Volume 11: Part 4- Vierdestad: Sunday, October 23rd, 6:16 P.M.

Sunday, October 23rd, 6:16 P.M.
I don't know how I got here.  I don't.  I know that I wanted to leave Trebyer and I'm aware that I was in the process of doing it, but I don't know how I was doing it or how I got to be here.  I'm aware of who I am, Hato Shurtleff, and that I am intent on getting to Amcan, but why I'm in this place right now is a question I don't have the answer to.
Rinoa says that we were in a plane crash and I believe her.  A plane crash would explain my headwound and begin to explain how I got here.  Rinoa doesn't exactly know where we are, she says that she was planning to figure that out once I had woken up.  That tourniquet on my head feels nice, I'm going to have to ask Rinoa where it came from.
It's getting dark now.  Rinoa had already fallen asleep.  She looks so peaceful.  So serene.  So beautiful.  It's too bad that this won't last for much longer.  Eventually this peace will break, and, if it's anything like before, everything will slide into shit.
Hato Shurtleff

Volume 11: Part 4- Vierdestad: Introduction

Part 4

Although Vierdestad has a rich history, filled with culture, politics, and education, for the purposes of enlightening people about the current situation going on in Dolore, this introduction will deal with the history of Vierdestad starting in August 2002.  In order to understand the situation going on in Vierdestad at the time Hato Shurtleff reached that city, you must first understand the 2002 Northland Opfer Massacre.
On August 4th, 2002 in the city of Trebyer, three incidents occurred where a group of men stormed into a family's home, killed the occupants of the home and left the home in disarray.  In each of these incidents, the perpetrators tortured, maimed, shot, slashed, hacked up, and killed their victims.  Despite the noise these attacks generated and the emergency calls placed by neighbors while the attacks were happening, no police reported to any of the scenes of these murders.
On August 11th, 2002, four more incidents occurred that matched the incidents on August 4th.  On August 18th, eight incidents occurred.  On August 25th, twelve incidents occurred.  Throughout the month of August in Trebyer, twenty-seven home invasion murders occurred, resulting in the deaths of 147 people.  Each of these incidents either received no response from the police or only a minimal response, meant mostly to keep the public and the press away from the ghastly scene.  The common element in all of these incidents was that the houses that were attacked were the homes of predominantly opfer families and all the people killed were opfer.
Despite the negligence of police and politicians and the condemnation of conservative verbrecher groups, media organizations were dogged about pursuing this case, particularly media organizations from Trebyer and Vierdestad.  There are many aspects of this case that come to light because of the work of journalists like Hanna Dunham and Allison Kirke.  First of all, the name of these incidents, the Northland Opfer Massacre, was christened by the media.  Ballistics testing and the identification of the weapons used in these incidents was done by the media.  Tying the tactics used in these incidents with tactics practiced and used by several verbrecher supremacist groups in and around Trebyer was done by the media.  Finally, getting undercover footage from inside a meeting by one of these verbrecher supremacist groups where they praise the people who did these incidents as "courageous heroes and leaders of a righteous crusade" was done by the media.  Despite all of this information being uncovered by the media, to this point, no judicial or police organization has launched a substantive investigation into the 2002 Northland Opfer Massacre.
In response to these murders and the lack of action by any governmental body, a number of opfer families left Trebyer for other cities, either in Dolore or in neighboring Velas.  Many of those opfer families moved to Vierdestad, a city with an already large and vibrant opfer population.  This opfer population shift caused the small population of verbrechers in Vierdestad to get squeezed out of the city.  As of 2010, when the last Dolorian census was conducted, no families of predominately verbrecher descent were living in Vierdestad.  This is a situation that some verbrechers in Dolore do not like.
Vince Fielding, reporter VBNS

Red Reacts- Xbox One Reveal

On Tuesday, Microsoft revealed it's next console, the Xbox One.  If you haven't watched the announcement yet, you either do not care about the announcement or your internet is out.  If you internet is out, how are you reading this?
I couldn't watch the announcement live due to work.  Thankfully, Microsoft is allowing people to watch the Xbox One Reveal through their Xbox 360 consoles for free without the need for a Xbox Live Gold account.  I watched the announcement through my Xbox 360 console the evening after the announcement was made with only a small amount of trouble, trouble which I attribute to my unbearable ISP.  My kudos go to Microsoft for allowing potential consumers to view the announcement on their own time in a way that is readily accessible to them.
The announcement showed off many features of the Xbox One in ways that were deemed to be "spectacular", "inspirational", "over played", and "OHMYGODWHEREISTHEMASTERCHEF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1!!" by people in the Twitterverse.  The feature shown at the announcement that stood out to me was the TV capabilities.  Being able to switch between TV and games is something that I already have, but it's good to see that the transition will be more seamless...... if it works.  The presentation showed how well the Xbox One's TV features can work with a cable provider that has a working relationship with Microsoft, namely Comcast.  It will be interesting to what other television providers will work well with seamless switching between TV and gameplay works with.  Specifically, I want to know if my current DirecTV will work with this feature, or if I'm going to have to upgrade my system, or switch to a providers in order to use this feature.
There were a lot of games promised during the Xbox One Reveal presentation, but not a lot were shown in detail.  One game that was shown in detail blew me away.  Call Of Duty: Ghosts.  The kind of graphics shown during this part of the presentation astounded me to the point that, despite having not done so in a couple of years, I sincerely want to play this year's installment in the Call Of Duty franchise.  It will be interesting to see, come E3 time, what other developers can do with their games on the Xbox One, and how these developers can astound consumers once again.
Overall this presentation made a real impression on me.  The Xbox One Reveal presentation motivated me to want to buy the console in a way that similar announcement from Sony and Nintendo did not.  This presentation made buying the Xbox One a high priority on my To Do List..........
...right under buying a New House.  Like many other consumers out there, the recent economic climate has caused me to change how I look at recurring expenses, as well as my approach to debt.  For over a year now, I have been eliminating large recurring expenses, decreasing debt, and positioning myself to buy a new house in a hope of one day eliminating my biggest recurring expense, rent.  This new mindset has caused me to also re-evaluate my spending habits, including entertainment.  In recent months, my entertainment spending has been slashed in favor of eliminating debt and increasing my savings.  For me entertainment spending includes the purchasing of new video games and video game consoles.  This is why I do not own a Nintendo Wii U and have been buying less and less games recently.  Hell, my Pile Of Shame, referring to the games that I have purchased and have yet to play, is at the lowest point it's been in decades.
My desire to purchase a new house is why I will, in all likelihood, not be purchasing a Xbox One at launch.  While I am not outright saying this will not happen, the Xbox One, along with the Playstation 4 and the Wii U, may be purchases I make with my tax return next year.  It would be nice to have a bright shiny new video game console to play with, but I think it will be nicer to have a bright shiny new house to call home.  A bright shiny new home that I can fill with all kinds of bright shiny new toys, including the Xbox One.  Untill then, a boy can dream.
Project Buy A House- Saving For A Down Payment: 27% Complete

Face Of Humanity Kickstarter

So I've been kind of lax on my satirical blogging recently.  This is due to me focusing on Project Beacon.  Don't worry, I'll annoy you about that later.  Anyway, I'm writing a quick post to tell you about this thing I was told about on Facebook
Face Of Mankind is a MMORPG that one of my friends, CJ Allford, is involved in.  I've been hearing about this game for a while and it looks interesting to me, which is rare for a MMORPG.  Recently, Face Of Mankind launched a Kickstarter campaign, which can be found at this link.  Go support this.  It'll give you something to spend your gaming dollars on in this time when next to nothing is coming out.

Volume 11: Part 3- Trebyer: Saturday, October 22nd

Reporter's Notes:
            No good account exists in Hato Shurtleff's journal for the day of and the events that occurred on Saturday, October 22nd.  The reason for this will become evident as Rinoa Ann's account of this day unfolds.  Unlike the accounts Hato provides, Rinoa's accounts were written well after they happened, probably in either January or February of the current year.  This explains the perspective from which it was written, as well as the lack of a time when written.
Vince Fielding, reporter VNBS

Saturday, October 22nd
The argument that Hato and I had the day before stayed with me as I tried to go to sleep that night.  The anger I felt, coupled with a suspicion that Hato might sneak into the bedroom I was sleeping in, resulted in my sleep to be very light and not very relaxing.  Every little noise resulted in me waking up, which is what happened when I heard heavy breathing at about 2 A.M.  I was fearful of what I'd find when I went to investigate the noise.
When I looked out into the living area of the mini-apartment inside Gin's house, I saw a silhouette in the moonlight.  What I was looking at was Hato sitting up on the couch he was sleeping on, eyes wide open, desperately trying to catch his breath.  He looked like a kid that had just woken up from a bad dream.  Seeing him like that, I couldn't help but feel sympathy for him.
I opened the door just wide enough to poke my head through and asked Hato if he was okay.  Instead of telling me if he was all right, Hato started apologizing.  He apologized for waking me up, being a dick to me that day, and just on and on.  I walked into the living area, intending to put an end to Hato's endless apology.  As I did so, I glanced out the big window behind the couch Hato was sleeping on.  Something caught my eye, something I had seen before but not from that far off in the distance.  Out of the window I saw the white expanding smoke.  White expanding smoke is the signature of the chemical attacks carried out by verbrecher extremist groups in Trebyer.  This is a signature that I recognized but Hato did not.
Hato spent several minutes on his Hipster trying to figure out what the fuck was going on.  I know that Hato wanted to know what the fuck was going on because he kept on repeatedly saying he wanted to know what the fuck was going on.  Hato's answers could have been easily answered by me, but I didn't.  My own memories of watching white smoke waft past my screaming mother prevented me from doing so.  Gin entered the room and told Hato and I what was going on.  I was aware of this but I didn't respond.  The window and the smoke I could see through it held all of my attention.
I think I might have stayed there, standing there, looking out that window untill time stopped if Hato had not grabbed my shoulders to get my attention.  "Rinoa," yelled Hato, this time succeeding in getting my attention.
I blinked a couple of times and said, "Yes."
"You said to me you wanted to go with me to Amcan.  Do you want to still do that?"
As I contemplated Hato's question, I glanced out the window.  The smoke made my decision for me.  "Yes.  I want to leave Trebyer, now."
Hato grabbed my hand and said, "Then we need to leave, now!"  With that we were off.  The three of us, Gin, Hato and I, going as fast as we could to Gin's car, then to the airport, then to the hangar where Gin's plane was.  We weren't even phased when we found Sam lying on the floor of Gin's car, obviously still drunk from the night before.
The impact of the car going through the gate at the airport woke up Sam, which gave him the opportunity to make a lurid remark about being between my legs.  Hato kicked Sam for that comment, an action Sam totally had coming.  I would have kicked Sam as well but the violent motion of Gin navigating his way through the Trebyer International Airport prevented me from doing so.  Gin didn't drive like that to be dramatic, he drove that way to avoid people as he made his way to the hangar with his plane in it.
If you study how people react during an emergency situation, you generally see two types of people.  There is one type of people who gives in to their fear and run around frantically as they attempt to get things done.  Another type of person is more calm in an emergency situation.  This kind of person maintains a level head as they do the things they have to do in a supremely efficient manner.  As we prepared to takeoff, Gin, Hato, and I were the kind of people who give in to their fear.  Sam, however, was calm and reserved in what he felt he had to do.  However, what Gin thought he had to do was not join us in the plane.
When the hangar doors opened, we could see a stream of people heading for the hangar.  These people, streaming in through the gate we had knocked down, were carrying bats, machetes, clubs, and any other long blunt object they could easily swing.  Seeing those people and the fact that they were running along the runway Gin wanted to use made Hato and I panic more.  That is untill we heard the trunk of Gin's car close.  When we looked at Gin's car we saw Sam with an assault rifle in each hand telling up to go on without him.  Hato tried telling Sam to get in the plane but either his words were muffled by the sound of gunfire, the sound of the plane's engine, or Sam wasn't listening.  Hato continued trying to convince Sam to get into the plane even after the plane started moving out of the hangar.
Seeing the Earth from the perspective of a plane is always odd.  That perspective seems to provide you with things that you will never forget seeing due to its utter beauty.  I will never forget what I saw out the window of Gin's plane that day but not because of its beauty.  Seeing my home, the capital city, the place where I was born slowly being filled with smoke from chemical bombs laid by verbrechers militias was, and still is, distressing on a level I can't describe.
There was only one thing that could take my attention away from my city being destroyed.  Hato and Gin were talking.  Talking about gas.  Apparently, the jet fuel that we made deliveries to get the money in order to obtain has not arrived yet, and was most certainly not in Gin's plane.  While there was enough gas for Gin, Hato, and I to leave Trebyer, there wasn't nearly enough to get us to Amcan.
With the amount of gas we had left we'd only be able to reach Vierdestad.  Not the airport in Vierdestad, or the actual city of Vierdestad, but the forest just outside the city limits.  Vierdestad is far enough away from Trebyer that we escaped the things going on in the capital of Dolore, but we'd still be in Dolore.  As we approached the forest, Sam told us to brace for impact.  I put on my seatbelt and leaned as far back as I could while Hato pressed his legs against the seat in front of him and held on to a bar in the ceiling.
The plane entered the forest a lot smoother than I expected.  It was like a rollercoaster without the added benefit of knowing you were completely safe.  Ground caused another jarring motion to go through the plane, followed by the plane slowly losing speed as it skidded on the ground.  Then we saw something ahead.  Something we couldn't turn away from but, we prayed, we would stop before we reached it.  A cliff.  Specifically, the Cooper Cliff with its sixty-five foot drop to a cold granite floor.
The plane slid along the ground, getting closer to the cliff, untill it reached the edge.  The plane came to a stop with the nose, front landing gear, and nearly half of the plane hanging off Cooper Cliff.  Rather than panicking, at that moment I was thanking my lucky starts that the ride was over.  The ride wasn't over.  The plane started moving again.
As the plane started tipping forward, the most pointing perilously down, I reached out for Hato's hand.  I may not have known Hato well at that time, but I knew him and that comforted me.  At least I was not facing my death alone.  Hato took my hand just as the plane started to fall.
Rinoa Ann

Volume 11: Part 3- Trebyer: Friday, October 21st, 9:50 P.M.

Friday, October 21st, 9:50 P.M.
I hope I can get to sleep tonight.  I pray to God I can get to sleep tonight.  Staying up last night stressing about the relationship between Rinoa and I was barely tolerable.  I don't know how I'll be able to stand it.  If I stay up tonight with the thought of the horrible trainwreck I made that relationship into in my mind.
There are two things that happened after Rinoa and I got back to Gin's house that makes me feel like complete shit.  The first happened right after we got back.  Rinoa took the envelope we had gotten from Udendors, forcefully slapped it on my chest, and said to me, "I'm going upstairs to clean up.  Do not follow me."  She then proceeded to do what she had sternly told me she was going to do.  In the past I would have taken this opportunity to take in the sight that was slowly leaving me.  Now taking advantage of that opportunity would have only served to remind me of what I had done wrong.  Very, very much wrong.  So, I didn't.
Instead, I took the envelope to Gin right away.  When I entered his office, Gin was doing his usual businessman thing, and Sam was doing his newly normal to me drunken sleepyman thing.  I handed the envelope to Gin, which he then tore open and counted the contents.  "Five, ten, fifteen, sixteen hundred, twenty, forty, sixty, seventy, five, six, seven, sixteen hundred seventy seven on the dot."  After he was done rearranging his money into a neat pile, Gin looked at me and saw the dower look on my face.  "What's up, kid?"
"Oh, nothing much."
Recognizing how bad I was at the lie I had just tried to tell, I took a deep sigh and said, "Today's been a bad day."
As if to try to have the same effect on me, Gin put a large smile on his face and said, "Well, cheer up kid.  This money you've just brought me has put us over the top.  I have enough cash on hand to bribe the officials to get the jet fuel to take us to Amcan.  We'll leave for the airport at noon.  Make sure you're ready by then."
"Okay," I replied with no more optimism in my voice than was there before.  This was something Gin picked up on again.
"Hato, don't worry.  Everything is going to be fine.  You are going to be fine.  I'm sure that when we get to Amcan, you, and possibly that angle upstairs, will lead a happy peaceful life.  Who knows, you might just lead that life together."
I know Gin meant well, and under normal circumstances what he said would be incredibly uplifting.  However today, with what had happened, with what I did, that statement just poured salt into my open wound.  I carried that depressive weight with me as I made my way up to the mini-apartment where I've been sleeping since arriving in Trebyer.  Once I arrived there I heard some rustling coming from the bedroom.  When I went to investigate the noise, I found Rinoa.  A woman who I adored was in my bedroom.  It's interesting how something that you once held as your highest desire when actualized can fill you with dread and sadness.
Seeing me, Rinoa launched into me.  "You know this nice luxurious bed you've been sleeping in?  I'm taking it.  I'm taking it, and maybe after a good night's rest my damn neck won't hurt so bad."
The only response I could muster up was, "Okay."
"And don't take this as an invitation for you to hop into bed with me, because it's not."
I could have defended myself at that moment, but I didn't have the will to do so.  "Okay.  Can I have a pillow for when I sleep on the couch out here?"
Rinoa swiftly closed the distance between her and the door with a look on her face that was the opposite of pleased.  With evident scorn, she answered my request for a pillow.  "No."  Rinoa then slammed the door in my face.
It's probably a good thing that Gin and I are leaving for Amcan in the morning.  Flying away from Trebyer serves as a great way to get away from this mess.  I wish I could fix it.  I wish I could fix it.  I really, really wish I could fix it.  I wish I knew how to make things at least decent between Rinoa and I.  I can't.  I just can't.  All I can do is leave.  Leave before I fuck things up even more.
Hato Shurtleff

Volume 11: Part 3- Trebyer: Friday, October 21st, 3:03 P.M.

Friday, October 21st, 3:03 P.M.
Usually before we leave, Rinoa and I partake of the breakfast that Sam makes for everyone in the house.  It's the last thing Sam does before he gets tanked.  This morning I did not eat breakfast.  There are two reasons for this.  First: I didn't sleep.  My entire night was spent obsessing about my relationship with Rinoa.  Where it stood, where it might go, what I can do so that it goes the way I want it to go, and what I must not do so that it doesn't go where I don't want it to go.  Second: Eating Sam's breakfast would mean that I would have to be in the same room with Rinoa, and as much and as long as I spent stressing about our relationship, I was no closer to having a clue as to how to deal with it.
Instead of eating breakfast, I went outside to think.  Gin has a nice backyard, and it looks rather nice in the morning with the dawn light and the slowly dissipating dew.  I was sitting on the grass, looking off in the distance, when Rinoa found me.  I didn't know she was there untill she placed her hand on my shoulder and said, "Hato?  Are you okay?"
Slowly I got up, making sure to face away from Rinoa, and said, "Sure."  After brushing some grass off my pant leg, I made my way from where I was sitting to Gin's office, all the while not acknowledging Rinoa was there.  Gin hadn't woken up yet, so no one was in his office.  I sat alone in Gin's office for about an hour observing the way the light fell through the various containers of alcohol in Gin's display case.  The crystal containers were the most interesting ones to watch.
When Gin entered his office Rinoa was in tow.  Rinoa tried talking to me again and I responded to her with very short answers.  Gin gave us our assignment and sent us on our way.  Rinoa and I made our way to Udendors, a bistro located on the side of Trebyer opposite Gin's house.  The whole time we walked to the restaurant, Rinoa and I hardly spoke outside of confirming the route we were taking and that I had Gin's envelope.  Rinoa kept on trying to talk to me about her neck, to which I responded with a grunt and a shrug.
We got to Udendors and the hostess showed us to a table as she got the manager.  The waitress gave us some menus, which I quickly began to study, noting the subtle differences between the turkey club and the turkey burger.  Rinoa continued in her attempts to engage me in conversation.
"So, I think I know why my neck hurts."  I responded to Rinoa with a grunt and a shrug.  "I think it's due to me sleeping on a couch.  There hasn't been an open bed in Gin's house, or at least not one I've been able to find.  I don’t want to sleep outside because I generally avoid camping.  So I've ended up sleeping on the same couch every night."  Grunt and a shrug.  "If I could find at least a decent pillow, that would be a great help."  Grunt and a shrug.  "Like I'm sure that giant fucking bed that you sleep in must have more than one pillow on it."  Grunt and a shrug.  I'm guessing Rinoa must have had enough of my shit at this point, because she took the menu she was looking at and hit me with it.  This caused me to react with something other than a grunt and a shrug.
"Don't you what me.  I'm trying to talk to you and all you do is grunt at me.  What's your damn problem?"
I didn't want to tell Rinoa about what I thought was wrong, so I mumbled, "Nothing," and put my menu back in front of my face.  Rinoa did not like my response, and let me know it by hitting me with her menu again.  I reacted to this the same way I did the first time.  "What?"
"You've been giving me the cold shoulder all day.  What happened?"
"You know what happened."
"No, I do not know what happened.  Tell me."
"What was up with the way you described me to your friend Chelsea yesterday?"
"What do you mean?"
"You referring to me as some guy I'm working with.  Not this guy I've been seeing, a friend I just met, or a specimen like Chelsea referred to me as.  No, I'm just some guy.  Some random guy you happen to be working with at the present moment."
As I was talking, a change came over Rinoa's face.  If she wasn't mad at me before, she became mad then.  "You infant.  This is why you're upset?  Let me tell you something, Hato.  I've only known you a couple of weeks.  I barely know anything about you.  Before today, you were some guy to me.  Just some guy.  Now, after what you said, you're some weird slightly obsessed guy I know."
"What about all those talks we had?"
“What, the ones where I obsess about art, like I always do, or do you mean the ones where I was venting.  I was venting on you because you were there.  Venting.  Nothing more.”
"What about the day at the museum where we spent the day running around and seeing all the exhibits.”
"I thought Sam had sent you there to find me.  Me talking to you about the art in that museum was me making sure you weren't going to rat me out.  After that, again, I was obessing about art!”
"So, I mean nothing to you?"
Rinoa answered my desperate question, delivered with a quivering lip, with a very stern tone.  "Yes."  Rinoa accentuated her denial by putting her menu in front of her face and slightly turning away from me.
There it is.  The relationship I was trying to develop with Rinoa is over.  Done.  Finished.  Finished because of me.  Because of what I did.  I fucked it up.  Me.  Fuck.
Hato Shurtleff

Volume 11: Part 3- Trebyer: Friday, October 21st, 4:18 A.M.

Friday, October 21st, 4:18 A.M.
There I am.  There I am once again.  There I am staring out the window.  The same window I've started out before.  I can see myself doing this.  I can see myself and wish I had some control over what I see.
The sound is there again.  The faint, almost inaudible sound, only perceivable because it is being made over and over and over and over and over.  I can hear it and I wish that I could not.  I want to but I can't.
I see the hand.  I see the hand reaching out toward me.  The hand is different this time.  Different.  I don't want to change this.  I want to see how this will play out.  The hand touches me and I turn around.
Mom.  Mom is there.  Mom is there in the room reaching out to me.  Mom says something to me.  I know Mom did because I can see her lips moving as if they are making noise.  The voice of Mom is inaudible to me.  All I can hear is the sound of the pointing stick.
I turn back toward the window only to be turned back again.  I can see myself turning back and cannot stop myself from watching.  I know this is going to be bad.  I know this but I cannot stop it.
Mom.  Mom is there.  Mom is there in the room with me.  Dad.  Dad is there.  Dad is there in the room with me.  Valerie.  Delany.  Sparra.  Wanda.  Matthew.  Aaron.  Jay.  Many other people I knew in Moenia Prima are there.  They are all there in the room with me.  They are not as I remember them.  Some are not even their complete selves.
They are all dead.  I know this.  I see myself realize this to be true.  I see myself and I want to stop this.  I want this dream, this nightmare to be over.
The people are saying something.  I can hear them now.  I can hear them and I don't like what I hear.
Why didn't you do anything?
This is what woke me up today.
Hato Shurtleff