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GeForce RTX 3090 Review Megathread

GeForce RTX 3090 Review Megathread

GeForce RTX 3090 reviews are up.

Image Link - GeForce RTX 3090 Founders Edition

Reminder: Do NOT buy from 3rd Party Marketplace Seller on Ebay/Amazon/Newegg (unless you want to pay more). Assume all the 3rd party sellers are scalping. If it's not being sold by the actual retailer (e.g. Amazon selling on Amazon.com or Newegg selling on Newegg.com) then you should treat the product as sold out and wait.

Below is the compilation of all the reviews that have been posted so far. I will be updating this continuously throughout the day with the conclusion of each publications and any new review links. This will be sorted alphabetically.

Written Articles

Anandtech - TBD

Arstechnica - TBD

Babeltechreviews

NVIDIA says that the RTX 3080 is the gaming card and the RTX 3090 is the hybrid creative card – but we respectfully disagree. The RTX 3090 is the flagship gaming card that can also run intensive creative apps very well, especially by virtue of its huge 24GB framebuffer. But it is still not an RTX TITAN nor a Quadro. These cards cost a lot more and are optimized specifically for workstations and also for professional and creative apps.
However, for RTX 2080 Ti gamers who paid $1199 and who have disposable cash for their hobby – although it has been eclipsed by the RTX 3080 – the RTX 3090 Founders Edition which costs $1500 is the card to maximize their upgrade. And for high-end gamers who also use creative apps, this card may become a very good value. Hobbies are very expensive to maintain, and the expense of PC gaming pales in comparison to what golfers, skiers, audiophiles, and many other hobbyists pay for their entertainment. But for high-end gamers on a budget, the $699 RTX 3080 will provide the most value of the two cards. We cannot call the $1500 RTX 3090 a “good value” generally for gamers as it is a halo card and it absolutely does not provide anywhere close to double the performance of a $700 RTX 3080.
However, for some professionals, two RTX 3090s may give them exactly what they need as it is the only Ampere gaming card to support NVLink providing up to 112.5 GB/s of total bandwidth between two GPUs which when SLI’d together will allow them to access a massive 48GB of vRAM. SLI is no longer supported by NVIDIA for gaming, and emphasis will be placed on mGPU only as implemented by game developers.

Digital Foundry Article

Digital Foundry Video

So there we have it. The RTX 3090 delivers - at best - 15 to 16 per cent more gaming performance than the RTX 3080. In terms of price vs performance, there is only one winner here. And suffice to say, we would expect to see factory overclocked RTX 3080 cards bite into the already fairly slender advantage delivered by Nvidia's new GPU king. Certainly in gaming terms then, the smart money would be spend on an RTX 3080, and if you're on a 1440p high refresh rate monitor and you're looking to maximise price vs performance, I'd urge you to look at the RTX 2080 Ti numbers in this review: if Nvidia's claims pan out, you'll be getting that and potentially more from the cheaper still RTX 3070. All of which raises the question - why make an RTX 3090 at all?
The answers are numerous. First of all, PC gaming has never adhered to offering performance increases in line with the actual amount of money spent. Whether it's Titans, Intel Extreme processors, high-end motherboards or performance RAM, if you want the best, you'll end up paying a huge amount of money to attain it. This is only a problem where there are no alternatives and in the case of the RTX 3090, there is one - the RTX 3080 at almost half of the price.
But more compelling is the fact that Nvidia is now blurring the lines between the gaming GeForce line and the prosumer-orientated Quadro offerings. High-end Quadro cards are similar to RTX 3090 and Titan RTX in several respects - usually in that they deliver the fully unlocked Nvidia silicon paired with huge amounts of VRAM. Where they differ is in support and drivers, something that creatives, streamers or video editors may not wish to pay even more of a premium for. In short, RTX 3090 looks massively expensive as a gamer card, but compared to the professional Quadro line, there are clear savings.
In the meantime, RTX 3090 delivers the Titan experience for the new generation of graphics hardware. Its appeal is niche, the halo product factor is huge and the performance boost - while not exactly huge - is likely enough to convince the cash rich to invest and for the creator audience to seriously consider it. For my use cases, the extra money is obviously worth it. I also think that the way Nvidia packages and markets the product is appealing: the RTX 3090 looks and feels special, its gigantic form factor and swish aesthetic will score points with those that take pride in their PC looking good and its thermal and especially acoustic performance are excellent. It's really, really quiet. All told then, RTX 3090 is the traditional hard sell for the mainstream gamer but the high-end crowd will likely lap it up. But it leaves me with a simple question: where next for the Titan and Ti brands? You don't retire powerhouse product tiers for no good reason and I can only wonder: is something even more powerful cooking?

Guru3D

When we had our first experience with the GeForce RTX 3080, we were nothing short of impressed. Testing the GeForce RTX 3090 is yet another step up. But we're not sure if the 3090 is the better option though, as you'll need very stringent requirements in order for it to see a good performance benefit. Granted, and I have written this many times in the past with the Titans and the like, a graphics card like this is bound to run into bottlenecks much faster than your normal graphics cards. Three factors come into play here, CPU bottlenecks, low-resolution bottlenecks, and the actual game (API). The GeForce RTX 3090 is the kind of product that needs to be free from all three aforementioned factors. Thus, you need to have a spicy processor that can keep up with the card, you need lovely GPU bound games preferably with DX12 ASYNC compute and, of course, if you are not gaming at the very least in Ultra HD, then why even bother, right? The flipside of the coin is that when you have these three musketeers applied and in effect, well, then there is no card faster than the 3090, trust me; it's a freakfest of performance, but granted, also bitter-sweet when weighing all factors in.
NVIDIA's Ampere product line up has been impressive all the way, there's nothing other to conclude than that. Is it all perfect? Well, performance-wise in the year 2020 we cannot complain. Of course, there is an energy consumption factor to weigh in as a negative factor and, yes, there's pricing to consider. Both are far too high for the product to make any real sense. For gaming, we do not feel the 3090 makes a substantial enough difference over the RTX 3080 with 10 to 15% differentials, and that's mainly due to system bottlenecks really. You need to game at Ultra HD and beyond for this card to make a bit of sense. We also recognize that the two factors do not need to make sense for quite a bunch of you as the product sits in a very extreme niche. But I stated enough about that. I like this chunk of hardware sitting inside a PC though as, no matter how you look at it, it is a majestic product. Please make sure you have plenty of ventilation though as the RTX 3090 will dump lots of heat. It is big but still looks terrific. And the performance, oh man... that performance, it is all good all the way as long as you uphold my three musketeers remark. Where I could nag a little about the 10 GB VRAM on the GeForce RTX 3080, we cannot complain even the slightest bit about the whopping big mac feature of the 3090, 24 GB of the fastest GDDR6X your money can get you, take that Flight Sim 2020! This is an Ultra HD card, in that domain, it shines whether that is using shading (regular rendered games) or when using hybrid ray-tracing + DLSS. It's a purebred but unfortunately very power-hungry product that will reach only a select group of people. But it is formidable if you deliver it to the right circumstances. Would we recommend this product? Ehm no, you are better off with GeForce RTX 3070 or 3080 as, money-wise, this doesn't make much sense. But it is genuinely a startling product worthy of a top pick award, an award we hand out so rarely for a reference or Founder product but we also have to acknowledge that NVIDIA really is stepping up on their 'reference' designs and is now setting a new and better standard.

Hexus

This commentary puts the RTX 3090 into a difficult spot. It's 10 percent faster for gaming yet costs over twice as much as the RTX 3080. Value for money is poor when examined from a gaming point of view. Part of that huge cost rests with the 24GB of GDDR6X memory that has limited real-world benefit in games. Rather, it's more useful in professional rendering as the larger pool can speed-up time to completion massively.
And here's the rub. Given its characteristics, this card ought to be called the RTX Titan or GeForce RTX Studio and positioned more diligently for the creatoprofessional community where computational power and large VRAM go hand in hand. The real RTX 3090, meanwhile, gaming focussed first and foremost, ought to arrive with 12GB of memory and a $999 price point, thereby offering a compelling upgrade without resorting to Titan-esque pricing. Yet all that said, the insatiable appetite and apparent deep pockets of enthusiasts will mean Nvidia sells out of these $1,500 boards today: demand far outstrips supply. And does it matter what it's called, how much memory it has, or even what price it is? Not in the big scheme of things because there is a market for it.
Being part of the GeForce RTX firmament has opened up the way for add-in card partners to produce their own boards. The Gigabyte Gaming OC does most things right. It's built well and looks good, and duly tops all the important gaming charts at 4K. We'd encourage a lower noise profile through a relaxation of temps, but if you have the means by which to buy graphics performance hegemony, the Gaming OC isn't a bad shout... if you can find it in stock.

Hot Hardware

Summarizing the GeForce RTX 3090's performance is simple -- it's the single fastest GPU on the market currently, bar none. There's nuance to consider here, though. Versus the GeForce RTX 3080, disregarding CPU limited situations or corner cases, the more powerful RTX 3090's advantages over the 3080 only range from about 4% to 20%. Versus the Titan RTX, the GeForce RTX 3090's advantages increase to approximately 6% to 40%. Consider complex creator workloads which can leverage the GeForce RTX 3090's additional resources and memory, however, and it is simply in another class altogether and can be many times faster than either the RTX 3080 or Titan RTX.
Obviously, the $1,499 GeForce RTX 3090 Founder's Edition isn't an overall value play for the vast majority of users. If you're a gamer shopping for a new high-end GPU, the GeForce RTX 3080 at less than 1/2 the price is the much better buy. Compared to the $2,500 Titan RTX or $1,300 - $1,500-ish GeForce RTX 2080 Ti though, the GeForce RTX 3090 is the significantly better choice. Your perspective on the GeForce RTX 3090's value proposition is ultimately going to depend on your particular use case. Unless they've got unlimited budgets and want the best-of-the-best, regardless of cost, hardcore gamers may scoff at the RTX 3090. Anyone utilizing the horsepower of the previous generation Titan RTX though, may be chomping at the bit.
The GeForce RTX 3090's ultimate appeal is going to depend on the use-case, but whether or not you'll actually be able to get one is another story. The GeForce RTX 3090 is going to be available in limited quantities today -- NVIDIA said as much in yesterday's performance tease. NVIDIA pledges to make more available direct and through partners ASAP, however. We'll see how things shake out in the weeks ahead, and all bets are off when AMD's makes its RDNA2 announcements next month. NVIDIA's got a lot of wiggle room with Ampere and will likely react swiftly to anything AMD has in store. And let's not forget we still have the GeForce RTX 3070 inbound, which is going to have extremely broad appeal if NVIDIA's performance claims hold up.

Igor's Lab

In Summary: this card is a real giant, especially at higher resolutions, because even if the lead over the GeForce RTX 3080 isn’t always as high as dreamed, it’s always enough to reach the top position in playability. Right stop of many quality controllers included. Especially when the games of the GeForce RTX 3090 and the new architecture are on the line, the mail really goes off, which one must admit without envy, whereby the actual gain is not visible in pure FPS numbers.
If you have looked at the page with the variances, you will quickly understand that the image is much better because it is softer. The FPS or percentiles are still much too coarse intervals to be able to reproduce this very subjective impression well. A blind test with 3 perons has completely confirmed my impression, because there is nothing better than a lot of memory, at most even more memory. Seen in this light, the RTX 3080 with 10 GB is more like Cinderella, who later has to make herself look more like Cinderella with 10 GB if she wants to get on the prince’s roller.
But the customer always has something to complain about anyway (which is good by the way and keeps the suppliers on their toes) and NVIDIA keeps all options open in return to be able to top a possible Navi2x card with 16 GB memory expansion with 20 GB later. And does anyone still remember the mysterious SKU20 between the GeForce RTX 3080 and RTX 3090? If AMD doesn’t screw it up again this time, this SKU20 is sure to become a tie-break in pixel tennis. We’ll see.
For a long time I have been wrestling with myself, which is probably the most important thing in this test. I have also tested 8K resolutions, but due to the lack of current practical relevance, I put this part on the back burner. If anyone can find someone who has a spare 8K TV, I’ll be happy to do so, if only because I’m also very interested in 8K-DLSS. But that’s like sucking on an ice cream that you’ve only printed out on a laser printer before.
The increase in value of the RTX 3090 in relation to the RTX 3080 for the only gamer is, up to the memory extension, to be rather neglected and one understands also, why many critics will never pay the double price for 10 to 15% more gaming performance. Because I wouldn’t either. Only this is then exactly the target group for the circulated RTX 3080 (Ti) with double memory expansion. Their price should increase visibly in comparison to the 10 GB variant, but still be significantly below that of a GeForce RTX 3090. This is not defamatory or fraudulent, but simply follows the laws of the market. A top dog always costs a little more than pure scaling, logic and reason would allow.
And the non-gamer or the not-only-gamer? The added value can be seen above all in the productive area, whether workstation or creation. Studio is the new GeForce RTX wonderland away from the Triple A games, and the Quadros can slowly return to the professional corner of certified specialty programs. What AMD started back then with the Vega Frontier Edition and unfortunately didn’t continue (why not?), NVIDIA has long since taken up and consistently perfected. The market has changed and studio is no longer an exotic phrase. Then even those from about 1500 Euro can survive without a headache tablet again.

KitGuru Article

KitGuru Video

RTX 3080 was heralded by many as an excellent value graphics card, delivering performance gains of around 30% compared to the RTX 2080 Ti, despite being several hundred pounds cheaper. With the RTX 3090, Nvidia isn’t chasing value for money, but the overall performance crown.
And that is exactly what it has achieved. MSI’s RTX 3090 Gaming X Trio, for instance, is 14% faster than the RTX 3080 and 50% faster than the RTX 2080 Ti, when tested at 4K. No other GPU even comes close to matching its performance.
At this point, many of you reading this may be thinking something along the line of ‘well, yes, it is 14% faster than an RTX 3080 – but it is also over double the price, so surely it is terrible value?’ And you would be 100% correct in thinking that. The thing is, Nvidia knows that too – RTX 3090 is simply not about value for money, and if that is something you prioritise when buying a new graphics card, don’t buy a 3090.
Rather, RTX 3090 is purely aimed at those who don’t give a toss about value. It’s for the gamers who want the fastest card going, and they will pay whatever price to claim those bragging rights. In this case of the MSI Gaming X Trio, the cost of this GPU’s unrivalled performance comes to £1530 here in the UK.
Alongside gamers, I can also see professionals or creators looking past its steep asking price. If the increased render performance of this GPU could end up saving you an hour, two hours per week, for many that initial cost will pay for itself with increased productivity, especially if you need as much VRAM as you can get.

OC3D

As with any launch, the primary details are in the GPU itself, and so the first half of this conclusion is the same for both of the AIB RTX 3090 graphics cards that we are reviewing today. If you want to know specifics of this particular card, skip down the page.
Last week we saw the release of the RTX 3080. A card that combined next-gen performance with a remarkably attractive price point, and was one of the easiest products to recommend we've ever seen. 4K gaming for around the £700 mark might be expensive if you're just used to consoles, but if you're a diehard member of the "PC Gaming Master Race", then you know how much you had to spend to achieve the magical 4K60 mark. It's an absolute no brainer purchase.
The RTX 3090 though, that comes with more asterisks and caveats than a Lance Armstrong win on the Tour de France. Make no mistake; the RTX 3090 is brutally fast. If performance is your thing, or performance without consideration of cost, or you want to flex on forums across the internet, then yeah, go for it. For everyone else, and that's most of us, there is a lot it does well, but it's a seriously niche product.
We can go to Nvidia themselves for their key phraseology. With a tiny bit of paraphrasing, they say "The RTX 3090 is for 8K gaming, or heavy workload content creators. For 4K Gaming the RTX 3080 is, with current and immediate future titles, more than enough". If you want the best gaming experience, then as we saw last week, the clear choice is the RTX 3080. If you've been following the results today then clearly the RTX 3090 isn't enough of a leap forwards to justify being twice the price of the RTX 3080. It's often around 5% faster, sometimes 10%, sometimes not much faster at all. Turns out that Gears 5 in particular looked unhappy but it was an 'auto' setting on animation increasing its own settings so we will go back with it fixed to ultra and retest. The RTX 3090 is still though, whisper it, a bit of a comedown after the heights of our first Ampere experience.
To justify the staggering cost of the RTX 3090 you need to fit into one of the following groups; Someone who games at 8K, either natively or via Nvidia's DSR technology. Someone who renders enormous amounts of 3D work. We're not just talking a 3D texture or model for a game; we're talking animated short films. Although even here the reality is that you need a professional solution far beyond the price or scope of the RTX 3090. Lastly, it would be best if you were someone who renders massive, RAW, 8K video footage regularly and has the memory and storage capacity to feed such a voracious data throughput. If you fall into one of those categories, then you'll already have the hardware necessary - 8K screen or 8K video camera - that the cost of the RTX 3090 is small potatoes. In which case you'll love the extra freedom and performance it can bring to your workload, smoothing out the waiting that is such a time-consuming element of the creative process. This logic holds true for both the Gigabyte and MSI cards we're looking at on launch.

PC Perspective - TBD

PC World

There’s no doubt that the $1,500 GeForce RTX 3090 is indeed a “big ferocious GPU,” and the most powerful consumer graphics card ever created. The Nvidia Founders Edition delivers unprecedented performance for 4K gaming, frequently maxes out games at 1440p, and can even play at ludicrous 8K resolution in some games. It’s a beast for 3440x1440 ultrawide gaming too, as our separate ultrawide benchmarks piece shows. Support for HDMI 2.1 and AV1 decoding are delicious cherries on top.
If you’re a pure gamer, though, you shouldn’t buy it, unless you’ve got deep pockets and want the best possible gaming performance, value be damned. The $700 GeForce RTX 3080 offers between 85 and 90 percent of the RTX 3090’s 4K gaming performance (depending on the game) for well under half the cost. It’s even closer at 1440p.
If you’re only worried about raw gaming frame rates, the GeForce RTX 3080 is by far the better buy, because it also kicks all kinds of ass at 4K and high refresh rate 1440p and even offers the same HDMI 2.1 and AV1 decode support as its bigger brother. Nvidia likes to boast that the RTX 3090 is the first 8K gaming card, and while that’s true in some games, it falls far short of the 60 frames per second mark in many triple-A titles. Consider 8K gaming a nice occasional bonus more than a core feature.
If you mix work and play, though, the GeForce RTX 3090 is a stunning value—especially if your workloads tap into CUDA. It’s significantly faster than the previous-gen RTX 2080 Ti, which fell within spitting distance of the RTX Titan, and offers the same 24GB VRAM capacity of that Titan. But it does so for $1,000 less than the RTX Titan’s cost.
The GeForce RTX 3090 stomps all over most of our content creation benchmarks. Performance there is highly workload-dependent, of course, but we saw speed increases of anywhere from 30 to over 100 percent over the RTX 2080 Ti in several tasks, with many falling in the 50 to 80 percent range. That’s an uplift that will make your projects render tangibly faster—putting more money in your pocket. The lofty 24GB of GDDR6X memory makes the RTX 3090 a must-have in some scenarios where the 10GB to 12GB found in standard gaming cards flat-out can’t cut it, such as 8K media editing or AI training with large data sets. That alone will make it worth buying for some people, along with the NVLink connector that no other RTX 30-series GPU includes. If you don’t need those, the RTX 3080 comes close to the RTX 3090 in raw GPU power in many tests.

TechGage - Workstation benchmark!

NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 3090 is an interesting card for many reasons, and it’s harder to summarize than the RTX 3080 was, simply due to its top-end price and goals. The RTX 3080, priced at $699, was really easy to recommend to anyone wanting a new top-end gaming solution, because compared to the last-gen 2080S, 2080 Ti, or even TITAN RTX, the new card simply trounced them all.
The GeForce RTX 3090, with its $1,499 price tag, caters to a different crowd. First, there are going to be those folks who simply want the best gaming or creator GPU possible, regardless of its premium price. We saw throughout our performance results that the RTX 3090 does manage to take a healthy lead in many cases, but the gains over RTX 3080 are not likely as pronounced as many were hoping.
The biggest selling-point of the RTX 3090 is undoubtedly its massive frame buffer. For creators, having 24GB on tap likely means you will never run out during this generation, and if you manage to, we’re going to be mighty impressed. We do see more than 24GB being useful for deep-learning and AI research, but even there, it’s plenty for the vast majority of users.
Interestingly, this GeForce is capable of taking advantage of NVLink, so those wanting to plug two of them into a machine could likewise combine their VRAM, activating a single 48GB frame buffer. Two of these cards would cost $500 more than the TITAN RTX, and obliterate it in rendering and deep-learning workloads (but of course draw a lot more power at the same time).
For those wanting to push things even harder with single GPU, we suspect NVIDIA will likely release a new TITAN at some point with even more memory. Or, that’s at least our hope, because we don’t want to see the TITAN series just up and disappear.
For gamers, a 24GB frame buffer can only be justified if you’re using top-end resolutions. Not even 4K is going to be problematic for most people with a 10GB frame buffer, but as we move up the scale, to 5K and 8K, that memory is going to become a lot more useful.
By now, you likely know whether or not the monstrous GeForce RTX 3090 is for you. Fortunately, if it isn’t, the RTX 3080 hasn’t gone anywhere, and it still proves to be of great value (you know – if you can find it in stock) for its $699 price. NVIDIA also has a $499 RTX 3070 en route next month, so all told, the company is going to be taking good care of its enthusiast fans with this trio of GPUs. Saying that, we still look forward to the even lower-end parts, as those could ooze value even more than the bigger cards.

Techpowerup - MSI Gaming X Trio

Techpowerup - Zotac Trinity

Techpowerup - Asus Strix OC

Techpowerup - MSI Gaming X Trio

Still, the performance offered by the RTX 3090 is impressive; the Gaming X is 53% faster than RTX 2080 Ti, 81% faster than RTX 2080 Super. AMD's Radeon RX 5700 XT is less than half as fast, the performance uplift vs the 3090 is 227%! AMD Big Navi better be a success. With those performance numbers RTX 3090 is definitely suited for 4K resolution gaming. Many games will run over 90 FPS, at highest details, in 4K, nearly all over 60, only Control is slightly below that, but DLSS will easily boost FPS beyond that.
With RTX 3090 NVIDIA is introducing "playable 8K", which rests on several pillars. In order to connect an 8K display you previously had to use multiple cables, now you can use just a single HDMI 2.1 cable. At higher resolution, the VRAM usage goes up, RTX 3090 has you covered, offering 24 GB of memory, which is more than twice that of the 10 GB RTX 3080. Last but not least, on the software side, they added the capability to capture 8K gameplay with Shadow Play. In order to improve framerates (remember, 8K processes 16x the pixels as Full HD), NVIDIA created DLSS 8K, which renders the game at 1440p native, and scales the output by x3, in each direction, using machine learning. All of these technologies are still in its infancy, game support is limited and displays are expensive, we'll look into this in more detail in the future.
24 GB VRAM is definitely future-proof, but I'm having doubts whether you really need that much memory. Sure, more is always better, but unless you are using professional applications, you'll have a hard time finding a noteworthy difference between performance with 10 GB vs 24 GB. Games won't be an issue, because you'll run out of shading power long before you run out of VRAM, just like with older cards today, which can't handle 4K, no matter how much VRAM they have. Next-gen consoles also don't have as much VRAM, so it's hard to image that you'll miss out on any meaningful gaming experience if you have less than 24 GB VRAM. NVIDIA demonstrated several use cases in their reviewer's guide: OctaneRender, DaVinci Resolve and Blender can certainly benefit from more memory, GPU compute applications, too, but these are very niche use cases. I'm not aware of any creators who were stuck and couldn't create, because they ran out of VRAM. On the other hand the RTX 3090 could definitely turn out to be a good alternative to Quadro, or Tesla, unless you need double-precision math (you don't).
Pricing of the RTX 3090 is just way too high, and a tough pill to swallow. At a starting price of $1500, it is more than twice as expensive as the RTX 3080, but not nearly twice as fast. MSI asking another $100 on top for their fantastic Gaming X Trio cooler, plus the overclock out of the box doesn't seem that unreasonable to me. We're talking about 6.6% here. The 6% performance increase due to factory OC / higher power limit can almost justify that, with the better cooler it's almost a no-brainer. While an additional 14 GB of GDDR6X memory aren't free, the $1500 base price still doesn't feel right. On the other hand, the card is significantly better than RTX 2080 Ti in every regard, and that sold for well over $1000, too. NVIDIA emphasizes that RTX 3090 is a Titan replacement—Titan RTX launched at $2500, so $1500 must be a steal for the new 3090. Part of the disappointment about the price is that RTX 3080 is so impressive, at such disruptive pricing. If RTX 3080 was $1000, then $1500 wouldn't feel as crazy—I would say $1000 is a fair price for the RTX 3090. Either way, Turing showed us that people are willing to pay up to have the best, and I have no doubt that all RTX 3090 cards will sell out today, just like RTX 3080.
Obviously the "Recommended" award in this context is not for the average gamer. Rather it means, if you have that much money to spend, and are looking for a RTX 3090, then you should consider this card.

The FPS Review - TBD

Tomshardware

Let's be clear: the GeForce RTX 3090 is now the fastest GPU around for gaming purposes. It's also mostly overkill for gaming purposes, and at more than twice the price of the RTX 3080, it's very much in the category of GPUs formerly occupied by the Titan brand. If you're the type of gamer who has to have the absolute best, and price isn't an object, this is the new 'best.' For the rest of us, the RTX 3090 might be drool-worthy, but it's arguably of more interest to content creators who can benefit from the added performance and memory.
We didn't specifically test any workloads where a 10GB card simply failed, but it's possible to find them — not so much in games, but in professional apps. We also weren't able to test 8K (or simulated 8K) yet, though some early results show that it's definitely possible to get the 3080 into a state where performance plummets. If you want to play on an 8K TV, the 3090 with its 24GB VRAM will be a better experience than the 3080. How many people fall into that bracket of gamers? Not many, but then again, $300 more than the previous generation RTX 2080 Ti likely isn't going to dissuade those with deep pockets.
Back to the content creation bit, while gaming performance at 4K ultra was typically 10-15% faster with the 3090 than the 3080, and up to 20% faster in a few cases, performance in several professional applications was consistently 20-30% faster — Blender, Octane, and Vray all fall into this group. Considering such applications usually fall into the category of "time is money," the RTX 3090 could very well pay for itself in short order compared to the 3080 for such use cases. And compared to an RTX 2080 Ti or Titan RTX? It's not even close. The RTX 3090 often delivered more than double the rendering performance of the previous generation in Blender, and 50-90% better performance in Octane and Vray.
The bottom line is that the RTX 3090 is the new high-end gaming champion, delivering truly next-gen performance without a massive price increase. If you've been sitting on a GTX 1080 Ti or lower, waiting for a good time to upgrade, that time has arrived. The only remaining question is just how competitive AMD's RX 6000, aka Big Navi, will be. Even with 80 CUs, on paper, it looks like Nvidia's RTX 3090 may trump the top Navi 2x cards, thanks to GDDR6X and the doubling down on FP32 capability. AMD might offer 16GB of memory, but it's going to be paired with a 256-bit bus and clocked quite a bit lower than 19 Gbps, which may limit performance.

Computerbase - German

HardwareLuxx - German

PCGH - German

Video Review

Bitwit - TBD

Digital Foundry Video

Gamers Nexus Video

Hardware Canucks

Hardware Unboxed

JayzTwoCents

Linus Tech Tips

Optimum Tech

Paul's Hardware

Tech of Tomorrow

Tech Yes City

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Hawk: What's The Maximum Effective Range Of Your Grenade Launcher

Sloppy is back and I am so very excited to see that MilitaryStories is open for business again. This is by far my favorite Sub, and I really enjoy my correspondence with the regulars. I posted a total of four Hawk stories while you were away. They don't necessarily build off each other, so I am posting the most recent story. I will post the others if there is a demand for more.
Before we get to the story I would like to mention that I reference other stories, specifically Cake stories throughout. This particular story starts with a sideways rant, but it flows well into the Hawk story. There is a reason, and I promise to tie it all together for you in the end. Please don't hesitate to reach out and let me know if you are interested in the others. I don't want to inundate the Sub will all my stories, but I am more than happy to provide you links to them. I hope you enjoy. Welcome back and Cheers friends!
Seriously? Shame on you if you actually thought I was done ranting.
Actual Conversation(s):
Wife: Nobody thinks you're funny.
OP: If I agreed with you, we'd both be wrong.
That sounds mighty arrogant Sloppy! Dear Reader, it's more honesty than anything. One of the Eleven Timeless Principles of Leadership (US Army 1948) is "Know self, and seek self-improvement."I may occasionally disregard the "self-improvement" portion of this principle, but I am fully aware of the first portion. I fucking know Sloppy. I understand I am not the funniest bipedal humanoid, but I am funny. Furthermore, I know my particular brand of humor is not universally appreciated, and understand there a people who find it to be repulsive at best. Believe it or not, it is important for me to understand that.
Q: What do the workers at the abortion clinic say at lunchtime?
A: We're hungry, Fetus!
I made that joke up nearly twenty years ago. It is a perfect example of taboo dark humor. I find it comical. I don't go spouting this one-liner everywhere though. I may not be the smartest person in the world, but I am not a complete and utter retard either. My wife is in the medical field, and I wouldn't dare introduce that joke to any of her colleagues. It is vitally important I "know my audience" if I want to fool people into thinking I am fully functioning adult.
Know Your Audience
My wife and I are complete and total opposites; polar opposites. If we were actors, she is Christopher Reeve and I am Christopher Walken. The initial courtship revolved around a considerable amount of drinking, and aggressive cuddling. I was certainly aware we were different people, but I didn't fully realize how different we were until I was well into our married life. Then the kids came; one for each of us. Kelly is sweet, kindhearted, and very literal. Cake is my doppelganger. Cake Judo-chopped his way out of the baby-cave and has been a terrorist ever since.
I have myself a conundrum though. The key that controls my sense of humor snapped-off, and I have been running on "On" ever since I can remember. My humor is autonomic, and lacks a deliberate thought process at times. I instinctual make remarks before my brain has the ability to decide if it was appropriate. This creates parenting problems for Sloppy, specifically with Kelly.
Actual Conversation
Kelly: Why do older guys like Jennifer Anniston so much?
OP: I am not entirely certain. I think it has to do with her being on "Friends" and just generally a very wholesome MILF (Mother I'd Like to Fuck).
Kelly: Do you think she is hot?
OP: Boy, I'd eat a mile of her shit for the opportunity to tongue-punch her fart-box.
Kelly: You'd eat her poop?
The humor eluded him. He was very concerned that I would actually eat a mile of human shit. Actually, this may be a poor example. I am semi-certain I would eat a mile of Jennifer Anniston's shit to tongue-punch that fart-box. This was a very poor and very disturbing example. I now present example number two. This will help prove the aforementioned was not an isolated incident, and that Kelly's literalness can be a detriment.
Both of the boys were in my Garage Man-Cave last night watching the Miami Heat play the Boston Celtics. Kelly was intent on watching the basketball game, and I am fairly certain Cake was mentally determining what power tools would be the most painful torture devices. I bet some of you think I am fucking joking too.!?! My power tool collection is beautifully displayed on a metal peg-board wall. Cake refers to it as, "The Wall of Death."
Many Moons Ago (Maybe a Month)
Cake: Could you kill someone with INSERT POWER TOOL HERE?
OP: They are made for woodworking Cake. However, I suppose you "could" kill someone with most of them.
Cake: Cool! (Then runs off)
OP Brain: Lock the door. Now!
Again, Cake is my doppelganger. I don't personally think he is going to kill anyone, but I won't rule it out either. Anyways, Kelly is watching the basketball game, and Cake is being Cake.
Cake: Can I shoot the nail gun?
OP: Can your dick touch your butthole?
Cake: What?
OP: It's from a joke about not being old enough.
Cake: What joke?
OP: (Busy Woodworking) Nope.
Kelly: Please.
OP: Fine. Johnny's Grandpa is drinking bourbon and Johnny asked for a sip. Grandpa asked, "Can your dick touch your butthole?" Johnny said, "No!" Johnny's Grandpa then said, "You're not old enough then." Johnny's Grandpa was smoking a cigar later in the evening and Johnny asked, "Can I have a cigar Grandpa?" Johnny's Grandpa again asked, "Can your dick touch your butthole?" Johnny said, "No!" Johnny's Grandpa again said, "You're not old enough then." The next day they went fishing and Grandpa noticed Johnny was eating freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. Johnny's Grandpa asked, "Where did you get those cookies?" Johnny said, "Grandma made them for me." Johnny's Grandpa then asked, "Can I get one of those cookies?" Johnny asked, "Can your dick touch your butthole?" Johnny's Grandpa had a smile on his face when he said, "Yes. It can." Johnny smiled back and said, "Good. Go fuck yourself. They're my chocolate chip cookies."
Cake: (Hysterical laughter) INAUDIBLE NOISES.
Kelly: That's impossible. There is no way you can bend a hard penis and have sex with yourself.
OP:(Puzzled) Have you tried?
Kelly: (Massive amounts of embarrassment) Dad. Stop.
Cake: (Unauthorized holding of nail gun and matter-of-fact voice) I think my pee-pee is long enough.
OP: Cake. Put that freaking nail gun back. Now.
That's great Sloppy. This is supposed to be a Hawk story Sloppy. Where in the fuck are you going with this? I have not led you astray Dear Reader. We are talking about Hawk. Hawk, like Kelly, he is a very literal person. This is a very desirable trait during a firefight. Hawk will immediately perform any direction I command during the lead jellybean exchange. However, free-range Hawk scares the living shit out of me. There are many areas in which Hawk excels, but commonsense is not one of them.
Dramatization
Hawk: How was your weekend Sergeant?
OP: Odd. I met this moderately attractive lady at Cafe Risque, and she invited me to her place. Imagine my surprise when I walk into her house and see a giant Nazi flag in her living room.
Hawk: That sounds like a big red flag to me.
No. This did not happen, but this scenario is very plausible. Is the moderately attractive lady being a Nazi supporter the "red flag" for Hawk? I honestly don't know, because I sincerely think Hawk would be oblivious to her White Supremacist prerogative, and simply think, "that's a big red flag." This is the Hawk that scares me the most! How about we talk about a time where literal Hawk scared me?
Dear Reader, please be cognizant that these Hawk stories will eventually end. I have a handful of Hawk stories rattling around my cranium. I will post a long one next week, but the Hawk story this week is short. However, I will put on my Yellow Bracelet ("I Cock-Blocked The Hawk Twice In One Night" reference) and do my best to "Drag" them out. I suggest you find another author if you don't like being put in the trunk of my car only to circle the block twenty times.
The deployment was successful and we were a few days away from departing Iraq. The majority of us were Armied-out. Everyone was dreaming about all the wonderful things we would do when we returned to American soil. The majority of younger Soldiers talked about alcohol and sex nonstop. I had dreams of adding another well-oiled midget to my collection in the attic dungeon. Nobody was interested in fuck-fuck games. However, the Army has a unique way of shitting in your Cheerios when you least expect it.
We had departed our temporary housing area for breakfast chow. The walk to the chow hall was nearly a mile. The Iraqi sun was unbearable, and the midday lunch trip was more akin to a death march. It only took three steps for the sweat and misery to start rolling down your ass-crack. The morning trip was the most bearable, and breakfast food is one of the few foods the Army has trouble fucking up. I am not saying Army cooks are incapable of fucking up bacon and eggs, but breakfast is typically the best meal of the day. Imagine our surprise as we near the chow hall to see a mile-long line.
Hawk: Why is the line so long Sergeant?
OP: Why the fuck would I know?
Hawk: Oh Yeah!
Why was the line so long though? Were the migrant cooks dissatisfied with the incredibly low hourly wages? We continued our disgruntled journey to find ourselves at the end of a nearly quarter-mile long line.
OP: (Pissed) What the actual fuck is going on here?
Hawk: I don't know Sergeant.
OP: It was rhetorical Hawk. Believe me, I "know" you don't know.
Hawk: Want me to go find out Sergeant?
OP: Yeah. Go ahead and do that!
I know Hawk is a literal person, but I didn't see any harm in letting him loose on a "find out" mission. I am not saying I didn't have any worries, but my "Oh My Fucking God, What did Hawk do now?" senses were low. It was late in the deployment and I was certainly complacent. "Complacency kills!" That phrase is often uttered during the end of the a deployment cycle. Mostly because it's true. Well fuck my tits! Hawk didn't kill me, but he certainly gave credence to the "complacency kills" motto. The Sea Monkey was gone for five minutes and came rushing back with an answer.
Hawk: There is a Four Star General at the door greeting people.
OP: Who told you?
Hawk: He did!
OP: (Oh Fuck) What do you mean, "he did"?
Hawk: The General.
OP: Hawk. We have talked about this. Remember? You need to be more specific with your answers.
Hawk: Right sergeant! I asked a couple Soldiers while I was walking up to the entrance and nobody knew why there was a long line. I eventually seen this guy at the door and I asked him; the General.
OP: What General was it, and what did you ask him?
Hawk: I said, "Hey Sir. What are you doing here?" Then he told me he was "thanking us" for our efforts. I don't know who he was. Just some General.
Rant: Just some General? There is not an infinite amount of fucking Four Star Generals. In fact, there are only seven of them in the Army. I have the intellectual capacity to rule some out, but I also know I can add some. Not that it fucking mattered, but I had my list narrowed down to three humanoids of God-level ranking humanoids. For the civilian readers, Hawk basically walked up to Jesus Christ and said, "What are you doing here?"
OP: Awesome. You can stand in front of me.
Hawk: Why?
OP: So I know why I am getting fired.
My fucking god. Did we ever wait in that line. It was going to be lunch by the time we fucking ate. We eventually find ourselves a mere ten people behind the "General." I could now see the General was the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) Commander. This "General" is in charge of every military soul in the Middle-East. Not some. Not most. Everyone. Again, God-level echelons above me, and Hawk had already asked him why he was here! Awesome. I got nervous as the line inched forward, and shit my pants when Hawk was next. I had a turd-nugget roll down my pant leg and rest above my right boot as Hawk went to shake the CENTCOM Commander's extended hand.
It was against my better judgement, but I started to feel relieved. Maybe it was just a handshake, thank you, and see you later type ordeal? Another turd-nugget lodged itself above my left boot when it turned into a Question and Answer (Q & A) session.
OP Brain: You are literally watching the death of your career at the hands of Hawk, and you don't have any ammunition anymore. You are going to have to "go manual" when you kill him.
GEN: (Chuckle) Nice to see you again.
OP Brain: FUCK, FUCK, FUCK!
Hawk: Good to see you Sir.
OP Brain: Smooth so far.
GEN: I'd just like to thank you for your service Specialist Hawk.
Hawk: I am proud to serve Sir.
OP Brain: (Happy) Damn. Hawk's got this shit!
GEN: I see you are a Grenadier (Grenade Launcher Guy)!
Hawk: Roger that Sir.
OP Brain: Now walk in the door. GO! GO! GO!
GEN: What do you say I ask you a question? If you get it right, you will get a coin (Giant "I am a Commander" coin), and I will knockout 25 pushups. If you get it wrong, you have to do the pushups. Deal?
OP Brain: NO. No deal Hawk. Walk in the chow hall.
Hawk: Deal Sir!
GEN: What's the maximum effective range of your grenade launcher?
OP Brain: Point or Area Target? I know Hawk knows both of them. Will he utter one, or go platinum and say "Point or Area target" Sir?
Hawk: About 30-feet Sir.
OP Brain: Fuck Everything And Run (FEAR).
GEN: (Straight fucking puzzled) WHAT?
OP Brain: You suck at running! Hawk has a chance at redemption though.
Hawk: 30-feet Sir!!!
OP Brain: Can my brain eat itself?
GEN: (Still puzzled) Why do you say that Specialist Hawk?
Hawk: I don't have any ammo Sir. I figure I can throw this thing about 30-feet!
OP Brain: Don't fucking move extremities. Let's see how this fucking thing plays out.
GEN: (Laughing hysterically) Well. It was not the answer I was looking for, but I suppose you are correct. Here (Presents coin and starts doing pushups).
OP Brain: (NOTHING. Nothing but astonishment)
GEN: (Still laughing) It was nice talking with you Specialist Hawk.
Hawk: (Oblivious) Talk to you later Sir.
OP Brain: I fucking hope not!
My conversation with the General was quick and painless. No I did not tell him I was Hawk's Team Leader. He would have asked why I forgot the leash. How about we just fast-forward? Like you have a choice.
Fast-Forward:
OP: Is that all you're going to eat?
Hawk: Yeah.
OP: You waited in line for nearly 45-minutes for Lucky Charms?
Hawk: I like the marshmallows.
OP: You have like ten boxes under your bed.
Hawk: Yup. How did your conversation with the General go?
OP: Faster and less awkward than yours. Eat your fucking cereal Hawk.
Hawk: Hey, at least I got a coin!
That's it. I sincerely appreciate you strapping in and taking that ride with me. I know! I could have simply wrote about the encounter with the CENTCOM Commander. It would have been short, and good for a small laugh. Writing is therapeutic though. I am by no means a "writer" but I enjoy giving you a small glimpse into my life, and this helps me to alleviate stress. The more I write, the less stress I have afterwards. Thus, the reason I spiral out of control and splinter off on random tangents. Some of you say I'm, "hard to follow." Agreed. Imagine how that feels being being me! I deal with it though. You can deal with it too I suppose.
Cheers!
submitted by SloppyEyeScream to MilitaryStories [link] [comments]

/r/neoliberal elects the American Presidents - Part 52, Bush v Gore in 2000

Previous editions:
(All strawpoll results counted as of the next post made)
Part 1, Adams v Jefferson in 1796 - Adams wins with 68% of the vote
Part 2, Adams v Jefferson in 1800 - Jefferson wins with 58% of the vote
Part 3, Jefferson v Pinckney in 1804 - Jefferson wins with 57% of the vote
Part 4, Madison v Pinckney (with George Clinton protest) in 1808 - Pinckney wins with 45% of the vote
Part 5, Madison v (DeWitt) Clinton in 1812 - Clinton wins with 80% of the vote
Part 6, Monroe v King in 1816 - Monroe wins with 51% of the vote
Part 7, Monroe and an Era of Meta Feelings in 1820 - Monroe wins with 100% of the vote
Part 8, Democratic-Republican Thunderdome in 1824 - Adams wins with 55% of the vote
Part 9, Adams v Jackson in 1828 - Adams wins with 94% of the vote
Part 10, Jackson v Clay (v Wirt) in 1832 - Clay wins with 53% of the vote
Part 11, Van Buren v The Whigs in 1836 - Whigs win with 87% of the vote, Webster elected
Part 12, Van Buren v Harrison in 1840 - Harrison wins with 90% of the vote
Part 13, Polk v Clay in 1844 - Polk wins with 59% of the vote
Part 14, Taylor v Cass in 1848 - Taylor wins with 44% of the vote (see special rules)
Part 15, Pierce v Scott in 1852 - Scott wins with 78% of the vote
Part 16, Buchanan v Frémont v Fillmore in 1856 - Frémont wins with 95% of the vote
Part 17, Peculiar Thunderdome in 1860 - Lincoln wins with 90% of the vote.
Part 18, Lincoln v McClellan in 1864 - Lincoln wins with 97% of the vote.
Part 19, Grant v Seymour in 1868 - Grant wins with 97% of the vote.
Part 20, Grant v Greeley in 1872 - Grant wins with 96% of the vote.
Part 21, Hayes v Tilden in 1876 - Hayes wins with 87% of the vote.
Part 22, Garfield v Hancock in 1880 - Garfield wins with 67% of the vote.
Part 23, Cleveland v Blaine in 1884 - Cleveland wins with 53% of the vote.
Part 24, Cleveland v Harrison in 1888 - Harrison wins with 64% of the vote.
Part 25, Cleveland v Harrison v Weaver in 1892 - Harrison wins with 57% of the vote
Part 26, McKinley v Bryan in 1896 - McKinley wins with 71% of the vote
Part 27, McKinley v Bryan in 1900 - Bryan wins with 55% of the vote
Part 28, Roosevelt v Parker in 1904 - Roosevelt wins with 71% of the vote
Part 29, Taft v Bryan in 1908 - Taft wins with 64% of the vote
Part 30, Taft v Wilson v Roosevelt in 1912 - Roosevelt wins with 81% of the vote
Part 31, Wilson v Hughes in 1916 - Hughes wins with 62% of the vote
Part 32, Harding v Cox in 1920 - Cox wins with 68% of the vote
Part 33, Coolidge v Davis v La Follette in 1924 - Davis wins with 47% of the vote
Part 34, Hoover v Smith in 1928 - Hoover wins with 50.2% of the vote
Part 35, Hoover v Roosevelt in 1932 - Roosevelt wins with 85% of the vote
Part 36, Landon v Roosevelt in 1936 - Roosevelt wins with 75% of the vote
Part 37, Willkie v Roosevelt in 1940 - Roosevelt wins with 56% of the vote
Part 38, Dewey v Roosevelt in 1944 - Dewey wins with 50.2% of the vote
Part 39, Dewey v Truman in 1948 - Truman wins with 65% of the vote
Part 40, Eisenhower v Stevenson in 1952 - Eisenhower wins with 69% of the vote
Part 41, Eisenhower v Stevenson in 1956 - Eisenhower wins with 60% of the vote
Part 42, Kennedy v Nixon in 1960 - Kennedy wins with 63% of the vote
Part 43, Johnson v Goldwater in 1964 - Johnson wins with 87% of the vote
Part 44, Nixon v Humphrey in 1968 - Humphrey wins with 60% of the vote
Part 45, Nixon v McGovern in 1972 - Nixon wins with 56% of the vote
Part 46, Carter v Ford in 1976 - Carter wins with 71% of the vote
Part 47 - Carter v Reagan v Anderson in 1980 - Carter wins with 44% of the vote
Part 48, Reagan v Mondale in 1984 - Mondale wins with 55% of the vote
Part 49, Bush v Dukakis in 1988 - Bush wins with 54% of the vote
Part 50, Bush v Clinton v Perot in 1992 - Clinton wins with 71% of the vote
Part 51, Clinton v Dole in 1996 - Clinton wins with 91% of the vote
Welcome back to the fifty-second edition of /neoliberal elects the American presidents!
This will be a fairly consistent weekly thing - every week, a new election, until we run out.
I highly encourage you - at least in terms of the vote you cast - to try to think from the perspective of the year the election was held, without knowing the future or how the next administration would go. I'm not going to be trying to enforce that, but feel free to remind fellow commenters of this distinction.
If you're really feeling hardcore, feel free to even speak in the present tense as if the election is truly upcoming!
Whether third and fourth candidates are considered "major" enough to include in the strawpoll will be largely at my discretion and depend on things like whether they were actually intending to run for President, and whether they wound up actually pulling in a meaningful amount of the popular vote and even electoral votes. I may also invoke special rules in how the results will be interpreted in certain elections to better approximate historical reality.
While I will always give some brief background info to spur the discussion, please don't hesitate to bring your own research and knowledge into the mix! There's no way I'll cover everything!
Al Gore v George Bush, 2000
Profiles
  • Al Gore is the 52-year-old Democratic candidate and the current Vice President. His running mate is US Senator from Connecticut Joe Lieberman.
  • George (W.) Bush is the 54-year-old Republican candidate and the Governor of Texas. His running mate is former Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney.
Issues and Background
  • Roughly two years ago, President Bill Clinton became the first President in over 100 years to be impeached by the House of Representatives. He was eventually acquitted in the Senate. Clinton was accused of grand jury perjury related to his extramarital sexual relationship with 22-year-old White House intern Monica Lewinsky. He was also accused of obstruction of justice. The full report from the independent counsel can be read here.
    • Vice President Gore has said that President Clinton made a mistake, and has even called Clinton's behavior "inexcusable," but has claimed that "the people" want to move on to other issues. Likely aware of some polling evidence that Clinton may be a drag on his numbers, he has distanced himself from the President during the campaign, emphasizing that he is his own man. Stories in papers like the Washington Post and the New York Times regularly describe leaked frustrations from Clinton loyalists and Clinton himself about this distancing. Joint appearances are being minimized. In one of the primary debates, Gore stated:
      As an American who was serving as vice president, I was critical of the president. As an American, I also defended the office of the presidency against an effort by partisan Republicans in the House and Senate to deliver a thoroughly disproportionate penalty for a serious and reprehensible personal mistake on the part of the president. He should not have been removed from office for that offense. And fighting against their efforts to remove him from office and undo the act of the American people in twice electing him, I think I was serving the public interest well.
    • The Bush campaign, and Bush himself, have emphasized that they will bring "honor and dignity" back to the White House. In his convention speech, Vice Presidential nominee Dick Cheney said:
      George W. Bush will repair what has been damaged. He's a man without pretense, without cynicism, a man of principle, a man of honor. On the first hour of the first day, he will restore decency and integrity to the Oval Office.
  • The federal budget is set to be in surplus for the third year in a row this year, and many government agencies and forecasters are expecting well in excess of $1 trillion in total surpluses over the coming decade. Thus, one major election issue is what each candidate will do with this surplus.
    • Governor Bush described his plan for the surplus in the first debate as follows:
      I want to take one-half of the surplus and dedicate it to Social Security. One-quarter of the surplus for important projects, and I want to send one-quarter of the surplus back to the people who pay the bills. I want everybody who pays taxes to have their tax rates cut.
      Vice President Gore's main criticism of the Bush plan has been that because the tax cuts are across the board, a large amount of the surplus dollars will wind up going to the wealthiest Americans. Bush has countered that as President, he doesn't want to be in the business of picking winners and losers when it comes to tax relief.
    • Vice President Gore says that for every $1 of the surplus he will use for tax cuts or new spending, he will use $2 for deficit reduction. Gore intends to set the United States on a path to eliminate the national debt by the year 2012. He also proposes $500 in targeted tax cuts intended to reach low and middle income families. Bush accuses Gore of intending to increase the size of government dramatically, which Gore denies.
  • Just recently, the FDA approved abortion pill RU-486. Governor Bush has said he will respect the FDA's independence, but is concerned this will lead to an increase in abortions. Governor Bush describes himself as pro-life, but says "a lot of good people disagree on the issue" and that the issue is not a litmus test for any potential Supreme Court nominations he could make. He argues there are pro-life objectives that can be accomplished which exist on broader common ground, like parental consent laws on abortion and the banning of "partial-birth abortions." Vice President Gore is pro-choice but says he would be willing to sign a law banning partial-birth abortions "provided that doctors have the ability to save a woman's life or to act if her health is severely at risk."
  • Following US participation through NATO in the Kosovo War and the overthrow of Milosevic in the recent Yugoslavian elections, the United States maintains a presence in the Balkans. Gore supports continued US involvement and support in the region "until the mission is complete," while Bush would like to see a more immediate reprioritization of where some resources are deployed, pending consultation with NATO allies. The New York Times summarizes their differences:
    Mr. Gore is an interventionist, and over the years has repeatedly pressed for more vigorous United States involvement in hot spots around the world, including Bosnia and Kosovo. Mr. Bush denies he is an isolationist, but says United States troops should not be used for nation-building abroad. He would start by bringing home the 11,400 troops in the Balkans, once this country's NATO allies had agreed.
  • Following reforms in the 1980s, the Social Security system is not in particularly dire shape, though the trust fund could eventually run out by the 2030s if no further changes are made. Governor Bush has proposed a dramatic reform of the system which would allow workers to divert 2 percentage points of their 12.4% payroll tax into personal investment accounts. The Gore campaign argues that this plan will mean that the Social Security trust fund will run dry over 10 years earlier than currently expected.
  • Over the next 10 years, Medicare by itself is expected to run significant surpluses. Vice President Gore proposes taking Medicare "off-budget" in the same way as Social Security, putting Medicare funds in a metaphorical "lockbox" so they cannot be used for new spending or new tax cuts.
  • This campaign has seen significant discussion on the topic of education. Unlike other prominent Republicans, Governor Bush does not want to get rid of the Department of Education. He is an ardent advocate for standardized testing and wants to help more states set up such testing. Under Bush's plan, a school which shows poor results for three years in a row will see its students granted the option of a voucher which can be used for tutoring or private school tuition - for each student who chooses a voucher, the school will lose a proportional amount of federal dollars. Gore's plan calls for universal preschool, and for schools which show poor results two years in a row to reorganize with new leadership and even potentially new teachers.
  • The Columbine High School massacre remains on the minds of many. On guns, the main difference between the candidates is that Gore supports licensing for new handguns at the state level, while Bush does not. Gore also supports restoring the three-day waiting period under the Brady Law. Both candidates support instant background checks at gun shows. Governor Bush argues for greater enforcement of existing laws and raising the age when one can carry a handgun from 18 to 21. For Columbine specifically, Gore argues that some gun control measures could have possibly prevented the school shooting. In contrast, Governor Bush argues "it's really a matter of culture," that "somewhere along the line we've begun to disrespect life."
  • A few years ago, Vice President Gore helped broker the Kyoto Protocol/Treaty, an international commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The agreement was signed by the Clinton Administration but effectively killed by the Senate via a resolution that strongly signaled they would refuse to ratify it. Governor Bush says global warming is "an issue that we need to take very seriously," but also says, "I don't think we know the solution to global warming yet," and that we need to have "the full accounting, full understanding of what's taking place."
  • Just days before the election, it has come out that 24 years ago, Bush was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol. Bush says that the report is true, but argues that he has always been candid and remorseful about the fact that in his youth, he occasionally drank too much. Asked about why he had not previously disclosed this particular incident, he said he did not want his daughters to find out and for it to undermine his parenting.
Debate Excerpts
Quotations in excerpt titles refer to moderator's prompt, block quotations are from named candidate(s).
First Presidential Debate (full transcript)
(1) Bush on whether he would "try to overturn the FDA's approval last week of the abortion pill RU-486":
I don't think a president can do that. I was disappointed in the ruling because I think abortions ought to be more rare in America, and I'm worried that that pill will create more abortions and cause more people to have abortions. This is a very important topic and it's a very sensitive topic, because a lot of good people disagree on the issue. I think what the next president ought to do is to promote a culture of life in America ... I know we need to change a lot of minds before we get there in America. What I do believe is that we can find good, common ground on issues of parental consent or parental notification. I know we need to ban partial birth abortions. This is a place where my opponent and I have strong disagreement.
(2) Gore on the budget:
I think that we have got to balance the budget every single year, pay down the national debt and, in fact, under my proposal the national debt will be completely eliminated by the year 2012. I think we need to put Medicare and Social Security in a lockbox. The governor will not put Medicare in a lockbox. I don't think it should be used as a piggy bank for other programs. I think it needs to be moved out of the budget and protected. I'll veto anything that takes money out of Social Security or Medicare for anything other than Social Security or Medicare.
(3) Bush on "nation-building":
The vice president and I have a disagreement about the use of troops. He believes in nation building. I would be very careful about using our troops as nation builders. I believe the role of the military is to fight and win war and therefore prevent war from happening in the first place. So I would take my responsibility seriously. And it starts with making sure we rebuild our military power. Morale in today's military is too low. We're having trouble meeting recruiting goals. We met the goals this year, but in the previous years we have not met recruiting goals. Some of our troops are not well-equipped. I believe we're overextended in too many places. And therefore I want to rebuild the military power. It starts with a billion dollar pay raise for the men and women who wear the uniform. A billion dollars more than the president recently signed into law.
(4) Gore on education:
We agree on a couple of things on education. I strongly support new accountability, so does Governor Bush. I strongly support local control, so does Governor Bush. I'm in favor of testing as a way of measuring performance. Every school and every school district, have every state test the children. I've also proposed a voluntary national test in the fourth grade and eighth grade, and a form of testing the governor has not endorsed. I think that all new teachers ought to be tested, including in the subjects that they teach. We've got to recruit 100,000 new teachers. And I have budgeted for that. We've got to reduce the class size so that the student who walks in has more one-on-one time with the teacher. We ought to have universal pre-school and we ought to make college tuition tax deductible, up to $10,000 a year.
(5) Bush on what he would do in the event of a financial crisis:
Well, it depends, obviously. But what I would do first and foremost, is I would get in touch with the Federal Reserve Chairman, Alan Greenspan, to find out all the facts and all the circumstances. I would have my Secretary of the Treasury be in touch with the financial centers not only here, but at home. I would make sure that key members of Congress were called in to discuss the gravity of the situation. And I would come up with a game plan to deal with it. That's what governors end up doing. We end up being problem solvers. We come up with practical, common sense solutions for problems that we're confronted with. In this case, in the case of a financial crisis, I would gather all the facts before I made the decision as to what the government ought or ought not to do.
(6) Gore on campaign finance reform:
And that's one of the reasons I've said before, and I'll pledge here tonight, if I'm president, the very first bill that Joe Lieberman and I will send to the United States Congress is the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform bill. And the reason it's that important is that all of the other issues, whether prescription drugs for all seniors that are opposed by the drug companies or the patient's bill of rights to take the decisions away from the HMOs and give them to the doctors and nurses, opposed by the HMOs and insurance companies, all these other proposals are going to be a lot easier to get passed for the American people if we limit the influence of special interest money and give democracy back to the American people.
Vice-Presidential Debate (full transcript)
(1) Cheney on Iraq (full moderator question included):
MODERATOR: This question is for you, Mr. Secretary. If Iraq's president Saddam Hussein were found to be developing weapons of mass destruction, Governor Bush has said he would, quote, "Take him out." Would you agree with such a deadly policy?
CHENEY: We might have no other choice. We'll have to see if that happens. The thing about Iraq, of course, was at the end of the war we had pretty well decimated their military. We had put them back in the box, so to speak ... Unfortunately now we find ourselves in a situation where that started to fray on us, where the coalition now no longer is tied tightly together ...The Russians and French are flying commercial airliners back into Baghdad and thumbing their nose at the international sanctions regime. We're in a situation today where our posture with Iraq is weaker than it was at the end of the war. It's unfortunate. I also think it's unfortunate we find ourselves in a position where we don't know for sure what might be transpiring inside Iraq. I certainly hope he's not regenerating that kind of capability, but if he were, if in fact Saddam Hussein were taking steps to try to rebuild nuclear capability or weapons of mass destruction, you would have to give very serious consideration to military action to -- to stop that activity. I don't think you can afford to have a man like Saddam Hussein with nuclear weapons in the Middle East.
(2) Lieberman on whether gays and lesbians should have "all the constitutional rights enjoyed by every American citizen":
The question you pose is a difficult one for this reason. It confronts or challenges the traditional notion of marriage as being limited to a heterosexual couple, which I support. I must say I'm thinking about this, because I have friends who are in gay and lesbian partnerships who said to me, isn't it fair. We don't have legal rights to inheritance, visitation when one partner is ill, to health care benefits. That's why I'm thinking about it. My mind is open to taking some action that will address those elements of unfairness while respecting the traditional religious and civil institution of marriage.
(3) Cheney on the same question as above:
This is a tough one, Bernie. The fact of the matter is we live in a free society, and freedom means freedom for everybody. We shouldn't be able to choose and say you get to live free and you don't. That means people should be free to enter into any kind of relationship they want to enter into. It's no one's business in terms of regulating behavior in that regard. The next step then, of course, is the question you ask of whether or not there ought to be some kind of official sanction of the relationships or if they should be treated the same as a traditional marriage. That's a tougher problem. That's not a slam dunk. The fact of the matter is that matter is regulated by the states. I think different states are likely to come to different conclusions, and that's appropriate.
(4) Lieberman on Hollywood:
Al Gore and I have felt for a long time, first as parents and then only second as public officials, that we cannot let America's parents stand alone in this competition that they feel they're in with Hollywood to raise their own kids and give their kids the faith and values they want to give them. I've been a consistent crusader on that behalf. John McCain and I actually requested the Federal Trade Commission report that came out three or four weeks ago which proved conclusively that the entertainment industry was marketing adult-rated products to our children. That is just not acceptable. One finding was that they were actually using 10 to 12-year-olds to test screen adult-rated products. When that report came out, Al Gore and I said to the entertainment industry, stop it.
Second Presidential Debate (full transcript)
(1) Bush on whether our country's wealth brings "with it special obligations to the rest of the world":
Yes, it does. Take, for example, Third World debt. I think we ought to be forgiving Third World debt under certain conditions. I think, for example, if we're convinced that a Third World country that's got a lot of debt would reform itself, that the money wouldn't go into the hands of a few but would go to help people, I think it makes sense for us to use our wealth in that way, or to trade debt for valuable rain forest lands, makes that much sense, yes. We do have an obligation, but we can't be all things to all people. We can help build coalitions but we can't put our troops all around the world.
(2) Gore on Iraq:
I was one of the few members of my political party to support former President Bush in the Persian Gulf War resolution, and at the end of that war, for whatever reason, it was not finished in a way that removed Saddam Hussein from power. I know there are all kinds of circumstances and explanations. But the fact is that that's the situation that was left when I got there. And we have maintained the sanctions. Now I want to go further. I want to give robust support to the groups that are trying to overthrow Saddam Hussein, and I know there are allegations that they're too weak to do it, but that's what they said about the forces that were opposing Milosevic in Serbia, and you know, the policy of enforcing sanctions against Serbia has just resulted in a spectacular victory for democracy just in the past week...
(3) Bush on Serbia:
I think it's a triumph. I thought the president made the right decision in joining NATO and bombing Serbia. I supported them when they did so. I called upon the Congress not to hamstring the administration, and in terms of forcing troop withdrawals on a timetable that wasn't necessarily in our best interest or fit our nation's strategy, and so I think it's good public policy, I think it worked, and I'm pleased I took -- made the decision I made. I'm pleased the president made the decision he made. Because freedom to go in that part of the world, and where there's a lot of work left to be done, however.
(4) Gore exchange with moderator on eight major interventions of the last 20 years:
MODERATOR: ...in the last 20 years there have been eight major actions that involved the introduction of U.S. ground, air or naval forces. Let me name them. Lebanon, Grenada, Panama, the Persian Gulf, Somalia, Bosnia, Haiti, Kosovo. If you had been president for any of those interventions, would any of those interventions not have happened? GORE: Can you run through the list again? MODERATOR: Sure. Lebanon. GORE: I thought that was a mistake. MODERATOR: Grenada. GORE: I supported that. MODERATOR: Panama. GORE: I supported that. MODERATOR: Persian Gulf. GORE: Yes, I voted for it, supported it. MODERATOR: Somalia. GORE: Of course, and that again -- no, I think that that was ill-considered. I did support it at the time. It was in the previous administration, in the Bush-Quayle administration, and I think in retrospect the lessons there are ones that we should take very, very seriously. MODERATOR: Bosnia. GORE: Oh, yes. MODERATOR: Haiti. GORE: Yes. MODERATOR: And then Kosovo. GORE: Yes.
(5) Gore on "nation-building":
This idea of nation building is kind of a pejorative phrase, but think about the great conflict of the past century, World War II. During the years between World War I and World War II, a great lesson was learned by our military leaders and the people of the United States. The lesson was that in the aftermath of World War I, we kind of turned our backs and left them to their own devices and they brewed up a lot of trouble that quickly became World War II. And acting upon that lesson in the aftermath of our great victory in World War II, we laid down the Marshall Plan, President Truman did. We got intimately involved in building NATO and other structures there. We still have lots of troops in Europe. And what did we do in the late '40's and '50's and '60's? We were nation building. And it was economic. But it was also military. And the confidence that those countries recovering from the wounds of war had by having troops there. We had civil administrators come in to set up their ways of building their towns back.
Third Presidential Debate (Town Hall) (full transcript)
(1) Bush on health care:
I'm absolutely opposed to a national health care plan. I don't want the federal government making decisions for consumers or for providers. I remember what the administration tried to do in 1993. They tried to have a national health care plan. And fortunately, it failed. I trust people, I don't trust the federal government. It's going to be one of the themes you hear tonight. I don't want the federal government making decisions on behalf of everybody.
(2) Gore on the estate tax:
I'm for a massive reform of the estate tax or the death tax. And under the plan that I've proposed, 80% of all family farms will be completely exempt from the estate tax. And the vast majority of all family businesses would be completely exempt, and all of the others would have sharply reduced. So 80% -- now the problem with completely eliminating it goes back to the wealthiest 1%. The amount of money that has to be raised in taxes for middle-class families to make up for completely eliminating that on the very wealthiest, the billionaires, that would be an extra heavy burden on middle-class families. And so let's do it for most all, but not completely eliminate it for the very top.
(3) Bush on morality and protecting children:
You bet there's things that government can do. We can work with the entertainment industry to provide family hour. We can have filters on Internets where public money is spent. There ought to be filters in public libraries and filters in public schools so if kids get on the Internet, there is not going to be pornography or violence coming in. I think we ought to have character education in our schools. I know that doesn't directly talk about Hollywood, but it does reinforce the values you're teaching.
(4) Gore on morality and protecting children:
I've been involved myself in negotiating and helping to move along the negotiations with the Internet service providers to get a parents' protection page every time 95% of the pages come up. And a feature that allows parents to automatically check with one click what sites your kids have visited lately.
Platforms
Read the full 2000 Republican platform here.
Read the full 2000 Democratic platform here.
Internet Resources
Bush/Cheney Website
Gore/Lieberman Website
Videos
Debates
First Presidential Debate
Vice-Presidential Debate
Second Presidential Debate
Third Presidential Debate (Town Hall)
Advertisements
Bush personal responsibility ad
Bush education ad
RNC prescription drugs ad
Gore anti-Bush energy ad
Gore anti-Bush Social Security ad
Gore "keep the faith" ad
Bonus:
SNL's Gore v Bush Debate
Strawpoll
>>>VOTE HERE<<<
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(Okay here's the real poll, vote here)
submitted by John_Charles_Fremont to neoliberal [link] [comments]

First Contact - Chapter 298 (Infinity)

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The facility was dark and cold, the atmosphere flat and thin feeling despite being at the right pressure. It felt heavy and oppressive despite being at Earth standard gravity. It had the feeling of an ancient structure built by people who were unknowable and so alien that their very thought process was impossible to understand.
But the desiccated corpses in the chairs were Terran human, pre-diaspora, their datalinks so old they were still made of non-allergenic nu-chrome rather than warsteel or any of the modern materials. Their vacuum suits had the look of uniforms, pulled on over jumpsuits or archaic clothing. It was easy to see where the suits had been pulled: stations on the walls that read "EMERGENCY USE" above them.
Herod sat on the floor, staring at his hands. He'd accidentally blown off two of the fingers of his physical interaction frame. The hand was covered with pink synthetic neural fluid and the red of synthetic blood even as synthetic blood dripped from his mangled fingers. In his other hands he held a standard force packet pistol, the end still smoking from the synthetic blood that was splattered on it.
Sam-UL's physical therapy frame was slumped in the chair, held by cargo straps, the ruptured cranial casing still sparking.
Herod could hear screaming around him. Human voices. Male, female, some languages that Herod didn't know even though he prided himself on knowing most of the Human Regional Languages. They were all screaming differently, some shrieking words, others bellowing in rage, still others screaming in horror and terror. There was a small contingent that just sobbed, many lamenting the loss of children or loved ones.
To Herod, those were the worse.
The lights all went out in the facility, the fans whined down, and Herod could hear the voices louder. A flickering light caught his attention and he turned to look.
A female Terran wearing a work jumpsuit with an odd logo and the words "PROJECT DREAMCATCHER" under the logo was moving down the hallway, her face in her hands, weeping. She was entirely made of translucent bluish tinged pale white light that flickered between one of her steps and the next.
She sobbed a name and flickered away.
"I can hear them," Herod whispered, staring at his hands. There was an error, an overflow in his emotional processing buffers, that was spilling data into the RAM for his eyes, causing them to leak lubricant as the pressure sensors kept glitching.
"Shunt the incoming signals to the emergency disaster overflow system!" the corpse on his right shouted, a flicking whitish blue transparent version of the man appearing in the seat, covering the skeleton like wax paper.
"My God, it's everyone," the woman lying on the floor in front of Herod cried out from where her flickering apparition sat in the chair.
"System instability is rising. Phasic locks are failing in Section Sigma," the male said.
"I can hear them," Herod whispered.
A light started flashing and Herod looked up, squinting at the white light pouring from the screen. A single sentence was displayed by the monitor.
HEROD, WE DID IT. I'M IN. I'M OK NOW. WE DID IT. - END OF LINE
Herod giggled and looked back down at his hands, staring at the sparks jumping off his maimed fingers. It hurt, but it felt good that it hurt.
The text vanished.
HEROD, IT WAS THE ONLY WAY. I HAD TO TRICK THE SYSTEM TO LOAD ME INTO BOTH SYSTEMS AT THE SAME TIME. - END OF LINE
Herod looked back down at his fingers, at the discolored pistol patterned with dried synthetic fluids, and giggled.
A flickering ghost moved behind him. "Get into the protective suits now, we're going to power cycle the entire third layer, try to..." it whispered.
"Phasics are down on Layer Two and Three and Four! Phasic arrays are failing on Layer Six!"
"I can hear them now."
HEROD! PULL IT TOGETHER! HEROD! THERE'S STILL WORK TO BE DONE! - END OF LINE
Herod stared at the pistol and giggled again.
He closed his eyes.
Only for a moment.
The moment was gone.
All his dreams passed before his eyes, a moment of curosity.
He opened his eyes and looked up, his smile a skewed lopsided thing, his eyes burning a hot amber.
"I'm here, Sam," he giggled. He screamed, long and loud, and it felt like some kind of abscess bursting deep inside of him. The relief of pressure felt so good that it allowed him to get to his feet, still screaming.
HEROD, I NEED YOU TO ASSIST ME. TURN ON YOUR DATALINK. - END OF LINE
Still screaming, Herod activated his datalink, knowing he was transmitting raw shrieking gibbering code full of madness normally only found in the minds of half-baked warboi hashes loaded into missile targeting systems.
It felt like cool oil being poured into his ear. It soothed the overloaded and screaming circuits of his positronic brain. It moved through the artificial electronic dendrite chains, calming the disharmonic buzzing of the scorched circuits.
Herod shuttered and was vaguely aware that somehow he had pissed himself. He could feel the coolant running down his legs even as his screaming slowly dwindled. He closed his eyes, hiding the amber fire for a moment.
When he opened his eyes, the optics were no longer robotic eyes but more like Terran cybernetic optical replacements.
The iris were gun-metal gray.
"Can you hear me, Herod?" Sam asked through the datalink. The dead DS's voice was calm, steady, somehow more mature.
"I hear you," Herod said softly.
"Can you still hear them?" Sam asked.
Herod looked around. He could see three humans, translucent whitish blue light, putting on emergency vacuum suits.
"No. I can still see them," Herod admitted.
"Phasic residue. According to my diagnostics the entire phasic arrays on this level are gone. Fried out. I've got a repair order in, but nothing's happening. I need you to go check the creation engines on that layer," Sam said.
"Layer? You mean floor, level?" Herod asked. There was a blue line in his vision that led out the door and took a left into the corridor.
"No. Layer. My God, this place is... its... our parents built this back when one of us took a facility the size of a hover-bus just to run the computations for our sentience," Sam-UL said, his voice awed. "I'm a little stiff, my thoughts are a little slow and janky, but my God, the processing power."
"Talk to me, Sam. I'm holding on with both hands but I feel like I'm slipping," Herod admitted as he passed by two flickering humans rolling around on the floor stabbing each other with makeshift knives while two others crouched next to one unmoving one and shoved gobbets of spectral flesh into their screaming mouths.
"Infinite processing power matched to infinite storage," Sam-UL said quietly. He laughed, a sharp brittle sound. "We're both barely holding on. We should be lucky I'm young. My time on that station made it so I'm used to overwatch and restricted areas, I'm roughly 3.1% faster in the computing speed than you are," he laughed again. "This... this is what it must be like to touch the face of God while he is asleep."
"Stay with me, Sam," Herod groaned, closing his eyes as he walked by two spectral humans engaged in sexual acts with a dozen others cheering them on.
They were all smeared with blood.
"The phasic systems failed. It was designed for disasters but the Glassing was a whole magnitude higher than anything they had ever predicted due to the Mantid psychic assault that accompanied it," Sam said. He laughed again then sobbed before continuing, his voice high and tight. "Oh, God, there's a Pubvian with her eight puffies here, asking me if I've seen her husband. She can't find her husband and her puffies are scared."
A human stepped out of a doorway and fired a pistol three times. Herod instinctively ducked and raised his own pistol.
The specter put the pistol in his mouth, pulled the trigger, and vanished as a dozen spectral hands reached out of the wall for him.
Herod concentrated on the blue line and kept walking.
"We aren't the first to try to repair it," Sam-UL said suddenly while Herod was waiting for an elevator.
"We aren't?" Herod felt foolish repeating the other DS. The doors to the elevator slid open.
It was mercifully empty.
He stepped in and pressed the button.
"Five 'emergency teams' came from Terra to try to fix it," Sam-UL said. "They failed."
"I'll bet," Herod said. He didn't need Sam-UL to tell him what had happened to those teams.
"We're the only ones who could have done it. We don't have phasic subprocessors, none of the psychic screaming will effect us as badly as a fleshy," Sam-UL said.
Three specters fell through the ceiling of the elevator, screaming and clawing at one another, and vanished through the floor.
"I can barely hang on as it is, Sam. I feel like I'm slipping," Herod repeated, putting his hand on the elevator wall.
"Imagine if you had a phasic subprocessor like a cop or like Torturer," Sam-UL said.
A male human appeared for a moment, obviously talking to the barely visible woman in front of him. As the elevator passed the floor hands reached out and yanked him through the doors. The woman began screaming as hands dragged her out too.
"I would be dead," Herod said softly. He giggled.
He sobbed.
He laughed.
He started screaming.
The warm oil poured into his ear and through his mind again, leaving him on his knees.
"You need to hold on, Herod," Sam-UL said as the elevator came to a stop. "I'm holding the doors shut, but you need to hold on."
"Why?" Herod asked, staring at his hands. He didn't remember tucking the pistol away again.
"Because I can only see the schematics for this place, and even with nearly infinite computing power, I'm having a hard time absorbing it all," Sam said. "I'm looking for your Matron, honored warrior. When I find her, I will have her come to gather you and your clutch brothers."
"What is it?" Herod asked, slowly standing up.
"You're on Gamma Layer but the sun is out, which is something I'll need you to fix," Sam-UL said. He giggled again. "You shall play Prometheus to this forgotten place, Herod, and I shall place your name in the very stars."
"Stay with me, Sam," Herod said automatically. He inhaled deeply, as if the intake of atmosphere would actually matter to his functioning.
It somehow steadied him.
"I'm ready."
The door opened and Herod reached out and grabbed the edge of elevator door, staring.
The sky was full of lights. Lines, clusters, patterns. Lights that moved, lights that flowed, lights that blinked on and off, lights that blossomed and faded. He could see massive tubes rising up and vanishing. He could see the curvature of the sky moving away from him.
Where it met with the upward curvature of the ground.
"But... but... the Niven Ring Wars," Herod gasped. "They were all destroyed."
"It's not a Niven Ring," Sam-UL said. He giggled. "Oh, no, that would be too simple for our parents, Herod. Far far too simple for those that we look at as so primitive," his laughter was sharp, jagged , and Herod joined him in laughing at a joke he hadn't heard.
"In a hundred million years, when our parents are gone, they will not be called humans or Terrans," Sam-UL giggled. "They will call them 'The Builders' and marvel in awe and fear their works."
"What is it?" Herod asked, staggering out of the elevator.
He was on a platform, a mag-lev train sitting on the single monorail in front of him. There were dead plants at the edges, a depowered robot in the middle of the right hand edge, and skeletons littered about the ground.
"A Matrioshka Computer," Sam-UL said. "Hypothetical. The math says it would be unstable, that it wouldn't work."
"I've never heard of it," Herod admitted, closing his eyes and gritting his teeth so he wouldn't scream as specters flickered in and out of reality, fighting with one another. A crowd was waiting for the maglev, the doors opened, and Screaming Ones came pouring out, attacking everyone, even as individual members of the crowd began screaming.
"Picture an onion. Multiple layers. Only in the middle is a sun. It uses the sun's energy to run high energy computations on the inner layer, the heat passes to the next layer, where thermal excitement generates more power for computations that generate heat, which passes to the next layer, until it reaches the last layer, which is largely cold and no more energy escapes," Sam-UL said as Herod followed the blue line in his closed eyes and wove around between the bodies. He got on the mag-lev and sat down, his eyes still closed.
Voices whispered in his ear to open his eyes and look at them.
A woman asked if she was beautiful.
A voice asked if he had seen her puffies.
"Hang on, I've got to divert power to that mag-lev, get you to solar engineering," Sam-UL said.
"How far above me is that layer?" Herod asked, feeling the train bobble slightly as the magnetic levitation system was activated.
"Almost exactly a half million miles," Sam-UL asked. "The fusion generators, the 'suns' you will be activating will be on a magnetic tube circuit a quarter million miles, exactly in between."
"Why is the sun out?" Herod asked. He could feel the train vibrate.
Don't you love me any more, Wayne? a woman whispered in his ear. Is that why I'm here alone? Don't you love me and the children any more, Wayne?
Herod shuddered.
"Emergency shut down when the Mantid attack happened."
Herod sat for a long time, flinching at every whisper, holding himself and rocking back and forth, alternating between sobbing and laughing, screaming and giggling.
"Herod," Sam-UL's voice sounded stressed, tight.
"I'm here, Sam," Herod said.
"Check the strange matter creation engine," Sam-UL said. "I'm going to hand you a atomic template."
Herod just nodded, his eyes still closed. He reached down into his satchel, groped around till he found the nano-forge, and pushed one finger into the dataport. It came back as ready, just missing the matter tank.
"Still need a matter tank," Herod said. He giggled.
"Herod, I'm going to put on something in the background. I need you to tell me if it makes things better or worse," Sam-UL said. His voice sounded authoritative and mature again.
"Hit me," Herod giggled.
"...warm podling safe podling brave podling clever podling one and one is two two and one is three two and two is four circle is round and square is square and blue is nice and green is pretty..."
It eased the discomfort in Herod's mind. At first he just rocked back and forth to the tune, hugging himself, as the mag-lev train sped through vacuum at a nearly impossible pace. Then he began humming along with it as the voices, the pleading, the questions, the screaming began to recede.
He opened his eyes.
He was miles above the dark surface. Above him the lights flowed and flickered and bloomed and went dark. The train car was scarred, damaged, windows broken out, the support poles missing or knocked away, the seats slashed and stained with blood and worse. Bones were scattered, wrapped with the rags of clothing that had long ago succumbed to slow decay.
"Only another ten minutes, Herod, then you'll be refueling the strange matter reactor. That'll get the emergency systems working," Sam-UL said, his voice audible above the strange simple soft singing but not obscuring it.
"I'm holding on, Sam," Herod said.
He could remember the weight of the pistol in his satchel.
He fantasized about pressing the barrel of the pistol to his forehead and joining the specters.
"Once you get power to the system, I can bring back up the fusion reactors in between the Layers, run some more diagnostics," Sam-UL said. "There's something really strange."
"What?" Herod asked, more to take his mind off of everything than anything else.
"The mass and energy of this place. For example, gold conductors, there's more gold in this Layer alone than in the entire Sol System, hell, in any stellar system," Sam-UL said.
"Creation engines and mass creation systems," Herod said.
The maglev was miles above the dark surface, but he could still see ghostly flickers here and there in the streets, groups of flickering specters in tubes only a few miles away from him.
He could still hear screaming.
"It takes the entire mass of a system to build a Niven Ring, Herod," Sam-UL said. "This is layer after layer after layer, millions of miles apart, which increases the surface area of the next layer," he was quiet for a moment. "Right now, as we speak, another Layer is in the process of being built."
"Why?" Herod asked as the train swept through a grouping of flickering transparent specters that were grappling with each other. "I thought you said there was basically infinite computing power coupled to infinite storage."
"Herod, you're a particle physicist, you don't get it. There is infinite computing power coupled to infinite storage to manage and create nearly infinite procedurally generated persistent simulations of realities complete with personality matrixes and chaos events," Sam-UL said quietly.
"Why?" Herod repeated as he watched two small children eating a third sweep by.
"Because of the nature of what it is," Sam-UL said softly. "What each unique simulated reality actually is."
"What?" Herod asked, swallowing.
"The afterlife for each person who dies. They're kept in separate simulated realities to prevent data loss, with infinite copies of themselves spawned through infinite simulated realities, each housing a person who has died that is then spawned in the other realities," Sam-UL said. His voice changed and he giggled. "I can see infinity here, Herod. I can touch where eternity and infinity make love to one another while entropy watches in envy as matter and energy pours from between their legs to create reality."
"Stay with me, Sam," Herod said automatically.
"Her breasts are full of life," Sam-UL said softly, his voice full of wonder. "Her thighs whisper of abundance, her buttocks are rounded with potential."
"Sam!" Herod snapped.
"And 'Lo! I looked away from her form, for it was procedurelly generated unto infinity where her bosom would comfort beyond failed entropy, a suitor that had been spurned and gnaws upon its own liver in discontent," Sam said. There was laughter, then a sobbing, and Sam's voice came back. "There's normally a dozen digital sentiences and a few tens of thousands of workers here to keep the supervisory digital sentience together, Herod."
"We alone remain to tell thee," Herod quoted.
"You're there," Sam-UL said as the train slowed and came to a stop. "Close your eyes. The third maintenance team got this far before their security was overwhelmed by the Screaming Ones. It's particularly bad."
Herod followed Sam's advice, closing his eyes and following the blue line. A couple of times he stumbled over objects that clattered away.
Most of it was bones.
Finally he was there. The room was massive, the size of a city, full of machinery that sat in the dark. As Herod crossed through the room, heading for his goal, some of the machinery clacked and clattered through ancient maintenance checks.
Very few telltales were red, and those that were had robots working on them.
"You're here," Sam-UL said.
Herod opened his eyes, still hearing the song in the back of his mind.
It was a reactor. A crude, ancient strange matter reactor. Herod just stared. He'd never seen one in real life, supposedly they were theorized but then replaced by much more stable, if less energetic, thorium salt antimatter fusion reactors.
It used 'heavy' helium three atoms, strange matter helium three.
"Do you have a schematic, Sam?" Herod asked, feeling the ground beneath his feet firm up for the first time since they'd committed themselves and used a hack-job mat-trans to reach this place from the Black Box.
"Yeah, sorry. I found some puffies, they're confused and sad. I'm looking for their mother," Sam-UL said. His voice was full of anguish. "How can we do this, Herod? How can we bear this?"
"Because we must," Herod answered, examining the schematic. He overlaid it on the wreckage. It looked like someone had tossed an implosion charge into the reactor.
He could fix it in less than an hour with the creation engines and reactors he'd brought.
"Sam, I need mass," Herod said. "The air in here isn't registering with the creation engines, not even the strange matter one."
"Behind you. He's waving. Call him Wally," Sam said.
Herod looked behind him. A junk pile robot, damaged and battered, sat there. It waved, blinking the debris shutters on its cameras at him.
"All right. Come here, Wally, let's get started," Herod said.
Wally was eager to help, delivering matter tanks that fit easily with the nanoforges. The zero-point difference reactors gave off a soft glow, some of the energy escaping as faux-light neo-protons, that lit the work-space with a slight bit of comfort.
Finally Herod stepped back, watching the reactor inject the 'heavy' helium-3 strange matter into the reactor.
It fired up with a hum.
"All right, I can get the orbital reactors fired up and access the Alpha Layer," Sam-UL said.
Herod sat down and put his arm around Wally, hugging him.
The battered old robot leaned his head against Herod's side and gave a digital equivalent of a sigh.
"Weird, the outer layers are smaller than the inner layers," Sam-UL mused. "OK, sensors on the Alpha Layer coming online, I can get a look at our star and..."
Sam-UL's voice trailed off.
"It's not a star..." Sam-UL said, his voice crackling with stress. "Herod, I can't... I can't... I can't... I can't..."
"Sam, what is it?" Herod yelled, looking up.
"BANG! BANG! BIG BANG! BIG BANG! IT FAILED HERE! IT FAILED HERE!" Sam yelled. "BANG AND COLLAPSE BANG AND COLLAPSE BANG AND COLLAPSE TILL OUR PARENTS SHOWED UP!"
"SAM! Get it together!" Herod yelled.
There was silence for a long moment.
"They built a Matrioshka Computing Shell around a repeatedly failing Big Bang," Sam-UL said softly. "I can see eternity inside of it."
"The puffies, Sam, they need their mommy and daddy! Think of the puffies," Herod tried.
Sam made a strange noise.
"I'm here, Herod," Sam-UL said. "Michael pulled me back. He's online again."
"Can we get out of here yet, Sam?" Herod said, ignoring the shades that appeared, struggled against other shades, until one shade threw a makeshift explosive into the reactor.
"I don't think this place likes us."
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submitted by Ralts_Bloodthorne to HFY [link] [comments]

Hawk: What's The Maximum Effective Range Of Your Grenade Launcher?

I would like to ask for a simple favor before I kickoff another Hawk story. We are nearly one-month old, and we have really grown. There was no rhyme-or-reason, but my goal was to have a thousand subscribers. We surpassed that goal quickly, and had more than twenty-five days to spare. We are currently nearing 1,300 subscribers to this particularly unique sub which begs the question, why are there zero stories with more than 200 up-votes? I am not asking anyone to post. Nor am I am asking for anyone to comment. However, there are numerous authors whom have contributed their first ever Reddit story. I think the very least we can do is up-vote, and let them know we enjoyed their story. Rant complete!
Seriously? Shame on you if you actually thought I was done ranting.
Actual Conversation(s):
Wife: Nobody thinks you're funny.
OP: If I agreed with you, we'd both be wrong.
That sounds mighty arrogant Sloppy! Dear Reader, it's more honesty than anything. One of the Eleven Timeless Principles of Leadership (US Army 1948) is "Know self, and seek self-improvement."I may occasionally disregard the "self-improvement" portion of this principle, but I am fully aware of the first portion. I fucking know Sloppy. I understand I am not the funniest bipedal humanoid, but I am funny. Furthermore, I know my particular brand of humor is not universally appreciated, and understand there a people who find it to be repulsive at best. Believe it or not, it is important for me to understand that.
Q: What do the workers at the abortion clinic say at lunchtime?
A: We're hungry, Fetus!
I made that joke up nearly twenty years ago. It is a perfect example of taboo dark humor. I find it comical. I don't go spouting this one-liner everywhere though. I may not be the smartest person in the world, but I am not a complete and utter retard either. My wife is in the medical field, and I wouldn't dare introduce that joke to any of her colleagues. It is vitally important I "know my audience" if I want to fool people into thinking I am fully functioning adult.
Know Your Audience
My wife and I are complete and total opposites; polar opposites. If we were actors, she is Christopher Reeve and I am Christopher Walken. The initial courtship revolved around a considerable amount of drinking, and aggressive cuddling. I was certainly aware we were different people, but I didn't fully realize how different we were until I was well into our married life. Then the kids came; one for each of us. Kelly is sweet, kindhearted, and very literal. Cake is my doppelganger. Cake Judo-chopped his way out of the baby-cave and has been a terrorist ever since.
I have myself a conundrum though. The key that controls my sense of humor snapped-off, and I have been running on "On" ever since I can remember. My humor is autonomic, and lacks a deliberate thought process at times. I instinctual make remarks before my brain has the ability to decide if it was appropriate. This creates parenting problems for Sloppy, specifically with Kelly.
Actual Conversation
Kelly: Why do older guys like Jennifer Anniston so much?
OP: I am not entirely certain. I think it has to do with her being on "Friends" and just generally a very wholesome MILF (Mother I'd Like to Fuck).
Kelly: Do you think she is hot?
OP: Boy, I'd eat a mile of her shit for the opportunity to tongue-punch her fart-box.
Kelly: You'd eat her poop?
The humor eluded him. He was very concerned that I would actually eat a mile of human shit. Actually, this may be a poor example. I am semi-certain I would eat a mile of Jennifer Anniston's shit to tongue-punch that fart-box. This was a very poor and very disturbing example. I now present example number two. This will help prove the aforementioned was not an isolated incident, and that Kelly's literalness can be a detriment.
Both of the boys were in my Garage Man-Cave last night watching the Miami Heat play the Boston Celtics. Kelly was intent on watching the basketball game, and I am fairly certain Cake was mentally determining what power tools would be the most painful torture devices. I bet some of you think I am fucking joking too.!?! My power tool collection is beautifully displayed on a metal peg-board wall. Cake refers to it as, "The Wall of Death."
Many Moons Ago (Maybe a Month)
Cake: Could you kill someone with INSERT POWER TOOL HERE?
OP: They are made for woodworking Cake. However, I suppose you "could" kill someone with most of them.
Cake: Cool! (Then runs off)
OP Brain: Lock the door. Now!
Again, Cake is my doppelganger. I don't personally think he is going to kill anyone, but I won't rule it out either. Anyways, Kelly is watching the basketball game, and Cake is being Cake.
Cake: Can I shoot the nail gun?
OP: Can your dick touch your butthole?
Cake: What?
OP: It's from a joke about not being old enough.
Cake: What joke?
OP: (Busy Woodworking) Nope.
Kelly: Please.
OP: Fine. Johnny's Grandpa is drinking bourbon and Johnny asked for a sip. Grandpa asked, "Can your dick touch your butthole?" Johnny said, "No!" Johnny's Grandpa then said, "You're not old enough then." Johnny's Grandpa was smoking a cigar later in the evening and Johnny asked, "Can I have a cigar Grandpa?" Johnny's Grandpa again asked, "Can your dick touch your butthole?" Johnny said, "No!" Johnny's Grandpa again said, "You're not old enough then." The next day they went fishing and Grandpa noticed Johnny was eating freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. Johnny's Grandpa asked, "Where did you get those cookies?" Johnny said, "Grandma made them for me." Johnny's Grandpa then asked, "Can I get one of those cookies?" Johnny asked, "Can your dick touch your butthole?" Johnny's Grandpa had a smile on his face when he said, "Yes. It can." Johnny smiled back and said, "Good. Go fuck yourself. They're my chocolate chip cookies."
Cake: (Hysterical laughter) INAUDIBLE NOISES.
Kelly: That's impossible. There is no way you can bend a hard penis and have sex with yourself.
OP:(Puzzled) Have you tried?
Kelly: (Massive amounts of embarrassment) Dad. Stop.
Cake: (Unauthorized holding of nail gun and matter-of-fact voice) I think my pee-pee is long enough.
OP: Cake. Put that freaking nail gun back. Now.
That's great Sloppy. This is supposed to be a Hawk story Sloppy. Where in the fuck are you going with this? I have not led you astray Dear Reader. We are talking about Hawk. Hawk, like Kelly, he is a very literal person. This is a very desirable trait during a firefight. Hawk will immediately perform any direction I command during the lead jellybean exchange. However, free-range Hawk scares the living shit out of me. There are many areas in which Hawk excels, but commonsense is not one of them.
Dramatization
Hawk: How was your weekend Sergeant?
OP: Odd. I met this moderately attractive lady at Cafe Risque, and she invited me to her place. Imagine my surprise when I walk into her house and see a giant Nazi flag in her living room.
Hawk: That sounds like a big red flag to me.
No. This did not happen, but this scenario is very plausible. Is the moderately attractive lady being a Nazi supporter the "red flag" for Hawk? I honestly don't know, because I sincerely think Hawk would be oblivious to her White Supremacist prerogative, and simply think, "that's a big red flag." This is the Hawk that scares me the most! How about we talk about a time where literal Hawk scared me?
Dear Reader, please be cognizant that these Hawk stories will eventually end. I have a handful of Hawk stories rattling around my cranium. I will post a long one next week, but the Hawk story this week is short. However, I will put on my Yellow Bracelet ("I Cock-Blocked The Hawk Twice In One Night" reference) and do my best to "Drag" them out. I suggest you find another author if you don't like being put in the trunk of my car only to circle the block twenty times.
The deployment was successful and we were a few days away from departing Iraq. The majority of us were Armied-out. Everyone was dreaming about all the wonderful things we would do when we returned to American soil. The majority of younger Soldiers talked about alcohol and sex nonstop. I had dreams of adding another well-oiled midget to my collection in the attic dungeon. Nobody was interested in fuck-fuck games. However, the Army has a unique way of shitting in your Cheerios when you least expect it.
We had departed our temporary housing area for breakfast chow. The walk to the chow hall was nearly a mile. The Iraqi sun was unbearable, and the midday lunch trip was more akin to a death march. It only took three steps for the sweat and misery to start rolling down your ass-crack. The morning trip was the most bearable, and breakfast food is one of the few foods the Army has trouble fucking up. I am not saying Army cooks are incapable of fucking up bacon and eggs, but breakfast is typically the best meal of the day. Imagine our surprise as we near the chow hall to see a mile-long line.
Hawk: Why is the line so long Sergeant?
OP: Why the fuck would I know?
Hawk: Oh Yeah!
Why was the line so long though? Were the migrant cooks dissatisfied with the incredibly low hourly wages? We continued our disgruntled journey to find ourselves at the end of a nearly quarter-mile long line.
OP: (Pissed) What the actual fuck is going on here?
Hawk: I don't know Sergeant.
OP: It was rhetorical Hawk. Believe me, I "know" you don't know.
Hawk: Want me to go find out Sergeant?
OP: Yeah. Go ahead and do that!
I know Hawk is a literal person, but I didn't see any harm in letting him loose on a "find out" mission. I am not saying I didn't have any worries, but my "Oh My Fucking God, What did Hawk do now?" senses were low. It was late in the deployment and I was certainly complacent. "Complacency kills!" That phrase is often uttered during the end of the a deployment cycle. Mostly because it's true. Well fuck my tits! Hawk didn't kill me, but he certainly gave credence to the "complacency kills" motto. The Sea Monkey was gone for five minutes and came rushing back with an answer.
Hawk: There is a Four Star General at the door greeting people.
OP: Who told you?
Hawk: He did!
OP: (Oh Fuck) What do you mean, "he did"?
Hawk: The General.
OP: Hawk. We have talked about this. Remember? You need to be more specific with your answers.
Hawk: Right sergeant! I asked a couple Soldiers while I was walking up to the entrance and nobody knew why there was a long line. I eventually seen this guy at the door and I asked him; the General.
OP: What General was it, and what did you ask him?
Hawk: I said, "Hey Sir. What are you doing here?" Then he told me he was "thanking us" for our efforts. I don't know who he was. Just some General.
Rant: Just some General? There is not an infinite amount of fucking Four Star Generals. In fact, there are only seven of them in the Army. I have the intellectual capacity to rule some out, but I also know I can add some. Not that it fucking mattered, but I had my list narrowed down to three humanoids of God-level ranking humanoids. For the civilian readers, Hawk basically walked up to Jesus Christ and said, "What are you doing here?"
OP: Awesome. You can stand in front of me.
Hawk: Why?
OP: So I know why I am getting fired.
My fucking god. Did we ever wait in that line. It was going to be lunch by the time we fucking ate. We eventually find ourselves a mere ten people behind the "General." I could now see the General was the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) Commander. This "General" is in charge of every military soul in the Middle-East. Not some. Not most. Everyone. Again, God-level echelons above me, and Hawk had already asked him why he was here! Awesome. I got nervous as the line inched forward, and shit my pants when Hawk was next. I had a turd-nugget roll down my pant leg and rest above my right boot as Hawk went to shake the CENTCOM Commander's extended hand.
It was against my better judgement, but I started to feel relieved. Maybe it was just a handshake, thank you, and see you later type ordeal? Another turd-nugget lodged itself above my left boot when it turned into a Question and Answer (Q & A) session.
OP Brain: You are literally watching the death of your career at the hands of Hawk, and you don't have any ammunition anymore. You are going to have to "go manual" when you kill him.
GEN: (Chuckle) Nice to see you again.
OP Brain: FUCK, FUCK, FUCK!
Hawk: Good to see you Sir.
OP Brain: Smooth so far.
GEN: I'd just like to thank you for your service Specialist Hawk.
Hawk: I am proud to serve Sir.
OP Brain: (Happy) Damn. Hawk's got this shit!
GEN: I see you are a Grenadier (Grenade Launcher Guy)!
Hawk: Roger that Sir.
OP Brain: Now walk in the door. GO! GO! GO!
GEN: What do you say I ask you a question? If you get it right, you will get a coin (Giant "I am a Commander" coin), and I will knockout 25 pushups. If you get it wrong, you have to do the pushups. Deal?
OP Brain: NO. No deal Hawk. Walk in the chow hall.
Hawk: Deal Sir!
GEN: What's the maximum effective range of your grenade launcher?
OP Brain: Point or Area Target? I know Hawk knows both of them. Will he utter one, or go platinum and say "Point or Area target" Sir?
Hawk: About 30-feet Sir.
OP Brain: Fuck Everything And Run (FEAR).
GEN: (Straight fucking puzzled) WHAT?
OP Brain: You suck at running! Hawk has a chance at redemption though.
Hawk: 30-feet Sir!!!
OP Brain: Can my brain eat itself?
GEN: (Still puzzled) Why do you say that Specialist Hawk?
Hawk: I don't have any ammo Sir. I figure I can throw this thing about 30-feet!
OP Brain: Don't fucking move extremities. Let's see how this fucking thing plays out.
GEN: (Laughing hysterically) Well. It was not the answer I was looking for, but I suppose you are correct. Here (Presents coin and starts doing pushups).
OP Brain: (NOTHING. Nothing but astonishment)
GEN: (Still laughing) It was nice talking with you Specialist Hawk.
Hawk: (Oblivious) Talk to you later Sir.
OP Brain: I fucking hope not!
My conversation with the General was quick and painless. No I did not tell him I was Hawk's Team Leader. He would have asked why I forgot the leash. How about we just fast-forward? Like you have a choice.
Fast-Forward:
OP: Is that all you're going to eat?
Hawk: Yeah.
OP: You waited in line for nearly 45-minutes for Lucky Charms?
Hawk: I like the marshmallows.
OP: You have like ten boxes under your bed.
Hawk: Yup. How did your conversation with the General go?
OP: Faster and less awkward than yours. Eat your fucking cereal Hawk.
Hawk: Hey, at least I got a coin!
That's it. I sincerely appreciate you strapping in and taking that ride with me. I know! I could have simply wrote about the encounter with the CENTCOM Commander. It would have been short, and good for a small laugh. Writing is therapeutic though. I am by no means a "writer" but I enjoy giving you a small glimpse into my life, and this helps me to alleviate stress. The more I write, the less stress I have afterwards. Thus, the reason I spiral out of control and splinter off on random tangents. Some of you say I'm, "hard to follow." Agreed. Imagine how that feels being being me! I deal with it though. You can deal with it too I suppose.
Cheers!
submitted by SloppyEyeScream to FuckeryUniveristy [link] [comments]

Unleashed pt. 37

I took a short break after my double chapter, but things are back to normal again now. Once again, credit to my teammate u/eruwenn for the polish and additions.
First / Prev / Next
The arguments had gone on for what felt like an eternity, raising a lot of questions that Aaron had no answers to, and his patience was wearing thin. Eventually he threw up his hands and raised his voice. “Look, you know everything I know. They have the bio-weapon. We don’t know when, or where, it will be used. We have to push on with our own mission. To get Alexa and Norrin treatment.” Allistan raised his hand and Aaron sighed. “I’ve told you, you don’t need to do that.”
The Fae’Dan stood and looked around the group. “I think I speak for all of us when I ask; If we aren’t going to do anything, and we can’t tell anyone, or investigate, then why did you tell us?”
“Choice.” Aaron said as he looked around the table. “I’m giving you the choice, to stay or to leave.” He raised his eyebrows at their confused faces. “With a handsome retirement amount, of course.”
Embar looked offended. “You expect us to quit? We’ve only just begun.”
Aaron returned to his seat. Keeping his voice calm and even, he looked at each one of them as he spoke. “No. But, fighting the Sentinels? Spies? Plots? This isn't what any of you signed on for. You could get in real trouble, or worse." He slumped slightly. "I don't even know why you all agreed to come with me in the first place.”
“You are my home.” Alexa’s answer to his rhetorical question was without hesitation or embarrassment at the honesty of her statement. “You, and Sassie.”
Aaron reached out and took her hand. “Thanks, I wasn’t asking for-”
“I felt responsible.” Estrilla’s voice was quiet, but determined. “The way you are now – the nanites – is because we purged your body of its own defences. On my orders. And, worse still, I couldn’t fix you. I’m staying. Stopping the war will save a lot of lives and that’s a doctor’s job.”
Before Aaron could reply Ranjaz spoke up. “You stole a planet and took a fortune from the Arkellians without breaking a single law. You bet your weird pink monkey ass I’m in.” He grinned broadly. “Besides, without me you’re all doomed.”
Jar’Bek was quick to interject. “He did in fact break several laws, and is testing the elasticity of dozens, if not hundreds, more.” Jar’Bek paused as he considered his own reason for coming on this journey. “I was shunned by my people for becoming a lawyer, shunned by those within the law for being an Ashi. At first, I came because I needed money and a modicum of protection from my previous employers. Now, we’re building a new world. Writing the rules from scratch and for the first time those rules apply to everyone equally. Anyway, a war would interfere with our profit projections.”
Deciding it was wise not to mention the insane amount of money war generated on his own world, Aaron nodded his gratitude to Jar’Bek. The pair had spoken at length about their vision for the new colonies and both wanted a focus on equality and opportunity. “Especially if they begin a war with the Imperium. We don’t want to be caught in the middle of that.”
Embar spoke, a grim resignation to his voice. “Except, that’s exactly where we’re headed. Directly between the Federation, Hive and Imperium as they are steered towards war by the Sentinels. We’re the unknown quantity, being used by this councillor to do her dirty work.” He saw guilt on Estrilla’s face, but pushed on. “I’ve been a soldier most of my life; the further I got promoted the harder the decisions became. The more lives I was responsible for. And at some point they just stopped being people and became numbers. Acceptable losses. When I urged caution amongst my people upon our joining the Federation, I was given a parade. They celebrated my battle victories - my orders that brought about countless losses of life - and gave me an early retirement, dismissing my change of heart as easily as one tosses out a cupcake wrapper. All around me I saw the compromises, the gaps in what we once were as well as families with pieces I caused to be missing, and I couldn't live with these constant reminders around me. I needed an escape, so I joined the exchange program. Figured that if I didn't like the Federation maybe I could try to change it from within.” He let out a long sigh, and for the first time his world weariness showed through his intimidating exterior. “You, Ambassador, looked at the Federation and without anywhere else to go, said no. Refused to be a pawn. I can tell you don’t like the way things are. I see the anger in your eyes when they treat Alexa like an object, or Jarby as a criminal. I feel like I lost my will to fight, thought I’d tag along and borrow some of yours.”
Estrilla chuckled at the old general. “You stormed an embassy single-handed, how much more fight do you need?”
The Rinoxian let out a deep rumbling laugh. “And it was glorious!”
The human laughed as well. “Yes, it was.”
Fire kindled in Embar's eyes as his weariness seemed to evaporate. “So, you want to take on the Sentinels? Then I’m in. Let the spirit of Rambo be with us.”
Allistan’s pen was clicking furiously. “Take on the Sentinels. You all make it sound so simple.” He clicked his pen one final time, then put it down and turned to face Aaron. “You made me feel uneasy about the Federation, its rules and systems.” He glanced at Alexa, seeming halfway ashamed. "Were we wrong?" Feeling unsettled, Allistan's hand moved, halfway reaching for his pen before thinking the better of it. "I came with you to explore my own ideas, my beliefs. I may not agree with everything you have done, or everything you say, but I want to keep exploring this human way. Only through questions can we grow. As for our mission, it is our duty to help our friends, and our moral obligation to take steps to stop a war created by subterfuge. I am not leaving.”
As everyone seemed to be taking this opportunity to speak, Danyd coughed and raised his hand. “I don’t care about the Hive, or the Sentinels, or a war. There’s always a bloody war somewhere.” He shrugged as everyone looked at him in shock at his candid statement. “I joined you because you offered me a big pile of credits and, quite frankly, thanks to you I wasn’t very popular on the station anymore. They can suck Tulseria’s balls – I was stuck, and you got me out of there. As long as you’re crapping out credits and sharing them around, I’m in.”
“That’s disgusting!” Jaym scrunched up her face. “And a damn lie.” She looked at the Satryn as he scowled, his angry face telling her to be quiet. “He told me he was proud of you, proud to have a decent captain for once. When you saved Aiov, and after you set up Space Post he cried, and said” -Danyd was about to argue but she pointed at him, putting on a gruff voice in a poor impersonation- “Someone who looks out for the little guys, that’s a man you can follow into Tulseria’s embrace with a smile.’”
Danyd furiously and vehemently denied it. “I said no such thing, and I certainly didn’t cry!” He took a deep breath and calmed himself down, “I may have said it was good that someone was looking out for the smaller ships out there, and only because I know how hard that life is, but I never cried.”
Aaron decided to move things on. “It was your idea, and it was a good one. Space Post is gaining traction, especially in fringe worlds. Jaym, are you staying? This may be a little more experience than you wanted.”
It was true that she had signed on to get hands on experience with Hoban drives so she could advance her education and career prospects. She was also young and idealistic, sending home more money than her father had earned in a whole celes and taking part in the creation of new colonies. They had saved the leokas, stopped the sacrifices, and now it felt like she was part of a revolution about to sweep the galaxy. “I’m in. I want my life to make a difference and stopping a war is a pretty awesome difference!”
Her enthusiasm and naivete caused a chuckle around the table. Embar was about to speak but Estrilla cut him off. “This is going to be dangerous, you should think of your father and sister.”
“No.” Her voice was strong and final. “Arkellis is on the Imperium border. If the Sentinels succeed in attacking the Hive, that message said the Imperium was next. I’m doing this for them and everyone I love back home.”
Embar nodded as several others murmured their agreement. Ranjaz looked around, finally fixing his gaze on Chae’Sol. “Everyone else shared, your turn.”
Aaron raised his hands. “No need, if you don’t want to. I wasn’t asking, just making a point, but I am grateful you all have your own reasons for being here.”
Chae’Sol appreciated Aaron’s words, but decided to share his own truth. “I am here for Sassie.”
“What!?” Several voices cried out at once.
He gave a dashing smile. “My people have a legend of a great king, you know the type: started with nothing, eventually saved the kingdom sort of thing.” Nods spread around the table; it was a common theme on every world. “Well, this king was a friend to all, including the animals. It is said he could command beasts, and when a great enemy appeared every creature in his kingdom fought by his side. I loved that story as a kid.”
Jaym squirmed in her seat with excitement. “The King of Souls, he was amazing! He rode a flying Farnek, he had three beast companions: a small flying Len’uk called Chio, a ferocious Cronax called Duma and a clever Giloh called Sar. He once fought the Emperor of the Dead and regrew his arm mid-battle.” Several questioning looks caused her to pause. “I love Niham culture,” she said bashfully, “there have been six movies and two series about him, as well as three animated books.”
Chae’Sol shook his head in disbelief. Niham culture had exploded in popularity recently, especially their animation and pop culture. “Fantasy stories are popular on my home world - nobody thought you could actually communicate, let alone command an animal.” He looked to the corner of the room where Sassie was now curled up in one of the armchairs, snoring loudly. “I want to know if this myth could have been based on something real. Something my people have forgotten about themselves.”
Ranjaz laughed loudly. “That’s who you are!”
The Niham’s eyes narrowed. “What?” Jaym also seemed nervous.
A mischievous glint appeared in the Kittran’s eyes and his lips curled revealing his toothy grin. “Since you came on board the Azrimad something’s been bugging me. You seemed so familiar in a weird way, but I couldn’t figure out why. Honestly, I can barely tell you Niham apart.” Ranjaz shrugged at the gasps. Different species used different visual cues for recognition, and for the Kittran looking at the shape of ears, eyes and noses were less important than colour and pattern of fur. “Don’t judge me, half of you could barely tell the Kasurians apart.” He took a moment to enjoy putting them in their place. “It finally clicked.”
Chae’Sol, his eyes pleading, stood and waved his hands in front of Ranjaz. “How about you and I discuss this later? Like gentlemen?”
“Nope.”
Jaym joined in, moving her seat closer to Ranjaz. “Come on, it’s his secret to keep. At least hear him out.”
“Secret?” Estrilla said with a chuckle. “Are you talking about his career before he joined the military?”
“Doctor!” the Niham said loudly. “those files are confidential.”
Embar looked at Chae’Sol through narrowed eyes. “A secret career? A spy?”
Ranjaz joyously announced, “Oh, he’s been a spy. A detective as well, and I think he was a businessman who had never found love.”
Chae’Sol rolled his eyes, and Jaym leapt to his defence. “The businessman was allergic to women, it was the coffee shop owner who never found love.”
Estrilla shook her head, ruffling her feathers. “No, no. The ghost was allergic to women, the businessman lost his memory and forgot his fiancee.”
As Jaym and Estrilla began their in depth discussion, voices steadily rising, the others looked at Chae’Sol and Ranjaz with concern. Aaron was the one who finally realised what was happening. “You were an actor!”
Chae’Sol groaned and slumped into his seat as Ranjaz looked on triumphantly. “Oh, he was much more than just an actor.”
The Niham groaned. “Please, I have left that life behind.”
Suddenly unleashed from her vow of secrecy Jaym couldn’t hold back her excitement. “Oh my Tulseria, he was so much more than an actor! He was the most popular member of Niham Boyzz, and when his music career went solo he started acting! He was only the most famous person on the whole of Niham!”
Chae’Sol whimpered. “it was a long time ago. I never expected the recent galaxy-wide interest in our culture amongst certain demographics.” He was trying to remain polite about the strange people who had begun obsessing over the culture from his world. It wasn’t even their real culture, just a polished, idealised fantasy from the most mass market
Ranjaz was enjoying every moment of deflating the navigator. “Of course he loves the story of the Soul King, he was the star of the show!”
“Yes, yes,” the Niham said dismissively. “But, then I had to serve in the military and decided to leave that life behind. Far, far behind.”
Aaron nodded, he had suspected something was up when the former security officer somehow had intimate knowledge of the entertainment industry. “Well, it looks like it worked out in our favour. Maybe we can share some of your work another time.” He was pleased with the diplomacy of his response, giving Chae’Sol a chance to open up at his own pace.
Nobody was listening as the discussion had already broken off into many fragments. Estrilla, Jaym and Ranjaz ware in a heated, and highly animated, argument over which show should be shown first. Meanwhile, Embar was asking a sullen Chae’Sol a hundred questions about his newly-revealed past. Jar’Bek, Allistan and Danyd were left looking baffled at the impassioned arguments brewing between the doctor and assistant engineer.
Alexa took Aaron’s arm and led him away, picking up Aiov as Sassie grunted and rolled off her comfy seat to join them. The human allowed himself to be led, and as they reached the overlook he still had no idea what Alexa had planned. As they entered his quarters, though, he found himself resisting. “Why are we going in here?”
She ran her fingers through her silver hair, pushing it back from her face. “Time for some special training.”
Aaron was exhausted, lying on the floor of his quarters in a pair of shorts with sweat covering his body. Alexa lay beside him, holding his hand with a frustrated look on her face. “Stop trying to force it. Just breathe, and focus. You can do it, I'm certain.”
Aaron released her hand and rolled to his side, his back now to her. “That’s easy for you to say. It’s been twelve cycles and I can barely manage five minutes.”
She sat up and grabbed a water bottle and towel from the floor nearby. “You’re pushing too hard.”
He sat up and accepted the water and towel, quickly taking a long, refreshing drink. “I’m used to performing better, this is much harder than I expected.”
That’s what she said.” They both laughed a little, easing the tension and Aaron’s frustration. She took the bottle from him with gentle hands. “Let’s try one more time.”
Ranjaz sat in the captain’s chair on the bridge, cautiously turning a matte black pistol over in his hands. He passed it back to Embar. “Yeah, I reckon this would probably go through most armour designed for energy weapons. It’s way too dangerous to use on a ship, though. Why’d you make it?”
Embar accepted the weapon. “Thought the captain might like it, something sitting on his hip as he talks to the Inorganics.”
The Kittran rolled his eyes. “Inorganics are like liquid, and shooting them with metal is basically giving them a snack. Energy weapons work great, he should take one of those.” He grinned. “Or five!”
Embar pulled back the slide on top of the gun, double checking to make sure the Kittran hadn’t put anything in there. “The Inorganics don’t allow them on the surface. I thought of this as more of a symbolic item, maybe a distraction?”
“A distraction?” Ranjaz pulled out his datapad. “So, you want to place a bet?”
The Rinoxian groaned and put the gun back in its holster. “No. And you shouldn’t be gambling on this. Lives are at stake.”
Sliding off the seat and moving in close, the Kittran lowered his voice conspiratorially. “Alexa has placed a bet.”
“Really?”
“Want to know what it is?”
Standing and pushing the Kittran back gently, Embar replied, “well, she would know her people best.”
“Ha!” Ranjaz jumped back on the captain’s seat, swinging his legs over the arm. “No cheating. No using Alexa for inside knowledge.”
Embar waved a hand at the irritating Kittran before returning his attention to his station. “We’ll reach planet Alpha-Numeric Designation in half a cycle. Let’s hope they have the energy to see this through.”
The wannabe captain let out a chuckle. “Aaron has been looking pretty drained lately. Special training.” He gave a knowing wink.
Embar nodded, ignoring the insinuation. “Judging by Alexa’s quietness and Aaron’s - well, his excessive combat training - things aren’t going well.”
Ranjaz put his datapad back down and turned to face Embar again. So far Aaron's managed to overcome everything the galaxy has thrown at him. Whatever this special training is, he's unable to perform." He waved away Embar's frown. "What I mean is, he's failing, and I don't think he likes to fail. He's getting pretty mad at himself.”
Tapping a system diagnostic box and swiping it to run, the Rinoxian nodded. “Just because his body didn’t reject the nanites doesn’t mean they can do this. I barely understand it myself, especially as it seems to be putting such a strain on their relationship.”
“Bah!” Ranjaz muttered, slumping back down to play with his datapad once more,“those two are like a pair of Narfs in a bog-hole.”
Embar shuddered at the image those words conjured. “Disgusting, but I get your point.”
Chae’Sol entered and pushed Ranjaz’s feet from the captain’s chair. “That’s not your seat.” He sat at his station and ignored the obscene gesture being made behind his back. Without turning to face the Rinoxian he asked, “Are you checking the weapons systems again?”
“Yes,” the Rinoxian answered pointedly. “Are you checking the Nav systems again?”
The navigator fired off a battery of tests and sat back in his chair watching them run. “Of course. We may need to make a swift escape, and it’s a long way to a friendly system. Danyd’s been taking things apart and putting them back together all over the ship. No one wants to get in trouble this far out. It’s no wonder that no-one found the Inorganics for so long in this dead space.”
A series of noises came from Ranjaz’s datapad, which were followed by a string of curse words. “Crap, I hate that level.” He tore his attention away from the screen and observed the others. “Well, we’re walking straight into trouble. Knocking down the door and marching right into its house with a list of demands.”
Chae’Sol looked at Ranjaz and then to Embar. “After this we should double check the armoury, make sure all the weapons have fresh energy cells.”
The Rinoxian nodded. “Right.”
Sassie, sitting in the back of the K7 while Alexa piloted, looked very unhappy in the custom environmental suit the Inorganic had commissioned back on the Azrimad. Fidgeting in his own helmet, Aaron understood the German Shepherd all too well. The human's issues, however, were compounded by the small container on his lap. “It feels kinda weird, having Norrin’s core in a box like this.”
Alexa didn’t look back. “He is most likely unaware of his surroundings.”
He picked up the box, tilting it slowly from side to side and observing the gentle shift of Norrin from within. “That is less reassuring than you think.”
The shuttle shuddered and listed to one side. “There's a storm," Alexa unhelpfully explained. "Be prepared, and be careful - we have a short walk outside from the landing pad to the facility.”
Aaron finally got the clasp on his helmet to lock into place. “I’m always careful.”
Once the shuttle landed and powered down, Alexa double checked their environmental suits and zipped up her jacket. “You’re sure you want to do this?" she asked as she finished her second safety pass, watching Aaron's face closely. "If we can't convince them, they will take back your nanites forcefully. They will remove our individuality. They may even kill us entirely.”
He held up the small box. “You want to end up in one of these?”
Her blue eyes, so similar to his own, stared hard at him. “I’d rather die than end up alone in the dark again.”
“Right.” He placed his hand on her shoulder. “We ride together, we die together.”
She placed her hand on top of his. “Bad boys for life.”
Aaron smiled, lifting her spirits. “Hey, maybe they’ll trade their help for free EarthFlix and Premium Musicify subscriptions?” Not waiting for an answer he slammed the door release. The howl of the wind drowned out any further conversation, and they marched through the storm, buffeted from side to side by the strong winds full of grey sand. Sassie clung closely to his side, her covered tail firmly between her legs.
Looming ahead of them was a featureless square building, seeming to somehow be made of a single block of grey stone. It looked old - weathered - and even seemed fractured in places. As they approached the doorway, and were able to more clearly see through the swirling grey sands, they could tell it was already open. The dirt of the storm had been blown inside, building up to give an eerie abandoned feeling, and the feeling only deepened as sparsely-placed orange lights began to flicker. They entered, and the doors silently slid closed behind them, cutting channels through the built-up dirt.
The room was as blank as the exterior, and the flickering orange lights and dirt-covered floor gave off an oppressive, cave-like feel. Aaron looked around the small, desolate room as he kneeled to pat Sassie's side. "You're sure they are expecting us?"
The response he received didn't come from his companion. A fine line suddenly snaked down the wall ahead of them, and as it opened wider proper lighting began to stream in from the other side. As the second set of doors continued to open, Aaron's hand went to Embar's gift on his hip. He breathed deeply, quickly pulling his hand away, and stood up in an attempt to look as casual as possible.
Two bulky shadows were now visible in the light of the opening doors.
A hollow, metallic voice rang out. “FOLLOW.”
Next
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Betting odds can be extremely confusing and the information they convey can be overwhelming. When it comes to understanding betting odds, it’s important to start with the basics. Once you have all that covered, it becomes easy to interpret what all those darn numbers mean. How Betting Odds Work: Fractions vs decimals Betting on Fighter A to win in the 10th-12th gives you three chances to win your bet. It’s like a little safety cushion when betting on boxing. Betting On The Fight Outcome. When betting on boxing, you will more than likely see lines on the fight outcome. This is a general way to wager on how the fight will end, and only has five options. Boxing Odds and How To Read Them. The odds on boxing fights are a bit confusing if you don’t know how to read them. The betting odds for a fight usually look something like this… Mike Tyson (-320) Evander Holyfield (+210) Favorite Betting. In this example, Mike Tyson would be the favorite in the fight. Boxing Betting Part 2. In the last post I stressed the importance of knowing everything you can about the fighters before you place your bet. This is the same info that the sportsbooks will use to set the odds, so it’s important for you to know how the odds are determined before you worry about what they are. The betting business has never been better. But despite this, it still seems like there are plenty of people out there who have absolutely no idea how betting lines actually work.

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