I want to take a moment to apologise for the abominable length of the third chapter... I really didn't want it to go that way. Alas, the Muse, harsh mistress that she is, kept me working on it til it was 'finished'. What I have learned is this:
Never, ever attempt to write a fictional roaming op again.
I don't know why I decided it was a good idea. I have no head for tactics (one reason why I refuse to FC) and really am not good at visualising situations like that. It ended up a twocked mishmash of several of the more unpleasant ops I've been on in the last year (though with a far more sensible FC than we had on that first Irmalin incursion; I still hold Inz and OAM responsible for that Utter Failsauce event which saw our entire fleet decimated); the Eris is a nod to ExM who forced us through a gate into its bubble and proceeded to squish us with all the passion of a kid stepping on ants (ahh, Exquisite Malevolence, how I miss being on uncertain standings with you).
This chapter really does sum up my earliest Eve experiences, including the pants-shitting terror of my first nullsec excursions. I'm pleased with how I was able to keep all names fictitious (no existing characters or corporations were abused in the writing of this story), and I was trying hard to translate Eve -- complete with crazy character names, text-chats and random system crashes -- into an in-character experience.
This story is set well before the speed-nerf. People have probably noticed I've given support crews to frigates -- as I responded to Ombey's post on the Eve Library forums, it seems foolish to assume that nothing will break that a pilot enclosed in a pod cannot fix: I figure a minimum is four crew plus someone to keep an eye on the capsule and make certain everything is interfacing properly. It doesn't matter to me if the Devs finally admit that there's only a capsule in a frigate -- a ship the size of a Boeing 747 jet cannot function safely with one person alone :p
But anyway, apologies for any of the glaring errors and stupid tactical decisions I put in Chapter Three. I'm trying!