Monday, 27 July 2009

When Worlds Collide

My boyfriend, Churches, recently came back to playing Eve a few months ago, after being unsubbed for longer than I've been playing. I'll admit, it was mostly my fault: I dragged him to Utrecht to meet Phelaen, Creesch and Dark Sinister from my first corp, then met with Randgris from The Bastards in Amsterdam. I guess the hours spent geeking out lit the fires again, because he resubbed and hopped back into his mission-running ships.

I've even started to get my darling career carebear considering pvp. He's started thinking about fighting rather than running if he gets caught in lowsec, and he recently took a chance and blew up a Retriever which was afk-piloting around. Bless, the guy even hate-mailed him, til Chu asked why he was afk in lowsec and the other guy admitted that, okay, it was dumb, he wasn't thinking, and he'd have done the same if their roles had been reversed.

*sniffles* I'm so proud of him ^_^

At any rate, he has a great way of looking at the world. We had lunch today, and in amongst the idle chat as we sat in the sun in the park behind his office, Chu had an interesting thought about the perspective in Eve:
'There's all these people toiling away on planets to make ends meet, and they know that, way above them in space, there are these capsuleers who are fabulously rich and fly ships that can blow up moons. They seem so heroic and powerful to all those people stuck on the planets, and everyone wants to be those capsuleers, it's something to really aspire to.

'And then you look at the conversation between two of these massively powerful pilots and they're saying:
'You're gay!'
'No, you're gay!'
'Aw, yer mum!'
I laughed so hard, because it is so true.

Friday, 24 July 2009

Where Everyone Knows Your Name

Golden sunlight spilled across the station's hull, tiny pinpricks of shadow that were spaceships nearly invisible in the glare. I sat curled up in the deep window-bay in my quarters in our Kaalakiota base in Evati, looking out across the slope of the station's side. If I squinted just right, I could almost fool myself into seeing sunset on water.

It's been a long time since I've been planetside.

Absently scratching my cat's head, I wondered why I'd been out of sorts. Well, no. I knew why. But the reasoning behind it and the timing baffled me.

I missed people. More to the point, I was missing friends. Jedziah, Kulmid, Sard, Rax, Hallan... Jorge. They'd all dropped off the map, hardly saying anything if they entered mutual comms channels and disappearing again.

I knew, as well as anyone, that friendships form and drift apart quickly. In a world where you can climb into a capsule and get lost for months among the starlanes, keeping in touch with anyone can become difficult. I felt lucky I'd been able to remain in contact with the old Atrocitas crew. Losing track of the old Bastards and Gunpoint Diplomacy felt like losing brothers and sisters.

We'd been lying together, my head resting on his shoulder, when Jorge said quietly, 'I'm leaving.' I could do no more than tighten my arm around him and ask when, and where to. Tomorrow, he said; I don't know, nullsec or w-space, maybe. He regretted it, but it was something he needed to do, for himself. And he was gone the next day, leaving me wondering if I'd grown too comfortable and settled into my place in things.

One month, two months... it's a long time, in New Eden. Planetside, where people live in the same place for years, even lifetimes, where you can walk into a bar and the bartenders really do know your name even though you've never told them... life moves at a completely different pace. If you've been somewhere long enough for people to know what your usual order is and what jacket you typically wear... planetside, that's no big deal, but in space....

Maybe I've been here too long.

Monday, 20 July 2009

Ghost Town Showdown

So we went on a cruiser roam Sunday night.

Well, I say 'we'. I was actually in an Ares since we'd been trying to pin down something in a mission which disappeared before we could lock on it. So I was hanging out in Todifrauan keeping an eye on the gates as the others shipped up. Some Gypsy Corsairs guys had been appearing to bait for a while, with a Myrmidon belt-hopping and a Sacrilege in a safe ready to help. We settled into a stalking pattern.

It took a bit to catch the Myrm; by the time I reached the belt, he'd moved to the next. Coochie scored the lock, and while we were taking the battlecruiser apart, the Sac warped in. We locked the HAC up as we finished off the Myrm, then gave it some cruiser lovin'. A ransom was offered but not received kindly, so we sent the pilot back to his clone-bay.

While we waited out our GCCs, a Cyclone showed up in a belt. Everyone's 'Bait!' alarms went off, but we jumped it anyway. In my little interceptor, I've become more leery of smartbomb-loaded targets; orbiting at 15 km cycling warp jammers and half-expecting to see a pack of Warrior 2's heading my way, I kept one eye on the scanner. The suspected backup never appeared, the battlecruiser popped, and the pod got away.

And another fifteen minutes spent waiting out criminal timers.

We debated hitting another potential target as we dropped loot off at a station, and I noticed someone from Razor Alliance enter the system. A minute later, Local spiked dramatically as a large fleet of Razor battleships went through the system. We watched them pass, bemused, then decided that if we wanted to get anywhere we should be moving on. Zachariuz and I in our interceptors played forward scouts.

For a Sunday night, Molden Heath was... quiet. Where the hell was everyone, on what typically is the busiest day in New Eden? The place felt like a ghost town, deserted, the few remaining residents peering cautiously through the station windows as we went through.

We finally found a target in Bosena, and after deciding it was worth the risk, dropped in on top of Zion Zan'threxian's Dominix in an asteroid belt. Perhaps our recent experience with bait-traps has made us paranoid and a bit hasty in deciding ship ransom vs pod ransom. He might have paid had we left his ship intact, but after that loss he decided his implants and clone weren't worth what we were asking.

And all was quiet. Another tasty target was in a deadspace mission, but our prober had decided to call it a night and docked up a few systems before. Then, as we were scouting in Aeditide, I spotted a familiar name pass through local: Nemesor from Rote Kapelle.

I'm friendly with a few of their pilots -- most notably Sard, Raxip and Biz. Nemmy is an old acquaintance, and I felt a big, devil-may-care grin start to spread across my face. Zeas reported another STUGH pilot in a Taranis on the Weld gate, and both Flashfresh and I declared it a trap. Zach jumped through into Weld and confirmed a tech-two wolf-pack on the other side.

By that point, we were all itching for a good, proper slugfest, so Raelyf warped his Rupture to the planet near the gate to see if they would bite. The STUGH gang must have been about in the same state, because they descended fast and hard even as the rest of us warped in on Raelyf's position. What followed was a heady dogfight which saw my Ares down in the first minute and a half, and was over in under ten minutes.

The Bastards' battle report (Ellistara's, my and Rhi's losses aren't shown, so here's STUGH's board for cross-ref)

That was a fucking awesome fight, and cheerful 'GF's were exchanged in Local. Zach made it out in his Stiletto, as did Raelyf, his bait-Rupture amazingly still intact at the end of the scrap. Rhiw'aow proved herself a capable ECM pilot -- check out that jamming action! -- and Bastards recruit Ellistara made a good showing on her first trial flight with the alliance despite the pounding she took at the end.

We regrouped back in Evati and most of us decided to call it a night. Surveying my hangar, I realised that I'd just put to bed the only Ares I'd ever owned; the ship had been bought over a year ago, seen nineteen kills and had now gone out in exactly the style I would want for any of my fighting ships. Respect to Rote Kapelle; we simply must dance again sometime!

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Some days you're the spider, some days you're the fly.

'Hello, Evati? Goddamnit, is anyone even online?'

'Shae? What's up?'

'I could use a little help out here. Where the fuck is everyone?'

'Where are you?'

'Egmar gate in Arnher, I've been pinned down by an inty.'

'Can't you take it out?'

'You think a Phobos can take a Stiletto? He's calling for backup, can I expect any help?'

'I'll never get there in time. Sorry, Shae.'

'Yeah, I'm sorry, too.'

I eyed the gnat buzzing around fifteen kilometres away balefully, knowing I'd sealed my own fate by moving off the gate. I'd hoped to buy some time for backup to arrive, but there was no backup today. I should have just jumped back through when I saw the interceptor on the gate, gone to a safespot, and waited. But I'd really just wanted to go home.

I should have bloody stayed in bed today.


I'd arrived at the hangar still feeling the euphoric buzz from our suicidal destroyer op the night before. We'd ended the night by getting bombed on the last nullsec gate before lowsec, then pursued in our pods by a blob from FireTech, laughing our arses off at the fun of it. No matter how long I fly, I will always live for times like that.

It was quiet, a few pilots logging time doing their own things. I ran tests on a new interceptor fitting, then decided that, as I would be off for the evening with Chu, I could afford a clonejump to my Amamake base to pick up my Thermodynamics skillbook and start learning. We could meet in Egghelende, since that was a lot closer to where he normally operated from.


I stopped my ship a hundred kilometres off the gate. If they wanted to kill me, I wasn't going to make it easy for them; whatever they brought through would have to slowboat it out.

The gate flared, the local population jumping from two to seven. Six people just to take me out. They must seriously be overestimating me today. I checked the cargo, but the ship wasn't geared for a fight -- no capacitor boosters to feed the reppers, just a load of medium ammo which wasn't going to do jackshit to something more than five kilometres away.

I sighed. Who the fuck designs a Gallente ship without drones?


My Thermo book wasn't in my Amamake hangar. Cursing, I checked my assets. It was in Todifrauan: I'd bought the book, then neglected to pick it up.

Well, great. Kind of a wasted trip out, huh.

Mentally, I went through the list of things I had been intending to do out here. Only one seemed to actually be important: the Phobos Abbel gave me for my birthday last year really belonged in Evati. We had little use for it out here -- the flashy tech-two ship was little more than very expensive bait. I'd asked my regular hauler if she could move it via highsec, but the rigged ship wouldn't fit in her hauler, and she wasn't skilled to pilot it.

In retrospect, I should have asked my alliance-mates if they knew anyone who could move it for me.


GiS had brought in two interceptors, a cruiser, a stealth bomber, a battlecruiser and a HAC to take me out. For once, they actually didn't rely on ECM (shock), but it wasn't like they needed it. I sat there feeling my own disgust and ire grow as they casually stayed out of my range and whittled my armour down.

Fuck this shit.

Relieved that I was the only person onboard -- the crew had been sent on ahead via InterBus -- I turned the reppers off. The armour shot suddenly towards the zero mark, and as I broadcast, 'I love you guys, really,' I turned off the damage control.

The hull melted, probably much faster than they'd expected, and I was already spamming my pod's warp command as the ship fell apart around me. The unexpected speed at which the ship died may have been the only thing that saved me an additional podding.

I really should have just stayed in bed.

Thursday, 9 July 2009


'Amarr Victor!'
'Thanks for the system!'
'Siseide has fallen....'
"I give you the destiny of Faith, and you will bring its message to every planet of every star in the heavens: Go forth, conquer in my Name, and reclaim that which I have given." So saith the Book of Reclaiming.'
'We will enslave Siseide once and for all!'
'You will all be ours! Resistance is futle!'
'YOU ARE ALL SLAVES! You just don't know it yet!'
'Join us... JOIN US.... DEAD BY DAWN!'
'We've burned their houses and raped their wives and they didnt even show up. Minnie style.'

The smacktalk screeched through the Local comms; vicious, cutting words hanging in the air like an accusation underpinned by some faceless capsuleer's manic laughter.

Throughout the dim, tapestried caffeelounge I'd taken shelter in when the area proved too actively hostile for a lone pirate, people froze and looked up, expressions of shock and dread crossing faces from a myriad of worlds.

I felt my own expression close into a tight-lipped frown. The warfare that had been raging for over a year throughout the areas of space I inhabited had only made life unpleasant for everyone. Stations suddenly had to play host to transient fleets of pod pilots who claimed they fought for their good while taking advantage of all the locals had and then some. So many people wondered how Konora could have hit crisis so quickly; I had my suspicions about its source.

On a personal level, I would have preferred that nobody win; that the boundaries remain as they had been for so long. The people inhabiting any conquered system suffered for it; many who were unlucky enough to not see which way the winds were blowing were later trapped there by the victorious fleet and their patrols. How many were relieved of their possessions before being turned back at the border?

A commotion on the other side of the room pulled me from my thoughts. The lounge's Brutor proprietor was standing menacingly over a customer who had been sitting quietly in a circular corner booth.

'I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to ask you to leave,' the landlord growled, not sounding the least bit apologetic. The customer gazed up at him a moment, then sighed, paid his tab with a quick swipe of his hand over the sensor on the table, and headed for the door.

Time paused for a heartbeat as I tried to bring myself to believe what I'd just seen; then in one move I paid my bill, slung my jacket over my shoulder and hurried after the other pilot.

'Hey! Wait up!'

The capsuleer stopped halfway down the sweeping curve of the stair but didn't turn. 'Can I help you?' His tone was carefully neutral but discouraged further conversation.

'Why didn't you refuse to leave? You could have.'

'And cause a scene?' He turned to look up at me, face set in a frown of disapproval. 'They were looking for me to raise a fuss; it would give them an excuse to release some pent-up frustrations, I'd imagine.'

'Because you're Ni-Kunni.'

He waved his hand, gesturing towards his face. 'Visage of the enemy, my dear. It matters little what I've done, only that I represent the oppressor.'

I stopped a step above the one he stood on, where I could be at his eye level. 'It's racism, and hypocricy. They treat you no better than they would accuse you of treating them.'

An amused smile tugged at the corners of his mouth. 'Had my position and the landlord's been reversed, I imagine I might have done the same. You Gallente, you believe so much in people being more than the sum of their parts. The universe does not work that way.'

'Somebody has to believe it,' I shrugged. 'Otherwise, no-one will.'

The other pilot squinted at me for a moment, then extended his hand. 'Dorre Kvessha. I don't believe I've had the honour?'

'Shae Tiann.' My fingers clasped his, the implants in our palms exchanging digital calling-cards. Dorre was a diplomat for Disco Joe's Wrecking and Salvage and had very much negative standings with the Amarr, which explained a bit.

'Ah, Hellcats.' Dorre's dour face broke into a grin. 'A sister in crime. I'm afraid the establishments in this station will no longer be quite so tolerant of my presence, but would the lady do me the honour of joining me for a drink in my office? I do have an acceptable Gallentean wine I picked up on my way through the Syndicate last...'

'I'd be delighted.'

Monday, 6 July 2009

The Price of Timing

It's been a while since I went hunting with my fellow Hellcats. There are severe down-sides to operating at the times of day I prefer, one of them being that the majority of my corp-mates are active later and we often miss each other by a matter of minutes. The last week or so has been filled mostly with catching up on the small pile of work that's built up, punctuated by bouts of roaming solo without being able to catch anything.

It's made me a bit sad to see members leaving my first corp, Under the Wings of Fury. The guys there taught me to fly, to fight, and to have fun doing it, but even a sound, solid corporation need to take a break. Many of the members have joined corps within Sc0rched Earth alliance; only a few remain in Atrocitas alliance, and they've moved into the same general area I've been doing my roaming in. I've not had the chance yet to fleet up with my old teachers, but Samma t'huk, my replacement as Sumatox's protege, joined me for a little roam the other day, during which we failed to find anything we could take on in our frigates. We still had fun, so it wasn't really a waste of time.

A couple days later, I was in the process of overseeing my crews fitting out a few ships that had just been brought in when someone greeted me on the local comms channel. A quick check showed Kyle Langdon, Nursultan, and Jyren's Rage and eMokiLLaH from Mayhem Bros. in Local. We chatted for a bit and then I realised I was sick of logistics for the day. Opening a private channel, I asked, 'You got any room in that gang for another?'

Which was how I ended up buzzing around first Auga, then Siseide and Egghelende in a cheap Incursus for several hours. We had several near-misses on a few missioners before moving on into Egghelende, which turned out to be a veritable goldmine, if we were only willing to be patient.

Patience, for a pirate, is the ultimate virtue.

It seemed it was a good day... for Thoraxes. One, two, three in a row, and their little pods, too. I'm really digging Number Two's fit; check that thing out, I'm amazed he could even kill his mission targets. He ran when we warped in on him, then came back almost immediately and just froze at the controls as we pounced. I felt a bit sorry for him. At some point in there, we lost Nur, and Helicity joined us when a missioning battleship showed up on scan, but we missed that by like half a second. The kills were interspersed with stretches of that Zen-like state one reaches when cycling the D-scanner to locate potential targets.

Eventually I started to feel tiredness creeping up on me and headed back to my new base for the night. Once docked, I checked to see what CONCORD had taken out of my standings for my actions that night, and was stunned to see that the capsules of the pilots I'd helped kill had lopped a whopping 18.5% each from my security status. Normally, a podkill only takes 12.5%, so this is rather a drastic change. I'm suspecting someone legislated in the change in order to make attacking innocent pilots less attractive... but when you're focussed on working your way to a perfect -10.0, this is actually a boon. Thanks, CONCORD!

Thursday, 2 July 2009

It's like fencing

My brother sent this picture to me yesterday, asking if I remembered that. As if I could possibly forget! We were both on the Miel-do-jun team in school; Dad took this picture of me, Valar and my classmate Irade training.
Miel-do-jun is a gladiatorial contest incorporated from the Jin-Mei after they were absorbed into the Gallente Federation. Blood-sport, however, did not appeal in the technologically advanced empire, and it quickly became translated into holographic fighters controlled by players wearing full-body VR-control rigs. Professional Miel-do-jun fighters train rigorously and their interface with the control rig is enhanced through specialised cybernetic implants. Like most sports, Miel-do-jun is accessible to the public through home-size holographic projection tables, and most Gallente schools have teams for interscholastic competition.


This is the result of the first Art Challenge between myself and Helicity. Hel asked me to do a picture of 'Gallente indoor sports, played by young people'. This nearly went a very wrong direction; fortunately, I managed to rein in my imagination a little :p

I asked Helicity to paint a 'small provincial Amarrian shrine' and I think he did a fantastic job with it ^_^