High school locker room spy

2020.10.24 20:04 Cereborn High school locker room spy

A golden morning dawned over the stony peaks of Bright City, and a cooling mist descended over the streets like an iridescent blanket. And with a silent whoosh, the mists parted as Xandra Bloodstone zoomed down the sidewalk on her hoverscoot. Her curly red hair streamed out behind her as she raced down the hill, her booted foot pushing her along.
Her hoverscoot was a TranZoomer 655 — a sleek construction of bronze and wood with two small floatstone plates on the underside, keeping it floating just a hand or so off the ground. Xandra's right foot kicked furiously, building up speed, and she coasted along, dodging a melon cart that was getting ready to set up shop for the day. The city rose up in tiers beside her, and when she encountered another path criss-crossing past her head, she kicked hard off the ground, and she and her hoverscoot leapt into the air. She landed on the high path and started booting back in the direction she had come.
She rounded another corner, past a row of posh townhouses, and waved at the gardening staff who was already getting to work. Then she took a turn through Silverchair Plaza, where she followed the sounds of some really bouncy music. She found the source — a tall lunafolk man with abundant tattoos and a very tall hat was blasting away on a white trumpet. He stood on a strange sort of box, and as his feet tapped, the box produced a variety of percussive sounds to accompany his playing. Xandra glided in to listen, and the man took note of her.
“Hi, little lady! Five eddies for an earpiece.”
Immediately Xandra fished into her purse and pulled out a copper mike, “I'll take two. One for my friend back at the academy.”
The musician took her coin and touched it to a glass bangle hanging from his wrist. Immediately they could hear a high-pitched tone. So he pocketed the coin and he pulled out two semi-spiral contraptions, mostly made of wood with a silver piece in the centre. He touched each one to the medallion he wore around his neck and then handed them over. Xandra took it, setting the main band around her left ear, and positioning the silver piece right in her ear canal. She waved and then scooted away.
As she left the plaza, she heard the musician start to play again behind her. And as soon as she did, the music erupted from her earpiece, playing like he was right next to her. For the rest of her ride, she kicked herself along and bounced to the raucous, jazzy music that was playing right in her ear. She zoomed across the bridge over the Great Canal, seeing the blanket of mist resting over it, slowly being burned off by the rising sun, and seemingly in response to the sight she was seeing, the musician slowed his playing to a lilting, pleasant tune.
By the time she got back to Harrowing Academy, the music had picked up again and she was rocking her head to the beat. She kicked off the ground and spun in a circle 360°. “Bampa da da, ba ba!” She came to a stop at the steps of the academy, where she noticed another lunafolk man slumped just off to the side, next to a bush. He looked up at her, his purple face haggard and weary.
“Spare a couple eddies, miss?”
“Oh, you poor dear. Of course.” Xandra reached into her purse and pulled out three bronze eddies and handed them to him.
“Aerophelion bless you, miss.” He smiled.
A little distracted, Xandra walked her hoverscoot up the stairs, past the great pillars, and through the immense double doors that led into the academy. Once in its cavernous antechamber, where a dozen different halls and stairways branched off, she bumped into Naila Jade.
“Xandra, what were you doing up so early?”
“Naila! I've got something for you!” She reached into her pocket and pulled out the other earpiece.
Naila put it on, then smiled and immediately started bobbing her head to the rhythm. “I think I know this guy. Silverchair Plaza? With the hat?”
“That's him!”
The two friends stood on the steps, pumping their hands in the air and dancing to their private concert. They carried on that way for a few minutes until the music stopped.
“Ohh,” said Xandra. “I guess he's taking a break. But he says they'll work for a week. I think he's pretty funky, but I hope he doesn't play the same song the whole time.”
Their conversation was interrupted by the severe tapping of heels on the marble floor. Ysobel Topaz, her long yellow dress swishing with her brisk pace, stopped in front of them. “Am I going to be greeted to a buffoonish display from you two every morning? Did you know that faculty could see you behaving like a couple of moony ravers?”
“Lighten up, Yzzy,” said Naila. “We were just listening to some music. That's not forbidden.”
“Never call me Yzzy again.”
“Oh, you know what's really sad?” Xandra hopped into the conversation again. “As I was coming back to school, I saw this poor man begging for eddies at the edge of the steps. I'm not sure what happened to him but he seems like he's hit a rough patch. I wish we could do something for him.”
Ysobel took a sudden interest. “At the edge of the steps? Just out front here? Give me a moment. I'll do something to remedy this.” She turned and rushed off towards the door.
“See?” Xandra said to Naila. “She's not so bad. Look how quickly she went off to help a person in need. Let's go see what happens.” They went back out the front door and stood by one of the great marble columns. Xandra pointed out the beggar, who was just barely visible where they were standing. “He's right there. But … where did Ysobel go?”
At that moment, two brown-cloaked guards wielding spears races across the sidewalk at the bottom of the stairs. They grabbed the beggar and pulled him roughly to his feet. “Get out of here, moony scum!” shouted one, jabbing him with the butt of his spear. And with a shrug of defeated resignation, the beggar wandered off.
Xandra gasped, as Ysobel came walking back towards them, looking smug.
“There. Problem solved.”
“What in Downward is wrong with you?!” Xandra shouted. “He just wanted a few coins for food, and you had him beaten and chased away.”
“And what else should I do? Roll out the carpet and invite all the itinerants of Bright City to come begging at Harrowing Academy's doorstep? Act your class, Bloodstone. I'll see you for sparring.” She walked back inside.
“I hate her,” said Xandra.
Naila patted her on the shoulder. “I knew you'd get there soon enough.”

A short while later, the first-year students of the Harrowing Academy were getting ready for their morning spar. They had changed into the standard sparring clothes, which consisted of loose-fitting linen pants and a sleeveless tunic. Xandra had tied her wild red hair into a hasty ponytail. Naila stood next to her, looking statuesque. Her skin was a milky cocoa, and her turquoise hair was cropped short.
“So why were you out this morning anyway?” asked Naila.
“Oh, I just wanted to take my TranZoomer for a spin. That's all. Where were you last night? You never came to my dream circle.”
“Oh, sorry. I was out really late. I was having some fun with Burton Rivers.”
“You were having some fun without me?” asked Xandra quite innocently. “Why couldn't I come?”
“Xan, it was a different kind of fun. Not the kind you invite a third person into. Although...” She thought a moment. “Oh, nice! He started playing again.” She tapped her earpiece. “This is going to be good combat music.”
“Ohh, darn. I left mine in my locker.”
At that point, Ysobel came strutting haughtily past. Her own sparring clothes looked much like their, but were actually custom made from silk, and shone a much purer white that seemed to glow against her dark skin. Her white hair was braided in a complicated plait. “You can't be serious,” she said. “You're planning to spar with that moony music blasting in your ear. Don't you think you're already distracted enough?”
As she started to walk away, Xandra spoke up. “I don't think anyone asked you.”
Ysobel turned back. She ignored the question, and simply said, “Quarterstaves today, ladies. I love the quarterstaff. It's such an elegant weapon. Good for teaching lessons.”
“I wish we were doing archery again,” grumbled Xandra as they headed into the combat room. “I'm good at archery.”
“We're supposed to practice with all different weapons so we can find the one that's right for us,” said Naila. “So far knives are my favourite.”
Once inside the combat room, they all grabbed their staves, though Xandra held hers a bit awkwardly, continuing to accidentally knock people and then immediately apologizing. Then she spied Octavia. The fair-skinned girl with her long raven hair tied in a simple braid was spinning her staff in front of her. Deftly she switched from one hand to the other, keeping it twirling in a constant motion, oscillating in front of her like a protective shield.
“That's so cool!” exclaimed Xandra. “Can you teach me how to do that?”
Octavia stopped twirling and looked at Xandra with unblinking blue eyes. “I'm just here to hit things with a stick. If you'd like to be one of those things, then keep talking.”
Defeated, Xandra retreated backwards. “Why is everyone so mean today?”
The sparring matches began, and Xandra found herself first matched up against Naila. She did her best, but she was clumsy with her staff, and soon found her feet swept out from under her. She fell backwards, squinting her eyes and summoning a burst of air to cushion her head as it hit the floor.
“No fair. You had your combat music to help you.”
Naila reached for her hand and helped her back up to her feet. “I think you just had a bad day. Maybe you'll get to do archery again tomorrow.”
A few matches later, Naila found herself squaring off against Ysobel. They seemed evenly matched at first, but Ysobel pressed the attack with a lot complicated, dance-like techniques, spinning and twirling, and they were beginning to wear down Naila, with her much simpler, straightforward approach. With a leap into the air and a spin, Ysobel brought her staff down hard and knocked Naila on her face. Then she landed and struck her victory pose.
“What's the matter? Were you distracted?” She walked off and let her opponent pick herself up off the floor.
And as the class was drawing to a close, the final match-up was between Ysobel and Octavia. The two girls flew at each other, their movements quick and furious. Every time Ysobel tried to spin around to gain advantage, Octavia was there to meet her. Every time Octavia started her spin attack, Ysobel moved in to disrupt it. The minutes wore on and neither opponent was giving up ground. The exertion was weighing on them, their faces shiny with perspiration. Finally Octavia made one slip up and Ysobel pounced, knocking her down.
“Your technique is good, Sapphire. But this was a fight of will, and I guess I just wanted it more than you.”
“That's quite enough, Ms. Topaz.” Professor Peridot waded into their midst. He was a trim steely-eyed figure dressed in a pale green suit. Like the rest of the faculty of Harrowing Academy, he didn't look a day over 30, and his actual age was something unknowable to the students. “That's it for today's sparring session. Return your quarterstaves to the rack.”
The students all returned their staves to the proper place, and many of them were nursing bruises as they moved. But instead of dismissing them to leave, the professor insisted they gather round once again.
“You have practiced fighting with a variety of martial weaponry in the hopes you find the weapon that best suits you. But the fact of the matter is that you can't always plan for combat. Sometimes you must simply make do with whatever weapon you can get your hands on in the moment. You have done well, so far. Some of you have demonstrated skill. Some of you have shown proficiency with certain weapons, and some with others. Some of you have proven yourselves champions in a variety of circumstances.”
Ysobel smiled smugly.
“But becoming a Harrower is about so much more than besting your classmates in the academy's combat room. It's about tactical thinking, cleverness, and above all, teamwork. Today, we are going to do something different. Today, you are going to take your first real step towards becoming proper Harrowers. Ready or not, you're about to begin. Please, everyone, look into this crystal.”
Professor Peridot held up a large yellow crystal before all the students. They looked at it, a little confused.
Naila had only been half-listening, the music still playing in her ear. And as all the other students looked at the crystal, she was momentarily distracted by an oriolyx flying outside the window. Then, in her periphery, she noticed her classmates all began to collapse in an instant. Xandra made a woozy sound next to her and fainted. Naila looked round the room, alarmed, and then her eyes locked onto the glowing crystal. The room grew blurry and faint. Then darkness overtook her vision and she felt herself fall to the floor.
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2020.10.09 23:57 Dungeon_Dice High school locker room spy

The results are in for Match 7. The winner is…
Cabernet “Cab” Sauvignon, with a score of 71 to Admiral Pineapples’ 69!
Category Winner Point Totals Comments
Popularity Masters of the Funky Action 14-16 MFAs took an early popularity lead, but it was closed to the gap of one vote by the conclusion.
Quality Black Hill Estate 23-22 Reasoning
JoJolity Black Hill Estate 24-21 Reasoning
Conduct TEAM 10-10
Obviously, Cab hadn’t been actively antagonizing Pineapples - hell, by his high standards for company, he wasn’t a bad guy - but as he burst out of the Stand-jar ahead of him, even exhausted from fight after fight against the monstrosities inside that thing, he couldn’t help but feel a sense of accomplishment as he burst from it. He was battered, singed, slightly intoxicated, and smelling like a Champagne vineyard, but he was fully prepared to pound Remix and Jack into the dirt for this indignity, and in fact, one of the two had been right there in front of him as he emerged, returning to his true, full size.
“Y-you..!” Remix stumbled forward, frail frame thrown off by the sudden emergence of an entire body from the urn in his pocket, even moreso as, shortly after, two other older men did the same, each holding back as ‘Red Red Wine’ held the urn aloft in one hand.
“Remix… What a joke you are, nothing under all your masks and disguises. But you know, there’s a part of myself I’ve tried to move on past, forget about too, you know…” Cab narrowed his eyes, contemptful of the scum before him, as the urn, rapidly imbued with ‘Wine,’ began to ignite. “I used to be a real hellraiser too, kid.”
His Stand, then, tossed the flaming jar straight at Remix’s head, and they barely reacted in time to catch it with God Shattering Star’s speed, wincing clearly at the pain and heat. Moreover, as Cab noted, the sight of the flaming urn flying towards him seemed to enrage Remix even further, the other hand flailing wildly.
“What’s the matter, can’t hold your ‘Wine?’ Then I guess I have to be responsible… and cut you off!”
Cab had planned on the fly to overwhelm Remix before he had a chance to set anything up, beginning to wail on him and imbue more of their surroundings with his Stand’s flaming material, taking a punch-rush advantage in the process, but a voice threw him out of that.
“Cabernet, man, your nine-o-clock!”
Pineapples had warned him just in time to see what looked like a fish-person, clad in a suit, rapidly swimming through the air towards him, brandishing an overly-long knife, and as he moved to deflect with his Stand, he felt his arm cut nearly to the bone and swore, doubling back through some suppressing fire from the Starlight Brigade. The new attacker was able to rapidly pull Remix away from this, however.
“NNghh… Nghh..!” Remix stood through his pain, his Stand shattering the Urn against a wall in a rage and smothering its flames, looking to his savior. “Took you long enough to step in! You can be anywhere in this city you want, so how could you be so damnably sluggish?!”
“That voice…” Pineapples was incredulous, then. “You’re… The Jo’s Sushi woman, aren’t you? What the hell are you doing here?”
Kimijo Kaneko was quieter then, before answering, “done with this city… Done with ‘Gravity.’ Going to make it pay, and then be free.”
“You…” Cab winced, clutching his arm. “Are you mad?! I’d read about the sort of things you’ve done, but associating with people like these two, is-”
“These ‘two?’”
That was all the warning, then, that Cab received before, barely grazing him as he dodged, another figure emerged from behind, sending a flying kick his way before rolling beside Jo, both of them striking a pose as Remix regained his composure, but was still too seething to join the fun. The new figure, framed by flames and blood, appeared avian in nature, with a beak, plasticy-looking armor, a Roman helmet of sorts, and thick-rimmed goggles, all the color red.
“No, it’s not just Jack, or Remix, or Jo or her wife, but the Crimson Courage of this city, here to wrench some away from its wretched fate!”
Pineapples, then, spied several other figures approaching, trenchcoat-wearing figures who appeared and disappeared through corners in halls, all while in the distance a brown-haired man watched, observing the scene curiously. As well, Pineapples took in for the first time the environment in which they had emerged. They were outside the entrance hall of a certain building on downtown’s Central Island, a place he had seen while campaigning!
“Los Fortuna’s Natural History Museum..? What are you-?”
Pineapples didn’t have much time to question, however, as the various fighters made a calculated ‘retreat’ out of direct combat, hurrying to secure the building’s many exits in case either Cabernet or Pineapples attempted a rush into the building for one reason or another. So they’re fortifying this place… I can hear sirens approaching. So they mean to have a siege here?
More concerning than the assortment of villains in the area, or an incoming police presence, a quick glance upwards made for a much stranger sight. Dark clouds were concentrated over the area, threatening to let loose a storm at any moment, but still holding for the moment. Through the shadows cast were dozens, perhaps hundreds of shapeless humanoid forms barely able to be focused on. There was nothing to confirm the suspicion, but a gut feeling identified the sight quickly. Ghosts.
“Hahahh… Ghhahahahahahahahah hah!” Remix, clutching himself, spit forth an ugly laugh, taking one of them into himself to bolster his strength as he declared, “yes, spirits, come! Come to heel before your master, and fight gratefully! Fight gratefully for the fact that we’ll deign to reward you in your next life!”
Pineapples knew that this was ugly, that even with his fleet, this situation had just gone from uneven to a potential bloodbath. They needed to get to safety, and fast, but to do so might be…
“Barret,” he declared, “I know you’re still watching, man. I’m in the best fighting shape here, so get Cab away!”
“I don’t normally do pro-bono work,” Barret admitted, leaning against the entrance of the building and dodging a scythe as it came for his head, embedding in the wall, “but what the hell? I’ll send you the bill.”
“What?!” Cab, almost offended, lurched forward, having to dodge a sweeping kick from the red bird and whiffing an attack with his Stand, feeling delirious now from blood loss but fighting for his ego anyway. “Don’t pull this hero stuff right now! I just saw you mourning a piece of your Stand, so don’t be a hypocrite and waste your-”
“You think something like this can sink me?” Folding his arms, Pineapples laughed a hearty laugh. “I’ll be better at cutting a path for myself without you holding me back! So leave now, so I can help fulfill the promise my crew made to Professor Tiffany!”
“You…” Cab grit his teeth. The old man would be stubborn, and thinking for a second, he knew he genuinely would only be holding him back like this. He would have to repeat his feat from before and escape first. “Damned showoffy old man…”
He turned away, then, beginning to book it, seeing a blinding flash and several fascimiles of himself, Pineapples, and the old lawyer filling the halls as he ran by, distracting all who tried to stop them as the pair ran out to the sounds of battle behind them.
Cab blacked out as he stepped into the sunlight, seeing VALKYRIE guards, led by a man who looked like a human cinderblock, rushing towards him and the attorney, as well as a reassuring-looking man who seemed to be directing paramedics personally.
“It’s alright, you’re safe now,” the low, reassuring voice told him as he let himself fall asleep, “my name is Raymond… I’m going to patch you up now, alright? Hang in there.” He called out, then, loudly, “Cavallo, we have survivors coming out of the building!”
And like that, after a record-long holdout, there is no longer a single team with all eight players remaining. Who knows when the last holdout for being even seven members strong will be next? If you’re the type for betting, or not, take time to see a roulette wheel match where an improving vigilante and an Agnes must fight off a tortured killer and a cat in human form.
The Dream Theater is an art studio and living space for one of Midnight Sun’s most strangely inconspicuous employees, known only as ‘Tapir’. The studio itself lives up to its name, filled with trance inducing imagery that can make people feel like they are in a vivid dream. It’s rare and seldom advertised when the studio is open to the public, and even rarer is for ‘Tapir’ to receive guests into the theater.
Hotel Delmano - North Island, Downtown Los Fortuna - Shortly before all the bullshit happening in the district hit critical mass
Ostro Crudo and Peter Bequasimodo looked on at the computer screen while Peter typed. Ostro had asked for Peter’s help with a question he had, regarding Midnight Sun University.
“Did you want me to look all the way into Aaron too?” Peter asked,the screen scrolled across Midnight Sun’s faculty members.
“No that will not be necessary,” after Aaron and Funk worked together, it would be rude to snoop on him. “We are only looking for anybody else that you might think is a Stand user, the more recent the better.” Ostro continued.
“You think they’re going around hiring Stand users or something?” Peter asked, he rapidly double clicked the profile images as they scrolled by. “Some kinda hiring bias… ‘Institutions is the same,’ to paraphrase the landlord comedian.”
“Just a hunch, maybe a wrong one. They have a whole field dedicated to Parapsychological Research and a student population of Stand users from what Cy saw. Would not be surprised, then, if these observations and many breaks they get amounted to ‘preferential treatment.’” Ostro glanced out of the corner of his eye at an androgynous face on one of the profiles, “Hey, scroll back a bit.”
Peter does so, he couldn’t help but feel he was being undersold for his abilities but whatever helped, “That one?” Peter scrolled and clicked on a profile, “Somebody called ‘Tapir’… they got some pseudonym, huh? Makes me think of certain pieces of internet lore about a sand seller and a proboscis monkey that- eh, I can see I’ve lost you.” Peter scrolled through their bio as he and Ostro looked.
“Age: 44, Gender: Undisclosed, Role: Head Researcher on… O-neigh-rology? Uh, don’t know that word, lemme just…” Peter copy pasted that last word into Google.

Oneirology: “The scientific study of dreams”
Peter squinted, “Starting to maybe think they’re just one of the normal faculty members? Even their parapsyche guys look into things that aren’t Stands sometimes, apparently…”
Ostro wasn’t convinced just yet. Some gut feeling, some instinct, told him to dig deeper… And sure, that was the same instinct that put him in the hospital recently, but was that not sign enough that it was a good barometer for trouble to sniff out? “See who else works in that field over there.”
Peter searched the page, and only one result came back up. “Nobody else, closest thing is the school’s huge Sharkboy and Lavagirl fanclub. Ok, yeah, if that’s their only dreams guy, that is a bit weird. What made you want to look at this person in particular though?”
Ostro looked on, “You know, I really could not tell you. It is just… It is hard to articulate, but it is like this person is familiar somehow.”
Peter sighed and closed the laptop, “Look, as much as I’d love to help you explore your hunch, I think we have other important things to also be looking at, like how that Jack Aurel guy is apparently about to Berlin Rosso Capital Island. I’m 100 percent down with investigating that thing on the student body and faculty being weird, but we’ll need more to work off.” The hacktivist rubbed at his neck. “Look, uh, I know the last time someone went out doing Midnight Sun recon for me, they got put in the hospital, but it seems like they keep a lot of stuff pen-and-paper just to keep guys like me out. So if you really wanna figure this out…”
Ostro nodded, “Thanks for the help, and do not worry; this is my hunch, after all. I’ll go look into things myself for now.”
Midnight Sun University Town - Psychological and Cognitive Research Center
Keith and Ani wandered about the campus, Keith wanted to have some bit of leisure time for the both of them and when he was last here looking for information on their new pet he had happened across a flyer for something called the “Dream Theater Exhibit”. While the name wasn’t specific on the details, Keith had elected to take Ani with him to help them both take some much needed time for themselves. Ani didn’t have too much else to do and agreed, thinking that it would be a nice time to talk more with Keith at least.
Keith compared the flyer in his hand to the campus map in front of him, “It should be around here somewhere... Maybe if we double back around we should find it.”
Ani looked over Keith’s shoulder at the flyer at and then back toward the rows of buildings. “Yeah, I think I saw it tucked away between there.” Ani pointed to two of the larger facilities.
Keith squinted and took a look, and they both started to make their way over.
“So… what do you think’s really in there?” Ani asked, turning to Keith.
“Well, since it’s called the ‘Dream Theater Exhibit’... I’d bet it’s related to dreams.” Keith said with a shrug.
“I know that! But what would a ‘Dream Theater’ even be?”
“Hmm… Knowing this place, probably some kind of stand.” Ani didn’t respond to what Keith said, simply thinking about what sort of stand might be in this ”Dream Theater”. The thought of the unknown stand both excited him and made him worry slightly.
Making their way between the two larger buildings to either side, Keith and Ani could see a decently sized two story studio.
“You’re… Keith Moon, right?”
The pair paused, then, confused about the sudden interruption, only to be met by the approach of two figures in aviator hats, one middle-aged looking, clad in a shabby yellow business suit, and wearing glasses, the other looking like an orange, goggle-clad, artsy-looking teenager. The elder, then, spoke again.
“Pardon the interruption…” He said, “but, I’m Theodore Lloyd. I just wanted to talk about some things. I understand you’re quite experienced for your age, on matters… Comparable, to our current conflict.”
“What’s this guy asking about?” Ani asked, confused, tilting his head.
Keith, meanwhile, understood the interruption completely. “You’re asking about the Urban Uprising.”
“You catch on pretty quick… And!” The orange kid said, sounding proud of himself. “We’ve heard that you were also at a certain ‘incident’ at the Institute’s big library… And prone to fortunate misfortunes, no?”
Keith sighed, rubbing at his neck and looking away. “Just my luck, when I’ve been trying to forget about this stuff…” He sighed. Everyone who’d talked to the new head of the College of the Arts had only positive things to say about him. “Yeah, you’re right on all counts there. Some book didn’t go missing or something, did it? If that’s it I pity whoever was there when that librarian found out…”
“It’s confidential,” the yellow-clad thirtysomething said, constantly seeming to glance away from his orange companion, “I have certain security concerns it would be irresponsible of me not to follow up on, so I’d like to talk a bit about what you were doing there that day.”
Keith frowned. He was right in front of their destination, too. He and Ani looked it over, then he noted how important this looked to the professor. “Alright… You go on ahead, Ani.”
“If it’s this pressing, it probably matters more than me being here, and one of us should see Tapir… This is your responsibility, alright?”
Ani, reluctant as he was, nodded, heading off.
With Keith gone, Ani walked on feeling a bit betrayed, looking back at him in the distance getting further away. “He would be back, he told you he’d come back,” Ani tried to psych himself back up mentally as he got closer and closer.
Getting to the door, Ani noticed that a flyer like the one Keith had been holding was taped on it. The door was closed, and it didn’t seem like there was anybody else here yet. Ani gingerly knocked on the door, unsure of what to expect.
“Just a second,” a voice could be heard from inside as the door opened. Ani looked to see a tall androgynous figure in black and white make-up and a glossy black dress looking around then down at him. “Oh my, oh my, hello are you here to see the Dream Theater’s exhibit?”
Ani nodded slowly, slightly apprehensive.
“Are you here alone? You look a bit young to be at a college?”
“Well, you know... I was coming here with a friend of mine, but...”
“They left you here to meet me alone?” The ‘Tapir’ asked, “This wouldn’t be the first time somebody’s done that you know? But I promise, I’m completely harmless.” Their tone tried to reassure him. A short pause later, they spoke up again. “... I was joking, by the way. This would be the first time something like this has happened.” Ani couldn’t tell if Tapir meant for this to be a quick clarification or a joke.
Ani tried to look past them, into the studio, only to see that the paintings there looked to be covered by tarps. “Are you not open yet? It looks liked your exhibits are covered...” Things seemed a bit strange, but there was just the chance that they were only just mildly eccentric.
“Oh, you’re not supposed to see all of them all at the same time, silly~,” Tapir’s tone chastised him, a bit of sing-song in their voice told him that they knew how strange it looked from his perspective. Tapir moved to the edge of the door, and invited Ani inside, “Come on, I can show you what it is if you are really curious.”
“Well, I did come to see the exhibit...” Ani looked back on Keith still in the distance, talking with somebody else. “Alright, let’s go.” Ani tried to put on a brave face as he walked inside.
“Excellent.” Tapir closed the door behind them, “Don’t worry, you’ll see why once I show you the exhibit.”
The studio seemed fairly normal, but Ani’s cautious apprehension never left. He looked around the studio, seeing tarped paintings and a small living space in a room beyond. However, everything seemed to change the moment Tapir took off one of the tarps with a flourish.
A painting of various intensities and shades of black was unveiled, a black fog that seemed to draw him deeper and deeper around the painting.
All of a sudden, Ani felt as though he wasn’t in the same room - he was in a void, a place behind his eyes, and a screen in front of him showed him what his eyes should have been seeing. “You see what I mean now?” Tapir’s voice echoed within his mind, he wasn’t hearing it with his ears, at least it didn’t register as such. “Don’t worry this is just where you go before you start dreaming, just relax and let the dream take you.”
Ani’s dream was strange, or at least the parts that he could remember. Something about Jackie eating the moon, following trails of ants, and walking with the rest of his team.
Tapir had just placed the tarp over the painting, “How long was that?” Ani wondered out loud.
“Only about 12 hours~,” their tone indicated they were joking, but Ani looked around to double check. “Would you believe me if I said around 30 seconds?” Ani found the clock on the wall, it had indeed been not that long.
“The brain is a very complex thing when it comes to processing time, especially in dreams.” Tapir continued, “The basic gist is, things are only as fast as your mind wants you to perceive them.”
Another knock came at the door. Ani lit up, hoping that it was Keith and to tell him what exactly he just experienced. But to his disappointment as Tapir opened the door, Ani saw a dark haired man he didn’t recognize at the doorway.
“Hello, hello,” Tapir invited Ostro, who stood just outside the door.
“Are you Professor Tapir?” Ostro found himself slightly surprised to have to look up a bit to get eye contact.
Tapir nodded, “If there’s something you wanted to know about feel free to ask.”
Ostro stepped inside, “Well first off I wanted to ask, have we met before?” It took awhile to get here, but it was like he knew the path before he got here.
“Hm... maybe in a dream?” Tapir gave a small grin, “I don’t believe I’ve met you in person.”
Ostro and Ani couldn’t tell if Tapir was joking. Even with what Ani had gone through, he found it hard to believe.
“I’ll go get you some tea so we can talk,” Tapir said, before they walked into the other room.
Ostro looked at the tarped paintings as Ani shuffled around looking around the room and occasionally glancing at Ostro.
“Uh..?” Ani piped up as Ostro turned to face him.
“Pardon me, but what is this exhibit exactly?” Ostro asked. Ostro inched closer to the largest painting.
“You probably shouldn’t remove the tarp.” Ani lightly suggested, not wanting to experience what he did before so soon and not wanting to betray Tapir’s implied trust. “They have a weird effect when you look at them.”
Ostro kept looking around the tarp, intrigued now. “Weird in what way?” This Tapir could very well be a Stand user if his hunch was correct.
“Meow?” A cat poked its head out from under the bottom of the tarp.
Before they could react, the tarp fell off the painting as the cat scampered out. Ani moved to catch it but it was too late, the mesmerizing effect of a glossy neon image, dazzling white mixed with blotches of vibrant colors that melded seamlessly, pulled them both in.
Ostro and Ani found themselves where Ani was earlier. The screen of their vision this time flickered in and out, their eyes blinked rapidly involuntarily.
Tapir came in front of their field of view, “Oh no, you weren’t supposed to see that one this early. That one’s the most intense one.”
Ostro tried to summon his stand to help but to no avail. He wanted to speak but his mouth couldn’t move even though he could feel it completely.
“Sorry, but you are going to have to get out of there manually, unless you want to be dreaming for 12 hours. Don’t worry, I’ll send you some help.” Tapir pulled out a strange wooden dog whistle and blew.
Shuffling around Ani and Ostro’s legs could be felt as they looked down and saw a dog sized elephant shrew(?) nudging them.
“One of my spirit animals can guide you through, once you fall into the dreamscape he can show you the way to get out quickly. He’ll also let you have your full range of senses back too.”
The world shifted around them, they found themselves in a room similar to the Dream Theater with muddled details, the elephant shrew was still there.
Ostro pinched himself and winched. He and Ani then tried to summon their respective stands, relieved to find them working properly again.
The shrew stood just out the door as a strangely inhuman voice rang in their head.
Location: The dreamscape, a world within your dreams and everybody else’s dreams. Starting off in the Dream Theater in the write up, players have exited the door to find themselves in the first new location.
There will be four locations that you will both go through in order to get out, each of them have a specific exit condition for the players to leave.
The second and fourth locations are impossible terrain fusions of different areas. These areas are effectively checkerboard mixed areas and things can be split down the middle, so you could see half of a building were it to otherwise overlap with the other landscape. Each tile so to speak here is 10 by 10 meters. These maps are pseudorandom where the players can imagine what lies around them within the constraints given by the description.
Similarly any object or place you think you could find in whatever area you may ask if you can find it from the judges, and objects can be taken with you when you move onto the next sequence. Judges may also reserve the right to say how difficult an object may be to find or how long it would take if it is relatively rare or unlikely.
As for the sequences, they will be covered in the additional information section.
Goal: Complete the sequences to get out of the dreamscape before your opponent does!
Additional Information:
Players have all their inventory still on them, including all of Ani’s ants.
All NPCs here can be affected by Ostro’s stand.
Each section of the dreamscape has something you must do in order to leave and potentially some conditions that may be applied to players. The list of dreamscapes and the conditions necessary to leave it is:
First: a busy city strip crowded with people. The entire main streets, Broadway and Seventh Avenue, have people heading left along the map down these streets. The rest of the place is fairly devoid of people. The people here will only walk to the left, but will still react to stimulus and as such can be jolted, pushed, attacked etc. Players start at the left side of the map, where the Pink “7” Circle is. The full map is around 80 by 200 meters.
  • In order to leave, the players must exit through the end of one of the main streets on the right side of the map.
Second: A melded beach and forest with a person trapped under a tree, a person stuck 20 meters up a tree, a person drowning in a 10 by 10 meter ocean. These three are 30 meters away from where the players first spawn in and are all equidistant to each other. The paths to each are blocked by overgrowth, trees, sand and bodies of water in about equal amounts. There are also 5 one meter long giant ants wandering in a circle separate from each other around 10 meters away from the starting location. These ants can be controlled by Ani without needing to force them into the UFO as long as he or his stand can get to them.
  • In order to leave, the players must rescue one of the three people here to move on. Getting them to safety or out of their precarious situation alive will count. The people here will generally cooperate with you trying to help them.
Third: A dimly lit long school hallway with 25 doors on either side. The area is 100 meters long and 10 meters wide with each door on either side being 4 meters apart. There are unlocked lockers all along the walls with whatever you might expect from a school locker and 5 security guards patrolling around in circles for each 20 meter area. Security guards have flat 3 physicals, a 2 in Awareness to Disruptions, and a flashlight each. The security guards will move to inspect fast moving shadows and noises but will otherwise continue their routes as normal once their suspicions go down. Security Guards can be stunned/damaged, but will not permanently go down. If they suffer enough damage, they’ll just be asleep for 30 seconds before waking back up. If the security sees one of the giant ants, they will rush over with a can of bug spray to kill them.
  • In order to leave, the players must open all the doors and look into all of the classrooms, and the last door they open will be the exit to the last section. The security will be patrolling around, and if you get caught and touched by them you will be sent back to the beginning of the hallway, but your progress on the doors won’t reset.
Fourth: A melded fish market and construction site, similar to Ani’s and Ostro’s Round 1 matches. Shadowy Gray or Yellow shaded facsimiles of people you know, people you trust are going to come out and attack you here, each of them only have flat 3 physicals and no other skills. There will be 5 of these facsimiles out at any given time near each player and once one goes down a new one will take its place. Around the map, you can also find some fairly spread out as well, you should be able to find one every 10 or so meters.
  • In order to leave, the players will have to defeat 20 facsimiles that match their team color, and once that is done they will have made it out of the dreamscape.
Team Combatant JoJolity
Underground Exodus Anthony “Ani” Oakley "There are no children in this amusement park, but I keep hearing a baby crying." While the world seems so surreal, the people here seem so lifeless in a strange way. Interact with the people of this place in as many different ways as you can!
Baker Street Rat Pack Ostro Crudo "What a relief. A dead dog isn't scary if it's just a dream." This place is just your imagination, you have to remind yourself of that. Interact with the people of this place in as many different ways as you can!
Link to the Official Player Spreadsheet
Link to Match Schedule
As always, if you would like to interact with the tournament community and be among the first to get updates for the tournament, please feel free to PM a member of our Judge staff for an invite to our Official Discord Server!
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2020.09.13 10:16 sj20442 'My job is watching a woman trapped in a room.' Parts 1,2 and 3 by u/Verastahl. Gripping and subversive in ways I can't describe without spoiling it.

Parts 1 and 2 Three | Four | Five
Three years ago I was looking at the local job classifieds online when one of the ads caught my eye, not because of what it said, but because it said so little. Best I remember, the ad just read “Job available. Good pay. No benefits. Discretion required.” It then listed an email address and that was all. At the time I was managing a music store, but I had already started hearing rumors we would be shutting down within the next year and the likelihood of a transfer to another store was slim. I had been morosely looking at job listings for the last few days, but this was the first one that stood out, if only because I was bored and it was weird.
So I sent an email.
Half an hour later I had a response, telling me to go to a particular office building in an upscale part of the city at a precise time for my “screening”. I went, and after waiting for a few minutes in the lobby, I was taken into an office where I was given a series of forms and questionnaires to fill out. They collected them and told me they would be in touch.
I had almost forgotten about the whole thing until a month later I got a call saying I had moved on to the second stage of the hiring process. I was again given an address and time, and when I arrived (this time it was a different nice office park twenty miles away from the first one), I was met by a man who introduced himself as Mr. Solomon. He escorted me into a large room that contained a chair and a desk. On the desk were two large monitors, a keyboard and mouse, and a bolted down metal box with two oversized buttons on it: One red and one green.
He told me this room was a model for the place I would be working if I took the job. He described the job as follows.
I would be working seven shifts of six hours every week. My job would be simple. I would arrive at work ten minutes early and enter an outer area that was like a locker room. I would have my own personal locker. I would store all belongings in the locker and change into the provided work clothes. I was never, under any circumstances, to carry any item of my own into the surveillance room. I was never, under any circumstances, to take any item with me from the surveillance room.
As for what I was to do in the surveillance room, I was told that the monitor on the left would constantly show a live stream from a high-definition camera in a remote location. My job was simply to watch the camera. Once an hour I would get onto the computer attached to the right monitor and enter a brief log describing anything interesting that occurred in the last hour. I would have no pens or pencils or paper, and I should never try to take any kind of written notes about the work.
As for the red and green buttons, the red button was only to be used if there was an emergency. This meant something on the video or in my workspace that required outside help. The green button was to be hit if I saw something on the video feed that was particularly noteworthy. It would tell other people somewhere that, at least in my opinion, something interesting was going on. Solomon stressed that while I was given discretion on when to use this button, I should err on the side of only using it if and when something “of real significance” occurred.
He pointed out the camera on the ceiling of the room we were in. He said the real room would be the same. My work would be observed, and other people were watching the room on the video feed as well. He said I was only a redundancy in case other systems failed. He then smirked and asked if I knew what he meant by redundancy.
I nodded, trying not to show my irritation. I don’t talk that good to people, so sometimes they think I’m dumb. That’s okay. Let him think that if he paid me good enough.
The pay was very good. Thirty-five dollars an hour.
This worried me. I was already thinking this was some kind of psych experiment or secret government job, which I was okay with. But that kind of money to sit and watch a screen? My mom always told me that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is, and this was seeming too good to be true.
I asked if I was going to be doing anything illegal. Solomon laughed and said no. I asked if anyone was going to get hurt. Again, he shook his head no. He said the reason they were paying so much was because they needed employees that were motivated to be professional and discrete. The work they were doing was important, and for various reasons it couldn’t be discussed. If I took the job, I would have to sign papers promising I would never discuss my work there or I could be sued or locked up. I’m only breaking that now because of everything that’s happened.
So I took the job, and because they wanted me to start right away, I had to quit the store with no notice. I felt bad about that, but I was excited about the new job too. It was a lot of money and seemed like easy enough work, if a bit boring. I was nervous that there was something more to it, but I told myself I would just have to see. No point in chickening out and wasting a good chance because I let my imagination go crazy. I was given the location of the job itself, and when I went there, I was amazed that it really was just like the model room I had been shown with only a few differences. There was a locker room you had to pass through to enter the surveillance room and there was a small bathroom attached to the real surveillance room also. The real room had a small water cooler in the corner, but because I wasn’t allowed to bring anything in with me, I had to eat before or after every shift. The biggest difference, of course, was that the monitors were turned on.
The right monitor was just a black and white terminal like you see in movies some times. I could type in my logs, but no internet to look at or anything like that. The left monitor…
It was video from a room. You would call it a bedroom I guess, because it had a bed in it, but it had lots of other stuff too. A T.V., a sofa and chairs, a couple of tables, and plenty of empty space in between. The camera must be high up in a corner, because I could see pretty much everything except for the far sides of furniture. At first though, I didn’t notice any of that stuff.
All I saw was her.
She looked to be a little older than me and was very pretty. When I first saw her, she was laying on her side on the sofa. That was the part of the room farthest from the camera, but the picture was very clear and I could tell that she was sleeping. I found myself leaning into the monitor more so I could see her better, and then I thought about what I was doing and felt embarrassed. It’s like I was spying on her. A Peeping Tom, my mom used to call it.
I didn’t want to be a Peeping Tom, but I didn’t want to be silly either. I needed to think about it slow.
It was a good job. And I wasn’t doing anything wrong, right? I wasn’t hurting anybody. The woman looked fine. And the room was nice. She probably agreed to be there and it’s all some experiment or something. I was just overreacting.
So I sat down in the chair and began my work.
It didn’t take long before I understood more. The woman, I took to calling her Rachel, wasn’t there of her free will. I never saw her hurt, but it was clear that she never left that room except to go into what I think is a bathroom area that my camera couldn’t see. Well, she never left the room on her own. Periodically, usually a couple of times a week during my shifts, men and women in strange-looking outfits would come in and take her from the room. Sometimes she would struggle, but usually she would just go along with her head hung low.
They would always bring her back, though the times when she wasn’t brought back during my shift were always the worst for me. I would worry about her until I got to work the next day and saw her in the room watching T.V. or painting. She never looked hurt or even that upset except for when they took her, and even when she fought, they were always gentle with her.
Still, I knew something was wrong. I considered quitting the job, or hitting the red button and getting someone to come so I could get some answers. Or calling the police and showing them what the camera was showing me.
Except I was scared. Scared of losing my job, and scared of what these people might do to me if I quit or told on them. Solomon had told me when I took the job that part of being discreet was not asking questions. I would never be asked to do more than I had already been told, but I could never tell anyone what I did or saw, and I could never ask questions about what I was doing or why.
So I made excuses. It was all an experiment. She was crazy or sick and they were trying to help her. She was doing a job just like I was. Or if she really was a prisoner somewhere, at least I was watching to make sure that she was okay. If they ever tried to hurt her, or I saw that she really didn’t want to be there for sure, I could get help then. In a way, I told myself, I was helping to protect her by watching.
I don’t expect you to think much of my excuses. I don’t think much of them myself, especially now. But in my defense, when things changed, I didn’t ignore it or try to explain it away. I knew something had to be done.
Rachel would usually paint for an hour or two every day, and it seemed to always be during my afternoon shifts. The room had no windows as far as I could tell, but I guess she either used a clock or her own body’s time to keep to a kind of schedule. I always liked to watch her paint—the thing she was painting was always facing the wrong way for me to see it, but I could see her face as she worked. She always looked peaceful and happy when she was painting, and seeing her that way, smiling serenely from time to time as she got something the way she wanted it, always made my day.
I first noticed something was wrong when she started painting more frequently a few weeks ago. Her expression was more focused and serious, and there was a tension to her movements that I wasn’t used to seeing. At first I thought she was just really trying to work hard on something, and I wanted to tell her not to worry. Every few weeks the others would come in and take the old paintings out anyway, bringing in a new stack of…I think the word is canvas.
But it was more than her being focused. Something was wrong. She didn’t look happy and she was going for hours at a time. In the span of three days, she had finished four paintings.
I had been growing more and more worried watching her work, and when she finished the fourth, I found myself telling her to just stop and rest awhile. I had grown accustomed to talking to the monitor, talking to her in my own way. But she didn’t stop. Instead she began moving the paintings. Arranging them on the back and seat of the long sofa at the far end of the room.
This was the first time I had gotten to see any of the paintings. Even when the others were taking them out, they always seemed to be turned away from the camera. I was still worried about her, but I was also happy to finally see something she had worked on. Happy and amazed.
They were beautiful. One was a beautiful green forest. Another was an old stone well. A third was a house sitting alone on a small island. The last was an old-fashioned looking movie theater. All of them looked like something out of a dream, with trailing lines of color mixing in the air around them like leaves caught in a wind. It was only when I looked close that I realized the lines of color weren’t random. They were words. Easy to miss if you weren’t looking close, and by themselves, they didn’t seem to mean much. Just the ghost of a word somewhere in each of the paintings, easy to lose in everything else that was being shown.
I leaned into the monitor and squinted, trying to read the words. Then my heart started thudding as I made them out. Blinking and rubbing my eyes, I looked again, reading them out loud in order—left to right, top pair then bottom.
I pushed back from the monitor, my hand over my mouth. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know how any of this could be happening. It wasn’t just that she was asking for help, though that was a big part of it.
It was that my name is Thomas.
I thought about the camera above me and took my hand away from my face. I rolled back to the desk and sat there, trying to stop from shaking, trying to make myself take a breath. Think about it slow. The first thing was, should I hit a button?
The red button was for an emergency. If she was a prisoner or something, and she was trying to escape, they might think that was an emergency. But no one had been hurt that I knew of. And I think Mr. Solomon meant save that for something that was like a police or ambulance emergency, not something like this. But what about the green button?
This was definitely something “noteworthy”. Not only that she was asking for help, but that she was asking me for help.
I made myself stop for a moment. I couldn’t know for sure she was asking me. I had gone to school with several boys named Thomas. It was a common name. But the chances of her painting that name when I was working here? I didn’t want to be silly, but I wasn’t trying to be too…what’s that word. Mom used to say it when she read her angel books. Skeptics. I didn’t want to be a skeptic either. I had to believe it was probably meant for me. And that was something they would want to know.
But should I hit the green button? My hands were drifting toward the metal box on the desk, but I hesitated. I didn’t like breaking rules, and I was scared of what would happen if I broke these. If they really were holding her prisoner, then they were probably very bad people. But I didn’t know that. Maybe they were good and she was bad. But I just…
I looked back at the monitor for the first time since reading the words. Rachel was already moving the paintings back off the sofa, as though she knew the message had been received. A canvas in each hand, she glanced up at the camera as she moved across the room, and it felt like she was looking right at me. My chest tightened as my hands moved away from the buttons.
No. I didn’t think she was bad. I had watched her for years. I felt like I knew her, would know if she was bad. Strange as it seemed, in a way she was my friend. And I was going to try and help her.
I spent the rest of my shift trying to act normal and think of what to do. I knew whoever else was watching might have noticed the paintings or seen how I acted, but I couldn’t worry about that. I would try to play it cool and try to think how I could help her.
The only people I had actually met connected to this job were a couple of people when I filled out the papers and then Mr. Solomon when he showed me the model room and told me the job. I had no way of contacting any of them except through the buttons. My checks were deposited electronically and I had never run into anyone else who worked at the surveillance room.
That thought made me stop a second. I had always thought it was weird that I never ran into someone when I was coming or going—the person I was taking over for or the person who was taking over for me. I had always figured there must be other people, other surveillance rooms even, and they just scheduled us so we didn’t run into each other. And I still thought there were others.
Part of why I thought that was because it seemed like I wasn’t the only person who used my surveillance room. The water cooler, the toilet paper, the soap, they all seemed go down faster than I think I was using it by myself. If that was true, maybe I could figure out who they were, and maybe they would be safer to talk to than whoever it was that I worked for.
I got off work at eight that night, and instead of grabbing some food and going home, I drove my car around the block and then parked down the street from the building where I worked. Nothing had changed while I drove around for a minute—no new cars had parked or anything—and if I was right, they didn’t send anyone to replace me until they were sure I was gone anyhow.
So I sat and waited.
I was tired and the street was pretty empty and boring, but I was too excited and scared to fall sleep. Every time a car passed or someone walked down the sidewalk, I tensed. I kept imagining a SUV or van pulling up behind me. Men getting out and pulling me from my car, taking me somewhere like where they had Rachel to kill or torture me. Half a dozen times I almost cranked up and drove away, but every time I would think of her alone in that room. She had no one but me to help her, and I had to try.
Two hours later, a fat balding man parked and started heading for the building. As soon as I saw he was able to unlock the door and enter, I opened my car door to go talk to him. Then I stopped. I needed to be smart. I didn’t know where they were, but I was sure there were hidden cameras in the locker room and outside the building. If I go running in there and confront that guy, they’ll know for sure that I’m up to something.
Sighing with frustration, I shut the door back and waited until his shift was over. I considered tailing him like in the movies, but I was scared I would just lose him or he would call someone for help. So I waited until he was walking back to his car after a six hour shift, hopefully far enough away that the cameras wouldn’t see. And then I met the man I came to know as Charles Jefferies.
“Hey…Hey, man, can I talk to you for a minute?” His back was to me and he just waved his hand absently without looking up.
“Sorry, I don’t have any money. Have a good…” He froze as he glanced back at me while talking. “Oh God. No. No. You need to get out of here, kid. We aren’t allowed to talk.” I could tell he was scared, but I couldn’t risk letting him go yet, not after all this. I stepped up and pushed the door back shut as he was trying to get into his car.
“So you know who I am?” I tried to not sound mean, but I could hear how mad I was in my voice.
He yanked at the door again, but I was still holding it, and I was stronger than he was. After a second, weaker tug, he turned around, his face strained and tired-looking. “Yeah, I know who you are. You work here just like me. And I’m telling you, we aren’t supposed to be talking. We aren’t supposed to meet, ever.”
I frowned. “Mr. Solomon never told me that. He never said it was one of the rules.”
The man shook his head. “Mr. Solomon. Yeah. Well there are plenty of rules they don’t tell you. I bet they didn’t tell you what you were going to be watching before you started, did they?” When I just lowered my eyes, he went on. “Yeah, me either. I’ve been at this job for ten years. I’ve seen other people come and go, usually because they broke one those rules they never mentioned. The only reason I’m still here is because I keep my head down and my mouth shut.” He wagged a finger at me. “You should do the same, if it’s not already too late.”
I felt my stomach curling into a cold knot. “Too late?”
The man rubbed his face. “Kid, do you think they don’t know we’re talking? Do you think anything happens that they don’t know about?” He looked back toward the building, a look of sadness and fear in his eyes. “Hell, for all I know, you’ve already killed us both.” Shaking his head, he pushed me back and started opening the door. “Either way, I’m done risking it. You need to stop asking questions and just do your job. It’s a lot healthier.”
With that, he got into his car and shut the door. I didn’t try to stop him this time. Even though I had already been worried about what he was telling me, hearing it confirmed was paralyzing. What exactly was my plan? He probably didn’t know any more than I did, and even if he did, what could I do with anything he told me?
I walked back to my car with a heavy heart. I was still afraid, but more than that, I was sad and ashamed. I wanted to help Rachel, but I wasn’t sure how. I wasn’t giving up, but as I drove back to my apartment, I couldn’t think of what I should do next. This wasn’t a movie. I wasn’t a hero. And the only ideas I had left were to either go to the police, who might be controlled by whoever I worked for, or try to get proof of her being held prisoner myself.
As I parked my car and walked into my apartment building, I made a decision. Unless I thought of something better overnight, I would do both ideas. Tomorrow I would break the rule about carrying anything in. I’d use my phone to record a video of the surveillance room, of Rachel and how she was trapped somewhere, and of me telling everything else I knew. And I would email it to every newspaper, website, and internet channel I could think of. I’d then go to the police and give them a copy too if I could make it that long without getting caught. Maybe if I did all that, even if they got me, someone would help Rachel.
I was filled with worry and dread at the idea of being hurt or killed. A part of me kept saying I should just do as I was told and hope that it all went away. But I couldn’t live with myself if I did that. Even if I messed up, I felt like I had to try. I was so preoccupied that I didn’t hear the person coming up behind me as I unlocked my apartment door.
I turned around and felt my legs weaken as I stumbled back against my door. I had to be dreaming or crazy. I grabbed the door knob for support as I looked at the woman in front of me. It couldn’t be her, but somehow it was.

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2020.08.12 16:00 daprice82 Wrestling Observer Rewind ★ Jul. 29, 2002

Going through old issues of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and posting highlights in my own words. For anyone interested, I highly recommend signing up for the actual site at f4wonline and checking out the full archives.

1-7-2002 1-14-2002 1-21-2002 1-28-2002
2-4-2002 2-11-2002 2-18-2002 2-25-2002
3-4-2002 3-11-2002 3-18-2002 3-25-2002
4-1-2002 4-8-2002 4-15-2002 4-22-2002
4-29-2002 5-6-2002 5-13-2002 5-20-2002
5-27-2002 6-3-2002 6-10-2002 6-17-2002
6-24-2002 7-1-2002 7-8-2002 7-15-2002
PROGRAMMING NOTE: Most of you know the homie SaintRidley has been recapping the Observers from the 1980s (and if you don't know, now you know). Anyway, he got blasted by storms in Iowa the other day and has intermittent internet and asked me to pass along word that he won't be able to post the latest issue of the 1988 Rewind this week. Hope everything's okay with ya dude!
  • Dave opens the issue with some high praise, a rare thing for the top story. But this week's episode of Raw was the first time WWE showed real effort in months, with a clear plan to build a Raw vs. Smackdown storyline and to make the brands as distinct as possible. Raw felt like a completely new show, starting multiple new storylines that hint at long-term booking (we're so used to WWE disappointing us nowadays that it's kinda cute to go back in time and see someone buy into the false hope of improvement like this). They also had a super hot crowd, which helped a lot. The ratings also saw a spike this week, due to fans wanting to see what Raw looks like with Bischoff in charge. The announcers were moved away from ringside and stationed near the stage, similar to the old Nitro set. During the matches, the arena was darkened to give it a more old-school feel. Things felt more spontaneous and less predictable than they have in ages. The European title was done away with, unified with the IC title. Dave feels the belt was useless the last few years anyway.
  • The show featured DX reuniting, but ended with Triple H turning heel and giving Shawn Michaels a pedigree. Dave expects it to lead to Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels at Summerslam, but we'll see. This also necessitated Triple H moving back over to Raw, and in exchange, they moved Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman over to Smackdown at the end of the show. Eddie Guerrero had a match with The Rock and also had a segment where they went back and forth on the mic. It was the most confident Eddie has ever been on the mic and he held his own with Rock and came out of the night looking to be a bigger star than ever. The show wasn't all good though. They had a segment where they put D-Lo Brown and Shawn Stasiak in the ring and Bischoff berated them for being boring and buried them for trying to wrestle, which Dave thinks sucked. The DX reunion followed by Triple H's heel turn blew through potentially weeks of storyline progression in only one hour, but that's typical these days. But Dave thinks of all the potential revenue they could have made on DX merch if they'd been given a chance to have even a short few-week run, but alas. He also thought the announcers playing dumb (like Jim Ross having to pretend not to know who the Island Boyz were during their debut, despite the fact that he's written about them a million times in his weekly WWE.com column). Also too much backstage stuff, which is fine for TV, but sucks for the live crowd when they bought tickets to watch half the show on the TitanTron. But overall, it was the best Raw in a long time and the first sign that maybe WWE's latest reboot is going to mean real change. And that's the top story. Raw was actually good for once and it's the biggest news of the week.
WATCH: Triple H turns on Shawn Michaels - 2002
  • daprice82 Editor's Note: No one is going to care, but I have a story about this Raw. At the time, my girlfriend (now-wife) and I were in Peoria, IL for the 2nd annual Gathering of the Juggalos! We were 19 years old and drove there from Memphis in my shitty ol' Chevy Blazer and spent the weekend woop-wooping it up. Well, that Monday afternoon, we left Peoria to drive home. We got maybe 30 miles out of town when I realized that my previously full gas tank was almost empty. Pulled into a gas station, confused, but filled the tank again, and drove on. Watched the tank slowly drain as I drove along and within 30 minutes, I was on E again. I was losing gas somehow. Pulled off an exit and stopped at the single nicest truck stop I've ever seen. This place had everything. It was a gas station, connected to a Subway, with a lounge area that had recliners, full showers, washers and dryers, etc. If you're gonna be stranded somewhere, it was the best option. I ended up calling my dad and he drove 7 hours to come pick us up. So while we waited, my girlfriend and I spent the rest of the day into the night, hanging out in this lounge, sleeping in the recliners, and watching TV. And low and behold, they had the TV on Raw that night. I remember I was dozing in and out and I remember waking up when I heard the DX music hit and groggily staring at the TV like "wtf?" And then I saw Triple H turn on Shawn and was like "Whoa!" and then I fell back asleep and that's all I remember.
  • WWE announced that it's re-evaluating its quarterly and annual business efforts due to lower-than-expected revenue this year, stemming from PPV buyrates and live attendance plummeting. To keep the company in the black, WWE is making $20 million in budget cutbacks. Most of the cuts are coming from administrative expenses, but the developmental program is going to be hit hard (more on that in a bit). For next quarter, WWE is predicting an overall profit of $1.5 to $2 million. But that is a bit misleading because that figures in the $3.5 million settlement from the PTC lawsuit. If not for that settlement, this quarter would be the first money-losing quarter since 1997 (assuming you don't count the Q1 of 2001, when they had all the massive XFL start-up costs). Plus, they're running twice as many house shows now than they were the same quarter last year, and the numbers are still that bad. There's a ton of year-to-year comparisons here, which is super fun if you're a numbers person but TL;DR - business ain't great.
  • So what about Japan? Business there is an interesting story also. NOAH has surpassed NJPW in average attendance per show for the first half of 2002, which shows just how staggering of a collapse NJPW has had. The biggest success story of the year has been AJPW, which was on death's door a little over a year ago, with the entire roster jumping ship to form NOAH and the company lost its television deal. It's a miracle they survived at all, much less become as hot as they have this year. The reason, of course, is Keiji Muto (and to a lesser extent, Satoshi Kojima), both of whom jumped ship from NJPW at the beginning of the year and immediately gave the promotion a huge shot in the arm, spiking live attendance by nearly 70% and tripling merch sales. Meanwhile, NJPW is still stinging from those losses, plus they ran Riki Choshu out of the company, made Tadao Yasuda IWGP champion which was a huge flop, they have no good foreign talent, their junior division is stale as can be, and current champion Yuji Nagata is still trying to get his momentum back after a humiliating MMA loss to Mirko Cro Cop on New Year's Eve.
  • So about those developmental cutbacks. WWE cut ties with Les Thatcher's HWA promotion and also dropped the contracts of several developmental stars there. Among the names cut: Steve Bradley, EZ Money, Jon Heidenreich, Mike Sanders, BJ Payne, Horace Hogan, and several others you probably never heard of. HWA wrestlers Lance Cade and Charlie Haas are being reassigned to OVW, which will now be WWE's only developmental territory. Others, like Shannon Moore, Victoria, and Barry Buchanan are expected to debut on the main roster soon and were kept. In 2001 fiscal year, WWE spent $1.1 on developmental costs and had relationships with 4 promotions: HWA, OVW, UPW, and IWA Puerto Rico. Now we're down to one, with Jim Ross reportedly ordered to cut that developmental budget in half. Dave doesn't like this. With WWE being the only game in town and in need of new stars more than ever, he feels they should be expanding their developmental system rather than shrinking it. Creating new stars is vital to the future of WWE and limiting themselves to one promotion with a pool of only a dozen or so people seems short-sighted. He also disagrees with some of the people who got cut. Not everyone in developmental is going to be a star, but some of them at least deserved a shot (namely Steve Bradley, who had been there for 3-4 years, is still in his twenties, is a good worker and strong promo, but never got a chance on the main roster because he doesn't have the right look). Why some of those people were released while Jackie Gayda and Chris Nowinski are stinking up the ring on Raw is beyond Dave. He also thinks Les Thatcher had a pretty impossible job. He was given a roster full of wrestlers that were mostly leftovers from WCW. Young guys who came out of WCW's Power Plant and worked a fast-paced WCW style that doesn't apply to modern day WWE. Then they had Thatcher, Danny Davis, and Jim Cornette train these guys. A bunch of old school veterans training these young guys in the ways of 80s wrestling. So now they learn a whole new style....which also doesn't apply to modern day WWE. It's a broken system. Anyway, everyone who was cut has 90-day non-competes. Word is TNA is only interested in Mike Sanders, out of the names released.
  • WWE Vengeance is in the books headlined by one of those classic matches that can single-handedly make a show. The Rock defeated Kurt Angle and Undertaker in a triple threat match to become the first 7-time WWE champion, although Angle was clearly the one who had another star-making performance. Dave nitpicks the fact that Rock pinned Angle (rather than the champion Undertaker) to win the title, but he'll wait and see if it leads to anything storyline-wise first before criticizing it too much (it leads to nothing, turns out it was just a cheap way to get the title on Rock without Taker having to do a job). But it was an excellent match that gets 4.5 stars. Most of the other matches were good too, though some of the booking was weird and doesn't seem to make long-term sense. They teased a feud between the Raw and Smackdown announcers, which Dave thinks is fine so long as it stays verbal. None of us needs to see Jim Ross or Michael Cole in matches. Dave also gives Tazz credit for improving greatly in his commentary role over the last year. He sucked when he first started but he's the best color commentator they got now. They had the first face-to-face meeting between Angle and Lesnar, which is a subtle tease to what Dave expects to be a big time feud in the future. John Cena pinned Chris Jericho in a match that exposed how green Cena still is and Jericho wasn't able to carry him to anything good and the crowd couldn't have cared less about the rookie. RVD beat Brock Lesnar by DQ to retain the IC title. RVD was super over since they were in Michigan. Bad finish but I guess they didn't wanna give Brock the IC title since he's almost definitely winning the world title from Rock in a month. There was a forever long segment with Bischoff and Stephanie trying to woo Triple H to sign with their respective shows. Anti-Americans won the tag titles from Edge and Hogan. That's basically it.
  • We have a section called "Treatment of Minorities Within Pro Wrestling" by Todd Martin (presumably the same Todd Martin from the PWTorch?). The piece touches on wrestling's past portrayals of race and the false impression that things have gotten better due to the success of people like The Rock, when in reality, the racism is just more subtle. Martin takes a look at WWE's hiring processes. Very few minorities have come up through the developmental program, but it's hard to say if that's WWE's fault. Maybe there's just not many minorities trying to break into the business that way, there's no statistical evidence either way. But you can look at the wrestlers they chose to hire from WCW and how they fared in the WWE system. Midcard comedy wrestlers like Shawn Stasiak got a chance but not midcard comedy wrestlers like Norman Smiley. Nepotism got Horace Hogan a contract, but it didn't do anything for Stevie Ray. Examples like that. Or the Luchadores. Martin argues that, with all the talented Hispanic wrestlers WCW turned into stars, it's inexcusable that so few of them have even gotten so much a developmental offer from WWE. And the only ones who did were the ones fluent in English, which you can argue for. Can't argue size either. Someone like La Parka dwarfs over Crash Holly or Spike Dudley, but WWE has no interest. Wrestlers like Psicosis, Juventud, La Parka, Silver King, and others helped carry WCW through some of its most successful years and none of those guys even got a glance from WWE. Martin asks if Booker T's current jive-talking gimmick is any better than his early GI Bro or Ebony Experience gimmicks? Especially when they have him on TV hotwiring cars and doing stereotypical criminal shit like that? In regards to Eddie Guerrero's current Mexican stereotype gimmick, even Jim Ross recently said that it's taking Hispanic relations back 25 years. If the Booker T or Guerrero characters were portrayed on a normal network TV show with a majority-white cast, they would be seen for the racist caricatures that they are. Martin ends the piece by saying he doesn't believe WWE's decision makers are overtly racist. It's just that the company has created a hierarchy of implicit beliefs about how different types of people are portrayed and they may not even realize that they've built such a system.
  • Dave adds his own "editor's note" to the end of this piece and says he chose to publish it because of the detailed research and data used and found it a fascinating article that deserves discussion. Dave disagrees with some of it though and argues that some of it is just a difference in philosophy. For example, WWE tried the Lucha Libre experiment before with the Superastros show and crowds were dead for it. WWE and WCW had very different fanbases and presented different products because of it. So it may not be so much racism in that case as it is WWE fans have never shown any interest in that style of wrestling. He also argues against some of the examples Martin used (for instance, Stevie Ray was considered by WWE but he was already in his 40s and was never the caliber of worker as his brother, which is why they passed). But that being said, Dave thinks other parts of the piece make some interesting points that are well worth a read.
  • TNA week 5 felt like a whole new product due to the heavy influence of Vince Russo. We'll get into that later, but for now, buckle in, we've got a few paragraphs of TNA drama to get through. The first 4 shows presented a product with an emphasis on hard work and long-term angles. This week featured the classic Russo recipe of crash TV and constant, edgy swearing, in an attempt to market "to that 15-30 age group male demo that hates women because they can't get dates and enjoys seeing them harassed and abused." The show ended with a big injury angle to Scott Hall, which is all well and good and might get people interested in next week's show, except it came on the heels of multiple other "serious injury" angles during the same show and by the time Hall did it, it was something like the 3rd stretcher job of the night and it felt meaningless. Same with every promo being filled with curse words. The whole show was yet another example of why Vince Russo needs someone to filter his worst instincts. In this case, that should be Jerry Jarrett, but he was away from creative dealing with budget and legal issues all this week (gonna hear a LOT more about that soon). On that note, just based on very rough, preliminary PPV buyrate figures, production costs, etc. Dave estimates this company is already about half a million dollars in the red, and that's not counting the significant startup costs they have yet to recoup, with estimates that the company is currently losing about $120,000 or more per week.
  • As of this week, TNA's budgets have been slashed. They've also moved tapings to the smaller and cheaper Nashville Fairgrounds location and signed a 3-month lease. It's reported that switching buildings will save $27,000 per week. They're also eliminating pyro, cut new deals with the production crew, and will be flying in fewer stars, relying mostly on people that can drive. They also don't plan to use managers, will cut back on the TNA girls, and will be using Ken Shamrock and Scott Hall on alternate weeks, since they're the two highest paid guys and it's expensive to have them both on the same show. The Fairgrounds building has been used for wrestling tapings before and never looks good on TV, but TNA is insisting they can dress it up to look good. The budget cuts are expected to be so heavy that TNA's new break-even point for PPV buys will be 20,000 per week instead of 50,000. Dave thinks 20,000 is a much more attainable goal, but if it comes at the expense of the product looking minor league and low budget, it's gonna fail. The building also has no air conditioning and with TV lights, it's going to be brutally hot during summer months. Jerry Jarrett has been posting frequently on the wrestlingclassics.com message board and admitted that they weren't anywhere close to the 50,000-buys-per-week they needed. Here's a post Jerry wrote explaining their plans for the company and the new, Russo-iffic direction:
Jeff (Jarrett) and I are wrestling purists just as many fans here. The difference is that we have put up everything we have in our effort to present an alternative to sports entertainment. Our plan was simple. We believed that there were 50,000 wrestling fans who would pay $10 per week, or $40 per month to have an alternative to sports entertainment. This was based on the fact WWE has from 300,000 to one million fans of sports entertainment who will pay $35 per month to see their product. We were well aware that production values, talent, storylines, content, etc. were all factors that could negatively effect the buy rate. We still thought the market would support us enough to make the plan successful. We are finding that many of the wrestling purists did exactly as I did ten years ago, and that is, go on to something else. We are finding that there are many fewer fans who really want an alternative to sports entertainment than we anticipated. Therefore, we can either attempt to attract a few of the WWE fans, or pack up and go home. We have risked everything in our venture. Therefore, not because of our personal taste, but out of necessity, we are compromising our wrestling purist instincts and attempting to create a broader fan base. ECW did a great job of creating a product for the hardcore wrestling fan. The simple fact was that the base of their fans was not sufficient to keep them in business."
  • Ray Gonzalez, one of the top stars in Puerto Rico, shockingly announced he's leaving WWC and most expect him to jump to IWA. Gonzalez claimed WWC was late in paying him, which he says breached his contract (reportedly paying him $800-$1000 per week). As a result, his lawyers sent WWC a letter saying because of this, he was quitting the company. Gonzalez no-showed WWC events this weekend. This is going to badly hurt WWC's upcoming Anniversary show because Gonzalez was a major part of multiple top angles that the card was built around. Gonzalez has been the top heel in WWC and arguably has kept the company alive the past 5 years, and is most responsible for getting Carly Colon (Carlito) over as a big star. IWA has already started advertising a mystery wrestler to be the top heel in upcoming shows this weekend, and it's no secret that Gonzalez is expected to debut for the company and be that guy. Dave also mentions several other WWC wrestlers who no-showed events last week because they were late in being paid. Many of them are as much as 10 weeks behind on pay, but this week, they were summoned to the office where Carlos Colon paid them about 5 weeks worth of what they're owed. Lots of death-of-ECW vibes going on here lately.
  • Lots of rumors that AJPW star Genichiro Tenryu will be showing up at the NOAH show this week to challenge GHC champion Yoshinari Ogawa. Needless to say, this would be a big deal if it happens because AJPW and NOAH basically hate each other. No word on whether this is an angle or not, but given how much Motoko Baba hates NOAH, it seems unlikely. Of course, it also remains to be seen if Tenryu will even show up or if it's all just rumors. Tenryu is currently feuding with Muto over who should have become president of the company, so this could be just a kayfabed angle to make it look like Tenryu is really anti-AJPW (looks like it was just a work, he doesn't end up going to NOAH until 2005).
  • Dave recaps AJPW's latest Buddokan Hall show, celebrating the 30th anniversary of the company, which featured Keiji Muto wrestling 3 different matches under 3 different gimmicks. All told, Muto worked a total of about 36 minutes between the 3 matches and was banged up like hell the next day. There were also a lot of old legends on the card, like Abdullah The Butcher, Mil Mascaras, Dos Caras, and more. Stan Hansen and Motoko Baba came out to give speeches about the company, with Ms. Baba breaking down crying when talking about her husband, and more. I managed to find most of this show on Dailymotion, enjoy:
WATCH: AJPW 30th Anniversary show
  • While we're on the topic, Dave saw a recent AJPW match with Tenryu defending the Triple Crown title against Satoshi Kojima in a match that many are calling the match of the year. Dave saw it and gives it 4.75 stars and calls Kojima possibly the best wrestler in the business when it comes to carrying the audience on an emotional roller coaster ride. He doesn't agree or disagree that it's the best match of the year, but he sure loved it.
WATCH: Genichiro Tenryu vs. Satoshi Kojima - AJPW Triple Crown match 2002
  • Mitsuharu Misawa suffered a dislocated shoulder in a recent match. Popped it back in, worked the next day, still in pain, went to the hospital because that's what happens when you wrestle again right after dislocating your shoulder. Anyway, the doctors were like, "Hey, maybe don't do that for a minute" but he's Misawa so he vows he won't be missing any dates and then he hit the doctor with an emerald flowsion. Dave doesn't say this, I'm just assuming.
  • NJPW continues to decline. They held back-to-back shows at the 10,500-seat arena in Sapporo this week. The first night only drew 4,100 fans which was the smallest crowd they have drawn in that city in years. Second night was better, but still only 6,000 fans to see Yuji Nagata retain the IWGP title over Bas Rutten. In another era, this win would have been huge for Nagata but nobody cares when a wrestler beats an MMA guy in a worked match anymore because Inoki pretty much beat that horse to death.
  • There's talk of bringing back Chyna to work the August Tokyo Dome show for Antonio Inoki's UFO MMA promotion, presumably just to make an appearance (oh, if only). There's also talk of bringing her in for NJPW's September tour and having her beat male prelim wrestlers every night. Needless to say, there's a whole lot of people in the company against that idea. Especially because her loss to Joey Buttafuoco in a celebrity boxing match a few months ago actually got a lot of coverage in Japan, so coming off that and showing up to beat male NJPW wrestlers isn't a popular idea. But Inoki gonna Inoki, so we'll see.
  • Latest on the ECW bankruptcy proceedings. The trustee has filed a motion demanding that the InDemand PPV company pays them $724,456.40. That total is the money they owed ECW, minus $25,000 because ECW failed to produce the March 2001 PPV they were contractually obligated to produce. This case is a textbook example of why trying to run a PPV-only company like TNA is going to be so difficult. InDemand is still holding onto ECW PPV money from over a year ago. Anyway, of the $724k, a big chunk of it will go to attorneys, back taxes, commission fees, etc. Video game maker Acclaim, who owned a percentage of ECW, is expected to get a big chunk as well. Whatever is left over will be used to pay off existing creditors but there's not gonna be much. A lot of those creditors are just never going to get paid. It's also expected that Acclaim will end up owning the video tape library rights, since WWE hasn't yet made a bid to acquire it.
  • Former Crockett/WCW wrestler Chris Champion suffered a major stroke and is in critical condition. Champion also wrestled as Yoshi Kwan for a bit in WCW. A lot of people expected him to be a major star in the 90s, but it just never panned out, usually due to his own personal issues (I looked it up, he ended up surviving this go round, but he died in 2018 after suffering more strokes).
  • If you're wondering what Jim Crockett Jr. is up to these days, he works in real estate in Dallas. When Shaun Assael interviewed Crockett for his book on Vince McMahon, everyone in Crockett's office was shocked because they had no idea that their coworker was once the 2nd biggest wrestling promoter in the U.S. throughout most of the 80s. That's how much he's left the wrestling business behind.
  • Just gonna paste this quote here: "For whatever this is worth in case this becomes a major historical question down the line, the actual idea to make David Arquette WCW champion came from Tony Schiavone." Dave notes that Schiavone didn't have any decision-making power to make it happen, but he was the one who made the suggestion at a production meeting. According to those there, when Schiavone made the suggestion, Vince Russo's eyes lit up like it was the best idea he'd ever heard and the rest is history. (Vince Russo has confirmed this story himself. Last I heard, Tony admits he was involved in coming up with the idea but he refuses to take sole credit for it).
  • The Chicago-Sun Times interviewed Greg Gagne's son JP who is a pitcher for Notre Dame. In the interview, he talked about how famous wrestlers used to stay at his house all the time growing up and said that his friends love the story of how he once rode Space Mountain at Disney World with Ric Flair. Hehe.
  • Shane Douglas is now the booker for XPW and is involved in an angle where owner Rob Black's wife Lizzie Borden is leaving him for Douglas (don't get too close to her Shane, you might lose a thumb! More on that in a couple weeks...). Also, at the first show with Douglas as booker, there was a scaffold match where Douglas came out and shot the guy on the scaffold with a tranquilizer, causing him to plummet to the ring below, which then exploded. Don't worry, I wouldn't write all that without having a video for ya:
WATCH: Shane Douglas XPW tranquilizer gun scaffold spot
  • Notes from TNA PPV Week 5: Sabu debuted to face Malice in a surprise ladder match. It was fine. Sabu won, which earned him a contract to face Ken Shamrock for the NWA title next week in another ladder match. Don't worry, we have more ladders to come. Jeff Jarrett is being booked like the Stone Cold of TNA and Dave ain't here for it. Francine and Jasmine St. Claire had a shower scene together backstage, later leading to Jasmine in a wet t-shirt. K-Krush cut a promo complaining about being fired by WWE, just in case you weren't aware that most of this roster is full of WWE rejects, they make sure you know it. A 4-way match with a bunch of the young guys completely fell apart with everyone except Christopher Daniels looking totally lost and confused. Dave says rarely do matches even in OVW fall apart as badly as this one did. Another little person match that Dave says was one of the worst matches of the year and was highlighted by one of them breaking a watermelon over the other's head. Negative 3 stars. Even worse, the match went waaaay longer than it was supposed to, which cut into the time for AJ Styles vs. Low-Ki and a match that should have been great ended up being a huge disappointment. Plus a drunk guy in the crowd took away everyone's attention and they couldn't get the audience back. Jerry Lynn attacked AJ with a ladder afterwards because whooohoo ladders! Francine and Jasmine ripped each other's clothes off like every other time you've seen it in WWE. Then Blue Meanie DDT'd her and she did a stretcher job. Brian ChristopheLawlewhatever he is this week cut a long promo trashing his father to continue getting fans interested in a match they can't possibly deliver. Why not just challenge Austin or Rock while you're at it, Dave wonders. Fuck it, if you're gonna do dumb shit, at least go big. Scott Hall vs. Christopher in the main event was bad because Hall just returned from working IWA in Puerto Rico for several days and was pretty much on a drunken bender the whole time. And then Hall did a stretcher job to end the show, which was kinda lessened by Francine having done the same thing 30 minutes earlier. And there we go. After only 5 shows, this shit is already WCW 2000 all over again.
  • Despite all the publicity they got, TNA also barely made any mention of the angle last week with the Tennessee Titans football players. Apparently the players caught some shit from the Titans GM for it and since they aren't coming back and they can't do a match or anything with them, TNA decided to just forget it happened.
  • In case you're wondering why TNA hasn't made a play for Scott Steiner yet, apparently he and Jeff Jarrett had been friends for years, especially during the WCW days, but they recently had a falling out of some kind. Hence, TNA has no interest in using him.
  • The reason WWE is running back-to-back tapings for Raw and Smackdown next month in Seattle is to test the market. WWE did a site check last month at Safeco Field for next year's Wrestlemania, but there's question as to whether the Seattle market will be able to sell out a big stadium like that, so the decision was made to do this. If they have a double-sellout both nights, that'll pretty much guarantee that Seattle gets Wrestlemania. If the shows do poorly, they may reconsider and select a new city (I guess these shows end up doing okay).
  • The Rock is set to star in another major movie, this time a $100 million budget production based on the video game SpyHunter. The hope is to have the movie out around Christmas 2003, in order to cross-promote it with the new video game coming out around that time. This adds more to Rock's Hollywood plate and it's looking like he's going to be around wrestling even less next year (this movie ends up stuck in developmental hell for years and never gets made, but Rock ends up doing the voice for the video game in 2009 instead).
  • Dave isn't sure why yet, but the long-planned Hogan vs. Vince match at Summerslam is now off. Dave suspects they may be holding off until Wrestlemania, which is great if they have a long-term plan and now that they're doing the Bischoff vs. Stephanie storyline, Vince is planning to take himself off TV for a little while anyway. So we'll see. In the meantime, the whole mess last week with Triple H talking Vince out of getting slapped by John Cena because "nobody should be laying hands on Vince until the Hogan match" ended up being for nothing.
  • Notes from Smackdown: in talking about Stephanie McMahon trying to be a babyface, Dave says she's basically the wrong person for this gimmick but she's a McMahon, so what are ya gonna do? He also jokes that "when this thing goes down and I write the book, I think my title will be "Wrestling Promoters Should Be Banned From Having Children: Unless They Don't Allow Them To Work In Their Promotion." I dunno, seems wordy to me. They also did the bit with Stephanie as GM and all the wrestlers backstage watching on the monitors, leading Dave on a Cornette-style rant about how WWE can't even be bothered to separate heels and faces in different locker rooms and it takes you out of the show when they're all sitting around backstage together watching the TV and carrying on conversations. Sure, kayfabe is already dead, but can we at least try to create an illusion of it within the show itself? This was also the last Smackdown before the PPV and there was some discussion over the finish of the Rock vs. Angle match. Paul Heyman and Michael Hayes wanted Rock to lose clean to the ankle lock, since he was winning the title on Sunday anyway and Angle was doing the job. Pat Patterson and Triple H argued against it, saying Rock shouldn't be tapping to anyone, even though Angle's gimmick right now is that he can make everyone tap (even Hogan last month). So instead, we got the Undertaker run-in DQ finish and Dave says this kinda shit is why WWE is unable to create long-term storylines. There was also a bunch of bickering with Heyman, Triple H and Hayes over the finish of the Jericho/Cena match as well, which Jericho was apparently upset about.
  • In an online chat this week, Goldberg didn't rule out going to WWE but said he hasn't met with anyone in the company. He also said that if WWE had kept Vince Russo, then there's zero chance he would have gone. When asked about Japan, he only said he's considering all offers. Goldberg is said to have no interest in the WWE schedule and is content with the idea of working a few big shows a year in Japan. That's all well and good but Dave says the reality is that the biggest money opportunity for Goldberg is in WWE, where there's several dream matches that would do huge PPV business and earn him far more money than he can ever make in Japan. WWE also gives you the kind of celebrity exposure in America that can open up acting roles. But the problem is, giving Goldberg a reduced schedule could cause some issues in the locker room. Then again, Rock and Hogan are already working reduced schedules.
  • This week's episode of WWE Confidential was the best of the series yet, focusing on the Bischoff and McMahon relationship. It was weird to see these two, out of character, reminiscing about a time when they legitimately would have gladly killed each other. They even showed Bischoff's 1990 WWF audition tape.
  • Various WWF notes: Kevin Nash did an interview and said he has spoken to Steve Austin since the walkout and gave his opinion on why Austin left. "I think Steve was burned out. He's got a broken neck, bad knees and a bad back. I know what it feels like when I wake up every morning. And he's had a couple multi-million years. Maybe it just isn't worth it to him anymore." Bischoff did a radio interview and noted he's been in L.A. constantly pitching TV ideas and said there's no interest in wrestling anywhere in Hollywood right now. Vince and Linda McMahon have purchased a new vacation condo in Boca Raton, FL. It's an 8-bedroom 10,000 sqft. condo on the 7th and 8th floors of the Excelsior hotel. The double-unit condo recently appraised for 14 million.
  • DDP did an interview and admitted that the stalker angle was the most disappointing thing he's ever done in wrestling because he wanted so badly for it to work and it flopped. DDP also said that Steve Austin hasn't called him since he was forced to retire and admitted he was kind of hurt by it. He said he knows Austin is going through a lot right now, but they're friends and if Austin can't take the time to care about what's going on in his life, then he can't be bothered to waste time worrying about whatever Austin is going through either.
NEXT WEDNESDAY: Mainstream stories about wrestling deaths in the works, TNA files lawsuit accusing marketing firm of defrauding the company, Observer Hall of Fame preview, TNA in deep financial trouble, and more...
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2020.08.12 11:19 TheFencingCoach 2020 Offseason Review: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Division: NFC South (7-9 2nd in the Division)
Head Coach: Bruce Arians
Offensive Coordinator: Byron Leftwich
Defensive Coordinator: Todd Bowles
Intro: Let me Get Something off my Chest A couple of months ago, I wrote the Buccaneers 32 Teams/32 Days Post. Looking back a it, I’m sticking to my guns on most of my analysis. There’s just…one….little….thing….we need to talk about. Regarding Jameis’s pending free agent status, I said:

There's also the question of QB. Jameis is also a UFA and I'd say there's a...40% chance we re-sign him. So who replaces him, and would an aging veteran QB like Brady or Rivers really be a marked improvement?
[Sneezes in Boston accent]
The answer is yes, Fencing Coach, you fawkin dumbass!
Did you really think that Jameis Winston was a bettah option than Tawm Fawkin’ Brady 6-time supah bowl champion and enemy of Rawjuh Fawkin’ Goodell? You were fawkin’ wrong!
Admit to the good people of Aw/NFL that you wuh just another paht of the fake news media that tried to say Tawm Bwady deflated the footballs and that Bill Belichick used the video cameras for the SpyGates!
And who would have evah guessed that we’d end up with Gronk! What a yeeyah! What an offseason you fawkin’ pessimist! We got the GOAT! Get ya Covid immunity TB12 pills and shove ‘em up yuh asshole!
[Snaps out of it]
Okay, now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, let’s get serious for a moment. This is the final Hail Mary of the underwhelming Jason Licht era, and aggressive moves were made this offseason, because the excuses have finally run out.
Since taking over the team in 2014, Jason Licht is on his third head coach (to be fair, Lovie Smith was not his choice) and only has a 34-62 (.35) record to show for, 0 playoff appearances, and only one winning season.
Meanwhile, a select list of his GM peers hired since include:
  • Brett Veach (Chiefs – Hired 2017): Super Bowl Champions, 3x playoff appearances, 34-14 record.
  • John Lynch (49ers – Hired 2017): NFC Champions, 23-25 record.
  • John Robinson (Titans – Hired 2016): 2x Playoff Appearances (Lost divisional in 2019), 36-28 record.
  • Brandon Beane (Bills – Hired 2017): 2x Playoff Appearances, 25-23 record.
Big moves were made this offseason at the Quarterback position, bringing in a certain 6th round pick out of Michigan to compete with the ethereal and legendary Blaine Gabbert. Jameis was shown the door. And the result is about a case of beer’s worth of cap space and little depth across the roster. Buckle your Bucs, this is going to be a helluvah ride.
Top Offseason Stories The Tompa Bay Gronkeneers: The biggest news of the offseason was giving Tom Brady a 2 yeaar, $50M contract (fully guaranteed). I won’t be blind to the fact that Tom Brady is 43 years old and clearly on the decline. But Tom Brady on the decline doesn’t have to carry the team on his back when he has Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Rob Gronkowski, Cameron Brate, and Oterius Jabari Howard to throw to. Not to mention, people will be sleeping on the Buccaneer defense. They shouldn’t be (more on that later).
Had Jameis Winston cut his 2019 turnovers in half, the Buccaneers would have been a playoff team and he would have been in the MVP discussion. Of course, if my mother had wheels, she’d be a bicycle. The real value of the Brady deal will be in his accuracy and more conservative approach to quarterbacking. Let’s exclude Tom Brady’s rookie year and his 2008 season cut short by injury, and Tom Brady has averaged ~10 interceptions. In five seasons, Jameis averaged ~18 interceptions per season (and dozens more fumbles).
Numbers aside, Brady’s value will come in the swagger he brings to the locker room. The 2019 Bruce Arians signing brought in a coach with a track record of winning. Brady’s window is obviously short…very short. But the ride should be fun while it lasts.
Then of course, there’s Rob Gronkowski, one of football’s most beloved meatheads. One year post retirement, Gronk put the cleats back on and chose to follow Brady to Tampa (in exchange for a 4th and the Patriots’ 7th round pick). With OJ Howard and Cameron Brate already on the roster, the Gronkowski trade was a luxury move, but will give Brady his favorite all-time target in an offense largely unfamiliar to him.
Jason Licht’s approach of building from the outside-in has often worked to his detriment for a team that has always excelled at receiving skill position players…but little else. The Tompa Bay Gronkeneers will be fun to watch. Let’s hope Brady can capture lightning in a bottle.
The Jameis Winston Cult of Personality Ends: When Jameis Winston first entered the league, I declared that his ceiling was Brett Favre and his floor was Jay Cutler. Five seasons in and I feel like he got a quarter of the way past Cutler. So how will I remember Jameis? For those of you who were old enough to watch the Jerry Springer show and see a big reveal that Cletus’s wife was cheating on him with the next door neighbor, it sure was entertaining for everyone watching, except for Cletus himself. For five years, Bucs fans were Cletus. Fans of the NFL marveled at his “eating W’s” meme while many of us cringed in embarrassment. You saw 5,000 yards and 30 TD’s. We saw 30 INT’s and 6 more fumbles.
The worst part of the Jameis Winston era wasn’t the embarrassment on-field, but the divisiveness he generated off the field. Post-game discussion threads on Buccaneers were riddled with personal attacks should anyone have dared mentioned that perhaps we would have won the football game had he not thrown 18,000 picks. But the worst of all? The discussion that came from his third sexual assault allegation (no, this is not a typo. People forget there were two allegations at FSU). Three allegations were not enough to keep a large contingency of the fan base from defending him, justifying his actions, and of course the classic Redditor “she was just in it for the money” trope.
Jameis Winston signed with the Saints this offseason, becoming a division rival’s embarrassment. I still believe he has an on-field future in the league. Perhaps, for now, the comments section will allow for smoother sailing. Perhaps not.
2020 Outlook Hard to believe that I’m now in Year 6 of writing these offseason reviews for Tampa, and outside of 2017 where I was wildly off on predicting our record, I’ve managed to fall within one victory/loss in each of the other four. The past two seasons, I’ve predicted our exact record. While Covid delays could impact the 2020 season itself, I predict the Tom Brady Bucs will go 10-6, win the wild card, and lose in the Divisional round.
Year My Prediction Actual
2015 7-9 6-10
2016 10-6 9-7
2017 10-6 5-11
2018 5-11 5-11
2019 7-9 7-9
2020 10-6 ???
Things I Like About the Bucs in 2020
  • The Defense: The Bucs finished 2019 with the top ranked run defense, led by beefy Tevita Tuliʻakiʻono Tuipulotu Mosese Vaʻhae Fehoko Faletau Vea. Sack Ferret had a breakout year and led the league in sacks, and Jason Pierre-Paul added 8.5 sacks off the edge despite starting only 8 games. Our ILB unit of Lavonte David and Devin White should be among the best tandems in the league. GM Jason Licht has drafted a fine trio of CB’s in Carlton Davis, Sean Murphy-Bunting, and Jamel Dean, and the addition of Antoine Winfield Jr. will add an instant performer. Suddenly, defense isn’t a concern when it’s been in the past.
  • People on Offense who Touch the Football Through the Air: If you told me a few months ago that Tom Brady would be throwing footballs in Tampa to Rob Gronkowski, I would have recommended you go see a shrink. But in the year 2020, anything happens. The receiving corps of Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Rob Gronkowski, Cameron Brate, and OJ Howard is the best in the NFL, and I can’t be convinced otherwise.
Things That Scare me About the Bucs in 2020:
  • The Kicking Game: Matt Gay was a 77.1% kicker as a rookie and missed big in some clutch situations. The Jason Licht era has brought in names like Roberto Aguayo, Nick Folk, Chandler Catanzaro, Kyle Brindza, and Cairo Santos (to name a few). None have gotten the job done. Kicker simply can’t be a liability. Gay has to get that % up to the high 80’s. Kickers have lost us numerous games in the last few years. We’re becoming the Minnesota Vikings of the NFC South. A team will only be as strong as its weakest link, and the kicking link has been dreadful.
  • People on Offense who Run the Football: I’m not sold on Ronald Jones, mostly because his blocking is still horrid and his vision is suspect. He also goes down if he gets hit with the force of a butterfly landing on his shoulder. Shady McCoy was brought in at the veteran minimum, but he was old enough to fight in the Revolutionary War. 3rd round pick Ke’Shawn Vaughn’s ceiling seems like a low one to me and he crosses me more as a utility back than a feature one (more on him in the draft analysis section). The running game is far less important in the NFL of the 2020’s, but there isn’t anyone on this roster who I think can carry the load.
  • People on Offense who are Supposed to Protect Tom Brady from Dying: Donovan Smith improved in 2019 from abysmal to below average, but below average is what people like Cameron Jordan make mincemeat out of. Tristan Wirfs is a rookie, and rookie OT’s are liabilities more often than not. Ali Marpet is still a stud, and Ryan Jensen improved mightily in year 2 in Tampa. Alex Cappa (RG) is a work in progress and it’s too early to dismiss the guy yet, but progress needs to be made there. For Brady’s sake, this unit has to keep him upright. 43 year olds aren’t meant to withstand hits made with the force of an 18-wheeler.
2020 Draft Analysis
Round/Pick Player Analysis
Round 1, #13 Overall Tristan Wirfs (RT – Iowa) Admittedly, I always struggle with evaluating OL positions. I thought Chance Warmack, Robert Gallery, and Jason Smith were generational talents. They were far from that. So take what I have to say with a grain of salt, and listen to people like Barian_Fostate who did an excellent breakdown of Wirfs and Jedrick Wills, with the evaluation noting some glaring flaws in Wirfs’ footwork and hand technique. There’s no denying that Wirfs’ athletic ability is deity level batshit. At 6’5, 320 pounds, he ran a 4.86 forty at the Combine, had a 36.5” vertical, and a 10’1 broad jump. Not to mention, the kid can straight up jump out of a pool and casually hang clean 500 pounds. I wanted to watch how Wirfs performed against some of his incoming peers in the NFL, so I watched his matchup against Pedophilia State University to see how he’d fare against Yetur Gross-Matos, 2nd round pick of the Panthers and future division opponent. The results were…underwhelming. YGM brought constant pressure throughout the game, and seemed to have Wirfs beat from his first step onward, but in the same game, his ability in the run game was eye opening (Example). But then you had cases of sheer lack of awareness on blitzes and also stunts that showed deep areas of weakness for Wirfs. One way or another, this was a necessary pick, and even if he doesn’t pan out at RT, Wirfs’ athleticism and gifted abilities in the run game will make him a long-term key part of the Bucs and a potential Guard candidate.
Round 2, #45 Overall Antoine Winfield Jr. (S – Minnesota) Antoine Winfield Jr.’s entrance into the league was a “you’re an old man” moment for us Redditors in our 30’s who grew up watching his “Hall of Very Good” father. This was a pretty pick. While Winfield is of course a safety, the very first thing that stood out to me watching his tape was his pass rush ability. Yes, his pass rush ability. The first couple of clips I put on of Winfield had him perfectly timing a snap from the box and immediately in the backfield by the time the QB had the ball in his hands. The second thing that stood out was his nose for the ball, particularly in clutch situations. As Joe Theismann simply stated: “big players make big plays,” and that couldn’t have been more true of Winfield, who had big time game saving interceptions against both Fresno State and Penn State. Winfield was my favorite pick of the Buccaneers draft class, and what he lacks in size he makes up for in speed and an excellent nose for the ball. Keep an eye out for this one.
Round 3, #76 Overall Ke’Shawn Vaughn (RB – Vanderbilt) Ke’Shawn Vaughn was one of the harder players to scout from this Buccaneer class, simply because it looked like he would have been better off with an offensive line of obese, beefy toddlers than whatever Vanderbilt rolled out for him. Nearly every snap I viewed of him, he rarely had a clean hole and was hit in the backfield the moment he touched the ball. Like, seriously, what is this? Vaughn’s biggest strengths to me showed up on tape with designed outside runs. Between the tackles, he showed little elusiveness, and a similar issue I saw with former Buccaneer pick Jeremy McNichol is that Vaughn tended to make multiple cuts before turning upfield. Not a good thing. Unlike a glaring weakness I saw in McNichols’ complete inability to block, it’s an area where Vaughn succeeded with flying colors. This, along with his adequate pass catching abilities (28 receptions for 270 yards in 2019) will make him a valuable 3rd down back in the beginning of his career (assuming RoJo is anointed the feature back). There are some traits in a RB that can’t be coached, like vision. There are other things like running upright with high pad level, a weakness I frequently saw with Vaughn that can be taught. Vaughn crosses me as a valuable utility player who may get looks as a feature back should RoJo continue to struggle. The value was there with his 3rd round selection, but expectations for his upside should be kept in check.
Round 5, #161 Overall Tyler Johnson (WR – Minnesota) A lot of the Buccaneers crew is pretty high on the Tyler Johnson pick. Pro Football Focus (PFF) had him top 50 on their big board and a Round 2 grade. I just don’t see it. Not at all, in fact. For a guy who stands at a mere 6’1 and is expected to play slot receiver, his speed and separation stand out as glaring weaknesses on tape. What I do like however, is his footwork coming off the line. Most of the time he’d beat his receivers within the first 5-7 yards off the line, but when it came to the deep ball I didn’t see a lot of “wow” factor. Tyler Johnson, I think, will be a reserve WR, which is exactly what you want from a 5th round pick. But I don’t see him as the massive steal many other fans did.
Round 6, #194 Overall Khalil Davis (DT – Nebraska) Played alongside his twin brother Carlos at Nebraska (who went one round later to the Steelers). I watched Davis’s game against Wisconsin and he looked to me like he’d fit best as a backup 5-tech. Not particularly explosive with a slow first step, and there were numerous occasions when he did penetrate the backfield but had terrible angles on the RB. Mind you, he was playing against Jonathan Taylor and a stalwart OL, but you want to see flashes of brilliance, even against good competition. Did not see anything that made me say: “this guy’s going to make our final roster.”
Round 7, #241 Overall Chapelle Russell (LB – Temple) I was able to find little tape of Russell, but one area where I do trust Jason Licht is in his ability to scout LB’s. I’m not going to pretend I know anything about Russell. I don’t.
Round 7, #245 Overall Raymond Calais (RB – Louisiana Lafayette) Calais’s best shot to make the roster will likely be as a return man, where he excelled at Louisiana Lafayette. Based on the limited tape I saw of him, I saw flashes of Felix Jones for his ability to get big gains off of draw plays in the shotgun. Obviously a longshot to make the roster.
Schedule Predictions
Week Opponent Prediction Analysis
Week 1 @Saints 27-24 Bucs (1-0) Bucs pass rush finds a way to get to Brees. Fun fact: this will be the oldest matchup of QB’s ever in NFL history…until the Bucs play the Saints again in week 9.
Week 2 Panthers 34-20 Bucs (2-0) Panthers are no doubt in rebuild mode right now. In the past two matchups, Bucs run game has managed to stifle Christian McAffrey. Keep an eye on rookie Yetur Gross-Matos. I think he’ll have a more immediate impact than even 1st round pick Derrick Brown.
Week 3 @Broncos 37-28 Bucs (3-0) Always a challenge to play at Mile High on the road, but I think the Bucs defense will manage to shut down a young and budding Broncos offense. On a Broncos note, I’ll never understand Jeudy being the 2nd WR off the board (let alone the 2nd Bama receiver taken). Best route runner I’ve seen enter the league since OBJ.
Week 4 Chargers 28-21 Chargers (3-1) No, I’m not too high on Justin Herbert, but when the Bucs play a rookie QB, I’m usually prone to pick the other team. For some reason, no matter the Head Coach and/or defensive coordinator, the Bucs crumple into fetal position against rookies.
Week 5 @Bears 31-13 Bucs (4-1) If Foles’ performance against the Bucs last year is any indication, they have his number. Pray that Mitch Trubisky doesn’t start. In his last outing against Tampa, he threw 6 TD’s. He did that as a rookie, mind you. Remember what I said about Bucs against rookie QB’s?
Week 6 Packers 28-24 Packers (4-2) Rumors of Aaron Rodgers’ demise are greatly exaggerated. It’s a team that’s just complete enough on both sides of the ball that I find it surprising so many are writing them off.
Week 7 @Raiders 34-31 Bucs (5-2) Here’s another team that is starting to form well under the cracker Mike Mayock. Raiders will be as good as Carr is in Gruden’s offense, and while he improved somewhat in Chucky’s offense by the end of year 2, this is a team at the tipping point between playoffs and an outright QB replacement.
Week 8 @Giants 37-17 Bucs (6-2) Though rookie Daniel Jones (sense a trend here?) shredded the Bucs with gusto last year, Bucs run defense should be able to neutralize Saquon, and despite a good rookie showing, I don’t have much faith in the long term prospects of Daniel Jones.
Week 9 Saints 20-17 Saints (6-3) Can usually count on the Saints and Bucs to split the division series. And once again, the oldest QB matchup ever. Put on some episodes of MASH. Get your Bingo cards ready. It’s geriatric QB time.
Week 10 @Panthers 41-21 Bucs (7-3) Will there be a season by this point? I don’t know. But I still like the Bucs to sweep the series with the Panthers this season.
Week 11 LA Rams 24-17 Rams (7-4) Rams offense is all of a sudden looking less like the powerhouse it was from a few years ago, but their defense is still nasty. Aaron Donald will make any QB poop their pants, including Tom Brady. This will be a violent defensive battle and I think the Rams will take the edge.
Week 12 Chiefs 37-27 Chiefs (7-5) For years on NFL going back to his time at Texas Tech, I told you all to get on board the Mahomes canoe. Love seeing him already building his Madden legacy. I’m just not going to bet against him right now.
Week 13 Bye N/A I have no way of confirming this, but I’m fairly certain during the bye week Bruce Arians clears out his office and runs an illegal cockfighting ring with his assistant coaches. You can’t convince me I’m wrong.
Week 14 Vikings 31-28 Bucs (8-5) Vikings remain a balanced team on offense and defense and the Zim Zamm still can’t be flim flammed. Close game here that will be a defensive battle with a few big time plays on offense sprinkled in.
Week 15 Falcons 34-27 Falcons (8-6) I’m glad to see Raheem Morris back in a DC position after seeing him work his way back up the coaching ranks. Always one of my favorite Buccaneer coaches despite his (many) flaws. I pick the Falcons in our first matchup because of one man and only one man: Julio Jones. Jones has now played a full 16 games in his career against Tampa, coming up with a staggering 116 catches for 1,841 yards and 11 TD’s. That’s cruelty.
Week 16 Lions 41-14 Bucs (9-6) I have a feeling by this point in the season, Fat Patricia will be one of the first Head Coaches fired and the Lions will be staffed by Interim Head Coach Darrell Bevell. The Bucs will be playing a team with a wounded ego ready to be put down like Old Yeller.
Week 17 Falcons 28-3 Bucs (10-6) Bucs fight hard to squeak into the playoffs, their first appearance since 2007.
Final Projection: Bucs win wild card, lose in the Divisional Round
Projected Starting Lineup & Analysis: Offense QB- Tom Brady: See above analysis. Probably Wrong Projected Stats: 4,438 yards, 67.1% completion percentage, 33 TD’s, 13 INT’s
WR1 – Mike Evans: At only 26 years old, Mike Evans already sits at 128th all-time on the career receiving yards list, and has a chance to pass [checks notes] Michael Crabtree on the all-time list this season. In every season in the league, Evans has surpassed 1,000 yards and has become a hallmark of consistency, even with the suspect supporting cast around him. Having an accurate QB for the first time in his career will be a huge benefits to Evans. Probably Wrong Projected Stats: 70 receptions, 1,213 yards, 6 TD’s
WR2 – Chris Godwin: Godwin had a brilliant breakout last season, earning 2nd Team All-Pro honors (that probably would have been 1st team had his season not been cut short by injury). While Evans might be the bigger threat, Godwin is among the most complete receivers in the league. A fantastic route runner with sure hands—and perhaps his most overlooked quality is his blocking. Find me a WR who does it better right now. You won’t. Probably Wrong Projected Stats: 77 receptions, 1,387 yards, 7 TD’s
RB – Ronald Jones: RB is one of the few positions where fans can reasonably expect instant production from a player when he transitions from the college ranks to the pros. As a rookie, RoJo was a mega dud who could barely find the field in the Koetter era. He took a huge step forward in year 2 (724 yards, 4.2 ypc) but still often disappeared in games and lacked the pass protection skills that are so necessary in Arians’ offense. RoJo will have Vaughn to take off some of his workload, but I still see RoJo as one of the weakest links on an otherwise complete offense. Probably Wrong Projected Stats: 808 Rushing yards (4.2 YPC), 5 TD’s
TE – Rob Gronkowski: See above analysis. Probably Wrong Projected Stats: 41 receptions, 614 yards, 6 TD’s
LT – Donovan Smith: Donovan Smith provides as much protection as Jeffrey Epstein’s guards when he was on suicide watch. While Tom Brady tends to release the ball far faster than Winston, the Arians offense designed for Brady better be getting the ball out fast. 43 year old QB’s aren’t meant to take the kinds of hits Winston did. Let’s hope that Tristan Wirfs is able to prove himself a viable option on the left side. We’ll be able to get out of Donovan Smith’s contract after this season with no cap ramifications. On a side note, there’s a decent change Donovan Smith will opt out of his contract due to Covid concerns. And I wouldn’t blame him one bit.
LG – Ali Marpet: Marpet continues to be the most reliable piece of our OL. Like Lavonte, a continually unheralded player who you can rely on to go toe-to-toe with the league’s best interior DL while manhandling the dregs of the NFL. I thought last season would be Marpet’s shot at a 2nd Team All-Pro, but he was passed over once again. Love Marpet.
C – Ryan Jensen: Jensen’s first year with the team was free agent bust material. He seemed to thrive more in the Arians offense and we saw marked improvement in all facets of his game last year. Overpaid for his value? Definitely. Living up more and more to the contract we gave him? Yup.
RG – Alex Cappa: When Jason Licht rolled the dice on small school Humboldt State product Alex Cappa, he may have been expecting the next Ali Marpet. In his first full season as a starter, there were things to be encouraged by and I’m a little more bullish on Cappa than most of the fan base. Though he allowed 31 pressures on 562 pass snaps (roughly 6% pressure rate), I saw Cappa’s confidence growing as the season went on. His third season will tell us what his true ceiling in this league is. Right now, his floor isn’t Garrett Gilkey, but his ceiling ain’t Earl Grey.
RT – Tristan Wirfs: See above analysis.
Projected Starting Lineup & Analysis: Defense EDGE – Sack Ferret: The Sack Ferret was brought on a 1 year, $4 million deal last season. I predicted he’d be a 5.5 sack guy and then probably hit free agency again. Just like we all expected, he went off and led the league in sacks with 19.5 (more than his previous five years in the league combined) and earned himself the franchise tag. Barrett has quickly become a fan favorite, and while I don’t see him replicating his majestic 2019 season, I still think he’ll be the same terror he’s been off the edge. Probably wrong projected stats: 12.5 sacks.
0-Tech - Tevita Tuliʻakiʻono Tuipulotu Mosese Vaʻhae Fehoko Faletau Vea: Running on the Buccaneers in 2019 was damn near impossible, so much so that the team only allowed 73.8 rushing yards per game. That success started up front with Vita Vea, who has quickly emerged as the league’s top 0-tech. Unfortunately, like his forefathers in Vince Wilfork and Casey Hampton, he’s likely to spend his career as a valuable defensive cog who receives few to no career accolades due to the “unsexiness” of being a two-gap space eating defender. So NFL, here’s a homework assignment for you. Watch Vea on All-22 if you have some time while on Covid lockdown. You will see one of the most absurdly athletic big men in the league who is your definition of immovable object. His progress last year was a joy to watch and he’s quickly becoming one of my favorite players. Oh, and he’s the best TE on the Bucs. By far. Probably wrong projected stats: 2.5 sacks, 2 receiving TD’s.
5-Tech – Ndamukong Suh: We brought Suh back on another 1 year deal. No, he’s not the player he once was (he’s even refrained from curbstomping genitals in Tampa…so far), but his attitude he sets on the field has been a welcome change compared to the namby-pamby milquetoasts on our DL from the past. Suh’s value will come mostly in the run game. His sack producing days are long gone. Probably wrong projected stats: 3.5 sacks.
EDGE – Jason Pierre-Paul: It’s [checks notes] August, and Jason Pierre-Paul hasn’t had an offseason accident. Praise the football Gods. Despite starting in only 8 games last year due to a serious auto accident, JPP managed 8.5 sacks. At 31, father time hasn’t quite caught up with him yet. Probably wrong projected stats: 9.5 sacks.
ILB – Lavonte David: The good part of Lavonte David bouncing inside last season to Will is that he no longer got grouped in the same bucket as sack-producing 3-4 OLB’s who beat him out for All-Pro nods nearly every year. Even at 30, Lavonte only seems to be getting better, and his instincts and smarts continue to essential to the defense. Though Lavonte is one half of the Mike tandem and has been one of the league’s best LB’s’ for all of 8 seasons, I don’t think he’s going to be the centerpiece stud. Keep Devin White’s name at the forefront of your mind, which leads me to... Probably wrong projected stats: 3.5 sacks, 3 INT’s
ILB – Devin “Get Live 45” White: If you’ve read any of my posts here for the last 5+ years, you would see I don’t take a blind homer approach with player evaluation. Not once have I predicted a Buccaneer would win the MVP award, nor have I predicted a Buccaneer would win DPOY. In fact, only once have I ever predicted we’d be a playoff team. Now that preamble is done, let me say it outright: Devin White is going to win Defensive Player of the Year in Year 2. What? Mikes never win, you say. And you’d be mostly correct. In fact, Vegas odds don’t even have Devin White listed in their top 10. Here’s what I saw from Devin White in the last half of his rookie season: an absolutely insane nose for forcing the fumble, excellent pass rush abilities, and smarts that put him in the backfield often before the RB even had the ball in his hands. I saw enough from him to believe his leap in year 2 is going to be similar to that of Luke Kuechly’s where he won DPOY in his second year in the league. Wherever the ball is, Devin White will be there. You’re going to see one of the league’s dominant defensive enforcers for a long, long time. Probably wrong projected stats: 6.0 sacks, 5 INT’s, 6 FF’s.
FS – Antoine Winfield Jr.: See above analysis. I think we’re also going to see Justin Evans get cut Probably wrong projected stats: 2.0 sacks, 2 INT’s
SS – Jordan Whitehead: Jordan White is the most underrated player on the Buccaneers defense, in my eyes. No, not Lavonte, because people talk about how underrated he is all the time to the point he’s not so underrated anymore. Whitehead’s mistakes went down drastically last year and he has a knack for being where the football is. Really like him and could see some big plays from him this season. Probably wrong projected stats: 1.0 sacks, 3 INT’s
CB – Carlton Davis: Bruce Arians doesn’t give empty praise, but he recently called Carlton Davis a top ten CB in the league, an assessment I’m inclined to agree with. He was battle tested big time in year 2, getting targeted 105 times and only allowing 52.4% of those balls thrown his way to be completed. He was able to shadow the best, and his 18 pass breakups are indicative of a guy with great awareness. And the funny thing is, he’s not even the CB I’m highest on with this roster. Probably wrong projected stats: 4 INT’s
CB – Jamel Dean: For a guy who came in as a 3rd round rookie, Dean exceeded expectations and then some. His first game as a starter came against the Seahawks, there’s no sugarcoating it—he got owned. But what I saw was a guy who stayed stride for stride with his receiver with little help over the top. By the end of his rookie season, he was looking like a shutdown corner. This is the CB I’m most excited for in 2020. Kid’s got a bright future. Probably wrong projected stats: 3 INT’s
CB – Sean Murphy-Bunting: When I’m wrong, I admit I’m helluh wrong, and with Murphy-Bunting, I was helluh wrong. Yes, it’s been only one season and things could still go south, but I was baffled when we passed on Greedy Williams in favor of SMB.
Non-Buccaneer Predictions for the Season
  1. My 2018 breakout player prediction was Patrick Mahomes. Last year, it was Joshua Jacobs and Corey Davis (oops). This year, you need to watch J.K. Dobbins (rookie, Baltimore), N’Keal Harry (2nd year, NE). Perhaps not a true breakout, but I think Calvin Ridley will surpass 1,000 yards and become an even bigger complement to Julio Jones.
  2. MVP will go to Russ Wilson. DPOY will go to Devin White (and if you’ve been reading these posts long enough you know I don’t usually go the homer approach). OPOY will go to Patrick Mahomes. COTY will go to Cliff Kingsbury.
  3. The NFC Championship will be played between the 49ers and the Cowboys. The Cowboys will win. The AFC Championship will be played between the Kansas City Chiefs and the New England Patriots. The Chiefs will win. The Chiefs will repeat in the Super Bowl, defeating the Cowboys.
  4. Last year I wrote: “Sam Darnold isn’t going to amount to much as an NFL QB. Not this year, and probably not ever.” I’ll repeat it this year too. But let me add one guy to that list: Tua Tagovailoa.
  5. Clyde Edwards-Helaire isn’t the superstar you think he is. I think his career will wind up like Joseph Addai’s: a guy who had a few flash in the pan seasons but never among the top backs. That’s not a bad thing, I would just cool expectations on him.
  6. The teams with the highest potential to land a top 5 pick, in no particular order: Lions, Jaguars, the Washington Football team (I feel like an idiot even typing that), Bears, Jets. Dark Horse: Eagles.
  7. Coaches who have the hottest seats: Fat Patricia, Dan Quinn, Adam Gase, Doug Marrone, Bill O’Brien (as coach and GM).
Shoutouts Shoutouts to my fellow mods on Buccaneers and NFL. It's a pleasure working with you all every day and shooting the shit with dank memes. And of course, much love to platypusofdeath who puts an insane amount of work into this series every year. Thank you for all you do.
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2020.08.05 20:32 elvis6Aug High school locker room spy

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submitted by elvis6Aug to u/elvis6Aug [link] [comments]

2020.07.11 22:21 Professor-Memeyy High school locker room spy

So, what is my story?
I asked myself this as I found myself in the Spirit Realm. Looking around, it was mostly empty, just like usual. However, there was an odd vibe to the room. It felt like someone was breathing on my neck. I turned around, and...
“AAAH!” I yelped, jumping backward.
The person in front of me was a boy, slightly shorter than me. He looked about sixteen, and he had soft orange hair that was done in a mullet, along with bright pink eyes. The pale white of his robe was a harsh contrast to the general black of the Spirit Realm, however the yellow lightning symbol embroidered into the robe reminded me greatly of the lightning symbol of my sweatshirt, which had been ripped off of me in the fight against Cerban.
“Well, that’s awkward,” he snickered. “Hi there, I’m One! And these are my pals, Two and Three!”
One gestures to the two boys at his side, which I didn’t even notice were there. They were very... familiar. Two had Peach hair which he had tied back in a ponytail, while Three had a round face and little dimples. Wait a sec, I know who they are! Those are the boys from my visions!
“We’re your guides to the afterlife!” One continued, explaining. “Deities are often very confused when they pass on. I’ll show you around!” The boy chuckled, then asked, “So, what’s your name? If I know your name I’ll be able to take you to your past incarnations.”
Already, I was confused. My past incarnations? “Uh... I’m Damien.”
“Damien?” One repeated. I nodded. Suddenly, he grabbed me by the collar of my shirt and pulled me towards him. “You! You’re the one who was free of Cerban! Tell us, what happened?! What is your story?!”
“The fuck are you talking about, man?!” I asked, pushing One away to free myself.
One glared at me with a desperate intensity. “We’re you, that’s what I’m talking about. You’re the fourth incarnation of Damien. Now tell us, what’s your story?! How did you live and die?!”
As realization crept in, I stepped back, wrapping my arms around myself. My... my past incarnations. That means that the boy Cerban was raising was... me?
“You first.”
“Excuse me?“
“You first,” I repeated, my whole body burning. “What was it like? What was it like with him?”
One sighed, then nodded in compliance. “Fine.”
He raised his hand into the air, and a vision surrounded the four of us.
“My life was the closest fucking thing to hell,” One began. The vision displayed the cave, that I had just died in, except it looked much more like a house. Instead of the crystal all being exposed, walls and a floor took up the space, along with long hallways and paintings. We were in the classroom, Cerban up front, a chalkboard behind him, while a vision of One sat in a desk. “He treated me strangely. He treated me like his son. Every day, he taught me things. He taught me about the intricacies of his unfinished realm, the Spirit Realm, how to edit it, how reincarnation works, all that. Every time I ‘misbehaved’, I would be met with a slap, each one harder than the last. Deep down to my very core, I had nothing but resentment for him.”
“Wait wait wait,” I interrupted, “hold on... his unfinished realm? His unfinished realm?”
One nodded. “He created the Spirit Realm as a place for the reincarnation process to take place. Unfortunately, he never finished making it, and so it can be manipulated by anyone who has access to it.”
“He... made it?” I asked.
“That’s beside the point,” One waved a hand, and the vision showed a different location, to the boy’s bedroom. “The way he treated me disgusted me. Always with some lovey-dovey crap, like he forgot about the hate us deities had for him. Every night, he’d try to touch me, kiss me, tell me goodnight. I was a child, too small to contain my hatred, and I’d snap at him. He would... put me in my place.”
With those words, the vision played a scene of One slapping Cerban’s hand away. In retaliation, Cerban slapped the child’s face, hard. The sight of it made me gag, my throat welling up with fury.
“Of course, it wasn’t completely his fault, being a demon and all,” One added. “He always told me stories from hell, and he’d always tell me that, ‘Oh, my boy, demons run on instinct! They’re naturally evil creatures!’ Cut the crap.” He scoffed, and the vision changed.
I blinked, shocked as to how casually One could mention that. “Hold on, he’s actually a demon?!”
Nodding, One groaned. “Duh! You’ve seen the lines under his eyes, his weird hair! How do you think he’s immortal in the first place?” As he talked, he paced, and I notice his voice was slightly higher in pitch, and he moved quite fast. That’s when I realized he was using his Abilium, seemingly unintentionally, to slow time as he paced. He sighed, then changed the vision once more. The teen was outside of the cave, petting a small bird.
This bird looked familiar. “Isn’t that the bird that Two revived?” I asked.
One nodded solemnly. “This bird was our best friend, for a few lifetimes. I named her Clover. Had Three not revived the past incarnation of Emery, and instead revived Clover, she might’ve been alive right now.”
“I see... but how did she live that long?”
Speechless, One allowed the vision to play out. He held Clover in his hands, smiling at the motionless bird. It looked like he was talking, but as with the visions from the other two boys, no sound played. Then, One went quiet as he noticed that the bird was weak. Old. And... the bird’s number ticked up.
The boy cried very heavily in the vision, tears staining his robe. A bright pink light shone in his hands, and the crystal of the cave behind him began to light up with a glaring white. Then, One collapsed onto the floor, and Clover soar high above.
“You revived her?”
“Both Two and I revived Clover,” One answered. “But I assume she isn’t alive anymore. I wouldn’t know. She isn’t a deity.” Solemnly, I looked down to the ground. There was a brief silence, until One reminded me, “Hey. It’s your turn. What’s your story.”
I took a deep breath. “Um... am I supposed to do that vision shit?”
One nodded. “Don’t you know how?” I shook my head. “Ah, right. You didn’t live with Cerban.”
“How do you know that?” I asked.
“Sometimes one of us spies on him when he enters the Spirit Realm by himself,” One explained, “and many times he spoke about... about his longing for you.”
I shivered, disgust running up my spine. “Oh. Just teach me how to edit or whatever.”
For a few minutes, One explainer to me how edits in the Spirit Realm worked. With editing, I could manipulate how the Spirit Realm looked, how much time passed compared to the physical world, and with enough practice, how it sounded. It was as simple as “forcing your thoughts out,” however it was difficult. It took me a while to show them a vision. My first memory.
“My parents were kind... I guess,” I began, ignoring the looks of admiration and intrigue from the three other me’s. “They never believed me, though. Never believed in the numbers. No one did.”
Suddenly, I began to think about school. The vision flickered and changed, to the memory of my confrontation with the bully, the one who was harassing some kid who ratted him out. “Number Nerd. Digit Dork. All kinds of names about me spread throughout the school,” I continued, looking away as the bully slammed me into the locker. “My parents didn’t care. They gave up on me, eventually.”
“What about friends?” Three piped up.
“Didn’t have any,” I replied, “they didn’t wanna hang out with the ‘weird number guy.’ Who would?”
Three frowned, and I began to think more and more about my parents. They never stuck up for me, they tried to shove me into the arms of any therapist they could. “Fix him,” they’d say. Fix him. But, like a child with a broken toy, they couldn’t fix me. So they threw me out.
The vision showed my three incarnations the scene. My mother talking to me, telling me that I was eighteen now, it was time to get out. She didn’t seem to be even slightly sad. My dad didn’t care either. He shrugged. I began to tear up, both in real life and in the vision. I remember how desperately I pled to my mother to let me stay, that I had just turned eighteen, that I needed them. My parents gave me some money and told me to fuck off.
“I was...” I took a deep breath, trying to slow the tears that streamed down my face, “in a dark place, after that. A very, dark place.”
When I say I was dangling on the edge of a knife, that is no exaggeration. I didn’t let the Spirit Realm show they the specifics, but I wasn’t happy with myself. Disposable was the most of what I thought I was. Disposable.
“But... I came back into the light. A friend helped me out with that, actually.”
In front of my very eyes, that fateful day played out. Frustratedly walking to McDonald’s, trying to ignore my thoughts of the numbers. When I got there, the server said...
“Oh, you stupid son of a bitch.”
I flinched, and looked up to see that the vision made a sound. It was silent from then on, but I didn’t realize how much that simple sentence had impacted me.
“Axel. A deity. He told me everything, about Abilium, about Cerban, about deities. In doing so he yanked me out of that darkness. Thanks to him, this past month has been the best of my life.”
Visions of my expeditions began to appear in flashes. The deity discussion, rescuing Alice, Axel crying in a hug with Emery...
Gabriel fighting Doug.
Markus and I’s argument.
Getting along with Maddy, fighting Midas and actually winning, rescuing Jamie. Witnessing Gabriel’s death. All of these events, surrounding the four of us with a delicate brilliance. And then it continued onward, showing our fight with Cerban, the creation of Damius, the death of Markus. By this point, I was on my knees sobbing.
“And that’s... that’s my story. But it can’t end yet. We are so close to finishing everything,” I looked up to One, and asked. “Tell me, how long does the reincarnation process take?”
Wiping tears off his face, One replied, “Depends, since the Spirit Realm is wonky, but on average about... ten years?”
I shot up from the ground back on my feet. “Ten years?!”
“Listen, listen,” One reassured, “you can edit the Spirit Realm now. You can reincarnate in an instant—“
“But I’ll be a baby!” I shouted. Taking another breath to calm down, I asked, “so... how does reincarnation work anyway?”
One nodded, understanding that that knowledge might be important. “It’s... complicated.”
“Tell me anyway.”
“Okay, so, it’s kinda like mitosis,” he explained. “So you know how cells in your body divide and clone? That’s what your spirit does. The Spirit Realm then detects that new spirit, and creates a body that matches identically to that spirit.”
I nodded, an idea already brewing in my head. “So, if the spirit is identical to the body... then the spirit has an Abilium fragment as well?”
One was taken aback. “Well... yes, actually.”
“So, let’s say for a moment, you used the life transfer power on me,” I continued, “what would happen then?”
“Well, life transfer works by merging your entire spirit with someone else’s, revitalizing them, and so...”
“That would make a new spirit then, theoretically?” I asked, a grin forming on my face. One nodded. “And so, the Spirit Realm detects that a new spirit is present, and...”
“It would begin building a body!” One finished for me. We smirked at each other excitedly.
Continuing, I pointed out, “On top of that, I can edit the time in the Spirit Realm. I could instantly reincarnate, like you said.”
One looked deep in thought, like an idea of his own was forming. “So if our spirits would merge... wouldn’t you technically have more Abilium fragments in you?” I nodded. That made sense. “That means... you’d have more energy. You’d be stronger.”
That thought made me smile even wider. “Which means I’d be able to have a decent chance against Cerban, especially considering how weakened he’s gotten from the fight!”
We nodded at each other, and looked down to Two and Three.
“So, we’re doing it?” Two asked.
“Indeed,” One placed a hand on the little one’s head. “We are.” He looked back up to me. “Well, Damien, it was a pleasure to meet you. End this for us. We believe you can do it.”
Two and Three nodded, and each put a hand on my leg. Their hands glowed pink as their spirits slowly faded away. One placed a hand on my chest, pink light shining from his hand as well.
“Thank you,” I blurted. “For everything.”
One chuckled. “I was gonna say the same thing.”
With that, his spirit faded away, merging into mine. Already, I felt incredibly different. It felt like the Spirit Realm itself was tugging on me, building me.
Using my powers, I sped up time around me, speeding up the process. I guess this power isn’t as useless as I thought.
With my mind, I edited the Spirit Realm, making it so that in the physical world, this process would be instant. Within mere seconds, from my perspective, light flashed around me. I shut my eyes tight, and noticed a change in the feeling of the floor.
I opened my eyes and looked around. Ryanne had fallen to the floor, and Markus was stirred awake. Turning my head, I saw Maddy, her left hand gripping her knife tight as she slammed it into the ground, the tip of the knife getting stuck in the crystal.
Smirking, I turned to one of the walls of the cave, looking at my reflection. My eyes were a pale pink, and on my chest, right where my heart was, there was a tattoo with the design of a clock with a lightning bolt above one corner of it and a D above another.
A four hovered above my head like a halo.
I turned my head to meet Cerban’s eyes, certain truths coming at me all at once. Upon looking at me, he teared up, his whole body trembling.
“This is where everything ends, dad.”
Slowing down time, I zoomed toward the creator of my kind, the power of finality coursing through my veins.
submitted by Professor-Memeyy to MemeyyWrites [link] [comments]

2020.07.09 21:28 stavros1877 The Courier Netflix 2020 [SPOILERS]

In case you may have prejudged The Courier I have made a step by step summary to help you decide whether it is worth a watch.
The Courier Plot: May contain spoilers.
Film opens up in black and white, a portent of a flashback, or flash forward? A car races towards a woman tied to a chair and cuts at the last minute.
Title “The Courier”. Image stolen from Eastenders. This film will definitely be about The Courier, I can feel it.
Exposition titles showing that a bad man is very bad, looks to be connected to “rings” and not the good kind.
Exposition shows the word “corruption” – I wonder if they are going to do what Smokin Aces did; be so ham fisted with the setup at the beginning of the film that the twist is telegraphed with the subtlety of a Tourettes orator on Sodium Penathol with a loudhailer.
Cut to New York. Classic beginning of a Badman in a church. A Gary Oldman Badman. We don’t yet know he is a Badman apart from the fact he has a leather peacoat and an eye patch.
He is definitely a Badman as his daughter is not allowed to cry. Cue FBI come to take him away, he gets standard Oldman operatic music that increases in volume. Nothing better than an Oldman Badman.
Key change! Now in London. London gets YouTube royalty free techno. This must be The Courier on the bike. The Foley artist and the DP must have not spoken to each other as it sounds like the Isle of Man TT but looks like driving Miss Daisy. She has a special helmet stolen from StreetHawk. A sign of things to come?
She is asked to hurry up with a ten-minute arrival call, so rips the throttle to 22 mph. The helmet may be broken as it fluctuates between 60-80mph per second but the bike doesn’t jolt!
Badman under house arrest. His apartment is massive which is why he has put a dressing gown on over his normal clothes. Takes the heating bill out on policeman who looks like a poor man’s Tom Sizemore.
Cut to courtroom, video link to undisclosed European location. Is the previous London snippet a maguffin? Let’s hope not.
Back in London Baby. Witness protection as standard with Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak being protected for presumably bailing us out over the pandemic. Is this because the Badman doesn’t like his policies?
Not Sunak’s first rodeo. Who’s this new person he asks. Why its none other than Toff from Made in Chelsea. She gives a negative appraisal of Badman so must be our moral compass.
Aerial shot of police convoy. If the previous bike scene was anything to go by, they must be travelling at about Mach 1
12 mins in: Enter into a car park, what a boring location. Let’s hope they move on from here pretty soon. I’m not one for omens but trying to hit the Shepherds tone with this music is getting me pretty stressed.
The safehouse sounds impregnable, it has six inches of material, namely in a wall. Sunak lights up a cigarette, which explains why he’s not the health minister. Toff calms his nerves by talking about his would be assassin, Badman.
Cut to New York. Sizemore wants to turn off the Aria ahead of time. I don’t think so!
Even though he is on high alert house arrest, he can go and speak about BadThings privately.
Badman calls poor Man’s Jamie Bell. He is so scared of Badman when he speaks on the phone he uses it to salute. The English actor nails the American accent by pronouncing route “Rowt”. Badman orders Badthing to happen.
Sunak’s due on the video link. Rather than transporting the video link under the safety of all of the police with him at the same, they have Streethawk Deliveroo do it instead. Enter The Courier.
Several cuts back and forth really ramp up the tension, to the point of tedium. Toff looks at her watch a few times. Toff is a bit of a maverick. The enormity weighs on Sunak, so he goes for an obligatory toilet break just before BadThing.
Oh no Toff’s gone rogue! Sunak is a good judge of character, he knew. Cyanide in the package. The Courier has been setup. OMG!
The Courier’s got game. I’ll have that gasmask thank you very much. And that gun. She looks to be a good guy but no manners! Why speak to Sunak from the other side of the door when you can roundhouse the shit out of it, that’s less threatening.
The Courier rescues Sunak to his initial dismay. She must really want to help him by going to all this trouble rather than just leaving him to fend for himself.
Why should I trust you! He cries. He realises why when Toff tries to shoot at his frowning face. Toff with a gun reminds him that the elite class are untrustworthy, unaware of the irony.
Always shoot the body. The Courier had a bullet proof vest on, as it is London.
What are you? Proclaims Sunak. “JUST A COURIER” says Steven Chef Segal embodiment The Courier.
Courier imparts more sage advice in lift descent, she must really want to keep him safe rather than just leaving him to fend for himself.
Nope. Lift patter is over, she skanks him.
Toff calls poor man’s Bell, he still has the phone glued to his temple, poor guy. He is so angry he stares at the phone thinking she lives inside it but can’t move it away from his head due to the glue, so gives savage level side eye to it instead. Nothing conveys disappointment to someone on a phone call like eye movement.
Sunak wants a lift and looks over at a nearby bike replete with handily located helmet. The entrance opens to an awaiting car. You know they are baddies as it is a Range Rover. Jamie Bell looks pissed off. The phone must have ripped off some of his sideburn. His baddie gun is inaccurate however and they speed off up the car park. They can’t escape surely?
A battalion of Seven heavily armed men enter, this doesn’t look good. They obviously didn’t feel the need to wait to get their guns out until after they vacated the street, what with London being one of the most CCTV covered cities on the planet. Bell’s gun has a suppressor on it for discretion, what with the others having assault rifles.
Drawn back into the car park, the Courier reminisces about Mission Impossible:2 by using the front brake to show off with a front wheelie.
Sunak blames The Courier for going in the opposite direction to the 8 armed men even though she didn’t know they were there until the roller shutters were lifted. The 13 year old screenwriter makes him struggle to get his helmet off for comic relief. Tonally it was perfect and came across really well. Well executed.
Bell shoots the security guard without remorse, presumably as a lesson that if you don’t hear tyre squeal and gunshots at work, you may not be hitting the minimum job requirement. He nails the American accent by calling the lift an elevator. We have you surrounded speech followed by a close up of special fingerprint gun. I wonder if that will pop up as a plot point later?
With about 30 cars in the carpark and nowhere to escape to, surely 8 armed men will be able to find them, by a methodical method of checking inside and under each car one by one.
All the exit doors are locked, which is normal for no public car park/public facility. Please remember the doors are locked, for in a bit.
Jamie Bell speaks to Delbert from the comic strip of the same name. He is flabbergasted and upset with the witness situation so he must be a genuine all American kinda guy. He says the proper men are coming much to Bell’s chagrin. He has an hour to clean up all his loose ends. Bell is a different level to the rest of us mortals as he duly sets a timer.
Cut back to Badman. He loves aria’s so much, their beauty, their poise, their grace. He is listening to a cheap version of the riff to spirit in the sky. He obviously is not allowed a phone, so his daughter has devised a deliciously executed way to bypass all of the advanced security around. She passes the phone to him over the table in plain sight. Not to be a man that takes risks, before he speaks he slightly looks over his shoulder for a second, but with his good eye. In case anyone is listening he uses the word “acquitted” to denote murdered. Only Alan Turing himself would be able to read between the lines.
The army make their way up the car park. They idly walk past the bike. Whatever you do don’t sabotage it lads, it’s not like it’s a potential getaway vehicle. They hear a noise, so they do what anyone searching for someone would do. They look underneath the car. It makes sense, in fact if I were them I would do that EVERY SINGLE TIME.
It was just a rat, haha, tension assuaged. OK they are not under the pickup truck; I can’t think of another obvious place on a pickup truck that would be large enough to hold two people so off the henchmen go.
You’ll never believe it! They were hiding in the back of the pickup truck! In the pickup bit of the pickup truck. It would never have crossed my mind, especially if this kind of military work was my bread and butter. Surprising really, as if you think about it you wouldn’t leave a car in a car park unlocked, so you definitely couldn’t hide inside a car that wasn’t yours.
“This way” says the Courier, so Sunak travels in the opposite direction. She decides at that point he is an idiot so hands him the bulletproof vest. “I’m not a child” he replies petulantly.
Case adjourned no video link witness. Courtroom goes to the pub.
Old policeman Sizemore tells young daughter they could have been an item in an off brand tonally stilted oddity of a statement, teeing up male writers perspective of what a strong female character talks like.
Eyes on! Porr man’s Jamie Bell has the whole place on CCTV, there is no hiding place, no stone unturned, no inch of the car park is off limits. He is in total control.
Henchman Poor man’s Paul Rudd looks knackered and scared. Scared because he is looking for two unarmed civilians. The Courier, who is just a courier sneaks up behind him and snaps his neck. Stick to Antman next time. One down, seven to go.
Sunak was hiding inside the van. In the footwell. How lucky, one of the cars were unlocked. He is still perplexed at this stage that she has the ability to kill, astounded that the perpetrator is dead and still totally ungrateful his life is continually being saved.
The Courier delights us with the film’s first real call back. “It’s a smart gun” she remarks. Sunak asks if it knows calculus, ramping home the comic relief and emphasising his role as the everyman in the film. I do hope we get more of this dialogue gold. She steals the earpiece, puts the ear piece into her ear, which is where ear pieces live. Upon witnessing this, Sunak does not piece two and two together and suggests incredulity towards The Courier as to why the earpiece went into her ear.
Cut to New York. Badman is drinking some scotch. Sizemore explains he is going to do one as the case is due to be thrown out. Exploratory digging by Badman suggests he knows people on the inside. You know, like in every other film with a powerful Badman.
Cut to Car Park 45 minutes into the film. Still in the car park, they still haven’t found them. They are hiding inside a car. Unsure if it was locked to begin with. Henchman doesn’t check underneath this time. Presumably because ennui is setting in. Sunak’s head is visible above the doorline at window level, a henchman walks by in the distance but he doesn’t notice. Hot wire ensues. How long does it take to hotwire a car? About as long as it takes for some expositional plot development. The Badman did some Badness and the Witness did some witnessing of the Badness in question. In case we didn’t know it was a flashback, it is in black and white. Amazingly starting the engine has alerted the henchman, they couldn’t wait for him to leave the area, as they probably both need a wee. No car owners have felt the need to come and get their cars during this time. Henchman two is run over. Six left to go.
They are being shot at left right and centre which leads The courier to swear an allegiance to bikes with the statement “I hate Cars”, not withstanding the fact if she had been on a bike in the same situation she would have been swiss cheese. The car doors and windows are shut. She tells Sunak to jump on cue, but before she has chance to say anything else, their car with all doors and windows closed rams into a parked car. The standard non armoured car is peppered with around 500 bullets from six men, not including poor man’s Jamie Bell. I must not have counted the man driving the Range Rover at the beginning so I guess he may help to increase the baddie count if things go awry, like a super sub. Judging by the limited distance from the ramp to this level of the car park and the distance travelled and the proximity of all of the six men together( who until this time had previously been split up), there is no way they could have jumped out of a car with windows and doors shut. They must be dead, there is literally no way to dodge those bullets. There is no way they could have gotten out of that car. No Way, NO WAY.
I was wrong, they are hiding behind a car. Second call back of the night, smoker Sunak has a means of lighting accelerants at his disposal. She takes the lighter and cuts a fuel line and then gets the lighter and lights it and just before she is about to throw it Sunak still asks her what is she going to do? By now I think they could actually let him be a witness and Badman would still walk.
One henchman is burned but as literally only one or two seconds have passed they have more than enough time to attempt to quash the fire. They try to put it out with twenty five bullets. Six left to go. I hope it wasn’t the super sub.
Cut scene to a new Special baddie in his own location surrounded by 50 rifles. He gets the call. Jamie Bell wants his services. He locks and loads his assault rifle, so obviously he is coming in with rapid fire weaponry.
Jamie Bell feels guilty for being a manager not doing any real work, so pretends he has tried to look The Courier up on Facebook. Because of a negative result he informs them she must be a ghost (a spy film one rather than a horror film one), but only in the same way that nothing returned from my own Google search entitled “who was that man I went to school with”. He has a small pinkie ring like Gary Badman has, does this run deeper than we think?
Henchman sees a tarp on the back of a pickup, he’s obviously got something about him as he actually decides to check. Textbook film reveal, its only random items. Tension built and then assuaged.
Fight! They burst through a door where there is tattooed henchman. Great idea, why didn’t they all think just to block off all possible exits? They are done for now, unless the Courier is not exactly as she seems. She fights him off for several seconds until he tumbles down the stairs. Sunak is still missing the point and cannot fathom why she would throw the gun wielding henchman down the stairs. Give me strength. He regains his composure and they fight by a Vauxhall Corsa. Sunak does his best WWE dazed impression. He valiantly tries to steal the henchman’s eyes. This gives The Courier enough time to pull off a lovely double kick into back swivel gunshot combo. Swiped his gun. Five to go.
Jamie Bell nails the American accent with the term “service corridor”
Special baddie is en route. He looks familiar, who does he look like? He receives a text off Bell stating only the word ETA? Being a baddie, he misses a perfect opportunity for an ETA gag about Basque separatists. He must have missed his gearchange as he is going 20 mph but hit 4000 rpm
The Courier and Sunak go into a dead-end room. They put a metal locker in the way of the door. ONE WAY IN AND ONE WAY OUT. They are trapped. This is a perfect time for some back story. She is not JUST a Courier. Well, nice chat but it alerts the baddies. Here they come. NO WAY IN AND NO WAY OUT.
Now that the chat is over she has found a massive vent they can fit through. One of the big ones, you know like what they don’t have in England.
Henchman Beard calls it in. Bell is livid. So livid that he turns the screen on his smartwatch, hits the cancel button and it still counts down regardless. Embarrassment saved.
Seconds after another henchman walks by, they kick open the vent as loudly as is humanly possible. Cue fumbling extrication followed by impropriety-based hand to breast contact. More tonally flat attempts at light relief. Cut to the most beautiful carpark roof in the world. No one would ever expect them to try to escape by going to the roof. How did he know? Super baddie is a sniper of course, he was lying in wait the whole time. Luckily Sunak has a vest on. The Courier shoots a conveniently placed canister that emits smoke. Who is that guy?
Jamie Bell reports in, Badman is getting tetchy now as he has replaced the word “acquitted” with the word “executed!”. He’s unravelling alright, he thinks that a Bluetooth earpiece whilst walking past the guards will fool them into thinking he is talking to himself.
Sunak is in a bad way; he is guided down into another hidey hole. It is full of pipes. Over the radio Bell offers half a million dollars to The Courier to turn him in. The Courier doesn’t fall for the bait, as she is on a zero hours contract and knows better than to trust him. Incapacitated through injury, Sunak is told that they need to move but then told to stay put whilst she turns the power off. The emergency red lights come on, so it is a little bit darker than usual but in actual fact you can see almost as well as normal.
Henchman scally is down. Four to go.
Henchman blonde is startled by Henchman Statham, what with all the red in the room. Nearly shoots him. Aah camaraderie.
As he was told not to move earlier on, Sunak used the power of red light to teleport himself into the boot of a Volvo. Either he is a master locksmith, or this is a rare occasion that a car was left unlocked.
It is the battle of the hats. Courier gets her Streethawk on whilst Henchman Beard goes full Leyton Hewitt with a 180 of his baseball cap. Of these two hats, which do you think possesses night vision?
The sprinkler system is triggered, allowing The Courier to slice Henchman Beard into ribbons. He gets a shot off ruining her Daft Punk hat only for his demise with a farewell tap of his willy. Three to go.
Henchmen Statham and Blonde are pairing up, they are not stupid. They check their dear mate Henchman Beard is ok by kicking his cadaver. But it wasn’t their mate at all! Well played Courier. Bang. Henchman Statham down. Two to go.
Dressed like a Japanese tourist The Courier engages Henchman Blond in armed combat but unfortunately for him once the cap falls off she is unleashed. Bye bye. One to go.
Cuts to NYC. A moral lesson ensues with the age old story of millennial entitlement versus Boomer precautionary wisdom. Badman does his best Leon DEA by confiscating her champagne paired with loud parental scolding.
Poor man’s Bell still has his suppressor on, what a full kit wanker. The power comes on, presumably reactivated by the ghosts of one of the dead. Still no one has come to get any cars.
Super baddie hits Courier’s leg with a large calibre sniper rifle at around 20 metres. She’s alright though as she has a cloth. Who is it he looks like?
As she is now back on her bike he gets out his armed drone and puts on his Google glasses. That’s who he is, Chris Lowe from the Pet Shop Boys!
Delbert checks in with an ETA, Bell is close to tears. He takes it out on the walkie talkie and speaks as though there is more than one person left. Maybe he doesn’t know yet. He will soon.
She staves off the drone initially with a well-executed wheelspin. Chris Lowe is more than a match and the drone is still in pursuit. The drone sees her and shoots, it also sees her run behind a specific pickup but incongruously gets a bit scared to go too close so slows down almost like it doesn’t know where she is?
The Courier runs behind a pillar that has nothing by it. There is nothing anywhere near this pillar and is totally devoid of anything other than smooth wall. Literally empty. There is nothing there. NOTHING.
Oh, apart from a full length axe. Nice try drone. One to go.
Chris Lowe is now livid, probably stemming from the lack of acting work since that cameo in Neighbours. He chokes her out. She wakes up tied to a chair, but is not in black and white so you know it is the earlier portent but now in real time.
Tussaud’s quality Jamie Bell comes out now the hard work is done. When he heard that Gary Badman was in the film he decided to watch Leon: The Professional, so walks towards her munching prescription medicines. He rubs his temple but not the side that had superglue on it. He ruminates on why she was so angry, he goes for the stock Hollywood paternal issues line, totally disregarding the fact it might be because he tried to frame her and has been unilaterally attempting to kill her since the beginning of the film. He makes an awkward statement about her physical beauty which he repeats twice, suggesting he does not have much chat on a night out. Cut to close up of barely tied hands. I wonder whether she will manage to slip out of these shackles?
For the first and only time in the entire film do we see a cliché. He tries to get her to talk by pushing her gunshot wound with his gun. She says aaahh!
Pet Shop Boy’s character is given a more three-dimensional layer, when you see his car has the inconspicuous number plate H3D 5HOT, which shows his discretionary side.
As the drugs kick in, Jamie Bell decides to have a game of numberwang, totally confusing all involved used to the boundaries of a standard countdown. This is a ploy to extricate Sunak from a very near car no one thought to check. Sunak does the right thing and makes a timely appearance as furlough bursaries cloud his judgement. The car halts inches away from the chair. Based on the earlier road scenes as a gauge, he must have been pushing Mach 2.
Fortuitously as the binds loosen Bell also walks towards her, allowing her to armpit stab him with a screwdriver they couldn’t be arsed to take off her earlier on. The armpit stab is synonymous with loss of use of legs, so he falls to the floor. He grits through the pain, relieved that it was only a flat head.
Chris Lowe reloads and goes on the chase.
Bell doesn’t know where Sunak is but then spots a blood trail that leads to his exact location. Despite this he still checks elsewhere else as he walks. His eyes show he knows where he must be hiding, but then immediately after he decides to check everywhere else as he walks.
Nothing like an attaché case with a gun and two smoke grenades. Must have been a Christmas set.
Smoke bomb is thrown by The Courier. Jamie Bell ripoff shows his racist side by singing run rabbit run. Quite rightly this pushes Sunak to brandish his knife. Bell’s timer goes off, times up. Sure is as Sunak administers some retribution. Bell kicks back and Sunak is away.
The smoke from the bomb is so narrow that it doesn’t conceal much, despite this they struggle to hit each other. All bullets are now spent, so it is time for some unarmed combat. Chris Lowe smirks, why is she so knackered? Well have some hubris Lowe! She uses a rubber windscreen wiper to stab his neck from one side to the other. When she tries to get it back off him, unfortunately she rips the skin a bit and he dies. None to go.
Bell catches up with Sunak and sportingly shoots his bullet proof vest. Before he has time to act Courier gets him onto the front of the bike. She brakes at around Mach 3. I know this because when he left the bike, he was a good twenty feet away from the end wall and by the time he hit the wall he hadn’t fallen any lower to the ground than the beginning. A closeup shows his head is missing a piece, which may have been from the impact, or it might have been where the phone had been glued in the beginning.
Sunak is spent, he is doubled over. He cannot even support his own body weight, not even for a second.
He manages to support his own bodyweight enough for an entire bike journey to the hospital.
Gary Badman shows us his sharks’ eye, which may be an indicator that he was a just man after all.
Tellingly, The Courier leaves the hospital. Remember that, she leaves, she is not present at the hospital. Just remember that.
Delbert goes to break the news to Badman. You’re going down! Even though there has been extensive news coverage of the allegations, some of which the daughter has read on her own phone, she proclaims “what are you doing?” totally oblivious to the entire events that have led up to this arrest, including being under house arrest for the majority of the film.
Delbert looks pleased to have caught his man. He is obviously a good all American kinda guy.
Cut to hospital. Delbert stands over a bed ridden Sunak. Delbert’s being nosy. Delbert makes a phone call. He calls Badman! He calls him Sir! You what? So I have been duped all along. Well played 13 year old screenwriter, well played.
Even though an armed guard is in front of the door, Delbert tells him to move and he kindly obliges. Delbert then recklessly draws and cocks his gun in front of the hospital staff before he goes in. The glass sliding doors must be soundproof. He draws the curtain back, but where’s Sunak? Behind you, you mutha!
The Courier and Sunak both draw their guns on him in plain view of the entire corridor. No one seems arsed.
The End
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2020.06.08 14:17 RebelTheAnomaly High school locker room spy

A continuation from my old post. Basically, a mansion that was touched by the omniversal being known as The Shrouded King and now acts as a nexus of rooms throughout the multiverse, created for my Call of Cthulhu campaign. Feel free to use it if you need an endless maze of rooms.
1: Triangulum
2: Van Gogh's Exhibition
3: Identity Storeroom
4: Chemistry Labs
5: Author's Room
6: Pigeon Room
7: VFX Room
8: Health Care Administration
9: The Noxious Depths
10: Engineering Room
11: Producer's Office
12: Room of Novels
13: Board Game Parlor
14: Tiki Parlor
15: Room of Glass Eyes
16: Room of Iron Cubes
17: Handkerchiefs
18: Roots Island
19: Sea of Roses
20: Dark Town
21: Corrupted Sea
22: Theatre
23: Harvey Island
24: Seasons Peak
25: Cabin
26: Chapel
27: Mill
28: Sea of Enlightenment
29: Lakeside Hotel
30: The End
31: Flaming Pits
32: Butterfly Garden
33: Fishing Supplies
34: Twiggy Room
35: Strung Room
36: Glass Cups Table
37: Pit of Water
38: Darkswarm
39: Dollhouses Room
40: Submarine
41: Room of Blood
42: Burning Room
43: Life Room
44: Red Room
45: Papyrophile's Room
46: Room of Many Faces
47: Giant Box
48: Room covered in pins
49: Room with music notes on the wall
50: Silver Office
51: Knife Collection
52: Dragonfruit Garden
53: Pit of Spoons
54: Insects Room
55: Boxing Gym
56: Dance Studio
57: Cave of Fireflies
58: Dominoes Room
59: Bizarre Bar
60: Parlor of Wine Glasses
61: Room of Cubes
62: Puppet Theater
63: Small Bedroom
64: Guns Room
65: Anatomist's Study
66: Iron Cage
67: Messy Library
68: Gears Chamber
69: Fishing Rod Room
70: Closet of Wires
71: Maggot Cave
72: Heist
73: Room of Hooks
74: Shrimp Reservoir
75: Shrimp Head's Room
76: Worm Pit
77: Magnetics Room
78: Fisheries
79: Apple Orchard
80: Moldy Room
81: Eye Room
82: Room of Chests
83: Coin Vault
84: Royal Jewels
85: Shell Mounds
86: Spring Room
87: Summer Room
88: Fall Room
89: Winter Room
90: Pawn Shop
91: Radio Room
92: Aviary
93: Pots and Pans
94: Bird Food Storage
95: Woodshed
96: Egg Storage Bay
97: Boiling Hot Tub
98: The last room but it's filled with eggs
99: Black Cube
100: Lookout Balcony
101: Murder Toolshed
102: Plugs Room
103: Murder Museum
104: Postboard
105: Patchwork Room
106: Hatchet Shed
107: Blueprints Room
108: Blue Room
109: Room of Clocks
110: Room of Coat Hangers
111: Kid's Garden
112: Seeds Lab
113: Room of Candles
114: Tool Closet
115: Old Pharmacy
116: Cactus Farm
117: Mushroom Cave
118: Flower Garden
119: Fruit Juicery
120: Flower Juicery
121: Prozac Juicery
122: Mushroom Juicery
123: Absinthe Cellar
124: Hats Room
125: Painting Room
126: Room of Elaborate Spoons
127: Sugar Castle
128: Sunflower Field
129: Artist's Room
130: Room of Ears
131: Giant Water Pitcher
132: Closet of Brushes
133: Room of Paintbrushes
134: Room full of Wine Bottles
135: Revolver Rob's Room
136: Measuring Room
137: White Room
138: Black Room
139: Murder Scene
140: Psitaccus Room
141: Room of Labels
142: Room covered in Flies
143: Folder Storage
144: Room of Fate
145: Coffee Room
146: Map Room
147: Pit of Razors
148: Compost Pit
149: School Supply Closet
150: Room with Numbers scraped into the Wall
151: Crow's Nest
152: Renaissance Galleria
153: Room with a weird bust
154: Bird's Eye View
155: Oil Rig
156: Inkwell
157: Cardiac Cell
158: Cockney Theater
Expenguin's Ideas
159: Obsidian Ballroom (The dark rock walls and floor soak in nearly all the light within the room, making for a very comfortable dancing space when magically lit)
160: Scrying Parlor (a place used to peek into the future, almost exclusively used to entertain guests)
161: Room of holes (recesses, stacked in the walls, each containing an object, or perhaps nothing at all)
162: Drop-Floor Boxing Room (A room situated with a boxing arena in the middle, when the lights go out, a switch can be pulled either under the curtain of the arena, or in a side area which will drop out the floor, dispensing the fighters into a holding area below. Ample seating for viewing fights)
163: Hidden Surgery Room (The owner uses this room to patch up and assess fighters / the wounded, neatly hidden from view of the common areas, can only be reached via the drop-floor boxing ring or perhaps a secret entrance elsewhere)
My own
164: Upstairs
165: The Wheel
166: Well of Memories
167: River
168: Gilded Dentistry
169: Room flooded with Liquid Gold
170: Indoor Lawn
171: Room of Needles
172: Hairy Room
173: Dairy Kitchen
174: Room with a single oven, stuffed with oven mitts
175: A giant ball pit
176: A glass room levitating 2000ft off the ground
177: Air Traffic Control Tower
178: Alien Zoo with creatures from around the multiverse
179: Bat Cave
180: Brick Oven Pizzeria
181: Cargo Container
182: Changing Room of (clothing store / pool / sexy clothing store / sports arena / theater)
183: Class Room
184: Clock Tower Room
185: Computer Server Room
186: Empty Room
187: Endless Library
188 Evidence Lockup Room
189 Giant's Room - pick or roll another room and scale it up for giants. high ceilings and giant furniture.
190 Halfling's Room - pick or roll another room and scale it down for halflings. low ceilings and small furniture.
191 Hotel Room
192 Ice Cream Parlor
193 Maintenance room
194 Map Room
195 Movie Projection Room
196 Observatory with a giant telescope
197 Planetarium
198 Ship's Bridge of (dirigible / fantasy airship / modern sea ship / sailing ship / space ship / spelljammer ship)
199 Ship's Captains Quarters of (dirigible / fantasy airship / modern sea ship / sailing ship / space ship / spelljammer ship)
200 Ship's Cargo hold of (dirigible / fantasy airship / modern sea ship / sailing ship / space ship / spelljammer ship)
201 Ship's Galley of (dirigible / fantasy airship / modern sea ship / sailing ship / space ship / spelljammer ship)
202 Ship Wreck of (dirigible / fantasy airship / modern sea ship / sailing ship / space ship / spelljammer ship)
203 Spaceport Cantina
204 Spy Room - Has 1000s of panels that can be moved to revel peepholes into other rooms
205 Stairwell
206 Target Range
207 Teachers Lounge
208 Terminal (airplane / dirigible / train / spaceship / subway)
209 Tree House - inside a tree house in a tall tree
210 Undersea Dome
211 Utility Tunnel (electrical, steam, water, pipes)
212 Wax Museum
213 Western Saloon
214 WW2 Bomb Shelter / Air Raid Shelter
215 Dance hall
216 A room were the center piece is a miniature version of the room you're in, complete with a miniature dolls of the people in it and a miniature version on the miniature room centerpiece. if someone put the hand inside the miniature room a gigant hand enters the room.
217 Omelette specialize kitchen
218 Tickle room
219 Kinder garden room
220 Kinder harvesting room
221 Kinder processing room
222 Storage for canned children room
223 Computer lab room
224 Origami room
225 A small zoo.
226 A drafting / architecture room.
227 A room with a bath and a variety of scented candles.
228 Colliseum.
229 A copy of another room but upside down.
230 A room with a mouse.
231 A small cafe.
232 A cold room for ice and such.
233 Wine cellar.
234 An ornate bedroom with a wonderfully comfortable bed.
235 Goblin poker ring.
More of my own
236: Colorful Hall
237: Mall Food Court
238: An outdoor area out behind some out of place condos.
239: An empty room with floral wallpaper
240: School Exit
241: Sewer Reservoir
242: Empty apartment
243: Pink Playground
244: Empty Airport Terminal
245: Model Town
246: Pink and Blue hallway
247: Checkered floor hallway with red drapes over all the walls
248: Vacant Schoolyard
249: Stonebridge
250: Arcade with only a Claw machine, Moto-ride and whack-a-rat
251: Christmas Garden
252: Pool Pavilion
253: Foreboding ballroom with one dining room set in the middle
254: Decorated Apartment
255: Arcade Hallway
256: Empty room with only a mirror wall and an air conditioning unit
257: Vacant Motel
258: Room with only a fireplace
259: Sewer Tunnel
260: Snowy Overpass
261: Empty room with green rug and drapes
262: Floral Closet
263: Rock Climbing Walls room
264: Plastic giant flowers hall
265: Beacon room
266: Room of Fat Ducks
267: Duck Grillery
268: Room of Nets
269: Fish Grillery
270: Room with Strong Ropes
271: Pool with banners
272: Lobby
273: Doll Family Room
274: Bowling Alley
275: Funhouse Hallway
276: Snack Aisle
277: Small Bookshop
278: Laundromat
279: Kindergarten Storeroom
280: I-SPY Room
281: Room with colorful pipes
282: Indoor Street
283: Mushroom Kitchen
284: Pawn Shop
285: Check-Out Counters
286: Piano Hallway
287: Little Girl's Playroom
288: Empty Grocer
289: Basketball Court
290: Disney Cafe
291: Gmod Lot
292: Room with a single TV
293: Roller-Skating Rink
294: Almost Empty Daycare Room
295: Prom
296: Distorted Neighborhood
297: Locker Hallway
298: Indoor Park
299: Toddler's Indoor Playground
300: Bedroom that feels like a prison cell
301: Blue Tinted Aisle
302: Twisting Hallway
303: Small Splashpad
304: Buried Ark
305: Dollhouse Apartment
306: Empty Bookstore
307: Top of the Waterslide
308: Room of signs
309: Rose Garden
310: Black Cat's Alley
311: Room with machetes jammed into the wall
312: Furry Forest (The real horror: furries)
313: Giant Letterbox
314: Hallway covered in paper
315: Teddy Basket
316: Little Witch's Bedroom
317: Room filled and i mean FILLED with presents.
318: Hallway of locked doors
319: Room of chains and scissors
320: Teddy Bear Torture Room
321: Room of bloody handprints
322: Poisoned Feast
323: Invisible Cook's Kitchen
324: Aristocratic Party
325: Soup Kitchen
326: Spider-Filled Cellar
327: Armor Display
328: Room of Decorative ornaments
329: Messy Library
330: Revolution Office
331: Urchin's Hideaway
332: Room of Newspapers
333: Burned Room
334: Comedic Library
335: Room filled with silk scraps
336: Butterfly Collection
337: Room of Paper Scraps
338: Room of barrels, one of which has rope.
339: Archive of Death
340: Room of empty glass display cases
341: Nectar Hive
342: Stairwell full of Pillows
343: Room with the hanged man
344: Frog Pond
345: Very Thin Bridge
346: Cryptic Library
347: Room of Levers
348: Goldfish Tanks
349: Symmetrical Room
350: Sweets Storeroom
351: Cakery
352: Snake Oil Salesman's Show
353: Room of torn wallpaper
354: Workman's Wardrobe
355: Murder Party
356: Perfumed Garden
357: Diary Room
358: Distracting Hall
359: Hunger Pit
360: Hallway of creepy faces
361: Spike-pit
362: Toy Soldiers Room
363: Pumpkin Parlor
364: Poker Hall
365: Riddle Room
366: Throne of Keys
367: Giant Music Box
368: Room of Jack-In-The-Boxes
369: Piano Parlor
370: Oculogy Lab
371: Jade Room
372: Room of Sheet Music
373: Painted Lady's Parlor
374: Clockwork Throne
375: Somber Chapel
376: Weeping Woman's Garden
377: Medieval Arena
378: Got Girl's Bedroom
379: Super Warrior Fanboy's Room
380: Giant Fireplace
381: Eldritch Hot Spring
382: Kitchen of Burbling Pots
383: Room of Bones
384: Gruesome Chinese Restaurant
385: Pigsty of Jewelry
386: Stained Glass Hallway
387: Doll Puzzle
388: Talkative Garden
389: Sick Prisoner's Cell
390: Room of Birdcages
391: Red Grasses
392: Prison Cell with a Bottomless Pit
393: Gossip Club
394: Runway
395: Room with petals littering the ground
396: Pollen Room
397: Room of bottles
398: Writer's Study
399: Skull Soldier's Grave
400: Reservoir of corpses
401: Room of Glowing Bottles
402: Casket Cellar
403: Drawers Room
404: Jade Gentleman's Room
405: Chinchilla Cages
406: Checkerboard Bathroom
407: Aquarium Parlor
408: Pink Bedroom with Playhouse
409: Empty Room with bodybuilders painted on the walls
410: Carousel
411: Stezzoni Slice's (Chucky Cheese's Pastiche)
412: Room of Balloons
413: Chocolate Parlor
414: Breaker Boxes
415: Giant Battery Box
416: Bloodwritten Walls
417: Cloth Cell
418: Subway Station
submitted by RebelTheAnomaly to d100 [link] [comments]

2020.06.01 12:15 DarthSatoris High school locker room spy

Hi there. Miss me?
I did say I'd be more timely with the next entry in this series, and while 2 months isn't fast per se, it's definitely faster than half a year... hehe.
So, this time we're tackling NT7, known as the Agitate Halation arc. What is "Agitate Halation"? How does it work? Is it a person? A machine? A concept? The word itself sounds a bit gibberish, with Agitation being defined as "a state of anxiety or nervous excitement", and Halation being defined as "the spreading of light beyond its proper boundaries to form a fog around the edges of a bright image in a photograph or on a television screen." So it's nervous excitement spreading beyond its proper boundaries? Let's find out.
Volume Arc Page count Publication date
NT7 Agitate Halation 259 May 10th, 2013
The Story It starts out with Touma waking up in a box that was mailed to a random locker room in the School Garden, the girls-only area comprised of five different girls-only schools. He's been tasked with finding a magician who can suck up knowledge with a transportable bonfire-thing, and it's located inside School Garden. However, since no males are allowed on those premises, chaos ensues as Touma is mercilessly hunted down by every girl in the area. Fortunately for him, he runs into a girl controlled by Misaki, who I believe has her proper debut in the novels in this one. I've checked the dates, and she was first introduced in Railgun chapter 41, which came out in 2011, and this novel released in 2013. Now, Misaki being readily willing to help Touma out without question does lead one to believe they have a past together, and you cannot be a part of this fandom without learning that they do have some history, which is explored in NT11. Luckily for me, the sub here and the many fans that browse it have been very diligent in not spoiling the contents of that novel, and for that I am grateful.
It doesn't take long beyond their meeting, however, until the novel goes PSYCH! and reveals that this entire mis-adventure in School Garden has been nothing but a farce constructed by Tsuchimikado Motoharu to keep Touma away from the real story: His step-sister, Tsuchimikado Maika, has been murdered, and he's out for revenge! We then follow Motoharu as he tracks down the killers throughout town, and they lead him to his primary target: one of the board members, in particular the one who has one of Motoharu's school mates as partner-in-crime. And let me tell you this: Motoharu plucking out his classmate's eyeball was not what I expected to read when I opened this book, but then again Kamachi did set the grotesque-ness bar pretty high all the way back in OT2 when he had Stiyl flayed and completely disassembled and hung up to dry. Following Kumokawa Seria and Motoharu's rather nasty confrontation, he meets up with the board member, and the novel goes PSYCH! again and reveals that Maika is still very much alive and Motoharu staged the whole killing himself. However, he realizes along with the board member that they've been tricked somehow by the people behind the "Agitate Halation project". Touma enters the scene and subdues Motoharu, and the board member tells him to go and save the day some other place.
Poor Fremea Seivelun now being hunted by some unknown assailant, and it's up to Kinuhata and Hamazura to go rescue her, but they're stopped by the project lead of the Agitate Halation project, who uses a swarm of cockroaches as her weapon of choice. While she's not a Kihara, her methods are definitely as insane as a Kihara's, I'll give her that. Kinuhata and Hamazura split up, and Fremea stumbles into Kuroyoru Umidori, who was actively trying to kill her back in NT1, so this could be interesting. But before they can exchange any pleasantries, Umidori is attacked by another cyborg, a very sophisticated variant called Rensa. Rensa has the ability to reconstruct her structure to ape the esper abilities of anyone in the near vicinity, or even the 6 most powerful espers in the whole city. This of course spells trouble for Umidori, as she's in the way of this killing machine. Fremea escapes, and Umidori and Rensa attack.
Umidori is badly hurt, and she lands next to Hamazura, and while they're both no match for Rensa, Touma comes to the rescue, but is also beaten by raw muscle. However, Rensa's ability to ape other abilities seems to backfire spectacularly when she tries to ape Imagine Breaker, and she completely short circuits. This gives the three an opportunity to escape and regroup. Meanwhile, Kinuhata is battling swarms of bugs, but looks on in shock and horror as the project lead, Yakumi Hisako, is eaten whole by her own bugs. However, Hisako had an ace up her sleeve and has somehow managed to manifest herself as an AIM being, similar to Kazakiri Hyouka or Aiwass, and she uses her ethereal existence to guide the destroyed Rensa to her next objective.
Since Fremea is the focus point for this thing called Agitate Halation, her innermost desire for some hero to come save her is subconsciously planted in every "hero"'s mind across the city through the AIM field, and they all start marching towards her location, and "defeating" everyone who gets in their way, including each other. Especially each other, which was the original plan for the Agitate Halation project: make all the so-called heroes of the city kill each other so they won't screw up any of the city's amoral and inhumane experiments anymore. A truly diabolical plan, if I have to say so. The heroes start robbing stores and stabbing thugs across town, even getting into fights with each other, all to save this one little girl. Fremea escapes into a fortified building, yet all these heroes still arrive and create absolute havoc outside, including every single Level 5 esper in town. Accelerator, Kakine Teitoku, Misaka Mikoto, Mugino Shizuri, Shokuhou Misaki, Sogiita Gunha, even the rumored #6 "Aihana Etsu" shows up, though Misaki doesn't recognize him as the real #6 and claims he's only a pretender, so I doubt he counts.
It all escalates and the final confrontation between a repaired Rensa, Touma and the "good" Kakine Teitoku is only thwarted because Fremea stops being such a scaredy-pants and stops wishing for a hero to show up to save the day. As a consequence, Yakumi Hisako is almost blinked out of existence, if she hadn't yet another contingency plan in the shape of the bugs mentioned earlier. But Fräulein Kreutune does the most Fräulein Kretune thing ever, and "eats" her ethereal body until only a tiny chunk is left.
New Characters

  • Shokuhou Misaki: I'm putting Misaki in the "New Characters" section because this is technically her debut in the novels. She is as scheming and playful as ever, and while she's never quite won me over with her snobby rich-girl attitude and almost careless use of her ability, she does seem like there's a lot more going on behind the scenes than she lets on. Being a mind-controller does come with certain perks, but also a fair amount of stigma, so I suppose one can excuse her "prim and proper" facade as a shield to protect herself from an unfair world. I am definitely interested in learning what exactly the story behind her and Touma is once I reach NT11. Plz no spoilers.
  • Yakumi Hisako: You could say she's a Kihara in all but name, seeing as she was even willing to "die" to reach that "realm of God" point that pretty much all experiments in Academy City have been leading up to in one way or another. The final scene with the Kihara and the dog hinted at them pushing Hisako in that direction themselves, so you could say it was still the Kiharas plotting and scheming once again. Also, I really liked the idea that she was super old but looked very young due to cosmetic surgery, as it once again ties into the whole "people's age in Toaru is a fucking mess, and don't even try and make sense of it, or your head will explode" shtick. And yeah, there are already many celebrities way into their 50's and 60's who look like they're still 30 years old or thereabout, thanks to copious amounts of plastic surgery (however, there's a way to spot people's proper age: look at their hands, you can't operate your way out of wrinkly hands).
  • Rensa: An interesting concept, though I hardly think it's a new concept at all. A cyborg body being controllable by multiple people who've been reduced to their most core essence just feels like a regular plot element in stuff like Ghost in the Shell or other cyberpunk settings. One movie in particular that comes to mind is the rather long forgotten movie "Surrogates", which was an action movie starring Bruce Willis, which happened in a world where people remotely controlled "surrogates" or entirely artificial bodies to do literally everything with zero consequence. In that movie, you could forcibly remote control other people's surrogates and pretend to be them, which of course made it difficult to find the real culprit of crimes. Rensa also being the "ultimate weapon", being able to replicate the abilities of other espers, was a novel idea and a logical next step after the "FIVE_OVER" robots, though I will say that giving that much power to a single individual is maybe a bit reckless.
Recurring Characters
  • Tsuchimikado Motoharu: Our favorite Hawaiian-shirt-wearing, double-triple-quadruple-spy is at it again. I was wondering when we'd see any of the old faces in action again, since NT1-6 have been mostly focused on Gremlin and their antics. Being back in Academy City, and with Gremlin having fucked off to somewhere, I think Kamachi thought it would be a good time to dust off a classic dude like Motoharu and have him play a bigger role again. And damn, when Motoharu's serious, he's really serious. Breaking people's legs, plucking out eyeballs, climbing up a 50 story building while suffering from open gunshot wounds... this guy doesn't mess around. He's an eccentric badass who will go to absurd lengths, I think that's all you can really say about him.
  • Fremea Seivelun: Scaredy-pants finally grew up and stopped relying on others to come save the day... which happened to save the day. Kamachi is not without his sense of irony. While I still think she's a bit of a one-note character without much characterization, and still just feels like a prop used in a play, she does seem to have potential as a character. If Kamachi starts using her as a real character eventually, only time will tell.
  • Kuroyoru Umidori: A much more fascinating character than Fremea if you ask me. Like Kinuhata and so many other disturbingly young people, she's one of the many people in the city with an actual kill-count, and though her cynicism is her primary motivator in all things, she does seem to start softening up to the members of ITEM a bit, Hamazura in particular. And I've seen the cover of a side story featuring Umidori and Hamazura here on this sub, so I wonder if that particular friendship is developed further.
Notes on the Novel When Kamachi goes into science, he becomes very metaphysical at times, and with this novel especially it was a little hard to keep track of it all. Agitate Halation was what again? And how did they apply it to Fremea? And how did Hisako obtain AIM-being status by being eaten by bugs, exactly? When did she transition from a flesh-and-blood creature to a ghost? And how would killing Fremea "free" her from her ghostly prison? And was any of this shit sanctioned by the board chairman? One would expect a guy like Aleister to keep his board members from intruding too much on the DRAGON project and Aiwass, as it could possibly interfere with Aleister's own plans, whatever they may be.
That being said, it's nice to be back in "science" territory after a very long streak of magic, magic and more magic. I think the last science-only story we got was DRAGON, and even that one had Etzali and Aiwass as big players. Heck, even Battle Royale still had Etzali and Xochitl running around playing with magic. I guess it can't be helped, the story is called A Certain Magical Index after all.
This one was fun, though a little confusing. However, I think it will pale in comparison to what comes next. The next arc is comprised of three whole novels, and is all about this mysterious girl Othinus and her status as a Magic God. Something that has been teased since aaaaaaaall the way back in OT1, and something I'm very eager to finally learn more about, other than what little we glimpsed in NT4 and NT6. Hopefully it will have been worth the wait.
Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5
submitted by DarthSatoris to toarumajutsunoindex [link] [comments]

2020.05.26 04:15 sbanyan75 Psycho former friend from high school planned to kill me because she was insane about a boy

This is a story I have wanted to tell for a long time. Yes, it is very long. It is as long as it needs to be to say what I need to say. I included a tldr at the bottom. This took place between 1995 and 2002.

Everyone has had a bad friend or two; I had an epically bad friend. If it hadn’t happened to me I would never have known that this strange mental disorder was real or that people could behave this way outside of Lifetime Channel movies.

I grew up in Northern Indiana. I went to a large high school in the mid 90’s and my senior year I met another student named Hannah who had recently transferred from the main local Catholic high school in the area. That was unusual to transition so late from private to public school. Hannah said she had been expelled because of a fight with another student over some drama about a boy.

She said the other girl had made allegations against her and accused her of attacking her. Whatever had happened, the police had been contacted and she had restraining order placed on her by the other girl. It had forced her expulsion and that was how I came to meet her. Hannah said none of it was true. She said she never tried to hurt her.

Later I went to college in Indiana; she went to college in Florida. One day, a friend of mine from the dorms ran into a guy she had known from Catholic school back in my hometown. Once he left she told me about this incident that had happened to him where these two girls were fighting over him about which one was his girlfriend. Neither one of them was dating him and yet both of these girls thought that they were in a secret relationship with him. The whole thing had been very strange. Then she said one of them was a girl named Hannah.

The next summer I was back in my hometown and Hannah was also. I hung out with her casually. I told her what I had heard about her. She said she would tell me what really happened.

She had a crush on this boy but she had seen him talk to another student named Julie and she became jealous. She said she was convinced that this boy Mike wanted to be her boyfriend. She was sure Julie must have said something bad about her. Hannah said Julie was popular and pretty and a cheerleader and she hated everything about her so she decided she would try to see if she could push her to commit suicide.

Hannah said it hadn’t worked but that she had a nervous breakdown. I asked her what she had done.
We went back to Hannah’s house. Up in her bedroom she pulled something out from the back of her closet. It was a set of books. One was a book on how to use dirty tricks to get revenge on people and one was a book with a cartoon character on the front pulling their hair out and it said in big letters GASLIGHTING!

I know it’s common phrase now, but back in 1995 I had never heard of it. I asked Hannah what the book was about and she said it was about how to drive someone crazy. She said it was simple, you just make them believe things aren’t really true or that things they think are real never happened. She told me what she really did to Julie a couple years back in high school.

She had pretended to be friends with her. She got her phone number and then she had started making these anonymous phone calls to her. This would have been way before cell phones were common. She had a friend from her church who had a crush on her and she would trade sexual favors with him in exchange for him pretending to be Mike on the phone. He would get a blow job for every time he did this for Hannah. Fake Mike would tell Julie not to talk in school so that they could keep things private. Hannah would put notes in her locker and sign Mike’s name to them. Fake Mike would make plans to meet Julie at the mall or the movies and then never show up. It sounds very stupid but they would have been 14 or 15 year old girls when this happened.

Hannah said she had done something really embarrassing but that it had worked. She had a mix tape and she would whisper nasty little phrases like “you want to die” or “you should kill yourself” between songs and had played it in her bedroom when Julie was over. Obviously she commented on it and Hannah sat there with a straight face and said she didn’t hear anything and had no idea what she was talking about. She had set it up with her brother earlier and had asked him to help her play a prank on her friend. He came into her bedroom and said he couldn’t hear anything and turned around and told Julie that she must be crazy and hearing things.

Julie’s parents decided to confront this boy and his family about his behavior towards their daughter. He had no idea what was going on. Because her parents had confronted this boy about something he was never doing Julie had been publically humiliated at her high school and everyone was talking about how she was crazy. Hanna loved every bit of it. Until Julie’s parents got their phone bill and decided to give it a good look.

Mike had not been calling their house, but somebody had been. They had numerous anonymous phone calls. They checked it out and found out they were all coming from Hannah’s home phone number. Julie confronted Hannah about it at school and that was when something violent happened between the two of them in the stairwell. Julie said Hannah had started screaming at her that Mike was her secret boyfriend.

Hannah was very angry about that. She said Julie made that part up to try to get back at her and embarrass her for what she had done. She said Julie was exaggerating about what happened in the stairwell and it had been an accident. She said she never tried to push her over the railing, she had merely bumped into her.

Hannah wasn’t embarrassed about it. She was proud of it. The only thing that upset her was that she had been caught, but she said that most of the people at her Catholic school still thought that Julie was crazy so she considered it something of a victory.

Hannah didn’t have anything to say in her defense, just that when she liked a boy she would do anything to be with them.

That summer Hannah started dating a guy named Derek. Every time I saw her she told me tales about their wild and crazy sex life and how much he was in love with her. Hannah said it was a secret affair and they were sneaking around behind his girlfriend’s back. We saw him once at a party and he screamed at Hannah to stay away from him and leave him and his girl alone. Someone had been making strange anonymous phone calls to him and his girlfriend. He paid to have the number traced back and found out it was Hannah. Hannah admitted that she had been trying to break them up because he was taking too long to do it himself but that she had overplayed it and now he was angry and had broken things off with her.

She was depressed after Derek so I took her out to a bar. Hannah started flirting with this much older guy in his 40’s who was sitting by himself. She had recently purchased a cell phone, this would have been in 96 or 97 when they were still kind of new and novel. The next thing I knew she has this phone out and I thought she was giving this old guy her phone number. Instead he asked her what she wanted him to say? She typed a phone number in, handed the guy her phone and he made disgusting comments to whoever answered about how he was having sex with this guy’s girlfriend and commenting on what a whore she was. He hung up and started laughing and handed the phone back to Hannah. Hannah gave him a 20 dollar bill and said the girl was a bitch and deserved it for stealing her boyfriend. She was paying complete strangers to anonymously call people she hated on her cell phone and recite some pre-arranged script to spread rumors about them.

I ran into a mutual friend later in the summer and mentioned that Derek had broken things off with Hannah. She gave me a very funny look and said that maybe there had never been any relationship to break off.

A year later we were both temporarily living back with our parents and sort of adrift. Hannah had been kicked out of her dorm over an accusation made by another student and never completed her degree. She had started hanging out with some old friends from high school. One of those former high school friends was a young woman named Kelley who Hannah had been pretty good friends with. Something had happened between the two of them because Hannah went on and on about how much she hated her. It had something to do with Kelley’s new boyfriend Dan. Hannah insisted she was using him in some bizarre plot to make another man jealous and was worried that she would hurt him because she had found out about an STD that she had.

I drove by her house one night and there were two police cars out front. I went home and called her and she said she couldn’t talk. I went over and saw her the next day. I thought that their house had been robbed or something. No, the police had been there to talk to her about an incident that had been reported.

Hannah was upset. She said that she had to tell the police that she had smoked weed and had gotten high because Kelley had made an accusation against her. Hannah said it was an accident and a misunderstanding. Hannah swore she hadn’t been trying to hurt her.

The day after Hannah told me about how much she hated Kelley apparently she had called her up and said she wanted to talk to her about something. She and another friend had shown up and the three of them had gone out to some local overlook to smoke a joint. The other girl waited down below for the two of them to talk privately. Hannah had asked Kelley to look at something and when she turned her back Kelley said Hannah grabbed her and tried to push her off the ledge. They were about 100 feet up in the air and she would most likely have been killed by the fall. Kelley said they fought back and forth, she regained her balance and had took off screaming about what Hannah had tried to do.

Hannah said it was all a misunderstanding. It was an accident. She had been trying to show her something but then she had lost her balance because she was high from the marijuana and had grabbed Kelley to stabilize herself not push her off the edge. She said Kelley had almost fallen off because she had hysterically overreacted. Kelley had been very upset and insisted that Hannah had done it on purpose and she said that it was because she was jealous over her relationship with Dan. She said it was obvious to everyone that Hannah was obsessed with him. What Kelley had not done however, was tell the police that they had smoked a joint right before this happened and when Hannah did, the police said that didn’t have enough evidence for any kind of case. They weren’t happy with Kelley for omitting that part of the account.

That was it for Hannah and most of her high school friends, or at least for a couple of years. Kelley stuck to her version of what happened and her friends sided with her. People began talking about the strange rumors that had followed Hannah around since high school. I thought it was suspicious but I couldn’t bring myself to believe that she tried to kill another woman. I thought that sort of thing only happened in the movies, not small towns in Indiana.

I did not, however, want to be friends with her. She was an embarrassment to be around.

She had almost no friends left in town at that point. She called me up to tell me she had decided she needed a change and she was going to pursue a different career and move to Minneapolis to make that happen. She moved in 1998 and I honestly thought I would never see her again. I wish I hadn’t

She called me about a year and a half later. She said she was doing really well and that the move had been good for. She said she had made friends and she had met a boy and was completely in love. She said this was the guy she was going to marry. His name was Dan and she told me that he was the guy that had gotten her interested in punk rock and heroin.

I kind of paused when she said that. I wasn’t any kind of angel in my 20’s but I never even dabbled in hard stuff like that and it didn’t sound very good. Hannah insisted it wasn’t a habit. She said it was amazing and easy to control as long as you were careful. This was a complete change in lifestyle and scene. Before this she had been something of a hippie chic but that was all gone now. At that point her life revolved around; hair, punk rock, heroin, and Dan.

She wanted to come back for a visit. We went to the mall and she stopped at a kiosk and said she wanted to buy a cell phone. She lived 8 hours away in a completely different state with a completely different area code. We got into a small argument about it. Back in 2000, cell phones were purchased and billed from your local area code and you paid through the nose if you were roaming. Hannah said to just drop it because she had done her research and it would be fine.

She bought the phone and listed her boyfriend Dan as the main user on the registration. She left and I noticed she had left her curling iron behind and I thought I would surprise her by calling her new cell phone. She had set it up at my house and I got the number from the caller ID. No one picked up, instead it went to an answering machine for Dan. The same Dan that had been dating Kelley years earlier and the same Dan that Hannah had been accused of being obsessed with. There was no doubt about who it was.

I hung up and I wondered why she had lied to me about who her boyfriend really was.

A couple of minutes later Hannah called me back on her original cell phone. She played it off as a coincidence that I had just called that other number. She said she had run into hometown Dan and his friends and he had lost his phone so Hannah had done him a favor and given him the one she had just purchased. I said how strange it was that she would buy a phone for her boyfriend Dan, only to run into someone else with the same name and give it away instead. Dan’s real name is very common. Probably one of the most common names for men of my generation and Hannah joked about how many different people she knew with that same exact name.

A couple of months later she called. She wanted to visit again in the summer. No matter what she said about being in control of the heroin use, it was very obvious that it had become a full-fledged habit. Things had taken a turn in her life. Her boyfriend Dan had moved to Chicago. Hannah said that he was still in love with her and they were still together but that something had happened with his ex-girlfriend and they were taking a break and only seeing one another privately. Hannah said he was trying to protect her. According to Hannah his ex-girlfriend had refused to accept their break up and had been stalking Dan for months. It was one of the reasons he had moved. She had taken an overdose of heroin and had tried to commit suicide when she found out that Hannah and Dan were together. That was the reason that they had decided that they had to keep their relationship secret. That was why Hannah was really in town. He was going to be coming later to join her and they had set up a get together.

I wanted to meet him but Hannah said he wouldn't act like her boyfriend when other people were around. I started to question her. She got angry and said she wouldn’t let me meet him because I wouldn’t understand their relationship. We got into a fight. I ordered her out of my house and made it clear that I wanted nothing to do with her.

Her mother called me about a year later. She said that Hannah was living with them in Atlanta because something very bad had happened in Minneapolis. Hannah didn’t have any friends left. Her mother straight up begged me to please forgive so she could have someone to talk to. She said Hannah had spent 3 months in rehab and was off the heroin, but emotionally not doing well. She said she had to make a trip back to Minneapolis to take care of some things and pick up some of her stuff. Her mother was worried that being back there and around her old friends would trigger her to want to use again. She said it was very important that Hannah not relapse. If she did the consequences would be severe. She wanted me to go with her. I said I would.

Hannah wouldn’t tell me what happened. She just said that someone had almost died and it had been an accident but it had still been her fault. She drove into town to pick me up for our trip up to Minneapolis but said we had to stop somewhere first. We went to the old bar downtown that we used to hang out in when she had lived in town. She said she had to meet someone. Some young woman walked in and Hannah walked over to her and hugged her and started crying. She was apologizing all over the place and kept telling her she needed her to realize that it had been an accident. The woman said she forgave her but that her life had been difficult since what happened and she could not have anything to do with Hannah anymore and could no longer be friends with her. Hannah asked if she had ever spoken to her ex-boyfriend and had a chance to work things out with him. She said no, he was mad at her and he refused to talk to her. Hannah said he had a new cell phone and she gave her the number just in case she changed her mind and wanted to get a hold of him.

She left. I was sitting there totally confused by what I had just witnessed. I was really uncomfortable with what I had heard. I asked Hannah if the ex-boyfriend she was talking about was hometown Dan. She said no, someone else that I had never met. Hannah said she and her Dan had broken up because he was still using heroin and she said it was too painful to talk about him. She said it was so painful that when we got to Minneapolis to please not bring him up. She said her friends knew not to mention him around her and she asked me not to also.

We got to Minneapolis and the young woman we were staying with turned out to be one of Hannah’s former roommates. That is when I found out what had really happened and what Hannah had been refusing to talk about. It turned out that girl from the bar had been the other roommate. The one that had almost died because of something that Hannah did.

We settled in and Hannah said that she could explain what happened a year ago. A year ago!? That was the first time I realized that this had happened much longer in the past than I thought. The former roommate said that she was happy that Hannah was clean but she needed her to explain why she had tried to kill the other girl. Those were her words. She wasn’t calling it an accident. She said she was there, she saw it and Hannah had done that to her on purpose and she wanted to know why.

This is what she described.

Hannah had a friend from Indiana that had broken up with her boyfriend Dan after Hannah had told her that she found out he was cheating on her and had gotten another woman pregnant. Hannah invited her to live with her up in Minneapolis to get away from him and start over. She had no idea that Hannah was a heroin user.

She did not like Minneapolis. She had experienced a run of bad luck the couple of weeks she had been there and even though Hannah kept trying to convince her to stick it out to see if she would like it she had decided she was going to leave and go back home. She regretted her break up with Dan. She wanted to talk to him and see if they could work through it. They had been together for almost two years. She was worried because she had lost touch with him. Hannah had been able to track down his phone number for her through some mutual friends but no matter how many times she called or how much she begged, he refused to answer her calls or call her back when she left messages. She was upset and told Hannah that she was going to stop by his apartment to see him on her way back to Indiana.

She was supposed to be leaving within a day. Hannah kept insisting that she would like heroin if she would just try a little bit and had been pressuring her very hard to join in with everyone else. The roommate was angry about that. She said Hannah knew she was scared and didn’t even want to try it. Hannah had promised her that she would be safe, and promised her that it would be a small dose. Hannah said she knew what she was doing. She gave in.

Hannah bought the heroin and she bought a lot more than normal which she said was for a party later. She prepared the needles and said she had just used a small amount. Instead, she had used all that she had bought which turned out to be way more than was necessary to kill all of them. Hannah had given the girl the injection and she slumped over immediately and stopped breathing. Hannah had then moved on to the other roommate and told her everything was fine in the other room and that she was enjoying herself. She tried to convince her to take her dose, but she wanted to check on the other girl first. Hannah walked over and had an imaginary conversation with the young woman who was completely unconscious and tried to convince the other roommate that she was fine. She went to check on her herself and immediately saw she wasn’t even breathing, panicked, and started screaming at Hannah about why she was lying. She ran for the phone. Hannah ran after her. She dialed 911. Hannah grabbed the phone and hung it up. They called back and she said it had been a mistake and they were fine. Hannah wouldn’t let her near the phone and kept trying to tell her that she was being hysterical and that everything was okay. Hannah tried to pin her down and force the needle on her and she fought back and ran out of the apartment and down the hall to a neighbors. They called 911.

When the paramedics got there the girl was clinically dead. They worked on her and got a heartbeat and transferred her to a local hospital in a comatose state. She lived, but for a while it wasn’t clear if she would pull through. Hannah told the police she didn’t know why she had done it. After talking with a lawyer she said it was because of heroin psychosis and that she had been temporarily insane at the time. She agreed to a long term rehab stay and a year of drug testing and probation. After that the charges against her were dropped. That had been the reason that it was so important Hannah did not relapse. She would have been looking at prison time.

Hannah said it had been a strange temporary hallucination that had caused her behavior and that she had never meant to hurt her and the whole thing had been an accident and a misunderstanding. The same excuse she always used.

I am going to spell this out, since the morons who work for the Minneapolis police department were too stupid to realize this 20 years ago.

Hannah was obsessed with this girl’s boyfriend Dan. She had been obsessed with him for years. She had developed a detailed and deranged fantasy that the two of them were in a secret relationship together because she has a peculiar and somewhat rare psychiatric condition called erotomania or De Clermabault’s syndrome. She believed that this young woman was standing in the way of their romance and so she ingratiated herself to her and pretended to be her friend so that she could find a way to get close enough to her to get her out of the way.

She successfully managed to spread rumors and interfere in their relationship enough that the two of them broke up and then Hannah invited this young woman to Minneapolis to isolate her from her other friends and control what information she had access to.This was the year 2000, we didn't have text message or Facebook back then for keeping in touch with people She lulled her into a false sense of friendship and security so she could manipulate her and get close enough to her to hurt her. When she realized she was still in love with Dan and wanted to talk to him Hannah realized that she would eventually find out that the rumors she had been told were not true and that Hannah was the source. She purchased a cell phone in Indiana and made a recording of Dan’s answering machine message so that she could impersonate him on the phone and so the young woman would believe she was in contact with him. She never knew that Dan never received the messages. Hannah was using that to spy on her. When she said she was going to go back home and show up and see if Dan would talk to her in person Hannah knew that meant she would find out she had given her a fake phone number and that she had gone to extreme lengths to prevent her from speaking to him and it would have been obvious why.

She tried to talk her into trying heroin because she planned on killing her and her other roommate because that would be a good way to make it appear to be an accident. Hannah was about to have her obsessions with Dan, her delusional beliefs about him, and her bizarre mental disorder exposed and she knew that. She knew for at least a day or more before the incident which is why it is clear that her actions were premeditated, because her motive was. All of this would have been remarkably easy to figure out if the police had contacted Dan, and if they had taken a look at Hannah’s phone records. Phone harassment has always been her favorite hobby.

Instead they treated it just like the other 999 overdoses they have to respond to every month and gave Hannah the old rehab or prison option. Since her family could afford a lawyer and a 3 month rehab stay that was the option she took. The police never investigated her for anything. Never contacted the man “Dan” at the center of this, and never took any serious look into her background. It wasn’t an accident. It was an attempted murder and a pretty easy one to prove at that. Instead, the police totally dropped the ball and because of their incompetence she was allowed to completely get away with it. By the way, just in case any idiots who work for the Minneapolis Police Department ever read this; there is no statute of limitations on first degree attempted murder.

At the time, I didn’t know any of this. I was trying to act as a support system for a former friend who was suicidal on the cusp of a heroin relapse. I was suspicious, but any time I asked Hannah questions, she just said it was too painful to talk about or would guilt trip me about not respecting her boundaries. She had sworn to me that this young woman had never been in any relationship with the Dan from our hometown that she had known years earlier.

I returned to Indiana and Hannah returned to her parents in Atlanta and I didn’t talk to her for a while. She called later and wanted to visit her old hometown again. Once again I let her stay with me.

We ran into Dan. He had moved to Chicago, but just happened to be back in town that weekend. I hadn’t seen him in years. Hannah had contacted him to get together. She spent the whole afternoon trying to pull him aside to talk to him, but instead he made it clear that he had only shown up because he wanted to see me. He had broken up with Kelley years earlier but I thought he had a long term girlfriend since then. Dan said she had left him a year ago and just disappeared. He had called her repeatedly but she had completely cut him off. He was nice to me, he was handsome, he was a lot of fun to be around and he asked me out.

We made plans to meet up the next day. I saw him at a bar and he turned around and walked out the door and wouldn’t even look at me. I was upset and confused. Hannah was super sympathetic. She apologized for not telling me what he was like and said he had this weird thing with lying to girls and playing with their emotions by pretending to like them. It wasn’t like I had never been lied to by a boy before but this felt strange.

A week later my student loan came through and I decided to go back to college and finish my degree. I moved a couple hours away. The first person that called me was Hannah. Once again, she wanted to come visit me. She insisted that she had gone out and got me a “surprise” and she needed to give it to me in person. She said she had something really important to talk to me about and she said that it would sound weird but she asked me to promise her that I wouldn’t tell anyone she was coming to see me. I humored her.

She showed up at my apartment and when she walked in the first thing she asked me was if I had told anyone she would be there. At first I said no. She said that she had something for me and reached into her purse. She paused and said that she just wanted to make sure that no one knew she was there. I was frustrated and I kind of off-hand said that no one besides my mom and best friend. Hannah got furious. She was angry that I had told anyone she would be there and refused to show me what she had brought as a surprise for me. She went and locked it in her glove compartment because she said she didn’t want me to snoop in her stuff and find it. She kept saying she wanted to talk about something but the time wasn’t right. She decided to go home a day early.

Then, one day a couple of weeks later, out of the blue, she just showed up on my doorstep one evening. I was on the phone with my best friend, who by the way, went to the same Catholic high school as Hannah and while not close friends with her, knew who she was. I was talking to her when I saw Hannah walk up to my front door. It was an 8 hour drive from Atlanta to Indiana. I got up and opened the door and I still had the phone up to my ear. When I opened it, Hannah had her head down and she had one hand inside her purse. I said her name and she looked up at me and pulled something purple from her purse.

She saw I was on the phone and swiveled around and put whatever she had been holding in her hand back in her bag. She was acting very strange and she was shaking and I was worried. I asked her to come inside. At that point I was convinced that she was back on heroin and that had been the secret she had been trying to talk to me about for months.

She said that she was upset about a boy and needed to talk to me. She said she had something that she wanted to show me and she reached into her purse and pulled out a handgun. It was a purple and black revolver and I realized from the color that it was what she had pulled from her purse when I had first answered the door. She said that she had been checking to make sure the safety was on and I was lucky that she hadn’t accidentally shot me because I had startled her. She said the gun was because she was back on heroin and scared of the part of town she had to go to in order to buy it.

I didn’t know it back then, but revolvers don’t have safeties.

She told me about a musician in Atlanta that she had met and she was frustrated because he had a girlfriend and she hadn’t been able to find a way to get him to pay attention to her. She wanted me to tell her what I had done to Dan so she could use it on this guy. She told me he was still talking about me months later and she wanted to know why he was still interested even though we hadn’t talked since the previous summer. From my point of view, he wasn’t. He had ghosted me months earlier. Hannah kept insisting that I must have done something to him. It was like she was implying that I had hypnotized him or something ludicrous and she wanted me to tell her. I clearly explained that I hadn’t done anything and he had ignored me and then never returned my phone calls after I tried calling him. She cried and drank for a couple of hours and then turned around and drove 8 hours back to Atlanta in the middle of the night. Just for the record, Hannah was the one who gave me Dan’s phone number.

After this, something very strange seemed to get set into motion. I got a phone call from an anonymous number and when I answered it was Hannah who said someone wanted to talk to me and she flipped me over to a three way call with someone else. It was Dan’s roommate and best friend in Chicago and he started screaming at me asking me why I was playing games with Dan and messing with him. He said he was going out of his mind and I needed to call him back and stop whatever it was that I had been doing to him. I told him I didn’t know what he was talking about, Dan had never called me and I had tried to call him and…....Then we were disconnected. Then another anonymous call that was really Hannah with another three way call and another group of boys who started yelling at me and telling me they would kill me for what I had done to Dan. Then another disconnected line before I could ask them what they were talking about.

Then I called Hannah to find out what the hell was going. It was the craziest and most disturbing conversation I have ever had with another person. At first, she just kept saying that I had hurt Dan and I could not ever talk to him again or have any contact with him. None of it made any sense since this was about a guy that had refused to return my phone calls and had ignored me for months. Hannah started getting very upset and kept saying that I knew what I had done, I just wouldn’t admit it. She said that Dan hated me and had never wanted anything to do with me but that I was doing things to him to make him say that and pretend that he liked me instead of her. I had no idea what the hell was going on.

She said that Dan was her secret boyfriend and that he was in love with her and had been in love with her for years. She said that the two of them had been together since they were teenagers and that I knew it but was pretending not to. I asked her how she could have been his girlfriend when I knew of others girls he had dated. She started screeching that those weren’t real relationships. He was only pretending to like them, when he talked about them he was really talking about her but other people kept doing things to him so that he couldn’t tell her directly how he felt, but she knew. She insisted that he found ways to let her know that he was really thinking about her. She said that all of his friends respected their privacy which was why they would play along when he pretended he was dating other people. She kept insisting he was in love with her and no one else.

She said she was sick of people pretending to be her friend and then stabbing her in the back by going after her boyfriend and she said she would not put up with anyone coming between them and she would not let anyone hurt him. She said I was forcing him to forget how he really felt and that it had hurt him not to be with her and she wouldn’t let me hurt him. I realized that she wasn’t making any sense and that she was totally psychotic. I told her to NEVER contact me again and I hung up.

All I could think about was how she had pulled a gun out of her purse the last time she had shown up at my apartment by surprise. She had given a fatal overdose of heroin to another woman, and had been accused by another of luring them to a ledge and trying to push her off. The one thing we all had in common was Dan. I called the number I had for Dan. It was disconnected. I thought about that weird situation with the cell phone she had purchased a couple of years earlier. I found that old number in my address book and called it except this time it wasn’t Dan’s voice on the answering machine it was mine. The psycho bitch had made a recording of my voicemail and had put it on a cell phone that she owned and once I discovered that pretty much everything fell very clearly into place. That was what had happened to that girl in Minneapolis, and that was why Dan had spent the last several months thinking he was contacting me. There was no relationship with Dan, it was all in Hannah’s head and she was frantically trying to keep other women away from him to protect her fantasy from imploding.

Hannah is psychotic. It is a mental disorder called erotomania and it is the fixed delusional belief that another person is secretly in love with you. Not everyone who has it will be violent, but some people are. In some cases other people are used in strange psychotic dramas and vicious smear campaigns that are aimed at trying to rearrange reality so that it conforms with the delusions inside of their head. The people that are perceived as standing in their way can be the victims of extreme violence.

Hannah showed up the next day at my apartment screaming at me to let her in. I would not and I was getting ready to call the police when she started crying and saying that Dan had killed himself and then she walked away and that was the last time I ever saw her. I spoke to my parents who told me that I had received several phone calls to their house from people letting me know the same thing.

I changed my phone number to keep her from contacting me. I contacted the police in Indiana who said if she showed up again that they could arrest her for felony intimidation but not for anything she had done months earlier. I contacted the police in Minneapolis but I knew very little information, only Hannah’s name, not where or when it had happened. I asked repeatedly to please be allowed to speak to someone but the woman on the phone said they weren’t interested in talking to me. I moved so she wouldn’t know where I lived. I cut myself off from anyone from my hometown who I thought might know her so nothing could ever get back to her about where I lived. The last I heard from her she was stalking some new guy down in Atlanta.

I would have been more than happy to meet the bitch in a courtroom but unfortunately the law is nothing like you see on TV. So unless I ever have the privilege of sitting in on her sentencing hearing, Hannah from Indiana, let’s not meet again.

Tldr; former friend turned out to be a psychotic stalker with a strange mental disorder who spent years engaged in bizarre and secretive behavior to attack or kill any woman who went near her imaginary boyfriend.
submitted by sbanyan75 to LetsNotMeet [link] [comments]

2020.04.23 23:31 cooklanbrahh High school locker room spy

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