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2012.04.28 09:22 FoxStang Associates of Office Depot

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2019.10.03 08:44 OD_TDS_Guy TechDepotServices

Welcome to TechDepotServices, a place for fellow Office Depot/OfficeMax techs to post!
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2013.08.24 05:38 Tictacjo Ask Retail

A place for retail employees to share ideas and tactics to help one another make work more efficient and enjoyable. Customers are also welcome to engage employees with any questions they may not want to ask in store.
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2023.06.03 00:21 andrewtater [OC] A Long Way Down

The humans had nearly a thousand stars within their medium-sized realm, with a hundred and fifty habitable planets and another dozen mid-terraform; all the rest had at least a mining station, research facility, or military garrison, with several hundred sporting fully domed colonies. Much of their industry had been automated, as well, resulting in a large population with the freedom to pursue their passions. Some enjoyed academia, career scholars who could be called upon by their governments to research problems. Some enjoyed quiet rural lives, tending gardens and developing new agricultural products so the farm AIs could feed the hundreds of billions of humans. Others became adamant gamers, using various programs to develop VR worlds for others to explore.
The Human Confederation worked well; while the overall parliament had clear lines delineating the limits of its authority, the solar cantons and their subordinate colonies were largely left to handle internal matters locally. Friendly competition between cantons resulted in many technological innovations, and some cantons decided to specialize in certain fields in order to ensure their name remained renowned.
Overall, humanity saw itself in a golden age, one that continued to gild itself further with exploration, peaceful expansion, diplomacy, and prosperity.
But no golden age could last forever.
The Hirox Empire saw itself also in a golden age, but their expansions were rarely into unclaimed space. They saw the world through the Theory of Relativity; matter cannot be created nor destroyed. They corrupted this to be their guiding principle: resources are finite, and others possessing them means less for the Hirox to use. The First Hiroxian Law.
They focused their attacks first on humanity's outer colonies, those with the weakest defenses but many untapped resources. The Hirox didn't need them now, just to deny humanity the possession of them.
They continued to ravage through the lightly populated outer worlds; the Gallic and Hispanic colonies were in the direct path, but the Sinic and Nipponic colonies were just as at risk around the periphery.
The Hirox pushed humanity back to their core canton worlds. They had been a power on the rise, but they had fallen from their golden age.
It was a long way down.
Human science proved to be far more adaptable than the Hirox expected. While they didn't often win in direct fights, ambush tactics had taken down several vessels, and the humans had no qualms about stealing the technologies they had acquired. As the war continued, humanity had fielded better and better ships. Hirox high command had even considered pausing the expansion to consolidate their gains and work on how to fortify their new territory. It wouldn't be without precedent, but it had been quite a long time since a species made them do so.
Fleetmaster Jilk was opposed to the idea. He saw how quickly the humans had adapted their industry. Failing to push the current initiative and technological advantage would give the humans a chance to rally, and that could be dangerous. They might even-
An explosion broke his train of thought. Not necessarily an explosion, though. It was as if the entire vessel had been struck by a heavy object. His command hologram sprang to life, showing the location of the damage.
He turned to the rear of his command center, looking at the two-meter-wide brain suspended in synthetic spinal fluid. Hobir, his ship's thinking center, was already working.
"Admiral, impact at level seven, hull was breached but has been sealed by the striking object. Working on getting an image. Shipmaster Gorn has already dispatched engineers. One other ship reports similar impact: carrier-class Blackwing; reports indicate engineers are en route as well. Sixteen ships report no impacts."
Jiln nodded. The two ships captains knew their business well, and Jiln could focus on commanding the fleet itself. "Hobir, develop report requirements: combat capability of impacted ships, then combat capability of entire fleet, then source of objects if any."
"Yes Admiral, three requirements developed and transmitted to captains. Initial report of impacts and developed requirements transmitted to nearest garrison."
Something didn't feel right. Like how one feels when one walks through the territory of a pack of keth. You just feel the unease of something. Why were there a pair of asteroids just lose in the barren system the fleet had been traveling through? And how did both hulls near perfectly seal themselves?
Explosions could be heard throughout the ship. Not with the level of power the impact had, these were small ones, echoing throughout the halls. He watched on his hologram as bulkheads were sealed, likely the captain trying to contain the damage.
Except the bulkheads failed to contain the damage. One by one, small detonations created holes in them, expanding aft until the sequential breaches split into two directions, one towards the engine room, and the other towards Jiln's command suite.
These weren't secondary explosions. They were breaching charges. These were boarders. He sped towards his communications console to summon his security detail and warn the carrier. Humans were on board. He barely dialed the fleet-wide frequency when the wall exploded. The concussive force was incredible, but the human marines that poured through the hole in the wall didn't seem to notice. One of them whirled his rifle around, slamming the butt into Jiln's spinal nerve cluster, triggering all his neurons to fire. After that lightning, he began to drift into the inky blackness of unconsciousness.
It was a long way down.
Corporal Sean O’Loughlin floated awkwardly at attention. His parents had been born in the Saffron Colony's domed city, but they had been evacuated back to the Eire Canton days before the Hirox destroyed the magnificent structure. His mother still struggled with losing her home, but thankfully nearly all the civilians had made it out. Unfortunately, her youngest brother, barely twenty at the time, had volunteered to be part of the shielding force, and his loss had never really healed. She did, however, meet Sean's father on the evacuation ship, and now twenty-two years later, Sean wore the canton's Clover Crest on his uniform's shoulder, just as his uncle had. He had seen how much others had lost because of the Hirox, and he had a few younger siblings to carry on if something happened to him, so he decided to join the vanguard. The meteors. The Drop Troopers.
This was the first assault against a world that the Hirox had held from before the war. A Hirox core world at that, thousands of light years behind the front line. This held one of their major shipyards, as well as an important command center. Luckily, some HVI the Marines had captured a few months back had seen reason and talked. The officer had given HCHQ nearly everything: access to the command nets, internal politics of the nobility, and intelligence on critical military infrastructure.
Taking this planet would at least delay the onslaught that humanity faced. It was also very likely the only mission any of these troopers would participate in, given how unlikely reinforcements were. This was a surgical strike, but also a one-way trip. They were to cause as much chaos as they could but were given a prioritized list of targets if they could reach them.
Corporal O’Loughlin floated down the line of his three subordinates. One wore a red maple leaf of his home Dominion, while the other two bore the stylized cherry blossom of the Nipponic colony of Sakura. He checked their equipment, and one by one he strapped them into their egg-shaped pods, seat facing down relative to the layout of the ship, ensuring all the systems were working. He verified the inventory of five combat drones and two recon drones each and ensured their AI assistants were up. When he was done, his own sergeant checked them, then strapped Sean in. Finally, with all the doors closed, and the countdown began.
Two minutes until launch. He prepared for his eyeballs to feel like they were about to meet his brain.
One minute. He tried to crack his neck, but the recessed cushioned cutout for his body prevented any movement. It was probably for the better.
Thirty seconds. He took a breath, and then another. As much as he enjoyed the practice drops, he was about to be in the heart of Hirox territory.
He felt the ship slam out of hyperspace. Not a second later, the countdown timer hit zero. He felt the moment the magnetic rails engaged, and then his pod was blasting towards this new world.
It was a long way down.
Scores of human dreadnoughts sat in the black outside the Hirox home world’s system. They sat with their lines of fire overlapping, making a near sphere of death that hung in the black nearly seven light hours from the sun. This was supposed to be a safe distance.
Even now, defiance and bile and hate spewed from the capital planet. Many Hirox had been willing to bow to human strength; in a culture where might makes right, the loser bows to the victor.
But not all saw that reason. Particularly the ruling caste, those who had the most to lose and those that bore the most responsibility. After the absolute purge of all humans that had been captured, humanity knew that not all sentients were redeemable.
It was graveyard still in the command center of the HCV Enola. The vessel had only been built with one purpose: to deliver the specialized munition in its hold. It held a minimal crew: half a dozen engineers and a pair of emergency firefighters. One medical officer, no corpsmen. A single missileer. And an old admiral, who had been ready to retire from service before the war had ever started over two decades prior. When the mission was over, the crew was to abandon the vessel as the autopilot flew it into a star. There was no glory to be had on this mission, but it would bring peace to humanity. It was perhaps the only path to peace not drowned in human blood, but they had made the decision to trade Hirox blood and more for it.
The missileer prepared the munition, removed all the safeties, and inserted his key into his lock of the twinned pair. The admiral drew the other from a chain around his neck and inserted it into the remaining lock, nodding to the lieutenant commander to his right. They both turned their keys simultaneously, opening the aluminum glass covering to a fingerprint scanner and a recessed button.
He nodded and pulled a communicator to his mouth.
"All hand, prepare for missile launch." His voice matched his heart: heavily laden with sadness and regret, but also resolve.
His thumb pushed into the button, sliding it barely a centimeter into the device.
It was a long way down.
The Hiroxian Emperor remained surrounded by his sycophants and true believers. Even now, down to their last system, they showered him with words of praise and assurances that they would still defeat the humans.
But in their twilight sky, they watched a single missile streak like a meteor. Like a human drop pod. Like a boarding craft. Despite the time and distance and trajectory, it was clearly visible, flying so, so fast.
Flying past Hira, past Hira's two moon, and towards the star at the center of the system.
Then they watched as the sun gave way to darkness. They felt the tremors throughout the planet and saw their two moons being ripped apart. The tidal forces shook skyscrapers until they collapsed, the screams of lickspittles and zealots just a whisper to the cacophony of quakes and the rending of glass and steel.
They watched as the stars moved in ways they had never moved before, at speeds they had never moved before. They felt their bodies be pulled, stretched, as they were dragged towards where their star once was.
The humans had fired a void bomb. A singularity missile. A warhead that could collapse a star into a black hole.
Hira, and the last of the warmongers left of the Hiroxian species, fell into the chasm left in the wake of that missile.
It was a long way down.
submitted by andrewtater to HFY [link] [comments]


2023.06.02 23:35 Fun_Inflation9301 Do you know what breed she might be? I think possible husky/German shepherd but idk…

Do you know what breed she might be? I think possible husky/German shepherd but idk…
We found her as a stray about a month ago in bad condition. She had mange and lost most of her hair. We got her treated and this is the result. She also recently had parvo and recovers so she’s are miracle baby. Please lmk what you think she might be at the end will be a picture of how we fist found her.
submitted by Fun_Inflation9301 to dogbreed [link] [comments]


2023.06.02 22:06 KyleKKent Out of Cruel Space, Part 701

First
Capes and Conundrums
“Alright, so what’s so important?” Pavel asks as he arrives at the firing range. Everyone else on duty is there and that also means a quarter of the people posted on Skathac aren’t here. Still, it was odd for everyone to show up all at once.
“So glad you can join us your majesty, hopefully this isn’t a problem for you.” The sarcastic tone of one of the officers states before anyone else can so much as offer a peep.
“Considering that the notice went out twenty minutes ago and my shift starts in five I can categorically tell you to go fuck yourself. What’s going on?” Pavel retorts to the amusement of the rest of the crowd.
“Well seeing as how I can’t discipline you until you’re on the clock I suppose I have to let that slide. Gentlemen, and ladies of course, we are now faced with the greatest trial that any member of The Undaunted can face. The largest and most difficult challenge of your careers and these coming days will make or break you as a soldier.” The base commander states to stop any oncoming arguement. He was very, very rarely seen outside of his office these days. Like most Admirals under The Grand Admiral he was overworked, pushed to his limit, but managing. However Admiral Cistern had very much set the trend that the commanders of The Undaunted needed to be almost literally dragged away from their work.
Planetary Admiral Hynala was a stern man of Indian heritage who had grown out his moustache since leaving Earth. He was also the anchor of sanity and reason in the sheer crazy that was the method of behaviour that Skathac brought out of his men and was VERY aware of just how easily things could go off the rails in a place like this.
“Alright, now that everyone is here, including those who would normally be here on the next meeting like this. We have had our greatest temptation delivered. New equipment patterns are now released to The Undaunted after testing. This includes new weapons. Such as the army shattering Bouncer as it’s been nicknamed, The Frozen Fire Rods and explosive gel in several grades. Ranging from Batman, to Bomberman, to The Key.”
“Why The Key sir?” Someone asks.
“Because Explosive Gel of that grade is powerful enough to open any door you will ever come across, no questions asked. Anything else?”
“Does that include doors that exist only in your mind?”
“So long as you have something to put the gel on, you can make a door there. Furthermore Pop-Gun pattern weapons are now fully approved for the entirety of The Undaunted. Meaning you can, on request, get a handheld artillery piece. May whatever gods there are have mercy on us all.” Admiral Hynala says in a wry tone and there’s some laughter. “To get back on topic. We are going to have a demonstration of both the weapons and a list of the requisition forms required to carry around these absolute monsters. We will begin with the one I will be refusing on principal if you don’t give me a damn good reason why you want it. The Bouncer.”
“Really? An easily transported bomb that can be applied almost anywhere without issue isn’t the scariest thing?”
“The Gel is the least scary of the three if you have any understanding of thermodynamics and understand the sheer amount of Axiom screwery going on with The Frozen Fire Rods. Which are primarily fire fighting equipment that can be used as something other than a bludgeon or a smokescreen in a fight.” Admiral Hynala says before walking further into the firing range and then modifying the control panel to turn up the defensive shields up as high as he can.
The weapon he picks up resembles a toy more than anything. “This is The Bouncer, also known as a Bouncing Plasma Bomb Launcher. This is a weapon that can and WILL clean out an armoured position with one shot if you get it into the hardened position. It operates by producing unstable plasma at a rapid rate and will propel itself around on an unending series of explosions to create more explosions in different places. This weapon I hold in my hand is the only one I ever want on Skathac as the requirement to have another means things have gone to shit in ways I cannot describe without violating codes of conduct and decency.”
He then fires a single shot into the weapon’s range and a single ball is launched from the device like a toy and there are several snorts just before the ball hits the far wall.
The blue and white explosion of plasma shuts everyone up. The second third and fourth that come faster and faster widen eyes and the fact that the weapon is done warming up and is now causing roughly five explosions per second at seemingly random has the crowd staring boggle eyed.
“It’s an endless use plasma grenade that detonates on impact and then hurls itself to it’s next destination. At it’s current power level it will overwhelm a Cannidor’s plasma resistance in under five seconds and completely eat through an Undaunted Brand in ten! The practical use of this weapon is area destruction! It is NEVER to be used in any location where any item of value is held! The device in question is designed to shatter shields and wear down and all known forms of armour and resistance. Firing this device in a confined space is a death sentence! Firing it into a confined space is a confirmed kill!”
“How do we stop this thing? Worst case scenario someone teleports into this room, grabs that gun and points it at us, what do we do sir?”
“Well assuming that such an individual isn’t shot full of so many holes that they collapse into a pile of bone shards and blood, Nulling an area will shut this device down with ease. However, Null use is not without side effect. So assuming that we have say... oh I don’t know, some sort of tour of Gravia Saints who each personally hold entire planets together politically and without them there will be trillions of deaths a day, containment can be done with shield rings to form a small area to trap the ball in. So long as it’s airtight it will not have sufficient material to create more plasma. This weapon is also useless in a vacuum. So on a space ship opening the nearest airlock can and will disable the weapon.”
“And what if you misfire or miss with it? How do you shut it down if you control the weapon?” Pavel asks and Admiral Hynala pushes a button on the side of The Bouncer and the unending cascade of explosions abruptly stop. “Ah... good to see sir.”
“The code on a Bouncer is universal and can be easily mimicked by a standard communicator. This is a deliberate failsafe in the weapons. We’d rather have a weapon of massive destruction easily stopped than unstoppable. It is the opinion of the Admiralty, including myself, that it is better for so dangerous a weapon to lose effectiveness than to have it retained in potentially hostile hands.”
“This Bouncer will remain within this room and will be available for testing. You are permitted to place whatever targets you like for it to destroy within the testing area at your leisure so long as the field remains clean and functional when you’re finished. If there is even a single loss of life, be it Undaunted, Civilian, or even an animal I will have this weapon destroyed and the pattern deleted from our personal archives with a note of warning to the rest of the Admiralty. Is this understood?”
“Sir, Yes Sir!” The room responds.
“Very good. Onto our next new toy.” Admiral Hynala begins as he uses a touch of Axiom to telekinetically retrieved the inactive bouncer munition and places it back within the weapon. He then turns it off entirely and stores it for everyone to see before retrieving a pair of batons roughly the same size as a cheerleader’s baton. “Now to quite literally, play with fire.”
•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•
“It’s rather intimidating to know that some novel series are thousands of volumes long especially that this monster is one of the smaller novels.” Robin notes as he flips through a massive textbook scale book that is heavy and strong enough that he could realistically use it as a battering ram. He mentally judges it about... twenty pounds? Damn...
He comes across another splat page that gives a visual to the character descriptions and the gear they’re using. He gets a stern reminder that many of the characters are women with the character he had described as a great seducer and foul tempter actually being a man with a thin build and a vague hint of a six pack abs. He closes the book and tries not to laugh at the thought. Sure, maybe the pretty boy could cause some damage, but he looked like the type to have a full blown panic if his credit card was rejected even once.
“Something you don’t like?” Alviara asks him.
“Just trying... just trying to put that stick figure of a pretty boy into the slot of the great and terrible seducer and corrupter the back of the book painted him as. It’s very hard when he looks like a stiff breeze might make him break down and weep.” Robin notes as he struggles not to laugh.
“What? Really? You need to read deeper then, he causes some real damage with just a few words in the right ears.”
“Really?”
“Not every man expresses their power by going out and slugging things in the face. Men are the masters of soft power, especially in this story. The Dark Enchanter rarely does anything directly, but there are a dozen different... hold on a moment.” Alviara explains as she takes the heavy book from him and then flips through it. She stops on a page showing the image of six different men seducing six different women. “The Dark Enchanter kicked off the war not for profit or any real desire beyond their own boredom. They’ve shattered families, lives and dynasties just to see if he could.”
“Terrifying. Still, to you he looks like a great and terrible seducer. But to me, he seems horribly underfed and is swanning around flippantly. The kind of person who boasts about how rich his parents are. The kind of person who cries when he doesn’t get a fourth luxury car to crash.”
“Wow...” Alviara says trying not to laugh at that image. “One of the greatest villains in one of the greatest sagas ever written. As a spoiled child... Oh my...”
“Let’s call it cultural differences and leave it there.”
“The Saga of the Seventeen Systems is one part historical thriller, one part fantastical retelling of real events and one of the most beloved stories the galaxy over. And you’re that dismissive of the main villain?”
“What were the real events like?” Robin asks actually fascinated.
“Most of that information has been lost. But the Seventeen Systems Calamity was a massive on and off war that took place over a thousand years. This was about six hundred years after the introduction to Healing Comas so much of the galaxy was still adjusting to their newly unending lives. Little is actually known about the personal life of the major rulers and leaders in that time. But one thing that is known is that one man was connected to literally everyone. In the span of that thousand years, one person touched nearly a sextillion lives and then vanished.”
“So they were someone with their fingers in every major pie, was exceptional at getting around and even better at surviving, to the point they may even still be alive today.” Robin says before chuckling. “Well... isn’t that a revelation?”
Then his communicator goes off and he checks it quickly before shrugging. Just a text.
“What was that about?” Alviara asks.
“Just an alert that there will be a meeting halfway through my next shift. Likely something dull and tedious. Many of my duties are.” He says dismissively.
•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•
“And THAT is how you make a tornado out of a perfect balance of thermal energies!” Admiral Hynala declares as the Undaunted around him cheer at the sight of the whirlwind ripping through the target range. “So, to summarize, with one Frozen Fire Baton you can easily have a flamethrower or an instant freeze effect on command. Careful balance will let you shatter almost any hardened surface. With a second one you can more easily juggle the thermal forces and kick off electrical discharges from the friction of the air rubbing against each other and even more entertainingly tornadoes!”
He then gives a final flourish of the batons and sets the tornado on fire before turning to the crowd. “Any questions?”
Everyone talks at once.
“Beyond who gets to use these next?”
Dead silence.

First Last
submitted by KyleKKent to HFY [link] [comments]


2023.06.02 21:05 boxesgen where to get cheap shipping boxes?

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submitted by boxesgen to AskPackaging [link] [comments]


2023.06.02 20:46 In_Yellow_Clad A Widow's Wrath -- (A One Shot)

A widow on the path of vengeance,
A life taken, her heart in fragments.
She wanders through the dark of night,
Her thoughts consumed with deadly might.
No mercy shown, her aim is true,
She'll take revenge, see it through.
With each step she grows more bold,
Her heart beats fast, her grip is cold.
Her enemies beware her wrath,
Their fate is sealed, there's no escape path.
Her sword is sharp, her aim is sure,
No one can stop her, the gods assure.
The widow on her quest for retribution,
Will not rest until there's restitution.
Her mind is focused, her heart is strong,
Her foes will pay the price, no right or wrong.
In the end, justice will be served,
The widow's heart, though broken, will be preserved.
For she has triumphed in her quest,
And now can lay her soul to rest.
-The Legend of the Shade
-----------------
One would expect that a planet named Ilara would be some sort of paradise, or at the very least, pleasant to experience. This could not be further from the truth. Ilara is an arid, hot and dusty mess of a world. What little surface water there is has seen settlements of all kinds pop up around it, and considering the sort of planet it is, it’s no wonder that these oases have become dens of lawlessness.
Well, most of them have, a few still manage to be civilized, but to paraphrase a good man, many are ‘“Wretched hives of scum and villainy”, and it is one of these places where this tale takes place.
Nefaria’actul’oproni, or as the citizens called it, Murkville, was not a happy place. It wasn’t particularly nice looking either, the buildings all worn and smooth thanks to the repeated sandstorms that like to roll on through. There were scorch marks and even streaks of dried blood in all the colors of the rainbow on the walls in some places. And yet, for all its shittiness, people still lived there. They didn’t like it, but the next nearest and far more civilized town was much too far away for any of them to make it without suffering some form of horrible accident, attack by the wildlife or something else along those lines. So they stayed, and they endured.
Murkville was also under the control of the crime syndicate calling themselves the Set’ruthal, a brutal organization that specializes in drugs, human/xenos trafficking and prostitution, none of which was mutually exclusive in the slightest. They were scum of the highest order and they held Murkville in their iron grip, extorting the populace for ‘protection’ money and the like. All terribly cliche, but such is the way of the world.
It was a dark and blissfully cool night at the local saloon, and Scaszer - A Solvoih, who are what humanity would call an anthropomorphized snake with legs - was enjoying a drink with his friends after a long and hard day of work. His two friends, a Khik or vaguely like a tall dog person and an Almell, which humans describe as an elf with feathers, sat with him. They were all simply enjoying the cool air and the good drinks, one of the few actual luxuries in this gods forsaken dump of a town.
Flardryn - the Almell - was the first to break the silence that lingered over all of us.
“So, have you heard the rumors?” He asked, his voice a touch chirpy at times, but today not so much. Scaszer and Deikx the Khik both looked at him curiously, then at one another before they shook their heads. Flardryn grinned and leaned forwards, lowering his voice to a whisper only we could hear.
“Rumor is, someone’s sticking it to the Set’ruthal. Blowing up outposts, caches, and just generally causing chaos.” He said, Scaszer and Deikx looking rather disbelieving.
“What a load of ketch, if that were true don’t you think we’d have noticed? Ketch, if that were true this whole place would be worse than it was, they’d be taking out all that anger on us instead of the person causing the trouble.” Deikx snorted, shaking his head in a manner that had his droopy ears flopping about.
“Yeah, you know how they get when things go wrong. We pay the price.” Scaszer said, Flardryn huffing.
“But it is true! They say a human is causing all this fuss.” He protested, and that gave the other two pause. Now that sounded pretty plausible, when humans wanted to break something, they always seemed to do so in spectacular fashion. So one human causing such a ruckus wasn’t unheard of, but still it was only a rumor.
“Alright then, tell us about this human.” Scaszer said, and Flardryn looked overjoyed at the prospect of doing so, leaning in even closer to speak.
“So, rumors say this human holds a personal grudge against the Set’ruthal. They say the syndicate killed the humans family and nobody would bring them to justice, so the human decided to do it themselves.” That was honestly not that surprising. Humans love a good revenge arc. “Anyway, they started small, or so the rumors say. Just some low level scum going missing, then working their way higher and higher up the ladder. It’s got the Set’ruthal scared but they don’t wanna show it, keep up appearances you know?”
Scaszer and Deikx nodded, both of them fully understanding the concept of saving face. But this did seem a little far fetched.
None of them really noticed the human that entered the saloon, a long, dusty and tattered coat draped over their shoulders, heeled boots that gently thumped against the floor and a wide brimmed hat on the top of their head. Nobody noticed them save the bartender when the human sat at it, nor did they hear the softly spoken request for a drink from this human.
What they did notice was the very loud group of Set’ruthal enforcers, who were off duty at this time, wandering into the saloon not five minutes later, cussing and generally being obnoxious. The establishment fell silent, fearful eyes tracking the enforcers as they kicked the occupants of a table out of their chairs and claimed it for themselves. Nobody moved a muscle to challenge them, they all knew what would happen if they did.
The human however, hardly seemed perturbed as they glanced over a shoulder, the long ponytail of red hair shifting with the motion. It didn’t take the Enforcers long to notice the human, nor the fact that the human was a female. There was a very good reason why there were no humans in Murkville, and the Set’ruthal were that very reason, as the men tended to get slaughtered and the women… well, best to not talk about that.
“Well well, looks like we have a newcomer!” One of the enforcers said, grinning maliciously. The Set’ruthal were almost exclusively occupied by members of a species known as the Bholkal. To humans, they were very large armadillos, with the same amount of teeth as a shark and generally they all had very bad attitudes. “And a human at that, it’s our lucky night lads! Seems we’ll be having some lively entertainment.”
They all stood and the trio of friends all felt a bit of bile rise in their throats, feeling for the poor human who had wandered into the wrong town. But the human did the most curious thing, and perhaps the most stupid thing as well. They ignored the enforcers and instead flagged down the bartender, who looked to be quivering in fear.
“Could I just have the bottle, please and thank you.” The human said, her voice light and lilting, but with a touch of a Terran subcultural accent, what they would call Southern. The bartender was quick to acquiesce, and a bottle of some alcoholic beverage was placed before her. She was quick to take it up, spinning the cap off it with a well practiced motion. She didn’t even care that the cap was sent flying off into the unknown as a result, she instead focused on chugging the contents of the bottle while turning on her stool to face the enforcers.
The enforcers didn’t look too pleased and everyone else all wanted to look away from what was going to happen next, but found themselves transfixed.
“Aren’t you a pretty thing, why don’t you come play with us girly.” The lead enforcer, a particularly nasty fellow and coincidentally the son of the Set’ruthal patriarch, grinned as he reached out a claw to stroke her cheek. Instead of responding verbally, her head tilted back as she continued her drinking, a single finger raised to single him to wait. He didn’t really appreciate this, as he moved with such speed that nobody really knew what happened till the bottle had been cut into pieces, the contents splashing partially onto her and the floor while the glass shattered on impact.
She stared at the broken and empty bottle with a look of exasperation, before her ice blue eyes shifted their focus onto the heir apparent.
“Alright, I’ll play with you.” She said softly, and the enforcer grinned, leaning in to begin his violations, only for all of us to hear a sound we were most assuredly not expecting.
It was the sound of railgun coils spinning up.
Before anyone could react, there was a sharp sound of metal on metal, followed by wet squelching, as nearly every soul tracked the arm that sailed through the air and landed in a bloody heap well across the room. Then came the screaming, as the enforcer looked at the stump where his arm had been, and the ancient looking revolver that had removed it. The gun shifted, angling lower, the same whine repeating and now he was missing a leg as well.
The saloon burst into motion as his screaming intensified, his buddies all surging towards the human who stood in a flash and used their foot to hook onto the rungs of the stool she’d only just been occupying, sending it sailing straight into the face of an enforcer even as she took aim and fired again, turning another's head into a fine purple mist. She became a blur, firing and slashing with the broken bottle. She painted the room with their blood and they never even laid a claw on her.
It was over in an instant, the human standing there and breathing heavily, even as she watched the first enforcer claw his way out the door on his stomach. With a deep breath she turned, placed a stack of credits on the bar and walked after the fleeing enforcer, all while reloading her weapon.
Without much hesitation all present who had merely been spectators scrambled from their hiding places and to the windows, watching as she stepped over the prostrate being and pressed the barrel of her gun to the back of his head.
“D-Do you know who I am? Who my father is!?” The being wailed, and the human nodded.
“I do, that’s why I’m here, why I’m doing this. Because you took everything I ever held dear from me, and now… now I have nothing left to lose.” She murmured, and the alien grinned, purple blood oozing from his mouth.
“You know you’re gonna die right? We’re gonna take our time with you, make it hurt!”
“Perhaps, but here’s the thing,” She kicked him over onto his back, a position of great shame to a Bhokal. “There’s room in my grave for you too.” She hissed, and they all expected her to end him right then and there. But she didn’t. Instead she drew a knife and smiled in a sweet manner, yet instead of the comfort that such a smile should have brought, they felt nothing but a chill run down their spines (or spine equivalents.)
“Now, you’re gonna be a messenger to dear old dad, so you best listen close, don’t want to miss a single word.”
Those watching turned away, some getting sick at what she did next, the screams echoing down the street.
Ten Hours Later
The plantation on the outskirts of Murkville was an opulent affair, reminiscent of ancient Terran plantations as well, which is what it had been based off of coincidentally. It was here where the end of this story shall take place, and it shall go down in history as a pivotal point for Ilara. A night of blood and death, of vengeance secured and the end of a dynasty.
It began, with the sound of someone scratching at the door, a sound that was entirely unheard of in this place. When a guard was ordered to investigate, they found only the mangled son of Patriarch Bilharzia bleeding - not nearly as profusely as he had been earlier - on the stoop. He was quickly moved to a secure room and his father was livid, bellowing up a storm of vile hatred for whomever had done this to his son.
When eventually he calmed down enough to not only hear himself think, but to hear others when they talked to him, he was informed that there was a camera attached to the front of his son's uniform. He quickly snatched it up, peering directly into the camera as a snarl ripped from his throat.
“I don’t know who you are, or why you’re doing this, but you’ve made a very grave mistake! I will hunt you down, I will tear everything you love and hold dear apart! I will make you beg for death and I shall not give it! DO YOU HEAR ME! I SHALL NOT GIVE IT!” He roared into the camera, unsure if whomever was watching could even hear him. But apparently they could.
“You already have. Now it’s my turn. An eye for an eye.” Came the sibilant response, and that’s when they all heard it. A gentle beeping coming from nearby. Bilharzia turned towards the source, only to find his son awake yet again, and looking fearfully at him. He couldn’t speak, whomever had mutilated him had not stopped at his limbs, but had removed his ability to speak, to warn them of the danger he presented.
It clicked in Bilharzia’s head that the beeping was only getting faster, and just as it became a solid tone he bolted from the room. He was fortunate to have done so, his son and the others however… not so fortunate. The high explosive charge that had been embedded into his son detonated, blowing a good chunk of the west wing entirely to pieces.
As Bilharzia raised his head from the ground where he’d landed thanks to the blast, he caught sight of missiles streaking up into the air, only to explode mid-flight and rain down phosphorus and napalm over the fields of product he maintained, setting them ablaze. Heavy gunfire sounded, the rattling of a very large chaingun booming through the silence of a beautiful evening, raking rounds over his vehicles and depots. Everything of value save the servants quarters was put to the torch, and he could only watch.
From the smoke strode a figure, one he instantly recognized. He was not ignorant of human history, their conflicts Shumon Synergy or the Valvak Despoilers, he knew a human warmech when he saw one. And this one was particularly well known.
Before his home stood the warmech known as the Black Widow though its official name was 22-39 Ward. The body was painted black, a single red hourglass on the chest partially hidden by some sort of tactical covering that closely resembled a poncho. It was a monster of a machine, and there was only one person who had ever piloted it. A woman who was known as Shade, or that was what her foes had called her. To her peers, to her family, her name was Myra Fields. A war hero a thousand times over, a loving wife and mother of four.
A widow, whose family had been ripped from her by Bilharzia’s very hand.
The warmech launched another salvo, striking at targets that went unseen behind the manor, and his men, his loyal men, rushed out to face the beast of metal and wrath, only to be gunned down without mercy or hesitation. And then the chassis opened, and out stepped his worst nightmare.
A woman in black, with blood red hair, dropped from the pilots cradle and landed with nary a sound. Bilharzia made to flee through the house, but the fire caused by the explosion within it had weakened the structure, a burning beam landing upon his legs and pulverizing the bones. He cried out as he was stopped dead in his tracks, and from where he lay he could see her approaching slowly, patiently.
Finally she stepped into the burning home, the smoke filled wind catching her coat and making it flap. She knelt before him, not a single emotion on her face. She studied him for a moment, then looked at the beam and the fire which engulfed the house before nodding. She didn’t say a word, not even in response to his begging, his pleas for mercy. She had none to give, none to show, and so she stood and left, leaving him to his fate.
Finally she spoke, even as she walked past the waiting warmech.
“Light the fire, Ward.” She said, and the machine nodded, launching more incendiary missiles high into the air, and watching as the payload rained down on the home. And just like that, it was over, a syndicate which had existed for five hundred years, reduced to ashes. The machine nodded again, then turned and trailed after its mistress.
Four days later
Myra crouched before a series of headstones, brushing the sand off them carefully and with reverence. She didn’t know what to say, didn’t know what to do. But looking at them sparked something inside her, a purpose.
“It’s done… They won’t take anyone else anymore, I made sure of that.” She whispered. “Now… Now I think I’ll see what I can do to help make the galaxy a better place. There are more out there like me, who need their own closure. More like them that need to be brought to justice. If I can do even just a little bit… Then that’ll be enough for me.”
She rose, dusting the sand off her knees and took one last look at the graves of her family.
“I love you all.” She murmured, turning and clambering up into the cockpit of her warmech. As it sealed she placed her hat upon a hook, and turned them both towards the horizon, and the star port beyond it.
“What are we going to do now, Commander?” Ward asked, and she smiled, giving one of his consoles a gentle pat.
“Now… Now we’re going to do what we do best. Think you’re up for it?”
“Affirmative.”
“Good boy. Let’s go kill some bad guys.”
And so, the two walked off into the great unknown, looking to bring justice to those that required it.
submitted by In_Yellow_Clad to HFY [link] [comments]


2023.06.02 18:54 DixNeufsz Creative writing mark please

Can some one mark this creative writing did it in exam conditions thanks, I didn't get to finish so I don't know if that will make me lose marks

Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. They were the last people you'd expect to be involved in anything strange or mysterious, because they just didn't hold with such nonsense. Mr. Dursley was the director of a firm called Grunnings, which made drills. He was a big, beefy man with hardly any neck, although he did have a very large mustache. Mrs. Dursley was thin and blonde and had nearly twice the usual amount of neck, which came in very useful as she spent so much of her time craning over garden fences, spying on the neighbors. The Dursleys had a small son called Dudley and in their opinion there was no finer boy anywhere. The Dursleys had everything they wanted, but they also had a secret, and their greatest fear was that somebody would discover it. They didn't think they could bear it if anyone found out about the Potters. Mrs. Potter was Mrs. Dursley's sister, but they hadn't met for several years; in fact, Mrs. Dursley pretended she didn't have a sister, because her sister and her good-for-nothing husband were as unDursleyish as it was possible to be. The Dursleys shuddered to think what the neighbors would say if the Potters arrived in the street. The Dursleys knew that the Potters had a small son, too, but they had never even seen him. This boy was another good reason for keeping the Potters away; they didn't want Dudley mixing with a child like that. When Mr. and Mrs. Dursley woke up on the dull, gray Tuesday our story starts, there was nothing about the cloudy sky outside to suggest that strange and mysterious things would soon be happening all over the country. Mr. Dursley hummed as he picked out his most boring tie for work, and Mrs. Dursley gossiped away happily as she wrestled a screaming Dudley into his high chair. None of them noticed a large, tawny owl flutter past the window. At half past eight, Mr. Dursley picked up his briefcase, pecked Mrs. Dursley on the cheek, and tried to kiss Dudley good-bye but missed, 2 because Dudley was now having a tantrum and throwing his cereal at the walls. "Little tyke," chortled Mr. Dursley as he left the house. He got into his car and backed out of number four's drive. It was on the corner of the street that he noticed the first sign of something peculiar -- a cat reading a map. For a second, Mr. Dursley didn't realize what he had seen -- then he jerked his head around to look again. There was a tabby cat standing on the corner of Privet Drive, but there wasn't a map in sight. What could he have been thinking of? It must have been a trick of the light. Mr. Dursley blinked and stared at the cat. It stared back. As Mr. Dursley drove around the corner and up the road, he watched the cat in his mirror. It was now reading the sign that said Privet Drive -- no, looking at the sign; cats couldn't read maps or signs. Mr. Dursley gave himself a little shake and put the cat out of his mind. As he drove toward town he thought of nothing except a large order of drills he was hoping to get that day. But on the edge of town, drills were driven out of his mind by something else. As he sat in the usual morning traffic jam, he couldn't help noticing that there seemed to be a lot of strangely dressed people about. People in cloaks. Mr. Dursley couldn't bear people who dressed in funny clothes -- the getups you saw on young people! He supposed this was some stupid new fashion. He drummed his fingers on the steering wheel and his eyes fell on a huddle of these weirdos standing quite close by. They were whispering excitedly together. Mr. Dursley was enraged to see that a couple of them weren't young at all; why, that man had to be older than he was, and wearing an emerald-green cloak! The nerve of him! But then it struck Mr. Dursley that this was probably some silly stunt -- these people were obviously collecting for something... yes, that would be it. The traffic moved on and a few minutes later, Mr. Dursley arrived in the Grunnings parking lot, his mind back on drills. Mr. Dursley always sat with his back to the window in his office on the ninth floor. If he hadn't, he might have found it harder to concentrate on drills that morning. He didn't see the owls swoop ing past in broad daylight, though people down in the street did; they pointed and gazed open- mouthed as owl after owl sped overhead. Most of them had never seen an owl even at nighttime. Mr. Dursley, however, had a perfectly normal, owl-free morning. He yelled at five different people. He made several important telephone calls and shouted a bit more. He was in a very good mood until lunchtime, when he thought he'd stretch his legs and walk across the road to buy himself a bun from the bakery. 3 He'd forgotten all about the people in cloaks until he passed a group of them next to the baker's. He eyed them angrily as he passed. He didn't know why, but they made him uneasy. This bunch were whispering excitedly, too, and he couldn't see a single collecting tin. It was on his way back past them, clutching a large doughnut in a bag, that he caught a few words of what they were saying. "The Potters, that's right, that's what I heard yes, their son, Harry" Mr. Dursley stopped dead. Fear flooded him. He looked back at the whisperers as if he wanted to say something to them, but thought better of it. He dashed back across the road, hurried up to his office, snapped at his secretary not to disturb him, seized his telephone, and had almost finished dialing his home number when he changed his mind. He put the receiver back down and stroked his mustache, thinking... no, he was being stupid. Potter wasn't such an unusual name. He was sure there were lots of people called Potter who had a son called Harry. Come to think of it, he wasn't even sure his nephew was called Harry. He'd never even seen the boy. It might have been Harvey. Or Harold. There was no point in worrying Mrs. Dursley; she always got so upset at any mention of her sister. He didn't blame her -- if he'd had a sister like that... but all the same, those people in cloaks... He found it a lot harder to concentrate on drills that afternoon and when he left the building at five o'clock, he was still so worried that he walked straight into someone just outside the door. "Sorry," he grunted, as the tiny old man stumbled and almost fell. It was a few seconds before Mr. Dursley realized that the man was wearing a violet cloak. He didn't seem at all upset at being almost knocked to the ground. On the contrary, his face split into a wide smile and he said in a squeaky voice that made passersby stare, "Don't be sorry, my dear sir, for nothing could upset me today! Rejoice, for You-Know-Who has gone at last! Even Muggles like yourself should be celebrating, this happy, happy day!" And the old man hugged Mr. Dursley around the middle and walked off. Mr. Dursley stood rooted to the spot. He had been hugged by a complete stranger. He also thought he had been called a Muggle, whatever that was. He was rattled. He hurried to his car and set off for home, hoping 4 he was imagining things, which he had never hoped before, because he didn't approve of imagination. As he pulled into the driveway of number four, the first thing he saw -- and it didn't improve his mood -- was the tabby cat he'd spotted that morning. It was now sitting on his garden wall. He was sure it was the same one; it had the same markings around its eyes. "Shoo!" said Mr. Dursley loudly. The cat didn't move. It just gave him a stern look. Was this normal cat behavior? Mr. Dursley wondered. Trying to pull himself together, he let himself into the house. He was still determined not to mention anything to his wife. Mrs. Dursley had had a nice, normal day. She told him over dinner all about Mrs. Next Door's problems with her daughter and how Dudley had learned a new word ("Won't!"). Mr. Dursley tried to act normally. When Dudley had been put to bed, he went into the living room in time to catch the last report on the evening news: "And finally, bird-watchers everywhere have reported that the nation's owls have been behaving very unusually today. Although owls normally hunt at night and are hardly ever seen in daylight, there have been hundreds of sightings of these birds flying in every direction since sunrise. Experts are unable to explain why the owls have suddenly changed their sleeping pattern." The newscaster allowed himself a grin. "Most mysterious. And now, over to Jim McGuffin with the weather. Going to be any more showers of owls tonight, Jim?" "Well, Ted," said the weatherman, "I don't know about that, but it's not only the owls that have been acting oddly today. Viewers as far apart as Kent, Yorkshire, and Dundee have been phoning in to tell me that instead of the rain I promised yesterday, they've had a downpour of shooting stars! Perhaps people have been celebrating Bonfire Night early -- it's not until next week, folks! But I can promise a wet night tonight." Mr. Dursley sat frozen in his armchair. Shooting stars all over Britain? Owls flying by daylight? Mysterious people in cloaks all over the place? And a whisper, a whisper about the Potters... Mrs. Dursley came into the living room carrying two cups of tea. It was no good. He'd have to say something to her. He cleared his throat nervously. "Er -- Petunia, dear -- you haven't heard from your sister lately, have you?" 5 As he had expected, Mrs. Dursley looked shocked and angry. After all, they normally pretended she didn't have a sister. "No," she said sharply. "Why?" "Funny stuff on the news," Mr. Dursley mumbled. "Owls... shooting stars... and there were a lot of funny-looking people in town today..." "So?" snapped Mrs. Dursley. "Well, I just thought... maybe... it was something to do with... you know... her crowd." Mrs. Dursley sipped her tea through pursed lips. Mr. Dursley wondered whether he dared tell her he'd heard the name "Potter." He decided he didn't dare. Instead he said, as casually as he could, "Their son -- he'd be about Dudley's age now, wouldn't he?" "I suppose so," said Mrs. Dursley stiffly. "What's his name again? Howard, isn't it?" "Harry. Nasty, common name, if you ask me." "Oh, yes," said Mr. Dursley, his heart sinking horribly. "Yes, I quite agree." He didn't say another word on the subject as they went upstairs to bed. While Mrs. Dursley was in the bathroom, Mr. Dursley crept to the bedroom window and peered down into the front garden. The cat was still there. It was staring down Privet Drive as though it were waiting for something. Was he imagining things? Could all this have anything to do with the Potters? If it did... if it got out that they were related to a pair of -- well, he didn't think he could bear it. The Dursleys got into bed. Mrs. Dursley fell asleep quickly but Mr. Dursley lay awake, turning it all over in his mind. His last, comforting thought before he fell asleep was that even if the Potters were involved, there was no reason for them to come near him and Mrs. Dursley. The Potters knew very well what he and Petunia thought about 6 them and their kind.... He couldn't see how he and Petunia could get mixed up in anything that might be going on -- he yawned and turned over -- it couldn't affect them.... How very wrong he was. Mr. Dursley might have been drifting into an uneasy sleep, but the cat on the wall outside was showing no sign of sleepiness. It was sitting as still as a statue, its eyes fixed unblinkingly on the far corner of Privet Drive. It didn't so much as quiver when a car door slammed on the next street, nor when two owls swooped overhead. In fact, it was nearly midnight before the cat moved at all. A man appeared on the corner the cat had been watching, appeared so suddenly and silently you'd have thought he'd just popped out of the ground. The cat's tail twitched and its eyes narrowed. Nothing like this man had ever been seen on Privet Drive. He was tall, thin, and very old, judging by the silver of his hair and beard, which were both long enough to tuck into his belt. He was wearing long robes, a purple cloak that swept the ground, and high-heeled, buckled boots. His blue eyes were light, bright, and sparkling behind half-moon spectacles and his nose was very long and crooked, as though it had been broken at least twice. This man's name was Albus Dumbledore. Albus Dumbledore didn't seem to realize that he had just arrived in a street where everything from his name to his boots was unwelcome. He was busy rummaging in his cloak, looking for something. But he did seem to realize he was being watched, because he looked up suddenly at the cat, which was still staring at him from the other end of the street. For some reason, the sight of the cat seemed to amuse him. He chuckled and muttered, "I should have known." He found what he was looking for in his inside pocket. It seemed to be a silver cigarette lighter. He flicked it open, held it up in the air, and clicked it. The nearest street lamp went out with a little pop. He clicked it again -- the next lamp flickered into darkness. Twelve times he clicked the Put-Outer, until the only lights left on the whole street were two tiny pinpricks in the distance, which were the eyes of the cat watching him. If anyone looked out of their window now, even beady-eyed Mrs. Dursley, they wouldn't be able to see anything that was happening down on the pavement. Dumbledore slipped the Put-Outer back inside his cloak and set off down the street toward number four, where he sat down 7 on the wall next to the cat. He didn't look at it, but after a moment he spoke to it. "Fancy seeing you here, Professor McGonagall." He turned to smile at the tabby, but it had gone. Instead he was smiling at a rather severe-looking woman who was wearing square glasses exactly the shape of the markings the cat had had around its eyes. She, too, was wearing a cloak, an emerald one. Her black hair was drawn into a tight bun. She looked distinctly ruffled. "How did you know it was me?" she asked. "My dear Professor, I 've never seen a cat sit so stiffly." "You'd be stiff if you'd been sitting on a brick wall all day," said Professor McGonagall. "All day? When you could have been celebrating? I must have passed a dozen feasts and parties on my way here." Professor McGonagall sniffed angrily. "Oh yes, everyone's celebrating, all right," she said impatiently. "You'd think they'd be a bit more careful, but no -- even the Muggles have noticed something's going on. It was on their news." She jerked her head back at the Dursleys' dark living-room window. "I heard it. Flocks of owls... shooting stars.... Well, they're not completely stupid. They were bound to notice something. Shooting stars down in Kent -- I'll bet that was Dedalus Diggle. He never had much sense." "You can't blame them," said Dumbledore gently. "We've had precious little to celebrate for eleven years." "I know that," said Professor McGonagall irritably. "But that's no reason to lose our heads. People are being downright careless, out on the streets in broad daylight, not even dressed in Muggle clothes, swapping rumors." She threw a sharp, sideways glance at Dumbledore here, as though hoping he was going to tell her something, but he didn't, so she went on. "A fine thing it would be if, on the very day YouKnow-Who seems to have disappeared at last, the Muggles found out about us all. I suppose he 8 really has gone, Dumbledore?" "It certainly seems so," said Dumbledore. "We have much to be thankful for. Would you care for a lemon drop?" "A what?" "A lemon drop. They're a kind of Muggle sweet I'm rather fond of" "No, thank you," said Professor McGonagall coldly, as though she didn't think this was the moment for lemon drops. "As I say, even if You-Know-Who has gone -" "My dear Professor, surely a sensible person like yourself can call him by his name? All this 'You- Know-Who' nonsense -- for eleven years I have been trying to persuade people to call him by his proper name: Voldemort." Professor McGonagall flinched, but Dumbledore, who was unsticking two lemon drops, seemed not to notice. "It all gets so confusing if we keep saying 'You-Know-Who.' I have never seen any reason to be frightened of saying Voldemort's name. "I know you haven 't, said Professor McGonagall, sounding half exasperated, half admiring. "But you're different. Everyone knows you're the only one You-Know- oh, all right, Voldemort, was frightened of." "You flatter me," said Dumbledore calmly. "Voldemort had powers I will never have." "Only because you're too -- well -- noble to use them." "It's lucky it's dark. I haven't blushed so much since Madam Pomfrey told me she liked my new earmuffs." Professor McGonagall shot a sharp look at Dumbledore and said, "The owls are nothing next to the rumors that are flying around. You know what everyone's saying? About why he's disappeared? About what finally stopped him?" It seemed that Professor McGonagall had reached the point she was most anxious to discuss, the real reason she had been waiting on a cold, hard wall all day, for neither as a cat nor as a woman had she fixed Dumbledore with such a piercing stare as she did now. It was plain that whatever "everyone" was saying, she was not going to believe it until 9 Dumbledore told her it was true. Dumbledore, however, was choosing another lemon drop and did not answer. "What they're saying," she pressed on, "is that last night Voldemort turned up in Godric's Hollow. He went to find the Potters. The rumor is that Lily and James Potter are -- are -- that they're -- dead. " Dumbledore bowed his head. Professor McGonagall gasped. "Lily and James... I can't believe it... I didn't want to believe it... Oh, Albus..." Dumbledore reached out and patted her on the shoulder. "I know... I know..." he said heavily. Professor McGonagall's voice trembled as she went on. "That's not all. They're saying he tried to kill the Potter's son, Harry. But -- he couldn't. He couldn't kill that little boy. No one knows why, or how, but they're saying that when he couldn't kill Harry Potter, Voldemort's power somehow broke -- and that's why he's gone. Dumbledore nodded glumly. "It's -- it's true?" faltered Professor McGonagall. "After all he's done... all the people he's killed... he couldn't kill a little boy? It's just astounding... of all the things to stop him... but how in the name of heaven did Harry survive?" "We can only guess," said Dumbledore. "We may never know." Professor McGonagall pulled out a lace handkerchief and dabbed at her eyes beneath her spectacles. Dumbledore gave a great sniff as he took a golden watch from his pocket and examined it. It was a very odd watch. It had twelve hands but no numbers; instead, little planets were moving around the edge. It must have made sense to Dumbledore, though, because he put it back in his pocket and said, "Hagrid's late. I suppose it was he who told you I'd be here, by the way?" "Yes," said Professor McGonagall. "And I don't suppose you're going to tell me why you're here, of all places?" "I've come to bring Harry to his aunt and uncle. They're the only family he has left now." 10 "You don't mean -- you can't mean the people who live here?" cried Professor McGonagall, jumping to her feet and pointing at number four. "Dumbledore -- you can't. I've been watching them all day. You couldn't find two people who are less like us. And they've got this son -- I saw him kicking his mother all the way up the street, screaming for sweets. Harry Potter come and live here!" "It's the best place for him," said Dumbledore firmly. "His aunt and uncle will be able to explain everything to him when he's older. I've written them a letter." "A letter?" repeated Professor McGonagall faintly, sitting back down on the wall. "Really, Dumbledore, you think you can explain all this in a letter? These people will never understand him! He'll be famous -- a legend -- I wouldn't be surprised if today was known as Harry Potter day in the future -- there will be books written about Harry -- every child in our world will know his name!" "Exactly," said Dumbledore, looking very seriously over the top of his half-moon glasses. "It would be enough to turn any boy's head. Famous before he can walk and talk! Famous for something he won't even remember! CarA you see how much better off he'll be, growing up away from all that until he's ready to take it?" Professor McGonagall opened her mouth, changed her mind, swallowed, and then said, "Yes -- yes, you're right, of course. But how is the boy getting here, Dumbledore?" She eyed his cloak suddenly as though she thought he might be hiding Harry underneath it. "Hagrid's bringing him." "You think it -- wise -- to trust Hagrid with something as important as this?" I would trust Hagrid with my life," said Dumbledore. "I'm not saying his heart isn't in the right place," said Professor McGonagall grudgingly, "but you can't pretend he's not careless. He does tend to -- what was that?" A low rumbling sound had broken the silence around them. It grew steadily louder as they looked up and down the street for some sign of a 11 headlight; it swelled to a roar as they both looked up at the sky -- and a huge motorcycle fell out of the air and landed on the road in front of them. If the motorcycle was huge, it was nothing to the man sitting astride it. He was almost twice as tall as a normal man and at least five times as wide. He looked simply too big to be allowed, and so wild - long tangles of bushy black hair and beard hid most of his face, he had hands the size of trash can lids, and his feet in their leather boots were like baby dolphins. In his vast, muscular arms he was holding a bundle of blankets. "Hagrid," said Dumbledore, sounding relieved. "At last. And where did you get that motorcycle?" "Borrowed it, Professor Dumbledore, sit," said the giant, climbing carefully off the motorcycle as he spoke. "Young Sirius Black lent it to me. I've got him, sir." "No problems, were there?" "No, sir -- house was almost destroyed, but I got him out all right before the Muggles started swarmin' around. He fell asleep as we was flyin' over Bristol." Dumbledore and Professor McGonagall bent forward over the bundle of blankets. Inside, just visible, was a baby boy, fast asleep. Under a tuft of jet-black hair over his forehead they could see a curiously shaped cut, like a bolt of lightning. "Is that where -?" whispered Professor McGonagall. "Yes," said Dumbledore. "He'll have that scar forever." "Couldn't you do something about it, Dumbledore?" "Even if I could, I wouldn't. Scars can come in handy. I have one myself above my left knee that is a perfect map of the London Underground. Well -- give him here, Hagrid -- we'd better get this over with." Dumbledore took Harry in his arms and turned toward the Dursleys' house. "Could I -- could I say good-bye to him, sir?" asked Hagrid. He bent his 12 great, shaggy head over Harry and gave him what must have been a very scratchy, whiskery kiss. Then, suddenly, Hagrid let out a howl like a wounded dog. "Shhh!" hissed Professor McGonagall, "you'll wake the Muggles!" "S-s-sorry," sobbed Hagrid, taking out a large, spotted handkerchief and burying his face in it. "But I c-c-can't stand it -- Lily an' James dead -- an' poor little Harry off ter live with Muggles -" "Yes, yes, it's all very sad, but get a grip on yourself, Hagrid, or we'll be found," Professor McGonagall whispered, patting Hagrid gingerly on the arm as Dumbledore stepped over the low garden wall and walked to the front door. He laid Harry gently on the doorstep, took a letter out of his cloak, tucked it inside Harry's blankets, and then came back to the other two. For a full minute the three of them stood and looked at the little bundle; Hagrid's shoulders shook, Professor McGonagall blinked furiously, and the twinkling light that usually shone from Dumbledore's eyes seemed to have gone out. "Well," said Dumbledore finally, "that's that. We've no business staying here. We may as well go and join the celebrations." "Yeah," said Hagrid in a very muffled voice, "I'll be takin' Sirius his bike back. G'night, Professor McGonagall -- Professor Dumbledore, sir." Wiping his streaming eyes on his jacket sleeve, Hagrid swung himself onto the motorcycle and kicked the engine into life; with a roar it rose into the air and off into the night. "I shall see you soon, I expect, Professor McGonagall," said Dumbledore, nodding to her. Professor McGonagall blew her nose in reply. Dumbledore turned and walked back down the street. On the corner he stopped and took out the silver Put-Outer. He clicked it once, and twelve balls of light sped back to their street lamps so that Privet Drive glowed suddenly orange and he could make out a tabby cat slinking around the corner at the other end of the street. He could just see the bundle of blankets on the step of number four. "Good luck, Harry," he murmured. He turned on his heel and with a swish of his cloak, he was gone. 13 A breeze ruffled the neat hedges of Privet Drive, which lay silent and tidy under the inky sky, the very last place you would expect astonishing things to happen.
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2023.06.02 18:19 Dragkiris_Gaming Nonstandard height char request

Hey guys. Looking for recommendation on a chair. I work from home and my house had built in computer desk in 3 locations which is really nice. What isnt nice is that instead of being the standard 28-30 inch height, they are all 35 inches high, same as the standard kitchen counters I believe.
I'm a tall guy, 6'5, 250lbs. My current office depot chair just broke (i bought an oversized cylinder from amazon and oversize wheels that gave it a few extra inches of height). Curious to see if anyone had any quality recommendations for chars that would possibly work for a desk 35 inches high. I feel like it is to low for a "drafting stool" but am not 100% sure since I've never used a stool.
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2023.06.02 17:54 hoppingwilde Looking for this Office Depot chair

Looking for this Office Depot chair submitted by hoppingwilde to HelpMeFind [link] [comments]


2023.06.02 17:54 Ok_Elderberry7793 RFTH

RFTH submitted by Ok_Elderberry7793 to u/Ok_Elderberry7793 [link] [comments]


2023.06.02 17:53 Ok_Elderberry7793 SDG

SDG submitted by Ok_Elderberry7793 to u/Ok_Elderberry7793 [link] [comments]


2023.06.02 17:31 fox-bun What's a good place to get (free) cardboard boxes?

hi! i run a little business & i've finally gotten thru my supply of smallish boxes that i had lying about to ship in. a huge part of my business is incorporating recycled materials for shipping so that i can do a little bit to reduce the overall waste in the world. because of this, i'd rather not go to a place like USPS and just take the pre-printed shipping boxes there (possibly making it so there's none left for other people), but rather pop in to local places if they're known to get rid of boxes. i know my local Office Depot saves boxes for customers but they tend to be much larger than my needs (theirs are PC sized and whatnot). i wondered if anybody else knew any business that regularly gets rid of cardboard boxes that are about "bread loaf size or smaller"? any advice would be greatly appreciated!
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2023.06.02 16:58 rattlesnakee passport advice!!

i’m going away at the very end of august and need a new passport (not just because of name/gender, it is also expired) - i would get a fast track appointment however my nearest passport office with slots available is at least a 3h drive away, and i don’t drive, nor does anyone im close to who will be able to drive me, due to work schedules.
i have all the documents needed to apply for a passport under my new name and gender marker. I would’ve applied earlier but was only able to obtain a couple of these documents very very recently.
Would you risk applying for one under the new name/gender now? or get one under the old details and apply to change it after i’ve been away? both my younger brothers new passports just arrived only took 3-4 weeks (one was his first adult one, and one child) but they had no details changed. another point is i will have ZERO forms of photo ID in the meantime as i’ve just applied for my new provisional license too, and don’t have an old one.
advice?! really starting to panic 😭 tia!
follow up i travel in 13 weeks exactly - and if it’s been 6 weeks and you need it quicker you can apply for a fast track - which at least i know there is an option in a much more tight, worst-comes-to-worst, scenario. i’m putting the application in tomorrow when i return home (i work nights) so 🫶
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2023.06.02 16:05 theverywetbanana Answers to Transport Portfolio Questions in Holyrood

I apologise to those who I have let down by not answering these questions. I have been rather busy, as some may have figured by my resignation as First Minister of Wales. I am now able to answer, and will do my best below.
Would the minister address whether this Government has plans for supporting the transition to greener shipping?
While I do not currently have plans to do this, I can of course work with the member to do so. Shipping as of now relies on fossil fuels, but i’m sure that scotland can work on this with the other members of the government
Would the minister support the introduction of licensing for carriers transporting fuels within Scottish ports?
I would support this and would be happy to work with the honourable member in doing so
Would the Government work to adopt similar global emission caps on vessels registered and partaking in activities in Scotland?
I am sure that we will be able to achieve this, as reducing emissions is always at the forefront of my policies
Does the government have plans to improve the regulatory framework surrounding the operations of ports in Scotland?
At this moment in time, I do not have such plans. Should this matter need a response, I will provide one
Could the Minister confirm whether this Government would support increased high speed rail connections between Scotland and the rest of the UK?
Personally, I would support this project, however this would come at a great cost to the taxpayer. I of course reside over Transport issues in Westminster also, and so have had a look at this before
As the Cabinet Secretary will no doubt be aware, the entirety of Scotland's trunk road system is the responsibility of the Scottish Government. The M8 through Glasgow is due to have a temporary 40mph speed reductions brought in between junction 25 & 25a and given that the M8 at this point is going through a built up area, would the Secretary consider making this speed restriction permanent, in the interest of promoting better urban air quality?
A review will be made into the feasibility of keeping these restrictions, however they will remain temporary for the time being
I asked the First Minister what he is doing about arranging a temporary provision for the currently out-of-action Corran Ferry which is essential to keeping local businesses running. Lacking an answer from them, I will direct the same question to the Transport Secretary. What are they doing to resolve this problem, and have they considered approaching the MoD for military assistance?
Military assistance will not be needed in this case. A replacement for the ferry would be far more suitable, and I can provide this in due course
Will the infrastructure strategy proposed in the PfG be completed this term?
It is likely that not all parts of the expected progress in my department will be made this term. Time constraints and other issues have led to this. They will of course be completed as soon as I am able
Does the Cabinet Secretary support the expansion of the Railways (Electrification) Act to Scotland?
Yes, I do. Electrification is our best way forward
How will the government improve transport access for rural and island communities?
As I have done in Wales, I will be encouraging the expansion of local transport networks, such as buses and small rail lines
Does the government have any prevailing plans in relation to the extension of high speed rail to Scotland?
Please see my answer above. This would be a great cost as of now, but I will continue to assess the feasibility
I would like to raise a crucial issue in Scotland to the Cabinet Secretary. In Scotland, on the A93, landslides can occur and block crucial access to roads and transport links. How will the government resolve to reach a solution to this evident ecological and isolationary issue?
This is not an ideal situation to face, however a more permanent solution must be found. I will be assessing the possibility of creating a new route for vehicles to use in the event of such incidents on the A93
Would the transport secretary agree with me that there is a case for a car ferry service between Helensburgh and Greenock, avoiding a 50 minute, 33 mile car journey?
I would agree with the member. Cutting journey lengths also cuts emissions, and so I would be happy to work with the member on rectifying this
What new projects are being developed to support commuter towns like Bathgate, in particular young professionals who commute into Edinburgh or Glasgow?
The expansion of scottish bus networks is something I would like to see, and so an increased investment into public transport will be my solution for this
The new government has continued to make promises regarding introducing cheaper fares for public transport across the country. In the Programme for Government, a general term of 'reform' is used, alongside discussions of free travel for under 18s and smartcard access. To ask the Secretary what those reform plans mean in detail?
These plans have since been released, and so the member can refer to the new legislation put forward by the First Minister
I would like to draw members attention to the dire state of road quality and safety in Scotland. In Edinburgh as an example, roads have deteriorated to such a state that not even pedestrian areas remain stable. It is imperative that the issue of potholes and other hazards are properly handled. So I therefore ask, how will this government ensure local governments properly manage this?
I will be increasing funding for the repaving and fixing of roads that are deemed to be unsafe for either road users or pedestrians. Local governments will receive a chunk of money to use specifically for fixing their lowest quality roads.
How much is the Government’s plans for lower fares and price caps costing the Scottish Treasury please, do they believe that money is being spent well?
I would like to remind the member that I am not the finance minister and so do not have the specific costings. This money is of course being spent well, as with all of this government’s projects
Has the Government recently assessed the suitability of the bus network across Scotland, and if so what are they doing about it? Have they been working with local authorities, and if so which ones?
I have assessed this issue. Bus networks need expanding and at a rapid rate, both to reduce emissions and to take more cars off of the road. I can update the member on the full details on a later date
What steps has the Transport Minister taken this term to increase the speed of our transition to a wholly green transport network?
As i have in Wales, I will be ensuring the full transition to electric buses and vehicles in the next 20 years. I hope this answer satisfies the member
Has the Transport Minister undertaken any work on coast paths and cycle routes this term, to support our move to a low carbon nation? If so, what exactly has been done?
I have not currently done so, however I can promise the member that work will be made on this
A major factor in accessibility to rail services especially in rural areas is the ability to access a bus link to the rail station, with a timetable that meets the train services. For many of my constituents, and of course many across Scotland, whether there is a suitable bus link to their nearest station can make the difference between using the train or driving their car and contributing to congestion and pollution. To ask the Secretary what steps they are taking to ensure as many residents as possible are linked with appropriate bus connections to their nearest train service? Most people in Scotland already have this connection available. If the member would like to inform me of the places where this is not possible, please reach out to me and I will find a solution with the local authority
Would Transport Scotland/Còmhdhail Alba consider a trial of new transport technologies such as responsive transport in rural and island communities like mine?
I would be happy to trail such technologies, as they will eventually be the future of rural transport
To ask the Secretary what they see the future of the port at Cairnryan and how it fits in with the rest of Scotland's transport network?
As of now, I have no plans for adapting or changing this port
Does the Cabinet Secretary agree that the Edinburgh Suburban Line should be reopened, potentially as a tram-train, to serve the good people of Gorgie, Craiglockhart, Morningside, Blackford, Newington, Duddingston, Craigmillar, Brunstane, Portobello, Piershill, and Abbeyhill, and to allow them to avoid the traffic of central Edinburgh?
I can certainly see why the member wishes to reopen the Edinburgh Suburban Line. I will support this while in office
Does the Cabinet Secretary agree that we should explore turning Scotland's urban motorways into boulevards, or perhaps even axe them?
No. This would make traffic far worse and would benefit almost nobody
What has this government done, and what will it do, for active travel?
Please see the latest legislation submitted by First Minister
What has the Minister done to reduce rail fares this term, if anything?
Please see my answer above
As mentioned by other members the motorways through the heart of the Glasgow city centre have had extreme speed restrictions placed on them. Walking through Glasgow around Charing Cross, you can see traffic backed up for as far as you can see. Obviously this is not how a motorway should function. To ask the Secretary if they consider the extension of motorways through Glasgow centre decades ago, in hindsight, a failure and mis-step in planning?
Perhaps it was. Traffic congestion is a severe issue in Scotland, and this government will work to fix this
To ask the Secretary how they believe links to the Islands, including via ferries, can be improved?
The islands are a unique situation, where not much else other than more ferries can fix transport links. The only thing I would be able to do is increase the frequency in ferry services through subsidies
The West Highland Line is at risk of disruption from rock fall due to its position in the terrain. Furthermore, indication of such an event is only provided by a decades old wiring system that is maintained by bodges upon bodges. To ask the Secretary if they will commit to improving safety on the line by looking into new technologies in this area?
New technologies will not fix this issue. Scotland has a rugged terrain, and there is little this government can do about it.
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2023.06.02 16:03 Dangerous-Bag-7327 [HIRING] 25 Jobs in Chicago Hiring Now!

Company Name Title City
HelioHire Senior Data Scientist Chicago
Solomon Page Administrative Assistant Chicago
Reed Smith LLP Docketing Specialist - (Hybrid Schedule) Chicago
The Computer Merchant, LTD. HR Coordinator Chicago
ABF Freight Road Driver, Full-time Chicago Heights
ABF Freight Road Driver, Full-time Chicago Ridge
Collabera Financial Support North Chicago
Weber Shandwick Senior Manager, Resource Management Chicago
The Kraft Heinz Company Scrum Master Chicago
Elevance Health Business Strategy Planning Director Chicago
Chowbus Warehouse Operations Associate_Mandarin Speaking Required Chicago
American Eagle Outfitters Inc. Todd Snyder - Stock - US Chicago
The University of Chicago Stock Clerk II- Class C Chicago
Advanced Technology Services Supply Chain Specialist II Chicago
Dart Container Warehouse/Production Supervisor - Overnights Chicago
Office Depot Warehouse Worker FT 11pm Start Chicago
Accenture Blue Yonder Warehouse Management (WMS) Software Consultant Chicago
PeopleReady Forklift Operator Chicago
CSX Corporation Freight Conductor - Chicago, IL Chicago
Servpro Warehouse Manager Chicago
Grande RCN Wave Warehouse Technician I Chicago
Abbott Clerk 1 Warehousing North Chicago
Mindlance Warehouse Specialist I North Chicago
Select Source International Warehouse Specialist I North Chicago
UCS Forest Group Warehouse Associate (Morning Shift) West Chicago
Hey guys, here are some recent job openings in chicago. Feel free to comment here or send me a private message if you have any questions, I'm at the community's disposal! If you encounter any problems with any of these job openings please let me know that I will modify the table accordingly. Thanks!
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2023.06.02 15:32 Dangerous-Bag-7327 [HIRING] 19 Jobs in San Diego Hiring Now!

Company Name Title City
APN Software Services, Inc. Call Center Representative San Diego
Kaiser Inpatient Pharmacy Specialist - Part Time 20 Hours - Variable Shift San Diego
A-Line Staffing Solutions Electrical Engineer San Diego
RTI International Field Interviewer - NSFG San Diego
Booz Allen Hamilton Surface Warfare Analyst, Senior San Diego
UnitedHealth Group Coo San Diego
Office Depot Warehouse Worker / 1AM Start Time San Diego
Epsilon Systems Surface Ship Communications Technician II San Diego
Epsilon Systems Surface Ship Communications Technician III San Diego
Penske Automotive Group Parts Runner San Diego
Penn State University Logistics Warehouse Specialist San Diego
Alliance Ground International, LLC. Ground Ramp Agent San Diego
Olgoonik Warehouse Specialist (Hazmat Certifier) San Diego
TAD PGS, Inc. Shipping and Receiving/Delivery Driver (Class C) San Diego
Vectrus Skillbridge Internship - Naval Mission Planning Systems Fleet Support Representative Ship Rider San Diego
Equiliem Warehouse - Record Center Specialist 1 San Diego
Becton, Dickinson and Company Packaging Technician II San Diego
M.C. Dean, Inc. S/S Warehouse 1 San Diego
Three Saints Bay, LLC Site Manager (2999) San Diego
Hey guys, here are some recent job openings in san diego. Feel free to comment here or send me a private message if you have any questions, I'm at the community's disposal! If you encounter any problems with any of these job openings please let me know that I will modify the table accordingly. Thanks!
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2023.06.02 15:17 SchlesingerMindy323 [HIRING] 19 Jobs in San Diego Hiring Now!

Company Name Title City
APN Software Services, Inc. Call Center Representative San Diego
Kaiser Inpatient Pharmacy Specialist - Part Time 20 Hours - Variable Shift San Diego
A-Line Staffing Solutions Electrical Engineer San Diego
RTI International Field Interviewer - NSFG San Diego
Booz Allen Hamilton Surface Warfare Analyst, Senior San Diego
UnitedHealth Group Coo San Diego
Office Depot Warehouse Worker / 1AM Start Time San Diego
Epsilon Systems Surface Ship Communications Technician II San Diego
Epsilon Systems Surface Ship Communications Technician III San Diego
Penske Automotive Group Parts Runner San Diego
Penn State University Logistics Warehouse Specialist San Diego
Alliance Ground International, LLC. Ground Ramp Agent San Diego
Olgoonik Warehouse Specialist (Hazmat Certifier) San Diego
TAD PGS, Inc. Shipping and Receiving/Delivery Driver (Class C) San Diego
Vectrus Skillbridge Internship - Naval Mission Planning Systems Fleet Support Representative Ship Rider San Diego
Equiliem Warehouse - Record Center Specialist 1 San Diego
Becton, Dickinson and Company Packaging Technician II San Diego
M.C. Dean, Inc. S/S Warehouse 1 San Diego
Three Saints Bay, LLC Site Manager (2999) San Diego
Hey guys, here are some recent job openings in san diego. Feel free to comment here or send me a private message if you have any questions, I'm at the community's disposal! If you encounter any problems with any of these job openings please let me know that I will modify the table accordingly. Thanks!
submitted by SchlesingerMindy323 to sdjobs [link] [comments]


2023.06.02 11:34 Ralfop Accelerated Pest Killer Widely used - Our product can be commonly been purchased & used in family, warehouse, store, hotel, hospital, office, room, garden, hotel, and other grain depots Works 24/7 - The repellent will constantly emit 20~55KHZ high-frequency ultrasonic wave so you will always be

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2023.06.02 11:22 Aleph-INDIA626 Best BIS Certification Process

Best BIS Certification Process
When it comes to ensuring the quality and safety of products in the Indian market, the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) certification plays a crucial role. BIS certification acts as a mark of trust, assuring consumers that a product meets the necessary standards. In this blog post, we will explore the best BIS certification process, highlighting its benefits and guiding businesses on how to navigate the process effectively.
Understanding BIS Certification
The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) is the national standards body in India responsible for formulating and implementing standards across various sectors. BIS certification is a voluntary process in which products undergo rigorous testing and evaluation to ensure compliance with relevant Indian standards. This certification covers a wide range of products, including electronics, appliances, chemicals, textiles, and more. Obtaining BIS certification not only boosts consumer confidence but also enables businesses to expand their market reach.
Benefits of BIS Certification
  1. Compliance with Quality Standards: BIS certification ensures that products adhere to stringent quality benchmarks, fostering customer satisfaction and loyalty.
  2. Legal Compliance: Many products require BIS certification as per Indian laws and regulations. Acquiring this certification prevents legal issues and potential penalties.
  3. Market Access: BIS certification opens doors to new markets, both domestically and internationally, by demonstrating compliance with Indian standards.
  4. Competitive Edge: A BIS certification mark differentiates products from competitors, instilling confidence in potential customers.
    Navigating the BIS Certification Process
  5. Determine Applicable Standards: Identify the relevant Indian standards applicable to your product category. These standards can be found on the BIS website or by consulting industry experts.
  6. Documentation: Prepare the necessary documentation, including technical specifications, test reports, and manufacturing process details. Ensure that these documents meet the specific requirements outlined by BIS.
  7. Testing and Evaluation: Engage with a BIS-approved testing laboratory to conduct the required tests on your product. These tests may include safety, performance, and reliability assessments. Collaborating with a reputed laboratory streamlines the process.
  8. Factory Inspection: BIS may conduct an on-site inspection of the manufacturing facility to ensure compliance with prescribed manufacturing processes and quality control systems.
  9. Application Submission: Complete the BIS application form and submit it, along with the required documents and test reports, to the nearest BIS branch office or online portal.
  10. Review and Certification: BIS will review the application and supporting documents thoroughly. If the product meets the necessary standards, BIS will grant the certification and assign a unique identification number.
  11. Compliance Marking: After obtaining BIS certification, businesses can affix the standardization mark (ISI mark) on their product, representing its compliance with Indian standards.
  12. Surveillance Audits: BIS may periodically conduct surveillance audits to ensure ongoing compliance. Businesses should maintain the quality and standards throughout the product lifecycle.
    Conclusion
    Acquiring BIS certification is a valuable step for businesses aiming to establish trust, enhance product quality, and expand their market presence in India. By following the best BIS certification process outlined in this blog, organizations can navigate the certification journey smoothly, leveraging the advantages it brings. Stay ahead of the competition by prioritizing consumer safety and demonstrating your commitment to quality through BIS certification.

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2023.06.02 09:52 PhantomFury22 The Reach Beyond

Crutic felt the realspace reasserted itself with a faint lurch and a rattle of the spaceframe, the darkness behind his eyelids peeled away just in time to witness the streaks of light coalescing into a field of stars. And after that...nothing. Outside of the angry red glow of the indicator lightings around him and the graphics of the instrument cluster before him, he might as well be witnessing a portal into an infinite abyss so dark that his eyes may as well have remained shut. It wasn’t unexpected, though: the brief mission overview had made it abundantly clear that where his flight element was needed was among the interstellar void. The nearest star was nearly three parsecs away and was only called a star as a tribute to its fiery past - its photosphere likely offered its last gimmer millions of years ago. But it never mattered on how much prep was given, it was never a comfortable feeling to know that something is out there in the consuming absence. It was a small solace then, when his sensors chirped to indicate that it had achieved what the Human eye could not and found something out there within seconds. Before the modulated tone of his flight lead even made it through the constant hissing of the life support airflow, Crutic had his hands around the control yoke to disengage his TIE from the Gozanti’s docking tube.
“Target identified as a Ghtroc 720, range three-seventy kicks, armed. Form up to intercept and dissuade.”
The brisk affirmation from himself and Mynock Two and Four was almost drowned out by the whine from the engine as the four Imperial fighters screamed away from their transport and aligned themselves in a rough quadrilateral formation towards the sensor blip. It was drifting, sublights inactive and transponder silent, all in a valiant effort to blend into the interstellar background. But without jammers to further obscure their presence or a cloak to hide it completely, they were simply a something in a sea of nothing. And the moment the occupants realized this and that the Empire was there to do something about it, the engine arrays that flanked either side of the light freighter flared to life.
”Unidentified Ghtroc 720, you are in a restricted sector, return to designated Region 12 volume or face the consequence.”
Despite his attempt at civility, Mynock One and everyone present knew that this wasn’t an accidental drift into the gap between Region 12 and the edge of the greater galaxy; it was merely the latest instance of another group of beings from within that thought that they had the stealth necessary to break the region-wide lockdown. And with no change to their vector, it appeared that this particular group has the will to do a little more resisting. Crutic can’t help but consider a brief flicker of irony in that the energy spent into presently futile evasive flying would be better applied to their hyperdrive to make it to their next jump. As it is, either option would result in the TIEs landing shots on them, but at least the latter would be more…inconvenient for him and his immediate comrades in the long term.
The last warning was issued as the four fighters closed the last hundred kicks and this time a response came through in the form of a pair of crimson bolts fizzling through the formation. And at the same instant, Crutic Jo’ran retreated into the crevasse in the back of his mind and RG-273-76 took his place.
Safeties off. Targeting computer rendered an approximation of the freighter’s saucer shape upon the display. Align it with the crosshair. Target lock shrilled. Squeeze the trigger. Shields rippled violently as green energies hammered home.
Not good enough.
Check surrounding for teammates within immediate maneuvering vectors. Opening between Mynock One and Four. They peeled off after they had done their own run. Good. Pour in speed to gain distance.
Sounds of laser cannons from behind. Dodge. Stabilize as the rain of bolts trailed behind his flight path, too slow. Perform a sharp banking turn to bring the freighter back in front. Check for alignment to target. Sensor flagged a new relevant information: steep power draw on the hyperdrive module.
“Target almost ready to jump,” he notified into the comms, a practiced motion with a hand to divert power from the engines to the laser cannons.
Trigger down. Shields flashed but held. Tough gutkurr of a target, could do with a bomber’s warhead right about now. No time to linger on what is not available, focus on what is available now. Time for another run. Shields ate another strafe-
Mynock Two reports shield failure as explosion flared directly ahead in the profound blackness, revealing the viewport’s spoked features for the first time. Apply maximum deflection of etheric rudder to avoid the blast, clench against the inertia. Beads of molten metal showered the fighter chassis, but nothing to prompt damage notification.
A little too close for comfort, will have to talk to Two later.
Mynock Four snarled his own displeasure and reported his intent to break off due to damage sustained on his starboard radiator array. No time to worry about him, as long as the target is not disabled. Loop high over target, reacquire lock. Send down pelting fire across the freighter’s dorsal power conduit. Something exploded and their portside sunlight array wavered.
New target. Engine endured a respectable volley before belching out a blast of unfocused ionized particles with most of its glowing innards, submitting the starship into an uncontrolled yaw.
A sudden garble of noises filled his helmet as he directed his focus to the starboard engines, and before his thumb had a chance to render that to equally inoperable slag, a stilted Galactic Basic superimposed itself on top of the audio intrusion.
“Stop! Imperials, stop! We surrender!”
Crutic found himself sucking in a lungful of the stale, cool air as he recognized the Aqualish language and its translator assisted intentions. The rest of the Mynock flight also shared this moment of realization as they broke off from their attack vectors. Well, most of them anyway. At some point Mynock Four became a barely visible trail of titanium and quadanium steel. No life signs. Dank farrik.
”Ghtroc 720, power down immediately and stand by for boarding.” Mynock One’s voice had been level, but there was no denying that those benign words were layered with vitriol that preemptively silenced any kind of protest the other party might want to say. After a few satisfied seconds, the seething hatred dissipated as he changed frequency to the Gozanti to confirm that the onboard boarding party was prepared for the task.
Not long later, the frequency switched back to local and started with a deep sigh that Crutic could practically hear the muscles unclench itself. ”Mynock Flight, systems check.”
“Mynock Two, all systems nominal.”
”Mynock Three, likewise,” Crutic said, examining the reading his flight systems were offering him. Though, in the back of his mind, he could virtually hear the choice words picked by the maintenance team about the surface defects that were received during his near-miss of the explosion. At least he can point the blame to Two this time.
“Good, perform one last sensor sweep before redocking with the Deliverance and meet up at the main hold for debrief.”
A pair of affirmations later, the trio flowed over the crippled freighter at maximum sensor sweep to detect any kind of trap or other possible hindrances for the Gozanti boarding party. They also made sure to fly as uncomfortably close to the freighter as realistically plausible. Although the occupants surely wouldn’t see them, they will make sure they can hear them as loud as their aural sensors are willing to emulate, and hope that the distinctive howl of the twin ion engines resonate deep within the instinctive part of their psyche. The scans turned up nothing more than some dozen beings crammed in its cargo hold, and with that, they pulled back to give a wide berth to the docking Gozanti before connecting with it themselves. What happened next was out of their hands, they have an after action report to perform. With a layer of grief in their hearts.
***
While the return to Marjora Space was a transit that took only a matter of minutes, the sublight transit from the system’s edge to the Decadence was long enough to complete the debrief to an educational amount of detail, clean up, and prepare for the early departure. Under normal circumstances, it would have been a month or so more until the patrol rotation brought them back to the star destroyer low in Majora Prime’s atmosphere, but the recent development had details to iron out. Such as the prisoners they now have board that needed to go through processing - and if they looked like the stormtroopers were rougher with them than necessary, Crutic had chosen not to comment - and registering the loss of a member and securing their replacement. All of that meant at least a few days of shore leave.
At least, what actually constitutes a “shore leave” for the Imperials. It was anybody’s guess on how well the collective bulkhead of owned and affiliated starships, bases, and outposts have achieved a semblance of civilian life where enlisted and officers alike could loosen their mask of professionalism and indulge in a slice of greater society beyond their duty to the Imperial preservation and continuation. It was never intended to interfere with the military aspects and readiness, to be sure, but being surrounded slightly-different-walls and training bouts that might have been less about fitness and more about unspoken exchange of credits sets the scene for much needed stimulation to distract from the monotony of service. It was also an open secret that the galaxy’s assortment of liquid courage and other vile substances that Crutic would begrudge someone for partaking had slipped past regulation and formed an elusive enterprise that based themselves in various need-to-know locations. And the less said about the “flecks of inspiration” fresh from the Sapius Corp mines the better.
That being said, not all non-standard marketplace have to be so despicable, there were also demands from the more respectable members of society: the market for local goods. Ranging from simply a more comfortable clothing that could be worn under uniforms to prevent chafing to non-regulation but cozy blankets to keep warm during power rationing wherever one get stationed, or - one that Crutic is currently partaking in - foods that is used to supplement the stubborn mess droid’s nutritionally balanced but nonetheless dreary meals. Today was some kind of fried fish topped with a grated and pickled Marjora native seafloor tuber, courtesy of “The Shuttle Pilot” in the Decadence’s forward hangar’s armory. It wasn’t ba’buir Eres-Cruzia’s squirmer tiingilar that viciously strikes at the nose, but it was enough of a comfort food to dull the edges to a rough day.
A sigh brought back the reprimanding words of FS-273-4 - then, Mynock One - to the forefront of his mind. Yes, HG-273-81 - Mynock Two - shouldn’t have shot the target when there were friendly within the field of fire, but it was Crutic that blocked Mynock Four’s view of his projected flight path that costed him the necessary reaction time to recognize the explosion that crippled his craft and subsequently made him easy pickings for the freighter’s turret. It was an honest mistake, if a costly one. A life and an entire TIE fighter, the former a loyal member of the Empire and the latter an entire craft worth of irreplaceable components, gone to deep space. It wasn’t an uncommon occasion in the attrition against time, but missed all the same. With a sharp breath and an exertion of will, he suppressed the emotional baggage and sank into another crumbly bite to focus on its fishy, floral flavors that accompanied the textureless slurry of carbs and fiber methodically dispensed upon his metal platter.
Unable to keep it idle for long, his mind suggested the possibility of stopping by the star destroyer’s training facility, its spacious quality an allure to contrast against the cramped confines of the Gozantis. The notion was immediately dashed by a mouse droid that weaved through the forest of legs and beckoned for his attention. And with it came the news that his immediate future would be occupied by a debatably better use of his time. Downing the last of the vitamin enriched baked cuboid with a glass of water, he dismissed the droid and deposited the tray onto the outgoing conveyor on his way out of the mess hall. Helmet replaced securely on his head, he tackled the maze-like corridors and the necessary turbolifts at a brisk jog that eventually deposited him in front of the comms substation. The naval troopers guarding the room eyed him briefly before offering a nod of recognition and returning their bored stare at the opposite wall, implicitly granting him access to the inner workings.
With no combat situations or priority broadcast in effect to demand its full use, the ship’s comms served as a node that services a miniscule bandwidth to the greater galactic network. To the Imperial personnel with investment to the wider galaxy, it was a treasured peephole. It was monitored, of course, but it was a small price to pay for the privilege to be in touch with family and friends. Such as the case for Crutic. An exchange of relevant information to the comms operator later, a small monitor on the wall buzzed to life and resolved into a grainy image of a familiar woman that warmed something deep within his being.
”Su’cuy, buyca’kov,” she greeted, the sarcasm in her voice somehow making it through the heavy warping and choppiness of signal loss.
Crutic paused in his process of unraveling the layers of his persona for a second to grimaced slightly from what he considered to be an uncultured greeting; although the jab at the end served as a reminder that his helmet was still on, an issue he fixed immediately in one smooth motion.
“Hey, Lythsia, are ba’buire home?”
His half-sister took a few seconds to receive the message before shaking her head, assuming that’s what the poorly captured head blur would suggest. ”No, ba’buir Allisyr is out of business meeting down south ba’buir Eres is in the shop. It’s restock day.”
“It’s a miracle that you are at home at all!” Crutic offered a smile he reserved for a few beings in the entire Galaxy. While he had wanted to at least exchange pleasantries to his grandparents after a few long months, he is more than glad to share the time with his sibling.
“Oh, I could be elsewhere too if that’s what you prefer.”
“No, you’ll do,” he paused for a few seconds before speaking again, andt this time, his voice was grim, “how’re things out there?”
Lythsia gave an expression that’s hard to read through both the video’s low resolution and just the mix of emotions that fought for dominance in mere seconds. “If you mean the rebels, they are still focusing their efforts at Coruscant. We haven't really heard much about their interaction with the Governor after the demand for disarmament.”
“So you're holding up?”
“The ‘New Republic’ doesn’t bother my sector much. Shame, I got a backlog of datacard I’m fully willing to let someone ‘liberate’.”
Crutic could feel his eyebrows furrowed slightly as he shot a glance at the comm operator, who didn’t seem to take much notice about the details of the conversation. Of course, he has no reason to suspect his sister of treacherous thoughts as she is an alumni of SAGEducation, but it never hurts to be cautious against misinterpretations.
“Lythisa…”
”I know, I know, I shouldn’t joke about these things. But honestly? I don't know how long it would hold out. The talking heads up top don’t give a gundark’s sheb about who taxes them at the end of the day. And our government is too worried about the lack of star destroyers to correct that.”
Crutic sighed and scratched at his hair, untangling a few helmet-induced knots along the way. It seems like that was a trend that would progressively get worse as the years went by. Not that he can do anything about it, he has an obligation here in Region 12, and it’s entirely up to the whims of Admiral Jaquinn - and Governor Ryehall above him - to see if they plan to do anything about the anarchy going on in the galaxy.
“Well, anything good happen since we last spoke?”
Lythisa thought for a long moment - or the video feed froze, hard to say - before she shrugged. ”Team Uviuy made it through the preliminary in Galactic Cup, there’s that.”
A light chuckle escaped his lips at the new topic. As far as good news goes, it was quite low bar but he could at least appreciate the effort to ease the tension. He chose to latch onto it. “Think they will make it to at least the Semi-Finals?”
“Only if Team Fondor gets disqualified.”
“So that’s a no.”
”Last time Uviuy even got close to the podium, the Unknown Regions was still being charted.”
Crutic offered a puzzled expression at what appeared to be a trivia, given that the subject referenced was self-defining. “It still is-”
”Exactly,” Lythsia face was smug.
The conversations continued amicably, delving onwards from sport recaps to a prod at Lythsia's quest for romance and the subsequent defense of her character by criticizing her now-former-partners despite him having never met them, which naturally lead her to remind him that he should be more worried about his own lack of engagements. And inevitably brought the focus back on his activities for the last few months that wasn't obscured by confidentiality.
But far too soon, a movement by the doorway signaled that his allotted time had ran out. The monitor blacked with his sister's parting words, leaving behind a pang of wistful homesickness to swirl in his mind, as it always tended to do after such a session. And as he has done before and will do in the coming times, he took a moment to regained his composure. A process where vulnerability abdicate its role to the facade that grew away from the tender care. One of arrogance, pride, and ruthlessness; but also one of conviction, determination, and intensity. One of an Imperial pilot. As the helmet consumed his head, his soul stilled and he stepped forth down the grey halls with renewed resolve.
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2023.06.02 08:47 Mdental92 Emergency Dentist Gilbert AZ - Call the office nearest you

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2023.06.02 06:56 Calligon Found Jidion on r/RoastMe

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2023.06.02 04:20 CDDaniels My great-great-grandparents' house isn't so unoccupied...

My extended family owns a big property down South. It sits in the flattest, dryest plains you could imagine, with the dullest house I've seen at the end of a drive that takes you through what looks to be untouched post-apocalypse. It's a two-story antebellum affair, built of planks that were probably painted a hundred years ago, but are now dried and grayed by the sun. Its windows are cloudy and floors creaky, but its interior has some charm, and we've refused to sell it, mostly since nobody wants to figure out who exactly it belongs to.
School will be starting up soon, so to put an end to the drowsy mid-August slump, I decided we'd go down and give the place a visit. I'm forty or so, work in an office job, with a wife and two kids. I gave my aunt a call, and made sure nobody was at the old place, then broke the news to my kids when they got home. One's seven and one's nine, both boys, and they were surprisingly excited. The last time we'd went had been boring beyond belief, thanks to the nearest town cancelling the annual fair, but they must have been too young to remember.
It wasn't an unpleasant drive. We stayed the night in a pleasant little inn in Kansas, and arrived around noon at the property. I unlocked the front door with a charmingly outdated brass key, and walked back a century in time. A thin layer of dust covered most of the living room. A fireplace sat on the left wall, and on the right a doorway led into a small kitchen. Against the back wall of the living room was a less-than-sturdy staircase, and two bedrooms sat at the rear of the first floor. I rolled my suitcase up against the wall to the kitchen, moving an intricately carved hat stand to the other side of the doorway. "Welcome in!" I announced, as the other three filtered in.
The room was dimly lit even with light streaming through the windows. Luckily the house had been "modernized", with electricity in some of the rooms. I flicked a switch, inviting the pleasant glow of an incandesent floor lamp on the other side of the room. My older son flopped down into a red velvet armchair, with gilded armrests, as if he'd been standing for hours. "You just spent three hours sitting in the car, Mikey," I reminded him, smiling.
"Gotta say, this isn't my kinda place. If I gotta share a room with Todd, I'm at least taking the nice chair."
He was right about it being the nice chair. A wooden chair sat opposite the fireplace, with a rough construction that seemed oblivious to the possibility of splinters. An equally robust bench sat between them, facing the fireplace, made of the same gray, splintered wood. My wife Liz sat down, stretching, while my youngest started exploring the house. I walked to the foot of the stairs, looking up at the second floor. I could see an attic door in the ceiling to my right, and at the top of the stairs against the wall sat a table, with a vase of cotton plants, which had dried out long ago. I walked up tentatively, checking each step to ensure it wouldn't buckle under my weight.
On my left was a short hallway, with a room on each side. On my right, an open space stood empty, with windows overlooking the dirt driveway. I tried to open up the door to one of the rooms, which I seemed to remember held cardboard boxes of old documents and trinkets, but it wouldn't budge. The other room seemed to have been a bedroom. Its only window was boarded up, and the only furniture, a bed, made of the same rough wood, sat against the far wall. There was a closet door opposite the foot of the bed, but it too was stuck. The house had surely shifted, especially given the unstable soil it rested upon.
The rest of the evening passed uneventfully. I cooked some delightfully rustic (my wife used less forgiving terms) food on the 1970s-vintage electric stove, and opened the windows to let a breeze in to combat the stifling warmth of the un-air-conditioned house. Not long after sunset, which we watched from the porch, I put my sons to bed, both in the bedroom downstairs, across from ours.
At some point in the dead of the night (I'd foregone my digital alarm clock, trusting the sun would wake us up), I felt something over my shoulder, standing beside the bed. The room, which had no windows, was pitch-black. I felt it drift away, and fell back asleep.
I awoke again, this time with light faintly streaming through the now open door. "Dad," a voice said. I could make out Todd, my younger son, standing shortly inside the doorway. "I keep waking up. I think someone is coming in our room."
I quietly crawled out of bed, trying not to wake Liz. "It's probably just the house settling and making creaking noises," I whispered. "Or maybe Mikey couldn't sleep."
Todd and Mikey's room, which had two windows, was slightly lighter, and I could see the beds. I helped Todd back into his, assuring him that everything was alright. I turned to Mikey's on the other side of the room, and found it empty. "Todd," I said, in an urgent voice. I heard him quickly sit up. "Do you know where Mikey went?"
"He left."
"D...do you know where?"
Todd pointed up, in the general direction of the stairs. I walked out of the room and up the stairs, worried, trying to walk slowly on the weak planks, but rushing to find my son. I looked around, not seeing him in the open area overlooking the driveway. I opened the door to the upstairs bedroom, and saw him, sitting against the wall below the window. I rushed over to him. "Mikey, what are you doing up here?"
"I heard you tell me to go upstairs," he said, looking into my eyes with worry.
I looked around, confused and concerned. "Okay. What happened when you went up here?"
"I got in bed. I couldn't sleep. I kept seeing the closet and it was so dark and-"
Mikey trailed off. I looked at the closet door, which was again shut. I walked over and shook the handle, but the door didn't budge.
"It was open, and inside was pitch black. I was scared. I'm not lying Dad. Why did you tell me to come up here?"
I was deeply unsettled by this point. I didn't want to scare Mikey, so I lied. "I told you to come up here so you'd have your own room. I'm sorry, I didn't realize it was so scary up here." That part wasn't a lie. I led him downstairs, and put him back to bed.
The next morning, I awoke to the sun streaming in through my bedroom door. I'd left it open in case something else happened, but the events of the night before were starting to feel like a bad dream. As we all awoke and gathered in the living room, I recollected the things that had happened, considering all the ways they could have happened. I get night terrors from time to time, I talk in my sleep, and the house's foundation wasn't particularly stable. It made perfect sense that I just sleep-told Mikey to go upstairs, and the house settled just enough to let the closet door swing open for a little while.
We had a breakfast of bacon and eggs, cooked in a thick iron skillet I found in a cabinet. "I hear there's a waterpark in town," Liz mentioned. That got the boys' attention. We pulled our swimsuits out of our suitcases, and drove twenty minutes down to the town for the day. It wasn't exactly bustling with people, but there was a small waterpark with a couple of slides, and a nice sandwich place for lunch. We drove back to the house and played some card games.
Although I'd done my best to put on a good face and see the house as charming and welcoming, as the shadows grew longer that afternoon, I couldn't help but feel something gnawing in the pit of my stomach. It got dark outside by the time we'd finished playing games, and Liz and I said goodnight to our boys. As I sat on the edge of our bed to pull off my shoes, I glanced over at her. "Does something feel...off? About this place?"
She looked over at me. "Last night, did you hear something?"
"Hear something?" I asked, probing, hoping it was something innocuous.
"Never mind," she replied, shaking her head.
I chose not to tell her about Mikey. Although I was pretty sure I'd just sleeptalked, I didn't want to worry her.
I walked out to the living room and flicked the light switch, plunging myself into darkness. The starlight was just enough for me to see my way back to our room, and shut the door. " 'night," I uttered, crawling under the covers, and nudging up against her reassuring warmth.
I woke to a startling crash. I bolted awake. I opened the bedroom door, as quickly as I could without flinging it into the wall, and ran around the corner. In the near pitch black room, I made out the figure of a young boy. It was Todd, on the ground under the stairs. Right at head height was a broken board, half of it hanging at an unnatural angle. "Todd!"
He sniffled. I bent down and put my hand on his shoulder as he sat up. "Why did you try to go upstairs?" I asked, with quiet restraint, holding back panic.
"It told me to," he replied, barely whispering.
Wordlessly I picked him up, and rushed to his and Mikey's room. Mikey was still asleep. I sat Todd back in his bed, and pulled his covers over him. I fumbled through the darkness to the fireplace, and grasped the fire poker. I stepped over and took hold of the stair railing, and carefully ascended, minding the broken step. When I reached the top, upon seeing the open door to the upstairs bedroom, I felt a chill. I stepped inside. The closet door was wide open.
The hair stood up on the back of my neck. Something felt deeply wrong. I turned, and ran down the stairs, feeling every board bend under my weight. I rounded the corner and catapulted into bed. All I felt was cold. I took heavy breaths, slowly feeling the warmth return, and soon drifted back to a worried, interrupted sleep.
In the morning, I wasn't as quick to shake off the feeling from the night before. I gathered everyone in the boys' bedroom, where we sat on the beds. I explained what had happened with Todd, who had some bruises, but nothing serious. There was an unspoken unease, that made us all eager to get out of the house for a while. Liz decided to take Todd to a petting zoo half an hour down the road. Mikey, who was too old for the petting zoo (since when?), wanted to go walk the property with me.
Liz and Todd took the car out to the petting zoo, leaving us waving in the driveway. We turned to our right, and headed out to the barn, a half-collapsed wooden structure that held some old tools and not much else. I grabbed an axe and Mikey took some hedge clippers, and we strolled the boundary of the plot, hacking through some brush that had popped up along the barbed wire fence. The sky, which had been cloudy for the first time that morning, started to darken, eventually promising rain as we made it half a turn from the driveway again.
As rain started to fall and thunder echoed from across the plains, we crossed the front path back to the barn. As I walked under the windows of the house, I couldn't help but feel it was watching us...or maybe that something was watching us from it. I brushed past my worries. I was toting an axe, after all. As we leaned our tools back against the rotting barn wall, heavier drops started falling, and the thunder grew louder. Not wanting to be the only other tall things on the prarie, we made our way back from the barn to the house. Lightning stuck just a few hundred feet away, with a blinding flash, burning a line into my retinas...straight down to the power line along the road.
When we got inside, as I'd expected, the light switch didn't work. The storm clouds had blocked out the sun, leaving the house almost as dark as the night before. A gust of wind slammed the front door shut. Mikey was silent. He slowly walked forward, straight toward the back wall of the living room. I followed him, at his same slow pace. As he reached the foot of the stairs, I turned. I cannot describe the shock of seeing the attic door standing open, the ladder folded down, making contact with the second story floor. Mikey gasped. I silently covered his mouth with one hand, and wrapped around him with the other. I tried to walk backward, pulling him away with me, but he was frozen, fixed on the gaping black entrance. As something moved in the corner of my eye upstairs, with sudden strength, I pulled Mikey to the side. This must have shaken him, and his feet moved. I released him and he ran, ran to the door. I followed in his path, looking back, seeing a glimpse of a shadow against the top of the back wall. I didn't want to look back to shut the door.
Mikey faltered, running out of breath, as he ran down the porch stairs and across the front path. I picked him up, holding him tightly, my arms burning, as I ran. He let out a wail, finally, and tears streamed down our faces. With some distance between ourselves and the house, I let go of Mikey and turned, and saw a shadowy figure in the upper window. Its eyes were dark, hollow. Until Mikey grabbed my arm and pulled me away, I stared, unable to move away from the figure. "What are you staring at?" he whispered, wrapping me in a hug which seemed more like a straightjacket.
Silently I reciprocated, holding him tightly, as rain battered us and thunder rolled through the barren landscape around us. With immense relief I saw headlights in the distance, and a blue SUV purred into the driveway. we threw ourselves into the car, and with a silent understanding, Liz immediately reversed out and flew toward the nearest town.
---
I'm not sure what we encountered in that house. I think it must have been a ghost, or some sort of reaper. I know I shouldn't have lived, that without Mikey, I would've walked back into that house. That without me, one of the boys might have had too close of an encounter with that thing. I don't know what Mikey saw in that closet, and I haven't asked him since. I don't know what Liz heard, but I think if we hadn't been sleeping in the same room, she would have gone up those stairs too. I haven't told them what I saw, and I don't know if they saw it too. All I know is, if you're invited to stay in a house that old, and you start feeling drawn to something, you get. out.
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