"YouTube Music Weekend 12/3/21 | Special Performance | Nulbarich" (Stream VOD; YouTube)

2021.12.04 05:09 JamiroFan2000 "YouTube Music Weekend 12/3/21 | Special Performance | Nulbarich" (Stream VOD; YouTube)

submitted by JamiroFan2000 to TheRedditJamily [link] [comments]


2021.12.04 05:09 ummheyhellohi To All the B&BW Employees…

Anyone else just now (2:07am) getting off of work with a 5AM turn around ? I definitely put my 5 day notice in on Tuesday after this week. After 2 years, I can say I will not miss this job nor the customers.
submitted by ummheyhellohi to bathandbodyworks [link] [comments]


2021.12.04 05:09 LasersighX Propnight Day 1,2 experience.

Propnight Day 1,2 experience. submitted by LasersighX to Propnight [link] [comments]


2021.12.04 05:09 ShockedGlobe77 Anyone else encountered this?

Anyone else encountered this? submitted by ShockedGlobe77 to GenerationZeroGame [link] [comments]


2021.12.04 05:09 Mirremba [Repost] Dissertation study participants needed: Men's attitude towards children (Men, 18+)

Hi everyone! I'm a postgraduate student at the University of Stirling. I am conducting a study to identify factors that influence how men interact with children. Participants will be asked to complete several questionnaires and then upload a photograph of their face.
The study will take approximately 20 minutes.
To participate in this study, you must be a man (cis) of at least 18 years of age.
There will be no payment for taking part in this study.
To take part, please click on this link: https://stirlingpsych.eu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_5ApBSe4YB7xlQ5U
For questions, please contact Ronja Bartlome ([rob00155@students.stir.ac.uk](mailto:rob00155@students.stir.ac.uk)) or Dr Anthony Lee, project supervisor ([anthony.lee@stir.ac.uk](mailto:anthony.lee@stir.ac.uk)).
The ethical approaches of this project have been approved through the University of Stirling General University Ethics Panel. Ethics Approval Reference: GUEP 2021 1821 1626
Thank you very much for taking the time and supporting our research!
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2021.12.04 05:09 mythicvoid7 W/l? The guy said I would've gotten more after the trade

W/l? The guy said I would've gotten more after the trade submitted by mythicvoid7 to bloxfruits [link] [comments]


2021.12.04 05:09 Veebaindia Essential Sauces For Burgers At Home

the American mustard sauce from Veeba is certainly a good sauce to drizzle over their burgers. With its mellow but pungent flavours, the American mustard sauce will certainly make burgers taste sharp and saucy.
submitted by Veebaindia to Sauce [link] [comments]


2021.12.04 05:09 ms_tanuki Weekend Affaire - Le Virage

Weekend Affaire - Le Virage submitted by ms_tanuki to MFPMPPJWFA [link] [comments]


2021.12.04 05:09 SirYohan Platform for Universities in UK

I was wondering which is the best website/platform that enlists all colleges in UK and has filters to help you choose (location, course etc) and even compare (fees, ratings etc)
submitted by SirYohan to studyAbroad [link] [comments]


2021.12.04 05:09 InfiltratorOmega Most recent Mi Fit update has 'lost' a lot of tracking history. Anyone else had this? Or know a fix?

My Mi Fit app updated earlier this week, and since then it's not displaying previous sleep and activity details on the week and month, although the Year figures still appear to have the info.
Did this happen to a lot of people? Is there some thing I can do to get it displaying the history ?
submitted by InfiltratorOmega to miband [link] [comments]


2021.12.04 05:09 Narrovv997 [bdsp] FT: Apriballs LF: Shiny offers

[trade] Apriballs i have: Fast Ball 2x, Level Ball 2x, Lure ball 2x, Heavy Ball 2x, Love Ball 2x, Friend Ball 2x, Moon Ball 2x
submitted by Narrovv997 to CasualPokemonTrades [link] [comments]


2021.12.04 05:09 BreWithTheDegree Skip The Dishes : $5 off your first SkipTheDishes order using this link. Minimum order value $15. Food delivery service with lots of great restaurants to choose from!

submitted by BreWithTheDegree to SkipTheDishesReferral [link] [comments]


2021.12.04 05:09 Gszybeq A big update on Kirmmin's server

There is a working combat and (some) quests. In case you are not subsribed: https://youtu.be/ae6IqR6wdtU
submitted by Gszybeq to WildStar [link] [comments]


2021.12.04 05:09 Mans6067 I hope my period never comes

I hate that so many physical problems have been solved except for the period no one really thinks how much women suffer from this shit every month
Don't tell me to eat pills I don't like it and I don't want to eat it every day
I just want something to prevent my period for several years without getting infertile
submitted by Mans6067 to women [link] [comments]


2021.12.04 05:09 dagmarski [socialists] If workers own the means of production, are they allowed to sell part of their ownership at an agreed upon price?

Let’s say that workers get paid in ownership of the business they work for. (I.e. owning the means of production) Are they allowed to sell their ownership if it benefits them?
Because as soon as these ‘ushares’ become tradable. Does it matter if workers get paid in shares and sell them for cash, or get paid in cash and trade them for shares?
submitted by dagmarski to CapitalismVSocialism [link] [comments]


2021.12.04 05:09 penchen Rescue bun’s first night home

Rescue bun’s first night home submitted by penchen to Rabbits [link] [comments]


2021.12.04 05:09 OtherHoneydew2 🐶WinDoge95, $DOGE Reflection token ♻️ | filled with Nostalgia from the past 🔙, Throwback games on the Website, 3D NFT! 🖼️ | Strong community, 2.2k diamond hands 💎| Massive Meme Potential 📈 Such Doge, Much WoW, So windows95🐶

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2021.12.04 05:09 HelpFew5732 The photograph shows the balancing of tumblers on the edge of the Empire State Building in Manhattan in 1934.

The photograph shows the balancing of tumblers on the edge of the Empire State Building in Manhattan in 1934. submitted by HelpFew5732 to OldSchoolCool [link] [comments]


2021.12.04 05:09 KiariaMC I broke my absolute favorite glass. I got it at PB a few years ago. I don't remember which year. It is a half glass (old fashioned? whiskey glass?) I have tried Googling the glass the last few hours. Please help me ID the model, year, name so I can check ebay, etc. Please ;_;

submitted by KiariaMC to potterybarn [link] [comments]


2021.12.04 05:08 Ella_NutEllaDraws Is anyone else super bothered by the feeling of your own skin? Particularly the webbing between your fingers/toes? Is this normal? Is there a name for it?

It all began when I was born- constantly having the need to weave crap in between my fingers because having my own skin touch itself felt awful. It’s so… stiff. and textured. and slightly sticky. I hate it. I couldn’t stand the feeling of my armpits, I had to tuck fabric between them at all times, no matter how stupid I looked, wearing shoes and socks was hell because then my toes were too close together, stuff like that. I kinda just figured it was normal my whole life until recently I made a joke about it with my mom and she looked at me like I was absolutely insane?! apparently most people wouldn’t want to cut off their webbing and replace it with grocery bag plastic…? Is this a common thing? is there a name for it? How would you describe it, and are there like. things made specifically for it? like clothing with extra tucking flaps, or bras with padding between the chest for side sleepers? i am so weirded out and the more people I talk to the more they look at me funny. not a single person has related to me
submitted by Ella_NutEllaDraws to AutisticPride [link] [comments]


2021.12.04 05:08 MysteryMountainChkn woah

thats kinda sus
} When the impostor is sus, dundundundundundundundundundundundundundundundundundun
submitted by MysteryMountainChkn to SpringOnee [link] [comments]


2021.12.04 05:08 Snekguy [Pinwheel] The Rask Rebellion | Ch3 (Part 1)

CHAPTER 3: STEEL RAIN
The garage was a bustle of activity, the sounds of power tools, and the revving of engine checks echoing through the space. Everywhere Ben looked, engineers were rushing back and forth, inspecting the rows of vehicles as the deployment window neared. The tanks were stacked practically bumper to bumper, six long and five deep, leaving just enough room for the scurrying personnel to get between them so that they could be serviced. They were all anchored to yellow trolleys, which were sitting on a rail system that would deliver them to the stern gate for transfer, or to one of the five elevators towards the bow. There were five of the tiered garages on the Okinawa, stacked one on top of the other to maximize the available space, not unlike an automated parking lot that one might find in a city. With such an efficient system, it meant that they could cram a maximum of one hundred and fifty vehicles into the two hundred and fifty-meter assault carrier.
The ceiling scarcely cleared the MBTs by a foot, trailing cables and bunches of electrical wiring winding their way across the metal panels. Some of them hung loose like vines from a jungle canopy, while others were hooked up to the vehicles, charging their batteries or running diagnostics on their onboard computers. He watched as one of the remote turrets on top of the sloping hull of a nearby IFV rotated of its own accord. The dome-shaped camera array examined him with its reflective lenses, its simple machine intelligence making sure that he wasn’t a threat.
Ben proceeded along the walkway between the trolleys, the side skirts of the tanks rising up to either side of him like walls of composite armor. He dodged around an engineer who was inspecting the tracks of the vehicle to his right, a tablet computer held in his hand, his fingers tapping frantically at the touch screen. The crews were already beginning to line up beside their respective vehicles, standing in rows as they prepared to follow them to the dropships when their number was up. Vehicle crews wearing their pressure suits and helmets stood idle, chatting with one another as they adjusted their seals, and slotted on their helmets. There were Marines gearing up beside their troop transports, their signature black body armor reflecting the glow from the halogen lights above as they checked their weapons and loaded their rigs with fresh magazines.
They were almost all human, there were very few aliens in sight. Most of the vehicles hadn’t been designed with Borealans or Krell in mind, they were too tall to fit inside them, but the IFVs were an exception. Ben could make out a few of the eight-foot felines a row over, their Shock Trooper gear similar to that of the Marines in color and design, the ceramic plating of their battlesuits the same shade of onyx. They sported wicked XMRs that were as long as a human was tall, the barrels lined with tightly-packed rows of magnetic rings, the bayonets making them look as much like spears as rifles.
Vehicle crews didn’t wear the same armor as the Marines. Their gear consisted of a pressure suit that would keep them from decompressing in the event that their hull was breached on a planet with an atmosphere that didn’t support human life, and a flak jacket to provide them some protection from spalling. It was little more than a black jumpsuit that was connected to the boots, gloves, and helmet via pressure seals. His visor was currently open, and his gloves were in his pocket, as there was still a little time before the drop.
He brought up the wrist guard on his forearm, tapping at the holographic display as he checked which vehicle he had been assigned to. Golf-six, a Timberwolf. He walked along the rows of trolleys, weaving past groups of Marines and engineers until he came across the right one.
The Timberwolf was a six-wheeled scout truck designed for a crew of three. It operated ahead of the main formation, scanning for hostiles and obstacles with the help of a small drone fleet and a suite of sensors. It had a sloping, angular hull designed to help deflect enemy fire, the composite plates currently sporting a desert camo paint job. At around twenty-five tons and seven meters long, it was on the smaller side, but that made it fast and maneuverable. There was no visible canopy or windshield, that would only serve to create a weak point. The crew were expected to use the arrays of cameras that were spaced out around the chassis instead, but Ben knew from experience that the armor plating above the bullbar could be raised to expose the viewport in an emergency.
The six wheels had a diameter of about five feet, and the tires were made from a honeycomb structure that eliminated the possibility of flats, the deep treads providing excellent traction even on soft surfaces. The vehicle had smoke launchers and an active protection system that would help to supplement its armor, as well as a remote-controlled thirty-millimeter railgun turret mounted on the top.
What he wasn’t expecting to see, however, was a little Valbaran standing on the roof beside the hatch. It was perched on the edge of the vehicle like a bird, peering down at him with a pair of striking, violet eyes. It had a basically humanoid body plan, its digitigrade legs ending in two-toed feet, its long tail held out straight behind it for balance. It was maybe four and a half feet tall, and it couldn’t have weighed more than about sixty pounds. The pressure suit that it was wearing was similar to his own, black in color, electrical cables visible just beneath the lining as they wound their way across its surface like blood vessels. The form-fitting material gave him a good view of its figure. The alien had a feminine shape, with wide hips, powerful thighs for its stature, and a relatively short torso.
Its helmet seemed to open up like a clamshell, leaving most of its face exposed, a pair of twin tubes dangling from the back of its head. Ben assumed that they were connected to an oxygen supply of some kind, but upon closer inspection, they were hanging free.
Its face immediately made him think of a lizard. It had a long snout, and its glassy, olive-green skin was made up of a mosaic of fine scales. When it opened its mouth to speak, he saw that it was lined with rows of tiny, sharp teeth.
Valbaran Concept Art
“You must be my commander,” it said. Its voice was tinny, high-pitched, and it had a strange flanging quality that made it sound like two different people were speaking in harmony. “My name’s Mizi’pal’otl, equivalent rank of Private, First Class. Pleased to meet you, Sir. Female, by the way,” she added. “I know that humans have a hard time telling our genders apart.”
“Hi,” he replied sheepishly, giving the alien a wave. She returned it, mimicking the gesture with her three-fingered hand. “Yeah, I’m Sergeant Rhodes. I’ve been assigned as Golf-six’s commander.”
“I’m the driver,” she continued, Ben taking a step back as she leapt from the roof. She landed beside him effortlessly, she was so light on her feet, cocking her head curiously as she peered up at him. He noticed that there were light panels on her forearms, and on the two tubes that extended from her helmet, their colors shifting between green and yellow. “Also a qualified engineer, if need be.”
“You’re a Valbaran, right?” he asked. “I’ve seen you guys around the mess. Don’t you usually work in groups?”
“Yup,” she replied, reaching up and giving the vehicle’s tire a tap with her fist. “But a Timberwolf doesn’t need six crew.”
“I guess not,” he chuckled. “Sorry, Private...what was the name again?”
“Just call me Mizi,” she replied.
“Alright, Mizi. You prepped for the drop? Where’s our third?”
“Dunno,” she replied with a shrug of her narrow shoulders. “They’d better get here pretty soon, or we’ll be short a gunner.”
She spoke good English, though her accent was hard to place. It almost sounded like she was speaking with several accents, as if she was mimicking multiple different people as a parrot would.
A klaxon rang out through the garage as red warning lights began to flash, a voice alerting them that they had five minutes until drop. Ben and Mizi began to secure their suits and close their helmets, as did all of the personnel around them. By the time the next klaxon sounded, they were ready, the stern gate beginning to open.
In front of the forward row of vehicles, a large shutter that spanned the length of the garage began to rise from the deck. As it receded into the ceiling, it revealed a row of vaguely square docking ports, each one covered by a shimmering, blue force field.
Their purpose was to allow the heavy dropships that were already docked to the exterior of the garages to load up their vehicles as quickly as possible using the rail system. Twenty-five of them could connect to the stern gate at once, meaning that in only six trips, the entire contents of the five garages could be unloaded onto the surface of a planet. Ben could see five of them right now, the rails on the floors of their cargo bays lining up perfectly with those on the assault carrier’s deck. Each one was spacious enough to accommodate a vehicle up to the size of an MBT, and as many crew as could fit in an armored personnel carrier.
Although he couldn’t see it right now, he knew that the hull of the assault carrier beyond was starting to open like a giant maw. The entire aft section of the vessel could split apart like the jaws of a trap, exposing the tiered garages to space when open, and protecting the dropships from enemy fire when closed. Unlike most UNN vessels, the main engines were mounted in nacelles to the port and starboard, rather than directly at the stern.
Golf-six was second in line, Ben watching as the IFV in front of them began to slide forward on its yellow trolley. It made its way through the flickering energy barrier and into the waiting bay of the dropship, slamming to a stop inside, and locking into place. Its crew jogged in after it, strapping into the crash couches that lined the walls, securing their harnesses tightly.
The same procedure was happening with the four other dropships that he could see, as well at the twenty that he couldn’t. When they were all loaded up, the landers began to separate from the assault carrier, their ramps closing as they used their thrusters to get clear. They were bulky vessels, able to lift as much as a hundred tons under their own power, their hulls painted in the traditional ocean-grey of the Navy. They had upward-swept noses due to their tendency to enter the atmosphere belly-first, giving them the profile of an archaic landing craft from the twentieth century, the cockpit raised high on the chassis. Plumes of blue hydrogen flame spewed from their rear engines as they began to pull away, shrinking from the size of a building to the size of his fist in a few scant seconds. As they angled towards the planet below, he got a better look at their stubby wings and the four downward-facing boosters that helped them to land and take off with a full payload.
Golf-six slid forwards on its trolley, locking into position in front of the docking port. Ben and Mizi jogged along after it, stopping just short of the translucent force field. It would keep in the atmosphere, but allow solid objects to pass through it, meaning that one could potentially trip and fall through the insubstantial barrier into the vacuum of space.
His heart raced as he waited for the dropships to return, and after maybe fifteen minutes, he was rewarded with the sight of one of the bulky vessels lining up to dock. The thrusters flared as the pilot carefully lined up his cargo bay, mating it to the assault carrier and blocking out the twinkling stars beyond. Their vehicle rolled forward on its rail, slipping past the force field and into the bay, slamming into place. He and Mizi followed after it, Ben feeling the hairs on his arms and neck stand on end as he transitioned through the barrier of energy. All sound was silenced, his own muffled breathing all that he could hear inside his helmet as he stepped into the depressurized lander.
The cargo bay looked so large with just the Timberwolf inside it, it was so much smaller and lighter than the tanks. The two crewmen sat side by side as they fastened their harnesses, Ben realizing that his hands were trembling as he secured the buckle about his chest. The drop was his least favorite part of the process.
He glanced to his left to check that Mizi was strapped in, noting that she had slipped her long tail through the hole that was present in all of the seats. They allowed species with tails to sit more comfortably, and it was no inconvenience to a human. She was so short that her feet were dangling off the floor like a child sitting in a highchair. How was she even going to reach the pedals once they were on the ground?
A rumble passed through the deck as the dropship uncoupled from the garage, the Timberwolf rocking on its trolley. Ben looked over Mizi’s head as he watched the cargo bay door begin to close, catching a glance at the five rows of five docking ports as they shrank down to the size of pennies. Once it was sealed, there was a hiss as the bay was pressurized, the clanking and rumbling sounds of the lander slowly returning as though someone was pulling wads of cotton from his ears.
His stomach lurched as he felt the ship began to fall, his fingers digging into the padded armrests of his crash couch as he was buffeted and shaken. They had hit the planet’s atmosphere, he could feel the turbulence, he could see the bright flames erupting beneath the vessel’s belly in his mind’s eye. These landers were not graceful, they were plummeting towards the ground like a brick, the stresses making the structure of the thing creak worryingly. Ben kept reminding himself that this was what it was designed for, that it had performed this same maneuver a thousand times, but he couldn’t shake the feeling that it was going to crater into the ground like an asteroid.
G-forces tore at him as the downward-facing engines belched plumes of fire, slowing their descent as they cleared the upper atmosphere. It felt like there was an elephant standing on his head, like he was being pressed into the deck by a giant rolling pin. He focused on breathing, feeling his pressure suit constrict around his limbs in an attempt to keep his blood where it was supposed to be.
Finally, the feeling of being crushed was alleviated, the dropship emitting a few more jarring bursts from its engines before he felt it bounce on its landing gear. He allowed himself a sigh of relief, glancing over at Mizi to see that she was already raising the visor on her helmet. Ben did the same, the two sharing a knowing glance for a moment.
“First time?” he panted.
“First time in one of these,” she replied, pausing to swallow. “It’s a little less...graceful than a troop transport.”
“Stay seated while the vehicle deploys,” he warned, “you don’t want it clipping you on its way out.”
Bright sunlight flooded into the bay as the ramp began to lower, a cloud of dust kicking into the air as it hit the ground. The scene beyond was that of a desert, a flat plain of sand with what looked like a wall of greenery rising up in the distance, a forest that must be miles away. He could make out a few more vehicles, their crews milling about nearby.
The locks on the Timberwolf’s trolley released, sending it sliding down the rails and onto the planet’s surface, skidding for a couple of feet before coming to a stop. Now that the vehicle was clear, Ben and Mizi unfastened their harnesses, following it out of the bay. As soon as Ben’s boot touched the sand, he buckled, grunting in alarm as the planet’s gravity gripped him. The dropship had an AG field set to Earth-standard, but Borealan gravity was thirty-percent higher. It felt like someone had just dropped a barbell across his shoulders. Mizi had a similar reaction as she stepped down from the ramp, her bobbing gait slowing, her tail drooping.
They stumbled over to their vehicle, Ben leaning against its chassis as though that might somehow alleviate his discomfort. The heat was incredible, weighing down on him almost as much as the gravity. He shielded his eyes as he peered up at the twin suns. The primary was a huge, white sphere of bright light, while the yellow secondary was more akin to Earth’s sun.
The staging point seemed to be in the middle of a desert. The immediate area was sandy scrubland, completely flat save for a few clumps of alien plants that were clinging to life here and there. To his right was the wall of forest, it looked like a tropical jungle, extending from horizon to horizon. To his left, the desert dunes rose up like mountains in the distance, contrasting sharply with the azure sky. All around him, the first two waves of vehicles were gearing up, the roar of their engines carrying across the flatland.
“Where is our third?” Mizi asked anxiously, crawling her way up onto the roof of the Timberwolf with some difficulty. She certainly seemed to like being in high places. The Valbaran peered about frantically, searching for their missing gunner, the sun reflecting off her smooth scales as her head swiveled on her flexible neck.
“Maybe they’re supposed to meet us down here?” Ben suggested with a shrug.
“But the mission briefing said that we would have three crew, and the manual lists three crew as being necessary for the Timberwolf’s operation,” Mizi insisted as she wrung her gloved hands. “A commander, a driver, and a gunner. Where is our gunner? This was not what was planned.”
“Don’t worry about it, Private,” he replied in an attempt to calm the agitated creature. He noted that the light panels on her forearms had turned purple, did they indicate her emotional state? “If one doesn’t turn up, I’ll go find someone to complain to. It’s not your responsibility. Now, let’s get this Wolf running.”
“System check!” she declared, opening the hatch on the roof and dropping down inside. After a moment, the headlights lit up, the vehicle rumbling to life. Ben followed behind as she drove it down off the trolley and clear of the dropship, its large tires leaving furrows in the sand. It rolled to a stop, the top hatch opening again, her little head popping out. “All systems green, Commander!”
“That was quick,” he replied skeptically.
“I have memorized the pre-operation checklist,” she replied, “all systems are within tolerances.”
“Do you have a lot of hands-on experience with Timberwolfs?”
“No,” she said, shaking her head. “But I read the manual.”
“Alright,” he muttered. At least she was qualified.
Behind them, the dropship began to lift off the ground, its four ventral engines sending a cloud of sand swirling as they fired. Ben hastily closed his visor as the air was filled with dust, looking up to watch it accelerate into the blue sky once it was clear, several other landers following behind it. There was pretty much constant traffic, a couple more dropships descending on plumes of bright flame as they decelerated, their bellies charred black by the heat of reentry.
He pulled up the display on his wrist computer, checking the local ad-hoc network. Mizi wasn’t entirely overreacting. Where the hell was their gunner? He put a call through to his Lieutenant, keeping his visor closed so that he could hear himself think over the din of two dozen Kodiaks revving their engines. After being put on hold for a minute, he was put through to the platoon commander.
“Lieutenant? This is Sergeant Rhodes, commanding Golf-six. We’re short a gunner getting off the boat. Any idea where they’re at?”
“Hang tight, Sergeant,” the Lieutenant replied. “They’re en route.”
“Hang tight?” Ben muttered to himself after closing the line, gazing around at his barren surroundings. “Where the hell would I go?”
He rapped his knuckles on the Timberwolf’s hull, the little Valbaran popping out again like a scaly gopher.
“Gunner’s on the way,” he said, which seemed to put her more at ease. “Let’s sit tight until then.”
He tried to climb up onto the hull of the scout vehicle, but the sun had already heated it to the point that it was hot to the touch, so he decided to sit in the shade that it created instead. So, this was Borealis? It was hot, desolate, the gravity already making the muscles in his legs burn like he had just run a two-K. He was starting to get a better understanding of why the Borealans were all so ripped. They didn’t need to be gym rats, just existing here was workout enough to make most Marines look scrawny by comparison.
There was a banging sound as the hatch swung open, then the Valbaran dropped down beside him, stumbling as she landed in the sand. She was decidedly less graceful under these conditions, and he couldn’t blame her. She didn’t sit, seeming to lock the joints in her digitigrade legs to take a load off instead, letting her arms hang at her sides.
“I think this planet has one too many suns,” she grumbled.
“I hear that,” Ben chuckled, wiping his brow beneath his helmet. Mizi watched him curiously, and he gave her a sideways glance. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing, I just...Valbarans don’t sweat. It’s strange to see.”
“How the hell are you going to last down here if you don’t sweat?” he asked, cocking an eyebrow at her.
“My suit keeps me moist,” she explained. “As long as the battery bank has a charge, the condensers will stop me from drying out. It can’t keep me cool in this heat, unfortunately, but the Timberwolf has climate control. We like it a little hotter than your kind do, but also a lot more humid than this. I bet those jungles are lovely,” she sighed as she peered at the wall of greenery on the horizon.
“Cool and dry is more my thing,” he replied, “this place is gonna be swamp ass central.”
Swamp ass?” she asked curiously.
“Trust me, you don’t want to know. So, how did you end up assigned as a Timberwolf driver?” he continued. “I haven’t seen many Valbarans serving alongside the UNN.”
“We haven’t been in the Coalition for very long,” she said, gesturing with her three-fingered hands. The panels on her wrists and pigtails had turned a shade of lime now, maybe they really were like a mood ring. “When contact was made, the whole Galaxy opened up to us, and we wanted to see it. My flock served as pilots for cargo shuttles back on the homeworld, but there were no openings for that position, the humans didn’t need Valbarans to fly their ships. They wanted Commandos to integrate into their mixed units, and engineers to service vehicles. I suppose being a driver is a lot like being a pilot, in many ways.”
“Your flock is your social group, right?” he asked. “Is that like a pack?”
“In some ways, yes. In a Borealan pack, there is a leader, an Alpha who commands the rest. Not so in a Valbaran flock. Each member is part of the whole, all decisions are made through consensus. It has been difficult to adapt to a hierarchy where one person must be relied upon to make decisions for the group.”
“You must have commanding officers, though,” Ben added. “I can’t imagine how a military would function without them.”
“Yes, but we treat flocks as you treat individuals,” she explained. “Our commander is a flock of several who all carry the same authority, and they reach consensus together.”
“It must be difficult being separated from your flock, then,” Ben added. “Sounds like a close relationship.”
“It’s...an adjustment,” she admitted. “In integration training, I learned to trust that humans can make informed decisions on their own and that we should expect to be separated in many cases. Human vehicles are not designed to be crewed by so many, after all. We must treat our comrades as a kind of surrogate flock until we are reunited.”
“Sounds like you got a handle on it, then. If it’s any consolation, part of being a good leader is taking the input of your crew into consideration. I won’t hesitate to ask your opinion if I think it’s valuable.”
She nodded her appreciation, peering out at the vehicles beyond. They watched a nearby tank crew as they mounted up, climbing up the sloping hull armor of their Kodiak. They were imposing vehicles, nine meters long, and up to seventy tons depending on their configuration. The front armor and the turret were heavily sloped to increase the chance of bouncing enemy shells, the tile-like ceramic plating designed primarily to diffuse heat from Betelgeusian plasma weapons. Ben could make out the smoke launchers, and the modules of its active protection system.
The main gun was a massive, slightly flattened tube, the housing covering up an electromagnetic railgun. The round muzzle device on the end of the barrel wasn’t a brake, as a railgun had no propellant gases to redirect, but rather a device used to prevent the air around it from heating up to the point that it created a plasma discharge. Without one, the effect wasn’t unlike an arc flash. It could potentially damage equipment or burn personnel in the vicinity.
There was a blister on top of the turret that housed a smaller caliber railgun, along with a mortar launcher, Ben watching as the round sensor array on top swiveled. Those weapons could be controlled remotely by the commander to supplement the main gun, like a second, smaller turret on top of the first. It wasn’t dissimilar from the main turret on one of the IFVs.
The Kodiaks had hardpoints on either side of the turret that could fit more weapons and modules, but the ones on this vehicle were currently empty, the metallic socket standing out against its desert camouflage. Radar systems, supplemental guns, missile launchers. They had a variety of options.
“So, why didn’t our vehicle have a crew?” Mizi asked.
“How do you mean?” Ben replied, turning to glance at her.
“Back on the assault carrier, whenever I overheard people talking about their vehicles, they treated them as a second home. Each one had its own quirks, a nickname. The people who crewed them were very close, kind of like a flock, in a way. Yet our crew is only just being assembled.”
“I didn’t ask,” Ben replied with a shrug. “Golf-six could be brand new, fresh out of the factory, or it could have been recovered after its previous crew was lost. That’s not uncommon, especially when fighting Bugs. They tend to go for the crew and leave the steel intact.”
“Let us hope that it’s the former,” Mizi muttered, the thought seeming to disturb her.
“Where the hell is that gunner?” Ben grumbled. He checked the holographic display on his wrist, but he hadn’t received any messages or updates. “Dude is probably fresh out of boot and doesn’t even know where he’s supposed to be. I swear, if they sent us some green-”
A dark figure appeared seemingly from nowhere, emerging from behind their vehicle and nearly making Ben jump out of his skin. Mizi was equally alarmed by their sudden arrival, the panels on her suit flashing yellow.
The stranger was taller than a human, a hair under eight feet, suggesting that they were Borealan. Ben couldn’t make out their features, their entire body was wrapped in a long cloak that resembled a ghillie suit, the mesh-like material woven with bits of green fabric to give the impression that it was covered in foliage. There was a hood over their head, the harsh sunlight casting their face into deep shadow. Across their chest was a leather strap, which was attached to a holster for some kind of weapon that was slung over their back. Upon closer inspection, he realized that it was some manner of primitive crossbow, its stock fashioned from carved wood.
Ben immediately felt his stomach tie itself into a knot. He wasn’t especially fond of Borealans, they were a royal pain in the ass to work with, and he didn’t want to run the risk of butting heads with one in a potentially lethal situation.
“Is this vehicle number six, of Golf company?” the newcomer asked. Her voice was distinctly female, low and husky, scarcely a whisper when compared to the racket created by the running engines all around them. Her accent was strange, she trilled her Rs in a way that reminded him of Russian, or perhaps a purring cat.
“This is Golf-six,” Ben replied, rising to his feet and brushing the sand off his suit. “Are you the gunner we’ve been waiting for?”
He looked her up and down, examining her strange getup. She didn’t look like a qualified gunner, she looked like a walking hedge. Mizi’s violet eyes darted between the two of them as though she couldn’t decide whether to follow suit or stay where she was.
The Borealan reached up and pulled back her hood, shaking out her dark, cropped hair. She was unlike any Borealan that he had ever seen before. Their faces were usually clear of fur, but hers was coated in a fine, velvety layer that seemed to shine as though wet. It was jet black in color, matching her full lips and her feline nose, so thin that it might have been mistaken for skin. He couldn’t see her eyes, they were hidden behind a pair of dark, tinted goggles.
Araxie Concept Art
“I am Lozka, leader of the Araxie guard. My people have given me the title of Silent Huntress. Your Alpha has assigned me to your pack.”
“Lozka,” Ben mused, the strange name rolling off his tongue. “I’m Sergeant Rhodes, the vehicle’s commander, and this is PFC Mizi. She’s our driver.”
“Hello,” Mizi chirped, practically staring at the alien. The Borealan was near twice her height and probably five or six times her weight.
“So...you’re our gunner?” Ben asked, seeing no need to mask his skepticism. She looked like she had been plucked straight out of the jungle, she wasn’t even wearing a uniform. “Have you ever operated a Timberwolf’s thirty-mil before?”
“You are scouts, are you not?” she asked. It seemed that she was ignoring his question. What was her rank? Had she even completed her integration training?
“That’s right,” he replied, waiting for her to elaborate.
“Then this is where my Patriarch has deemed me to be of most use. I have met the Rask in combat many times, and I have slain my share. I know how best to track them, how to confuse and outmaneuver them.”
“That sounds...useful,” Ben muttered. “You are a gunner, though, right? Like, we need someone who can, you know, actually shoot the gun.”
“My bolts always strike true,” she replied, “I am the most accomplished marksman in the Araxie territory.”
“That sounds good,” Mizi said, giving Ben a shrug. She was optimistic, at least.
“Yeah,” he replied, unconvinced. “Mizi, why don’t you give the Silent Huntress a tour of the vehicle while I give the LT a call?”
“Okay!” she replied cheerfully, the towering feline following behind her as she bobbed along like an oversized pigeon. She led her around to the rear of the six-wheeled truck, opening up the troop ramp, Lozka crouching to peer inside. Technically, a Borealan could fit inside a Timberwolf, but it was fortunate that she seemed to have a lighter build than some of the other cats that he’d come across. The thing was the size of a damned RV to Mizi, but Lozka had to duck to avoid hitting her head. Ben waited until they were out of earshot, then placed his call.
“Lieutenant? This is Sergeant Rhodes again, Golf-six.”
The LT’s voice came through on the other end, the ad-hoc network lowering the bitrate a little to make it crackle and hiss.
“Rhodes,” he began, probably taking a moment to look him up. “Ah, yes. Is this about your gunner again?”
“Sort of, Sir. Our gunner just arrived. I was calling to inquire as to whether she actually has any training? It’s just that, well, she’s dressed like a mascot for a brand of canned vegetables. I was wondering if there had been some kind of mixup?”
“There’s no mixup, Sergeant,” the Lieutenant replied tersely. “Both the Araxie and Elysian territories are supporting us in our operation against the Rask. Patriarch Bozka has sent us what he claims is his most qualified scout, and the best shot in his territory. She has dozens of confirmed kills, and she knows the enemy better than any of us.”
“But...she brought a crossbow, Sir.”
“She’ll be an asset, so I don’t want to hear any more complaints. Is that clear?”
“Crystal, Sir,” Ben sighed as the LT closed the connection. It was looking like he was going to be stuck with the alien. Maybe he could have Mizi give her a crash course. The little creature seemed to have committed the manual to memory.
He walked over to the troop ramp of the Timberwolf, peering inside. The bay where the crew were expected to live and work for the majority of their deployment was scarcely larger than the kitchen in his first apartment. The floor, walls, and ceiling were all made from exposed metal that was covered in various electronics and mechanical systems. There were a few shelves that held supplies and equipment, contained behind a fabric mesh to prevent them from falling out during travel. The crew slept on a trio of padded beds, two of which were raised flush against the walls. They could also be used as seating in the event that the scout vehicle was on a rescue mission, or had to carry passengers. The third bed was little more than a thin mattress that was currently strapped to the hull to his right with another fabric mesh. There was a bustle rack on the exterior of the vehicle, too, where extra supplies could be mounted without taking up more of the already limited space.
There were no windows or viewports in the rear. It was like a steel coffin, the two lighting strips that ran along the ceiling providing illumination. The only ways in and out were the troop bay at the rear, and the two hatches. At the far end of the bay was a small port that led to the cab. Beyond it was a trio of reclining chairs, the driver’s seat situated a little further forward than the two that flanked it. They were all boxed in by consoles and control banks, leaving scarcely enough room for the crew to squeeze in.
The leftmost was the gunner’s seat. It had a joystick for controlling the remote turret, computer readouts, and other systems related to weapons. The cab hatch was also situated directly above it, and the chair could be raised to give the occupant a view outside. The rightmost was where Ben would be sitting. The commander’s chair was surrounded by computer monitors and sensor equipment, as he would be operating much of the Timberwolf’s electronics suite. Ground-penetrating radar to scan for Bug tunnels, surveillance drones, and other systems.
Mizi and Lozka were in the troop bay, the Valbaran showing the furry alien where the MRE packets were stashed. The Timberwolf was downright spacious by Mizi’s standards, she had to stand on one of the extended beds to reach the shelves, while Lozka had to crouch to fit inside. She didn’t look very impressed with her new accommodations.
“We are to live in this vehicle for the duration of our mission?” she asked, examining her surroundings with a disapproving expression. On top of the bay being a little too small for her, the strange ghillie suit that she wore kept snagging on everything, meaning that she constantly had to stop to untangle herself.
“How else did you think we were gonna cross a desert?” he scoffed. “You should probably stow your gear, by the way. Won’t be long now until the Lieutenant gives his mission briefing, and I expect you both to attend. Preferably without a crossbow.”
“As you wish, Alpha,” Lozka replied. He was surprised to hear her refer to him in that way. As reluctant as she sounded, he knew that to be named the leader of a Borealan pack was no small thing. The aliens usually fought tooth and nail for the position. Literally.
“Uh...Alpha?” he asked. “Don’t I usually have to kick someone’s ass before you’ll call me that?”
“We Araxie defer to those of greater skill and accomplishment,” she explained as she began to take off her crossbow. She stowed it on a gun rack that was mounted on the wall, along with a quiver of sharp bolts. “We are not like our brutish cousins. The Araxie do not savage one another to decide who leads the pack.”
“Oh, like a meritocracy?” he wondered. “Glad to know you won’t try to claw my face off if I look at you funny.”
“The title of commander grants you seniority, does it not?” she continued as she began to remove her cloak.
“Yeah, that’s how our command structure works,” he replied, watching her shrug off the strange garment. Beneath it, she wore a sparse outfit made from brown leather, sewn together in a way that made it look very makeshift. Her bust was contained within a simple leather sling, and over that, she was wearing what looked like a primitive chest rig. There were small satchels and pouches sewn onto it, along with holsters for small vials of liquid, and what must be a waterskin in lieu of a modern canteen. It looked like she intended to carry everything that she might need on her person.
Her shorts were so tight that she might well have been sewn into them, the seams straining against her muscular thighs and rump. The belt that secured them about her waist rode low on her wide hips, and it too was laden with holsters and pouches, their weight making it sag. There was an especially large knife on her hip that drew his eye. It was the size of a shortsword from a human’s perspective.
As he had suspected, her entire body was covered in silky, black fur from the tips of her round ears to her paw-like feet. It was so slick that it almost made her look wet, as though she had just climbed out of a swimming pool, its coal-black surface reflecting the lighting strips above. Her thin coat clung to her figure such that he could make out every contour of her body, even individual veins. It reminded him of a racehorse, its hide wet with sweat after a steeplechase. The twin rows of chiseled muscles on her exposed midriff shifted beneath her fur as she moved, flowing like water, the dimples on her thighs clearly visible. Lozka’s build was much lighter than what he was used to seeing on a Borealan. Most had the figures of bodybuilders, while hers was closer to that of a gymnast, or perhaps a swimmer.
As she turned to hang her cloak over her crossbow, he got a view of her rear. Her muscles cut a long channel down her spine, her pert cheeks filling out her shorts. There was a vent just below her belt that let her long tail poke through, the appendage waving back and forth. Mizi seemed entranced by it, reaching out to touch it with her gloved hand, Ben shaking his head at her silently. Grabbing a Borealan’s tail was a good way to lose your head, if they were of the aggressive variety or not. Clearly, Valbarans had a different concept of personal space than humans.
“Then, you have been deemed most fit to command this vehicle and its crew?” Lozka continued, Ben realizing that he was staring.
“I guess,” he continued, averting his gaze as she turned to face him again. “That’s probably not how I’d word it.”
“Then you are my Alpha. I may be the most accomplished soldier in my territory, but I know nothing of these vehicles. I have, however, tracked Rask into the deserts beyond the jungle band before. I know that my skills can be of use.”
“Just do me a favor and don’t call me Alpha again,” Ben replied. “Commander or Sergeant Rhodes will be fine.” He stepped out of view of the alien, then returned a moment later, ducking to look inside the bay again. “Seriously, it weirds me out...”
“As you wish, Commander,” she replied.
“We’ve got like five minutes until the briefing,” he added, “I’ll come fetch you when it’s time.”
***
(Continued in part 2)
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2021.12.04 05:08 HyperboloidalPop The legendary video of Athena falling down the stairs after I realize that I'm pretty sure we haven't posted this before

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