NBA odds: Lakers, Bucks the betting favorites for Finals

The previous tenant left a survival guide. There isn’t a guide for these floors.

Looking at that button panel in the lift that didn’t lead home I felt a knot form in my stomach. Why hadn’t Albert appeared, and which button was I supposed to press?
“Where are we going Kat?” Ellie asked; she had stopped crying but every word was heavy with fear. In truth, I didn’t really know the answer to her question. I stared at the panel, taking in every number and noting it’s inclusion of a -9.
“We’re going to see if there’s anyone else around.” I answered.
I didn’t like my chances with whatever might inhabit that floor. If wherever we were was a reverse of the building then number 9 could be nasty, so I started cautiously, pressing the -2 button.
Mechanics whirred and the large metal doors clapped shut. I wished that I had been behind the real lift’s doors, before it disappeared from sight. The lift that we stood in was as identical to the original as possible, even the shiver it sent up my spine just being inside it felt the same.
I was grateful when it stopped and the doors opened to reveal a relatively normal looking corridor, reminiscent of the ones above in the upper building.
I would’ve believed that I’d imagined the lift falling and was arriving home if it weren’t for the large black -2 painted next to the metal doors, the lack of any windows and an obnoxious, artificial light that I was sure would give me a migraine if I stood there for too long.
I don’t know what I hoped would be behind the red, wooden door that lead to a vast stretch of flats. I didn’t suppose that finding Derek in something that the fake lift had indicated was as large as the building would be that simple but perhaps it would provide some answers.
Albert himself was a possibility. I couldn’t predict his moves, but I had a strong feeling he wouldn’t be able to contain his intellectual gloating at the failure of my plan for long.
“I don’t like it here.” The small voice broke my stream of thoughts.
“Me neither Ellie, hopefully someone will be home and know how we can get back upstairs.” I feebly attempted to smile at my tiny companion, but she was a child, not an idiot. She saw straight through me.
“I don’t think we should go through that door.” Ellie gestured to the red wooden door, separating us from the windowless flats. She planted her feet firmly to the spot and refused to move any further.
“Do you have any better ideas?” I asked, genuinely hopeful.
“I just have a really bad feeling.”
Her words didn’t fill me with a sense of comfort or optimism but I saw little choice. I reached for the handle and pulled at the door. It creaked loudly as it opened, releasing a strong, musky smell, like something that had been shut away for a long time.
I took a tentative step inside alone, leaving Ellie just behind in the corridor, and shouted hello; hoping that if anyone was in there that visitors were usually scarce and they may come out. Unlike my previous plans this worked flawlessly and within minutes each of the doors were slowly opening.
I counted around ten doors in total as human arms and fingers started to emerge from behind them. The flats were filled with - and I use this term loosely - people.
They weren’t typical, none of them were dressed and they had fleshy limbs and appendages sticking out of all the wrong places. There were elongated necks, multiple arms and spines bent completely backwards, it shocked me that any of them could walk at all.
Each one of them looked like a unique result of intense torture. Torture that should’ve killed them long before they reached the stage they were at. Remembering where I was, I realised that they probably were killed long ago, or they never lived to begin with.
One in particular caught my eye. It had a neck at least three feet long and I couldn’t distinguish it’s gender at all. It’s back was bent in a way that a child might to do the crab and it was balanced on all fours. Instead of two arms and two legs all four limbs were left arms, all facing the same direction.
It’s neck lulled backwards, swinging from side to side a little and struggling to support itself. I inhaled sharply as it’s head lifted slightly into a steadier position and it locked eyes with me.
It screamed.
The scream that came from that... thing... was the single most distressing sound I’ve ever had to listen to. It penetrated my soul and I felt every inch of pain and suffering that laced it. My stomach churned and the shrill pitch burrowed into my brain.
It left me completely immobile as every other person-like creature in the room lifted its head, wherever it balanced, and screamed in unison with the first. Holding my hands to my ears I started to feel a warm liquid trickling from them but I couldn’t take my only protection away to see what it was.
I can’t even begin to describe the pain that I felt. There are no words for a misery that deep. I don’t know how, but I could feel years upon years of torment and unimaginable pain that they’d gone through. The screaming became so overwhelming and all consuming that I started to feel myself getting dizzy.
There was a violent tug at my shirt, forcing me backwards before an almighty hiss, vicious enough to cut through the screams and silence them, echoing through the corridor.
It took seconds for each and every one of the mangled people to shrivel back into their flats, winding limbs clambering in all directions. Leaving Ellie stood there, horn tips gleaming in the artificial light.
“What were they Kat?” I barely heard the muffled sounds she was making that had replaced the heart wrenching screams.
I finally pulled my hands away from my ears to see them covered in blood. Ellie noticed and wrapped her arms around me, nicking me accidentally in the side with a claw. It hurt but I didn’t want to make a fuss, in that moment I knew no pain could measure up to what I’d felt during my short time amongst the mangled people.
“I don’t know... how did you do that?” I could still barely hear the sounds of my own voice, it was like I was wearing a hat pulled over my ears, despite nothing of the sort and my hair being shoved into a bun on top of my head.
“I didn’t do anything, I thought they were going to eat us both!” She replied, hyped on the adrenaline.
“But they all ran away..”
“I guess I’m just extra scary!” She answered, a pride in her voice that only a child could produce. I just looked down at her and ruffled the blonde hair between her horns. She was frightening looking, sure, but she had nothing on those things, or even the creatures in the lift.
I couldn’t understand why such ferocious monsters were so scared of a little girl. Why would they run instantly? It made me uneasy, but I loved the twins, no matter how unusual they were. I just wished that I could be more of a protector for her than it being the other way round.
We stumbled into the corridor and I was again confronted by the metal doors of the fake lift. To the other side of them there was an entrance, presumably to a stairwell if the under tower we were trapped in continued to be a mirror of home. After spending what felt like hours in a lift, the idea of stairs comforted me and I ushered Ellie towards the entrance.
There were no stairs going upwards, back to floor -1. They only went downwards, the odd artificial light not quite covering the bottom of the set we were at the top of. My ears rung with the sound of the mangled people’s screams.
“Do you think they skip too?” Ellie asked me, looking into the abyss with her own, impossibly deep black voids.
“Let’s find out.” I answered, gripping her hand again as we started to walk towards the darkness.
We reached floor -3 quickly, in one average flight. I considered exploring the corridor of flats that existed on that floor too, but Ellie planted herself firmly to the ground again and insisted we didn’t. I wasn’t about to argue with her, sound still hadn’t returned to normal and I’d learned from my mistake. I couldn’t bare to face anything like the previous floor again.
We climbed down another flight of stairs. The ones we had just descended were still there, leading back up, when we reached the bottom, giving me some comfort that as long as we could reach the lift on floor -2 we should at least be able to get back to the cold, dim but empty basement.
This time, the stairs did skip, giving some sort of semblance of home. The big, black -5 sign was jarring, but missing a floor had allowed me to tell myself that these stairs were just an extension of the proper ones.
More jarring, was the woman. She looked right at us, at my demon sidekick than had terrified everything else... and she didn’t run. In fact, she didn’t move at all, it’s as if she were looking straight through us. Ellie didn’t panic either, she didn’t tell me to get away or hiss at the woman. She just stared back.
Her hair was a mousy brown and her features beautiful, yet average. There was nothing particularly distinct about her, except for how much she reminded me of someone else.
She was a perfect mirror of her counterpart, she had the same vacant yet sad expression that the man on floor 5 always had. I wondered for a moment what her name might be.
“She misses him.” Ellie said.
I looked down at her in confusion.
“How do you know that?” I asked, not bothering to question who she meant.
“I don’t know, I just do.” She shrugged nonchalantly.
I sat on the step next to the standing woman and despaired. This whole place was like a sick joke. There was no sign of Albert, Derek or any way out of the labyrinth we we trapped in so far, and I couldn’t comprehend just how much of an imbecile I’d been.
Between the thoughts of never getting out, how I’d endangered the entire block, how hungry the kittens would get, Jamie and those awful screams my head felt ready to explode. The incessant ringing was only getting worse.
The woman next to me didn’t move a muscle, just stood staring into the open space in front of her. I looked at Ellie, knowing that she was special, and didn’t doubt what she had told me. I could feel for myself that the woman missed the man. I understood how she felt, to lose her love to the building, my heart truly bled for her.
“We need to keep going. There has to be someone here that can talk to us. We need to get you back home to your mum and brother.” I spoke, attempting to stay focused.
I smiled another forced, optimistic smile at Ellie and gestured for her to follow me further down the spiralling, artificially lit stairs. I wasn’t sure what I hoped to find, or even where I was aiming, perhaps floor -9 was my best bet at any sort of answers.
I didn’t get a chance to test that theory. Once we reached the bottom of the flight we were once again faced with the big, black -5. The woman was stood in the same position, facing forwards.
“Come on.” I grabbed Ellie and tried to repeat the action. The stairs had always skipped. It wasn’t anything unusual. It wasn’t until it was.
By the sixth time we had attempted the stairs Ellie was looking tired and scared. Despite her voids for eyes the rest of her face displayed fear like any normal child.
“Kat..”
“It’s ok. We just need to keep trying.” I tried to convince myself as much as her.
“No... She doesn’t want to be alone. That’s why we can’t leave.” She let go of my hand and extended a long clawed finger in the direction of the woman.
She hadn’t moved from her spot and there wasn’t a noticeable chance in facial expression or demeanour, however, something about her felt entirely off. Hostile, even.
I understood grief, and doing everything possible to keep people close that you should let go. I wish that were what I thought the woman’s intentions were, I really do. Instead it felt more literal than that, more like she just really couldn’t bare to be alone again, at any cost.
“Just keep going.”
We ran down the stairs again. Then up them, and down again. Three more times and the terror started to build, each time we arrived in front of the -5 the woman seemed more sinister, more malignant. She wasn’t looking through us anymore. She was looking straight at us.
“My legs hurt Kat.” Ellie whined. Mine did too.
“Do you think... you could scare her?” I felt sick even suggesting it but Ellie had the best chances of getting us away from the stairwell.
Ellie shook on the spot but nodded and took a few steps towards her, she got close to the woman’s face and hissed, claws out. The woman didn’t move, she didn’t blink or flinch at all, she just stayed in her spot. Nothing at first, until she started to move. All that changed was her face, as the corners of her lips curled into a hollow smile.
The comfort I had felt from the familiarity of the woman and the floor number was dead in the water the moment she smiled. Ellie had retreated in an instant, tugging at my shirt again and shuffling closer. I think the fact that she did nothing else at all made it even more disconcerting.
The woman had the upper hand, and she wasn’t going to let us go.
“Please.” I begged. “If there’s anything we can do to help you please tell us.” I fought my fear, doing everything I could to be kind. If she had ever been a person she might somehow pity our plight. “I say hello to your man. I don’t know his name and he’s quiet like you... I think he misses you too. I know he does. I lost someone I love just like you did. I know how you feel.”
A singular tear rolled down her cheek but the smile stayed in place. My chest thumped as my heart pounded against my rib cage... maybe I was getting through to her?
Her eyes were haunting and hypnotic as they made contact with mine. It was like her brain was scrambled and she couldn’t put the pieces back together. Her eyes were more expressive than I had ever seen before on any person, filled with confusion and sadness.
After a few moments of intimate communication with our eyes the woman moved more than I had ever seen her or the man move. She cocked her neck to the side and tilted her head in Ellie’s direction, a few seconds after her neck had turned her eyes followed and she looked intensely at the child, smile plastered on her face and the evaporating trail of the tear still visible in the gleaming light.
Ellie started to cry, terrified, she tried to take a step behind me to use me as some sort of shield. No matter how many monsters she fought she was still a scared kid.
The woman took a laboured step towards her.
It took her a long time to put one foot in front of the other. Standing in one position for so long must do a real number on the muscles, even for those of a supernatural persuasion. Nonetheless, her step was an immediate threat, I could feel that her intentions were malevolent. The sadness in her eyes had developed into a disdain and that single step was a declaration of war.
Me and Ellie started to back away slowly, readying ourselves to break into a sprint down the stairs. I was prepared to run them in an endless loop forever if it meant keeping that little girl away from the woman.
Before we could even reach the first step, there was a voice. A male voice.
“That’s enough now, Angela. I didn’t think you were one to make children cry.”
I turned to the man now standing next to the woman, who had returned to her spot by the stairs, visibly calmed. He had one hand on her upper arm but he didn’t need it there, she wouldn’t dare disobey him.
His kindly eyes and smile, that held real warmth, were arranged beneath a familiar flat cap.
“I wish I could say it were nice to see you Kat, but given the circumstances I better not.” He continued, speaking directly to me this time.
“Who’s he?” Ellie interrupted, tugging the same spot on my shirt, where the material had begun to stretch. I smiled at her for real for the first time since our nightmare began.
“Ellie, this is Derek.”
The next part
submitted by newtotownJAM to nosleep [link] [comments]

Whose stock went up? Whose stock went down? A market index report from the MTV Challenge Accepted podcast

On our MTV Challenge Accepted podcast (link in bold) we have a segment where we discuss this question. Whose stock went up? Whose stock went down? Here were our winners and losers this week.
STOCK UP
Kyle
We try to avoid the obvious, so it almost goes without saying that Kyle had a good week. He slithered to a victory, and made sure to keep his streak going of a good quip or two in every episode.
Kyle may not be the strongest challenger left in the house, but he's not bad at all. He's going to have a puncher's chance at winning this final -- which is probably true of every guy remaining. Fessy will be the betting favorite, but there's still some uncertainty there. Without knowing how he'd do in a final, we'd call this one of the most even fields in memory (on the guys' side.)
Jenny
When anthropology professors explain different civilizations to their students, they should be clicking on episodes of The Challenge. After all, the show is as a great example of a patriarchal society. The men have always lorded over the women, expecting that their opinions should be sent down from the mountaintop and treated like gospel.
The daily challenge illustrated as much. Fessy and Cory cut a deal with Josh, and then cut a deal with each other. They'd promise the other a spot in the tribunal. The fact that this negotiation took place showed an implicit belief that the decision would come down to their preference. No questions asked. No pesky female weighing in with her "vote."
However, Jenny didn't roll over. As an equal 1:1 vote with Fessy, she actually stood her ground and pushed for Josh (or Kyle), because it was the fair thing to do. Fessy ultimately backed away, allowing Jenny to win this argument. It may have been a trivial one, but it showed that Jenny isn't going to be a shrinking violet. She's going to have just as much of a voice as the guys. Given her place in the game, she deserves as much.
We adore Jenny already, so it's hard for her stock to go up much higher. Still, it climbs and climbs like she's Amazon (the stock and the warrior.)
Nelson
Conversely, we have not been so kind to Nelson this year. He's been erratic and insecure for the majority of the season so far. But then... it felt like something changed. He's been a comforting friend to Bayleigh last week, and this week had a honest heart-to-heart "tough love" talk with Aneesa about her place in the game.
So what changed? When did Nelson grow up?
If we had to pinpoint a moment, it would be when he earned his red skull. Since then, he's appeared to be a newer, kinder, calmer Nelson. He's such a Challenge superfan that he comes in hard and hot sometimes, so eager to prove himself. Right now, he must feel confident about his place in the game. He's a beast in elimination, and has a very good chance to win the final presuming swimming is not heavily involved. Better still, his alliance looks like it's in control of the house for the first time in ... ever? Nelson's view from the catbird seat looks good, and the effect on his personality looks good as well.
STOCK DOWN
Cory
Meanwhile, success has not done much good for the game of Nelson's BFF. Cory had been fairly cool and rational this season in pursuit of his red skull. Once he got it, you would figure he'd be as happy and content as Nelson. Instead, Cory made waves this week by getting very upset that he wasn't picked to be in the tribunal.
Why...? We're still trying to figure that out.
He claims that he was mad at Jenny because she "owes" him, but I'd be very skeptical of that debt if I was a ruling judge. Cory acts like he gifted Jenny a purgatory win in that first elimination, when in fact Jenny was one of the only competitors campaigning for it at the time. She doesn't owe him anything; she would have gotten a red skull sooner or later anyway.
He was also upset with Fessy, more understandably so. Fessy snaked out of a deal. Agreed. Not cool. Still, was it that big of a deal...? Cory wasn't up in the discussion to go in. It didn't affect him in any way. The only reason Cory appeared to be mad was a matter of pride. He gloated about his daily challenge record, and seemed to want to "win" for the sake of winning. In reality, that won't matter in the long run. If anything, Cory should have let this one go like Elsa, knowing that Fessy's friendship will do a lot more for his long-term success than this one irrelevant daily.
Josh
Again, the obvious choice so we won't dwell on it. Josh lost in elimination, ending a very poor season for him overall. Actually, T.J. ended the season for him, mocking him as the "dude who cries a lot." Ouch.
We did wonder though: is this a pattern? Do the Big Brother contestants choke in big moments? Josh panicked and froze up again. Swaggy looked like a deer in headlights prior. Even Paulie -- a good competitor -- has stumbled in major moments before. Perhaps the Big Brother folks don't have the eye of the tiger. TBD. Fessy and Kaycee will have the chance to reverse that curse in the upcoming weeks.
MIXED BAG
Fessy
We're mixed on Fessy this week. On one hand, we completely understand his strong desire to grab a tribunal spot. Smart competitors should be targeting him, so he was understandably paranoid in this case. However, by backing out of his deal with Josh and then Cory, Fessy showed some of his true colors. He's not the most reliable friend and ally, which is a knock against his reputation that may end up costing him more on a show like this (where players return) than it would on a one-off show like Big Brother.
At the same time, I did connect with Fessy's personal story. It couldn't have been easy to be a Muslim kid in school after 9/11. And he's absolutely right that there aren't many Middle-Eastern Muslims in professional sports. When you're a Middle-Eastern kid, or an Indian kid, or a Korean kid, or whatever, and you never see someone like you in the NFL, it would be discouraging. It'd be a huge deal to have that representation and motivation that it's possible. All in all, I wish Fessy had his chance to shine and be a role model in the NFL.
Was that dream realistic...? Eh. Kinda-sorta. I'm a huge NFL Draft fan (and write about it often on reddit), so I know that his prospects were fairly dim. There are barely any players from his school that matriculate to the NFL. His statistics don't jump off the page either in comparison to other small-school tight ends. Being ranked as the "30th tight end" as he mentioned isn't a huge feather in your cap either; on average, less than 15 tight ends get drafted every year. To be fair, he genuinely did have some darkhorse buzz and some good workouts, so it's possible that he would have gotten some invites to training camps and perhaps latched onto a team from there. But overall, he had long odds.
the red skull
Arguably the most import aspect of this season so far, it's been a polarizing one.
All season long, we've said that the red skull twist would be a "bust" if at least 1 challenger didn't get sent home for not securing a chance at one. That won't happen now. Everyone funneled into a neat and orderly line, and everyone remaining has their skull in hand.
Still... is that really such a bad thing? Every competitor won an elimination. That's good. That's different. This season would have been worse if players like Kyle and Nany skated to a final without sniffing the Purgatory. Overall, I'd still consider the red skull wrinkle a good idea, even if it didn't lead to AS MUCH drama as we expected. In the future, I'd recommend keeping some version of it, with some possible tweaks. (2 red skulls = immunity, for starters.)
submitted by ZandrickEllison to MtvChallenge [link] [comments]

The Mouthbreather's Guide to the Galaxy

The Mouthbreather's Guide to the Galaxy
Alright CYKAS, Drill Sgt. Retarded TQQQ Burry is in the house. Listen up, I'm gonna train yo monkey asses to make some motherfucking money.

“Reeee can’t read, strike?” - random_wsb_autist
Bitch you better read if you want your Robinhood to look like this:
gainz, bitch


Why am I telling you this?
Because I like your dumb asses. Even dickbutts like cscqb4. And because I like seeing Wall St. fucking get rekt. Y’all did good until now, and Wall St. is salty af. Just google for “retail traders” news if you haven’t seen it, and you’ll see the salty tears of Wall Street assholes. And I like salty Wall St. assholes crying like bitches.
https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/retail-investors-are-crushing-hedge-funds-again

That said, some of you here are really motherfucking dense & the sheer influx of retardation has been driving away some of the more knowledgeable folks on this sub. In fact, in my last post, y'all somehow managed to downvote to shit the few guys that really understood the points I was making and tried to explain it to you poo-slinging apes. Stop that shit yo! A lot of you need to sit the fuck down, shut your fucking mouth and listen.
So I'm going to try and turn you rag-tag band of dimwits into a respectable army of peasants that can clap some motherfucking Wall Street cheeks. Then, I'm going to give you a mouthbreather-proof trade that I don't think even you knuckleheads can mess up (though I may be underestimating you).
If you keep PM-ing me about your stupid ass losses after this, I will find out where you live and personally, PERSONALLY, shit on your doorstep.
This is going to be a long ass post. Read the damned post. I don't care if you're dyslexic, use text-to-speech. Got ADHD? Pop your addys, rub one out, and focus! Are you 12? Make sure to go post in the paper trading contest thread first.

THE RULES:
  1. Understand that most of this sub has the critical reading skills of a 6 year old and the attention span of a goldfish. As such, my posts are usually written with a level of detail aimed at the lowest common denominator. A lot of details on the thesis are omitted, but that doesn't mean that the contents in the post are all there is to it. If I didn't do that, every post'd have to be longer than this one, and 98% of you fucks wouldn't read it anyway. Fuck that.
  2. Understand that my style of making plays is finding the >10+ baggers that are underpriced. As such, ALL THE GOD DAMN PLAYS I POST ARE HIGH-RISK / HIGH-REWARD. Only play what you can afford to risk. And stop PM-ing me the second the market goes the other way, god damn it! If you can't manage your own positions, I'm going to teach your ass the basics.
  3. Do you have no idea what you're doing and have a question? Google it first. Then google it again. Then Bing it, for good measure. Might as well check PornHub too, you never know. THEN, if you still didn't find the answer, you ask.
  4. This sub gives me Tourette's. If you got a problem with that, well fuck you.

This shit is targeted at the mouthbreathers, but maybe more knowledgeable folk’ll find some useful info, idk. How do you know if you’re in the mouthbreather category? If your answer to any of the following questions is yes, then you are:
  • Are you new to trading?
  • Are you unable to manage your own positions?
  • Did you score into the negatives on the SAT Critical Reading section?
  • Do you think Delta is just an airline?
  • Do you buy high & sell low?
  • Do you want to buy garbage like Hertz or American Airlines because it's cheap?
  • Did you buy USO at the bottom and are now proud of yourself for making $2?
  • Do you think stOnKs oNLy Go uP because Fed brrr?
  • Do you think I'm trying to sell you puts?
  • If you take a trade you see posted on this sub and are down, do you PM the guy posting it?
  • Do you generally PM people on this sub to ask them basic questions?
  • Is your mouth your primary breathing apparatus?
Well I have just the thing for you!


Table of Contents:
I. Maybe, just maybe, I know what I’m talking about
II. Post-mortem of the February - March 2020 Great Depression
III. Mouthbreather's bootcamp on managing a position – THE TECHNICALS
IV. Busting your retarded myths
V. LIQUIDITY NUKE INBOUND
VI. The mouthbreather-proof trade - The Akimbo
VII. Quick hints for non-mouthbreathers


Chapter I - Maybe, just maybe, I know what I’m talking about
I'm not here to rip you off. Every fucking time I post something, a bunch of dumbasses show up saying I'm selling you puts or whatever the fuck retarded thoughts come through their caveman brains.
"hurr durr OP retarded, OP sell puts" - random_wsb_autist
Sit down, Barney, I'm not here to scam you for your 3 cents on OTM puts. Do I always get it right? Of course not, dumbasses. Eurodollar play didn't work out (yet). Last TQQQ didn't work out (yet). That’s just how it goes. Papa Buffet got fucked on airlines. Plain retard Burry bought GME. What do you fucking expect?
Meanwhile, I keep giving y'all good motherfucking plays:
  1. 28/10/2019: "I'ma say this again, in case you haven't heard me the first time. BUY $JNK PUTS NOW!". Strike: "11/15, 1/17 and 6/19". "This thing can easily go below 50, so whatever floats your boat. Around $100 strike is a good entry point."
  2. 3/9/2020: "I mean it's a pretty obvious move, but $JNK puts."
  3. 3/19/2020, 12pm: "UVXY put FDs are free money." & “Buy $UVXY puts expiring tomorrow if we're still green at 3pm. Trust me.”
  4. 3/24/2020: “$UUP 3/27 puts at $27.5 or $27 should be 10-baggers once the bill passes. I'd expect it to go to around $26.”
And of course, the masterpiece that was the TQQQ put play.
Chapter II. Post-mortem of the February - March 2020 Great Depression
Do you really understand what happened? Let's go through it.
I got in puts on 2/19, right at the motherfucking top, TQQQ at $118. I told you on 2/24 TQQQ ($108) was going to shit, and to buy fucking puts, $90ps, $70ps, $50ps, all the way to 3/20 $30ps. You think I just pulled that out of my ass? You think I just keep getting lucky, punks? Do you have any idea how unlikely that is?
Well, let's take a look at what the fuckstick Kevin Cook from Zacks wrote on 3/5:
How Many Sigmas Was the Flash Correction Plunge?
"Did you know that last week's 14% plunge in the S&P 500 SPY was so rare, by statistical measures, that it shouldn't happen once but every 14,000 years?"
"By several measures, it was about a 5-sigma move, something that's not "supposed to" happen more than once in your lifetime -- or your prehistoric ancestors' lifetimes!
"According to general statistical principles, a 4-sigma event is to be expected about every 31,560 days, or about 1 trading day in 126 years. And a 5-sigma event is to be expected every 3,483,046 days, or about 1 day every 13,932 years."

On 3/5, TQQQ closed at $81. I just got lucky, right? You should buy after a 5-sigma move, right? That's what fuckstick says:
"Big sigma moves happen all the time in markets, more than any other field where we collect and analyze historical data, because markets are social beasts subject to "wild randomness" that is not found in the physical sciences.
This was the primary lesson of Nassim Taleb's 2007 book The Black Swan, written before the financial crisis that found Wall Street bankers completely ignorant of randomness and the risks of ruin."
I also took advantage of the extreme 5-sigma sell-off by grabbing a leveraged ETF on the Nasdaq 100, the ProShares UltraPro QQQ TQQQ. In my plan, while I might debate the merits of buying AAPL or MSFT for hours, I knew I could immediately buy them both with TQQQ and be rewarded very quickly after the 14% plunge."
Ahahaha, fuckstick bought TQQQ at $70, cuz that's what you do after a random 5-sigma move, right? How many of you dumbasses did the same thing? Don't lie, I see you buying 3/5 on this TQQQ chart:
https://preview.redd.it/9ks35zdla5151.png?width=915&format=png&auto=webp&s=2c90d08494c52a1b874575ee233624e61ac27620
Meanwhile, on 3/3, I answered the question "Where do you see this ending up at in the next couple weeks? I have 3/20s" with "under 30 imo".

Well good fucking job, because a week later on 3/11, TQQQ closed at $61, and it kept going.
Nomura: Market staring into the abyss
"The plunge in US equities yesterday (12 March) pushed weekly returns down to 7.7 standard deviations below the norm. In statistical science, the odds of a greater-than seven-sigma event of this kind are astronomical to the point of being comical (about one such event every 160 billion years).
Let's see what Stephen Mathai-Davis, CFA, CQF, WTF, BBQ, Founder and CEO of Q.ai - Investing Reimagined, a Forbes Company, and a major fucktard has to say at this point:

"Our AI models are telling us to buy SPY (the SPDR S&P500 ETF and a great proxy for US large-cap stocks) but since all models are based on past data, does it really make sense? "
"While it may or may not make sense to buy stocks, it definitely is a good time to sell “volatility.” And yes, you can do it in your brokerage account! Or, you can ask your personal finance advisor about it."
"So what is the takeaway? I don’t know if now is the right time to start buying stocks again but it sure looks like the probabilities are in your favor to say that we are not going to experience another 7 standard deviation move in U.S. Stocks. OTM (out-of-the-money) Put Spreads are a great way to get some bullish exposure to a rally in the SPY while also shorting such rich volatility levels."
Good job, fuckfaces. Y'all bought this one too, admit it. I see you buying on this chart:
https://preview.redd.it/s9344geza5151.png?width=915&format=png&auto=webp&s=ebaef4b1414d901e6dafe354206ba39eb03cb199
Well guess what, by 3/18, a week later, we did get another 5 standard deviation move. TQQQ bottomed on 3/18 at $32.73. Still think that was just luck, punk? You know how many sigmas that was? Over 12 god-damn sigmas. 12 standard deviations. I'd have a much better chance of guessing everyone's buttcoin private key, in a row, on the first try. That's how unlikely that is.
https://preview.redd.it/luz0s3kbb5151.png?width=587&format=png&auto=webp&s=7542973d56c42e13efd3502331ac6cc5aea42630
"Hurr durr you said it's going to 0, so you're retarded because it didn't go to 0" - random_wsb_autist
Yeah, fuckface, because the Fed bailed ‘em out. Remember the $150b “overnight repo” bazooka on 3/17? That’s what that was, a bailout. A bailout for shitty funds and market makers like Trump's handjob buddy Kenny Griffin from Citadel. Why do you think Jamie Dimon had a heart attack in early March? He saw all the dogshit that everyone put on his books.

https://preview.redd.it/8fqvt37ama151.png?width=3711&format=png&auto=webp&s=0b06ee5101685c5274c6641a62ee9eb1a2a3f3ee


Read:
https://dealbreaker.com/2020/01/griffin-no-show-at-white-house
https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/11/bank-ceos-convene-in-washington-with-president-trump-on-coronavirus.html
https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/914736/market-makers--didn-t-show-up-for-work--macro-risk-ceo-says-914736.html
https://www.chicagobusiness.com/finance-banking/chicago-trading-firms-seek-more-capital
https://www.housingwire.com/articles/did-non-qm-just-disappear-from-the-market/
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-03-22/bruised-hedge-funds-ask-clients-for-fresh-cash-to-buy-the-dip
https://fin24.com/Markets/Bonds/rand-bonds-rally-after-reserve-bank-intervention-20200320

Yup, everyone got clapped on their stupidly leveraged derivatives books. It seems Citadel is “too big to fail”. On 3/18, the payout on 3/20 TQQQ puts alone if it went to 0 was $468m. And every single TQQQ put expiration would have had to be paid. Tens or hundreds of billions on TQQQ puts alone. I’d bet my ass Citadel was on the hook for a big chunk of those. And that’s just a drop in the bucket compared to all the other blown derivative trades out there.

https://preview.redd.it/9ww27p2qb5151.png?width=2485&format=png&auto=webp&s=78f24265f3ea08fdbb37a4325f15ad9b61b0c694
Y’all still did good, 3/20 closed at $35. That’s $161m/$468m payoff just there. I even called you the bottom on 3/17, when I saw that bailout:

"tinygiraffe21 1 point 2 months ago
Haha when? I’m loading up in 4/17 25 puts"
"dlkdev
Scratch that, helicopter money is here."
"AfgCric 1 point 2 months ago
What does that mean?"
"It means the Fed & Trump are printing trillions with no end in sight. If they go through with this, this was probably the bottom."

"hurr durr, it went lower on 3/18 so 3/17 wasn't the bottom" - random_wsb_autist
Idiot, I have no way of knowing that Billy boy Ackman was going to go on CNBC and cry like a little bitch to make everyone dump, so he can get out of his shorts. Just like I have no way of knowing when the Fed decides to do a bailout. But you react to that, when you see it.
Do you think "Oh no world's ending" and go sell everything? No, dumbass, you try to figure out what Billy's doing. And in this case it was pretty obvious, Billy saw the Fed train coming and wanted to close his shorts. So you give the dude a hand, quick short in and out, and position for Billy dumping his short bags.
Video of Billy & the Fed train

Here's what Billy boy says:
“But if they don’t, and the government takes the right steps, this hedge could be worth zero, and the stock market could go right back up to where it was. So we made the decision to exit.”
https://www.businessinsider.sg/bill-ackman-explains-coronavirus-trade-single-best-all-time-podcast-2020-5
Also, “the single best trade of all time.” my ass, it was only a 100-bagger. I gave y’all a 150-bagger.
So how could I catch that? Because it wasn't random, yo. And I'm here to teach your asses how to try to spot such potential moves. But first, the technical bootcamp.

Chapter III. Mouthbreather's bootcamp on managing a position – THE TECHNICALS

RULE 1. YOU NEVER BUY OPTIONS AT OPEN. You NEVER OVERPAY for an option. You never FOMO into buying too fast. You NEVER EVER NEVER pump the premium on a play.
I saw you fuckers buying over 4k TQQQ 5/22 $45 puts in the first minutes of trading. You pumped the premium to over $0.50 dudes. The play's never going to work if you do that, because you give the market maker free delta, and he's going to hedge that against you. Let me explain simply:

Let's say a put on ticker $X at strike $50 is worth $1, and a put at strike $51 is worth $2.
If you all fomo in at once into the same strike, the market maker algos will just pull the asks higher. If you overpay at $2 for the $50p, the market maker will just buy $51ps for $2 and sell you $50ps for 2$. Or he'll buy longer-dated $50ps and sell you shorter-dated $50ps. Max risk for him is now 0, max gain is $1. You just gave him free downside insurance, so of course he's going to start going long. And you just traded against yourself, congrats.

You need to get in with patience, especially if you see other autists here wanting to go in at the same time. Don't step on each other's toes. You put in an order, and you wait for it to fill for a couple of seconds. If it doesn't fill, AND the price of the option hasn't moved much recently, you can bump the bid $0.01. And you keep doing that a few times. Move your strikes, if needed. Only get a partial fill or don't get a fill at all? You cancel your bid. Don't fucking leave it hanging there, or you're going to put a floor on the price. Let the mm algos chill out and go again later.

RULE 2. WATCH THE TIME. Algos are especially active at x:00, x:02, x:08, x:12, x:30 and x:58. Try not to buy at those times.
RULE 3. YOU USE MULTIPLE BROKERS. Don't just roll with Robinhood, you're just gimping yourself. If you don't have another one, open up a tasty, IB, TD, Schwab, whatever. But for cheap faggy puts (or calls), Robinhood is the best. If you want to make a play for which the other side would think "That's free money!", Robinhood is the best. Because Citadel will snag that free money shit like no other. Seriously, if you don't have a RH account, open one. It's great for making meme plays.

RULE 4. YOU DON'T START A TRADE WITH BIG POSITIONS. Doesn't matter how big or small your bankroll is. If you go all-in, you're just gambling, and the odds are stacked against you. You need to have extra cash to manage your positions. Which leads to
RULE 5. MANAGING YOUR WINNERS: Your position going for you? Good job! Now POUND THAT SHIT! And again. Move your strikes to cheaper puts/calls, and pound again. And again. Snowball those gains.
RULE 6A. POUND THOSE $0.01 PUTS:
So you bought some puts and they’re going down? Well, the moment they reach $0.01, YOU POUND THOSE PUTS (assuming there’s enough time left on them, not shit expiring in 2h). $0.01 puts have amazing risk/return around the time they reach $0.01. This is not as valid for calls. Long explanation why, but the gist of it is this: you know how calls have unlimited upside while puts have limited upside? Well it’s the reverse of that.
RULE 6B. MANAGING YOUR LOSERS:
Your position going against you? Do you close the position, take your loss porn and post it on wsb? WRONG DUMBASS. You manage that by POUNDING THAT SHIT. Again and again. You don't manage losing positions by closing. That removes your gainz when the market turns around. You ever close a position, just to have it turn out it would have been a winner afterwards? Yeah, don't do that. You manage it by opening other positions. Got puts? Buy calls. Got calls? Buy puts. Turn positions into spreads. Buy spreads. Buy the VIX. Sell the VIX. They wanna pin for OPEX? Sell them options. Not enough bankroll to sell naked? Sell spreads. Make them fight you for your money, motherfuckers, don't just give it away for free. When you trade, YOU have the advantage of choosing when and where to engage. The market can only react. That's your edge, so USE IT! Like this:

Example 1:
Initial TQQQ 5/22 position = $5,000. Starts losing? You pound it.

https://preview.redd.it/gq938ty8e5151.png?width=944&format=png&auto=webp&s=734ab7ed517f0e6822bfaaed5765d1272de398d1
Total pounded in 5/22 TQQQ puts = $10,824. Unfortunately expired worthless (but also goes to show I'm not selling you puts, dickwads)
Then the autists show up:
"Hahaha you lost all your money nice job you fucking idiot why do you even live?" - cscqb4
Wrong fuckface. You see the max pain at SPX 2975 & OPEX pin coming? Sell them some calls or puts (or spreads).

https://preview.redd.it/7nv23fr41a151.jpg?width=750&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=14a8879c975646ffbfe2942ca1982bfabfcf90df
Sold 9x5/20 SPX [email protected], bam +$6,390. Still wanna pin? Well have some 80x5/22 TQQQ $80cs, bam anotha +$14,700.

https://preview.redd.it/1iqtpmc71a151.jpg?width=750&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=df9b954131b0877f4acc43038b4a5a4acf544237
+$21,090 - $10,824 = +$10,266 => Turned that shit into a +94.85% gain.

.cscqb4 rn

You have a downside position, but market going up or nowhere? You play that as well. At least make some money back, if not profit.

Example 2:

5/22, long weekend coming right? So you use your brain & try to predict what could happen over the 3-day weekend. Hmm, 3 day weekend, well you should expect either a shitty theta-burn or maybe the pajama traders will try to pooomp that shite on the low volume. Well make your play. I bet on the shitty theta burn, but could be the other, idk, so make a small play.

Sold some ES_F spreads (for those unaware, ES is a 50x multiplier, so 1 SPX = 2 ES = 10 SPY, approximately). -47x 2955/2960 bear call spreads for $2.5. Max gain is $2.5, max loss is 2960-2955 = $5. A double-or-nothing basically. That's $5,875 in premium, max loss = 2x premium = $11,750.
Well, today comes around and futures are pumping. Up to 3,014 now. Do you just roll over? You think I'm gonna sit and take it up the ass? Nah bros that's not how you trade, you fucking fight them. How?
I have:
47x 2960 calls
-47x 2955 calls

Pajama traders getting all up in my grill? Well then I buy back 1 of the 2955 calls. Did that shit yesterday when futures were a little over 2980, around 2982-ish. Paid $34.75, initially shorted at $16.95, so booked a -$892 loss, for now. But now what do I have?

46x 2955/2960 bear calls
1x 2960 long call

So the fuckers can pump it. In fact, the harder they pump it, the more I make. Each $2.5 move up in the futures covers the max loss for 1 spread. With SPX now at ~3015, that call is $55 ITM. Covers 24/46 contracts rn. If they wanna run it up, at 3070 it's break-even. Over that, it's profit. I'll sell them some bear call spreads over 3050 if they run it there too. They gonna dump it? well under 2960 it's profit time again. They wanna do a shitty pin at 3000 today? Well then I'll sell them some theta there.
Later edit: that was written yesterday. Got out with a loss of only $1.5k out of the max $5,875. Not bad.
And that, my dudes, is how you manage a position.

RULE 7 (ESPECIALLY FOR BEARS). YOU DON'T KEEP EXTRA CASH IN YOUR BROKER ACCOUNT. You don't do it with Robinhood, because it's a shitty dumpsterfire of a broker. But you don't do it with other brokers either. Pull that shit out. Preferably to a bank that doesn't play in the markets either, use a credit union or some shit. Why? Because you're giving the market free liquidity. Free margin loans. Squeeze that shit out, make them work for it. Your individual cash probably doesn't make a dent, but a million autists with an extra $1200 trumpbucks means $1.2b. That's starting to move the needle. You wanna make a play, use instant deposits. And that way you don't lose your shit when your crappy ass broker or bank gets its ass blown up on derivative trades. Even if it's FDIC or SIPC insured, it's gonna take time until you see that money again.


Chapter IV. BUSTING YOUR RETARDED MYTHS

MYTH 1 - STONKS ONLY GO UP

Do you think the market can go up forever? Do you think stOnKs oNLy Go uP because Fed brrr? Do you think SPX will be at 5000 by the end of the month? Do you think $1.5 trillion is a good entry point for stonks like AAPL or MSFT? Do you want to buy garbage like Hertz or American Airlines because it's cheap? Did you buy USO at the bottom and are now proud of yourself for making $2? Well, this section is for you!
Let's clear up the misconception that stonks only go up while Fed brrrs.

What's your target for the SPX top? Think 3500 by the end of the year? 3500 by September? 4000? 4500? 5000? Doesn't matter, you can plug in your own variables.

Let's say SPX only goes up, a moderate 0.5% each period as a compounded avg. (i.e. up a bit down a bit whatever, doesn't matter as long as at the end of your period, if you look back and do the math, you'll get that number). Let's call this variable BRRR = 0.005.

Can you do the basic math to calculate the value at the end of x periods? Or did you drop out in 5th grade? Doesn't matter if not, I'll teach you.


Let's say our period is one week. That is, SPX goes up on average 0.5% each week on Fed BRRR:
2950 * (1.005^x), where x is the number of periods (weeks in this case)

So, after 1 month, you have: 2950 * (1.005^4) = 3009
After 2 months: 2950 * (1.005^8) = 3070
End of the year? 2950 * (1.005^28) = 3392

Now clearly, we're already at 3015 on the futures, so we're moving way faster than that. More like at a speed of BRRR = 1%/wk

2950 * (1.01^4) = 3069
2950 * (1.01^8) = 3194
2950 * (1.01^28) = 3897


Better, but still slower than a lot of permabulls would expect. In fact, some legit fucks are seriously predicting SPX 4000-4500 by September. Like this dude, David Hunter, "Contrarian Macro Strategist w/40+ years on Wall Street". IDIOTIC.
https://twitter.com/DaveHcontrarian/status/1263066368414568448

That'd be 2950 * (BRRR^12) = 4000 => BRRR = 1.0257 and 2950 * (BRRR^12) = 4500 => BRRR = 1.0358, respectively.

Here's why that can't happen, no matter the amount of FED BRRR: Leverage. Compounded Leverage.

There's currently over $100b in leveraged etfs with a 2.5x avg. leverage. And that's just the ones I managed to tally, there's a lot of dogshit small ones on top of that. TQQQ alone is now at almost $6b in AUM (topped in Fed at a little over $7b).

Now, let's try to estimate what happens to TQQQ's AUM when BRRR = 1.0257. 3XBRRR = 1.0771. Take it at 3XBRRR = 1.07 to account for slippage in a medium-volatility environment and ignore the fact that the Nasdaq-100 would go up more than SPX anyway.

$6,000,000,000 * (1.07^4) = $7,864,776,060
$6,000,000,000 * (1.07^8) = $10,309,100,000
$6,000,000,000 * (1.07^12) = $13,513,100,000
$6,000,000,000 * (1.07^28) = $39,893,000,000.

What if BRRR = 1.0358? => 3XBRR = 1.1074. Take 3XBRRR = 1.10.
$6,000,000,000 * (1.1^4) = $8,784,600,000
$6,000,000,000 * (1.1^8) = $12,861,500,000
$6,000,000,000 * (1.1^12) = $18,830,600,000
$6,000,000,000 * (1.1^28) = $86,526,000,000

And this would have to get 3x leveraged every day. And this is just for TQQQ.

Let's do an estimation for all leveraged funds. $100b AUM, 2.5 avg. leverage factor, BRRR = 1.0257 => 2.5BRRR = 1.06425

$100b * (1.06^4) = $128.285b
$100b * (1.06^8) = $159.385b
$100b * (1.06^12) = $201.22b
$100b * (1.06^28) = $511.169b

That'd be $1.25 trillion sloshing around each day. And the market would have to lose each respective amount of cash into these leveraged funds. Think the market can do that? You can play around with your own variables. But understand that this is just a small part of the whole picture, many other factors go into this. It's a way to put a simple upper limit on an assumption, to check if it's reasonable.

In the long run, it doesn't matter if the Fed goes BRRR, if TQQQ takes in it's share of 3XBRRR. And the Fed can't go 3XBRRR, because then TQQQ would take in 9XBRRR. And on top of this, you have a whole pile of leveraged derivatives on top of these leveraged things. Watch (or rewatch) this: Selena Gomez & Richard H. Thaler Explaining Synthetic CDO through BLACKJACK

My general point, at the mouth-breather level, is that Fed BRRR cannot be infinite, because leverage.
And these leveraged ETFs are flawed instruments in the first place. It didn't matter when they started out. TQQQ and SQQQ started out at $8m each. For the banks providing the swaps, for the market providing the futures contracts, whatever counter-party to whatever instrument they would use, that was fine. Because it balanced out. When TQQQ made a million, SQQQ lost a million (minus a small spread, which was the bank's profit). Bank was happy, in the long run things would even out. Slippage and spreads and fees would make them money. But then something happened. Stonks only went up. And leveraged ETFs got bigger and more and more popular.
And so, TQQQ ended up being $6-7b, while SQQQ was at $1b. And the same goes for all the other ETFs. Long leveraged ETF AUM became disproportionate to short AUM. And it matters a whole fucking lot. Because if you think of the casino, TQQQ walks up every day and says "I'd like to put $18b on red", while SQQQ walks up and says "I'd only like to put $3b on black". And that, in turn, forces the banks providing the swaps to either eat shit with massive losses, or go out and hedge. Probably a mix of both. But it doesn't matter if the banks are hedged, someone else is on the other side of those hedges anyway. Someone's eating a loss. Can think of it as "The Market", in general, eating the loss. And there's only so much loss the market can eat before it craps itself.

If you were a time traveller, how much money do you think you could make by trading derivatives? Do you think you could make $20 trillion? You know the future prices after all... But no, you couldn't. There isn't enough money out there to pay you. So you'd move the markets by blowing them up. Call it the Time-travelling WSB Autist Paradox.

If you had a bucket with a hole in the bottom, even if you poured an infinite amount of water into it, it would never be full. Because there's a LIQUIDITY SINK, just like there is one in the markets.
And that, my mouth-breathing friends, is the reason why FED BRRR cannot be infinite. Or alternatively, "STONKS MUST GO BOTH UP AND DOWN".

MYTH 2 - YOU CAN'T TIME THE MARKET

On Jan 14, 2020, I predicted this: Assuming that corona doesn't become a problem, "AAPL: Jan 28 $328.3, Jan 31 $316.5, April 1 $365.7, May 1 $386, July 1 $429 December 31 $200."
Now take a look at the AAPL chart in January. After earnings AAPL peaked at $327.85. On 1/31, after the 1st hour of trading, when the big boys make moves, it was at $315.63. Closed 1/31 at $309.51. Ya think I pulled this one out of my ass too?
Yes you can time it. Flows, motherfucker, flows. Money flow moves everything. And these days, we have a whole lot of RETARDED FLOW. Can't even call it dumb flow, because it literally doesn't think. Stuff like:

  • ETF flows. If MSFT goes up and AAPL goes down, part of that flow is going to move from AAPL to MSFT. Even if MSFT flash-crashes up to $1000, the ETF will still "buy". Because it's passive.
  • Option settlement flows. Once options expire, money is going to flow from one side to another, and that my friends is accurately predictable from the data.
  • Index rebalancing flows
  • Buyback flows
  • 401k passive flows
  • Carry trade flows
  • Tax day flows
  • Flows of people front-running the flows

And many many others. Spot the flow, and you get an edge. How could I predict where AAPL would be after earnings within 50 cents and then reverse down to $316 2 days later? FLOWS MOTHERFUCKER FLOWS. The market was so quiet in that period, that is was possible to precisely figure out where it ended up. Why the dump after? Well, AAPL earnings (The 8-K) come out on a Wednesday. The next morning, after market opens the 10-Q comes out. And that 10-Q contains a very important nugget of information: the latest number of outstanding shares. But AAPL buybacks are regular as fuck. You can predict the outstanding shares before the market gets the 10-Q. And that gives you EDGE. Which leads to

MYTH 3 - BUYBACKS DON'T MATTER

Are you one of those mouthbreathers that parrots the phrase "buybacks are just a tax-efficient way to return capital to shareholders"? Well sit the fuck down, I have news for you. First bit of news, you're dumb as shit. Second bit:

On 1/28, AAPL's market cap is closing_price x free_float_outstanding_shares. But that's not the REAL MARKET CAP. Because the number of outstanding shares is OLD AS FUCK. When the latest number comes out, the market cap changes instantly. And ETFs start moving, and hedges start being changed, and so on.

"But ETFs won't change the number of shares they hold, they will still hold the same % of AAPL in the index" - random_wsb_autist

Oh my fucking god you're dumb as fuck. FLOWS change. And the next day, when TQQQ comes by and puts its massive $18b dong on the table, the market will hedge that differently. And THAT CAN BE PREDICTED. That's why AAPL was exactly at $316 1 hour after the market opened on 1/31.

So, what can you use to spot moves? Let me show you:
Market topped on 2/19. Here’s SPY. I even marked interesting dates for you with vertical lines.

https://preview.redd.it/7agm171eh5151.png?width=3713&format=png&auto=webp&s=d94b90dcd634c8dc688925585bf0a02c3299f71b
Nobody could have seen it coming, right? WRONG AGAIN. Here:

https://preview.redd.it/i1kdp3cgh5151.png?width=3713&format=png&auto=webp&s=7a1e086e9217846547efd3b6c5249f4a7ebe6d9e
In fact, JPYUSD gave you two whole days to see it. Those are NOT normal JPYUSD moves. But hey maybe it’s just a fluke? Wrong again.

https://preview.redd.it/fsyhenckh5151.png?width=3693&format=png&auto=webp&s=03200e10b008257ae15d40b474c4cf4d8c23670f
Forex showed you that all over the place. Why? FLOWS MOTHERFUCKER FLOWS. When everything moves like that, it means the market needs CASH. It doesn’t matter why, but remember people pulling cash out of ATMs all over the world? Companies drawing massive revolvers? Just understand what this flow means.
The reversal:
https://preview.redd.it/4xe97l0oh5151.png?width=1336&format=png&auto=webp&s=07aaa93f6b1d8f542101e40e431edccbc109918f
https://preview.redd.it/v6i0pdmoh5151.png?width=1338&format=png&auto=webp&s=74d5589961db2f978d4d582e6d7c58a85f6305f9
But it wasn’t just forex. Gold showed it to you as well. Bonds showed it to you as well.
https://preview.redd.it/40j53u8th5151.png?width=3711&format=png&auto=webp&s=fe39ab51321d0f98149d33e33253e69f96c48e23
Even god damn buttcoin showed it to you.
https://preview.redd.it/43lvafhvh5151.png?width=3705&format=png&auto=webp&s=1ef53283cbc0fb97f71c1ba935c0bd747809636e
And they all did it for 2 days before the move hit equities.

Chapter V. LIQUIDITY NUKE INBOUND
You see all these bankruptcies that happened so far, and all the ones that are going to follow? Do you think that’s just dogshit companies and it won’t have major effects on anything outside them? WRONG.
Because there’s a lot of leveraged instruments on top of those equities. When the stock goes to 0, all those outstanding puts across all expirations get instantly paid.
Understand that Feb-March was a liquidity MOAB. But this will end with a liquidity nuke.
Here’s just HTZ for example: $239,763,550 in outstanding puts. Just on a single dogshit small-cap company (this thing was like $400m mkt. cap last week).
And that’s just the options on the equity. There’s also instruments on etfs that hold HTZ, on the bonds, on the ETFs that hold their bonds, swaps, warrants, whatever. It’s a massive pile of leverage.
Then there’s also the ripple effects. Were you holding a lot of HTZ in your brokerage margin account? Well guess what big boi, when that gaps to 0 you get a margin call, and then you become a liquidity drain. Holding long calls? 0. Bonds 0. DOG SHIT!
And the market instantly goes from holding $x in assets (HTZ equity / bonds / calls) to holding many multiples of x in LIABILITIES (puts gone wrong, margin loans, derivatives books, revolvers, all that crap). And it doesn’t matter if the Fed buys crap like HTZ bonds. You short them some. Because when it hits 0, it’s no longer about supply and demand. You get paid full price, straight from Jerome’s printer. Is the Fed going to buy every blown up derivative too? Because that's what they'd have to do.
Think of liquidity as a car. The faster it goes, the harder it becomes to go even faster. At some point, you can only go faster by driving off a cliff. THE SQUEEZE. But you stop instantly when you hit the ground eventually. And that’s what shit’s doing all over the place right now.
Rewatch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3hG4X5iTK8M
And just like that fucker, “I’m standing in front of a burning house, and I’m offering you fire insurance on it.”

Don’t baghold!
Now is not the time to baghold junk. Take your cash. Not the time to buy cheap crap. You don’t buy Hertz. You don’t buy USO. You don’t buy airlines, or cruises, or GE, or motherfucking Disney. And if you have it, dump that shit.
And the other dogshit that’s at ATH, congrats you’re in the green. Now you take your profits and fucking dump that shit. I’m talking shit like garbage SaaS, app shit, AI shit, etc. Garbage like MDB, OKTA, SNAP, TWLO, ZM, CHGG etc.
And you dump those garbage ass leveraged ETFs. SQQQ, TQQQ, whatever, they’re all dogshit now.
The leverage MUST unwind. And once that’s done, some of you will no longer be among us if you don’t listen. A lot of leveraged ETFs will be gone. Even some non-leveraged ETFs will be gone. Some brokers will be gone, some market makers will be gone, hell maybe even some big bank has to go under. I can’t know which ones will go poof, but I can guarantee you that some will. Another reason to diversify your shit. There’s a reason papa Warrant Buffet dumped his bags, don’t think you’re smarter than him. He may be senile, but he’s still a snake.
And once the unwind is done, THEN you buy whatever cheap dogshit’s still standing.
Got it? Good.
You feel ready to play yet? Alright, so you catch a move. Or I post a move and you wanna play it. You put on a small position. When it’s going your way, YOU POUND DAT SHIT. Still going? Well RUSH B CYKA BLYAT AND PLANT THE GOD DAMN 3/20 $30p BOMB.

Chapter VI - The mouthbreather-proof play - THE AKIMBO
Still a dumbass that can’t make a play? Still want to go long? Well then, I got a dumbass-proof trade for you. I present to you THE AKIMBO:

STEP 1. You play this full blast. You need some real Russian hardbass to get you in the right mood for trading, cyka.
STEP 2. Split your play money in 3. Remember to keep extra bankroll for POUNDING THAT SHIT.
STEP 3. Use 1/3 of your cash to buy SQQQ 9/18 $5p, pay $0.05. Not more than $0.10.
STEP 4. Use 1/3 of your cash to buy TQQQ 9/18 $20p, pay around $0.45. Alternatively, if you’re feeling adventurous, 7/17 $35p’s for around $0.5.
STEP 5. Use 1/3 of your cash to buy VIX PUT SPREADS 9/15 $21/$20 spread for around $0.15, no more than $0.25. That is, you BUY the 21p and SELL the 20p. Only using Robinhood and don’t have the VIX? What did I just tell you? Well fine, use UVXY then. Just make sure you don’t overpay.


Chapter VII - Quick hints for non-mouthbreathers
Quick tips, cuz apparently I'm out of space, there's a 40k character limit on reddit posts. Who knew?

  1. Proshares is dogshit. If you don't understand the point in my last post, do this: download https://accounts.profunds.com/etfdata/ByFund/SQQQ-historical_nav.csv and https://accounts.profunds.com/etfdata/ByFund/SQQQ-psdlyhld.csv. Easier to see than with TQQQ. AUM: 1,174,940,072. Add up the value of all the t-bills = 1,686,478,417.49 and "Net other assets / cash". It should equal the AUM, but you get 2,861,340,576. Why? Because that line should read: NET CASH = -$511,538,344.85
  2. Major index rebalancing June 22.
  3. Watch the violent forex moves.
  4. 6/25 will be red. Don't ask, play a spread, bag a 2x-er.
  5. 6/19 will be red.
  6. Not settled yet, but a good chance 5/28 is red.
  7. Front run the rebalance. Front-run the front-runners of the rebalance too. TQQQ puts.
  8. Major retard flow in financials yesterday. Downward pressure now. GS 180 next weeks looks good.
  9. Buy leaps puts on dogshit bond ETFs (check holdings for dogshit)
  10. Buy TLT 1/15/2021 $85ps for cheap, sell over $1 when the Fed stops the ass rape, rinse and repeat
  11. TQQQ flow looks good:
https://preview.redd.it/untvykuxea151.jpg?width=750&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=a0a38c0acb088ebff689d043e48466eb76d38e2f

Good luck. Dr. Retard TQQQ Burry out.
submitted by dlkdev to wallstreetbets [link] [comments]

[Tales From the Terran Republic] Sweatshop Sheloran, Agent Mongrave Stumbles, and Gloria Reborn

So what's been happening in the Republic these days?
The rest of this series can be found here
Author's note:
Ok, so Old Earth supercapacitors are used by the Republic... In one VERY specific application...
***
A plath, robed in translucent silken robes, strode down a strange corridor. The walls and floor were made of a slightly moving membrane, shot through with pulsing veins carrying fluids in a rainbow of colors.
A glowing orb, one of many that illuminated the hallway, drifted over to her and started to cuddle. She smiled fondly as she petted it as it made little urgent squeaking sounds.
“Oh, you want a treat?” she asked in a strange language as she reached into a fold of her robe and pulled out a crimson berry.
The orb bounced up and down happily in mid-air as a tiny mouth opened eager to accept the morsel.
The plath laughed as the light-beast gobbled it up. “Beast” wasn’t exactly the right word. It was actually a fruit that had matured on one of the glow-trees in the main garden.
She squeezed it gently as it giggled. It was still quite firm, still a good month before it would be ready for harvesting. It was an exquisite specimen, so clever, and very long lived for its kind! It would make a magnificent feast when its cycle was complete.
She examined it closely, reaching out with her senses as she sang softly. Its seed was forming nicely already wrapped with a healthy layer of fat. Such richness already!
Yes, this one, she thought with great satisfaction. “You shall become a mighty tree, little one,” she crooned at it as it beamed happily (and literally) at her.
The illuminator followed her as she walked down the hall rubbing happily against her. As she walked a row of bulbous growths sprayed oxygen rich beautifully scented air at her. She inhaled deeply, savoring the fragrance. She stooped down and sang at the soil. It parted at her voice moving gently away from the roots. As the illuminator fruit hovered helpfully above her.
Such a good little drupe! She reached up and gave it’s underside tickles. It cooed with delight.
After examining them, the soil closed back with a beautiful song and a wave of her hand.
Finally! she thought with a satisfied smiled. There had been no sign of the blight in months. It appeared that they finally had put it to rest.
Everything on the ship in perfect balance, she thought. If only we were similarly blessed.
She cocked her head slightly. She was being watched again. Now who is that? she mused. It wasn’t her rivals or the misguided revisionists. Of that she was sure. It was different, not real but yet was.
She paused at a section of wall and crouched placing her hands on the floor. Nobody had followed her.
She rose and caressed one of the walls, singing softly as she did so.
The wall quivered and started to thin, becoming transparent, revealing a pitch black chamber behind it. Leaving her favorite illuminator behind, she stepped into the thin gelatinous membrane, passing through it with ease. It thickened and became opaque, tough, and leathery just like the rest of the passage in seconds.
The chamber started to gently glow in soft cyan hues with phosphorescent fungi when it recognized her scent. Had she been someone else, her little darlings would have had a much different reaction.
One could never be too careful, especially these days.
She waited, silently, her hands on the bones of the ancient vessel in which they traveled the other realm, crossing the gulf between the stars in mere days.
The ancient cellulose bones whispered to her. They said that nobody followed.
“Thank you old friend,” she said pressing her head against the beams.
She then shrugged off her garments, letting the silken wisps float to the floor. Her graceful form then moved to a small tray, grown into the wall, filled with a nutrient rich broth.
Inside, were a row of small flask gourds in a rainbow of hues. She selected two. She then walked to a small circular pool in the center of the chamber filled with absolutely pure water.
She knelt by the pool and a small pore in the first gourd opened. She placed two drops of purified malporixlorh extract on her tongue. She shivered as the potent drug entered her bloodstream, her mind, her soul, unlocking that which was bound.
After a few minutes of meditation, the second gourd opened, it’s top forming a small lip. She poured a small measure of an oily substance in the water, its surface soon covered with endlessly shifting prismatic colors.
She then closed her eyes. Small ripples spread around their edges as glands secreted a greasy, waxy substance that instantly melted coating a thin, almost invisible membrane.
She opened her eyes… Then she opened them again as the transparent covering slid back revealing her real eyes, the secretions causing colors to dance across their surface.
She stared into the pool, transfixed by the constantly shifting colors. They then started to intensify as time slowed down.
Small creatures living in the lining of the pool started to glow as she extended her senses beyond the walls of the ancient ship, out into the formless, timeless void of the outer realm in which she traveled, peering into the endless shifting tides of the past, present, and future, constantly changing like the colors on the surface of the water.
She smirked. Nothing changed, not really. Their fate was fixed, as it was ever since their terrible “mistake” that really wasn’t one. Try as they might, her fellow plath would not succeed. Every move they made to avoid what they were doomed to become only set it more firmly in the singing strings of reality.
She took a moment to see the struggling lines of probability as the two sides waged their pathetic war. Her sisters were fighting and all too often these days dying to prevent the foolish revisionists from tearing down all that they had built over hundreds of thousand of years. Both sides were fools. Her brothers and sisters were fighting and dying trying to preserve something that didn’t need preserving and the fundamentalists were fighting to stop that which could not be stopped.
They would not stop it. They couldn’t. They could only delay things a little. Fate’s judgment, especially when annoyed, was absolute.
The fate of the plath, and in a more immediate and pressing sense, her own, was sealed, not that it mattered. The past was set. The future was set. The only thing they were free to toy with was the present.
And her present was going to be as pleasant as possible for as long as possible. Then, just like that little glowing drupe, her cycle would end filled with happiness and peace as she rejoined all that is.
She realized that she was being distracted by the brightest colors and cleared her mind, peering deeper, looking for the soul that was caressing her being in the dead of night.
She took another drop of malporixlorh, a risk, but a worthwhile one as her mind expanded further.
There! deep in the timelessness somewhere… somewhen an individual’s mind was swimming through the void vibrating in time with the strands of fate, their fate.
She smiled and the shifting colors of her eyes synced with the shimmering of the pool. She saw her!
“Hello there,” she sang softly.
***
Sheloran awoke with a gasp, sitting bolt-upright in bed.
“Murrph?” Craxina muttered as she awoke.
“The dream again?” she asked.
“Yeah,” Sheloran replied. “It was really freaky this time,” she said as she shuddered. It felt like someone was staring at her.
“You should really stop playing that game,” Craxina said sleepily as she snuggled Sheloran.
“I know… I know,” Sheloran replied. This all started after playing “Submerged!”. It was an older title but there was just something about it. The surreal organic landscapes, and the strange little cult following that still kept the servers running after twenty years, had entranced her from the first second she loaded it.
She literally couldn’t stop playing. She had always scoffed at “gaming addiction”, but she was really starting to wonder.
And the more she played it the more intense the dreams. They terrified her. They weren’t gory or violent, like some of her nightmares, they were just… Weird… Scary weird...
Really scary.
There was no way she was going to sleep again tonight. She started to get out of bed.
“Where you goin’?” Craxina asked.
“I’m just going to sit for awhile,” she said as she wrapped a silken robe, something that she recently bought online, around her night dress.
“You’re going to play aren’t you?” Craxina asked accusingly.
“Not after that last dream,” Sheloran said as she started to make a pot of tea. She really wished she had some Helson Grass or Arenaul Herb. She had taken for granted all of the herbs and plants of her homeworld. The creators had blessed them with such bounty. For the thousandth time that week she wished she had the presence of mind to snatch a few seeds, a clipping or two.
As soon as that pooping border opened back up, she was definitely going to be getting her buddies to go pick up a few hundred different seeds. It was going to be tricky, since they were “sacred” but credits talk and dogma walks. Somebody would be willing to go foraging for a few bucks (or games).
She was getting those fucking seeds… Oops… She was getting those darn seeds, she thought as she corrected herself. What was with her potty mouth these days? The Great Prophet warned about obscenity. It was “dangerous”… for some reason.
She sat down with a book on Terran botany as she sipped her tea. She started unconsciously flipping the pages faster and faster. She suddenly stopped, staring at an organic molecule.
That’s close! she thought excitedly and then blinked. She could work with that!
Close to what and what, exactly am I going to do to it?
Oh poop, there was that strange feeling again. She set down her tea and reached for a bottle of absinthe. Absinthe was yummy!
And it certainly took the edge off...
As she took out a box of sugar cubes, Craxina quiet snoring started to fill the room. She smiled. She used to find it so annoying but now, it was really comforting. It was really nice having someone to sleep with. It wasn’t a boyfriend but still, it was nice. Then again, plath, even boyfriends and girlfriends, didn’t sleep together. Heck, even husbands and wives didn’t. She wondered why? It was nice to have someone next to you. Some of the things that the priests said the Great Prophet commanded seemed kinda loopy every now and then. (May the Great Prophet forgive her.)
What was the harm of “sleeping alongside one another”? It wasn’t like they were “doing anything”… (Not that Craxina hadn’t offered… Fortunately, she was fine with the word “no” for once...)
She was starting to think the Great Prophet was just opposed to a good time.
No, he meant well. He really did. He was just… misguided...
What!?! Great, now I really am a heretic...
Her eyes suddenly looked over at her very nice VR rig.
She was already awake and just a little Submerged wouldn’t hurt.
She walked over and put on the modified headset and smiled as a shimmering pool filled her vision. She couldn’t wait to see how her little demon/flower hybrids were doing!
***
The next morning Craxina woke up to an empty bed.
She looked over towards the VR rig. There she was, asleep with the headset on.
“Wake up, junkie,” Craxina said only halfway joking as she nudged Sheloran.
I’th ras lori’kiah-shun?” Sheloran mumbled.
“What?” Craxina asked in alarm, her fur standing on end for a second as shivers ran down her spine (and not in a good way).
“Huh?” Sheloran asked hazily as she pulled off the headset. “Sorry, I guess I dozed off.”
“Do you gamers have your own language or something?”
“What?” Sheloran asked in confusion, “No.”
“You just said something really weird. It was like really creepy.”
“Did I?”
“Yeah! It sounded, I don’t know… demonic or something!”
“Well, I am the Befouler,” Sheloran joked, “Grr!” She really didn’t want to think about… whatever just happened.
Craxina just laughed along but in all honesty, Sheloran was starting to scare her a little…
And it was getting worse…
***
Helen Mongrave drank her morning coffee as she accessed a certain dating website.
She smiled. There was a rather filthy message from an “admirer”.
“Oh, Jon,” she laughed fondly. He still had the same sense of humor he had in boarding school.
She loaded up a script and processed the unsolicited dick pic that was attached. At least it wasn’t his dick. She knew for a fact, unless he had a very uncharacteristic growth spurt, he was nowhere nearly that well endowed.
A message slowly started to appear.
He had made it into the Republic and was wanting a list of who he could trust as well as a briefing of the latest developments.
She loaded a rather graphic image that was definitely not to Jon’s taste and encrypted her reply with a chuckle.
Let’s see how Jon likes that one! she chuckled to herself. Jon was a pretty good man, or had grown into one. Yeah, he screwed up royally in the past but she couldn’t help but wonder if maybe, after all this bullshit was finally over, maybe…
***
Sheloran wiped down the counter and cleaned the espresso machines for the sixth time that morning as she tried not to think about last night.
Maybe she should just uninstall that fuc-… that darn game.
The Great Prophet was right! she thought as she felt something stir inside her. Obscenity is dangerous! That’s it! No more potty-mouth!
“May the Prophet guide my steps, guide my thoughts… May he guide me away from the darkness...” she repeated to herself, a quiet little mantra.
The door opened and a small xeno walked in with fuzzy pale fur and a cute little snout, a garthra? She thought it was a garthra, a Federation species.
“Hi!” Sheloran said brightly. A customer! A lot of her business, both legit and somewhat less so, depended on the Federation trade, something that had been brought to a screeching halt. A lot of the neighborhood was in the same boat. The whole free port zone was for the Feds, not the Empire, and a lot of the businesses in the area were run by Federation emigres just as reliant on the Fed trade as she was.
The whole place had almost shut down. If it wasn’t for her annoyingly profitable den of ill-repute she would definitely be in trouble. “The girls” (and a few boys and other genders) were pretty much what was keeping the door open these days.
“H-hello...” the little female said nervously.
“Can I help you?” Sheloran asked hopefully. “Maybe some media?” God, she hoped it was media. That was the whole reason for this whole goddam-… pooping thing.
“I… I heard… I heard that...” she said as she clutched at her pretty little dress. “I heard that someone could… make some money here? By doing… doing...” she buried her face in her little hands and made a strangled little yelping noise.
Sheloran didn’t know garthras? (she was pretty sure it was a garthra) very well but she knew crying when she heard it!
Poop. She sighed sadly. Unfortunately this was becoming far too common. People were stuck with no way to get home (or couldn’t return for one bullshi-… poopy reason or another) or their business were tanking or their employers were going under. Desperation was setting in and she was filling out way too many union cards for the wrong reasons.
It was… wrong, she thought as she felt an odd pressure around her eyes. Her eyes had been bugging her here lately. She probably needed some Eyesoothe, that’s what you took when your eyes were hurting like this. It made it go away. Some Restful Palm wouldn’t go amiss either. It really helped with the unsettling dreams and recurrent unpleasant thoughts she’d been having.
Maybe some Void Balm too! What she wouldn’t give for just a few blossoms. Absinthe just wasn’t cutting it anymore, at least in quantities remotely close to advisable.
Not knowing what to do she walked around the counter and started to wrap her arms around the distressed xeno. The poor garthra collapsed into her arms, sobbing inconsolably.
Sheloran squeezed her eyes shut and winced as her orbits ached. Seriously, this was fucked up… Messed up! I meant messed up!… Great Prophet guide my steps...
“It’s… It’s going to be ok,” Sheloran said, not really believing it.
***
A few minutes later after Sheloran calmed her down and gave her a soothing cup of peppermint tea (She wasn’t sure why but she was definitely certain it would help… And it did!)
“Have you eaten today?” Sheloran asked as Uhrrbet (that was her name) sipped her tea.
She shook her head.
“Did you eat yesterday?”
Uhrrbet’s nose started to run (garthra “tears” were really snotty!) as she shook her head.
“Well that I can help with!” Sheloran said with a smile. “Do you like donuts?”
Uhrrbet’s eyes lit up.
“Come around back,” Sheloran smiled, the pressure in her eyes finally subsiding, “Plonxi damn… I mean darn… Great Prophet guide me!… She darn near bought out a bakery this morning.”
As Uhrrbet was stuffing herself with yeasty goodness Craxina walked in, robe annoyingly open.
“I tell you,” Craxina exclaimed as she dried herself off (after a shower! Get your head out of the gutter, perv!), “that guy was freaky! You won’t believe what he wanted me to do!” she laughed. “I thought I’d heard them all but, wow!”
Uhrrbet stiffened up as Craxina started to go into detail.
“Not a good time, Craxi,” Sheloran said urgently making a cutting off motion behind Uhrrbet’s back.
“Oh, it isn’t bad at all!” Craxina said to Uhrrbet. “You don’t even have to try to shove one inside you, if you don’t wanna. You can just play with it or put it in your mouth! Their stuff tastes really good!”
Uhrrbet’s nose started to run.
“Craxi. Go. Away!” Sheloran said as her eyes started to pulse.
“Yessh!” Craxi said, her damp fur trying to stand on end. “Alright! Alright! Jesus!” she yelped as she snatched a donut and scurried off.
“Sorry about that,” Sheloran said to Uhrrbet trying to calm her back down. “Craxi is… well her whole species is… They’re different from most of us.”
“It’s… ok…” Uhrrbet said between damp sniffles. “I… I guess I need to get… used to...”
She broke down, dripping boogers onto the donuts.
I hate my job, Sheloran thought as she held Uhrrbet. This was supposed to be fun, selling games to Federation delinquents. It wasn’t supposed to be this bullshit.
“Hey… hey...” Sheloran said soothingly, somewhat at a loss. “Look, you don’t have to do this.”
“I do!” Uhrrbet wailed. “I owe the Harkeen money! If I don’t come to work for you, I’ll have to work for them!”
Sheloran snarled as her eyes started killing her. Those… jerkfaced bullies! She hated them with a passion! They were part of the Threen mafia and were a constant pain. They thought they ran the free port. She already had more than one run-in with those… fucker-… Jerks!. She had done a couple of “union membership drives” involving some of their “employees”. They liked to growl and spit but they just a bunch of scared little bullies. When the union came calling they always backed down but sooner or later, they were right back at it. Drugs, prostitution, “protection rackets”, stuff like that.
She didn’t have a problem with them because she had the union at her back but so many others had no choice but to pay them off.
And the cops were useless. They didn’t care what happened “down here”. They just broke up fights and if something worse happened they would collect the bodies and make arrests if they could.
She really should start selling weapons… It wouldn’t take much to get a dealer’s license…
But most of the little Feds were too timid to use them anyway. That’s the problem. Everyone ran scared of them.
“Is there anything else you can do?” Sheloran asked helplessly. “A skill, a trade… anything?”
“I… I can sew,” she said hopefully. “I made this dress!”
“Well that’s something!” Sheloran said cheerfully. “Hand made anything is valuable! If you can sew then there is no reason why you couldn’t make human clothes and sell them!”
“But I don’t have money for fabric or anything,” Uhrrbet said helplessly. “And if I don’t pay them something by tomorrow they say they’ll… they’ll...”
She started crying again.
Voiddammit… I mean poop… Great Prophet help me! Please!
“(Sigh)… How much do you owe?” Sheloran asked cursing herself (for real) for asking.
“Fifteen hundred… Sixteen hundred by tomorrow,” she said helplessly.
“Ok,” Sheloran said as she pulled out a transactor. “I’ll front you the cash to pay them off, and you can work here, I still have space. I’ll pay you by the piece and then… I’ll sell it… somehow… I don’t know, I’ll set up a website or something.”
Uhrrbet looked up at her in hopeful disbelief.
“You’d… You’d do that?”
Why? Sheloran implored the universe. Why are you doing this to me?
“Sure, why not?” Sheloran replied. “My ‘normal’ business is in the crapper. Might as well diversify a little. Let’s call it an investment. If it works out then great! If not… then we can talk about a union card.”
“Thank you!” Uhrrbet exclaimed throwing her little arms (and tail) around a somewhat uncomfortable Sheloran. “Thank you! Thank you so much!”
“It’s what I do… apparently.” Sheloran said as she hugged her back.
At least my eyes aren’t hurting anymore. That’s worth something.
***
Helen Mongrave clicked “send” on her naughty little picture with a laugh. Jon was just going to “love” that! Furries were definitely not his thing!
Hey, that rabbit was pretty cute if she did say so herself!
Chuckling to herself, she shrugged into her shoulder holster, threw on her jacket, and headed out towards her grav-car. It was an older model, but it still worked great. Besides, she loved her old junker!
At least it gave her coworkers an easy target for the ration of shit they liked to throw back and forth. She pretended it bothered her so they would keep at that instead of finding something that really stung.
As she was reaching her car she noted movement out of the corner of her eye.
Two “suits” approached. Cheap ill-fitting suits, obvious bulges from their shoulder-holsters…
Agency. She would bet her life on it.
Fuck... she thought as she unbuttoned her jacket.
“Ms. Mongrave?” a broad-shouldered human with a buzz-cut asked.
“Never heard of her,” Helen replied as she turned to face them and surveyed the area. Two agents visible, probably more.
She was fucked.
“You need to come with us, ma’am,” the man said as he reached into his jacket.
She just smiled and drew her pistol…
And promptly tried to shove it in her mouth.
Zap
A heavy-stunner bolt cut her down before she could silence herself.
Helen Mongrave, dropping her pistol, collapsed.
The two agents caught her before she hit the ground as an unmarked van screeched to a halt and the door flew open.
Within seconds, Helen was gone.
***
Jon burst into laughter as he checked his messages.
“What?” Skippy asked as she walked up and wrapped her arms around him. “Who the fuck is that bitch?” Skippy laughed as she saw the picture. “Making a move on my man? I’ll kill her!”
“I guess the cat’s out of the bag,” Jon laughed as he started decrypting the message. “Can’t keep anything from that woman,” he chuckled, "never could."
He stopped chuckling as he read. It wasn’t good. It went way deeper than he hoped.
“Jesus,” he muttered.
“That bad?”
“Worse,” Jon replied. “I don’t know how to fix this.”
Skippy flashed a toothy smile as her blades slowly extended.
“I have an idea...”
“Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that,” Jon replied. “The Republic has been though enough… Oh hey!”
“That sounds encouraging.”
“I never thought in a million years I’d say this but I fucking love Jessica Morgan!” he said as he pointed at the screen.
“Wow...” Skippy replied. “That’s a shitload of money!”
“I wonder how loyal her inner circle really is?” he chuckled.
“Why don’t you ask that bitch in the hold?”
“According to her they are like a cult,” Jon replied, “completely unshakable.”
“They thought the same about her, you know,” Skippy grinned. “I wonder how many other ‘unhappy diners’ there are?”
“Dare to dream...” Jon replied as he pulled Skippy onto his lap.
“What?” Skippy asked. “That picture get your motor running?”
“Nah,” Jon said as he pulled her in for a kiss. “I got the real thing right here.”
Skippy giggled as she started to pull off his t-shirt.
Jon’s communicator started to ring.
“Goddammit,” he muttered as Skippy just signed, nuzzled his neck, and started to get dressed.
Jon looked at the screen and frowned. Rasheed was calling? On a live connection?
That wasn’t good.
“Lubricants Unlimited customer service department,” Jon answered. “Your asshole is our asshole!”
“Jon,” Rasheed said grimly, “They got Helen.”
“What?!?”
“Grabbed her about an hour ago. They are accusing her of treason and conspiring against the Republic.”
“Isn’t that a bit redundant?” Jon replied.
“This is serious, Jon! She knows everything! If she talks...”
“It’s a lot worse than just serious,” Jon said with a frown, “However, if they are doing this officially, then she’s probably in the system somewhere. Everyone breaks but it’s going to take time to crack her open. Find her. We’ll handle the rest.”
“Ok. We’ll find her,” Rasheed said regaining his composure.
“Don’t be a hero, Rasheed,” Jon said grimly. “If it looks like it’s getting too warm, you guys need to bolt. We don’t need to compound the tragedy.”
“If we run, we lose the agency,” Rasheed replied. “I’m not handing over Republic Intel to that bitch!”
“We might not have a choice,” Jon replied. “If you can’t locate her, go. I’d rather lose the agency than lose the agency and some damn good operatives and analysts.”
Rasheed’s worried face suddenly broke into a wry smile.
“What?”
“Since we are technically ‘criminals’,” he replied, “Why don’t we call in the big guns?”
“Huh?”
“Question,” Rasheed said as his smile grew. “which criminal did you keep a holo of on your desk?”
“I like the idea but they don’t operate in the Republic,” Jon replied.
“Yeah,” Rasheed said with a grin, “about that...”
***
In a hollowed out asteroid on the outskirts of Sol, Harval Smythe and a motley assortment of humans and xenos all stood anxiously beside it…
Absolute perfection… The single greatest achievement of his life.
A flaxen beauty with the most frightening eyes he had even seen in his life silently walked beside it lightly running her fingers along the hull.
“We worked around the clock, ma’am,” he said nervously, unnerved by her silence.
“I paid for quality, not haste,” she said in a leaden voice.
What the hell was she? he thought as he was filled with dread. Something was seriously wrong with her.
“It’s… perfect, ma’am,” he stammered as his crew all nodded furiously. “We have all of the NDT results and diagnostics right here,” he said as he handed her a tablet.
Gloria took it and after a few moments she looked up, her eyes flashing with anger.
He flinched. He thought the dead eyes were bad. These were worse!
“These results are not expected. You have deviated from my specifications. I am… displeased.”
Fear gripped his heart. There was little doubt what that might mean.
“Y-yes… we made some adjustments… Improvements!” he yelped. “Look!” he gestured at the tablet. “We increased power output by fifteen percent and your thrust to weight ratio has increased significantly! And we added safety features!”
“Safety?” she hissed advancing upon him slowly.
“Oh shit,” a large black man muttered as he picked up a communicator, “Shelia?” he said urgently. “You might want to get down here! Gloria is about to go Yellowstone!”
“Fuck,” an annoyed voice replied. “Stop her.”
“No way!” the giant exclaimed. “She’s in her unhappy place!”
“The exposure levels in the cockpit were completely unacceptable!” Harval yelped as he backed away, “We added a modified reactor shielding unit around the cockpit! The increased power levels more than make up for it and it reduces your net signal emissions by two percent! Look! Please for the love of God look!…" he begged as Gloria slowly kept walking towards him with glassy porcelain like eyes. "Look at the specs you stupid bitch!” He screamed, suddenly enraged. He had created a masterpiece, goddammit!
Oh no,” a small brunette gasped quietly as she looked away.
Gloria blinked in surprise and looked at the tablet again. There was the briefest flicker of life in her eyes and then with a slow exhale they glazed over again.
“I’m taking it out,” she said after a few moments.
“Yes! Please!” Harval exclaimed.
“Tell T’sunk’al to try to find me,” she said as she climbed inside the sleek black ship.
There was absolutely no sound as it powered up. The hangar doors opened and before they had stopped moving the ship was gone leaving nothing but a small hurricane as it left.
“Fuck!” Jessie screamed as she dove for cover.
Outside the black ship banked, rolled and dived with ever increasing speed.
“We just got pinged.” T’sunk’al said in his trademark unflappable tone. “Range… One-hundred yards?!?… Hyperspace event! Range… unknown!… She got us again… Range… No way!” he exclaimed. “Fifty yards?!?
The Paper Tiger shuddered.
“She just rubbed our shields!” the chief shouted, “Crazy bitch!”
“Hyperspace event!” T’sunk’al yelled. “Close enough to flash our shields!”
The ship shuddered again.
“Fucking stop that!” the chief yelled into the microphone.
“Where the fuck is she?!?” T’sunk’al yelled, his normally unflappable nature thoroughly flapped.
“Hyperspace event!” he shouted. “How the hell is she jumping so fast?”
“She’s fluttering the banks!” the chief said shaking his head, “Recharging them with the surge from the shields as she slams through space time! I’ve heard rumors about this but I’ve never actually seen it done before. It’s suicide! One fraction of a second off and… boom! It takes a true master to even think about pulling it off and even so, those banks must be made out of unicorn hooves or something! Where is she venting the heat? She can’t be sitting in it, right? Not even she would cook herself, would she?”
WHAM
“What the fuck was that?!?” Sheila yelled.
“Direct contact to our shields with the hull of the ship,” the chief shouted angrily. “She missed us by less than a meter!” He grabbed the mic. “Goddammit! If you fry the shields you are the one cleaning the conduits!”
“We just got painted by direct targeting,” T’sunk’al said, “range… Hyperspace event!… We’re painted… From the other side!… Range… Oh I don’t even fucking care anymore…”
***
Harval and about a dozen very nervous men and women of several races stood nervously in the shop bay.
Suddenly there was a blast of wind…
And the ship was there, so fast that nobody really saw it pull in.
It landed, and Gloria stepped out, eyes as dead as ever.
She walked up to Harval…
“So… Is it-”
Before he could react Gloria lunged…
And gently kissed him on the lips.
He stared in disbelief.
Her eyes were as dead as ever…
But there were tears running down her cheeks.
Without a word she pulled out a transactor…
“Rerun all diagnostics,” she said without emotion. “Recheck the frame. I’ll pay double for your time.”
“Yes, ma’am!”
***
“You crazy bit-” the chief started to yell as Gloria entered the Tiger, and then fell silent.
Gloria, the brigand, the psychopath, was gone.
It was Gloria, the Ice Queen, Gloria the Undying, Lieutenant Samuels, the Lich Queen, the Angel of Death, who stepped aboard.
“Jessie,” Gloria said in a cold dead voice almost like the one she always used, “Do you have targets for me?”
“Um… Yeah,” Jessie said quietly just staring at her.
“Lieutenant,” the chief said briskly. “I’ve confirmed the measurements. We can just barely fit your ship in the hold, barely. I would say that it would be impossible to actually land in here but I doubt it will be an issue.”
“How much room for munitions?” Lieutenant Samuels asked calmly.
“We can carry two complete loadouts, at least, maybe more if we install roof racks.”
“Excellent, Chief,” Gloria the Revenant, replied with a faint smile. “Give me a couple of feet. You can have the rest.”
“Yes, ma’am,” the chief said before he caught himself with a wince. He didn’t mean to do that!
“Welcome back, Lieutenant,” Sheila said with a smile.
There was the briefest flicker in The Lich Queen’s eyes as she simply nodded in reply, then it was gone.
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Inheritors of Eschaton, Part 36 - What Little Remains

First | Previous
“The few surviving records that reference the vinesavaim assert that they are comparable in their gifts across regions, if not nearly identical. It is interesting, then, that they should be perceived so differently. We Sjocelym know Maja as our protector and keeper, and rightly give our thanks for His sheltering grace. The Aesvain treat Tija with a more familiar love, like an honored elder and teacher. The Gadhun Draatim associate Dija with the ocean more than the land, holding equal measures of respect and dread for Him. As for the Setelym, what little we know from their forbidden vale hews uncomfortably close to Lysvarun heresy, which I will not speak of here.”
“Now, at this point is when some precocious student with more books than sense will usually interrupt me and point out that there should be more than four vinesavaim - but as we are limited in time please congratulate yourself on your brilliance after the lecture. The heptinity of the vinesavaim is well-attested in literature, but all that remains of the three who were lost is dry sand and death. If ever you meet someone who questions Maja’s grace, point them to the desert so they may see what rewards wait for heretics and apostates.”
Vumo Ra, address on comparative theology, The Archive.
The heavy bar came loose from the door in a cloud of dust, the wood light and brittle with age. Mark laid it carefully aside and stepped back to stand with Jesse. Both men leveled their rifles at the doorway.
“Open it and stand clear,” Mark said.
Jyte nodded, then made a sharp gesture. The halberdiers pulled the doors open and scattered to the sides, shielding their eyes from the bright sunlight that streamed through the opening.
Only silence greeted them.
Mark stepped forward cautiously, holding up a hand to shade his eyes and squinting into the daylight. Unlike the Sjocelym Sanctum, this facility opened up into a broad, gently-sloped area with a dry creekbed and a scattering of sickly-looking trees. The village of Aesvain gold-cloaks had sprung up at a respectful distance from the entrance, forming a ring of small huts and gathering areas.
Few were left standing. Most of the buildings were gutted shells, their timber and stone frames blasted across the dry grass or reduced to smoldering ash. The overgrown flagstone of the Sanctum’s surrounds was discolored with scorchmarks and dried blood.
Jyte walked up to stand beside Mark, his face hard. He took in the ruined village for a long moment before looking down in the grass at his feet. He crouched to pick up a short blade, its fullers choked with a crust of black blood.
“At least they died fighting,” he muttered, turning the blade over. “They’d have been elders and youth, most of them. The old resting after a long career, passing down their skill to those who’ve never seen battle.” He looked up, then carefully slid the blade through his belt. “No more. Jaa tseve, they’ve even taken the bodies.”
Mark looked around. The glint of metal revealed where the odd weapon or scrap of armor had dropped, but none of the battle’s dead remained. He could even spot depressions in the grass where the weight of a now-absent body had left it matted down, fixed in place by drying blood.
“Seems like they’ve totally cleared the place out,” he muttered. “What do you think, half on perimeter and half in the village?”
Jyte nodded. “Sensible,” he said, turning to motion to Ajehet. The scout jerked his head in acknowledgement and peeled away from the group silently with four of his men in tow. The remainder accompanied Jyte, Mark and Jesse as they approached the ruined buildings. The largest structure still recognizable was some form of barracks, with one wall fallen away to reveal neat rows of beds and chests.
The corner of the building had been torn away forcefully. Splintered timber hung down over the foundation stones, which had an oddly fluid shape to them. Jesse crouched to inspect them, then turned to the others with a grim look.
“Lightning,” he said, tracing a circle around a blackened, fused patch on the rock. “Probably just like what we saw in Sjatel. Took out their warding stones, then their shelters.”
“There’s only one structure around that could even hope to stand up to that, and the doors were sealed,” Mark said, bending down to take a look. “Yeah, I can’t see what else that would be. Must have blasted straight down through the frame, the wood just disintegrated.”
The neighboring structures showed similar damage where there was anything left to bear a sign of the blasts. There was little remaining that had not burned down or mysteriously vanished, and the Aesvain grew noticeably subdued as they reached the farthest extent of the village. The land sloped upward somewhat, and Mark turned to get a better view on the Sanctum surrounds.
The building was vastly different than its sister installation in the mountains, lacking any of the large blackstone ramparts and yawning openings. Instead, it nestled into a low spot between hills, its edges subsumed under years of eroded soil from the slopes around it. The main building was blocky and utilitarian like much of the construction they had seen, and was surrounded by a broad, flat plaza of black stone steadily encroached upon by washed-in hummocks of dirt and brown grasses. The overall effect was that of a dark mass sinking into the land, scored here and there with the remnants of massive lightning strikes.
Now that they were slightly higher and farther off, the view past the building showed a gradual descent in the terrain over several miles that terminated in a thin slice of seafront barely visible through the haze.
Mark squinted. There was a large dark smudge visible against the seashore, too distant to make much out. “Is that the city?” he asked. “Mosatel?”
Jyte looked and nodded, his grim expression hardening even further. “What’s left of it,” he said. “Though it looks much the same from here as it ever did.” He took a few steps upslope and shaded his eyes, looking out over the vista. “I wouldn’t hope to find a single survivor, if the attack on Sjatel serves as a guide. From what we’ve heard most of those who escaped the city proper did so from the docks. Those who made their way overland are mostly from parts outside, smaller villages and farms along the coast. Anyone too slow to find a boat didn’t leave.”
“Sounds like they pushed in all at once to take here and Mosatel,” Mark mused. “Took their time moving on from there. I wonder if that means they can only do the storm trick every so often or if there was something they were busy doing?”
Jyte snorted. “Doesn’t matter how often they can make the storm,” he said. “The abominations haven’t yielded taken land yet. One storm each day or several, any delay is just that - a delay. The end doesn’t change.”
“Cheerful,” Mark replied. “But you’re not wrong.” He clapped Jyte on the shoulder and turned to walk back to the village. “Come on, we’re not going to be able to send a party further out until morning. Let’s meet back up with Ajehet and see if they found anything.”
The Aesvain captain nodded but did not immediately follow, lingering to take in the image of the vast, empty city by the shore.
---
“They’re not a happy crowd,” Jackie noted, sweeping the tablet over the nearest wall. “But anyone would get a bit down looking at the ruins of your home. I poked my head out earlier, the entire place just has this sort of eerie quiet to it. The air is dusty, the plants are dying. Ajehet said these hills are normally green, covered in grasses and flowers.”
“Hard to believe,” Gusje said. “The air out there tastes like the desert, but even the desert had a sense of life to it. This place… everything is melting away but the bare rock. The soil will crumble to dust and blow away, with sand to take its place.”
Jackie gave her a close look, frowning. “You seem like you’re not doing so well either,” she noted. “More than I’d expect from just the general hopelessness of our situation. Something on your mind?”
Gusje shook her head. “It’s nothing,” she said, walking several paces away. Jackie stayed quiet for a few moments, waiting.
“Caretakers,” Gusje said, turning back to face her. “Maja and all of the old documents call us Caretakers. We had some task, some responsibility that was given to us before all memory.”
Jackie nodded. “Looks that way,” she agreed.
“So what was it?” Gusje asked, her voice breaking with sudden emotion. “What were we supposed to do? None of my people know this. If one did then the other Madim would know, and if my father had known he would have told me.”
She crossed her arms over her chest. “But we’ve forgotten,” she said. “Whatever the task was, we’ve failed. The Aesvain talked to me the other day, shared what they knew of the man who lived here. They told me that he had helped them, and that they were grateful to my people.”
“But what if it was our fault to begin with?” she asked. “What if things fell apart because we forgot?” She met Jackie’s eyes with a torn expression. “What if they have more reasons to curse my people than praise them?”
“Hoo boy,” Jackie said, rubbing a hand over her eyes. “I mean, it sure does seem like some stuff got lost along the way,” she admitted. “But that can’t all be on you guys. Society fell apart, everyone died! It’s hard enough to do this shit when you’ve got a functioning civilization and don’t have to worry about when your food and water are coming from. And even if one of your distant ancestors did fuck it up, that really doesn’t have much bearing on you.”
Gusje shot her an annoyed look. “It matters,” she insisted.
“Of course it matters,” Jackie said, waving her hand dismissively. “You should know this stuff, it’s important! But you’re looking at this all wrong - whatever your ancestors did or didn’t do, that’s always been there. You’re just the first person who’s doing something about it. That’s something to be proud of, even if what you learn isn’t.”
“If you say so,” Gusje responded, flushing. “All I’m doing is looking for answers.”
Jackie smiled and reached over to tousle Gusje’s hair. “Having the will to look for uncomfortable answers is not a small thing,” she pointed out. “Many people just exist, hiding from change. Just because you had change forced on you doesn’t make how you deal with it any less important.”
Gusje scowled and stalked forward down the hall, filling the silence with footsteps. She stopped when she reached the junction, turning to speak once more - then stopped, stiffening.
“Jackie,” she said urgently. “Come here.”
“What’s up?” Jackie asked, grabbing her radio. “Trouble?”
Gusje shook her head. “It’s the room with the door,” she said. “The one that recognized my hand. Only…” She trailed off, looking pale.
Jackie hurried to look around the corner. “Oh, fuck me,” she muttered.
The hallway was a near-exact copy of the door before the elevator room at the Sjocelym sanctum, complete with handprint-pedestal and inscribed arch. Where there had been a door, however, there was instead a melted shaft bored through the stone from above. Dusty daylight filtered in from the top of the ruined doorframe, lighting the stone beneath with a wan glow.
Hesitantly, the two approached the door to look at the hole burned into the stone. No voice prompted them to verify themselves. The stone around the doorframe was twisted and warped, shiny where it had melted and flowed like water to puddle on the floor. The shaft had bored through several meters of twisted rock, leaving jagged edges limned with stalactites..
“It looks like they just hammered down from above with lightning,” Jackie said wonderingly, twisting her neck to look at the thin spot of sky visible at the far end. “Over and over again until they wrecked the door.” She looked nervously down the hallway on the far side of the threshold. “They wanted to let someone in.”
“The control room should be past here, then,” Gusje said. “Come on.”
Jackie shook her head. “We should report in first,” she said. “Modran isn’t far away, we can get him. If they busted the door then we can count on unfriendlies making it inside.”
“Tell them, then,” Gusje said, reaching into her bag and taking out her gauntlet. “I’m going to go ahead and see. If there are any answers to be had here, there’s a good chance they’re in that room.”
“Gusje, just-” Jackie frowned and hurried to keep up with her, talking in hushed tones over the radio as they moved down the dark hall. There was no elevator down this time - the hall turned once, twice, then opened into a modest space with a familiar raised dais at the center. The high ceiling came together in a great dome, although the arched interior was ruined by a jagged hole crusted with yet more stalactites of previously-melted stone. The blast that had broken through the dome had sprayed small chunks of rock everywhere through the control room, and their steps crunched lightly as they approached the dais.
The control panel was inert, dim. Half of the circular structure was in ruins, collapsed to one side of the dais in a chaos of thin stone fragments and glass shards. Several other spots throughout the room had received similar treatment, although none so thoroughly as the slagged area by the dais.
The room was quiet and still but for the low sighing of wind across the hole in the roof. Jackie turned to take in the rest of the interior, freezing when she noticed an irregular shape near the side wall. She tapped Gusje on the shoulder to draw her attention, and the Cereinem girl snapped her hand up with the gauntlet pointed directly at the indistinct object.
“Doesn’t look like a body,” Jackie muttered, feeling her heart pounding. “Ideas?”
Gusje shook her head, relaxing her arm a bit. “Doesn’t look like it’s going to move,” she said. “Let’s get a little closer.”
The two women inched forward slowly. They had closed the distance to half before Jackie straightened up with an expression on her face that was equal parts amused and annoyed. “It’s a chair,” she said, walking over to it and nudging it with her foot.
A simple wooden-framed chair lay on its side, the low back covered by the remains of a blanket that mostly dissolved into dust when Jackie touched it. Scattered around it were small bits of wood and stone, as well as a splintered frame that might have belonged to a table before a rock from the ceiling bounced through it.
Jackie ran her fingers over the dry wood of the chair. “Doesn’t seem original to the building,” she said. “Want to bet this was our Caretaker’s doing?”
The wood was crudely shaped, but seemed sturdy enough for its rough make. There were knife-marks over the exterior where it had been carved, and the brittle cord wound around the joints was laid with obvious care. The wreckage of the table displayed a similar style.
“I think it might be,” Gusje agreed, bending down to look at the scattered bits of wood and stone on the floor. Carvings, she realized. An inexpertly rendered tari, a man, a woman, a boat. There were dozens of them scattered over the floor. She reached down to pick one up, brushing the dust away from the carved face of a sajhavasja, its tusks worn and cracked.
She was no woodcarver, although she had some minor knowledge of it from watching others in Ademen Tacen work with a knife. She could plainly see the days of fine work that went into the detailed sculpture. She swept an appraising glance back over the innumerable small figurines, adding up how much time they all represented.
“We found where he slept, before,” Gusje said. “I think this is where he spent most of his day. Here with Tija, finding ways to pass the time.” She shook her head. “Even he didn’t find anything more constructive to do than just… existing. Hiding, as you said. He would have known what our task was, he’d have heard it first-hand. Does that mean he knew it was pointless, or-”
She paused, feeling a wave of dizziness pass over her. “I - Jackie,” she mumbled, the words feeling heavy in her mouth. There was a pain against her wrist, sharp and burning. The asolan she had found on the Caretaker’s body felt red-hot against her skin, but she was having trouble moving her arms. “Wrong,” she slurred. “Something’s-”
She collapsed, her vision fading as Jackie rushed over towards her.
---
There was blackness, a void. Gusje felt as if she was standing, but there was no body to stand with, no eyes to see with. She simply was, and she was - not alone, she realized. Something nebulous and formless swam in the darkness around her, and it brimmed with a question.
Samo?
Gusje recoiled from the inquisitive dark, frightened and puzzled. It kept repeating the word over and over, overlaying echoes of itself. She could not clap her hands over her ears, for she had neither. There was only the sound, growing deafeningly loud until she wanted to scream with the pain.
There was a pause. The darkness withdrew.
Samo?
It asked again, quieter, and did not repeat the question. The not-word trailed off in the void. Gusje could not speak to respond even if she understood the question. She struggled against her nonexistence, mentally screaming out her frustration and terror.
The darkness withdrew further, and she felt an odd sensation shivering through her.
“Gh-,” she said, surprised to hear a sound. “Aaah.” She still had no mouth, but there was speech - after a fashion. “Where am I?” she asked, her voice sounding thick and dull. “Who are you?”
The darkness swirled, and a profound wave of sorrow washed over her. There was a long, long pause.
Not Samo?
Compared to before the question was whisper-quiet, but suddenly Gusje understood. A name, and only one person it could belong to. Only one person who would be asking. “No,” she said. “I’m not Samo.”
There was another interminable, questioning silence.
Where is he?
Gusje’s heart sank. She hesitated, and the darkness whipped around her in increasing agitation. “He’s gone,” she said. There was a sudden stillness around her, and a climbing tension that sparked a thrill of danger in the back of her mind. “He’s been gone a long time. He died, Tija.” She could not look at the darkness, but she focused on it as much as she could. “You both died.”
The darkness roiled and shivered, a wordless scream shuddering from the void surrounding her. It built upon itself until Gusje was once again wracked with pain, trying to stand against the maelstrom of rage and grief that whirled around her.
“Tija!” she screamed, her voice lost in the storm. “Tija, stop! Please!” The winds buffeted her mercilessly, tearing at her until she could stand no more and simply screamed, screamed, screamed-
And then there was silence. Gusje’s consciousness wavered, her mind in a fog from the relentless assault she had just endured.
Hurt?
It took her a long time to summon the strength to reply. “Yes,” she hissed. “You hurt me.”
There was another discontinuity in the dark, a pulse of distress that made her fear the storm would start once more - but then it was gone, and the stillness returned.
Hard to think. Hard to stop thinking. Mind is missing pieces.
A pulse of terror cut through her, sharp and cold like a sword passing through her gut. Her thoughts fogged up once more. Panic nibbled at the edges of her vision.
Missing pieces. My self. I am less. No, no, no no no no no no no
The horrified realization shaded into incoherence, blind panic whipping up the storm once more. Gusje cried out as it raked over her again. The winds recoiled from her, retracting back into the darkness.
When the voice spoke again, it was deliberate and slow.
“I’m sorry,” Tija said. The voice was much more distinct, and came with the sense of great effort behind every word. “It’s so hard to think. So hard to keep my self in order. There were walls between me and the whispers before, I think. Bindings that held me back. Or down? I don’t remember things very well from before I was - was mutilated.” Her voice fuzzed into echoes, a pulse of distress punching through the calm before it was clamped down.
Gusje didn’t trust herself to speak, trying muzzily to focus on the new clarity of Tija’s voice. “What - why are we here?” she asked. “What’s happening to me?”
“My mistake,” Tija said. “I was disordered. I had holes in my mind. You felt familiar. Reminded me of my Samo.” Her voice shuddered and caught. “He used to talk to me. Make me little things. I felt his asolan, and you were holding a carving, and I thought...”
The dark around Gusje shuddered, and the voice trailed off. Gusje tried to collect herself somewhat in the lull, still aching from the pain of Tija’s mindless anguish moments before.
“Samo and I were of the same people,” Gusje said. “He was a Caretaker, and although we’ve long ago forgotten it - I think I am as well.” She hesitated. “Even if I don’t know what that means. I’d like to try and help you, though.”
There was a sense of scrutiny. “You look-” Tija began, halting her speech with a strangled noise of anguish. The void grew sharp and violent around her.
I can’t remember his face. His face. They took it from me. They took my Samo’s face.
Gusje could do nothing to shelter herself from the winds as they stirred themselves once more, lashing with pain, fear - but now also a hot thread of anger, tinting the void with unbridled rage. The winds stilled quickly this time, seeming to crystallize around her. Everything was hard-edged, sharp, vibrating with tension.
She took his face.
The change in phrase jolted Gusje, and she spoke through the pain jabbing through every mote of her being. “Who?” she grated out.
The one who fell. My sister. Eryha. She took his face.
Gusje reeled, unable to process the implications through the haze of agony around her. “We’re fighting the same enemy,” she hissed. “The ones that did this to you, they also threaten my people. Samo’s people.”
Tija’s interest sharpened on her. The voice returned, measured and cold.
“I cannot reach her, as I am,” Tija said. “I am lesser than I was.” Her voice crackled with barely-restrained fury, and Gusje felt the white-hot glare of her focus once more. “But even for my diminished state you are not an adequate medium.”
“What does that mean?” Gusje cried out, writhing. “Please, you’re hurting me again. I want to help you, but I can’t-” Her voice fuzzed into indistinctness as another pulse of pain shot through her.
“You cannot hold what is necessary and live,” Tija spat. “You may survive long enough to locate an acceptable vessel, however.”
“Wait!” Gusje shouted, feeling a stab of terror that was entirely her own. “Slow down, explain what you need! I’m sure we can find something that will work!”
“What could you do?” Tija asked scornfully. “Even Samo could not free me from this place. If this was easy, he would have done it.” Her tone softened. “He would have.”
“But you, lesser echo. You cannot hold what is required of you, nor could you build an appropriate vessel. Even fallen, my sister will require a great power to subdue. I could etch every bone, cut into your skin, twist your form to hold so much script that your flesh would slough off before you had taken a step. It would be inadequate, you cannot hold enough.”
Gusje tried to shrink away from Tija’s cold, deliberate words but found herself pinned in place, bare to the vinesavai’s flensing attention. “Don’t do this,” she gasped. “You’ll kill me.”
“Not just you,” Tija said. “Let’s begin.”
Panic muddled her thoughts as she racked her brain for something, anything to say. A sudden, searing fire burned at the core of her, and she screamed in agony.
“The tablet!” she cried. “Look at the tablet!”
Tija paused, and the fire subsided.
“Please,” Gusje sobbed, rambling. “If all you need is to store script, there’s a device we have with us. I don’t know how it works, but I know it can hold a lot, a lot-”
Her voice was forcefully stilled as Tija’s attention shifted elsewhere. “Interesting,” she said. “Complex. Intricate. But not useful. Perhaps I knew how it worked before my sister crippled me, but as I am now I cannot use it.”
“We can figure it out,” Gusje insisted, trying to keep her talking. “Give us a little time. We’ve solved a lot of problems before, there are others who know how it works better than I do. We can ask them. We don’t have to be enemies!”
“Others,” Tija said, surprised. “Yes, I almost didn’t see her there with you. My senses are very limited, and she glows so dimly - but you say she knows how this tablet works? She’s touching you, so this should be simple enough.”
There was a pause, and Gusje felt a dawning horror. “Wait, I didn’t mean-”
“I will talk with her instead,” Tija said. “Goodbye, lesser echo. You are not my Samo, but you have been more helpful than I expected.”
Tija left her, and then there was nothing - not even the void.
---
Mark - Page 14
Whoops, Gusje should have stopped to hear Jackie out - after all, Jackie would have known that the final room of creepy abandoned temples always has traps waiting for the unwary explorer. Tune in next week for this arc’s antagonist, Giant Boulder.
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Sympathy for Lanre

The chapter is titled "Lanre Turned" and it's Skarpi's story of Lanre and Selitos. It's a story about a namer who lost an eye and gained a better sight. It's also a story about a man skilled with a sword who relies on the strength of his arm.
Lanre had fought since he could lift a sword, and by the time his voice began to crack he was the equal of a dozen older men.
It's about the Creation War but we are missing a key piece of information. Not only are there namers, there are shapers. Shapers who not only see a thing and understand it, they seek mastery over it and change it. PR has made the comment that there are a whole cvilization of these people. It's not just a few. In the middle of all this is Lanre, who appears to be just a man with no skill at naming. In some ways Lanre is a man walking beside gods.
 
But Lanre is going to need a source of power. Presumably to bring Lyra back. We know he gets it and seemingly does something rash or thoughtless with it. Ben reinforces this idea when Kvothe gets a double lesson on the dangers of being thoughtless.
Ben taught me others. A dozen dozen sympathetic bindings. A hundred little tricks for channeling power. ... Ben continued giving me a smattering of lessons in other areas: history, arithmetic, and chemistry. But I grabbed at whatever he could teach me about sympathy... I don't mean to imply that the road was always smooth. The same curiosity that made me such an eager student also led me into trouble with fair regularity.
 
Quick, what "trouble" is Kvothe referring to? If your first thought was binding the air to his lungs, you would be wrong. His mother overhears the Lackless rhyme.
“It's nothing to cry over, sweet one. Just remember to always think about what you're doing.”
 
Kvothe is being thoughtless. Ben is going to tell him the same thing the day he binds the air to his lungs.
In hindsight, what I had done was glaringly stupid. When I bound my breath to the air outside, it made it impossible for me to breathe.
Now it's time for Ben to lecture Kvothe and Lanre is the object lesson.
“I'm doing this all wrong. Never mind your father's song. We'll talk about it after he finishes it. Knowing Lanre's story might give you some perspective.” ... “What if you give him a sword?”
Realization started to dawn on me, and I closed my eyes. “More, much more. I understand, Ben. Really I do. Power is okay, and stupidity is usually harmless. Power and stupidity together are dangerous.”
“I never said stupid,” Ben corrected me. “You're clever. We both know that. But you can be thoughtless. A clever, thoughtless person is one of the most terrifying things there is. Worse, I've been teaching you some dangerous things.
 
If you walk away from Ben's conversation with the knowledge that Lanre did something thoughtless you would be right. But that's just half the picture. Lanre was clever. In Denna's version of the song, he cleverly tricks Selitos.
Selitos was a tyrant, an insane monster who tore out his own eye in fury at Lanre’s clever trickery.
  Tricking Selitos was clever, but it wasn't thoughtless. Lanre needs to DO something clever and do it in a thoughtless way.
 
Lanre was dead. Lyra wept brokenly and touched his face with trembling hands. All around men turned their heads, because the bloody field was less horrible to look upon than Lyra's grief.
But Lanre heard her calling. Lanre turned at the sound of her voice and came to her. From beyond the doors of death Lanre returned.
By sheer force of will Lanre turned and came to her. It's actually his act, more than hers. Lyra had given up. That same will he sets to bringing Lyra back when she dies. But just his will won't be enough.
 

Lanre needs power.

Selitos, his eyes unveiled, looked at his friend. He saw how Lanre, nearly mad with grief, had sought the power to bring Lyra back to life again. Out of love for Lyra, Lanre had sought knowledge where knowledge is better left alone, and gained it at a terrible price.
Despite having no ability with names, Lanre gains power through knowledge. Lanre has learned something or been taught something. It's power unrecognizable and foreign to all the namers walking around. Namers and shapers who have always relied on their naming abilities and nothing else.
Lanre becomes a sympathist.
 
There's a great example we are given of someone being bound with sympathy.
Kvothe grabs a hair from Devi to use for his binding.
As I came into the room I tripped on the threshold, stumbling clumsily into her and resting one hand briefly on her shoulder as I steadied myself.
Lanre puts his hand on Selitos' shoulder.
Lanre turned and placed his hand on Selitos' shoulder. “Silanxi, I bind you...”
 
Devi gets control of the mommet and replaces the hair Kvothe took with his own hair.
Devi picked up the doll and replaced her hair with several of my own. She muttered a binding. ... But Devi had heat to spare right now, and her binding was like being shut in an iron vise. I couldn’t move my arms or legs, or jaw, or tongue. I could barely breathe, only taking tiny, shallow breaths that didn’t require any movement of my chest.
Notice how similar the outcome is to Selitos (while reminding us that Lanre has no gift for names).
Lanre had no gift for names - his power lay in the strength of his arm. For him to attempt to bind Selitos by his name would be as fruitless as a boy attacking a soldier with a willow stick. Nevertheless, Lanre's power lay on him like a great weight, like a vise of iron, and Selitos found himself unable to move or speak. He stood, still as stone and could do nothing but marvel: how had Lanre come by such power?
Selitos is a namer who thinks in terms of naming. He has no understanding of sympathy, that's why he can't recognize or understand Lanre's power. At the beginning I mentioned this was a story about namers that left out something crucial: shaping. If you are telling a story about namers, everything gets viewed from that perspective. The story itself isn't willing to acknowledge anything but naming. Knowing that shaping and sympathy exist, is it possible that what actually happened is Lanre spoke sympathetic bindings while the story portrays it in the only perspective Selitos would understand? This is why Selitos thinks his sight fails him - because he doesn't understand sympathy, even though Lanre allowed him his sight. Sympathy is power to anyone with a will and knows the correct bindings.
“Silanxi, I bind you. By the name of stone, be still as stone. Aeruh, I command the air. Lay leaden on your tongue. Selitos, I name you. May all your powers fail you but your sight.”
 

What Lanre planned with his power

Some even said Lanre had killed himself and gone searching for his wife in the land of the dead.
Lanre is a man who has commanded other men and stood side-by-side with namers. He married one of the greatest namers of the time. Lanre has come back from the dead through sheer force of will. Now he is setting his will to bring Lyra back. And I'm willing to bet Lanre has a will like the sea in storm. Instead of will, let's call it what it really is: alar.
He has the alar and knowledge of the sympathetic bindings. He needs to kill himself, which isn't much of an impediment. It's the return that's the difficult part. And there's another issue. When he dies, all his bindings will be broken...
How odd to watch a mortal kindle Then to dwindle day by day. Knowing their bright souls are tinder And the wind will have its way. Would I could my own fire lend. What does your flickering portend?
When Lanre's light goes out, his bindings will fail. There's a third thing Lanre needs for sympathy and it solves all his problems: a power source. It needs to be extremely powerful and it can't be exhausted like Devi's poor-boy.
Lanre needs an ever-burning lamp.
 

Lanre's power source

When Kvothe is in Haert he takes water from the hot springs as a potential energy source.
A small stoppered bottle of water from the baths. I closed my fist tightly around the last. Most people don’t understand how much heat water holds inside it. That is why it takes so long to boil. Despite the fact that the scalding-hot pool I had pulled this from was more than half a mile away, what I held in my hand was of better use to a sympathist than a glowing coal.
 
An ever-burning lamp would provide an endless supply of energy for a sympathist to tap into. But the closest we get to them are Kilvin's experiments.
 
No sympathy. I do not want an ever-glowing lamp. I want an ever-burning one.” (Kilvin-NotW Ch.36)
There's a clear difference between ever-glowing and ever-burning. Kilvin seem to believe that to be ever-burning it cannot be made with sympathy. So why no sympathy? Because bindings will eventually be broken? I'm not sure how sympathy can still give you an ever-glowing lamp, but for now let's assume a process other than sympathy is required for an ever-burning lamp.
After a moment of maneuvering through the maze of timber and iron, we came to the hanging row of glass spheres with fires burning inside them.
“These,” Kilvin gestured, “are my lamps.”
It was only then that I realized what they were. Some were filled with liquid and wicking, much like ordinary lamps, but most of them were utterly unfamiliar. One contained nothing but a boiling grey smoke that flickered sporadically. Another sphere contained a wick hanging in empty air from a silver wire, burning with a motionless white flame despite its apparent lack of fuel.
Two hanging side by side were twins save that one had a blue flame and the other was a hot-forge-orange. Some were small as plums, others large as melons. One held what looked like a piece of black coal and a piece of white chalk, and where the two pieces were pressed together, an angry red flame burned outward in all directions.
Kilvin let me look for a long while before he moved closer. “Among the Cealdar there are legends of ever-burning lamps. I believe that such a thing was once within the scope of our craft. Ten years I have been looking. I have made many lamps, some of them very good, very long burning.” He looked at me. “But none of them ever-burning.”
He walked down the line to point at one of the hanging spheres. “Do you know this one, E'lir Kvothe?” It held nothing but a knob of greenish-greyish wax that was burning with a greenish-greyish tongue of flame. I shook my head.
“Hmmm. You should. White lithium salt. I thought of it three span before you came to us. It is good so far, twenty-four days and I expect many more.” He looked at me. “Your guessing this thing surprised me, as it took me ten years to think of it. Your second guess, sodium oil, was not as good. I tried it years ago. Eleven days.”
 
An ever-burning lamp that is self-contained, small as a plum, and potentially made with salt. An easily portable source of energy a sympathist can draw from that never burns out.
 
If an ever-burning lamp can be made with salt, is that another clue in Haliax's name?
Hal- in Latin can mean "breath". But it can also mean salt.
You can see this in the naming of common rock salt which is Halite.
Lackless keeps her husband's rocks
Okay maybe not that one. But...
I sow salt because the choice is between weeds and nothing
and
“No,” said Lanre. He stood to his full height, his face regal behind the lines of grief. “There is nothing sweet. I will sow salt, lest the bitter weeds grow.”
 

Clever and Thoughtless

And here's where Lanre gets clever and thoughtless: Lanre finds a way to bind himself to an ever-burning lamp.
 
It fits the imagery of a power burning in Lanre.
But just as Lyra's love had drawn him back from past the final door before, so this time Lanre's power forced him to return from sweet oblivion. His new-won power burned him back into his body, forcing him to live. ...
“I can kill you,” Selitos said, then looked away from Lanre's expression suddenly hopeful. “For an hour, or a day. But you would return, pulled like iron to a loden-stone. Your name burns with the power in you. I can no more extinguish it than I could throw a stone and strike down the moon.”
It gives him a limitless power source for his sympathy and ensures his light will never go out (so to speak). It allows him to return from the dead, because the sympathetic binding holds that Lanre is like an ever-burning lamp and cannot be extinguished. But something goes wrong. Maybe the binding is made permanent because of the lamp's nature. Perhaps he didn't consider some facet of it, like Kvothe binding the air to his lungs. Perhaps he had to make the binding so tight to work, he couldn't get it undore. Maybe someone stole his ever-burning lamp and hid it away, forcing Lanre to live eternal.
 

Other considerations

BROKEN SWORDS
Whether or not copper actually has a name is a debate for another time. Personally I suspect it does. I believe that's why stories sometimes differ on sword composition. It's relative to the time and event. Lanre carries a silver sword because namers of silver are extremely rare or he is planning to encounter someone he knows can't name silver. Same with Marten's story of Taborlin and the copper sword.
A copper sword is a great way to kill a namer ... because he can't name copper. But isn't that true of any material provided the individual can't name it? Sympathy makes the copper debate irrelevant. A copper sword is useless against a sympathist with the right materials and bindings. Consider Kvothe and the fake Ruh, merely picture copper instead of iron:
But I was ready. I slid a second long, brittle piece of sword-iron into my hand and muttered a binding. Then, just as he came close enough to strike I snapped the iron sharply between my fingers. His sword shattered with the sound of a broken bell, and the pieces tumbled and disappeared in the dark grass.
Perhaps this is why Haliax is associated with broken sword imagery? No sword can stand against him. I'm not sure how the Adem swords fit in with this. Perhaps they were shaped, perhaps they are a sympathy equivalent to 'nameless', they are 'bindless'. Although it does appear there is foreshadowing that Kvothe is going to break one.
 
LACKLESS RHYME
The first lecture Kvothe gets on being thoughtless was for reciting this rhyme.
One a sharp word, not for swearing (a spoken binding) Right beside her husband's candle (ever-burning) There's a door without a handle In a box, no lid or locks Lackless keeps her husband's rocks (a plum-sized ever-burning lamp)
It could explain possibly a glass object in the Lackless box.
I closed my eyes and listened to the padded thump of its contents moving in the box. “No. By the weight of it, perhaps something made of glass or stone.”
Kvothe carries a coal from a fire and water from the baths to link back to a source. Could Lanre have hidden his lamp away to keep it safe and kept a link with him? One kept safe in a box and one to carry to draw energy from.
Distance would be an issue. But if your goal is to die and travel to a metaphysical realm. Your body isn't traveling. Perhaps having a link to take into the realm of the dead is similar to how many ancient cultures (Egypt, Maya, Norse, etc.) filled their tombs with objects to use in the afterlife.
 
ALEPH'S FIRE
Did Aleph do something similar, except instead of a sympathetic binding, he shaped the fire as part of the Ruach?
Then Aleph spoke their long names and they were wreathed in a white fire. The fire danced along their wings and they became swift. The fire flickered in their eyes and they saw into the deepest hearts of men. The fire filled their mouths and they sang songs of power. Then the fire settled on their foreheads like silver stars and they became at once righteous and wise and terrible to behold. Then the fire consumed them and they were gone forever from mortal sight.
 
INNER TURNINGS
“Who knows the inner turnings of your name, Cinder?”
This seems to imply Haliax is able to use Cinder's name against him.
I can think of a couple of possible explanations for this if I really wanted to grasp at straws. I've always thought Selitos cursed them by their true calling names. Ferule, Stercus, etc. That's what Haliax is actually manipulating Cinder with. Speaking their names causes them actual physical pain.
Which brings up another issue, why doesn't Cinder just do the same to Alaxel? Maybe he doesn't actually know Haliax's true calling name. Or perhaps the person who is Haliax today isn't the same person from the story...
There's a question that's been nagging at me and it is rooted in Shehyn's story. If Cinder ==> Ferul(a/e) ... and Haliax ==> Alaxel ... then who exactly was Lanre?
 
UNDER SHADOW FALLING
This is my doom upon you. May your face be always held in shadow, black as the toppled towers of my beloved Myr Tariniel.
If Lanre is basically an ever-burning lamp, how fitting is it that Selitos curses him with darkness?
 
IAX
 
How does Iax fit into any of this, if at all?
 
TL:DR Having no power with names, Lanre becomes a sympathist seeking to bring Lyra back from the dead. He binds himself to an ever-burning lamp in a clever but thoughtless use of sympathy that he can't undo.
 
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