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I missed last week's picks, so here are this week's

 LAR@SF
 BAL@JAX
 DEN@BUF
 NO@CAR
 PIT@CHI
 ATL@DET
 CLE@IND
 TB@MIN
 HOU@NE
 MIA@NYJ
 NYG@PHI
 SEA@TEN
 CIN@GB
 KC@LAC
 OAK@WAS
 DAL@ARI
I take it the teams in bold print are your picks to win? If so, I don't really see any that can argue with. I think Tampa Bay vs. Minnesota will be close though and I wouldn't be too surprised if either team won that one.
William
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MechWarrior Hall / Re: Word Association 24: When Will It End?
« Last post by Wrangler on Today at 20:48:47 »
Space
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Clan Chatterweb / Re: Wolverine Touman
« Last post by Wrangler on Today at 20:47:21 »
Or if it even references what happened. Golden Century really starts with Nicky K's death rather than when he was alive.
I was figuring the later, plus they need put those 3 Wolverine Mechs somewhere. Considering that they mentioned when asked if Unseen IIC mechs were going to be in that, they had said no.  Least when it was asked some months ago.
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Combat Vehicles / Re: Faction in need of a Main Battle Tank.
« Last post by kashim12 on Today at 20:43:05 »
The reason:

While the faction has access to starleague tech they can't use it while in the innersphere due to the Houses & Comstar.  I need a basic Model A tank to show with later down the line "improvements" ;)

Edit: What is best bang for your buck weapon againist mechs in all ranges?
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Fan Fiction / Re: Message in a Bullet
« Last post by Dubble_g on Today at 20:25:55 »
22. BUTTERFLY PEOPLE

Theresa expected the dust to sting. She didn’t expect it to feel quite so personal. Like the wind was deliberately trying to find a gap between her mask and her face, or between her gloves and jacket. The wind whipped and howled and beat at her in impotent rage. Gritty dirt flew into her face with a force that felt like spite.

If she was having a hard time, Nix was suffering. Dressed only in his short body suit, with his chin tucked down and the neck stretched up to cover his mouth, his skin looked raw and red. Every few minutes he had to stop, wracked by another coughing fit. He waved her away, each time a little more feebly than the last.

Nix concentrated on putting one foot in front of the other. The wind felt like sandpaper on a sunburn. The air like trying to breathe in a burning building. His eyes were blurry with tears.

Shapes loomed like mirages in the sandstorm. Pillars of rock, like office towers. So, it came back to this. Always back to towers. Some nights he stood on the top, some nights he fell through the sky towards it, but it was always the tower, always he returned to the tower.

What was a tower? A hierarchy given physical form, penthouse suites and executive offices at the top, garbage in the basement. Everything was about vertical relationships in a tower, the top and the bottom, one floor above the next. Each person’s struggle to the figurative top turned into a literal ascent, people stratified like layers of sediment along the way, deposited where the tides of life had carried them.

Nonsense, he was rambling. It was just a building. Just a way of stacking people together.

Where were they going? Oh right, the basement where he’d stored the suit. Pity he’d lost the Achileus. Would’ve made things much easier. Quite careless, that. Must get Theresa there.

He felt like he was being slowly skinned alive by the wind. Maybe the outer layers would peel away and the new him would emerge, butterfly-like, from the cocoon of his old self. Rambling again. Bullshit. People weren’t butterflies. Over the course of a lifetime they could barely change. Over the course of a civilization? Not at all.

“People aren’t butterflies,” he told the wind. The wind screamed back.

It all came back to towers.

People were always building towers. They were majestic, imposing, comfortable. No. They were top-heavy, unstable things, that kept crashing down. Crash, just like that poor woman’s head. And people would pick up the pieces, vowing they had learned their lesson, and go right back to building another one. Oh, but that poor woman’s head, those were pieces you couldn’t pick up. But what did it matter? Noah’s nihilist scribbles were right. People would go on being people, go on building towers, go on knocking them down. Nothing he could do would change that.

“Rafael Bravo Two,” he told the wind.

“Nix, you’re hallucinating,” the wind said. Nice of it to be concerned.

He sank to his knees in the dust. Something that sounded like his name was being shouted in his ear. What did it matter? It was just someone asking him to climb another tower. Didn’t they know he was tired of climbing?

A face pressed against his. A woman’s face. No, no, he remembered a woman’s face. Not angry or frightened, but sad, alone, resigned. No, he didn’t want to see her face again. Let her stay dead, on top of that tower, and let a part of him stay with her. But the intrusion was insistent, now something plastic was being pressed against his nose and mouth, rubber edges sticking to his skin. “Breathe,” the dead woman said. He breathed.

He opened his eyes a crack. Theresa was kneeling in front of him, her own mask pressed against his face. “Breathe,” she shouted, and he took another deep breath.

That was the thing about towers. Manmade, but too large to be human scale. Dwarfing their creators. You couldn’t think about the tower, your mind couldn’t hold it, it was too big, it would crush you under its inevitable weight. There was only the person that was in front of you. You couldn’t stop the tower from falling, but maybe, you could pull free one survivor.

He reached up and gently, firmly, pushed her hand and the mask away. Leaned forward, his mouth next to where her ear would be under her hood, shouting. “Keep walking the same direction. Look for the rock shaped like a ship prow. There’s a cave at the base. Go.”

She was shaking her head, mouth moving, words lost in the wind.

He tried to push her away, made feeble by another coughing fit. “Go, go.”

Theresa stood, hesitating. Then a sound, a deep, steady hum. Growing louder. A shadow approaching. He fumbled for his gun, barely able to see. Theresa moved, crouched behind him. The hum cut off, a figure separating itself from the shadow then the slam of a door. The figure drew nearer. Nix waited, resigned.

Malbenita, you look like merda.”

The voice sounded almost cheerful.
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Fan Fiction / Re: Message in a Bullet
« Last post by Dubble_g on Today at 20:18:04 »
@DOC_Agren and Nav_Alpha: Well done, I see everyone has done the required reading for today's class!  :P
@David CGB: No, YOU'RE nice. Sorry, don't know where I'm going with that comment. But thanks!

* * * 

21. ECHOES

Salome splits her squad up into pairs to search the tunnels more efficiently.

The radio is silent now. Earlier, there had been shouting, an excited Adept reporting he’d found them, and then the signal had been washed out by an ear-splitting screech of noise the taccom had automatically muted to a whisper. She half crouches as she pads down the tunnels, and grips her rifle in both hands.

The tunnels here are close to the surface, where heated air cools, releasing its tiny cargo of water vapor. It drips in tiny stalactites from the walls, and the plinking sound of the drops falling is the only thing she hears. She presses her throat mike, and whispers “Laskey, Kimura, status.” There is only static, like cosmic radiation, then a burst of what sounds like Spanish speedmetal that threatens to burst her eardrums. She clicks off, disgusted. Comms have been sporadic ever since the alarm sounded.

It is just her and her backup, a fellow Tortugan named Oliver, so new he barely knows which end of the needler to hold. She keeps him with her so he won’t slow the other teams down, but is beginning to regret her selflessness. He splashes through every puddle like a kid in a playground.

So it is that she nearly misses the shuffling sound up ahead. She holds her arm up, fist clenched, as a signal to stop, but it takes a second before Oliver notices and halts. Salome flicks him an adamantine look over his shoulder that promises many things, all of them unpleasant, when they return to barracks. He swallows, hard. She signals again: Wait.

Years of servitude in the master’s household taught her to move quietly, lest she draw his attention, and she glides forward now, needler held ready. The shuffling is louder. She slides up to a junction in the tunnel. The sound is very near.
And then she moves, spinning around the corner, needler held ready against her shoulder, her cheek against the stock—

—and finds herself looking down the bore of a laser pistol aimed at her head.

The man holding it is the man from the apartment, the one the smiling Demi-Precentor wanted to talk to. As soon as she sees the barrel of the pistol she knows that she is dead, that he is dead too, for even in dying she can fire, and at this range, in this enclosed space, nothing will live that stands in front of her gun.

She does not fire.

Salome dreams of two faces each night, but there is a third face in the story that she never sees, for that face is her own. She sees it now, sees a memory of that 12-year-old Salome, cold, wet, filthy, hungry and alone, in the face of the woman standing behind the man with the gun.

And slowly, she lowers her needler. The man watches her, and she knows he is ready, she still might die if she so much as opens her mouth. She flicks her eyes in the direction of the other tunnel, away from where Oliver crouches, and she sees the man’s head move fractionally.

They edge slowly away from her, down the other tunnel, never turning their backs on her. Salome stands, rifle held loosely in her hands, and watches them go. The man is tattooed, she notes, just as she is, and she knows she has done the right thing. He is owned by the past, as surely as she is, and when the line of sight breaks as he rounds a corner, she feels that a cord has been cut. The debt to the past has been paid. Now, she is free.

She walks back to Oliver, shrugging at his quizzical look.

“Just an echo,” she says, and leads him in the opposite direction.
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Wouldn't there be some risk of ships jumping into a system colliding with (jumping into) a ship already in system? What about fleet travel?
Does anyone control this traffic?

Calling the zenith and nadir "points" is a bit of a misnomer because they are huge.

Odds of a shipping jumping into another is so low to be near zero probability.
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BattleTech Miniatures / Re: KGC-010 King Crab and friends
« Last post by Luciora on Today at 20:10:59 »
I've been eyeing this design for at least a year, before committing to making it.  The fluff was great!  It beat out the RAC version by narrow margin, and i plan to customize that one too in the future.

Having created that variant I am exceptionally happy to see it in mini form.  I don't think I've seen one created before.
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Fan Fiction / Re: Message in a Bullet
« Last post by DOC_Agren on Today at 19:48:40 »
Still loving this.
But I don’t like his chances walking for a couple hours out in that soup.
I'm with you 8)
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