Friday, May 30, 2014

The Forefathers - Part 2

Fiction Friday!

This is the concluding part of last weeks story. It certainly went in a different direction than I was expecting!

The Forefathers - Part 2

The Captain aimed the pistol as the shadow moved out of the doorway. It was humanoid, but it was certainly not human. It was some form of robot. It rose over 7 feet tall with an exposed metal exoskeleton. Its bulbous head turned to survey the room and its glowing green eyes focused on the Captain. To Gakoho it looked absolutely terrifying.

In New Eden most robots and drones were specifically created not to look human. They found that people had difficulty relating to something artificial that tried to look human. Therefore all drones where generally made to look anything but human. This thing that had entered the room was clearly engineered to look as human as possible. It spoke in some unknown language, addressing them all.

"Whats it saying Daichi?" the Captain asked the Science Officer, a slight tremble in his voice.

"How the hell should I know!" Daichi cried back.

The robot turned and started to walk towards the Captain. It continued to speak in the strange language as it slowly approached.

"Daichi I could really do with some intel here!"

"Its speaking a language thats probably thousand of years old and belongs to some long forgotten race. I don't know it its asking you if you want a cup of tea or its saying its going to rip off your head and spit down your neck!"

"Well if you have no idea if its friendly or hostile what they hell should I do? If its freindly and I fire this gun I might piss it off. If its hostile and I don't, it might come over here, rip my head off and save its spital for your neck!" The Captain was slowly backing up but he was running out of room. The rear wall loomed behind him. When he finally backed into it he jumped in surprise. The robot had less than 15 metres now. It continued its slow advance, still speaking the unknown language.

The Science Officer shouted a few words of a different language. The robot continued advancing.

"That sounded Matari!" the Captain shouted backing off from the advancing robot.

"It was! Now I'll try Gallente!"

The Science Officer repeated the phrase in Gallente followed then by Amarrian.

"Sorry Captain its not helping."

"Try Caldari!"

"We're speaking Caldari. If it spoke Caldari you don't think it would have understood us already?"


Daichi tried one more time. As he said the words the Captain realised he had no idea what language it was. Whilst the Captain could not speak any of the other languages of New Eden without a translation device, he knew what they sounded like. What ever Daichi was speaking it wasn't Matari, Amarrian or Galletne. The robot suddenly stopped its advance. Its head turned towards the Science Officer.

"That worked!" the Captain said rather pleased the hulking metallic monster was no longer advancing.

The robot started to advance on the Science Officer.

"Oh shit!"

"What did you say to it?" asked the Capitan.

"I think I said 'We come in peace'. I'm not sure, my Jovian is very rusty!" yelled the terrified Science Officer.

The hulking machine stopped directly in front of Daichi. It spoke in a language the Captain didn't know but it was clearly different to the first one it had been using.

"Captain, apparently this is '902DE' and he speaks Jovian!" sighed Daichi in relef.


The five crew members had spent the best part of an hour with the robot. It in fact didn't speak Jovian, however Jovian was very close to a language it did and it was able to adapt. Within ten minutes, and with the aid of Daichi's datapad, the robot was speaking classic Caldanese. They sat around listening in wonder to its story. Earth, Sol, the Milky Way, the Eve Gate. They were the first humans in millennia to know the truth of where the humans of New Eden came from. The robot explained they were on-board a colonisation and stargate building ship. It had been on a 20-year journey to a distant star where the workers would wake and start construction of a stargate whilst starting terraforming of any suitable planets in the destination system. However, halfway through the journey a massive energy wave had washed over them. It had burnt out all of their sensors and they had crashed a few weeks later on the deep-space asteroid. Given the ship was so badly damaged the robotic custodian had never woken the crew. He had waited for a rescue that never came.

"So, we are all descended from these Terrans?" Sansa the XO muttered, breaking the silence.

"Wow, I'm actually related to Amarrians!" Yomon replied in a sad tone.

"What about you 902? What have you been doing for these thousands of years?" the Captain asked changing the subject.

"I have been trying to better myself. I have spent a lot of time in the library studying. I have been particularly interested in philosophy and the meaning of life."

The others cast curious glances around each other. Nobody thinking it would be a good idea to point out the robot was artificial and therefore did not have life as a human did.

"Did you ever look at repairing the ship I meant?" the Captain clarified.

"Oh no, that isn't my job!" the robot replied almost hurt he suggested that.

"Didn't you wake the crew?"

"No. We have minimal food and space. The crew would not survive long if woken."

The Captain sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose. The robot may have had an advanced AI but it was still an AI and thus limited.

"Daichi, Yomon. Get down to Engineering again and take the robot with you. See if anything can be done to fix this flying museum. Furolon, we need supplies, see what you can dig up. Give it a few hours and then find some place to get some shut eye. We saw plenty of bunks on each floor. Sansa you're with me, lets have a close look at this bridge now our datapad can read ancient Terran! We all meet back here in ten hours."


After an hour of searching the bridge the Captain and Sansa moved to the databanks a deck below. They had found little other than mundane orders and a crippled ship from their time on the bridge. The library was next to the databank centre and whilst the Captain looked into the servers Sansa browsed the repository.

"Nope. Nothing of use there." the Captain stated as he re-entered the library. "Anything?"

Sansa looked up from the glow of the screen.

"Sir, I'm just looking at the history on this terminal which appears to be the only thats been used in a long time. See what you make of it." and with that she passed him the datapad that had been programmed to translate ancient Terran.

The Captain looked through the list. 'The Repubic by Plato', 'Critique of Pure Reason by Immanuel Kant', 'Beyond Good and Evil by Fredrich Nietzsche', 'Advanced Cybernetic Surgery by Illian Kraps', 'AI in an Organic Brain by Yomatto Hysera'.

"Well they all sound a bit, erm, heavy!"

Sansa looked back at the screen with a look of concern on her face. The Captain noticed this. He looked at her carefully.

"What is it?"

"These logs show all these books have been accessed in the last week. Why would a robot be reading these all together?"

The Captain rubbed his forehead. He had a proper headache.

"Lets get some sleep! Things might be clearer in the morning!"


Furalen was heading to the Engineering section to see if Daichi and Yomon needed any help. Her search for supplies had been fruitless. Two hours of looking with nothing at all to show for it. The stores she had found were empty which had got her worried. There clearly had been food stored but it was all gone now. On a deserted ship with no humans, why would the food store have been cleared?

As she passed one of the secure doors it hissed open. She stopped and looked, it was dark inside and there was a smell she couldn't place. She looked up and down the corridor, there was nobody there. They had already searched this area when they arrived, she was sure this was one of the doors that had been locked. She peered inside, it was too dark to make anything out but the smell, it was like rotting meat. If this was the galley any food out will have spoiled, but there may be some in storage that might have survived. She slowly entered trying to feel her way through the dark room.

Suddenly the door behind her closed and the lights sprang on. She looked around in horror. Her brain unable to take everything in. She saw the food supplies in one corner but the other things in the room, she couldn't comprehend what she was looking it. She screamed a short scream and her eyes rolled up into her head and she passed out.

One floor down Yomon cocked his head to one side.

"Did you hear something Daichi?" Yomon asked.

The hiss of the cutting torch stopped. Daichi removed the visor and listened. They were trying to get into the cargo hold containing the stargate construction equipment. Although the sensors showed the cargo bay was pressurised the door systems were dead. They had decided to cut their way in. The engineering section was no use and the robot had left them after five minutes explaining it had urgent work to do. They hadn't complained and decided that the next best course of action was to see if any of the stargate construction equipment was useful.

"Hear what?"

"I don't know, like a scream and then a thud."

The two stayed silent for a few seconds before looking back at each other.

"Come on. I cannot hear anything but lets go and check."


The robot was sat at the library terminal when the Captain and Sansa entered the next morning.

"We cannot find our crew mates." the Captain stated "Its been eleven hours." His tone was calm and measured.

The robot looked up from the screen. "They are in room 129D4." it replied matter of factly.

"Take us to room 129D4 now." the Captain said in a commanding tone, his patience running out.

The robot stood and gestured for them to follow it. After five minutes they were all standing at a locked door. The Captain glanced down and saw a handheld plasma cutting torch and visor propped against the wall.

"They are in here." 902DE said as it opened the door and stepped inside.

The Captain felt for the gun in his pocket as he followed the drone inside the dimly lit room. Something was wrong. He held his arm behind him to shield Sansa. The smell hit them almost immediately. Spoilt meat. The Captains eyes slowly adjusted to the gloom as the door closed behind them. The lights then flickered into life. Sansa screamed. They had walked into a house of horrors. It was the medi-bay but no healing was going on. Corpses occupied every bed, each missing limbs. Chunks of flesh and organs lay rotting on the floor. The Captain then saw Furalen. She was strapped upright to a medical table. The top of her skull had been removed and electronics had been inserted into her exposed brain. Her arms and legs had been removed and replaced with robotic limbs similar to 902DE. Her chest had been ripped open and metal plates and electronics were clearly visible beneath the torn flesh. Her blank eyes stared straight ahead as she drooled from her parted lips.

"What did you do to her?" the Captain growled.

"It nearly worked Captain!" the robot said in glee. "I was so close on this attempted. You see the passengers on this ship are too weak for the procedure. I've had 86 straight failures. When they emerge from the cryo tubes they are too weak after such an extended time in stasis. I tried to feed them up but they all failed. But these specimens you brought me! This one was fit enough to go through the entire procedure. Its just the interface between my databanks and her neural pathways. The transfer didn't work but I think when I try next it will be a success, I will be human!"

The Captain glanced around. All around him were the robots failed experiments. It was trying to become a cyborg. Part human, part machine. It had been experimenting on the crew. He spotted Yomon, or what was left of him on one table. Next to him was his Science Officer his head was completely removed from his body.

"It was Mr Daichi who got me close." the robot continued. "Then Yomon help me understand the rejection of the pre-frontal lobe. Then finally Furalen, she almost took the transfer. I felt, I truly felt Captain for the first time. I think it was pain, I don't really know as I have nothing to compare it too, but it was a real feeling. She was able to force me out but in doing so she collapsed her neural link between the brain stem and frontal lobes. She has pure basic motor functions, the brain stem is the only active region. She's gone I'm afraid and she is no use to me now, but I now have the process perfected. I need the younger female Captain. Your body is too old and worn for my needs obviously."

The Captain drew the gun and fired at the robots head. The deafening report from the gun was followed by the tings of metal on metal as the bullets ricocheted off the robots head. It pushed it back and the Captain grabbed Sansa's hand and went for the door. He slammed his palm onto the panel and the door slid open to his surprise. He was thinking that the robot was in control of the doors. He was almost out, dragging Sansa with him when the door suddenly slammed shut at terrifying speed. Sansa just stood there, looking at the closed door that blocked her way. Slowly she cast her eyes down and saw she had the Captains severed hand held in her own. In shock, she slowly turned around to see the robot advancing towards her. She couldn't move, she couldn't speak. She was frozen in terror as the construct reached out for her.


Slowly she began to regain consciousness. The dim room start to come into focus. He arms ached and she felt woozy. She tried to move but she was tied down. Suddenly it all came rushing back to her. Her senses came alive as she realised the danger she was in. She was fixed to the same upright table as her unfortunate crew mate had been. She quickly glanced at her arms, they were still hers and not the hideous robotic things the robot had replaced Furalen's limbs with. The robot had its back to her. It turned as it sensed her movement.

"Ah you are awake!" it stated as it approached her. She looked in horror at the medical circular saw it held in one hand and a syringe in the other.

"What are you doing! Is that to put me under so you can hack me up?" she screamed.

The robot glanced down at the syringe as if confused.

"Oh no. This isn't to put you to sleep. This is to keep you awake. I now know how this must be done. I know I can convert your body to what I need but transferring my neural-net into an organic brain is the most difficult part. If you resist, as your XO did, I cannot implant my consciousness into you. I need your will to be broken, your mind in pieces. Following my last attempt and further reading on the subject indicates to me that by keeping you awake during the various operations to modify your body it will break your mind. When we come to the consciousness transfer, your mind will be so far gone I should have no problem implanting my own into your brain. Seeing, and above all feeling the pain as your body is dissected and augmented, it should be enough to break your mind and allow me to transfer into you."

Sansa screamed and the robot approached. It injected the syringe into her arm and stepped back.

"We need to give that a few minutes. The cocktail will not only keep you from losing conciousness but it also hightens the signals from the central nervous system. In effect it amplifies pain. When I start to cut you open it will be very interesting to watch your expression." the robot said as if it was a science teacher lecturing a group of students.

Sansa panted and she felt her heart-rate accelerating. Beads of sweat formed over her body. The drugs were taking hold. She heard a thumping noise. She assumed it was inside her head and a result of the drugs until she saw the robot turn to the door. She tried to focus but her senses were in overdrive. She was sure someone was banging on the door.

The door opened and the robot staggered backwards and fell. The Captain rolled clear of the toppling robot and into the room. Sansa looked at his left arm. The stump where his hand had been was blackened and burnt. He pulled out his gun with his good hand and aimed it at the robot that was rising to its feet.

"Really Captain. Haven't we already ascertained that the ammunition in your primitive weapon cannot penetrate my external plating?"

"Yes, we have." the Captain replied lowering the gun. At waist height he fired once.

The robot glanced down. There was something sticking from its midrift. Its optics quickly analysed the object. It was a Dyson Mk 8 Plasma Welding Torch. Currently inactive. It calculated that there was a 98.5% probability the Captain jammed it there when he burst into the room and knocked him over. The robot was still looking down at the protrusion when it saw the bullet enter its field of vision and enter the fuel canister. It looked up quickly at the Captain who was pulling the medical table which had Sansa secured, down onto its side, the bottom end facing the robot. The welding torch exploded engulfing the robot in a roar of blue flames. As the flames lapped over the top of the toppled table, Sansa stared into the eyes of the Captain who was laying on his side, shielding her the best he could. The flames died down quickly and the Captain released the ties that secured Sansa to the table.

"Can you walk?" he asked to which she nodded.

The Captain stood and pulled her to her feet. The smoke from the explosion made finding the exit difficult. They finally burst into the corridor choking.

"Well that was..."

The Captain's scream interrupting the sentence. Sansa glanced down to see a metallic arm extend out of the smoke field room. It had grabbed the Captains ankle and crushed it. Blood oozed between the metallic fingers whilst the Captain fell to the floor. The robot emerged from the smoke, dragging itself clear of the room. The explosion of the plasma torch had severed the robot in two. From its torso trailed a mass of wires and pipes, some leaking fluids onto the white floor. It started to climb up the Captains body, ripping pieces from him as it went. Finally it got face to face with him. It opened its mouth to speak. At that moment the Captain free'd his good arm and drove the barrel of the gun into its mouth.

"And how is your internal plating you asshat?" the Captain snarled as he pulled the trigger. His guess had been right, the internal surfaces of the robots head were not protected like the external ones. The muffled bang of the gun was followed by the robots glowing eyes extinguishing and it going limp.

Sansa rushed to pull the remains of the robot off the Captain. She let out a sob when she saw what it had done to him. It had ripped open his thighs, stomach and chest. There was no hope. She cradled the dying man and cried.


The escape pod launched from the derelict ship. Its course automatically aiming towards the nearest star system. A journey that would take many, many lifetimes. Inside the empty capsule was a simple note.

To whoever finds this pod.
The secrets to the origins of New Eden are with me.
I know the truth. I have the proof.
When technology allows, find me at the co-ordinates stored in the navi-com of this capsule.
I am in Cryo-Tube D6-478.
Wake me first.
Sansa, Executive Officer and lone survivor of the Stormcloud.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Test Driving the Orthrus - WTF!!!!

I thought I'd try out the new Mordu's Legion Cruiser on the test server, the Orthrus.

Now lets remind ourselves what a "normal cruiser" is. Here is a dual LSE Caracal, a very common fit:-

Hopefully that's nothing new to anyone. Bog standard HAM Caracal set-up giving 495 DPS out to 25km and a tad under 18k hit points. This is with a couple of Hobgoblin II's and Scourge Rage T2 HAMs. I needed to stick a PG implant in my head to get the twin LSEs to fit plus a power mod in the lows. I went for an EM rig to plug the hole plus a couple of field extenders to shore up the tank.

So I went for something very similar on the Orthrus. As a faction cruiser I'd expect the stats will be better don't you? The fitting is a lot easier and I didn't need the implant or the power upgrade in the lows. Therefore I could fit a DCU and a medium neut even. So lets see those stats and how it compares to the Caracal.

WHAT THE.................?

These numbers cannot be right, can they? If they are, then the new Mordu's Legion cruiser is an absolute beast. Someone must have painted over the 'Battle' before the 'Cruiser' bit.

A 780dps cruiser of doom with nearly thirty thousand hit points? This isn't a cruiser, this is a OMFG I'M GOING TO ROFLSTOMP YOU CUS I'M A BEAST OF A CRUISER!

Its significantly faster than the Caracal at 306 compared to 287.5 m/sec. Signature radius is smaller significantly but obviously shield fits make this vary a lot. Sensor strength and scan resolution are also a lot better on the Orthrus. This is all before we remember its 36km long point range! Its in a different league!

I tried a different fit after mentioning the point range. I swapped to faction missiles and dropped a field extender for a missile flight time rig. I removed the neut and swapped the target painter for a medium cap injector. What does that give me? 680 DPS at 34km range. A nasty kiting cruiser!

In the "looks department" its like the frigate, a more traditional 'Earth near future' sci-fi ship. Something you'd expect to see in a movie set 40-50 years from now. Those side "wingy bits" rotate and fold in when warping (see last two screenshots). But still.... those stats!

Monday, May 26, 2014

BB 56 - My Manor!

Welcome to the continuing monthly EVE Blog Banters and our 56th edition! For more details about what the blog banters are visit the Blog Banter page.

With Kornos and the upcoming industry changes following 6 weeks behind it, things are set for a vast upheaval in the coming months. Before he packed his bags and left Mord Fiddle asked some interesting questions

The common wisdom in EVE Online is that, beyond the odd high-value moon or Faction Warfare scam, there's little in low sec or NPC null sec to the attract ongoing attention of the big-dogs of null sec, with their large fleets and super cap doctrines. It's assumed that NPC space simply isn't worth the bother of controlling even if one could control it.
Is this about to change?
The shift in industrial inefficiencies from high sec to NPC low sec/null sec has begun, adding value to NPC space outside of high sec. In the recent B0TLRD accords CFC claimed two NPC null sec regions, Branch and Syndicate, as part of the CFC sphere of influence.
What is the future of low sec and NPC null sec as the economic center of gravity shifts from high sec toward null sec?

Also, you can take this banter as a chance to discuss the ramifications of the style of play in low sec and NPC null sec if it does happen that major industry shifts there.


Low sec, best sec!

Other than a few months where I went to F1 space I've been living low sec since 2009. Do I personally see a major change coming... no. Low sec is almost impossible to control. You cannot lock people out of stations (whilst the mechanic exists in FW, you can just use neutral alts) and you cannot bubble gates. There are no cyno jammers to secure your system. Low-sec goes somewhere usually so you get lots of traffic passing through. You cannot control low-sec without massive resources and a lot of boring work. It really is like a frontier town on the railroad in the old Wild West.

During the low-sec roundtables at Fanfest it was CCP Fozzie (I think, it could have been CCP Vbi... Viber.... Vybr... no it was Fozzie) who said one of the reoccurring questions for them was 'What is low-sec for?'. And nobody at CCP has been able to effectively answer that question. Hi-sec and null-sec are both clearly defined and everyone knows what they are for. However low sec is a bit of a mystery. I feel the issue here is risk vs reward. CCP are reducing rewards in hi-sec to keep the balance of Low Risk/Low Reward, simple. Null Sec has High Risk/High Reward, simple. Low-Sec is High Risk/Low Reward, wait... what? High Risk/Low Reward?

Whilst CCP are trying to address the balance it is very difficult to make low-sec properly balanced. It might even be impossible. Low sec has got in the last year, or is getting soon (tm) - more wormholes, Mordu's Legion ships BPC drops, better roid belts, tags 4 sec, new implant drops, bonus to manufacturing and research and the list goes on. But the fact of the matter is that the vast majority of Low-Sec residents are PVP'rs, and that will always make it high risk. In fact low-sec is higher risk than many areas of null sec.

During my time in F1 Space (aka null sec, named after the only action you perform in most fleet fights) I felt safer than in low-sec. Due to the lower amount of PvP available deep inside blue territory (not a lot) we'd carebear. Running sites in PvE fit ships as you knew that you'd be alerted to any non-blue from about 10 jumps away. Are the guys mining in the heart of Goon space 'at risk'? Are those running Sanctums in carriers worried? No, its as safe as you can get not including Awoxers.

If you are a small alliance holding some space then you have the 'big risk' that is supposed to accompany the 'big reward'. Do the core members of the CFC have this 'big risk'?

With low-sec this level of security cannot be provided. The enemy can cyno in carriers full of ships and dock up at your home station. You cannot bubble gates to provide time for you to dock up your ratting carrier when a non-blue enters system.

I think that a brave few industrialists will relocate to low-sec. They'll come to an arrangement with the local pirates and PvP'rs for blue status. However I think that null-sec will see the biggest boost to industry but mainly in the big bloc heart-lands. Low-Sec will remain as it is, a battleground for residents and a place for daring hi-sec'rs or bored null-sec'rs to get their occasional PvP fix. Are we going to see hulks and Orcas blotting out the sun in low-sec belts? No. Are we going to see 60bn ISK T2 BPO's dropping from POS's in low-sec? No. That will remain in the bluest regions of null sec and in high-sec.

What we will get is a bit more activity in low sec. The question is, will it even be noticeable?

I was going to end it there, but I don't want to sound negative as I sign off. All the stuff CCP is doing for Low Sec is great. However, the mechanics of Low Sec mean that most people will not dare to do industiry in Low Sec, preferring either the safety of Hi Sec or the productivity of Null Sec. My point is that in many cases null-sec can be safer than Low Sec but rewards in Low Sec should not be higher than those in Null. Therefore Low Sec can never work on the risk/reward balance.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

SCASSSS - Test Driving the Garmur Frigate

For this weeks Sunday Short I had a little play about with the new Mordu's Legion frigate the Garmur on the test server. Its a very nice looking ship, sort of modern day stealth fighter meets the Stargate X-302. Remember there is still time for the stats to change before Kronos releases in a week and a bit!

Rocket Fit
With T2 short-range Rage Rockets you can easily get 16km range with a couple of missile fuel or speed  rigs. Your scram has 13km range so you can be putting out 150dps with no damage mod from 12km orbits. Will be a nasty surprise for blaster boats if you add double webs and armour tank your Garmur. Like most faction frigates you can get a 400mm plate on there to give a nice buffer tank. Obviously the Garmur is designed for shield tanking but I think it'll work the same as the good old armour Kestrel!

It is also a fast ship. My rocket fit was doing 3.7km/sec with a 400mm plate on it. Without the plate I got 4.15km/sec.

Light Missile Fit
Obviously this ship is made for kiting. 36km long point means you can safely sit out of harms way and spam missiles at your foe. Issue here is actually lock range. Your Garmur only has 35km so you really need a SeBo or a signal amplifier if you are kiting at max range. I got 160dps out of the ship with one T2 BCU with 47km missile range with Fury missiles. Capacitor lasts 1:45 which is not ideal for a kiting ship so a cap injector is not a bad idea.

Looking forward to seeing these on TQ.

Friday, May 23, 2014

The Forefathers - Part 1

Fiction Friday! Escape pod here. Sin needs some help with the Angle Project.

This piece contains 'spoilers' regarding the origins of the races of New Eden. I know 99% of players already know this (especially if you've watch the CCP Origins video) but just a warning if you are one of these who has avoided the back-story and doesn't want to know. This is not the fiction for you!

It's a two parter. Concludes next week.

The Forefathers - Part 1

"Cyno is up." the voice crackled over the bridge's comm system.

"Confirmed. Ready to jump Captain!" the officer sat at the helm reported.

The Panther class Black Ops Battleship was ready, its jump drive had spooled up.

"On my mark." replied the Captain Gakoho.

Gakoho was 52 years old. A veteran of the Caldari Navy. When he left the Navy he had two choices, the Legion or Privateer. He had no real love of Mordu's Legion and had saved a great deal of money in his 34 years in the Navy. As a skilled leader with a commanding personality it had not been difficult to convince private investors who were prepared to invest in his own venture. He had purchased the Stormcloud and formed a crew of his own mercenaries. He now competed directly with the Legion, slightly undercutting them when possible. His operation had been a success and he had gain a good reputation of working in the grey areas between black and white.

His current contract was a lucrative one. They had been tasked with stealing some blueprints from a small automated research outpost. Passwords and shield codes had been provided. The main defence was a small fleet guarding the star gate into the solar system with several large warp disruption bubbles deployed. They could fight their way into the system but it would be messy. Also the defenders probably had look outs in surrounding systems who might call for backup when they saw a Panther heading their way. No, this called for stealth. Two hours ago a small covert ops frigate was flown into system. The defence fleet had tried to intercept it but it had made good use of its cloaking device and warped to deep space. It had now deployed a covert cynosural field that the jump drive of the Panther could lock onto. It would then jump to the cyno, warp to the outpost, steal the plans and jump back to safety before anyone knew they were there.

"Jump!" commanded the Captain.

"ABORT! INCOMING BOMBS!" a voice screamed over the comm channel at the same time.

However it was too late. The artificial wormhole had already formed and they had passed the point of no return. The Captain played the possible scenarios in his head. First likelihood was that they completed the jump before the bombs hit. The covert ops frigate would no doubt be destroyed, but the powerful shields of the Panther would hardly be scratched. There were obviously enemy stealth bombers there, they were the only ships capable of launching bombs. His drones would make short work of them, they could then warp off and cloak. They would be safe, but the defence fleet would know they were there and what ship they were flying. The second scenario was the bombs hit before the jump was completed and destroyed the frigate and the cyno. The Panther would lose its destination-lock. The navi-com would seek to lock onto a range of gravity wells in the vicinity and plot a safe emergence point. They could land anywhere in the solar system. This would be the best option as they would be able to instantly cloak without being seen. The defence fleet would know from the local channel they were there, but not what they were in. For all the defence fleet knew they could be flying anything from a covert ops to a capital ship.

"Jump complete in three, two, one...." the helmsman counted down.

There was suddenly a massive explosion and the ship lurched.

"Great!" thought the Captain "They've seen us!"

The ship rocked violently and the main power failed plunging the bridge into the dim red of the emergency lighting.

"What in Divinity's Edge?" shouted the captain over the alarms "Half a dozen bombs cannot hurt us!"

"Sir. We've got main power failure. I'm reading hull breaches... everywhere! Shields are gone, armour is gone and structural integrity is compromised."

Gakoho tried to think. This made no sense. Bombs were designed to work against drones and small craft. Big explosion, huge area of effect, not so much damage against anything bigger than a cruiser. There is no way bombs did this. But the only way this could have happened so quickly is a volley from a Dreadnought. But it had happned the second they arrived, they would have seen a dreadnought locking them.

"Review the sensor logs. Find out what hit us!" the Captain ordered.

The main screen flickered back to life and replayed the moment they jumped in. There was only a second of footage before it turned to static.

"Replay, one tenth speed."

The second time didn't show anything more than space.

"Captain. Look how dark it is!" Daichi the Science Officer commented.

The Captain stared at the screen. He was right. Whilst space was naturally dark, the view screen was showing a vision of the blackest black he'd ever seen. He looked at the prongs jutting from the front of the ship. There was no light hitting them, none. They were just black silhouettes.

"We didn't make it to the system. We're in interstellar space!" the Captain said incredulously. The bridge fell silent as they gazed at the view-screen.

The silence was broken by the crackle of the comms system.

"Bridge, this is Engineering. Do you read?"

"Affirmative Huras. Hows it looking down there?" the Captain replied.

"We've got some major problems Captain. The ship took some major damage, we've had a huge section ripped from our port side. In fact the section is so large it almost reached Engineering. Its ruptured the cooling system for the reactor. I have my boys using the reservoir to keep the pressure up, but we are having to use a cube every ten minutes. In 50 minutes the reservoir will be dry."

The Captain groaned.

"How long after that until the pressure drops too far?"

"Once the reservoir is dry, five minutes, may be ten, then the system will seize. Five minutes after that the reactor goes critical. We cannot repair the leak, all the equipment was lost. We cannot shut down the reactor, the controls are too badly damaged. There is nothing we can do Captain. I can give you an hour, but after that, we're gone."

The Captain was aware all eyes on the bridge were on him. "Daichi, worst case is we take to the pods. Is there any point?"

The Science Officer thought for a second.

"Sir, it was a four light-year jump. If we got really unlucky and landed at the mid-point that is a shade under 19 trillion kilometres. So our escape pods will take somewhere around 260 thousand years to get back to either system. Pity their life-support systems are only rated for 72 hours. Not that it is really an issue as even in a cryo-tube nobody could survive that journey."

"Right, we've got half an hour to save our arses. Lets hear your ideas!" the Captain barked.


The Captain slumped in his seat. They had got nowhere in the last 30 minutes. They were stuck on a dying ship trillions of kilometres away from civilisation without warp speed or jump drives.

Every option, idea or solution had been exhausted.

Wearily the Captain activated the ship-wide communication system.

"All crew this is the Captain. Our in-cyno was taken down before we completed the jump. For some reason the Navi-com dropped us in interstellar space. We think we landed in an asteroid belt. That is what the Navi-com locked onto and what we hit when we emerged from the jump. The ships reactor will go critical in thirty minutes. I've activated the escape pods. However, you need to remember there is no hope of escape. Nobody can find us out here, nobody will be coming to the rescue. You have the choice. Remain on the ship for a quick exit from this life, or take the pod which will give you three or four days more. It has been an honour serving with you all."

The Captain stood and approached the bridges weapon locker. He keyed in his code and pulled out a pistol and ammo.

"Well I'm taking the pod, but with insurance so I have a choice. Good luck all. I'll launch in five if any of you chose the extra three day option."

With that the Captain entered the escape pod and sat down. Soon several other bridge crew joined him over the next few minutes. The 8-seater escape pod had three space seats as it launched from the ship.

"So this is it? I have the pleasure of you four for the last 72 hours of my life?" Furalen the Security Chief laughed.

"Comments like that might reduce that 72." the captain joked waving the gun. "72 hours if we are lucky. Daichi said that any asteroid belt out here will have fast moving rocks. Back in solar space the gravity of the planets and stars tend to hold the roids in place in proper belts. Out here there are no planets or stars so no residual gravity. The smaller rocks are likely to be orbiting the larger ones which may themselves be orbiting even bigger ones. Its likely to be a huge ball of fast spinning roids rather than a traditional belt. Yup, a big ball of spinning minerals and we have no idea where we are as its so damn dark out there. We could be wiped out by a chunk of Veldspar at any second."

"Oh cheery" replied Yomon the helmsman "I assume all that spinning metal is why pod-to-pod communication is down too?".

"No. Our pods communication system relies on the fluid-routers of stargates to work. Technically the communication isn't pod-to-pod, its pod-to-gate-to-pod. With no gates near, no communications."

"So we've got no way of contacting anyone, we could be wiped out by a speeding hunk of rock at any moment, oh, and don't forget a battleship's reactor is about to go critical in our near vicinity. We could all be vaporised in a ball of superheated plasma in a matter of minutes."

A silence fell around the pod at the situation they found themselves in.

As the time neared everyone knelt on their seats looking out through the small viewports. Huras' calculations had been close. Less than two minutes after the predicted time the ship exploded in a massive explosion. For the first time the area was lit. Daichi was right about the asteroid "ball". It was an amazing sight, various sizes of rock orbiting each other. The rock at the very centre was vast. The Captain suddenly jumped out of his seat. The others looked as he raced over to the small command console. Whilst the escape pods were automated, they did allow for manual control if required. The Captain swung the pod around and started towards the asteroid ball.

"Er, Captain. What are you doing?" asked a wary Furalen.

"On the big rock at the centre. There was something on it." the Captain said concentrating on the controls.


"Something! I'll tell you more when... if... we get closer!"


The five crew stepped out of the escape pod in wonder. The Captain had been right, there was something on the huge asteroid in the centre, it was a ship. It was clearly derelict but the escape pods rudimentary sensors had shown it had life-support still functioning. There were no life-signs, only weak electronic signatures. When close enough the Captain had spotted an open hanger door. As he slowly and carefully guided the pod through the vast door it had closed behind them. They had assumed some automated system detected the presence of the incoming pod. The hanger had re-pressurised and the Captain had been the first to step out.

The construction of the ship was totally alien to them. It resembled none of the five Empires of New Eden and did not even appear to have anything in common with the Sleepers or any of the ancient civilisations recorded.

"8,000 years!" Daichi said in wonder.

"What?" asked the Captain looking at his Science Officer who was holding a small hand scanner.

"I'm analysing the air Captain. It is possible to calculate when the nitrogen atoms were last exposed to UV radiation!"

"So?" asked Gakoho.

"So? So this air was last on a planet eight thousand years ago."

The group fell quiet. Surely this ship couldn't be that old. However, they each thought of the possibilities especially that the construction matched none of the known races of New Eden. They slowly spread out and and investigated the rest of the hanger. Power was minimal but the lighting was sufficient for them to see. The strange writing on the walls meant nothing to them. Even Daichi who spoke all four languages and even some Jovian couldn't read the strange writing.

Eventually the group congregated at what appeared to be the main door.

"So Daichi. Thoughts?"

"Its an ancient ship. Pre-dating even the Talocan, Yan Jung, Takmahl and other related civilisations. The writing on the wall appears to be several languages. The first one you see is the main language I suspect, but the other two are perhaps translations into other languages. The characters are wildly different, I would guess the crew of this ship were from several ancient races."

"I don't suppose you know what that says then?" the Captain asked pointing to the small dull green screen next to the door. Daichi bent down and looked at it.

"I would guess Captain it says the corridor or room behind this door is either pressurised and safe to open or a complete vacuum and if we open it we'll or die horribly. However, I have no idea what it actually says."

"Best guess?"

"Green for go?"


Several hours later the group entered what appeared to be the bridge. Lights automatically turned on as they entered. The large viewscreen on the far wall showed the surface of the asteroid and into space.

During their extensive search of the vessel they had found vast cargo bays filled with unidentifiable machines and constructions. The engineering section used technology that nobody had ever seen before. The reactor was still functioning although nobody had any idea what type of reactor or fuel it used. Several sections of the ship were sealed off and inaccessible. The entire ship was an enigma.

"Nobody touch anything! We have no idea if the button is for ordering a sandwich from the mess or the auto-destruct!" the Captain called out as the various crew members spread around the bridge.

"Actually Captain, I think I can make out some of the text." Daichi called as he lent over a console. "I think this is for the propulsion systems."

The Captain wandered over and looked at the dust covered console.

"You can read that?" he asked surprised.

"Not properly but I can take an educated guess as some of these words. That there is the lateral thrusters." he said pointing to a small section of buttons in the top left-hand corner.


"Well I was thinking that one of the current languages of New Eden might have been a descendent of this ancient language. Then I found a common thread and worked from there."

"Is it Gallente?" asked the Captain.

"No, its all of them. I can now see elements of all five Empires language within this one. Academic belief is that all the Empires came from one place. The fact we are all share such similarities in our DNA means it is highly unlikely that we evolved independently on the different planets. The issue is nobody knows who seeded the planets. Our stargates were reversed-engineered from ruined gates we found when we started to explore space. Whilst not universally accepted, the most popular belief was this proves that there was an advanced race that colonised the area millennia before us. It is believed that there was a great war, disease or disaster that affected them. Over the millennia their outposts reverted to a pre-industrial age, lost all knowledge of the past over the generations and finally rose once again."

"You mean like the Talocan?"

"No sir, I mean millennia before the Talocan."

The Captain stood there looking around. Was this it? Was this the proof that all of New Eden's races were descended from the same race? Did this ship belong to the long lost relatives of all of New Eden's races past and current?

"Sir. You need to see this!" Daichi called out from the adjacent console that he had moved too.

The Captain moved over and looked at the screen. Strange characters were scrolling through.

"Means nothing to me." he said shaking his head.

"Its names and life signs. There are people on this ship sir. People who are alive in some form of suspended animation!"

The Captain look at him in shock.

"Alive? After eight millennia?"

"Yes sir. All 10,000 of them."

"My god! Are they a...."

The Captain stopped suddenly as a loud noise was heard echoing from the corridor leading to the bridge. The five crew stopped what they were doing and turned towards the door. The sound was footsteps. Heavy, metallic footsteps. The Captain wrapped his hand tightly around the gun. Someone was coming.

"Could another pod have made it?" the Captain whispered to Daichi.

"Negative sir. There was only one hanger door open and that door closed behind us. Even if another of our escape pods found this ship, they have no way of getting inside."

The heavy footsteps grew louder. The Captain raised his gun as a huge humanoid shadow emerged from the dimly lit corridor....

To Be Continued...

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Show Your Colours!

So the stations with their new factional skins are on SiSi!

The Quafe one is a bit in your face with that bright blue!

Also if you are into your skins there is the NEW New Eden store. The NeX has been put down and you now access the in-game store via the character selection screen.

And finally the new Crow model. Oh yes.....

Monday, May 19, 2014

Stolen - Greyscale's Guide to Good Forum Posts...

...or "This is How CCP Greyscale Likes to be Rubbed on the Forums".

CCP Explorer (@erlendur) highlighted on Twitter this exchange on an Eve-O forum thread about the R&D changes coming to Eve industry. I have posted it here in case:-

1. You are not on Twitter, and/or,
2. In case you haven't read through 50 pages of the thread on the R&D changes. 

I think this needs highlighting outside that threadnought.

Basically someone made a detailed post and CCP Greyscale replied to it saying "This is a good post". This then got this reply from an outraged player that was not happy that CPP Greyscale had said that the other guys post was "good":- which CCP Greyscale responded. I've stolen (Copied & Pasted) his response from the forum below as this is a good (excellent) guide on writing a forum post in response to a Dev Blog/planned changes and you want to make your point to an actual developer. 

"YOU HAZ RUINDZ MY GAMZ! I HATE YOU!!!! DIAF!!!!11!!!!1!!" doesn't work as well apparently!

Yeah ok, this is a reasonable question.

Preface: I am British (as evinced by the fact that I spell my name the way the Queen intended when she invented the English language), so all my expressions of emotion are compressed around the midpoint. To translate into eg American, exchange "good" for "excellent".

1. Here's the general guide, in approximate order of importance from my personal perspective

- Be calm and reasonable. Angry posts are harder to process, both because the actually worthwhile bits tend to be broken up by the angry bits, and just because it takes additional effort to filter out the negative vibes while you're trying to extract the useful information.

- "Show your working". The single most useful thing you can do in a post is to explain, in as much detail as possible, why. Simply stating things you believe to be true is somewhat unhelpful, as it's incumbent upon us as developers to be able to explain why we are making changes, and also to filter out things that players are saying because they are true from things that players are saying that they mistakenly believe to be true from things that players are saying that they know are false but hope will sway development decisions anyway. For both of these reasons, an explanation of why you are saying what you are saying is the biggest thing you can do (in combination with the previous point) to get a developer to make changes based on what you're saying. A lot of people seem to be under the misapprehension that simply stating their opinion should be enough for developers to change their mind; this isn't viable for a number of reasons, but the most obvious one is that any given thread will generally have multiple players stating mutually contradictory opinions. We have to be able to pick between them somehow, right?

- Be specific. I love players who actually present numbers rather than just saying "that is too big", because it makes it very clear what they're actually hoping to see, and gives context for what they find reasonable.

- Consider the whole picture. It's very easy to express an opinion about things that affect you directly. It's much rarer for people to consider how the changes they're suggesting affect other players, particularly those of different playstyles or levels of experience. As developers, we have to consider everyone, and that often involves tradeoffs. Your common-or-garden post says "this is what *I* want", and we have to then synthesize all those different points and figure out how to balance competing interests. Showing at least an awareness of this, and better still actually accounting for it in your working, is a good way to make a post more useful to a developer.

- Have a good, short opening paragraph. If your post starts off badly, I will jump through it quickly looking for anything that sticks out, because I have lots of posts to read and other work to do. If you catch my attention with your opening, I will read it carefully. Note here that I'm not saying it has to make an effort to be catching or provocative, just that a clear, well-written paragraph which meets all the other points in this list suggests that it's a post that's probably worth reading slowly.

- Be novel. Posts bringing up things that haven't previously been mentioned in the thread are generally more useful than posts repeating the same thing that's been mentioned twenty times. I want to properly clarify this: I'm *not* saying not to repeat points, or even that doing so isn't useful. Seeing the same thing brought up multiple times is a good indicator that there is a broad concern about a particular thing. It's not as powerful as a single post laying out succinctly and convincingly why a particular thing is problematic, but it's still useful information!

- Be nice to read. If you can be gently witty, or format and punctuate your post so it's easy to read, that will always score bonus points.

2. Nothing in this thread has been outright ignored. With fifty pages I'm happy to hold up my hand and say that some posts I skim-read because, as above, I have other work to do too, but I have read every post for some definition of "read". I have not replied to every post raising an important point, for a variety of reasons:

- In many cases a reply doesn't really add anything to the discussion

- In some cases that you are considering important posts, I probably simply didn't find the points they were making particularly compelling. YMMV, obviously :)

- I can't reply to everything, both because it would take forever and because it would destroy the rhythm of the thread.

- What a developer does and doesn't reply to tends to, over time, influence the character of the forum. I am less likely to respond to a post which makes good points in a bad way, because while good points are good, bad presentation is bad. Conversely, people making really good posts I will go out of my way to reply to, because I would like to see more posts like that.

3. This is kind of repeating the first question, at least in the case where I take it seriously rather than snarkily. I'm going to use this opportunity then to say why I replied to Shoogie's post:

- He starts off by giving a suggested rank for Titans. I am immediately reading this post carefully. There have been a lot of posts saying "caps take too long to research". Here is somebody actually proposing a solution. Excellent. (Yes, I note that he said the same thing earlier, I guess I didn't catch it the first time round? Sloppy reading on my part, sorry.)

- Good paragraph length, well written, clear, not angry. Good.

- Shows his working for what factors he's taking into account, and covers some edge cases (Hyasyoda lab). Lovely.

- Considers that his suggested number might be too low. I love posts which consider the possibility that they might be wrong, it shows great awareness of how balance actually works and suggests that the author is carefully considering their suggestion.

- Frames things in terms of typical player reactions, this is both a sign that the author is thinking about things from a good perspective, and also allows us to figure out where they're coming from and what other assumptions are being made.

- Thinks about new players in a way that's not transparently just about advancing their own interests. Rare as hens' teeth.

- Writes out a goddamn table, I love this, saves me doing math :)

- Thinking about interesting decisions, which suggests a decent understanding of game design principles.

- Considers the impact of other changes happening at the same time, which has been surprisingly uncommon in in the discussion of industry changes as a whole. (Also doubles down on this in the post about job costs a few posts further down.)

- Wraps up with some other suggestions for changes, and also mentions things he thinks seem reasonable as-is.

You'll note in my response that I don't agree with everything suggested, specifically with regard to T1 ammo. But the post as a whole is an excellent post that hits a whole lot of "good post" checkboxes at once, and as a result is really damn useful to me as a developer. In the absence of anyone else's input, and given that such things are within certain bounds largely arbitrary anyway (ie, there's no obvious compelling reason to home in on any specific number from a balance perspective), I may just end up kicking Titan rank to 600 simply because Shoogie suggested it and his reasoning looks sane.

Hopefully that answers your questions? Is there anything else you want to know about this stuff? I'm always happy to put in the effort to explain things if I think it'll result in better posting in future :)

Sunday, May 18, 2014

SCASSSS - Whump! There It Is!

As a sad sci-fi geek one of the features I'm looking forward to in Kronos is the new warp "sonic booms". Yes the Legion ships look cool and the Quaffe Stations are awesomely blue but this simple effect is my favorite.

I spent some time trying to work out where the flash of light was spawned. I had one character sat still whilst another warped between two celestrials. It appears the flash of light depends on the ship. With an Interceptor the flash is very close to where the ship lands. 60km or so.

With a cruiser it is further away.

The 'warp to' was the same in both shots. The inty 'whumped' planet side of the POCO and the Cruiser on the station side. I tried warping a dreadnought for effect!

I'm looking forward to seeing whole fleets dropping out of warp soon(tm).

Friday, May 16, 2014

The Body

Fiction Friday! Escape pod here!

The Body

Thanan looked down at the equipment laid at his feet. The rifle would be quick, the grenade even quicker, the knife not so. However, he would still lose the week. A week of memories. A week of seeing his squad mates die and then being left all alone. Why was he so reluctant to get back to his normal routine if the only thing that he would lose is the memories of that past week.

Thanan was a cloned soldier. An immortal fighter who's brain-scan would be transferred at the moment of death to a waiting clone. However he had a problem. Unlike capsuleers brain-scans who's quantum entanglement method meant their scans could be transmitted over any distance, his was much more short range. There was no way any of his clones were now within orbital distance of the planet, his comrades retreated one week ago. He was not doomed however. Whilst the detailed brain-scan would be lost, his stored consciousness would be burnt into a new clone on the system receiving notification that his latest body had died. That simple signal had a much longer range. However that version of his conciousness stored in the databanks was a week old, scanned before he deployed on this godforsaken barren planet. He'd have the same memories as he had before the deployment. Everything that had happened in the week after would be lost forever.

"So kill myself and lose a week of memories, or...." he asked himself, trying to think of an alternative.

He picked up his gear and slowly made his way back down into the valley. The wrecked Clone Revival Unit vehicle had long since stopped smouldering. The five graves next to it stood as a reminder. He wondered for a while why he had buried his fallen comrades. They were not dead. Their brain-scans might have not made it back to a friendly CRU in range, but that would just meant their older stored brain-scan would have been burnt into a new clone. They were up there somewhere in space,back to their normal lives, with no idea what happened down here other than they came to this planet and died.

Thanan sat on a nearby rock and pulled a protein bar from his pack. His food was running low and on this barren planet there was nothing to forage. He chuckled that he was initially worried about his bodies reduced life-span. 5-years for a typical clone soldier which had a metabolism off the charts. He estimated with the food salvaged from his dead comrades he had a months rations. He sat on the rock and looked at the CRU vehicle. The call for full retreat had been made and they were heading back to the CRU for pick up when it had exploded. In a battle you rarely questioned why something exploded, you were just glad it wasn't you. Looking at the twisted metal Thanan started to wonder now. He was no expert in bomb-damage assessment but looking at the wrecked vehicle, it looked like it had exploded from the inside out. He finished chewing the protein bar and went to investigate. Surely a missile or hybrid round penetrating the vehicle and exploding inside would mean there would be an entry hole.


Thanan sat back down on the rock and started to think. Now he knew it wasn't a missile or a railgun round that had hit the CRU but something inside that had exploded he needed to know why. An enemy operative may have got a satchel charge inside but unlikely. Even if they used cloaking technology to get close, CRU's were sealed. In the heat of battle nobody went inside, they only exited. Then there was the way his five brothers and sisters had fallen. One at a time, taken out by some unseen assassin who had left him and only him. He recalled the order. Gamma 3 and 4 were found dead the next morning after the retreat. The assassin had come from the north and taken them out at their watch positions. Nova knife to the neck. Gamma 2 was next, a single shot ran out. A dead body was found, no killer. Then it was Gamma 6 and his squad leader, Gamma 1. She had gone with Six to patrol the camp perimeter together. When they had not come back Thanan had gone looking. Gamma 6 had a nova knife embedded in his forehead. A blood trail led away from the scene which he had followed. He finally found Gamma 1 five hundred metres away. She had been stabbed in the stomach and slowly bled out as she was crawling to....

Thanan sat upright. Where was she going? Surely she should have tried to make it back to camp for help. She had gone in almost the opposite direction. Was she confused? Had the assassin been approaching the camp so she crawled the other way? Or was it something else. He sprang to his feet and jogged towards the spot he'd found Gamma 6. His mind raced. Why hadn't the assassin come back for him? Why take out five of the six of the squad over three nights and then leave one surviving? Why use an assassin? The enemy had a full force of their own clone soldiers and tanks. Why not just steamroller through them if they knew they were there?

He started to think more wild scenarios. One stuck. The assassin stopped because the assassin was dead. The assassin was one of them. Its the only way the CRU could have been destroyed from the inside out.

He reached the spot where he had found Gamma 6. The rocks were black with soaked blood. He followed the blood trail of his squad leader. She appeared to be heading to a small hill about a kilometre away. Thanan picked up the pace and headed to the hill.


"Vital signs good. Temperature slightly elevated. Heart-rate is a tad high. Clone consciousness transfer was successful. Are you OK Captain Arant? Captain?"

"Erm, yes. Sorry its been a bad few days down there." the naked woman replied.

"I understand." the medic replied "Well you can get dressed and return to your quarters. We'd like to see you in the morning just to check you over again. There was a slight issue with the burning procedure. The AI recalibrated the process and we are not sure why. It might be as you have been gone a week in such a rich environment there was more neural data to burn."

The woman smiled and nodded before rising and opening the locker. She glanced behind her to check the medic had left. When she was sure she was alone she turned and looked at herself in the mirror. A slight groan escaping her lips.

Thanan stared at the pair of breasts being reflected in the mirror.


The door chime went off and Thanan rose from the couch and approached the door. Thankfully the datapad in the locker had guided him back to the right quarters. En route he had to stop himself several times from approaching his own quarters. The small screen showed a Naval officer in full uniform. 

Thanan opened the door.

The officer entered and smiled warmly at her.

"All done?"

"You mean all dead?" she replied.

"Yes. Did you experience any problems, you were very late."

"Gamma 6 gave me some problems."

"Oh, really. I trust he is no more?"

"His body is rotting on Notoras One if that's what you mean?" Thanan replied trying to remain calm.

"Excellent. Now we know the long-range transmitter is effective we can move forward. I will arrange for you to be head of the protection detail on the transport. With the rest of your team killed in action it will now be easy for me to reassign you to the protection detail without arousing any suspicion. Same situation, kill the squad and you'll find the transmitter in one of the crates. Set the charge, get out and Admiral Blie and his staff can go suck some vacuum. Then I'll have access to the blue prints. We're going to be very rich Arant. Very, very rich!"

At mention of the transmitter, Thanan thought back to the planet. At the base of the hill he'd found a small cave. It wasn't deep, some 10 metres or so and the entrance had been camouflaged by netting. Inside he'd found a neural scanning unit. Following cables he'd also discovered a satellite dish hidden outside. It was a set up designed to scan a persons brain and transmit it a great distance. This is how that bitch was going to get off-world. Unfortunately when he'd activated the machinery he'd woken in her clone. Realising this, he knew he had to play the part to find out who was behind this. Now he knew what it was all about, blue prints of advanced tech, he now needed to know why. His guess was the most common reason for criminal acts, money. The rest of his squad, his friends, had been killed simply to allow the Captain to be reassigned.

"But the money. Don't you shudder to think where its come from?" Thanan asked. It felt strange speaking and hearing a woman's voice.

The Officer laughed.

"Who knows where the money actually came from. The Legion have their fingers in many, many pies. You weren't so bothered when we got the first payment for the extended warp disruption technology we sold them the last time. Why worry now?"

Thanan had it. It was the infamous Mordu's Legion who were buying the technology.

"Ah, yes."

The Officer looked worried.

"Are you OK Arant? Is something wrong.

"I'll be OK after this." she replied.

"After what?" he asked.

"This!" Thanan snarled as he slipped the knife from the back of their belt and rammed it into the belly of the officer.

"By the way, I'm Thanan. Also known as Gamma 5. Have a nice death." he snarled in the officer's ear.


The Admiral strode into the holding cell. The woman was handcuffed and sat on a small metal chair bolted to the ground.

"OK Captain. Make this quick. I understand you'll only talk to me. You have 1 minute before I walk out and leave you to be shipped to a Federal Intelligence hearing. You'd better have a good reason for killing that officer or your going to be put to a death from which there is no returning."

The woman smiled.

"Its Lieutenant by the way. I killed that Officer as he wanted me to kill you. Is that a good reason?"

The Admiral looked carefully at the woman and took a seat opposite.

"My information says your Captain Arant not a lieutenant. And why would a Federal Navy Officer want to kill me?"

"This body belongs to the Captain that is true. However, I am Lieutenant Thanan, designation Gamma 6."

The Admiral started to rise shaking his head.

"I assume you think I'm pretending to be crazy to escape the death sentence. However that bitch apparently already sold our extended warp disruption technology to Mordu's Legion and was after some further technology that she and that officer would have had access to if you died in a tragic transport accident."

The Admiral sat back down.

"The fact that the Legion has Federation warp disruption technology is very closely guarded secret. Only a select few know about that leak. The fact I am transporting other Federal high-tech blueprints at the end of the week is even more classified. That you know about either of those things gives you an additional five minutes." the Admiral stated. "Start talking, from the beginning."

The woman smiled and lent forward.

"Well Admiral, before I tell you any more, can we discuss me getting back into my proper body! I want to talk a piss and I'd rather do it standing up!"

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Fanfest - The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

Final post on Fanfest. My version of the good, the bad and the ugly which a few attendees have done since getting back.

The Good

Pretty much everything. The future is looking bright with CCP focusing on the Eve Universe and the PC as a platform. I still would like to see some proper mobile apps for Eve on the smartphone or tablet, but lets remember, the PC is where the best stuff happens.

Eve Valkyrie is amazing fun. Using your head as an additional controller is a weird feeling, but the experience is epic. Katie Sackhoff's video. Fracking awesome.

The fans. Met some fantastic people at Fanfest again. Some old, some new. People might be eternal enemies in game, but in person with a pint, we are all best buddies.

The development plans. Although you needed to speak to people as you didn't get all the information from the keynotes and round-tables, it appears the development of Eve-O is going the right way. Don't know why CCP aren't talking more about what's happening under the hood and the reasons why its being done Industry>POS>Corp/Alliance>New Space/Stargates. Anyway, its all looking good.

Permaband. Nuff said.

The Bad

The lack of promotion for the PvP available. We came across the Eve-O PvP by chance. It was a lot of fun. Would have been nice to have it better promoted. Come to the PvP Arena, murder some important spaceships and win prizes! That's all it needed in the brochure!

The merchandise. Might be my personal taste but I'm not a fan of the currently available Eve stuffz from Musterbrand. I don't want a fashionable tee with ship names printed on it. I don't want an overpriced hoodie that looks "cool". I want "Can I have your stuffz?", "You mad bro?" and "Go back to WoW" ;) Sounds like improvements will be made soon (tm).

No cocktail at the Blue Lagoon! But, but, but, you promised CCP!

The Ugly

Well unfortunately we had two very ugly incidents at Fanfest. First up was the vandalism of the Worlds Within a World Monument. Some dregs of human life thought it would be funny to scratch someone's name off the monument. Thankfully the three responsible have been permabanned, one 'helper' has got a six month ban and they've all been banned for life from Fanfest.

The next is the Red Fanfest. Now I believe CCP are doing the right thing dialling down development on a game on a dying platform. But, and its a HUGE but, telling the players this as they did was dumb. The Fanfest program stated that players would hear about the future of DUST514 at the Keynote. They didn't. The keynote was two parts - "Here is a look back over the last year" and "This is Project Legion!". They got the most unsubtle hint that DUST514 was being left on the vine to wither and die. Now this is bad, but if what I was told by certain people at the party that both the CPM and the CSM have been saying this was a bad idea for THREE MONTHS is very troubling.

So there you have it. Fanfest is an awesome experience and if you've not tried it yet I would recommend you do. Whether you have a large group that wants to go, just a couple of you or even if you are flying solo, just do it.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Bug Swatting

I undocked in a Tristan yesterday and started to scan the plex in system. As I did a Atron undocked, saw me, made range and aggressed. I knew there was no point in agressing back as he was kitey and I was short range. So I docked and undocked again.

I found a Merlin and a Tormentor in a plex as I restarted plex scanning but that Atron started attacking me again. So I docked and undocked again. He was still there and tried a third time. This time he really started to piss me off. So I docked, swapped ships to something more suitable to deal with a random in a kitey Atron and came back out. He was gone!

I scanned that plex again and the Merlin and Tormentor were still there, plus an Atron.

It then dawned on me were I was looking. The plex was located hard right out of the undock towards the Kedama gate. I know that approach to the station very well as you never land within insta-docking range from that approach. You always have a few seconds of burning even warping to zero. I quickly docked up and undocked a Cockbag Thrasher. As I undocked I turned a hard right and tried to judge the range. Nisuwa station has a massive undock radius and I thought it was something like 30km from the undock point on that approach. Then I waited.

I kept updating the scan....

Merlin, Tormentor, Atron....
Merlin, Tormentor, Atron....
Merlin, Tormentor, Atron....
Merlin, Tormentor, Atron....
Merlin, Tormentor, Atron....
Merlin, Tormentor, Atron....
Merlin, Tormentor, Atron....
Merlin, Tormentor, Capsule!

So they'd got him, only question was would he warp to the station direct. Of course he would, why not.

He landed slightly out of optimal and outside of point range. I'd miscalculated! I quickly overheated my long point and fired my pre-overheated guns. The volley took him down to low armour (he was nearly triple optimal range.)

I watched the guns cycle slowly. I assume he was spamming dock. Finally the guns fired. One less kiter and one less 100m ISK pod! Could have been better, but there is some satisfaction in swatting an annoying fly!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

SCASSSS - Profiting from Burn Jita

I got talking to an industrialist at Fanfest, sorry completely forgot his name.... I'd had something to drink at that point!

I do remember he told me he'd lost a freighter at this year's Burn Jita which shocked me. My reasoning was:-

"You are here at Fanfest, therefore you are probably more engaged in the community than most players. How did you not know this was happening?"

Then he explained why and restored my faith in those cunning, manipulative players that inhabit the Eve-O universe. Whether this is true or not I'm not 100% sure, but this is what he claimed.

He got boosters into system as well as implants to vastly improve his tank.
He Leeroyed his freighter into the Goons and tanked for as long as he could (90 minutes he claimed).
When they finally took him down he had kill rights on over 200 Goons.
He sold them for 20m a pop each.
He lost one freighter, but in doing so he made over 4bn selling the kill rights.

I don't know if this is true or he was just winding up a drunk Drack, but if it is true, sir, I salute you!

Friday, May 9, 2014

The Pest

Fiction Friday! Escape pod here.

"Can you write a story about me?". It was late in the Celtic Cross at the #tweetfleet meet the Wednesday night before Fanfest officially started. What could I say? For a start, the lady sat opposite me asking the question was wearing lace-top stockings which automatically inclines me to say yes to absolutely anything. Oh, and I was drunk. So I started thinking, what story could I write? Then after the Party on Top of the World and her experiences there, I had an idea. Oh.... and the 4 titans chat up line.... true story. o.0

The Pest

The Thrasher class destroyer dropped out of warp two kilometres from the immense space station. Its dull blue-grey lines blotted out the solar system's star some 6.6 astrological units behind it. The rings of the adjacent planet made this station particularly scenic. The craft shuddered as the warp-drive fully cut-out and the sub-light engines kicked in, propelling it the final short distance towards the station.

At around 800 metres from the station the ship shuddered again as powerful tractor beams locked onto the relatively small ship and pulled it into the cavernous ship hanger.

45 minutes later the Captain of the Thrasher entered the bar on deck 5. This was one of the high-security decks reserved for capsuleers, the immortal pilots of New Eden, and the top executives of the mega corporations.

As he entered the bar, Drackarn noticed her immediately. She was sat at the counter chatting to the barman. As usual for him, he started his assessment from the floor up. The boots were Gallente, one of the top fashion houses. The stockings were Amarrian, only the Amarr could produce silk that pure. Like many capsuleers, Drackarn had neural implants that vastly increased his perception. However, they were not needed to see the hint of the lace top of the stockings that were just visible under the short red velvet skirt. Her midriff was bare revealing a toned stomach. The tight red velvet top matched the skirt. A jewelled necklace hung between her breasts. Her hair was mid-length and a dark reddish brown. She was highly attractive. 

Drackarn passed her and entered one of the booths and sat down.

The barman came over and greeted him. He was already carrying a bottle of Drackarn's favourite vodka, a small ice bucket and one glass.

"Any company tonight sir? Yvette and Maria will be here in 15 minutes." asked the barman referring to Drack's favourite companions on this station.

"Not at the moment thanks Franc." he replied.

The barman nodded and returned to the bar. Now seated behind the mysterious woman Drack saw a glint of metal on the back of her neck under her hair. An implant socket. She was a capsuleer. He pulled out his datapad and looked at the list of capsuleers registered as docked at the station. He saw the mysterious woman's profile picture and brought up her details. He nodded thoughtfully and a slight smile crossed his lips.


Drackarn sipped on the very expensive vodka and watched a small group of capsuleers get exceeding drunk over the next 45 minutes, whilst keeping an eye on the attractive new-comer. He watched as they laughed amongst themselves and occasionally glanced back over to the attractive woman at the bar who paid them no heed. Eventually one appeared to work up the courage to approach her. His friends staying seated and trying not to make it obvious they were watching.

"This could get very interesting" mused Drackarn who sat back and watched, sipping his ice-cold vodka.


"Hi there." the capsuleer said as he approached.

"Hi." replied the woman with a smile.

"Can I buy you a drink?" the man asked.

"Thank you for the offer, but my partner will be here shortly." she politely said.

"Oh... right." replied the man rejectedly. He returned to his friends to a chorus of whoops and hollers.

It was five minutes before another of the group tried. The results were the same with the lady turning him down politely and his mates making a big thing of his return.

Finally the man Drackarn had assumed was the leader of the group rose to his feet unsteadily. He swayed over to the woman.

"Hey babe. Those two amateurs not enough for you? How about a real man!"

The woman looked at him and smiled.

"Sorry, as I told your friends, I'm waiting for my partner."

"Is he late? I'd never be late if I was banging a fine piece of ass like you!" he slurred.

The woman looked at him trying to hide the look of distaste.

"They'll be here, it might be best if you went back to your friends. I think you've had enough!" and turned back to her drink.

"Hey bitch! Don't you turn away from me when I'm talking to you. Do you know who I am?" he hissed.

The woman casually picked a up her drink and took a sip.

"No, I have no idea." she said sounding bored.

"I have 64bn ISK in my wallet and I have FOUR titans!" he shouted in her ear drunkenly.

The woman turned around, smiled and she slid off the barstool. As she did her skirt rode up ever so slightly and the drunken man stared opened mouthed at the glimpse of the black satin suspender belt.

"So you have four titans?" she purred seductively.

The man nodded with an idiotic smile on his face thinking he'd landed the jackpot. The woman's hand moved with lightening speed and grabbed him between the legs. He made a sound somewhere between a moan and a shriek as she twisted. His arms flailed at his sides, not daring to strike her or try to grasp her hands by in case he made it worse.

"You couldn't leave it alone could you, asshat!" she spat "Now I have to put you down in front of your friends just because your a drunken idiot!"

With that she twisted again and released, allowing the man to drop to his knees, sobbing and cradling his wedding tackle.

The woman picked up her bag, thanked the barman, left some credits on the bar and walked out.


The Punisher class frigate was on scan towards the Gallente medium complex. It had taken Javad a lot of trouble to find this capsuleer. First he had to question the barman to who that bitch was. At first he wouldn't tell him.

"Trust me man, you do not want to mess with her. Take this icepack for your junk and put it down to experience." the barman had said.

But there was no way Javad was going to do that. That bitch had humiliated him in front of his friends and he needed payback. Finally he'd got a name from the bartender along with a second warning not to pursue it. Next, Javad had approached a friendly mega-corp agent who would find capsuleers, for a price. He'd had to pay 100,000 ISK to get a locator run on the bitch. In a few minutes it would all be worth it. She was flying a Punisher class frigate, he was in a Cormorant Destroyer, she stood no chance. The plan was to capture her pod and kill her. Then he'd recover her corpse and send her a video of him defiling it. He chuckled at the thought. His destroyer dropped out of warp at the acceleration gate. The Navies of New Eden tended to build their outposts in deadspace pockets. Areas of space where naturally occurring subspace phenomena meant warp drives would not work. This required an acceleration gate to propel craft to the area which created a bottleneck for any enemy forces.

"OK guys, get ready to warp to me. Your job is to hold the gate and make sure no back up comes to help the bitch. Do not enter the 'plex, this bitch is all mine!"

With that Javad activated the acceleration gate. The gate took hold of his ship with powerful gravaton beams and aligned it towards the deadspace pocket. Immense forces propelled his ship along into warp speed without the use of warp drive. 

As the warp tunnel collapsed and he arrived at the site he saw the frigate 20km from him. He immediately engaged the sub-light engines and start to lock his intended victim.

"Boss. We've got a Thrasher class destroyer on scan towards you. We think it warped to the gate as you entered."

Javad laughed.

"No problem, we'll kill him too after I have..... oh fuck!"

Javad couldn't believe what he was seeing. 50km behind the frigate space itself shimmered. A Falcon class recon cruiser decloaked and started to burn towards him. In a panic he tried to select a planet to warp to but was too late, the Punisher frigate had locked him and had scrambled his warp engines. A couple of seconds later his targeting systems went offline, jammed by the Falcons powerful electronic counter measures.

"Its a trap! Ignore the Thrasher! Slide the gate and help me!"

There was nothing but radio silence.

"Report! Where the fuck are you guys?" Javad almost screamed in comms.

A few seconds later the comm system chirped.

"Sorry boss. We are both down. That Thrasher was sat stationary on the acceleration gate. He's insta-lock artillery, massive alpha. Took us both down before we could react. Suspect he's cockbag fit."

"You were in a Griffin!" Javad screamed referring to the Caldari ECM frigate, a distance relative of the Falcon class cruiser that was currently jamming all of his targeting systems.

"Sorry boss. I landed and he took me down before I could lock him. You did say fit for max jammer strength and no tank. Aide had a tank, he landed a few seconds after me and it took that Thrasher only two volleys. Either way, we are both down and podding back to base."

Javad started to panic. The Punisher was now doing serious damage to his shields. His warp drive and micro warp drive were both offline, his sensor systems were swamped from the Falcon's jamming and his ship was also affected by a stasis webifier. He couldn't warp out, he couldn't hardly move and he couldn't fight back. The low shield alarm echo'd in his ears as Punisher continued its assault. All he could do was sit there and take it.


The structural damage alarm sounded signifying the Cormorant was almost doomed. Javad screamed in frustration as his destroyer started to break apart. He was plotting his escape route as his capsule ejected from the wreckage. His plan to warp to planet 5 and then escape was suddenly ruined as the Punisher locked the capsule and scrambled its warp drive. Javad spat at his own stupidity. The Punisher had been set up with a huge scan-resolution, the same as his ship. He'd gone after the bitch with the same idea. With ECM for backup, there was no need for tank as the other ship wouldn't be able to fight back. The darkness of space was lit up as the Punisher fired its lasers into the defenceless capsule. As the capsule breeched Javad's consciousness was recorded and beamed back to his home station to be implanted into a new clone.

"S8, this is Drack. The acceleration gate is clear and as I'm only seeing the three of us in local, I assume its over?"

"Affirmative Drack. Thanks for the assist. We expected he might have back-up close."

"Roger that. Setting course back to Nisuwa. Give me a shout if he tries anything again."

A female laugh echo'd over the comms channel.

"Drack, this is Misty. Thanks for your offer but I doubt he's going to mess with us again. He's learnt his lesson."

Drackarn aligned his Thrasher class destroyer to the distant stargate, wondering if the rookie pilot truly understood yet that death was not an issue to the immortal capsuleers of New Eden. Surely she didn't think downing that asshat once and podding him would send a clear enough message. He decided not to say anything and engaged the warp drive.


Javad opened his eyes. As normal the bright light of the Clone Revival Bay stung his new eyes. He could make out three or four figures moving about the other side of the glass. His brand new eyes not focusing yet. He blinked a couple of times which improved the fresh clones vision. What was taking so long? Usually they had him out of the Clone Revival Unit by now and were testing his functions. He banged a fist on the glass. Finally there was a hiss and the door to the revival casket swung open.

"Well its about time! What the fuck are you clowns playing....." Javad stopped speaking. He should be looking at a couple of lab technicians and a doctor, but he was actually looking at four huge men. Matari, from the Brutor tribe. Javad suddenly realised he was naked and vulnerable.

"Who.... who are you?" he stammered.

"We're your welcoming committee. We are from the MGRL and are here to make sure your new body is in peak condition by giving it one of our special workouts."

Javad screamed as the hulking men started to strip off and advance towards him.