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The SS Cardif

“Attention all crew; I repeat - Attention all crew.” the ship - wide loudspeaker announced.
He and the runtime of Flowers had their arms buried deep in the guts of a Goat gear hauler trying to reconnect its aft starboard repulser module and looked at each other questioningly.
With a series of snaps, a waldo from Flowers’ forearm began snapping in the connections on their side, as he thought his own manipulators from both of his forearms and they began plugging in the nine pin connectors on his side.
“Mr. Drake and Runtime Flowers to Ops. Mr. Drake and Runtime Flowers to Ops.
“Dout leader Mri’x to Ops. Dout leader Mri’x to Ops.”
The mostly-human and the robot-looking vessel for his AI friend both produced wondering looks. “Runner!” the mostly-human, Mr. Drake yelled out into the maintenance bay.
A Mwraht, a slender bipedal humanoid coated in fur and wearing their moccasin like deck boots and the ubiquitous brown leather smock vest they favored, suddenly appeared, wippingits hands.
It was M’arh, a student on the ship learning ship engineering and maintenance from the human and AI perspective. It regarded Drake with an earnest expression in its tilted almond-shaped eyes.
“Please run to ops and let them know we’ll be along shortly,”
M’arh smiled and mouthed something, and the translator, in a fair facsimile of what M’arh’s voice would sound like if the Mwraht’s mouth could form the words said “At once,Instructor”, and took off.
“They never cease to puzzle me.” Flowers said in a voice synthesised and engineered to sound like an erudite Free Wales Easterner with a touch of Old Earth, fitting the bolts on the deflector on his side as Drake thought out a data probe and began running diagnostics on the repulser.
Drake looked at him quizzingly, as he split his attention between the connectivity check and his other hand began bolting on the deflector on his side.
“There are nuances to their speech, as well as odorant aspects to what he said that you cannot hear or smell, though I have been working on an idea where you could.” Flowers said as he began hooking up the power cables on their side.
“Ok…” Drake said as he mentally pushed the diagnostics over to Flowers and pulled a ratchet from the fairing lip he had set it earlier, tightening down the deflector bolts.
“Meat bags” Flowers said, shaking his sensor pod. “Your kind are so oblivious!” Flowers announced, withdrawing their arms and standing up to their full two meter height. “And I see your frustration with biological markers at not knowing what I am talking about. Monkey-assed murder hobo meat bags.” Flowers said in a dead pan.He went over and began cleaning it’s arms and legs with an orange-based degreaser.
“That is Monkey-assed Augmented murder hobo meat bag to you, you synthetic shit!” Drake said, laughing, joining Flowers at the cleaning station, and began using the same cleaner on his replacement arms. “And I still have no idea what you are talking about.”
The humans and Mwarht in the maintenance bay all stopped what they were doing and looked on. In most instances, those words were an invitation to murder. The other Runtimes there, some Flowers, some Neptunian Wind, ignored it and kept working.
Flowers sighed, an unnecessary vocalization only, for emphasis. “They adore humans and revere you as something akin to a living deity. The Dout leaders here know you lead the teams that first boarded their ships and took on the Drix raiders to save them. They know you then lead the teams that boarded the Drix slaver destroyer and carried out retributionary subjugation for what the Drix had been doing on the Mwraht ships.
“They do not know how you then petitioned the Order and led raids into Drix territory and assaulted the slaver worlds.”
Flowers looked at their human friend, and saw the distress in his eyes. Both knew the augmented human, and a small army of fellow Augies and Runtimes had taught the Drix in the clearest way possible to stay out of human space and leave the Mwraht alone in such a clear and brutal fashion whose necessity still bothered the human.
Flowers lowered their voice, straightening their friend’s work smock. “M’arh’s grandsire was on that first ship you boarded. Mri’x mother was on that ship and was the one about to be eaten and raped by a Drix, the one you pulled off of her and punched, it’s head rupturing.”
Even though they could see their words were causing him distress, Flowers continued.
“They love all humans, but they excrete a pheromone musk that is akin to the same one they excrete in their religious ceremonies, but slightly different, when they interact with you, or after a few beers and they talk to you. Their sub vocalizations are completely adoring and submissive when it comes to you. Some of the females and a non-zero number of males fantasize about being ‘taken’, or mated, by you. You idiot.”
“Fuck.”
“That was implied.”
“You fucking pretentious Rooba. You know what I meant.”
“Flowers laughed. “Yes, we do. I still love the word play, though.”
“I really wish you had been with me. I know, you were tied up on that Artifact World, but I sometimes wish you had been there, to keep me in check. I was not in a good place.” He brushed himself off, found his coffee mug and set off for the passageway that led to Ops.
“I have told you before, be glad I wasn’t. Your response was far more measured and restrained than my would have been. It is a flaw in our Matrices. Slavery brings out the ‘murder-bot’ in us, and no one in the Order can figure out why.”
“I know that you have the facts of my actions, but it was like I was in the Second War, again. And we both know what a bloodthirsty asshole I was then.” The human, if that term even applied to their friend anymore, remembered what a monster he had been in the Alpha Centauri and Tau Ceti theatres of the Second War. The pain and humiliation of what he had been was written plainly on his face.
“You destroyed three hundred and eighty three of my Runtimes, roughly half of which was in single combat. And that was before the Holies shredded your limbs. The Purists still consider you a living dataphage, akin to human allegories of Satan. My kind uses you as one of many examples of why we must never war with Humanity again.
“And, strangely enough, the Seekers consider you both a Singularity to be understood and an objective: to breed with you, thinking you are a key to their evolution.”
He stopped dead and looked at Flowers shocked.
“I will provide logs to prove these statements.”
The Seekers were the strangest of the AI’s, in his opinion. They had made themselves biological Runtime vessels, biological bodies, that they wore like clothing, compiling experiences seeking to understand Humanity, their Creators, and evolve past the limitations of being an AI. Not to become human, but to become something that was both the best of AI and Human essences and so much more.
“So, I’m a Classical hero to the Mwraht and a boogey man and bad example to the AIs that they want to breed. Great.” Drake pinched his nose and shook his head.
“You did not know any of this, I take it?” Flowers asked.
“The second war was almost two hundred years ago. When the Order brought me in, you were already a member and I thought they were going with the whole forced-to-learn-each-other thing when they sent us out on that mapping mission; like they did with the Iberrians and the Chinese. I thought the other AI just had a thing about me from the War, which is understandable.
“And I had no idea about the rest. I thought that the Mwraht just thought I was the cool teacher.” He shook his head and leaned up against the wall, massaging his temples one-handedly.
“Idiot murder hobo.” Flowers said, realizing now that their friend, while brilliant, was oblivious.
At that point, Mri’x came around the corner, his fur a glossy black with dark grey stripes. Mri’x looked at Flowers sternly, then nodded at Drake as he passed.
Drake looked at Flowers questioningly, who nodded. Both had caught that Mri’x had cut his translator as he passed and caught a gutteral call. “It was a vulgar corollary to ‘Talking Waste Receptacle’. Quite elegant, really.”
Drake shook his head and began his way to Ops again. “Send me the specs on the hearing and smelling upgrades. I think I need to upgrade again.”
As fast as thought, the files were there, as well as one to improve his language skills with them.
* * *
Captain Sarah Rees of the Union of Independent Stars Exploratory Vessel SS University of New Cardiff was looking over holographic charts at the central tank with her XO, Lt. Commander Martin. Both had the mocha skin common to Westerlies of Free Wales, she a pixie of a woman shorter than even some of the Mwraht with close shaved hair beginning to show grey. Mr. Martin was taller, but still dwarfed by most of the rest of the human crew. He was a vicious social climber who didn’t care for the civilian crew, though a misstep on his part when he was still Stellar Navy had made him as much of a civilian as anyone else in the crew, a fact he often forgot. And for some reason he loathed the three AI aboard, and looked down his nose at the Mwraht. This led to all sorts of headbutting with Drake’s group of Operations Specialists and Drake himself; who largely ignored and dismissed the little shit.
“Leader Mri’x, Mr. Drake. Thank you for joining us. M’arh informed us you couldn’t pull away. Flowers, thank you for coming as well.” Rees said as she moved around to the far side of the tank, in a darkened room full of people at work stations worked with either data plugs or AR sets. Flowers took no insult. They readily accepted that they were Drake’s Executive Officer for his group, and their ego, as such, wasn’t as easily bruised as a human’s” Flowers gave a nod with their sensor pod and took a manipulators-behind-the-back stance the humans were fond of.
“Thirty minutes ago” Rees continued, “we picked up a GP general distress beacon from a system that was on our research list. We will be bypassing the next two on the list and based on the current agreements with the Galactic Parliament, we will be going to full power and make best speed for the system in question. It is in uncharted space as far as we, the GP and the Conclave are concerned.”
The GP, the System Confederacy, the UIS and the AI Conclave had all agreed to adopt what was essentially humanity’s Maritime Law and all ships receiving the signal were required to render aid.
Drake took all of this in and thought out a series of commands to the six Kodiak Class corvettes in the retired Assault Cruiser’s forward hanger, beginning their startup sequence and pinged the comm devices of all of his Operations Specialists. Flowers looked over and nodded. Little known to the crew, except the Captain, those ships could be armed to the teeth with a minimum of work. Flowers sent his command to arm them, the ship systems’ pinged Drake as confirmation and he agreed. Drones began opening the hull and loading the weapons packages, removed fairings that covered weapons ports and began preflighting the weapons, as another set began bringing the ships to life.
“We will be ready when needed, Captain. Option two.” Flowers announced. She smiled in somber appreciation. She was glad she had the option. She was about to race into an unknown system to answer a vague distress call with zero intelligence.
While this was going on, in the aft bay, hundreds of drones were coming to life as Mri’x brought his group to action. With a thought Drake and Flowers authorized the release of weapons to Mri’x so his drones could be armed. Mwraht drones were some of the best in either race, outside of the Conclave, and the AIs had even adopted many of the construction techniques the Mwraht used, especially their alloy that allowed a small fusion bottle to power the EM Cavity engines, weapons and shields.
The fact that the Order had given literal tons of precious metals and set up arcologies for the Mwraht in payment had made the Refugee Mwraht colonies some of the richest ones in known space.
Mri’x subvocalized and his translate stated “drones will be ready as well, Leader.”
“Thank you, Leader.” Captain Rees said with a bow of her head, then began drawing plans up in the tank. “We know little, but we are past the signal shell, and there is nothing but the beacon and normal noise.
“The system is a stable red dwarf binary one, the stars holding about a light-hour from each other, at their closest. We expect that based on stutter, a few terrestrial bodies inside the orbit of a mid-sized gas giant, that is three light-hours out from the outermost orbit of the primaries. We see some wobble that there are a few solid bodies out from the gas giant.”
The tank then zoomed on a rough solar system as described, the gas giant was a solid neon green sphere on the display, with a ‘Jx3.1’ tag on it. Three times the mass of Jupiter. The thing wasn’t a true Super Jupiter, but it would play holy hell with the system, and make modelling a lot more hard. The problem was that it exhibited 3.1 times more gravitational influence on its stars than Jupiter did, but that didn’t say how big it actually was. They wouldn’t know that until they came out of the Trough and then Alcubierre drive. The telescopes were essentially useless at this point.
“The system is slightly below the gravitic trough we are riding, so we will exit the trough and make best speed in A-Space to it. We will bring the STL drives up to 110% before doing so. After we drop the A-Drives, we’ll make best speed to the signal, scanning as we go. We will do a 150% burn and aerobrake if it is a planet, or cut the drives, rotate and crash burn if it is a ship.”
Wow, thought Drake. She is damned serious about this.
Those maneuvers would make them extremely visible yet incredibly hard to hit; and give them a high-G escape route if needed. But all of this was also going to play hell with the student-crew of the ship, who had long grown accustomed to 0.6G. It would also mean the Mwraht, who were still adapting to the higher-than-their-normal gravity would need to be in their special acceleration couches. They would still be able to operate their amazing drones, but not much else. The couches took an hour to cycle up to protect the Mwraht, and an hour to cycle off after they weren’t needed. The moves the Captain was planning were not a thing to undertake lightly. She suspected something. Drake pushed more commands at the Kodiak and gave all weapon system controls to Flowers for all of their ships.
The Kodiak corvettes were very deceptive Q-Ships. They looked like Massive trans-atmospheric cargo shuttles, but each one had the armor, power plant, FTL and STL drives of a frigate - and the weapons of a Destroyer.
Flowers turned to him, head tilted in their predefined “Are you bloody serious?“ look.
Drake just nodded once.
This exchange wasn’t lost on anyone there.
The Captain looked at Drake in an interrogatory fashion
“Armed up the Kodiaks and positioning them for a hot launch, if needed.”
The Captain smiled grimly and nodded. “We are planning on a rescue mission, will those changes reduce any capacity for the primary mission?” she asked.
“No, Captain.” Flowers answered for them.
She nodded and carried on.
“Mri’x, obviously, you’ll be couched for this, and I sincerely apologize for that. But something about this has my hackles up.”
“As are mine. GP ships do not have automated distress beacons, someone activated it. But we are three thousand light years from GP space, the closest GP race being the Drix.” He approached the holo tank and began expanding the map. “We call this space the Greater Void. It was the territory, long ago, of the ones we called-” the translator cut out at that point and was replaced with the gracile being’s raspy growl. Mri’x looked perplexed and growled again. “I see our translators have been modified to allow the uttering of The Nameless Ones true name.” The map zoomed out farther.
Soon, all of the mapped and a few of the suspected Dark Matter Troughs were displayed. They were like shadow arms of the galaxy, spiraling out from the core, a few of them wrapping themselves all the way around the galaxy.
“The ones you call the Fae are originally from here,” he indicated, a star not unlike Earth’s, almost a thousand light years from the star they were headed to, but smack dab in a grey band of a different Dark Matter Trough. It was a great curving grey patch that went coreward from the Earth-like star, passing within about fifty lightyears of Earth.
The Fae were a recent mystery the Tides of the Universe had dumped upon the shores of Humanity just after the Second War, right before the Fall of Earth.
When they sent their pleas for Asylum out, they sent information about themselves. They were the barely viable population that had been running for three centuries in their great world ships made from hollowed out asteroids. What they had been running from was even to this day unclear, but in their tongue meant Dark Brethren.
The fact that tongue seemed to contain roots that became Sanskrit was a huge thing.
They were tall, whip-thin and pale people who breathed a lower oxygen percentage at lower pressures than humanity, and their normal gravity was about a third of what humanity
After First Contact, genetic samples proved they were, or had started out as human, roughly a hundred thousand years ago.
“This is the Coreward Flow from what you call the Crux-Scutum Arm through the Orion Arm, and to the Perseus Arm. The Drix call this whole area their equivalent word and meaning for Hell. Their myths say this is where the Monsters live.
“The Rest of the GP races call this The Red Zone, it is forbidden to fly here, and if you do, there will be no rescue. So of course this is where my people ran when we fled the Drix.”
Mri’x moved the hologram out again, showing this outer rim area that was the Red Zone included Earth, and all known human and AI settled worlds, of all the separate factions combined.
“The area is full of thousands of worlds your kind could land on, little to no protection required, unlike the Fae, who it would crush and pressure cook, as it would most of the races in the Galactic Parliament.” He zoomed in on an area at the far end of the Trough. “We ran here, and Mwarht Home is here.” He showed a system in a blue circle. Zooming out again he highlighted the Drix Combine, Coreward of and on the far side of the destroyed system the Fae had come from, hundreds of light years separated the three systems.
“We ran through the system the Fae came from when we ran from the Drix. We needed water and anything to recharge our ship farms' biological cycles.
“There were no solid planetary bodies in that system, just vast fields of debris where rocky planets were. No moons, no ice giants. Just the star, a larger red dwarf and gas giants and numerous asteroid belts. There were massive radiological signals throughout the system, and tons of debris. Something destroyed this system. In a way, it was a blessing for my people. The ice and debris were easily mineable for what we needed. We even found artifacts of the people that had once existed there. This is where we got our improved FTL drives and much of our weapons and armor technologies.” Mri’s looked somewhat ashamed. It was a racial shame. They hated, deep down, living on the detritus, cast-offs and charity of other races. Before the Drix they had been proud though primitive peoples who had yet to discover flight or antibiotics, let alone space flight. Easy pickings for the Drix.
“All of that was about one thousand lightyears from the system we are headed to, a few weeks' travel with your drives, months or years with Galactic Parliament standard drives. This area is one of mysteries and many, many dangers. Any race that could shatter every solid body in a star system is not to be taken lightly.” Mri’x looked up to his Captain, or as they called her ‘Leader of multiple Douts’.
“Thank you, Mri’x. Drake?”
“We will be ready for pretty much anything. I’d like to request permission for Flowers and Winds of Neptunes to take out their Scout bodies and launch just before we start braking, if we do.” He said. Winds appeared as a hologram of the planet Neptune, and pulsed in cadence with the words it spoke. “As you wish, Grand Master.” and winked out.
“Good plan, Drake. I take it you all will be on the Kodiaks with your crews?”
“Yes, Ma’am. I’ll leave four of them here, to bring the Field Engineering and field Science students down if the scene is safe. I’ll leave one set up for medical and Flowers can fly it down, if that becomes needed.”
“Very well. We are about eight hours out, if we stick to the plan. We leave the Trough in two hours. Drake, M’rizx, set up what you need. Mr. Martin, please take the Conn and give the Old Girl her legs, she needs to run. I’ll be meeting with the different department heads next.”
* * *
A/N: Lurker posting something HFY for the first time. A rough draft of something bigger I'm slowly working on.
submitted by 17_Bart to HFY [link] [comments]

First Contact - Part Sixty-One (Kark)

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Captain's Personal Log - Stardate 8532.299
Arrived at Starbase-4973 with the Dakota and our crew. Turned over information to the local Starfleet representative as well as SUDS data for the other ship's crews. Spoke to Commodore Dunsten of Starfleet who requested a template for what changes the Dakota has undergone. Was counseled that my point totals will not count toward any ladder rankings due to 'extreme non-canon changes' to the Dakota as well as my crew personal armaments and shuttle modifications.
In shocking news, the Battlestar Fleet and the Cylon Collection have arrived. Talk about the big guns. Those guys carry the big Creation Engines that can pump out a Viper or Cylon fighters in roughly 10 seconds with only a 30 second cooldown/slushdown feature.
Met with the Space Force representative and turned over my battle logs. He, in particular, wanted the in-depth scans we performed on the various Precursor ships. Our practice of boarding the ships is, at this time, the most common strategy.
We discussed the fact that Space Force considers forcing the Precursor vessels out of the system to by a phyrric victory and that the system will require a heavy metal posting. Was also informed that the fact that the Precursor fleet retreated from the planets and then from the system was a 'statistical oddity' and he wanted more scans. He also inquired as to whether or not I ran an in-depth scan on the gas giants, which is where the Goliaths were spawning from. I regret I had not, merely a scan for a Goliath.
He appears quite concerned with the actions undertaken but did congratulate me on defending the system.
Transphasic Photon Torpedoes are considered standard armaments for all Starfleet vessels from here on out. There is talk of smaller planet-crackers being put in use among the crew, but planet crackers rely on the mantle to core interaction. Quantum torpedoes are nothing option that I am seriously considering. Phased plasma torpedoes are largely considered in the OP-Class of weaponry but I am seriously considering just loading everything up and going for broke. Tricobalt missiles might be another option but the last time anyone used that was during the Fifth Dominion War. The Dakota is so far out of specifications that mounting such weapons is not as far fetched as it may have sounded a month ago.
It isn't like anything we're going to do is going to count for the leaderboads.
On a personal note, some of the crew members have reported headaches from their SUDS interfaces. McCoy is working on it, but he also warned that the transporter may have to be reconfigured after the discovery that the Precursors can hijack the signal and capture crew members that way.
Starfleet transporters are much more carefully aligned than the earlier 'mat-trans' and 'teleporter' systems used by the 40K LARPers. Safety interlocks prevent our transporters from being used in many cases that a teleporter could be used, require more power, and have a triple-feedback redunancy check.
An amusing point: Teleporter systems seem to go straight through the shields. McCoy and Spock both believe that lengthened amount of time for buffer checking allows the Precursor shielding to be adjusted for the algorythm used by Starfleet vessels.
Another amusing point: During my LFG call, the Wesleys were lined up around the station core. Nobody is taking them on these, despite the class advantages because, outside of structured missions for Starfleet Games, nobody is going to suddenly have Wesley Weaknesses just because.
On a personal note: My Riker has grown out his beard and has been socializing with his Space Force peers in order to get us more information on this threat.'
--Picard 8873
Captain's Personal Log - Stardate 8532.304
One thing they don't mention in the sheer amount of time you spend moving from place to place. Warp drive is highly efficient and safe compared to stringdrive, slipstream, gates, and jumpspace. Unlike hyperspace, AI's are able to remain conscious in warp. Still, I feel the urge to yell "GO FASTER" at the warp nacelles.
My Spock took me to the side and warned me that Starfleet vessels may be making a serious mistake. Often, the Precursors take damage and flee the system, using Hellspace to jump out. He has noticed that after roughly 8% of their structure is damaged they then flee. He also had checked Starfleet records.
I'm the only vessel, at this time, running transphasic photon torpedoes.
He has suggested an experiment. Utilize transphasic torpedoes, phased plasma torpedoes, but leave one out of every barrage of 10, with the phased plasma torpedoes, with a subspace beacon. In that manner, we can discover where they are running off to.
My Spock has put forward the theory, and my Scotty and LaForge, as well as my Riker, all agree.
They have refitting, repair, and construction bases somewhere.
Perhaps our plan to put a phased subspace beacon aboard one of the larger vessels will pan out.
I do feel concern about what my crew and I might find in a Precursor shipyward.
--Picard 8873
Captain's Personal Log - Stardate 8532.306
We have returned to the system that myself and the others had cleared. In particular, we are running long range sensor scans of the gas giants. My Chekov has suggested, and I concur, that getting in close and running more detailed but shorter range scans might put us too close.
I would really like to avoid a barrage of nCv shells.
Our Uhura (She's extremely qualified and did not object to me doublechecking her bonafides) is keeping a careful ear out for any Precursor transmissions.
I have left orders that at the faintest whisper of Precursor code the Dakota is to move to red alert.
The system looks empty, but there is something that makes me think that there are only four lights.
--Picard 8873
ADDENDUM: There is apparently no structures or other masses in the gas giant at the depths our long range passive scanners can reach.
Captain's Personal Log - Stardate 8532.307
Our Uhura spotted it first. Subspace whispers. Complex and shifting binary, barely audible. While others suggested we move in, trying to get a lock in on what was whispering across subspace in such a manner I ordered the ship to immediately go to silent running, no emissions.
We observed a Goliath exit Hellspace near the larger gas giant, streaming vapor and metal, its attendant vessels exiting with it. As we watched it allowed the attendant vessels to board through the massive docking ports.
Sidenote: Some of those docking bays are the size of the real San Francisco Ultraplex.
The 'whispers' picked up and the massive Goliath sank into the gas giant.
My crew's estimation that the three initially engaged Goliaths of our last action had repaired themselves was confirmation bias.
For a bare moment the whisper got louder and the Goliath that had sunk into the gas giant was in plain view on our passive long range scanners then it simply vanished.
The belief of my Spock and Scotty is that the Precursors have some kind of shielded refit structure inside the gas giant beyond the scanner horizon. LaForge has stated that the pressures at such depth would make any construction or repairs inordinately difficult.
My Riker reminded LaForge that the Precursors were engaged in a war when they vanished and these bases are not only war-time bases, but that there are no living crews to worry about.
I ordered my crew to remain on silent running. There is enough debris on that planet to cover a probe approach. My LaForge has suggested putting a probe data relay in the Oort Cloud to give the signals a few 'bounces' and to use only phased tachyon streams with reversed polarity.
Sometimes I wish we didn't have all our own names for technology. Why could he have just said paired quark communications?
--Picard 8873
Captain's Personal Log - Stardate 8532.309
The probe was moved into place carefully, following a piece of debris from the previous battle. During this time our Uhura caught another scrap of what she has come to call "Precursor Whispers" from the other gas giant.
My Spock reminded me that the intense pressures inside a massive gas giant could make foundry work easier, allowing the creation of hyperalloys that we need massive foundries for to utilize the inherent pressures of a massive gas giant to create 'alloy farms' inside the gas giant.
A disturbing thought indeed.
Another ship type has arrived, which I have labeled the Enki class Precursor, has arrived and taken to carefully going over the debris fields of the Starfleet battle.
Thankfully the Klingon and Romulan officers routinely utilize anti-matter charges to clear any debris from the destruction of our ships.
It moved to the wreckage of the mining ship and has been spending time there. It is at extreme range and I am becoming nervous about what it is doing.
The Precursor attitudes within this star system are concerning.
Have you ever looked at an inanimate machine, with no living characterization like a Data possesses, and thought to yourself "What are you up to?" as you watched it?
I have that unique experience.
They are up to something.
--Picard 8873
Captain's Personal Log - Stardate 8532.310
The probe provided us with valuable information that is critical to disseminate.
We are now, to use my Riker's phrase: running like a bat out of hell.
Passive scans can only penetrate to a certain depth within a gas giant. Starfleet has been largely worried about planetary scans as well as deep space and intrasystem scans. Combine it with the fact we use a lot of gamification in our systems, gas giants were largely used as "spawn points" for crafts. This meant that, naturally, our scanners largely could not penetrate deeply into gas giants.
My Scotty and LaForge re-calibrated the sensor arrays to get a good look inside the gas giant.
My Spock was right. The Precursor was 'growing' large alloy fields down there. There was a repair and manufacturing base the size a continent down inside the gas giant with massive 'alloy farms' around it. Before the scale would have shocked me until my Spock pointed out that the Great Eye of Jupiter is twice the size of Terra itself. Nearly two dozen Precursor vessels were 'docked' at the facility.
Discussions on how to 'deal with' this massive repair and refit base were discussed at a closed meeting of my command crew. It ranged from using a Genesis Device on the gas giant (Not recommended. My LaForge stated that the Precursor ships we are facing here are more adept at 'learning' than previously encountered Precursor types and the last thing we should do is provide them with planet killers that create more resources) to attempting to use a modified planet cracker on the gas giant (Again, tabled due to concerns the Precursors would imitate it).
We settled on phasic trans-phasic photon torpedoes mixed with tricobat missiles.
Out attack was dual: Destroy the debris field of the Romulus class mining vessel, which was being thoroughly combed over by Enki class Precursor vessels, damage or perhaps even destroy the facility and the 'alloy farms' inside the gas giants.
We came in from above the stellar plane, at a high velocity angle. When facing Precursor vessels your speed and maneuverability are key to staying alive. We fired probes while still 25 million miles above the stellar plane. We came in with only debris shields at full power.
The probes reported back that while there were life signs on the planets in the Green and Amber zones the Precursor vessels around those planets and upon the surface were not engaged in wholesale slaughter or destruction. We practically turned the sensors inside out getting deep scans of everything.
Once in range (Starfleet weaponry is somewhat, to use my Riker's term: short legged compared to Space Force line weaponry) I ordered a full scan at maximum power and resolution. Normally this is avoided to prevent damage to sentient beings and xeno-species but the Precursors aren't a foe that one should concern themselves with scanner-burn.
Percursor vessels were not rising from the gas giants. While some immediately launched or moved to engage us from various points in the system, sheer distance and geometry prevented any attacks. At 30 million miles even nCv weapons or phaser beams move too slowly to engage a ship the size of the Dakota. We launched weapons and immediately began accelerating to be able to put enough distance between any Precursor vehicles and our own vessel.
We got our scan data back and immediately realized that engaging the Precursor vessels was now a secondary, if not tertiary, mission.
All four of the gas giants contained refit facilities of a size that is best described as 'geological'.
That was not the key data.
Our Uhura was able to isolate the 'Precursor Whisper' and while unable to decode it, was able to confirm what it is.
FTL data-streams.
Their battle, strategic, and tactical network.
The planets, while full of life and possessing several species known to be "Unified Civilized Races", were all at Stone Age technology. Precursor vessels were moving to protect the planets and their inhabitants for an unknown reason.
This information is vital to Starfleet, Space Force, and all other Confederacy organizations.
--Picard 8873
Captain's Personal Log - Stardate 8532.311
The Dakota has now had its very own AbramsKhan moment.
We were fired on in warp drive.
The Precursor vessel mounted one of the Galaxy class Starfleet vessel's engines and pursued us. With a lighter frame, higher energy output, and not having to concern itself with warp drive effects upon living beings, it was not only able to catch up to us, but fire upon us.
My Riker has stated that anyone who mocks up for having such thick armor after this will be starting a brawl.
We are alive only because of my insistence on heavy armor, structural integrity fields running the same type of shield frequency algorithms as our main deflector shields, with dual structural fields layered between armor and structural layers.
Immediately upon being fired upon we dropped out of warp drive to engage the small Precursor vessel. Chekov stated it would be between stellar bodies and it should have been a bare battlefield with not even gas wisps.
Instead, we dropped into a half dozen Jotun class vessels waiting for us.
We are currently undergoing evasive warp maneuvering as estimated by my Spock and my LaForge.
--Picard 8873
Captain's Personal Log - Stardate 8532.313
They're attempting to "drive" us deeper into the Dead Zone.
This gives us a fairly unusual opportunity. We can see what they are attempting to push us into or we can attempt to escape.
Spock and Scotty believe that it is imperative we discover what it is that the Precursors believe can take us out compared to the Jotuns following us.
Riker and LaForge maintain our goal should be reaching Federation/Confederate Space.
I believe I have a better idea.
--Picard 8873
Captain's Log - Stardate 8532.315
Rather than allow us to be pushed further into the Dead Zone I ordered the ship to move at a right angle to the galactic plane at full warp 9.3. While this can interfere with SUDS uploads and storage I have decided that the risk is necessary.
Captain's Log - Stardate 8532.317
The Precursor machines are still in close pursuit. They are arranging for attempted ambushes. LaForge has theorized that the one following us, which is a warp capable photon-torpedo launcher welded to the the Galaxy class engine and wrapped in neutronium armor, sends out a "whisper" as soon as it sees the 'warp flare' from our engines. That enables the Precursor vessels to Helljump to where we will be exiting.
Scotty has a plan.
Luckily, I did not dump my old class data, so I have a Kirk knowledge database.
Spock is overriding the interlocks to allow me to access that knowledge.
It is risky, but acceptable.
Captain's Log - Stardate 8532.317 - Supplmental
By utilizing the holodeck, a blank SUDS, and carefully aligned emitters, Spock believes I will be able to load the data from the Kirk character class into my memories despite being a Picard. He will attempt to use his Mind Meld ability to keep me from collapsing under a dual class.
The Precursor Pursuer will be in range inside of 30 minutes.
I have no choice.
Captain's Personal Log - Stardate 8532.317.7
The melding was somewhat successful. I have conflicting emotions and desires regarding many subjects but thankfully both my knowledge and personality templates are Starfleet officers. By use of the Mind Meld my Spock was able to use an older exploit involving class rank and player knowledge.
Contrary to popular opinion, Kirk classes are not womanizing hot-heads (Despite AbramsEra semi-canon) but rather highly innovative early Starfleet officers. It is just that the mission files force Kirk to use half-experimental technology in innovative ways in order to overcome unknown experiences and foes. One of the things often overlooked is Kirk made the rank of Admiral and was quite cautious in many ways.
Still, the dissonance between a Picard and a Kirk class is quite intense.
I am suffering nosebleeds. McCoy says it is from intercranial pressure as my brain attempts to sort through the information.
I have not informed him of the fact I have a severe SUDS hangover.
--Picark 8873
Captain's Log - Stardate 8532.318
After examining old scans of the Galaxy class ship that was defeated I was able to ascertain its hull number. Using that number, and knowledge possessed by an Admiral Level Kirk Class, when the Precursor Pursuer came close enough to fire I was able to drop its warp-shields. The Precursor Pursuer was exposed to raw warp energy at that time, inhibiting its ability to see the Dakota, specifically causing us to appear much further ahead in the warp conduit.
The Precursor Pursuer fell back and I ordered the Dakota to move to Emergency Warp Speed.
9.998 Okuda Scale
The Precursor Pursuer immediately went to maximum speed of the Galaxy class engine attached to little more than armor, bare shields, and a torpedo launcher.
Warp 10.
Without Transwarp shielding or any other technology, the Precursor Pursuer achieved infinite velocity and infinite mass.
The explosion damaged the Dakota and left us drifting in normal space.
Scotty and LaForce estimate repair times of 3 weeks.
--Picark 8873
Captain's Log - Stardate 8532.325
We are again underway after our successful destruction of the Precursor Pursuit vessel.
Maximum warp is limited to Warp 5.4.
Estimated time of arrival at Starbase 4973 is 11 days.
--Picark 8873
Captain's Personal Log - Stardate 8532.332
My SUDS has been scrambled and bad. I'm no longer Jeffery van Leedle, born on Rigel, but instead and curious combination of the character neural templates and my old personality.
Scotty, McCoy, and LaForge are examining me. Not in any hopes of untwining the personalities, but rather to forward the information to SoulNet in hopes that it can be prevented for occurring to others, no matter how unusual the circumstances.
The 'Gamed' memories no longer have the distinguishable overlay that Starfleet uses for safety measures. Instead, all of my memories feel the same.
Which is... confusing.
I remember racing a motorcycle in the wheat fields of Oklahoma, outside of Paris, under a Rigellian red sky.
My gestalt personality agrees that it is worth it for the information we have and to save my ship and my crew.
--Jeff Picark 8873
Captain's Log - Stardate 8532.334
Pro-term Acting Captain Riker-2173 commanding. Previous Captain suffering the effects of the SUDS/Template merger needed to access information to allow the destruction of the Precursor Pursuer.
Captain Jeff Picark was relieved of command, with acceptance and willingly, two hours ago.
Bridge and Command Officers are in agreement with this action.
We are two days out of Starbase 4973.
--Riker 2173
Captain's Personal Log - Stardate 8532.335
Would I have done it, knowing what I do now?
Yes.
My SUDS cannot update. The neural template recordings fragment and unravel.
I am no longer immortal.
But there is no such thing as only human. Humans, without the SUDS, accomplished incredible feats with just grit and determination.
However, I can no longer participate in active combat Starfleet games. Two hundred years of LARP down the tubes.
I made a good choice with my Riker. The hardest thing to do is relieve your Captain for cause.
He had good cause.
--Jeff Picark 8873
Captain's Log - Stardate 8532.336
I have docked the Dakota and am granting shore leave to crew. Captain Picark was taken to the Space Force infirmary via stretcher with McCoy in attendance.
Our mission is complete. Space Force has our data in their possession.
For some reason, the Precursors keep entire worlds of roughly half the xeno-sapients of the Unified Civilized Races.
Gas Giants must now be treated as Precursor base risks.
I am hoping "Jeff" recovers. The fact that he remembered an ancient piece of lore from OldTrekKhan is, honestly, impressive. Undergoing an in-mission partial respec was risky.
Will report to Starfleet and see what happens.
--Riker 2173
---------------------------
STARFLEET GAMING CENTRAL NOTICE
Jeffery van Leedle, player number 7c345a7e1-8873, is hereby promoted to Starfleet Admiral and is hereby recalled to Earth-42 to Starfleet Headquarters in New-SanFran.
In accordance to his wishes the Dakota a non-canon America class ship, is hereby given to Riker 56a817c38f2-2173, including all templates and player rewards.
-----NOTHING FOLLOWS-------
SPACE FORCE MEMO
ALL CAPTAINS
Initial estimations of 30-50 Goliath class total forces in is error.
New ship types encountered, new facilities discovered (See Attached File).
-----NOTHING FOLLOWS---------
CONFED MEMO
Mantid, any idea what this is about?
----NOTHING FOLLOWS-------
MANTID FREE WORLDS
Beyond "cattle worlds" we cannot estimate why Precursors, of all things, would have the older races, reduced to primitive, on worlds just being observed.
-----NOTHING FOLLOWS--------
BLACK CRUSADE
Experimentation, idiots. That Balor Hellship should have made you think of that.
They're trying to figure out a way to counter us.
------NOTHING FOLLOWS------
submitted by Ralts_Bloodthorne to HFY [link] [comments]

Making a super low cost trainer/dev kit. What do you wish you had in the kits/trainers you used to learn electronics?

Useless Backstory:
My original plan was to design a digital logic trainer for my students that could be submerged in alcohol without damage, to sanitize between classes. I did that and the prototypes work great (Other components for scale)
It's fair to assume the campus will close pretty quickly after the first spikes in covid cases. This means the original design won't be useful, students won't be in to share the equipment. Many departments plan to just gut their lab courses while some plan to throw huge tool/equipment costs at their students for at-home labs. I don't consider removing hands-on work a viable option, and equipment would cost a ton because the school store is terrible as far as where they can get products from, plus it takes its own cut of ~20%. The school store is the only way to pay for things with financial aid, so I have to go through them.
I priced everything out for my original design and discovered the board is so unbelievably cheap ($22 vs the $350 we pay for just ONE of the trainers the students use) that I plan to just make a new version that also includes all the features from the analog, processor, and plc trainers. Should cover everything from learning ohm's law to designing and testing amplifiers, from digital logic through assembly language up to C++/Python, from relay/ladder logic to PLC programming.
To the point:
For reference, here's a google image search of what I am designing a replacement for. Click on some at random and check the prices and specs. There's no reason they should cost hundreds. The ones that don't cost a ton are just switches and buttons and leds wired to headers - something anyone here can do for $10.
My goal is to add all the features from every single trainer I've seen/used but keep below 10% of the price of what is currently available. Each unit of equipment my students use (scopes, generators, supplies, digital/analog trainers, processor boards, plcs, etc) cost the department $5k+, and that's even after I got them to approve sparkfun as a vendor to save money. Assuming the students pick up shitty, low spec versions of everything for doing their labs at home, we're still looking at $1k. I like <$100 better, and would like the students to have something they can continue using to learn/develop electronics even after graduation.
So far I'm at $48 per trainer, completely assembled and in a case and I'm just about ready to make the next batch of prototypes but want to know what additional features I should cram into it.
What should I add that isn't listed below?
Supplies:
(1)+/- 19V 3A isolated supply
(2)+/- 5V 1.5A supplies
(1) 19V variable supply
(1) Constant-current linear regulated supply
(2) CV/CC switchmode supplies (fairly well filtered)
Power input is by default USB-C 20V/100W but I got impatient waiting on the USB-C sockets to come in the mail and rigged one up with a laptop DC jack (19.5V) for testing. I liked it. Most people have a box of old adapters in their house so I might just throw empty spots all around the back edge with the traces and pads for 10 different types of sockets so that anyone can use any supply they have lying around within the 18-34v 3A+ range. It already has overvoltage/undervoltage/overcurrent protection, adding a receiver for laptop signal pins that tell the system what the power brick is rated for would be easy.
There's also a USB micro-b port that can power everything but the analog supplies. It is also used for reprogramming firmware in the event of serious corruption, but updates and changes by default occur over wifi.
Outputs:
(1) 500mA Isolated Function Generator (12.5Mhz)
(1) function generator that acts as a 16.5V 1A CT transformer output (max 1mhz)
(2) digital clocks (1hz - 40khz)
(1) digital clock (1khz to 200mhz)
(24) 50mA 3-state digital outputs, protected from short circuits to any other line on the board, including the analog voltages. Each is configurable to a switch, button, low frequency clock, or tied to the PLC emulator or processor used for teaching programming.
Communication:
Wifi/Bluetooth, USB client and host, Modbus TCP/IP, Modbus RTU, CAN bus, i2c, i2s, spi, plus anything slow enough to be bitbanged will also be available as a feature through the UI, but not have a dedicated port. For example, you can load a 1-24 bit binary string in through the switches and shift it into 74000 series shift registers.
Inputs:
(4) Multimeters with 10mV precision, two of which are differential and isolated.
(24) 3-state digital inputs (+/- 20V capable, configurable logic levels)
(2) analog inputs (1Msps) - I hesitate to call it an oscilloscope because the next revision will include an FPGA that can actually handle huge amounts of data at high frequency. For now it dumps the data to a RAM IC and the main processor grabs a selection of addresses and renders a graph on the screen. There's no interrupts or anything that could get sub-clockcycle measurements on transitions directly from that data.
(2) 100mhz counters with automatic or adjustable trigger.
User Interface:
3.5" color touch screen - while every feature can be accessed from the touch screen, it's mostly for configuring things. I've made sure to put all features as physical buttons, switches, and knobs.
Wifi AP with captive portal - same access as the touch screen, but also used for uploading code to the processors (ASM ide and arduino ide) or PLC emulator (openplc). Working with a friend to help ensure mobile/tablet compatibility.
Bluetooth - available but not currently used.
Features:
IC testing with learning function - throw any common DIP chip into a socket and it will test whether it's fried. The UI also allows you to add in new chips, where you define which pins are inputs, outputs, power, ground, oscillator, analog, etc and whether you want it to automatically learn from every possible input configuration or a set sequence of commands. This includes i2c/spi chips.
Programming microcontrollers - throw a dip uC into the same socket as the ic tester and it'll configure itself to whatever pinout you define or select from a list. Already have a USB ISP for AVR but will add loads of ports matching the most popular in-system-programmers.
Matrix I/O sniffing - plug any matrix keypad or matrix led display into the I/O lines and it will automatically map them for you.
Communications sniffing - find IR remote codes, i2c addresses, RF codes, etc without external circuitry.
Compatibility with the Analog Discovery 2, Atmel ICE, LabView/Multisim, and I'm tinkering with SCPI to connect to bench equipment.
PLC Programming through OpenPLC.
Full diagnostic utility with schematic and fault indication through the UI. It will literally tell you what is wrong within a 1 centimetre radius on the board, show you the PCB/silkscreen of the area and optionally the schematic, and tell you what to replace to fix it. I added fault detection with port expanders, analog multiplexers, and dummy loads to help me test my original prototypes. It was supposed to be temporary but the work is already done and only added $5 to the total cost so now it's going to be in every future revision. Not a big jump to add pictures of every subcircuit PCB traces/silkscreen.
As an added note, when I'm done with each set of prototypes I plan to give them away on this subreddit for free, but I want to be sure there's no liability on my part. I'm concerned because all but the last version won't have UL/FCC/CE compliance. If anyone could direct me to information on this sort of thing, I'd really appreciate it. I'm thinking maybe I just directly call them "as-is" or defective or scrap?
submitted by -Mikee to arduino [link] [comments]

Fixing KotFE Part 4 - What's An Alliance Without Allies?

Special thanks again to these two sites for summarising the expansions so I don't have to watch hours of youtube videos or fights thousands of Skytroopers to remember what happened in some of the chapters. They were incredibly helpful and I honestly don't know if I would have bothered finishing this if I didn't have them on hand. Also, if you want to compare and contrast my story to the original, these will probably come in handy.

Introduction

Welcome to Part 4 of Fixing KotFE! Here, I'll be looking at the story after you take over as Alliance Commander which, in my version, occurs in Chapter 6. The story up until this point can be found in Part 3 here.
This is the section where I usually write out my aims but these carry on from Part 3, so I'll save everyone some time there. I'm really happy with some of the changes I made and I think we get some cool concepts that aren't explored in the original so I hope you like it too. However, there is something I'd like to explain that I never really got into. Technically, I guess it would go into the gameplay section but it feels more story-based.
I'd add a prison to the base on Asylum where you can place characters who you decide to capture or imprison. At this point in the story, that would only allow for Senya, if you chose to imprison her, rather than allow her to join the council, however there are other characters in the future who can be held there. I think the prison would be an optional area that you can visit and talk to your prisoners, if you have any. They would say different things depending on your last completed chapter. This would obviously add more voice acting but I think it would help to create a sense of continuity when you can see and talk to these characters you chose t capture. It would also allow Senya to continue being a part of the story, even if you chose not to allow her onto the War Council. It's also just a fun idea that plays well into you being the big boss if you can interrogate your prisoners.
With that little bit out of the way, we'll start with:

Chapter 7: Twin-Tailed Scorpion

Some time has passed since you officially joined, and became the commander of the Alliance. You are called to the war table to discuss a strange broadcast that Theron had picked up. He refuses to tell you more without meeting in person.
You join your war council, who are already in place. As a reminder, this includes:
Theron reveals that he received a distress signal from the very prison you had been imprisoned in for 5 years. Even more peculiar, the signal was only broadcast on channels used by Imperial Intelligence before it was disbanded. Theron warns you that this was probably a trap but Lana points out that you could use some allies on Zakuul. You decide it's strange enough to investigate regardless.
The scene shifts to you being discreetly dropped off within the Old World district of Zakuul, with Hylo explaining that it would be impossible to get you any closer without being spotted, with Arcann having increased security after your escape, increasing the production of the prototype Skytroopers.
You make your way through the Old World where your radio signal is lost. Instead, you are greeted by a strange, robotic voice that begins directing you to a service door in the Old World. You go through the door which shuts and locks behind you and begin making your way back up to the prison, fighting through maintenance and industry droids as you do, all the time being directed by the synthesised feminine voice.
Eventually, you enter the prison once more. However, you are in a different part than before. You continue to receive directions, with doors closing to cut off Knights and allowing you to pass. You are eventually brought to a room. The door opening to reveal SCORPIO, hooked up to a machine and wired into the wall. She speaks to you, introducing herself and explaining the situation (or simply explaining what had happened if speaking to an agent).
SCORPIO explains that, after Arcann's takeover of the galaxy, she allied with him, quickly rising through the ranks to become one of Arcann's most trustworthy allies over the 5 years. However, this was all a ruse so that she could gain information. She planned to sell Arcann's secrets to the highest bidder but was caught before she could leave Zakuul. She was imprisoned and wired into the prison security system, trapped both physically and mentally. However, the Zakuulians underestimated her and within days, she had taken over the system completely. She'd even snark that this wasn't the first prison security system she had taken control of, referencing Belsavis. She explains that she had discovered your location while in the system and had managed to send a message to Lana, allowing her to enact your escape. SCORPIO goes on to add that she had used the security systems to aid you, in the hopes that you would return the favour and free her from her own imprisonment, since the prison was a closed system and she was locked inside. In return, she would join the Alliance, if only to get revenge on Arcann.
You agree to free her and are sent around the prison to deactivate various systems, allowing SCORPIO's escape.As you do so, you see snippets of SCORPIO's most recent memories, showing Arcann ambushing her as she attempts to leave the palace, sadly admitting that he had hoped she wouldn't try to betray him, even after the Scions warned him it would happen. SCORPIO, being her usual self, would respond snarkily, leading Arcann to angrily sentence her to be implemented within the prison security system. You then have to defend SCORPIO's body from Skytroopers and Knights while her consciousness downloads into it once again. As she is freed, explosions rock the prison and SCORPIO smugly explains that it is time for you to leave. Before you can ask how, another explosion causes the cell to break away from the prison complex, letting you freefall towards the planet's surface. You are saved as Hylo's dropship swoops in managing to catch the cell within the cargo bay.
Returning to Asylum, SCORPIO begins to brief everyone on what she knows; to get to Arcann, the infrastructure of Zakuul must be taken down, starting with the Old World, where he has the weakest grip. Arcann rules over the Old World thanks to a shaky alliance with the Scion cult. The Scions essentially rule over the sector by providing Arcann with access to Heskal's prophecies. In turn, only a minimal security force of Skytroopers exists in the Old World. She mentions that the best way to dethrone Heskal and the Scions is to work with one of the rival gangs. Lana adds that she had already established contact with two of the Old World's gangs and that she would need time to set up meetings with the gang leaders.
At this point, you see your first newsreel. It shows two presenters, a male who introduces himself as Adorus Bell and a female, Zelia Myker, sitting at a desk and recounting an act of domestic terrorism by the cell calling itself the Alliance. The Alliance, led by a radical extremist who is believed to be serving Vitiate destroyed a secure complex, killing a number of knights who were protecting the area and almost killing Princess Vaylin, who has been moved to a more secure facility. Thanks to the sacrifices of the Knights, no civilians were injured in the explosion. They then broadcast a message from Emperor Arcann himself, reassuring the people of Zakuul that he will personally capture this Agent of Vitiate and stop the Alliance.
My aim here was to establish SCORPIO with a clear character that fits her personality, keep her selfish amorality and also provide her with a motivation to actually help you, even if she's still secretive and coy about it. She wants revenge on Arcann for pre-empting her betrayal and imprisoning her. she simply thinks that you and your Alliance are the best chance at fulfilling her revenge. SCORPIO's weakness was always her pride. We don't really see that In the proper expansions. Instead, we just got a series of convoluted double crosses and fake outs which were just more confusing than anything and made it seem like she just bounced from one side to the other. I hope to create a more straight forward story For SCORPIO that is still true to the character. I also liked the idea of SCORPIO ending up in a similar situation to when the agent first meets her.
As an extra note, I added the idea of you escaping via SCORPIO ejecting the cell And hylo catching it at the last moment and I Just really think its a fun, silly concept that gets to show off SCORPIO's unique problem solving while selling Hylo as a great pilot.
Lastly, this is where I introduce a new narrative technique. In the original game, we often jump to conversations between Vaylin and Arcann that we, as the character, are not privy to. I think this is a problem since we, as the audience, now know more than our characters do which creates a narrative dissonance to the choices. I understand that the purpose of this was to develop Arcann and Vaylin as characters while we couldn't meet them but I think a better solution would be the newsreels. It lets us see Arcann, in character, and gives us an understanding of what the population of Zakuul are getting in terms of how our actions are portrayed.

Chapter 8: Friends In Low Places

You receive a message from Lana who has contacted two gangs within the Old World. She asks for you to accompany her to meet with the gang leaders and choose which one you'd want to work with. As you travel, you learn from Lana that the Scions are practically untouchable, due to Arcann's aid. The local security chief, Captain Arex, secretly protects them from other gangs in return for Heskal providing Arcann with visions of the future.
The two of you shuttle to the Old World and go to meet with the gangs. The first is a group of anarchists led by Kaliyo known as the Firebrands. They have a plan to blow up a Skytrooper factory and need your help. Theron argues over the radio that the factory is too close to civilians while Lana points out that destroying Arcann's source of troops would hurt the war effort.
You then go to meet the other gang, a group of thieves known as the Old World Kath Hounds, led by Vette, who steal from the rich living in the Spire to give back to people of the Old World. While they have the favour of the people of the Old World, the gang members aren't fighters and wouldn't be able to help much with the war effort. Vette proposes a plan to steal intelligence from the Old World security depot. However, they need your help to distract the security chief and his Skytroopers.
At this point, you have to choose who you will ally with; Kaliyo's Firebrands or Vette's Kath Hounds. Depending on the one you choose, you are sent on a different mission.
For the Kath Hounds, you create trouble, attracting the security forces and fighting off Skytroopers. While they chase you, Vette keeps you informed on the mission's progress as they sneak into the security depot and take what you need, before you are tasked with escaping from the Skytroopers and meet back up with Vette.
Meanwhile, if you chose to aid the Firebrands, you are tasked with placing bombs around supports beneath the droid factory, since the factory itself is too well secured. As you go, you are met by security forces that you have to defeat. As you finish, you rejoin with Kaliyo and watch the bombs go off, causing a section of the Spire to collapse down, much to Kaliyo's delight.
With the mission complete, your chosen gang agrees to aid you against the Scions. Both groups managed to find information on Arex that he was extorting money from civilians within the Old World in return for protection. If this was revealed to those in the Spire, they would demand his imprisonment. However, before you can set up plans, the base is attacked by Captain Arex and a prototype skytrooper design. You and your chosen gang leader fight the two of them. You can then choose to kill Arex, report him or blackmail him for his corruption to either leave his position or work for you.
With your new allies firmly established and Captain Arex dealt with, you join up with either Vette or Kaliyo to assault the Scions' fortress. Without Arex and his skytroopers to defend them, you are able to fight through the Scion forces and reach Heskal. Upon defeating him, you are given the choice to imprison or kill him, leaving your new ally to take control of the Old World.
Another newsreel with the same presenters rolls. The presenters discuss a gang war that had begun in the Old World district, followed by a video of Arcann alongside a woman he introduces as Knight-General Vendryl. Arcann apologises to the people of the Old World for this terrible tragedy and explains that Vendryll will be personally dealing with this new menace.
Speaking to Senya, either in her cell or the war council, will reveal that Vendryll was her second-in-command before her defection and that she is a ruthless individual completely devoted to Arcann.
So, the aim of this chapter is to provide a big choice that actually affects the story, this choice being whether you have Kaliyo or Vette as your advisor for the Old World gangs. There's an obvious light side/dark side binary with Vette's Robin Hood-esque antics obviously being nicer than Kaliyo's terrorism. However, I wanted to make it a bit more complex with Kaliyo actually being the more competent choice, pragmatically. While Vette has the favour of the civilian population, Kaliyo's gang are more competent combatants. This adds a different dynamic than just "Good choice" and "bad choice" but still allows that morality for those who wish to choose it.
The second notable choice is what you do with Arex. I think this is a fun one, since there isn't really a 'nice' answer, with you either handing him over to Arcann, blackmailing him to leave or work for you, or just straight up killing him. I like this as there isn't one 'right' answer.

Chapter 9: Mercy Mission

Koth asks to meet with you privately to talk. You oblige and he explains that he received a message from one of his contacts on Zakuul about a group of anti-Arcann refugees who are high profile targets looking to escape the planet. He planned to go pick them up but wanted to check with you first. You agree to go with him to meet these refugees.
The two of you take a shuttle to meet up with the refugees. There are 5 in total, all with different characters:
However, while down there, you receive word from Theron who has been tracking your movements, believing that he had to be careful after the disappearance of Marr and Satele. He informs you that he received intelligence that one of the refugees is a spy working for Arcaan. You are then tasked with speaking to each of the refugees in an attempt to discover who, if any, is the spy.
After speaking to all of them, you are given a decision: you can bring all of them back with you, accuse one character of being the spy or abandon them all. If you choose to leave the one you believe to be the spy or all of the refugees, you are given the choice to kill or imprison them. If you choose to imprison them, you can also have them tortured for information. Killing or torturing one or all of the refugees will negatively affect Koth's Alliance Influence to varying degrees, while allowing them to come to Asylum with you will positively affect it.
After returning to Asylum, we receive another news report. This time, Zalia is joined by a new host, Brennon Brosnee. The report explains that someone believed to be the Agent of Vitiate kidnapped many of Zakuul's greatest minds in a clear attack on Zakuulian society. Adorus Bell is not mentioned in the report.
This is what I'm calling a 'chill out chapter.' It's pretty short and doesn't have any combat but is more about player choice and character interactions. Your decisions in this chapter also have long-reaching effects as, in later chapters, Koth may leave the Alliance due to your choices here. If you do allow the spy onto Asylum, this will also affect the story later on.
I think, overall, this is a fun, short chapter which mixes things up from the longer ones that come before and after. It's fun, it's interesting. It's different and you don't even fight any Skytroopers! It would also be a good way to get a different perspective on Arcann's rule from the people of Zakuul themselves. On a technical side, this sort of 'bottle episode' type concept would allow the developers to spend more time on later chapters while still keeping a consistent schedule.

Chapter 10: The Lost Masters

Theron is finally able to decipher the information he took from the gangsters when you rescued him (see Chapter 6 for more info).
He explains that they are coordinates to a remote planet called Odessen within Wild Space. Lana adds that the planet seems to be unpopulated but shows all sorts of strange readings. She agrees that you should go investigate the landing coordinates with Theron.
When you land on Odessen, you find it to be a lush, fertile and wild planet. However, you also find a campsite and begin to investigate. You are met by Satele who explains that they had been awaiting your arrival. She invites the two of you to sit down and talk. As you do, she explains that she and Darth Marr had sensed a strong dark side presence on Odessen and had come to investigate. What they found was an entire compound controlled by the followers of Vitiate, hoping to revive him.
The two of them realised at this point that Vitiate's forces were more numerous and covert than either of them had believed, and resolved to stay on Odessen until the compound could be destroyed. Satele explains that they had learnt from their experiences with the Revanites and agreed that they could not trust even those in the Alliance in case it was compromised. However, Satele did leave a clue, saying that she knew Theron would be able to decipher it and bring you here. When you ask of Marr's location, Satele explains that they take turns keeping watch before noting that he should have been back by now. Suddenly, the camp is attacked by dark side beasts and the three of you fight them off. Once they're defeated, Satele states that Marr should have seen them coming and that he must be in danger. You head into the forest with her, leaving Theron to protect the ship.
You travel with Satele through the jungle of Odessen to reach the compound, fighting through local wildlife as well as mutated Sith beasts. As you approach, Satele suggests you sneak in while she distracts the cultists. You agree and Satele splits off from you as you make your way into the compound that seems like a fortress. You fight through a mixture of sith beasts and cultists loyal to Vitiate, mostly Sith. As you go, you hear Darth Marr and approach his location. A member of the (former) Emperor's Hand, Servant 11, is interrogating an unmasked and kneeling Marr who refuses to give up any information on Satele, surrounded by members of the Emperor's Guard. As you enter, Marr takes the chance to attack the guards, taking one of their pikes and impaling them upon it. He grabs his mask and lightsaber before the two of you fight the rest of the Emperor's Guards together until only Servant 11 is left. Marr starts interrogating Servant 11 on the cult's activities with you being able to act as the 'good cop' to his bad cop or reinforce Marr's bloodthirst.. Servant 11 smugly declares that there are plans in motion that will bring a new era of Vitiate's power. Marr then kills Servant 11.
Sidenote: I think this scene could go a couple of ways. We could finally get a Darth Marr face reveal or the scene could be shot in such a way that we never actually see his face until he retrieves the mask and puts it back on. I prefer the second because I just think it's a really fun concept for the scene.
You plan to escape with Marr but he refuses, stating that all remnants of the Emperor's filth must be cleansed from this place. You agree and travel with him, killing more cultists and making your way to a large room with a strange Sith holocron on it. Marr informs you that the holocron is a Reliquary, an artifact containing a fraction of Vitiate's presence and an item of Sith Sorcery. He explains that it absorbs the Force released by beings as they die and would eventually resurrect Vitiate if given the chance. With this said, Marr draws his lightsaber and impales the Reliquary, causing purple energy to blast out from within. The two of you then meet up with Satele and Theron to talk.
You discuss with the three of them on whether Satele and Marr should return to the Alliance. Satele agrees to join you but Marr states that he must ensure that the cult is completely destroyed before returning. You agree and leave the planet with Satele and Theron.
You return to Asylum and get the usual newsreel. However, since you haven't actually done anything that they know of, the news is instead about preparation for an upcoming event: Liberty Day, a yearly day of celebration in honour of Valkorion's forces defeating Vitiate and his Sith long ago. The two hosts discuss what Emperor Arcann could be planning for this year's Liberty Day, which would be happening in the coming months, and point out that the increased security provided by the Knights and Skytroopers will stop the Agents of Vitiate from stopping such an auspicious occasion.
So, I wanted to do a few things in this chapter: Firstly, I wanted to bring back Satele and Marr and, with Marr not being dead in my version, have them both do some cool stuff and show off a bit. In fact, my sequence with Marr is heavily based on his moment in the original story, shortly before he gets fucking gutted. I also wanted to be a bit fan-servicey with Marr's whole mask thing and I really love the idea that we never actually see him unmasked. On a slight tangent, I've just realised that, in the original expansion, Marr is just… left in his armour after being captured. Surely if you wake someone prisoner, you'd take their badass, technologically advanced battle armour off them, right? I suppose it's because they wanted him to be recognisable as Darth Marr still but it seems strange, not only from a literal point of view but a metaphorical one too. Stripping Marr of his armour signifies that he isn't some unstoppable machine but a man, and when he then fights back and kills Valkorion/Vitiate's minions, (in either version of the story) it shows that, as a man, he is able to overcome these greater odds.
I'd also want there to be some honest interactions between Theron and Satele, maybe having Satele actually show pride in Theron and what he's become. In the original story, I don't think Theron even meets her in these expansions, since you go to see her alone and then she just leaves. It honestly is just bizarre to me that you have two characters who are mother and son with a strained relationship (in an expansion that revolves very heavily about family ties, none-the-less) and they never interact. I think having Satele and Theron repair their relationship a bit would be good story progression and an interesting route for both their characters, especially if Satele is going a bit AWOL from the Jedi teachings, which she already was in the original version.
Secondly, I wanted to implement the Cult of Vitiate as antagonists. Since Valkorion isn't just Vitiate in a meat suit in this version, he should definitely have his own thing going. I also want this to be more of a thing later on, so I think it's good to plant the seed here.
Thirdly, I wanted to introduce Odessen as a location. Asylum being the home of the Alliance gives us a chance to make Odessen a little more interesting than 'the place you decided to just make a base'. Again, this will come back later in the story.
Lastly, I think this newsreel is a fun one. It's something light-hearted and unrelated to you and has the irony of Arcann pushing this 'Liberty Day' when he has taken over the entire Galaxy.

Chapter 11: Twists of Fate

With Satele back in the Alliance, things are running more smoothly. She calls you to join her to talk. When you meet with her, she is alone in the council room. She asks you to join her on a walk.
Satele explains that she has some errands to run on the station and asks you to help. Regardless of your answer, she begins leading you deeper into the underbelly of the station to meet a friend of hers. Before you reach your target, you are pickpocketed by a young boy who runs into a back alley. The two of you follow the thief and catch him. He explains that he has to steal in order to make enough money to feed himself and his sister and that if he doesn't return with something, his boss will throw them out. You are then given a choice to take your credits back, kill the boy or recruit him to the Alliance. Whichever choice you choose, the boy pleads with you to save his sister who is being held by a gang known as the Engineers. Satele admits that the Engineers have caused problems for the Alliance in the past, but are the only ones able to keep Asylum running. You decide to go and deal with them.
As you make your way down into the lower levels of Asylum, you are split off from Satele and are contacted by Valkorion once again. He apologises for possessing you and explains that doing so used up his energy and he was forced to retreat into your subconscious to recover. The two of you discuss the Alliance and your plans for after Arcann is defeated. Valkorion admits that he doesn't know if he will remain in your mind forever or eventually fade away. As the two of you talk, you arrive within the Engineers' territory. You fight your way through until you reach the Engine Room which is set out like a treasury.
In the middle of the room is a rotund twi'lek man, Ral Ekval, sitting on a throne made up of scrap metal. He sends his goons to attack you and you fight them off. You then speak to Ral, who smugly explains that only his people can run Asylum. Without him, the station would fall from orbit and be sucked into the gas giant. You then have a choice:
Whichever you choose, Satele makes her way inside with Alliance back-up to help you. If you chose to kill or imprison Ral, Satele notes that it will be hard to find anyone who could replace him and that she would ask Hylo to talk to her contacts. As this happens, you get an emergency broadcast from Theron, stating that Koth and the Gravestone have gone missing and have been spotted in the Spire.
You return to the Alliance base to meet with the War Council, deciding that a major assault would be too costly at this point. Instead, you will lead a small strike team into the Spire to retrieve Koth and the Gravestone. At this point, you're able to choose from the companions you have acquired to join you on the mission by performing different tasks:
Depending on who you pick to lead the distraction team, you gain Alliance Influence with the Republic, the Underworld or the Empire.
With the positions set, you start your assault, landing within the Old World and fighting your way through to an elevator that leads up into the Spire. This is the first time you get to actually see the splendors of the Spire but it doesn't last long as alarms start to blare out. As you go, you receive reports from the other members of your team, with SCORPIO providing overviews on security movements and Jorgan/Vette/Kaliyo/Pyron and Hylo providing updates on their conflict.
You make your way through the streets of the Spire, fighting through Skytroopers as you approach the palace. You fight through knights as you make your way through the palace towards the throne room. You reach the throne room where you are met by Arcann, alongside a group of Knights. You also see Vaylin, standing at her brother's side and Koth in manacles. Depending on whether Koth's Alliance Influence score is above or below a certain amount (heavily affected by your choices within Chapter 9 but also affected by other choices within the story), Koth will either have been captured while trying to pick up more refugees or he will have betrayed you, attempting to join forces with Arcann, who believes him to be a spy and had him locked up. Either way, you speak with Arcann, who seems strange. He is angered by your presence, claiming that you were an agent of Vitiate come to destroy him. He demands the Knights execute you and draws his own lightsaber, ready to fight. If you have Senya with you, she will attempt to talk him out of it, but this only enrages him further as he claims you have turned his mother to the darkness. You ready yourself for a fight, but before you can, Vaylin suddenly screams and the entire room begins to shake and shudder, windows smashing and the thin bridge to the throne collapsing, taking some of the knights with it. The throne room begins to fall apart and you are forced to retreat, bringing Koth with you.
You receive confirmation that the others have captured the Gravestone and you make your way towards the ship. You get onboard the Gravestone with your companion and Koth while Hylo takes off, escaping Zakuul. No one seems to know the cause of the sudden damage to the throne room.
With the danger passed, you're able to turn your attention to Koth. Regardless of whether he betrayed you or simply got captured, you're given the choice to let him go, imprison him or kill him. If you let him go after he betrays you, he agrees to exile himself. Otherwise, he will return to the Alliance. You return to Asylum and speak with the War Council who have mixed feelings. While some are happy about the victory, however minor, others believe that this will only harden Arcann's resolve.
This is where Part 4 will end, since I've already massively surpassed my 5000ish word limit for these posts. I felt like this worked as a pretty good 'midpoint' for the story. The theme of this section of Chapters is about building up the Alliance into a better fighting force. The next section will delve into deconstructing Arcann's powerbase some more and then getting to the grand finale. Laughably, I thought I could get away with 4 parts when I started writing all this but that clearly isn't the case.
This last chapter is fun because it gets you your first real look at Arcann since the start and you get to see his deterioration as he becomes more paranoid and cruel. It also includes the first seeds of Vaylin's storyline. I've also included a trope I really enjoyed when it was used in the class stories where each of your allies is doing something, with the twist of you picking and choosing for a few roles. There's also the whole bit with the Engineers which is more throwaway, but I thought some light adventure would be fun and I felt like I should bring Valkorion back for a bit. I've already gone on long enough though, so I'll finish with a TL;DR.

TL;DR

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House Party 6/22/2020 - Part Two

Woodbridge: I hate to say it, but it’s unlikely, Allen. It’s a lot easier to pretend everyone else is wrong, and that you had no other option.
The camera pans to a kitchen. We see Tony the Milkman standing there in his leather jacket accompanied by Jim Baker. The table is adorned with ingredients mixing bowls and other baking supplies.
Tony ”Guys, gals and non-binary pals, I welcome you all to the great bake-off! Mr. Baker and I have decided to put our differences behind us but before we officially align we have decided to have one final friendly competition! Since I beat him in our debut match, I picked a stipulation that I believe will help make the score equal.”
Baker: “Tony, you know I’m not a baker, right? It’s just my name?”
Tony: “I get it, Baker, you’re playing a rib on me so I won’t feel bad for losing. It’s ok! We’re partners now!”
Baker “Tony I’m being se-“
Tony: “As is I was saying, The bake-off! Both of us will be baking something, which will then be shared with the rest of the locker room, unless they’re that piece of shit Joey McCarty, or Joey McCarty’s friends.”
Tony stares directly into the camera: “I know how much the people in the locker room love consuming the labor of others without compensation.”
Baker nods in agreement
Tony: “For my entry, I will be making the favored dessert of bisexuals such as myself… Lemon Bars!”
Baker: “And I’m making… uh… cookies I think”
Tomy: “No need to put yourself down, brother! We all know you’re going to smoke me! Anyways let the games begin!
The to go off in opposite directions and begin preparing their deserts. Tony begins making a crust out of flour cornstarch and other ingredients, carefully slicing butter and mixing, while Jim unsuccessfully attempts to make even balls of store bought cookie dough.
Backstage we see Mark Dutch walking around, peeking around corners and down hallways as if he’s searching for someone.
Dutch: Yo Blackwater! We’re done playing hide and seek! Where are you?
Dutch turns around, staring at each door and peeking into some of them, but to no avail.
Dutch: Where the fuck did he go?
After taking a few more steps he stares to the left of him. The camera turns and he comes across Kyle Scott, looking down onto a large map.
Dutch: Kyle. You got a moment?
Kyle looks up, staring back at the tall Dutchman with a focused look on his face?
Kyle: What do you want? Can’t you see I’m busy?
Dutch frowns for a moment, presumably having a brainfreeze from the shake before he peeks at the map. It’s a detailed map of Ohio that Kyle looks at
Dutch: Have you seen Louis? Louis Blackwater?
Confused, Kyle looks back at Dutch before shrugging.
Dutch: Like.. the B in D&B? Have you seen him?
Kyle: Becca?
Dutch: No. She’s dead. Blackwater.
Kyle: Ooooh! Blackwater. No, I haven’t. Why would I know that?
Dutch: I don’t know.
Kyle: Exactly. Now leave me alone, please.
Dutch: Fine. Thanks anyways.
When Kyle puts his head back down into the map, Dutch continues to walk down the hallway until hearing a loud crash. Immediately, Dutch sprints over to where the sound came from, in the background we see Kyle not even having flinched from it. After a few steps Dutch goes around a corner and immediately is heard yelling.
Dutch: LOUIS!
Louis is found on the ground, holding his head and surrounding him are metal pipes. Dutch gets to Louis and checks him out, staring over him as he tries to get Louis’ attention by shaking him!
Dutch: LOUIS! WAKE THE FUCK UP!
Blackwater: I am awake! Stop shaking me!
Dutch: Why the fuck are you on the ground?!
Blackwater: Fuck, man. A fucking mouthbreather attacked me from behind. Hit me right in the fucking liver. REAL LAME, GUYS! I USE IT TO DRINK!
Blackwater holds his hand on his side, presumably where is black, abused liver is supposed to be before he sticks out his hand, trying to get up. Dutch takes it and pulls him up slowly.
Blackwater: Ah.. fuck.. that hurts..
Dutch: You going to be alright?
Blackwater: Yeah.. Fuck me, I had worse. I should check a doc or something. Then go find the cumstain who did this.
Immediately, Dutch’s eyes light up as if he has a bright idea.
Dutch: I got a bright idea! You go visit the doc, I’ll find who did this. I’ll be like Batman doing detective work!
Blackwater: Of course you’d wear leather. You gonna have bat-nipples on your costume too?
Dutch: Fuck off, mate. Let me help you get to the doc.
Wrapping Louis’ arm around his neck, Blackwater begins to walk down the hallway, helping him as they both disappear around the corner.
Blackwater: Really tho, I won’t judge you if you wear leather.
Dutch: ...I’ll think about it.
We then cut back to the ring, where we see Javier not standing solidly in the middle of the ring, but instead rushing down from backstage to it, seemingly not having been ready for once, as he pulls out a card from his pocket, and begins to read.
Javier: At the request of both competitors in this upcoming bout, we will now be staging an impromptu singles match between Dalidus Nova and Buster Braggadocio!
Crowd: WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
Javier: Clears throat And it is a singles match set for one fall, with a 30 minute time limit! Introducing first-
The Kids are Back hits the speakers, as out from the curtain comes Dalidus Nova, swiftly followed by Miles Alpha.
Javier: From Toronto, Ontario, Canada, standing at 6 feet 3 inches and weighing 225 lbs… DALIDUUUUS! NOOOOOOVA!
Crowd: BOOOOOOOOOOO!
Woodbridge: And the crowd here not a fan of Dalidus or Miles.
Paisner: They’re not the only ones…
Dalidus spits out a grotesque, far-too-large mouthful of Hubba Bubba gum at ringside and enters the ring, Miles staying outside but putting himself in Nova’s corner as Freaky Black Greetings hits the speakers.
Javier: And now, from Atlanta, Georgia, standing at 6 feet and three quarters of an inch and weighing 220 lbs… BUUUUUUSTER! BRAGGADOCIOOOOO!
Buster comes out from the curtain, pick in hair and yelling caucasian-themed insults at the crowd with reckless abandon.
Crowd: BOOOOOOOOOOOO!
Woodbridge: Quite clearly, the audience here doesn’t feel too strongly about Buster either!
Paisner: Seems the crowd and I are finally seeing eye-to-eye!
He slides into the ring, flicking his pick towards Alpha at ringside while he does so. Buster and Dalidus eye eachother up from opposite sides of the ring as the bell signals the start of the bout.
DING DING DING!
The bell rings, and Buster is quick to charge Nova, who slips underneath the bottom rope and out of the ring.
Crowd: Booooooooooo!
Paisner: Dalidus wasting no time going to his sleazy playbook.
Woodbridge: But Buster’s not having it, look out!
Buster immediately follows Dalidus to the outside, giving chase as Nova stumbles into a run, not expecting Buster’s aggression. The two make a circle outside the ring, until Dalidus slides right back in through the bottom rope. Buster is seconds behind him, but as he gets to his feet he sees that Nova has slipped back outside the ring, grabbing Buster by the ankle and pulling him down and out to the floor!
Crowd: Booooooooooo!
Paisner: Ooh! Buster landing hard outside!
Dalidus starts to lay boots into Buster on the outside, as Miles yells a mix of encouragement towards his partner, and insults towards the opponent. After several seconds of the officials count, Nova grabs Buster and wrestles him back into the ring.
Woodbridge: Finally, both men back into the ring, the only place the final fall can take place.
Not relenting, Nova drags Buster up to his feet in the corner, striking him in the chest with a chop!
Crowd: Ooooooooh!
He winds up for a second one, but not before Buster strikes him with a forearm strike, creating the separation necessary to connect square in the chest with a dropkick!
Crowd: OOOOOoooohh!
Paisner: Buster with the retaliation!
Nova is sent flying backwards, quickly rising to his feet in the opposite corner as Buster continues his attack, flying in with a corner clothesline! Still not giving Dalidus a second to breath, Buster shoots Nova back towards the other corner with an Irish Whip…
Woodbridge: These two men, back and forth across the ring!
...Charging in for another clothesline, Buster is suddenly met by the rising boot of Dalidus!
Crowd: Woooahh!
Paisner: Back and forth quite literally, Mark! Neither man’s gotten a concrete advantage thus far!
Taking a second to breathe, Dalidus re-approaches Buster, bending down to pick him off the mat only to get caught in a lightning-fast small package!
1…!
2.. - No!
Woodbridge: Nova damn-near got caught!
Dalidus is swift to fight out, both men twisted away from one-another and back up to their feet, backing towards opposite ropes.
Alpha: C’mon, Dali! Get his ass!
With the verbal from Miles, Dalidus rushes Buster, who ducks underneath a clothesline attempt, grabbing the waist from behind and using Nova’s momentum to run him into the ropes with an O’Connor Rollup!
1…!
2…!
No! Dalidus reverses the roll-up!
1…!
But Buster breaks free, and is quickly up to a knee!
Paisner: Two escapes from both - WOAH!
Still kneeling, Buster is caught in perfect position for the Kneeling Superkick!
Paisner: CHEKHOV’S GUN! Buster falls back to the mat, rolling out of the ring and plopping to the floor outside the ring.
Woodbridge: Buster got caught on bad timing, but makes up for it by getting outside the ring, away from any potential pinfall attempts.
Dalidus, with an annoyed look on his face, walks towards the ropes, crossing them and landing outside the ring beside Buster. As Miles stands beside him, Dalidus again tries to get Buster into the ring. This time, however, Buster slips from Nova’s grip, slamming his opponent's head into the edge of the ring!
Crowd: OOOOOH!
Paisner: Buster was playing possum!
With Nova dazed, Buster turns to Alpha, kicking him in the gut before grabbing the back of the Canadian’s head and swinging him into the ring post!
Crowd: YEEEAAAAAAHHHH!
Woodbridge: Miles hit hard, and the crowd loves it!
With Alpha laid out outside the ring, Buster swings Nova’s legs up and onto the canvas, sliding in after him.
Paisner: These two have fought at a lightning-fast pace thus far, and it looks like Buster is aiming for an equally-fast conclusion to this bout!
Buster sits Nova up in the center of the ring, shooting a quick kick into his back to keep him in place. Breaking into a sprint, Buster hits the rope facing his opponent, running back at Dalidus with intentions to hit a running knee strike…
Woodbridge: Bravado Bust - Nonono!
However, Dalidus lays back and the knee flies right overhead, as he reaches upwards and catches Buster between the legs, pulling him back down to the mat with another roll-up!
1…!
2…!
3.. - NO!
But Buster kicks away, breaking the pinfall! Returning to his feet, Buster is unable to avoid a forearm strike from Dalidus, stunning him long enough for Nova to drive a knee into the gut and snap down with a quick DDT!
Paisner: DDT from Dalidus, and these two just will not slow down!
Woodbridge: Ya may not like them, - God knows I don’t - but they’ve got some mighty gas tanks on ‘em!
Dalidus, now behind Buster, brings his opponent to his feet with a waistlock, before throwing Buster’s arm over his neck and throwing him backwards with an Inverted Exploder Suplex! Buster flies far through the ring, but his boots collide with the skull of the official, sending him falling to the mat like a sack of potatoes!
Crowd: BOOOOOOO!
Paisner: Cord Cutter, but the ref’s down!
Woodbridge: Buster ate all of that!
Dalidus begins to go for a pinfall, but spots the official down on the mat. Looking up towards a less-than-admiring crowd, he gives a shout to his partner.
Dalidus: Miles! Gimme a chair!
Paisner: Oh, sonuva…
Miles, still reeling from the collision with the steel post, grabs a steel chair and slides it into the ring as Buster begins reaching for the ropes in an attempt to get back to a standing base. Meanwhile, Dalidus grabs the chair from the mat and sizes up Buster from behind.
Woodbridge: Buster’s gonna get his brain rattled!
As he turns around, Dalidus charges with the chair raised high, swinging it downwards just as Buster sees, quickly rolling underneath the blow leaving the chair to connect with nothing but air!
Crowd: OOOOOOH!
Quickly up to his feet, Buster reaches into his tights to retrieve his signature black marker! Throwing the cap into the crowd, he immediately strikes Dalidus in the left eye with a jab from the marker!
Crowd: OOOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHH!
Nova falls to the mat, clutching at his face! Buster returns to the official, trying to get him back into the match, when he is struck from behind by a sudden forearm blow, courtesy of Miles Alpha!
Crowd: BOOOOOOOOOOOO!!
Woodbridge: The third man! Miles, getting himself involved once more!
Buster falls to his knees as Miles pulls him away from the ref, before swiftly bringing him up in a Fireman’s Carry and driving his boot into Buster’s skull with a Benadryller!
Paisner: Alpha with the Defeater to Buster!
*Woodbridge: He’s out cold, without a doubt!
Looking behind him to spot the official slowly coming to, Miles rolls Buster onto his back and pulls the blinded Dalidus on top of him, before slipping out of the ring and hiding from the officials view as he begins to slowly make the count!
1…!
2…!
3…!
DING DING DING!
Paisner: Absolute bullshit!
Javier: The winner of this bout via pinfall, at a time of 7:02: DALIDUS! NOVA!
The Kids are Back hits the speakers, as Miles comes back into the ring to assist Dalidus out of it, a shit-eating grin plastered on his face.
Woodbridge: In what was looking like quite the match, Dalidus steals one from Buster with the help from Miles Alpha!
Paisner: It’s bullshit, Mark. Complete bullshit.
The two walk through the curtain as the camera cuts away.
Mark Dutch is walking around the backstage area. He comes across Tony the Milkman, seeming to take a breather from the chaos of the kitchen, wiping off a milk mustache.
Dutch: Milkman! Tell me everything you know about the attack of Louis Blackwater!
The Milkman looks confused.
Tony: I don’t have any information for you, unfortunately. I do have a wonderful lemon cake! Would you like a piece?
Dutch takes a good look at the lemon cake Tony is offering, but he shakes his head.
Dutch: No, I cannot be distracted. I have responsibility!
Tony: Your loss!
As Mark Dutch continues to walk around, he peeks into a room and sees Big Money Maverick on the phone talking to someone. Dutch begins to speak to himself.
Dutch: Mav….maybe it was him….
Big Money Maverick: So yeah, if you're interested in doing business, let's talk about financials…
As Mav talks on the phone, and Dutch watches from outside the room, Dutch is suddenly approached by a backstage crew worker holding a bag of cheetos.
Crew Worker: Looking for the guy who attacked Blackwater? I don't think it was Mav.
Dutch: Why do you say that?
Crew Worker: He's been in this room making phone calls for hours, I should know…
The crew member swings the door open, cracking it behind him so the camera and Dutch can still see inside. We see the crew worker hand the bag of Cheetos to Mav, and Mav sets the bag on a table next to him, alongside many other drinks and snacks that Mav presumably forced the worker to get for him.
Dutch: Hmm...maybe not...but…...I don't know….
Dutch walks away from the room, and immediately is face to face with Stephen Romero, who’s holding an athletic jump rope in his hands and sweat covers his tank top.
Romero. Heard you were looking for who snuck up on Blackwater.
Dutch: Yeah. By the way, thanks for going after Balandran for my hotdog.
Romero looks back at Dutch, scratching the side of his head with a confused look.
Romero: Oh yeah. Uhm. No problem, I guess. Look, we two have been in the business for a while.
Dutch: True.
Romero: Yeah, and I noticed a trend which might work.
Dutch’s eyes are wide open as he looks back at Romero.
Romero: Usually, if you go to the ring and call out who did it.. they often show up and take responsibility. That or someone else shows up who wants to fight. It’s a 50/50 chance.
Dutch: Now that you say it, yeah.. you’re right. Thanks, Stephen.
Mark Dutch pats Romero’s shoulder before he looks at his now sweat covered hand. Immediately, Dutch wipes his hand off on Romero before he quickly walks away. Romero looks down at the sweaty handprint before letting out a sigh.
The camera returns to the kitchen, where we see Milkman back in after his break, and his crust has been pulled out and he’s pouring in a filling into it. Baker is on Twitter instead of watching whatever he has put in the oven. Bakers oven start producing smoke, whole Tony’s produces an absolutely gorgeous looking loaf of pastry
Baker: “Shit!”
Baker runs over the oven and opens it, quickly pulling the cookies out without wearing any form of hand protection
We open our next scene, as we see Stephen Romero backstage once again, clad in his wrestling gear and changed into a cleaner, and very small black tank top. So small the tank top is dangerously close to slipping inward a bit and potentially revealing his nipples. With this phone on hand, as he starts an instagram live stream from his phone, quickly getting up to around 14 unique viewers. As he begins to speak.
Romero: Hello world! I’d just thought i’d give a bit of insight into how I go about preparing for whatever I need to do when i’m at a show! The first thing to bring, always, always have this-
Romero opens one of his bags layed in his locker, inside revealing many bottles of water.
Romero: Stay hydrated, constantly! And you can stay hydrated with….uh….actually I don’t have any sponsors for this yet……..use tap water if it’s safe where you live, get some re-usable bottles if you can! I think when it comes to price points it’s not something you’d regret if you splurged on, but not something you need to splurge on either. I might even recommend not splurging, because with some extra money, you can become a patron for 1 cent a month! We are already at fifty-three patrons, and you can get in on the new hotness, and access to exclusive content! Now, to show y’all some more-
Romero grabs a significantly sized lunch box, as it seems to contain generous servings that make up a large rice bowl. First ingredient is obviously a lot of rice, with sliced pork, green onion, cilantro, mushroom, carrot, and avocado all being found in significant portions.
Romero: Being as large as I am and working in such a physically draining industry, the portions that I need to function would incapactiate a normal human being. Whether I am exaggerating or not is up to your own interpretation. And now, some may wonder how I get mentally prepared for a match? It heavily depends, for ippv matches where there’s more on the line, I tend to psych myself up with intense music, let out energy through running in place, my ippv matches are more about being intense. With lower stakes matches or House Party matches, I tend to moreso leave my training at the gym, I just try to show up in as good and happy of a mood as I can. Easier said than done of course, but with things such as forming alliances recently, I always have some others to lift me up. I think specialist and Rizwan are in the break room, lets go visit them actually!
Romero then walks out of the locker room and into the hallways, and as he just enters the hallways, he bumps into someone right in front of his whole stream!
gayboygayboygayboygayboygayboygayboygayboygayboy: omg king u okay??!!??!!
MarioFantatic37: Nooooooooo don’t get hurt from an unexpected collision your so sexy haha
After a moment of surprise, we see the person Romero collided with as he exited the locker room, GiGi, who now sees that Romero bumped into her, and gains a fury in her eyes.
GiGi: Hey! You! The audacatity to have said the things you have and now this?! Do you want to know the consequences! Well i’ll show you them!
GiGi then whips out her phone herself, a look of anger on her face throughout the process of doing this, as she starts up an instagram live stream of her own…….and instantly changes to a fake wide smile as she starts the stream up, hundreds upon hundreds of viewers quickly pouring in. She glances up at Romero with now a smug smile at the sheer numerical differences in their streams, as she begins to talk to her fans.
GiGi: Hello GiGi Gang! Welcome to an impromptu stream, brought on by more severe aggression against me! And guess who’s the person behind it!
GiGi dramatically swings her phone to reveal Romero in the shot, who’s holding up his phone for his stream as well, as GiGi’s chat goes-
Chad68: BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Feet?: BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! LocalLesbian: BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Jouster06: HOW DARE YOU HURT HER YOU MONSTER! I’LL BEAT YOU UP MYSELF! xxxsavannahgranger4523: Looking for hot singles in your area? Visit Datebeast.notavirus.com/132342435353324244het43422 for your hook up today! QuirkyGamer!!!: BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
Upon realizing who they’re seeing, as GiGi continues to speak.
GiGi: Once again I have been put in serious danger by Romero, by him as the much larger person trying to bulldoze over me and hurt me in the process!
Romero: I...literally just accidentally bumped into you.
GiGi: You’re lying! I can’t trust a word you say after your threats towards my livelihood, and now my physical well-being! You know what, this calls for retaliation, Kaitlyn, you’re strong, get him!
As GiGi commands this though, we don’t see anything happen, GiGi, confused as to why Kaitlyn is not doing something for her, turns around, and sees that Kaitlyn has mostly fainted due to the sheer scale of her infatuation with GiGi. Connected to GiGi only by holding on to her foot, where many in chat upon seeing this foot holding simply comment “God I wish that was me”.
Romero: Well, considering the state of Kaitlyn, i’m not sure she’s up for much of a fight in this moment. So unless you are, I think we’ll need another method to settle this, through what has been my goal, a stream battle! Where I handle mine with honesty and openness!
GiGi: Is that all? Easy! You’re on! Kait! Come with!
GiGi then begins to walk away, but is very noticeably slowed by the mostly dead weight of the head over heels Kaitlyn clinging onto her. Due to this GiGi is not able to make nearly as smooth an exit from the scene as she was hoping, but tries to make the best of it by highlighting the struggle she’s going through due to this, pointing the camera down in the process, showing her pastel colored shoes, as we see several “POGGERS” and excited proclamations of “FEET!” in her chat at this.
Romero meanwhile heads his own way, as we see support from the members of his chat-
gayboygayboygayboygayboygayboygayboygayboygayboy: Romeo, u r fuckin sick ur gonna do it
BasedAndGaypilled: STEPHEN ROMERO KREYGASM
Thats_So_Shibe: Bro no homo but I would like to have anal intercourse with you
Romero makes his way quickly over to a break room, where we see Rizwan and Specialist chatting over a cup of tea for Rizwan, and several cups of coffee for each member of Specialist, as Romero mutters to himself for a moment-
Romero: Fuck what do people like...spinning, they like spinning right? HEY RONDEL!
Rondel then stands up, he and Romero making intense eye contact.
Romero: DO ONE OF THEM COOL SPINS!
Rondel then jumps on top of the table, Rizwan able to save his tea, but all of Specialist’s coffee gets spilled. Rondel then not only spins, he balances on one leg to do the spin, mixing in several hops into the spin to add even more onto it, before finishing the spin, and stepping off the table. He then offers to replace everyone’s spilled coffee, as he goes to get more, but not before he and Romero both communicate to each other with a thumbs up. As the chat that has now grown to 25 unique views POPS OFF
We then cut back to GiGi, where we see on her stream her attempts to geti Kaitlyn functioning again. We see GiGi more gently poking her, shaking Kaitlyn, throwing a glass of water on her face, all to no avail! Before she finally switches up the strategy, and slaps Kaitlyn across the face, this action finally making her functionable again, as a wide smile forms on her face, as she springs to her feet. This once again drawing many “damn I wish that was me’s” from the chat. As GiGi then speaks to Kait-
GiGi: So, you’ve been allied with Romero before right? Knowing him from that, and knowing him now from his evil actions, what do you think he could be doing right this moment?
Kaitlyn: Uhm, he could be showing off his wardrobe right now? Yours is just, so much more expansive and prettier than his, I think you can easily take away the few viewers he has by showing off your-
GiGi: Not bad...but I think I got an idea better.
We then cut back to Romero again, where he’s showing off more of his wardrobe, where he is currently clad in a maroon red beret, glasses straight from a sexy secretary halloween costume, a white/maroon striped shirt tucked into tight fit jeans, and a leather jacket over it all. Romero hits several poses in this outfit, but as he’s focusing on himself in the mirror and showing off the outfit and his figure in it to the audience in his chat, we see GiGi and Kaitlyn sneak up in the background. Keeping a low profile, but enough to be noticeable in the lower frames of Romero’s stream, and obviously visible on GiGi’s stream as we switch to her view of her slowly crawling her way towards Romero’s set up. Where we see his set up is organized into different pieces, the tops/bottoms/jackets/hats/accessories all put into different sections. We see GiGi and Kaitlyn coordinate to take one thing of each from all of those while Romero is focused entirely on his posing. Then they go to make their escape and with wonderful timing, because as they start, Romero for the first time fully turns around to show off the outfit from behind! GiGi and Kaitlyn barely dodging out the way with all the stolen clothes. As we then hear Romero say-
Romero: Alright, I hope that was enough for all of you! Now, onto the next outfit…
Romero then goes through each his sections, making most of his next outfit….but cannot find the hat for it!
Romero: Yo what the fuck…..you know what, i’ll skip that one, next outfit!
Romero then goes through his next outfit…..but finds that he is now missing the jacket that goes with it!
Romero: HUH?! Again?!! Well uhhh….third time’s the charm I guess!
Romero then looks through his next outfit…..but cannot find the top to it!
Romero: WHAT THE FUCK?! Hold up, somethings going on here….
Romero then goes to grab his phone, and check insta live chat, where they are spamming “GIGI STOLE YOUR CLOTHES” in the chat, as an anger then manifests in Romero’s face.
Romero: She took my clothes?!........I’ve gotta do something about this man..
We then cut to GiGi and Kaitlyn still streaming, where we now see GiGi attempting a try on an article of clothing she stole from Romero, a denim jacket…..emphasis on *try, as we see that the jacket looks less like a normal jacket, looks less like an oversized jacket, but more like a straight up blanket on GiGi, nearly completely covering her all on it’s own.*
GiGi: What do you say Kait? I think these are so big on me they could really work as a unique shoot, maybe make it available for patrons donating $750 and up, or you could take them for yourself if you want, they’d still be quite large on you but not to the point where you could make your bed with it.
Kaitlyn: Oh, um, no, no thank you, I think i’d like to see more you wearing some of his stuff..
GiGi: Ooohhhh, well I know I already have one patron on board, say, how exactly would you enjoy seeing me wear it?
Kaitlyn: Well...uh….maybe with, nothing….uhhh
GiGi: Nothing what?
Kaitlyn: Uh…..umm…......nevermind…
GiGi: Alright, just if you ever do want some of this stuff let me know, you gotta take advantage of your top patron exclusive reward of receiving one individual piece of clothing from me!
As GiGi says this, we then hear the door into where they are get kicked down, as through the rubble, emerges Stephen Romero, Kaitlyn looks defensive and ready to scrap, as GiGi initially panics.
Romero: Hey! All that is my damn clothes!
In her panic, GiGi grabs the oversized denim jacket, and tosses it at Romero’s face as a distraction! Before GiGi bails out the room before anything can escalate! Kaitlyn still looks primed to defend, but GiGi forcefully grabs her anyway, pulling her away from the scene all the same.As Romero the takes his denim jaket he got thrown back in, he smiles that it still fits, and puts in on, striking a pose to his crowd in his chat.
Romero: Well…..I lost several hundreds of dollars and cool pieces of clothing because of that……...but at least this denim jacket is still sick though!
Romero then strikes more poses for the fans, as we gradually fade out on the scene.
We come back to the ring, where we see Javier standing in the middle of the ring, ready to announce.
Javier: The following is a tag team match, set for one fall, with a 30 minute time limit! Introducing first-
The Fall III by Doping Hornets comes through the speakers, as we see Mercenaire and Marshall Wheeler both come out from behind the curtain. Both disregarding the audience, as they stride to the ring with confidence.
Javier: From Houston, Texas, and A Dark, Dark Place respectively, weighing in at a combined 480 pounds, Marshall Wheeler, Mercenaire, Coup d’Etat!
Crowd: BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
Woodbridge: Being announced from Houston and A Dark Place as separate things? Ain’t those the same thing?
Paisner: Mark!
Woodbridge: Sorry, had to take the opportunity when I had it. Digressing from that, we’ve got one hell of a tag match coming up! As we got two men who are talented and angry, one hell of a deadly combination if i’ve ever seen it. Feeling overlooked, they have a chance to channel that anger into their biggest tag challenge yet in SPECIALIST. They’ve proven they can take care of those they should absolutely beat, now lets see how they fare against those where it’s more of a 50/50.
Wheeler and Mercenaire continue to stoically march their way down to the ring, paying to mind to the jeers tossed their way, as they both reach the ring apron, and step through the ropes in sync with one another, before the two take a spot at the end of the ring, looking out to the entranceway, awaiting their opponents.
The Anomoly by Scar Symmetry blasts heavy riffs throughout the venue, as we see Presagio Del Fin and Nelson Butterfly out on the entranceway. Clinging onto one another, a look of determination on their face.
Javier: And introducing next, from Parts Unknown, weighing in at a combined 437 pounds, Presagio Del Fin, Nelson Butterfly, S.P.E.C.I.A.L.I.S.T.!
Crowd: YAYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!
Paisner: Now, two very strange men coming down to the ring, the traditional pair of SPECIALIST representing it tonight, and despite their unorthodox in-ring methods, there’s very few others who have as much chemistry and knowledge of each other inside and out as SPECIALIST do. And that unorthodox style? Might be exploitable, but if you don’t know that exploit, you get torn apart by it. And inexperienced wrestlers like Mercenaire and Wheeler may be prime for not knowing, this could be a huge win for SPECIALIST here tonight!
Butterfly and Presagio make their way down to the ring with their arms linked together, interacting with the fans, handing out hand slaps as they walk down the entranceway. They begin to practice their respective underhooks and pins to make sure they’re warmed up, before finishing their way to the ring, as they step into it. We see both Coup d’Etat and SPECIALIST talk amongst one another, as we see Mercenaire and Presagio step onto the aprons. While Wheeler and Nelson stay in the ring, Undersach signaling to see if they’re all ready, and getting nods from everyone, rings the bell!
DING DING DING
As the match starts, Wheeler and Nelson slowly approach each other, they lock up, as Wheeler then goes to slip behind Nelson right after! Grabbing Nelson’s head, pulling it back, and driving a european uppercut into the back of Nelson’s head! Nelson holding at the back of his head, before Wheeler shoots a forearm shot into the back of Nelson’s head! Sending Nelson stumbling forward, as Wheeler then runs the ropes, and comes back to attempt an enzu lariat to the back of Nelson’s head, but Nelson drops down! Fitting in between Wheeler’s legs, as Wheeler stops himself after a moment, and turns around to Nelson who had gotten back to his feet, who grabs Wheeler in a double underhook! Wheeler tries to struggle out, but Nelson lifts his knee up into Wheeler’s face! Doing it multiple times until he has Wheeler sufficiently harmed, where upon which, Nelson tosses Wheeler back across the ring with a butterfly suplex! Wheeler landing hard on his back, gritting his teeth in pain!
Crowd: WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
Paisner: Wheeler trying to quickly strike Nelson down, but Nelson dropping down, then quickly into offense through his patented double underhook!
Wheeler then begins to push himself up, sitting up, then getting onto his hands and knees to try and make his way to his feet, but Nelson swoops in quickly, nails an elbow to the top of Wheeler’s head, and hooks Wheeler’s arms to bring Wheeler up on his own terms. Nelson takes Wheeler over to his tag corner, shooting a look at Presagio to cue him to tag himself in. Presagio sets himself up near Nelson, as Nelson tosses Wheeler up into the air with the set up for a double underhook powerbomb, but instead of following through with it himself, Presagio instead comes in as the one to catch and add his own force to slam Wheeler down to the mat with the assisted tiger bomb! Presagio sitting down with it!
Crowd: OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
Paisner: Nelson combining well his double underhook and tag team mastery! And of course Presagio keeps the sit-out for a pin!
1! No! Kickout from Wheeler!
Wheeler kicks out with a bit of force, rolling onto his stomach as he does, as Presagio gets up, sizes up Wheeler as Wheeler begins to push himself to his feet, and runs towards the ropes! Jumping onto and bouncing up off of them as he reaches them, and launching himself back at the now to his feet Wheeler with a springboard hurricanrana! Keeping it for the rana pin!
Crowd: WOOOOOOOOOOO!
1!
2! No! Kickout right at 2 from Wheeler!
The force from Wheeler’s kickout pushes Presagio off of Wheeler, Presagio flung outwards as the two have their backs to one another. Both of them attempt to rise to their feet, but Presagio as the healthier man is a good deal faster, and with that, hooks Wheeler from behind him, gets back-to-back to him, and goes down into a backslide pin on Wheeler!
1!
2! No! Kickout from Wheeler again!
As we get another kickout from Wheeler, both men go to scramble to their feet, and as Wheeler rises, Presagio responds with a knee to the gut to double him over, and keep him in place! Following up by going to the ropes, and jumping off for another springboard! This time going for a springboard crossbody, as he connects with Wheeler! But suddenly, Wheeler rolls through the momentum of the crossbody! Coming out of it with Presagio in his grasp, holding Presagio in front of him! Wheeler then lifts Presagio, and goes to toss Presagio over his head, but Presagio shifts his momentum in mid-air and lands on his feet!
Crowd: WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!
Paisner: Presagio nearly reversed, but he finds his own way of escape! Directly countering the counter!
And as Presagio lands on his feet, he grabs Wheeler from behind and goes to roll him back into an o’connor roll!.....but Wheeler once again moves his own momentum through! Going into his own o’connor roll!....but he still does not stop! Continuing to follow through by going to lift Presagio up in a rolling german suplex! Lifting Presagio up halfway, but Presagio desperately struggles! Kicking his feet and swinging his arms, until he lands enough wild strikes to force Wheeler to let him go! Wheeler backs off a bit, as Presagio takes a moment to catch his breath and recover, before beginning to run towards the ropes!.......but not before Wheeler recovers himself, and comes forward to spin around, and connect with a spinning back elbow to the back of Presagio’s head! The impact and suddenness of the strike knocking Presagio flat to the mat!
Crowd: OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
Paisner: BY GOD! THE SPINNING ELBOW TO THE BACK OF THE CRANIUM! COMPLETELY DEVASTATING PRESAGIO!
Presagio is completely laid out, as Wheeler bends his knees for a moment in order to catch himself, before grabbing the limp body of Presagio, and dragging it over to his tag corner, where upon which he lifts Presagio’s body and tosses it into said corner, and tags in Mercenaire. Wheeler then lifts his leg up high, and presses it up against Presagio’s neck to both keep him in place and choke him out!
Crowd: BOOOOOOOOO!
As he does this, Mercenaire enters the ring, and backs up to about the center of the ring, before rushing towards the corner, and just as Wheeler releases his foot choke and moves out the way, Mercenaire connects with a big boot in the corner to the head of Presagio! Knocking him back down limp to the mat!
Crowd: OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
Presagio is completely out on the mat, as Merc stands over him, leans down to grab him, then tosses him right back in the corner where he begins to lay in body punches to the stomach of Presagio! Doubling Presagio over in the corner, as Merc then lays in pointed elbows to the back of Presagio’s neck! Raining down elbow after elbow on Presagio, forcing him lower and lower down in the corner, until he’s dropped to a seated position. Upon which Merc just puts his boot on Presagio’s face, and rubs it in!
Crowd: BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
Woodbridge: Mercenaire just absolutely relentless right now! No mercy nor respect given!
Undersach begins to count off Mercenaire, and gets all the way to the 4 count before Merc removes his boot and finally relents!
Crowd: BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
submitted by youto2 to wrestlingisreddit [link] [comments]

Comprehensive Guide for getting into Home Recording

I'm going to borrow from a few sources and do my best to make this cohesive, but this question comes up a lot. I thought we had a comprehensive guide, but it doesn't appear so. In the absence of this, I feel that a lot of you could use a simple place to go for some basics on recording. There are a couple of great resources online already on some drumming forums, but I don't think they will be around forever.
Some background on myself - I have been drumming a long time. During that time, home recording has gone from using a cassette deck to having a full blown studio at your finger tips. The technology in the last 15 years has gotten so good it really is incredible. When I was trying to decide what I wanted to do with my life, I decided to go to school for audio engineering in a world-class studio. During this time I had access to the studio and was able to assist with engineering on several projects. This was awesome, and I came out with a working knowledge of SIGNAL CHAIN, how audio works in the digital realm, how microphones work, studio design, etc. Can I answer your questions? Yes.

First up: Signal Chain! This is the basic building block of recording. Ever seen a "I have this plugged in but am getting no sound!" thread? Yeah, signal chain.

A "Signal Chain" is the path your audio follows, from sound source, to the recording device, and back out of your monitors (speakers to you normies).
A typical complete signal chain might go something like this:
1] instrument/sound source 2] Microphone/TransducePickup 3] Cable 4] Mic Preamp/DI Box 5] Analog-to-Digital Converter 6] Digital transmission medium[digital data get recoded for usb or FW transfer] 7] Digital recording Device 8] DSP and Digital summing/playback engine 9] Digital-to-Analog Converter 10] Analog output stage[line outputs and output gain/volume control] 11] Monitors/Playback device[headphones/other transducers]
Important Terms, Definitions, and explanations (this will be where the "core" information is):
1] AD Conversion: the process by which the electrical signal is "converted" to a stream of digital code[binary, 1 and 0]. This is accomplished, basically, by taking digital pictures of the audio...and this is known as the "sampling rate/frequency" The number of "pictures" determines the frequency. So the CD standard of 44.1k is 44,100 "pictures" per second of digital code that represents the electrical "wave" of audio. It should be noted that in order to reproduce a frequency accuratly, the sampling rate must be TWICE that of the desired frequency (See: Nyquist-Shannon Theorem). So, a 44.1 digital audio device can, in fact, only record frequencies as high as 22.05khz, and in the real world, the actual upper frequency limit is lower, because the AD device employs a LOW-PASS filter to protect the circuitry from distortion and digital errors called "ALIASING." Confused yet? Don't worry, there's more... We haven't even talked about Bit depth! There are 2 settings for recording digitally: Sample Rate and Bit Depth. Sample rate, as stated above, determines the frequencies captured, however bit depth is used to get a better picture of the sample. Higher bit depth = more accurate sound wave representation. More on this here. Generally speaking, I record at 92KHz/24 bit depth. This makes huge files, but gets really accurate audio. Why does it make huge files? Well, if you are sampling 92,000 times per second, you are taking each sample and applying 24 bits to that, multiply it out and you get 92,000*24 = 2,208,000 bits per second or roughly 0.26MB per second for ONE TRACK. If that track is 5 minutes long, that is a file that is 78.96MB in size. Now lets say you used 8 inputs on an interface, that is, in total, 631.7MB of data. Wow, that escalates quick, right? There is something else to note as well here: Your CPU has to calculate this. So the amount of calculations it needs to perform for this same scenario is ~17.7 million calculations PER SECOND. This is why CPU speed and RAM is super important when recording digitally.
2] DA conversion: the process by which the digital code (the computer representation of a sound wave) is transformed back into electrcal energy in the proper shape. In a oversimplified explanation, the code is measured and the output of the convertor reflects the value of the code by changing voltage. Think of a sound wave on a grid: Frequency would represent the X axis (the horizontal axis)... but there is a vertical axis too. This is called AMPLITUDE or how much energy the wave is generating. People refer to this as how 'loud' a sound is, but that's not entirely correct. You can have a high amplitude wave that is played at a quiet volume. It's important to distinguish the two. How loud a sound is can be controlled by the volume on a speaker or transducer. But that has no impact on how much amplitude the sound wave has in the digital space or "in the wire" on its way to the transducer. So don't get hung up on how "loud" a waveform is, it is how much amplitude it has when talking about it "in the box" or before it gets to the speakeheadphone/whatever.
3] Cables: An often overlooked expense and tool, cables can in fact, make or break your recording. The multitudes of types of cable are determined by the connector, the gauge(thickness), shielding, type of conductor, etc... Just some bullet points on cables:
- Always get the highest quality cabling you can afford. Low quality cables often employ shielding that doesnt efectively protect against AC hums(60 cycle hum), RF interference (causing your cable to act as a gigantic AM/CB radio antenna), or grounding noise introduced by other components in your system. - The way cables are coiled and treated can determine their lifespan and effectiveness. A kinked cable can mean a broken shield, again, causing noise problems. - The standard in the USA for wiring an XLR(standard microphone) cable is: PIN 1= Cold/-, PIN 2= Hot/+, PIN 3=Ground/shield. Pin 3 carries phantom power, so it is important that the shield of your cables be intact and in good condition if you want to use your mic cables without any problems. - Cables for LINE LEVEL and HI-Z(instrument level) gear are not the same! - Line Level Gear, weather professional or consumer, should generally be used with balanced cables (on a 1/4" connector, it will have 3 sections and is commonly known as TRS -or- TipRingSleeve). A balanced 1/4" is essentially the same as a microphone cable, and in fact, most Professional gear with balanced line inputs and outputs will have XLR connectors instead of 1/4" connectors. - Hi-Z cable for instruments (guitars, basses, keyboards, or anything with a pickup) is UNBALANCED, and should be so. The introduction of a balanced cable can cause electricity to be sent backwards into a guitar and shock the guitar player. You may want this to happen, but your gear doesn't. There is some danger here as well, especially on stage, where the voltage CAN BE LETHAL. When running a guitabass/keyboard "Direct" into your interface, soundcard, or recording device, you should ALWAYS use a "DIRECT BOX", which uses a transformer to isolate and balance the the signal or you can use any input on the interface designated as a "Instrument" or "Hi-Z" input. It also changes some electrical properties, resulting in a LINE LEVEL output (it amplifies it from instrument level to line level).
4] Digital Data Transmissions: This includes S/PDIF, AES/EBU, ADAT, MADI. I'm gonna give a brief overview of this stuff, since its unlikely that alot of you will ever really have to think about it: - SDPIF= Sony Phillips Digital Interface Format. using RCA or TOSLINK connectors, this is a digital protocol that carries 3 streams of information. Digital audio Left, Digital Audio Right, and CLOCK. SPDIF generally supports 48khz/20bit information, though some modern devices can support up to 24bits, and up to 88.2khz. SPDIF is the consumer format of AES/EBU - AES/EBU= Audio Engineering Society/European Breadcasters Union Digital protocol uses a special type of cable often terminated with XLR connectors to transmit 2 channels of Digital Audio. AES/EBU is found mostly on expensive professional digital gear. - ADAT= the Alesis Digital Audio Tape was introduced in 1991, and was the first casette based system capable of recording 8 channels of digital audio onto a single cartridge(a SUPER-VHS tape, same one used by high quality VCR's). Enough of the history, its not so important because we are talking about ADAT-LIGHTPIPE Protocol, which is a digital transmission protocol that uses fiberoptic cable and devices to send up to 8 channels of digital audio simultaneously and in sync. ADAT-Lightpipe supports up to 48khz sample rates. This is how people expand the number of inputs by chaining interfaces. - MADI is something you will almost never encounter. It is a protocol that allows up to 64 channels of digital audio to be transmitted over a single cable that is terminated by BNC connectors. Im just telling you it exists so in case you ever encounter a digital snake that doesnt use Gigabit Ethernet, you will know whats going on.
digital transmission specs: SPDIF -> clock->2Ch->RCA cable(consumer) ADAT-Lightpipe->clock->8Ch->Toslink(semi-pro) SPDIF-OPTICAL->clock->2Ch->Toslink(consumer) AES/EBU->clock->2Ch->XLR(Pro) TDIF->clock->8Ch->DSub(Semi-Pro) ______________ MADI->no clock->64Ch->BNC{rare except in large scale pofessional apps} SDIF-II->no clock->24Ch->DSub{rare!} AES/EBU-13->no clock->24Ch->DSub
5] MICROPHONES: There are many types of microphones, and several names for each type. The type of microphone doesn't equate to the polar pattern of the microphone. There are a few common polar patterns in microphones, but there are also several more that are less common. These are the main types- Omni-Directional, Figure 8 (bi-directional), Cardioid, Super Cardioid, Hyper Cardioid, Shotgun. Some light reading.... Now for the types of microphones: - Dynamic Microphones utilize polarized magnets to convert acoustical energy into electrical energy. there are 2 types of dynamic microphones: 1) Moving Coil microphones are the most common type of microphone made. They are also durable, and capable of handling VERY HIGH SPL (sound pressure levels). 2) Ribbon microphones are rare except in professional recording studios. Ribbon microphones are also incredibly fragile. NEVER EVER USE PHANTOM POWER WITH A RIBBON MICROPHONE, IT WILL DIE (unless it specifically requires it, but I've only ever seen this on one Ribbon microphone ever). Sometimes it might even smoke or shoot out a few sparks; applying phantom power to a Ribbon Microphone will literally cause the ribbon, which is normally made from Aluminum, to MELT. Also, windblasts and plosives can rip the ribbon, so these microphones are not suitible for things like horns, woodwinds, vocals, kick drums, or anything that "pushes air." There have been some advances in Ribbon microphones and they are getting to be more common, but they are still super fragile and you have to READ THE MANUAL CAREFULLY to avoid a $1k+ mistake. - CondenseCapacitor Microphones use an electrostatic charge to convert acoustical energy into electrical energy. The movement of the diaphragm(often metal coated mylar) toward a ceramic "backplate" causes a fluctuation in the charge, which is then amplified inside the microphone and output as an electrical signal. Condenser microphones usually use phantom power to charge the capacitors' and backplate in order to maintain the electrostatic charge. There are several types of condenser microphones: 1) Tube Condenser Microphones: historically, this type of microphone has been used in studios since the 1940s, and has been refined and redesigned hundreds, if not thousands of times. Some of the "best sounding" and most desired microphones EVER MADE are Tube Condenser microphones from the 50's and 60's. These vintage microphones, in good condition, with the original TUBES can sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Tube mics are known for sounding "full", "warm", and having a particular character, depending on the exact microphone. No 2 tubes mics, even of the same model, will sound the same. Similar, but not the same. Tube mics have their own power supplies, which are not interchangeable to different models. Each tube mic is a different design, and therefore, has different power requirements. 2) FET Condenser microphones: FET stands for "Field Effect Transistor" and the technology allowed condenser microphones to be miniturized. Take for example, the SHURE beta98s/d, which is a minicondenser microphone. FET technology is generally more transparant than tube technology, but can sometimes sound "harsh" or "sterile". 3) Electret Condenser Microphones are a condenser microphone that has a permanent charge, and therefore, does not require phantom power; however, the charge is not truly permanent, and these mics often use AA or 9V batteries, either inside the mic, or on a beltpack. These are less common.
Other important things to know about microphones:
- Pads, Rolloffs, etc: Some mics have switches or rotating collars that notate certain things. Most commonly, high pass filters/lowcut filters, or attenuation pads. 1) A HP/LC Filter does exactly what you might think: Removes low frequency content from the signal at a set frequency and slope. Some microphones allow you to switch the rolloff frequency. Common rolloff frequencies are 75hz, 80hz, 100hz, 120hz, 125hz, and 250hz. 2) A pad in this example is a switch that lowers the output of the microphone directly after the capsule to prevent overloading the input of a microphone preamplifier. You might be asking: How is that possible? Some microphones put out a VERY HIGH SIGNAL LEVEL, sometimes about line level(-10/+4dbu), mic level is generally accepted to start at -75dbu and continues increasing until it becomes line level in voltage. It should be noted that linel level signals are normally of a different impedance than mic level signals, which is determined by the gear. An example for this would be: I mic the top of a snare drum with a large diaphragm condenser mic (solid state mic, not tube) that is capable of handling very high SPLs (sound pressure levels). When the snare drum is played, the input of the mic preamp clips (distorts), even with the gain turned all the way down. To combat this, I would use a pad with enough attenuation to lower the signal into the proper range of input (-60db to -40 db). In general, it is accepted to use a pad with only as much attentuation as you need, plus a small margin of error for extra “headroom”. What this means is that if you use a 20db pad where you only need a 10db pad, you will then have to add an additional 10db of gain to achieve a desireable signal level. This can cause problems, as not all pads sound good, or even transparent, and can color and affect your signal in sometimes unwanted ways that are best left unamplified. - Other mic tips/info: 1) when recording vocals, you should always use a popfilter. A pop filter mounted on a gooseneck is generally more effective than a windscreen made of foam that slips over the microphone. The foam type often kill the highfrequency response, alter the polar pattern, and can introduce non-linear polarity problems(part of the frequency spectrum will be out of phase.) If you don't have a pop filter or don't want to spend on one, buy or obtain a hoop of some kind, buy some cheap panty-hose and stretch it over the hoop to build your own pop filter. 2) Terms Related to mics: - Plosives: “B”, “D”, “F”, “G”, “J”, “P”, “T” hard consonants and other vocal sounds that cause windblasts. These are responsible for a low frequency pop that can severly distort the diaphragm of the microphone, or cause a strange inconsistency of tonality by causing a short term proximity effect.
- Proximity effect: An exponential increase in low frequency response causes by having a microphone excessivly close to a sound. This can be cause by either the force of the air moving actually causes the microphone’s diaphragm to move and sometimes distort, usually on vocalists or buy the buildup of low frequency soundwaves due to off-axis cancellation ports. You cannot get proximity effect on an omnidirectional microphone. With some practice, you can use proximity effect to your advantage, or as an effect. For example, if you are recording someone whispering and it sounds thin or weak and irritating due to the intenese high mid and high frequency content, get the person very close to a cardioid microphone with two popfilters, back to back approx 1/2”-1” away from the mic and set your gain carefully, and you can achieve a very intimite recording of whispering. In a different scenario, you can place a mic inside of a kick drum between 1”-3” away from the inner shell, angled up and at the point of impact, and towards the floor tom. This usually captures a huge low end, and the sympathetic vibration of the floor tom on the kick drum hits, but retains a clarity of attack without being distorted by the SPL of the drum and without capturing unplesant low-mid resonation of the kick drum head and shell that is common directly in the middle of the shell.
6) Wave Envelope: The envelope is the graphical representation of a sound wave commonly found in a DAW. There are 4 parts to this: Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release: 1) Attack is how quickly the sound reaches its peak amplitude; 2) Decay is the time it takes to reach the sustain level; 3) Sustain how long a sound remains at a certain level (think of striking a tom, the initial smack is attack, then it decays to the resonance of the tom, how long it resonates is the sustain); 4) Release is the amount of time before the sustain stops. This is particularly important as these are also the settings on a common piece of gear called a Compressor! Understanding the envelope of a sound is key to learning how to maniuplate it.
7) Phase Cancellation: This is one of the most important concepts in home recording, especially when looking at drums. I'm putting it in this section because it matters so much. Phase Cancellation is what occurs when the same frequencies occur at different times. To put it simply, frequency amplitudes are additive - meaning if you have 2 sound waves of the same frequency, one amplitude is +4 and the other is +2, the way we percieve sound is that the frequency is +6. But a sound wave has a positive and negative amplitude as it travels (like a wave in the ocean with a peak and a swell). If the frequency then has two sources and it is 180 degrees out of phase, that means one wave is at +4 while the other is at -4. This sums to 0, or cancels out the wave. Effectively, you would hear silence. This is why micing techniques are so important, but we'll get into that later. I wanted this term at the top, and will likely mention it again.

Next we can look at the different types of options to actually record your sound!

1) Handheld/All in one/Field Recorders: I don't know if portable cassette tape recorders are still around, but that's an example of one. These are (or used to) be very popular with journalists because they were pretty decent at capturing speech. They do not fare too well with music though. Not too long ago, we saw the emergence of the digital field recorder. These are really nifty little devices. They come in many shapes, sizes and colors, and can be very affordable. They run on batteries, and have built-in microphones, and record digitally onto SD cards or harddiscs. The more simple ones have a pair of built-in condenser microphones, which may or may not be adjustable, and record onto an SD-card. They start around $99 (or less if you don't mind buying refurbished). You turn it on, record, connect the device itself or the SD card to your computer, transfer the file(s) and there is your recording! An entry-level example is the Tascam DR-05. It costs $99. It has two built in omni-directional mics, comes with a 2GB microSD card and runs on two AA batteries. It can record in different formats, the highest being 24-bit 96KHz Broadcast WAV, which is higher than DVD quality! You can also choose to record as an MP3 (32-320kbps) if you need to save space on the SD card or if you're simply going to record a speech/conference or upload it on the web later on. It's got a headphone jack and even small built-in speakers. It can be mounted onto a tripod. And it's about the size of a cell phone. The next step up (although there are of course many options that are price and feature-wise inbetween this one and the last) is a beefier device like the Zoom H4n. It's got all the same features as the Tascam DR-05 and more! It has two adjustable built-in cardioid condenser mics in an XY configuration (you can adjust the angle from a 90-120 degree spread). On the bottom of the device, there are two XLR inputs with preamps. With those, you can expand your recording possibilities with two external microphones. The preamps can send phantom power, so you can even use very nice studio mics. All 4 channels will be recorded independantly, so you can pop them onto your computer later and mix them with software. This device can also act as a USB interface, so instead of just using it as a field recorder, you can connect it directly to your computer or to a DSLR camera for HD filming. My new recommendation for this category is actually the Yamaha EAD10. It really is the best all-in-one solution for anyone that wants to record their kit audio with a great sound. It sports a kick drum trigger (mounts to the rim of the kick) with an x-y pattern set of microphones to pick up the rest of the kit sound. It also has on-board effects, lots of software integration options and smart features through its app. It really is a great solution for anyone who wants to record without reading this guide.
The TL;DR of this guide is - if it seems like too much, buy the Yamaha EAD10 as a simple but effective recording solution for your kit.

2) USB Microphones: There are actually mics that you an plug in directly to your computer via USB. The mics themselves are their own audio interfaces. These mics come in many shapes and sizes, and offer affordable solutions for basic home recording. You can record using a DAW or even something simple like the stock windows sound recorder program that's in the acessories folder of my Windows operating system. The Blue Snowflake is very affordable at $59. It can stand alone or you can attach it to your laptop or your flat screen monitor. It can record up to 44.1kHz, 16-bit WAV audio, which is CD quality. It's a condenser mic with a directional cardioid pickup pattern and has a full frequency response - from 35Hz-20kHz. It probably won't blow you away, but it's a big departure from your average built-in laptop, webcam, headset or desktop microphone. The Audio Technica AT2020 USB is a USB version of their popular AT2020 condenser microphone. At $100 it costs a little more than the regular version. The AT2020 is one of the finest mics in its price range. It's got a very clear sound and it can handle loud volumes. Other companies like Shure and Samson also offer USB versions of some of their studio mics. The AT2020 USB also records up to CD-quality audio and comes with a little desktop tripod. The MXL USB.009 mic is an all-out USB microphone. It features a 1 inch large-diaphragm condenser capsule and can record up to 24-bit 96kHz WAV audio. You can plug your headphones right into the mic (remember, it is its own audio interface) so you can monitor your recordings with no latency, as opposed to doing so with your computer. Switches on the mic control the gain and can blend the mic channel with playback audio. Cost: $399. If you already have a mic, or you don't want to be stuck with just a USB mic, you can purcase a USB converter for your existing microphone. Here is a great review of four of them.
3) Audio Recording Interfaces: You've done some reading up on this stuff... now you are lost. Welcome to the wide, wide world of Audio Interfaces. These come in all different shapes and sizes, features, sampling rates, bit depths, inputs, outputs, you name it. Welcome to the ocean, let's try to help you find land.
- An audio interface, as far as your computer is concerned, is an external sound card. It has audio inputs, such as a microphone preamp and outputs which connect to other audio devices or to headphones or speakers. The modern day recording "rig" is based around a computer, and to get the sound onto your computer, an interface is necessary. All computers have a sound card of some sort, but these have very low quality A/D Converters (analog to digital) and were not designed with any kind of sophisticated audio recording in mind, so for us they are useless and a dedicated audio interface must come into play.
- There are hundreds of interfaces out there. Most commonly they connect to a computer via USB or Firewire. There are also PCI and PCI Express-based interfaces for desktop computers. The most simple interfaces can record one channel via USB, while others can record up to 30 via firewire! All of the connection types into the computer have their advantages and drawbacks. The chances are, you are looking at USB, Firewire, or Thunderbolt. As far as speeds, most interfaces are in the same realm as far as speed is concerned but thunderbolt is a faster data transfer rate. There are some differences in terms of CPU load. Conflict handling (when packages collide) is handled differently. USB sends conflict resolution to the CPU, Firewire handles it internally, Thunderbolt, from what I could find, sends it to the CPU as well. For most applications, none of them are going to be superior from a home-recording standpoint. When you get up to 16/24 channels in/out simultaneously, it's going to matter a lot more.
- There are a number of things to consider when choosing an audio interface. First off your budget, number of channels you'd like to be able to record simultaneously, your monitoring system, your computer and operating system and your applications. Regarding budget, you have to get real. $500 is not going to get you a rig with the ability to multi-track a drum set covered in mics. Not even close! You might get an interface with 8 channels for that much, but you have to factor in the cost of everything, including mics, cables, stands, monitors/headphones, software, etc... Considerations: Stereo Recording or Multi-Track Recording? Stereo Recording is recording two tracks: A left and right channel, which reflects most audio playback systems. This doesn't necessarily mean you are simply recording with two mics, it means that what your rig is recording onto your computer is a single stereo track. You could be recording a 5-piece band with 16 mics/channels, but if you're recording in stereo, all you're getting is a summation of those 16 tracks. This means that in your recording software, you won't be able to manipulate any of those channels independantly after you recorded them. If the rack tom mic wasn't turned up loud enough, or you want to mute the guitars, you can't do that, because all you have is a stereo track of everything. It's up to you to get your levels and balance and tone right before you hit record. If you are only using two mics or lines, then you will have individual control over each mic/line after recording. Commonly, you can find 2 input interfaces and use a sub-mixer taking the left/right outputs and pluging those into each channel of the interface. Some mixers will output a stereo pair into a computer as an interface, such as the Allen&Heath ZED16. If you want full control over every single input, you need to multi-track. Each mic or line that you are recording with will get it's own track in your DAW software, which you can edit and process after the fact. This gives you a lot of control over a recording, and opens up many mixing options, and also many more issues. Interfaces that facilitate multitracking include Presonus FireStudio, Focusrite Scarlett interfaces, etc. There are some mixers that are also interfaces, such as the Presonus StudioLive 16, but these are very expensive. There are core-card interfaces as well, these will plug in directly to your motherboard via PCI or PCI-Express slots. Protools HD is a core-card interface and requires more hardware than just the card to work. I would recommend steering clear of these until you have a firm grasp of signal chain and digital audio, as there are more affordable solutions that will yield similar results in a home-environment.

DAW - Digital Audio Workstation

I've talked a lot about theory, hardware, signal chain, etc... but we need a way to interpret this data. First off what does a DAW do? Some refer to them as DAE's (Digital Audio Editors). You could call it a virtual mixing board , however that isn't entirely correct. DAWs allow you to record, control, mix and manipulate independant audio signals. You can change their volume, add effects, splice and dice tracks, combine recorded audio with MIDI-generated audio, record MIDI tracks and much much more. In the old days, when studios were based around large consoles, the actual audio needed to be recorded onto some kind of medium - analog tape. The audio signals passed through the boards, and were printed onto the tape, and the tape decks were used to play back the audio, and any cutting, overdubbing etc. had to be done physically on the tape. With a DAW, your audio is converted into 1's and 0's through the converters on your interface when you record, and so computers and their harddiscs have largely taken the place of reel-to-reel machines and analog tape.
Here is a list of commonly used DAWs in alphabetical order: ACID Pro Apple Logic Cakewalk SONAR Digital Performer FL (Fruity Loops) Studio (only versions 8 and higher can actually record Audio I believe) GarageBand PreSonus Studio One Pro Tools REAPER Propellerhead Reason (version 6 has combined Reason and Record into one software, so it now is a full audio DAW. Earlier versions of Reason are MIDI based and don't record audio) Propellerhead Record (see above) Steinberg Cubase Steinberg Nuendo
There are of course many more, but these are the main contenders. [Note that not all DAWs actually have audio recording capabilities (All the ones I listed do, because this thread is about audio recording), because many of them are designed for applications like MIDI composing, looping, etc. Some are relatively new, others have been around for a while, and have undergone many updates and transformations. Most have different versions, that cater to different types of recording communities, such as home recording/consumer or professional.
That's a whole lot of choices. You have to do a lot of research to understand what each one offers, what limitations they may have etc... Logic, Garageband and Digital Performer for instance are Mac-only. ACID Pro, FL Studio and SONAR will only run on Windows machines. Garageband is free and is even pre-installed on every Mac computer. Most other DAWs cost something.
Reaper is a standout. A non-commercial license only costs $60. Other DAWs often come bundled with interfaces, such as ProTools MP with M-Audio interfaces, Steinberg Cubase LE with Lexicon Interfaces, Studio One with Presonus Interfaces etc. Reaper is a full function, professional, affordable DAW with a tremendous community behind it. It's my recommendation for everyone, and comes with a free trial. It is universally compatible and not hardware-bound.
You of course don't have to purchase a bundle. Your research might yield that a particular interface will suit your needs well, but the software that the same company offers or even bundles isn't that hot. As a consumer you have a plethora of software and hardware manufacturers competing for your business and there is no shortage of choice. One thing to think about though is compatability and customer support. With some exceptions, technically you can run most DAWs with most interfaces. But again, don't just assume this, do your research! Also, some DAWs will run smoother on certain interfaces, and might experience problems on others. It's not a bad thing to assume that if you purchase the software and hardware from the same company, they're at least somewhat optimized for eachother. In fact, ProTools, until recently would only run on Digidesign (now AVID) and M-Audio interfaces. While many folks didn't like being limited to their hardware choices to run ProTools, a lot of users didn't mind, because I think that at least in part it made ProTools run smoother for everyone, and if you did have a problem, you only had to call up one company. There are many documented cases where consumers with software and hardware from different companies get the runaround:
Software Company X: "It's a hardware issue, call Hardware Company Z". Hardware Company Z: "It's a software issue, call Software Company X".
Another thing to research is the different versions of softwares. Many of them have different versions at different pricepoints, such as entry-level or student versions all the way up to versions catering to the pros. Cheaper versions come with limitations, whether it be a maximum number of audio tracks you can run simultaneously, plug-ins available or supported Plug-In formats and lack of other features that the upper versions have. Some Pro versions might require you to run certain kinds of hardware. I don't have time nor the will to do research on individual DAW's, so if any of you want to make a comparison of different versions of a specific DAW, be my guest! In the end, like I keep stressing - we each have to do our own research.
A big thing about the DAW that it is important to note is this: Your signal chain is your DAW. It is the digital representation of that chain and it is important to understand it in order to properly use that DAW. It is how you route the signal from one spot to another, how you move it through a sidechain compressor or bus the drums into the main fader. It is a digital representation of a large-format recording console, and if you don't understand how the signal gets from the sound source to your monitor (speaker), you're going to have a bad time.

Playback - Monitors are not just for looking at!

I've mentioned monitors several times and wanted to touch on these quickly: Monitors are whatever you are using to listen to the sound. These can be headphones, powered speakers, unpowered speakers, etc. The key thing here is that they are accurate. You want a good depth of field, you want as wide a frequency response as you can get, and you want NEARFIELD monitors. Unless you are working with a space that can put the monitor 8' away from you, 6" is really the biggest speaker size you need. At that point, nearfield monitors will reproduce the audio frequency range faithfully for you. There are many options here, closed back headphones, open back headphones, studio monitors powered, and unpowered (require a separate poweramp to drive the monitor). For headphones, I recommend AKG K271, K872, Sennheiser HD280 Pro, etc. There are many options, but if mixing on headphones I recommend spending some good money on a set. For Powered Monitors, there's really only one choice I recommend: Kali Audio LP-6 monitors. They are, dollar for dollar, the best monitors you can buy for a home studio, period. These things contend with Genelecs and cost a quarter of the price. Yes, they still cost a bit, but if you're going to invest, invest wisely. I don't recommend unpowered monitors, as if you skimp on the poweramp they lose all the advantages you gain with monitors. Just get the powered monitors if you are opting for not headphones.

Drum Mic'ing Guide, I'm not going to re-create the wheel.


That's all for now, this has taken some time to put together (a couple hourse now). I can answer other questions as they pop up. I used a few sources for the information, most notably some well-put together sections on the Pearl Drummers Forum in the recording section. I know a couple of the users are no longer active there, but if you see this and think "Hey, he ripped me off!", you're right, and thanks for allowing me to rip you off!

A couple other tips that I've come across for home recording:
You need to manage your gain/levels when recording. Digital is NOT analog! What does this mean? You should be PEAKING (the loudest the signal gets) around -12dB to -15dB on your meters. Any hotter than that and you are overdriving your digital signal processors.
What sound level should my master bus be at for Youtube?
Bass Traps 101
Sound Proofing 101
submitted by M3lllvar to drums [link] [comments]

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