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Scorpius Port


29716 of 50000 words

Sponsored by Featured Fiction

FFXIV Starlight Event Seasonal Items

Starlight Celebration is back in Eorzea and it brings a new indoor tree and treats.

From December 17th through December 31 you can go to Mih Khetto’s Amphitheatre in Old Gridania and start the level 15 quest to attain the Choir Robes, Hat, and Shoes. By doing the Choir event, a mini game where you tap a button as the image of a diamond shrinks to meet an inner diamond on the icon, you can earn event tokens that are redeemable for a limited edition orchestration scroll (5 tokens), a silver Starlight tree with mini plushies adorning it (10 tokens), a glowing snowman housing item (5 tokens), opened twinkle boxes, and a basket of festive donuts (3 tokens each).

The Choir robes are a dyable item, and can look quite nice as a glamor robe for healers.

Note that when you consume all of the donuts you are left with a nice basket with a white cloth in it, which can be a very useful decorating item on it’s own.

I do wish that the tree had been a classic elegant white tree similar to the classic green one from a past event, but I did find a good use for the tree.

I set one up in the corner of the Maelstrom Records office I set up at my small house on Balmung and made a Toys For Orphans donations tree with opened boxes and toys under it and a table in the corner with more opened boxes and a few toys “being wrapped”. (If you want to see it check it out at Mist, ward 7 plot 11 on Balmung. – it’s an open RP spot for anyone to do RP at if they need to visit the Maelstrom’s records office – or if you want to do some random toy donations the tree will be up through the first week of January.)

Found Cat and Trees, Dragon Head still MIA

I was sitting at the desk last night when my roomate’s cat came crawling on his belly out from under the desk and over to my feet. He apparently was not sure that the earth was done moving.

I also found my trees, the grapefruits needed to be re-potted since they had come out of the pot they were in, but the apple trees had survived unscathed. Still no sign of the head for my silver dragon though.

Alaska 7.0 Earthquake

I was sitting in my chair during the early morning hours when I sensed th onset of an earthquake. I knew, instinctively, that this was not a normal ground shaker, but I was not aware of how different this one was going to be from the multitude of others I have ridden my way though as an Alaskan.

Earthquakes are nothing to stress over when you live in Alaska, odds are you have faced down several 3.0’s by the end of your first year here and I have lived in Alaska for many long years now. This, however, was different. This was a 7.0 earthquake that struck just north of Anchorage.

For full details on the quake visit the USGS website for the 2018 Anchorage Earthquake, as for a firsthand account. I was sitting in my chair at my desk after a late night of working through to the wee hours of the morning when I felt something undefinable but that I recognized as the approach of an earthquake. It is an innate sort of sense of things that I suppose develops when one lives in regions that are prone to earthquakes.

I called out to my roomate, who was asleep on the other side of the quanset hut we share to wake up, but by then the quake was in full force and as I collapsed out of my chair, thinking only to get to the propane powered space heater and shut off the gas, all I could say was “Dude! Wake up, this one’s a serious one.”

By the time the ground stopped moving I had made it the 10 feet tot he propane heater and got the gas shut off, looking back where I had come from I could see the TV that sat on my desk had fallen over, everything that was on the shelves all around me was on the floor, including a really big old microwave oven from the 80’s or 90’s that weighs a ton and had been on a shelf over top of the foot of my bead. It now lay where my dog and feet would have been had I been asleep when the quake started.

The most notable issues in the wake of the quake seem to be that I lost the apple trees and grapefruit trees I had on a shelf. I have no idea where they went, they have just… vanished.  My silver dragon figurine fell and broke one leg and the head off… still no sign of the head of the figurine. There are multiple cold drafts hitting out of who knows where at my desk that were not there the other day, my roomate’s TV has a huge scrape down the front of the screen where  a shelf fell and scraped across it, and the door to my counter-top popcorn maker was shattered when the machine fell off the counter and hit the microwave that had fallen just before it… or maybe the microwave landed on the door. I’m not sure. There is a lot of broken things, a lot of lost things (including my roomate’s cat), and a lot of confusion as we try to clean up things that ended up 20 feet from where they had been before the quake.

Do You Need A Discord Server?

Discord was created to serve as a VoIP alternative to older services such as Skype and TeamSpeak, which the creator of Discord had found to be difficult or resource-heavy when working on game development with his team.

You can find out more about the history of Discord at Wikipedia.

If you are a game developer then discord was made for you, or at the very least by people that encountered the same issues with VoIP services that you might be encountering.

Discord allows you to bring together not only the members of your dev team, but to build a base of fans for your game that you can interact with throughout the development stages and beyond.

One drawback for new Discord users is not knowing where to get started. So if you think Discord might be something you want to learn more about join the Phantascene Productions Discord server (it’s FREE) and let me know you would like some help getting started. I’m still learning and adjusting the server, but I’m happy to assist anyone in getting started in whatever way I can.

Who is Arron Keener? What to know before you play The Division 2 (Spoilers for The Division)

NOTE: This article contains spoilers for Tom Clancy’s The Division.

Masterminds HD has the below guide to Keener’s story on their YouTube channel. It is missing a few details, and some of the information is out of order for how it is discovered in the game, but it is still a good look at what is known about Keener and his motives.  

What is an Agent? What to know before you play The Division 2 (Spoilers for The Division)

NOTE: This article contains spoilers for Tom Clancy’s The Division.

Agents are the player characters in Tom Clancy’s The Division and are highly skilled sleeper agents that were activated by presidential directive to ensure continuity of government by any means necessary.

When Roy Benitez is brought back to the base of operations he tells the player’s character and Faye Lau that he does not like the idea of throwing them to the wolves. Faye replies, “We are the wolves.”

Agents are equipped with SHD (shade) Tech, special equipment developed by the Strategic Homeland Division to help the agents in the field.

There are a number of phone messages by Benitez that tell the men and women of the Joint Task Force (JTF) about the agents of the Division.

What is The Division? What to know before you play The Division 2 (Spoilers for The Division)

NOTE: This article contains spoilers for Tom Clancy’s The Division.

Extremis Malis Extrema Remedia

The above quote is the Latin moto of the Division. The literal translation is “Extreme Evil, Extreme Remedy.”

More formally known as the Strategic Homeland Division, The Division is a classified unit of highly trained sleeper agents tasked with the duty to go into an area where local authorities have lost control and restore order. Division Agents are a last line of defense that is tasked with working beyond the law to preserve or restore the chain of command.  

 “There’s always another way. Our mission is to save what remains. To save what’s left of our city. We are The Division
                                               — Unknown Second Wave Division agent

A lot of information on the Division Agents and Directive 51 can be gleaned from finding the phone messages left around the city by Captain Roy Benitez. These are briefings to the men and women under his command about the Agents and what Benitez knows about them, which primarily seems to be “Look for the orange circles, and if you see one, get out of their way.”

What Happened to the Country? What to know before you play The Division 2 (Spoilers for The Division)

NOTE: This article contains spoilers for Tom Clancy’s The Division.

There has been a lot of debate about what happened to the world beyond the playable areas in Tom Clancy’s The Division when the virus turned pandemic after it was released in Able’s on Black Friday.

The unfortunate news is that the rest of the country fared no better than New York did, and the evidence is easily found in the game or heard by listening to the radios that are scattered throughout the safe houses and other locations in the game environment.

The first evidence is found it the opening sequence.

This still from the opening sequence clearly shows that by Monday afternoon there were major outbreaks in Washington state, California, Miami, Mexico, on both coasts of South America, Morocco, London, Moscow, Cape Town, Moscow, Tokyo, and many other locations all around the world. The United Nations has, by Cyber Monday, called an emergency summit to try to figure out what to do in the face of a global crisis that has hit every continent. The game shows up front that the virus escaped Manhattan long before the Agent arrived there.

The radios confirm this within the game. They play a series of pirate radio podcasts called “Wouldn’t You Know It?” that are put out by conspiracy theorist Rick Valassi. As the game progresses the podcasts change and the situation the city is facing is explained by Valassi through his podcast.

In one episode, later in the game, Valassi releases the following podcast to the airwaves:

Heard about Houston, New York? Heard about Detroit? Heard about Pittsburgh, PA? 

And not that we haven’t had our hands full here – we are the epicenter, after all – but it’s probably fair to say we’ve been so preoccupied with making it through the grindhouse flick we’re in, we just assumed the rest of the world would be there waiting for us at the end.

Not. So. Fast.

New numbers released today on the DCD website look shitty. Boston. Philly. Chicago. Atlanta, San Francisco, and LA. Infection numbers are through the roof.

You got martial law being enforced by state and national guards in every city in America. Interstate trucking disrupted, food’s not getting delivered, food riots daily across the country. Hospitals are overloading. No emergency services, ’cause the first responders have left to go help in bigger cities, like ours. Power grids up and down, just like that.

So, what’s my point? My point is, you’re like me. You’ve been telling yourself the world you know is waiting for you on the other side of this mess.

But here’s the thing. What if it’s not?

The dollar flu that swept across the city of New York would have escaped not only on travelers that left the city, but it might have been possible it could have spread via contact with parcels that were bought and shipped across the country.  I am not a virologist, and have no working knowledge of how a virus such as the Dollar Flu would have been transmitted, but however it spread it is a fact stated in the game that the virus escaped New York and martial law was declared as the food, power, and emergency services across the nation were crippled.

By the end of the game a cure was discovered, and sent to persons in a position to mass produce it and get it distributed, but the Green Poison left the country, and no doubt the entire world, in crisis as local governments fell and groups like the Last Man Battalion, The Cleaners, and The Rikers all stepped up to seize power in other locations all across the world.

Valassi expresses the concerns of his listeners in one of the final radio podcasts of the main story line:

You are listening to Rick Valassi and “Wouldn’t You Know It,” the best, if not only, paranoid pirate radio podcast in the tri-state area. So you got that going for you, which is nice.

So, folks have been asking me about the federal government, what the state of things is, et cetera. Basically wanting me to reassure them somebody is still in charge. But I can’t. 

I mean, are there provisions for “continuity of government” in a crisis? Sure. Realms of classified documentation? Yes. Top-secret mountain fortresses impregnable to any attack with a conventional nuclear biological? You bet!

The question is, is it working? Is it functional? Are there still people running the federal government, and if so, who, and where, and are they answerable in any way to the people in the republic for which they stand?

I mean, we all know what they’re telling us. We see the video footage. We download the official statements. But let’s be clear. Their top priority is to keep us calm while they try to figure out what the motherfuck to do about all this, ’cause in case you ain’t been outside since Turkey Day, the one thing we can be pretty goddamn sure of is they really haven’t nailed it down so far.

Not that I blame them. It’s such a fucking mess out there, I’m amazed we haven’t all turned into cannibals yet. Yet. 

Just give it time.

That is the world the Agents will be stepping out into in The Division 2.

What is the Dollar Flu? What to know before you play The Division 2 (Spoilers for The Division)

Note: This article contains spoilers for Tom Clancy’s The Division

The so-called “Dollar Flu” is a virus that was made by Dr. Gordon Amherst in the days leading up to Black Friday. A highly skilled virologist, Amherst believed that humanity was going to destroy the planet and it was only through a strict reduction of humanity to a sustainable level that the planet could be saved.

Amherst felt that the marvels of modern medicine had created an imbalance, so took it upon himself to create a new strain of smallpox that would have a rapid spread rate and be as lethal as he could make it. A helping hand to Mother Nature to get around the antibiotics and antivirals that had allowed humanity to go so long without a global pandemic.

Amherst spoke with other virologists, including Dr. Vitaly Tchernenko, and used the information he gathered, which included the DNA of viruses that included smallpox, to create the virus that would be known by several names, including: The Green Poison Virus and The Dollar Flu.

In The Division, Gordon Amherst used bits from other viruses, such as H1N1, Ebola, Marburg, Dengue, and Hantavirus, to modify the base code of smallpox and make it not only incubate faster, but to be highly contagious during the incubation period.

Echos in Abel’s department store shows that Amherst went to several stores on Black Friday and claimed his bank cards were not working, paying for his purchases with cash that had been tainted with the virus.

Amherst knew his virus would possibly kill him, along with billions of others, but he considered it an acceptable chance when the virus was, in his mind, the only way to save the planet from humanity’s overpopulation.

The cure for the virus was discovered at the end of the game by Dr Jessica Kandel, who tells the Agent that she has sent it to persons more able than her. She expresses concern, however, that the world would not be able to survive another such event.

Who is Jessica Kandel? What to know before you play The Division 2 (Spoilers for The Division)

NOTE: This article contains spoilers for Tom Clancy’s The Division.

First and foremost, Dr Jessica Kandel is not a people person. She admits that in a comment about her ex having told her that she was better with viruses than with people.

She is a brilliant virologist, however, and guides the Agent through the search for the things she will need to find a cure; including a sample of the original virus from a contaminated bill to be found somewhere in Abel’s, Gordon Amherst’s notes from Amherst’s apartment, survivors with antibodies in their blood at the Hudson Refugee Camp, and the data from the computers at the Russian Consulate.

Her lack of good people skills is highlighted at the end of the Russian Consulate mission, when told that Vitaly was taken by the LMB and Rogue Agents, Jessica responds with an “eh” and says how she has his data, so does not really need him, yet.

By the end of the game Jessica has succeeded in her effort to find a cure for the virus and tells the Agent that she has sent it to people more able than her. She also offers the Agent a cautionary warning that if something like that virus happens again, humanity won’t survive it.



3D Resources