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Era of Darkness Halloween Special - "Lurkers": Part 1

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Jodo
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Era of Darkness Halloween Special - "Lurkers": Part 1

Postby Jodo » Fri Oct 27, 2017 4:20 pm

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"Star Destroyer Ocalus, this is Shuttle Patna. Please respond."

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"Ocalus, do you copy?"

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"Again, this is Shuttle Patna calling Ocalus, are you reading?"

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“Ocalus, do you copy?”

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"Set her down in landing bay seven,' commands the officer in charge. "Fire teams, at the ready."

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"No one to even meet us," says the man, squinting. "Interesting."

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"Holem and Kane!' he shouts. "You and your men will search the ship. Holem, take your men and go to the bow. Kane, move aft."

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Silently, the men follow their orders as their troops depart with them.

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Holem and his men begin searching the forward section-

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While Kane moves to the rear of the ship.

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"Where do you think everyone is at?" asks one soldier named Quin.
Kane winces at the thought. "Not sure," he sighs.

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"Just watch those corners," he tells the troopers.

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The men continue on for what seems like an eternity, the quiet ship only creaking as the low hum of the engines can be heard far off in the distance.

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"Pirates?" says another Stormtrooper, Davis, who can't stand the quiet. "Maybe pirates did this?"

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"Now," says Thorton, the heavy gunner, sarcastically. "Do you really think pirates would have wiped an Imperial Star Destroyer clean? There's no crew here. No trace! No one!"

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"Cut the chatter," demands Kane. "We don't want anyone getting the drop on us, right?"

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The soldiers nod.

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"Holem, Kane?" asks the officer, his voice reverberating through the soldiers' helmets. "Find anything yet?"

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"Negative," says Holem into his microphone, as his men move forward. "Nothing here."

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"Not a soul?"

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"Nothing here either," responds Kane. "Just-"

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"Wait," he says. "There's a droid. We're going to check it out."

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As the fire team approaches the droid, they can hear its clunky foot steps echo down the long hall.

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"Hey," whispers Kane. "Hello?"

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Suddenly the machine stops shuffling, and the hall goes silent.

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Its neck buzzes as it turns to greet them. "Hello," it responds in a sickening quaint and proper voice. "It's a pleasure to see you."

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"What happened here?" asks Kane. "Where is everyone?"

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"A lot of things have happened here," it replies. "Please, be more specific."

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"Where is everyone?" Kane says sternly. "Where's the crew?"

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"Around."

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"Kane, don't waste your time with the droid. Move up to the bridge and secure it."

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"Copy, sir." He looks at the droid. "Show us to the bridge," grumbles Kane.

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"This way, please," gestures the droid humbly as the fire team begins to move out, eyeballing the corridor as they walk.

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"What's your operating designation?" asks Kane, following the droid.
"I am Imperial protocol droid EN-3PO-L2RSD-43-129A," it states. "I prefer to be called EN, like a person."

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"Like a person," repeats Thorton, rolling his eyes under his helmet.

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"It is important to me. Just as you have preferences, as do I."

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The group continues to follow the droid for quite some time.

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"Why are all those blast doors sealed?" asks Davis, holding his rifle tightly as they walk. "Why is that?"

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"Would you like access?" asks the droid, its robotic voice echoing down the hall.

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It approaches one of the doors.

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"I can show you," it states. "But you might not like what you see."

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The men shift on their heels, looking around, as the droid casually presses a few buttons, releasing the door.

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A gust of wind flows out into the corridor, the foul smell of death and oil entering into the hall.

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"What the Hell is that?" asks Quin, staring into the mess.
Thorton shakes his head. "Smells like a dead reek in there."

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The droid turns around, staring at the men briefly. "I said that you might not like it."

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"Come," gestures the droid. "See what's inside."

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Kane tenses his shoulders and enters the hallway-

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-his men following him, their rifles raised-

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-As the door seals behind them.

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Meanwhile, in the bow of the ship, Holem and his men push forward, having still not met anyone.

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"Nothing," states the man. "Not anyone. What's going on here?"

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"Movement!" shouts one of Holem's Stormtroopers. "About, there," he points. "At that frame."

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"EN, what is this stuff?" asks Kane, his men still following the droid. "Where is everyone at? And why are communications down?"

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"I turned them off." The droid faces way from the men, its blue eyes glowing in the darkness

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"Once it started spreading, I thought it best to turn off all non-vital systems."

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"I put everything in lockdown, and set course for the nearest space port. Emergency protocol dictates my actions, as you might know."

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"EN, what was spreading?" asks Kane, with anger in his voice. "Where is the crew?"

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"As I told you," it responds. "AROUND."

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"What was that?” whispers one of Holem soldiers, approaching the corridor.

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“Do you see anything corporal?”

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"Corporal?" he asks.

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"Hey!" shouts Holem, a streak of panic skipping through his voice. "Hello?"

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"Does anyone copy?"

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"Sir," interjects Thorton. "Take a look at this." The men follow the heavy gunner, his heavy boots clunking against the floor.

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"What are those EN?" asks Kane slowly. "What-are-those?"

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"Humans," begins the droid, stepping past Kane, "are always getting into things. Going places, bringing things in. There's simply no telling their place of origin. They are harmless to me. Take a look, inspect them."

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The leathery object opens with a slight moist sound, and something moves inside of it. The men watch closely, their fingers on their weapons' triggers, ready to fire.

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Suddenly a creature escapes from its cell, springing towards the soldier's face.

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"Watch it!" shouts Kane as Thorton fires his weapon several times-

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-Unknowingly shooting Davis-
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-Panic setting in as the creature removes the man’s helmet, attaching itself to his face.

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~ Jodo - Check out my latest photonovel as of Oct. 27/17: Era of Darkness Halloween Special - "Lurkers"
: Part 1
!
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Utinniii
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Re: Era of Darkness Halloween Special - "Lurkers": Part 1

Postby Utinniii » Fri Oct 27, 2017 9:43 pm

Don't Dead! Open Inside!
Happy Halloween!!!!
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Re: Era of Darkness Halloween Special - "Lurkers": Part 1

Postby Lance Quazar » Sat Oct 28, 2017 2:53 am

Jodo,

The first three-quarters or so of this chapter are SO expertly done, so creepy, so effective and so mysterious that I gotta admit, I was a little disappointed when it turned out to be Aliens.

The rest of the chapter pulls you in right away. Your expert use of camera angles and prose create such a rich atmosphere of creeping dread and mounting tension that I was flying through the panels to see what would happen next. It's stellar work. The droid is so darn off-putting, it's an awesome touch, really helping to ramp up the eerieness and rising fear.

Awesome use of the new GTP imperial dioramas, they look outstanding filmed like this.

Our own Kikinou did an Aliens inspired photonovel chapter a while back, which was great fun.

Maybe I'm being too much of a wet blanket, but I almost wish this was a chapter that was merely inspired by Alien/Aliens instead of being literally that. If you had used an in-universe SW creature (or your own creation) to tell a similar story instead of actually using the alien figures.

That said, the pods and facehugger items are so cool and look outstanding here. It is definitely a very FUN mash-up for sure. And your storytelling skills remain outstanding throughout, so there's no way this isn't entertaining and very, very worth reading, despite my lame attitude.

I really am looking forward to the next chapter. This was a terrific change of pace and extra side dish in your on-going Era of Darkness smorgasburg.

(though part of me wished that alien had ripped off Kane's helmet so we could SEE HIS DAMN FACE!)

(oh, that brings me to my only nitpick - that it would have been awesome if the alien acid-melted it way through the helmet, as in the original Alien film. But maybe you didn't want to burn up an Imperial helmet and I can't blame you for that!) :D
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Re: Era of Darkness Halloween Special - "Lurkers": Part 1

Postby darthapathy » Sat Oct 28, 2017 8:03 am

I would have to agree with Lance here. The storytelling and photography are amazing. I too was just a bit taken aback that it was the pods and facehuggers from Aliens. I thought it was going to be the droid or droids. The creepy vibe you gave EN was fantastic. I was certain he, by himself or help from other droids was the culprit. In previous chapters you made some of the droids appear to be "up to something" with the angle you captured them at. I still enjoyed and will continue to check it out along with all your other great photo novels.
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Re: Era of Darkness Halloween Special - "Lurkers": Part 1

Postby Darth Vlad's Clone » Sat Oct 28, 2017 10:33 am

I was almost thinking this might be a version of "Let's Make a Deal". What's behind blast door #1? 2? Or try 3..

I enjoyed this. It's fun. Knowing Kane is in it, you know he's safe (your Kane, not the other one from the movie), but a lot of red shirts.

Like EN and his eerie behavior.
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Re: Era of Darkness Halloween Special - "Lurkers": Part 1

Postby Lance Quazar » Sat Oct 28, 2017 1:09 pm

darthapathy wrote:I would have to agree with Lance here. The storytelling and photography are amazing. I too was just a bit taken aback that it was the pods and facehuggers from Aliens. I thought it was going to be the droid or droids. The creepy vibe you gave EN was fantastic. I was certain he, by himself or help from other droids was the culprit. In previous chapters you made some of the droids appear to be "up to something" with the angle you captured them at. I still enjoyed and will continue to check it out along with all your other great photo novels.


I also thought that EN was going to be more involved somehow due to his sinister behavior. Lots of it still makes sense in context and I thought it was very cool that a droid activated an emergency protocol procedure that went awry. But I'm not sure why he's evasive about the crew being "around." He could have said, "they're indisposed at the moment" or something that felt at least a little more like a proper answer rather than being deliberately obtuse.
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Re: Era of Darkness Halloween Special - "Lurkers": Part 1

Postby Lance Quazar » Sat Oct 28, 2017 1:16 pm

Sorry for being so negative. This is really excellent and thanks for making it. Seriously. You're an absolute expert at the medium.

Hell, even just the opening shots of the shuttle are friggin' GORGEOUS. Your photography, direction, writing are absolutely top notch. And I did enjoy the heck out of this. Can't wait for the conclusion. As a Halloween "special", it's perfection.
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Re: Era of Darkness Halloween Special - "Lurkers": Part 1

Postby Codaks » Sat Oct 28, 2017 4:08 pm

Finally... since your announcement I've really been looking forward to this. For the most part with good reason :D

On to the photography which is nicely done. I like how the setting changes from GTP walls to printed along with how the storyline goes. By this I mean after the creepiness is about to begin behind the door, things turn darker and blurry. If you had added a bit more effect to the background it would've been perfect. Great shadowing with the beast/monster.

To the story... Fun and exciting. There's a good build on tension and creepiness. Great touch with the droid, along with troops starting to thin out :shock: :D
I had really hoped to see a version of rakghouls or perhaps an imperial experiment thing gone wrong. :) Perhaps a HK droid gone wrong. But one of the things that came to mind, was that 90s movie with Jamie Lee Curtis and Donald Sutherland were a military research ships computer starts to rebuild small robots of itself after a lightning struck. Back to the topic now :oops:
Then came the facehuggers and killed it abit. It's a fun crossover but I expected more from you. This is not meant to be negative, only that with what you have done in the past, this seemed to be an easy route. :|

Anyway that being said great job with this one, I did enjoy it :)
Codaks --- OUT ---
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Re: Era of Darkness Halloween Special - "Lurkers": Part 1

Postby Utinniii » Sat Oct 28, 2017 6:19 pm

So the consensus is that you are such a great storyteller and so original that anything less is a tad disappointing.

Your photography is excellent, as always and you got some really good angles there.
I felt the the tension in each shot.

I was expecting a dark seed (or whatever the SW zombies were) so the Alien [TM] was a surprise. My thought when seeing them was that you have made something uniquely yours.

I enjoyed the droid, but found his comments unnatural. They were, as Lance said, "obtuse". Now if they had been zombies, the dialogue would have made more sense. But the crew were not really around but "killed by alien parasites."

We can see that you put a lot of time and love into this, and I really hope I don't have to wait until next Halloween for the conclusion.
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Re: Era of Darkness Halloween Special - "Lurkers": Part 1

Postby Jodo » Sat Oct 28, 2017 11:58 pm

LOL, well I'm glad everyone enjoyed the first 3/4 of this one!!!! :mrgreen: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

I reallllyyyyy enjoy the Alien universe, so using Xenos ended up being my choice for this one's monsters, though I had a few other options that I'm actually going to keep up my sleeve for future PNs. (wink) One major thing that I learned shooting this one is just how freaking fragile those Hiya Toys Xenomorphs are!!! I broke the tail off early on when I bought it, and then I broke the Facehugger just trying to pose it on the one Stormtrooper. :? I am usually very careful with all my figures, and I was in no way trying to force a pose or anything with them. They simply broke super easy.

As for EN, I love writing his character. He's just so weird, LOL. This has come up a few times I think, but writing and photographing the droid characters is one of my favorite parts of this series, so this was a good exercise in that.

darthapathy wrote:n previous chapters you made some of the droids appear to be "up to something" with the angle you captured them at.


I know I have mentioned this as well, but droid just freak me out. You'd never know what they're thinking, and that really bothers me. Plus, the idea that some have personality, and others don't, and the idea that those files could very well corrupt is just an incredible strange thing to me. I love highlighting that in the main storyline, and will continue to play on that idea of their a-typical personalities and incongruities.

Plus, it follows the homage of Ash, Bishop, and especially David having bizarre/deranged personalities that just don't quite jive up properly with their human counterparts. Based on that concept, EN is just a flat out creep. :lol: He is actually one of my favorite characters I've ever written in anything.

I still need to photograph the next chapter, but it might end up having to be after Halloween before it's posted...Because good news everyone, I finished my master's thesis proposal this week, and it's currently under review! :mrgreen:
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~ Jodo - Check out my latest photonovel as of Oct. 27/17: Era of Darkness Halloween Special - "Lurkers"
: Part 1
!
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Re: Era of Darkness Halloween Special - "Lurkers": Part 1

Postby Darth Vlad's Clone » Sun Oct 29, 2017 12:37 am

Jodo wrote:I know I have mentioned this as well, but droid just freak me out. You'd never know what they're thinking, and that really bothers me. Plus, the idea that some have personality, and others don't, and the idea that those files could very well corrupt is just an incredible strange thing to me.


Don't watch "Ex Machina" then. Or do, to watch certain Alicia Vikander scenes.


Jodo wrote:Because good news everyone, I finished my master's thesis proposal this week, and it's currently under review! :mrgreen:


Congrats! Hope it goes well.

And, yes, I'm home from Chewie's Halloween bash.
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Re: Era of Darkness Halloween Special - "Lurkers": Part 1

Postby Jodo » Sun Oct 29, 2017 12:43 am

Darth Vlad's Clone wrote:
Jodo wrote:I know I have mentioned this as well, but droid just freak me out. You'd never know what they're thinking, and that really bothers me. Plus, the idea that some have personality, and others don't, and the idea that those files could very well corrupt is just an incredible strange thing to me.


Don't watch "Ex Machina" then. Or do, to watch certain Alicia Vikander scenes.


Jodo wrote:Because good news everyone, I finished my master's thesis proposal this week, and it's currently under review! :mrgreen:


Congrats! Hope it goes well.

And, yes, I'm home from Chewie's Halloween bash.


I hear the term "ex machina" on several Youtube video series (channels?) that I started watching, and each time they use it with a negative connotation, so I'll obviously need to check this out, LOL.

And thank you so much! I put the thesis off a bit too long, then ended up doing a ton of work all at once over like three days. :|

Glad to hear you survived the bash!!!! :lol: :P
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~ Jodo - Check out my latest photonovel as of Oct. 27/17: Era of Darkness Halloween Special - "Lurkers"
: Part 1
!
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Darth Vlad's Clone
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Re: Era of Darkness Halloween Special - "Lurkers": Part 1

Postby Darth Vlad's Clone » Sun Oct 29, 2017 12:55 am

Jodo wrote:Glad to hear you survived the bash!!!! :lol: :P


It's still going!! Chewie is a party wookiee!
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Jodo
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Re: Era of Darkness Halloween Special - "Lurkers": Part 1

Postby Jodo » Sun Oct 29, 2017 12:59 am

Speaking of party Wookiees...I have an idea for a costume next year. :lol: :lol: :lol:
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~ Jodo - Check out my latest photonovel as of Oct. 27/17: Era of Darkness Halloween Special - "Lurkers"
: Part 1
!
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Re: Era of Darkness Halloween Special - "Lurkers": Part 1

Postby Utinniii » Sun Oct 29, 2017 2:48 am

Congrats on the thesis!

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