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Grand Haven Pronto Pup owner freaks out on Facebook.

This was posted on the Grand Haven Pronto Pup Facebook page.
From the owner of Pronto Pups in Grand Haven, MI
Have a seat. This is going hurt a little.
Today after playing phone tag with the Ottawa County Health Department regarding the Executive Order to wear a mask while working, I discovered some things.
An "higher" education does not make you capable of critical thought. It makes you educated, not smarter. (Yes there is a difference). When a rule/ordedirective is issued, it has a blanket policy. Period. I am referring to standing over a 395 degree cooker of oil, INSIDE an exhaust fan and trying to reason with our book learning inspector (Over the phone) why a mask is irrelevant and useless in this particular case. This is the issue with no real word experience in working. No thought process. The inspector just sited from the current Executive order. I am told my reasoning was presented to the board but I hope it nots true or the board is right at the inspectors level intellectually. That scares me.
My personal opinion is to have the Health Department shut me down. (This looks better for me in the future law suite)
However, as a business owner, I have to look out for the best interest of our co-workers. My hard head would cost them income. Not fair to them. I did present the option to continue maskless and wait for the inevitable Ottawa County Health Department shut down or to wear the mask. Majority choose the mask so Here we are. We will remain open until someone claims the color of the building is offensive. (White).
If any of you believe this is a health issue, unfriend me. Please. This is 100% political. We are witnessing a school yard bully fight between the right and left. Period. To think anyone would support these morons destroying our nations economy is just mind boggling at best. Don't hit me with the "rise " in cases. I call bullshit. You test more, you find more.
Yes, covid19 is real. The American Journal of Medicine defines coronavirus as "The common cold". FACT.
There is soooo much misinformation out there. Mask work, then they don"t, Save them for the "Front line" (Oh, don't even get me started on that attempted glorification and honor robbing of our Veterans.) Sunlight kills it, just wait for summer. So many smart individuals out there with facts that the mask make no difference. Problem is , the Fucking Media controls all we see and hear. (Good Job HITLER).
If my Dad or Grandfather were alive today they would beat the shit out of me for standing by and letting this happen to our state/nation. Freedoms gone that they gave their lives for. But, todays kids don't understand what it takes to keep our freedoms. This is why the schools haven't taught Civis in decades. They do not want informed person that knows their rights........ If you are under 60, your govt class taught you the three levels of govt and how a bill becomes a law. Period. None of that have any of us actually used.
Our government has gotten so big and out of control that none of us know how to retake it.
i am going to grab a good friend (Jerry) and make 12' stencil patterns and paint WHITE LIVES MATTER down the first the blocks of Washington street. Any bets on the outcome? BLM has absolutely nothing to do with racism. Its funded by Soros and the Democratic part to destroy our economy. Its working. On that note, why isn't that asshat Soros dead?... He openly admits this. Gimmie his address........
I believe it will take fire power. Period. That is a shame. People in local, state and federal positions are Fathers, Mothers, aunts and uncles but they have also neglected their SWORN duties to up hold our constitutional rights. This is why some Sherrifs in the state will not enforce the latest "order". Good for them.
I am curious of the MIchigan Militias stand on this act of Treason that Michigans governor is putting us through. Maybe I run for president of the militia......
In closing my small rant, I believe it is time to make a statement that we are not tolerating this over reach of government any longer. We, as a people, need to band together and restart this great nation. There is no such thing as reparations. Period. It is time for everyone in the United States to be self supportive. If you want 7 kids, be sure you can afford them or pay for your own abortion. No social security number, no check. If you don't pay taxes why should I support you? Enter the United States legally through the proper channels and I welcome you but be ready to support yourself and your family.
The first one that says White Privilege gets an ass Whooping. My Dad never owned your Dad. Native Americans killed many White people in the early days of our nation. ts time Churches pay their fair share of taxes. Besides, since when does a house of worship need an indoor basketball court, high tech light show, Full band P.A. system to worship the lord? My Dad always stated: Some of the most religious people in the world have never stepped foot in a church.
Its also time to scale back the police departments. NOT defund, but trim the fat. While does the GH Department of Public Safety feel the need for a patrol car to hide in the bushes on Coho drive and try to catch vehicles that don't stop for the rail road tracks. (Yes, I stop).... Are ya fuck'n kidding me? Thats my tax dollars getting pissed away. Start enforcing these assholes with the loud cars, bikes etc for the noise ordinance and Exabition driving. I don't mind a good rumble but shits goon out of hand.
Oh, and call 911 once and see how that process works. I can unload faster than you can get an officer out to your area.
The worst feeling I ever had (they say trust your gut feeling) I whole heartedly believe on the Friday that the asshole Jeffery Wilis was on trial for Jessicas murder, She was at my place of business. No one will ever convince me other wise. As she was standing in front of me, my gut wrenched and I started to shake. Looking back, I should have grabbed my .38 and held the man with her but instead I called 911. TWENTY MINUTES and no officer. Of course, you have to tell your story to 3 different people before they connect you to someone who can dispatch. After a face-to-face meeting with the head of Ottawa County central dispatch, he informed they are a model unit and revered throughout the state. After calling back, A GHDPS officer called. Not arrived, but called. Informing me if it was her she is only guilty of a runaway or missing person. UN FUCKING BELIEVABLE. Friends in the know tell me that are absolute it wasn't her based on the evidence that was never released to the public. Not Convinced. I do regret not getting ahold of either sides council.
Its here that I best stop. Sorry if I offended any of you but dig up some facts.
submitted by FacebookFreakouts to GrandHaven [link] [comments]

How lap times in different motorsports compare to each other

If you are a motorsports fan like me, you probably wondered, how fast the many different cars and classes are in relation to each other. While thinking about this question, I quickly realised that it is a near impossible task to measure this, you can’t compare cars from different series unless they share the track at the same point in time, which rarely happens. But still, I wanted to know, how the different classes compare to each other within their limitations (be it from the rules or from the conditions), in other words, which cars could go faster than others and by how much. To measure this, I chose the superior method of comparing lap times: percentages. (On a side note, I honestly don’t understand why teammates are always compared in tenths over the season, like saying X was on average 4 tenths slower than Y. This is just dumb, let’s all switch to percentages! Four tenths around Red Bull Ring is different than four tenths around Le Mans.)

TL;DR List

For the extremely busy, very unceremoniously and without additional commentary (as that comes later in this post), these are all the important racing classes with their regulations as of 2019:
  1. Formula 1 (100-104.3%)
  2. Super Formula (108-111%) LMP1 (112-114%) Indycar (112.5-115%) Formula 2 (114-117%)
  3. GT500 (117-120%) DPi (118.5-122%) LMP2 WEC (118-125%)
  4. Formula 3 (122-126.5%) DTM (123.5-126.5%) LMP2 IMSA (123-126%)
  5. GT300 (129-134%) GTLM IMSA - GTE WEC (130-138%) LMP3 (130-134.5%)
  6. MotoGP (132-139%) GT3 - GTD (134-140%) Australian Supercars (136.5-142%) Formula E (134-140%)
  7. Moto2 (140-144%) NASCAR Cup (141.5-144%)
  8. NASCAR Xfinity (144-146%)
  9. GT4 IMSA (145-150%)
  10. TCR (146.5-153%) NGTC (147-149%)
  11. GT4 SRO (149-155%) Moto3 (149-155%)


What I did can be described very simply, I looked up the fastest qualifying laps, of each series/class here on a bunch of tracks all around the world. Then I started comparing. First, if there was a direct comparison to F1, I calculated the percentage averages. Then, I started cross-referencing to other series which were active on most of the tracks (mainly GT3 and TCR) and calculated back to F1. There are some problems with this method. I can’t be 100% sure that for example GTD and GT3 have similar pace, or that TCR in Europe and TCR in Japan have similar pace. But with these two classes, the differences are not that big, which allowed me to have a more or less clear picture. After that I estimated the percentage range and made it bigger, because track conditions and other factors could mean up to 1-2% in lap time (this was the most “subjective” part). Because of the big ranges, I will always provide the direct comparison to F1 if there is one.

Why are there ties?

Many classes were surprisingly close to each other regarding their percentage ranges, despite (or maybe because) they rarely race on the same track. This led to some three- or four-way ties. In those ties I tried to rank them, based on feeling and direct comparisons. The classes could be in a different order within those ties if they raced in similar conditions, we can never be sure. Which leads me to the final boring paragraph I promise.

What factors influence lap time?

• Drivers, especially in series where there are pro and amateur drivers
• Qualifying and race formats: how much fuel is in the car; do you have to start with the fuel load; is it an endurance series; is it a one-lap shootout or is it the average of all drivers, do you have to negotiate around lower class cars; does your engine need to last another 5 races or 24 hours etc.
• Tires, very important, explains differences between GT500 & DTM or GT300 & GT3, think about how much faster F1 would be if the softest of the five compounds was available everywhere
• Performance Ballasts (BoP, EoT etc.), can be very severe (e.g. in LMP1 it is up to 2%)
• Track Conditions, very important even in a single session, as the track constantly changes
• AiTemperature conditions

Lap Time Percentage Ranking

1 Formula 1
I referenced all percentages to Formula 1 because it is obviously the fastest motorsport in the world. The pinnacle of motorsport (like it or not, it is the pinnacle) has mind bending machines, which produce enormous amount of downforce, have incredibly efficient and powerful engines and in the words of George Russell “ridiculous” brakes. On the note of Russell, I calculated the average percentage difference of the faster car of the slowest team to the pole time: 104.3% (side-note: it was surprisingly not always Williams, in Hungary, both Racing Points were beaten by a Williams).
To give you another example about percentages: the slowest team in recent history HRT had a 109% lap time on their worst days.
Just in case you forgot how an F1 car looks: 2019 Mercedes W10

2.1 Super Formula (108-111%)
direct comparison: 109.3%
Super Formula (formerly called Formula Nippon) is the top racing series in Japan and is the second fastest open-wheeled motorsport in the world. They race on Japanese circuits only, which gives us few direct comparisons to big international series (Suzuka with F1 and Fuji with WEC). It has a spec chassis and two engine manufacturers (Honda and Toyota). The new car, introduced in 2019 was to the tenth as fast as an LMP1 car in Fuji, but edges the class on direct comparison with F1 at Suzuka.
this is how the Dallara SF19 looks like in the hands of last year’s champion Nick Cassidy

2.2 LMP1 (112-114%)
direct comparison: 112.7%
On to the fastest non open-wheeled series, the next fastest cars are the magnificent sports car prototypes of the World Endurance Championship. This class has produced many great hybrid cars since 2014 from Porsche, Audi and Toyota, which battled at the 24h of Le Mans. Unfortunately, in the later years, only Toyota remained with a hybrid LMP1 and their car now competes against the privateer LMP1s of Rebellion. LMP1 beats both F2 and Indycar on direct comparison. If there is one class which could go much faster, it has to be the hybrid LMP1 Toyotas. The WEC introduced the fancy-named Equality of Technology, which basically should slow down the hybrids to the privateer speeds. Unfortunately, it actually means that the Toyotas go 2.5s per lap slower than they could and lose 1s per lap to the non-hybrid Rebellions at COTA. Because of that, the lap records are from 2016-17, when Audi and Porsche still were on the stage, pushing each other to greater and greater speeds.
this is the 2020 Toyota TS050 Hybrid, you won’t see this car for long on track because in the near future, there will be new prototype regulations

2.3 Indycar (112.5-115%)
direct comparison: 114.6%
The premier North American open-wheeled racing series would certainly be unbeatable on ovals, but on road courses, they are edged out by a few series. Again, like with SF, Indycar only races in a specific region and few tracks are visited by big international series, but they finally gave us a direct comparison with Formula 1 at COTA. This series also has a spec chassis (also by Dallara) and since 2018 a universal aero kit. There are two engine manufacturers: Honda and Chevrolet.
this is how the Dallara DW12 looks like in the hands of last year’s champion Josef Newgarden

2.4 Formula 2 (114-117%)
direct comparison: 115.8%
Finally, the slowest series in this four-way tie is the top feeder series for F1. This is a series, where young drivers can finally be part of the F1 paddock by racing in support races on the same weekend with the big ones. There is no direct comparison with Indycar and through cross-referencing it is still impossible to tell which one would be faster. The series employs a spec chassis by (again you guessed it) Dallara and has one engine manufacturer (Mecachrome). This series is more about the drivers, because it should find the best of the talents looking to get into F1.
this is how the Dallara F2 2018 looks like in the hands of last year’s champion Nyck De Vries

3.1 GT500 (117-120%)
direct comparison: 119.8%
The grand touring beasts populating the top class in the Japanese SUPER GT series are astonishingly quick. These race cars are the fastest production-based cars right now (well at least they kinda look like a production car) and can put some prototype classes to shame with their lap times. They beat the WECs LMP2s in Fuji but have unfortunately few other direct comparisons with similar classes. There are currently three manufacturers competing in GT500: Nissan, Toyota/Lexus and Honda. Recently, GT500 and DTM aligned their rules to be able to compete in each other’s series, which led to the Class One cars, as they are called now. While the chance of seeing DTM cars in SUPER GT and vice versa is low, it provides a great opportunity to see how tires influence car performance, as GT500 (having a tire war with 4 manufacturers) is clearly faster on track than DTM.
this is how the Lexus LC 500 GT500 championship winning car looked like in 2019

3.2 DPi (118.5-122%)
no direct comparison
The Daytona Prototype International class is the top prototype class in the IMSA United Sports Car Championship and has the honours to be the second fastest prototype class. It was introduced in 2017 alongside the new LMP2 regulations and became a separate class in the championship in 2019. This is the first class which had no direct comparisons to F1, but it is clearly faster than the WECs LMP2 class at Sebring. It is quite interesting in the sense that despite having four manufacturers (Cadillac, Acura, Mazda and Nissan) the cars used are based on four other LMP2 chassis (Dallara, Oreca, Riley and Ligier).
this is how the Acura ARX-05 2019 championship winning car looked like

3.3 LMP2 WEC (118-125%)
direct comparison: 120%
The second class in the WEC is a very popular one, with many privateer teams battling it out for LMP2 honours. The class is also used in the European Le Mans Series with similar specifications. The class was overhauled and redefined in 2017, four exclusive chassis manufacturers were appointed (the ones from DPi), a closed cockpit was mandated and there is a spec Gibson engine. The current cars and rule concepts are the basis, together with the DPis for the future LMDh regulations. It comfortably beats the 4th placed Formula 3 cars on direct comparison.
this is how the championship winning Oreca 07 by United Autosport looked like in 2019

4.1 Formula 3 (122-126.5%)
direct comparison: 123.6%
The third tier in the world of Formula 1 is the lowest which has a worldwide championship. It is one stage under Formula 2 and replaced GP3 in 2019. This change of name and structure also came with a new Dallara chassis and a spec Mecachrome engine. As you may have noticed, I only looked at the FIA Formula 3 Championship, and not at other regional or national series.
this is the Dallara F3 2019 driven by Robert Shwartzman, the 2019 champion

4.2 DTM (123.5-126.5%)
direct comparison: 124.9%
The cars used in the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters are called touring cars only for historic reasons. These cars are silhouette cars, meaning actually purpose-built machines using a body which resembles (slightly) to their road going counterparts. Although it is a series competing in Europe (mainly Germany with some few races in other places), it actually shares few circuits with faster series, so there is no direct comparison to the WEC or the ELMS or even Formula 3. So, it is hard to call which one would be faster. This should be changed with the DTM set to race at Monza (Edit: now it looks like they go to Spa) in the 2020 season. The DTM is as mentioned before the sister series of SUPER GT, which gives a perspective of how much faster these cars could go. Unfortunately, the future of the series doesn’t look too bright with only one manufacturer left after the end of this season, there’s a big chance that we won’t see these great cars in the future.
this is the Audi RS5 Turbo DTM_FP1.jpg&tbnid=VulVzwUeOXs-QM&vet=1&docid=EJNx6BNH9-qE1M&w=2560&h=1706&q=rene+rast+dtm+2019&source=sh/x/im) of champion Rene Rast in 2019

4.3 LMP2 IMSA (123-126%)
no direct comparison
The second class in North American sports car racing is a little bit slower than their WEC counterparts. This is also visible at the direct comparison at Sebring. The reasons for this could be that the LMP2s in IMSA were slowed down to create a bigger gap to the very similar DPi cars. Other features are exactly the same than in the WEC, the only difference being that there were only two entries in 2019.

5.1 GT300 (129-134%)
direct comparison: 132.7%
I think the Japanese like to show the world how fast some cars actually could go. GT300 is the lower class in SUPER GT, it consists mainly of GT3 cars from European manufacturers but also JAF-GT cars, which are just a Japanese GT class. What is surprising is how easily the GT300 cars beat their European GT3 counterparts and even the WEC GTE class is beaten fair and square at Fuji.
here is the Honda NSX GT3 Evo, last year’s championship winning machine

5.2 GTLM IMSA - GTE WEC (130-138%)
direct comparison: 132.6%
Now to the supposedly highest level of GT racing, which actually is beaten by two and pressured by a third one. GTE in WEC/ELMS or GTLM in IMSA is in all three championship the top GT class. The GTLMs beat the GTEs at Sebring but I still decided to take both together because they are very similar in performance. These cars are awesome, look awesome and I suspect could produce much better lap times, but especially in Europe, they are sometimes even beaten by the top GT3 cars. There are now five different manufacturers competing in the WEC and IMSA combined.
this is the Porsche 911 RSR which won in IMSA and WEC in 2019

5.3 LMP3(130-134.5%)
direct comparison: 132.7%
LMP3 is the lowest prototype class, which is more thought as an entry level for drivers and teams to prototype racing. It is used in the ELMS, Asian LMS and the IMSA Prototype Challenge. In Europe it beats the GTEs marginally and in North America it is beaten by GTLM marginally, so the actual difference between GTE and LMP3 is too close to call. There are five cars available and all have the same spec engine.
This is a Ligier JS P3 which won in the ELMS in 2019

6.1 MotoGP (132-139%)
direct comparison: 135.1%
There are two groups in motorsports which I consider the craziest. Those who jump into their small hatchbacks and rip through some forests or mountains on roads barely wider than the car itself and those who jump on a bike which can go with 360kph and you can touch the ground with your knees while negotiating corners. MotoGP is astonishingly quick, sometimes even beating GT3 race cars. There are six manufacturers currently competing in MotoGP with purpose built mororcycle prototypes.
This is last year’s MotoGP winner Marc Marquez and his Honda RC213V

6.2 GT3 - GTD (134-140%)
direct comparison: 136.9% - 135.4%
On to the arguably most widely used racing class right now: GT3. There are a lot of different championships using these cars, and there have been 51 cars homologated since its inception in the mid 2000s. The highest-level series using GT3s are the SRO sanctioned GT World Challenges (formerly Blancpain Series) and the IMSA Sports Car Championship with the name GTD. On top of that there are countless national championships, so it’s hard to actually say how fast GT3s are, because they race at so many places. Sometimes they beat GTE in Europe, they play a secondary role to GTLM in IMSA, sometimes they barely beat Australian Supercars. The interesting thing in GT3 is the variety of car styles, types, engines and the fact that all these different philosophies are tied together through Balance of Performance which equals out all the cars.
here is the Bentley Continental GT3 which won the last international GT3 race, the Bathurst 12h

6.3 Australian Supercars (136.5-142%)
direct comparison: 141.4%
The (maybe not so hidden) gem in motorsport is the Australian Supercars Championship (also known as V8 Supercars), it evolved from the Australian Touring Car Championship and has really fun to watch and actually pretty fast race cars from Holden and Ford (with sometimes other manufacturers coming and going). It is close to the Australian GT Championship lap time wise, but is a bit slower than GT3s at Bathurst, where a big international GT3 race happens every year. There are otherwise few meaningful comparisons to other series. Unfortunately, there are some doubts over its future, with the car brand Holden no longer active.
this is the Ford Mustang GT of Scott McLaughlin, last year’s champion

6.4 Formula E (134-140%)
direct comparison (manually measured with a youtube onboard): 134%
The premier electric racing series in the world is notably famous for racing on unusual (controversial?) tight circuits located in city centres. Because of that, there is only one proper comparison with another class (TCR at Marrakech) and you can kinda guess their time in Monaco’s last sector while watching an onboard and measuring it with a stopwatch. So based on this data, we can estimate that their speed is somewhere around GT3 and Supercars. Of course, Formula E is very strong on its own circuits but would lose to everybody at Bathurst, just like a Supercar couldn’t negotiate the Paris Circuit fast enough. We can only hope, that the championship with the highest manufacturer involvement goes to the full Monaco layout for a proper comparison. The car currently used is the 2nd Gen FE car, it has a spec chassis and battery but individual powertrains.
here is the DS Techeetah of 2019 champion Jean-Eric Vergne

7.1 Moto2 (140-144%)
direct comparison: 142.8%
The second tier motorcycle championship also comes in at a kind of no-mans land between Supercars and NASCAR. Unfortunately, I don’t know much more about Moto2 so
here is last years champion Alex Marquez with his Kalex Moto2 bike

7.2 NASCAR Cup Series (141.5-144%)
no direct comparison
The most popular form of motorsport in the US, NASCAR is centred around oval track racing. So much in fact, that its calendar only has two road courses (Watkins Glen and Sonoma). On top of that, to make direct comparisons even rarer, they use different layouts to Indycar and IMSA at both tracks. That leaves us with cross-referencing the Cup Series to its minor league, which leads to the conclusion that NASCAR is tied with Moto2 on pace and just edged out by Australian Supercars, which some consider to be kind of similar (very far reached imo) to it. credit to u/TacoHVAC for the laptimes
here is the 2019 Toyota Camry of cup series champion Kyle Busch

8 NASCAR Xfinity (144-146%)
no direct comparison
Fortunately, NASCAR’s minor league, the Xfinity series goes to two of road courses using common layouts (Road America and Mid-Ohio) so we can at least compare these cars to other classes on this list. The Xfinity cars are a bit slower than their Cup Series counterparts, and with that, they are far from GT3 and Supercars, but comfortably ahead of GT4.
this is the Chevrolet Camaro of 2019 champion Tyler Reddick

9 GT4 IMSA (145-150%)
direct comparison: 146.3%
We arrived at the slowest GT class, GT4 is widely used in some national championships. In North America, the Michelin Pilot Challenge is a support series of the IMSA Sports Car Championship and there you can see GT4 competing as the top class against TCR, which explains why the IMSA GT4s are faster than their European brothers and sisters.
this is the Audi R8 LMS GT4 which won last year’s Michelin Pilot Challenge

10.1 TCR (146.5-153%)
direct comparison: 149.9%
The most widely used touring car class was approved in 2014 and fully took over the touring car world in 2018, when the World Touring Car Championship also adopted the regulations. These cars are “true” touring cars, with many standardised parts and a performance ballast system to ensure fair competition. There are many manufacturers and twice as many series, with nearly every region having their own TCR championship. All the results from these championship count towards the TCR Model of the Year “championship” which is handed out since 2017. TCR provided a very constant basis for other lap time calculations (especially for the Japanese series), because it is so widely used and has universal rules. In Europe it beats GT4 very consistently.
here is the Hyundai i30 N TCR driven by World Touring Car champion Norbert Michelisz

10.2 NGTC (147-149%)
no direct comparison
One of the few places where TCR isn’t the main touring car class is of course the British Touring Car Championship. They have their own cars, called Next Generation Touring Cars, which have most likely a very similar performance than TCR. I say most likely, because there are not that many international series competing on some lesser known British tracks, so I used the British GT Championship (GT3) as a reference for NGTCs.
this is the BMW 330i M Sport driven by 2019 champion Colin Turkington

11.1 GT4 SRO (149-155%)
direct comparison: 151.9%
Finally, we are at the bottom of this list with the GT4 cars competing in various national and European SRO series. These cars are by no means slow, they beat road going hyper cars like the Koenigsegg One:1 or the McLaren P1 at Spa, which just shows how incredibly fast race cars are, even if they are slow (if that makes sense).
the final car on here is the BMW M4 GT4, winner of the 2019 GT4 European Series

11.2 Moto3 (149-155%)
direct comparison: 152.3%
The lowest class in motorcycle grand prix racing has about the same speeds as GT4. Generally you can say, that the different motorcycle tiers are much closer than F1 - F2 - F3.
this is the Honda NSF250RW Moto3 winning machine

That’s the end of the list. As you can imagine it was quite fun to research everything, but it also took a long time. Please correct any typos and feel free crosspost.
What comes next? I plan on doing something similar but for historic classes and look if somebody could challenge F1 for the throne in the past (my bet is on Group C or 70s Can-Am).
Edits: Due to popular request, I added some motorcycle classes, also corrected some technicalities about NASCAR tracks
submitted by reedcourt_z to motorsports [link] [comments]

What a USL D1 league might look like

TL;DR: Man with too much time on his hands goes deep down the rabbit hole on a concept this sub already didn’t seem that enthusiastic about. If you really want to skip ahead, CTRL+F “verdict” and it’ll get you there.
Two days ago, u/MrPhillyj2wns made a post asking whether USL should launch a D1 league in order to compete in Concacaf. From the top voted replies, it appears this made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move.
But I’ve been at home for eight weeks and I am terribly, terribly bored.
So, I present to you this overview of what the USL pyramid might look like if Jake Edwards got a head of steam and attempted to establish a USSF-sanctioned first division. This is by no means an endorsement of such a proposal or even a suggestion that USL SHOULD do such a thing. It is merely an examination of whether they COULD.
Welcome to the Thunderdome USL Premiership
First, there are some base-level assumptions we must make in this exercise, because it makes me feel more scientific and not like a guy who wrote this on Sunday while watching the Belarusian Premier League (Go BATE Borisov!).
  1. All D1 teams must comply with known USSF requirements for D1 leagues (more on that later).
  2. MLS, not liking this move, will immediately remove all directly-owned affiliate clubs from the USL structure (this does not include hybrid ownerships, like San Antonio FC – NYCFC). This removes all MLS2 teams but will not affect Colorado Springs, Reno, RGVFC and San Antonio.
  3. The USL will attempt to maintain both the USL Championship and USL League One, with an eventual mind toward creating the pro/rel paradise that is promised in Relegations 3:16.
  4. All of my research regarding facility size and ownership net worth is correct – this is probably the biggest leap of faith we have to make, since googling “NAME net worth” and “CITY richest people” doesn’t seem guaranteed to return accurate results.
  5. The most a club can increase its available seating capacity to meet D1 requirements in a current stadium is no more than 1,500 seats (10% of the required 15,000). If they need to add more, they’ll need a new facility.
  6. Let’s pretend that people are VERY willing to sell. It’s commonly acknowledged that the USL is a more financially feasible route to owning a soccer club than in MLS (c.f. MLS-Charlotte’s reported $325 million expansion fee) and the USSF has some very strict requirements for D1 sanctioning. It becomes pretty apparent when googling a lot of team’s owners that this requirement isn’t met, so let’s assume everyone that can’t sells to people who meet the requirements.
(Known) USSF D1 league requirements:
- League must have 12 teams to apply and 14 teams by year three
- Majority owner must have a net worth of $40 million, and the ownership group must have a total net worth of $70 million. The value of an owned stadium is not considered when calculating this value.
- Must have teams located in the Eastern, Central and Pacific time zones
- 75% of league’s teams must be based in markets with at a metro population of at least 1 million people.
- All league stadiums must have a capacity of at least 15,000
The ideal club candidate for the USL Premiership will meet the population and capacity requirements in its current ground, which will have a grass playing surface. Of the USL Championship’s 27 independent/hybrid affiliate clubs, I did not find one club that meets all these criteria as they currently stand.
Regarding turf fields, the USSF does not have a formal policy regarding the ideal playing surface but it is generally acknowledged that grass is superior to turf. 6 of 26 MLS stadiums utilize turf, or roughly 23% of stadiums. We’ll hold a similar restriction for our top flight, so 2-3 of our top flight clubs can have turf fields. Seem fair?
Capacity is going to be the biggest issue, since the disparity between current requirements for the second-tier (5,000) and the first tier (15,000) is a pretty massive gap. Nice club you have there, triple your capacity and you’re onto something. As a result, I have taken the liberty of relocating certain (read: nearly all) clubs to new grounds, trying my utmost to keep those clubs in their current markets and –importantly--, ensure they play on grass surfaces.
So, let’s do a case-by-case evaluation and see if we can put together 12-14 teams that meet the potential requirements, because what else do you have to do?
For each club’s breakdown, anything that represents a chance from what is currently true will be underlined.
Candidate: Birmingham Legion FC
Location (Metro population): Birmingham, Ala. (1,151,801)
Time zone: Central
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Legion Field (FieldTurf, 71,594)
Potential owner: Stephens Family (reported net worth $4 billion)
Notes: Birmingham has a pretty strong candidacy. Having ditched the 5,000-seater BBVA Field for Legion Field, which sits 2.4 miles away, they’ve tapped into the city’s soccer history. Legion Field hosted portions of both the men’s and women’s tournaments at the 1996 Olympics, including a 3-1 U.S. loss to Argentina that saw 83,183 pack the house. The Harbert family seemed like strong ownership contenders, but since the death of matriarch Marguerite Harbert in 2015, it’s unclear where the wealth in the family is concentrated, so the Stephens seem like a better candidate. The only real knock that I can think of is that we really want to avoid having clubs play on turf, so I’d say they’re on the bubble of our platonic ideal USL Prem.
Candidate: Charleston Battery
Location (Metro population): Charleston, S.C. (713,000)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Johnson Hagood Stadium (Grass, ~14,700)
Potential owner: Anita Zucker (reported net worth $3 billion)
Notes: Charleston’s candidacy isn’t looking great. Already disadvantaged due to its undersized metro population, a move across the Cooper River to Johnson Hagood Stadium is cutting it close in terms of capacity. The stadium, home to The Citadel’s football team, used to seat 21,000, before 9,300 seats on the eastern grandstand were torn down in 2017 to deal with lead paint that had been used in their construction. Renovation plans include adding 3,000 seats back in, which could hit 15,000 if they bumped it to 3,300, but throw in a required sale by HCFC, LLC (led by content-creation platform founder Rob Salvatore) to chemical magnate Anita Zucker, and you’ll see there’s a lot of ifs and ands in this proposal.
Candidate: Charlotte Independence
Location (Metro population): Charlotte, N.C. (2,569, 213)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Jerry Richardson Stadium (Turf, 15,314)
Potential owner: James Goodnight (reported net worth $9.1 billion)
Notes: Charlotte ticks a lot of the boxes. A move from the Sportsplex at Matthews to UNC-Charlotte’s Jerry Richardson stadium meets capacity requirements, but puts them on to the dreaded turf. Regrettably, nearby American Legion Memorial Stadium only seats 10,500, despite a grass playing surface. With a sizeable metro population (sixth-largest in the USL Championship) and a possible owner in software billionaire James Goodnight, you’ve got some options here. The biggest problem likely lies in direct competition for market share against a much better-funded MLS Charlotte side due to join the league in 2021.
Candidate: Hartford Athletic
Location (Metro population): Hartford, Conn. (1,214,295)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Pratt & Whitney Stadium (Grass, 38,066)
Potential owner: Ray Dalio (reported net worth $18.4 billion)
Notes: Okay, I cheated a bit here, having to relocate Hartford to Pratt & Whitney Stadium, which is technically in East Hartford, Conn. I don’t know enough about the area to know if there’s some kind of massive beef between the two cities, but the club has history there, having played seven games in 2019 while Dillon Stadium underwent renovations. If the group of local businessmen that currently own the club manage to attract Dalio to the table, we’re on to something.
Candidate: Indy Eleven
Location (Metro population): Indianapolis, Ind. (2,048,703)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Lucas Oil Stadium (Turf, 62,421)
Potential owner: Jim Irsay (reported net worth of $3 billion)
Notes: Indy Eleven are a club that are SO CLOSE to being an ideal candidate – if it weren’t for Lucas Oil Stadium’s turf playing surface. Still, there’s a lot to like in this bid. I’m not going to lie, I have no idea what current owner and founder Ersal Ozdemir is worth, but it seems like there might be cause for concern. A sale to Irsay, who also owns the NFL Indianapolis (nee Baltimore) Colts, seems likely to keep the franchise there, rather than make a half-mile move to 14,230 capacity Victory Field where the AAA Indianapolis Indians play and expand from there.
Candidate: Louisville City FC
Location (Metro population): Louisville, Ky. (1,297,310)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Lynn Family Stadium (Grass, 14,000, possibly expandable to 20,000)
Potential owner: Wayne Hughes (reported net worth $2.8 billion)
Notes: I’m stretching things a bit here. Lynn Family stadium is currently listed as having 11,700 capacity that’s expandable to 14,000, but they’ve said that the ground could hold as many as 20,000 with additional construction, which might be enough to grant them a temporary waiver from USSF. If the stadium is a no-go, then there’s always Cardinal Stadium, home to the University of Louisville’s football team, which seats 65,000 but is turf. Either way, it seems like a sale to someone like Public Storage founder Wayne Hughes will be necessary to ensure the club has enough capital.
Candidate: Memphis 901 FC
Location (Metro population): Memphis, Tenn. (1,348,260)
Time zone: Central
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Liberty Bowl Stadium (Turf, 58,325)
Potential owner: Fred Smith (reported net worth $3 billion)
Notes: Unfortunately for Memphis, AutoZone Park’s 10,000 seats won’t cut it at the D1 level. With its urban location, it would likely prove tough to renovate, as well. Liberty Bowl Stadium more than meets the need, but will involve the use of the dreaded turf. As far as an owner goes, FedEx founder Fred Smith seems like a good local option.
Candidate: Miami FC, “The”
Location (Metro population): Miami, Fla. (6,158,824)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Riccardo Silva Stadium (FieldTurf, 20,000)
Potential owner: Riccardo Silva (reported net worth $1 billion)
Notes: Well, well, well, Silva might get his wish for top-flight soccer, after all. He’s got the money, he’s got the metro, and his ground has the capacity. There is the nagging issue of the turf, though. Hard Rock Stadium might present a solution, including a capacity of 64,767 and a grass playing surface. It is worth noting, however, that this is the first profile where I didn’t have to find a new potential owner for a club.
Candidate: North Carolina FC
Location (Metro population): Durham, N.C. (1,214,516 in The Triangle)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Carter-Finley Stadium (Grass/Turf, 57,583)
Potential owner: Steve Malik (precise net worth unknown) / Dennis Gillings (reported net worth of $1.7 billion)
Notes: We have our first “relocation” in North Carolina FC, who were forced to trade Cary’s 10,000-seat WakeMed Soccer Park for Carter-Finley Stadium in Durham, home of the NC State Wolfpack and 57,583 of their closest friends. The move is a whopping 3.1 miles, thanks to the close-knit hub that exists between Cary, Durham and Raleigh. Carter-Finley might be my favorite of the stadium moves in this exercise. The field is grass, but the sidelines are artificial turf. Weird, right? Either way, it was good enough for Juventus to play a friendly against Chivas de Guadalajara there in 2011. Maybe the move would be pushed for by new owner and medical magnate Dennis Gillings, whose British roots might inspire him to get involved in the Beautiful Game. Straight up, though, I couldn’t find a net worth for current owner Steve Malik, though he did sell his company MedFusion for $91 million in 2010, then bought it back for an undisclosed amount and sold it again for $43 million last November. I don’t know if Malik has the juice to meet D1 requirements, but I suspect he’s close.
Candidate: Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
Location (Metro population): Pittsburgh, Penn. (2,362,453)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Heinz Field (Grass, 64,450)
Potential owner: Henry Hillman (reported net worth $2.5 billion)
Notes: I don’t know a ton about the Riverhounds, but this move in particular feels like depriving a pretty blue-collar club from its roots. Highmark Stadium is a no-go from a seating perspective, but the Steelers’ home stadium at Heinz Field would more than meet the requirements and have a grass surface that was large enough to be sanctioned for a FIFA friendly between the U.S. WNT and Costa Rica in 2015. As for an owner, Tuffy Shallenberger (first ballot owner name HOF) doesn’t seem to fit the USSF bill, but legendary Pittsburgh industrialist Henry Hillman might. I’m sure you’re asking, why not the Rooney Family, if they’ll play at Heinz Field? I’ll tell you: I honestly can’t seem to pin down a value for the family. The Steelers are valued at a little over a billion and rumors persist that Dan Rooney is worth $500 million, but I’m not sure. I guess the Rooneys would work too, but it’s a definite departure from an owner in Shallenberger who was described by one journalist as a guy who “wears boots, jeans, a sweater and a trucker hat.”
Candidate: Saint Louis FC
Location (Metro population): St. Louis, Mo. (2,807,338)
Time zone: Central
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Busch Stadium (Grass, 45,494)
Potential owner: William DeWitt Jr. (reported net worth $4 billion)
Notes: Saint Louis has some weirdness in making the jump to D1. Current CEO Jim Kavanaugh is an owner of the MLS side that will begin play in 2022. The club’s current ground at West Community Stadium isn’t big enough, but perhaps a timely sale to Cardinals owner William DeWitt Jr. could see the club playing games at Busch Stadium, which has a well established history of hosting other sports like hockey, college football and soccer (most recently a U.S. WNT friendly against New Zealand in 2019). The competition with another MLS franchise wouldn’t be ideal, like Charlotte, but with a big enough population and cross marketing from the Cardinals, maybe there’s a winner here. Wacko idea: If Busch doesn’t pan out, send them to The Dome. Sure, it’s a 60k turf closed-in stadium, but we can go for that retro NASL feel and pay homage to our nation’s soccer history.
Candidate: Tampa Bay Rowdies
Location (Metro population): Tampa, Fla. (3,068,511)
Time zone: Eastern
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Raymond James Stadium (Grass, 65,518)
Potential owner: Edward DeBartolo Jr. (reported net worth $3 billion)
Notes: This one makes me sad. Despite having never been there, I see Al Lang Stadium as an iconic part of the Rowdies experience. Current owner Bill Edwards proposed an expansion to 18,000 seats in 2016, but the move seems to have stalled out. Frustrated with the city’s lack of action, Edwards sells to one-time San Francisco 49ers owner Edward DeBartolo Jr., who uses his old NFL connections to secure a cushy lease at the home of the Buccaneers in Ray Jay, the site of a 3-1 thrashing of Antigua and Barbuda during the United States’ 2014 World Cup Qualifying campaign.
Breather. Hey, we finished the Eastern Conference teams. Why are you still reading this? Why am I still writing it? Time is a meaningless construct in 2020 my friends, we are adrift in the void, fueled only by brief flashes of what once was and what may yet still be.
Candidate: Austin Bold FC
Location (Metro population): Austin, Texas (2,168,316)
Time zone: Central
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Darrel K Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium (FieldTurf, 95,594)
Potential owner: Michael Dell (reported net worth of $32.3 billion)
Notes: Anthony Precourt’s Austin FC has some unexpected competition and it comes in the form of tech magnate Michael Dell. Dell, were he to buy the club, would be one of the richest owners on our list and could flash his cash in the new first division. Would he have enough to convince Darrel K Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium (I’m not kidding, that’s its actual name) to go back to a grass surface, like it did from ’96-’08? That’s between Dell and nearly 100,000 UT football fans, but everything can be had for the right price.
Candidate: Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
Location (Metro population): Colorado Springs, Colo. (738,939)
Time zone: Mountain
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Falcon Stadium (FieldTurf, 46,692)
Potential owner: Charles Ergen (reported net worth $10.8 billion)
Notes: Welcome to Colorado Springs. We have hurdles. For the first time in 12 candidates, we’re back below the desired 1 million metro population mark. Colorado Springs actually plans to build a $35 million, 8,000 seat venue downtown that will be perfect for soccer, but in our timeline that’s 7,000 seats short. Enter Falcon Stadium, home of the Air Force Academy Falcons football team. Seems perfect except for the turf, right? Well, the tricky thing is that Falcon Stadium is technically on an active military base and is (I believe) government property. Challenges to getting in and out of the ground aside, the military tends to have a pretty grim view of government property being used by for-profit enterprises. Maybe Charles Ergen, founder and chairman of Dish Network, would be able to grease the right wheels, but you can go ahead and throw this into the “doubtful” category. It’s a shame, too. 6,035 feet of elevation is one hell of a home-field advantage.
Candidate: El Paso Locomotive FC
Location: El Paso, Texas
Time zone: Mountain
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Sun Bowl (FieldTurf, 51,500)
Potential owner: Paul Foster (reported net worth $1.7 billion)
Notes: God bless Texas. When compiling this list, I found so many of the theoretical stadium replacements were nearly serviceable by high school football fields. That’s insane, right? Anyway, Locomotive don’t have to settle for one of those, they’ve got the Sun Bowl, which had its capacity reduced in 2001 to a paltry 51,500 (from 52,000) specifically to accommodate soccer. Sure, it’s a turf surface, but what does new owner Paul Foster (who is only the 1,477th wealthiest man in the world, per Forbes) care, he’s got a team in a top league. Side note: Did you know that the Sun Bowl college football game is officially, through sponsorship, the Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl? Why is it not the Frosted Flakes Sun Bowl? Why is the cereal mascot the promotional name of the football game? What are you doing, Kellogg’s?
Candidate: Las Vegas Lights FC
Location: Las Vegas, Nev. (2,227,053)
Time zone: Pacific
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Allegiant Stadium (Grass, 61,000)
Potential owner: Sheldon Adelson (reported net worth $37.7 billion)
Notes: Sin City. You had to know that the club that once signed Freddy Adu because “why not” was going to go all out in our flashy hypothetical proposal. Thanks to my narrative control of this whole thing, they have. Adelson is the second-richest owner in the league and has decided to do everything first class. That includes using the new Raiders stadium in nearby unincorporated Paradise, Nevada, and spending boatloads on high profile transfers. Zlatan is coming back to the U.S., confirmed.
Candidate: New Mexico United
Location: Albuquerque, N.M.
Time zone: Mountain
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Isotopes Park – officially Rio Grande Credit Union Field at Isotopes Park (Grass, 13,500 – 15,000 with expansion)
Potential owner: Maloof Family (reported net worth $1 billion)
Notes: New Mexico from its inception went deep on the community vibe, and I’ve tried to replicate that in this bid. The home field of Rio Grande Cr---I’m not typing out the whole thing—Isotopes Park falls just within the expansion rules we set to make it to 15,000 (weird, right?) and they’ve found a great local ownership group in the Lebanese-American Maloof (formerly Maalouf) family from Las Vegas. The only thing to worry about would be the metro population, but overall, this could be one of the gems of USL Prem.
Candidate: Oklahoma City Energy FC
Location: Oklahoma City, Okla. (1,396,445)
Time zone: Central
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark (Grass, 13,066)
Potential owner: Harold Hamm (reported net worth $14.2 billion)
Notes: There’s a bright golden haze on the meadow and it says it’s time to change stadiums and owners to make it to D1. A sale to oil magnate Harold Hamm would give the club the finances it needs, but Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark (home of the OKC Dodgers) actually falls outside of the boundary of what would meet capacity if 1,500 seats were added. Could the club pull off a move to Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma – home of the Oklahoma Sooners? Maybe, but at 20 miles, this would be a reach.
Candidate: Orange County SC
Location: Irvine, Calif. (3,176, 000 in Orange County)
Time zone: Pacific
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Angels Stadium of Anaheim (Grass, 43,250)
Potential owner: Arte Moreno (reported net worth $3.3 billion)
Notes: You’ll never convince me that Rangers didn’t choose to partner with Orange County based primarily on its name. Either way, a sale to MLB Angels owner Arte Moreno produces a fruitful partnership, with the owner choosing to play his newest club out of the existing Angels stadium in OC. Another baseball conversion, sure, but with a metro population of over 3 million and the closest thing this hypothetical league has to an LA market, who’s complaining?
Candidate: Phoenix Rising FC
Location: Phoenix, Ariz. (4,857,962)
Time zone: Arizona
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): State Farm Stadium (Grass, 63,400)
Potential owner: Ernest Garcia II (reported net worth $5.7 billion)
Notes: We’re keeping it local with new owner and used car guru Ernest Garcia II. His dad owned a liquor store and he dropped out of college, which is making me feel amazing about my life choices right now. Casino Arizona Field is great, but State Farm Stadium is a grass surface that hosted the 2019 Gold Cup semifinal, so it’s a clear winner. Throw in Phoenix’s massive metro population and this one looks like a lock.
Candidate: Reno 1868 FC
Location: Reno, Nev. (425,417)
Time zone: Pacific
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Mackay Stadium (FieldTurf, 30,000)
Potential owner: Nancy Walton Laurie (reported net worth $7.1 billion)
Notes: The Biggest Little City on Earth has some serious barriers to overcome, thanks to its low metro population. A sale to Walmart heiress Nancy Walton Laurie and 1.6 mile-move to Mackay Stadium to split space with the University of Nevada, Reno makes this bid competitive, but the turf surface is another knock against it.
Candidate: Rio Grande Valley FC
Location: Edinburg, Texas (900,304)
Time zone: Central
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): McAllen Memorial Stadium (FieldTurf, 13,500 – 15,000 with expansion)
Potential owner: Alice Louise Walton (reported net worth $45 billion)
Notes: Yes, I have a second straight Walmart heiress on the list. She was the first thing that popped up when I googled “McAllen Texas richest people.” The family rivalry has spurred Walton to buy a club as well, moving them 10 miles to McAllen Memorial Stadium which, as I alluded to earlier, is a straight up high school football stadium with a full color scoreboard. Toss in an additional 1,500 seats and you’ve met the minimum, despite the turf playing surface.
Candidate: San Antonio FC
Location: San Antonio, Texas (2,550,960)
Time zone: Central
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Alamodome (FieldTurf, 64,000)
Potential owner: Red McCombs (reported net worth $1.6 billion)
Notes: I wanted to keep SAFC in the Spurs family, since the franchise is valued at $1.8 billion. That said, I didn’t let the Rooneys own the Riverhounds based on the Steelers’ value and it felt wrong to change the rules, so bring on Clear Channel co-founder Red McCombs. Toyota Field isn’t viable in the first division, but for the Alamodome, which was built in 1993 in hopes of attracting an NFL franchise (and never did), San Antonio can finally claim having *a* national football league team in its town (contingent on your definition of football). Now if only we could do something about that turf…
Candidate: San Diego Loyal SC
Location: San Diego, Calif. (3,317,749)
Time zone: Pacific
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): SDCCU Stadium (formerly Qualcomm) (Grass, 70,561)
Potential owner: Phil Mickelson (reported net worth $91 million)
Notes: Yes, golf’s Phil Mickelson. The existing ownership group didn’t seem to have the wherewithal to meet requirements, and Phil seemed to slot right in. As an athlete himself, he might be interesting in the new challenges of a top flight soccer team. Toss in a move to the former home of the chargers and you might have a basis for tremendous community support.
Candidate: FC Tulsa
Location: Tulsa, Okla. (991,561)
Time zone: Central
Stadium (playing surface, capacity): Skelly Field at H.A. Chapman Stadium (FieldTurf, 30,000)
Potential owner: George Kaiser ($10 billion)
Notes: I’m a fan of FC Tulsa’s rebrand, but if they want to make the first division, more changes are necessary. A sale to Tulsa native and one of the 100 richest men in the world George Kaiser means that funding is guaranteed. A move to Chapman Stadium would provide the necessary seats, despite the turf field. While the undersize population might be an issue at first glance, it’s hard to imagine U.S. Soccer not granting a waiver over a less than a 10k miss from the mark.
And that’s it! You made it. Those are all of the independent/hybrid affiliates in the USL Championship, which means that it’s time for our…
VERDICT: As an expert who has studied this issue for almost an entire day now, I am prepared to pronounce which USL Championships could be most ‘ready” for a jump to the USL Prem. A reminder that of the 27 clubs surveyed, 0 of them met our ideal criteria (proper ownership $, metro population, 15,000+ stadium with grass field).
Two of them, however, met almost all of those criteria: Indy Eleven and Miami FC. Those two clubs may use up two of our three available turf fields right from the outset, but the other factors they hit (particularly Silva’s ownership of Miami) makes them difficult, if not impossible to ignore for the top flight.
But who fill in the rest of the slots? Meet the entire 14-team USL Premier League:
Hartford Athletic
Indy Eleven
Louisville City FC
Miami FC
North Carolina FC
Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
Tampa Bay Rowdies
Saint Louis FC
San Antonio FC
New Mexico United
Phoenix Rising FC
Las Vegas Lights FC
Orange County SC
San Diego Loyal SC
Now, I shall provide my expert rationale for each club’s inclusion/exclusion, which can be roughly broken down into four categories.
Firm “yes”
Hartford Athletic: It’s a good market size with a solid stadium. With a decent investor and good community support, you’ve got potential here.
Indy Eleven: The turf at Lucas Oil Stadium is no reason to turn down a 62,421 venue and a metro population of over 2 million.
Louisville City FC: Why doesn’t the 2017 & 2018 USL Cup champion deserve a crack at the top flight? They have the market size, and with a bit of expansion have the stadium at their own SSS. LCFC, you’re in.
Miami FC, “The”: Our other blue-chip recruit on the basis of ownership value, market size and stadium capacity. Yes, that field is turf, but how could you snub Silva’s chance to claim victory as the first division 1 club soccer team to play in Miami?
Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC: Pittsburgh sacrificed a lot to be here (according to my arbitrary calculations). Their market size and the potential boon of soccer at Heinz Field is an important inclusion to the league.
Saint Louis FC: Willie hears your “Busch League” jokes, Willie don’t care. A huge market size, combined with the absence of an NFL franchise creates opportunity. Competition with the MLS side, sure, but St. Louis has serious soccer history and we’re willing to bet it can support two clubs.
Tampa Bay Rowdies: With a huge population and a massive stadium waiting nearby, Tampa Bay seems like too good of an opportunity to pass up for the USL Prem.
Las Vegas Lights FC: Ostentatious, massive and well-financed, Las Vegas Lights FC is everything that the USL Premier League would need to assert that it didn’t intend to play second fiddle to MLS. Players will need to be kept on a short leash, but this is a hard market to pass up on.
Phoenix Rising FC: Huge population, big grass field available nearby and a solid history of success in recent years. No brainer.
San Diego Loyal SC: New club? Yes, massive population in a market that recently lost an absolutely huge sports presence? Also yes. This could be the USL Prem’s Seattle.
Cautious “yes”
New Mexico United: You have to take a chance on New Mexico United. The club set the league on fire with its social media presence and its weight in the community when it entered the league last season. The market may be slightly under USSF’s desired 1 million, but fervent support (and the ability to continue to use Isotopes Park) shouldn’t be discounted.
North Carolina FC: Carter-Finley’s mixed grass/turf surface is a barrier, to be sure, but the 57,000+ seats it offers (and being enough to offset other fully-turf offerings) is enough to put it in the black.
Orange County SC: It’s a top-tier club playing in a MLB stadium. I know it seems unlikely that USSF would approve something like that, but believe me when I say “it could happen.” Orange County is a massive market and California likely needs two clubs in the top flight.
San Antonio FC: Our third and only voluntary inclusion to the turf fields in the first division, we’re counting on San Antonio’s size and massive potential stadium to see it through.
Cautious “no”
Birmingham Legion FC: The town has solid soccer history and a huge potential venue, but the turf playing surface puts it on the outside looking in.
Memphis 901 FC: Like Birmingham, not much to dislike here outside of the turf playing surface at the larger playing venue.
Austin Bold FC: See the other two above.
FC Tulsa: Everything’s just a little bit off with this one. Market’s slightly too small, stadium has turf. Just not enough to put it over the top.
Firm “no”
Charleston Battery: Small metro and a small potential new stadium? It’s tough to say yes to the risk.
Charlotte Independence: A small new stadium and the possibility of having to compete with an organization that just paid over $300 million to join MLS means it’s best for this club to remain in the USL Championship.
Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC: When a club’s best chance to meet a capacity requirement is to host games at a venue controlled by the military, that doesn’t speak well to a club’s chances.
El Paso Locomotive FC: An undersized market and a turf field that meets capacity requirements is the death knell for this one.
Oklahoma City Energy FC: Having to expand a baseball field to meet requirements is a bad start. Having to potentially play 20 miles away from your main market is even worse.
Reno 1868 FC: Population nearly a half-million short of the federation’s requirements AND a turf field at the hypothetical new stadium makes impossible to say yes to this bid.
Rio Grande Valley FC: All the seat expansions in the world can’t hide the fact that McAllen Memorial Stadium is a high school stadium through and through.
Here’s who’s left in the 11-team Championship:
Birmingham Legion FC
Charleston Battery
Charlotte Independence
Memphis 901 FC
Austin Bold FC
Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
El Paso Locomotive FC
Oklahoma City Energy FC
Reno 1868 FC
Rio Grande Valley FC
FC Tulsa
With MLS folding the six affiliates it has in USL League One, the league is a little bit thin (especially considering USSF’s requirements for 8 teams for lower level leagues), but seems definitely able to expand up to the necessary numbers with Edwards’ allusions to five new additions this year:
Chattanooga Red Wolves SC
Forward Madison FC
Greenville Triumph SC
Union Omaha
Richmond Kickers
South Georgia Tormenta
FC Tucson
Format of Assorted Leagues – This (like everything in this post) is pure conjecture on my part, but here are my thoughts on how these leagues might function in a first year while waiting for additional expansion.
USL Premier – We’ll steal from the 12-team Scottish Premiership. Each club plays the other 11 clubs 3 times, with either one or two home matches against each side. When each club has played 33 matches, the top six and bottom six separate, with every club playing an additional five matches (against each other team in its group). The top club wins the league. The bottom club is automatically relegated. The second-bottom club will enter a two-legged playoff against someone (see below) from the championship playoffs.
USL Championship -- 11 clubs is a challenge to schedule for. How about every club plays everyone else three times (either one or two home matches against each side)? Top four clubs make the playoffs, which are decided by two-legged playoffs. The winner automatically goes up. I need feedback on the second part – is it better to have the runner-up from the playoffs face the second-bottom club from the Premiership, or should the winner of the third-place match-up get the chance to face them to keep drama going in both playoff series? As for relegation, we can clearly only send down the last place club while the third division is so small.
USL League One – While the league is so small, it doesn’t seem reasonable to have the clubs play as many matches as the higher divisions. Each club could play the other six clubs four times – twice at home and twice away – for a very equitable 24-match regular season, which would help restrict costs and still provide a chance to determine a clear winner. Whoever finishes top of the table goes up.
And there you have it, a hypothetical look at how the USL could build a D1 league right now. All it would take is a new stadium for almost the entire league and new owners for all but one of the 27 clubs, who wouldn’t feel that their property would be massively devalued if they got relegated.
Well that’s our show. I’m curious to see what you think of all of this, especially anything that you think I may have overlooked (I’m sure there’s plenty). Anyway, I hope you’re all staying safe and well.
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Soccer Betting Guide

Soccer is arguably one of the most played sports in the world thanks to recent success in high profile tournaments by the national team and the watching public has jumped on the band wagon.
Soccer betting has also seen a upturn in recent years also due to live coverage of Europe's best leagues and tournament namely the EPL and the Champions League.
Most leagues consists of 16-20 teams who battle it out each year in a bid to qualify for the finals series and go onto the grand final at the end of the season and be crowned champions.
The EPL does not have a finals series and is won purely on merit with the league leaders taking the trophy after 38 grueling games.
The Champions League brings together Europe's elite with the top teams from the previous seasons domestic competitions fighting it out for the coveted trophy, six group games are followed by a home and away knock out phase which leads to the final two teams going head to head.
Soccer is played over two fourty five minute halves and the rules are simple, score as many goals as you can.
The team with the most goals at the end of the game wins the match and collects three points, if the match ends in a draw then the teams take one point each. This was done to prevent teams from settling for bore draws.
Common Bet Types For Soccer.
Head To Head Betting.
This is a general win - lose - draw (1X2) bet placed on either of the two soccer teams competing in a single match, soccer is one sport that the draw comes into play due to the low scoring nature of the sport.
Line or Handicap Betting.
This option relates to the online betting sites handicap that is given to the team that is expected to lose in a bid to even the match up and the prices accordingly.
The online bookmaker will offer the inferior team a virtual head start in line with their current form and the line could be anywhere a little as 0.5 goals all the way up to 3 or 4.
Example - Liverpool are priced at 1.1 to beat Swansea in the head to head market but once the handicap is formed lets say Swansea gain 1.5 goals then the line betting would be 1.9 the pair.
If Swansea either win the game or lose by no more than 1.5 goals then it is Swansea that is deemed the winner in the market.
Correct Score.
As it sounds, place a bet on the match for the correct score at full time, home win, away win or draw.
Example - Liverpool to win 1-0, if they win 1-0 your bet is up but any other score and it's a losing bet even if Liverpool won by a different score.
Margin Betting.
This market is solely about what the difference in scores will be at the end of the game between the two teams.
You can pick set margins that the betting site has priced up which usually consists of band ranges or you can go for the exact margin a team will win by.
Example - Liverpool 1-2 goals, this means that if Liverpool win the match by anywhere between 1-2 goals then your bet is a winner.
Alternatively the exact margin would be if you placed a bet on Liverpool to win by 3 goals then they would have to win by that margin and that margin alone
First and Last Goalscorer Betting.
Pick a player to score either the first goal in any half or the last goal in any half and if your selection obliges then your bet is a winner.
Most Goals Betting.
You can pick any given player to score the most goals during the match of the players playing and if your selection manages to score the most or tie then your bet is good.
Example - Player A scores 2 goals and the nearest rival only manages 1 goal then player A is the winner OR player A and B score 2 goals each then they are both deemed the winner and the odds of the selections are halved.
If three players score the same amount then the odds are a third of the original and so on.
Yellow and Red Cards.
You can bet on how many cards will be given out during the match, there are different variations of this bet type some betting sites offer a points system e.g 10 points for a yellow and 30 points for a red.
Half Time Full Time Betting.
This market allows you to place a bet on a result at half time and then the result at full time.
Example - Arsenal FC to be leading at half time and at full time OR a draw at half time and Man Utd to win at full time.
It is a good option to inflate your odds on any given match.
EPL Winner.
This is a very popular bet, a simple win bet on who will be crowned EPL champions at the seasons end.
There is no finals series in the EPL so the champion is the team that sits at the top of the league after 38 games.
Europa League Winner.
This is a win bet on who will win the Europa League title after the finals is complete and one team comes out on top in the grand final.
Champions League Winner.
Europe's premier tournament held each year, the best teams across Europe compete in a group phase and then a knockout phase to be crowned kings of Europe.
FA/FFA Cup Winner.
Cup competitions are always popular with fans and they are often hot betting markets. A simple win bet on which team will lift the cup.
Most Goals.
This market allows you to bet on the player you think will score the most goals throughout the season.
submitted by PresentType to SoccerBettingGuideinf [link] [comments]

Places to get IgG antibody test & places to donate convalescent plasma

The IgG antibody test is starting to be widely available, so I wanted to share a round up of the places offering it in NYC. Edit: a bunch of people in the comments have made interesting remarks about the effectiveness of various tests, so I encourage you to read below; if you do a search for "IgG" you will get all the best comments.
Additionally, as more and more people are finding they're positive, it's getting more difficult to find places to donate convalescent plasma (the experimental treatment using the antibodies in your body to treat critically ill COVID-19 patients), so I wanted to share places to do that as well. Read more about convalescent plasma donation from the FDA, Wired, or the national project.
Theoretically, everyone's insurance is supposedly covering all COVID testing, but I think we all know it's a sketchy promise until you actually see the bill. Also, sadly, not everyone has insurance. So I'm also making notes about what I know about the costs, and what I've anecdotally heard about people's insurance experiences.
Where you can get tested
cinemagical414 notes below that Quest, Northwell, and CityMD use Abbott's test, whereas Cure Urgent Care uses Diazyme's, with a significantly higher false positive rate. I recommend this article for more general background about IgG v. IgM antibody testing.
Where you can donate plasma
(In order from your best bet to your worst bet, based on their response time and apparent capacity. You can only donate plasma at most once every 7 days, so please note that I'm not suggesting that you contact all these places and then make the rounds to bleed yourself dry - hopefully you can identify the place accepting donors that's easiest for you to get to.)
The Feinstein institutes for medical research with Northwell Health is apparently doing convalescent plasma studies; I filled out the form and haven't heard back. For actual plasma donation, though, they redirect you to NY Blood Center.
If you know of other places to get tested for antibodies, or volunteer for studies or plasma donation, please do share.
submitted by zippityflip to nyc [link] [comments]

I'mma head out

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[The Void Beyond] Book Three- The Soul Eternal- Chapter Eight

[Series So Far][Patreon][Previous Chapter][Next Chapter]
In the last chapter, we learnt about some upgrades the Camden was getting to help complete its mission.

Chapter Eight
Morgan didn’t talk about it. No-one else would understand. She didn’t understand, not really. The experience had the air of a dream now it was over, the specific details fading slightly as time passed. Morgan thought that perhaps it was the trauma she had been through finally getting to her. That her brain was rebelling against the thought of deliberately going near the Harvest. If it was up to Morgan she would be going with a fleet of battleships at her back, rather than a single cargo ship and a squad of marines. The two strike armour suits that had been loaded into her cargo bay were impressive, but she had seen Harvest creatures deal with the Ventuva kind handily. If it came to a fight Morgan intended to run.
She placed the tablet she was reading down, the device clicking into the stand by her bed so it didn’t float away. Gravity was proving to be an issue with the Ventuvan drive. Whilst they were travelling between each catapult at incredible speeds, the ship wasn’t truly accelerating, not in the traditional sense. That meant that there was no gravity, nothing pushing the deck upwards to meet the feet of the people within. Any ship intended to work long term with the technology would need the alien gravity plates. Spending too long floating about was unhealthy.
The tablet had contained every scrap of information about the colony in EX-282 she could find. There wasn’t much, the place had never been high on the priority list before it had been downscaled. From what Morgan could find the gas mining stations the system was supposed to have weren’t even finished. When they had moved the proposed colony onto habitable moon the delivery of parts for the mining stations had simply stopped. Morgan wasn’t surprised, space was filled with hundreds of tiny colonies that had once existed as grand corporate plans only to be ignored once things turned out to be unprofitable. It seemed that the people of EX-282 were scraping out a living, or at least had been, by mining their moon for minerals, launching them into orbit with a mass driver to be scooped up by the single transport registered to the moon.
That single ship hadn’t turned up yet. Morgan hoped it wouldn’t. The Harvest was like a disease, any ship cursed by its blighted touch another vector for infection. The Harvest had been content to let ships come to them, luring in the curious with objects left orbiting distant stars. Morgan had witnessed a graveyard of ships, thousands of years’ worth of debris orbiting a sinister planet. If they truly had spread to EX-282, it was a worrying change in tactics.
Morgan pulled the straps keeping her attached to the bed tighter and closed her eyes. She hadn’t been sleeping well, not since leaving the stations. Morgan knew she wasn’t alone. More than once over the past few days Morgan had stumbled across Angel working on something in the dead of night. The engineer had simply nodded at her, both women understanding the other without words. Morgan knew that Nine and Three understood, at least a little. The two Ventuva had come aboard the Camden as part of the marine team. Eight had come along as well, along with a handful of Ventuva scientists. They had watched the Harvest wreak its havoc on the world below their station, but it wasn’t the same as experiencing it in person.
Morgan reached up the wall next to her, straining against her strapping. A bed wasn't strictly necessary in zero gravity, if you wanted to you could go to sleep anywhere. Doing that was generally a bad idea though, in case the ship needed to engage the engines in an emergency. The straps were to prevent someone from bouncing around in their sleep. Morgan scrolled down on the small touch screen, selecting the room she wanted to contact. Her target chosen she pressed the button to dial the intercom.
“Angel, you awake?” Morgan said. She found she was whispering. It wasn’t necessary, ships were surprisingly loud places, the hum of air systems or chugging of pumps forming a constant background noise.
“Well, I would be now, considering the intercom just beeped in my ear,” Angel said. “But no, I wasn’t. I’ve been finding it hard the past few nights. It’s like the closer we get to our destination, the worse it gets. Sometimes I think we’re mad for doing this. We didn’t even put up a fight, not really.”
“I know what you mean. Every bone in my body is telling me we shouldn’t be doing this, and yet…”
“And yet you also don’t want to stop yourself? Part of you wants to face the Harvest again. To prove you’re better than it, to show you aren’t scared. I know the exact feeling.”
“That obvious, huh?” Morgan said. She had found she was nodding along with Angel’s statements even though the engineer couldn’t see her.
"I bet Three and Nine would say the same if their English was good enough."
“We could always learn Ventuva.”
“Hah, I tried a few words. I don’t think we can even make the right noises. Everything is kind of high pitched.” Angel chuckled down the line. “It’s funny if you think about it, to them it must sound like Ventuva speaking English are putting on silly deep voices.”
“Hah, yeah. It would like everyone talking like thirteen-year-old boys who want to sound older.” Morgan went silent for a few seconds. “You think we can deal with it, the Harvest?”
"I fucking hope so. We've got one jump before we hit Ex-282, and his royal arseholeness Leighton wants to test the strike armours before we leave, so hopefully, we'll have those to back us up. We haven't done some basic movement tests, but there's not much space in the hold to get about."
“Sounds good.” Morgan reached across to her tablet and pulled it free from its cradle. She swiped across to the flight plan. “This is the Onyx system, right? Who names these places?”
“Probably some executive. Maybe it’s his daughter’s birthstone or something? It’s not the worst system name I’ve seen.” Angel’s shrug was almost audible over the intercom.
“Well, it’s not a big system. The catapult exit point is only a few hours from the next launcher, and there’s a supply station next to it. We can fly there the old-fashioned way. The gravity will do us good and we can pick up some new supplies. We’re a little low on food and I’m sure most people are sick of those crappy microwave meals I bought.”
“The chicken tikka isn’t so bad.
“What chicken? That was all sauce and rice. You were lucky if you got two chunks of meat, maybe three,” Morgan said. “It was the best of a bad bunch though. I’ll give you that.”
“Right. Well, I’m going to try and get some sleep. Squeeze in a few hours,” Angel said, immediately yawning, the sound groaning over the intercom.
"Of course. Thanks, Angel. Goodnight."
The brief few hours of gravity had been a blessed relief. Morgan’s joints had ached and protested, but just being able to walk had made it all worth it. That short joy was gone now, the Camden finishing its deceleration near the supply station. Near was relative, the Camden was positioned several kilometres beneath the station, the location chosen so the firing engines didn’t damage the facility. The ship would need to orient itself and coast in on thrusters, a process that would take about fifteen minutes.
“Deceleration complete, Captain,” Foster said. “I’ve pinged the station for docking instructions.”
"I don't really think we need to stop here. We have enough food for a month or so. Enough to get us back to Boardroom easily enough. This alien engine certainly makes a world of difference." Leighton had been unbearably smug since the drive had first come online, acting as if he had invented the device himself.
“Always plan for the worst. Who knows what will happen once we make that jump? That’s how the fleet trained me anyway.” Morgan wasn’t in the mood for Leightons attitude. She had been forced to spend several hours helping him look for a suitable test site in the system for the strike armours. There simply hadn’t been one, the only sites not visible to the supply station several weeks travel out of the way. Even then there was a good chance they would be detected. The Camden would be long gone if they were, the distances involved creating a significant delay, but Leighton eventually conceded. This was the first station they had passed that wasn’t Union military, and information about the Union-Ventuva collaboration was too sensitive to risk getting out.
Or at least, that’s what Leighton thought. Morgan had a different opinion. After spending time with Ventuva she could understand, Morgan was certain that they would be working on similar programs with the other nations. It simply didn't make business sense to restrict your customer base like that. If anything, promoting an arms race only offered a greater chance for profit. Morgan found herself with a strange admiration for the Ventuvas' beliefs. She hated how money oriented they were, but the honesty, that's what stuck out to her. Morgan had met plenty of humans who thought the same way, but at least the aliens were upfront about it.
Leighton simply turned his chair and grumbled to himself.
“They’re taking their time with the docking instructions,” Morgan said. “Ping them again, Foster.”
“I have. There’s no response.”
Morgan’s mind thought back to the flight plan from the night before. The Onyx system was practically next door to EX-282, galactically speaking.
“Get scopes on that station and get the LADAR running. I want a heads up if anything moves. Back us away, Foster. Get a few kilometres between us and the station.”
“Aye, Captain.”
“You’re being rather paranoid, don’t you think?” Leighton said.
Morgan glared back at him. He should know better than to second guess a captain’s orders. Morgan suspected the commodore had never actually been through officer training. Undermining a colleague’s command wasn’t just rude, it could be a fatal delay in battle.
“Get the point defences spinning up,” Morgan said.
“Aye,” came the response from a Union spacer across the bridge.
Leighton crossed his arms. “I really don’t think any of this is necce-”
“Captain!” The female spacer manning the telescopes didn’t seem to be worried about shouting over the commodore. “There’s a breach on the station hull. I’m sending the image to the main screen.”
The viewscreen sprang to life, the footage relayed from one of a dozen telescopes mounted to the Camden’s hull. Like on most ships they were designed to act as a back up the more reliable LADAR. There was a gash in the side of the station. It wasn’t battle damage- the edges were too uniform. It was more like a cut, like some giant claw had sliced through the side. It ran down three decks and was easily two people wide.
“Am I paranoid now, commodore?”
“This could be anything. The work of pirates maybe?”
"Nah." Angel pushed herself out from her seat, catching a handhold on the ceiling as she drifted forward. She came to a stop closer to the viewscreen and peered at it. "Making a breach like this is too dangerous. Boarding is hard enough already; you don't want to make it harder. These are corridors, there should be light coming out of this hole. There isn't so that means the power is out."
“The habitat ring is still spinning,” Leighton said.
"Yeah, it will. The whole thing is designed to be spun to speed the once and just left to spin. Occasionally it might get an extra nudge when the bearings slow it down, but even with the power out a ring like that will keep going for months." Angel moved forwards, arms gripping each handhold like they were monkey bars. She reached out and touched the glass, her prosthetic arm clinking against it. “It’s weird there is no other damage. No blast marks or anything.”
“I don’t like this, not with how close it is to our destination,” Morgan said. She leant forward and pressed the intercom switch on her chair. “Phillipe get your marines ready. Prep them for boarding. Get those robots up and running as well.”
“Belay that,” Leighton shouted. “We’re not doing that. It’s a waste of time. We have a mission.”
“There could be people on that station still alive. And this is just too much of a coincidence. We’re going across. Besides, this is the perfect chance to test those machines you have sat in my hangar.”
“I suppose. Very well,” Leighton said, his voice returning to a more normal volume. “But make it quick.”
submitted by EvidarUK to redditserials [link] [comments]

The Southern Cross - An Ace Combat X fanfic : Chapter 03 Part I

Ace Combat X: The Southern Cross

Chapter 3 - Out of the Fire (Part I)

Griswall, East Aurelia
October 11th, 2020, 0845hrs
"…So let this be a symbol of fury born by our countrymen towards Aurelia, who have sought only to capitalize on our country's inner turmoil for their own selfish interests! Let this be a reminder to all of you that any injustice done toward our mighty nation shall not go unanswered! Let this be the statement to the world that Leasath will tolerate this oppression no longer!"
Such was the impassionate speech of Leasath's supreme commander, Diego Gaspar Navarro, as images of the last Aurelian Air Force squadron's destruction over Cape Aubrey played on the large jumbotron screen in the middle of Aster Square, occasionally transitioning with live footages of the Leasathian Military as they engage the weary and outnumbered Aurelian soldiers. Looming over them all was a massive jet black sky fortress that was responsible for most of the Leasathian victories in the past ten days. They had been keeping its existence under wraps for a while but it seemed they finally decided to officially introduce it to the world, probably to further cement their reputation.
The video has been playing on repeat since yesterday's evening now, and Navarro's gravelly voice continued to echo through Genette's hungover brain since he got out of his hotel room this morning. The man really wanted to rub it in the faces of those Aurelians that he had them beaten, alright, but this is getting very tiring.
Genette sighed, stuffing his hands in his trouser pockets, as he observed a large crowd of Aurelian civilians gathering to watch the video on the jumbotron. There were angry murmurs and furious looks on their faces, but the presence of armed Leasathian soldiers nearby meant they couldn't do anything if they still value their own lives. With their city fallen under their enemy's control and the Aurelian soldiers driven out, those civilians were left at the mercy of the Leasathians. The soldiers usually ignore them and left them to their own devices, though, as long as they don't get any idea about doing something they shouldn't.
It's only a matter of time before that happens, though. Genette thought to himself. History has proven time and time again that people don't take military occupations well. Sooner or later, a resistance movement will be formed to challenge them. It happened in Ustio, San Salvacion, Yuktobania, Emmeria, and it will eventually happen here as well. They just needed a spark of hope to light the fire.
Hopefully that spark hasn't burned out yet.
Genette stared thoughtfully at the pic of the last AAF squadron getting shot down again. There's something really odd about it. The picture showed only four planes getting shot down, but if Genette did his homework right, these guys were pilots of Gryphus Squadron, which should have six planes. Where were the other two?
Peering his eyes so he could observe the picture closer, he noticed something else: the placement of planes in the squadron weren't what they should be. The four planes that went down – based on the positions they were in – would imply that they were flying in a loose group. Maybe not even in a formation, and he's pretty sure about this from his experience with Wardog/Razgriz Squadron. If Gryphus Squadron really had four planes, that definitely wasn't how they should be flying.
There's something off about this picture. It has to be. That's what Genette's journalist instincts told him. One of the most important rules in his line of work is to always question his sources, especially when those sources are related to the military. Edited photographs for security or propaganda purposes are among the most common cases, and with Leasath, it seems likely to be the former.
Hopefully, his friend in OIA would shed some light on all this. He's always a nut when it comes to superweapons of all kinds. Maybe he could tell him more about the 'Gleipnir' and its capabilities.
"What a pitiful sight…"
A female voice, spoken in a soft, almost regretful tone, caused Genette to lose his train of thought. He turned toward the speaker and saw a young lady – probably in her early thirties - in a dark green T-shirt and a pair of black jeans. She had a light-tanned skin, a slim yet athletic build, and an auburn hair tied up in a proper bun. She was staring at the jumbotron with a mixed expression of curiosity and pity. Genette wasn't sure if she was talking to him or just voicing her thoughts out loud. Nevertheless, he decided to talk to her anyway.
"I beg your pardon?"
The young lady turned to face him with a little awkward smile on her face. She gestured toward the jumbotron screen, "Those pilots. They deserve better than to go out like that."
Genette didn't reply right away, but he nodded in agreement. The lady's smile faded as she lowered her face, sighing, "I'm sorry, it's just…I'm getting tired of all these propaganda footage playing nonstop since yesterday. As if these Aurelians haven't suffered enough already."
"Probably it's not the only reason," Genette replied, figuring that it wouldn't hurt to share a few thoughts himself, "Leasath has always been taking any opportunity to show off their military power for the world to see, and what better way to present their newest toy by showing it crushing the last of the Aurelian resistance?"
The young lady chucked bitterly, "Heh. If their idea of displaying dominance is by using an invisible flying warship just to take down a single enemy squadron with an attack that they can't even see coming, then it's not much of a display. It's playing dirty. If anything, the Leasath Military should be ashamed of itself to resort to such tactics to win."
"Unfortunately, that's how wars are done these days," Genette said as he watched the Leasathian soldiers started dispersing the crowd away, "As long as it gets the results you wanted then anything is a fair game. Remember that rogue Erusean submarine captain who faked his surrender to the Oseans about a year ago?"
"Yeah. Who could forget a guy like that, huh? " The lady replied with a nod, "You seem to be well informed, mister."
"I'm a freelance journalist," Genette smiled back, "Looking up about this sort of thing is a favorite pastime of mine."
"That makes two of us," The lady said with a slightly more cheerful tone, "Wars are terrible, but they do have a lot of lessons to be learned. I'm curious to know which lessons we would get from this one."
"Trying to find out is the reason why I'm here," Genette said. There's something about this lady that made Genette think that he could at least trust her with some information about himself. Maybe it was the way she spoke about the downed Aurelian pilots? Maybe it was because of the lady herself? Genette couldn't help but feel a bit amused about himself letting his guard down because he has a soft spot for ladies. She does seem like a nice person at first glance, though. Then again, he had been wrong before. Gotta try better to keep that in mind.
The lady nodded, acknowledging Genette's purpose here, "Can't say much about Aurelians, but if you want some Leasathian inputs, you can try getting in contact with someone at Gauiss Tower. Their high command had set up shop there since they took over Griswall."
Of course they would. Genette thought humorously. If his experience in Navarro's penthouse in Alendal was any indication, it was obvious to him that Navarro would pick Gaiuss Tower as the location of Leasath Military's Central Command. This also confirmed Genette's suspicion about the lady herself as well: she's definitely someone from Leasath Military, albeit far friendlier than what he would expect. What was her purpose here, he wondered?
He turned to his right and face the tower itself before glancing upward. The white 'tower' was more accurately twin towers that stood atop the same building foundation, with four 'bridges' sections connecting the two towers together as they piercing high into the sky above.
"Did you know that Aurelia built Gaiuss Tower to be a symbol of peace?" Genette spoke up, piqued the young lady's interest, "How ironic that now it was used as Leasath's seat of power."
"The Arkbird and the Space Elevator were built to be symbols of peace, too. Didn't stop them from being used for warfare, anyway." The lady replied solemnly, "I guess that's one more thing we can learn from history: it loves irony."
"I suppose so."
For a while, both Genette and the lady just stood there observing the skies above them together, nothing up there except the sun traveling the same old path as it has been since the dawn of time. It's almost crazy to think that throughout human history, through all the wars and conflicts fought in the name of some grand ideal and purpose, that very same sun still rises and falls as if nothing has ever happened. Just another day in the cosmos. Just another reminder that the universe is far bigger than what humanity could ever achieve on this little blue planet, yet people never seem to get the memo.
Maybe it's because of the weariness of all the wars he covered these past few years finally starting to get to him. Maybe not. Still, Genette couldn't deny that he was starting to get sick of it all. Why couldn't the world just stay at peace for more than a few years for once? The rays of the sun burning his tired eyes didn't help his mood at all. He figured he should at least take up the lady's offer and look up some info at the Leasath's HQ at Gaiuss Tower soon, even though he'd rather be anywhere else but here right now. The sooner he gets to finish covering this completely one-sided war that never amounted to anything and return back to Osea, the better.
The young lady sighed again. She closed her eyes for a moment as she took a deep breath, taking in the clean air of Griswall to clear her mind, before turning to face Genette again. Something told him that she was just as tired of this war as he was.
"I have to go. My friends are waiting for me," She said in a surprisingly sad tone – almost as if she didn't want to leave. She reached her left hand into the left pocket of her jacket before taking out a piece of paper. She wrote something in it before handing it to Genette. It was a phone number – along with her name.
"Y'know, I don't give my number out to guys often, but you seem like a decent bloke," The lady smiled playfully, almost teasingly, which made Genette avoid her gaze with an awkward smile on his face, "If you're looking to cover the story on this, I might be able to help. Just give me a call with this number and we can arrange our next meeting."
"I…" Genette was taken aback by the sudden kind offer – from someone he just met, no less. Granted, a lot of friends he had all started out as strangers for him, too, but usually he's the one who's on the initiative, not the other way around, "Are you sure that's a good idea?"
"Well, it's not like I have anything better to do lately." The lady admitted as she crossed her arms, glancing in annoyance at the jumbotron again, which was now displaying the Gleipnir prominently, "Not with that ugly thing keeps stealing my job, anyway."
"I…thank you so much, ma'am." Genette smiled, "Hopefully, we might have another chance to meet again."
"Looking forward to it, journalist," The lady give Genette a playful wink before she began walking away. Genette could've sworn he had heard her giggled lightly as she was some distance away.
If it wasn't for the fact that he could actually feel the small paper with the lady's phone number in his palm, Genette would've thought that he was in some sort of a dream resulted from the hangover he had since the morning. But this was real.
He took a closer look at the name mentioned below the number: Erina Cortes, LAF. Not a familiar name, that's for sure, but that can be remedied easily if he enlisted his friend's help this evening. He had to get in touch with that guy to dig up info about the Gleipnir for his works, after all.
Taking out his smartphone to take a photo of it just in case, Genette carefully put the paper away in his dark jacket before deciding to return home to continue his work. As tired as he was, maybe this would make his current job turning out interesting yet. Only time will tell.
Cape Aubrey, Aurelia, 0915hrs
Ian's angry shouts startled Reyna as she walked into the cafeteria. The TVs in the hall were displaying Leasath's propaganda video and what they were showing made Reyna winced: footages of Gryphus Squadron being shot down yesterday. Leasath was basically displaying their friends' last moments for the world to see, using it as propaganda was only rubbing the salt in the wound. No wonder why Ian was so furious.
"Goddamn cowards!" He continued yelling, his fists raised up high in the air. Leo and Zoe had to restrain him from venting his anger out on the poor hanging TV, "A symbol of fury!? I'll show you fury,
"Enough already, Ian!" Reyna shouted to him, "Save it for later! You wanna get even? Do it on today's sortie, not here!"
Ian froze still for a moment. Reyna glared at him to further dissuade him from doing anything stupid. Fortunately, he seemed to get the memo and quietly settled himself back down on his seat, albeit with a frustrated groan. "At least turn that shit off, goddammit!"
"Oblige him, please." Zoe agreed, turning toward an officer on mess duty and nodded. He quickly paced to grab the remote on one of the far tables. Before he switched the TV to another channel, Reyna observed the last image on the screen: a titanic black-bodied aircraft launching out a missile, most likely the same one that killed her friends.
An aerial warship. Of course it has to be an aerial warship. Reyna sighed as she settled herself next to Zoe at the table. As if being able to read her thoughts, Zoe spoke up exactly what's on her mind, "Of course the Leasathians got a superweapon. It's always the enemy who got a superweapon. What the hell do we have?"
"We were supposed to have something," Seamus, Leo's mechanic who helped fixed his plane yesterday, said as he walked by with a tray of breakfast in his hands, "I don't know much details, but apparently the Atmos Ring in Griswall was supposed to have a network of energy-based turrets or something. Unfortunately for all of us, it's never finished by the time we're invaded."
"Figures. You'd think with all the years we had to prepare for the inevitable Leasath invasion, it would've been done long before now," Ian frowned, taking a bite from his sandwich in a way that was overly aggressive.
"Well, there's no use complaining about it. It's not like it can do us any good right now even if it's completed," Leo told them, "Griswall is on the other side of the country while we're stuck here. This base is all we have left."
"That's going to change today," Reyna said, trying to be optimistic, "Solano said he has some good news for us…sort of, so maybe we can actually strike back at the enemy for a change."
"Yeah, right, because the last time that kid had his hopes up, it ended so well for us, huh?" Ian snickered, "Anyone wanna bet how he's gonna get us killed today?"
"Don't give me that crap, Ian. You wanna get grounded?" Reyna glared at him sternly, reminding him of the threat she gave him yesterday, "Nobody here is your enemy so don't go looking for one."
"Right, right! I got it already!" Ian quickly replied with a scoff, "When did you become such a hardass?"
I dunno, when did you become such a dick? Reyna thought. For a moment, she felt lucky that Ian was only a WSO and not an actual pilot. She never has to deal with someone who's out of line before and she's sure as hell not looking forward to dealing with one. But the tensions were understandably high from recent events.
Aside from that, the rest of the breakfast was uneventful. Too uneventful to the point that Reyna felt awkward and uncomfortable. That sense of tension and uneasiness filled the mess hall. What would normally be a scene of a hearty meal between her friends - with Rick and Roy making fun of Luis or vice versa, Elena, Zoe, and Paula having their girly chats together, and Ian, Hank, and Jonas trying their damnest to get a word out of Leo – was lost to memory along with the friends who never made it back. All that's left were the depressing sight of battered survivors just eating their food in silence, no longer possessing that cheerful spirit they once had.
Relax and smile. That's how we fly.
Gryphus Squadron's unofficial motto kept ringing in her head. Reyna couldn't help but feel somewhat amused at it. Those words were Rick's idea coined after he saw that silly emblem on her plane's tail wing. He always seems to make such a big deal out of it for some reason that Reyna couldn't figure out. With the turn of events happening since yesterday, she wondered if she ever understood any of her wingmen at all.
Relax and smile? Easier said than done, Rick.
About ten minutes later, the group was done with breakfast. Leo and Ian went with Seamus to oversee their plane maintenance one last time before the sortie, while Reyna and Zoe went to see Elena in the infirmary. Reyna wanted to see her cousin as well, which was probably why she was very surprised to see the bed he was lying on last night empty once she walked into the room.
"He insisted to Doc that he's healed up enough," Louise, her cousin's only surviving wingman from Falco, explained once Reyna queried her about it, "Said he was sick of staying in bed all day long and that someone might need it more than him, so he went to take a walk outside since early this morning. Wanted some fresh air, I guess."
"That idiot…" Reyna mumbled, "This place could be attacked at any time and he goes for a walk?"
"Well, if this place's attacked, then the war's already lost anyway. I suppose it won't make that much difference." Elena spoke up, her face forming a resignation expression, "If I have to die, I'd rather be out there fighting than being stuck here in this stupid bed."
Zoe chuckled, finding Elena's deadpan acceptance somewhat amusing, "That is if the captain doesn't kill you first, girl."
"Hey!" Reyna elbowed Zoe lightly, though she found the comment a bit humorous herself, "I wouldn't want to kill you again, Elena. I've 'killed' you enough times already during training. I want targets that could put up a better fight."
"Ouch. Need some water with that burn?" Zoe laughed, while Elena grabbed some nearby tissue, crumble it into a ball, and throw it at Reyna, who ducked playfully in response. They both shared cheeky smiles at each other, and Reyna felt a sense of relief. It seemed like Elena's taking what happened well enough. She wanted to mention Paula but decided against it. At least not now.
"Heh, just wait until I get out of here," Elena said, rolling her body impatiently on the bed, "Goddamn docs! I told 'em I'm fit for duty already. Let me go kick some-ahh!"
Elena groaned in pain after moving her body a bit too fast for her liking. Even though she didn't receive any major injury, her body still suffered from extreme G-force when she bailed out of her doomed airplane, and it would be a while until she could fly again. Unfortunately, Paula wasn't so lucky: her parachute was punctured by debris as she floated down, causing her to hit the ground too fast and was severely injured, which led to her untimely death.
"Give it a week, Elena," Reyna advised, obviously not wanting to see any more harm to come to her wingman more than it already was, especially how she just managed to cheat death while most of her friends didn't just the day before. Not wanting to upset her, Reyna provided a different justification instead, "We don't have a spare plane so you have nothing to fly with, anyway."
"Heh. Don't remind me." Elena sighed in exasperation. "I suppose the only way we could get some new planes is that we actually have to win for once, so make sure you do, captain. I'm sick of being here already."
"We'll win," Zoe reassured her, trying to sound as determined as she could, "We have to. And we'll get you that new plane you want, and hopefully someone that could be your…" She paused upon realizing that the topic just veered toward the subject of wizzos, and therefore Paula, then she winced. She was trying so hard to avoid this topic only to walk straight into it herself. How could she just callously suggest finding someone to be Elena's new WSO after she had just lost her friend?
Elena noticed the pained expression on Zoe's face and seemed to get what was troubling her, so she nodded with a small, understanding smile. "Don't worry. I can wait for a while longer," She said in a surprisingly soft tone, "And it's not like this war's gonna end anytime soon, right?"
"Not if we have anything to say about it, yeah," Reyna said as she reached her arm across Zoe's shoulder and pulled her close, causing Zoe to shriek out a bit, and Elena to chuckle at her expense, "We'll kick their asses on your behalf in the meantime, then. It's about time we scored a true victory for once."
Elena nodded slightly, satisfied at the comment. "I'll hold you onto it."
Zoe walked over and give Elena an affectionate pat on her left shoulder, "Rest up, girl. We'll take care of the rest."
"We'll be back before you know it," Reyna added, "Someone's gotta keep Leo and Ian from going crazy, after all."
"Heh, knowing you, it's probably the opposite," Elena snickered, "Be safe, both of you."
Reyna and Zoe nodded back with parting smiles. Taking one last look at her cousin's empty bed, Reyna wondered why her cousin couldn't be here so she can see him before going on another sortie. It was almost like he's trying to avoid her on purpose. She sighed lightly in resignation, making sure that Zoe couldn't notice the disappointment she was feeling before they both leave the infirmary and head toward the briefing room.
Just like back in the mess hall, the briefing room felt a lot emptier by the time everyone gathered together. Ian predictably took the furthest seat in the back so he could be as far from Eugene as possible, which suited Leo just fine. Reyna and Zoe took front row seats, leaving many empty seats between them and the other pair of pilots. It hit Reyna once again about just how outnumbered they were. Four pilots and two planes were all that's left of the Aurelian Air Force. Eugene better be having some good news for them if they could ever hope to fight back the Leasathians.
As for Eugene, the young officer looked extremely exhausted. He was probably working all night long to look into the Leasathian Military prowess and concoct a plan of counterattack. At least that's Reyna's best guess after he arrived in the room with his trusty laptop. Despite being weary, he noticeably picked up the pace as he moved past Ian, who just gave him a cold glare like he couldn't care less about the young officer.
Reyna wondered if she could really trust Eugene to do the job this time. She was worried about his state-of-being given what he had been through, yes, but he needed to keep himself calm and focused. With the fate of the nation on the line, they cannot afford any distraction. She had been lenient to the young officer so far on account of his inexperience and rapid distress, but if he messes up that badly again, well, she hoped that she would at least make it back to chew him out herself if it's the last thing she does. It's not like there's going to be another chance if they messed up again anyway. It's win or die, and Reyna expected everyone including Eugene to understand that fact.
After a while, the screen finally turned on – covering the dark room in bright blue light. The only words on it in the upper left corner said Accessing Tactical Data which flickered continuously. Eugene turned to face his audience – trying his hardest not to make eye contact with anyone in the room – before he finally began.
"Well, let's…let's get down to business, everyone…" Eugene stuttered, obviously still feeling a bit nervous. Reyna could've sworn she heard Ian muttering under his breath from the back of the room, "About damn time."
Taking a deep breath to steel himself, Eugene continued as the data was downloaded successfully and the screen changed, now displaying several photos of a large black aircraft – the same one that Reyna had seen on the Leasathian propaganda in the mess hall earlier – the thing that killed her friends.
"This is the Gleipnir, the superweapon that Leasath used to take over all of Aurelia in only ten days," Eugene continued, stressing the name with pain in his voice. The bloody thing was responsible for all his misery in this past couple of days, after all. "It can be assumed that this…this monster… was responsible for the tragedy that struck us yesterday, and most likely the destruction of the 9th Experimental Squadron at Phuku Lagolla AFB as well."
Eugene's face saddened upon mentioning his old, now devastated base, no doubt recalling recent trauma once again. Ian opened his mouth as if he was about to say something snarky. Leo elbowed him in the side to stop him from doing so, to which both Reyna, Zoe, and especially Eugene were very thankful.
"Supreme Leader Navarro has just formally announced its presence to the world since yesterday's evening. Before that, its existence was kept very well hidden." Eugene continued, "The ship's ability to cloak itself and attack its targets from very far away means nobody in Aurelia could see it coming."
"Which isn't helped by the sudden communications loss," Zoe noted, "We were blind for half a year before we get our intelligence systems back online. Who knows what the hell those Leasathians had been doing while nobody's keeping an eye on them."
Ian grunted irritably, "Sneaky Leasathian bastards. They couldn't take us on in a fair fight, so they had to resort to using that ugly thing to finish us off!"
Leo didn't say anything as usual, but his eyes narrowed as he leaned forward to observe the screen closer. It was hard to figure out Leo but Reyna could guess that something about Gleipnir fascinated him. His expression was a mixture of surprise and distress, and anything that could stress Leo out should concern Reyna as well.
The screen switched, replacing the Gleipnir photos with a terrain map of South Osea, with bold yellow 'AURELIA' and 'LEASATH' marking the general locations of the two countries. The map zoomed into the western region of Aurelia as several more symbols and names popped up, most of them were the distinctive green-and-red Leasath Flag – representing locations under their occupation all over the region. There was a bright blue double circle representing Cape Aubrey. From it, a line was drawn to a red silhouette of a large aircraft with a peculiar shape – the Gleipnir itself – covering a small Leasath Flag which represented their control over Puna Plains. She winced a little upon seeing Port Patterson down south with a big Leasath Flag covering it. That was where her base commander was captured. Nobody knows if he's even still alive.
"The Gleipnir was last confirmed heading southeast across the Puna Plains," Eugene explained as the red aircraft began to move to the lower right corner before gradually fading away and disappearing entirely as it approached the Austral Sea, "However, we lost all traces of it soon after. I tried to dig into the intelligence network to gather as much data as I could but unfortunately, it can provide us no further details at this time. We'll just have to take what we can get."
Unsatisfied sighs filled the room just as Reyna predicted. Clearly Eugene's info was not enough for them. "So what did you get?" Ian growled, not even trying to hide the disdain he had for the young officer, "That damned thing was responsible for all of Leasath's victories so far, and you just lost it? We need to find and destroy it if we're going to have any chance at all to retake our country!"
To Reyna's surprise, Eugene turned to face Ian directly. There was still fear in his eyes, but he stood his ground. Reyna had a feeling that he realized that this mission's too important to let any personal feeling get in the way. "With all due respect, sir. The Gleipnir nearly wiped out our entire attack force," He said calmly, "Even if we know where it is and attack it now, our remaining aerial attack strength is severely limited. We no longer have the necessary manpower or supplies to pursue the Gleipnir. Attacking it now is not recommended, sir."
"So how the hell are we supposed to fight back when it's still out there?!" Ian demanded, "If we can't even fight the damn thing then the war's as good as lost already!"
Seeing Ian about to lose his temper at Eugene again, Reyna interrupted before it gets out of hand with a theory of her own, "With how massive that thing is, it can't fly forever. It needs a lot of fuel and a lot of time to refuel it. This is not even mentioning the maintenance period. I'm willing to bet that it won't be flying for a while."
"How do you know that for sure?" Zoe asked, "Eugene just said we know next to nothing about that thing except that it can turn invisible."
"I'm glad you asked," Reyna smiled briefly at Zoe as she got up from her chair and approach the screen. She used a finger to trace a line from the Puna Plains to the Gleipnir's last known location, "According to Eugene, the Gleipnir was heading southeast from the Puna Plains before disappearing just over Austral Sea. Since there was no change in direction, it's highly probable that they may be heading toward Terminus Island, here."
Reyna pointed at a chain of six islands lying southeast of Aurelia. Specifically, the westernmost island in the group. Zoe's eyes lit up as she realized just what her captain was talking about, "Terminus is the site of our country's largest oil refinery." She said, "Which means it's one of the first targets that the Leasathians attacked. It's Warfare 101: war machines can't work if we lack the fuel to feed them."
"And now we know that they have something that needs a lot of feeding," Reyna continued, "Something the size of Gleipnir surely needs a lot of fuel, regardless of its other specifications, and since Terminus Island is the only location that could provide the amount of fuel it needs, there's a good reason to believe that the Gleipnir traveled to Terminus after yesterday's events."
"Great, so we know where it is. That doesn't mean it's no longer a threat." Ian spoke up, still not satisfied with the answer, "We have to destroy it while it's unable to defend itself!"
For once, Leo broke the silence as he said in irritation, "Man, haven't you been paying attention? We don't have enough aerial attack strength. Right now, we can only field two planes against a goddamn flying fortress. How the hell do you expect us to beat it alone? Besides, look at that map. Every single inch of land between us and Terminus Island is under Leasath's control. Unless you have an idea to get us through it, then shut the hell up."
Unable to come up with a retort, Ian grunted and slumped back into his chair. Reyna took the brief silence as the sign to continue: "So here's what we got so far: the Gleipnir is most likely refueling at Terminus Island and it could be a while before it can fly again. That gives us some window to launch a counterattack."
She paused, turning to look at Eugene with a hopeful expression, "Officer Solano, do you have any recommended targets?"
Eugene nodded. "There are reports of enemy forces gathering at Port Patterson." If we don't move soon, it will only be a matter of time before they resume their attack on us. Given the situation, we are left with only one plan of attack." He paused as he zoomed into the Puna Plains, and the screen changed to that of a 3D tactical map displaying a number of red targets scattering all over the area, with most of them clustered around what seemed to be an airbase.
"On the Puna Plains lying between Aubrey Base and Port Patterson, Leasath forces have captured a small airbase there and use it as a resupply base to house the large number of supplies needed to support their troops. Aerial photographs taken yesterday suggested that the enemy had hastily moved in just early this morning, which means that the base should be lightly defended." Eugene explained.
Bingo. Reyna thought. A resupply base is exactly the target they needed. They can cut off the Leasath forces' supplies while also gaining some for their own as well. "I think our mission is clear, then." She announced, "We have to take Puna Base and the supplies within it. This will give us some breathing room and establish an important foothold for an attack on Port Patterson later."
"Sounds like a plan." Ian agreed, and for once he didn't seem pissed off. Reyna guessed the notion that at least they have a plan cheered him up a little, "So what ya want us to do, destroy all targets?"
"Just targets that posed a threat," Eugene replied. Reyna could've sworn his face lit up a little after Ian agreed with him for once, "There are multiple enemy bombers and cargo planes stationed at the base, as well as a few aerial defenders and anti-air systems. Make sure you do not destroy other base facilities! We need the supplies in them to win this fight. Unless we succeed in taking this base, that's it for our supplies."
"Yeah, yeah, I know already!" Ian huffed in annoyance, "Just kill the combatants and leave the supplies alone. How hard could that be?"
Eugene just sighed as he turned the lights in the room back on, signaling the end of the briefing, "…please don't fail, sir." He said in an almost sarcastic tone.
Zoe rolled her eyes at their little bickering, which Reyna found a bit funny. For a brief moment, she felt a bit optimistic about their situation, which has been a long while since the last time. If this operation goes well, then perhaps the hostility between Ian and Eugene would drop a bit. And since they cannot afford to fail again then there's only one way this mission would end.
They're going to win.
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What UK betting site has the best Grand National betting promotions? At the time of writing, promotions for the 2019 Grand National were thin on the ground. Paddy Power and William Hill had good extra place specials last year and hopefully, they have more of the same in 2020. The top 5 Grand National Sportsbooks; Bookmaker Bonus Offer Features Rating Secure Link T&C’s; William Hill: Up to £30: 23+, 93.68% 5/5 Score: Visit Site! Full T&Cs Apply! New online customers only, min £10/€10 stake, win only, min odds 1/2, free bets paid as 3 X £10/€10, 30 day expiry, free bet/payment method/player/country restrictions apply. The best betting deals for the Grand National on Saturday. Occasions like Grand National are often the very best time to get the best introductory offers but be warned - many of them come with There’s nothing quite a horse racing festival when it comes to online betting. Grand National betting online means great odds and great Grand National betting free bets, promotions, offers and free bets on the Grand National. The betting industry’s biggest bookmakers present some of the best promotions of the year for this great racing event. I am sure that plenty of you out there will be part of a sweepstake on this year’s 2019 running of the Grand National, and you may also popping down to your local betting shop on the day of that race, that being April the 6 th and having a few quid on the horse you like the look or sound of.. Being one of the most bet on races held in the UK each year, there is a lot of interest in the Grand

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