The diary of a looker-on - PDF book by Charles Lewis Hind

2021.12.06 05:57 webdeveloper5050 The diary of a looker-on - PDF book by Charles Lewis Hind

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2021.12.06 05:57 CuriousCuteGuy2021 My situation.

Hi. I'm a Slavic guy with a feminine face, my age is 29. I like mainly girls but I want to try an oral sex giving with man of my type. I like polite, educated and honest persons so my type of persons is uncommon in my society. I can't find a man or a couple in my society. What should I do?
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2021.12.06 05:57 Chelsea_January 𝑭𝒂𝒔𝒉𝒊𝒐𝒏 𝑾𝒆𝒆𝒌 & 𝑺𝒖𝒔𝒕𝒂𝒊𝒏𝒂𝒃𝒊𝒍𝒊𝒕𝒚😍💃

Fashion is always fun and constantly evolving. Old fashion styles are still being popular and new trendy styles are being designed and distributed in the market every day. We can also see people wearing various types of fashion styles starting from business wear, casual, retro to street wear, etc in everyday life. The personality and the culture reflect the fashion style of a person. Although we shouldn’t judge the personality of a person based on the fashion style, the social status and personality of people can be perceived more or less from the way they style themselves like;” You are what you wear”. Indeed, fashion plays a vital role in the culture, society as well as in economy. France, Italy, UK, and so on have been using fashion ad a soft power which is one of the essentials for economic growth.
https://preview.redd.it/zb4oxb4wzv381.png?width=811&format=png&auto=webp&s=d45b92f3fec1abef4f31844cf5fb179f3b5511b9
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2021.12.06 05:57 TheOfficialEd_ UE boom 3 repeats message

I have the UE boom 3 and it occasionally says “To use this feature please make sure the app is open and connected to wifi” even though I don’t press any button or use any feature. After a few times of this message it then stops the music completely. I saw a similar post to this on this subreddit but non of the solutions like factory resetting the speaker or deleting and reinstalling the app work. Was wondering if anyone can provide some help. Thanks
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2021.12.06 05:57 vishnu-pai Comedy Open Mics Happening in Donut Factory Kochi

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2021.12.06 05:57 AlarmedAd6075 Why my bottom leaves bright yellow

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2021.12.06 05:57 DemonsANoob Howd they know where krusty went?

I must've missed the explanation but how do they know he's with kaname and that she's even there?
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2021.12.06 05:57 metaldood19 32M - Baked, vibing, and looking for late night convo

Up late high before bed. Looking for some fun chat in the meantime from cool peeps such as yourself.
I'm into ghosts and ghost hunting, the paranormal, PC gaming, tabletop gaming, tattoos (I have a lot), and cooking (esp veggie/vegan!). Hope to hear from you :)
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2021.12.06 05:57 ElectronicFudge5 30 years later, infamous Austin yogurt shop murders remain unsolved

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2021.12.06 05:57 hawkkchieff Does anybody else run into onyx players teaming with silvers and gold to boost their rank on Xbox? It’s kind of out of hand and makes me think there should be a limit on what rank you can queue with. If you queue with 3 golds as an onyx your lobby rank is like plat and it’s beyond easy to rank up.

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2021.12.06 05:57 TAXBOIII Louis Vuitton Keepall from Brother Sam

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2021.12.06 05:57 testarogue Thomasin McKenzie

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2021.12.06 05:57 Arthur_loves_nirvana Put on hood..............................

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2021.12.06 05:57 bruhhh05 How bad is my hairline for 16 year old

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2021.12.06 05:57 CanYouChangeName Only techno shall get upvotes

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2021.12.06 05:57 OverallListen9875 Selling their Paetreon vids

HMU $2 for each video
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2021.12.06 05:57 Alarmed_Cod_2864 Amira Brie - her skillful mouth will make every guy's penis covet

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2021.12.06 05:57 emmavdmeij Finished my first custom! (40x80cm)

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2021.12.06 05:57 ledgecord Amfepramon/Diethylpropion Erfahrungsbericht

Zusammenfassung der Wirkung/Nebenwirkungen am Ende.
Diesen Bericht bekam ich von einer mir bekannten Person überliefert. Da man im Internet sehr wenig zu dieser Substanz findet, dachte ich, das könnte vielleicht mal für jemanden interessant sein.
Mein Bekannter hat sich diese Substanz legal vom Arzt verschreiben lassen. Diese wird unter dem Handelsnamen "Regenon" oder "Tenuate" (retardiert) gegen Adipositas eingesetzt. Wird heutzutage aber nur noch selten verschrieben.
Amfepramon ist eine Prodrug zu Ethcathinone und Diethylnorpseudoephedrin. Also ein Stimulanz aus der Gruppe der Cathinone.
Funfact: Angeblich bekam das Donald Trump mal als Tenuate über einen längeren Zeitraum verschrieben und fand das ganz gut.
Da mein Bekannter ein experimentierfreudigen Mensch ist, hat er die empfohlene Dosis nicht eingehalten, um zu sehen, ob Missbrauchspotential besteht.
Er hat eine relativ große Erfahrung mit diversen Substanzen. Vor dem Experiment wurden schon länger keine Substanzen konsumiert (mehrere Wochen/Monate). Magenfüllstand: ~ halb voll.
Milligrammangaben beziehen sich auf das Amfepramon Hydrochlorid. Reines Amfepramon sind etwa ~83% davon.
Initial gab es 90mg nach 30 Minuten 60mg, 15 Minuten später 30mg.
Startzeit: 15 Uhr
t+60min Wirkungseintritt:
Starke Wachheit und nervöse Stimulation. Gefühlt reine Noradrenalin Ausschüttung. Vermehrtes Schwitzen.
t+75min:
Nervosität verschwindet, Stimulation steigt trotzdem weiter an, eine innerlich beruhigende Wirkung tritt hinzu (potentielle Wirkung auf Serotonin?), Motivation und Konzentrationsfähigkeit steigen an. Kopfgefühl ist wach und klar.
t100min:
Konzentration sinkt, die Wirkung wird stärker und mehr zu einer planlosen verpeilten Stimulation, wie man sie von anderen Cathinonen kennt. Starke Euphorie und innere Entspannung bei gleichzeitig starker Stimulation setzen ein. Euphorie eher mit Empathogenen zu vergleichen, als mit anderen dopaminlastigen Stimulanzien aber trotzdem ganz eigene Note. Wie ein Gefühl von Frische und innerer Erfüllung. Stärke Euphorie 8/10.
t+120min:
Wirkung wandelt sich wieder zu unangenehmer Stimulation. Andere Nebenwirkungen (Liste ich am Schluss auf).
Nachlegedrang hat sich gemeldet, deshalb hat er nochmal 60mg nachgelegt.
t+155min:
Stimulation wird unangenehmer stärker und wandelt sich wieder in ruhige Euphorie, die allerdings früher wieder von Nebenwirkungen überdeckt wird.
t+178min:
Bekannter konsumiert sehr geringe Dosis einer ihm zu medizinischen Zwecken verschriebenen Pflanze, um die Überstimulation leicht zu schwächen. Das funktioniert gut.
Nachlegedrang tritt wieder auf. 30mg nachgelegt.
Zeitraum zwischen ca. 18:00Uhr und 16:00Uhr des nächsten Tages:
Trotz viel weniger vorhandener Euphorie und stärkeren Nebenwirkungen hat sich das Nachlegen fast verselbständigt. Die Substanz scheint richtig Besessen zu machen und lässt andere Gedanken nur noch wenig zu. Beängstigend.
Regelmäßiges Nachlegen von 30mg oder 60mg. Pause zwischen 2:00Uhr bis 7:00Uhr des nächsten Tages. Schlaf unmöglich.
Den Gedanken fehlt es ein wenig an Struktur. Oft stark paranoides Gefühl. Hin und herlaufen in der Wohnung ohne Ziel, alle 5 Minuten aus dem Fenster schauen.
Optik leicht verändert. Umrisse minimal "weichgezeichneter", Farben intensiver.
Mein Bekannter meinte die Optik, das "automatische" konsumieren und das Paranoiagefühl wären sehr mit einem ein paar Jahre zurückliegenden NEP Binge zu vergleichen. Wobei sich NEP während der ganzen Konsumzeit deutlich besser angefühlt hätte.
Gegen 16:00Uhr am nächsten Tag waren die Nebenwirkungen so ekelhaft, dass es mit Willenskraft möglich war den Binge zu beenden.
Gesamte Konsumierte Menge in ca 24 Stunden: 660mg
Nach einem warmen Bad und viel erzwungenem Essen war schlafen um ~23Uhr möglich.
Zusammenfassung:
Wirkung:

Nebenwirkungen:
Nachwirkungen die nächsten Tage:
Langzeitnachwirkung (!!!):
Auch mehrere Monate nach dem Binge hat mein Bekannter ein mehrmals täglich auftretendes "Flattern" oder Zucken in einem Augenlied. Nach einer Nacht mit wenig Schlaf häufiger. Potentieller Nervenschaden?
Bewertung: 3/10 Die ersten zwei, drei Stunden 9/10, danach wandert es langsam immer mehr in Richtung 0/10 bei trotzdem gleichbleibendem Craving.
Unverantwortlich, dass das noch gegen Adipositas auf dem Markt ist. Menschen, die unter Umständen sowieso schon ein Problem mit ihrer Impulskontrolle haben, oder psychisch durch Ihren Zustand vorbelastet sind, sollten nicht mit so etwas in Kontakt gebracht werden. Vor allem wenn auch noch die Motivation des Abnehmens den Konsum bestärkt...
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2021.12.06 05:57 Pythem I'm horny for boys and girls

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2021.12.06 05:57 Silfalion Separating screen from laptop

Hey guys. I’ve been wanting to turn my Alienware 17 (2013) into a kind of desktop pc, for sometime.
The problem is that it starts beeping when I disconnect the screen. Had an issue with it before with the cable not connecting well.
Does anyone know how to do that without encountering that problem please?
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2021.12.06 05:57 DerpMerpTheV me_irl

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2021.12.06 05:57 throwaway4question90 In sport championship games, what happens to the losing teams apparel?

The shirts, hats, etc that say “world champions” or “20xx _______ winners”
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2021.12.06 05:57 redfoxsilverwolffang What is thinking supposed to be like?

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2021.12.06 05:57 Javelineer1957 The “New Front in the War on Terror” is going badly. [Part 5]

“Wake up, wake up darlin’ Corey,
Go and fetch me my gun,
I ain't no man for trouble,
But I will die before I run.

Dig a hole, dig a hole in the meadow,
Dig a hole in the cold, cold ground,
Dig a hole, dig a hole in the meadow,
Gonna lay darlin’ Corey down.”
-Darlin’ Corey, Appalachian folk ballad

Colonel Doug Hughes, commanding officer of the 173rd Airborne Brigade, fought against the swirling vortex winds as he trecked alongside the tarmac of Dulles International Airport. Their transport fleet was flying in today: large, tandem-winged, four-engined aircraft that cut through the sky far more nimbly than their ponderous-looking bulk would imply. The fall afternoon had been cool and windy, but the hot exhaust from their downward-facing tiltroter engines left his whole world shimmering in hazy heat. He could almost see the paint peeling from the nearby buildings as he ducked into the door. Sergeant Major Alan Travis was awaiting him, a cup of Starbucks coffee in each hand. Hughes glanced back at the vertibirds before pulling the door shut and taking the offered drink.

“Ah, the Bell-Boeing MV-380 Secretarybird. A marvel of engineering, they say.” said the brigade’s Command Sergeant Major, speaking loudly over the still-resonant sound of the engines.

“Yeah, I guess so. Bigger than the old CH-47 Chinooks and more versatile to boot.” said Colonel Hughes absently. “Shame about that stupid name, and nicknames that aren’t much better. Not to mention that downwash that has a nasty habit of cracking, melting, or setting fire to anything they try to land on.”

“Well, it ain’t all bad. In fact, some of the aviators say they’re looking for ways to weaponize it. Lemons and lemonade, sir. Lemons and lemonade.”

The CSM smiled, and so did his commander. Truth of the matter was, both of them were only dimly aware of any technical details concerning the “Saggybirds” that their unit relied upon for transport and air support. Their brigade was loaded down with so much high-tech futuristic material that they couldn’t hope to understand all of it, nor would they try. That, they believed, was what warrant officers were for.

Ever since it had come back from its former base in Italy, the 173rd Airborne Brigade had been given the dubious honor of being a “test bed unit” for the Army. Railguns, Metal Storm weapons, directed energy weapons, “smart” munitions, microdrones, holographic chameleon camouflage, dragon skin armor and combat exoskeleton suits were all among the tools they had taken into battle. Much of it would be left behind this time, partially because much of it didn’t work that well and partially because of the unique foe they were facing.

“You get a chance to speak to those spooky alphabet agency guys?” asked Hughes as the two of them walked the empty corridor. “Are they still giving us the same old line on what we’re up against?”

“Yes and yes.” said Sergeant Travis, shaking his head in bafflement. “This Professor Edwin Green, leader of a bunch of crazy neo-pagan hippie types armed primarily with primitive weapons, living in a massive, concealed underground labyrinth. They managed to somehow make off with some advanced DARPA hardware that their university was working on, which they’re looking to sell to nearby guerrilla units. Plasma guns and electrocannons and EMP devices, like the stuff of fantasy almost, and it’s up to us to dig into their burrow and clear them out before it falls into the hands of anyone more dangerous. That’s their story and they’re still sticking to it.”

Colonel Hughes decided not to ask him if he really believed it, since it didn’t matter what either of them believed. Of course, both men understood how odd it was for CIA combat and recon teams to accompany them in the first drops. They usually preferred to let the real Army do the dirty work and then chopper in to pick up all the weird stuff after the area was completely safe and secure. This though, it felt like something more than just a small group of traitorous college researchers living in a hole in the ground after running off with something they shouldn’t have, and that worried him. Colonel Hughes didn’t mind jumping at night, but he didn’t at all like to do it in the dark.

They entered a conference room where the brigade’s executive officer, Major Don Brantley, was waiting with a clipboard in hand. Urgent paperwork, thought the commander with an inward groan, a constant fact of life even days before they go to face what might be some grisly death in battle.

It’s only with the utmost of preparation that any commander throws his own troops out of perfectly good airplanes, and Colonel Hughes spent the remainder of his evening reviewing the battle plans. Enemy air defenses were thought to be light or non-existent. The Saggybirds would come in at low level and deploy their passengers by parachute instead of landing, this largely out of some ill-explained concern from the Langley guys that whatever exotic weaponry their enemy possessed may have a bad effect on aircraft engines. With the element of surprise on their side, the Sky Soldiers would then quickly advance from their landing zones, through thick forests and uneven terrain in search of any signs of entrances to subterranean enemy facilities. Once found, these would be assaulted by either the attached combat engineer company or by the brigade as a whole, depending on size and configuration.

While this was occurring, elements of the 1st Armored Division and 4th Infantry Division would launch diversionary sweeps into areas held by neighboring insurrectionist factions, hopefully dissuading them from sending significant reinforcements. The 173rd was expected to wrap up its mission and exfiltrate the area before anyone could intervene to stop them.

“Well, that’s the plan at least,” said Colonel Hughes, eyeing his subordinates. “What do the men think?”

“I don’t think morale could be higher,” said Sergeant Travis. “This is going to be one of the biggest American combat jumps since the end of World War II and they’re happy to be part of it, though they’re still a little upset at not being able to do it in their newfangled Iron Man Suits.”

“Better not let any of the zampolits from DC Comics hear you use that term, Sergeant,” cautioned Major Brantley. “You know how pissy they can be; Army and Marines belongs to them, Navy and Air Force goes to Marvel.”

“Yeah, true enough.” said Travis quietly, a scolded look on his face.

“It is kind of funny, though.” said the major. “They spend months complaining about the weight, the complexity, the unreliability, the battery packs that sometimes overheat and explode on them. No sooner do we take their toys away do they start missing them.”

“They’ve been briefed on the reasons. For one thing, we don’t have enough birds for the men and equipment both; we’re still trying to get a handle on the parts shortage and the jerks in the Air Force jerks are dragging their feet on helping,” said Colonel Hughes with a sneer. “Saying we shouldn’t even have our own airlift wing in the first place.”

“For another thing, we don’t know what effect this stolen technology will have on powered suits or weaponry,” added Sergeant Travis. “If they can disable and disarm us at the push of a button then it doesn’t matter if they come to finish us off with spears and arrows.”

“On that note: Major Brantley, how do the troops feel about our likely adversaries.”

“Honestly? They hold them in contempt.” he said bluntly. “ ‘They’re just a bunch of granola-munching hippies playing Robin Hood with their bows and arrows, how much can they do to a 21st century army?’ That’s the general consensus.”

“In all fairness, how much can they do?” Colonel Hughes asked in a tone of genuine inquisitiveness.

“As much as a bunch of cousin-fucking rednecks playing Daniel Boone with their squirrel guns?” suggested Sergeant Travis with iron in his voice. “We learned the answer to that one during Operation Mamba, now we try not to fight them without a squadron of B-52s on standby.”

He chuckled, then he sighed before he continued.

“Wish they could just bunker-bust and carpet-bomb these freaks, instead of sending us to dig them out.”

Colonel Hughes shrugged and shook his head.

“For one thing, we don’t know exactly where they are, since they’re getting better and better at hiding from subsurface detection systems. For another, saturation bombing is never as effective as we want it to be. Even if it was, we can’t just level every patch of countryside that gives us trouble. Can’t afford it anymore. Now, it’s getting late and I want to talk to company commanders tomorrow, so if there’s nothing else then…”

The klaxon blared its warning cry. There was a series of pops somewhere in the distance, and sounds that seemed only slightly louder than the launch of a kid’s model rocket. “Look!” yelled one of the men and, throwing caution to the wind, all three jumped up to the nearest window and stared into the velvety evening sky.

Several bright points of lights were quietly rising like flares from the west. There were bursts of fire in the air as new points of lights rose from the east to meet them, and a sharp eye might be able to make out strange faint shimmers in the air, the only visible evidence of the city’s laser batteries coming online against the approaching threat.

The rockets were probably locally-produced or possibly-imported variants of Russian Grad and Chinese Weishi-style systems, cousins to various Middle Eastern designs that had been the bane of Western armies for decades. While most were little more advanced than the famed Katyushas of the Great Patriotic War, a few of the models were surprisingly sophisticated. Hardened hulls, ramjet engines, and low-flying evasive flightpaths make them very hard to intercept and very damaging when they hit their mark. Colonel Hughes was almost knocked off his feet when one landed several blocks away from the airport.

Dulles International was nestled well within the Enhanced Security Zone of Greater Washington, or the DC Green Zone. It was a world of Bremer walls, HESCO bastions, and lines of razor wire placed in front of watch-towers and machine gun nests. The city itself was still a world of big gleaming buildings filled with exceedingly rich and powerful politicians, all surrounded by swarming masses of desperately poor and powerless proletarians.

“Damned rockets,” said the Colonel aloud as he stood again. “Probably fired from somewhere in Bumfuck, West Virginia where the whole county is worth less than the damage they’ll do tonight.”

Even now, he didn’t feel scared of them. Rocket strikes never scared him or the other two men, who seemed to regard them more as a fascinating, slightly-dangerous light show.

Still, it always surprised him when he considered just how close the nation’s ruling class lived to people who despised them and who felt that they had nothing more to lose from showing it. More blossoms of fire and pillars of smoke could be seen in the distance. Tomorrow the streets would be full of craters, burning rubble and dead bodies. Almost all of them disposable proles, he suspected. Important people were all safe in their bomb shelters and panic rooms by now. They would lose nothing but their pride, though that alone would have them screaming for blood come the morning.

“Wherever they came from, I’ll bet that’s one patch of countryside we can afford to carpet-bomb.” said Sergeant Travis, echoing what his commander was thinking. “I don’t know why they keep doing dumb things like this. It’s a big part of what caused our ROE’s to be lifted.”

“Story as old as time,” mused Colonel Hughes as he watched the points of light continue to fall. “Peasants get mad, peasants get ballsy, peasants start throwing dung at the castle wall, the king sends his knights out to torch their hovels, rape their daughters, and cut their balls off. Enjoy the fireworks tonight soldiers, we have work to do tomorrow.”

***

We heard the steady rumble of thunder from the neighboring valley, then watched the brown clouds rise from where multiple bombs were falling, and only then did we hear the roar of jet engines. That’s almost the worst part of it from a psychological point of view, you only know there’s an airstrike going on when things are already exploding. The drones are arguably even worse, since you know that they can be anywhere at any time, always watching you, and only making their presence known when they decide to blow up something.

“What the hell was that? What are they bombing?” asked an armed man in camouflage who had obviously lost a lot of weight recently. Anthony Holtz was a former mathematics professor and fairly competent in his field, but he was still trying to find his feet in this one.

“Probably a stand of trees or a scurry of chipmunks [Yes, a “scurry” of chipmunks.] that looked suspiciously similar to a Pashtun wedding party.” I said dismissively. “Whatever they’re bombing, it ain’t us. And we won’t have a chance to care if it is, so let’s get back to work.”

Facing a US Army Infantry Brigade in the current year is a lot like facing a Roman Legion in the Migration Period, say at the Battle of Adrianople. It’s a Hell of a lot easier than it used to be, but still a risky proposition.

I was up before sunrise to pick out a saddle horse, remount and pack horse. Then I prepared them for the journey and met up with the rest of my hand-picked surveying team. It was a couple of Green’s followers, they didn’t seemed like skilled riders and Sarah volunteered to come with us to help keep an eye on them, and I accepted graciously.

As we sallied forth from the canyon, I saw a number of the Fae loosing their bows, javelins, and other missile weapons into a shooting range, trying to hit targets that would rise and swing from suspended ropes and moved in a way that made speed and direction very difficult to predict. The range and accuracy at which they could hit these targets was most impressive, easily at the upper end of what the most skillful human sportsmen could accomplish. Watching how the fairy warriors carried themselves and interacted with each other, I was once again struck with how little the art of war has changed since the foot-sloggers of Sargon the Great forced the Sumerians to cry “Uncle!”

Gratrectes waved at me as he passed, holding aloft our recent gift to him. It was a modern, high-end compound bow, a Bear Redemption EKO I think. Any steel components have been replaced and we’ve made certain to explain to him and his comrades how wooden-shafted arrows could not be safely fired from it. Traditional fairy bows are largely identical to the one found alongside Otzi the Iceman, and they’ve been very happy with the ones we’ve managed to find for them.

Warriors of the Fairy Host are irregular skirmishers by inclination, but they do have a surprisingly-advanced understanding of military science. They were organized into four-man fireteams, two of these plus two non-combatant camp followers formed a ten-man squad. Ten of these squads would form a large platoon or small company, six companies would go into a battalion, eight of these standard battalions plus one more of almost double strength forms a brigade totaling some five thousand personnel. And if that arrangement sounds oddly familiar to you then you might have guessed how these Iron Age Celts were paying attention to their last enemies. Replace fireteam with quaternion, squad with contubernium, company with century, battalion with cohort and brigade with legion.

As decisive as such an arrangement might have been in the hands of Caesar, and as remarkably familiar as it still is to modern military minds, it does suffer from a serious disadvantage. Where the Romans didn’t actually use their quaternions and contuberniums in a tactical manner, the Fae realized on their own that small, maneuverable units had better survivability in modern battle than the large, rigid formations of antiquity. Unlike the Romans, the Fae do have formal commanders for their cohorts in the form of the war leader’s ambaxtoi. It could be improved upon further, but not in the time we had before the coming battle. Reenacting the Marian Reforms would have to wait.

Of course, they’re not entirely fighting an airborne brigade with Antiquarian technology and strategy. Some of what they have goes all the way up to Victorian levels!

Edwin Green had previously set up a system of heliographs on peaks and ridges throughout his domain, and my previous technical specialization was of some use in helping fine-tune it. He hoped it could be used for long-range communication by the fairies, who are of course generally incapable of using radios or any other form of electronic devices. That’s going to be a big disadvantage for them going forward, and it’ll seriously complicate any meaningful coordination with human allies.

Heliographs and solar telegraphy have a fascinating history. The concept is ubiquitous enough; Xenophon’s Hellenika describes how the ancient Greeks would send signals and messages to each other by reflecting sunlight off of their polished shields, and signaling mirrors are still a common item in modern survival kits. The military heliograph was in standard use from the 1880’s until about the 1940’s, with Afghan Mujahideen still using them in the 1980’s, and the basic design changed little in all of that time.

The ones we use consist of two simple tripods. One of these comes with two adjustable mirrors and an aiming rod, the other has a small keyed shutter blind. The main mirror is aimed directly at whomever we wish to signal, the secondary mirror is used to direct sunlight onto the first, the shutter is placed in front of the main mirror and then keyed open and shut to create the dots and dashes of a Morse Code message, or whatever other code we might use.

The advantages of this system are obvious. It’s portable, fairly concealable, only requires one person at each station, requires no power source, has no wires or electronic signals to intercept or interrupt, and the flash is invisible to anyone outside the line of sight, especially if a narrow tube is used to reduce the beam. The range between stations can easily be 25 to 50 miles, or well over a hundred with the aid of telescopes and high enough mountains.

The disadvantages are equally obvious. Line of sight is required, and so is clear weather. Bright sunlight is ideal, though moonlight, limelight, or an acetylene lamp will suffice. Sending messages is slow compared to voice communication, eight to sixteen words per minute if the operator knows what he’s doing, and most of ours are beginners at best.

One big flaw in Green’s initial network was how linear it was. Most stations were arranged in simple relays starting from the fairy fort and spreading across the 200-odd square miles of land where they operated. But if one station was knocked out or otherwise interrupted, those downrange from it would have no way of communicating with their base. I noticed this and pointed it out to him, then I poured over our available topo maps and offered suggestions on how we could make the system less fragile and more redundant. And, since I had been the one to discover the flaw, I was promptly assigned to going up and down all the mountain peaks and sighting in the newly-installed heliographs. No good deed... well, you know.

“Okay, where was I… mark 57 degrees, 30 minutes...” I said as I intently read off the vernier of a surveyor's transit almost as old as the Mance Mark Five beside it. “That should do it, let’s see.”

A steady bright light could be seen on a distant military crest. No sooner was our mirror dialed to the position did it begin flashing rapidly. Sarah lowered her binoculars and looked at me with a huge grin on her face.

“That’s crazy, we’re really using sunlight to talk to each other!”

The wind was blowing moderately hard up here, but the clear sunny day and the rising air currents gave us a warmer morning than is typical for late Fall. The Appalachian pinelands were a lot thinner in this season, but still largely green and with a ground freshly carpeting in the vibrant reds and yellows of fallen leaves. There was hardly a cloud in the sky and we could only hope that condition would continue.

Sarah picked up a small stone and flung it with surprising force from our promontory. We watched it sail over numerous treetops for before it was finally lost among the pines. She giggled to herself, and for just a moment I almost forgot about the airstrike and the war. I reached out my hand out and brushed the strands of hair from her face, and not for the first time did I notice how her brown eyes would shine when I was near her.

“Do you think the weather will be like this when they come?” she asked suddenly. “I mean, these things are cool and all, but if I’m a commander facing an attacking enemy with an overwhelming firepower advantage, and my call for support is delayed by the sun picking a bad time to duck behind a passing cloud, I’m gonna be a real special kind of pissed off.”

“Very true.” I answered. “Probably a big part of why no one uses them anymore. But don’t think of it as an inferior alternative to radios and field telephones. Think of it as a superior alternative to runners and dispatch riders.”

Sarah nodded. She and I retrieved our horses and mounted up, carefully making our way downhill.

“And you don’t think the paratroopers are gonna do anything weird on us, like jumping in the middle of a thunderstorm?”

“Well,” I said thoughtfully. “It’s... within the realm of possibility, I guess. Army Rangers, Marine Recon and Navy SEALs made a few bad-weather jumps in Afghanistan. But those were small commando-style actions with fairly limited objectives. What we’re seeing here is a massive operation, possibly the biggest American combat jump since World War II. It’s gonna be hard enough to pull off even in the best of circumstances, so I think they’ll be aiming for a clear day or maybe on a moonlit night. Wish we knew for sure.”

“I do too. Second Sight is not an exact science, and somehow the Feds have countermeasures against it, which I guess is why no one ever astrally projected themselves into Langley HQ or Area 51. So, what about the Heinlein suits? Seth told me about them before heading out today, he says that nothing short of anti-tank weapons will dent one. What do we do if they come wearing them?”

She was scared, and for just a moment I could see her for the gentle teenage girl that she really was. She would always put up such a brave front, but I could tell that the idea of facing America’s elites in pitched battle scared her. Hell, I was scared too.

“Pit falls, trip wires and sledgehammers.” I suggested airily.

“Tree-trunk battering rams, like Ewoks?” she offered with equal levity.

“And thermal lances, maybe.” I added in a slightly more serious tone, then I shrugged. “Well, last I heard, they were still having a lot of problems with those things. The power packs and electronics are pretty fragile for one. There were quite a few cases of the suits shorting out during jumps and the occupants having to stand where they landed until someone found a way to cut them out. Getting too close to the fairies would practically petrify them.”

“Good point.” said Sarah, smiling devilishly at the thought. “They’ll be in even bigger trouble if they try to bring powered rail-guns, or rifles with electronic triggers like what some police departments use. Disabled and disarmed.”

She was clearly feeling better with this line of discussion, so I continued it.

“It’s funny, isn’t it? If the Fae had waited a few decades to show up, they would have found an army so electronic and digitized that they could have completely run the table on it. On the other hand, if they had come a few centuries earlier, they would have found human armies that covered their battlefields in massive clouds of toxic potassium nitrate.”

“What if the Fairy Fort had opened under Area 51 instead of here in our back yard?” she asked curiously. “What if Professor Green had managed to get a job there? Or, what if the Fae had been angered instead of more-or-less amused by his calling himself a Druid? Or what if they had seen our side as a bigger threat, or an easier target? And something I’ve really been wondering: do our adversaries have any idea what they’ll be facing when they come here?”

“They seem to be dimly aware that something paranormal is going on, but it’s impossible to say beyond that. Army being Army, they’re probably thinking it’s something stupid like wendigos or aliens.”

“Wendigos aren’t stupid!” said Sarah angrily. “I used to write creepypastas about them!”

“Of course you did.”

She scrunched her face and folded her arms, and I couldn’t help but marvel at just how cute she was. God, if only she was just a few years older or if I was a bit younger... And, maybe, the way things are these days…

Another series of bombs fell with resounding booms, these peppering part of the ridges of the valley we were overlooking. Sarah waited for the echo to die away before speaking again.

“Are they actually trying to hit anything, or just trying to annoy us?”

“Who knows? As likely as not, they’re out here killing trees and chipmunks because someone, somewhere in the Air Force has a quota to fill.”

***

Miliseconds before the flash overwhelmed his retina and temporarily blinded him, Seth thought he saw a shadowy humanoid figure watching him from within the fire and water vapor, which was very odd indeed since that particular bomb had fallen in the middle of a lake. It was at a distance of some 50 meters, and he began to raise his carbine in that direction. But by the time he had his eyes back, the apparition was already gone.

Ignoring the ringing in his ears, Seth re-secured his beasts and carefully guided them over the fallen timbers at the edges of the nearest new crater. All around him was the sound of yelling men and women and the tortured, panicked braying of mules and donkeys.

“Lieutenant!” yelled a sergeant with a growing mask of blood covering his face, a small shrapnel wound on his scalp. But his active and determined eyes showed that he wasn’t out of action yet.

“Ugh… casualties, sergeant?” demanded Seth.

“At a guess? One man dead, three or four wounded, three or four…” there was a pistol shot in the woods and one braying animal went silent. “...four pack animals out of action. At the rate we’re going we’ll be pushing bicycles through these woods, like the Viet Cong on the Ho Chi Minh Trail.”

Seth tried to shake the crazy from his head, then he tried to suppress the mania from his voice as he spoke.

“Viet Cong won that war, though. The US Air Force dropped more bombs in Vietnam than everyone dropped in both world wars, on a country smaller than California or Appalachia itself, and the Viet Cong still won. We can win too. Take care of the wounded, secure the dead, butcher the carcasses and do what you can for the cargo. I’ll bring a small team back tonight to recover whatever we leave behind.”

“Very good, sir. Anything else?”

Seth’s first field command was not particularly auspicious. It was a depleted transport platoon filled mostly with older men and teenage girls, armed primarily with shotguns and hunting rifles. The dispersed platoons and companies of riflemen who were slowly filtering into the area weren’t much better. Colonel Witt was sending what she could and asking her allies to do the same, but Federal Forces were massing several divisions in the region and no one would spare what might be needed to defend their own homes and territory.

He glanced at the cargo that a man had already died to help deliver, and knew that it wasn’t in vain. The big, bulky rolls of netting, mylar and tarps painted in local colors didn’t look very valuable, but they were as essential to this kind of war as entrenching tools were on the Western Front of World War I.

Hiding from aircraft was really nothing new to people in Appalachia. In the 1940’s, local police and the US Treasury Department first started using spotter planes to try and seek out the moonshiners who hid out in remote wilderness locations. They eventually added helicopters, satellites and finally drones to their arsenals whilst adding pot farmers, meth cooks and finally domestic terrorists to their targets. But the fundamentals of avoiding areal detection hadn’t really changed much, even with the inclusion of specialized and expensive—and therefore less-often used—gadgetry.

Move in bad weather, stick to tree cover, break up silhouettes and shadows, go underground if you can, and don’t stay in one place for too long unless you have a way to conceal your visual, infrared, thermal and if you’re really important radar signature. Seth briefly considered how holographic camouflage was supposed to be the “next big thing” in this field, and wondered if that might explain the apparition he had seen in the high explosive blast. That, or perhaps his eyes were playing tricks on him.

“Yeah, uh… hey, tell me about that lake over there.” he said, motioning with his carbine.

The sergeant blinked in surprise, wondering if his platoon leader was okay as he began to speak.

“It’s, uh… it’s just a standard old trout lake, sir. Probably a good place for a water cache if that’s your idea, and that’s actually a pretty good idea.”

“Uh, yeah. Yeah, that’s what I was thinking.”

He turned away and forced himself to think on the present task at hand, still failing to banish the strange figure from his mind.

***

It would be a tight fit with only 80% of their transports flight-worthy, though that was frankly a bit better than they had a right to hope for these days. When H-hour arrived, the decision was made to go ahead as planned.

The flight of Saggybirds spread out wide as they roared across the silent, silvery landscape. At only 150 meters above ground level, the terrain below loomed large enough that every paratrooper knew his reserve chute was more of a thought and a prayer than anything truly useful in an emergency.

Moonrise had been a little over an hour ago, the beginning of nautical twilight had been half an hour ago, and the combined available lighting would hopefully give the soldiers of the 173rd enough lighting to carry out their operations without making obvious targets of themselves. When they begin to move westward, they’ll benefit from facing their enemies with the rising sun at their backs, or at least they hoped as much. For now, however, the troops idly bantered with each other in the red-tinged passenger compartment.

“Werewolves, man.” yelled one voice to the figure beside her. “There’s a bunch of werewolves down there. They wiped out a mechanized detachment during Operation Mamba, tore through their Strykers like they were made of paper and only left one survivor, who then went crazy and ran off with the terrorists. They’ve put silver powder in our bullets so we’ll stand half a chance against them.”

“Oh, c’mon Bree! That’s some crazy bullshit.” scoffed the man she had spoken to. “Nah, they’re obviously demons. Incubusses, sucubusses, didn’t you hear about the SEAL team they ambushed in North Carolina? They were summoned by that neo-pagan professor guy; he built a Hellgate under the mountains and sacrifices virgins to give them more power.”

“It’s incubi and sucubi, you dolt.” came a voice from his other side. “And if that’s the case then you better watch out when you go down there.”

An “Ay fuck you, Bilko!” was the immediate reply. Further discourse on this most seminal of topics was soundly arrested by the yell of the jumpmaster, as she issued her orders to the eighty-eight jumpers in her chalk.

“Look this way!” she bellowed, as she stood at her post and gestured theatrically with her arms. This was a warning that jump time was only ten minutes away and that each jumper should focus on preparing for that moment. What would follow would be series of call-and-response commands in a military ritual that had existed in a recongizable form since before the days of Operation Overlord.

“Outboard personnel, stand up!” She spread her arms wide and raised her hands.

“Inboard personnel, stand up!” She pulled her arms inward and raised them again.

The men and women obeyed and called back almost automatically, with no more concern or hesitation than morning commuters ready to file out of the city subway.

“Personnel, hook up!” She made a hooking motion with her hands and then she and her assistants hooked their own static lines to an overhead cable, separate from that of their charges.

Each jumper had a short cord, called a static line, connected to the deployment bag of his parachute’s canopy. This would be hooked to a cable running the length of the Secretarybird’s interior, just above and slightly behind the heads of the jumpers. When they jumped from the plane, the static line and deployment-bag would be left behind at the end of the cable and the parachute would automatically inflate and slow his fall to mostly-nonlethal velocities. Very useful on low-altitude jumps when deployment needed to happen fast and where one couldn’t know for sure if a soldier would stay conscious and unwounded enough to pull the cord himself.

“Check Static Lines!” she made a tugging motion on her own line.

Each jumper examined the metal hook and nylon line for the jumper in front of him, the last and second-from-last in line half-turned so that they could examine each other. Each jumper made sure that hook was securely fastened, that no excess slack existed, and that the lines wouldn’t get hung on equipment or wrapped around body parts. This was a rather important step in the procedure. A static line around an arm was generally debilitating, a static line around a neck generally fatal, and a bad or disconnected hook could make you like the character of the old ballad, “Blood Upon the Risers.”

While the jumpers did this, the recently-enlarged number of jumpmasters’ assistants watched them hawkishly. This was a recent change to the static-line jump protocol, a sober realization from high command that increasing levels of tension and acrimony existed even in semi-elite units like the 173rd Airborne. Chute failures and other jump accidents were a pretty good way to conceal a murder.

“Check Equipment!” she held her arms close to her chest and then spread them outward.

Everyone fidgeted and jostled for some time, as they checked their own and their comrades’ gear. Every snap and strap had to be checked for proper position and tightness. This was another important procedure. A rucksack or helmet flying free at terminal velocity could kill if it hit a jumper or a parachute, and losing a weapon wasn’t desirable either. The jumpmaster and her assistants walked up and down the lines of soldiers to examine each of them personally, before returning to their posts.

“Sound off for equipment check!” she leaned forward and cupped her hands against her ears.

Eighty-eight yells of “Okay” sounded one by one from fore to aft of the cavernous passenger compartment, as each jumper confirmed his readiness and tapped the one in front. When the end of the line was reached, the cry of “All Okay!” confirmed that the chalk was ready to disembark.

Shortly afterwards, the warning light activated over the rear loading ramp as it dropped open. With 10 seconds to drop, the lines of tethered jumpers began their signature mambo-shuffle towards the ramp.

“Stand by! Green light, GO!”

Ramp exits were fairly easy compared to door exits, just walk forward until you run out of plane, then it’s head down, legs together, hands on reserve and count to four.

Parachutes blossomed by the thousands as the brigade drifted landward. In an army proven increasingly accident-prone, it was almost cause for celebration when they reached the earth with few major injuries and no towed jumpers left helplessly dangling behind the saggybirds. Under the watchful eyes of helicopter gunships, the soldiers rallied together and began their advance.

Six thousand insurgent troops silently awaited them.
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