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Hello Reddit, I think my end will become to me soon (ó﹏ò｡). Reddit is my last hope. I'm broken and I don't think that I gonna live if nothing is gonna change. I'm hopeless, my life is meaningless no one even gonna care about my death, even my parents! I can't live here anymore.
Hello my name is Sofia I'm 16 years old and I'm from Russia and I have 2 years to survive before my end. A while ago I made one post in subreddit about immigration, but everything I got is a lot of downvotes and mainly got ignored. Like I got ignored by everything my whole life. First of all, I gonna say why I have a time limit, there a lot of reasons for that. I don't sure what I should begin, but in short my current status:
I have big problems with my family. Begining with no right to at least have a hair cut ending with dad that can get drunk, go back home and destroy everything, and beat my mom. Every day when both parents are home there are endless scandals and constant words about divorce.
My mother always telling me about her problems since I was a little child. And keep talking like I was born to help her and at the same time, she can say why did I give birth to you. I sometimes respond with "I didn't ask you to give birth to me"
Even my little brother hates me, make fun of me, call me a girl, that I look like a girl (don't sure how I should react, because I'm transgender), can punch me... I mean will punch me.
Also, I eating instant noodles and the cheapest food, because we don't earn very much, a few times we don't even have enough money to pay for rent.
I crying for almost every day. And it's doesn't even matter when my parents saw it, like if it was ok to always cry.
I have problems at my school. Not only school bullies have hated me, but also some teachers. Bullies can beat me with a big crowd and even if I going lye down they gonna kick me.
I can't be myself. I can't have my own opinion, every opinion is done by my mother, I can't say It's bad, but sometimes I don't want to be a robot that does whatever they say with no rights to say "I want" or simply say "no"
I have no friends because they weren't my actual friends. I always used to be their doll with they can play. They betrayed me, they make fun of me.
I have nightmares, my past is haunting me. It's made even one scar on my hand.
If I don't escape this country I will be doomed. When I will be 18 there will be forced conscription that has a problem with "Dedovshchina". People like I don't survive there, in the Russian army, it's not for weak people.
I tried to suicide, but I never go too far.
No one even cares about me, most of the people that I know hate me, no one can help me, even I...
I scared of everything, I can't even write to people online, I just scared of them.
A lot of transphobes make fun of me almost every day.
Every day I keep thinking about self-harm. And sometimes I do this.
Every time I want to do something to help myself there is something that trying to stop me and if I try to avoid that everything will be even worse than before.
I lost belief in humanity. I don't even sure if it even exists.
My dysphoria is killing me, but with depression, it feels so bad. I can't look at the mirror.
My country took last rights from trans people so I can't live here anymore
I'm useless I can't do anything. I can't draw, I can't even complete even an easy target. I'm so stupid...
I'm broken and I have no sense to live on. Should I continue?......
So this is a small portion of everything that happened to me. I going to tell you some stories and going to open some of these themes that I listed above. I'll begin with my parents. When I was 10 years old or less my dad always lost all money in casino on a slot machine. He worked as a guard in the same casino where he lost all money. Once he almost gave away our apartment like that. Now we running out of money because of coronavirus. He was working at the hotel as a guard. The hotel went bankrupt and we didn't receive payment for 3 months. And he was working not legal there so we were totally dead. Basically, we trying to survive (4 people) on around $544/month but as I said he loves to lose money so it's looking more like $408/month for 4 people but mainly even less. We need to use them to pay for two apartments that look like very bad, having two bad looking apartments in a bad city doesn't mean we rich. And also we need to pay for an extra apartment where we all live. Sometimes we are being sued for not paying at the right time. Also, there was a stupid situation so we almost got homeless. My dad's father had our apartment, and so he cheated on my grandmother, who was not even close to me, I never saw her until I was 14 years old and eventually, a child was born, later my dad's father died and their family claimed inheritance, including our apartment, they were also rich and this angered me the most, like why they need our apartment in with we live, but also my mom telling about these problems to me. I was around 10. The baby is one year old. His Parents: WE NEEAD AN APARTAMENT FOR HIM Because HE iS a bik Boi We don't even have wallpapers before. Just empty walls actually that place still don't have wallpapers everywhere. Mainly, this was because my dad is lazy he doesn't do anything, he was doing only: Farting on the couch, playing video games on smartphone, annoys everyone, etc. Every hard work was done by my mother and with some of our help (kids) My dad. He doesn't give a fuck about us. And he always will. He living only for himself and only for himself. The due first month of quarantine in Russia I was eating only one time per day. When we had no money, father was god knows where, we can't even live in our house at this moment we lived in grandma house and grandma can't even give money or support us somehow, so mainly we were hungry, So I hate my dad, but not my mom, she just trying to save us from our dad. My mom trying to control my life, watching my every step, it continues to my 14 years old, then and for today she just annoys me with asking what I was doing today or who do I write to, etc. Also, my mom sometimes trying to make suicide, and it's so hard to stop her, she just going to our medkit and start eating every drug. It's terrible. My mom and my brother love to make fun of me. Trying to annoy me and made me cry. Telling jokes about me, and if I don't act like I don't care, they gonna make fun of me even more. My mother almost every time very sick. She just sneezed and broken spine or something, she felt so bad, so she crying of pain I asked her for calling to a hospital, but she declines. Every time she looks like she gonna die right now she doesn't want to call for help to the hospital. Yesterday (6th August) my mom almost set the whole house on fire, by putting a wooden circle on a gas stove and then a big bowl of bad soup, and then after a while, it ignited, and a great column of fire rose and a lot of smoke came out. My dad drunk at least one time per week. He often loses his items such a phone because he literally can sleep under the fence of some house. He destroyed a lot of things in our house. The fridge still has traces of his punches. Rarely, but he can punch me. He doesn't love me at all, he loves only his second son. Endless scandals. I don't even know what to say about it. I can't protect anyone anymore when dad is angry. And things that always with me. Whatever someone does something bad, they told me that it was I. In a time of school it makes me wanna die because the whole class told the teacher that I PUNCH myself, poor bullies, how dare me! While I was in my classroom due to math lessons, there was break time and I sat in my class since I don't have friends and reasons to go out. And then my classmate ran in class with words that I stole sled of some little kid, then class appears and say that's it's true and we saw you, then the school principal and homeroom teacher appeared and they saying that they got me and me in big trouble but God was on my side in this day and teacher start to debate with them how I can steal something while I'm in school sitting in this classroom! Thankfully she able to approve that they wrong. Actually, this is the first time and last time that someone saved me from hell. But all school already thinks that I stole a sled of little kid. Also, they love to stalk me to my home and scream that I'm "gay" and "pussy" and other words. When I go downstairs they very often trip me up and then I fall very badly. They also love to hide my clothes so I stay in school for many hours to find my cloth. I was in school bullies start to say that I miserable, doesn't deserve a feature and many things, but when I can't take it anymore and say something in their side they start to kick me with a crowd, I was laying down, and 4 people just keep kicking me, whole class watch this everyone was happy they said punch harder, kick harder! I think it just like forever. But at some point it's ended, I can't feel anything, I don't even stand up, I just cried. Then the teacher walks in class and saw me. I think she was thinking "oh no he* is crying again!". Then she said stand up and said go with me, I thought she will finally help me, but I was so wrong. She went with me to high school (I never was in there at this moment), to the headmaster of this school. I sat in her cabinet and she starts to scream at me that everyone got tired of you and you should die we will kick you from school because of your behaviors. I just crying and can't even listen to all the things that she said, I thought I just disappointed my mom. After 1 hour and more of scream at me she said stand up, we gotta go, I asked what do you mean? but don't get a response back. We walked outside with a fire exit door, there was a black tuned car and it has a lot of people inside. At this time I thought I'll die and I start to say sorry for everyone, but mainly for my mother. I thought we gonna ride in the forest because I never saw these places before, the whole road I just praying. No one is speaking. Finally, I saw my house, and parked at the entrance to the entrance (It looks like English doesn't have this word), she said to go out but gives me some document. I slowly walked upstairs, every step I felt worse and worse, and finally, when I was on the 5th floor I ring to door, my mom opened the door I gave her this document and when she asked me "What happened?" I started to cry again and fall on my bed. The document contains something about my expulsion from school. It was my worst day. You can say me, why you can't change school but in a place where I live before, there was only one school. Is I'm a bad person? I'm always tried to help people and animals if I can. I stop at least three people and my mother of suicide in real life.. don't sure if this counts... I destroyed a lot of "columbine" community everywhere I can and trying to help people, change their minds. So I stop many people of suicide and killing everyone in schools. There was a thing as 'The Groups of Death' most popular was "Blue whale". It was a game in real life where you do some tasks, but then it quickly flows into tasks like "cut your wrist" and so on. The ending of this game is to kill yourself, doesn't matter with way, but mainly it's just jumping from a rooftop. I was horrified about this, so I had an idea to create an anti-group of death called "Pink Flamingo". Everything was fine, I helped a lot of people, make therapy for them, give advice, and at the end of the game you should be alright and happy, there was no real end. But in one day my group was banned from Vkontakte as I remember for this reason: I created a group of death. Bravo, they even block my own page almost permanent, it was hard to restore it, it was a special ban. I really remember that I made a lot of happy birthday congratulations on things in windows movie maker to everyone... I was 8 years old or less... I always helped grandmothers, carrying their products, or moving them across the road. Some bullies wanted to kick poor cat to death, I don't let them do that, so they kicked me... BUT hey! I saved a cat! When I had internet "friends" we had a community, I called it "TeaTown community", we were like a big family, I helped to everyone there, they need something I give it to them and a lot of other things, yes they kinda don't like me because I always want to help everyone and it annoys them. And in one day we built a big city with a 10+ player population and I started this community brick by brick with a new friend (everyone knew them even before I appear there) and in one day after a month of friendship he just asks me to add his friend to private since I don't know him and I was scared of security and for everyone, I said no! They start to scream on me and call me a pussy and such and I add him under this pressure and then they immediately kill me and destroyed my house and storehouse of the city I was broken they even used cheats so I can't fight with them. But it's not all, they told something to all of my friends, and everyone started to hate me and they start to don't trust me. I managed to get a little bit of their trust and I became a part of this community again. I build a church and live in there. I still helped to everyone. But in one day someone busted me, he gives access to church to those two who grief me before and then they destroyed my church, no items survived. I actually have a few footages where they were cheating and griefing. Actually, I showed it to admins. And guess what? I got permanently banned. They bought the admins. The main conflict is very stupid, to solve it I need to apologize for not letting them grief me and don't add them immediately to private. Also one of them always saying something I'm a god and you're nothing. When I finally realized that I'm transgender, I made a coming out and every friend that I have, even my best friend start to hate me even gay one and it made me feel very bad. A was lone for a month and since I can't find new friends I tried to go back to them. They made a lot of transphobic things like burning the trans flag, mis-pronouns me and everything, but in one day they reach something above of normal, when I died I teleported in a strange place, they made a test lab that I need to pass, they gave me adventure mode, some of them was in spectator mode, my "best friend" was behind glass, they said hello and then look in the chest I saw a pufferfish that named "Trans have no right" they say eat it. I eat it, don't sure why. The next thing was a potion, that I need to drink to be female, but unfortunately, It doesn't work and I got aids, then they give me a wooden pickaxe and said to dig obsidian... 4 blocks of obsidian with a wooden pickaxe, sick bastards! Then there was another room with insane hard parkour. After a while, I passed it and I got into another room where I should choose one of three answers, in fact, some of them were not transphobic like there was a question about Kazahstan with dates. At the end of the quiz, they hide the right answer behind me, so it should make me confused, once it solved I went to the final room. I saw to "dicks" and my best friend said choice dick, sit and die, there was a big black one with racism on a sign that gonna destroy all my organs because it's a big and sticky white one with gonna pull out my guts and made me die. I don't remember what I chose, but it was horrible we was a friend for many years and then they do this? How sad, even my "best friend" Since that, I don't really have friends anymore. All my classmates around me in school used drugs and they were very bad and none of them want to be my friend. This why I never had a friend in real life. Everyone in real life was very bad, many of them were in police stations already. Even girls were bad, they drunk too much and engaged in prostitution. All the people I knew had a boyfriend/girlfriend/whatever at some point, but I never had, so they very shooked when they knew this fact, but I don't think I need that, I don't think I need something, maybe I just don't deserve life. In fact, I don't even sure with sexual orientation is I or do I even want to have someone. I hate to remember the place where I lived before because of school, memories, and thing like: I just going to home from school and then from nowhere on a large speed a big van is riding on the sidewalk not even giving any sign. I jumped out at the last moment. It still gives me nightmares. Or like when someone kicked me in school when I was going downstairs and then when I was going home someone walking far away and scream that I'm "faggot" and other words but then I saw two small dogs. Nothing special, but then huge dogs start to appear from nowhere and I start thinking about going back and find another way to go home, but when I turn my head I realized I already surrounded by huge evil dogs that barked and growled at me and then ran sharply at me. A big crowd of dogs surrounded me and chased me all over the city and I was running for my life, most of these dogs were huge, and I ran from almost 20 dogs. Honestly, I don't know why they can't catch me and where most of them gone when I was pretty close to my home, but it's doesn't matter. Yes and I cried and scream the whole road to home. Just a typical day of my life. Mainly when I home I'll be saved. But every time I outside. Something bad is going to happen. Also, teachers called me rude words and lower my grades. Imagine being a kid and the teacher call you a bag of shit that can't do anything. I was in this place a week ago and I was praying to my mother to not go there, but she starts to say I never coming outside and I should ride or else I can say bye to my laptop. We stuck there for three days we just should be there for one day. We don't even have pillows or blankets. And I meet old school bullies that start to make fun of me one of them even punches me. He called me "faggot" again like in past. It was a nightmare. Everyone hates me there. My little brother hates me because I want to leave this nightmare as fast as I can, but he wants to be there for a longer time. I actually made a wrong thing later. I wanted to escape and my reason for that was If stay there even more I will kill myself because so many horrifying memories' was there. I just walked to a train station, so basically I escaped from a mom and my little brother. And a bully from school walked to me, I didn't saw him and he said "Fuck you" and then he punches me in a face. Well then since I have no money with me right now (and always), so I have a "perfect" Idea to walk to my city on foot (48KM to the final station and also a long way to the city), but I just walked just one station is about 4km from there and I got already tired, but also at this moment I realize that I don't have keys for the apartment and also I need to go another 10+ stations + another more things I don't think of, so I went back. The second reason I do so is that my mom and my brother start to make jokes about me and I just can't stand it. I returned to a nightmare place and we got stuck here. I still feel very bad. Actually, this isn't a serious escape because in one-day whole class the whole day made fun of me by calling me with bad words, they tripped me, they spat paper at me, and do much more. And the teacher remarked not to them but ME. I wonder why??? Then everything like in a fog. It was the end of the lesson and someone made my cry, I run out of class and saw fire exit, with tears, I very fast open this door and ran out of school, they tried to stop me, they even grab my backpack, but I ran away. So next I was thinking about getting drown or just die in the forest, maybe even of starving to death, but temporarily I hide somewhere and lay down there. It was a very cold autumn. I don't even wear a jacket and I was alone, thinking about suicide and the end of me, I was laying on trash, I even thought about live like a hobo, Because I can't live like that anymore. My mom can't do anything to help me she can't do it to end. So bullies can't get punished because of that. I always was in bruises. Even more, bullies have come up with an offensive nickname for me because of which I want to change my last name. The worst part that this thing also works in English and almost in every country, because this word sounds almost the same even though it writes very differently. My poor relatives made me feel very sad and bad, but not every one of them. Looking at an old, lonely grandfather it's so heartbreaking, it's so awful to see a poor uncle stricken with a stroke and other can laugh on the situation, it's so wrong... also recently grandfather killed a cat... he put it somewhere and close it... he doesn't even feed it... a week passed... and then he opened a place where he put cat... but it's already almost died... on next day cat just died..... Well, I don't do anything bad. I always tried to help people. But everything I received from them it just hates and other sad things. Nothing good. Yes, I made bad stuff and I apologize for that. I apologize that I was born. Wow, it hurt so much. I upset my parents. And I will upset them even more. Teachers say there is no way I saying the truth because I can't always be "White and fluffy". I mean no one even trusts me for some reason. My friends busted me. I always, every day, for many years keep talking to my parents that I'm going to make suicide, but they say that I don't saw a real-life, I don't live enough, and what kind of troubles you can even have in this age? My family and other people keep told that my life is not the worst and I can agree. They can say the other one lives is worse than me, you at least have food, water, and a roof overhead, people from Africa are very poor, do you think about them? Yes, often think about poor people and that they need more help than me in fact I'm living very well in their background. When I was a child I was thinking about writing a book about my life and write it when I will grow up, but now I don't find this idea very good. In fact, it's very stupid. I always feel stupid. Everyone thinks I'm stupid, retarded, or something. And I can kinda agree with them. And I can't help myself because something will stop me and made feel me even worse and no one can help me. Every time I want to make animation, website, or whatever my programs got crashed, light turn off for the whole house, I lost internet connection, I got lost files or even worse corrupted because it most painful and any possible way to stop me from working that you can imagine. I know odd people that sometimes can come from nowhere and write something odd. Something about eggs, something about fursuits while why do I in the world even want to know the cost of this? I don't hear you for months and you come back and say interesting how much fursuit is a cost or even "docking", various sort of things. There were only people that I talked with for like 5 months. I feel so terrible. For some things, I feel like I was raped and I don't even kidding. First of all, I gonna say why I have a time limit, there a lot of reasons for that. I don't sure about what I should begin, but the current status that I'm suffering from Bullies, of my Family, of my Government, and what is going on in my country. I tried to find transgender friends in Russia, but then I realized that it's an almost impossible challenge since most of them not just dressing and do other staff. Even when I saw an infinite number of almost always gross people I find the right thing, but even there I find bad people. One of them was younger than me he was 15 years old and then after a long conversation he said that he gives jobs to his boyfriend and do such things and send me some images, I try to change his mind, but he doesn't want to listen to me, he just enjoy that. And other transgenders I found were good people, but they weren't sure if they were transgender, but it still better than nothing. They never called me a friend in fact when I asked, they answer that we, not friends. And it broke my heart... I realized that I never had friends. I scared to start to speak with anyone. When I don't speak everything usually better. So I can't say even a single word. Almost every night I have a nightmare about someone is trying to catch me and I trying to escape. It could be everything and mainly I ran in deserted places even if there should be a lot of people in them. The alternative ending is the screamer version so I can't even run for a while before screamer, I instantly got caught. Also there another type of dream where I walking on familiar but very changed places, most scary that before it had many people, but since every dream there less and fewer people, and everything got weirder and weirder, so everything change, even more, some building is destroying random big holes that always in random place start appear, world start to less looking to real and more have strange odd colors. I walking alone in an odd and scary world and getting die every time. The third type of dream is when I can't help someone, someone died and everything, recently I have only this type of dream. I need to notice that I'm MtF transgender. I notice it that late because I still scared. I want to escape from this endless nightmare, start a new life from a blank page, and finally be myself. But looking at others' lives gives me a thing. I can't complain about this. A lot of people living even worse than me. I never talk to a psychotherapist because I was always scared to know to door or just make an appointment. But it has almost no sense, I'll just break my life forever by visiting a psychotherapist because there's almost no way to apply for a job because no one gonna takes a person who visited a psychotherapist. And most of them transphobes, so they gonna hurt me. The other one can't help me since the government looking for rights from transgenders. I stuck in a circle of self-harm and writing a suicide note. I don't even strong enough to write this post, it was a nightmare for me. And I need to escape this country as fast as I can, because I can't take it any longer, people like me gonna die there. I say almost nothing about I got bullied on the internet every day or how my government is worst in the world, I tired and you should know that I don't fully talk even about parents, friendship themes. I feel like a bug without limbs that can't move and do something. Everyone else can draw, programming, make music, and basically anything else. I can't do anything everything that I made is just awful. My poems, lyrics for songs, my site... I hate the way I look. I can't look in the mirror. I think I'm fat, I hate my voice, I hate how tall I am, I hate my haircut, I hate that I can't control my life, My face and whole body, The way I talk, The way I write. I want to have HRT and control my life so much. I can't stand for myself and no one can. I can't help myself and no one can. Everything I can do is repeatedly dying every day. And trying to not kill me. I didn't do anything to deserve all of this. I didn't do anything wrong. I forgot to notice that my mom is a transphobe. She said that these people should be in a mental hospital, or better on an island where no one can see them, or even better burn them all!... I need your help I ask you to find a way to help me! I can't live here anymore, I need to get out. I don't know what I should do... Please, help me survive...
Starting this event! Was away for a while on my first vacation in god knows how long, but will continue to work on this event until Valentines overrides it for a bit. Also, I'm gonna add a little ko-fi link to the end of posts now, but it's 100% optional and doesn't effect much atm.
In the Chaldea Control Room…
Da Vinci: Now, how about we begin the questioning. Make sure to spill the beans quick, m’kay~? Osakabehime: This is all a misunderstanding, I’m un-re-lated! I really didn’t do anything! Da Vinci: That means I can say that thing from our data that was popular for a while, right? Yay! Just one second…ahem. You've got that wrong! 1 Fou: Fou fo fo fou!
[ (Stare) ] / [ With how confused she is, I feel like she isn’t lying]
Option 1: Osakabehime: Ma-chan? What’s with the look!? Why are you staring at me non-stop like Medjed!? Option 2: Osakabehime: Huh, you believe me!? Aw yeah, that’s Ma-chan for you! Besties!
Mash: Well…going by what we know, what could the origin for this irregularity be? Da Vinci: Hm. The scale of it is incredibly small, but we can’t overlook it nonetheless. And we can say that it’s probably from the past actions of this Assassin. Let me bring out the data one more time.
She brings up the infamous Čachtice Pyramid Himeji castle on the monitor.
Mash: I really thought that I wouldn’t have to see this sight again…
[There it is, the Čachtice Pyramid Himeji Castle…!] / [Not since last year’s Survival Casino, yeah]
Option 2 only: Osakabehime: When you put it like that, don’t you just feel strangely close to it~ ♪ Osakabehime: …But no, really, why is it back again!? Shouldn’t it be gone? Da Vinci: It should be, but…it’s back again, for some reason. But like I said, it’s a truly tiny Singularity in scale. I assume it’s some backlash from the remnants of the last Singularity’s Čachtice, but what I don’t get is the timing for it to reappear. I’m guessing it’s by some direct involvement, so… Osakabehime: How many times do I have to say it!? I have nada to do with this! Da Vinci: Be that as it may, our inquiries with Elizabeth and Cleopatra both came up with nothing. If you really aren’t the instigator…hmmm, this is annoying.
A good old man walks by.
Munenori Yagyuu: …There is one thing to do here. We already have a perpetrator on our hands. Osakabehime: You mean me, right!? Undoubtedly, me!? Munenori Yagyuu: Hahaha.
His job done, he leaves.
Osakabehime: Sca-ry! I know it was a joke, but that was sca-ry!
[I’ll handle it] / [Looks like we have to investigate in the field]
Da Vinci: Would you, please? However, since Mash’s Ortenaus is undergoing maintenance, she’ll be staying here as support with me, ‘kay~? Mash: It’s just as she said. Sorry that I can’t land a direct hand, Senpai… Osakabehime: Fine then. I wanna go be a Hikikomori, but I’m going along too. Since I personally dunno why it’s shown up again, it’s kinda…no, actually, it’s really creeping me out! Like really, what’s up. Can you think of anyone who could do this aside from me…? Mash: We can rest easy now that Osakabehime-san is going along too. Thanks a bunch! Oh, by the way, should we contact Director Gordolf and Sion-san about the situation? Da Vinci: Hmm, we don’t really need ex-post-factor approval now, right? Those two are in their time off, and I feel like getting them involved with something like this could make them lose out on that precious time. Osakabehime: Relatable! Da Vinci: I can affirm that the danger level of this Singularity isn’t much either. I’ll carry out your Reyshifts at once. Now then, I’m sure something’s waiting for you, so off you go~. We’re counting on you!
With that, we Reyshift back to the ex-Halloween grounds. Once we arrive, we take a good look at the hodgepodge structure. [Back again…] / [It’s nostalgic, somehow]
Option 2 only: Osakabehime: …Really? I’m surprised you remember it so well. All sorts of things have happened with it, but it’s where me and Ma-chan first me…ehehe.
Da Vinci: Looks like the Reyshift went off without a hitch. Mash: Osakabehime-san, is there anything irregular in the area? Osakabehime: Hmm? Now that you mention it, something’s off… Bwuh, Ma-chan, over there, look! Someone’s there!
From out of the darkness comes Berserker of El Dorado, wearing some glasses.
???: …Oh. So it’s you.
[It’s…] / [Wait…Penthesilea!?]
Fou: Foufou! ???: Hah. Of course I remember the faces of customers. It’s been quite a while. Do you remember me as well? With quick deliveries in one quick click anywhere in the Universe, and making consistent Epochs: we operate through the universe, as a Space e-commerce carrier… 2 AMZONESS.COM!! AND I AM ITS CEO!
Osakabehime: You’re…Amazoness’s CEO!? What’re you doing here!? Amazoness CEO: Ah, it’s you. I humbly thank you for your consistent patronage. Osakabehime: Oh, well, I don’t really use you all the time, y’know. I’m glad that you’re here though, since I couldn’t connect to your site through our connection in Chaldea. Amazoness CEO: Pardon? I haven’t received any particular error report…has our web operator been negligent? I’ll have to severely punish them. Da Vinci: Hmm. I know about you from our logs, but I knew that actually seeing you would be a different feeling. Just like my bigger self’s notes said. Just like the Mysterious Heroine types…you’re a Servant that we don’t need to think much on, yep. Mash: I remember Amazoness CEO-san from back then too. But...um. What are you doing here now? Osakabehime: Yeah, because you’re an e-commerce company…are you here for an order for somebody? Amazoness CEO: Well, about that…. I feel obliged to explain this somewhat complex situation, and give an answer to your question. As I intrinsically pride my company’s confidentiality, I should be moving to prepare presentation materials for said explanation. However the present circumstances are what they are. So, I wish to explain so vocally.
Amazoness CEO: In actuality --- my Amazoness.com is currently ensnared in a dilemma. For lack of better words, we are on the cusp of a crisis. Mash: How do you mean…? Amazoness CEO: I’m referring to my company’s esteemed Amazoness workers! Every single one has gone missing!
[A company-wide dilemma, huh]
Osakabehime: That’s rough. Mash: U-uh. They all up and vanished…? Amazoness CEO: I mean just as I say. Gone. Unable to be contacted. Whereabouts unknown.
[Because they worked day and night…] / [Because they were unpaid…]
Option 1: Amazoness CEO: No, they neither went on strike, nor fled! When they were bested by their physical limits, I would immediately allow them break on the spot until they woke up! My company’s employee benefits are perfect! Option 2: Amazoness CEO: No, they neither went on strike, nor fled! Our number one compensation for labor is our Amazoness.com workers receiving a continued feeling of “Having a job worth doing”!
Osakabehime: Aren’t those sweatshop conditions!? Amazoness CEO: No, and I implore you to reconsider. In actuality, my deliverers are instructed to be giving Mana particles, in the form of Feelings of Gratitude from customers. Servants function by utilizing these resources and converting them. And I can say that by being paid with an ample reward, our working environment is stable. Osakabehime: Hmm, really? Amazoness CEO: In this way, Servants inhabiting remote planets provide a large supply of Gratitude Energy. I thank them for their continued patronage! Osakabehime: Those are the rules of the Servant Universe, but how far would you go before the complexity was deemed annoying… Amazoness CEO: I believe this attack could have been from anyone. Envious and bitter towards my company’s rapid growth, having an insufficient business image would be all the rival companies need to prod us. This Morning Amazoness CEO Star would be high and dry in no time. Mash: I hadn’t even thought of a reason like that… Amazoness CEO: I plan to beat this opposing enterprise to death, and,
[Okay! I’ve heard enough, we’re good!]
Da Vinci: So you believe that your subordinates were kidnapped by someone? Amazoness CEO: Yes. Each of them are hardened, enduring delivery warriors. I do not believe that they would’ve give in easily. This left me with an explainable, strange issue. As I was alone in my business now, so I searched for my subordinates. I kept searching. Although I haven’t found them…a divine, innovational idea suddenly popped into my head. Since this is a strange scenario, I shouldn’t be searching in normal places. Strange locations for strange situations. And so--- I thought to search the strangest building within the Galaxy. I thought that my subordinates would perhaps be there, and I used a dependable old sale slip to come here. Osakabehime: I KNEW IT! I was falsely accused and not the least bit responsible! But wait, couldn't you stay there’s a still a chance, that someone else used it too, or something…? Amazoness CEO: No. I already finished searching the interior. Not a single being was in there. A completely wasted effort. Da Vinci: She’s right. I don’t pick up any readings from in there. There isn’t anyone inside of the Čachtice Pyramid Himeji Castle right now. Amazoness CEO: To be blunt, I’m annoyed. When we were a startup company, there was hostility from a Galaxy Fishing Gear company…TOB? It’s been typical to receive such since then. This Morning Amazoness CEO Star has made preparations for this double weight load, but… Osakabehime: Are you really a C-E-O? Are you really not just M-A-D? Amazoness CEO: I am completely shorthanded. Operations are limited to me alone. Presently, my deliveries are already winding up overdue. If this keeps up, the value of my company will decline. To prevent this, I’d need to find my subordinates in a moment’s notice, or have someone else help--- ……………….. (Stare).
Amazoness CEO: I’ve been thinking. Although I’ve said that we do not outsource like other companies, the time have changed. The needs of these times call for flexibility for a first class, economic CEO. What I mean to say is…would you all operate under my Amazoness.com delivery service as outsourcers? Come on…won’t you? We have a giant robot who’s ownership rights are just a little hazy. And if a giant robot isn’t good, there’s a normal one. It’s been valuable to us as a deliver bot that can fly. Surely it’d be easy to break through the atmosphere with. Osakabehime: Huuuuh? Err, actually, we uh, have people with high levels of mobility. Unsurprisingly I wanna go back to being a hikikomori, so let’s wrap up this Singularity like we came here to do--- Da Vinci: Hey, can I talk with you all in private for a second?
Everyone and lil’ Vinci move away from the negotiating CEO for a moment. [What’s up?]
Da Vinci: After listening to her…I have a feeling that the crux of this micro-Singularity might be her. I’m under the impression that it’s not “She came to this Singularity to search for them”, but, “This Singularity reappeared from its remnants because she came to search for them”. When we put it that way, she also seems to be the type of Servant that could make such a peculiar reaction, where her character causes such a trouble to stir up. Mash: Um, so what do you mean, exactly? Da Vinci: I fear that this micro-Singularity is entangled from her sense of purpose to “Find her subordinates.” I’d say that’s why this place showed up again. In other words, “The only way to eliminate this micro Singularity is to solve her problem”. That’s likely what the situation really is. Osakabehime: Me kidding, you are!? Da Vinci: Even if we were to leave her alone here, the Singularity would continue to remain. I don’t think there’s other options, since we’re totally bee-lined for a solution here~.
The group turns around back to CEO-chan. [Alright, we’ll help your company out] / [Alright, we’ll help search for your subordinates]
Option 1: Amazoness CEO: Ooh, so you’ll vouch for them. Welcome aboard. Firstly, our maximum priority will be to reopen all overdue orders. Option 2: Amazoness CEO: You’ve saved me. But first, we gather our affairs and place maximum priority on tidying up.
Amazoness CEO: Should the company go bankrupt, you will all be able to freely return to your former posts. So there’s no need to run away. Osakabehime: Wow, now that’s a good sense of responsibility for a president. Amazoness CEO: I am a C-E-O! Which means…well, the explanation can wait. And it will. It would be good of us to handle the issue with my subordinates concurrently with our duties. We may happen to run into them admits our deliveries, or perhaps pick up information of sorts about them. Mash: Understood. Let’s gather info while we’re out there. Amazoness CEO: Now then, there is one matter left to take care of before I finalize our contract. Osakabehime: Blurgh. I got a bad feeling about this. You are newcomers into my Amazoness.com, the greatest enterprise in the Galaxy. You are also the first outsourcers. I would see fit to verify your abilities as a prerequisite. Thus --- consider this an induction course, or employee examinations! Osakabehime: I TOLD YOU---! Amazoness CEO: As I alluded to, you will experience hardships in this delivery service. Accepting all orders and flying throughout the Galaxy; we are the Amazoness.com delivery force. If you do not have the grit or abilities to carry out these orders--- THEN DIE. b FOU!? Amazoness CEO: The abilities you need are: 1. Stamina. 2. Stamina. And 3~5. Stamina! If you are gifted with one of these, then allow me to verify by my own hand. If you can’t withstand my iron balls, then how will you withstand the customers’ ludicrous complaints! Now then! Let your induction course---staaaaaart!!!
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- You fight off CEO for 5 total turns, fighting back her high attack and hefty HP pool.
Osakabehime: So. Tired. Mash: Good work out there… Amazoness CEO: Alright, you pass. Your bodies are splendid, and haven’t broken down entirely. You said your company’s name was Chaldea, yes? You will be my Amazoness.com’s first outsourcer. I will ensure you are added to our homepage’s business list. Da Vinci: Moving forward, just what kind of work will we be doing, specifically? Amazoness CEO: Fufufu…do not fret. I feel that the relationship between our two companies will be… A win-win! But are you wondering whether or not that’s true? That’s no problem. As an outsourcing partner, our collective fates act as one, and sooner or later our relationship can be referred to as family, or comrades in arms. Our work environment goes without saying: I imagine that you will be a fine addition to Amazoness.com’s esteemed high power workstyle. Be at ease, and enjoy yourselves, as we do a job well worth doing, and produce the greatest work environment you can be prideful of. Good. Also. For now… As I haven’t made one yet, this place shall be Amazoness.com’s new branch office. Osakabehime: Alrighty………. Wait, what!?
ČACHTICE PYRAMID HIMEJI CASTLE IS RECONSTRUCTED AS AMAZONESS.COM’S TEMPORARY REMOTE-PLANET BRANCH OFFICE Despite the message, we look up and down the structure after CEO’s adjustments, but it looks the same. [It got even stranger…] / [Looks as strange as always…]
Option 1: Fou: Fou… Option 2: Mash: Yup. I understand all too well why Master prays when Fall rolls around every year. Osakabehime: As Halloween gets closer, Ma-chan’s expression gets strangely enlightened, and this is why…
Amazoness CEO: Coming? My preparations are complete. Mash: Um…to reconfirm, in such a short amount of time, you actually managed to restructure the inside of the building? Amazoness CEO: Yes, I have. Like my usual innovations nowadays, things like this become simple if use my technological prowess. I’ve reconfirmed such, but there are no further rights issues, correct? Of course, I am aware of the involvement of rights. We aren’t like pirates who take as they please. Hector: Well, it’s kinda strange to talk about who the rights of this Singularity’s building belongs to. The folks involved go like this… Osakabehime got it from Cleopatra, who got it from Elizabeth, but since it became Master’s responsibility, ready consent was given to them. Paris: Ahahaha, that’s so crazy! Cool! Please take a look, Apollo-sama! Let’s climb on up, like, whoosh! Amazoness CEO: Who are you two…? Hector: Heya, we’re just some old guy and his little brother. We’re acting attendants right now too. Is that ok with ya’? Is my new greek styled deodorant working its magic? Although things haven’t changed in being partnered with a CEO, I’d like to ask about the possibility of things getting worse… This old man’s honestly kinda nervous, y’know?
[These are our fellow workers, Mr. Hector and Paris-kun]
Hector: ………. Paris: ………. Amazoness CEO: Hmph. I feel like I’ve seen you, or haven’t seen you before. Yes, actually--- Hector: ……! Amazoness CEO: Are you two the planet Troy's…Shining Hector and Little Angel Devil…? No, you shouldn’t have a reason to be here. A coincidental resemblance between others. Or from another Season. Hector: (Saaaaaaaaaafe! I thought my heart would stoooooop!) Amazoness CEO: Yes, these are indeed our first introductions. I am the CEO of Amazoness.com. Please, take my card so we may familiarize later on. Hector: Oh, thanks. I’m the kinda old guy that really isn’t about those though. I’ve been called here under the reason that I’m a guy who can negotiate well. I’m here since I’ve been said to be better at speaking than others, but… Da Vinci: Our goal isn’t to profit from separate negotiations. The Professor, Holmes, and Caesar were all unfit for the task. To ascertain that we can properly contribute to this environment, we have to be given a Go or No Go. So for a bit…we temporarily took people better related to the situation in a certain way, because we felt it would make talking continue smoothly. Oh, but understand that this CEO is different from the person you know her as, ok? Mash: But do remember…how Chaldea’s Penthesilea can be. Hector: Aah, because there’s all sorts of little complexities for her. Like Achill---
The CEO burns to life with chaotic energy.
Amazoness CEO: Achill? Hector: (Oh, shit! It’s the same landmine of a topic!) Oh, nevermind that, it was nothing! It wasn’t like some coincidental slipup to curse about a kill-er jerk that I don’t like to mention, whom meeting is bad for your mental health so you don’t go outside or something. I was gonna explain that “Right now, working out with indoor temperatures doubles your efficiency times”, so there really isn’t even much reason to leave the room at all. So it’d be good to do some stoic sit-ups right about now, y’know? Mash: Yes, indeed…thank you for your consideration. Hector: C’mon, you don’t have to say that. It’s just something you should do. Paris: So, Pen…I mean, CEO-san. Can we please take a look inside now? Amazoness CEO: Very well. You really do resemble that boy, Little Angel Devil. Paris: Whether I'm an Angel or Devil, thanks. Amazoness CEO: Come this way. Allow me to first tour you through my company’s esteemed warehouse.
The CEO brings you inside, to reveal that palettes and packages all across warehouse walls. [There’s so much stuff!] / [You could get crushed in all this…!]
Fou: Fou! Paris: Ama-zing! Big brother, look, look! The shelves line up so far! Hector: Wow, this is incredible. But don’t get too worked up, Paris. We aren’t here on a field trip to mess around on. Paris: You’re right. So-rry… Amazoness CEO: I don’t mind. This place gives dreams to everyone, and is a critical, central part of Amazoness.com. Children jumping up and down without thinking because of this vast array of dreams is only natural. Rather, it is unavoidable. Mash: Um, it seems a bit fine. Although, we’re inside the castle, but the capacity of the room is clearly strange… Da Vinci: It’s probably from spatial distortion-type magic, or some unknown tech. I noticed, and I’m really interested, but there’d be no end in sight for me about it…but I’m so interested---! Amazoness CEO: While we do have full cooperation with you as an outsourcing partner, I hope you understand that this part must stay a company secret. What’s it called…security…risk…management? Something like that. To explain things a bit, this is where our received orders are gathered, packaged, and shipped. Mash: With how huge this place is, it has to be hard to find what goes with what order. Amazoness CEO: That isn’t so. We actually have crammed items into the shelves randomly. With barcodes, we can completely control “Where something is”, causing no need to tidy the warehouse. It is easy to fine the indicated item, because workers can move to the corresponding shelf. This is my company’s esteemed, future oriented innovation…the Random Stow System! Paris: I get it, even I could do this without messing up! Amazoness CEO: Incidentally, because this place is under Amazoness.com’s ownership, you can use our portals to fly to the closest delivery point, so that each and every deliverer can work at max proficiency. Going on foot, riding a car, or riding a sheep: all are provided and fine. So long as you pay mind to the Galaxy Road & Traffic laws. If you show your Amazoness worker’s badge to the authorities, they’ll usually understand, though. We pay a high tax for times like those. Know that there’s something awaiting you if you complain about the justifiable need to pay taxes that healthy, outstanding companies have. It’s these iron balls. And they hurt. Hector: Wow, entrusting a means of transportation to individuals is great. I’m no rider, but I can still ride or fly on something like anyone else. Amazoness CEO: However, negligence is unforgivable. Amazoness uses portals that you can go between, but you may not know what’s awaiting you on the other side. It may be man-eating giant monsters that eat delivery persons, it may be a wide forest of death, or it may be a dangerous planet with an atmosphere thousands more than our own. Maybe even a gas planet that is nigh-uninhabitable. I say it during training, but death awaits you if you shirk work. And even for the mightiest of Servants… Gratitude Energy is a necessity, and completing a single delivery will likely lead to total exhaustion. ---So!
Amazoness CEO: Instead of reforming the infamous work style of yesterdays, My company has already evolved from suggestions and pushed forward compared to all companies. As you are all special outsourced workers, I have opened things up for you. …Something left alone and unused by other employees. Our employee benefits have been referred to as lukewarm, but I’ll show you what a truly blessed workplace environment is! Come, this way.
CEO takes us somewhere else in the new office. A wide, open room with a game station, massage chairs, a cafeteria, and saunas! [W-what is all this…!?]
Fou: Foufo!? Da Vinci: Wow. This area still feels off, but I can tell it’s linked to the other. Just what is this place? Amazoness CEO: These are our company’s esteemed combined relaxation facilities. Employees are allowed here 24 hours a day, for all to use. The sauna is equipped with an enormous onsen facility, there’s high class massage chairs, beds for power napping, a game center, a food court that offers the best of the best, a dining area that is suited for group usage… This is a paradise for employees exhausted from deliveries to heal their bodies quickly, and once again depart into the battlefield of deliveries. And it’s called, “The Great Amazoness Onsen Tale”!
[Combined relaxation facilities…] / [Looks like a Health Land …]
Mash: It’s clearer with the data we have. Developed in the latter half of 20th Century Japan, it’s a combination area for both potentially bathing and eating. A place where workers exhausted from their job can rest, and business warriors can gather to socialize. That…is Health Land! 3 Amazoness CEO: I’m very unsure of what this planet calls it, but it is indeed a place where warriors gather. And also, stay in good health. Compulsively. If they have a rough delivery that leaves them half dead from wounds, then they can come here and be fantastically replenished to press on for new deliveries. Paris: Oh, I get it. Human relaxation! Hector: Paris, now’s really not the time to say something like that. Paris: Mean! Hector: …Well, I think I actually want to use these facilities myself. By just the scale of it, even our surprising and growing Chaldean Servant family can rest easy here. Paris: If we have big bro’s approval, we can relax! When protecting Troy, I was a little anxious myself, but big bro said “It’s alright, we’ll manage” and he was able to keep protecting us. You can trust big bro’s opinion more than anyone else’s! Hector: I can only judge things up to here though. The final decision has to come from Master. …Whaddya’ say?
[If we have these facilities, I feel like we’re fine] / [Let’s all help the CEO!]
Fou: Foufo-u! Hector: Here here, with Master’s call comes devotion. Welp, let’s start this all-out war delivery service, shall we? Mash: We believe this is the smartest way to ensure the elimination of the micro-Singularity. I’ll be making the most of what little I can do as Support for you all. This will be a good chance to show the e-commerce office worker skills I’ve gained! Da Vinci: OK, with [Guda]’s call, let’s prepare for the worst. Even though it’s just a delivery service…what we’ve been doing until now hasn’t really changed, so stay alert. Instead of strength for fighting Servants, it’d be better to consider conserving strength to move around for work assignments. Riders will obviously be a big deal…or no, even if you’re not one, there’s a ton of vehicles here to use, so consider that too. Hmm… Osakabehime: It’d be fine if I stayed a hikikomori, because I’m not very self-confident in my mobility… Paris: Doesn’t it really feel like every Chaldean Servant will be giving it their all for this? It’s like a festival! So much fun! Hector: Saying its fun is a bit of a stretch. Let’s give it our all in moderation. We talked about how Master will accompany CEO before. In that case, Osakabehime alone should be a sufficient enough bodyguard from Chaldea. You’ll have no choice but to walk alongside them, dragging around. We have several Servants with independent action, so I believe their respective light footwork will be crucial. Paris: All of us are gonna give it our all for deliveries, right? Yay, let’s do it! Osakabehime: Roger, you can trust the bodyguard stuff with me. (With CEO as a vanguard, it’ll be easy to protect Ma-chan with her. Maybe it'll even be fun!)
[Alright everyone, let’s get cracking!] Osakabe, CEO, Paris, Hektor, Mash, and Da Vinci all cheer in unision, as the new branch of Amazoness forms!
Help! ~ Amazoness.com ~ CEO Crisis 2020
--------------------------------------------------------- 1 - " ほんとにござるかぁ?" was an FGO meme in JP for a while when Kojiro said it way, way back in the Moon Dango event. 2 - CEO-chan frequently uses katakana English words midspeech, so I'll be italicizing them to make them more prominent. 3 - This place is real. ---------------------------------------------------------
Many factions hold sway throughout the continent of Conshen, vying for power, control, knowledge, or some other ideal. They weave their webs of influence and intrigue through the actions of their agents, and their clashes form the catalyst for stories in Black Sands. In each part of this series, 9 factions will be summarized, along with three increasingly aligned background packages. These backgrounds imply some connection with the parent organization, though it need not be current.
1: The Nationalist Brigade
A popular group in the settled regions, primarily based out of Stratswarren, the Nationalist Brigade is made up of many of the remaining militia forces who fought against the incursions of the tainted. They have a strong interest in uniting Conshen under the banner of a central government. What they have been most successful with is gaining a measure of jurisdiction for law enforcement in many of the major cities and many outlying settlements, where they have devoted themselves toward bringing order and justice. Whispers of corruption in their higher ranks are common, and that their centralized government would just be a better way to line the pockets of their chosen officials. (Background) Nationalist Brigade: Militia Infantryman (8 pts) You’ve fought on the front lines for your countrymen, and seen warfare against the horrors of the withering. It’s probably left you with some scars to cope with - be they of the body, or the mind. Firearms (3), Tenacity (2), Warfare (2), Melee Combat (2), Intimidation (1) (Background) Nationalist Brigade: Lawbringer (12 pts) Something drives you to restore and promote order. Bringing justice to the scattered settlements of Conshen’s frontier waste is no easy task, but you know that if you don’t, no one will. Intimidation (4), Intimidation: Authority (1), Investigation (3), Influence (3), Firearms (2), Inspiration (1), Tenacity (1) (Background) Nationalist Brigade: Brigadier Officer (17 pts) Within the brigade’s ranks, you hold a title and command a number of soldiers. You may have freedom to range, hunting city-state bounties, or you may be caught in the political arena. Warfare (5), Warfare: Corps (3), Influence (5), Influence: Title (2), Firearms (2), Conveyance (2), Inspiration (2)
2: The Family Forgotten
In dense cities around the world, many interact with the Family Forgotten without even realizing its religious ties. They hold an order similar to gangs of the downtrodden or a thieves guild; they steal and cheat, but they play fair with their own and foster the poor. As one rises in their ranks, one might learn the truth, that their upper ranks serve the holy whims of a hidden god - the King of Rats, whose devotion is to organized crime, family, and loyalty. (Background) Family Forgotten: Vagrant Thief (8 pts) You grew up poor in bustling streets, but made your way through it. Along the way, you learned independence, many tricks, and made some close friends. Stealth (4), Deception (4), Athletics (2), Influence (1), Influence: Associate (1), Poverty (-2) (Background) Family Forgotten: Back-Alley Alchemist (12 pts) You fancy yourself brewer of beer and potions, distiller of liquors and secrets. Your concoctions, though they may not necessarily be legal or even safe, are often effective and rarely forgettable. Esoterics (5), Esoterics: Recipe (2), Attunement (2), Deception (2), Medical (2), Medical: Basic Crafting (2) (Background) Family Forgotten: Whisker of the Rat King (17 pts) A position of status, intrigue, and danger, your duty is to be your nest’s first contact in Family business, by advertising your allegiance in some public place. Few are aware of the god you serve. Deception (5), Inspiration (4), Influence (4), Influence: Associate (2), Attunement (2), Attunement: Chosen (2), Stealth (1), Tenacity (1)
3: Hawkins’ Leyroad Barony
The primary push toward leyline travel comes from a small handful of established companies, mostly because they are the only ones strong enough to resist the others. Newcomers to the rail market meet with accidents and betrayal that can never quite be firmly traced to the established companies, but everyone knows how the game is played. The Leyroad Barony is the strongest of these companies, and because none of the others are strong enough to deny Baron Hawkins’ power, they all must vie for his favor or lose access to the most lucrative routes. Baron and his lieutenants are among the most powerful, decadent, and ethically bankrupt men in the world - they say power corrupts, and when you have a financial empire capable of shutting down an entire city's production with a word, that sort of power corrupts absolutely. (Background) Leyroad Barony: Gandy Chanter (8 pts) Trained in the vagaries of placing leyrail ties, you’ve worked hard days digging out their spots and maintaining the lines. Sometimes you awaken with the old working chants stuck in your head. Tradesman (3), Tenacity (2), Inspiration (2), Attunement (1), Esoterics (1), Survival (1) (Background) Leyroad Barony: Leyrail Conductor (12 pts) As the conductor of a leycar, the hat you wore came with a lot of duties. Setting speed is only part of the job; you’ve been greeter, troubleshooter, even delved lightly into the arcane. Conveyance (5), Conveyance: Leycar Engineer (2), Tradesman (2), Esoterics (2), Intimidation (1), Inspiration (1), Tradesman (1), Attunement (1) (Background) Leyroad Barony: Archanic (17 pts) You’ve apprenticed in constructing the magically levitating leycars, beautiful floating fortresses which zip expediently across the continent. Maybe one day, you’ll even run a line of your own. Conveyance (4), Conveyance: Leycar Engineer (2), Tradesman (3), Attunement (3), Esoterics (3), Academia (2), Influence (2), Wealth (2)
4: The Inextinguishable Light
Despite their grandiose name, this group has a reputation as some of the shadiest and most feared of all factions. Members usually keep their association secret, as there are few willing to trust the Lit. They are best known for drawing their power from surrounding themselves with the Sorrow - but claim to remain free of its grasp. While their colleagues can't dispute that their results are powerful, few are willing to take the risks involved. Those who are - typically those who seek only revenge or power for whatever reason - frequently delve recklessly into the corruption, soon finding themselves tainted as well. (Background) Inextinguishable Light: Recipient of the Leaf (8 pts) The Sacrificial Leaf, a ritual unheard of outside the Lit, offers a costly method to bring a soul back from darkness and shut out the Sorrow. You’re one of the lucky ones to make it back. Attunement (4), Attunement: Sacrificial Leaf (3), Esoterics (1), Tenacity (1), Medical (1) (Background) Inextinguishable Light: Vengeful Stalker (12 pts) The hordes of the sorrow have taken what you loved. You vow that they will know your pain. Choice of Weapon Skill (4), Tenacity (3), Stealth (3), Athletics (3) Attunement (2), Esoterics (1) (Background) Inextinguishable Light: Walker in Darkness (17 pts) You’ve heard the whispers in the darkness, the voices that offer power for dark deeds. You’ve taken their deal, and you’ve sworn to turn their power upon the very darkness that delivered. Choice of Weapon Skill (5), Tenacity (5), Attunement (4), Attunement: Choice of Corruptions (3), Esoterics (2), Stealth (2)
5: The Aetheric Institute of Higher Learning
The most generally accepted school of magic in the world, the Institute has been in operation since early settlement of Conshen. They gained the majority of their popularity after the creation of the magic bolts, which allowed the settlers to turn the tides on the tainted and push them back. Their studies are varied, but focus on philosophy and the arcane arts, particularly those of the Aetheric sphere. They utilize their campus to act as a base of operations for numerous other magical organizations and researchers. (Background) Aetheric Institute: Scholarly Patron (8 pts) Though you haven’t gone so far as to apply for tutelage, the Institute’s mysteries have always held your interest. Thanks to your station, you’re afforded with some time to pursue your curiosity. Academics (3), Esoterics (2), Influence (2), Wealth (2), Attunement (1) (Background) Aetheric Institute: Institute Student (12 pts) You’ve delved deeply into the arcane under the tutelage of the Institute, and the education has given you a glimmering insight into how the anatomy of mankind has the power to unlock reality. Esoterics (4), Academics (3), Attunement (3), Points toward a magical tradition’s background package (3), Medical (2) (Background) Aetheric Institute: Faculty Official (17 pts) Esteemed by the Institute, you assist operations of import for the multi-faceted school. Sometimes this is fundraising and securing capital, other times it is plotting to usher in a bright future for your magi. Influence (5), Influence: Title (2), Esoterics (4), Academics (4), Inspiration (3), Deception (3)
6: The Bluebacks of Kroneheim
The infantry forces of Kroneheim have become known as "Bluebacks" based on their uniform standard armored duster bearing a wide blue stripe down the back and smaller stripes down the arms and sides. Privileged by broad allowances granted in Kroneheim law, rumors that the swollen ranks of the blueback army abuse their power are commonly whispered. (Background) Bluebacks: Blueback Recruit (8 pts) You weighed your options; simple poverty or the chance to better yourself through military service. With Kroneheim’s army, you trained as a line soldier and proudly wore the blue. Firearms (3), Tenacity (2), Warfare (2), Melee Combat (2), Intimidation (1) (Background) Bluebacks: Lobsterboy (12 pts) Heavily armored and quick on your feet, you were part of Kroneheim’s elite forces tasked with cracking their way into enemy formations, and you’ve been given great leeway for your service. Firearms (3), Tenacity (3), Athletics (2), Intimidation (2), Warfare (2), Melee Combat (2), Wealth (1) (Background) Bluebacks: Landed Officer (17 pts) Your family pulled strings to see to your rise in the Kroneheim armies. Though you may have never even seen battle, you’re now in a position of high status with a plot of land to oversee. Influence (5), Influence: Title (2), Influence: Landowner (2), Intimidation (3), Warfare (3), Warfare: Corps (2), Firearms (2), Wealth (2)
7: Crimson Gaslight Guild
Andrei Valentine's "Crimson Gaslight Saloon" is famous throughout Conshen, and if it can still be called just a saloon it is certainly the most widely known saloon on the new continent. It is the central feature of the city Newfelstok, and in fact hosts the legitimate town hall. Though it is now a luxury establishment catering to all classes, numerous similar venues are wholly owned by its business empire. With casinos, brothels, bars and drug dens throughout Newfelstok beside upscale theatres and cultural performances, the Crimson Gaslight Guild own vice and pleasure in a city well known primarily for those two things. Unwilling to stop at Newfelstok's city limit, the guild have their fingers in illicit dealings and mercenary contracting throughout Conshen. (Background) Crimson Gaslight: Bouncer (8 pts) Working as a doorman for one of many guild holdings and probably muscle for its owners, you’ve seen your share of trouble. You’re handy in a scrap, but prefer to keep things light - your bosses say it’s better for business. Intimidation (3), Melee Combat (2), Tenacity (2), Investigation (2), Influence (1) (Background) Crimson Gaslight: Talent Scout (12 pts) Through your sweet-talking ways, you’ve managed to connect the dots between some talented artists and the power to back them up. Now you ride the gravy train, at least as long as they think they need you. Influence (3), Influence: Patron (1), Influence: Entourage (3), Deception (3), Inspiration (3), Wealth (2) (Background) Crimson Gaslight: Mercenary Broker (17 pts) You’ve worked the mercenary trade for a long time, but now you’re on the business side - selling arms and setting up contracts. Maybe it’s safer on your hide than dodging bolts, but betrayal is the danger now. Influence (5), Influence: Supplier (2), Warfare (3), Warfare: Corps (3), Choice of Weapon Skill (3), Tenacity (2), Athletics (1), Intimidation (1), Conveyance (1)
8: The Crow Quills
The honor guard of the Wanderfief and personal army of Warlady Aishe Boln, the Crow Quills are a formidable force of elite seledhioran cavalry. Despite being tasked to the Warlady's varied whims - or perhaps because of this, Crow Quills are often found errant, wandering the countryside in search of adventure and fame for their order. They are known to be flamboyant, highly skilled, and occasionally willing to take up worthy causes but suspicious townsfolk whisper of their witchcraft. (Background) Crow Quills: Caravan Outrider (8 pts) Part of the cavalry guards of the wanderfief, you’ve sometimes ranged far in your duty to scout for threats to the massive caravan. In your off hours, you carouse and forget the dangers of the trails. Conveyance (3), Choice of Weapon Skill (2), Inspiration (2), Investigation (2), Tenacity (1) (Background) Crow Quills: Warlady’s Consort (12 pts) You’ve somehow proven yourself interesting enough to be invited to the Warlady’s court. Now you serve her whims and seek mysteries, as her attention is fickle. Inspiration (4), Influence (4), Esoterics (3), Attunement (2), Deception (1), Conveyance (1) (Background) Crow Quills: Quill Cuirassier (17 pts) One of the elites of the Crow Quills, your shining black breastplate and plumed helm signal your skill. Often, you quest for glory - for your glory is also that of your order and warlady. Firearms (5), Conveyance (4), Inspiration (4), Melee Weapons (2), Tenacity (2), Athletics (2), Influence (2)
9: The Seasoned
A native who bears the favor of the tribes and a talent for the mystical may be asked to join the Seasoned, a group of mystical wanderers and shamans who act as the voice of the season stones. The shamans of the Seasoned are divided into four groups, with one "Voice" connected with each stone, but they hold little separation between orders. While two members of the Voice of Sorrow have a closer philosophy to each other than they might towards a member of the Voice of the Sun, all three are Seasoned, and most likely feel a close bond to one another. It is not uncommon for the Seasoned to seemingly put aside their own Voice in order to help another who is in need. (Background) Seasoned: Tribal Peacekeeper (8 pts) As a regarded member of your tribe, you take the advice of the Seasoned and spread it to the proper ears, and your people have prospered through cooperation. Influence (2), Influence: Patron (1), Inspiration (2), Intimidation (2), Choice of Melee Combat or Projectile Weapons (2), Survival (1) (Background) Seasoned: Wandering Shaman (12 pts) Giving up status and position with the tribe of your birth, you’ve come to see all tribes as your own. Your time is spent resolving conflicts between those who do not realize there is but one tribe. Esoterics (3), Attunement (3), Medical (2), Academics (2), Survival (2), Inspiration (2), Influence (1) (Background) Seasoned: Bulwark of the Seasons (17 pts) When spirits awaken, mankind suffers under their rapacious demands. You’ve sworn to do whatever it takes to put these threats back to sleep, and stand against those who would aid them. Attunement (6), Attunement: Antithesis (2), Esoterics (3), Choice of Weapon Skill (3), Tenacity (3), Investigation (2), Influence (1), Warfare (1)
[SPILERS] NCR now hostile despite 'liked' rep and many quests completed
EDIT: OMG I solved it. There is definitely a bug with faction armor. I switched between Legion, powder ganger and NCR armor a number of times before another visit, and they stopped being hostile. On my first visits to some NCR places however, some of the troopers in NCR camps sort of "ran away" as if there was a combat in the area, but no hostility. I knew there was something invisible "attached" to my character for them to turn hostile because console commands did nothing to relieve their hostility. I suspect there is something wrong with the BoS T51b armor that I previously wore. I ran into this bug despite having the YUP Unofficial NV patch installed, so if anybody knows anyone in the modding community please do let them know. [SPOILERS BELOW] I completed so many quests for the NCR, this is extremely strange. Some of you may be familiar with this situation, please help me pinpoint exactly what I did wrong! Here is a detailed information:
Finished the Archamedis quest without killing NCR soldiers in the area
Killed all the fiend bosses (lied about motor runner though, to save him for Khan quests), 1st recon moved to the eastern camp (did their quest, too), and got the key to Ranger Hideout from Colonel Hsu
At the airport, finished a non-marked quest with that fishy NCR arms trader inside the airport
Finished the monorail quest without blowing up the train
Finished Vault 22 (plant) quest by giving research data to the doctor
Did not kill any NCR soldiers during the Kings questline
Turned in some NCR dogtags to the NCR guys at the eastern camp
'Allowed' NCR to take over the Correction Facility from Powder Gangers, also NCR hold Primm now
This is the situation BEFORE they went hostile:
Completed all Brotherhood of Steel quests
Finished Boomer quests
Finished black mountain (mutant radio) quest
Did not enter the strip at all
Now, my liked and idolized (McCarren airport, I think) status went to shit and the NCR went hostile some time during/after the House/Legion/Yes Man quests after I entered the strip. This is what I did:
Accepted the NCR Ambassador's quest (I said I'll speak to the boomers and left it there, then bankrupted him in caravan)
Killed Benny in the Presidential Suit, gave the platinum chip to House, turned on the robots in the weather station
Accepted Ceasar's request to kill house, not yet killed
So the completed quests after I entered the strip at this point were Ring-a ding-ding, House Always wins I and II (III is started atm, not completed, he asked me to kill or sway the boomers to his side), You and What Army? (weather station) in House's favor and completed Wild Card: Ace in the Hole by simply speaking with Yes Man. Now, afteduring all these, the NCR decided to go hostile, and all NCR area reps went to neutral. In the status screen of Pip-Boy, NCR faction disappeared. However, I am not sure precisely when I completed side quests for ceasar: two of them, the one saving a woman from that casino vault in the strip, and the other one with the howitzer, if these quests factor into this at all. I distinctly remember the game tells you the point of no return for the NCR in the main questline, and that never happened (I think it's the Don't shoot the bear quest) This is my theory so far: Something strange happened when I did Veronica's personal quest, when I got ambushed by 3x BoS paladins at the end of that quest. They were killing me in less than a second after the conversation was over, so I read a bit a decided to go back into the BoS bunker asap. When I came back out, only one of the paladins was hostile so it was easier. Now the remaining two are apparently permanently just standing outside the bunker. This may have something to do with it. Also, Veronica had been my companion for some time during the initial Strip quests and she had BoS B-51b armor on the whole time, and the NCR did not go hostile due to the faction armor (are they supposed to?). The most accurate point in time I can say when NCR went hostile is when I removed her BoS power armor and replaced it with a BoS T-45, repaired my own normal T-51b with her BoS version. I never wore any power armor, BoS or otherwise, before this. I'm sorry about this overly detailed post but I can't play caravan with the ambassador anymore, please help me.
What drives a person to cover themselves in gasoline and drop a match by their feet? That was the question that ran through the minds of many in a crowd outside the Borgata Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey on March 23rd, 2019. At approximately 7:45PM on that cold spring eve, a Mr. James Ferdini, age 47, covered himself in gasoline and was prepared to drop a match in the fuel. As the crowd shouted for him to stop and several witnesses called the police, Mr. Ferdini reportedly stood unfazed, simply grinning and appearing to revel in the crowd’s shock. “It was a suicidal action but it didn’t look like a suicidal person,” says Sam Kenset, an eyewitness to the incident. “I guess I don’t really know what a suicidal person looks like, but his movements and the way he was talking -- he just didn’t seem like a man down on his luck.” Ms. Kenset is quite astute in her observation -- Mr. Feredini was certainly not down on his luck. In fact only moments before covering himself in gasoline, Mr. Ferdini had cashed out more than $1.3 million in winnings from the Borgata Hotel and Casino, making his suicidal action all the more puzzling. However dangerous, Mr. Ferdini’s gasoline soaked stunt would not lead to his death on March 23rd, but his life was not long for this world either. Three days later on March 26th he would be found dead from an entirely different cause. In Mr. Ferdini’s incredible winnings and suicidal tendencies leading up to his unusual and grizzly death on March 26th, many questions remain. Who was James Ferdini? What happened to his more than million dollars in winnings? And what was the lead up of events that caused his demise? Based on interviews with management at the Borgata Hotel and Casino, local police and investigators, and corroborated with eyewitness accounts, independent investigative reporter Myra Kindle, for the first time, brings you a report on the man who nearly bankrupted a casino, and whose luck seemed to make him invincible until his highly improbable death.
What are the Odds?
As the match fell to James Ferdini’s feet outside the Borgata Hotel and Casino, the crowd stood agasp as they waited for the inevitable fire and horrible death of a gas soaked man. This moment would never come however, and the match reportedly landed in the puddle of gasoline meeting it as though it were water. “The crowd started to look away the moment he dropped the match,” says Matthew Gershowitz, a witness to the event. “I couldn’t though -- I needed to see what would happen. I mean we all thought we were witnessing a suicide or something, but the guy was jovial, happy, making jokes with the crowd before he lit the match. And then when it hit the gas, it just burned out, and the man started laughing. We were all amazed. It was like a miracle -- we thought he’d die for sure.” While it’s quite understandable that the crowd believed they had witnessed a miracle when James did not burst into flames, professor of organic chemistry at Villanova University, Marcy Li, says the odds of Mr. Ferdini’s death were far less than certain. “Gasoline is certainly flammable, but not like in the way shown in movies and TV,” says professor Li. “It’s the layer of vapor above that gasoline that is most likely to combust. There could be a number of factors like wind, humidity and temperature that improved Mr. Ferdini’s chance of avoiding being burned alive. I would certainly say he’s lucky, but I wouldn’t say it’s a miracle he didn’t burst into flames.” If Mr. Ferdini relied on luck that day to survive, it would appear to have been with him in spades for quite some time. Having just come from the Borgata casino floor, James was reportedly on a ‘hot-streak’, winning tens of thousands of dollars an hour over the preceding two days. “You have to imagine we were pretty happy when he left the casino,” says Richard Markelson, a floor manager at the Borgata. “Normally we want customers to stay as long as possible so the house can win our money back, but Mr. Ferdini never had a bad roll, spin, or lever pull the whole 40 consecutive hours he was gambling at the Borgata. I’ve never seen anything like it.” Mr. Markelson was able to confirm through cash-logs and casino surveillance that Mr. Ferdini had indeed won big at the Borgata, and records show his total winnings amounted to $1,348,427. Mr. Markelson said of the winnings: “It was enough of a loss over a short period of time that the owners of the casino were worried our insurance premiums were gonna jump. A casino in Atlantic City simply doesn’t lose that much money in such a short time, at least not to a nobody, and Mr. Ferdini was certainly a nobody.”
A Career Loser
While management at the Borgata Hotel and Casino did not know Mr. Ferdini prior to his 40 hour lucrative gambling binge, many on Atlantic City’s boardwalk have been acutely aware of James for years. For example after James’s stunt with the gasoline, he was arrested and taken to the Atlantic City jail and held on the possible charge of disorderly conduct, but was released after the charges were dropped. The reason? The police had a long record of interactions with Mr. Ferdini and thought of him only as a minor risk. “We were more worried about the guy’s mental health than him causing a scene on the boardwalk,” says Atlantic City officer Paul Stevenson. “We’ve known James for years -- I mean he’s a loser. Is it a shock to me that he would try and commit suicide like that? Absolutely not.” When asked why the police did not opt to commit Mr. Ferdini to a hospital on a psychological evaluation, officer Stevenson replied: “The plan was to have him committed, but some lawyer showed up and we didn’t want a legal fight, so we decided to release him instead. I felt a bit mixed about it. I mean the guy was clearly suicidal -- why else would you douse yourself in gasoline?” When told that Mr. Ferdini was reportedly jovial and happy during the gasoline incident, and that he had in fact won more than a million dollars immediately prior to the event, officer Stevenson struggled with the narrative: “That doesn’t sound like the James Ferdini I know. He’s always been a depressed gambler, and never won a game in his life as far as I know. He couldn’t win a hundred bucks, let alone a million. I can’t even believe they let him into the Borgata in the first place, but I guess the cash winnings explains the lawyer.” Officer Stevenson asked if I could confirm the details of the winnings and that Mr. Ferdini was in a jovial mood during the gasoline incident. When I showed documentation of Mr. Ferdini’s winnings provided by Mr. Markelson and relayed several eyewitness accounts as to his temperament, officer Stevenson replied: “I don’t get it. So, why’d he try to burn himself alive?”
Perhaps no individual has a better sense of who Mr. Ferdini is and what happened to him than the floor manager at the Borgata, Mr. Markelson. For 40 hours prior to the gasoline incident, Mr. Ferdini bet heavily at the Borgata casino, and Mr. Markelson was in close proximity for much of his hot-streak. “I was actually supposed to be on vacation that week,” says Mr. Markelson, “but I got called in because the other cooler was sick.” A ‘cooler’ as Mr. Markelson explained, is a relic of old casinos that today is rarely used, however some establishments still invest in what could be called ‘charms’ to bring bad luck to high rollers. “I got hired because I’m unlucky,” explains Mr. Markelson. “I can do the job of floor manager just fine -- don't get me wrong -- but it was my knack for bad luck that got me the job for sure.” A cooler operates by simply being present around those that are on a run of good luck. In Mr. Markelson’s account, he says that being around him will bring such bad luck to any gambler that their cards will go cold, their lever pulls result in no winnings, and their wheel spins doomed to lose money. “It’s a talent I’ve had since, well, forever,” says Mr. Markelson. “If I just stand near someone, they’ll start to have bad luck like me. I know it sounds crazy, and sometimes I don’t believe it myself, but it’s true. I mean, like I said, I think that’s why the casino hired me. They could count on me to go onto the casino floor and bring bad luck to anyone that’s winning a bit too much. Best part, since it’s based on superstition, it’s completely above board.” With James Ferdini, Richard Markelson found that his power did not work however. “I don’t know about before I showed up, but for when I was watching him, that man could not lose. The casino made me stay multiple shifts, I’m talking nearly 40 hours to watch him and were hoping I’d bring him bad luck, but it never happened. He just kept on winning no matter what game he played.”
An Escalation of Bets
In attempting to find James Ferdini’s state of mind prior to the gasoline incident, floor manager Richard Markelson provided unfettered access to video of the casino floor, even though he realized he could be breaking several state gambling commission laws by allowing a reporter to look at such surveillance. In fact, more than taking the risk, it was Mr. Markelson that called me and led me to this story in the first place. “The police didn’t send him to the hospital after the gas thing I’ve been told. I figured the truth has to be somewhere and when police won’t do their job, I guess it’s reporters that have to step in,” says Mr. Markelson. “The most important thing to be me personally is finding out why he died just a few days later in that horrible freak accident -- the one on March 26th.” When asked if Mr. Markelson had any interest in finding Mr. Ferdini’s still missing $1.3 million, he replied: “Of course, but that’s not my primary concern here. I just want to know what the fuck happened. How does a guy who should have felt on top of the world go to dousing himself in gasoline, and then ends up dead a few days later? I really want to know.” In the video access provided by Mr. Markelson, I managed to find new clues that might be able to explain Mr. Ferdini’s downward spiral. It could best be described as an escalation of bets that appeared to take place soon after Mr. Ferdini began his run of good luck. According to video of the casino floor, around the time manager Richard Markelson appeared, Mr. Ferdini started his miraculous winning streak. The video shows Mr. Ferdini starting with craps, moving to baccarat, then slot machines, and followed by a long run at twenty-one. He continues to gamble for 40 straight hours, much of it with Mr. Markelson in close proximity. “I was the only cooler around, so the higher ups at the Borgata made me stay the whole time. I got a lot of overtime that week,” says Mr. Markelson. Curiously, the video shows that at around the 25 hour mark Mr. Ferdini attracts something of a crowd. While the video offers no sound, it appears as though Mr. Ferdini is making several wagers with his new found groupies. At first a few in his new entourage gamble him directly in casino floor games like Texas Holdem, but it appears as though they make several bets outside of the casino games as well. In one instance Mr. Ferdini appears to bet that he can drink boiling hot water. The video shows him drinking a scalding hot cup and immediately receiving a small payout from several people he was talking to before beginning the stunt. It became clear to me after reviewing the video surveillance that for this story, I would need to speak to at least one of the people who witnessed Mr. Ferdini taking on these non-casino game bets. Thankfully, with Mr. Markelson’s help I was able to track down Maria Nowak, who in the video appears to spend several hours with Mr. Ferdini. A resident of Atlantic City, Ms. Nowak was able to confirm that Mr. Ferdini was taking part in what she describes as “extreme behavior”, and that he was seemingly willing to bet on anything and everything. Even games that were clearly not of chance, like drinking boiling hot water.
”For $500, Right?”
Why did Mr. Ferdini cover himself in gasoline and drop a match? It’s a question essential to understanding his mindset, and one for which the answer appears to be quite simple. After tracking down Ms. Nowak, a long time resident who often partakes in long gambling binges herself, she claims Mr. Ferdini covered himself in gasoline and dropped a match in the fuel simply because of a wager. “We had been doing side bets for hours,” says Ms. Nowak, who agreed to meet me at Hayday Cafe, a local coffee shop. “I was with a group of friends and we noticed that this guy [Mr. Ferdini] had not been losing any bets for hours. The guy was pretty much throwing money around and that type of attitude attracts the crowd I was with. So, we started making small talk and then made a few bets, dumb, small ones to start.” When asked what bets her group made with Mr. Ferdini, Ms. Nowak replies: “At first it was things like, how many casino chips he could fit into his mouth. But then it escalated pretty quickly, like soon we were betting on how much money he could win in an hour. Then a bit after that he did this really stupid boiling hot water challenge -- he simply bet he could drink boiling hot water without having to go to the hospital. The bet didn’t make any sense, but like everything else, he won.” “The gasoline challenge was the craziest though,” she continues. “It was clearly a joke when my friend suggested it, but James took him up on it right away. The challenge was, like, ‘can you cover yourself in gasoline, drop a match, and survive?’ James said he would do it for $500, and we just assumed he was kidding, but sure enough he was dead serious.” Ms. Nowak claims that she too was present in the crowd outside the Borgata when Mr. Ferdini made good on the gasoline bet, and that immediately prior to him dropping the match, he said to her and the rest of the gambling entourage, “This is for $500, right?” “He said it but I’m not too sure how many people heard it,” Ms. Nowak says. “I mean the whole crowd was screaming for him to stop. They all thought the guy wanted to kill himself. I guess one of us nodded our heads to James’s question, and then he dropped the match. I’ll be damned, but he won that bet too. We gave him $500 alright, not that he needed it after making all that money at the Borgata.” When asked if Ms. Nowak saw Mr. Ferdini after he was released from the police station, she responds: “Yea, we hung out for the next two or three days -- all of us -- the gambling group that had formed at the casino, James Ferdini, and then, oh yea, that guy Richard Makel-something. I think he worked at the Borgata but he hung around with us for a couple days while we partied at a different hotel. It was around the time Richard and the rest of us left that James was in that freak accident.”
The details of Ms. Nowak’s account have confirmed two things to this reporter. One, Mr. Ferdini’s suicidal gesture to cover himself in gasoline was nothing more than a bet to earn more money. Feeling high from his good luck at the casino, it would appear Mr. Ferdini thought himself invincible and was willing to take on any challenge, even if it put his life on the line. Two, Borgata floor manager and ‘cooler’ Richard Markelson has not been fully forthcoming in his account of what happened. For example, he never mentioned spending time with Mr. Ferdini after leaving the Borgata. Confronting Mr. Markelson, I ask him for a more accurate account of what happened after Mr. Ferdini’s gasoline soaked stunt. Mr. Markelson is nervous in his reply, realizing he’s been caught withholding valuable information. “You have to understand that James is not particularly good with money,” starts Mr. Markelson. “I know I’m saying that having really only met the guy at the Borgata casino, but you could just tell he was something of a loser. Maybe other people told you that too, I don’t know. My point is James was destined to spend that money on drugs and alcohol, and well, we all kind of just tagged along for the ride.” Mr. Markelson goes on to describe a drug fueled binge that lasted from Saturday March 23rd until sometime before Mr. Ferdini’s death on Tuesday, March 26th. “James and I had been awake for more than 40 hours when he left the casino, and I was going to go to bed, but somehow I got roped into his entourage he found at the Borgata when he was raking in cash. I would’ve gone home, but free cocaine is free cocaine. I’m not particularly proud of saying that, but it’s true -- I really like the drug.” Richard Markelson says that in addition to drugs, Mr. Ferdini hired prostitutes and strippers for the group’s amusement. “I’m not into all the seedy stuff, but we had been awake for a long long time and on so much shit. I mean we were taking meth rips and stuff. Yea, it’s weird now that I look back on it, but a binge can be like that sometimes.” The most important question to this reporter is what happened in the final hours of Mr. Ferdini’s life. In this respect, Mr. Markelson claims to know nothing. “I left before he died on Tuesday,” says Mr. Markelson. “It doesn’t surprise me that he died though. The gasoline bet was just the beginning of it. That girl, Maria Nowak, the one that told you I was hanging out with the impromptu entourage -- it was her boyfriend that really stepped things up in a pretty violent way in terms of betting.” When asked what he means by “violent”, Mr. Markelson responds: “I mean they were actually gambling on Russian roulette in the hotel room when I left.”
That Other Roulette
Once again reaching out to Ms. Nowak, I ask her about Mr. Markelson’s description of partying and gambling in a hotel with Mr. Ferdini. It was at this point that Ms. Nowak declined any further questions, only providing the statement: “I’ve said everything I’m going to say.” While this seemed like a certain dead end to discovering what happened in the final hours of Mr. Ferdini’s life and also possibly to tracking down what happened to his $1.3 million in winnings, I by luck received a phone call shortly before I was ready to call it quits on this investigation. The phone call was from one Mr. Samuel Howlser, boyfriend to Ms. Maria Nowak. Mr. Howlser said he wished to speak with me to clarify a few details that Ms. Nowak had shared with me and to dispute any “lies” stated by Mr. Markelson. “Me and Maria didn’t steal nobody’s money and we’re not gonna get in trouble for what Richard Markelson or anyone in that entourage might be telling you,” Mr. Howsler said to me in a phone interview. When asked about details of the drug fueled gambling binge shared by Mr. Markelson and Ms. Nowak, Mr. Howsler mostly confirms their accounts, however his description of floor manager Makelson is less favorable than what Mr. Markelson told me himself. “He was the craziest fucker of the bunch, definitely,” says Mr. Howlser. “He knew the hookups for the crystal and coke, got us ketamine too. But the nuttiest thing about him is what the fuck he’d bet on. Like if Ferdini thought he was invincible, doubly so for that manger from the Borgata. Markelson was the one that brought out a revolver for Russian roulette too, and they played like dozens of games.” Russian roulette, a lethal game of chance that has the player hold a loaded pistol to their head and fire, is an extremely dangerous game that has been popularized in media and fiction for decades. The game requires a loaded revolver to have at least one bullet chambered before firing, with the odds of death usually being one in six. “It was fucking crazy when Markelson said he’d play it, but the dude was having as good luck as Ferdini so he thought he could do it,” says Mr. Howlser. “So they load a pistol with a bullet and start playing each other cause they were the only two fuckers crazy enough to do it. They play one round, but no winner so they go again. Second round, no winner so a third. Eventually they play enough rounds where they figure they gotta up the odds. So instead of loading one bullet, they load two. They play round after round with two out of six chambers loaded with bullets, spinning the revolver cylinder each time before they pull the trigger. This goes on for a while right, and then they load another fucking bullet. Each round now these guys have a one-in-two chance of blowing their brains out, but they keep playing.” In Mr. Howlser’s recounting over the phone, I hear he is deeply disturbed by this story and ask why him and everyone in the gambling entourage continued to sit in the hotel room. In response he says, “We had been up for days smoking crystal and doing other shit. We were fuckng zombies. It’s only looking back now, sober, that I can see how crazy it was.” But the game of lethal roulette was not over yet. Mr. Howlser claims that Mr. Ferdini and Mr. Makelson continued to play round after round, occasionally loading another bullet until finally the revolver was fully loaded. “With six out of six chambers loaded, the odds of them dying on the next trigger pull was 100%,” says Mr. Howsler. “And I’ll damned, but they both went, and they both fucking lived. Somehow, they both got dud cartridges. After that, they both just had huge laugh for a while. A little bit later, Richard Markelson leaves and James Ferdini and the rest of us stay doing drugs for a bit until the rest of us guests leave too.” Before Mr. Howlser ends the phone call, he stresses again the reason for contacting me. “What happened is a messed up story, I know, but the point is that me and Maria don’t know anything about James Ferdini’s death or where his money is. Once we were sober enough to leave that seedy hotel outside Atlantic City, we left along with the rest of the people that were following James. And when we left, he was alive, and he had his money.”
While Mr. Markelson, Mr. Howlser, and Ms. Nowak all say they only know the most basic details of how James Ferdini died, his death has actually been well documented by investigators and the coroner's office for Atlantic City. Prior to this report, it was the mindset of Mr. Ferdini that was previously unknown. Sill up in the air is the whereabouts of his $1.3 million. But from what I've found, the report on his death is fully accurate, and even clears any of the entourage that was following him from being involved in any possible wrongdoing related to James Ferdini’s death. On Tuesday March 26th at approximately 4:30AM, it would appear Mr. Ferdini’s luck simply ran out. In that early morning hour, someone on Mr. Ferdini’s floor had ordered room service. As the porter was delivering the food, he slipped and fell outside of Mr. Ferdini’s room. The noise from the fall awoke Mr. Ferdini who opened his door to find the porter picking up a tray of food in the hallway. Upset at the disruption and the clanging of silverware outside his room, Mr. Ferdini proceeded to yell at the porter, pushing him against the wall in the hallway. The confrontation ended when Mr. Ferdini told the porter that he was so upset that he was going to go down to the lobby and speak to management about the disruption. Heading to the elevator, the porter told Mr. Ferdini that it was out of service. Frustrated, he turned to the stairwell and began walking downstairs. Mr. Ferdini would never make it to the lobby however. What Mr. Ferdini didn’t know was that the porter had also used the stairs to walk up to his floor, and that along the way he had spilled a small dish of ketchup. When Mr. Ferdini walked across the spot where the porter had dropped the ketchup, he slipped and fell, falling down the stairs and knocking himself unconscious on the ground floor. While in bad shape, investigators say that Mr. Ferdini was still alive at this moment, but what came next would be the fatal blow, or series of blows. With the elevator out, the stairwell was the only way up and down the hotel floors. While Mr. Ferdini was unconscious on the ground, he blocked the entryway to the stairwell from the ground floor. A guest a moment later would attempt to open the door to the stairwell, but found that it was blocked by some obstruction that he could not see. Bothered and wanting to get to his room, the guest then started slamming on the door, thrusting it open with all his energy. He did not realize it, but the door he was thrusting over and over was slamming into the left side of Mr. Ferdini’s temple. The heavy metal door banged away over and over again, causing Mr. Ferdini’s brain to hemorrhage, and eventually doing enough damage that it would kill him fully. The guest only stopped thrusting as the porter came back down the stairs to see Mr. Ferdini with his head being repeatedly bashed in by the door. The porter screamed and soon the guest was made aware that he had accidentally killed Mr. Ferdini. In this unusual and grizzly death, a confluence of bad luck came together to end Mr. Ferdini’s life. If the elevator had not been out. If a guest on Mr. Ferdini’s floor had not ordered room service. If the guest had not ordered a dish that came with ketchup. If the porter had not spilled ketchup in the stairwell or dropped plates outside Mr. Ferdini’s room. If Mr. Ferdini had not waken up. If he had not confronted the porter and decided to go down to the lobby. If he had not slipped in the stairwell. If a guest on the ground floor did not repeatedly try to enter the stairwell. If any of these things had gone slightly differently, Mr. Ferdini would still be alive. It could be said that Mr. Ferdini had finally found a run of bad luck, and incredible bad luck at that.
I cannot speak to Mr. Ferdini. He died long before I came to Atlantic City. For this story I’ve had to rely on the video surveillance from the Borgata casino and several eyewitness accounts of the drug fueled binge at the seedy hotel outside Atlantic City. In those accounts from Mr. Ferdini’s hotel room, I’m left with conflicting views and shattered narratives. It is clear to me that Ms. Nowak, Mr. Howlser, and Mr. Markelson cannot be trusted to give a full accounting of what happened. In my mind, the clearest liar of them is Mr. Markelson, who both omitted his story of seeing James after the gasoline incident, and also whose story is in direct conflict with Mr. Howsler and Ms. Nowak. While Mr. Markelson claims it was Mr. Howlser that had a revolver to play roulette, Mr. Howlser and Ms. Nowak both say it was Mr. Markelson. Embedded in these lies and less than full accounts is a still missing $1.3 million. Something I believe Mr. Markelson is desperate to try and find, and for which was his original impulse to contact this reporter. Now with an understanding of James Ferdini’s mindset leading up to his death, I am left with the unanswered question of what happened to Mr. Ferdini’s missing money. I head back to where this story started, the Borgata where the gambling binge took fold. I seek an interview with Bill Hornbuckle, President of MGM resorts and a majority stakeholder in the Borgata Hotel and Casino. He agrees to speak with me and provides a full record on floor manger Richard Markelson. I start the interview by asking if he’s aware if Richard Markelson owns a handgun, and in particular a revolver. In response, he says: “Our records indicate Mr. Markelson has a concealed carry license from the state of New Jersey for a Ruger LCR Six-Shot revolver. We have this in our records because Mr. Markelson is authorized to carry the weapon on the premises.” Mr. Hornbuckle asks if I believe Mr. Markelson was involved in Mr. Ferdini’s death, to which I tell him I do not believe he is. I give the accounts of Mr. Markelson, Mr. Howlser, and Ms. Nowak, and while Mr. Hornbuckle is disturbed by the story, he agrees that Mr. Markelson has done nothing strictly illegal outside of drug use. He does add however: “The story with Russian roulette, if true, would certainly make us reconsider allowing Mr. Markelson to carry a weapon in the casino.” Confirming that Mr. Markelson was the owner of the revolver has led me to believe Mr. Howlser and Ms. Nowak’s account over Markelson’s. It seems likely now that like Mr. Markelson did indeed play a dangerous game of Russian roulette with Mr. Ferdini, and that it was he who provided the gun to use. Before I leave the Borgata, I ask Mr. Hornbuckle about another detail Mr. Markelson told me that I am no longer sure is true. I ask if a ‘cooler’ is something casinos really use, and if specifically Mr. Markelson is designated as one at the Borgata. His response is to laugh at first, but he goes on to say: “Yes, a cooler is a real term. I actually believe in them myself. Luck is real. It’s a tangible thing that follows people around -- good luck and bad luck. I believe coolers have saved my casinos a lot of money over the years, and Mr. Markelson certainly fits that role at the Borgata. He's terribly unlucky, couldn't win a game of cards if his life depended on it. Still, he's invaluable at cutting the luck high rollers short." He pauses before continuing: “There is of course the problem of the double negative, or when two coolers are together. It happens when a cooler is around someone who has luck just as bad as him or her. Like two positive or negative charges on a magnet, they repel each other, and the cooler’s effect instead of bad luck is one of incredible good luck. I’ve never seen it myself, but I’ve heard that even the most unlikely people on earth can have incredible runs of good luck if someone as equally unlucky as them is near.” I propose the idea that maybe Mr. Ferdini was as unlucky as Mr. Markelson, and that together they achieved this ‘double negative,’ bringing them good luck while they were together. “Yes,” Mr. Hornbuckle says. “I suppose that’s possible. It’s a very dangerous situation though for an unlucky person to suddenly be met with non-stop good luck. It could make you think yourself invincible, unable to be defeated in any challenge. You might even start to take on bets on things that aren’t real games of chance, like harming yourself by drinking boiling water. There’s also the danger of what happens when the double negative effect is over. One cooler parts ways, then each would fall into their own run of terrible luck, not realizing that their hot-streak has ended.” As the interview concludes and I leave the Borgata, I think about the good luck Mr. Ferdini and Mr. Markelson had. I consider the incredible odds that both survived firing a loaded gun to their temples only for each to find a dud cartridge. I ponder the unfortunate series of events that would kill Mr. Ferdini after Mr. Markelson left his hotel room. Lastly, I think about Mr. Markelson’s own luck since March 26th. Maybe it hasn’t been as bad as Mr. Ferdini's, but I know he contacted a reporter and as a result management at his casino will be looking into his behavior. I consider and think, that is not too lucky.
What was meant to be a short report about an unusual death in Atlantic City has grown into something longer. This is now a meandering investigation with unreliable characters, newly discovered details, and a still missing $1.3 million. Before I leave New Jersey and return to New York, I go to the seedy hotel where Mr. Ferdini and his entourage consumed drugs and played Russian roulette, and where he would eventually die. It is my hope that I can speak to the porter -- the last person to ever see Mr. Ferdini alive. At the hotel I speak to the manager and ask her who was the porter in the early morning hours of March 26th. The manager tells me that the porter no longer works for the hotel, and that in fact he had quit the very same day Mr. Ferdini died. “After the police left, he flipped us all off,” the manager says. “That son of a bitch quit in style, telling us he didn’t need to work here no more. He said he was set and that we can kiss his ass goodbye.” I ask the manager if they knew where the porter could have gone, to which she replies: “No idea. After he was done talking to the police about the death in the stairwell, I think he was out of New Jersey for good. He used to live nearby so I saw him when he left. He was fully packed. Had all of his stuff with him and three really full duffel bags I’d never seen before. He really didn’t seem like he was coming back -- had everything with him.” Like the porter, I load my bags and finally prepare to leave New Jersey. As I do a thought pops into my mind: Could the porter that night have discovered Mr. Ferdini’s $1.3 million in three duffel bags in his room? I consider and think, maybe, and if he did, maybe this porter is the luckiest man in Atlantic City. Myra Kindle is an independent investigative reporter. She covers tech, law, politics, and other stories that would be impossible to write about in more traditional outlets.
[Other] A Look into Sony/Columbia Pictures: History, 2019, and Beyond
On this post, I will focus on Sony Pictures/Columbia Pictures, the studio people want dead because they own Spider-Man and not Marvel. Besides Spider-Man, this studio is most well known for Terminator 2: Judgement Day, Men in Black, Hancock, 2012, the Daniel Craig 007 Films (Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, Skyfall, and Spectre), and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. Before we start, I want to say something, and I might get downvoted for this. People when Paramount Pictures’ 2017 slate critically and commercially flops (every single one of them was rated poorly: Monster Trucks, xXx: The Return of Xander Cage, Rings, Ghost in the Shell, Baywatch, Transformers: The Last Knight, Mother!, Suburbicon, Daddy’s Home 2, and Downsizing): I hope Paramount Pictures improves as a studio. But hey, with new management, Paramount will turn things around in no time. People when Sony Pictures’ Venom gets negative reviews from critics: FUCK YOU SONY! STOP MAKING SPIDER-MAN FILMS! PACK YOUR BAGS! SELL THE SPIDER-MAN RIGHTS TO MARVEL! GO ROT IN HELL! YOU PEOPLE ARE INCOMPETENT! Oh by the way, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse looks great, Sony. I also can’t wait for Spider-Man: Far From Home which is an MCU film (as they forget that Sony has final creative control and distributes the film). Anyways, FUCK YOU, SONY! I WISH YOUR MOVIES WOULD FLOP SO YOU CAN SELL YOUR MOVIE DIVISION! YOU CAN’T MAKE SPIDER-MAN MOVIES ANYMORE! (Screeching Intensifies) It’s a good time to be a Spider-Man/Sony fan and a bad time to be a Sony hater. I’m not saying Paramount Pictures deserves to get blasted on, but Sony getting blasted constantly is somewhat unjustified to me. Of course, you may not like the direction the Spider-Man franchise had been going with Sony (then again Into the Spider-Verse says hi), but people are judging some films negatively because it’s a Sony film. Or some people just look at the new Spider-Man movies, Ghostbusters (2016), the Emoji Movie, and Venom’s reviews, and say that the whole studio sucks because of that. I’m sure some people have other reasons, but I don’t get how Sony is a reason why a movie is bad. It’s just a film studio. They’ve made bad movies, but so have 20th Century Fox, Universal, Paramount, Warner Bros, and Disney. They’ve made good movies too. I’ll show you some down below. 1924-1976: The Beginning and Before the 80s In 1918, Harry Cohn, Jack Cohn, and Joe Brandt founded Cohn-Brandt-Cohn (CBC) Film Sales. In order to improve the brand name, the company was renamed to Columbia Pictures Corporation on January 10, 1924. Columbia’s films were mostly moderately budgeted comedies, sports films, serials, and cartoons. As time went on Columbia would start making high budget films and join United Artists and Universal Pictures to become the “Little Three” in the Golden Age of Hollywood. Unlike the five major film studios in the Golden Age, RKO Radio Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 20th Century Fox, Paramount Pictures, and Warner Bros Pictures, Columbia didn’t own any theaters. However, Columbia’s rise to become a major film studio was due to the ambitious director, Frank Capra, with movies like It Happened One Night, Lost Horizon, and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, which made James Stewart a star. Columbia couldn’t afford to have a large amount of contract stars to the point where they would borrow stars from other studios. MGM would send some of their stars to Columbia to punish them if they weren’t obedient. After Harry Cohn’s death in February 1958, Columbia started to decline with multiple box office failures to the point where they could possibly go bankrupt. Fortunately in 1972, the studio was saved with an drastic overhaul in management and a deal with Warner Bros to share the WB studio lot. Some Columbia hits include Lawrence of Arabia, Dr. Strangelove, and Taxi Driver. Notable Columbia Pictures films: Discontented Husbands, It Happened One Night, Lawrence of Arabia, Dr. Strangelove, and Taxi Driver 1977-1983: Close Encounters of the Third Kind Era On November 1977, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, a sci-fi film directed by Steven Spielberg, became a major success for Columbia Pictures and was their highest grossing film at the time (making $307M worldwide). In 1982, Columbia Pictures was bought out by Coca-Cola, the company behind the soda. Tri-Star Pictures was also created around this time, while Columbia expanded its television franchise. Major hits for the studio include Kramer vs. Kramer, The Blue Lagoon, Stripes, Stir Crazy, Tootsie, and The Big Chill. Notable Columbia Pictures films: Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Kramer vs. Kramer, Stripes, Stir Crazy, and Tootsie Notable Columbia Pictures film that bombed: Krull 1984-1989: Ghostbusters/The Karate Kid/Rambo Era On June 1984, two Columbia Pictures movies would be the biggest movies and the most well known films in Columbia’s library: Ghostbusters (making $295M worldwide) and The Karate Kid (making $91M in the US). Ghostbusters would receive a sequel in the form of Ghostbusters II, while The Karate Kid would become a trilogy. On the TriStar side, they had received Rambo: First Blood Part II and Rambo III, which would be a major success for the studio. Rambo: First Blood Part II was the highest grossing Columbia/TriStar film in this era, making $300M worldwide. Other hits include Stand By Me, Look Who’s Talking, Peggy Sue Got Married, and When Harry Met Sally… This success would catch the eyes of a fellow Japanese multinational conglomerate that would buy them in 1989. Notable Columbia/Tristar Pictures films: Ghostbusters 1 and 2, The Karate Kid Trilogy, Rambo: First Blood Part II and Rambo III, When Harry Met Sally…, and Look Who’s Talking Notable Columbia Pictures films that bombed: Ishtar and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen 1990-1996: Early Sony Era On 1989, Sony bought Columbia Pictures for $3.4B. Did Sony buy the best studio at the time? Probably not, but I don’t know if they could’ve bought a different studio (20th Century Fox was owned by News Corporation, Warner Bros was probably too successful to be bought, and Disney would never give in to another corporation). The three studios I could see Sony buying instead of Columbia are MGM/UA, Universal, or Paramount, though I’m leaning towards Paramount more. Imagine complaining about the new Star Trek movie or Transformers movie being ruined by “Sony”. But honestly, this wasn’t a bad buy for Sony as they would keep their film division to this day. In the long term. As for short term, well, something was off. In 1994, Sony took a $2.7B write-off. It seems like it took less time for Sony to make a successful video game console (PlayStation) than it took for Sony to make Columbia Pictures an actual worthy investment. Most of the hits came from TriStar and not from Columbia Pictures with movies like Hook, Basic Instinct, Cliffhanger, Sleepless in Seattle, Philadelphia, Jumanji, and the highest grossing film for TriStar at the time, Terminator 2: Judgement Day (making $521M worldwide). On the Columbia side of things, the biggest franchise they had was probably City Slickers, but it wasn’t much compared to Ghostbusters, The Karate Kid, and Rambo in the 80s. They did have some other hits like Total Recall, Flatliners, Misery, Boyz N the Hood, The Prince of Tides, A League of Their Own, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, A Few Good Men, Groundhog Day, In the Line of Fire, Bad Boys, The Cable Guy, and the highest grossing Columbia Pictures film in this era, Jerry Maguire (making $274M worldwide). Notable Sony/Columbia Pictures films: Total Recall (1990), Terminator 2: Judgement Day, Hook, City Slickers, Basic Instinct, and Jumanji Notable Sony/Columbia Pictures film that bombed: Hudson Hawk 1997-2001: Men In Black Era Fortunately in 1996, Amy Pascal and Chris Lee was brought in to become the president of Columbia and TriStar, respectively. On 1997, Sony Pictures was ranked as the highest grossing film studio in the US, making $1.26B with movies like The Fifth Element, My Best Friend’s Wedding, Air Force One, As Good As It Gets, and the highest grossing Sony film in this era, Men In Black (making $251M in the US and $589M Worldwide). Other hits from Sony in this era include Godzilla, The Mask of Zorro, Stepmom, Big Daddy, Stuart Little, The Patriot, Charlie’s Angels, America’s Sweethearts, and Black Hawk Down. After their success in 1997, they weren’t able to replicate their success and fell behind the other major film studios. In 2000, they were in 7th place behind every major film studio plus Dreamworks SKG, making $682M that year. In 2001, they were in 6th place behind every major film studio, making $729M that year. Fortunately for Sony, they had gotten their hands on the most iconic Marvel superhero with plans to make a live action movie of this character. And this character made a major impact on Sony Pictures. Notable Sony/Columbia Pictures films: The Fifth Element, Men In Black, Air Force One, Stuart Little, and Charlie’s Angels Notable Sony/Columbia Pictures film that bombed: Ali and Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within 2002-2007: Spider-Man Era While Paramount’s 90th anniversary in 2002 didn’t end well, Columbia Pictures’ 78th anniversary was amazing. Not only was this year the best year since 1997, Sony was able to have the largest market share and make $1.5B in the US, surpassing 1997 with movies like Panic Room, Mr. Deeds, Men In Black II, xXx, Maid in Manhattan, and Sony’s highest grossing film at the time, Spider-Man (making $404M in the US and $822M worldwide) Spider-Man would be the highest grossing Sony film domestically until 2018. In 2004, Sony had the largest market share again and made $1.2B in the US with movies like 50 First Dates, White Chicks, The Grudge, Christmas with the Kranks, and of course, Spider-Man 2. In 2005, Sony led a consortium that purchased MGM, giving Sony the distribution rights to the James Bond franchise. In 2006, Sony would have the largest market share for the third time this era and made $1.7B in the US, surpassing 2002 with movies like The Da Vinci Code, Click, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Open Season, Casino Royale, and The Pursuit of Happyness, showing that Sony doesn’t need Men In Black or Spider-Man to make $1B in the US. This didn’t happen with the odd-numbered years, as Sony was 2nd in 2003 (making $1.2B that year), 5th place in 2005 (making $918M that year), and 4th place in 2007 (making $1.2B that year, even with the release of Spider-Man 3) Around this time, Sony were able to keep two actors around to make most of their films under Sony: Adam Sandler with Mr. Deeds, Anger Management, 50 First Dates, and Click and Will Smith with Men in Black II, Bad Boys II, Hitch, and The Pursuit of Happyness. Spider-Man was clearly the biggest franchise for Sony in this era and has been the biggest franchise for Sony since. Sony had other small franchises that were profitable like Resident Evil and Underworld. Other hits from Sony include Daddy Day Care, Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, S.W.A.T., Superbad, and Spider-Man 3, which would become the highest grossing Sony film at the time, making $890M worldwide despite mixed reviews. Notable Sony/Columbia Pictures films: Spider-Man Trilogy, Men In Black II, Hitch, The Da Vinci Code, and Casino Royale Notable Sony/Columbia Pictures films that bombed: Stuart Little 2, Gigli, xXx: State of the Union, Stealth, and Zoom 2008-2012: The James Bond Era Now with the Spider-Man franchise mostly absent this era besides the Amazing Spider-Man, Sony mostly depended on Adam Sandler, Will Smith, and the James Bond franchise to be successful. I’ve noticed that other than that, Sony doesn’t heavily depend on multiple successful franchises compared to the other major film studios. They actually profited off of many original films in the previous era and this era. James Bond was still going strong with Quantum of Solace and reached to franchise and studio records with Skyfall, becoming James Bond and Sony’s highest grossing film and Sony’s only billion dollar film to this date, making $1.1B worldwide. Adam Sandler had hits with movies under Happy Madison like You Don’t Mess With Zohan, Paul Blart: Mall Cop, Grown Ups, Just Go With It, and Zookeeper. Will Smith had hits with movies like Hancock, The Karate Kid (as Producer), and Men In Black 3. They were 5th in 2010 and 3rd in 2008, 2009, and 2011. The only time they had the largest market share this era was in 2012, making $1.8B in the US, surpassing 2006 with movies like The Vow, 21 Jump Street, Men In Black 3, The Amazing Spider-Man, Hotel Transylvania, Skyfall, and Zero Dark Thirty. Other hits for Sony include Step Brothers, Pineapple Express, Angels and Demons, District 9, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Zombieland, 2012, Salt, The Other Guys, The Social Network, The Green Hornet, Battle: Los Angeles, The Smurfs, Bad Teacher, Moneyball, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Notable Sony/Columbia Pictures films: 007 James Bond (Quantum of Solace and Skyfall), Hancock, 2012, The Karate Kid, The Amazing Spider-Man, and Men In Black 3 Notable Sony/Columbia Pictures films that bombed: Year One, The Pink Panther 2, How Do You Know, Jack and Jill, That’s My Boy, and Total Recall (2012) 2013-2016: The Amazing Spider-Man 2/Sony Hack/The Decline Era After 2012, it seems like Sony was slowly declining. Sony didn’t have a stable franchise, though was still doing better than Paramount. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was supposed to set up a whole cinematic universe on Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man, but underperformed and the sequels were cancelled in favor of a deal struck with Marvel Studios to bring Spider-Man to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Spectre did well as a James Bond film, but was the last James Bond film Sony would be able to distribute. Adam Sandler and Will Smith movies weren’t doing as well as before and pretty much stopped making films for Sony at the end of this era. Ghostbusters was rebooted, but infamously underperformed. They were 4th in 2013 and 2014 and 5th in 2015 and 2016 (making slightly less than $1B in the US), just above Paramount Pictures. Some other hits are This is the End, Grown Ups 2, Elysium, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, Captain Phillips, American Hustle, 22 Jump Street, The Equalizer, Hotel Transylvania 2, The Angry Birds Movie, Sausage Party, Don’t Breathe, The Magnificent Seven, and Passengers. In late 2016, Sony took a $962M write down, with rumors starting that Sony would sell off their movie division sometime in 2017 if their 2017 lineup didn’t do so well. This most likely wasn’t true, and 2017 fortunately proves the studio’s worth. Notable Sony/Columbia Pictures films: Captain Phillips, American Hustle, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, 22 Jump Street, Hotel Transylvania 2, and Spectre Notable Sony/Columbia Pictures films that bombed: After Earth, White House Down, Aloha, Pixels, Grimsby, and Ghostbusters (2016) 2017-Present: Spider-Man/Jumanji Era (Comeback Era?) In the first half of 2017, it wasn’t looking too good for Sony. Resident Evil: The Final Chapter did fine, especially in China. Life and Rough Night were only modest successes for the studio. Smurfs: The Lost Village was an attempt to reboot the Smurfs but underperformed, making slightly less than $200M. However, things started to turn around with three summer movies: Baby Driver, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and the Emoji Movie. Baby Driver was a surprise success for Sony and for director Edgar Wright. Spider-Man was shared between Marvel and Sony, which led to everyone wanting to see Spider-Man’s first solo film (+Iron Man) with Marvel Studios, making $880M worldwide, just $10M behind Spider-Man 3. The Emoji Movie was made fun of by everyone, even though enough people went to make this film $218M worldwide. The Dark Tower did alright, but probably not enough to warrant a sequel. It seems like Sony did alright, but then December 2017 came. Sony decided to release Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle near Star Wars: The Last Jedi as counter programming (what a moron, am I right? /s). With the movie having a surprisingly strong word of mouth, it topped Star Wars: The Last Jedi in the first few weeks of 2018. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle would later go on to make $405M in the US, surpassing Spider-Man to be the highest grossing Sony film in the US and would make $962M worldwide, just a notch below $1B. I had a feeling that $405M made in the US was what Sony was expecting the movie to make worldwide. In 2018, Sony’s success continued on with hits like Peter Rabbit, Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation, The Equalizer 2, and the biggest surprise of 2018 for Sony that isn’t Jumanji, Venom, making at least $212M in the US and at least $823M worldwide. Sony was also able to keep the budgets low and have low budget films like Sicario: Day of the Soldado, Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween, and Searching make a decent amount of profit. It may seem like Sony is making a comeback, especially with Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse being well received and being at least moderately successful (though only time will tell). Notable Sony/Columbia Pictures films: Baby Driver, Spider-Man Homecoming (and Into the Spider-Verse), Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation, and Venom 2019 is next year, and it’s time to look at what Sony has in-store for everyone next year. I’ll try to keep it short (with a basic description of each one if necessary and how well it might do). The numbers I have won’t be accurate, so take it with a grain of salt. Escape Room - it’s a psychological thriller film directed by Adam Robitel. If it has a low budget, I think this could be moderately successful while adapting the escape room idea into film. I’d say $50M Domestic and $70M Worldwide. A Dog’s Way Home - it’s a family drama film directed by Charles Martin Smith. I don’t get how A Dog’s Purpose is at Universal while this movie is at Sony. Did Universal not buy the rights to every single A Dog book or what? This will probably make less than A Dog’s Purpose with $50M Domestic and $180M Worldwide. But at least it comes out before A Dog’s Journey, another movie based on the A Dog franchise. A Dog’s Way Home will probably make more than A Dog’s Journey based on this movie coming first. Miss Bala - it’s an American-Mexican action thriller directed by Catherine Hardwicke and is a remake of the 2011 Mexican film of the same name. I don’t know what to compare this too. There isn’t any numbers on how much the original did either, so I have to make guesses. I’d say $50M Domestic and $100M Worldwide. Greyhound - it’s a war film directed by Aaron Schneider and starring Tom Hanks in another World War II movie. No footage has been released, but it could make $100M Domestic and $300M Worldwide with the right marketing and a good movie like Saving Private Ryan. The Intruder - it’s a psychological thriller directed by Deon Taylor. This could do almost as well as Don’t Breathe, but I still don’t get why the former owner of the mansion sold his house (if you see the trailer). $70M Domestic and $100M Worldwide. The Rosie Project - it’s a film directed by Ben Taylor. Not much is known unless you read the book. Besides Crazy Rich Asians, there hasn’t been much romantic comedies. I guess this can be compared with Overboard (2018), meaning this movie could do $50M Domestic and $70M Worldwide BrightBurn - it’s a horror film directed by David Yarovesky with James Gunn producing the film. This could break out, even in the late May slot. Then again, not much is known about this film. Maybe $80M Domestic and $120M Worldwide? Men In Black International - it’s a science fiction action comedy film directed by F. Gary Gray and is a spinoff of the Men in Black trilogy. What makes this a spinoff is that this is a London based team instead of New York. And hey, Chris Hemsworth is another Sony franchise that Sony is trying to make relevant. But I think it could succeed this time, unlike Ghostbusters (2016). I could see this doing at least $160M Domestic, though it could go as high as $240M Domestic with a strong word of mouth, similar to how well Jumanji unexpectedly did. As for Worldwide, I’d say $450M, but it could go as high as $600M. Grudge - it’s a supernatural psychological horror film directed by Nicolas Pesce and is a remake of The Grudge (2004) which was also a remake based on a Japanese horror film. It probably won’t be as successful as the 2004 remake as this 2019 remake is a similar premise and no one is really demanding it. I could see this doing $100M domestic and $160M worldwide at most. Spider-Man: Far From Home - it’s a superhero film directed by Jon Watts and is part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I could see this going two ways. One way is that this will make $900M and the domestic total will drop from Homecoming (maybe $320M). However, this could possibly be the second Sony film after Skyfall to gross $1B. The only two obstacles are The Lion King movie which comes out two weeks later (it’s like Disney is trying to prevent Sony from being a major competitor for Disney in the movie industry like how Universal and Warner Bros currently are to Disney while Fox is taken care of and Paramount is trying to pick themselves up) and the plot is pretty much Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation. Wish Dragon - it’s a 3D computer-animated film from Sony Pictures Animation. Not much is known about this film besides Jackie Chan being involved and it having a Chinese theme. It’s set to release on the same day as Once Upon A Time in Hollywood, but I have a feeling it could be moved to late 2019 or even 2020. Maybe this could make $80M Domestic and $200M Worldwide? I don’t know. I need more footage. Once Upon A Time In Hollywood - it’s a mystery crime film directed by Quentin Tarantino. I could see this being similar in success to Inglourious Basterds or Django Unchained as this film seems like a wider release with a lot more marketing compared to The Hateful Eight. I could see this doing $150M Domestic and $400M Worldwide at most. The Angry Birds Movie 2 - it’s a 3D computer-animated action comedy film from Rovio Animation and is the sequel to The Angry Birds Movie. Reception to the first one has been mixed, so I think it could go as low as $90M Domestic and $300M worldwide, or it could go as high as $120M Domestic and $400M worldwide. Zombieland Too - it’s a post-apocalyptic zombie comedy film directed by Ruben Fleischer and is the sequel to Zombieland. This will be another franchise Ruben Fleischer is working on with Sony besides Venom. I could see this making more than the first one with a $90M Domestic and $120M Worldwide. You Are My Friend - it’s a drama film directed by Marielle Heller. Not much is known besides the fact that it’s about a journalist who runs into Fred Rogers and has his life changed. Unlike Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, another film about Fred Rogers, this film has Tom Hanks portraying Fred Rogers. With a wide release (if it does get one), I could see this making $40M Domestic. Charlie’s Angels (2019) - it’s an action comedy film directed by Elizabeth Banks and is a reboot of the Charlie’s Angels franchise. If this film goes the Ghostbusters 2016 route, I could only see this make $70M Domestic and $120M Worldwide. If not (hopefully), I could see this making as much as $140M Domestic and $260M Worldwide. Masters of the Universe - it’s a He-Man film directed by Aaron and Adam Nee. It’s supposed to come out the same day as Jumanji 3, but I think it could be moved to 2020 (but I’ll still analyze anyways). This is a wildcard and a gamble for Sony. It could go both ways, but I think I need more footage to fully judge. $40M Domestic, $90M Worldwide? Jumanji 3 - it’s a fantasy adventure comedy film directed by Jake Kasdan and is the sequel to Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, and the movie that made Disney move Jungle Cruise to July 2020. Like Spider-Man: Far From Home, it could go both ways. It could drop from the second, especially if Star Wars: Episode IX gets people to care about Star Wars, by making as much as $380M Domestic and $800M Worldwide. It will still do well as counter-programming, but maybe not as well as Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. Another way this could take is that everyone lost hope in Star Wars: Episode IX, and the people who didn’t see Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and saw Star Wars: The Last Jedi and hated it will go see Jumanji 3 instead. It’s possible that Jumanji 3 could be the second after Skyfall or the third after Skyfall and Spider-Man: Far From Home to cross $1B worldwide as a Sony film. This movie could also get a sequel boost with this making as much as $420M domestic, possibly becoming Sony’s highest grossing film domestically and passing Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. I’d say it could go down domestically, but it has the potential to reach $1B worldwide. Little Women - it’s a drama film directed by Greta Gerwig and is based on the book of the same name. Columbia Pictures did a film based on Little Women back in 1994 and that was a success. I’d say it could go up from here. I’d say $60M Domestic and $80M Worldwide. Thoughts on the 2019 Slate: Besides not having Ghostbusters, Robert Langdon, or The Karate Kid on their side this year (Well, there’s Cobra Kai, I guess), I think Sony is going all out next year. This is probably one of the best lineups for 2019. There’s Angry Birds, Men in Black, Jumanji, Charlie’s Angels, and Spider-Man on the same year, along with possible smaller hits like Grudge and Little Women. They won’t be going against Paramount anymore, they can now go against Universal, Warner Bros, and possibly Disney. The Future: Regardless of what happens, I’m sure Columbia Pictures will live to see its 100th anniversary in 2024. Sony Pictures Animation will stay strong with a Peter Rabbit sequel, a Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse sequel, and a spinoff (though I don’t expect the Into the Spider-Verse movies to come out until 2021). Other upcoming Sony Pictures Animation films are The Mitchells vs. the Machines and Vivo. With the success of Venom, the Sony’s Universe of Marvel Characters will continue in 2020 with possibly Morbius and Venom 2. Even with the success of Venom, I doubt Sony would pull Spider-Man out of the biggest franchise ever after Far From Home. Bad Boys is coming back as Bad Boys for Life. Sony is getting more superheroes, this time from Valiant Comics starting with Bloodshot. Sony could start new franchises from video game adaptations like Watch Dogs and Uncharted (with Tom Holland as a young Nathan Drake). It seems like Sony is making a comeback, whether you like it or not.
This week, Inside Gaming gives you a rundown of what's new in casino finance. Station Casinos is finally out of bankruptcy, and the Palms is avoiding it with some dramatic ownership changes. A History of Station Casinos Inc. 1976: Frank Fertitta Jr. opens a 5,000-square-foot property called "The Casino" on Sahara Avenue with 100 slot machines and six gaming tables, it later adds bingo ... Two prominent Nevada casino-owning families, the Fertittas and the Greenspuns, are making like ultimate fighters in a bankruptcy-court showdown over their jointly owned casino. A vacant land photographed on Friday, Aug. 18, 2017, where Station Casino plans to build Resort Casino and Hotel on Durango Drive, just South of 215 Beltway in Las Vegas. In 2005, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that Station’s collection of casino-zoned land was staggering. Station, however, was one of countless businesses that went bankrupt during the ... Station Casinos Inc., which operates Las Vegas-area properties including Red Rock Casino and the 2-month-old Aliante Station, may be on the brink of default, an analyst said Friday. Station Casinos carried $5.4 billion in debt in the third quarter ended Sept. 30, much of it from the November 2007 management-led buyout with Los Angles-based real estate firm Colony Capital. Station Casinos Inc. has objected to a proposed probe by its unsecured creditors into the transactions that transformed the now-bankrupt casino operator from a public to a private entity ...
Nick Leeson and the Fall of the Barings Bank - YouTube
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