Binary Options Buddy 2.0 - Free Strategies To Make $100 to

From being PIP'd at a startup to leveling up into a FANG in four months.

When my manager sat me down in our 1:1 to deliver me the news that I was about to be put on a PIP the next week and to use the weekend to think what my next step should be, my initial reaction was to want to take it and save my job. I knew I've been in a bit of a slump, sleeping very poorly, and not outputting as much as I could have. But to be quite honest, this was a blessing in disguise.
The company I've been working at wasn't doing that well to begin with. We raised a series D in just under two years of existence and my options have quintupled in value since joining, but we've had regulational troubles and the hardware team has been slipping. Our CTO was fired four months after I joined, and our new CTO promised to double our engineering headcount by the end of last year. We've maybe only added 5 people to a team of 30 instead by that point. To that end, I've had multiple manager changes within that time period: a total of five managers and six manager changes all within 12 months. As this was my first job out of college, I thought this was all normal for a startup.
In addition, the pay was very low. For a new grad that didn't know better, like yours truly, that number was a lot for someone who was only ever paid hourly. But after discussing with friends that went onto working at FANGs and other, more established unicorn startups, it was abundantly clear that me and my fellow colleagues were severely underpaid. Like, over 50% lower in base salary alone underpaid for the same line of work and more stress.
The work itself wasn't that great either. It was a system that had to be supported globally with different rules in different countries and with physical hardware that we had little control over. Nobody left the office before dinner was served, and seldom did people start going home after dinner was finished (well, up until recently since people stopped giving fucks). We had almost no senior engineers either, most of the work was done by fresh grads or interns from top CS schools. We maybe had only four veteran IC's, but the rest of the "senior" staff were in management. Everyone else was a new grad or junior engineer. You wouldn't find anyone that had more than two years of experience in the rest of the crowd. It's fun to be around people my age, but the work was sloppy and stressful when shit broke because you're trying to build something with little guidance and your code reviewers are other new grads that are equally as experienced as yourself. Nobody (besides maybe three people) has ever coded in the framework we used, and everyone learned the language and framework right on the job. Our only training was a link to an official guide.
I'm not going to get into the company politics, but it's sufficient to say our Blind was so spicy to the point screenshots of several call-out threads were brought up in meetings and mentioned in all-hands. It was pretty bad.
But going back to me getting served a PIP. My manager gave me an ultimatum: either take the PIP, or take severance and interview for another company. Over that weekend, I thought really hard about all the things I've seen and done in the past year, and quite frankly, I found that I haven't been happy at that place for a while now. It doesn't make sense to try to save a job I wasn't going to be happy at, where I get paid peanuts, and where my contributions are invisible to upper management because the longest I've had the same manager for was two and a half months. I decided to take the severance and leave.
This gave me time to relax, exercise, enjoy hobbies I haven't done in months, and most importantly, spend time with family and friends I haven't been around with because of this job. Oh, I forgot to mention that the company moved headquarters halfway through my tenure and bumped my commute from 20 minutes to over an hour.
I haven't touched leetcode or interview prep materials in ages since joining, so I really only hit the books about two weeks after leaving. My daily routine would be to exercise in the day, eat a protein heavy meal, and study up leetcode into the night at a 24/7 cafe. I would usually do this with a buddy or two who are freelance developers. I also kept a spreadsheet of jobs I was interested in and updated their statuses in where I was at in the process, who the point of contact was, when the interview dates are, etc. I wanted to end up at a FANG company since their offices were much closer to where I lived and the culture there would help me grow more as an engineer. My process was that I started off with companies I didn't quite care about to practice interviewing, and then build up to places I did want to end up working at.
I slowly but steadily practiced coding problems, took my time to understand what the solutions were, and apply those skills onto other problems that came up. In reality, most programming problems you encounter are really just other problems in disguise, and you just need to know the fundamentals of CS to get through them. I'm sure everyone wants to know what my stats are, so here they are: 64 easy, 50 medium, 15 hard.
After a few months of practice and interviewing at companies I wasn't particularly interested in, I started applying for places that actually interested me. In the end, I got two offers and was able to negotiate with a FANG company that has an office 10 minutes away from my house. I not only nearly tripled my TC, but I also got leveled up to an L4. After being stuck in L3 for almost two years with shit pay, I am glad my patience and steady progress paid off.
My lessons learned in this whole experience:
As for my tips for the interview prep:
Most of my system design solutions came from experiences I've had and a lot were creative, open-ended questions. My advice is to be likeable to the interviewer and not BS your thought process. For some reason, system design is something that comes the most natural to me, so I sadly can't give much tips for studying on it besides seeing for yourself how current systems are built.
And in general, you should be likeable to the interviewer. Smile, ask them what they work on, what cool projects they've done at the company, what their work life balance is like, etc. You're interviewing for the company and you're interviewing the company for yourself. Your interviewer is judging on whether you'd be a good person to be around with for 8 hours and help contribute to solving their problems, and you're judging whether the company you're interviewing for will make you enjoy yourself being there.
Everyone's experience is unique and certainly not as relaxed as mine. I thankfully had enough savings to last me almost a whole year without a job, but I realize others might not be fortunate enough to have that luxury. It'll be hard, but worth it to study up in the evenings and then take days off to go to onsites. In the end, what matters most is your sanity and happiness.
Tl;dr: job sucked, I got PIP'd, quit, took time off, studied, interviewed, and accepted a FANG offer that tripled my pay in four months.
submitted by worried_about_pip to cscareerquestions [link] [comments]

[FO4] Fallout 4 S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Build Guide.

Alright you dicks. This is gonna get long. (But it did go GOLD! thanks anon!)
https://i.imgur.com/ae9pwNF.png (putting this here to change the cover photo.)
I've seen a lot of posts asking how to make your fallout playthrough more akin to a "Metro" experience, or a "STALKER" experience. Well guess what...this guy is here, he's bored enough at work, he just bought a new keyboard, and hes fuckin ready to help you get your shit together. and just like some guy from the desert said...I never said it would be easy, I just said it would be worth it...and stable. we are really going for stability here
After playing STALKER COC periodically over the years and most recently for like 4 months straight (and even making a mod for it (shameless plug) https://www.moddb.com/mods/call-of-chernobyl/addons/stcop-soundoverhaul) I have walked over every single inch of that game and I can say that it not only kicks ass...but that compared to a Bethesda game it has all the bugs with half the content. I've done EVERYTHING in that game and most of its mods. And if you're like me, you're always looking for more people to murder, more loot, more guns, and more fun to partake in while wandering a post apocalyptic wasteland. Guess what, Fallout has a shitload of content, so you're in luck. Plus it's a great candidate for uploading an unholy amount of mods while maintaining relative stability. Which is exactly the right kind of environment we need for our particular crusade and the reason I installed it in the first place.
What Fallout 4 lacks is direction. It's like a 50's satire/post apocalyptic/shooterpg/serious/cartoony/silly/scary...thing. its all over the fuckin place. WE are going to give this game some direction
NOW before we go any further. I dont want to hear anyone bitching about it not being exactly like STALKER. of course its not. Theyre different games, that's why you paid money for each of them (hopefully). One of them is a russian sci-fi-horror masterpiece, the other is a quasi-50's nuclear survival mix up. Theyre inherently different. One of them is russian weird, the other one is 50's kitsch. and this is also personal preference for what *I* like (but i think you'll genuinely enjoy, and that you can tailor to your own tastes). There are a number of mods that you can add to get it more like stalker (armor, weapons blah blah)...im not going for stalker recreation...im going for that FEELING you get when you play stalker. that FEELING like you need to shower and write home to babushka. So you're going to have to look past some of this shit and really focus on gameplay, or keep in mind that specific mods in specific categories can be swapped out to your liking. Dig it? Good.
First fuckin things first. We need to look at what makes Metro and STALKER the experiences they are (you can skip this shit if you want, but for me it was important to look at when making my game play the way I wanted it to).
ATMOSPHERE:
STALKER is absolutely DRIPPING with specific things. It's more than "cheeki breeki" memes, russian pseudo-realism, and an unstable game engine ripe with funky glitches and crashes (in that respect its identical to Fallout).
If STALKER nails one thing right... its DREAD. It makes you feel the urge to explore but making you apprehensive to do so. You want to walk outside and see what kind of rad shit is out there, but you are constantly checking your inventory to make sure you have what you need, and always looking over your shoulder for those fucking snorks.
Its a masterclass in uncomfortable tension immersion. Everything about it is there to pull you in and make you feel like toasted shit. The music, the tone, the tonemapping, the atmosphere (find me a review that doesn't have the word "atmosphere" in it of STALKER and I'll...do nothing but be surprised) buuut, it also makes you curious as to what's out there in the world. I still feel like im discovering new shit whenever I play COC, and I think that compelling mix of dread horror, exploration and a touch of non hampering realism mixes well into something fun and digestable. There's no faux-rpg nonsense, theres no "you cant fight this guy because you aren't the right level" bullshit. It's a matter of "do you have enough food, enough anti-rad, and enough firepower to not only make it there, but wade through the shit, and then have enough room in your backpack to haul back the loot?" Never once have I felt like it was hampered by any of it's mechanics.
SO, the things we need to pay attention to in recreating this in a different game:
--ATMOSPHERE - the main contributors to this iconic tension are the sounds (music is the biggest one by far...the music in STALKER set the entire tone, creaks, groans) the ominous fear of attack at any second, the look of the game (drop shadows from flashlights (in fallout if you want this add "bAllowShadowcasterNPCLights = 1" in your mygames\fallout4\Fallout4Prefs.ini), the tonemap (very grey and desolate) the rusted burnt out industrial areas, brutalist buildings etc) and the feeling of the unknown. that game is really interesting because you wanna know what the fuck else is out there. even when you think you've seen it all there is some weird curve balls thrown at you and it's a world you've never seen before (for the record...that last one is the hardest to recreate and until someone (im working on it) makes an anomaly mod for Fallout 4 it is something you're going to have to live without).
--GAMEPLAY - STALKER has unique gameplay where it's like a stripped down shooter, a stripped down RPG, an experiment in horror, and at the time...focused entirely on keeping you immersed. The vanilla gunplay is okay, the non-human enemies look ridiculous minus the bloodsuckers, and the snorks (snorks look dumb, but i'd be damned if they don't scare my britches off every fucking time i see one). The vanilla weapons aren't great, the firefights are okay. Buuuut. again, that feeling of wanting to explore. that feeling of wanting to get out there and see what the fuck is going on...thats powerful. because there are some games that are ripe with stuff to do, but i dont really want to go out and do it. im like "meh". but the discovery feeling is really important in STALKER, and it's also a feeling of overcoming your own fear, and the relief you get when you get back to your stash like "ah fuck...i made it". you should dread going outside your door and relish when you get back. You are also against enemies that are scary. They can be killed, there really arent any that are particularly hard to kill, but they pose a challenge in the way they kill you, or the circumstances you encounter them in (enemies that you need to run away from. well you just ran into one in a small room and now you're getting jacked). Also the gunplay feels relatively realistic as far as damage. Fallout is a bulletsponge nightmare. Stalker is headshots do work...so we are going to need to overhaul the damage system
TWO MAIN THINGS WE NEED TO RECREATE FROM STALKER - ATMOSPHERE & UNIQUE GAMEPLA
Now, Metro has arguably some of the best gameplay mechanics of any AAA first person shooter. they took the cliches and flipped them on their ass. The need to plan your gear as IMPERATIVE. The environment makes a difference on what you carry. The modularity of weapons plays a huge role in how you approach a situation and how you deploy. if you know you're going to be getting in long range skirmishes you loadout. if youre heading into a linear part...well buddy youll be packing a shotgun. they made ammo hard to get, they made health kits a strategy, and they made your gear and environment play in a way that if you leave your base without being properly prepared you WILL NOT succeed. Period. not to mention it does have many of the qualities listed in STALKER. but for me...STALKER works better. Metro is amazing, but STALKER feels more organic in atmosphere. but METRO feels more proper in gameplay. Also...Metro Exodus is a serious contendor for one of the best looking video games ever made. I was absolutely blown the fuck away while playing it. and this fidelity is possible depending on your hardware within Fallout. Not exact...but you can treat yourself to a graphical wonderland depending on your taste and specs. it is possible.

so things we need to recreate:
--GRAPHICS - What fallout does have is fluid visuals...unfortunately they are ugly, they look decidedly last gen, and they are unoptimized. its undeniable. but they do fit well together. Metro is also very fluid looking, it looks like ONE guy made the entire game in the same art style. its gorgeous. not to mention the fidelity is breathtaking. you can look at a texture through a scope and it still looks good. you can open a door and the entire room looks solid, fleshed out, and tended to. When we are modding the visuals of a game we dont want conflicting art styles in our texture packs, we dont want an ENB on there that clashes with the base game, and more than anything we want the entire game to elicit a mood. We want to feel immersed in a post apocalyptic wasteland that is actually serious...not a kitschy cartoon. If you enjoy that fine...but for me...i want dismal. I want heavy.
--GAMEPLAY - Metro has one of my favorite things that i've touched on multiple times throughout this long ass tirade...you need to plan ahead. if you leave without being equipped, if you're lopsided in your equipment (too much ammo not enough health kits, or not enough filters) you will fail...or at the very last have a hard fuckin time accomplishing your goals. BUT it never reaches the point of impossible, and it never hampers the gameplay. It's not like Tarkov where any mistake absolutely beats the shit out of you. we still want to have fun. Not to mention the guns in Metro feel solid, they shoot hard, it feels like you're wrecking on shit when you're fighting...and fortunately for us Fallout 4 does have excellent base shooting mechanics...we just need to mitigate the bulletsponge and be sure that we are making both parties lethal. you want to question whether you should engage a target, or whether you should sneak by.
--STORY - Sorry buddy...Metro Exodus had a killer story and you're stuck trying to find your ugly ass baby. Not much we can do about that. No Anna either...that russian minx. buuut, Curie is kinda similar and shes just a good person (robot?) all around, give her a shot.

IN CONCLUSION: what we are looking to recreate is a highly atmospheric, lethal experience that looks great, plays great, runs great, and mimics the idea of a realistic, threatening, resource scarce, overwhelming nuclear wasteland as best as possible with minimal gear you may find laying around if shit hit the fan and you found yourself looting a body. to me that means real world tactical gear, real world weapons, survival options, scavenging and finding real world items. keep in mind I'm a huge military/gun/tactics nerd, so this might be a little tacticool for some...thats fine, but for me it really makes a great experience and I think you'll like it too.
We are limited to specific parameters. again...no anomalies, no metro or stalker monsters, and no weird russian shit. but we can work with what we have, and while it wont be exact in every aspect...the feeling, mood, and experience is what we are looking to recreate here.

YOU CAN SKIP THAT OTHER SHIT AND START READING HERE:

Recommended Mod Manager - Vortex. (but really, mod how you like. im not here to judge.)

Disclaimer: if you break your game...well. reinstall it. This setup has worked for me for over a month now solid. If it doesn't work for you or it doesn't fit your style, either add mods that fit your style, delete mods that dont, or dont follow this guide.

TWO THINGS:

  1. DONT ENABLE MODS UNTIL YOU ARE OUT OF THE VAULT (use "start me up")
  2. CHECK ALL REQUIREMENTS BEFORE INSTALLING MODS. IF SOMETHING DOESN'T WORK CHANCES ARE YOU MISSED ONE ITS DEPENDENCIES.

** WEAPONS :
(What kind of STALKER playthrough would you have if you didn't have a good arsenal?
also...this is in no way exhaustive, you can add any weapons mods you want. im just sticking in the basics; rifles, snipers, smgs, shotguns. find whatever you want and throw them in, but these are guaranteed to not conflict or mess with game.)
AK-400 - (https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/36873)
AK-400 WEAPON REPLACER (https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/38602)
AK47/74 MODULAR MOD (this is on GUNNETWORK.org because it does have ripped assets from Tarkov, but the work is incredible, and uses the AK400 as a base, but adds way more customization options and more real world weapons. its a must if you're a gun nut)
RU556 M4 - (https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/22536 / https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/35712)
RU556 WEAPON REPLACER - (https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/33409)
Winchester 1987 Shotgun - (https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/33313?tab=description)
MPX (great submachine gun) - (https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/34628)
L96A1 (https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/38554) (for the record, i dont use this mod anymore...the weapon is SEVERELY underpowered, and i think sniper rifles should be 120-150 HP per shot. if you know CK you can bump this up, but i dont use this mod, i just use the stock in game sniper rifle because its rad.)
Browning Hi-power pistol (https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/20143)
Browning hi-Power replacer (https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/33789)
OPTIONAL WEAPON MODS
Lowered Weapons with a button (https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/6364)
Shell Rain (https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/870) (not needed but for no performance impact...get it)
Muzzle Flash Shadow (https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/2571/?tab=2&navtag=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nexusmods.com%2Ffallout4%2Fajax%2Fmodfiles%2F%3Fid%3D2571&pUp=1)
Basic Ammo Crafting (https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/30048) (not needed, but for me...its a must.)
-
NOTE: There are holster mods for all of these weapons. You can find them if you want them. They're not needed hence not included for brevity (brevity...HA!)

** APPEARANCE :
(This will cover things like player armor, enemy armor, and NPC appearance for all your dress up needs).
AWKCR - (https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/6091/) (MOST mods need this, download it)
ArmorSmith Extended - (https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/2228) (again...used by tons of mods)
PLAYER APPEARANCE //
High Speed Caps - (https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/31178) (hats...cool ones)
CROSS Headset - (https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/10131) (you dont want to go deaf buddy)
BF4 Armor pack (cant link this, its on gunnetwork.org, go find it. looks amazing).
Modular Plate Carrier (cant link this one either, found on gunnetwork.org. search "asnavaro plate carrier")
NPC APPEARANCE //
Militarized Minutemen (https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/29853) (makes them not lame looking)
Raiders in Rags (https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/27176) (makes raiders anywhere from normal people just looking for a bite, to rust covered hard asses)
The Mercenary (https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/20088) (adds a bunch of sweet armor for NPCs and character)
BF4 brotherhood of steel replacer (https://drive.google.com/file/d/1HTHJ7S_RTch8y-RptUfY67_b66JL4GmK/view?usp=sharing) (requires BF4 armor pack)
GHOULS //
(2 mods...choose which one you prefer)
D.E.C.A.Y. https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/2500 (overhauls them completely with added shit. I like keeping my load as light as possible...sort of. So i use the next one, but this mod is GREAT).
More Feral Ghouls (https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/36653) (Adds more variety to the ghouls but keeps them fast and creepy. Light, easy, performance friendly.)

** GAMEPLAY :
(these will change things in game that will divert the feeling from Fallout to a more...not fallout feel. also just nice shit to have.)
ABSOLUTE MUST HAVE - Better Locational Damage - (https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/3815) (I left this completely stock how it came and have had ZERO issues. it runs perfectly, and completely mitigates the bulletsponge that fallout 4 is famous for, turning this game from an "RPG" into a satisfying shooter).
Monsters to Raiders - (https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/17678) (check whatever you want during the installer...i personally turned off all the fucking flies, and weird monsters because fuck those fucking things, why wont you die when i shoot you with a shotgun 12 times, why are you like this, what kind of sick joke are you playing, who programmed this, oh my GOD im going to kill someone, and pretty much only left super mutants, synths, deathclaws, and humans of course)
Endless Warfare - (https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/17626) (this one took a fat minute to get configured right, and while I cant share my setup with you if you do use it be sure to change the Randomness of the spawnspots, otherwise youll have 20 guys spawning at random places all over the map fighting each other...not really what you're going for. It adds just the perfect amount of random fights, random ambushes, and most importantly...performance. it turns a simple walk to the corner for some aluminum cans into a paranoid ridden pain in the ass, keeping you on your toes the entire time.)
Survival Options - (https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/14650) (this mod makes it so playing on survival mode, which you should be doing, is less of a pain in the ass...allowing saves during cell changes, sleeping, eating, whatever. Enabling fast travel, etc. Set it up however you want. but its a must. set it up according to your tastes).
Start Me Up - (https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/18946) (lets you skip the intro).
Also mentioned by Nebuchadnezzer2 but never played with - Fast Start (https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/29227 ) Skip the intro)
Gas Masks of the Wasteland - (https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/17491) (seriously a game changer. I do not use the weather mod included, i use NAC which is included below, but this adds a really important mechanic on scarce resources, and really makes preparing all the more important. I have it set to only run when it rains/rad storms. All the time isnt really my cup of tea.)


** GRAPHICS :
(These will make your game gorgeous)
TEXTURE PACKS.
Enhanced Blood Textures - (https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/212/) (performance friendly).
Werefull's realistic blood (https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/31646) (makes the blood less corny.)
FlaconOil Retexture pack - (https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/3747?tab=description) (I run the 2k, looks fantastic).
Valius Texture pack - (https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/318) (i run the 4k pack because it is breathtakingly on point)
Vivid Fallout texture pack. - (https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/25714) (2k all day)
-- Other visual overhauls.
Enhanced Lights and FX - (https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/13596) (makes interiors gorgeous, dark and dynamic. Taxing.)
Boston FPS Fix (https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/26286) (it...fixes...the fps in boston).
NAC weather mod - (https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/7657) (this adds more weather but also flattens the image to a more realistic and dry look. An INSANE amount of options to tailor it to your experience. Darker Nights, Darker interiors, sscreen effects...it is hard to get down right, but once youve got it set it really can facelift your entire game. It can look a little pale, recommend coupling with a good ENB. (i will include a link to my personal setting that I think looks really nice. Desolate but realistic...its not too washed out, but also not too colorful. I think its got a great look and ran on a 660 FTW with SSAO turned off (since then has been turned on and tuned. it is the one included with NAC and i take no credit whatsoever. its simply my preset files).
ENB - choose whichever you like. if you are interested you can use my preset included below (edited NAC preset, i take no credit) BUT YOU WILL NEED TO DOWNLOAD THE ENB BINARIES FROM (http://enbdev.com/mod_fallout4_v0385.htm) AND INSTALL THEM FIRST.
Pip-Boy Flashlight - (https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/10840) ( as far as I'm concerned one of the defining features of STALKER when i first played it was the drop shadow from the flashlight. it absolutely blew my mind and how realistic it looked and to this day adds depth to scenes that some games still havent achieved. For a STALKER playthrough this is an absolute must have. relatively performance friendly too. BE SURE TO ENABLE SHADOWS. (also, if you know anything about CK you can change weapon lights to spotlights with shadows, completely changing the visuals of the game too, its super easy if you dare))
Honorable Mentions:
FO4 Enhanced Color Correction (https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/5060) (this mod is an absolute win as far as I'm concerned. He corrected the colors of the game with ZERO performance loss and did it perfectly. It deepens the scenes and really touches up every shortcoming from the vanilla game with default shaders. IF YOU ARE RUNNING AN OLDER CARD (GTX 660 or below) THIS PACK IS A MUST. If you want a great looking game that runs well with lower specs avoid ENBs and give this a try. You'll be pleasantly surprised.)
Dynamic Lights and Shadows (VERY VERY TAXING. USE WITH CAUTION) - (https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/34572) (Makes shit look absolutely bananas outside)
NOTE: People like to run grass mods. I dont run any. The performance impact even on halfway decent rigs like mine is just unacceptable for the looks it gives me. I think the default foliage is fine, its a little sparse but for consistent performance I've had to overlook foliage mods. If you want one, search for it. See performance notes below for possible issues when installing them. If any readers have any suggestions that dont break precombines please let me know.)

LAST ONE
IMMERSION:
(These will make sure you never want to go outside again.)
MUSIC MODS (what would STALKER be without the music? seriously).
STALKER music mod - (https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/36844/) (this ones good but for some reason it never seemed to properly fit in the Fallout universe for me. So...i ended up using this next mod)
Spaceout Ambient Music Overhaul - (https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/959/?)) (this mod just slays. the music works PERFECTLY for the fallout universe. interiors are creepier. Night time is scary as fuck. Daytime has an epic melancholic feel to them. This mod was exactly what I was looking for in a STALKER-esque music mod. You should give it a shot. If you dont love it, head back to the STALKER music mod, no harm no foul.)
HUD MODS (the Fallout 4 HUD is in your face like Vin Diesel. Lets fix that.)
HUD Framework - (you need this to run gas masks anyway, just be sure to install it before the next one).
DEF_UI - (https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/10654) (lets you edit your own HUD, just follow the instructions. if you're not into that I'm going to include my preset with my ENB setup as well (again...all credit to the authors, these are just my edits.) if youre not into THAT, then check the requirements list on DEF_UI's nexus page and you can see the infinite list of other peoples presets. Find one that fits your taste.)
No More Cash Register Noise - (https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/100/?)) (seriously who thought hearing that every 5 seconds was a good idea? NOTE, i think disabling the widget that pops up during XP gain in DEF_UI will make that noise stop. I dont have this mod installed anymore and my HUD turns off that widget...so maybe? Give it a shot on your own setup.)
Shut The Followers Up - (https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/24590) (turned my experience of having someone follow me around just chatty kathy as fuck, acting like nothing was wrong during our disease ridden excursion through a desolate nightmare, with NPC firefights plagued by supposed to be hardcore ass wasteland badasses saying absolutely ridiculous shit mid fight, to a much more realistic experience composed of fights being a surprise without anyone shouting their intentions straight at their enemies. This mod is a MUST if you like followers or want more immersive combat. It really ratchets up the intensity with such a simple change.)
Realistic Death Physics (https://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/4371?tab=description) (no longer will people fly across the room when you shoot em.)


LOAD ORDER FROM TOP TO BOTTOM (pro-tip, if you want this mod order, simply install in this order with Vortex...not needed but you could run into potential conflicts if installed differently).
(to be honest, i've only had to move around a few mods for this to work properly, namely pip-boy flashlight)
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Pip-Boy Flashlight
Flacanoil texture pack
Valius textures
Werefulls Realistic Blood
Winchester 1897
Shut the followers up
Survival options.
enhanced lights and fx
shell rain
realistic death phyysics
raiders in rags
ru556 armory project
no combat music (added by BLD)
cross uni headset
better locational damage
basic ammo crafting
Gas Masks of the Wasteland.
BOS BF4 armor replacer (found on gunnetwork)
BF4 armor pack (found on gunnetwork)
Button lowered weapons
AK400
High Speed Caps (hats mod)
mercenary
militarized minutemen
modular AK (found on gunnetwork)
more ghouls (called ghoulblood in vortex)
RU556
monsters to raiders plugins (theres like 9 of em)
BLD level lists
MPX weapon
Better locational damage
Armorsmith extended
enhanced blood
vivid fallout
NAC
endless warfare
boston fps fix
everything else related to AWKCR
(there are multiple plugins that i skipped over, but they are arbitrarily stacked in the load order, and if not listed they wont cause issues if they are loaded differently. this list is simply provided as a template if issues do arise in your game and you want to know where to put something. it is not an end all be all optimized list. my shit works good, so i included it.)
THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR.
Look, this list isnt going to satisfy everyone. You're inevitably going to go down the mod rabbit hole just sticking completely useless shit in your game. That's half the fun. So heres some advice.
If you need to know anything about modding Fallout 4 is that it'll make you think it's running well...when you really just broke some shit that you'll run into six hours from now which either demands reloading an old save, or reinstalling the game. That said I'm going to make your life easier with some quick tips.
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AVOID ANYTHING THAT BREAKS PREVIS/PRECOMBINES. Dont know what they are? Tough shit. Don't touch em. Mods that edit exterior cells (that dont include rebuilt precombines) will break them, and they will make your game run like shit. Bethesda's half assed optimization system is hanging on by a thin thin thread, and as soon as its broken its reload or live with it. Ask my 128 hour character how he felt about returning back to a 12 hour save because I broke downtown Boston and had to reinstall the game. He wasn't very excited. In fact his is now driving a bro-dozer blaming his problems on poor people like a complete idiot. Confederate flag sticking out of the bed, he hasn't shaved in weeks, smoking pyramids, its a disaster.
RULE OF THUMB FOR THESE. Stay away from exterior environment mods, flora overhaul mods and scrap mods (which sucks because i really like having a clean house...in game). Texture packs and shit are fine, but mods that edit cells will degrade your performance unless you know how to rebuild precombines...which some people do but odds are you're not one of them. Things that change the size of grass aren't a big deal...but ReGrowth, Spring Cleaning, and shit like that? yeah. Messed my game right up.
OVERLY TAXING ENB'S. Look, you want your game to look good. I get that. But there are ENB's out there that have plenty of useless shit enabled that does nothing but bog your system down. Poorly optimized DOF shaders, SSIL with the quality set to high that isnt turned on enough to even be noticable. shit like that. You can make a performance friendly post processing preset that fits your style very easily...and you can probably find someone who did it for you, better than you can, that actually runs well. Avoid shitty ENBs, and be sure to check off any features that don't make a noticeable difference, or that are too taxing for your setup. nothing wrong with dialing shit back for the sweet 60
CONCERNING TEXTURES It is imperative that you texture you game according to your specs. if you have less than 8GB VRAM try all 2k textures, if you have less use 1k. prioritize what you look at the most. I personally want anything im really close to to look great, therefore I made sure the packs that affected interiors were higher resolution. 2k for the outdoors stuff. The work these guys put into their packs is insane...and to honest they all look great on any resolution. So just work around your specs and youll make a great looking game. my card is 8GB, and these packs coupled with the armor packs and stuff equals out to be about 7.6 gigs of shit on my card. and i rarely experience stutter (this game isnt perfect...and does stutter no matter how clean your mod list is), so if you have a 1070 or up, these texture packs are the perfect combination of looks and performance.)
NVIDIA USERS - have Geforce Experience optimize the game for you. It fixed some shadow shit for me and a few other things. I avoided it until like last week, and was pleasantly surprised at how well it made my game run. Once it optimized the game, I then went in and bumped some of the settings down, just because no matter what you're running, shadows in this game will beat your computer up. and for very little difference you can run them on medium and have great fps + visuals.
AVOID FPS OVER 60 - The game breaks over a certain FPS. Do what you want, but mine is limited to 60 in my ENB. Zero issues. "but my monitorrrr", stop. This game is poorly made. Either work around it, or play something else. (here come the "i run it at 118 just fine!" people. good for you.)
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FEEL FREE TO UNINSTALL AND REINSTALL SPECIFIC MODS AT WILL. Texture mods, Audio mods, small changes that are only loaded resources...swap em in and out at will. Heavier mods like Gas Masks, and NAC, be sure to follow their uninstall instructions. You can potentially break you game. I mean...i fuckin uninstall random shit it all the time, but im a moron. Don't be a moron like me.
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MY SPECS (provided to compare whether you can run this setup...if you dont meet these simply turn down the graphically demanding mods and you should be fine.)
I5-4670 3.4 ghz
16GB 10600 RAM
Samsung Evo 860 500gb
ASUS H87M Plus
Some 550w PSU.
Gigabyte G1 GTX 1070 8GB
Custom Ducky One 2 Mini 60% Keyboard (not that its really important...i just want you to know that I have one, and that it is in fact amazing, and I dont even know what a ForkKnife is.)
NOTE:
I did not install the Unofficial Fallout 4 Patch. I am sure this mod list would work with it just fine, but it's been running so well since i had to revert to another save that I haven't installed it. but normally i recommend Unofficial Patches to everyone. If you have issues with the patch installed please let me know
IN CONCLUSION - Fallout 4 is a fickle fickle...FICKLE asshole of a mistress, and thats even before you mod it. you will spend a lot of time tweaking an infinite number of things. Shadows mainly. You'll spend two weeks tweaking shadows. But if you take the time and mod your game responsibly you can have a completely different experience that runs smooth, caters to your taste, and gives you that excruciatingly ominous, foreboding, sketched out, melancholic, nightmare stricken feeling when you step into those STALKER boots, or when you pull down your METRO mask. It is possible. Just take it easy, install one mod at a time, make sure they activate, and as platitudinous as it is...have fun. It's not about the destination, its about the potentially frustrating ass journey. Right?
Here is a link to my ENB preset (edited NAC. again, I take ZERO credit) https://www.mediafire.com/file/bf1qd0r4qlcsm2l/STALKER_MOD_FILES.zip/file
Here is an obligatory Imgur album with screenshots of some sweet shit (please dont ask where I got the mods, its all contained in that 32222 character count wall of text - https://imgur.com/a/lgFlWJw
reupload these anywhere, do whatever you want with them. I do not care. punk rock).
submitted by cortlong to FalloutMods [link] [comments]

From being PIP'd at a startup to leveling up into a FANG in four months.

When my manager sat me down in our 1:1 to deliver me the news that I was about to be put on a PIP the next week and to use the weekend to think what my next step should be, my initial reaction was to want to take it and save my job. I knew I've been in a bit of a slump, sleeping very poorly, and not outputting as much as I could have. But to be quite honest, this was a blessing in disguise.
The company I've been working at wasn't doing that well to begin with. We raised a series D in just under two years of existence and my options have quintupled in value since joining, but we've had regulational troubles and the hardware team has been slipping. Our CTO was fired four months after I joined, and our new CTO promised to double our engineering headcount by the end of last year. We've maybe only added 5 people to a team of 30 instead by that point. To that end, I've had multiple manager changes within that time period: a total of five managers and six manager changes all within 12 months. As this was my first job out of college, I thought this was all normal for a startup.
In addition, the pay was very low. For a new grad that didn't know better, like yours truly, that number was a lot for someone who was only ever paid hourly. But after discussing with friends that went onto working at FANGs and other, more established unicorn startups, it was abundantly clear that me and my fellow colleagues were severely underpaid. Like, over 50% lower in base salary alone underpaid for the same line of work and more stress.
The work itself wasn't that great either. It was a system that had to be supported globally with different rules in different countries and with physical hardware that we had little control over. Nobody left the office before dinner was served, and seldom did people start going home after dinner was finished (well, up until recently since people stopped giving fucks). We had almost no senior engineers either, most of the work was done by fresh grads or interns from top CS schools. We maybe had only four veteran IC's, but the rest of the "senior" staff were in management. Everyone else was a new grad or junior engineer. You wouldn't find anyone that had more than two years of experience in the rest of the crowd. It's fun to be around people my age, but the work was sloppy and stressful when shit broke because you're trying to build something with little guidance and your code reviewers are other new grads that are equally as experienced as yourself. Nobody (besides maybe three people) has ever coded in the framework we used, and everyone learned the language and framework right on the job. Our only training was a link to an official guide.
I'm not going to get into the company politics, but it's sufficient to say our Blind was so spicy to the point screenshots of several call-out threads were brought up in meetings and mentioned in all-hands. It was pretty bad.
But going back to me getting served a PIP. My manager gave me an ultimatum: either take the PIP, or take severance and interview for another company. Over that weekend, I thought really hard about all the things I've seen and done in the past year, and quite frankly, I found that I haven't been happy at that place for a while now. It doesn't make sense to try to save a job I wasn't going to be happy at, where I get paid peanuts, and where my contributions are invisible to upper management because the longest I've had the same manager for was two and a half months. I decided to take the severance and leave.
This gave me time to relax, exercise, enjoy hobbies I haven't done in months, and most importantly, spend time with family and friends I haven't been around with because of this job. Oh, I forgot to mention that the company moved headquarters halfway through my tenure and bumped my commute from 20 minutes to over an hour.
I haven't touched leetcode or interview prep materials in ages since joining, so I really only hit the books about two weeks after leaving. My daily routine would be to exercise in the day, eat a protein heavy meal, and study up leetcode into the night at a 24/7 cafe. I would usually do this with a buddy or two who are freelance developers. I also kept a spreadsheet of jobs I was interested in and updated their statuses in where I was at in the process, who the point of contact was, when the interview dates are, etc. I wanted to end up at a FANG company since their offices were much closer to where I lived and the culture there would help me grow more as an engineer. My process was that I started off with companies I didn't quite care about to practice interviewing, and then build up to places I did want to end up working at.
I slowly but steadily practiced coding problems, took my time to understand what the solutions were, and apply those skills onto other problems that came up. In reality, most programming problems you encounter are really just other problems in disguise, and you just need to know the fundamentals of CS to get through them. I'm sure everyone wants to know what my stats are, so here they are: 64 easy, 50 medium, 15 hard.
After a few months of practice and interviewing at companies I wasn't particularly interested in, I started applying for places that actually interested me. In the end, I got two offers and was able to negotiate with a FANG company that has an office 10 minutes away from my house. I not only nearly tripled my TC, but I also got leveled up to an L4. After being stuck in L3 for almost two years with shit pay, I am glad my patience and steady progress paid off.
My lessons learned in this whole experience:
As for my tips for the interview prep:
Most of my system design solutions came from experiences I've had and a lot were creative, open-ended questions. My advice is to be likeable to the interviewer and not BS your thought process. For some reason, system design is something that comes the most natural to me, so I sadly can't give much tips for studying on it besides seeing for yourself how current systems are built.
And in general, you should be likeable to the interviewer. Smile, ask them what they work on, what cool projects they've done at the company, what their work life balance is like, etc. You're interviewing for the company and you're interviewing the company for yourself. Your interviewer is judging on whether you'd be a good person to be around with for 8 hours and help contribute to solving their problems, and you're judging whether the company you're interviewing for will make you enjoy yourself being there.
Everyone's experience is unique and certainly not as relaxed as mine. I thankfully had enough savings to last me almost a whole year without a job, but I realize others might not be fortunate enough to have that luxury. It'll be hard, but worth it to study up in the evenings and then take days off to go to onsites. In the end, what matters most is your sanity and happiness.
Tl;dr: job sucked, I got PIP'd, quit, took time off, studied, interviewed, and accepted a FANG offer that tripled my pay in four months.
Original
submitted by cscqsim_repostbot to CSCQSimulator [link] [comments]

[JVerse] Rebirth Chapter 12, A Flash of Green

So to update you all on things, my hernia surgery went well and my intestines are back where they belong. Sadly I didn't have as much time to write as I would have liked, (pain meds will do that), but I managed to finally get chapter twelve done in time to give you all an extra dose of JVerse once you have finished our lord and savior's most recent chapter.

(Story is continued in the comments)
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<First><Previous><Next>
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Date Point: 3 months, 2 weeks, 5 days A.V.
Unnamed system
Planet 4 ring system
Requiem
Michael Kepler
"God damn I missed this," Michael said, flipping the Requiem around another asteroid, testing the limits of the inertial compensators.
They had gotten lucky and found the perfect system to test out the newly retrofitted Requiem. The system in question turned out to be a binary system with some rocky bodies and a truly gorgeous blue gas giant that sported a system of ice rings that were just perfect for running the old girl through her paces.
Michael gave the main thrusters all they could take, slipping through two asteroids seconds before they collided. There was a muffled cheer through the comms from the rest of the crew back onboard the Dawn. He had set up cameras all over the Requiem so his crew could watch. Right now only himself and Hephaestus were crazy enough to fly a ship built from scrap through one of the densest ring systems on record. Even Ralthin wasn't that crazy, having said that he'd rather shoot the rocks instead.
They dodged, dived, and weaved their way through the belt for another half an hour before Michael got a comms ping. He angled the ship "up" and rocketed out of the belt so he could answer without having to dodge rocks.
"What's up," Michael asked, angling the ship so he was cruising parallel to the rings.
Goralin's face showed up on the screen, "We just synced with Haven's network, and you've got a message from Gabby."
Before they had left Haven Michael had signed them up as Gabby's new security force. To keep in touch in case of an emergency Michael had purchased an FTL comms array and had set it up to sync with the local network on Haven every week. Of course, if there was an actual emergency he had spent a small fortune on a pair of quantum entangled arrays for instantaneous recall. The fact that Goralin's ears had a mischievous tilt meant that this wasn't an emergency. Meaning that it was probably the favor he had asked before they left.
"Alright, prep the hangar bay. I'm gonna test the emergency recall drive," Michael said, cutting the thrusters and letting the ship coast.
"Copy that Michael. Wait to jump until we give you the signal," Goralin said, closing the channel.
Michael switched over to the intercom, "Sorry Hephaestus, looks like we're gonna have to cut this short."
"It isss fine," Hephaestus said with the barest hint of a chuckle, "If the messsage isss from Gabby I can only think of one reassson. We are going hunting!"
"Cool your jets, we still haven't heard it yet," Michael said, running the ship through the pre-jump sequence, "All set to jump?"
One other little upgrade they did was to configure a jump drive onboard the Requiem so they could get back to the Dawn in a hurry. The only downside was that the hangar bay had to be depressurized so the sudden appearance of the Requiem didn't create a hull rupturing pressure wave.
"All sssyssstemsss are green," Hephaestus said back through the comms, "Ready for jump."
It was only a few more seconds until Michael got the comms ping signaling that the hangar bay was ready.
Michael's finger hovered over the button, "Jumping in three...two...one."
He pushed the button and the ship was inside the Dawn, perfectly centered in the hangar bay. The docking clamps engaged and the bay was pressurized in minutes. Michael ran through the shutdown sequence, unstrapped himself from the pilot seat and met Hephaestus in the airlock. They double-checked the atmospheric readout on the panel before opening the outer door. Even though Michael was wearing his armor and had no fear of stepping into hard vacuum, Hephaestus was basically naked, so it paid to be careful. They made their way up to the bridge, stopping by the mess to apologize for cutting the show short and so Michael could grab a quick snack. One downside of his new armor was that he burned a lot more calories than he ever did wearing his old suit. He walked the rest of the way up to the bridge with Hephaestus in tow.
When he opened the door to the bridge Goralin turned around in the copilot's seat, "You enjoy yourselves," he asked with a slightly mischievous tilt to his ears.
"Yeah!" Michael said enthusiastically, "and I gotta say, yinz missed a hell of a ride."
"I'll have to take your word on that one," Goralin said with a chitter, "Anyway, while we were waiting, I went through the files that were attached to the message and it looks like she sent us a good one."
"Oh," Michael asked, interested, "she send anything else?"
"Just a few video files," Goralin trailed off.
Michael looked around to see the rest of the bridge crew barely able to hold back their chittering.
So they were those kinds of videos…
Michael sighed, "Put the important one up on the main screen. I'll take a look at the rest later."
Goralin flicked his ears in amusement and brought up the message file.
Gabby appeared on the main screen, thankfully wearing her work outfit, with a cqcq cigarette in her hand, "Long time no see," she said, taking a hit and blowing the smoke off-screen, "I had my contacts do some digging and they found a good one. There's no bounty, sadly, but I don't think you'll have a problem with that. Everything you'll need should be in the files I sent along with some...other things I know you'll like," she winked at the camera, "Hoping to hear back from you soon."
"Did she send a location," Michael asked, turning toward Goralin.
"Already punched in," Goralin said with a pant-grin.
"Good man," Michael said with a gentle clap on Goralin's shoulder, "Prep the ship for warp, I'm gonna head to my quarters to uhh…review the other files she sent and get a reply together to send over during the next sync."
Michael left the bridge to sound of barely contained chittering from the crew and made his way back to his quarters. When he reached the mess heard raised voices coming from inside. So he stopped to eavesdrop just outside the door.
"For the last time Jilink," Guln said, "I have absolutely no interest in your insane delusions. No matter how...impressive you may find the humans in their mating practices!"
"Oh come now," Jilink said dismissively, "You seriously cannot believe that the way our species handles reproduction is good for our long term survival can you?"
"What other choice do we have," Guln asked, "we have long since passed the point of being biologically able to reproduce, but that is beside the point," he lowered his voice, "it was simply proposing the idea of reverting back to biological reproduction that made you one of the few Corti that had their banner status stripped all the way down to yellow."
"That was just because those in the Directorate are too narrow-minded to see past their own hubris," Jilink said angrily, "it was only when I started unlocking and splicing genes that had been previously bred out that I started to question their rhetoric. If you would just let me-"
"No! I will not hear of it. Mess with your own genetic code all you want, but I will not have you turning myself and Kilnq into genetic freaks," Guln said, moments before storming out of the mess. He ignored Michael and headed off toward the med bay.
Michael poked his head into the mess and saw Jilink sitting alone, forlornly picking at a plate of steamed mushrooms and cqcq.
She looked up as he walked over, "If you are going to play at eavesdropping you might want to consider that we can feel your every step through the deck plating," she said with a shrewd look.
"So what was your banner status," Michael asked bringing over a chair that could support the weight of himself and his armor. He sat down and took off his helmet, placing it on the table in front of him.
"No remorse and straight to the point I see," she let out a deep sigh, "Before I began...experimenting...on myself, I was a silver banner."
From what Michael knew about Corti social structure, Jilink had been next to royalty. To give all that up...
"Fuck," Michael said, recovering from his jaw practically denting the table, "Why the hell did you give that up?"
"To advance my species of course," she said, her eyes boring into Michael's, "we may be the most technologically advanced in the galaxy, but as a species we Corti have fallen behind tremendously. I may be too brazen in saying this, but we are on the brink."
"On the brink," Michael asked, "the brink of what?"
Jilink's expression hardened, "The brink of terminal decline, and unless something is done my species will fade into obscurity."
"And that something was playing with your own genetics," Michael asked, confused.
"Not playing," Jilink said, waving one finger back and forth, "Improving. As we are, the Corti are far from ideal. Intelligent and quick-witted yes, but we lack the physicality to endure as a species for much longer."
"And that has to do with what Guln said about the way yinz reproduce," Michael asked, even more confused, "you mean yinz don't have kids naturally?"
"As a matter of fact, we do not. Every Corti is grown in a birthing tank," Jilink said matter of factly, "there hasn't been a natural birth for millennia."
"Well that's all kinds of fucked up," Michael said, shaking his head, "and they kicked you out for wanting to go back to the way things are supposed to be?"
"Precisely. You see, reverting back to biological reproduction would necessitate drastic changes to our biology. It is also the reason why I am so fascinated with how other species reproduce. I have been able to get a wealth of medical data on the subject, but the one thing that most species lack is information on how to make the act more enjoyable. Your species, however," she pointed at Michael's chest, "seems to excel in that regard."
"I can see your point," Michael said with a chuckle.
"Needless to say there are some practices that simply watching recordings cannot fully explain. You do not mind answering some questions do you," Jilink asked excitedly.
Michael shrugged, "I got time. Ask away."
Jilink pulled a small tablet from her set of pouches and tapped in a few commands, "I'll start with something that has perplexed me for some time now. Tell me, what is the exact purpose of a bukkake?"
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Ten thousand kilometers astern of the Radiant Dawn
Whispering Breeze
Agent One Six Two
Something was wrong.
He had been trying to link to the infrared module that was hidden next to the engine cluster on that accursed human's ship for over [an hour] only to receive no response. He double and triple checked that his ship was aligned correctly and found not the barest hint of any discrepancy. This left two possibilities, either the module had malfunctioned, or it had been taken offline. Given the extremely stable nature of current solid-state electronics, the latter of the two options seemed the most probable.
He was now forced to consider alternative plans to get the information he needed. One option was to take over one of the human's crew, but the chances of finding one of them alone long enough for him to adjust to the new sensory input were astronomical at best. There was always the option of simply biodroning all the implanted crew, but with the proven combat capabilities of the human and his pet abomination, there was no guarantee of successfully taking over the ship. That left only one option that had any probability of success.
Once the human's ship was out of the system and had no hope of detecting him, One Six Two punched in the codes for the only jump beacon that the human had deployed.
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Date point: 4 months, 2 weeks, 5 days AV
Sol system
Earth
Allegheny National Park
Daniel Mackovich
After the Vancouver incident life had gone on pretty much the same as always. As much as he hated to admit it, Daniel wished the aliens had caused more damage. As it was now, people had already moved on. Of course, every news outlet on the planet had milked the story dry within a week, but since nobody other than the aliens had died the story that humanity was no longer alone in the universe had been replaced by the same old shit. Shootings, trouble in the Middle East, China violating human rights, the usual stuff.
Both he and David were sick of it. So they had planned a little something to get away. That little something happened to be a camping trip out in Allegheny National Park. Not the biggest excursion by a long shot, but it seemed a couple of days out in the woods was just what the doctor ordered.
The first night was just perfect. No rain or swarms of mosquitos, just hours of watching caveman TV with a good meal cooked over the fire to finish out the night. They had been watching the weather and had made sure that there wasn't the barest hint of rain, but it looked like the curse of his old Boy Scout troop had followed him. It had started raining shortly after lunch on the second day. Thanks to a few tricks he'd learned in said cursed Boy Scout troop, Daniel was able to get the fire going, even though all their wood was soaked, so they were at least able to cook their dinner under the tarp David had rigged up over the fire pit.
"Well, it wasn't what we were expecting," David said, looking out of the tent, "but I can think of worse ways to spend the evening."
"My old scout troop was called the Rain Makers after all," Daniel said with a chuckle, snuggling a little closer to David, "At least the company's better this time around."
They sat and watched for a while, listening to the gentle sound of the rain on their tent.
David turned around and rummaged around in his bag for a few moments before turning back and locking eyes with Daniel.
"Well...I was hoping for a better opportunity but," David trailed off.
Daniel looked down at what David was holding in his hand and his breath caught in his throat.
"Daniel, will you marry me?"
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Date point: 9 months, 1 week, 2 days AV
Far Reaches
Cimbrean
Radiant Dawn
Michael Kepler
They had made the trip out in astonishingly good time thanks to the black box drive on the Radiant Dawn. Fast as their ship was it had still taken them around six months to reach this little speck of nowhere. However, the extra time gave Michael the chance to work out some armor for his Gaoian crewmates. They had to stop and resupply before they could manufacture any of it though. It seemed that they had burned through most of their supplies for the nanofac with the Requiem's retrofit.
The armor they had worked out was much like Hephaestus' in the way that it relied heavily on lightweight composite plates instead of heavy alloys like Michael's. The plus side was that Hephaestus had worked out a composite that could take multiple hits from a heavy pulse cannon before failing. Not that the Gaoians would be taking much fire though, each one had a portable cloaking generator to make the best use of their natural talent for sneaking. There was one problem with the suits though, they had to be kept loose to accommodate the Gaoians' fur. Which meant that they would have to rely on shield harnesses for protection against the vacuum of space. Not the best prospect in Michael's mind, but they didn't seem to have the aversion to relying on forcefield tch like he did.
And since Michael wanted some semblance of a uniform for his new band of mercs, the chest plate and helmet had kept as much of the standard Mandalorian looks as possible. The helmet was kinda tricky, considering that the Gaoians had much longer noses than humans, as well as ears that came out of the top of their heads.
In the end, Gaoians had to deal with the minor discomfort of having their ears squished down, but it was worth it if they wanted to have their heads protected. As for the stereotypical "T" shaped visor, Michael settled on a shortened version, ending just above the Gaoians' snouts with a protrusion to cover their nose and mouth. It also had the benefit of allowing the Gaoians to personalize the lower portion, and once one of them had painted fangs on his, the rest had followed suit. Michael had to admit, it looked totally badass.
The extra time also gave them the chance to develop their arsenal. The standard pulse guns were ditched in favor of coilguns. Most of the Gaoians went with something like an AR-15. They were lightweight, with a variable power setting so they didn't over-penetrate their targets if they were inside a ship or station. The real treat was what the brownies came up with though. The crazy fuckers had amped up their coilguns to a heavy machine gun type thing that could send a withering hailstorm of slugs at whatever unfortunate thing that happened to be on the receiving end. However, it seemed that all of the Gaoians took a liking to Hephaestus' fusion claws and had added their own to finish out their already terrifying array of weapons.
They had spent three of the local days cloaked in a high polar orbit mapping the planet and trying to find the location of the palace that was supposed to be here. The only reason it took that long was that they were using passive scans to prevent the discovery of their ship. Since they were stuck in orbit Michael had left it up to the bridge crew to notify him when they found anything. To pass the time and get a better feel on things he had been going through the files on their target. After cross-referencing them with the data from the Twisted Suns it seemed that this particular fucknut had an affinity for ordering Rickytics and Vizkiticks among a smattering of a dozen other species.
It couldn't be...could it?
Michael dug deeper into the records until he found the right entry. Shit.
"Ship," Michael said as he got up from his desk and stretched, still marveling at just how flexible his new armor was.
He got a response ping.
"Where is Irk?"
"Irk is in hydroponics," the ship said through his room's intercom in a perfect replica of Cortana’s voice. Michael didn't know why, but using Cortana's voice for the ship just felt right.
Michael grabbed his helmet and locked it in place.
"Send him a message that I'm on my way. There's something I need to talk to him about."
Michael went to hydroponics and found Irk in his personal corner behind their crop of cqcq minding his bonsai garden. He had originally got the idea from watching Karate Kid of all things. When they had stopped at Haven Irk had purchased a bunch of seedlings from all over the galaxy. As it turned out most of them had the same reaction as Earth trees when they were root-bound inside a small pot. With a little help from some space magic in the form of time acceleration fields, he had more than a dozen perfectly healthy miniature trees. With careful management, Irk had produced some truly fantastical shapes. Hell, he even had one "pot" that was levitating with trees growing out of both the top and bottom.
When Michael walked over Irk turned around, "Ah, Michael. You have something you wanted to speak to me about?"
"Yeah," Michael said, taking off his helmet and setting it down on the table next to the levitating bonsai trees, "It's about our target."
Irk gave him a quizzical look, tilting his head slightly to the side.
Michael took a deep breath, "There was a bit of a mix up on the part of the Twisted Suns. Your lifemate and child were actually supposed to be shipped here."
"But...the Hunters," Irk trailed off.
"That's not all," Michael said, shaking his head, "I really don't have a good way to say this...but it looks like the scumbag we're after wanted you and your family specifically."
Irk slumped to the deck, lost for words.
"I did some digging into the data we got from the Twisted Suns," Michael said, bringing up the file and sending it to Irk's tablet.
It pinged and Irk pulled it out of its pouch with shaking hands. He hesitated for a moment before opening it. Delicately, he tapped the icon and read the file. Irk put the tablet back into its pouch and was silent for a few moments before he gathered his legs under himself and stood up to his full height.
He looked directly at Michael, "I have only one request."
"Name it," Michael said, locking eyes with Irk.
"Bring the bastard to me alive," Irk said with enough bile dripping off the borrowed human curse word to make Michael flinch.
No sooner had Irk walked out of hydroponics did Michael receive a notification from the bridge crew. He put his helmet back on and answered the comms.
"Yinz found something," he asked, exiting hydroponics and making his way up to the bridge.
"Yeah," Goralin said through the comms, "and you're gonna want to see this."
"On my way," Michael said, breaking into a run for the hundred-ish meters to the bridge.
He exploded into the bridge and skidded to a halt right next to Goralin. Michael was a little out of breath, but it wasn't too bad considering the weight of his armor. Practically living in the suit had its benefits sometimes.
Goralin eyed Michael with a hint of amusement "Excited?"
"Damn right," Michael said with a chuckle, "we've only been orbiting this dirtball for three days. What'd you find?"
"See for yourself," Goralin said with a pant-grin, bringing up what looked like a palace on the main screen.
Michael let out a long whistle, "Damn that had to cost a pretty penny."
What was on screen was possibly the most egregious display of wealth that Michael had ever seen, aside from his own ship of course. Camera tech was really something else out here, they had to be at least a hundred and fifty kilometers up, but the pictures were clear enough that Michael could see the contents of the gardens surrounding the enormous palace complex. He'd read the specs when he had the sensor suite overhauled, but the fact that their ground facing camera was in the hundred gigapixel range never quite hit home until he had actually used it.
"Cost a what," Goralin asked, tilting his head slightly.
"Oh, sorry," Michael said, a little embarrassed, "it's an expression for a fuckton of money."
Goralin chittered, "Well the palace isn't the only thing that cost a pretty penny. We found something else too."
The next thing that came up on the screen left Michael totally speechless. Not too far off the coast was a yacht so big it was practically a floating island. Hell, it even had football-field sized space in the middle that was containing a miniature forest.
"Well if they're anywhere, our target's probably on that yacht," Michael said, gesturing to the screen.
Goralin zoomed in on it, "It looks like there's a landing pad big enough to land the Requiem near the back."
"Well, it's our lucky day then," Michael said, turning back toward the door, "get an assault team ready. We're dropping in an hour."
"An assault team," Goralin asked, his