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2020.06.30 17:26 DukeDKraft The Institute Director - Chapters One through Six (Pages 1 - 30)

Chapter One
Tuesday, July 16th, 2019
In a warehouse parking lot near Walter Reed Medical Center, the Mormon institute director fumbled with the cellophaned pack, retrieving and lighting his first cigarette in thirty-eight years. He barely inhaled as he smoked it through, surprised how familiar it was to his senses. The ash glowed orange and the smoke spun his head as it wafted out the car’s open windows. He looked at his hands as he lit his second, wondering if the small tremors were from the fresh nicotine, the high stakes of the day or another dose of guilt settling into his bones.
Ben Samuels remembered he’d scarcely heard his alarm go off that morning, as he’d been up and dressed. His wife had hit snooze and returned to her sleep. She didn’t think to check on him, nor make an effort to rise. Would Marge have done different had she known what was happening? Maybe, maybe not -- she’d become so distant over the past months.
He stared down at his cigarette.
I bet she’d notice this.
.....
That morning alarm rang as Ben stood with a vacant gaze out his kitchen window, oatmeal bubbling on the stove. Dawn’s light gathered across the plain backyard, the sky clear and the grass begging a mow -- the start of a hot July day in Morgantown, West Virginia. Oats done, he grabbed milk from the fridge and made his way to the table, wholly uninterested in the meal.
He pushed aside his old high school yearbook and opened his laptop, commencing a read-through of his regular websites as he ate -- the Mormon Newsroom, USA Today, Consumer Reports and Amazon, the last to check on a backordered hedge trimmer blade. Only then did he reluctantly click onto the front page of the local paper. He finished his breakfast as he re-read the article detailing John Southland’s bike accident. Though it failed to identify him by his correct name, Ben knew it was his old college roommate under the police blanket in the photos.
He sighed and picked up his yearbook for the third time since learning of John’s death, or John’s murder or whatever it had been. Rogers High School, Spokane, Washington. Class of 1979. Page forty-four, Samuels before Southland, both their senior pictures on the same tuxedoed page. He ran his finger along a faded ballpoint line drawn circuitous between the two of them, “Race On!” written in the margin. Forty years and now a funeral instead of a class reunion, not that John would have attended anyway.
Should he call the authorities? Wake up Marge and tell her everything? His main thought was to do nothing. The paper showed the situation in-hand and it was really none of his business. But Ben couldn’t shake the dread that had gripped him during John’s surprise visit the week before.
He looked around his quiet kitchen half-expecting a calamity to break out. Nothing out of order besides the squeak of the air conditioner, he took a bright yellow USB thumb drive from his pocket and inserted it into his computer. He keyed down and opened the lone video file, still amazed at John’s resolve. There it was -- a silent and grainy footage, a prisoner restrained and bleeding at the end of a penitentiary hallway. Two men exiting the frame, the bald one halfway out and unrecognizable, the other tall and in view. The tall man turning back. Ben winced as the man pulled out what must have been a syringe full of something evil and plunged it into the prisoner’s neck. The prisoner struggled, then slumped at his feet. Ben scooted his chair close and watched again -- starting, stopping, reversing and witnessing once more. It was the most horrible thing he’d ever seen. But had John been correct?
He looked up at Marge’s knick-knacks on the plaster wall. Staring back was a kitschy cross-stitch their oldest daughter had finished fifteen years prior. It read ‘Just Do It,’ the famous quote from both the Mormon prophet Spencer Kimball and a certain Oregon shoe company.
John Southland had been so convinced and so desperate for help. Ben had heard him out in his institute office but done nothing. Now he was dead, like he’d predicted, and Ben had his evidence.
Just Do It.
He turned and rummaged through a worn-out credenza drawer, finding a red envelope. He grabbed a half-sheet of paper, searched for a location on his web browser, wrote his note and sealed it up. A final glance at the cross-stitch and the decision was made. Ben quietly put his dishes in the sink and hurried to his car, an uneasy three-hour drive to Washington, DC ahead of him.
 
Chapter Two
Two Weeks Prior
The only thing interesting about the old split-level colonial atop North Tremont Avenue was its view toward Greensburg’s historic beaux-arts courthouse. The county kept it lit at night and John Southland had come to appreciate its ostentatious dome. He gazed at it most evenings with cold beer in hand, sitting on the concrete steps outside the postwar brick and clapboard home.
The panorama was between telephone wires and across a wide working-class valley, the house on the wrong side of the tracks and long-ago apportioned into three separate apartments to maximize revenue. John had been given the walkup on the main floor -- a creaky sitting room in front of a Formica kitchen with two worn-out bedrooms down a hall. Beneath him was a small basement unit, the third apartment accessed from the blacktop alley around the back.
For most, it would be a dilapidated and bleak place to live. For John, it was a mansion. He reveled in the freedom and the space, twenty years of incarceration fresh in his rearview mirror. The small pleasure of a beer with a view seemed almost magical from day one.
He hadn’t met many neighbors yet. There’d been an occasional ‘Hello, I’m Jimmy Montano,’ but John had remained quiet, taking to heart his WITSEC Inspector’s advice to start slow with the introductions. He filled his plate instead with his new job and all the rules and regulations that came with being a parolee within the U.S. Marshals Service Witness Protection Program. The secret he held also made him careful, a ticking bomb tucked an inch below his veneer.
There’d been only one purchase beyond the necessities, an old Bianchi Celeste from a pawnshop owner who had little concept of its worth. They agreed on a hundred dollars and soon the mint green racer was performing like a European custom. John set out to regain his pre-prison cycling form, spending his evenings and off-days riding the hills of Pennsylvania’s Westmoreland County. He was careful to not cross the government line as WITSEC rules didn’t allow such excursions for at least six months.
His other pastime was more critical -- finding Ben Samuels. Early attempts had been fruitless. His old friend’s name was nowhere to be found on the Mormon Church’s voluminous website. John checked multiple times, waiting over a month before calling the 800 number in Salt Lake City, not wanting one shred of connection to the threat that beset him. Out of options, he used the counter phone at the downtown library after a final attempt searching the site.
“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, how may I help you?”
“I’m trying to get in touch with one of your employees. A man who works for your church.”
“Name please.”
“Ben Samuels.”
“Which department?”
“No idea. Sorry.”
“Just a moment.”
The woman was quickly back on the line. “Yes, I found him. He works for the CES.”
“CES?”
“Church Educational System. I’ll transfer you.”
The phone clicked and another woman picked up the call. “CES, how may I help you?”
“Ben Samuels, please.”
“Who?”
“I’d like to speak with Ben Samuels.”
“…May I ask who you’re with?”
“No one, ma’am. I’m just trying to reach him.”
“He no longer works here, in our offices.”
“Can you transfer me to his location?”
“Please hold a moment.”
“I’m an old friend of his.”
“Yes sir. Please hold.”
The line switched and John found himself listening to what he recognized as the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. It was thirty seconds before someone came back on.
“This is Associate Director Oscar Trejo, may I ask who’s calling?”
The authority in the man’s voice made John want to hang up. “…James. James Montano. I’m trying to reach Ben Samuels.”
“I see. Well, I can tell you he’s no longer here.”
“Does he still work for your church?”
“For the time being. He’s out east, in West Virginia.”
John stood up straight. Ben was nearby. “Do you have a number?”
“I must ask, are you with the press?”
“The press? You mean like a reporter?”
“Yes sir.”
“No, nothing like that. Just a friend.”
John held his breath. The administrator paused, then relented. “…OK, I’ll take you at your word. I’ll give you back to my secretary and she can provide the phone number to the Morgantown Institute.”
John didn’t wait, hanging up as the Tabernacle Choir started a new hymn. He walked back to his allotted computer terminal and keyed in “Mormon Institute, Morgantown West Virginia.” The screen refreshed and the location came up. It was no more than an hour away.
The proximity and the urgency of the story he needed to share made the trip too tempting, WITSEC rules be damned. He bummed a ride from a co-worker as soon as he could. They left early and were back in Greensburg by noon, John sullen and quiet on the way home.
He’d tried his best to convince Ben in his office, but it didn’t seem his former soigneur was going to help. It left John only one option. He called his WITSEC inspector and made an appointment to share what he knew. At least the video on the remaining USB thumb drive was in good condition. He’d become adept at hiding it, choosing a space under a loose floorboard the day he arrived.
He was anxious the night before the meeting. The last thing he wanted was to be hurled back into prison on some sort of technicality. He tossed and turned until settling into a deep sleep after 2am, oblivious to the quiet crunch of a C-rake lock pick and the turn of his front door knob.
.....
John woke to the barrel of a Glock pistol shoved against his shoulder, the beam of a flashlight dancing across the bed.
“Wake up.”
John rolled over. The handgun and nine hundred lumens flashed in his eyes. “What’s going on?”
“Get dressed. You’re going for a ride.”
“What? Turn that light off.”
“Get up. That’s the last time I’m going to tell you.”
John scooted to the edge of the bed. “Who are you?”
“A friend or a nightmare. Your decision. Like I said, it’s time for a ride. Put on your bike gear.”
John’s head cleared. He stood and didn’t ask any more questions -- the intruder wasn’t playing a game. He went to the dresser and pulled on his lone pair of bike shorts, then picked up his socks and cycling shoes.
The man tossed him a T-shirt hanging from a chair. “Slow and steady. Head out the front door.”
A panel van waited outside. Its cargo door was open and a driver sat behind a tinted window. John’s Bianchi was already stowed in the back. He got in and sat beside it while the man with the gun jumped in after him and slid the door shut. The van pulled away from the curb, the Glock held steady toward John’s chest.
John didn’t understand. Why the bike? If they were going to kill him, they’d have shot him in bed. Did they know about the video?
“Where are we going?”
The man wagged his gun. “Shut up. Just sit there.”
Maybe it was something else? Someone he’d testified against returning to settle a score? A midnight visit from one of the cartels? There were too many enemies to keep straight and it would do no good to ask. He went quiet, focusing his eyes beyond his captor, out the back windows.
He could tell by the streetlights and the storefronts they were headed south on State Highway 119 over I-70 toward Uniontown, and that they turned east on Pechin Parkway after the county fairgrounds. Even in the dark it was easy to track the route. He’d ridden it several times over the six weeks he’d lived in Greensburg.
A mile further and the van came to a stop in front of a deserted cement plant. The driver got out and walked away. In the distance, John heard a chain rattle and a gate swing open. There was a whistle back toward the van.
The man with the gun turned on his flashlight and slid open the door. “Put on your shoes.”
John did as he was told and followed him outside.
“Forgetting something?”
“What?”
“Your bike. You can ride home from here.”
A car’s headlights appeared around the bend as John stepped back to the van. The car slowed as it passed and the man lowered his gun. John thought to jump into the road, but it went by before he had the chance.
The man was undeterred. “Get your bike and ride.”
John pulled the Bianchi forward and onto the ground. He spun it around and climbed on. The man turned off his flashlight and stepped close, the scene illuminated only by the van’s taillights. John noticed his captor was at least four inches shorter than himself.
“One more thing.”
The man leaned in and thrust a five-inch tactical knife through John’s right side, even with his stomach. It penetrated his abdomen, slicing his liver, spleen and tearing through his intestines. John screamed and collapsed to his handlebars, the knife held hard inside him, the pain both sharp and dull. The man wrapped his other arm around John’s back and held him steady.
John gasped, his gut burning and blood starting to spill. “Why?” The man yanked the knife out and dropped it to the ground. He grabbed his gun and pressed it to the back of John’s skull. “Justice for the people you murdered. Now ride home. If you make it, you’ll live.”
John didn’t move, blood flowing down his side. He tried to speak but fluid pooled in his throat.
The man gave him a shove. “Ride!”
There was nothing left to do. John pushed off and clicked into his pedals, his right hand pressing his wound and tears streaming down his face. The Glock followed his every move.
Fifty yards, one hundred yards and forward. John was delirious and confused with only his God-given talent keeping him upright. He thought of Greensburg, his new home. The stone steps, the beer. His new job, his new life. There was no way he’d make it. A cry for help on the main road was his only hope. But there had to be separation. He had to get away. He ignored the wound and tried to stand from his saddle, pouring what little he had left into the bike.
He’d made it almost a half mile before he sensed headlights gaining on him, the whine of a powerful engine closing in. John tried to swerve, but the blood loss caused his reactions to slow. The empty cement truck hit him square at forty miles an hour, its barrel spinning as the undercarriage bounced over him like an animal in the roadway. John’s last thought was of his old college roommate, a final prayer sent skyward that Ben Samuels would do the right thing.
 
Chapter Three
Tuesday, July 16th
The courier service delivered the red envelope to the front security desk of the Robert F. Kennedy Justice Building during the lunch hour. It was examined and time-stamped by the Mail Services Risk Assessment Team and hand-delivered to Susan Rivas, the United States Solicitor General’s Confidential Secretary. The unusual color caught her attention. She found it odd, a short note marked “For the immediate eyes of the United States Solicitor General only,” with no return address. Deciding it was warranted and straightening her skirt, Susan took it through the whitewood archway into the solicitor’s office.
She found Walter Peterson alone and busy, three hours into a session of summer prep for the upcoming autumn Supreme Court term. He’d finished the lunch she’d brought him from the executive dining room and there’d been no other interruptions since the morning’s staff meeting. He glanced up as she passed the flag array by the chesterfield sofas, coming forward to his desk. Handed the envelope, he emptied it and read the half-sheet scrap inside.
“I am an LDS Institute Director. I know what you are doing. Meet tonight at 10pm, 5300 West Cedar, Bethesda, Maryland.”
Susan stood silent, watching him turn it over and look back at the envelope. He found a similar result -- there was nothing indicating authorship outside shaky penmanship. He looked at her and again at the letter. “Who delivered this?”
“Mail Services brought it to my desk. Any idea what it’s about?”
“No.”
“Anything you’d have me do?”
“…Nothing. I’ll check it through Chris later.”
“Are you sure? I could have him come over, maybe the FBI as well?”
“I’ll take care of it.”
Susan was used to the abruptness. She knew to be on her toes around the solicitor. “Alright. Anything else for me?”
Peterson re-read the short message and then laid it down. “Has SCOTUS gotten back about October’s schedule? Everyone was concerned this morning. The session is still three months away, but it’s normal to have a draft docket by now.”
Susan shook her head. The Supreme Court’s administrative officer had told her it would be several more days. Peterson grunted and adjusted his reading glasses. “What about the Penitentiary Commission? I’ve made a couple site visits as the attorney general requested. If I’m going again it needs to be soon, before we ramp to full speed for the fall.”
“I’ll check that for you. The calendar has a Commission meeting next week. You know, the AG isn’t expecting you to attend everything as you’re doing this ad hoc.”
“All hands on deck, Susan. Besides, it gets me out and around the country. Boots on the ground, so to speak.”
“Yes sir.”
He nodded and returned to his files.
Susan had to hide a half-grin as she walked away. The idea of her venerable Mormon boss a ‘boots on the ground’ anything was farcical. Bald, obese and unfit for any activity requiring sturdy shoes, she’d never met a man more behind the desk, blue blood and patrician. A woman on her block was LDS and Susan knew her to be the sweetest neighbor around. She couldn’t imagine Peterson neighbor to anyone.
She glanced back from the doorway. Peterson had picked up the phone and was starting a call, the anonymous note in his hand. Susan turned to her workstation and watched the PBX screen. Deputy U.S. Marshal Chris Powers’ line went active five seconds later.
 
Chapter Four
Ben found more time on his hands than he’d anticipated after watching the courier deliver his note. He drove north out of downtown to the small Bethesda warehouse he’d chosen online. Arriving, he found it unfenced and back from the main road, secluded with hills and heavy trees bordering two sides. He circled it and set the stage. Light pole placements were noted, as was the fact there were no exterior cameras in place. He marked a corner spot to park and patted himself on the back as he left. It seemed perfect.
He continued north on Old Georgetown Road through DC suburbia and past a large shopping area. His Honda Accord then merged east onto the Capital Beltway. He smiled as mecca quickly appeared on his left. Though half-hidden in the dense summer green, it stood elegant and soaring above the landscape. The Washington, DC LDS Temple, the single-most recognizable Mormon setting on the American east coast. He exited Georgia Avenue and was soon in the busy parking lot, the spired white building in front of him.
Ben felt no inclination to go inside. It was enough to be on the grounds, even in the summer heat. It brought the first bit of peace since his visit with John. He found a garden bench across from his car, walked over and sat down. Bowing his head, he offered a short prayer for guidance and help -- even a sign that he was on the right path.
That the solicitor general was also LDS and had probably sat on the same bench loomed large in his mind. Walter Peterson was one of the most famous Latter-day Saints in the world, Mormons looking to him with much the same esteem as the senior leaders of their church. A cult of personality existed, his name mentioned in the same breath with Hall of Fame LDS athletes, entertainers and politicians. Few Latter-day Saints were held in higher regard. A surprise appointment by an unconventional president three years prior, Peterson’s Senate confirmation had been can’t-miss television for Mormons across the country. His legal acumen and forceful confidence impressed everyone and left his church community beaming with pride.
Peterson being such a prominent member of his church had been the tipping point in Ben’s decision to confront him. As the good solicitor surely desired protection of his image and standing, Ben reasoned he’d be amenable to such a discussion. The hope was for a brother-to-brother recognition, some sort of ease-the-throttle-back, get everything on the table, save-face. Foolish? Yes. Dangerous? Maybe. He at least took comfort that Mormons were well-known for such admirable foolishness on occasion.
An older, Sunday-dressed couple turned toward him, smiling and holding hands as they walked. Ben shook his head and sighed. His own marriage was far from a mirror image. As Peterson had risen, he’d gone the other way. Purpose had eluded him since his demotion and transfer to West Virginia, his wife feeling the effects even more so. Though they’d both fought depression and a sense of futility in their new surrounds, Marge had isolated herself to the point their relationship had started to strain -- Ben’s ‘what can I do to help’ met too-often with a cold stare and the covers pulled tight.
The couple approached. Ben realized he had no tie on and probably looked out of place. He compensated by standing to greet them.
The woman smiled. “Such a beautiful day to be at the temple.”
“Yes Ma’am.”
She stopped and pointed to cars across the parking lot. “The different license plates are always so interesting.”
“Excuse me?”
“Look at that row. People here today from Virginia, Ohio, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Massachusetts. I love that. Summer vacation must have them on the road -- so nice they chose to come to the House of the Lord along their way.”
Ben played along, pointing at his car backed into its spot. “What about that one?”
The woman looked and then turned back, perplexed. “I have no idea, it doesn’t have a front plate.”
Ben smiled. “That’s mine. I live in West Virginia where front plates aren’t required.”
The woman laughed. “We’ll include you in our count anyway.”
Keen to beat the heat, the woman’s husband patted her arm and looked toward Ben. “You have a nice day.”
Ben stood staring at the cars as they walked off. It was interesting commentary, something to share with his students back at the institute in Morgantown. He thought of all the license plates he’d owned over the course of his life. Washington, Arizona, Florida, Texas, Utah and now West Virginia. He’d have a nice display for his garage had he kept them.
Then, an instant realization of a flaw. Ben looked down the walk at the elderly couple and back at his car. If Peterson had his plate checked, he’d discover who he was. Ben wasn’t ready for that. If John Southland had been correct, Peterson was a menace. The short-lived peace in his heart evaporated. He felt the entire impetuous idea unravel, the grand confrontation less noble by the second.
You’re going to get yourself killed.
He returned to his car with his shoulders low and exited the lot without another thought toward the temple. He headed west, toward the shopping centers on Old Georgetown Road, intent on lunch and little else.
 
Chapter Five
June 1st, 1990
CES Area Director Oscar Trejo waited for his boss on the eighth floor of the LDS Church Office Building. He was off the clock and self-conscious minus a suit, visiting Salt Lake City on a vacation day to attend a family function. He hadn’t planned on the summons and was glad he at least had a white shirt and tie to wear.
Ushered into Associate Director Ronald Hayes’s large office by a secretary and left alone, Trejo found an oversized U.S. map propped on an easel beside the desk. Multi-colored stickpins were placed in college towns throughout the eastern United States. Trejo figured they were potential sites for the new Regional Select Institutes, knowing Church Educational System leadership had appointed Hayes to oversee the project. He was studying the map when the Associate Director entered and shut the door. Trejo pointed at the stick pins and spoke with his usual candor. “Are these what I think they are?”
Hayes smiled. “If by ‘these’ you mean potential Regional Select Institute sites, the answer is yes.”
“May I speak freely, sir?”
“I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Trejo ran his index finger down the right side of the map. “I don’t like it.”
“What’s not to like?”
“These ‘RSI’s. I don’t like the concept or the philosophy. Are we really going to encourage these students to not come to Brigham Young University or institute programs in Utah, urging them instead to stay back east for college?”
“That’s the general idea, yes.”
Hayes scooted past Trejo and sat down at his desk. He opened the center drawer and retrieved a paper-clipped set of four index cards. Trejo continued as he moved to a chair opposite his boss. “Why would we do that? How is it better than bringing them out west? Many of the eastern programs have less than a hundred students.”
Hayes took a deep breath and looked across the desk. “How are you, Oscar?”
Trejo grinned, realizing he’d jumped ahead. “Fine, sir.”
“Wife and kids?”
“Everyone’s good. They’re all waiting for me at my in-laws’. We’re attending a high school graduation tonight.”
“Who’s graduating?”
“My wife’s sister.”
“Wow. I know you’re the youngest of our Area Directors, but to have a sister-in-law graduating from high school is quite something. How old are you?”
“I’m thirty-eight, my wife’s thirty-three. She’s the oldest in her family, with eight brothers and sisters. This is the last of them.”
“Well, I hope you enjoy yourselves. When are you heading back to Arizona?”
“Tomorrow. The family will stay here a while, now that school’s out. How did you know I was even in Utah?”
“Simple. I called your office in Phoenix and found you were on the road. Your secretary gave me the number where you were staying.” “How can I help?”
“For starters, let me address your point about low enrollment at our eastern institutes. What about the students there now, Oscar? Don’t you think they would appreciate extra resources and more LDS kids joining them?”
Trejo ignored the logic. “It seems like we’re conducting an experiment which might hurt more than help in the long run.”
“The long run is why we’re doing this. The idea is to foster organic, regional growth. LDS students staying in their home areas to attend college, meeting others doing the same, marrying and settling where they’re from. Growing the church that way.”
“Sounds pie in the sky.”
Hayes shuffled his cards. “What about your Arizona Area? If I’m not mistaken, you have over five thousand Mormon students attending non-LDS colleges and their adjacent institutes down there. Why not shoot for those numbers elsewhere? Ignoring these sorts of things not only stalls the growth of our institutes outside the inter-mountain west, it very well hinders the growth of the church in those regions as well.
How many of these kids who come to Utah wind up going back to where they’re from after they graduate? And what happens to those areas of the church when they leave? Like a leaky faucet, a constant drip of strength exiting the very places that not only need them, but the spots these young folks call home. And where do they wind up? They either stay here, where we already have an overflowing strength, or land in a third place with no roots and a yearning to move yet again. No Oscar, I don’t see it like you seem to anymore. Fortifying institute programs to retain many of these students in their home areas is what we should be doing, and these RSI’s are just what the doctor ordered.”
Hayes doled out the index cards across his desk. Trejo sat forward and watched. College Station, Texas; Gainesville, Florida; Blacksburg, Virginia and East Lansing, Michigan. Texas A&M, the University of Florida, Virginia Tech and Michigan State -- already four of the largest institute programs east of the Rocky Mountains. Hayes looked up and continued. “These are the four we’ve decided to start with and the groundwork has already been laid. Marketing materials have been drafted and Church architects have visited the sites, submitting plans to renovate and expand each one. I now have to recommend additional staff, including full-fledged assistant directors at each location.”
Hayes picked up a card and got to his point. “Tell me about this fellow you have in Mesa, Ben Samuels.”
“Samuels? Great guy with a full head of steam.”
“So I’ve heard. He has a Master’s in Higher Education and was baptized in an institute font. If his interview goes well, I’m thinking of sending him here….”
Hayes handed Trejo the card in his hand. Trejo took it, reading it aloud. “Gainesville, Florida. The University of Florida.”
He turned serious. “Well, if you’re going to do this, I think Ben’s perfect. Amazing really. How did you hear about him?”
“He’s inquired about moving from our high school seminary programs to the collegiate institutes.”
Trejo smiled. “He’s an interesting case study. A convert who never attended high school seminary, now teaching it and doing quite well. He’s been in Mesa several years and seems content, but it wouldn’t surprise me if bigger things were ahead for Ben.”
“He grew up in Spokane, Washington, right?”
“I think so. He joined the church while attending Washington State University, in Pullman. He’s told me that. His wife introduced him to the missionaries, back when they were dating.”
“I look forward to meeting him.”
“I have a different idea for you. If you’re serious about this ‘homegrown’ business, why not assign someone who happens to be from Florida to be the new assistant director? Send that person home and leave Samuels in Arizona. We’d hate to lose him.”
Hayes put his elbows on his desk and leaned forward. “Excellent question, Oscar. It goes to my larger point. We’ve actually looked into that, at all four sites. Would you believe we don’t have a single qualified CES employee who hails from Texas, Florida, Virginia or Michigan? Think about that -- it’s a telling fact. Twenty or thirty years from now, we hope to find a different circumstance. Maybe you’ll be sitting in my chair by then. If you are, I hope you’ll find more options than I have today.”
Trejo wasn’t ready to quit. “I still don’t like it, sir. As a parent, I’ll do everything I can to get my kids to one of our church colleges and would only consider something like an RSI as a last resort. I wouldn’t even want them at the major Arizona universities attending the institute programs I oversee. I want them here in Utah, where we’re at our best.”
“I understand, and we’re not interested in weakening the church schools. This will be an additional, fortified resource to work in tandem with what we have here in the inter-mountain west. Let’s not forget, these institute programs already exist. Our goal is to strengthen them, create a few gems to shine bright and give the LDS students from these areas another solid option to consider.” “What about financial considerations? One of the great benefits of church colleges is the tithing-supported low cost. Certainly BYU is a cheaper option than the University of Florida.”
“We’re working on that as well. As part of the roll-out, LDS endowments and scholarships will be set up and encouraged at each RSI site. We’ll be asking the membership to consider donations. It’ll defray the cost differences and further enhance the visibility and viability of the programs.”
“Do you think you’ll get much in the way of contributions?”
“I’m confident we will. These programs might be small, but they’ve had their successes over the years. We’ll be reaching out to the alumni, as well as the general membership. I believe it will work, and work well.”
“Florida would be lucky to have someone like Ben Samuels. Why not send him to Washington, where he’s from? I’m sure he’d love that. I visited his classroom a couple months ago. He had a Washington State banner on his wall.”
Hayes reached over and retrieved the card from his area director. “No, it’s east of the Rockies where the interest lies. If these four programs are successful, we’ll expand from there. As you’ve said, it seems Ben will do well wherever he’s assigned. At least for now, it’s Florida that’s in the cards for him.”
 
Chapter Six
Tuesday, July 16th
Ben was still smoking when the black SUV entered the parking lot and disappeared to the other side of the warehouse. Opening his door, he cursed himself for being so dramatic with the cigarettes. He’d smoked for three hours straight, more in remembrance of a life long passed than any desire to calm his nerves. He got out, stubbed his last one and threw the almost-empty pack in a nearby dumpster.
Enough of that.
He took a deep breath and headed the other way around, rehearsing what he would say.
I know what you did. I know what you are doing…
The SUV’s yellow fog lamps brightened his path as he turned the final corner, the vehicle fifty yards ahead. A man was standing outside the open driver’s door. He reached in and flipped on the high beams, assaulting Ben’s eyes with a blinding white.
“That’s far enough.”
Ben stopped and raised his hands halfway as the man came toward him. He was short and thin, quite the opposite from what Ben knew of Walter Peterson’s large build. The man’s suit, tie and confident gait identified him as a deputy or agent, a man with a badge and a gun. He approached, looked Ben over and then patted him down, spinning him around to double-check.
“What’s your name and what do you want with the Solicitor General?”
“I need to speak with him.”
“I need to see some ID.”
“I’d rather not disclose who I am. Is he with you?”
“Did you write that note?”
Ben started to answer but saw another man climb out of the SUV, shutting the door behind him. “Chris, it’s ok, send him over.” Chris forced a smile. “I guess you win. Follow me.”
Peterson’s thickset frame cast a wide shadow in the dim light. Tall and overweight to a fault without a hair on his head, he resembled a former athlete who’d let himself go, his glory years decades behind him. He was dressed to match his guard, but as they came to the passenger side of the SUV, Ben could tell his suit and tie were from a much better store -- the United States Solicitor General before him.
Ben hesitated then stepped close, an image of his dead friend appearing in his mind. Peterson wrinkled his nose and leaned back on his heels. “Who are you and what’s this cloak and dagger business about?”
Ben glanced at Chris, astonished he’d made it to the moment at hand. He turned and looked Peterson in the eye. “Never mind who I am. I’m here about James Montano.”
Peterson raised his eyebrows. “Who?”
“I’m sure you know the name.”
Peterson scraped his shoe across the asphalt. “The note you wrote this morning. You’re an institute director for the Church? Where?”
“Yes, I work for the Church out here. Telling you that was the only way I could get this meeting. But I’m not here to talk about me. I want to talk about James Montano.”
“Again, I don’t know anyone by that name. To be honest, this is quite strange. If you aren’t going to tell me more about you, this little waste of my time is over.”
Peterson turned and reached for his door. Ben gathered himself and brought forward his case. “I think you killed him…. And if you did, I know he’s not the only one.”
His fist on the handle, Peterson stared at the reflection in the window and seemed lost in thought. He then straightened and swung back, his demeanor cold, his voice that of a seasoned prosecutor. “First, would that be cigarettes I smell? Mormon institute director? I think not.”
Ben tried to reply but was cut off.
“Second, I have no idea what you’re talking about and it’s obvious you don’t know what you’re doing here. Third, though I haven’t had the privilege of an introduction, you seem to know who I am. I would think that might give you pause. I know nothing of a ‘James Montano.’ I suggest you slink back to your car and head home before you find yourself in serious trouble.”
Ben pressed as Chris stepped forward to intercede. “James ‘Jimmy’ Montano, AKA John Southland, witness protection case WS436C. Found dead in a ditch three days ago, south of Greensburg, Pennsylvania. He came to me last week, told me everything and gave me proof.”
Peterson’s bald head cocked to the right, his eyes widening at the mention of John’s real name. He dropped his hand from the SUV’s door and started toward Ben, raising his chin like a prizefighter sizing up an opponent.
Ben caught his breath and stepped back. Chris grabbed his arm and shuffled him off, letting him go in front of the headlights.
“Stand still with your hands where I can see them. Stay like that until we leave.”
Awash in the light, Ben watched as Chris went back behind Peterson, who stood glaring his way. He opened the rear passenger door and tugged on the solicitor general’s coat.
“Come on boss, let’s go.”
Peterson sneered and shook his head, then turned and climbed back into the vehicle. Chris retreated to his driver’s seat and put the SUV into reverse. Ben stayed put, his nerves shot and mind racing, the taste of something much worse than cigarettes in his mouth.
.....
Peterson pulled out his phone and sent a text to Neck, stationed nearby in a stand of hackberry trees.
-Stand down.
He looked out the window and up the hill, catching a glimpse of his lanky security assistant lowering his sniper rifle. Peterson then turned toward the windshield and took stock of the so-called institute director. Just under six feet tall and waspy white, he had a pot belly, balding salt and pepper hair, cheap shoes, wire-framed glasses and a skittish demeanor. The typical build of a fellow Mormon in his mid-fifties. Though he resisted the thought, he had to admit -- every box was checked.
“Proof? What proof could he have?”
He ordered Chris to step on it and they were gone.
 
END OF EXCERPT....
submitted by DukeDKraft to TheInstituteDirector [link] [comments]


2020.06.03 04:41 GeneralBathroom6 Help in Virginia

I'll try to make this as short as possible. My mother got out of prison and came back to the house after getting kicked out of McShinn for selling drugs. A domestic dispute with my stepdad led to her coming in and jumping into a situation she could have stayed out of, but didn't. They both were on me and I got them off. We all went our separate ways. My mom ended up going to the ER and it came back she had a broken finger. Also bruising and a bite mark. She had been coming home with black eyes and bruises for a while and would never tell us where they were coming from. She used prior injuries to pin on me in hopes of getting pain meds at the ER. Police responded after a nurse called them. Her name was Genevieve Bradshaw, RN at the Hanover Emergency Center. My mom didn't tell her to call. she just did it. Deputy Mark McCormick responded with Hanover County Sheriff's Office. Around 11am he popped up at the house a few hours after they got back. The dispute took place around 3-4am. My friend had finally arrived to pick me up and get me out. He was highly aggressive and wouldn't let me explain what happened. He then told me to leave. I went to Chesterfield County with my friend and next thing we know the police have arrived with warrants for my arrest. Malicous Wounding and Assault and Battery. I was taken to Chesterfield County Jail where I was given a bond by Tripp Chalkly with Hanover County Commonwealth Attorney's office. I was transported to Pamunkey Regional Jail in Hanover the next day. My arrignment eventually came and Judge Shannon Hoehl took my bond away and stated "no bond." The correctional officer with me during the video wrote "no bond" to document it was taken away. Shannon Hoehl ordered a mental health evaluation. My first week was spent in medical. I had mental health evaluations ran all day, every day. It was breaking me down. I lost count at 30. I wasn't allowed to have toilet paper. I wasn't allowed to wear clothes. It was just too much. I was eventually moved to the high maximum security pod within the jail. 2nd week in, Attorney Sue Dobbs popped up stating "I thought you were out! You've had a bond this whole time." Which is bullshit. The judge took it away. Court date came and I was ordered to complete a mental health evaluation... again. I reported to the mental health evaluation in Henrico County and saw Dr. Deborah Cooper... who spent 3 hours attacking me on my whole life. She had medical and school records on me since I was 3-4 years old. Even my shot records and pediatric records. Then I was forced to sign HIPAA forms for information she already had. Threatened to send the judge whatever and say I didn't comply. She did it anyways. Another court date came... and I was ordered another mental health evaluation. This time I was sent to Chesterfield County, VA. I can't remember her name but she stated I was competent and fit to stand trial. She couldn't explain what the last doctor did. Eventually many court dates later... everything was sent to circuit court. I was offered a deal to eventually clear my record... but I had to provide a comprehensive list of all medical providers ever and sign HIPAA forms... and undergo another mental health evaluation. Judge Kelley stated that she could, and would find me guilty if I didn't comply. I wanted to go to trial but my attorney (Tony Quitiquit) wouldn't obtain body camera footage. Hanover County wouldn't give me footage either. Nobody wanted the body camera footage in court. They refuse to give it up. Tony is my 3rd attoney. Sue Dobbs, John Working (who was my moms attoney) and then Tony Quitiquit. I have never had legal issues in my life before. Ever. Only speeding tickets. Any charge hurts me for doing what I was set to do in my life. I need help. These people are making me want to snap. I don't know what they're looking for. They're looking for something.
If anyone has executive power. Please feel free to obtain all of this. My mom: Amy Elizabeth Nichols My name: Caitlyn Marie Roberts
Hanover County, VA
These people are breaking me down and I'm not going to make it 2 years. There is no way. This needs to stop and I need to be left alone by them. I'm changing. I tried to check myself into Tuckers Pavillion and they wouldn't even admit me because the social worker said this is abuse of power and anyone would be at their breaking point.
I think these people think I have money. I got rid of it. I never settled with Medline Industries from my kid dying. I settled for 33k from iFly and walked with 20k because I was in jail for 2 weeks while we were getting heated with the company. I had 3 days to settle or file in court. It's just been a bad situation. Hanover police have an issue with being confused and thinking they're federal police and my mail was disappearing. The USPS had to put a notice out in Hanover before stating their mail carriers can't hand out mail after an officer stopped a carrier demanding a piece of mail. This is all too much. I handed my money out. I never got help to heal from my situations and just take a mental break like I should have been able too. That was the whole point in a settlement. I just got beaten down some more. Now it's all worse. Nobody will let me move forward, get help, and leave me alone.
If I did this to others, it would be considered harrassment and abuse. Just saying.
submitted by GeneralBathroom6 to legaladvice [link] [comments]


2020.05.17 10:18 Stormrider66 Carter Slade: Monster Hunter (Episode 10)

Start From Episode 1
Episode 9
Episode 10
The sky blackened and a pillar of light erupted in the middle of nowhere. A lone fisherman was fishing in his boat when this all happened in a matter of moments. The man almost had a heart attack when the pillar of light appeared in front of him and something crashed from the sky into the water, it was shaped like a human.
He had to get his bearings when everything turned back to normal like nothing happened. The warm sensation of pee started to run down his leg in fear before he realized what he was doing. “Are you fuckin’ kiddin’ me, Cletus?” His southern accent echoed over the lake in shame. “I guess these psychedelics kick in way faster than the kid said they would.” He reached down by his legs and grabbed another beer, staring at the fresh stain on his pants. “Marge is gonna assume I pissed ‘em cause I’m drunk. I said to her I can’t be an alcoholic cause I limit myself to six beers a day nowadays. Get off my back, woman! Who gets drunk from only six beers anyways?”
Cletus stopped talking to himself and looked over where the pillar of light was, it looked like someone floating in the water. “Nope, yur jus’ seein’ things, Cletus.”
Cletus rubbed his eyes and nothing changed. “Shiiiiiit...” he turned his motor on and steered the boat to right beside the body. There was a black woman wearing some sort of Greek toga or something laying in the water. “Miss, yur not dead are ya?”
Noticing her physique, the old pervert decided to try and cop a feel. His hand slowly started moving to her torso when her own hand grabbed him by the wrist. He reeled back in surprise but his arm wouldn’t go with him. Her grip was like being caught in a vice.
“Where am I?”
“The middle of Buttfuck, Nowhere, Miss.”
“Tell me where I really am.” Her grip tightened painfully.
“Ow, ow, ow ok! I get it! We’re about 30 miles east of Enterprise, Alabama!”
“What’s the year of our lord?”
“2010? Christ!”
She released his arm and rose from the water. Two large wings extended and flapped slowly, keeping her above the water. The force of her wings felt like a hurricane and threw Cletus from the boat with force. She flew away into the sky and was gone almost immediately, like a fighter jet.
From the water emerged Cletus’ head, he looked around and there was no sign of her. He did see Bigfoot riding a unicorn on the shore. “Yup, this LSD is some potent shit.”
Elsewhere in Los Angeles: Carter and Rorick Slade were sitting in a conference room with Mike - the man who split from Kenny and Crystal a few years before. Carter had longer hair, no facial hair, wasn’t wearing his now recognizable outfit, and was instead wearing the usual garb of the KSG: black vest with the familiar red dragon on the back. He had a white t-shirt, wristbands, a tied headband, and skate shoes. He was 20 at this time.
The room was full of KSG members and Mike was at the front, a projector was displaying an image of the weather abnormality in the area.
“Thanks for coming everyone, as you can see there was a massive energy spike in Alabama. The Alabama team already went to investigate and the only person they found was a drunk man that was on psychedelics. He made claims of seeing bigfoot, unicorns, fairies and all sorts of shit.”
“Ok, I’ll bite. What’s the correlation? Why bring him up?” Bridget - Mike’s partner - asked.
“I’m glad you asked! Amongst everything he described he gave the most vivid description about a woman with wings that fell from the heavens. That sounds an awful lot like an-“ he paused.
“Angel.” Rorick muttered. He was looking very old and tired at this point in his life.
Another man spoke, “Angel’s haven’t shown their face on earth for almost a thousand years. Why would one show up now?”
Mike continued, “That’s the million dollar question, isn’t it? Using our limited pool of resources we managed to trace it’s movement. It appears to have settled in Los Angeles here. It was hard to track because it flew so incredibly fast, but I believe we can capture it and figure out what it wants.”
“How?” Another one asked.
“You forget we have the best of the best in the business. Young Carter here has many talents, I’m sure he can get it done easily.”
“Please, everyone hold your applause.” Carter stood up with a smirk. “I’m just one man, but I assure you that I will subdue the creature and extract the information we need from it. It makes sense that it came to the city of Angels after all.”
Rorick glared up at his son with contempt in his eyes.
Carter noticed but ignored him, “Point me where I need to go and I’ll get it done.”
———————————————————
“Crystal? I know you can hear me.” Slade was standing behind Crystal as she overlooked the beautiful garden cast in the glow of the sunrise.
“I’m sorry, Carter. It’s difficult for me to look at you.”
“Why? Is it something I’ve done?”
“No...”
“Is it something you think I’m going to do?”
She didn’t answer.
He placed his hand on her petite shoulder. She instinctively turned to him. Her eyes glowed their burning purple and her hand reached way up to his face, covered in a flame of the same color. He didn’t even flinch.
“So it’s definitely the second option.”
She realized what she was doing and pulled away - turning back to normal.
“I could always feel something about you that was different. Turns out you have an aptitude for sorcery and the dark arts.”
“I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to!”
“You’re not the first woman that’s wanted to kill me. I have a suspicion you won’t be the last either. Can you at least tell me what’s bothering you? Clearly I’m to blame for some unspeakable tragedy.”
“I’ve been having recurring nightmares and visions of us killing everyone we care about and commanding a horde of monsters to eliminate all life as their new king and queen.”
“Well that’s fucked up. I have no intentions of hurting anybody. I’m sure you remember when I was a kid, I had the biggest crush on you?”
She still couldn’t look him in the eye. “Yes?”
“You never once showed any interest in me. Good on you by the way, you were way too old for me. It would have been weird.”
She almost laughed. He continued, “And from the looks of it, you can’t even look at me and can’t stand my presence. Is that it?”
“Well... that’s not a good way to phrase it...”
“But it’s the right way to phrase it. Look... Once you’re recharged, send us all back to England. You’ll never need to see or hear from me again.”
Crystal looked up finally into his bright green eyes. There was a sincerity and warmth to them that made her question her own feelings and thoughts she had been having.
“Every awful vision I’ve had has come true. It’s for everyone’s protection.”
“Have you ever heard of a self-fulfilling prophecy?”
“Of course.”
“Maybe in your course to prevent them, you become the very catalyst of these visions.”
She considered this, it made sense. Yet, she shook her head, “I think that fate has a set path for everything to go down.”
“Well for what it’s worth, it was great to see you again...” Slade started to walk away.
Crystal’s mind snapped back to the time he was a young boy and did the same thing when she rejected him. ‘How could this man be the harbinger of doom?’ She thought.
“Carter, wait.” He stopped in his tracks but didn’t turn around. She continued, “I don’t.... want... you to go...”
“Our people have a mission to do. Maybe I’ll catch you on the flip side.”
As Slade took off into the house, Crystal felt her familiar sense of overwhelming loneliness creep back into her subconscious.
————————————————————
“Mission report, Agent Bautista. If you’ve tried to ghost us, that would be considered unwise.” Agent M radioed to her. She had managed to sneak into the estate of Candidate Candice Jordan. None of the guards had been made aware of her infiltration, but she was suspended between the narrow ceiling above a patrol waking by inside the house. The threats they gave in her ear were more of an annoyance at that point. They all had full helmets and combat gear.
As soon as the patrol had passed she glanced over to her wrist watch she was wearing. It resembled a miniaturized radar, tracking the movements of anyone close to her. She took exceptional care for this mission not to end like her Siberian mission from her teen years, now that she had experience hunting monsters she was prepared to deal with any threat that came her way.
This mission seemed to be going too easily, something didn’t feel right. Julia dropped to the floor with a near inaudible sound and scanned the door to the office to make sure it wasn’t booby-trapped. She put her finger to her ear, “This is Agent Bautista, it’s hard to sneak and infiltrate with you pricks yelling in my ear.”
“I remind you to watch your tone Agent. You still haven’t earned the trust of The Organization back.”
Julia snuck into the office and noticed another woman enter from an opposite door, also crouched and wearing stealth gear. She was a white woman with brown hair that was cut short on one side and shaved down on the other. The two made eye contact and immediately pulled their knives. The pair instinctually closed the doors behind themselves before engaging in the most silent hand to hand combat they could achieve.
Julia tried to stab the other woman, who in turn dodged the stab and got her arm in a hold. The brunette twisted her arm into a lock and prepared to stab her with her knife. Julia forcefully dislocated her own arm to give herself enough flexibility to roll onto the ground and boot her assailant in the face with consecutive kicks. Each kick loosened the brunette’s grip and knocked her backwards.
The two women stood upright, Julia’s right arm was hanging at her side and her shoulder was severely dislocated. The brunette’s nose was bleeding and similarly off course. The women stared each other down. Julia set her right hand on the desk beside her and gripped another part of her arm with her left hand. The brunette used her fingers on either side of her nose. Almost simultaneously they let out soft grunts as they reset their body parts into their original positions.
Almost as quickly as they had themselves reset they each reached for their sidearm and drew their weapons with lightning reflexes, training their guns on each other. The fireplace lifted up beside them, revealing a secret entrance. Standing in the doorway was a tall white man with slicked back blonde hair and a clean-shaven face. He wore one of the most high end suits one could imagine and was clapping at the two. The women looked between each other and him in confusion, not taking their guns off each other. They both recognized the man.
“Bravo, well done!” He spoke with a smug voice, like he was better than everyone else. “It seems you’re evenly matched! As much as I would like to see this fight reach a conclusion, I’m afraid we need you both alive.”
“Magnus Dawnhammer?” Julia asked, confused.
“The very same my dear. Lower your weapons.”
They hesitated, but Agent M’s voice crackled in Julia’s ear, “Listen to the boss, Agent.”
The brunette held a finger up to her ear at the same time, clearly receiving the same instructions. They both complied.
“Good girls.” Magnus went and sat at his desk and a few of the armed guards came into the room. One was carrying a bucket with the fanciest wine bottle either had ever seen before. They poured some of the contents into a wine glass and set it in front of him.
“I don’t understand...” The brunette finally spoke.
Magnus Dawnhammer - as he was known to the public - was the richest man alive. He owned multiple tech companies and pharmaceuticals. He was a well known public figure as a playboy type who inherited everything from his father.
“What’s to understand dear? I’m the Majority Shareholder and Chairman of the Board for The Organization. I own it! As I own both of you!”
“What game is this? Where’s the target?” The brunette asked.
“Ms. Jordan? She’s in another state altogether. We don’t actually want her dead! We just wanted to test if the two of you were as amazing as I’m told.”
“Why would a human be in charge of demons and monsters?” Julia’s grip tightened.
“Because I own them? Uh, hello?” He looked at her like she was stupid and chuckled. “Everything has a price! Everything can be bought! Best of all? They respect my power! I’m more dangerous than any of them!”
They both raised their eyebrows in disbelief.
“Shoot me, Agent Bautista. Right in my eyeball. You can do that, can’t you?”
Without hesitation she obeyed and the bullet flattened before falling to the ground. He was undamaged.
“How’s that possible?”
“I’ve been alive far longer than any other human. I’m enhanced with the most advanced cybernetics and robotics that you’re feeble minds can’t even comprehend! Agent Hudson, let me have it, use the machine gun!”
“Hudson?” Julia whispered to herself, racking her brain for where she knows the name.
Agent Hudson pulled out her gun without hesitation and aimed the automatic fire at Magnus. He vanished into thin air with one blink and suddenly the gun was ripped from her hands. He managed to cross about 15 feet by the time only one bullet left the gun, which he caught in his other hand.
“This is just a taste of what I can do, satisfied?” He smirked and crushed the gun in his hands like it was paper before walking away back to his fireplace entrance. The fireplace closed behind him.
“Head back to the American base you two and await further instructions.” Agent M instructed.
“I apologize for trying to kill you.” Julia held out a hand to Agent Hudson. They were both visibly shaken by how fast and strong Magnus was.
“It’s not the first time someone’s tried to kill me and it won’t be the last...” she accepted her handshake.
“Julia Bautista, wanna grab a bite to eat maybe?”
“Sounds good to me... name’s Jane Hudson.”
———————————————————
Carter was walking down a seemingly desolate street of the Chesterfield Square part of LA at midnight. He was using his tracking ability to try and locate the Angel, which unfortunately lead him to the worst part of the city. Mike, Bridgette, and a younger Julia and Marcus were accompanying him. Julia was missing her signature ponytail and was instead sporting a shorter, jaw length haircut that was loose. Marcus was similarly missing any of his facial hair and his long dreads were currently cornrows.
“I told you guys, this is a bad part of town.” Marcus looked around nervously.
“Marcus, we hunt monsters man! Why would some street thugs scare you?” Mike laughed.
“This is where grew up man, I was in the shit here before I was rescued from the Lamia.”
“So you’re afraid someone might recognize you?” Julia raised an eyebrow, “Why would you give a shit?”
“Listen lady,” Marcus didn’t know Carter and Julia that well at this point, “You can’t exactly leave the streets once you’re part of them, you get it?”
Bridgette rolled her eyes, “So you did some bad shit, got yourself in trouble! We have the two most lethal people on the planet right now, I’m sure we’ll be ok! Nothing bar’s gonna happen!”
“Well, we’re surrounded.” Carter stopped in his tracks.
Mike looked around and saw nothing, “You couldn’t have warned us sooner?”
“My senses aren’t what they were, MIKE!” He spoke with some bitterness in his voice, “Or did you forget my father made me seal up my... “abilities” a long time ago?”
Mike was the only one with awareness about Carter’s true abilities.
“What the fuck is he talking about, ‘abilities’?” Marcus questioned.
Before he could respond, figures emerged from all around them. Marcus instinctively hung his head down. The figures were all wielding guns, knives, bats and various other weapons. Julia, Bridgette and Mike all shifted nervously and gripped their weapons. Carter grinned and folded his hands behind his head casually.
“This big Muthafucka’s a white boy! Would you look at that?” The gang surrounding them consisted mostly of black men, but there were a few other ethnicities sprinkled throughout. Behind the one talking stood a shorter Latino man and an absolutely humongous black man that dwarfed even Carter, who was full grown at 6’8”. By his count this other man must have been about 7’6” almost a foot taller than Carter himself. The man that spoke appeared to be the leader and was about two inches shorter than Carter, still very tall.
“Still puny.” The mountainous man replied in an unnaturally deep voice.
“Even a school bus is small next to you? Right, Tiny?” Carter replied.
“The fuck-“
The main man held his hand up and ‘Tiny’ fell silent. “Your gonna give us all your shit. Then we kill ya fast.” He noticed Julia and Bridgette. “Maybe we take your bitches too, show them what real men look like down here.” He grabbed at his pants in a suggestive way.
“I don’t know if mines a record holder, but all of the women seem convinced that it could be-“ Carter was mouthing him off before a sucker punch from the gang leader was headed his way. Carter leaned back and unclamped his hands, grabbing the man by the arm and throwing him over his shoulder right onto a car a few feet away, landing right beside Marcus. The motion was so fast that no one really comprehended what had happened.
“Has anyone seen an Angel around here? I swear I parked my Angel somewhere around here, but I don’t remember where!” Carter was still grinning. The other gang members all got ready to kill them when the leader shouted, “Hold the fuck up!”
They stopped as he painfully got off the car, “I haven’t seen this nigga in years, fuckin’ Marquise. You’re with these muthafucka’s?”
“It’s Marcus, Jerome. You always got it wrong...”
“Yo boys, it’s fuckin’ ‘SkidMarc’! Now I’ve seen everythin’! Where’s my fuckin’ money!?”
Marcus felt a lot more confident now, “Up your ass!”
“Kill these muthafucka’s!!!”
Tiny reached in for Carter, but he leapt up into the air and used the Latino man’s face as a platform to kick off of for added height. Up in the air he kicked Tiny in the face and it sent him flying into a group of thugs behind him. Julia shot the guns out of the rest of the thugs hands that tried to shoot them.
Jerome tried to swing a pipe at Marcus’ head and he reflexively deflected it with his katana he was carrying. He followed it up with a leg sweep to knock him to the ground. Just a few years earlier he never would have dreamed that he could fight like he could now. Mike and Bridgette pointed their guns at the gang members to keep them at bay, even though they didn’t have more than a few bullets each.
Tiny got back up and stared down Carter, “Lucky cheap shot. Let’s see you fight like a man.” He charged at him like an out of control freight train.
“You mean like this?” Carter delivered a cross right into his charging face and caved part of his face in at the impact point, making him stop dead in his tracks. Tiny shrieked out in agony collapsed to the ground, holding his shattered cheekbone in his face.
“Maybe I could have went a little lighter... Sorry for your luck guy.” He shrugged. A shadow cast itself over the scene, blocking out lots of the moonlight. The gang members all looked up in fear at the thing hovering there, flapping its wings. Without hesitation, all of them including Tiny got to their feet and ran away. Jerome was the only one left, but everyone’s attention was on the floating figure other than his.
He pulled out his gun and aimed it at Marcus, “I’ll kill you!!!” He screamed. Mike noticed the gun and tackled Marcus out of the way, getting shot in the process. The Angel flew down with intense speed before picking him up by the throat and crushing his wrist holding the gun. Her eyes glowed an intense light and burned Jerome’s eyes from out of their sockets, leaving scorch marks around where they were.
She dropped his corpse on the ground and all attention was on her. Marcus and Bridgette were trying to stop Mike’s bleeding, Julia had a gun trained on the Angel and Carter’s expression was serious. “You’ve proven yourselves worthy of my presence, mortals.”
“Your an angel...” Julia whispered.
“That’s right, and your witch-killing weapons won’t work against an angel of the lord. It’s a sin to even try.”
“You want to talk about sinning? You burned that guys fucking eyes out!”
“Murder is a sin.”
“I’m not dead yet.” Mike coughed out.
Carter would look back on that line later with musings of Monty Python, but at that moment it wasn’t appropriate.
“You’re an Angel, can’t you save him?” Carter questioned.
The Angel turned towards him, realizing his presence for the first time. She felt an immense supernatural power buried way beneath the surface, but it was locked away and mostly inaccessible.
“It’s not within my abilities.” She lied, “Besides, the sisters of fate have decreed this is where his story ends.”
“That’s bullshit!” Bridgette shouted. Mike was bleeding quite profusely.
Carter could vaguely sense the presence of another being. It wasn’t malicious, but waiting patiently for something. His sixth sense was almost locked away completely by the seals on his body. The Angel was staring directly at where he could feel the presence and nodded. The bullet seemed to have severed a major artery.
“Listen....” Mike choked out. “Marcus.... I need you to be in charge of the California division..... You understand me?”
“What? No! What about Bridgette!?”
Bridgette’s tears were streaming down her face. Mike continued, “She refused... It has to be you... I’ve been training you...”
“No way, I’m too young!”
“You’re better than I was..... I believe in you.....” Mike stopped breathing. Bridgette cried out at her loss, Marcus even started to weep. Julia was frowning but didn’t have any sort of emotional connection with them in the time she spent. Even if she knew them better, her ‘conditioning’ from childhood kept her from displaying vulnerability.
The Angel turned back towards Carter, “What’s your name, tall man?”
“Carter.” His eyes narrowed.
“My name is Estiel. May I have a private word with you?”
“I guess that would be alright.” He turned to Julia, “Help them get him home please.”
She nodded, but shot a glare at Estiel. Estiel extended her hand.
“Grab my hand.”
“I’m pretty heavy.”
“I’m very strong.”
He obliged and felt his feet leave the ground in moments. The force she flew away with would’ve likely ripped off the arm of a regular human.
————————————————————
Crystal was standing in her bedroom. The curtains were drawn and the sun was shining through, it was around noon already. The KSG members were spending their time with the witches watching magic or playing games or just enjoying the sun. They likely hadn’t had a chance to relax like that in a while, so Crystal thought it would be best to simply leave them be. The honest truth was that she could have sent them back home that very morning but she insisted that she needed time to recharge.
Crystal looked at the picture frame on her desk, it was the last time she felt truly happy. It was a Christmas picture with her Mom, Dad and all of her siblings. Also in the picture was her Grandma Christine and Grandpa Jack on one side and her Grandma Samantha, her Grandpa David her aunt Cathy, who was a little older than her mother. Of course her bratty cousin Spencer was in the picture too, but they all looked so happy and content.
Next to the photo was the funeral cards for her Grandparents on her Mother’s side as well as her Dad’s and Brother’s. Ever since her younger siblings have moved out and her mother quit hunting monsters, Gale settled down with a new boyfriend Jeff after so many years being single. Another photo showed a mature Gale and Jeff smiling on jet ski, wearing life jackets. A picture of Grant in a graduation gown was a little further than that, he went on to be a physicist at a university.
The last picture was of a rebellious looking Jane in a photo booth. Jane was flipping the camera the bird while sitting next to some other girls dressed similarly. Her natural blonde hair was dyed black and she was wearing all sorts of emo style clothing and wearing a band shirt that said, ‘A Day To Remember’ on it.
‘I do remember that day.’ Crystal thought, ‘Mom phoned me because she couldn’t handle how wild and out of control Jane was. She was only 16 at the time and I had to remind her she went through a similar phase as a kid.’ Jane became disconnected from the family after graduation and left to travel the world with her friends as far as anyone knew.
A knock came from the open door, Crystal turned to see a smiling Isla leaning against the door. Her melancholic expression turned into a smile as she greeted her, “Isla! How are you adjusting?”
Isla’s soft accent left her lips, “I’m still getting the hang of this thing you call ‘balance’! Otherwise it’s fantastic! There’s so many things I’ve been wanting to try besides just the ocean! But... I need to thank you for saving my life, how did you know to come for us? Or bring me a transforming potion?”
“I had a vision that you all needed my help, that’s all.” She smiled, this wasn’t entirely the truth. Crystal made it a point to meditate and try her hand at premonitions once a week.
Crystal foresaw that if she didn’t save them that they would have died in the raid on the compound, unleashing the beast within Slade that would lead to the end result from her very first vision. The only way she could pull a rescue off of that magnitude would have been to enlist the help off a supremely capable being that didn’t need to rely on powers. Calling Slade was out of the question if she wanted to prevent him from causing the end, she had no idea that Slade was even there until later. The only other choice was the half-demon mercenary Aleister that she hired. In the end, she hoped she made the right choice.
“That’s wonderful! Umm.... Can I ever... Go back?” Isla blushed.
“Of course! Transfiguration by design will only last about a week with the small dose you took. It would need a much larger one to be permanent or you could take another potion right away to go back if you want.”
“No... Thank you... I just wanted to be sure I even could. Thanks so much!” Isla beamed at her and then let go of the door frame, walking a little wobbly but ultimately able to stay upright.
Crystal looked back at her photos and sighed.
————————————————————
Slade was standing above his father’s grave after his funeral, wearing a black suit. The grave sight was packed with many people that attended the funeral. He was amazed by how many people his father connected with over the years. The only people not present was Gale and her children, but they sent lots of cards and flowers. Estiel was in a black dress and jacket with her wings hidden underneath. Marcus and Julia were also present, their hair a kind of amalgam of the hairstyles from when they met Estiel and what would become their recognizable looks.
He spent the whole day getting condolences from people and was honestly just exhausted for what felt like the first time ever. It was only a few nights ago that Rorick had died, passing on the Slade name to his son - and by extension, leadership of the KSG.
The funeral was held outside of the headquarters of the Los Angeles KSG headquarters. Slade went inside to go to his room he was staying in alone.
“Hey, Julia. I know he’s been putting on a tough exterior.” Marcus put his hand on her shoulder, “Cracking jokes and flashing smiles, but I can tell that he’s hurting inside. I could see it on has face when I helped him rush his father into the infirmary here. Regardless of what he says or does, he probably needs somebody. Just a thought...” He patted her shoulder and walked to mingle with the others in attendance. At this point, Marcus was in charge of the LA division.
‘Should I accompany him? Or maybe I should just leave him alone?’ Julia was fighting with herself in her head, ‘I don’t want to be pushy, but maybe he needs someone...’
Making up her mind, she bravely marched to his room and went to knock on the door, but it was ajar. She heard talking inside. Peeking inside the door she saw Slade sitting on the edge of his bed, hunched with his arms resting on his knees. Estiel was sitting on the bed, comforting him.
“It’s ok, Carter. I’m here for you.” She said and looked up directly at Julia.
Slade’s voice was even and unwavering, but still melancholic, “Thank you Estiel, I guess I just needed someone...”
Her eyes never left Julia as she stood up with a smirk - not one of overall malice, but of victory over Julia. Julia couldn’t believe that Estiel stayed on earth for these last few years, never mind the fact that she had no idea what the Angel was doing here in the first place. All Julia knew is that she couldn’t trust her, her gut feeling wouldn’t allow it. She rationalized it as jealousy.
Estiel turned around and slipped her dress off. From Julia’s point of view she saw that she wasn’t wearing a bra and her wings expanded. One wing wrapped itself around Slade and the other reached back for the door, Estiel turned her head and gave one last narrow-eyes look into Julia’s own before closing the door.
‘I hesitated... I missed my chance to tell him how I really feel...” Even though it might come across as desperate or even jealous, she made a point to be a little more blunt and forceful when it came to her and Slade in the future. Maybe Slade would catch on or maybe she was kidding herself, but there was little she felt she could do to change that.
————————————————————
Slade was walking through the main hall Ravencroft Manor and stopped to look at some pictures on the wall. The first was a painting of a very old manor, it had a placard that read ‘Ravencroft Manor. Salem, Massachusetts. Circa, 1691.’ The painting depicted a group of women standing in the yard of the manor. A large green, singular pine tree was noticeably painted beside the manor and it stuck out against the red maple trees in the background, which Slade found odd. A prominent woman was in a different uniform than the other women in the painting. The detail of their faces was uncanny for a painting from back then.
The next was a painting of a completely different mansion. It’s placard read, ‘Ravencroft Manor II. Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Circa, 1862.’ It was a very detailed painting like the last, but the women were all wearing newer clothing. There was yet again a head witch with a different outfit and she bore a striking resemblance to the one in the previous picture.
The second last was a photograph with the placard reading, ‘Ravencroft Manor III. Indianapolis County, Indiana. Circa, 1943.’ It was a black and white photo. It was the same story as the paintings: It was a new location and there were many women present. The woman from the paintings was also here.
‘Makes sense the bitch can live forever.’ Slade smirked as he thought to himself. ‘What a coincidence that the first one was right before the ‘Witch Trials’ and the second was the ‘Battle of Gettysburg’. Were they victims of circumstance or the cause of their own demise? They’ve had to run multiple times.’
Slade looked back to the third painting. ‘This one didn’t have a corresponding tragedy within a year of the photo as far as I understand. I remember it was still up and functioning when we lived there. Even my father was weary about staying away from that place. Hard to believe that they were that dangerous when they got chased out of their home that many times.... Unless....’
Something clicked in Slade’s mind, ‘The KSG started the witch trials and they used an ‘act of war’ during Gettysburg to cover up the witch hunt.’
“It all makes sense...” he whispered aloud.
The last photo was recent. The placard read, ‘Ravencroft Manor IV. Salem, Massachusetts. Circa, 2015.’ The photo showed many faces that Slade had seen around here as well as others that had likely moved on. There was two key things Slade noticed about the picture: The lone pine tree was framed almost exactly where the first painting had it, and the autumn leaves of the picture gave way to red maples.
‘This place was built on top of the original place.’
The other noticeable thing in the picture was that Crystal had assumed the position of the head Witch, this other Witch was nowhere to be seen. ‘She could have left, but she’s likely dead now.’
Crystal walked up to where he was. She was a little awkward trying to start a conversation given how their previous one ended. “We’ve had a... troubled.... history....”
“You say ‘we’ as if you grew up in this coven. You were one of us.... errrr... ‘them’.” He corrected himself, knowing he wasn’t a KSG member either anymore.
“Well, they became my family... Look at them outside...” she pointed to the two groups getting along and enjoying the weather. “The Guard hunted the original Salem Witches during the trials and drove them into hiding. They then used the Battle of Gettysburg during the Civil War to hunt down the next manor.”
“How did the Guard destroy the last one?”
“That’s just it. Peace was practically made between both sides. It was The Organization that did it. As you saw, both sides have a common enemy. The Organization is backing Hell in their side of the war, and you know what? It’s working! The Angels just aren’t as capable at being underhanded and backstabbing enough to gather the souls needed.”
“I can tell you from personal experience that’s not true... But I see your point... we’ll all need to work together to put a stop to this bullshit.”
“Exactly.”
“Where’s Marcus?”
“Your friend? Kenny took a group into town and promised the mermaid that he would take her to get one of the ‘finest delicacies’ the land has to offer. He even promised she would get to meet one of ‘her people’, whatever that means.”
Slade pondered what this meant and something clicked, “Oh god damnit! He didn’t mean-“
————————————————————
“Starbucks? You brought us to Starbucks.” Marcus was bewildered and disappointed. Kenny was leading a group consisting of Marcus, Isla, Pete and two teenage Witches.
“What is this ‘Star. Bucks.’ You speak of?” Isla was curious.
One of the Witches answered, she had dyed hair and looked like a goth. “It’s this coffee place that spells everyone’s names wrong and attracts lots of hipsters.”
“What’s coffee and hipsters? Are they edible?”
“Well yes to the first one.” Marcus piped up.
The other Witch also added, “Yes to both! Depending on how you look at it!” She looked more like a prep girl, but the two seemed to hang around each other. Marcus have her a ‘stink face’ at her statement. As soon as they walked in the place was filled with Goth looking kids.
“Friends of yours?” Isla sincerely asked the Goth Witch.
“Oh great... it’s convention weekend... Look at these posers...”
“I don’t know, Maya. They might be the real deal!” The Prep girl teased.
“Shut it Genevieve! It’s almost time to order!” Kenny hushed the girls. “See Isla? There’s a mermaid, like I promised.”
Kenny pointed at the painted figure of the mermaid on the Starbucks icon, Marcus figured she would have been mad. He was surprised when Isla started laughing instead, almost losing her balance like earlier.
“That’s adorable! You’re a funny man, Kenny!”
Marcus was impressed by the disaster that was averted.
“Now trust me, try the caramel macchiato. You’ll love it!”
Pete shook his head, “These places always get mah name wrong back ‘ome. I imagine that it will be next to impossible to get mah name this time.”
After they placed their orders they moved to a pickup area. A group of teens approached Maya, one of the guys spoke, “Hey babe, so you in town for the witchcraft convention too?”
“Nope. I live here.”
“That’s pretty sweet, we’re all into Wicca and shit too. Get lit before checking out all the torture shit at the museums.”
“I’m not a Wiccan. I practice Witchcraft.”
One of the girls with her took offense to that statement, “Ummm, Witchcraft is an outdated and offensive term used to describe Wicca and it has hurtful connotations for the practice.”
The first guy spoke up again, “What’s your name beautiful? My friends call me ‘Spider’. We’ll be lighting some candles and bongs and listening to some good tunes in the parking lot if you wanna join us. We could use another person for a Wiccan spell we’re trying.”
“Fuck off creep, I do witchcraft. Black Magic? Hail Satan?” She flashed him the devil horns and then her middle finger.
“Fuck you too skank!” He said as he grabbed his coffee cup and left out the doors.
“Damháinus.” She glared at him and waved her hand. “Your names ‘Spider’, huh? Let’s see how you like that!”
Spider went to take a sip of his drink but an actual spider crawled out of the lid onto his face. He dropped his cup and the lid popped open, freeing hundreds of small spiders. He screamed in a high pitched voice and his friends all noticed spiders in their cups too - they dropped them and ran away screaming.
Marcus’ eyebrows were raised in shock, “That was some evil shit!”
“Marco.” The employee called.
Marcus was afraid to grab it.
“Relax slick, yours is fine. I promise.”
He reluctantly took it and walked to a table. One of the patrons was watching a news broadcast on his laptop. His headphones were in so he couldn’t hear what was being said but the headline read, ‘New York woman found mutilated in quiet neighborhood.’ The sketch artist picture reminded Marcus of that Aleister guy from the other night but the eyes were drawn like cat eyes. ‘Weird...’ he thought and shook his head.
“Mia?” The employee called.
“It’s My-ah!” Maya rolled her eyes.
“Jenny?”
“Genevieve...” she shook her head.
“Kory?”
“I swear they do that shit on purpose.” Kenny scoffed.
“Irene?”
Kenny handed it to Isla and they followed Marcus.
Pete was the last one. “Course mine will be all buggered to ‘ell, ain’t it?”
“And finally... Pete?”
“Oh.” Pete raised his eyebrows. “Alright den.”
————————————————————
“Send in the experiments. We need to see how combat capable they are.” Magnus was sitting in a chair in a very large office. Other council members from The Organization were also present in the room. They consisted of demons, monsters and few humans. There was a large screen that displayed the time and the date was July 4, 2013: the day that Slade split off from the KSG.
One demon was standing at the end of the table opposite Magnus. It looked nervous, “Sir... Their abilities are extraordinary. Why would they need all this combat nonsense when their targets can’t fight back?”
“Because I need to be sure they’re the best.”
“Sir...”
A vampire at the table glared at the demon, he slammed his fist and stood up. “You’re questioning the boss? Maybe we can test it’s combat data on you?”
“Right away!” It gulped in nervousness. “Any particular targets in mind?”
Magnus raised his hand and the vampire sat back down, “I’ve made sure our pet angel has infiltrated the ranks of the pesky King’s Sacred Guard. She will lead them all into our trap with the elusive Carter Slade in tow.” Magnus grinned, “It’s all coming to fruition.”
Episode 11
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2019.09.29 18:31 STLhistoryBuff Weekly Events Thread 9/30/19 - 10/6/19

Please, feel free to add any events below! Check out the Events Calendar and Visitor's Guide for more info!

Looking to meet up with people? Check out Meetup St. Louis.



Sporting Events This Week
Recurring Outdoor Activities
Recurring Events on the Mississippi River
Live Music This Week
submitted by STLhistoryBuff to StLouis [link] [comments]


2019.09.02 19:16 STLhistoryBuff 9/2/2019 - 9/8/2019

Please, feel free to add any events below! Check out the Events Calendar and Visitor's Guide for more info!

Looking to meet up with people? Check out Meetup St. Louis.


Sporting Events This Week
Recurring Outdoor Activities
Recurring Events on the Mississippi River
Live Music This Week
submitted by STLhistoryBuff to StLouis [link] [comments]


2019.04.26 20:46 qxyz17 Tweaks, a story i wrote from pure mania

Tweaks
All the ice had melted. An eight ball in day and a half, and what a time it had been. Between the panhandling, break ins, robberies, and sparking up, it was enough criminal activity to make you want to smoke a whole cigarette in one drag out of sheer stress. The kind of bender that makes you wonder, “What kind of sick fucker have I become?” And the best part was, it was time to do it all over again. They say insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results. If that’s the case my Brother, John, and me, Jack, are the sanest people out of anyone on this earth. We were 28 now and had been doing the same shit every day with the same result since we were 16 and first saw the yellow glow of that glass rose. With it came a wave of crime not even the LA riots can spit at. Me and my brother had an average of 3 misdemeanors and felonies a year since we were born on our record. Drugs, burglary, assault, weapons, money laundering, theft, larceny, all that good shit. Never a rape though. Women don’t deserve that. We had even seen the life drain from multiple sets of eyes. You never forget the first time you see someone’s life leave their eyes. That’s what they don’t tell you about being a tweaker. Life with the rock sack is bleak and dirty and filled with sorrow. The rotting teeth, the sores, the weight you lose, the voices in your head. It may all seem like fun and games when your teeth are still white or you don’t have track marks on your arms yet, with the wide-eyedness of your first few highs and all. Then the cycle starts. You can’t hold down a job, your body decays, and you’re in and out of the system like a revolving door. First, it’s probation for misdemeanors. Then it’s rehab for your addiction. Then it’s jail for your probation violation. Then it’s parole for getting released early by promising you’ll be a good boy. Then hospitals for overdoses from your tolerance dropping in jail. No matter what you do, you feel trapped in the cycle. And if you ask any tweaker if it’s worth it, you’ll hear most often, “Anything for a buzz”.
Our line of work was more of an odd job type of situation. The mornings started off with pan handling downtown by the Arch. The structure that gave way to the glory of the west all those years ago. The building that might get more tourism than any other place in the city, which was the key to our success. No matter providing a service like those fuckers at the Cards and Blues games playing instruments, at least $20-$40 in an hour without tax and all you need is a cardboard sign with a sob story about your family losing their home or being a disabled veteran. You’ll be raking it in in no time. Tourists are suckers. After that we hop in the car and head over to our favorite apartment complex to shop at. The key to break-ins is having a gun. Ammunition is not a must but the physical fire arm is. It has to be there for the psychological advantage. At the end of the day the normal people don’t want to die and the gun will break their will. If you find someone being brave and standing up for themselves, put the gun away and pull-out hand-held weapons like knives or brass knuckles. After a few rounds with those you’re sure to get what you want. We hit a whole building in less than an hour. Divide and conquer. We got mostly low-ticket items but that’s what you get for not hitting people in Chesterfield. Then it’s to the pawn shop to get the cash we deserve from our work. Electronics will get you the most cash so that’s what you fill up the car with first. After that it’s instruments and power tools. A good day’s shopping will get you about $150-$200. But that still won’t be enough for us to get feeling correctly. We get 4g for $320 of the shit that was par for the course. $400 for the shit that’ll get your heart pumping off the first few hits. So, we hit the streets of The Lou trying to turn plays. The goal was to get our heart pumping and we’d made $200 on the day, exactly half of the product we were after.
By this time, we were at our whit’s end finding money, so we asked our friend who’s our dealer for a half n half front (half the money now, half the money later) for 4g of the good shit. Walking in his house he had his dope on the table, bricks of it, and his cash stacked up on a couch. A sitting duck. Then a plan hatched in my head on my way out the door, let’s fucking rob this dude. It’s worth mentioning now that anyone who would sell you Ice is not your friend, they just give a fuck about your money and not killing you so you keep coming back. Once we got the ice, it was time to tie one off (not actually though because we preferred smoking it). The first hit is like a tingle now that we’d been on this shit for twelve years even with the good shit. That first hit used hit like the fifth but that’s what happens when you crank your brain’s neurotransmitters with meth. After that the next few hits are like a brick wall hitting you in the face. A slap of stimulation all through your body. It made your feel like you could take over the world with a hit of the pipe, no wonder Hitler did it. It’s the highest of highs. PCP, LSD, even cocaine and DMT didn’t compare. The high from this drug is the stuff made of dreams.
After enjoying a good tweak sesh it was time to make the rest of the money. Juicy J said it right when he said “gun plus a mask, you do the math.” We made enough off of street stick ups on Cherokee St. for our debt and another ball, but we kept it for tomorrow after a lot of deliberating. The trouble is in the life of a tweaker, night runs into morning and morning runs into night a lot faster than you think it does. It was already a full 18 hours after we had been panhandling until we got the next of our money to the dealer. Upon paying him he gave us a talk about how to save money with our drug use, given that we were regulars. He suggested IV over smoking because the rush is faster, stronger, and longer. This intrigued John and I because we had never shot up before. I had heard that it would last longer and be more intense but needles scare me. Never liked shots from the doctor or blood drives. When faced with decisions like this, your moral integrity, which I had none, is tested. Naturally I was curious about my next, greatest high so it was time to get to work. And after testing out the product, it was time to formulate a plan. While most crimes are done at a whim for your next high, the experienced tweaker knows that there will be another day, another hit to take, another sucker to rob. But using this knowledge to your advantage separates those in jail and those still chained to the dope bag and free. A heist like this would take planning and firepower. Enough of each and you’re sure to rob anyone of anything. Considering this was a larger dealer, we had to plan thoroughly. Oddly enough you could tell he wasn’t very protective with his product by the way he sold his half and halves and fronts. Biggie always said never to use credit with crackheads, well tweakers were worse than that.
So, there we were sitting there in our parent’s basement twacked out of our mind on the last of our bag with our two friends Jetta and Jenny, scheming for our next buzz. We already had $320 left over, but it was time to go for the big bag. The holy grail, our plug’s bag. Now this was no regular robbery. There would be guns, there would be shots, and there would be danger. With our left-over money we got a box of pistol rounds for our Glocks and some black clothing from Walmart. We would strike at night as not to be seen. We had silencers, extended mags, and we were about to have a head full of crystal once we left Walmart. After gathering the gear, it was proper to get the gears turning for a good ole felony. If Alex in A Clockwork Orange can drink doped up milk with amphetamines and hallucinogens in it before killing, robbing, and raping people why shouldn’t we tweak the nerves away? It was 1:00pm by the time we had gotten to our other dealer. Any good drug user has multiple dealers. We had two grams for the crew, more than enough considering what we were about to run into, but it was time to get a fire lit under our asses, and the pipe too. After half our glass was gone and we shored up the assignments it was time to get ready. We each had Glocks, extended clips, and silencers attached like any criminal who had his act together, coupled with a ski mask, a black hoodie, black pants, and black facemasks so he wouldn’t know the difference between a shadow and a tweak he saw daily. No face no case. The plan would go like this. To surprise him and his partners he always had around, we would burst through the front door and pop 6 shots. Hopefully they would all be gooning in the kitchen scaling out product or something. After they were on the ground, dead or alive, it would be time to raid the house. Everyone had duffle bags and assignments. I was getting the meth while keeping them down if they needed a little bit of guidance for the situation. John would go upstairs and get the jewelry and see what else he could come up with. Jetta would get the money and Jenny would get the guns. All equipped with duffle bags we were primed and ready to gut this house.
The light coming off the cigarette embers were the only thing visible. We were on the front porch of Jenny and Jetta’s house blowing down square after square waiting for a response. Nothing spells criminal activity like N-E-W-P-O-R-T. What a Motley Crue of tweaks chain smoking their lungs off on a porch in the early morning on a Wednesday morning. Now Jenny and Jetta, they had been in jail as much as we had. We had all grown up together and simultaneously degraded together. When the clock hit 3:00 in the morning, it was time. We had the driver, Jenny and Jetta’s equally as fucked up roommate Jackson, known to do his fair share of trafficking, hit him up for a quarter pound of the pure shit. I had only met the guy in passing but he seemed to be on our level so fuck it, right? He was here for the spite. After he gave us the okay to come by, we got dressed and geared up for what would be our most daring escapade so far. Wu Tang clan was the only way to go in a time like this. With my Wu Tang Sword, I will vanquish the enemy and take his fuckin meth. The feeling you get right before a robbery is almost as intense as I imagined shooting up to be like. Pure adrenaline. Knowing you’re about to impose your will over someone and make them look like a little bitch while you take their shit is true power. In that moment you are his keeper. He is under your control.
We were pulling up and he didn’t even know we were coming in. The thought he would soon have all of his drugs, guns, and money taken from him made me laugh hysterically as I threw my butt and got in character. It was time. No words, just action.
Get out of the car.
Walk up the stairs to his front porch.
Count down from five with your hand.
5…4…3…2…1…
Break the door down.
Fire off three shots POW! POW! POW!
Fire off three more POW! POW! POW!
Everyone runs in.
Three bodies drop.
Four bags unzip.
I saw the meth on the table and immediately grabbed it into my duffle. Two and a half bricks, not bad. John checked the upstairs and got some jewelry for everyone. Two iced out Cubans, four pennants, two tennis chains, a plain jane and bust down Rolex, and a couple pairs of icy earrings. Jetta grabbed the duffle and filled all the cash up from the living room. She had to have at least six figures in that bag of hers when she was done. Jenny got the guns from the basement. Her assignment inherited to her a fucking mobile arsenal. Macs, Uzis, AK’s, and a few shotguns. With a collection of contraband this extensive, you have two ways your life can go, either the cops get you, or the shit stains of society like me get you. In thirty minutes, he was sufficiently cleaned out, and also fucking dead. That sitting lick. Adrenaline out the ass, methed out of my mind and astonished at the gold we had just struck on a crackpot plan, it was time for us to go before anyone got the pigs involved. On our way out I looked down at the damage I had done. A shot through his skull, blood on the wall, brains in the sink. Dead as a door nail and probably didn’t have a clue who caught him slipping. Then I saw something I’ll never unsee. When we thought his goons were the least of our problems, we were wrong. In that moment I rubbed my eyes to see if I was just hallucinating or I was seeing some real shit. Sure enough, his baby momma and son were sprawled out on the ground, bloody and still leaking all over the tile. A bullet through his kid’s neck. Blood still coming out the wounds. Next to him was his mom adorned with three holes in her chest. The last family moment they’ll ever have and it was covered in blood contracting led poisoning because I wanted what they had. I had done something I never had before, killed a child. I’m not a man of god but let me tell you that’s the closest I’ve ever been to praying for someone. The only solace I had was that I didn’t know if me or my brother had shot him. The odds were 50/50 and those were odds I had to live with for the rest of my life. I thought monsters killed kids, not me. It was a feeling of dread like being a week clean off the ice. The emotions I felt were ones that often stayed hidden in a far-away place. Maybe that’s why I’m not like the rest of the heartless, soulless, child killers that are on the news getting caught. Empathy was the only life line I had from falling into insanity. After a few cigarettes and a few passing thoughts about getting myself clean and in therapy I snapped out of my self-aware state and prepared for celebration. After all we did just win the fucking lottery at someone else’s expense. First came Wu Tang, after all, it’s for the children.
I was pleasantly surprised that I greatly underestimated this poor sucker’s net worth. After we got back to count the spoils, we found $500,000 in cash, two and a half pounds of ice, a cool mil worth of jewelry, and a small arsenal of eight guns in total with ammunition out the ass. This guy might have had some serious ties. No matter now though, after seizing about two mil in contra we had hit the liquor store. Two thirties and 4 bottles were acquired with our new riches. Once back at the safe house we stashed everything in the basement where we were divvying everything up. Jetta and Jenny each got a pair of earrings and a Rolex while I got the two Cubans and one pennant that said “So Iced Up” and another that was just a blinged out crystal ball, leaving my brother with the tennis chains and two other pennants. After that it was time for the guns. The girls took the pistols and we took the rifles and shotguns accompanied by a year’s supply of ammunition for each of us. I had always loved shotguns. Then came the money, which was easy. $125k each. Bank robbers don’t make out like this. Then finally it was time for the product. Decidedly we split the Half pound into 2-ounce portions and sat on the rest for now. With the money and the jewelry, we had no reason to sell it. We’d be sitting pretty for a while We were good and drunk at this point so there was no need to hold back on the ensuing bowls. Obviously, everyone pulled out of their own bag and in no time, we were zooming like we were being propelled by a rocket up our ass. When would the party end? Who knows? Who cares? This was the come-up rappers talked about in their songs.
After a few more hours the alcohol was gone. It was time to kick it up a notch. We had partied clear into the day and everyone that needed to be up was. First, we got a zip bag of grass, then we got 4 strips of acid. Like any good drug abuser, it was time to get funky. We picked up 4 g each of molly, DMT, and heroin. We were spending money in the exact pattern like we usually were, like fucking junkies. To take the edge off before the trip we rolled up a couple of woods and sparked up. After being up for days on end now it was the ultimate way to level yourself out. How many had it been? Two? Three? Who knew, all I knew was that I wasn’t going to sleep yet. After we were good and baked, we each took ten hits of the acid straight to the dome. Melting our brains to celebrate a triple homicide that eliminated a branch of a family tree while in process of a robbery that resulted in a small fortune really seemed like the only logical answer. Now it was time for the goodies. The DMT, molly, and heroin were all for use during the trip. We had laid off the meth to do this specific experiment, a cross tweak. It was time to do some mixing and matching. Mixed lines, mixed bowls, and mixed needles. We had everything here to wreck our brains and bodies into submission. It was going blow our heads off. First came the lines so we could get the molly and the acid playing together well. Some did line by line, not premixing before consumption but that route wasn’t for me. I wanted the insane rush I knew and loved from Tina and Molly having a play-date in my nostrils. In all we did a total of two grams of molly between us. Line after line we went until our noses bled. Then we waited for the molly golf ball we had collectively ingested to roll through all of our brains before combining two tenths each of DMT and meth in the bowl. Hit by hit reality became less and less apparent. Was I dying? Was it just the drugs? These are the reality checks you need to ask yourself at a time like this. Just look around at the state of the room. It was intense to say it lightly. Four degenerates sitting ass at a table with their heads on Jupiter. All of us feeling like aliens with the sheer amount of substances clouding our brains. After we had come back to reality relatively, it was time for the icing on the cake. Our first time shooting up. Why not go out with a bang? We had all the accouterments for a good old fashion speed ball. The ice its self was enough to blow steam out of your ears, but this final leg of our drug ironman was the most dangerous yet. Heroin and meth. It’s the combo you hear in news stories where no one survive. But to us, it was going to be one hell of a ride. Slowly but surely everyone got good and ready. Having never shot up before but seeing people do it, I had a good understanding of the process. Gotta cook the dope then cut the circulation then find a vein and then boom. You’re in. I mean shit I was confident enough to get the process started with a head full of psychedelics and amphetamines, at least I had conviction. Then, after everything was set out on the table in front of me neat and orderly like lab equipment, it was time.
Lighters flicked.
Spoons heated.
Dope cooked.
Cotton dropped.
Needles full.
Belts tied.
Veins found.
Needle in.
Plunger down.
Let everything go.
Heart thumps.
Head rushes.
Vision Blurs.
Pupils dilate
Limbs numb.
Sharp inhale.
Tunnel vision.
Fall to floor.
Narcan.
Narcan.
Narcan.
Narcan.
Call it.
Time of Deaths: 3:33 AM.
John and Jack Ivory and Jetta and Jenny Silk were found dead in their home by their roommate of an apparent drug overdose. In Jack’s will he requested “Life doesn’t matter after 27” put on his tombstone. He died at age 28 with his twin brother. The Silk sisters were both 27.
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2017.03.18 12:41 theWesLesley NO CHILL - based on a dream I had

I dreamt I met Joe Chill waiting for a bus on his way to the theatre... so I pushed him under it. From there life proceeded quite differently because the Waynes kept fighting the good fight and keep Gotham more Metropolis-like.
Keep in mind that my knowledge of the Batverse is limited... mostly animated series, video games and some movies, and the occasional 'must read' comics on my kindle (most recently the complete Hush).
So... here we go.
Once, a long time ago, Bruce Wayne was out for a movie. He had his parents with him on that fateful day, the day of the tragedy. After all, we all know on that day...
... Joe Chill got flattened by a bus.
It was horrible. He was transported with haste to the nearest hospital, but he was pronounced dead on arrival. Years later, Bruce Wayne, Heir to the Wayne Fortune and Vice President of all Wayne Enterprises is casually seeing Dr. Harleen Frances Quinzel and Dr. Pamela Lillian Isley, both on the Wayne payroll for research into curing the criminally insane and restoring the damages done to nature (not in the least to the rainforests of the Amazon) respectively. Beyond them, he's also seeing Selina Kyle who runs the humanitarian services of Gotham and Metropolis like soup kitchens and homeless shelters, and Barbara Gordon, daughter of his friend Commissioner James Gordon (but doing so behind his back).
They all have honest, beneficial relationships. Beyond all having a shot at the Wayne fortune, they all can pursue their dreams.
Harleen is currently writing a book about the criminally insane and their lackey counterparts – specifically those who find themselves roped into the life. That's why she's focusing on the criminal known as the Red Hood, whose first known 'actor' was a failed comedian (there are some conflicting reports on his name) before the red hood was passed on to another unlucky guy by name of Jervis Tetch, who tried to incorporate hypnotic devices hidden inside the hood to commit his crimes. Tetch, like the comedian, was shot dead by the GCPD during an armed conflict. On the different sides of the spectrum there are those like Jonathan Crane, who Harleen succesfully rehabilitated to do his work within ethical boundraries and now works under the Wayne Pharmaceutical banner, and Victor Zsasz, who will sadly spend the rest of his life in Arkham – not for lack of trying to escape, but due to his being confined to a wheelchair after a run-in with the well-funded and well-equipped GCPD.
Pamela is doing what she's always felt strongly about doing, and her work is visibly restoring the ozone layer, pushing back global warming, and saving the rainforest. Some of these restorative treatments have also translated to other fields including saving the life of one Nora Fries, wife of esteemed Dr. Victor Fries who since then has worked under the Wayne Pharmaceutical banner alongside Dr. Crane. The work Pamela, Victor and Jonathan do at Wayne Pharmaceutical was also the saving grace of one Waylon Jones after curing his horrible congenital condition known as Epidermolytic Hyperkeratosis. Mr. Jones is now living a full and happy life with his wife and five children, and has two world championship titles in wrestling to his name.
Selina keeps the poor and homeless off the streets, providing for them thanks to generous donations from the Waynes and help from Commissioner Gordon and District Attorney Harvey Dent in keeping them away from the reaches of those like the Falcones and Maronis. Beyond her efforts, Wayne Tech has upgraded the GCPD with all sorts of wonderful 'toys' giving them the perfect edge over criminals and keeping Gotham clean – though sometimes when criminals push too hard it leads to disaster, with what happened to crimelord Tony Zucco being a perfect example. There was just enough left of him to qualify as a 'stain'.
And Barbara is just after his body. Wayne loves to work out after all. Plus the whole 'forbidden fruit' angle gets her motor running. Officially she's on-again off-again dating GCPD Detective Timothy Jackson Drake (partner of Detective Harvey Bullock), who finds himself loving his work more than his family life. Fully aware of Barbara's 'secret' lover, he accepts the situation they're in and focuses on the positives rather than the negatives – he gets to do what he loves and come home to someone who loves him for it, even if he has to share that love. But love sadly does not reign over Gotham.
Once there were reports of a terrorist organisation setting its sights on Gotham, called the League of Assassins. After a few skirmishes ending in total domination by the GCPD (and their Wayne Tech toys) they quickly evolved into other kinds of terrorism like public bombings and shipping nerve toxins around via post. This was enough to draw the attention of Superman who, after one unfortunate encounter with Ra's Al Ghul that went wrong in all the worst ways, accidentally wiped out all of them in a massive explosion caused by overusing his ice breath and heat vision and supersonic speed in the Lazarus Pit. (For more information, Clark Kent wrote a best selling book on the subject.)
When he's taking his dates out for a good time or when he's out with his other friends, Bruce Wayne's favorite establishment is the Iceberg Lounge, run by Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot, who's been Bruce's friend since setting him up with Dr. Thomas Elliot who not only saved Oswald's life after a run-in with the criminal Bane, but also changed his appearance to live a more normal life, no longer mocked for his looks. Though he's one of refined tastes, he's also quite happy to join Bruce and his many friends to enjoy a night at the circus – especially when the Flying Graysons are performing. Cobblepot also caters to the stars of Gotham, such as Boris Karlo – the star Hollywood wished it had, and Simon Trent – the famous Grey Ghost actor, and Bruce's childhood hero. The Iceberg Lounge is also where Thomas Elliot met his wife Peyton Riley.
The only part of Bruce's life that did not seem like it went smoothly was when Marla Elliot tried to sue the Waynes for the death of her husband, Roger Elliot, in a malpractice suit that hit close to Bruce's heart. Marla became obsessed in that time and became an alcoholic. Within one year of Joe Chill's unfortunate accident, she fell off the balcony of her mansion bedroom and was found dead by her staff. Luckily this was just after young Thomas went over to the Wayne's to spend the night watching movies. Thomas ended up in the care of Thomas and Martha Wayne, and he and Bruce were like brothers. Both Bruce and Thomas later on went to therapy over this matter, and both made it through just fine – especially Thomas came out a whole new and happier man.
Harvey Dent recently put away the dangerous Hugo Strange with the help of Detective Drake and Doctor Quinzel, which marked the 1000th consecutive victory for the District Attorney, leading to a commendation from former POTUS Alexander Joseph Luthor. During his stay in Gotham, he returned to find his Lamborghini stolen by one Jason Todd – a pseudo-ciminal self proclaimed 'voice of the people'. The car was returned after being the focus of a political campaign to keep Luthor from returning to Capitol Hill, as explained to Lois Lane and Jimmy Olson of the Daily Planet (while one very amused Clark Kent interviewed the very frustrated Luthor).
There are those who hope that each of the Criminally Insane can be rehabilitated like Jonathan Crane, and though Edward Nygma is making excellent progress, the likes of Hugo Strange, Victor Zsasz and Maximillian Zeus will likely never set foot in free society again.
Thanks to Wayne funding and the employ of their Gold Standard of Practice and Business, Arkham Asylum has been a beacon of hope for the deranged and insane, with some even committing themselves voluntarily in the hopes of freeing themselves from themselves, like Arnold Wesker and Julian Gregory Day, the latter of which indicating upon his admission that “It's time to get help.”
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2016.07.12 17:23 KillerSealion A Story By People: Chapters One and Two

Discussions are hosted by A Story by People each week on previous chapters from the collaborative story. Readers are encouraged to post their reactions and thoughts in the comments below. Go here for more information on this project.

Chapter One - Aeromancer

Laying on the edge of a fissure Enid watched the grey sky above through the branches of the trees. Her leg hung down into the labyrinthine world below. Turning over to her side she watched as the hill fell away, leaving her balanced at the precarious intersection of three worlds; one she could never live in, one she’d spend all of eternity in, and one she tottered around on for what would be far too short a time.
After some time the sun was finally threatening to break through the clouds and Enid let out a sigh, knowing that it had been long enough. She was going to catch flack from her mother if she stayed out any longer than she already had.
Picking herself up, Enid looked down at the toes of her shoes hanging out over the edge of the fissure. A little voice in the back of her head called out for her to jump in, that it would surely be a new adventure. Instead she simply shook her head, knowing that her body was already going to be outraged with all the exploring of that day.
She walked down the gentle incline of the hill until she finally reached the game trail she had followed up to discover the fissure. She glanced both ways, a part of her hoping to spot a deer, but not seeing so much as a squirrel. She took out her flask and finished the last of the water in it. She looked at the engraved doe on it, glad that she got to see at least a facsimile of one, even if it had come from a guy she had only dated to upset her parents when she was just fourteen years old.
Following the trail she could see what started out as a gentle slope shifting into a steep ravine. She hugged the far side of the trail, not wanting to fall all the way through a myriad of thickets, shrubs and fallen branches that would not hesitate to pierce her, even if most of them she simply imagined were below, all just waiting for a single wrong step.
Just as she stepped over a particularly nasty pothole that had been mostly obscured by a fallen branch, she felt her hip vibrate in a way that she knew would only mean one thing. After a few more steps the sounds of a Syd Matters performance began to pour out from her hip. Sighing she reached into her pocket and looked at the face of her phone and her mother’s visage looked back at her.
Biting her lip as she continued to walk, she hit the green accept button and pressed the phone to her ear. “Hey, what’s up?” She said, doing her best to sound nonchalant even if some trepidation managed to find its way into her voice. “Hey what’s up?” The voice repeated back to her, and Enid could already feel the exasperation seeping out of her phone’s speaker. “Enid Maria Rees, do you have any idea just what time it is?”
Ducking under a low branch Enid couldn’t help but chuckle out of nervousness. “Um, time to be heading home?” She offered to her mother, and it was answered with a long sigh that could have said everything that needed to be said in this conversation. But still Enid waited for her mother to continue. “Oh child, why do you try me each and every day as the good Lord tried Job?” Enid mouthed the words along as her mother spoke them, knowing that this phrase was going to come up the very instance that she saw that it was her mother calling.
Shaking her head at the predictability of the conversation so far Enid stopped walking. “Don’t wor-” She paused as her mother interrupted her with a rant. She watched a snake scurry off from where it had once been attempting to sunbathe while ignoring what her mother was saying on the other end. “...so I won-” As she spoke she wondered if her mother would buy it, she’d played this card maybe a few too many times in the past. She glanced over her shoulder, smelling a mixture of ozone and cinnamon, wondering where it was coming from. She took another step and all her foot found was empty air.
Without enough time to even scream, her body hit the side of the hill as she tumbled down. She waited for the stab that would end her: some fallen branch to rip her out of this world and send her to the next. She could feel the hands of the forest claw at her as she slid down, each one trying to get a bite of her. With a thud, her ragged fall ended, but even as she stopped tumbling her world continued to do spin. Slowly she realized, as the world finally came to a halt around her, her back was quickly becoming wet and she was becoming cold. She lay there convinced of her impending doom as she meekly shivered there. She ached in every part of her body as she waited for her conscientiousness to slip away; for the darkness to form into that long tunnel with a light at the end, but none of it happened as she lay there.
Finally Enid sat up, her body only giving a mild objection instead of the spirit shattering one she had been expecting. Still, she felt sick to her stomach as she sat there. As she was looking around she realized she had come to rest in a small stream. While every part of her felt tender, her clothes had clearly taken the worst of the damage. A cut to her left calf was the worst injury she could find on herself, and that was only barely worse that what she had done to herself when she was first learning to shave her legs. A single large cut through her shirt gave her the largest pause though: sliced clear across from her right rib to her left hip with a matching thin red line across her skin.
Staggering to her feet, Enid looked around and spotted her phone a few metres from where she had landed, completely submerged by the stream. Stepping over to it, she plucked it out of the water. Turning it over in her hand, it was plainly apparent that the phone with its screen shattered far beyond simple spider-webbing was beyond repair. Instead it looked as if it had returned to being little more than the sand it had once been. Yet Enid still pressed down on the power button, either out of habit or hope that it would turn on. But nothing happened.
After looking over herself once more and with the shattered phone still in hand, she was quickly becoming resolved to the fact that she’d have to trudge the entirety of the way home. She started off along the stream, whistling her favourite song off tune, being careful with her footing and avoiding anything that looked too wobbly. She slowly made her way back along the edge of the stream even as it slowly merged with other streams, until she came to a bridge. Enid wanted to jump with joy, but instead she opted to climb up the hill to the road, finally going back to civilization.
She started getting close to home now, her legs were just about ready to give out: pleading to give up. Walking along the street she passed one of her favourite places for trashy food: “Lucy & Chris’ American style Restaurant”. She paused as she passed the sign and did a double take. “Chris & Lucy’s American style Restaurant” She had to tilt her head as she read the name. Just how long had she been getting the name wrong? She could have sworn Lucy’s name came first, maybe she’d hit her head harder than she had thought when she fell.
Continuing on, it was only a few more gruelling minutes to walk home even if her legs didn’t feel like it. She came up to her house and the white picket fence her mother had insisted on. The only other fences for a hundred kilometres were all made of wrought iron, but her mother simply needed the wooden one, never mind what the neighbours might say. Reaching over the waist high gate to give a quick tug on the latch, the gate came free and Enid stepped through. She didn’t run up and bounce off the door so much as move begrudgingly towards it and fall against it. Her hand left the doorpost and searched for the lanyard that had all of her keys. Pulling the keys out and slotting the right one in, she opened the door. As she stood in the front hall she was about ready to collapse. She didn’t even care about getting up to her bed, one of the chesterfields would do just as well. At this point it felt like it had been a fortnight since she’d last been home, even if it had only been a few hours.
Closing the door behind her she noticed her little brother standing in the hall, a glass of milk in his hand as he just watched her, frozen by her very presence. Glancing around Enid wondered if she was missing something. As she did, she noticed the glass ornaments that her mother kept lining the back edge of the long table in the hall. They’d changed since that morning. When she’d left, each one had a faint green tinge to them, while these ones were all clearly orange. How peculiar, her mother really hated orange.
Crying snapped her attention back to her little brother. He was standing there, and she watched the glass fall from his hand, shatter on the ground and spilling the white liquid all over the floor. She watched as her four year old brother just stood there and cried. She was wondering how long it had been since he last had cried like this, because he wasn’t usually like this. “What’s wrong little guy?” She asked taking a step towards him. It suddenly dawned on her that it must be her appearance that was upsetting him so much. “It’s okay, I know it looks bad, but I’m fine, really.” She could hear quick steps coming as she tried to comfort the child, and then her mother was there. “Oh, hey mom, sorry I’m late. I, uh, took a bit of a tumble.” A part of Enid felt like she was six again and admitting to spilling orange soda on the white carpet.
There was no rant, no hello, not even a sound from her mother, until Enid finally looked up at her mom. She was surprised to see the utter shock on her mother’s face. “Mom, I’m okay, really it’s not nearly as-” She was saying trying to reassure her mother, but was interrupted by an irrational scream. “What are you?!” Her mother shrieked at a timber that made Enid flinch. “Mom?” She asked, scared at the force of the reaction. She watched as her mother stepped between her and her brother, hiding as much of the boy as she could behind her legs. “What are you doing, mom?” As the words came out, her mother snatched one of the glass ornaments and threw it at her face. Enid was frozen where she stood, shards of glass exploding around her head.
“My daughter is dead! I buried her not even a week ago!” Enid was speechless at this, her feet felt like they had been fused to the floor. This was the worst joke ever. When Enid just stood there not saying a word nor taking any action, her mother threw another ornament; this one deflecting off of her shoulder and snapping in two, both halves clattering to the floor behind her. “She hung herself.” Her mother wailed the tears streaming out of her eyes. “And now some succubus has stolen her form to torment us even more?!” Enid was in disbelief as another ornament came at her. This one was a snow globe she’d picked out when she’d been little, on a family trip to Moscow, as a present for her mother. The smell of the alcohol struck her nearly as hard as the pain. It had found its mark hitting her in the head, causing Enid to stagger back, falling against the door.
Her feet had finally kicked into action and she turned, running out of the house she’d always called home, no idea what had happened. Wondering if she really had died on that hill, and now she was in purgatory, or worse.

Chapter Two - Iswearimnotevil

Seven men sat in a row on the eastmost dock of spaceport ES-42, a large but thin disc shaped man-made satellite which orbited around Earth and served as the main hub for all interplanetary travel. With humanity having spread out to a number of different planets the Earth’s government ruled that it would be useful to have a single location dedicated to space travel and personnel verification. It saved time and space, allowing each of the continents to require only one landing station with high speed transit to any subsequent locations.
After taking in their fill of their shiny, yet dimly lit surroundings, the men looked to one another with curiosity and interest. They eagerly explored the features of their new comrades as if each were a different species than the last. Which they were not. But those from the distant planets - K-62f, K-438b, K-422b, K-269e, and K-186f - were far less used to meeting inhabitants of other planets than people who lived on Earth. So, in some sense, the unique features each man sported were just as alien as having a second head or green skin.
Swinging his feet aimlessly, Kasabian, the youngest man of the seven sat up straight and gave a long sigh, glancing down the line of men before looking out into the star dotted black sky. His thin frame contrasted the more masculine builds of the rest of the group but his apparent confidence made him seem, figuratively, much larger. With angular features, thin slitted eyes, and long knobby fingers, it was fairly obvious to the group that he was from K-62f.
“So, any of you know why we’re here?” Kasabian inquired, leaning forward in an attempt to make eye contact with at least one of his soon to be crewmates. “I feel as if I’m a bit out of the loop.”
The men were quiet, glancing down to their laps before returning to their casual examinations, until a low chuckle rumbled from down the line. Feeling disturbed by the second interruption of their silent judgements, all heads turned right to face the perpetrator of the noise. Being that he was on the far left side, Kasabian had to lean dramatically over the dock’s edge in order to see even the smallest sliver of the man’s profile. Even with what little he could manage to see, Kasabian determined that the man’s strong features and square jaw, his long hooked nose and prominent chin, read of a typical K-269e soldier.
“You’re the scientist then,” Vance laughed gruffly, crossing his thick hairy arms over his chest, glove covered fingers tapping against opposing biceps. “Always asking questions. Needing to know the who, what, when, where, why, and how. That isn’t how this works.” His voice was deep, as one would expect from such sizable man, but he spoke gently. Loud enough to be heard but not louder than needed.
“That’s how I work,” the young man replied simply, voice hitching when he stood up, shrugging lopsidedly as his thin arms hung limply at his sides. The heads turned in unison as Kasabian stood, all craning upward with trained vacant expressions. Originating from different planets didn’t seem to have an impact on their composure or general obedience. Their instructions clear - sit on the dock and wait for the captain. This was what they planned to do.
As soon as Kasabian was on his feet, Vance rose as well, his towering stature made more obvious in this new upright position. The scrawny man’s head tilted up to meet the dark brown oval eyes which seemed look down on him predatorily and his confidence and defiance shrunk. Cautiously, he took a step back as he sized up the situation.
“Look, kid. We’ll get orders soon enough. So just-”
“I will not tolerate bickering,” a woman with a sharp chin length black bob snapped, her metal bottomed flats clicking against the chromium ground as she moved between the two men. “Lieutenant Vance Kilroy, I expected more from you. Harassing our very important scientist. For shame.”
Despite the fact that she was actively reprimanding the misbehavior, there was a small smirk tugging at one side of her thin lips. Quickly, in a disorganized cluster of movement, the rest of the men scurried to their feet, standing tall with their chests out and feet together as they faced the well dressed authoritative woman. Behind her, the misty image of ships in the distance could be seen taking off and landing. The buildings, mostly small and square aside from a few significantly larger structures, seemed to blend together and disappear into the dark sky.
“My name is Captain Delvare, and we’ve an important mission boys. It seems that a child has fallen into one of the rifts. Our job is to find her and bring her back to her family,” she said, clasping her wrist in the palm of her hand behind her back. “Dr. Pierce, you’ve been recommended to me as one of the leading researchers on the subject. So you and I will have to meet up and talk later on, yes?”
Her expectant gaze landed on Kasabian and he gave a small nod before verbally agreeing. He felt a bit taller again as the rest of the men had just been informed of his importance and he hoped that it meant something to them. While he fantasized about his superiority, Vance slipped from the line and approached the woman.
“Do we tell him about-” he started, cut off by quick and dismissive shush as the captain began to walk away gesturing that he follow while the others wait behind.
“No, he is a sensitive type. He won’t understand. To him, we are just searching for a kid and allowing him an opportunity to research these things close up,” she informed Vance in a hush tone, concerned about being overheard even with the distance between them and the young scientist. “He doesn’t need to know and you’ll stay with him to ensure that he never finds out.”
With that, she dismissed Vance again and walked toward the dock, leaving the stern man looking disappointed with his assigned role. As the pair were speaking, the rumble of a landing ship distracted the rest of the men, who were initially trying to eavesdrop. Though, through the distracting noise and vibrations, Kasabian still watched the interaction with a keen stare, feeling off put by the secrecy.
“Excuse me, ma’am,” he called out, adjusting his messenger bag and jogging uncoordinatedly towards the woman as she made her way to the end of the dock.
“I’m not a ‘ma’am’, I’m a captain and you will address me as such,” she interrupted with her thin brows furrowed tightly. “What do you need?”
“Sorry, captain. I was just wondering about my research- all of my equipment. Is it being sent here?” He questioned with great determination, after all, he wasn’t really a hero, but a scientist. Without his equipment, he was man with little resources and a data collection tablet.
“It’s already on Earth. A lab has been set up at the base and you’ve three assistants just as small and excited as yourself,” she mumbled, watching the ship lock into the docking station with ease. “We will speak once we land.” Not allowing the bumbling boy even a single moment to speak again, she turned her body and gave the vehicle her full attention.
The ship wasn’t all that much different than the one which had picked him up from his home planet to bring him to the spaceport. It was just small enough to fit the eight of them, plus the three man crew who piloted the ship into the dock. It's hatch door opened down to expose a set of steps and Delvare gracefully strolled up and into the ship. Kasabian watched each of the men follow her lead, hesitantly moving as well after receiving an impatient nudge from Vance.
Once aboard, they all took a seat and strapped in, the belts strapping criss-cross over their chest to lock into two separate buckles on either side of their hips. Again, the group grew silent. Some of the men pulled out tablets and read through the mission, spinning little hologram images of the girl and her family. Taking note of what she was wearing and her features. Getting an idea of what the rifts were by watching amateur videos of the few events to be captured on camera. Meanwhile, Kasabian found himself reading through data. Collected information on physical changes in gravity, light, and time itself when rifts appeared. He’d developed his own theories about what would be inside of the rifts, but didn’t have enough evidence to produce any formal hypothesis.
Of the team, he was the only person to have experienced a rift first hand. It was short and quick, opening up and dazzling him by disturbing the surrounding world. Before he could manage to capture a photograph or collect any data, aside from what he watch had managed to pick up, it was gone. Leaving Kasabian determined to discover the cause and source of such incredible power. Though he didn’t see himself as a rescuer of any sorts, he knew that this would be his only chance to see if he could replicate the conditions under which the rift had opened, and see what was beyond.
submitted by KillerSealion to astorybypeople [link] [comments]


2015.08.12 02:31 GooblyLouie [Hero Concept] - Philia

Hello! While watching gameplay footage of Overwatch on the official channel, I thought to myself, how would I implement a waifu character with a unique, not yet done, and interesting playstyle, specifically Defense? My mind happened to land upon a somewhat bizarre combination of McCree, the Pyro, and Elphelt from Guilty Gear of all people, and it seemed like enough fun to warrant me developing it further. I don't know if a concept of this style might ever make it into the actual game, since it's rather silly, but might as well try. Here it is:
Philia
Real Name: Lilibeth Carson
Age: 26
Occupation: ???
Base of Operations: North Carolina, USA (A winnebago, specifically)
Affiliation: None
Left Mouse Button - her single-shot sawed-off shotgun. She aims her weapon dead ahead before firing, releasing a wide spread of bullets in a very short range, dealing a huge amount of damage—something in the realm of 250. To reload, she flips the weapon open and manually inserts another shell with her off hand, then flips it closed, taking about 1 second
Right Mouse Button - lowers her shotgun, ready to shoot. When doing this, there is no start-up time to her LMB shots, but when aiming her movement speed is decreased. Another press of RMB puts it back to normal. When Space is pressed while in the 'aimed' stance, she crouches instead of jumping, so as to better hide.
Shift - Blossom Shield. Philia throws a device to the ground a few feet in front of her with her off hand, which takes about a second to activate a set of five energy shields shaped like petals. The shields will take a set amount of damage before they are destroyed, and will keep enemies from passing through them. Philia will receive a unique hitsound whenever the shield is attacked.
E - Bouquet Bomb. Philia tosses a bouquet in an arc. Immediately after throwing it, she pulls out what at first appears to be a makeup case, but its top half is a motion detector screen of the area around the bouquet and the bottom has the trigger button. From this point on, enemies near the bouquet can be roughly seen, and the bomb triggered by another press of E. The bouquet itself sticks to surfaces, becoming a hemisphere of flowers. Philia's shotgun works normally during this time.
Q – Ultimate - Repulsion Shell. Philia pulls out a special shotgun shell from...somewhere and looks at it for a half second, saying “This is for...” before loading it into her shotgun, going into a state like RMB is active but without the movement penalty. Her next LMB fires the shell, as she says “...my first love!” launching a streaming reddish-pink bolt that screams forward, passing through all shields. Whoever it hits gets stuck to the bolt, and flies along with it until it reaches an obstacle, whereupon the bolt explodes and everyone caught takes damage. Enemies can't move or use abilities when caught.
Insight Philia is a defensive character not only with her abilities, which allow her a lot of utility for her team and for objectives, but even with her basic attacks. Her LMB has no range but incredible damage, meaning that she is an ambush character. She's got to wait for the enemy to come to her, be it an objective, a health pack, a choke point, through a teleporter, you name it.
Her Blossom Shield isn't only a good defense to throw down in a firezone or behind you when fleeing; it can also close off flanking routes and alert you when enemies are attempting to bypass them.
The Bouquet Bomb is a single, fairly high-damage, manually detonated mine used to deny areas or get a small burst of longer-range damage that Philia otherwise lacks. It is a decently high-skill tool, but can be triggered remotely by observant opponents.
Repulsion Shell has the capacity to snare an entire enemy team currently capturing an objective, carry them along, and throw them right off a cliff. It takes enemies and gets them away from things you're defending, quickly and safely. It is the antithesis to Graviton Surge.
Here's Elphelt for a good approximation of appearance: http://vignette3.wikia.nocookie.net/guilty-geaimages/2/29/Elphelt_GGXRD_artwork.png/revision/latest/scale-to-width-down/270?cb=20140913053948 Feast your eyes on her sawed-off shotgun: http://www.foxtrot-productions.co.uk/newsite/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/D_2700_ZoliSB_720.jpg
Personality - Philia is oddly cheery and talkative on the battlefield. When in a group, she'll compliment nearby allies for skillful players or certain ability uses, (IE yelling “Give 'em hell!” or “Get 'em, buddy!” when Reinhardt uses Charge) and warmly give thanks when others give her healing, shields, or armor. All of this, however, reveals subtleties about her character. As a high-damage, close-range ambush character, she'll most often be found hiding away from her team, and she's not an ideal hero for Mercy or any of the other supports to favor given her playstyle (read: attitude) so she ends up alone. The fact that's she's in a near-constant good mood in the midst of a bloody fight hint at at least some insanity.
Lore - Lilibeth Carson's life was ordinary and happy until she happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. When her boyfriend, Lt. James Chesterfield, asked her to marry him, she was overcome with happiness. She never imagined that their wedding would be interrupted by the enigmatic and psychopathic cyber-enhanced Talon operative Juniper. Before Lilibeth's eyes, every attendee, including the entirety of James' friends from the Air Force, choked on Juniper's toxins, and a moment later Lilibeth collapsed as well. The aerosol serum was meant to wipe clean the mind of every suitable person present, turning them into blank slates ideal for indoctrination, and mercilessly smothering the rest. Every soldier and able-bodied guest was bagged and hauled away; left behind was a chapel of corpses, and among them, only one survivor.
When Lilibeth awoke, miraculously untouched by the venom but ignored by Juniper, she remembered nothing, not even her own name. Wide-eyed and speechlessly, she took in the entire horrific seen, and the images of wedding, womanhood, love, and violence imprinted themselves onto her mind. When Overwatch agents arrived hours later, they found Lilibeth sitting on the altar, seemingly unmoved by anything around her. With her memory wiped and an obsession with love and violence in its place, Lilibeth could not be returned to her old life, and was taken in. Over the course of months, she was brought up to date on events in the world, partially educated, and even trained as Philia, a soldier of Overwatch. Ultimately, however, one of her comrades -a lonely man by the name of Diego- decided to take advantage of her obsession. Pretending that he loved her, he easily tricked Philia into an abusive relationship, and ultimately convinced her to 'elope' with him as they fled Overwatch, lying to her about the organization as well. One night, after taking out his anger on Philia and calling it love, Diego went off and got himself killed in a barfight, leaving Philia his Winnebago, alone, mournful, and even more damaged.
Any and all comments are welcome.
submitted by GooblyLouie to OverwatchHeroConcepts [link] [comments]


2015.08.02 18:05 Lorf_Yimzo THE MILLENIAL SIM IS HERE. 1000 years of simming the English Football Pyramid

That's right. You're not seeing wrong. 1000 years of holidaying in FM15, in just England. I started this on March 4th and it took 58 days of simming to get to 1000 years. And now that it's all over and the data is all compiled, I thought I'd share it with this sub, because why not? So, let us begin.
Now showing you the results of the PL, FA Cup and so on in ingame screenshots would take far too long, so I compiled a massive spreadsheet which showed how many times each club won, or placed second or third in, each of the major competitions in England, and also the EL and CL. I used a points system to determine which club was the best all time, using the system as follows.
PL 1st Place-5
PL 2nd Place-3
PL 3rd Place-1
FA Cup Win-5
FA Cup Runner-Up-2
League Cup Win-4
League Cup Runner-Up-1
Champions League Win-6
Champions League Runner-Up-3
Europa League Win-4
Europa League Runner-Up-1.5
I also documented how many seasons a club played in the Premier Division, though this had no effect on points. Note that I didn't include results that happened before the start date. Since a screenshot history would be long and arduous, here is a brief rundown of the Premier League, 2014-3015.
2000s: The first surprise of the sim, was Derby winning the Premier League in 2021 with Southampton coming in 3rd. They fell pretty quickly, but then a surprisingly dominant Stoke took over, trading titles with Man U and occasionally Newcastle. Coventry also had a dominant spell, winning 6 titles in 7 years. Arsenal and Burnley entered the mix as contenders as well as Nottingham Forest and Blackburn. The century ended with a very dominant Man U.
2100s: This century started with a very powerful Stoke, as they won 7 titles in a row as well as 14 titles in 17 years. Later, Burnley became dominant as the PL turned into a power struggle between the 2 teams. Newcomers West Brom and Barnsley also stole some titles, especially Barnsley, who won quite a few in the last couple decades.
2200s: With Stoke on the decline, a newcomer fills their spot: Sheffield United. They traded titles mostly with Man U, though later with Barnsley and Southend United. This century had no real dominance, as teams struggled to string titles together. Though teams such as MK Dons, Hull, and Plymouth came and went, the five big players were Sheffield, Arsenal, Barnsley, Southend, and Burnley.
2300s: Southend replaced Sheffield's position of dominance, winning many titles early on. Cambridge, Chesterfield, and Hull were also contenders. 7 titles in a row marked an all-time high for Southend, as they hammered their opposition for the rest of the century, with occasional wins from Brighton, Barnsley, and Man City.
2400s: This century brought about Sunderland into relevance, who battled furiously with Southend, though small bouts of prowess from Sheffield, Man City, and Cambridge prodded them into relevance. Burnley also had a very good mid-century. Bristol Rovers, Reading, and Arsenal were also prominent late century.
2500s: This century started with battles between QPR, Burnley, and Southend for the title. Later, Plymouth, Tottenham, and Exeter were quite good, and even Barnsley was back. Sheffield tore up the PL mid-century including 8 titles in 9 seasons. A resurgent Arsenal ended the century.
2600s: This century followed similar to previous ones. Sheffield, Barnsley, Burnley, Southend, and Arsenal battled for the title, with occasional visits from other clubs into the top spot, including Sheffield Wednesday, Preston, Rotherham, and Plymouth. Later in the century, a dominant Crystal Palace won title after title, which amounted to 15 wins in 26 years.
2700s: Burnley started this century off with a bang, winning 7 in a row right off the bat. Burnley dominance continued with challenges from Plymouth, Liverpool, and Norwich. However Sheffield Utd. took their place with 10 titles in 11 seasons and ended the century in that way, along with wins from Brentford and Preston.
2800s: The 2800s, or the dark years as I call them, started with Sheffield Utd. and Rotherham being the only 2 title winners for 30 years straight. And who stopped them? Burnley, with 10 successive titles. Arsenal finally broke the bore spell, which brought in new face Bromley, as well as Maidstone and QPR.
2900s and 3000s: The last century starts with a feud between Bromley and Burnley, which is broken up by Rotherham. This battle continues through until a resurgent Hull gets in the way. This opens the door for Brentford, Ipswich, and Man City to become regular title contenders. The 3000s turn into a struggle between Brentford, Ipswich, and Nottingham Forest with the very last title ever going to Hull City.
Of course I didn't just do England. I payed attention to the World Cup too, the spreadsheet of which can be found here. Two interesting things I noticed was how powerful Venezuela and Ecuador became. England is also far and away the best nation (most likely due to me only loading England), and also it took the Netherlands until 2586 to win their first World Cup.
Various screenshots:
PL Records
FA Cup Records
League Cup Records
JPT Records
CL Records
EL Records
Awards:
Most Successful Club: Sheffield United (2752.5 pts) (Honorable Mention: Burnley - 2749.5pts)
Most Consistent Club: Burnley (982 PL seasons) (Honorable Mention: Arsenal - 905 PL Seasons)
Highest PTS/Seasons Ratio: Stoke City (3.407) (Honorable Mention: Sheffield United - 3.114)
Worst FA Cup Final Record: Cardiff City (0-12) (Honorable Mention: Forest Green - 0-10)
Best PL Season Sheffield United - 101 pts
Well that's the post, if there's anything you'd like to see, post it in the comments, I'll be here for most of the day, and I'd be glad to answer any questions you might have.
EDIT: Does anyone know of any good file uploading sites? The save is 1.05K MB BTW. Nevermind, I found one. However, my upload speed is terrible, so expect a wait for the save.
Transfer Records
Stadiums
EDIT 2: Okay! I have the save here. I really hope this works because it took forever to upload. But be warned, navigating around the save takes a long time!
EDIT 3: Lots of people are complaining about the site I used to upload the save, so I'm going to use MediaFire instead. The download link should be available soon. MediaFire Download Link. Hopefully that should speed up the download.
submitted by Lorf_Yimzo to footballmanagergames [link] [comments]


2014.06.25 07:21 mulch17 Update on my 50 in 35 speeding ticket

About a month-and-a-half ago, I made a post about my first speeding ticket. Looking back on what I wrote, my excuses and reasons were totally ridiculous. I was 100% guilty, and I should have taken responsibility for it. I think I was just frustrated, since I posted here immediately after getting stopped. I just wanted to give a noob's perspective on a first-time court experience, and provide an update for any future searchers. I don't have any questions to ask.
Anyway, I finally had my court date today. It was my first time ever setting foot in a courtroom. I walked in, and there were about 100-150 people there. First they called the names of all the people requesting continuances. Then the people with lawyers got to go next, and then after that they called people that were requesting driving school. They called up each officer, and all the people that they ticketed that wanted driving school.
That's when they called my name, along with 6-8 other poor saps in the same boat as me. They all got 50/35 tickets, and I'm going to guess they were all in the same spot as me, because I've since seen the same cop in the same spot two other times after my ticket. They called my name, and asked if I wanted to plead no contest in exchange for driving school, and I said yes. The judge asked if I was polite and if anything unusual happened, the officer said yes and no. They gave it to me, handed me a piece of paper, and told me to leave. I was on the stand for about 15-30 seconds. It seemed to me like they wanted people to get in, pay their fines, and get out, so they could get through everyone as quickly as possible.
In Chesterfield VA, if you pay court costs ($62) and complete driving school within two months, they dismiss all the charges and fines, and you can do that once every 5 years. I'll pay $45 to go to a driving school hosted by a lady that is married to a co-worker and close friend of my mom's, so that I can help support her newly-started business. Then I'll move on with my life, and not speed again and learn from my mistake.
The main reason I wanted to submit this post is to give a PSA to any other speeders out there, like me. Don't do it. Don't speed. It may not be today or tomorrow or even the next day, but eventually they're gonna catch you. And once the officer's pen hits the paper, it's over. Done deal. The officer will show up to court, and the judge isn't going to care that the radar wasn't calibrated or that you were late or that you had to use the restroom really badly. He/she has heard them all before, and it won't help you. You won't be able to get out of it. The law doesn't discriminate, everybody gets a ticket and has to go through this eventually. And while I think justice is important to the court, speeding tickets are more about business than justice. And if you believe it's the other way around, I've got oceanfront property in Nebraska to sell you.
And one final thing I wanted to share. If you do end up fighting a ticket or going to court for something else, please use common sense. Dress nicely, say please and thank you, only use polite G-rated language, stand up straight, speak clearly, and don't use any slang. If you do that, you would be better than 80% of the people I saw at court today. People had badly sagging pants, cursed in front of officers and attorneys, kept saying "uhhhh yeah" instead of "yes, your honor", and one guy had to be restrained and handcuffed by the bailiff for being belligerent about something. So by not doing that, you're already in good shape. I thought for sure that would have been common sense, but I was mistaken.
So, tl;dr - don't speed, they're going to catch you eventually, your excuses aren't going to help you, but you can help yourself tremendously by using common sense and being respectful to the judge and accepting responsibility for your mistakes and learning from them
submitted by mulch17 to legaladvice [link] [comments]


2014.05.11 08:02 mulch17 [Chesterfield, VA] - Got pulled over for the first time, got my first speeding ticket, and have my first ever court date coming up (apologies in advance for lots of noob questions)

It's a very sad day. I got my first ever speeding ticket. I'm 21 years old, and I've had a spotless driving record for the past 5 years. My ticket was for going 50 MPH in a 35 MPH zone, in Chesterfield County, Virginia. I was driving 50 MPH on a road with a 45 MPH speed limit, and then the speed limit dropped to 35 MPH. Less than 0.1 miles past the sign, the cop spotted me and pulled me. It was an ordinary traffic stop, he was respectful and courteous, I was quiet and cooperative. I was actually on the way home to visit my family that visited to watch me graduate from college summa cum laude yesterday. Such a generous graduation gift, huh?
I'm just disappointed in the circumstances, because this offense occurred at 11:45 PM on a clear night on an empty road, and it was immediately after the speed limit changed. I didn't even get a chance to reduce my speed, and I wasn't endangering anyone's safety. Also, the location of the arrest is slightly incorrect - it's off by about 2 blocks. But however, when it comes down to it, I was guilty of speeding, and I take full responsibility for it. None of the previously mentioned facts change that. I'm assuming that the judge won't care about any of this stuff, is that right?
Now, with all of that being said, my only goal is to avoid financial hardship for myself and my family. Given the previously mentioned circumstances, I'm a broke 21-year-old college student, and I'm ashamed to admit that I don't have any income right now. I'm starting graduate school at a very prestigious #1 ranked school in August, but I won't have any income until then. My mom (who is a single mom raising two kids) pays my insurance bill, and she was 100% innocent. Such a generous Mother's Day gift too, huh? I don't want her to have to suffer for my mistake, through highly increased insurance rates, due to the points that would be added to my record. I currently have a +5 driving score (the best you can get in Virginia), and this would lower me to a +1 (where -18 points in one year lead to a suspended license for 90 days). Okay, anyways:
tl;dr - Idiot college student got a speeding ticket as a graduation gift. I've never been to court before, so if someone would be kind enough to give me a brief walkthrough of what procedures to expect, how I should answer their interrogation questions, and any other general advice on the process, I would really appreciate it. Thank you so much for your help, and I apologize for any unoriginal content, and for being such a noob with the court system - I guess that's a good thing, right?
EDIT 6/24/14: I updated my story with my result in a new thread here
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