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Putting Bond's revenge against Quantum at the centre of Quantum of Solace
Saw the post mentioning that no one has attempted to give Quantum of Solace a rewrite and decided to give it a shot. It was actually harder than I thought. Rewatching it I think many of the film’s issues comes from the director writer than writing. I think the generally plotting of the film is fairly decent, especially giving the ongoing writer’s strike at the time. The main issue is that there’s effectively two films going on: One in which Bond is hunting down Quantum seeking revenge for Vesper and one in which Bond goes rogue in order to stop the CIA financing a coup d’etat in Boliva. My main goal was to try better merge them into a more cohesive story. In particular I want to give Vesper’s former lover, Yusuf Kabira, (ie the reason she betrays Bond and then gets murdered in Casino Royale) more of a role, rather than just having him be relegated to a single scene at the end of the film.
· Making Yusuf Kabira, Vesper’s former lover, a major character, effectively serving as the main henchman of the film · Changing Camille’s backstory. Instead of being a Bolivian agent she’s the daughter of the current Bolivian president and she’s has also been seduced by Kabira. Quantum’s plan is to expose the relationship between the President’s daughter and a foreign agent, thus creating a political scandal that will pre-empt a coup d’état by General Medrano. · We cut Dominic Greene and the Plot To Steal Bolivar’s Water entirely. We give most of Greene’s role to Mr White. · Finally, we are going to play up the whole Bond Versus the CIA thing. Lets try and use Jefferey Wright more and give Felix a bit of a redemption arc
The new plot
We are going to cut the opening car chase entirely and start with Bond driving into the Sienna safehouse having captured Mr White at the end of Casino Royale. Waiting inside the safehouse are M and another agent called Yusuf Kabira. Bond can greet Kabira saying something like “How was Bolivia?” and he replies with something witty like “Very stimulating”. The interrogation goes the same way as the original as Kabira is revealed to be a double agent and helps Mr White escape. Bond chases Kabira across the rooftops of Sienna. They can briefly fight but Kabira is able to escape. Cut to the opening title sequence. After the titles we see MI6 investigating Kabira’s London apartment. In a secret compartment they discovered files on Vesper Lynd including photos of Kabira and Vesper together. Bond is visibly shaken by this information and M asks him if Bond can be trusted to keep his feelings separate from his job. Bond assures M he will. He also suggests looking into Kabira’s recent mission in Bolivar. When they do, they discover that Kabira was having frequent meetings with a mysterious woman at a particular hotel and will soon meet her again. Kabira meets the mysterious woman, who we learn is called Camille, in the hotel in Santa Cruz, Boliva. The two are clearly lovers. They go to their room but are ambushed by Bond waiting for them there. We then basically get the scene from the end of Quantum of Solace where Bond reveals who Kabira is to Camille and shows her the necklace he gave to Vesper, identical to one Kabira’s given to Camille. Camille is obviously shocked by this revelation. At gunpoint Bond orders the two of them into a car to drive to an airfield where MI6 is waiting to arrest Kabira. In the car Kabira taunts Bond about Vesper. The car is soon stopped by members of the Bolivian military led by a General Medrano. Bond now finds himself being captured as he is separated from Kabira and Camille and taking to a different site. There he discovers Felix Leiter and several other CIA agents. Initially Bond is pleased to see an ally but quickly realises that Felix and the CIA are working with Medrano and Kabira. Leiter tries to justify himself saying that things are more complicated than they seem, and that MI6 has no business getting involved in Bolivia. He also reveals that Camille is the daughter of the Bolivian president. He pleads with Bond to go back to London and forget about what he has seen. Bond refuses and escapes leading to a chase between Bond and the CIA. Bond is able to make his way to the airfield where he leaves Bolivia, dejected after failing to capture Kabira and avenge Vesper. We then see Leiter meeting with White and Medrano. This pretty much resembles the scene from the original film where the CIA strikes a non-interference deal with the pair in exchange for the USA gaining access to Bolivian oil. After Leiter leaves, Medrano tells White that he has held up his end of the bargain and accuses White of unnecessarily delays. White argues that they need the support of the other partners of “his organisation” before they can go ahead, and Medrano replies that perhaps he should speak to White’s partners in person. MI6 discover that Medrano has booked a ticket to see an opera in Bregenz, Austria and Bond goes to investigate. We then get the scene from the original film where the leaders of Quantum have their meeting during the Opera. Medrano is also at the meeting and we hear the Quantum members give their assent to go ahead with Medrano and White’s plan to expose the relationship between Camille and Kabira (who will be presented as a British spy) thus creating a political scandal which will cause a crisis allowing Medrano to seize power. Afterwards Medrano will allow Quantum to take control of Bolivia’s oil fields. With Medrano is Camille who is clearly being held there against her will. When she excuses herself to go to the bathroom Medrano sends one of his men to watch her. Camille still attempts to escapes and Bond intervenes helping her but blowing his cover in the process and gets caught in a very public shoot out with Medrano’s men. Medrano and the other members of Quantum escape. We then cut to London where we see M getting a dressing down from the foreign secretary in the aftermath of the shooting in Austria. The foreign secretary tells M that the Prime Minister has bowed to American pressure and order that all MI6 operations in South America be terminated. With no choice M calls Bond and orders him to return to England but Bond of course refuses. M once again asks if his desire to get revenge on Kabira for Vesper’s death is affecting his decision-making. Bond hangs up. In a safehouse Bond and Camille watch as news of Camille’s relationship with Kabira makes international headlines and the crisis Medrano and White engineered begins to take shape. Bond and Camille open up to each other, with Bond hinting at his past with Vesper. They resolve to return to Bolivia and attempt to prevent Medrano’s coup d’état. Without MI6 aid Bond turns to Rene Mathis who, after being acquitted of being a double agent following Casino Royale, is living in retirement in the south of France. Mathis agrees to help them, and they use his private jet to fly to Bolivia. As they reach Bolivian airspace two American fighter jets begin tailing them, ordering them to land. Bond, Mathis and Rene agree that their only option is to abandon the plane only to learn there’s only one parachute onboard. Mathis tells Bond and Camille to escape while he leads the Americans away, sacrificing himself. Bond tries to protest. Mathis tells Bond that Vesper did love him. As Bond and Camille cling to each other with the parachute they see Mathis’ plane get shot down. Once they land, they make their way to Bolivia’s capital La Paz. Felix contacts Bond for a meeting, effectively offering a brief truce. Camille tells Bond its a trap, but Bond decides to go anyway. They meet in a bar and Bond is able to convince Felix that Medrano will betray the CIA and give Quantum access to the Bolivan oil fields. Felix tells Bond that they are currently being watched by other CIA agents and as soon as Bond leaves, they will try to kill him. Felix gives Bond a location to go to if he survives. Evading the American agents Bond goes to this location and discovers Felix has left him a file detailing the CIA’s involvement in the impending coup d’état. We then see tanks rolling into La Paz as the Medrano’s coup d’état begins. Medrano arrives at the state television station to announce his takeover. Bond and Camille race to the station to try to stop him. Fighting their way through Medrano’s men they are confronted by Kabira. Bond and Kabira get locked in a one-on-one shootout as Camille goes to take on Medrano alone. She finds the studio where Medrano is broadcasting the announcement of his new rule. His men have all left to stop Bond leaving Medrano all alone. Camille shoots Medrano and starts showing the Felix’s evidence of the CIA’s involvement. Mr White, watching this unfold, orders the broadcast be stopped by any means necessary. The tanks outside the television station suddenly begin firing on the building, reducing it to rubble. We cut back to Bond and Kabira who are now fighting hand-to-hand. As the building starts to collapse Kabira becomes trapped under falling debris. In desperation he reaches out to Bond. Bond holds out his hand, only to drop Vesper’s necklace in front of him. He leaves Kabira to die. Finding Camille, the two escape the collapsing television station. They go to the Bolivian Presidential Palace as the Bolivian military either retreats or surrenders around them. There Camille’s family is waiting. The two kiss before parting ways. Cut to a few weeks later Bond meets Leiter on the National Mall in Washington D.C. Leiter tells Bond that Mr White and the other members of Quantum have all gone underground and can’t be found. Bond asks Leiter if he’s been reprimanded for the whole Bolivian affair and Leiter replies he’s being sent on a dead-end assignment to San Monique. The two part as friends. As Felix leaves Bond receives a call from M about his next mission.
Working Wise or Wizardly Working: how magic items affect the world
Magic items. Objects imbued with magic in order to make them better, or even gain a completely different function. But apparently the only places they exist are in monster hoards and adventurers' backpacks. Realistically however, everyone wants things that are better at what they do. And eventually, people get what they want. Today i will go over some objects that are useful outside of the context of adventuring, as well as how they might change the world around them. I will not mention artifacts, since those are one-of-a-kind objects with pre-established locations, usage, etc. While the topic has always existed, Tasha's Cauldron has added a few interesting toys to our proverbial tool box, which makes this as good a time as any to take a look and Much like in the Spells and Society post, the rarer an item the more amazingly powerful it must be to be worthy of mention. Actually i recommend reading that post before this one. Since a lot of magic items just allow you to cast spells for free, knowing which spells alter the world gives a good idea of which items can do the same.
+1 tools. That's right, +1 tools. Not +1 weapons. Consider a guard. How much of his time is actually spent fighting? A minute every other day? That's not getting a lot of use out of his sword. Even a soldier spends weeks marching, or months guarding a fort, and then only fights for a few minutes or hours. Even if a guard has a superb weapon that doubles his combat effectiveness, it only makes him 1% or 2% better at being a guard. Given a choice of uncommon item, any guard and most soldiers would rather have a Weapon of Warning to prevent being backstabbed, ambushed or caught off-guard. Now consider a lumberjack or miner. They spend several hours a day hitting trees and rocks. An enchanted axe, saw or pickaxe would see continuous use in their hands. Not only that, magic items are also described as being "at least as durable as a nonmagical item of its kind. Most magic items, other than potions and scrolls, have resistance to all damage". This means the +1 pickaxe would be far, far more resilient to wear and tear than a mundane one, potentially being passed down for generations. And with your miners and lumberjacks being more efficient, you need less of them. Which in turn means you get to have more guards. Another noteworthy thing here is adamantine items. They deal automatic critical damage to objects and are much harder to destroy. In other words, they're great at chopping trees and ores, bending hot metal, cutting cloth, plowing a field, etc. All while having a fraction of the wear and tear. Bags of Holding, Handy Haversacks and Portable Holes. AKA your transporty boyes. The bag of holding is an old favorite among players, and the reason is obvious: it has a million uses. Most adventurers use it for carrying all their junk. The bad guys in the original Baldurs Gate game used bags of holding to smuggle whole shipments to and from their iron mine base with just one guy. One of my players once put a huge boulder in it, then flew up and dropped the boulder on an enemy transport ship. And let us not forget the classic Arrowhead of Total Destruction. All of these are perfectly valid uses. Smuggling a small object is easier than smuggling a large object. Dropping huge objects from a high place turns anything that flies into a siege weapon. And the Arrowhead, while expensive, can deal with very large threats that could level a city. But honestly, every merchant is a smuggler at heart. After all, as long as brigands roam the roads, there will always be a need to hide your valuables in an extraplanar space small enough to fit any orifice. Not only that, the bag allows you to dump a cart entirely and just ride to your destination much faster (and therefore, more safely). Of course not every merchant can afford a bag of holding, so this brings about an interesting topic of inequality in your campaign. Some merchants can go from A to B faster and more safely on a horse, while the majority must go with a bull-drawn cart that is slow and vulnerable. And bags of holding don't even require attunement, so once you have one and your income soars you can get another, and another... Its a serious rich-get-richer situation, and you risk running all the mundane merchants out of business. Broom of Flying. I'm gonna start this one with saying that brooms of flying and carpets of flying are overpowered. They are consistently better than items of similar rarity that provide the same benefit, like boots and wings of flying. The reason here is, in my humble opinion, the same reason why Fireball deals more damage than any 3rd level spell and most 5th level ones: its iconic. As for the item itself, its pretty much a permanent flying speed of 50 while carrying up to 200lbs, or 30ft. speed while carrying 201-400lbs. Its a deliveryboy's dream... except not. You see, the broom of flying isn't just a hoverbike, its also a drone. You say the command word, and it flies up to a mile a way. Say it again, it comes back. In other words, the crazy wizard in his tower can just tie some money and a note on the broom and send it to a shop, then call it back once the shopkeeper has tied the groceries to it. Poor delivery boy just lost his job. But wait, there's more! If the broom can fly on its own, can it plow a field? Can it spin an "animal" traction mill? The answer is: yes. But there's no reason to use magic where a common animal would do, unless its a crazy high magic setting or something. Decanter of Endless Water I think anyone can see how infinite water is broken as fuck. But that's not all. By speaking the command word and pulling the lid, you can cause 30 gallons (136.4 litres) of water to pour out with enough force to push a 200 pound object 15 feet. This action can be repeated every turn (6 seconds), since a decanter of endless water has no limit on how often it can be used. So a decanter is not just infinite water, but also infinite energy provided you have enough technology to build a mill. Even more energy if you activate the decanter in a high place and use gravity to give those 30 gallons even more potential. Do keep in mind however that in 5e there must be someone using their action to activate it every turn. In previous editions however one could leave the decanter open and it would pour water constantly. Hat of Disguise This wee cap is not game-breaking for its great usefulness, but rather for its ability to fuck the world up. Any charlatan with a Hat of Disguise can walk into a bank, guild, ship, etc. and pretend to be anyone. Sure it doesn't happen often, but when it happens the crime spree is enormous. And while there are ways to work around disguised criminals, the fact people have to work around it is an issue in and of itself. Societies based on trust pretty much can't function. Does everyone sign everything? Do people start using IDs? Do organizations start using items or employing animals that can see through illusions? Is there an industry for door frames that detect illusions? Even without the hat, Disguise Self is still a 1st level spell. Yet somehow the sourcebooks have no mention of how the world might adapt to the idea that you can't trust people to be who they seem to be. And if anyone with access to 1st-level spells can walk up to the king without difficulties, you wont have kings for long. Ring of Mind Shielding A great item, if you're an asshole. Keeps people from sensing your evil alignment, keeps them from reading your evil thoughts, keeps pesky zones of truth from sensing your lies, and it even makes itself invisible so nobody can notice you're wearing the "i am evil" ring. It even keeps your immortal soul from going into eternal damnation! One thing i always think of soul-trapping items is that they're a good way for evil people to avoid the afterlife. If you're good, you want to go to Celestia, Elysium, Arborea or Ysgard. Yet if you're evil, being stuck in a ring and talking to its wearer might be better than Baator, Carceri or the Abyss. Sending Stones Another classic, unfortunately the stones were nerfed and now can only Send to each other once a day. Still, long range communication is nothing to scoff at. And while hiring someone to Send for you is cheaper, the stones provide more privacy and can be sent to far off corners of the world where you can't afford to station a caster full time. Expect each mayor or baron to have one of these, while someone in the capital answers their "calls". Something of a royal secretary if you will. While magic items are expensive, shaving days off of your disaster response time can be the difference between having a kingdom and having ruins.
Bag of Beans An often overlooked item, the BoB is crazy powerful. It has 3d4 beans, each of which can trigger a random effect. Notably they have a 10% chance of creating a random potion that lasts 30 days, a 10% chance of creating 1d4+3 eggs that can permanently raise an attribute by 1, a 9% chance of spawning a full on pyramid with a mummy lord and appropriate loot, and a 1% chance of leading anywhere. Why bother with tomes when you can get twice as many stats from a bag of beans? Helm of Teleportation. 1d3 castings of Teleport every day, plain and simple. That means 9 people can travel about 14 times in a week. That's a lot of potential trading to be had for sure, but why stop there? Say your kingdom spent tons of time and money training and equipping an elite unit. You wouldn't want them to spend 80% of their time on the road and 20% solving issues right? One rare item can make your 9-men unit five times more efficient. Adventurers are in much the same boat: small group, lots of capital invested into their gear and training, yet they somehow spend most of their time going back and forth between adventures (until level 9 if they have a bard, sorcerer or wizard in the party, past 9 if they don't). It honestly amazes me that the Helm of Teleportation is not listed more often as a must-have party item. Manuals/Tomes For those unaware: there are 3 manuals and 3 tomes in the game, each increases an attribute by 2 when used and then loses its magic for 100 years. The #1 item on any adventurer's to-get list, the existence of the tomes raises far more questions than answers. Who makes these? Why are they not mass produced? Can i get a magically accelerated demiplane, throw the books in and recharge them in a fraction of the time? Why do people not abuse the f*** out of them? And when i mean abuse, i mean make smart use of them. Say a kingdom has, over the course of generations, acquired 5 or so tomes. Then the ruler reads them and becomes super smart/wise/popular. That sounds like the sort of thing that would make the whole realm prosper. Do it on an elven/dwarven kingdom and the ruler can read his tomes multiple times, granting him a godlike mind. And that's without considering the idea of immortals. Or even high level druids. Any lich or vampire could become insanely powerful, not only from being able to use each tome a dozen times, but also from having eons to look for more or even craft them. One thing i really like about tomes is watching the party decide what to do with them after spending the magic. Do they auction the books? Trade with some elf for favors? Give it to a friendly vampire?
Candle of Invocation For 4 hours clerics and druid of the proper alignment within 30ft can cast 1st level spells without using spell slots. In other words, crazy amounts of healing. Pop one after a battle and in a few minutes your whole army will be ready for more. Or pop it during a battle, and have the Healing Word the crap out of your troops from a safe-ish distance. Carpet of flying, Peregrine Mask Carpets of flying function much like brooms of flying, except they are faster or carry more weight (depending on size). They would be a strict upgrade, except they lack the drone function the broom has. A peregrine mask provides a flying speed of 60, but has no carrying capacity. That means if you have a Powerful Build or a similar feature it can actually carry more than the carpets. Cauldron of Rebirth If there's one thing Tasha's Cauldron has brought us, its this cauldron. It has some minor uses for scrying making potions, but here's the deal breaker: you put a corpse in the cauldron, fill it with 10gp worth of salt (200lbs.) and it casts Raise Dead on the creature. Resurrection normally costs 500gp. worth of diamonds. With the cauldron it costs 10gp worth of salt. Sure there's a one week cooldown, but who cares? I see two scenarios here: either a resurrection every week is more than the local demand, or less than the local demand. If its more than the demand, that means everyone who dies of unnatural causes and has 10gp to spare gets resurrected. If its less than the demand, that means you're raising one person every 7 days. Depending on how high the demand is you could be making as much as 500gp a week, or 26k a year. Considering that the DMG says a Very Rare magic item costs 10.000-50.000 gold, the cauldron can pay for itself in under two years. Even if the math is way off for some reason, it is still crazy strong. Honestly, this should be an artifact. Or at least have some heavy downside. The idea that someone over at Wizards of the Coast read this and said "Ah yes, 10gp resurrection, perfectly fine" simply boggles the mind. Crystalline Chronicle Speaking of items that make things cheap, 1d3 times a day this spellbook allows you to cast a wizard spell without material components of up to 100gp. That means two spells on average, so let's take a look at a few good options: Continual Flame, Magic Circle (exactly 100!), Stoneskin (100!), Teleportation Circle and Astral Projection. The ones that stand out here are Continual Flame and Teleportation Circle. Both cost 50 and have a huge demand in the world. Where a permanent TP circle would normally consume 18.250gp worth of materials over a year, it will now cost nothing.
Staff of the Magi This is, i think, the most powerful item in the game. Has a bunch of charges, yadda yadda, here's the important part:
When someone else casts a spell on you, you can use a reaction to absorb the spell. The staff then gains charges equal to the level of the spell it just ate.
It can cast Plane Shift for 7 charges.
This means on an average day you get 16 charges, or two Plane Shifts, from the natural charge generation. But what if you could have someone cast spells on you without spending spell slots? There are several monsters who can cast spells at will, too many to list. But there are also a few ways for players to do it. The first that comes to mind is the level 18 Wizard feature Spell Mastery, allowing any 2nd level spell. There's also the level 15 invocation Shroud of Shadow that allows infinite casts of Invisibility. Either case allows a duo to have infinite Plane Shifts a day, which is really powerful. As usual, trade comes to mind. But with infinite charges you might as well start a tourism agency or a hotel and/or casino that brings in people from all planes. Yet what few people realize is that Plane Shift can be used offensively in order to permanently banish anyone to any plane. Infinite save-or-die effects. You could also just settle for a fuckton of Shifts instead of infinite, and use a warlock or four-elements monk to convert their short rest resources into charges for the staff. Now think of the possibilities and plot hooks. Mad king banishing dissidents, Red Queen style. Alternative death sentence. A high level wizard/warlock stranded somewhere because the guy who was attuned to the staff died or got separated from him. Random archdemon bringing an army to the Material Plane a couple demons a minute.
These are items i left out, but which i will get yelled at in the comments if i "forget" about them. Anything that creates energy The truth is that a lot of magic items can do that. Fire for heating things, wind or water for pushing things, etc. For an energy source to be noteworthy it has to provide a considerable amount of continuous energy, without charges or daily limitations. Otherwise you might as well just use a regular water mill or a bull. Alchemy Jug (uncommon) It creates an amount of a liquid (beer, honey, etc) every day. It does nothing that cannot be done by an amount of workers, and for it to be world-altering we'd have to go into a lengthy math argument of how many labor hours of a bee farmer are needed to make a gallon of honey, and how that compares to the initial investment of hiring a wizard to make the item. As a general rule, if something can be done mundanely it will be done mundanely. Let the casters focus on stuff where they have an infinite comparative advantage, like flying stuff, teleportation, resurrection, etc. Cap of Water Breathing (uncommon) It allows you to breathe underwater indefinitely. Can be great if you have important stuff to do underwater, and might enable interaction with sentient water folk. But in and of itself, not a world-altering item. Horseshoes of Speed (rare) Essentially +30 speed for hooved creatures, without requiring attunement. Honestly this item does not really fit this list, but i just thought the idea of pegasi flying real fast with these was worth mentioning. Sure a helm of teleportation outclasses it entirely for travel, but that's not useful in combat. And i really want to play a centaur monk with these some day. Unfortunately the item description specifically says you have to have four equipped to benefit, so don't even think about it you satyrs and tieflings out there. Lyre of Building (rare) At a glance this looks like a regular magic items, with nothing too weird about it. Until you look at its spell selection and notice you can cast them as an action. Mending normally takes a minute to cast, with the lyre its an action, and you can do it at will even without knowing the spell. Fabricate takes ten minutes to cast, with the lyre its an action. That means once a day you can turn the ground under an enemy into a spiky cage, his sword into sword parts, etc. Until the lyre came about the only way to instantly cast fabricate was with a Wish, and that is a pretty good combat use of the 9th level spell.
To be quite frank, a lot of these item uses are a little niche and wont work in every setting. Then again, that that is never the goal with these posts. I hope i have provided you with at least a few interesting plot hooks and other crazy ideas, whether to amaze your players or ruin your DM's plans.
 There is a notable exception however. If your kingdom has a group dedicated to fighting monsters, some of which are resistant to nonmagic damage, then those guys should be prioritized. Not only does the +1 weapon double their damage output in this scenario, it also prevents your kingdom from losing special soldiers that are very expensive to train and replace.  Stuff like constant abuse of Decanters of Endless Water are why in my setting there is a doomsayer cult that believes the world will be flooded some day. As they say it, every time someone activates a decanter, magically creates water, creates food and water, opens a portal to the Plane of Water, etc; the amount of water in the world rises just a bit. Given enough time, everything will be flooded by it. Unless someone like, puts a Sphere of Annihilation by the shore or something. But nobody said the cult has to be right.  The bag has 3d4 beans. Each bean has a 10% chance of spawning 1d4+3 eggs. That means 7.5*0.1*5.5 = 4.125 raised stats, on average. Sure I'm assuming you'll pass the DC20 save every time, but with proper preparation its quite doable. Be near a paladin, get bardicly inspired, have someone cast Resistance, find ways to reroll a failed save, etc. Since the eggs last forever, you have all the time in the world to stack the saving throw in your favor. Or just use Portents.  The mummy lord could have anything, even another bag of beans!  Someone will say "but what about the chance of going off target? What if nobody has teleportation circles?" To that person i say: associated object. Get a pebble every time you're in a region, and you wont need a circle. Buy a bit of silk and you can teleport to any place along the silk road. Buy a used horseshoe and you can go all over the country. Now I'm just imagining this badass-looking special-ops soldier, clad in the finest plate, wielding a blazing blade, his cloak cackling thunder... and with a rusty-ass horseshoe tied to his helmet.  And thus is born the legend of Swolomon the Buff. He was once a base vampire, who got stuck in a tomb for 4000 years with nothing but a Manual of Bodily Health and a Manual of Gainly Exercise. Now he's... selling supplements or something.  See On Spells and Society linked at the top for why there's a near infinite demand for Continual Flame.  You can even make two circles at a time, but there's some math about it. You have 3 charges, use 2, so you should always be with one to spare. Until you roll a 1 on the d3, and then its gone. After that whenever you roll a 1 without first rolling a 3 you'll have to pay the 50gp or let the circle go to waste. In other words, you'd be paying roughly 1/6 of the regular cost.
Rise of Hellion ch13 ( Barry Pepper fanart fiction inspiration)
Rise of Hellion ch13 ( Barry Pepper fanart fiction inspiration) previous: https://www.reddit.com/BarryPeppecomments/koihsy/rise_of_hellion_ch12_barry_pepper_fanart_fiction/ The flight touched down, under the early morning sky. I could practically taste the Cinnabon frosting. It had been over a decade since I’d been on an airplane but I loved hanging around the terminals for the delicious overpriced food. Baron placed his hand upon my shoulder. “What happens in Jersey stays in Jersey,” he said with a laugh. “I thought you’d be bitter.” I leaned on his shoulder as we waited for the seatbelt light to turn off. “You thought I’d be bitter about flying as a passenger instead of a pilot?” Baron shrugged, as he stretched his arms over his head. “I’ve always loved Alaska Airlines. And if I was flying the plane, I wouldn’t have been able to spend time with this little guy.” He tickled little Abby’s chubby arm causing the baby to smile. “I can’t disagree.” In the weeks following our arrival at Dr. Toki’s DC bunker, Baron grew close to my son. The three of us shared a room; two cots on the floor with a padded plastic box for the baby. Like all babies little Abby cried; for food, diaper changes, or just out of loneliness. Nine out of ten times, I would awaken to find Baron holding my son. Sometimes he’d walk around the small room, other times he would sit cross-legged on his bed, but every night was a different story about Noah. I learned things I knew I was never meant to know about. In the years they spent traveling the world as renowned criminal masterminds, Noah and Baron had become more than friends. They fell in love. “You daddy was the greatest person I ever knew,” Baron often said as he rocked my son in his arms. “He was the last person I ever truly loved.” I listened as Baron, by the light of the moon, told my infant son stories about his many adventures with Noah and Nash. Some boarded on the obscene; drugs, weapons trafficking, and all manner of sex. He never outright said they were lovers, only that they trusted each other with their mind body and soul. “It tears me up inside knowing he’s gone. I know this is all my fault, his blood is on my hands. We should have died together. Noah died the way he lived; with honor and integrity. But then I never would have met you.” That was how I knew Baron could be trusted; he loved Abby with every fiber of his soul. “Yo, Nicki,” Baron said, tapping my arm. “The plane’s empty, time to go.” “Oh,” I took a quick breath, forcing myself back to reality. Baron grabbed our one piece of luggage, a plain black backpack with a limited number of supplies. Axel had passed it along to us before going through security, so I had to assume it contained no weapons. We walked down the corridor to the gate at Atlantic City international airport. “Can I hold the bag?” I asked, since he was already holding the baby. “Sure.” Baron took off the straps and tossed me the bag. It was lighter than I thought it would be. Inside was a lot of fabric; some rolled, some folded and some pieces were clearly hiding items made of plastic or metal. I figured I shouldn’t be examining its contents right away but with the chill of the airport I wanted to see if there were any extra clothes for my baby. No, Abby was our baby. Seeing Baron holding the child in his arms, all I could feel was love. “Oh look!” I fished out a blue, baby t-shirt with a happy dolphin. “Let’s put it on him!” Baron did as I asked, maneuvering Abby’s wiggly little body. With his fresh new shirt, he looked like a cute little tourist baby. In fact, we looked like a typical vacationing couple traveling with their newborn. I knew that Axel and Dr. Toki were monitoring us from the safety and comfort of an unmarked medevac vehicle somewhere within a six-mile radius. Ideally, they would follow us, observe from a distance. If and when we found Tony, we could get the hell out (to the nearest TAC bunker.) Until then Baron and I were to look for clues along the boardwalk. “Should we get a hotel room?” I asked. “Certain military leaders didn’t give us any money, so unless you have a credit card?” “I could probably pick pocket one.” “Way to blow our cover,” he said with a laugh. “Nah, we can deal with the issue of housing when we need to. With any luck Axel and Dr. Toki have plans to get us out, so we don’t have to sleep on the streets with a baby.” We walked a further, to the land of sun, sand and casinos, stopping to rest on a bench. “Let’s see what’s in the bag.” There were more shirts, pants, a few flattened bottles to collect water, or maybe even breastmilk. I placed each of the items neatly on my lap, hoping that I would not miss anything important. However, in the end, the only item of importance was a package of baby wipes. There wasn’t even any diapers. I had to assume, if I needed to change my baby, I was meant to use the extra clothing. (Same for first aid, due to lack of bandages.) “You really don’t have any money?” “We can always shoplift,” Baron said cheerfully as he tossed the baby in the air. Abby squealed with joy. I could feel my heart flutter with joy. “That’s the New Jersey spirit!” “There has to be a Walgreens around here someplace.” We easily found a corner store with the iconic red signage. Baron picked up a basket and headed to the food section; packaged drinks, dried cereal, candy, etc. “What do you think happened to Anya?” I asked, following close. “Since you’re the last person who saw her.” “She’s going after Axel,” he answered casually. “And you’re ok with that?” “It’s her deal, her quest or whatever.” “Or whatever?” I asked. His tone was really starting to piss me off. Axel was my friend, a human being. But so was Anya. And that was why my soul was being torn in half. “Anya’s going to do what she has to do but for the sake of all of us she’s going to act alone. That way the blood will be only on her hands.” I saw his point. If and when the time came, we were under no obligation to choose sides. “How thoughtful.” “You need any diapers?” Baron asked. He was holding an open package of men’s shaving razors. Grabbing a single replacement head, Baron somehow managed to break the plastic apart without wounding his fingertips. I assumed he was going to cut open a package. “No, I’m good. He has on a cloth diaper and I have enough supplies to make an extra. But I could use some soap.” I grabbed a package of off brand bar soap with an image of a happy Asian baby. Ideally, I could use this for washing both skin and clothing. After easily leaving the store with everything we needed, we ran in the direction of the beach, hoping to get lost in the crowds. Suddenly out of nowhere the sky darkened and the clouds swelled with rain. The storm came down hard and fast, transforming from freezing rain, to pin-sized hail. In the distance there seemed to be a homeless encampment. Without any words spoken, we both knew to make a run for it. The tent city consisted of a series of tarps connecting individual homes. There were a few spots that had people huddled around campfires. Men, women and children sat wrapped in dirty, wet blankets, as they struggled to stay warm. Not wanting to take any of their limited resources we walked until we found a sparse area with just a tarp surrounded by barrels and broken pallets. The space was just enough for Baron and I to sleep side by side, resting the baby on his chest. “Here,” he said, sliding the backpack in my direction. “You can use the bag as a pillow.” “Thanks.” Unable to comfortably sleep I found myself staring up at the blue tarp. As my mind started to float away my mouth spewed out the words that I thought I’d never say. “What happened between you and Noah?” “What do you mean?” Baron asked in a whisper. He knew perfectly well what I meant. “Feng told me he gave Noah the same opportunities he gave you. Yet somehow you ended up as his right-hand man with full access to his arsenal of weapons guns and even his appointment book.” Baron swallowed a lump in his throat. “Your point?” “Why didn’t you convince Noah to come with you?” Baron went silent. He held the baby close, shivering. “You don’t think I tried?” He blinked tears from his eyes. If he’d been angry, I would have continued the conversation; I would have wanted to know why he had the right to mourn the father of my child. But Baron wasn’t angry, he was in pain. “I think we should get some sleep.” “Yeah, totally.” I knew better then to try to ask for my son back. Abby was an emotional support baby and Baron needed him more. I made myself comfortable on my bed of plastic and leaves, pulling the tarp over my body for warmth. “Good night.” There was a moment of silence before we were awoken by Abby’s cries. Baron sat up, rocking the small baby, attempting to keep him warm. “I think he’s hungry.” “Give him here.” I had gotten better at breastfeeding, but with how cold it was I would have preferred to keep as covered as possible. “Can you help me with my tarp-blanket?” “Sure.” Baron helped cover my body, allowing the baby warmth and privacy. “Thanks.” I looked at Baron with genuine love in my heart. “Thank you for being my friend.” I couldn’t stop the tears from falling, mixing with the freezing cold rain. “Thank you for everything.” Baron blinked tears from his own eyes as he crossed his arms over his chest. “You really want to know what happened to Noah?” “Yeah, I do.” I looked down at Abby, who opened his eyes as he nursed. He had Noah’s courage and strength. “I can still remember that night. Even if it was for just a moment, I felt like I had friends, a real connection. That was never something that came easy for me.” Not that it mattered. It was yet another fleeting moment of happiness in my shit-show of a life. Baron lowered his shirt, revealing his upper chest. “Feng gave me an augmentation; I have an inorganic core made of some kind of plasma. I used to think it was radioactive but I have reason to believe it was created as a means of unlimited projectiles.” “And it keeps you warm?” That explained why Abby loved being held by him. “Well, the power came with a complimentary suit of armor that allowed me to be the perfect little henchman.” “You mean body guard?” Baron shrugged. “I assumed that was Feng’s original plan.” I swallowed the lump in my throat, mentally preparing for the worst. “And Noah?” “He wasn’t down for it. The only reason he surrendered to Kitsune was to allow you and Anya time to flee.” “Oh.” I felt like my heart stopped. I should have realized it from the beginning; that was the only reason we were allowed to live, because Noah truly loved me. “We were turned over to Feng. I could only assume she thought Feng had the ability to extract Noah’s mind; his intellect, his secrets. But he didn’t. Feng needed Noah to volunteer information.” Baron paused, blinking tears from his eyes. “That was the difference between us. My most valuable asset was my combat ability, maybe my strategy skills. All I had to do was pledge my loyalty, and wear the armor, to gain Feng’s trust. For Noah, that was asking too much. His mind contained secrets that could change the world; info that could never and would never fall in to the hands of tyrannical psychopaths.” “And that’s why he had to die.” Since I was finished breastfeeding, I handed the now happy, content infant back to Baron. “Although if it was up to Feng (and it was) well, you’ve seen his set up.” “Yeah,” I said with a nod. “I’m going to see that until the day I die.” “All of his prized victims are kept alive, conscious as their forced to exist as hood ornaments. Feng wanted them to suffer for all eternity, or until their brains turn to pea soup.” “Now I have a craving for split pea soup.” We laughed through our tears. In truth, I couldn’t close my eyes without seeing Noah’s remains. “You hungry?” Baron dug in his pocket, producing a smashed-up Snicker’s bar. “We can split it.” With food in our stomachs, we fell asleep to the sound of calming rain. For the first time since he’d been born, I had a vision of my son as a full-grown man. The sound of rain grew louder, gradually transforming to gunfire. I awoke in what appeared to be a WW2 battle scene. Thankfully I was transparent; bullets passed through me like a virtual reality game, and the area around me felt comfortably warm despite the fact I was standing in snow. In the distance I could see a man leaning on a tree. Eyes closed, he held a cross in his hand. I watched as he kissed the rosary pendent and said a simple prayer. “Blessed be the Lord my strength, which teaches my hands to war, and my fingers to fight.” As I came closer, I could see he was gripping his shoulder while doubled over in pain. That raised the question: why was he reciting the prayer of a sharpshooter? He moved his hand to his waist, slowly retrieving a pistol. “My goodness and my fortress.” He held the gun under his chin, cocking the barrel to his throat. “My high tower and my deliverer. My shield, and he in whom I trust.” “No!” The sound came from behind me. I turned to see a figure wearing pink-purple armor. It was in the same style as what Baron wore. And he or she wasn’t running, they were flying. “Abby!” A female voice cried. I followed as fast as I could, as she rushed to the man’s side. “Lieutenant?” The man muttered, coughing up blood. I now had a good view of his face. It was my son and he was dying. Before I could reach out my hand, the armored woman flew through me. She fell to her knees, ripping off her helmet to reveal a young Hispanic face framed by lots of curly black hair. “Abby, Sir, I’m here. It’s going to be ok.” She pursed her lips, smiling at him, through visible tears. Abaddon lowered his weapon. “You need to flee.” With trembling fingers, he lifted his free hand to cup her face. It was obvious that leaving was the last thing he wanted. “This is a battle we cannot win.” “Not alone, Sir,” the soldier replied with confidence. Why was she calling him Sir? I could barely make out a patch on his arm. It was possible he was an officer. The young woman lifted his arm, adjusting him over her shoulder. “I’m not leaving you behind. The nearest medic station is about six kilometers south of here. We can make it.” Before he could reply, she lifted his broken body in her arms, flying off into the night. The world started to spin as the scene changed. We were now in a poorly lit underground hospital. I could tell it was underground since every few seconds the room shook with the sound of gunfire and other (louder, more violent) explosions. Abby was laying on a cot with his bare chest exposed. He had several fresh bullet wounds, as well as deep scars. The woman was by his side, having taken off her armor she rested her head by his shoulder, holding his hand. “Why do you call me by my rank?” “What should I call you?” “My name is Sundra, but my friends call me Sunny.” “Is that because you sparkle like sunshine?” he asked with a subtle smile. Abby moved his free hand to her cheek, brushing a lock of hair behind her ear. “You don’t have to stay, Sunny.” “I want to stay. Call it my street gang code of honor; a little something, I picked up from my grandma.” She turned her wrist to reveal a tattoo. It was a stylized diamond with the words, ‘Lucy in the sky.’ Sunny started to softly hum the melody of the famous rock song. “Lucy in the sky with diamonds. Sorry, the title is the only part I know.” She kissed Abby on the forehead. “My papa’s name was Denny. He was the first of my family line born in America. You really remind me of him.” A gang member named Lucy with a son named Denny? That couldn’t be a coincidence. I moved closer, to get a better look at her face. She kissed Abby down his nose to his lips. There were tears in his eyes. “I’ll never forget you.” Sunny turned, briefly glancing in my direction. “Do you think she’s here, in the room?” “I know she is,” Abby replied, looking up at the ceiling. “Even as a child, I could always feel my mother’s spirit watching over me.” “Can she hear us?” Sunny asked, still looking in my path but not actually at me. “If the calculations and the technology are correct.” “Do you think she can save us?” Her large, emotional eyes, blinked back tears. With every blink she started to disappear, vanishing from reality like a spirit lost to time. When Sunny was completely gone, all that was left was my adult son. His arms were wrapped around the empty space. All around me I could hear sobbing. I assumed this meant I was going to wake up. My baby son was probably crying for food or maybe because of the cold: but I was going to wake up. Right? I wanted so badly to wake up. Wake up! Wake up! I felt a sharp pain. I awoke with a jolt under the tarp, to the collapsing of our little shelter. Touching my hip, I felt blood and splinters. All around me all I could see was tarp. I wanted to scream. Where was my son? Where was Baron? I needed to calm down; breathe, just breathe. I opened my hands, placing them palms down as if I was going to attempt a snow angel. There was a secret, a lock. There had to be. I felt a strange crack in the pavement. Digging my fingertips in, the piece seemed to transform into a handle (or a lever.) Even if it was just a hand hold, it would be my ticket out of the tarp since I could use it to keep myself grounded in place (as opposed to flopping around like a dying fish.) Turns out, it was a handle. I found myself falling down a slide. At the bottom I finally managed to get free of the tarp. Baron was sitting in a dark corner with a finger to his lips. “Shh, follow me. This is a mezzanine level.” He motioned towards what looked like a second series of tunnels. “I’m not sure how deep it goes. We’re not going to slide: we’re going to crawl. I’ll go first and you follow close. Do not lose sight of me. Understand?” “Are you holding the baby?” Baron nodded. “If shit goes bad, I want you to find my body. I’ll protect him with everything I have.” I knew what he meant, and trusted him fully, but I was still afraid. “You’re a better fighter than me.” “Yeah, that’s why I’m going to hold the baby.” “Ok.” Baron and I snuck down the tunnels, we emerged in an underground factory facility. “What is this place?” “Trash processing facility,” Baron replied. “You head left I’ll head right.” “Sure, I guess.” I went left until I saw what appeared to be a light source. I passed between several cargo boxes, emerging in an open area. There was a series of large vats, bubbling with hot oil or (more likely) acid. “Acid?” I had never seen acid before but the scene looked like something out of a comic book. “It is acid,” said a voice from a nearby balcony. “the typical use is to process heavy metals and other non-recyclable materials.” “Faust?” I couldn’t actually see his location. “Today we’re disposing of inorganic material of a different kind.” He hit a button causing a limp body to start to descend. It was clearly Tony, but I couldn’t tell if he was even alive. “Are you willing to make a deal; trade his life for the contents of the battery?” “I don’t even know if the copy I have is real.” And there was also the fact that the infamous flash drive was in a van, in the care of Axel and Dr. Toki. “The one that Baron put on the dark web? Trust me it’s the real deal.” “So, what’s on it?” I blurted out the words, although I wasn’t expecting any kind of logical answer. The man snickered. “Does it matter?” “Yeah, kind of.” “Look, do you want to know my entire evil plan or will you be a good girl and save your beloved boyfriend’s life?” I looked over at Tony. I had no way of helping him. If he was still alive, he was more then capable of saving himself. I had to believe that. “Is it time travel?” “What?” Faust asked with a laugh. “Seriously, what did you just say?” With a flash of light, Faust teleported, placing himself in front of me. He stood tall, in a tailored suit, staring me down with his creepy metallic eyes. “Answer me, little girl.” Why did he look so much like the adult version of my son? Because he was a shape shifter? Or was there something else? “Time travel?” The once stern man cracked a smile. “Time travel is the stuff of movies and fairytales. The contents of the battery will bring this world to its knees.” “Yeah, I’ve heard.” I blinked my eyes as the pieces fell into place. There was a reason why my son had been able to communicate with me so clearly through dreams. “Selective telepathic time travel.” Faust was no longer smiling. “Would you prefer that power fall to the hands of Kitsune? She and her brother, they’d use it to cause a gang war; an apocalypse of weapons and drugs. You wouldn’t want that blood on your hands.” We he seriously trying to appeal to my humanity? “What about you? What’s your plan, to go back in time to give Hitler a migraine?” I knew what his plan was. Or at least I think I did. There was something about Lucy or maybe Denny. What I knew for certain was that the final goal was Sunny; her existence held the key. “You’re not alone, are you? Such a pity.” Faust teleported off, in a blast of blue light. I already knew where he was going and there was nothing I could do. Faust landed on top of Baron as he attempted to free Tony’s body. Both men were knocked in to the acid. There was no sound; no screams, or even cries. Where was my baby? Faust teleported in front of me, holding my son in his arms. “You might not have been willing to save your boyfriend, but perhaps you will be willing to trade for your child.” My back hurt, my arms hurt and my head was pounding, but I ran straight at him, charging like a football player going in for a tackle. I was blinded by a familiar blue light. We had teleported, but to where? I could hear Abby crying. He was alive and that’s all that mattered. I blinked my eyes once then twice. “Fire?”
OOC: Below are all the published chapters of Sandman: Homecoming, for your convenience. Enjoy! Chapter 1 - The Forgemaster's Assistant Chapter 2 - The Shelf Cloud Chapter 3 - The Birthday Present Chapter 4 - The Old and the New Chapter 5 - The Son of Phobetor Chapter 6 - The Guilty and the Innocent Chapter 7 - The Son of Phantasos I felt bad leaving Camp without much an explanation to my friends, but it was like Brandon said. Sometimes people just leave Camp. I guess I understood what he meant now. “Last stop, Manhattan station. Everybody out!” I got off the bus, my now expired, expensive, one-way ticket shoved in the pocket of my signature jacket as I hopped down onto the concrete, muscling through some of the adults that had been on the trip into the city with me. My backpack, the one with the wings, was in my hand, and my Plate of Medusa was on over my shirt and jeans, but none of the passengers seemed to give me much of a glance. My dream-catcher key-chain was shoved into my pocket too. All that was left was- “That’s one hell of a frisbee, son,” the attendant said, a short, round man with a dark combover style haircut. He wore glasses that made his eyes look larger than fishbowls. He’d been unpacking the bus for the passengers, and was now holding the shield that Jay had given to me, which I took and slung over my shoulder. He continued. “And you’re wearing a… bullet-proof vest, too?” “Competitive frisbee is pretty hard,” I said simply. “You’re damn right it’s hard,” he said, a smile now adorning his face. “Don’t let anyone tell you that’s not a sport to be proud of. Go get ‘em, son!” “Thanks, have a nice day!” I waved at him, then I made my way through the terminal and into the greater city of Manhattan. I’d seen a bit of it from the bus window while riding over the bridge, but it was different up close. I’d been so used to the Greek and cozy architecture of Camp Half-Blood that I’d almost forgotten about the skyscrapers and city streets beyond the Camp’s forcefield border. They looked a lot different now then they did during the Cull, when streets were nearly flooded with blood. I wondered just how many monsters lurked around the corner, waiting to eat me when I found myself alone. I shifted my dream-catcher key-chain out from my pocket and into my hand. I got directions to The Henrietta and made my way across the city, crossing every corner thinking it would be my last. When nothing happened, and I made it to the lobby of the Henrietta, I found myself faced with a new concern. The lobby alone looked like something out of a King’s castle, with chandeliers made of more glittering jewels than I’d seen in my entire life. Rich people in fur coats came and went with bellboys following them like shadows, carrying loads of equipment I figured even the Heracles kids back at Camp would have had a hard time with. The adults, all dressed to the nines, gave me some pretty sour looks. No doubt I looked a bit shaggy, and I got the feeling that your average thirteen year old wasn’t even allowed in the lobby of a place like The Henrietta. Was I sure this was the place Albert had wanted me to meet him at? I fished around for money in my pocket, pulling out a few crumpled twenty dollar bills and some drachma in change, coins I doubted would do me much in the way of favours at the front desk. The man there stared me down like I was a stray dog. He was tall and thin, with white hair kept perfectly clean and suave. He had a pencil thin mustache of the same colour, and a fed up expression. I imagined dealing with rich people all day didn’t make you very accommodating. “Your business.” The thin man was talking to me, leaning over the pristine counter lined with gold and red velvet. “Are you here to sell... chocolates, perhaps? One of the local school donations?” “Uh, no,” I said, wondering what he saw when he looked at me, carrying a shield on my back, and a linothorax over my clothes. “I’m… uh, well, I’m meeting a friend, here.” “I highly doubt that,” the man said, rolling his eyes as he went back to his computer terminal. He didn’t seem in the mood for any further conversation. “Run along now, street rat. I’ll call security if you’ve forgotten where the exit is.” “No, that’s fine,” I said. “I can make my way out.” “Perfect. Leave please.” “Right,” I said. I felt embarrassed. Clearly this wasn’t the right place. I turned to leave, but my suspicions were proven false by the figure that now stood in the threshold of the sliding glass doors of the Henrietta. He was almost taller in person, I thought, but he was much more clean looking than the last time I’d seen him. Maybe he’d finally gotten some sleep, now that we had an agenda. Albert strode into the lobby wearing a plate set of celestial bronze. He was more shiny than the decorative furniture. His black hair was freshly styled short and clean, and his beard was trimmed down to stubble once again. His blue eyes were piercing azure in contrast to the dull orange glow of his armour. I wondered what all the mortals saw when they looked at him. “I have a reservation,” he said calmly, giving me a wink as he walked towards the front desk. “I see my friend was trying to check in? It should be under Albert Ethans. The Observer’s Suite, top floor.” “Ah, mister Ethans,” the thin man said, though he didn’t look apologetic in the slightest, simply looking quizzical as he sorted through some documents on his desk. “You’re the… Twitch… Streamer? Is that correct?” “Yep,” Albert said. He looked like he was trying to stop himself from laughing. “And you’re paying in… cash.” “Yep.” “Very well,” the thin man said, “you seem to have cleared this with my superiors over the phone.” The man turned from his computer and folded his hands, grinning wider than I’d seen most people capable of. “Your receipt should be in your bag, as is listed in your file.” “Right, right,” Albert said, and he knelt down in front of the desk. Suddenly, seemingly from no source at all, grains of sand started to formulate and solidify, like a small sand structure of a duffle bag. Albert placed his hands on the sculpture, and suddenly it wasn’t one anymore, but instead a solid bag, a bag he then unzipped to show rolled wads of cash. It looked like something a bank robber might have. He smiled at me again, closed the bag, and as quickly as it had appeared, the bag simply crumpled into the ground like any sandcastle might under the slightest amount of pressure. In a few more seconds, the sand was gone entirely, and Albert had paid for our rooms with more cash than I’d seen in my entire life. I followed Albert to the elevator, watching as he pressed the top-most button and closed the doors behind us. “What was that?” I asked, still thinking about the bag, “and… he didn’t even, like no one noticed?” “Barry, come on,” Albert said. “I’m wearing a full set of armour, and no one noticed that either. Mortals see what they want to see. That little trick was no different.” “Hell of a trick,” I said. “It’s one you can learn,” Albert said with a smile, leaning against the wall of the elevator as it shot upwards to the suites of The Henrietta. “Once the Dreamscape trusts you, it can keep things for you. Have you ever noticed how you always have your stuff when you go to the Dreamscape? The connection works both ways.” “Oh,” I said, as the golden doors of the elevator opened, and an equally exuberant hallway stretched out before us. I followed Albert, who seemed to know where he was going. I continued to speak. “Well, I’ll get practicing.” “Sure, but another night.” Albert had stopped before a set of double doors and swiped a keycard he’d gotten from the thin man at the desk. A light at the base of the doors shifted from red to green. “Tonight we’re just gonna hang out. We catch our train tomorrow.” ~ It turns out that you can do a decent amount of hanging out in a luxury hotel suite, especially when you’ve got nothing to do until tomorrow morning. Camp Half-Blood had easily been the best place I’d ever lived, but even inside its magical borders there were amenities it couldn’t afford. The Henrietta, on the other hand, had anything a thirteen year old boy could ever want. Our room had a hot tub, a crazy big TV with endless cartoons, game systems, room service - which I tried for the first time - and brochures for free fast food. It was a paradise. “There’s a place like this in Vegas,” Albert said, taking a slice of pizza and folding it in half as he took a giant bite. “The Lotus Casino, I think it’s called. Just remember that name if you ever take a trip there.” “Awesome,” I said, my thumbs fumbling over the controller as I tried to play Super Smash Bros, a game I’d played with Brandon on occasion. I was getting in a lot of practice tonight, but I was still pretty terrible. “I’ll look it up.” “Well, no,” Albert said with a chuckle, “I mean you should try and avoid it. Monsters own the place. They use it for luring demigods and trapping them with luxuries. Time works differently there, so you could be trapped for years without even realizing it.” “Oh,” I said, looking towards the clock on one of the many nightstands in our gorgeous room. It read 1:13am. I’d realized I’d lost track of time pretty quickly, which meant I probably wouldn’t survive my trip to the Lotus Casino. “Well, thanks, I’ll keep that in mind.” “No problem, Barry,” Albert said, dipping his pizza crust in some sauce I didn’t know the name of. “It’s a big world out there, you’d do well to- Wait, pause the game.” I hit the start button on my controller, and looked over to Albert. We were both in pajamas, essentially, wearing t-shirts and sweatpants. Even in something so casual Albert had a cautious, almost terrified look on his face. “What is it?” Albert held his hand out to me to silence my questions. I tried to listen for something, to hear what Albert was hearing. I didn’t hear anything unusual, but I realized I must have left the shower running, because there was hissing coming from a different room. But… I didn’t leave the shower running. And the bathroom wasn’t in that direction. “Shit,” Albert said, and he rolled off the bed to grab his sword. It was a simple thing made of weathered celestial bronze, with more dents and grooves than I’d seen on any training sword at Camp. It had seen more fights than I had, that was for sure. “What’s happening,” I said, grabbing my key-chain out from my pocket. “What’s going on?” The door burst open, and there I saw monsters I hadn’t seen since my first summer at Camp Half-Blood. I’d only barely made it away from them before, but that was before my training. Still, even with all the knowledge of combat Jay had managed to shove into my brain, nothing really prepared you for the real thing. Three scythian dracanae hissed at the threshold of our suite, and after a moment of silent pause, they pounced. OOC: Thank you so much for reading! Barry has officially left Camp! Next Time in Sandman: Homecoming A familiar face talks. Barry holds a grudge. There’s an explosion in New York.
If You See Graffiti Reading "FOR A GOOD TIME CALL:", follow this "Rule of the Road"...
The following contains a transcript from a short radio broadcast that has been picked up by various listeners across the continental United States. Many have been perplexed by its sudden appearance and how it seems to preempt whatever song or radio program they are listening to at the time. It has even been known to appear on streaming programs such as podcasts or Spotify. Listeners have described hearing different episodes and there have been many situations and incidents. A 23 year old college student named Yuvisela contacted me with her account of hearing the broadcast. She and her boyfriend had encountered the broadcast while driving one sultry summer afternoon from Austin, TX. So I have this thing with waterfalls. I’m a little obsessed with them. In my free time and when I’m not paying attention in lecture, I like to look on the internet at pictures of them and daydream that I’m there: the roar of the splashing water, the white foamy spray, my bare toes dipped into the icy spring. I’ve got a Pinterest page with hundreds of falls that I would like to visit one day. Niagara, Havasu, Victoria Falls, Gullfoss, Iguazu; they’re all on there. I keep them all catalogued for my bucket list. Yet, how many people go to the grave with their bucket list hardly finished? I bet a lot. My boyfriend, Gabriel, likes to mess with me about my obsession. He’ll come up behind me while I’m on my computer or look over my shoulder at my phone and see that I’m looking at waterfalls. “Don’t go chasing waterfalls, stick to the rivers and the lakes that you’re used to,” he’ll sing when he catches me. It’s this old song he knows, TLC or something. He’s about six years older than me. I’ll joke with him to leave me alone and quit singing that old music, ask him if he used to listen to that on an 8-track or something. “No, my older sister listened to it on CD. You know CD’s? Those little plastic things with the holes in them? That little slot in your car’s stereo, a CD goes in there. They don’t make ‘em in the new cars anymore.” We’ve had a variation of this same conversation a bunch of times. It’s kind of a running joke between the two of us—him poking fun at my waterfall obsession and me making fun of how old he is—and while he thinks the waterfall thing is a cute little quirk of mine, he also has been supportive of my passion. That’s why he surprised me with the trip that summer. He knew that I was yearning to see some of these places. He knew that he wanted to make me happy. He knew that my resources were limited. He knew that we weren’t getting any younger; I was 23 and still had a semester to go. But he also knew that we weren’t getting any richer, either. At least not anytime soon. I know I’m a little bit older for a college student, but it’s taken me a bit longer on account of having to work and stuff. I can’t take a full load every semester. Money’s always tight. I work full time and barely stay ahead, even sending some of my money to help my mom out. Gabriel offered to help me out some and we’d even talked about moving in together, but we had only been together a year at that point and I wasn’t quite ready. Before my dad had passed, I’d promised him that I was going to get my college degree and I wanted to do it all on my own. While I loved Gabriel and could see myself marrying him, I didn’t want to deal with a transition like that so close to the finish line. Besides, we were getting along so well as it was. Why mess with a good thing? And it was a good thing that kept better. Just when I thought that I couldn’t love Gabriel more, on my birthday he surprised me with the best present I’ve ever gotten. It was a little black notebook with this kind of leathery cover. While the notebook itself was nice, it was what was inside that was the true present. At some point, he had gone onto my Pinterest page and written down page after page of waterfalls, organizing them by country and state. He had put little squares beside them, boxes to check off. The last two pages were Texas and Oklahoma. He had written a note there. It read:
“Let’s start now...” -Gabriel
* * * So far, the trip had been a blast. We had started out in Abilene where we both lived and where I attended college. From there, we went to a place called Gorman Falls at this state park. It was one of the tallest waterfalls in the state and all of the foliage and moss around it was lush and green and for a while, if I crossed my eyes just right it was like I wasn’t even in Texas. We couldn’t hit all the sites in a day. It was a road trip with multiple nights in hotels. After Gorman Falls and staying at a hotel, we headed towards Austin and stopped off at Hamilton Pool Preserve. The waterfall wasn’t as tall as Gorman, but I have to say I liked it better. The water formed a curtain as it poured off of a rocky shelf and into this sunken grotto of blue green water. We stayed at this magical place for hours, swimming in the water and soaking up the sun. I could’ve stayed longer, but it was starting to get crowded, so we headed to Austin for a night on the town on 6th Street. The next day we slept in and got a late start on the road. Lunch was at a Whataburger outside Waco. We sat and ate our food and looked at our phones. I browsed Instagram and my eyes skimmed over a gorgeous site. Yep, another waterfall. I slid my phone over to Gabriel. “Look!” I said. “Am I supposed to be looking at the butt or the waterfall?” he asked. An Instagram model was standing with her back to the camera, looking up at the water in awe. “The waterfall, silly.” “Seriously, that skinny white girl ain’t got nothing on you. Better let me take a look, just to be sure.” I stood and twirled around quickly, teasing him. “Ok, so back to the waterfall. Did you look at it?” “Yeah, it’s beautiful babe. Where was this one?” “Iceland,” I sighed. “Oh, right.” “It’s not looking good for the time being. Maybe in a few years, yeah?” “Just gotta see how the election goes. I ain’t holding my breath.” See, neither of us were U.S. citizens. We were what you call DACA recipients. Both of us had wound up in America via illegal means on behalf of our parents, back when we were kids. This was when we were too young to have any say in the matter. I can hardly remember my life before, my life back in Mexico. I grew up here, went to school here. Texas and America is the only home I’ve ever known. Gabriel, he was originally from Guatemala. His situation is more or less the same. If we were to leave the country, then we might risk not being able to get back in. You could apply for eligibility to travel if you had special circumstances, but they didn’t allow travel for leisure. We didn’t even have passports. Until then, our dreams of traveling—something we both wanted to do—were just that: dreams. There was a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel. Obama and that DREAM act, I’m sure you’ve heard of it. You know, the dreamers or whatever? That’s what they call us. I guess they call it that because it’s just a freaking fantasy that disappears at the slightest thing—the sunrise, your phone alarm—out of your grasp as soon as you start your day. Anyways, I applied for the DREAM act, but it hasn’t been a guarantee. We’re all stuck in a sort of limbo, waiting for the people in Washington to figure out what the hell to do with us, using us as a bargaining chip. Not Gabriel though, he didn’t apply for the act. Part of it was that he was bad about procrastinating. The other part was that he was paranoid about signing up. I told him that he was an idiot and if he blew his chance to become a legal permanent resident, then I wouldn’t follow him to Guatemala if he got deported. He told me that he didn’t trust the program, that once they had you in the system they could track you easier, keep tabs on you. Said he knew a guy that got deported this way. I told him that the guy must’ve gotten into some legal trouble, a DUI or something, to have been deported. “We’re all just one slip up from some legal trouble. Hell, some people consider us illegal right now,” he had said. It was hard to argue against that, I guess. At least he knew where he stood, didn’t have that false hope. Sometimes I think it’s the hope that gets you, makes things worse. Gabriel frowned and handed the phone back to me, looked out the window and took a sip of his Coke. I suddenly felt bad and ungrateful. Here was this amazing man that had planned out an awesome road trip just for me and I was busy looking at other far off adventures, not appreciating what I had right in front of me, the moment I was living in right now. I leaned forward and kissed him. "I don't care where I'm at as long as you're with me," I said and he smiled. What I told him just then, it was true. That didn’t mean I was going to grow complacent and quit dreaming. They did call us dreamers after all. It was one of those giant truck stops, the kind that was a little smaller than a Wal-Mart or Target, but just barely. We filled up and paced around inside and looked at the aisles and aisles of candy, the funny toys and souvenirs, and the tacky t-shirts. “Hey Yuvi, whaddaya say? It’s your size.” Gabriel asked, holding up a black t-shirt with glittery letters. “PROUD TRUCKER WIFE” it read. “Only if you get that one,” I said, pointing at a T-shirt with a semi-truck on it that read “I JUST DROPPED A LOAD”. “Eww,” Gabriel said, laughing. We both wandered around on our own. They had a huge candy section and I was looking to see if they had any vero elotes candy. I had just found a bag on a bottom shelf when Gabriel came skipping up. “We are so getting this,” he said, holding up a plastic CD case. “What is it?” “Best of the ‘90s. It’s got your song on there, see? ‘Don’t Go Chasing Waterfalls.’ Can we get it? It’s only 3.99.” “Ha, ok. But only if you buy me this,” I said, handing him the candy. There was traffic from hell just south of Denton on account of construction and a car wreck or two. We were stop-and-go for what seemed like an hour. I was passenger side and Gabriel idled along. “Ok. I think now’s the time to break out this bad boy,” Gabriel said as he started tearing at the plastic wrap around the CD case. “I think this is the first time I’ve even used the CD player in this car.” “Aw hell yeah,” Gabriel said as the first song started playing. “Gettin’ Jiggy With It.” “Getting what, now?” “It’s your boy, Will Smith. Y’know the Fresh Prince? Betcha didn’t know he had a little music career.” “That guy from I Am Legend and Aladdin?” Gabriel rolled his eyes. “I guess. His older work is much better.” “Well I don’t know. You act like you're this old and wise millennial. You’re not that much older than me, y’know.” “I’m telling ya, my Gen-X sister raised me on all of this stuff. I think she was Gen-X. I don’t know the damn cutoffs. Anyways, she babysat me a lot growing up while Mama was working and stuff. She cultured my little ass. Ooh, here it is!” A new song started playing. I couldn’t help but laugh at how it started. “It sounds like porn music!” “Nah, shhhh. Shhh.” Gabriel bobbed his head along to the beat. The chorus started to worm it’s way into my head. The song was ok, I guess. I still can’t really listen to it to this day. “You gotta listen to this dope rap coming up,” Gabriel said. There was the sound of hissing and popping, wet logs burning in a fire. Whispers intermingled with the sound effects. One of the voices rose above the others and said “Listen!” harshly in Spanish, you know, “Escuchen! Escuchen!”, several times. We both looked at each other with wide eyes. The traffic crept forward slowly and Gabriel kept his hands on the wheel and I kept mine in my lap and that’s when he started to talk. It was this happy sounding older guy, talking right there on my car’s speakers. Gooood afternoon folks, Buck Hensley here with a special rush hour edition of “The Rules of the Road”. Hope ya’ll are doing alright out there while you’re idling on the clogged arteries of America’s highways and byways, breathing in those delicious exhaust fumes. I know that good ol’ Mother Earth likes to take a big fat rip of that stuff from time to time, although as of late she seems to be getting quite a contact high from that delicious Co2 and starting to feel the effects just a little too much. And yet you all keep puff-puffing and passing, never slowing down. What with your jet planes and your driving and your travel and your neverending consumption and your cow farts and whatnot. All I’m saying is that you folks might wanna slow down a bit on that stuff, because I’ve seen the end results and all I can say is that they are hilarious. But I understand if you wanna keep on keeping on and having a good time. All I can say is smoke ‘em if you got ‘em. Speaking of good times, that reminds me of today’s special “Rule of the Road”. You’re gonna want to listen to this one as it’s all about good times. Why that was Carla’s favorite sitcom for a spell there, “Good Times”. She’d watch reruns on into the night, the TV casting a pale glow that was kinda comforting across the bed, and I’d wake up to live studio laughter and her snoring softly beside me, the serene look of slumber on her face and the years I’d wasted. Gabriel and I both looked at eachother. He shrugged and reached for the stereo. I shooed his hand away. I wanted to listen to it. The voice continued. But I digress...well now, on to today’s “Rule of the Road”. If at any point during your journey you stop off for a pitstop or a potty break and you enter a public restroom to do your business, take note of the writing on the stalls. You might notice some graffiti that reads, “For a Good Time, Call” and then a phone number listed after it. If you do notice this, then take the number down for later use. Whenever you are in dire need of a good time, then give that number a call. Now before you go off with a bee in your bonnet and tell me how you ain’t gonna call no sketchy phone number taken off a lady’s or men’s room wall, let me just tell you that this will be worth it. You can trust me. When has old Bucky ever let ya down? I know what you’re gonna say next though, you’re gonna say, “Buck, I don’t ever call no numbers on my phone. I’m deathly afraid of voices on the other line. If I can’t text and send little emojis and the like, then forget it. If I can’t use an app to order Thai food or a pizza, then I go hungry that night. I haven’t even made an appointment to a doctor since I’ve lived with my parents. What if since we can’t see each other’s faces we start talking at the same time and we talk over each other and then say, ‘oops sorry, no you go ahead’ and then we both say it again at the same time and then we both start trying to talk again and then get stuck in some sort of infinite loop?” And to that I say, “fair enough.” Don’t use the phone. The consequences of not following this rule are a little less dire than previous rules you may have heard. If you don’t follow this rule then you will simply miss out on a good time. That’s it. But you wouldn’t want to miss out on anything, would ya? Welp. That’s all I’ve got on this fine late afternoon. May the wind be always at your back, your picnic basket full of snacks, and your cheese ever be pepper jack. Ya’ll stay sane out there. Stay symbiotic. Stay lonely. I'm Buck Hensley and these are "The Rules of the Road". The voice instantly stopped and the song returned playing. Gabriel had a dumbfounded look on his face. "What the hell?" he said and tried to rewind the CD. "Umm, was that part of the song? Maybe a different version?" "No way," he said and kept rewinding and playing the song over. The little skit that we heard never returned. “Weird,” I said. “Beats the heck out of me.” “Maybe the CD is haunted. That was pretty spooky, y’know? That voice telling us to listen.” “Maybe it was like a hidden track or something. They used to put those on CD’s back in the day. And this CD was pretty cheap and has all these songs on it. Could’ve been like a pirated deal.” We weren’t really scared by the broadcast or whatever it was, just more confused. It was only looking back that we saw the importance of what we had heard and how from there our path seemed to be led a certain way.. At the time it was just this weird little thing, a funny little mystery that was forgettable for the time being. We crept along for a while without incident, the traffic slowly gaining momentum. The music on the CD played on as usual and we heard no extra voices. The songs played like they were supposed to. Everything was fine. Of course, outside of Gainesville, it hit me. I had been trying to ignore it and power through until we stopped for the night, but I had the sudden urge to pee. All that slow traffic and iced tea and a bottle of water must’ve caught up with me. This was intense. Usually I could hold it pretty good, but I had to get Gabriel to stop at the first exit we saw. It was this gas station kind of off by itself and it was all dingy and old and faded and didn’t look the cleanest. Gabriel parked and my lower stomach and bladder ached as soon as I stood up and got out of the car. I burst into the place and made a beeline towards the restroom, over in the corner past the ATM and the glass fridges down a hall with burnt out fluorescent lights. They were singles that you could lock, one for men and one for women. The floor was sticky and paper towels piled out of a trash can and a strip of toilet paper floated in a pool of standing water. A condom dispensing machine was on the wall opposite the toilet. It wasn’t the worst public restroom I’d ever used and I didn’t have many options; I was literally about to piss myself. I would have to do the hover move over the toilet seat. No seat covers in a joint like this and I didn’t have time to prep it with toilet paper anything. So I was doing my business, my thighs burning from the squat, and kind of laughing to myself at the condom dispenser machine with its brands like the “FRENCH TICKLER” and that’s when I saw it, the graffiti written in Sharpie, right there on the vending machine. It said, “For A Good Time, Call 9xx-XXX-XXXX [Redacted]”. After I finished and had washed my hands, I snapped a pic of the graffiti. I figured Gabriel would get a kick out of it. “You’re supposed to call it. That’s the rule,” Gabriel said when I showed him. “I’m too nervous. You call. You heard it, too.” “Chicken.” “Yep.” “How many of those things do you even see? I’ve seen them all the time. I bet it’s just dudes pranking each other or fucking with their ex-girlfriends.” “Well I found it in the ladies room, so hopefully it wasn’t dudes.” “Okay, you enter it in your phone and I’ll dial. I’ll try to do a caller ID block or something. Let’s just see what happens.” “Are you sure?” “Eh come on. Maybe it’s fate.” The Texas travel center appeared on the southbound side of the interstate and we were soon crossing the Red River on into Oklahoma as I transcribed the numbers from the picture to the keypad on my dialer. A large casino came into view. It was ginormous with this sort of facade of all these famous buildings on its outside. I could see Big Ben and that Roman coliseum and all these other world architecture things. The casino just stretched on and on. “Aw, not again,” Gabriel said. I had just finished transposing the number into the phone. The crazy casino had distracted me. “What is it, babe?” “Another jam.” The traffic was veering into the right hand lane, but it was still moving at a decent clip, like 45 mph or something. After a mile of this, I could see a couple of highway patrol cars parked across the interstate, blocking both lanes of traffic. A state trooper stood out in the middle, waving a flashlight thing and directing traffic to take the exit. There was still about an hour of daylight left and you couldn’t even see the light. He was just using it as a baton. Somewhere off in the distance there was a thick wall of smoke filling the evening sky with this surreal haze. “Wonder what’s going on?” I asked. “Who knows? Grassfire, maybe.” We followed the other cars and trucks down the exit ramp. Some turned right, some turned left. “Right or left? Right or left?” Gabriel asked. There seemed to be more cars turning left. Maybe they knew something we didn’t. But then, we would be stuck behind them and it was getting dark and we were already behind schedule. I wanted to get the hell out of the car. “Um, right! Right,” I said, trying to pull up the GPS on my phone. It was lagging and my service had kicked over to 3G. “Freaking Verizon,” I muttered. We drove down a highway past empty fields fenced off by barbed wire. There were houses and barns and oilfield pump jacks every so often, but not much else. No gas stations or a sign of a town or much else, really. After driving into all this nothingness for a while, my phone completely lost all signal. The cars around us thinned out and there was only a black SUV in front of us. “Hey babe, I have no service and can’t pull up the GPS. Wanna turn back around?” “Nah, let’s just keep going. We’ve come this far, yeah? We’ll hit a main road eventually, get some service.” I sighed in response as he kept driving, let him know I didn’t approve. “We’ll turn north soon, ok? All roads lead to Turner Falls.” I checked my phone every fifteen seconds, looking for a signal. “C’mon Gabe, we’re gonna get lost out here. Let’s just go back, follow the other cars or see if they’ve opened up the interstate again.” “Look, this looks like a good road. We’ll cut north here and drive aways and then cut back west towards the interstate. It’s literally impossible to get lost out here. Just trying not to lose any more time.” But it wasn’t so simple and the nervous feeling in my stomach was validated when the road we drove north on turned to gravel. The sun was long gone and our headlights cut a tunnel through the night as barbed wire whizzed by, separating us from pastures that were elevated above the road on grassy rises. I started to fear the worst, thinking of every horror movie I’d ever seen that had started out this way: the headstrong man refusing to admit that he was lost and didn’t know where he was going and the increasingly pissed off and worried girl that was with him. “Babe, please just turn around,” I pleaded. “Ok, ok. Still no signal, eh?” I looked down at my phone. Finally, there was one bar of service. “Yes! Hang on.” “Oh fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck,” Gabriel said, his voice growing louder. My stomach dropped as what appeared in the rear view mirror was just as scary as any sort of Freddy or Jason or Leatherface from the big screen. Part 2
It's 2021 in France. A black car pulls up to an old church. Out steps a werewolf with grey fur and a burnt face. She walks inside and down a flight of stairs. A man in military gear stands outside a locked door. The wolf says," Don't make this difficult Keiran. The last time didn't end well." He groans and unlocks the door. Inside is a large table. Sat around it are various criminal leaders and warlords. The wolf sits down close to the head. Tsunami says," Ladies and Gentlemen, we have started our expansion into more unique endeavors of crime. First I want to hear the progress all of you made in the last year." Aspheera says," Plot to sink American ships carrying arms, $50,000." Cobrani said," Plot to distribute Japanese drugs in Central Asia, $1 million." A woman said," Smuggling diamonds from South Africa, $1.5 million." Tsunami said," Number 7, why is that amount not the original goal?" She replied," The price has gone done since last time. That's all we could make. Number 8 and I tried our hardest to raise prices." Tsunami said," I am aware one of you is guilty of embezzlement and have decided on the right course of action." She pressed a button and in stepped a Green armored Elite. Tsunami nodded at the Elite who then nodded back. Within seconds, Number 8 was impaled in the chest with an energy sword. Tsunami then said," Number 3, Sophie, has arranged our next plot. Please present the plan." Sophie stood up and said," Our goal is to steal 3 atomic weapons from the British, American, and Russian armies, one from each. With these, we will demand a ransom of 700 million dollars or they risk nuclear destruction. Also, many of our operatives have been captured by UN agents. This plan also will allow us to get them back. Nyx, Eclipse, Vanny, and more will be freed if they want to avoid war. In fact, we already have the weapons in hand, stationed on my yacht in the Caribbean." Tsunami said," My dear, I've set up Cobrani and Keiran to go with you as security. I'm aware you have your own, but this is a way for me to make sure you are safe." Sophie nodded and walked out along with Cobrani. London: James Bond walks into M's office. He says," I heard the call, ma'am. What's going on?" M replies," It appears the Collective have stolen three nuclear weapons and intend to use them against the world. We are supposed to pay them 700 million dollars and give them back their members in prison." Bond replies," Isn't this like that time SPECTRE did the same thing? No doubt they've gone to Nassau." M replies," It appears they've set up in Jamaica. All other 00's are out and your the best we have. Your mission is to find the weapons before whoever they've sent uses them. As normal, Q branch will supply you with the right tools. Oh, and try to stay focused this time Bond." Bond replies," When have I ever got distracted?" Bond leaves and departs for Jamaica. When he lands, he finds Q with a new car. Q said," Today, 007, we have the Aston Martin Virage. This model contains bulletproof glass, Headlight machine guns, radar, and your favorite, ejector seat." Bond said," That seems very nice, could do well in stopping for a rest." Q said," 007, this car is government property and very expensive. Because of your antics, our budget can't get the latest Aston models. We've had to use older models for our equipment. If you don't bring it back, I'll have some harsh words for you." Bond said," I doubt they would be that harsh." He got in the car and drove off. That night, he entered the casino. He noticed a werewolf sitting next to a serpent creature and skinwalker. He walked up and joined the game. Sophie looked at the skinwalker and whispered," Adrielle, make sure he doesn't know anything." Adrielle nodded. Bond said," What's the limit?" Sophie said," 5,000, Mister?" He replied," James Bond." Sophie chuckled and said," Well Mr. Bond, how much are you willing to bet?" He replied," I've got some incredible luck from time to time." A one-eyed demon walked up and looked at the game. She sat down and said," I want in." Sophie said," By all means, join in." Ten minutes in and Bond was winning. He said," Madame, I suggest taking your earnings and leaving before you lose more money." Sophie groaned and said," Fine if you insist. C'mon you 2, we have business to attend to." Adrielle and Cobrani got up and left with Sophie. The demon then won the game. Bond smiled and then left to follow Sophie. They disappeared around the bar. Then the demon walked up and said," You played well. I haven't seen such good playing since the 80s. Who would you be?" He replied," Bond, James Bond. You are?" She replied," Cherri Bomb." Bond said," I've heard about you from a close friend. Do you know a Charlie Magne?" Cherri replied," I do, we are friends and occasional partners. Shame that Angel couldn't make it." Bond replies," Angel Dust?" Cherri says," Yeah, he loves card games, but for some reason, he's in Miami doing some porn shit." Bond says," Can I buy you a drink." Cherri replies," No, I'd rather not right now. I've got places to be and things to do." She then got up and walked away. Bond walked outside and saw Sophie drinking a glass of wine. She said," Well, Mr. Bond, it seems neither of us can compete with demons. To prove I'm not a bad loser, how about you come to have a bite with me on my yacht." Bond replies," As tempting as that is, I have work to do." As he walked away, She said to Adrielle," Send a message to Keiran, tell him that Bond is to be killed." Adrielle said," My love, won't that reveal us?" Sophie said," If he's as good as Tsunami says he is, then we can remove him with little trouble." Cobrani said," I don't wanna be a dick, but does Tsunami know you and Adrielle are a thing?" Sophie said," She set me up with Adrielle you slithering idiot. Besides, Me and Tsunami aren't into sex. Now send word to the others. Our plan needs to be set up." The villains boarded the yacht. Sophie and Adrielle went to Sophie's cabin to make love. Cobrani groaned and went below deck. Keiran and Jill were preparing the bombs. Jill said," I assume the boss is busy?" Cobrani said," She might be more into sex than Bond. Send word to Sywn, tell her to prepare her squad. We might need soldiers." Keiran said," I'm sure that's not the only thing Sophie said." Cobrani said," She wants you to kill Bond. She thinks your the best." Keiran replies," While I'm the best, I'm not suited for this task. Bond won't be fooled by me. We need a more feminine approach." Operation Hellfire: Bond arrives at his hotel. He calls M and says," We definitely have some shady people down here." M replies," Any word on the bombs?" Bond says," No, as far as can tell, She's bluffing." M replies," Get back into the mix and find out more. We've got word from Tsunami that she intends to use them by the end of the week. You have 4 days to stop her agents." Bond hangs up and sighs. Back at the yacht, a helicopter lands. Sophie leans up and gets dressed. She and Adrielle walk out. Two figures step out of the chopper. It's Vanny and Nyx. Sophie said," Did they agree already?" Nyx replies," They said that their still working on it. Tsunami offered them a cutback of 50 million. Also, she's aware you and Adrielle are a thing." Sophie looks at Adrielle before turning back and saying," What else did she say?" Vanny says," She wants us to deal with Bond. Sadly we can't. But, Tsunami is looking into the assassin league for options." Adrielle says," What about Angela? She's human and attractive." Sophie says," If you want to request that, go ahead. I'm going to bed before I get a hangover." Adrielle calls Tsunami and says," The idiots you sent to deal Bond won't work. We need Angela." The next morning, Bond heads out and sees a woman with green hair and a tail. Bond walks up and says," Aren't you a beauty. What's your name miss?" She replies," Angela. I heard from my boss that you are quite the card player, Mr. Bond." They make love back in Bond's room. As Bond gets dressed and knock can be heard. He opens it and sees Sywn, Nyx, and two other goons. He slams the door and goes for his gun. Angela aims it at him and says," Sorry James. I have a job to do. Be a good sport and let them in. Bond replies," As you wish my lady." Bond opens the door and the villains walk in. They escort him down to the car and drive off. A goon holds him at gunpoint while Bond drives his Virage. Bond ejects the goon and speeds off. Nyx leans out and shoots out Bond's tires. Bond crashes and sets the car to explode. As they drive up, the Virage explodes, killing the other goon and crashing the car. As they get out, Angela and Nyx run after Bond. Sywn stays behind. Bond enters a club. Angela and Nyx walk in. Nyx goes behind a curtain while Angela goes up to Bond. She says," That wasn't very kind of you Mr. Bond. How about we have a dance." As they dance, Nyx aims her pistol at Bond. Bond sees the gun. Nyx fires a shot. Bond spins Angela around and she is shot in the back and dies. Nyx runs off. Bond sets Angela down and says," Don't mind her, she's just dead." He then walks off. Nyx calls Sophie and says," Uh, Angela is dead." Sophie shouts," HOW THE FUCK DID THAT HAPPEN?" Nyx replies," Bond is Bond, He can kill anyone." Sophie says," You and Swyn need to get back here. I'm sending Keiran to kill him." The next day, Bond meets Cherri at the beach. They lounge in the sun, Keiran pulls up and hides behind a bush. Cherri says," There's someone behind that bush." Bond turns and grabs a harpoon. He fires it at Keiran. It impales him to a palm tree. Bond gets up and says," I think he got the point. I'll meet you at 7 tonight." They split up. Bond goes to meet with Cherri. When he gets there, a note is all that remains. It reads If you want the girl, give up your search and surrender to Sywn. Bond turns around and sees Sywn standing there with a pistol. She says," Time to go." They get on a boat and head to Sophie's yacht. On the way, Bond rams the controls and leaps off the boat. The boat crashes into the yacht, killing the driver and injuring Sywn. Bond climbs on board the yacht. Sophie and Adrielle step out holding guns and search the yacht along with Jill and Cobrani. Bond strangles a guard before taking his weapon. Another guard is shot by Bond. Jill leaps on Bond. He throws her on a small boat. Adrielle grabs a knife and swings at Bond. He shoots her in the leg and throws her into the boat. He then shoots the engine, causing it to explode. Cobrani shoots at Bond, but is hit in the head with an air tank. Bond goes below deck to find Cherri. He finds her tied to a pipe. Sophie aims at him and says," Times up Bond. You and the demon will die. Even if the plan doesn't work, I'll still blow up Miami or someplace." Bond says," Yes, if only your mind was more open." Sophie cocked the pistol and chuckles. Cherri kicks a panel, sending sparks at Sophie. Bond lunges at her and falls into the water. Bond climbs back up and frees Cherri. Sophie also climbs up and says," Why won't you just die?" Bond says," Force of habit my dear." Bond throws Sophie at a group of canisters. She trips on a chain and accidentally shoots one. The room starts on fire. Bond and Cherri race to the upper deck. They leap off after sending the ship to crash. Sophie climbs up in time to see the rocks hit the yacht. The flames and debris engulf her as the boat sinks. Bond says," Well, she went out a blaze of Hellfire." Cherri said," We're stranded." Bond replies," Not yet." A boat survived the flames. They climb on board and set their course. Bond then kisses Cherri as the flames roar on. She says," Aren't you a fun one." Bond replies," You have no idea." They make love. The End
[NF] Leaving Las Vegas, Smuggled Grapefruits, Airstream Pancakes
When: 2014 or 15, probably April We roll into Vegas after dark, my friend Jerry driving, I riding shotgun, my then wife rolling around in the back of the ruby red '94 Ford Aerostar on the mattress that replaced the seats. We are dressed in what can only be described as Trailer Park Hippies. Jerry wears sweat pants (he wore a lot of sweat pants back then), a striped shirt, beanie, and square-frame glasses, as he's blind as a bat. My wife is dressed like a bag lady, a tye dye "Workaholics" shirt, ripped jeans, America Hat beanie hat worn ironically over dirty dreadlocks, and I'm wearing a a lot of flannel and sporting a fiery red Leprechaun beard and hair down to my shoulders. We have a stash that would make Hunter S. Thompson shed tears of joy. We're cruising in with a few ounces of weed, a tinfoil wrapper full of hash, a 10-strip of LSD, an eightball of coke, case of lite beer, and a laundry basket full of oranges and grapefruits acquired in Arizona. We had been living off of coke, grapefruits, acid, beer and cigarettes laced with hash. We were young and ready for what Vegas had to offer. Jerry drives past The Flamingo and we keep going on to Fremont Street. That is our destination, and we plan on milking it for all the free drinks we can. We drive around for a minute before noticing a $5-all-night parking lot. Perfect. We figure after we get too wasted and broke, we'll just come back and crash in the back of the van. Jerry, it's always Jerry, cuts up one hit of acid into three little pieces and passes them out. Jerry then keys up bumps of coke for everyone. My wife, DD, rolls a nasty hash cigarette and we roll out of the van and smoke it on our way down to Fremont Street. The thing about taking a little bit of acid is, is you can drink all night. A half hit of acid and you're ready to drink an Irishman under the table. I can't explain how or why it works, but it does. 1/3 of a hit should do the same thing, and we're feeling good. Vegas is your typical Vegas that I had expected. There's a Danny DeVito impersonator here, a Boss Hogg there, big-titted Showgirls lined up ready to take your money for a photo. Street performers, some of them fantastic, some of them sad. There is a nearly naked man waving a sign that reads, "Money Activates Me". I put a dollar in his hat, and he starts jiggling and shaking and making weird beeping noises. I am a little sad. As soon as we arrive on Fremont Street I look up to a giant television prompter on the ceiling with Blue Angels flying across while "America the Beautiful" plays over the loudspeakers. I walk past a large Mexican woman wearing all purple. Jerry tells us that they'll give you free drinks if you play the slot machines. We decide to investigate and pop into the first casino we see. We each slip a dollar into a machine and a waitress comes over and tells us, "make it at least $3, guys". A little saddened, but compliant, we do as we're told. We spend the next few hours like this. Hopping from casino to casino, putting in as little money as possible, getting as many free drinks as possible. After awhile, it gets tiresome and we spot a crowd heading towards the far side of the street and decide to investigate. All night we see this horrible Wook-like creature and he has come up to us and asked us for different drugs at least three times. DD must've taken the biggest 1/3 because her pupils are the size of nickels. The first few times he asked for acid, then he asked for DMT. I had never done DMT at that point, but from what I had heard, it would do him no good here. We think he's a cop. We ignore him. Drinks in hand, we see what the commotion is about, Cheap Trick! is playing a free show. Hell Yes, we think. We push our way to the entrance and are told we cannot bring the drinks in. We each chug our beers and make our way in. The crowd at Cheap Trick! is rude as far as rock concerts go. It's a bunch of people way more sober than us and they won't let us pass. We're standing shoulder-to-shoulder-to-shoulder with a group of angry looking bikers and decide that Cheap Trick! can go fuck themselves. We exit the concert and walk to the other end of Fremont Street. There is another free concert going on, an 80's cover band with the singer dressed like Devo and the bassist wearing stuffed animal pants – that is, Pants covered in stuffed animals. There are only about 20 people in attendance. We're so there. We walk to the front without any problem and begin our own dance circle. They have two vocalists, a hot French-looking chick and a man dressed as dollar store Devo. Jerry thinks French chick is looking at him. The bandplays a rousing rendition of "Blister in the Sun" and during one of "When I go walkin I strut my stuff and I'm so strung out/I'm high as a kite and I just might stop to check you out" parts, Devo guy holds the microphone out to us and we gargle through it. He shouts for the band to stop, wait, hold on. Stop stop stop. "You people are the drunkest people I have ever seen!" Too drunk to be embarrassed, we continue to dance. We dance until they stop playing. The acid at this point has all but run its course and the booze is catching up with us. DD is starting to lose steam. We decide to drink more. Walking into a casino, the overhead television plays "America the Beautiful" again as Blue Angels fly and Purple Pants Mexican lady is walking by us again, singing, "Uh-MARE-i-KUH" and crying profusely. She is having a good time. Unsure of what time it is, we're too fucked to gamble anymore and head to the bar. We attempt to order the cheapest drinks and the bartenders all ignore us. We get our $2 teas, (“Hold on, I have to make three shitty drinks” quoth the bartender) and walk back outside to get some air. Vegas is starting to spook me out. People walk down the street and flick a butt, unnamed janitors come from nowhere and sweep it up like it might never have happened. Vegas is like a physics problem. The cigarette butt is like Schrodinger’s Cat. Without the janitor, it may or not be there. As the night drags on, we see human decency deteriorating. Having made our way somehow to The Flamingo, we scope out a group of guys who we believe are going to date rape some girl who’s had too much to drink. Maybe it’s the acid enhancing our perceptions, or any of the drugs making us ever more paranoid. Maybe those guys really were out to hurt that woman. We followed them all for some time before realizing we were fucked up and it wasn’t our fight. We needed to get back to the van to sleep. We make our way back to the van and roll the door open. DD plops down on the mattress, but Jerry and I are determined to gamble and drink more. I promise her I’ll be good. Just right then two SECURITY dudes on bikes roll by and see the mattress and see the hippie lady sitting upon it. “Y’all can’t sleep here.” I inform them, but sirs, we paid the $5, and we are way, way, WAY too drunk to drive at this point. “That’s fine, sirs” he tells me, “but you can’t sleep here. You’re welcome to gamble in our casinos all night, or get a hotel room.” DD raises her voice to the security dudes and I have to tell her to cool it. We’re out of our element. This is Vegas. We can’t win this one. I tell them, ok, and they ride off. I’m too fucked to drive so I tell Jerry he’s going to have to rally and get us out of here. We all begin chugging water, our eyes rolling around in our heads, brains still slightly dripping from the acid. We’re all yelling at each other that this was a stupid idea. Jerry chugs an adequate amount of water and he climbs into the cockpit. I ride shotgun. We got this. We drive around aimlessly til we find an indoor parking garage that doesn’t charge us a fee on the way in. We drive to a heavily populated area and kill the engine. Jerry and I fly into the backseat and we keep our heads down, trying to find sleep in what’s left of the night. We get two hours of sleep when I decide we have to go. Right now. I think I’m cool to drive, so I start out our journey. The sun is right in my face as I’m leaving and I’m way too hungovestill drunk/fucked up to be doing this. I stop at a gas station for a fill up and on my way in I see a man just grinning at me. I’m in no mood. Who is this asshole just smiling at me at 6 o clock in the morning? Turns out it was a cardboard cutout of Jeff Gordon. Jesus. Christ. I pay for my gas and get back to the car. I tell Jerry he’s driving, and I need to sleep. We drive a few minutes and pull up to an Airstream Diner and decide to fuel up our bellies. The whole night in Vegas we didn’t consume any food, just drugs and booze, and we were in need of nourishment. We sit at the counter and the man with the plan is an older Hispanic man who appears to be running everything by himself. I order an omelette, toast and hashbrowns, and coffee, sweet, merciful coffee. Biscuits and gravy for Jerry, with “grandma coffee” (that is coffee with too much cream and sugar). DD got a stack of pancakes. When our food came, the proprietor asks DD if she would like any syrup? She holds her plate above her head like an offering to the man and says nothing. He laughs and asks again what kind of syrup would she like? Blueberry it was. A little food in us, we begin to feel better. We hit the road, California Bound! I resign to the mattress in back and pass out, Jerry driving, DD his copilot. I awake some time later to the sound of metal grinding on metal. The van is moving against its own will. “What the fuck is going on?!” Jerry is throwing it in reverse and trying to back up but the damage is already done. We are in line waiting to cross into the great state of California. I see a sign for “Fruit Inspection”. I look around the back and there’s grapefruits and oranges and peelings and all kinds of citrus just rolling around. We’re fucked. If not for the coke and hash, then for all the fruit contraband. I try to gather up all the citrus, but when it gets to be our turn to cross, the guards at the window tell us simply to pull through to deal with our accident. What luck. A wagonload of drugs and illegal fruit and we get a pass because some Rent An RV guy decided to rearrange my van’s front end. Sweet. We pull through and pile out of the van. I inspect the damage. It’s mostly cosmetic. The plastic bumper is gone, both headlights are smashed and dangling by wires. The blinkers are fucked. I will be using my arm signals for the rest of my van’s life. I walk up to the RV and pound on the door. An older, Eastern European man, noticeably drunk and shoeless steps out. I ask does he have insurance (I miraculously do). He says yes yes yes, sure sure sure. Why don’t you come into my RV? No, I tell him. Good out here. He disappears inside and comes back a few minutes later with a stack of papers, none of which are insurance. After a few minutes of going nowhere, I decide to call it even. I don’t want to attract any attention to us with the cops and would rather just get down the road, blow and all. The four of us get into our collective vehicles, the Chechen's relatively untouched; ours, a sex crime victim, and we set sail for the promised land - Californ-I-A! I'm trying to assemble a selection of stories. Heart on Sleeve. Don't be too rough. With love, and honesty
Honestly, this was truly an accidental development that looks like karma. When I was in my 20s, I had two roommates who were “just no” people. Will make this post about the last one of them. I was recently single and had a very nice place. Lesson 1: not everyone needs to know your living conditions. Lesson 2: do not tolerate what you wouldn’t inflict unto others. We (me and my family) had known this elderly woman my entire life. I called Auntie. She has a problematic daughter (in her 40’s back then). The mother simply enabled her and people shunned them because they caused a “taker dynamic” (moochers). The mother mooched on behalf of her daughter. Auntie knew I had a great place to live. Called me and caught me by surprise. Guilt tripped me about having a good place and not inviting her daughter in who was (casually) between apartments (evicted) and looking for a place. Honestly, this caught me off guard and before I could have a reaction, she was already calling her daughter to “confirm” my approval. Big Mistake!!! My family became really angry and criticized me for not putting my foot down. Anyway, the daughter (“Mary”) moved in and everything went smooth for days. She had an extremely high paying job. That woman was qualified, had 40+ employees under her supervision and had served for 20 plus years in her industry. But all her stories were really negative. Coworkers were evil. Landlord hated women. Friends were false. Cousins were jealous of her success. Mmmm..okay. I was recently single and coping had been challenging. She promised to pay for her own expenses plus rent. As anticipated, she never honored our deal. Not paying her partial rent was the least of multiple acts of dishonesty and breach of trust on her part. Suddenly, my fridge was empty. Dishes towered in the sink. Her dingy towel stank up her bedroom because she slept on top of it (wet) on her bed for days. I had to follow my nose to find what the hell was that smell (towel was wet and twisted inside her comforter). This habit caused a perfectly new mattress to get stained with mold. I had to close her door to avoid the stench from her room. I addressed the situation many times, but she became hostile. She claimed her night shift made her so tired she just crashed her bed and passed out. Things escalated. I’m a non-smoker but tolerant. I would come home to a dining table with dirty dishes and multiple half-empty food cans with cigar butts floating inside. She tossed her panties behind the toilet and would not pick them up. She had all kinds of trash under her bed. I began to notice some “stuff”. All of her belongings always stayed in her car trunk. She would load and unload them almost every day. She was no criminal and she wasn’t on the run. What I presume is that she was so used to getting kicked out that she was on “fleeing mode” 24/7. Of course, sooner than later, I became the bad guy. I got up one Saturday morning to do some house cleaning. I (half out of disgust and half because I was doing laundry) tossed her extremely filthy white fabric flip flops in the washer. She went ballistic and used foul language because I should not be touching her stuff. That woman had a huge gambling habit (this explains most of her actions). She would play scratch, lotto, dice, blackjack. One day her wallet fell open and all these “good luck” charms came out. She never treated herself to a nice dinner. She always had coffee and a sandwich, unless someone else paid for her food. She was moody and anxious when she couldn’t gamble. Mary also hoped all the gas stations in search of “lucky winner” games, spent time at the slot machine at a nearby bar, and got an expensive traffic ticket for invading a private parking space (near a casino). All her anticipation turned to bitterness and aggressive demeanor when she lost her money (often!). She would curse at people and wish horrible things upon them (especially if the newspaper reported a big lotto winner). When I learned that an ex had kicked her out for snooping in his checkbook, I became paranoid and hid all my valuables. A family member advised me to never unpack a new coffee maker I'd bought because she loved coffee and that would be just another reason to hang around. It was true. One time, she asked if I had a coffee maker and I said no. She asked me to “get one”. I said no, I’m not into coffee. She called me a tightwad and a c---. I’m an animal lover and used to take my pet with me whenever I stayed elsewhere for the night. It was quite rare for me not to take my beloved 4 legged princess. This situation had so many red flags I was uncomfortable leaving an animal under her care. I put my pet in my purse (I’m not being specific to maintain some privacy, 99% of the population hates her and someone may catch on this story, lol.) and left town. I used to go visit family out of town and stay over the weekend. I was hours away when my phone rang at 2 am. She was yelling, cursing, demanding that I solve “the situation”. I asked her very firmly to calm down because I could not discern anything due to her screaming. She told me she had “come home” and that her key broke inside the lock. I asked her if she could just “pinch it” and turn it with her fingers but the key was completely torn and there was no way to grab it. Sweet. I looked at my beloved furry baby, all safe and happy. I had nothing to be concerned about. She kept screaming some more. She demanded that I “drive my ass back and help her”. There was nothing I could possibly do at 2 am. What was I supposed to do? Sit with her in the hallway? She demanded to know when I’d be back, but I told her I intended to spend the whole weekend with family. That was it. She hung up on me. I never showed up until 4 days later to make sure she was gone. The first thing I did was toss her mattress. There was so much food residue between her bedframe and the fitted sheet it was nauseating. There were some sticky coffee cups on the floor, dirty sanitary pads, and a notebook with lots of gambling gimmicks. I put everything in the garbage and spent a whole day cleaning up my house. She had left very few things behind. I eventually “announced” that my landlord would not renew my contract and she replied “wow, I was so well set at that place” (I sh!it you not). She spent that night driving around. Her mother told me in an accusatory voice that she had no money for a hotel and had slept in her car for a week because her friends let her take showers but staying over was out of the question. I calmly told her that she could just stay with her and save money. This wasn’t happening. I later learned that she had “borrowed” money from some neighbors some years behind and avoided our old neighborhood because she never paid them back. Her occasional visits with her mother were very secretive. She would have someone drop her and would not even show up at the balcony. She had also lost her home because she spent all her salary at the casino many years ago. She bailed rent and snuck out on her landlords. She tried to stiff a cousin with “10,000 dollars from his Visa card and I’ll pay you back”. He said no and she became his enemy. I have never seen her again but did hear some stories about her for about 10 + years. Pretty much all the same. My family and I severed ties with Auntie almost 20 years ago because she became extremely resentful and blamed us for her daughter's troubles from then on.
So recently I decided to dust off my Fallout Monopoly "collector's edition" and oh god did it disappoint me, seriously this game is just classic monopoly with some fallout properties slapped onto it. So I've decided to make an improvement on the board, a sort of expansion if you will. First off I want to change the currency, the whole currency system on Fallout Monopoly is caps ( big surprise) however we are still dealing with notes, see picture at bottom for reference. So I plan on buying some plain bottle caps from Amazon, spray painting them and place numbers on them to replace the note money, pretty simple Next is the houses and hotels are known as shacks and vaults, however the pieces still look like houses and hotels so I would like to replace these with some custom game pieces, there is websites that 3d print game pieces however I'm not a 3d modeller so any other ideas would be appreciated. Another very simple idea is to replace the jail space with paradise falls, a very simple idea which I'm surprised Hasbro didn't come up with.. I'm still looking for a replacement for free parking though if there is any ideas? Next up is another pack of chance cards, currently we have ' I'm s.p.e.c.i.a.l replacing chance, and survival guide replacing community chest, I want to create a pack of 'trait cards' which will give you options to choose from or there will be a downside to every card, I plan on nabbing some of the ideas from this post So the big idea of this is to extend the board too, New Vegas was completely disregarded from this board and I'd like to add it complete with a new train station, new utility, trait card space and plenty of new properties. The extension will be a loop which you will travel to after the 'go to jail' space (see picture for reference) Id like the three main strip casinos as one of the colour groups and I was thinking of having Hoover dam as the extra utility. Any ideas on which locations should be included on this new board? Also any ideas on ANY changes to the board will be most welcome. My badly drawn idea page, also includes current currency, shack and vault
A d100 Table of Space Stations/Habitats Orbiting a Star/Planet
d100 Space Stations/Habitats Orbiting a StaPlanet
A list of stations you would find orbiting a star, in a system that has hundreds of them orbiting said star. Anything from a diner, to a city.
BOBSON DUGNUTT'S DINNER. An alien owned human style diner. Serving quadruped milk-based beverage, fried starchy vegetable, along with avian, and mammal meat. The inside has a floor made of an ice-like compound with a high freezing point, the servers ride around with ice skates.
A large city with several other stations orbiting it. These other stations seem to be growing algae and synthetic meat.
A group of stations built on top of asteroids. They seem to be mining operations.
A ship maintenance and repair station.
A hotel with sleeping pods.
Large Bulk Goods store.
A closed ecosystem that's essentially a tourism spot that's been around a few decades. Mixing different animals from different planets.
A guild of pretentious "Galactic Explorers"
Megacorp owned city full of people in indentured servitude. The crime's pretty low there.
An apartment complex with several rooms available to buy/rent.
Debris Collection Station - houses the ships and teams that clean up hazardous debris from (orbit, around space stations, shipping lanes). They also deal with decommissioned satellites [World_Of_Ideas]
Derelict Space Station - an older space station, that had to be abandoned due to maintenance issues [World_Of_Ideas]
Emergency Response Station - houses the ships and teams that respond to distress calls within the system [World_Of_Ideas]
FTL Disruption Station - prevents ships from using FTL within secure areas of the system [World_Of_Ideas]
FTL Portal Station - opens a gate way to another portal station. instant travel between portals / allows FTL travel between portals / speed up FTL travel between portals / reduces power cost of FTL travel between portals [World_Of_Ideas]
40 Best Songs of All Times About Poker, Dice, Cards and Addiction
40. Go Down Gamblin’ - Blood Sweat and Tears
Released in 1971, Go Down Gamblin’ by Blood Sweat and Tears is a song describing a gambler who is “born a natural loser.” He never wins, no matter what game he plays, but, he doesn’t feel like a loser. As the song goes – “Cause I've been called a natural lover by that lady over there, Honey, I'm just a natural gambler but I try to do my share.”
39. Gambler - Madonna
Gambler is a song written and played by Madonna, made for the film Vision Quest. Although the song reached the top 10 in the charts of the UK, Australia, Belgium, Ireland, Netherlands, and Norway, Madonna performed it only once on her 1985The Virgin Tour. It’s a catchy song, we suggest you play it as you spin the reels of some of your favourite retro online slots.
38. The House of the Rising Sun - The Animals
Our list wouldn’t be complete without the 1964 hit song - The House of the Rising Sun by The Animals. Everybody knows the famous lines ”My mother, she was a tailor, sewed these new blue jeans, my father was a gamblin' man way down in New Orleans.” This single had a major success and made it to the top 10 songs on mainstream rock radio stations in the USA. Likewise, the hit was featured in the video game Guitar Hero Live.
37. The Winner Takes It All - ABBA
Whether we admit it or not, we all love at least some songs played by the very well-known Swedish pop group, ABBA. According to some sources, Bjorn Ulvaeus wrote the 1980 hit song The Winner Takes It All which was inspired by his divorce to his fellow band member, Agnetha Fältskog. The winner takes it all is a sort of a comparison to a divorce (especially the part ”I've played all my cards and that's what you've done too, nothing more to say, no more ace to play”), where one of them is the winner and the other one is left with nothing. And things are just the same when it comes to gambling, so we’ve decided to put the song on our list.
36. Shape of my Heart - Sting
We’re all aware of the fact that our gambling behaviour can be influenced by certain types of music and that's because online gambling and music go hand in hand. So, we suggest you start playing your preferred games with one of everyone’s favourite songs by Sting called The Shape of my Heart. It was released in 1993 and used for the end credits of the film Léon. In one of his interviews, Sting explained that the lyrics of the song tell the story of a card player who places bets not in order to win but to figure out something that’s been bothering him - “some kind of scientific, almost religious law.”
35. All I Wanna Do Is Play Cards - Corb Lund
“Well, I guess I really oughta be makin up songs but all I wanna do is play cards. I know it's dumb and sick and wrong but all I wanna do is play cards. Got the studio booked in Tennessee, and my record producer's callin me, the tape will roll in just three weeks and all I wanna do is play cards.” Does it sound familiar? It’s a 2005 hit by Corb Lund called All I Wanna Do Is Play Cards, once you hear it you’ll be playing it on repeat.
34. Gambling Man - The Overtones
When you’re falling in love, it’s perfectly normal to feel like you want to gamble everything just to attract that person’s attention to notice you and love you back. Well, Gambling Man is a lively 2010 song that tells a story of a guy fascinated with his love, so he places all his bets on her, as the song goes - “I played my hand, I rolled the dice, now I'm paying for my sins, I got some bad addiction.” This time, he feels that this love affair is different from any other – “Baby, it's you, yeah, yeah, that's right.” The song was released in 2010 and has been popular ever since.
33. Poker Face - Lady Gaga
Although the Poker Face song is more about the game of romance rather than the game of poker, the catchy refrain that starts with “Can't read my, no he can't read my poker face” kinda reminds us of winning at the tables, so we couldn’t skip it this time. Released in 2008, the song achieved worldwide success, topping the charts in the USA, the UK, Australia, Canada and several European countries.
32. Little Queen of Spades - Robert Johnson
Moving on to the Little Queen of Spades, a song title by the American blues musician Robert Johnson who recorded the song in 1937 and first released it in 1938. The first version of this gambling-themed song has a playing time of 2:11, whereas the second one lasts 4s longer (2:15), and is considered an alternate take and first appeared on Johnson's album The Complete Recordings, in 1990.
31. Train of Consequences - Megadeth
Another great song Train of Consequences is the title created by Megadeth, released as the first single from their sixth studio album Youthanasia in 1994. The song was later included on their compilation albums and its music video was the 26th most played video on MTV. There’s this part of the song “No horse ever ran as fast as the money that you bet, I'm blowing on my cards and I play them to my chest” – which is about a person’s gambling problem, who realises something’s wrong with this lifestyle, but it still hunts him down. Could be just the thrill, but he just can’t stop playing.
30. Gambler - Whitesnake
Released on the album Slide It In (1984) and appearing on the compilation album Gold (2006), Gambler is the song by the British hard rock band Whitesnake. These words may sound familiar - “No fame or fortune, no luck of the draw, when I dance with the Queen of Hearts, a jack of all trades, a loser in love, it's tearing my soul apart”. And in case you’ve never heard it, we think you should give it a shot, the chances are you’re going to love it!
29. Gambling Man - Woody Guthrie
Now here’s one single from 1957 - Gamblin' Man. The song was taped live at the London Palladium and published as a double A side, with Puttin' On the Style. Reaching #1 in the UK Singles Chart in the summer 1957, it was “the last UK number 1 to be released on 78 rpm format only, as 7' vinyl had become the norm by this time.” Written by Woody Guthrie and Donegan, this gambling themed song was produced by Alan Freeman and Michael Barclay.
28. Roll of the Dice - Bruce Springsteen
According to Songfacts, Roll of the Dice was the first Springsteen’s song he didn’t write by himself. In fact, E Street Band’s pianist Roy Bittan helped with the music, while Springsteen was in charge of the lyrics, starting with – “Well I've been a losin' gambler, just throwin' snake eyes, Love ain't got me downhearted. I know up around the corner lies, My fool's paradise in just another roll of the dice.” After he broke up the E Street Band in October 1989, Springsteen wrote lyrics for the Roll of the Dice (with two other songs) and liked them to the point where he began writing and recording more songs.
27. Queen of Diamonds - Tom Odell
Here’s one song about a gambling fanatic who’s trying to satisfy his own addiction but also someone else, hoping it’s going to save him. Released in 2018, Queen of Diamonds is Tom Odell’s song from the album Jubilee Road, based on the local characters that inspired this British songwriter to include the whisky-soaked gamblers who regularly visited one betting shop.
26. The Angel and the Gambler - Iron Maiden
Now, this song may divide Iron Maiden fans and it’s most probably because of its repetitive lyrics that can be a bit annoying. The release we’re talking about is The Angel and the Gambler. Truth be told, the melody in general is very catchy and, even a bit similar to The Who in some moments. As the song was released in 1998 while Blaze Bayley was its frontmen, it’s missing the well-known high-pitch vocals from Bruce Dickinson.
25. Ramblin' Gamblin Man - Bob Seger
We’re moving on to a rock single from 1978 - Ramblin' Gamblin Man by Bob Seger. The author meets an old acquaintance, a professional gambler who happens to be a swagger. As such, he attracts people’s attention whenever he bets. Putting so much of his faith in the cards (rather than in people), he walks away every time, just before avoiding loss. Along the way, the narrator realises that, if you scratch beneath the surface, you’ll find he’s a very cynical man, who will never change. Another gambling-themed song worth mentioning by Bob Seger is Still The Same.
24. Blow Up The Pokies - The Whitlams
Blow up the Pokies is the next song on our list, played by The Whitlams. It is the second single by the group from their 4th studio album, Love This City. Released in the year 2000, the song became a hit and made it to number 21 on the ARIA Singles Chart. According to several resources, the lyrics written by singer Tim Freedman were inspired by the destruction he saw in original Whitlams bassist Andy Lewis's life, due to his gambling addiction.
23. A Good Run of Bad Luck - Clint Black
Now here’s one 1994-song packed with gambling-related terms. As you listen to A Good Run of Bad Luck, recorded by American music artist Clint Black, you'll have a bit of fun as you try identifying what all these gambling terms mean. The song is a bit fast and is about falling in love by using gambling metaphors. The main character is willing to spend a lot of money to win his special lady over and, although he has had a period of bad luck, he is not giving up – “I've been to the table, and I've lost it all before, I'm willin' and able, always comin' back for more.”
22. When You’re Hot, You’re Hot - Jerry Reed
Jerry Reed won a Grammy for the song When You’re Hot, You’re Hot which was released in 1971. Most people remember it as it was a major hit, ranked as number 1 in the country charts, also making its way up the Pop Top 40. It’s an enjoyable novelty song about the ups and downs of the gambling life, about one’s winning streak caught in an illegal game of Crap. Country star Jerry Reed also came up with a version The Uptown Poker Club in 1973.
21. Lawyers, Guns and Money - Warren Zevon
Next one up - Lawyers, Guns and Money is a song by Warren Zevon, the closing track on his album Excitable Boy, released in 1978. An edited version of this song was distributed as a single and found itself on the A Quiet Normal Life best of compilation on the CD and LP. The song goes like this - “I went home with a waitress the way I always do, how was I to know she was with the russians, too? I was gambling in Havana, I took a little risk Send lawyers, guns, and money Dad, get me out of this, hiyah!”
20. The Lottery Song - Harry Nilsson
According to the man in the 1972 pop-rock song The Lottery Song by Harry Nilsson, there's more than one way to get to Vegas. Addressing his lover, the narrator mentions a few different options for buying a ticket and going to Sin City – “We could win the lottery we could go to Vegas,” and “We could wait till summer, we could save our money” as well as “We could make a record, sell a lot of copies, we could play Las Vegas.”
19. Casino Queen - Wilco
Now here’s one black-humoured gambling-themed song, released in 1995 and titled after a casino. Featuring a dirty electric guitar, Casino Queen was composed by an American songwriter, Jeff Tweedy, who wrote this song after playing a game in a riverboat casino accompanied by his dad. Inspired by the event, the author wrote: “Casino Queen my lord you're mean, I've been gambling like a fiend on your tables so green.”
18. Have a Lucky Day - Morphine
Another song on our list that you simply must check out starts like this: “I feel lucky, I just feel that way, I'm on a bus to Atlantic City later on today. Now I'm sitting at a blackjack table and swear to God the dealer has a tag says, "Mabel." Hit me, hit me! I smile at Mabel, soon they're bringing complimentary drinks to the table.” Check it out yourself - it’s called Have a Lucky Day by Morphine.
17. Kentucky Gambler - Merle Haggard
Written by Dolly Parton and released in 1974, Merle Haggard’s Kentucky Gambler is another song on our ultimate gambling playlist that you should pay attention to. It’s about a miner from Kentucky who leaves his family to gamble, under the bright lights of Reno. Unsurprisingly, his winning streak comes to an end, and he loses all his winnings. All broke, he decided to return back home only when he arrived, he found out his wife was involved with someone else.
16. The Jack - AC/DC
The next song on our list will give you some adrenaline boost, for sure. It goes like this - “She gave me the queen, she gave me the king, she was wheelin' and dealin', just doin' her thing, she was holdin' a pair, but I had to try…” Sounds familiar? This song from the 1975s is called The Jack and is played by AC/DC and there’s no way you can skip it.
15. Blackjack - Ray Charles
Moving on to something a bit different - a melody that blackjack lovers can listen to as they play is Ray Charles’ Blackjack. Apart from being a good quality song from 1955, it carries an important message with an emphasis on how brutal the game of blackjack can be. Some sources say that Ray Charles wrote it after beating T-Bone Walker at a blackjack game session. Yet another Ray Charles’ famous song about gambling is called a Losing Hand.
14. Ooh Las Vegas - Gram Parson
“Ooh, Las Vegas, ain't no place for a poor boy like me”... is a song-into for Ooh Las Vegas which was written by Gram Parsons and Ric Grech. It was first released by Gram Parsons with Emmylou Harris in 1974. Playing this song would be perfect for the beginning of the road trip (i.e. to Las Vegas), especially if you have the energy to sing along.
13. The Stranger - Leonard Cohen
Published in 1968 and performed by Leonard Cohen, The Stranger appears in the The Ernie Game movie about a man released from a mental asylum. More appropriately, it is the perfect opening song in the 1971 Western McCabe & Mrs Miller, in which Warren Beatty plays a gambler. As you listen to this song (without watching the movie), it makes you see fascinating images of card games, smoky dreams, and concepts of risk versus safety.
12. Desperado - Eagles
Written by Glen Frey and Don Henley, Desperado song is one of The Eagles’ greatest hits from their 1973 album of the same name. The song features a classic tune while the ballad tells the story of a lone wolf imprisoned by his loneliness. As for the lyrics, they have loads of card references mentioning the queen of diamonds, the queen of hearts, and so on.
11. Huck's Tune - Bob Dylan
The next song on our list is about the risks of poker, money, and relationships, which are precisely what the movie Lucky You is all about. Does it ring a bell? That’s right, this 2007 song is called Huck’s Tune and is performed by Bob Dylan. Each of us can all relate to lines "You push it all in, and you've no chance to win, you play 'em on down to the end." Play the song and you’ll enjoy more than 4 amazing minutes of Bob Dylan. Likewise, Bob Dylan recorded Rambling, Gambling Willie and Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts, both excellent and both inspired by gambling.
10. Four Little Diamonds - Electric Light Orchestra
A song by the British rock band Electric Light Orchestra Four Little Diamonds was released in 1983 and found itself on the album Secret Messages. The single wasn’t so popular in the US, being only 2 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, at number 86, and number 84 in the UK. This song refers to the singer’s cheating lover who tricked him out of a ring which had 'four little diamonds' on it.
9. You Can't Beat The House - Mark Knopfler
Moving on to our next choice for the day, You Can’t Beat the House. It’s the third song on the Get Lucky studio album released in 2009 by British singer-songwriter and guitarist Mark Knopfler. The album and the songs received favorable reviews with the album reaching the top three positions on album charts in Denmark, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, and Poland. The singer’s divine voice combined with beautiful music and lyrics goes like this – “You can't bear the house, you can't bear the house, tell the man somebody, you can't beat the house.”
8. Deck of Cards - Don Williams
Deck of Cards is a recitation song that tells the story of a soldier who gets caught while playing cards in church and then faces a sentence from a superior officer. The soldier defends his case, explaining he wasn't about to deal a hand of poker, but was rather confirming his faith with the cards. Performed by T. Texas Tyler, the song managed to become a major hit in the 1940s and 1950s. Also, Wink Martindale had an even bigger hit with his 1959 cover, with a successful version by Don Williams featuring Tex Ritter and Buddy Cole.
7. Gambler’s Blues - B.B. King
First recording of the song Gambler’s Blues by B.B. King was in 1966, and it was released in 1967. The song appears on the album Back in the Alley (1970). Some say gambling and blues go hand in hand, so if you (gambling fans) haven’t heard it, listen and see for yourself.
6. Tumbling Dice - Rolling Stones
One of our favourite songs on the list is Tumbling Dice, written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. It tells the story of a gambler who can’t remain faithful to any woman. Being released in the 1970s and featuring a blues boogie-woogie rhythm, the song was and still is one of the greatest singles of all time. Rolling Stones also recorded Casino Boogie, and it’s from their 1972 album, Exile on Main St.
5. Luck Be A Lady - Frank Sinatra
The next song on our list is about a gambler who hopes that he will win a bet, the outcome of which will decide whether he is able to save his relationship with the girl of his dreams. You probably know what song we’re talking about; it’s called Luck be a Lady released in 1965 and performed by one of the most popular musical artists - Frank Sinatra.
4. Deal - Grateful Dead
Next one up is the song Deal. It was first performed by the Grateful Dead in 1971, as a regular part of the repertoire through their 1970's tour. Although being less common to the fans during the 1990s, the band continued to perform it. The singer opens with the message: “Since it cost a lot to win and even more to lose you and me bound to spend some time wondering what to choose,” that later kicks off with a chorus: “Don't let your deal go down...” Loser is another song first performed by the Grateful Dead in 1971 as well, heavily played during 1971 and 1972.
3. Ace of Spades - Motörhead
Ok, the next song is loaded with some great gambling verses like "The pleasure is to play, makes no difference what you say, I don't share your greed, the only card I need is the Ace of Spades" will definitely set you in the right mood for hitting some winning combinations. Released in 1980, the song was inspired by slot machines that the lead singer Ian Fraser “Lemmy” Kilmister played in London pubs.
2. Viva Las Vegas - Elvis
As soon as you start playing the second song from our playlist “Viva Las Vegas,” you’ll probably picture a huge casino and a great gaming atmosphere. Performed by the legendary Elvis Presley, the 1964-released song brings the glamour of the city, and its beat will get you in the mood for some serious gameplay. This song was written for the movie of the same name starring Elvis Presley, in which he plays a race car driver waiting tables at a hotel to pay off a debt. There’s this famous scene when he performs this song at the talent competition alongside many showgirls.
1. The Gambler - Kenny Rogers
Performed by the legendary country singer Kenny Rogers, The Gambler song is our number 1 - it's full of some betting advice that are relevant today, even though it was released more than 40 years ago, in 1978. Here’s how it goes… “If you're gonna play the game, boy you gotta learn to play it right, you've got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away, and know when to run.” These classic chorus lines were told from the first-person perspective inspired by a conversation the author had with an experienced poker player on a train. Written in the form of poker metaphors, Schlitz wrote the tune in honor of his late father. Johnny Cash is also among other musicians who recorded The Gambler in 1978, on Gone Girl.
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