Fitting room cam

High-mileage freeway runs like this are where AMG E53 comes into its own. The massive 12.3” iPad-like center stack is beautifully integrated, as is the configurable digital dash. In fact, the entire car can be set up in a multitude of different ways, right down to choosing from one of five preset drive modes. Gallery: 2021 Mercedes-AMG E53 Coupe facelift spy photos. 33 Photos. These images are showing a mildly updated prototype of the E53 Coupe wearing front and rear camouflage to hide the changes. We ... With the E53, the E-Class coupe finally gets a sporty powertrain to match its sleek styling. The E53 also gets an AMG-specific grille, front and rear bumpers, and rear spoiler. Hood bulges – a ... Mercedes-AMG gives the E53 a mild makeover for 2021. The changes are shared between the four-door sedan and the two-door coupe and cabriolet. These include redesigned front and rear ends, a new... Mercedes-AMG E53 4Matic+ Coupe review – the mild-hybrid AMG coupe that’s in a class of its own New straight-six with mild-hybrid tech combined with ultra-refined coupe makes for a tempting ... The Mercedes-AMG E53's Mild-Hybrid Straight-Six Is Fascinating A 3.0-liter six coupled with an electric motor, a twin-scroll turbo, and an electric compressor sounds too complicated for its own ...

2020.09.29 18:46 onkey11 Fitting room cam

1 - The 2020 E53 my dealer had in stock did not have the soft close doors. Not a problem except - everytime you swing the door open it comes back at you. They never stay open first time. Sometimes I push it open 3-5 times, before very deliberately having to place it open or hold it open to stop it closing on you as you are getting out. (God help you if you are not on level ground).
2- The Wireless phone Charger is too small a surface area for my Samsung Note to make contact, the lip holds it off the surface and you can stick you finger under the gap.... I grumbled to myself that phones are forever getting bigger and they made this too small... except they gave me a loaner GLC 300 and my phone fits in that one!!!! and it looks like the identical design, they just made it bigger.... for the GLC300 customer...
3- I have cameras all over this car when reversing or parking, yet it does not have a built in Dash Cam. i literally have a forward facing camera built in - but there is no SD card slot to record it or access this. And further there is not a usb power source at the electronic hub stuck behind my rear view mirror - so i have to run a cable all the way around my windshield and plug into my center console. That hub up top has a ton of Electrics - I would literally need a 2 inch cord to plug my camera into if there was a USD plug there...
4- have the E53 wagon - I got it for the trunk space, but yet it will not allow the backseats to slide back or forward to allow me to give alittle more leg room to passengers when I need to put adults in the back. The room for back seat passengers is comically bad. Being able to distribute 3-4" of leg room/ cargo space as needs require would be a massive plus on this car. My wifes 2017 mid range Nissan Rogue does that - but Noooo that is a step to far for MB.
submitted by onkey11 to AMG [link] [comments]


2020.09.29 02:18 Throwrajddnejf Fitting room cam

Hi All,
I am an avid reddit user but first time reddit poster. I will do my best to keep this as short as possible.
So my GF and I have been together for close to 3 years. We currently have 1 baby (9 months) and another on the way due in March. We have always had an issue within our relationship with taking jabs/name-calling and giving the silent treatment. The first year to year and a half I was mostly at fault for this. I would say it was a 75/25 split. I was by far doing the most damage, i would say things I couldn't imagine saying with a level head Ex- your not fit to be a mother , your an asshole etc etc. In addition I would go hours and sometimes even multiple days being extremely short and giving the cold shoulder to the extreme. This would really get to my GF and on multiple occasions she would cry to me. It was like a disease there were times I would think to my self right before I said something"just shut up this has already gone to far" or "if you just let this go everything can finally get fixed" yet I couldn't control myself. Well before we had our first I finally decided this was a serious issue with me that was causing damage to someone i loved. I sought out therapy and although it didn't work effectively immediately over time I did see results. Eventually I got myself to a point where i realized that I didn't want this and I tried to pick up on my ticks or triggers as they say. Overall I would say i did about 2-3 months of therapy on and off. The only real reason i stopped was due to budget constraints. So in no way shape or form was I "fixed" but i will say there were big improvements. I did realize that it was a stubbornness issue and I actually prefer for everyone to get along even if I have to be wrong sometimes.
Fast forward to today. It feels as though the tides have turned. I constantly find myself being shut out by GF given the silent treatment and being told things I wouldn't want to hear from anyone. I know I may be Biased but it truly feels that it is now the complete opposite. Don't get me wrong a have my occasional "flair up" or moody moments but overall I would say it is now 75/25 the other way. I have suggested therapy but it happened to be during the COVID period so she claims she only likes to do therapy over the phone. (She has been to therapy in the past)
So anyway the latest is this: This past Thursday I was messing with her and she got upset she lashed out and raised her voice and called me annoying. I said thats not how you talk to someone. So she was then upset me saying that. I took a shower and then came back out and turned on the TV she was not happy because she was trying to put the baby to sleep right in front of the TV (Which she knows is not a good idea) there was also no sound. She was upset to the point that she called me sooo annoying and disrespectful. She then put the baby down in the other room and said goodnight and didn't sleep in the same room as me . The next day we scheduled to go camping together on our way she said drop me off at my parents house. I said no that is not what we planned. Once i got to a gas station by the cam site she went out of the way to have a friend meet her and take her away with the baby and our dogs without any say from me. During this time in the care before she left I said what is wrong and she said "you should know" or "i already told you" but for the life of me i have no idea what could get her so frustrated. Also during this period i was told the told called the following;
Crazy, annoying, pathetic, i don't give a fuck, your fucking crazy, periods of blatant silent treatment, I want to get the fuck out of this car as far as possible away from you, I want to get me and my daughter as far the fuck away from you as possible, are you stupid?, you are the most selfish person on planet earth, dont talk to me ever again, are you dumb?, I think you lost it completely, I think you are actually retarded,you are such a fucking asshole i cant stand you.
Now I know this may seem not believable but I did not curse or call her a name this whole period. I did my best to keep my cool. There were moments where I raised my voice but no name calling or cursing.
It has now been 4 days since this incident and she is still be rude and giving the cold shoulder, anything she says has attitude. I told her today that if she can't talk to me nicely that maybe she should just go back to her parents. Is that what I want? no. But i cant take the constant attack of names and attitude.
What can I do to help this? Is this broke beyond repair?
submitted by Throwrajddnejf to relationship_advice [link] [comments]


2020.09.22 03:05 watermermaidpisces my experience with BPD and how I deal with it. WORTH THE LONG READ

Ever since I was a teenager (around 14 or 15 years old I believe) I've always felt like there was something wrong with me. I've honestly been having problems for as long as I can remember even going back to childhood, but it wasn't until my early-late teenage years that I completely acknowledged it. (I am now 20) The feelings I have always been forced to endure deep inside with no escape/no possible way out- I always chalked up to extreme depression/anxiety. In fact, up until last week I would describe my self as an extreme empath, who can pick up on the emotions of almost every single individual being good or bad upon seconds of entering a room, with extremely bad anxiety and depression. This is how I have always thought of myself, to myself. (I have never told or talked to anyone much about the feelings I feel, not even family members. I can not allow another human being to see my weaknesses in fear of them eventually somehow using them against me) However, deep down I have always had an inner "knowing" of some sort that the emotional roller coaster I am constantly on and off with on a daily basis, goes much deeper than just having depression and anxiety.

Last weekend I cam across a youtube video titled "I am Borderline". The name on the video really stuck out to me so I clicked on it, and by the end of the video I felt as if I finally "knew" myself. Almost as if I had just came to terms with my mental illness, and why I am the way that I am. After watching that video I dived into my research. Numerous articles on BPD. I even took multiple quizzes online (yes, I am aware that a quiz online can never be 100% accurate) and every quiz I took I got a 10/10 for BPD. I even took a quiz that wasn't specifically for BPD and when I got the results, out of every other mental illness I received the highest score for BPD which was an 89%... My second highest being a 67% with another mental illness that I only partially relate with to some extent. I have not been professionally diagnosed with BPD, but I know that I am.

I'm not just posting this to talk about me, but to also hope that some of you guys thoroughly read this and feel open enough to talk about your experience and how you cope with this in the comment section as well. I would genuinely love to hear.

A little background story on me: When I was 5 years old my parents divorced. I think things really went downhill for me after that. My mom remarried pretty quickly, and my dad saw a few new women too, but never anything serious. I was bouncing back and forth between my mom and dads. Even my grandparents. The deal was that I would spend weeks with my mom, and weekends with my dad. But that never stuck, it really always ended up being whoever chose to have me at whatever given time. It didn't take long for me to start acting out in school, lying excessively for really no reason at all. (I'm not even sure to this day why I lied so much as a kid, but it didn't start until after the divorce) I remember being really depressed, I just wanted my parents back together. Even though it was for the best, my dad really isn't the type who needs to be married. I also went back and forth between hating both of my parents. It seemed like there was a lengthy period of time when I despised my mom and would refuse to stay with her and her new husband, and I disowned him completely as a step father and wanted nothing to do with him. It was even worse when she got pregnant with my sister. I was excited at first, but when she was born it made everything worse for the first few years. (I was 6 when she was born) It was my mom first, and then it was my dad. I reached this weird point in life where I wanted him completely out of my life altogether. He scared me and I didn't want him around me. I can't even completely remember why I felt this way, but I still have this feeling to this day that my dad se*ually abu*ed me. I have a lot of things in my mind blocked out, so this really might not be true. I may be associating this feeling with something else/how he made me feel at the time. And maybe somehow I still carry this feeling around to this day? Not sure. What I do know about my dad is that he is extremely verbally and mentally abusive. I had no support from either one of my parents in anything I did as a child. Or even a teenager. They both couldn't care less... When I got involved in sports, they never came to games. My grandparents were the only ones who would show, and it made me feel out of place and different from all the other kids. I just wanted to be like everyone else, I just wanted to have a family that loved me like all of my friends seemed to have. Including everyone else I was around in school... I remember my dad testing me a lot mentally as a kid. He would ask me simple questions such as "what did you eat for lunch at school?" and I remember him asking this exact question one night and I couldn't remember exactly what I had... So I guessed and he told me that he didn't believe me. I knew I had had pizza, and something to go with it, but I had forgotten what the side was. He accused me of lying and told me to never lie to him, but I didn't lie. I had just forgotten so when I answered his question it was an educated guess. He took me in his room and beat me with his belt multiple times and it seemed the harder I cried the worse it got and he just told me to stop crying. There were multiple times where things like this would happen. More than multiple. From around the ages 6-9, maybe 10. During these years when I would stay with him he would even still give me baths, and he knew that it made me uncomfortable, but still... he did it anyways. I do know for sure that starting at age 11 he never did any of it again. Why it so abruptly stopped I'm not sure. Although in my later teenage years I did catch him trying to look at me naked one time but he looked away quickly. As far as actual se*ual ab*se goes though, I really don't think it ever happened. I think the only reason I have some sort of feeling that it did is somehow associated with what he put me through emotionally. I remember not seeing him for months one year, and then finally agreeing to spend one night with him. I felt so uncomfortable around him but he hadn't even done anything that night. I escaped outside, hid and called my grandparents crying, begging them to come pick me up. He had a really long driveway so as soon as I saw them coming I sprinted towards their vehicle so he wouldn't see them pulling into the driveway. And then screamed at them to please hurry and go. He knew where my grandparents lived of course and could have easily just came and gotten me. So I'm not sure what good I really thought this would do, but I knew that he wouldn't try and come get me. I remember after this night, I pretty much have lived with my grandparents ever since. They basically raised me. I still have always had both parents in my life, but have never "lived" with my dad since then. He would always buy me whatever I wanted, and I ended up chalking the idea of "love" up to the way he treated me. Over the years I have put myself through numerous mentally abusive relationships. And even one physically abusive one... I never liked staying with my mom, she would be on and off different medications for her clinical depression. She was very toxic for me to be around, and my few years living with her and my step dad (before fully moving in with my grandparents) to this day, are still the most traumatizing years of my life. Just because of how depressed I was. She was never physically abusive, or even ever really mentally abusive. Just toxic, and the worst part of it is that it wasn't even her fault. I also spent most of my time alone in my room for years.. I never really had any friends until I got into highschool because I felt like I was never good enough for anybody. It was worse when I would go over to a friends house, I never felt like I belonged anywhere, and I felt like I was always a burden to their family. I don't even know why. Even up in my highschool years my dad would mentally always put me down about anything I wanted out of life. Any dreams I had, thoughts of the future, ect. He also has extreme temper problems. The littlest thing could send him overboard... I know he dealt with abuse as a kid to. If he has a mental illness of any kind, I'm not sure.

As a child, the way I coped with all the stress and pain was by food. Always eating, I gained a lot of weight. Wasn't necessarily "fat" but bigger than the other kids. And I got bullied.

The way I began to deal with all the stress and pain in my most traumatizing years (when I was living with my mom) was by not eating. I got extremely skinny, almost diagnosed with anorexia, was extremely suicidal, and loved the feeling I got by starving myself. I was so numb to my own pain and my own emotions that I would do anything just to make me feel. This started in the 6th grade and went on until around the 8th. Also during 6th grade I got my first boyfriend, he a year or so older than me and he contributed a lot to my mental health issues because of how horribly I allowed him to treat me because I thought he loved me. He told me he did, and that's all I wanted. Was for someone to love me then.
Around 8th grade I was fully moved in with my grandparents, I had gotten out of that relationship, and for the first time I was finally starting to see some hope. I was happier. I still had and dealt with a lot of suicidal thoughts, but I had made some friends which made me happy. Even though I constantly knew that I could never live up to be half as good as they are, and had this constant feeling that I was nothing compared to everyone else. My grandparents made me the most happy, they were so sweet and nurturing and I loved them so much. But I put them through a lot of pain I feel like in a way. I was horrible to them, constantly screaming at them to leave me alone and get away from me. But when I did this, all I wanted was love. But somehow just didn't feel deserving of it. I remember sitting on the floor in my room at their house crying, trying to c*t myself and overdose on pills. There were also times I tried to suffocate myself.
My highschool years were my best, and worst at the same time. Constantly struggling with who I was, because I never really knew. I still don't. Constantly trying to fit in, but one thing that helped me was my looks. That's one thing I am confident on is that I am beautiful. It's weird because I don't FEEL beautiful, but know that I am. And that's the main thing that gave me confidence and happiness in highschool, winning the school beauty pageant and getting on homecoming court every year, starting my freshman year of highschool. I was a cheerleader, I ran track, and I was a dancer for a little while... I could FORCE myself to seem happy while doing all of these activities, but I never was.. But I was one of the popular kids, and it made me feel good... but, I was still empty inside... I still struggled with suicidal thoughts and the constant feeling that I could never live up to what others thought of me. Relationships were the hardest. Nobody would ever stay. But I didn't blame them. I didn't even know how to be with someone, I still don't really. But, I wanted to be like my friends, like everyone else. I didn't want people to ever think of me differently, or think I was weird. Even though I was always the only kid whose parents never showed up to my school sporting events, or other activities. It made me feel emptier... Every time after any event where I would be with a friend around her parents and they would ask, "where are your parents?" I felt even emptier... The same answer every time, "they had to work" knowing that my mom could never hold a steady job because of her depression, and my dad, even though he had and still does have a good job- could have been there if he really wanted to. I lied a lot over the years, too. Different lies about where my mom worked when asked, because I was embarrassed. I've always gone to private schools, surrounded by friends and kids who had everything. And in a way, I could to, my dad would always buy me anything I asked for... but that goes with the saying "money can't buy happiness".

The summer I graduated highschool (last summer) I got in a relationship with someone I would eventually find out to be a sociopath. He was extremely charming, I was completely in love with this person.. He was my favorite person and helped fill a lot of holes... In a way, we related a lot.. He also came from an abusive background. His dad was extremely abusive to him, and actually ended up committing sui*ide just a few months prior to him and I meeting... He was extremely abusive. Physically and mentally... But was always able to justify his actions in a way. So I stayed, I didn't want to let him go.. But, eventually, of course he left. It's been over a year. He's contacted me a few times since, but it's been minimal. I wouldn't go back.

I just turned 20 this past march.. I've come a long way just within a year of who I've been struggling to become my entire life. The only feeling I have ever longed for was inner peace. An abundance of love. And those are feeling that I wish for every single other human being as well... I believe without those two things, you have next to nothing. I've always had next to nothing.

Just over this past year I have realized a lot about myself and who I want to be as a person. I finally realized that there is something wrong with me, but knowing that there is in fact something wrong with me, means I have the power to control it in a way. Because I KNOW. And that's what I started with, and I've come a long way. That's kind of why when I found out that I was in fact BPD... It wasn't all that shocking to me. Because I've always had an inner knowing that what I deal with on a daily basis is more than just depression. (Ok side note: I forgot to mention that my dad has always been an alcoholic even before I was born, but he was never really the ab*sive alcoholic type... Whenever he drank he seemed nicer)
The feelings I have felt over my childhood/highschool years and continue to feel this day are as follows: emptiness; hollowness; the feeling as if I want to crawl out of my own skin, even tear my skin apart with knives and just completely rip out of myself and be someone else (EXTREMELY INTENSE FEELING when I am having an episode strong enough to experience this emotion. This one is the hardest for me.) ; wanting to be completely nonexistent, but not wanting to be dead... but not wanting to be alive either... just nothing. BUT.. I also experience: extreme levels of happiness, wanting to do nothing but dance and sing and tell the world and everybody in it how much I appreciate and love them... only to feel the complete opposite within the span of an hour... I have the most beautiful highs, they are like no other. And I am convinced that they are like no other of any normal human being either... The days I experience these highs are the reason I have to keep living, because I know that during all my emotional rollercoaster days, I will eventually have another good day, I will eventually be on top of the world again. On these days I like to make other people happy. I like to make them smile... But honestly, I like doing this on my not so good days too.. It's just harder on those days, but it also helps me cope in a way. I like making others happy.
I struggle with at least one of these emotions, if not multiple on a daily basis... They all, come and go sometimes within a span of an hour. The one that I listed as being the most intense, however, actually does not happen just extremely often. This emotion only occurs during my sui*idal days.

Relationships have always been the hardest for me. Whether it be a friend, or a boyfriend. After a year of not having anyone at all/refusing to be close to anyone. I just entered into another relationship that I've been in for two going on three months. It's surprisingly stable, and something positive in my life that keeps me going...
However, I've always struggled with needing constant reassurance. This is something that has ruined most of my relationships in the past even though I honestly have not had many. But, I'm sure people have thought I was crazy for it. I can go from being on top of the world with my person, to feeling like they are fixing to leave me the next minute. The minute they say anything too short, or a bit off... But I have learned to suppress these constant needs for reassurance. By being able to realize that I do have a problem, I am in a relationship with a normal person who is going to respond normally and do all of these normal human things... When, I am not normal. I have learned to trust more, and suppress the need to ask for reassurance. Because I know that's my mental illness talking, but not me.

Knowing and being aware that I have a problem is what guides me. It helps me deal with myself, because now I am aware of who I am to some extent Even though I do struggle with my own personal identity I guess you could say... Just knowing who and who I don't want to be can get hard for me at times...

Another thing that has also helped me at times (this may sound kind of brutal to some..) is telling myself that no matter what emotion I am feeling/going through at that given point in time, it will always pass. And by knowing that either way, there is no way out of life but death. We all live and die, this constantly feeling of emptiness I have to endure will end eventually. So choosing to sink into these emotions I feel instead of doing my best to train my mind in a way to overcome what I am feeling at the time (completely easier said than done most of the time) is only adding on negatively to the short amount of time that I have left to experience life. And we never want to purposely experience any moment negatively. We just can't help it.

Most of the time though, the only thing you can really do is just sit and feel your emotions, cry, scream out even if its a silent but powerful scream (I have a lot of these) just take a moment to truly feel every emotion, every intense feeling you are experiencing.... And wait until it gradually fades out.

This is my story with BPD, and how I struggle. I'm doing a lot better than I was, I have a stable job, in a healthy relationship... Even though some days my mind tends to tell me it's not healthy, but that's my illness... I am not my illness... You are not yours either. If you have anything to say, any questions, or would like to share your story and how you cope, I would love to hear...
Sending an abundance of love and peace of mind your way, and if you got this far- thank you for taking the time to read. Sorry for any grammar mistakes I've made. I also know some parts were all over the place.
submitted by watermermaidpisces to BPD [link] [comments]


2020.09.20 18:06 Samara_Buckley_Derby Room cam fitting

Summary: Fighting immortals is a sweetheart job for someone obsessed with the afterlife. Dying on the job, however, is cutting it too close. However, Julian's curiosity with the great beyond pushes him a little too far, back to the land of the living and cursed with a newly damned soul, just like the immortals he's sworn to fight...
First chapter --- Previous chapter here!! --- Next chapter
Cover art --- Rate me on Royal Road!
Espionage may as well have been Matti’s middle name for how well he took to it. It wasn’t, of course, his middle name. That dubious honor went to Casimir, probably the name of someone important in his family, which he’d have learned if he’d had ever thought to grill his parents. He hadn’t though, not in the sixteen years he’d lived under their roof, nor in the following four years of school. And he certainly hadn’t asked when he started sniper school nor since officially enlisting. He hadn’t spoken to them since. Too dangerous.
And dangerous was how Matti liked it. He was yet to have a real reason to believe his life was in danger and until he felt that, he had no problem pushing the envelope.
Which is why he was perched in the back of a helicopter heading out to Munich on a mission intended to intercept one of the deadliest immortals at an active civilian airport with nearly two dozen soldiers, some of whom were legally dead, while most were shoot-on-sight traitors.
Could it get any better?
“Find anything, Matti?” a cool voice asked in his ear.
“Clear for now, Pooja.” He gave the Colonel a reassuring smile and she nodded, returning to the cockpit. Last names had never suited him and as a renegade, he wasn’t obligated to use them. It was easier to empathize with an Amy or Markus than with a Brown or Khan. Knowing the name they heard from friends and family humanized them and that was important when lives were on the line.
They usually just thought he was being cocky and rude and he had no need to dispel that theory because, as a renegade, they were going to think he was an arrogant prick anyway. It wasn’t even really a lie, so…
The helicopter they all sat in—Matti, Julian, Pooja and her two operatives, Kyline, and her squad—was borrowed from Omicron HQ. No way could Schmidtt’s usual helicopter fit the nearly two dozen agents, so Pooja had pulled some strings. There was enough room to comfortably walk around, especially with the others mostly strapped in, a fact that Matti gladly took advantage of, roaming from window to window, popping up his binoculars to scan for any aircraft that might be flying under the radar.
He’d been disappointed so far.
In between his little lookout sessions, he’d make small talk with various operatives. Pooja didn’t like chatting when on a mission, Kyline hated his guts, and the other scientists he usually hung out with were, for obvious reasons, not here, so ‘various operatives’ mostly meant Julian.
“Gotta admit, when you said you had some questions for me, I wasn’t expecting this,” Julian said after Matti’s third round.
“Am I boring you?” Matti tilted his head.
Julian laughed, always a good sign. “No. But unless this is some weird renegade interrogation tactic, I don’t know why you care about my favorite breakfast food.”
Matti gave him a cool look. “I’ve watched you very carefully since joining the Fleursurgents. I need to make sure your answers align with what I’ve seen.” It was a terribly blatant lie, but not one Matti really cared about guarding. If Julian chose to see through it, good on him. Reality was, Matti just liked getting to know his charges.
Julian squinted. “Fleursurgents?”
“Come on. Fleur Insurgents is a mouthful and there are a ton of repeated syllable sounds there. It’s only natural that you should work a portmanteau in there. Saves time.”
“Lotta big words from someone with a STEM degree. Maybe you should have gone into linguistics.” Julian grinned, and unless it was Matti’s imagination, seemed to relax a bit.
Matti lifted a shoulder. “Linguistics wouldn’t have gotten me a job here. Besides, I didn’t go to an English speaking school.”
“Clearly, or you’d have caught the better portmanteau: Infleurgents.”
This took Matti aback quite a bit, because Julian was absolutely correct. That one was far superior. “I take my hat off to you. We’re now the Infleurgents. Clearly your English skills make mine look paltry.”
“Well, it was my first language.” He shifted in his seat, probably trying to make the helicopter seat feel more comfortable. “You said a linguistics degree wouldn’t have gotten you a job here. Did you know about this place when starting college?”
There were a few options for how an AngelThana operative might have gotten involved in the organization. A bulk of the scientists were poached from the public facing front: a nanotech organization that privately manufactured weapons and also somehow did some work with biotech. It was often scrutinized for guzzling research money and turning out rather few results but that was kind of the point of a public facing front. It’s just that the public didn’t know that. Hence ‘front’.
Then there were military poaches, outstanding soldiers who were approached at the conclusion of their official government military contracts. Outside of these poached soldiers, AngelThana rarely allowed for transfers to military units if the employee hadn’t been with the company for a minimum of three years, which explained why the minimum age of active combatants was 21 and not most military’s standard 18.
Then there were the nuts. AngelThana sent representatives out to anyone who found out about the immortals organically, whether from personal experience or obsessive web research. That’s how Matti got involved. He’d spent the greater part of his childhood chasing down conspiracies online because that’s about all there was to do in a northern European village, population: twelve, where the sun came up twice a year. He’d discovered some paper trails and various web footage that showed the same few people involved in a host of different terrorist attacks across the globe, a conspiracy he was surprised no one else pointed out.
It turned out no one pointed it out because AngelThana scrubbed the internet from all information of the immortals, with a rather impressive tech division. This was originally what they scouted him for until pretty much everyone realized he was a crap hacker. By that point, he’d requested a transfer to sniper school and anyone involved agreed it was for the best.
Most of the people on the helicopter had been in the second boat, sniped from their own government’s military. On the books, they were ‘security’ officers.
Julian was, as with most scientists, from the first group. He’d been scouted because of his academic work and pressured into taking the job with AngelThana.
“My official transfer to the internal department was about a month into my onboarding on the face department.” Julian had that glint in his eyes that the PhDs always got when they were about to launch into a lecture, and Matti braced himself. “The day they pulled me in and explained that honest to god immortals existed, well I thought I’d gone crazy.”
“Really? You didn’t think they had?”
Julian shook his head. “No! I’d always suspected so when my theories were confirmed, my mind was blown. It was like falling into a dream I’d had.”
“Lapinksy! Back on your post. You’ve had weeks to make idle chit chat. This is not the time.” Pooja’s scolding turned all the heads in the chopper to Matti, who smiled back at her, jumping to his feet in a solute.
“Copy that, Colonel.” There would also be time for idle chit chat later, so he had no qualms with resuming his watch.
“Alright we’re approaching our drop point,” Pooja announced, some few, uneventful hours later. “We’re officially on non-essential cargo pickup, so keep that in mind. Grace, prep your unit, but I want them down and out of sight until signaled.”
Kyline saluted in acknowledgement, her face rigid.
“The cargo pickup is scheduled to happen at eight hundred hours, so we’re here plenty early and should be able to get all of you off before they load us up.” Pooja began walking up and down the aisle of the ship, making eye contact with every single person on board. “I’ll be staying on board to handle the loading, with Schmidtt and Lapinksy. You’ll take your orders from the Sergeant and in the case of her incapacitation, your chain of command will fall to Agent Xing, Agent Jha, field medic LeDuc…” The chain of command was something they’d all been briefed on but redundancy may as well be synonymous with procedure because whenever someone said ‘follow the proper process’ it meant they wanted to you use enough fallbacks and extraneous measures that you probably could have accomplished three times your goal if you’d just checked something once or twice.
But for all their traitorous nature, the Infleurgents still followed their god damned processes to a T. Whatever. Matti didn’t technically need to know who to listen to but unfortunately for his ego, the chain of command usually made too much sense to ignore, so he rarely did.
The helicopter touched down at a tiny regional airport in the early hours of the morning, probably close to five hundred hours, as light as a feather per Schmidtt’s usual. He radioed in their arrival to the incognito convoy that was bringing whatever equipment Pooja had maneuvered into being their ‘target’. They reported that they were still about two hours out, which Schmidtt confirmed on radar scans.
“Copy that, we’ll be waiting.” Then Pooja looked up at Matti. “Give us a visual perimeter, make sure the area is clear of personnel or civilians.” She turned to Kyline. “At Lapinsky’s signal, take your men to the far parking lot. The convoy was instructed to leave one truck behind so that we could unload our cargo. Which…” She waved a hand at the soldiers, “is all of you. So stay out of sight until Grace gives the command. Understood?”
A host of salutes confirmed comprehension. Matti eyed Pooja and tossed her a slightly more casual salute before slipping into the night.
For once, the lack of complications wasn’t boring. The presence of civilians would have dramatically slowed down the offloading, suspicions from the convoy would have just caused drama, and if any of Kyline’s soldiers had been spotted, it would have really been disastrous.
All told, Pooja’s plan went without a hitch and soon Schmidt was flying away with whatever cargo they’d used as an excuse to hide their illicit actions. Matti sat in the back of the remaining convoy truck, squished with the others. These things were supposed to seat a dozen. While Matti, Julian, Xing Luli, the Iota agent, were slim enough to count for half a person, they simply had too many people on board for the drive to be comfortable. But comfort wasn’t a requisite so no one complained about being cramped too much.
The real issue was the lack of space to put on their disguises. AngelThana lacked the resources to intensely scrutinize every security cam feed on the planet to scan for faces that matched certain criteria. So the group didn’t have to worry too much about being spotted by the sophisticated software needed to match their specific face shapes and retina scans. But that didn’t mean they could slack off. They’d still need to play dress up to fool any AngelThana member who happened to be casually watching the MUC feeds in their downtime.
There were precious few people on board who knew enough about hair and makeup to make a convincing change to faces, so each agent had to wait quite a bit for their turn. Something to change complexion, darken or bright eyes, maybe thicken the look of facial hair.
“Do me dirty,” Matti said as he pushed past Private Amelie Silva for his turn. He scrunched his eyes closed in preparation for the assault on his face.
“Don’t do that with your eyes,” Pooja said, as he heard her swishing around some bottle of something probably wet and sticky. “It’ll make it uneven.” Pooja, along with Henri LaForge and Edmund Howard, was one of the only confident enough with her makeup skills to do anything convincing on the soldiers. “Hold still.” A bright light blasted his eyelids as another of the soldiers shone a flashlight at him.
“We should have brought Sofia,” Matti said, trying hard not to move his mouth. “She could make every guy in here a girl and vice versa.”
“Matti keep your mouth shut or you’re going to look like more of a mess than you normally do.” After a far too long period of getting paint slathered and smeared on his face, his nails and hands squished, his hair pulled tight and hidden under a wig, Pooja thrust an armful of clothes in his hands. “What do you think?”
The question was a little too amused for Matti’s liking and he cracked an eyelid to see the private holding the flashlight was openly smirking.
“He did say he wanted to be a girl. Think you did a mighty good job there, Colonel.”
The other eyelid snapped open. “I need a mirror. Now.”
Pooja held up one and Matti stared at himself. He wasn’t a girl, probably. Not technically. But he also saw where the private was coming from. “Pooja, you know ‘scene’ hasn’t been in since the early 2000s, right?” He twisted one of the silky, unnaturally platinum locks around a finger.
“We’re active members.” She shooed him to the side to start her next victim. “So our looks need to be a bit more dramatically changed. Us and Blake. If you’re going heavy makeup, you have to make it look intentional. That’s why you have the eyeliner. You’re now Alexi Petroff, 16 years old, so you’ve got to look like it.”
“Great. Back to being an edgy teen.” He didn’t really mind the look but it was far from comfortable. “What dramatic bit are you doing?”
“Inaya Hasmi, 34, traveling with my husband Tahir.” She pointed a bit away where Vikas Jha, the other Iota agent, was getting minimal makeup work done. “I’ll have a bit of work done but most of my face will be hidden.”
“Lucky. Would be nice if we all could just go the religious veil route.” Matti tapped at his face to see if his makeup had dried.
Pooja cocked an eyebrow. “Would have made us all the more likely to be stopped by airport security. Don’t need to increase those odds. Alright, you’re done Shanti.”
“Fucking most disgusting thing I ever got on my face,” he grumbled.
“Shut up, Shanti,” Matti said, almost absentmindedly. The private needled him with a glare before moving on.
“We kind of switched colors,” Julian remarked as he settled down next to Matti. The previously sandy haired man now had cropped dark crew cut, so convincing that Matti couldn’t imagine how his real hair had fit under it. His previously green eyes were now blue, much like how Matti’s blue had changed to green.
“Who did yours?” Matti asked.
“LaForge. Man did theatre through his entire education. I guess it shows but god my head feels like it’s about to explode.” Julian’s hand hovered near his scalp as if itching to itch it.
“Not a finger!” shouted LaForge from about eight feet away where he was twisting Luli’s hair into a tight ponytail. “Or I’ll cut it off.”
“Would he get back?” asked another private.
Julian’s body sagged as his hand dropped. “Here they go.”
The questions, jokes, and jabs flowed through the truck, lightening up the mood at the expense of Julian’s.
“You’re not a fan?” Matti asked. “You can’t deny, there are some good questions in there.”
“Yeah but they don’t want answers, they just want to snicker.” Julian sighed, crossing his arms. “But I’m starting to learn to tune it out.”
Even Matti had to admit that, after two more hours of the soldiers coming up with increasingly stupid puns, it had gotten old. He fiddled with his rifle, knowing that it would soon be locked in a very special crate, the kind that AngelThana routinely used to smuggle weapons through airports, past border patrols, and into government events. Matti didn’t like departing with his beloved rifle but there would be no keeping it on him.
The sun had long risen now as the truck pulled into a long term parking lot, advertised as being ‘mere kilometers from MUC!’ From there, the group split into teams, each with their own mission plans.
Pooja took Vikas, her husband, and the two headed the short walk to the public transport. Six of the soldiers, all dressed as spring breakers, flooded to the closest rental car place.
Matti checked his ID and the instructions on his phone giving him a rundown of Alexi Pertoff.
“I’m traveling with my father and girlfriend, huh? Haven’t had one of those in a while.” He looked up at the remaining operatives. Shanti and Henri were brothers, Amelie and Edmund were also dating. A few others were traveling solo. Then his eyes fell on Luli, Pooja’s Iota agent. She fixed him with a long once over.
“We’re dating?” she asked. In all fairness, she probably wasn’t much older than he was and with the high ponytail with a red streak in it, the loose bangs around her face, and too much eye makeup, she could absolutely pass for 17 or 18.
“I guess so. Which just leaves… dad.” He grinned as Julian looked down at his ID.
“Ah. Pieter Pertoff. 38” He looked up at the two agents as the remaining operatives sped off on their predetermined methods of transportation. “Never thought much of having kids…”
“God I must be like, the biggest disappointment to you.” Matti examined his nails, which were all black except for a red nail on each middle finger. Then he looked up at Julian’s tight crew cut and the lines on his face, artfully exaggerated by LaForge’s handiwork.
Luli laughed at the start contrast that couldn’t hide enough of a similarity between the two men to hint at their relation. “Alright then, team,” she said. “Let’s get our car and get to the airport. We’ve got an invasion to stop.”
Chapter 12
Julian could already tell that Matti and Luli were amused at his reaction but he couldn’t help being more than a little apprehensive about playing a father role to the sniper. The two agents shared looks in the back seat of the rental car Julian was driving.
“Do you think I need an accent? It’s Russian, right? I can try a— hold up.” Julian cleared his throat and centered himself, trying his best to adopt the accent of one of the Russian agents. “Ok, how’s this?”
“God no. Please no.” Matti exchanged another look with Luli. Julian hadn’t dealt much with the agent since they’d first flown to Fleur, an experience Julian wanted to leave far behind him, but she was a lot more pleasant when she wasn’t holding a gun to his head.
“You’ll blow our cover immediately.” Her voice, meanwhile, had shifted from its previously Chinese accent to a completely American accent. “Keep your American accent. In case you haven’t noticed, both our passports are American. His is Russian. You immigrated to the states young and lived there your whole life. You met your wife, a Russian woman, but after your relationship went poorly, she took the kid and moved back to Russia. She sends him over to you for summers and other various breaks. It was during one such visit that he met me.”
“The three of us are spending holiday in Russia,” Matti said. “After the trip, Luli and I are staying with my mom in Moscow.”
It took Julian a moment to internalize this. “Why wasn’t I told any of this?”
“It’s in your briefing.” Matti pointed to his phone. “You probably didn’t scroll. Don’t worry, most people actually don’t ask about your backstory.”
“Yeah but in case—”
“Look at it this way,” Luli said. “Lapinsky and I are far more likely to be given side eyes or comments. This was intentional, to draw attention from you.”
“Just be a disappointed father.” Matti glanced at his phone for another moment before tapping a few buttons. “Ok, now, names. I need you to recite them, learn them by heart.”
It was kind of weird taking orders from someone who was supposed to be his son. The two were probably only ten years apart in age. Luli was even closer, probably less than five years younger than him.
“Ok. Ok, you’re Alexi. She’s Tara. Alexi and Tara. Alexi Petroff and Tara Wang.”
“Mr. Pertoff? Mr. Pertoff, Alexi says it’s ok if we get Starbucks. We’ll be right back.”
“Mom says it’s ok if I get snakebites and you said I could get anything I wanted for my 17th birthday if it was under 50 dollars. I know this one place that does them for cheap and she’s ok with it.”
The two went back and forth, with Julian’s knuckles getting whiter on the steering wheel each time one added a new line to their newfound family’s canon.
“I’m uh, just not gonna say much, ok kids?”
The two grinned back at him in the rearview mirror, clearly very into their roles.
“Whatever dad.”
~~~
They spent the remaining half hour of their trip going over all the signals that he’d have to remember. It didn’t sound half bad while they were driving, chatting lightly about the operation, but the minute they stepped from the car and entered the airport, the giggles stopped. Alexi and Tara were apparently the brooding type of teens who didn’t say much but stayed weirdly entwined with each other. Julian was ok with that. His palms were already damp and he was going to probably give away his nerves when he had to raise his hands during security.
A million ‘what ifs’ flashed through his head as the three clunked through security. Previously Julian had been primarily in hot water just with AngelThana but with this little stunt he also marked himself as a legitimate felon.
Yet they cruised through without a hitch, not even when examining their various backpacks or cases of randomly assorted goods. Julian’s nerves were hopefully explained by the outlandish appearance of his traveling companions. No crew-cut sporting dad wanted to be seen in public with his offspring looking so… alternative.
As the three made it to their gate, Julian’s mind immediately jumped to the others. After all, there were six groups that had to make it through without any suspicion. Any one of them getting caught could spell disaster for the whole operation, casting unneeded attention on the whole area. Not only would local authorities get involved, but AngelThana’s watchful eye might fall on them. Even worse, Lady Helga would likely abandon her efforts, leaving them no closer to apprehending her and now completely in the dark about her next plans.
It had to go without a hitch.
“I need to pee.” There was a distinct whine to her voice and Julian was struck with how easy it was to remember that the woman pulling a dramatic pout with heavy lipstick was a grown adult who had killed and probably watched her fellow agents die. “Where’s the closest bathroom?”
This was a signal and Julian grunted, getting to his feet. “Should probably all go.” Every word in Julian’s mouth felt unbelievably forced. He scrutinized every sentence. Why would a father want to accompany his son and son’s girlfriend to the bathroom? Was that weird? Creepy? Did it make sense at all?
The casual shrugs and eyerolls from his charges smoothed over his rocky sentence but he still felt the eyes of the airport on him as they strolled down the hallway to the restrooms.
“Take your time,” Luli said before disappearing into the ladies’ room.
The mens’ room was, thankfully, empty.
“No cameras,” Matti said, after doing a thorough search. “I’m splitting off soon, once I get my toys. If you see me, something’s gone wrong.” He grinned and Julian had no doubt that the sniper couldn’t picture a world where something had gone wrong. “Tara will stick with you, so continue to take your lead from her.”
Julian took the momentary privacy to let out a long breath and shake out his hands. “I hate this.”
“I, on the other hand, love it.” Matti was peering at himself in the mirror, eyes glinting over the various changes in his appearance. “You’ll have to get used to it.”
“I’d rather not have to do this again,” he muttered, staring at his face next to Matti’s. It was a lot greyer than the renegade’s.
“We’re not getting more operatives, so anymore injured or lost, and your attendance will be mandatory.”
Julian shook his head. “If I get caught in one of those things, I’ll get trapped in limbo for god knows how long. I’m not risking that.”
“Oh yes, comparatively the rest of us have nothing to risk.” Matti looked at Julian’s reflection, eyes unexpectedly hard. “None of us want to die. We’re not disposable grunts or whatever narrative you’ve constructed in your head. Any one of Kyline’s soldiers would take a bullet to save you from capture but just remember, they’re losing more from that than you. Their sacrifice is because you’re of more strategic value but don’t think for a minute that you’ve got more intrinsic value.” Then the look vanished, replaced by a casual smile. “Humanize your teammates. Keeps people alive.” He glanced at his watch. “Oh good, Tara’s almost here.”
Julian, briefly forgetting who Tara was, stared at Matti blankly in the mirror for another second before the younger man rolled his eyes and headed for the door.
“Right. Tara.” The scolding had hit him from left field but it was a valid point and Julian felt a little sick at how self centered he’d gotten. Military operations weren’t fun in the slightest. “She’s coming in here—”
His question was truncated by the door bursting open. A woman entered, pushing a cleaning cart. She turned, slapping down a ‘cleaning, don’t enter’ sign, before shutting the door behind her.
It took the woman sliding open the cart and unloading a pistol for herself, a pistol and sniper rifle for Matti, and thrusting a pistol into Julian’s hands for him to recognize Luli.
“I didn’t realize you’d be changing,” he said, still staring at the gun.
“Take your weapon. Lapinsky did say I’d be bringing the weapons, yes?” She glared at the sniper for his lack of communications before pulling out a number of guns, including one of the venojets Julian recognized from Sofia’s lab.
“Thought it was obvious.” Matti wasn’t paying them much mind as his fingers danced over his rifle, before snapping off a few components to fit it in his backpack. “MY apologies, Luli.”
Luli seemed to think better of scolding him. “Just take this… dart gun thing and get into position.”
He saluted. “Copy that Specialist.” He looked at Julian, that serious look back in his eyes. “You’re on civilian protection duty. Remember that.”
Then he slung the bag over his shoulder and disappeared from the bathroom.
Luli pulled out a spray bottle. “Alright, give me a second to clean a bit. Make it look convincing. You know how to hide that thing—Blake! Point it at the ground!”
Julian fumbled the gun before pointing it down. Trigger control was a lot easier to forget than he’d thought.
“Uh, just like, in my waistband?”
She sighed. “Let me finish getting the mirrors. Just don’t kill anyone while I’m at it.”
Soon the room was filled with the acrid scent of cleaners and Luli put back the chemicals.
“Here, change out your clothes. Careful not to dislodge your hair.” Her own transformation had been dramatic: makeup gone, hair now in a bun that hid the red streak, she could have been a different person.
Julian felt like his own disguise was not as effective. He still looked like Pieter Petroff but in a janitor’s outfit. It wasn’t until Luli plopped a hat on his head that he felt better.
“Alright, we’re on bathroom duty,” she said. “We’ve got four more to hit before everyone is armed. Ready?”
What followed was probably the most fun he’d had on the whole operation. No one looked twice at the two of them as they coasted down the hall with their big cleaning cart. They slipped into the first bathroom, halfway down the hall, where Shanti and LaForge were shooting the shit.
They both jumped to attention and Julian and Luli burst in, bearing gifts. Both rewarded the pair with face splitting grins as they received their gifts.
“Felt naked without this,” LaForge said, holstering his.
“Ew, not something anyone wants to see.”
“Shut up, Shanti.” This one surprisingly came from Luli, who had a wry grin on her face. “Now get to your positions and radio in the Colonel when you get there.”
They both saluted. “Copy that Specialist.”
The next bathroom was a little harder cause the spring breakers crowd was coed. Nisslon and Bruni were both in the women’s room, which Julian and Luli hit first, only to find it occupied with more than just the soldiers.
An older woman toting a six year old girl was loudly discussing Bruni’s piercing.
“Ma’am—” the private started, but the woman wasn’t having too much of it.
“And you’ve got the nerve to tell me and my child to leave when she has to go potty. You, looking like that.” She gestured at Bruni.
Nisslon, who wasn’t known for her patience, was looking about ready to go when Luli cleared her throat.
“Well you’re all going to have to continue this at a different restroom because this one is closed for cleaning.” The four paused mid argument and turned to Luli. Julian could see both soldiers’ eyes scan over her, puzzlement creasing their brows. Then Bruni’s eyes landed on Julian and she rolled them hard.
“Eurgh. Fine. Let’s just go to the one by the fucking gate,” Nisslon said.
“My child!” shrieked the woman.
“Mommy I don’t have to go potty. Can we go on the plane now?”
Julian watched as the four left, each in a different state of annoyance. Luli watched them leave before sighing.
“Clear the restrooms. How hard is it to clear the restrooms?” She massaged her temples for a moment before pulling out her spray bottle and dousing the room in a lethal amount of cleaner.
“Why are you doing that?” Julian asked, coughing.
“Gotta make it look like we were here.” She emptied what looked like an entire container of bleach into one of the toilets. “Hate cleaning bathrooms. Anything but bathrooms. Haven’t cleaned one since I was seven.”
Julian wanted to offer his assistance but he was afraid to get in her way. Not to mention, he didn’t want to mess up his hair or makeup.
It took Luli another five minutes to make the room look, well, not clean, but maybe cleaned. Once they made it to the men’s restroom, the weapons drop went smoother.
“Took your sweet time,” Howard grumbled as he loaded up his guns.
“You can bring that up with Nilsson and Bruni.” Luli shoved some extra guns into his hands. ”Those are theirs.”
“They got caught up with a mom who wouldn’t leave,” Julian said, trying to provide some context. “So we just kinda kicked them all out. They’re at the bathroom by the gate.”
“Copy that, zombie.”
Julian pulled a face but didn’t say anymore as the four soldiers filed from the room.
The other drops went more smoothly. At one point Luli even trusted Julian to drop the guns off with Grace.
“I need to take a call. Ditch those with the Sergeant and meet me at the bathroom by Gate A8.”
She wasn’t supposed to have left him but he was confident in his ability to pull off the task. He knocked twice on the women’s restroom door.
“In here!” He could recognize the dulcet tones of the Sergeant anywhere so he cleared his throat and shouted back.
“Maintenance! Uh, cleaning, rather.” Off to a brilliant start but there was no time to kick himself. Instead he pushed the cart in, slapped down the sign, and wheeled around to face a tense looking Grace. Her disguised covered her shockingly blond hair with a brown wig and her scars were masterfully hidden.
“Just you?” she asked. “Where’s… Tara?”
“I think cleaning lady is Milly. Tara was my son’s girlfriend.”
She nodded and a corner of her lip lifted in a smile. “You following along fine?”
“Yeah I think so! We had some trouble with two of the spring breakers. Couldn’t get the civies out of the restroom so we had to improvise.”
She bit back a smile for about a half second before laughing. “Damn kid, we really got our top agent out there.” Then she looked over his shoulder. “Where is Milly?”
“She had to take a call.” Her look worried him for a second and he looked over his shoulder, as if also expecting to see Luli. “Is that weird?”
Grace shook her head as she set to work pulling her guns out of the cart. “Just means the Colonel’s got more shit to chat about than she can text. Probably got eyes on Von Martwitz.” A grin spread across her face, either at the idea of facing down the immortal or at the large gun she’d unsheathed from the cart. “Hello again, girl.”
Julian wasn’t really a pacifist but he didn’t like how much the soldiers loved their pet guns. It shouldn’t bother him but when he looked at the guns, he felt uneasy, knowing that every single one of them had killed a human being. It seemed downright ominous to dote on something that had killed so much.
“Right. So does that mean we’re pressed for time?”
Grace looked at him. “Honestly, couldn’t tell you. I’d ask Luli when you get outside.”
“Right. Alright.” He hovered, wanting to say more. The idea that Lady Helga could be arriving any minute made him suddenly realize how real this mission was. If it went ugly, there were a lot of people he might just never see again.
“You got that look on your face.”
He looked back at her, whatever look she’d referred to now replaced with a wry, if tired, smile. “You think this thing is gonna go sideways?”
“Mmm, no. I think it might be unsuccessful because of how much could go wrong, but it’s not going to end with everyone dying. Worst case scenario…” She looked back at her gun. “We just call Omicron and give them the head’s up.”
He nodded, still tense, so she put a hand on his shoulder. “I know I shouldn't worry,” he said but she shook her head.
“You’re not a soldier and you shouldn’t be here. So yeah, second combat situation in a few weeks for someone who should be in a lab or whatever, I get it.” Her eyes were that same earnest blue that burned when they got into a discussion about immortality and religion or when she was kicking his ass in training. “You’re handling it well. Trust the process.” She slung her gun over her back and pulled her long coat over it before striding to the door. “Oh, and Julian?”
“Hmm?” He looked over from his cart at her.
“Give ‘em hell if they do come for you. You know what it’s like.” With this, and final grin, she was out the door.
Will we get our first peek at the elusive Lady Helga next chapter? Or will Julian blow his cover? Find out later today!
submitted by Samara_Buckley_Derby to redditserials [link] [comments]


2020.09.18 15:37 Samara_Buckley_Derby Fitting room cam

This should be chapter 11. I messed up and reddit doesn't let you change the titles on posts.
Summary: Fighting immortals is a sweetheart job for someone obsessed with the afterlife. Dying on the job, however, is cutting it too close. However, Julian's curiosity with the great beyond pushes him a little too far, back to the land of the living and cursed with a newly damned soul, just like the immortals he's sworn to fight...
First chapter --- Previous chapter here!! --- Next chapter!
Cover art --- Rate me on Royal Road!
Espionage may as well have been Matti’s middle name for how well he took to it. It wasn’t, of course. That honor went to the dubious name Casimir, probably after someone important, which he’d have learned if he’d had ever thought to grill his parents. He hadn’t, not in the sixteen years he’d lived under their roof, nor in the following four years of school. And he certainly hadn’t asked when he started sniper school nor since officially enlisting. He hadn’t spoken to them since. Too dangerous.
And dangerous was how Matti liked it. He was yet to have a real reason to believe his life was in danger and until he felt that, he had no problem pushing the envelope.
Which is why he was perched in the back of a helicopter heading out to Munich on a mission intended to intercept one of the deadliest immortals at an active civilian airport with nearly two dozen soldiers, some of whom were legally dead, while most were shoot-on-sight traitors.
Could it get any better?
“Find anything, Matti?” a cool voice asked in his ear.
“Clear for now, Pooja.” He gave the Colonel a reassuring smile and she nodded, returning to the cockpit. Last names had never suited him and as a renegade, he wasn’t obligated to use them. It was easier to empathize with an Amy or Markus than with a Brown or Khan. Knowing the name they heard from friends and family humanized them and that was important when lives were on the line.
They usually just thought he was being cocky and rude and he had no need to dispel that theory because, as a renegade, they were going to think he was an arrogant prick anyway. It wasn’t even really a lie, so…
The helicopter they all sat in—Matti, Julian, Pooja and her two operatives, Kyline, and her squad—was borrowed from Omicron HQ. No way could Schmidtt’s usual helicopter fit the nearly two dozen agents, so Pooja had pulled some strings. There was enough room to comfortably walk around, especially with the others mostly strapped in, a fact that Matti gladly took advantage of, roaming from window to window, popping up his binoculars to scan for any aircraft that might be flying under the radar.
He’d been disappointed so far.
In between his little lookout sessions, he’d make small talk with various operatives. Pooja didn’t like chatting when on a mission, Kyline hated his guts, and the other scientists he usually hung out with were, for obvious reasons, not here, so ‘various operatives’ mostly meant Julian.
“Gotta admit, when you said you had some questions for me, I wasn’t expecting this,” Julian said after Matti’s third round.
“Am I boring you?” Matti tilted his head.
Julian laughed, always a good sign. “No. But unless this is some weird renegade interrogation tactic, I don’t know why you care about my favorite breakfast food.”
Matti gave him a cool look. “I’ve watched you very carefully since joining the Fleursurgents. I need to make sure your answers align with what I’ve seen.” It was a terribly blatant lie, but not one Matti really cared about guarding. If Julian chose to see through it, good on him. Reality was, Matti just liked getting to know his charges.
Julian squinted. “Fleursurgents?”
“Come on. Fleur Insurgents is a mouthful and there are a ton of repeated syllable sounds there. It’s only natural that you should work a portmanteau in there. Saves time.”
“Lotta big words from someone with a STEM degree. Maybe you should have gone into linguistics.” Julian grinned, and unless it was Matti’s imagination, seemed to relax a bit.
Matti lifted a shoulder. “Linguistics wouldn’t have gotten me a job here. Besides, I didn’t go to an English speaking school.”
“Clearly, or you’d have caught the better portmanteau: Infleurgents.”
This took Matti aback quite a bit, because Julian was absolutely correct. That one was far superior. “I take my hat off to you. We’re now the Infleurgents. Clearly your English skills make mine look paltry.”
“Well, it was my first language.” He shifted in his seat, probably trying to make the helicopter seat feel more comfortable. “You said a linguistics degree wouldn’t have gotten you a job here. Did you know about this place when starting college?”
There were a few options for how an AngelThana operative might have gotten involved in the organization. A bulk of the scientists were poached from the public facing front: a nanotech organization that privately manufactured weapons and also somehow did some work with biotech. It was often scrutinized for guzzling research money and turning out rather few results but that was kind of the point of a public facing front. It’s just that the public didn’t know that. Hence ‘front’.
Then there were military poaches, outstanding soldiers who were approached at the conclusion of their official government military contracts. Outside of these poached soldiers, AngelThana rarely allowed for transfers to military units if the employee hadn’t been with the company for a minimum of three years, which explained why the minimum age of active combatants was 21 and not most military’s standard 18.
Then there were the nuts. AngelThana sent representatives out to anyone who found out about the immortals organically, whether from personal experience or obsessive web research. That’s how Matti got involved. He’d spent the greater part of his childhood chasing down conspiracies online because that’s about all there was to do in a northern European village, population: twelve, where the sun came up twice a year. He’d discovered some paper trails and various web footage that showed the same few people involved in a host of different terrorist attacks across the globe, a conspiracy he was surprised no one else pointed out.
It turned out no one pointed it out because AngelThana scrubbed the internet from all information of the immortals, with a rather impressive tech division. This was originally what they scouted him for until pretty much everyone realized he was a crap hacker. By that point, he’d requested a transfer to sniper school and anyone involved agreed it was for the best.
Most of the people on the helicopter had been in the second boat, sniped from their own government’s military. On the books, they were ‘security’ officers.
Julian was, as with most scientists, from the first group. He’d been scouted because of his academic work and pressured into taking the job with AngelThana.
“My official transfer to the internal department was about a month into my onboarding on the face department.” Julian had that glint in his eyes that the PhDs always got when they were about to launch into a lecture, and Matti braced himself. “The day they pulled me in and explained that honest to god immortals existed, well I thought I’d gone crazy.”
“Really? You didn’t think they had?”
Julian shook his head. “No! I’d always suspected so when my theories were confirmed, my mind was blown. It was like falling into a dream I’d had.”
“Lapinksy! Back on your post. You’ve had weeks to make idle chit chat. This is not the time.” Pooja’s scolding turned all the heads in the chopper to Matti, who smiled back at her, jumping to his feet in a solute.
“Copy that, Colonel.” There would also be time for idle chit chat later, so he had no qualms with resuming his watch.
“Alright we’re approaching our drop point,” Pooja announced, some few, uneventful hours later. “We’re officially on non-essential cargo pickup, so keep that in mind. Grace, prep your unit, but I want them down and out of sight until signaled.”
Kyline saluted in acknowledgement, her face rigid.
“The cargo pickup is scheduled to happen at eight hundred hours, so we’re here plenty early and should be able to get all of you off before they load us up.” Pooja began walking up and down the aisle of the ship, making eye contact with every single person on board. “I’ll be staying on board to handle the loading, with Schmidtt and Lapinksy. You’ll take your orders from the Sergeant and in the case of her incapacitation, your chain of command will fall to Agent Xing, Agent Jha, field medic LeDuc…” The chain of command was something they’d all been briefed on but redundancy may as well be synonymous with procedure because whenever someone said ‘follow the proper process’ it meant they wanted to you use enough fallbacks and extraneous measures that you probably could have accomplished three times your goal if you’d just checked something once or twice.
But for all their traitorous nature, the Infleurgents still followed their god damned processes to a T. Whatever. Matti didn’t technically need to know who to listen to but unfortunately for his ego, the chain of command usually made too much sense to ignore, so he rarely did.
The helicopter touched down at a tiny regional airport in the early hours of the morning, probably close to five hundred hours, as light as a feather per Schmidtt’s usual. He radioed in their arrival to the incognito convoy that was bringing whatever equipment Pooja had maneuvered into being their ‘target’. They reported that they were still about two hours out, which Schmidtt confirmed on radar scans.
“Copy that, we’ll be waiting.” Then Pooja looked up at Matti. “Give us a visual perimeter, make sure the area is clear of personnel or civilians.” She turned to Kyline. “At Lapinsky’s signal, take your men to the far parking lot. The convoy was instructed to leave one truck behind so that we could unload our cargo. Which…” She waved a hand at the soldiers, “is all of you. So stay out of sight until Grace gives the command. Understood?”
A host of salutes confirmed comprehension. Matti eyed Pooja and tossed her a slightly more casual salute before slipping into the night.
For once, the lack of complications wasn’t boring. The presence of civilians would have dramatically slowed down the offloading, suspicions from the convoy would have just caused drama, and if any of Kyline’s soldiers had been spotted, it would have really been disastrous.
All told, Pooja’s plan went without a hitch and soon Schmidt was flying away with whatever cargo they’d used as an excuse to hide their illicit actions. Matti sat in the back of the remaining convoy truck, squished with the others. These things were supposed to seat a dozen. While Matti, Julian, Xing Luli, the Iota agent, were slim enough to count for half a person, they simply had too many people on board for the drive to be comfortable. But comfort wasn’t a requisite so no one complained about being cramped too much.
The real issue was the lack of space to put on their disguises. AngelThana lacked the resources to intensely scrutinize every security cam feed on the planet to scan for faces that matched certain criteria. So the group didn’t have to worry too much about being spotted by the sophisticated software needed to match their specific face shapes and retina scans. But that didn’t mean they could slack off. They’d still need to play dress up to fool any AngelThana member who happened to be casually watching the MUC feeds in their downtime.
There were precious few people on board who knew enough about hair and makeup to make a convincing change to faces, so each agent had to wait quite a bit for their turn. Something to change complexion, darken or bright eyes, maybe thicken the look of facial hair.
“Do me dirty,” Matti said as he pushed past Private Amelie Silva for his turn. He scrunched his eyes closed in preparation for the assault on his face.
“Don’t do that with your eyes,” Pooja said, as he heard her swishing around some bottle of something probably wet and sticky. “It’ll make it uneven.” Pooja, along with Henri LaForge and Edmund Howard, was one of the only confident enough with her makeup skills to do anything convincing on the soldiers. “Hold still.” A bright light blasted his eyelids as another of the soldiers shone a flashlight at him.
“We should have brought Sofia,” Matti said, trying hard not to move his mouth. “She could make every guy in here a girl and vice versa.”
“Matti keep your mouth shut or you’re going to look like more of a mess than you normally do.” After a far too long period of getting paint slathered and smeared on his face, his nails and hands squished, his hair pulled tight and hidden under a wig, Pooja thrust an armful of clothes in his hands. “What do you think?”
The question was a little too amused for Matti’s liking and he cracked an eyelid to see the private holding the flashlight was openly smirking.
“He did say he wanted to be a girl. Think you did a mighty good job there, Colonel.”
The other eyelid snapped open. “I need a mirror. Now.”
Pooja held up one and Matti stared at himself. He wasn’t a girl, probably. Not technically. But he also saw where the private was coming from. “Pooja, you know ‘scene’ hasn’t been in since the early 2000s, right?” He twisted one of the silky, unnaturally platinum locks around a finger.
“We’re active members.” She shooed him to the side to start her next victim. “So our looks need to be a bit more dramatically changed. Us and Blake. If you’re going heavy makeup, you have to make it look intentional. That’s why you have the eyeliner. You’re now Alexi Petroff, 16 years old, so you’ve got to look like it.”
“Great. Back to being an edgy teen.” He didn’t really mind the look but it was far from comfortable. “What dramatic bit are you doing?”
“Inaya Hasmi, 34, traveling with my husband Tahir.” She pointed a bit away where Vikas Jha, the other Iota agent, was getting minimal makeup work done. “I’ll have a bit of work done but most of my face will be hidden.”
“Lucky. Would be nice if we all could just go the religious veil route.” Matti tapped at his face to see if his makeup had dried.
Pooja cocked an eyebrow. “Would have made us all the more likely to be stopped by airport security. Don’t need to increase those odds. Alright, you’re done Shanti.”
“Fucking most disgusting thing I ever got on my face,” he grumbled.
“Shut up, Shanti,” Matti said, almost absentmindedly. The private needled him with a glare before moving on.
“We kind of switched colors,” Julian remarked as he settled down next to Matti. The previously sandy haired man now had cropped dark crew cut, so convincing that Matti couldn’t imagine how his real hair had fit under it. His previously green eyes were now blue, much like how Matti’s blue had changed to green.
“Who did yours?” Matti asked.
“LaForge. Man did theatre through his entire education. I guess it shows but god my head feels like it’s about to explode.” Julian’s hand hovered near his scalp as if itching to itch it.
“Not a finger!” shouted LaForge from about eight feet away where he was twisting Luli’s hair into a tight ponytail. “Or I’ll cut it off.”
“Would he get back?” asked another private.
Julian’s body sagged as his hand dropped. “Here they go.”
The questions, jokes, and jabs flowed through the truck, lightening up the mood at the expense of Julian’s.
“You’re not a fan?” Matti asked. “You can’t deny, there are some good questions in there.”
“Yeah but they don’t want answers, they just want to snicker.” Julian sighed, crossing his arms. “But I’m starting to learn to tune it out.”
Even Matti had to admit that, after two more hours of the soldiers coming up with increasingly stupid puns, it had gotten old. He fiddled with his rifle, knowing that it would soon be locked in a very special crate, the kind that AngelThana routinely used to smuggle weapons through airports, past border patrols, and into government events. Matti didn’t like departing with his beloved rifle but there would be no keeping it on him.
The sun had long risen now as the truck pulled into a long term parking lot, advertised as being ‘mere kilometers from MUC!’ From there, the group split into teams, each with their own mission plans.
Pooja took Vikas, her husband, and the two headed the short walk to the public transport. Six of the soldiers, all dressed as spring breakers, flooded to the closest rental car place.
Matti checked his ID and the instructions on his phone giving him a rundown of Alexi Pertoff.
“I’m traveling with my father and girlfriend, huh? Haven’t had one of those in a while.” He looked up at the remaining operatives. Shanti and Henri were brothers, Amelie and Edmund were also dating. A few others were traveling solo. Then his eyes fell on Luli, Pooja’s Iota agent. She fixed him with a long once over.
“We’re dating?” she asked. In all fairness, she probably wasn’t much older than he was and with the high ponytail with a red streak in it, the loose bangs around her face, and too much eye makeup, she could absolutely pass for 17 or 18.
“I guess so. Which just leaves… dad.” He grinned as Julian looked down at his ID.
“Ah. Pieter Pertoff. 38” He looked up at the two agents as the remaining operatives sped off on their predetermined methods of transportation. “Never thought much of having kids…”
“God I must be like, the biggest disappointment to you.” Matti examined his nails, which were all black except for a red nail on each middle finger. Then he looked up at Julian’s tight crew cut and the lines on his face, artfully exaggerated by LaForge’s handiwork.
Luli laughed at the start contrast that couldn’t hide enough of a similarity between the two men to hint at their relation. “Alright then, team,” she said. “Let’s get our car and get to the airport. We’ve got an invasion to stop.”
Julian's got this, right? He can keep his cool and stick to his role... right?
Find out later today!
submitted by Samara_Buckley_Derby to redditserials [link] [comments]


2020.09.18 14:00 ZandrickEllison Fitting room cam

The playoffs continue to rage on, but there are 26 teams sitting at home with nothing to do but twiddle their thumbs, have nightmares about getting blocked by Bam, and wait for next season to start.
For their sake, we wanted to look ahead with the next edition of the OFFSEASON BLUEPRINT series. In each, we'll preview some big decisions and make some recommendations for plans of attack along the way. Today, we're looking at the Atlanta Hawks.
step one: grow up and play D, because you can’t be forever young
Two summers ago, the Atlanta Hawks hired coach Lloyd Pierce on the basis of his defensive reputation. So far, that hasn't translated to the court. Last season, the Hawks ranked 27th in defensive rating. After a year in the system to improve their habits and chemistry, that ranking jumped all the way up to... 27th.
What's wrong here? A few factors, of course.
The one that gets the most attention and the most blame would be the deficiencies of Trae Young. His lack of length and athleticism will always be a problem, but it shouldn't be this bad. ESPN RPM ranks his defensive impact as a -6.2 per 100 possessions, which ranks 520th out of all 520 qualifiers in the NBA. According to that metric, his defense is even worse than Isaiah Thomas (at age 31.)
Isaiah Thomas may be a helpful comparison though, because he does illustrate that one bad defender shouldn't be able to sink a team on his own. In IT's great season in Boston, his individual defense was poor, but the Celtics ranked in the top 5 in defense overall. Clearly, some teams are able to overcome liabilities like that. The Hawks may have to consider hiding Trae Young on defense like he's in the witness protection program. Other lead guards like Allen Iverson defended off the ball often, which is an approach that worked for his team defenses in Philadelphia and Denver.
So what else is wrong here? The second major factor would be a matter of youth. Yes, we have a "Young" and a "young" problem here. Inexperienced players tend to be bad defensively, and the Hawks were one of the youngest teams in the league. Their top 5 players in minutes played (Young, De'Andre Hunter, Kevin Huerter, Cam Reddish, John Collins) were all in their age-22 season or younger. There are some college rosters older than that starting five. That aspect should improve in time, especially because some of those young players like Hunter and Reddish project as good defenders.
Although it may sound counterintuitive, another issue with the defense is the offense. The Hawks play fast (top 5 in the NBA in pace), and shoot a bunch of threes (top 10 in three point attempts.) The problem is: they don't make a lot of those threes. As a team, the Hawks shot 33.3% from three, dead last in the NBA. These issues naturally affect their defense. The Hawks are playing fast and missing threes, which tends to lead to transition baskets for their opponents before the Hawks can get back and get set. If the Hawks improve their offense, then their defense should improve by proxy. To do that, they may have to slow down their pace to some degree. Modern teams love to run and gun, but if you're not very good, you're only giving your opponents extra possessions to allow their talent to win out.
The fourth potential issue is a matter of coaching. As mentioned, Lloyd Pierce had a good reputation as an assistant coming over to Atlanta, but we haven't seen that manifest so far. It's a tough job assignment coaching up a young team, but it's a talented group of players. If we don't see tangible improvement in Year 3, then I would presume it's time to fire Pierce and look for another answer. There are a lot of good coaches on the market right now, so Pierce needs to step up his game to avoid getting replaced. Rebuilding teams can afford to be patient, but they can't afford to give their coaches tenure.
step two: use it before you lose it
The 2020 free agent market is going to be quieter than an indoor mall during COVID quarantine. Hardly any teams have cap space... except for Atlanta. In fact, the Hawks have the most cap space in the entire NBA, committed to only $58M on the books for next year.
This is going to be a bad free agent class, but that's okay. In a sense, the Hawks are like the best looking guy in a dive bar. There may be slim pickings, but at least he gets his pick of the litter.
You don't want to throw your money away foolishly, but you don't want it to burn a hole in your pocket either. Eventually that cap space is going to dry up when you extend your young players, so this may be a great opportunity to "use it before you lose it."
The first option should be to throw a big offer at restricted free agent Brandon Ingram. Ingram has great length for a wing player, and his scoring prowess would make for a -- wait, what was that? The Pelicans just matched my offer in mid sentence? Okay then, let's move on to our next options.
I'd also consider making sizable offers to free agents Bogdan Bogdanovic and/or Jerami Grant. Bogdanovic is a skilled scorer who averaged 18-4-4 per 36 this past season, and has the potential to thrive as a secondary scorer or 6th man. At 27, he also fits the general timeline here. While Bogdanovic may not be the defensive stopper we're looking for, you can never have too many quality wings in today's NBA.
Jerami Grant doesn't have the same shooting ability or skill set, but he's an energetic player and an impact defender. He's 26 now, and should retain his value for the next 3 years. Having Grant as a complementary starter or rotation player would help the team on and off the court; from what I understand, he's a hard worker and a team-first player.
On the lower end, it wouldn't be a terrible idea to punch some lottery tickets and hope they pay off. Josh Jackson (former Suns bust) still has potential at age 23. Chicago SG/SF Denzel Valentine has an intriguing skill set. And fellow Bull Kris Dunn is one of the premier defenders at his position. Dunn would make for a great yin/yang backup to Trae Young.
step three: have some faith in John the Baptist
One of the reasons that the Atlanta Hawks' cap size will dwindle in the future is the potential extension for PF John Collins.
A year or two ago, the team may have thought long and hard about whether or not to commit huge money to Collins. There were some indications that he was a "good stats / bad team" kind of player. He was a tweener who struggled on defense, and didn't stretch the floor reliably on offense.
These days, it's harder to hate on Collins. The raw stats are as good as always (20-10 this year), but he's also playing a more desirable brand of basketball as well. He's worked to improve his range and shotmaking. His three-point shooting went up to 35% in year two, and swelled to 40% in year three. His FT% has also gone up each year, from 72% to 76% to 80%. You appreciate when a young player improves his game, as it indicates a lot more potential still in the tank (as he turns 23 next week.)
Defense is becoming less of a concern for Collins as well. The trend towards smallball allows him to play about 50% of his minutes at center. In turn, that allows Coach Pierce some flexibility. Depending on the matchup, he can go with the traditional bigs like Clint Capela or Dewayne Dedmon, or he can play a smaller, more dynamic 5 in Collins. Collins will never be Kevin Garnett, but if he's at least average on defense, then he's a net positive player.
Going forward, there's no immediate rush or urgency to extend Collins this offseason. The team will have matching rights next summer, so they can wait and see Collins "prove it" over a full regular season before committing to him. Still, if he's willing to sign a reasonable extension this offseason, the Hawks may be able to avoid the headache. Atlanta's a good situation for a young scorer like Collins, so the hope is that he'd be amenable to a reasonable deal that locks him up as part of this core.
step four: remember you're playing the long game, not Tetris
The Atlanta Hawks will have the # 6 pick in the draft, giving them the chance to add another young prospect to the team. We had been concerned about too much youth on this roster, but it's not worth giving up that pick for a veteran because we're not in "win now" mode yet. The team may as well keep collecting youngsters like they're pokemon.
With that top pick, they should keep that mindset, and not fall victim to the desire to find the right "fit" (hence the Tetris analogy.) Best available player. That's a good philosophy when you're drafting in the top 10 regardless, but it applies to this team more than most. The team needs to get a lot better, but there are no glaring issues in terms of positions or rotations. Trae Young will have PG on lockdown. Kevin Huerter will have a role as a wing. Better still, Cam Reddish and De'Andre Hunter are the types of BIG wings that can fit across several positions. The frontcourt should be fine as well between John Collins and Clint Capela. Given that, almost any position would be fine for the Hawks to select.
At PG, the top prospects (according to ESPN) are LaMelo Ball (N.Z.) and Tyrese Haliburton (Iowa State). Both players would be fine picks for the team, because both have the size and length to guard 1s or 2s and can play alongside Trae Young in that regard. Offensively, LaMelo and Trae may fight for the ball, but both have dynamic scoring potential that would make a tag-team dangerous. Haliburton would be an even easier fit, as he's had experience playing off the ball.
At SG/SF, the top prospect is Anthony Edwards (Georgia), who is likely to be off the board. I'm also a fan of Devin Vassell (Florida State), who projects as a good 3+D player that could soak up minutes at SG and SF for this team. He's one of the safer prospects in the class to me. I also like Deni Avdija (Israel), a ball moving forward with the size to play either SF or PF.
The hardest debate may be whether to select a big man that falls to them, be it James Wiseman (Memphis) or Onyeka Okongwu (USC). After acquiring Clint Capela (and potentially ponying up for a John Collins extension), the team may not want to invest much more into the position. Still, I'd hold firm to my "best player available" idea. Wiseman and Okongwu have major potential as defenders, which has been a problem area as discussed. It could be worth bringing them in and seeing how they develop. If they turn out to be the real deal, then it's perfectly fine to trade Capela or even Collins after the fact.
I'd have a harder time justifying the selection of two other top prospects: Killian Hayes (France) feels like too much of a pure point guard to me, and Obi Toppin feels like too much of a duplication to John Collins. Still, we've discussed 7 prospects that I've already given the "greenlight" to draft, which means at least 2 of those should be available when the Hawks are on the clock.
step five: give the kids some big brothers
We've harped a lot on the youth of this team already. Usually, that's seen as a positive. Rebuilding teams are supposed to be young, right? Sure. But there's some danger there of going overboard. If you're too young, and too inexperienced, then it's hard for the young pups to learn from those around them. It's hard to hold them accountable if there's no one else around to play their minutes. We can't have the blind leading the blind here.
Oftentimes, teams try to solve this issue by adding older veteran mentors to the locker room. The Hawks found the MOST veteran of them all by adding Vince Carter (age 43.) In theory, that's exactly what we're talking about. Wise old sages like Carter can help the kids grow up and learn to be professionals.
Still, I'm not sure that's enough. As respected as an old vet like Vince Carter may be, there's only so much influence he can have on a team if he's not playing. There's only so much influence he can have on a kid's habits if they're not in the same peer group. It's unlikely that 20-21 year olds are hanging out with guys in their mid to late 30s. They're in different stages in life, and probably have different interests and lifestyles.
Given that, I believe there should be more of a priority placed on "big brother" teammates in addition to older mentors. What do I mean by big brothers? I mean veterans who have good work ethic and character, but aren't over the hill. Young vets (ages 25-27 or so) who can still contribute on the court, and can still act as friends and peers to the kids. True role models. Consider this: who influenced your behavior more in high school: Your teachers? Or your friends? We need friends / big brothers that will spend more time with our kids, and teach them through osmosis if not outright lectures.
Consciously or not, the Memphis Grizzlies showed the value of this principle with their current season. They surrounded their rookies and sophomores with "big brother" vets like Tyus Jones (age 24) and Kyle Anderson (age 26.) Those guys happen to be high-IQ players and high-character teammates, but they're still young and good enough to play 20+ minutes a night. When you're checking all those boxes, you can influence the young players on your roster more effectively than the salty old dog who's basically an assistant coach.
It's hard for me to give recommendations for "big brothers" because I don't know these players behind the scenes outside of public reputation, but the idea would be to add smart, hard-working veterans in that 25-27 age range. We want vets who play unselfishly on offense, and play hard and disciplined on defense. Even if they're not great, they can help instill good habits with the team, on and off the court.
previous offseason blueprints
CHA, CHI, CLE, IND, GS, MIL, MIN, NYK, POR, SA, SAC, UTA
submitted by ZandrickEllison to nba [link] [comments]


2020.09.16 22:23 hallach_halil Fitting room cam


https://preview.redd.it/cfeadwtzekn51.png?width=900&format=png&auto=webp&s=e7702758b01778b27cd777a782c7eb5743d458f6

Football is back, baby! After an awesome first week of NFL action, which I watched every full game of, I wanted to kind of recap all 16 matchups and come up with three statements for each one. Some of them may be more hyperbolic or could be labelled as hot takes, while others state for obvious facts. You can also listen to my Youtube breakdown of week one, where I just give more of my general thoughts on all these games, while also bringing up some of the points I make in this article.
So here’s what I took away from week one:


Houston Texans @ Kansas City Chiefs 1. Clyde Edwards-Helaire makes this KC offense unfair
This physicality and ability to break tackles is scary, when you think about how dynamic the Chiefs are with Patrick Mahomes and all those guys streaking downfield. I like what I saw from the offensive line, with Kelechi Osemele adding some power on the inside, but 106 of 138 rushing yards for CEH came after contact. No other player in the league even cracked 100 rushing in general. And he didn’t even get any work in the passing game yet, where I believe he could be even more dangerous, as defenses have to back off and then try to bring this bowling ball to the ground. Thank god I have him in all my fantasy leagues and as my favorite for Offensive Rookie of the Year.
2. Will Fuller is the clear number one option in the passing game for Houston
With DeAndre Hopkins out of the picture, 150 targets were all of a sudden on the table and “The Flying V” (thanks Fantasy Footballers) should take on the lion’s share of that amount. In the season-opener, the fourth-year receiver caught eight of ten targets on the night for 112 yards. He was on the field for 86 percent of the offensive snaps, while newly acquired running back David Johnson was the only Texans player to catch more than two passes and Fuller was responsible for 44.3 percent of their total through the air. Fuller and Deshaun Watson have a clear connection and with me expecting Houston to be down in games quite a bit, this could lead to a lot of production.
3. The Chiefs are in a different league than the Texans
I went into this game thinking the Chiefs were the best team in the NFL and I had the Texans projected to go 7-9, so it wasn’t overly surprising to me that the games was never actually that close, but this was never even a contest beyond the first quarter. Don’t let the final score (34-20) fool you. The Chiefs scored 31 unanswered, while the Texans picked up eight first downs over that stretch. Even with their two starting corners missing half the game, the defense looked strong, with Frank Clark beating Tytus around the corner like a drum routinely, and if Demarcus Robinson just held on to a couple of passes in the end-zone, KC would have scored 11 more points.


Philadelphia Eagles @ Washington Football Team
1. This game was almost a mirror image of what happened in week one between these two in week one of last season
In that game to kick of 2019, Washington got out to a 17-0 lead in the first half before Carson Wentz came roaring back, hitting a couple of deep balls to DeSean Jackson to win the game. This time around, Philly dominated the first half, with Washington’s first points coming with less than a minute until halftime. Then two things happened over the final 30 minutes – the Eagles started going down like “birds” and that Washington D-line completely took over the game. I will get to those two points a little more in detail, but it is still crazy to me how everything flipped in half two and how reminiscent it was to what happened exactly a year ago.
2. Philadelphia’s two biggest issues seem to be back
First of all, the injuries are already a major concern for the Eagles. They had to bring in three different offensive linemen off the bench, after they had already lost Brandon Brooks and Andre Dillard for the year, plus Boston Scott went to the locker room after they already made the trip without second-year back Miles Sanders. And then, I really didn’t like what Doug Pederson did with the Philly offense in the second half. They almost exclusively went to shotgun, spread sets and ran standard West Coast passing concepts, which Washington was all over, while their pass-rush came crashing down. I know they lost their top run-blocker before the season, but this is still a team that should stick with the ground game and play-action off it.
3. Washington’s defensive line is nasty
The “Football Team” racked up eight sacks, as they were beating up everybody on Philly’s O-line and banging Carson Wentz around like a human piñata. Chase Young immediately showed what kind of freakish talent he is and you had multiple guys from that front become free quickly, to put the heat on Wentz. So much so that Washington’s linebacker started getting through untouched. And their DBs started jumping routes, because they knew the opposing QB had to listen to his internal clock, breaking once he first pointed his shoulders at the target. I never thought I’d say this, but “The Football Team” is alone in first place.


Miami Dolphins @ New England Patriots 1. The Cam Newton-led Patriots offense could be scary
This New England offense is so unique now that they went from statuesque Tom Brady to dual-threat Cam Newton and while Cam loves to spread the field and attack matchups, what they do in the run game is what really creates problems for defenses. The Patriots ran the ball 42 times compared to only 19 passes, with 15 of those carries coming from the quarterback. With jet sweep fakes, inverted veer runs and different option plays, their opponents will have to be very disciplined and assignment-proof. Plus, then with Cam’s big arm, he can push the ball downfield off play-action, which wasn’t even a real factor in game one. If not for N’Keal Harry fumbling the ball into the end-zone, New England’s offense would have scored 28 touchdowns – something they only did once from week eight on last season.
2. No New England skill-position players will be on my fantasy team
This is something I haven’t really done in the past either, outside of maybe Gronk, but now – maybe more so than ever – I don’t want the headache of figuring out who will be fantasy-relevant every week. With his rushing upside, Cam might be an interesting option in your leagues, if he is still available on the waiver wire, but none of those skill guys are dependable options for me. Here are the players, who touched the ball at least five times against Miami – Sony Michel (10), James White(8), Rex Burkhead (7), Julian Edelman (6), J.J. Taylor (5) and N’Keal Harry (5). No thank you.
3. We won’t have to wait much longer for Tua
Everybody – including current starter Ryan Fitzpatrick – knows that it’s only a question of time until fifth overall pick Tua Tagovailoa is ready and takes over at quarterback for the Dolphins. Fitzy actually played really well in 2019, but was picked off three times in this year’s season-opener and if you just follow the CBS cameras, you’d think Tua was about to go onto the field. Miami will host the division-rival Bills on Sunday, then it’s the Jaguars on Thursday Night Football, before the Seahawks come to town. After that there are two tough road-trips are on the horizon with San Francisco and Denver. So if the Dolphins don’t want to throw him out there on a short week, they might want to wait for that stretch to be over, since the two L.A. teams will come to South Beach after that. But I think we’ll see the rookie by mid-season if he’s fully healthy.


Green Bay Packers @ Minnesota Vikings 1. Aaron Rodgers is baaad man
I’m sorry for using a Stephen A. phrase here, but I just loved seeing Rodgers shut everybody up with a four-touchdown performance, after people started questioning how good he still is, with the Packers drafting his apparent successor Jordan Love in the first round. The way he threw the ball on the move, the zip that he put on his passes and the way he was straight up dealing reminded me of what I saw from Rodgers over the six plus years he was the best football player in the world. At one point he threw two TDs in the matter of half a minute. The first one to Davante Adams was absolutely filthy, when Rodgers escaped to the right and perfectly placed the ball to a spot where the corner had no chance to make a play on it. And then following a Jaire Alexander interception at the Minnesota 45, he connected with Marquez Valdes-Scantling for a long TD on a go route. Green Bay as a team only punted once all day and did not turn it over. Rodgers is getting himself ready to cash all those offseason receipts.
2. That young secondary will break Minnesota’s back
As spectacular as Rodgers was, I’m also highly concerned with this Vikings back-end. I talked about this heading into the year, with that entire group of cornerbacks combining for less than 1500 career snaps on defense, and there is hope that they can still improve as the season goes along, but yesterday they had no answers for number 12 and those Green Bay receivers. Rodgers averaged 10.1 yards per attempt and if not for a couple of drops and guys tripping, that number could have been even higher. You saw the Packers QB pick on Holton Hill quite a bit, their rookies got taught a lesson and nobody could even try to slow down Davante Adams, who hauled in 14 of 17 targets for 156 yards and two TDs.
3. Davante Adams is a top five receiver
When I released my personal top 100 list a couple of months ago, I only had Julio Jones and Michael ahead of Adams. DeAndre Hopkins had a spectacular debut in Arizona and while they didn’t show much in week one, Tyreek Hill and Mike Evans are part of that conversation, but nobody was more impressive than that dude from Green Bay. Matt LaFleur did manufacture a few touches for his top target, with bubble screens and deep crossers, but Adams always made the most of those plays, he made some big catches downfield and for good measure, he also recovered the game-sealing onside kick. The way he schooled those young DBs for Minnesota off the line and how that connection between him and Rodgers was almost automatic was fun to watch. As much as there was made about the Packers not drafting a single receiver in a historically great class as a number two to Adams, I also thought MVS and Lazard stepped up in the season-opener. And I also want to say his counterpart on the opposite team in Adam Thielen had a great day himself.

Indianapolis Colts @ Jacksonville Jaguars 1. Gardner Minshew is a real quarterback
Unlike what new Buccaneers running back Leonard Fournette may think, Jacksonville does have a guy people want to go to battle with. You can’t be too mad at Fournette, since he did have to deal with Blake Bortles for most of his career, but after week one, you can definitely say that statement did not age well. Against the Colts, who were favored by eight points coming in, Minshew completed all but one of his 20 passes for 173 yards and three touchdowns, showing that gamer mentality and ability to make plays off script on several occasions. I talked about those Jacksonville receivers early on in the offseason, saying that they are a pretty underrated group, and they also found their new lead back in my big draft crush from Illinois State – James Robinson, who took 100 percent of the carries for Jacksonville. Indianapolis should not have lost that game, since they didn’t punt once and almost doubled Jacksonville in total yards, getting stopped inside the Jags’ five and missing a 30-yard field goal, but let’s give these guys some credit.
2. Time for the Jonathan Taylor show
First and foremost, it just sucks that Marlon Mack seems to have torn his Achilles. He was off to a strong start in this game and I feel really sick for him, especially being in a contract year. However, as bad as I feel for the veteran, I’m also so excited to see what this rookie running behind that Colts O-line. Taylor did not run the ball very well (nine carries for 22 yards), but surprisingly was a big factor in the pass game – which wasn’t his strong suite at Wisconsin – bringing in all of his six targets for 67 yards, where he showed that sprinter speed and the power he can build up on a couple of plays. While Nyheim Hines should clearly be a factor in that offense, with his ability to produce as a pass-catcher and gadget player, without Mack, Taylor now has all the chances to rival Clyde Edwards-Helaire for Offensive Rookie of the Year.
3. C.J. Henderson will be a stud at corner
I could have easily gone with something like “Same old Philip Rivers”, after throwing that bad pick down four in the fourth quarter on a deep crosser to Parris Campbell, when he telegraphed the throw way too much and allowed the safety in quarters coverage to break in front of his receiver. Instead I want to give their ninth overall pick in the draft some love. Henderson was outstanding in his first showing, breaking up three passes and won on kind a jump-ball for an interception, when Jacksonville was down 7-0 at that point in the second quarter, which set up his offense inside the Indy and led to that first touchdown to D.J. Chark. Henderson was all over T.Y. Hilton on a few snaps, including a throw into the end-zone on a third down in the second half (which I thought might be called for P.I. actually) and he knocked the ball out of the hands of Hilton on that fourth down that sealed the win.


Chicago Bears @ Detroit Lions 1. Same old Lions
I’m starting to really feel bad for people from Detroit. It’s been about 30 years since that franchise last won a playoff game and they have been irrelevant for large stretches of that window. On Sunday it was yet another example of how this team can mess up games. Up 23-6 with the Bears having a fourth-and-one from the opposing 10-yard line heading into the fourth quarter, the Lions had no business losing that game. Mitch Trubisky all of a sudden turned into Joe Montana and scored three touchdowns in just 15 plays. Matt Stafford on the other hand took a bad sack, which led to a missed a 55-yard field goal and tried to force a ball over the middle that got knocked up in the air and intercepted, when Detroit was still up by three. Even with that, the Lions had a chance to still win the game, as Stafford drove them all the way down the Chicago 16 and after spiking the ball with eleven seconds left, the Lions QB hit running back D’Andre Swift for a perfect pass on a wheel route, but usually sure-handed rookie had it slip out his hands and the prayer Stafford threw up with zeros on the clock was knocked. Another heart-breaker for Motown.
2. The Bears offensive line is a lot better in the run game
After the main part of free agency and the draft were wrapped up, I thought Chicago had two major holes on the roster – Right guard and a safety to pair up with Eddie Jackson. As bad as their Trubisky was in 2019, my biggest issue with Matt Nagy’s offense was the rushing attack. They finished bottom-six in yards per carry and total yards on the ground. So when they basically replaced Kyle Long with a former first-round bust in Germaine Ifedi I was worried of course, even though I said right away that he would fit better inside. In their first showing of the 2020 season, the Bears started getting people moving and you actually saw linemen five to ten yards down the field, as they put hands on the Detroit linebackers. David Montgomery ran hard, Tarik Cohen sprung loose on a couple of power and draw plays and Cordarrelle Patterson had a couple of crucial carries as well. Overall, they the ball 28 times for 149 yards and I give a lot of credit to new O-line coach Juan Castillo, who replaced the legendary Harry Hiestand.
3. Mitch magic in the fourth quarter
Through the first three quarters of the game, Trubisky was 12 of 26 for 153 yards. He did not look like a capable quarterback and had recently missed a wide open Cole Kmet on a third-and-nine from the Detroit ten by several yards. However, over the final 15 minutes he looked like a former second overall pick all of a sudden. Helped by some Lions miscues, he threw three touchdowns on the final four drives (15 total plays) and delivered in the clutch. That final scoring play on a fade route from Anthony Miller out of the slot was a thing of beauty. Miller also made some other huge grabs in that fourth quarter. I still say this was more bad Lions than good Bears, but give the guy some credit. Oh, one more thing – Adrian Peterson still has it. I don’t know how he does it, but he was the best running back on that field on Sunday


Las Vegas Raiders @ Carolina Panthers 1. All those vertical weapons on the Raiders could finally make Derek Carr cut it loose
While it was still more of your usual efficient showing by Carr, as he completed 73.3 percent of his passes for 239 passing yards and one touchdown, I thought he displayed the willingness to test defenses deep. That Jon Gruden offense leans on frustrating defenses with short passes, getting the run game going and then hitting them with a few shots over the top, That last element I thought was missing last season, which capped the Raiders’ potential, While DC is a conservative passer by nature – often times to a frustrating extent – that lack of deep balls had something to do with not having the appropriate weapons at the receiver position. With the additions Las Vegas made this offseason, that has changed. On just the second play of the game, Carr put the ball 50 yards in the air for rookie speedster Henry Ruggs III. Later on the first quarter he hit Ruggs on a deep crosser to set a one-yard touchdown by Josh Jacobs. Carr threw a 23-yard dime Nelson Agholor shortly before halftime to put his team back up by five and at least had his eyes downfield much more throughout the afternoon.
2. That Joe Brady offense and Teddy B will put up some numbers
While he did already coach under Sean Payton in a much smaller role, this is still a rookie offensive coordinator and to begin your career with 30 points against a pretty good Raiders team has to be nice. Teddy Bridgewater certainly deserves some credit here, but I was very impressed with Brady’s offense, that spread the defense out with five guys out on the route and how he forced the Las Vegas defense to defends every level of the field, leading to a lot of easy completions indicated by simple reads of second-level defenders and zone/man indicators. I don’t know who actually made that call fourth-and-inches just across midfield that would have given the Panthers a chance to still win that game, but obviously you’d rather have the ball in the hands of your best player in Christian McCaffrey or create some separation on some kind of mesh concept.
3. Josh Jacobs is about to become a superstar in this league
I came into this season with very high expectations for this second-year back and after watching him put on a show against Carolina, I probably should have put some money on him leading the league in rushing. We already knew how high Jon Gruden was on this kid coming out of Alabama last year and he had a great rookie season, with a team-record 1150 yards on the ground for a first-year player and that was despite missing three games. I already said in the offseason that I believe the Raiders have a top five O-line and the way he puts his head down and runs through people, led to an NFL-best 69 missed tackles forced. The difference this year should be his involvement in the passing game, which he was pretty good at in college, but he only caught 20 balls for 166 yards as a rookie. Against the Panthers he already caught four passes for 46 yards and showed what he can do after catching a simple dump-off, to go with 93 yards and three touchdowns on the ground.


New York Jets @ Buffalo Bills 1. The Bills now have all the weapons to force opponents to defend the entire field
If there was one area the Bills needed to improve upon this offseason, it was the wide receiver position. John Brown probably had his best season as a pro in 2019 and Cole Beasley was a dependable target in the slot for them. However, neither one of those guys should be a true number one option. Now that they brought in Stefon Diggs via a trade from Minnesota, it puts everybody in their appropriate position. With Dawson Knox taking another step and even having a screen drawn up for him, as well as those backs getting involved, I like what offensive coordinator Brian Daboll can do in terms of making opponents defend the entire field. I know it was “only” the Jets, but Buffalo just seemed to play so much more freely in the pass game.
2. Josh Allen could be an MVP contender in 2020
I actually had Allen as an honorable mention among my MVP candidates and was made fun of a little, when I posted my list on Reddit, but with what I just wrote about the Bills pass-catchers, I just think this could be a big year for their team and the quarterback in particular. The O-line gave him plenty of time to scan the field, he stayed patient and found his checkdowns late and still fired some absolute lasers. Allen also made a lot of plays with his legs on designed runs and scrambles. Will you still get the occasional “What the hell?” moment from him, like fumbling the ball while flipping over a defender? Yes. But if they hone himself in a little and be a more consistent threat from within the pocket, to go with those off-script plays, he could put up some big numbers.
3. The Jets might be the prime contenders for the number one overall pick in the 2021 draft
When I released my pre-season power rankings, I had the Jets all the way at the bottom of the list and that’s exactly what they looked like when we first saw them this season. The final score might have been 27-17, but the Bills could have easily blown them out by 30. It took Gang Green 40 minutes to get into the end-zone and it took Jamison Crowder breaking three tackles and going 69 yards and a quick screen play to get there. Buffalo’s rookie kicker Tyler Bass missed two field goals from less than 40 yards – even though I still believe the first one was actually good – Josh Allen fumbled the ball twice and that last touchdown was meaningless, with under a minute remaining. As much as I liked Sam Darnold coming out of USC, as I had him as my top quarterback in the 2018 draft, and I still believe in the right situation he would already be an above-average starter, I don’t know how you could pass on Trevor Lawrence if you are in position to draft him.


Cleveland Browns @ Baltimore Ravens 1. The reigning MVP might be even better
Lamar Jackson was so sharp and in control of the offense, keeping his eyes downfield even as he was stepping into crowded spaces or backing out and rolling either way. We saw him hit a deep ball to Marquise Brown, which was where I wanted to see him improve, and he impressed with tremendous ball-placement all afternoon, taking advantage of the leverage of defenders and drilling the ball into some tight windows. The day after the game I saw a statistic that he was 9-of-10 for 180 yards on passes of 10+ yards against Cleveland, after he completed only 49.2 percent of those his MVP season. I would just like to see him avoid some of those hits, where he goes head-first to pick up a few extra yards. But in terms of his pure pocket passing, it is scary to think where he could go.
2. The Ravens secondary plastered those Browns pass-catchers
It’s not a secret that Baltimore has one the premiere group of cornerbacks in the entire league, but I would argue they are the very best there is. Jarvis Landry got open on some crossers and deeper developing routes, when Baker did have a clean pocket, but altogether outside of Cleveland’s one touchdown at the goal-line, where the Ravens D lost one of the tight-ends out of a jumbo package, it was tough sledding for OBJ & company. Marlon Humphrey is already top five at his position, Marcus Peters is unreal at anticipating and reading routes, Jimmy Smith would be a high quality #2 on any other team and Tavon Young coming back in the slot only helps. Oh, and for Austin Hooper to be the highest-paid tight-end early in the offseason and to only come up with two catches for 15 yards is pretty disappointing.
3. J.K. Dobbins is about to take over this Ravens backfield
I’m not saying the rookie will play 80 percent of the snaps or handle more than half the rushing load going forward, but there is a reason I grabbed Dobbins in all my fantasy leagues, He was my number two back in the draft and I said right away that he was a perfect fit for this Baltimore offense. In his debut, the rook had a couple of nice gains and converted twice near the goal-line, while veteran Mark Ingram was stuffed for minimal yardage on several occasions. Gus Edwards will get some work to close out games, when they Ravens are ahead by multiple scores, and Justice Hill is an explosive player, who I really like in the passing game in particular, but Dobbins should be the lead guy for this squad.


Seattle Seahawks @ Atlanta Falcons 1. The Falcons secondary is still a mess
Over the first half of the 2019 season, the Falcons were the worst defense in the NFL, allowing 31.6 points per game, as they went 1-7 over that stretch. They started turning things around after that, but on Sunday afternoon they reverted back to that early 2019 form. We saw them play a lot more man-coverage, where they constantly allowed separation on crossing routes or just lost guys out of their breaks. When they were in zone, those corners gave way too much cushion in cover-three and when they did force some long-yardage situations, they just backed up and allowed easy 10-15 yard plays to set up easy third downs or basically surrender field goals. What really killed them was that 4th & 5 play Seattle had from the opposing 38-yard line when it was still 14-12, as Isaiah Oliver missed his punch in press-alignment, giving up the inside release to D.K. Metcalf, who could still make a perfect over-the-shoulder catch on a fade route. And by the way, Seattle didn’t look much better on the back-end.
2. Russell Wilson is finally allowed to cook
As bad as Atlanta was on the back-end defensively – What a performance for Russ. He went 31-of-35 for 322 yards and four touchdowns, while picking up two more first downs with his legs. Seahawks – and all football fans for that matter – have been screaming at the top of their lungs for the coaching staff to let Wilson to throw the ball earlier in games and on early downs. It wasn’t like the Falcons were all over Seattle’s receivers, but the touch Wilson throws with to perfectly put the ball in the hands of his guys in full stride is just a beautiful thing to watch. D.K. Metcalf looks to have taken a step forward with his route-running and Tyler Lockett is back fully healthy. So that means it’s bombs away for the Seahawks, which means trouble for the rest of the league, since they can still win with the power run game and then take play-action shots off that.
3. Calvin Ridley is an absolute stud receiver
I always believed in this kid. He was my number one receiver in the draft three years ago coming out of Alabama and he immediately started producing in the pros. While he was on track for a 1000-yard campaign last season, he is off to an even better start in 2020. Against the Seahawks, he hauled in nine passes for 130 yards and two TDs. Ridley constantly created separation by attacking leverage and excellent route-running. While he isn’t a straight-burner necessarily, he knows how to find space and is very shifty after the catch. The only thing that sucked was that one bad drop late in the game on fourth down, when he was too focused on getting his feet in bounds and had the ball go right through his hands because of it. But he and Julio Jones are right there in the race for top receiver duos, in a loaded division for pass-catchers.


Los Angeles Chargers @ Cincinnati Bengals 1. Welcome to Cincinnati, Joe Burrow
It’s always tough for a top draft pick to come to a bad team, try to turn things around and learn early on that even if he does everything right, it might not lead to victories. Burrow did not play a perfect game by any means – He got picked off by Melvin Ingram in the fourth quarter, who made such an instinctive play, when he read the screen pass and spun around to have the ball land right in his hands as Burrow shoveled it ahead late, he missed a potential touchdown to A.J. Green on a deep ball earlier and 13 points just don’t get you any wins in the NFL. That being said, he had his team in position to beat the Chargers, as he drove them all the way down to the L.A. three, only to have A.J. Green get called for an offensive pass interference on what would have otherwise been a game-winning TD and then his kicker to miss a chip-shot 31-yard field goal attempt. He better be hurt and not just have faked something there, once he saw the kick was wide right.
2. Mike Williams is one of the great big-play receivers in the game
Coming out of Clemson four years ago, Williams was known for being a super-physical downfield receiver, that had connected for a multitude of big plays with his former quarterback Deshaun Watson. That’s exactly what he has been in the NFL so far. Williams is incredible on 50-50 balls, he routinely comes through with big catches downfield along the sidelines and comes through when his team needs him most. Of the three receivers that went in the top ten back in 2017 (him, Corey Davis and John Ross), it is safe to say the Chargers has by far been the most best one – even though Davis had a pretty good showing himself on Monday. Last season Williams cracked the 1000-yard mark on a league-leading 20.4 yards per grab. This past Sunday against the Bengals he might have only caught four passes, but all of them were key in the victory – a great toe-tap grab at the sideline, coming back to the ball on a deep curl route and two go-balls on the sideline, where the safety almost knocked his head off on both of them.
3. Bobby Hart should not ever trash-talk
I have said many times that Hart is one of the worst starting offensive tackles in all of football and I have no idea why the Bengals continue to pay him, even with their bad track record of drafting linemen. I’m sure he tries “hart” and it’s not like he doesn’t belong in the league, but he should not talk trash – especially not to Joey Bosa, who came back to beat him for a sack with his well-known double-hand swipe, before getting into the face of Hart. This Chargers D-line was beating the crap out of Cincy’s front-five and the only reason they were in the game was their rookie quarterback speeding up his internal clock and still finding ways to make plays.


Arizona Cardinals @ San Francisco 49ers 1. DeAndre Hopkins is worth so much more than a second-round pick
While I do understand that the Texans would not have been able to pay D-Hop the kind of money he demanded, Bill O’Brien doesn’t deserve any sympathy for being the laughing stock for NFL fans. Hopkins is an elite receiver and Houston certainly didn’t get back the return he was worth, as they basically got back a second-round pick and took a bad David Johnson contract off the hands of Arizona, even if he actually looked better in week one than he did all of 2019. Nuk had more catches (14) than all the Texans receivers combined on Thursday (13). He went for 151 yards, including a couple of big grabs, including setting up a one-yard Kenyan Drake touchdown after being called down just short.
2. The Cardinals defense is starting to come together
I know the day didn’t start off great for this Arizona D, when they allowed Raheem Mostert to slice through for a 76-yard catch-and-run touchdown on an angle route, but outside of that one play, they held the offense of the game’s most creative offensive play-caller in Kyle Shanahan to just 290 yards. Mostert averaged under four yards per carry on 15 attempts and they held the reigning NFC champs to just a field goal over 50 minutes of game time. I’d advise you to check out Brett Kollman’s breakdown of all the different elements to Vance Joseph’s defense, where it seems like they now have the pieces to actually be successful with it. Budda Baker is a flying missile, their run defense should take a huge step forward with what they added to the front and some of their other young guys made plays when they really needed to, including Byron Murphy breaking up that final fourth down attempt for San Francisco, even though the ball was certainly thrown behind the receiver.
3. Jimmy G has to be more accurate
I understand why 49ers fans are frustrated, because their team was in control of the game early on and even after the Cardinals took the lead, their quarterback had all the chances to still get them the W. San Francisco rushed for 123 yards on 4.9 yards per attempt and Garoppolo also relied heavily on his backs in the pass game. If you take away that 76-yard catch-and-run touchdown by Raheem Mostert, where the QB just had to lob it over the middle and watch #31 take off, Jimmy G threw for only 183 yards on the other 32 attempts he had (5.7 yards per attempts). His stat line did look pretty good, but it does not represent the performance he had. Because not only did he almost kill George Kittle on a simple bubble screen, by putting the ball way too high, but when his team needed him most, with the ball at the Arizona 21, he underthrew an easy touchdown to Kendrick Bourne on first down and then thew the ball behind Trent Taylor on fourth-and-five.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ New Orleans Saints 1. The Saints D-line has a clear advantage over the Bucs O-line
The formula for beating Tom Brady has been out there for a while – get home with four. He has been notorious for slicing up defenses when they have to send extra blitzers, which only a few teams have been able to do effectively. On Sunday, Cam Jordan & company made life very uncomfortable for the 43-year old quarterback, as they sacked him three times and made him move around constantly. You saw some frustration on the first pick he threw, expecting Mike Evans to continue going down the seams and he was off with ball-placement on a few occasions. This is the reason I had the Saints beating the Bucs in the NFC title game, when I put out my season predictions two weeks ago.
2. Scottie Miller will be a key piece to the Tampa Bay offense
The Bucs obviously have one of the premiere receiver duos in the league with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, their group of tight-end honestly goes three deep and they now have an interesting mixture of backs. However, the one guy who routinely came up with big plays for Tom Brady was little Scottie Miller. Last year’s sixth-round pick out of Bowling Green caught five passes for 73 yards and added another six-yard run against the Saints. Ronald Jones was the only one with more scrimmage yards for Tampa Bay on Sunday and that was by only three. The guy they call “Scooter” lined up inside and out, caught a couple of passes over the middle, came up with a big grab on a slot fade route and forced a P.I. call on an out-and-up. Miller could be Brady’s new version of Julian Edelman in his new home.
3. Alvin Kamara is a different breed
While I don’t advocate paying too many running backs beyond their rookie contract and I have to believe the Saints have turned off the salary cap on their Madden team, with how much they will be in the minus heading into next year’s offseason, we saw that elite running back they did pay for on Sunday. The Bucs are a tough for New Orleans, because with Drew Brees’ declining arm talent, they really want to rely more on their backs and that run game to control games, but Tampa Bay was the number one rush defense just last season and they should be near the top once again in 2020. Still, with Kamara not even being the team’s leading rusher (12 attempts for only 16 yards), he caught five passes for 51 yards and converted twice in the red-zone, once on a screen pass that seemed to be dead in the backfield and then on a six-yard run, where he bounced off a tackler, who in cinematic fashion lost his mouthpiece in the process. That explosiveness, the contact balance and the speed are all back, after he was banged up for most of last season.


Sunday Night and Monday games in the comments!!

If you enjoyed this content, I would really appreciate if you could visit the original piece - https://halilsrealfootballtalk.com/2020/09/16/three-statements-for-each-week-one-nfl-game/
You can also listen to my other breakdowns on my Youtube channel - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxjwwcjGcWpjlDyDj-pY5wQ?view_as=subscriber
submitted by hallach_halil to nfl [link] [comments]


2020.09.16 15:27 Samara_Buckley_Derby Room fitting cam

Summary: Fighting immortals is a sweetheart job for someone obsessed with the afterlife. Dying on the job, however, is cutting it too close. However, Julian's curiosity with the great beyond pushes him a little too far, back to the land of the living and cursed with a damned soul, just like the immortals he's sworn to fight...
Subscribe to Updates ||| Cover art ||| My Subreddit
First Chapter ||| Previous Chapter ||| Next Chapter
Espionage may as well have been Matti’s middle name for how well he took to it. It wasn’t, of course. That honor went to the dubious name Casimir, probably after someone important, which he’d have learned if he’d had ever thought to grill his parents. He hadn’t, not in the sixteen years he’d lived under their roof, nor in the following four years of school. And he certainly hadn’t asked when he started sniper school nor since officially enlisting. He hadn’t spoken to them since. Too dangerous.
And dangerous was how Matti liked it. He was yet to have a real reason to believe his life was in danger and until he felt that, he had no problem pushing the envelope.
Which is why he was perched in the back of a helicopter heading out to Munich on a mission intended to intercept one of the deadliest immortals at an active civilian airport with nearly two dozen soldiers, some of whom were legally dead, while most were shoot-on-sight traitors.
Could it get any better?
“Find anything, Matti?” a cool voice asked in his ear.
“Clear for now, Pooja.” He gave the Colonel a reassuring smile and she nodded, returning to the cockpit. Last names had never suited him and as a renegade, he wasn’t obligated to use them. It was easier to empathize with an Amy or Markus than with a Brown or Khan. Knowing the name they heard from friends and family humanized them and that was important when lives were on the line.
They usually just thought he was being cocky and rude and he had no need to dispel that theory because, as a renegade, they were going to think he was an arrogant prick anyway. It wasn’t even really a lie, so…
The helicopter they all sat in—Matti, Julian, Pooja and her two operatives, Kyline, and her squad—was borrowed from Omicron HQ. No way could Schmidtt’s usual helicopter fit the nearly two dozen agents, so Pooja had pulled some strings. There was enough room to comfortably walk around, especially with the others mostly strapped in, a fact that Matti gladly took advantage of, roaming from window to window, popping up his binoculars to scan for any aircraft that might be flying under the radar.
He’d been disappointed so far.
In between his little lookout sessions, he’d make small talk with various operatives. Pooja didn’t like chatting when on a mission, Kyline hated his guts, and the other scientists he usually hung out with were, for obvious reasons, not here, so ‘various operatives’ mostly meant Julian.
“Gotta admit, when you said you had some questions for me, I wasn’t expecting this,” Julian said after Matti’s third round.
“Am I boring you?” Matti tilted his head.
Julian laughed, always a good sign. “No. But unless this is some weird renegade interrogation tactic, I don’t know why you care about my favorite breakfast food.”
Matti gave him a cool look. “I’ve watched you very carefully since joining the Fleursurgents. I need to make sure your answers align with what I’ve seen.” It was a terribly blatant lie, but not one Matti really cared about guarding. If Julian chose to see through it, good on him. Reality was, Matti just liked getting to know his charges.
Julian squinted. “Fleursurgents?”
“Come on. Fleur Insurgents is a mouthful and there are a ton of repeated syllable sounds there. It’s only natural that you should work a portmanteau in there. Saves time.”
“Lotta big words from someone with a STEM degree. Maybe you should have gone into linguistics.” Julian grinned, and unless it was Matti’s imagination, seemed to relax a bit.
Matti lifted a shoulder. “Linguistics wouldn’t have gotten me a job here. Besides, I didn’t go to an English speaking school.”
“Clearly, or you’d have caught the better portmanteau: Infleurgents.”
This took Matti aback quite a bit, because Julian was absolutely correct. That one was far superior. “I take my hat off to you. We’re now the Infleurgents. Clearly your English skills make mine look paltry.”
“Well, it was my first language.” He shifted in his seat, probably trying to make the helicopter seat feel more comfortable. “You said a linguistics degree wouldn’t have gotten you a job here. Did you know about this place when starting college?”
There were a few options for how an AngelThana operative might have gotten involved in the organization. A bulk of the scientists were poached from the public facing front: a nanotech organization that privately manufactured weapons and also somehow did some work with biotech. It was often scrutinized for guzzling research money and turning out rather few results but that was kind of the point of a public facing front. It’s just that the public didn’t know that. Hence ‘front’.
Then there were military poaches, outstanding soldiers who were approached at the conclusion of their official government military contracts. Outside of these poached soldiers, AngelThana rarely allowed for transfers to military units if the employee hadn’t been with the company for a minimum of three years, which explained why the minimum age of active combatants was 21 and not most military’s standard 18.
Then there were the nuts. AngelThana sent representatives out to anyone who found out about the immortals organically, whether from personal experience or obsessive web research. That’s how Matti got involved. He’d spent the greater part of his childhood chasing down conspiracies online because that’s about all there was to do in a northern European village, population: twelve, where the sun came up twice a year. He’d discovered some paper trails and various web footage that showed the same few people involved in a host of different terrorist attacks across the globe, a conspiracy he was surprised no one else pointed out.
It turned out no one pointed it out because AngelThana scrubbed the internet from all information of the immortals, with a rather impressive tech division. This was originally what they scouted him for until pretty much everyone realized he was a crap hacker. By that point, he’d requested a transfer to sniper school and anyone involved agreed it was for the best.
Most of the people on the helicopter had been in the second boat, sniped from their own government’s military. On the books, they were ‘security’ officers.
Julian was, as with most scientists, from the first group. He’d been scouted because of his academic work and pressured into taking the job with AngelThana.
“My official transfer to the internal department was about a month into my onboarding on the face department.” Julian had that glint in his eyes that the PhDs always got when they were about to launch into a lecture, and Matti braced himself. “The day they pulled me in and explained that honest to god immortals existed, well I thought I’d gone crazy.”
“Really? You didn’t think they had?”
Julian shook his head. “No! I’d always suspected so when my theories were confirmed, my mind was blown. It was like falling into a dream I’d had.”
“Lapinksy! Back on your post. You’ve had weeks to make idle chit chat. This is not the time.” Pooja’s scolding turned all the heads in the chopper to Matti, who smiled back at her, jumping to his feet in a solute.
“Copy that, Colonel.” There would also be time for idle chit chat later, so he had no qualms with resuming his watch.
“Alright we’re approaching our drop point,” Pooja announced, some few, uneventful hours later. “We’re officially on non-essential cargo pickup, so keep that in mind. Grace, prep your unit, but I want them down and out of sight until signaled.”
Kyline saluted in acknowledgement, her face rigid.
“The cargo pickup is scheduled to happen at eight hundred hours, so we’re here plenty early and should be able to get all of you off before they load us up.” Pooja began walking up and down the aisle of the ship, making eye contact with every single person on board. “I’ll be staying on board to handle the loading, with Schmidtt and Lapinksy. You’ll take your orders from the Sergeant and in the case of her incapacitation, your chain of command will fall to Agent Xing, Agent Jha, field medic LeDuc…” The chain of command was something they’d all been briefed on but redundancy may as well be synonymous with procedure because whenever someone said ‘follow the proper process’ it meant they wanted to you use enough fallbacks and extraneous measures that you probably could have accomplished three times your goal if you’d just checked something once or twice.
But for all their traitorous nature, the Infleurgents still followed their god damned processes to a T. Whatever. Matti didn’t technically need to know who to listen to but unfortunately for his ego, the chain of command usually made too much sense to ignore, so he rarely did.
The helicopter touched down at a tiny regional airport in the early hours of the morning, probably close to five hundred hours, as light as a feather per Schmidtt’s usual. He radioed in their arrival to the incognito convoy that was bringing whatever equipment Pooja had maneuvered into being their ‘target’. They reported that they were still about two hours out, which Schmidtt confirmed on radar scans.
“Copy that, we’ll be waiting.” Then Pooja looked up at Matti. “Give us a visual perimeter, make sure the area is clear of personnel or civilians.” She turned to Kyline. “At Lapinsky’s signal, take your men to the far parking lot. The convoy was instructed to leave one truck behind so that we could unload our cargo. Which…” She waved a hand at the soldiers, “is all of you. So stay out of sight until Grace gives the command. Understood?”
A host of salutes confirmed comprehension. Matti eyed Pooja and tossed her a slightly more casual salute before slipping into the night.
For once, the lack of complications wasn’t boring. The presence of civilians would have dramatically slowed down the offloading, suspicions from the convoy would have just caused drama, and if any of Kyline’s soldiers had been spotted, it would have really been disastrous.
All told, Pooja’s plan went without a hitch and soon Schmidt was flying away with whatever cargo they’d used as an excuse to hide their illicit actions. Matti sat in the back of the remaining convoy truck, squished with the others. These things were supposed to seat a dozen. While Matti, Julian, Xing Luli, the Iota agent, were slim enough to count for half a person, they simply had too many people on board for the drive to be comfortable. But comfort wasn’t a requisite so no one complained about being cramped too much.
The real issue was the lack of space to put on their disguises. AngelThana lacked the resources to intensely scrutinize every security cam feed on the planet to scan for faces that matched certain criteria. So the group didn’t have to worry too much about being spotted by the sophisticated software needed to match their specific face shapes and retina scans. But that didn’t mean they could slack off. They’d still need to play dress up to fool any AngelThana member who happened to be casually watching the MUC feeds in their downtime.
There were precious few people on board who knew enough about hair and makeup to make a convincing change to faces, so each agent had to wait quite a bit for their turn. Something to change complexion, darken or bright eyes, maybe thicken the look of facial hair.
“Do me dirty,” Matti said as he pushed past Private Amelie Silva for his turn. He scrunched his eyes closed in preparation for the assault on his face.
“Don’t do that with your eyes,” Pooja said, as he heard her swishing around some bottle of something probably wet and sticky. “It’ll make it uneven.” Pooja, along with Henri LaForge and Edmund Howards, was one of the only confident enough with her makeup skills to do anything convincing on the soldiers. “Hold still.” A bright light blasted his eyelids as another of the soldiers shone a flashlight at him.
“We should have brought Sofia,” Matti said, trying hard not to move his mouth. “She could make every guy in here a girl and vice versa.”
“Matti keep your mouth shut or you’re going to look like more of a mess than you normally do.” After a far too long period of getting paint slathered and smeared on his face, his nails and hands squished, his hair pulled tight and hidden under a wig, Pooja thrust an armful of clothes in his hands. “What do you think?”
The question was a little too amused for Matti’s liking and he cracked an eyelid to see the private holding the flashlight was openly smirking.
“He did say he wanted to be a girl. Think you did a mighty good job there, Colonel.”
The other eyelid snapped open. “I need a mirror. Now.”
Pooja held up one and Matti stared at himself. He wasn’t a girl, probably. Not technically. But he also saw where the private was coming from. “Pooja, you know ‘scene’ hasn’t been in since the early 2000s, right?” He twisted one of the silky, unnaturally platinum locks around a finger.
“We’re active members.” She shooed him to the side to start her next victim. “So our looks need to be a bit more dramatically changed. Us and Blake. If you’re going heavy makeup, you have to make it look intentional. That’s why you have the eyeliner. You’re now Alexi Petroff, 16 years old, so you’ve got to look like it.”
“Great. Back to being an edgy teen.” He didn’t really mind the look but it was far from comfortable. “What dramatic bit are you doing?”
“Inaya Hasmi, 34, traveling with my husband Tahir.” She pointed a bit away where Vikas Jha, the other Iota agent, was getting minimal makeup work done. “I’ll have a bit of work done but most of my face will be hidden.”
“Lucky. Would be nice if we all could just go the religious veil route.” Matti tapped at his face to see if his makeup had dried.
Pooja cocked an eyebrow. “Would have made us all the more likely to be stopped by airport security. Don’t need to increase those odds. Alright, you’re done Shanti.”
“Fucking most disgusting thing I ever got on my face,” he grumbled.
“Shut up, Shanti,” Matti said, almost absentmindedly. The private needled him with a glare before moving on.
“We kind of switched colors,” Julian remarked as he settled down next to Matti. The previously sandy haired man now had cropped dark crew cut, so convincing that Matti couldn’t imagine how his real hair had fit under it. His previously green eyes were now blue, much like how Matti’s blue had changed to green.
“Who did yours?” Matti asked.
“LaForge. Man did theatre through his entire education. I guess it shows but god my head feels like it’s about to explode.” Julian’s hand hovered near his scalp as if itching to itch it.
“Not a finger!” shouted LaForge from about eight feet away where he was twisting Luli’s hair into a tight ponytail. “Or I’ll cut it off.”
“Would he get back?” asked another private.
Julian’s body sagged as his hand dropped. “Here they go.”
The questions, jokes, and jabs flowed through the truck, lightening up the mood at the expense of Julian’s.
“You’re not a fan?” Matti asked. “You can’t deny, there are some good questions in there.”
“Yeah but they don’t want answers, they just want to snicker.” Julian sighed, crossing his arms. “But I’m starting to learn to tune it out.”
Even Matti had to admit that, after two more hours of the soldiers coming up with increasingly stupid puns, it had gotten old. He fiddled with his rifle, knowing that it would soon be locked in a very special crate, the kind that AngelThana routinely used to smuggle weapons through airports, past border patrols, and into government events. Matti didn’t like departing with his beloved rifle but there would be no keeping it on him.
The sun had long risen now as the truck pulled into a long term parking lot, advertised as being ‘mere kilometers from MUC!’ From there, the group split into teams, each with their own mission plans.
Pooja took Vikas, her husband, and the two headed the short walk to the public transport. Six of the soldiers, all dressed as spring breakers, flooded to the closest rental car place.
Matti checked his ID and the instructions on his phone giving him a rundown of Alexi Pertoff.
“I’m traveling with my father and girlfriend, huh? Haven’t had one of those in a while.” He looked up at the remaining operatives. Shanti and Henri were brothers, Amelie and Edmund were also dating. A few others were traveling solo. Then his eyes fell on Luli, Pooja’s Iota agent. She fixed him with a long once over.
“We’re dating?” she asked. In all fairness, she probably wasn’t much older than he was and with the high ponytail with a red streak in it, the loose bangs around her face, and too much eye makeup, she could absolutely pass for 17 or 18.
“I guess so. Which just leaves… dad.” He grinned as Julian looked down at his ID.
“Ah. Pieter Pertoff. 38” He looked up at the two agents as the remaining operatives sped off on their predetermined methods of transportation. “Never thought much of having kids…”
“God I must be like, the biggest disappointment to you.” Matti examined his nails, which were all black except for a red nail on each middle finger. Then he looked up at Julian’s tight crew cut and the lines on his face, artfully exaggerated by LaForge’s handiwork.
Luli laughed at the start contrast that couldn’t hide enough of a similarity between the two men to hint at their relation. “Alright then, team,” she said. “Let’s get our car and get to the airport. We’ve got an invasion to stop.”
Julian's got this, right? He can keep his cool and stick to his role... right?
Find out tomorrow!
Previous Chapter ||| Next Chapter
submitted by Samara_Buckley_Derby to HFY [link] [comments]


2020.09.14 20:53 KianNeon [o.c.] Best (realistic-ish) 2020 draft hauls/moves for the top 4 picks

I’m on my phone so formatting is bad!
Mock drafts are weird because they don’t count trades or ideal targets. Here is what I think is the ideal realistic outcomes for a few teams for the draft
Minnesota: Trade down but still get Lamelo Ball or Tyrese Halliburton
It’s fun to clown Lamelo because he’s a Ball brother but he is a good fit for them with his great passing vision. This draft isn’t top heavy like previous classes. Halliburton is a very efficient (historic on the collegiate level) playmaker that can work off ball which is great for D’lo and KAT. Trading down so another team could take Edwards or Wiseman while collecting desirable trade assets and ideally some future firsts allows them more room to make the big moves they want to make while not leaving this draft empty handed.
Golden state Warriors: trade out for a star or a haul of useful role players/Trade down for a piece and Cole Anthony
The warriors are weird because outside of the 2 pick this year, their best pick as a trade asset would probably be the wolves pick next year. Perhaps their 2023 pick might be desirable but the warriors have the talent to blow up their current team and have another younger super team if they wanted to. They’d rather be in a place where they can compete next year. The warriors have a game breaking star in steph to a big contract and shouldn’t plan on having him pass the torch any time soon. They want to compete. The warriors should try and get either another good piece or a few good pieces off the bench.
Ideally, they’d trade down and grab a player that gives them a better chance to win in 2021 while also getting a young player who can out-perform their draft position and be a central piece to a trade during or after next season. The young players like Jordan Poole and Eric Paschall the warriors showcased this year are appealing, but a young high potential player who could be a center piece in the future would be great. I picked cole Anthony but it could be someone else but I think Anthony has higher potential at the next level while also being available later. They could do this by picking at 2 but this is a “kill 2 birds” situation.
The Charlotte Hornets: James Wiseman or Lamelo Ball
The hornets are honestly in a pretty good position here and don’t need a trade. They will either have one of these two players available or anthony Edwards who is also real good, and should be the desired pick for the Hawks imo. Lamelo provides high offensive potential and great passing vision which could thread the needle for a lot of the hornets weapons. Wiseman has high potential as a big man who can shoot and had a lot of hype coming out of high school. Not that comps mean that much or that I believe this, but I heard KD comps last year and the hornets could take the time to develop him.
If neither of them are on the board, they could trade down with a team that has Edwards at the top of their board. Or they could take Edwards. I dunno man. I will say, I’m not going to cover the Hawks, but if I were them, Edwards would be my top of my board in terms of fit, and I don’t really see anyone appealing enough to stick around at 5 for and not trade out of that pick otherwise. so I’d make the trade if I were them.
The bulls: Obi Toppin, Deni Avidja, Lamelo Ball, Tyrese Haliburton
The bulls have a crazy trade they could make if a player becomes available. Plus, given recent history, a future first from the bulls is more valuable than the warriors. However, this roster isn’t at its ceiling and could develop together. They have a 5 man line up that could do well and their coach can only be better than Boylen.
Toppin was the best player in college last season and could be special. I don’t really love the little I’ve seen from Deni as a prospect but apparently all tall white non-American players are best buds so he and Lauri could be happy or something. Haliburton and Lamelo provide a way to get the ball into and out of Lavine and Coby White’s hands so they could find their shot off ball.
Some quick fire things in a confusing order:
I’d like to see the Knicks trade back into the top 10 and take Haliburton and Vassell. Those are two of the prospects I’m personally highest on. It provides them with a great young core going into the future between RJ, DSJ, MitchRob, and these two. They could ride that into the future and with thibs as the coach they could really develop.
The hawks should go for Edwards as he’s a great fit for them. In fact he’s probably a better fit for them then a team where he’d be expected to carry the load. They could also go for the USC center(who’s name is hard to spell) or Deni, but I wouldn’t be shocked if they trade out of the pick.
The pistons aren’t likely going to get a player they cam hang their franchise on this draft, they should focus on the best available or look for a trade they could make. A player like Haliburton would be good for them as he’s a rare prospect who could develop into an ideal distributor for whatever player they go for in coming drafts or through trades. They have some moves they could do. Should be an interesting destination.
The Cavs probably shouldn’t draft another point guard.
The wizards have a promising rookie from last year and could go for the USC kid or could afford to go for the highly touted project in Killian Hayes. They’re a bit tied down at guard but Hayes could be an ideal replacement who grows into the role.
The suns should get Devin Vassell. They are secretly better at drafting then we give them credit for and he’s my top player in the draft. They could also trade down and grab a point guard and some future assets because hey, maybe they’d want to make a big move one of these days.
That’s the end of this. Sorry for the formatting again. If you have any questions, or are interested in my opinion for whatever reason, I’ll try to respond. If you want to just insult me, I’ll still try to respond in a polite matter.
submitted by KianNeon to nba [link] [comments]


2020.09.14 09:16 Bones12x2 Fitting room cam

OK...viewing of Day 2 is complete! (once again...super long...thanks to all that read it)
The title of this post is a bit tongue in cheek ...but not really. When I review anything that I am personally invested in and familiar with, I like to find details and key elements that stand out versus previous iterations of the same thing...i.e. previous BM concerts or comparisons to the studio versions of the songs in the concert etc. And in this case, one thing that just kept smacking me in the face was Su's attitude...and I mean that in a good way. There was just something a little extra about her performance both in terms of singing and her overall behavior that I have never seen her do so distinctly. She's always had stage presence and a great command of her voice and we jokingly refer to her as the queen. But in LMG Day 2...she legit projected a vibe like we are all beneath her Fox Goddess Glory and everyone in the audience should feel lucky that they got to be in her arena...and I loved it!!!!
Yet, she didn't lose a single ounce of her charm in the process. She still knew when to slap on a big smile and remind everyone of the silly but talented goofy girl thats easy to route for. She truly does transform into a different version of herself on stage with BM and I think LMG Day 2 was the most impressive transformation she has ever shown.
The Stage I won't say much as I already covered this topic in the first Day review. But I will say that my general opinion of the stage and visual design for this concert was a bit more hit or miss on the second day. There were some moments where I did kind of whish they had a more traditional "metal" stage with theatrical props and displays...but then there several moments in the concert where this stage and the use of the giant screen and lights/lasers were absolutely sensational. So once again, I have to give it a thumbs up overall. Coming into the concert I had seen some images and was very nervous about whether or not I would like it considering how much I like the stage designs that are very different, but Im happy to say it was the right call.
The Setlist Just like day 1, pretty much perfect. Naturally, the majority of the setlist was just going to be disc 2 from the album, so there wasn't much room to add songs in and there are so many to pick from, that was a tough task. I think they nailed it. Karate, Syncopation, Headbanger, and IDZ are all some of their best songs ever and they fit the overall concert perfectly. My only wish is that they had Sis. Anger in there as well. Purely because I'm a big metal head and it's their most raw metal song. But they aren't doing BBM songs currently, so oh well.
Also, I haven't even looked at the run time, but Day 2 felt longer than Day 1. When I watched Day 1, by the time NNB was starting, I was like....damn...already.... But when Arkadia started on Day 2, it felt like there had been a lot more before it. Maybe it was just because they had more songs with extended sections for crowd interaction, plus a kami solo.
The Crowd I mentioned how amazing the crowd was in Day 1...they might have been even better in Day 2. Although, I think the songs had a big part in that.
And I think that does highlight one weakness of Disc 1 of MG. OM is really the only song on the entire first disc that heavily involves the crowd and produces a frantic amount of energy. To a degree, that was by design as the first and second disc are supposed to mirror the light and dark theme with the heavier and faster stuff favoring the latter. But crowd shenanigans are a huge part of what makes BM amazing, so I'd like to see them come up with some ways in the next album to have more crowd interaction regardless of the song type.
The Performance I already talked about Su but I'll go into those thoughts again in more detail on each song. But one thing I'll mention now is the improved nuance in her singing. I may have imagined it but I honestly thought that her voice had kind of struggled a tiny bit in the 2018 tour. Not enough to be bad but it genuinely seemed like she sounded better when she was younger. Maybe that was simply do to her still growing up and changing...but whatever it was....its not a thing anymore. She sounded wonderful and there were all kinds of little moments where she put some extra texture and style into certain words or melodies that really showed how comfortable and experience she is as a proper professional. Mix that in with being all sassy and she really shined...pun intended.
One thing that stood out to me a lot on Day 2 was the precision of the dancing by Moa and the Avengers. Because all but one of these songs are songs that I have seen them perform numerous times, it was a lot easier to focus on the subtlety compared to Day 1 where I was seeing a lot of it for the first time. Moa and Yui have always been excellent but I will say that over the years I have always noticed that they can get a tiny bit out of sync or just be a little less sharp a times....but they were kids and it was always minor when it happened, so it was never a problem. But wow, Moa and all of the Avengers were absolutely on point. This is one of the inherent advantages of their age. Early -thru mid twenties are essentially the physical prime of most humans and I'm sure that plays a role in their dancing. There was just a level of accuracy and unison that was as good as ever.
Props to the Amerikamis. They were very tight. The only time I have seen them in person was at The Forum and they played well there also, but I have heard and seen some stuff from fan cams and comments that they had their ups and downs early on. But you can really tell they are comfortable with the songs now. Plus I think the setlist being a bit heavier definitely suits most of those guys considering their other bands.
Overall Concert Review Production quality is something that BM has absolutely nailed in almost every major concert they have ever put on, and that mostly carries over very well to the DVD/BluRay version of the shows. The team crushed it with this one, it all just looks and sounds so good. In fact, the audio imo sounds significantly better than the album. So much so that it completely changes my opinion and experience with some of the songs...and luckily its for the better in every case. But one that may be the biggest case is the very first song...
ITNO. I have to admit, I was kinda blown away by this experience of this song at this venue. I've never really been a big fan of ITNO. And on the album, I'm still not. I often find myself daydreaming halfway through it. It worked wonderfully at Legend S with all the theatrics associated but ever since then at most of the concerts and especially on the album...it just never accomplished what it was trying to be. It's very clear that the song is supposed to be powerful and kinda brutal...easily the most traditionally "metal" song on all of MG. Yet...it just had very little ability to get me going and feel any kind of strong energy. It always felt like a failed attempt at a new BMD. Yet....for some reason....it really worked great in LMG Day 2. Within seconds of it starting I was like....yeah...this is good shit.... and i honestly think that the mix and audio production is a huge reason why. On this blur ray it felt and sounded massive...it was that intense metal cult-like brutal intro that I think it was always trying to be. It really made me wonder how much better it would be on the album if they actually recorded it with real instruments and had someone else mix it so that it punched you in the gut like it did at this show.
Plus, one carryover from 2018 that I loved from the first time was the girls wearing the cloaks and masks with the big staffs (or staves...idk). I kinda preferred the evil samurai helmet things from before but these masks were cool too. That whole vibe and appearance is just metal as fuck. One thing that I have always loved about BM and that was a major factor in sending me down the foxhole is that despite being cute girls and singing songs about all kinds of silly things, and having lots of pop influences...when they wanna do metal...they do it all the way, so much so that there are times when BM are legitimately as brutal as almost any death or black metal band out there. I absolutely love when they get all evil and it makes the kawaii/pop elements all the more sweet as well.
So needless to say, ITNO at this concert was a very pleasant surprise.
Distortion - Once again, Distortion is a song that I enjoy but have never really loved, but like much of this entire album, it works better than ever in the right context and seeing it with that crowd and that stage was like a steroid injection for the song.
I liked how it started with each girl on her own platform and the two tiers on either side of Su. Generally, I want Moa and her sidekick to be near Su as that is the iconic look for BM and suits the dances the best...but its just looked cool in this case they way they started out. Plus I really liked the way that both ITNO and Distortion used a lof of red and black lighting along with flames. It did a good job of setting that heavier dark side tone.
Also...when I say Su had an attitude....that part of this song where the did the extended clapping and woah woah section...thats one of those moments. I loved how it went on for a long time....and for the entire time, Su slapped on this awesome expression of pure superiority and almost bitchiness while barely moving at all aside from slowly spinning her arm and finger around and giving these darting looks around the audience. She seriously looked like some kind of all-powerful and maybe a kinda evil queen that was halfway considering sending the entire crowd to the frog pits simply because she felt like it. I love that she didn't say a word as well...she just motioned and looked, she didn't smile or anything...she was just like..."you know what this means....do it now... peasants." It was amazing. PPY - Alright....im very much on record of being critical of this song. I will admit that it has grown on me quite a bit, and previous concerts are part of that reason because the choreo is really fun and I do quite enjoy Su's vocals. Yet, i still wish they had done something else instead of F. Hero's part, it just doesn't suit my taste.....BUT.....all of that being said. It's absolutely impossible to not say that this performance and with that crowd all 100% involved and waving their towels was anything short of electric. This song is one of those songs that is practically meant only for live shows, on a scale of 1-10 I give album version like a 6...but at this concert...its like a solid 9. You have to hand it to Koba and crew for understanding how to make stuff that just comes to life at a big concert.
Also...I seriously want to know how much money BM has made exclusively in towel sales because of this song. Talk about genius. I'm also critical of their marketing team a lot but whoever put this idea together needs a raise. I bet they have sold a couple million dollars worth in just towels in 2019 alone.
Karate - there isn't anything to be said about this song that hasn't already been said...it's great, and it goes really well back to back with Kagerou.
On that note, once again...Kagerou is another song on this album that when listening to the studio version, I just like it but don't love it. Yet, in these concerts, it levels up super well. The main riff is really catchy and even though it is more of a rock riff than a metal riff, its still pretty heavy. And the kami solo works super well as a live lead in to the song....which does annoy the hell out of me that the J-Kami's didn't get a solo leading into Yava! Ugghhh....that really pisses me off. Also, I need to actually document it to be sure...but unless I was imagining it...it seemed like the Amerikamis got waaaay more screen time than the Japanese kamis, and thats not counting the solo.
Anyway, some people absolutely love Kagerou. I don't really understand that personally. It's a good song but it's not special imo. I'm not a huge fan of some of the vocal writing (some parts are really good though) and aside from the intro riff...most of the rest of the guitar sections are kinda bland. I can actually play this song on guitar (mostly, I never learned all of it but once you know the first half, you know 90% of the song) and I'm not that good, yet a lot of this song is stuff a total beginner could learn. That's not inherently bad as some all-time classic riffs are quite simple but there are just too many parts of this song that are kinda overly simple musically for my taste. But, I still enjoy it, just not as much as a lot of others do.
BxMxC I loved this song the first time I heard it on the album and similar to stuff on Day 1, it was something I tried extra hard to avoid on any fan cams etc. So it was pretty much a totally fresh viewing as far as concert footage goes...and it did not disappoint. Su had that attitude on full display. Which is really charming to see because we all know how non-gangster Su is in reality. So seeing her absolutely attack the song and really put all of herself into playing a tongue in cheek version of a rapper ....while actually doing an amazingly good job of rapping at the same time. It's a treat to watch. Doing rap when you are not a rapper, especially when there are some elements of satire mixed in can very easily and usually does end up as a big cringe fest....yet, somehow Su and BM just pull this song off so well. There is a big amount of bravery and a little bit of naivety that is required to make something like that work, and that's exactly what defines BM's success. Lots of guts, lots of talent, and a dash of innocence that all come together in such an interesting way and BxMxC is a prime example of it.
Syncopation and Headoban I've already typed too much...so I'll save time here. Two of BM's best songs ever imo and that certainly didn't change here.
Also...I don't know what was going on with the chubby babybones walking around at first...but once they climbed in with the audience doing the "not a cult" bowing...that was fun.
Starlight is the most underrated song on MG. Maybe I'm bias cuz I like bands like Veil of Maya and After the Burial and it sounds similar to something they would write for BM. But I really really like the overall style of this song. I love the bouncy guitar riffs and the harmonized vocals. Plus the connection to Mikio and Yui always makes it special. Only beef with this song is the same I've always had...It needs a beautiful and melodic guitar solo as part of the outro. That would make the song perfect.
Also, I really like the visual intro for Starlight, the lasers shooting out in the wedge shape with the kinda smoke or cloudy look...then the starry night display on the screens. I dig it.
Shine is the most complete song on all of MG. It is so well composed and has everything, it's one of the few songs on the entire album that I wouldn't change a bit of if I had the authority to do so. I honestly don't have much else to say about it...it's just a damn good song.
Arkadia has been a bit strange since it was debuted. I think they are still trying to find the ideal way to use it. In my opinion, the best use of it so far...has been its first use. I was at the first Yokohama show when it was first played as the first song and I loved it. A big part of that reason was that I was a bit nervous about the album because up to that point, I wasn't in love with most of the songs that had been released so far. So I was waiting for something to get me really excited. And at that time, Arkadia was just was I needed. Also, I think it simply works best as an opener. Of course it wasn't going to be an opener for this concert, but I hope in the future, they use it more in that way. Its so high energy, very much like RoR, but it doesn't have that epic build up at the beginning like RoR, so I think it can't serve quite the same purpose. RoR does such an amazing job of wrapping up a show, but I think Arkadia is best served as a hig voltage jump start early in a show. So, I very much enjoyed it in this concert but I'll admit that sandwiched between the beauty and power of Shine and the pure glory of IDZ....thats a tough space to fill. It does it well though.
And finally, the finale. God I love this song. I flip flop a lot on what my favorite BM song is, but I might just have to finally decide that its IDZ. It's just perfect. It has every single element that makes BM great. Once I heard that they closed out the entire event with this song and had both bands with all 5 girls on stage...I legit bought it purely for that.
For whatever reason, I didn't realize until I had it in my hands that this concert was even intended to be as big of a deal as it was/is. I guess I was just not paying attention but I kinda thought it was basically just going to be a slightly different version of the Yoko/Legend M/Forum shows....yet it was so much more than that.
When I try to share BM with people that I think may fall down the fox hole. I usually don't even bother with studio music...I take them straight to one of my favorite concert videos. Usually either Tokyo Dome, Budokan, or Yoko 2015. For me, seeing those shows is the only way to really understand what BABYMETAL is and to really experience what makes them special. And in my opinion, Legend S was the last time that BM did a show that I felt was up to the level that would qualify as something I would want to show to someone to try and induct them into the cul....errr....club. But even that is one I hesitate on because of the obvious missing element. The shows in 2018 and 2019 are all good and some are better than good but if I'm honest, I wouldn't want anyone to see any of those for their first BM experience, I don't think they offer the best opportunity to truly become a fan.
So, by far the best praise I can give for Legend Metal Galaxy is that I wouldn't hesitate at all to slide either disc into the Bluray player and park a good buddy on my couch to see if I can convert them to become part of The One by using these concerts as their first exposure to BABYMETAL at their best.
submitted by Bones12x2 to BABYMETAL [link] [comments]