Friday, November 29, 2013

A Mining Town Called Reykjaa

Fiction Friday! This piece is more of an introductory piece to a potential setting for future fiction. I envisage a small town on a backwater Matari planet. So remote its perfect for people of all races who are looking to hide from something, or worse, are running from something. Frontier town, frontier values, frontier justice. The Wild, Wild West of New Eden? I'm flying back to the UK in a few hours, hope I've not missed anything...

A Mining Town Called Reykjaa

The town of Reykjaa was located in the centre of the biggest continent on the 5th planet of M-YWAL, a small unremarkable planet deep in Matari null-security space. Whilst there was a small spaceport, visitors could be forgiven for believing they were stepping back in time. The buildings where mostly stone and wood with only a few metal and composite structures in the more outlying areas. The planet was remote so it was much easier to use local stone and wood for construction rather than import construction materials at a prohibitive cost. The central drag had tried to preserve its olde world charm, but in the end just looked dated and poor. Other than the spaceport there were other small 'give aways'. A holoprojector had been strapped to the roof of the local bar and in the evenings would advertise their wares of drink, boosters and girls. Old model hover-cars cruised down the wide central boulevard dodging the even older wheeled vehicles. Occasionally a fight would break out into something more serious and blaster fire would streak across the town square until the Law Man showed up and dispensed traditional Matar justice. Usually involving the banging of heads together.

If it wasn't for the Promethium mine which gathered the relatively rare and sort after material for use in energy storage devices, this settlement would have died out a long time ago. However, even with the value of the 'Prom', as it was known locally, the excessive transportation costs, the need for escorts against null-sec pirates and taxes meant that very few in Reykjaa were truly wealthy. It was a hard life, but it was a simple life. Most younger residents left as soon as they were of age. The monthly Interbus shuttle taking them out of system to distance space-stations where they could seek their fortune. The monthly shuttle didn't just collect passengers, it also delivered fresh blood to the settlement. The remoteness of Reykjaa and being relatively cut-off from Empire space meant that it was a haven for those running. Many of the residents of the small town had arrived that way and they accepted new comers with open arms, as long as they kept out of trouble.

Darwish, the Law Man, stood in the porch of his office surveying the main street. The sun had set and people had tomorrow off as it was the weekend. It was likely to be a busy night for him and his deputy. He watched the trails of the shuttle arc up from the spaceport as it climbed up into the upper atmosphere. Four youngsters were leaving this backwater planet to seek their fortune in Empire space. He hope they would find it. However the shuttle also meant they would be new arrivals. This was usually a mix of good news and bad news. He picked up his datapad and reviewed the logs that Kador at the port had sent him a few minutes ago. There were three arrivals this month, two Matari and one Gallente. First names included only in his report even though a scan of their ID would have been taken on arrival. Kador rarely referred to the information he got from the ID card, there was no point. Nobody arrived here on a genuine ID, everyone was running from something.

Darwish read Kador's notes. These were worth a hundred times that of a scan of their fake IDs. Kador had been working at the spaceport for decades and could read people well. He stated the two Matari men were probably low-level criminals. Either with outstanding warrants in the Republic or their boss had caught them syphoning off. He put them down as potential mine workers. The Gallente woman he summarized was probably running from a relationship. He said whilst Darwish might want to point the two men in the right direction, he was sure the woman would need no guidance and would find her own way. After reading all the notes Darwish put the datapad in his pocket, checked his side-arm and headed to the bar. He guessed he'd find the two men there. The woman would probably be harder to track down.

The bar itself was an odd mix of old and new. Most of the construction was wood and stone, but there were various pieces, like the bar itself, that were made from modern composites. The large circular bar dominated the centre of the double height room. A balcony looked down on the main bar area with numerous doors that served for lodging and 'entertainment'. The floor itself was full of circular wooden tables where various people were drinking or playing card games. Darwish entered and scanned the crowd. Before he could find the new-comers a scantily clad woman bounced up to him smiling.

"Hey Law Man." she said as she kissed him on the cheek. "Going to show me your handcuffs and weapon?"

Darwish smiled. "May be later Leela, I'm working."

The woman put on her best little girl pout and he gave her a wink before moving past her in the bar area proper.

He spotted the two new faces immediately. They were sat a a table with a bottle of whiskey. He walked over to them and they both put down their drinks and eyed him suspiciously as he approached. He grabbed a free chair from a neighbouring table and sat down at their table, uninvited with a smile. Their looks of suspicion turned to nervousness when they saw his badge.

"Don't worry boys. I'm not here to arrest you. Just here for a chat."

The two men didn't say anything. They just continued looking nervously at him.

"You see not many people come here for the amazing social life and the generous public holidays. Most people who arrive here are running. Now, here's the thing. Generally we don't care. Even I, the law around here, don't care too much about your past. We don't know what you are running from, and we don't want to know. This place is like heaven. Past sins are forgiven on arrival. However, you damn well need to be sure trouble doesn't follow you here. Justice here on the fringe is pretty swift and brutal. So if someone is on your tail you might want to think about moving on. If not, and you are looking for a fresh start, and you will be keeping your nose clean, then welcome. I assume you haven't got any work lined up?"

Both men looked worried. The law man laughed.

"Don't worry. I'm not here to lock you up for vagrancy either. That Brutor over there at the bar. That is Ogluk, he's the foreman at the promethium mine. Its hard work but it pays well and they are always looking for help. Have a word with him and you might find he's looking for a couple of good men. There are rooms here that are reasonable, unless you have enough credits to rent somewhere."

Darwish rose and both men thanked him, although he could see they remained suspicious. He was used to it. Most people on the run for any length of time develop a healthy sense of paranoia.

He walked to the bar and ordered a drink.

"So am I next for the 'keeping your nose clean' lecture?" a voice said next to him. He turned to the woman stood next to him. He knew everyone in town but this face was new to him. She must be the other new arrival, saved him a job of racking her down. He was a bit surprised to find her here in the bar. She was Gallente, late twenties and very attractive. He knew instantly she was going to be trouble even if it was just bar fights breaking out between the locals over who was buying her a drink.

"Well Miss, you appear to have excellent hearing so I don't think I need to repeat myself." Darwish replied in a friendly tone.

"Good." she smiled "And trust me, I'm not being chased. The reason I am here is just glad I've vanished."

"Well Empire space's loss is our gain. Miss...?"

The woman took a drink. "Surely you know my name already, a well informed man like you?" she teased.

"Actually no I don't. I know the name that is on the ID you showed at the port, but I wanted to know your name." he replied putting emphasis on 'your'.

The woman looked at him and smiled.


"You frightening the customers away Darwish. Sheeeee-it. Do you know how bad for business it is to have the law in the bar!" a gruff voice shouted.

At that point the owner of the bar appeared and greeted the Darwish with a laugh and a firm handshake. Wilhelm had been running the bar for six years since the last owner passed away. The bar had always only served a small selection of drinks. The local beer and whisky was plentiful but with no supply ships willing to make the long dangerous run it was hard to get anything else. However Wilhelm was very switched on and soon found a novel supply line. The crews of the ore barges that arrived to collect the promethium ore had worked out that these remote settlements would pay handsomely for things that the crew took for granted in Empire space. However, it was not a one-sided deal. Wilhelm also knew that ore barge crews liked their drink and liked their women, especially on the long and lonely deep-space runs like this one. A bottle of Gallente vodka or a few bottles of Amarrian wine would be traded for as much local beer as they could drink whilst they were here and an hours company with one of the girls. Therefore, if you had the credits, Wilhelm had what you wanted.

They traded pleasantries and chatted for a while before a small commotion broke out behind them. Darwish didn't turn, he just looked down at his drink.

"So, what's kicking off behind me?" he asked quietly

Wilhelm glanced over Darwish's shoulder.

"Looks like Onar has just lost an unbeatable hand and is getting ready to kick off. He was playing against Jahn so this could go either way."

Darwish nodded and slowly moved his hand to his hip. He carefully unclasped the strap holding his gun into its holster. He listened to the rise in voices and the scrape of wood on wood as chairs were pushed back.

"Knife!" Wilhelm hissed quietly.

The report of the gun made the room fall silent and all eyes turn to the bar. Darwish hadn't even turned around, he was still standing at the bar with his gun in the air.

"I am having a nice cold beer here. If I have to turn around and come over there, I'm not going to be a particular happy man. So Onar put the blade away, Jahn take your seat and both of you play nice. Otherwise you'll find yourselves cooling in the slammer for a few days!"

All eyes turned back on the two men who quickly sat back down and resumed their game wondering if the Law Man truly had eyes in the back of his head.

"Nice work." stated Monique who was still stood next to him. "Unsubtle and the owner probably needs to repair that hole in the roof, but effective."

Darwish gave a suppressed laugh.

"This is the frontier. A bullet is more likely to get the message across than words. Also you cannot see it, but the guy who built this place knew that and installed a thick metal plate in the roof. We law keepers are told exactly were to shoot when we take the job.".

"Well law keeper, I look forward to seeing a lot more of you and your insights to frontier life." she purred as she finished her drink. "Until next time."

Darwish watched her climb the stairs to the balcony. He almost spat his drink out when he saw her enter one of the rooms reserved for the staff.

"Wilhelm! You hired her?" The Law Man asked!

"Sure. Hell you saw here. I'm sure she's going to be really popular."

"Yeah." thought Darwish as he picked up his beer. "And a real pain in the ass at the same time!"

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Fanfest 2014 - 12 Steps to Happiness

On Monday Fanfest tickets went on sale. Go get yours now!

If you've never been and want to know what to expect, here are my reports/photos from Fanfest 2013.

Wednesday - Golden Circle
Thursday - First day and Charity Dinner
Friday - Fanfest and Pub Crawl
Fanfest Saturday
Party on Top of the World + Blue Lagoon

I'm going to do the Wednesday to the Monday this year. I did the Golden Circle earlier this year and I don't really want to do it again so soon. So will be in Iceland just in time for any potential Tweetfleet Meet. I know from experience that flying is not a good idea on the Sunday after the party so will stay that extra day and probably go Blue Lagoon to recover. I'm no veteran, but this will be my 3rd Fanfest and here is what I have learnt so far.....

1. Buy booze as you arrive.
Buying drink in Iceland is a tad difficult as it is only sold in special shops to take away. A mate had particular issues last year. As you arrive there is a massive booze shop in the airport, you cannot miss it. Get yourself a bottle/crate there!

2. Take the Bus
The main international airport is a fair distance from Reyjavik so a taxi is expensive. The FlyBus is a great option and has deals with most hotels in the city. You take the main bus to the bus terminal and then minibuses to the various hotels. The main bus does have WiFi for the 45 minute journey but, like the Harpa, when its full of Eve Geeks who all have smartphones and tablets it gets a bit strained.

3. Pack the right clothing.
It's Iceland. You'll need everything from Arctic survival gear to beachwear! Well, may be that is a bit of an exaggeration. But last year I saw everything from heavy blizzards to rain to hail to high wind to a lovely calm day with warm sunshine.... and that was in the same day! We're a bit later in the year for 2014, but still it is worth being prepared.

4. Card is King
I always take some ISK in cash, no not the in game currency, the currancy in Iceland is ISK (you see what they did there). However, there are few places on earth that are more 'card friendly' than Iceland. Even if you are just buying one drink, you can use your plastic. Same for taxi's even. Makes for intersting (and long!) bank statements after the party! ATM's are plentiful.

5. Prepare for the Prices
Iceland is not cheap. Being an island where most things are imported and the lasting effects of the global ecconomic crash means that Iceland is not a cheap place. It's not hidousely expensive, I occasionaly visit Dubai and London, they're hidousely expensive. Whilst Iceland is not as bad as those, it is not cheap.

6. Try the local Vodka
They make a local vodka in Iceland and it is rather nice. Its called.... erm.... what's it called? I cannot remember. The only time I've heard its name is when I've been, well, drinking vodka! OI Google! What's the name of that nice local Icelandic vodka?

7. Pace Yourself at the Party On Top Of The World
You'll miss out if you get there early, power-drink and then go off looking for munchies.... I know! In fact you might wake up next morning, fully clothed with a camera full of pictures you don't remember taking and no memory of the events of the previous night. Thankfully I did make it to the Blue Lagoon! Don't go too early, don't get boozed up before and you'll not miss as much.

8. Try Everything Once....
The Golden Circle is worth doing to see the amazing Icelandic scenery. You can bored your friends by saying "I was there!" when you see the opening scene of Prometheus (the waterfall with the engineer). The Charity Dinner wasn't as good in 2013 as it was in 2012 (not as much ceremony) but it is worth doing. This year I got to sit next to CCP Guard plus the food was excellent! The Pub Crawl with a Dev is an experience, its much more difficult working out if CCP Fozzie is trolling you about T3 Orca's when you've had a lot to drink! Do the Blue Lagoon. Try the puffin. Go for a hotdog at that famous hotdog stand near the Harpa. Have breakfast at the Laundromat Cafe. Go to the Penis Museum (yes there is one). Go exploring!

9. .....Except the Horrible Rotted Shark Drink.
Its rank!

10. Get to Round Tables Early
If you are going to one of the round-tables and its one you REALLY need to go to, get there early. The popular ones tend to be standing room only very quickly and many find they cannot get in.

11. Enjoy Yourself!
Everyone there is mad about important internet spaceships and I've met some amazing people there. So grab a drink, get talking about spaceships and have a great time!

12. Give it an Extra Day
Sunday might sound the day to go home, but think about it. If your doing it right you had a very good time on Saturday night and into Sunday morning and you don't want to be travelling the same day as that! Book onto the Blue Lagoon trip, have a chilled Sunday and relax. Get the early flight out on the Monday morning!

Monday, November 25, 2013

"PvP Off" Option?

I read another delightfully whiny thread on the forums this weekend. A returning carebe.... erm, I mean player, came back to Eve for Rubicon. He sold all his old stuffz to buy one of the new, and hugely overpriced, SoE ships. This guy then thought high-sec exploration was boring, so he went exploring in low sec.... and can you guess what happened? That's right. He promptly lost his shiny new SoE ship to a gate camp. Apparently he is quitting (again) as it is not fun staying in high-sec to explore, and low-sec needs a mahoosive 'Here be Dragons!!??!!11?!1' stamp on the starmap. This risk-adverse guy wants the option of turning PvP 'off' so he can wander around low-sec without nasty, horrible other players attacking his expensive ship.

Of course all great explorers prefer to stay where it is nice and safe. Lara Croft tends to stick to central London, in the daylight, near a police station and Indian Jones prefers to look for treasure in his spare room. Yes, they are fictional characters but I think I made my point? No? OK then....

Eve Online is a simulation, in fact I'm sure I've seen CCP refer to it in a press release as a "Space combat simulator". It tries to have an element of realism, and like the real world, you are never safe.

Lets say you buy yourself a Rolls Royce and then pimp it out. Get some nice gold-plated rims encrusted with diamonds etc. You know, find some bloke who says 'Yo dawg' before putting something in your something so you can something whilst you something. Then you cruise around in front of people showing it off. In the city centre (high sec) you will have a chance that it will get stolen. In the rough industrial area on the outskirts of the city (low sec) you will be at great risk of losing it. If you go down the underpass by the ghetto then it, and probably yourself, are history.

Eve Online is the same. There is nowhere on this planet you are utterly safe from harm and nowhere in Eve* you cannot get ganked/killed. If you fly around high-sec in a T2 fitted Raven nobody will look at you twice, probably. If you fly around in a 20bn ISK officer-fit, then the gankers WILL find you and WILL gank you.

Anyway, why did he want to go exploring in low-sec? Probably because the rewards are so much better there than they are in high-sec. So why is that? Why would CCP reward people more for doing the same thing but in low-sec? Mmmmmmmm?

BECAUSE ITS NOT AS SAFE! There are people like me who fly around wanting to kill you. Therefore the rewards are much better as the risk is a lot better. We are back to real life comparisons. A guy who welds pipes in a factory gets paid a fraction of what a deep-sea welder gets paid. Why does the deep-sea pipe welder earn so much? Because he's at so much more risk. You generally don't get decompression sickness working in a factory.

I know I'm biased. I'm -10 and tend to blow people up when I can but why are the fundamentals of this game so hard for some to grasp.

1. You are never safe when undocked. You 'consent' to PvP every time you hit that undock button.
2. Rewards scale with risk. Doing something very safe will never net you as much cash as doing something risky.

No matter what security space you are in, these rules apply. CCP will never add a 'PvP opt-out' as that would break the game. Everyone saw what happened to Star Wars: Galaxies when they went down the 'please the vocal minority' route. CCP may make high-sec safer, for example faster CONCORD response or the CONCORD death-laser that Soundwave mentioned at Fanfest. However, they will never make it fully safe. So you need to make your own decision. Live in the Wild West where there are more opportunities and rewards, or stay as a drone in the 'big city' where you'll be ten times safer, but unlikely to even make it rich in the same time scale.

If you want to explore New Eden without risk there is a way. There is a command line you can add to your Eve start up file that removes non-consensual PvP from all but two or so systems in game. I use it regularly when I want to autopilot an alt somewhere in null to get screenshots such as the Eve Gate or a NPC HQ Station. What is this magical command? Look up how to log onto the test server and if you really believe Eve Online should have a 'opt out of PvP' option, please stay there! It's not rocket science people!

*OK, inside a station and also some null-sec areas are so blue'd that you can carebear to your hearts content and you'll hear about any non-blues before they get within 10 jumps allowing you to dock up. However, the risk here is someone will come and take your space and all of your assets.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

SCASSSS - Chuck Norris Doesn't Quit!

It was a busy weekend in Black Rise. Lots of fights and I had a real blast. I also died a fair few times, so when I got a trade window opened in station I assumed it was a corpie with more of my wreckage/dropped loot. I then saw it wasn't a QCat and it certainly wasn't dropped loot. It was Eve-O Stuffz from the Chuck Norris of Eve, Loren Gallen. The BattleClinic number one and killer of 20,000+ ships, a good deal solo!

I convo'd him immediately to ask what was going on. He told me he was selling Loren!!!!

Apparently he doesn't have time for the number 1 killing machine on Eve so is offering the character for sale.

Its a shame, Loren is one of the nicest people you'll have brutally kill you in the game. I do hope his toon goes to a good 'home'. I would so much love to own Loren but at 45bn he's a bit out of my price range given I have about 1/45th of the ISK required. Oh well, I hope the auction goes well for you mate. Lets round off this Special Sunday Short with some Loren Gallen facts just in case you, dear reader, are thinking about buying him. Can you handle the Chuck Norris of Eve?

President Roden named a street after Loren Gallen in Dodixie Station, but they had to change it. Nobody crosses Loren Gallen and lives.

Fear of spiders is called arachnophobia, fear of confined spaces is called claustrophobia, fear of Loren Gallen is called common sense.

Loren Gallen doesn't jump through stargates. He stares at them until they reposition the universe so he is where he wants to be.

Loren Gallen can point a titan, with a shuttle.

Whilst some believe the Apocrypha event happened due to a massive detonation of Isogen-5, this is incorrect. It actually occured when Loren Gallen slammed a door too hard.

When Loren Gallen enters wormhole space the NPC's there become known as the Awakers.

Loren Gallen visited Jove space recently. The first Jove he met said "We all think you look like a pussy!". And the rest, is history.

Friday, November 22, 2013


Fiction Friday. Escape pod here if fiction is not your thing.

One of my proofreading volunteers was ill this week so I know I said I would release my second novelette/novella today but I cannot. Instead a funny thing happened to us on Wednesday and I'd thought I'd try to put it into a story.


The cruiser de-cloaked off the stargate and aligned towards the distant station.

"Sir, the system is hot. I'm picking up a dozen hostile capsuleers on the local channel. Gallente Militia."

The Executive Officer leaned forward in his chair and looked at his personal screen. The Ensign was right, there was one friendly pilot in the solar system, a few neutrals in the war and a lot of enemies.

"XO, the capsuleer has activated the warp drive. We are heading to the station."

The XO checked the system database. There was a State Protectorate Logistical Support station some 30 astrological units from their current position. The capsuleer, encased inside his hydrostatic capsule in the belly of the ship, was also a member of the State Protectorate Militia. Whilst Capsuleers rarely shared their plans with the mortal crew the XO guessed what the plan was. The war was going well for the Caldari and the State was paying generously to its capsuleer militia to further the war effort through various missions. In that station there were four State Protectorate missioning agents. When docked their capsuleer would approach these agents and collect a number of lucrative contracts. The missions could be anything, they may need to take out a Gallente officer in a nearby system or destroy a small outpost in space. Whatever the contract, he knew one thing, it would pay very well.

"Two million kilometres to station, warp drive systems commencing disengagement sequence." the helmsman announced.

The XO looked up at the viewscreen. After a few seconds the warp tunnel started to dissipate. At a frightening speed, the immense station came into view as their cruiser dropped out of warp and decelerated heavily. They stopped 1000 metres from the station. The XO leant forward and hit a button on his console.

"Nisuwa station. This is State Protectorate Vessel 'The Cinatit'. Requesting priority docking."

The XO leant back and smiled. They'd made it, in a few seconds their ship would be tractored into a docking bay and safe from the hostile forces roaming the system. Of course they would need to get back out of the system, but he'd worry about that later. A few seconds passed and nothing had happened. He leant forward again.

"Nisuwa station. This is State Protectorate Vessel 'The Cinatit'. We are a capsuleer vessel, please tow us in now!"

The comms unit activated as the station responded.

"Fuck off!" came the curt reply.

The XO stared in amazement at the console in front of him. The entire bridge crew had turned in their seats and were looking at him questioningly.

"Nisuwa Station, we are a member of the militia if you don't tow us in immediately will will report this to your superiors. In fact who is your boss?"

The tension on the bridge rose as the silence continued. They were vulnerable here sat outside the station. Had the XO's threat been enough?

"Sir! We have a Tristan class frigate landing on the station. He is 20km from our port bow. IDENT signature lists the capsuleer as a Djalis. Sir, he's Gallente Militia!"

The Captain opened the comms channel again.

"Nisuwa Station. Accept our docking permission this minute or...."

"Jacques Roden." Came the reply interrupting the XO.


"You asked us who our boss is. We had a little chat and agree that as we are Federation Defence Union our ultimate boss must be the President of the Federation. So there you go squid. Please feel free to send him a message."

The XO's face went white. Gallente militia controlled the station. Had the Capsuleer not checked this? A alarm went off signalling a tactical lock was being detected from a nearby ship.

"Sir! That Tristan has engaged us with a Graviton Beam, our warp drive is offline. We cannot warp off whilst he has that on us. We also have a Keres closing at high speed. IDENT of Crosi Wesdo. He's a different corporation, but he is also Gallente Militia." the tactical officer shouted.

The XO looked at the screen. A Tristan and a Keres. Two frigates against their cruiser. He was not too worried. The cruiser was a Gila, a variant of the Moa class hull used by the Caldari State. The Guristas faction had taken the basic Moa and given it a substantial overhaul to produce the Gila. It was a good ship and a match for two frigates.

"Well looks like we need to fight our way out of this one! Tactical, lock up that Tristan and fire the missiles. Also launch our drones at the Keres. Give they a reason to back up. Activate the shield hardeners."

The Tac Officer looked at him oddly.

"Is there a problem with that order lieutenant?" the XO snapped.

"Two minor ones sir. They are small issues really. We have no launchers fitted and our single shield hardener.... is.... well it is in the cargo bay according to my screen."

The XO opened up the ships diagnostics on his screen. His world fell apart. The Tac Officer was right. The ship had no fittings. It was a basic hull. No guns, no upgrades, just as if it had been rolled of the production line. For some inexplicable reason they were carrying a shield hardener in the cargo hold. The XO tried to apply logic to the situation. Why would the capsuleer bring his ship into low-sec without any fittings or weapons? Why would he warp them to a station that they couldn't dock at.

"SIR!" the XO glanced up at the viewscreen. From the stations cavernous undock tunnel emerged the sleek green lines of a Thorax class attack cruiser. Even from that distance the XO could see the heavy neutron blasters dotted along its hull. A fully fitted Gila against a Thorax would be an interesting fight with the Gila having the advantage. With an unfitted Gila it would be a slaughter.

"Tell me that's a neutral." he sighed in resignation already knowing the answer. It would be a massive coincidence for that ship to undock at this exact time they were trapped here.

"Sir.... negative. IDENT is Drackarn, a Gallente militia pilot with the Quantum Cats corporation, same as the Tristan pilot. He's aligning to us and accelerating heavily. He has a microwarp drive fitted. He'll be in firing range in 10 seconds sir. Sir, what should we do sir?"

The XO stood and all the bridge crew stood and stared. The Tristan pilot had radio'd back to station. That Thorax would be enough to destroy them but in moments they could have even more on them. The crew were scared, they were looking to him for hope.

"Open a ship-wide comm channel." the XO said in a commanding tone. A bleep signaled he was speaking to the entire ship. He stood up and address the crew.

"Crew, this is Executive Officer Goro. WE ARE FUCKED! RUN LIKE BUGGERY!"

With that the XO sprinted to the bridge door and disappeared down the corridor. The rest of the bridge crew looked at each other in confused shock, before realising the situation and themselves jumped from their chairs sprinted to the corridor and the waiting escape pods.

Outside in space the Thorax attack cruiser had reached optimal range and had opened fire. Its heavy blasters firing against the Gila's shields as the Keres and Tristan frigates assigned their combat drones to attack the helpless ship. Tiny trails left the stricken cruiser as the crew abandoned ship early. Some escape pods were jettisoned directly into the incoming fire and were vaporised. The vast majority of the crew survived thanks to the quick, if not a tad inappropriate, broadcast from the XO. He was sat in a pod with four others.

"What now sir?" asked a junior officer as a bright light shone through the single window. The XO could see the Gila explode in a burst of flame.

"Well ensign. Now we wait for the Sisters of Eve to pick us up. Who knows, we may get a ride on one of those fancy new ships. Then we look for a ship seeking a new crew. However, I think I might suggest we head over to Villore or somewhere. You know, find a capsuleer who actually fits their ships before heading into low-sec."

P.S. I undocked a Thrasher to take the top screenshot whilst formatting this piece.... only to find a Caldari Militia Tengu trying to dock!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Rubicon Meme Day?

Yesterday CCP Logibro started this on Twitter yesterday as Rubicon deployed:-

Well to me that last quote was just pure gold. So I asked Rixx Javix of if he could redo the Eve Online : Rubicon wall paper substituting the official tag line for CCP Fozzie's. Of course Rixx obliged:-

However Lukas Rox was not to be outdone and created his own adding 100% more Fozzie:-

This was on top of what appeared to be an unofficial Eve meme day with CCP's Lapdog aka Mark726 aka @webspaceships leading the way....

I decided to make one too!

Happy patch day all around :)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Ghetto Cockbag and Big Cockbag

Lately I've been playing with two variants of the trusty Cockbag Thrasher. One of my issues that at GMT +4 I am not EU TZ nor am I US TZ. So I share my time with early Euros and Yanks on night-shifts and a lot of farmers. We can be outnumbered in this TZ so we need to get creative.

The Attrition Thrasher
This is basically a "Ghetto Cockbag". A proper Cockbag Thrasher will set you back 10m ISK, this one will cost less than 2m ISK. These are for use in times when the ISK war is more important than the K/D ratio. It is basically a T1 fit Cockbag designed for breaching faction war complexes when outnumbered.

If the squids are set up in a medium plex in our home system and are in destroyers and we are outnumbered that is easy. We'll ship up to cruisers and kill them. But what if they are in a small and cruisers are not an option. Do we go in with destroyers ourselves? Jumping into them already set up at optimals with fewer numbers is suicide. We could try assault frigates, but again Leeroy'ing into a destroyer camp probably won't end well. That's when the Attrition Thrashers come out. We are fighting say 10 v 5. We warp in, guns overheated and alpha as many as we can before we all die. And we will all die. But if we take three down that means we lost 3-5 but in ISK we won 30m v 10m. Now here is the trick, we can reship in system. They cannot. So whilst there three are podding home, we jump into another 5 Attrition Thrashers. We might lose round two as well. It is now 7v5 and we are jumping into them. Say we get 3 more. Same again, they win on ship numbers, we win on ISK. We reship a third time, but now into normal T2 fit destroyers. Now the numbers are in our advantage. This time we win and capture the plex.

Over all, its a draw. 10-10. However, on ISK we win 100m-10m. In the end that's not the important thing, the important thing is that we took the plex.

A Mahoosive Cockbag
I made up a particularly large Cockbag for dealing with those rare times we get camped in station. A Cockbag Hurricane. Full rack of T2 artillery cannons, tracking computer and sebo's, armour tank with tracking enhancers and damage mods in the lows. Rigs are targeting speed like the Cockbag Thrasher. It moves like a slug, cannot do much other than sit still and fire those mighty guns! It will alpha an average destroyer and take gate guns. So if we get neuts harassing us we can ask them to move along nicely too!

I rarely need to use it and it sits gathering dust most of the time between my other Hurricanes. But now and again it comes in useful!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

SCASSSS - OI! Get Back In Your Pod!

So we got to see the Rubicon trailer Thursday night. I assume if you read this blog then you've already seen it. No? Here it is:-

Us lore geeks had a few niggles with the video. Firstly, who is this toss-pot and who does he think he is?


Obviously CONCORD but is he a spokesperson? Someone senior? Come on CCP give us a clue! And shouldn't he be at CONCORD station in the Yulai system? What's he doing planet-side?

Secondly and more importantly we have the two capsuleers.

Now hang on, that is not right. Capsuleers don't look like that when flying their ships! This is what a capsuleer looks like when flying their ship:-

They generally never leave their pods when flying their ship, as it is a bad idea. Firstly capsuleer piloted ships are supposed to be so much better than normal ships as regular captains with large crews are so much more ineffective. The capsuleer, wet-wired into the systems, can run their ship much, much better. Overall performance is a magnitude higher due to the capsuleer. There are ships in the official lore where capsuleers can get out of the pod and stretch their legs but generally there is no point give the nerf to performance. The other issue is because of the capsuleers abilities, their ships have much smaller crews. If they are not in their pod, the crew are going to struggle due to low numbers. In Templar One, a Mordu's Legion Drake is already to run from a capsuleer Mrymadon because the capsuleer BC would stomp the normal BC.

So what are these two muppets up to?

Well there are two schools of thought. Firstly they could be holographic projections. I'm not sure of this myself. Why would they bother?

My view is these are supposed to be 'visual representations' that the capsuleer creates in their head. We know there is sound in space because the Jovian's included a synthesiser in the pod because early pilots didn't like it was so quiet. So why not have a system where the capsuleer in his or her pod can see themselves in a sort of a cockpit? After all it does serve one important purpose.... marketing!

Which ever way is true, they are definitely in their pods. After the station blows destroying the ship, we see Sinead O'Conner floating in space with her tubes attached. So she was in her pod when it blew. Ooooooo, lady capsuleers wear boob-tubes in their pods!

CCP simply has used 'artistic licence' to make the video more non-geek friendly. After all, who cares about a talking olive-green pod?

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Accident

Fiction Friday! Alternative post here if you are not into your fiction. What low-sec group do you belong to?

Next week I'm hoping to release a Novelette called "The Affair". Only 10,000 words so not as big as the last one!

The Accident

Senior Technician Gretara was sat at the monitoring station in the stargate's control room. She casually watched the the light traffic coming and going. Almost all the systems were automated but a small crew was needed for faults and minor maintenance. Her gate was connected to another just under one light-year away. The artificial wormhole between the two gates allowed starships to travel between the solar systems in a seconds rather than decades.

"Hey gorgeous! How's the exciting world of gate travel today?"

Gretara rolled her eyes and turned around. There in the door way was her supervisor, Cenn. He had his usual cheeky smile and devilish glint in his eye.

"Nearly as boring as your pick-up lines." she replied with a smile.

There had always been friendly banter between them. When she first started she thought he was going to be a pest. She soon found out he was very happily married and the jokey flirtations were just that. He'd had countless opportunities to try it on with her in the last six months but never had made a move. When she'd taken this posting six months ago she had just split from her husband and was pretty 'anti-men' at that time. However she had warmed to him over the first few weeks. He'd helped her see there was still hope.

"I see from the log you replaced some 'tronics last night?" Cenn asked.

"Yeah, we were getting some funny readings from one of the primary graviton controllers. It was quiet so I replaced it when there was a gap. Thankfully the connection remained solid whilst I did the hot-swap."

Cenn looked a bit concerned.

"Next time call me please, even if I'm asleep. Those controllers can be dodgy and could potentially collapse the wormhole and take the gate offline. If the connection drops even for 10 minutes, I'm the one who gets his arse chewed off by command. Then I'd have to come up here and chew your arse off. We wouldn't want that would we, it would be a waste of a very pert arse." he said with a smile and a wink.

A small bleep caught both their attention. Gretara turned back to the console and Cenn walked over.

"What is it?" he asked.

"Damn graviton controller boards again. Getting that same reading, but thats a brand new board in there."

Cenn brought up diagnostics on the main screen. Just as he did alarms started blaring. Gretara quickly shut them off. As soon as the alarms died she looked at Cenn in horror. The silence was deafening. On a stargate there was always noise. A constant drone caused by the massive technology that kept the wormhole stable. It had stopped. The gate was offline.

"Gretara! Did we have any traffic?"

Gretara quickly looked at the other screen on the monitoring station.

"Oh no....!" her voice trailed off.

"What is it? Talk to me Gretara!"

"A shuttle with two passengers. It jumped and entered the wormhole milliseconds before the connection dropped."

"Did they make it through?" Cenn asked nervously.

Gretara accessed the logs at the other gate. The way she looked at him he knew. They hadn't made it.


Two weeks later.

The three high-level executives were sat on the top table in the hearing room. Gretara was sat on her own in a chair facing them. She fidgeted nervously.

"Ms. Falk, we are gathered he today to hold an inquest into the events leading up to the recent class two failure of the static wormhole connection at the Gonheim-Hedaleolfarber startgate. This unfortunate event resulted in the likely death of two people. We are tasked with finding out what went wrong, if anyone is to blame and what steps are needed to ensure this never happens again."

Gretara just sat there as the stern woman explained the process and that many of her colleagues from the stargate crew had already faced the panel.

Over the next hour she was asked question after question. They were mostly concerning the graviton controller boards but also about herself and her abilities. She felt that she was going to take the fall for this. She answered the questions as the three executives of the Republic Government asked them.

Following the questionings she was asked if she would submit herself for testing. She agreed and was surprised to find a medic enter the room immediately and escort her down to a clinic two decks below. 20 minutes later she had been tested for drugs and alcohol abuse. She knew she'd pass, but it all pointed to her being the scapegoat here even with a clean bill of health.

Finally she was told she was no longer needed at the inquest and that she could go home. The panels decision and recommendation would be presented to the Government within 48 hours.


Three days later

Gretara opened her door and found Cenn standing there with a sad look in his eyes and a bottle of whisky in his hand.

"I'm so sorry" he whispered. Gretara stood back and let him into her apartment.

There wasn't much left, most of her furniture and belongings had been packed into boxes and these were stacked against a wall. He handed her the bottle.

"Thanks." she said with more than a little sadness in her voice.

They sat down in two small chairs. Gretara opened the bottle and took a long drink. She passed the bottle back to Cenn.

"Sorry, I've packed the glasses."

Cenn took a drink from the bottle. "Is there anything I can do?" he asked.

"I'm fine." she replied "To be honest I think I may have got off likely. The only reason criminal charges haven't been pressed is that the two people we lost could be alive somewhere in deep space. Unlikely, but as they cannot prove they are actually dead I cannot be charged with murder. Getting fired for gross negligence wasn't the worst that could happen when you think about it."

Cenn passed the bottle back to her.

"I know, but the whole thing stinks. I'm not sure I believe the whole thing about you installing the graviton controller board incorrectly. There are just too many things that went wrong at the same time. The backup failing, the emergency shutdown not kicking in. OK even if you did mess up that boards installation, it shouldn't have failscaded like it did. The entire system is designed to prevent that exact situation. The report ruled out sabotage but I'm still not sure, too much of a coincidence to me."

Gretara shrugged and took another drink. "May be, but the fact is all those backup systems are never really tested until the primary ones fail."

"So where are you going?" Cenn asked.

"I'm going back to my folks. Its not ideal as they live deep in low-sec and I thought I'd escaped that existence years ago. But its going to be a struggle finding work around here. 'Killed two people' doesn't look good on your resume!"

"They might still be alive, somewhere out there in deep space." he replied hoping to make her feel better. "That is another thing. That the logs didn't include the passenger manifest. We know a shuttle went through, but we have no idea who was on board. That information is always captured. Yet at the same time we suffer a catastrophic failure, the logs also bug so we will never know who was on that doomed shuttle? I'm not buying this."

Gretara shrugged gain and took another drink. "It sound far-fetched, but the investigation ruled out sabotage."

"They'd never admit that even if they found it. The company would lose all the stargate maintenance contracts in the empire. Its a cover up if you ask me!".

"Well apparently the logs hadn't been recording manifests and ship ident codes for days. In any case, I'm finished here. No hi-sec gate crew company will hire me now and I have nowhere to stay. Its back to the arse-end of space and hope they are desperate for a graviton specialist in one of the gates in the systems my parents live."

"Is there nobody in hi-sec you could stay with until you get back on your feet. I'd offer but my wife might have something to say about that. Didn't you say you had an ex-husband? Are you still on good terms with him?" he asked.

"Yes there is an ex-husband. But two major issues with that. Firstly, he ran off with my best friend. A blond bimbo. A younger model who I thought I could trust. Bitch! It was not a amicable split. Secondly he's now even more remote than my folks who live on the edge of known space. Yes, he's not easy to reach at all."

Cenn thought that was an odd thing to say but didn't press it.

A few hours later the bottle was finished and Gretara was asleep in the chair. Cenn carried her to her bed and wrapped the covers over her. He gave her a light kiss on the forehead and left the bedroom. He picked up the empty bottle and placed in the trash which was rather full. He closed the hatch and hit the automated empty button. There was a quiet hiss as the trash container was flushed to the stations reprocessing centre. He turned to leave but stopped suddenly. It couldn't be. He was imagining things wasn't he? He could have sworn he'd seen a couple of graviton controller boards laying amongst the trash. He decided that the late hour and half a bottle of Matari whisky was making him see things. He left the apartment and walked home with a nagging doubt at the back of his mind.


The stars were amazingly bright this far out into interstellar space. Dinna looked out of the small viewport in wonder. With no sun for many light-years the number of visible stars was blinding due to the low light in this area of space. The dim interior lights gave little refection in the glass, but her blond hair did reflect spoiling the view a little.

"Its so beautiful out here honey. Its like living in heaven."

There was no answer.

"I'm not sure I'll ever get bored of watching the stars out here."

More silence.

"I'm getting peckish. Do you want something to eat?"

No answer.

"OK, you don't mind if I help myself?"

Dinna glance out of the window one more time and made her way across the small passenger cabin of the shuttle. It was a mess. Empty bottles and food wrappers littered the floor. She picked up the bloody shard of metal laying on the table and approached the man's body. The left side of his head had been caved in. The hopelessness of the situation had the two lovers a breaking point within a week of being stranded in interstellar space. During a particularly heated argument about how much water she was drinking she had hit him over the head with a bottle. He never woke up.

She squatted down and cut some flesh from his upper thigh. A lot of the flesh was already missing and bone was clearly visible. She picked up the raw meat and placed it in her mouth, slowly chewing.

"I think I'm going to look at the stars a bit more honey. You want to join me?"

Of course he didn't answer, he had dead for over a week.

"OK darling. You just rest."

Dinna walked back over to the viewport humming to herself. She hummed a lot to herself since she lost her mind after beating her lover to death with a water bottle last week. A man who'd left his wife to be with her.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Test Driving the New Astero and the Updated Kronos

So last week I had a play with the Sisters of Eve cruiser. Today I messed around with the new frigate, the Astertro.

I'm worried about this ship. A T1 frigate that can get into all faction war complexes and warp cloaked? This is going to be popular with those damn squid farmers. But....... can I make a farmer farming ship?

The idea is this, I sit in a plex cloaked with an alt cloaked off the acceleration gate. When I see a squid or neutral activate the gate I drop the cloak and get ready for their arrival. So the trap can be set, but can I get a fit that can tackle triple stabbed Merlins? That can hold a kitey Condor before he makes range? That can burn at a cloaking Executioner and have sufficient speed to get there before he moves out of range?

Lets try.... We need a dual scram and a web to stop those triple stabbed Merlins and Punishers. We need some DPS to kill them and we need a bit of a tank just in case they manage to lock us within a few minutes due to the stabs gimping their sensors.

So they you have it. Dual scram, so even a stabbed Venture won't be going far. AB and web to keep them pinned down. You'll notice that there are only two high slots and one is needed for the cloak. Like the cruiser variant, this is a drone boat. It can hold three flights of light scouts and with those damage augmenters it does decent DPS for a frigate. I guess you could stick a launcher or a gun in there for a bit of extra DPS. Not sure if a nuet is going to be massively effective against stabbed ships.

I took it on a test flight to see what the ship is like as a plexing ship. Oh dear. This is going to be popular with the farmers. I was able to easily capture any sized plex, even the large. Orbiting the rat battlecruiser in the biggest sized plex with AB on, the drones tore it apart without it even being able to hit me. Same with the novice, small and mediums. I think we'll see the farmers drop the 3rd drone damage augmenter and the repper and stick two stabs in there. They'll speed tank and have a ship that is double stabbed and can warp cloaked.

The sound of frapping in parents basements is echoing through the known world and I am a sad bunny!

Anyway lets cheer ourselves up with a proper ship. The Kronos. It just sounds Klingon doesn't it.

All marauders are getting a make-over plus we get the new bastion unit. The bastion unit is basically a "siege module-lite" for Marauders. It does the following to your ship when activated (60 secs, no fuel):-

- Doubles the amount of both local reppers (shield and armour)
- Big boost to tank resists - 30%
- Increases gun  range - 25%
- Prevents external effects from effecting you. You become immune to eWar(?) but also remote reps.
- You cannot move, warp, jump or anything else but sit still whilst the module is active.

So I fitted one up and went for a test drive. Nothing surprising in the fit. 1600 plate, hardener to plug the explosive hole, one EANM (as I'm assuming the bastion module resists will be subject to stacking penalties), local repper (remember bastion module doubles amount and you cannot receive remote reps), DC and a couple of damage mods in the lows. Long point, MJD, cap booster & tracking computer in the mediums. To top it off I stuck a full rack of face-melting guns plus bastion unit in the highs.

OK lets shoot something!

I stuck an alt in a standard BS and decided to see how the new Marauders stack up. My alt is 90m SP against Dracks 105m. So lets fight!

As expected the Marauder melts the Navy Dominix. But then again the costs between the two are high. Kronos are selling for 1bn and Navy Domi for 500m.

Resisits with the Bastion unit running are 78/75/78/81. Gun range is 22km with 9lm optimal. Armour rep is at 2116 per 11.25 sec. Mmmm all is good!

I might need to buy some of these!

Any errors in this blog post are due to me being drunk k?

Disclaimer - A mate called Simon dragged be down the bar. I might have been a bit drunk when I wrote this!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Overview Fail and Friendly Fire

So my dad has returned back to 'sunny' England and I can get back on Eve properly.

I did get online Saturday whilst he was watching a John Wayne movie. A squid Dramiel tried to take down my Thrasher. I was in a 10mn flavour and these can be tricky with Dramiels. They kill Daredevils a lot easier. Thankfully I managed to pop the Dram as my Thrasher was at 30% structure with a lot of hot modules.

A while later I was in a Vengeance and landed on a plex gate where I'd scanned a Thorax. The Thorax was outside and was Gallente Militia and hence 'friendly'. I use inverted commas there as 'friendly' ships don't usually point you and open fire. I said in local I was friendly whilst setting a fast and close orbit hoping his guns wouldn't hurt me as I tried to point out he's going to take a massive standings hit for attacking me. He ignores local. So I convo him. He rejects the convo. Other people are telling him in local to stop attacking me. He's not reading local or is ignoring it.

Now what to do? He's hardly tickling my shields and I'm in an armour tank. He's not looking at local, he won't accept my convo. So what to do.... what to do....?

As he aggressed first I can return fire without taking the massive standings hit you usually get for attacking a member of your militia. My rocket Vengeance has him pointed and webbed and his shields are dropping fast. I've let corpies know on Comms what is happening and told them not to engage. I'm pretty sure they would get the standings hit if they engaged.

Luckily for Mr Thorax he did accept a convo off one of my 'Goodie Two-Shoes' corpies who kindly explained that he was attacking friendly militia and if he killed me he'd taken an even bigger standings hit than the one he's already taken.

"Drack. He's got it. He's de-agressing. Drack? Drack stop shooting him! DRACK!"

Oh I hear you, but bro, I iz mad. He attacked me and wouldn't accept a convo so I wanted to teach him a lesson. But am I THAT ebil to use it as an excuse to kill a 'blue'?

No, no I'm not. I carefully watched him enter structure with my finger over the hotkey. My rockets were doing around 15% of his structure per hit. I stopped DPS when he was at 20% structure and let him go. He warped off..... quickly. I never went below 80% shields in my armour tanked Vengeance.

Now obviously this dude had his overview set up wrong. And to be honest its an easy mistake to make for new players. But lets look at this another way, do you want to turn 'same alliance' off in overview? If you are -10 and in Gallente, I say no. If you turn off Gallente Milita, you turn of Matari Miltia. They are linked.

I have the 'Militia' column on my active overview. Why? Because currently you cannot turn off the Gallente and the Minmatar separately. The choice is Same Militia AND Allied Militia. They are either on or off together. I need Minmatar militia on my overview as there are a lot of 'anti-pirates' in there and with no standings penalty for attacking 'allied militia' we do have Minmatar attacking us. For most 'friendly' pilots in space this is not an issue. We have blues set with most major Gallente and Matari corps/alliances. What I do is have the militia column turned on in my overview. That way 'blues' show up on my overview but only rarely when they are NPC militia corp or a non-blue one.

This is not ideal, and puts me at a small risk of engaging a fellow militia member. However, its a trade-off against being able to see those who are either Matari "Kill all the things" Militia or Gallente Militia with rather dodgy overviews.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Briefing (Fiction)

The SCASSSS today is neither short or special, it is another fictional piece I'm afraid. The Pod and Planet fiction contest ends in a few hours. I had tried to do a 'comedy' entry for the contest and in the end deleted it. As I didn't think Fridays was good enough, I just went with two which I submitted to Telegram Stan yesterday. Then last night Rhavas Tweeted this:-

So I thought, what the hell. Lets try again, I have a few hours and if they are struggling for numbers in that section at least I might help to flesh it out a bit. The reason I deleted the original of this was I wondered if anyone outside of of a relatively small section of Eve would get it. Well here goes at my first piece in this vane...

The Briefing

The officer strode into the briefing room with purpose. The young recruits all stood to attention as he entered the hall, stepped onto the stage approached the podium. Whilst the room was set up similar to the briefing room on a Chimera Class carrier, this room was actually located on an asteroid outpost.

"At ease!" he barked in a commanding tone. The recruits sat.

"I am Wing Commander Subit Hteh and I will be giving you today your inital introductory briefing. Over the next six weeks you new Capsuleers will be trained to fight for the State Protectorate within the Caldari Militia. Right now, you... know... nothing!" The Commander paused for effect. "Most of what you learnt in qualifying as Capsuleers won't save you against those bastard Gallente. We are here to make sure you survive and help us capture systems effectively. I will give you a high-level introduction to fitting and tactics now, where as others will take these subjects and give you greater and more in-depth lectures over the next month. In six weeks, you will be proud warriors of the glorious State Protectorate"

The Commander left the podium and walked along the raised platform at the front of the briefing hall. He carefully studied the faces looking back at him. They were young, expectant, ready to do their best for the State. He slowly returned to the podium. He pressed a button and the lights dimmed, a holoprojector in the centre of the stage activated and a six foot tall wireframe model of a frigate appeared.

"The trusty Merlin." the Commander announced "This should always be in your hanger. Who can tell me why?"

There was silence across the room. The Commander scanned the faces and saw nobody willing to answer. He pointed to a young man in the second row. "You!"

"Well sir... is it because as a frigate it can enter all military complexes in the contested war zone?" the young pilot asked nervously. "All of those acceleration gates are coded to accept frigates."

"No!" snapped the Commander. "You!" he pointed to a woman sat behind in the third row.

"The Merlin is an excellent close-range blaster boat. Fitted with warp scrambler and stasis webifier it can defend the landing zone in a complex effectively."

"No!" snapped the Commander more forcefully. "You call yourselves Caldari Militia? I see we have a LOT of work to do!"

The Commander pressed a few buttons and the fitting schematics appeared beside the holographic frigate.

"See! Three low slots! Count them, THREE! That is three warp core stabilisers you can get in there!"

There were gasps and murmurs around the room. Warp core stabilisers were generally not combat-equipment used in Capsuleer-to-Capsuleer engagements. Whilst the module stabilised and negated the effects of warp disrupting modules, the heavy electromagnetic shielding from the unit played havoc with the host ships scanners and sensors. Each stabiliser fitted generally halved the range at which a ship could lock a target and also doubled target acquisition time.

"But sir, three?" asked one shocked recruit!

"Yes three!" snapped the Commander "Yes, you'll not be able to target your nose cone. Yes, you'll take longer to lock a target than it takes to build a Titan but you will still be able to engage in our primary combat tactic as the interference does not affect that."

The entire room looked at the Commander in shock and confusion. The commander wandered over to the holographic Merlin and pointed at the high fitting slots.

"These house our primary combat tactic. What is it? You!" He pointed to another recruit.

"Sir? Well with the three warp core stabs gimping the targeting range, I'd say short-range Neutron Blasters."

"IDIOT!" snapped the Commander "A Neutron Blaster is a cannon, I said tactic!"

"Sir, sorry sir. Close range brawling sir."

The Commander shook his head. "No, no, no, NO! Our primary combat tactic is hiding!"

The recruits looked on in amazement. The commander went back to the podium and pressed another button. A cloaking device appeared in the fitting schematics.

"The Gallente cannot beat you if they cannot find you. Use the ships short-range scanner constantly and if any of those frog bastards turn up looking for a fight, hide!"

Murmurs of discontent drifted between the assembled recruits.

"Now, we have our ship half fitted and understand our primary combat tactic. But before we look at the rest of the modules lets talk about rigs. You!"

The recruit shifted uneasily in his seat.

"We haven't got all day!" the Commander growled "Come on. What rigs?"

"Sir... well with the cloaking device causing a sensor calibration delay and the warp core stabilisers reducing the scan signature strength I would go for targeting speed rigs and may be a sensor recalibration delay rig?"

"Then you'll die horribly in space!" snapped the Commander. "Seriously? You are going to decloak, wait half a minute for the sensors to come back online, spend another 20 seconds targeting the frog bastard and then open fire? You really expect to be still alive by the time you achieve a target lock? Fool! You fit speed and agility modules so you can engage the secondary combat tactic!"

By now discipline in the room was quickly fading. Whispered conversations had started to break out between the recruits.

"Sir? If you say hiding is our primary combat tactic, what is our secondary combat tactic?" one recruit dared to ask hardly hiding the contempt in his voice.

"Good question!" replied the Commander to every ones surprise, they were expecting the recruit to get blasted down after that question. The Commander pressed a button and the holographic Merlin span around and warped away, becoming a speck in the distance. "Running away! Very few combat situations that you cannot take the advantage with by a bit of running away. The enemy wants to destroy your ship, if you are not there when he arrives he has failed. When the Gallente fail, it is the same as us winning. Well, may be a draw. Take this as an example!".

The holographic Merlin vanished and was replaced by a Condor class frigate with fitting display.

"Tech one light missiles, cloak, micro-warpdrive, sensor booster, nano and over-drive injector. Rigs are axillary thrusters and some 'polycarb' housings. Another standard fit you'll need to get used to. It does the same damage as if you slapped your opponent in the face with a wet halibut, but who cares if they'll never catch you!"

The dam finally burst and the recruits started shouting and waving their arms. Several stood venting their anger. The Commander smiled and suddenly glanced to the door where he came in.

"Class dismissed!" he said hurriedly and suddenly sprinted to the opposite end of the room and barged out a fire escape.

The class quickly quietened down in shock as their instructor vanished. Suddenly the main doors on the other side of the room burst open. A man in the same Wing Commander uniform quickly swept into the room along with two military police officers who had guns drawn. The recruits stared, open-mouthed in shock.


The Admiral sipped the amber liquid whilst reclining in the armchair in his office. The alcohol warmed his throat as he read from the datapad. Wing Commander Hiko stood next to him at attention, his gaze straight forward. Since he arrived ten minutes ago the Admiral had not said 'at ease' and the Commander had been frozen in attention.

"So Wing Commander, please help me to get this straight. Your report states that you received official orders that the recruits initial briefing had been changed and would be held in room 5412, twenty minutes later than planned."

"Yes sir!"

"You didn't question these orders as they were sent via our official system."

"That is correct sir."

"However it would appear that these orders were falsified and sent by an intruder. A fact you didn't realise until you arrived at room 5412."

"Yes sir."

"And this intruder dressed as yourself and held the initial briefing to our new recruits in the pilots briefing hall."

"Yes sir."

"And none of our recruits suspected anything even though he was giving combat advice that anyone who has flown a garbage scow would have know was crap."

"That is correct sir."

"And nobody realised that the name he claimed, Subit Hteh, is simply Tibus Heth spelt backwards."

"No sir."

"Thank you Commander for those confirmations, I just wanted to be sure. I've been running this State Protectorate Capsuleer Academy for two decades. I must say this is the first time a Gallente agent has even infiltrated our facility for the simple reason of TAKING THE PISS!"

The Commander remained stiffly at attention.

"Last thing before I dismiss you Commander and consider what I'm going to do to you, did you enter room 5412?"

"Sir, no sir. I didn't know where that room was until I arrived at it this morning. As soon as I opened the door I knew it was a trick so headed straight for 2231."

"And 5412 is not a room where we could hold pilot briefings is it?"

"Sir, no sir. It is a storage room near the kitchen block sir."

"A storage room? What specifically was it storing Commander?" the Admiral looked over his glasses.

The Commander paused, still stood stiffly at attention. "Sir, it stores frozen chickens, sir!"

Friday, November 8, 2013

Love is Blind

Fiction Friday! If you are not into your Eve fiction then try here. My father is still visiting so I have little or no Eve time. This was the case last night when I was down at the bar getting hammered with him whilst the CCP live event was happening. I woke this morning with a massive hangover and a lot of Tweets. Drunk Tweeting is bad mmmmm'k! However also on Twitter it appeared to suggest CCP rounded up a big fleet of High-Sec carebears and took them to null-sec... at the same time encouraging players who couldn't join the high-sec team (you know, because they are -10 due to all the PvP'ing they do) to head to that null-sec area. I mean, what's the worst that could happen there?

This piece was supposed to be an entry for the Pod and Planet fiction contest, but not sure I'm going to submit it. I liked the initial idea in my head but not sure that it turned out to be as quiet as good as I thought. Oh well...

Love is Blind

Hakeem sealed the clear transparent tank and opened a valve on one of the many tubes that were fixed to the containers lid. A quiet hiss broke the steady hum from the starships engines that filled the room. An opaque gas filled the glass camber that was located directly below the bleeding rooms. This particular starship was used for one purpose, to harvest humans, particularly their blood.

This was Hakeem's first expedition in total charge of the bleeding process. For nearly five years he had worked his way up the crew ranks. In fact he was only one step away from the bridge. Whilst at 23 years of age Hakeem would have been considered too young for such responsibilities in most of the major factions of New Eden, the Blood Raiders didn't have a long life expectancy. The militant wing of the notorious Sani Sabik cult existed to capture victims and collect their bodies, but mainly their blood, to further their research. Unsurprisingly this gave them a fearsome reputation and marked them as shoot-on-sight to all law enforcement agencies. Along with Sansha's Nation, stories of the Blood Raiders were told to young children to scare them. Bounties were placed on most of their ships which in turn attracted the capsuleers. Life with the Blood Raiders was usually short and brutal.

He opened a second valve and the gas in the chamber cleared. It was now fully sterilised and ready to be filled. It wouldn't be long now. An hour ago they had intercepted a Gallente hauler. After disabling it with the cruisers energy neutralisers they had latched onto the hapless ship and sent boarding parties over. Hakeem had heard the call for the second and third squads to move out. That was a good sign to him. If one team had taken the ship it would have meant only a small crew was present. If all three squads were needed then there must be many more. Hakeem could be very busy, very soon. Perhaps it was a refugee transport. With the two rooms above his head they could bleed 20 people at a time. A hundred bleedings would take him over a day. This particular mission required male and female blood to be extracted separately. If there was a big difference in proportions it would take even longer as he had set aside one room for the men and another for the women.

Half an hour later he was informed over the communicator that the bleeders were ready. He was bitterly disappointed to hear there were only three live and one corpse recovered from the other ship. Apparently the crew had set a trap killing squad one in a single fire in the galley. Squad two were flushed into space when a mining charge hidden in an airlock was triggered. This crew of four had put up more of a fight than any of their last targets.

Hakeem entered the first bleeding room and realised why. An older man and a boy were restrained against the wall in the bleeding alcoves. Their resemblance was obvious. Father and son. Nothing is more dangerous than a parent protecting its offspring. Hakeem  lanced at the corpse storage tubes. Empty. Therefore the dead crew member and the other live one captured must both be female. He picked up a thin tube with a large gauge needle in the end and approached the father who was pleading for him to stop.

Twenty minutes later Hakeem checked on the father. His skin was grey and ashen, he was almost gone. The man tried to speak but was too weak. Hakeem could see in his eyes that he knew all was lost. He was slipping away slowly. His son next to him was clearly dead already having been bled out several minutes ago. Hakeem waited a while longer until the father was fully drained before he shut of the machines. He then proceeded through a small airlock to the second room. The first thing he saw was the woman in one of the corpse tubes. The mother he assumed given her apparent age, meaning... he turned to the wall and gasped. There, suspended against the wall was the most beautiful woman he'd ever seen. No, not a woman, a girl. She was Gallente, late-teens and was sobbing heavily. He was mesmerised. She had jet black hair that cascaded down over her shoulders. Her skin was slightly tanned and in stark contrast to the white strappy top that she wore. He was frozen, rooted to the spot. The comms unit crackled into life and broke the spell.

"Hakeem we've detected a frigate in the next belt, given the poor harvest here we are moving to intercept. Be ready for more."

Hakeem blinked and slowly picked up the tube with the needle attached and walked up to her. She was restrained against the wall in one of the 'bleeding alcoves'. He placed his hand against her arm ready to insert the needle that would drain the blood from her body. The skin was soft, flawless and she smelt incredible. He paused, his head moved closer to her hair taking in her scent. Suddenly a pair of lips brushed his temple. The kiss was light, loving. "Please." the girl whispered. Hakeem froze, his heart raced.

"I can see you are a good man." she whispered "You don't want to do this."

He paused, conflicted, confused. Hakeem had never had a girlfriend and limited experience with the opposite sex. His heart pounded, his palms were clammy. Could this be love at first sight?

He turned to face her, she stretched her head against the restraints and kissed him lightly on the lips. He didn't respond, he was frozen.

"Please." she whispered again "Save me." She kissing him again this time he responded back. He felt her tongue push pass his lips as the warp engines engaged.


"Hakeem standby we're bringing four males to you."

"Acknowledged. Please set them up in Room 1. I'll be up there shortly."

Hakeem placed the communicator back on his belt and looked through the tiny crack in the door. He saw the troopers march by leading the prisoners. He and the girl were hidden in a small storage room near to the ships main airlock. As the sounds of the boots faded he grabbed her hand and ran to the open airlock. There was a very short tube where the docking arm had latched on the other ship. They stepped into the frigate and Hakeem smiled. The ship was Amarrian, an Executioner. Whilst the Blood Raider ships were slightly different, he still could fly this as the controls would be very similar.

He dragged the girl to the small bridge and jumped into the cockpit. The systems were still operational and the ships capacitor had recharged to 46%. Once the Raiders had captured the crew the energy neutralisers had been turned off.

"Hakeem. They are ready."

Hakeem picked up his communicator.

"Acknowledged. I'm down in the collection room sterilising fresh containers. Leave them there and I'll be up shortly." There was silence, no acknowledgement for several seconds.

"I sent a man down to see if you were there before I made this call. You were not there. What is your exact location, and where is the body of the girl we brought in?"

Hakeem dropped the communicator. With a flick of a switch he closed the airlock remotely and fired the engines. The docking arm between the two ships was ripped apart as the small frigate moved away from the cruiser. He knew that would have de-pressurised that one corridor on his old ship and activated just about every alarm on board. The small frigate slipped into warp before the Raiders could respond to the unbelievable turn of events.


An hour later Hakeem entered the galley, it was heavily damaged by the fire the crew had set off earlier. The girl was preparing them some food. She smiled at him as he entered.

For a moment he worried what he'd done. He'd abandoned his faction, stolen a ship and was now on the run. He knew he was relatively safe. Since warping off from the Blood Raider cruiser he had bounced between planets until he was sure that he had lost them. Then he had headed for the nearest high-sec stargate. Thankfully their hunting grounds were near to the low-sec border, more targets could be found this close to Empire space. As soon as they had left low-sec he knew he'd gotten away with it.

"Are we safe?" she asked as she seductively licked some sauce from her fingers.

"Yes. We're on autopilot. The ship will fly itself and even dock in the station like you asked." he replied. His heart quickened as he'd recalled what she'd said to him. "Once we're in high-sec, set the autopilot. I need to give you your special reward and don't want to be disturbed!"

She leaned against the counter top, leaving the food unfinished. She beckoned him over to her with one finger whilst she bit her bottom lip. Hakeem wanted to run to her, his desire was burning, but he tried to act cool. He slowly sauntered over and stood in front of her.

"I want you." she whispered and took his head in her hands. The kiss was warm, wet, and passionate.

All thoughts of his treason against the Raiders melted away as his new lover ground her body into him. This is what he wanted, this is what he needed.

The sudden pain made his vision go blurred. It was unbelievable and all consuming. He staggered back, breaking the passionate embrace, confused. He looked at the girl, her look of need, wanting and passion was gone. Replaced with a visage of hate, anger and sorrow. His vision panned down her body. At her side she held a large carving knife, it was dripping with bright red blood. It slowly dripped which formed a small pool on the scorched floor. Time appeared to slow down. He looked down at himself and saw where the bright red blood on the knife had come from him. A gaping wound pumped rivers of blood from his left side. The wound was large, she had twisted the knife hard after stabbing him deep. He slumped to his knees trying to stem the flow of blood with his hands.

"Why?" he gasped.

The girl shot him a look which appeared to say "You really need to ask?"

To his amazement, a short laugh left his lips. Of course he didn't need to ask. His shipmates had killed her mother and he'd personally bled her father and brother to death. The irony was not lost on him, as she pushed herself up and sat on the worktop and watched him slowly bleed to death.