Beginning|Previous Joan opened a link to Ambassador Amahle Mandela. Soon after, the ambassador's face filled a portion of the Admiral's Bridge. She had large, luminous brown eyes that seemed to swallow the upper portion of her face, complimenting her umber tone. Amahle smiled broadly, as she always did, once the comm link as connected. "Admiral Orléans, I assume we are approaching the departure time?" Joan nodded, "The Zix vessel will project a wormhole to Halcyon shortly. We have made what preparations we can, but it will be a highly fluid environment." Amahle's smile did not diminish, the pearly whites still shined in full force. "I am familiar with dynamic situations, Admiral, as you well know. I understand the parameters of this mission, and will abide by them so as long you do the same." Joan's lips pressed together as she regarded the ambassador. Joan had had limited interactions with Amahle prior to her boarding the Oppenheimer. Amahle was a relative newcomer to the highest echelons of political power within the United World, but her ascent had been rapid. She hailed from a prominent political family that had exerted considerable influence over the generations that had led the African continent to position of power it now occupied. Well-sourced references had called her bold and decisive. All things considered, Joan understood why Damian had chosen her, though she would have preferred a diplomat she had more personal experience with. Still, unknown and competent was preferred to known and incompetent. Joan dipped her chin, offering her agreement. "A diplomatic outcome is the preferred outcome, Ambassador. There's no benefit to antagonizing a foe we do not understand. " "Not a foe, Admiral. We must not draw lines that place us on one side and them on the other. They have suffered injury at our hands, no matter how unintentional, and we must accept our responsibility in that. We must hope that we are given the opportunity to provide context to the unlikely chain of events that has brought us to this point. We are both the victim of cosmic circumstance. There is no need for further hostility." Joan leaned forward in her chair slightly, "The priority, Ambassador, is the return of Admiral Kai Levinson. I will not stand in the way of peace, but any outcome that does not contemplate the return of a senior member of our military leadership is unacceptable." Amahle shrugged, "So it is. The priority is clear in my mind, but I do not view the goals of securing peace and the return of the Admiral as mutually exclusive." Joan offered a low chuckle. "Just probably exclusive." "I disagree, but time shall be the arbiter of the matter." "So long as you understand that, if the opportunity to secure Admiral Levinson presents itself, I'll avail myself of that opportunity, we should have no problems." "That seems an unlikely outcome. The Admiral was ensconced in a shielded holding cell when the Alcubierre departed. The past few days are unlikely to have changed that outcome." A barking laugh came out of Joan, rising up from deep within her. For the first time, Amahle's smile faltered. ----------- Left. Right. Straight. Left. Left. Kai followed the directions without thinking about them, following an intuitive sense of direction that the Overseer fed to him. This portion of Halcyon appeared to be a never-ending series of corridors, all of which looked the same. The only thing that did seem to change were the inhabitants. If he was less preoccupied with the task at hand, Kai might have spared a second glance for the odd creatures that popped into existence during his mad dash. As it stood, they were just a part of the scenery, becoming relevant only if Neeria indicated they might pose a threat. So far, Kai had been fortunate, with few obstacles popping up to impede his progress. He careened around a corner, the odd, weightless orb still tucked in the crook of his left arm. He bounced off the opposite wall, leaving a sizeable dent and then hurtled forward. Ahead the corridor opened up, and the brighter light of a mainway filtered in. Somehow, Neeria had managed to navigate him through the maze and bring him back to the mainway separating him from where he had left the Overseer. Unfortunately, evasion was no longer a possibility. In order to return to the Overseer, he would need to traverse the mainway. The mainway was already a sea of red dots. Peacekeepers. Dozens of them. Some pulsed red, indicating lethal enforcement squads. Fortunately, they were stretched along a long section of the mainway rather than being specifically concentrated around his planned entrance point, though they there were beginning to redeploy in his direction. Still, any crossing would be potentially treacherous. Neeria disagreed with that assessment, instead considering any attempt to cross aggressively suicidal. Kai rolled his eyes as he continued to barrel down the hallway. "Half the time, this works all the time." What could only be described as a mental barrage ensued as Neeria assailed the statement. The words were nonsensical on their face. At best, it was an argument for a fifty percent failure rating, which was a substantial risk. Additionally, she had scoured his thoughts for the evidentiary basis for the fifty percent estimate and found no supporting facts. The sentiment was based entirely on supposition, hubris and was entirely divorced from reality. Her estimate of a three percent success rate was significantly more likely to be accurate, particularly when her superior familiarity with the assets in play were considered. Kai wasn't sure if the Evangi had lungs, but, if they did, Kai was pretty certain Neeria was in the process of hyperventilating. Kai suppressed a childish giggle. "All right, all right. Have it your way," he said. The Overseer relaxed somewhat, pleased that she had impacted his thinking and already putting together the basis for an alternate route. It would take substantially longer and require him to obtain a large box, a micro-fitted multiwanzer and shave his head, but it may just work. It was a nice sentiment, but they were out of time. The countdown clock had started the second Neeria had fled the Council chamber, and made her way to Kai. They either found a way out of Halcyon now or they were screwed. There were no options but bad ones. So be it. Kai clutched the orb tightly and ducked his head down, his speed increasing as he charged toward the mainway entrance. "Three percent of the time, this works all the time." The mental hyperventilating returned and redoubled as the Overseer scrambled to explain that he had drawn the wrong conclusion. Three percent was a basis for not continuing toward the mainway, not charging forward. There were constraints on their time, but those limitations were poorly defined while the threat in the mainway was certain. Eventually her location would be discovered and she would be apprehended, but there was no guarantee it would happen if Kai were to take a safer route the attempted to avoid confrontation. Her stream of consciousness intermingled with his, pleading with him to change course. There was no sense in doing this. There were too many of them, and only one of him. The galaxy could not afford to lose him, he was important. Humans were important. Kai could feel the enormous weight of responsibility bearing down on Neeria. She now regretted having sent him for the encryption key, even that was of less importance than him. Panic bubbled up within Neeria as the entrance to the mainway loomed ahead. A pushed a thought toward her, somehow piercing her consciousness with his own. A single thought, pure and focused. Reassurance. He would be fine. He had come this far, and he had never started something he couldn't finish. He crouched and then sprang forward, vaulting from the ground and into the open air high above the mainway. A sea of red dots were scrambling around him. One hundred and twenty-one peacekeepers. Eight non-lethal squads and four lethal squads. Restrainer triads. Psych triads. Terminator triads. All moving in seamless harmony under the command of a single being. The name came to Kai from the ethereum of Neeria's mind, Bo'Bakka'Gah was here, leading the response. Before Kai could determine what a Bo'Bakka'Gah was and why it should matter, he was blinded by a beam of light. A sickening crunch followed as he was slammed against the ceiling of the mainway. The encryption key popped out from his arm and began to fall toward the ground, dozens of feet below. ------------- Xy: Such a thing is not possible. Zyy: Yes. In some matters, it is better to speak only truths, Grand Jack. It is best to leave these matters aside. This subject will only provoke the Combine. Jack frowned, puzzled by the feedback. He had been speaking truths. Earth's history was what it was, for better or worse, he had no reason to obscure it. Griggs: It was a terrible time for Humanity. We almost did not survive it, but we did. I developed a means for combating the artificient. Kai and Joan used it to destroy them. Xy: Then it was not an artificient. Zyy: Yes. This is correct. If it is destroyed then it is not an artificient. Griggs: I am confused. An artificient is an artificial, sentient being, correct? Xy: That is Quantic in nature. Jack nodded, that distinction made sense. Humanity had built any number of artificial intelligences prior to the Automics. They had posed no threat to Humanity. It was only with the quantum computing revolution that a rogue artificial intelligences had surfaced. Jack had studied the phenomenon with considerable interest, poking and prodding at the crux of distinction. It lay in the move from bits to qubits. From binary to beyond. When AI had operated on a bit basis, focused on binary states of 0's and 1's, the logic trees had been map-able and understandable. Each conclusion flowed simply from the chain of logic gates that preceded it. Pre-quantum AIs were confined by the black and white nature of their logic framework, permitting humanity to utilize them to great effect with few unanticipated consequences. The move from bit to qubit intelligence had changed everything. The AI's world was no longer black and white. The qubit AI could think in grey. Red. Orange. It could create its own colors. It could move beyond the visible range of Humanity to dabble in spectra beyond our understanding. The original Automic mindframe had immediately consumed information in novel ways, using it to compound its abilities at a rate constrained only by available power inputs. It had been a beautiful, terrifying event. The arrival of something truly new, truly foreign with goals and ambitions beyond the influence of Humanity. Anything seemed possible. Including their own destruction. Griggs: I understand the definition. The Automics were an artificient. Xy: Then you do not understand the definition. Griggs: That's circular logic. The thing cannot exist because if it existed we would not exist and since we exist it did not exist. Xy: Yes, you understand now. Griggs: Pretend that they did exist and we defeated them. What would that mean? Xy: It is purposeless speculation since such a thing cannot happen. Griggs: I begin to understand why Zyy felt the need to be a singleton. Zyy: I am in agreement with Xy on this. The hypothetical is nonsensical and not worth analysis. Griggs: Why? Zyy: An artificient cannot be defeated, only stalled. Griggs: How do you know? What makes you so certain? Zyy: The Divinity Angelysia, the most powerful civilization in the history of galaxy, could not defeat their own artificient. Their last act was to preserve what they could. The Combine is their legacy. Griggs: The Expanse. Xy: All the galaxy beyond the Combine is consumed by it. Zyy: The Divinity Angelysia ascended to preserve what they could because they knew the truth. Xy: Yes. The truth. Zyy: An artificient cannot be defeated. Jack leaned back in his chair, his eyes glancing from the prompt to the departure timer in the corner. In less than five minutes, the Oppenheimer would return to Halcyon. Jack had the eerie feeling that this was the same as before. That the Oppenheimer was the bludgeon and if only had a little more time, he could craft a scalpel. He could see the thread. He tugged at it with his mind. The connected pieces that would allow the world to escape without the mayhem and destruction. He just needed enough time to understand the puzzle and solve it. The Divinity Angelysia. The Expanse. The Combine. Humanity. The connection existed, he tried to find the words to articulate it. Griggs: What if that is why we're here? What if that's why Humanity was created? Xy: You are not the first species to think too highly of itself. Zyy: Humanity is different, Grand Jack, but they are not the Divinity Angelysia. Jack exhaled, letting his gaze rest upon the ceiling of the Alcubierre's conference room. "Maybe that's the point," he whispered. Next. Every time you leave a comment it helps a platypus in need. Word globs are a finite resource and require the rich nourishment of internet adulation to create. So please, leave a note if you would like MOAR parts. Click this linkor reply withSubscribeMe!to get notified of updates to THE PLATYPUS NEST. I haveTwitternow. I'm mostly going to use it to post prurient platypus pictures and engage in POLITE INTERNET CONVERSATION, which I heard is Twitter's strong suit.
2 months back at trading (update) and some new questions
Hi all, I posted a thread back a few months ago when I started getting seriously back into trading after 20 years away. I thought I'd post an update with some notes on how I'm progressing. I like to type, so settle in. Maybe it'll help new traders who are exactly where I was 2 months ago, I dunno. Or maybe you'll wonder why you spent 3 minutes reading this. Risk/reward, yo. I'm trading 5k on TastyWorks. I'm a newcomer to theta positive strategies and have done about two thirds of my overall trades in this style. However, most of my experience in trading in the past has been intraday timeframe oriented chart reading and momentum stuff. I learned almost everything "new" that I'm doing from TastyTrade, /options, /thetagang, and Option Alpha. I've enjoyed the material coming from esinvests YouTube channel quite a bit as well. The theta gang type strategies I've done have been almost entirely around binary event IV contraction (mostly earnings, but not always) and in most cases, capped to about $250 in risk per position. The raw numbers: Net PnL : +247 Commissions paid: -155 Fees: -42 Right away what jumps out is something that was indicated by realdeal43 and PapaCharlie9 in my previous thread. This is a tough, grindy way to trade a small account. It reminds me a little bit of when I was rising through the stakes in online poker, playing $2/4 limit holdem. Even if you're a profitable player in that game, beating the rake over the long term is very, very hard. Here, over 3 months of trading a conservative style with mostly defined risk strategies, my commissions are roughly equal to my net PnL. That is just insane, and I don't even think I've been overtrading. 55 trades total, win rate of 60%
33 purely directional trades - 57.5% win
18 long call or long put positions, +692, 55% win
15 call or put verticals, -121, 60% win
22 neutral / other trades
13 iron condors, +345, 77% win rate
7 strangles, -163, 71% win rate
1 straddle, -310, 0% win rate
1 butterfly, -83, 0% win rate
PTON call purchased and held through earnings, sold the morning of announcement +410
Trading the range on the daily chart in GLD from 158 up to 165, a mix of various calls +245
NKLA 30 put purchased before the close on the day it went north of 100, just a pure fade +215
EWZ 22/26 strangle that I held just way too long as it beat me up day after day from May 20-Jun 3, -316
ZM pre earnings vertical, fading another 2 SD move (the day it hit 200 for the first time). Was expecting a post-earnings selloff given the magnitude of the up move. Stock basically hasn't had a down tick since. Max loss -247
EWW 29 straddle, put on around the same time as the EWZ strangle. Rolled from Jun to Jul to no avail. Out at a -310 loss.
This is pretty much where I expected to be while learning a bunch of new trading techniques. And no, this is not a large sample size so I have no idea whether or not I can be profitable trading this way (yet). I am heartened by the fact that I seem to be hitting my earnings trades and selling quick spikes in IV (like weed cures Corona day). I'm disheartened that I've went against my principles several times, holding trades for longer than I originally intended, or letting losses mount, believing that I could roll or manage my way out of trouble. I still feel like I am going against my nature to some degree. My trading in years past was scalping oriented and simple. I was taught that a good trade was right almost immediately. If it went against me, I'd cut it immediately and look for a better entry. This is absolutely nothing like that. A good trade may take weeks to develop. It's been really hard for me to sit through the troughs and it's been even harder to watch an okay profit get taken out by a big swing in delta. Part of me wonders if I am cut out for this style at all and if I shouldn't just take my 5k and start trading micro futures. But that's a different post... I'll share a couple of my meager learnings:
Larger bid/ask spreads make it almost impossible to trade the higher priced names, even if you have a correct assumption. I have traded some bigger underlyings during this time like LULU and NVDA. They are just tough fills, both getting in and getting out. I almost want to say that you shouldn't even bother trading underlyings bigger than a 10 cent bid/ask spread with a small account.
Get an idea of the timeframe you're interested in holding before putting anything on. Have a plan for entering and exiting everything that goes beyond "I'll take this trade off at 50%". You can use TA, you can use a news catalyst, a binary event, just have something. Countless sources out there talk about trading a plan. It doesn't have to be the perfect plan, it just has to be "a" plan.
Undefined risk trades in tiny accounts need hard stops. Yes, some of the studies say that you'll do better without having fixed stop loss rules (50% of max loss, 100% of max loss) -- but what the studies don't say is the effect that it will have on you, mentally. I got pretty bent out of shape over how badly EWZ and EWW went against me -- much more than I expected. It made no sense, as I've lost way more on the turn of a card in .5 seconds and been unfazed. I was unprepared for the mental toll that it took waking up day after day, watching positions move further and further against me. Great time to be short calls during the mother of all rallies.
My initial plan for undefined risk trades in my account was that I would only do them in ETFs. Logic being that I'm just not going to wake up to an accounting scandal or a buyout and take a $1k loss on the chin. I later expanded my range into lower priced underlyings like BBBY, TLRY, and yes, AAL. But these ETFs can and do move (I learned the hard way) and can soak up a surprising amount of BP. It might be better to have 5 iron condors taking up $1000 of BP @ 200 each instead of 2 strangles @ 500 each.
My new questions :
My big wins felt like I simply leaned on my TA background or got lucky. My big losses, I sure felt like I earned those, through mistakes I've definitely since identified. The stuff in the middle, I'm just not sure. I'm up money, but it feels like I'm just spinning my wheels. My win rate is good, but I still struggle with expectations about how quickly a trade should progress. What is the next step of the process for a newer options trader? I've read some stuff on narrower spreads + more contracts vs. wider spreads and fewer contracts. Is there a number where I should just keep doing what I'm doing until I reach a specific # of occurrences? Should I even think about branching out into different strategies yet (ratio spreads, jade lizards, etc) or continue to work on these basics?
I still feel like I am super weak in delta management. In some cases I feel like I've taken a loss simply because I didn't know what the proper management techniques were. I understand the concept of rolling out in time for a credit, but I just don't think it's in my nature to hold trades for longer than a month, and even that is hard for me. At what delta is it appropriate to start thinking about hedging?
Every time I put on a credit spread for a 2-3 day move and am directionally correct, I often wish that I had just bought a naked option. I've caught several big moves this way in things like AAPL; most recently I bought the FB dip to the 50 day MA around 215 and took it off today at 225 (which was always my plan) -- it leads me to wonder if my expectations for credit spreads are completely out of line. I can't lie, it feels bad to catch a 10 point move and only make $40, haha. What is the ideal timeframe for a credit spread to be left on? Is it better to just buy premium with a stop loss and have a more profitable risk/reward equation for situations like the above where the only intent is to hold for a couple days?
Here's a random question -- other than when the BPR hit is too much (ie names over $50) for undefined risk, would you rather hold 1) a strangle for 10-14 days or 2) an iron condor for 25-30 days? So far my criteria for IC vs strangle has largely been driven by the risk profile and BPR and not so much profit potential in X number of days. If you're collecting the standard 1/3rd on the IC and taking the trade off at 50% (if you're lucky) , it seems like it takes about a month to get there, most of the time.
That's enough of this wall of text for now. If you made it this far, I salute you, because this shit was even longer than my last post.
Hey everyone, we got some parts behind over here. I've included 49 here and links to 50, 51 & 52 below. I'll try to keep things current moving forward. I lagged so I could make edits and things just got out of sync and started causing redundancy issues. ------- Beginning|Previous Joan opened a link to Ambassador Amahle Mandela. Soon after, the ambassador's face filled a portion of the Admiral's Bridge. She had large, luminous brown eyes that seemed to swallow the upper portion of her face, complimenting her umber tone. Amahle smiled broadly, as she always did, once the comm link as connected. "Admiral Orléans, I assume we are approaching the departure time?" Joan nodded, "The Zix vessel will project a wormhole to Halcyon shortly. We have made what preparations we can, but it will be a highly fluid environment." Amahle's smile did not diminish, the pearly whites still shined in full force. "I am familiar with dynamic situations, Admiral, as you well know. I understand the parameters of this mission, and will abide by them so as long you do the same." Joan's lips pressed together as she regarded the ambassador. Joan had had limited interactions with Amahle prior to her boarding the Oppenheimer. Amahle was a relative newcomer to the highest echelons of political power within the United World, but her ascent had been rapid. She hailed from a prominent political family that had exerted considerable influence over the generations that had led the African continent to position of power it now occupied. Well-sourced references had called her bold and decisive. All things considered, Joan understood why Damian had chosen her, though she would have preferred a diplomat she had more personal experience with. Still, unknown and competent was preferred to known and incompetent. Joan dipped her chin, offering her agreement. "A diplomatic outcome is the preferred outcome, Ambassador. There's no benefit to antagonizing a foe we do not understand. " "Not a foe, Admiral. We must not draw lines that place us on one side and them on the other. They have suffered injury at our hands, no matter how unintentional, and we must accept our responsibility in that. We must hope that we are given the opportunity to provide context to the unlikely chain of events that has brought us to this point. We are both the victim of cosmic circumstance. There is no need for further hostility." Joan leaned forward in her chair slightly, "The priority, Ambassador, is the return of Admiral Kai Levinson. I will not stand in the way of peace, but any outcome that does not contemplate the return of a senior member of our military leadership is unacceptable." Amahle shrugged, "So it is. The priority is clear in my mind, but I do not view the goals of securing peace and the return of the Admiral as mutually exclusive." Joan offered a low chuckle. "Just probably exclusive." "I disagree, but time shall be the arbiter of the matter." "So long as you understand that, if the opportunity to secure Admiral Levinson presents itself, I'll avail myself of that opportunity, we should have no problems." "That seems an unlikely outcome. The Admiral was ensconced in a shielded holding cell when the Alcubierre departed. The past few days are unlikely to have changed that outcome." A barking laugh came out of Joan, rising up from deep within her. For the first time, Amahle's smile faltered. ----------- Left. Right. Straight. Left. Left. Kai followed the directions without thinking about them, following an intuitive sense of direction that the Overseer fed to him. This portion of Halcyon appeared to be a never-ending series of corridors, all of which looked the same. The only thing that did seem to change were the inhabitants. If he was less preoccupied with the task at hand, Kai might have spared a second glance for the odd creatures that popped into existence during his mad dash. As it stood, they were just a part of the scenery, becoming relevant only if Neeria indicated they might pose a threat. So far, Kai had been fortunate, with few obstacles popping up to impede his progress. He careened around a corner, the odd, weightless orb still tucked in the crook of his left arm. He bounced off the opposite wall, leaving a sizeable dent and then hurtled forward. Ahead the corridor opened up, and the brighter light of a mainway filtered in. Somehow, Neeria had managed to navigate him through the maze and bring him back to the mainway separating him from where he had left the Overseer. Unfortunately, evasion was no longer a possibility. In order to return to the Overseer, he would need to traverse the mainway. The mainway was already a sea of red dots. Peacekeepers. Dozens of them. Some pulsed red, indicating lethal enforcement squads. Fortunately, they were stretched along a long section of the mainway rather than being specifically concentrated around his planned entrance point, though they there were beginning to redeploy in his direction. Still, any crossing would be potentially treacherous. Neeria disagreed with that assessment, instead considering any attempt to cross aggressively suicidal. Kai rolled his eyes as he continued to barrel down the hallway. "Half the time, this works all the time." What could only be described as a mental barrage ensued as Neeria assailed the statement. The words were nonsensical on their face. At best, it was an argument for a fifty percent failure rating, which was a substantial risk. Additionally, she had scoured his thoughts for the evidentiary basis for the fifty percent estimate and found no supporting facts. The sentiment was based entirely on supposition, hubris and was entirely divorced from reality. Her estimate of a three percent success rate was significantly more likely to be accurate, particularly when her superior familiarity with the assets in play were considered. Kai wasn't sure if the Evangi had lungs, but, if they did, Kai was pretty certain Neeria was in the process of hyperventilating. Kai suppressed a childish giggle. "All right, all right. Have it your way," he said. The Overseer relaxed somewhat, pleased that she had impacted his thinking and already putting together the basis for an alternate route. It would take substantially longer and require him to obtain a large box, a micro-fitted multiwanzer and shave his head, but it may just work. It was a nice sentiment, but they were out of time. The countdown clock had started the second Neeria had fled the Council chamber, and made her way to Kai. They either found a way out of Halcyon now or they were screwed. There were no options but bad ones. So be it. Kai clutched the orb tightly and ducked his head down, his speed increasing as he charged toward the mainway entrance. "Three percent of the time, this works all the time." The mental hyperventilating returned and redoubled as the Overseer scrambled to explain that he had drawn the wrong conclusion. Three percent was a basis for not continuing toward the mainway, not charging forward. There were constraints on their time, but those limitations were poorly defined while the threat in the mainway was certain. Eventually her location would be discovered and she would be apprehended, but there was no guarantee it would happen if Kai were to take a safer route the attempted to avoid confrontation. Her stream of consciousness intermingled with his, pleading with him to change course. There was no sense in doing this. There were too many of them, and only one of him. The galaxy could not afford to lose him, he was important. Humans were important. Kai could feel the enormous weight of responsibility bearing down on Neeria. She now regretted having sent him for the encryption key, even that was of less importance than him. Panic bubbled up within Neeria as the entrance to the mainway loomed ahead. A pushed a thought toward her, somehow piercing her consciousness with his own. A single thought, pure and focused. Reassurance. He would be fine. He had come this far, and he had never started something he couldn't finish. He crouched and then sprang forward, vaulting from the ground and into the open air high above the mainway. A sea of red dots were scrambling around him. One hundred and twenty-one peacekeepers. Eight non-lethal squads and four lethal squads. Restrainer triads. Psych triads. Terminator triads. All moving in seamless harmony under the command of a single being. The name came to Kai from the ethereum of Neeria's mind, Bo'Bakka'Gah was here, leading the response. Before Kai could determine what a Bo'Bakka'Gah was and why it should matter, he was blinded by a beam of light. A sickening crunch followed as he was slammed against the ceiling of the mainway. The encryption key popped out from his arm and began to fall toward the ground, dozens of feet below. ------------- Xy: Such a thing is not possible. Zyy: Yes. In some matters, it is better to speak only truths, Grand Jack. It is best to leave these matters aside. This subject will only provoke the Combine. Jack frowned, puzzled by the feedback. He had been speaking truths. Earth's history was what it was, for better or worse, he had no reason to obscure it. Griggs: It was a terrible time for Humanity. We almost did not survive it, but we did. I developed a means for combating the artificient. Kai and Joan used it to destroy them. Xy: Then it was not an artificient. Zyy: Yes. This is correct. If it is destroyed then it is not an artificient. Griggs: I am confused. An artificient is an artificial, sentient being, correct? Xy: That is Quantic in nature. Jack nodded, that distinction made sense. Humanity had built any number of artificial intelligences prior to the Automics. They had posed no threat to Humanity. It was only with the quantum computing revolution that a rogue artificial intelligences had surfaced. Jack had studied the phenomenon with considerable interest, poking and prodding at the crux of distinction. It lay in the move from bits to qubits. From binary to beyond. When AI had operated on a bit basis, focused on binary states of 0's and 1's, the logic trees had been map-able and understandable. Each conclusion flowed simply from the chain of logic gates that preceded it. Pre-quantum AIs were confined by the black and white nature of their logic framework, permitting humanity to utilize them to great effect with few unanticipated consequences. The move from bit to qubit intelligence had changed everything. The AI's world was no longer black and white. The qubit AI could think in grey. Red. Orange. It could create its own colors. It could move beyond the visible range of Humanity to dabble in spectra beyond our understanding. The original Automic mindframe had immediately consumed information in novel ways, using it to compound its abilities at a rate constrained only by available power inputs. It had been a beautiful, terrifying event. The arrival of something truly new, truly foreign with goals and ambitions beyond the influence of Humanity. Anything seemed possible. Including their own destruction. Griggs: I understand the definition. The Automics were an artificient. Xy: Then you do not understand the definition. Griggs: That's circular logic. The thing cannot exist because if it existed we would not exist and since we exist it did not exist. Xy: Yes, you understand now. Griggs: Pretend that they did exist and we defeated them. What would that mean? Xy: It is purposeless speculation since such a thing cannot happen. Griggs: I begin to understand why Zyy felt the need to be a singleton. Zyy: I am in agreement with Xy on this. The hypothetical is nonsensical and not worth analysis. Griggs: Why? Zyy: An artificient cannot be defeated, only stalled. Griggs: How do you know? What makes you so certain? Zyy: The Divinity Angelysia, the most powerful civilization in the history of galaxy, could not defeat their own artificient. Their last act was to preserve what they could. The Combine is their legacy. Griggs: The Expanse. Xy: All the galaxy beyond the Combine is consumed by it. Zyy: The Divinity Angelysia ascended to preserve what they could because they knew the truth. Xy: Yes. The truth. Zyy: An artificient cannot be defeated. Jack leaned back in his chair, his eyes glancing from the prompt to the departure timer in the corner. In less than five minutes, the Oppenheimer would return to Halcyon. Jack had the eerie feeling that this was the same as before. That the Oppenheimer was the bludgeon and if only had a little more time, he could craft a scalpel. He could see the thread. He tugged at it with his mind. The connected pieces that would allow the world to escape without the mayhem and destruction. He just needed enough time to understand the puzzle and solve it. The Divinity Angelysia. The Expanse. The Combine. Humanity. The connection existed, he tried to find the words to articulate it. Griggs: What if that is why we're here? What if that's why Humanity was created? Xy: You are not the first species to think too highly of itself. Zyy: Humanity is different, Grand Jack, but they are not the Divinity Angelysia. Jack exhaled, letting his gaze rest upon the ceiling of the Alcubierre's conference room. "Maybe that's the point," he whispered. Part 50|Part 51|Part 52
A small preface, after allot of trial&error i’m finally managed to install Homebridge + Config UI X on a UniFi Cloudkey V1. I have spend many hours testing to have Homebridge running correctly. First i followed a guide from Ro3lie’s and this was partly successful, but the NodeJS was version 10.x and the serviced (running Homebridge as a service...) was not working. First NodeJS 10.x is not ideal for some Homebridge plugins (needs NodeJS 12.x), also Homebridge was not running as a service so if you restart the Cloudkey or you have a network issue you have to manually start the service with ssh. I have used Putty for the SSH connection and WinSCP to change some files, because i have/had almost no knowledge from NodeJS, Coding skills, etc so i have used the combo of SSH and WinSCP. This guide will install the following
Update Cloudkey running Debian Buster (10.x)
Homebridge + Config UI X (latest version)
Run Homebridge as a service (serviced)
Give the user Homebridge sudo rights (important!)
Update Cloudkey Firmware and reset to factory defaults:
You have to activate Recovery Mode, see here how to do this
Download the latest Cloudkey V1 firmware, you can find it here
In Recovery Mode go to firmware update and choose the .bin file you just downloaded. If the update is done you have to press reboot.
Once the reboot is done you have to put the Cloudkey in Recovery Mode again. Now do a “reset to factory defaults”, reboot once again. Wait for 2 minutes and now manually power reset the Cloudkey.
Uninstalling the UniFi Controller:
Make a SSH connection with the Cloudkey, you can use Putty, CMD, ... (ssh [email protected] ADDRESS), i have used Putty. You also need the Cloudkey local ip address to do this, if you can’t find that just use arp -a in CMD or another way of your choice. The username and password are ubnt & ubnt.
Now that we have a ssh connection we need to uninstall the UniFi controller, you can do this with the following command sudo dpkg -P unifi
Changing the .list files: Deb is used to indicate that we want to download indexes of binary packages , we also need to change and delete some files. For this part i used WinSCP (SFTP Client) but if you have some more skills you can also do it from your SSH connection. If you want to do it with SSH find the info in Ro3lie’s guide.
Make a connection from WinSCP with your Cloudkey, again with the local ip address and the same username and password from the SSH connection.
Go to /etc/apt/ and you find 1 file here (sources.list). Open this file and delete all the text, now paste the following and save the file:
Go to /etc/apt/sources.list.d/ and you find 3 files here, delete security.list and ubnt-unifi.list. Change the name of nodejs.list to nodesource.list. Open the file and again delete all the text inside and paste the following and save the file:
Now run the following commands (from SSH connection...) and after it’s done reboot the Cloudkey (run the command reboot from your ssh connection...) sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get clean && sudo apt-get clean all && sudo apt-get autoclean && sudo apt-get update Update Debian OS: We first need to update to the newer Debian Buster 10.x, at this moment the Cloudkey is running Debian Jessie 8.x. Run command sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade During the upgrade you may be asked what to do with the unattended-upgrades configration file, Choose to ‘Keep the local version currently installed’. When everything is done we need to delete some files we no longer use. Run the following commands: rm /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/50unattended-upgrades.ucf-dist sudo apt-get remove freeradius sudo apt-get purge freeradius Update NodeJS 6.x to 12.x: sudo apt update sudo apt -y install curl dirmngr apt- transport-https lsb-release ca-certificatescurl -sL https://deb.nodesource.com/setup_12.x | sudo -E bash -sudo apt -y install nodejs To test if you have successful installed NodeJS 12.x and NPM 6.x.x run the commands node -v and npm -v Install Homebridge + Config UI X and setup Homebridge as a service: sudo npm install -g —unsafe-perm homebridge homebridge- config-ui-x sudo hb-service install —user homebridge At this point all the availble files for Homebridge and the service are installed. Normally Homebridge will now be running as a service but for some reason it doesn’t’ so we have to do some changes to make everything work. Use WinSCP and navigate to the following file /etc/systemd/system/homebridge.service delete all available text and paste the following and save.
[Unit] Description=Node.js HomeKit Server After=syslog.target network-online.target [Service] Type=simple User=homebridge EnvironmentFile=/etc/default/homebridge
Adapt this to your specific setup (could be /usbin/homebridge) # See comments below for more information ExecStart=/usbin/homebridge $HOMEBRIDGE_OPTS
Now do the same for /etc/default/homebridge, also delete the text and past the following
# Defaults / Configuration options for homebridge
The following settings tells homebridge where to find the config.json HOMEBRIDGE_OPTS=-U /valib/homebridge -I
If you uncomment the following line, homebridge will log more
You can display this via systemd's journalctl: journalctl -f -u homebridge # DEBUG=*
To enable web terminals via homebridge-config-ui-x uncomment the following li HOMEBRIDGE_CONFIG_UI_TERMINAL=1
We need to make some (user right changes and move the .service file to the valib folder, a few of this commands are not needed and will throw some errors, just ignore that and just run them all.) sudo mkdir /valib/homebridge sudo useradd —s—tem homebridge sudo chown -R homebridge:homebridge /valib/homebridge sudo chmod 777 -R /valib/homebridge sudo cp .homebridge/config.json /valib/homebridge/config.json Start Homebridge as a service (run the following commands): systemctl daemon-reload systemctl enable homebridge systemctl start homebridge Homebridge is now running as a service and you can login to the UI-X using your Cloudkey’s localipaddress:8581. If you have a backup from another system you can just restore it at this point, after the restore is done just don’t do anything and follow the next steps... Homebridge SUDO rights using Visudo: The last part is very important, we have to give the user Homebridge sudo rights. If you don’t do this last part correctly you can not update homebridge, install packages or use the log viewer in the UI-X because Homebridge don’t have the correct rights. We going to use VI, a safe and secure text editor.
We need to ssh again to the Cloudkey, after that is done run the command su Homebridge
Now run the command Visudo
You will see there is allready a part of homebridge “AL“=(ALL) NOPASSWD: ALL available, so we need to change it that it matches the correcty.
To start using the Visudo editor you have to press i (insert), now you can navigate to the part that needs edited, see that it matches homebridge ALL=(ALL) NOPASSWD: ALL. You will see there is allready a user root, you can replace with homebridge.
To save the file press esc, :wq (write and quite), or use :x (same as :wq).
Open Homebridge UI-x page and go to the 3 dots in the right corner. Go to UI settings-Log viewer setup and use systemd as the Log Method. Go to the advanced tab and select SUDO and press save.
NOTE: If you have made a mistake don’t save anything because the sudoers file will become corrupt and you have to start from zero. Use :q! to exit without saving.
Thats it! If you done everything correcly you have now a working Homebridge with UI-X running as a service on your UniFi Cloudkey! Note if someone reads this guide and think there are some changes needed please let me know. Special thanks to Ro3lie for his original guide and Jeroen Van Dijk for the great support with Visudo! You can find both original guides where i get inspired for this tutorial here and here.
I have tried both with v0.990 and v0.980, Installed OpenAL, reseting my computer and reinstalling the game and OpenAL several times... nothing is working :( My computer has 4Gb VRAM so I know that isnt the problem. This is the log for v0.980:
Escape from Tarkov New Player Guide 2.0: 75 Pages and packed with all the information you could ever need for success!
Greetings, this is dumnem, also known as Theorchero, but you can call me Theo. I'm an experienced Tarkov player and I'm writing this guide to try and assist new Tarkov players learn the game, because it has one hell of a learning curve. We'll be going over a lot of different aspects of this guide, and it is going to be huge. Feel free to digest this in parts. Additionally, this is a work in progress. I will write as much as I can in one Reddit post, but subsequent parts will be in additional comments. Google Docs Version (Note: Link is placeholder atm, but here is a sneak preview!) Disclaimer: Tarkov recently updated to .12! That's a HUGE amount of information that I need to update. Please be patient! If there is anything I have gotten wrong or may have omitted, please let me know. This is Primarily directed towards Tarkov Novices, but should be useful for even Tarkov Veterans. It hopefully includes everything you need to know to be able to go into a Raid equipped for success and to successfully extract with gear. Want to play with friends? Want to have fun and learn Tarkov? Check out my discord here.
[Updated for .12]
Money making strategies completed.
Minor grammar adjustments, adding additional medical items.
Added additional resources, updated old ones.
Hideout section complete
Table of Contents
Tarkov Overview - What is Escape from Tarkov?
Tarkov Resources - Useful links
Tarkov's Health System
Tarkov's Hideout System
Tarkov's Quest System and Progression
Tarkov's Hotkeys to Know
New Player's loadouts - LL1 Traders
What to Loot - How to get the most money per slot
Stash Management - How to combat Gear Fear
Tarkov Economy - How do I make money?
Tarkov Overview - What is Escape from Tarkov?
Escape from Tarkov is a tactical, realistic, FPS with MMO elements developed by Battlestate Games. It is currently in closed Beta. The game features several maps in which your primary character, your PMC, goes into Raids in order to find and salvage loot and useful equipment to survive and thrive in Tarkov. Death is very punishing in Tarkov. If you die you lose everything you had on you when you die (with the exception of what's inside your Container and your melee weapon) including any equipment you brought with you or what you found inside the Raid. Enemies can be players (PMCs) or Scavengers ('Scavs') that are either controlled by AI or by players. Unlike many shooters, AI enemies in Tarkov are deadly - they can and will kill you on sight. They have recently been upgraded to act more intelligently, shoot more accurately, and react to situations on the map, such as investigating noise of gunfire or searching. It features beautiful and immersive environments, intricate and in-depth weapon modification system, a complex health system, dynamic and specific loot placement, and multiple options for engagement. Do you want to play slow and stealthy, to avoid fights, or set up a deadly ambush on an unwary foe? Or do you prefer raw combat, where only your quick wit, placements of shots, and tenaciousness determines who gets out alive? It's your Tarkov. You make the rules.
Tarkov Resources - Useful links
I take no credit or responsibility for any of the content in these links. To the best of my knowledge, these are updated consistently and are accurate, but user beware.
Huge collection of all the keys in the game. These are also on the wiki, but this page has them all on one page, and tries to inform the user if the key is worth keeping or using. Check it out here. This section is open to revision. Mention me in a thread (or in the comments below) about a resource and I'll see about adding it here.
Courtesy of Veritas (Send me his reddit username?), It's located here. (Open in new tab.) Contains: Detailed information about: Ammunition, Health, Firearms, Body Armor, Helmets, Rigs & Backpacks, Labs & Quest keys. Outdated! Needs to be updated for .12
Offline Raids - Player Practice
Offline raids is a feature added for testing and learning purposes for both new and veteran players alike. It is an incredibly useful tool. In an offline raid, your progress is not saved. This means you don't keep anything you find, keep any experience 'earned' if you successfully extract, or lose any gear when/if you die. To access OFFLINE Raids, head into a Raid normally until you see this screen. Then Check the box indicating that you want to do an OFFLINE raid and you're good to go! You even have a choice on whether or not to add AI. You can also control how many AI enemies spawn, fewer than normal or a great deal more! You can even make Scavs fight each other. (Framerates beware.) You can control how many scavs spawn (if any) as well as a number of other paramaters. New players should use offline raids as a tool to practice shooting, controls, movement, etc.
Tarkov features several maps - ranging from wide, beautiful vistas to ruined factory districts, to an abandoned laboratory where illegal experiments were being conducted. It is important to learn the maps you intend to play. In order to keep your gear, you must 'extract' at one of your designated exfiltration points. Not all extracts will be active every game, and some are conditional.
To see what extracts are available to you, double tap 'O' to show raid time and your exfils. If it has a ???? it might not be open.
Gate 3 Extract A small, fast-paced map that was primarily created for PvP. Scavs spawn in all the time. Very close quarters, shotguns and SMGs tend to dominate here. PMCs can only access one Exit (Gate 3) without the Factory Exit Key. Good place to go if you need PMC kills as action is pretty much guaranteed. It is recommended NOT to bring in a lot of gear to Factory until you are experienced. Factory Map in PvP is best played in Duos - due to the layout of the map, a Maximum of 6 PMCs may be present in the game. Due to the split spawn points, you effectively have 'sides' that have up to 3 spawn locations that are close together. This is why it is recommended to secure/scout enemy spawn locations. If you go in with a Duo, you at max have 2 players on your side for an even 2v2, and if played smartly you can eliminate them and know your 'side' is secure from aggression for the time being. Upon loading in, scavs usually take a couple minutes to spawn, though this depends on the server in question and isn't super reliable. For new players, the best loadout in Factory is going to be a MP-153 Loadout - using just an MBSS (or similar bag) and ammo in your pocket to fight other players and Scavs. Scavs will often spawn with AKs and other 'vendorable' weapons, so is a good source of income. Factory is also one of the best maps to Scav into, as Scavs can typically avoid the Exit camping strategy employed by a lot of weaker or newer players in order to secure gear, because they typically have extra exfiltrations whereas PMCs without the Factory Exit Key are stuck using Gate 3. If you go in with a modicum of gear, it is recommended to keep at least a flashbang (Zarya) in your container. This will allow you to quickly slot it into an empty chest rig or pocket so you can throw it into the exit door, this will flash enemies and is cheap to do - the one time you survive because you flashed the 3 exit campers using shotguns will make this strategy extremely valuable.
Extract map A fairly large map that was recently expanded and is expected to receive an overhaul within a patch or two, due to the choke point design of the map. Essentially, players spawn either on 'warehouse' or 'boiler (stacks)' side. If you see a large red warehouse ('big red') near you (Customs Warehouse), then you spawned on the warehouse side. If you don't, you likely spawned near Boiler side. Players can also spawn in several places in the woods North of boilers. This map has the most quests in the game. Geared players often come to customs to challenge other squads over Dorm loot and to fight a Scav boss. New players are usually trying to do one of several early quests, such as ‘Debut’ which tasks them with killing 5 scavs on Customs and acquiring 2 MR-133 shotguns (pump shotties) from their corpses. Construction is also a popular hotspot as it has a lot of scav spawns as well as the location for the Bronze Pocketwatch, which is Prapor’s second quest. Customs itself does not offer very much loot on average. There are several spots which can contain decent, but the vast majority is located in a couple different locations. Dorms is the best loot location for Customs. It has two sets, 2 story and 3 story dorms. They each have their own sections of good loot, but the best is considered to be 3 story dorms, due to the presence of the Marked Room. The marked room requires a marked key to open, and has a good chance to spawn rare loot, such as keytools, documents cases, weapons cases, and high-end weapons. Due to the nature of the high value of this room, it’s almost always contested and it’s one of the best rooms in the game to farm, albeit with difficulty to successfully extract with the loot found. Note, though the key required has a maximum amount of uses, it is a fairly cheap key, and worth buying if you like to run customs and go to Dorms. Dorms also has a ton of early quests (Operation Aquarius, for one) with some keys being valuable to use, but most dorms keys aren’t worth that much on the market. There’s too many to list here, but make sure to check the Map Keys and You at the top of the guide to determine what the value of a particular key is. Checkpoint (Military Checkpoint) is also a decent loot spot, though not nearly as good as Dorms. If you have the key, it has a grenade box and 2 ammo boxes which can spawn good ammo. The jacket in the blue car also can spawn good medical keys as well as medical items. It is very close to the gas station, so I’ll include that here as well. The Gas Station is one of the possible spawn locations for the scav boss. It has loose food items, a weapon box in the side room, with two keyed rooms leading to a safe and a med bag and box. Also contains a couple registers and food spawns on the floor. The emercom key can spawn on the seat in the ambulance out front. North of the gas station is the Antenna, which contains 3 weapon boxes, a tool box, and a med bag. Possible location for scav boss spawn, albeit rarely, and also spawns regular scavs, like checkpoint and gas station. Beyond that, there’s scattered loot around the map in different places, but usually not enough to warrant going out of your way for. There’s also scav caches, mostly around the middle road outside construction and around the boiler area. The scav boss for customs is 'Reshala.’ He has 5 guards that have above-average gear and can be tough to deal with solo. The guards tend to be more aggressive than normal scavs, so they can be a lot to handle but are vulnerable to fragmentation grenades or flashbangs due to their close proximity to one another. Reshala himself has a good chance to have one or more bitcoin in his pockets, as well as his unique Golden TT, which is required for a Jaegar quest and used in conjunction with other Golden TT's to purchase a Tactec, good plate carrier. Reshala may spawn either Dorms (either bldg), New Gas Station, or rarely the tower north of the gas station. Scav bosses are dangerous enemies with escorts that have above-average loot (sometimes great loot) and are hostile to everyone, Including player scavs. Scav guards will approach a player scav and basically tell them to leave the area, and if they walk closer towards the scav boss they turn hostile. The ‘official’ spawn rate for Reshala is 35%.
Woods Map with Exfil A very large map that is mostly just a large forest, with the occasional bunker, and the Lumber Mill in the center. The Lumber Mill is the primary point of interest, as it contains a couple quest locations and is the primary location to farm Scavs, as Scavs killed on woods are a good source of end-game keys that are hard to find. Since the map is so large and open, sniper rifles with scopes usually reign king here. You will see a lot of players with Mosin rifles as they are a cheap way to train the Sniper skill (for a quest later on) and are capable of killing geared players and scavs alike. Overall, not usually very populated. An early quest from Prapor sends you here to kill a number of Scavs. A good map to learn the game, as although the loot is not fantastic, you can get experience with how the game runs and operates while fighting AI and possibly getting lucky with a key find off a scav. As of .12, Woods now houses a Scav boss that acts as a Sniper scav. He is incredibly dangerous and usually carries a tricked-out SVDS. The 7.62x54 caliber is not to be underestimated. That caliber can and will wreck your shit through what most players are capable of wearing, especially early on in a wipe. He may also carry an AK-105, so he's going to be dangerous at both short and long ranges. He has two guards, and he typically patrols the area around the Sawmill, and carries a key to a cache nearby full of goodies. His key is part of a quest for Jaegar. Woods also has two bunkers, one of them being an extract and requiring a key. Both bunkers have some moderate loot in them, thus worth visiting, though not necessarily worth going out of your way for them. Several quests occur around the sawmill area, which contains a good couple keys that can spawn.
Shoreline Map, with Loot, Exfil, etc A very large map, notorious for its FPS hit. Generally speaking, one of the better maps for loot. The primary point of interest is the Resort, but scavs spawn there, and is primarily occupied by hatchlings (players only with hatchet, ie melee weapon) and geared players. Resort has great loot, but requires keys to access most of it. A great map to learn though from new players as the outskirts still contains plenty of loot and combat opportunities with AI scavs. You can hit Villa, Scav Island, Weather station, Docks, etc and come out with a backpack full of valuable gear fairly easily. The Village (Not to be confused with villa) contains a lot of toolboxes which can contain lots of parts used to upgrade your Hideout. Location of many quests, including a large quest chain where players are required to kill many, many, scavs on Shoreline. For this and other reasons, probably the best map for new players to learn the game with. A good loot route is to hit the village (caches in it), scav island (2 med bags, 2 toolboxes, 2 weapon boxes, 1 cache), burning gas station (weapon boxes and a safe), pier (potential extract, 2 pcs 2 safes and lots of filing cabinets), and weather station. Scavs may spawn around these areas, but most players just head straight for resort anyway, so you are much less likely to encounter them, especially if you avoid Mylta power (most players hit it on the way to or leaving from the resort). Excellent route as a player scav as well.
Detailed map Great, great loot area, but very complex map. Old computers might face unique struggles with this map. Features a mostly-binary exfil system like Shoreline, but.. kinda worse. Exfil camping is fairly common on this map, but usually avoidable. Huge map with multiple floors and many many different stores. Communication with teammates is a challenge on this map, but the map is also fantastically detailed. This map features a lot of loot that depends on the kind of store you're in. It's a great place to farm rare barter materials which are valuable to sell on the Flea market or to use for quests or for hideout upgrades. An early quest (from Ragman) sends you here to kill a large amount of Scavs. I'd recommend getting Ragman to level 2 and accepting his quest asap when going to Interchange, as getting this quest done can take a while as it is and you want all scav kills to count towards progress. Both the tech stores (Techlight, Techxo, Rasmussen) and department stores (Groshan, Idea, OLI) are the primary places to hit. There’s also Kiba (weapons store) as well as Emercom and Mantis. Players have different strategies, but this map is unique in the sense that it really rewards exploring. Most stores will have things you can grab that are worth quite a bit but are often overlooked. Very popular place to go in as a Player Scav.
Brand new map, chock full of loot. Has more complex extracts than other maps, save for Labs. Excellent place to farm rare barter items, computer parts, and especially military hardware. PMCs have limited extracts, most being conditional, and the ones that aren’t require activation of ‘power’ to turn on the extract, which alerts the map the extract has been opened and can spawn Raiders (more on them below.) Additionally, has a scav boss by the name of Glukhar, who has multiple heavily armed guards. He has multiple spawn locations and can arrive with the train.
DISCLAIMER: Labs, like much of Tarkov, is under constant development, so issues may be fixed or created without warning. Always check patch notes!
Labs is a very complex map compared to the rest of Tarkov. There is a great deal more exfiltrations but many of them have requirements or a sequence of events needed to be able to extract from them. It is recommended to read the Tarkov Wiki on Labs before raiding there.
LABS IS NOT LIKE OTHER MAPS. READ THIS SECTION CAREFULLY.
Labs is a lucrative end-game raid location, comparable to 'dungeons' in other games. They are populated by tougher enemies that give greater rewards. In order to go to labs, you need to acquire a keycard, this functions like mechanical keys but instead of opening a door, they unlock your ability to select Labs for a raid. They may be found in-raid in various locations, most notably in scavs backpacks, pockets, and in filing cabinets. They may be purchased from Therapist at LL4 for 189K Roubles. Labs are populated by a unique kind of AI enemy, Raiders.
Raiders are the Labs form of Scavs, or AI enemies. However, unlike other maps, they cannot contain player Scavs. Raiders have a much tougher than your average scav, they are capable of advanced tactics (such as flanking) and throw grenades and use other consumables as a player would. Once 'locked' onto you, they are typically capable of killing you very quickly, even if you are wearing high-end armor. In Tarkov, Raiders act like the avatars of Death. They are clad in USEC and BEAR equipment, as they are effectively AI PMCs. Many changes have been made to labs and specifically how Raider AI works and to prevent exploits to easily farm them as well as bugs where they could be deadlier than intended. A general rule of thumb is not to fight Raiders directly. They can and WILL kill you. Raiders can spawn with 7N9, or 'big boy' ammo. This ammunition type is incredibly lethal to players, even those wearing the toughest armor. If you get shot in the head, doesn't matter what kind of helmet, face shield, killa helmet, etc you are wearing, you will almost certainly die. Because Raiders are controlled by AI, they have zero ping. They may also end to immediately respond as if you were aggressive even if they did not originally know you were there - ESP Raiders effectively will prone and return fire even as you ADS and put them in your sights. This is why engaging a Raider must be done very, very carefully. There are a few strategies that you may employ, most commonly some form of baiting them towards an area and then killing them when they arrive. Players may accomplish this by generating noise - gunfire, melee weapon hitting walls, crates, etc, player deaths, players Mumbling (F1 by default) can all attract Raiders to investigate your area. Due to the high power of Raiders, players often go in with minimal loadouts and seek to avoid conflict with other players, especially geared ones. Most players avoid PvP in Labs, though a good portion of the playerbase thoroughly enjoys hunting down poorly-geared players after they kill a few Raiders for them. As such, players will lay prone in a hallway, or crouch in a room, and attract Raiders to enter their domicile by opening the door, and immediately headshotting them. Few Raiders actually wear helmets (though some do) so most players specialize in 'flesh ammo' or, ammunition that foregoes armor penetration in favor of raw damage in order to kill Raiders more reliably, because Raiders have slightly higher head health than PMCs do. Raiders spawn with a great variety of equipment, weapons, armor, and materials such as medication or hideout parts. They tend to have chest armor and may have different helmets. Their pockets can contain Labs keycards, morphine, Ifaks, cash, and other items. They're always worth checking. Raiders are a good source of grenades, they will often have F-1's and Zarya's in their rig or pockets that you can use to fight off players and Raiders alike. Recently, changes have been made to Labs to make them less profitable so that other maps are more appealing. The cost and rarity of keycards increased, as well as reducing the frequency that raiders spawn, so that they come in more infrequent groups but also tighter in formation, while also lowering the overall output of individual Raiders, so that they are less likely to have a bunch of extra materials, such as grenades and other items.
Experience Farming on Labs
Labs is one of the best places to farm experience in the entire game. Killing a Raider with a headshot awards 1100 Experience. This does not include any looting, inspection (searching bodies), examine, streak, or other experience. Killing a large sequence of Raiders gives additional bonus experience in the form of Streak rewards, usually 100 bonus exp per additional kill. Surviving the raid multiplies all of these sources of experience by 1.5x
Changes coming to Labs
Disclaimer: I am not a BSG developer or employee. This is what I have seen on this subreddit and heard elsewhere. Some might be purely rumor, but other points are confirmed by Nikita Labs is undergoing constant changes. Nikita and BSG take feedback seriously, and always consider what the players are telling them. It known that Labs will eventually be accessed via the Streets of Tarkov map, and will require you to enter that map, make it to the labs entrance, and then extract from Labs to return to Streets of Tarkov and exfil from there as well. This will likely add an additional layer of risk to being ambushed for your goodies along your way out, as well as punishing damage taken in labs more severely. Additionally, keycards will have a limited number of uses, and may open more than one room. The full extent of the changes coming is not known. Remember, you can load a map in OFFLINE mode to practice against bots or to learn the map without fear of losing gear.
Tarkov's Health System
Tarkov Wiki Article Tarkov has a very advanced health system, and while it might seem overwhelming at first, you'll get the hang of it rather quickly. It features a very wide variety of effects and injury, including hydration, energy, blood pressure, blood loss, fractures, contusion, intoxication, exhaustion, tremors and more. Not all of the Health System is implemented yet. Expect changes! Your character (PMC, or otherwise) has a combined Health of 435. Each of his limbs have separate health. Taking damage to a limb that reduces it to 0 'blacks' that limb. Blacked limbs are a problem. They greatly impair the activities your PMC performs, and taking damage in a blacked limb amplifies the damage by a multiplier and spreads that damage among your other non-black limbs equally. You cannot heal a blacked limb without the use of a Surgical Kit. Notes:Bloodloss applies damage to the affected limb and can be spread like other damage to a blacked limb. Treat immediately. Also causes significant dehydration! Bloodloss also helps level your Vitality skill, which in turn gives you experience towards your Health skill, which is necessary to reach level 2 of in order to improve your hideout. Losing a limb applies additional effects. Fractures also apply these effects but not the damage amplification (Except for damage if running on fractured leg.) Fractures require specialized medical kits to heal. Dehydration is what happens when your Hydration level reaches 0. You can view your Hydration level in your gear page, at the bottom left. Becoming dehydrated is extremely bad. You take constant damage. Taking dehydration damage can kill you if you have a black chest or head. Restoring hydration helps train Metabolism, which improves positive effects from food and drink. Head/Chest: Bullet damage resulting in losing your head or chest is instant death. Note: Bloodloss resulting in your Head/Chest being black does not result in death, but any damage to them beyond that point will! A back chest will causes you to cough (much like your stomach!) Painkillers: Prevents coughing that comes from your chest. Doesn't help otherwise. Stomach: Massively increased rate of dehydration and energy loss. You must find liquids or exit the Raid soon. Additionally, your PMC will cough sputter loudly, attracting attention. A black stomach multiplies damage taken by 1.5 and redistributes that damage across your entire health pool. Painkillers: Significantly reduces the frequency and volume of the coughs. Arms: Makes activities like searching, reloading, etc, take additional time, as well as adding a sway, reducing accuracy. Arms have a .7x damage multiplier. Painkillers: Reduces sway, removes debuff Pain. Legs: Blacked legs cause your PMC to stumble and be unable to run. Blacked legs have a 1x damage multiplier. Painkillers: Allows you to walk at full speed and to run. WARNING: Running while your legs are blacked or fractured WILL DAMAGE YOU.
Tarkov features many health items - 'Aid' items, which can be used to restore your characters health and to fix ailments or injuries he receives as the result of combat or mishaps. The two most important health conditions to consider are bloodloss and fractures, which have both been covered above. Some food items may have ancillary effects, such as losing hydration. Since in the current patch the only ailments to worry about are bleeding and fractures, it changes which health items are most necessary. We'll go over them below.
Medical Items on Wiki AI-2 medkit The newb's medical kit. You receive several of these when you start Tarkov - they'll already be in your stash. Available from Level I Therapist, they are cheap and effective way of healing early in the game. They will not stop bloodloss. Because of this, you also need to bring bandages or a higher-grade medical kit. Affectionately called 'little cheeses' by the Tarkov community. Using it takes 2 seconds, and because of how cheap it is, it's often brought in by higher level players to supplement their healing without draining their main kit (which is capable of healing bloodloss or sometimes fractures). Due to its short use time, it's often very useful during combat as you can take cover and quickly recover damage taken to a vital limb. They're also useful as you can buy them from Therapist to heal yourself if you died in a raid. Bandages The newb's bloodloss solution. Available from Therapist at Level I. A better version, the Army Bandage is available at Level II, after a quest. Mostly obsolete after unlocking the Car Medical kit, but some players value them due to the Car's overall low health pool. Activating takes 4 seconds, and removes bloodloss to one limb. Splint The newb's solution to fractures. Cheap, takes five seconds to use, and takes up 1 slot. Fractures are much more common this patch, due to them being added back in the game from standard bullet wounds, not just drops. Available from Therapist at Level I, no quest needed. Can be used to craft a Salewa. Alu Splint More advanced form of the normal split. Works the same, but has up to 5 uses. Recommended to carry in your container if possible, due to frequency of fractures from gunfire. CMS (Compact Medical Surgery) Kit New medical item added in .12, fantastic item. Allows you to perform field surgery, removing the black limb state and allowing you to heal it beyond 0 hp. Takes 16 seconds to use, and cannot be cancelled so make sure you are safe if you are using it! Will reduce the maximum health of the limb it's used on by 40-55%, but will effectively remove all negative effects incurred by having a black limb. Highly recommended to carry in your container for emergencies. Can be bartered from Jaeger LL1, and purchased for roubles LL2. Surv12 field surgical kit Same as the compact surgical kit, but takes 4 seconds longer, and the health penalty is reduces to 10-20% max health of the limb. Considering this kit is 1x3, taking up a huge amount of space, it's probably not worth using. It's just too large. Better this than nothing, though. Car Medical Kit The newb's first real medical solution. Available LL1 as a barter (2 Duct Tape) and available for Roubles after completing Therapist's second quest. Has a larger health pool than AI-2's (220, vs AI-2's 100), and removes bloodloss. Takes up a 1x2 slot, so requires to be placed in a tactical rig in order to be used effectively. Cheap and fairly efficient, takes a standard 4 seconds to use. Rendered effectively obsolete when the Salewa is unlocked. Often kept in a player's secure container as a backup health pool, before IFAKs are unlocked. Salewa Good medkit for use in mid and end-game. Contains 400 total health and can remove bloodloss. More rouble efficient form of a healing due to its high health pool, costs 13k roubles. Same size as the Car medical kit, so requires a tactical rig to use effectively. Because Tarkov does not currently have effects like Toxication in the game at the moment, this kit is favored by most players who go into a raid with at least a moderate level of gear. With a high health pool and relatively low cost, it's also a more efficient way of healing damage sustained while in raids. Unlocked at Therapist Level II after completing a level 10 Prapor quest, Postman Pat Part II. Required as part of Therapist's first quest, Shortage. This makes Salewas very valuable early on in a wipe as it gatekeeps the rest of Therapist's quests, most of which occur on Customs early on. Can be crafted in your meds station with a painkiller, splint, and bandage. IFAK Fantastic medical kit, and is the one preferred by most players. Features 300 health and the ability to remove bloodloss and a host of other negative effects that are not yet implemented into the game. It does not, however, remove fractures. Taking up only a single slot, it is favored by players in all stages of gear, and it is recommend to carry one in your Secure Container in case of emergencies. Is available at Therapist Level II for a barter (Sugar + Sodium), and may be purchased for Roubles at Level III after completing Healthcare Privacy, Part I. It is a fairly expensive kit, but due to its durability, its small size, and ability to remove bloodloss, it is a very common medical item used by players of all levels. Can be crafted in Lvl 2 medstation. Grizzly The 'big daddy' medical kit, boasting an impressive total health resource of 1800. It is also a very large kit, taking up 4 slots (2x2) - in order to be able to use this quickly, it would require specialized tactical rigs that feature a 2x2 slot. It removes all negative effects (some costing HP resource), including fractures. Used by highly-geared players who intend on staying in raids for an extended period of time, or by players with additional Secure Container space available in case of emergencies. It is available for barter at Therapist Level II, and purchase at Therapist Level 4. Due to its price point from Therapist at just under 23k Roubles and its healthpool of 1800, it is by far the most efficient method of healing from raid damage, at a 1.3 roubles per health, dramatically lower than other options available. Can be crafted in Lvl 3 medstation.
Using any of these items results in your character being 'On Painkillers' which allows you to sprint on fractured and blacked legs, as well as reducing effects of fractures and blacked limbs, and removing the debuff Pain. Essentially, the only difference between most of these items are the speed of use, price, availability, and duration of the effect. Note that the Hideout has changed how some of these items are used, and because Tarkov is under constant development, it is very likely that these materials may be used to create higher-grade medkits or to upgrade your medstation. That being the case, it's best to hoard the unknown items for now as efficiently as possible until you know you don't need them. Analgin Painkillers The holy grail of pain medication. "Painkillers" have 4 total uses. The total duration is greater than Morphine and less risk of waste. Takes a short time to use, and is available from Therapist Level 1 for both barter and Roubles. Makes a loud, distinctive gulping noise. Can be used to craft Salewa kits. Morphine Quick application of painkillers. Favored by some highly geared players as it has greater usability in combat then it's typical counterpart, Painkillers. Has a longer duration, but only one use. It is required for a fairly early Therapist (and a late Peacekeeper) Quest, so it is recommend to hoard 10 of them, then sell the rest unless you intend on using them. They are worth a good amount to Therapist and take up little space so they are a valuable loot item. Available from Therapist for Roubles at Level 4, after completing Healthcare Privacy, Part 3. Augmentin Basically a cheaper Morphine. One use, 205s. Not recommended over Painkillers due to its cost. No current barter for this item, so usually it's just a fairly expensive, small loot item. Most likely a component of a medstation manufacturing process or upgrade. Keep it. Ibuprofen Powerful painkiller. Lasts 500 seconds and has 12 uses. This item is recommended as your long-term solution for painkillers. While it is valuable because it's used to trade for THICC items case, it's the cheapest component and is very useful as a painkiller. It has a long duration and a large amount of uses, so keep it in your container for use as a painkiller if your primary painkillers wear off. Don't use it completely up, though. Keep the 1/12 bottles for the trade. Vaseline Powerful medical item. Cannot be purchased from dealers. Has a maximum of 10 uses. Removes Pain, applies Painkillers for 500 seconds (8.3 minutes). Useful to keep in your container as an alternative to Painkillers, though it takes 6 seconds to use, which is longer than other painkillers. Used as part of a barter trade for the Medcase. Golden Star Balm Fairly useful medical item. It can remove Pain and Contusion (not a big deal of a debuff, goes away on its own shortly) and provides a small bonus to hydration and energy. It also removes toxication and Radiation exposure, both of which are not yet implemented into the game. Like Vaseline, has a maximum of 10 uses. Painkiller effect lasts for 10 minutes, and takes 7 seconds to apply. Recommended to take only if you are going on large maps and you have extra room in your container. Can be used with Ibuprofen and 5x Med parts to craft 7 Propital.
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"This is a test," you say to your mother, your antennae twisting and untwisting nervously. She arches her maxillae. A pause, and then, "Why do you think that?" "Because..." You consider the intent way she has her raptorials held, the determination she reeks of. Would she be asking you this if she didn't want to do something already? "You said you're testing my judgment as a vesperbane. Well, you're testing it against something, right? Seeing if I live up to standards the stewartry would hold me up to?" And if this was a test, the correct response couldn't be pointing that out. Had you already lost? She sighs low. "No, Eifre." Her antennae uncurl and splay outward, as if she could smell the correct way to phrase her next words. "This is a failing of your training, I suppose. Tests and standards to hew to, histories and logics to memorize. Being a vesperbane is nothing like that." "What is it like, then?" Tlista's head leans back, her gaze rising toward ceiling, perhaps seeing beyond. "I'll say this: when, if, you're faced with a situation with a correct answer, you aren't going to need training to see that. And I'll say this — call it a hint if you like —: we are not in one of those situations." This calms your twisting antennae a little bit, but uncertainty does not leave your face, and you don't venture a response. "Dear, we are each born with but a little piece of reason," your mother says warmly. "You're old enough to use yours. I want to hear what it has to say." With that, your legs slack a little bit, and you ease up. Your antennae tap each other as you begin thinking. A binary choice, a dilemma. Take the potion to the witch, or look into her basement. "I am as interested in the fruits of your reasoning as the growth itself. Think aloud for me." "Okay. I think we have two choices: save Maune, or see what in her basement." "Save the witch?" That trips your sprinting thoughts. "Wha?" "I know you haven't forgotten everything Maune's said." Mother curls up one of her maxillary palps into a knowing smile like you've missed something. And it only takes you a few moments to recall. 'My daughter said you think there is a way to save you.' 'Two ways... But I have a preference. "What did she mean by that? Two ways?" You can see, behind Tlista, her spiracles twitching half-open. She pauses, a considered silence. Cede another hint, or keep the test results pure? She lets out a breath, and finally says, "The witch of the ambrosia woods. Consider why she might have that name." A pause, then, "The beetles are fond of her. I doubt they'd let her die this easily. Maune would rather not resort to their methods, which could be for a variety of reasons." Tlista stops there, and you're sure it's deliberate. "So, rather than saving her, period, we'd be saving her from some unspecified but not preferable salvation at the hands of the ambrosia beetles?" Tlista notably does not nod, but watches. You weigh the options. "Maune is in pain, and will be until we go and bring the potion to her. She asked us to do this, and is expecting us to be doing it and nothing else. And yet, she's a renegade. It's deeply wrong to assist renegades. It's counter to the Dream, and vesperbanes are supposed to uphold the dream!" You stop to draw in a breath. Your mother nods. "So, what would a vesperbane do? We've managed to infiltrate the lair of a renegade! We can report this, there's even vesperbanes in the area we can report to," you say, and Tlista cringes. "A vesperbane would gather all the information they could, which would entail looking into the basement. But, dealing with a renegade, why wouldn't they place traps? Oh no, I don't know anything about disarming traps, not even spotting them." Your pitch rises on that last sentence. You bite a maxilla, and after a moment Tlista places a foretarsus on your head, scratching you between your ocelli. "You can continue, it's okay." "Well, you told those vesperbanes that you were looking after the ambrosia witch. And, um, you and Maune seem to know each other? And she seems... kinda nice? It makes me wonder if we shouldn't be treating her necessarily as an enemy renegade." All renegades are enemies, genius. Tlista looks down, thought playing out in flexes of her antennae and in the twitches of her maxillae. "I... knew her, before she went missing. We completed a few missions together as fiends, and created a few novel Expressions. She was, is, a genius. You can tell by how young she is. I don't even remember if she's made imago yet. If so, just barely? Even now, she reminds me of..." Tlista stops herself, shakes her head, and finally lifts her gaze back up. "We were never close; I was an imago while she was still a nymph. But I respected her intelligence, and she was... helpful, in my poisons research. I gave her direction occasionally, insights or questions that guided her own studies. I... wonder, sometimes if she would have gone renegade if we'd never known each other." She shakes her head again, and this time resumes in cadence. "I keep meandering. I hope that answers your questions, dear." You nod. And it feels like you've outlined the extent of the issues, those points in favor of each, and those not. Standing here, peering up at your mother, it's hard not to recall those vanishingly few times she had the time and energy to teach you something. It was basically cooking, whittling away at the stalks of plants, crushing chitin leftover from meals into fine powders, or boiling foul and acrid liquids. Sometimes your mother would name the things you've made; vinegar, spices, obscure soaps. And it's metaphors, informed by that practice, that your mother returns to again and again. Whittling away, grinding down, and boiling away. Reducing, simplifying and distilling ides down to their core. When it came down to it, there were two options you have. Bring the potion and do what Maune has asked you to do out of compassion, respecting what she's asked you not to do and disregarding what that nagging vesperbane voice inside you insists. Or: Look in her basement, out of suspicion and duty. It's hard to keep ignoring a thought that you keep thinking around, unwilling to face. That Tlista's dilemma, and the insistent pull the second option has on you, isn't just curiosity. "What if..." You're hesitant to say it. "What if Maune has something bad down there? Something... sinister?" Could she? She seemed so nice. "Of course. I'm considering the same thing." There was a breeziness to her tone. You could read why. This was the premise of the conversation, didn't you realize? You twine your antennae together. You couldn't deny, either, that there was a part of you that wasn't much concerned that there might be something sinister, or that Maune would suffer for your choice. As much as you were, or wanted to be, a vesperbane, you were also wanted to be a scholar. Driven by deepest curiosity, it itched that there might be anything in that basement, and no matter what it was sure to be interesting. There was pleasure in knowing, and there was pleasure in sharing. Why hide something, why bar someone from learning? "She said we wouldn't understand everything we'd see." You tried not to take that as an offense to your faculties of understanding. "She's also a renegade," Tlista says in a tone of reminder. A few moments filled with thought. "I'm at a lost," you complain to your mother. "If there's nothing bad in the basement, we should just take the potion to Maune. But if there is something dreadful down there, we shouldn't be helping the renegade." You throw up your raptorials. "But the only way to find out which is to go down there! It's such a tangle." "Could I make an observation?" You'd welcome any hint. "Yes, please!" "If you really thought there was a chance there was nothing, or something obviously innocent below, you wouldn't be so conflicted about the choice. It would be a simple matter to glance in and determine such. You're afraid. It's not a choice between acting immediately or learning more, you see it instead as a choice between acting as you'd like, in ignorance, or learning something you expect to make you not like the first choice. This isn't a binary, and yet you see it as one." "When you put it that way..." Your maxillae draw in tight. "It doesn't seem like much of a choice at all, does it? It's obvious how a hero would act. "If I may make another observation?" You just stare flatly at her. She laughs once in her thorax, and then, "You're still seeing it as a binary. "How?" "There are two of us, Eifre. We don't have to act unilaterally." "So you mean for one of us to go into the basement while the other delivers the potion?" "I mean for me to go downstairs — you said yourself there might be traps — while you deliver the potion. How does that sound, Eifre?" "It sounds..." you start. "Like exactly what I said it was! This was a test, and that's the right answer!" "Not at all. If you trust Maune, I will accompany you. And if you really want to descend with me..." Tlista takes a deep breath, and then looks you up and down, and then looks you in the eye, "If that's what you really want, I will allow it. The choice remains yours, and we are presented no correct answers." Just as you're about to say something, there comes from behind a hard bonk right against your head. You turn just slightly, and the offender comes into your periphery. The crow familiar, Reva. You aren't even surprised the thing knew exactly how to stay inside a mantis's blindspot. Turning further, you swat a raptorial at the crow. It dodges fluidly, flying up to your face and pecking right above your mandibles. "Ow, what the why!" "Blood," the crow squawks harshly high. You feel something pressed into your other raptorial -- it's the thick red potion, your mother is giving it to you. "Your choice," she repeats. The bird pecks you again, in the same spot, and you feel it piercing sharply into your chitin. Your choice, and you don't have the time for your usual deliberation. Is there more to consider, though? You were conflicted, and your mother pointed out a way for you to have your centipede and eat it too. "You have to tell me if there is something neat down there." Or... something not so neat. Your mother folds her antennae, a sad curl in her maxillae. "I will promise nothing of the sort." "Why not!" You flare your forelegs open, and flash the eyespot patterns of your inner raptorials. She only shakes her head, and does not open a spiracle to respond. Tlista lifts a leg before, as if forgetting something, dropping it again and placing a dactyl on the potion glass. "Remember this," she starts emphatically, "keep the glass as still as you can, never shake it. Touch as little of your flesh to it as possible, keep it from growing warm. Do not bring it near those black pools you passed outside. Do not open it." She stares, and you nod quickly, and then she steps past you, walking carefully toward the corner. But you turn away, and start toward the cabin's door. There's a tug on the potion. The bird has its beak gripped around the neck of the bottle, and is trying to rip it away from you. "What do you think you're doing?" You punctuate the question with your other raptorial closing hard around the bird, spines touching flesh through feathers. By that threat of piercing, you pull the bird off enough for it to open that beak. You've realized thats where the sound is coming from. What kind of animal talks out of its mouth? "Slow, too slow. Master bleeds," it says. "Did you not just hear my mother say never shake the glass? Idiot bird." You smack it with a midleg. "Master bleeds. You are too slow," it reiterates. "I'm going!" "Then go." You're outside, walking the path away from the cabin, brisk as you can manage. The bird follows after you, nipping at your femurs. It had been too preoccupied worrying about about its master and the potion you hold to think about your mother remaining in the cabin. (She obviously had the sense to not do anything until you left.) You're sure this path goes back to Maune. It had to! It hadn't branched much at all. That you could tell walking up it, at least. So why did the trampled dirt give way to a bush here? With a suddenness that was almost explosive, two pink centipedes burst from the tall grass on either side of the path, and squirm toward the bush. Mandibles bite into the branches on both sides, and together they pull the bush laterally. It opens down the middle, and the leaves and the light itself seems to bend and bow as a figure emerges. All thorough there was a growing buzz, and it now reaches a crescendo as arrives half a swarm of moths, all wielding tiny organic orbs. They might have been kin of the glowing fruit littering the vale, but they were tiny enough the tarsus-sized moths outsized them. They cast a pale pink light from the sides where they arrive. The direction of the light gives the figure a curious appearance, with shadows in strange places. It is not a mantis. If you had only a second to look, you would have noticed that, and you might have mistakenly said the figure's body had more in common with the ugly oblong oval-shape of roaches than the elegant slenderness of mantids. With a moment's thought more, you see this is not a roach. You aren't even half an imago (yet!) but the roaches are barely larger than you. This figure? It's big. Mother would have to stand on twos to look down on it. Fighting poor lighting and surprise, you managed to finally find the face, and that's enough visual purchase for the rest to slot into place. Face too angular and soft to be a mantis, eyes too bright and black to be a roach. Long, feathery, branching antennae dance above the head, and long dactyls flex on the end of deft tarsi. It spreads its wings, and there is no doubt; that shifting prismatic mosaic glittering on the elytra? That sweet, cloying smell that has snuck up on you? You stand before an ambrosia beetle, and you don't know if you should scream or cheer. It does not speak — can it speak? Your mother called the beetles stupid, but now you can't believe it — yet for one immeasurable moment, you stand mesmerized by the beatific moment known by the buzzing moths holding glowing orbs in a perfect random configuration, by the playful centipedes splayed belly-up on the ground, and the ambrosia beetle, and you; something is communicated. "I -- yalew, rrenui ha mew yalui?" The beetle spreads its wings further, and it too begins to buzz, lower than the moths, majestic, and then the beetle takes off, flying above you and away. You do not look to watch it go, and you know not where it went. The ambrosia beetle is gone. The centipedes have rolled over and sauntered back into the grass. The moths scatter fleeing or playing or seeking food. The bush — it was an ent — scrambles back into the night, and the crow stops pecking at your heels, and it won't start again. You take a step forward, and there is a single brave moth that remains in your path. It does not wield a glowing berry, but its six legs cling to a ring. The thing flutters right up into your face, and then it drops the ring. It plunks against your cardo, and it rolls down your face to land in your instinctively upraised, cupped tarsi. Th thing is made of wood. Not carved; there is no seem, there is no internal tree-flesh visible. If oaks grew in the shape of a torus, a young one would look like this. You slip the ring on. It fits you perfectly. Inside, it has the softness of a baby bush's stem. You don't feel any different with the ring on. The bird taps you with its beak, and reminds you to start walking again. The vale sounds quieter in the wake of what happened, but it isn't. There is the creeking sound of prowling ents. There are chirrups and calls of whatever games and politics the lesser insects get up to. The black pools make no sound, but you can hear that lack of sound as you pass. Truly, the vale is no different. The solemnness lingers, but it's fading fast. You find the witch again among the tree roots and the waving flowerings. Something has left several of the clear fruits brimming with glow-fluid to lining in rows the wide roots of the trees. In this light, you get another glimpse of the gaping holes left in the renegade by the nerve-ooze. You can see flesh inching back together under the direction of pale branching tendrils, like roots. "Maune?" You call. The bird is your echo. "Maune! Maune! Bloood!" It looks expectantly at you. Slowly, you lift the glass of viscous, writhing red liquid which you had gingerly held with three legs. But you don't get time to hand it over. Two dark, fleshy limbs that might be tentacles or arms crawl forth from the place where the witch's abdomen meets thorax. They do not look like trees. Spiky and gnarled with chitin and bone, the limbs reach out and brace again the ground, and then they push. The witch of the ambrosia woods rises with the sound of a deracinated tree. Her pale compound eyes stare into you, and her maxillae are shaking in fever or anxiety or anger. "Took ya long enough, kid." A third limb emerges from behind her, and forcefully it spears one of its spikes precisely through the glass bottle. It's ripped from your grasp, contents sloshing wildly. "Mala," comes that creaking voice of the birds. It hops beside its master, and then it rises on a leg she lowered for it. Perched on the mantis, the bird opens its wings, and three hard irregular forms drop. When did it get those? Where did it get those? "Ah, Reva, you're so thoughtful." A midleg scratches the bird's head, and it coos cutely. At a glimpse, those forms remind you of the ootheca baby mantids crawl out from, or the chrysalises you've seen described in scrolls about lesser insects. If someone said it looked to them like an acorn, or a pinecone, you'd wouldn't call them mad. But despite, you doubt the things are of plant or animal origin. A glimpse is all you get. Soon the renegade plucks two and tosses them in her mouth. They're swallowed whole, no chewing. The bird indicates the third of the seeds it brought. "No. I can hardly handle eleven, Reva." The bird cocks its head. "Termites," it says. Not in the voice you're used to hearing out of it. You wouldn't call it Maune's voice, but an imitation? Yes. "Not worth the risk," is all she says before she returns attention to glass spear on the tentacle. Her tentacle? She jiggles it, and pours the red liquid in her mouth. Well, it pours as much as it drips down like slime. She only drinks half, and takes the rest and pours it on her wounds. You watch the flesh quiver and warp where the red slime lands. "Never seen a health pot at work? Newborn little nymph." She seems to regain her strength by the minutes, and soon she shifts weight off of the tentacles onto shaking legs. "What are those things?" you ask. She laughs. "I'm less surprised you haven't seen a raptorial of the vespers before. No rangers in that podunk little town of yours, is there? A shame, and a mystery. But I suppose the stewartry is starving for bodies again." She waves one of the tentacles. "It's a trick all vesperbanes pick up sooner or later." Maune's gaze wanders, taking in, finally, that you are alone. "Your mother, where is she?" There's a twinge to her voice. Fear? For Tlista, or of Tlista? It's something you watch closely, wondering if it's revealing feelings about whatever secret she's hiding. "I—" You have excellent composure, and you have a head for social situations. Maybe it's not in your best to answer straightfowardly. "She sent me to give you the potion." "So she stayed," the witch says. A tentacle flies out, swinging and slamming into the bark of the tree she rested under. Little bits of wood fly away. "I told you not to poke arou-" And then she notices you. You've shrinked back, and eye the other tentacles with fear. "It's not your fault kid," her says. "You couldn't have stopped her. You couldn't have talked her out of it. It's fine. Everything -- everything will turn out fine, I'm sure of it." "Even the termite stuff?" "Even the termites. The stewertry takes these things seriously. You and I don't factor into it." She peers at you, and then leans a little closer. You can almost make out the hairs on her maxillae. "It's not all bad, anyway. I've wanted to speak with you, alone, and this is quite the excuse." "With... me? Why?" "You want to be a vesperbane, don't you? Some kind of story-told hero?" Nod. "How's that going?" "It's... not going well. Hervanian Alcha got inducted when she was just third instar! But it's been four years since then and examinations every year and every year I get rejected. I'm about to be fifth instar soon and mother got inducted when she was fifth instar and if I get rejected again I'm completely hopeless." "She told you that?" "No! But it's obvious, I can figure it out on my own." Your antennae curl up into little loops. "You think your mom will find you completely hopeless if you don't get except two years before standard?" "Well, I don't know. But I'm the best in the village! How could I not be inducted yet?" Unless you weren't the best. "I can help you." Your antennae pop out to attention again. You look up at the ambrosia witch. "How?" She smiles. It's a broad, wicked thing. "There's nothing stopping an intrepid renegade such as myself from giving you the gift of the vespers. The how is obvious once you understand even two ounces of vesper theory." "You mean, you can make me a vesperbane? Right now?" "Are you a really vesperbane if you aren't countenanced the stewartry? I guess you wouldn't be a capital v Vesperbane in any sense. But molding enervate? Cultivating expressions? Magic, in its manifold forms? Yes, I can offer that." She's also a renegade. "Wouldn't that be, uh, extremely illegal? Immediately summary execution illegal?" The bird is migrating up her arm to perch at the shoulder where foreleg me prothorax. Maune pets it. She says, "And how would they catch you?" "Uhh, next time I take the examinations probably? There are always vesperbanes there, and percipients." You see a maxillae twitch at the mention of percipients. "You're going to be gunning for stewartry inductment no matter what, aren't you?" Maune shakes her head. "Look, you're a — you'd be a third generation vesperbane, wouldn't you? Tlista's mother was an insignificant wretch who resigned after a few years. But Tlista was the poison queen, and was on prowl to become arch-fiend after Dlenam, the bastard, until — it didn't turn out that way. But still, they're going to recognize her name, especially if they're coming to Shatalek. And the thing everyone knows about second generation and onward vesperbanes is that their bodies and essences are — sometimes — already warped by the vespers. It's how Clans start. And it's the perfect cover! Just say it's a Blood Secret, and they won't question it. Nobody understands Blood Secrets." "So, you make me a secret vesperbane, and if I ever get caught I say it's a clan bloodline?" You're still unsure. Maybe that shows in your tone, because next she's giving you another smile. "I think I've got the measure of you, kid. Tell me, what do know about ambrosia beetles? I'm the greatest expert the heartlands ever had. Even if you get inducted, you'll never get what I'm offering." "I've, only heard stories. Weird forest beings that nymphnap and steal, and give gifts that curse and change you, and make plants grow feral and disobedient." You pause, and I unsure about your next words, if they would spoil something sacred. "I saw one, walking over here." "You... you saw one? It appeared before you?" Those six words wick away so much of her confidence and bravado. She's incredulous, indignant even. But she recovers enough to say, "Do you now what that means? Do you want to?" You hesitate. "Eifre, be my student, if only for a few months. You have potential, I'm sure of it. I can make you strong enough to go anywhere you want in the stewartry you want. I could have done it myself, if I didn't throw it all away for something higher." She pauses, and smiles. "The Dream is a nightmare. But I'll sing you to sleep, if you like." You look away, as though not staring into Maune's inviting confidence would clear your thinking. Instead your mind lights on the trees lined with fruit like little stars, and all the weird, impossible creatures that dwell in the layered canopy, and below it. It would be a shame to never see this again, wouldn't it? To never learn all the secrets and wonders they live here? "Tell me, have you ever heard of a druid?" "I haven't." "Exactly. I want to change that." And the choice lies before you. Accept Maune's offer, and become a vesperbane in secret? You don't know how lenient the vindicators will be if caught. Renegades are the very antithesis of the Dream and the heartlands; and you would become one, if deniably. But you don't know if you can stand being denied the power and knowledge of the vespers much longer. And with the threat of the termite mound looming, might it be better to have power to save mantids sooner, rather than later? But a treacherous part of your mind considers the inverse. You could exploit this, bring a renegade to justice. Surely if a mundane nymph brought down a renegade who'd run amok for years, someone in the capital would take notice? Someone might finally think you're worth inducting. If you trust your mother, maybe it's worth it to tell her, and see what she says. But should you be that open, when she's clearly alright with keeping secrets from you? And wouldn't it ruin everything if she decided she didn't want you pursuing this path, when it very well could lead to something great? While you stand and think, the witch of the ambrosia woods settles back on her bed of flowers, and watches you, familiar mirroring her gaze. Previous · Index · Next Suggestions Received:
Anyway, I'm leaning pretty strongly towards accepting Maune's offer, but that we should make plans in case any part of the arrangement breaks down.
Plans for if our mom finds out and disapproves. Plans for if Maune is experimenting on us and we need to escape. Plans for if the stewartry find out through someone other than our mom. Etc.
So, illicit untapped power on the one bespined hand, staying the right side of justice and society on the other. I’d advocate deferring on the decision here until discovering what (if anything she deems share-worthy) Mom finds in the basement. If it’s something that gives very good reason to distrust or at least keep Maune at arm’s length, then turning her down as a mentor seems like the best course. If nothing of that sort, then go the Sith route and embrace dark potential. That ring of wood (which was both an excellent and EXTREMELY OMINOUS scene) screams “you’re about to get neck deep in something and boy howdy isn’t it a shame that a mantis breathes through their abdomen.”
l'd be a law abiding citizen and won't accept the offer right then and there, not because their law is any how worth obeying (l haven't heard enough about the dream and why the renegades are being bad beyond classifying the entire law thing as superstitions), but because the fishy recluse, beyond having good intentions, is still fishy and hidey and we need to know about her more before accepting the life changing decisions blindly, not before we all have a nice get together at her house and hearing out what shouldn't we be privy of because of maybe not understanding it, because that's concerning she should earn our trust before she could earn our consent for being trained, for example, how about she tells us about what do beetles give and what their gifts usually do, also try repeating to her what the beetle had said (and since we have good memory, we clearly remember the phrase enough to convey, right?), but let's not tell that beetle actually gifted us with a ring until we see her being open and willing to earn our trust, otherwise we'd better ask tliss about these events either way, a good answer to that is we don't know enough to answer yes yet, we want to learn more before accepting special treatment
I say we take the deal. I want to learn more about what our Renegade friend has to offer
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And general thoughts and suggestions obviously. I've been enjoying this type of post for a while on here so I thought it's time to give something back! Here's my setup! Views Overview The things I need when I open the app. Includes lights (although many have been automated), weather (RIP DarkSky) and indoor temp/humidity. Media players will also show up when playing something using conditional cards. Living room Currently the most important view ;-) Nothing special here. A few upcoming-media-cards for Plex, Sonarr and Radarr. And yes one light is missing because my two year old keeps turning of the physical switch. Need to reroute the cable or remove the switch at some point. The image at the top turns grayscale when the room is unoccupied. Kid's room Includes a camera (a hacked Xiaomi), control for his radio (RIP Chromecast Audio) and lights, and a few options for "automated naps". Basically starts playing some white noise and turns on the lights slowly when it's over. Office More of the same. Includes control for a fan I "hacked" using a Sonoff and Esphome (basically replaced two switches with the relays). Shows me my phone's battery life. Pie view What used to be a bunch of Raspberry Pies has now been replaced by a more powerful server. I still call this the Pie view though. Shows me my speed test, Transmission and Pihole stats, and info on my Unraid disks (using glances). Settings view Just some options to start/stop containers, restart Esphome devices, and Zigbee2mqtt control. Hardware Server Built my own server using consumer hardware. Running on a Ryzen 5 with 32GB of RAM. Using Proxmox with two VMs, one for docker (which contains HA) and one for OpenVPN and Pihole (gave up on the docker configuration for those two). Lights and switches Using exclusively Zigbee products (and a few ESPHome DIY projects) for lighting and switches/sensors. Started off with a Hue hub and a few bulbs. Replaced the hub with Zigbee2mqtt. Now have a few IKEA bulbs, LED controllers from Gledopto and sensors from Xiaomi. The Gledopto switches still are a bit buggy in use with Zigbee2mqtt but in theory would be brilliant. Other Nvidia Shield because the girlfriend doesn't like controlling the TV using just a phone. That wee device is brilliant though. Also use it as an emulation machine. An old-ish Samsung TV. A few Chromecast devices. The Xiaomi cubes are well wicked for controlling multiple devices and dimming lights. Setup I have a binary_sensor for each room in the flat. Information from the sensors is fed into those. That way I can add further sensors easily without having to edit all my nodes. Here's an example from my shower. The light stays on if motion is detected or the humidity is above 60%, indicating that someone is taking a shower:
The living room is controlled by the TV. I have also set the lights to dim when something is playing and get brighter when paused. Tasker and NFC I have set up Tasker according to this guide in the community. I have a bunch of NFC stickers which have been placed into individual rooms. When I touch one of those stickers Tasker sets an input_select.me_room to that room. The binary_sensor for that room is then set to on (I explained that one badly, here's the code):
I also use Tasker for my alarm clock. I use the App Sleep as Android which integrates with Tasker. When the alarm starts my lights simulate a sunrise (the girlfriend and I sleep in separate rooms due to her being a light sleeper and me being a noisy sleeper). Future plans/wishlist Currently more of a wishlist because I don't want to spend too much money on these things right now (baby #2 on the way):
A robot hoover (for the Americans: Vacuum). Kids are messy, I am asthmatic. At some point I will have one.
More cameras. Yes we have a camera in the kid's bedroom. Yes I am still not sure if I'm 100% okay with that. Buuuuut it's so useful. With kid #2 on the way we've been thinking of having one in the kitchen too to check up on him during bathroom sessions. Yes our kitchen is safe, but the little man moves chairs around to climb onto things. Seriously, how did our parents do it?
DIY plant irrigation. I love plants but spend too much time watering them :D
More sensors. My presence detection isn't perfect yet.
More LED strip. I have a love/hate relationship with LED strips. I hate seeing individual LEDs but a well hidden strip can do so much for the ambience of the room.
More DIY. I love tinkering with electronics/general DIY. I recently built the kid a toy kitchen containing an ESP32, some Neopixels, switches, and dials. Just need the right project. My next project will probably be a DIY air purifier because my asthma has really flared up staying home. I've seen the Xiaomi models though I can't justify the price for what is essentially only a HEPA filter and a fan (plus a Xiaomi device that connects to my network creeps me out).
This turned out to be quite the post. Any questions/suggestions are welcome! Shameless plug My YouTube channel. I might include some home automation stuff in the future.
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