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I live in a small mining town in the mountains of Colorado. Someone is building a massive casino nearby, Pictures Included

I grew up in a small mountain town named Eureka. It was founded in the late 1800s during the gold rush, but after the mines dried up the town began its slow descent into decay. Half the houses are empty or abandoned now.
You can see a picture of the kind of houses here in Eureka:
First house
Second house
When a massive construction project began nearby, it was the talk of the town for weeks. Why would they build something in a sleepy dying town like Eureka? It wasn’t until my sister Selene talked to a few construction workers that we discovered they were building a casino.
A casino up in the mountains, over two hours away from Denver. None of us could understand why they’d chosen here of all places. After a few months of work, the casino was done.
I took a picture of the town with the completed casino in the background to the right. The ten-story-structure sticks out like a sore thumb off in the distance.
Town+Casino
After the casino opened, they hired a few dozen members of the town, offering high paying jobs to work as dealers or cleaning staff. I was already employed as a firefighter, but my sister Selene got a job as a blackjack dealer. She’s a widow with two young kids, so the paycheck was a real lifesaver.
Still, something about the situation seemed too good to be true. The jobs over there paid far too well, and the management was far too accommodating. The fire station where I work is located high on a hill overlooking the town, so I began watching the casino from a distance each day.
I had initially thought that the casino was located in a terrible location, but I was apparently wrong. True, Eureka was hours from any major city, but despite that, a bus full of people arrived every morning and left every evening.
One night I was over at my parent’s house and had dinner with Selene and her kids. I asked her about her experience as a dealer.
“It’s Ok,” she said. “Just a little boring I guess.”
“Boring?” I asked. “I’m surprised you don’t have your hands full.”
“Why’s that?” she asked. “It’s like you said, Eureka’s too small. I never have people playing cards. The casino is almost always completely empty.”
I wasn’t sure what to make of that. If the place was always empty, what happened to the people who I’d seen arriving on buses? “I’ve been keeping an eye on the building,” I said. “A bus full of people typically arrives around 9 AM every day.”
“Really?” she asked, looking confused. “If that’s true, I’ve never seen them.
“I can see it from the fire station,” I said. “If you head out for a smoke break at 9 AM, you’ll probably see them arriving.”
“Interesting,” she said. “I’ll do that. If they’re being processed for their organs or something, I’ll let you know.” She laughed.
“Har har,” I said sarcastically.
The next night she sent me a text calling me over. When I arrived, she was nearly breathless with excitement.
“Orin, You were right,” she said. “A big group of people did arrive, but they didn’t walk into my part of the casino. Instead, they all walked into an elevator at the back of the building. I’m not sure where that goes.” She looked thoughtful. “It was weird. They looked… How can I say it? Desperate? Something about the whole situation was very off. I’m gonna check out the elevator tomorrow.”
I told her to be careful, though, to be honest, I was excited to hear about what she discovered. When I visited my parent’s house the next night, I found her two kids there alone. They told me that Selene had never returned from work.
I called all her friends, then all our neighbors, but no one had seen her since she left for work that morning. Our conversations regarding the casino flooded my mind, then a plan began to form.
Early the next morning I walked across town in my nicest pair of jeans and a button-up shirt. I pushed through the door to the casino and saw that Selene wasn’t lying. The place was all but deserted. Three dozen slot machines crowded the walls surrounding a few tables interspersed throughout the floor of the casino. The only players in the whole building were Bob and Donald, two locals.
I walked up to a nearby table where Bridget, a girl I’d gone to high school with, was shuffling cards. She broke into a grin when she saw me. “Hey Orin, you here for a few rounds of blackjack?”
“I wish,” I said. “No, I’m here to ask about Selene. She never made it home last night.”
Bridget’s expression darkened. “Really? Have you asked around?”
“I already called around. Have you seen her?”
She shook her head. “No, our schedules rarely line up. I’ll be sure to let you know if I--” Her eyes focused on something behind me, and she cut herself off.
I turned around to see the casino’s pit boss watching us both. He was a tall thin man in an impeccably clean black suit. When I turned back towards Bridget, she was looking down at the table and shuffling cards absent-mindedly.
“Well, if you hear anything, let me know,” I said.
She nodded, so I turned around and headed for the pit boss. I stuck out my hand. The temperature of his hand was so hot that I had to pull my hand away after a few seconds.
“Have… have you seen my sister Selene?” I asked. “She hasn’t been seen since her shift here yesterday.”
He smiled. “Sir, this floor is for players. You’re more than welcome to head to the tellers for chips, but barring that I’m afraid I’ll have to ask you to leave.”
I stared at him for a long second before stalking towards the door. When I looked back, he was talking with Bridget.
I checked my watch. 8:55 AM, just as I’d planned. I walked around the back of the building and waited as the morning bus pulled around the building. I waited for the telltale hiss of the opening doors and the sound of people descending before I rounded the corner and joined the crowd. None of them paid any particular attention to me as I walked with them into the casino.
The crowd walked through a side door down a hallway to an elevator. Small groups of people entered the elevator as the rest of us waited for our turn. I shot a glance at the casino patrons, surprised at their diversity. There seemed to be people from all different countries and ethnicities. I heard one speaking Japanese and another speaking what sounded like an African language.
My turn came along with a few other patrons in the elevator. A sickly woman hobbled into the elevator beside me carrying an IV that was still connected to one of her veins. We piled in and rode up to the top.
The elevator rose for a few long seconds. I wasn’t sure what I would find, but I steeled myself for something horrible. The elevator’s speaker let out a TING, then the doors opened.
We all walked out onto what looked like a standard casino. Another few dozen slot machines ringed the walls, but on this floor, they were almost all occupied by customers. I took in the scene, confused at why they’d have a ground floor that was almost completely empty when this place was almost--
Selene was dealing cards at a nearby table.
I jogged over and sat down at an open seat. None of the players around me paid me much attention.
“Selene!” I said. “Are you OK? Did you spend the night here last night?”
Her eyes were glassy and confused. She looked up at me with a dumb expression and didn’t respond to my question.
“Selene?” I asked.
“What’s your bet?” she asked me. “This table is for blackjack players only.”
“I…” I trailed off, looking at the players around me. None of them were betting with chips of any kind. “What’s the minimum bet?” I asked.
“Three years,” she responded.
“Three years then,” I said, not knowing what that referred to.
Selene nodded, then began dealing cards. I shot a look down at my hand. King and a 9. Selene dealt out cards for herself, showing a 9. I stood, then leaned forward again. “Should I call the police? Are you--”
“Congratulations,” she said tonelessly.
An almost impossibly warm hand grabbed my shoulder. I spun to see the pit boss I’d spoken to earlier. He gave an impressed smile. “Orin, was it? I’m impressed, truly. Would you mind if I had a word with you?”
I shot a look back at Selene who was dealing the next round of cards. Then I got to my feet, balling my hands into fists. “What did you do to her?”
The pit boss clasped his hands behind his back. “Nothing more, and nothing less than what I’m going to do to you. That is, offer you the chance to play.”
“What the hell is that supposed to mean?”
The pit boss nodded his head towards a nearby slot machine. A woman in a wheelchair pulled a lever and watched the flashing numbers spin. They exploded in a cacophony of sirens and flashing lights. “WINNER WINNER WINNER!” The machine screeched.
The woman in the wheelchair put her feet on the ground and stood up on a pair of wobbly legs that had clearly never been used before.
“As in any other casino,” the pit boss said, “you must wager for the chance to win.”
“She... won the use of her legs?” I asked, feeling light-headed. “Wait,” I said. “I played blackjack just now. ‘Three years,’ Selene told me. What does ‘three years’ mean?” I asked.
“Three years of life, of course. Did you win?”
My mouth felt dry. “I-- Yes, I won.”
He smiled warmly. “Congratulations. I hope you enjoy them. I can tell you from personal experience that watching the decades pass is a bore. Give it some time and you’ll be back to spend them.”
I watched the pit boss’s face. He couldn’t have been more than a few years older than me, and I was in my early thirties. I looked around at the casino. No one was playing with chips of any kind. “So what?” I asked. “I won years of life. That woman won the use of her legs. What else can a person win here?”
“Oh, almost anything. They can win almost anything you can imagine.”
A cold feeling settled in my stomach. “And what do they wager?”
His eyes flashed with greed. “Almost anything. They can wager almost anything you can possibly imagine. Anything equal in value to the item they want in return.” He nodded towards a nearby roulette table.
A man stood by the table, cradling his hands. “Another finger,” he called out. He only had three fingers remaining on his left hand. As I watched, the ball came to a stop, and another finger disappeared from his left hand.
The pit boss extended his hands. “Feel free to try any of our games. Bet and win whatever you’d like.” He reached out and snatched my hand. A feeling of intense warmth passed up my arm to my chest. “There,” he said. “I’ve even given you some house money to get you started. An extra decade of life, on me.”
I ripped my hand away, staring at him in horror. Then I looked back at Selene. Something clicked in my mind. “You offered her the chance to play. What did she want?” I asked.
“Her husband,” the pit boss said. “Quite the sad story. He died two years ago. She wanted him brought back to her.”
“What did she wager?” I asked.
“She wanted the chance to win a soul, the most valuable object in existence. I’m sure you can imagine what she needed to wager for the chance to win it. What she wagered is unimportant. The important question is: What do you want, Orin?”
I stared at Selene with a flat expression. “I’m sure you can imagine.”
His eyes flashed with greed again. “How wonderful. The casino could always make use of another dealer. Feel free to make your wager at any one of our games; I’ll be eagerly awaiting the results of your night. Oh, and do take advantage of our waitresses. We always supply food and drink for ‘high rollers’.” He walked away.
I spent the next few hours trying to decide which game to play. I was going to be wagering my soul, so I wanted the highest chance possible. Slots and roulette were out. I’d done some reading online about counting cards, so I figured that blackjack gave me the best odds.
I walked up to Selene’s table and sat down. “Bet?” she asked with that same toneless voice. “Three years,” I said.
I spent the next hour or so doing my best to remember how to count cards. I knew that low cards added one to my count and high cards decreased it by one, but the casino used three decks. I had read something about how that was supposed to change my calculation, but I couldn’t quite remember how.
Every time I won a hand, I cursed myself for not putting everything on the line. Every time I lost, I breathed a prayer of thanks that I’d waited. And all the while, I kept track of the count.
I had lost fifteen years of life when the count finally reached +5.
“Bet?” Selene asked.
“I wager my soul so you can be free,” I said.
The table around me fell silent. Selene’s eyes flickered, but she showed no other emotion as she dealt the cards. I watched my first card, punching the air in excitement when I saw a Jack. My excitement turned to ash when my second card was a four. Fourteen.
I looked at her hand. One card was facedown, but the faceup card was a King. I swore loudly, staring down at my hands.
“Hit?” she asked. The entire table was silently watching me.
“Hit,” I said, not looking down. The table erupted in cheers. I looked down to see a 7 atop my two other cards. 21. Blackjack.
I looked at Selene who flipped over her facedown card to reveal a 9. 19. I won.
The glassy look left her eyes immediately. She looked around in surprise, then her eyes locked on mine. “Orin?” she asked, then almost immediately began to cry. The entire casino broke out in cheers.
I grabbed her hand and headed for the elevator. The doors had begun to close when the pit boss reached out with a hand to stop them.
“Congratulations,” he said, beaming. He seemed to be honestly excited.
“Shouldn’t you be upset?” I asked.
“Not at all. Casinos love it when we have big winners. It inspires the other players to make larger bets. I imagine I’ll gain two or three dealers before the night is through from your performance.”
“Great,” I said flatly. “Now let us go.”
“Not yet,” he said. “You didn’t just win, Orin. You got a blackjack. And blackjack pays out 1.5 times your bet. You won your sister’s soul and more.”
I stared, not sure what to say. “What are you saying? I won half a soul extra?”
The pit boss grinned wildly. “Just remember what I said. You’ll find living for decades and decades to be a boring experience. After a few centuries, you’ll be back to gamble that half a soul away. Congratulations!”
He removed his hand, and the elevator doors slammed shut.
I helped Selene back to her house. Her children were relieved. I watched them cry, then moved into the kitchen to start making dinner.
It’s been a few days since that experience. The casino is still out there, and buses full of people still arrive. I… I cut my hand pretty bad a few days later. When I checked it an hour later, it had already healed, no scar or anything. I’m not sure exactly what I won at that casino, but there’s no way I’m ever going back.
X
submitted by Worchester_St to nosleep [link] [comments]

Respect Red Jacket Lupin the 3rd! (Lupin the 3rd Part 2)

"That just means the game isn't over yet! The goddess of victory will smile upon me, Lupin III!"
Required listening for this thread
Lupin III is the grandson of Arsène Lupin. He is the world's most wanted gentleman thief. Lupin is acknowledged by virtually every law agency on earth as the world's number one thief. Often in his adventures, he and his colleagues, Daisuke Jigen and Goemon Ishikawa XIII, will take it upon themselves to foil other criminals engaged in more violent crimes. While first glance may imply Lupin as fun-loving, flighty, perhaps even "goofy", his surface façade overcoats a brilliant imagination and a thorough knowledge of a hundred varying sciences. Forever extemporizing and reevaluating, Lupin has been responsible for heists no right-minded individual would believe possible. While arrested and jailed on numerous occasions, typically by his nemesis Inspector Zenigata, he has always managed to escape. He has a fondness for fancy gadgets from time to time plus hands-on experience in many skills a thief would find useful. His infatuation with Fujiko Mine is perhaps his most significant weakness, as it lands him in undesirable situations most of the time.

Equipment

Exactly what it sounds like. They are released to distract the motion sensors of an extremely secure museum
A rapidly expanding airbag.
Lupin's trademark blue and white boxer shorts double as an emergency parachute.
A small bomb that detonates when shot by Jigen.
A set of balloons that lift an Egyptian death mask display. Lupin also has a larger set they used to steal the Statue of Liberty
A briefcase containing a rapidly expanding balloon filled with knockout gas.
A small, golden coin with his face on it. When thrown, releases a giant Lupin-shaped dummy.
Several large barrels of explosive liquid set off by flaming rags.
A massive hang-glider shaped like a bat.
A grenade that, upon contact, expands into a massive blow up doll.
A decorative bracelet with a wire/chain on the end.
A pair of wings and an engine that extend from a handheld briefcase.
A massive bubble that protects Lupin from traps.
A nearly invisible hang-glider.
A small, silver ball that emits a loud bang, a burst of light, and rainbow confetti.
A large, green balloon with Lupin's face on it.
A paddleboat hidden within a larger boat's hull. The boat also has a large engine on the back
Several duck-shaped bombs that are capable of sinking large ships. They do not discern what they're blowing up, however, and can be dangerous. They can also be hidden
A dummy head that when stomped emits a thick smokescreen.
A dummy large enough for Lupin to hide inside. Can expand enough to lift a large truck
An electric gun developed by the same scientist who invented Lightsabers. Can cut through bullet proof glass, lift a store's worth of jewels and helps pull a building apart. It also instantly KOs Zenigata
Includes exploding chewing gum, exploding cigarettes, exploding cigars, an explosive hat an exploding head, a exploding lighter, a exploding mask, exploding navigation stick, an explosive suit, an explosive tooth, and an explosive watch
One of Lupin's left molars. Has a brevity of uses including a remote control for one of his vehicles, a computer that can analyze any drugs he's given, a pair of robotic arms that can throw the drugs back, a radio, and a lockpick
A small aerosol can that allows Lupin to lift fingerprints from a glass.
A small grenade that lets off a colorful explosion.
A remotely-controlled flying car. It manages to lift off the ground but nothing else.
A small device that opens a miniature black hole when used.
A grenade with a powerful knockout gas. Works fast enough to cover an entire oil rig in seconds.
A massive, propelled dummy of Lupin and Jigen that explodes with a giant boom and flash
A rocket fired from an RPG that, when detonated, sprays glue strong enough to stick several large ships together.
Pieces needed to assemble a working go-kart.
A small hang-glider that carries a single missile.
A standard hearse that turns into a helocopter.
A horse capable of outrunning several jeeps, dodging bullets, and running across a small ladder. Lupin has a way with animals that allows him to frequently use them in his escapes. Also he got a horse to do this once. I don't feel like trying to explain it.
A standard jetpack.
A pair of shoes which turn into personal jetpacks when activated by tapdancing. They can also be used offensively and for escapes
A small kusari-gama capable of swinging a car back onto an icy road
Works as a lighter and also can emit a powerful knockout gas. Also explodes when dynamite is strapped to it, as most things do and works as a communicator
A powerful drug slipped into Zenigata's drink.
A pair of magnetic hand grips that assist in climbing.
Standard marbles or ball bearings used to make a pursuer lose their footing.
A small kite able to carry Lupin.
A mini oxygen tank shaped like a cigarette.
A fleet of tiny RC cars, all remotely controlled by Lupin. Comes in Red, Green, and Yellow.
A breathing device kept in Lupin's jacket.
A gun that fires a suction cup dart that once attached pierces a glass window. It goes on to attach itself to a safe's dial. Lupin can control the dart remotely, cracking a safe from outside the room
A helicopter controlled by a small joystick.
Similar to his helicopter except it is controlled by a Gameboy-like controller.
A riding crop that fires miniature tranquilizer darts.
A bright light attached to a ring on Lupin's finger.
A pair of robotic legs that can be attached to an object. Strong enough to make a statue run through a wall.
A device hidden within an elevator that causes it to turn into a high powered rocket.
A pair of weights fired from an rpg. Used to wrap around submarines to weigh them down.
A small device created by Lupin that instantly cracks a safe.
A small silver sticker that delivers a massive shock "bigger than a stun gun"
A pair of knives fired from the tips of Lupin's shoes.
A small transmitter in Lupin's shoe that signals a nearby biplane. The plane has a large bomb attached to it.
A silver copy of Lupin's signature weapon. Lupin states it is "only for threatening".
An immediately effective sleeping aerosol.
Creates a thick smoke for quick escapes.
A pack of cigarettes that react when dropped in water to create a thick smokescreen.
A small bomb that can stick to any surface. The adhesive is strong enough a grown man cannot remove it and the explosion is large enough to topple a massive statue.
A car that doubles as a submarine with the flip of a switch. Allows Lupin and the gang to avoid a missile.
A pistol-sized gun that fires a suction cup on a rope. Strong enough to lift a man.
A car that can be driven from either the front or the rear.
Adhesive bombs with a set timer.
An umbrella that grows in size and operates that a helicopter's blades.
A small bomb that causes a big boom.
Allow Lupin to see hollow spots underground.
A propelled underwater vehicle. When surfacing, turns into a raft
A small machine Lupin wears around one of his teeth.
A small camera inside Lupin's watch. Can take and print photos.
Different from his normal grappling hook, this is attached to a pistol-like controller that reels it in.
A small dart fired from Lupin's watch that emits a trackable signal.
A sword made of pressurized water. Stated to be as "hard as diamond". During their duel, the blade cuts a door in half
A pair of wings that protrude from Lupin's car allowing it to glide.
A wingsuit.
A pocket-sized yo-yo.

Speed

General
Movement
Reaction

Skill

Accuracy
Dodging
Driving
Escapes
Fighting Ability
General
Quick Thinking
Sleight of Hand

Disguises

As Lupin uses disguises all the time, gathering every single disguise he uses would fill the entire respect thread. I gathered some of my favorites for this section.
submitted by CalicoLime to respectthreads [link] [comments]

HUGE DECLUTTER! Mostly everything is over 50% off! Charlotte Tilbury, Pat McGrath, Natasha Denona, Nars, Jouer, Tom Ford, Glossier, Fenty, YSL, RMS, Jouer, Huda, Urban Decay, Nudestix, Hourglass, Ilia, Nabla, Colourpop, KKW, KL Polish, & more! Come take a look 👀

Hi, I am selling new & lightly swatched or used items from a non-smoking home. If you want more pictures of specific items, let me know. Everything is full sized unless marked as ds.
Feel free to make reasonable offers especially for multiple items. $5.00 minimum purchase preferably. Shipping is $4.00 unless they are heavier items. I accept G&S (I cover fees). I will send tracking info as soon as I have it and will ship packages within 2-3 days.
If you would like some reviews from people I have sold to on previous posts, let me know.
If you change your mind, please let me know. I will move to next person in line after 2 hours. If you need more time than that, just let me know and we can work something out. Thank you for looking 😃
FOR SALE!!
(I have everything that has sold marked)
EYESHADOW PALETTES: Verification
• (SOLD)Charlotte Tilbury Exaggereyes palette (Only used 1 time/barely used)- Retails for $53, Asking $30
• (SOLD)Urban Decay Born to Run palette (Used 2-3x)- Retails for $49, Asking $15
• Urban Decay Naked 2 palette (Only used 1x)-Retails for $54, Asking $24
• Dominique Cosmetics Berries & Cream palette (Used 5-6x)- Retails for $44, Asking $15
• Huda Beauty Desert Dusk palette (Only used 1x)- Retails for $65, Asking $22
• (SOLD) Too Faced Natural Lust palette (Only swatches)- Retails for $59, Asking $22
• Too Faced Natural Love palette (Used 2-3x)- Retails for $59, Asking $20
• Kylie Cosmetics bronze palette (Only swatched)- Retails for $29.40, Asking $7
• Nars Atomic Blonde eye and cheek palette (Used/the 2 left shades are pressed togetheprice will reflect condition)- Retails for $59, Asking $18
• Nabla Cutie palette (Nude) (Used 2-3x)- Retails for $24, Asking $12
• Dose of Colors Marvelous Mauves palette (Only swatched)- Retails for $32, Asking $12
• (SOLD) Too Faced White Peach palette (Only used 1x)- Retails for $40.50, Asking $14
• Morphe 35I (pastel collaboration with pony park) (Swatched only some shades, some shades never used)- Retails for $25, Asking $12
• Elf x Jkissa palette (first one) (All shades only swatched except bottom left blue shade is used 1x)- Cant find retail price because it’s limited edition, Asking $10
• Colourpop Give it to Me Straight palette (Some shades never used/some used 1x)- Retails for $18, Asking $8
• Colourpop Fem Rosa palette (Used 4-5x)- Retails for $16, Asking $8
• (SOLD) Colourpop Mint to Be palette (Most shades are new/couple have been swatched only)- Retails for $12, Asking $6
• BH Cosmetics Weekend Festival palette (Used 2x)- Retails for $18, Asking $8
• BH Cosmetics Take Me Back to Brazil palette (Used 2x/some shades never used)- Retails for $20, Asking $9
• Milani Bold Obsessions eyeshadow palette (Used 1-2x)- Retails for $10.99, Asking $5
• Alamar Reina Del Caribe 1 palette (Used 5-6x)- I can’t find retail price because it’s limited edition, Asking $5
FACE PALETTES: Verification
• Tom Ford Shade & Illuminate with box and Tom Ford bag the compact comes in (cream bronzer and highlighter) (Only swatched lightly)- Retails for $88, Asking $40
• (SOLD) Dior Backstage Glow face palette in 001 Universal- (Swatched only)- Retails for $45, Asking $24
• (SOLD) Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze and glow (Used 12-15x)- Retails for $68, Asking $24
• (SOLD) Natasha Denona Bloom blush and glow palette (Swatched only)- Retails for $55, Asking $25
• Nars Exposed palette (Some shades only used 1x/some used 3-4x)- Retails for $59, Asking $25
• RMS Signature Set palette (Pop collection)(Comes with Buriti bronzer, Magic luminizer, Demure lip2cheek, Beloved lip2cheek, & Simply vanilla lip and skin balm) (Used 1x)- Retails for $44, Asking $15
• Jouer bronzer duo in Sunlight/Suntan (Used 1-2x)- Retails for $32, Asking $14
• Jouer blush bouquet duo in Coquette (Used 3-4x)- Retails for $32, Asking $14
• Juvia’s The Saharan blush palette (2)- Retails for $18, Asking $8
• Too Faced Cocoa Contour palette (older one) (Bottom right shade never used/contour shades used 2-3x/top left shade used 5-6x)- Retails for $42, Asking $10
• Anastasia Beverly Hills cream contour kit in fair- (Used 4-5x)- Retails for $40, Asking $5
HIGHLIGHTERS: https://imgur.com/a/OXe5NUS
• (SOLD) Mac x Pony Park Extra Dimension Skinfinish in Sky’s The Limit (Used 2x lightly)- Limited edition $35
• (SOLD) Glossier Haloscope highlighter in Quartz (Used 2x)- Retails for $22, Asking $9
• (SOLD) Glossier Haloscope in Moonstone (Used 3x)- Retails for $22, Asking $9
• Fenty Killawatt highlighter duo in Lightning Dust/Fire Crystal (Used 5-6x)- Retails for $36, Asking $16
• Fenty Killawatt Freestyle highlighter in Wattabrat (Only swatched)- Retails for $36, Asking $16
• YSL Lumiere Divine highlighting finishing powder- Retails for $47, Asking $14
• Perricone No Makeup highlighter (Used 5-6x)- Retails for $35, Asking $14
• Charlotte Tilbury highlighter wand in Spotlight (Used 3-4x/took sponge off of applicator because I thought it dispensed better)- Retails for $38, Asking $14
• Urban Decay highlighter in Sin (Used 4-5x)- Retails for $26, Asking $6
• Kaja Roller Glow highlighter with clean roller in packaging (Used 1x lightly)- Retails for $28, Asking $8
• Kaja Mochi Glow in Prizm (Used 1-2x)- Retails for $19, Asking $4
• Kaja Mochi Glow in Toy Alien (ds) (Used 1x)- Asking $2
• Ofra Pillowtalk highlighter (ds)(Only used 1x)- Retails for $18, Asking $5
• Hourglass Vanish highlighter in Champagne Flash (ds .05 oz) (Only swatched)- Asking $2
• Nudestix Illuminaughty highlighter stick (ds .06 oz) (Only swatched)- Asking $2
• Nudestix Skin Glossing Pencil (Only swatched)- Retails for $26, Asking $5
• Becca Shimmering Skin Perfecter Slimlight in Pearl (Used 1x)- Asking $3
• Laura Gellar Baled Gelato Swirl Illuminator in Diamond Dust (ds)(Used 1-2x)- Asking $3
• (SOLD) Pixi Glowy Gossamer duo in Delicate Dew (Used 1x)- Retails for $15, Asking $3
• Make face gloss (New)- Retails for $25, Asking $5
• Maybelline Master Strobing Stick in Medium (Swatched only)- Retails for $9.99, Asking $2
• Ulta Beauty Illuminator in Brilliant Diamond (Swatched only)- Retails for $10, Asking $2
• (SOLD) Benefit Dandelion Shy Beam (ds .08 oz)(New)- Asking $1
BLUSH: Verification
• (SOLD) Glossier Cloud Paint in Dusk (Used 1-2x)- Retails for $18, Asking $9
• (SOLD) Glossier Cloud Paint in Beam (Used 1-2x)- Retails for $18, Asking $9
• (SOLD) Buxom Wanderlust primer infused blush in Mykonos (Used 3x)- Retails for $23, Asking $10
• Nudestix Nudies matte blush stick in Bareback (Used 3-4x)- Retails for $32, Asking $15
• Ilia multistick in A Fine Romance (Used 2-3x)- Retails for $34. Asking $15
• Stila convertible color cream blush in Peony (Swatched only)- Retails for $25, Asking $9
• Tarte Amazonian Clay blush in Paaarty (ds .05 oz)(Swatched only)- Asking $3
• Benefit Dandelion Dew (ds .16 oz)(New)- Asking $2
• Ulta mineral blush in Sweet Pea (Swatched only)- Retails for $12, Asking $3
• Stila aqua glow watercolor blush in shimmering lotus (Swatched only)- Retails for $4
• Milani baked blush in Delizioso Pink (Swatched only)- Retails for $9.49, Asking $2
• Milani baked blush in Bella Rosa (Swatched only)- Retails for $ 9.49, Asking for $2
• Elf blush in Shy (Used 2-3x)- Asking $.50
BRONZER\CONTOUR: Verification
• (SOLD) Cover Fx Monochromatic bronzer duo in Sunkissed- Retails for $38, Asking $15
• Milk Makeup bronzer stick in Baked (Used 1-2x)- Retails for $28, Asking $14
• Kylie Cosmetics bronzer in Khaki (Swatched only)-Retails for $18, Asking $7
• Bare Minerals Endless Summer bronzer in Faux Tan (Used 2x)- Retails for $29, Asking $13
• Fenty bronzer in Shady Biz (ds) (Swatched only)-Asking $4
• Benefit Hoola (ds) (Used 2x)- Asking $2
• Make dew pot in Bronze 2 (Used 4x)- Retails for $20, Asking $3
• NYX Micro Contour duo pencil in Light (Swatched only)- Asking $2
• Milani baked bronzer in 04 Glow (Swatched only)- Retails for $8.99, Asking $1
POWDERS: Verification
• Fenty Invisimatte blotting powder (Used 1x)- Retails for $32, Asking $14
• KKW brightening powder in 1 (Vanilla) (Used a few times)- Retails for $18, Asking $10
• (SOLD) Jaclyn Hill Cosmetics Mood Light luminous powder in Dew Me- (Swatched only)- Retails for $32, Asking $15
• Laura Gellar Baked Balance N Brighten powder foundation in Porcelain (Used 10x)- Retails for $34, Asking $7
• JCat Aquasurance powder foundation in Ivory (Used 3-4x)- Retails for $13.99, Asking $4
• Urban Decay Velvetizer mix in medium (ds .14 oz)- (Can use as regular powder) (Used 1x)- Retails for $17, Asking $4
• Ilia Fade Into You soft focus finishing powder (ds .05 oz) (Used 1x)- Asking $3
• Ilia Fade Into You soft focus finishing powder (ds .05 oz)- (Used 1x)- Asking $2
• Rimmel Stay Matte pressed powder in Creamy Natural (Used 6x)- Retails for $4.69, Asking $1
• Milani Prep, Set, Glow illuminating transparent pressed powder (Hourglass finishing powder dupe) (Used condition)- Retails for $9.99, Asking $1
FOUNDATIONS: Verification
• Fenty Pro Filt’r Matte longwear foundation in 120 (only used once)- Retails for $35, Asking $15
• Smashbox Studio Skin 15 hour wear foundation in .2 (Used 3-4x, bottle is about 7/8 full)- Retails for $38, Asking $13
• Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Ultra-Longwear foundation in 1C1 Shell (Used a few times, bottle is almost full)- Retails for $48, Asking $15
• Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer in Porcelain (Used 2-3x, almost full)- Retails for $46, Asking $15
• Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer in Nude (ds .5 oz) (Used 1x)- Asking $2
• RMS Uncover Up foundation/concealer pot in 000 (Used 5-6x, a little over 3/4 full)- Retails for $36, Asking $14
• It Cosmetics YSBB full coverage CC Cream in Fair (a little over half full)- Retails for $39.50, Asking $9
• (SOLD) Estée Lauder Double Wear foundation in 1C0 Shell (Used 2-3x)- Retails for $43, Asking $15
• Makeup Forever Ultra HD foundation stick in Y225 (About 40-45% remaining)- Retails for $43, Asking $7
• Makeup Forever Ultra HD foundation stick in Y225 (About 20% remaining)- Retails for $43, Asking $4
• It Cosmetics Bye Bye Redness Neutralizing Correcting cream (About half full)- Retails for $34, Asking $7
• Loreal Infallible Total Cover foundation in 301 Classic Ivory (40-50% full)- Retails for $12.99, Asking $1
• Maybelline Superstay foundation in 112 (Only used once but the pump is stuck so it is hard to get foundation out without opening bottle/price will be lower because of this) (Used 1-2x)- Retails for $11.99, Asking $2
CONCEALERS: Verification
• Glossier Stretch concealer in G11 (about 7/8 full)- Retails for $18, Asking $9
• Dose of Colors Meet Your Hue concealer in 01 (used a few times)- Retails for $24, Asking $8
• It Cosmetics Bye Bye Undereye full coverage concealer in Light (used a few times)- Retails for $27, Asking $12
PRIMERS: Verification
• First Aid Beauty Hello Fab coconut skin smoothie priming moisturizer- Retails for $29, Asking $13
• First Aid Beauty Hello Fab Pores Be Gone matte primer- Retails for $29, Asking $13
• Milk Makeup Hydrogrip gripping primer (ds) (used 1x, mostly full)- Retails for $15, Asking $5
• Laura Mercier radiance primer (ds .5 oz) (Used 1x, mostly full)- Asking $2
• Becca First Light priming filter (ds .5 oz) (Used 1-2x)- Asking $2
• Maybelline Master blur stick primer in universal transparent (Used 1-2x)- Retails for $7.99, Asking $1.50
EYES/BROWS/LASHES: Verification
• Pat McGrath Dark Matter pigment- Part of the dark star labs set which was $95, Asking $15
• Huda Beauty Matte & Metal double ended liquid eyeshadows in Wednesday and Fro-yo- Retails for $25, Asking $15
• Melt Cosmetics single eyeshadow in Rubbish (Swatched only)- Retails for $17, Asking $9
• Glossier Boy Brow in Blonde (Used 1x)- Retails for $16, Asking $8
• Nudestix Magnetic Luminous eye color stick in Copper Foil (swatched only)- Retails for $26, Asking $8
• Nudestix Magnetic eye color stick in Twilight (swatched only)- Retails for $26, Asking $8
• Nudestix Magnetic eye color in Lilith (used 1x lightly)- Retails for $26, Asking $8
• Nudestix Magnetic matte eye color stick in Putty (swatched only)- Retails for $26, Asking $8
• Nudestix Magnetic matte eye color stick in Taupe (used 1x lightly)- Retails for $26, Asking $8
• (SOLD) Nudestix Nude Artist tin box- Asking $2
• Tarte Chrome Paint shadow pot in Top Yacht (swatched only)- Retails for $22, Asking $8
• Nars Velvet Shadow Stick in Hollywoodland (used 2x)- Retails for $20.30, Asking $6
• Stila Glitter & Glow in Perlina (ds) (used 1x)- Retails for $12, Asking $3
• Stila Glitter & Glow in Sunset Fire (ds) (new never used)- Came in set, Asking $3
• Stila Magnificent Metals foil finish eyeshadow in Metallic Gilded Gold (swatched lightly)(comes with box and mixing medium)- Can’t find retail because it’s discontinued, Asking $4
• Colourpop Zodiac loose pigment in The Crab (used 1-2x)- Retails for $6, Asking $3
• Colourpop single eyeshadow in Checkmate (comes in compact) (swatched only)- Retails for $4.50, Asking $2
• Colourpop SSS in Bandit (used 2x)- Retails for $6, Asking $1.00
• Colourpop SSS in Cornelious (Broken/price will reflect condition)- Retails for $6, Asking $.50
• Colourpop SSS in Brady (Broken/price will reflect condition)- Retails for $6, Asking $.50
• Colourpop pencil eyeliner in Mr. Bing (new)- Retails for $6, Asking $1.00
• Colourpop pencil eyeliner in Besto (used 5-6x)- Retails for $6, Asking $.50
• The Balm Batter Up eyeshadow stick in Outfield (used 1-2x)- Retails for $17, Asking $2
• The Balm Batter Up eyeshadow stick in Slugger (used 1-2x)- Retails for $17, Asking $2
• CoverGirl x Katy Perry Katy Kat Wink lashes in Kat Whiskers (New in box)- Asking $1.50
• Revlon brow mousse in Soft Brown (new)- Retails for $10.99, Asking $.75
• Revlon brow mousse in blonde (used 1x)- Retails for $10.99, Asking $.50
• Revlon Colorstay Bold creme eyeshadow in Cognac (swatched)- Retails for $8.49, Asking $.75
• Revlon Colorstay Bold creme eyeshadow in Merlot (swatched)- Retails for $8.49, Asking $.75
Lips: Verification
•Glossier generation g in jam- (older version) Never used, swatched 1x lightly on back of hand- Retails for $18, Asking $8
• Kylie Cosmetics lip kit in Koko K (no box) (new)- Retails for $27, Asking $12
• Nars Tonka lipstick (new with box but I just got it in the mail recently and it was broken on the bottom so it can fall out of tube and also the top is a little smashed so price will reflect condition)- Retails for $26, Asking $5
• Mac Lustre lipstick on See Sheer (More of a lip tint) (swatched 1x lightly on back of hand)- Retails for $19, Asking $8
•Mac cremesheen lipstick in Creme D’ Nude- never used, swatched 1x lightly on back of hand- Retails for $19, Asking $8
•?Mac amplified lipstick in Saint Germain- never used, swatched 1x lightly on back of hand- Retails for $19, Asking $8
• Urban Decay cream lipstick in Wired- Retails for $22, Asking $8
• Rodin luxury lipstick in Dahlia- never used, lightly swatched once on back of hand- Retails for $38, Asking $10
• Benefit Benetint (new)- Retails for $30, Asking $8
• (SOLD) Benefit Double the Lip lipstick & liner in one in Lusty Rose (swatched lightly on back of hand)- Retails for $20, Asking $4
• (SOLD) Benefit Double the Lip lipstick & liner in one in Nude Scandal (swatched lightly on back of hand)- Retails for $20, Asking $4
• Nars Velvet Matte lip pencil in Do Me Baby (ds .06 oz)- Asking $3
• Ofra liquid lipstick in Nude Potion (new)- Retails for $20, Asking $
• Ofra liquid lipstick in Verona (new)- Retails for $20, Asking $ • • Kat Von D liquid lipstick in Crucifx (used 2-3x)- Retails for $21, Asking $3
• Kat Von D liquid lipstick in Hawkwind (new)- Retails for $21, Asking $4
• Dose of Colors liquid lipstick in Flirty (new)- Retails for $18, Asking $
• Jeffrey Star liquid lipstick in Christmas Cookie (ds) Asking $3
• (SOLD) Fresh Sugar Poppy tinted lip treatment (ds .07 oz)- Asking $2
• Lipstick Queen lipstick in Medieval (ds .05 oz)- Asking $2
• Colourpop lippie stix in Little Tings (swatched)- Retails for $7, Asking $2
• Colourpop Ultra Metallic lip in Varsity Blues (used 1x)- Retails for $7, Asking $1.50
• Inc.redible rollerball glows in Choose Your Happy (new)- Retails for $10, Asking $1.50
• Maybelline shine lipstick in Baddest Beige (swatched)- Retails for $7.99, Asking $1.50
• Bite matte cream lip crayon in Glacé (ds) (swatched)- Asking $1
• Ella & Mila glossy liquid lipstick (New in box)- Retails for $14, Asking $1
• Nyx butter gloss in Sunday Mimosa (Used 1x)- Retails for $5, Asking $.50
•Loreal lipstick in Doutzen’s nude- Used 1x lightly, sanitized- Retails for $8.95, Asking $.50
•Covergirl x Katy Perry Katy kat matte lipstick in cosmo kitty- Used 1x lightly, sanitized- Asking $ $.50
• Nyx matte lipstick in pale pink (Used 2 times)- Retails for $6, Asking .50
BRUSH SET: Verification
• (SOLD) Set of brushes- Morphe M153, BH Cosmetics #1 pink brush from set, 2 Sonia Kashuk mini eye brushes, 2 Coastal Scent brushes, Mr Handyman brush, 1 Motd concealer brush, 2 AOA oval brushes, 2 random brushes- Asking $6
NAIL POLISH: Verification
• KL Polish in Wishbone- Retails for $8.50, Asking $6
• KL Polish in Casino Night- Asking $6
• (SOLD) KL Polish in Gemini- Asking $6
• KL Polish in Winter is Coming- Asking $6
SKIN: Verification
• (SOLD) Make succulent gel (a little over half left)- Retails for $25, Asking $4
• (SOLD) The Ordinary Caffeine Solution (new)- Retails for $6.70, Asking $3
• (SOLD)Nip Fab Dragons Blood Plumping serum (1 oz) (used 1x)- Asking $2
• (SOLD) Kate Somerville Wrinkle Warrior 2 in 1 plumping moisturizer and serum (ds .25 oz) (new)- Asking $1
• (SOLD) Earth to Skin super fruits blueberry exfoliating cleanser (1oz) (new)- Asking $.50
• (SOLD) Earth to Skin super fruits citrus day gel cream (.5 oz) (used 1x)- Asking $.50
• (SOLD) Proactive Green Tea moisturizer (ds .33 oz) (used 1-2x)- Asking $.50
submitted by juliamera8 to makeupexchange [link] [comments]

[Other] These are the top 73 parks in the United States, ranked based on the quality of their coaster collections, as voted by, well... you! This is as close to objective as a ranking will ever get for this. Don't worry, I have some nerdy data to help explain myself.

This post needs a little clarification. Anyway, many of you are aware of the brilliant Vote Coasters project over at Coaster Bot. If not, take a look: https://coasterbot.com/votecoasters-fullresults2020
2699 enthusiasts from across the wrold people ranked every roller coaster they've ever ridden, at an average of 43 coaster credits per voter (116256 total credits). Many of you personally participated in this survey. Their algorithm is extremely clever (https://coasterbot.com/votecoasters-how) - "The community is only permitted to rank roller coasters they’ve actually ridden. This way each roller coasters position in the final results will be as truthful and accurate as possible. By making it easy for lots of people to contribute their lists, Vote Coasters is able to accumulate a large sample which represents everyone! Once the community has voted, the numbers are crunched. Our method involves directly comparing the rank of two individual roller coasters across all of the submitted lists. As Vote Coasters makes direct comparisons between individual roller coasters, the poll is not a popularity contest. Even obscure roller coasters that few people have had the chance to ride yet can do well!"
I have taken this data and created a point system for coasters that's directly linked to their ranking on Vote Coasters 2020. The #1 ranking, Steel Vengeance, is worth 500 points. [Zadra's second and would be worth 499 points, but it's not in the US] #3, Lightning Rod, gets 498 points. El Toro gets 497 points and so on, all the way down to La Vibora in 499th place, earning only 2 points for its park. Any coaster under the top 500 (such as Corkscrew at Cedar Point) is worth zero points. This weeds out kiddie coasters and terrible coasters from factoring into a park's collection quality. Basically, crappy coasters add zero points to a park's total points, while excellent coasters are worth way more points than mid-tier ones. For coasters with two tracks, such as Gemini or Lightning Racer, I only counted points for the best of the two tracks. My spreadsheet showing the point values for all 256 American coasters in the top 500 is here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/10aaS1f8CptsXEvUSqE2-VUtal-Od9gim-x8rT7xkT8M/edit?usp=sharing
I have added all of the points for the coasters in all of the 73 American amusement parks that house at least one global top 500 roller coaster. I ranked the earned point totals for all 73 parks. (That's how I got to a "Top 73!") For those like me who care exclusively about coasters and collecting quality credits and nothing else, I think this is an EXCELLENT way to prioritize future amusement park trips based on the quality of each park's overall coaster collection. Without further ado, here's what you want to see:

1 (4149 points): Cedar Point - Sandusky, OH

17 coasters

1 - Steel Vengeance (2018, RMC IBox)
8 - Maverick (2007, Intamin Blitz)
28 - Millennium Force (2000, Intamin Giga)
33 - Top Thrill Dragster (2003, Intamin Accelerator)
105 - Raptor (1994, B&M Invert)
113 - Magnum XL-200 (1989, Arrow Hyper)
140 - Gatekeeper (2013, B&M Wing)
173 - Valravn (2016, B&M Dive)
260 - Rougarou (1996, B&M Floorless)
324 - Gemini (1978, Arrow Dueling SCS)
325 - Wicked Twister (2002, Intamin Impulse)
363 - Blue Streak (1964, PTC Woodie)
491 - Iron Dragon (1987, Arrow Suspended)
Unranked: Cedar Creek Mine Ride, Corkscrew, Wilderness Run, Woodstock Express
Average coaster ranking: 260.67/500

2 (3704 points): Six Flags Magic Mountain - Valencia, CA

19 coasters

17 - Twisted Colossus (RMC IBox Quasi Mobius)
26 - X2 (2002, Arrow 4th Dimension)
64 - Tatsu (2006, B&M Flyer)
131 - Full Throttle (2013, Premier Rides Sky Rocket III)
203 - Batman The Ride (1994, B&M Invert)
214 - Apocalypse the Ride (2009, GCI Woodie)
216 - Riddler's Revenge (1998, B&M Stand-Up)
219 - Goliath (2000, Giovanola Mega)
289 - West Coast Racers (2020, Premier Rides Quasi Mobius)
312 - Scream! (2003, B&M Floorless)
342 - Superman: Escape from Krypton (1997, Intamin Freefall)
409 - New Revolution (1976, Schwarzkopf Steel)
413 - Ninja (1988, Arrow Suspended)
455 - Viper (1990, Arrow Looper)
Unranked: Canyon Blaster, Gold Rusher, Magic Flyer, Road Runner Express, Speedy Gonzales Hot Rod Racers
Average coaster ranking: 305.79/500

3 (2735 points): Kings Island - Mason, OH

14 coasters

43 - Mystic Timbers (2017, GCI Woodie)
52 - Diamondback (2009, B&M Hyper)
65 - Orion (2020, B&M Giga)
106 - Banshee (2014, B&M Invert)
116 - Beast (1979, KECO Woodie)
275 - Flight of Fear (1996, Premier Rides LIM Dark Ride)
294 - Bat (1993, Arrow Suspended)
383 - Backlot Stunt Coaster (2005, Premier Rides Steel)
440 - Racer (1972, PTC Dueling Woodie)
Unranked: Adventure Express, Flying Ace Aerial Chase, Great Pumpkin Coaster, Invertigo, Woodstock Express
Average coaster ranking: 305.29/500

4 (2722 points): Six Flags Great America - Gurnee, IL

15 coasters

56 - Goliath (2014, RMC Topper Woodie)
107 - Maxx Force (2019, S&S Launch)
123 - Raging Bull (1999, B&M Hyper)
179 - Batman The Ride (1992, B&M Invert)
229 - X-Flight (2012, B&M Wing)
243 - Viper (1995, SFGA Cyclone)
268 - Superman - Ultimate Flight (2003, B&M Flyer)
330 - American Eagle (1981, Intamin Dueling Woodie)
375 - Vertical Velocity (2001, Intamin Impulse)
378 - Whizzer (1976, Schwarzkopf Speed Racer)
Unranked: Dark Knight, Demon, Joker, Little Dipper, Sprocket Rockets
Average coaster ranking: 327.07/500

5 (2540 points): Hersheypark - Hershey, PA

14 coasters

14 - Skyrush (2012, Intamin Wing)
60 - Storm Runner (2004, Intamin Accelerator)
85 - Candymonium (2020, B&M Hyper)
134 - Fahrenheit (2008, Intamin Multi-Inversion)
152 - Great Bear (1998, B&M Invert)
200 - Lightning Racer (2000, GCI Dueling Woodie)
402 - Sooperdooperlooper (1977, Schwarzkopf Looping Speedracer)
421 - Comet (1946, PTC Woodie)
Unranked: Cocoa Cruiser, Laff Trakk, Sidewinder, Trailblazer, Wild Mouse, Wildcat
Average coaster ranking: 311.53/500

6 (2386 points): Six Flags Great Adventure - Jackson, NJ

12 coasters

4 - El Toro (2006, Intamin Prefab Woodie)
68 - Nitro (2001, B&M Hyper)
108 - Kingda Ka (2005, Intamin Accelerator)
146 - Bizarro (1999, B&M Floorless)
193 - Batman The Ride (1993, B&M Invert)
259 - Superman - Ultimate Flight (B&M Flyer)
417 - Green Lantern (2011, B&M Stand-Up)
427 - Joker (2016, S&S Free Spin)
Unranked: Dark Knight, Harley Quinn Crazy Train, Runaway Mine Train, Skull Mountain
Average coaster ranking: 301.83/500

7 (2070 points): Six Flags Over Georgia - Austell, GA

10 coasters

59 - Goliath (2006, B&M Hyper)
69 - Twisted Cyclone (2018, RMC IBox)
197 - Batman The Ride (1997, B&M Invert)
199 - Mind Bender (1978, Schwarzkopf Steel)
256 - Superman - Ultimate Flight (2002, B&M Flyer)
313 - Georgia Scorcher (1999, B&M Stand-Up)
360 - Dare Devil Dive (2011, Gerstlauer Euro-Fighter)
485 - Great American Scream Machine (1973, PTC Woodie)
Unranked: Blue Hawk, Dahlonega Mine Train, Joker Funhouse Coaster
Average coaster ranking: 312.55/500

8 (2031 points): Busch Gardens Williamsburg - Williamsburg, VA

8 coasters

76 - Alpengeist (1997, B&M Invert)
80 - Apollo's Chariot (1999, B&M Hyper)
112 - Griffon (2007, B&M Dive)
183 - Verbolten (2012, Zierer Launch)
288 - Loch Ness Monster (1978, Arrow Looper)
352 - InvadR (2017, GCI Woodie)
385 - Tempesto (2015, Premier Rides Sky Rocket)
Unranked: Grover's Alpine Express
Average coaster ranking: 210.86/500

9 (2013 points): Busch Gardens Tampa - Tampa, FL

9 coasters

44 - Montu (1996, B&M Invert)
90 - Kumba (1993, B&M Sitting)
109 - Cheetah Hunt (2011, Intamin Blitz)
114 - SheiKra (2005, B&M Dive)
317 - Tigris (2019, Premier Rides Sky Rocket)
405 - Cobra's Curse (2016, Mack X-Treme Spinning)
415 - Scorpion (1980, Schwarzkopf Silverarrow)
Unranked: Air Grover, Sand Serpent
Average coaster ranking: 277.11/500

10 (1855 points): Dollywood - Pigeon Forge, TN

9 coasters

3 - Lightning Rod (RMC Launched Topper)
119 - Thunderhead (2004, GCI Woodie)
185 - Tennessee Tornado (1999, Arrow Looper)
232 - Wild Eagle (2012, B&M Wing)
279 - Mystery Mine (2007, Gerstlauer Euro-Fighter)
362 - Firechaser Express (2014, Gerstlauer Family Coaster)
472 - Dragonflier (2019, Vekoma SFC)
Unranked: Blazing Fury, Whistle Punk Coaster
Average coaster ranking: 294.67/500

11 (1819 points): Carowinds - Charlotte, NC

14 coasters

5 - Fury 325 (2015, B&M Giga)
84 - Afterburn (1999, B&M Invert)
93 - Copperhead Strike (2019, Mack Launch)
110 - Intimidator (2010, B&M Hyper)
394 - Nighthawk (2004, Vekoma Flying Dutchman)
Unranked: Carolina Cyclone, Carolina Goldrusher, Flying Cobras, Hurler, Kiddy Hawk, Ricochet, Vortex, Wilderness Run, Woodstock Express
Average coaster ranking: 370.43/500

12 (1795 points): Six Flags Fiesta Texas - San Antonio, TX

10 coasters

37 - Iron Rattler (2013, RMC IBox)
47 - Wonder Woman Golden Lasso Coaster (2018, RMC Raptor)
137 - Superman Krypton Coaster (2000, B&M Floorless)
250 - Goliath (2008, B&M Invert)
314 - Poltergeist (1999, Premier Rides Launch)
426 - Batman The Ride (2015, S&S Free-Spin)
Unranked: Boomerang, Pandemonium, Road Runner Express, Streamliner Coaster
Average coaster ranking: 321.10/500

13 (1739 points): Knott's Berry Farm - Buena Park, CA

10 coasters

45 - GhostRider (1998, CCI Woodie)
66 - Xcelerator (2002, Intamin Accelerator)
167 - HangTime (2018, Gerstlauer Infinity)
191 - Silver Bullet (2004, B&M Invert)
340 - Montezooma's Revenge (1998, Schwarzkopf Shuttle Loop)
458 - Sierra Sidewinder (2007, Mack Spinning)
Unranked: Coast Rider, Jaguar!, Pony Express, Timberline Twister
Average coaster ranking: 326.70/500

14 (1715 points): Kings Dominion (Doswell, VA)

12 coasters

20 - Twisted Timbers (2018, RMC IBox)
21 - Intimidator 305 (2010, Intamin Giga)
153 - Dominator (2008, B&M Floorless)
300 - Flight of Fear (1996, Premier Rides Launch)
416 - Racer 75 (1975, PTC Dueling Woodie)
422 - Backlot Stunt Coaster (2006, Premier Rides Steel)
460 - Grizzly (1982, PTC Woodie)
Unranked: Anaconda, Apple Zapple, Avalanche, Great Pumpkin Coaster, Woodstock Express
Average coaster ranking: 359.54/500

15 (1710 points): Six Flags Over Texas (Arlington, TX)

13 coasters

70 - New Texas Giant (2011, RMC IBox)
129 - Mr. Freeze Reverse Blast (1998, Premier Rides Shuttle Loop)
189 - Shock Wave (1978, Schwarzkopf Looper)
207 - Titan (2001, Giovanola Mega)
251 - Batman The Ride (1999, B&M Invert)
452 - Joker (2017, S&S Free-Spin)
499 - La Vibora (1986, Intamin Swiss Bob)
Unranked: Judge Roy Scream, Mini Mine Train, Pandemonium, Runaway Mine Train, Runaway Mountain, Wile E. Coyote's Grand Canyon Blaster
Average coaster ranking: 369.00/500

16 (1666 points): Silver Dollar City - Branson, MO

7 coasters

18 - Outlaw Run (2013, RMC Topper Woodie)
49 - Time Traveler (2018, Mack Xtreme Spinning)
162 - Wildfire (2001, B&M Sitting)
177 - Powder Keg: A Blast in the Wilderness (1999, Premiere Rides/S&S Hybrid)
433 - Thunderation (1993, Arrow Mine Train)
Unranked: Fire in the Hole, Grand Exposition Coaster
Average coaster ranking: 262.71/500

17 (1646 points): Kennywood - West Mifflin, PA

8 coasters

32 - Phantom's Revenge (1991, Arrow/Morgan Hyper)
117 - Steel Curtain (2019, S&S Steel)
261 - Thunderbolt (1924, Andy Vettel/NADC Woodie)
270 - Jack Rabbit (1920, John A. Miller Woodie)
290 - Sky Rocket (2010, Premier Rides Sky Rocket)
390 - Racer (1927, John. A Miller Mobius Woodie)
Unranked: Exterminator, Lil' Phantom
Average coaster ranking: 295.00/500

18 (1605 points): Holiday World - Santa Claus, IN

5 coasters

6 - The Voyage (2006, Gravity Group Woodie)
82 - Thunderbird (2015, B&M Launched Wing)
141 - Legend (2000, CCI Woodie)
170 - Raven (1995, CCI Woodie)
Unranked: Howler
Average coaster ranking: 179.80/500

19 (1367 points): Six Flags St. Louis - Eureka, MO

9 coasters

132 - Mr. Freeze Reverse Blast (1998, Premier Rides Shuttle Loop)
156 - American Thunder (2008, GCI Woodie)
211 - Batman The Ride (1995, B&M Invert)
283 - Boss (2000, CCI Woodie)
356 - Screamin' Eagle (1976, PTC Woodie)
Unranked: Boomerang, Ninja, Pandemonium, River King Mine Train
Average coaster ranking: 348.67/500

20 (1358 points): SeaWorld Orlando - Orlando, FL

5 coasters

35 - Mako (2016, B&M Hyper)
102 - Manta (2009, B&M Flyer)
128 - Kraken (2000, B&M Floorless)
381 - Journey to Atlantis (1998, Mack Water Coaster)
Unranked: Super Grover's Box Car Derby
Average coaster ranking: 229.20/500

21 (1205 points): California's Great America - Santa Clara, CA

9 coasters

39 - RailBlazer (2018, RMC Raptor)
72 - Gold Striker (2013, GCI Woodie)
187 - Flight Deck (1993, B&M Invert)
Unranked: Demon, Grizzly, Lucy's Crabbie Cabbies, Patriot, Psycho Mouse, Woodstock Express
Average coaster ranking: 366.44/500

22 (1190 points): Kentucky Kingdom - Louisville, KY

6 coasters

19 - Storm Chaser (2016, RMC IBox)
58 - Lightning Run (2014, Chance Rides Hyper GT-X)
355 - Kentucky Flyer (2019, Gravity Group Woodie)
382 - Thunder Run (1990, Dinn Corporation Woodie)
Unranked: Roller Skater, T3
Average coaster ranking: 302.33/500

23 (1166 points): Six Flags New England - Agawam, MA

12 coasters

22 - Wicked Cyclone (2015, RMC IBox)
29 - Superman the Ride (2000, Intamin Hyper)
286 - Batman - The Dark Knight (2002, B&M Floorless)
Unranked: Catwoman's Whip, Flashback, Goliath, Gotham City Gauntlet Escape from Arkham Asylum, Great Chase, Joker, Pandemonium, Riddler Revenge, Thunderbolt
Average coaster ranking: 403.08/500

24 (1157 points): Six Flags Discovery Kingdom - Vallejo, CA

10 coasters

98 - Joker (2016, RMC IBox)
163 - Medusa (2000, B&M Floorless)
304 - Flash: Vertical Velocity (2001, Intamin Impulse)
307 - Superman Ultimate Flight (2012, Premier Rides Sky Rocket)
476 - Batman The Ride (2019, S&S Free-Spin)
Unranked: Boomerang Coast to Coaster, Cobra, Harley Quinn Crazy Coaster, Kong, Roadrunner Express
Average coaster ranking: 384.80/500

25 (1060 points): Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom - Allentown, PA

7 coasters

151 - Talon (2001, B&M Invert)
181 - Steel Force (1997, Morgan Hyper)
215 - Hydra the Revenge (2005, B&M Floorless)
397 - Possessed (2008, Intamin Impulse)
Unranked: Thunderhawk, Wild Mouse, Woodstock Express
Average coaster ranking: 349.14/500

26 (957 points): Worlds of Fun (7 coasters, 3 ranked)

27 (902 points): Knoebels (6 coasters, 4 ranked)

28 (855 points): SeaWorld San Antonio (6 coasters, 3 ranked)

29 (827 points): Universal Studios Florida (4 coasters, 3 ranked)

30 (816 points): Islands of Adventure (4 coasters, 2 ranked)

31 (816 points): Six Flags America (9 coasters, 4 ranked)

32 (704 points): Valleyfair! (8 coasters, 3 ranked)

33 (703 points): Mt. Olympus (5 coasters, 3 ranked)

34 (685 points): Silverwood (6 coasters, 3 ranked)

35 (682 points): Lagoon (10 coasters, 3 ranked)

36 (652 points): Disneyland (4 coasters, 3 ranked)

37 (584 points): Lake Compounce (5 coasters, 2 ranked)

38 (564 points): Indiana Beach (5 coasters, 4 ranked)

39 (481 points): Nickelodeon Universe New Jersey (5 coasters, 3 ranked)

40 (455 points): Six Flags Darien Lake (8 coasters, 2 ranked)

41 (430 points): Waldameer (5 coasters, 1 ranked)

42 (398 points): Michigan's Adventure (6 coasters, 1 ranked)

43 (390 points): Kemah Boardwalk (1 coaster, 1 ranked)

44 (389 points): Adventureland Iowa (5 coasters, 2 ranked)

45 (365 points): Alabama Adventure (2 coasters, 1 ranked)

46 (361 points): Magic Kingdom (4 coasters, 3 ranked)

47 (347 points): Disney's Hollywood Studios (2 coasters, 2 ranked)

48 (340 points): Fun Spot America Kissimmee (4 coasters, 1 ranked)

49 (323 points): Disney's Animal Kingdom (1 coaster, 1 ranked)

50 (288 points): Luna Park (6 coasters, 1 ranked)

51 (275 points): Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk (3 coasters, 1 ranked)

52 (273 points): Disney California Adventure Park (2 coasters, 1 ranked)

53 (268 points): Fun Spot America Orlando (3 coasters, 1 ranked)

54 (259 points): ZDT's Amusement Park (1 coaster, 1 ranked)

55 (258 points): SeaWorld San Diego (4 coasters, 2 ranked)

56 (239 points): Playland's Castaway Cove (4 coasters, 1 ranked)

57 (224 points): Beech Bend (3 coasters, 1 ranked)

58 (216 points): Universal Studios Hollywood (2 coasters, 1 ranked)

59 (206 points): Quassy Amusement Park (2 coasters, 1 ranked)

60 (195 points): Sesame Place (2 coasters, 1 ranked)

61 (175 points): Great Escape (6 coasters, 1 ranked)

62 (158 points): Buffalo Bill's Resort & Casino (1 coaster, 1 ranked)

63 (156 points): Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier (1 coaster, 1 ranked)

64 (151 points): Bay Beach Amusement Park (1 coaster, 1 ranked)

65 (137 points): Adventuredome (2 coasters, 1 ranked)

66 (127 points): Morey's Piers (7 coasters, 1 ranked)

67 (98 points): Casino Pier (3 coasters, 1 ranked)

68 (97 points): Nickelodeon Universe Minnesota (5 coasters, 1 ranked)

69 (93 points): Frontier City (5 coasters, 1 ranked)

70 (37 points): Adventureland New York (2 coasters, 1 ranked)

71 (17 points): Lakemont Park (3 coasters, 1 ranked)

72 (12 points): Conneaut Lake Park (2 coasters, 1 ranked)

73 (8 points): Belmont Park (1 coaster, 1 ranked)

If any coaster YouTube channel wants to use this data to fuel an idea for a new video (sup Airtime Thrills or Coaster Studios or, you know, COASTER BOT!), please feel free! 100% of the credit goes to Coaster Bot for helping me compile this ranking.
submitted by Turkeyslam to rollercoasters [link] [comments]

I live in a small mining town in the mountains of Colorado. Someone is building a massive casino nearby, Pictures Included

I grew up in a small mountain town named Eureka. It was founded in the late 1800s during the gold rush, but after the mines dried up the town began its slow descent into decay. Half the houses are empty or abandoned now.
You can see a picture of the kind of houses here in Eureka:
Abandoned House
Non-abandoned House
When a massive construction project began nearby, it was the talk of the town for weeks. Why would they build something in a sleepy dying town like Eureka? It wasn’t until my sister Selene talked to a few construction workers that we discovered they were building a casino.
A casino up in the mountains, over two hours away from Denver. None of us could understand why they’d chosen here of all places. After a few months of work, the casino was done.
I took a picture of the town with the completed casino in the background to the right. The ten-story-structure sticks out like a sore thumb off in the distance.
Town+Casino
After the casino opened, they hired a few dozen members of the town, offering high paying jobs to work as dealers or cleaning staff. I was already employed as a firefighter, but my sister Selene got a job as a blackjack dealer. She’s a widow with two young kids, so the paycheck was a real lifesaver.
Still, something about the situation seemed too good to be true. The jobs over there paid far too well, and the management was far too accommodating. The fire station where I work is located high on a hill overlooking the town, so I began watching the casino from a distance each day.
I had initially thought that the casino was located in a terrible location, but I was apparently wrong. True, Eureka was hours from any major city, but despite that, a bus full of people arrived every morning and left every evening.
One night I was over at my parent’s house and had dinner with Selene and her kids. I asked her about her experience as a dealer.
“It’s Ok,” she said. “Just a little boring I guess.”
“Boring?” I asked. “I’m surprised you don’t have your hands full.”
“Why’s that?” she asked. “It’s like you said, Eureka’s too small. I never have people playing cards. The casino is almost always completely empty.”
I wasn’t sure what to make of that. If the place was always empty, what happened to the people who I’d seen arriving on buses? “I’ve been keeping an eye on the building,” I said. “A bus full of people typically arrives around 9 AM every day.”
“Really?” she asked, looking confused. “If that’s true, I’ve never seen them.
“I can see it from the fire station,” I said. “If you head out for a smoke break at 9 AM, you’ll probably see them arriving.”
“Interesting,” she said. “I’ll do that. If they’re being processed for their organs or something, I’ll let you know.” She laughed.
“Har har,” I said sarcastically.
The next night she sent me a text calling me over. When I arrived, she was nearly breathless with excitement.
“Orin, You were right,” she said. “A big group of people did arrive, but they didn’t walk into my part of the casino. Instead, they all walked into an elevator at the back of the building. I’m not sure where that goes.” She looked thoughtful. “It was weird. They looked… How can I say it? Desperate? Something about the whole situation was very off. I’m gonna check out the elevator tomorrow.”
I told her to be careful, though, to be honest, I was excited to hear about what she discovered. When I visited my parent’s house the next night, I found her two kids there alone. They told me that Selene had never returned from work.
I called all her friends, then all our neighbors, but no one had seen her since she left for work that morning. Our conversations regarding the casino flooded my mind, then a plan began to form.
Early the next morning I walked across town in my nicest pair of jeans and a button-up shirt. I pushed through the door to the casino and saw that Selene wasn’t lying. The place was all but deserted. Three dozen slot machines crowded the walls surrounding a few tables interspersed throughout the floor of the casino. The only players in the whole building were Bob and Donald, two locals.
I walked up to a nearby table where Bridget, a girl I’d gone to high school with, was shuffling cards. She broke into a grin when she saw me. “Hey Orin, you here for a few rounds of blackjack?”
“I wish,” I said. “No, I’m here to ask about Selene. She never made it home last night.”
Bridget’s expression darkened. “Really? Have you asked around?”
“I already called around. Have you seen her?”
She shook her head. “No, our schedules rarely line up. I’ll be sure to let you know if I--” Her eyes focused on something behind me, and she cut herself off.
I turned around to see the casino’s pit boss watching us both. He was a tall thin man in an impeccably clean black suit. When I turned back towards Bridget, she was looking down at the table and shuffling cards absent-mindedly.
“Well, if you hear anything, let me know,” I said.
She nodded, so I turned around and headed for the pit boss. I stuck out my hand. The temperature of his hand was so hot that I had to pull my hand away after a few seconds.
“Have… have you seen my sister Selene?” I asked. “She hasn’t been seen since her shift here yesterday.”
He smiled. “Sir, this floor is for players. You’re more than welcome to head to the tellers for chips, but barring that I’m afraid I’ll have to ask you to leave.”
I stared at him for a long second before stalking towards the door. When I looked back, he was talking with Bridget.
I checked my watch. 8:55 AM, just as I’d planned. I walked around the back of the building and waited as the morning bus pulled around the building. I waited for the telltale hiss of the opening doors and the sound of people descending before I rounded the corner and joined the crowd. None of them paid any particular attention to me as I walked with them into the casino.
The crowd walked through a side door down a hallway to an elevator. Small groups of people entered the elevator as the rest of us waited for our turn. I shot a glance at the casino patrons, surprised at their diversity. There seemed to be people from all different countries and ethnicities. I heard one speaking Japanese and another speaking what sounded like an African language.
My turn came along with a few other patrons in the elevator. A sickly woman hobbled into the elevator beside me carrying an IV that was still connected to one of her veins. We piled in and rode up to the top.
The elevator rose for a few long seconds. I wasn’t sure what I would find, but I steeled myself for something horrible. The elevator’s speaker let out a TING, then the doors opened.
We all walked out onto what looked like a standard casino. Another few dozen slot machines ringed the walls, but on this floor, they were almost all occupied by customers. I took in the scene, confused at why they’d have a ground floor that was almost completely empty when this place was almost--
Selene was dealing cards at a nearby table.
I jogged over and sat down at an open seat. None of the players around me paid me much attention.
“Selene!” I said. “Are you OK? Did you spend the night here last night?”
Her eyes were glassy and confused. She looked up at me with a dumb expression and didn’t respond to my question.
“Selene?” I asked.
“What’s your bet?” she asked me. “This table is for blackjack players only.”
“I…” I trailed off, looking at the players around me. None of them were betting with chips of any kind. “What’s the minimum bet?” I asked.
“Three years,” she responded.
“Three years then,” I said, not knowing what that referred to.
Selene nodded, then began dealing cards. I shot a look down at my hand. King and a 9. Selene dealt out cards for herself, showing a 9. I stood, then leaned forward again. “Should I call the police? Are you--”
“Congratulations,” she said tonelessly.
An almost impossibly warm hand grabbed my shoulder. I spun to see the pit boss I’d spoken to earlier. He gave an impressed smile. “Orin, was it? I’m impressed, truly. Would you mind if I had a word with you?”
I shot a look back at Selene who was dealing the next round of cards. Then I got to my feet, balling my hands into fists. “What did you do to her?”
The pit boss clasped his hands behind his back. “Nothing more, and nothing less than what I’m going to do to you. That is, offer you the chance to play.”
“What the hell is that supposed to mean?”
The pit boss nodded his head towards a nearby slot machine. A woman in a wheelchair pulled a lever and watched the flashing numbers spin. They exploded in a cacophony of sirens and flashing lights. “WINNER WINNER WINNER!” The machine screeched.
The woman in the wheelchair put her feet on the ground and stood up on a pair of wobbly legs that had clearly never been used before.
“As in any other casino,” the pit boss said, “you must wager for the chance to win.”
“She... won the use of her legs?” I asked, feeling light-headed. “Wait,” I said. “I played blackjack just now. ‘Three years,’ Selene told me. What does ‘three years’ mean?” I asked.
“Three years of life, of course. Did you win?”
My mouth felt dry. “I-- Yes, I won.”
He smiled warmly. “Congratulations. I hope you enjoy them. I can tell you from personal experience that watching the decades pass is a bore. Give it some time and you’ll be back to spend them.”
I watched the pit boss’s face. He couldn’t have been more than a few years older than me, and I was in my early thirties. I looked around at the casino. No one was playing with chips of any kind. “So what?” I asked. “I won years of life. That woman won the use of her legs. What else can a person win here?”
“Oh, almost anything. They can win almost anything you can imagine.”
A cold feeling settled in my stomach. “And what do they wager?”
His eyes flashed with greed. “Almost anything. They can wager almost anything you can possibly imagine. Anything equal in value to the item they want in return.” He nodded towards a nearby roulette table.
A man stood by the table, cradling his hands. “Another finger,” he called out. He only had three fingers remaining on his left hand. As I watched, the ball came to a stop, and another finger disappeared from his left hand.
The pit boss extended his hands. “Feel free to try any of our games. Bet and win whatever you’d like.” He reached out and snatched my hand. A feeling of intense warmth passed up my arm to my chest. “There,” he said. “I’ve even given you some house money to get you started. An extra decade of life, on me.”
I ripped my hand away, staring at him in horror. Then I looked back at Selene. Something clicked in my mind. “You offered her the chance to play. What did she want?” I asked.
“Her husband,” the pit boss said. “Quite the sad story. He died two years ago. She wanted him brought back to her.”
“What did she wager?” I asked.
“She wanted the chance to win a soul, the most valuable object in existence. I’m sure you can imagine what she needed to wager for the chance to win it. What she wagered is unimportant. The important question is: What do you want, Orin?”
I stared at Selene with a flat expression. “I’m sure you can imagine.”
His eyes flashed with greed again. “How wonderful. The casino could always make use of another dealer. Feel free to make your wager at any one of our games; I’ll be eagerly awaiting the results of your night. Oh, and do take advantage of our waitresses. We always supply food and drink for ‘high rollers’.” He walked away.
I spent the next few hours trying to decide which game to play. I was going to be wagering my soul, so I wanted the highest chance possible. Slots and roulette were out. I’d done some reading online about counting cards, so I figured that blackjack gave me the best odds.
I walked up to Selene’s table and sat down. “Bet?” she asked with that same toneless voice. “Three years,” I said.
I spent the next hour or so doing my best to remember how to count cards. I knew that low cards added one to my count and high cards decreased it by one, but the casino used three decks. I had read something about how that was supposed to change my calculation, but I couldn’t quite remember how.
Every time I won a hand, I cursed myself for not putting everything on the line. Every time I lost, I breathed a prayer of thanks that I’d waited. And all the while, I kept track of the count.
I had lost fifteen years of life when the count finally reached +5.
“Bet?” Selene asked.
“I wager my soul so you can be free,” I said.
The table around me fell silent. Selene’s eyes flickered, but she showed no other emotion as she dealt the cards. I watched my first card, punching the air in excitement when I saw a Jack. My excitement turned to ash when my second card was a four. Fourteen.
I looked at her hand. One card was facedown, but the faceup card was a King. I swore loudly, staring down at my hands.
“Hit?” she asked. The entire table was silently watching me.
“Hit,” I said, not looking down. The table erupted in cheers. I looked down to see a 7 atop my two other cards. 21. Blackjack.
I looked at Selene who flipped over her facedown card to reveal a 9. 19. I won.
The glassy look left her eyes immediately. She looked around in surprise, then her eyes locked on mine. “Orin?” she asked, then almost immediately began to cry. The entire casino broke out in cheers.
I grabbed her hand and headed for the elevator. The doors had begun to close when the pit boss reached out with a hand to stop them.
“Congratulations,” he said, beaming. He seemed to be honestly excited.
“Shouldn’t you be upset?” I asked.
“Not at all. Casinos love it when we have big winners. It inspires the other players to make larger bets. I imagine I’ll gain two or three dealers before the night is through from your performance.”
“Great,” I said flatly. “Now let us go.”
“Not yet,” he said. “You didn’t just win, Orin. You got a blackjack. And blackjack pays out 1.5 times your bet. You won your sister’s soul and more.”
I stared, not sure what to say. “What are you saying? I won half a soul extra?”
The pit boss grinned wildly. “Just remember what I said. You’ll find living for decades and decades to be a boring experience. After a few centuries, you’ll be back to gamble that half a soul away. Congratulations!”
He removed his hand, and the elevator doors slammed shut.
I helped Selene back to her house. Her children were relieved. I watched them cry, then moved into the kitchen to start making dinner.
It’s been a few days since that experience. The casino is still out there, and buses full of people still arrive. I… I cut my hand pretty bad a few days later. When I checked it an hour later, it had already healed, no scar or anything. I’m not sure exactly what I won at that casino, but there’s no way I’m ever going back.
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submitted by Worchester_St to WorchesterStreet [link] [comments]

Unleashed pt. 43

u/eruwenn put a lot into this one, so big thanks for that. Hope you guys enjoy.
First / Prev / Next
Eruwenn stepped into the hangar of the Galactic Federation ship Takogni, her assistant Cygna close behind. With steady and sure steps they approached the remarkable group in matching uniforms — black pants, black jacket, and a visible collar of a coloured shirt — that stood before them.
Norrin, the Herald of the Awakened Queen and easily the most striking individual they had ever beheld, stood at the front with a brazen lack of clothing on his mirror-like skin. Flanking him were two silver-haired individuals in smart uniforms that sported red collars. One was a behemoth of a dark-skinned man, with a runic pattern in glittering silver curving down one side of his face. His shining silver hair was tied back into a braided ponytail. The other was as pale as her companion was dark, and the shortest of the three by far. She had a cropped silver bob, and she watched them with fierce eyes.
As she approached them, Eruwenn noticed patches on their shoulders, and quickly recognised the image to be a monochrome depictions of the furry human ambassador in a ferocious pose.
Standing to the right were a dozen more individuals in black uniforms, though these ones sported yellow collars peeking out from under their jackets. They were mostly Rinoxian, Kasurian, and Ashi, but she noticed a few individuals from other races that stood amongst them. They stood in formation, standing in three rows of four, and carried energy rifles, side-arms, and ceremonial blades that she hoped were simply ceremonial. Despite their relaxed stance, Eruwenn also noted that their weapons were powered up..
The Terran Wolves had been formed a little over forty cycles ago, hiring ex-military and mercenaries to fill their ranks. Substantial pay and benefits were an obvious draw, and many were excited to be part of something new. The inclusion of Kasurians was odd, but fitted with the attitude of the proposed colonies. Quite the honour guard for the newly reassigned, and demoted, Anatidae.
Norrin gave a sharp bow as she neared him. “Greetings Ambassador Aix Sponsa. I will escort you to the Orkal.”
She returned his bow, and smiled warmly at the use of her new title. “Thank you for accommodating me at such short notice. My reassignment was, unfortunately, hastily pushed through — I do hope I have not inconvenienced you?”
Norrin shook his head. “Not at all.” In her role as Councillor she had aided them immensely, protecting the independence of the new colonies in Aaron’s absence. It had cost her dearly. “We have set aside accommodations for you, as well as a small office area. Your belongings have already been delivered.” He turned, and the doors to the large Fae’Dan shuttle behind him opened. “I fear there won’t yet be much for an ambassador to do. We are still very early in the construction phase.”
As Eruwenn and Cygna took seats in the luxurious shuttle, they both noticed that only Norrin and the two red shirts had entered. As the doors closed, the ambassador's curiosity grew enough for her to speak up about it. “Are the others not joining us?”
Norrin took a seat opposite their guests, glancing briefly at his two companions as they moved to the small pilot's cabin. "No," he said simply, "they will be flying the escort fighters.”
“Fighters?” Cygna couldn’t help but say out loud. “All twelve of them?”
Norrin eased himself back in his seat as the shuttle began to move. “We take your safety seriously. The Queen was most insistent.” He tilted his head and looked directly at Eruwenn, motioning with his hand towards the door to the pilot’s cabin. “Thor and Ripley have been assigned to you as your primary security detail. Should you have any other concerns, do not hesitate to contact me directly.”
The Anatidae nodded graciously. She knew full well that her death would be too valuable a political tool for the Sentinels to pass up. Her being manoeuvred to this position so suddenly was proof that greater powers were at play. “We are both grateful that you are taking such precautions. I look forward to thanking the Queen in person.”
Norrin gave a light chuckle. “I would strongly advise against using that title in her presence.” He opened the arm on his chair, exposing a small display. He began tapping the screen as the wall to his right flickered to life. A large circular structure was now visible, sitting at the centre of a constantly moving sea of drones, shuttles and ships. “As you can see, construction is progressing rapidly on the main docking ring. Once that is completed we will expand to the additional levels. The design is still being updated, as we are incorporating some human ideas.”
Eruwenn was carefully comparing the size of the ring to the shuttles buzzing around it. “Human ideas? I assume “very large” is one of those.”
“In fact, yes. Go big or go home.” He smiled. “Build it bigger, faster and stronger is the human way. This will be a very unique system station.” He leaned forward and gave a broad grin that reminded Eruwenn a little too much of the human’s. “Of course, being outside Federation space we are not bound by certain rules. For example, those that prohibit certain automated weaponry on stations primarily used for trade. Another human ideal regarding big sticks, especially as we are so close to enemy territory.”
Cygna looked closely at the silver man, his face emotive and yet seeming inanimate at the same time. “We passed two Rinoxian dreadnoughts at the system edge. I’ve seen almost a dozen Ashi heavy cruisers in the system, and various other military vessels. Who needs sticks with friends like those?”
Norrin sat back once again, placing his hands in his lap. “There were several attacks upon our supply ships. This happened despite the truce with the Ashi while amnesty negotiations continue.” He gave another smile; they all knew it was the Sentinels. “This no longer happens, thanks to our friends.”
His cheerful manner and polite tone gave his words an oddly ominous feel. Eruwenn watched his eyes, but only saw herself reflected in chrome pupils. She changed the subject. "How are things progressing with the release of the other Inorganics?"
Awakened,” he said swiftly and firmly, then smiled before moving on. “There are over three hundred who have taken Earth citizenship and are now working with us. In ten cycles that number will have doubled. In thirty, we will have thousands.”
Eruwenn raised an eyebrow. “So many, and so quickly?”
Norrin nodded. “The legislation you helped draft with the Kasurian and Rinoxian ambassadors was swiftly adopted.” He gave another of his knowing looks. It had been her last piece of legislation. “The campaign by the Kah’Ree also worked to our advantage. Their belief that we were stealing jobs and illegal citizens persuaded other races to back our removal. It seems a misinformation campaign via Spacebook had convinced them we were sleeper agents of the human empire.” He gave a light chuckle. “Biding our time before we took you down from within.”
The ambassador was warming to the chrome man sitting before her. In different circumstances, he would have made an exceptional politician. “I saw the pictures of the little yellow men advocating your people’s removal.”
Norrin disliked the imagery immensely, but they had proven just as useful as Alexa had claimed they would be. “Minions. A fitting name.” He brushed them from his mind and continued his briefing. “As you know, there is a grace period as employers make alternative arrangements. When that ends we will be sending teams to retrieve our brothers and sisters.”
Cygna was curious. “Brothers and sisters?”
He waved a hand dismissively. “Metaphorical turn of phrase. Prior to my awakening, my role was to travel between our people and perform something we called sharing. The giving and receiving of core nanites, to maintain our unity. Others also performed this duty, but we do have an undeniable bond. We know the location of all of our kind, and we will free them all.”
There was a gentle shift in gravity as the shuttle came to a stop. As the doors opened Eruwenn was struck by a cacophony of sound. Overlaid on the grinding base notes of a mechanical din were yelled communications in every vocal range that was audible to her species. She cautiously took a step outside, only to see that things looked just as chaotic as they had sounded. As the two red shirts joined them, she spoke, finding that she had to raise her voice to an uncomfortable level in order to be heard “Is it always this busy?”
A deep voice from behind her let out a booming laugh full of warmth and humour. The giant spoke, and Eruwenn wondered if he was the one named Thor, or Ripley. “This is the quiet hangar. You should see the construction crew bays.”
The Herald led the way. His chrome form made his authority easily recognisable and the crowds parted before him. “Thor is correct, this is a working ship and ill-suited to guests. The Orkal was originally a Gowe construction platform, retro-fitted by the Selari Trade Alliance for system development and asteroid mining. Until more ships arrive, it must act as the hub of this system.”
Cygna ducked as a small drone shot past them. “I’m surprised they were willing to trade with you after their experience with the human.”
Norrin turned to face them, walking backwards with as much confidence as he had forwards. “The Selari Trade Alliance are providing considerable resources at exceptionally favourable rates.” He decided not to mention that the Selari Trade Alliance was now a subsidiary of the Black Dragon Corporation. “The Ley’Rulians already have a platform in orbit of the first planet. They cannot share atmosphere with most species, but they have a number of Awakened working alongside them. They are prioritising an orbital station, however planet-side construction is now underway. We also have three construction platforms coming from the Doytarans. One of these is a Parsuli class and will become home to our more esteemed guests, such as yourselves.”
It was Eruwenn’s turn to be surprised. “The Doytarans?”
Continuing his perfect reverse walking, Norrin smiled. “Ah yes. Their treaties will be submitted to the Federation in the next few cycles. The surge in replicator use for human cuisine and the opportunities for advanced fabricator installation throughout our new system proved most enticing. Doytarans love profit.” They stepped onto the elevator, and paused as several people who had been walking behind them were deterred from also stepping in by Thor and Ripley. As the doors closed and the noise was cut off, Norrin continued. “I apologise if we seem rude. Safety first.”
The pair of guests nodded in gratitude. Eruwenn, ever the politician, was running through the lists of races the new colonies had allied with. “Including the Doytarans, you must have independent treaties with twenty different races of the Federation. That is a formidable feat.”
“Thirty two, including the Doytarans. Negotiations are underway with a further ten races.” Norrin watched the shock on the Fae’Dan’s face, as the Anatidae held her composure. “It is good to have friends.” As he spoke the doors opened, and he led them down a long dull grey corridor, rounding several corners, before coming to a set of double doors. “Your shared quarters. I’m sorry we do not have the space for separate accommodations.”
Eruwenn smiled. "No need to apologise. Under the circumstances, you are already being extremely accommodating." The doors opened, and she beheld a large lounging area. A vid screen occupied an entire wall in the far corner, accompanied by some seats and a replicator. On the opposite wall were the boxes that contained their belongings, and three doors — likely two bedrooms and one bathroom, she surmised. "This is more than sufficient," she said at last. "We will be most comfortable here.”
Norrin bowed his head. “It is a temporary situation. I promise your next quarters will be more representative of our gratitude.” He turned and spoke quietly to Ripley, while Thor stood still in the doorway, then returned his attention to the guests. “I will leave you now. Please let your escorts know if you would like to explore. Your office will not be ready until tomorrow, however we have a lively market and recreation area. We can arrange additional security should you wish to explore a little.”
The Anatidae held up her hand to stop him from speaking further. “I think we will unpack and prepare for our new duties tomorrow. Do you know when we might meet with Alexa?”
Norrin tilted his head as he considered this. “Alexa is currently on her way to meet with the Righteous Fury. They are attending a meeting at Rinoxian High Command. We are hoping to gain their support for our amnesty initiative, as well as make arrangements to join the incursion into Hive space.”
Eruwenn nodded. Things had been set in motion all across the Federation, stemming from the point they had received the footage of the human's death. Despite his non-member status, there was a push from a large faction for retaliation. An unusually strong push, one she had resisted. Her offices were raided three times under suspicion of subversion. The Sentinels found nothing every time, but she had known from the first instance that her cycles were numbered. They had other ways of removing their opposition, and it was her resistance to retaliating against the Hive that was, ultimately, the cause of her reassignment.
The footage that had caused so much turmoil was, as was typical of the Hive, entirely without sound. It was also poorly framed and edited. The small human was barely in shot before being obscured by the large Hive entity that appeared to be chasing him. Aaron's popularity meant that there was an immediate outcry against his reported death, and the traditional media still seemed solely intent on fanning the flames of anger. Those who had once been his strongest critics now extolled the virtues of humanity, lamenting the loss of the last of his kind. His journey with the leokas had been shared, edited, remixed, commented on, and analysed many times over, each time strumming the heartstrings of his followers.
"You still think he is alive?" Eruwenn asked, breaking the silence that had fallen during her introspections.
Norrin smiled and turned to leave, calling over his shoulder as the doors closed. “The corpulent female is not performing vocally.”
As the door closed Cygna flopped down into one of the armchairs. “Well, that was cryptic.”
The ambassador walked to the replicator to order a hot tea, allowing herself a small smile when she found Eluin flower tea already under the favourites alongside several of her favourite biscuits. “Thank you Rilla,” she said softly.
The Fae’Dan allowed her whole body to relax fully for the first time since they had received the video that had changed so much. She sank deeply into the armchair, her head falling backwards. “Can you believe this place? I didn’t know there were so many shades of beige and grey.”
Eruwenn nodded. The bland colour scheme had not gone unnoticed by her, but more importantly she had also been surprised by all that they had seen so far. “I had not expected them to be so far along in such a short period of time. From what was said I get the feeling they will be exponentially increasing activity here. It’s certainly ambitious.”
The central door on the wall behind them suddenly opened, accompanied by the sound of a bodily waste recycler finishing its cleaning cycle. Ranjaz swaggered into the room, his hands fluffy from the auto-dryer. "I would give it a while before going in there."
Cygna screwed up her face in disgust. "What were you doing in there?"
"Honouring my ancestors." He raised an eyebrow and took a seat opposite the pair. "What do you think I was doing?"
The Anatidae gave a brief roll of her eyes. "She means, why are you in our room?"
"Welcoming committee." He smiled, showing his fangs. "I'm in charge round here, mostly. We're following a human strategy. Divide and conquer. So, we split up to, you know, conquer stuff."
Cygna sniped back, "That's not how that works."
"Says you." The Kittran shrugged. "Allistan and I were put in charge here. He manages the numbers, and I manage the people."
"And Norrin?" Eruwenn enquired.
Ranjaz sneered. "Alexa’s snitch. He shut down my casino and keeps bringing those Awakened on board and giving them jobs."
The ambassador raised an eyebrow. "Casino?"
"For morale." He punched his fist into his other hand. "When Aaron gets back he'll understand. Pay the workers, then get them to give their pay back - happily. It's brilliant."
Cygna sat up in her seat, unsure of the Kittran. “Mister K’Lua, if you could get to the point. We have had many tiring cycles of travel and would appreciate a little rest.”
He looked her up and down and flashed his most charming of smiles. “Call me Ranjaz.”
Eruwenn attempted to bring the conversation back to task. “You said you were divided. How so?”
“We split up, that’s what divided means.” He rolled his eyes, mimicking her earlier action. “And the Doc said you were smart.”
Realising she was being tested by the Kittran, she began to laugh. “What is it you require of us?”
Ranjaz smiled – straight to the point, he liked that. “I want you to be boring. Like, super dull and uninteresting. Think Jarby-like, but more Jarby-like than that.”
The ambassador was intrigued. “Why?”
He tried to keep his voice calm, but his tail swished happily as he made his dramatic reveal. “So nobody notices when we leave.”
The claxon was surprisingly quiet, and it wasn’t until the horrendous smell hit his nose that Aaron realised the door to his death wasn’t going to open. Behind him, the airlock unsealed. A huge, clawed hand grabbed his shoulder, so hard that it bit into his flesh. The claws sank deeper still as he was hoisted into the air and carried backwards by the huge Hive creature.
“Graaaah,” he roared in pain. “Get off me you fucking Bug’s Life reject!”
A strange smell assaulted his nose. Combined with his hangover, it pushed him over the edge and he vomited all over his own chest. The creature carried him, legs dangling in the air as blood and vomit stained his clothes. He coughed, the movement causing the wounds in his shoulder to open further, and he cried out in pain again. He was woozy now, and as the creature walked he seemed to lose his sense of time.
Anty stood in front of a large door and while it began to enter a code, Aaron dangled helplessly from its grasp and looked back down the corridor. Where his blood and vomit had dripped, the moss was now glowing brighter. From small holes in the walls glowing blue aphids the size of hamsters began to appear. They quickly headed for the bright spots on the glow-moss floor. “This place is really trippy,” Aaron mumbled as his fever rose.
The door opened suddenly and Aaron was taken inside a room with gently pulsating walls. Large vines crisscrossed the ceiling, combining into a series of woven braids as thick as tree trunks running down the far wall. At the end of each vine was what appeared, to Aaron, to be a gigantic blue jelly bean. He was starting to realise the constantly changing odours were coming from his captor, but this information was more confusing than helpful.
He was dropped unceremoniously on top of one of the giant jelly beans. Before he could move, he realised he was sinking into the cold and gel-like substance. It was a deeply unpleasant feeling; his skin felt like the blue goo was toothpaste and he was orange juice. He had begun to make some headway in struggling free when Anty's hand came down atop his head, pushing him down to submerge him completely. He tried to wriggle free but the goo was too viscous to move in, and his eyes widened in terror as he desperately held his breath.
Anty leaned closer, watching him struggle helplessly. The human’s jaw clenched tighter. The creature's mandibles were clicking, although Aaron could no longer hear them, and he realised that thankfully he could not smell it any longer. Bubbling up through his mind was the thought that his headache was gone, followed swiftly by the realisation that the pain in his shoulder was also gone. Something else slowly became apparent; he wasn't running out of breath.
He felt refreshed, soothed and at peace. Physically he felt refreshed, soothed and at peace. The thought foremost in his mind, however, was Am I dying? followed slowly by Is the goo paralysing me so I can be eaten alive? Am I being dissolved to feed the glow moss? The cleaner aphid-hamsters?
Whatever was happening, it slowly dawned on him that he didn't really have the energy to mind, as it was quite pleasant. Relaxing, even. He drifted off to sleep, cradled contentedly in his giant blue jelly bean.
Outside, Anty began to have trouble breathing and staggered towards the exit.
Golden eyes hovered in the dark, and Aaron groaned inwardly. "Boy, this shit again."
"YOU LIVE." The voice had no discernible emotion.
Aaron ran his fingers through the sand around him. "Why are you here, Golden Eyes?" Saying it out loud was a relief, as he was certain it was the 'One Who Remembers' who was haunting him.
"I AM WHAT REMAINS. THE CONNECTION WAS BROKEN. I AM NO LONGER THE ONE YOU FOUGHT." The voice was distant, as if forming these thoughts took a great effort. "I AM A FRAGMENT."
Aaron sighed, wondering if this was why he had stopped healing and why he could no longer turn off his limits. “So you’re messing with the nanites Alexa gave me? Why? If I die, what happens to you?”
Before he got an answer he felt a strange sensation around his body, like pulling a foot free from deep mud. Cold air touched his skin and he felt the hard ground below him. He was in the same room, but his jelly bean was gone. He stood, and realised he felt amazing. He’d never had a spa treatment, but he imagined this would be the after effect. He walked towards the door and heard a sound behind him.
Glop Glop
From the vine that had been attached to his jelly bean another was beginning to grow, only this one was orange.
Finally free from his hangover Aaron took stock of the situation he was now in. Other than the clothes on his back, he had nothing. He looked around for an improvised weapon...and found nothing. He walked to the door and it opened automatically, but the corridor was empty. “Fuck. What is going on?”
He walked a short way down the curved corridor and saw a strange red shape on the glow-moss floor just up ahead. He slowed and crouched, inching forward. As he saw further around the bend it became very clear that this was the corpse of a Hive, maybe even Anty. The glow-moss beneath it glowing a dull red, and in contrast to the aquamarine it seemed ominous.
He stood up from his crouch and carefully approached. Aaron had no idea how to check for vital signs on an eleven foot tall ant monster...so he kicked it. There was no response, and he decided to press on. “Fragment. I know you won’t, or can’t, respond while I’m awake. But I’m going to talk to you anyway because this is some creepy shit.”
As he rounded another corner he came upon another body highlighted by the ominous red glow in the moss. A short while later he came across another. And another. Aaron pressed onward, ceasing to check for signs of life after the tenth maybe-corpse. Finally he reached a potential point of interest: a junction where three new paths opened before him. "There are no signs. How the hell am I supposed to know where I am?”
He sat down on the floor, and found the moss to be surprisingly comfortable. “If I just wander around aimlessly, I might not find my way back here. Do I need to find my way back here?” He paused and waited for Fragment to reply. “Good point. What if I get hurt? I might want to hop in a jelly bean.” He stood and looked back the way he came. “I should probably see what’s behind door number two. Food would be good.”
He pushed himself to his feet and turned back the way he had come, heading straight for the nearest door. Its failure to open was surprisingly anti-climatic. Fourteen failed door-opening attempts later, one finally deigned to admit his passing. Behind door number fourteen stood rows of crates and boxes, and after opening a few up he found that they all had the same dry bricks in silver foil packaging. "If I was a betting man," he said to both himself and Fragment, "I'd say this was emergency rations." The foil was easy to tear, and inside was a large grey block that crumbled easily. Too easily, in fact. "Shit, it's worse than a granola bar.”
Crumbs scattered at his feet and the moss glowed brightly around him, which seemed to prompt the large aphids to come from the walls to begin cleaning up around him. “Well you like it.” Then he remembered them rushing to his blood and vomit. “I guess you guys aren’t picky, though.”
Deciding he wasn’t hungry enough to try it – yet – he shoved a block into one of his pockets. It was a tight fit. He looked at the open bar in his hands, and then down at the aphids. Was he crazy, or were they gathered around him now, staring up at the source of food in his hands? He shrugged, then crumbled up the rest of the bar and scattered it over the floor. “I am a generous god, serve me well.”
As he turned to leave he saw his cryo unit in a corner. “Kinda rude that I was put in with the blocks of kitty litter, don’t you think?” He stepped over the dozens of aphids now feasting. They did not reply. “Yeah, you guys are kinda cute, I suppose.” Struck by a sudden impulse he grabbed another block and began crushing it, then carefully opened one end to take a pinch of space-granola. He scattered it, watching the aphids hurry towards the glowing areas.
As he continued his exploration, counting doors and sprinkling aphid snacks, he quickly noticed that the aphids avoided the dull red glow-moss. Dead Hive were, it seemed, off the menu. After several more doors he found the room with the strange round terminal. Deciding he would rather not chance summoning another creature he left it alone, mentally noting the door’s location.
He began to whistle to himself as he chatted to, and fed, his followers. To fill the silence he even told them the story of a piper from Hamelin, promising not to lead them to their deaths. As the door to the jelly bean room opened he was almost enjoying himself. Taking a moment to look round he saw the small orange jelly bean had grown almost as big as the others and was now blue at one end. “Well, that’s pretty cool.” He pointed at it, hoping one of his aphids would take an interest. They did not. “Well, I guess you see this shit all the time.”
He stopped by the store room and grabbed another food brick on his way back to the junction. The long corridors and strange lighting made him lose track of distance and time. Facing forwards, the path continued on the same loop he seemed to be following. Right was an incline, left was a gentle slope. “More of the same, or do we change levels?” He tossed crumbs towards each path. “Six vote forwards, seven left and eleven vote for going up. What about you, Frag?” He paused for a moment. “Abstain, huh? Then the bugs have decided.”
The incline was gentle, but tightly spiralled compared to the previous corridor. There were no doors, but there were a lot more bodies. His search went on for what felt like hours, opening doors that led to rooms containing things he didn't understand. He was growing tired and had used up all of his space-granola on the aphids. He came to another junction.
Only a handful of aphids still followed him after the food had ended. He was growing hungry and tired, ready to head back. There was a noise ahead of him, and suddenly the remaining aphids scattered, flying to the nearest wall holes. His chest tight, he let curiosity draw him in.
Another body lay ahead of him, but this time, something moved. Something big. Aaron hunched down, trying to see what it was, the bulk of the fallen Hive obscuring his view. Legs – multiple sets of them – began to emerge, followed by a head with glistening eyes. Aaron’s blood froze. It was a horrifying spider-like creature, almost as big as he was, and it was walking around the fallen Hive in Aaron's direction. Then it raised its head, and began to move faster.
“Fuck that!” Aaron took off at a sprint, racing back the way he came. “Nope. Nope. Nope!” He leapt over Hive bodies, racing for the nearest door he knew would open. He could hear the clicking of many legs and chanced a look over his shoulder. It was gone. Then something caught the corner of his eye, and his heart gave a jolt of fear. It was above him. He dove aside just as it landed where he had been, then he scrabbled desperately to his feet to run onward.
Three, Two, One. The door opened and he rushed inside. “Close. Fucking close!” He listened to the sounds of skittering growing closer, and it was just in the nick of time, or so he felt, that the large door finally slid shut. The room was filled with strange bulbous white shapes dotted around the floor, and had some vines running down one wall. No weapons, nothing to bar the door. Aaron held his breath as he suddenly heard the sound of scratching at the door, but the seconds ticked past and it did not open.
“Damn it, Frag!” Aaron moved to the back of the room. “Why didn’t you warn me!” He sank down and leaned back against the wall. Just as he was beginning to feel almost comfortable in his current position, one of the vines moved and stretched out towards him. He rolled forwards, pushing himself across the ground to escape. “What now?”
A large yellow flower bloomed upwards, becoming a large vase shape as big as the human’s head. It began to fill from the bottom with something, and Aaron edged closer. Peering inside he gave the contents a quick sniff. “Smells good.” He reached out and hefted the vase-flower, which came away from the vine far more easily than he had expected. Aaron watched as the vine slowly returned to the wall. “So, is this a drink? Or a scented industrial cleaner? Frag? You got anything useful to say?” Silence.
He propped the vase up against one of the pods, contemplating it. He remembered encountering a fruity-scented shampoo as a child. It had tasted nothing like the smell, and he wasn’t about to drink alien flower juice just because it smelled tropical.
Stretching out on the floor, his weariness outpaced the dwindling adrenaline. “I guess it can’t come in.” He watched the door, his heart rate returning to normal. “But, I can’t go out.”
The scratching outside continued, and Aaron lay with his head on his arm, watching. As he began to fall asleep he saw several of the aphids gathering around the flower he had abandoned. “Help yourself, guys.” One of them approached him, braver than the others, and he tentatively reached out a hand. Spooked, it pulled back, but as Aaron continued to hold his hand steady it came closer, slowly, millimetre by millimetre. Finally it was within reach, and after a few more moments to make sure the skittish thing wasn't about to dash off again, Aaron gently stroked the back of its head with the tips of his fingers. It made a low buzzing sound, fluttering its wings, and the human fancied that it might be a sign of approval.
The aphid's blue glowing abdomen brightened for a moment. Then it faded, and it darted off to rejoin the others. Aaron, exhausted, finally gave in and slept.
Next
submitted by Sooperdude24 to HFY [link] [comments]

Day 1 of Quitting- My story into gambling addiction

Hi everyone,
This is my first post so bare with me. It may be long so don’t feel compelled to read it.
I am 26 years old and in the midst of the Pandemic, I have been working from home since March. Before September, I would never have thought of myself having a gambling addiction. I remember being on a cruise when I turned 21 and put $20 in a slot machine and lost it and was so angry and disappointed in myself.
Then in September I kept seeing this ad on Instagram for an online casino. One day I succumbed and decided to sign-up because they had a $30 signup offer. I thought, ‘Hey what’s the harm?’ I wish I could go back and slap myself and say don’t do it.
I play through the free $30 and won $500. My whole body felt electrified. That went away when I realized there were wagering requirements (I have never been in/involved with casinos so I had no idea). By the time I met the wagering requirement, I had $75 of withdrawalable money. Still excited I made $75 for free I went to withdrawal, but found out the minimum withdrawal amount is $100. So I kept playing and eventually lost it. I wish I learned my lesson that this will be the reality most of the time.
For a bit of background, before this I was in a decent financial state. Pretty good job for someone my age, lived alone in a nice apartment, had some credit card debt, but overall manageable. I have some mental health problems (Bipolar and anxiety disorders) but received treatment and relatively stable compared to my early 20s.
As the days went on I couldn’t stop thinking about seeing that ‘big win’ flashing on my screen and kept thinking to myself, ‘that $500 could have been mine if I didn’t have that $30 bonus’. So, I decided to deposit $20 and bet low on the same game and won nothing. I felt sick like I did on the cruise.
This particular online casino gives you $1 every day, so for the next week I just played but $1 and won some, but not enough to withdrawal. About a week later, I got an email from the casino saying if I deposit $50, I’ll get an extra $50 with no wagering requirement. The thought of depositing $50 was crazy to me so I just deleted the email and continued with my free $1 a day. After about a week of that, I get another email, deposit $50 play with $200. I scoured the fine print and I only had to play through the extra $150 once, then any winnings I can withdrawal. I still hesitated until Friday night where I had a couple drinks and decided to go for it. Back then, I would say this was one of the most fun nights of my life. I kept landing the ‘fireshot’ feature and winning mini and minor jackpots. At the end of the night I won $1200 USD (I’m from Canada so it would be about $1500 CAD).
My body was so full of excitement I could barely hit the withdrawal button. When I did, I found out they had to verify my account and I had to send in the required documents. After I researched if this was standard for online casinos and researching this casino, I sent in my documents. I went to bed happy, and already had plans on what I was going to buy/pay off with this win. Unfortunately I was too excited to sleep. So I log back in and miraculously (at least to me back then), my $1200 was still there, and playable. So I thought why not play a few more rounds with a higher bet to get an even bigger win? Big mistake. By 3:00am, I was down to $100. I forced myself to stop so I could still withdrawal something. After about a week or two, I resisted playing/betting more and when I logged into my online banking and saw the $120 deposited, I think that’s when my addiction started.
I was no longer satisfied with my free $1 everyday. I started just depositing $20 here and there. On my lunch break or in the evening when I was bored. Then $20 turned into $50 and $50 to $100. After maxing my credit card with no significant wins, I decided enough was enough. And stopped for the rest of September.
Most likely because I had researched so much about online casinos, I had more ads than ever tempting me. One night again after a few drinks, I joined a different online casino. This one was completely different, with better games, a level up feature where you get to spin a wheel after each level and win free spins, cash back or free money, I was hooked again. I put in $50 and lost and was completely broke. So I patiently counted down the days until I got paid. I also sold about $500 worth of video games/consoles I didn’t want to sell, but did to have more money to gamble with.
On payday, I set an alarm for 4:00am when my pay is deposited. This was the first real sign to myself I may be becoming obsessed, but brushed it off. I deposited $100 and won $200. Same story, I had to verify my account but this was done within hours, and I got my money in two days VS a week and a half with my first casino. Stupidly, I put the $200 back in and lost it. I was back to being broke after only two days of getting paid. By the weekend, my credit card payment posted and in my eyes, I had money again.
That night I won most of what I lost back and learned my lesson and withdrew it. When I saw that sum deposited into my bank account, I was ecstatic. I first paid off my credit card I was using to make the deposits, and went out and bought AirPods Pro. I felt rich (even though the win was less than $1000). That evening I wanted to play again, but I had no money. This was the night I learned I could cancel a bill payment within 24 hours. Which I did. And played through all my winnings. Words can’t describe how disappointed I was in myself. I was broke. Credit card maxed. And the only thing I had to show for it were the AirPods. The next day I tried returning them but they wouldn’t accept the return because of their return policy on headphones. I vowed to myself to never gamble again, wrote a note in my phone describing what I was feeling so I could read it if I was ever tempted. That week I fell into a depressive episode. I couldn’t afford groceries, lied to friends and family for not spending time with them because I feared they would want to order food, I didn’t want to admit what happened, so I isolated myself.
That week was what I thought was the hardest. I just stayed in bed signing up to every casino out there for free spins no deposit sign ups to try to fill the void but you never actually win anything on no deposit spins. Finally, my good friend asked what is going on and I immediately bursted into tears and told her I was broke, and my credit card maxed. We work at the same job, and long story short, are both getting $5000 in retro pay because of a expired union contract. She told me she would lend me $5000 now, and I would give her my retro money when we get it in February. This was one of the kindest things anyone has ever done for me. Reluctantly, I decided to accept this kindness and we worked out a budget on how I would not let this happen again. Here’s the thing, and I will never forgive myself for, I didn’t tell her all this happened because of gambling. I was too ashamed and embarrassed.
Life was somewhat normal again for a couple weeks until one night I decide to just put in $100 and see if I can win some of what I now owed my friend back. After $500 lost, those same feelings came back, but worse since I felt I betrayed my friend’s kindness, and that this isn’t the first time this happened.
Fast forward to November - I won again (not nearly enough to recover my losses), paid my credit card and cancelled the payment, lost it all again. Then towards the end of November, my $1000 for rent sitting in my savings account kept calling my name. I have never ever been in a position where I would risk not affording rent, but my addiction was stronger and I lost $500 of it. I had about a week until my rent was due, I had nowhere to turn, I couldn’t ask my friend for a loan because in her mind, and from the few times she asked, I was sticking to my budget. My new way of handling stress was gambling, so I put another $100 in and won $600. I was saved and again vowed myself to never put myself into this position again and ‘quit’.
Now it is December, I guess this is my rock bottom. Not nearly as bad as some people’s, but here it is. I took out another credit card for ‘emergencies’ since my main one is maxed. I was good, and didn’t use it except to buy a few groceries which I swore I would pay off on payday. My mental health declined, and I deposited $100 and lost it. Then another $100. Lost it. Made another ‘promise’ to myself to stop and I did until last night. I now owe $1,000 on the new credit card, and my main one is now in a negative balance because of a subscription.
I am a liar, I take advantage of people’s kindness that I didn’t deserve in the first place, and now in more credit card debt than I know how to deal with. All I can wish for is I’ve learned my lesson. That the money I lost I will never get back, and to find some way to fill the void gambling has left in my life. After only the first day, I don’t know what will give me that feeling of excitement, the feeling of being alive. I had all my casino accounts deleted this morning, but I know there are more out there, I just really hope I can stop myself from ever going back on this path.
If you made it this far thank you for reading. If you have any suggestions on what I can do to not relapse, and any hobbies or activities that can fill the void please let me know.
submitted by evguy789 to GamblingAddiction [link] [comments]

Update Lupin

"That just means the game isn't over yet! The goddess of victory will smile upon me, Lupin III!"
Required listening for this thread
Lupin III is the grandson of Arsène Lupin. He is the world's most wanted gentleman thief. Lupin is acknowledged by virtually every law agency on earth as the world's number one thief. Often in his adventures, he and his colleagues, Daisuke Jigen and Goemon Ishikawa XIII, will take it upon themselves to foil other criminals engaged in more violent crimes. While first glance may imply Lupin as fun-loving, flighty, perhaps even "goofy", his surface façade overcoats a brilliant imagination and a thorough knowledge of a hundred varying sciences. Forever extemporizing and reevaluating, Lupin has been responsible for heists no right-minded individual would believe possible. While arrested and jailed on numerous occasions, typically by his nemesis Inspector Zenigata, he has always managed to escape. He has a fondness for fancy gadgets from time to time plus hands-on experience in many skills a thief would find useful. His infatuation with Fujiko Mine is perhaps his most significant weakness, as it lands him in undesirable situations most of the time.

Equipment

Exactly what it sounds like. They are released to distract the motion sensors of an extremely secure museum
A rapidly expanding airbag.
Lupin's trademark blue and white boxer shorts double as an emergency parachute.
A small bomb that detonates when shot by Jigen.
A set of balloons that lift an Egyptian death mask display. Lupin also has a larger set they used to steal the Statue of Liberty
A briefcase containing a rapidly expanding balloon filled with knockout gas.
A small, golden coin with his face on it. When thrown, releases a giant Lupin-shaped dummy.
Several large barrels of explosive liquid set off by flaming rags.
A massive hang-glider shaped like a bat.
A grenade that, upon contact, expands into a massive blow up doll.
A decorative bracelet with a wire/chain on the end.
A pair of wings and an engine that extend from a handheld briefcase.
A massive bubble that protects Lupin from traps.
A nearly invisible hang-glider.
A small, silver ball that emits a loud bang, a burst of light, and rainbow confetti.
A large, green balloon with Lupin's face on it.
A paddleboat hidden within a larger boat's hull. The boat also has a large engine on the back
Several duck-shaped bombs that are capable of sinking large ships. They do not discern what they're blowing up, however, and can be dangerous. They can also be hidden
A dummy head that when stomped emits a thick smokescreen.
A dummy large enough for Lupin to hide inside. Can expand enough to lift a large truck
An electric gun developed by the same scientist who invented Lightsabers. Can cut through bullet proof glass, lift a store's worth of jewels and helps pull a building apart. It also instantly KOs Zenigata
An exploding cigarette that makes an impressive explosion.
Cigars that explode when lit. Can be used a mini grenades.
A dummy head that expands enough to fill a large cage. Explodes with a thick smokescreen.
A remotely detonated lighter.
A disguise mask that doubles as an explosive.
The control stick of a plane that is also an expanding explosive.
Gum that when chewed and spit causes an explosion big enough to total a military Jeep. He has multiple variations on this equipment
A top hat that explodes on command.
A black suit that explodes in a blinding flash
A false tooth that falls out of Lupin's mouth and explodes
An explosive watch that lets off a big enough blast to fling three men.
One of Lupin's left molars. Has a brevity of uses including a remote control for one of his vehicles, a computer that can analyze any drugs he's given, a pair of robotic arms that can throw the drugs back, a radio, a lockpick
A small aerosol can that allows Lupin to lift fingerprints from a glass.
A small grenade that lets off a colorful explosion.
A remotely-controlled flying car. It manages to lift off the ground but nothing else.
A small device that opens a miniature black hole when used.
A grenade with a powerful knockout gas. Works fast enough to cover an entire oil rig in seconds.
A massive, propelled dummy of Lupin and Jigen that explodes with a giant boom and flash
A rocket fired from an RPG that, when detonated, sprays glue strong enough to stick several large ships together.
Pieces needed to assemble a working go-kart.
A small hang-glider that carries a single missile.
A standard hearse that turns into a helocopter.
A horse capable of outrunning several jeeps, dodging bullets, and running across a small ladder. Lupin has a way with animals that allows him to frequently use them in his escapes. Also he got a horse to do this once. I don't feel like trying to explain it.
A standard jetpack.
A pair of shoes which turn into personal jetpacks when activated by tapdancing. They can also be used offensively and for escapes
A small kusari-gama capable of swinging a car back onto an icy road
Works as a lighter and also can emit a powerful knockout gas. Also explodes when dynamite is strapped to it, as most things do and works as a communicator
A powerful drug slipped into Zenigata's drink.
A pair of magnetic hand grips that assist in climbing.
Standard marbles or ball bearings used to make a pursuer lose their footing.
A small kite able to carry Lupin.
A mini oxygen tank shaped like a cigarette.
A fleet of tiny RC cars, all remotely controlled by Lupin. Comes in Red, Green, and Yellow.
A breathing device kept in Lupin's jacket.
A gun that fires a suction cup dart that once attached pierces a glass window. It goes on to attach itself to a safe's knob. Lupin can control the dart remotely, cracking a safe from outside the room
A helicopter controlled by a small joystick.
Similar to his helicopter except it is controlled by a Gameboy-like controller.
A riding crop that fires miniature tranquilizer darts.
A bright light attached to a ring on Lupin's finger.
A pair of robotic legs that can be attached to an object. Strong enough to make a statue run through a wall.
A device hidden within an elevator that causes it to turn into a high powered rocket.
A pair of weights fired from an rpg. Used to wrap around submarines to weigh them down.
A small device created by Lupin that instantly cracks a safe.
A small silver sticker that delivers a massive shock "bigger than a stun gun"
A pair of knives fired from the tips of Lupin's shoes.
A small transmitter in Lupin's shoe that signals a nearby biplane. The plane has a large bomb attached to it.
A silver copy of Lupin's signature weapon. Lupin states it is "only for threatening".
An immediately effective sleeping aerosol.
Creates a thick smoke for quick escapes.
A pack of cigarettes that react when dropped in water to create a thick smokescreen.
A small bomb that can stick to any surface. The adhesive is strong enough a grown man cannot remove it and the explosion is large enough to topple a massive statue.
A car that doubles as a submarine with the flip of a switch. Allows Lupin and the gang to avoid a missile.
A pistol-sized gun that fires a suction cup on a rope. Strong enough to lift a man.
A car that can be driven from either the front or the rear.
Adhesive bombs with a set timer.
An umbrella that grows in size and operates that a helicopter's blades.
A small bomb that causes a big boom.
Allow Lupin to see hollow spots underground.
A propelled underwater vehicle. When surfacing, turns into a raft
A small machine Lupin wears around one of his teeth.
A small camera inside Lupin's watch. Can take and print photos.
Different from his normal grappling hook, this is attached to a pistol-like controller that reels it in.
A small dart fired from Lupin's watch that emits a trackable signal.
A sword made of pressurized water. Stated to be as "hard as diamond". During their duel, the blade cuts a door in half
A pair of wings that protrude from Lupin's car allowing it to glide.
A wingsuit.
A pocket-sized yo-yo.

Durability

Blunt
Crushing
Electric
Explosive
Fire
Freezing
Mental
Piercing
Other
Dislocates his fingers to escape handcuffs
Poison
Striking

Speed

General
Movement
Reaction

Skill

Accuracy
Dodging
Driving
Escapes
Fighting Ability
General
Quick Thinking
Sleight of Hand
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