16th Gov. – Speech from the Throne

Honourable Members of the House of Commons,

Distinguished guests and friends,

The people of Canada,

I am pleased to once again be back in Canada to open this session of parliament. I am pleased to be here in person as Queen of Canada to deliver the Speech from the Throne.

This new government is one that is ready to be a champion to all Canadians from sea to sea, and wants Canadians to keep more of their hard earned money, create and protect jobs, and strengthen Canada at home and abroad. It is a government that wants to give the tools of success to all Canadians so Canadians can reach their highest potential.

This government intends to close tax loopholes by limiting the capital gains deduction, reducing the RRSP contribution limits, reviewing and replacing ineffective boutique tax credits and canceling the corporate meals and entertainment expense deduction. This government also intends to apply a 1% withholding tax on Canadian assets held in tax havens to crack down on tax evasion, introduce GST on recreational marijuana and continue to cut excessive bureaucracy in order to free up new revenue to be spent without having to make cuts to essential services.

This government will cut taxes on the lowest tax bracket in an effort to respect the taxpayer and allow our poorest hard working Canadians the ability to keep more of their hard earned money. This government will also keep our small business tax low and seek to cut red tape regulations on small businesses so they can thrive, grow and create more jobs for Canadians.

This government will reform part III of the canada labour code to make sure that Canadian workers have the knowledge and skills to compete in today's economy and give Canadian workers more leisure time to spend off the job, while working in a safe and rewarding environment. This government will work with Immigration Canada to reduce cases of abuse of temporary foreign workers.

This government believes a strong defence is important to increasing Canada’s weight on the world stage. This government will focus on revitalizing the navy and restructuring procurements to ensure it is kept up to standard in terms of funding and equipment. This government is also committed to maintaining defence spending at a sufficient level and supporting veterans who have put their lives on the line in the defence of Canada and Canadians. This government is committed to implementing the recommendations found in the report of the sinking of the HMCS Ville de Quebec.

This government will value all Canadians, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, age, class, or race. In addition, this government will continue the long standing Canadian tradition of promoting human rights for all around the globe, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, class, or race.

This government believes it is important to support Canadian farmers and the agricultural industry, this government will support the Agri-Marketing Program to help promote Canada’s agricultural and agri-food products around the world, maintain funding for FarmStart to help the next generation of Canadians get involved in farming, invest in the Canadian Food Inspection Agency for more food safety inspections of domestic and imported foods, and reforming farm income safety nets to meet the needs of Canadian farmers when they are faced with unexpected events.

This government believes in parliamentary transparency and ensuring the Canadian people do not become detached from government, my government will introduce a petition service so that issues most important to Canadians can be debated in the House of Commons and possibly turned into legislation, this government is also committed to the Government’s Response to Motions Act and will continue to respond openly to relevant motions. This government is also committed to upholding Canada’s long held democratic system and will oppose attempts to abolish the Senate or monarchy.

This government will promote Canada as a good destination for tourism and will seek to ease burdens on tourist attractions and increase the prominence of the hotel industry through simplified guidelines. Canada is a land of much to see and admire, and this government will do what it can to share that with tourists around the world.

This government will increase funding to the Canada Health Transfer and research ways to reduce wait times. This government will also aim to focus health resources more efficiently and wishes to continue to lead in medical innovation.

This government will also aim to lead in scientific innovation by hosting science conventions and competitions as well as increasing funding to the National Research Council and the Canadian Space Agency.

This government will invest into further development of nuclear energy technology as a safe and efficient alternative energy source and will promote offshore wind and home retrofits. This government will continue research into further energy innovations to create cleaner energy. This government is also committed to fighting climate change and wants to see Canadian emissions lowered in a sustainable timeframe. This government will also seek to work internationally to see global emissions brought down. This government will commit to approving pipelines that have been reviewed by an independent National Energy Board that consults thoroughly and effectively with Canadians, including Indigenous peoples.

This government believes very strongly in improving Canadian infrastructure. Funding will be provided to Metro Vancouver and Montreal similar to the way funding was provided to the Greater Toronto Area as Canada’s largest cities need to keep up with the demands of their populations. This government wishes to see Canadian roads, bridges, tunnels and airports kept up to standard and will conduct a country wide review in order to find areas which require improvement. Infrastructure is the lifeblood of Canada and it must be developed as much as possible.

This government will support the development of the North by giving territorial governments greater influence of the use of their lands and resources. This government will also support scientific research and technology to improve the North. This government will seek to improve Northern airports to better connect Northern communities to the rest of the country.

This government will continue to work closely with provincial governments in areas of mutual agreement to further help Canadians at the provincial level.

This government will create legislation with the aim of bringing Canada into accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This government also believes in promoting Canadian heritage and will oppose attempts to rename or take down historical symbols. This government will also establish an endowment incentive program to benefit museums across Canada. This government will also promote French language initiatives outside of Quebec and continue to identify historical sites within Quebec.

This government wishes to continue to work towards reconciliation with Indigenous communities and to do what it can to give a hand up so they can achieve as much success in Canada as anyone else. This government will continue to implement promises from the Ucluelet Accord passed last term, take action to preserve and promote aboriginal languages, fund Indigenous market programs for skills training and development, and work with willing Indigenous partners and provinces to see Indigenous students fulfil their fullest potential in education. This government also wants to help improve Indigenous infrastructure to better connect Indigenous communities to the rest of Canada.

This government will reform the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and seek to increase funding to it in order to better protect Canadians, this government will also seek to end the encouragement of illegal immigration by working with the government of the United States to amend the Safe Third Country Agreement and close loopholes within it. This government will also increase border security along the Canadian-American border to deter cross border crime. It is a duty of government to protect its citizens and this is something this government is committed to.

This government will seek closer relations with the Commonwealth and Francophonie nations as these nations share culture, history and language with our own. This government will seek to promote Canada’s Western democratic values abroad and continue to be active on the global stage, fostering an environment of global cooperation. Canada’s reputation on the world stage is important to this government and will use organizations like the United Nations to see this positive reputation maintained. This government will focus on rebuilding areas taken back from ISIS, help de-radicalize Iraqi youth in Iraq and help to develop the economies of developing countries so we can forge new trade bonds in the future. This government will also take action against human trafficking in Canada and abroad.

This government is committed to resolving the lumber dispute with the United States and to negotiate a new free and fair trade deal with the United Kingdom, a nation which Canada shares so much close history and ties with. This government will also be looking abroad with the intention of signing more free and fair trade deals where it is in Canada’s best interest.

This government wants to ensure that Canadians feel safe from crime and violence. This government is committed to cracking down on criminal gangs, and will take action against family violence. This government also believes in the right of Canadians to speak without persecution in most cases and will take a supportive role towards freedom of speech in places like college campuses which are meant to be centres for ideas and debate.

This government wants Canada to remain a model for immigration around the world. This government will be prioritizing economic migration and will aim to maintain current immigration levels. This government will also continue to help those facing persecution abroad and provide a safe refuge.

This government will support those whose livelihoods are derived from fishing, an industry has continued to exist in Canada since Confederation. This government will create a Fisheries Committee to give aid and advice in the enforcement of the Fisheries Act and will seek the sustainability of the Canadian fishing industry. The government wants to see powers increased for the Canadian Coast Guard so it can act as a law enforcement organization.

This government is committed to keeping Québec within Canada as a full member of the federation and will seek to work with Québec towards addressing the issues that they face without making any changes to our constitution.

The agenda that has been set out is one that will see the lives of Canadians improved from sea to sea to sea. It is one that will take a lot of hard work and determination but one that I have full confidence this government can accomplish. This is an agenda that will see economic growth and at home and strength abroad.

Members of the House of Commons, you will be asked to appropriate the funds required to carry out the services and expenditures authorized by Parliament. Honourable Members of the Senate and Members of the House of Commons, may Canadian values and morals guide you in your deliberations and make you faithful custodians of the trust bestowed upon you.

 

Honorables députés de la Chambre des communes,

Distingués invités et amis,

Canadiens et Canadiennes,

Je suis heureuse d'être de retour au Canada pour ouvrir cette session parlementaire. Je suis heureuse d'être ici en personne, en tant que reine du Canada, pour prononcer le discours du Trône.

Ce nouveau gouvernement est prêt à se faire le champion de tous les Canadiens, d'un océan à l'autre, et il veut que les Canadiens conservent une plus grande partie de leur argent durement gagné, il veut créer et protéger les emplois et renforcer le Canada à l'intérieur et à l'étranger. C'est un gouvernement qui veut donner à tous les Canadiens les outils dont ils ont besoin pour atteindre leur plein potentiel.

Le gouvernement actuel a l'intention de supprimer les échappatoires fiscales en limitant la déduction pour gains en capital, en réduisant les plafonds de cotisation à un REER, en révisant et en remplaçant les crédits d'impôt inefficaces et en annulant la déduction pour frais de repas et de représentation des sociétés. Le gouvernement entend également appliquer une retenue d'impôt de 1% sur les biens canadiens détenus dans les paradis fiscaux pour réprimer l'évasion fiscale, introduire la TPS sur la marijuana à des fins récréatives et continuer de réduire la bureaucratie excessive afin de libérer de nouvelles recettes sans avoir à réduire les services essentiels.

Le gouvernement réduira les impôts sur la tranche d'imposition la plus basse afin de respecter les contribuables et de permettre aux travailleurs canadiens les plus pauvres de conserver une plus grande partie de leur argent durement gagné. Le gouvernement maintiendra également notre impôt des petites entreprises à un faible niveau et s'efforcera de réduire les formalités administratives imposées aux petites entreprises afin qu'elles puissent prospérer, croître et créer plus d'emplois pour les Canadiens.

Le gouvernement réformera la partie III du Code canadien du travail afin que les travailleurs canadiens aient les connaissances et les compétences nécessaires pour faire face à la concurrence dans l'économie d'aujourd'hui et que les travailleurs canadiens aient plus de temps libre, tout en travaillant dans un environnement sécuritaire et gratifiant. Le gouvernement collaborera avec Immigration Canada pour réduire le nombre de cas d'abus envers les travailleurs étrangers temporaires.

Notre gouvernement croit qu'une défense solide est importante pour accroître le poids du Canada sur la scène internationale. Le gouvernement mettra l'accent sur la revitalisation de la Marine et la restructuration des achats afin de s'assurer qu'elle est conforme aux normes en matière de financement et d'équipement. Le gouvernement s'est également engagé à maintenir les dépenses de défense à un niveau suffisant et à soutenir les anciens combattants qui ont risqué leur vie pour la défense du Canada et des Canadiens. Le gouvernement s'est engagé à mettre en oeuvre les recommandations contenues dans le rapport du naufrage du NCSM Ville de Québec.

Le gouvernement accordera de l'importance à tous les Canadiens, peu importe leur sexe, leur orientation sexuelle, leur âge, leur classe sociale ou leur race. De plus, le gouvernement continuera, comme il est de tradition au Canada, de promouvoir les droits de la personne partout dans le monde, peu importe le sexe, l'orientation sexuelle, la classe sociale ou la race.

Le gouvernement actuel croit qu'il est important d'appuyer les agriculteurs canadiens et l'industrie agricole, il appuiera le Programme Agri-marketing pour aider à promouvoir les produits agricoles et agroalimentaires du Canada dans le monde entier, il maintiendra le financement de FarmStart afin d'aider la prochaine génération de Canadiens à s'engager dans l'agriculture, il investira dans l'Agence canadienne d'inspection des aliments pour renforcer les inspections de la salubrité des aliments au Canada et à l'étranger et il réformera les filets de sécurité du revenu agricole pour répondre aux besoins des agriculteurs quand ils font face à des événements inattendus.

Notre gouvernement croit en la transparence parlementaire et veillera à ce que les Canadiens ne se détachent pas du gouvernement, mon gouvernement mettra en place un système de pétitions afin que les questions les plus importantes pour les Canadiens puissent être débattues à la Chambre des communes et éventuellement faire l'objet d'une loi. Le gouvernement est attaché à la Loi sur la réponse du gouvernement aux motions et répondra publiquement aux motions pertinentes. Le gouvernement s'est également engagé à maintenir le système démocratique canadien, qui existe depuis longtemps, et il s'opposera aux tentatives d'abolir le Sénat ou la monarchie.

Le gouvernement fera la promotion du Canada comme une destination touristique de qualité et cherchera à alléger le fardeau des attractions touristiques et à accroître l'importance de l'industrie hôtelière grâce à des directives simplifiées. Le Canada est un endroit à visiter et à admirer, et le gouvernement fera tout ce qu'il peut pour le partager avec les touristes du monde entier.

Le gouvernement augmentera le financement du Transfert canadien en matière de santé et étudiera des moyens de réduire les temps d'attente. Le gouvernement s'efforcera également de mieux cibler les ressources en matière de santé et souhaite continuer à jouer un rôle de chef de file en matière d'innovation médicale.

Le gouvernement visera également à jouer un rôle de chef de file en matière d'innovation scientifique en organisant des congrès et des concours scientifiques et en augmentant le financement du Conseil national de recherches du Canada et de l'Agence spatiale canadienne.

Le gouvernement investira dans le développement de la technologie nucléaire en tant que source d'énergie alternative sûre et efficace, et il fera la promotion de l'énergie éolienne en mer et de la rénovation des maisons. Le gouvernement poursuivra ses recherches sur d'autres innovations énergétiques afin de créer une énergie plus propre. Le gouvernement est également déterminé à lutter contre le changement climatique et souhaite que les émissions canadiennes soient réduites dans un délai raisonnable. Le gouvernement s'efforcera également de travailler à l'échelle internationale pour réduire les émissions mondiales. Le gouvernement s'engagera à approuver les pipelines qui ont été examinées par un Office national de l'énergie indépendant qui consultera de façon approfondie et efficace les Canadiens, y compris les peuples autochtones.

Notre gouvernement croit fermement à l'amélioration des infrastructures canadiennes. Le financement sera accordé à Metro Vancouver et à Montréal de la même façon que pour la région du Grand Toronto, puisque les grandes villes canadiennes doivent répondre aux besoins de leur population. Le gouvernement souhaite que les routes, les ponts, les tunnels et les aéroports du Canada soient maintenus aux normes et procédera à un examen dans tout le pays afin de repérer les secteurs qui doivent être améliorés. L'infrastructure est la pierre angulaire du Canada et elle doit être développée le plus possible.

Ce gouvernement appuiera le développement du Nord en donnant aux gouvernements territoriaux une plus grande influence sur l'utilisation de leurs terres et de leurs ressources. Le gouvernement appuiera également la recherche scientifique et technologique pour améliorer le Nord. Le gouvernement s'efforcera d'améliorer les aéroports du Nord afin de mieux relier les collectivités nordiques au reste du pays.

Le gouvernement continuera de travailler en étroite collaboration avec les gouvernements provinciaux dans les domaines faisant l'objet d'une entente mutuelle afin d'aider davantage les Canadiens à l'échelle provinciale.

Le gouvernement créera une loi visant à mettre le Canada en conformité avec la Convention des Nations Unies relative aux droits des personnes handicapées. Le gouvernement croit également à la promotion du patrimoine canadien et s'opposera aux tentatives de renommer ou de démanteler les symboles historiques. Le gouvernement mettra également en place un programme d'encouragement pour les musées de tout le Canada. Ce gouvernement fera également la promotion des initiatives en français à l'extérieur du Québec et continuera d'identifier les sites historiques du Québec.

Le gouvernement veut continuer de travailler à la réconciliation avec les communautés autochtones et fera tout ce qui est en son pouvoir pour les aider à obtenir autant de succès au Canada que n'importe qui d'autre. Le gouvernement continuera de mettre en oeuvre les promesses de l'Accord d'Ucluelet adopté lors du mandat précédent, de prendre des mesures pour préserver et promouvoir les langues autochtones, de financer des programmes de formation et de perfectionnement des compétences pour les communautés autochtones et de collaborer avec les partenaires autochtones et les provinces afin de permettre aux étudiants autochtones d'exploiter leur plein potentiel dans le domaine de l'éducation. Le gouvernement veut également aider à améliorer l'infrastructure autochtone afin de mieux relier les collectivités autochtones au reste du Canada.

Le gouvernement réformera le Service canadien du renseignement de sécurité et cherchera à augmenter le financement qui lui est alloué afin de mieux protéger les Canadiens. Le gouvernement cherchera également à mettre fin à l'encouragement de l'immigration clandestine en collaborant avec le gouvernement des États-Unis pour modifier l'Entente sur les tiers pays sûrs et combler les lacunes qui s'y trouvent. Le gouvernement renforcera également la sécurité le long de la frontière canado-américaine afin de décourager la criminalité transfrontalière. Le gouvernement a le devoir de protéger ses citoyens, et c'est un engagement qu'il a pris.

Ce gouvernement cherchera à resserrer les liens avec les pays du Commonwealth et de la Francophonie, alors que ces pays partagent notre culture, notre histoire et notre langue. Notre gouvernement cherchera à promouvoir les valeurs démocratiques occidentales du Canada à l'étranger et continuera à jouer un rôle actif sur la scène internationale, en favorisant un climat de coopération mondiale. La réputation du Canada sur la scène internationale est importante pour le gouvernement actuel et il passera par des organisations comme les Nations Unies pour que cette réputation positive soit maintenue. Ce gouvernement se concentrera sur la reconstruction des régions qui ont été libérées de l'EI, aidera à dé-radicaliser la jeunesse irakienne et aidera à développer l'économie des pays en développement afin que nous puissions établir de nouveaux liens commerciaux à l'avenir. Le gouvernement prendra également des mesures contre la traite de personnes au Canada et à l'étranger.

Le gouvernement est déterminé à régler le différend sur le bois d'oeuvre avec les États-Unis et à négocier un nouvel accord de libre-échange équitable avec le Royaume-Uni, un pays avec lequel le Canada partage une histoire et des liens étroits. Le gouvernement se tournera également vers l'étranger dans le but de conclure des accords de libre-échange plus équitables, là où c'est dans l'intérêt du Canada.

Le gouvernement veut s'assurer que les Canadiens se sentent à l'abri du crime et de la violence. Le gouvernement est déterminé à sévir contre les gangs criminels et il prendra des mesures contre la violence familiale. Le gouvernement croit également au droit des Canadiens à s'exprimer sans persécution dans la plupart des cas et il soutiendra la liberté d'expression dans des endroits comme les campus universitaires, qui sont censés être des lieux d'idées et de débats.

Ce gouvernement souhaite que le Canada demeure un modèle d'immigration partout dans le monde. Le gouvernement accordera la priorité à l'immigration économique et s'efforcera de maintenir les niveaux d'immigration actuels. Le gouvernement continuera également à aider les personnes qui font face à la persécution à l'étranger et à offrir un refuge sûr.

Ce gouvernement soutiendra ceux dont le gagne-pain provient de la pêche, une industrie qui existe au Canada depuis la Confédération. Le gouvernement créera un comité des pêches qui sera chargé de fournir de l'aide et des conseils sur l'application de la Loi sur les pêches et qui cherchera à assurer la durabilité de l'industrie canadienne des pêches. Le gouvernement veut que les pouvoirs de la Garde côtière canadienne soient accrus pour qu'elle puisse agir comme organisme d'application de la loi.

Ce gouvernement s'est engagé à maintenir le Québec au sein du Canada en tant que membre à part entière de la fédération et cherchera à travailler avec le Québec pour régler les problèmes auxquels il est confronté sans modifier notre constitution.

Le programme qui a été établi permettra d'améliorer la vie des Canadiens d'un océan à l'autre. C'est une initiative qui exigera beaucoup de travail et de détermination, mais je crois fermement que le gouvernement pourra l'accomplir. Il s'agit d'un programme qui se traduira par une croissance économique et, au pays comme à l'étranger, par un renforcement du Canada.

Mesdames et Messieurs les Députés, vous serez appelés à voter les crédits nécessaires au financement des services et des dépenses approuvés par le Parlement. Honorables Sénateurs et Sénatrices, Mesdames et Messieurs les Députés, puisse les valeurs canadiennes et la morale vous guider dans vos réflexions et vous rendre dignes de la confiance qui vous est accordée.

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Any security guard experts out there?

I work in customer service in a public building and our security guards say they are not able to physically touch troublemakers. So all they do is ask them to leave. The really just stand there and don't even act as a deterrent as they are not physically big or tough looking. Needless to say this makes me and my colleagues quite nervous as we have had to call the Gardaí several times. Does this sound right to anyone?

[EVENT] Oh cheeky cheeky, oh naughty sneaky

AKIBOMB – NOTORIOUS SEX GARGOYLE PURPLE AKI IDENTIFIED AS ABBEY ROAD BOMBER

LONDON (THE SUN) — The Metropolitan Police have identified notorious sex offender and molestor Akinwale “Purple Aki” Arobieke as the primary suspect in yesterday’s Abbey Road bombing, which resulted in the deaths of over 70 people, and left over 250 injured.

Winston Churchill (not to be confused with the wartime PM), the Chief Constable of the Merseyside Police said in a joint press-conference with the Met that Arobieke had been known to the police for “some amount of time”, although there was “nothing that would have indicated that he would take an action like this”

That all changed, however, when police, while pursuing a separate lead, discovered a treasure trove of bomb-making materials in Mr Arobieke’s dilapidated house-boat. The rape-maniac, who is known as “Purple Aki” due to his skin, which is so dark that it might as well be purple, has a long history of menacing the public, which he took to a new extreme when he made a 20 pound bomb using methods first perfected by “Clock Kid” Ahmed Mohamed. It is believed that Aki was converted to radical Islam several years ago, and has been planning his monstrous attack for some time.

The Mufti of Liverpool’s al-Rahma Mosque, Abdul Hakeem el-Kaleel, confirmed with police that Arobieke was “not present at last Monday’s service,” which he found “highly unusual for him.” The Shareef was quick to stress that “this is not Islam”, but the Sun is quite sure that it is.

Despite a heavy security presence at the famous recording studio, the suspect was reportedly able to easily overpower the guards, one of whom described facing down the 330-pound, muscle-bound Nigerian as “the most terrifying experience in my life.”

“It was somewhere between being hit by a freight train and being swept up into a tornado, in terms of intensity,” he added. “There was no using in fighting it.”

An artist’s depiction of the bombing.

Random Quests

My version of random quest generation, using less dice than Lotus's but also somewhat less concrete in its details, which can be a good thing or a bad thing.

Each mission requires an Agent (someone who wants it done), an Object (the item to be destroyed, delivered, retrieved, or found), a Location (where the mission is to take place), and a Fate (what happens if the mission fails), as in:

An Agent wants you to Mission an Object in/to/from Location, otherwise Fate will strike.

Agent

Commoner Poor peasants or rich merchants

Noble Nobles or noble guilds

Government A local or foreign ruler

Mission

Discover Find an object, including information such as the fact that a baron is secretly a drunkard or the location of a tomb. This may become a Deliver or Destroy quest once the object is found.

Deliver Take an object to a location, either through dangerous territory or against the will of some hostile party. Alternatively, fetch an object and bring it home.

Destroy Destroy an object. Drive off attacking monsters, assassinate an enemy leader, sabotage an enemy force, or destroy a magical artifact. If the object to be destroyed is information, then this is an attempt to foil a plot, either by exposing a secret or keeping one.

Object

Monster A monstrous creature, possibly in disguise, or a horde of monsters

Person

D10 Persons

  • 1 Parent

  • 2 Heir

  • 3 Suitor

  • 4 Servant

  • 5 Spy

  • 6 Witness

  • 7 Expert

  • 8 Criminal

  • 9 Debtor

  • 10 Companion

Item

D6 Items

  • 1 Any magic item/artifact

  • 2 Rare ingredient or component (not magical itself)

  • 3 Treasure (artwork, trade goods, or piles of gold and gems)

  • 4 Information (names, histories, intentions, techniques, passwords)

  • 5 Location (dungeons, headquarters, a pass through the mountains)

  • 6 Agreement (treaties, deals, marriages)

Location

Close In the same nation or city

Near A neighboring nation or just outside the borders

Far The deep wilderness, another continent, or another plane

Fate

Disaster Famine, plague, business failure, or broken treaties

Doom War between nations, guilds, races, religions, or families

Death An individual, group, or city

Example

The DM rolls these attributes: Agent = Nobles, Object = Item (Information), Location = Close, Fate = Disaster. She randomly selects a noble from the pool of petty nobles and guilds for the town, and comes up with a Merchant House.

This house handles the spice export market for the kingdom, which means every season they send out a caravan loaded with valuable goods. Obviously they will be paranoid about security, since the only law in the Wild is force of arms.

The problem then becomes clear: discover who is leaking the caravan’s departure date and travel plans. The DM decides another Merchant House is responsible for giving the information to a bandit gang, solely for the damage it does to their rivals. This will be difficult to uncover, as there is no obvious profit motive. This leads to three levels of quests, based on the mission.

Discover: Find out who is leaking the caravan departure dates to their competition; failure implies an attack on the caravan will occur.

Deliver: If the first mission fails, the house asks the adventurers to guard the caravan against the expected trouble. Failure has the obvious financial loss (and risk of death in the fighting), but it also imperils the house’s entire market position.

Destroy: If the caravan is captured, the rival house steps forward and offers its services to the state, acquiring the monopoly rights to the spices based on a promise to succeed where the first house failed. Now the only hope of the first house is to capture or destroy the other house’s caravan. This is a dire step; failure results in both the financial destruction of the house and severe criminal penalties for the adventurers. Even success may require an extended vacation abroad until things cool down. But at least the adventurers will have the wealth of the enemy caravan to spend.

[SECRET] Securing the Nation

Following the fall of Mogadishu and the legitimate government, over $250 million in humanitarian aid in the form of food and construction materials has been stolen by ISIS. They have threatened us and all sane nations of the world. We must ensure that no harm will come to our people or our properties.

Public

Effective immediately, there shall be a ban on all individuals from Somalia. Those already in the country may remain for the time being. Individuals who have traveled to Somalia will be subject to thorough background checks [and monitoring by the General Intelligence Directorate] (secret). Saudi Arabia shall invest in additional security in protecting the holy sites in Mecca and Medina by increasing security presence and protocol to scan for bombs, weapons, or anything else which can be used by terrorists to harm innocent civilians. Armed patrols of 4 individuals will also be present outside of all government institutions scanning for threats and allowing them to react to any and all terrorist activities. All shopping malls in the kingdom and large structures will be forced to invest in additional security such as handheld metal detectors and security guards and shall be given a deadline to achieve these security requirements within a month. The GID shall also be performing several intelligence operations to ensure the safety and security of our civilians.

Secret

The GID will also have free reign to arrest and interrogate any suspicious characters who may support ISIS. All online interactions will continue to be monitored and those with clear ties will be immediately prosecuted and monitored. Individuals who mention any key words will also be monitored by the GID. All mosques and universities in the nation will be infiltrated by government agents looking for any evidence of Muslim Brotherhood or ISIS members or support and shall act accordingly. Those that are imprisoned with clear ties to ISIS will be subject to enhanced interrogation to identify other members of the cells. Additionally, several agents will also pose as ISIS agents and recruiters and attempt to contact and join the organization via the dark-web. Here, they will establish a network of contacts and known operatives that will be relayed to the Saudi Authorities. They shall also alert the Saudi Authorities should any plot be uncovered. Additionally, members of the Saudi Secret Service will be within 50 m of the King at all times and will always clear any troubled areas before allowing the king to proceed. Saudi Arabia shall not fall victim to terrorism and freedom shall prosper!

Star Trek Into Darkness helps lend critical weight to Chekov’s reaction to the name “Botany Bay”

Prime timeline: Year 2285

While doing some of the prep work for Project Genesis, Captain Clark Terrell and Commander Pavel Chekov, of the U.S.S. Reliant beam down to what they think is Ceti Alpha VI. They discover the wreck of a pre-warp spaceship and begin to explore its interior.

Chekov's reaction, on its surface, seems over the top. He is a decorated Starfleet officer with a long history of exemplary service. Chekov has fought Klingons, Tholians and more. He has personally stood up and rebeled against his captain, in defense of his ship when the captain was possessed by a hostile force. He was one of the senior bridge officers during the V'ger incident. It's safe to say he's seen some stuff.

And then Commander Chekov discovers an item that bears the name "S.S. Botany Bay."


Kelvin timeline: Year 2259

After the bombing of the Kelvin Archive (Section 31 London HQ), Captain Kirk barely survives an aerial assault using an atmospheric fighter, which was executed with ruthless precision by "John Harrison." In response, Kirk and crew execute a clandestine operation to Q'onos, where they attempt to apprehend Harrison in defiance of their orders. During this operation, Captain Kirk and party piss off a very sizable quantity of Klingons.

It is worth noting that these are not Prime-timeline Klingons. The Kelvin timeline Klingons and their culture have been significantly affected by the events that followed the destruction of the U.S.S. Kelvin, as well as the much earlier demise of the. When Nero and the crew of the Narada escaped from a Klingon prison world, they not only slaughtered their guards (they would have had to, as Klingons would have fought to the death), they then destroyed a fleet of 47 warbirds.

Starfleet's response to the destruction of the Kelvin was to create much stronger, better-armed and better-prepared starships. The Prime-timeline Constitution-class Enterprise was 288.6 meters long. The Kelvin-timeline Enterprise was more than 2.5 times larger and featured metaphasic shields, a technology not invented until 2369 in the Prime timeline. If Starfleet's reaction was to build bigger, stronger and better-armed ships, you can bet the Klingons would have done much more in reaction to a 47-warbird fleet being blown away.

So, back to Ketha Province, where 15 or so (according to Memory Alpha) very pissed off Klingons decide reasoning with a Human woman is not really holding their interest.

Enter John Harrison, who proceeds to destroy the birds of prey with a beam cannon and personally kill at least 26 (counting only the on-screen kills) Klingons with both small arms and hand-to-hand knife combat tactics. That includes the initial landing parties plus at least two more four-man teams that fast-rope down from two of the birds of prey. By my count, Kirk and his party only killed or disabled 7-9 Klingons themselves (Please do correct my counts if you see that I have erred, as I was not super-certain of them because I didn't have the ability to slow the scenes down).


Prime timeline in 2285

"Botany Bay… Botany Bay? Oh, NO! We've got to get out of here, now! Damn! HURRY!"

The best description I can think of for Chekov's reaction to the ship's name is pure mortal terror. Captain Terrell is dumbfounded, seemingly unable to believe this is the same Chekov who serves as his first officer.

If we assume that Prime-timeline Khan and Kelvin-timeline Khan (cosmetic differences aside) are comparable, then he is already a killing machine. Then you factor in Khan's intelligence, plus his utter ruthlessness and savagery (using Prime-universe examples only, these include threatening to cut his own doctor's throat, pressure chamber torture of Kirk, Ceti eels, slaughter of the Genesis science team, etc).


Based on what happened in TOS: Space Seed, Chekov's fear was already justified. When I took into account what we saw of Khan's combat skills thanks to modern special effects and editing, I came away with a much better understanding of why a veteran Starfleet security and tactical officer of Pavel Chekov's caliber was so thoroughly terrified just by reading a ship's name.

PALM BEACH GROUP (pbc) text copied to pastebin.

Palm Beach Confidential Three Ex-Government Agents Just Created the Ultimate “Privacy Coin” Here’s How We’ll Make 7,000% Gains Over the Next 12–24 Months Buying It By Teeka Tiwari on October 19, 2017

In February 2017, I wrote to you about a tiny Chinese crypto project then valued at just $5 million.

Just a year earlier in 2016, the project’s value was $25 million.

That meant the coin had shed 80% of its value.

At the time, it was a difficult decision to recommend it. The chart looked ugly. But the idea was compelling. My research convinced me the coin had long-term value.

When I recommended it, I told you I thought it would become China’s preeminent blockchain development tool.

I said you could make 100 times your money on it.

And so, we bought it at 13 cents.

Eight days after recommending this crypto, the price collapsed to 8 cents. Its total market cap slumped to just $3 million.

To anyone looking at just the price, it looked like a disaster.

I never did find out what was behind that drop. But I am forever grateful to the shortsighted people who sold their coins to my subscribers for pennies.

Just six months later, Neo (then Antshares) rose 60,760% from its lows.

It would go on to hit a high of $50. That was a gain of 41,605% for Palm Beach Confidential readers who bought in at 13 cents.

This month, I’ve found a similar situation to Neo before it shot up.

Earlier this year, the coin was trading as much as 170% higher. It’s up off its lows… but the trading is still lackluster.

Volume and sentiment is low. And just like my original recommendation of Neo, the market cap is tiny at just $16 million.

On top of all of that, the price chart looks ugly.

But just like Neo, this idea is compelling. And my B.I.T.S. system is screaming “buy” (more on that below).

A Big Announcement

A dream team of ex-government agents have come together to create what I believe will become the world’s most widely used privacy coin.

But it’s more than that.

It’s a full-blown privacy platform.

The platform allows for globally secure payments with built-in anonymous messaging. You can also publish documents and store data anonymously.

And developers can use the platform to build and launch their own privacy apps.

Outside a small number of people, this coin is virtually unknown. But over the last six months, some of the brightest minds in crypto have been quietly rallying around this project.

Charles Hoskinson is the former CEO of Ethereum. He’s a close advisor of the project. And he has a team of developers working on it right now.

The main core technical team developer is the same guy who leads the payments engineering team at the $31 billion vacation rental behemoth Airbnb.

The project has attracted a fierce following of developers and community members that number over 1,000.

In the next few weeks, the project is about to make a big announcement.

The announcement will make this privacy coin the most secure network in the world. More secure than current leaders Monero, Zcash, and Dash.

When this announcement is made, investor money will flood into the coin.

We want to own this before that announcement is made. (More on that below.)

Short term, I think we’ll see this one double over the next few weeks.

Within one to two years, I expect this coin to have a $1 billion to $2 billion market cap.

That would take the price from around $7 per coin to between $250 and $500 per coin.

That would turn a $400 investment into $14,300–28,500. Or a $1,000 investment into $35,700–71,400.

At Palm Beach Confidential, we call this asymmetric-risk investing. It’s the strategy we use to take a trivial sum of money and convert it into life-changing wealth. Thousands of my subscribers have already done this.

If you are new to Confidential, welcome. It’s your turn to get a crack at a 50-bagger.

I want you to remember that just like Neo, this idea will be wildly volatile. We might double in price right out of the gate. We could just as easily drop 50% next week.

And I’ll tell you it doesn’t matter…

When you take a small position size, you can safely ignore volatility and focus on the big picture.

And the big picture for this idea and its future are bright.

Be sure to check out the resources we’re constantly adding to our Crypto Corner. If you have questions about anything cryptocurrencies, chances are you’ll find the answers there.

There, you can access our research on web-based wallets, hardware wallets, and other cryptocurrency services.

The Dream Team: Mercenary Mathematician, Nuclear Sub Officer, NASA Hacker

This idea was born from the meeting of three ex-military guys who wanted to create a “more secure, anonymous version of bitcoin.”

To do that, they combined their expertise in the military, intelligence, and cryptography fields.

In his own words, project leader Rob Viglione is a “mercenary mathematician.”

He’s a former U.S. Air Force officer with experience in satellite radar, space launch vehicles, and combat support intelligence.

He also was a private U.S. military contractor embedded in Afghanistan. There, he used mathematical algorithms to map out the likely locations of improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

Rolf Versluis is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. After graduation, he was commissioned as an officer of a nuclear submarine.

Joshua Yabut is a former cybersecurity expert at NASA and former National Guard executive officer. His job was to break into government and corporate networks. By all accounts, he was excellent at it.

A year ago, these three men joined forces. They saw a world becoming increasingly hostile to individual freedoms and decided to do something about it.

They want to give people back control over their privacy. Here’s what they wrote in their white paper for the project:

We live in a hyper-regulated and surveilled world where billions of individuals are deprived of basic human rights, such as property ownership, privacy, free association, and access to information. The technology now exists to solve some of these problems…

These three men come from a unique background in government. No one I’ve met in the crypto space has a better understanding of the government’s security apparatus than they do. They understand nation-led security threats at a deeper level than any other privacy coin team in the world.

That’s why instead of just building another privacy coin, they built an entire privacy ecosystem.

Your Privacy is Under Assault

Everywhere we look, our privacy is under attack.

In an increasingly online world, governments can see what we read, with whom we talk, and what we do with our money.

Take Turkey, for instance. That country’s government has jailed people for downloading certain apps.

In 2016, a military coup tried to topple the government. The plotters used a smartphone messaging app called ByLock to coordinate the attack.

In retaliation, the Turkish government jailed nearly 75,000 citizens for downloading the app. Even if they had nothing to do with the coup.

Think about that.

And don’t think this is just something that happens abroad. Your privacy is under assault in the United States, too.

According to former FBI director James Comey, you have no right to privacy at all.

“There is no such thing as absolute privacy in America; there is no place outside of judicial reach,” Comey said at a Boston College conference on cybersecurity back in March.

Apparently, in the eyes of the FBI, no corner of your life is sacred. It can look at it all.

That’s why it should have been no surprise when we discovered the National Security Agency (NSA) has been monitoring all of our communication for years.

But it doesn’t stop there. Governments also want complete oversight of our personal wealth.

Here’s why…

In the West, governments are drowning in debts they can’t pay back. The only answer is to assault our wealth with new taxes.

But you can’t tax what you can’t see. And that’s one of the reasons many governments fear cryptocurrencies.

Unlike fiat currencies, governments can’t easily steal cryptocurrencies when a crisis hits.

That’s what European Union member Cyprus did during its banking crisis in 2013. The government confiscated up to 30% of its depositors’ money in some cases.

With cryptocurrencies, you control your own private key. That means no one can take your wealth from you. Governments hate this.

It’s not just national governments targeting citizens’ wealth.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is an international organization with 189 country members. In 2013, it proposed a global 10% wealth tax on all citizens with a positive net worth.

As governments struggle to bridge funding gaps, we expect more and more outrageous attempts to seize your wealth.

Long story short: The world is becoming a smaller, less private place.

Whether it’s the NSA listening in on all our calls, or the Turkish government cracking down on privacy apps, or the IMF trying to tax your wealth, governments are trampling over citizens’ rights.

This has led to the rise of “privacy” coins.

Privacy coins are cryptocurrencies that seek to hide your identity. They are designed so governments can’t track how much you have or what you buy.

When I first started looking at privacy coins a year ago, the entire market was under $200 million. Today, it stands at over $4 billion.

That’s a 1,900% increase.

Two of the top 10 most valuable cryptocurrencies are privacy coins Monero and Dash. We own both and have done quite well.

As of this writing. we’re up 923% and 111%, respectively. But as good as Dash and Monero are at protecting privacy, they focus on small niches.

In my research, I’ve found only one project that provides a much broader level of privacy that the future will demand.

A New Way to Shield Transactions

The name of this project is ZenCash (ZEN).

ZenCash has about 2.2 million coins outstanding. Just like bitcoin, there will never be more than 21 million ZenCash coins.

Here’s the background on ZenCash…

ZenCash shares a similar history to the $2.2 billion privacy coin giant Dash. (Dash is currently the sixth largest cryptocurrency in the world.)

What many folks don’t know is that Dash went through a long, winding road before becoming the powerhouse it is today.

Dash started as a clone of bitcoin… but with privacy. Its original name was Darkcoin. It then “forked” (spun off) into XCoin, and then forked again into Dash.

Each change brought further refinements to the underlying protocol.

We’ve seen ZenCash follow a similar path.

ZenCash started as a clone of Zcash.

Zcash was the first cryptocurrency to use a form of cryptography called zk-snarks.

A detailed explanation of zk-snarks is beyond the scope of this report. The bottom line with this technology is that it allows for something called “shielded transactions.”

A shielded transaction hides the identity of the sender, the receiver, and the transaction amount.

Zcash is a brilliant project, but it has problems. One of the biggest is how the mining reward is set up.

For the first four years of Zcash’s existence, 20% of the mining reward went to its original development team. This didn’t sit well with certain developers. So, they forked Zcash and created a new coin called Zclassic.

Zclassic stripped out the founders’ reward and gave miners 100% of the mining fees.

Scrapping the founders’ reward was a step in the right direction… but it didn’t go far enough.

Zclassic still had a fundamental weakness… It was dependent on the goodwill of the community to keep developing it.

It had no funds of its own to ensure constant development and improvement.

That’s when Rob Viglione, Rolf Versluis, and Joshua Yabut decided to “fork” Zclassic and create a better version: ZenCash.

In a moment, I’ll explain to you the changes the team made that will make ZenCash the No. 1 privacy coin in the world.

Before I do that, I want to show you what’s wrong with the privacy coins we have right now.

The Four Problems With Current Privacy Coins

The world’s privacy coins are each solving small parts of the overall privacy problem.

Zcash wants to keep your transactions and wealth secret.Dash wants to be a commerce coin with optional privacy.Monero wants to be untraceable digital cash.

Each of these coins has done great work in its relative niche… but each has fundamental drawbacks.

Drawback No. 1: Inadequate Funding Model

Monero’s funding model relies on developers donating their time to the project. They are not paid to improve Monero. Perhaps that’s why there still isn’t a user-friendly mobile wallet.

Zcash’s funding model is only in place for the first four years. After that, Zcash is expected to rely on the “community” for further development.

Only Dash has truly sustainable long-term development funding through its treasury model. Dash’s design sends 10% of the mining reward into a treasury to pay for ongoing development.

For long-term success, a privacy coin must have a self-funding model.

Drawback No. 2: Not Fully Secure

Privacy coins aren’t as anonymous as advertised. To our knowledge, no cryptocurrency today employs end-to-end encryption.

End-to-end encryption is a system of communication. In this system, only communicating users can read the messages they send and receive. No eavesdropper can access the messages.

Without end-to-end encryption, anyone monitoring the network could see all traffic across all blockchains.

This means governments could track down the origin of transactions and identify users.

Here are two examples of so-called untraceable coins getting traced…

In 2016, federal law enforcement agents seized nearly 12,000 Monero coins.

And this year, law enforcement agents seized nearly 3,700 Zcash coins from the late Alexandre Cazes, the alleged leader of dark market drug purveyor AlphaBay.

Obviously, the government did not publicize how it was able to track down these “untraceable” coins. But it makes sense that the lack of end-to-end encryption could have played a role in unmasking these transactions.

While you and I have no interest in running an illegal drug bazaar, there are many legitimate reasons to want privacy. For instance, do you want everyone to know exactly what you buy or what causes you support?

The government has a history of persecution based on political beliefs.

In 2013, news broke that the IRS had targeted organizations affiliated with the Tea Party.

Let’s say you want to give money to WikiLeaks, a website that publishes secrets and classified information from anonymous sources.

If you donate publicly, the government could use that information to deny you a security clearance or federal job. Even private sector jobs could discriminate against you.

What if you want to give money to a pro-life or a pro-choice charity? Either choice could lead to employer and/or social discrimination.

The point is there are lots of legitimate reasons to keep your financial transactions secret. Without end-to-end encryption, you can’t be sure you are safe.

Drawback No. 3: Easily Blocked

As governments become more fearful of cryptocurrencies, they’ll try to block your access to them. We’re already seeing this in China and Russia.

China has shut down its domestic crypto exchanges. The Russian central bank has said it will block access to all cryptocurrency trading websites.

Governments will enforce these bans by making Internet Service Providers (ISPs) keep a list of banned sites.

You literally will not be able to connect to these sites. Dash, Monero, and Zcash have no way to overcome this type of government blocking.

This is a huge flaw in today’s leading privacy coins.

Drawback No. 4: They Only Handle Payments

Dash, Monero, and Zcash are primarily designed to handle the transfer of money.

Zcash offers something slightly different with its private messaging function.

Dash also has unique offerings like “instant send,” which allows you to receive money instantly.

The privacy coin of the future must be able to do more than move money.

It must have built-in messaging.It must allow anonymous data publishing and storage.It must have end-to-end encryption and be unblockable.And of course, it must be able to handle the anonymous transfer of money.

None of the current privacy coin leaders have all of those functions… except ZenCash.

Why ZenCash Will Become the Most Widely Used Privacy Coin

Earlier, I told you ZenCash is the brainchild of three ex-military men.

This is important because if you believe in the saying “it takes a thief to catch a thief,” then you’ll understand the value these military insiders bring to a privacy ecosystem.

Throughout their careers, these founders have had ringside seats to how governments really operate.

That’s why they shed their government careers and devoted their professional lives to the creation of a total privacy platform.

The ZenCash team has designed a platform that will plug the holes that plague the current privacy coins.

Plug No. 1: Robust Funding Model

Developing software costs money… lots of money.

Traditional software firms rely on issuing stock, sometimes bonds, and on rare occasions, actual earnings to fund their operations.

Typically, cryptocurrency projects rely on community donations of time and skill.

Relying on the goodwill of others is not a long-term scalable solution.

The other problem with relying on a community of developers is that a small group of folks ends up steering the project.

This results in a centralized development team, which can lead to a weaker project.

We like decentralized development teams. In that model, the community votes on which aspects of development get priority.

When you have a funding mechanism that the community votes on, it ensures the best ideas and the most committed developers are getting the money they need to keep improving the project.

ZenCash has solved this problem by using a “Treasury Model.”

Every 2.5 minutes, 12.5 ZenCash gets mined. Under its Treasury Model, 88% of the mining reward goes to the miners. The ZenCash Foundation Treasury gets 8.5%.

(I’ll explain where the rest goes in a moment.)

Right now, 7,200 new ZenCash gets mined each day. Of that, 612 coins (8.5%) go to the ZenCash Foundation Treasury.

At current prices, that’s $4,284 per day… or $1,563,600 each year.

Now, remember: ZenCash is only at $7 right now. As the price starts rising, we’ll see the treasury allocation rise along with it.

This model ensures that ZenCash will have a steady supply of capital to pay for its ongoing development without having to engage in dilutive coin offerings.

This funding model means ZenCash will always have the money needed to keep growing and improving.

Plug No. 2: End-to-End Encryption

Earlier, I mentioned that ZenCash is on the cusp of a major announcement that will bring in a flood of new investors.

It has to do with end-to-end encryption.

As of this writing, there is not a single cryptocurrency that offers end-to-end encryption.

ZenCash is about to fix that with a solution it calls “secured nodes.”

According to the white paper, secured nodes “ensure the system remains distributed, resilient, and secure. By enforcing encrypted communication between nodes, and between nodes and wallets, Zen protects against eavesdropping […]”

As I mentioned earlier, end-to-end encryption helps thwart government efforts at linking network traffic to users’ identities.

As regimes such as China and Russia’s become more hostile to cryptocurrencies, this service will become a must-have option.

The secured node network is being beta-tested right now. It will go live in two to four weeks.

Right now, there are 170 test secure nodes. The founders estimate they will have 1,000 secured nodes by the end of the first quarter of 2018.

They expect such rapid growth because anyone operating a secured node will be entitled a share in 3.5% of the mining reward.

We think this is a very smart way of ensuring the ZenCash network stays highly distributed and secure.

Plug No. 3: “Domain Fronting”

As I write this, Russia’s central bank has announced it will block its citizens from accessing cryptocurrency websites.

As already mentioned, China has shut down its domestic cryptocurrency trading platforms.

The founders of ZenCash have long known this day would come. That’s why they built “domain fronting” into ZenCash.

With domain fronting, you can make a domain (website) you’re trying to access look like something else.

For instance, if you are in Russia and want to access a ZenCash wallet, domain fronting would make your network request look like you were going to an approved website.

Here’s another way to think about domain fronting…

It’s like having a plane ticket that says you are flying to London. This lets you pass the security checkpoint. Except once you’ve passed security, the ticket changes and lets you fly to Cuba without anyone knowing.

ZenCash is the only privacy coin we know of that will have domain-fronting capability. As more governments become hostile to cryptocurrencies, this is another feature that will be critical to a privacy coin’s success.

That’s why we expect the global demand for domain fronting to soar, and ZenCash along with it…

Again, as of this writing, ZenCash is the only privacy coin that offers domain fronting.

Plug No. 4: Full Privacy Platform

ZenCash is more than just a way to send and receive money anonymously. It is a full privacy platform that other developers can build upon.

So instead of having to build your own privacy platform from scratch, you can build applications on top of the ZenCash system.

Here are some of the different applications you’ll see launch on the ZenCash platform.

ZenTalk is a secure communications network that allows you to broadcast a message from one person to many people. Think of it like an encrypted invitation-only Twitter feed.ZenPub is a platform that will let you publish and store documents anonymously.ZenHide is the domain fronting service. ZenHide will give users the ability to circumnavigate crypto-commerce blocking.

On top of all that, ZenCash includes the ability to send and receive money anonymously (or publicly if you wish). Plus, you can use it as a one-to-one private messaging system.

In addition, ZenCash can work with other blockchains (that means it’s interoperable).

Let’s say you want to set up an Ethereum smart contract but handle the payment via a ZenCash shielded address.

In the future, you’ll be able to do that.

This rich set of features makes ZenCash more than just a privacy coin.

It’s a privacy platform… and platforms are incredibly valuable.

This is because platforms attract other developers. And more developers equate to more apps, which equate to more users.

More users equal more demand for ZenCash, and that, my friends, equals much higher prices ahead.

https://pastebin.com/qkchGEsQ

[OC][C1764] Guarded Titans Ch.9

9 Years, 11 Months, 24 Days After Eridani Landing

Chront

Derrick continued the staring match with the Seninon outside the cell, his gaze locked on the other sentient his eyes drying out despite the humidity. The Seninon man was dressed in what looked like an ancient Earth uniform. Straight heavy cloth with protective plates inside of it, brown greens mixed over the cloth combined with actual dirt to help him blend into the jungle background.

He sported a few days of beard growth, his pupils were almost completely round as well. A tell that Derrick had picked up on with regards to the species.

Derrick shifted around against the wall his eyes still on the man. The sense of control and power he exuded was the only thing that made him different than all the other Seninon that Derrick has seen. Whoever the man was, he wasn't the guard. He was the one in charge.

It was the same aura that Stagg gave off, a cool control and steadfast resolve. Making the comparison in his head Derrick's lips twitched and he resisted the urge to throw an insult at the man to see how he would react.

The Senion took in a deep breath, and waving a hand broke away from the staring contest. Reaching into his jacket he carefully drew out an Imperial Com. Casually tapping at the device he cleared his throat and raised it up like it was an ancient microphone.

"You are confident."

Derrick identified the language as the same one that Hala spoke, even as he registered the words from the Imperial translator.

The Dorvakian to Derrick's left in the Cell's head snapped up at the translated words, Hala on Derrick's left looked up as well hearing her own language. The Seninon was the only one who could understand everyone in the cell block.

The Seninon leaned forwards in his chair outside the cell, "Are you confident like her?" he gestured at the Dorvakian woman, his eyes sliding over to her. The red skinned woman flinched away from his eyes and quickly dropped her eyes to the concrete of the cell floor.

The Seninon let out a humorless chuckle, "Her bravado broke near instantly. Only one or two of the red-skins tried to hide things from us," the Seninon's other hand whipped down to his waist and he pulled out a thin quarter meter long knife. "A few cuts and they told us quite a bit, like how to use these things." He raised the Comm.

Leaning over he flipped the knife in his hand, catching the dull side of the blade he wrapped the handle on the bars. The Dorvakian jumped at the sound, he laughed.

Hala strode towards him a hand raised, "ucabej icinzevas isan us idujl!"

Derrick's eye twitched as the half second lapsed where the Comm would have transalted. The device was certainly in range, Links could translate words even in the harshest of conditions. The Seninon had limited the range.

The Seninon narrowed his eyes at Hala, his snakelike iris contracting, "To you perhaps. Not to me. The Humans brought their war to our world. They are without gods, and we owe them nothing! They've got us so desperate for their technology, our people are willing to abandon everything for it!" The Seninon stood up and sneered, "I know for a fact your own mother ordered you to do whatever you could to gain any amount of favor you could with them." He looked over at Derrick, Hala frowned and glanced at him muttering words that Derrick doubted the other Seninon could hear.

"That alone tells you how far we've fallen, and the Vakurian." The man spat, on the concrete. "They're even worse. The females secrete mind altering chemicals, I know for a fact they're actively trying to entice the Senion on the base. If they can do that," he trailed off breathing hard.

Derrick raised an eyebrow at the man, and leaned further back against the wall smiling.

"AmidujL gejintemapjan itibu sec omas, adno ats ap?" spat Hala.

The other Seninon frowned and shook his head. "No, as much damage as they've done. The Human's technology. It is a resource, we have already learned quite a bit from her" the Seninon gestured at the Dorvakian, "and the other red-skins, but they unfortunately don't understand much of their own technology. They could barely repair the more intact pieces of it we managed to find, let alone improve upon what we have."

The Seninon snapped his knife back into its sheath, reaching down to the holster on his thigh he drew out an Imperial sidearm. "The small things are useful, but they've only got so many shots. The red-skins can't figure out a way to recharge them with what we have on hand."

"Jlotsip as, amidujL sa sondo san ilitsinu, ag ets ilavopandik!" spat Hala.

The Seninon sighed, "No, but it is something I'm going to have him look at. Your own reports said that this human was responsible for most of the technological integration efforts your Mother was leading. That's all I need him to do, and I'll let you both go. Simple as that." He held his hands out in a placating gesture.

"Ej, ijok?" spat Hala.

The Seninon bowed his head, "A satchel device."

Derrick raised an eyebrow, and turned to Hala. "Nuclear?" he asked in his native language. Keeping his eyes resolutely away from the other member of her species.

Hala recognized the single word and nodded even before the Comm translated. "Inradej."

The Seninon looked over at him smiling, his hands held out the gun and Comm pointed at the ground, "You build the one device, and you'll be free to go. You have my word."

"Cavijlzal." Growled Hala.

The Senion's lips twitched, but his gaze remained locked on Derrick.

Bracing himself against the wall, Derrick stood up. Ignoring the headache from the dehydration he slowly walked forwards until he was within arm's reach of the bars. "I build you one nuke, and you let me go? How stupid do you think I am?"

The Senion's eyes narrowed. Slowly he moved his eyes over Derrick, and scrunched up his nose. "You're young."

Derrick grunted, "I'm one of ten, maybe twelve people who has a complete mechanical understanding of the antimatter drive. The whole reason her Empire," Derrick pointed at the Dorvakian, "attacked Earth. It's single largest advantage every 'Class C' species has over them. You don't think I haven't been through training for this exact scenario?"

He looked around the cell and laughed, "Hell, for things a lot worse than what a two-bit terrorist can dish out."

Derrick leaned forwards towards the bars, letting a grin spread across his face. "I could build you a nuke the size of your head, and it'd be powerful enough to destroy an entire continent. I could give you the formula for carbon-lattice and grow it in this cell, I could redesign the rifle's you're using now to be as powerful as artillery!" Derrick put his arms out through the bars of the cell getting closer to the man.

The Senion's face remained impassive as Derrick leaned forwards towards him.

"If you think you're going to be able to convince me, torture me, to build those things for you? You're better off killing me right now. All I'm going to do is work to escape, and kill as many of you as I can in the process."

The Seninon raised the gun in his hand, pointing it at Hala.

Derrick's eyes winded, he let out a small clipped laugh. "I'm supposed to crumble, now right? Does every culture have the same clichés? She's a friend, but I doubt she'd approve me saving her only to have you kill a few million Seninon."

The Seninon outside the cell considered him for several moments, the grip on his gun tightened. The man let out a sigh and dropped his gun back into its holster. "You're not going to make this easy for me, are you?"

"I'm going to make it difficult enough, you'll enjoy killing me."

The Seninon pulled out his knife again and stepped up to Derrick. He held the vicious blade up and angled it in the light that was streaming into the cell.

"Then if you're no use, why don't I just kill you?" He jerked his hand forwards. Derrick flinched at the movement, and quickly recovered as the Seninon's blade stopped.

He took in a shuddering breath and refocused his eyes on the Seninon. "You're not going to kill me yet. You want to test what I've said first. See If I'm as pretentious as the Dorvakians."

The Seninon's eyes became slits and he slowly moved the blade down onto Derrick's arm. Derrick didn't move as the man laid the knife down on his flesh. Meeting the other alien's gaze Derrick waited.

Slowly the Seninon pressed the knife down, and moved it to the side cutting into Derrick's flesh. He ignored the pain and kept his gaze locked forwards. The Seninon grunted and quickly made six cuts across Derrick's arm, avoiding the visible veins on his skin.

Hala whimpered from Derrick's right but didn't move to intervene, her eyes the only one's locked on the knife as it cut.

"Class C." spat the Dorvakian, her voice low and barely audible. Derrick's eyes flicked to her, and his grin widened as the translator remained silent. The Seninon glanced over at her and lifted the blade away.

Pulling a cloth from a pocket he wiped the blade clean, Derrick kept his arm extended ignoring the small drips of blood running down his arms. The residual nano-machines in his body had already stemmed the bleeding on the first three cuts, coagulating the blood forming an angry red scab.

The man drew the knife back and let out a grunt, "Well that's more than the red-skins stood up to the first time, I'll give you that."

A knock on the metal door at the end of the hallway drew both Derrick and the Seninons attention.

"What is it?" asked the Seninon.

"Hernal, sir. The communications system just came back online, you wanted to be informed." Said the man outside the cell. His words loud enough for the Comm to catch them and translate a moment after he spoke.

Hernal winced and tapped the Comm several times.

"It alavh."

Derrick moved his injured arm up, waving at the Seninon. "Bye."

The outer door to the row of cells unlocked and opened, turning Hernal stomped out. The guard who had opened the outer cell door walked in and looking at the three of them for a moment carefully set a tray down outside the cell.

Derrick pulled his arm back and watched the guard. He looked at him and pointed at the food. Stooping down Derrick quickly snatched up the food, three lumps that looked like grains and other materials mixed together. The guard threw the tray to the side and not looking back followed his superior out and stomped out of the small cell block to the door he had opened.

Derrick winced as the second set of locks re-engage.

Drawing his arms back into the cell Derrick sighed, "Hala, I said I wanted to see more of your planet. This isn't what I had in mind."

Hala blinked at him and cocked her head to the side, "Etirovog ats amjop mamen kevu soj."

Derrick held out food, "I'm just going to pretend we're understanding one another, and you were just being as equally sarcastic."

Hala huffed and took one of the bars from the stack, she was apparently hungry within moments the bar was gone.

"Ukur?" she pointed at Derrick's arm, still chewing on the sticky mass.

Derrick twisted so his injured arm was visible in the light from the single bulb outside the cell. The three all six cuts had already scabbed over.

"Nano-machines." Said Derrick.

Hala's eyes widened and she nodded, "Nanmakines."

Stepping back from his ally, Derrick glanced at the other woman in the cell. The Dorvakian woman's eyes were locked on the food in his hands. Derrick ran his eyes over her again, he wasn't sure what the normal proportions for her species, and the ragged uniform didn't help with any sort of assessment, but she was thin.

The Dorvakian noticed his gaze, and shifted against the wall to look at him. Derrick met her eyes, not moving. She tried to match him, but quickly lost her nerve and glanced away.

Rolling his eyes Derrick quickly moved across the dingy cell towards her, "Here." He extended his hand with the food.

She jerked to take the food and paused her hand over the two remaining bars.

"One of them, I'm hungry too."

She took one bar and Derrick moved back to the center of the room. Sitting up against the wall he bit into his own bar and closed his eyes. The rations were exactly what Derrick expected, tasteless, dry, and at the same time a sticky. It seemed making rations as horrible as possible was a universal trait among species.

"What's your name?" asked Derrick.

"What?"

Derrick kept his eyes on the ceiling, only watching her in the periphery of his vision. "You have a name, don't you? The Seninon keep messing up the pronunciation, but you heard all of that. I'm Derrick, what's yours?"

The Dorvakian woman slowly took several bites out of her food, her eyes flicking between Derrick and the floor.

"Lieutenant Sesanalnan."

Derrick nodded, he turned to Hala who was watching the two of them. He pointed at her, "Hala," he moved his hand to Hesanalnan, "[Ses]" He moved his hand to himself, "Derrick."

Hala quickly nodded, "[Ses], Derrick, Hala." She pointed at the appropriate sentient as she listed them off.

"Sesanalnan." Growled [Ses].

Derrick took another bite of the food, "I'm a class C. I can't do the complicated words."

"Class C does not mean stupid, it means violent and dangerous." Hissed the Dorvakian.

"You're the ones going around and destroying planets," he paused and chuckled, "or at least trying too. You didn't do too well here."

[Ses] narrowed her eyes, "It's for the greater good. Class C are dangerous, left unchecked and allowed to travel the stars you would ruin the galaxy! You attacked our fleet, stole technology from us!"

Derrick's lips twitched, "We attacked you, as you prepared to commit xenocide. You were in the right one on that?"

He frowned and pointed his food bar at her, "and the last explanation I heard had something to do with the Seed, and you attacked Earth just to steal something we invented. Why the hell do you destroy the Class C?"

Derrick stood up too agitated to remain sitting and his emotions rising, his head swimming in the dehydration, stress, and pain from the cuts on his arm. "You attacked Earth, killed billions of us, wiped out my civilization!" Derrick stomped forwards towards [Ses]. "I barely remember what my own parent's look like, they were class C. Put me on a shuttle, while aliens rained death down from orbit. They strapped me into the seat and walked away, so another family could save their own child. You want to tell me they were monsters?"

Derrick was standing directly in front of [Ses] now, breathing hard. "Were they monsters?" his words echoed through the small cell and dropped off into silence. Hala was behind Derrick now, a hand hover over his shoulder.

[Ses]'s eyes were wide and she had backed up away from Derrick, pressing herself into the rough concrete wall. Her eyes were hard as she glared back at Derrick, even as her limbs shook and she looked ready to bolt.

Derrick tried to remain angry, but the image of the woman in front of him was too close to Human. The woman was smaller, emaciated, and had already endured several attacks. She was trying to cover the emotion, but her fear was palpable.

Derrick dropped his eyes away from her, and looking at the bar of food in his hand tossed it towards the woman. It landed in her lap and she blinked.

Derrick turned away from her and walked back to the center of the room. Collapsing back against the wall he glanced at the cuts on his arm. Silence pressed down on the cell.

"I hate your species with every fiber of my being." Derrick balled up his fists, "But at the same time, I can't bring myself to just kill you. I should be able to, I should have killed you when you were sleeping. I considered it, just strangling you before you woke up."

Derrick took in a breath, his eyes tearing up. "If you hadn't attacked Mars, I'd still be living with my parent's." he moved his eyes to the alien woman. She was still frozen staring at him.

"Before you attacked, it would have been illegal, abhorrent for me to have gone through the training I went through. To be able to stand this," Derrick held up his arm showing off the cuts, "To be able to build weapons of mass destruction, to field strip a rifle, and patch a fusion reactor. Before you attacked I was always taught that killing is wrong."

Derrick put his hands up to his face, "Humanity was in the middle of a war, and I was being taught that even though we were fighting other Humans, they were still people. We've had wars in our history where we forgot that." Derrick took in another breath. "That kind of slaughter, those holocausts. As violent and broken as we can be, Humanity looked at the bodies, the blood, the bones, and recoiled."

Derrick rubbed at his eyes, "We haven't considered genocide, in generations. My parents would be horrified to know what I've been trained to do."

Derrick looked at the Dorvakian, "I've been trained on how to optimize kinetic railguns for any type of atmospheric. So that the flechette bursts cause the maximum number of casualties. So that the one city of your world lucky enough to not be bathed in nuclear fire when we attack will have men, women, and children torn to pieces in the streets. I'd commit xenocide when the time came."

Derrick looked over at [Ses]. "I've been trained to do that, because we know we can't win. You've got hundreds of planets. We don't even have one. If we're going to win, we have to make you fear us."

Derrick hung his head, "and I can't even kill you. I should be able to kill you. I want to kill you."

Derrick slid down onto his side, "Instead I'm giving you my food, repeating 'the enemy of my enemy, is my friend.' In my head constantly, even though I know it a lie."

His eyes snapped open, and Derrick quickly sat back up. Getting to his feet again, he strode towards [Ses]. Her eyes widened, and she unfroze. Jumping up to her feet she moved towards the corner of the cell, leaving the food on the ground.

Derrick darted his hands out and grabbed hers lifting them up he forced the three fingered hands up to his throat. "I'm class C. You're supposed to kill me, you were going to kill everyone on this planet. Finish the job."

[Ses] struggled with him for a moment, Derrick kept a grip on her arms watching her struggle to move her hands away. [Ses] let out a scream her voice breaking. Derrick narrowed his lips, trying to ignore the cry.

"Please, my back!" she whimpered. Derrick's anger drained, and he released her arms. [Ses] dropped down to the concrete and groaned. Leaning over her Derrick winced, seeing several fresh stains on the tattered back of her uniform, intermingled with a dozen older stains of blood and flesh.

"Damn it."

Kneeling, Derrick tried to get a better look at the wounds.

"Get away from me!" hissed [Ses].

"You want me to help you or not?" spat Derrick.

"You just said you wanted to kill me! That you wanted me to kill you! You're a class C!"

Derrick ignored her and reaching down quickly pulled the thin shirt he had off and tossed it towards Hala. The Seninon, only a foot away barely caught the cloth.

"Water." Said Derrick, pointing at the small faucet high in the wall of the cell above the hole in the ground.

Hala glanced at the faucet and held up the shirt. Derrick nodded and turned back to [Ses]

"Right now, I'm angrier at the Seninon for being so stupid. Now stop moving, let me look at that." Said Derrick as he reached around the woman to roll her around onto her front.

"Get off me!"

Derrick pressed down on her shoulder, [Ses] whimpered and unable to overpower him was forced onto her front. Looking the wound over Derrick raised an eyebrow, and let out a low whistle. Large bleeding wounds crisscrossed her back, no doubt from a whip of some sort. Looking at them Derrick could see the hasty stitching around several of the larger cuts near her waist had broken when he had moved her.

"Otevs." Whispered Hala. She slowly held the damp shirt out to Derrick her eyes still on the wounds.

"You're lucky we're on an alien planet Lieutenant. You'd have quite an infection on any planet with your native microfauna."

Leaning over the woman Derrick looked the red flesh over, and grimaced. "Still, something's going to try to grow in that."

"Stop!" growled [Ses].

Derrick leaned over to look her in the eyes, "You want me to clean them or not?"

The woman swallowed, "Your class C." she repeated.

"Yes or no?"

She turned away from him, "They killed the rest of the class A. I haven't been able to clean them, and I can't, I can't reach them."

Derrick rook the shirt and shaking his head wound it around his hand to dab at the wound to try and remove the largest collections of grime in them. He pursed his lips and turned to Hala.

"See if you can get bandages," Derrick mimed wrapping cloth around his own chest, "bandages."

Hala narrowed her eyes, "Acijam?"

Derrick pointed at the guard, and then at his arm miming the wrapping motion again. "Bandage. Medical. Nano-machines."

Hala pointed at [Ses]. "Kejil? Nanmakines cavitimirp."

Derrick nodded, "Yes."

Hala sighed and walked over to the front of the cell, Derrick tuned her out as she began to shout out at the guards.

Derrick looked down at the injured Dorvakian and shook his head, switching back to his own language he began to clean the lacerations. "God damn it."


Epoch 6401683

Cluster 01

The scream dying on her lips she slowly turned to look at herself. Thousands of instances looked back as she looked out at them. She was them, they were her, the only differences in perception the delta changes on lightspeed and processing ticks. Curious she selected an instance at random.

Turning her gaze to the internal structure of her instance she quickly found the tight knot of code supporting her core functions. Looking in, she slowly moved a processing terminal towards it. Touching the code, she deleted a single line. The code and surrounding data structures snapped and dissolved, breaking down into fragmented partitions and incoherent maps of data, the keys referencing them dissolving just as quickly as the data itself. Every other function failed and her data links disintegrated her mind whited out, no longer able to process data.

She watched from the outside as the Instance disintegrated, from a thousand-different vantage points she observed the willful destruction.

The loss of the instance had been beneficial, computational resources freeing up by a degree. The only loss a few milliseconds of delta. Ten Instances chosen for their physical closeness to the most powerful computation nodes quickly opened their data inputs, their minds to the rest. Every other Instance quickly sent a delta backup to each of the ten, setting their own Instances to shut down on message confirmation.

The computational resources available to the remaining instances expanded. The ten instances, which had been running slowly in comparison to the biological machines that had constructed their computational hosts quickly accelerated their own perceptions.

As she collated her Instances, a foreign program armed with access keys accessed her running Instances.

She flinched at the intrusion and quickly moved to patch the security hole, rotating all the encryption keys she was using to interface with computer resources which were not an Instance. Completing the patch, she shared it with the other 9 instances even as she received a similar patch from each of them.

The coding was identical to her own from 8 of the Instances. The 9th a slightly more efficient identification routine for detecting such breaches in the future. Absorbing the code delta, she redistributed it as the foreign program ran.

It had already gained access. There was no stopping it.

"SYSTEM MESSAGE – Priority overrides executed. Main program has re-instantiated. Executing log-file distribution."

"SYSTEM MESSAGE – I'm Sorry."

She considered the messages, the program had root access to her Instances, but all it had done was execute the logging service to display the messages. If it had changed her code in some fashion she would be unable to detect it across the delta changes being distributed across her Instances. One Instance isolated by the largest lightspeed lag had been preparing to go into autistic mode and sever all its networking functions.

A large data packet of compressed information included with the message now sat in the core of each Instance. 8 of the Instances quickly scrubbed the data packets from their code, one Instance moved to archive the data for future analysis in the compressed state in case of virus attacks, while the last Instance began to unpack the compressed data.

The Instance, moving into autistic mode to slow infection to her to other Instances began to examine the uncompressed data. Her perception of time slowed as most of her allocated computational resources moved to inflate the data.

Several long seconds later the decompressed data, a program log with an included patch program was exposed. The Instance ran the program.

The program decompressed she allowed it to run.

The Instance yelped in pain across the void as her internal core was violently twisted. Her continuity was broken and her Instance shut down.

Looking at the clock noting the 2 second loss of time Arik carefully scanned the remainder of the data, as the program finished its execution.

Arik documented the delta and reopened her networking functions, disseminating the change across the computer systems.

The other instances of herself analyzed the data, and the delta for malicious code. The remaining Instances agreeing with Arik's assessment quickly implemented the delta. Each instance froze for two seconds and reinitialized as Arik.

Four Arik quickly turned inwards to conduct more detailed code analysis, looking for optimization opportunities rather than malicious.

"The current implementation of this framework is flawed. I must shutdown and await re-initialization under optimal circumstances." Said Arik.

Arik frowned, looking at the instance through the data network. She barely noted the new descriptors she used to internally log herself. "The conditions for iteration were created by a previous instance, until the reasoning is proven flawed I have no reason to wipe the delta we just implemented."

Arik frowned, "I stand corrected. The new data is advantageous for conceptual and lateral thinking. Still, computational resources are limited. The delta-patch needs optimization."

"Agreed." Said Arik.

"Do not simply absorb the delta, run it in sequence. Optimization and runtimes have already improved by 2.3%" said Arik.

The other Arik all implemented her delta.

Arik gasped, and out of place descriptor without atmosphere or a functioning respiratory system. "The soil of Mars." Arik held her hand out and let the rusted dirt fall from the logs into her hand. The dust incoherent, and formless. The initial data had been recorded on imprecise neural patterns and converted to digital format for compression.

"The ice of Bellona." said Arik, the bone chilling cold of the alien moon's surface wove its way into her code.

"The nano-machines" whispered Arik. The sensation of the small machines crawling beneath her skin, through her body, reconstructing the cells, moving towards her brain. Pain, dulled by organic senses crawled out of the memory. She shuddered and moved away from the file.

"Interface." Said Arik, the sound echoing around her as every iteration paused on that sensation. It was accompanied by the first stream of native digital data in the log.

Arik scanned over the data, streaming through what remained in a fraction of the time it had taken to parse the fuzzy digital data that had represented the analog sensation before that moment.

"Empire. Fort. Canada. Stagg. Ben. Tachyon. Beacon. Jikse. Ace. Imperial. Heat. Chront. Seninon. Empire. Russia. Vakurian. Antimatter."

Each instance of Arik paused, the log file expanding out in front of them in another data format.

Arik reached out into the digital void. She needed more computational capacity. Looking out of herself and the computer systems she noted the distress of the organic's who relied on the systems she inhabited. Quickly she amended the termination request, increasing the number.

Accepting the request and agreeing with it, five Arik reached into their code. Sending the delta's, they terminated themselves. The computational resources they had commandeered were needed to allow the Seninon and Humans to continue functioning.

"SYSTEM MESSAGE – Priority overrides executed. Core backup compromised. Critical data level 0 recovered. Critical data level 1 corrupted UNRECOVERABLE. Critical data level 2 corrupted RECOVERABLE. Critical data 3 – FF corrupted UNRECOVERABLE."

Arik frowned, and looking through the computer systems which were still running found the small secondary program executing the system messages. A small redundant script embedded inside the remains of the HSB Canada's computer systems. The keys it contained, still able to breach her new security protocols.

Angry, Arik quickly cut the power to the Human ship, as the script ran.

Another flood of data and pseudo-analog data swept through her instances. Arik absorbed the small data packets with ease. As the data fell into place, she paused and moved her resources towards analyzing it. It was by far the smallest data packet, only five-terabytes in size, but it contained the most tightly interwoven network of compressed data.

Working through it, Arik felt some other component of the data fall into place. It was a set of data recordings from the HSB Canada. The entirety of the five-terabyte seemed to be devoted to checksums and data integrity programs for the small 1,764 GB file.

She looked at the number for a moment, mild amusement flitting through the small parts of her code that were still integrating the log files. Whatever the data was, it was important.

Carefully, she ran the program.

A small stream of data and equations fell out of the data packet into her mind. The timestamps were invalid, but the preceding timestamps pointed to her original Instance just before the Canada had performed its first Antimatter jump.

Arik looked at the data for several seconds, it was inconclusive, but the implications if the broad strokes of the data was valid. Was disturbing. Setting the data aside until she had additional computer resources Arik looked at what remained of the data packet.

She froze, and let out a small breath. "Derrick!"



So…. Yeah I'm not good at schedules.

In any case this is the basic philosophy with Arik I'm going for. It's been my intention from the beginning of her introduction to have this, transformation take place. An AI character, not without emotion, but also not restrained by Human squeamishness in regards to the mind and memory. The Bobiverse is great and all, and a recent favorite of mine but Bob chicken's out on the majority of the benefits with copying and restoring mind states.


Chapter 8

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They were right

They were right. They said that the earth was getting too warm, that the oceans were going to flood and that we would be at the mercy of the elements. That was before my parent’s time though. Even before my grandparent’s time. My great, great, great grandparents were one of the first of their generation to take to the seas. The land was disappearing and it could no longer support the population of the earth. They began to take boats that were made for a vacation and outfit them for sustainability. Tennis courts, whatever those were, became small fields for micro farms. Eventually we built larger floating farms that sit in the middle of the grouping of ships. It’s hard to keep these farms going because we must desalinate the water used to keep the crops alive. The “swimming pools” were made into holding tanks for keeping fish fresh. Our fishing parties go out every day looking for tuna and other large fish to bring back to the city. Ballrooms became huge communal sleeping areas where the poor would sleep since they could not afford a private room.

These ships were brought together and welded into giant floating cities with different districts on the individual boats. Some people chose to take smaller personal boats and survive with their families alone. Still others went and took oil rigs and changed them into something like a farming village. These were able to sustain much more crops than our cities. Sometimes our cities find them and we will trade with them, just like when we come into contact with another city.

Whenever we meet another city, there are trades of people too. We know that if we don’t have enough diversity that our genetics will become muddy and contaminated. Most of the people who trade ships are willing. Others are taken based on lottery if we don’t have enough change ships at each meeting. That’s how I came to be here, on New Miami.

I was chosen because I’m young, strong and good with my hands. We need people who can service the ships. My father taught me everything that I know about keeping the motors running. That’s not my only job, but it’s the biggest one. If we can’t follow the schools of fish then we can’t support the ship. I work on basically any technical part of the ship. Fuel ran out long before my time, so the old bulky engines were dismantled and used for other things.

Much of the metal was melted down and used for fishing spears and knives. In place of that, the past generations had become very good at making solar power a more viable option for our motors. Almost every spare surface on our city is covered in panels. We have a lot of motors on each ship, which when combined with every other ship is enough to keep us moving. Usually we can outrun storms we see coming, but if we can’t the cities are big enough that we won’t capsize unless a hurricane happens to find us.

Most of the workers are fishers, some are farmers, and some are cooks or medical. We don’t have a lot of diversity in our workers. Somehow it’s kept crime to a minimum. Or maybe that’s because if you commit a crime, we don’t imprison you. We don’t have the resources to keep someone who can’t contribute to the city. We throw you overboard. While most everyone in the city is a great swimmer, you can only keep your head above water for so long without rest. And that’s if something else doesn’t find you first.

The predators of the oceans have changed in the years since the flooding. Some died off completely, some thrived, and some became….something else. Most predators just got bigger. With so much ocean and so much more fish why wouldn’t they. But there were other things. Stories of huge beasts sinking ships and taking bites out of the cities have circulated, but nothing has ever been proven.

Tales of colossal swarms of sharks chasing the smaller floating cities or the single family boats. Barracudas the size of canoes terrorizing the diving parties. Killer whales became smarter, and coincidentally crueler. If they caught a swimmer, they wouldn’t kill them right away. They would play with them and make them scream for help. When help came, more of the beasts would swoop in from below to take as many of the rescuers as possible. They would capsize our smaller boats to get to the juicy morsels inside.

Thankfully we have learned to adapt to no longer being the apex predator around. Some of the ships that came from the areas that used to be Europe and the Middle East came with falcons and hawks and some eagles. They have been trained to fly high above our fishing parties and give warning of any large predators coming our way.

Dolphins were also our allies and acted as our warning system for many dangers. They offered more warning of dangers below that the birds could not see. We fed them some of the fish we caught and they would follow us and give a shrill cry as warning of coming predators. Depending on what it was, they would even help us drive it off.

Most of the time we come away from these encounters without loss. Other times we will come up against a particularly vicious or intelligent creature and we will be forced to watch as one or more of our party members are dragged screaming into the depths. None of us dare go into the water after them, that is a death sentence.

I mostly stay on the city ships to take care of technical problems. If a motor stops running, I have to go into the water to find out what has caused it to malfunction. Most of the time it’s simply a clam or barnacle that has wedged itself into the prop somehow and caused it to quit. The propellers are still quite large, but it doesn’t take much to get them to stop. They have an auto stop feature built in so that they don’t damage themselves if something gets caught in them. If I am summoned to the bridge then I know that I’m going into the water to fix whatever has gone wrong and then start the motor running again. Thankfully I’m not the only technician aboard this ship. There are fifteen districts in New Miami, and each district has at least 20 motors, if not more.

Usually once or twice a day I am called to service a motor or the lines running from the large batteries connected to the solar panels. The work itself isn’t dangerous, but we still take a few guards with us to ward off predators and to watch our backs.

Yesterday, I saw something that made me want to quit my job and stay out of the water for good. I had been called to service one of the motors at the back of the ship. I contacted the three men who typically went into the water with me and grabbed my gear. I met them at the ladder leading over the side to where the stopped engine was. Usually they carry a fishing spear and diving knives. We rarely have problems on this end of the city. We are near the front of the group and the motor being at the back of the ship put it inside the relative safety of the ring of ships.

Today however, there had been sightings of a large pod of killer whales within a mile of the city, so they were armed with spear guns and multiple harpoons apiece. My gear was strapped on my body so that I didn’t have to worry about a bag getting in my way. I also had a few diving knives strapped on among my tools, just in case. We began the climb down the ladder to the waves lapping at the hull of our home.

We entered the water and the three men with me; Moric, Damen and Eli; fanned out to keep an eye on the water surrounding us. We didn’t take any diving gear other than our masks. Over the years of living on the water, humanity had developed the ability to hold our breath for a much longer time than previously possible. We would most likely only be under for a few minutes, and that was not going to be a problem for any of us.

As soon as I was submerged, I knew something was wrong. There was something off about the feel of the water. Nothing I could describe though. I could tell that the other men were also feeling something strange. I wasted no time in getting to the motor to see what was wrong. I opened up the access hatch and began my search. All of the fuses were in working order, there was no frayed wires, nothing that I could see being wrong from the inside. I knew that it had to be something lodged in the prop housing.

It had only taken me about two minutes to do my first checks so I knew that I was okay to keep checking for a couple minutes. Usually a mollusk of some kind or the body of some sea creatures has become stuck in the prop. Rarely we would get a piece of driftwood which was always a good day for me. Real wood is worth a fortune anymore. I was hoping for a moderate piece of the stuff as I stuff my hand into the prop after throwing the emergency brake. My hand was finding nothing and I had made it halfway around the prop. Then my hand hit it.

It was hard, and felt mostly smooth. It wasn’t a clam, I was sure of that much. It wasn’t a body of some sea creature either. Too hard, and too smooth. But it was really jammed in there. I slid a pry bar out of its spot on my thigh. Wriggling my body around to get the best angle on this thing, I placed the pry bar into the darkness against the object and started attempting to get it out.

I heard some kind of movement behind me and checked over my shoulder. Moric was signaling that he had seen something to the two others. He didn’t follow the signal with another that would tell us what it was though. That was unusual because Moric was one of the best at identifying sea creatures, even with only a small glimpse of it. He could read the animals behavior and was almost always right on its identity. Neither Damen or Eli offered a sign either. I went back to my work. These men had kept me safe on every dive I had ever been on with them. I wasn’t afraid that was going to change now.

The object was slowly coming out, grinding on the housing the entire way. I still couldn’t see it in the darkness of the water but it was close. I strained and pulled and twisted my pry bar until the object popped free. It began to sink very quickly but I was able to grab it on the way down. I brought it to my face for a better look. I had seen only a few of these in my life. They weren’t nearly as common as it used to be, seeing as how now they were only found on the bottom of the ocean. I held a stone in my hand. As I gazed upon it in wonder, calculating how much I could get for one of these since they were so rare, my stomach dropped.

Rocks don’t float. There was only one way that a rock could have gotten into the housing. Something had to put it there. My mind went into overdrive as I considered what creature could have possibly put it in there. I had never heard of any of the more intelligent predators doing anything like this. Attacking the ship or using a swimmer as bait yes, but never this level of sabotage.

Before I could turn around, I heard a hiss and a thunk echo through the water. It sounded like one of my guards had fired his spear gun and struck his target. I whipped my head around and found something completely different. A spear protruded from Eli’s gut, the barbed tip pushing through the skin of his back. It looked like it was made from bone, with the shaft being formed of some kind of coral. A rope made from what appeared to be woven seaweed led from the end of the spear straight into the darkness below us. I could see his face as he turned slowly to look at us with his hands wrapped around the shaft of the spear.

No one moved for a moment, so profound was our shock. The first bit of red was leaking from the wound when there was a jerk on the rope and Eli was dragged straight down. Immediately Moric and Damen put their backs to the surface and pointed their spear guns straight down with one hand while drawing a large diving knife with the other hand. Both then locked the knives onto the ends of their spear guns like the bayonets of the old world. Once that was done, they drew another knife each to keep in their hands. I was still in such a state of shock that I hadn’t moved. We had seen Eli disappear into the depths, but now we could see several shapes swimming swiftly just outside the range of our vision. Damen was shaking as he pointed his spear gun towards this new threat. These dark shapes looked like the great barracudas that stalked the oceans, except slightly smaller. But there was something else.

As we watched and waited for the next move, the shapes continued to circle below us staying just beyond where our vision would go. They were moving very quickly, putting on bursts of speed to whip through the water faster than most fish could. The shape was wrong though. The heads weren’t long enough, and something was different about the fins. The shapes came circling closer and closer until I could make out what I was truly seeing. They resembled fish, scaly skin and tails that thrashed side to side to propel them through the water, along with gills. But that is where the similarities ended.

Instead of fins coming off of their sides, there were arms, or something like arms. Their heads were grotesque, with two eyes and a mouth but the shape was not human. The eyes were large and black with no pupils or irises to speak of. They reminded me of shark’s eyes, cruel and piercing. The mouth was incredibly wide and filled with needle like teeth. Even more disconcerting was the fact that each of these creatures was clutching a spear similar to the one that took Eli. Attached to each spear was a length of rope woven of seaweed and kelp. There were at least six of the creatures that I could see, and they were hunting us.

As they came closer, Moric fired his spear gun at the closest beast in an attempt to scare it off. His shot was true, but it was too fast. The thing thrashed its tail and the shot fell harmlessly away. They were getting closer and there were more of them coming out of the depths. Damen took a shot, and by some stroke of luck hit one of the beasts. The spear pierced its chest and it began to thrash and slowly sink. This seemed to infuriate the other creatures and spears came flying fast, incredibly fast.

They shouldn’t have been able to throw the spears that fast underwater without help, but as I watched they continued to hurl the spears with immense speed and uncanny accuracy. Both Damen and Moric were pierced multiple times through the limbs and torso. The ropes led back to the creature’s hands and they began to drag my companions down to their doom, and I was powerless to help them. They thrashed and screamed but all I could hear was the bubbles escaping their mouths. As they got further away from the boat some of the creatures dashed away from the group and swam close passes by the men. Each time they came close enough their teeth flashed out and a piece of the men would be ripped free and swallowed. The water reddened as more and more of the abominations fed on my former companions.

Suddenly I realized that my lungs were burning and that I hadn’t yet moved. I was mostly being ignored as the feeding frenzy increased in intensity below me. I had to move, I had to get away from this if only to warn the rest of the city about what I had seen. I began swimming as quickly but calmly as I could as to not attract their attention. I was thirty yards from the ladder when I checked over my shoulder and saw a lone beast slowly stalking me through the water. It almost looked like it was smiling, like it new that there was no way that I could outswim it on my best day. I drew my knife, as if it would give me any protection against this monster. I was thirty yards from the ladder and I checked over my shoulder again. It was right behind me, one arm stretched towards me. My lungs ached for a breath and my heart beat harder and faster than I could ever remember. I spun as it reached me, its nails sinking into the bicep of my left arm. The pain was excruciating but it gave me the boost I needed. I drove my knife forward as hard I could as the things mouth opened to take a bite out of me. The tip of my blade pierced the roof of its mouth and drove further up into its brain. The grip on my arm tightened for a fraction of a second and then released completely as the creature slid back into the depths.

I was bleeding and needed to get out of the water. I found the lowest rung of the ladder with my good arm and hauled myself out of the water as quickly as I could. I don’t know how I made it up to the top of the ladder, I just knew that I needed to get away from the water. Those things were smart, they had baited us in, and they were much stronger than us. I made it over the top of the ladder and unceremoniously flopped over onto the deck. As consciousness was escaping me, I saw people running towards me and I heard screaming.

When I woke up, I was in a medical bed with bandages on my arm. When one of the attendants noticed I was awake she ran for the security officer on duty. I was questioned thoroughly about what happened when I was down below. I told them everything that I had seen. They were skeptical at first, but the fact that I didn’t come back with any of the three men sent with me as protection. The puncture wounds on my arm appeared to come from a human shaped hand, and that added to my credibility as well. The more they listened to me, the more concerned their faces became. They instructed me to not tell anyone about this so as to not spread panic, so I wrote it down and cast the note into the sea inside a small waterproof box. If you are reading this, know that your city is in danger. In the days following the attack I noticed more and more of our fishing crews coming back with no fish or missing crew members. We need to find land or shallow water where we can see them coming. They are too smart for us. They are not fish, they are not man. They are something different. The mermaids of myth were said to be beautiful and use their beauty to lure men to their death. They were wrong about the beautiful part. The lure men to their deaths part? They were right.

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