That reminds me of a story. “Thank you very much for your interest in our operations. We would be most interested in having you undertake geological field work in our mine, particularly paleontological reconnaissance. However, there are some prerequisites that would need to be met before you are allowed into or onto mine property. These include, but are not limited to:
• BLM (Bureau of Land Management) review, permits, and clearance.
• BIA (Bureau of Indian Affairs) review, permits, and clearance.
• FWS (Fish & Wildlife Service) review, permits, and clearance.
• Navahopi Nation review, permits, and clearance.
• FBI’s CJIS Division authentication of NCR (No Criminal Record).
• DOD (Department of Defense) review, permits, and clearance.
• Supai, Redwall and Coconino County Sheriff’s Office security clearance.
• HSE Safety Training certificates A-6, B-12, C-14, and D-40 through D-53.
• Sponsorship through the NM Bureau of Mines and Mineral Resources.
• Letters of recommendation from 3 full professors of Geology or Geophysics.
• Notarized copies of graduate transcripts *through
Economic Geology 300.*
• Immunization records; including Rabies, Hepatitis A, B & C, Poliomyelitis, Typhoid, Yellow Fever, Meningococcal, and Tuberculosis vaccines.
• Valid Blaster’s Permit(s), above level 4.
• Valid CDL/Class-A Driver’s License. Also, you will need to provide your own PPEs (Personal Protective Equipment) such as steel-toed boots, hardhat, coveralls, gloves, safety glasses, etc. before being allowed into or onto mine properties. Dosimeters will be provided by the company. We look forward to your reply and dates you plan to be working in, on, or around mine property. Yours,
* Burokratia Azeno HSEW & PR Officer Navahopi Coal Mine, Inc. Wingnut, New Mexico”
“Dr. Vestur” I called excitedly, “It finally arrived. The letter from the coal mine where I want to do my graduate field work out in New Mexico.”
Dr. Jak Vestur was my major professor, confidant, and drinking buddy as I was working on my Master’s in Geology at the University of Baja Canada – Brew City.
“Rock, that’s great, let’s have a look”, I hand him the actual letter; as Emails were still a ways off in the vague future.
“Holy shit”, Jak exclaims, “They don’t want much, do they? Damn. You don’t plan on going any time soon, do you? This stuff’s going to take a bit of time to assemble.”
“Ain’t that the truth?” I agreed, “Good thing I’ve got the CDL-Class A, Blaster’s Permits and HSE certifications already in order.”
“Well, several of these the University and Museum can help streamline. You’ve already talked with Dr. Don DeDümdüm at MNBMMR (New Mexico Bureau of Mines and Mineral Resources), right?”
“Oh, yeah. Dr. Don will sponsor me, no worries. In fact, if I play my cards right, he’s even going to be able to source some funds for my little expedition.”
“Uh, oh, Rock. Problem. They want you to have taken Econ. Geo. 300 before you travel. That’s only offered every other fall and this fall isn’t the one where it’s offered.” Dr. Jak notes.
“Ah, fuckbuckets.” I exclaim, “I’ve busted my hump to get everything done so far, now there’s this damn speedbump?”
“Well, now hold on…let me think.” Dr. Jak ponders, “We had a geophysicist in your sort of pickle a few years back. Let me dig into this and see if there’s a work-around.”
“I appreciate it, Doc. If I have to wait until next fall, my funding’s shot and I’ll have to hang around for another full year.” I lament.
“Don’t go pulling that trigger just yet, let me see what I can do.” Dr. Jak reassures.
What had precipitated all this was a field trip I was on back in my wild and lawless days as an undergraduate. As a senior, I was president of the “Niagara Escarpment Irregulars – A drinking club with a geology problem”; which was our university’s geology club.
We held all sorts of fundraisers during the school year so come summer, we could all take off in a caravan of rental cars, these and four-wheel drives are the best
off-road vehicles and head out. We usually went west, to visit all that bare naked geology galloping around and actually see rocks in their native habitat.
That particular year we ended up at the Navahopi Coal Mine in northwestern New Mexico. It was a huge open-pit, subbituminous-B coal mine that supported a mine-mouth electrical power generating plant.
It was a huge operation and was only recently ceded over to the Navahopi Nation from the company which had opened and originally ran the mine for the last 75 years. Needless to say, the Native Americans who were now at the helm of this huge operation were still a bit groggy corporately; never before having to run an operation of this magnitude.
And what an operation! An active open-pit coal mine in Cretaceous age coals. It was enormous and growing quickly; however, not as quickly as they would have desired.
That’s where I came in.
Being a Native American run, or First Nation, take your pick, operation and one that many environmentalists would rather slit their wrists than visit, they were under considerable scrutiny. From Federal levels, via state, local, municipal, through multitudinous various agencies: OSHA, Bureau of Mines, Bureau of Indian Affairs, radio, television and newspaper nose-poker-inners, Universities and the occasional geology graduate student.
The thing was, there was this huge push, by the state and Indian Bureaus, for the preservation of artifacts. The latter group was more interested in anthropological potsherds and ancient campfire charcoal. While the state, represented by local universities, were more interested in paleontological finds; of which they had multitudes.
They were mining the Kirtland and Fruitland Formation coals, both Late Cretaceous in age (think Dinosaur Central) laid down in 105-66 million-year-old swamps. Swamps have a ridiculous bioproductivity, and hence a surfeit of fossils.
Thing was, every time they uncovered anything of ‘interest’, as defined by the outsider agencies; work had to be stopped. Production dropped to zero until the various agencies could find an ‘expert’ and get them out on location to assess and archive the find.
When we were making our visit, our tour leader informed us, grouchily, of this fact.
“Well,” I asked, “Wouldn’t it make more sense to have a geologist or paleontologist on-site, doing evaluations before the heavy equipment rolled through?”
It was as if several hundred mercury-vapor streetlights lit off all at once.
“That’s a great idea”, the tour leader said, “But who could we get to do such work? It’s not been done here before to my knowledge.”
I informed her that she was looking at the #1 candidate for the job.
Thus, now I was scrambling to see how I could either fulfill the Economic Geology 300 prerequisite or weasel out from under its onerous clutches.
“OK, Rock, sit down. We’ve got to discuss your future.” Dr. Jak tells me one bright early spring morning.
“OK, Doc, what’s up?” I ask.
“Well, first, some questions. You’re essentially finished with your course work, right?” Dr. Jak asked.
“Yep. That Econ. Geo. business is the only one left.” I replied.
“OK, forget Economic Geology 300. It’s been waived for you.” Dr. Jak informs me.
“Hey. That’s great.” I begin to exclaim…
“However, instead, you’re going to be doing some independent study.” Dr. Jak continues.
“I’m already doing that as my fieldwork for my thesis,” I noted.
“Yep. And now you’re doing some more.” Dr. Jak notes.
“When and where? How can I do both?” I began to protest mildly.
“Cool down. You’re going to love this…”
Thus Dr. Jak tells me of my new spring-summer semesters as an itinerant researcher; a real ‘Roads Scholar’, if you will.
I am to visit no less than three working quarries on my way to the coal mine in New Mexico.
I am to spend enough time in each quarry to write an essay regarding the economic geology of each. These mines are in hard rock, soft rock and finally, coal. They are a Precambrian Quartzite quarry in Baja Canada (my home state), a granite quarry in the immediate western neighboring state, and a limestone-marble quarry in the central Midwest.
Since I’m in the general vicinity, I’m slightly claustrophobic, and Dr. Jak has a brutal sense of humor; an underground salt mine was added as a last-minute diversion.
After all that, I’ll be back on track to join in all the fun at the Navahopi coal mine in New Mexico to conduct my paleontological reconnaissance and data gathering for my Master’s and beyond.
Spring semester rolls around and I’m spending a week at the museum getting everything I’ll need for the next six months on the road. All the permits and such for the coal mine work are or will be done and dusted by the time I arrive. So I can concentrate on staying alive while driving all over the Midwest and Western US solo.
I was ceded a museum vehicle, a fairly plain-Jane 4WD Chevy ¾ ton pickup, in the most boring shade of sky blue imaginable. Since it was ostensibly, and by the broadest definition a government vehicle, I was not officially
allowed to have any weapons present in the vehicle.
But since I held Blaster’s Permits and was going to be carrying a selection of finer high and low explosives, since I had a concealed-carry permit courtesy of Toivo’s father who pulled some local governmental strings. I opted to have my .454 Cusall Magnum and Browning BPS short-barrel 10-Gauge pump shotgun, sport plug removed, accompany me on the trip.
Just for personal security, mind you.
The welding shop at the museum whipped up a rather snazzy custom-designed black-and-yellow striped ¾”-steel explosives carry-box which they affixed to the truck’s frame. It was welded to the bed and thus became part of the truck. It was lockable and had several internal locking compartments for blasting caps, boosters, dynamite, C-4, demo wire, my galvanometer, spare beef jerky, blasting machines, tools, etc.
Seems Dr. Don in New Mexico was very interested in my evolving methods of removing overburden from paleontological sites via the judicious use of explosives without destroying the fossils being excavated. I was to give several demonstrations at the Bureau, University, and field, thus I needed my kit with me at all times.
The truck bed sported a step-cap and it protected everything else I needed for an extended road trip: 500 pounds of plaster for jacketing any vertebrate fossils I might come across in my peregrinations, bales of strips of burlap to reinforce the plaster jackets, a small gas-powered generator, an electric jackhammer, shortwave transceiver (WB9AXI
), First Responder’s Kit, and my geological equipment: hammers, compass, Sierra Cup, Swiss Army Knives, Jacob’s Staff, cases of orange spray paint, web-belt, backpack, holster, shovels, rakes and other implements of destruction…
It also held my tent, sleeping bags, cook kit, stove, propane tanks, extra potable water, port-a-john, a case of toilet paper, for jacketing fossils and other uses, field bags, several empty 5-gallon pickle buckets, and the main larger cooler to augment the one already in the front seat of the truck…
My personal provisions included two bags of Nacho Cheese Doritos, seventy-five cans of Walter’s Bock, eight boxes of ‘Tobacco Shed’ maduro cigars, seven pouches of Red Man Plug, a cocktail shaker, a whole galaxy of multi-colored liqueurs, mixers, syrups, and cordials...also five quarts of Wild Turkey, a quart of Everclear, four handles of George Dickel, seven and a half cases of Pabst Blue Ribbon, a pint of Ma Bensch’s pickled herring, and two dozen onion and garlic bagels.
Not that I needed all that for the journey, but once you get locked into a serious geology road-trip collection, the tendency is to push it as far as you can.
Before I left on my epic journey, I was instructed by Dr. Jak to kit out like I’d be when out in the field. The Museum Novaitiies, the house organ, for the Spring Quarter issue carried a full-color front-page picture of this curious oddball who looked like 1/3rd of the fuzzier part of ZZ Top. I was decked out in a black denim duster with obligate JBS Heritage Stetson hat, Carhartt field dungarees, field boots, Glacier Glasses, and flannel shirt; holding a lit cigar and Jacob’s Staff in one hand, and an Estwing Marsh Pick in the other.
Though I possessed a concealed-carry permit, a Cusall .454 was not easily concealed; so I usually just sported it on my right hip along with my Brunton Compass.
Museum donations that month spiked, either to fund the cover character’s expedition or keep him out in the field and away from civilization as long as possible.
Come April when the snows of winter had finally departed to that place of spirits and wind, I said my goodbyes, saddled up my trusty mechanical steed, and headed north. I was off to an active quarry, number one on my list, of Precambrian Baraboo Quartzite. It was located in the quaint little burg of Rock Springs and was well known to every geologist and geologist in training in the tri-state area.
It was a classical locality. The home to the Baraboo Syncline and Van Hise rock
I was to visit the Baraboo Quartzite quarry run by the Baraboo Quartzite Company.
Evidently, cleverly naming things was not high on the list of things to do for the early quarry operators.
The Baraboo Quartzite
as I noted earlier, is a Precambrian orthoquartzite approximately 1.7 billion years old. It is composed of near-shore ocean sediment, deposited long, long ago, in shallow marine waters; most likely in the ocean fairly close to shore. There was enough wave action to cause regular ripple migration across the seafloor. The sand was buried, lithified into sandstone, and then encountered compressional forces from a tectonic collision that folded and metamorphosed the sandstone into quartzite. It squashed the quartzite into a huge U-shaped syncline, where I was going to a quarry on the east limb.
This material had been quarried for well over 100 years. It was used as a dimension stone; that is, sawed into relatively thin (3/4” - 1”) sheets for use on building facades and for floors. It’s a ridiculously durable and a most handsome purplish-mauve building material.
However, that has since fallen out of fashion, and the rock quarried today is used primarily for road metal, i.e., crushed into gravel for use on motor vehicle roadways, or used as railroad or track ballast; that stuff upon which railroad sleepers (ties) and tracks are lain. Although it may just look like large gravel, this rock plays a vital role in acting as a support base for the railroad ties and rails as well as allowing for proper drainage of water away from the rails, which is why the stone is always sloped downward and away from the track.
The more you know…
I met with Mr. Harður Steinn, the foreman and operator of the Baraboo Quartzite.
“Hello, Mr. Steinn” I introduced myself, “I’m Rock, the geologist from the University [to the south] and Museum, here to do some field investigations of your quarry, operations, and materials.”
“Rock, ‘eh?” he chuckled, “How appropriate. Welcome to the Baraboo Quarry. You know, you’re not the first geologist we’ve had nosing around here. Oh, no. We get them all the time. We’re actually grateful for them to come on in and dig around what we’re doing. Every time they write up something, we get free advertising.”
Ah, another unrepentant mercenary. I think I’m going to like this character.
“That’s great, Mr. Steinn,” I said. “Not only that, but I’m interested in your quarrying operations as well, and how they’re carried out.”
“What do you mean?” he asks, curiously.
“Not to put too fine a point on things, blasting,” I said. “I’m more a sedimentary, that is, a soft-rock geologist and quartzite, by any metric, is seriously hard-rock. However, I do hold several blasting permits and am quite keen on seeing how explosives are used in the business end of geology…the economic end of applied geology, if you will.”
“Oh, really?” he widely grinned. “Well, that’s a first. Most geologists that come here focus on some minutiae of the quartzite. You’re the first who wants to see how quarrying is done…”
“Yes, sir,” I answered. “That’s going to be the gist of my reports. Yours is the first of several quarries I’m going to visit before I get to New Mexico and fart around in an open-pit coal mine to gather data for my degrees.”
“Well then.” He said, “Let’s get you started. No time like the present, I always say. I was going to have one of the mill hands show you around. But since I’m the company blasting foreman, I’ll take you around and maybe you can show me some of what you know…”
After that night at Earl’s Club in the Dells, toasting geology and the Baraboo Quartzite; Hardy, as he prefers to be called, and I spent the next two days really digging into the quarry.
He told me that they used to use huge steel gang-saws to slice the quarried blocks of quartzite into dimension stone in the old ‘blockhouse’. But nowadays, there just isn’t much call for that product.
Today’s main product is road metal and railroad ballast.
And that has changed the methods of harvesting the quartzite considerably.
Previously, they would drill 2” holes into the quartzite, taking into account the grain, texture, and fractures, if any, of the blocks they were trying to free. These holes, up to 12 feet in depth, were cleaned out, bottoms flattened, and ANFO
, an ammonium nitrate/fuel oil ‘low explosive’ mixture, was used to loosen the blocks. What was desired was a heaving detonation, not a shattering one.
A typical freed block would be eight feet wide, four in-depth and up to twelve feet tall. They would weigh many, many tens of tons.
These blocks would then be ‘fossed’ to smaller, more manageable sizes. They would drill numerous smaller holes, half-inch or so, about three or four inches deep in a line. Into these many holes, they would hand-pound mild steel ‘fosses’ , which are really nothing more than pieces of 1/2” mild steel round stock.
They would go up and down the holes, whacking each foss in turn with a sledgehammer… one after the other after the other until they developed a fracture and the block split along some natural plane of weakness.
This was typically a fracture as these rocks had been cooked and smooshed, or, more technically, dynamothermally metamorphosed. Original planes of weakness like joints, bedding planes and the like were erased during their lithification as new ones were imprinted during the tectonic folding of the formation. Fractures imparted during the rock’s emplacement were some of the few imperfections that could be exploited in this manner. This took intimate knowledge of the structure and composition of the rocks in the quarry.
Once broken down into truckable sizes, some 20 tons or less, they were transported to the blockhouse to be sawed into ‘reefs’ or sheets, as per the client’s orders. Once polished and installed, though these materials were brittle, they were incredibly durable if you didn’t bend them too much.
Preserved artifacts of the rock, such as boudinage or ‘sausage structures’ where mud was encapsulated by sand then metamorphosed, squishing then into long, linked pods; were really rather stunning in a building material.
Ripple marks, liesegang rings
and color variations all added to its luster as a building stone.
However, that was then, this is now.
Now clients wanted crushed quartzite; not blocks, sheets or slabs.
So, now they would drill 1.5” holes in the quartzite, flatten the hole bottoms, and prime the holes with a very, very fast, indeed, high explosives. They wanted a shattering explosion rather than a deflagrating explosion. The more they could break up the quartzite explosively, the less they would have to spend on powering the mechanical crushers and breakers.
Hardy showed me around the yard and was especially interested in showing me the storage facilities they had for their various explosives. As usual, this was a heavily-reinforced bunker with numerous locks. What was unusual was what it contained.
There were racks and racks of what appeared to be gallon-sized liquor jugs, complete with cork stoppers. There was spool upon spool of various speed safety fuses. The obligatory half-dozen different varieties of blasting machines and galvanometers, but surprisingly, little dynamite.
“Dynamite’s too slow and costs too much” Hardy explained.
That explained all the ‘liquor jugs’. They weren’t full of liquor, but the stuff they contained would give you a serious bang.
They were full of pure, 100%, straight-run nitroglycerine.
Hardy smiled, got a plastic watch glass, uncorked a bottle and decanted a tiny dram into the watch glass.
He set it on a counter outside the locker and told me to come on over and have a whiff.
“I’ll bet you’ve never smelled anything like this before”, he chuckled.
I’m no tyro when it comes to whiffing unknown chemicals nor dealing with high explosives. So I carefully wafted my hand, very cautiously, 6 or 8 inches above the watch glass and snorted guardedly.
It wasn’t the smell that got me, it was the immediate pounding headache.
Nitroglycerine is a vasodilator and an exceptional one at that. Many cardiac patients take low-dosage nitroglycerine tablets to relieve chest pains as nitro corrects the imbalance between the flow of oxygen and blood to the heart. At low doses, nitroglycerin dilates veins more than arteries, thereby reducing preload; the volume of blood in the heart after filling.
The more you know…
But that’s a low oral dose. A good snootful of 100% nitro vapors will give you the most walloping ‘ice cream’-style headache imaginable. It’s actually called “bang head” as it was so very common back in the ‘old days’ when nitro was used more than other explosives.
Luckily, it’s also very temporary.
“Hardy. Got me good there”, I said. “I haven’t smelled nitro that pure ever. Imagine if some of that got into someone’s after work lager…”
Hardy stiffened and claimed “It’s just for your education. Not often you get to even hear about this stuff anymore.”
We had a good snicker as he tossed the watch glass out into the yard and watched it explode into trillions of tiny, harmless fragments.
“Yeah, Rock”, Hardy continued, “We are probably one of the handful of quarries left that even use nitro. Everyone else uses dynamite, Semtex, PETN, C-4…but everyone else doesn’t have to deal with this tough, old quartzite.”
He went on to tell me how they want the most shattering, high-density, high-velocity type of explosion they can safely create. He went on how, after the initial holes were drilled, they’d go in manually with long pointed iron rods and bash loose any bits of quartzite in the bottom and sides of the drill hole. They’d then go in with a high-pressure air hose to blast out any and all fragments, as nitro is just that sketchy. It’ll detonate if flakes from the wall of the drill hole fall off and impact the nitro planted in the hole.
They implemented the procedure where they’d gob some wet rags in the drill holes, and use a blunt-end tamper to ram it all the way to bottom. This had the effect of swabbing the hole, smoothing the walls, and providing a soft landing for the nitroglycerine when it was placed in the hole.
The nitro was traditionally lowered in a glass vial, via a length of demolition wire which was attached to a blasting cap, taped to the outside of the bottle of liquid nitro. It was nut-cuttin’ time when the vial went in the hole; for if it got stuck, or fell, or slipped; it was goodnight, nurse.
Several of Hardy’s predecessors met with early retirement that way. Some others attained room temperature quickly after a couple more energetic mishaps.
Nowadays, they still use nitro; but not in its liquid form.
They freeze it. Yep, they had a large chest freezer in the storage locker which held a rather disconcertingly large number of 100% nitro-sicles.
Hardy called them, jocularly, ‘bang-pops’.
Nitro is much less sensitive that way, and they can actually take one, tape a booster to the top of it. Then it’s lower away as each is in its own little thick mylar bag, to contain the drips between freezer and rock face.
It can be set off via fuse or electrical cap. Fuse is seldom used now, but in my honor, Hardy had a ‘treat’ in store for me.
“We’re goin’ old school.” Hardy exclaimed, “I’m going to let you prepare a liquid nitro shot with a length of 30 second-per-foot fuse. I don’t think there’s anywhere else you could get this opportunity in quarries nowadays. Safety fuse to detonator, detonator to a vial of nitro. Down the hole, cautiously pour in some fine sand, light it off and speedily, but safely, vacate the general area.”
While we’re preparing the shot, Hardy regales me with mishaps and accident he’s seen in his 40 years of quarry work.
“Yeah, Rock, you should’ve seen it.” He lustily informs me, “This here quartzite is harder than most anything, ‘cept diamond. It fails via brittle fracture mode and fractures conchoidally, just like glass. And just like glass, it’s sharper than sintered shit. Once a premature blast de-gloved Big Jim Goss’ whole left arm. That guy had arms like tree trunks but that shattered quartzite sliced through the meat like smoked ham off the bone.”
Thanks for the graphic imagery, Hardy.
“Another time, some idiot summer hire was tamping fresh drill holes. Well, he was supposed to only tamp the green-flagged holes, not the red-flagged. This was some years ago, mind you, but he jammed that 10-foot iron rod down a red flag hole and when it hit bottom because it wasn’t proper tamped, that rod shot out of that hole like a skyrocket. It went through the idiot kid’s hand and pretty much ripped it off. His legs took the brunt of the shot below the waist…he won’t be having any kids in this lifetime, that much is fo’sure…”
Who need OSHA videos when you’ve got old timers recalling their favorite mutilations?
Got my attention.
We finished up prepping the nitro vial and he was impressed at my steady hand with the fuse and detonator.
“Not your first time dancing ‘round the table, ‘eh Rock?” Hardy asked.
“Naw. I’ve dealt with nitro before on my Uncles farm. We removed a bunch of old WPA dams on his property. Taught me well and proper to respect this stuff. It’s twitchier than a long-tailed cat in a roomful of rocking chairs.” I replied.
“Damn right it is. Good you early learned respect.” Hardy agreed.
Hardy had a re-purposed electric golf cart, with a heavily padded cargo box. We set the charge, gingerly, onto the foam rubber and covered it over with old rags.
Hardy confides to me “Nitro’s not really all
that super sensitive. But you’ll have a happier, longer life if you treat it like it is.”
I couldn’t agree more. Hardy locked up the explosives shed and eases into the golf cart.
We slowly putt-putt the 600 or so meters out to the currently active rock face. It’s right around noon so all the drillers are off doing lunch and we could conduct our little experiment safely.
“OK, Rock. Easy does it. Slowly, slowly. Easy, easy.” Hardy coaches me.
“OK, I got this”, I say as I lower the 300-milliliter glass vial of instant death down the 10 feet of shot hole to its final resting place.
Once set, I run the fuse manually and make certain it’s not kinked, bent or broken anywhere and indicate it’s good to go.
Hardy comes over with a 5-gallon bucket of very fine silica sand and a small garden shovel. He instructs me to scoop that sand and slowly
pour it down into the hole, on top of the nitro.
“Sure. No problem.” I think.
Seven or eight scoops later, we’re set. Hardy gives me the thumbs up and tells me to light the fuse.
“Nope. Not yet.” I say.
Hardy looks at me quizzically, “Something wrong?”
“Clear east?” I yell.
Hardy cocks his head and smiles. “Clear east!”
We do the rest of the compass, and I give the requisite FIRE IN THE HOLE tri-call.
I then hit the horn three times on the golf cart.
“Now, I can light that fuse,” I say.
Hardy is all smiles. “Yes, now you can.”
So I do.
I walk slowly, deliberately, and with purpose to the golf cart. Hardy’s already waiting on me.
Not a word was said as we drove to a safe observation distance.
We could see the smoke trailing from the fuse, and given its length, we know the detonation should be in precisely 6 minutes. We both check our watches without either one saying a word to the other.
Hardy looks at me and smiles, “OK, where the hell you learned how to handle explosives like that? None of these new guys go through the whole safety shtick.”
“My Grandfather and my Uncle, his brother, taught me.” I proudly replied.
“Damn! I knew it! I knew there had to be some old-timer lurking round there. That’s a damned good protocol you got there, Sonny Jim, and don’t you ever lose it. Damn. I never thought I’d ever see that again with all these radio controlled detonators, prepacked shots, and kids in it just for the money.” Hardy exclaims. “You got something good going there, don’t ever lose it.”
“Thanks, Hardy.” I say sincerely, “I don’t plan to and that’s another reason I’m making this world tour of quarries and mines. Thanks for the lessons and critique.” KER BLAMMO!
and a very large section of Precambrian quartzite shatters off the rock face, down the slope, and piles up right where the pile should be piled.
“Very nice”, both Hardy and I say in unison.
We look at each other and laugh as we putt back to the explosives shed.
The rest of the week Hardy takes me around the quarry, pointing out various things that I’d never have noticed. Overhangs, scarps, loose blocks, fractures, seams of clay, ‘catlinite’: metamorphosed mud, and other unusual items endemic to this particular quarry.
And we did some blasting. No, we did a SHITLOAD
of blasting. I went through my mantra, every time. Hardy even called out some apprentice blasters to watch and learn as two “old-timers” showed them how the ‘cow chewed the cabbage’.
Hardy showed me how to use nitro-sicles electrically and with safety fuse. He showed me how holes should be swabbed and tamped, how clearance and yield are calculated and the best times for blasting. Mornings are OK for C-4, PETN, and ANFO; afternoons when the rocks are warmed for liquid nitro and dynamite.
It was a most edifying experience, and I left the quarry feeling I’d not only learned a great deal but made another friend in the clan geologist and blaster.
I headed west to my next port of call, a quarry producing pink, black & gray migmatite from the Archean Morton Gneiss, ~3.66 ± 0.04 billion years old, in central Minnesota. The Morton gneiss started out as a gray granite, formed about 3.7 billion years ago deep beneath the surface of the Earth. Molten rock cooled slowly, forming grains of crystallized minerals.
About a billion years later, two fragments of the Earth’s crust collided at the future location of southwestern Minnesota, subjecting the granite to heat and pressure. These forces melted it once again and allowed intrusions of molten pink granite. The two granites folded and twisted; when they lithified, the twists and folds remained. Eight hundred million years later, another geologic heating event added additional color and texture. This is about the same time the Baraboo sands were being deposited.
When cut and polished, Morton gneiss shows bands and swirls of black, pink, and gray, with white flecks that sometimes look like galaxies and nebulae floating in the cosmos. The rock’s colors come from quartz (white), pink feldspar (pink), gray feldspar (gray), and biotite and amphibole (black). It is a much sought after and very handsome dimension stone.
About one hundred million years ago, geologic forces slowly pushed Morton gneiss to the Earth’s surface. The glaciers that advanced and retreated across southwestern Minnesota between two million and 12,000 years ago covered the rock with hundreds of feet of soil and rock. The last glaciers began receding about 12,000 years ago.
A vast body of water known as Lake Agassiz formed in southern Canada, Minnesota, and North Dakota. When that water drained to the south, forming the River Warren, it carved out the Minnesota River valley. This powerful flow washed away hundreds of feet of glacial deposits and exposed some of the Morton gneiss.
Workers began quarrying this gneiss in Minnesota around 1884. In these early years, railroads used it for ballast and the state for gravel roads. Now they focus on building materials.
It’s not a particularly large or active quarry, but it’s definitely different from the Baraboo quarry in scope and number of workers.
I arrived and was introduced to Mr. Žulový Kameň, the operator of the quarry.
“Good morning, Mr. Kameň”, I say, and go through the obligate introductions.
“Yes, Mr. Rock, we were told to expect you. Welcome to our quarry.” Zuul, as he preferred to be called, said.
“Thank you, it’s great to be here,” I replied.
I went through the tale of the particulars of my project, how it wasn’t just about the geology of the quarry, but rather the mechanics and economic aspects of the quarry as it relates to its particular geology.
“So, you want the whole picture?” he asked, “Most geologists who visit are concerned with only one small aspect of the rock itself; the mineralogy, the tectonics, structural kinematics or something else along those lines. You’re the first who wants the whole picture.”
I explained that I was interested in all those aspects, but was also interested in the modes and methodologies of harvesting their particular rocky crop. I let him know that I was a licensed blaster and that was one specific subject that holds a certain fascination for me.
I mentioned the previous quarry in Baraboo and how their activities had shifted from dimension stone to ballast and road metal. I noted how this also shifted the way the whole quarry operated.
“That’s most interesting”, Zuul commented, “You’ll find the exact opposite here. Dimension stone is our number one product. Ballast and metal are but a secondary, and much smaller, product here. In fact, we don’t actively harvest ballast; but one every so often, when we have enough to fill an order, we’ll fire up the crushers and clear the quarry of by-products of the dimension stone undertakings.”
Interesting how two similar quarries have such different harvesting methods.
“All of our hands here are licensed blasters, but since I’m quarry foreman, I do all the ordering and logistics for the explosives. I haven’t done much blasting here of late, but since you’re here, allow me to be your tour guide. It’ll give me the excuse to do a little blasting as well, it’s been a while but I miss being out in the yard actually…”
“Blowing stuff up?” I asked.
“In a nutshell.” Zuul grinned.
I was invited to their local watering hole that evening as every quarry worked joined in the festivities. They related that they really enjoy having geologists come into the quarry, that they were not geologists themselves; and oddly enough the quarry did not have one on staff. However, they appreciated people who could explain to them what it was they were working on and how it got there.
“Well, I hope to be of service. I’m more a dep-dump, soft-rock sedimentology-type but have studied the papers written about your quarry. I’ll try to be helpful.” I said.
“Yeah”, Irv, the head quarryman, continued, “But I heard you’re also a licensed blaster and that you’re interested in that as well.”
“Oh, most definitely.” I assured him, “I’ve done a fair amount of work with explosives in many different venues. I hope to learn here from your quarry’s own set of harvesting methods.”
Irv grins the grin of the all-knowing, “Don’t worry, Rock. There’ll be plenty of that starting tomorrow.” Continued in Part B
This is the first movie in my DCHCU lineup, and it starts with Superman. I plan on it being rated PG-13 for violence, language, etc.,. As a warning, I will use a few of Nando's ideas from previous videos including the Man of Steel rewrite, but overall it will be an original concept. submitted by
The movie begins with the last few minutes a high school football game. Pete Ross is the Quarterback for the Metropolis team and Clark Kent is the Wide Receiver. Lana Lang is a cheerleader who is sitting on the bench, not needed right now by the team, and next to her is a young Lex Luthor with curly red hair. At this point, Lex is a bit of a nerd and is one of those people who only watches a game to calculate chances of success of each team by play, which he tries to impress Lana with but to no avail, as Lana is only interested in Clark. He is incredibly smart, but ends up being a B's and C's type of student due to the immense amount of pressure from his dad and his lack of focus, wanting to impress his crush Lana and have fun with his friends Pete and Clark more than ace tests. To the school Lex attends, he is known only as Lionel Thorul (his father's first name and the last name his father made for their family when his mother Arlene/Lillian (Arlene is pre-Crisis, Lillian is post-Crisis, and since I plan on including a Crisis on Infinite Earths movie in this universe, I will use Arlene) left their family with the last name Luthor when Lex's father became too abusive and controlling). Lex's father wants to keep Lex's real name a secret, and trying not to disappoint his father Lex rolls with it. Have a good scene where Pete throws to Clark and Clark takes it another 10 yards, almost to the end zone. The team regroups, they're going to run it in with another player while Clark runs through the end zone to confuse the other team (maybe the Gotham Knights if you want a fun Easter Egg). The play starts, but as Clark runs for the end zone the Running Back steps in front of his man with the ball-Clark forgot the play in the energy of the moment. Clark doesn't realize his strength as Superman yet and accidentally runs into the player full speed before he can turn around. The player flies through the air and lands behind the goal post, with multiple broken bones. The referee blows his whistle, and Clark gets taken out of the game by his coach. He sits on the bench next to Lana and Lex. Lex tries to reassure him as the clock winds down, but Metropolis is never able to score and they lose the game. In the locker room, the team is disappointed at Clark for losing the game as the Running Back is sent to the hospital. Clark checks out early and Lana and Lex meet him at his school locker. They both try to reassure him again, but he isn't satisfied. Lana leans in and kisses Clark to cheer him up, but as they're kissing Clark's laser vision goes haywire and burns bright red streaks around the hallways. Clark, Lana, and Lex are unharmed, but Lex is visibly scared and distressed to see Clark kissing the girl he's had a crush on throughout high school, all for what, being bigger and stronger?. He still tries to hide his anger as Clark apologizes, but he has to excuse himself before he loses it. Lex returns home mad at Clark but doing his best to cheer himself up. He enters a small suburban home and tries to fix dinner for him and his younger sister, Lena. It's not long into making dinner that Lex's father returns in a drunken rage, a bottle of beer is his left hand covering a gash of dried blood from an injury at the bar and a crazed look in his eyes. He slams down the bottle, sees the table isn't set, and yells at Lex, "I can't even expect you to set the damn table, can I!". "No, sir, sorry sir" Lex replies, "I-". "What score did you get on your test?" yells Lionel. "Wha-?" says Lex. "WHAT score did you get on your math test?!" repeats Lionel. "Se...seventy-eight, sir." replies Lex. "What?!" yells Lionel. "Don't hurt him, daddy!" screams Lena. "You kids are a pain in the goddamn ass!" shouts Lionel. Lex sends Lena to her room to escape their father as Lionel gets out his belt and starts to whip Lex as he lies on the ground. After the first whip strikes his back, Lex can't handle it and begins to cry as his father continues to beat him. At the same time, Clark walks home in a bad mood and returns to the family farm in Smallville. Ma and Pa Kent sit down with him over dinner that night and share the story of when they first found Clark for exposition. Pa tells him that he's disappointed Clark lost control of his powers. He still believes in his son, but he knows he'll be dangerous if he doesn't get a grip on his abilities. He takes Clark outside to do some chores, probably like lifting hay bales. Clark has done this since a young age, so he finishes the job with ease. Pa tells him, "I have faith in you son. Once you learn to deal with the hard stuff, you'll be able to do great things one day". The point of this isn't that Pa Kent is telling Clark it's fine that he's dangerous or that the world doesn't like him, he's saying he knows Clark has great power and a great responsibility to be a role model for all people, regardless of what they think of them. In a sense, he's telling Clark that he can't escape his powers, but he can use his to give other people with powers the respect they deserve but also the people of Earth a person they can look up to. Clark smiles. Title Drop: Superman; The Man of Steel.
Flash (hehe) forward about 15 years or so. Lois Lane is leaning against her desk at the Daily Planet, reading Clark's newest article. "I Am Superman, by Clark Kent" she reads. "What you got a confession to make, or something?" (this is mostly an Easter Egg, but I still think it belongs in the movie). She continues to list off the good the Superman has done and how Clark describes him in his article. "He's very open about this, you know" Clark says. "What does a guy who runs around in jeans and a blue shirt with his name on it have to hide?" replies Lois. At this point and for most of the movie, Clark's costume is much like his New 52 one, less a onezie and more street clothes with a blue shirt that has the S logo on it, made from the fabric the Kents found him with when he crashed to Earth. He also isn't able to fly yet, he only has Super strength, speed, stamina, durability, heat and x-ray vision, freeze breath, super hearing, the ability to breathe underwater or in space, and can leap buildings in a single bound, just nothing more. "It stands for hope" Clark says, "hope that other people can rely on him for, hope that we don't have to fear whenever when in danger, because Superman will be there". "I swear you always know what's going on with that guy" Lois says. "You just got to have the right friends here and there" Clark replies. "Oh, shut up" Lois says as she fake punches Clark. Perry White walks in and gives Lois and Clark assignments for the next day, Clark's being to interview none other than the CEO of Lexcorp-Lex Luthor. At the mention of Lexcorp, the scene changes to show a new, bald Lex Luthor walking along the 6th floor of the Lexcorp building as his bodyguard/assistant, Mercy Graves, reads off a list of earnings and business plans of the last quarter. Towards the end, Lex turns to face Mercy as he asks, "What has our friend been doing today?". "Target stopped 2 muggings and a carjacking incident, and collateral damage is as high as ever, being taken care of by Lexcorp Damage and Waste Control, of course." Mercy Graves replies. "Good, and you scheduled an interview with him, correct, Mercy?" asks Lex. "10:30 am on the dot" answers Mercy. Both turn to face a small display where some of Lex's men are working on a suit of armor for him. The scene returns to Clark as he returns to his Metropolis apartment, next door to a frizzy red-haired college-aged who is an aspiring photographer, Jimmy Olsen. Jimmy steps out of his room. "Hey Clark, you'll like these pictures I got of your guy Supes today!". Clark enters Jimmy's apartment and sees the photographs of the carjacking he stopped this morning. "You know, these are really something. I can always put in a good word for you if you want to work at the Planet some day." Clark says. "Nah, too high-stress" Jimmy replies, "for now I'll just freelance and get paid by the photo, because at least I can trust you to use my pictures. You really look like him, you know, Superman. Just shorter and with glasses" (hopefully Nando doesn't mind me borrowing that scene. Clark returns to his apartment shortly later, and turns on his phone as he begins to make dinner. It's not necessary, but you can add a comedic moment if you want to show Clark fiddling around with Earth tech like his smartphone, I just prefer not to use it. He opens a live Face Time message from his parents. At the other end we see his aged parents. They make small talk for a while before Ma Kent says, "Oh, and look who's here!". A Clark-aged Lana and Pete enter the screen. "What's this son of a gun doing on the screen, Ms. Kent?" says Pete. "Hey Pete, Lana" Clark says with a chuckle. They continue to make small talk before Clark brings up being Superman, Pa and Ma Kent as well as Lana and Pete know his secret at this point, but they discuss his adventures as the Man of Steel. The more they talk, the worse Clark feels about what he hasn't been able to do yet having not gained complete control of his powers. Before Clark closes the screen, Pa Kent tells him, "We know it's hard, we just expect that you be the best you you can be, Clark, Superman, all of it. Show us we raised you right, because if you treat everyone with respect they'll learn to respect you, too, whatever that looks like". For those wondering, for the purposes of this movie both Pete and Lana are single, just friends. This way a love triangle will be set up between Lois and Lana that could create a subplot, just not for this movie. The scene ends as Clark goes to bed and closes his eyes as he drifts to sleep...
The next day, Clark is on his way to interview Lex, but his super hearing picks up a woman screaming who's being held hostage in a bank robbery. Clark makes a detour for a back alley (insert a joke about how good phone booths are hard to find the days) and changes into his Superman costume, which again is still street clothes. He stops heads towards the bank robbery, but he realizes this isn't an ordinary holdup, this is a robbery by Bruno Mannheim's gang, and they have tech straight from Apokolips and Darkseid's forces. Here there can be a throwaway line where Bruno explains where the tech came from. The gang engages Superman in a fight filled with them using their dangerous weapons. I'd make a point of showing Superman not being able to stop all the collateral damage. Nobody dies, but he still hasn't got enough of a grip on his powers to stop buildings from being broken every once in a while. The battle ensues, but just as Superman is about to finish off Bruno himself, a small entourage of the army steps in, led by General Sam Lane. Lane's forces arrest Bruno and takes him away in one of their vans. Before he leaves, Lane talks to Superman. "We don't need you here, Superman" says Lane, "If anything happens that the police can't handle, we're always here. When you get involved, all you do is waste time and resources and cause unnecessary damage. Next time, just let us handle it". The army leaves, and Superman turns back into his Clark Kent attire in another back alley before entering Lexcorp just as the clock strikes 10:30 am. "Mr. Luthor is expecting you" Mercy says. "Take the elevator on the right up to the 6th floor. He'll be there when you exit". Clark takes the elevator, notepad in hand, and meets Lex as the elevator reopens. "Clark Kent, reporter for the Daily Planet!" Clark says with a smile as he reaches out his hand. Lex takes it in a firm handshake, "Lex Luthor, but you already knew that". The two talk about Lexcorp's current projects and contributions. As they approach the Lexcorp armor from the last scene, Clark begins to ask questions about it. Lex replies that they are working on highly adaptable suits of armor capable of low-range flight, lifting up to 2,500 tons, and equipped with a variety of gadgets including fire extinguishers, tasers, lasers, and shock beams, state-of-the-art medical equipment, an array of ultraviolet, heat detecting, x-ray, and night vision display systems and light weaponry such as small machine guns and rifles. Lex continues to explain that it runs on a unique energy source that never needs to be recharged over a 150-year time span. Lexcorp plans on distributing the suits to police officers and firefighters in high risk areas as well as the military. "How does the battery last so long?" asks Clark. Lex looks around, then presses a button that brings down a sheet metal wall around them and the armor suit. Lex is quiet as he explains that the suits have no battery, instead, they rely on a supply of crystals the Lexcorp Space Exploration team found in space. Lex understands that the crystals are none other than the indestructible memory stones left over from the destruction of Krypton installed by Jor-El before the planet blew up that contain the last known information from Superman's home planet. Clark still does not recognize that Lex is the Lionel he knew from school, but Lex recognizes Clark and how he is connected to Krypton and so puts emphasis on the word every time he says it. Eventually Clark realizes this and asks Lex what he is trying to do to him. "I thought you'd have guessed by now, Superman" replies Lex. Clark looks stunned, but before he can try to explain himself, Lex says, "No point coming up with an excuse, I've known since you and I went to high school together. Clark Kent and Superman, one in the same. And you thought glasses would keep people from knowing". "I didn't go to school with you" Clark says, confused. "No, but you did have a friend named Lionel, didn't you?" replies Lex. "It was the name my father wanted me to go by in public after mom left. I still have no idea where my mom is, but I'd bet she's in the same place as my dad, 6 feet under. It's funny, I worked so hard for his approval as a child, but when he died the week after I graduated I wanted nothing more to do with him. I changed my name back to Lex and attended Georgetown University. If you were there, you wouldn't have recognized me. With the pressure from my dad off the table, I showed my true potential. Straight A's, finished with a major in business, and instantly created Lexcorp. It would have been a rags to riches story, but after school I used my genius to publish a cure for AIDS, and after selling it to a few key buyers and representatives of the company the money started pouring in. We created Lexcorp Medicine and Medical Sciences, Lexcorp Space Exploration, Lexcorp Damage and Waste Control, Lexcorp Robotics and Engineering, Lexcorp Tools and Appliances, Lexcorp Automobiles and Transportation, Lexcorp Environmental Sciences, Lexcorp Construction and Infrastructure, Lexcorp Weapons Department, Lexcorp Chemistry and Sciences, Lexcorp Education and Business, Lexcorp Foods and Nutrition, Lexcorp Political Sciences, Lexcorp Shipping, even Lexcorp Entertainment and Broadcasting. We have millions of stockholders in this country alone, daughter businesses the world over, and we make billions of dollars from each of them every year. Everything built in Metropolis in the past 5 years has come from Lexcorp, and we are only doing better and better. And all under a name my father didn't even want to keep. Me and my sister are the only ones with it these days, and my sister is dying of cancer in a hospital room. But don't shed tears for her, Lexcorp is paying off all her bills many times over, and thanks to us the cure for her cancer is mere years away. Once that research is through, she's be as healthy as ever and will share the wealth based on her namesake alone. I haven't decided whether to release the cure worldwide once it's finished or keep it to myself and release it to the highest bidder on the black market, because either way will propel me to the richest person to walk the Earth in the last 50 years. After that, I'm considering running for President". Lex presses the button again and the wall is brought back up into the ceiling. "There's only one problem..." he says. "What would that be?" replies Clark. "You" answers Lex. Clark realizes by now that he's in danger, but before he can run away Mercy Graves and more of Lex's bodyguards storm the room. Clark tries to fight them, but Lex stabs him in the back with a small crystal shard-green Kryptonite. He tosses it down as Clark falls to the floor. "Kryptonite" Lex explains, "Isn't it wonderful?"
Clark wakes up a few hours later in some sort of prison cell. A hologram of Lex is there. Lex explains that he used Boom Tube technology (also given to him by Darkseid) to teleport Superman to a for off planet. "Me and that Darkseid have a mutual respect for each other" Lex says, "He respects my intellect and knowledge of Earth, and I respect his military power, He certainly ins't someone to pick a fight with, not unless you have a lot of super-powered friends, but that's beside the point". "You're on War World, land of endless battle. Soon enough, you'll have the privelidge of meeting the ruler of this planet, a being called Mongul. From there you'll be put in arranged fights with an opponent for the planet to enjoy, like a hopeless gladiator. You're many light years from Earth, but that won't matter. a Lexcorp life-model-decoy will be put in place of Clark Kent, and as for Superman, it won't be hard to convince Metropolis he died trying to protect them. All the crime, well, I figure there's no better place to test out our new suits of armor than on the battlefield. You many die in battle immediately while you're here, or you may become a top gladiator and live the rest of your life fighting in the arena. You may even finally get a grip on your powers, but it won't matter. War World's defenses will take care of you if you ever try to escape. Enjoy you're life, Superman, because one way or another you'll die here" "Why are you doing this to me?" Superman asks, "Is it because of Lana? I know you had a crush on her in school, and I'm sorry if you're jealous that she liked me more. Now all of us are single, what does it matter?". "Very intuitive, Superman, but this isn't about her, at least not all of it. You see, the only thing you've ever lost in your life was Krypton, and that was for what, a few days that you were alive? After that, you've had the perfect parents with the perfect income, the perfect friends at the perfect school, the perfect grades in the perfect classes, even the perfect romance with the perfect girl. Now it turns out that you have powers, and even though you can't control them, what do you get? You get better friends, better romances, you already are invulnerable, you can enjoy things others can't, you're adored by the media for helping people regardless of how much damage you cause, you even get to write your own articles about your own little adventures that always make the front page. Maybe monster isn't the right word to describe you, but the world always looks up to you and they don't even know if they can fully trust you, you just allow it to happen because you're so full of yourself and believe you're standing up for the little guys. And what about the little guys? Why are we relying on a corrupt alien who can just as easily use his powers for bad as for good when there are people all around us willing to help who we can actually rely on? If there's one thing I can trust the army for, it's that they don't trust you, but who'll listen to them? The minorities in these situations never get the coverage they deserve, because the majority would like to believe they're always right. They'll call the general insane before believing a word he says. Let me tell you something, Superman, I knew you stopped Bruno Mannheim's gang this morning before you came and saw me, but not only could you not arrest their leading man, Lexcorp analyzed the damage reports, and they came in at over $2 million, all money that the people of Metropolis pay you so you can do it again. On the other hand, as a child I had an absentee mother, an abusive father, and a sick sister. Now, both my parents are dead and my sister close to it if I weren't there for her. We had little money to live on as children, and what we did have our father blew on gambling and drinks. I could never perform at my peak level at school until my father died and all the pressure with him, but even then hardly anyone trusts my intellect. I brought myself up from the ground, used my genius to build a multi-billion dollar company and the city with it, and even still the only media coverage I get is when I slip up, or the latest report on how I use my money and tabloids painting me as a corrupt billionaire who only cares for himself and has only ever known how to use his money to hurt people. It doesn't matter what's true and what's not only so that they can push their agenda, Superman good, Lex Luthor bad. So, I'm going to prove them wrong. I'll tell everyone you died, but before that I'll show the world what the real Superman is like. I tampered with some footage from your recent fights, all of them showing only the damage you've caused and the failures you've had. Lexcorp will broadcast it live to stations around Metropolis that will spread the news around the world, appearing in magazines and newspapers everywhere, and as the world looses their faith in Superman, I'll step in. My suit of armor gives me the same powers as you, so not only will I stop the same crimes as you once did, I'll do them better. All the suspects will be arrested when the dust settles, and not a single lick of damage will be paid by the city, because even if there is any Lexcorp will pay for it all. Then they'll wake up, realize that I'm the good guy, and shed the praise on me that they once did to you. I won't need it, because I can die happy once I know the world no longer needs Superman". At his last word, the hologram fades away and the gate opens. Superman steps into the battle arena as Mongul's face appears on a screen overhead. "Welcome to War World!" he shouts over speakers around the arena. "Population, 1 more than before! We have a new challenger, so without further ado, let the games begin!". A gate at the other end of the arena opens, and another prisoner from the planet steps out, scared. Superman tries to avoid the fight at first, but he is rushed into it by the guards. He throws light punches as the other fighter returns them, neither getting anything over the other. "Let's get some action!" Mongul yells. Superman doesn't want to kill the fighter, so he opts to freeze his feet to the ground. The crowd gasps at the display before cheering Superman on to killing his opponent. Instead, Superman freezes his opponents entire body, forcing the round to start over. Angry at his display, the guards force him back into his cell, where he spends the night.
Back on Earth, Lex has his first opportunity to prove himself. The remaining members of Mannheim's gang are attacking City Hall, and so Lex steps in. He finishes of the first two easily, but while he was distracted the last uses Darkseid's tech to pick up a truck and launch it at him. The truck seems to crush Lex, but he uses the suit to lift it up and destroy it, neutralizing the last gang member at the same time. The L.M.D. of Clark takes Lex's picture as he smiles. The first picture makes it to the front page of the next days news. Lois Lane picks it up and reads it, and then reads the story at the bottom on the news of Superman's "death" and the explanation of the video provided by Lex of Superman's true nature. Here there can be a montage of Lex stopping fights and his picture appearing in the news time and time again as the world loses their faith in the old Superman. Meanwhile, Superman is sitting in his cell. A guard walks in and hands Superman various pieces of armor and fabric for his next fight. Superman notices his old Superman t-shirt in the pile along with various other pieces of colored fabric and dyes. Superman thinks back to Lex's monologue about the little guys as visions float in his head of the police officers and first responders that showed up after each of his fights on Earth. His mind centers on the red and blue flashing lights of the police cars as the Superman symbol of hope dances in his mind. He remembers what Pa Kent told him about being a hope that there is good in some people and makes his decision. He steps out into the arena wearing his classic Superman costume for the first time. No street clothes or New 52 outfits, just the Pre-52 bright red-and-blue costume, underwear on the outside and all. Mongul laughs at his ridiculous costume with the crowd, but they stop laughing as he shows control over his powers and punches the next opponent hard in the face. This opponent is much stronger than his first one, so the punch doesn't kill him, but it gets the crowds excited. Still not wanting to kill anyone, Superman freezes his opponents body again, but this time the crowds are happier having seen what Superman can do. Now montages of Lex stopping criminals in Metropolis alternate montages of Superman defeating his opponents in the arena on Battle World. As the montages slow down, the screen cuts to black.
When the color returns to the screen, Superman steps into the arena once again. By now it has been almost a year, and he has gained control over his powers, although he still hasn't escaped the arena. As he enters the arena, he realizes his opponent isn't there yet. He puts on a facade of happiness for the cheering crowds, but he is confused. Suddenly Mongul's voice enters the arena. The speakers blast his words, but they are quieter, as the screens above the arena are still blank. "Ladies and gentlemen. For almost a year now, we have seen this foreigner fight in our battle arena. We had low expectation made even lower when he showed his inability to kill his first opponent, but over the past few months he has shown his worth. He can put on a show, and although he hasn't killed a single other fighter, he has defeated almost all of them. So it is time for this Superman to prove himself. Can he defeat the final opponent, or will he suffer defeat at the hands of...MONGUL!". Mongul himself steps into the arena, pounding his chest to the crowds chanting his name. "Let the games begin!" he shouts into his microphone before he swallows it. Superman rushes towards Mongul, but Mongul catches his punch and shoves him into the ground. The two fight for some time, neither losing completely but Mongul managing to overpower Superman. He hits Superman square in the jaw, knocking him to the ground. Mongul places his foot on the small of Superman's back and pushes down in a victory pose. His face in the sand, Superman has flashbacks of his life, Lex telling him how evil he is alternating with Pa Kent telling him to stand up for himself. Superman gathers the strength to lift his head, his laser vision powering up. He sends the beams streaking across the arena that burn a hole on the other end of the battle zone near where the fans sit. Surprised, Mongul is caught off guard and Superman pushes back against him, sending Mongul flying. Superman is now overpowering Mongul as he pushes him back into the sand, where he freezes his entire body save for his head. Superman punches Mongul once in the face to the crowd's excitement. He steps away from Mongul's body and looks towards the ceiling. He crouches down, then jumps with all his strength. This time, he's not just leaping tall buildings in a single bound, he's flying for the first time. He punches a hole in the roof and escapes, sending pieces of the arena crashing to the ground. Above the arena, Superman's appearance is met with fire from alien weapons on the ground. Lex was right that War World had defenses, but Superman is too strong to be overpowered by them, he ignores the fire as he flies toward Earth. "I'll return for that son of a bitch, I swear" says Mongul to himself as Superman flies away
Back on Earth, the Kents hear a knock on their door. When they answer it, Lex appears with a business suit and a bouquet of flowers in hand. "Hello Mr. and Mrs. Kent, do you happen to know where Lana Lang is?". "Why, she's just down the street" replies Pa Kent. "Green house of the left" says Ma Kent, "They have their name on their mailbox". The scene changes to Clark Kent's apartment. Jimmy Olsen is outside, knocking on Clark's door. "Are you sure you don't want to see the pictures I got you?" he asks. "No thanks, I take my own pictures, now" replies Clark's L.M.D.. Jimmy Olsen gets a confused look on his face. In the next scene, he walks into the Daily Planet. He asks a random worker about Clark, but they give no response. "What about him?" says Lois. "Oh, hi Miss Lane" replies Jimmy. "What about Clark?" says Lois. "I don't know, he's just been acting weird ever since he had that interview with Lexcorp. Actually, it must have been about the same time Superman died" says Jimmy. "Is it news-worthy?" asks Lois. "Maybe, you want to find out?" says Jimmy. "Perry, we're leaving to do a report" says Lois as she and Jimmy leave. In the next scene, Lana Lang opens her door to see Lex Luthor. "Hello, Ms. Lang" says Lex, "Care for a cup of coffee?". The two of them sit down over coffee in Lana's house. Lex explains that he's had a crush on her since high school. He says he knows that she always liked Clark more because he was Superman, but then he lies to her and tells her that Clark lost his powers and is no longer Superman. "There's no shame in liking strong men, but if that's what you're into Clark Kent is the wrong guy" says Lex. "On the other hand, there is still a protector of Metropolis, but his name is Lex Luthor. Superman wasn't from Earth, he was just an alien from a planet that doesn't exist anymore. He never got full control of his powers. He cost the city millions in damages, and we can't be sure whether he would always use his powers for good or whether he was trying to earn our trust just to betray us sometime later. I'm the superhero Metropolis needed. I know you used to like Clark, but the next best thing now is me. I'm giving you a chance, Lana Lang. A chance to spend your life with the richest, strongest man in Metropolis. Will you take it?". "Lex" replies Lana, "I've heard what you told Metropolis, Superman was just an evil guy who died fighting some battle. Now you're telling me he lost his powers and gave up being Superman just so you can step in? I know Clark isn't dead or de-powered, and whatever you've done to him, he'll find his way back. You may be the richest and strongest guy in Metropolis, but Clark is still twice the man you'll ever be. Clark was strong, but that's not why I liked him, I liked him because he was confident and kind. His parents raised him with respect, and whatever he did he believed in everyone else, me, Pete, or himself. He even gave you a chance before you were like this. He wasn't always the smartest guy, but he knew his strength even when he couldn't control it. You were a fine kid, but you were always too worried about impressing other people, and too caught up in whatever you were doing to make your dad proud. I'm sure there's a reason for it, and whatever it is I pray to God that he helps you through it, but you weren't the man for me, and you still aren't. I'm sorry". Lex lets this sinks in as he clenches his jaw. "Mercy" he says, "Take care of Ms. Lang for me, will you?". Mercy Graves steps out from behind Lana and whacks her in her windpipe, knocking her out cold. "Once we find Pete Ross, we can leave this town" says Lex.
In the next scene Jimmy with his camera and Lois with her notepad are arguing with Lexcorp's secretary. "Mr. Luthor is not here right now" she says, "But if you want to book an appointment, I'll do my best". "Lex was the last person to see Clark before he started acting different, we have to see him" says Lois as Jimmy nods. "Not a problem Ms. Lane" says Lex as he walks through the door. "I'll take you up to my office and we can talk there". In Lex's office, Lois and Jimmy try to tell him about Clark. Lex breaks the news that the Clark they see was just an L.M.D. and that the real Clark was on War World. "You thought Superman and Clark Kent were two different people, but since before I finished school I knew they were one in the same. Superman isn't dead, he's Clark Kent, and he's fighting for his life on War World, assuming he survived" says Lex, "It was necessary if I wanted the world to see the good in me and the monster in Superman, so please don't feel bad, if you feel anything". Before they can react, Lex sends his bodyguards in and Lois and Jimmy are tased and knocked unconscious by them. "Break Mannheim out of jail" Lex tells Mercy, "It's time for phase three".
Along the Metropolis docks, two fishermen's sunlight is blocked out by a dark object. "It's a bird!" exclaims the first. "No, that's a plane!" says the other. "Hold on, that's...Superman?" says the first. "Hello, gentlemen, do you know the way to the Daily Planet?" asks Superman. Both fishermen point Northwest, and Superman flies that way. As Superman flies over the city, he hears Lana Lang scream. He changes course and it isn't long before Mannheim enters his vision with Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, Lana Lang, and Pete Ross as his hostages. "Mannheim, you can either let them go or put up with me" Superman says. "Wait, you're not Luthor" says Mannheim, "But I can mop the floor with you even easier". Superman and Mannheim have their rematch, but this time Superman has full control of his powers and is just as worried about stopping Mannheim as keeping people safe and lowering the collateral damage. Just as Superman would finish off Mannheim, he is teleported away through a Boom Tube. Superman turns around, and there he sees Lex in full power armor. "So it's come down to this" says Lex "I was planning on really asserting myself as the new Superman once I earned the trust of your closest friends, but now tat you're here I can kill you and they'll have no choice". "Give up, Lex" Superman says, "I'm not the same person you knew a year ago". Lex decides to play dirty and hits Superman with a barrage of bullets before he can finish his sentence, but when the dust clears Superman is still standing. He flies higher as Lex takes off in the skies for him as well. Superman uses his heat vision and freeze breath to neutralize various parts of Lex's power armor, but Lex keeps fighting back and sends an electrical surge through Superman's body. Stunned, Superman is thrown back to the ground by Lex. Lex lands back of the ground by Superman, but he is met with more punches. The fighting continues for a while longer, but Superman still has the upper hand while taking care of collateral damage. During the fight, the military reappears and free the hostages. Jimmy Olsen takes out his phone and records and photographs the fight while the army rushes in. One final punch from Superman sends Lex crashing to the ground. His armor destroyed and in pain, Lex says, "I guess you really are a monster". But rather than finishing him off, Superman learns his lesson and reaches his hand out towards Lex. Lex takes it, and while all eyes are on them Superman frees Lex from the suit while pictures are taken. But just as suddenly, Superman opens the compartment in the power suit holding the power crystal from Krypton and de-powers the suit for good.
Back in the Daily Planet, Perry White breaks the news that Lex will not be prosecuted for his actions. "But on the bright side" Perry adds, we have new camera guy. Jimmy Olsen enters the room in his classic look, camera in hand. "You know, he's the one who took that picture of our friend Superman" says Perry as he points to the wall. Clark looks around and sees a framed newspaper, with a picture on the front page of Superman in the picture from his original comic book appearance, just updated. "You know, Clark" Jimmy says, "You kind of look like Superman. Just shorter and with glasses". "Hey, where's Lois?" asks Perry. On the Kent farm, Pete, Lois, and Lana talk over lunch. "So you really didn't know Clark was Superman?" asks Lana. "I guess the glasses fooled me" says Lois, "But now I know. Clark's a pretty handsome guy ins't he?". If looks could kill, Lana would be on trial for Lois' death. Back at Lexcorp, Lex puts some papers away at his desk and puts in a code at a keypad next to a safe on his wall. In the safe, you see walls of all the different colors of Kryptonite including a ring of green Kryptonite. Lex passes them for a stack of papers in a case at the very back labeled "Cancer Research". "I'm doing this for you, Lena" Lex says to himself, "I'm doing this for you. The final scene shows a title card that says 5 months later. Superman flies through the arctic, carrying a bag of all the crystals from Krypton Lex was using to power his battle armor. He opens the door to the Fortress of Solitude and heads to the back, He places each of the crystals in their respective slots on a display grid on the back. Once the crystals are all in place, a hologram of Jor-El appears. "Jor-El?" Superman asks. "Yes, Kal-El, I am your father. I have all the knowledge of Krypton from the Brainiac AI. What do you wish to know?" says the hologram. "Who's Brainiac?" Clark replies. the screen cuts to black as the credits roll.
1st Post-Credit Scene: Bruno Mannheim leaves the Boom Tube and is deposited into Darkseid's throne room on Apokolips. "You have failed me, Mannheim" says Darkseid, "Take him away, Desaad". Mannheim pleads for his life as Desaad takes him to the torture chamber.
2nd Post-Credit Scene: General Lane steps out of his car onto the Metropolis docks in army gear as his associate talks to him about the matters at hand. As Lane reaches the water, he sees a small pod floating in it. Inside, he sees Superman's cousin, Super Girl.
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