Sunday, 31 March 2013

There's always a bigger fish

Kor-Azor Region
Orus Constellation
Daran Solar System (0.2)
18:39 EVE Time (Local System)

The capsuleer relaxed into his chair on the bridge, as his officers worked quietly and efficiently behind him, allowing himself a slight smirk as he considered the relatively flawless attack on the mining barge yesterday. It had been the first live combat test of his Pilgrim Class Recon Cruiser, and it had performed admirably well against the target, despite the fact the barge was relatively unarmed and defenceless. Initial results looked promising, and he hoped to find a more dangerous target this time.

Deep in the middle of the system, between the local star and the entrance gate, his ship hung in space, invisible, deadly, and waiting. With his D-Scan providing the perfect tool to track movement inside system, all he had to do was wait for a suitably foolish pilot to attempt to earn a few bounties from the local belts. While such a ship would be equipped for combat it wouldn't hold a torch to his Pilgrim, and it would still be an interesting test. All he had to do was be patient.
He closed his eyes…


The capsuleer was awake instantly, eyes flicking to his sensors operator, Hunley.

“Have we found something?”

Hunley nodded, still a little nervous of the capsuleer who had hired him and a few other officers only a week ago. The pay offered had been astronomical, and he’d jumped at the chance to leave his homeworld in Evati, as had the other crewmembers. The fact that their captain was obviously a pirate and not too choosy about who he shot at was being politely ignored by the rest of the crew.

“Scanners have picked up a Maller Class cruiser. He’s been in system for around eight minutes now, without moving on.”

He caught the slight tightening around the capsuleer’s eyes and felt a short stab of fear, wondering if he’d done something wrong. There was silence for a few seconds before he spoke.

“Excellent. Start tracking him”

Hunley breathed a quiet sigh of relief and moved back to his station.

“And Hunley?”

Hunley turned back to the capsuleer, expecting a reprimand of some kind. Instead he saw bright eyes and a wide smile.

“Good work. Keep it going and I might move you up from basic pay”.

The capsuleer gave him a wink before turning back to the main viewscreen on the bridge. Hunley went back to his sensor suite feeling a little numb. This was basic pay? He was already on 1000 ISK a month, an incredible amount. At this rate he would be able to retire within the year to a nice HighSec resort. He shook himself before the daydream started, he had work to do first. Moving his hands to the scanner controls, he opened a link to the camera drones outside the Pilgrim. Rotating the view to match the scan direction, he linked the two together and began pointing the camera/scanner duo at the nearby belts, on a narrow beam to clear out the clutter.

Scan empty
Scan empty
Scan empty

He was starting to get a little worried now. The Maller had been on 360 degree scan only a few minutes ago. He switched back to a full range scan and felt panic start to set in. The Maller had gone.


Hunley whipped around to find the capsuleer watching him.

“Have you found it?”

He felt sweat break out on his brow. He had heard stories of what happened to crew members who had disappointed their capsuleer captains. Most of them ended with said crew member vanishing and suspicious meats appearing in cheap restaurants.

“Ah, no, the Maller appears to have left… Sir.”

Another silence that seemed to stretch out into infinity as the capsuleer simply watched him, expressionless. Hunley was painfully aware of the other bridge officers watching them, waiting with bated breath to see what the immortal would do to him for his failure. 

With a slight shrug, the capsuleer turned to his comms officer, Sastan. The bridge officers perceptibly relaxed. It looked like they were safe from becoming dog food.

“Has there been any changes to the ship idents in system?”

Sastan shook his head.

“No Sir, Local channels report the same numbers as before. Four capsuleer registered vessels in system including ourselves.”

“Then he’s still here. Navigator?”

The navigation officer jumped slightly, not expecting to be called on while the vessel was motionless in space. She stuttered a little.

“It’s uh-uh Cole Sir”

Another smile.

“Well Uh Uh Cole, are we in scan range of all of the belts?”

She quickly checked the distances from the navigation database.

“Actually Sir, there are four belts outside of our scan range. Would you like me to move the ship there?”

He nodded.

“Move us to the planet. Thirty kilometres off the warp-in incase he’s sightseeing, I don’t want us decloaking until we’re in range to attack.”

There was a barely discernible shimmer as the Pilgrim aligned itself to the planet almost 30AU away. Within seconds the hidden engines flared, and the cruiser dropped into warp. The capsuleer strode back towards the central viewscreen, suddenly much more commanding and serious.
“I want scans the moment we get in range of that planet. Hunley, if you can find me that Maller  within fifteen seconds of us landing you’ll be in my good books when I look at pay rates later”
The young officer nodded furiously and devoted his full attention to the sensor screens.
Greed is a good incentive for these officers the capsuleer thought. Maybe I should fly cruisers more often. It’s certainly less lonely.

The Pilgrim dropped out of warp near the gas giant, sensors making discrete sweeps over the nearest belts as it hunted for any sign of its target.
Scan empty
Scan empty
… Maller Class Cruiser Detected

“We’ve got a signal Sir!” Hunley shouted elatedly “Belt three!”
The captain glanced back, no emotion on his face.
“Get us into warp now. 10 kilometres off the beacon.  And call battle stations, we’re in for a fight this time.”

The bridge suddenly became a blur of activity as officers rushed to their stations, each wanting this mission to succeed for the generous bonuses they would get afterwards, and the hope they could help their families with such money. Red lights began flashing throughout the ship, warning the crew to prepare for the rigors of combat. The distant pounding of boots along gantries could be heard as the fire control team ran for their positions, along with the slight hissing of the drone bays decompressing in preparation of a launch. Another short surge of acceleration and the Pilgrim fell out of warp only ten kilometres from the Maller Class Cruiser they had been hunting, the Maller's lasers already lancing out at the local pirates, cutting through their armour and melting the superstructure underneath.


They watched silently as the capsuleer decided on a plan of attack.

“Okay. See that wreck off to the side? The ship he’s already killed? He’s going to come back and loot that after those two pirates are dead. We’ll sit above it and wait for him to come to us. Then we’ll decloak and grab him before he has a chance to realise what’s going on.”

Tthe cruiser gracefully turned in a loop towards the wreck that was only fourteen kilometres away, aiming to curve behind and above it. As they cruised steadily in position, the viewscreen showed the footage from the multiple camera drones outside. The Maller was making short work of the two non-capsuleer crewed pirates despite the fact they were both heavily armed battleships against a much smaller cruiser. As the Pilgrim crew watched, one of the two battleships, an Armageddon class, exploded like a miniature sun as the Maller’s energy beams swept over its fusion cores.

“Christ” whispered Cole.

Hunley glanced over at her awestruck face, understanding implicitly. The terrible power capsuleers wielded was never so clear as when they were in combat, bringing death to foes many times bigger than their own ships with a combination of lightning reflexes, ferocity and a true disregard for their own safety. Even though he knew the Maller was no match for the Pilgrim on paper, he couldn't help but feel a slight twinge of doubt as he watched its lasers carve straight through the second battleship, splitting the hull in half and explosively decompressing the bulkheads. Debris flew out into the cold vacuum of space.

Cole coughed quietly.
“Sir, we’re in position”

The capsuleer didn’t even look away from the viewscreen.
“Good. Now strap yourselves down. I’ll be taking control of the ship for this.”

Hunley eyed his fellow officers, who all gave him similar glances back. Of all the things the immortals could do, effortlessly commanding a ship through their minds scared him the most. He strapped himself into his seat as everyone else followed suit. Even the immortal strapped himself in, apparently needing to concentrate on flying the ship rather than balancing on a heaving deck.

Outside, the Maller had finished looting the two battleship wrecks and was moving steadily towards them. Hunley watched the navigation screen, just visible over Cole’s shoulder.




A sudden surge of movement.

The Pilgrim decloaked, lit its afterburners and began locking the Maller within seconds of it entering scrambler range. Hunley shook his head. That sort of timing would take years of training for a human crew to perfect, but this capsuleer had done it like it was second nature, but then Hunley suspected it probably was. There was a faint whine as the scrambler spun up and stabbed out across the blackness of space, immobilising the warp drives of the now stricken Maller. It was quickly followed by a stasis web in order to keep it sluggish, and within range. Hunley glanced over at the capsuleer. Eyes closed, his arms gripping the sides of his chair, expression victorious, he looked every bit the pirate captain claiming his prize.

Drones” he whispered.
Within an instant, the drone bay doors were open and five deadly Valkyrie II drones swept out into the black, autocannons mounted on the wingtips already spinning up. They surrounded the surprised Maller and began spewing explosive rounds into its thick armour plating.

Disruptors”.  A slight smirk now.
The weapons array opposite Hunley suddenly blared to life, quickly hacked into the weapons systems of the enemy cruiser, and began streaming false calibration data to the deadly lasers. Beams of light stabbed all around the Pilgrim, but incredibly none of them hit her.

Neuts”. The final blow, and the awful smile on the immortal’s face showed he knew it.
Two crackling beams of energy flicked out from the Pilgrim and contacted with the Maller, where they stuck fast like two giant golden leeches. Within seconds, the lights outside the cruiser flickered and went out. The lasers slowed in their attempts to track the Recon Cruiser, before grinding to a halt and going dead, power sucked out of them by the advanced energy weapons mounted on the Pilgrim.

With no energy, no way to escape, and no method of defense, the Maller was going down fast. Flames billowed out from multiple hull breaches before they were quickly snuffed by the vacuum outside. Each explosive round from the Valkyrie drones was ripping huge chunks out of the armour, and Hunley could already see lifeboats being ejected from the less damaged aft of the ship. A final round punched straight through to the volatile fusion core that was still struggling to supply the vessel with power, causing it to catastrophically overload in a matter of seconds.

The Maller exploded violently, pieces of superstructure pinging off the Pilgrim’s shields, while larger pieces of armour plating spun off into the nearby asteroids, shattering them into dust. The “pod” of the opposing capsuleer was flung out too, keeping him alive. Within seconds it had corrected explosive spin it had received and warped off towards the entrance gate.

Hunley sat back with a sigh of relief, not wanting to admit to himself that he’d been scared all the way through the engagement despite the obvious ease his captain had showed in dispatching the Maller. The immortal released the clasps holding him in his seat and stood to face them all.

“Excellent work people, but we still have to get the loot onboard, bring the drones back in and rescue those lifeboats. I doubt they’ll last long out there. Chuck all the prisoners in the cargo bay and we’ll drop them off next time we dock.”
He smiled at them again.

“Also I think you’re all in dire need of a bonus after that.  Now get to it.”

At the mention of another bonus, the crew sprinted for their duties.


Phew, that was alot to write!

I apologise to those readers who prefer a crisp, concise battle report, but I quite enjoyed the narrative process of my previous post, so I thought I'd run with it and actually involve some other "characters", even if they're only mentioned. Obviously the unnamed capsuleer is Seraph, my main, and it was pretty fun to give him a personality and "life" of sorts through my blog. Yes I'm fully aware capsuleers control their ships through their pods instead of using them as advanced lifeboats, but I thought it was more interesting storywise to make Seraph control the Pilgrim infront of the crew on the bridge. I'm pretending his implants allow him to control his ship without having to be plugged into it. Kinda like high-tech space Wi-Fi.

So shut up Myo.

Of course, I wasn't expecting the story to drag on quite as long as it did, but I enjoyed writing it so much I didn't have the heart to start chopping it down. Apologies again if you're the "Tl:dr" type. Maybe I'll do a weekly story based on a killmail or something and get a proper storyline going to link them because this is pretty fun, but I'm fairly awful at character development, so it's probably unlikely. However, I'm kinda tempted to get Zendrak involved in this story lark too. Some sibling rivalry maybe? I've already got some ideas...

But have no fear, my blog will be back to its normal style within the week, I just felt like doing something fancy for my 100th post and this one was simply a continuation of that.

Fly safe!

Oh yeah, and that title was of course a direct quote from Star Wars. I'm not even sorry.

Monday, 25 March 2013

What lies in the depths

Kor-Azor Region
Ami Solar System
Jatari Constellation
Ami Solar System (0.4)
14:49 EVE Time (Local System)

The gate flashed once in depths of space, bright and sudden. All was still for a few seconds before a mining barge decloaked, appearing almost wary in the strong light of the nearby star.

The pilot inside breathed a sigh of relief at the empty scene played through his camera drones, a blind jump into LowSec in an unarmed Mining Barge was a risky move, capsuleer or not, but he had timed it well. The locals were around halfway through their normal sleep cycle, and he estimated he had a few hours before system activity would rise and become dangerous again. But those few hours would make him rich if he could mine the rare ores that only could be found in LowSec systems.

With a short pulse of the engines, the Retriever Class Barge was aligned to an asteroid belt just outside of D-Scan range of the gates. The young pilot reasoned this was a smart move, less dedicated pirates would assume the system was empty from their scan results and move on, while the more dedicated pirates would have to move deeper in system to detect him, time he could leverage to reach the safety of a station before they even narrowed down his location. With a sudden acceleration, the barge dropped into warp, and disappeared from the space surrounding the gate. Nobody had seen him.

Or so he thought.

Scrub detected on D-Scan

A short time later, the barge pilot was ecstatic. He was positively surrounded by high-grade ores. He had only a few short hours, but they would be profitable hours and he looked forward to his work. Setting the scanners to ping for active ships every five seconds, he switched his attention to the mining lasers, experienced eyes easily picking out the low impurity rocks. The two major tasks done, he pulled the barge about a few degrees, the nose pointing slightly in the direction of his closest station, just incase the worst happened and he had to bolt quickly. Preventative measures established, he felt almost comfortable as he contemplated the slowly spinning rocks outside, outlined brilliantly by the local star. "LowSec is dangerous for sure, but nowhere near as much as some make it out to be" he thought. "Take sensible measures and you're guaranteed a certain level of security and saf-"

Imagine the "Jaws" tune here
Collision alarms blared throughout the bridge as the ship lurched sideways, throwing the young pilot to the deck as the automated anti-gravity systems aboard the ship attempted to prevent a catastrophic collision with something outside. Scrambling to his feet, the capsuleer swung his camera drones out in a spiral, trying to find what had almost crushed his brand new ship like a tin can, expecting a large asteroid to have rolled past a little too close for comfort.

Instead he saw something far more terrifying.

A golden Amarrian cruiser, highlighted with blood red streaks flowing down its flanks was burning past barely two kilometres away from his hull. As he watched, mouth agape, his ship's systems chimed a lock-on warning, and his sensors bleeped a positive identification on the ship outside, a Pilgrim Class Recon Cruiser. Time slowed down, his capsuleer enhanced brain allowing him to work quickly through his options.

"Fantastic" he thought furiously, "I don't even know what this thing does". Instinct, however, took over. Despite the disturbing ease with which the cruiser had snuck up on him, he still had a chance to escape. Quick as a lightning, he ordered an emergency warp from the ship's engines through his implants, barely noticing the worried chirps of his mining drones as they picked up the emergency warp broadcast and sped back home. Mining drones or not, he was leaving. They were hardly worth anything and he was already aligned out to safety. He waited hopefully for that sudden tug as his ship fell into warp, but nothing happened.

He suddenly realised, with a deep horrifying clarity that his ship's attempts at preventing collision to save him, had also doomed him. Pushed out of alignment, the Recon Cruiser outside had forced his ship into a checkmate. Panic seeped through his veins, for once in his life unsure of what to do, but it was already far too late. With a barely tangible "thwump", he felt the Pilgrim activate its warp scrambler, followed shortly after by two lancing beams of energy across his hull. Expecting his ship to be vaporised by lasers, he was surprised when he saw his shield readouts still at maximum capacity.

Scrambler in range annnnnd... surprise!
Feeling slightly more confident now, he realised he might have a chance to survive long enough for his corpmates to come to his rescue. Drones spewed forth from the Pilgrim's frontal drone bay, weapons glinting dangerously as they orbited his stricken ship. In response he activated his shield booster before turning to his comms array, planning to call for help from his allies while his shields fought against the marauding drones outside.

"The capacitor, is empty"

The pilot froze. Impossible. He knew from experience he could cycle that booster several times before he even came close to emptying his power reserves, and this was the first cycle. The drones outside were already spewing hybrid rounds, tearing through his floundering shields and punching straight past his limited armour plating. Smashing his fist against the control console, he barely caught the first few lines of the Pilgrim Class Specifications, which had appeared automatically on his screen a few seconds after it was identified by the ship's AI.

Specialised Energy Warfare ship. 
Should be considered extremely dangerous up close. 
Has the ability to warp while cloaked.

Despair descended on the young capsuleer. His defences had been torn to shreds like paper, and already he could feel his pride and joy decompressing from multiple hull breaches. He knew he wouldn't survive this, he only hoped the end would come quickly.

It did.

Yep, massive drama post about ganking a barge in LowSec. Sue me.

Also, happy 100th blog post!

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Old friends, New home

Hey guys, it's been a while. Yeah I'm not dead.

I entirely blame my own laziness. I've been logging into EVE every few weeks to plug new skills in, but I'd lost the buzz since Christmas, that thing that draws you back into this great world and makes you excited to undock again. For some reason I couldn't work up the excitement to play. So my accounts languished, remembered only by the occasional dropping of new skills into the queue, usually long ones so I didn't have to bother with logging in every few days. I payed for them with PLEX, knowing I could only do this for so long. Not playing + paying with PLEX = Slow drain of finances.

And it was. I went from around 5-6bil in liquid ISK on several accounts to barely over 1bil. It wasn't looking great, but luckily I managed to sell a character of mine a few days back, so I'm back up to around 5bil again, plus now I'm back into to market trading, so maybe I'll be SpaceRich again soon!

But what's happened? What have I been doing since December?

Well dear reader, if you've been here a while, you may remember Adamas Anima, my old corp who I found early on in my EVE days, and stayed with for almost a year. I had so much fun with these guys, they had a great sense of humour and were eager to participate in everything. But then our LowSec tower was attacked, we lost almost 2bil in blueprints and our attempt at moving into NullSec ended in several disasters.

The corporation basically collapsed at this point. I had already left to join Gallente FW so I wasn't massively affected, but all the great guys (and some girls) I had met and had great times with splintered across EVE, joining NullSec corps, HighSec corps or disappearing altogether. Sad times indeed.

So fast forward a few months, and I'm leaving Faction Warfare. Not a few days after this post, I'm contacted by my old CEO and good friend, Myopic Thyne. He pretty much tells me Adamas is being reborn as Shattered Paradigm, and this time, we're going to do it right.

...How could I refuse?

Stay tuned, fly safe ;D