confidant?” Lamont offered.
“Not when I know damn well everything said here is going to be a matter of semi-public record at my tribunal hearing,” the soldier said sternly.
“Russell! He’s just here to help!” Veera interrupted. Doctor Lamont watched and waited as the human looked at the alien that claimed to be his wife.
“It’s more complicated than that, Veera,” he eventually said.
“You are here to help my husband, right?” The Cauthan rounded on Lamont. He nodded.
“I can assure you I am, Veera. However, the fact that this is a military matter does, as the Lieutenant said, complicate things. I am required to report to the Admiral my personal evaluation of his mental state, fitness for duty, and to opine on the events that have brought us all to this juncture. But when this is over, Lieutenant, know that my door will remain open to you in confidence.”
“Yeah let’s just…can we get on with it?” Russell requested. The feeling that he was somewhere outside of the HEL despite knowing very well where he was did not sit well with him.
“We may indeed. Veera, Io, I would like to ask the two of you to stop me at any time should you feel the need to interject or pose a question. However, I would also request that you allow the Lieutenant to speak uninterrupted. Is that acceptable to the two of you?”
“Yes,” both Veera and Io replied, the former feeling her feathers rustle slightly. There was something off about the situation, something that made her nervous. She didn’t think Doctor Lamont a threat, but there was no denying that he was something other than a friend. She would have preferred Russell be speaking with Antoth.
“Thank you. Lieutenant I have already reviewed your files up until your arrival in this system when the Lancer was destroyed. Your combat actions and evaluations during that mission were retrieved so we need not address those matters unless you feel it necessary. Do you think you could start at the beginning and tell me about the important things that happened to you since you arrived here?”
Winters took a deep breath and rested his forehead on his thumb and two fingers, rubbing his head for a moment before looking back to the psychologist who was waiting for him patiently. “Yeah, might as well get this over with.”
-----
“I still can’t believe you named an alien bat Steve,” Private Orlova groused as she and the rest of her squad left the armory after almost two days on Mara. They could have remained far longer, but Natori had insisted that they return to the ship to exercise, eat, and otherwise maintain a semblance of their normal routine. He had assured them that they would be given an opportunity to explore the Forge once the research teams were prepared to actually enter the structure, and that Steve the aquila would be well cared for in the camp while they were gone. The question of diet had been taken up happily by a handful of the Event Horizon’s crew, given that research on the Forge and the rest of its surroundings would have to be painstakingly conducted in a systematic manner. Tracking down various plants and insects to see which ones a scaled bat preferred to munch on was practically chaos by comparison. Rex laughed as he locked away his skull-painted helmet
“You’re just jealous because you didn’t think of it first. I’m starving guys, should we see what Gus has cooked up? Should be just about lunchtime.”
“Always thinking with your stomach,” Mendes remarked, earning him a punch in the shoulder.
“Don’t act like you’re not. Lipp?”
“What am I, your boss? Go ahead if you want! The Admiral said our next brief will take place tonight, probably just a review and discussion of future plans. Science is so damn slow.”
“Which is why we are soldiers and not scientists,” Natalya concluded as the four of them stepped out into the hallways of the ship, only to be met by a very peculiar pair. A victorious grin spread across Lipper’s face.
“Well well well, if it isn’t the fluffer nutter. I don’t think we’ve ever met personally,” he said more than loudly enough for Winters and Veera to hear. The Omega Jumper had been taking his wife on a tour of the ship following a lengthy review of his stay on Mara. There had been discussion of the good, but the focus was on things he would have rather forgotten: Jess’ death, the crew’s funeral, the raid, and the slaying of the ursae. Io appeared in his visor immediately, clad in her barbarian armor and having already painted her face with blood.
‘If you don’t, I will,’ she informed him. That comment earned her a glare from Russell, who silently walked up to the four Jumpers. He was the tallest.
“That’s First Lieutenant or Sir to you…Sergeant,” he growled, making a show of looking Lipper up and down. His face showed he was none too impressed. Lipper scoffed.
“Do you see the Admiral around here? Cause I sure as hell don’t, Omega. I’ve been down on that planet. I ain’t scared of you, and I sure as hell ain’t kissing the boots of a guy who spend the better part of a year sitting around in the sun and fucking the locals.”
A thousand and one retorts came to Winters’ lips, many of which Io was supplying in rapid succession and a few of which had come from his teenage years and Alice. Instead he turned his back to them, a blatant display of fearlessness, and walked away, taking Veera by the hand. “Let’s get out of here before I kill one of them,” he told her evenly. Veera couldn’t help but look over her shoulder at the squad of four. The woman and the shortest among them, a man with bronze skin, looked concerned. But the other two who looked more similar to Russell had gleeful expressions on their face.
“Hey cutie, if you ever feel like bedding a real man I think Private Mendes over here is feeling pretty open minded after being planetside,” Lipper called out, taking the opportunity to rib one of his own at Winters’ expense. Veera tore herself away from Russell and marched right up to them.
“I know what laying with a man is like, and need only glance at you to know you would not satisfy me in the slightest!” She yelled hotly, bringing a truly surprised look to the Sergeant’s face for the first time. Behind her it was Winters’ turn to smile viciously with a watchful eye as Veera continued her tirade while Rex muttered ‘shit, she speaks English?!’.
“I would rather be set upon by a pack of hyrven than lay with you. You are nothing more than a cub at his first harvest festival who thinks only of himself, and I feel bad for these other three humans who are forced to follow you,” she asserted, understanding easily enough that the four humans in front of her were like her husband in terms of their training at least, and that Lipper was their commander.
“I’m not going to ask twice. You take that back,” the Sergeant warned.
“Oh, and now you’re threatening a primitive female? How manly and brave of you,” Veera taunted, well versed in the art of verbal sparring after spending more than a few cycles with the town's guard force.
“And were it not for us, your primitive little village would have been wiped off the map!”
“Lipper, that’s enough man! Jesus Cristo,” Mendes insisted, watching Russell like a hawk. The look in his eyes gave the Private chills.
“That’s Sergeant to you, Private Mendes!”
“And my name is Veera to you, human! You are no better than the Ghaelen who threatened us. Just another petty chieftain!”
The next events of the next few seconds seemed both an instant and eternity to Private Orlova, who up until that point had remained silent. The moment Lipper’s hand shot out and wrapped around Veera’s wrist the Omega Jumper leapt to action, clearing the distance between him and their group with frightening speed. Veera’s heart hammered, slamming into her chest as her body reacted the way her inner animal wanted her to. She wanted to hurt the human who had so insulted her husband and her people, but again and again Russell had taught her to play to her strengths and an enemy’s weakness. The sad reality was that Lipper was far too large for her to win a fair fight. But she knew that just once, and only once, she would have the element of surprise. After all, he clearly saw her as a zero on the threat scale. With a snarl, Veera swiped at him, knowing he would likely stop her. When he did, she twisted and danced, trying to circle behind him while moving his arms into a less defensive position. It was mostly unsuccessful and she cried out in pain as a couple of her feathers were irrevocably bent in the wrong direction, but the momentary opening was all Russell needed.
‘VENGEANCE!’ Io roared with unabashed bloodlust, encouraging her partner. Both Veera and Natalya gasped as Winters slugged Lipper so hard the cracking of his jaw was audible. The Sergeant’s grip on Veera went slack as he crumpled to the metal floor in a heap, releasing her to find a safe distance as the situation spiraled out of control.
“Oh you’re fucking dead, Omega bitch!” Rex roared, taking a swing at Winters that the Jumper was clearly ready for.
“Any day, Beta Boy. Who or what are you overcompensating for, you walking slab of meat? Maybe your sorry excuse for a commanding officer?” Russell taunted, squaring up as punches began to fly. Rex wasn’t holding back in the slightest, but that didn’t matter to him. He’d seen all of his moves before.
“You aren’t gonna look so hot when you’re out cold on your ass,” the Beta Jumper insisted, throwing a vicious uppercut that Russell was forced to block, hardening his core as the follow up blow landed. The pain was good. He laughed.
“So they’ve got Howles training Beta now? What the fuck did he do to deserve that?” Winters jabbed, making reference to one of the men who had shaped his own development as an HEL soldier. Slowly he shifted into the combat style of Antoth and his men. There was no point in fighting like a human, especially when the Jumper in front of him was fighting the way he was, a proficient carbon copy of several HEL instructors. “Seen it,” he quipped, ducking under a left hook before rolling backwards to avoid the uppercut that had laid him out on the second day of Jumper training. Rex was good, he had to admit, and the man was strong, but he was not innovative.
“Fuck. You!” The Private roared, landing another couple of brutal but not debilitating hits. Russell shrugged them off, continuing to dance around Rex as the dull, bludgeoning pain awakened his senses. He was reminded of his fight with Kaha at the harvest festival, though he opted for a much different resolution. When the next punch came he blocked with both hands, forcefully pushing a hole open in Rex’s guard and sending his head through it. With a roar that would have made Antoth proud, Russell crushed Rex’s nose with his own cranium. Completely unprepared for the nature of the attack and resulting pain, Rex staggered long enough for Winters to grab his head and force it down into a vicious strike from his knee. Two more similar strikes to the Beta Jumper’s diaphragm had him on the ground coughing like he was about to choke up one of his own lungs, unable to breathe through his horribly contorted nose. That was when Russell rounded on Natalya with fury in his eyes. It had been a long time since he’d taken or dished out such brutal hits against other humans with no rules.
“Russell! Stop this!” Veera tried meekly.
“Not interested,” Orlova scoffed, arms across her chest as she looked over the men with disgust.
“You think I fucking care?!” Winters roared. “I thought you were supposed to be a Jumper!”
“I’m going to have to insist we dance instead, Lieutenant, though I admit I’m not nearly so attractive as Natalya,” Mendes interrupted, grabbing Winters’ arm in a competent grapple that forced him to turn away from Veera and Orlova. “In my country we all learn to dance from the time we can walk. You’re quite the partner.”
“I’m going to enjoy grinding you into dust, Private,” Winters snarled, a carnivorous smile on his face as the two men circled for a moment and then clashed, grappling and wrestling as Veera finally composed herself enough to attempt to finish what she started.
“Io!” She yelled. “Stop them!”
“What in the world is Io?” Orlova demanded.
‘Oh very well. I guess we’ve already taken out half of them,’ the AI groused. ‘And Mendes was polite enough. I’d hate to see him die.’
“IO! And get Antoth too!” Veera insisted, terrified that Io’s joke might possibly come true. All she had wanted to do was put an uppity human in his place. She could barely hear Io over the grunting of Mendes and Winters as they toppled to the ground in some perverse imitation of a scrum between guards.
‘That will be more difficult, but I’m on it…’
-----
“Io, a pleasure to see you! Has Lieutenant Winters finished his evaluation? What are you up to now?” Natori wondered as the beautiful woman appeared on his display. To his shock and confusion she quickly dressed herself as something out of a metal show back on Earth, or perhaps Halloween.
‘THE ESTABLISHMENT OF DOMINANCE!’ Io roared, causing every human on the bridge as well as Qul’Roth, who was working back into his old routine, to stare at her with open mouths. ‘No seriously, my Jumper is kicking the shit out of your Jumpers. Get down to the armory now.’
Natori was halfway to the door before she finished. “Turnwell…I may need another coffee later.”
“Not a problem sir,” the First Mate replied sympathetically.
“Admiral…”
“Envoy, please leave violence to the humans,” Kaczynski insisted before turning his back and sprinting off. The Ghaelen nodded to himself.
“I believe I’ll do just that. Perhaps I can pay engineer Prakash in hydroponics a visit?”
-----
“Anytime you want to quit, just say it,” Winters gasped for air, slamming his fist into Mendes’ side. The Brazilian Jumper had him in a surprisingly firm chokehold, but it was costing him dearly.
“Not on…your life,” Mendes grunted. Russell was about to promise just that when a booming voice filled the corridors.
“That is enough!” Admiral Kaczynski roared. “Lieutenant Winters, Private Mendes, opposite walls, now!”
Exhausted and not wanting to push their luck, the two men did just that, standing on each side of the corridor as Alice of all people looked on from Naotri’s wrist-mounted device. “Admiral, what’s going on? You said the hail was urgent? I found Antoth. Ratha is here as well.”
“I would like to know that myself,” Natori muttered darkly, looking around to find Lipper unconscious, Rex clutching his abdomen, and the two women standing by. Natalya was explaining to Veera that they should not move Lipper due to the potential of aggravating possible injuries to his head or spinal column. “Veera, Natalya, I would like the two of you to explain what happened here.”
“Yes sir,” Natalya replied, pushing Veera gently forward with her. “You will not be in trouble, Cauthan. Speak the truth only.”
It took not five minutes for the story to be derailed the moment that Veera revealed that Lipper had laid his hands on her.
“Veera!” Ratha yelled, barging into view on the projection from Mara that hovered above Natori’s wrist. “Get over here now!”
“Ratha, what the hell are you-”
“Shut up, scarface! When you’re rightfully furious you can come back. Until then I will defend my people since you refuse to! Veera, let me see your feathers now. Where did he grab you? This vision is blurry!” Out of respect for her leaders and not wanting to make more of a fuss, Veera held out her arm. “It hurts, doesn’t it?” Ratha asked quietly, placing her nose as close as possible to Alice’s display.
“Of course, Ratha. That does not mean I intend to cry about it,” Veera replied, peeved at being treated like a cub. The hallway fell deathly silent as the Huntress ‘rounded’ on Natori.
“You, human chieftain! You will execute the male who laid his hands on her or I will; make your choice!” They could all see the angry flare of Ratha’s crest before Antoth reprimanded her.
“Ratha!”
“Don’t you dare! She is one of us, Antoth! You cannot allow this to stand! If he were one of our kind you would be flogging him in the square right now! They will never respect us if they do not fear us.”
“And when you are Sun Priest you may choose to rule by fear if you think them the same!” Antoth boomed with barely contained rage. “Until then you will remember yourself, Huntress. Admiral…your soldier has put me in a very difficult position.”
Natori cast a glance at Lipper’s body, assuring himself that at least his chest was rising and falling. An alert popped up in his inbox. “Io, not now.”
‘I believe this will be necessary when this is all finished,’ the AI replied simply before stepping back out of the projection. He saw she had composed a shipwide email with a text file attachment. It was marked highest priority. Natori pinched the bridge of his nose. A headache was forming there as Mendes and Winters looked on with morbid interest. If anything, Russell was more shocked than the Beta Jumper. Ratha had treated Veera as one of her own.
“Antoth, if Sergeant Lipper were one of your people, what would happen to him?” Natori asked fearfully.
“Death!” Ratha shrieked.
“GET. OUT!” Antoth’s voice somehow grew louder still.
“We are in my temple, you unbearable mate of mine!”
“OUT!” The Sun Priest seethed as Ratha drew her knife and waved it at the screen. Alice felt like running as fast as her legs could carry her.
“I will not forget this, human,” she warned before storming off, her pregnant belly doing nothing to diffuse the aura of malice surrounding her. Both Natori and Antoth breathed a sigh of relief.
“Admiral, while my mate is out of line she is…correct. Your question? If a male of this village were to proposition a mated female and then harm her…the kindest I could do for him would be flogging him within an inch of his life with a barbed flail. Most would demand exile or execution. Both are death sentences, one just takes longer than the other,” Antoth explained in a deep, regretful voice.
“Antoth, really it’s just a couple feathers,” Veera spoke up with fear in her voice.
“No Veera, it is not just a couple feathers,” Antoth corrected her kindly but sternly. “In that, Ratha is also correct. You are one of us, you are of breeding age, and you have suffered harm.”
“By God,” Alice could be heard whispering.
“Antoth, I take responsibility for my soldier’s actions and beg your forgiveness. This is my mistake,” Natori stated immediately, watching as Lipper finally stirred to life. Natalya moved to his side, forcing him to remain still and to not speak or move his head.
‘The medical teams are already on their way,’ Io assured Kaczynski as Rex finally pulled himself into a seated position. She knew that grace in victory was her prize to claim, and that human literature almost universally rewarded those who accepted triumph with humility. Kaczynski continued to entreat the Cauthan for his soldier’s life.
“Thank you. Antoth, I will be honest with you. Out of respect for your people and way of life I have kept all details of your village and culture hidden from all but a handful of my crew. These soldiers were not among that number and did not know of your customs. I had hoped that this could have been done slowly, easing our two peoples together with minimal disruption. I was wrong. Io appears to have compiled a compendium of knowledge on your way of life for all of my crew and insists I send it out immediately to prevent any further misunderstandings, especially of this nature. On behalf of my people, and given that your own came out very much the victor here, I implore you to show mercy,” Natori pleaded. “And don’t you move a muscle, Sergeant. We will speak when this is all over.”
Antoth’s low, rumbling laugh soon could be heard coming from Natori’s device. “Admiral, you lost the possibility for minimal disruption the moment you sent Alice Winters to us. Half of my farmers decided to leave their fields this morning to examine the trinket she made for Thantis. Many clamor for their own…”
“Antoth, I’ve been trying to explain to them that unless their vision is poor they don’t…yes, I’m sorry, not the time or place!” Alice squeaked, falling silent again as Antoth took her by the shoulder. She walked with him through the temple of Valta until they found Ratha in the midst of gutting a chesko that had been felled that morning.
“What?” She spat.
“The human chieftain pleads for mercy, Ratha,” Antoth spoke firmly. “And in light of the services of both Winters siblings to our people, just this once, we will grant it. Admiral, I need assurance he will be punished according to your own species’ customs.”
“You have my word,” Natori agreed immediately as Io nodded sagely just offscreen. “The disciplinary actions will range anywhere from manual labor, to solitary confinement for a period of time, to a potential loss of his command position depending upon the evaluation of a tribunal. You have my profound thanks, Antoth.”
“When he recovers,” the Cauthan grunted disdainfully as Ratha held her tongue, apparently appeased by Natori’s plea. “Tell him that Alice saved his life.”
“I will do that, Antoth. Unless there is anything else?”
“No, but I will think on this and speak with you another time,” the village head promised. “Alice Winters, my gratitude for your haste in bringing this to our attention. You appear pale.”
With an unadulterated sigh of relief, Alice killed the connection and left the rest of them alone in the corridors just outside the armory. The Admiral looked between Mendes and Winters. “Both of you have latrine duty for a week. Lieutenant, do the Cauthan have an equivalent?”
“Outhouses, sir.”
“Then you may serve your sentence on Mara if you choose. Private?”
“Sir,” Mendes replied, making no protest. He was the only combatant left standing from Beta and knew the punishment was token. Whatever else needed to be said between the two men was conveyed silently, evinced only by a curt nod from Natori.
“And since you’re both awake now,” Kacznski said with acid on his tongue, looking between Rex and Lipper. “If your own broken bodies and egos are not punishment enough…I will see to it that justice is served in this matter. I wonder, Sergeant Lipper, if you ever imagined being saved by a civilian when you joined the Jumper corps.” The Admiral’s pointed musings were cut off as a medical team arrived with two stretchers. He issued orders at once, describing the injuries reported. With that information in hand, the medics loaded Lipper and Rex onto the beds and carted them away, one of them shining a pen light into the Sergeant’s eyes to check for concussive damage. “Mendes, Winters, I assume the two of you can make it to the infirmary on your own power?”
“Yes, sir.”
“Get checked out and then report to me in my quarters, Lieutenant. Private, consider yourself dismissed once the medical team clears you. Private Orlova, your team will remain aboard until further notice. I would get comfortable.”
“Yes, sir.”
“Now everyone who is a human, get out of my sight,” Natori gave his final order, watching as Winters, Mendes, and Orlova saluted and departed. “I am very sorry, Veera. Do you require medical attention for your feathers?”
“Ah no, it’s fine. A simple knife will suffice. What’s going to happen to Russell? He didn’t start it! I-”
“Io no doubt has the entire altercation recorded and at the ready. Oh, and you can send that message, Io,” Natori approved, sighing as every crew member aboard the Event Horizon was given mandatory reading. “Would you care to join me in my cabin? I would like to speak with you, if I might?”
“And to think I started today learning about flowers,” Veera lamented, though her statement caught Natori’s attention as Io and he shared a look. With a nod they bade one another farewell. He figured she might be checking on her body’s progress.
“Perhaps we could continue with that instead?” He suggested. “If you wouldn’t mind a further tour of my ship?”
“Ah…no, I suppose not?”
“It will just be while we are waiting for your husband, I assure you,” Natori said, reading the look on Veera’s face easily enough. He wondered if the shaking feathers meant fear or something different. “Io, when the Lieutenant is cleared please send him to hydroponics bay number seven. Thank you.”
‘Of course, Admiral. I look forward to devising a redoubled training schedule for your…I guess we can still call them Jumpers. Perhaps the rookie guard force would be more appropriate sparring partners?’
And so Io left Veera and Natori in silence, having made it quite clear that just because she helped run his ship and let him in on her secret cyborg project, she was in no way, shape, or form on ‘his side’ when it came to the inevitable frictions between Omega and Beta.
-----
“Oh dear, I think I know that look. Sentaura, I apologize but I’m gonna have to step away for a tick,” Lachlan informed his Cauthan host, peering over almost harvest-ready crops to see a rather distraught looking human looking right back at him. She was wearing a pair of durable pants and a white tank top. Sentaura walked to his side carefully, avoiding both her plants and the occasional fungus that shared the soil.
“Is there something wrong?” She demanded.
“If it’s somethin’ that would be affectin’ you or your boy you’ll be the first ta know,” he promised.
“Then go to her. I managed well enough before you came,” Sentaura insisted. Lachlan wondered if her tone and choice of words were a subtle compliment or a trick of the translation program. Permission ‘granted’, the Marine dusted his hands off and moved swiftly to Alice’s side where she promptly hugged him for dear life.
“Rusty got in a fight. A bad fight!” She sniffed. “Veera was there too!”
“Woah woah, hold yer horses there pretty lass. Why don’t we start from the beginnin’?” Lachlan insisted, placing an arm around her shoulders and leading her away from the well populated fields. In addition to not wanting to cause a scene, Lachlan figured the shade of the trees would be preferable. Not to mention it was where he had stashed his canteen for the day. He offered it to her and she accepted readily.
“Already picking up on some local tricks?” She teased softly, tilting her head back and allowing some of the water to trickle onto her tongue. “Hey, there’s…oh what the heck is it called…”
“Sentaura called it niacta root,” Lachlan supplied as Alice snapped her fingers.
“That’s the one! Xan totally got in trouble with Thantis for mixing too much of it into a draught for the guardsmen. Apparently if you go overboard it’ll numb your lips and throat for a while, at least if you’re a Cauthan. Super refreshing though, right? Lachlan, Rusty beat the shit out of Lipper and the others!”
Lachlan felt as though someone had smashed him upside the head with a mallet, and he was sure it showed on his face. He ran his fingers along the trail of his moustache and sizable beard before seeking clarity. “What do ya mean he beat the shit outta four Jumpers?”
“Look, all I know is that I got a call from Io desperately telling me to get Antoth. She said she couldn’t reach you!”
“Oh shite…that musta been when the tyke ran off with my helmet!” Lachlan groaned. “Do ye have any idea how fast those little legs can run when they don’ wanna be caught?!”
“I forgive you because you’re the best human dad on Mara,” Alice managed to smile before returning to her dour disposition, running a finger along the side of his canteen. “By the time I found Antoth and Ratha it was over. Lipper was on the ground, out cold. Rex looked like he could barely breathe. Veera and Natalya were watching as my brother and Mendes were wrapped up in some stupid MMA style crap. That was when Natori finally broke it up and things went bad.”
“Lassie, what do ya mean Lipp and Rex getting destroyed wasn’t the bad bit?” The Marine demanded in a quiet tone.
“The moment Antoth and Ratha found out that Lipper had touched Veera…taunted her and my brother, apparently bent a couple of her feathers. That Huntress started screeching like a banshee that Lipper had to die. I thought she was just being hormonal and pregnant until Antoth agreed.”
“By me grandmum and all else that’s holy, what do ye mean he has ta die?!” Lachlan yelped. Alice shook her head sadly.
“Remember when we first came down here and Veera warned you about touching her?”
“How could I forget?”
“Well apparently, Lipper committed one of the worst possible crimes as far as this village goes. He propositioned a married woman, even if it was surely just a crass joke. He touched her, and she sustained injury.”
“So what did the head fuzzball have ta say about all this?” MacGregor wondered. Alice snorted at the idea of anyone calling Antoth a fuzzball other than perhaps Io herself.
“He said that if Lipper were a Cauthan the best he could hope for is being flogged within an inch of his life with a barbed flail. His words, not mine,” Alice gasped. “But more likely the sentence would be exile or execution. Natori basically had to get on hands and knees, metaphorically speaking of course, to save him. It wasn’t enough.”
“What the bloody hell! Yer tellin’ me they…” MacGregor tempered his anger as Alice hugged herself and began crying, tearfully searching for the record of the conversation. She finally found the segment she’d been looking for.
‘Tell him that Alice saved his life.’
“What did he mean by that?” Mac wondered quietly.
“Be careful, please!” Alice implored, compelling the Marine to pick himself up and sit down at her side, giving her a shoulder to lean on. She indulged immediately. “I know how kind and thoughtful you are, just please be careful. Lipper was just picking another stupid fight and it almost got him killed. If you believe Antoth, the only reason he’s being shown mercy is because I got some glasses for Thantis! I didn’t want this, any of this!”
“But aren’t ye happy we’re here instead o’ somewhere else?”
“I know Mac, it’s just…saving people is what my brother is supposed to do. I just wanted to study them and be a part of this for a while! They all seemed so cute up until now.”
“Are ye havin’ second thoughts?”
“No…nothing like that. I just suddenly feel as though there’s a weight on our shoulders we didn’t ask for.”
“That’s just a part of bein’ a soldier, lass. So don’t ye worry about me one bit. And I’ll be here farmin’ these weird mushrooms an’ cucumbers if ya need anything.”
“What is...what is wrong with you?” Alice demanded as she devolved into a giggling fit.
“Do ye have any idea what it’s like fer a country boy ta deal with HEL food fer so long? She’s a bloody good cook, Alice.”
“Oh no…not you too!” The woman tragically moaned. “Just like my brother. I’m sure Veera lured him in with her cooking and then sunk her talons in deep!”
“Now yer just havin’ a go at my expense,” Lachlan pointed out happily, resting a tentative arm over her shoulders. She didn’t seem to take issue.
“Thanks Mac, you’re the best. So, have you decided to pay Cromwell a visit yet?”
Lachlan, who had just taken a sip of water himself, promptly sprayed the contents of his mouth all over the forest floor before coughing and spluttering. “I thought we were here ta talk about yer problems!”
“And what better way to take my mind off the fact that I apparently saved a Jumper from barbaric execution than by gossiping about the pilot who clearly wants to jump your bones?” Alice questioned devilishly. Mac leaned his head back against the tree they were seated against in defeat.
“Alice, I barely know her. I ain’t gonna sleep with her.”
“Oooh, you know me! Are you going to sleep with me?” She pressed. The silent, horrified look he sent her way was enough to have her clutching her side in stitches. “Ok, I’m sorry. I’m sorry!”
“Yer not sorry one bit!” He insisted. “But yer a damn good friend, Alice. And I’ve been around the block once or twice. I know that even best friends can…have things come between em once sex gets involved.”
“Wait, are you saying you’ve…you know, thought about me…like that?” Alice squeaked, suddenly feeling shy and quite aware of the fact that Lachlan was holding her.
“Is it that strange? It’s not like yer an unappealin’ lass,” Lachlan replied seriously. “But like I said, that doesn’t mean it’s the right thing ta do. If ya feel the need we can talk about it another time, Alice. I don’t think now’s best.”
“Yeah, yeah you’re right I just didn’t know you…I’m making it weird, aren’t I?”
“You could always say ye find me horribly unattractive and that would be that!” The Marine suggested. Alice looked up at him.
“Except then I’d be lying. But you’re right, Mac. Now is definitely not the time and…yeah, I would hate it if something wrecked whatever it is we have right now. Just…thank you so much.”
“Aww, it’s nothin’! I’m just glad Lipp gets to keep his head. Damn hot head it is too, always bound ta get him in trouble one day. Yer brother didn’t go easy on him I bet.”
“How did you know my brother won just fine?” Alice questioned.
“Other than you tellin’ me? Are ye kiddin’ lass? Lipper and his squad are well trained, but yer brother’s killed. If ye believe the stories he’s done a fair bit o’ killin’. My money’s on him, always. But let’s not dwell on this any longer. Ye said in that letter yesterday you fixed up the ol’ death priest with transition lenses? Why don’t ya go say hi and show him how they work? Perfect day for it.”
“And I’ll let you get back to farming,” Alice chuckled, standing and brushing herself off as Lachlan followed.
“I gotta earn my keep!” Lachlan agreed heartily, waving to Sentaura as they returned from the forest. The Cauthan had been watching them closely. She hummed to herself, pleased that he seemed to have found himself a mate. He was nice enough for an alien.
“Mmm, so that’s how it is. How curious!”
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