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Some things to know...

What is quality of life?
Example: "the things that are needed for a good quality of life"
What is a lobby?
Example: "it is recommending that booksellers lobby their representatives"
--Google online dictionary

Our goal is to lobby lawmakers on issues that affect the quality of life of people in the USA. The only leverage we have to make sure that issues which affect our quality of life are addressed is our vote, but we are not communicating what those issues are to lawmakers nor are we vowing to vote according to their willingness to raise our quality of life--instead many of us are voting according to which party a representative is affiliated with.

To do that we need to form a political platform.

What is a political, also known as a party, platform?
--Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Party_platform
And that is why we are here discussing what is lowering our quality of life and even why our grandparents had a higher quality of life than we do now.

Once we identify why they had a higher quality of life than we do now and why we have a lower quality of life than they did, we can propose solutions and form a platform. We can lobby lawmakers to garner support and votes about the complicated topics and issues which are lowering our quality of life. They can find their own solutions to these issues or implement the ones we draw up, but they must address them. We can only hold them to it if we form a strong enough lobby. What is a strong lobby in this context? One with the power to vote them out or vote them in depending on their willingness to make our quality of life a policy objective.

What is a policy objective?
Example: "A central bank may wish to achieve stable prices (the objective) and set a rate of 2% (the target for inflation)."
--Economics Online For Students of Econonomics, https://www.economicsonline.co.uk/Definitions/Policy_objective.html#:~:text=Policy%20objective%20%E2%80%93%20definition,(the%20target%20for%20inflation)..)

When a lawmaker makes a law, there is a policy objective. Oftentimes, the policy objective is to increase the GDP, help the stock market, protect the oil or health or car industries, or even to protect certain industries from unfair foreign competition. The goal of the Quality of Life Lobby is to lobby lawmakers to once more make the quality of life of people in the USA a policy objective.

Ever since NAFTA, there has been no policy objective to protect the USA labor market from unfair foreign competition--or from anything else for that matter. From white collar workers to the ones in the service industry, we have been subjected to lowering wages and higher inflation. The cost of living has increased and the purchasing power of the dollar in our domestic market is getting weaker and weaker yet our wages have not risen. Any attempts to raise wages are brushed aside with talks of inflation, but no other solution is given. The ability of the market to correct itself thanks to competition has been overlooked. If Campbell's tries to sell beans for $4.00/can the invisible hand of the market will see to it that Goya or Procter & Gamble will compete with them by selling it for $3.00/can, $2.00/can and so forth until it is reasonably priced again. Inflation is no excuse to not address the cost of living issue in this country. How do we do that? What is causing the cost of living to rise while wages stagnate?

That is why we are here. We need to discuss the problems at hand whether they be economic, social, or related to the justice system to identify the root source of each major quality-of-life-impacting issue and potential solutions. We aren't here to find one solution and praise it, flaws and all. Point out the flaws. Find ways around them if you can or point them out so that someone else may. We need to create a platform on prevalent problems and proposed solutions so that we can lobby law makers and raise our quality of life.

Common problems mentioned on Reddit include:

If they pick on you it's because we let them.

Let's not let them. WE have a democracy, and once we identify the problems affecting us and their solutions, law makers can either implement our solutions, find and implement their own solutions to our problems, or promptly be voted the fucking hell out of there. The choice can be theirs...if you make them. We have to form a lobby and a credible voting block--that means growing this sub. The companies kicking our working asses have lobbies. It's time to make our own or forever hold our peace. (It also would take less than one or two hours a week if it takes off for even the most active members since once we identify issues I and other moderators can compile them and the most supported proposed solutions and put them up for vote in a poll so that we can form a list of problems and their corresponding solutions one at a time. We can then have a document which we can use for our political platform and lobby lawmakers with. Once this document is made, it is not time consuming to publish it, lobby other voters with it, and form a voting block around it to lobby lawmakers with and vote them in or out depending on their ability to address OUR needs. Upon the completion of this hopefully less-than-10-pages-long political platoorm document, it can be shared on social media as well to gain traction.)
P.S. To all of the high-income earners, you are not left out. Democracy and rights to the fruit of one's labor and a high quality of life are for everyone. If you are not underpaying your employees, we do not want your money. We want the people they work for to pay them (and probably you, too, so that you can invest in USA companies and create jobs through the creation of businesses or your increased consumption in the housing and consumer markets) so that your taxes don't get raised for their SNAP cards any more than they already have. We are not advocating socialism. Also, one may notice that as we have a mixed economy* some aspects of it are already socialized, like medicaid and disability. We are not going to set parameters on the discussion as we have faith in the critical thinking skills of everyone here to pick and choose from all ideas set before them on the merits of the ideas and not the system the one presenting the ideas may advocate for--or not advocate for. One may run out of other people's money, but you never run out of the money your labor has earned your company, and the goal here is to make sure that the people in the USA do not have their quality of life drastically affected because they don't get an equitable share of that. (One of the goals of this sub is to decide and debate what an 'equitable share of the fruits of their labor' is in terms of a percent of net profits of the entity they work for and what an equitable share of the fruits of one's labor is in the context of nonprofits, public entities like libraries and schools, etc and related minutiae.) If you are a doctor--as much money as doctors make--you still should not live in fear of a missed student loan payment or be worked to the bone with excessively long shifts for years. The same goes for other high-income earners. You should be paid according to your value to that hospital(or other employer), and they should take steps wherever possible--not just wherever convenient--to ensure that you and their other staff do not suffer unnecessarily. Suffering is going to happen, but the goal of the Quality of Life Lobby is to reduce it where it is not necessary and to find ways to do it without creating a bigger problem. Please feel free to contribute your concerns regarding your quality of life and how it can be higher even if you have a pretty high quality of life already or feel that others' concerns are more dire than your own. We are working for everyone here to raise everyone's quality of life as much as it can be in their own context.

*Mixed economy (noun): an economic system that combines aspects of both capitalism and socialism. A mixed economic system protects private property and allows a level of economic freedom in the use of capital, but also allows for governments to interfere in economic activities in order to achieve social aims.Apr 27, 2020
Example: We have had a mixed economic system at the least since Franklin D. Roosevelt enacted the Social Security Act of 1935 and a series of financial reforms, regulations, programs, and public work projects called the New Deal during the seven-year period of time spanning from 1933 to 1939.
Example: One of the goals of the Quality of Life Lobby is to lobby for financial reforms and regulations to protect the quality of life of people in the USA from undue foreign market interference and from the affects of a growing population and decreased need for labor as caused by automation, AI, other technological advances, and competition with foreign markets which are not accounted for in traditional market theory.
--www.investopedia.com
submitted by OMPOmega to QualityOfLifeLobby [link] [comments]

Local Influencers: Actionable Way to Grow Your Business on Instagram

Local Influencers: Actionable Way to Grow Your Business on Instagram
Nano-, micro-, macro-influencers and celebrities are all kinds of opinion leaders who may be quite helpful when it comes to promoting your business and reaching more customers. Yet, some businesses don’t need random influencers who are popular worldwide; they need local bloggers.
Many offline businesses believe they see no benefits in influencer marketing but they’re wrong. In this piece, we will cover a kind of influencers who may be a great help to small and medium brick-and-mortar companies.

Who are local influencers

If you have a local company or you work for a local business, we don’t have to tell you how crucial it is to build an online presence at least locally. One way to achieve this is with influencer marketing. You want to be where your potential customers are, and they are on social media platforms like Instagram.
Local influencers are nano-, micro- and macro-influencers who live in the same neighbourhood, city or country as you do, the so-called local celebrities. Not every brand, especially small and medium-sized companies, can afford to hire celebrities or macro-influencers for their campaigns. Here local influencers can prove to be really helpful.

https://preview.redd.it/gtvvmhz6m9551.png?width=1348&format=png&auto=webp&s=2f9863a88a708004fe415b62bd9289e81dece9d9
Some marketers classify local influencers as nano-influencers. We assume that they’re wrong and believe that local opinion leaders can have any followership, and their influence is typically restricted by a certain geographic area.

Why working with local influencers

Local influencers may be of interest for you if you own brick-and-mortar stores in a specific area or around the whole city and want to attract customers from Instagram. Such a growth hack is a nice and efficient addition to the targeted ads you may be already using.
Local influencers are a profitable marketing tool for businesses, especially B2C ones, which are bound to a geographical area — cafes, shops, restaurants, bars, beauty salons, flower shops, even clinics and car washes.
The main reason why you should outreach local influencers is that because often, they are your clients, too; you just don’t know it when they come to buy your pastry or drink coffee in your bar. And even if you do, it usually happens after they tag your company in their stories. Potentially, when they become your clients, they can later even be your brand ambassadors.

How to find local influencers

Before start working with them, you’re probably wondering how to find these influencers leaving nearby. Globally, there are two ways of finding local Instagram influencers.
  1. Instagram itself.
The most obvious way to find local influencers is to search them by locations, hashtags and keywords on the Instagram native platform. If you tag your location when you post on Instagram, just tap on it and you will see other users’ posts tagged with this location. Then you can manually review these bloggers or ask a professional to do a proper Instagram audit.

https://preview.redd.it/2cgif2kom9551.png?width=1616&format=png&auto=webp&s=3c10dde29e0ae299c5e14bc2175fc7b9b79df1fe
But this location should be generic, at least time to time, not your brand one: instead of Casa Buque (branded location) from the example above, you should put the city (in this case, São Mateu) or the street where the boutique is located.
Another way to find local influencers is to type a relevant location into the search field on Instagram and then start reviewing accounts who post tagging this location.
You can also monitor your local competitors’ audience to find relevant accounts and offer them a collaboration opportunity.
2. Third-party tools like Combin Growth.
Instagram is not convenient enough when you need to find relevant local influencers, that’s why we suggest you should use more advanced tools for this. Combin Growth is perfect for the purpose.
The Combin Growth functionality allows using 4 influencer searching strategies:
  • Searching competitors’ followers and following lists
If you know your competitors on Instagram, enter their username and start searching for their followers, likers or commenters. Then sort them by the number of followers and review the accounts you’ve found.
To perform even more advanced search, sort the accounts you’ve found by their follow ratio or the engagement rate. To exclude all stores, mass followers and other accounts that are considered inappropriate, hide all irrelevant accounts in the Filters tab.
  • Searching popular posts by relevant hashtags and locations
Unlike Instagram, Combin Growth has a convenient interactive map where you can manually find an area you need. The map identifies your location automatically and shows your area but if you need, you can enter the city and then pull the cursor to find a relevant street or spot.
Then again apply the required filter and sort the accounts as you want.
  • Searching popular posts’ authors by event hashtags
  • Searching by accounts’ bio
To use this method, you need to know your target audience really well because this way means you enter keywords that identify your typical buying personas.
With Combin Growth, you can target your search by narrowing it in advance: choose the time when then the content was posted, set likes and comments count of an influencer and even set the advanced search and pick the required gender, language, activity, followers and followings count.

Ways to work with local influencers

When you find local Instagram influencers relevant for your business, it’s time to outreach them and offer a collaboration opportunity. What exactly can you offer them?
Invite them to be your guests for free or with a profound discount and/or gift. If they’re not your clients yet, ask them to be. When they realise you offer good service, they will more likely share their experience with their followers and family.
You can also offer them to be your affiliate. Create a unique promo code which offers a discount to their followers. Each time when you get clients with this promo code, you will pay the influencer a commission.
Your influencer marketing campaign can be a one-time or a long-term one. An influencer will promote your company in their posts or stories at your discretion. If you’ve chosen an influencer right and developed a proper strategy, local influencers will bring you clients, and influencer marketing campaign will finally pay off.
submitted by Klaracombin to combin [link] [comments]

A thousand words wasn't enough? Here's five thousand.

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italiano italic italy item items its itself itunes iv ivory ix j ja jack jacket jackets jackie jackson jacksonville jacob jade jaguar jail jake jam jamaica james jamie jan jane janet january japan japanese jar jason java javascript jay jazz jc jd je jean jeans jeep jeff jefferson jeffrey jelsoft jennifer jenny jeremy jerry jersey jerusalem jesse jessica jesus jet jets jewel jewellery jewelry jewish jews jill jim jimmy jj jm jo joan job jobs joe joel john johnny johns johnson johnston join joined joining joins joint joke jokes jon jonathan jones jordan jose joseph josh joshua journal journalism journalist journalists journals journey joy joyce jp jpeg jpg jr js juan judge judges judgment judicial judy juice jul julia julian julie july jump jumping jun junction june jungle junior junk jurisdiction jury just justice justify justin juvenile jvc k ka kai kansas karaoke karen karl karma kate kathy katie katrina kay kazakhstan kb kde keen keep keeping keeps keith kelkoo kelly ken kennedy 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submitted by essidus to OneWordBan [link] [comments]

[FOR HIRE] Want the best Darn PYTHON Developer money can buy? For $20 an Hour, I am your guy!! [Web Scraping, Data Analytics, API, Web Development & MUCH MORE]

RESUME WEBSITE

DM me on Reddit

I will do

  1. General Purpose Programming using Python & JavaScript
  2. Web Scraping & Data Mining
  3. Data Cleanup & Data Structuring
  4. Data Analytics & Visualization
  5. API consumption & Integration
  6. Browser Automation
  7. Setting up Automation Script on Your end using Remote Assistance
  8. Web Development (Vue & Django)
  9. Technical Writing & Tutorial Videos on Programming

Web Scraping & Data Analytics

Web Scraping and Browser Automation tasks using Python. Modules I am familiar with -
Browser Automation
Bored of doing a repetitive task online? I could help you automate that.
Client Side Automation & Setting up Scripts for data scraping
Want to run the scripts on your end and automate your process and scrape information from your PC? I can help you set up or guide you through the installation of the scripts through video instructions and remote assistance software.
*Additional Charges are Applicable for remote assistance and setting up scripts on your machine
Data cleanup and Visualization using MS Excel. I am familiar with-
Data cleanup and Visualization using Python. I have skills in-

Previous works

Website and directory scrap and mining-
Reddit based web scraping and analysis -
Client Side Automation & Setting up Scripts for data scraping
Browser Automation

Web Development

Django, Vue & web dev
I am an expert web developer specializing in VueJs, Nuxt.Js and Netlify. My stack of knawledge includes -
  1. Django (For server-side)
  2. VueJS (Front end framework) with Vuex and Routers
  3. Ruby-based Jekyll (Static web language; Can help you to launch a virtual free website)
  4. Nuxt.Js (Vue Based Static web framework; Can help you to launch a virtual free website)
  5. Github Pages, Netlify (Free website hosting platform)
  6. Netlify CMS (Content Management System)
  7. Bootstrap 4 / Bulma / Vuetify
  8. HTML5 + CSS3 + JavaScript
  9. Virtually any type of JavaScript or CSS framework for the front end design
My Speciality is in modifying templates, upgrading and troubleshooting existing projects in Vue and Nuxt. If your developer left you with something and you are not sure what to do contact me. I also specialize in deploying to free to very affordable platforms such as Netlify and Github Pages.
Experience in web dev
  1. Currently working as one of the developers of Notestem
  2. Built a couple of website for charities (Hosted in Netlify, design in review)
  3. Worked in a junior developer position in a Vue Development role working with Django REST and PostgreSQL
  4. Made many a website here and there for practice
  5. Working as a freelancer helping and upgrade existing Nuxtjs project

Technical Writing, Blog Posts, Tutorial Videos on Programming

Making Tutorials on Learning Programming
I worked as a contractor to make full-fledged short Programming Tutorials on Python programming language. The following lists my duties & skills -
  1. Researching topics (SEO, Keywords, Blogs, Popular question)
  2. Writing original scripts for Tutorial (Writing error-free reference backed scripts that is easy to understand)
  3. Screen Record (OBS)
  4. Animation and Graphics Design (PowerPoint Animation, Video Editor Animation, Photoshop, Copyright Free logos)
  5. Research attribution free resources
  6. Video editing (I use VSDC, might switch to another editor soon)
  7. YouTube Thumbnail design (Creative thumbnail designs)
  8. Content management (Uploading and setting up with tags)
  9. Social Media interaction (Post and market content; Interact with viewers; Answer relevant questions)

Very interested sectors

Send me a message for any kind of work mentioned here, but if you -
Do send me a DM. You might need me in ways you don't even realize(!).

Resume / Portfolio / Personal Website

Please visit my website to learn more about my skills
Please visit this page to get a better understanding about hiring me

Hiring me-

submitted by anyfactor to forhire [link] [comments]

[FOR HIRE] Want the best Darn PYTHON Developer money can buy? For $20 an Hour, I am your guy!! [Web Scraping, Data Analytics, API, Web Development & MUCH MORE]

RESUME WEBSITE

DM me on Reddit

I will do

  1. General Purpose Programming using Python & JavaScript
  2. Web Scraping & Data Mining
  3. Data Cleanup & Data Structuring
  4. Data Analytics & Visualization
  5. API consumption & Integration
  6. Browser Automation
  7. Setting up Automation Script on Your end using Remote Assistance
  8. Web Development (Vue & Django)
  9. Technical Writing & Tutorial Videos on Programming

Web Scraping & Data Analytics

Web Scraping and Browser Automation tasks using Python. Modules I am familiar with -
Browser Automation
Bored of doing a repetitive task online? I could help you automate that.
Client Side Automation & Setting up Scripts for data scraping
Want to run the scripts on your end and automate your process and scrape information from your PC? I can help you set up or guide you through the installation of the scripts through video instructions and remote assistance software.
*Additional Charges are Applicable for remote assistance and setting up scripts on your machine
Data cleanup and Visualization using MS Excel. I am familiar with-
Data cleanup and Visualization using Python. I have skills in-

Previous works

Website and directory scrap and mining-
Reddit based web scraping and analysis -
Client Side Automation & Setting up Scripts for data scraping
Browser Automation

Web Development

Django, Vue & web dev
I am an expert web developer specializing in VueJs, Nuxt.Js and Netlify. My stack of knawledge includes -
  1. Django (For server-side)
  2. VueJS (Front end framework) with Vuex and Routers
  3. Ruby-based Jekyll (Static web language; Can help you to launch a virtual free website)
  4. Nuxt.Js (Vue Based Static web framework; Can help you to launch a virtual free website)
  5. Github Pages, Netlify (Free website hosting platform)
  6. Netlify CMS (Content Management System)
  7. Bootstrap 4 / Bulma / Vuetify
  8. HTML5 + CSS3 + JavaScript
  9. Virtually any type of JavaScript or CSS framework for the front end design
My Speciality is in modifying templates, upgrading and troubleshooting existing projects in Vue and Nuxt. If your developer left you with something and you are not sure what to do contact me. I also specialize in deploying to free to very affordable platforms such as Netlify and Github Pages.
Experience in web dev
  1. Currently working as one of the developers of Notestem
  2. Built a couple of website for charities (Hosted in Netlify, design in review)
  3. Worked in a junior developer position in a Vue Development role working with Django REST and PostgreSQL
  4. Made many a website here and there for practice
  5. Working as a freelancer helping and upgrade existing Nuxtjs project

Technical Writing, Blog Posts, Tutorial Videos on Programming

Making Tutorials on Learning Programming
I worked as a contractor to make full-fledged short Programming Tutorials on Python programming language. The following lists my duties & skills -
  1. Researching topics (SEO, Keywords, Blogs, Popular question)
  2. Writing original scripts for Tutorial (Writing error-free reference backed scripts that is easy to understand)
  3. Screen Record (OBS)
  4. Animation and Graphics Design (PowerPoint Animation, Video Editor Animation, Photoshop, Copyright Free logos)
  5. Research attribution free resources
  6. Video editing (I use VSDC, might switch to another editor soon)
  7. YouTube Thumbnail design (Creative thumbnail designs)
  8. Content management (Uploading and setting up with tags)
  9. Social Media interaction (Post and market content; Interact with viewers; Answer relevant questions)

Very interested sectors

Send me a message for any kind of work mentioned here, but if you -
Do send me a DM. You might need me in ways you don't even realize(!).

Resume / Portfolio / Personal Website

Please visit my website to learn more about my skills
Please visit this page to get a better understanding about hiring me
My reviews and Testimonials

Hiring me-

submitted by anyfactor to forhire [link] [comments]

As a US citizen, I am thoroughly disillusioned with my country.

Preamble/disclaimers/clarification:
-> There's a summary/TL;DR at the bottom
-> This is an unpopular opinion because (regardless of political affiliation) most everyone here is taught from a young age to have an unwavering sense of patriotism.
-> I'll leave aside explicitly partisan politics, since that's way too easy, not that unpopular, and not the point I'm trying to make.
-> Some of the points I make below are relevant to other countries, or to the world as a whole, but they are especially prevalent in the US.
-> The US is a highly developed country, and therefore should be compared to other developed countries, not those still developing.
-> This isn't an exhaustive list
-> This is a list because that's how my mind works and why the hell not?
The List:
1.) We treat the poor, and especially the homeless like shit; as if they deserve to die on the streets and are unworthy of basic human compassion amd necessities. We are more concerned about 'welfare queens' and making sure that nobody gets something for free than actually alleviating suffering. There's a very plapable 'fuck you, got mine' attitude here, even among poorer people.
2.) We aspire to wealth and work ourselves to (sometimes very literal) death trying to achieve it. It's as if accumulating shit has become a moral imperative (since it's 'good for the economy' after all). We rack up debt on cars, vacations, gadgets, etc. and then wear our exhaustion from working to pay on that debt as a badge of consumer honor.
3.) Points 1 and 2 derive in large part from our unwavering belief that we are a perfect meritocracy. This belief meritocracy extends to both the converse (if you have money, then you must be intelligent, hardworking, and inventive to have earned it) and the contapositive (if you are poor, it is wholely a result of your own laziness or stupidity). These beliefs are further backed up by some religions supporting the 'prosperity gospel' that links wealth to 'god's grace'. The insane advantages conveyed by generational wealth don't seem to phase people.
4.) We pay and treat our service workers very poorly. 'Anybody could do that, why should they be paid a living wage to do it?'. I'm not quite sure where this idea comes from, most likely false impressions from those who've never done service work before, and those trying to justify their higher wage at their own bullshit office jobs.
5.) Our healthcare system is cruel, and our health insurance is corrupt. Insurers and providers collude to set the 'uninsured cost' of services at a ridiculously high amounts, and then show those costs in comparison with a lower 'insurer negotiated rate' that makes it appear that the insurance is doing something to drive down costs instead of just being a bureaucratic middle man driving costs up. People forgo preventative treatment due to cost, and when they do get treated for life threatening conditions they are bankrupted by the resulting medical bills (it's the most common reason for bankruptcy here).
6.) Our hatred of taxation is bizarre, shortsighted, and stupid. Companies and individuals hire workers educated at public schools, use public roads and other infrastructure, and use our legal systems, and yet so many Americans continue to claim that taxation is government theft. Taxation creates the strong public institutions and infrastructure that private companies rely on. Look at the current state of PG&E's infrastructure for an example of what happens when private companies are put in charge of infrastructure that needs to be safe and equitable.
7.) Our political system is bought and paid for by companies and wealthy individuals with with campaign contributions and lobbying. Voting isn't seen as a public duty, and is largely treated with apathy. Voting is made a hassle by election day not being a federal holiday, and voter registration being opt-in rather than opt-out.
8.) Military fetishism is pretty rampant. Everyone is quick to express gratitude to service members, and yet that gratitude feels pretty hollow these days. Service members returning from WWII on the GI bill were able to educate themselves, and buy homes with affordable government-backed mortgages. Nowadays, veterans are lucky if they can even get adequate medical care for injuries and assimilate into the workforce after serving. In the worst (and not uncommon) case they wind up homeless and self medicating mental illnesses.
I could go on, but I feel that these points sum up my feelings pretty well.
Summary/TL;DR:
I am not particularly proud to be a US citizen. The current American ethos is one of consumerism, over work, social isolation, fear, and apathy. We are taught to be proud of our 'freedom', but that nebulous term seems to imply only that we should be proud that we're not an oligarchy or an oppressive dictatorship. That's a pretty low bar when comparing the US to other developed countries, and by that metric there's so much we could improve.
submitted by jpritcha3-14 to unpopularopinion [link] [comments]

Material Differences Ch 42

Hello everyone! I'm sorry that it's been so long since I've shown my beak around here! The last months have been... rather mean. I've had two different trips, one of them international, mixed in with two different illnesses, and legal voodoo! Seemed like every time I'd sit down to try and write my time would be devoured by other matters.
But I am back! And I have with me the latest chapter of Material Differences! Enjoy!
My Stories
Material Differences Wiki
Chapter 1
Chapter 41
“So we’re seriously just waiting for an Obsidian Guard assault lander? Out in the open? No, like… contingency plan?” Figs eyed Jaeger with a cautious glance but Jaeger just leaned back against the Wendingo and watched the sky. His leg hurt from the ricochet but he was trying to ignore it and look tough for now. The shipping yard had been cleared just for the lander and they waited for Whispertail to show up and retrieve Twilightbloom. The Ravex was off to the side as Brandy-Lynn was trying to teach her some dance moves. Thankfully however much she’d had to drink only seemed to make her want to dance and nothing more destructive.
“If they wanted to tell the local smokies where we were they would have by now.” Jaeger reminded his friend, but honestly he was too tired to get worked up over a potential betrayal at this point. Instead he was mostly trying to figure out what he was supposed to be feeling. He still had a few flecks of gold on his face from Twilightbloom coughing Goldenjaeger all over him, and Lexa was sitting on the hood of the Neraa, slightly hunched over as she stared at her feet. She’d been quiet since he discovered the secret to her success wasn’t real.
“What’s her problem? Did you tell her no daddy dick for her?” Figs asked next and Jaeger glared at the big synth who only grinned back and wiggled his eyebrows.
“Brandy-Lynn is bad enough don’t you start.” Jaeger sighed and shook his head. “Nah… just… I’ll tell you later.” He waved it off, not wanting to get into it while she was nearby. He wasn’t sure just how she was taking it all yet.
“Well, we checked out Sanguine Falls. Same sleepy little beach town it’s always been. That awesome fry shack is still on the boardwalk though. Good stuff. I thought about getting you some to go, but it’s never the same cold.” Figs shrugged.
“Yeah. Maybe we’ll get a chance to swing by later. What about the wreck?” Jaeger asked next.
“I think it’s still there. We didn’t really go far, but we asked around a bit and no one’s heard of a big wreck. They talk about rogue warbots around the old Hive spa up at the springs and that’s enough to scare people off.” Figs scratched his chin as he talked about it. “Plus Kuv hadn’t heard about it remember? So I think we’re safe.”
“At least that’s going according to plan.” Jaeger muttered. He was about to wonder aloud as to Kuv’s location when he heard a buzzing noise in the distance. Both he and Figs started to look around as the buzzing got louder and then they spotted the source. Kuv was speeding through the shipping yard towards them on a little… What? It was like a kid’s scooter he’d strapped a little engine to.
Soon enough the Jipasi brought the scooter in before them, screeching to a halt as he kicked the bottom around to make a flashy stop. “Ciao bitches.” The xeno grinned at them wide, while dark reflective goggles covering his eyes made his grin look all the more maniacal.
“The fuck is this?” Jaeger asked as he looked down at the scooter.
“My alternate ride. Did you think I walked?” The Jipasi snorted as he shifted a large duffel bag around on his back.
“Hey Kuv! Nice ride! How many box tops did you have to send in for it?” Brandy-Lynn called out as she approached.
“None, unlike you trailer park welfare sluts I am an industrious Jipasi who makes things with his own two hands.” Kuv shot back and then eyed Twilightbloom as she approached. “My insults were exclusively directed to the fashion impared human besides you before you think to take offence and try and rend my hide.” Brandy-Lynn just flipped him off from around the Ravex’s bulk.
“Okay.” Twilightbloom replied with a big smile, not seeming to think any more of it. “That’s a nice scooter!”
“You have a very fine eye for good craftsmanship my large intimidating friend! And I mean that, I’m not saying it just because you are within clawing distance.” Kuv insisted with a nod.
“Sure you weren’t followed or anything?” Jaeger asked as he looked from Kuv back up around the sky.
“I am positive they had no idea to look for a lone Jipasi on ingenious local transport. Plus the tip I called in regarding Revenant in the stadium was entirely untraceable!” He announced with a confident nod.
“Some sort of spoofed sim bounced off alternate towers?” Jaeger suggested.
“I used a payphone.” Kuv replied which made Jaeger frown.
“The fuck’s a payphone?” He asked.
“Oh right you haven’t been in the cities much.” Brandy-Lynn cut in. “Since the end of the war, cell phones have been harder to come by, and tower reception way shittier, so someone had the idea to install phones around some spots that people can use for a bit of scrip.”
“Huh.” Jaeger considered the idea and slowly nodded. “Not a terrible idea. But how is that secure?”
“It’s rather that they aren’t secure. No cameras, or facial ID, just a phone and a way to pay.” Brandy-Lynn explained. “I have my people use them at times. Harder for the cops to track.”
Jaeger had a few more questions but was stopped by Kuv letting out a forlorn wail. Looking over Jaeger saw the Jipasi clasping his head as he looked at his poor Neraa. “The back window is gone! Look at these claw marks! The roof! What has befallen my poor Neraa!” He flopped onto the hood then, rubbing it gently as if to sooth it. “Bestill! Pappa will see to your recovery my dear! You will be fast and splendid soon!”
“Kuv it’s got like five different coats of paint and every wheel is different. Don’t pretend it was that great to begin with.” Brandy-Lynn scoffed as the xeno’s tail unfurled a moment in indignation. But before he could cuss out Brandy-Lynn, Lexa just looked down at him from her spot on the other side of the hood.
“I’m buying you a new car.” This made Kuv freeze. The Jipasi loved free things about as much as was possible. But to suddenly be offered something of that scale also sent off warning flags in their minds. Cultural mercantile paranoia Kuv called it.
“Are you… implying I cannot afford to fix this? Or that I am not mechanically gifted enough to repair it myself?” He asked, watching Lexa with mistrust and concern.
“I don’t care how you take it. I’m buying you a new car. It doesn’t need to be brand new, just new enough to have functioning brakes.” The Titan agent revealed her main reason for the sudden gift.
“Ah. Ah!” Kuv relaxed and looked back over at Jaeger as it became more clear. “You are not enthused with the driving style of the dead?”
“I am not enthused with this.” She slapped the hood of the Neraa. “Who puts all that time into making the engine and not a moment of consideration for the brakes?!” She asked then with a huff.
“You see this is fine Jipasi engineering. There is no need for rear view mirrors, or brakes because who is behind you is no longer your concern and who is before you must be more afraid of you then you are of them.” Kuv revealed with a slow nod but Lexa just shook her head.
“Pick a car, or one will show up at your house. Your choice.” She waved it off, obviously not concerned with if he was insulted or not.
“Damn Jaeger, did you get driving lessons from Tabori or something?” Brandy-Lynn asked with a snicker.
“The car is in two pieces or less, and not on fire so obviously I did alright. And you can’t blame me for driving a Neraa extra fast when the accelerator is the only thing that for sure works.” Jaeger defensively muttered. “Also!” He called out to Kuv then. “Melody is still alive, and everyone I’ve told about your car says Neraa stands for Never Ever Runs At All!”
“Wounded.” Kuv clasped his chest then. “Uncalled for damage to a fond friend and ally!”
“I mean that is what it translates to doesn’t it?” Twilightbloom asked with a quick glance around, not understanding the issue.
“Hurtful Ravex lies.” Kuv muttered but as Twilightbloom looked down at him he held up his hands. “Or possibly just simple translating error. I am certainly not perfect myself.”
Before they could further argue about the finer points of Jipasi engineering or translation mistakes Spike chirped up from atop a nearby shipping container. “They’re here.” Jaeger announced and everyone looked up at the sky as a star in the night sky slowly grew larger and then the light coalesced into a Ravex assault lander. Seeing it close in on them Jaeger noticed his hands suddenly felt itchy and he had to fight the urge to run for cover. It still didn’t feel normal to trust the Obsidian Guard after a decade of fighting them.
When he saw Twilightbloom step forward and wag her tail slowly he relaxed however. They were allies now. Friends possibly. He had to get more comfortable with that. When the craft landed it dwarfed the rest of the shipping yard and was covered in weapon pods. But none of them were aimed at him or the Wendingo and when the main ramp slowly descended he saw a lone figure waiting at the top, and not a team of armed commandos.
“Mentor Whispertail!” Twilightbloom called out and rushed up the ramp even as the elder Ravex shogun descended. He extended a hand for a forearm grab but was surprised as Twilightbloom clutched him in a massive hug. Jaeger couldn’t help but snicker a little at seeing just how offput the normally gruff Ravex was as the younger xeno hugged him so tight. He finally gave Twilightbloom a few pats on her back to get her to stop.
When she released him she launched into a rapid conversation in their own language. Jaeger couldn’t possibly keep up with it, especially since his knowledge of the language was limited to battle speak. “Should I be worried?” He asked Figs with a glance.
“About what they’re saying? No.” Figs shook his head. “She’s just telling him you’re a good dude, and then stuff about… dumpster diving… and… eating a… pigeon maybe?” Figs was frowning now. “Is she a freegan?”
“The fuck’s a freegan?” Jaeger squinted in confusion. “She eats meat. That’s for sure.”
“It’s just a hipster thing where they don’t buy food. They just scrounge it like filthy hobos.” Figs explained.
“They usually live in extremely expensive lofts and have trust funds.” Brandy-Lynn added. “I track a bunch of them around my lair.”
“Your lair? What are you a fucking super villain now?” Jaeger countered.
“I’m the mob boss, I get to call my base of operations whatever I want.” She huffed back. “Also I tamper with the good dumpsters from time to time. Add in a bit of super laxative so they shit themselves something fierce.” She cackled a bit then and grinned.
“Why?” Even as Jaeger asked he sort of knew.
“Cause it’s funny.” Brandy-Lynn shrugged. “Also it helps me sell more of the artisanal toilet paper one of my shell companies makes.”
“Artisanal toilet paper?” Jaeger knew he shouldn’t be surprised but he couldn’t help it.
“Five bucks a roll. And it’s actually shittier than regular commercial stuff if you ask me. Like… figuratively shittier not… you get what I’m saying.” She waved it off. “They make sure to keep in some bits of leaves in it so it looks all eco and shit. Fucking idiots.” Once more she cackled out as Figs waved them off.
“Shut up, here he comes.” He announced and Jaeger looked back to see Whispertail walking down the ramp towards them as Twilightbloom waved.
“Really nice meeting you all! Talk to you soon!” She called out as she headed up the ramp.
“Nice to meet you too! Take care!” Jaeger called back.
“I’ll video chat you soon! Keep on those dance moves!” Brandy-Lynn called back, apparently already friendly with the Ravex after just a few minutes of hanging out.
“So she really was at an amusement park?” Whispertail asked as he got close, extending his arm as Jaeger reached out to clasp his forearm for a shake.
“She was. I’m sorry that we ran afoul of Titan. That wasn’t part of the plan. Obviously.” He shrugged a moment as the Ravex released his arm.
“No, but it aids my cause greatly. It seems even in your inelegant flailing you are quite useful.” Whispertail slowly scratched at his chin as he said that.
“You know… a simple good job would suffice.” Jaeger suggested.
“The explosion at the stadium was enough for me to insist upon taking control of the search efforts around here. Was that your work? It seemed very well executed so I wasn’t sure if I really needed to hunt down a terrorist mastermind or if you got lucky.” Whispertail really seemed to enjoy laying it on heavy like that but Jaeger didn’t let it get to him.
“No need for a manhunt… It was him.” He pointed at Kuv then who froze at the attention.
“Judas! I have been betrayed! Flee!” He kicked his scooter around and jumped on it just as he revved the little engine but Figs picked him up off the scooter before he could zip off. “E tu faggot?”
“Dude… Kuv… not the right word.” Figs grumbled even as Brandy-Lynn burst out in laughter and Whispertail cast a suspicious look at Jaeger.
“A Jipasi demolitions expert?” He finally asked as that seemed to be his biggest concern.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Kuv asked from his place tucked under Fig’s arm. “I’ll have you know that my explosives have killed more Ravex-” He paused then as Whispertail quickly looked back at him. “I’ve changed my mind. This conversation is purely detrimental to my life. I want out.”
“He’s a demolitions expert. Trust me.” Jaeger assured Whispertail then.
“Why the stadium?” Whispertail finally asked.
“It’s empty and far from the town while having enough space and power to potentially house a Revenant hideout.” The Jipasi explained with an awkward shrug while he still hung from Fig’s grip.
“Did you time the explosion or detonate it manually when the vetalls approached?” Whispertail asked next.
“I watched from a nearby roof. You can find a discarded cup of recaff atop Markus and Barkus the pet store. I knew the Titan vetalls would ignore bomb threat protocol to get their first. I didn’t wish to kill local constabulary.” Kuv explained and Whispertail considered him for several more seconds before looking back at Jaeger.
“The Titan agent you absconded with?” Jaeger just pointed over at Lexa who gave a slightly shy wave from behind Figs and then stepped forward.
“Lexa Major.” She extended a hand and Whispertail considered her a moment before reaching out to carefully shake her hand in his much larger clawed grip.
“Are you the daughter of the wealthy one? And did they injure you in the process or threaten you in anyway?” Whispertail glanced at Jaeger as he asked that.
“Ah… Yes. And… Uh… I’m fine. And… no. I wanted to go with him. He’s a good guy.” Lexa glanced at Jaeger and he noticed she still looked a little… sad? Certainly not the bright and bubbly personality he’d been used to so far. Maybe he shouldn’t have told her what he thought about her tutors.
“Very well. You shall come with us and I will ensure the investigation does not lead to the three of you.” He pointed at Jaeger, Figs, and Brandy-Lynn.
“What?” Lexa was surprised. “But… I want to stay with them… We still need to take down my boss.”
“If you want to see him brought to justice you need to go with them.” Jaeger nodded at Whispertail and the ship behind him. “If we were going to deal with him we’d just kill him. And I’m going to be busy with my brother in law.”
“But… Tami, and… my things at your compound.” Lexa started.
“We’ll make sure she gets back to you. Whispertail can send a… lifter…” Jaeger rubbed his chin at that. “Or… we’ll get her a ride to town or something. We’ll figure it out. Your testimony about Clover and Alvarez is important to destroying his credibility.”
“Will I… see you again?” She asked, concerned about the future.
“Yeah.” Jaeger nodded, figuring now wasn’t the best time to just leave off the possibility of his death in the near future. Lexa approached him and he hesitated a moment before realizing what she wanted and opened his arms as she gave him a hug. He hugged her back close, a hand stroking her head gently. “I’ll be fine.”
When she released him and pulled back she looked at Figs and Brandy-Lynn. “Keep him safe.”
“What are we? Chopped liver?” Brandy-Lynn snorted.
“If you let him die I will hunt you down.” Lexa pointed at Brandy-Lynn and the two squared off a moment before she turned to Figs. “It was nice to meet you Figs. And you Kuv… new car. Contact me.” She wagged a finger at the Jipasi hanging from Fig’s arm still.
“Bye! Have fun arresting whoever!” Kuv answered with a wave and Figs nodded at her as she turned to walk up the ramp into the lander.
“You know…” Whispertail was still eyeing Kuv. “I remember rumors of the Bloody Blossom festival attacks being perpetrated by a Jipasi, and that being the reason we could never find the culprit.” Kuv’s face froze as he looked at Whispertail and Jaeger felt a moment of concern. “But then I saw the car behind you and remembered it is a Neraa, which in your tongue stands for Never Ever Runs At All. To think a Jipasi could ever create such sophisticated explosives.” The Ravex laughed at the absurdity of the idea.
Kuv opened his mouth and pointed as he glared at the Ravex but Jaeger just shot him back a very focused look and Kuv stopped, his finger slowly curled back into his hand and he hung limp in Fig’s grip. “You wound my people’s industrious nature.”
“It’s also surprising to think three such… unusual humans could possibly be feared or competent warriors let alone nigh legendary Revenant.” Whispertail added with a look across Jaeger and the others.
“We’re full of surprises.” Jaeger replied. “We good here?”
“We are. I suppose despite the questionable quality of your tactics you have found my lost comrade and aided my purpose on the planet. You are not a terrible ally Jaeger Sherman.” Even as he said that Brandy-Lynn laughed and they looked at her.
“You’re such a sundry!” She snorted.
“A what?” Jaeger asked.
“I am a miscellaneous store item?” Whispertail asked.
“No… Figs, he’s a sundry right? All wakka wakka desu but secretly loving. Back me up.” Brandy-Lynn looked up at the big guy as he frowned a moment.
“You mean Tsundere?” He asked. “Okay… first of all. Wakka wakka is pac man. Bakka is… you know what…” He sighed and rubbed his face with his free arm, still holding Kuv in the other. “Never mind. Ignore her. She’s an idiot. You have a nice day.”
“What? Why hate on me? You know I’m right.” She insisted as Jaeger sighed and just waved Whispertail back towards the ramp as he walked with him a bit to get away from his bickering comrades.
When he got about halfway up the ramp he paused and quietly spoke to Whispertail. “Is Twilightbloom a synth?”
The Ravex stopped at that and frowned as he looked down at Jaeger. “Certainly not! Do you think we would stoop so low as to pervert nature in such a manner?” The two examined each other closely for a moment.
“You didn’t have the tech or resources to make a synth did you?” Jaeger countered.
“Not at… full… No.” Whispertail finally admitted. “What we did have was an idea on how to create the memory implants you Revenant use. We were hoping to recreate our military within a fraction of the time by using the memories of our elite warriors. But… The program has had difficulties. Twilightbloom was… is our most successful candidate. The crusaders think such an implant would aid them greatly and she is the daughter of their leader. It fits their agenda. We will run tests but I think when they were ambushed she dumped her memory to prevent it falling into their hands. Yet… then she survived. I will know more shortly.”
“Alright… Well, I hope I’ve proven I’m not a complete bastard.” Jaeger extended his hand once more.
“You are… a decent friend.” Whispertail begrudgingly replied and reached out to shake Jaeger’s forearm. “To a brilliant death.” He gave a common farewell between Obsidian Guard.
“How about… To better days?” Jaeger suggested.
“To better days.” Whispertail amended and nodded as he pulled away to walk up the ramp as Jaeger walked back down to the others.
“Can I be set down now that the angry lizards are gone?” Kuv asked as the ramp closed and the craft began to slowly lift back up. Figs carefully set Kuv back on his feet. “Do you think he knows about the Blood Blossom festival?”
“Honestly? I think if he thought it was you he’d have killed you.” Jaeger replied and then groaned and leaned back against the Wendingo as he clutched his leg. “Ffffuck…”
“What’s up?” Figs asked as he reached over to help support Jaeger.
“I got hit with a ricochet earlier and it fucking hurts… I had to look tough for the Ravex but now they’re gone so fuck it.” He groaned louder as he opened the hatch on the RV to hobble up inside. “Let’s get out of here and someone get me some drugs.”
“What about my car?” Kuv asked as he followed the others inside the RV. Brandy-Lynn began to rummage around for a first aid kit and Figs slid into the driver’s seat.
“What about it? You’re getting a new car. Lexa is serious.” Jaeger replied and then took a stim Brandy-Lynn handed him. “Thanks.” He muttered as he injected it into his hip and groaned in relief as the drugs flooded into his system.
“Yes, but I will give that to my wife and keep driving Neraa! Jipasi industrial pride!” He puffed up his chest and unfurled his tail as if he was standing before a waving Jipasi flag for a motivational poster.
“So?” Jaeger asked. “It’ll be fine in the yard until we get back.”
“What if someone steals it?” Kuv looked out the window as Figs backed the RV up to get out of the shipping yard.
“No one is stealing a Neraa. Not one in perfect condition and certainly not one with claw marks and no back window.” Jaeger insisted as Brandy-Lynn rolled up his pant leg to check his wound.
“Hmph…” Kuv huffed once more but then settled down in the passenger seat besides Figs as they got underway. “Well why am I going with you to the wreck?”
“We’re going to scuttle it once we get what we need.” Jaeger explained and nodded as Brandy-Lynn looked over his leg. “How is it?”
“You’ll be fine. It just hurts cause you’re a pussy.” She replied and chuckled as he glared at her. “It’s right near the surface.” When she pulled a set of pliers out of the first aid kit he rolled in his seat a bit to let her get a better angle.
“Is it not better to leave bullet in?” Kuv asked.
“That’s if it’s in the torso and isn’t piercing something vital. For a ricochet like this it’s best to just pull it out and get him in a chair to heal up.” Brandy-Lynn explained. Jaeger grit his teeth as she pressed the pliers in and then he shuddered as he felt something move about in his calf before she pulled out the bullet. However before she bandaged up the wound she wiggled her pinky into the hole as he gasped and clutched his seat.
“The fuck you doing?” He hissed out at her.
“How does it feel to have me inside you?” She asked with a grin.
“Grow up.” Jaeger scoffed even as she giggled and pulled her pinky free and bandage his leg.
“Speaking of being inside people. Did you dick the agent?” She asked.
“You didn’t see her kicked puppy expression earlier?” Figs asked. “I think he told her no daddy dick.”
“You are dicking the redhead?” Kuv asked with a surprised look.
“No…” Jaeger growled slowly and shook his head. “While we were hiding in the basement of the EASter bunny I found out why I couldn’t figure out her deal. Her dad has been hiring tutors to blow smoke up her ass and make her think she’s the perfect secret agent. But really he’s been stacking the deck and she didn’t know it. He even hired the Vasily, Chet, and Madeline Mao to put on some big act as crooks where she shot them up before a crowd to get her a spot as a field agent with Titan.”
“What? What are you talking about? Vasily, Chet, and Madeline… The stunt pros?” Brandy-Lynn asked.
“I dunno. She told me there was some party in Argonville and they were taking hostages and she shot them. Something like that.” Jaeger shrugged.
“Three of the most famous stunt pros before the war? How would that work? Everyone would recognize them.” She insisted.
“We would. Lots of people would. A party of rich socialites? Doubtful. I think he even gave them fake IDs and paid people off to make it look real.” Jaeger shrugged once more, just going off what little he knew. “They probably needed money. Not many movies being made these days… And what other skills did they have?”
“That’s nuts… Is this why she’s like… somehow both a great agent… and also a terrible one?” Brandy-Lynn asked.
“I think so. It also might have fucked up her life to realize that her dad has been paying for her success. So… It really wasn’t a good time even if I wanted to. Which I didn’t.” Jaeger sighed as he hoped that would be the end of it now that she was with Whispertail.
“Are you kidding? That would have been the perfect time!” Brandy-Lynn said as she finished wrapping up his bandage. “She’s all mopey and awash in a sea of uncertainty and doubt! And there you are to throw her a life vest! And that life vest. Is your dick.”
Jaeger just closed his eyes and shook his head, wishing the conversation to be over as fast as possible. “Please stop.”
“Seriously we’ll get you laid soon. You need it. If you’re worried that your old man body can’t take the stress we can go tag team. Just tag me in and I’ll take over and do my thing and then when you’re ready I’ll tag you back in! That’s what friends are for buddy!” Brandy-Lynn gave him an encouraging pat even as Kuv and Figs giggled up in the front.
“Why is this so important to you?” Jaeger asked.
“Hey c’mon you’re our sarge! You look out for us! We gotta look out for you! Keep morale high!” Brandy-Lynn gave his leg another pat.
“Is there money on this?” Jaeger asked realizing why this might be such an ongoing concern for her.
Figs laughed up front. “No! Shockingly no. And Brandy-Lynn was the one who insisted we don’t take bets.”
“I don’t think it’s fair! I legitimately think you need to get laid.” She shrugged. “If I was dry half as long as you I’d go mad.”
“You’re already mad.” Jaeger muttered and sat up as he flexed his leg slowly to see how it felt. “How close are we to the falls?”
“Not far.” Figs replied. “Uh… but there’s some shitty old temporary bridge on the old road and… I’m not sure I wanna take the Wendingo over it. So we might need to go the longer way on the eastern side of the falls. That okay?”
“That’s fine.” Jaeger waved it off. He took the break in activity to simply rest up on the RV seat. Brandy-Lynn was already getting into her armor in the back as Jaeger felt the RV twist and turn on some roads and head uphill after a bit.
“We’re here.” Figs called out and Jaeger sighed as he got up, passing Brandy-Lynn as she stepped past so he could get to his armor in the back and suit up as well. They were blissfully quiet as he slipped into his gear, feeling more himself with every piece of the armor he snapped into place. When he was done it was Figs’ turn while Kuv pulled on his own gear. He didn’t get the power armor but he had his own smart cloak and a commando suit.
Though as he began to pull the suit on Jaeger noticed the Jipasi struggling a bit to zip it up. “What’s wrong Kuv? Get fat?”
“Well nourished!” He hissed back and then finally hopped as he got the zipper to slowly move up. Once he was suited he pulled his cloak on and did a vanishing act as he turned it on. After a moment his outline appeared in Jaeger’s visor. He tapped his shoulder so Spike would hop on and then stepped out of the RV as the others fell in behind him.
Jaeger took a moment to enjoy the nice night around them. They were in the old falls overlook parking lot, besides the feature that gave the town its name. The roar of the crimson blood like falls nearby drowning out all other sounds nearby. Which reminded him. “Comms check.” Jaeger announced.
“Check 2.” Figs announced.
“Check 3.” Brandy-Lynn said a moment after.
“Check fabulous.” Kuv finished.
“What? You don’t get to be check fabulous! If anyone is I am!” Brandy-Lynn protested.
“Please you basic bitches don’t know the half of being fabulous.” Figs countered.
“Shut the fuck up all of you.” Jaeger squashed any further complaints. “Callsigns from here out.” He slowly turned around as he let his visor scan the area. He paused when he saw it outline a lifter across the river at an old unfinished tourist center building. “Is that a Tinshi Razor?”
“Looks like it.” Figs agreed. “Locals must use that place for something. Should we check it out?”
“Eh.” Jaeger shrugged. “Titan wouldn’t be using an old civvy model. Ignore it for now.” With that they began to head up the old hiking trail to lead them up over the falls and onto the plateau beyond where they would find the Galileo.
“We maintaining comms discipline?” Figs asked as they began to walk, their cloaks quickly blending them into their surroundings to leave them invisible to all but the best gear.
“Kuv you picking up any interference or broad scanning?” He asked with a glance at the Jipasi.
“No. The night is clear.” Kuv replied after a moment.
“Then we can talk. But try to be alert.” Jaeger added. The roar of the waterfall got louder as he looked over the cascading fall of bloody water. It was as beautiful as it was ominous honestly. Much as he hated the Hive he could see why they’d want to build up a celebrity spa on the cliffs over it. Before the war the place had been teeming with various entertainment shills and celebrity figures to promote the Opulent Church which would become the Hive. It had been one of the first major engagements on the coast as the army rolled in to clean them out. They hadn’t defended it as well as had been expected but the Hive never gave ground lightly.
As they came up to the top of the plateau and could look out over the abandoned spa he saw that no one had taken the time to clean it up since the war. There were corpses of a few mobile hubs strewn about he could see from here, and the entire compound had become overrun with bloodvines. What was once a first class and pristine rest and relaxation spa was now far more fitting of one of Brandy-Lynn’s beloved slashed vids. “Oohh that’s an awesome horror movie vibe.” Brandy-Lynn mentioned the moment she saw it. “Oh! Figs we should buy this place!”
“What? Why?” Figs asked, obviously confused. “This place is littered with potentially unexploded rounds. Cleanup would be a mess.”
“Fuck that, we turn it into a horror themed dance club!” Brandy-Lynn insisted.
“Oohh… Okay… you might be onto something. Or! What about laser tag?” He asked.
“This would make an amazing arena… Both?” Brandy-Lynn suggested.
“Both.” Figs agreed and Jaeger just rolled his eyes.
“Hey, you left a bunch of those stegosaurus bots behind to patrol the plateau right? We get a signal from any Spike?” With that Spike chirped and relayed a signal to his visor. To his surprise he saw a local reinforcement request that had been in place since… tonight? “The hell… something is up around here.”
“Do we accept?” Figs asked, obviously as surprised as he was.
“Kuv can you get a bearing?” He asked and they watched the Jipasi look at a sensor in his hand before slowly turning around.
“The other side of the falls.” They looked back just to the side of the way they’d come from.
“Where we saw that Tinshi razor…” He accepted the reinforcement request as he began to head back the other way.
“The bots are theoretically self sufficient. Maybe it’s being attacked?” Figs wondered.
“We didn’t hear any gunfire.” Jaeger pointed out. They crossed over an old ornate bridge crossing the river besides one of the bubbling springs at the top of the falls. To the right he spotted a dead Hive mobile hub that looked like it was just kneeling down to take a drink from the spring water. The damn things were so heavily modified and filled with cybernetics that not much had rotted away.
“Spread. Eyes open.” Jaeger commanded as they started to descend the other trailhead to the far side of the river. As they came closer, he could see the lifter more clearly as he switched over to heat vision to check it out. There was a lone heat signature inside. Smallish… a kid? Or just someone short? They were pounding on a door… Looked like they were locked in a supply closet inside the ship.
However besides the ship he saw four figures facing two humans and the bot he was looking for. “Those… certainly aren’t Absolute Dynamics employees. How the hell did they get a bot?” Brandy-Lynn wondered as they slowly walked closer.
“Hackers?” Figs asked.
“If there were any locals that good I’d know by now.” Kuv dismissed the idea. The groups seemed to be talking or arguing over something. He just made out part of it.
“So… I’m changing the deal. You’re coming with us.” Even as the first guy said that he could hear Figs, Kuv, and Brandy-Lynn all booing.
“Fuck that kid! Oh he’s a Davari… Yeah fuck him!” Brandy-Lynn snorted.
“Shut up I’m trying to listen!” Jaeger hissed back, but he’d lost a bunch of the conversation. Something about growing pot? The kids with the bot seemed to be trying to leave but the other guy wouldn’t let them. What was it over? Package of drugs probably... “Is he one of yours? He’s a criminal kind.”
“Mine? Fuck no. I had no idea Sanguine Falls even had a drug dealer.” Brandy-Lynn shrugged.
“Alright uh… I want the bot so… mmmmm…” He sighed as he thought it over looking at the standoff before him. Did he save the kids? Kill them? Fuck it he hadn’t done anything good in ages. “Alright everyone pick one.”
“What? With my shotgun?” Figs asked.
“Yeah I can’t really… be all that specific with my gatling gun either.” Brandy-Lynn reminded him, wiggling her gun before her at crotch level like always.
“If I was accurate with a rifle I wouldn’t rely on a grenade launcher.” Kuv finished the round of disappointment as Jaeger sighed heavily.
“Sidearms.” He tried.
“My sledge is my sidearm.” Figs wiggled his hammer in the air.
“Yeah I have a fucking gattling gun. Why would I want a pussy ass handgun?” Brandy-Lynn snorted.
“Let's be honest. All my weapons are of the explosive variety.” Kuv added.
“Jesus fucking Christ how are we elite menacing Revenant…” Jaeger muttered and pulled his sidearm free to hand to Figs. “I’ll get the Davari asshole and his friend to the right you get the other two.”
“Count of three?” FIgs asked.
“Three, two, one.” Jaeger counted down quickly since he saw the Davari kid starting to raise his rifle. Despite the sloppy attitude leading up to the shots Figs and he both hit their marks as the four bodies toppled over. Then one of the kids next to the bot dropped to his knees and started to puke.
“Aaahhah!” Brandy-Lynn immediately began to laugh. “Kids these days… Not nearly enough gore in their horror movies.”
“Keep watch for me.” Jaeger announced and slowly began to walk closer. The stegosaurus bot immediately began to sing to him as he approached. He’d forgotten that they had their own encrypted bot songs. He did the teens a favor by scaling back his cloak to just 50% so they could have someone to focus on as he grew close and listened to the bot sing greetings. Besides the bot he could now see were two teens. A girl standing up with a gun in her hand and the boy was kneeling and barfing on the ground.
Without having to order the bot it turned and very gently bit the girl’s gun to pull it free and disarm her. Jaeger noticed the girl didn’t really fight it. What was up with her dark features? She looked… He couldn’t put his finger on it. Sort of… familiar? Somehow? He set that aside and watched the bot kick the pistol across the ground and then kick a pipe away from the puking teen next to her. While he wasn’t sure how the kneeling kid looked the girl was obviously terrified. Jaeger paused as he reached the line of bodies and spoke up.
“For my own edification. Since I got here a little late… This one had made some sort of deal with you.” He kicked the body of the Davari he’d shot, and then kicked the rifle away from the body. He knew the Davari was dead but it was habit. “And then he was going back on his deal?” Jaeger shifted a moment as the teen girl just stared at him. He sighed a moment and then spoke up. “Young Lady if I was going to kill you I’d have done it.”
“He… Kidnapped our friend.” The girl replied as she nodded slowly. Jaeger looked back at the lifter and switched over to heat vision to see the girl inside still pounding on the door she was locked inside no doubt.
“She’s the one in the Razor?” He checked and the girl nodded. “I dislike people who go back on their word. Now then…” He approached the stegosaurus bot Stacy but before he could order Spike to run a systems check Stacy began to sing at him. Jaeger stopped and could scarcely keep up with the rapidfire bot talk. First Stacy made sure he was here as reinforcements. “Yeah.” Then she asked for permission to speak freely. “Okay.”
From there it just kept going, singing about how the girl was very nice and requested she not be terminated. “Sure…” Jaeger agreed, not having time to explain he already wasn’t going to kill her. Since he wasn’t going to terminate her the bot then asked if she could be allowed to communicate with the girl. “Okay.” Next Stacy asked for permission to upgrade the girl’s Absolute Dynamics affiliation level to civilian auxiliary. “Yeah.”
Once all that was done however the bot began to pour out all kinds of info that he really didn’t need to know. How the girl had saved Stacy, and the puking boy was her friend, and how she had rescued the bot. “Uh-huh… Okay…” Then the bot was asking if they had to go with Jaeger. “No-” Stacy just kept blurting out more after that as he tried to get control of the conversation. “Just-Gimme-Okay! Okay! Yes! Shut up.” Stacy kept singing. “Shut up!” More songs of praise. “Shut up!" He finally hissed and waved at the bot until it finally got quiet.
“Sheesh! I appreciate your input. Just… simmer down.” Jaeger kept his hand out as he made it clear that he wasn’t about to upset Stacy by doing anything crazy. Then he looked back up at the teen and saw her confused expression. “Your friend here put in a very good word for you. So, I’m just going to go. But, word of warning. This…” He waved a finger around at the bodies besides him. “Never happens. I mean that as in… The Revenant don’t show up to save people. Whatever lucky charm you’ve got? It’s used up. I also mean I was never here. Yeah?”
The girl nodded in agreement with him. He turned off his external speakers a moment. “Spike, is Stacy all set and clear for this? No aberrant signals?” Spike gave him an affirmative chirp. The bot might be a bit wonky from years spent being cared for by the teen girl but nothing worse so he turned his speakers back on. “Alright you take care of Stacy then. I’ve adjusted her settings so she can teach you her songs.” He gave Stacy a final wave at the bot wagged her tail.
“Her name is Stacy?” The teen asked in surprise which made Jaeger pause. Had he said it aloud?
“Well… she doesn’t have an official name. I just call her Stacy for… Stacy the Steg-o-saurus.” He couldn’t help but prnounce it like that.
“Uh… actually she more resembles a dimetrodon.” The teen corrected him which made him pause.
“Oh?” He had just saved this girl from the drug dealers and she was correcting him on dinosaurs appearances?
[Continued in comments]
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A Tale of Two Florida Franchises.

For this one, I’ve decided to try a different approach, rather than just writing about one team, or one player, I’m going to write about two teams, specifically the Panthers and Lightning. As we all know the Lightning are considered to be pretty good, while the Panthers are considered to be, pretty bad. From the Rat Trick, to Quenneville signing, the Panthers have seen a lot, but so have the Lightning.

Expansion, Expansion Never Changes.

Lightning

In the late 80’s the NHL was hungry to further expand, and they selected, Tampa Bay, San Jose and Ottawa. San Jose was a no brainer, as North Stars owners Gordon and George Gund had been trying to move the North Stars to San Francisco for years, San Jose was given to them on the condition they sell the team to a local owner(Norm Greed), while the new Senators would be in the heart of Canada’s capital, they were a shitshow from the beginning, while the Lightning…. oh boy that’s a can of worms.
So to begin with, there were two groups here bidding for the St Petersburg, Florida. One group owned by Peter Karmanos and Jim Rutherford, looked to be the more stable, while their opposing group was led by the Esposito Brothers, Phil and Tony Esposito, who in turn had money coming in from The Pritzker Family(Too many things to list, they’re rich), who in turn backed out at the last minute, leading Kokusai Green, who...we don’t know shit about, to come in as the new investors for the Esposito Group. Kokusai Green were a group of masked people, who managed a golf course / resort. It looked like Karmanos / Rutherford would be the winning bid, but the Esposito Group were the ones willing to pay the $50 million expansion fee up front, because even back then, Karmanos was a cheap bastard.
For their first season, they played at the Expo Hall of the Florida State Fairgrounds, so obviously not an arena built for hockey. It was tiny(11K seats), but it was fine for the first season, before they moved to play at the Thunderdome(Tropicana Field now), until the Ice Palace(Amalie Arena) was built. In their first season, they had goaltender Manon Rheaume play a pre-season game, making her the first and only Woman to play in a NHL game. She stopped seven of nine shots against the St Louis Blues. It was a publicity stunt, obviously, but she wasn’t awful. She played an IHL game too.

Panthers

December 10th, 1992 was a promising day for the NHL. The Walt Disney Company had announced they were bringing a new team to the NHL, the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim(based on their movie series), at the same time though, Blockbuster owner Wayne Huizenga was also announced as bringing an expansion team to the NHL, the Florida Panthers. Huizenga was no stranger to sorts, he had purchased a 15% stake in the Miami Dolphins and their stadium, Joe Robbie Stadium(now Hard Rock Stadium), Dolphins owner,, Joe Robbie had recently died and his family was struggling to keep the team afloat. In 1994, he bought the remaining shares for around $115 Million, changing the name of the stadium soon after, to “Pro Player Park” due to a deal with Fruit of the Loom’s “Pro Player” brand. He also owned the Florida Marlins, who had yet to play a game at the time of this announcement.
There was an initial concern of territory infringement, but the NHL shrugged it off. For their initial few seasons, the Panthers would play at the Miami Arena, sharing with the Miami Heat of the NBA. Huizenga had the name “Panthers” since 91, since he bought it off a group trying to get a MLB team in Tampa. Huizenga was great for the Panthers for the most part, he had money, he spent it on his team and he didn't meddle.
For their first few seasons, the Panthers had shared an arena with the Miami Heat, at the Miami Arena a still relatively new arena at the time(single digit age), but it was clear early on this would not be able support pro sports for long, it only held around 14K. It was good arena for its time and people showed up at the least.

New Teams, New Struggles

Panthers

Obviously the first few years for these teams sucked, expansion was designed to make the expanding team awful, especially with how the rules were set up. But the Panthers were the exception, it took them two seasons of missing to make the playoffs, where they went to a cup final, only to lose to the new Avalanche(formerly Nordiques). This playoff run was accompanied by the now famous “Rat Trick”. The prior season during the home opener, Scott Mellanby had killed a rat with his stick in the locker room and proceeded to score two goals that night, with goaltender John Vanbiesbrouck coining the phrase. Fans loved the idea and would flood the ice with plastic rats, after every goal. In the 96-97 season this was changed, so that the home team would be penalized if the fans disrupted a game(see Flyers fans throwing bracelets onto the ice, during Ed Snyder’s memorial). The Rat Trick carried on though, with fans throwing thousands of plastic rats onto the ice, after the Panthers beat the Pittsburgh Penguins, to capture the Prince of Wales Trophy, punching their ticket to the 1996 Stanley Cup Final. Coincidentally, it was also the Chinese Year of the Rat, which helped things too.Fun fact, the team brought on Orkin as a sponsor, so ice crew would come out to clean up the rats, dressed as Orkin Exterminators, great marketing if you ask me! Area supermarkets even sold cupcakes with rats on them, to show support for the team.
That was the first, last and only big playoff run for the Panthers unfortunately, as the following season they lost in the first round to Gretzky’s Rangers(who got their shit kicked in by the Flyers in a Conference Final 4-1, who in turn got swept by Detroit.). 97-98 was also..bad, this time they missed the playoffs. During that season coach Doug MacLean was fired after going 7-12-4, with GM Bryan Murray taking over his duties and leading the team to an even worse overall record of 24-43-15, even worse during 15-game winless streak, John Vanbiesbrouck was shelled by the Blackhawks, playing his final game in a Panthers jersey. He walked in free agency to sign with the Flyers. To replace him the Panthers had a bit of a three-headed goalie monster going on as Mike Vernon, Trevor Kidd, Mikhail Shtalenkov, Sean Burke and Richard Shulmistra, all played in 99-00.
Stability came back in that offseason as they acquired franchise legend Roberto Luongo, from the Islanders, due to GM Mike Milbury being a fucking idiot. Milbury hated Luo and previously criticized him for apartment shopping on the day he let in 7 goals against the Bruins. Luo had two stints with the Panthers before retiring this past offseason. He's set so many franchise records and is set to have his number retired on March, 7, 2020.

Lightning

While in this same timespan, the Lightning had broken 30 wins only once. The Lightning rebounded in season 4(95-96), just barely knocking out the defending champion Devils, by a single point. They went onto face the Flyers in their first playoff series. They had just barely squeaked into a playoff berth, taking the final eastern wildcard spot, with a record of 38-32-12, or 88 points. They had split the first 2 games at the Spectrum, bringing it back to the Thunderdome, with a record crowd of ** 28,183** a record that stood until 2003’s heritage classic. Right away, Tampa was crazy for hockey even if the team wasn’t that good. The two teams split games yet again, but ultimately the Flyers won the series 4-2. It wasn’t bad though, for their first playoff berth the Lightning were building something good, but had they advanced to a Conference Final, we could have seen the battle of the Florida teams, unfortunately the Hockey Gods are cruel and that series has never happened.
The draft that year for the Lightning wasn’t great, their first rounder Mario Larocque never played a game for them and most of their picks were traded away, although they did draft Pavel Kubina, who stuck with them until 2006 and then again from 2010-2012. Unlike the Panthers, the early Lightning didn’t find much success on the ice, it didn’t help that they played in a baseball stadium, rather than a proper hockey rink. But it could be worse, they could be mismanaged like the future Thrashers were. Plus Daren Puppa was nominated for the Vezina, but lost out to Jim Carey of the Capitals.

New Millenium, Same Struggles.

The 90s were coming to a close, but there was so much more craziness before that century ended:
The Panthers finally moved into their own space, the National Car Rental Center(BB&T, soon to be Truist), but that came with an instant problem. It wasn’t in Miami, it was in Sunrise, which wasn’t really a sports town.
The Reason Huizenga went to Sunrise instead of staying in Miami with the Heat was a few reasons:
There were early talks about the Heat and Panthers sharing a new arena, but Micky Arison has vehemently said absolutely not to sharing with the Panthers. Being as Arison is the owner of the Heat(has been for decades), it’s never happening. Plus renovating AAA(soon to be named something else) would be a nightmare. As it is, it’s not built for hockey, so you’d have another Barclays / Talking Stick Situation. I’ve seen a lot of people saying “Sunrise is perfect for hockey”, but unfortunately the attendance says otherwise.
Couple that with the distance from Miami and the fact there’s nothing to do before or after the game near BB&T. You got a large mall and some shitty restaurants nearby, while you look at Vegas as a good example of actual life around the arena. The team would be better suited to build a new arena in Hollywood, Downtown Fort Lauderdale or go back to Miami Dade and figure something out. Combine that with Cohen coming in and gutting this team financially, fans quit showing up after the “new stadium” effect wore off and the Panthers didn’t get much better. The Panthers(in my opinion) can’t succeed in Sunrise, they’ve tried their damndest to build a fanbase, but the on-ice product has been awful and nobody wants to support a team that’s been in a perpetual rebuild since Dale Tallon took over almost a decade ago. Attendance wasn't an issue at the Miami Arena, but the problem was that it was so small despite only being around 8 years old, when AAA opened. I don't know if games were "sellouts", but they were doing fine in attendance.
Obviously not, it's built for basketball, has no ice plant, awful sightlines and the owner doesn't want them.
A lot to cover here. The Lightning were bad, they were bottom of the league because Kokusai Green(Maybe Yakuza???? / Primary Owners) didn’t carry about the Lightning, they are losing money at an incredible rate and Kokusai was forced to transfer money to keep the lights on. There’s a lot of blame here, first off:
The NHL, these idiots got scammed by John Spano years earlier and didn’t do their due diligence again with Kokusai Green. NHL didn’t care if any checks cleared, they wanted that sweet, sweet $50 mill is all, hell the Lightning could be playing beach hockey and as long as they got the money, they’d look the other way.
Hillsborough County, had agreed to build the Lightning, the Ice Palace but the question remained, Who The Fuck Is Takashi Okubo? The Answer will surprise you, because nobody knows. NHL President John Ziegler never met “Okubo'', Bettman never did(though he tried), nobody from Hillsborough County or Tampa met with “him”, but apparently(?????) Saburo(Steve) Oto(Japanese-Born, he was the team executive) and Chris Phillips claimed to have met him. Is he real? Who the hell knows!? Was Kokusai Green, Yakuza? Who the hell knows!? Two things are for certain:
(There is a lot more to this, but I’ll let y’all read the 3-parter for this, plus these news stories)
The Lightning desperately needed a new owner who wasn’t possibly a figment of our imagination. Which is where Art Williams, comes in. Williams was a motivational speaker, not much else to it. It looked like Pistons owner William Davidson was going to get the winning bid, but it turned out to be Williams. Williams was for lack of a better word, an idiot, he knew nothing about hockey, spoke with a thick southern drawl and was a fundamentalist christian. But he pumped $6 Million into the Lightning’s payroll and cleared away most of the $102 million debt(thanks to Kokusai Green). His first move was to “assure” fans, that the Espositos wouldn’t be going away, but then 2 games into the 98-99 season? HE FIRES THEM INTO THE GULF OF MEXICO! His next move was to give Jacques Demers total control of Hockey Ops, making him Coach & GM!, which was a shitshow.
Williams didn’t know much about hockey and the other owners hated him as a result, giving him the nickname “Jed Clampett”(Beverly Hillbillies) because of his thick southern accent. It didn’t help that he quit attending games by Spring of ‘99, because "this team broke my heart". They lost as much money in one year as they could have lost in five($20 million), which is not a good sign, especially when you’re doing worse than a brand new expansion team(Predators).
Williams sold the team to Detroit Vipers(IHL) and Pistons owner William Davidson, the same man trying to buy the team just a few years ago, for only $115 million, $2 million less than Williams bought the team for. His first move was to bring on Tom Wilson as Team President, who fired Demers and brought on Steve Ludzik as the new coach, it wasn’t enough though, the damage from the Kokusai Green bullshit was done, even transferring everyone good from the Vipers(this is what helped kill them) didn’t help much.
Despite all the craziness from the last few years, in 1998 the Lightning drafted Vincent Lecavalier, who went onto become the franchise GOAT. His first few seasons weren’t that great, but 00-01 is when he turned it around, despite a leg injury. In that same draft, they had taken Brad Richards, who became another big core piece. In 2000, the Lightning brought on Martin St. Louis, an undrafted player who the Flames bought out. Fredrik Modin was also brought in, via trade with the Maple Leafs. These moves helped establish a future contender and a core group going forward.

Mismanagement Galore.

The new millennium brought with it new challenges. Huizenga finally sold the team in 2001 to a group led by Alan Cohen(owner of a Generic Drug Company), Cohen was...pretty bad for the Panthers, he led their slide into mediocrity and into being forgotten by everyone, but he did pump a shitton of money into them, to keep them from moving. I won’t sugarcoat it, Cohen ruined this team, he got fans to stop caring, by making moves or lack thereof. Sure he saved this franchise from moving, but ultimately it’s his fault that the Panthers became a joke. As soon as they were sold to Cohen, the decade streak of no playoffs started, it’s obviously unfair to blame the start on him though.
It wasn’t all bad though, they drafted Jay Bouwmeester at 3rd overall, who was about as good as you could expect from him playing for a franchise that squandered everyone. This was so fucking stupid though, the Panthers were given 1st overall and what do they do? They trade it to Columbus for 3rd overall. Why? I don’t know! They wanted Bouwmeester and could have got him at 1st overall if they wanted, Nash would have been available to Columbus at 3rd, it’s just another case of Florida throwing away their Firsts. Not only that, they had to give 2 picks to Atlanta to make sure Bouwmeester would be fucking available at 3rd. In return, Florida got to swap picks with Columbus in the 2003 Draft, but because they got 1st overall AGAIN, they didn’t exercise that right surprisingly.
What did they do in 2003? Well they TRADED 1ST OVERALL AGAIN, this time to ** The Fucking Penguins** because they wanted Nathan Horton at 3rd overall, rather than first overall. Who was 1st? Marc Andre Fleury a literal cornerstone of the Penguins franchise for over a decade and now a big piece of the Golden Knights. So you could tell that management was literally pants on head stupid and seemed to not know what they were doing.
Head Coach Mike Keenan had this to say about the 02 blunder: "We shouldn't have done that ... Jay would have been number-one if we'd kept that pick." Well no fucking shit sherlock. I don’t blame Keenan for this, it’s all ownership and GM Rick Dudley who...came from Tampa. That’s right the last team he was an executive with was the Lightning.
Say what you will about Edmonton wasting 1st overall picks, at least THEY KEPT 1ST OVERALL. Florida traded it twice to draft people who they got rid of, through sheer incompetence. Bouwmeester and Horton won a cup, with the Blues and Bruins at the least.
While the Panthers were playing with fire, figuring out “how do we make this team a cup contender, without spending a dime?”, the Lightning’s new ownership spent money, they made sure this team could be good. And with a core consisting of Vincent Lecavalier, Brad Richards, Martin St. Louis and Fredrik Modin, you better fucking believe they were good. They were early bloomers, in the best ways possible. They just squeaked into division winners, by 1 point, securing a playoff berth for only the second time in franchise history. The division winners looked awful in the playoffs though, going down two games to the Capitals, before making an amazing comeback in Washington, winning both games at MCI, before heading back to the Forum, where they beat the Caps 2-1, following that with the series clincher in Washington. The Lightning had gotten some mojo going and they looked hungry, unfortunately that hunger was quickly fed as the Devils came in and utterly kicked their shit in, winning the series 4-1.
Next season(04-05) was even better. The Lightning went from barely winning the Southeast Division, to winning that and the Eastern Conference, showing that crushing defeat to Jersey wasn’t all she wrote. They entered the first round playing the Islanders, swatting them like a fly and winning 4-1. They moved onto face the Canadiens who...fell flat, as they got swept by the Lightning, who won it in Montreal, just to pour salt in the wound. The Conference Final was different, the Flyers weren’t rolling over and dying like the Islanders or Canadiens, this series to all 7 games, winning the Prince of Wales Trophy at The Forum!, so not only was it a sweet victory, it was in front of the loyal fans who stuck with them from the beginning, that expansion team that looked to be going nowhere fast, had secured a ticket to their first Cup Final, against none other than the Calgary Flames.
The Flames weren't a joke, they’d won their previous two series 4-2 and their first one 4-1, they were strong and looking to bring The Cup back to Canada where it belonged. The Lightning had a challenge ahead of them and it showed. Both sides seemed evenly matched, splitting a game at home and on the road, it was definitely a match for the ages. Game 6 was a controversial one by far. Late in Game 6, the puck had deflected off of Martin Gelinas’ skate, at the same time, Nikolai Khabibulin kicked his pad to deflect the puck. Issue is, in replays(with one select camera angle) it was shown to have crossed the line, which would have given the Flames a one-goal lead, possibly avoiding double overtime. Instead the Refs ruled it as no goal, because they didn’t see it cross the line and they didn't review these things. The teams went to double overtime, where Calgary lost thanks to Martin St Louis. There’s controversy here as the NHL reviewed it later, via a CGI video analysis, showing it did not in fact cross the line, funny enough though, the company that did this was based out of Calgary. The ABC Replay backed this up, but with no goal line tech this shits hard to tell.
The Lightning marched onto Game 7, returning to a packed St Pete Forum, ready to give the Flames a good slapping. Late in the 1st period the game was scoreless with 6:29 remaining, when Ruslan Fedotenko scored a beautiful powerplay goal, giving the Lightning a lead late in the first. Fedotenko followed this up in the second period with another goal, to give him his 12th of the Postseason. The Flames meanwhile..they kind of had no answer for Khabibulin, Nilson got his revenge and got one past the goalie and it was legal this time, but that...that was all she wrote for the Flames. The seconds counted down and the Tampa Bay Lightning had won the Stanley Cup! Even better THEY DID IT IN TAMPA!
The Lightning had done what the Panthers couldn’t, they won the cup. To commemorate this wonderful season here’s all the trophies:
It was an unbelievably historic season for the Lightning, they became the Southernmost team to win a cup and it only took 12 years of pain to do it. From being(allegedly) Yakuza-owned and their owner(allegedly) not existing, to being sold to an idiot, to finally getting Lord Stanley’s Cup. The Lightning did it and it was sweet.
Unfortunately shit happens. 04-05 didn’t happen due to a lockout, so they had to wait to defend their title. And when they did? It was bad, oh so bad. They got their asses handed to them by the Senators and then the Devils the following year, signaling to everyone it was time for a rebuild. 06-07 had a funny ending though, the Panthers were awful but they beat the Lightning who were in a tight race with the Thrashers for 1st in the Southeast. Thrashers won their game and got 1st, while the Lightning had to settle for 2nd / 7th Seed in the East.(Awful division that year, but it usually was)
Yes that Doug MacLean, the now former Sportsnet Host had previously coached the Panthers(weird how they’ve shared staff like this) and was now leading Absolute Hockey Enterprises, a group led by MacLean to buy the Lightning from Davidson. For his time, Davidson was a great owner, he didn’t meddle, he had money and he had someone smart in charge, while he just sat back approving trades as needed. Unfortunately, the deal was called off, because Absolute Hockey didn't make the required $5 Million fee and were plagued with inner turmoil. So instead, Palace Sports sold the Lightning and their arena to OK Hockey, who were anything but OK!

Late 2000’s:

Somehow the Panthers aren’t the worst run team in Florida?

Despite what the title says, they were still awful. Cohen was not willing to spend and they were losing money like crazy(so normalcy). On the ice it was much worse, as they got rid of Roberto Luongo in the worst trade I’ve ever seen, at least 1 for 1 made sense.
June 23, 2006, The Florida Panthers trade Goaltender Roberto Luongo, Lukas Krajicek and a sixth-round draft pick (Sergei Shirokov), to the Vancouver Canucks, in exchange for Todd Bertuzzi, Alex Auld and Bryan Allen. Luongo was in the prime of his career and was traded because once again Florida was run by idiots, who wanted immediate help. Because Cohen was a goddamned moron who ran this into the fucking ground.
That wasn’t the only Luongo trade though, there was a proposed one for Jumbo Joe Thornton himself.
Obviously Thornton wasn’t happy in Boston and got traded to San Jose, where he’s become a franchise legend. There was a proposed trade that was allegedly ready to go to the NHL Offices, the catch? Alan Cohen was a cheap bastard(tale as old as time) and didn’t want to take money back. Luongo was on a $3.25 million AAV one-season bridge deal at the time and Thornton had just signed a three year, $20 million contract in the summer. So to help his franchise he’d have to take back money which was an instant “go fuck yourself”.
So as you can see Cohen was and probably still is hated by Panthers fans and rightfully so. Not only did he not spend on them, he made them worse and alienated every fan who still gave a shit.
There’s not much else to talk about with Cohen, he ruined the team, but unlike the Lightning, there wasn’t much bright spots, so here’s a list of big trades they made:
June 20, 2008. The Florida Panthers trade their captain Olli Jokinen to the Phoenix Coyotes in exchange for Keith Ballard Nick Boynton and a 2008 2nd round pick (#49-Jared Staal). It was as usual a fire sale for them.
November, 2009. The Florida Panthers announce majority owner Alan Cohen is stepping down and allowing minority partners Cliff Viner and Stu Siegel to take over. The era of cheap-o Cohen was finally over, the remaining Panthers fans would be cheering.
Why did Cohen do that? Well it’s pretty simple. He ran them into the ground and had lost up to $100 million on this team. Hmm...I wonder why he lost so much money? Cohen had been around much less over the years while Viner and Siegel had cared about the team at least. I don’t know if they did much of anything, but they sold to Viola, who has saved this franchise.

Exit Doug MacLean and Enter Oren Koules and Len Barrie

If you’re like me and wondering “who the fuck is Koules?” turns out he produced the Saw movies. As for Barrie, he’s a former NHL player and Tyson Barrie’s Dad. Funny enough Koules is a former WHL player and tried out for the Blackhawks.
I’ll skip the formalities. Koules was absolutely the fucking worst. He ran the team like it was his fucking fantasy roster, he had no intelligence to run a team, his partner was a lying sack of shit, who’s biggest contribution was nixing “Vinny to Montreal” or so goes the rumor. Let’s go over what he did:
So once again, Barrie is shit for brains. Midway through Stamkos’ first season? He wanted him gone. The talks started IN OCTOBER and picked up around American Thanksgiving. The list of potential players coming back were Michael Del Zotto, Evgeny Grachev, Ryan Callahan, Brandon Dubinsky or Dan Girardi. Barrie was asking to choose two or three of these guys. It was so done that they shook on it, but Koules not being the fucking idiot of the two for once, vetoed it. Barrie didn’t like Stamkos and argued with the coach on how he should be developing Stamkos.
Getting rid of Boyle after signing him to a new deal Fucktards tried it with Vinny and failed and then turned around and did it with Dan Boyle. He had just re-signed to a Six-year $40 Million Contract, which wasn’t bad for a guy like him. Problem? They wanted him gone. He was given a full or limited NTC(unsure) and they basically told him “accept the trade to San Jose or we’re waiving you and Atlanta is going to take you”. So he accepted it and got away from this horribly run franchise, that was trying to burn money. The value for Boyle a #1 Offensive Defenseman was...laughable. A prospect who didn’t pan out, Matt Carle and Ty Wishart. Wishart then got traded for goalie Dwayne Roloson(oldest active player and last born in the 60s, while he played). These idiots didn’t know what they were doing, that much was clear.
Coach Barry Melrose...or not? They hired Barry Melrose as the coach for the 08-09 season only to fire him 16 games into the season, because they were incompetent. He left his job at ESPN to work for these idiots and got rewarded with the boot. That team was hot garbage and Melrose wasn’t a good coach. Whodathunkit?

New Owners, New GMs, New Everything!

Panthers

The biggest move in 2010 for the Panthers was a no brainer. Dale Tallon had been relegated to Assistant GM of the Blackhawks, he built most of that championship squad only to be replaced with Stan Bowman. So on May 17th, 2010, the Panthers announced their new GM to be Dale Tallon. He tried to do a rebuild process similar to what he did with Chicago, trading off everyone he could, almost immediately. Two big names to go were Keith Ballard and Nathan Horton. The Panthers may have been a bigger challenge than the Blackhawks, previous ownership had gutted this team and didn’t really allow talent to build, because they kept trading away picks. His efforts helped...briefly. The Panthers won the Southeast Division in 2012, where they ironically were eliminated by former coach Peter DeBoer's Devils.
Tallon was nominated for GM of the year, for his team making the playoffs for the first time in 12 years, but this would be the only other playoff run in Tallon’s tenure, so far. I don’t know if Tallon is 100% to blame for the lack of success, but they’ve been 6(7 if you count DeBoer, but he was there already) head coaches since Tallon was appointed, he deserves a share of the blame.
September 27th, 2013, the Panthers announced Vincent Viola has bought the team and would become the new owner. I have no idea on Viola, but as of late he’s spent more on the Panthers, with the hiring of Q and acquiring Bobrovsky. Due to the damage that Cohen and associates did, the Panthers had to give out free/discounted tickets early on, because nobody wanted to go to games, the team on the ice had one good season and went back to bottom feeding.
He came back home to Sunrise, after being traded by the Canucks, during the 2014 trade deadline in exchange for Jacob Markström and Shawn Matthias. He came back and set even more franchise records, because of course.
Lightning
There is a lot to cover with the Lightning and it’s a lot of good news! Firstly: The Sale!
A day after the 2010 Season ended, Vinik cleared house, firing GM Brian Lawton and Head Coach Rick Tocchet. Who was the new GM? Red Wings Legend, Steve Yzerman. Vinik had lured him away from the Red Wings front office, which...wasn’t hard. The Red Wings had made it clear Ken Holland was going to be the GM for the foreseeable future, there were no plans to replace him. Can’t blame them, since the Red Wings were still good. Yzerman's impact was felt pretty quick, "trust the Yzerplan" was a common theme with Lightning fans and would you know it? Trusting the "Yzerplan" worked.
Their next move was letting Yzerman bring in a new coach: Guy Boucher. He was what this rebuilding team needed and it worked..for a season. They made the playoffs, running off to a Conference Final in their first season, before they fell to the Bruins. Unfortunately with Boucher comes hell. They missed the playoffs the next 2 seasons before Boucher was fired on March, 24 of 2013, the 1-3-1 has a short shelf life, go figure. Jon Cooper of the AHL’s Norfolk Admirals, the Lightning’s AHL Affiliate was brought in as the Lightning’s eighth head coach in franchise history, coaching his first game not long after in a 3-0 win against the New Jersey Devils.
On June 27th, 2013, the Lightning announce they will use one of their two compliance buyouts to buy out team captain, Vincent Lecavalier. There’s no sugarcoating this, LeCavalier was past his prime, but it was a good move. OK Hockey made awful moves and this was by far the worst. If the trade rumor that Montreal wanted him was true, they should have taken it, but again, OK Hockey wasn’t very smart. Lecavalier went onto sign with the Flyers, where he played 2 ½ seasons, before being traded to the Kings, where he finally retired.
On March 5th of 2014, The Lightning announced a trade: The Tampa Bay Lightning trade Martin St Louis, along with a Conditional 2nd-round pick in 2015(Oliver Kylington) to the New York Rangers in exchange for Ryan Callahan, a Conditional 2nd-round pick in 2014(Later given to the Islanders) (Josh Ho-Sang), 1st-round pick in 2015 (Anthony Beauvillier) Conditional 7th-round pick in 2015 (Ziyat Paigin). St Louis had begun his NHL career in Calgary, though his tenure in Calgary was short, he made a name for himself in Tampa, he had won The Cup and so many trophies over the years. The Rangers brought him back for his final season in 14-15, where he scored 21 goals

Epilogue / Final thoughts.

Should the Panthers be moved?
This is a topic I see brought up often and...maybe? Unlike with the Thrashers they have a good arena and an owner who isn’t looking to sell. The Panthers arena location sucks, the biggest issue is there’s no nightlife, there’s no life around it at all. Look at Tampa, Amalie is in the heart of Tampa(ish?) there’s plenty of goings on around the arena, while BB&T has...nothing. Sunrise isn’t a great location for an arena, but they have a sweetheart lease, meaning they’re safe from relocation at least and while people will complain about the Panthers existence, they have an owner who wants to make this right, even if he is a little meddlesome.
A lot of this was Lightning-Centric and that’s more because a lot of their mishaps are easier to research in depth, while it seems like the worst thing that happened in the Cohen-Era, was he just didn’t spend and let the GM do whatever.
..Kinda? In the sense that they play in the same state, but there's barely any hate. Lightning are good, Panthers aren't and they've never played each other outside the Regular Season. I hope that'll change, these fanbases need someone close to hate. And hockey is more fun with a heated rivalry.
submitted by KikiFlowers to hockey [link] [comments]

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