by Max Barry

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by Osiris gameside affairs. . 99 reads.

The Osiris Oracle Issue 20: Nukes, Zombies and a New Pharaoh

[align=right][size=75]Banner Credit: [nation]Imki[/nation][/align][/size]
[b]In this Issue:[/b]
[*][url=#A]Pharaoh Dakota Restructures Government of Osiris[/url]
[*][url=#B]Z-Day Number Nine[/url]
[*][url=#C]Hazel's Cookery Column[/url]
[*][url=#D]Miniature Monday[/url]
[*][url=#E]Skies' Cooking Corner[/url]

[anchor=A][box][align=center][u][b][size=130]Pharaoh Dakota Restructures Government of Osiris[/anchor][/b][/u][/size]
[size=90][i]By [nation]Arkadia Universalis[/nation][/i][/size][/align]
The ushering in of a new year is often seen as an ideal time to usher in a series of governmental reforms here in the multiverse. Osiris is no exception to this practice. As 2020 drew to a (very welcome) close, Pharaoh Dakota ([nation]Valerievna[/nation]) announced a series of changes to various positions in Osiris. These changes serve to allow longtime civil servants to gain experience in new areas of governance, as well as allowing fresh faces to bring their own talents into the fold. 

One of these major changes was in the Council of Scribes, the all-citizen legislature of Osiris. The position of Chief Scribe, previously held by Tethys ([nation]Tethys 13[/nation]), has been passed onto Draco Drake ([nation]Dragonian Alliance[/nation]). Draco Drake has been a citizen of Osiris several times, going back as far as 2015. They have served in several subordinate positions - including Deputy Chief Scribe - while Chief Scribe is their first leadership role in our region. The Oracle reached out to Draco this week for comment on their feelings about their appointment and on the skills they bring to the position. They had this to say: 

ďI initially felt ecstatic over receiving a position in my favorite NS Region. I had long wondered over the ifs and whens such an opportunity would present itself. At the end of the day I am quite satisfied with the position given to me and I look forward to fulfilling my necessary duties. I am active in the community, possess a high standard of written English, and have held similar positions in the past.Ē 

The Oracle, and the citizenry of Osiris, look forward to our future with Draco Drake leading the legislature. 

It would be prudent for the reader to wonder, what former Chief Scribe Tethys is up to now. We are happy to report that Tethys stepping down from the position has in no way marked a conclusion or decline in their career. Tethys, who has been a stable presence in the region since 2018, appears to only be moving upward in the world. They served with distinction as Chief Scribe, while pursuing many other projects which have benefitted Osiris over the years. Such projects include Miniature Mondays, Tethysí ongoing series of forum posts detailing their painting of miniature figurines, as well as elaborating on the lore behind said figurines and the particular ways in which they are painted. Tethys was also responsible for designing the cover of Osirisí 2020 Yearbook. 

Not long after stepping down from their previous position, Tethys was appointed as Sub-Vizier of Gameside Affairs by incumbent Vizier, Skies. Tethys has a strong Gameside presence, and is never difficult to find on the Osiran Regional Message Board. Skies ([nation]Luna State[/nation]), for their part, has shown great anticipation for Tethysí expanded role in their department. They had this to say about their new Sub-Vizier: 

ďTethys has been a very valued, active member of Osiris, and our Gameside Affairs department. They have a great detail oriented nature and can always be found on both our RMB and Discord. I have complete faith that they'll do wonderful things in GA, and I am very much looking forward to working with them.Ē

This was only the first of two new Sub-Vizier appointments, however. Vizier of Community Affairs Wymondham ([nation]Wymondham[/nation]) has also seen fit to bring a new face into the fold, by appointing Ellie ([nation]Russiyskaya Respublica[/nation]) as the newest Sub-Vizier of Community Affairs. Wymondham expressed delight at the new appointment, praising Ellie for her innate talent and drive. He had this to say when reached out to for a quote: 

ďShe brings talent, drive and great potential to the team and I am looking forward to working with her. Ellie has already done great work on our weekend games with The West Pacific, as well as bringing brilliant new ideas on board. She has been constantly improving and I cannot wait to see what she brings to the table going forwards.Ē

Last, but certainly not least, Dakota has made major changes to the Council of Guardians. In addition to their appointment as Sub-Vizier of Gameside Affairs, Tethys has been confirmed as a Guardian alongside Hazel ([nation]Malphe II[/nation]). Hazel, who is also Osirisí Sub-Vizier of Foreign Affairs, has been an attentive and dedicated citizen of Osiris since 2019. She has served admirably in the Foreign Affairs department, as well as being an active presence in several other departments. In addition to these two changes, Dakota has also appointed Ark (thatís me!) to the Council of Guardians. The Oracle reached out to the Pharaoh for comment, and she had this to say:

ďIím really happy to have Hazel and Tethys join the Council of Guardians. Tethys has been a consistent and lovely part of our community for years now. Hazel, while having been in Osiris a bit shorter than Teth, has been a wonderful addition to our region since day one. I trust both of these individuals to protect our community. I'm also really grateful to have Ark as my Chair of Guardians. He's someone I know I can go to with anything and be told an honest opinion. If I ever need to disappear off NS unexpectedly, Osiris will definitely be in good hands with him.Ē

[anchor=B][box][align=center][u][b][size=130]Z-Day Number Nine[/anchor][/b][/u][/size]
[size=90][i]By [nation]Dragonian Alliance[/nation][/i][/size][/align]
The ninth zombie invasion to beset the NationStates server ended back in November. Valiant attempts to cure the plague, exterminate the undead, or spread the good word of brain eating were seen across the site. Max Barry, naturally, released a series of event updates at various intervals. Locally, Z-day was met with much undead enthusiasm in Osiris. The region engaged in healthy competition with its other game created regions. Z-day is always a beloved event in the world of NationStates with few able to imagine life before the annual Zombie Apocalypse.

For those of you who donít know, Z-Day began in 2013 on April Foolsí Day and moved to Halloween of the same year. The premise of the event centers around a zombie plague infecting every nation in the game. The virus spreads to every citizen in the nation if measures are not taken to stop the spread. Each Nation has three measures they can take: Exterminate Zombies, Research Cure, or Embrace Zombies. Once a measure is selected the Nation can affect other nations with superweapons by exterminating their zombies, curing their zombies, or converting them. Superweapon effectiveness depends on the ratio of zombies to survivors in both nations involved, with diminishing returns. Superweapons may also convert affected nations to their side and cause their superweapon cooldown to lengthen. Regional infectivity rates decrease as more nations in a region work on the cure and increase as more zombies infect the region. Eventually a cure can be finished and used to convert zombies into survivors. Zombies will eventually starve without survivors to feast upon. The event typically lasts for thirty-six hours, ending at midnight on Halloween. The events during each Z-Day are not permanent and reset shortly after the event. However, the tally board remained open for some time after the event. Unique to this Z-day an option in settings existed to pretend like the zombie apocalypse is not happening. There are more subtle details to the subtle art of Z-day, but these are the bones of the event from which many strategies have been derived.

On the twenty-eighth of October, Max Barry assured NationStates that he fully expected to be able to contain and control the situation and there is no need to panic even if isolated pockets of zombies are spotted. This was followed by reports of a Test Apocalypse in which we are assured zombies were not stirring from their graves and everything is locked down. The next report from Max Barry involved assurances of zombies being under control, an immediate halt to all cure-research facilities worldwide, and the opening of all border controls. We were also encouraged to coexist with the zombies in peace and not give in to needless fear that stokes division. Once Max Barryís nation of Testlandia was cured of zombies, we received an announcement of Max Barry feeling better and we must work together to stop the zombie apocalypse. The event ended with one hundred and seven trillion (or thirteen percent) of the world surviving, four hundred and forty-seven trillion (or fifty-five percent) of the world dead, and two hundred and fifty-seven (or thirty-one percent) of the world existing as zombies. The nation of Kyupaa once again had the most survivors. War and Oppression had the most zombies of any single nation. The highest body count belonged to Pendulous. The North Pacific was the region with the most survivors, with a staggering twenty-three trillion survivors. The region of [region]NationStates[/region] had the most survivors with no zombies in the region for a total of five trillion survivors. The Forest region with three trillion survivors had the most survivors with no quarantine. Lazarus, ironically, had the most dead for the event with a body count of twenty trillion. Finally, the grand region of Osiris had the most zombies at twelve trillion. It was a fantastic showing for all regions involved, with healthy competition seen in many regions. In whatever goal the region ultimately decided on, the end result was fun comradery for all nations involved.

In more local news, Osiris as a region of resurrected nations naturally chose to embrace the undead horde. Starting at about 3AM eastern time, the marvelous nation of Tethys 13 began their undead crusade. Tethys 13 battled and completely infected uncountable nations in their crusade. Literally, multiple people lost count. Tethys 13ís general strategy consisted of monitoring the activity feed and crushing anyone curing or worse, killing. Tethys was usually able to catch curers after two or so Cure Missile Volleys. After twelve hours, Tethys 13 remarked that they may need help, whether mental or virtual remains to be seen. The Crusade of Tethys 13 had many valiant accomplices assist the conversion of Osiris, as their schedules allowed. After Tethys 13 passed out due either to lack of sleep or good habits, several citizens of Osiris took up their mantle and spread the good word of brain eating to those silly curers. Most notable among these citizens were Yokiria, Cobrito, Minecraftiana, and Wymondham. For their efforts, Tethys 13 was awarded the Key to the City of Rílyeh by Pharaoh Dakota Vytherov-Skollvaldr. In the end the region of Osiris stood triumphantly rotting in their undead glory.

Z-day has once again come and gone. Osiris ended the event with the most zombies. Tethys 13 valiantly spread the good news of brain eating and its various accessories. Many other regions, for some reason, refused the lure of brains and put up several valiant and effective fights against the Zombie Apocalypse. Max Barry was entertaining, as always. As all good things must, the thirty-six hour long Zombie Apocalypse ended at midnight on Halloween night.

[anchor=C][box][align=center][u][b][size=130]Hazel's Cookery Column[/anchor][/b][/u][/size]
[size=90][i]By [nation]Malphe II[/nation][/i][/size][/align]
If youíre anything like me you might not really know what to do with a big cut of roasting beef. I find itís way too easy for me to accidentally dry it out or overcook it while roasting, and even then, when itís done right, roast beef is never gonna be the most tender with how tough and lean roasting cuts usually are. 
I much, much prefer braising these big tough cuts! Braising is just a fancy term for a two step cooking process, where you first brown whatever youíre cooking before adding some amount of liquid to the pan and simmering it at a low heat for a long time until itís falling apart tender and moist. Iím using beef for this one (note Iíve forgotten which cut I actually used, it was very lean though) but it could definitely work very well with other meats like pork!
Note that this is an extremely easy and loose recipe, you donít really have to measure ingredients for it at all! This can also be used for pot roasts and stews, just try cutting the onions much finer than you would normally, you can also add some vegetables like celery and carrots!

So what be needed?
One kilogram-ish ROASTING BEEF, chopped into ~2-3 inch chunks.
Equal parts chopped tomatoes and beef stock enough to submerge the meat Ė if youíre using pork, use something else, I dunno, maybe just some chicken stock?
Two teaspoons of salt, black pepper and paprika as well as one teaspoon of cumin!
Three cloves crushed garlic (protip! If you peel and dice a clove of garlic, you can actually sprinkle some coarse salt over it and use it as an abrasive to effectively mince the garlic with the side of your knife).
A few bay leaves + other whole aromatics if you want, bouquet garni would defo work for this!
1 large chopped onion (doesnít have to be finely chopped!).
A few tablespoons of cooking oil.
Critically, a lidded pot that can go into the oven; Iím using an old enameled cast iron dutch oven.

[b]How to do?[/b]
[*]Well, firstly, you need to brown the meat. This is the critical step, if you put the beef straight in with the onions as they fry it wonít brown properly and you wonít get the same flavour. Put the pot on very high heat with a bit of oil (note that the meat will probably release some fat while frying so donít put in too much, you donít want it to start simmering in its own juices rather than frying) and brown the meat until itís crispy and golden brown-ish on all sides.
[*]The objective here isnít to cook the meat, it should 100% still be raw on the inside (you can check this by feeling the meat, if itís still super springy and squishy that means itís raw on the inside), you just want to get the outside browned. 
Weíre doing this on high heat so that it browns as far as possible while cooking the inside of the meat as least as possible.  Some recipes advise seasoning the meat with salt & pepper at this step to help it brown + for flavour, I figured itís gonna be getting plenty of seasoning while braising in the liquid so thatís your call. If thereís any big slabs of fat on the meat itís good to give them especially long to fry, we want to make sure all that fat melts down. This takes quite a bit of time though, until the meat is browned about 4-5 minutes will pass
[*]Once browned, take the meat out of the pan and put aside.
[*]You can choose to begin frying the onions in the leftover fat from the meat, personally I cleaned the pan out and began with fresh oil but using the leftover fat might help with the flavour. Fry the onions until soft for about 5 minutes or so, dunno if it makes much of a difference if theyíre dark coloured or not.
[*]In the last 30 seconds of frying your onions add in the salt, pepper, paprika, cumin and crushed garlic. You want the rawness of the spices and garlic to fry off for a moment.
[*]Once this is done, you can add the meat back in. Mix the meat in with the onions as best as you can and try to get all the chunks fairly compactly squished into the pot, you want to use as little space as possible.
[*]Now that youíve got the meat compactly in you can add the chopped tomatoes and stock. Different braising recipes advise using different liquids including water, wine and beer but Iím going with beef stock and chopped tomatoes. I think they give the nicest flavour. Make sure that the meat is covered in its entirety!!! If you leave any meat exposed to the air, itíll dry out, itíll still be tender but also feel like sand, at least if the cut youíre using was as lean as mine. Youíre using the liquid to keep the meat moist while cooking.
[*]Bring this mixture to a boil (if you put anything into the oven before bringing it to a boil itíll never come up to a simmer ever). Now you can preheat your oven to gas mark 4 (350F/180C). Once preheated put the lid on your pot and put it in the middle rack (thatís what I did, probs makes little difference though) and leave it in there to braise for around 2 hours, Iíve found that 2 hours has it tender but still leaves a little bit of bite to it, if you want to shred the meat for sandwiches or tacos or whatever you may be better off with 3 hours and even turning the heat down to gas mark 3 (325F/170C) if you like. If youíre worried about anything burning, you can routinely check the pot and the tenderness of the meat, you cook it for long enough and itíll be so tender that itís practically jelly and that might not be to everyoneís taste.
[*]Bring the pot out once cooked and serve hot! Depending on how you do it you can shred the meat into the braising liquid, serve them as whole chunks, take them out and shred them before covering them in a separate sauce, your choice! Iím not sure if youíd want to rest the meat like you would a roast, given itís been cooked at such a low temperature I think the temp is even enough that it doesnít really matter + it isnít like thereís any pink meat left in this for overcook cooking.

[anchor=D][box][align=center][u][b][size=130]Miniature Monday[/anchor][/b][/u][/size]
[size=90][i]By [nation]Tethys 13[/nation][/i][/size][/align]
I started Miniature Monday in March of last year. For quite a while prior, a few individuals within Osirisí Discord server had expressed interest in my miniatures collection, which I have been building for almost two decades, and so I had been posting images of newly completed projects or older ones related to the topic of conversation. These were generally met with approbation, which gave me the idea to host a weekly showing of examples from my collection. I decided against it, for I expected it to grow tiresome quickly, and that those few who would find enjoyment from it would lose interest before long. Wymondham reassured me however, and urged me to carry it out, so I did. Thus, Miniature Monday became a weekly part of the new Sandbox channel of the Discord server. I tested the waters at first, trying to see how much audience interaction I could garner. I asked them their opinions, whether or not they would appreciate a guide to the paint scheme I had used, and invited them to put forward suggestions for the subsequent weekís entry Ė whether that be as specific or vague as unit type, faction, or game system. The response was positive but passive, the small audience assuring me that they would be happy with whatever I chose to show. This continued for several months, and I attempted to adapt throughout that time. At first, I simply made a list of the available images and used a random number generator to choose. Some entries received a great deal of praise, while others passed by with nary a comment. Over time, I interspersed the older miniatures with newly-completed projects, and attempted to fit each weekís choice to some sort of theme Ė for example, the Skaven faction of Warhammer Fantasy has a strong connection to the number thirteen (much to my joy), so I selected one of those when Monday fell on the thirteenth of a month. If a particular topic was the focus of an ongoing conversation on the server, I would try to find a miniature related to it for that week.

In August, I received a proposal from Wymondham to make Miniature Monday an official Community Affairs event, which would mean moving it to the offsite forum. I was surprised and honoured by the invitation, as the event only had a few regular viewers, so I had not thought it worthy of such an elevation. Due to technical difficulties, the transition to the forum would not take place until September. The new Ďvenueí offered a significantly different set of qualities, which I once again began to adapt to. Being fixed as a single independent thread, it was able to become more like a gallery, whereas in the Discord server each image would quickly become lost as the conversations shifted. I began to expand the descriptions appended to each image, and later was finally able to start attaching the painting guides I had made mention of all those months before Ė what was on Discord an unwieldy and unsightly block of text could smoothly be slotted into a Ďspoilerí on the forum. As before, those same few regulars were quick to respond. I discovered the downside to the forum, that it made discussion less smooth than the free-flowing Discord channel, but nothing is without drawbacks.

I have also found that hosting Miniature Monday has increased my own motivation to paint. I had been displaying newly completed projects in a thread on the Nationstates site forum, but after a gratifying start, interest quickly dwindled. I started Miniature Monday as I was finishing one army, and at the time had no intentions to paint anything new. The weekly reminder, and the chance given to search through my collection, gave me new inspiration. I have since completed perhaps my most ambitious single project, a fully-converted Demi-company of Terminators from a Space Marine chapter of my own creation, the Space Mammoths, for Warhammer 40,000. More recently in October there was a lull in interest, which once would have led me to consider the event a failure, but instead provoked me to re-ignite one of my shelved projects and craft something spectacular enough to force them to pay attention once more, which I did as a Halloween special.

This event was not begun out of self-aggrandisement, though that may seem false humility. I can say that I was not cautious about displaying my failures alongside my successes, for my hope was not only for the images to bring enjoyment to those who saw them, but to pass on some of the lessons I have learned in my many years working mostly in solitude on my vast and eclectic collection. If anything I have said here has piqued your interest, please do head over to have a look, and see what a partially-colourblind, shaky-handed, introverted old hobbyist can achieve through patience, effort and learning from failure.


[anchor=E][box][align=center][u][b][size=130]Skies' Cooking Corner[/anchor][/b][/u][/size]
[size=90][i]By [nation]Luna State[/nation][/i][/size][/align]
[b]Spiced Applesauce![/b]
Thanksgiving is near for some, so why not add some jazz to a classic recipe? Itís sure to bring some variety to your meal!

Caffeine Free Pepsi
Orange Fruit Cup
Vanilla Extract
Chaat Masala
Black Peppercorn 
Cardamom Powder
Tart Green Apple

Add one cup of water and Pepsi, half a cup of sugar, and the liquid from your fruit cup into a deep pot. 
Stir with a slotted spoon until most of the sugar has been dissolved.
Add in half a teaspoon of vanilla extract, a teaspoon of chaat masala, half a teaspoon of black peppercorn, and one fourth teaspoon of cardamom powder.
Heat mixture on medium-high until boiling, stirring it occasionally.
While thatís heating, cut an apple using an apple corer into 8ths (or if you're a capable person just use a knife), leave the skin on.
Add the rest of the fruit cup into the pot.
Reduce heat to medium, and add the apple pieces.
Cover and let it cook for 10 minutes.
Remove the cover, stir, and turn the heat down to a lowish medium.
Reduce until thick and goopy, if using higher heat, stir often to prevent it from burning.
Serve warm!


Osiris gameside affairs