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(OC) War Isn't Hell, Part 10

2018.02.25 04:37 MachDhai (OC) War Isn't Hell, Part 10

Yeah. Was really long. So this is really just part nine, second half.
Edit: Finally got around to editing for spelling and such. Some of it, at least. And yes dang it, I may have to break down and buy Word one of these days. Open Office is great, but the spelling/grammar check just ain't cutting it.
Cpl Rai worked fast. Despite being a bit on the short side, especially compared to Axelton and Albertson, the pair of Norse-lineage (un)bearded giants that they were, he was quite familiar with working in rough terrain, and he swept through the half-destroyed building's first two floors fast.
Even as he moved through the first and second floor, the sounds of a fire-fight at the hole they had entered through had begun; a brief opening salvo as the enemy likely had sought to rush in, which quickly dwindled to a tentative exchange of pot-shots. A glance at the floor below himself revealed the Sgt and the others were still alive, and he didn't need the vitals readouts to know Albertson and Bell weren't likely to last the night without enemy action, let alone the risk of the immobilized soldiers simply being shot or overrun.
He had found and flagged locations where the Gospel troops could gain entry; the building was a wreck, but there had only been a handful on the first two floors, enough so that the squad had been able to keep eyes on each with some sense of security for the civilians.
It was as he made his way to the third floor, studying the stairwell and the support beam and piece of ceiling that blocked much of it, when he heard a sound from above. Movement, more Anostos warriors likely making their way down from the roof tops. And something else.
The first bark revealed what that other sound had been. A dog, there was no doubt about it. Weapons fire from above, and Pte Rai marked a way-point and flag on his HUD, then crawled through the hole in the rubble and made his way to the third floor.
Weapons fire, a screeching Anostos. Panicked chittering sounds, and then the heart-wrenching yelp of a wounded dog.
Corporal Agansing Rai cleared the stair well quickly, and burst into the hallway. Ahead, five Anostos towered in the large, enclosed space, and the body of a jet-black Newfoundland lay whimpering on the corpse of an Anostos.
Their attention shifted slowly from the fallen dog, only to realize that Rai was both armed, and angry. And scant meters away.
He responded faster, leaping into their midst and over the fallen Newfoundland, his SMG thudding against his shoulder as he did. He ran the magazine dry, and the nearest two Anostos fell in screeching mounds of flailing, armoured limbs. The weapon was thrown with all the force he could put behind it, too close to risk reloading.
The next Anostos in the line fended off the weapon's momentum with the stock of his own rifle, then shifted his gaze to the fast moving, comparatively tiny, warrior only to see the violent flash of light off the blade of his wickedly curved knife.
Khukuri in hand, Rai ducked low under the torso of the next Anostos. There was no battle cry, no angry yelling, and the sheer silence of his attack frightened the Anostos as much as the violence of it. The weapon flashed, in a wide ark, and Rai twisted at the hips for added momentum. The blade sliced through the Anostos' lead leg, and he followed through the momentum into a shoulder-led roll under the larger creature.
He came up behind it, on foot and knee, and took another leg in a back-handed swipe, the curved edge of the khukuri again hacking through the armoured carapace of its leg. The next in line let out a wordless screech and swung its weapon at him, and he stood into its momentum to catch the falling weapon on raised forearm and shoulder with a close-armed sweep, driving its momentum aside and down to the floor, forcing the larger creature to over-extend and lean down and into Rai's reach.
The khukuri swung forward again, hacking deeply into its neck and throat, nearly severing the head in the first strike. Shielded by the near-decapitated second Anostos, he spun away from the third to the floundering first, which had stumbled against a wall as it fought to get its remaining legs under it. Another swipe of his knife, its next rear leg was severed and it fell backwards, dropping the rear of its abdomen to the floor, allowing Rai to simply step onto its back and grab its antenna'd head, wrenching it back to drag the sharpened interior-curving blade of his khukuri across its exposed throat.
The last creature, furthest back down the hallway, was on the cusp of adult-hood. And with it, the beginning of its ability for independent thought.
In fact, it had its very first independent thought of its short life to date. That it was terrified, and did not wish to be in that hallway any longer. So it turned to flee.
Rai simply unholstered his side arm, stepping off the collapsing body of the throat-sliced Anostos, resting one armoured foot on the near-severed head of the second, and emptied the magazine into the fleeing Anostos warrior.
The fight for the first floor had quickly spiralled into a close-in thing. There were too many points of entry, the interior of the structure offered too little protection from the heavier calibre rounds the Anostos soldiers fired. 2 Section's saving grace was that, although the Anostos were surprisingly agile for their size, the realities of combat inside a building worked against them.
And most of them were young yet, not capable of higher cognitive function or independent thought.
A common joke in the human military, 'we want thinking soldiers, now shut the hell up and do what you're told' would never have translated to the Gospel army. Their commanders and squad leaders were thinkers, true, but the rank and file were expected to be entirely reactionary. Do what the leaders said, do it to the letter, and do not diverge.
Human soldiers could do what they were told, but they knew when to act independently as well.
Since Cpl Rai had dropped a HUD warning marker on the third floor, Sgt Duterte hadn't seen Axelton or Flores. They were still up and fighting, as indicated both by the big Norseman's yelling and smaller Spaniard's controlled weapons fire.
Between the three of them, the Anostos had yet to have really secured a breach into the ruin's interior, despite a clear intent to do just that.
Sgt Duterte knelt behind a hole punched wall, his hands moving in fluid, thoughtless motions as he ejected a magazine and slammed his last one home in the SMG. Anostos didn't have much of a thermal reading, as he had come to learn; he wasn't well versed in alien biology, but from how warm their blood was when it spattered the walls, it must have had something to do with their exoskeleton, not their actual body temperature itself. A natural thermal camouflage of some sort.
A vitals warning suddenly flashed on his HUD; Flores had been hit, his vitals suddenly dancing all across the board before suddenly flat-lining.
Flores had been holding the link-point between Axelton and Duterte's positions, and with him down, the Gospel troops would be able to get between, and behind, the two remaining members of the section. Rai was still on the third floor somewhere, clearly dealing with his own trouble from what little telemetry their spotty comms signal was picking up.
He slid one foot forward, half leaning around the edge of the door way he was next to. An Anostos soldier was charging forward like an angry bull, and Duterte dropped it with a pair of short, controlled bursts to the charging alien's torso and abdomen.
Clear for the moment, he then spun and prepared to sprint towards Flores' last position, only to suddenly see the young private at the far end of the hallway, gesturing madly at the side of his helmet, where he had caught a round that had shattered his helmet's power supply. Flores floundered for a moment, before managing to wrench the armoured mask from his helmet to reveal the transparent aluminum face shield underneath. “I'm good! I'm good!”
Duterte grinned and managed to half-turn back towards the doorway he had been about to abandon, when the wall exploded and he was tossed from his feet.
Already weakened by the partial destruction of the building, further weakened by Anostos weapons fire, a full-grown Anostos warrior had followed its fallen comrade to charge the wall instead of the doorway, and had crashed through it with impressive force.
He was tossed back and through a hole in the opposing wall, vanishing from Flores' sight. The private brought his own weapon up and put a burst into the Anostos, then cursed as the weapon ran dry with the tell-tale click of the action firing on an empty chamber. He didn't hesitate, simply dropping the SMG and drawing a heavy-bladed cutlass.
But, instead of charging the Anostos which had tossed Duterte through the wall, he turned and launched himself at the one that had damaged his helmet and just rounded the corner to close with him. He trusted that the Sergeant would be fine alone.
Wounded by Flores' last burst, the Anostos dwindled a moment, foolishly assessing its injuries rather then the situation at hand, and didn't hear Duterte regain his feet, and his SMG.
The next into the corridor came through the doorway, over the body of its fallen companion, in time to see the wounded charger take a burst of fire to the side of its head and thorax, and the large insectoid Anostos warrior staggered through the hole it had punched through the wall and fell to its side.
The next brought its rifle up, firing blindly through the wall from where the weapons fire had come from, succeeding only at giving away its position in the hallway. Sgt Duterte appeared suddenly through the doorway of the room, rather then the hole he had been tossed through, down on one knee and leaning sharply around the wall, to fire up into the next Anostos' abdomen and thorax.
Another came through the door and he stood, stepping towards it and firing through and over its dying comrade, before his SMG finally barked its last and clacked on an empty chamber.
He cursed and dropped the SMG to instead draw pistol and bolo and charged forward. He cleared the door, the hall with its dead Anostos, and the door he had been covering, with its own dead Anostos, to burst into the room amidst two more of the towering multi-legged Anostos warriors.
A hail of shots from his side arm threw the pair off balance, but due to the larger dimensions of the room versus the hallway, the pair were able to spread out more, and he doubted more then a few shots hit the larger aliens. But, it distracted them briefly, allowing him to close with the first.
He came in close, one bold-footed step forward to throw his weight behind an over-head chop with his bolo, the slightly curved blade of the weapon chopping deeply into the taller Anostos' thorax, the thicker blade belly giving the bolo the forward weight to hack through the thick carapace of the Anostos.
A backwards step, and a back-handed swipe with the blade took the Anostos' lead leg off near the torso, and the larger creature pitched forward, off balance and in pain, and Duterte shifted his forward leg to the left, partially side-stepping the staggering Anostos to empty his sidearm into the second.
Staggered by his pistol fire, he turned his attention from the further Anostos and back to the one staggering at his side. Twisting at the hips, one leg stepping between two of its, his bolo snapped down in a wide ark, hacking into its shoulder. He didn't clear its chitin-plated chest, the blade instead biting down to hack through the length of its right arm, splitting the chitin plate that entubbed the arm, before tearing clear near its elbow.
Grievously wounded, the creature dropped to the ground screeching in pain, and he charged the remaining Anostos.
Gospel of the One Truth, Holy Host of Meerkinin, Planetary Headquarters, outskirts of the capital
Cpl Wagner's suicide run had been less suicidal then he might have liked. Sure, he had achieved his primary goal of leading the One Truth troops away from Gander and the Eomsue kids, and he was pretty sure he had fucked the bastards up right good. Turned out they weren't fond of how loud and aggressive an old style shotgun could be in an enclosed space. Not that their rifles were quiet, but nothing quite compared to the bark of a chemical-propellant 12 gauge slug.
But they'd caught up to him in the end, and he was certain he had died when his vision went dark and pain was tearing his mind apart.
Nothing could be easy, however. He wasn't dead, but he had been wounded, knocked unconscious, and taken alive. Only to wake up in some shit-hole holding cell with a few other soldiers of 6th Regiment, all in some variation of the state he had been in. Or, if they were lucky, just straight up dead, likely passed away after being tossed into the cell.
What came next was far worse; it was like something out of a history book or cheesy movie. Soldiers were dragged from the holding cell, then unceremoniously stripped of their gear. There was no care given for wounds or gender; each soldier was stripped naked and carried away by Gospel clergy and staff, and the rest could do little but listen to the screams that came next.
Everyone reacted differently; angry cursing and spitting insults, sobbing, one Native American fellow who went out and never made a sound. They'd killed him outright, apparently enraged that the man had resisted them so easily.
When it was Wagner's time, he went into it laughing and joking and finished sobbing and joking. He'd already realized that they couldn't actually understand anything the human soldiers were saying; stripped of their equipment, the humans had no access to their gears translation equipment, and the Gospel clearly had no software to do the translations for them. So the entire thing was pointless.
He'd learned a few things during his visit, however. One, they were under ground. Prefab'd modules, he suspected, but definitely under ground. There had been an explosion at one point, felt and not heard, causing the lights to flicker and dust to sift down from cracks between module pieces.
Their gear was kept just outside their cells; no weapons, but their armour and clothes. And there were only two guards on the door.
And rank in the Gospel of the One Truth clearly relied on the size of one's hat, from what he could judge regarding who seemed to be in charge and who deferred to whom.
So maybe there was a god or something; because hat size seemed to be a universally important point in alien religions too.
The atmosphere among the Gospel clergy from when they dragged away the first human prisoner, to when he was being returned to the cells, seemed to have changed a fair deal. He wasn't sure what time it was, but figured it had to be night. There hadn't been any more prisoners brought in in the past few hours, which meant either that the tide had turned against them or they just weren't bothering to gather any more. Which made sense, since they couldn't talk to the humans they were torturing.
Hell, he couldn't help but guess they'd been rather lack-lustre in their work with him; he highly doubted he was some sort of bad-ass torture resistant super soldier, but his visit to their special room had been shorter then most of the others (sure, they had him crying, but he'd swear up and down that it was because they couldn't understand his awesome jokes).
On his return to the cell, he spotted two things that alarmed him; a chamber with a pile of dead humans; some had probably died of their wounds before ever arriving at the underground bunker complex. Some, well...the bastards had been thorough in their autopsies. He hoped they had been autopsies anyway; that at least implied they were dead before the bastards had started cutting into them.
The other alarming sight were a group of armed armsmen, wearing the uniforms of Gospel house guards, like what had been seen at the camps. Church soldiers. Which probably meant they were going to be putting down the few living human prisoners. Which meant his number was up.
Which meant he may as well be as much of a pain in the dick as he could before he went.
Some were working to carry the pile of gear away from the cell door, and up a nearby flight of stairs; he could only hope eventually to the surface, where a signal might get out. Before they could open the door, he tore free of his guards and fell into the pile of discarded armour, grabbing a wrist-mounted PDA from the pile and struggling to activate it.
His guards grabbed at him, and he kicked and rolled along the floor, pain lancing through his tired muscles and the fresh wounds that peppered his body. He screamed and threw obscenities at them, at the PDA, at the world in general, but was eventually over powered, the device torn away, and he was thrown into the cell.
Guards came and took more of the discarded kit, carrying it up flights of stairs and through blast doors, and eventually tossed them into a pile near the entrance to the Lord Inquisitor's consecrated temple complex.
Singing Selena, Terran Expeditionary Force
“Colonel Bryant? We've got India 6 Actual, Colonel Luong, 6th Regiment, on the horn.” Lt Wallace glanced out the back of the command post APC, and moved away from the seat when the Colonel nodded and approached.
There was no real reason the two Colonels couldn't converse directly with their built in equipment, but it was standard procedure to stay off each other's regimental communication nets, and rather work through an intermediary. It prevented butting in on allied commanders if they were busy.
The Colonel slid into the seat, and was glad for it as the low ceiling of the command vehicle left him either duck-walking through the narrow space or leaning over almost ninety degrees. Neither was terribly comfortable. “Tango 4 Actual. Send.”
“Bryant. Cut the crap, they aren't on our comms and we both know it. I've got a priority fire-mission order.”
Colonel Bryant was silent a moment, pondering the odd channel such a report was coming through. “What's changed, Luong?”
“One our MIA's (Missing in Action) just sent in a pre-recorded message. The bastards took prisoners, and the fucking egg-heads were right on how they'd be treated. Torture, exploratory surgeries. We've got a grid on their fucking bunker, and I want it gone.”
He glanced out the back of the APC, his HUD displaying the icons of 4th Armoured Regiment's indirect fire systems. “Standing orders are no artillery support in the city limits, Luong.”
“Fuck those orders. My soldiers are being cut up by these zealot fucks. I'd be sending my boys and girls in right now, but the MIAs are too far back from the line, and under ADA protection. So get those gun crews out of their fucking far-sacks, and give these ass holes hell.”
He was quiet a moment. They were all already fucked once the op was over anyway; he'd read the reports from 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Regiment's actions in the internment camps. They were all going to be up on war crimes once it was all over anyway.
“Give me the coordinates, and get some of your UAVs in the area to guide my guns in.”
4th Armoured Regiment included six self-propelled guns, the crews of which hadn't expected to see much action.
Magnetic acceleration technology had come a long way, and had long left chemically propelled munitions in their wake, minus with some hold-over technologies like rockets and missiles. But in the world of artillery, the need for charge bags and spent casings were a thing of the past (much to the lament of folks that liked using old shell casings as umbrella stands).
Crews scrambled to man the six self-propelled guns as 6th Regiment's CO (Commanding Officer) provided the coordinates of his missing troops.
The guns were unlimbered from their stowed positions, and the crews ran the power-up drills in short order. Each knew what was on the receiving end of the first guided projectiles they loaded into the chambers, and they worked with a strange mix of dedication and aggressive hurry. The sooner they fired, the better they did at it...well, some of them wouldn't sleep well with the knowledge they were firing on friendly troops, even though they understood the reason for it.
Colonel Bryant watched the crews work.
The gun barrels slowly raised towards the night sky above the ruined city.
The crews slammed projectiles into the chambers, then slaved the systems to the distant 6th Regiment UAVs. Telemetry data came in an instant, and the weapons were ready to fire.
The battery commander glanced at the Colonel, who simply nodded and turned towards the ruins.
The guns were quieter then one might have expected, likely an old bred in preconception in humans of the sound of artillery fire. It was supposed to be loud, rocking the world with the thunder of their roar, kicking up clouds of dust for tens of meters away as they punched back into the ground.
The artillery fired, and guided kinetic penetrators leapt into the night sky.
Gospel of the One Truth, Holy Host of Meerkinin, Planetary Headquarters, outskirts of the capital
Lord Inquisitor Iwy'Ska stormed into Bishop-General Wyrrukx's command post, a pair of templars staring down the Bishop-General's guards whom had refused the power-armoured templars entry to the command centre, siting them as a possible distraction and that they would 'get in the way.'
He found the Bishop-General overseeing a tactical display that was far too active for the late hour of the evening, but considering the sounds of fighting in the city ruins that had followed his trek from the temple to the command post, it came as little surprise.
What was surprising, was how much ground the Terrans had retaken during the night.
“What is the meaning of this, Wyrrukx?! When I left here, your soldiers were routing the Terrans! And now I see you've lost all the ground you retook in a few short hours?!”
Bishop-General Wyrrukx turned away from the display to study the Oekugh Lord Inquisitor. He was growing tired of the anarchy the little bastard's Inquisitors had sewn among his troops. Ensured by those Inquisitors that the Terrans had been on the cusp of defeat, his field commanders had lost any control over their tired troops, who had opted to sleep comfortably rather then maintain their guard.
He had lost track of thousands of troops. Many were likely dead or captured, but most had likely retreated and had fallen under the commands of other field commanders and simply hadn't been accounted for yet. “You have had your fill with the Terran prisoners I take it? I assume you learned nothing of use, Lord Inquisitor?”
“Do you doubt the Inquisition's abilities, Bishop-General?” Lord Inquisitor Iwy'Ska glared up at the taller Anostos, but held no fear for the larger being. He had the weight of the Gospel behind him, and the personal benediction of the Patriarchs, after all. And two templars only tens of meters away.
“Not at all, Lord Inquisitor. Only implying that these lowly Terrans have nothing useful to teach us.” His tone was dry. He'd learned quite a bit from them already, and expected to be taught much more before the battle for Meerkinin 3 was over. He just doubted the Inquisition had learned anything useful because they tended to be a bit...overzealous, with the first batch of prisoners from any engagement.
“You are right, Bishop-General. They are lowly, vile degenerates. I doubt they will ever be able to repent for their...”
The bunker shook violently, the lights and holographic displays flickering and failing entirely. Dust rained down, screams echoed from distant chambers of the bunker complex as they caved in entirely. One wall of the command post buckled inwards, spilling soil into the chamber.
And then it stopped, and the lights flickered back on fitfully. Bishop-General Wyrrukx immediately forgot about the Lord Inquisitor, and turned his attention to getting his command post back in order and finding out what the hell had just happened. “Call off the assault! All forces break contact and regroup. I need to know what the hell just happened!”
Stunned, and suddenly aware both of the weight of soil and rubble above his head, and how easily the bunker's wall had caved in, the Lord Inquisitor rushed through the bunker doors and up the stairs to the surface, only to find one of his templars weakly regaining its feet. The other was gone, as were the guards, and many of the staff that had been on the surface when he had entered.
He glared at the fallen templar, then followed the standing warrior's gaze towards the temple complex, only to stare slack-jawed at a large, irregularly shaped crater where the temple complex had been.
“! They couldn't possibly get an orbital strike past our cannons! How did they do this?!” He glared at the templar, who was still too stunned to offer much of an explanation.
2 Section, 1st Platoon, 1st Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Light Infantry Regiment, Terran Expeditionary Force, outskirts of the capital
Sgt Duterte wrenched his bolo from an Anostos corpse, and glared into the night-shrouded street beyond the ruined building's walls. They had been on the ropes. Flores' luck had run out in a corpse strewn room, where he had dropped three of the bastards before he had been shot clear through the helmet, ear-to-ear.
Albertson had died of his wounds, but not before he and Bell had managed to fend off an assault on the room the civilians had been holed up in. Axelton was wounded, his left arm severed at the elbow by a lucky shot from the heavy calibre Anostos rifles.
In fact, Smith was the only member of 2 Section still on his feet. Well, asides Duterte and Rai of course. Rai had held the third floor against a second attempted raid by the Gospel forces, but the narrow ally and low, partially collapsed ceilings there had worked in his favour.
Sgt Duterte dropped onto the floor next to Pte Bell, who was visibly shivering, her eyes barely able to focus, and she seemed to be mumbling to herself. She had been shot, a round had penetrated her armour and likely rebounded off her back plate, and Sgt Duterte could only wrap one exhausted arm around her shoulders and listen to her fading prayers before she succumbed to her wounds.
Cpl Rai returned eventually, leading a pair of Eomsue children and carrying the body of a large Newfoundland dog. The elder of the two children carried a body as well; a younger sibling. Rai carefully lay the dog down next to Albertson and Bell, and had to physically lead the Eomsue children away from the animal's body and into the room beyond, where the other civilians were gathered.
Someone had once said war was hell. He'd always agreed; it was a terrible thing. Full of violence and horror that only a sinner in the bowels of hell itself had any right to see. But that was exactly why it no longer seemed right to say.
In the room beyond, the near comatose Eomsue adult had noticed the children. The female Eomsue suddenly became more alert, and leapt to hug the children. Elation quickly shifted back to sorrow though. A parent found her lost children, only to discover one was dead. Dead not even an hour. That the child had died in the very same building, not two floors away.
War wasn't hell. Children had no place in hell.
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2018.02.25 04:35 MachDhai (OC) War Isn't Hell, Part 9

This is a long one. Very long, really. So long, in fact, that I'll have to cut it in two.
But, I think I covered most of the requests up to date. A brief reasoning of ships lost in the void, what the fleets are up to, some of the big picture. A bad-ass Ghurka and Filipino knifin' stuffs. Guided kinetic artillery.
Edit: Spelling and grammar and such.
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Meerkinin 3 Capital outskirts
The armoured monster had led the Gospel soldiers away, and the walking nest had in turn led them away from danger. The animal seemed huge, at least to Eth and her siblings, and the two silently held to the animal's flanks, drawing comfort from its muscled bulk and comforting warmth.
The walking nest led them through ruined buildings and cavernous overhangs of rubble alike without hesitation. Its ears would raise up, the hair of its neck-mane would rise, and they would hide, ever silent, as One Truth soldiers passed.
All the while, Eth clutched tightly to the metal disk the armoured monster had handed her; it was etched with what she had to assume were Terran writings; a blessing prayer, perhaps, or good luck charm. Or, as demonstrated by their abundance of technology, perhaps some sort of embedded tracker, so the walking nest's friend could find them again.
She soon realized that the walking nest was unable to reach where it sought to lead them; every time they moved towards the city's edge, the sounds of fighting surged, and One Truth warriors swarmed. Already weakened from days of living off scraps and muddy, contaminated water, what strength Eth and her siblings had begun their trek with quickly began to fade.
Soon, her younger siblings sat astride the massive black beast, which did not seem to notice their weight, likely both for its hearty nature and their malnourished bodies. And when Eth's own legs began to fail her, the walking nest instead led the way into one of those cavernous ruins; what was once a habitation block for worker casts.
She could still remember the riots that had sparked so suddenly before the arrival of the Gospel of the One Truth's fleet. There had been rumours for months of Gospel priests giving sermons in the outlying communities, or even in the capital itself; churches hidden away in the cast-worker hab blocks or the city slums.
Eth had never seen any of it herself, but her parents had been stockpiling food even before the riots began. And then the fleets came, and the capital shield went up. There had been no warning from the planetary governance, no directions to head to the inner city. In fact, like herself and her parents, many in the city had had no idea the defensive barrier even existed.
Much of those first days had become a blur in her mind; the orbital bombardments and fires that had raged through the city. The fighting in the streets, the desperation of citizens seeking shelter, food, any sense of safety. She couldn't even remember what had happened to her parents; any time she tried, she grew anxious, she would catch herself fretting at the remnants of the feathered crest that had once dominated her head.
The walking nest led the way into the burned out, partially collapsed building and to a quiet, dark room after worming its way through a stairwell that was barely clear enough for the walking nest to pass through. One wall was little more then a mound of rubble and a half-sunken ceiling, but it was dark and hidden. The walking nest seemed to survey the room a moment, before carefully laying on the floor in one corner, and her siblings slid from the animal's back and curled up against its flank.
She hesitated, but the need to rest overwhelmed what little interest she had in escaping the city. The realization that there was indeed no escape, that the armoured monster was surely dead, and that the One Truth would inevitably find them dispelling any hope she had allowed herself to feel with the few scraps of offered food and the walking nest's determined trek through the city.
She joined her siblings, curling around the pair to better shelter them from the cooling evening air, and carefully wiped a trace of fluid from her youngest sibling's feathered head, noticing for the first time how tattered and dull the little one's feathers had become, how cracked and brittle their beak was, how milky the eyes had become.
Strike 5, Meerkinin 3 capital, near the energy shield
Captain Hou woke suddenly, eyes snapping open to stare blindly at the dark interior of his helmet. Pain lanced through his torso when he tried reached his right arm to his face, and a brief moment of panic cut through him before a single tiny light appeared on the centre of his HUD. Detecting that he was conscious, the system booted up after that brief warning flash, and he was flooded with information.
Confirmation markers that his SOS beacon was active and had been received by Control. Markers indicating friendly lines, tens of kilometres away across the shattered hell-scape that was the Meerkinin capital outskirts. And a warning that indicated his right shoulder was broken. His flight-suit had auto-inflated a portion of the torso, back, and arm to help prevent too much movement, and was surely the source of the dull-but-sharp ache that ebbed there.
His helmet's cameras booted up next, giving visual detail of his surroundings. An interface option appeared, and after a few blinks to clear his mind further he triggered it and felt the straps binding him to his seat release. Only then did he realize that he had been on his right side, or well...held up by the straps of the seat, which was laying on its right side.
He only dropped a few centimetres, but the sudden impact of his broken shoulder to the hard surface below him tore a scream of pain from his throat, and he blacked out again.
When he came to next, his HUD still hadn't shut down from inactivity, so he could only have been out a few minutes at most. He carefully rolled onto his chest, then pushed himself to his knees with his left arm for support, and found himself staring at the energy shield which protected the eerily intact inner city. It was only a few hundred meters away, it seemed, and the slight haze it emitted blurred his vision when he tried to make out details beyond it.
His helmet cameras were struggling to create a digital image of what lay beyond the barrier, he realized, and had to give up and look away, surveying his surroundings. “Control? This is Strike 5. Angry Dragon. What's my situation?”
“Angry Dragon, Control. Good to hear you again. Have a nice nap?” Control's tone was the sort of forced-relaxed of someone who probably had bad news they were trying to hide.
“No, Control. No I didn't. Silky's gone, right?”
“Sorry Angry Dragon. Analysts are sure he didn't feel anything, if that helps.” Control's brutal honesty only proved that whatever information they were hiding, was far worse then word that his wing-man had been incinerated.
“Righteo, Control. How long do I have?” He struggled to limber his pistol in his holster, then turned his attention to his chair, struggling next to open the interior compartment which held an SMG and supplies.
“Not long, Angry Dragon. They entered the building you crashed on ten minutes ago. Should be at the roof soon. They're taking prisoners, but the Analysts doubt they have the same rules on how to treat POW's (Prisoners of War) that we do.” Control had clearly given up trying to sugar coat the situation.
“Cool. Good times. You have any idea how hard it is to fucking cock a weapon with one hand?” He had sandwiched the SMG between his legs before he was able to rack the action, then knelt and did the same with his sidearm.
“Imagine it must suck, Angry Dragon. The Admiral said you and Silky did well. Both ADA's scrubbed. Should have the first air-lifts heading in by morning. Lot of lives are going to be saved because of you two.”
“Thanks Control. All in a day's work.”
A door to the roof burst open, and Hou awkwardly tucked the SMG against his side, the weapon bucking sharply in his poor grip. Pilots didn't pack the explosive projectiles of the ground-pounders, but it didn't seem to matter much as two rounds caught the first Eomsue, wearing the colours of the One Truth, in the throat and beaked face.
The scale-skinned Sticlua that followed in its wake responded faster then its bird-like companion, mostly thanks to the row of eyes that circled its head.
1st Combined Fleet of the Terran Navy, Meerkinin system
Admiral Wheeler stood on the bridge of his flagship, the dreadnought Kangchenjunga, named as were all Dreadnought classes after Earth's mountains. Despite the size of the ship and her thousands of crew, the bridge was an enclosed space, the ceiling almost oppressively close, to those who found the otherwise comforting presence of the massive ship's heavily reinforced hull to be a disturbing thing (and such people had exactly no place on his damn ship).
Large, open chambers were structural weak points. Even the ships many mess halls were enclosed spaces, able to house a few hundred crew at most. Every scrap of available space had been given over to storage or reinforced partitions. Hallways were hardly wide enough for crew to pass by shoulder to shoulder, although central thuroughfares tended to be both a bit wider, and liberaly spaced with emergency blast doors.
Everything about the ship was built for raw staying power. The Kangchenjunga could weather any storm thrown at her and come out limping but alive. Which was probably more then could be said about any One Truth warship that chose to enter her formidable weapons range.
Something that had been aptly demonstrated when her sister ship, the Phan Xi Păng, had led the charge into the One Truth's first (and last) attempt at engaging the 1st Combined Fleet's forces. Leading the 2nd Fleet, Admiral Chí Quý Hoàng (fittingly, of Vietnamese ancestry), had shattered the One Truth fleet with minimal losses, and chased much of their forces to the system's edge.
Which was likely why Alliance fleet commander He Who Runs In Clouds had finally brought his fleet into Meerkinin 3's lunar orbit, and had insisted on speaking with the Terran fleet commander.
“I am sorry, Fleet Admiral He Who Runs In Clouds. I believe it is a failure of our translation software. It is not capturing the subtleties of your name, and is simply translating it directly. 'Fleet Commander' work for you?” He studied the silicon-based life form with open curiosity. The egg-heads back home had been damnably excited when word of the species had reached human space.
They had no name for themselves, none that could be translated at least, and every individual of the species refused to respond to any name given them by another species. They seemed decidedly particular about the meaning of their names, actually.
“That will suffice, Admiral 'Maker of Wheels.'” 'He Who Runs in Clouds' had devoted the attention of most of his eye-stalks to the Admiral's display, a sign of either respect or intense curiosity, or perhaps both considering the situation.
Admiral Wheeler had given up trying to explain that his name did not mean that he literally 'made wheels,' but just as the diplomats had tried to explain, names had very literal meanings to the silicon-based types, and there was no explaining otherwise. Just how the hell the damn translators kept giving such literal descriptions to the silicon-based types was beyond the software engineers that had written the codes.
Although, he suspected that was just what those software programmers wanted him to think. The bastards.
“Now, Fleet Admiral, as I understand it, you are saying that the Alliance government is going to demand we halt all further use of in-system jumps, in-system drops, and forego any further introduction of interstellar capable ships into a planetary atmosphere?” Admiral Wheeler absently smoothed back his eyebrows, eyes squinted shut against the pending headache. They tended to show up any time people started talking politics to him; a very unusual ailment for an Admiral, he supposed.
“I believe so, Admiral 'Maker of Wheels.' Such practices are strictly forbidden by Alliance law due to the inherent risks to public safety.” Fleet Admiral 'He Who Runs in Clouds' had sent a data packet full of the hundreds of bylaws and safety directives that the 1st Combined Fleet had broken just by entering the system and delivering the ground troops to Meerkinin 3. There was a whole other packet that covered their use of kinetics, chemically fuelled rockets, atomics, manned strike crafts, non-FTL capable vessels, and other ridiculous things.
And all of it had been delivered not to chastise the Terran fleet, but to warn them of what shit-show of political bullshittery the ambassadorial corps would be facing when word reached the Alliance government. And he didn't pity those suit-and-tie wearing bastards one bit.
“Well. Exciting. Worked though, didn't it, Fleet Admiral?” He grinned, a flash of pearly-white teeth under a bushy walrus moustache.
“Quite well, Admiral 'Maker of Wheels.' I am curious, however, where your fleet came from? We did not notice it with Commodore 'The town of Cynsige's people' fleet. But my Technicians are certain you did not approach on a charted route.”
Admiral Wheeler glanced at one of his navigation officers, and nodded at the junior Lieutenant's questioning gaze. “Correct, Fleet Admiral. We came by way of the Cygnus X-1 black hole.” The stellar coordinates were indicated to 'He Who Runs in Clouds', and after a few moments as the silicon-based commander's crew worked out the data, there was a sudden panic aboard the Alliance ship.
“Alliance law forbids any trafficking across a Death Spiral, Admiral 'Maker of Wheels.'” Fleet Admiral 'He Who Runs in Clouds'' tone was almost comically dry, hinting that perhaps the strange being did not exactly hold iron-clad loyalty to many of the Alliance's laws. At least not those that seemed to be so actively hampering their military efforts.
The sheer level of red tape the diplomatic corps had to cut through, the number of palms that had needed greasing, the viciously one-sided agreements that had to be negotiated down to something even remotely resembling fair trade, had only scratched the surface of the bureaucratic quagmire that was the Alliance government.
“Well aren't I glad I am not the one that will have to deal with all that political mumbo-jumbo, Fleet Admiral. Now, as for our current situation...I would like to formally request that your fleet escort our Merchant-Marines to your nearest safe harbour, once we've finished the civilian evacuations.”
A pair of 'He Who Runs in Clouds' eye-stalks diverted away from Admiral Wheeler's display, then returned a moment later. A moment later a display marker appeared on one of the holographic displays showing a near-real-time image of the Meerkinin system. An Alliance messenger ship had dropped in where Fleet Admiral 'He Who Runs in Clouds' fleet was supposed to be securing a foothold on the system's outer edge.
“I am not allowed to make such decisions, Admiral 'Maker of Wheels.' And I believe that vessel will have orders for my task force.”
He nodded quietly, “Well then, you'd best be off to see what your highers have to say, Fleet Admiral. The 1st Combined Fleet will be continuing independent operations in this system until the evacuation is complete, or I receive new orders of my own.” He nodded in farewell before 'He Who Runs in Clouds' ended their transmission, then turned his attention back to the strategic situation in the solar system at large.
2nd Fleet, having broken the back of the Gospel of the One Truth's fleet forces in the system, had made use of one of the orbital refining platforms of one of the system's inner gas giants, which had been secured by Marines of the 3rd Fleet, and was making its way across the system towards the edge of the gravity well, where it would transition back to Human space and its forward ship-yards for repairs and refit.
3rd Fleet had broken into four smaller task forces which secured orbital mining platforms and had deployed Marines to liberate the handful of smaller colonies or planetary mining operations around the system which still held civilian populations, most of which had been pressed into slave labour, if not simply executed months ago.
5th and 6th Fleet had advanced to the far edge of the system, stationed to intercept along any known FTL routes along which Gospel naval forces were likely to approach, and finally 4th Fleet sat as a mobile reserve, drifting on minimum emissions, ready to support either forward deployed fleet.
They had the system bottled up tight, and it was unlikely the Gospel would commit any of its Holy Armadas to retake the Meerkinin system. The only real risk which remained was if one such armada had already been en route.
More likely, they would simply divert their attentions elsewhere.
2 Section, 1st Platoon, 1st Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Light Infantry Regiment, Terran Expeditionary Force, outskirts of the capital
Night fell fast on Meerkinin 3, even before the atmosphere had been clogged with clouds of dust. The Alliance races, and by relation those of the Gospel of the One Truth, were not well equipped to deal with the dark. Technologically, or biologically.
Sure, some could see well in low-light conditions, but the pollution darkened skies of Meerkinin 3 made the streets of the capital near pitch black on the best of nights, let alone on a night darkened further by the thick clouds of smoke caused by the day's fighting.
Coupled with how exhausted the Gospel forces were, having over-committed their forces to pushing 6th Regiment back to the city's outermost edges, 5th Regiment's night time raids had proven brutally effective, at least at first.
They had captured hundreds of Gospel prisoners, over ran their forward pickets, detonated a dozen forward supply depots, and had retaken much of the ground 6th Regiment had conceded in their fighting withdrawal.
2 Section, under Sgt Rodrigo 'Escrima' Duterte, had been tasked with sweep-up operations with the rest of 1st Company. With only some 240 troops in the Company though, they were spread thin as they swept through the areas the rest of the Regiment had swept through like a silent storm.
But the Gospel forces, while poorly equipped, were both far more numerous and far more experienced with the layout of the city, then the Expeditionary Force. Decentralized command-and-control had won the day, as various squad leaders were able to get warnings and reports up their own chain of command, and reserves had been mobilized.
2 Section had picked up some stragglers during their sweeps; a wounded soldier of 6th Regiment, whom found herself in the unfavourable position of being slung in a fireman carry over Cpl Agansing Rai's shoulders. Despite the man's comparatively diminutive stature, he voiced no complaint nor displayed any sign of faltering under the weight of the more heavily armoured Pte Bell.
The section was spread between its two assault groups, and gathered together in the centre were a dozen civilians. Few had been willing to speak, and seemed terrified of the 'faceless' human soldiers that escorted them through the city's ruins. Even with the translation software, Sgt Duterte had had little luck at calming the civies down or win their trust, and the group seemed to think that they were no better off then if the One Truth had found them.
They had heard the fighting that had rocked through the city all day, but desperation and starvation had driven many out of their hiding places during the night, as it often did. They would usually forage for scraps of food or filthy water during the night, when the One Truth forces had been less diligent in their patrols, but they had been caught in the open when 6th Regiment had swept through during the night, and many had fallen victim to retreating One Truth forces, or had been caught in the middle of the violent skirmishes that had torn through the shadow-choked city ruins.
Sgt Duterte glanced at Pte Bell and Cpl Rai a moment, studying the vitals display of the wounded female soldier. She was conscious, but in rough shape. Broken back, was his best guess; she had been partly crushed by falling debris, likely a result of the failed salvos of guided missiles mid-way through the day, when the One Truth had figured out how to screw with the UAVs. She didn't remember any of it, and had only come to when 6th Regiment had jumped a band of One Truth soldiers near where she had been trapped under the rubble.
Cpl Rai's vitals, however, had barely spiked with the more heavily armoured woman's weight across his shoulders. Despite being so damnably short, the mountain-dwelling bastard was tough. He switched his attention to the gaggle of civilians next, studying them and trying to compare what he was seeing with the pre-deployment briefs.
A trio of many-eyed lizard-like Sticlua, a parent and two youths he suspected; they had refused to speak to anyone; in fact, they had barely responded to any outside stimuli; some sort of catatonic response, maybe. They had simply wandered out of the ruins of a building and fallen in with the group of civilians not ten minutes ago.
A pair of the bug people, Anostos. Anostoses? Anosti? He didn't recall the briefs mentioning what the plural term for their kind was. Any of their kinds, actually. Those two had had some fight in them, and had tossed Pte Axelton on his ass when the larger of the two, the male he guessed, had charged the huskily built formerly-bearded Norwegian man (who still lamented regularly the shaving of his beard as it had interfered with the environmental seal of his helmet and kit). They had at least been willing to talk, and although they still didn't trust the human soldiers, they had come along.
Four Oekogh, all young adults he guessed, and there had been an ongoing debate between Axelton and Pte Albertson as to whether the short, flat-nose snout and cracked-toothed aliens looked like boars or not. Three thick fingers, coarse hair, and short pointed ears. He certainly didn't see the relation; they didn't smell any worse then he'd expect half-starved civilians to smell, after all.
One near-dead Eomsue, whom had to be subdued and had been carefully slung over Albertson's shoulder after the bird-like female had passed out; Albertson too had been required to shave what had been a rather magnificent red beard, but had not complained about it nearly as much as Axelton. Other then a comment of his 'face being cold,' which had led to 3rd Platoon's attached Sappers fashioning him a crude beard out of a ring of trip wire and a shredded pair of red socks. The discovery of which had led to the Sergeant Major demanding the Company do a full kit inspection to identify if there were any other non-issued socks 'which could give away their position to the enemy.'
Two other Eomsue had also been found, and had fallen into the group with only minimal goading by the troops, although they too seemed to expect to be executed at any moment.
Keeping the civilians together was Cpl Smith and his Bhote Kukur, or Nepalese sheepdog, Sasha. Some three feet at the shoulder and over a meter at the shoulder, the massive dog was a natural when it came to herding civilians. Or sheep.
Their advance along the ruined street was drawn to a sudden halt as a chorus of alien voices screamed righteous furry from the heavens, and both 2 Section and their gaggle of civilians all stared up into the night sky.
Gospel of the One Truth, Holy Host of Meerkinin, Planetary Headquarters, outskirts of the capital
Lord Inquisitor Iwy'Ska had been pleased with Bishop-General Wyrrukx's counter-assault. Pleased enough to have left the Anostos general's deeply buried command bunker and take up residence in the only consecrated holy site on all of Meerkinin 3. As the Lord Inquisitor of the Meerkinin purge, he was the senior member of the clergy, and had performed the rituals himself.
And hadn't been bothered to travel anywhere else on the planet to do. Partly, it encouraged his clergy and the Bishop-General's soldiers to make regular pilgrimages to the capital, which afforded his Inquisitors better control over their devotion. Partly, it was because he could not be bothered consecrating any other sites on so damaged a world. It would be centuries before Meerkinin 3 would be worthy of such efforts.
The Lord Inquisitor was present when the first of the Terran prisoners had arrived. Dragged across the ruined city's outskirts, some were dead before they ever arrived. Stripped of their armour and weapons, grievously wounded, their bodies were sent to be studied by what few clergy he had at hand that might be considered specialized in xeno-biology.
Those that still drew breath, were given over to the Lord Inquisitor's own staff. They would be questioned and punished for their transgressions. Redemption could be granted postmortem for all he cared; the Terrans had embarrassed both the Holy Fleet and had assaulted his own clergy, let alone their many other transgressions. More important then their souls, was finding a means to effectively combat them and return the balance to its rightful nature.
It had taken hours, and day had slowly shifted to night, before the first human died under the ministrations of his staff. There was no shortage of bodies for his medically-inclined clergy to study, but pitifully few had been taken alive; often only because they had been rendered unconscious, or grievously wounded. Never by their own willing surrender. It spoke much of their morale, or perhaps of their ignorance of the plight of their cause.
After the third had died, they concluded that the Terrans could not readily speak any of the common tongues. Without access to the Fleet, the Inquisitors had no access to the far more detailed records aboard the shipboard computers, which likely would have the translation software needed to overcome the barrier.
And so, shortly after nightfall, the Lord Inquisitor had lost interest in the Terran prisoners; they were useless to him. Just vile, violent sacks of degenerate flesh, tainting the Gaia Spirit of Meerkinin 3 with their presence, and denying the chance for retribution for the souls of the people who had foolish chosen to live there.
He pondered having the prisoners executed then and there, but as he emerged into the cool night air to organize his thoughts, he realized something.
The usual quiet of the nights in the city ruins had been interrupted with the distant sounds of conflict. Closer then they had been when the Bishop-General's counter-assault had seemed assured of victory earlier that day.
Something had changed, and no one in the Holy Host had deigned to inform him.
The Terran's night assault had pushed his exhausted forces back in a few short hours of darkness as had been gained during their initial assault.
The conflict had proven almost enjoyable in its complexity. Their tactics were fluid, their soldiers trained to the lowest level to command, to show initiative, to be adaptable. Their endurance and combat doctrine rivalled his hardiest, most experienced troops.
But they were not unkillable machines. They were mortal, they felt exhaustion, and they could make mistakes. They relied so heavily on technology, on toys and equipment, to fight their battles for them. Their long-range support weapons, their ability to see in the dark, their strange aircraft. All were impressive, but his own leaders were adaptable and quick witted, his troops were motivated by divine providence, and his supply lines were far shorter.
And, he had far more troops. Thousands more had been waiting where the lines of skirmish were now drawn, and the fighting had grown close-in and bloody. Reports from his forward commanders spoke of hundreds of their own warriors dead or wounded in the few short hours of fighting, but the Terran advance had drawn to a bloody halt.
And with that line drawn, his Anostos brothers and sisters had swarmed over and under the lines of battle, moving like ghosts through the upper levels of the city ruins or through the deep tunnels. They swarmed through spaces smaller then their size should seemed to have fit through; the rigid plates of their natural carapace were flexible and jointed, allowing them to squeeze through tight spaces. Their impressive natural strength allowed them to carry heavier weapons then the rest of his troops. And their keen eyesight and sensitive hearing afforded them an advantage in night fighting.
And, of course, their impressive rate of breeding and growth. An Anostos could birth a dozen in one laying, and those could reach a combat-ready age in only a few short months. A hive mentality urged them to coordinated physical action long before their cortex had developed enough to allow independent thought and action.
He had held them in reserve when the Terrans had first struck, a point he was almost surprised that the Lord Inquisitor hadn't threatened him for leaving the Anostos in reserve; but the Lord Inquisitor did not count individuals in the Holy Host, only numbers, and their absence from the battle had not been easily realized from Bishop-General Wyrrukx's command centre.
He watched the tactical displays as his Anostos squad leaders began to report back; contact had been made across the Terran's rear ranks. Lone patrols of Terran soldiers, spooked packs of civilian refugees that had been hiding in the ruins, even a large formation of Terran troops and drone vehicles carrying supplies to the front line. The havoc it would sew across their forward troops would allow his morning assault a chance to over run and encircle them again, so long as their accursed long-ranged weapons were kept out of the picture.
2 Section, 1st Platoon, 1st Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Light Infantry Regiment, Terran Expeditionary Force, outskirts of the capital
So it turned out that not only could the insect-like Anostos move easily through the city ruins, thanks to their ability to cling to rough surfaces with their many legs. It was a strange sight, for how large the aliens were, how easily they could move over near vertical surfaces, their usually upright torsos (centaur-weta-bug-things had been a common phrase) lain forward and in line with their long bodies.
And the equipment they carried, compared to the Gospel soldiers that 6th Regiment had been fighting all day. Heavier calibre rifles. Less accurate, luckily, but with both a higher rate of fire and penetration thanks to the heavier weight of the projectiles. Having been caught in the open when the Gospel troops opened fire, Sgt Duterte had learned quickly to appreciate the capabilities of the Anostos troops. For a race of herbivores, they were surprisingly natural combatants.
The civilians under his care had been lucky. The reputation the Expeditionary Force had earned in its first day of combat on Meerkinin 3 had rapidly outpaced the Gospel Inquisitors ability to squash the passage of information through the Gospel army's nets of communication. The falsified reports of the success of Bishop-General Wyrrukx's counter-assault against 6th Regiment had further damaged what trust the army had in the Inquisitors.
What that meant for the civilians under Sgt Duterte's care, was that the Anostos warriors focused all their fire on the members of 2 Section.
The section had drilled hard on how to break contact from an ambush. The first few seconds of any such unexpected engagement were crucial; the faster and more unified the section's response, the better their chances of surviving.
The moment the Gospel troops let loose their screams of divine retribution, the squad had looked up into the dark sky, their vision enhanced with the thermal overlays of their true-colour night-vision cameras. Even with such a technological advantage, it was difficult to spot the Anostos soldiers above, hidden among the city's ruins. They gave off little body heat under normal circumstances, and blended well with the ruins.
But that brief glance only helped clear their heads of the launch angles of their smoke dischargers. Clouds of thick, obscuring smoke deployed even before the enemy had begun firing, and orders were braked to the civilians in their care, in languages they could understand thanks to the squad's built-in translators, to break for the ruins closest to them.
The squad moved by instinct; each member looked to their assigned arcs, on either side of the road they had been advancing down. Any hostile spotted was marked on their HUDs, even as they returned fire and moved towards the way-point marked ruins. But they had underestimated the calibre of shot the Gospel soldiers were firing.
Pte Albertson was the first hit; a projectile punched into the armoured pauldron of his right shoulder and drove him to his knees with a pained yell. The unconscious Eomsue on his left shoulder was unceremoniously thrown, much akin to a shotput toss, towards Axelton, who caught the disturbingly light-weight bird-like alien without question or complaint.
Albertson was struck again as he dropped to his knees, another round penetrating through his left calf, then again through the small of his back, and the thrice hit soldier dropped to the ground, letting out a roar of pain even as he started dragging himself towards the cover of the ruins.
Another private hadn't been as lucky, and the down-ward angle of the enemy fire had pierced shredded through her armour, killing her instantly.
The cover of smoke meant the rounds that had hit him were blindly fired; sheer bad luck on Albertson's part, but the rest of the squad was able to drag him into the building in short order, and Cpl Smith and Sasha struggled to lead the civilians deeper into the ruins and to somewhere safe. At least momentarily safe.
Sgt Duterte's HUD was awash with warnings from sister squads and platoons; contact reports were flooding the net. Apparently, shit had hit the fan all across 6th Regiment's rear.
The squad thundered into the building with a furiously cursing Pte Albertson in tow; the man seemed more angry that he had lost his rifle then that he was wounded. A normal response to the shock of being shot.
Cpl Agansing Rai carefully deposited Pte Bell at the end of a hallway; it should have continued, but a ceiling collapse had ended it at a choked pile of rubble, and the woman let out a pained, strangled groan as she was set down. She still had no feeling in her legs, but her ribs were likely broken along with her spine. But she didn't complain, and simply coaxed her rifle into her lap, barrel resting against one armoured leg and ready to be aimed at the far end of the hallway.
The squad stilled in the brief moment of reprieve. Pte Axelton followed Cpl Smith with the civilians, through a snaking series of rubble-strewn rooms and corridors, as well as two other members of the squad, leaving Bell, Albertson, Rai, Pte Flores, and Sgt Duterte near the building's entrance.
The sergeant studied the group a moment, then turned in a slow circle to let his HUD display the situation at large; or what of it that it could, as the bulk of the building began to interfere with his connection with the UAVs above.
“We dig in here. Hold till relieved. Those bastards will probably be coming in after us soon. Bell, Albertson, Flores, hold here. Smith, your assault group guards the civilians. Rai, recce the area. Find any where else they might come in through.”
Eth woke slowly. Starvation, dehydration, and the mental fatigue of the past months of her life had taken its toll on her mind just as much as it had on her body. There was a strange rumbling sound, perhaps as if the world itself was shaking apart, finally broken by the horrors that had tore away any sense of right and wrong.
It was dark; not to mean that it was necessarily night outside, but she could barely see anything beyond the comforting warmth that was the walking nests presence and the shivering bundles that were her siblings.
She raised her head slowly, and suddenly realized the rumbling she heard was from the walking nest itself. Deep in its chest, a ferocious, terrifying noise. The animal had tensed, shifting from soft as a pillow to dense as stone as its muscles bound and flexed, and its head was raised slightly from the cold floor to focus, ears raised and turned forward, towards the doorway.
There were sounds, distant seeming through the ruins of the building, but far too familiar. Weapons fire. The sounds of war.
The walking nest stirred, carefully raising to its feet. It moved carefully, giving her a chance to shift her siblings away from its back, and then the animal moved towards the doorway. Beyond the doorway, more sounds; movement, the familiar stabbing crack of armoured Anostos warriors, moving through the buildings interior.
The distant weapons fire had grown closer suddenly; inside the building. Yelling in strange tongues; more of the armoured monsters, perhaps. Her younger brother stirred, wakened by the surge of noise, and she looked down at her siblings, her eyes adjusted enough to the dark room to make out some features of the pair.
Her younger brother stirred. The youngest was shivering weakly, eyes partly open, peering at nothing.
The walking nest transformed from a gentle, soft-eyed giant to a roaring, snapping monster. It barked, louder then any weapon she had heard, it moved with sudden speed. Anostos in the corridor let out angry, frightened screeches, their implanted translators finding no words in the sounds they made. A fight in the corridor between the walking nest and Gospel warriors.
More weapons fire, the death screech of Anostos. And then a sound that should have torn her to her core; a pained, suffering whining sound.
But she heard none of it, or chose not to. Instead, she carefully wiped away the fluids from her youngest brothers beak, and hugged the other to her chest, averting his gaze and shielding him from the world.
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submitted by MachDhai to HFY [link] [comments]

2014.02.05 04:40 iwtwe iwtwe's Total Noob Starting Guide. much noob..such help...very

NOTE for seasoned miners, if I have made a mistake or if there is an easier way of configuring the miners or if I left something out, please do not hesitate to contact me about it so that I can edit this post accordingly. Let's help new people out so that the community will continue to grow! many
Hey you. Yes you with the eyes. Are you new to the world of crypto coin mining? Have no idea what a dogecoin is? Want to start mining dogecoins today and just can't seem to figure it out or get it to work?
Well have I got much help for you! About a week ago, I finally started mining after two painful days of trying to get it to work. Basically, I was a total noob and didn't really understand anything about mining in general. Because of the joy mining has brought me so far I am writing this guide to hopefully help out new members or other total noobs.
It's safe to say I've been bitten by the dogecoin bug. I started out with a measly 50 khash/sec and made approximately 10 coins in 12 hours. * My reaction when I finally got my miner to work * Reaction cont.
Now I'm up to 500 khash/sec after figuring out all the 'nuts and bolts' of mining. wow...such optimization...many hash
I'll break this guide down into three categories: Detailed Info, CGMiner Config for AMD Cards, and lastly, CUDAMiner for Nvidia cards.
Detailed Info very
A dogecoin is a type of crypto currency that is traded against bitcoins in a crypto currency marketplace.
You can earn dogecoins by contributing hashes (computing power) to a mining pool to help find a block.
There are a certain amount of dogecoins that will be released. These coins are released in the form of a block ranging in quantity of 1-1,000,000 doge coins. It is worth noting that the total quantity of coins per block will soon be halved to just 500,000.
Things you will need to mine: * dogecoin wallet * computer with a GPU * an account with a mining pool * a worker for the mining pool * mining software
1) [](Download the doge coin wallet and install it)
2) Turn off your computer's anti-virus software and allow the dogecoin wallet through your fire wall. *VERY IMPORTANT
3) Run the dogecoin wallet and let it sync with the network. It is important to note that this can take a short amount of time or even up to 12 hours to complete. Just be patient. Use that time to research mining more.

Once your wallet has synced with the network, it is time to sign up with a mining pool. Think of a mining pool as a virtual supercomputer that is made up of many smaller computers connected together. This pool or 'super computer' allows for greater processing power. More processing power = greater chance of the pool finding a block.

Finding a pool
"Dear shibes!
Be careful when running Java and/or entering the usepass on sites. There are phishing sites out there that imitate other pools to steal your data.
When accessing a mining pool, DO NOT follow any redirects, always access the site directly and check the URL. For extra security, make sure you're using https://
Don't run Java!" <--- not my words, but very good warning to take into consideration
1) Perform a quick google search or use the links in the side bar to find a pool!
2) For this example I will be using (I in no way, shape, or form endorse this particular pool. It was the first one I clicked. Feel free to use any pool you want, as the sites are all the same.)
3) You're going to want to click "Sign Up" in the menu on the left of the page. After clicking, sign up for an account.
4) After signing up for an account, log into your account. (For the sake of my example my mining pool site username will be "Shibe")
5) Now we will create a pool worker. Click "My Workers" in the menu on the left side of the page.
6) Choose a worker name and worker password and click submit. *NOTE THE WORKER NAME IS NOT THE SAME AS YOUR ACCOUNT USERNAME
7) For the sake of the example my workers name is "worker1" and the password is "x". *Note capitalization matters so don't forget it.
Now we will download a mining software and configure it to mine.
Before we do that I want to clarify what the info we will be using to configure our miner is.
1) Click "Getting Started"
In my example pool under getting started you will see this in "Step 3":
  1. Configure your miner.
    Settings for Stratum (recommended): STRATUM: stratum+tcp:// PORT: 3336 Username: Weblogin.Worker Password: Worker Password
If you use a command-line miner, type:
./cgminer --scrypt -o stratum+tcp:// -u Weblogin.Worker -p Worker password
The above explained:
  • The stratum is a fancy word for URL.
  • The port always goes after the STRATUM URL like so: stratum+tcp://
  • Your username will always be your pool username(dot)worker Id. For my example my STRATUM username would be: Shibe.worker1 *Don't forget to use proper capitalization!
  • The password is your workers password. In my example my password is "x".
Final Step Regarding Mining Pools
We need to add our payment address to our mining pool account so that we can receive the dogecoins we help mine.
1) Click "Edit Account" on the menu on the left side of the page.
2) Scroll down until you see "PAYMENT ADDRESS".
3) Minimize the webpage and go to your doge coin wallet.
4) In your dogecoin wallet click the "Much Receive" tab.
5) You will see the Label "Default" with an "Address" composed of a long random string of letters and numbers.
6) Right-click that string of random numbers and letters and select "copy address".
7) Maximize the pools webpage again and paste that address into "PAYMENT ADDRESS".
8) Enter you pin and click "Update Account".
WE'RE NOW READY TO DOWNLOAD A MINER such hooray....many celebrate
*Note AMD cards are much better for mining than Nvidia. It's just the way it is!
We will be using cgminer to mine dogecoins with our AMD cards.
While there are newer versions of cgminer avaliable you're going to want to download cgminer version 3.7.2 because any higher versions do not support GPU mining.
1) Make sure your AMD drivers are up to date.
2) This version of cgminer is now only available on gitub at this url. The option to download the zip file in on the bottom left right side column.
3) After downloading the file, extract its contents to a folder on your desktop.
4) Before we do that go to Control Panel --> Folder Options --> View --> select "Show hidden files, folders, and drives" and click apply.
BEFORE YOU TRY THE BELOW, RUN THE APPLICATION AND INPUT THE SERVER URL:PORT (stratum+tcp:// "enter" USERNAME (Shibe.worker1) "enter" and PASSWORD (x) "enter".
*If the application runs without giving you errors hit the [S] and select "create config file" and hit enter.
5) If that didn't work, we will make a .conf file that allows cgminer to run correctly.
6) Now go to the folder you extracted cgminer into.
7) Right-click anywhere in the folder and select "New" --> Text document.
8) Right-click the new text document you just created and select "Edit".
9) Copy and paste the following into that new text document leaving no space at the top and enter the appropriate pool information accordingly. Noticed I used my STRATUM info from my example.
{ "pools" : [ { "url" : "stratum+tcp://", "user" : "Shibe.worker1", "pass" : "x" } ] , "intensity" : "10", "vectors" : "1", "worksize" : "256", "kernel" : "scrypt", "lookup-gap" : "0", "thread-concurrency" : "0", "shaders" : "0", "gpu-engine" : "0-0", "gpu-fan" : "0-0", "gpu-memclock" : "0", "gpu-memdiff" : "0", "gpu-powertune" : "0", "gpu-vddc" : "0.000", "temp-cutoff" : "95", "temp-overheat" : "0", "temp-target" : "0", "api-mcast-port" : "4028", "api-port" : "4028", "expiry" : "120", "gpu-dyninterval" : "7", "gpu-platform" : "0", "gpu-threads" : "1", "hotplug" : "5", "log" : "5", "no-pool-disable" : true, "queue" : "0", "scan-time" : "30", "scrypt" : true,
{ "pools" : [ { "url" : "stratum+tcp://", "user" : "Shibe.worker1", "pass" : "x" } ] , "intensity" : "10,10", "vectors" : "1,1", "worksize" : "256,256", "kernel" : "scrypt,scrypt", "lookup-gap" : "0,0", "thread-concurrency" : "0,0", "shaders" : "0,0", "gpu-engine" : "0-0,0-0", "gpu-fan" : "0-0,0-0", "gpu-memclock" : "0,0", "gpu-memdiff" : "0,0", "gpu-powertune" : "0,0", "gpu-vddc" : "0.000,0.000", "temp-cutoff" : "95,95", "temp-overheat" : "0,0", "temp-target" : "0,0", "api-mcast-port" : "4028", "api-port" : "4028", "expiry" : "120", "gpu-dyninterval" : "7", "gpu-platform" : "0", "gpu-threads" : "1", "hotplug" : "5", "log" : "5", "no-pool-disable" : true, "queue" : "0", "scan-time" : "30", "scrypt" : true, "temp-hysteresis" : "3", "shares" : "0", "kernel-path" : "/uslocal/bin" }
10) Click save-as --> Save as type, "All files" and rename the document to: cgminer.conf
11) Click save and run program.
12) If it still doesn't work try changing the intensity to a lower number or changing the workspace value to 64.
Everything should work now. If I have made any errors or if there are easier ways of doing this please let me know so that I can edit this. This is just what worked for me.
Before we do anything, go to Control Panel --> Folder Options --> View --> select "Show hidden files, folders, and drives" and click apply.
We will be using Cudaminer version 2013-07-13!hVREmSKA!VaGCdh3Ykfp-e8IOTFWaEXJGMa1JNVqPcdxawkCPRSE
1) Download Cudaminer version 2013-07-13 from that link and extract the contents to a folder on the desktop.
2) Open that folder and look for the Application.
3) When you've found the location of the Application it's-self you're going to right-click anywhere in the folder and select "New" --> Text document.
8) Right-click the new text document you just created and select "Edit".
9) Copy and paste this to the top line of the blank text document leaving no space in front and input the appropriate url, username and password from whatever pool you use. (I will be using my example pool info stated earlier in this post):
cudaminer.exe -o stratum+tcp:// -u Shibe.worker1 -p x
10) Click save-as --> Save as type, "All files" and rename the document to: Launch.bat
11) Click save.
12) Double click the Launch.bat file you just created to run the program.
13) Wait for the program to auto-tune your settings and then it will start mining automatically.
Everything should work now. If I have made any errors or if there are easier ways of doing this please let me know so that I can edit this. This is just what worked for me.
submitted by iwtwe to dogecoin [link] [comments]

2012.11.10 07:09 tabledresser [Table] InternetAMA: We are the crazy A.D.D. filmmakers behind 5secondfilms! Ask Us Anything!

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Date: 2012-11-09
Link to submission (Has self-text)
Link to my post
Questions Answers
Which video was your favorite to film? Me personally? I might say The Best Breakup Line Ever. But really any 5sf where tons of riffing is going on is fun. It always makes the 5sf better (or at least more idiosyncratic). (BF)
That's really hard to answer. Mostly cuz we've shot so damn many. One of my favorites in recent history was Captain's Orders. We had to figure out how we were going to do the "Mission Impossible" mask-pull. But once we hatched a plan, and I realized "Holy Shit. I know how to do this in after effects! We can do it!!" it was very exciting. (MEP)
There are sooo many, but the ones that always make me laugh: Missing, Guns A Blazin', Do It For Johnny,
And today's film I've wanted to do for months: Viral Video
Mine is the fist I ever shot with the group. Which was Meet Paul I think that is the most appropriate way to be initiated. (TJ)
That's my favorite too, what an amazing coincidence! What was the inspiration behind that video? Literally nothing. It was just, "Brian is dumped for another guy, and he keeps trying to tell her off in the best way possible." The weird voice, the lines, the Four Loko can, it all just happened on the spot. 5SFs without preplanning can either be fucking great or they can be among the worst we've ever done. (BF)
Can we please have more outtakes? Those are hilarious. Plus I like all the stuff you guys improvise! Definitely trying to bring the thunder on more outtakes and BTS stuff. Stay tuned (God I keep saying that. This is an AMA, not a "Tease Us With Your Bullshit." Just don't wanna break promises, guys) (BF)
I waited for the signed poster thing to go up but now they're gone. WHY. I WAITED. To Olivia, do you ever get tired of all the comments? About your blessings? It was funny at first but I mean on EVERY video? Come on, guise. I shaved my head for my buddy's feature film "Coldwater" I was gone acting for the last month. I got to play a cruel counselor in a juvenile correction camp. I was not a nice character. It was fun to be mean, but stressful because I didn't know if I was doing a good job, usually people are laughing when the director says "cut" dramas are not funny. (MR)
Is 5sf a full time thing? If not, what are your day jobs? I recently quit my full-time editing gig, where I would cut promos for daytime talk shows, so I could focus on writing, 5sf and the sketch channel I share with Maria. I still freelance, but sometimes I think about my bank account and how, if it had a face, it would be a sad face. (BF)
Most of us have other day jobs in the industry. I freelance as a script supervisor. Basically work for a few weeks, stockpile some money, then am unemployed for a couple months to write, shoot, edit and focus on 5sf and other endeavors. When many of us are unemployed at the same time, we call it The Unemployed Gentlemen's Club. It involves a lot of beer and brainstorming. (MEP)
I do anything I can get really: editing, camera work, gripping, and if I'm lucky every now and then I sell a painting. Just recently I got hired for a big commission for a 6X4 painting so whoohoo!! :D (MR)
I shoot for a few other web series like Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal as well as a few reality TV shows. But have recently been focusing on the bigger projects that 5SF has in the pipe line. (TJ)
5SF is a full time thing in some respects, but never as a job. I work for NBC universal in a cold dark control room making entertainment television. Pointing cameras at beautiful women that discuss things I care very little about. I am one of the few 5SF'ers in the Fully Employed Gentlemen's Club. It's a lonely club that can only meet on the weekends for drinks. (TC)
How long do you guys plan on continuing 5sf? Until October 30, 2013. That's when daily operations will stop. The site will stay up, and who knows? When we get a good idea, we may very well put it up! But 5sf as we know and (sometimes) love it will be gone then. (BF)
We've talked about capping it at 5 years. Sorry it's just insanely difficult and exhausting to shoot/edit a new film every weekday, work on longer projects WHILE working day jobs to try and stay afloat because we honestly don't make any money from doing this. 5sf is a passion project we love doing it but we need to start exploring bigger things. I highly doubt we will forever stop making 5sf, it's now in our blood and nature, we won't be able to stop thinking about ideas. Our plan for the website is to open it up to fans and friends who want to submit their own 5sf they have filmed. Make it more of a community of 5 second filmmakers, making a 5sf is a such a great exercise in filmmaking. Everyone should do it. (MR)
What kind of pranks does the staff like to pull on each other? Ahh, the great Dildo Wars. Way back in the day Erik Sandoval had a joke he wanted to do called Natural Selection but he had to buy two dildos for it. But hey it was for comedy so he bought them like a man. Both of them. We shot the joke and then we had two dildos floating around the house, so we started hiding them in other people's rooms, bags, dresser drawers, etc. But the thing is these dicks had a strong strawberry scent, so it would get to the point where you would walk into your room and instantly know that there was a dick somewhere in your room. This went on for months. It wound up in a box of cereal, which crashed into the bowl quite dramatically, was hidden in briefcases that people accidentally took to work! One time Ben had a plumber come over to take a look at the toilet in the house, I jammed the dildo into the pipe but sadly Ben found it before the plumber came over. Granted this was a few years ago and even the other day I found a dildo in my bed last night and blamed it on my girlfriend... it was Tomm Jacobsen who did it. You're on my dick list now Tomm! (MR)
I feel like I can be an authority on this topic because Paul has lived on my floor for months. Basically being friends with Paul is o e long super elaborate prank so ill break down just a few of the regular stuff he pulls on me. Ex 1. Batmanning: Paul will hide for sometimes hours in corners or dark places and at at the perfect time will pop out and give a line from the dark knight. Example... I'm walking up to my apartment. I just got off work I'm going to eat a sandwich drink a beer smoke a bowl. Out of no where Paul Prado appears from the shadows and in a perfect Christian bale voice Paul says "the jokers got Rachel." He does every line and it scares me more everytime (which is daily) prank number 2 Paul will take pictures of his bare ass and sometimes ball sack using my phone so that I have random pics of Paul's ass in my photo library. So ill be hanging out with friends and want to show then the awesome time I had at the whatever show and without fail Paul has recently taken a picture of his ass with my iPhone and there it is. PRANK 4 or I'm not even sure where I'm at because Paul got me drunk on tequila at 10 am another prank he does. Ok there was a time I met a very pretty fun lady at a local music venue and she wanted to come back with me to have a sleepover. I was a little intoxicated and didn't take stock of my room until it was to late and I see Pauly p staring at me while clothes are coming off. I remove my LA dodgers cap he say "uh hey Paul" my lady says "oh that's so cute you call your hat rack Paul" I respond" no... I call him Paul" Paul stands up out of darkness in his underwear, does a bow and says "goood evening." And walks out. PAUlL prank #30 he will answer the phone randomly then just hand it to you and say "it's for you" there's nobody on the line. There's never anybody on the line but he gets me everytime. Ok there's so much more but I'm here with rousselette and we'll write more. (MJ)
If you could describe each of your primary sexual organs with a 5sf title, which would it be? Fruit Slam! (AO)
Dealing With The Devil (BG)
Death Ray From Space (BF)
The Changeling (DKH)
The Hard Goodnight (MEP)
The Gift that Keeps on Giving! (JB)
Joy Ride (MR)
Stuffed (MDC)
And I'm currently with the one and only Pauly P. his response is "hypnotic southern general" (pp)
The Sting Of Love (TJ)
Grumpy Ben (JW)
A Dignified Lady or The Over Sharer (KG)
Demon Snatchers. (MJ)
Is this even a question? Obviously you wrassle the horse-sized dick, break it in, and ride it into town with a shotgun on your back. Talk about a free Nobody-Fucks-With-You coupon for life. (BF) Horse dick... Yeaaa (MJ)
Big fan of you guys! What's it like getting other actors or even other YouTubers to work with you guys in the unfamiliar 5-second medium? It's been a lot of fun. I think for them, it's kind of a break away from Hollywood sets that are swamped with studio execs, managers, etc. They get to come over to our house, put some silly costumes on and just have fun for a couple hours. After Patton Oswalt filmed with us he kept telling others about how much fun he had...which led to Juliette Lewis, Weird Al, and more. (MEP)
Oh, and in regard to fellow YouTubers, that's been fantastic! Shooting with folks like TomSka, Bing, SMBC Theater, and Cyanide & Happiness is often more exhilarating that shooting with famous folks. It's like we're all in a little internet comedy gang. (MEP)
I personally love how even people very familiar with our videos will not realize exactly just how short 5 seconds really is. The note we give to outsiders the most is "that was great, now try it much, much faster." (AO)
I loved working with Hannah Hart from "My Drunk Kitchen" She is a hilarious sweetheart :) Non-Alcoholic Beer, The Sanctity of Marriage (MR)
Cameo you'd most want in a 5sf? Any holy grail 5sfs for which you're holding out for a particular guest? David Lynch or Adam West for me. Or Rashida Jones. Or Quincy Jones. Or Michael Jackson. I don't know about specific ideas for specific cameos, but I suppose they could be out there-seems to me like we get people through such random means that it'd be hard to come up with a specific idea for a specific person. (AO)
For me it would be comedians that I love and respect like Louis C.K. It was such a huge honor to have Patton Oswalt on 5secondfilms, I can't even begin to describe how it felt knowing someone I highly respected as a comedian likes our work. Also I would love to have Christopher Walken or Robin Williams, that guy seems like he would churn out 50 5sf jokes in 2 minutes. (MR)
Louis C.K. would probably take one look at us, reflect on the ignorance of youth, and make a really great episode of "Louie" about how shitty and stupid we are. For the sake of great television, I want him to work with us and never once be impressed. (BF)
Louis CK or Patrick Stewart. Ideally, the two of them together. (BG)
I heard Michael Bein's name get mentioned... that would be badass! (JB)
I would have to say Ricky Gervais would be a personal favorite for a collaboration. I just imagine having 10+ gigs of blown takes due to laughter on set while working with him. Strangely we almost had a 5SF or two with a huge TV/Radio personality I work with daily, but scheduling prevented this and one day it will happen and the internet will implode. Basically I am always down to work with any celeb that "gets the joke" or has a fondness of our brand of comedy. Well working with anyone except Gallagher that is, fuck that guy. (TC)
BRUCE CAMPBELL!!! I could die happy. (TJ)
Dame Judi Dench. Or Dame Helen Mirren. I just really want to work with a Dame. (MEP)
Adam Carolla. Favorite comedian forever. Or Doug benson Tomm and I shot with him this summer and he's the coolest. (MJ)
Ugh okay fine, i'll be the guy: would you rather fight one hundred dick-sized horses, or one horse-sized dick? Well, if they are the size of my dick... hmmm, I will get back to you on that. (MR)
Is this even a question? Obviously you wrassle the horse-sized dick, break it in, and ride it into town with a shotgun on your back. Talk about a free Nobody-Fucks-With-You coupon for life. (BF)
Why don't you monetize on YouTube? Or is that actually worthless anyway? We monetize on the videos that are long enough to qualify (like our week in reviews, CotW, BTS stuff, and so on). 8-second clips? Not so much.
In fact, these days YouTube has apparently sorted videos through a new algorithm based on "Attention span," or how long a user watches a video before stopping. Because most of our videos only last 8 seconds, the algorithm thinks they're unpopular and buries them deep in the "related films" sidebar, in favor of RayWilliamJohnson, Phil DeFranco, etc. Hooray for thinking you had a killer viral concept 7 years ago! (BF)
Why would you stop 5sf in a year ? WE FUKIN LOVE YOU AND NEED YOU ALL §!!11§§! You'll move on. Find someone new. Then you'll get married. Then we'll see you again, on the street or in a coffee shop, and we'll start singing "Someone Like You" in a beautiful, haunting contralto. Everyone will cry, then we'll walk backwards out the door and across the street. Then a bus will whoosh by between us, and when it leaves, we're gone.
You'll run outside to see where we went, but it's too late. It was too late from the beginning. (BF)
It ruined my dream of showing up with something 20k cases of beer on your doorstep during a comments of the week video and basking in the glory of it all, because after a year I won't be old enough or rich enough to do it. Well it's okay, because if there's one thing we encourage more than stalking, it's underage drinking. You are CLEARED FOR TAKEOFF. (BF)
Kelsey, what was it like to make an appearance on Community? Are you a big fan of the show? I am a big fan of the show! I actually auditioned/tested for the pilot for the role of Annie, but obviously lost to Allison Brie, and was honored to go back and play with them for 3 episodes! The cast and crew on that show is amazing!!! <3 Community! (KG)
We know 5SecondFilms is coming to an end, is this because you believe you've exhausted the 5 Second medium, do you have something new you want to do (5 minute films), or is it just time to move on? We could never exhaust the medium. So many 5secondfilms are inspired by odd things that happen in our day-to-day lives. So...I guess as along as we're alive we'll be able to think of 5secondfilms. But creatively, as a collective of writers, directors, actors and artists, we all yearn to do bigger and longer projects. (MEP)
Five years is good. It's not going to get better after that. We already perfected the process of churning them out, and it's helped us grow as filmmakers and comedians. We built the fanbase we wanted, got to work with awesome people, and created a home for every single weird joke that ever popped into our head. So while we haven't exhausted the medium (as Peter says, 5SFs happen to us every day), it's better to go out strong with a horribly horribly shitty finale, like "Seinfeld." (BF)
What kind of projects are you all looking to do after 5sf is done? Myoovies. TeeVee. Grown up stuff. (AO)
Who is the kid who keeps appearing in your films? Ex: Link to That's Robert Daniel Sloan, he and his 2 siblings Anastasia and Dartanian are the official 5sf kids. They're rad! (MEP)
When will we see some more Johnny Quick Death!? It's the final year. Gotta wheel out the one-jokiest one-joke character that ever told one joke.
I love JQD, actually. I just think the low piano note is the real star of that series, and we've used that a TON since in other 5sfs. (BF)
My favorite film: And the Winner Is... I'd say a little bit of both. i find it funny hearing people pitch ideas... which obviously takes much longer then 5 seconds to explain. you'll still often catch people saying their lines Extra fast just to make the time limit. We watch the time code and some times make adjustments if it's running a little over. any ideas that we can't fit get made into longer sketches, you'll see under long films tab on the site, it's been awhile since we've done one but more sketches are in the works. (JB)
I love you guys. Have you had any great ideas for a film that couldn't be done because you weren't able to do them in 5 seconds? Or are you so good at this that you've always found a way? Well, the thing is, we've made plenty of 5sfs that clearly do NOT fit in 5 seconds in a funny way. So it's not necessarily that we're good at finding a way, it's that we're too desperate and pressed for time to stop shooting the 5sf we've already set up for. (BF)
Is that actually Ben Gigli in the mexican restaurant in the series finale of Chuck? Yes it is! Good eyes! FUN FACT: The trumpet I'm "playing" had no mouthpiece and I had to jam a chess bishop into it to fake it during filming.
I also do not speak spanish and spent the entire night before trying to memorize the words to lip synch that song. I still hear it in my dreams. Also, Zach Levi is an incredibly nice guy. (BG)
Are we gonna see some more kelsey cat vids soon, please? NO! ... actually who knows... I haven't hung the leotard up for good yet ;) (KG)
How do you go about monetizing your show? I don't notice any ads, do you have angel investors? We do indeed have ads on the website, within the videos, and on YouTube. They just don't show up sometimes because most of our videos are so short! (DKH)
Do we have a "show?" If so, neat! (AO)
How did you guys originally come up with the idea for 5sf? In my freshman year of college, a friend and I thought it would be a fun exercise to make joke shorts that were exactly 5-seconds long. He got the idea from a then-recent Chrysler commercial contest. Originally, they'd have different fonts for titles, and the sound would not continue into the "The End" credits. But everything else didn't change. (BF)
This is my favorite video, can you tell me a little more about the inspiration behind it? I once shot a short film in like 8th grade or so, that ended with me pouring a McDonald's milkshake on my head. We bought five of the small vanilla shakes, and I would switch them when they ran out so in the edit, we would cut back from my friend's reaction shot to me, and it looked like the tiny milkshake just kept pouring out onto my head. I lost all that footage and it's probably the funniest thing I ever shot from that time period, so I just wanted an excuse to recreate it years later. (BF)
Shhh, stop making me crack up in class! Yeah! Reddit in class! Here watch this! (MR)
When will you give us the opportunity to buy a 5SF dvd ? We have been talking about this forever! We would love to do this but we are concerned about copyright issues, there are a bunch of 5sf films from way back in the day that might have copyrighted music on it. Granted it's only 1-4 seconds worth of it, which may fall under fair use or parody but our lawyer isn't too confident in that. We are planning on having a feature length screening of EVERY 5second film ever made in Los Angeles next year, it would be almost 2 hours long! (MR)
I am totally coming to that! He turned one of the rooms in his house into a permanent ball pit, so you could say he's a PARTY animal...(BF)
Also I feel like your lawyer is literally an animal, is this true? Yes. Ringo quit acting and is now our lawyer.
How'd ya'll find Paul Prado? What a great addition to the cast. Jon Worley and Paul met in boarding school, in the sun lit pines of Idyllwild. If you ever meet Paul, and indicate even the slightest interest, he will literally drive you up there at the drop of a hat. (BG)
I still haven't found myself. (pp)
Can you tell Jon Worley I love him ? Is this like telling us to pass your crush a love note? Because if so, you're on the internet. (BF)
Link to (JW)
What is your opinion on beards? They're rad. I take them to award shows on the red carpet, and then the paparazzi can't tell that I'm actually gay...
OH. OHHH. Those kinds of beards. Never mind. (Kevin Spacey)
I love everything about beards... I love being one, wearing one, and making out with one... Long live the beard! (KG) Hey it's Kelsey!!! Hi Kelsey! (MR)
Why does Michael Rousselet constantly get killed and maimed? I don't know how it all started... but I've somehow become the "Kenny" of the group. I just think violence can be funny, the ultimate slap-stick... and death, sadly, is easy way out of a joke/story. "how can I end this joke? oh, I'll just kill them." It lacks creativity but when it works it's pretty hilarious. (MR)
We've also become a little self-aware of it. When someone's going to get shot in the head, someone inevitably says "So, it should probably be Rouss, right?" He's just so good at dying!! (MEP)
Is Ringo ever going to become a 5SF star? He is!! Just look at the top three on that page. Ringo's always a pleasure to work with. (BF)
Ringo is the finest dog actor I have every had the pleasure of working with. He's just so damned photogenic. (MEP)
If Ringo had one hundredth the dedication he has to knarbeling his balls as to time spent acting, he could be the reason we make it big. (TC)
Ringo is a 5sf American Treasure (MR)
Favorite series of videos or characters you like going back to? I will never tire of Pauly P, and I'm so happy that even after people responded negatively to the second installment, we stuck to our guns and he eventually became one of the most-loved characters. (BF)
How long dose it take to make them ? Knot long (BF)
What advice can you give to people who want to promote their own work on youtube? It's a hard medium, but it's better than having no place at all to put your stuff (think pre 2006, which really, MINDBLOWING) YouTube is a very crowded space. The best thing to do is make content you truly care about and stick with it. Talk to your audience, hone your skills as a storyteller, performer, writer, filmmaker, etc, cultivate your fan base and never quit. Reach out to members of the community, even big, big, big timers are awesomely nice and usually receptive to at least hearing you out if you're making good stuff. Just. Keep. Hustling. It's like anything else in life.
EDIT: Also, stay flexible. YouTube literally has been around for less time than the average lifespan of large dog. When I was a senior in high school there was no such thing as smart phones, YouTube or Facebook. They literally did not exist. What YouTube and the web in general is right now isn't some permanent new normal, there will never be a new "normal" in media again. Get used to change and be ready to ride whatever wave comes next or make up your own next.
Are there any 5SFs that you wish you could undo? Take one wild guess (BF)
Why do I feel like I just got yelled at? I'm sure Brian means this. Your welcome (MR.
If I yelled, it would be ALL CAPS AND BOLD. Just thought it was a given that my 5SF nadir would involve the tuck. (BF)
I occasionally have a tough time searching videos. Are you all looking to improve that? I'm sure making videos daily can be exhausting, are there certain things you all look to for inspiration? Kelsey and Olivia, you're both babes. The next version of our website (coming hopefully within a month) will improve search quite a bit. Whether or not it will be smart enough to understand searches for actors, dialogue, etc. is still up in the air, but it'll certainly be better than what we have now on either the website or YouTube! (DKH)
We look to Kelsey and Olivia. We are nerds they are total babes. Be a nerd and be a good one = get babes. (MJ)
Forgive the editing nerd: what cameras and software do you guys use? All hail the editing nerd! We use Final Cut 7 (screw X), Photoshop, Motion, After Effects, and we have shot our first year and half back in the day on a Canon XL2, then Panasonic HMC150, and lately it's been Canon 5D, 7D, and very recently we shot a few on the Canon C300. (MR)
Forgive, please more gear and program questions! (TJ)
How long do the videos take to film and edit? On average, I'd say an hour. Some 5sfs are animations or effects-intensive, others are one-shots. It all evens out. (BF)
Would you fuck me, Jon? I'd fuck me so hard.
One for Rouss - how do you feel about being the genesis for bringing the genius of Tommy Wiseau to the world? Proud? Regretful? Haha... I feel weird about it. A proud weird. I shouldn't get all the credit though, my friends also have blood on their hands. We kept bringing people to the initial last 4 screenings of the Room in July 2003. Tommy saw the ticket prices spike (from ZERO), noticed all the IMDB comments and review we posted. He later did a business screening in a Beverly Hills office building, which we later figured was an "audience test screening," we were being recorded and tried our damnest not to laugh because Tommy was in the room with us. We failed. Later, he rented out a large theater in Hollywood which was still FREE, we brought more and more of our friends. Finally Tommy cut us off and started charging. Like heroin addicts we kept coming back. I'm proud that this was all before Facebook and YouTube, so it was all old fashion word of mouth, and I'm proud that we helped a helpless filmmaker achieve cult-immortality, but I kinda feel bad that it was for glorify his incompetence and putting his failures on a pedestal. Greg Sestero, who plays Mark, is writing an AMAZING book about the making of The Room and his close relationship with Tommy. It's going to be in bookstores everywhere next Spring. I am honored that I get to contribute to his book and 5secondfilms gets a shout out. Greg Sestero is wonderful guy and fantastic writer. I'm honored to have had him in some 5secondfilms. I wish we could get Tommy but I don't think he trusts me. He knows me by name and calls me "The Michael." (MR)
Do dogs make beer, too? They do...but nobody knows (MEP)
If you could have one celebrity that you haven't had on yet appear in your films, who would it be? I said Louis CK up there, but while I'm spitballing, I also would love to make Christopher Walken, Michael Caine, and Butch Walker do dumb things for me on camera.
But really, I'm already so mind-blown that Patton, Weird Al and Andrew WK got interested. I really can't get too greedy here. (BF)
Have you folks ever considered publishing a podcast? We've batted the idea around a little bit. Hasn't really gotten much further than that. A few of us have done little guest spots on other peoples' podcasts. But I think it sounds fun. (MEP)
Is c-pain really dead? Find out here] ([Link to (pp)
When can us fans come hang out while you make movies? We've seriously debated letting a fan or two come hang out with us for a weekend and be in 5sfs. Still ironing out the details, like how to dissolve a body in a bathtub and how to delete someone's social security number. We'll keep you posted! (BF)
Hi Kelsey! i actually discover 5secondfilms looking for more of her afther The Death and Return of Superman (not creepy at all) That's pure awesome!!! not creepy at all!! (KG)
I'm a senior in high school who is looking to major in film if and when I go to college, and I also have done several short films so far in high school alone. My question is, is there something (particularly aimed at Brian, since you founded 5SF and I believe you said you went to college for it) that you have learned in recent years that you would tell your earlier self? Badly worded, TL;DR: What's a useful tip for an amateur? I don't know about 5sf specifically (since Brian & Dan established the LLC back in the beginning), but after I graduated college and I was embarking on my first couple independent projects, I looked into establishing some sort of business entity to start producing through (which I did and produced a feature length film). I realized then that had I established that business entity when I was 18--still in high school but knew what I wanted to do--I could've put little bits of money into it during my 4 years of film school (even if it was 10% of my beer & pot budget it'd be a lot of $krilla in 4 years), and that business entity could have a MUCH better credit limit than the one I was about to establish. Boring answer, but true story. (MEP)
Whenever you make 5 films in a row and put them all together (like this) it's awesome. Can you make more of those? We love the compilations! But because we often shoot that week's worth of films in one day, it means that instead of shooting 5 films, we're shooting 10!! But some ideas are just simply worth it. And sometimes (such as when we made 5sf Rises) we stretch it out over several days. (MEP)
When you guys do Bummer Week(s), does it get to you? I mean, Paul's really convincing. Life's hard. real talk: life's been hard for everyone at 5sf. in some way or another. it's what makes life funny for us. bummer week wasn't any one person's awesome moment. it was the collective tragedy that all of us have experienced and shared at the table in the living room at the weekly writing meeting. (pp)
Did you contact Andrew W.K. to make a cameo in y'alls films? Or did he stumble upon you guys? Favorite celeb collab video? And LEAST favorite video, and why? Me personally, I love "What Makes Andrew W.K. Rock So Hard?" I'll just say I owe Weird Al an apology. He knows why. (pp)
What is your favorite genre of film? I think by this point we can legitimately refer to "Die Hard" as a genre. But, yeah, if it features one man (or woman--I love Haywire, La Femme Nikita and other kick-ass ladies) killing LOTS and LOTS of bad guys (kung fu, guns, explosions, I don't care) with cheesy one-liners, I WILL WATCH IT. (MEP)
Last updated: 2012-11-14 00:26 UTC
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2012.06.16 09:13 tabledresser [Table] IAmA rapper called MC Frontalot. I coined the term 'nerdcore' and remain that subgenre's final boss. AMA.

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Date: 2012-06-15
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Questions Answers
On "Charisma Potion," are you saying "attribute" or "attribute?" Yes, exactly.
How's your back? Back has actually been in better shape most of the time since that first tour (the one in the movie that features me whining and groaning about my back). I think I eventually learned to do some damn stretches before and after going onstage, and to simply BE THAT ASSHOLE who always has an important incoming phone call when heavy things need to get lifted nearby.
Also, is the headlamp effective against grues? Of course the headlamp is effective against grues. You think it's just to keep my luxurious hair from getting in my eyes?
As the parent of a 3 year old, I have to ask - how many people recognize you from the Elmo's Potty Time video? Also - best rap about TP production evar! I have definitely had a few folks come up and say they got to the rest of the catalog by hearing the TP Factory rap first. I think it would be a little bit hard to figure out who I am if all you had was that DVD.
Will there ever be an Aquabats collab? I say this because I really want an Aquabats collab. And I might cry if I don't get it. Really big fan, by the way, you're awesome. Thanks for doing this AMA! My dear friend MC Lars has worked with them! And of course they're great. But I am not so much a Ska guy, myself. Still, if they wanted to do something together I'm certain we could figure out a very pleasing mixture of our various weird music ideas.
Front, hello! Thanks for doing this AMA. Been a huge fan for a couple years; you are my favorite artist. Anyway, my question will resolve a debate between my cousin and I. At the very end of Stoop Sale you say, "Saw him do it. He was wishing that he wouldn’t get caught." Does this mean that the buckle allowed him to not get caught by the "store" owner, or that the buckle is not magical at all, allowing you to see him steal it? That is all. Thanks! I like that so many people have been trying to parse out a 'correct' answer to the end of this song. It occurred to me when I got done writing it that you could read it either way and that your reading might tell you whether you have a BEAUTIFUL AND MAGICAL SOUL or are someone who believes that WONDERMENT IS DEAD IN THIS WORLD. I always thought of it this way: the thief takes possession; at that moment he's wishing he wouldn't get caught; that's the wish he gets; thus, even though he's seen taking it, his observers are powerless to catch him. And he's squandered his one true wish. And I don't get mine because I thought about it too much.
What career would you like to have if you weren't a rapper? Novelist! I had always wanted to be a novelist. But I also kind of always wanted to be a voice actor for animation, so I might try my hand at that eventually. And if all else failed I suppose I'd return to graphic design.
Having been following your work for so long, I'm more of a fan of the original mixes of many of your early songs, the ones on the Nerdcore Hiphop "demo". Nostalgia, maybe! Did you have to change them for the album because of the couple hundred uncleared samples your rocked per track? Or was it that you had changed as an artist by the time you were ready to release the album? Yes, I agree! Some of those old demo versions of those songs from my first and second albums are better than the retooled versions. Particularly: yellow lasers, crime spree, gonna be your man, indier than thou. It is because I can't sell stuff with samples in it, so we had to write music for those songs instead! I don't think the different music is the problem so much as my production inexperience at the time. But even now, five albums later, I think that if I leveraged millions of dollars worth of top music producer labor and studio wizardry by just looping shit out of popular songs, it would be kinder to the ear than my essentially home-made originals. For evidence, see: every rapper's mix tape.
PS: My daughter will be potty training soon. I'm going to get her a copy of Elmo's Potty Time, of course. Do you get royalties from that? I don't get royalties from Elmo's Potty Time, but the Sesame Workshop is a great bunch of folks and they deserve all of your eleven dollars and fifty cents.
I'm curious how your colleagues and friends reacted when you announced you'd be becoming a full time rapper. Did anyone try to convince you not to do it? How did you tell them to suck it? How do you feel about terming the word "nerdcore"? Finally, if I promise you a place on my sofa, will you please come to the UK? I'd love to see you live. I don't think anyone told me not to do it. I was already sitting at home all day every day in front of the computer, so becoming a nerdcore rapper full time wasn't blowing anyone's mind, really. Nerdcore is certainly an opt-in designation, so pretty much anyone can call themselves nerdcore and I won't argue with them. But it is also a term that seems to describe certain things (particularly BEING A BIG DORK and having it come through in your music) well enough that it is going to get applied to the work of people who don't care to use the word themselves. So it is a bit harder to opt out of. See for example mc chris, MC Lars, Childish Gambino. I sympathize with them. Nobody wants to be pigeonholed in a way they didn't choose for themselves. But on the other hand, when you make things and put them out there, you don't have much control over how your audience reacts and how they classify you. I'm just glad that people use the nerdcore classification to group together music that they LIKE instead of music that makes them want to pee in your gym locker or whatever.
I want to thank you for all that you have done for us nerds. Your music has meant a lot to me over the years. How did you get your music career started? Do you have any advice for an aspirering nerdcore hip-hop artist? You have been with nerdcore since the begining. I was wondering how do you feel about how it has progressed with time? Is the song Yellow Lasers based on a true story? I think I already hit the first two. 3: I am ecstatic that new kids come up and are talented and think that 'nerdcore' is a useful and meaningful descriptor for their work. They're the ones who make it a movement or whatever, who make it a real thing. THANK GOODNESS FOR DR AWKWARD AND RANDOM AND ADAM AND ETC ETC ETC. Best possible outcome when you make up a music subgenre just to point out your own personal weaknesses. 4: No, thank goodness.
Hey Front, I'm a just starting (Nerdcore-ish) rapper and I've got to ask; was it hard for you to get listeners in the beginning? What method(s) did you use? Thanks in advance. I am the worst person to ask about that because I did not try to get anyone to listen at first. I literally made songs because I thought the multitrack software was cool and put them up because I thought it was cool that I had a web server and knew how to encode an MP3 (in 1999 you still had to post detailed instructions on how to actually LISTEN to an MP3 if you wanted most folks to hear it). I mean, I also loved rapping and thought it was fresh that I could make myself sound like a better rapper than I was by editing takes together. But i did not think I was good or that anyone should pay attention. And if Penny Arcade hadn't noticed me, I don't think the press would ever have noticed me, and nobody would have heard of me, and it would still be a hobby. SO I HAVE NO ADVICE other than try to make songs that you would want to listen to and be proud of. That might help.
My wife thinks you're damn sexy and I can't get her to stop screaming out MC Frontalot lyrics in bed. I wouldn't mind so much but she makes me wear black frames and a red necktie, too. Oh, and one time I came home to her dancing to "Gonna Be Your Man" in a USB cord thong. Any advice? Cam footage or it didn't happen.
MC Frontalot did you want to go to Tim Horton's and look at some beavers? I feel like I could probably order donuts and see pictures of beavers on the internet, but thanks for the invite.
In regards to "Nerdcore HipHop". Did you really start out doing karaoke rap? And what artists did you cover initially? Karaoke rap: no, I never do rap songs at karaoke and never have. In that song, what I mean by 'karaoke rapping' is: performing with playback instead of a band. I wrote that song before I ever imagined having a band, or even going onstage to rap.
In your opinion what is the worst (favourite) of the first world problems? Of the lyrics in MY OWN SONG, my VERY FAVORITE is "scheduling your root canal." Even if you have fantastic perspective on class privilege, you are likely to complain about that. But it is a huge luxury to be able to get your teeth fixed like that and in many parts of the world you instead get to spend the rest of your life in constant pain eating mush food.
More questions about what I think my personal moments of TOTAL BRILLIANCE are, please!
How do you decide which songs are your "video worthy" songs? Do you have some kind of test audience or do you just pick your favorites? Spellah and Gm7 and Brendan and I talk about what songs are the most likely to have appeal (for being catchy or interesting or whatever) plus some of them just come out better than other ones.
I've heard accusations that the recent zombie attacks in Florida are all just you stirring up interest for an "Invasion Of The Not Quite Dead" video... explain yourself sir! Y'know... there IS a video for IOTNQD. Check it out.
It has been great seeing you the last couple years at PAX East and I appreciate you taking the time to talk with me and the fans. What is the worst experience you have ever had to endure with a fan? Thanks. I don't want to dodge this on but I've either blocked it out or no interaction with a fan has ever been all that bad. I will contemplate and come back to it.
What are your nerd credentials? Hmmmm. Myopia, asthma, video game and comics obsession, web design and accounting background, and having invented nerdcore hip-hop. Maybe that's enough?
In "Nerdcore Rising" you commented you were deciding whether to pursue rap full time as a career. Obviously, you seem to have gone this route (Win!). I was lucky to be freelancing in graphic design and web development, so I was able to slowly let go of my clients as the rap income built up. AND I was able to get the most expensive part of my distribution empire (a fancy website) built without overhead. I let my last client go and have not had to take any non-rap jobs since 2006. And no, there's no other supplement (like a gold fountain? a pet iguana who barfs five dollar bills?).
So…..IS it possible to be a full-time independent artist and actually survive financially in modern times, or do you have supplemental income? Random, Adam Warrock, chris, and Lars all do nerdcore full time now. There may be others I'm failing to know about. Amanda Palmer rocks seven figure kickstarters. And your weirdest aunt sells crochet fuzzy celebrity placentas on Etsy. So yes, independent artists can make ends meet. It may even be easier than it ever was before internet came along.
When you go on tour how do you decide if you want to bring the full band or just DJ PC? Edit: Now that I think about it... is it DJ CPU? I always want to bring the full band, and I only ever don't if it's impossible for some reason. Usually that reason is financial.
Do you make a living doing this? Amazingly, yes.
I'm a huge fan and I just wanted to thank you for doing this AMA! My next release will be a compilation of the most awesome live recordings from my big ol' tour archive, properly mastered. Hopefully before tour season starts up.
Is there anything new you are working on that you would care to share with us? When can I expect more auditory orgasms from your general direction? Oh, also: the final kickstarter-funded videos are in the works at long last: I'll Form The Head and Colonel, Panic!
Hey MC, whats your favorite D&D class? Thief/Assassin (which I think now is Rogue?), followed by Cleric.
I recently decided I would love to start writing raps and whatnot. I've written poetry before, and decided it was the next logical step...and then when i started all i got were really bad lines, and no idea what to write about. What pill do you take that makes you rap well? The pill is called Rhyminex DM. It is a 24-hour time release capsule. Don't take two at once or you'll turn into Jay-Z.
The secret track on Zero Day was a very fun puzzle. Did it achieve your expectations? Was it broken faster or slower than you expected it to be? I think it got broken within the first 24 hours. Maybe 48. It was nice and fast. Even a year and a half later, only 258 people have solved it, so I think it was sufficiently difficult.
2 - Have Jerry or Mike from PA ever demanded a post-PAX 3 Way? They demanded one, and then demanded that I not participate. Elitists. This is the closest we'll probably ever get. It occurred about an hour after doors closed at PAX 2006.
I only really care about one of those. Thanks for retweeting a link to my site awhile back. Your song "Charity Case" is the reason I don't pirate music anymore. I bet you're an awesome person IRL. It goes better than I have any right to expect, thanks for asking. I don't know! We talked about doing one about ten years ago. Maybe someday we'll get it together. I'd love to.
Is "Yellow Laser Beam" based off a true story? This is the most popular question so far.
Are you working on a new album or new songs? Next studio album will probably be a kid's record with a storyline that runs all the way through, perhaps an album-length fairy tale or sci-fi epic. Fall of 2013, tentatively.
Hey, MC Front. Long-time fan. I was wondering, what artists or bands would you most like to collaborate with? Del tha Funkee Homosapien, Amanda Palmer, Busdriver, PJ Harvey, Jean Grae, Tom Waits.
How do you feel about DJs pirating your (or others') music in order to play it on community radio? How do you feel about the censorship of swearwords and adult content for radio? Was the movie Nerdcore Rising completely true or were there elements of fiction/dramatization in it? Nerdcore rising contains no staged stuff but if you were there for all of it (I was!) you would notice that some stuff is out of order and the PAX show which was actually a bit after the tour is made to seem like the last show of the van run. There's also huge crowd cheering hilariously cut to the end of a performance that's in front of like 14 people in Tennessee I think. Little stuff like that, mostly serving the narrative flow. Real life doesn't have that much narrative flow. The thing that seems weirdly false to me when I accidentally watch the movie these days is: right before going on at PAX I'm all like "I think this will be the largest crowd I've ever been in front of." I think? I THINK? The only thing going through my mind as I'm saying that is that it is 50X as many people as I've every performed for previously and that I'm terrified. I bet Negin wishes I'd been honest and said that. Would have done wonders for the NARRATIVE FLOW.
Do other styles of nerdy music count as nerdcore, or does it have to be rap? End-user music piracy does nobody any harm. And in fact, for someone at my level, every time a set of ears gets exposed to my songs, that's a net positive. That's an n% chance of a new fan. And any new fan has some chance of becoming the kind of fan who supports me materially by buying what they already downloaded, or getting a shirt, or seeing a show, and all that is what lets me keep doing this full time. Pirates who make money piss me off, though (see: russian MP3 sites, TV shows that don't file their ASCAP paperwork properly, etc). Because they exist, I am glad that copyright laws are enforceable when appropriate.
What goals/plans do you have career-wise? Are there any particular collaborations you would like to pull off? Any venues you are shooting for? Any milestones like being on the soundtrack of a Hollywood blockbuster or some such? I continue to dream (without really doing anything to make it happen) about having some fancy hollywood movie about geek life demand a theme song from me. I mean, ideally it would be a movie that I'd be excited about, something from Gilliam, Burton, Payne, Whedon, Raimi. But that is just a dream, and realistically I'd be on just about any movie sound track if the film were not about how war is awesome or how girls are dumb or other things that movies are often about that I do not agree with.
I want to voice some cartoons. Cartoon producers, call me!
The one venue I've always wanted to play is the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco. Sadly, I couldn't fill it up by myself. But maybe TMBG will let me open for them there some day.
Why didn't I get to see G-Minor7 at the SF show last year? Made me a little sad. Gaby does not really like being on the road. It's hard for him to work and car rides are boring for him. He hates noisy bars, which is most of where we play. And don't tell him I said so but he is kind of bad at lifting up equipment and moving it through doorways without bumping into things. So we all understand why he doesn't come out on the road any more! But we miss him, probably more than you do.
That said, he claims to be considering doing a fall run with us this fall.
Can you describe your relationship with Zack Johnson and Josh Nite (of Kingdom of Loathing fame)? How you met them and all that. Thanks :) We were investigating a distress beacon from the ship Prometheus together and wandered into a huge, gothy chamber filled with weird eggs. Josh looked at one of them too closely and got his esophagus impregnated with a weird alien parasite. Later at dinner, it burst violently from his chest. The three of us often look back on that shared experience and laugh knowingly, then fuel up our flame throwers.
What have you been listening to recently? The new Busdriver album Beaus$Eros (bows & arrows), which is fantastic. Also, the new Fountains of Wayne and the most recent Mike Doughty.
How did the Problems tracks on Solved come about? They were fun to listen to and I enjoyed them, but I always wondered how you got to sit down with Wyatt Cenac, Kristen Schall, and Eugene Mirman. Also, how did you and Lars come up with Black and Yellow T-shirts/Captains of Industry? It's a personal favorite of mine. Kristen: I got Hodgman to advocate for me at the Brooklyn Book Fair and then hassled her A LOT until she agreed to do it. She is incredibly nice. Once she was on board, Eugene and Wyatt I guess decided I was legit enough to spend 45 minutes with. Comedians do something that to me seems almost impossibly cool and difficult, so it remains a big thrill to me that I'm able to trick them into being on my albums. Trying to get Posehn and Reggie Watts on a future thing.
How many different ties do you own? Maybe about 30. I need some new ones. Half of them have sharpie marks on them or are falling apart.
You've mentioned before that you are mistaken for a novelty act. I don't think of you as that, because you make good music that just happens to have nerdy themes and jokes. It is more compelling for being weird or funny than it is for being music you can't get anything out of it on repeat listens that you couldn't on first listen if you put it on a mix CD with songs that aren't novelty songs, the person listening would be like 'ugh, you should take that one off.' But it's almost always the critic's response, isn't it? Almost nobody sets out to make a novelty record. And I might denigrate someone by calling them a novelty act when you think they are weaving their subtle and rewarding artistry and it's just way over my head. Sorry, I guess my answer is: who knows.
How would you define the "line" an artist has to cross where they become a novelty act?
Do you have a chord/tab area somewhere? I'd love to be able to learn a few songs (Diseases of Yore, Shame of the Otaku for example) but haven't been able to find them. What was it like working with JoCo, was it in studio, or did he send you his parts over the interwebs? I don't have any chords or tabs posted, but a few songs have gone to notation to help incoming keyboardists. Maybe I'll make those sheets available sometime.
JoCo is a friend and is always fantastic to work with. We did Diseases of Yore via email and FTP, but we get to do it live every so often, usually with Paul & Storm on backup.
Thank you so much for doing this! I have been to numerous shows and been a fan since the early days. Speaking of the early days, do you ever talk to KOMPRESSOR anymore? Are they still producing anything? I was going through my wayback mp3 archive and found your collab piece and still think it's awesome. Would it ever find its way onto a mainstream release? Haven't chatted with Drew lately, but he remains a prolific web cartoonist and tee shirt monger. He also puts out albums every so often. His last one was I think all booty-shaking jams.
You have an extremely unique style. What are your influences for this and how long did it take to develop into what it is today? I just kind of tried to rap as well as I'm able. Never consciously aimed at developing a style. I'm still trying to get better! Probably the stuff I listened to in High School influenced me the most: Del, De La Soul, Public Enemy, Tribe Called Quest, 3rd Bass, NWA.
Hey Frontalot! Been a fan of yours for a while. I was never much into rap but you're highly unique, original and very talented! As a fellow geek/nerd, what are some of your favourite computer games of recent months? I am in deep with Diablo III. Those Blizzard fuckers really know how to light up the reward centers in my brain. Just got Max Payne 3 (though on console) and it is kind of incredible. Think I'm almost through it.
Not much of a question, but more of a request. Can/will you ever come to the east coast? specifically the hampton roads area? the norva is pretty awesome. We actually played in Hampton Roads at an anime con last year! Hopefully they'll book us again sometime.
Do you have any plans to collaborate with Wil Wheaton and release a Shellfishcore hip-hop album in the future? For the sake of the entire non-hearing-impaired population of the world, thankfully, no.
Have you always been a good story teller, or is it something that you discovered/crafted through rapping? I always wanted to be a writer. I did lots of short stories and edited the literary magazine in high school. I wrote a short novel as my honors thesis in college. So actually I came to rapping from the writing angle much more than the thinking-I-would-be-good-at-rapping angle. Jury remains out on whether I'm actually any good at either of those aspects of my job.
What is Kompressor REALLY like? Scary as hell. And mean to animals.
I have sinus congestion. What do you recommend for a stuffy nose? Also please make music forever. Hanging out in the desert helps. Also zirtec.
What's your favorite Science Fiction franchise? Star Wars. Even with the later era of disappointment and sadness.
When will you start taking on full time disciples? When I am old and living in a dojo on top of a mountain.
Can you loan me your dog for the weekend? He's the cutest! I get this a lot. Start a dog walking service in Brooklyn and then maybe.
Yo, Front! 1) When will some new music drop? I need to give you more money. 2) Any further word on an official release of that collaboration with Wheatus on "Teenage Dirtbag"? At some point Brendan will have his all-remixes Dirtbag album in production, and we'll do a studio take of the rap then. For now, this London performance is your best keeper.
Beer, cheese, or monkeys? I would like the monkey to serve me the beer while wearing one of those Wisconsin sport fanatic cheese-shaped hats.
Hey man! Love your work, especially Bizarro Genius. As for questions: what rappers do you listen to? What Is your favorite videogame? Do you like whales? I like MF Doom, Busdriver, Del, Brother Ali, and lots more. My favorite video games of all time are probably Psychonauts, Red Dead Redemption, Lode Runner, and the HHGTTG text adventure. And no, whales can go fuck themselves.
Hello Front, it's me again (the Magic: The Gathering hater from Nerdcore Rising). I've been to several of your shows, but never had to opportunity to actually talk to you, as you were either too busy, or just had a deer-in-the-headlights look whenever a girl was near. Anyways, my question is this: what's your favorite Tom Waits album? Also, which do you prefer, his early folk-style years, the jazzy Small Change era, or his more recent experimental work? My favorite Waits albums are Small Change, Rain Dogs, and Bone Machine. I cannot seem to whittle it down to one. I love the heavier groove stuff best, starting really with Heartattack & Vine and continuing through Real Gone. But every one of his albums is goddamned treasure.
of all, your music is seriously awesome. I went to one of your concerts at The Space in CT and I was seriously blown away by how fast you can rap things. Questions: You went to Wesleyan University, correct? I am currently a student there. I was wondering what your major was and also who your favorite professor was? Thanks! My favorite profs were Annie Dillard, George Creeger, and Jessica Shubow. I don't imagine any of them are still there. I majored in English.
This may seem like a silly question. But, after watching the documentary Nerdcore Rising with a buddy, I told him it's only a matter of time before we would see you or MC Lars on a some Nickelodeon show, Disney show or even Glee as an "unhip" teacher who helps a kid study for a crucial test with a Nerdcore rap. He stated you wouldn't be interested as it would be selling out. I still contend it will happen. If an offer came your way, how interested would you be in the opportunity? It would be selling out to make a song for BP about how great they are at cleaning up oil spills, or one for Apple about how noble they are for being patent trolls. Acting is so far removed from my artistic output that it wouldn't bother me to do it, even on a show that's not very good like Glee. In fact, I bet it would be a shitload of fun.
I thoroughly enjoyed your performance in Vegas last year at Defcon. Will you be there again this year? We're in talks! It looks very much like I'll be there, rapping.
Frontalot is the final boss ultimate inferno difficulty. What's up, Bryce! I miss you.
Front, STR: 11 DEX: 12 CON: 8 INT: 18 WIS: 3 CHA: 2 (modified to 22 with my +20 Mic Of Compelling Stage Antics)
Please fill in the following ability scores for yourself.
If you are unsure, you may roll four six-sided dice and use the the top three of four as your score. Also, please include any special ability modifiers.
No questions, just thank you for being awesome! GLAD TO BE OF SERVICE.
Tell us about Ma Front. I have two young sons, and I want to know how to raise them so that they'll come back and visit me. ;) You could try running customer service for their merch mail-order business for them when they're in their thirties! That is a very endearing thing for a mom to do. Also gives you stuff to talk about on the phone all the time.
For the sake of the entire non-hearing-impaired population of the world, thankfully, no. Not that Wil's rapping is bad. Just, c'mon. Shellfishcore. Ufff.
Last updated: 2012-06-19 13:27 UTC Next update: 2012-06-19 19:27 UTC
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