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Dec/29/2020 news: \\ political party law reformed: idea > individual; transparency; female % \\ Pashinyan responds to "not being enough pro-Russian" \\ who owns which business? \\ protests & snap elect. \\ burglary case & HHK MP \\ humanitarian aid for Artsakh \\ Vitalik flexes muscles \\ bills pass

Your 14-minute Tuesday report in 3589 words.

Pashinyan about pre-war negotiations and "avoiding" the war:

The idea that a flexible foreign policy could have avoided this war is being constantly circulated. Those [former officials] who believe in this thesis must answer at least one question: as a result of their "flexible" policy, why was it not possible to avoid the war of 2016, which was preceded by the unprecedented escalation of 2015 and 2014?
The "flexible" policy adopted by Armenia for many years led to the introduction of Russian proposals in January 2016, which proposed the return of 7 territories (5 + 2) without any legal status for Nagorno-Karabakh.
Why did Russia make such an offer? For one simple reason, as a result of Armenia's "flexible" policy, the Madrid process had come to a standstill because Artsakh could receive a Status outside Azerbaijan only with the consent of Azerbaijan.
It was obvious to Russia and everyone else that Azerbaijan would not agree to this, so it was necessary to find ways to break the deadlock.
And, by the way, if certain people claim that Armenia's foreign policy after 2018 was not sufficiently pro-Russian and this was the reason for the war, then why in the conditions of the "sufficiently pro-Russian" policy of 2016 were Russian proposals born and why did the April war take place?
There was only one way to prevent this war: return the regions and forget about Artsakh's legal status. Now, after the war is over and we know the outcome, the number of supporters of [giveaway of 7 regions] is growing. What they forget is that if we gave away the lands to avoid the war, we would have the same situation in Syunik borders. They used to accuse us of "selling lands" [he means the contradictory statements like Nikol sold the lands, and why didn't Nikol sell the lands earlier to avoid the war].
The biggest failure by the supporters of the "flexible policies" is that they spent years trying to avoid a war instead of preparing for it. Our biggest failure is that we weren't able to recover enough embezzled public property in the past 2.5 years to help us better prepare for the war.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039231.html

businesses owned by opposition leaders

What are the known businesses owned by some of the famous people you might have seen in the public square lately?

Vazgen Manukyan

20% share in Lorva Amrots Ltd which plans to operate two hydro-power plants on Dzoraget river. Manukyan purchased the shares in 2011 after being appointed by Serj as the head of the Public Council.
In 2015-2016, he owned 30% shares in Vanavka Group. In 2015-2017 he had 30% shares in Jermakunq Group. These companies extracted and bottled water. At the time, the director of these companies was charged with illegal bottling and causing ֏55 million in damages to the state. The corruption case was sent to the IRS, which terminated the investigation after "not finding a crime". The companies export the products mostly to Russia.
 

Arthur Vanetsyan

Vanetsyan is a poor boy, according to the public declarations database. But if you have time, take a look at the investigative report I covered in Ap29/2020 news, according to which Vanetsyan's family allegedly used offshore firms and owns mining shares. More on that here. Here is a Hetq investigative report.
Vanetsyan's father owns AV Group flower importing business. About a year ago, the police investigated several flower sellers near a stadium. An opposition outlet claimed that the sellers were "beaten and forced" to testify that Vanetsyan's father was running an underground business. This was never properly proven and the opposition's claim that Vanetsyan was about to be charged did not happen. The police confirmed that there was an investigation against several flower sellers. These flower sellers ended up hiring Vanetsyan's co-party-creator Arsen Babayan as a lawyer.
Vanetsyan's father owns 50% shares of A B Export oil import company that began operating in 2017. It was a minor player that quit the market in 2019. Vanetsyan's father also owns 60% of A B Trans transportation company.
In Nov/2019, CivilNet wrote about Arthur Vanetsyan's cousins' possible involvement with Zangezur Copper factory (massive business). The same offshore firm in Cyprus, which purchased Zangezur shares, was tied to Vanetsyan's cousins' another business in the same offshore.
Vanetsyan's cousins also own a Switzerland-based Exoil wholesale cooking oil and shipping company. In 2019 it had a revenue of $148 million (11 billion Rubles). The cousins don't do this business in Armenia.
Per 2019 registration, Arthur Vanetsyan himself owns one apartment, $10,000, and ֏1 million.
Media reported in May/2020 that Vanetsyan's cousin purchased a ֏300 million mansion in Yerevan, which was donated to then-new political party "Hayreniq", co-founded by Arthur Vanetsyan and Arsen Babayan (the guy who is accused of helping HHK to fabricate documents in 2018 to hijack the Constitutional Court by appointing HHK MP Hrayr Tovmasyan as a judge).
Arthur Vanetsyan's mother served as the chief of the personnel-management department in Serj and Pashinyan administrations, before quitting and working as Serj's aide.
Vanetsyan's wife owns Villa Montessori preschool in Yerevan. She also runs the Young Education Center Ltd.
 

ARF Ishkhan Saghatelyan

Pashinyan appointed Saghatelyan as Gegharquniq governor for a brief period after the 2018 revolution, when Pashinyan created a unity-government, represented by all political parties. The honeymoon soon ended and each party went their way.
Saghatelyan owns shares in i-mega Service Ltd. It's a tourism agency founded in 2006. It operates in Armenia, Artsakh, and Georgia.
Saghatelyan founded Navasar company and serves as director. It's owned by his father.
Saghatelyan family owns the Tsovasar hotel complex on Lake Sevan shores. It's 10,000 m2 (a hectare?).
As of 2018, Saghatelyan declared ownership of 8 pieces of land, 2 apartments, ֏18.5 million, $45,000, and €15,000.
Saghatelyan's father is the mayor of Gegharquniq's Geghamavan settlement. This municipality had recently sent a letter demanding Pashinyan's resignation.
Saghatelyan used to be a shareholder of Shiman Ltd which is no longer active.
 

BHK leader Gagik "dodi gago" Tsarukyan

BUCKLE UP, KIDS! Overall, Tsarukyan runs 54 companies. Студент, комсомолец, спортсмен, u наконец, он просто красавиц.
His business empire was covered in details here. Textile, gas stations, malls, Multi Group empire, Shangri-La Casino, Ararat Cognac & Wine Factory, BMW official office Euromotors (also Hyundai, Gazel, Niva), Multi Motors, Magas Invest, Multi Wellness, Olimpavan sports complex, Kotayk beer factory, TechnAlyumin door & window factory, Multi Rest House hotel chain, Paravon luxury restaurant, Onira Club, Zvartnot's airport's upper-level service company Avia Service, Farm Adama, Multi Pharm pharmacy, Multi Leon gas stations, Multi Solar solar panels.
He owns shares in Frank Mueller Yerevan watch company, Fortsa, Multi Gold, Multi Diamond jewelry firms, several fish-breeding businesses.
He also runs businesses in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Czechia, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Latvia.
Per official declaration, he owns $168 million, €29 million, ֏675 million, 14 pieces of land, 6 houses, 2 public buildings, 1 apartment.
 
Details for BHK MP Mikael Melkumyan and HHK Vahram Baghdasaryan in the link below.
 
https://fip.am/14388
https://hetq.am/hy/article/88755
https://www.reddit.com/armenia/comments/gagkyp/apr292020_wednesday_news_armenia_being_sued_fo?
www.civilnet.am/news/2019/11/01/Զանգեզուրի-պղնձամոլիբդենային-Մաքսիմ-Հակոբյանի-ու-նրա-որդու-փոխարեն-նոր-բաժնետերեր-Ժնևից-և-Աջափնյակից/369792
www.1lurer.am/hy/2020/01/29/Բենզինի-շուկա-Արթուր-Վանեցյանի-հայրը-դուրս-է-եկել-ոլորտից-Միքայել-Մինասյանի-մերձավորը՝-խոշորների-մա/182670

opposition continues the demonstrations

The street demonstrations, organized by the former regime and its allies, continue. They demand Pashinyan's resignation and the appointment of their candidate Vazgen Manukyan as the Prime Minister for the duration of a year, after which they agree to hold new elections.
ARF leader Artsvik Minasyan said they don't plan to discuss snap elections with Pashinyan. "Right now, our only demand is Pashinyan's resignation. We demand SIS to immediately hold every criminal accountable". The demonstrators gathered in front of the SIS building to present the demands.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039316.html

Pashinyan meets leaders of several opposition parties

QP leader Lilith: there is a possibility there will be a meeting between Pashinyan and the three Parliamentary political parties. They could discuss snap elections. The impression is that politicians who demand Pashinyan's resignation do not want snap elections in an attempt to bypass the citizen's right to form a government. Our political team reaffirms the position that none of us is clinging on seats. //
LHK MP Gorgisyan: we cannot hold snap elections now, under this chaotic situation. We will discuss snap elections if Pashinyan discusses his resignation and transfer of power. (LHK wants its leader Marukyan to be elected as Prime Minister by a Parliamentary vote) //
Pashinyan met BHK leader Tsarukyan. The latter is against holding snap elections unless Pashinyan resigns now, and presumably, he wants Vazgen Manukyan appointed as PM.
LHK leader Marukyan also wants Pashinyan to resign now so a new Prime Minister can form a new government cabinet "consisted of experts".
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039261.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039268.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039299.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039322.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039323.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039327.html

felony case: ex-HHK MP charged with armed attack on ex-IRS official

In August of this year, Russia extradited a former HHK MP Alraghatsi Lyovik to Armenia. He was wanted for allegedly burglarizing and shooting at a senior IRS official a decade ago. At the time, his case was "frozen". It was relaunched in 2018. (magic wand)
NSS says: suspect Lyovik, with the help of citizens AK and AN, organized an armed burglary against IRS Chief (?) Avetisyan in 2008.
AK was in the United States. In 2004, he stole $150,000 from jewelry shops in Los Angeles. He got caught but managed to flee to Armenia.
Once in Armenia, AK colluded with policeman AN to organize a similar criminal ring in Armenia.
[MP] Lyovik personally knew AK, and learned about their burglaries. Since Lyovik had bad relations with the IRS chief (victim), he decided to punish the victim by urging AK to burglarize his house. Lyovik revealed the plot to his brother-in-law, who happened to be the victim's personal aide. The latter gave all the personal habits and details about the victim to the burglars.
[read the article for the full story, or wait for a Hollywood movie in theaters near you]
The burglars and organizers are charged with felonies.
https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203835 , https://youtu.be/brdozVbwQ6A , https://factor.am/274836.html , https://armtimes.com/hy/article/183522 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203835 ,

Russian Orthodox chapel will be built

... in the Armenian settlement near Nakhijevan where Azerbaijan had earlier shut down a Russian helicopter, which killed and wounded Russian pilots. It'll be on a hill in Yeraskh. Construction starts on January 6th.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039259.html

Russian peacekeepers conducted training

... to stay in shape. A report by WarGonzo's Semyon Pegovn who returned to Artsakh to meet the New Year there.
https://youtu.be/-c1BSTkC-a8

Russia and Turkey comment

Russian MFA: The situation in Nagorno-Karabakh should not be used for the infiltration of foreign mercenaries into the region. Here we have exactly the same position as our Turkish partners.
Turkish MFA: we see that a ceasefire has been established. We hope to establish the joint RU-TR monitoring center soon.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039281.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039282.html

Vitalik Balasanyan will return the lands, kicks junkies, and restrict Facebook

Artsakh President Arayik earlier announced that he will allow his opponents to take jobs in the new coalition government. Kocharyan-ally Vitali Balasanyan became the Security Council chief.
Vitalik: we will return Hadrut and Askeran region with the help of Russian and Armenian military-political efforts. We are in a better situation now to solve territorial issues.
We will soon create border guard forces. It will report to MoD, which will report to the Security Council (his office).
Drugs have no place in Artsakh. Drug users must quit or leave Artsakh now.
We need to return to traditional values of giving women as wives after asking if the man had served in the army.
No public official will be allowed to use Facebook during work.
More: https://youtu.be/DceHyi4AB5g
https://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/289056/

search operations are paused / the "welcome to Azerbaijan" sign

Azerbaijan received criticism for refusing to allow search teams to enter the Hadrut region yesterday. They also prevented UNESCO from checking the status of several Armenian cultural sights, after complaining that UNESCO was "biased" against Azerbaijan during the war.
HR Ombudsman: Any untrue information can not be a reason to disrupt the humanitarian process [referring to unconfirmed rumors on social media that Armenians opened fire at Azeris in Hadrut. An unofficial Iranian social media channel claims 3 Azeris were killed but due to an internal fight.]
The Human Rights Ombudsman also criticized the Azeri troops for installing a provocative "welcome to Azerbaijan" sign on part of a road that went under Azeri control near Syunik borders. The Ombudsman says it's meant to intimidate the locals.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039233.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039237.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039244.html , https://factor.am/325511.html

Parliament votes: BHK MP Naira Zohrabyan's chairmanship

Context: BHK MP Naira Zohrabyan referred to the majority of Armenian voters as human trash *(or as she says: impure), and called for the establishment of forced re-education camps so people won't vote for a "wrong party" again. The ruling QP party launched a process to terminate her chairmanship in Parliamentary Human Rights Committee. Read yesterday's thread for more details.*
QP MP Arthur: the law states that the Parliament can appoint and terminate the chairman. The termination of this seat does not require the same procedures as in the case of MPs and Judges. Armenian Constitution states that in Armenia, human beings are of the highest value, and inalienable human dignity is the inseparable basis of their rights and freedoms. MP Zohrabyan's public conduct is against it. //
The law gives the second-largest political party the mandate to appoint the chairman of this particular Committee. BHK, being the second-largest party, said they wouldn't appoint a replacement if Zohrabyan is voted out.
QP MP Arthur: per rules, if BHK refuses to appoint a new candidate, the largest (QP) party will receive the mandate. //
Parliament voted 78-4 to terminate Zohrabyan's chairmanship. BHK and LHK did not vote.
BHK MP Zohrabyan: this termination was a Constitutional crime.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039245.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039264.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039304.html , https://factor.am/325132.html

Parliament votes: registering parties becomes easier / ideology instead of person / financial transparency

The goal of this reform is to have political parties that are more about ideology and less about an individual. The reform will boost internal democracy within parties; it will expand the powers of the Party Assembly.
Parties will be required to add more anonymous voting mechanisms.
The law also requires more financial transparency.
The required membership to register a party is lowered from 800 to 300.
Some of the public funding given to political parties will depend on the % of female members in the administrative boards.
Parliament voted 99-1 to approve it.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039270.html , https://youtu.be/bPuZViCCCxo

Parliament votes: monthly fees towards soldiers' recovery are raised

Most workers pay a monthly 1000 Dram towards the Soldiers' Fund, which takes care of wounded soldiers and families of those who died. The govt found it necessary to raise the fee to cover thousands of new recipients. Here are the new fees and salary brackets:
֏1,500 for < ֏100k/month
֏3,000 for < ֏200k
֏5,500 for < ֏500k
֏8,500 for < ֏1 million
֏15,000 for > ֏1 million
Parliament voted 89-0 to approve it.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039296.html

Parliament votes: ban on public smoking is delayed until 2022

The govt had adopted a law to ban smoking in public cafes and the public display of cigarettes in grocery shops. The ruling party wanted to delay parts of the bill that were set to go into effect in January, citing possible financial issues for businesses caused by the pandemic.
QP MP: the cigarette industry pays $383 million to state coffers.
Healthcare Ministry: it will be a mistake if you delay this bill for the sake of $10 million in tax revenues.
Parliament voted 86-0 to delay the anti-smoking bill until 2022.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039295.html

Parliament votes: no tax on goods donated to Armenia

QP MP: When you donate a charitable product to the Republic of Armenia, you are exempt from customs duties and other tax payments, except for one payment, which we are trying to exempt with this bill as well. //
Parliament voted 80-0 to approve it.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039297.html

how is the Judicial Branch doing?

The Supreme Court protects or punishes judges. It also handles complaints. It's separate from the Constitutional Court.
bad boys
19 complaints against judges were heard, 14 of which were petitioned by Justice Ministry and 4 by Judicial Ethics Board. 10 judges ended up receiving disciplinary penalties, 3 received a warning, 3 were reprimanded, 2 were terminated, 4 were cleared.
the system is overloaded
61 judges are handling 6470 felony cases.
86 judges handle 175,940 civil cases.
24 judges handle 17,390 administrative cases.
The number of Arbitration cases rose from 3100 to 9900.
finances
This year, Supremes appointed 20 new judges. Supreme's budget remained the same this year. They returned ֏607 million in savings back to state coffers.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039249.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039284.html

anti-corruption: SIS busts an IRS agent

SIS says: IRS border inspector took a bribe from a citizen to help him avoid paying Millions of ֏ in import taxes by splitting a large load into smaller pieces, so each piece would fall below the taxable threshold.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039293.html

IRS wants you to file less paperwork

IRS says the latest reforms will help the exporters and simplify the process in which Armenia is used as a transit country for trade. Some tasks can be done online.
More: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039247.html

update: electricity prices

...won't go up for low-income families or those using less than 400 kWh. That's 90% of consumers. The rest will pay 3 Drams more. The rates are presented (6-10¢):
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039285.html

police to guard Lake Sevan against poachers

Police and Nature Ministry have set up additional checkpoints as part of measures against whitefish poaching in Sevan. 24/7 monitoring on all alleys leading to the lake. They will also travel across markets to catch contraband whitefish.
Why? It's the egg-laying season. Fishing is banned for now. The legally-allowed fishing tools were temporarily removed from the lake.
https://youtu.be/8ZyRGpEazMQ
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039339.html

rare Caucasus Leopard is spotted by cameras again

https://youtu.be/2nidC5QJaIg

"only 10% of villagers should do agriculture"

...the rest should have access to other jobs. There is an opportunity now because many businesses operate remotely. Call Center workers don't have to visit an office. Businesses would rather pay less to hire a rural remote worker than more to hire someone in a Yerevan office.
The High Tech Ministry has an ongoing program to teach IT to 5,000 citizens. We must help workers to expand their skillset. We're working on a program to allow a worker to quit the job, not worry about the food on the table, and have enough time for education and learning new skills.
The villagers should ideally lease their smaller lands to large agricultural producers," said Economy Minister Qerobyan.
Full interview: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039319.html

State regulators bust another price-fixing ring: fruit mafia

Yesterday, the Economic Competition Committee busted the egg industry's alleged price-fixing and anti-competitive practices. Today they say a similar collision was observed in the orange, mandarin, kiwi, lemon industry.
The companies Best Fruits, Art-Fruits, and Promout were slapped with a ֏39 million in penalties for colluding to raise the prices for the products that had an increased demand during the pandemic period.
http://www.competition.am/.../resources/Vo370_17_12_2020.pdf
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039269.html

Lenovo slapped for "anti-competitive practice"

The Economic Competition Committee heard a petition filed by Oazis Computer company against Lenovo. The latter was issued a warning for anti-competitive behavior.
Public Regulator: "Lenovo" company had the ability to influence the process of importing Lenovo computers to Armenia from non-EAEU trade bloc countries. "Lenovo" took steps to reduce the import of Lenovo computers from non-EAEU states, by discriminating against Oazis Computer importer. Lenovo is given a month to correct the issue and fix the requirement and standards related paperwork.
(Facebook next?)
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039333.html

Artsakh will also increase childbirth benefits

First child: ֏300k instead of ֏100k
Second child: ֏300k instead of ֏200k
(or ֏500k if one parent is disabled)
As for monthly child care subsidy payments, it goes from ֏15k to ֏27k until the child turns 2.
https://factor.am/325487.html

year wrap-up: births in capital Yerevan

girls 2019: 10173
girls 2020: 10489
boys 2019: 11251
boys 2020: 11430
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039278.html

year wrap-up: tax revenues

2018: ֏1.257 trillion
2019: ֏1.458 trillion
2020: ֏1.379 trillion
https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203846

COVID stats

+2483 tested. +348 infected. +22 deaths. +1267 healed. 13881 active.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039240.html

chess news

Levon Aronyan has advanced to the Airthings Masters quarter-finals where he will play against Hikaru Nakamura. He is 1pt behind the leaders. The winner receives a $60,000 prize.
https://www.chess.com/news/view/airthings-masters-chess-day-4
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039228.html

French city of Valence to name a street

... after Artsakh capital Stenapakert. It already had Ijevan Park, Armenia Street, and Yerevan Street. Stepanakert Street will be located in a newly built district. There will be Toros Street as well.
https://youtu.be/EuQV5bt4Ytc
https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/203833

Italian city of di Lovere has officially recognized the Artsakh Republic

https://www.facebook.com/HayastaniDespanutyun/posts/3499573803472410
https://factor.am/325379.html

Kapan Medical Center has a new CT scanner

... thanks to generous diasporan donors like you. The first one was installed during the war in Goris city.
https://factor.am/325090.html

Artsakh children receive New Years' gifts

Focus on Children Now charity organization distributed gifts to hundreds of Artsakh kids residing in Gegharquniq province. Backpacks, clothing, items of basic necessity, money, and postcards written by kids living in the United States.
https://www.focusonchildrennow.org/
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039302.html

Himnadram donates to refugee families

700 Artsakh families continue to live in 40 settlements of Gegharquniq province. The All Armenia Fund (HimnaDram.org) has provided food and household items to 241 families ahead of New Year.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039313.html

daily life in Syunik bordering villages Shurnukh and Vorotan

https://youtu.be/E1UJd4NtLLs
https://www.civilnet.am/news/2020/12/29/Շուռնուխ-Որոտան․-կյանքը-անկոչ-հարևանների-հետ/414772

donations for Artsakh & recovering soldiers

www.1000plus.am (recovering soldiers & their families)
www.HimnaDram.org (for Artsakh & Armenia)
www.ArmeniaFund.org (U.S. tax-deductible)

archive of older posts

Armeniapedia's archive of my daily news threads:
http://www.armeniapedia.org/wiki/Daily_Anti-Corruption_Reports

disclaimer

All the accused are considered innocent unless proven guilty in the court of law, even if they "sound" guilty.
submitted by ar_david_hh to armenia [link] [comments]

The Vow of Silver Dawn Chapter 2 - English Translation

Finally had a chance to get around to the second chapter of the Chinese-exclusive High Republic novel The Vow of Silver Dawn! Since the book has ballooned to over 30 chapters now, finishing it will be a long time coming. I appreciate everyone's interest in this project and your patience during the wait.
Significant portions of this translation are derived from the work of u/Art3mis4266 and u/woodledoodledoodle through our shared Google Doc of the first 10 chapters. They have done a fantastic job, and I recommend reading u/woodledoodledoodle's own individual translation of the novel as well (he's both an excellent writer and likely to be more reliable than I am at consistently posting). Consider our projects complementary takes on the same source material.
Chapter 1: https://www.reddit.com/starwarscanon/comments/kg2r8v/the_vow_of_silver_dawn_chapter_1_english/

Chapter 2
Simple Solution
Were it not for the tone of absolute sincerity in the boy’s voice, without even a trace of sarcasm, the Quarren would have smacked the desk with his suction-tipped hands.
“You’ve met the Mythrol, then?” Mostema asked the hologram.
“I have.”
The Quarren couldn’t help but ask, “The Mythrol? The same Mythrol who calls himself the pastry chef of the mansion, but constantly hangs around at bars and casinos in the Lower City?”
Sean laughed, “Yup, thanks to your investigative report, which made the workload much easier, I was able to pinpoint the target directly.”
“That Mythrol is very cunning, and very dangerous. You must be cautious around him!”
An expression of wry agreement crossed Sean’s face in response to the Quarren’s words. “Yes, very cunning indeed. It took all of two hours to find and get some answers out of him.”
The Quarren wanted to say that even his best agents couldn’t get close to the Mythrol with two weeks of work, but the words died in his throat.
But then, of course, the young lad was also a Jedi; all it would have taken was a mind trick, and the Mythrol would have spilled everything…
However, Mostema asked, “No using the Force?”
“Of course not, Master. I kept your teachings in mind.”
A puzzled look came over the Quarren, as if to say Wait, what in the galaxy are you two going on about? Why wouldn’t you use the Force?
Spotting the Quarren’s confusion, Mostema explained, “Sean isn’t particularly gifted in the Force. His sensitivity is below average when compared to other Padawans his age. So while he needs to work harder to strengthen his connection, he also should not form the habit of being overly dependent upon it. The Force is more than just a tool for the Jedi to wield.”
Sean seemed ashamed of himself as he said, “The three pillars of being a Jedi: the Force, knowledge, and self-discipline. I’ve been lacking in the first since birth, so if I tried to rely on it to do whatever I want, I’d just be even more of a disgrace...”
Okay, the Quarren thought, whatever you guys say, but without the Force, how did the Padawan make the chef talk?
As if reading his mind, Sean said, “I went around to all of his favorite bars and casinos until I found him, got him drunk, and won all of his possessions by gambling. It was easy to get him to tell me everything after that.”
The Quarren looked down to his own report, at the section about the Mythrol. It noted that he was “An experienced career criminal, a highly-practiced gambler, and a heavy drinker.”
But, as a Republic agent, the Quarren quickly regained his composure and asked “He gave you the location of the manor?”
“He told me how to make a Seven-Layered Kashyyykian Cake. I’m confident I could make one better than he does, now!” replied Sean.
The Quarren frowned. What has a dessert recipe got to do with all this?!
“He only worked his way into the manor with the secret recipes of his desserts. Now that I can bake them even better than he can, I can replace the Mythrol as the pastry chef in the manor at Green Dawn Hill…” Sean explained.
The Quarren couldn’t help but interrupt: “Wait a moment, the president’s mansion is at Green Dawn Hill?!”
“Yup, on the northeastern side. Hard to miss.”
“Did the Mythrol tell you?”
“I just followed him there.”
“...‘Followed’ him there?!” the Quarren asked incredulously, while looking at the report files on the datapad in his hand, which, in meticulous bloody detail, described the countless elite agents who had attempted to tail the manor’s staff, and had suffered brutal deaths.
“I spent a couple of days tracking the Mythrol’s whereabouts before I formally made contact with him, and found that he took a different route to the mansion every time, before suddenly disappearing. If I had tracked him any further beyond that each time, he might have noticed me.”
The Quarren nodded his head; finally something that matched his kriffing report!
“But these seemingly hidden pathways revealed the truth, because careful observation showed that no matter where he disappeared, the locations were always near sewers or similar underground facilities. It wasn’t hard to deduce from there that the manor has special entry routes leading directly to it via the sewage system.”
Come on lad, did you really have to add “Wasn’t hard to deduce!” and rub salt in the wound?
“It’s actually not an uncommon method; the ‘New Agent Handbook’ published on Corellia documented 27 similar cases in which other hidden mansions utilized similar methods to move personnel. I found the local construction company responsible for building the sewer, retrieved and analyzed all of the architectural drawings from their database, determined the structure of all the hidden passageways, and traced them to the location of the manor. All in all, these Outer Rim despots are pretty simple thinkers.”
The Quarren silently deleted all the research files stored on his datapad, swearing to himself to never mention his past few years’ work to another living soul.
Sean was still enthusiastically going on, “Also, according to my investigation, in five days the president will be entertaining a number of mob bosses over at the manor. I think that’d be a great opportunity to make a move!”
Mostema knocked a fist on the desk, and said: “In five days? This could be our chance.”
The Quarren was shaken, “Master, are you planning to execute Jamie’s entire criminal syndicate?”
Both of the Jedi simultaneously gave him a bewildered look.
His voice serious, Sean elaborated, “How could we? Jedi don’t seek to start fights, and I can’t even imagine assassinating a legitimate head of state. The reason we’ve worked so hard to gather clues and evidence is so that Jamie can receive a fair trial according to the law, to show the public his criminal activities, and to encourage the ideals of peace and justice to root deeply in the hearts of Bergamore’s people. Using violence to end violence will only give birth to another dictator who violates law and discipline.”
The Quarren felt ashamed. Understanding the spirit behind the rule of law had not yet taken root deeply in his own heart, either.
He quickly gave voice to another question, however. “If not an execution, then what kind of opportunity does this banquet in five days present? Why do we need to wait until then to sneak in? Couldn’t we simply get in, get the evidence, and get out?”
“A man this careful wouldn’t leave behind anything concrete lying around, even in his own mansion,” Sean replied.
The Quarren couldn’t help but continue his questioning, “Even the existence of the mansion itself constitutes a crime! With his President’s salary, he wouldn’t have been able to acquire such an estate in a thousand years, not to mention that he always claimed back on Coruscant to never spend more than five thousand credits a year! What’s more, rumors abound of his manor’s extravagance, of it being filled with all kinds of rare treasures…”
“He could easily say that the manor is owned by someone else, and that he is only living there temporarily. Actually, according to my research, the owner of the manor is a shareholder of the Bergamore Heavy Industries Corp, not the President himself.”
It’s only been a few days – has he checked out everyone in the manor by now?
The Quarren kept up his line of questioning. “But he’s lived in the mansion for so long, there has to be some evidence of crime, no? Skeletons in the closet, so to say…”
“There is the possibility, but I believe a criminal this conniving would never let down his vigilance, even in his own home. For example, he might use code words while issuing illegal orders, which couldn’t be used as direct evidence even if the orders were recorded.”
The Quarren finally grew quiet.
“Also, according to some witnesses from the manor, I have reason to believe that a sufficiently cautious crime lord will carefully manage the risk involved in all the positions of his organization, so that no one person has full knowledge of the extent of illegal activity taking place, or even that he or she is complicit in a crime. This further adds to the difficulty of collecting strong evidence. At the same time, multiple layers of task management and one-way communication makes it harder to trace back to the President himself, even if we were able to penetrate a certain line of contact.”
Hearing all this, the Quarren almost felt faint. “Jamie Brasen is hardly a lunatic! Who would set up such elaborate safeguards in their own mansion? Is he not afraid he’ll die from overwork?”
“Jamie Brasen is a very dangerous tyrant, and they all tend to be more than a little paranoid, sometimes downright mad, which makes it safe to assume we can’t predict his actions using conventional logic. Nor can we afford to underestimate him; after all, he had elite intelligence agents of the Republic running in circles for years,” Sean pointed out.
The Quarren’s eyes filled with sadness. “You make it sound as though it’s impossible to get to him! If the risk is as high as you describe, then how do you even plan to carry out the mission at all?”
“Our way in is through the banquet, five days from now,” Sean replied. “He can train his underlings in the mansion to communicate using code, but with other gang leaders they will most likely have to speak in Basic or some other common language-”
Mostema interrupted before Sean could finish speaking. “We can’t rule out the possibility that they make use of some form of specialized comlinks, encrypting and decrypting transmissions on the fly, and self-destructing afterward to avoid leaving evidence behind.”
“Yes, Master, I had considered this as well. Which is why I will be there personally five days from now, while Jamie Brasen is stressing over his inability to rely on his codes.”
Mostema nodded, “Very well, I leave it up to you.”
“It’s not ‘very well’ at all!” the Quarren interjected. “Master Jedi, you mean to have Sean infiltrate the estate? It’s too risky!”
Mostema replied sternly, “I know. Having a Jedi Knight perform this sort of infiltration, with the target still being a legitimate political leader, will naturally cast doubt on the outcome of the investigation. Further, it will prove especially controversial if we use the Force to coerce the thoughts of anyone involved in the investigation. Such actions would easily come under attack following scrutiny by a team of skilled lawyers. The risks in this matter still bear consideration, and you are right to remind of us them. So Sean, you must be mindful that you are not to use the Force during this operation.”
“I understand, Master.”
The Quarren cried out dejectedly, “I’m sorry, Master Jedi, but I don’t understand! Are we really having a conversation in Basic right now? Why do I feel like you two, master and apprentice, are always speaking a language of your own! Have you understood anything I’ve said? Jamie Brasen’s manor is an ice tiger’s den that has been kept strictly secret for so many years. The tyrannical maniac has been operating out of it for decades; who knows how heavily that place is rigged with traps, and you’re letting a 17 year-old Padawan infiltrate it, Master, without using the Force, on the day when every underworld kingpin on-planet will be there having a banquet?!”
Mostema looked to the Quarren again. “So, do you have any suggestions for Sean?”
Sean looked at the alien expectantly.
The Quarren’s facial tentacles spread so wide in shock, he thought they might split apart.
Don’t look at me like that! He thought. I really don’t understand the world of you Jedi. Priming the explosive and then asking me for advice on how to defuse it? Yes, I’ve got advice for you: go take a long walk out a short airlock! You Jedi even treat the Force like some kind of basic appliance you can unplug, and you’ve willfully blocked yourself off from it!
What more was there to say?
“Be careful, and stay safe,” the Quarren said dryly.
Sean thanked him in earnest. “Understood! The more complex and difficult a mission is, the more one needs to focus on the fundamentals. It’s no wonder you’re an elite agent of the Republic; with so few words, you manage to say so much.”
The Quarren barely managed to muster a “Yeah, sure.”
“Do you have a preliminary plan for the operation, five days from now?” Mostema asked Sean.
“Yes.” Sean replied, “Though I may need to improvise some of the specifics, using the resources at hand I’ve developed a rough framework. I’ll share it with you, so I’m hoping you could lend me some constructive criticism.”
Following this, Sean brought up his bracelet communicator and pressed a number of keys in short succession. A stream of data began to quickly transmit as an indicator light blinked continuously.
The transmission continued for quite some time.
The Quarren couldn’t help but tap his screen, thinking his datapad had malfunctioned. “Has the transmission been interrupted? My end shows that the file has not been received yet.”
“Rest assured, operation plan files are usually fairly large, so the transmission may take some time,” Mostema answered.
The Quarren was dumbfounded. Quite large? This comm channel could transmit a full galactic encyclopedia in less than ten seconds, and five minutes had already passed. Were these two sharing a hologram of Coruscant’s global blueprint, with over five thousand levels filled with some one trillion inhabitants?
As the Quarren was starting to get impatient, a green confirmation light lit up on his datapad, indicating that the transmission had completed. Fingers beginning to tremble, the Quarren opened the file.
Wave upon wave of files came into view, video clips scattered about like stars in the sky, all connected together with an array of complex lines of many varying colors, forming a visually dazzling and complicated network.
Inwardly, the Quarren wanted to say “You actually did send Coruscant’s global blueprint, huh? A ‘rough framework?’ Your definition of ‘rough’ is an insult to Galactic Basic as understood anywhere in the Republic!”
But he bit his tongue.
Of course, Mostema pondered for a moment before saying to Sean, “It is rather simple, but it’s acceptable at this stage to get its point across. I will help you tidy up the prose, so let us proceed with what you have.”
“Gladly!”
Mostema then looked towards the Quarren. “Mr. Squak, do you have anything more to add?”
The Quarren could only give a dry, sad chuckle.
submitted by GoRienMoss to starwarscanon [link] [comments]

An Overly Long Fanmade Ace Attorney 7: Echoes of Discord Pitch: Episode 1. Possible spoilers for all main games (AA1-6)

Hey, everyone! Over the past few weeks, I've been making up a plotline that I think would fit for the inevitable Ace Attorney 7, whenever it releases. As of right now, I only have Episode 1 fully plotted out, but I'll put some of my ideas for the other cases at the end of the post as an author's note, of sorts. Considering how much I wrote for the tutorial case alone, I don't know if I'll ever continue this project, because Case 2, a case with 2 investigations and 2 trials, would basically be 4 times the length of this case, and I don't know if I have the talent to write a compelling mystery that would do a case of that length justice.
The overall concept of the game would be to focus mainly on Athena and Phoenix, and it would involve Phoenix attempting to institute the Jurist System while Athena would have to deal with the Phantom's organization and her past at the Cosmos Space Center and in university. The lawyer-case distribution would be as follows: Phoenix gets 7-1 (tutorial) and 7-4 (filler), Athena would get 7-2, 7-3, and 7-5, which would all be plot relevant, and Apollo would get a Rise from the Ashes style case in Khura'in, which would be unlocked after completing the game instead of being offered as a DLC case.
As this is my ideal version of Ace Attorney 7, I've taken some liberties that the writers at Capcom might not do, as I've taken the Payne brothers out of the main story entirely, but they'll still be in the game in the Phoenix Wright: Asinine Attorney case, which is unlocked after beating the tutorial case. Also, a beloved character from the original trilogy is the victim of the first case of the game, which might be controversial. But I think that the story will be overall more compelling with the changes that I've made, so without further ado, here's the first episode of Ace Attorney: Echoes of Discord!
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Episode 1: Turnabout Terror
Date: Late March 2029
Location: Skye Detective Agency
Defendant: Ema Skye
Attorney: Phoenix Wright
Co-Counsel: Athena Cykes
Synopsis: Nine months have passed since the revolution in Khura’in, and after many deliberations, Phoenix has finally regained the trust of the legal system of LA and instituted the Jurist System, which has now been slightly modified since the events of Apollo Justice, the biggest change being the fact that the jurors are present in the court room, like in DGS.
For the first official case under the Jurist System, Phoenix is defending Ema Skye, who has been accused of murdering her older sister, Lana Skye, at the Skye Detective Agency. Ema had been working a case abroad in Khura’in, and as soon as she returned to the US, she went to visit her sister, who became a private investigator after losing faith in the justice system because of Phoenix’s disbarment and the UR-1 incident. When Ema entered the office however, she found her sister dead from an apparent poisoning. Desperate to find out who did it, she dusted the entire scene for fingerprints, not even thinking about preserving the scene. But while she was in the middle of her forensic investigation, Lana’s co-worker, Elias Coggs (Age ???) walked in on her, and contacted the police. When the officers arrived, it was discovered that Lana ingested some Atroquinine poison from her cup of tea, and since it hadn’t been manufactured in the country for two years, Ema became the prime suspect, since she just came back from Khura’in.
In the defendant lobby, Phoenix and Athena are discussing the case with Ema, and she claims that her own fingerprints were found on the bottle of poison, to which Athena and Phoenix are shocked. But she rationalizes that she must have touched the bottle when she was in a state of panic while investigating the crime scene. In the middle of their discussion, Juniper Woods enters the lobby, and she explains to Athena and Phoenix that she will be the forewoman of the jury today. She is nervous, but she’s also treating this as her first official trial experience for when she becomes a judge herself. She gives Phoenix and Athena a newspaper article that is advertising the current trial, saying that she had a hunch that they’d need it. The bailiffs call for the trial to start, and Ema mutters under her breath that the “glimmerous fop” is going to make a spectacle of her sister’s murder.
The trial begins, and Klavier Gavin is revealed to be the prosecutor in charge of this case. He reveals that he’d decided to take the case due to the recent shortage of prosecutors due to the Paynes and others being fired for their incompetence and corruption by Miles Edgeworth. He displays remorse over being the reason why Phoenix lost his badge seven years ago but says that he’s still fired up for a rematch. The judge introduces the 5 jurors for the trial, who are Juniper Woods (No. 1), a male reporter from the Reality News Network (No. 2), Delicia Scones (No. 3), a female computer programmer from Blue Screens Inc. (No. 4), and a young butler resembling Shelly de Killer (No. 5). The judge then admits that he hasn’t studied up on how the reformed jurist system works, and asks Phoenix if he could give him a refresher on how the trial would work, which would serve as the tutorial for the case.
Klavier calls Ema to the stand as his first witness, and she reluctantly agrees to testify about what happened on that day. She has a press-all testimony, which is pretty much identical to what she told Phoenix and Athena in the lobby, but after the testimony ends, the jury goes into a panic because all of them, minus Juniper, are convinced of Ema’s guilt. Athena becomes overwhelmed from the discord from all the jurors’ hearts, and this is where the new trial gameplay mechanic, Discordant Reasoning, is introduced. This would be similar to the Panic Debate from Danganronpa V3, where you have to pick out the statement out of the 5 jurors that’s causing the discord, based on reading their emotions like in the Mood Matrix. The Mood Matrix has now been relegated to investigations because of reasons pertaining to the main prosecutor of the game, and now works similarly to Logic Chess from Investigations 2. After presenting the article that Juniper gave them to the juror that caused the discord, the reporter from the Reality News Network, Ema resumes her testimony.
She assumes that her sister’s killer had recently fled the scene, since she had recently succumbed to the poison when she arrived at the crime scene, but Phoenix points out that the killer could’ve left way earlier, since Atroquinine is a slow acting poison. Ema then gets emotional, saying that she got so caught up in the moment seeing her sister dead that she couldn’t perform a proper investigation into her death. She is overcome by remorse due to the knowledge that she never would’ve been quick enough to stop her sister’s killer. She outright blames Klavier for what happened, saying that if he hadn’t accused Phoenix of forging evidence nine years ago, then Lana wouldn’t have lost faith in the court system, which wouldn’t have lead to her becoming a P.I. after getting out of prison.
Klavier reassures Ema, asking her if she knows the real reason why he took the trial. It turns out, he was certain of her innocence from the beginning, and intended to use the common sense of the Jurist System to prove her innocence. He says that he understands why she might feel the way she does about him, but the show must go on, and the only way the truth will ever be reached is if the defendant tells everything that they know, even if it’s just a hunch. With newfound courage, Ema posits that there might be a clue in Lana’s files on her computer, as Lana had confided in her that she’d been performing an investigation on a high-profile case the last time they saw each other. Luckily for them, Elias Coggs had already looked through Lana’s files and emails, and was waiting in the lobby to testify.
Klavier excuses Ema from the stand for the time being, and calls Elias Coggs to the stand. He appears to be a middle-aged man with a mechanical prosthetic arm, leg, and eye, giving him the appearance of a cyborg. Klavier asks Coggs to state his name and occupation, and he complies, but when probed about his past, he states that it’s classified information. He was put into the Witness Protection Program a long time ago after an incident involving his accident, and can’t disclose anything about his past that isn’t related to the case.
His testimony begins, and he states that on Lana’s computer, he found that on the day of the incident, she had been exchanging emails with two different people. The first being Connie Scout (Age 29), her most recent client, and the second being Phoebe Coronus (Age 41), an old friend of hers from overseas. After probing into his testimony, he admits that the case that Lana was investigating was an international affair, and that Coronus was helping her in the investigation. He also reveals that it appears that a USB was stolen from Lana’s office, but again, he cannot reveal its contents.
Suspicions are raised immediately on Coggs, but Klavier verifies that he had an alibi, as he had been at his doctor’s office all afternoon. As Coronus is still in Europe, it becomes evident that the prime suspect for the murder has to be Connie Scout, who is a computer science major at Ivy University. The judge calls for a 30 minute recess, but right before it begins, Coggs requests that Phoenix and Athena get to the bottom of Lana’s death, as the case at hand means a lot to him.
During the recess, Ema apologizes for her outburst in court, and explains the case that Lana, Coronus and Coggs were investigating in more detail. Apparently, the organization they were looking into was an international spy ring that had previously mainly been involved in various acts of cyberterrorism, but she reveals that it was actually the very same organization that sent the Phantom over during the UR-1 Incident nine years ago. Athena is shocked, as she recounts how that was the same organization that killed her mother and caused the incident at the Cosmos Space Center two years ago. Ema is surprised to hear this, as Lana hadn’t informed her of the exact details of the case, and she realizes it was probably out of fear that she herself would become a target of the organization.
Suddenly, Trucy Wright appears in the defendant lobby with two important pieces of evidence retrieved from Miles Edgeworth, a report of a supposed smuggling of contraband into the country and a breach of cybersecurity at the Criminal Affairs Department. Trucy questions how these pieces of evidence pertain to the case at hand, but Phoenix and Athena clearly have a suspect in mind. The bailiffs announce that the recess is over, and Trucy says that she’ll be watching the trial from the gallery.
Court reconvenes, and Klavier calls Connie to the stand. She has a visor over her face and has orange dyed hair like Athena, but otherwise she has the appearance of a normal university student. She introduces herself as a foreign exchange student from Borginia, and explains that Connie Scout was the name she chose for herself when she came to study from abroad. Klavier asks her how she knew the defendant, to which she responds that she met her at a Forensics Investigation Seminar that was being held at the University a month ago, along with Ema Skye. While she was there, she was given a luminol bottle from Ema as a gift for attending it. Afterward, she asked Lana Skye to investigate a crime of her own, though she doesn’t reveal what it is.
Throughout her testimony, her lies are exposed, and she becomes the prime suspect for the breach of cybersecurity at Criminal Affairs and the murder of Lana Skye. Phoenix argues that it would’ve been feasible for Scout to have been the one who had the poison smuggled into the country. But the final contradiction in the case is how Ema’s fingerprints managed to get on the bottle of Atroquinine.
The thought route begins, and after deducing that she had likely been a part of the Phantom’s organization, that she was likely the one who hacked into the Criminal Affairs Department, and considering her meeting with Ema and Lana one month ago, it becomes apparent that she could’ve obtained the fingerprints off of the luminol bottle and modified the fingerprints on the bottle of poison to look like Ema’s using the information obtained from her hacking of the Criminal Affairs Department, just like how the Phantom had framed Athena at the Space Center two years prior.
Connie then confesses everything. She had been a member of the Phantom’s organization, and she had been attempting to erase as many traces of her organization’s crimes that she could. Her only reason for attending the seminar one month ago was to get some info on Lana Skye, so that she could trail her and learn everything that she knew about her own organization. She arranged for a meeting to discuss a possible case for Lana to take on, but that was all a farce-what she really wanted was the USB Lana had in her possession. When she wasn’t looking, she slipped the poison into Lana’s tea, and left the scene after stealing what she needed. When probed about the USB, she says that she already passed it on to another member of the organization.
With the suspect having confessed, Klavier calls Ema back to the stand. He and Ema have a conversation, and while Ema is still annoyed by his carefree attitude, she acknowledges that she would’ve been found guilty if Klavier hadn’t given her the opportunity to speak, and thanks him for his help. The judge then pronounces Ema not guilty.
In the defendant lobby, Ema thanks Phoenix and Athena for defending her, and they’re soon joined by Klavier and Trucy. Ema, while thankful that the gang found her innocent, is still understandably traumatized over her sister’s death. She expresses doubts about her career choice, considering she never imagined she’d have to investigate her own sister’s body, and she’s now considering leaving her position permanently.
Phoenix presents her the luminol bottle that she gave to Scout, and asks her to remember when she began to take an interest in forensics. After recounting how her sister had given her a forensics investigations book when she was young, and briefly referencing the events of Rise from the Ashes, Phoenix reminds her of all of the strides she’s made since then, and all of the times she’s helped the Wright Anything Agency solve cases in the past thanks to her impeccable forensics work. He then reminds her that he had to deal with many bumps in the road himself throughout his career as an attorney, and that he had to learn some lessons that changed his outlook on the legal system. He encourages her to follow her own path in life, but reminds her that he and Athena would greatly miss having her around to help solve cases. Ema, moved by Phoenix’s speech, thanks him for the kind words.
Trucy then brings up one last thing that she still doesn’t understand about the trial, those being who Elias Coggs and Phoebe Coronus are. Ema explains that she doesn’t really know who Elias Coggs is, but she does know who Coronus is. She was Ema’s former mentor that took care of her when she first went to Europe to study, and she’s now an international forensics prosecutor. It turns out she intended to be present in the gallery for Ema’s trial, but due to a delay in her flight to LA, she couldn’t make it. Ema then theorizes that working a case with her former mentor might help reinvigorate her love for forensics. Her and Klavier have to attend to some business at the Prosecutor’s Office, and they leave together.
To wrap up the case, Trucy brings up three invitations that Juniper had passed on to her for Phoenix, Athena, and herself to attend a Murder Mystery Party at the Woods Manor out in the mountains as a celebration of Juniper recently graduating from Themis Academy while also serving as a way of thanking Phoenix and Athena for defending her two years prior. Trucy declines her invitation, as she has to practice for her first international gig that she’ll be performing with Klavier and Lamiroir, but she encourages Phoenix and Athena to go. They both agree to go, and the case ends with Phoenix’s internal monologue reminiscing about all of the trials and tribulations he’s had to go through to revamp the legal system, and that he never could’ve gotten there without the help of his colleagues.
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Author's notes:
-I know that killing off Lana Skye might be controversial, but I felt that she made the most sense as the first victim, considering her friend from Europe, who I've named Phoebe Coronus, would make a more interesting rival for Athena, as her adherence to the scientific method and traditionalist views on the Jurist System would be a perfect foil to Athena's more psychological driven methods and her desire to revolutionize the court system along with Phoenix. It also gives Ema another character arc of doubting if her childhood dream was really her true calling in life, which I feel would be a natural progression for Ema's character, since she has a different conflict in every game that she appears in. Finally, it just gives more opportunity to expand on Athena's time studying in Europe, since Ema and Coronus could now fit into that timeline organically. Lana's role in the story wouldn't be forgotten after case 1 either, as two of the most important characters in the game have close connections to her, which would have a huge impact on the trajectory of the story as a whole, which I feel is an important aspect that the first case needs to establish.
-The pun names for this case are:
Elias Coggs (Alias and Cogs, which refers to his past under the Witness Protection Program as well as his cyborg like appearance.)
Connie Scout (Con and Scout, because she's conning everybody into thinking she's just an ordinary university student while also being a spy for the Phantom's organization.)
Phoebe Coronus (Her last name refers to her profession as a coroner. Her first and last name actually have a secret meaning as well if one of the letters from her last name is removed, but I'll leave it up to you to see if you can decipher the real meaning behind her name.
-Lastly, here are the basic plotlines for the other cases of the game. These are only going to be a couple sentences each, since this post has gone on long enough already.
Episode 2-Turnabout Judgment: Picking up right where we left off, Phoenix and Athena attend the Murder Mystery Party organized by Juniper's grandmother, Willow Woods, and Juniper notes that the victim in the game bears similarities to how her own grandfather died a year ago. But when one of the guests at the party winds up dead, it's Juniper's grandmother, a former judge, that ends up in the defendant's seat, and Juniper and Athena team up to acquit her of all charges against prosecutor Phoebe Coronus while Phoenix is off helping another guest at the party with a matter of their own. Loosely based on a fancase on Ace Attorney Online: A Game of Turnabout.
Episode 3-The Sponsored Turnabout: During the Summer Olympics, Juniper, Athena, and Simon Blackquill all attend a game together. But when a stray firecracker causes an explosion that causes some debris to crash onto the referee for the game, a former Borginian athlete who had a grudge against the victim and is suspected to be part of the Phantom's organization ends up in the defendant's chair, and Blackquill encourages Athena and Juniper to take on the case due to a previous connection with the defendant, and the trio have to rethink their own biases against the suspect to eventually take down the true culprit of the case, the Executive of the Reality News Network who perpetuated the myth of the Dark Age of the Law after the UR-1 incident. Coronus is still the prosecutor for this case.
Episode 4-Turnabout Roulette: In the filler case of the game, Trucy makes reservations at a fancy bar where she's planning on showing Phoenix part of her upcoming performance, but when the two realize that she accidentally made reservations at the Rivales Casino, and a shooting occurs in the middle of the day, Phoenix is forced into defending Brawly Rivales after his own father was murdered. Coronus is the prosecutor again in this trial, but she's noticably more lenient on Phoenix. The main focus of the case would be on the relationship between Phoenix and Trucy.
Episode 5-Turnabout for Justice: A science expo is being held at the Cosmos Space Center, and the five participants in the showcase are Ema Skye, Phoebe Coronus, Elias Coggs, a C.E.O. of a famous company, who is also sponsoring the event, and surprisingly Aura Blackquill are all participating in the event. But when an accidental explosion occurs in the middle of the event, everyone is evacuated from the scene with two notable exceptions: Phoebe Coronus and Aura Blackquill. After the fire dies down a bit, some officers go in to investigate the scene, and are surprised to find Aura Blackquill leaning over the victim, Phoebe Coronus's body. Aura Blackquill is named the prime suspect for the case, and it's up to Athena and Blackquill to find her innocence, as Phoenix and Trucy don't want anything to do with her after the kidnapping incident two years ago, and Juniper is rooting for her guilt as well, since she remembers how she used to hate Athena all those years ago. Willow Woods would be the judge for this trial, and Miles Edgeworth calls in prosecutor Franziska von Karma to head the case.
Episode Special-Turnabout Reconciliation: It's been one year since Garan has been dethroned, and Khura'in is hosting an international arts festival as an act of goodwill to its new allies. Trucy, Klavier, and Lamiroir are all participating in their own act in the show, and Ema was invited by Prosecutor Nahyuta Sahdmadhi as well. But when a murder happens in the middle of the show, Lamiroir is under suspicion of murder, and Apollo and Trucy finally learn their familial secret. Prosecutor Sahdmadhi is the prosecutor for the case, and Rayfa and Amara make some cameo appearances as well.
Sorry for the long post lol. Tell me what you think of these ideas in the comments.
submitted by TheRawk01 to AceAttorney [link] [comments]

A Cinematic Guide to The Weeknd: Pt 3. My Dear Melancholy and After Hours

A Cinematic Guide to The Weeknd: Pt 3. My Dear Melancholy and After Hours

My Dear Melancholy

Gaspar Noe/Cannes Film Festival
The My Dear Melancholy era notable for being a time when The Weeknd was in proximity to a lot of serious directors. While he’s had a foot in Hollywood for awhile, 2017 through 2019 he was actively engaging with filmmakers like the Safdies Brothers, Gaspar Noe, and Claire Denis, amongst others. While he had been actively courting the Safdies since Good Time was released, he attended the 2018 Cannes Film Festival where he crossed paths Noe, whose film Climax took home a number awards at Cannes. Noe’s Enter the Void had previously served as an inspiration for Kiss Land, and for MDM (and later After Hours) seem to call back to Noe’s other films, like Irreversible and Love, which are both twisted depictions of heartbreak. On the other hand, Climax is about a French dance troupe who accidentally take LSD, and according to Noe is not a “message” movie. It is an audacious psychedelic technical exercise, with numerous long takes and highly choreographed set pieces. The idea for Noe, who had previously captured the feeling of drugs in previous films, was to do the opposite, and present the objectively reality of drugs, watching people high from a sober perspective.
Noe is a rather strong advocate of film, and the opening scene of Climax features VHS boxes of a number of films that have influenced his filmmaking. Two of note are Schizophrenia, otherwise known as Angst, one of Noe’s favorite films which The Weeknd name checked to the Safdies, and Possession, which would go on to be an influence on After Hours (more on this later). He is also said to have sat next to Benicio Del Toro at Cannes, which means he likely caught some of the Un Certain Regard section, where Del Toro served as a jury member. Outside of that section, there were a few other films of interest such as The House That Jack Built from Lars Von Trier (The Weeknd has previously expressed affection for Von Trier’s Antichrist), Mandy from Pastos Costamos, and music video director Romain Gavras’s The World Is Yours, as well as a restoration of 2001: A Space Odyssey, which Noe has referred to as the film that got him into filmmaking.
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Asian Cinema
Later in 2018, The Weeknd continued his globetrotting with a tour of Asia. He once claimed in an interview that whenever visiting a foreign country he only watches films from there. I’ve previously written about the influence of Asian cinema on Kiss Land, and there’s not enough work from the MDM era to glean anything cinematically adjacent to this, but now would be a good time to mention that the "Call Out My Name" video was heavily inspired by the work of famed Japanese photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto. The Asian tour poster seems to be a reference to Ichi the Killer, which leads us to Takashi Miike. Though he is notoriously prolific across a number of genres, his most popular works internationally are genre melding blends of horror, comedy and crime, most notably Audition, Ichi the Killer and Gozu. Another film worth mentioning is Perfect Blue, Satoshi Kon’s masterwork about a pop star’s mysterious stalker that The Weeknd posted about on Instagram before. Bloody and haunting, the film was a major influence on Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan and Requiem for a Dream. In Interviews he has also mentioned a number of Korean films, such as The Wailing, I Saw the Devil and Oldboy. While Wong Kar Wai was previously mentioned as an influence on Beauty Behind the Madness, also worth mentioning is the work of John Woo, specifically A Better Tomorrow, well known for the shot of smoking a cigar off money, and Infernal Affairs, Andrew Lau’s crime classic which served has the basis for Scorsese’s The Departed.
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After Hours

Martin Scorsese
While After Hours more so than any other Weeknd album is bursting at the seams with cinematic references, the influence of Martin Scorsese stands above all. Similar to The Weeknd’s body of work, many Scorsese’s are explorations of violence and masculinity, investigating them from a perspective that depending on who you ask (and how they’re feeling) glamorizes, condemns or just simply presents the reality of characters on the fringes of society.
While there are direct references to a number of prominent Scorsese films, what’s interesting is that his influence also reverberates in other films/filmmakers that influence After Hours. Todd Phillips’s Joker is in effect an homage to Scorsese’s loner-centric New York films, and the Safdie Brothers have been putting their own millennial spin on the type of 70s gritty thriller that Scorsese trafficked in (Scorsese was also a producer on Uncut Gems). Specific Scorsese works will be discussed more in depth in the requisite sections, but it is worth mentioning upfront what a prominent role that Scorsese plays in the nucleus of After Hours.
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Urban HorroIsolation
With After Hours, The Weeknd departs from the slicker sounds and influences that permeated Starboy and returns to the cinematic grittiness of Beauty Behind the Madness. While urban horror is a theme that permeates throughout The Weeknd as a project overall, there is a thorough line to be drawn here that follows a number of 70s and 80s cinematic and aesthetic references. For one thing, while the initial bandaged nose was a reference to Chinatown (previously, The Weeknd has a Kiss Land demo titled "Roman Polanski"), the full bandaged face that is so prominently featured throughout the After Hours era is a classic cinematic visual trope that was especially prominent throughout 60s and 80s, though it saw a slight re-emergence in the 2010s. The fully bandaged face is often used to remake someone in the image of another, usually against their will (The Skin I Live In, Eyes Without Face), or as a case of mistaken identity and doppelgängers (Good Night Mommy, Scalpel), themes present throughout much of After Hours. The "Too Late" video acknowledges these references, but instead presents the bandages on two Los Angeles models recovering from plastic surgery, in a nod to a famous Steven Meisel’s photoshoot for Vogue Italia.
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The “masks” people wear is another horror trope that is featured prominently on After Hours, and this is best seen in the red suit character. One important reference in the film is to Brian De Palma’s Dressed To Kill, where a serial killer is targeting the patients of a psychiatrist (any more on this film will veer towards spoiler territory). The Weeknd is on the record as saying Jim Carrey’s The Mask as being a large influence on the Red Suit character, it being one of the first film’s he watched in theaters. One of the more complex references would be to Joker. While it sort of an in-joke that the character of the Joker is commonly overanalyzed and misinterpreted, referencing Todd Phillips’s Joker is more nuanced because it is in essence a full on homage to Martin Scorsese’s New York films, most notably Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy, which focus on eccentric loners, and can both be seen as cautionary tale of urban isolation, a theme explored perhaps in songs like "Faith." The King of Comedy revolves around a would be obsessive stand up Rupert Pupkin haggling his way to perform on late night TV, with The Weeknd’s talk show appearances being a prominent part of the early After Hours marketing, most notably in the “short film”. This idea of isolated and compressed urbanites recurs throughout After Hours and it’s films.
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The idea of urban repression is in the subway scene of the After Hours short film. The entire film itself is something of a reference to the subway scene to Possession (another Gaspar Noe favorite), mimicking the (also subway set) scene in which Isabelle Adjani’s Anna convulses on the subway due to a miscarriage, as well as Jacob’s Ladder, a 90s cult classic horror film starring Tim Robbins as a Vietnam vet (like Taxi Driver’s Travis Bickle) who is experiencing demonic hallucinations, encountering them in the subway and later at a party he attends, splitting the scene into two.
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Las Vegas
As always, The Weeknd once again grounds After Hours with a strong sense of place, this time setting the album against a nocturnal odyssey through Las Vegas. One of the most prominent films is Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Terry Gilliam’s adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson’s book. This is directly referenced in the "Heartless" video, which sees The Weeknd and Metro Boomin in the Johnny Depp and Benicio Del Toro roles as they tumble through a Las Vegas casino. The Weeknd has gone on the record to state that the famous red suit character was influenced by Sammy Davis Jr.’s character in the film Poor Devil. However, similar red suit has also been sported by a number of Vegas characters, most notably Richard Pryor and Robert De Niro’s Sam Rothstein in Martin Scorsese’s Casino. With the red suit, The Weeknd seems to be playing with the idea of a devil-ish other, another side of his personality that emerges in Las Vegas.
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While the city lights are the oft discussed part of part of Las Vegas, it should be noted that similar to Beauty Behind the Madness, the desert that surrounds Las Vegas is just as important to the juxtaposition of its beauty. The "Until I Bleed Out" video ends/"Snowchild" video in the desert, similar to the confrontation between Robert De Niro’s and Joe Pesci’s showdown in the desert in Casino, as well as Joe Pesci's death in Goodfellas. The idea of a hedonistic desert playground also bears semblance to Westworld, both the film and the TV show. The desert seems to represent some sort of freedom to The Weeknd, as the "Snowchild" video portrays the desert as a pensive location for reflection, as well as the "In Your Eyes" video showing the girl prominently dancing with the dismembered head out in the open, in reference to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, another prominent desert film.
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New York/The Safdies
Despite it’s Las Vegas setting, After Hours also takes a good amount from films set in New York, most notably Martin Scorsese’s 1983 film After Hours. Besides the title, After Hours is similarly about a twisting and turning nighttime odyssey. The film stars Griffin Dunne as Paul, a working class stiff who heads downtown to rendezvous with a woman he met at a diner earlier that night. Of course, things don’t turn out the way they should, chaos ensues, and Paul is set on a dangerous trek back uptown. Like the film, the album After Hours is set off by a woman (though the album takes more stock in romantic endeavors), seems to be set over a single night (or at least a condensed period of time), and involves similar chaos and misadventures (sirens at night at the end of Faith). Tonally, After Hours the film is more comedic perhaps than After Hours the album, however The Weeknd is on the record as having said that "Heartless" and "Blinding Lights" placement on the album is intended to be somewhat comedic, reflecting exaggerated machismo and ecstasy, respectively (to comedic effect).
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Another of the most prominent filmmakers of After Hours are the Safdies, who featured The Weeknd in Uncut Gems. They also served as a link to Oneohtrix Point Never, who scored their last two films and later worked After Hours. I believe there are three major film tropes (not genres) that inspired After Hours, all of which the Safdies’s have engaged with. There is the one-long-night films, in which a character spends one-long-night on the run from whatever chaos and forces may be that they left in their path. This can be seen in the Good Time, as well as After Hours (the movie). Then, there is the descent-into-madness type, where a character slowly loses grip with reality and ends up in over their head (something like Scarface or Breaking Bad, but for our purposes Jacob’s Ladder can be categorized here as well), which the Safdies did with Uncut Gems. Lastly, but maybe most importantly, the Safdies also explored toxic romance (more on this later) in their less seen film Heaven Knows What, about two heroin addicts and the destructiveness their love brings out in each other, an idea that recurs throughout After Hours on songs like "Until I Bleed Out" and "Nothing Compares." A recurring song throughout Heaven Knows What is Isao Tomita’s synth version of Debussy’s "Claire De Lune", which is featured in some episodes of Memento Mori and bears some resemblance to the start of "Alone Again".
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Obsession/Toxic Romance
While love and lust and the ups and downs with it have been a formative part of The Weeknd’s ideology and themes, I don’t think it would be remiss to say that After Hours is perhaps his most outwardly romantic album. Despite this, one of the major arcs of the album is toxicity that comes with it, which a number of already mentioned films deal with. While "In Your Eyes" is one of the more romantic and accessible songs on the album, a re-assessment of it Ala Sting’s “Every Breathe You Take” could frame it as lonely obsessing, such as Travis Bickle’s infatuation with Jodie Foster’s teenage prostitute Iris, Joker's fixation on Murray Franklin, Rupert Pupkin’s obsession with Jerry Langford. Casino also deals with toxic romance, another prominent theme in After Hours, best seen in the love triangle that forms between Sam, his partner Nicky and his wife Ginger, played by Joe Pesci and Sharon Stone respectively.
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In almost all of the After Hours’s video content, The Weeknd seems to constantly meet his demise at the hands of women. Another interesting reference that may be something of a reach is to Phantom Thread, Paul Thomas Anderson’s film about Reynolds Woodcock, a couture dressmaker loosely based on Cristobal Balenciaga and his muse Alma, played by Daniel Day Lewis and Vicky Krieps, respectively. The film delves into their dysfunctional relationship, with Woodcock berating her and Alma poisoning his tea to keep him dependent on her. One of the highpoint of the film is a New Years Eve Party that bears strong resemblance to the "Until I Bleed Out" video. While the balloons may just be a callback to his earlier work, there is something about the color grading/temperature and the production design of the "Until I Bleed Out" video (as well as parts of the "Blinding Lights" video) that made me immediately think of Phantom Thread. A similar relationship is seen in the German horror film Der Fan, which The Weeknd has mentioned in a recent interview. In Der Fan, a young girl Simone spends her days obsessing over popstar R, until she finally encounters him outside his studio. The film is similar to the aforementioned Takashi Miike’s Audition in its exploration of obsession and idealization. In the film, an older man puts up a fake casting call to search for the perfect girlfriend. While Audition explores these themes from an Eastern perspective of societal pressure, Der Fan explores it through a Western lens of pop idolization and idealization. Both films deal with the idea that despite outward appearances, the perfect partner does not exist, and anyone that claims to be (or has the expectations put on them) is not who they seem.
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One film he has spoken at length about is Trouble Everyday, Claire Denis’s arthouse vampire movie. The film stars Vincent Gallo as Shane, a scientist who travels to Paris under the guise of his honeymoon to track down core, a woman who he was once obsessed with who has now become a vampire. Core is locked up in a basement but sometimes sneaks out to seduce and consume unwilling victims. This seems to be where some of the bloody face stuff comes from, but I believe it’s influence is a little more conceptual. To me, a good companion film to Trouble Everyday is American Psycho, which seems to also have been a thematic influence on After Hours. Both films concern idealized version of masculinity and femininity, both very sexual and physical, but hostile as well. American Psycho ends with Patrick Bateman confessing to the killing of a prostitute, but no one believe him. Trouble Everyday ends with Shane killing Core, but Shane is unable to arouse himself after that except through violence. Koji Wakamatsu, a former Yakuza turned prominent extreme Japanese filmmaker (and a major influence on Gaspar Noe) is quoted as saying “For me, violence, the body and sex are an integral part of life.” Despite being hollow, idealized impressions of the self, a vampire and as a banker (cold, seductive bloodsuckers = monsters), Patrick Bateman and Core represent the Frankenstein-ian relationship between sexuality and violence, which I believe is the main theme of After Hours. Truly, we hurt the ones we love.
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Postscript

To cap things off, I would just like to illuminate some key takeaways. As a filmmaker myself, this has been an extremely helpful exercise in understanding other artists process and ideas.
Steeped in the history of the medium…
It’s clear that The Weeknd is not your typical “I’m influenced by cinema” artist but an extremely legit film buff with serious credentials. The Weeknd’s film taste leans towards 70s-00s genre works, mostly horror, drama and thriller, and is well versed in the classics but also has the nose to sniff out deeper cuts and obscurities. The mantra of “good artists borrow, great artists steal” works even better if not many people know where you’re stealing from! What is impressive to me is that he is not just versed in “mainstream” obscurities, but also serious deep cuts. Films like Possession and Phantom of the Paradise may not stick out to the average person on the street but are well known in most film circles. Films like Inland Empire and New Rose Hotel (Der Fan was especially impressive to me, it is one of my favorite films) however are not as well known and it is very impressive to me that he can come across films like that, and really get enough out of it to bring into his own work.
…is able to interpolate contemporary/mainstream films…
This perhaps is one of the most impressive aspects of his integration of film into The Weeknd’s work. It is very easy for film buffs to get lost within their own obscure taste, living in a world where everyone is an idiot for not knowing who Shinya Tsukamoto. Trilogy and Kiss Land had a lot of contemporary obscurities, like Stalker, David Lynch etc., well known but they still existed as artifacts, not of the time we live in. However, perhaps picking something from his work on Fifty Shades of Grey, of late he has kept his finger on the zeitgeist and anticipated/integrated what the filmmakers of today are doing, such as his work on Black Panther and Game of Thrones, general appreciation of Tarantino, the works of Nicolas Winding Refn in Starboy, and his use of the Joker and Uncut Gems on After Hours, both of which came out just a few months before the album. It feels Jackson-esque, and I believe this is one thing that will help him further in his quest for pop stardom.
…while also being fully in tune to the works of modern transgressive auteurs…
In addition to keeping up with the mainstream is in touch with, The Weeknd also makes it a point to seek out and learn from the cutting edge filmmakers of today. While the Safdies were always going to blow up, I don’t doubt that a Weeknd co-sign accelerated their rise. Gaspar Noe is one thing, Enter the Void and Irreversible exist as masterpieces of the mainstream obscurities I’ve been mentioning, but he really truly tries to understand the heart of Noe’s work, even going so far back as to understand Noe’s influences (I sincerely hope he is tuned in to the work of Koji Wakamatsu). But most of all, to be a fan of Claire Denis is one thing, but to seek her out and make her an offer that she ACCEPTED is absolutely astounding to me. Just spitballing but it would be like if Michael Jackson shot a music video with Rainer Werner Fassbinder (who I’d bet good money that The Weeknd was put on to by Noe). We can only PRAY that one day we will be blessed with a David Lynch Weeknd video.
---------------------------
…and that just about does it. Hope you enjoyed this and thanks for being patient with me. I got quite busy after the first two and had my own projects/work going that kept me occupied. As we’re still technically in the After Hours era, I also wanted to wait until a few more videos and interviews came out to aid me in my research.
I also wanted to find enough time to make the Letterboxd for this. I personally don’t love Letterboxd culture, I find the popular culture surrounding the site a bit snobbish and exclusive, but I’ve gotten a number of requests for one and you gotta give the people what they want. Throughout the list are a few films that he hasn’t mentioned but are some of my personal favorites and I believe Weeknd fans will like, I encourage you to accidentally stumble upon things on it. Don't overthink, just pick something and watch!
If you’d like to follow me further, you can find me on Instagram here, where I post about film reviews Letterboxd style. I prefer Instagram so that more average people see it instead of an echo chamber of film snobs. I am also a filmmaker myself, I just recently wrapped this short film and am currently in the process of putting together my next project.
The main reason I did this however, besides a general appreciation of The Weeknd’s work, was to put more people on to the beautiful art form that is cinema. One thing I learned from Scorsese is that one must be an advocate and truly champion your medium. I hope that this encourages to check out more interesting movies than they wouldn’t normally come across, and I hope this will inspire more people to create more as well, whether it be to write, make films, music, anything. If even one person picks up a pencil, a camera or a keyboard because of these posts, I will be satisfied.
Thanks all!
submitted by eve_salmon to TheWeeknd [link] [comments]

Singapore expat jobs under threat in recession, local hire push

https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/government-economy/singapore-expat-jobs-under-threat-in-recession-local-hire-push
Singapore has long been the city of choice for Western expats wanting an easy entree into Asia. Clean, efficient, with low tax rates, it's often seen as rivalling Hong Kong, especially with that city hit by street protests and unrest over China's new national security law.
Yet just when Singapore should be a magnet for global talent, some recruiters say the barriers to entry are mounting. The city is facing the worst recession in its history, forcing a rethink for some firms on expansion and hiring plans. Alongside soaring unemployment has come a spike in rhetoric against foreigners, seen by some Singaporeans as taking jobs from locals.
An experienced nurse from New Zealand is finding out how tough it can be. She seemed, on paper at least, the ideal expat - arriving with her partner right before Covid-19. But 11 months and over 200 failed applications later, she says she's on the verge of going home, unable to land a work pass.
She was told by companies that they have a quota and the quota is met, she said, asking not to be identified for fear of jeopardising her partner's work permit. When attempts to volunteer at hospitals were similarly rejected, she said she felt like she didn't belong.
The uncertain job prospects, online commentary and stricter conditions risk making Singapore a less welcoming destination just as the city-state needs foreign investment the most. And as workplaces clamp down on hiring it could further limit the options for expats who have long seen a stint in Asia as an important and lucrative experience.
The Singapore government has added to their angst by taking steps to promote local hiring, raising concern that it will come at the expense of expats. Earlier this month, it put 47 companies on a watch list for suspected discriminatory hiring practices. The list includes banks, fund managers and consulting firms that may have pre-selected foreigners for jobs or not given Singaporeans a fair chance. This adds to the 240 companies already under scrutiny. The names of the firms weren't disclosed.
And in May, it tightened the framework that governs employment passes for foreigners, increasing the minimum monthly salary to S$3,900 and further expanding rules requiring employers to advertise job openings to locals first. The government said on Wednesday it plans to raise that salary threshold further.
"I wouldn't be surprised if there was a contraction in the number of visas issued because the demand for foreigners is going to be less" in the near term, said Hays regional director for Singapore Grant Torrens, citing the sharp contraction as the main driver.
The role of foreign workers became a key election issue this year, with several opposition candidates campaigning on claims that overseas talent is taking local jobs. The Workers' Party, which clinched more seats than ever, published a manifesto that included tightening employment pass approvals.
"The only reason we have foreigners here is to give an extra wind in our sails when the opportunity is there," Minister of Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan said in a televised election debate in July. "Now we are in a storm, and we need to shed ballast." Dr Balakrishnan's office said in response to Bloomberg queries on the comment that there will be a disproportionate impact on the foreign workforce in a downturn.
Foreign workers on employment passes - the sort issued to highly skilled workers as opposed to work permits for blue-collar jobs - typically comprise around 5 per cent of the total workforce. Yet among top managers and professionals in some key sectors, the ratio of foreigners can be much higher. Non-Singaporeans made up 57 per cent of senior management roles across the financial services sector, the government said in August.
Andrew Zee, team lead for financial services at Selby Jennings, said some of his job candidates were recently denied permits - a first for him in more than four years - though they were later approved on appeal.
Sirva Inc, which owns Allied Pickfords, said inquiries from people wanting to move to Singapore in the first seven months of the year were down 23 per cent from the same period in 2019, according to Amanda Jones, senior vice-president of sales and account management. Ms Jones doesn't expect to see expat executives coming to Singapore at pre-Covid numbers until 2022 at best, especially given travel curbs and the recession.
EXPATS LEAVING
The shift is starting to be felt in the real estate market. Ella Sherman, an associate executive sales director at Knight Frank in Singapore who specialises in expat housing, says she normally signs about four rental agreements a month this time of year. Now she's lucky to secure one, and knows of several clients heading home.
Beyond the economic woes and the pandemic lies an unease over foreigners in the country of just 5.7 million people. This has surfaced in public calls, often on social media, for more hiring of locals. When a Facebook post targeting foreign executives at US$215 billion investment giant Temasek Holdings went viral this month, chief executive officer Ho Ching responded with a post of her own describing it as "a cowardly act of hate". JOB CUTS
Companies are taking pains to describe their efforts to retain Singaporean jobs. When Millennium Hotels and Resorts laid off 159 employees this month, it noted that the move lifted its "core" Singaporean workforce to 69 per cent. After casino operator Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) reportedly cut 2,000 jobs last month, the Ministry of Manpower issued a statement saying the majority of affected workers were foreigners.
"After the retrenchment exercise, RWS has a stronger Singaporean core," the ministry said.
Even expats abroad are feeling the pinch. One worker was overseas and between jobs when the pandemic struck. Though he quickly found a new position, he said his employment pass submission has been rejected several times with no explanation.
He's now stuck in Europe paying rent for his empty home in Singapore, unable to return until his visa gets approved. He declined to be identified for fear of jeopardising his application. He said the rising anti-foreigner rhetoric was equally worrisome.
For some, the social tensions were brought to the fore when a few expats were caught breaching government-imposed lockdowns by drinking and mingling outdoors without masks in May. The incident sparked an ugly debate on social media and prompted a minister to caution against the "visceral reaction" by locals. The offenders were fined and banned from working in Singapore, as were 134 others over May and June.
GREEN CARDS
To be sure, some politicians are urging calm. Singaporeans want assurances that the government will continue to create opportunities and provide fair treatment, but a vast majority "understand that staying open and connected is very important to Singapore", Manpower Minister Josephine Teo said on Wednesday.
Singapore isn't alone in fighting for local jobs. US President Donald Trump signed an executive order this month barring federal agencies from replacing citizens or green card holders with foreign workers.
And the city-state's status as a finance hub ensures it will always be magnet for foreign talent. Citadel, the hedge fund run by billionaire Ken Griffin, announced this week it's opening a Singapore office, as did Sun Life Financial, Canada's second-biggest insurer.
ATTRACTIVE HUB
"Singapore remains an attractive destination," said Rahul Sen, the global head of private wealth management at Boyden, an executive search firm. "New businesses that were thinking of setting up in Hong Kong to attract Greater China wealth are thinking of setting up shop in Singapore."
Even so, the avenues for many are narrowing. The nurse from New Zealand has started reaching out to healthcare providers back home. They're eager to hire so she may head back.
"Singapore is an amazing city, and we hoped that if we stayed long enough, things would change," she said. "But the longer it takes, the further away it seems."

submitted by dhoust1 to singapore [link] [comments]

Rise of Hellion ch13 ( Barry Pepper fanart fiction inspiration)

Rise of Hellion ch13 ( Barry Pepper fanart fiction inspiration)

Rise of Hellion ch13 ( Barry Pepper fanart fiction inspiration)

previous: https://www.reddit.com/BarryPeppecomments/koihsy/rise_of_hellion_ch12_barry_pepper_fanart_fiction/
The flight touched down, under the early morning sky. I could practically taste the Cinnabon frosting. It had been over a decade since I’d been on an airplane but I loved hanging around the terminals for the delicious overpriced food.
Baron placed his hand upon my shoulder. “What happens in Jersey stays in Jersey,” he said with a laugh.
“I thought you’d be bitter.” I leaned on his shoulder as we waited for the seatbelt light to turn off.
“You thought I’d be bitter about flying as a passenger instead of a pilot?” Baron shrugged, as he stretched his arms over his head. “I’ve always loved Alaska Airlines. And if I was flying the plane, I wouldn’t have been able to spend time with this little guy.” He tickled little Abby’s chubby arm causing the baby to smile.
“I can’t disagree.” In the weeks following our arrival at Dr. Toki’s DC bunker, Baron grew close to my son. The three of us shared a room; two cots on the floor with a padded plastic box for the baby. Like all babies little Abby cried; for food, diaper changes, or just out of loneliness. Nine out of ten times, I would awaken to find Baron holding my son. Sometimes he’d walk around the small room, other times he would sit cross-legged on his bed, but every night was a different story about Noah. I learned things I knew I was never meant to know about.
In the years they spent traveling the world as renowned criminal masterminds, Noah and Baron had become more than friends. They fell in love.
“You daddy was the greatest person I ever knew,” Baron often said as he rocked my son in his arms. “He was the last person I ever truly loved.”
I listened as Baron, by the light of the moon, told my infant son stories about his many adventures with Noah and Nash. Some boarded on the obscene; drugs, weapons trafficking, and all manner of sex. He never outright said they were lovers, only that they trusted each other with their mind body and soul.
“It tears me up inside knowing he’s gone. I know this is all my fault, his blood is on my hands. We should have died together. Noah died the way he lived; with honor and integrity. But then I never would have met you.”
That was how I knew Baron could be trusted; he loved Abby with every fiber of his soul.
“Yo, Nicki,” Baron said, tapping my arm. “The plane’s empty, time to go.”
“Oh,” I took a quick breath, forcing myself back to reality.
Baron grabbed our one piece of luggage, a plain black backpack with a limited number of supplies. Axel had passed it along to us before going through security, so I had to assume it contained no weapons.
We walked down the corridor to the gate at Atlantic City international airport. “Can I hold the bag?” I asked, since he was already holding the baby.
“Sure.” Baron took off the straps and tossed me the bag. It was lighter than I thought it would be. Inside was a lot of fabric; some rolled, some folded and some pieces were clearly hiding items made of plastic or metal. I figured I shouldn’t be examining its contents right away but with the chill of the airport I wanted to see if there were any extra clothes for my baby.
No, Abby was our baby. Seeing Baron holding the child in his arms, all I could feel was love. “Oh look!” I fished out a blue, baby t-shirt with a happy dolphin. “Let’s put it on him!”
Baron did as I asked, maneuvering Abby’s wiggly little body. With his fresh new shirt, he looked like a cute little tourist baby. In fact, we looked like a typical vacationing couple traveling with their newborn.
I knew that Axel and Dr. Toki were monitoring us from the safety and comfort of an unmarked medevac vehicle somewhere within a six-mile radius. Ideally, they would follow us, observe from a distance. If and when we found Tony, we could get the hell out (to the nearest TAC bunker.) Until then Baron and I were to look for clues along the boardwalk.
“Should we get a hotel room?” I asked.
“Certain military leaders didn’t give us any money, so unless you have a credit card?”
“I could probably pick pocket one.”
“Way to blow our cover,” he said with a laugh. “Nah, we can deal with the issue of housing when we need to. With any luck Axel and Dr. Toki have plans to get us out, so we don’t have to sleep on the streets with a baby.”
We walked a further, to the land of sun, sand and casinos, stopping to rest on a bench. “Let’s see what’s in the bag.” There were more shirts, pants, a few flattened bottles to collect water, or maybe even breastmilk. I placed each of the items neatly on my lap, hoping that I would not miss anything important. However, in the end, the only item of importance was a package of baby wipes. There wasn’t even any diapers. I had to assume, if I needed to change my baby, I was meant to use the extra clothing. (Same for first aid, due to lack of bandages.) “You really don’t have any money?”
“We can always shoplift,” Baron said cheerfully as he tossed the baby in the air.
Abby squealed with joy.
I could feel my heart flutter with joy. “That’s the New Jersey spirit!”
“There has to be a Walgreens around here someplace.”
We easily found a corner store with the iconic red signage. Baron picked up a basket and headed to the food section; packaged drinks, dried cereal, candy, etc.
“What do you think happened to Anya?” I asked, following close. “Since you’re the last person who saw her.”
“She’s going after Axel,” he answered casually.
“And you’re ok with that?”
“It’s her deal, her quest or whatever.”
“Or whatever?” I asked. His tone was really starting to piss me off. Axel was my friend, a human being. But so was Anya. And that was why my soul was being torn in half.
“Anya’s going to do what she has to do but for the sake of all of us she’s going to act alone. That way the blood will be only on her hands.”
I saw his point. If and when the time came, we were under no obligation to choose sides. “How thoughtful.”
“You need any diapers?” Baron asked. He was holding an open package of men’s shaving razors. Grabbing a single replacement head, Baron somehow managed to break the plastic apart without wounding his fingertips.
I assumed he was going to cut open a package. “No, I’m good. He has on a cloth diaper and I have enough supplies to make an extra. But I could use some soap.” I grabbed a package of off brand bar soap with an image of a happy Asian baby. Ideally, I could use this for washing both skin and clothing.
After easily leaving the store with everything we needed, we ran in the direction of the beach, hoping to get lost in the crowds. Suddenly out of nowhere the sky darkened and the clouds swelled with rain. The storm came down hard and fast, transforming from freezing rain, to pin-sized hail. In the distance there seemed to be a homeless encampment. Without any words spoken, we both knew to make a run for it.
The tent city consisted of a series of tarps connecting individual homes. There were a few spots that had people huddled around campfires. Men, women and children sat wrapped in dirty, wet blankets, as they struggled to stay warm. Not wanting to take any of their limited resources we walked until we found a sparse area with just a tarp surrounded by barrels and broken pallets. The space was just enough for Baron and I to sleep side by side, resting the baby on his chest.
“Here,” he said, sliding the backpack in my direction. “You can use the bag as a pillow.”
“Thanks.” Unable to comfortably sleep I found myself staring up at the blue tarp. As my mind started to float away my mouth spewed out the words that I thought I’d never say. “What happened between you and Noah?”
“What do you mean?” Baron asked in a whisper. He knew perfectly well what I meant.
“Feng told me he gave Noah the same opportunities he gave you. Yet somehow you ended up as his right-hand man with full access to his arsenal of weapons guns and even his appointment book.”
Baron swallowed a lump in his throat. “Your point?”
“Why didn’t you convince Noah to come with you?”
Baron went silent. He held the baby close, shivering. “You don’t think I tried?” He blinked tears from his eyes.
If he’d been angry, I would have continued the conversation; I would have wanted to know why he had the right to mourn the father of my child. But Baron wasn’t angry, he was in pain. “I think we should get some sleep.”
“Yeah, totally.”
I knew better then to try to ask for my son back. Abby was an emotional support baby and Baron needed him more. I made myself comfortable on my bed of plastic and leaves, pulling the tarp over my body for warmth. “Good night.”
There was a moment of silence before we were awoken by Abby’s cries. Baron sat up, rocking the small baby, attempting to keep him warm. “I think he’s hungry.”
“Give him here.” I had gotten better at breastfeeding, but with how cold it was I would have preferred to keep as covered as possible. “Can you help me with my tarp-blanket?”
“Sure.” Baron helped cover my body, allowing the baby warmth and privacy.
“Thanks.” I looked at Baron with genuine love in my heart. “Thank you for being my friend.” I couldn’t stop the tears from falling, mixing with the freezing cold rain. “Thank you for everything.”
Baron blinked tears from his own eyes as he crossed his arms over his chest. “You really want to know what happened to Noah?”
“Yeah, I do.” I looked down at Abby, who opened his eyes as he nursed. He had Noah’s courage and strength. “I can still remember that night. Even if it was for just a moment, I felt like I had friends, a real connection. That was never something that came easy for me.” Not that it mattered. It was yet another fleeting moment of happiness in my shit-show of a life.
Baron lowered his shirt, revealing his upper chest. “Feng gave me an augmentation; I have an inorganic core made of some kind of plasma. I used to think it was radioactive but I have reason to believe it was created as a means of unlimited projectiles.”
“And it keeps you warm?” That explained why Abby loved being held by him.
“Well, the power came with a complimentary suit of armor that allowed me to be the perfect little henchman.”
“You mean body guard?”
Baron shrugged. “I assumed that was Feng’s original plan.”
I swallowed the lump in my throat, mentally preparing for the worst. “And Noah?”
“He wasn’t down for it. The only reason he surrendered to Kitsune was to allow you and Anya time to flee.”
“Oh.” I felt like my heart stopped. I should have realized it from the beginning; that was the only reason we were allowed to live, because Noah truly loved me.
“We were turned over to Feng. I could only assume she thought Feng had the ability to extract Noah’s mind; his intellect, his secrets. But he didn’t. Feng needed Noah to volunteer information.” Baron paused, blinking tears from his eyes. “That was the difference between us. My most valuable asset was my combat ability, maybe my strategy skills. All I had to do was pledge my loyalty, and wear the armor, to gain Feng’s trust. For Noah, that was asking too much. His mind contained secrets that could change the world; info that could never and would never fall in to the hands of tyrannical psychopaths.”
“And that’s why he had to die.” Since I was finished breastfeeding, I handed the now happy, content infant back to Baron.
“Although if it was up to Feng (and it was) well, you’ve seen his set up.”
“Yeah,” I said with a nod. “I’m going to see that until the day I die.”
“All of his prized victims are kept alive, conscious as their forced to exist as hood ornaments. Feng wanted them to suffer for all eternity, or until their brains turn to pea soup.”
“Now I have a craving for split pea soup.” We laughed through our tears. In truth, I couldn’t close my eyes without seeing Noah’s remains.
“You hungry?” Baron dug in his pocket, producing a smashed-up Snicker’s bar.
“We can split it.” With food in our stomachs, we fell asleep to the sound of calming rain. For the first time since he’d been born, I had a vision of my son as a full-grown man.
The sound of rain grew louder, gradually transforming to gunfire. I awoke in what appeared to be a WW2 battle scene. Thankfully I was transparent; bullets passed through me like a virtual reality game, and the area around me felt comfortably warm despite the fact I was standing in snow. In the distance I could see a man leaning on a tree.
Eyes closed, he held a cross in his hand. I watched as he kissed the rosary pendent and said a simple prayer. “Blessed be the Lord my strength, which teaches my hands to war, and my fingers to fight.”
As I came closer, I could see he was gripping his shoulder while doubled over in pain. That raised the question: why was he reciting the prayer of a sharpshooter?
He moved his hand to his waist, slowly retrieving a pistol. “My goodness and my fortress.” He held the gun under his chin, cocking the barrel to his throat. “My high tower and my deliverer. My shield, and he in whom I trust.”
“No!” The sound came from behind me.
I turned to see a figure wearing pink-purple armor. It was in the same style as what Baron wore. And he or she wasn’t running, they were flying.
“Abby!” A female voice cried.
I followed as fast as I could, as she rushed to the man’s side.
“Lieutenant?” The man muttered, coughing up blood.
I now had a good view of his face. It was my son and he was dying. Before I could reach out my hand, the armored woman flew through me.
She fell to her knees, ripping off her helmet to reveal a young Hispanic face framed by lots of curly black hair. “Abby, Sir, I’m here. It’s going to be ok.” She pursed her lips, smiling at him, through visible tears.
Abaddon lowered his weapon. “You need to flee.” With trembling fingers, he lifted his free hand to cup her face. It was obvious that leaving was the last thing he wanted. “This is a battle we cannot win.”
“Not alone, Sir,” the soldier replied with confidence.
Why was she calling him Sir? I could barely make out a patch on his arm. It was possible he was an officer.
The young woman lifted his arm, adjusting him over her shoulder. “I’m not leaving you behind. The nearest medic station is about six kilometers south of here. We can make it.” Before he could reply, she lifted his broken body in her arms, flying off into the night.
The world started to spin as the scene changed.
We were now in a poorly lit underground hospital. I could tell it was underground since every few seconds the room shook with the sound of gunfire and other (louder, more violent) explosions. Abby was laying on a cot with his bare chest exposed. He had several fresh bullet wounds, as well as deep scars.
The woman was by his side, having taken off her armor she rested her head by his shoulder, holding his hand. “Why do you call me by my rank?”
“What should I call you?”
“My name is Sundra, but my friends call me Sunny.”
“Is that because you sparkle like sunshine?” he asked with a subtle smile. Abby moved his free hand to her cheek, brushing a lock of hair behind her ear. “You don’t have to stay, Sunny.”
“I want to stay. Call it my street gang code of honor; a little something, I picked up from my grandma.” She turned her wrist to reveal a tattoo. It was a stylized diamond with the words, ‘Lucy in the sky.’ Sunny started to softly hum the melody of the famous rock song. “Lucy in the sky with diamonds. Sorry, the title is the only part I know.” She kissed Abby on the forehead. “My papa’s name was Denny. He was the first of my family line born in America. You really remind me of him.”
A gang member named Lucy with a son named Denny? That couldn’t be a coincidence. I moved closer, to get a better look at her face.
She kissed Abby down his nose to his lips.
There were tears in his eyes. “I’ll never forget you.”
Sunny turned, briefly glancing in my direction. “Do you think she’s here, in the room?”
“I know she is,” Abby replied, looking up at the ceiling. “Even as a child, I could always feel my mother’s spirit watching over me.”
“Can she hear us?” Sunny asked, still looking in my path but not actually at me.
“If the calculations and the technology are correct.”
“Do you think she can save us?” Her large, emotional eyes, blinked back tears. With every blink she started to disappear, vanishing from reality like a spirit lost to time. When Sunny was completely gone, all that was left was my adult son. His arms were wrapped around the empty space.
All around me I could hear sobbing. I assumed this meant I was going to wake up. My baby son was probably crying for food or maybe because of the cold: but I was going to wake up. Right? I wanted so badly to wake up. Wake up! Wake up!
I felt a sharp pain. I awoke with a jolt under the tarp, to the collapsing of our little shelter. Touching my hip, I felt blood and splinters. All around me all I could see was tarp. I wanted to scream. Where was my son? Where was Baron?
I needed to calm down; breathe, just breathe. I opened my hands, placing them palms down as if I was going to attempt a snow angel. There was a secret, a lock. There had to be. I felt a strange crack in the pavement. Digging my fingertips in, the piece seemed to transform into a handle (or a lever.) Even if it was just a hand hold, it would be my ticket out of the tarp since I could use it to keep myself grounded in place (as opposed to flopping around like a dying fish.) Turns out, it was a handle. I found myself falling down a slide. At the bottom I finally managed to get free of the tarp.
Baron was sitting in a dark corner with a finger to his lips. “Shh, follow me. This is a mezzanine level.” He motioned towards what looked like a second series of tunnels. “I’m not sure how deep it goes. We’re not going to slide: we’re going to crawl. I’ll go first and you follow close. Do not lose sight of me. Understand?”
“Are you holding the baby?”
Baron nodded. “If shit goes bad, I want you to find my body. I’ll protect him with everything I have.”
I knew what he meant, and trusted him fully, but I was still afraid. “You’re a better fighter than me.”
“Yeah, that’s why I’m going to hold the baby.”
“Ok.”
Baron and I snuck down the tunnels, we emerged in an underground factory facility. “What is this place?”
“Trash processing facility,” Baron replied. “You head left I’ll head right.”
“Sure, I guess.” I went left until I saw what appeared to be a light source.
I passed between several cargo boxes, emerging in an open area. There was a series of large vats, bubbling with hot oil or (more likely) acid. “Acid?” I had never seen acid before but the scene looked like something out of a comic book.
“It is acid,” said a voice from a nearby balcony. “the typical use is to process heavy metals and other non-recyclable materials.”
“Faust?” I couldn’t actually see his location.
“Today we’re disposing of inorganic material of a different kind.” He hit a button causing a limp body to start to descend. It was clearly Tony, but I couldn’t tell if he was even alive. “Are you willing to make a deal; trade his life for the contents of the battery?”
“I don’t even know if the copy I have is real.” And there was also the fact that the infamous flash drive was in a van, in the care of Axel and Dr. Toki.
“The one that Baron put on the dark web? Trust me it’s the real deal.”
“So, what’s on it?” I blurted out the words, although I wasn’t expecting any kind of logical answer.
The man snickered. “Does it matter?”
“Yeah, kind of.”
“Look, do you want to know my entire evil plan or will you be a good girl and save your beloved boyfriend’s life?”
I looked over at Tony. I had no way of helping him. If he was still alive, he was more then capable of saving himself. I had to believe that. “Is it time travel?”
“What?” Faust asked with a laugh. “Seriously, what did you just say?” With a flash of light, Faust teleported, placing himself in front of me. He stood tall, in a tailored suit, staring me down with his creepy metallic eyes. “Answer me, little girl.”
Why did he look so much like the adult version of my son? Because he was a shape shifter? Or was there something else? “Time travel?”
The once stern man cracked a smile. “Time travel is the stuff of movies and fairytales. The contents of the battery will bring this world to its knees.”
“Yeah, I’ve heard.” I blinked my eyes as the pieces fell into place. There was a reason why my son had been able to communicate with me so clearly through dreams. “Selective telepathic time travel.”
Faust was no longer smiling. “Would you prefer that power fall to the hands of Kitsune? She and her brother, they’d use it to cause a gang war; an apocalypse of weapons and drugs. You wouldn’t want that blood on your hands.”
We he seriously trying to appeal to my humanity? “What about you? What’s your plan, to go back in time to give Hitler a migraine?” I knew what his plan was. Or at least I think I did. There was something about Lucy or maybe Denny. What I knew for certain was that the final goal was Sunny; her existence held the key.
“You’re not alone, are you? Such a pity.” Faust teleported off, in a blast of blue light.
I already knew where he was going and there was nothing I could do. Faust landed on top of Baron as he attempted to free Tony’s body. Both men were knocked in to the acid. There was no sound; no screams, or even cries.
Where was my baby?
Faust teleported in front of me, holding my son in his arms. “You might not have been willing to save your boyfriend, but perhaps you will be willing to trade for your child.”
My back hurt, my arms hurt and my head was pounding, but I ran straight at him, charging like a football player going in for a tackle.
I was blinded by a familiar blue light. We had teleported, but to where? I could hear Abby crying. He was alive and that’s all that mattered. I blinked my eyes once then twice.
“Fire?”
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2020 r/baseball Power Rankings -- Week 4: Top 10 Has New NL West Members, Flying Fish Soar, Blue Jays Plummet, Houston We Have a Problem but Phoenix and DC, Too

Hey Sportsfans — it's time for Week 4 of baseball's 2020 Power Rankings — Four weeks into the season and we've learned a lot: some teams win, some teams lose, and some don't play baseball at all. We solider on, trying to make sense of a season best described as 'baseball as viewed by a drunk Jake Peavy through a broken kaleidoscope'.
You may notice the Cardinals are being treated differently this week.
There was one tie this week between the #22 and #23 teams -- our 2nd tiebreaker, run differential, was used to break. Difference of just two runs!
Every voter has their own style / system and the only voting instructions are these:
"To an extent determined individually, you must take into account how strong a team is right now and likely to be going forward. You must, to some degree, give weight to the events and games of the previous week."
The auxiliary post with added data / fun can be seen here.
TRANSPARENCY: this link will show you who voted each team where and has added neat statistics!
If something is a little messed up, feel free to pester me let me know.
Total Votes: 29 of 30. So close.
# Team Δ Comment Record
1 Dodgers +1 Ohhhhh Mooookieeee, when you caaame and you gaaave without taaakinnnng, and I need ya today ohhhh Mookie. I am in love. Hell, even AJ Pollock did the impossible, and won me over despite his 0 for everything playoffs last year. Now if only Cody could find himself... Here's the scary part: The Dodgers are rolling and they are nowhere near playing at their ceiling. If you can't beat this team while its firing on half its cylinders, how the hell do you beat them when they're firing on all of them? 11-5
2 Yankees -1 Bit of a rough week for the Yankees, but the bats are still alive and well against pitchers I've never heard of. Everyone knows Judge leads the league in HR, but did you know DJ leads the league in Singles? Great to see him having a bit of a repeat from last season's performance. Additionally, Britton and Green have been fantastic out of the pen, and Chapman is going to be back at some point. 10-6
3 Athletics +4 Mon. had a ten run W vs. the M's. Next was TEX- Piscotty hit the 2nd walk-off GS of our year then we finished a quick sweep. The HOU series opener was cursed- we had 15 LOBs, left a runner on 3rd with 0/1 outs 3 seperate times, but down to our last strike A. Allen hit a single and M. Semien sealed the game. Montas/Luzardo/Bassit were dynamic and our pen is the league's best. Our lineup might lead MLB in Ks, but we're second in BBs. Just before sweeping the cheats R. Laureano, worth 1 bWAR, got his 2nd HBP of the day. We lead the league in those. After jawing at the RP, he arrived at 1st base. Their batting coach, a human dirtbag, taunted our mvp into a brawl even if it was he worked for a club shamed by scandals and a HS JV quality bullpen. 12-4
4 Braves 0 Roller-coaster week for the Braves. We lost our ace for the season. We got Markakis back and Will Smith made his debut. Acuña quadrupled his homer total in one day and Freeman continues to hit. Still looking good for us, but we definitely need to make a move. Our bullpen is incredible, but this meme made by u/riseupidemic sums it up: Our bullpen is doing big things, but... 11-6
5 Twins -2 We capped off a six game winning streak with a 4 game losing streak. Some were pretty flukey, but we really need the bats to wake up. Also, having three starters on the IL isn't ideal. 10-6
6 Cubs 0 The Cubs played well against the Royals, and then the Cardinals series was postponed. With no evidence that any Cardinals players actually went to a casino or broke protocol more than any other team, I believe that fans making moral judgments against the Cardinals are wrong. Perhaps we shouldn't blame teams for getting a deadly disease during a global pandemic; getting the coronavirus is not a moral indictment. Let's be better fans and better people as the world is falling apart. 10-3
7 Indians +2 The Tribe pitching continues to dazzle - the rotation has put up a quality start in all but two games, one of which was 5.2 shutout innings. Meanwhile the bullpen has a sub-1 ERA if you take away a single nightmare outing by Brad Hand. The less said about the batting order the better, but there's no way they can rank dead last in BA and SLG all year, right guys? G-g-guys? 10-7
8 Rockies +6 The Rockies have the 2nd best run differential in baseball going into Sunday's games due in large part to their starting pitching. Their offense has been middle of the pack so far but that's with Nolan Arenado hitting about as poor as we've ever seen from him. Charlie Blackmon is the early favorite for NL MVP as he racks up a .446/.475/.679 slash. Last week: 5-2. This week: 3 vs AZ & 3 vs Texas. 11-4
9 Rays -1 A return to Dome Sweet Dome is what the Rays needed to right the ship, splitting the sox and winning a tight series with the Yankees. The bats still need to come around, you would think it'd be hard to stay ice cold in Florida and all. The most inspiring things for Rays fans this week were the retunr of Austin Meadows and having a non-Zunino catcher not only bat, but also get the clutch walkoff to send the Yanks home. Let us all pray Charlie Morton is ok and flap on. 8-8
10 Padres +1 The Pads scored every one of their fourteen runs in the Arizona series by way of the long ball. We got to see Luis Pattiño in some relief after being called up, and saw Hos return to action. Fernando Tatis Jr. is very good at baseball. This week we started against the Dodgers, then played the D’Backs, while looking ahead we play the Dodgers, then have a series against the D’Backs… 9-7
11 Astros -6 Our pitching is, for the most part, bad. Seriously, almost our entire bullpen is comprised of AA and A rookies with a handful of MLB appearances under their belt. When the pitching is not bad, our offense is bad and we can't provide enough run support. I've seen enough extra inning games this season. Hard to feel confident in the team right now, but hopefully the beginning of a homestand will turn things around. 6-9
12 White Sox +1 Eloy getting tangled in the left field netting is going to be on lowlight reels for a long time and his 0-20 slide makes it worse. Thankfully, we're looking at a 4 day weekend with the Cards series in doubt. If you told the fanbase in the spring we would be 8-8 after 16 games, most would be happy. A week of the offense averaging 2.5 runs makes 8-8 feel a lot worse. On the plus side, Giolito has looked like an ace again and Moncada is on a 20 game on base streak. 8-8
13 Brewers -1 Props to BeHereNow91 for stealing my lead in about Yelich this past week, short version Yelich is rocking a 1.400 OPS this week. A few other key players have been getting some really interesting BABIP stats. Hiura with his .333 BABIP and only .250 AVG and Gyorko with the .375 BABIP/.250 AVG split. 6-7
14 Reds +2 It’s a special kind of hell having the best rotation in the entire league and the worst bullpen in the entire league. Yesterday’s loss was a microcosm of the season: leading 2-1 going into the 6th inning and trailing 9-2 by the end of the 7th. Michael Lorenzen has surrendered 10 earned runs in 5.1 innings while the combination of Gray, Bauer, Disco, and Mahle have allowed the same number in 64.1 innings. If you remove Tejay Antone’s stellar mopup job against Chicago, the Reds’ bullpen has an unfathomably bad 8.32 ERA. In other news, they’re batting .203 as a team and got shutout by the Indians two nights in a row. 7-9
15 Nationals -5 The Nats did not respond well coming out of their break. They have played poorly against AL East power-team, the Baltmiore Orioles, and have not given a lot of reason for hope. However, Sean Doolittle is a national treasure and it is completely unacceptable to harass a human on Twitter for poor sports performance. If you logged into your account and tweeted or DM'd Doo, you should be ashamed of yourself and turn in your World Series gear because you don't deserve it. 4-7
16 Mets +4 This was an interesting week. Just when you think the Mets are in freefall they come back, and go 4-2, including taking 2 of 3 from "The Best Team in the League" (technically, at the time) Miami Marlins. On top of that Conforto is swinging a hot bat, the team has scored a couple of actual runs, and deGrom even got a win (two in a row!). However, Alonso is quickly turning into Adam Dunn with a better (at times) glove, and the bullpen is still shaky despite Jared Hughes being the bright spot nobody saw coming. Well, what's see what this next week brings... together :) #GiménezNLROY2020 7-9
17 Phillies 0 The Phillies didn't have all that bad of a week all things considered. After a week long break, they split a series with the Yankees and went 1-2 against the Braves. Harper and Realmuto have looked great, and the introduction of Spencer Howard a better (?) Arrieta means the Phillies might just have a servicable rotation. The bullpen is a different story. If they can somehow put together a not terrible bullpen, they should have a shot at the playoffs and maybe some more. 4-6
18 Marlins +9 What this team has been able to do with a bunch of replacement players is a testament to the coaching staff Miami has. Primarily, the bullpen. We may have even found a couple diamonds in the rough. That being said, replacement batters havent fared as well. After some initial success, solid Mets pitching has shown that the lineup sorely misses Ramirez, Rojas, Cooper and Alfaro at the plate. Once our guys come back from covid, this team should be able to finish out tough games like yesterdays. Wouldnt be a surprised to see them finish at or slightly above .500 this season. We got Blue jays and Braves this week. 7-3
19 Tigers +6 Don't look now, but Detrot is one half game off the lead for the AL Central, making these boys rather tough to rank. If the Tigers can continue to be competitive, look to find Casey Mize getting the call sooner rather than later to help shore up the back end of the rotation. This week: 3 vs. CWS, 2 vs STL (although this is unlikely), and 3 vs. CLE. 8-5
20 Orioles +4 It's week 4 and the Orioles are at .500. A miracle if you ask me. They get swept by the Marlins (probably to avoid COVID) and then should have swept the Nats. Can anyone explain to me why the Yankees got a rain shortened win earlier this year and the Orioles have their game suspended? Weird... 7-7
21 Angels -3 Sometimes, a single play captures a season perfectly. 5-11
22 Rangers 0 Wear a mask. Wash your hads. Started the weekend with the worst record in the AL, now 2nd place in the AL West with a playoff spot after a sweep of the Angels and still 2 games below .500. That's the Rangers way. 6-8
23 Blue Jays -7 The Buffalo Blue Jays are finally going home! The first MLB game at Sahlen field will take place on Tuesday, and the migratory birds will be able to settle in. Hopfully it will lead to the bats waking up. The Jays have been the 5th worst hitting team in baseball by wRC+, posting a pitiful line of .218/.277/.366. Good thing the pitching has been good. 5-8
24 Giants -3 7-10
25 Red Sox -2 Decent week for the Sox this time around. Our pitching staff came to play for once, however with impeccable timing the offense decided to disappear for a bit, leaving us with a respectable 3-2 record for the week. Of note is Verdugo, who had a standout game against Toronto with 2 HRs as well as robbing one from off of none other than Former-Red-Sock Travis Shaw. Calling it now, Verdugo 2022 AL MVP 6-9
26 D-Backs -6 D-backs continue to underperform their talent level as their streaky offense can't buoy a terrible, no-good pitching staff. MadBum hasn't looked like himself all year and is currently being evaluated for back issues in Phoenix, while Ray is as frustrating as ever. Zac Gallen and Merrill Kelly have looked legitimately fantastic, but it's hard to get by on two good starting pitching performances a week. 6-10
27 Royals +1 A winning streak and a sweep of the Twins? Really? That just happened? While Brad Keller helps the rotation, and getting rid of Jorge Lopez helps any pitching staff, let's not get ahead of ourselves here. This is still a rebulding team, and while the sudden show of competence is nice, the Royals are not suddenly going to contend for the postseason. Unless Lopez was that fucking useless... 7-10
28 Mariners -2 Justus Sheffield claimed his first career win this past week. Another bright light in a ridiculous season. Once baseball returns for real, the Mariners should be a force to reckon with as the new guys are looking fantastic. Evan White's glove is a beautiful thing. 6-11
29 Pirates 0 D̷̥̗̬͇͕̗͕̙̱̪̄̈́̆̃̔̂͆̍̆̒̓͛̑͝ȩ̶̣̞̣̻͈̲̰͉̰̪̏͛̅̅̈́͑̉̅̓̌̊͒͠͠a̵̡̡̙͚̭͕̳͕̖͔̫̪̘̐̓̿ͅr̸̡̧̢̙̞̤͙͍̭͕̦͙͈̀̍͋͋͜ͅ ̴̡̗̲̗͍̣̞̝̤̜̱̑͆͊͂͂̽̋̒̾͘̕͜T̴͈̝̥͚͂͘̚ẁ̶̢͎̱͈̳̘̜̙͆͐̈́͂͐̈́̔͊̂̕͠i̷̩̩̹̫̫̾́͌́̿͂̑͐͋͝͝n̶̡̧̠̘̝̟͔̩̫̩͈̰̍̔̽̈́̈́̕̚s̸͔̖̈́̈̇̐͘̚ͅ ̷̛͓͙̙͇͔̯̻̟͓̣̫͖͖͈͗̍̂͂͌̔̈́̽͊̐͋͒̇̕ͅǎ̴̢͎̪͇̬͔̻̼̯̀̀̋͂ͅn̵̳̩̰̠̱̳̯͕͊̔͐̿͛̇̊́̄͂͝d̵̡̹͓̣̺̪̦̺̗͊̈́͌̃̈́̆ͅ ̴̡̗̮̤̣͙̗̰̗̊͂͊̑̍͊̒̀̚͝T̵͇͍̯̄̑̈͛͗̉̅͂i̷̩̱̇̈́̈́g̴̡̧̣͈̪͉̹͈̞̺̜͖͕͇͋͐͒̿̚͝ͅe̷̮͊̌̈̃̔̂̇̊͌͘͜͝r̶̨̛̛̭̺͉͎͍̘̗͊̎̀͗͛̍͌́͊̉͒s̴̫̭͍͉̠̰̙̍̈́̋̕͝:̴̡̨͚̭̥͉͖͎͍̪͖͙͚̝͓̀̈́͂̄̌̾̒̂ ̶̨̢̢̫̱͉̣̥͈̈́T̸̡̧̢̩̖̼͈̮̙̟̬̹͕̈́̈̎͗͘͝h̵̢̥̳̣͔̜͈̝͎͎́̎̂̊́a̸̧̻̝̪̝͎̙̟͕̬̾͐̌̎̕ṅ̸̛͇̲̻͍̦͙̏̓͊̉̀͆̓̽̓̿̕k̵͍̳̰͉͑̑̊͌̆̃͒̚͠͝ ̶̛̱̮͈̙͖̫̉́͛̔̄͒̾͐͐̀̏͝ͅy̷̧̛̻̬͉̤̥͔̩̼̲͊̂̅͜ͅo̵͇̬͔̣̼̰̟̐̑͒̽͒̐̀̕̕ͅṷ̶̧̧̢̬̳͕̙̖̺̫̹̮̤̪̈́̌͂̒̔̽̉͂̅̇̕ ̶͇̻͓̱̘͔͚̙͙̟̉̋́̽͑̈́͌ͅͅf̵̛̮̈́͗͛̔̉̕͝ó̸̢̞̲͕̫̳͈͙͙̎̀̕͜͜ŕ̶̨͉̞̠̠̤̳̯̻̱̬̩̻̽̇̄̀̒̈͊̈͛͊ ̵̧̢̙̝͎͚̙̩̺̥̙̱̝̈͛̒̅̓̎͠ͅh̵̯̄̍͊e̷͍̗̞̬̪̣͙̦͇̲̓̈́̾̀̃̑́̽̀͌̀̍̚͝ͅl̵͈͖̰̭͐̂͑͝͠p̵̠͌͌̇͗̅į̷̨̡̱̻̭̮͖͗͐͗́͜͠ͅn̸̢̨̛̟̯̫̦̰̻̘̠̻̗̯g̸̢̥̯͊́̅͗̈́̉̇̿̈́͝ ̵̛̜̮̮̲̝͊́̀̄̈́̏̑͒͘͠t̴̤̥̓̐̾̄ḩ̴͖̼̞͔̱̦͎̞͆̇̋͆́͛́̓͘͝͝ė̷̛̥̠̏͌̎͗̀͒̃̓́̚͠ ̵̧͍̦͖̯͛̊̽͛͆̅͂̔̒́̇̿͘P̴̝̭̬̬̣̿̾͒̈́͌́̈í̵̡̭̠͈̦͕͕͓͚̲̓͋̎̈́͊̈̊̍̇͗͒̉͘͝t̶̢̨̡̩͚̖͇͍͍̥͈̀̒̀́̒͊̐̎͝t̶͍̪͚̻̭͍̩̼̮̰̺͌ş̵̨̠̮̱͔̪͕̜͎̻̳̱̆̇̈́̄͝͝͠b̸̡̮̝̯̗̥͋̓̾̃̈́u̵̳͂͌̈́͛̽̀̈́̾͝͝r̴͇̲̟̓̃̿͌̇̍̈͘͝͠ǧ̴̝̯̲̙̠̜̲̱͋͌h̷̢̢̡̛̬̹͈̠̰̼̼̭̤̹͂̑͗̂̌̈́̇͘͝ ̶̱̪̝̦̭̮͙̮̬͊P̸̢̤͈̰̠̟̹͕̐͂̋̃̌͌̓͝͠í̸̢͚̟͇̣̏̾̌ŗ̵̲͙͓͇͖̝̳̻̖̔̑̂̏̂̕͝ä̵͕̱̤̝̥̪͇̮͙̖́̑͒̈́͐ț̴̢̛̛͉͈̪̙̜̖͍͔͉͂̃̓̈́͛͒̋̆̈́͜͜ͅe̶͈̠̔̄̈́̐͒s̵̜͙͖͉̪̝̘̼̏̇̋̃͋̏͗̍̍͊̓͊̕̕ ̴̨̯̯̭̻͚͈̜̯̺̤̗̂͊͂̊̂̓̾̆̔͑̌̈́̕͝ồ̵̡̨̝̬͈̮̲̲̥́̽̆͂̅̓̽̄̈́̕̚͠͝ͅn̶̲͉͍̞̍̀̓̌̿͆͂̅̄̀̀̃͠͝ͅ ̷̳͖̭̤͓̹̞͚͉̥͔̟̱̣̍̂̽͜t̸̨̥̣̪͚̘̻͔̳̠̲̦̺̰͐̀̿̂͌̅͝ḥ̶̛͍͙̗͎̪̬̱̰̙̄͛̌͋̋ẻ̶͍̦͖̥͎͆́́͂̈́̚ͅḯ̸̢̜̖̖͍̭̙̱̙̘̫̙̂͑̀͒̓ͅr̷̼̯̗̙̞̼̄̈́ ̶̡̨̳͔̦̂̾̈͑͝͝ͅq̴̡̛̙͕̺̗̪̜͇͉͕̱̟̩̊͌̈́̐́̔͐̓͌́͛̈̏͝u̴̡̥͓͍̭̿̀̆̃̃̎̓̽̓͊̓͝͠ę̷͓̗͈͚͙̒̎͌͘̕s̶̡̝̮͚̜̣͚͇̖̭͖̓̈́̃̔͊̿͗̓̚̕ͅͅt̸̻̝̜̺̺̳͍̜͎̹͖̔̎̏̓̃̇̀̀̏̚̚ ̴̧̳̱̣̯͓̗̞̰̻̆͂̆̍̂͑̀͐̃̈̌͋̾͆͜f̵̣̻̝̹̖̱͍̂̽ơ̴̡̛͖̝̮͕̜̞̣̤̩̜̦̜̑̅̉͒̿̋̆̉͠r̸̨̙̹͚̰̣͓͐͆̋͆̓͂̆̃̓̃͂͛̌̿̃ ̸̢̨̙͓̱̫̯͉͙̘̙͙̻͇͆K̶͉̲̞̪̮̜̤͉͉̗̖̿̆́̂̀̄̍́͑ͅͅų̴̜͇͕͔̲̺̭͍̩͗̾̉̊̀̊̆̚ṃ̵̧̡̢̣̞̮͇͓̱̥̹̒̈ͅͅą̵͖̞̖̼̣̠̤̥̪͚͋͌̀̽̋͝r̵̢͚̬̺̍͒̂̒̽̏͝ͅ ̸̮̀̄̐̀͊̿̋͂͌̆̈̕͝R̷̡̨̬͚͙̫̻̱͍̬̭̅̿͒͋͒́̿̇̆̕ǫ̵̨̖̗̳͍̹͉̤̘̯̣͕͊̔̈̍̏͋̊͐̅͛͝ͅc̶͖̪̙̣̲̤̖͚̠̹̖̳̞͙̏̅̐͜ḵ̷̢̨̘̙̹͕̠̙͍̳͙̠͙͒͒̅̒ͅe̸̢̻̦̮̻͌̉̄̉̀̎̇́̇̽̑̓͂ŗ̴̗͙̲̝̱̠̭͙͕̮̯̱͠ 3-13
N/A, Quarantined Rank: 17||Cardinals|-2| 5 games lul |2-3
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