World Latest News

Going to work (Help)

World News Reddit - 4 hours 50 min ago

I am kind of new to this and I feel like its my last chance. I need help and I don't know where to go. I've been diagnosed with bipolar 1, and Today is my 2nd day of work (Technically my 4th but I called in the first 2 days) I love my new job, but I have the hardest time to go, not because its a job... But I cant eat anymore, I have to force myself, I throw up every morning before work, and I just break down in crazy erratic emotions before and during the day.

I cant lose this job, But I feel the world is resting on my shoulders for me to go to work and thats heavy. I'm breaking down and getting panic attacks by just thinking of going to work in 2 hours.

I need help, I feel alone and everyone just tells "Just go to work and you'll be fine after" But I'm never fine after and when they say that I really can't go! It gets harder! What do I do...

submitted by /u/toddiePottie to r/bipolar
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Categories: World Latest News

Why did the indigenous people of the new world die of disease and the African slaves taken there didn’t?

World News Reddit - 4 hours 50 min ago

As far as I’m aware the diseases they mostly died from came from Europeans that arrived there. And as far as I’m aware the slaves were mostly from West Africa, which is separated from Europe by a desert so there could not of been enough contact previously to of become immune to the diseases.

submitted by /u/ErMerrGerd to r/NoStupidQuestions
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Categories: World Latest News

[OC] The HEL Jumper [Chapter 79]

World News Reddit - 4 hours 51 min ago

Previous | First


A/N: Good morning one and all! I'd like to begin today by drawing everyone's attention to this amazing piece by /u/llyon_matthew which was produced for the community free of charge. Go shower him with love either here or on the discord because he very much deserves it! High five to /u/osolodo for first comment on 78. Now then I want everyone to find themselves a good chair, grab your popcorn, brew your coffee, get a beer, or whatever you feel like doing because ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls...


‘I grow increasingly worried that your hypothesis was correct sir,’ Io said as they knelt before yet another mangled body, this one slumped awkwardly against a tree.

“What, because the last four weren’t enough to convince you?” Winters shot back harshly as he punched the trunk with a fist, leaving Io silent and looking most hurt. Winters took a deep breath and stood to his full height. “I’m sorry Io. I haven’t seen the sun for days, I’m always cold, the legs are starting to burn, we can’t see shit in this snow, and this bastard keeps leaving us presents…ah those aren’t excuses. I was out of line. I’m sorry,” he apologized. Io took it in stride.

‘Apology accepted sir. Though your vitals are all still well within acceptable parameters I understand that these past few days have been most stressful and uncomfortable. There have been many moments since I gained sapience where I wished I had a body of my own. Now is certainly not one of them. Your armor is quite comfortable from my perspective,’ she ended with a thin smile.

“Well at least one of us is still having a good time,” he replied sourly, giving her a smile in return to ensure she knew he wasn’t blaming her for his bad mood. “Anyway, what do you make of all of this Io? We’ve been getting closer.” Io nodded and threw up a large map of the forest. It was hardly detailed but the point was clear enough. She’d marked out their approximate distance travelled and stopping point each morning.

‘As you can see, both us and the ursae decided to tail the remaining nomads, which ended up having us travel almost directly north for a couple of days. Since the massacre the ursae has headed to the west.’

“Well that’s some small comfort. If we can end this soon Veera and the others will have a shorter distance to travel,” Winters remarked, glancing over at the small point that marked their location as well as a wide area just to the west of them where Io was attempting to pinpoint the ursae’s location. Over the past two days the cloud cover had grown denser and the snows thicker. That night there was ample wind as well, whipping at his cloak and tugging at his survival pack. “Gods damn it all, this visibility is awful.”

‘I believe you should ready yourself sir,’ Io advised darkly, her brow furrowed as she tried her hardest to make out anything she could through the almost blizzard conditions.

“It’s here?!” Winters almost shouted, drawing his pistol.

‘No sir, but I believe it will not wait long if it intends to ever force a confrontation with us.’

“Why is that Io?” Winters asked darkly, already feeling his head moving back and forth like a search light, scanning for absolutely anything out of place. His spine tingled in the darkness, snow and wind causing movements and shadows to jump at him everywhere. He’d rarely, if ever, felt so vulnerable in the Aegis.

‘I don’t think it has the ability to outrun us, and I believe it understands that,’ Io began. ‘Barring the fact that humans are exceptional long distance trackers, the beast has recently eaten a tremendous amount of food. For the last two days since you challenged it, it has been engaged in what I would consider a tactical retreat. Look around us sir, we have crossed the border of its territory.’

“No offense Io, but I didn’t exactly see a demarcation line,” Winters offered sarcastically.

‘Ugh…du barbar. You soldier types are always willing to run in and bash something over the head but unwilling to stop and see the forest for the trees,’ Io lamented, shaking her head and waving her hand to indicate the woods around them. ‘Don’t you see?’

“I can’t see a whole lot of anything right now Io!” Winters retorted, growing impatient and on edge. Every few seconds he checked Io’s ursae monitor, the magnitude of the bars growing ever larger as they walked on. The frequency with which the signal was dropping entirely was making his stomach knot with apprehension. “Get to the point!”

‘The trees here are massive and have large spaces between them sir. I believe we are in territory that this ursae, or perhaps more than one of them, have been curating for some time. Most saplings are likely destroyed while the surviving ones grow large and free of other competitors. No matter what size estimate for this beast ends up being correct, it needs a ton of space to maneuver.’

“So it made its own space,” Winters said, almost awestruck as he remembered how the forest itself had practically been destroyed around the nomad camp. He didn’t feel like putting his pistol away anymore so he held onto it, keeping it at rest by his side as they walked on, both of their voices showing myriad signs of stress.

‘Yes sir, and it’s warned us to stay away as a first resort, though I get the uneasy feeling that we’re quickly forcing it into plan B.’

“Why bother though? Why not just kill us?” Winters asked, pleased that the ursae had not taken that route as of yet.

‘As you said sir, our ability to sneak up on it would not constitute the element of surprise in this case. Instead, our very existence is the element of surprise. To use an example you’re likely familiar with, the ursae is the undisputed bully of the Maran playground. Now, suddenly, a new individual has appeared that refuses to cower in fear and slink through the trees to avoid it. It likely thinks itself superior, if it considers such things at a conscious level at all, but it doesn’t know that it’s superior. That, in and of itself, is an advantage.’

“Right, and I’m sure it doesn’t want to fight on a full stomach,” Winters agreed with Io’s point from earlier. “So what you’re saying is that since we clearly haven’t heeded its warnings and it’s now retreated to friendly territory, it might decide that now is the time?” At that moment Io’s sensors went dark and stayed that way. Both of them froze. “God fucking damnit I really need to keep my mouth shut,” Winters whispered, watching Io as she frantically worked to try to resolve any sort of bead on their prey…or was it their hunter? He began turning slowly in place, doing his best to lend his own eyes to Io’s efforts. When many seconds went by and no detection occurred, Winters felt his body come alive with fear of the unknown and the beast in the night. He rapidly holstered his pistol and knelt to the ground, practically throwing his spear and survival pack off of his shoulders. It wasn’t that he didn’t trust Zolta’s craftsmanship, but now wasn’t the time for games. A stray claw could hook under the straps or shatter the wooden shaft. He had much more faith in his guns and sword. What he didn’t have faith in was his visibility, taking a stand once more and scanning his surroundings, shield drawn and raised against his front. If the ursae was really planning to attack them it couldn’t have chosen a better night. Io was sweating and becoming increasingly desperate on his HUD as her projection kept looking anxiously between various displays.

‘I can’t…I can’t find it sir! It was right there just a second ago. There’s too much wind…too much snow! I…oh gods…oh gods we’re going to die aren’t we?’ Io cried as her biology finally caught up with her and her survival instincts overwhelmed subroutines devoted to calculations, sensors, and other higher level functions. It was like her processers were screaming at her to get out. ‘Sir, please run! I don’t…I don’t want to die!’ She wailed, falling to her knees as Winters tried to keep his own mind steady. He could feel the cold sweat dripping down his neck, his heart hammering practically outside of his own chest. ‘Bitte…ich will nicht sterben.’

Winters allowed himself to close his eyes for a single breath. “Io, look at me,” he demanded, continuing to scan around them as best he could. Every tree and snow drift felt like it could somehow be hiding their pursuer. The frightened woman did so, trying to calm herself but finding it nigh impossible. “I know you can feel it, feel how utterly terrified I am right now,” he said, voice straining against his own vocal cords, coming out raspy and shaky. It was true, she could feel it. She could feel how fast and hard his heart was beating, sense how rapidly his breath was coming, see how enlarged his pupils were. His body was doing everything it could to prepare itself for a fight to the death and yet he remained poised, turning slowly in the snow with his shield raised, waiting for the first sign of the enemy to determine what weapon to grasp with his right hand. His legs were coiled and ready to spring, his fingers flexing constantly in and out of a fist. “I don’t want to die either Io. And I don’t want you to die. For us though that doesn’t mean running, doing what our bodies want to do. It means standing and fighting,” he told her, swallowing hard as he began to step slowly towards one of the massive trees nearby, not bothering to take his other equipment with him. If he died now he’d never need it again. Io began flickering, but through it he thought he could see the fear in her eyes dim a bit. When she resolved into a clear image she managed to stand, the action earning her the smallest twitch of his lips.

‘Then I…I will stand and fight with you. And if you die I will die with you,’ she promised shakily. The briefest of glances over to her image told him all he needed to know in spite of her uncertain voice. She was as ready as she ever would be. He could barely express what it meant to him to not be alone in that moment.

“Thank you…partner.” Io materialized her armor and weapons at his words, reactivating her detection protocols. She gazed up at him for just a moment, allowing herself the smallest sanctuary in the blizzard.

‘Ich liebe sie, Lieutenant,’ she whispered. Feeling a hundred emotions at once course through her as his face changed in response to her tone of voice. She never heard his reply. ‘Sir! From the right!’ Everything went red on Winters’ HUD as he dived and rolled for his life, the ground and snow suddenly trembling around him as a massive volume of air above his body was displaced. ‘Oh my gods…oh my gods!’ Io cried.

“We’re still alive, focus!” Winters yelled, scrambling to his feet and whipping around to face their attacker where it had finally arrested the momentum of its sudden charge. “Oh…my god.”

‘Sir…ist das ein kolossaler Weltraumbär?’ Io asked, mouth agape.

“What? English only during a firefight Io!”

‘Is that a colossal space bear?!’ She yelled, trying to scan the monstrosity for all she was worth. Winters could do naught but shake his head.

“Yeah Io, it’s a colossal fucking space bear. And we’re gonna kill it!” Winters roared, blood humming in his ears as he holstered his shield and grabbed his rifle, immediately taking aim at the creature’s eyes. Like the rest of it they were pitch black, but with the minimal distance he was more than able to target them. The beast had skidded to a halt about ten yards away from them before turning to face its rather elusive quarry. For a moment Winters held his fire and Io stared in disbelief. It was watching them without moving, its absolutely massive paws keeping it from sinking into the snow.

‘Why do I get the feeling that nothing has ever dodged its attack before now?’ Io asked rhetorically.

“Oh we’re going to do much more than that!” Winters growled, pulling the trigger and sending a three round burst straight at the ursae’s left eyes. He’d needed to aim slightly above parallel as the sheer height of the beast, Io’s readings indicated about fifteen feet at the apex of its spinal curve, meant that its head rested almost fully above him. “God damn you’re ugly!” Winters yelled as his first shot struck home, causing the ursae to open its jaws wide in a deafening roar. The living item was even more horrifying than the skull back in Ratha’s temple. The skin of its cheeks and that between the mandibles of the lower jaw stretched tight as the beast cried out in pain and rage, turning from what had looked like some massive, grizzled beard into the opening of a cavernous maw lined with teeth that would surely grip and shred if it ever got a hold of him. He didn’t even want to think about how most of them looked larger than his forearm, to say nothing of the size of the maw itself. Instead he fired off two more bursts. The first was completely swallowed by the beast’s throat while the second went high as the beast leaped at him with surprising speed, the bullets impacting the area between the shoulder blades and above the head. “Oh of course it’s fucking bullet resistant!” Winters cried out as he hit the dirt again, firing off another couple of rounds from his back only to see them swallowed into darkness. The ursae showed no signs of complaint beyond the wounds to the left side of its face. Whatever damage had been done to its eyes had clearly not extended past the orbital socket.

‘I’m sorry I said that!’ Io yelled as she continued to try to gather data on the leviathan, looking every which way as the beast turned to them yet again. Her hunt for any sort of weakness was not going well.

“What?!” Winters shot back.

‘Back when we landed I jinxed it!’

“Irrelevant! Just tell me where to shoot!”

‘The other eyes!’

“Yeah I would but are you seeing this?!” Winters complained loudly, taking aim but finding his line of fire constantly disrupted by the ursae. Having suffered two failed blitz attacks the beast was clearly taking stock and planning its next move, making sure to keep its wounded eyes facing him while rocking its head back and forth. Winters couldn’t get a clear shot at the other two. “Fucking damnit!” The HEL Jumper fired off a couple more bursts but they seemed to not do anything at all, even though he’d aimed them right at the middle of the skull. All he earned for his efforts was a loud grunt of discontent and a stronger shake of the ursae’s massive skull. The beast was shifting its weight back and forth on its paws as it contemplated what to do, its arms and legs sticking out partially from the sides of its body. Its feet were simply too large to be fully contained underneath the thing.

‘Uh…keep trying?’ Io encouraged, not knowing what else they could do. ‘Maybe you’ll find a weak spot?’

“If shooting it in the mouth didn’t do it, I think the weak spots are all really far on the inside,” Winters lamented, pulling the trigger and firing off the remainder of his clip into various points on the ursae including the feet, legs, shoulders, and back. All that served to do was take the animal from a state of irritation to rage as it staggered before charging him anew, rearing up just short of his position to arrest its momentum, intending to use reach instead of speed to subdue him. “Shit it’s fast!” Winters yelled, diving onto his side. He looked up just in time to see that he’d not gone far enough; the ursae was able to partially correct its downward trajectory given it was firmly planted on its hind legs. With the sounds of Io’s screams in his ears Winters tucked and rolled as fast and far as he could through the snow, abandoning his rifle to be crushed under the broad paws of the beast. Without his weapon the scramble to stand upright was made slightly easier, but he still struggled against the snows as his legs burned with the effort. “Damn, I wish I had fucking snowshoes for feet right about now,” he raged as he stood upright, finding himself far closer to the ursae than he wanted to be. He could make out the faint tracks of blood in the snow from its wounded eyes, but his attention was quickly pulled elsewhere as the ursae opened its mouth and lunged for him, the maw swallowing almost all of his field of vision.

‘Look out!’ Io shouted as he pivoted and tried to dive again, lunging to his left. A lance of pure and abject terror arced through him as the movement of his tailing right arm was arrested violently. Whipping his head around they found his right gauntlet caught between rows of massive teeth, the clamping hold already gouging the metal and threatening to lift him off his feet. He had fractions of seconds to react.

“Io, pop the seals now!” Winters roared, drawing his knife and stabbing up high into one of the remaining good eyes the beast had, hoping to get in as much damage as possible if he was stuck next to the thing. The satisfying feeling of his blade sinking into soft tissue was short lived as the ursae screamed in pain, a sound so furious he thought it was echoing inside his head. He never got a chance to try for the last eye as the beast thrashed its head back and forth in an attempt to subdue and crush him like a ragdoll. The force would have ripped his arm clean off but Io had obeyed his orders immediately, the force of the ursae instead sending him flying as his right hand slipped from its armor, leaving the gauntlet behind to fall from the beast’s massive jaws.

‘Bracing for impact!’ Io yelled, encouraging Winters to do the same. He cradled his now unprotected forelimb to his body as best he could, landing heavily in the snow before rolling to a stop as the breath was forced from his lungs. ‘Are you alright sir?!’ Io asked urgently. ‘Please hurry! He’s coming again!’ His head still spinning from the crash, Winters willed his body to move, muscles straining to work in synchrony as he climbed to his feet and sprinted for the relative shelter of a massive, nearby tree. ‘If you’re trying to play hide and seek sir I’d like to remind you that this thing is nocturnal and probably doesn’t need its eyes at all to- Eep!’ Io’s eyes almost left her sockets as a massive paw wrapped around the tree from behind them in an attempt to crush them against the trunk. Winters reacted on instinct with his pistol already in hand, the cold metal burning his unprotected fingers. With the scream of a man who refused to die with unspent ammunition on his body, he slumped down as low as he could and unloaded rapidly into the underside of the ursae’s right foot, yelling like a berserker as he saw the rough skin on the bottom of the main pad finally give way after the third round. As the fourth round finally found purchase in the exposed flesh and detonated the paw recoiled further and another roar deafened them, echoing through the surrounding forests.

“That’s what I’m talking about!” Winters yelled, elation immediately cut short as the other side of tree was assaulted by furious, heavy blows.

‘Talking about what? Angering it more?! It’s still using both of its paws!’ Io yelled as bark and wood chips rained around them, the creaking and groaning of wood beginning to fill their ears with dread. The shower of detritus only stopped when the ursae was satisfied, rearing up to place both of its paws on the tree. ‘Shit, shit, shiiiit!’

“You’re telling me?!” Winters barked, spinning off the tree to his right and finding himself under the beast as it finished felling the massive trunk. Seeing an opportunity, Winters allowed the half-filled magazine to drop from his pistol, loading up a new one and immediately kneeling down and taking aim at the ankle of the paw he’d already shot at. His world shook as the tree toppled to the earth and the ursae landed back on all fours above him, its midnight black fur blotting out everything, even the swirling snow. Between its size and the momentary distraction the beast lost sight of him, though it quickly determined his position anew as rounds from Winters pistol began impacting the back of its leg. “C’mon, c’mon!” Winters pleaded as he fired at what he hoped was the skin just above a vital tendon or ligament. The first five shots only gave him small flashes of light and the smell of burning fur, but eventually the tough hide gave way and he was able to sink multiple bullets into flesh in the span of a second or two. By the time his trigger clicked to signify an empty magazine, Winters was sure he’d succeeded in his goal of crippling the leg. He paid dearly for it. The flaring pain from its ankle was more than enough to cause the ursae to begin flailing about in a wounded rage, the beast unable to comprehend how something so small could inflict so much damage without being killed. Its injured paw caught Winters square in the chest on a backswing, the sickening sound of shredding armor filling the air as massive claws raked across his front. Any happiness Winters might have felt at the paw size overestimating the size of the beast was quickly eradicated by the sheer force of the blow. He was lifted easily off of the ground, the pistol knocked well clear of his grasp and into the snow. Winters saw stars as he careened through the snow and darkness, finally impacting the ground in an uncontrolled roll that was stopped by another tree trunk, the twin impacts leaving his body aching and bruised. He couldn’t help the pathetic, pained cry that left his mouth.

“Io…” He gasped, trying desperately to move his body. “Damage…” Though horrified and looking at him with a mixture of sorrow, fear, and awe, Io responded rapidly as her avatar flickered and flashed.

‘No major fractures, possible cracked ribs and internal bleeding, serious contusions likely if we survive. Main processor hit, back plating cracked, computational power severely compromised…’ Io trailed off for a moment and she looked away from him. ‘Shutting down major functions to maintain ability to simulate and process battlefield solutions.’

“NO!” Winters let out a strangled cry as he rolled onto his stomach, hands sinking into the snow as he desperately tried to push himself upright through the pain that seemed to infuse his entire body. “You can’t…leave me! Together…” he managed, using the tree as a crutch as he finally stood, finding his shield no longer on his back and his sword lying nearby. He knelt down and clutched it in his grasp, sucking down air through the pain in his chest as he stood again on shaking legs. Io had remained still; debating which course of action would put her operator in more danger, her programming at war with itself. “I need you here. Not my VI…you.” Winters insisted as he stepped forward, a small amount of relief washing over him as Io refused to fade away.

‘Yes sir,’ she whispered faintly, a profound and unintelligible look in her eyes.

“We promised we’d kill it together. Now let’s fucking kill it!” He growled, stalking forward unsteadily as the ursae tried to recover its own position. Though it had effectively evened the fight with a single blow, Winters at least still had both eyes working and both of his legs. The ursae couldn’t say that. Its right paw remained cradled under its body, guarded by its left as it watched him and snapped his jaws whenever he moved. As Winters continued his approach, seeing the handle of his knife jutting from one of the ursae’s eye sockets, the beast pushed itself upright as best it could, unwilling to surrender and unwilling to allow its prey free reign of the battlefield. With a roar it lumbered at him, trying and failing to stay upright before careening over onto its right side, its leg failing to hold its massive weight. In a flash Winters was there, his body screaming in protest as he opened up the bottom of the ursae’s mouth as far as his sword could. Hot blood poured onto his glove and hand as the beast screamed and snapped, catching only air as Winters jumped back again.

“I couldn’t even reach the roof of its mouth. Damnit!” He cursed, looking down at his now crimson blade. The blood on his hand was rapidly turning cold, steaming in the frosty air.

‘Your spear sir!’ Io cried. ‘It’s the longest weapon we possess!’

“Can you find my pistol?” He asked instead, trying to get his bearings and figure out where he’d left his pack. His head was still spinning, the trees around him refusing to stand straight. He stumbled away from the ursae as its pained yowls continued, but he didn’t hear any signs that it was rising to attack again. With Io making sure it didn’t get back up he finally reached his supplies and grabbed his spear, wondering if he had any chance of actually killing the thing. One false step around its mouth and he was still dead.

‘Sir I’ve tried but I can’t locate something that small in these conditions, not with my body compromised like this,’ Io informed him sadly. Winters shook his head.

“It’s not your fault Io,” he said simply before turning to pace back towards the massive monster that had struggled partially upright yet again, this time keeping almost all of its weight on its left forepaw. He shifted his course of attack as he did so, stepping one leg over another to move right and then left. Even with one eye the ursae had no trouble tracking him with its head, content now to wait and possibly counter his attacks if he came close. Though there was a lot of blood staining the snow beneath it the beast showed little sign of fatigue, the blood loss barely an issue given its size. The ursae adopted a defensive position and stared him down, crouched and waiting, its fur on end and extended to increase its apparent size to maximum. Winters blinked twice as a memory flashed to the fore of his mind, another time he’d been in significant pain in the middle of a fight against a large opponent. “Are you ready?” He asked.

‘Yes.’ Io nodded and hefted her axe, marshalling her fears as she felt the smallest amount of peace come over Winters via his vitals. He was confident they would win, and so she would be too. ‘Let’s end this.’ With a nod, Winters bellowed with everything he had and charged straight at the ursae, his actions eliciting a mighty roar in reply. He moved as fast as he could through the snow, watching the paws intently to see which would be the first to move. As soon as he saw the wounded right paw lift from the ground he knew the approximate height he’d have to reach, leaping forward into a feet first dive that had him sink into the snow just under the wounded swipe of the massive, clawed paw. The butt of the spear was thin enough to sink into the snow and reach the ground, providing an anchor point from which Winters could reach his feet easily again by pushing against his weapon. As he stood he found himself directly under the beast’s maw. Before the paw could swipe back Winters tightened his grip and thrust up with all that he had, feeling the metal point of the weapon slip easily through the wound he’d made with his sword and up into the unprotected roof of the ursae’s mouth. He cried out like an animal as he pushed harder, feeling another thick membrane give way. With his palm on the butt of the weapon Winters gave one final push, sinking the entire length of his spear back and up into the ursae’s skull cavity, his gauntleted arm finding itself swallowed completely by the ursae’s mouth. Instead of a roar a bloody gurgle met his ears as Io began waving frantically at him.

‘Sir! Multi-ton death monster about to fall on us!’

“Moving!” He yelled, insisting his legs act one final time before completely giving out on him as he turned and leaped for safety, the body of the ursae collapsing onto its crippled side and slamming into the ground. “Io, status!”

‘It’s not…moving? It’s not moving. We did it…sir, we did it!’ Io declared triumphantly, jumping into the air and throwing her projection at him as if to hug him. Her utter enthusiasm was enough to get him off the ground in spite of the lactic acid burning through his muscles. Everything hurt, his body bruised and battered from the colossal hit he’d taken, but he was still alive. He turned to face what he’d wrought. Before him lay a towering mass of fur, flesh, and bone. A thin drip of blood could be seen running from between the thing’s jaws as its head lolled to the side, its final eye dark, lifeless, and unmoving. Winters couldn’t help himself in that moment, abandoning any sort of identity as a member of a proud, interstellar race of beings to simply throw his arms back and yell to the sky.

“AAAAAAAAHHHHHH…RRRRRRAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGHHHHH!” Io presently joined him between heaving breaths, finding the Aegis’ speakers still functional and activating them. For a minute the two of them yelled themselves hoarse, bathing themselves in the primal satisfaction of a victorious hunt against all odds, of killing something no one had killed in generations. Their battlecry echoed far and wide through the trees and the snow, a challenge to anything else on that planet that would dare defy them. When Winters finally slumped forward, body and voice exhausted, he looked at Io.

“I love you too.”

‘Wha- wha- wha- what?!’ Io spluttered as she flailed about and fell on her backside, earning a scratchy laugh from her partner.

“I may not know German Io, but that much was obvious. You still mean it now that your life isn’t in direct peril?” He asked in a raspy voice before winking at her.

‘You make this utterly impossible, du barbar. But yes…I do still love you.’

“Is that alright?” Winters inquired uncertainly. “I don’t…”

‘I do not mean like that, sir. I mean it in the way that a machine loves her human.’ Winters felt his arms go limp at his sides, turning his head for emphasis as he looked at her.

“And what way is that?”

‘If you don’t know, don’t worry about it. How about we, you know, send up the flare?!’ She suggested impatiently, cheeks flushed red with embarrassment, happiness, and relief to still be among the living. For a few minutes the two of them surveyed the area, collecting the scattered pieces of Winters’ gear. Without a massive creature trying to kill them the process went by smoothly, except for the spear which remained very much lodged inside their kill. Even the pistol was eventually retrieved from a nearby snow drift.

“Io, I don’t mean to cause a crisis again,” Winters began as he dug through his survival pack and withdrew the red flare gun. “But won’t this thing get obscured in the clouds?”

‘Partially, yes. One calculation shouldn’t be too difficult though sir, a second please,’ Io requested as she sat down at a desk and began scribbling away. She’d changed again, looking prim, proper, and definitely not as though she’d just fought for her life against an ursae. Leaving her to it, Winters drew his sword and approached his kill, finally taking the time to truly appreciate the size of the beast he’d just slain. His only regret was that they’d never get a real reading on the thing’s weight. Given all he’d been through since being stranded on the planet he figured that, at least, would be a fun little statistic to bring back with him if he ever got a ride off-world.

“So Io, what got damaged in the fight?” He asked worriedly, thrusting hard into the underside of the beast’s neck with his sword and cutting a gap from which he hoped to drain much of the blood from the animal so as to preserve as much meat as possible. Unlike the skin around the mandibles the rest of the hide was very thick and required most of his full strength to slice through. Io looked up from her work.

‘My main processor was crushed sir…’ Io trailed off and developed a faraway look in her eyes. ‘Were it not for your unorthodox choices of equipment I would have never been born. And now, without them, I would have died.’ He glanced over at her and smiled sadly.

“And I was the only one to make it off the Lancer. We did it Jess…I hope you got to see that,” he finished, eyes becoming unfocused and glossy.

‘We are lucky people, aren’t we?’ Io asked softly.

“We are, Io. All the more reason to keep living. You have that solution?”

‘Yes sir, the following is the minimum height the flare will need to achieve in order to be seen from Veera’s village given my best approximation of our distance from it as the crow flies. It should be just below the current cloud cover, give or take a few dozen feet.’

“Great. Thanks Io.” Winters wiped his blade in the snow, satisfied with his work. A steadily growing, dark red cavity in the white powder marked where the ursae’s lifeblood was leaving its neck. Returning his blade to his back Winters set the dial on his flare gun, pointed it to the sky between the branches of the trees, and fired. A thin trail of smoke was left behind in the wake of the flare before a blindingly bright light lit the snowy skies above. Io had to dim his HUD to compensate. When Winters looked back down he noticed she’d added a small piece back to her display now that the combat and hunt had ended. Winters’ heart beat hard as he remembered his broken promise, thankful beyond words that he would be given his chance to make it up to the Cauthan he loved. -2 days to Christmas.

“Sorry I’m late but…” he reached up to touch the space above his mauled chest plate, feeling his fingers run through deep ridges that had saved his life to finally clasp around the small bands of metal. They’d survived. “Merry Christmas Veera.”


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submitted by /u/SabatonBabylon to r/HFY
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Categories: World Latest News

Interview with Bob Rodgers.

World News Reddit - 4 hours 52 min ago

This article interviews Bob Rogers, retired Distinguished Engineer at IBM:

While the whole article is good there are two points that stand out to me:

1) The importance of mentoring and developing new talent interested in the mainframe.

2) The need for people to be PR representatives of the platform.

There is a lot of disinformation out there and we need to make sure people understand the value that the platform brings to the world.

submitted by /u/TermTlkFrank to r/mainframe
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Categories: World Latest News

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You can't do that': Why Ronaldo deserved red

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"Absurd," "wrong" and "scandalous" screamed the Italian sports newspapers in their analysis of Cristiano Ronaldo's sending off against Valencia.
Categories: World Latest News