Is Magnum Options a Scam? - Binary Options Brokers 2018

(CAN) Dad got scammed by Magnum Options (binary options)

I never thought this would happen to him, his whole life he's been a hardworking, careful and savvy investor, but these smooth talkers got him for about $35K (CAD) via a number of credit card payments.
They started him off small and managed to squeeze that much out of him saying it made him eligible for some kind of insurance or protection against loss, and made him eligible for mentoring and trading advice, which resulted in them putting a "bonus" in his "account", now they won't let him withdraw his money (or what should be left after you deduct what they made him loose with their guided transactions and supposed mentoring) (he has to perform 40 trades, totaling something like $2 000 000 before they will let him withdraw, and the game is clearly rigged in the house's favor so if he trades at all, his "account" will soon be empty) I use "" around account because I am almost certain their "trading" is all virtual (think online casino, house always wins) and the "account" balance they show their user as well as the "bonus" they deposit in it is just part of the scam.
What can he do? Tomorrow morning he is going to meet with the branch that issued his credit card, I suggested he bring all the documentation (including a "document" about the terms of the bonus with a handwritten signature on it that IS NOT HIS SIGNATURE, they forged it and it doesn't even remotely look like his) I hope he will be able to charge back the amounts they took?
He found a website (winchargeback.com) that says they specialize in recovering money from these scammers but I am afraid that looks like another scam as well... (or maybe they are partnered with the scammers and share a cut off the percentage they take from recovering funds? The whole thing smells really bad and I am worried)
They made him send them a picture of his passport (hiding the passport number) I am worried about identity theft at this point, or they'll try to take out a mortgage on my parent's house or something like that!
Anyone deal with this sort of thing before? Any advice would be highly appreciated. I apologize if this post is badly thrown together I am a bit emotional right now.
submitted by DadDunGoofed to personalfinance [link] [comments]

The Division 2 - Title Update 10 - Patch Notes

Title Update 10 - Patch Notes

*These are preliminary Patch Notes and changes may still happen until the launch of Title Update 10.
 

New Season – Keener’s Legacy

A new season is almost upon us! Starting on June 23rd, Keener’s Legacy offers 12 weeks of in-game activities and unique rewards. Season 2 brings a new Seasonal Manhunt, new Leagues, a new Global event and new unique rewards, as well as an Apparel Event.
 

New Raid - Operation Iron Horse

The True Sons have taken over a Foundry to develop new weapons and threaten to destroy everything the Division has worked for.
  • New bosses, puzzles and rewards!
  • Level 40 version available on June 30th, followed the next week by the level 30 version.
  • Discovery mode will become available at a later date.
  • Unique Rewards
    • 2 new Exotics
    • 2 new Gear Sets
    • New cosmetic rewards
  • Further details will become available closer to the raid’s release in late June.
 

Balance and Bug Fixes

Title Update 10 is bringing our first large balance pass following the release of Warlords of New York. Beyond the addition of new content, the update focuses on three main aspects mainly game health through bug fixes and balancing, generosity by increasing your chances to receive a high-quality item as loot and increasing overall player power. Scroll down for a full list of bug fixes, balancing changes and gameplay tweaks.
 

Missing Localized Audio

We wanted to inform you about an issue with localized audio that will be present when we launch Title Update 10 and Season 2. While the team was able to work from home to get this update ready, with your help testing the content on the PTS, we unfortunately were not able to record all localized audio content for TU10. With everything going on in the world, our top priority is the well-being of our teams, including our voice actors. Of course, we will start working on recording the missing audio with our partners when it is safe to do so and, in some cases, we were able to get things started already. Adding the localized files to the game as soon as we can in one of our next updates is an absolute priority for the team. This only affects Seasonal content. Operation Iron Horse audio is fully localized.
If you are currently playing with a non-English client, you don’t have to change anything going into Title Update 10. When localized audio is missing you will just hear the English audio instead. Subtitles have been localized and can be activated in the ingame options.
As work continues, we will update you on the progress of the integration here on the forums and on State of the Game.
Thank you and stay safe!
 

New Exotics

SRS Sniper Rifle: Mantis

  • Your scoped view displays additional information about enemies not targeting you
  • Your scoped view highlights enemy weakpoints
  • Headshot and weak point damage against enemies not targeting you amplified by 50%
  • Headshot kills reset the cooldown of the Decoy skill. This bonus will wait until the Decoy goes on cooldown if currently active
 

Mask: Vile

  • Status effects also apply a damage over time debuff for 10s
  • Total damage dealt is equal to 50% of your concussion grenade damage and increased by your status effect attributes
 

Double Barrel Rifle: The Ravenous (Operation Iron Horse)

  • On trigger-pull, fire both barrels at once
  • When fired from the right shoulder, hits add offensive primers, and defensive primers when fired from the left shoulder
  • Hits from one shoulder will detonate all of the opposite shoulder's primers when present
  • When detonated or affected enemy is killed, each offensive primer deals 100% weapon damage, while each defensive primer grants +4% bonus armor and +10% amplified damage to armor plates for 5s
  • Primer effectiveness is doubled at 10 stacks
 

Magnum Pistol: Regulus (Operation Iron Horse)

  • Headshot kills create a 5m explosion, dealing 400% weapon damage and applying bleed to all enemies hit.
  • High accuracy and base damage
 

New Gear Sets

Eclipse Protocol (Season 2)

  • Core: Skill Tier (Yellow)
  • 2: +15% Status Effects
  • 3: +15% Skill Haste and +30% Hazard Protection
  • 4: "Indirect Transmission" Your status effects now spread on kill to all enemies within 15m and refresh 50% of the duration.
  • Chest talent: "Proliferation" Increases Indirect Transmission range from 15m to 20m and refresh percentage from 50% to 75%
  • Backpack talent: "Symptom Aggravator" Amplifies all damage you deal to status affected targets by 15%
 

Foundry Bulwark (Operation Iron Horse)

  • Core: Armor (Blue)
  • 2: +10% Armor
  • 3: +3% Armor Regeneration
  • 4: "Makeshift Repairs" Whenever you or your shield take damage, 20% of that amount is repaired to both over 15s
  • Chest talent: "Process Refinery" Increases Makeshift Repairs from 20% to 30% over 15s
  • Backpack talent: "Improved Materials" Increases Makeshift Repairs speed from 15s to 10s
 

Future Initiative (Operation Iron Horse)

  • Core: Skill Tier (Yellow)
  • 2: +30% Repair Skills
  • 3: +30% Skill Duration and +15% Skill Haste
  • 4: "Ground Control" Increases you and your allies' total weapon and skill damage by 15% when at full armor
  • When you repair an ally, you and all allies within 5m of you are also repaired for 60% of that amount
  • Chest talent: "Tactical Superiority" Increases Ground Control damage bonus from +15% to +25%
  • Backpack talent: "Advanced Combat Tactics" Increases Ground Control proximity repair from 60% to 120%
 

New Gear Brand

Walker, Harris & Co.

  • Core: Weapon Damage (Red)
  • 1: +5.0% Weapon Damage
  • 2: +5.0% Damage to Armor
  • 3: +5.0% Damage to Health
 

New Named Weapons

  • Mechanical Animal (SIG 556) with Future Perfection
    • Weapon kills grant +1 skill tier for 19s. Stacks up to 3 times.
    • Weapon kills at skill tier 6 grant overcharge for 15s.
    • Overcharge Cooldown: 90s
  • Harmony (Resolute MK47) with Perfectly In Sync
    • Hitting an enemy grants +20% skill damage for 5s.
    • Using a skill or damaging an enemy with a skill grants +20% weapon damage for 5s.
    • Damage increases are doubled while both buffs are active at the same time.
 

New Named Gear

  • Matador (Walker, Harris & Co. backpack) with Perfect Adrenaline Rush
    • When you are within 10m of an enemy, gain 23% bonus armor for 5s. Stacks up to 3 times.
    • Cooldown: 5s
    • Chainkiller (Walker, Harris & Co. chest) with Perfect Headhunter. After killing an enemy with a headshot, your next weapon hit within 30s deals 150% of that killing blow’s damage in addition to it.
    • Damage is capped to 800% of your weapon damage. This is raised to 1250% if your headshot damage is greater than 150%.
 

New Skill Variant

  • Repair Trap
    • The Repair Trap deploys a line of small devices capable of repairing friendlies in their proximity.
    • Note: The Repair Trap will not be available in-game until the Seasonal prime target unlocks in August.
 

New Talents

Weapon Talent: Future Perfect
  • Weapon kills grant +1 skill tier for 15s. Stacks up to 3 times.
  • Weapon kills at skill tier 6 grant overcharge for 15s.
  • Overcharge Cooldown: 90s
 
Weapon Talent: In Sync
  • Hitting an enemy grants +15% skill damage for 5s.
  • Using a skill or damaging an enemy with a skill grants +15% weapon damage for 5s.
  • Damage increases are doubled while both buffs are active at the same time.
 
Backpack Talent: Adrenaline Rush
  • When you are within 10m of an enemy, gain 20% bonus armor for 5s. Stacks up to 3 times.
  • Cooldown: 5s
 
Chest Talent: Headhunter
  • After killing an enemy with a headshot, your next weapon hit within 30s deals 125% of that killing blow’s damage in addition to it.
  • Damage is capped to 800% of your weapon damage. This is raised to 1250% if your headshot damage is greater than 150%.
 

Gameplay Changes

Missions

  • Reduced how many elites will spawn in the following mission:
    • Manning National Zoo
    • Coney Island Ballpark
    • Coney Island Amusement Park
    • Camp White Oak
    • Space Administration HQ
    • Federal Emergency Bunker
    • Wall Street
    • Liberty Island
    • Pathway Park
    • Stranded Tanker
    • The Tombs
 

Loot

  • General
    • Added all new season 2 weapons/gear to general loot pools
  • Item Power
    • Updated item power distribution to have a better spread between minimum and maximum for all difficulties
    • Increased minimum rolled item power for Field Proficiency/DZ caches, Clan caches and Season caches.
  • Difficulty Scaling
    • Regular loot from loot containers in Missions now scale with mission difficulty
    • Targeted loot from loot containers in Missions now scales with mission difficulty
    • Loot containers part of living world activities now scale with global difficulty
  • Targeted loot
    • Increased targeted loot drop chances for all mission and Control Point difficulties
    • Added new season 2 brand to targeted loot rotation
    • Warlords of New York brands can now also show up as targeted loot in DC, including Dark Zones
  • Named Items
    • Increased named item drop chance in regular Dark Zone loot
    • Increased named item drop chance in targeted loot everywhere
  • Exotics
    • Added Warlords of New York/Season 1 Exotics (excluding The Bighorn) to targeted loot
    • Added Warlords of New York/Season 1 Exotics (excluding The Bighorn) to general Exotic loot pools (Heroic/Legendary/Raid/Exotic Cache)
    • Coyote's Mask drop from Coyote no longer has a minimum season level requirement
  • Control Points
    • Removed regular weapon/gear loot containers not scaling with difficulty from Control Points
    • Increased the amount of scaling loot from the big Control Point reward container
  • Legendary
    • Increased NPC loot drop chance for Veterans and Elites on Legendary difficulty
 

Crafting

  • Crafting will now guarantee a higher minimum item power, resulting in higher overall stat rolls. An increased maximum item power also allows for better crafted items than before. The added weighting between the minimum and maximum power results in a more balanced average outcome for crafted and reconfigured items
  • Removed final World Tier 5 crafting bench upgrade, as its power increase is now redundant
 

Vendors

  • Added Named Items to both Open World and Dark Zone vendors
  • Increased prices for Named Items
  • Increased item power for all vendors
  • Vendors no longer sell Superior quality items at maximum level
 

SHD Levels

  • Added Field Proficiency cache to SHD level-up after reaching the maximum season level
  • Increased crafting material rewards for spending SHD level points in the Scavenging category
 

Conflict

  • Added Season/SHD experience gain on Conflict level-up
 

Rogue Agent Encounters

  • Every Rogue Agent killed will now drop loot
  • Rogue Agent encounters no longer occur during time trials
 

Control Point Officers

  • Players revived by a Control Point Officer will now have 80% of their armor restored (Previously 0%)
  • Reduced the likelihood of Control Point Officers being downed in combat
 

Bounties

  • Bounties acquired by speaking to characters in the open world will always be set to the difficulty at time of acquisition or higher.
  • This affects the Snitch and civilians rescued during the Public Execution or Rescue Living World Activities.
  • Scheduled bounties, such as daily and clan bounties, are unaffected.
Developer comment: Bounties acquired in the open world should always provide challenge and loot appropriate to the world they were acquired in. Upping your global difficulty now has the added benefit of improving all bounties you acquire within it.
 

Projects

  • New Season Pass Holder Project Slot.
    • Season Pass holders now have access to an exclusive daily mission which provides a large bonus to XP.
  • Weekly SHD Requisition Project Slot
    • Endgame players at World Tier 5 and Level 40 now have a weekly supplies donation project which rewards them with an exotic cache. (For World Tier 5 players, this replaces the previous daily SHD Requisition project.)
  • Legendary Mission Project
    • After TU10, completing any legendary mission will grant you the Weekly Legendary Mission project slot.
    • Completing the designated legendary mission will reward you with an exotic cache.
Developer comment: With the addition of "re-rolls" to exotics available through crafting, we created the new Weekly projects to provide a reliable supply of exotic components or exotic items.
 

RPG Balance

 

Incoming Repairs

  • Incoming Repairs no longer increases the amount of armor repaired by armor kits, talents or gear set effects.
Developer comment: Incoming Repairs was always meant to be the defensive attribute equivalent to Repair Skills, so that players could further enhance the amount of healing they receive from their skills, or the group's healer. Unfortunately, the underlying code prevented us from differentiating between alternate sources of armor repair, such as those from talents and gear sets like Foundry Bulwark, or Firewall's unique armor kit effect. We wanted to address this during the development of Warlords of New York, but chose to post-pone the fix in order to deal with higher priority issues at the time. We underestimated the extent to which this attribute would affect the new Warlords meta, and failed to predict the severity of degenerate gameplay it would cause when combined with certain talents or gear sets. It's important to stress that this is not a PvP-only issue, or an instance of the PvP environment affecting PvE balance. Incoming Repairs was compromising both aspects of the game, and needed to be addressed, especially considering this update coincides with the release of a new raid. Not addressing the issue would mean forcing ourselves to balance all existing and future gear and talents around the knowledge that players could potentially (read: very likely) double the amount of repairs they receive, which stifles creativity and effectively limits player choice.
 

Weapon Handling

  • 1% Weapon Handling now gives 1% Weapon Accuracy, Stability, Reload Speed, and Swap Speed, up from 0.25%.
  • Reduced the maximum amount of Weapon Handling rolled on gear by 6%, to a maximum of 8% at level 40.
Developer comment: In the current meta, Weapon Handling on gear is considered a dead stat with no significant benefit. In TU10, equipping a piece of gear with +8% Weapon Handling will now give you:
  • +8% Accuracy
  • +8% Stability
  • +8% Swap Speed
  • +8% Reload Speed
This should hopefully make Weapon Handling a strong complimentary attribute for players looking to increase their overall accuracy/stability (bloom + recoil) and/or reload/swap speed. Making the % amount of Weapon Accuracy/Stability/Swap Speed/Reload Speed gained from Weapon Handling 1:1 will also remove another element of arcane knowledge from the game and reduce the need for additional mental math when determining whether the bonus is an upgrade or not.
 

Talent Changes:

  • Leadership: Bonus Armor increased to 15% from 12%
  • Spike: Skill Damage Duration increased to 15s from 8s
  • Reformation: Skill Repair Duration increased to 15s from 8s
  • Creeping Death: No Longer goes on cooldown if there are no valid nearby enemies to apply a status effect to. Status effects applied now properly copy the source status effect’s damage and duration.
 

PvP

  • Global Damage Modifiers
    • Reduced all PvP weapon damage by -20%
  • Additional Damage Modifiers
    • Increased MMR PvP weapon damage by 12.5%
    • Reduced Assault Rifle PvP weapon damage by -15%
    • Reduced Shotgun PvP damage by -12.5%
    • Reduced SMG PvP damage by -10%
    • Reduced Pistol PvP damage by -10%
    • Reduced Rifle PvP damage by -5%
 
_Developer comment: With TU10, there have been significant buffs made to the base damage of assault rifles, SMGs, and shotguns in particular. In order to prevent those weapons from becoming overly powerful in PvP, we’ve had to lower their PvP damage modifiers to compensate.
Note: Assault rifles are still tuned to be 10% stronger than normal in PvP in order to compensate for their innate Damage to Health bonus being less useful against other players when compared to other weapon archetypes._
 
  • Specific Damage Modifiers
    • Increased Double Barrel Shotgun PvP damage by 16.6%
    • Reduced Pestilence PvP damage by -10%
    • Reduced Classic M1A damage by -5%
  • Exotic Modifiers
    • Merciless/Ruthless: “Binary Trigger” amplified weapon damage and explosion damage reduced by -50% in PvP
    • Dodge City Gunslinger’s Holster: “Quick Draw” damage bonus gained per stack in PvP lowered from +2% to +1%
      • Stacks gained per second in PvP now match the PvE value (0.5s to 0.3s)
    • Imperial Dynasty:
      • No longer automatically applies burn status effect to the nearest enemy in range.
      • Now requires maintaining range and LOS (line-of-sight) for 3 seconds between the holster bearer and nearest enemy before applying the burn status effect.
      • Added visual UI feedback to reveal the radius of effect in PvP and an indicator for LOS between the holster bearer and nearest enemy.
Developer comment: This should help address the lack of contextual feedback in PvP, and add a much needed window of opportunity for counterplay, or potential to avoid the incoming effect entirely.
 
  • * Pestilence * Plague of the Outcast damage-over-time effect no longer triggers True Patriot’s white debuff armor repair effect. (PvP and PvE)
Developer comment: While we like to embrace emergent or unintended mechanics when the end result is unique and fun gameplay, True Patriot’s white debuff explicitly states it requires shooting the debuffed target in order to receive the armor repair effect. Pestilence’s DoT managed to bypass this restriction, making it and True Patriot (especially when combined with Incoming Repairs) scale to disproportionate levels of power when used together.
 
  • Gear Set Modifiers
    • Negotiator’s Dilemma
      • Reduced the range at which marked targets can damage each other when critically hit to 15m (PvP only).
      • Added visual UI feedback when in range of another marked target.
  • Talent Modifiers
    • Efficient: Reduced specialization armor kit bonus from 100% to 50%
    • Versatile: Reduced the amplified weapon damage bonus for SMGs and shotguns from 35% to 25%
    • Vanguard: Reduced the duration of shield invulnerability from 5s to 2s
      • Note: UI will still show the old duration, but will be fixed in a later update.
    Specialization Modifiers * Firewall * Extracellular Matrix Mesh armor kit regen strength reduced by -50%, from 200% to 150%
  • Skill Modifiers
    • Pulse now correctly reveals and highlights all players in the DZ, not just hostiles/rogues
    • Increased Striker Drone damage by 30%
    • Increased Assault Turret damage by 55%
    • Reduced Firestarter Chem Launcher PvP damage by -20%
    • Reduced Bleed damage from Stinger Hive, Mortar Turret and Explosive Seeker Mine by 75%
    • Increased Stinger Hive damage by 20%, scaling up to 55% at skill tier 6
 
Developer commentary: We want dedicated skill builds to have multiple, powerful defensive tools for area denial/control. However, the strength of bleed effects meant being hit by just 1 stinger drone, mortar, or seeker mine was nearly a death sentence for most builds. The stinger hive should now better punish players who remain within its area of effect, rather than needing to rely entirely on the excessive damage of a single bleed DoT, while allowing the hive’s drone damage to scale higher for dedicated skill builds.
 

Weapon Balance

 

Assault Rifles

  • AK-M – 15.8% damage increase
  • F2000 – 14.3% damage increase
  • Military AK-M – 13.2% damage increase
  • Black Market AK-M – 13.2% damage increase
  • FAL – 12.0% damage increase
  • FAL SA-58 – 12.0% damage increase
  • FAL SA-58 Para – 12.0% damage increase
  • SOCOM Mk 16 – 11.4% damage increase
  • Tactical Mk 16 – 11.4% damage increase
  • Mk 16 – 11.4% damage increase
  • AUG A3-CQC – 11.2% damage increase
  • Honey Badger – 10.9% damage increase
  • FAMAS 2010 – 10.6% damage increase
  • ACR – 9.7% damage increase
  • ACR-E – 9.7% damage increase
  • Military G36 – 9.5% damage increase
  • G36 C – 9.5% damage increase
  • G36 Enhanced – 9.5% damage increase
  • Carbine 7 – 8.7 % damage increase
  • Military P416 – 7.4% damage increase
  • Custom P416 G3 - 7.4% damage increase
  • Police M4 – 6.8% damage increase
  • CTAR 21 – 8.6% damage increase
 

LMG

  • Classic M60 – 12.5% damage increase
  • Classic RPK-74 – 12.4% damage increase
  • Military RPK-74 M – 12.4% damage increase
  • Black Market RPK-74 E – 12.4% damage increase
  • Military M60 E4 – 9.2% damage increase
  • Black Market M60 E6 – 9.2% damage increase
  • Military L86 LSW – 8.5% damage increase
  • Custom L86 A2 – 8.5% damage increase
  • IWI NEGEV – 2.6% damage increase
  • Stoner LMG – 2.0% damage increase
  • M249 B – No changes
  • Tactical M249 Para – No changes
  • Military MK46 – No changes
  • MG5 – No changes
  • Infantry MG5 – 3.2% damage decrease
 

MMR

  • Model 700 – 14.9% damage increase
  • Hunting M44 – 13.5% damage increase
  • Classic M44 Carbine – 12.5% damage increase
  • G28 – 11.4% damage increase
  • SOCOM Mk20 SSR – 9.3% damage increase
  • SR-1 - 8.6% damage increase
  • Custom M44 – 8.1% damage increase
  • M700 Tactical – 8.1% damage increase
  • M700 Carbon – 8.1% damage increase
  • Covert SRS – 6.0% damage increase
  • SRS A1 – 6.0% damage increase
  • Surplus SVD – 2.9% damage decrease
  • Paratrooper SVD – 2.9% damage decrease
 

Rifles

  • UIC15 MOD – 21.6% damage increase
  • 1886 – 21.3% damage increase
  • LVOA-C – 12.1% damage increase
  • M1A CQB – 10.7% damage increase
  • Lightweight M4 – 10.5% damage increase
  • G 716 CQB – 8.7% damage increase
  • SIG 716 – 6.7% damage increase
  • ACR SS – 3.7% damage increase
  • SOCOM M1A – No changes
  • M16A2 – No changes
  • USC .45 ACP - 2.8% damage decrease
  • Urban MDR – 5.5% damage decrease
  • Military Mk17 – 11.8% damage decrease
  • Police Mk17 - 11.8% damage decrease
  • Classic M1A - 12.6% damage decrease
 

SMG

  • Tommy Gun – 38.8% damage increase
  • PP-19 – 29.6% damage increase
  • Enhanced PP-19 – 29.6% damage increase
  • MP7 – 27.5% damage increase
  • MPX – 17.7% damage increase
  • M1928 – 20.0% damage increase
  • P90 – 15.6% damage increase
  • Converted SMG-9 – 15.8% damage increase
  • Black Market T821 – 15.4% damage increase
  • Police T821 – 15.4% damage increase
  • Vector SBR .45 ACP – 14.7% damage increase
  • CMMG Banshee – 12.5% damage increase
  • Police UMP-45 – 12.0% damage increase
  • Tactical UMP-45 – 12.0% damage increase
  • AUG A3 Para XS – 11.8% damage increase
  • Enhanced AUG A3P – 11.8 % damage increase
  • Tactical AUG A3P – 11.8% damage increase
  • Converted SMG-9 A2 – 11.6% damage increase
  • MP5A2 – 10.0% damage increase
  • MP5-N – 10.0% damage increase
  • MP5 ST – 10.0% damage increase
  • Tactical Vector SBR 9mm – 5.9% damage increase
 

Shotguns

  • M870 Express – 23.3% damage increase
  • Military M870 – 23.3% damage increase
  • Custom M870 MCS – 23.3% damage increase
  • Super 90 – 23.2% damage increase
  • Marine Super 90 – 23.2% damage increase
  • Tactical Super 90 SBS – 23.2% damage increase
  • SASG-12 – 21.3% damage increase
  • Tactical SASG-12 K – 21.3% damage increase
  • Black Market SASG-12 S – 21.3% damage increase
  • SPAS-12 – 18.6% damage increase
  • KSG Shotgun – 9.0% damage increase
 

Sidearms

  • Double Barrel Sawed Off Shotgun – Optimal Range reduced to 8m from 11m
  • 586 Magnum – 68.8% damage increase
  • Police 686 Magnum – 68.8% damage increase
  • Maxim 9 - 23.5% damage increase
  • D50 – 17.5% damage increase
  • First Wave PF45 – 13.5% damage increase
  • Custom PF45 – 9.7% damage increase
  • Military M9 – 8.7% damage increase
  • 93R - 7.7% damage increase
  • Snubnosed Diceros – 6.5% damage increase
  • Officer's M9 A1 – 6.3% damage increase
  • Diceros – 5.9% damage increase
  • M45A1 – 9.5% damage decrease
  • Tactical M1911 – 9.5% damage decrease
  • M1911 – 7.3% damage decrease
 

Exotics Changes

Developer comment: Along with the buffs to weapon damage, TU10's significant buff to weapon handling meant some exotic weapon mods no longer made sense or resulted in over tuned performance that no longer fit with the original design. We also took this opportunity to make improvements to underperforming exotic
 
The Bighorn
  • Damage increased by +11.2%
  • Increased optimal range from 27m to 40m
  • Optics mod bonus increased from +0% to +30% Headshot Damage
  • Magazine mod bonus changed from +7% Headshot Damage to +10% Reload Speed
  • Added functionality that provides additional headshot damage, full talent is now:
    • When scoped, switches to semi-automatic fire mode, dealing 450% weapon damage with each shot.
    • (New) Headshots grant +2% headshot damage. Stacks up to 50 times. Resets to 0 at full stacks.
 
Eagle Bearer
  • Damage increased by +7.8%
  • Underbarrel mod bonus changed from +10% Stability to +10% Weapon Handling
 
Chameleon
  • Damage increased by +32.8%
  • Optics mod bonus changed from +15% Accuracy to +15% Critical Hit Chance
  • Muzzle mod bonus changed from +5% Critical Hit Chance to +20% Accuracy
  • Underbarrel mod bonus changed from +10% Critical Hit Chance to +10% Stability
  • Optimal range increased by 33.3%, from 15m to 20m
  • Long range effectiveness increased by 19%, from 42m to 50m
  • Added functionality that retains your current buffs to the next combat encounter when combat ends, full talent is now:
    • Hitting 30 headshots grant +20% critical hit chance and +50% critical hit damage for 45s.
    • Hitting 75 body-shots grant +90% weapon damage for 45s.
    • Hitting 30 leg-shots grant +150% reload speed for 45s.
    • (New) Buffs refresh when out of combat.
 
Bullet King
  • Damage increased by +2.6%
 
Nemesis
  • Damage increased by +11.1%
  • Optics mod bonus increased from +35% to +45% Headshot Damage
  • Underbarrel mod bonus reduced from +15% to +5% Weapon Handling
 
Liberty
  • Optics mod bonus changed from +5% Critical Hit Chance to +5% Headshot Damage
  • Muzzle mod bonus changed from +15% Stability to +5% Critical Hit Chance
  • Magazine mod bonus changed from +15% Reload Speed to +15% Weapon Handling
  • Added functionality to provide extra damage if you're trying to keep stacks, full talent is now:
    • (New) Hits grant +2% weapon damage. Stacks up to 30.
    • Headshots consume all stacks, repairing your shield for 3% per stack.
  • No longer highlights enemy weakpoints when aiming.
 
Merciless/Ruthless
  • Damage increased by +12.5%
  • Muzzle mod bonus reduced from +20% to +10% Stability
  • Underbarrel mod bonus reduced from +20% to +10% Weapon Handling
  • Magazine mod bonus reduced from +15% to +10% Reload Speed
  • Added functionality to provide extra non-explosive damage as well, full talent is now:
    • This weapon fires on trigger pull and release.
    • If both bullets hit the same enemy, gain a stack.
    • (New) At 7 stacks, shooting an enemy deals 500% amplified damage and creates a 7m explosion dealing 500% weapon damage, consuming the stacks.
 
Developer Comment: Merciless was previously balanced for its very unwieldy handling and compensated with very high burst damage. With access to much higher accuracy and stability, Binary Trigger’s explosion strength has been toned down.
 
Diamondback
  • Damage increased by +7.7%
  • Text updated to clarify a new target isn’t marked until after the 5s buff.
 
Lullaby/Sweet Dreams
  • Damage increased by +11.0%
 
Lady Death
  • Damage increased by +18.9%
  • Optics mod bonus increased from +5% to +10% Critical Hit Chance
  • Muzzle mod bonus changed from +5% Critical Hit Chance to +5% Critical Hit Damage
  • Underbarrel mod changed from +5% Critical Hit Damage to +500% Melee Damage
  • Breathe Free: Lowered the amount of maximum stacks from 40 to 32, and increased the damage amplification per stack from 60% to 75%
 
The Chatterbox
  • Damage increased by +16.7%
  • Optics mod bonus increased from +5% to +15% Critical Hit Chance
  • Muzzle mod bonus changed from +10% Critical Hit Chance to +5% Critical Hit Damage
  • Underbarrel mod bonus reduced from +15% to +10% Weapon Handling
  • Magazine mod bonus changed from +10% Reload Speed to +10 Rounds
  • Magazine base capacity reduced from 60 to 50
 
Pestilence
  • Muzzle mod bonus changed from +10% Stability to +10% Accuracy
  • Underbarrel mod bonus changed from +10% Weapon Handling to +10% Stability
 
NinjaBike Messenger Kneepads
  • Added functionality to add bonus armor, full talent is now:
    • (New) Performing a cover to cover or vaulting reloads your drawn weapon and grants +25% bonus armor for 5s.
 
Dodge City Gunslinger Holster
  • Added functionality that makes your hit do headshot damage, full talent is now:
    • While your pistol is holstered, gain a stacking buff every 0.3s, up to 100. When you swap to it, your first shot consumes the buff and deals +10% damage per stack.
    • (New) This deals headshot damage to anywhere you hit.
 
BTSU Datagloves
  • Changed functionality to no longer grant group/raid-wide overcharge unless you are skill tier 6
  • Added functionality to provide hive skill haste, full talent is now:
    • (New) Grants +15% Hive skill haste per skill tier.
    • (Changed) Detonating a hive refreshes your skill cooldowns and grants overcharge for 15s.If at Skill Tier 6, this effect also applies to all allies.
    • Allies receiving this effect are unable to benefit from it again for 120s.
 
Sawyer's Kneeguards
  • Added functionality to continue to provide damage bonus move for a short duration, full talent is now:
    • Cannot be staggered by explosions.
    • Increases total weapon damage by 3% each second you are not moving. Stacks up to 10 until you start moving.
    • (New) All stacks lost 10s after moving.
 

Gear Set Changes

Hard Wired
  • Feedback Loop no longer fully refreshes the cooldown of a skill, but instead reduces it by up to 30s
 
Ongoing Directive
  • Main Talent
    • Hollow-Point Ammo is no longer dropped on kill, and instead automatically added to your active weapon when killing status afflicted enemies
    • Backpack Talent (New)
  • “Trauma Specialist”
    • Increases the duration of your bleed status effects by 50% and all bleed damage done by 100%
    • Increased 3-piece Reload Speed bonus from +20% to +30%
 
Tip of the Spear
  • Main Talent (PVE)
    • Aggressive Recon's weapon damage buff is now gained when dealing specialization weapon damage, instead of on specialization weapon kill
  • Main Talent (PVP)
    • Aggressive Recon's weapon damage buff is now gained when dealing grenade damage, instead of on grenade kill
  • Backpack Talent (New)
    • “Signature Moves”
    • Increases specialization weapon damage by 20%, and doubles the amount of specialization ammo generated by Aggressive Recon
 
Aces and Eights
  • Main Talent
    • "Poker Face" backpack talent is now a baseline effect:
    • Flip an additional card on headshots
  • Backpack Talent (New)
    • “Ace in the Sleeve”
    • Amplifies 1 extra shot when revealing your hand
    • 3-piece Headshot Damage bonus is now additive, rather than multiplicative
    • Increased 3-piece Headshot Damage bonus from +20% to +30%
 
System Corruption
  • Main Talent
    • Now repairs 20% of your armor in addition to granting 50% bonus armor
    • Increases total weapon damage by 1% per 5% bonus armor gained, up to 20%
 
Striker’s Battlegear
  • Main Talent
    • Reduced the number of stacks lost on missed shots from 3 to 2
  • Backpack Talent
    • No longer reduces number of stacks lost on missed shots
    • (New) Increases total weapon damage gained per stack of Striker's Gamble from 0.5% to 0.65%.
 
Negotiators Dilemma
  • Damage transfers on the initial bullet that marks a new target
 
Hard Wired
  • Increased 3-piece Repair Skills bonus from +15% to +30%
 
Brand Set Changes Alps Summit Armament
  • Increased 1-piece Repair Skills bonus from +15% to +20%
 
Murakami Industries
  • Increased 2-piece Repair Skills bonus from +15% to +20%
 
Richter & Kaiser
  • Increased 3-piece Repair Skills bonus from +15% to +20%
  • Incoming Repairs brand set bonus increased from +15% to +20%
 
Providence Defense
  • Increased 1-piece Headshot Damage bonus from +10% to +15%
 
Airaldi Holdings
  • Increased 2-piece Headshot Damage bonus from +10% to +15%
 
Grupo Sombra S.A
  • Increased 3-piece Headshot Damage bonus from +10% to +15%
 
Overlord Armaments
  • Increased 2-piece Accuracy bonus from +10% to +20%
 
Douglas & Harding
  • Increased 2-piece Stability bonus from +10% to +20%
  • Increased 3-piece Accuracy bonus from +10% to +20%
 
Fenris Group AB
  • Increased 2-piece Reload Speed bonus from +10% to +20%
  • Increased 3-piece Stability bonus from +10% to +20%
 

Specialization Changes

  • Gunner specialization's Emplacement talent Weapon Handling bonus reduced from +15% to +10%
    • Note: The UI will incorrectly say it still adds +15% Weapon Handling. This will be fixed in a future update.
 

Skill Changes

UI
  • Stinger Hive, Mortar Turret, and Explosive Seeker Mine now display its Bleed Damage and Duration
 
Seeker Mine
  • Cluster Seeker Mine targeting accuracy improved
Developer comment: The Cluster Seeker Mine is not intended to be as accurate as the Explosive variant. Once it is a certain distance from its target it locks the location it is aiming for and continues towards that regardless of where its original target agent has since moved to. This "bullcharge" behavior reflects the mini-mines' less advanced technology and balances the skill mod's effectiveness. This said, we have noticed that the Cluster Seeker's accuracy has been a source of frustration so we've shortened the distance until it activates its "bullcharge" and adjusted when it decides to explode. These adjustments should make the Cluster Seeker feel more accurate, but these are measured steps as we do not want the skill to return to its OP TU7-state.
 
Hive
  • Stinger Hive base damage reduced -20%
  • Stinger Hive damage bonus per skill tier increased from +10% to +20%
Developer comment: In order to make investing in skill tiers have a greater impact on the Stinger Hive's damage, we slightly reduced base drone damage, while doubling the amount of damage gained with each skill tier. These changes will result in a net buff for dedicated skill builds, with a 10% increase in Stinger Hive drone damage at skill tier 6.
  • Restorer hive gains +5% drone flight speed per skill tier
Developer comment: Increases to the Restorer Hive's radius had the unfortunate effect of increasing the time it took for repair drones to reach their target the further they were from the hive. Increasing drone flight speed with each skill tier should help offset that somewhat counter-intuitive behavior when taking advantage of the increased area of effect, and make the Restorer Hive a more reliable tool for healers.
 
Chem Launcher
  • Riot Foam Chem Launcher ensnare duration bonus per skill tier reduced from +20% to +10%
  • Reinforcer Chem Launcher: UI has been updated to clarify that the initial heal only affects allies and not the Skill user. The functionality has not changed.
 
Firefly
  • Blinder Firefly blind duration bonus per skill tier reduced from +20% to +10%
  • Blinder Firefly base blind duration reduced from 6s to 5s
 
Pulse
  • Banshee Pulse cooldown increased from 20s to 30s
  • Banshee Pulse base confuse duration reduced from 5s to 4s
  • Jammer Pulse base disrupt duration reduced from 4s to 3s
 
Shock Trap
  • Shock Trap base shock duration reduced from 5s to 3s (PvP duration remains unchanged)
  • Shock Trap base radius increased from 2m to 2.5m
  • When the active duration ends, its cooldown is refunded an equal number of seconds that it was active.
 

Further Bugfixes:

=> Source
submitted by JokerUnique to thedivision [link] [comments]

Instead of dual wielding, what about paired weapons?

TLDR: what if there were dedicated weapons that came in sets of 2 as a replacement for freeform dual wielding.
More of a thought exercise here than a real hope for the next game, but I had a thought about the weird history of dual wielding in the Halo series and how it could be "fixed."
Dual wielding has always occupied a weird spot of balance versus functionality, where there's supposed to be a tradeoff of not being able to use grenades or melee in favor of doubled firepower. You still could though, just by dropping the lefthanded weapon in the process. Not much of a drawback, really. The idea of pairing two types of weapons together (plasma pistol and SMG, plasma rifle and pistol) works great in theory, but then those weapons on their own have to not do as much as they do together, so in multiplayer the DMR reigned supreme because it just plain did everything. Or maybe it's entirely broken instead, like two needlers, or just unrelentingly "good enough" like two SMGs beating a shotgun up close.
So in Halo 3 things were shuffled around a little, you couldn't pick up two needlers anymore and there's this new spiker thing, but the damage was already done, and the new addition of equipment was yet another reason to not bother with dual wielding because you'd just have to drop it to throw out your bubble shield anyway. The concept was then dropped from most subsequent Halo games.
The feature's a neat one, but we see time and time again in all sorts of shooters that doubling someone's firepower, even with "weaker" weapons, is a pretty binary choice between "way overpowered" or "literally not good enough to bother with." Those of you old enough to remember what the phrase "Dual 1886s" means, raise your hand.
If you'll excuse a quick genre-hop, I'd like to bring up Dark Souls 2. Please don't leave.
Dark Souls 2 introduced something called "powerstancing." It was dual wielding. Any two weapons could be dual wielded if you had a high enough Strength stat, and in theory, it was supposed to reward high-Str builds with this cool option for all their weird weapons. In practice, it did not. See, in Dark Souls, a big draw of using different weapons, even those in the same class (swords, axes, hammers, etc) is that they have different movesets. Dual wielding more or less removed that uniqueness, because while you could have someone powerstancing two swords and maybe make a cool moveset for that, it wouldn't make sense for people powerstancing a sword and a hammer, or an axe and a spear. So, everyone got the same moveset with very minor variations, and as a result, the feature was largely ignored because weapons with cool, useful moves lost all of those and everything played the same.
Except for hammers. Hammers were entirely broken and in PVP would stunlock another player so hard that they would simply die, unable to do anything, before you ran out of the ability to continue attacking. It was miserable. So again, the binary choice.
Dark Souls 3 ditched dual wielding and introduced something called paired weapons. These were weapons built from the ground up to be dual-wieldable. They had their own special movesets that were totally unique to each other, some had cool special abilities that took the twin nature of weapons into account, and ultimately all the balance issues were solved (or at least solved enough for this post). There were twin straightswords, twin hammers, twin spears, twin katanas, and more, all with their own identity and uses.
So my question is, could Halo benefit from the same? Bungie and 343 both have experimented with a heavier version of the plasma rifle with the plasma repeater and the storm rifle, and the idea seemed like you could have this heavier version in place of dual wielding plasma rifles, but then you couldn't actually do that. So what if in some future Halo game, it changes from "Picked up a Plasma Rifle" to "Picked up a pair of Plasma Rifles?" That would let the devs play around with a heavy version while still having the lighter version for faster burst fire. Imagine being able to choose from a single Halo 1 magnum or a pair of Halo 2's Glock-alikes, or each Mauler coming in a set of 2 for the ultimate close-range nightmare, while allowing the poor shotgun to get at least a little bit of range back. And for a bit of fun, each paired weapon could have its own couple unique assassination animations or something.
I feel that with the Infinite demo showing off more new additions to Halo's arsenal than we've seen in over a decade, something like paired weapons could make a lot of sense for the future. It would be a way to bring a series-defining feature back while eliminating basically all of the balance issues the mix-and-match nature of it historically has had.
Give me thoughts and/or condemnations, Halo fans.
submitted by a_gunbird to halo [link] [comments]

MAME 0.219

MAME 0.219

MAME 0.219 arrives today, just in time for the end of February! This month we’ve got another piece of Nintendo Game & Watch history – Pinball – as well as a quite a few TV games, including Dream Life Superstar, Designer’s World, Jenna Jameson’s Strip Poker, and Champiyon Pinball. The previously-added Care Bears and Piglet’s Special Day TV games are now working, as well as the big-endian version of the MIPS Magnum R4000. As always, the TV games vary enormously in quality, from enjoyable titles, to low-effort games based on licensed intellectual properties, to horrible bootlegs using blatantly copied assets. If music/rhythm misery is your thing, there’s even a particularly bad dance mat game in there.
On the arcade side, there are fixes for a minor but long-standing graphical issue in Capcom’s genre-defining 1942, and also a fairly significant graphical regression in Seibu Kaihatsu’s Raiden Fighters. Speaking of Seibu Kaihatsu, our very own Angelo Salese significantly improved the experience in Good E-Jan, and speaking of graphics fixes, cam900 fixed some corner cases in Data East’s innovative, but little-known, shoot-’em-up Boogie Wings. Software list additions include the Commodore 64 INPUT 64 collection (courtesy of FakeShemp) and the Spanish ZX Spectrum Load’N’Run collection (added by ICEknight). New preliminary CPU cores and disassemblers include IBM ROMP, the NEC 78K family, Samsung KS0164 and SSD Corp’s Xavix 2.
As always, you can get the source and 64-bit Windows binary packages from the download page.

MAME Testers Bugs Fixed

New working machines

New working clones

Machines promoted to working

Clones promoted to working

New machines marked as NOT_WORKING

New clones marked as NOT_WORKING

New working software list additions

Software list items promoted to working

New NOT_WORKING software list additions

Source Changes

submitted by cuavas to emulation [link] [comments]

MAME 0.218

MAME 0.218

It’s time for MAME 0.218, the first MAME release of 2020! We’ve added a couple of very interesting alternate versions of systems this month. One is a location test version of NMK’s GunNail, with different stage order, wider player shot patterns, a larger player hitbox, and lots of other differences from the final release. The other is The Last Apostle Puppetshow, an incredibly rare export version of Home Data’s Reikai Doushi. Also significant is a newer version Valadon Automation’s Super Bagman. There’s been enough progress made on Konami’s medal games for a number of them to be considered working, including Buttobi Striker, Dam Dam Boy, Korokoro Pensuke, Shuriken Boy and Yu-Gi-Oh Monster Capsule. Don’t expect too much in terms of gameplay though — they’re essentially gambling games for children.
There are several major computer emulation advances in this release, in completely different areas. Possibly most exciting is the ability to install and run Windows NT on the MIPS Magnum R4000 “Jazz” workstation, with working networking. With the assistance of Ash Wolf, MAME now emulates the Psion Series 5mx PDA. Psion’s EPOC32 operating system is the direct ancestor of the Symbian operating system, that powered a generation of smartphones. IDE and SCSI hard disk support for Acorn 8-bit systems has been added, the latter being one of the components of the BBC Domesday Project system. In PC emulation, Windows 3.1 is now usable with S3 ViRGE accelerated 2D video drivers. F.Ulivi has contributed microcode-level emulation of the iSBC-202 floppy controller for the Intel Intellec MDS-II system, adding 8" floppy disk support.
Of course there are plenty of other improvements and additions, including re-dumps of all the incorrectly dumped GameKing cartridges, disassemblers for PACE, WE32100 and “RipFire” 88000, better Geneve 9640 emulation, and plenty of working software list additions. You can get the source and 64-bit Windows binary packages from the download page (note that 32-bit Windows binaries and “zip-in-zip” source code are no longer supplied).

MAME Testers Bugs Fixed

New working machines

New working clones

Machines promoted to working

Clones promoted to working

New machines marked as NOT_WORKING

New clones marked as NOT_WORKING

New working software list additions

Software list items promoted to working

New NOT_WORKING software list additions

Source Changes

submitted by cuavas to emulation [link] [comments]

DEMOLITION DAYS, PART 77

Continuing
“Yes,” he replies, “Two will drive in in their own vehicles, but one will be flying, I think, it’s not yet been confirmed. If he does arrive on time, he’ll have to go in the field with you in your truck.”
“OK, now I’m a taxi service?” I snicker, “Price of poker’s going up.”
“Yes, right,” he grimaces, “As per your prospectus, you’re running the show out in the field. You have to being you’re the only one fully licensed. “
“This is news?” I asked.
“Well, “he continues, “All of your associates will possess some degree of blasting experience.”
“But none are licensed?” I ask.
“Not as such,” he replies. “Either way, you’re running the show out there. Make certain they all survive and return moderately intact.”
“Always my intention,” I say, “Can I see the list?”
“Certainly,” Harry says, sitting back and lighting up my cigar.
OK, let’s see…”
No doctors, yet. All last-year PhD candidates in either mining or engineering geology. Well, not my absolute first choices, but I guess it’s better than a sharp stick on the eye.
There’s:
• Albert W. Armstrong. “Al”. University of Missouri, Rolla. Mining geology.
• Charles F. Glaciisto. “Chuck”. New Mexico Tech., Socorro. Mining geology.
•Leonard. R. Paskapää. “Leonard”. Colorado School of Mines. Engineering geology.
“Well, there’s a nice assortment,” I say, “Guess I’ll see them when they get there.”
“Chuck and Al are driving out. Leonard is flying out, I think, and won’t be there for another two weeks.” Harry tells me.
“Fine by me. Hope they boned up and brought all the necessary gear. This is a real job, not a field trip.” I said.
“I agree Rock,” Harry intones, “They have the project prospectus, so there should be few surprises. Well, I’m off to some meetings in DC. I’ll have to catch you for dinner when you return. In the meantime, we have a reservation for you at the Hyatt next door. I’ve also arranged for your trailer and supplies tomorrow at 0600. I knew you’d want to be out on the road early.”
“Fair dinkum, Harry,” I say, “Sounds like a plan. I’ll be in touch. Have a good trip.”
“You too,” he says as we shake hands and depart.
The Hyatt was comfortable, but just another in a long line of chain hotels. Adequate clean room, decent food, ridiculous mini-bar prices. I was up at 0500, showered, and ready to head over to the armory for my Nevada supplies.
I show up at 0545. I was that ready to get back on the road. Surprisingly, all I had time for was an early morning Bear Claw and coffee before everyone showed up.
“Right this way, Rock,” Andy the Armorer told me. “Drive right back to bay 5. I’ll open it up and we’ll have you on your way.”
So, I wheeled back to Bay 5, spun the truck around, and backed right up to the door.
I tootled my horn and the corrugated door began to roll up.
Andy motioned for me to back in, slowly. Using hand signs, I backed in enough for them to close the door again.
I saw my old trailer over in the corner and was thinking it was nice to have a familiar bit of kit.
Then another trailer was rolled out. Fully twice the size of the old trailer, it was painted a ghastly government green, overlain with black and yellow cross stripes. It was plastered with DOD, DOT, DOI, and all the other necessary stickers. There was one large and very prominent sticker on the bumper that proclaimed; “EXPLOSIVES! DANGER! STAY BACK 500 FEET.”
“Oh, that’s nice and unobtrusive,” I said. “No one will give that a second thought.”
Fucking sheesh-buckets.
Half the trailer was taken up by a cast-iron tub, with hinged lid. It had an electric motor to raise and lower the lid, just the thing for going out in the boonies, I thought. It was made of very stout and thick welded steel and was quite lockable. It also looked bullet, lightning, and nuke-proof.
It also weighed a fucking ton.
The rest of the trailer had several lockable compartments, of varying sizes for the inclusions of all my different blasting equipment, all made of the same stern stuff.
The whole trailer had a resolute fiberglass lid, although the munitions tub still stuck out proclaiming its message of impending doom for all tailgaters to see.
“Is this all really necessary?” I asked Andy.
“Latest DOD, DOT, and DOI specs,” he told me.
“Marvelous,” I muttered.
“Well, let’s get on with the show,” I said. “You have my goodies list? I want to get out on the road.”
“Yes, sir!” he saluted, as he was still military. He barked some orders and suddenly, cart after cart after cart of the fun stuff arrived.
He delighted in showing me that this was a custom trailer. A special compartment in the tub was for binaries, a special section for dynamite, and one for all the other permissibles. The rest of the trailer was marked with cute little lockable cubbies for “Blasting caps,” “Galvanometer,” “Primacord,” “Demolitoin [sic] Wire,” etc.
It was all a very governmental job. Over-designed, over-engineered, and over-wrought.
I came to love it.
The lockbox in my truck was now empty, so I had the opportunity to load up with a few extras. I thought “You can’t go wrong with Primacord,” so 3 extra spools went in there. As did another couple boxes of initiators, pop-drop-forget fuses, a box of Fusees (road flares), delay caps, a couple of pairs of blaster’s pliers, as I kept losing mine, spools of demo wire, and extra batteries and an extra electronic detonator.
Best to be prepared, as I always say.
I was now weighed down with over to a ton of explosives, along with all the ancillary tackle.
Luckily my truck had that big, ol’ turbocharged V-8. We’re going into the mountains dragging the equivalent of a rental company Toy-Auto behind us.
I signed all the paperwork and waited until everyone present had their own notarized copy to lose. I was given two sets of keys, just in case. After I disbursed some thank you cigars, I eased out of the armory, dragging this trailer down that endless black ribbon of highway.
It was chained, wired, and padlocked to my truck. It would be a serious pain in the ass to take it off and park it for the night. Until I hit Reno, I either camp rough or stick to the plastic water glass circuit, that is, truck stops.
“No problem,” I thought. “I’ve done worse.”
Back on the road again, I’m cutting due west towards Arizona. Even with my truck’s big turbo V-8, with all the shit I was carrying and dragging behind, forget rapid acceleration or passing on anything even approximating a stiff grade.
I eased on down the road, out of New Mexico and into Arizona. I resolve to visit Cuba on the return trip.
A simple swing across Arizona and I’m in Nevada. Looks like smooth sailing ahead…
Things are going along swimmingly. I’m making great time on I-40 across Arizona.
Sure, it’s hot out, but there’s not much traffic and I can keep a pretty steady pace. So much so, I’m pointing the truck in a generally westward direction and I busy my long hours away futzing with the CB radio, eavesdropping on truckers on channel 19. Or, I futz with my shortwave trying to find Radio Moscow.
Yeah, even the CWG, car window geology, can pale after miles and miles of miles…
I’m tempted to swing through Winslow, Arizona just because I’m a fan of the Eagles. But the road is humming so nicely, I just decide to ‘Take it Easy’, and continue onwards.
Through Flagstaff, through Ash Fork, through Seligman. I’m blazing along only to have to take a bit a break outside of Kingman to avail myself of the roadside rest area facilities before I make the lane change and head for Vegas.
Or, more accurately, around Vegas. I want no part of dragging over a ton of high explosives down The Strip. Besides, the DOT would hang me by my thumbs, or more tender appendages, if I didn’t take an ‘ODOT’, or ‘Optional Direction Of Travel’.
Got to stay away from agglomerations of those people things.
That won’t be for a while as I head up Highway 93. Through Chloride and Willow Beach, up toward Henderson. I zip over the Colorado River and I’m in my destination state. In the far, far south of the state, and I’m headed to the extreme northwest of the state, but, hey, I’m in the damned state nonetheless.
Up towards Las Vegas, I really want to pull in, grab a suite, and go all Vegas-y. But, duty calls. I resolve to take Esme to Vegas when I get back to Houston and before we make any plans to head to some Middle Eastern sandpit.
I schuss up the 11 right towards Vegas and right on past via 215. I’m now on 160 headed towards one of my favorite cities: Pahrump, Nevada.
Governor Lepetomane: [pointing to a member of his cabinet] “I didn't get a "Pahrump" out of that guy!”
Hedley Lamarr: “Give the Governor a ‘Pahrump’!”
Politician: “Pahrump!!”
Governor Lepetomane: “You watch your ass.”
Pahrump, indeed.
Anyways, I continue along in Nevada as the sun slowly slinks down ahead of me. All the hours on the road, all this fresh air, all the cigars…
Shit, I need a drink and a nap.
I’m between Beatty and Bonne Claire, just outside the Mojave Desert when I suddenly felt the urge to pull over, climb in the back of my truck, have a stout drink, and flake out until it cools off some.
There’s really not much out in this part of the world, so I pull off the highway and go off-road some 150 meters or so; parking parallel, but somewhat distant to, the highway. That way, people would think I’m a local, or a camper, but not anyone in trouble. So they’d just flash by and leave me the fuck alone for a while. Plus, I didn’t need to look for a motel, pay for a motel, schlep baggage…oh, fuck, I need a road snooze…
I lock the cab of the truck, pop open the step cap, and climb inside. I couldn’t be arsed to find a proper glass for a cocktail, so I just liberated a frosty beer from the closest cooler.
I rearranged my tack in the back of the truck to make a most serviceable little nest, and pulled down, but didn’t lock, the back window. Just right for a few hours’ kip. I set my .454 next to me, got comfy on my sleeping bag, and was out before I could even start that initial beer.
I awoke suddenly, hearing rather than seeing something prowling around in the impenetrable darkness outside. Of indigenous animals, I possess no fear. But I’ve seen ‘The Hill Have Eyes,” “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and actually hail from the land that spawned Ed Gein, so I’m a bit, well, ‘alert’.
I spy the glint of something possibly metallic, so it’s official. There’s an ax-wielding serial killer wandering around outside lusting for my giblets. He probably has a hook for a hand and only appears on the roadside on the anniversary of his family’s decapitations in a bloody sweater knitted by his dead wife.
Either that or it’s a silver possum.
Whatever it was, it went up to the front of my truck and seemed to be testing the doors.
I still have on my field boots, loosened, so I tie them as securely as I can manage. I slowly ease open the rear window of the step cap and, silently as a moose, slip out of the truck.
I have my .454 loaded and in defense position. Any small, slow, and stupid beast that turned its back on me was looking for a stomping.
The world went dazzling white as someone, or something shone a very powerful flashlight in my face. Imagine going from the inside of a cavern to the bright side of the sun in the space of 11 milliseconds. Luckily, my firearms training prevented any potential disaster.
Although, it did hurt like hell having one’s iris’ snap shut like that.
“Whoa!” I heard a voice, “Who the fuck are you?”
“Whoa!” I said, “Who the fuck are you?”
“STAND DOWN! NOW!” I heard.
“OK,” I thought, “It’s a cop…”
“Cool out! I’m licensed for CCL. See? Gun going down!” I said, loudly.
“OK, gun on the ground and stand back!” He ordered.
“Absolutely, sir,” I said, “I hear and comply.”
“What the hell is that?” I heard someone ask.
“Umm, Officer?” I asked, “I’m Doctor Rocknocker of Texas. I’m going to Reno to the BLM and DOI. I am licensed for CCL and that, lying there getting dusty, is a custom .454 Casull Magnum.”
“Come forward so I can see your hands and be recognized.” He orders.
“Yes, sir,” I said and complied.
“OK, slowly. Your identification.” He barked as I slowly handed him my wallet.
“OK. Doctor Rocknocker. Right. Texas CCL. OK. Texas Driver’s License. Right. Blaster’s license. OK. Master Blaster’s certificate. Umm. ISEE membership. Yeah. What’s this?” he asks, shining his light on my wallet.
“My Russian Driver’s License,” I reply.
“Um, yeah. OK…” he says and hands back my wallet.
“May I retrieve my sidearm?” I ask.
“Certainly,” he replies.
I grab my Casull and dust it off as best I can before shoving it out of sight, back into its holster.
“What the hell are you doing out here in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night? He asks.
“Well, I’m a geologist…” I begin.
He holds up a hand and stops me right there.
“That explains it.” he snickers. “You fuckers are nuts.”
“Well, I cannot in good faith argue that point,” I concur.
Officer Westmoreland, as I soon found out, is a Nevada State Trooper. He saw my rig parked, dark, on the side of the road out here on the fringes of the Mojave. He was checking if anyone was around or might be in of need assistance.
I told him my long, sordid tale. I wandered over to my truck and pulled out a cigar. Officer Westmoreland refused my initial offer.
He didn’t resist when I pulled over my larger cooler, grabbed a glass, and poured myself several hands of bourbon over ice.
“Officer, I know you’re on duty, but could I interest you in a cold drink?” I asked. “I have several soft and hard drinks, whatever is your pleasure.”
“Well, Doctor,” he smiled, “I was on my way home and I was actually off duty when I saw your rig and stopped. Got a cold beer?”
“Certainly. Remember, I’m a geologist? Right. Lager? IPA? Stout? Porter? Can? Bottle? Domestic? Import?” I asked.
“Yep. You’re a geologist. Whatever’s handy,” he laughs.
I hand him a cold Spotted Coo from a small brewery way back in the Foam Town state.
I sit down on the tailgate and fire up a Coleman lantern to dispel the gloom. For the first time, I see Officer Westmoreland and he sees me.
“Please, have a seat.” I said, “I’m just trying to get my heart rate back down to normal.”
He does, at the far end of the tailgate. We’re still sniffing each other out.
He looks closely for the first time at my trailer.
“What’s all that about?” he asks.
“Oh, that?” I ask and take a deep draught of Kentucky’s Finest. “That’s just the transport system for over a ton of high explosives.”
He looks at me like I’m joking.
“Ah, it’s empty, right?” he asks.
“Nope. Totally loaded. Want to see the manifests?” I ask.
“You’re not fucking with me, are you, Doctor? Is that really is a ton of high explosives sitting there not 5 feet away…it’s not empty?” he shudders.
“Nope. It is quite full. See, I’m going to the DOI, pick up some trainees, and some toilet paper in Reno. Then we’ll all head out into the wild and blow the living shit out of some old, abandoned mines.” I reply.
“OH!” he says, relieved, “Wait! I’ve heard of that program. Hey! You’re that crazy guy from Texas, right?”
“I guess,” I replied offhandedly, “If that Texas guy is a geologist and fully licensed blaster.”
“Yeah! You’re him” he laughs, “Good to meet you, sir. It’s about time someone’s doing something about all these old fucking mines. I have to pull corpses out of them two or three times a year. Seal ‘em up, cement ‘em tight, leave bat bars, don’t matter none. Assholes rip it right down and tear it up, go in, fall down a fucking shaft and die. I have better things to do with my time than retrieve bodies, Doctor. I am glad you’re here.”
“I am glad to be here.” I reply, “We’re on a kind of pilot program. Another doctor, Dr. Eva and I, kind of pioneered the process of sealing mines completely or sealing them leaving bat access in the Four Corners area. One thing leads to another and here we are. Sharing a drink, and a smoke, not 1.5 meters away from a ton of high explosives.”
“Well,” Office Westmoreland says, “If you’re cool with it, so am I.” as he lights another Marlboro.
He decides on another quick beer, as he’s never has a Spotted Coo before. We sit and have a really nice chat. He was keen on looking at my .454. I showed him my 10 gauge Mossberg and he was impressed with that. Then I opened my vest to show him the twin 10mm Glocks I was toting.
“Preparing for action?” he asks.
“But failing to prepare, you prepare to fail,” I noted.
“I hear that!” he says and drains his beer.
He hands me the empty as I always carry garbage bags for just such an emergency.
“Pack out your trash” isn’t just a good idea, it’s the law.”
“Well, Doctor,” he says, “Time for me to go on home. Take it easy out here and get a few hours rest before you head out, you’ve had some of the wet stuff.”
“I plan to, Officer Westmoreland,” I assure him, “Thanks, and have a good rest of the night.”
“And watch out for serial killers” He chuckles, as he gets back into his squad car and heads off down the road.
“He was a nice chap. Very affable. Weird sense of humor, though.” I muse.
The next morning, I whip up a quick breakfast of roadside yaws and goiters. I clean up, pack everything back, and am back on the road.
I’ll be on 95 most of the way to Reno. Past Tonopah, Coaldale, and Hawthorne. Heading more or less due north.
The sun is already baking and I strip off my vest and put my Glocks in the lockbox. I am still wearing my Casull because reasons.
I motor past Schurz, and up to Silver Springs. I spend an hour there refueling and availing myself of the facilities.
I made sure to keep everyone happy and park out on the fringes of the truck stop after I gas up.
Now it’s 439 to Clark, Nevada, onto I-80. Headed more westy than northy now, aimed directly for Reno.
I check my DOI prepared itinerary and see I need to find Financial Boulevard in Reno. Very easy as the town’s laid out in a nice, neat grid-like sort of pattern, kind of.
I circle around the area looking for an entrance and spy the Genghis Khan Mongolian restaurant about a quarter-mile from the DOI office. I know where I’m having lunch.
I pull into the Bureau’s parking lot and head for the rear. I show my credentials at the gate as I don’t think I should leave this trailer out front.
I park and wander back into the DOI, weapons all secured in my truck.
Inside, I tell the secretary who I am and that I ‘m here on the Abandoned Mines initiative.
She says “Of course,” and picks up the phone.
Minutes later I am introduced to one Dr. Sam Muleshoe, the director of the DOI around these parts. He walks me back to his office.
“Well, Doctor,” he says, “Welcome to Reno. I trust you had a good trip.”
“Mostly uneventful,” I replied.
“Very good,” he says. “Your associates have not arrived as of yet. Should be here later tonight or early tomorrow. At least two of them will as Leonard won’t be here until the latter part of your project.”
“Fair enough,” I said. “Do we know of their vehicles”? I asked.
“What do you mean?” he says.
“Well, if there are three of us, I can only transport two. I hope one of the vehicles they’re bringing is a four-wheel drive.” I explain.
“I’m not certain.” he relates, “But I can check.”
“No worries,” I reply, “There’s nothing at this point we can do. Best to just wait and see.”
“Right,” he agrees. “Your truck. Is it parked out back?”
“Yes,” I reply.
“Good’, he says, “Let’s go.”
We go out to the back lot and just as I said, my truck and the trailer are sitting there.
“OK, Doctor,” he explains, “While we wait, we’ll get your communications sorted out. We have DOI HF (High Frequency) radios for all outgoing vehicles. We’re on a state-wide government frequency. Plus, we can add a bit of extra kit to your trailer if you like.”
“Such as?” I ask.
“We can add a motorcycle carrier.” he says, “That way, you can take a small dirt bike with you out in the field. If you desire.”
“Oh, fuckin’-A Bubba, hell yeah. I desire”. I think.
“Yes. Yes.,” I agree, “That might just come in handy.” I agree.
A member of the Bureau’s motor pool comes over and asks for my keys. He’ll handle all the modifications.
I hand over my keys, and we walk back to Sam’s office. We spend a few hours getting acquainted. Technical talk, very prosaic.
Since my associates don’t appear to be arriving that day, Dr. Muleshoe suggests I take a room at the Motel 666 just down the road. My truck will be safe and secure until tomorrow.
I agree and go back to my vehicle to gather a few odds and ends. The front seat looks like a Radio Shack exploded. The mechanics and electricians are having the very Devil’s Grandmother of a time hooking up the DOI radio. Seems I have already taken every fusible link available for my stereo, speakers, and other communications devices.
I stash the Mossberg in the back of the truck, under lock and key. I replace my Glocks under my vest and have my Casull on my hip. I grab my field case full of reprints and such, and a change of duds.
Back in the DOI offices, Dr. Muleshoe remarks that with my sidearms and Stetson, I look like a co-star in some Clint Eastwood flick.
This really blew my mind, the fact that me, an overfed, long-haired leaping gnome should be the star of a Hollywood movie.
But I didn’t Burdon myself with that thought for long. Didn’t want to start a War, now, did I?
A Bureau worker drives me over to the hotel. He drops me off with a directory of Reno BLM and DOI, with phone numbers. He also tells me that although this looks like an unassuming motel, they have delivery service from most of the better restaurants in town and that their Happy Hour should be starting soon.
I thank him and he tells me he’ll pick me up tomorrow at 0900 sharp.
I obtain a room easily as evidently nothing fazes these people out here. I wanted to take some time and fart around downtown Reno. But, I decided to let that go until the job is done.
Besides, I don’t feel like walking all over a new town the first night I’m in.
It was a very nice room, clean, utilitarian and with an in-room safe. I stash my sidearms and lock it up solid. I then get to the phone and make some calls.
I call Esme and let her know of my progress. Everything’s puttering along fine back home. Es is thrilled at the new blades I got for her rock saw and she tells me that the omphacite vase is almost ready. She also tells me that I need to bring back representative examples of Nevada’s oddball geology for her to work on. I assure her I will, profess my undying love, and hang up.
I call Rack and Run with an update. All very routine, the call lasts less than five minutes.
Then I call Harry in Albuquerque. Then I remember he’s in DC at a conference of some kind. I leave a quick message on his machine and hang up.
“Well, now,” I say to no one in particular, as I comb back my long silver hair. “Everything business-related is done and dusted. And I’m dusty.”
Down the hall, down the elevator, and off to Happy Hour.
Two for one drinks and they’ll even serve interlopers dressed in ghastly Hawaiian shirts and cargo shorts. I explain the proper construction methods of my signature cocktail and shortly, two large tumblers full of Rocknocker-cocktail appear as I’m perched upon Mahogany Ridge.
All for the princely sum of US$2.00.
I realize that I really like Reno.
It’s sort of a mini-Vegas, I find. I’ve never really been to Reno before and it really is “The Biggest Little City in the World”. Even in this little unassuming bar in this little unassuming motel, there are a couple of tables for roulette, craps, and blackjack.
And walls full of One-Armed Bandits.
Figuring I already paid my Stupid Tax by purchasing some scratch-off lottery tickets for Esme, and dropping $5 on the “Pick Five,” I could forego paying any more into the state’s coffers.
After several more cocktails, I was already 8 bucks in the hole for drinks and $40 bucks more feeding those infernally blinking, though ineffably inviting machines.
I tried the Blazing 7’s machine.
I lost.
I tried the Monopoly slots.
I lost.
I tried the Cash Express.
I came >< this close but still lost.
Disgustapated, I tried one final machine, The Jackpot.
I won $50 bucks.
“Holy shit!” I wowed, “Wow! I broke even!”
I quit immediately and went back to the bar.
I had another couple of drinks and after tipping out the bartender, I realized I had still lost.
I was down $12 dollars.
In other words, I did as well as usual.
Back in my room, I ordered some chow from the Genghis Khan Mongolian restaurant. At least here my luck was changing. It was excellent.
After checking out the next morning, I’m puffing on a cigar, waiting on my driver. He shows up spot on time and I go to snuff my cigar in an outside ashtray.
“That’s OK, Sir’, he tells me, “I don’t mind if you smoke. As long as you don’t mind me.”
“Fair enough,” I tell him, and we sally down the road to the DOI.
Of my three acolytes,
• Albert W. Armstrong. “Al”. University of Missouri, Rolla. Mining geology.
• Charles F. Glaciisto. “Chuck”. New Mexico Tech., Socorro. Mining geology.
• Leonard. R. Paskapää. “Leonard”. Colorado School of Mines. Engineering geology.
Albert and Charles arrived late last night, they drove in. Leonard, as Dr. Muleshoe noted, will arrive later, flying or driving in.
My truck is ready to go as is my trailer. I have my choice of several BLM/DOI motocross and dirt bikes, so I choose a cute little Maico 501, as the bike featured the largest two-stroke single-cylinder engine ever stuffed into a production bike. I figured I’d need all the torque I could get to haul my carcass around.
I receive extra fuel bowsers already pre-mixed with oil for the bike.
I’ve been a rider for years and even though most of my latest motorcycle driving concerns my Indian Super Chief, I’ve ridden dirt for years when I was younger.
I introduce myself to Albert and Charles. We shake hands and they tell me to refer to them as ‘Al’ and ‘Chuck’.
“And you will call me Rock,” I reply.
They were both cool with that.
I ask what vehicles brought them here. Al drove in via a beat-to-shit Volkswagen Van. Chuck drove his International Harvester Super Scout, also beat to death, or close to it.
“Gentlemen,” I say, assaying their field vehicles. “These will not do.”
They both immediately looked unconformable.
“It’s like this,” I relate to them, “I have my GMC 1-ton. It has room for two people, but not two passengers. I’m also towing a trailer, so I don’t want to be weighed down by all your field gear as well.”
They nodded in agreement.
“Let’s have a chat with Sr. Muleshoe,” I suggested, “He might be able to come up with a solution to our problems.”
So we did. The BLM lent us one of their field-kitted out Land Cruiser, a J-70. A boxy, utilitarian vehicle, with an eight-cylinder petrol engine with a five-speed standard transmission.
“Either you two know how to drive a standard shift?” I asked.
They both replied in the affirmative.
Harrumph. Try that today…
“Well, gents,” I said, “We’re burning daylight. We leave as soon as you two get loaded and figure out who’s doing all the stick and rudder work. You can drive together, or one can ride with me. Either way, we leave ASAP and we’ll do orientations and Q&A once we’re in the field. Chop-chop!”
The haul ass to their respective vehicles. They’ll park their rides in the DOI back parking lot for the duration. I go to get my truck and see if the trailer’s hooked back up.
It is and on the rear of the trailer, right above the warning signs for ill-advised tailgaters, is a well-used but still going to be fun as hell Maico 501 dirt bike.
This mission has suddenly taken on a more wholesome and lighthearted mien.
Al and Chuck decide to make the Land Cruise their vehicle and drive together, at least at the beginning. I have no objection and after dispensing the appropriate maps, itineraries, and other documentation, we do a radio check, as the BLM vehicle already had an HF radio.
With that sorted, we head out into the wilderness.
Once out on the streets of Reno, I ask for them to find us a grocery store so we can obtain field provisions for the next week or so. We’ll be out in the sticks, but there are enough little towns scattered about and with two vehicles, we won’t be as isolated as I first thought. I remember to stock up on Charmin Extra-Fluffy.
I mean, we’re not savages here.
We wheel into BinCo foods and invade the store for supplies. Al and Chuck ask what they should buy, as we all have BLM/DOI credit cards for the duration, and I tell them “whatever you want to make for chow”. I explain that I’ll eat just about anything, and am partial to meat, meat, and more meat. I leave them at that and head over to the liquor store down the street.
I have 5 huge coolers in the back of my truck. Two for drinks of all sorts, and three for food.
I obtain some of the necessary outback fluids and several bags of ice.
I ice down all the drinks and wheel back to the grocery store.
Al and Chuck are just emerging. I whistle them over to my truck as it’s going to be the Chuckwagon, no pun intended, on this tour.
We load their selections into the coolers and ice everything that needs icing down. I go into the store and purchase a few items I note they have missed, and place them in the bed of my truck.
I ask if they have everything necessary for a month out in the boonies, and they look to each other, shrug their shoulders, and reply that they think they do.
“OK,” I say, “Either of you armed?” I ask.
“No,” came the reply.
“You will be,” I reply, and ask if there truck’s gassed up.
At the Bumoco station, we fill our vehicles to the top. I check all fluid levels as my blinker light fluid’s been being used profligately lately.
“OK,” I say, “Last chance. Anything you even think you might have forgotten before we head into the wilds? Chapstick? Bug spray? Aloe?”
“No,” they reply, “We think we’re good.”
“All-righty, then,” I reply. “You have your maps, you have your compasses, and you have your vehicle. We will rendezvous at Pinnate Ridge in four hours. Bye.”
I jump into my truck, fire her up, grab a cigar, crank up some Floyd. I head out of the parking lot, generally south.
Both of them just stand there like guppy fish at feeding time.
They both realize I’m not fucking around and scramble back to their vehicle. The last I saw, they were still trying to get it into first gear.
I made it to Pinnate Ridge in 2.5 hours. It’s really very easy to find, even off the road. There are signs everywhere, even out in the sticks. Its prime desert dune and badland riding area, along with several mines on our agenda that are going to be closing down for good.
I arrive and scope out a likely looking camping spot. Nice flat ground, nicely elevated. A not-too-distant outcrop that will be fine for a latrine area. No running water, no trees, no firewood. I expected as much.
I pull to where my truck acts as a windbreak and set up camp.
Well, my camp at least.
Four hours later, I’m slurping a Grape Nehi sitting in my camping chair. I have a fire pit all set up but without fuel. I’m smoking a large cigar and looking through some of the older Mining News magazines. I haven’t seen another person the whole day since we all went off-grid.
Over a crest, I see the BLM Land Cruiser. Well, better late than never, I suppose.
They finally pull into camp, far too close to my truck, their back wheels in the soft sand.
“Gentlemen,” I say, arising from my chair, “Welcome to your first camp. As for your first test, well, more about that later. Let’s make camp, shall we?”
Wordlessly, they set about pitching tents, getting out sleeping bags and the like.
“Gentlemen,” “I ask, “How’s the weather?”
They look at me with blank expressions.
“You have radios in your vehicle, do you not? I suggest you call for an update for the next few days.” I recommend.
Later, “We did, Rock,” Chuck reports, “No rain, hot, with moderate northwesterly winds.”
“OK, good.” I continue, “What do you think of your campsite?”
They look and proclaim it fit.
“Hmmm,” I say, “Parked to the southeast, back wheels off solid rock and in the sand. What happens if a sandstorm kicks up tonight?”
They look, smack themselves collectively in the head, and reposition their vehicle, nose to tail with mine, forming a good windbreak for the entire camp.
“Gents,” I say, “’ Be prepared’. Get used to these words, you’ll be hearing them a lot from now on.”
“Boy,” I say, “I could sure go for a coffee. There’s the pot, here’s the water, and here’s the coffee. There’s the fire pit…”
“Where’s the wood?” Al asks.
“Oh, you didn’t bring any firewood?” I ask.
“No…,” they both say , sheepishly.
“Good thing I did,” I say, motioning to my truck. “Be prepared.”
Over coffee and cigars; well, a cigar for me, Al smokes a pipe, and Chuck is tweaking over Marlboro Reds, I go over the basics of our project:
  1. Locate mines.
  2. Map mines if maps need updating. Some are from the turn of the last century, so yeah, this will almost always be a task.
  3. Take representative geological samples. This is my own twist on the job.
  4. Photograph any mine chronological, or unusual, subjects.
  5. Inspect mines for ‘biologicals’. They’ve already been vetted, but I want to be certain.
  6. Find and delineate all surficial openings.
  7. Prepare mine for demolition.
  8. Wire in, prime, and set charges.
  9. Run demo wire out of the mine and back to the safety muster area.
  10. Demolish mine.
  11. Drink vodka & beer, sleep, repeat.
  12. There is no #12.
“Any questions?” I ask.
Chuck and Al were so busy taking notes, they didn’t have time to formulate any questions.
“OK, guys. Once you get all that, pencils down,” I say.
They finish writing and I see it’s already getting late in the day.
“OK,” I say, “Dinner if you’re hungry. Shall we eat?” I ask.
I decide on dry sausage and beer, as I’m not terribly peckish.
Chuck and Al get the fire going higher and grill up some hot dogs and beans.
Sitting around the campfire as dusk begins to descend, we sit around with our geological desserts. Beers for the guys and a double Rocknocker for me.
Now the drinking lamp’s been lit, we have a chance to chat and get to know each other.
“You guys are still doing dishes tonight,” I remind them.
“Yes, boss man.” They smile.
“OK,” I say, “There are a few things I need to get clear with you. One, I am the hookin’ bull around here. I say ‘jump’, you say ‘how high?’. I’m not too terribly tyrannical, but when playing around with high explosives, your very life might depend on it. Two, I’m the only one licensed to handle the explosives. You’re in training, but you will not go into the lockbox in the back of my truck nor the trailer until I deem you are ready. Violation of this rule is cause for immediate expulsion. And we’ll keep the vehicles. We green?”
To be continued.
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