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Jan. 7 Daily HUT Content - What is new?

It’s Thuursdaaayy! ...and itsss Cooooolin! What all did everyone get up to today!? Let me knooww, down belooww!!
Here’s the new cards for today!

Fantasy Hockey Event

For Skaters -
• + 1 to All Att. (0.5 for Speed and Accel.) for every goal scored in Reg. Season
• Syn Points doubled if player reaches 95 OVR
• Max UPGRADE - 99
• Reg. Season NHL counts

Players

Jacob Slavin - 85 OVR - CAR / LD - (1) BAL , SH
Brent Burns - 84 OVR - SJS / RD - (1) H and S , SH
Neal Pionk - *84 OVR - WPJ / C - (1) DIS , WH
Charlie Coyle - 82 OVR - BOS / C - (1) BAR , LTL
Filip Hronek - 82 OVR - DET / RD - (1) BAR , WH
Rickard Rakell - 82 OVR - ANA / LW - (1) SPA , GLA
Jake Allen - 81 OVR - MTL / G - 6’2” / 203 lbs - (1) SPA , BAL
Jeff Carter - 81 OVR - LAK / C - (1) SWA , HOW
Clayton Keller - 81 OVR - COY / C - (1) SWA , SH
Wayne Simmonds - 81 OVR - TOR / RW - (1) DIS , PP
Sam Bennett - 79 OVR - CGY / C - (1) H and S , WM
Jack Eichel - 74 OVR - BUF / C - (1) BAL , MAG
.... no Ottawa? :(

Primetimes

NHL

Patrice Bergeron - 88 OVR - BOS / C - (1) T ... 98 FOs with Thief active, woah
Oliver Bjorkstrand - 87 OVR - CBJ / RW - (1) PP ... *
Nate Schmidt - 84 OVR - VAN / LD - (1) SH ... *
Noel Acciari - 83 OVR - FLA / C - (1) WM ... *
Chris Tierney - 82 OVR - OTT / C - (1) GLA ... *
Brian Dumolin - 80 OVR - PEN / LD - (1) H and S , HOW ... *
Justin Holl - 79 OVR - TOR / RD - (1) SWA , WH ... *
Eeli Tolivanen - 79 OVR - NAS / LW - (1) SPA , LTL ... *

Other Leagues

(I’ll post these later)
Carson Focht - 78 OVR - HIT / C - (1) BAR , SH ... *
Miro-Pekka Saarelainen - 78 OVR - PEL / C - (1) MAG , SPA ... *
Tyler Brennan - 77 OVR - COU / G - 6’3” / 181 lbs (1) DIS , BAL ... *
Miguel Tourigny - 77 OVR - ARM / RD - (1) SPE , SWA ... *
• • • • • • • • • • - - - - - - - - - • • • • • • • • • • • •

Packs Available

23H Remaining.
• Jumbo Elite Pack - 50k C / 1k P
20 items, with atleast 11 80+ OVR Players.
• NHL Players Packs - 30k C / 500 P
10 items, all Gold NHL Players with atleast 4 80+ OVR Players.
• Players Pack - 15k C / 300 P
10 items, all Players, at least 5 Gold Players and 1 80+ OVR Player.

P.S.

• New Season of RUSH!
• Squad Battles Rewards Today - 5pm EST
Fantasy Hockey Event
• 1.8 M Reward RUSH - Icon Collect
Does Sami Vatanen stay on the Devils?
• Cooolin’s Birthday
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What’s to Come?

• New Event - Tomorrowww at 5pm EST!
• 2nd Weeeeekenddd of 2021!
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Summary of the day

Quick Read
Best Forward of the Day - PT - is PAATRICEEE BEERGEREONN OVR 88 with the syn THIIEFF
Best Defence of the Day - PT - is NAATEEE SCHMIDTTT OVR 84 with the syn SHUUTT DOWNN
———- ———- Cooolin ——-

Important Notice

As you get older, you start to realize more and more its not what you look like or what you own... it’s really about what you’ve become.
You can’t help getting older — duh , duuh - but you don’t have to get old.
Just because you might be an adult, doesn’t mean you can’t have fun, and do something you wanted to do as a kid, that you’ve never done before.
Remember to just have fun! Go with the flow, and be yourself! I promise you, it will take you far.
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Interested in Stocks?

EA’s Stock Price, after hours - Jan. 7
$ 140.74 (usd) —- Currency Converter
we looked at the stock at $137.54 usd
—— That is a difference of ( $3.20 / 2.33% ) —
Daily EA Stock News
Disclaimer - I am not a financial advisor. It is your money, please do your own due diligence. I am not responsible for your money. This is *not** advice. I added this section for an added educational purposes only. Thanks*
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NEED A SOUNDTRACK TO LISTEN TO?

WE’RE ALMOST AT 1000 SONGS!
Comment songs to add, and please give feedback! It’s much appreciated!!
I currently have “Birthday” by “Selena Gomez” stuck in my head, hahaha... honestly, I don’t know about you... but I’m feelin 22
How do you guys like the playlist!? I have a friend who makes music, if you guys wanna check his music out, feel free, click Here!!
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Stream Hockey Games

If you click here you will be redirected to bilasport.
Bilasport is a streaming site for all your Sport needs! You can stream; NHL , NFL , NBA , MLB , Boxing / MMA , and NCAAF.
With the NHL season coming up, this is a great resource if you want to watch a game!
Bookmark it today!
I am not affiliated with Bilasport. This is just a recommendation for your entertainment needs.
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Fighting a Gambling Addiction?

Don’t feel scared to click here. Winning is SO much louder than losing. Know that you are NEVER alone. We are all here for eachother, and it is never too late to get help. I am here for you.
This is a VERY important thread, especially if you are new to HUT. Here!
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7 / 365
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Thanks for reading.
I’m always welcome to feedback, please let me know what I can improve on.
If there’s anything missing, please let me know!
Take care, happy gaming! WOW! Today is my birthday. I don’t feel any older, lol .... also 6 DAYS TIL HOCKEY COMES! WHO IS EXCITEDD?
I am not affiliated with EA. Please don’t message me about your problems about the game, even though I find them rather entertaining. You still can, just I might not be able to help!!
• Coolin Killin It
(Life is like a puzzle, you just have to find the right piece.)
submitted by coolin68 to NHLHUT [link] [comments]

Fallout New Vegas Criticism

I love New Vegas, its my favorite game of all time. And it is for a lot of other people too. This unfortunately means that its almost impossible to say anything negative about the game on Reddit without getting massively shat on. The only point you seem to be allowed to criticize is the bugs, which gets rebutted by "but they only had 18 months to make it" or "Bethesda was in charge of QA", as if any of these things excuse it for you as a customer.
So now that the game is 10 years old and most of us have played it tons of times, I thought it would be a good time to make a thread where we can actually criticize this lovely game. I'll start, now bear in mind this is of course all degrees of subjective so don't throw "uR nOT obJEvTiVE" at me just yet:
  1. The bugs has to be meantioned first. The game ran horribly at release and still did for a long time after. Its first many years later with patches and mods that we reached something that can be called mostly stable. I'm playing it right now only with stability mods on and it still crashes about once every 1-2 hours, and its still very buggy and janky.
  2. Caravan, this game's made up card game, is horrible. Firstly its very buggy somehow. I am surprised they couldn't even bug fix a solitaire-like card game, but here we are. Secondly even when it works its not very fun. It takes minimum 3 cards to make a caravan and only one king or jack to ruin it. It means it heavily favors just fucking up your opponent and hope you win the war of card attrition. The game used to be stupidly easy but was then patched so now the AI will spam kings and jacks constantly. After I got the 30 games achievement I dropped it. Lastly the game doesn't do anything with Caravan. There is no quest to become the Mojave champion or such. I get this isn't needed but it would have helped make it interesting. The only other games in the game are casino games which all depends on your luck stat. I would love being able to play high stakes Caravan.
  3. Cut content. Roleplaying is best when you actually have good reason to join both sides. In Fallout New Vegas the NCR gets the majority of the content. If you side with the Legion you can finish all the faction quests in a few hours, meanwhile the NCR has so many quests I always have to check the wiki to remember them all. Its such a shame. It doesn't help that for 3 of the endings you can work with the NCR but only 1 for the Legion. I don't get this when in 2 of those endings you end up double crossing the NCR anyways, why not allow the player to double cross the Legion? The difference being that the NCR will stand down and the Legion will then try to fight you and your army.
  4. Caesar's Legion is weird. I love most of the faction. I love the ideological conflict between a faction trying to redo democracy but running into the same problems with corruption vs a brutal but safe dictatorship. I like talking to everyone and its cool to see how different peoples' options are of the factions. Some just hate the Legion outright because of their massacre. Some see the value of having a safe society, Cass mentions how she considered running her caravan in the Legion instead of the NCR because its safer. Its cool. However I can't get over the fact that this faction is a big ancient Rome LARP. They run around in football gear. Why not just make them look normal, or similar to Romans but not literally Romans. Its such a well crafted faction that gets ruined by this pretty silly design.
  5. Independent is basically the House route but with you instead. You don't get to choose what your plans are other than your interactions with the small factions, which also doesn't feel special. You don't ever get to use your securitrons. It would have been extremely cool to be able to send your army with you to wipe out or subjugate factions instead of just doing the same quest you do if you side with House. Again, you are also forced into a choice between an uneasy alliance with the NCR where you double cross them, or killing both major factions. You can't make it clear to them beforehand that you don't want to be annexed.
  6. The economy is poorly balanced. In Fallout 3 you barely made any money and vendors were just as poor, so it took a long time to accumulate wealth. Most players would just use gear they found instead of paying for it at a store. In Fallout New Vegas you can easily have 5000 caps by the time you reach The Strip. I had twice that when I reached it 2 days ago. Stores have tons of money and are more than willing to buy all your junk. The economy just breaks when vendors are willing to buy all the crap you pick up at such high prices as NV has. I think you can get them to buy for 90% of their value, that's fucking insane. I try to not level up barter too quickly as it just makes the game too easy but I also hate crippling myself like this. The game's vendors need to be selective about what they buy and how much they pay for it. You need 2000 caps to inter the strip, that's pretty much nothing. The game even gives you tons of ways around the credit check so clearly they meant for it to be a hurdle.
  7. The map. I'm not saying its bad, but going from Fallout 3 to NV makes you miss the feeling of being able to go in any direction and always find something. New Vegas is very railroaded. It has a ton of mountains and invisible walls to make the player go specific places (Edit: a lot of people are citing this one setence and using it to rebut me, guys read the whole damn thing). I can still let myself get lost in Fallout 3, in NV I always know exactly which way I'm supposed to go. The game has no counterpart to F3's Andale or Oasis. There are no small outskirts places for you to discover in some random spot. All the towns are along the main roads, with a handful of cool places that are off the beaten path. I love following the road through Primm->Nipton->Novac->Boulder City->Vegas, its an excellent experience for following the main story and finding a ton of side content, and I love they gave returning players the option to head straight north and try their luck. But when I just want to do some side content I always feel like I have to follow a track. I AM NOT SAYING THE MAP IS BAD. Just that it follows a certain design that some don't like. I like it when I just want to do the main story, its a really nice experience that way. But if you want to just go in any direction like in a Bethesda RPG you will get disappointed. There are tons of invisible walls and mountains in the way. Imagine if you started in Freeside instead and just had to get the cash to get into the strip (more than 2k). Then you can choose to follow the I-88, go towards Jacobstown, Bitter Springs, do stuff in Freeside or the other communities around Vegas. Would be a great alternative start for returning players.
Edit: some extra
  1. Combat is ass to say it bluntly. For some reason people always excuse the poor combat in RPG's because its not the games' focus or because its almost tradition at this point. I don't see why I as a player and paying customer should make excuses for a product I paid for. Its embarrasing how poor the AI is in the game, how poorly combat works and how unbalanced the game is. I can go through a ton of the game with my Couriers Stash 10mm and Vault armor and just blast entire legion or NCR camps, and then suddenly difficulty can turn on a dime and an enemy can kill me in 3-4 hits. Difficulty in RPGs is such an important thing as it directly influences your decisions. In Fallout 1 and 2 I did my best to not bite off more than I could chew. In NV can do pretty much anything other than go to Sloan at the start, which is a part that most have noticed too.
  2. The selection of guns is fine, but not armors. Without ultimate edition you don't get any good early game armor in the game. The only option is leather armor. Mid game you fight to get either power armor or combat armor mk2, and late game is all about Riot Gear from Lonesome Road. They could have made armor interesting by giving it stronger buffs and debuffs. PA and metal armor has a -1 to agility but often +1 to strength. Why not give such traits to all armors and maybe even make it stronger? Too much of the armor is also faction armor which you don't want to be wearing unless you are infiltrating somewhere.
  3. Speech is too much like Fallout 3 and not enough like 1 and 2. In 3 and NV dialogue either ends in a skill check (too often speech) or you having to do a task if you can't pass the check. What's being said is largely unimportant unless it leads to a different outcome. In Fallout 1 and 2 dialogue was much more about reading each option and thinking about how the character you were talking too would react. You often couldn't just [speech] 50 do what I want. NV has a few moments where you actually does have to argue and its some of its strongest parts.
  4. Crafting could have been more. This is more of a "what could have been" argument, but personally I don't see why you shouldn't be able to craft a lot more guns or armors. I don't want Fallout 4's style of somehow being able to craft tons of pre war objects you clearly don't have the tools to make, but just having a good selection of makeshift guns and armors would have made crafting and also survival much better.
These are my thoughts. Please feel free to share yours!
submitted by Less_Tennis5174524 to truegaming [link] [comments]

Stokes's Bristol Nightclub incident in detail (From: The Comeback Summer by Geoff Lemon)

IF YOU’RE LOOKING for a place where misadventure could begin, you can’t go past Mbargo. The nightclub’s streetfront is painted a purple so bright you’ll see it in your dreams. Strings of giant sequins shimmer in the breeze. Its phonically inventive name is spelt in silver letters that climb its three-storey terrace facade. Inside are strips of burning neon, a few booths, floorboards so marinated in drink that they have an ingredients list. Bristol is a student city on England’s south coast crowded with music and nightlife and street art. This is Banksy’s home town, and the tourism board suggests in rather strong terms that ‘you would be a fool not to see his amazing work firsthand’. The same organisation describes Mbargo as ‘intimate’, which is fair for a place where you can catch an STI standing up. Students cram into its modest dimensions while people with names like DJ Klaud battle for billing with £1.50 drink deals over seven sloppy nights a week. To get a sense of the story about to come, consider that it’s the kind of place open until two o’clock on a Monday morning, and that at two o’clock on a Monday morning, Ben Stokes still thought it had closed too early.
The Ashes of 2017–18 had disciplinary bookends. It was after that series that Australia’s two leaders went off the rails in South Africa. It was a few weeks before that Ashes tour that England’s biggest star windmilled his way into his own disaster.
In the early hours of 25 September 2017, Stokes and teammate Alex Hales were barred from re-entering Mbargo after a night out on the piss. A Sunday thrashing of an abject West Indies in an ignored series at the fag-end of the season apparently required ample celebration. After arguing with the bouncer and hanging about at the door for a while, they wandered off to find a casino in the hope of more drinking. They’d barely made it around the corner before getting in the middle of a conflict between four locals. As is said on the internet, it escalated quickly.
The 26 September reporting was bloodless. Withholding names, police stated that a man ‘was arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm’ while another went to hospital with facial injuries. England’s director of cricket Andrew Strauss separately confirmed that Stokes was the arrestee, adding that he had been released without charge and that Hales had gamely offered to ‘help police with their enquiries’. Administrators had a good chance of hiding behind that investigation, and the next day Stokes was named in the upcoming Ashes squad as expected. But that night the video emerged.
Bristol student Max Wilson had shot it on his phone, then offered it to The Sun. What he thought was playing hardball was actually lowball: his opening price of £3000 was snapped up by a tabloid that would have paid ten times that. The Sun went on to make a mint by syndicating the rights worldwide. From a window above the fray, the vision showed six men on the street below performing the muddled choreography of a melee. One was right at the centre of it. One was waving a bottle, one dipped in and out, one tried to calm it. Two others floated around the edges. The central figure was unmistakable: red hair burning even in the streetlight as he launched into a series of blows against two of the men, falling to grapple with them on the ground, then following both across the street, swinging punches the whole way. Hales trailed behind, repeatedly and impotently shouting ‘Stokes! Stop! Stokes! Enough!’ The ECB could fudge issues that existed only in thickets of legalese, but not those captured in moving colour. Stokes was stood down from the next West Indies match, then suspended indefinitely. It emerged that he had broken his hand during the fight, something he’d done twice before while punching objects in dressing rooms.
The response in Australia was fierce: Stokes was a thug, a lowlife, a selection that would disgrace England. It was not entirely coincidental that a ban for England’s best player would be handy for the Aussie team, but there was also a cultural split. In England, plenty of people still minimise pub fights as lads letting off steam. In Australia, heavy media coverage as a succession of young men were killed had inverted that tolerance. The discourse now saw any punch as potentially deadly and accordingly reckless. This was more poignant in a cricket context given that David Hookes, the dashing Test batsman and state coach, was killed in 2004 by a pub bouncer’s fist.
The PR situation was bad for Stokes as details emerged of the injuries to the men he’d hit, and that one was a young war veteran and father. Stokes wasn’t officially removed from the Ashes squad through October but stayed behind when his teammates left, hoping for police to dismiss the matter in time for a late dash to Australia. His annual contract was renewed on the due date in case that came to pass. Then 29 October brought a twist in the tale.
‘Ben Stokes praised by gay couple after defending them from homophobic thugs,’ ran the headline. Kai Barry and Billy O’Connell had emerged. Not entirely out of nowhere: while Stokes had made no public comment, this story in his defence had initially been leaked to TV host Piers Morgan after the fight, as soon as the video appeared. Police body-camera footage played in court would later show that Stokes had given the same story to the arresting officer on the night. But no-one knew the identities of the fifth and sixth men in the video, and police appeals had turned up nothing.
It was The Sun again with the breakthrough. Kai and Billy were perfect for a readership not keen on nuance. ‘We couldn’t believe it when we found out they were famous cricketers. I just thought Ben and Alex were quite hot, fit guys,’ said Kai, who was memorably described as a ‘former House of Fraser sales assistant’. The paper had the pair do a full photo shoot: layering the fake tan, showing off chest waxes, mixing Ralph Lauren and Louis Vuitton into a range of outfits. Their best shot had them standing back to back, heads turned to the camera, in a mirror-image Zoolander moment.
Suddenly The Sun was the England team’s best friend. ‘Their claims could lead to the all-rounder being cleared over the punch-up and freed to play in the First Test in Australia next month,’ it gushed, then gave a tasting platter of quotes: ‘We were so grateful to Ben for stepping in to help. He was a real hero.’ ‘If Ben hadn’t intervened it could have been a lot worse for us.’ ‘We could’ve been in real trouble. Ben was a real gentleman.’ Would it be known forever as Kai and Billy’s Ashes? No. While the Bristol boys provided spin for Stokes’ reputation they didn’t influence the police. With charges still pending there was little choice – not given Strauss had previously sacked Kevin Pietersen for being annoying. Stokes remained suspended through the Ashes and a one-day series in Australia, and lost the vice-captaincy. It was January 2018 before the Crown Prosecution Service laid a charge.
That charge surprisingly came in as affray, a crime that can carry prison time but is classified as ‘a breach of the peace as a result of disorderly conduct’. The men he had punched, Ryan Ali and Ryan Hale, faced the same count, charged as equal participants in a fight rather than Stokes being charged with assaulting them. Alex Hales was not charged, despite being seen in the video to aim several kicks when Ryan Ali was lying on the ground. Given the underwhelming standing of the offence, Stokes was cleared by the ECB to tour New Zealand, and kept playing until his trial in August 2018, which he missed a Test to attend. None of the three defendants would be convicted.
The reasoning behind the charges was never released and was attributed vaguely to ‘CPS lawyers’. The service gave the case to Alison Morgan, a prosecutor of a class known as Treasury Counsel who usually handle serious criminal matters. Morgan had a scheduling clash and never ended up court for the case, but in 2018 and 2019 she would go on to win damages and admissions of libel from The Daily Mail, The Times and The Daily Telegraph variously for incorrectly reporting that she had been responsible for the inadequate and inconsistent charging decisions.
Morgan’s successor on the case was Nicholas Corsellis QC, who on the first day of trial was permitted by the CPS to request two assault charges be added against Stokes. ‘Upon further review,’ claimed a CPS statement, ‘we considered that additional assault charges would also be appropriate.’ This was patent nonsense from the service that eight months earlier had chosen the lesser charge. Any lawyer knows that no judge will allow new charges once a trial has begun, because the defence hasn’t had time to prepare. But such a request could deflect criticism of the prosecution service by technically making the judge the one who disallows the charge.
Working through the story from the trial and the tape is complicated. You had a Ryan and a Ryan, a Hale and a Hales, a Billy and a Barry and a Ben. You had several versions of events as to who knew whom, who was drinking with whom, who had insulted whom and who had merely engaged in ‘banter’, a word that in modern Britain has to do an unconscionable amount of lifting. The reporting had constantly mixed up the Ryans as to who had which injury, who was in hospital, who had played which part in the fight, and whose mum had which stern words to say about it.
Let’s agree that from now Ryan Ali is Ryan One, the firefighter who ended up with a fractured eye socket and a cracked tooth. Ryan Two can be Ryan Hale, the soldier who scored concussion and facial lacerations. Mr Barry and Mr O’Connell are best known per The Sun as Kai and Billy. In scorecard parlance we’ll leave the cricketers as Stokes and Hales.
Amid the confusion, Stokes and his lawyers built his case in a straightforward way. The UK legal definition of affray is ‘if a person threatens or uses unlawful violence or force towards another person, which causes another person of reasonable firmness present at the scene to fear for their safety’. That means it doesn’t account for violence that harms a target, but violence that might frighten a theoretical bystander. The wiggle room for Stokes was with ‘unlawful’, because the charge excuses violence in defending oneself or others.
This interpretation hinged on the beginning of the video, where Ryan One waves a beer bottle about and takes a swing at Kai. The version from Stokes was that he was minding his own business walking down the street when he heard homophobic abuse. He intervened verbally and was threatened verbally by Ryan One – something that Ryan One denied but that couldn’t be proved or disproved. In fear for his safety Stokes had to nullify that threat by bashing Ryan One before it went the other way. He registered Ryan Two in his peripheral vision as another possible threat, and again had only one recourse.
Stokes also had to convince the jury to disregard testimony from Mbargo’s bouncer that he had been looking for a fight. A solid lump of a man, Andrew Cunningham had not enjoyed his patron’s attempts to get back into the club after the bouncer declined an offer of a bribe. ‘He got a bit verbally abusive towards myself. He mentioned my gold teeth and he said I looked like a cunt and I replied, “Thank you very much.” He just looked at me and told me my tattoos were shit and to look at my job.’ Cunningham described these words as coming in ‘a spiteful tone, quite an angry tone’, and said that Stokes still seemed angry as he walked away.
These were details the doorman had nothing to gain by inventing, but each of them Stokes denied. By his own accounting he had drunk a beer at the game and three pints at his hotel, then ‘potentially had some Jägerbombs’ along with half a dozen vodkas at the club. He insisted that after all of this he was not drunk.
If I may take a moment here to call upon the wisdom of experience – a person who cannot definitively say whether they have had any Jägerbombs has definitely had some Jägerbombs. A Jägerbomb is an experience that does not pass one by. Further to that, a person who says they have ‘potentially’ done something has definitely done that thing and doesn’t want to admit it. A person who has had between 15 and 24 standard drinks in one evening is shitfaced. A person who tries to bribe a bouncer £300 – three hundred quid! – to get into Mbargo – Mbargo! – is beyond shitfaced.
If Stokes admitted that he was drunk then the prosecution could say he was out of control. He claimed clear recall of assessing a threat, feeling fear and deciding to protect himself with force. He confidently denied details from the bouncer’s testimony, like using the word ‘cunt’ or mentioning gold teeth. Yet on other details he claimed a ‘significant memory blackout’. He didn’t remember the punch that saw Ryan One taken away by ambulance. He didn’t remember what the Ryans had said to Kai and Billy, only that those words were homophobic. With no head injury, as one of the few people who hadn’t been hit, he had supposedly suffered this memory loss despite being sober.
The version from Kai and Billy was compatible but vague: they had been walking along, they ‘heard … shouts’ of abuse from an unspecified source, then Stokes ‘stepped in’ and thus they avoided possible harm. They claimed to have been bought a drink by Stokes at Mbargo, although CCTV showed them meeting outside. The overall implication from both accounts was that the cricketers had been pals with Kai and Billy, while the Ryans as per The Sun’s headline were a roving band of thugs.
The reality though is that the Ryans were the ones hanging out with Kai and Billy at Mbargo. Police discussed CCTV from inside the club in questioning and at trial. On that footage the four Bristolians bought drinks for one another, danced together, and Kai was noted to have variously touched Ryan Two’s crotch and Ryan One’s buttock. Ryan One told police that all of this was taken lightheartedly and wasn’t a problem. Indeed, when the Ryans called it a night the other two left with them.
This much is clear from footage out the front of Mbargo, which shows Kai and Billy exit the club and start talking with a subdued Hales and a demonstrative Stokes, who are stuck outside. The vision was played in court to determine whether Stokes was antagonistic towards Kai and Billy, as he appears to impersonate them and to throw a lit cigarette their way. More interesting is that after a few minutes the Ryans emerge, and all six actors in the fight video briefly form a prequel in the one frame.
Ryan Two pats Billy on the chest in friendly fashion with his right hand before clapping him on the back with his left. He moves past and does the same to Kai before leaving the shot. Ryan One stops to speak to Kai. They lean in for a moment, talking, then Kai turns and they walk out of frame together. Billy hangs around for a few seconds at the door and then looks after them and races to catch up. Stokes and Hales remain outside the club to remonstrate further with the bouncers. Whatever discord develops around the corner is between four men who left amicably together minutes earlier.
There’s no way to know what caused that friction. If Ryan One did use homophobic slurs, he might have been drunkenly obnoxious for no reason. He might have had an insecure macho response to some extra flirtation. He might have thought unkindness was funny – ‘banter’ once again. Or he might have said something that was misunderstood, as both Ryans insisted in court that they had not used nor had the impulse to use any abusive language.
What clearly didn’t happen was an attack by bigots on random passers-by. This kind of crime is regular enough that an audience understands the horror of it, and this is what was evoked by the public accounts of Stokes, Billy and Kai. All we know is that there was some verbal dispute among the Bristol locals, and that Stokes came along behind them and put himself in the middle of it. Ryan One responded to the interference aggressively and away they went. There are plenty of reasons to look sideways at the idea that Stokes was a saviour. Foremost, neither Kai nor Billy was called upon as witnesses in court. You’d think it would be ideal to have Stokes’ story backed up by those who benefited from his selflessness. But his defence team had developed the impression that the pair had shown a changeable recall of events amid a hard-partying lifestyle, and would be dismantled by the prosecution on the stand.
That raises the question of whether The Sun coached their quotes for the 2017 interview. Despite missing court, Kai and Billy clearly enjoyed the attention. In 2018 after the trial they did a follow-up spread in the same paper about how poor Ben had been mistreated. They got a television spot on Good Morning Britain and glowed about his heroism. In 2019 The Sun wheeled them out once more to say that Stokes should get a knighthood. In 2017 they had ‘never watched cricket’ but by 2019 were supposedly volunteering sentences like, ‘He saved us, now he’s saved the Ashes.’ Whether they were paid for these appearances is not known, but the chance to be famous for a day can be lure enough.
If you find this cynical, consider that on the night in question, the Bristol boys were so deeply moved and thankful for Ben’s intervention that they left him to be arrested and never attempted to find out who he was. Seconds after the video ended, an off-duty policeman reached the scene. You might think that someone grateful to a saviour would speak on his behalf. Instead, said Kai, ‘it all got a bit scary so we walked off. It was too much for me and we went to Quigley’s takeaway for chicken burgers and cheesy chips.’ They didn’t give their hero a thought for over a month while police issued multiple appeals for witnesses.
As for Stokes, he told his arresting officer that ‘his friends’ had been attacked. After three minutes of chat outside a nightclub, these friends were so dear to him that he has never contacted them again: not after the newspaper piece, not after the verdict. He didn’t want to see how they were or thank them for their support. He didn’t mention them by name in his solicitor’s statement after the trial.
The Stokes defence rested on Ryan One’s bottle, which he had carried out of Mbargo to finish a beer, not to use in a Sharks versus Jets amateur production. But once he turned it over to hold it by the neck it became a weapon. Intent and interpretation can change the material nature of things. Part of Stokes’ justification in court was that the bottle implied that the two Ryans might have ‘other weapons’ hidden away. You can understand how a jury could decide that created doubt.
Not being convicted, though, doesn’t give the contents of the video a big green tick. It does not, as his lawyer claimed, vindicate Stokes. Looking in detail, Ryan One is belligerent but his movements telegraph a bluff. Hales is the person he’s gesturing at, but they’re several metres apart when Ryan One cocks his arm ostentatiously, showing off the bottle rather than bracing to swing. He skips forward but Hales skips back and Ryan One doesn’t follow. Kai stretches out an arm to impede Ryan One, who has a drunken stumble, nearly eats pavement, then staggers towards Kai and hits him in the back. That hand is still holding the bottle, but his strike is a side-arm cuff on a soft part of the body. It’s all pretty tame.
This is where Stokes gets involved. Having moved across to protect Hales, he now takes three large steps to run around Kai and booms his first punch at Ryan One. They fall to the ground and the bottle clinks away. Stokes gets to his feet to punch down at the fallen man, while Hales arrives to kick him ineffectively then runs off across the street for some unknown reason. Ice-cream van? Stokes is soon back in the grapple having his shirt pulled up to show off his Durham tan. Ryan Two steps in for the first time to pull Stokes away, prompting a couple more random punches at this new target, then Stokes trips backwards over Ryan One and sprawls in the street. Hales chooses this moment to return and aim some solid kicks at the head of the man on the ground. Nothing so far is a triumph of moral philosophy or the pugilistic arts. But if it all stopped here, perhaps you could say it was somewhere approaching fair. Ryan One has behaved like a turnip and it’s not an entirely unjust world that would give him a whack across the chops. The antagonists have disentangled, Stokes has some distance, it’s time to dust off and go home. Ryan Two steps forward for this purpose with his palm raised in conciliatory style and says, ‘Settle down, stop.’
So Stokes punches him.
It’s roughly his fifth punch overall, and he really winds up into this one. He misses so hard that he stumbles away into the shadows of the shop awnings along the road.
Hales starts shouting for him to stop. Ryan Two backs into the street, still holding his palm up. Stokes closes on him from about five metres away, six large steps, to where Ryan Two is standing on his own. Stokes pushes him a couple of times, as Ryan Two keeps trying to placate him and saying ‘Stop.’ Stokes throws his sixth punch, largely missing as his target ducks.
Ryan Two keeps pulling away and reversing, into the middle of the street now. Stokes follows him, grabbing his sleeve to drag him back. By this point Ryan One has found his feet and walked around behind his friend. Both of them are in the same line of sight for Stokes, and both are backing away. Stokes aims his seventh and his eighth punches, which Ryan Two tries to deflect, as Hales walks up behind Stokes to grab him.
Stokes yanks away from his friend and switches to Ryan One instead, taking seven paces to grab him before throwing his ninth punch of the night. He grabs again; Ryan One blocks that arm and pushes himself back away from Stokes. Ryan Two again intercedes, putting himself between the two with his palms up and his arm extended.
Stokes throws his tenth punch, a right-hander at the face of Ryan Two, then shoves him backwards. Ryan Two backs away once more, four paces. Stokes follows, steadies, lines up, then launches his strongest punch yet, his eleventh, a proper right hook from a solid base, one that cracks across the man’s head and gives him concussion. Ryan Two ends up flat on his back in the middle of the street, his hands still outstretched for a moment in useless protest until they twitch and drop to the blacktop.
Stokes isn’t done. He once more shoves away the restraining Hales and follows Ryan One, who keeps backing away saying, ‘Alright, alright, alright.’ Five more paces from Stokes before another blow at the man’s head. Kai and Billy are now standing over the poleaxed Ryan Two. The video ends, but seconds later Stokes will punch Ryan One hard enough to knock him out too, before off-duty cop Andrew Spure arrives on the scene to bring down the curtain. When the body-camera footage kicks in some minutes later, Stokes is in handcuffs but Ryan One is still laid out in the street. Ryan Two has regained consciousness, folded his shirt under his friend’s head and is asking police for an ambulance.
‘At this point, I felt vulnerable and frightened. I was concerned for myself and others.’ This was how Stokes described that sequence to the court. An elite athlete with years of gym work and training to snap a bat through the line of a ball with astounding power and precision, swinging fists as hard as he can at men with none of those advantages. Punching so hard that he breaks his hand, and repeatedly shoving away a friend so he can punch some more. Frightened and threatened by two targets shouting ‘Get back!’ and ‘Stop!’
The off-duty officer testified that Stokes ‘seemed to be the main aggressor or was progressing forward trying to get to’ Ryan One, who was ‘trying to back away or get away from the situation’. The student who filmed the video can be heard on the tape at one stage exclaiming ‘Fuck!’ and testified that it was because ‘I felt a little bit sorry about the lad that had been punched and it looked like he had his hands up’. That tallied with the prosecutor’s depiction of ‘a sustained episode of significant violence that left onlookers shocked at what was taking place’.
The defendant stuck to his strategy. ‘No, my sole focus was to protect myself.’ All up, in the 33 seconds of footage after he falls over, Stokes takes 35 steps forward to keep hitting two men who keep trying to get away. Not once is he hit back.
After the verdict, Stokes’ solicitor positioned him as the victim. It had been ‘an eleven-month ordeal for Ben … The jury’s decision fairly reflects the truth of what happened that night … He was minding his own business … It was only when others came under threat that Ben became physically engaged. The steps that he took were solely aimed at ensuring the safety of himself and the others present …’ The statement was impossibly self-righteous and self-absorbed.
If there was anyone to feel sorry for it was Ryan Hale, the second of our two Ryans. He’s the one who emerged from the club with a friendly arm around the shoulder for Kai and Billy. He’s the one who interposed himself to end the fight, then kept putting himself back in the firing line, trying to calm an intimidating stranger while dodging blows. For his show of restraint he got laid out regardless, concussed in the street, then was issued a criminal charge equal to that of the man who hit him, and described in national media as a violent bigot in an untested story to support that man’s defence.
Lawyers for Ryan Two made a more convincing post-trial statement, noting that Kai and Billy, ‘neither of whom were relied upon by the prosecution or the defence team for Mr Stokes, have taken the opportunity to speak with various media outlets about the alleged homophobic abuse that they received in the early hours of September 25. Mr Hale has passionately denied this allegation throughout the course of this case,’ it continued.
‘It is upsetting to Mr Hale that although he was acquitted, the accusation that he was the author of such abuse remains. Both Mr Hale and Mr Ali were knocked unconscious by Mr Stokes, and although Mr Stokes has been acquitted of an affray, Mr Hale struggles with the reasons why the Crown Prosecution Service did not treat him as a victim of an unlawful assault.’Good question. Avon and Somerset police were the investigating force, and they were frustrated by the decision. Ryan Two was filmed clearly not hurting anyone, but police were instructed by the CPS to proceed with a charge. Hales (the cricketer) was filmed fighting but ‘a decision was made at a senior level of the CPS’ not to proceed. Police expected Stokes to be charged with assault but the CPS declined. It doesn’t take a wild cynic to think that placing the same lukewarm charge on three men for vastly divergent behaviour might ensure that none would be convicted, even as the trial would maintain the pretence that a defendant of influential standing had not been given a free pass.
A couple of years down the line, the original interview with Kai and Billy has disappeared. All traces have been scrubbed from The Sun website, its social media history, and even from the Wayback Machine internet archive. Given its headline of ‘homophobic thugs’ and text that names Ryan Two but not Ryan One, the libel liability isn’t hard to spot. Later interviews with Kai and Billy take the passive voice – they ‘suffered homophobic slurs outside a Bristol nightclub’.
The article that was once claimed to exonerate brave Ben Stokes now links only to a missing content page, with a picture of a dropped ice-cream cone and the phrase ‘legal removal’ inserted into the web URL. In terms of consequences, Stokes missed one tour. When he resumed his career in January 2018, the Australians hadn’t yet ruined theirs. Their year-long bans looked much more stringent. But the Stokes case dragged on in other ways. With no criminal liability, the Australians confessed promptly enough for the sporting world to give them the full length of the lash. Their situation was ugly but there was closure. Stokes got stuck in legal stasis, unable to be fully backed or condemned. Instead his issue was always present, a browser full of open tabs that the ECB swore they would read any day now.
Through 2018 Stokes was back but he wasn’t back, in the sunglasses and finger-guns sense. In his return one-day series he nearly cost England a match with 39 from 73 balls in Wellington. His first Test hit was a duck as England got rolled in Auckland for 58. At Trent Bridge while Stokes was injured, England posted a world record 481 against Australia. With Stokes three weeks later at the same ground they made 268. He crawled to 50 from 103, the second-slowest any Englishman had reached that milestone in 20 years. That span covered Alastair Cook’s whole career. It was apologetic batting, acting out responsibility via the scorecard. Stokes was creeping back into the team like he’d been kicked out in a blazing row and was hoping to tip-toe to the sofa.
It was December 2018 before the ECB disciplinary committee ruled on him and Hales. In a ‘remarkable coincidence’, wrote Simon Heffer in The Telegraph, ‘the punishment both players faced in terms of bans from playing at international level was covered by the amount of games they had already missed when dropped by England’s selectors, in the furore that followed the incident’. The verdict compounded the omissions around the case by not addressing the violence at its heart. Nor did Stokes, apologising only ‘to my team-mates, coaches and support staff’, and then ‘to England supporters and to the public for bringing the game into disrepute’.
The implicit next step was to rebuild that reputation. It might have been easier had his court defence not meant that he wasn’t game to admit any fault at all. It might have been easier if he or his advisers had been willing to change tack once the trial was done. Imagine a world where Stokes had stood outside court and apologised for overreacting, for the injuries he’d caused, and for the time and energy he had sucked out of other people’s lives. That would have been a show of responsibility beyond a scorecard. When the time came around to assess forgiveness, it might have meant forgiveness was deserved.
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Stories from 12 years of Casino Industry

I was asked to make a post about some stories within the Casino grounds so I thought I'd share. I have many so I'll do my best to pick the better ones.
Some back information: I've been a Casino Dealer for 11 years, I've been a supervisor for five years, and I've been a Surveillance Operator for one year. I've worked at three properties, none of which are connected or owned by the same company. I've worked on : Government/Private/Native American owned casinos.
  1. From Hero to Zero.
At my first Casino, I was one of the first group of people who were trained to deal Roulette . After 4 weeks of working 6PM-3AM then doing roulette training from 3AM-8AM (Not paid) , I actually really enjoyed the game and after about six months I became extremely quick at the number game and the pace of the action was steady with very low margin of errors. Young man walks in, cashes in for $500. He buys in for $2 chips and just loads the board. After a few spins and pretty decent hits, he then changes his chips from $2 to 5$ then to $10 and racks his winnings up to $10,000. It was then, five spins in a row, he loaded the board with some pretty gross bets, and every spin I would hit the ONE number with either NO CHIPS on it, or maybe 1 chip , He lost all $10,000 in a matter of minutes. He leaves , and I go on break. After my break I was going back to the same table and wouldn't you know it, the same young man walks in and cashes in another $500. He tells me he just sold his car outside and this is all that he had left. So we do the same deal, buys in for $2 chips, then slowly starts betting $5 chips, $10, $25...and he makes $10,000 AGAIN. Within the next 25 minutes it was straight agony. Every spin, same thing, he would bet $2500 in chips, and win only $250, $400, and after about a half hour he lost it all . Never saw the guy again.
2) Man down
At this property, we are 24 hours for table games. It's currently 5AM , and I'm dealing some $25 Blackjack to this guy. He's probably early thirties , heavy guy. He's sober as can be, but right away I can tell he's been losing. We know how much you've bought in for, how much your down, or up, and I could see he was down $2000+. After about twenty minutes of pure losing, his temper starts to flare.At this point I now have two other guests at my table. Drinking coffee, not saying a word, just losing their money. After losing hand, after hand, this guy looks me straight in the eye, seized up, starts shaking, he can't move. He tries to punch towards me and smashes his stack of chips all over the place and falls backwards to the floor. I call for security, we cannot touch him due to liability . I can't move from my table because, well, liability / casino cash property, all I can do is try to talk to him. As I'm doing so, these other two woman who are sitting at my table just look at me and one says "OK, dealer, cmon lets go " as she taps the table telling me to start dealing and forget about the guy having a stroke on the floor. As security takes him to the ambulance out front, I had to stay behind for a couple minutes and give a statement. I go on break. I come back, and 45 minutes later, he comes right back in with a oxygen tank and keeps gambling for the remainder of the morning.
3) You get a dildo, and YOU get a dildo!
On a late summer Saturday night, we had a large event for these massive muscle guys/strongman competition type thing. After their show, I'm at the roulette table , and five of these boys come over to play. They were absolutely hilarious. They were feeling pretty good, cashed in somewhat large amounts and I could tell this was going to be a fun time. After about a hour of dealing to these guys, it's almost midnight, everybody is pretty hammered , I spin the ball, and all five of these guys take out these god damn (what I can only tell was) two feet purple dildos from inside their pants, and wiping them around in the air. The ladies were just loving it, one of the dildos landed in the roulette wheel and we had to shut the table down to re-calibrate the wheel to make sure nothing had been changed. I just remember that night was so much damn fun, I couldn't believe what I was seeing and I would never forget it.
4) Full Moon
On this day, I was actually training dealers / supervising them on small games like Three Card poker. We opened the table at 10AM, and this older man came and sat down . He played all day. The jackpot was $21,000 and that was pretty high for this table. He played, and played and played. He's one of the players where you know he's wearing a diaper because he's been drinking coffee/pop all day and hasn't moved in eight hours. As the day went on, this man never moved from his chair. Getting closer to midnight, he was aggravated and said "I need to go have a smoke, I'm getting killed in here". He left, and the very next hand, the lady beside him was dealt the jackpot . He didn't say much, but you could just tell he just hated life at that very moment because had he not gotten up, it would of been his hand. The man calmly took his cane , his hat, jacket, coffee, and left. The next morning I found out when he did leave he drove his car straight through his bank and was arrested.
5) Slick Robber
I actually give props to people who can actually pull this off. This story may confuse you so I'll try and explain things as best as possible. A lot of casinos have machines as soon as you walk through the front doors. A man walks up to one of these machines and sticks in HIS $100 bill. He doesn't gamble it, instead he hits the cash out button and gets a $100 TITO ticket where he then takes the ticket to the ATM machine to get his $100. Now remember, his Original $100 is in the slot machine. He then takes the $100 from the ATM and goes back to the same machine, and repeats this process over a hundred times. Essentially he's taking money from the ATM, and loading up the Slot Machine . Now he knows he can't do it too much because if the slot machine gets full of money, the machine will shut down and the slow attendant will have to take all the cash out. So he deposits over $10,000 , then has a small crowbar, he cracks the machine open and makes a run out the front door. To my knowledge he was never caught . But damn, that was pretty smart .
EDIT:
6) Mental Health is a thing.
10PM man walks in to play some high limit BlackJack. This guy knows the game and played well. Dressed nice, drank juice/tea , a little bit of a attitude, cashed in over $10,000. When this man was half way down his buy in, he said something a long the lines of "If I don't win here tonight, I'm going to go set myself on fire." I wasn't sure if he was serious because when people are down, they tend to say a lot of nonsense. I actually left early that night, and from a third party was told he did exactly that in the parking lot. The next day it was clear something terrible had gone wrong in the parking lot .
EDIT:
7) Nothing good happens after midnight
After a busy Saturday night, I was dealing a mix of games, and during this story I was in the middle of Blackjack. I had one young kid (probably 19) sitting in the middle, one older male probably in his later 40's sitting beside him on his right, and I had a really nice couple in their 20's sitting together at the other side. This young kid wasn't playing just sort of watching, and ever time the old man won he would give this young guy some of his winnings. The older man, was a wine drinker, and he had black between all of his teeth, I'll never forget. He's a little drunk but nothing terrible. As the night goes on, the older man goes and uses the washroom, at which point the couple asked the young guy "Oh was that your dad?" and the young guy says "Hah, no I wish!". The couple and I just looked at each other. This old guy, was in complete control over this kid. Absolutely disgusting. The night ends, and I find out the couple called a few of their friends, and they all waited outside by this old mans truck and beat the living hell out of him. 40 years old, sleeping with a 19 year old, completely brain washed . Very weird.
8) That one co-worker where you just wish they would quit.
One of our co-workers, nice guy but had a very big ego and we as employees just sorta left him alone. One day he had enough of the atmosphere and quit. Now usually when you quit, you cannot come back until you paperwork is finalized. How ever, HR was in that day, and he was given the paperwork the very next day. He came in, cashed in $1000, and made $50,000 in about a hour at the Baccarat table. My manager, was extremely annoyed, because now this guy is just mocking the casino and having the time of his life (Thanks for the big tip by the way :) ) and so he decides to call it quits. He wants to ban himself and he wants $50,000 in cash. The casino says Nope, we are going to give you a cheque. Now here's the thing, most business people will take the cheque, how ever you CANT CASH the cheque until the following monday because it's on that day where the funds are available. The casino on the other hand will cash their own check in anytime , because they want you to play. So this guy pretty much said go to hell I want my cash, and he called the police. Police show up, and management promptly gave him the cash.I though it was absolutely hilarious .

9) No good deed goes un punished
I was dealing Three Card Poker, and the jackpot was around $17,000. This old man (a regular) was sitting there all day grinding it out. Super nice guy, always a pleasure to deal to. Well, after hours of playing, he stands up and says "Hey john!, can you come here for a minute?" so his buddy John comes over. He says to John "I need to go take a piss real quick, can you play my card until I get back?" John agrees . John takes the chips and I stop him and explain he can't play his friends chips, he needs to cash in and play his own. And he does. Welp, second hand out and bam, doesn't he win it. The old man comes back and is so happy, he can't believe it. John, took his $17,000, didn't say a word to his "buddy" and walked away. I never felt so much hatred in all my life. Didn't give him a dollar, not a thank you, nothing. The old man sits back down again, the progressive resets to $2500, and he sat there grinding away again.
10) The Top Knot
I had this player , young guy, who was born into a fortune. One of his relatives passed away and left him a pretty big sizable amount of money, so he played poker every single day for the rest of his days. I will add, he IS a good player. I did not enjoy his company just because of the "Know-it-All" attitude, but he was good. We'll call him John. John is 5'10, and well build, with muscle. John also decided today was the day to show off his Top Knot. (google top knot if you're not sure what I mean) So he sits down, and he's absolutely KILLING the table. Every hand, after hand, after hand. And because he's in such a good mood, he's playing any two cards, calling any $500 bet, and he's just dominating. This one guy at the table decided he had enough. He got up, without saying a word and left. A moment later, he comes back in, walks behind John, and takes a pair of scissors , and cuts off his Top Knot. I for one couldn't believe it, dying laughing inside, and it just turned into one big brawl. That was a good day.
11) That one bad seed
One of my best friends who I haven't seen in YEARS ended up being part of the crew. Was kind of nice to catch up. We never really got along as we grew up because he has a very high picture of himself . He wanted that 10/10 woman. A mansion, and a new Corvette. So every month or so we would all go up to the other casino to play. I myself would bring no more than $500, but I couldn't understand how this guy (we'll call him Kyle) was spending THOUSANDS of dollars at the tables. So this wen on for a few months. Well, one day, as we're closing the casino, he and I are in the High Limit room and we're getting ready to close the tables. We are told to take the chips out, count them, put them back, sign this piece of paper and that's it. Well as the supervisor was locking the tray, the piece of paper fell to the floor, so she asked Kyle to grab the piece of paper. As he bends over, a great big $500 chip falls right out of his sock. Kyle was fired immediately , but it all made sense. They offered Kyle a deal where if he replaced all the stolen chips they would not make it public. Not sure how that turned out.
12) If I ever decide to write a book, this will be the last chapter: <3
After working at my first Casino for five years, I met a Indian woman who was visiting from another part of the country. During this time I was explaining a game to her, which honestly I don't think she even cared. She explained she was visiting and sight seeing , and that was that.Well, two years later I ended up moving to the other side of the country and transferred casinos, and low and behold she worked there as a Dealer. We got married , and it's been 5 years.
13) The Tip
One of our tables that we've had for a couple years had a progressive jackpot that had reached $100,000. The dealer at the table was sitting pretty lonely. Nobody really played the game because people knew it was extremely difficult to win the jackpot. My memory is a tad foggy, but you somehow needed to flop the royal flush. This young guy sits down and says to the dealer, we'll call him John. "John, if you pay me that jackpot, I will tip you $10,000" Well John started dealing, and about a half hour into his shift, he F*cking did it. He dealt him the royal. And you know something?This young lad, kept his word, and he made sure there was a audience, and he tipped exactly $10,000. That was a moment right there. That pay cheque was real nice. I think we all got about $500 more than usual. The moment that jackpot was awarded they got rid of the table because the money it was making was not near what the casino wanted. I'm sure there have been bigger tips at other casinos, but that was something special .
14) The Lawsuit
Now this story I'm going to have to beat around the bush a bit due to the nature of what happened. I can't won't answer any questions that you may have on this topic other than what I have to say because it had a lot of publicity . The waitresses at this casino had to wear very thin sexy clothes. Not borderline legal, but it was noticed. One day they called all the waitresses to come in and explained they were changing their outfit to something even more sexier. Now these new dresses were very very borderline legal . The staff said No way. We're not wearing that.So , friday night comes, and the staff work their whole shift, then at the end of their shift were called into a meeting and were all fired. Welp, one of those ladies father was a pretty big time lawyer. Brough the casino to court and won. They won big. Good for them. We had no waitresses for a couple days haha.
Thanks for reading along, I have many more I can add as the day goes on, those were just some off the top of my head. Feel free to ask any questions of the Casino industry. I don't really have many stories about the surveillance department because that's the one area where I can't really say a whole lot due to its privacy and contracts I was and still am under.
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Respect Red Jacket Lupin the 3rd! (Lupin the 3rd Part 2)

"That just means the game isn't over yet! The goddess of victory will smile upon me, Lupin III!"
Required listening for this thread
Lupin III is the grandson of Arsène Lupin. He is the world's most wanted gentleman thief. Lupin is acknowledged by virtually every law agency on earth as the world's number one thief. Often in his adventures, he and his colleagues, Daisuke Jigen and Goemon Ishikawa XIII, will take it upon themselves to foil other criminals engaged in more violent crimes. While first glance may imply Lupin as fun-loving, flighty, perhaps even "goofy", his surface façade overcoats a brilliant imagination and a thorough knowledge of a hundred varying sciences. Forever extemporizing and reevaluating, Lupin has been responsible for heists no right-minded individual would believe possible. While arrested and jailed on numerous occasions, typically by his nemesis Inspector Zenigata, he has always managed to escape. He has a fondness for fancy gadgets from time to time plus hands-on experience in many skills a thief would find useful. His infatuation with Fujiko Mine is perhaps his most significant weakness, as it lands him in undesirable situations most of the time.

Equipment

Exactly what it sounds like. They are released to distract the motion sensors of an extremely secure museum
A rapidly expanding airbag.
Lupin's trademark blue and white boxer shorts double as an emergency parachute.
A small bomb that detonates when shot by Jigen.
A set of balloons that lift an Egyptian death mask display. Lupin also has a larger set they used to steal the Statue of Liberty
A briefcase containing a rapidly expanding balloon filled with knockout gas.
A small, golden coin with his face on it. When thrown, releases a giant Lupin-shaped dummy.
Several large barrels of explosive liquid set off by flaming rags.
A massive hang-glider shaped like a bat.
A grenade that, upon contact, expands into a massive blow up doll.
A decorative bracelet with a wire/chain on the end.
A pair of wings and an engine that extend from a handheld briefcase.
A massive bubble that protects Lupin from traps.
A nearly invisible hang-glider.
A small, silver ball that emits a loud bang, a burst of light, and rainbow confetti.
A large, green balloon with Lupin's face on it.
A paddleboat hidden within a larger boat's hull. The boat also has a large engine on the back
Several duck-shaped bombs that are capable of sinking large ships. They do not discern what they're blowing up, however, and can be dangerous. They can also be hidden
A dummy head that when stomped emits a thick smokescreen.
A dummy large enough for Lupin to hide inside. Can expand enough to lift a large truck
An electric gun developed by the same scientist who invented Lightsabers. Can cut through bullet proof glass, lift a store's worth of jewels and helps pull a building apart. It also instantly KOs Zenigata
Includes exploding chewing gum, exploding cigarettes, exploding cigars, an explosive hat an exploding head, a exploding lighter, a exploding mask, exploding navigation stick, an explosive suit, an explosive tooth, and an explosive watch
One of Lupin's left molars. Has a brevity of uses including a remote control for one of his vehicles, a computer that can analyze any drugs he's given, a pair of robotic arms that can throw the drugs back, a radio, and a lockpick
A small aerosol can that allows Lupin to lift fingerprints from a glass.
A small grenade that lets off a colorful explosion.
A remotely-controlled flying car. It manages to lift off the ground but nothing else.
A small device that opens a miniature black hole when used.
A grenade with a powerful knockout gas. Works fast enough to cover an entire oil rig in seconds.
A massive, propelled dummy of Lupin and Jigen that explodes with a giant boom and flash
A rocket fired from an RPG that, when detonated, sprays glue strong enough to stick several large ships together.
Pieces needed to assemble a working go-kart.
A small hang-glider that carries a single missile.
A standard hearse that turns into a helocopter.
A horse capable of outrunning several jeeps, dodging bullets, and running across a small ladder. Lupin has a way with animals that allows him to frequently use them in his escapes. Also he got a horse to do this once. I don't feel like trying to explain it.
A standard jetpack.
A pair of shoes which turn into personal jetpacks when activated by tapdancing. They can also be used offensively and for escapes
A small kusari-gama capable of swinging a car back onto an icy road
Works as a lighter and also can emit a powerful knockout gas. Also explodes when dynamite is strapped to it, as most things do and works as a communicator
A powerful drug slipped into Zenigata's drink.
A pair of magnetic hand grips that assist in climbing.
Standard marbles or ball bearings used to make a pursuer lose their footing.
A small kite able to carry Lupin.
A mini oxygen tank shaped like a cigarette.
A fleet of tiny RC cars, all remotely controlled by Lupin. Comes in Red, Green, and Yellow.
A breathing device kept in Lupin's jacket.
A gun that fires a suction cup dart that once attached pierces a glass window. It goes on to attach itself to a safe's dial. Lupin can control the dart remotely, cracking a safe from outside the room
A helicopter controlled by a small joystick.
Similar to his helicopter except it is controlled by a Gameboy-like controller.
A riding crop that fires miniature tranquilizer darts.
A bright light attached to a ring on Lupin's finger.
A pair of robotic legs that can be attached to an object. Strong enough to make a statue run through a wall.
A device hidden within an elevator that causes it to turn into a high powered rocket.
A pair of weights fired from an rpg. Used to wrap around submarines to weigh them down.
A small device created by Lupin that instantly cracks a safe.
A small silver sticker that delivers a massive shock "bigger than a stun gun"
A pair of knives fired from the tips of Lupin's shoes.
A small transmitter in Lupin's shoe that signals a nearby biplane. The plane has a large bomb attached to it.
A silver copy of Lupin's signature weapon. Lupin states it is "only for threatening".
An immediately effective sleeping aerosol.
Creates a thick smoke for quick escapes.
A pack of cigarettes that react when dropped in water to create a thick smokescreen.
A small bomb that can stick to any surface. The adhesive is strong enough a grown man cannot remove it and the explosion is large enough to topple a massive statue.
A car that doubles as a submarine with the flip of a switch. Allows Lupin and the gang to avoid a missile.
A pistol-sized gun that fires a suction cup on a rope. Strong enough to lift a man.
A car that can be driven from either the front or the rear.
Adhesive bombs with a set timer.
An umbrella that grows in size and operates that a helicopter's blades.
A small bomb that causes a big boom.
Allow Lupin to see hollow spots underground.
A propelled underwater vehicle. When surfacing, turns into a raft
A small machine Lupin wears around one of his teeth.
A small camera inside Lupin's watch. Can take and print photos.
Different from his normal grappling hook, this is attached to a pistol-like controller that reels it in.
A small dart fired from Lupin's watch that emits a trackable signal.
A sword made of pressurized water. Stated to be as "hard as diamond". During their duel, the blade cuts a door in half
A pair of wings that protrude from Lupin's car allowing it to glide.
A wingsuit.
A pocket-sized yo-yo.

Speed

General
Movement
Reaction

Skill

Accuracy
Dodging
Driving
Escapes
Fighting Ability
General
Quick Thinking
Sleight of Hand

Disguises

As Lupin uses disguises all the time, gathering every single disguise he uses would fill the entire respect thread. I gathered some of my favorites for this section.
submitted by CalicoLime to respectthreads [link] [comments]

On the subject of "Cut content" and content to come. + Some DLC/Expansion

On the subject of
In terms of some of the things I see on this sub (this post been shared a couple of places, but I do believe this sub aherds to a different ethic) try to take a (GIGANTIC) step back and think before you toss blind hate. This is meant to contribute.
If you see things missing in the list of missing content on ether cut content part of this post: that's you want in there, il add them in edit. Please quote a source then first, and I will add it to the list.
First... some mythbusting
"OMG THEY GETTING SUED" if you read into the lawyer companies in lead of this, you will quickly see its a money grab. F.ex of their "invitation" to any investors, they say " if you have more than 100 000 invested, contact us. " Or else they don't bother. That should tell you all you need to know about that
"ITS BUGGY AND UNPLAYABLE!" : many games has released in worse state than this, but few of those got a several hotfixes within days of release who stabilised the game. Its weaker on the core consoles launch editions, but it works. And SOME people are having problems. But not everyone.
"BUT THE MEDIA SAY..." and the media needs you to click their articles, when they say "game is broken" people get curious, your opinion is not your own all the sudden, its based on a belief the media always tells the truth. And in serious cases, like the recent events in Washington, they aim to tell stories of truth. Gaming journalism is a bit different. While many do their jobs in a correct manor (please see kotaku before its demise ) Most are based on clickbaiting, you start commenting on facebook post, oand you bring attention to it because you do not agree with a ridiculous title of an article, you already gone into their trap. Do not assume gaming journalism is stable. Its run as clickbait design at 90% of its cases. And its rumor mill central. Perspective and a healthy individuality and respect is IMPORTANT. Adhere to an opinion formed by your own thoughts, not someone else's. Base it on facts not a herd mentality to be part of the herd.
"They removed features!!!" No. If you are not part of the developer team, there is NO way you can be aware how the game was designed and worked on. here is some of the items "removed" and some OPINIONS on that, something everyone need to have, not sit there tossing hate because the game did not meet your specific design you imagined. Also remember they have said several times the game is subject to change. And this was said multiple times.
- Dual Wielding : This was without a doubt hard to implement, without making you overpowered, you have guns in this game you can construct your attributes around, having the added effects per weapon split on 2 weapons, would break the games balance and challenge. Also its not essential, a easy and logical cut.
- Wall running : This probably did not find its logical place, as f.ex it is not meant to be call of duty; they want to keep you more grounded and not have you move around to illogical, (dodge thing is a great feature instead of this) also it serves no longer purpose unless you have skills to reflect it. Level design also does not give this skill any place to be used a lot.
- Jackie cut content : As much I understand; they base this on the cutscenes. If there is an actual source or older gameplay saying it was more, the following still applies : Players spend on average over 10-15 HOURS in prologue. Where they build up a knowledge and friendship with Jackie and the world. learning its basic steps and getting to explore a whole district. Good idea. But to expand on that for 20-30 hours. before even hitting act 1, would destroy the immersion more. You will be TO invested in Jackie, and people would be angry and tossing salt on boards about why they killed him after spending so much time with him.
- Animations and cut scenes : This is one of those I do not have any information about, I feel it's more about the story design. f.ex the scene in the early gameplay where you wake up and find a sexual partner leaving the apartment. Or other stuff for immersion like small scenes like this. The "morning after" scene I do 100 % assume is because the players need to establish their own sexuality, and since its in focus they don't want to force anything over you. I do however miss more animations, but this game has GREAT cutscenes and this is nothing major.
- Train stations and subway : This might been pushed down the line for production, working on the city, its incredible large amount of quests, activities ,voice work, syncing, music and the incredible graphics and bugs. At some point they realised it could ether be added later or that they have problems putting the player into it without problems. Also it might been slow for players, not everyone (#gtakids) would like to fast travel.... in a slow manor... (like really.... fast travel needs to be fast)
- No hair dressecosmetic changes after start : I do believe this one was in there, but with the sexuality and transgender options; they might want to track how the crowd reacts to some of the options. I imagine they want to work towards having this as a free DLC pack shortly down the road. Not having a hairdresser alone seems weird tough, but it might just got pushed down the line to be its own pack complete release like Witcher did.
- Apartments, I seen people say you were supposed to own multiple apartments, but if the homes don't serve a bigger focus, and there is no cosmetic options present to make the home look good or interact more with (say a garage, with the possibility to customise your car, add items to apartment with actual purpose (say for training, shooting range, and so on) These items are logical to add later, as they serve no direct disruption to launch window of game. They are things i really hope do get added, and of course I understand with the bugs and problems during launch that this was not a priority. On a side note. you do get several homes in the games, but not maybe as you imagine them to be acquired. Will not spoil this.
And by all means, contribute with constructive responses. I would love to add ideas to this list also. Share what you think can be added to the game in a realistic manor. Here are some of my thoughts :
Generated quests and activities, based on voice work already present. Police, Hits and other activites who are simple but returns and are good way to even fill the world more up.
There is no secret, but no "failed" status that this game needs more activities. racing, gambling, and so on. some of these elements I expect. Racing is a thing in the game. But I have actually (even after 200 hours +++ ingame) not done this questline, but I do not think its repeatable after the quest (?), and it's apparently not challenging. So that could be expanded on. I expect gambling to be arriving without a doubt in the casino DLC, as if people are not aware there is a unfinished and closed off area in the game of a casino that serves as a probably and quite guaranteed DLC in the future, or why would they have the area present and not just have nothing there. Image (watermarked for stealing) is below. Concept art from CDPR
Roleplaying jobs reflecting careers for f.ex : Corp, trauma, nomad and police. Mostly referring to the generated quests mentioned above in design.
While I wont say what the endings are; some did not enjoy it. I would love some small continuation. But then I realise, what if that is one of he awesome expansions comings.
Boats.....
More cats, I want to be the crazy cat lady at floor 89.
Meaningful items or more memorabilia from the adventure to add to the apartment,
Arcade machines ( probably also coming)
And lastly... remember... Online is coming. We have a hell of a lot of constructive response to give to the developers. Show them what you want, not a soulless hate.
Comment adds:
Jaomaldito : To me the only thing I was expecting alot before the game came out was the implants, you see so many cool npcs with cybernetic arms and legs, you see those in the previews and I was like: "I cant wait to make my merc look more like a machine than human".

------------------------------
And as said before :
You can report any and all bugs here, help the developers bringing the most repeating problems up into prioritising here = https://support.cdprojektred.com/en/
You also have the official forums; who supply known issues, solutions and information in their different subjects both technical and ingame . https://forums.cdprojektred.com/
Here is the concept art next to the area outside the town. No reason to have this present, unless there is a plan for it in the future.

https://preview.redd.it/c4rvtuc5r2a61.jpg?width=822&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=112206a9e05659f81a27ab0fce3ac31bf0625b22
submitted by Elio8Twitch to LowSodiumCyberpunk [link] [comments]

20 Overlooked Single Player Indie Games

We're all familiar with the Hotline Miami's, Hollow Knight's, and Celeste's of the world. These are some of the indie games that hit the big time. Of course, for every one of these games, there's 100 other indie games that have been glossed over, relegated to a spot in a digital store few people will ever find themselves in. I wanted to bring attention to some of these lesser known indie games.
I'm going to order them according to Metacritic Critic Ratings. Some of the games at the bottom have pretty low critic ratings. I personally disagree with the low scores of these games, but it's only fair that you hear from more than just me. Keep in mind that games with only one or two User Ratings on Metacritic will not show the score. A game needs at least three User Ratings on Metacritic before the score will be shown. This is not the case for Critic Reviews.
Price will contain the U.S. PlayStation Store link to the game.
1. Hayfever
2. Valfaris
3. Four Sided Fantasy
4. Bleep Bloop
5. Horizon Shift ‘81
6. Daggerhood
7. Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight
8. Ultra Hat Dimension
9. Remothered: Tormented Fathers
10. Reverie
11. Inertial Drift
12. Cursed Castilla (Maldita Castilla EX)
13. Pato Box
14. The Count Lucanor
15. The Bunker
16. A Tale of Paper
17. Late Shift
18. SINNER: Sacrifice for Redemption
19. Verlet Swing
20. Neon Drive
Conclusion
My top 5 on the list in order would be the following: (1.) Hayfever, (2.) Valfaris, (3.) Cursed Castilla: (Maldita Castilla EX), (4.) Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight, and (5.) Bleep Bloop.
Have you played any of these games? What are some other overlooked single player indie games?
If you’re looking for more indie games to play, see my post here:
submitted by Underwhere_Overthere to PS5 [link] [comments]

Unleashed pt. 47

This chapter was a labour of love, heists are hard. Big thanks to u/eruwenn for helping tidy up this bag of snakes.
First / Prev / Next
 
 
“Ranjaz K’Lua, you thieving scumbag!” the Kah’Ree in the purple suit exclaimed loudly as he spotted them across the busy room. “As I live and skral, I never thought you would have the Jolos show your face here again!”
Two J’Rami in suits detached themselves from the lobby wall, walking towards the Kittran and his friends. “Alfor, my old friend!” Ranjaz smiled broadly. “No need for the welcoming party, I’ve got your credits” —he gestured to Cygna— “and a sweetener, for all the trouble I caused last time.”
Alfor paused, lecherous eyes assessing the Fae’Dan. “You know I have a thing for purple.” He chuckled at his own joke and waved the guards back to their posts. “How about we have a drink, and discuss your forgiveness.” He pointed to Thor and Eruwenn. “Brought your own security, or are these Gal. Fed. goons? Everyone knows about your probation.”
The Kittran gave a broad grin. “I got a Tulseria-damned pardon, a new ship and a very lucrative opportunity.”
The Kah’Ree smiled. “How’d a thieving cat like you get a pardon?” He gave Ranjaz an appraising look up and down. “Oh? Now, let me guess, you need something from me and my brother?”
Ranjaz fired his finger guns. “You were always the smart one Alfor, that’s why you run the casino floor.” The Kittran stepped in close. “The item, do you still have it?”
Alfor tilted his head back and away from Ranjaz. “Your little guarantee?” He looked back down at Ranjaz. “We have it somewhere safe. Had some unusual people come by after you got caught. Asked a lot of questions. Made a lot of threats.” His face contorted in anger. “We got audited thanks to you.”
The Kittran smiled. “If only they knew you better, they could have simply paid you for the information.”
“We give nothing for free.” The Kah’Ree gave a sinister smile. “House rule.”
Ranjaz walked forward to put his his arm on Alfor’s back. “Let’s go see your brother. Have a few drinks, maybe gamble a little, and discuss our future riches.”
 
 
Ripley stood in the shadows of the staff shuttle bay, watching as the numerous employees of assorted races came and went. Loud laughter caught her attention, and a very strangely dressed Niham broke away from a small group and walked towards her. Ripley tried to maintain her low profile as the scantily clad female strutted towards her in long black boots with pointed heels that clacked loudly with every step.
Deliberately avoiding eye contact the Awakened tried to will herself into the wall but it was too late and a voice called out to her. “Hey Darling! You must be the one I’m looking for.”
Ripley shook her head. The Kittran had said the contact was an Ashi pirate captain, a master gambler and expert in procuring the unusual. “I don’t-”
“Listen cutie,” she interrupted, “you’re the one lurking in dark corners drawing attention to yourself. I’ve got your security card. You tell that fluffy little stud he owes me. And more than a bottle of Fae’Dan wine and a good time, if you know what I mean.” She held up the card between her fingers, just a little out of Ripley’s reach.
The Awakened considered the phrase ‘fluffy little stud’ and decided that, despite her hopes, this was probably her contact. “You’re Captain Whiplash?”
The Ashi laughed genuinely, the jiggling of tightly squeezed breasts bursting at shiny black restraints making Ripley nervous. “Oh, Darling! Only my little pets call me that! You may call me Sho’Na.”
Ripley was momentarily confused. “So, you aren’t a pirate captain?”
“I’m anything they pay me to be.” She smiled at the silver-haired woman's naivety. “You really are new to this.”
Ripley, caught off guard, simply nodded, then replied, “I’m a quick learner.”
“Good for you, Darling.” Sho’Na handed over the card. “Just make sure you get paid up front, and don’t use your real name with clients. Ruins the mystique.”
Ripley was unsure of what was being said. Turning the card over in her hands she saw that the holo-image on the front was of a male Arkellian. “This isn’t me?”
“Honey, I was given half a cycle to get you a level three security card. Just be glad it’s a biped.” Sho’Na looked Ripley up and down. “Our mutual acquaintance told me you were some sort of master of disguise who could even trick Selva Blaster.”
Ripley paused, then smiled. Her appearance had become such an integral part of her identity she had forgotten that it was entirely optional. “It won’t be a problem.” She looked at the card again. “Unless the owner comes looking for it.”
Sho’Na gave another bosom-trembling laugh that threatened to spill out at any moment. “Oh, don’t worry, he’s tied up at the moment.”
The Awakened considered the risk. “Hmmm, but for how long?”
The few strips of shiny black material that comprised Sho’Na’s revealing outfit strained under her amusement. “Don’t you worry, Darling. He paid for the whole night.”
 
 
Eruwenn had reassessed her opinion of Ranjaz many times since meeting him. The criminal. The loyal friend. The lazy trouble-maker. All were true, but now she was seeing something new. He sat opposite Toran, the brother of Alfor, in a game of dalcho she wished she could have taken part in, but was equally glad she did not.
At first she had thought the Kittran was outmatched, a few reckless mistakes costing him dearly as the Kah’Ree deftly selected his tiles. Toran was clearly a seasoned gambler, using a blend of the Remee Le’Bow Gambit and the Kowals’Kee Analysis she hadn’t seen before. It seemed to be dismantling Ranjaz’s tiles before he could even prepare his cards. A few fortunate dice rolls and he had taken a strong lead from the outset. The Kittran appeared desperate, playing any tile available to try and slow the defeat.
It had all been a ruse, she saw it; Ranjaz had saved his best tiles and carefully thrown hands to manipulate the cards. In just a few rounds he would be able to dominate the board and raise the stakes, recouping his losses and changing the course of the game entirely. She had encountered few players who could manipulate the game so deftly, using memory and layers of strategy to corner their opponent. It was magnificent.
Eruwenn couldn’t tear her eyes from the board as she stood beside Thor. The Awakened had shown no interest in the game, studiously watching the opposite door as Toran’s staff came in and out. When a waiter entered and began preparing drinks at the small private bar in the executive gambling room, Thor coughed. It was a strange thing for an Awakened to do, and Eruwenn finally looked up from the table. “Are you ok?”
Thor nodded. By the time he had looked towards her, she had returned her attention completely to the game. “You don’t seem concerned about your friend?” he asked.
The Anatidae watched as Ranjaz used a blind double feint, and the sheer audacity of such a move made her swallow hard. She didn’t look back to Thor, but mumbled a response. “I’m very confident in her abilities.”
The waiter was methodically placing drinks by each of the players, but when they stood behind Ranjaz the Kittran surged to his feet, shouting, “Hey! No cheating Toran! Getting your waiter to look over my shoulder? That’s a dirty move I’d expect from your brother!”
Thor had reacted faster than Eruwenn, pinning the arms of the Arkellian waiter in a vice-like bear hug. Toran slowly stood. He was big, heavily muscled, and the veins on his neck bulged as his anger rose. “Don’t accuse me in my own place.” He cracked his knuckles and glowered down at Ranjaz. “I run a straight game.”
Fearlessly the Kittran walked right up to the Kah’Ree and stared up into his face from waist height. “Don’t try and intimidate me, you son of a Vogel.” Ranjaz puffed out his chest and began pushing the burly casino owner. “Nobody cheats me!”
The blow caught Ranjaz across the cheek and sent him sprawling across the room. Eruwenn winced at the impact, but maintained her composure. Toran laughed. “Watch your tongue or I’ll add it to my collection.” He walked round the table and kicked Ranjaz in the stomach, glaring at Thor and Eruwenn, daring them to act. “Know your place trash. You’re at this table because you put credits up front. You are a dishonest thief, begging for scraps, and cosying up to me any my brother to get your little trinket back.” He returned to his seat. “Why would I need to cheat against the likes of you?”
Ranjaz stood, brushing himself off. “Fine, fine.” He waved a hand and Thor dropped the Arkellian. Ranjaz tapped him on the chest. “My mistake.” He sat down and picked up his cards once more. “You’re right Toran, you run a clean game. I’m just a sore loser.” He shuffled the order of the tiles that were still face down on the table. “To show my sincerity, how about we double the buy for the rest of the game?”
Toran snorted. “Double?” He looked at the Kittran, scrutinising his opponent. The game was already over; he had control of the board and his tiles occupied the three prime positions. Was the thief trying to buy his favour, he wondered? How much was the trinket he wanted truly worth? He decided it was worth testing. “Triple, and I’ll forget you dared touch me.”
The Kittran swallowed hard, his ears flat to his head. Toran momentarily worried he’d pushed for too much but a decision seemed to be reached. “Fine. Triple.” The look of defeat was delicious to the Kah’Ree.
 
 
Cygna had done her part and lured Alfor to a private room away from his security. She had danced, skipped and side-stepped his groping hands so far, maintaining a playfulness that ensured he complied. This sort of thing was not new to her; she had spent time undercover in the past. Fortunately, there had been little call for it since she had joined forces with Eruwenn.
Alfor’s eyes scanned her body once more. “The Kittran has very good taste.” He licked his lips, a small amount of drool escaping and running down his chin. He wiped it on his sleeve. “Now, I brought you somewhere quiet. How about you show me how sweet you can be?”
The Fae’Dan smiled coyly and continued her dancing just out of reach, glancing to the doorway where Alfor’s two guards stood watching her. “With an audience?” She raised her eyebrows expectantly.
With a sly grin he waved the guards out of the room. “Now come here and let me satisfy you like only a Kah’Ree can.” His eyes wandered over her body once more.
Cygna smiled, her own eyes moving from the Kah’Ree’s hands to his shoulders, then up towards his neck. An interesting fact about the Kah’Ree was the thick blood vessels on the side of their neck. They often bulged when a Kah’Ree was angry or excited, like Alfor’s were as he leered at her. She danced closer. Another interesting fact was that their brains were not as efficient as those of other species, hence the requirement for additional blood flow; more oxygen per limited thought.
He leaned forward, his eyes locked to her swaying hips. Cygna turned slowly, and his head tilted to appreciate her assets. The third, lesser known, fact about the Kah’Ree was that an interruption to the blood flow while they were in this excited state caused them to lose consciousness rapidly as their brain burned through the available oxygen. “My eyes are up here.” She smiled as he looked up at her with his head still tilted.
He sneered. “Who ca-”
The Fae’Dan struck the side of his neck with the edge of her hand, targeting the throbbing blood vessel with a powerful blow. The interruption to his brain's oxygen supply worked perfectly and he fell face forward onto the ground at her feet. She let out a sigh of relief and looked down at his unconscious body. “Thank you, that was particularly satisfying.”
She walked over to the door and peeked out, finding the guards standing either side. “He said to order us some drinks.” One of the guards nodded and immediately put his hand to his lapel communicator.
Back inside the room, Cygna used her foot to roll Alfor to his back and began searching his pockets. She came up empty. Her eyes caught a glimmer from his collar and she found a heavy gold chain, at the end of which was his security key. She removed it just as a knock came at the door. A deep voice from the other side called out. “Your drinks, boss.”
The Fae’Dan quickly messed up her hair. Using the back of her hand she smeared her lipstick sideways, and then pulled the strap of her dress down off her shoulder. She opened the door and, to her surprise, was faced with an Arkellian waiter. The bodyguards noted her dishevelled appearance and shared a smirk, and she said, “Oh, I wasn’t expec-”
The waiter pushed the trolley into the room. “Don’t keep the boss waiting, lady.” Before Cygna could reply they were inside and the door closed. “Relax, it’s me.”
Ripley’s voice sounded bizarre coming from the male Arkellian form, and Cygna’s eyes went wide in shock. Her sharp mind quickly adjusted to this new information. Of course the Awakened could change their physical appearance; she had just never seen it. They all seemed quite attached to their chosen human forms. “Neat trick.” She held out Alfor’s key. “Did you get the other one?”
Ripley nodded. “The Kittran played his part well. I didn’t see him take it, and didn’t feel it when he placed it in my pocket. Now that was a neat trick.”
The Fae’Dan smiled. “I think I’ll pass on that dalcho game.”
The Arkellian Ripley smiled. “Probably wise.” Turning, she slipped the key into her pocket and headed back out of the door.
 
 
Ripley entered the elevator to the owner's private offices on the top floor. Thanks to the distractions downstairs, the two large desks in the centre of the room were empty. She walked straight past them to the large leokas painting on the wall and swung it forward. Behind it was a Fae’Dan safe; she took out the two keys and a small homemade device the Kittran had given her.
Attaching the device to the bio-lock and standing before the safe, she elongated her arms to reach both key positions at once. There was more than one reason she was the one chosen for this task. The device beeped twice and small lights above each lock lit up. She simultaneously turned both keys, and there was a satisfying clunk.
She raised an eyebrow. The device had worked. The heavy safe door swung open and she began her search. Ranjaz had been very specific: while there was one item she had to get, she was to grab as much as possible to obscure their true target.
Quickly grabbing as much as she could she retrieved the keys and ran back across the room towards the elevator.
 
 
Cygna hauled Alfor back onto the seat, putting him in a more natural position and messing up his hair. She looked away as she began unbuttoning his clothes, pulling his trousers around his ankles and opening his shirt up to bare his chest. From a secret pocket inside her dress she pulled out a lace thong, setting it on his head like a bandana. She also had a small box which she opened, inside of which was a replica mouth with lipstick that matched her own.
Cygna carefully applied kiss marks all over his exposed skin before popping the fake lips back into the secret pocket. She took the Fae’Dan wine and partially filled two glasses, making sure to take a long drink from one and leave more lipstick marks. The rest of the wine was poured into the ice bucket.
She heard the sound of voices outside the door. The guards were arguing with someone, refusing them entry, but when the name Toran was mentioned it was Ripley who entered, still in uniform but now looking much like her usual self. She smirked at the Kah’Ree in his derobed state. “I can see you had fun.”
The Fae’Dan chuckled. “That’s the idea.” She looked at the Awakened in her true form. “You look… better.”
Ripley cocked her head. “It would be strange if the waiter came back to deliver a message.” She tossed the necklace key to Cygna, who replaced it on Alfor’s neck.
Reclining on the sofa and picking up her glass, Cygna took another long drink. “Get the other one back to Ranjaz quickly. This one won’t be napping much longer.”
The Awakened gave an almost Ranjaz-like grin. “You could always hit him again.” Before the Fae’Dan could reply she had ducked back out of the door. She caught the eye of one of the bodyguards and gave a head tilt back towards the room. “The boss is really enjoying himself!”
As the suited pair chuckled, the larger of the two got a message in his ear piece. “Hey, silver hair.” He grunted. “Boss has an important guest. Meet them in the foyer and bring them to the dalcho room.”
Ripley was relieved – she needed a reason to get into that room. “On my way.”
 
 
Toran was seething as he watched as the Kittran flipped his final tile. Why would he have waited so long to play the Wings of Tulseria tile? His stomach sank, and he couldn’t hold back his anger any longer. “Damn you!”
Ranjaz gave a full-fanged grin. “Looks like my luck turned at just the right moment.”
“Luck!” Toran’s tile snapped between his fingers. Why had he let the damned cat goad him into constantly increasing their bet? The cycle had started with him owing the brothers a million credits plus interest, and now the infuritating Kittran had won nearly forty times that. “Nobody is that lucky.”
“Woah!” Ranjaz held up his hands. “I would never cheat, well... certainly not a second time. After you caught me, I’d be a fool to try.”
“Hmm.” Toran looked at the two behind the Kittran. The big one would be a problem, but the Anatidae looked to be nothing special. “How about I give you back your little trinket and we call it even?”
“My trinket?” Ranjaz shook his head. “I had to convince you it was worth the million I owed. Why would you think I’d trade it for thirty eight million credits? I’ll pay what I owe, take my trinket and my winnings and leave.”
Toran folded his arms and looked across the dalcho board at Ranjaz. “And why would I let you do that?” The atmosphere in the room changed as the two security guards changed their stance. “Transfer the credits back to the house.”
Ranjaz dropped the grin, replacing it with a defiant glare. “What happened to you running a straight game?”
“The game was straight. You won, didn’t you?” He leaned forward, his eyes cold and hard. “You’re just in no position to collect.”
The Kittran was about to argue when the door behind Toran opened. He looked up as Ripley entered, and his eyes widened in shock. She wasn’t alone. “Toran, you bastard! You sold me out!”
“For ten million credits.” Toran stared hard at Ranjaz. “Care to make a better offer?”
Eruwenn’s eyes blazed with anger as the grey-suited Niham pulled up a seat and sat down beside Toran. “Now, now, you lied to me about having the item before. Don’t double cross me.” Sentinel Krast placed his hands together on the table, interlacing his fingers. “I’m not somebody who forgives easily.” He looked directly at Eruwenn. “Isn’t that right, former Councillor? A little far from your new Ambassador position, aren’t you?”
Ripley stood back against the wall. She had no idea who the newcomer was, but this most definitely was not the plan. The golden green Anatidae walked forward to stand behind Ranjaz. “Oh, I had a little vacation time saved up, and decided to spend it with my good friend here.” She placed a hand on the Kittrans shoulder. “And what brings a Sentinel here?”
Krast’s lips curled in what might approximate a smile. “I’m also acquainted with Mr K’Lua. In fact, we go back a very long way.” He turned to look directly at Ranjaz. “Now, return what is mine.”
Toran looked from Ranjaz to Krast. “Yours? You don’t look like the tiara wearing type.”
The Sentinel didn’t turn his head. “Ah, so you hid the data chip inside some shiny bauble. As inventive as ever, Mr K’Lua.” The Niham finally acknowledged Toran by looking at him. “Bring. It. Here.”
The Kah’Ree sucked air through his teeth. “Well, seems like we have something mighty important, and two very interested parties.” He stood and walked to his two security officers, who drew their weapons in unison. “Now then, I believe you” —he nodded to Krast— “offered ten million. How about it Ranjaz, old friend? What’s your counter offer?”
The Kittran had been sitting, silently seething at his double cross being double crossed. He looked at Krast. “Were you the one?”
Toran was surprised at being ignored, but before he could reply Krast answered, “The one?”
Ranjaz’s eyes narrowed, his ears alert, his tail swishing aggressively. “The one who took my friend!” he snarled as he felt Eruwenn’s hand holding him back gently.
Krast’s eyes glittered as he saw the impotent rage in his opponent’s eyes. “Ah, the poor deceased human?” He smiled his mannequin-esque smile. “And if I was?”
Toran snatched a pistol from one of his men and fired a blast at the ceiling. “Your quarrel can wait. Let’s settle our business first and you can kill each other after I’m paid.” He paused, then added, “but, not in my casino. Body disposal costs extra.”
Eruwenn’s hand gripped Ranjaz’s shoulder harder, and he braced himself. In one smooth move she both threw him backwards and to the right, and kicked the dalcho table up and forward into Krast's face. The Sentinel fell backwards as a blast from Toran struck the table, but Eruwenn was already on the move, sidestepping left and ducking forward into a cartwheel. Toran's gun had been following Ranjaz, but as her leg swept down it knocked the weapon from his grip.
Once she stabilized, her fist, already primed with momentum from the cartwheel, struck Toran below the ribs and knocked the wind from him. The guard, whose gun the Kah'Ree had been holding, lunged forward to grab Eruwenn but she simply deflected his hand, pairing his forward momentum with her rising elbow to swiftly render him unconscious.
The second guard had just begun to raise his weapon when a huge fist struck him in his chest, sending him careening backwards into the wall. Thor loomed over him, shaking his head as he retrieved the energy pistol. “Too slow.”
Ripley helped Ranjaz to his feet as Krast pushed the table off his chest. Toran was coughing and struggling to breathe as Ranjaz pressed the retrieved energy pistol to his forehead. “Double cross me?” He dragged the Kah’Ree forward. “I want to see the item, then I’ll pay what I owe.” The two of them awkwardly made their way back towards Krast, so Ranjaz could point the gun in his face. “Then we can talk about your body disposal fee.”
Krast stood, and his phony smile was gone. “You can’t kill me. The Sentinels will tear this place apart, hunt you down and kill you. You think I came alone? My ship is in orbit and waiting for my orders!”
Ranjaz grabbed him by the jacket, pulling him down to his level, and struck him in the face with the butt of the pistol. Thor cooly kept his stolen pistol pointed at Toran and the one conscious guard. By the third blow Krast’s face was bloody, his nose broken and he began to struggle against Ranjaz’s assault.
A muted boom caused everyone present to stop in their tracks. Alarms began to sound and Toran swore loudly. He pulled out his communicator, ignoring Thor’s pistol. “What the hell was that!” He held the device close as he listened. “My office?” He patted his pocket. Finding his key in place, he looked to Ranjaz and then Krast. “Seal the casino! And where is my brother?”
Ripley suddenly understood why the Kittran had told her to leave his device on the safe door. After a brief further moment of shock, which she kept from showing on her face, she realized that she had been carrying an explosive without being told. If they survived, Ranjaz was going to need to explain himself. Thoroughly.
Eruwenn, Thor and Ranjaz had backed away to the opposite side of the room, standing by the door. Krast stood alone, holding his profusely bleeding nose. The opposite door soon opened to reveal scrambling casino security, with Toran and his guard standing nearby.
The unconscious guard was carried out without comment, and the Kah’Ree turned to Ripley. “Why are you still here?” She nodded and slipped out of the door, leaving one less concern for the remaining three. “Alright, which one of your skrolg-licking bastards broke into my private safe?”
Krast spat blood onto the floor, pointing at Ranjaz. “He’s the thief. You and I had a deal.”
The Kittran smirked. “I’m a better thief than blowing up a Tulseria-damned safe. If I wanted to steal it, I would have done just that. I would not have announced my arrival and sat down to a game of dalcho.”
Toran looked between the two of them. “He’s got a point.” One of his men handed him a pistol, and he continued to talk a little distractedly into his communicator. “Well, check everywhere!”
Ranjaz stirred the pot. “He’s the bastard who double crossed me, why would he honour your deal?”
Eruwenn nodded. “A government agent can’t be seen working with criminals.”
Krast's face contorted in rage. “Don’t be a damned fool, Toran!” He pointed at Ranjaz. “This is clearly some convoluted distraction.”
Toran shook his head. “They had the upper hand. You were the one getting your face ruined.”
 
 
Cygna watched nervously as Alfor began to stir. Things were taking a lot longer than expected. Finally, her signal came; it was not as subtle as she had been led to believe. As soon as the explosion went off the two bodyguards quickly came into the room, glancing from Alfor’s sleeping body to her. She staggered forward, wine bottle in hand. “We need more drinkshh!”
The guard ignored her as he saw the condition of his boss. “Not again,” he groaned. “Toran will kill us for letting him get like this.”
The second guard stepped out into the corridor. “I’m not dressing him! Last time he tried to kiss me!”
Cygna paused, not having expected it to go this way. The first bodyguard walked out as well. “He pissed on my new shoes the time before that. I’m not moving him.”
Their communicators went off and their faces became more serious. Bodyguard two spoke first. “Damn it. Toran wants him.”
The first turned to look at the increasingly bewildered Cygna. “You!” He smiled. “You got him undressed. You can dress him.”
Cygna spotted Ripley running down the corridor towards them, causing her confusion to grow further. The Awakened shouted one word. “Sentinels!”
The Fae’Dan’s mind raced. The plan was clearly blown, and they had to get out. Fast. As the guards were now facing Ripley, she took the opportunity to kick one in the back of the knee. He fell forward, and as the second turned he was met with the upward swing of a wine bottle. The first guard discovered first-hand the shocking truth of how hard the knee of an Awakened could be, and both were unconscious by the time they hit the ground.
Cygna smiled at Ripley. "Thanks."
The Awakened gave a swift nod of acknowledgement. “A Sentinel turned up, so Ranjaz set off the diversion he promised. The other brother is busy trying to figure out whether it’s us or the Sentinels robbing him.”
Cygna took on board the new information quickly, knowing she needed to help the others. “I have an idea. Lie over there and look dead.” She ran back into the room, where Alfor was groaning and starting to move. She slipped the chain from his neck and dropped it into the ice bucket, where it sank out of sight below the dark Fae’Dan wine. She began to slowly shake him.
“Huh,” he grumbled, and slowly opened his eyes. “Wha.. what happened?”
Cygna clung to him tightly. “Oh thank goodness! I thought they killed you!”
“Killed?” Alfor’s head was pounding, his memory blurry. “Who-” He caught sight of his downed guards in the open doorway. “What the hell happened?” He began pulling at his clothes, and swiftly checked that his trousers were dry.
“While we were.. You know…” He nodded; he was buttoning up his clothes. He didn’t remember, but he knew. “Some scary men burst into the room and shot you! I was so scared.” She hugged him tight, pressing herself against him.
He put his arm around her. “What men? Be brave, and tell me what happened.”
She looked up at him, trying to make her eyes as big as possible, adding a lip tremble to really sell it. “I don’t know! They wore grey suits. And one of them took your necklace!”
“My necklace.” He clutched at his chest where it should have been. “Damn Sentinels! I told Toran we couldn't trust them!”
He stepped into the corridor, where Ripley lay on the ground with a terrible energy weapon burn on the side of her face. He pulled out his communicator. “Toran.” He instantly got hold of his brother. “I didn’t answer because I was knocked out. Damn Sentinels took my key, killed some of our guys.” He looked around. “Nobody important, just some waiter.” He finally pulled the underwear from his head. “I’ll go to the security room and look at the video.”
He ended the call and turned back to Cygna. “You stay here.”
She smiled. “Sorry, we can’t let you check the security footage.”
“Wha-”
Ripley struck him from behind and he crumpled to the ground, her fake burn melting from her face. The Awakened looked around, rechecking that all was clear. “I think that’s all we can do; we should get out of here. Come with me, my shuttle is in the staff bay.”
 
 
Toran closed his communicator and motioned to a guard. “Search him.”
Eruwenn wished she had some way to capture the look on Krast’s face when the remote detonator was pulled from his pocket. She'd have to hug the light-fingered Kittran later.
The Sentinel grit his teeth. “That’s not mine.”
“Sure, sure,” Toran agreed, while simultaneously shaking his head at the Sentinel. “Looks like you really didn’t come alone.”
Krast was furious, yelling, “I’m telling you-” He broke off when Ranjaz shot him in the leg, falling to the floor.
The Kah’Ree pointed his pistol at the Kittran. “Can’t let you kill a Sentinel in my casino, even if they did just rob me.”
Ranjaz was surprised the Kah’Ree had believed them so easily. “What about us?”
Toran sighed, lowering his weapon. “Take your winnings and get out. If you stole the thing once, I’m sure you can steal it again.”
Eruwenn and Thor both made to leave. Ranjaz paused, knowing he might not get another chance. “And him?”
The Kah’Ree looked at the Sentinel holding his wounded leg. “We’ll send him back to his ship. As much as I hate it, the Sentinels are untouchable.”
Ranjaz raised his pistol. “He took my friend.”
“And we’ll get him back,” Eruwenn said softly. “Then we’ll all deal with him, and the rest of the Sentinels.”
Krast sneered and spat blood once more. “Your human is dead.”
Ranjaz fired.
Krast screamed and grabbed his other leg. “You bastard!”
Toran and his men raised their weapons as the Kah’Ree yelled, “Get the hell out of here!”
Ranjaz turned and followed the others out of the door, but just as it was about to close he poked his head back in. “Oh, one last thing.”
Toran could be seen looking up just as the Kittran fired again, but he ducked out of sight before the true outcome of his shot could be seen. The shrieks of agony, however, followed the trio down the corridor as they broke into a run. Eruwenn spared a glance down at Ranjaz during their retreat. “What did you do?”
The full-fanged grin had never been larger. “Made sure we’ll see him again.”
On the floor of the dalcho room Krast was screaming in agony. He turned over to stare at the closed door. “I’ll kill you! I will hunt you down and kill every last one of you!”
Toran spoke into his communicator. “Tell the Sentinel ship to come get their man. And, bring a doctor. A really good doctor.” He nudged one of his guards and finally let out a chuckle. After all, the Sentinels had just robbed him. “You double-crossing scum always get what you deserve.”
The J’Rami guard raised an eyebrow. “Not sure anyone deserves getting shot in the balls.”
 
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