Thursday, 24 December 2009

Skyhook audio record

'What're you having?'

'Oooh, accepting a drink from a pirate? Does that compromise my duties?'

'Oh, cut the crap. I swear, every damn time we meet...'

'Aw, I'm just poking fun at you. They don't care who we drink with, as long as we don't cut you any slack when we're on-duty.'

'I'd be offended if you did.'

'I know you would. I'll just have my usual.'

'Not feeling adventurous?'

'If you had any idea what I put up with every day at work...'

'I have a vague notion that you CONCORD buggers sit around and find inventive new ways to make my life harder.'

'Oh, if only it was that easy. Table over there's free.'

'I see it.'

'So what's up with you? The computer system's registered some recent changes. Raised an eyebrow or two, that did.'

'We're, ah... trying something new.'

'Well, you've certainly found a colourful group of associates. Good luck breaking them in; you know what the average pilot thinks of lowsec.'

'They'll just have to harden the fuck up. But there's more to it than that.'

'I figured. You gonna share, or do I have to go sifting through several terabytes of comms logs?'

'You? Abusing the privilege of your position? I'm shocked.'

'In a nuns' priory, in the middle of the night? Ding-dong. So?'

'I'll be taking a few trips out to null.'

'And there it is. Not going straight, are you?'

'You're joking, right?'

'There's the last piece. That'll be interesting to watch. Don't forget when you're in highsec that popping innocents will actually cost ya.'

'I've not been gone that long.'

'Two years is long enough. Well, I wish you girls luck. Have you said anything to your dad?'

'He knows. It amuses him, I think.'

'It would. So... have you seen the latest Evirn Halmaya holo?'

'Ugh, you watch that stuff?'

Friday, 18 December 2009


I remember when I was a little girl -- back before Mum left, and before my little brother got big enough to fight back -- Dad took us on a trip to Gallente Prime.

This was a big deal back then: he had just retired from his Navy service and had stumbled into politics rather by accident than by intent. He'd simply been a victim of saying, 'Somebody ought to...' one too many times, and one of his old drinking buddies finally responding, 'So why don't you?' Mum had been enamoured of Dad's position in the Navy when they'd met, hooked up and married, but wasn't too keen on the shift; she said a regional planetary governor's position was hardly noteworthy after Dad's service record.

But Dad had ideas. He'd spent thirty years of his life in service to the Federation, and felt he could better help his people from the ground they walked than from a station looking down on them. Mom was not one to suffer in silence, and things were just beginning to break down between them.

From his modest governor's salary, Dad scraped together enough to charter a private Exequror-class cruiser from Athinard to Luminaire. He booked tours of historic monuments and museums all over the system, got a hotel room not too far from the Crystal Boulevard so he could take Mum shopping. For what we had at the time, he really went all-out.

The flight there took a while, since they didn't want us to get sick during warp. I was supposed to be paying attention to my tutor, but what I really wanted was to be stood with my nose pressed to the forward viewscreen, watching nebula-dust flash past. Too bad the VI noticed and gave me a mild static shock through my tablet stylus to get my attention.

I tended to get zapped a lot in class. 'Head always in the stratosphere, need to bring you back down to earth,' the Virtual Instructor had said when I complained, once.

My brother Val had been all excited about going to the places we'd only heard about through class and docudramas. Me? We were in space. SPACE! It was my first dream come true, and I had to attend classes as usual even though we were on holiday. How unfair was that?!

But lessons were over soon enough, a jump or two before our destination, and I could not get away fast enough. At some point, Dad joined me in the forward lounge on the level below the bridge, where I stood with my hands and face pressed against the transparent material, oblivious to everything but the stars.

He ruffled my shoulder-length mass of red curls. 'Pretty, isn't it?'

I nodded without taking my eyes from the view, utterly entranced.

I heard him take a seat in one of the chairs behind me. 'I used to stare through my skylight at night when I was your age, and wish I could be out here. Six years later, they let me into the Navy, and I never regretted making that wish come true.'

'Is piloting even better than this, Daddy?'

He chuckled. 'As different as this is from riding in a hovercar. Down here, we're just along for the ride. But up there on the bridge, the captain and crew are all a part of the ship. They have holo-projectors so that they see things the way the ship does.'

For the first time, I turned away from the view, just as we coasted past the sun. The shifting light made the shadows in the dimly-lit lounge slide across the walls. 'Do capsule pilots have the same thing?'

'No, they have something different.' He patted the seat beside him, and I went over to hop up and snuggle against Dad's side. He put his arm around my shoulders. 'They have a full neural interface with their ship, and their crew are just support. The capsule allows them to actually become their ships.'

'Oh.' We watched in silence as the ship slowly sailed up to the gate, and there was the soft ping alerting the passengers to strap in for the jump. My stomach twisted and I felt dizzy for a moment; then the world returned and the view out the window had changed.

Dad's hand squeezed my shoulder. 'Does that sound like something you'll want to do in a few years?'

I nodded just as Mum's voice came from the door behind us, 'Do you really want to be giving her that idea, dear?'

Dad half-turned to look over his shoulder. 'I don't see why not. If it's something she wants to do with her life, she should be allowed to try.'

'But there's so much more for her...'

'You mean less dangerous.' Dad gave that low laugh again. 'Also more mundane and more boring.'


'Aevy, I'm not going to discourage our children from finding happiness their own way, and this isn't the time to have the same old argument.'

Mum sighed. 'I was just wondering if you'd like a drink. The captain says they have a bottle of Heurot '87 set aside. Complimentary.'

It had always been a sticking point between them whether to ecourage me and Valar to make our lives planetside or let us reach further. Mum had always had the daft notion that I'd be a stunning fashion-designer or some such, possibly because I spent so much time drawing. When I finished my formal education, I'd gone along to the art institutes to humour her, but the attitudes there had disgusted and -- at one place -- outright offended me. When I entered the Naval prep academy at 16, she stopped sending me messages; after the hounding she'd given me about it, I was relieved. Val never got the same treatment, prehaps because she felt a Navy career was better-suited to boys. I don't know; I don't care, anymore.

To this day, I feel annoyed that my decision to pursue somewhat less-than-legal activities has pleased her, since piracy is SO much more glamourous than being a boring old naval officer, don't you think, darling? The holos never do show the harder side of it, after all. But Dad... Dad had to publicly disown me, in order to not lose political face. Despite that, he reached out to me through Valar, and we send messages regularly via a reroute set up by an acquaintance of mine.

I learned more from Dad than I maybe thought, at first. We both break the rules in our own ways, and are utterly unashamed about it.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Too long

Real Life has dealt me probably the worst hand yet. All I can say is I'm not happy to have to leave Scotland, my boyfriend and all our friends and the familiar places behind. And I'm really lucky my parents were willing to take me in while I try to restart my life. The last month or so killed a lot of my actual playing time, and then there were a couple weeks wherein my PC was in separate components waiting to be installed in a new case in the US.

It's been hellish. At least Eve looks pretty, and I was able to get my PC together in time for the first Hellcats bomber roam.

Picture time! I'm taking sov map pictures every day to track the changes, so for right now, you get a shot of Shae's homeworld. I was kind of paranoid that it'd turn out to be an inhospitable lump of rock in the new planetary graphics, and I was so incredibly happy to see that it's still a pretty, temperate world with cities.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Ill-Prepared in Essence

I was overseeing the refitting of practically my entire fleet -- and cursing myself inwardly for not remembering to pick up new rigs -- when trouble walked into my hangar. I knew she was trouble because she was a Naraka pilot I'd spoken with a few times.

'Hey, Heyna.'

'You need to come out with us, Shae.'

'Why's that?'

'We just popped a Drake out there. C'mon, it'll be fun! My first time FCing.'

I scrubbed my hands over my face. 'What kind of ships?'

She shrugged. 'Something that'll tank sentries.'

Tanky. My Hyperion was still back in Evati; that left the Brutix or the Myrmidon. And the Myrm was...

'I'll have to go to the other station for a ship.'

'No big rush, we're all waiting out the clock.' Heyna headed back out, leaving me looking at three half-fitted ships, four fully-fitted ships that lacked rigs, and a bunch of bewildered hangar techs.

'Yeah, drop it, guys. We'll finish up in the morning.'

As soon as I got to the Tekeli-Li, I realised there was a problem: she was still wearing an older fit from a year ago which wasn't quite up to withstanding sentry-fire. I'd have to engage carefully.

I joined the gang on the gate to Onne, and as we were waiting for everyone else's timers to finish, a Nighthawk warped in and started shooting Morwen. I considered getting involved, but a fragile battlecruiser tank vs sentries plus a command ship didn't seem like good odds; I was left sitting on the gate watching and fretting over what I could do.

Morwen escaped, then the Nighthawk turned on Myrhial and pursued her fully a hundred klicks off the gate til she finally got out of his scram range and warped off with her Drake's hull smoking and riddled with holes. The command ship warped off to the planet and Myrh went to the station for extensive repairs.

We sat there for a bit while the scouts checked Onne and the next system, and Heyna made the call to wait in safes in Vitrauze til Myrhial was repped up and ready to go. I was just about in warp when the Nighthawk came back to the gate, slapped a scrambler on my warp drive, and started shooting.

I sighed and rolled my eyes, considered the situation, then politely asked the gate crews if they'd let me jump.

Of course they would.

I considered my options in Onne. The Nighthawk would have to wait for a minute before being permitted to jump, the rest of the fleet was on their way to the gate. Best part was that the moron had aggressed me, and I could fire on him with impunity for the next fifteen minutes. With that in mind, I engaged warp to a safe-spot in system to wait for the call to engage.

Remember, kiddies: Label your safe-spots accordingly. I cursed as the bookmark I chose turned out to NOT be the one near the gate, but the one furthest away. Note to self...

Despite a couple of the Naraka pilots jumping into Onne to wait, the Nighthawk pilot entered the system and got snared by the tacklers. The rest of the fleet pounced, and I finally coaxed my Myrm back into warp, landing 10 km away as the Nighthawk's shields passed peak recharge. For some reason, the silly fool decided to launch his drones at me, for reasons I can't begin to fathom. A set of five Warrior IIs are not going to make much of a dent in a battlecruiser, but better me than one of our smaller ships. With his shields broken and unable to recharge due to the heavy cap neutralisers Inara was wielding, the Nighthawk's structure failed in short order.

Looking the fight report over, Jude chuckled. 'Hey... I think that was the same pilot as the Drake we blew up earlier!'

Then someone noticed the specially modified items in the command ship's fit, and comms flooded with an excited babble of voices. The sale of the items would be profitable, indeed. We stashed the loot and continued on the roam in high spirits.

A few jumps along, the scouts reported Old Man Star filled with capitals and a massive heavy fleet on scan. We decided to power through and hopefully go unnoticed. Unfortunately, as we hit the exit gate, the whole of Advocated Destruction's fleet warped in on top of us.

What followed was a merry chase through several systems with a cloud of battleships, battlecruisers, strat cruisers and logistics ships just seconds behind. A Harbinger nearly had me in Murethand, and in the next system they managed to catch Amaterasu's Hurricane. Ama got her pod out, and we managed to lose the pursuers at the next gate as they went the other way towards Placid.

We did some idle hunting on the loop back, but the pipe was empty save for a Scorpion in a safe-spot in Onne, and a non-outlaw Vagabond that decided he didn't want to engage us as we sat on the gate waiting for the scouts' report.

It was a fun roam, if a little chaotic; you don't think about it at the time, particularly not when being pursued, but after the fact, we all laughed and agreed we should do that again sometime. Heyna did a good job for her first time as FC, and the sale of the Nighthawk loot fully covered Ama's loss with a bit left over to split amongst the rest of the gang.

And for myself... I docked up in Vitrauze and saw about upgrading the Tekeli-Li's armour. Next time, I'll be better-prepared.

Saturday, 31 October 2009

External Publishing v 2.6

His Zealot's shields were completely gone, and lasers were nibbling at the edges of his armour when Alistair's comms crackled to life.

'Hey, Al, would you do us a favour?'

'Good to hear you, Syl. You're not back in Dal, are you?'

'Our tower in Ebodold. We're going to step this up a bit. Open the door for us, would you? We're too chunky to squeeze through the gates.' Sylar sounded gleeful. Alistair started to grin.

'I did warn you about the food there, didn't I?' The Amarrian pilot reopened his fleet comms. 'Commander Hatthro, notify the fleet, I'm lighting a cynogen, could use a bit of defense.'

'You're what?!'

'Captain Starke, you are go in three, two, one...' Alistair activated the generator, the load of liquid ozone in his cargo hold burned up in an instant as the miniature wormhole appeared beside his ship.

'Avion! What the hell...?' Tiia demanded, just as the jump portal flared twice.

Two looming shapes the colour of dried blood appeared in the midst of the battle, massive hulls scattering smaller ships which hadn't got out of the way in time as they claimed the space. Cherry's blade-shaped, monolithic Naglfar, towering above the furious battle, turned with a terrible purpose, turrets rising and settling back as she acquired a target-lock on the Amarrian fleet's dreadnaught. This was going to be a slugfest.

'Let 'er rip, sister, I got your back.' Sylar felt the deadly hum of his new ship's systems building up around him, awakened by the adrenalin flooding his body. The shriek of Cherry's gleeful laughter was the sound of immense autocannons unleashing their full force upon the enemy.

Tiia's voice echoed in his ear, filled with an odd mix of relief, surprise, and anger. 'Why didn't you tell us what you had planned, you bastard?'

'It was a last-minute idea. We didn't know if we'd need these or not; I was only going to use this girl to lift the colonists out. ' With a thought, Sylar commanded fighters to launch into the fight, instructing them to focus on what remained of the Amarrian support as he brought heavy energy neutraliser batteries to bear on the closest ship: the Reclamation fleet's carrier. 'Why so surprised? Just because we specialise in wolfpack doesn't mean we can't field anything bigger.' His Hel-class mothership locked onto the Archon, and Sylar asked Hatthro, 'You got enough left to take out the carrier and dread, or are we gonna have to do it ourselves?'

The Ammatar fleet's commander swore at him. 'Next time, I trust you'll let us know before you pull a stunt like this. I've lost half my men; we could have used your caps a lot sooner.'

Instead of retreating, the Amarrian ships seemed to throw themselves at the mixed Minmatar fleet with a frenzy borne of desperation to remove the threat of the Matari capitals before all else. Draining the capacitor energy from the smaller carrier as fast as the Amarrian Guardians could replenish it, Sylar felt his shields begin to prickle from lasers and a peppering of missiles as the remaining Amarrian fleet focussed fire. Two of his fighter pilots went down, felled by Amarrian drones, and he recalled the rest, launching a fresh group as soon as the first had docked.

The Archon's armour passed its peak, and the enemy fleet had redoubled their efforts to defend it. Someone somewhere was probably cursing as the mistake was realised: the defense fleet was better-prepared than they had expected, and with their fleet already decimated, it was only a matter of time before their own capital ships fell.

A volley of torpedo-fire struck the Archon from the sky like the hand of an angry god; before the blue-white glare had faded, Sylar was already focussing his mothership's massive energy neutraliser batteries on the Revelation which was pounding down on Cherry's armour. 'Let's see you use those lasers without any cap, mate,' he muttered, unaware that his words went out over the open comms. The Archon's fighters, disoriented by the carrier's destruction, drifted about the field, and Starke ordered his own flight to focus fire at will amongst the remaining fleet.


In the caves on the planet below, Nareen huddled under her father's worn old jacket. It was cold in here, and damp seeped through the rough stone walls and floor, leaving a chilly slick on her skin. The girl glanced around at the gathered mass of her people, all crouching or sitting on blankets on the floor to avoid the low ceiling. The adults had said they couldn't make fires because the heat would be seen by the slavers, and Nareen was starting to wonder how her great-grandparents had lived this way.

A scuffle toward the entrance brought several people upright, ready to stand. Someone cracked the shield on a lantern, revealing Scall staggering in, the woman somewhat blinded from the change from light to darkness, her hand on the ceiling to prevent her banging her head.

'They're here! On the radio, I heard it. They've destroyed most of the Amarr ships, and the slave carrier. Come on!'

Stepping blinking into the sunlight filtering through the trees, Nareen felt someone take her hand; she turned to see Komar looking excited and terrified.

'It's Space Capt'n Starke, 'Ree. I tol' you he- he could do anythin'.' He tugged her forward and up the hill towards the treeline, following Scall into the open.

The middle-aged woman pointed up into the sky, away from the low morning sun, 'Look, you can just see them!' Against the sooty blue, flecks and glimmers of light could be seen. It was impossible to tell what was happening at this distance, but as they watched, a flash brighter than the others appeared, then again, then--

Everyone gasped as something lit up, a small second sun flaring in the sky. Scall began to yell with triumph. 'They did it! They did it! Do you see?!'

Nikitta appeared at Nareen's other elbow. 'What do you think's happening?'

Komar released the taller girl's hand and ran forward, waving his toy Rifter about in the air. 'Capt'n Starke blew 'em up! Boom! Like that!'

The colonists hung back cautiously among the trees, uncertain what would happen next as Scall returned to the wrecked Apocalypse. After a while, five dark shapes appeared in the air, descending carefully to the fields just beyond the limits of the houses. A few minutes later, Scall returned with a wiry Sebiestor man dressed like a soldier following closely.

'I'm Corporal Vahann, I'm in charge of the drop you see over there. Those ships will take you and your possessions up to our mothership for transport off-world.' He looked around the gathered crowd among the trees, taking in homespun clothing, rough animal leathers and hard-worn yet determined faces. 'This is a hazardous system for an undefended colony like this, but whether you choose to leave or remain is up to you.'


SPACE CAPTAIN STARKE strides through the halls of his mothership, running a hand over his new short-cropped hair. Guarded by the Ammatar and renegade TLF fleets, he feels safe enough to park the ship in empty space and leave his capsule.

There is business to discuss.

He is followed by TIIA EDGRIET and MIRITHAK HATTHRO, along with the Nefantar commander's small honour-guard. The trust between the Matari forces and the Ammatar is still thin and laced with suspicion, but HATTHRO has the authority of his tribe's leaders and EDGRIET has been contacted by THE GENERAL to endorse the opening of diplomatic relations in this backwater system.

The group enters the assembly bay, a cavernous room usually used for mustering ground-forces near the dropship hangar. Something buzzes through the air and strikes STARKE's leg before tumbling to the floor with a whirr; he stops with a puzzled frown to pick it up. A smile forms on his face as he turns the clockwork wooden Rifter over in his hands, recognising the hand-painted sunburst design. The captain looks up to see three terrified children staring up at him from behind a pile of bales and boxes, all the Ubtes colonists' worldly possessions.

STARKE: (still smiling)
Is this yours?

EDGRIET peers curiously at the toy, then grins and looks out across the room at the ten thousand worried people gathered there. HATTHRO looks calculating, then looks to EDGRIET and nods. The TLF commander, her rank restored and gleaming at her collar, returns the nod, then steps forward.

EDGRIET: (in a clear voice which carries well through the room)
My people... my family. (she smiles) It's been far too long, and I truly wish the circumstances were better. (she sobers) We have lost our home. The land we have worked all our lives, the houses we have built with our bare hands. We are orphans of the cluster, as our grandparents and great-grandparents once were.

As she speaks, the people begin to cluster around, hushing children so that the woman can be heard by all.

We cannot go back. I wish we could, but the Amarr know about the settlement now, and will return. This leaves you with a choice. The Republic will welcome each and every one of you: rehome you, offer you jobs, education, medical care. It's an easier life than what you're accustomed you. There are better opportunities.

She glances to the side, then waves her hand to indicate HATTHRO.

This man has a different offer for you; he represents the Nefantar tribe. The Ammatar have an interest in becoming a part of the Republic once again, and in good faith, they are willing to offer you places on another planet they are already colonising. What they offer is much like what we had on Ubtes VIII, working alongside Nefantar volunteers. You will be offered equal standing with their people, with respect given to our own customs; and the world is closer to the centre of their domain, and much better protected.

A ripple of voices runs through the room as the refugees look to one another, seeking guidance. HATTHRO steps forward.

The offer is genuine. Your skills and experiences will greatly benefit our own colonists, and the Nefantar will not reduce you to the slaves your ancestors once were. No ill will shall be held if you choose to return to the Republic.

A man steps forward from the crowd; it is RISGA, NAREEN's father, who was elected speaker for the refugees before they boarded the dropships. He stands tall, proud in his rough-woven clothing and hand-made leather boots before the Republic and Ammatar representatives.

I speak for all of us gathered here. We would prefer to remain on our world, if such a thing were possible, though we realise the extent of the danger. A life in the Republic would be comfortable, yes, but we do not want an easy life. Some may choose that for themselves, and the rest of us wish them well. But as a whole, we will accept the offer of the Nefantar, provided that we are permitted contact with the Republic at any time.

The Nefantar commander nods.

Of course. The planet we offer you is Abha VII, and not much different from Ubtes VIII. You will be given tools and equipment, as well as a modern communications system...

As he speaks, STARKE murmurs to EDGRIET.

Is this what you expected from your people?

EDGRIET: (nodding)
Charity is not something we accept easily, Captain. Better to be granted only the barest necessities so that we can make our own way.

The Brutor captain nods, then glances over to where the three children still watch him. Crouching, he holds the toy Rifter out towards them. NIKITTA, NAREEN and KOMAR approach shyly, and KOMAR accepts his toy back without removing his eyes from STARKE.

EDGRIET: (smiling)
Unless I'm very much mistaken, you're my nephew, Niki, yes? You were very small when I last saw you.

NIKITTA nods. Smiling, STARKE holds his hand out.

Nice to meet you. Who are your friends?

NIKITTA: (shaking STARKE's hand)
Nareen and Komar... sir.

STARKE reaches out to shake the other children's hands, too.

It's great to meet you guys. I guess you watch the show, huh?

The children nod. The captain smiles broadly.

Why don't you go ask your parents if you can meet the rest of the Nova Elite while you're here? Tell your friends, too.

NAREEN squeals and runs back towards her mother, SAPHA, who is standing to the side as her husband and HATTHRO negotiate. NIKITTA also hurries away, but KOMAR hangs back, staring at STARKE solemnly.

I told them you could do anything.

STARKE smiles proudly.

The Nova Elite always fly to defend our people.

This article was first published on – an independent EVE magazine ( Reprinted with permission.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

External Publishing v 2.5

The wrecked battleship, though wing-clipped, was anything but dead: over the years, the escaped slaves had worked to restore and adapt its systems to meet their needs, and the soft rumble of pumps and generators had for decades been a comfort.

Scall was particularly proud of her work on the sensor and communications arrays. After taking the Republic University’s distance-learning courses on starship electronics and mechanics, she’d dedicated her hours to bringing the systems back up to near-perfect functionality. It was her pet project, and her husband had long bemoaned that she spent more time in the ship than she did at home.

There were still a few bugs to work out, though, and Scall had decided to open up one of the consoles and find out why it wasn’t lighting properly.

Something pinged unpleasantly as she pulled a wire free of its contact.

‘Crap.’ She plugged it back in and the ping sounded again, then again. She started sorting through the mass of fibreoptic spaghetti, then realised the sound wasn’t related to her work. The noise was becoming repetitive, and urgent, and the stocky woman spun to see several sensors lit up at once, points of amethyst, amber and ruby flickering across the boards.

‘Oh no… no, no, no…’ Hurriedly, Scall woke up the display they’d jury-rigged into the capsule trunk-leads in order to see the command overview. Multiple pilot signatures filled the system channels; a bit of fiddling with the spliced-in controls revealed the fleet transponder codes.

Heart in her throat, the specialist sprinted for the comms chamber above, sandaled feet pounding the metal steps, and slapped her hand on the alarm.


Coiled in the guts of the metal beast, wires excised from other parts of the ship and grafted in to modify the functions of other parts stirred with current for the first time in generations. Even as the improvised alert system blared a warning across the rooftops of the colony, the focussed-band FTL transmitter fired off a pre-set message.

The Republic communications relays were not the only ones to receive it.


TIIA EDGRIET stalks through station halls filled with men and women in uniforms hurrying this way and that; the legend in the lower-right corner reads Dal I: Tribal Liberation Force Assembly Plant. The commander looks tense and anxious, a datapad gripped in one hand as her secretary struggles to keep up with her. Rounding a bend in the hall, she spies SPACE CAPTAIN STARKE and ALISTAIR AVION and changes direction to meet them.

Starke, where the Hel have you been?

STARKE and AVION exchange a look.

The clone bay, updating.

The Brutor captain presses back against the wall to let a group of pilots hurry past.

What’ve we got?

EDGRIET tosses the datapad at him over her shoulder as she leads them toward the lift to the capsuleer hangars.

Emergency signal, not encoded or anything. Straight from Ubtes, contains a snapshot of what was on the scanner when they pushed the button.

The smaller woman halts and turns suddenly, nearly causing STARKE and AVION to pile into her. She stares up at STARKE with the intensity of a solar flare.

Your staged informant scenes aside, there’s no more time to waste. Are your pilots ready, Captain?

SPACE CAPTAIN STARKE studies her for a moment, then nods.

We’re at your command.

The Sebiestor commander studies him a moment longer, then nods sharply.

To your ships, then, gentlemen.

ALISTAIR AVION watches EDGRIET leave, then cranes his neck up and around to eye his commander.

Try not to do anything stupid in order to impress her, will you?

STARKE is frowning at the datapad.

STARKE: (muttering distractedly)
I can hold it together, don’t worry about me.

He hands the ‘pad over to his Amarrian second in command.

We’re not going to make it before their fleet’s in position.


Watching sunlight glimmer off the cloud structures far below, the Reclamation fleet's scout almost missed the appearance of a new signature on her local grid. She frowned as it winked out before identification could be made. Was that...? 'Command, scout. We may have company, What's your ETA? ...Five minutes, understood.'

Small points of gold began to appear at the edge of the atmosphere fifty kilometres away: support ships followed by a group of five battleships, gleaming in the refracted light. The signal was given, and the shimmering whirlpool of a cynosural field lit up, heralding the arrival of the fleet's primary component, an Archon-class carrier filled with dropships to collect the Matari settlers.

The beacon collapsed suddenly, and comms descended into a mass of confusion as the pilot of the generator frigate lost both his ship and his life in rapid succession. The Retribution-class assault frigate which had destroyed the generator under the nose of its own fleet was quickly torn apart as the Amarrian forces obtained targeting locks, but the space around them was beginning to flood with unaffiliated ships. Alarms blared as the Reclamation fleet struggled to restore order and reorient towards the unexpected threat. Lasers began to cross the sky, searing and crackling in the high-level atmosphere.

The Ammatar had arrived, and they were not happy.


'Everyone form up on the gate. Libbies, you with us?'

''Libbies'. Starke, you cheeky bastard...'

'With us or not, Tiia?' Sylar grinned to himself, feeling his assault frigate responding easily to his commands. Alistair has his recording equipment running at peak performance; this fight might easily be more desperate than any they'd ever been in before, but that was all the more reason to get every moment into the show. A Reclaiming fleet was not the sort of thing most Minmatar would ever see, let alone the rest of the cluster. People needed to know this was still happening.

'You know better than to ask that.' Tiia's Tempest and the rest of her squadrons formed the bulk of the fleet; the Novas in their smaller frigates and cruisers appeared fewer in comparison, though their numbers were about even.

Sylar chuckled. 'We all need to loosen up here. Riva, whatcha got in there?'

'Ubtes is hopping, sir. Looks like there's a fight going on.'

A fight? 'Who's involved?'

'Lemme actually get out of warp, huh? ...OHH! Cap', we're missing the fun. Looks like the local Ammatar have decided to let the Amarr fleet know they're no longer welcome out here.'

Tiia's voice cut through the comms. 'Nice to know they're serious about making their peace with the Republic.'

Mind racing, Sylar asked, 'Riv, what kind of opposition are we looking at?'

'There's wrecks all over the place. Looks like an Amarr carrier and standard support fleet versus a varied Ammatar fleet. No cynos up, looks like their generator frig got popped. Field looks balanced, the carrier is holding off drop pattern.'

'That's because it'll be vulnerable to attack with the drops down. Locate the Ammatar commander, I want a word with him before we get involved.'


'Scall, let's go! Everyone else is out, what are you still doing in here?' Aoli tugged at the communications specialist's shoulder. The older woman flapped her hand impatiently.

'You go. Someone needs to listen in. We need to know what's happening.'

'And if the slaver ships land?'

Scall held up the small laser pistol she'd liberated from the Apocalypse's armoury; it was an antique, but it worked still. 'They won't take me alive.'

Aoli slapped the back of Scall's head. 'You be careful, dammit.' Scall was right, but the younger woman still worried as she hurried from the battleship wreck towards the treeline and the hills to the south. When the ship had first landed, the escaped slaves had hidden among the woods, fearing the ship would be found by rescue parties. None had come, however, and the hidden caves had lain abandoned until now. Again, they would shelter the colonists... hopefully.

She paused at the edge of the village, glancing up at the sky above. Bright flashes had been seen; they could only hope it was Captain Starke holding the Amarrian fleet off.


Realspace coalesced around the Matari fleet as they dropped out of warp, vivid bursts of missile impacts and laser-fire filling their overviews.

'Good timing, Captain,' the Ammatar commander, Mirithak Hatthro, said. The Nefantar tribesman's deep voice threatened to overwhelm the communications link, resonating with a richness better-suited to a holo-performer than a thirty-year career officer. The incoming fleet had disbanded and re-formed as squads under Hatthro's command, putting them into the same comms frequency. Tiia and Imkara had been less than fond of the idea of joining the Ammatar fleet, but it was the only way to coordinate. 'We've got the carrier pinned down, but there's a lot of logistics being used, Starke. We've been picking off the little ones, but it's slow going.'

'You focus on the battleships, we'll take care of the support,' Sylar responded. The Matari ships surged forward into the mess, squads peeling off in different directions as leaders called primaries.

Amarrian pilots' signatures began to wink out one after another as the balance shifted. As he came around for another pass on an enemy Guardian-class cruiser, Sylar spotted a lone Amarrian frigate moving toward the Ammatar fleet, guarded by destroyers. 'Riva, get me a scan of that Punisher, fast! I don't like it.'

'I'm too far off... oh, just brilliant.' The Vherokior pilot cursed as the Punisher activated another cyno beacon. 'Now what?'

A blinding flash announced the arrival of another Amarrian capital ship; as the glare faded, the menacing, pointed prow of a Revelation-class dreadnaught turned with terrible purpose toward the Ammatar ships, turrets larger than a cruiser rotating smoothly around to focus on the enemy fleet.

'All battleships, evasive manoeuvers! Don't make an easy target of yourselves!' Hatthro ordered hoarsely. It was the worst possible situation the battle-scarred veteran could imagine, and he gripped the arms of his command chair tightly. Only the presence of the capsuleers in his fleet stopped him from calling a retreat. 'Someone take out that cyno frigate before anything else comes through.'

'On it. Cherry, cover me,' Sylar responded tightly, his assault frigate banking gracefully towards the stationary target.

'Syl, you back the fuck off, those are destroyers--'

'Al, trust me.' Sylar settled into a tight orbit alongside Cherry's Hound, autocannons and missiles tearing the Amarrian frigate apart, their own shields beginning to buckle as the trio of Coercers turned their guns on them.

'I'm webbed! Gonna try--' Cherry's transmission cut off as the destroyers' small lasers broke through her shields, melting quickly through armour and hull; one of the ships got a lucky lock on the outlaw's capsule, and the egg-shaped craft imploded under a fat volley of laserfire. Sylar Starke's Jaguar and capsule quickly followed.

'No!' Tiia cried, seeing Sylar's overview icon redline and vanish. 'Shit! Shit! Al, you're in charge there, keep the fires burning. Swap targets!'


'Ugh!' Sylar surged upright, shaking cloning-vat fluid from his head, instantly missing the feel of his dreadlocks; those were gone, now, part of a body he would never wear again. In the next vat over, he could see Cherry struggling to unhook herself from the input wires, looking strange without her tattoos. The Caldari cloning bay attendants looked alarmed.

One of them stepped forward, regaining most of his composure. 'Welcome to Ebodold Kaalakiota station. I'm Doctor Mi--'

'Spare us the speech, we need to be flight-ready ten minutes ago,' the captain grunted shortly. 'And set us up for fresh clones, we may be seeing you again today.' The attendants hurried forward to remove the wires the pilots couldn't reach, handing them towels as they emerged, dripping translucent blue fluid on the cloning-bay floor.

The captain reached over and slapped the younger woman's shoulder. 'Let's saddle 'em up. You ready?'

The former pirate grinned broadly up at him as she wiped vat-fluid from her generous curves. 'I been waiting for this since the day I bought her. Those suckers won't know what hit 'em.'

To Be Concluded Next Week!
Same EVE Time, Same EVE Channel!

This article was first published on – an independent EVE magazine ( Reprinted with permission.

Monday, 19 October 2009

An Aside

IntenseDebate is eating my comments again. I'd love to respond to comments; I've been trying, but the system is b0rked >_<

Friday, 16 October 2009

External Publishing v 2.4

The quad was quiet, a steady rain pattering down to flatten the straggly grass and form tepid puddles in the hollows. From the surrounding buildings, the chatter of conversation could be heard, muffled by the thick transparent panels which had been cannibalised for use as windows from the wrecked Apocalypse. Its golden bulk, rain-slicked and still shining despite generations of exposure to planetside elements, loomed in the centre of the village like a massive beached whale, half-submerged in the soft earth that had been ploughed up when it landed. Over time, the tailing furrow had filled with water, forming a long lake which was sustained by groundwater pumped up by the refurbished ship’s generators to irrigate the community’s agricultural works.

A Rifter bearing the sunburst logo of the Nova Elite arced through the sooty sky, rain streaming from its rust-coloured hull. An explosion of silt and mud rose as the ship crashed down into the damp soil, its engines spluttering as the craft settled into the muck. Splashing across the field, Komar hurried over and retrieved the painted wooden toy, peering into its clockwork mechanism and blowing the water out.

Wading back through the mud, the short, skinny boy returned to where Nikitta and Nareen sat under the portico outside the school building. Most of the other children had opted to remain indoors out of the damp weather during the midday break, but Niki had been troubled by the sudden appearance of his mother’s sister in the children’s favourite holo-serial. He’d spent most of the last week worrying over it, and his sudden pensiveness concerned his friends.

Nareen hunkered on the swept flagstones with her chin on her knees, absently chewing the end of one of her long dark braids. ‘I wonder what she wants Capt’n Starke to--hey!’ She and Nikitta both yelped as Komar landed feet-first in a large puddle at the edge of the overhang, splashing them.

‘’S easy! She’s gonna ask him to- to help blow up th’ Empress!’ he babbled excitedly. He pulled a key from his shirt pocket and began to wind the toy Rifter’s engine again.

‘Don’t be dumb,’ Nareen retorted, wiping murky water from her shins. ‘You remember how many guys she has?’ Footage from Jamyl Sarum’s coronation had been used in one of the last year’s episodes. The amassed ships of the Imperial Navy had made a grim impression on the children; some had since had occasional nightmares wherein that sea of deadly gold had arrived to reclaim their families.

‘I bet Capt’n Starke could do it—‘

Nikitta glanced up from the patternless whorls he’d been scratching on the flagstones with a twig he’d found. ‘He can’t. The entire R’public can’t kill all the bad guys. If that was really Aunt Tiia… Ma says it was. She must be planning something else.’

A mechanical judder caused the puddles to ripple and brought the children to their feet with alarm. The high-to-low sliding moan of something spinning down, followed by raised voices, drew them around the corner of the school-buildings to where they could see the workers scrambling over the pump-housing rigged up to the wrecked battleship. The constant low hum of the mechanisms and generators had ceased, and the specialists at work seemed calm. The children stood watching a moment, then Komar tugged Nareen’s elbow.

‘They shut the water off?’

The tall girl nodded. ‘I think so.’

‘But we… we need the water…’

Nikitta wrapped his arms around himself, feeling cold from something other than the raindrops trickling down the back of his neck. ‘Something’s going on.’


The scene opens on the office of THE GENERAL, unchanged from STARKE and AVION’s meeting. A holo-projector is flashing a loop of tactical information into the air above the desk; it is largely ignored by the two women standing on either side of the desk. THE GENERAL and TIIA EDGRIET are arguing fiercely, and from time to time their vehement gestures indicate one item or another in the projection.

There is no direct audio, and all the colours in the scene have been washed nearly to greys, indicating it is a flashback to an earlier event.

EDGRIET: (voice-over)
The day you arrived, Captain, I had a… disagreement with the General. Some intel arrived which… well, it’s kind of important to me. There’s a colony of sorts, just outside Republic space. It was started by a group of escaped slaves whose ship couldn’t go any further. The Amarr have finally noticed this colony and intend to reclaim the inhabitants.

The scene changes to show EDGRIET seated on a munitions crate in a hangar; from the paint-work on the Jaguar in the background, it’s clear the hangar has been allotted to SPACE CAPTAIN STARKE, who along with ALISTAIR AVION is seated on another long metal box labelled ‘Warrior II’. The Sebiestor woman is scowling fiercely.

The General has… made it clear… that she will not permit me to take a task force in to rescue the colonists. The planet lies in Ammatar territory, if you could call it that. You can imagine the fuss they’d kick up with the Republic if we dropped carriers into their space.

STARKE frowns thoughtfully and glances at AVION; the Amarrian looks back before closing his eyes under raised brows, lips pursed. The Brutor nods and turns back to EDGRIET.

We can understand why you would want to rescue these people, but why is it so important that you be the one to do it?

The woman looks down at her hands.

Because that colony is where I grew up, Captain. They aren’t just our people, they’re my family.

AVION leans forward, resting his elbows on his knees, his hands clasped as he looks up at EDGRIET.

AVION: (appearing to already know the answer)
So… why not hire mercenaries to rescue your people, if the General won’t allow you to do it personally?

EDGRIET: (nodding)
This is exactly why I’ve come to you. Your Elite are only marginally associated with the Republic. I want you to help me.

STARKE: (looking thoughtful)
Won’t the General be angry? Or the Thukkers, for that matter?

EDGRIET: (glaring)
Do you think that matters, Captain? My people are in danger. What would you do?

She reaches up and removes the rank pins from the collar of her jacket, smiling at the stunned expressions on the men’s faces.

I’m resigning my commission in the militia. I’ve talked things over with my squadron, and they’re all with me, one-hundred percent. So what do you say, Captain? Will you help me out? Or do I have to hold you at gunpoint first?

STARKE and AVION look at each other, then share a slow grin.


The room was silent for a long, heavily-pregnant moment. Then, like an ocean tide, a roar of voices rose as people turned to one another, confused, worried, frightened.

Leaning back against the wall, Scall’s mind raced, torn between glee that her assessment had been right and numbing terror that it was too little and too late. This is Ammatar space? Why all the Thukker signals, then? The signs of moving caravans had been noticeable for as long as she’d been in charge of the communications setup. That they'd been living so close to a potential enemy without discovery was a miracle in itself; she was grateful that they'd been spared for so long.

Havah sat still, her eyes fixed on her sister’s face in the projection. Perhaps to viewers elsewhere, this was simply an exciting build-up to the end of the season, but to the refugees living on Ubtes VIII, the new development was a hidden message.

Prepare to run. We’re coming for you.

Up at the front of the room, Komar, Nareen and Nikitta knelt in silence, heedless of the commotion around them. They watched transfixed as Tiia presented her rank pins and all those of her pilots to the General with an impassioned resignation speech; as the Nova Elite and former TLF forces prepared for what might possibly be the fight of their lives. The usual drama happened: a hangar tech was caught sending a message to the Amarr warning them of the fleet’s preparations; he was imprisoned but managed to escape, leaving three security officers and a shuttle pilot badly injured.

Not until the final closing scene – where Starke, Avion, Tiia and her second, Imkara Vash, seated around a desk covered with tactical readouts, came to the realisation that they would need to move faster – did any of the three children say anything.

‘The slavers are coming,’ Komar said quietly. Nikitta nodded. The worst nightmare of any Matari child was coming to life.

Would Space Captain Starke arrive in time to save them all?


Tiia Edgriet was overseeing the refitting of her Tempest-class battleship when one of her hangar security officers approached and murmured something in her ear.

‘What? Of course. Let him in.’

The petite Sebiestor turned a minute later to see Alistair Avion crossing the open hangar floor, deftly sidestepping the techs and maintenance drones that scurried this way and that. The Amarrian was dressed, as he did for the show he helped produce, in traditional Brutor captain’s garb. Somehow, the Matari uniform failed to look awkward or out of place on its wearer; perhaps it was the way he carried himself.


‘Mister Avion. What can I do for you?’

He smiled warmly. ‘I was hoping I could ask you a bit about this colony. About how many people are we talking about?’

Tiia frowned and folded her arms, considering. ‘Could be as many as ten thousand by now. There are elderly and babies; they’re not starving down there, and the medical facilities have been maintained well.’

‘On the ship that brought your predecessors there?’

She nodded. ‘Our grandparents kept the ship functioning smoothly, so a lot of their technical skills have been passed down.’

Alistair smiled grimly, knowing all too well the uses of slave aboard Amarrian ships. He rubbed his chin thoughtfully. ‘If you don’t mind my asking…’

‘Go on, then.’

He pursed his lips momentarily. ‘If you and a few others left for the Republic—‘

‘They came and picked us up when we applied to the various universities. The Republic knows the colony is there.’

‘Right, right. But if you could leave, why is the rest of the colony still there? Why not request a full-on transport back to civilisation?’

Running her hands over her head to adjust the clips holding her hair back, Tiia frowned. ‘Good question. I think simply because it’s ours, you know? We were stuck there, but within the first two years they had a functioning agriculture setup and had adapted the ship’s working systems to their needs. It’s very backwards… you might call it primitive. But it’s ours, we worked hard for it. It’s something to be proud of.’ She shrugged. ‘We’re a hard, tenacious lot, Mister Avion.’

He chuckled. ‘You certainly are that. Will they know they’re in danger?’

The tiny woman nodded. ‘The kids watch your show, if the sensor array we put in stationary orbit hasn’t already picked up the recon operations. They’ll know.’


On the outskirts of the Ubtes star system, Nimambal gate flashed. The scout-ship decloaked, its bulky form vanishing almost immediately under a covert-ops cloak as it angled towards the eighth planet. Slipping her craft into orbit between the atmosphere layer and the closer of the two moons, the pilot frowned; the signals she’d been told to pinpoint weren’t there anymore.

It took her a solid half-hour’s work running multispectral scans to locate the faint electromagnetic signs of the wrecked Apocalypse’s generators.

‘Command, scout here. Location pinpointed, awaiting further instructions. …Acknowledged.’

The scout moved into a stationary orbit, aligning to provide the fleet with a good warp-in position, and settled in to wait. The Reclamation fleet would arrive soon, to fulfill their holy duty and return the Matari colonists to the Lord’s flock.

To Be Continued Next Week!
Same EVE Time, Same EVE Channel!

This article was first published on – an independent EVE magazine ( Reprinted with permission.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009


What sort of person do you have to be, to turn your back on everything you ever knew?

The tip of her knife drags through the thin layer of dirt, blade grating harshly against the stone beneath.

When your life is ruled by the almighty ISK, what do you cling to?

The lines she draws form a map. She doesn't notice; the map is etched more permanently in her mind than it is in the dust: we are here, they are there, and soon, we shall be there, too. And they won't be.

She could be Intaki, Civire, Ni-Kunni, Sebiestor... with her hair shaved back to stubble, dressed in a sleeveless shirt and fatigues, distinguishing marks erased when she gave up her name for a number, it no longer matters.

The toe of her boot, scuffed and weathered, broken straps replaced slapdash with a strip of elastic splint wrapped around her ankle, rubs the map from the ground.

Her detail only arrived here this morning, but already she's been here forever.

When she first started, every place was new to her; she had never before left her homeworld.

Staring too much lost her an arm. But that was alright, because she died later that day, victim of an enemy groundsweeper run.

After too many iterations, the field shrinks. It becomes little more than a game on paper: your location, your target, your obstacles, your support. Circles and crosses; everything else becomes circumstantial.

She stares with grey eyes across a field littered with the detritus of human civilisation, canyon walls of chrome and crystal rising away to form a deadly labyrinth, mined and riddled with traps. She sees through these, only focussed on the target three miles away.

It will be gone tomorrow, or she will be.

The pay is good; it would have to be, for all the risk they take. She used to save it, hoarding against the day when she could buy that little apartment in the city; now, she spends it on better armour, better weapons. New iterative clones of herself, her memories preserved and injected into each new body as the old one is killed.

She remembers every death.

It no longer traumatises her as it did in the beginning. Too many iterations have inured her to that flash of light, that moment of red agony as parts of herself move in directions they were never meant to, mingling on the ground with parts of her comrades before her last memory ends.

Her comrades used to be people, once. And still there are nights when she and another will take comfort in each other, reassuring themselves that they still live. But like thousands of others, she and they have become faceless ghosts, pieces of meat directed to live and die by iron-clad gods who stride the night skies, whose only concerns are their personal loss and gain, heedless of the souls who scrabble for their will in the dust.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

A Series of Moves

The Eve blogoshpere has been too quiet, and I've been too busy with other things to blog, much less properly play Eve. Where did I leave off? Oh yeah.

So... I decided in the end that, since there were only three days left til my alt could fly my recon ships, I might as well move the small amount of gear I had in the wormhole into the lowsec system we were currently linked to, grab a shuttle to fly back to Evati, and have my alt fly the rest back at the earliest convenience. Moving out didn't take very long. I think if we'd had more people in the w-space and active, it might not have been so painfully dull, and we may have scored something. As it was, with only a handful of alliance members on sporadically, there wasn't much to do.

I'd left the bomber and the Arazu in the incredibly quiet(!) lowsec system our wormhole dropped me in, bought a shuttle and was partway home when I passed through the Hellcats' old main base of Vitrauze. It felt good to see the place again, and being inundated with cheerful welcome comments in Local from our old blues was even better. If only I'd not been in such a rush and decided to fly the bomber back, I could have got in on the fun they were having -- I was sad I had to turn the fleet invite down.

But it got me thinking. It'd been a while since we'd used the secondary base out in Amamake. In every corp I've been in, I was always happier if I had a secondary base to go to when I wanted a change of scenery. Why not move my stuff from Amamake back to Vit?

To the alt!

It took a couple days to get everything moved over, and I've spent the last couple weeks out there, saying hi to old mates an especially the Tuskers (<3 ya, guys!), Ghost Festival and Veto. The Hellcats have reopened our old office, and our other members have invitations to stick a couple ships in, as well. Once I'm back from holiday, the corp will reopen recruitment(!), using our secondary base as a place to run Hellcats-only ops from, so that we can get a sense for how well the recruits work within the corp.

Unfortunately, I've not been able to do much, since I've been working on the last chapter of Space Captain Starke (it is epic, and will be done tonight!), and spending the rest of my time trying desperately to find a job before I face deportation (my student visa expires in a month. It's not fun).

Tomorrow, when my boyfriend gets off work, we'll be catching a train across to Glasgow to spend the night, then an early-morning flight to London, and then up to Reykjavik for a week of fun and geekyness. I've been looking forward to this trip all month! Hope to see some of you up there ^_^

Wednesday, 2 September 2009


Day... how long? I've forgot how long I've been sitting in this forsaken w-space system. Let me check my mail. Day five, I think.

Damn is this place dull.

It's pretty, mind, in a 'someone dropped a handful of oil pastels in the sink' sort of pretty. Rather bland, too, the number of cosmic anomalies is fairly low.
Pretty but unremarkable.

I made a safespot in warping-distance to the corp tower once I realised how awful being inside the shields is. I didn't really believe Cerys when she'd said the shields gave her a headache, but... it's true. After a bit spent sitting there, the horizontal banding and the way it wavered started to make my temples pound.

This may be the longest I've ever spent continuously in a ship. I can't particularly recommend it -- a stealth bomber is not the best of places to be stuck with four crewmembers who also only want to get home. Privacy is minimal, and thank fuck the air scrubbers were just serviced; as it is, we're begining to get a bit snappy. It's crazy that, while craving each other's company, we drive each other mad just by all being stressed and lonely.

To distract myself, I chat to people in various channels and scan around looking for... well, anything. After three days of that, I was clawing at the walls of this spacious prison I've come to think of as Scar (for the red-edged black gap in the otherwise fairytale nebula). It was so quiet, so... empty.
Scar's scar.

I spent most of today probing around. We've had a few visitors from other wormholes that have opened into Scar -- a Vagabond and Navy Caracal the other night, a couple different people in cov-ops ships today. Nobody sticks around long. Every wormhole I find, I bookmark, hop through for a peek to see where it leads, bookmark and scan, then go back through. The bookmarks are all placed in a can so that others in the alliance can grab copies.

Today was the best I've seen since joining Mynx in here. Wormhole number one led to Caldari lowsec. Number two led to a class-2 wormhole system which was dark, unimpressive and had signs of occupation. Number three... oh, number three. The entrance to the second w-space system was opened sometime during the day by one of its occupants. I think I fell in love with the system the moment I saw it.

Blue-green nebula. Red giant star. Yeah, red giant. I've never seen a red giant system before, probably because the physics which makes stargates function makes those systems impossible to link to the network. I couldn't get enough of looking at the place, flitting from planet to moon to planet, discovering the quite well-fitted tower the occupants had put up.

I scanned around a bit, hoping to find any more wormholes which led to k-space, but they mostly only had asteroid belts. I hung around a bit longer, taking picures and marvelling at the site before reluctantly deciding it was time to go back.
Do I really have to go back?

The only reason I didn't decide to ride the spatial disturbance current was that my other ships were still in the corp hangar back at the tower in Scar. I'm hoping to find an exit close to Evati so I can move all my gear back out in one go. For all the wonders out here in unknown space... there's not enough to entice me to make a permanent move.
Whoever you guys are in J110043, you are so damn lucky to have a view like that.

Thursday, 27 August 2009





'Mmh... what?'


'Oh... f'ksake...'


..tirr-*click* 'Hello?'



'Shae, why isn't there visual? It's Aevylen.'

'...Mom..? It's the middle of the bloody night, here.'

'Well, how should I know that? I just had...'


'...a fantastic lunch with the director of-'

'MOM... what do you want?'

'I'm not allowed to call my own daughter?'

'After sixteen years and not bothering to check receiver time, you need a damn good reason, or I'm closing comms and going back to bed.'

'Well, I was out having lunch with the director of finance from AuralImage Ltd... you know, Egonics' audio-production company? We went to this great little place down the Crystal Boulevard, it's at the top of the deRohe tower, and the view from there is absolutely fantastic by the way, you'd love it...'


'...And I was on my way back to the office and I was checking out the latest Sunrise Daily on my new optical implant -- they're all the rage down here, by the way, if you pay for the upper-end ones they overlay on your irises, too, to create colour effects -- and there was a picture of you on the third page! So I thought it would be great to catch up with you, and maybe-'

'Waitwaitwait... what?! What was the article about?'

'Oh it was some minor politician they spotted at an orgy in a pirates' den a couple weeks ago. The picture was of him with his "mysterious mistress" *giggle*'

'Hahahaha mistress. In his sordid dreams. I love that spin, "orgy". Hahaha fucking genius.'

'Watch your language, dear-!'

'Fucking make me, Aevylen. It was a party. I bet you've seen wilder ones with your friends from whatever fad company it is you work for now. At least we didn't need to pay people to take their clothes off.'

'They said two men were-'

'They'll say anything to get people to pay for subscriptions. That shit's not worth the code it's embedded in, honestly.'

'It's important information for anyone who cares about the political climate in the Federation, Shae-'

'You're disgusting. You leave Dad because you can't deal with his political career, and you still have the nerve to say that? You only called me because this gives you something to brag about with your little friends. Do you know what impression your precious editorials give about the Federation?'


'Lazy. Decadent.'


'Self-absorbed, uncaring about anything more than where the next nightclub hotspot is and who's supplying the newest legal narcotics.'


'If that's the way things are in the Federation, it's not surprising the Caldari were able to roll right over all those systems in lowsec and auction people's lives off to the highest bidder!'

'Young lady!'

'Oh screw you, you woke me up in the middle of the night because of some overblown gossip. Yes, I was there. No, I wasn't there with Inhonores. He's bottom-feeding scum and was trying to leech on me the entire night. Other than that, it was a fun party, any orgies occurred afterwards and in private, and no I didn't go to them, I spent the night with my boyfriend. And no, I'm not telling you who he is because you forfeited your right to mother me when you left us to follow your precious career categorising fashion trends. Is it fulfilling? Do you feel good knowing you've improved some faceless woman's social life?'

'You're one to talk! I'm improving people's standard of living, and you're out destroying their livelihoods. Don't you feel proud, killing some child's parents for a little ISK! Inhonores is trying to atone for his past, at least. You could at least give a shit about the shame you've heaped upon us!'

'Oh, pardon me for destroying your social cred. I didn't realise you would know what a broken family feels like. You think I don't know what I do? Fuck off, Aevylen, don't come back until you can tell one evil from another.'

'Don't you dare-*click*

'*sigh* Bitch...'



'System, block all calls from last ident and any that are associated with it.'


'*sigh* ...I need a drink.'

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

External Publishing v 2.3

‘What do you think’s going to happen?’

‘Did a spy tell the bad guys Capt’n Starke was there?’

‘Why did Capt’n Starke make his guys go through the gate ‘steada fighting?’

‘What d’ya think’s gonna happen?’

For the rest of the week, the children could talk of nothing else, peppering the adults with unanswerable questions. ‘Space Captain Starke’ had never ended on a cliffhanger. It was the talk of the village.

The teachers could barely get the younger children to focus on their lessons until one of the older students suggest they relate the lessons to parts of the show (If Alistair warps from planet 14 to planet 2 at 6AU/second and Captain Starke warps from planet 2 to planet 14 at 8AU/second, where will they pass each other if the planets are 20AU apart?) It was frustrating to rework lessons, but it kept the kids on-task.

At the community meeting that week, several parents raised concerns that the obsession with the holo-serial might not be such a good thing.

‘I can barely get them to focus on their homework.’

‘I had to suggest that Space Captain Starke would go collect firewood because he would understand the importance of keeping the house heated. We shouldn’t have to do that!’

‘It’s a good thing we only have the one projector here in the hall. Imagine if there was one for every house, we’d never get them outside.’

‘Two of the kids came here asking to watch old recorded episodes. I had to remind them that the projector is used for other things.’

‘Speaking of which,’ Scall, the chief communications analyst, piped up, ‘The last week or so we’ve been picking up an increase in Amarrian comms traffic nearby.’

‘How near?’

‘This system. It could just be militia fleets passing through…’

‘This is Thukker space. They would be mad to base here.’

‘Still, I think we ought to cut our broadcasts and recall all but the receiver satellite.’ Scall glanced around at the suddenly worried faces, knowing that what she was suggesting would reduce the colony’s contact with the Republic to nearly nothing. She hadn’t thought it possible to feel homesick for a place she’d never seen, but the thought of bringing the comms array in made her heart ache.

‘You think they’ll notice the array and find us?’

‘In a word, yes. It would be difficult to miss in a system this quiet.’

‘We’d be cutting ourselves off from the rest of the cluster, Scall.’

‘There’s still the focussed-band FTL transmitter on the ship here. It’s been refurbished, we can use it in an emergency.’

After debating options, the community council decided it was for the best. Scall and her team spent the rest of the night recalling the comms satellites. Aoli from the engineering crew started running through the numbers to reduce their electromagnetic signals to a minimum while still maintaining power to the water pumps. Once the satellites were stored, the ship’s refurbished generator was dropped to the barest trickle.


Space, the final battleground. The stargate floating above the small moon flares; once, twice, so many flashes they seem to occur simultaneously. As if on cue, the space around the stargate floods with ships.

STARKE: (voice-only)
Scouts, keep an eye on Local, tell me if it spikes. Everyone pick your targets and engage; this is a free-for-all. Warp out or jump if you need to.

STARKE’s Jaguar assault ship banks down and left, falling into a rough orbit around an Amarrian Omen-class cruiser, autocannons spitting fire as he kicks the afterburners in.

EDGRIET: (voice only)
Captain, we need to wipe these guys out fast.

STARKE: (voice only)
I hear you. Nobody pod these guys, it’ll take them longer to reship.

Bright explosions blossom as two enemy ships go down; the Amarrian forces, outnumbered, are dropping rapidly. The view shows for a moment STARKE’s piloting interface: shields fluctuating as boosters pulse, speed hovering at three-quarters as he turns for another pass, enemies bracketed yellow and red, the primary target highlighted by spinning arrows. Around him, ships sweep past; missiles, laser beams and blaster pulses flare. The stargate flashes as someone leaves the system, and the view switches to AVION’s Retribution. His control panel displays the list of pilots in their squad, STARKE highlighted at the top. Half of the Nova Elite’s names are flashing, damage display bars showing varying amounts of red. The alerts fade one by one as Amarrian ships die or flee under the onslaught. The Nova Elite and TLF forces move to a dead-space in between planets, where they are joined by those members of the fleet who had to leave the fighting.

STARKE takes stock as the fleet recuperates. Two frigates and a cruiser have been lost from EDGRIET’s squads, the pilots warping their pods to safety and returning to base. The Nova Elite have lost drones and an interceptor is smoking, its hull held together through the pilot’s sheer force of will until one of the other pilots can bring a remote hull-repair unit online.

STARKE: (voice only)
Commander, your boys ready for the assault?

EDGRIET: (voice only)
Are we ever. Vash, head on over to the control point near planet five, wait for the Captain’s signal to attack. Warping squad to control point near seven.

As one, the four squads enter warp, descending upon LORD GRIMLOK’s base like avenging demons, a coordinated attack upon the sentry posts first cutting off communications to the rest of the Amarrian Empire. Before the embers have even faded, SPACE CAPTAIN STARKE calls for the fleet to regroup, leading his Nova Elite and the TLF forces against LORD GRIMLOK’s base of operations

They are met with fierce resistance: LORD GRIMLOK himself, commanding his dreaded flagship, the Righteous Blade, brings his entire fleet to bear. It infamous Holder chooses to attack the invading force rather than make his escape; he is confident and assured, knowing that this time his nemesis is on Amarrian ground. The scene shows LORD GRIMLOK seated in a non-capsuleer captain’s chair on the bridge of his Armageddon battleship.

LORD GRIMLOK: (shaking his clenched fist at his adversary)
You won’t escape this time, Starke. This is the last time your Matari filth will taint my stars! Amarr Victor!

The battle is joined, furious and dizzying; where the earlier fight was a deadly dance, this one is a slugfest. Primaried frigates on both sides vanish in bursts of superheated gas as the gap between the fleets narrows, and then the Nova Elite and TLF are among the Amarrian fleet, the heavier ships unable to track the lighter wolfpack at close range.

All ships, focus fire on Grimlok’s ‘Geddon! Take that sonuvabitch down, then worry about his support.

Under the combined firepower of over thirty ships, the golden battleship melts quickly, its captain unable to reach his escape-pod in time. The support put up a token resistance, but most flee the system while STARKE’s forces take out their next set of targets. Voice-comms protocol has already collapsed; the pilots are cheering, laughing and chattering amongst themselves, and it’s all STARKE can do to get their attention and remind the pilots that they’re a long way from home in hostile space.


STARKE steps off the gangway from his Jaguar, hair still damp from a post-pod shower. He turns to run loving eyes over the battle-scarred hull before slipping a pair of shades on and turning to leave. His way is blocked by COMMANDER EDGRIET, who has appeared as if from nowhere.

That was some good work today, Captain.

She eyes him appraisingly as he reacts with surprise.

I’m certain it’s no more than you would expect of your own men, Commander. We owe you for your help today.

The Commander smiles at him.

It was a pleasure, Captain. I’m wondering if I could call on that favour now, rather than later?


The community hall erupted with a wave of cheering. The final shot of Lord Grimlok’s flagship exploding filled the room with a nova-bright flare before fading to dark red and then nothing. Among the children, Nikitta and Nareen were hugging while Komar did a wiggly victory-dance on his seating cushion.

Behind the rows of youngsters, the adults watched. Many were grinning at the children’s excitement, but a few looked puzzled or concerned. In the close-knit community, most had known Tiia Edgriet before she’d left for the Republic, and even five years on she was still recognisable.

Havah looked up at her husband. ‘If that’s really my sister… how real is this?’

Elaqh shook his head. He’d been wondering the same thing.


Sylar Starke sat with his feet up in yet another station-side bar. Alistair had joined him, and they sat talking quetly, sharing stories of their early days as pilots. Al noticed her first; Sylar turned to look.

‘Commander Edgriet. Have a seat.’

The tiny Sebiestor woman smiled and brushed her hair back over her shoulder. ‘Thanks. That was bloody clever, staging the final fight like that. Where’d you get the Amarrian ships from?’

Shrugging, Sylar took a sip of his beer. ‘Stole most of them. The pilots are ours, we’ve staged setpiece combat before. The ones I called primary after the ‘Geddon blew up were all empty of crew members, only a pilot in the pod.’

‘Very clever.’ Edgriet looked impressed, then thoughtful. ‘I’m glad you let me add the favour request into the script. I need your help, Captain.’

The two men sat up straight, looked at each other across the table, then at the Commander. ‘We were wondering about that,’ Alistair said.

‘You’ve still got some of that makeup on, you know.’

‘Yeah, I’ve not properly washed it off, yet.’

Tiia Edgriet leaned forward on her elbows on the table, long, delicate fingers interlaced before her. ‘You may recall that I have a bit of an ongoing disagreement with the General.’

At their nods, she continued, ‘This is because our intelligence has discovered that the village I grew up in has drawn Amarrian attention. Slaver attention. And the General – much less the Rebublic itself – can do nothing.’

‘Why’s that?’ Alistair looked keen; his expression had sharpened, his eyes taking on that look Sylar recognised all too well.

‘It’s in Ubtes. Thukker territory. We have no jurisdiction to go in and bring my people out, and while the Amarr don’t have any more right to operate there than we do, they have fewer scruples about it.’ Tiia looked severe. ‘I need to get my people to the Republic, or they’ll end up with the same fate our ancestors so narrowly escaped, and the slaver raid is planned for sometime next week.’

The CEO and the XO of the Nova Elite looked at each other; they could read each other well enough that speaking was unnecessary. Sylar turned back to Tiia. ‘What is it that you need us for, exactly?’

She smiled a little. ‘Leave the TLF. I’ve talked this over with my own men, and they’ve all agreed to this couse of action. We’ll leave with you, form our own operating corporation. We’ll be operating as independents, and because even the Thukkers can pick up your broadcasts, we’ll have evidence that the Republic isn’t involved. …Just tell ‘em I bullied you. What do you say?’

To Be Continued Next Week!
Same EVE Time, Same EVE Channel!

This article was first published on – an independent EVE magazine ( Reprinted with permission.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Delayed by Steampunk and Amanda Palmer

Yes, the third part of Space Captain Starke is overdue by a day. This is because I've had to re-write part of it, and then the last two days were interrupted by this thing called a 'Social Life', also known as 'dressing up, going out and having fun'.

Space Captain Starke will be up later today.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Another milestone

It's the 20th of August 2009.

For most of you, this is just the date that the next Apocrypha patch is deployed.

For me, this marks two years since I started playing Eve.

When I first picked up the game, I hadn't a clue what I was doing. I'd watched Sapphrine, Mebrithiel, Giganticus and my then-flatmate Suze'Rain play the game, so I had a vague idea what I ought to be looking at. Cerys Magente and solosnake had regaled me with stories of what they'd done in the game when we were at a games conference here in Edinburgh earlier that month; it wasn't really til Cerys mentioned how she started Eve working with Privateers and solosnake yelled 'You BITCH!' at her in the middle of a reception full of game devs that I actually started thinking the game sounded like fun.

Suze helped me get started, but the choices I made in the end were all mine. I started Eve with something just shy of 900k skillpoints, one of several hundred newbies wandering around in highsec. Suze didn't think I would stick around for more than the two-week trial period. He was nearly right: I got incredibly frustrated with the ten-part newbie mission, and my paranoia was running high -- I'd never played an MMO before and had no idea what to expect. Suze introduced me to some friends in the game, watched me rage over the incomprehensibility and cower in terror in the station, and went off on holiday for the weekend. One of his friends, Abbel Nightroad, took pity on me, convinced me to fly with him into lowsec to go ratting, and by the time Suze returned I was having an easier time of things and I'd paid for my subscription.

I joined Abbel's corp at his invitation, started pvp'ing successfully with something like 1.2 million skillponts (see?! it's not the SP, it's how you use it!), and never really looked back. It wasn't easy, but it was fun. I learned from roaming Upper Syndicate and the lowsec areas around Stacmon, highsec wardecs and pirating in Kor-Azor. Things changed, as they do, and I tried living in nullsec for a bit. That was a mistake, and it wasn't til I joined the Hellcats that the fun in the game really returned, for me.

And now I've been in Hellcats for nearly a year. I've watched the average online population in Eve more than double from 17,000 (if there was more than 21,000, we were in for a lagfest) to 49,000. I've paid for an update to Shae's portrait after deciding I was tired of her looking like a heroin addict. I can passably fly every Gallente ship I want and starting to consider cross-training. Part three of Space Captain Starke is sitting open in Word on my other computer waiting to be edited, and the next big trip will be to FanFest in October.

Here's to the next year.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

External Publishing v 2.2

Sylar Starke strode through the corridors of the Tribal Liberation Force logistic support station in Hek, confident and self-assured. On the outside at least. Inwardly, he felt awkward and uncomfortable in this place, heart of the Minmatar Republic’s militia organization, and despite Alistair Avion’s presence at his side, his first instinct was to turn on his heel and leave.

‘This doesn’t feel like such a great idea,’ he muttered.

His second in command smiled slightly. ‘Give it a chance, Syl. It can’t hurt to at least find out if we can work with them.’

‘People are staring.’

‘Of course they are. You’re recognizable and I’m Amarrian. Relax.’

Sylar peered at Alistair from the corner of his eye. ‘You have that camera implant recording, don’t you.’

‘We need reference material.’

The Brutor grunted quietly. ‘Just don’t get caught.’

They reached their destination. From the muffled voices coming from the inner office, there was a mighty row in progress. Valklear General Lyre Hadhradir’s secretary, a harassed-looking Intaki, gave them a helpless look and asked, ‘Do you have an appointment?’

‘I didn’t know we needed one.’

The secretary shrugged and rubbed his stubbled jaw. ‘It’s not a requirement, but the General often has a full schedule. You’re lucky today, she’s just finishing up a, um… meeting.’

The office door slid open and a petite Sebiestor woman stalked out on long strides, barely sparing a glance for the room’s occupants. Sylar blinked as the closing door interrupted his view of her hips, then turned back to see the General eyeing him in much the way he might examine a stray dog. After a quick study of Alistair at his side, General Hadhradir stepped forward and offered her hand to the Brutor capsuleer.

‘Captain Sylar Starke, I presume?’

Sylar nodded, trying not to wince at the woman’s grip. The top of her head was at his eye level, but he still felt as if he was looking up at her. ‘It’s an honour, sir.’

The General laughed, a quick, humourless thing. ‘I should be the one saying that. My nieces and nephews idolise you. I’m more curious about why you’re here. Given your reputation, you’re rather the last man I’d expect to see in my office.’ She extended her hand to Alistair with a studied scowl. ‘I’ve seen enough of your work to figure out how it’s produced. I’ll have to ask you not to use any actual camera footage from this—‘

‘Of course not, sir, though I may ask if you’ll help us stage the scene later.’

General Hadhradin gave a quick nod. ‘We’ll see. Come in and have a seat, gentlemen. This ought to be interesting.’



‘Yes, Nareen?’

The two of them were up to their elbows in the week’s laundry, sleeves rolled up and hands reddened by the hot water.

‘How d’ you think Capt’n Starke will beat the bad guys?’

Her mother grinned. ‘You kids have been obsessing about that a lot haven’t you?’

‘You heard us?’

‘Well, you were being quite loud about it.’ Sapha chuckled as her daughter hid her face behind a soapy shirt. ‘I think he’ll have to ask for help from the Republic, sweetie.’

‘But Capt’n Starke, he hates the R’public.’

Sapha leaned back, stretching her spine after so long hunched over their work. ‘He doesn’t hate the Republic, Reenie. He thinks they don’t do enough. I bet if he asked and made a good argument with them, they’d help out.’

As they stretched the damp clothes over the lines to dry, Nareen’s mother mused at the sort of person who would create a serial holo like ‘Space Captain Starke’. It was a noble but utterly pointless thing: raising children’s spirits brought strength to the people who lived planetside, never knowing more than what the news services and government broadcasts had to say. Even out here, Amarrian propaganda stained the FTL comms relays, and the small community’s technicians were careful to block the less-scrupulous channels.

After the colony’s founding, their parents and grandparents had removed anything which smacked of the Amarrian religion, so that their children could grow up free. There were still arguments among the governing council regarding how much was ‘enough’. After generations enslaved, they had only the broadcasts from Minmatar space to guide them, and even some of those preached the Amarrian way of life.


SPACE CAPTAIN STARKE stands before THE GENERAL of the Tribal Liberation Force, a commanding presence in the small office. THE GENERAL is an equally powerful presence, but the Brutor woman remains seated behind her desk, looking solemn and serene.

As Chief Executive Officer of the Nova Elite, I wish to ask the assistance of the Tribal Liberation Force in removing forever the stain of Lord Grimlok from Matari skies. The operation will be perilous and we cannot do it alone.

THE GENERAL looks at STARKE carefully.

I assume you have a plan already?


AVION steps forward and places a portable, palm-sized holo-projector on the desk. The device blinks to life and a map of New Eden appears in the air.

We now know the location of Grimlok’s secret base.

The hologram focusses inward on a region, then a constellation, and finally a system near the edge of Amarrian space. A tiny point of red light between and below the second and third planets pulses ominously.

Our scouts checked it out, and it appears to be the real thing. He has a handful of small guard compounds throughout the system.

Four more points of red appear on the map.

If we take those out first, we remove Lord Grimlok’s ability to call for help in time. Once we secure his base, we can end his tyranny and bring the Minmatar one step closer to freedom.

THE GENERAL uses a stylus to examine the statistics of the target emplacements, frowning as she thinks.

THE GENERAL: (muttering thoughtfully)
It won’t be easy… but we’re accustomed to this sort of work out here. It’s not hit-and-run like your usual guerilla tactics, Starke.

This is why we came to you, sir.

THE GENERAL snorts, her full lips curved in a small smile.

You sound mocking even when you’re being polite. I’ll lend you two strike gangs – twenty good men and women – on the condition that, for the duration of our work together, your Nova Elite fly under the TLF. I want no dishonour on our name, Captain.

STARKE frowns a little, but after a moment’s consideration he gives a sigh of resignation and nods.


THE GENERAL stands, and she is nearly the same height as STARKE.

It will be an honour to work with you, Captain.

THE GENERAL offers her hand, first to STARKE, then to AVION. They shake firmly.

Likewise, General.


‘See?! I tol’ja he would ask them for help!’

Nikitta shushed Nareen, who was pointing triumphantly at the screen. The village’s children sat on cushions on the floor of the community hall – once the cargo bay of the ship their grandparents had slaved aboard – gazing raptly at the latest weekly episode of ‘Space Captain Starke’.

Nareen’s mother leaned over, tapping the flat of her hand sharply against the back of her daughter’s head. ‘You said that because I suggested it, honey. Don’t claim others’ ideas as your own, and hush so the others can hear.’

Rubbing her head – nothing was hurt but her pride – Nareen slumped sulkily as Sapha returned to her seat at her husband’s side. Risga wrapped his arm around her.

‘I wonder if that’s really the General,’ he murmured. Sapha nodded. There was something different about this week’s episode.


Sylar Starke hovered above the station in Dal in his Jaguar assault frigate, awaiting the rest of his ‘strike force’. The General had allowed the Nova Elite to temporarily join the TLF so as not to be marked neutral, and they’d worked out a method to make Sylar appear to be leading what was, in fact, a bog-standard bunker lockdown in a contested system in Amarr space.

Nineteen frigates, assault frigates, cruisers and interceptors – the best of the Nova Elite fighting force – undocked one by one and formed up around him. ‘Cap’, are you sure these guys won’t shoot us? Some of us are flashy, y’know…’ said Cherry. The Pator girl was one of the outlaws who had joined recently and she’d not yet worked to raise her status with CONCORD.

‘They better not; we’re marked as allies now. Isn’t that right, Commander?’ Sylar asked, discreetly reminding his crew that they were now on shared comms.

‘That’s right, Captain,’ Blade Commander Tiia Edgriet responded. ‘Any of my boys shoots you, he has me to answer to.’

Sylar grinned. The Commander ran a tight outfit to match what she normally wore, and after their non-introduction the other day when she’d stormed out of the General’s office, the Sebiestor woman had warmed to him. Or so he liked to think. The cluster needed more women like her.

Commander Edgriet was the real commander of the strike force. Her fleet instructions would be relayed to Sylar via a private comms channel, which he would then issue to the fleet. It was understood by all pilots that once they were underway, the entire operation would be recorded, comms and all. All the ships had been rigged with flight recorders which would send the feeds from their piloting interfaces to the specially modified covert ops frigate the Nova Elite used to film their fights. The TLF’s pilots had become extras.

‘Your boys ready, Captain?’

‘Always, Commander.’

‘We’re jumping in now. Meet us at the Vard gate.’

The Local comms population in Dal spiked with the arrival of twenty TLF pilots, and Sylar felt the pleasant surge in his ship’s systems as the second gang’s commander, Spear Lieutenant Imkara Vash, brought her fleet bonusses into play.

‘Oh, that’s good Lieutenant. Are all your massages this… invigorating?’

‘Wait until you feel my full-body special, Captain,’ the other Sebiestor woman chuckled. ‘Claymore is worth every penny.’

‘I can hardly wait.’

The run out to Arzad was uneventful, save a few neutral outlaws fleeing through their massed ships on the gates as the scouts checked ahead. ‘Let them go, don’t give yourselves timers.’ Sylar’s reminder was more for the benefit of the recording than that of the pilots. Nobody needed to be told the gate controllers wouldn’t permit someone to pass through if they’d acted with hostile intentions.

Arzad itself was a totally different story.

‘Riva here, there’s an Amarr fleet on the gate,’ one of the scouts reported. ‘Holding gate cloak, looks like two full gangs waiting for—shit!’

‘What happened, Riva,’ Sylar asked tightly.

‘Bastard inty decloaked me.’

‘You make it out?’

‘In my pod, yeah. Going safe off the gate.’

Sylar cursed to himself; this was unexpected. An icon lit up in the corner of his vision and he switched to the private and unrecorded comms with Commander Edgriet.

‘One of the neutrals we passed earlier may have been a sympathiser. There’s probably a scout watching us here.’


The gate flared suddenly and the safed scout reported, ‘They all just jumped in to you.’

Swapping comms, Sylar made a snap decision. ‘Jump-jump-jump. Everyone into Arzad and hold your gate cloaks.’ They would have to shake the hostiles before they could get to work.

To Be Continued Next Week!
Same EVE Time, Same EVE Channel!

This article was first published on – an independent EVE magazine ( Reprinted with permission.