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A long list of CIA atrocities.

The following article was initially published in 1997. It is in part based on the work of William Blum. Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions since World War II, 1995 (GR Ed. M. Ch.)
By Steve Kangas
The following timeline describes just a few of the hundreds of atrocities and crimes committed by the CIA. (1)
CIA operations follow the same recurring script. First, American business interests abroad are threatened by a popular or democratically elected leader. The people support their leader because he intends to conduct land reform, strengthen unions, redistribute wealth, nationalize foreign-owned industry, and regulate business to protect workers, consumers and the environment. So, on behalf of American business, and often with their help, the CIA mobilizes the opposition. First it identifies right-wing groups within the country (usually the military), and offers them a deal: “We’ll put you in power if you maintain a favorable business climate for us.”
The Agency then hires, trains and works with them to overthrow the existing government (usually a democracy). It uses every trick in the book: propaganda, stuffed ballot boxes, purchased elections, extortion, blackmail, sexual intrigue, false stories about opponents in the local media, infiltration and disruption of opposing political parties, kidnapping, beating, torture, intimidation, economic sabotage, death squads and even assassination. These efforts culminate in a military coup, which installs a right-wing dictator.
The CIA trains the dictator’s security apparatus to crack down on the traditional enemies of big business, using interrogation, torture and murder. The victims are said to be “communists,” but almost always they are just peasants, liberals, moderates, labor union leaders, political opponents and advocates of free speech and democracy. Widespread human rights abuses follow.
This scenario has been repeated so many times that the CIA actually teaches it in a special school, the notorious “School of the Americas.” (It opened in Panama but later moved to Fort Benning, Georgia.) Critics have nicknamed it the “School of the Dictators” and “School of the Assassins.” Here, the CIA trains Latin American military officers how to conduct coups, including the use of interrogation, torture and murder.
The Association for Responsible Dissent estimates that by 1987, 6 million people had died as a result of CIA covert operations. (2) Former State Department official William Blum correctly calls this an “American Holocaust.”
The CIA justifies these actions as part of its war against communism. But most coups do not involve a communist threat. Unlucky nations are targeted for a wide variety of reasons: not only threats to American business interests abroad, but also liberal or even moderate social reforms, political instability, the unwillingness of a leader to carry out Washington’s dictates, and declarations of neutrality in the Cold War. Indeed, nothing has infuriated CIA Directors quite like a nation’s desire to stay out of the Cold War.
The ironic thing about all this intervention is that it frequently fails to achieve American objectives. Often the newly installed dictator grows comfortable with the security apparatus the CIA has built for him. He becomes an expert at running a police state. And because the dictator knows he cannot be overthrown, he becomes independent and defiant of Washington’s will. The CIA then finds it cannot overthrow him, because the police and military are under the dictator’s control, afraid to cooperate with American spies for fear of torture and execution. The only two options for the U.S at this point are impotence or war. Examples of this “boomerang effect” include the Shah of Iran, General Noriega and Saddam Hussein. The boomerang effect also explains why the CIA has proven highly successful at overthrowing democracies, but a wretched failure at overthrowing dictatorships.
The following timeline should confirm that the CIA as we know it should be abolished and replaced by a true information-gathering and analysis organization. The CIA cannot be reformed — it is institutionally and culturally corrupt.
The culture we lost — Secretary of State Henry Stimson refuses to endorse a code-breaking operation, saying, “Gentlemen do not read each other’s mail.”
COI created — In preparation for World War II, President Roosevelt creates the Office of Coordinator of Information (COI). General William “Wild Bill” Donovan heads the new intelligence service.
OSS created — Roosevelt restructures COI into something more suitable for covert action, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). Donovan recruits so many of the nation’s rich and powerful that eventually people joke that “OSS” stands for “Oh, so social!” or “Oh, such snobs!”
Italy — Donovan recruits the Catholic Church in Rome to be the center of Anglo-American spy operations in Fascist Italy. This would prove to be one of America’s most enduring intelligence alliances in the Cold War.
OSS is abolished — The remaining American information agencies cease covert actions and return to harmless information gathering and analysis.
Operation PAPERCLIP – While other American agencies are hunting down Nazi war criminals for arrest, the U.S. intelligence community is smuggling them into America, unpunished, for their use against the Soviets. The most important of these is Reinhard Gehlen, Hitler’s master spy who had built up an intelligence network in the Soviet Union. With full U.S. blessing, he creates the “Gehlen Organization,” a band of refugee Nazi spies who reactivate their networks in Russia.
These include SS intelligence officers Alfred Six and Emil Augsburg (who massacred Jews in the Holocaust), Klaus Barbie (the “Butcher of Lyon”), Otto von Bolschwing (the Holocaust mastermind who worked with Eichmann) and SS Colonel Otto Skorzeny (a personal friend of Hitler’s). The Gehlen Organization supplies the U.S. with its only intelligence on the Soviet Union for the next ten years, serving as a bridge between the abolishment of the OSS and the creation of the CIA. However, much of the “intelligence” the former Nazis provide is bogus. Gehlen inflates Soviet military capabilities at a time when Russia is still rebuilding its devastated society, in order to inflate his own importance to the Americans (who might otherwise punish him). In 1948, Gehlen almost convinces the Americans that war is imminent, and the West should make a preemptive strike. In the 50s he produces a fictitious “missile gap.” To make matters worse, the Russians have thoroughly penetrated the Gehlen Organization with double agents, undermining the very American security that Gehlen was supposed to protect.
Greece — President Truman requests military aid to Greece to support right-wing forces fighting communist rebels. For the rest of the Cold War, Washington and the CIA will back notorious Greek leaders with deplorable human rights records.
CIA created — President Truman signs the National Security Act of 1947, creating the Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Council. The CIA is accountable to the president through the NSC — there is no democratic or congressional oversight. Its charter allows the CIA to “perform such other functions and duties… as the National Security Council may from time to time direct.” This loophole opens the door to covert action and dirty tricks.
Covert-action wing created — The CIA recreates a covert action wing, innocuously called the Office of Policy Coordination, led by Wall Street lawyer Frank Wisner. According to its secret charter, its responsibilities include “propaganda, economic warfare, preventive direct action, including sabotage, antisabotage, demolition and evacuation procedures; subversion against hostile states, including assistance to underground resistance groups, and support of indigenous anti-communist elements in threatened countries of the free world.”
Italy — The CIA corrupts democratic elections in Italy, where Italian communists threaten to win the elections. The CIA buys votes, broadcasts propaganda, threatens and beats up opposition leaders, and infiltrates and disrupts their organizations. It works — the communists are defeated.
Radio Free Europe — The CIA creates its first major propaganda outlet, Radio Free Europe. Over the next several decades, its broadcasts are so blatantly false that for a time it is considered illegal to publish transcripts of them in the U.S.
Late 40s
Operation MOCKINGBIRD — The CIA begins recruiting American news organizations and journalists to become spies and disseminators of propaganda. The effort is headed by Frank Wisner, Allan Dulles, Richard Helms and Philip Graham. Graham is publisher of The Washington Post, which becomes a major CIA player. Eventually, the CIA’s media assets will include ABC, NBC, CBS, Time, Newsweek, Associated Press, United Press International, Reuters, Hearst Newspapers, Scripps-Howard, Copley News Service and more. By the CIA’s own admission, at least 25 organizations and 400 journalists will become CIA assets.
Iran – CIA overthrows the democratically elected Mohammed Mossadegh in a military coup, after he threatened to nationalize British oil. The CIA replaces him with a dictator, the Shah of Iran, whose secret police, SAVAK, is as brutal as the Gestapo.
Operation MK-ULTRA — Inspired by North Korea’s brainwashing program, the CIA begins experiments on mind control. The most notorious part of this project involves giving LSD and other drugs to American subjects without their knowledge or against their will, causing several to commit suicide. However, the operation involves far more than this. Funded in part by the Rockefeller and Ford foundations, research includes propaganda, brainwashing, public relations, advertising, hypnosis, and other forms of suggestion.
Guatemala — CIA overthrows the democratically elected Jacob Arbenz in a military coup. Arbenz has threatened to nationalize the Rockefeller-owned United Fruit Company, in which CIA Director Allen Dulles also owns stock. Arbenz is replaced with a series of right-wing dictators whose bloodthirsty policies will kill over 100,000 Guatemalans in the next 40 years.
North Vietnam — CIA officer Edward Lansdale spends four years trying to overthrow the communist government of North Vietnam, using all the usual dirty tricks. The CIA also attempts to legitimize a tyrannical puppet regime in South Vietnam, headed by Ngo Dinh Diem. These efforts fail to win the hearts and minds of the South Vietnamese because the Diem government is opposed to true democracy, land reform and poverty reduction measures. The CIA’s continuing failure results in escalating American intervention, culminating in the Vietnam War.
Hungary — Radio Free Europe incites Hungary to revolt by broadcasting Khruschev’s Secret Speech, in which he denounced Stalin. It also hints that American aid will help the Hungarians fight. This aid fails to materialize as Hungarians launch a doomed armed revolt, which only invites a major Soviet invasion. The conflict kills 7,000 Soviets and 30,000 Hungarians.
Laos — The CIA carries out approximately one coup per year trying to nullify Laos’ democratic elections. The problem is the Pathet Lao, a leftist group with enough popular support to be a member of any coalition government. In the late 50s, the CIA even creates an “Armee Clandestine” of Asian mercenaries to attack the Pathet Lao. After the CIA’s army suffers numerous defeats, the U.S. starts bombing, dropping more bombs on Laos than all the U.S. bombs dropped in World War II. A quarter of all Laotians will eventually become refugees, many living in caves.
Haiti — The U.S. military helps “Papa Doc” Duvalier become dictator of Haiti. He creates his own private police force, the “Tonton Macoutes,” who terrorize the population with machetes.
They will kill over 100,000 during the Duvalier family reign. The U.S. does not protest their dismal human rights record.
The Bay of Pigs — The CIA sends 1,500 Cuban exiles to invade Castro’s Cuba. But “Operation Mongoose” fails, due to poor planning, security and backing. The planners had imagined that the invasion will spark a popular uprising against Castro -– which never happens. A promised American air strike also never occurs. This is the CIA’s first public setback, causing President Kennedy to fire CIA Director Allen Dulles.
Dominican Republic — The CIA assassinates Rafael Trujillo, a murderous dictator Washington has supported since 1930. Trujillo’s business interests have grown so large (about 60 percent of the economy) that they have begun competing with American business interests.
Ecuador — The CIA-backed military forces the democratically elected President Jose Velasco to resign. Vice President Carlos Arosemana replaces him; the CIA fills the now vacant vice presidency with its own man.
Congo (Zaire) — The CIA assassinates the democratically elected Patrice Lumumba. However, public support for Lumumba’s politics runs so high that the CIA cannot clearly install his opponents in power. Four years of political turmoil follow.
Dominican Republic — The CIA overthrows the democratically elected Juan Bosch in a military coup. The CIA installs a repressive, right-wing junta.
Ecuador — A CIA-backed military coup overthrows President Arosemana, whose independent (not socialist) policies have become unacceptable to Washington. A military junta assumes command, cancels the 1964 elections, and begins abusing human rights.
Brazil — A CIA-backed military coup overthrows the democratically elected government of Joao Goulart. The junta that replaces it will, in the next two decades, become one of the most bloodthirsty in history. General Castelo Branco will create Latin America’s first death squads, or bands of secret police who hunt down “communists” for torture, interrogation and murder. Often these “communists” are no more than Branco’s political opponents. Later it is revealed that the CIA trains the death squads.
Indonesia — The CIA overthrows the democratically elected Sukarno with a military coup. The CIA has been trying to eliminate Sukarno since 1957, using everything from attempted assassination to sexual intrigue, for nothing more than his declaring neutrality in the Cold War. His successor, General Suharto, will massacre between 500,000 to 1 million civilians accused of being “communist.” The CIA supplies the names of countless suspects.
Dominican Republic — A popular rebellion breaks out, promising to reinstall Juan Bosch as the country’s elected leader. The revolution is crushed when U.S. Marines land to uphold the military regime by force. The CIA directs everything behind the scenes.
Greece — With the CIA’s backing, the king removes George Papandreous as prime minister. Papandreous has failed to vigorously support U.S. interests in Greece.
Congo (Zaire) — A CIA-backed military coup installs Mobutu Sese Seko as dictator. The hated and repressive Mobutu exploits his desperately poor country for billions.
The Ramparts Affair — The radical magazine Ramparts begins a series of unprecedented anti-CIA articles. Among their scoops: the CIA has paid the University of Michigan $25 million dollars to hire “professors” to train South Vietnamese students in covert police methods. MIT and other universities have received similar payments. Ramparts also reveals that the National Students’ Association is a CIA front. Students are sometimes recruited through blackmail and bribery, including draft deferments.
Greece — A CIA-backed military coup overthrows the government two days before the elections. The favorite to win was George Papandreous, the liberal candidate. During the next six years, the “reign of the colonels” — backed by the CIA — will usher in the widespread use of torture and murder against political opponents. When a Greek ambassador objects to President Johnson about U.S. plans for Cyprus, Johnson tells him: “Fuck your parliament and your constitution.”
Operation PHEONIX — The CIA helps South Vietnamese agents identify and then murder alleged Viet Cong leaders operating in South Vietnamese villages. According to a 1971 congressional report, this operation killed about 20,000 “Viet Cong.”
Operation CHAOS — The CIA has been illegally spying on American citizens since 1959, but with Operation CHAOS, President Johnson dramatically boosts the effort. CIA agents go undercover as student radicals to spy on and disrupt campus organizations protesting the Vietnam War. They are searching for Russian instigators, which they never find. CHAOS will eventually spy on 7,000 individuals and 1,000 organizations.
Bolivia — A CIA-organized military operation captures legendary guerilla Che Guevara. The CIA wants to keep him alive for interrogation, but the Bolivian government executes him to prevent worldwide calls for clemency.
Uruguay — The notorious CIA torturer Dan Mitrione arrives in Uruguay, a country torn with political strife. Whereas right-wing forces previously used torture only as a last resort, Mitrione convinces them to use it as a routine, widespread practice. “The precise pain, in the precise place, in the precise amount, for the desired effect,” is his motto. The torture techniques he teaches to the death squads rival the Nazis’. He eventually becomes so feared that revolutionaries will kidnap and murder him a year later.
Cambodia — The CIA overthrows Prince Sahounek, who is highly popular among Cambodians for keeping them out of the Vietnam War. He is replaced by CIA puppet Lon Nol, who immediately throws Cambodian troops into battle. This unpopular move strengthens once minor opposition parties like the Khmer Rouge, which achieves power in 1975 and massacres millions of its own people.
Bolivia — After half a decade of CIA-inspired political turmoil, a CIA-backed military coup overthrows the leftist President Juan Torres. In the next two years, dictator Hugo Banzer will have over 2,000 political opponents arrested without trial, then tortured, raped and executed.
Haiti — “Papa Doc” Duvalier dies, leaving his 19-year old son “Baby Doc” Duvalier the dictator of Haiti. His son continues his bloody reign with full knowledge of the CIA.
The Case-Zablocki Act — Congress passes an act requiring congressional review of executive agreements. In theory, this should make CIA operations more accountable. In fact, it is only marginally effective.
Cambodia — Congress votes to cut off CIA funds for its secret war in Cambodia.
Wagergate Break-in — President Nixon sends in a team of burglars to wiretap Democratic offices at Watergate. The team members have extensive CIA histories, including James McCord, E. Howard Hunt and five of the Cuban burglars. They work for the Committee to Reelect the President (CREEP), which does dirty work like disrupting Democratic campaigns and laundering Nixon’s illegal campaign contributions. CREEP’s activities are funded and organized by another CIA front, the Mullen Company.
Chile — The CIA overthrows and assassinates Salvador Allende, Latin America’s first democratically elected socialist leader. The problems begin when Allende nationalizes American-owned firms in Chile. ITT offers the CIA $1 million for a coup (reportedly refused). The CIA replaces Allende with General Augusto Pinochet, who will torture and murder thousands of his own countrymen in a crackdown on labor leaders and the political left.
CIA begins internal investigations — William Colby, the Deputy Director for Operations, orders all CIA personnel to report any and all illegal activities they know about. This information is later reported to Congress.
Watergate Scandal — The CIA’s main collaborating newspaper in America, The Washington Post, reports Nixon’s crimes long before any other newspaper takes up the subject. The two reporters, Woodward and Bernstein, make almost no mention of the CIA’s many fingerprints all over the scandal. It is later revealed that Woodward was a Naval intelligence briefer to the White House, and knows many important intelligence figures, including General Alexander Haig. His main source, “Deep Throat,” is probably one of those.
CIA Director Helms Fired — President Nixon fires CIA Director Richard Helms for failing to help cover up the Watergate scandal. Helms and Nixon have always disliked each other. The new CIA director is William Colby, who is relatively more open to CIA reform.
CHAOS exposed — Pulitzer prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh publishes a story about Operation CHAOS, the domestic surveillance and infiltration of anti-war and civil rights groups in the U.S. The story sparks national outrage.
Angleton fired — Congress holds hearings on the illegal domestic spying efforts of James Jesus Angleton, the CIA’s chief of counterintelligence. His efforts included mail-opening campaigns and secret surveillance of war protesters. The hearings result in his dismissal from the CIA.
House clears CIA in Watergate — The House of Representatives clears the CIA of any complicity in Nixon’s Watergate break-in.
The Hughes Ryan Act — Congress passes an amendment requiring the president to report nonintelligence CIA operations to the relevant congressional committees in a timely fashion.
Australia — The CIA helps topple the democratically elected, left-leaning government of Prime Minister Edward Whitlam. The CIA does this by giving an ultimatum to its Governor-General, John Kerr. Kerr, a longtime CIA collaborator, exercises his constitutional right to dissolve the Whitlam government. The Governor-General is a largely ceremonial position appointed by the Queen; the Prime Minister is democratically elected. The use of this archaic and never-used law stuns the nation.
Angola — Eager to demonstrate American military resolve after its defeat in Vietnam, Henry Kissinger launches a CIA-backed war in Angola. Contrary to Kissinger’s assertions, Angola is a country of little strategic importance and not seriously threatened by communism. The CIA backs the brutal leader of UNITAS, Jonas Savimbi. This polarizes Angolan politics and drives his opponents into the arms of Cuba and the Soviet Union for survival. Congress will cut off funds in 1976, but the CIA is able to run the war off the books until 1984, when funding is legalized again. This entirely pointless war kills over 300,000 Angolans.
“The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence” — Victor Marchetti and John Marks publish this whistle-blowing history of CIA crimes and abuses. Marchetti has spent 14 years in the CIA, eventually becoming an executive assistant to the Deputy Director of Intelligence. Marks has spent five years as an intelligence official in the State Department.
“Inside the Company” — Philip Agee publishes a diary of his life inside the CIA. Agee has worked in covert operations in Latin America during the 60s, and details the crimes in which he took part.
Congress investigates CIA wrong-doing — Public outrage compels Congress to hold hearings on CIA crimes. Senator Frank Church heads the Senate investigation (“The Church Committee”), and Representative Otis Pike heads the House investigation. (Despite a 98 percent incumbency reelection rate, both Church and Pike are defeated in the next elections.) The investigations lead to a number of reforms intended to increase the CIA’s accountability to Congress, including the creation of a standing Senate committee on intelligence. However, the reforms prove ineffective, as the Iran/Contra scandal will show. It turns out the CIA can control, deal with or sidestep Congress with ease.
The Rockefeller Commission — In an attempt to reduce the damage done by the Church Committee, President Ford creates the “Rockefeller Commission” to whitewash CIA history and propose toothless reforms. The commission’s namesake, Vice President Nelson Rockefeller, is himself a major CIA figure. Five of the commission’s eight members are also members of the Council on Foreign Relations, a CIA-dominated organization.
Iran — The CIA fails to predict the fall of the Shah of Iran, a longtime CIA puppet, and the rise of Muslim fundamentalists who are furious at the CIA’s backing of SAVAK, the Shah’s bloodthirsty secret police. In revenge, the Muslims take 52 Americans hostage in the U.S. embassy in Tehran.
Afghanistan — The Soviets invade Afghanistan. The CIA immediately begins supplying arms to any faction willing to fight the occupying Soviets. Such indiscriminate arming means that when the Soviets leave Afghanistan, civil war will erupt. Also, fanatical Muslim extremists now possess state-of-the-art weaponry. One of these is Sheik Abdel Rahman, who will become involved in the World Trade Center bombing in New York.
El Salvador — An idealistic group of young military officers, repulsed by the massacre of the poor, overthrows the right-wing government. However, the U.S. compels the inexperienced officers to include many of the old guard in key positions in their new government. Soon, things are back to “normal” — the military government is repressing and killing poor civilian protesters. Many of the young military and civilian reformers, finding themselves powerless, resign in disgust.
Nicaragua — Anastasios Samoza II, the CIA-backed dictator, falls. The Marxist Sandinistas take over government, and they are initially popular because of their commitment to land and anti-poverty reform. Samoza had a murderous and hated personal army called the National Guard. Remnants of the Guard will become the Contras, who fight a CIA-backed guerilla war against the Sandinista government throughout the 1980s.
El Salvador — The Archbishop of San Salvador, Oscar Romero, pleads with President Carter “Christian to Christian” to stop aiding the military government slaughtering his people. Carter refuses. Shortly afterwards, right-wing leader Roberto D’Aubuisson has Romero shot through the heart while saying Mass. The country soon dissolves into civil war, with the peasants in the hills fighting against the military government. The CIA and U.S. Armed Forces supply the government with overwhelming military and intelligence superiority. CIA-trained death squads roam the countryside, committing atrocities like that of El Mazote in 1982, where they massacre between 700 and 1000 men, women and children. By 1992, some 63,000 Salvadorans will be killed.
Iran/Contra Begins — The CIA begins selling arms to Iran at high prices, using the profits to arm the Contras fighting the Sandinista government in Nicaragua. President Reagan vows that the Sandinistas will be “pressured” until “they say ‘uncle.’” The CIA’s Freedom Fighter’s Manual disbursed to the Contras includes instruction on economic sabotage, propaganda, extortion, bribery, blackmail, interrogation, torture, murder and political assassination.
Honduras — The CIA gives Honduran military officers the Human Resource Exploitation Training Manual – 1983, which teaches how to torture people. Honduras’ notorious “Battalion 316” then uses these techniques, with the CIA’s full knowledge, on thousands of leftist dissidents. At least 184 are murdered.
The Boland Amendment — The last of a series of Boland Amendments is passed. These amendments have reduced CIA aid to the Contras; the last one cuts it off completely. However, CIA Director William Casey is already prepared to “hand off” the operation to Colonel Oliver North, who illegally continues supplying the Contras through the CIA’s informal, secret, and self-financing network. This includes “humanitarian aid” donated by Adolph Coors and William Simon, and military aid funded by Iranian arms sales.
Eugene Hasenfus — Nicaragua shoots down a C-123 transport plane carrying military supplies to the Contras. The lone survivor, Eugene Hasenfus, turns out to be a CIA employee, as are the two dead pilots. The airplane belongs to Southern Air Transport, a CIA front. The incident makes a mockery of President Reagan’s claims that the CIA is not illegally arming the Contras.
Iran/Contra Scandal — Although the details have long been known, the Iran/Contra scandal finally captures the media’s attention in 1986. Congress holds hearings, and several key figures (like Oliver North) lie under oath to protect the intelligence community. CIA Director William Casey dies of brain cancer before Congress can question him. All reforms enacted by Congress after the scandal are purely cosmetic.
Haiti — Rising popular revolt in Haiti means that “Baby Doc” Duvalier will remain “President for Life” only if he has a short one. The U.S., which hates instability in a puppet country, flies the despotic Duvalier to the South of France for a comfortable retirement. The CIA then rigs the upcoming elections in favor of another right-wing military strongman. However, violence keeps the country in political turmoil for another four years. The CIA tries to strengthen the military by creating the National Intelligence Service (SIN), which suppresses popular revolt through torture and assassination.
Panama — The U.S. invades Panama to overthrow a dictator of its own making, General Manuel Noriega. Noriega has been on the CIA’s payroll since 1966, and has been transporting drugs with the CIA’s knowledge since 1972. By the late 80s, Noriega’s growing independence and intransigence have angered Washington… so out he goes.
Haiti — Competing against 10 comparatively wealthy candidates, leftist priest Jean-Bertrand Aristide captures 68 percent of the vote. After only eight months in power, however, the CIA-backed military deposes him. More military dictators brutalize the country, as thousands of Haitian refugees escape the turmoil in barely seaworthy boats. As popular opinion calls for Aristide’s return, the CIA begins a disinformation campaign painting the courageous priest as mentally unstable.
The Gulf War — The U.S. liberates Kuwait from Iraq. But Iraq’s dictator, Saddam Hussein, is another creature of the CIA. With U.S. encouragement, Hussein invaded Iran in 1980. During this costly eight-year war, the CIA built up Hussein’s forces with sophisticated arms, intelligence, training and financial backing. This cemented Hussein’s power at home, allowing him to crush the many internal rebellions that erupted from time to time, sometimes with poison gas. It also gave him all the military might he needed to conduct further adventurism — in Kuwait, for example.
The Fall of the Soviet Union — The CIA fails to predict this most important event of the Cold War. This suggests that it has been so busy undermining governments that it hasn’t been doing its primary job: gathering and analyzing information. The fall of the Soviet Union also robs the CIA of its reason for existence: fighting communism. This leads some to accuse the CIA of intentionally failing to predict the downfall of the Soviet Union. Curiously, the intelligence community’s budget is not significantly reduced after the demise of communism.
Economic Espionage — In the years following the end of the Cold War, the CIA is increasingly used for economic espionage. This involves stealing the technological secrets of competing foreign companies and giving them to American ones. Given the CIA’s clear preference for dirty tricks over mere information gathering, the possibility of serious criminal behavior is very great indeed.
Haiti — The chaos in Haiti grows so bad that President Clinton has no choice but to remove the Haitian military dictator, Raoul Cedras, on threat of U.S. invasion. The U.S. occupiers do not arrest Haiti’s military leaders for crimes against humanity, but instead ensure their safety and rich retirements. Aristide is returned to power only after being forced to accept an agenda favorable to the country’s ruling class.
In a speech before the CIA celebrating its 50th anniversary, President Clinton said: “By necessity, the American people will never know the full story of your courage.”
Clinton’s is a common defense of the CIA: namely, the American people should stop criticizing the CIA because they don’t know what it really does. This, of course, is the heart of the problem in the first place. An agency that is above criticism is also above moral behavior and reform. Its secrecy and lack of accountability allows its corruption to grow unchecked.
Furthermore, Clinton’s statement is simply untrue. The history of the agency is growing painfully clear, especially with the declassification of historical CIA documents. We may not know the details of specific operations, but we do know, quite well, the general behavior of the CIA. These facts began emerging nearly two decades ago at an ever-quickening pace. Today we have a remarkably accurate and consistent picture, repeated in country after country, and verified from countless different directions.
The CIA’s response to this growing knowledge and criticism follows a typical historical pattern. (Indeed, there are remarkable parallels to the Medieval Church’s fight against the Scientific Revolution.) The first journalists and writers to reveal the CIA’s criminal behavior were harassed and censored if they were American writers, and tortured and murdered if they were foreigners. (See Philip Agee’s On the Run for an example of early harassment.) However, over the last two decades the tide of evidence has become overwhelming, and the CIA has found that it does not have enough fingers to plug every hole in the dike. This is especially true in the age of the Internet, where information flows freely among millions of people. Since censorship is impossible, the Agency must now defend itself with apologetics. Clinton’s “Americans will never know” defense is a prime example.
Another common apologetic is that “the world is filled with unsavory characters, and we must deal with them if we are to protect American interests at all.” There are two things wrong with this. First, it ignores the fact that the CIA has regularly spurned alliances with defenders of democracy, free speech and human rights, preferring the company of military dictators and tyrants. The CIA had moral options available to them, but did not take them.
Second, this argument begs several questions. The first is: “Which American interests?” The CIA has courted right-wing dictators because they allow wealthy Americans to exploit the country’s cheap labor and resources. But poor and middle-class Americans pay the price whenever they fight the wars that stem from CIA actions, from Vietnam to the Gulf War to Panama. The second begged question is: “Why should American interests come at the expense of other peoples’ human rights?”
The CIA should be abolished, its leadership dismissed and its relevant members tried for crimes against humanity. Our intelligence community should be rebuilt from the ground up, with the goal of collecting and analyzing information. As for covert action, there are two moral options. The first one is to eliminate covert action completely. But this gives jitters to people worried about the Adolf Hitlers of the world. So a second option is that we can place covert action under extensive and true democratic oversight. For example, a bipartisan Congressional Committee of 40 members could review and veto all aspects of CIA operations upon a majority or super-majority vote. Which of these two options is best may be the subject of debate, but one thing is clear: like dictatorship, like monarchy, unaccountable covert operations should die like the dinosaurs they are.
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About Zafar Khawaja

Branch Manager / Senior Manager
​Total Years of Experience: 23 Years, 5 Months
​​December 2012 To Present
Branch Manager / Senior Manager at HBL Location: Pakistan — Lahore
History of Experience
January 2011 To September 2012
Branch Manager at Summit Bank Limited Location : Pakistan — Lahore
May 2010 To December 2010
Branch Operations Manager at
Summit Bank Limited Location : Pakistan — Lahore
April 2009 To April 2010
Area Operations Manager at BankIslami Pakistan Limited Location : Pakistan — Lahore
August 2008 To April 2009
Branch Manager at BankIslami Pakistan Limited Location : Pakistan — Lahore
December 2007 To August 2008
Branch Operations Manager at Habib Metropolitan Bank Limited Location : Pakistan
Responsibilities are:
January 2007 To December 2007
Head of International Banking at Habib Metropolitan Bank Limited Location : Pakistan
Responsibilities are: Supervising Export Department;
Responsibilities Included for zafar khawaja:
Responsibilities are:
January 2003 To December 2006
Head of Export Department Habib Bank AG Zurich Location : Pakistan
Currently working as Manager Export (Departmental Head). Handling Business of USD 80 MillionAreas of Responsibilities include:
​October 1998 To December 2002
Zafar Khawaja Deputy Manager at Habib Bank AG Zurich Location: Pakistan

August 1997 To October 1998
Asst.Restaurant Manager at Artal Restaurants International Location : Pakistan
Worked as an Assistant Restaurant Manager in the Operations Department of the Kentucky Fried Chicken, Lahore and Karachi. Responsibilities included:
Zafar Khawaja (Education)
Education July 1996
Master’s degree, Finance
at The University of Sydney Location : Sydney, Australia
February 1995
Master’s degree, Business Administration at National College of Business Administration & Economics Location : Lahore, Pakistan
March 1993
Bachelor’s degree, Commerce at Hailey College Of Commerce Location : Lahore, Pakistan
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Sweden’s Famously Stealthy Submarine Is Now Even Quieter

Go Sweden! Thanks for that job done!
What's the difference inSweden and Switzerland. Switzerland has an economy more like The United States. They complain over there that the Franc is overvalued and they are not paid enough to live. Sweden has progressive taxation and income distribution and has a more stabler economy because of it. Stockholm is the Capital of Sweden since 1523 A.D. It shares the Scandinavian Peninsula with Norway. Coming up is the Difference between Norway and Normandy.
Here's a map of Sweden and Norway:

Location of Sweden Map from Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Encyclopedia Britannica States," The country has a 1,000-year-long continuous history as a sovereign state, but its territorial expanse changed often until 1809. Today it is a constitutional monarchy with a well-established parliamentary democracy that dates from 1917. Swedish society is ethnically and religiously very homogeneous, although recent immigration has created some social diversity. Historically, Sweden rose from backwardness and poverty into a highly developed postindustrial society and advanced welfare state with a standard of living and life expectancy that rank among the highest in the world. "
Here are the Facts of Sweden according to Merriam-Webster:
Official Name: Konungariket Sverige (Kingdom of Sweden)
Form Of Government: constitutional monarchy with one legislative house (Riksdag, or Parliament [349])
Head Of State: King: Carl XVI Gustaf
Head Of Government: Prime Minister: Stefan Löfven
Capital: Stockholm
Official Language: Swedish
Official Religion: none
Monetary Unit: Swedish krona (SEK)
Currency Exchange Rate:
1 USD equals 9.879 Swedish krona
(2019 est.) 10,284,000
Population Rank:
(2018) 89
Population Projection 2030:
Total Area (Sq Mi)**172,750
Total Area (Sq Km)**447,420
Density: Persons Per Sq Mi(2018) 64.7
Density: Persons Per Sq Km(2018) 25
Urban-Rural Population:
Urban: (2018) 87.4%
Rural: (2018) 12.6%
Life Expectancy At Birth:
Male: (2017) 80.7 years
Female: (2017) 84.1 years
Literacy: Percentage Of Population Age 15 And Over:
Male: 100%
Female: (2008) 100%
GNI (U.S.$ ’000,000)
(2017) 529,460
GNI Per Capita (U.S.$)
(2017) 52,590
Here's what The CIA World FactBook has to say about Sweden: (Here are some highlights):
Sweden’s small, open, and competitive economy has been thriving and Sweden has achieved an enviable standard of living with its combination of free-market capitalism and extensive welfare benefits. Sweden remains outside the euro zone largely out of concern that joining the European Economic and Monetary Union would diminish the country’s sovereignty over its welfare system.
Timber, hydropower, and iron ore constitute the resource base of a manufacturing economy that relies heavily on foreign trade. Exports, including engines and other machines, motor vehicles, and telecommunications equipment, account for more than 44% of GDP. Sweden enjoys a current account surplus of about 5% of GDP, which is one of the highest margins in Europe.
GDP grew an estimated 3.3% in 2016 and 2017 driven largely by investment in the construction sector. Swedish economists expect economic growth to ease slightly in the coming years as this investment subsides. Global economic growth boosted exports of Swedish manufactures further, helping drive domestic economic growth in 2017. The Central Bank is keeping an eye on deflationary pressures and bank observers expect it to maintain an expansionary monetary policy in 2018. Swedish prices and wages have grown only slightly over the past few years, helping to support the country’s competitiveness.
In the short and medium term, Sweden’s economic challenges include providing affordable housing and successfully integrating migrants into the labor market.
Agriculture - products:
This entry is an ordered listing of major crops and products starting with the most important.
barley, wheat, sugar beets; meat, milk
This entry provides a rank ordering of industries starting with the largest by value of annual output.
iron and steel, precision equipment (bearings, radio and telephone parts, armaments), wood pulp and paper products, processed foods, motor vehicles
Unemployment rate:This entry contains the percent of the labor force that is without jobs. Substantial underemployment might be noted.
6.7% (2017 est.)7% (2016 est.)country comparison to the world: 101
Population below poverty line:National estimates of the percentage of the population falling below the poverty line are based on surveys of sub-groups, with the results weighted by the number of people in each group. Definitions of poverty vary considerably among nations. For example, rich nations generally employ more generous standards of poverty than poor nations.
15% (2014 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:Data on household income or consumption come from household surveys, the results adjusted for household size. Nations use different standards and procedures in collecting and adjusting the data. Surveys based on income will normally show a more unequal distribution than surveys based on consumption. The quality of surveys is improving with time, yet caution is still necessary in making inter-country comparisons.
lowest 10%: 3.4%highest 10%: 24% (2012)
Budget:This entry includes revenues, expenditures, and capital expenditures. These figures are calculated on an exchange rate basis, i.e., not in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms.
revenues: 271.2 billion (2017 est.)expenditures: 264.4 billion (2017 est.)
Taxes and other revenues:This entry records total taxes and other revenues received by the national government during the time period indicated, expressed as a percent of GDP. Taxes include personal and corporate income taxes, value added taxes, excise taxes, and tariffs. Other revenues include social contributions - such as payments for social security and hospital insurance - grants, and net revenues from public enterprises. Normalizing the data, by dividing total revenues by GDP, enables easy comparisons acr . . . more
50.6% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

Now for Switzerland:

Map of Switzerland
It's rights next to France and Austria and is the size of Half of Scotland according to Encyclopedia Britannica online; This map is from their page.
According to Merriam-Webster:
Dialing code: +41
Population: 8.57 million (2019)
Currency: Swiss franc
Swit·​zer·​land | \ ˈswit-sər-lənd \variants: or French Suisse \ ˈswʸēs \ or German Schweiz \ ˈshvīts \ or Italian Svizzera \ ˈzvēt-​tsā-​rä \ or Latin Helvetia \ hel-​ˈvē-​sh(ē-​)ə \

Definition of Switzerland

landlocked country (a federal republic) in western Europe in the Alps; capital Bern area 15,937 square miles (41,277 square kilometers), population 8,293,000
see also SWISS entry 1 sense 1
Britannica states: " For many outsiders, Switzerland also evokes a prosperous if rather staid and unexciting society, an image that is now dated. Switzerland remains wealthy and orderly, but its mountain-walled valleys are far more likely to echo the music of a local rock band than a yodel or an alphorn. Most Swiss live in towns and cities, not in the idyllic rural landscapes that captivated the world through Johanna Spyri’s Heidi (1880–81), the country’s best-known literary work. Switzerland’s cities have emerged as international centres of industry and commerce connected to the larger world, a very different tenor from Switzerland’s isolated, more inward-looking past. As a consequence of its remarkably long-lived stability and carefully guarded neutrality, Switzerland—Geneva, in particular—has been selected as headquarters for a wide array of governmental and nongovernmental organizations, including many associated with the United Nations (UN)—an organization the Swiss resisted joining until the early 21st century. "
According to CIA"S World Factbook. Switzerland's Economy is as such:
Switzerland, a country that espouses neutrality, is a prosperous and modern market economy with low unemployment, a highly skilled labor force, and a per capita GDP among the highest in the world. Switzerland's economy benefits from a highly developed service sector, led by financial services, and a manufacturing industry that specializes in high-technology, knowledge-based production. Its economic and political stability, transparent legal system, exceptional infrastructure, efficient capital markets, and low corporate tax rates also make Switzerland one of the world's most competitive economies.
The Swiss have brought their economic practices largely into conformity with the EU's to gain access to the Union’s Single Market and enhance the country’s international competitiveness. Some trade protectionism remains, however, particularly for its small agricultural sector. The fate of the Swiss economy is tightly linked to that of its neighbors in the euro zone, which purchases half of Swiss exports. The global financial crisis of 2008 and resulting economic downturn in 2009 stalled demand for Swiss exports and put Switzerland into a recession. During this period, the Swiss National Bank (SNB) implemented a zero-interest rate policy to boost the economy, as well as to prevent appreciation of the franc, and Switzerland's economy began to recover in 2010.
The sovereign debt crises unfolding in neighboring euro-zone countries, however, coupled with economic instability in Russia and other Eastern European economies drove up demand for the Swiss franc by investors seeking a safehaven currency. In January 2015, the SNB abandoned the Swiss franc’s peg to the euro, roiling global currency markets and making active SNB intervention a necessary hallmark of present-day Swiss monetary policy. The independent SNB has upheld its zero interest rate policy and conducted major market interventions to prevent further appreciation of the Swiss franc, but parliamentarians have urged it to do more to weaken the currency. The franc's strength has made Swiss exports less competitive and weakened the country's growth outlook; GDP growth fell below 2% per year from 2011 through 2017.
In recent years, Switzerland has responded to increasing pressure from neighboring countries and trading partners to reform its banking secrecy laws, by agreeing to conform to OECD regulations on administrative assistance in tax matters, including tax evasion. The Swiss Government has also renegotiated its double taxation agreements with numerous countries, including the US, to incorporate OECD standards.
GDP (purchasing power parity)
$523.1 billion (2017 est.)
$514.5 billion (2016 est.)
$506.5 billion (2015 est.)
note: data are in 2017 dollars
GDP (official exchange rate)
$679 billion (2017 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$62,100 (2017 est.)
$61,800 (2016 est.)
$61,500 (2015 est.)
note: data are in 2017 dollars
Gross national saving:
33.8% of GDP (2017 est.)
32.3% of GDP (2016 est.)
33.9% of GDP (2015 est.)
GDP - composition, by end use: 53.7% (2017 est.)
government consumption: 12% (2017 est.)
investment in fixed capital: 24.5% (2017 est.)
investment in inventories: -1.4% (2017 est.)
exports of goods and services: 65.1% (2017 est.)
imports of goods and services: -54% (2017 est.)
GDP - composition, by sector of origin:
agriculture: 0.7% (2017 est.)
industry: 25.6% (2017 est.)
services: 73.7% (2017 est.)
Agriculture - products: grains, fruits, vegetables; meat, eggs, dairy products
Industries: machinery, chemicals, watches, textiles, precision instruments, tourism, banking, insurance, pharmaceuticals
Industrial production growth rate: 3.4% (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world:92
Labor force**:**5.159 million (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world:81
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 3.3%
industry: 19.8%
services: 76.9% (2015)
Unemployment rate:
3.2% (2017 est.)
3.3% (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 40
Population below poverty line:
6.6% (2014 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 7.5%
highest 10%: 19% (2007)
revenues: 242.1 billion (2017 est.)
expenditures: 234.4 billion (2017 est.)
note: includes federal, cantonal, and municipal budgets
Taxes and other revenues:
35.7% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 60
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-):
1.1% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 33
Public debt:
41.8% of GDP (2017 est.)
41.8% of GDP (2016 est.)
note: general government gross debt; gross debt consists of all liabilities that require payment or payments of interest and/or principal by the debtor to the creditor at a date or dates in the future; includes debt liabilities in the form of Special Drawing Rights (SDRs), currency and deposits, debt securities, loans, insurance, pensions and standardized guarantee schemes, and other accounts payable; all liabilities in the GFSM (Government Financial Systems Manual) 2001 system are debt, except for equity and investment fund shares and financial derivatives and employee stock options
country comparison to the world: 119
Fiscal year:
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
0.5% (2017 est.)
-0.4% (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 30
Current account balance:
$66.55 billion (2017 est.)$63.16 billion (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 7
$313.5 billion (2017 est.)
$318.1 billion (2016 est.)
note: trade data exclude trade with Switzerland
country comparison to the world: 17
Exports - partners:
Germany 15.2%
US 12.3%
China 8.2
%India 6.7%
France 5.7%
UK 5.7%
Hong Kong 5.4%
Italy 5.3%
Exports - commodities:
machinery, chemicals, metals, watches, agricultural products
$264.5 billion (2017 est.)
$266.3 billion (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 18
Imports - commodities:
machinery, chemicals, vehicles, metals; agricultural products, textiles
Imports - partners:
Germany 20.9%, US 7.9%
Italy 7.6%, UK 7.3%
France 6.8%
China 5%
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$811.2 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$679.3 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 3
Debt - external:.
$1.664 trillion (31 March 2016 est.)
$1.663 trillion (31 March 2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 12
Exchange rates:
Swiss francs (CHF) per US dollar -0.9875 (2017 est.)
0.9852 (2016 est.)0.9852 (2015 est.)
0.9627 (2014 est.)
0.9152 (2013 est.)
And their Military is such as CIA states:
Military expenditures**:This entry gives spending on defense programs for the most recent year available as a percent of gross domestic product (GDP); the GDP is calculated on an exchange rate basis, i.e., not in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP). For countries with no military forces, this figure can include expenditures on public security and police.
0.68% of GDP (2018)0.68% of GDP (2017)0.68% of GDP (2016)0.66% of GDP (2015)0.66% of GDP (2014)country comparison to the world: 138
Military and security forces**:This entry lists the military and security forces subordinate to defense ministries or the equivalent (typically ground, naval, air, and marine forces), as well as those belonging to interior ministries or the equivalent (typically gendarmeries, bordecoast guards, paramilitary police, and other internal security forces).
Swiss Armed Forces: Land Forces, Swiss Air Force (Schweizer Luftwaffe) (2019)
Military service age and obligation**:This entry gives the required ages for voluntary or conscript military service and the length of service obligation.
18-30 years of age generally for male compulsory military service; 18 years of age for voluntary male and female military service; every Swiss male has to serve at least 245 days in the armed forces; conscripts receive 18 weeks of mandatory training, followed by six 19-day intermittent recalls for training during the next 10 years (2019)
Refugees and internally displaced persons:
refugees (country of origin):
34,072 (Eritrea)
16,565 (Syria)
12,282 (Afghanistan)
5,744 (Sri Lanka) (2018)
stateless persons:
49 (2018)
Illicit drugs
a major international financial center vulnerable to the layering and integration stages of money laundering; despite significant legislation and reporting requirements, secrecy rules persist and nonresidents are permitted to conduct business through offshore entities and various intermediaries; transit country for and consumer of South American cocaine, Southwest Asian heroin, and Western European synthetics; domestic cannabis cultivation and limited ecstasy production.
Here's an article about an International Dispute with the European Union (EU):
When looking to solve problems with countries, look at their economy and study it.

submitted by jeskalana to u/jeskalana [link] [comments]

[OC] Inheritors

Just like a thousand times before, the sirens in the ancient bunker blared their warnings, waking its occupants from their slumber.
Vryk knew not what the alien tongue that accompanied the ever-present red lights and rising and falling notes of sirens said, but he knew what it meant. The enemy was here, at their doorstep. Today would be his first deployment.
He raced out of his haphazard nest, sheets thrown aside, without bothering to change into a uniform. Time was far more important than appearances, and he would much rather be embarrassed by being seen in his underwear than arrive at his post any later than strictly necessary.
As he sprung out through the door into the chaos of the underground tunnels, claws screeching against the metal floor, his first thought was to the sheer noise that hit him right then. The usually deathly quiet base was shaking, despite the hundreds of thousands of tons of rock above, creating a deep rumble. The ancient halls reverbated the sounds of explosions and countless guns from far above, almost as if trembling in anticipation.
Vryk broke into a sprint down the countless hallways, following a blue line through twists and turns, past closing blast doors and other running soldiers. A few yelled wishes of good luck or curses as he nearly missed them in his run, but he paid them no mind. This was no time for distractions. He had a task, and he had to see to its completion.
In less than a minute, as he passed another door, urged to continue by the gun-toting guard next to it with quick motions of fore-claws, he suddenly emerged into a well lit hangar abuzz with activity.
Hundreds of engineers moved about in a perfectly organised display of chaos, towing giant shells and armor plates to their respective spots on the concrete floor, orders being yelled over the rhythmic cacophony of distant guns and sirens. There would be no rest for these men tonight, as they continued the daunting task of attempting to coax their giant charges into action, making every effort to allow the soldiers around them to hold on throughout the attack.
Towering over them, the gargantuan Titans idly waited, strapped into their equally oversized support cranes, held upright by thick steel rope.
Their form was roughly similar to that of Vryk’s species, if only in being bipedal and having two arms, yet the designs were all decidedly alien. Armoured and bristling with weapons his own mind barely comprehended, their bulky arms often ending in barrels larger than a man and filled with countless technological advances nobody could replicate any longer.
Vryk took just a second to identify his machine, its grey hull with streaks of industrial yellow awaiting him on the far side of the hangar. Engineers were currently rappelling down alongside the machine’s gargantuan hull, quickly detaching whatever equipment they had previously used to refuel and rearm the walker. It seemed in perfect condition for combat - if it could be coaxed to join the fight today. That task fell to Vryk alone.
It was a great honor to pilot a Titan, yet he felt no joy at the prospect - it could just as well end in his premature death as it could in success. Over the decades his species held the bunker, many pilots died or were turned into babbling wrecks attempting to interface with the walkers, and yet the engineers and doctors were no closer to finding out how and why this happened.
Shaking these awful thoughts away with a shiver, Vryk looked across the floor and again broke into a sprint, throwing himself into the chaos of the launch bay. The fact he didn’t crash into anyone while doing so was, he knew, less his doing and more that of the engineers - maneuvering through a busy landing bay was an acquired skill for all of them. In their frantic rush they barely noticed the pilot, even underdressed as he was.
Reaching his machine took him almost a minute at full run, such was the size of the bay. He felt somewhat winded by the time he did, having weaved through the crowd of workers, dodged away from falling tools and yelled at a few people to get out of the way. Regardless, as he finally approached the small group of his fellow pilots, he noted he was among the last to arrive - even most of the non-pilot crew were already there, gathered around a diminutive younger woman with captain’s markings on her uniform and a bloodthirsty gleam in her eyes.
A few of the other crewmen were equally as underdressed as him, having rushed to their posts from wherever they were when the alarm was sounded, but the vast majority were pilots from the current watch, in full uniform and aching for a fight.
The captain spotted Vryk just as he approached the outermost circle and acknowledged him with a nod, gesturing for him to step closer. “Boys and girls, this is it!” she bellowed, silencing any conversation between the pilots. “This is the real thing! The enemy is here, and this time they brought out the big guns!” With a swift motion her four fingered hand disappeared into a breast pocket, reappearing with a photo she immediately handed to Vryk. “Take a good look, because that’s what today is going to be about!”
Vryk turned his gaze downwards to look at the photo, and for a moment he felt like his heart had stopped. The markings were different, the colours were off, but the shape was instantly recognizable.
A Titan.
All Vryk could do was mutter a single, very potent curse.
A fellow pilot - Vryk didn’t know his name - snatched the photo from his hands, spreading the wave of fear and disbelief through the rest of the group. The captain seemed to be the only one unaffected by the prospect of fighting one of the few things that could destroy a Titan, the bloodlust never leaving her eyes.
Instead of showing fear, she bared her teeth in a cruel smile. “The Navy reports they made it through the orbital blockade by spearheading the offensive with an Ancient warship, so you can all guess where their launch point is going to be.” She paused for a second, making eye contact with several of her subordinates before continuing. “The prissies in orbit have also graciously kept tabs on the big fucker, so between them and the base’s guns it can’t move. That’s where we come in!”
“The ground pounders are prodding the ship’s perimeter - or they were, until it dropped two fucking squadrons of Titans. They’re marching straight on the base, which with our lovely plasma cannons would’ve been perfect, if those weren’t busy killing the hell out of their mothership.” Her smile somehow even widened. “We’re going to turn their toys into molten slag. Suit up!”
Vryk could not help but fear, but obeyed nonetheless.
With all of the crew aboard, the engineers closed the hatch on the Titan’s backside, plunging its bridge into darkness broken only by the dim light of displays and countless LEDs denouncing the status of each of the Titan’s thousands of systems
Vryk, now in his skintight pilot suit, surveyed the small, makeshift control stations, placed in a circle around a round pool filled with a thick, greenish gel, and their three occupants. These were his crew, the trio that would be responsible for keeping him alive and the Titan in the fight.
Furthest away from him, Syndri, an older woman with an awful scar across her face, was strapping herself down into her chair with one hand, distractedly tapping away at the screen in front of her with the other. Vryk knew she would barely acknowledge him until all her pre-start checks were complete, and elected to ignore her in turn.
To his left sat Mharduk, the onboard doctor and expert on the Titan’s neural interface. His job would be to keep the pilot connected and try and protect him should the interface be damaged - a prospect Vryk knew would be futile, should that come to pass. Nevertheless, he trusted the young doctor with his life.
The third member of the crew and the only other soldier onboard was Druhk, a promising young analyst tasked with keeping Vryk in the loop and monitoring communications, so that the pilot could solely focus on controlling his Titan. Vryk liked the man. He was upstanding, reliable and against all odds even occasionally funny. He was also the only one to notice Vryk approaching, nodding in greeting before turning his attention to the maps and data streams in front of him.
The pilot strode up to the edge of the pool, looking down at its gelatinous contents and feeling a familiar stir in his stomach. In just a few moments, the orders would be given, and he would climb in. But until then…
“Status?” he asked emptily, not looking away from the pool.
“Ready and about to lift,” Druhk answered, his voice infinitely more steady than the pilot’s. “We have about seventeen cycles until the outer perimeter is breached. Plenty of time to get in position.” His words were accentuated by a sudden end to the tapping sounds of his fingers hitting the display.
“Check complete,” continued Syndri, not missing a beat. “Stocks full, reactor fired up, lift in ten. Try and avoid getting hit in the left shoulder, sounded like a patch job from what the chief told me.” She remained perfectly nonchalant about the whole thing, despite her informing the pilot of a potentially deadly issue with the mech. Vryk could do nothing but smile bitterly. How typical.
“Ready when you are,” Mharduk ended the status report, looking up from his display at the pilot. “You know what to do.”
Vryk nodded to himself and closed his eyes. He did know. With a prayer to the gods above and a curse addressed to High Command, he took a step forward and descended into the pool, submerging himself completely.
At first he felt nothing but his slow descent into the gel. The soft flow was soothing, even through the suit. He didn’t dare open his eyes, even though the gel was supposedly safe, choosing instead to remain as still as possible.
Then came a jolt. A feeling in his leg. Another followed, then two more, then a cacophony of strange and new sensations, so unlike anything he had ever felt before. It was terrifying and exciting at the same time, alien and familiar, a perfect paradox. He could feel the oil dripping through his veins, the servos of his muscles screeching to life…
And then he opened his eyes, no, cameras, and suddenly he could see everywhere, down to seeing the heat footprint of the base somewhere below him in the lift. The surrounding darkness no longer meant anything. Compared to his giant metal body, neither did the four… no, three ants inside himself.
With a crackle the machine’s communication devices came online, flooding him with tactical data and projections, warning him not to fire the weapons and to stay perfectly still. He willed those away, and spoke a single word to the crew through his many speakers.
When Vryk and his Titan finally reached the surface, it was inside a crater, one large enough to obscure the hulking machine from ground attacks. The Ancients built their base with layers upon layers of thick subterranean armor to protect from orbital bombardment to a degree a few kilometres of stone could not, but even so they were not so careless as to omit a final layer of good old dirt - some speculated it was meant to disguise the facility, but Vryk knew better.
Every square inch of the ground around him was designed and placed with utmost care, creating a flat-topped artificial mountain too steep to climb - anywhere they didn’t want you to be able to climb, that is. From space, it was nearly impossible to find these paths, but with a map it became obvious.
The whole mountain was a killbox. The terrain was molded to conceal ambush spots, the countless small tunnels and vents leading out of the base and protect the plasma gun emplacements on top of it all. It was a fortress made of old fashioned and quite reliable dirt.
Titans felt entirely at home here.
Sparing no thought to the ants inside him, Vryk ordered the thrusters in his feet and on his back to flare. The sudden burst of speed tossed him into the air like it had a million times before. He knew the exact amount of speed necessary to exit the crater, and the exact amount of resistance his legs needed to provide to safely land. Like a million times before he touched down, kicking up two small clouds of dust with his massive feet.
A quick check revealed nothing but rock in sight. Taking a moment to rotate and check the servos in his left arm, Vryk decided to speak to the ants inside him.
There was a short moment of silence, after which one if the ants began to talk. Vryk liked the voice - it was strong and calm. The voice of a soldier, not an ant.
“The captain’s given us orders to link up with Battalion 16 and help them repel enemy forces around Emplacement 3-15. Our primary objective is to protect the anti-ship weapons. Enemy Titan force is twenty three strong plus scouting elements. We are expected to encounter the edge of this attack.”
Inside the tank, Vryk absentmindedly nodded to himself. The captain would be fighting right down the centre. She always did, and this time she had the chance to take down a Titan - the madwoman would never let such an opportunity slip.
“Understood,” Vryk let his speakers echo through the chamber inside him. “Moving out.”
His steps were slow at first, careful and heavy, but soon picked up in length and frequency. With each impact the ground under Vryk trembled, his metal body gaining momentum. It would take almost two minutes minutes to reach the designated position, even at full run, but he cared not - no such sprint could tire a machine.
The weather remained calm and sunny, owing to a lack of orbital bombardment kicking up any dust - after all, with four dozen ground-to-orbit plasma cannons peppering the enemy with superheated material, approaching into a stable enough orbit to carry out bombardment was the next best thing to suicide.
A streak of blue flew overhead, disappearing somewhere into the distance. The first sign of the battle ahead, distant for now. Vryk could not help but follow it with his cameras as it gracefully continued beyond the horizon, flowing through the sky-ocean…
Then the next a blast scorched the ground less than half a metre from Vryk’s foot.
Were it not for his gargantuan size and sheer weight, he would’ve flinched at the sudden flash and heatwave. At a full run, it nearly caused him to lose balance and tip over. He took a second to recover, stopping in his tracks, before scanning the horizon.
Out from the distance came another flash, and almost instinctively Vryk took a step to the right, watching as the plasma splashed just short of where he was standing a moment ago. Were he just that second slower…
Another flash appeared in the distance, this time the shot going far and wide, but Vryk paid close attention nonetheless. Wherever the shot came from, there his enemies would be.
It didn’t take much to find the source - the silhouettes were unmistakable. What was marginally harder was to convince his metallic legs to continue moving as he scanned the horizon, staying on course to Emplacement 3-15.
Without saying a word to his crew he forwarded them all a picture of the advancing enemy squadron. On it, seven mechs marched forward, small arms fire ineffectively ricocheting off their hulls as Battalion 16’s reconnaissance elements wasted ammunition to keep the machines away from the retreating troop transports. Amongst the mechs a giant tracked vehicle stood out, almost half as tall as the surrounding escorts, with the unmistakable barrel of a plasma cannon on top.
Trusting the ants to do their work, Vryk fully concentrated on moving his legs, step by step closing towards the incoming group and Battalion 16’s positions. The plasma cannon roared to life two more times, its shots missing the Titan by an ever-decreasing amount, before its operator decided he wasn’t going to kill Vryk at this distance and turned the weapon in the general direction of Emplacement 3-15.
Knowing full well he would miss, Vryk responded by firing a few shots of his own from his arm-mounted cannons. Just as he expected, the shells harmlessly detonated around the mechs, yet the enemy pilots reacted accordingly - the central trio closing formation around the tank to shield it from fire, while the other four spread out farther to make further attempts even more futile. Standard procedure for large titan units, all of it - Vryk knew it, and the enemy knew he did.
He could only keep moving, recognizing the faint noise of his ants speaking deep inside him, notifying the commanders of what was happening. Good. They would need to know.
An explosion shook the ground, again nearly hitting his legs. Without support, he stood no chance of fighting a whole squadron. And Battalion 16 did not carry the firepower. He would need help - any help he could get.
A beep in the back of his head announced an incoming transmission. Straining to keep moving as he focused on the noise, eliciting the correct sequence of thought-messages to listen to the message, he was immediately hit by a wave of emotions and thoughts so perfectly bloodthirsty it could only have belonged to the Captain.
On our way. Kill them. *Kill them all*
Obeying command he focused on his weapons, slowing himself to a stop and taking aim. With only a few seconds to spare before return fire would find him he hastily fired off two shots, only scoring a single glancing hit on the lead mech of the central formation. The machine marched on, undeterred and seemingly unaffected by the hit, with no damage to show Vryk’s marksmanship. He didn’t have time to be disappointed, however, as the next enemy volley followed the direction he ran, unrelenting.
A distant explosion announced one of the flanks had found the outlying forces of Battalion 16’s defensive line - the last one. There was nowhere else for the troops to fall back without abandoning their objective, and they would certainly rather die than do so. Emplacement 3-15 was too valuable not to exchange for a battalion of mechanized infantry.
Somewhere off to Vryk’s left, a massive blip overwhelmed all the thermal sensors for a short time, announcing another arcing bolt of superheated plasma headed into the sky. Momentarily losing focus, the pilot ordered his systems to actively begin filtering out thermal imaging from the direction of the cannon. He imagined all of the enemy pilots did much the same - a much bigger issue for them, considering they were facing the cannon.
A series of blasts scorched across his armour, glancing hits from the flanking enemies, now in range and far more willing to take aim, not having to worry about return fire.
Vryk's armor buckled under the incoming fire, but reported nothing except superficial damage to the outer layers. For that he was glad - if the shots had been any more accurate, the Titan could sustain severe damage, damage that would slow him down and make him prone to mistakes.
As the barrage subsided, Vryk allowed himself a quick pause to assess the situation. There were far too many opponents for him to keep dodging their fire, and they were getting dangerously close to Emplacement 3-15. Battalion 16 lacked any effective tools to assist him outside of distractions and sheer volume of fire. And on top of all of that, reinforcements were still far away.
In desperation, he ordered the thrusters to flare again, flinging himself off the ground and far forward, past incoming fire. Fighting in close quarters was risky, far more so when overwhelmed, but there was little choice - he could not delay nor deter the opponent with long range volleys for long enough.
It took all his will and concentration to land on his feet, desperately trying to move out of the way of yet more shells coming from the rapidly adjusting enemy Titans. He made it with seconds to spare, all too aware of the shower of shrapnel his hide received in the process. Gaining speed over the muddy field, he quickly scanned the duo he was heading towards, unable to concentrate on firing without risking tripping. The analysis gave him a steadily rising 38% chance of penetration at this range - a significantly better outlook than mere seconds ago. It also noted a strange signal coming from one of the units, something Vryk felt the Titan's own computers recognised as deeply familiar, but that he himself could not place.
As his steps became bounding leaps and Vryk's massive body gained momentum, the first shell impacted his front plate. It was to no avail, yet served to remind Vryk of his own mortality. The computers were quick to determine that wasn't the doing of either of the units he was charging, however, instead denouncing the shell came from his left - from the other group of flankers, now busy covering their comrades instead of surrounding Battalion 16.
Vryk smiled to himself inside the tank, the only celebration of success he had time for. Keeping in motion was crucial now - slowing down could potentially allow the closest unit to aim more precisely, perhaps even score a penetrating hit. At this distance…
Vryk chastised himself and refocused on the task and hand. There was no time for doubt.
With a gargantuan effort, he slowly shifted the momentum of his metal body to the side, past the duo. There was something strange about them, the way the further one moved seemed so… erratic. Unable to tell what prompted him to do so, Vryk ran another scan of that unit, returning a positive on a category he didn't know his Titan even recorded. A Precursor word, a concept his mind could not grasp.
Snapping back to reality, he locked his legs to continue marching forward, stabilised his torso to face the enemy duo, and opened fire.
The first two shells missed, but the remaining nine he managed to fire before return fire impacted his armor did not. The closer unit's armor buckled and gave off a horrible tearing noise as the Titan fell over, missing a part of its left leg and with a smoking crater in place of its lower front plate.
Filled with glee at the destruction, Vryk returned to moving his legs manually, but only managed two steps before an impact to his back torso plate tipped him over onto the dirt.

The impact knocked the breath out of Mharduk, on account of the straps keeping him in his chair. His sense of direction was being knocked about possibly even more than his body. Despite their mastery over countless fields, not even the Precursors could manage artificial gravity, leaving him to struggle to keep his lunch in as the Titan ate dirt.
The display in front of him continued streaming data regarding Vryk, the inputs his body fired off into the rapidly hardening liquid of the pool and the decidedly more measured responses from his Titan. He could hardly guess what each of the pulses meant, what kind of data the Titan was filling its pilot with. The scans of Vryk's brain were a little better, giving him at least some idea what the man was focusing, but even so it was impossible to distinguish which thoughts occured naturally and which were created by the machine.
It was a well-known fact the Titans affected their pilot's psyche, but to what end remained a mystery. The constant changes in what direction "down" was made it impossible for Mharduk to analyse anything clearly, and even if he could, the data was far too random and chaotic. Like hundreds of onboard doctors before him, he was relegated to trying to disconnect the pilot once the battle was over. For now, all he could do was watch the data, relying on intuition more than anything to warn him when things began to go downhill.
An intuition which was screaming in fear.
It took Vryk three separate attempts to stand up, but miraculously not a single shell found its target while he did so. He was thanking the gods for his luck in avoiding a brutal death when the reason why struck him - literally.
The impact was weak compared to a direct hit from a cannon shell, but nonetheless sufficient to again tip him over. He never expected a mech to engage him using its own body as a weapon. It wasn't just dangerous, it was suicidal. One misstep could doom you to a point blank tank shell.
Wasting no time, Vryk rolled to the side with all his might, tumbling twice until he ended facing upwards. The mech that assaulted him was reorienting, trying to get its own cannons pointed in the right direction. It barely failed, in no small part due to Vryk's metal leg connecting with its arm and swatting the weapon away. The enemy unit didn't seem to care, however. If anything, one of Vryk's side cameras made it look angry.
For a millisecond, Vryk could not help but focus on the image, something magnetic drawing him towards it. There was a symbol on the torso of the unit, a small red rectangle he could not recognize. Yet it was familiar, so familiar…
Suddenly, everything snapped into place. With a trained move he had done a thousand times before, Vryk leapt from the ground, jets flaring in order to assist. He gave the enemy unit no time to react as he spun in place, one heel digging into the dirt. The computer announced a firing solution for his arm even as it was still in motion and he accepted it, already calculating if the recoil would give his swing more power.
The cannon fired once before it inadvertently connected with the side of the enemy unit, knocking it off balance and face first into the dirt. Relegating control of his right arm to the machine, Vryk simply ordered it to kill the target and instead focused on stopping the spin by digging both his feet deep into the dirt. He managed it, but only just. The dirt was too soft for fast maneuvers here - he'd need to get off it and onto a more solid surface.
Waiting only long enough to register the recoil in his right arm, the machine pushed Vryk to move, entirely ignoring the series of small explosions that rippled through what remained of the mech below him.
Unsure of what to do next, or even how he had gotten this far, the pilot let his machine take over for a second, focusing his thoughts. With a whole squadron up against his lone mech, he didn't fancy his chances of victory. The computer offered him no hope either, remaining silent on the issue.
Silent. Where did that expression come from? The computer didn't remain silent. It only responded to inputs. How could it choose to remain silent?
No time for that.
As suddenly as it appeared, the thought was gone. Vryk found himself several steps away from where he handed control over to the machine, with shrapnel and shells alike peppering his armor. He wasted no time in returning fire, ordering his legs to keep moving forward, and hopefully into cover.
Mharduk had no idea what was happening. Vryk's readings became erratic, moving so much faster than ever before. It was slowly becoming impossible for him to tell where orders to the machine began and where they ended, orders and responses mixing inside the tank and Vryk's mind.
Whatever it was, it wasn't natural and thus was dangerous. As a doctor, Mharduk had a duty to fulfil.
"I'm pulling him out!" He yelled into his headset, desperately trying to get his fingers to cooperate in the shaking environment.
"Don't!" Druhk screamed back. "You pull him now, we're all dead! You hear me?!? Don't you dare pull him out!"
Mharduk hesitated. He had a duty to protect the pilot as much as he could. Right now he could still save him, in a minute he might not. Yes, he would risk it all trying to pull him out, but...
Vryk could not think, and yet he kept moving, desperately struggling to get away from his imminent doom.
The computer announced possible firing arcs. Vryk didn't bother examining any of them. The machine waited for input for a microsecond, then two. Finally, almost a quarter of a second later, it realised it had been ignored and picked one at random - or perhaps according to a predetermined algorithm. Vryk didn't care to find out.
All he could feel was terror.
The machine obeyed his input, yet it had taken over his body. His legs were no longer his, he could no longer feel the safeties of his cannons click into place. He was trapped in a prison of nanocomposites, waiting until the next input request came through.
A distant explosion announced a successful penetrating hit against an enemy Titan. Vryk wondered how such a thing was possible, at almost seven hundred units away. The machine did not answer in a way he could comprehend, showing him only a garbled set of numbers, foggy lines in a simulation.
Vryk resented that he could no longer understand, but the machine made clear that it didn't have the time to work on the simulation. That realisation scared him again. The machine took over his body, and now it was making things clear? It wasn't sentient!
And just as he realised his mistake, he felt incredible pain in his mind and blacked out.
The Titan suddenly keeled over, accidentally dodging several shells that otherwise would have impacted its armor, and all three of its still conscious crewmen screamed in terror before the impact knocked the air out of them.
As the machine's main systems powered down one buy one, the chamber slowly fell silent until the only remaining sounds were gasps for air.
Mharduk could feel the bruises across his body, the broken rib and fingers, but all he could feel was relief. Whatever had transpired, the heart monitor Vryk carried was still showing a steady heartbeat.
Druhk, however, started scolding him as soon as he caught his breath.
"Are you insane?!?"
"He was going to be overwhelmed! I had no choice!"
The other man scoffed in response. "We needed those few seconds! Now not only are we stuck lying face first in the open, we've also failed to delay them! You've doomed us is what you've done!"
"He was going to die!"
"He's going to die anyways! If that cannon goes down, their ship moves in and it's over. That thing can burn out even the Bunker! Do you think these guys will show us or Vryk any mercy?!?"
An impact rocked them in their chairs, as if to reinforce Druhk's point. The tactical officer could do nothing but smack himself back into the chair in exasperation. "Brilliant, just brilliant!"
Another impact followed, then two or three more, each rocking them in their seats. The power blinked once and then the machine turned off completely, leaving its crew trapped in complete darkness for a few seconds before Syndri managed to turn on her pocket flashlight and shine it directly into Druhk's eyes. In the dim light, it almost felt like she was the only one who belonged there, hanging in her seatbelt with a nonplussed expression.
"Are you done?" she asked, her voice equal parts venom and annoyance. She waited a few moments, letting Druhk squirm under the light, before she turned the light to blind Mharduk and continued. "Great. Now get out of your seats and help me down. We still have to get Vryk out of his tank."
Sargeant Krygh did not feel particularly happy about his situation.
The rest of Battalion 16 had already fallen back to the next perimeter, unable to assist the lone Titan in its fight. Not even their biggest weapons were any good against the armor of one of those beasts. They could technically overwhelm the stabilisers and knock one down through volume of fire, but that was a desperate tactic at best. So instead they retreated to a safe distance, letting the mech take field instead, and left Krygh to witness the machine’s one shot at glory.
And boy, was it a show.
The sargeant could not help but wince as the machines traded blows with enough force to wipe anything his species could ever produce off the face of the planet with impunity. Despite being far beneath the notice of a Titan, he couldn’t stop but think what would happen if one of the giants decided to take a shot at him. Would he even have a chance to run away? Or would the next shell evaporate him as surely as it would the hilltop he stood on?
He watched on as the pale white titans shot and missed their first volleys, staring in amazement when the friendly one rose into the sky on a pillar of flame and lunged far forward directly into the oncoming horde. Its movements were methodical, dedicated, and not at all mechanical. It was almost as if this was a battle of giant sentient beings, not highly advanced alien machines.
He could only stare in amazement as the only friendly giant danced through the enemy formation, wreaking havoc on the two closest machines with apparent ease. Even when it fell to the ground, it stood back up with the precision and speed of a ballerina, compensating it’s massive momentum with jets as it weaved past incoming fire. Whatever the machine truly was, it was magnificent - and terrifying.
Explosions erupted from two of the enemies just then, shortly after one another. Without missing a beat the mech continued to move, fluidly weaving past more deadly shells. It was almost as if it knew ahead of time what the enemy would do, and yet more shots continued to impact it, deflected by the armor at odd angles without causing much harm. Krygh found it quite the scene.
And then it went down. Hard. The impact snapped Krygh back to reality, forcing him to turn away and scamper from the hilltop he was standing on. As he turned, however, he saw another mech appear over the horizon and reached for his radio. The rest of the Battalion had to know.
The cavalry had arrived.
Deep inside her tank, the captain was viciously grinning. Today was a good day.
She would drive her machine to the edge of its abilities, use it like a surgeon uses their scalpel to cut out the tumor that was the enemy. One by one she would hunt them and kill them, end their little display of military bravado and give her mech the blood it was due.
Yet as she marched over the edge, her metal legs thundering against the mud, she could not help but notice Vryk first. His metal body was laying down, limp and lifeless, surrounded by craters and the wrecks of no less than two other mechs.
Inside the tank, her grin twisted into a predatory expression the likes of which nobody else could begin to imagine. Her cannons roared with righteous fury at what the enemy had done to her old friend. She didn't care about her chances to deal any damage at this range anymore. Now, she was angry. And she would make them pay.
But even as she marched on, weapons blazing and reactor humming for vengeance, she couldn't help but think of a certain strange detail.
Since when was the rookie her old friend?
Vryk awoke more than a week after the battle, by all accounts a medical miracle considering the overload Mharduk had accidentally put him through when disconnecting him from the Titan. His brain seemed to adapt remarkably well to whatever had transpired, more so than the brains of two other pilots who had been unceremoniously declared dead by their onboard doctors throughout the battle.
However, while the doctors busied themselves by research, one woman seemed to stay by his bedside for almost hours at a time. Nobody could figure out why captain Nerakhi did so, and most did not care. They forced the enemy to retreat, and that was enough reason for the pilots to stay drunk for a month, High Command didn't care if the report Nerakhi sent them was written in her office, and the nurses never has a reason to remove the captain from her apparent new nest.
It came as no surprise, then, that Nerakhi was also the only one who was present when Vryk awoke from his coma in the dead of night. She was on the verge of falling asleep herself, only to be jerked awake by Vryk's sudden scream for help.
The nurses arrived less than half a minute later, finding Nerakhi bent over Vryk as he screamed and shook, telling him it was over and the battle was done. A few would later mention how the once capable warrior had devolved into a crying mess for the rest of his night, alternating between nightmares, hallucinations and incoherent screaming in an unknown language. None would dare mention Nerakhi, however, or the time she spent holding Vryk in her arms and consoling him. All would however learn to leave it to the captain to keep the man from screaming from that point on, to let her stay at Vryk's bedside whenever she wished.
Over the course of the next few days, the man's madness then slowly subsided, replaced by his usual calm. He began asking questions, and Nerakhi was there to answer them. They talked long into the nights, eating together and falling asleep at ungodly hours. None of the nurses would ever hear any of their conversations, however, greeted by a cold silence every time they entered the room. And so, none of them would ever hear the sentence that finally allowed them both to rest.
"I think… I think that was the flag of the PRC."
submitted by LaggerCZE to HFY [link] [comments]

Budgeting / Planning in Office 365 and PowerBI.

I would like to design a system and procedures for rolling sales and margins budgeting in a trading company using MS PowerBI, MS Office 365 and/or Google Sheets. The company's budgeting is largely "bottom-up". - at the level of regional directors. I have a certain outline in my head, but I do not know to what extent it is possible to implement it in practice.
Today, retrospective (historical) analysis takes place in PowerBI, where sales and margins data from a rather poor ERP system are drawn (exported xls/csv files). Budgeting takes place on the level of dozens of excels and a lot of manual work.
1) I would like every Regional Director to be able to generate on a spreadsheet level data about historical revenues and margins in his region.
2) In addition, I would like each of these directors to be able to add, next to the generated historical data, forecasted revenues and margins (in a specific structure) for next months. There will be about 10 such sheets (each for one regional director)
3) All these worksheets should be consolided in one spreadsheet, preferably in the cloud (onedrive/google drive).
4) Then these consolidated forecasted data should be imported in PowerBI as a budget.
Going one by one:
AD1 - Is it possible to do such a thing at the level of Excel Online or Google Sheets? I would like it to take place in a cloud solution, if possible (source file with sales data in the cloud, and a slice of the generated data in other cloud-file).
AD2-3 - Assuming that the Regional Director generated a history for himself, in a specific structure, I assume that if he adds the next months as a forecast, I will be able to download this data to some main file consolidating the whole budget. But the same issue as above - how to download data from one spreadsheet within excel online or google sheets, to another (a specific section of a large database)?
AD4 - Can the source for analysis at the PowerBI level be google sheet file or excel online file (onedrive)? In other words - a file consolidating the entire budget from e.g. 10 xls/spreadsheet files online/google sheet in the cloud - can it be imported to PowerBI for analysis?
Any other ideas, suggestions - also welcome. Thank you!
submitted by NihilistPL to PowerBI [link] [comments]

[OC] Inheritors II


Syndri could not sleep, and so she did as she always would on nights like that one.
She quietly wandered the darkened corridors of the Bunker like a lost ghost, enjoying the quiet that permeated the structure. The halls were perfectly empty at such ungodly hours, save for night guards who were all too aware of her frequent walks in the dark. Twelve cycles ago, the first time she walked the halls like this, no less than eight separate guards had stopped her and demanded she identify herself. Nowadays, the security personnel didn't even bother shining their flashlights at the familiar silhouette of Syndri's scarred, limping body. She was simply given respectful nods by the few armed men she passed by, returning the soft movements in kind.
The darkness often concealed the sad smiles, both hers and the guards', when they met in the dark. They all knew why she was up, how the scars were simply too much to bear at times, but both parties had long since given up trying to console the crying girl deep inside Syndri's soul.
And so she roamed the halls, oblivious to the world above and the galaxy at large, a tired woman lost in thought somewhere deep inside the grandest military installation her species had ever laid eyes on. She remained a small cog in the machine of war the Precursors set in motion by leaving their destructive toys laying about, after all. How could a single being, a single mind, struggle against this? How could she possibly fight what was set in motion by a civilisation so much older than her own? How dare she even suggest the state the precursors left the galaxy in was wrong at all? They were older, wiser… and yet they were gone, letting their inheritors butcher one another with equipment nobody could understand any longer.
Syndri found herself stopping in the Titan’s hall, staring at the lifeless machines that wreaked havoc on their galaxy. Even here, the lights were off and the engineering crews long gone. Every single one of her nightly walks ended here, staring down the gargantuan avatars of destruction with only a single thought haunting her mind:
How was it the only thing her charges were ever good for was bloodshed?
As celebrations and mourning died down and with the battle but a memory, the Bunker’s occupants returned to their regular duties with more peace of mind than was usual. The enemy had brought out a big toy: A Precursor warship. And that toy was, just like everything before it, turned away by the Bunker’s plasma cannons and mech pilots. The crew of the Bunker had once again proved there was no safer place in the galaxy than its underground halls.
Talk had sparked, pats on the back were given, and engineers and soldiers alike began again drilling for the next inevitable attack. Due to their secrecy, no official recognitions or medals were awarded, but two more faces had joined the memorial wall and Vryk’s likeness had joined the medbay’s wall of legends along with that of Pilot Djarli and the only decensored version of Nerakhi’s report on the battle that would ever see the light of day. Of course, it did not even suggest the mech itself had any part in how efficiently and bravely Pilot Vryk fended off the enemy and held Emplacement 3-15, merely remarked on the ingenious use of jets in stabilising the mech and the dedication he had shown in engaging a whole assault force alone. The report had earned Vryk a pat on the back or two, however the pilots remained stingy with their alcohol - though the reasons for that were far deeper than lack of thereof.
Over the next two weeks, a strange rumor began circulating among the pilots, perpetuated further by the arrival of several rookies to the team, who, like all before them, still lacked the jaded perspective of veteran pilots. The sheer absurdity of the rumor made it stand out far more than any of the people subject to it would like: After all, how is it possible that a mere rookie like Vryk could manage to get into the pants of someone like captain Nerakhi?
Theories sprung up quickly, fueled by copious amounts of drinking, and just as quickly were dismissed. The veteran pilots all laughed in the rookies' faces at the mere notion of Vryk being deranged enough to sleep with “the crazy bitch”, but nonetheless a large majority of the male portion of the group, as well as at least one female, were all secretly jealous that the rookie could manage in less than half a cycle what none of them could in their entire careers. It didn’t take long for the engineering crews to catch onto the sly remarks the Pilots kept making when they thought nobody could hear them, either, and they added their own personal touch to the rumours, going as far as to suggest the captain obviously seduced the young rookie, not the other way around. All with the express purpose of sacrificing him to whatever dark gods she worshipped, of course.
Unremarkably, the engineers were all secretly jealous, regardless of gender.
Broadcasts from the galaxy at large slowly returned after almost two months of radio silence leading up to the battle, and with them came news and messages from families and friends scattered amongst the stars - a huge boon to the morale of the crew. News broadcasts were traditionally optimistic about the state of the galaxy, and thus were, as was tradition, declared of questionable honesty by the veteran pilots who knew how little stood between the relative peace the thirty-billion population of the Zhar core worlds enjoyed and the aggressive Rimward Coalition. It was only their luck neither the Hegemony nor the Imperium had enough Precursor weapons to actually break through to anywhere crucial. Their authoritarian governments were far more suited for a scenario of total war than their own cumbersomely democratic nation, after all.
More interesting were news from the Council. While the multi-species organisation still refused to lend them any help militarily, it had also ceased to criticize and sanction them for their research into Precursor artifacts, and had actually promised to turn several over in the coming months in response to the widespread use of such ancient weapons by the Rimward Coalition. A minor diplomatic victory of questionable value, but also possibly the beginning of a more cooperative tone from the high-and-mighty Council that had up until now declared itself above the plight of the Zhar.
How much of that cooperation was due to their fears that two lowly interstellar states could defeat their “invincible” Council Brigades by using technology lightyears ahead of even their own remained unspoken, of course.
But as the base slowly returned to normal operation, drills and watches, and the fleet above returned to its patrol routes, as the first supply runs were scheduled and optimism for the future creeped back into the minds of the Bunker’s occupants, a different picture was taking shape in Nerakhi’s mind. A picture far more grim than most could envision.
Vryk slipped into the room, closing the door behind him, and turned to see a scene that had quickly started to become routine for him.
Nerakhi was comfortably lounging in her swivel chair, dressed in her combat uniform instead of the far more appropriate officer uniform, feet - complete with heavy military boots - up on her office table. It boggled Vryk’s mind how casually she was willing to put those dirty boots up on the single most expensive piece of furniture - a table made of real, Council-exported exotic wood. In her lap laid a tablet the woman was working from, her body framed by stacks of paper and office items laid on the table without much care. The walls of the small office were covered with a mixture of posters and maps, interrupted only by a single bookcase in one of the corners and a mattress in the other. Most of the posters were bands Vryk had never heard of - and judging by Nerakhi’s inclination towards loudness, hoped he never had to hear play.
More importantly, it felt like a college dorm, not the office of a woman who had spent the past decade and a half piloting and directing the deadliest weapons the Zhar had in their possession.
Nerakhi almost didn't acknowledge Vryk's arrival at first, too absorbed in whatever she was working on to look up from the tablet in her lap. She barely even bothered spitting out her favourite welcoming phrase.
"Need anything?"
Vryk momentarily thought about how the woman would react if a member of the High Command had walked through her door unannounced. Would she snap to attention and salute, or would she barely acknowledge them? And how would a general even respond to a soldier's office looking like this? Would it be tolerated simply because of her veterancy, or did she have fake walls stashed away somewhere to protect her collection?
"Hi," he finally said, blunt as ever. It was the sound of his voice that finally made Nerakhi to turn her gaze away from whatever documents she was currently working on. The lack of an annoyed gleam was reassuring to Vryk - for once he was a welcome distraction instead of a mere annoyance.
Were it not for her rank, Vryk would've assumed the diminutive woman to be no older than twenty five. She adhered to the same exercise regimen as the rest of the pilots, keeping herself in good shape, and - despite being one of the instigators of the base's alcohol consumption - was always well groomed. The feathers on her head, though tied down to allow her to comfortably wear an officer's cap that lay discarded atop a stack of papers, were bleached into an ivory white, a stark contrast to her large brown eyes.
"Vryk. Hi," she returned, a sliver of a smile on her face. She moved her leg in a motion so precise Vryk had to wonder if it was practiced, kicking the swivel chair on the other side of the table and rotating it towards him. "Feel free. My home's yours." The formality of the phrase conflicted with the scene that accompanied it inside Vryk’s head for a second, prompting him to somewhat recoil when it was uttered. No sane person would call their office a home - but then again, Nerakhi did sleep here, and her sanity also remained in question.
With a small nod, Vryk accepted the seat, moving with a bit of fear still left over from being addressed in such a way by a superior officer. It still felt inappropriate to treat her as anything but that, despite Nerakhi’s insistence to the contrary. He focused his eyes on the chair and then the table, avoiding eye contact - fully aware that Nerakhi was openly watching him. She had full authority to send him to his death, after all, and it just wouldn’t do to treat someone like that without the respect they deserve.
It was because of this attempt at courtesy he missed the small smile on the captain’s face transforming into a decidedly sad frown. “Something up? Nightmares again?” she asked him, worry written into the small wrinkles around her eyes and voice alike. He shook his head and waved a claw through the air in a gesture of dismissal, looking up from the table at the captain long after her face returned to a far more neutral expression.
“No, not at all. It’s… strange, actually. Do they come back?”
Now it was Nerakhi’s turn to shake her head. “Not like the ones you had the week after. Those are special. I only had to deal with that once in my entire career here, and by the Gods Above I hope I never have to again. Combat fatigue though…" She hit a few more icons on the tablet, closing whatever work she was going over, and then leaned far back into her chair while grabbing the tablet and placing it atop a copy of “The New Way” in the bookcase behind her. Vryk again wondered if the motion was practiced, on top of now having to wonder if the woman had ever read the philosophical essays or merely owned a copy to help decorate the bookcase.
The woman obviously noticed how he followed her movements with his gaze, giving him another small smile he quickly turned away from. “You’ll be fine, I think. It might take a while. Mharduk’s decision did wreak havoc on you.” She paused for a second after that, considering her next words. “I could get him reassigned, if you feel this is his fault. It’ll do me no good to have a Pilot who doesn’t trust his onboard doc.”
Vryk turned back to her with an expression that was equal parts surprise and fear. “Gods, there’s no need for that!” He found her smiling lightly in response, as if she was just playing some cruel joke instead of suggesting a potentially career-destroying change on account of nothing else but his feelings towards Mharduk.
“As you wish,” she ostensibly shrugged in response, though her smile widened just a little, “but do keep it in mind. The Titan crews are replaceable, there’s plenty of personnel on this base who’d be willing and capable enough to do that sort of work, but my pilots are not. You especially.”
Taken aback, Vryk couldn’t help but sputter a “Really?” before he could stop himself. He almost wanted to curl up in shame at that.
“Yeah, favouritism is alive and well.”
The captain laughed at her own remark a little, then laughed some more when she saw Vryk’s shock. “What?” she demanded, “I just sat by your bed for a week, plus the whole base is now discussing the minutiae of the two of us fucking. I think that after all that shit, plus getting pulled out of a semi-sentient weapon against both its and your will, you’re entitled to at least some advantages.”
Vryk managed to just stare for a little bit, mouth agape at Nerahki's words, and more importantly the distinct lack of a filter between her brain and mouth. His expression prompted Nerakhi into another bout of laughter as surely as any of the jokes she might've heard from the veteran pilots.
"Cheer up, kid!" She finally managed to say after a few moments. "You made a bunch of people jealous without really doing anything, and in my book, that's quite the achievement. So show some pride in your work!" After another snicker, she noted the nervous fluttering around Vryk's aural canals, and continued in a much calmer voice. "Vryk. These rumors happen mostly because people on this base are bored out of their damn skulls. The faster you learn to ignore them, the faster the crew will move on to something else."
She paused, letting silence fall over them for a bit, until Vryk finally managed to stammer out a few words.
"So… you aren't angry, captain?"
Nerakhi smirked again, playful wrinkles forming around her eyes. "No, not at all. I find it really fucking funny, actually." She raised an eyebrow at him, a small kind smile creeping into her expression. "And please, drop the rank and try my name. This isn't the time or place for honorifics."
"Very well… Nerakhi." With the cat out of the bag, Vryk found openness actually eased the tension a little. He nervously fidgeted for a bit, letting his claws slide over the tabletop and staring at his own hand in silence.
“Better,” Nerakhi retorted, ”much, much better. Now, what did you need? Or did you stop by just to help fuel the rumours?” The irony of that situation was not lost on Vryk. He hung his head and allowed himself a smile in appreciation of the unintended side effects of that particular choice.
"No, of course not," he said hastily, "I have some questions. It just… are you sure you're the only one who experienced this? Aside from me?" The tone of his voice remained unsteady, partially because he was doubting a superior officer.
Nerakhi calmly lifted her legs off the table and sat straight in her chair, leaning forwards and looking directly into Vryk's eyes. "What is 'this'?" she calmly asked, observing as the young pilot's brow furrowed. "Can you describe it? Tell me what exactly happened?"
Vryk thought for a moment, trying to formulate what had transpired into words, but found he had none that could accurately describe the truth. "I… I connected with my Titan. But not like during practice, not just one way. It was… it was telling me things. Finishing my movements. Using systems without my input."
Nerakhi shook her head. "That sounds perfectly normal. These machines can't ask for your permission to alter the gyro controls, and your inputs don't translate perfectly - that's why there's a rubbery feel to your movements. They have to approximate what exactly you want from them. And we went over how comms work in training. It's a lot rougher when it's in combat, but works the same."
Vryk's brow furrowed further. "But… it seemed alive! Like there was someone else in the tank with me!"
"That's normal. You changed bodies. Titans override you central nervous system - you probably just felt an echo of your own limbs." The captain leaned backwards, crossing her arms over her chest. "Look, I believe you only because I already know firsthand what you went through, and because my own machine told me something was up when Mharduk pulled you. Even if we had the words to describe it, and I know for a goddamn fact we do not, nobody would believe you anyway."
“I see your point,” Vryk finally conceded, “but how can you be so sure? There must be others. Someone has to have caught on… at least partially.”
“No,” she shook her head once, dismissing the idea. “And if they did, the mechs burned them out before I figured anything out.”
With a sigh, she leaned back in the chair, eyes locked with Vryk’s. “It’s been a solid eleven cycles since I found out, and in that time there was nothing. You believe whatever you want, rookie, but you’d do yourself a big fucking favour forgetting about more people figuring out your plight. I should know.” She paused, surveying the steely expression Vryk gave her in turn, then moved on. “Anything else you need?”
“I… no. I’m sorry for disturbing you, ca- Nerakhi.” Vryk made to get up, but didn’t get far - the woman grabbed him by his forearm without warning. He looked at the hand, then back at her, unsure of the unfolding situation. “Sit back down,” she ordered, “I’m not through with you yet.”
She let go of him at once, leaving him a bit stunned as she reached behind herself. The chair under her slightly tilted and rolled back a bit, and for a short moment Vryk was sure it would give way and fall over, but the captain balanced herself perfectly by placing her heavy boots back on the table. The heavy thud prompted him to finally sit back down and watch her retrieve her tablet, as well as a well-worn diary from the bookcase. She actually had to look over her shoulder to find it, and the thick coating of dust had to be swept away before she handed both it and the tablet over to Vryk.
“Here,” she said, “take a look at these.”
Vryk quickly looked at the items. The diary had no title and was bound in leather - real leather, another antique luxury. He turned it over in his hand a few times, merely admiring the feel, before he held it up and finally looked back at Nerakhi. “What’s this?”
“My notes,” she answered, “go over them in your free time, and try to be discreet about it. I have no time to try and tutor you, plus I have no clue if it would even be of any use if I did. So here’s all I know. Have fun.” She motioned to the tablet. “That might interest you a bit more.”
Vryk turned his attention to the indicated item, inspecting the screen. There was a satellite image on it. For a moment he studied it, piece by piece, noting the countless little concrete and metal structures dotting the mountain of mud and dirt, the tiny paths leading to nowhere that covered it, and then looked back up on Nerakhi. “What’s this?”
“Our next target.”
“Lance to Overwatch. Ready to drop.”
She felt anxious, restrained, like an attack dog held close on its leash. There was a fight to be won, and she could do nothing but wait until somebody else said so. Every sensor, every bone and servo in her body was aching to break free of the clamps that held her in place, to unravel her rage into whatever was closest. It wasn’t a feeling she enjoyed.
And so she waited, having said the only thing she could’ve said. The commanders above would decide the rest.
“Understood, Lance. Final approach set. Coil and lock, good hunting.”
The vicious smile that covered her face became wider as the battle approached. She did as she was ordered, of course, coiling the synthread and hydraulics. Last part of the procedure. Last act in anticipation of the impact that was coming.
She could feel the hydraulics extend and set against their massive metal coils, the magnetic harnesses inside her own feet kick into overdrive, the synthread harden to withstand the sheer weight of the impact. All to compensate for the unyielding strength of the gravitic pull. In her gargantuan, metal body, she knew she could struggle against nature’s own laws.
The floor under her opened, the clamps split apart, and for three full seconds she fell through the air with all the grace of a rock.
The impact was a titanic struggle, she could feel her hydraulics heave and scream under her massive weight, but refused to be deterred. A million parts of her own body screamed in pain and warning alike, pushed to the breaking point, and she refused to yield. For a second of pure struggle she pushed against the gravity well, jets, hydraulics, her whole being against the unbearable strength of the laws of physics - and then, just as suddenly, it was over.
It took Nerakhi all of about two seconds to reorient and begin firing wildly at every target the computer designated as hostile. Every weapon, from the massive arm-mounted cannons to the countless small arms along her legs and rocket pods mounted to her back unleashed its fury in a designated radius. She left the individual systems to find targets on their own, focusing only on the big picture and her one imminent goal: To move forward.
Her legs obeyed, and she noted with considerable satisfaction the crunch of metal as her first step flattened an IFV into useless scrap. The crew did not get out in time, and in her fury, Nerakhi did not care. When her leg lifted, the system designated the vehicle wreck as “survivable” and peppered it with a volley of high explosive machine gun rounds. An afterthought, really.
Ahead of her the enemy began to hastily retreat, focusing fire on her armored self as they ran. The plates deflected every shot with ease. And invincible she continued to push forward, returning the fire in kind until the next six hundred metres of land were nothing but molten rock and corpses. She took her time, carefully measuring each step on her way over the field of death, avoiding the largest craters. Only once her cameras showed her nothing but a wasteland around her, burnt to ash by her own fury, did she stop to check her ammo counter. With a smile, she noted she still had plenty to share.
The enemy was still in motion, small groups of light vehicles retreating over the hills and away from her. She marked down their signatures, firing off a few rockets as an impromptu parting gift. She probably could have obliterated most of them outright without much issue, but then, who would spread the horrific news to the rest of the Hegemony’s troops?
“Overwatch, Lance here. Landing zone cleared. Drop the rest of the package.”
Vryk hit the ground with jets flaring, feet moving and safeties off.
Around him, seven other mechs and their pilots descended from the sky, dropped via a combination of steel ropes, jets and hydraulics. The giant transport that deployed them was nothing but a launch bay with thrusters and armor, and with its task complete it didn’t waste any time in going to full throttle and burning straight back to an orbital path. The voice of his captain echoed in his mind, clear as day.
He took exactly three seconds to let the computer search for targets. It found none, just as he expected, and judging by the lack of any communication from his comrades, neither did theirs. As far as anyone could tell, their surroundings were nothing short of a wasteland, covered in craters. Clearly Nerakhi’s handiwork.
He began marching forwards, following the trail “Lance” left for him. He found the callsign ridiculous at best. If someone had to compare Nerakhi to a medieval weapon, they very clearly should’ve chosen a bludgeoning weapon instead of a stabbing one. Like a mace.
Bringing up the scanner package Overwatch sent him moments prior, he began surveying the best way to tackle the incoming issue: A dozen mechs, at least two of which had obviously just been rushed back into service moments prior to their drop. Conventional forces could deal with the mop-up, but not with even one of those machines. His unit had its work cut out for them.
One of the pilots behind him - identifying himself only by the callsign “Swell” - piped up on the unit comm as he fell into formation. “Captain did a number on these folks.” Vryk couldn’t think of a larger understatement, but remained silent. His assessment of the captain’s combat performance was irrelevant. He had a job to do.
Overwatch shot him another packet, a photo taken from a mech’s leg camera along with a series of marked scanner blips against a satellite picture of the terrain. The enemy was about three kilometers away and closing fast. The photo had a zone marked on the lead mech too - its left knee joint seemed just slightly out of place. One word, in unmistakable penmanship, was written next to it: Limping?
Vryk silently thanked Druhk for his observation skills, and then focused back on walking. It took a few small adjustments to traverse the terrain without a hitch - adjustments he had to make manually, unfortunately.
Their march over the landscape of death wasn’t long, but felt like an eternity regardless with nothing to do but slowly place one leg in front of the other while pondering the coming fight. Vryk almost considered breaking the silence for a little while, but ultimately decided not to. His teammates would see it as nervosity and weakness, if nothing else, and he couldn’t afford to show them he had any. Not while they were sure he was sleeping with the captain and somehow mastered the piloting of mechs faster than anyone before him.
The first shot didn’t catch him off guard. He had been looking through the possible firing arcs for a while now, hunting for an opening he could use to somehow break apart the enemy grouping, but hadn’t had any luck. Whoever the opposing pilots were, they knew very well what they were doing.
He returned fire, but not with deadly intent. All five of the shells he shot missed, one even flying wide over the enemy’s heads. He didn’t trust his penetration chances at this distance anyways.
The rest of the unit followed suit, spreading along the ridge line to form a rough half circle as they advanced. A few shells even found their targets, uselessly ricocheting off the hardened plates. Both sides kept their attention firmly on the advance, trading blows without much care for ammunition counters. Meanwhile, Vryk ran a scan of the lead unit, confirming Druhk’s analysis of its knee. He forwarded the results to the other pilots, including Nerakhi - all without ever stopping to think about it.
A shell found his front plate, impacting without effect. The explosion rocked him a little, forcing a small change in his stabiliser subroutine. He took it in stride and marched on, searching for any other weaknesses on the lead mech instead of returning fire. As soon as he felt the computer announce a reliable firing solution for his rocket pods, he ordered two volleys fired at the machines legs and promptly followed up by firing two shots slightly to the left of the target.
As expected, the machine marginally changed direction, confirming his suspicion. It didn’t react to the missiles at all, however, even as the two seconds it took them to reach their target approached. There was a short flash of light as the first one exploded, almost five meters off the mark, followed by others slamming into the ground around the mech. Only two had actually hit the mark, tearing out a piece of armor. Unfortunately, that did not slow the mech at all.
Somewhere behind him, a friendly mech suffered a penetrating hit. The shell exploded and tore off its upper shoulder. The pilot didn’t make a sound, and the machine went limp and fell to the ground. Unexpected, at this distance. The enemy got lucky, and he didn’t even know that pilot’s name.
Vryk shifted again, using his jets to aid in preserving momentum, and began picking up speed. Setting his weapons into rapid fire, he fired off the few rockets still remaining in his pods, then ordered the smoke launchers and jammers to begin their work. As on cue, the rest of his squad fell behind him, using the rapidly forming smoke to their advantage. A shell found an enemy mech and tore its head clean off, causing a series of smaller explosions throughout the torso. The mech didn’t fall, merely stopped in its tracks, a flames erupting from the gaping hole.
Now, he thought to the machine. Now, captain.
His sensors quickly picked up an explosion from beyond the smoke. He couldn’t confirm visually, but the sonics were pretty clear as to its origins: a Krellus-pattern shell impacting the weak rear armor of an enemy mech. Vryk allowed himself a small smile. Now it was two for one.
He fired off a few shells through the smoke, more asa distraction than anything else, then fired up his jets and flew up and over the cloud. To his surprise, the enemy was waiting for him.
A shell or two, he wasn’t sure, found him mid-air and knocked him off balance. The jets could not compensate fast enough and simply shut off in response, leaving him to unceremoniously fall to the ground, where another connected with his left shoulder and exploded. It did not penetrate, but his side gave off a horrible tearing noise and half the servos immediately stopped responding.
Marching forward and ignoring the smoke, a hegemony-marked mech stepped on his back. In his tank, Vryk closed his eyes, and then with one last warning bleep the world faded to black.
He opened them a few moments later, emerging from the liquid with a hand on the back of his suit’s collar. It took him a second to reorient to having a normal body, but no longer than those few seconds later he was staring directly into Nerakhi’s angry expression, sprawled on the simulator room floor with the captain standing over him.
“And there, rookie, you see what happens when you try to show off.”
submitted by LaggerCZE to HFY [link] [comments]

Budgeting/Planning in Office365.

I would like to design a system and procedures for rolling sales and margins budgeting in a trading company using MS PowerBI, MS Office 365 and/or Google Sheets. The company's budgeting is largely "bottom-up". - at the level of regional directors. I have a certain outline in my head, but I do not know to what extent it is possible to implement it in practice.
Today, retrospective (historical) analysis takes place in PowerBI, where sales and margins data from a rather poor ERP system are drawn (exported xls/csv files). Budgeting takes place on the level of dozens of excels and a lot of manual work.
1) I would like every Regional Director to be able to generate on a spreadsheet level data about historical revenues and margins in his region.
2) In addition, I would like each of these directors to be able to add, next to the generated historical data, forecasted revenues and margins (in a specific structure) for next months. There will be about 10 such sheets (each for one regional director)
3) All these worksheets should be consolided in one spreadsheet, preferably in the cloud (onedrive/google drive).
4) Then these consolidated forecasted data should be imported in PowerBI as a budget.

Going one by one:
AD1 - Is it possible to do such a thing at the level of Excel Online or Google Sheets? I would like it to take place in a cloud solution, if possible (source file with sales data in the cloud, and a slice of the generated data in other cloud-file).
AD2-3 - Assuming that the Regional Director generated a history for himself, in a specific structure, I assume that if he adds the next months as a forecast, I will be able to download this data to some main file consolidating the whole budget. But the same issue as above - how to download data from one spreadsheet within excel online or google sheets, to another (a specific section of a large database)?
AD4 - Can the source for analysis at the PowerBI level be google sheet file or excel online file (onedrive)? In other words - a file consolidating the entire budget from e.g. 10 xls/spreadsheet files online/google sheet in the cloud - can it be imported to PowerBI for analysis?

Any other ideas, suggestions - also welcome. Thank you!
submitted by NihilistPL to Office365 [link] [comments]

Bodybuilding Supplements, Male Enhancement and Weight Loss Diet Pills Tainted

In recent years, the United States Food and Drug Administration (hereafter "FDA"), have mobilized their efforts to address what has become a serious public health problem. The dietary supplement industry is a multi billion dollar a year consumer driven industry growing with each passing year. In addition to consistent expansion of supplement brands, competition for higher profit margins, and minimal capacity to regulate all genres of dietary supplements, the FDA is confronted with a monumental task. The cancer of greed has slowly metastasized to terminal levels. Manufacturers and distributors of dietary supplements now actively lace their formulas with prescription drugs or analogs fully aware of the dangers posed to consumers. People who run these operations knowingly adulterating their supplements are true criminals motivated by greed and a lack of conscience for the risks to the consumer.

These tainted products have led to tragic medical consequences including liver and kidney damage, stroke, pulmonary failure and death. Tainted products are problematic, but people and organizations that intentionally taint their supplements and products are far worse than the neighborhood drug dealer. The local drug dealer thriving in every town in America illegally sells and distributes his/her drugs to a consumer base privy to what they are purchasing and the potential dangers from ingesting those chemicals. Dietary supplement manufacturers and distributors aware of selling tainted supplements are far worse because their consumers are ignorant to the dangerous chemicals being added.

The three categories of apetamin syrup consistently adulterated with potential toxic substances are weight loss, sexual enhancement, and body building products. The FDA, national trade associations representing the dietary supplement industry and various regulatory commissions are all struggling to halt these deceptive practices. At the FDA website, they clearly point out to site visitors their enforcement procedures and consumer advisories for tainted products merely cover a small fraction of the tainted over-the-counter products on the market. The magnitude of the problem is gigantic.

Clearly, manufacturers who knowingly lace their formulas and distributors who are aware they are selling tainted supplements to consumers are engaged in criminal activities and deemed as participating in deviant behaviors. A forensic psychologist is trained to identify aspects of the human condition related to criminal behavior, deviance, and the motivation of criminal behavior. Following is a forensic psychologist's rationale for people and organizations engaged in such corrupt actions.

Research of the dietary supplement industry related to tainted products is a daunting task. The three categories of supplements the FDA has identified first needs to be investigated. Weight loss, sexual enhancement, and body building supplements have the highest rate of tainted substances. These three categories share a common theme. All three categories are involving populations of individuals seeking performance enhancement or image enhancement. Two of these three categories, are formulas designed to help people with perceived negative aspects they are trying to improve. Consumers purchasing weight loss supplements are hoping to shed pounds. The vast majority of consumers purchasing sexual enhancement products are men looking to enhancement their genital organ. Body building supplements are for bodybuilders, weightlifters, athletes, and people looking to improve their physiques. Although the three populations are different, they all share one common theme. This theme is based on the theory of "exhausting all options."

All three populations are investigating and purchasing supplements in hopes of achieving goals they perceive as necessary to attain their goals. The bodybuilder seeks greater definition of muscle mass, the over weight person hopes to shed pounds, and men purchase sexual enhancement products to help them obtain and sustain an erection. These segments of the population are willing to consume supplements if the results of consumption benefit their goals for improvement. There is a high probability that all three of these groups resort to supplements because other methods have either not been beneficial or does not meet their expectations. Hence, they practice the concept of "exhausting all options" and research these products. Unfortunately, the dietary supplement industry relies on the consumer's dire need to find an effective product. An unknown percentage of these companies develop formulas which are illegal and potentially dangerous for the monetary gains.

The FDA fully admits they do not have the capacity to investigate every supplement company due to the industries sheer size. Minimal regulations, low rates of enforcement, and a consumer base willing to spend billions of dollars each year have created an environment perfect for the criminal mind to engage in. At present, the consequences for intentionally tainting dietary supplements and offering to consumers for retail tainted supplements grows exponentially each year. The opportunity for succeeding with a criminal mind is "ripe for the picking." The manufacturing and distribution of dietary supplements is both legal and accepted by society. Legal, accepted, and financially booming sets the stage for criminal intent. The cocktail for the criminal mind is clearly obvious. An industry generating billions of dollars a year, minimal consequences for deceptive practices and a high demand by consumers combine for the criminal mind to flourish. The environment for opportunity and greed becomes a viable option.

Intentionally tainting supplements for consumer consumption without fear of consequences motivates the criminal mind to become creative in design. Even the drug dealer selling his/her illicit chemicals must practice marketing their products with a low profile. Although the neighborhood drug dealer survives with a criminal mind, the manufacturer and distributor intentionally marketing tainted products thrives with his/her criminal mind, markets products attempting to be as high profile as possible, and feeds their greed at the expense of the consumer.

Within the dietary supplement industry, the difficulty for the FDA, OCI, DEA, law enforcement, and the legal system capacity to identify and prosecute those intentionally tainting products is multifaceted and complex. Given the size of the industry alone makes complete coverage impossible allowing those with criminal minds flourish unfettered by fear of prosecution. Despite the commitment of these federal and state agencies, the criminal mind intentionally tainting supplements continues to reap the rewards of their actions. The unfortunate reality is the spoiling of the entire supplement industry due to these charlatans.

Although no statistics seem to exist to prove this writers hypothesis, it is suggested that the majority of supplement companies that seek to produce and market products adhering to The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 become entangled with the FDA for unknowingly having products which test positive for illegal substances. Although the FDA holds distributors of dietary supplements accountable when their products they market test positive for tainted substances, the reality is many of these organizations do so unintentionally without knowledge of the contaminants. Unfortunately, the FDA has no mechanisms to evaluate if these companies are intentionally tainting their products to maximize profit. The only methodology confirming intentional sale of tainted supplements occurs when evidence can be compiled the distributor is aware of the illicit substances in their products, but continues to market them anyway.

For organizations that are confirmed selling tainted products via advanced chemical testing procedures, the consequences can range from seizure of products, cessation of sales, and on some occasions, prosecution. Once these companies have been selected as problematic by the FDA, the financial losses and attorney fees involved often force closure or bankruptcy. Given the priority to protect consumers is the mission of the FDA, honest organizations who inadvertently purchase tainted ingredients without intent or knowledge at times must close their business from financial losses. This harsh reality is not the fault of the FDA, but at fault are the national and international manufacturers tainting their formulas without the retailer's knowledge and endeavoring to expand their market base of retailers worldwide by manufacturing tainted formulas.

The question comes down to intent. Intent to manufacture and distribute tainted supplements void of concern for the risks to consumers are a group of criminals requiring serious prosecution. The concept of intent has many definitions and complicated to succinctly define to the lay person. The legal definition available online as it relates to intentionally selling tainted supplements is defined as criminal intent. Criminal intent is called mens rea, which refers to a criminal or wrongful purpose. Mens rea is Latin for "guilty mind." In criminal law, it is viewed as one of the necessary elements of a crime. If a person innocently causes harm, then he/she lacks mens rea. Under this concept, an accused defendant should not be criminally prosecuted if intent can not be established.

Criminal law has attempted to clarify the intent requirement by establishing two concepts, specific intent and general intent. Specific Intent refers to a particular state of mind that seeks to accomplish the precise act that the law prohibits. In some circumstances, the category of specific intent means an intent to do something beyond that which is done, such as assault with intent to commit rape. The prosecution must show that the defendant purposely or knowingly committed the crime at issue. In relation to a distributor or manufacturer being prosecuted using the legal definition of specific intent, evidence must establish the person and/or organization tainted their supplement formulas or purposely marketed and sold tainted supplements fully aware the risk to a targeted consumer or group of consumers. Even more complicated is the second legal concept of intent called General Intent.

General intent refers to the intent to do that which the law prohibits. Under this concept, it is not necessary for a prosecuting attorney to prove the defendant intended the precise harm or the precise result that occurred. The law will infer that the defendant had a general intent. Under the concept of general intent, the manufacturer or distributor who knowingly and intentionally produces and/or offers for retail tainted products can be prosecuted. The unfortunate consumers who suffer physiological damage from consuming tainted supplements were not the target of these unscrupulous supplement manufacturers and distributors, but victims nonetheless. Although specific intent is more heinous because the intent is targeted, general intent is equally as dangerous.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (hereafter "DSM"), is published by the American Psychiatric Association and outlines a language and standard set of criteria for the classification of mental disorders. It is used in the United States and in varying degrees around the world, by clinicians, researchers, and policy makers. The DSM is considered an important manual for most professionals working in the mental health and behavioral healthcare field. The DSM maintains a set of disorders called personality disorders. Personality disorders outlined in the DSM defines a personality disorder as an enduring pattern of inner experience and behavior that differs markedly from the expectations of the individual's culture, is pervasive and inflexible, has an onset in adolescence or early adulthood, is stable over time, and leads to distress or impairment. Personality disorders are a long-standing and maladaptive pattern of perceiving and responding to other people and to stressful circumstances. Within the category of personality disorders, ten disorders have been identified which are distinct in their manifestations.

In relationship to these ten personality disorders, there is one called antisocial personality disorder and may define the group of manufacturers and distributors which intentionally taint their formulas with potentially dangerous substances or market these supplements knowing their supplements are tainted. Antisocial personality disorder is a type of chronic mental illness in which a person's ways of thinking, perceiving situations and relating to others are abnormal and destructive. People with antisocial personality disorder typically have no regard for right and wrong. They may often violate the law and the rights of others. They may lie, practice deception, attempt to manipulate, and often engage in illegal activities because they are unable to fulfill responsibilities to family, work or school in an adaptive manner.

Hence, people who suffer from antisocial personality disorder may seek to victimize others for personal gain and lack empathy for those they harm in their pursuit for personal benefit. Some suggest the majority of felons serving prison sentences would fit the criteria for antisocial personality disorder if this population of criminals were evaluated by psychologists or psychiatrists. The population of people intentionally tainting their dietary supplements void of concern for the risks to consumers would likely meet criteria for this dangerous disorder.

In conclusion, the FDA has mobilized their efforts to address a contemporary serious public health problem. Manufacturers and distributors of dietary supplements actively lace their supplement formulas with prescription drugs and/or analogs fully aware of the medical dangers posed to consumers. People who run these operations intentionally adulterating their supplements are true criminals motivated by greed and a lack of conscience for the risks to the consumer. Reports of injury and even death from the use of these illegal supplements have been reported to the FDA. These reason(s) for injury and death are caused by supplements deceptively labeled or containing undeclared ingredients. These supplements often include the same active ingredients as drugs already approved by the FDA. Analogs are defined as close copies of FDA approved drugs and novel synthetic steroids that do not qualify as dietary ingredients are two substances becoming prominent adulterants.

The enforcement arm of the FDA, Office of Criminal Investigations, is fully committed to investigating and supporting the prosecution of those who may endanger the public's health and safety by manufacturing and selling unsafe products. Given the size of the dietary supplement industry, the FDA and supporting agencies admit they can only target and test a fraction of the companies presently involved marketing and selling dietary supplements.

Although presumed by this writer the majority of companies who have products which test positive for illegal chemicals are not intentionally doing so, the FDA has no way to ferret out if these companies are engaged in deceptive practices. It is the smaller population of companies and professionals which intentionally taint and/or market their products which need to be apprehended. It is these individuals who walk through life motivated by their criminal mind and at a high probability for experiencing antisocial personality disorder. At present, there is no valid methodology to pinpoint these criminals and their actions negatively taint the entire supplement industry, just as their tainted products are sold to consumers negatively impacting their medical health.

Bodybuilding supplements, male enhancement pills, and weight loss diet supplements are the three categories of dietary supplements the FDA has alerted the nation about. Companies who sell these are encouraged to implement the following recommendations to reduce their chances of creating risk to consumers purchasing their products. The FDA mentions five trade associations they interface with and dietary supplements companies should investigate joining them. They are the Council for Responsible Nutrition, Natural Products Association, United Natural Products Alliance (UNPA), Consumer Healthcare Products Association, and American Herbal Products Association. It is also recommended to bookmark and visit often the websites hosted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.

Website developers working for dietary supplements companies are recommended to attach links encouraging site visitors to the FDA, dietary trade associations, and any other organizations designed to protect consumers. The FDA also has MedWatch, which can be added to websites so consumers can be alerted to recent products which have tested positive for adulterants. It is the responsibility of dietary supplement companies to institute whatever measures necessary to protect consumers from consuming tainted supplements. It is also highly recommended to allocate a portion of the organizations advertising budget to educating the consumer on the use of dietary supplements and topics involving health, fitness, nutrition, and overall healthy living.
submitted by PresentType to u/PresentType [link] [comments]

Options Trading Basics EXPLAINED (For Beginners) - YouTube COMMODITY TRADING-TYPES OF MARKET ORDER EXPLAINED USING ODIN PLATFORM KuMEX Review: Leverage Trading By KuCoin Trading Forex for Beginners - The Basics - YouTube Best FX Trading Strategies (THE Top Strategy for Forex ...

Trading and Capital-Markets Activities Manual Supplement 12—April 2007 Nature of Changes Examination objectives, examination proce-dures, and an internal control questionnaire (sections 2030.2, 2030.3, and 2030.4, respec-tively) have been added to the Market Liquidity Risk of Trading Activities section. An internal control questionnaire (section 4. Trading Documentation 4 5. Legal review 4 6. Eligible Collateral 4 7. Haircuts 4 8. Variation Margin 5 9. Initial Margin 5 10. Initial Margin Model 5 11. Minimum Transfer Amounts 5 12. Exemptions 5 13. Miscellaneous 5 14. Defined Terms 5 Appendix 1 8 Eligible Collateral (Art 4) 8 Appendix 2 10 Annex II to the EMIR Rules 10 Responsibilities of Trading on Margin The following is a list of some, but not all, of the responsibilities of account owners and TD Ameritrade, Inc. in the management of margin accounts. Margin account owner’s responsibilities: • To deposit into your margin account the necessary funds, in cash same trading day. Equity Component of SPAN®Margin System Requirement The marked to the market value of option positions. Favorable Market Movement - 4 - Chapter One – Definitions. The appreciation in market value of an account’s open positions. Free Funds Head Office. CDC House, 99-B, Block B, S.M.C.H.S. Main Shahra-e-Faisal, Karachi – 74400. (92-21) 111-111-500

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Options Trading Basics EXPLAINED (For Beginners) - YouTube

Position Trading Strategies Long-Term Forex and CFD Stock Trading - Duration: 8:44. The Secret Mindset 29,454 views. 8:44. Language: English Location: United States Margin / Trading Limit ini seperti pedang bermata dua, dapat menaikkan return secara signifikan bila digunakan dengan tepat, namun juga beresiko untuk menciptakan kewajiban (liabilities) berupa ... Practice FOREX - FREE or REAL at: Forex Scams: PART 2: " today looks like my loss is your gain." Online Commodity trading Tips Advice and technical analysis for daily market. Daily Market outlook for MCX Crude Oil Trading, MCX Copper Trading, MCX Natural gas Trading, MCX Zinc Trading, MCX ...