Friday, August 22, 2014

The Escort - Part 1

Friday fiction! Escape pod here if...

1. You are not interested in Eve Online fiction.
2. You not an adult.

Today's fiction isn't THAT raunchy but it does contain a short bit of, erm.... nibbling! Plus themes of an adult nature. Probably not PEGI-12!


The Escort - Part 1

"Miss, I really don't think you appreciate the trouble you are in. This charge-sheet is long enough to put you away for many, many years!" the grizzled detective said, blowing out a plume of grey smoke as he exhaled.

"But I didn't do anything wrong!" the young woman protested. She looked up with pleading eyes at the detective's partner who was casually leaning against the back wall of the interview room. He just stared back at her impassively through the gloom of the dimly lit room and the cigarette smoke. She assumed they'd made the interview room intimidating to scare suspects. Given them a taste of what might await on some awful deep-space asteroid penal colony if they didn't cooperate.


"I've got eight dead bodies on the upper decks of this space-station, a 15 metre wide crater blown out of docking bay 58, a stolen frigate, half a dozen burning wrecks floating in space between here and the Heydieles stargate. Not to mention 30-something frozen corpses already. The Sisters of Eve rescue ships are reporting no one made it to the escape pods, they didn't have time with a single massive strike by a destroyer. We are expecting a death-toll of over 50 in the end. Of the three people that we believe are responsible for all of this, you are all we have. So you are saying you are the innocent party? It was the other two?"

"Yes!"

"The other two dragged you in against your will?"

"Absolutely!"

"And the fire-fight that engulfed this space-station and this solar system was their fault and nothing to do with you?"

"That's right! Can I go now?"

"Sorry miss, but you are going to have to start at the beginning. It had better be a very good story as to how we found you alone, drifting in that stolen Merlin class attack-frigate with a trail of destruction in your wake!"

"OK." she began, taking a deep breath "It all started two days ago. I got a call from my agency...."

-o0o-

Two days ago......

Jasmin closed her datapad and placed it on the side. She undid the thin belt and slipped out of her silk robe letting it pool around her feet on the tiled floor. She stepped into the luxurious bubble-bath that had been slowly filling for the last twenty minutes. As the warm water enveloped her body she inhaled the fragrant steam. The young woman wondered how those people on the space-station, hundreds of kilometres above, managed without proper baths. Water on a space-station was far too a valuable resource to use on bathing. The rich and the powerful had high-efficiency showers up there, but the majority of people had to make do with UH-frequency sonic showers. No, Jasmin could never live off-planet. However, if she didn't get some work soon she'd need to leave this luxury apartment and find somewhere cheaper that might not have a tub. Her money was running out fast and she'd need to downgrade if she didn't come up with some soon. The planet of Lirsautton III had been hit by a bad recession. Some local idiot bankers thought they were some sort of Caldari super-investors and had played the markets with disastrous results. It had led to a planet-wide stock-market crash and subsequent recession. During these times, luxury services, such as those she provided, were in less demand.

She closed her eyes and tried to relax. She was just nodding off when her datapad bleeped.

"Shit!" she muttered.

She reached across and grabbed the datapad, her arm dripping soapy water on the tiled floor. She looked at the screen. Her new boss was calling. Her heart skipped a beat. Possible work? Money?

"Hello?"

"Do you like women?" her boss asked without introduction.

"What?" giggled Jasmin in surprise.

"You're new on our books, I don't know do I? I've had a specific request for you, but its from a couple."

Jasmin was a courtesan working for an up-scale agency in the Gallente Federation. She had recently gone from independent to joining an agency following an unpleasant encounter with a Client. Whilst the agency would advertise her services and offer much needed protection, there was more competition for bookings and they also took a healthy cut of the fee. She had been worried she'd made the wrong decision as she'd not had any bookings in her first week with them.

"Well, I've never done that, but I'm OK with it."

"Are you 100% sure? Pulling out mid-way or doing a bad job is going to get you dropped. The lady of the couple will have, shall we say, expectations." her boss said sternly.

"I'm sure. Happy to go gay-for-pay. What's the deal?"

"I have no idea. The booking is through a proxy company that has been used with us in the past. This means its a VIP couple."

"What do you mean a proxy company?" Jasmin asked worriedly.

"Don't stress deary." Her boss said obviously hearing the tension in her voice "We've taken bookings from them in the past and every time, without exception, its gone very well for both our girls and us. No one famous is going to deal with us direct. They use this proxy company which ensures that communication and money trails are broken. You, nor the other couple, will be appearing on the front cover of next weeks Dodixie Hot Celebrity Gossip by doing it in this way."

"Someone famous?" Jasmin asked, her curiosity getting the better of her.

"May be. Darling, if its being done this way then whoever is behind the booking is either very rich or very powerful and therefore could be very famous. I already have a confidentiality and non-disclosure contract here that they sent for you to sign if you, and I hope you will, accept. Its all above board."

"I don't know. This is all a bit heavy. Where is the job?"

"I don't know the location."

"This is sounding worse and worse every minute." Jasmin grumbled. Her boss laughed.

"What do you expect? Their home address? What if it is the current darling couple of the Dodixie holoreel industry making this booking? You must have seen the rumours in the gossip pages about those two and what their ex-maid claimed! May be you'll be going to someone's office and it turns out to be the CEO of the Quafe Corporation and his wife? What about that fire-brand senator who is on a crusade to clean up Gallente society? For all we know he and his wife could be the kinkiest of us all behind closed doors! They will provide two-thousand credits advanced travel allowance to get you to a specific space-station in Dodixie. Then they will take care of the other travel arrangements from there. That way they don't even know what system you yourself live in. See this protection thing works both ways."

"Wait! did you say two grand just to make the first leg of the trip?" Jasmin paused for a second. "What is the fee then?"

"Well its a full over-nighter" replied her boss. Jasmin thought about it, she was listed on their books as 1,500 credits for over-night, 8pm to 8am. "They are willing to pay fifty grand plus travel."

Jasmin sat bolt upright in the bath sending bubbles and water cascading over the edge, sloshing onto the floor.

"Did you just say fifty grand?"

"Yes darling. This is the big time after all."

Jasmin did the sums in her head. The agency took 25% of all fees but that would still leave her 37,500 credits plus what she could save from the two grand travel allowance. The equivalent of 25 over-nighters. Even before the crash she'd need between four to six months to make that.

"What's the catch. There must be a catch?" she asked warily.

"No catch darling. This is the big time with the big spenders! They expect high-class and above all, discretion."

Jasmin held the datapad in the air as she dunked herself into the warm water with the largest smile on her face she'd had in a long time.

"Hello? Jasmin? Are you there.....?" echoed from the datapad.

-o0o-

24 hours later....

Jasmin sipped the expensive Gallente champagne from the crystal flute as the shuttle approached the station. She leant back in the luxurious seat padded with soft Matari Telemark leather. The initial leg of her journey had been just about bearable but the second leg was amazing. Thinking to keep some of the two thousand credit travel allowance, she'd taken the cheapest economy InterBus shuttle from her home planet to Nugoeihuvi Corporation Development Studio station that she could find. Just two hours ago she'd been drinking Quafe Lite from a plastic bottle whilst wedged between an Amarrian monk and a Matari professional fighter! She had been glad to get off that shuttle when they arrived in Dodixie. Her instructions had been to proceed to a separate private docking bay. She'd found a shuttle there waiting to take her to the destination. She had been treated like royalty since, and not a Quafe Lite in sight or any overly-chatty Matari fighters. Just expensive Gallente champagne and first class service.

The shuttle entered the destination station at a private hanger and Jasmin disembarked into the elegant arrivals room. She looked around for some hint of where she was and saw none. A man in a smart uniform complete with cap was waiting for her.

"Miss Jasmin?" he enquired in a posh Gallente acent.

"Yes?"

"I am Jean-Baptiste. I am to escort you to the hotel. Please let me take your bag."

Jasmin smiled and handed over her small roller case. She had been instructed not to bring much luggage and that clothing for the night would be provided. For once she was traveling light. She followed the man over to a small station-car and he opened the door for her. She slid inside to find it was not a standard station car. Leather seats, wood trim and a mini-bar with a chilled half bottle of champagne awaited her. She smiled to herself, this was certainly the way to travel.

It took approximately half an hour until they reached the hotel on one of the upper decks of the station. The driver collected her bags and escorted her straight to the lifts, no checking-in she noted. On the 49th floor the lift opened and they stepped into the luxurious corridor. Her driver pulled a keycard and opened one of the three doors on that floor. She stepped into a truly amazing suite.

"I would get some rest Miss. Some people from the spa will come to see you at 1600 hours station time to get you ready. I will be here to collect you at 2020 station time. Please enjoy the facilities." the man explained before tipping his hat and leaving.

Jasmin went to the huge paroramic window that looked into deep space.


She stood there and stared into the blackest space she'd ever seen. She knew she was no longer in Gallente hi-sec, the green nebula was too far away. She assumed she was now in low-security space. She searched around the suite and found it had separate bedroom, living room and huge bathroom with a big soak-bath before returning to the large window to gaze out over the near-by moon and into deep space again.

"Oh yes, this is the way to do business!" she whispered to herself

-o0o-

After a good sleep in the most amazing bed she'd ever experienced, Jasmin ordered a light lunch from room service. She watched some cheesy movies on the holoprojector and generally slobbed out. At 1600 sharp the door buzzer went. Jasmin opened the door to find three Caldari women dressed in crisp white spa uniforms. They were carrying a selection of bags and pushing various trolleys and clothing racks. She was slightly surprised to find Caldari working on a Gallente station but then again Caldari did make some of the best masseuses.

The next four hours were a blur for Jasmin. She was treated to an afternoon of pure pampering. Massages followed by skin treatment and hair removal followed by more massages and even more skin treatment. By the time they were finished doing her hair and make-up she hardly recognised herself. Her skin felt softer than she could ever remember and she felt radiant.

They had brought a selection of clothes for her, all high-fashion, all hideously expensive. Given her profession, Jasmin was used to dressing up, but this was a whole new level. The three spa girls helped her dress, she felt like royalty with the three women waiting on her, helping her dress. Jasmin smoothed the luxurious black Amarrian silk stockings up her legs and fixed the delicate silk tops to a matching Gallente lace suspender belt.


The spa girls eased her into the other skimpy pieces of Gallente fashion-house lingerie that were no more than whisps of silk and lace. It was all covered by an elegant House of Ranai satin cocktail dress. Finally the stiletto heels from famous designer Vallou completed the outfit. Jasmin looked in the mirror. She could have been going to a high society ball. Elegant, beautiful, sexy.

Within five minutes of the spa team clearing out the door buzzer went again. She opened it to find Jean-Baptiste there.

"Good evening Miss. You look radiant. Are you ready?" he asked.

Jasmin nodded and followed him to the lift. She was nervous. The ride in the lift was very short, just one level up to the 50th floor. The lift pinged and the door opened into an entry room. The driver beckoned her to enter and she did. Jasmin turned and saw he had stayed in the lift.

"Are you not coming?" she asked nervously.

"No Miss. A scanning drone will just do a routine check of you for security reasons and the door will unlock. Have a good night Miss." and with that he doffed his cap and the lift doors closed. Movement caught Jasmin's eye as a painting in the wall opened out and a small machine slowly hovered out. It was about the size of a shoe box and covered in antennas and small dishes.

"Please stay still" it said in a pure Gallente accent as it hovered around her. A wide but thin blue light shone over her as the drone moved up and down ensuring it covered her completely in the eerie blue light. She hear a click that made her jump.

"No weapons, bio-agents or explosives detected. No virus or communicable disease detected. You have a clean bill of health. Please continue, the door is unlocked." the drone stated as it hovered back to its hole in the wall.

Jasmin shook her head at the bizarre encounter with the drone and moved to the large wooden doors. On a space-station wood was not a common material. If a location has wood then it is a high-class area for rich VIPs only. She opened the door and stepped inside a massive lounge. The entire back wall was a window which provided a magnificent view into space, ornate furniture from all around New Eden was carefully placed around the room. It was simply breath-taking.

"Welcome." said a voice to her left which made her jump. Whilst he spoke Gallente, there was a strong twang of Caldanese. She looked over and saw a man behind an ornate black bar making drinks. Three glasses were placed on top of the bar and he was filling them with colourful liquids. The man stopped what he was doing and came out from behind the bar and walked towards her. Jasmin studied him carefully as he approached. He was Caldari, very fit, light hair, tall and walked with the up-most confidence. His eyes burnt with passion and he had a slightly bemused look to his lips. He was enjoying this.

"Hi, I'm Jasmin." she said and held out a hand. The man took his hand in hers and kissed it. She felt how soft his hands and lips were. In fact they were too soft. Even an office worker who has never done manual labour in their life should have tougher skin that his.

"Of course you are." he said with a wink whilst extending his other hand to encourage her towards one of the plush black leather sofa's.

He was right, Jasmin was not her real name. The men who booked courtesans didn't generally care for names really, however for security it was always best to use a fake one. An exotic one was best as these helped grab attention on the site, she like the scent of Jasmin so when she needed to choose a professional name it hadn't been hard. The man hadn't offered his name and she wouldn't ask, she'd lost count of the number of Mr Smiths she'd slept with. She sat in one sofa and he sat in the other opposite. She looked at his clothes and couldn't make out the fashion house. The clothes he wore were obviously expensive judging by the material, but she'd never seen any like them before. She was wondering if they were custom made or whether he worked in the fashion industry and these were new season clothes not out on the street yet.

"How was your journey?" a female voice asked.

Jasmin looked over to her right and saw a woman appear from a side-door. Although she too spoke Gallente she was clearly Amarrian. Flowing jet back hair and a slender frame. Again the clothes were unknown to Jasmin. A plunging short dress, seamed stockings and knee high boots. The woman's skin also looked too good to be true.

"It was good thank you. I'm Jasmin." she said as she stood and faced the woman. The Amarrian walked up to her and greeted her with the traditional Gallente greeting, kissing her on both cheeks. Jasmin noted that her skin was the same as the man's, baby-soft. The woman backed off and sat down next to the man. Jasmin retook her seat, being careful not to expose too much. The dress she was wearing was very revealing and she knew sitting the wrong way would expose the tops of her stocking tops. Normally with a Client this wouldn't be an issue, in fact she'd more often than not purposely do it to move things along. However, being with a couple was a new situation for her and she wasn't sure how to behave. The last thing she wanted was the wife to suddenly become jealous and ruin the night.

"Are you two married?" she ask trying to make small talk. The two opposite her smiled at each other. The man rose to his feet and headed to the bar.

"No. We are just very, very good friends." the woman replied. "And please, call me Cat."


Jasmin glanced over to what the man was doing. He finished off the drinks, gathered them up and brought them over. He handed one to Jasmin and turned around to pass one to Cat. Jasmin saw a flash of metal under the man's hair at the top of his neck as he stretched. Suddenly everything fell into place. The money, the secrecy, the security, their clothes and the skin.

"Judging by our guests expression she's just connected the dots." Cat purred in the sofa opposite. The man laughed as walked back towards Cat glancing back at Jasmin. "Really? Already?".

"You are a capsuleer. An immortal!" she said in awe. The man nodded and smiled at her before taking his seat next to Cat.

"We both are actually. You are the quickest we've known to make the connection. Bravo!" Cat replied as she raised her drink. "To an entertaining night."

They talked for a good hour. Jasmin had a million questions but needed to remember that she was working and needed to keep professional. She asked generic questions about the capsuleer life and found that the un-named man had saved Cat from an Amarrian Holder after her parents had been killed and he'd taken all family assets, including her, as payment for an outstanding debt. Her lover had then paid for her to be put through capsuleer training. Jasmin filled them in with a few details of her own life. More than she would usually do with Clients but these two were different. If they really wanted to, with their connections, they could know everything there was no know about her. Capsuleers were some of the most powerful people in the cluster.

"So why me? I enjoyed the travelling but surely there are more local agencies." Jasmin asked. Cat smiled and nodded to her man as she rose, collected the empty glasses and went to make some more drinks.

"We're picky" the man said lazing back in the sofa on his own. "We keep an eye on all the top agencies. When we both are in the mood and we spot one we both agree on, then distance is no object."

"Do you do this a lot then?" Jasmin followed up.

"Not really. A couple of times a year." Cat replied coming back with the refilled glasses.

She placed one in front of her man and then sat next to Jasmin handing her a drink. Jasmin accepted the drink and took a good gulp knowing things were moving forward. They continued the conversation until that drink was exhausted. As she placed her empty glass on the small wooden table, Jasmin felt Cat's hand on her knee. She shifted slightly towards her and turned her head. The Amarrian woman had amazing eyes that seemed to penetrate her soul. There was something about these Capsuleers. It wasn't the implants that allowed them to control their massive spaceships simply by thought. It wasn't that they were immortal and could live forever. There was something else. Something special. Cat raised a hand and brushed a strand of hair away from Jasmin's face with a smile. The hand lingered and Jasmin leant her head into the soft touch of Cat's hand. Her thumb brushed Jasmin's lips and she parted them slightly.


Cat leant in slightly and Jasmin mirrored her moves, their lips meeting softly. For Jasmin this was the first time she'd kissed another woman. It was soft, warm, erotic. Slowly and very gradually the kisses became more passionate. Tongues meeting as she felt a hand start to explore her body. Jasmin opened her eyes briefly to sneak a peak to see what the man was doing. He was still leaning back in the sofa with his arms spread over the backrest. He was watching intently. Jasmin closed her eyes again and continued to enjoy the sensations. A hand snaked over her knee and up to her thigh, she felt the soft skin of the exploring hand meet her own exposed flesh as it crossed over the silk tops of her stockings and over her exposed thighs. The hand then disappointingly snaked around her hips and up over her waist and up over her breast. The thin satin material of the dress make the sensation mind-blowing. The hand continued its advance up her chest, onto her neck and into her hair. Cat expertly pulled on Jasmin's hair slowly and lightly, forcing her head backwards, breaking the kiss which disappointed her. She then felt the her lips start trailing kisses down her throat and around to the side of her neck sending what felt like electricity coursing throughout her body. She let out a moan of pleasure. Usually these were faked and for the benefit of the Client. Normally as she would be thinking about what groceries she needed to buy next week or other mundane task. Not this time, this was a real reaction. She let out another small gasp of pleasure as she felt a hot tongue run all the way up the side of her neck from the base and then teeth nibbling her earlobe. A soft, warm hand had returned to her chest and was expertly teasing her through the thin satin of the dress. The sensation was overwhelming and she felt as if the room shook. Her eyes snapped open as she realised she really had felt the room shake. 

She saw Cat was rising off her, her lover was sprinting towards the bar. Confused Jasmin looked around and realised there was debris on the floor and smoke in the air. She looked towards the entrance and saw the big wooden door had almost been blown off its hinges. Masked men in combat fatigues were charging into the room with guns. One of the men shot at Cat's lover as he propelled himself over the bar, the rounds raking gouges in the wall as he flew behind the bar and vanished. Cat had also disappeared around the corner and Jasmin looked on in confusion. One of the masked men turned to her pointing his rifle in her face.

"WHO ARE YOU?" the masked man screamed at her. She couldn't answer, she was frozen in fear. She stuttered an answer as the gunman braced the rifle into his shoulder as if about to fire. A red mist erupted from the side of his head and he fell to the floor. The other three men who had been looking towards her all started to turn. They fell to the ground in turn, dead before they had even brought their guns to bear. Jasmin looked over to the bar where the Capsuleer stood with a smoking pistol.

"Time to go?" Cat asked from somewhere behind her. Jasmin spun her head and saw her emerge from the other room with a large bag in one hand and a gun in the other.

"What about her?" the man asked.

"We cannot leave her. They'll be more of them coming. If they grab her they'll spend hours squeezing everything she knows out of her and when they get bored, they'll kill her."

"OK Jasmin, guess that means you are coming with us!"

Jasmin was about to protest when Cat raised her gun and fired once. During the action she never took her calming eyes off Jasmin's. There was a thud and a masked man fell through the hole that had been blasted in the door. She'd hit him in the centre of the forehead without even looking. Jasmin had read about Capsuleers in school. They had the implants that increased their perception far and above that of a normal human.

"I'm serious." Cat said still looking into Jasmin's eyes. "These men will capture you, torture you and then kill you for simply talking to us. You need to come with us if you want to live."

She held out a hand and Jasmin took it as the thunderous sound of running boots grew louder. The two capsuleers raised their guns towards the door, shielding Jasmin behind them.


.... to be concluded....

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Now That The Boys of Somer Have Gone

At the weekend, the brown smelly stuff hit the fan. SomerBlink, the Eve Online 3rd party lottery site started offering a deal. If you bought a Eve Time Code from a specific reseller they would buy that PLEX off you for ISK. Not a problem, but.... and its a massive but....


.....they would give you more ISK than it was worth in-game.

Basically this was seen as Real Money Trading (RMT) by many parts of the community and many of the CSM. There appears to be some confusion over if this is RMT with many players saying "Its just the same as buying a PLEX from CCP and selling it on the market".

Its not, but it does get very complicated. If you really want to read the ins-and-outs try here or here or here.

Basically Somer was giving ISK and receiving RL money in return, and this is what upset many players and broke the rules. You can legally 'buy' ISK within the specific rules (buy PLEX from CCP or authorised ETC reseller, put PLEX on in-game market), but you can never 'sell' ISK which is what Somer was doing in a roundabout way.

CCP is looking into it, with CCP Falcon living on ProPlus tablets and Red Bull I'm guessing given the hours he'd been pulling this week! 


However, it appears SomerBlink have thrown the teddies from the pram and are closing down the site before any final decision is reached. Relax, it appears they will be refunding players wallets and honouring ships you still have left to claim etc.

What this does do is bring the monetisation of Eve into the spotlight. Many people make money from Eve and I guess, sort of, I am one. As an official Fansite I get a free account and usually a free Fanfest ticket. OK I'm not actually receiving "payment" officially but I am getting stuffz for free that I would normally pay for. Therefore I am better off running this blog than not.

Take the Mittani.com. As I recall they get 300,000 visits a month. With the adverts they run I'm sure Mittens can afford a luxury Dr Evil chair or two in his Man Cave for plotting hideous plans for the residents of New Eden.


However these are all within the rules. Selling ISK isn't even if you do it in a very roundabout way.

Of course this isn't the first time Somer has been embroiled in controversy. Last year there were calls of favouritism when CCP gave something like 30 Ishukone Watch Scorpions to Somer.

I think Poetic Stanziel put it best. "Its like the local casino sponsoring the football team and then City Hall giving their staff a free car to say thank you."

Approximately one year later and here we are again.

Now what does the future hold?

To be honest I never used Somer. I'm not a big gambling man. I work with statistics so to me gambling is just a bit silly. If you have the odd flutter you could walk away with more than you put in. However, if you use it all the time then in the end the law of statistics means you will lose more than you put in. Thats how all lotteries and casinos work. Not everyone can be a winner and over time you will end up with the house rate.

I guess we'll see either Somer back or a new Somer-like service run by others. There is no doubting that Somer was successful and made a stupid amount of ISK. As long as the new site doesn't try to convert that ISK to Dollars, Pounds, Euros or gold bullion they should do very well.


Monday, August 18, 2014

Eve as an eSport?

The Alliance Tournament is in full swing. I'm watching the odd match. A monthly bandwidth limit is not conducive to streaming video. However I am hopping onto Twitch once every so often to catch some of the "excitement".

I was watching a match over the weekend when I realised I wasn't actually looking at any spaceships.... and this is the thing. Is combat in Eve Online fun to watch for an external observer?

We have a big problem with our beloved game and that problem is space. You see, "Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist's, but that's just peanuts to space."


Douglas Adams quotes aside, this is a major issue. The arena used in AT12 is 125km radius around a central beacon. That is shade under a whopping 8.2 MILLION cubic kilometres in volume. I hope I've done my maths right there. 4/3 x pi x radius cubed right?

Now take the Worm. A popular ship this year from the few games I've seen. That is 16,500 cubic metres of important internet spaceship. Or to put it another way, its 1.65 × 10^-5 cubic kilometres. Which is 0.0000165 cubic kilometres. More depressingly, you can fit 495,580,808,080.81 Worms inside the tournament arena. Obviously uber Tetris skill would be needed to accomplish that!


Space is huge and each ship is a speck in the arena. Its a tiny blip. Now you might have a lot of tiny blips, but they are in the end just tiny blips.

Now what are these tiny blips doing? They are firing missiles, guns or "layyyyysors" at each other, OK we can see that. However, what about eWar? The effects in game are good when you are focusing on your ship. NoS and neuts, webs, target painters etc. All nice visuals when you are focused closed in to the ship. Zoomed out, you haven't a clue. In the Alliance Tournament you spent more time looking at the graphics in the bottom panel to see how people are doing and what effects are being applied. You soon are spending more time looking at the bottom panel than the "action" above.


Before you know it, you are totally focused on that bottom panel....

And ladies and gentlemen, we are back to proper Eve Online....

You are excitedly looking at a spreadsheet in space!

Basically nobody but an Eve Online player is going to enjoy the AT. You put that on in a bar and some people might be initially interested in what this is. For 60 seconds. Then they realise space is big and dark and then only way to find out whats going on is to watch the bottom panel and then you are watching Spreadsheet Sports!

Now, the 100 billion ISK question. Can we make Eve Online Tournaments fun to watch for non-Eve Online players?

Lets have a look at popular eSports games. DOTA2, LOL, Starcraft and Counterstrike:-



Yeah.... Eve is Eve and I'm not sure it can ever show that level of detail in a eSports format. I wish I could come up with some good ideas to make Eve more visually interesting and informative to watchers, but I cannot. I've had a good think and I have no idea how things could be changed to make Eve an interesting spectator sport. Anyone got any good ideas how Eve could be done as a proper eSport? No?

Shame as it would be a great marketing tool to draw new players in. For now I fear it is only for Eve Online fans and for non-players it only reinforces the negative views of Eve Online.

Spreadsheets in space.


Sunday, August 17, 2014

SCASSSS - AT12 Teaser

Erm.... interesting teaser trailer. A bit.... erm.... different?

Friday, August 15, 2014

Choices - Part 2

Fiction Friday! Escape pod here!


Choices - Part 2

Deltes stumbled into the next corridor feeling sick. He'd killed that unknown man and now one of his own friends. He had saved his brothers life and that of another friend, but he still had flicked the switch to choose between them. He knew this sick bastard had more in store for him. The white arrows painted on the floor ran down the dirty corridor and vanished under another door. Rather than following them, he tried the other doors along the corridor. All were locked and barricaded. The person running the show obviously had taken his time in setting this up. It appeared that the only way through was to follow the trail laid out for him. Reluctantly Deltes followed the arrows into the next room.

Inside the room, two women were secured to large wooden chairs. They both started to scream as Deltes entered. He recognised both at once. One was an ex-girlfriend, Jana. They had dated for nearly a year and broken up just before he met Josvis, however the split had been amicable and they'd remained friends. The other woman was his supervisor at work. Both young, attractive women, were fastened to the chairs with what appeared to be shower heads above them. The white circle was painted on the floor again as well as the console. Clear pipes ran from the shower-heads to a small tank mounted on the ceiling, it was filled with some kind of liquid.

"This one is more interesting Deltes. Lets see your thought-process here. When the timer hits zero acid will be released from the tank above. It will rain down on the two women. Given that they'll share the entire tank between them, they are both likely to survive. That amount, when split equally, is unlikely to kill them. They will be horribly disfigured, probably blinded and the pain will be immense. However, they will both live. You can use the console to divert the flow to just one of them. A full tank dumped over one person will likely be fatal, but the other will be totally unharmed and free to go once you complete the course. So what will you do?"

Deltes looked at the timer as it started to tick down from thirty seconds. He screamed in rage and frustration. The two women were thrashing in their bonds, their wide eyes pleading with him to divert the acid to the other. He didn't know what to do. The three options he had were unthinkable. Killing either of them was not a choice he could make, but what would their lives be if he didn't act. He was paralysed, unable to move. A subtle click above signified time was up. Deltes stood rigid as he watched the amber liquid slowly move through the clear pipes above their heads.


The two women were screaming as hard as they could. As the acid finally erupted from the shower heads above them the screaming went up an octave.

Deltes was frozen as he watched the acid do its work. The women's heads went bright red as the skin bubbled and blistered. Hair fell out in clumps as the acid ate into their scalps. After a few seconds they both passed out, their bald, featureless heads a mass of red sores.

Deltes bent over and was sick on the floor.

"Mmmmmm interesting, very interesting. Wouldn't make a choice there? Wouldn't condemn one to death to save the other the pain? Anyway only two more to go." the voice cheerfully boomed over the speakers.

"NO! No more!" Deltes yelled. "I'm not playing your sick game any more. Kill me here if you want but I'm not leaving this room just so you can torture and kill more innocent people!"

"Oh, that is a disappointment. I suppose I could always make the decision... for your Josvis."

Deltes dropped to his knees and sobbed. The maniac had his wife.

"So are you going to complete the last two rooms?"

Deltes stood refusing to answer. Still sobbing, he walked to the next door.

He flung the door open. His wife was not there, it was his sister and her son. They were stood within the usual circle with their arms tied above their heads, stretched towards the roof. Their ankles were similarly fixed to a large metal ring in the floor.

"Now we are getting to the very difficult levels Deltes. Your emotional attachment must be greatest for your sister correct? However, your nephew is only an innocent child, with his whole life in front of him. How do you chose between your sister, your own flesh and blood, and that of a child relative you don't know as well? The chains on their arms are connected to powerful motors on the next level. These winches can lift 25 tons. As you can imagine, there is no way a human body can take that pull."

Deltes looked at the counter, it was dropping from 45 seconds. He locked eyes with his sister, she looked terrified but nodded down to her son. He knew what she wanted, what any mother would want. The question was could he do it? His sister and he had been close until she married young and moved away. He'd only seen his nephew a dozen times or so, barely once a year that he'd been alive.

He looked at the console, 20 seconds left.

"15 seconds Deltes. Unless you flick the switch, they both will die."


He looked at his sister again, she looked calm now. Her blue eyes penetrated his soul. She calmly nodded for him to do it. With a sob Deltes flicked the switch to save the boy. His sister smiled at him, a tear running down her cheek. The counter struck zero and a motor could be heard staring up. There was a rattle of chains and his sister was lifted off the floor as the chains around her arms rose. The chains wrapped around her ankles and calves pulled tight and she jerked to a stop. She started to scream behind the gag. Deltes could tell the chains were pulling on her. There was a slight movement in the top chain as it pulled on her limbs. Popping sounds echoed around the room as her joints gave way followed by a ripping sound as her shoulders tore. Skin stretched before tearing. Her body fell to the floor whilst her two severed arms were raised slowly to the ceiling still tethered to the chain. She thrashed around for a few seconds as her stumps pumped jets of bright red blood onto the floor in large arcs. Less than a minute later she was still.

"Oh, disappointing. I was hoping the one you chose would tear in the middle. That would have been more dramatic. Anyway, your wife is waiting for you Deltes. Last room. Chop, chop!"

Deltes raced out of the room. His heart stopped as he saw the white arrows vanish behind a heavy metal door down the corridor.

-o0o-

Deltes took a deep breath and opened the door. He sobbed as he saw the scene in front of him. The room was an observation room looking into another room, some sort of air-tight laboratory by the look of it. In that room was a single person. His wife was chained in the middle of the room. She was stood with her arms and legs spread out, the chains pulled tight to the ceiling and floor. She had been stripped to her underwear. In one corner there appeared to be stacked medical equipment and some sort of humanoid drone that was powered down.

"Welcome to our final experiment Deltes. Here is where I hope to understand your thought process that night. Why did you choose not to save my wife and son?"

Deltes finally made the connection. It was the him. The husband of the woman and the father of the child he couldn't save in the crash.

"I didn't choose!" screamed Deltes. "I just acted on instinct! I didn't know there was a child in the other car!"

"Well lets see what your instincts tell you here. When the countdown reaches zero two gases will be released into the chamber unless you act. The first is a high pressure sulphur-plasmatic gas. Very nasty, attacks human flesh like concentrated acid. I have read reports of workers who have been killed by this gas, oh its a very nasty way to go. Certainly not a fast and painless death. Did you know that victims eyelids are usually eaten through before they die meaning they actually feel their eyeballs being slowly dissolved by the gas. Very nasty. Anyway, there is a life monitor in the room monitoring your wifes vital signs. As soon as she flat-lines, and the gas will kill her, the medical drone there will activate. The room has high-capacity extractor fans, the gas will be extracted and the drone will perform an emergency c-section on your wife. As you can see we have an incubator and everything needed to give your baby every chance at survival. Also all the doors will unlock and you'll find an exit at the back of the room and your belongings in a bag on the fire escape. Your datapad is there so you can call the police and medical services too. However there is a problem, there is another gas to be released as well. Pakkon III 'Childbane' Gas is a very strange marsh gas from the planet Pakkon III, obviously. It will make your wife feel sick and dizzy. However, to the unborn, the gas is deadly. Within two minutes of your wife breathing it in, the chemicals she absorbed from the gas will react with the fluid surrounding the baby. It reacts with the proteins and turns the fluid highly acidic. It will kill your unborn child in a matter of minutes. Your wife will also be rendered infertile and she'll never be able to have children again as the acidic liquid attacks her sensitive reproductive system from the inside. Don't worry, she will survive, there may be some pain, but nothing too bad. So, there you go. Make your choice. Save your baby and kill your wife, or kill your baby and be left with a sterile wife. Of course you could take no action and watch them both slowly die."

Deltes screamed in rage, the clock started ticking down from 60 seconds, the longest yet he'd had to decide. Obviously chosen to draw out the time he had to agonise over his choice. He looked through the glass at his wife. She gave a sad smile and mouthed the words "Save the baby". Deltes grabbed his hair in frustration and screamed again.

"No! I will not play this sick game."

He looked around quickly noting the valves in the gas room and the controls in front of him.

"You have choices... choose!" the voice boomed.

Deltes grabbed the switch and pulled hard, ripping the poorly secured plate from the console.

"No! STOP! I'll.... I'll release the gas!" the voice stammered through the speakers.

Deltes flipped the plate over and started pulling the wires free.

"I'm betting you won't. There isn't enough wires on those valves, I can see them. You got sloppy and rushed. You assumed I'd make a choice and not simply rip your shit up. Well asshat, here is option four. I break the circuits to those valves and then you come down here and we discuss how I'm going to kill you!"

There was silence. For Deltes it felt like an eternity however it was only 20 seconds.

"Thinking about it, I'll take option 5. Active the medical drone and then deactivate it when its half-way through the c-section. Then you can watch them both die!"

Deltes span around and saw the indicators light up on the drones head. It was booting up. He ran to the glass door that separated the observation room from the gas-room and started kicking it. The drone lifted its head, it was coming online. He grabbed a section of pipe that was leaning against the wall and started pounding on the glass door. The glass was heavily reinforced and he wasn't making much headway. It cracked but showed no signs of breaking fully. The drone stood slowly and then held still for a few seconds, still going through the start-up procedure. Deltes looked around in a panic and saw a line of rusted gas cylinders at the back of the room. Obviously used for whatever this chambers original use was.

"CreoDron Medical Assistant Class AA42 Online. Activating program 87c. Expectant mother deceased. Unborn child in danger. Emergency C-Section and incubation. Program loaded. Executing." the drone stated in its robotic voice.


As the drone started to walk over to Josvis, Deltes grabbed one of the large rusting cylinders and quickly laid it flat on the floor. He took his section of pipe and raised it above his head. He brought the pipe crashing down on the valve which sheared off. A ear-splitting hiss filled the room as the cylinder took flight and hit the centre of the door, smashing the glass into fragments. Deltes ran through the broken door and launched at the drone as it extended an arm with a lit laser scalpel towards his wife's bulging belly. He heard his wife scream in pain and terror a second before he crashed into the drone sending them both flying into the wall. He kicked the drone off him and brought the section of pipe crashing down on the top of its head. Sparks flew and a thin wisp of smoke rose from the cavity in the white plastic. It slumped face down on the floor.

Deltes spun around to his sobbing wife. A gash in her belly was bleeding. He ran over and sunk to his knees.

"The baby!" his wife sobbed.

"Its OK" guy said choking on his emotions "Its not that deep. Its a scratch. We're all going to be fine."

-o0o-

The police and ambulance services arrived within minutes of Deltes making the call. The person who had put them through this was right, his belongings including his datapad were just outside the exterior door.

Josvis was taken to hospital as a precaution and Deltes spent several hours down the local police station. He explained that he believed it to be the husband and father of the woman and child he was unable to save in the crash. A few basic checks by the police proved him right. The lease on the warehouse, the purchase of the gases and machinery. The perpetrator didn't even try to hide it.

Checking the traffic control logs they had tracked a small shuttle that had left the warehouse to a remote private residence. As the police advanced on the residence the building went up in flames. A charred corpse was found inside and it was deemed the suspect had killed himself. The whole process went from opening the case to closing it within 24 hours. By the next day Deltes and his wife were back home.

"Do you think you could ever do anything like that? I mean if something happened to me and junior?" Josvis asked as she rested her head on Deltes' lap that night.

"I'd like to say no." he replied "However, if I lost you and the baby, well I might lose my mind as well. Lets make sure it never comes to that. Do you want anything?"

"A juice?" she replied.

He gently stoked her head and slipped out from under her head. In the kitchen he grabbed a glass and opened the fridge. The scream chilled his blood. He dropped the glass which shattered loudly on the stone tiles. He dashed back to the living room. His wife was standing in the corner facing him, someone was behind her with his arm around her neck and a long wide-bladed carving knife in his other hand, pointed at her pregnant belly.

"So Deltes, we have to do this the hard way!"

Deltes recognised the voice immediately. He hadn't burnt to death in the fire at his home. It was a decoy.

"Please, let her go. Its me that you want."

"No Deltes" the man hissed "Its you that I want... to know loss!"

With that the man plunged the blade into Josvis' belly to the hilt and let her drop screaming to the floor. Deltes reached into the back of his pants and the man's face dropped as he produced a pistol.

"Frack you!" was Deltes' simple statement as he fired the pistol repeatedly, the hybrid rounds slamming into the man's chest making bloody craters. The man's body slumped against the wall and slid down, leaving a red streak behind. Deltes rushed to his wife's side. Blood soaked her robe where the knife hilt protruded and she was gasping for breath.


-o0o-

One Year Later...

Deltes stood on the hillside beside the twin graves. One substantially smaller than the other. He bent and lay a single white lily on each one and took a step back. The view here was breathtaking. The rolling hills above the city of New Fontette giving mourners a place to grieve and yet also a place to look to the future. He looked down at the graves one last time and turned to leave.

His wife was at the edge of the plot waiting for him. She lazily bounced the stroller. She smiled as he returned.

"You OK?" she asked.

He nodded and returned a strained smile. Deltes looked into the pram, his son was asleep. The scar above his right eye was clearly visible and would be that way until he was a teenager and the doctors could do an effective skin graft. The knife that the mad-man had plunged into his wife's swollen belly had only grazed him. The attack had put his wife straight into labour and she had given birth there and then on the floor of their house. Deltes had delivered his own child, a 7.8lbs son, healthy, other than the gash to the head.

Deltes had put six high calibre rounds into the attacker and he'd died instantly. The gun which Deltes had bought the day of the attack before collecting his wife from the hospital was licensed and given the preceding 48 hours it was deemed justifiable home defence. No charges were brought.

"Do you ever think what would have happened if you'd have saved those two instead?" his wife asked nodding towards the graves of the mother and son Deltes had just laid the lily's on.

"What is done is done. Thinking about that decision drove their husband and father mad. I'd rather not go that way."

"Shall be go home?" his wife asked.

Deltes put his arm around her and they slowly walked out of the cemetery pushing the pram together.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Eve Outage Causes Confusion and Anger Amongst Nerds

LONDON. 12 August 2014.

A problem with a network router at a London based internet company caused major disruption throughout the UK on Tuesday. Whilst many people could not access smaller, less well known websites such as eBay, there were larger problems when it was discovered that Tranquillity, the Eve Online server, has a large proportion of its traffic routed through this downed server. Reports started coming in worldwide of people unable to play their favourite important internet spaceship game.

When the severity of the problem was realised, the authorities quickly alerted the NCIS (Nerd Crisis Information Service).

Spokesperson for the NCIS, Mr Mike Spock Obi-wan Kirk Vader Star Trek Reynolds Skywalker Smith, told this publication that they had to act quickly. "One of the most dangerous areas during a time like this is acute UV exposure to the gamers. Being unable to log into Eve Online did lead some players to wander around in confusion. Some of these unfortunate souls ended up outside. Eve Online players are usually the colour of tippex and even small exposure to UV rays can lead to cronic sunburn. We have reports of at least four players suffering from instantaneous combustion due to standing in direct sunlight. Cases of severe sunburn are in the thousands."

Problems were first noticed around 09:30 when 475 separate threads were created on the "Eve Online Players" Facebook page asking "Iz Eve down?". The NCIS reported that this was resolved quickly through 4750 replies suggesting before creating a new post, people might want to scroll down just in case someone else asked that same bloody question within the last 32 seconds.

Mr Smith revealed some startling statistics from the outage. "Initial estimates put Kleenex usage up 215% in the early stages of the outage. This jumped to 295% when some people started to suggest that, as it was a 3rd party fault and not the fault of CCP, pilots would not be given free skill points. There were a lot of tears already but this simply drove it up into overdrive. We haven't seen increases in Kleenex usage of these levels since the Natalie Portman/Mila Kunis girl-on-girl scene from the movie 'Black Swan' was uploaded to the internet in 2013."

Further problems with Eve Online sites grew when the popular monitoring site "Eve Offline" went down given that ten thousand geeks were spamming refresh every 25 milliseconds. Mouse sales on Amazon were up 500% by the time the servers eventually come back up.

The Eve players themselves took to social media to vent their rage as many couldn't access the games official forums.

"I cannot log into Eve! Situations like this mean I would have to talk to the girlfriend.... if I had one!"

"Come on CCP! Its not going to be long before the wife realises its an Eve-O video I'm playing on YouTube and I'm only pretending to play!"

"Have they fixed it yet? Have they fixed it yet? Oooooo have they fixed it..... yet?"

"So, can this internet thing do anything else other than spaceships?"

Eve Online player Drackarn, head of the 'ZOMG Eve Iz Down. We Want One Billion Skill Points and a Hand Written Apology from Hilmar Delivered in Person by a Lingerie-clad Mila Kunis Campaign' (ZOMGEIDWWOBSPHWAHDPLMKC) made the following statement.

"Being unable to log onto Eve Online is totally unacceptable. I myself had to spend "quality time" with the wife and moped around the house feeling sad for hours. Whilst the outage was due to a 3rd party issue and effected large sections of the UK's internet infrastructure, the fact is we are self-entitled pricks who don't care about the facts if they go against our arguments. Therefore we demand that CCP give all players one billion skill points and that hand-written, personalised, apologies from the CCP CEO are written to each subscriber and that these are hand-delivered in person by Hollywood actress Mila Kunis wearing only lingerie and high-heels. We consider this only fair given what we had to go through due to no fault what so ever of CCPs. We are Eve Online players, we do not need a reason or justification to rage, we just can."

Monday, August 11, 2014

It's All The CSM'S Fault!

Over the last week there has been a fair bit of CSM bashing on the forums. Now, personally, I tend to avoid the forums. Too much hate, loathing, trolling, flaming and people who have far too much time on their hands. However, the few threads I did see had some comments to the effect of - "Its all the CSM's fault! They should have stopped CCP doing this!!!11!!1!".

Of course the CSM do have a lot to answer for. CCP have in the past made some mistakes which the CSM should have used their veto to block these obvious cock-ups from making it into the game.


Oh wait, the CSM do not have a veto, vote or official say in ANYTHING to do with the game!

They are a soundboard. They are an advisory body. They can be, and as I understand it, occasionally are ignored on occasions. May be "ignored" is too strong a word, better to say "CCP has gone against their advice"?

I am sure that the CSM occasionally agrees with a "bad idea". However I am also sure there are times when they will be against something and CCP will do it anyway. In fact I was told about one of these, I'll use it as an example. Now I admit I have no idea if this was true, simply what was told to me by a CSM member from the previous CSM, drunkenly at the Party On Top of the World this year. We got talking about the Red Keynote. I said I wasn't a DUST514 fan, but if I was, I'd be epically pissed at the DUST514 Keynote. The brochure said something along the lines of "Come and hear about the future of DUST514." What we got was a 20 minute re-cap of what had happened since Fanfest 2013 and then a demo of Project Legion. It ended suddenly with everyone expecting some DUST514 news but we didn't get any and everyone was looking around at each other saying "Wut? Eh? What about DUST514? What's the future for THAT?". Of course there was then some very angry players, especially those who were not Eve Online players and had flown from all around the globe just to be given a subtle hint their game was pretty much dead. Not cool.


Mr CSM agreed that it was bad and said that the CSM had been shouting for months that CCP "Had to tell the players before Fanfest". He told me that they had warned CCP what the reaction would be and that it was a "dick-move" to spring this on players at fanfest. Whilst the CSM shouted "You cannot leave this until Fanfest!" that is exactly what they did and there were many tears.

So, if CCP will go against the CSM on such a big issue, why is it so hard to believe that they'll also not take their advice with smaller things like wormhole spawning mechanics?

Its a difficult line to draw on CCP's part. Look at Star Wars: Galaxies. Now there were a lot of reasons why SW:G failscaded including the new combat experience. However I think one of the big problems was the changes to the Jedi unlock.


In SW:G any character could become a Jedi, you just had to unlock the ability. You did this by mastering two professions. The two specific professions were random and nobody knew which they were for their individual toon. If you wanted to unlock Jedi you had to go through mastering each profession and waiting until you got the right two. This led to very few Jedi toons (Really? In between a New Hope and Empire Strike Back, the time when [the] Jedi are all but extinct? Really?). There were cries that the way you unlocked the Jedi class was bad and SOE should feel bad. I mean, who doesn't want a light-sabre? Well with perma-death and instant PvP flag when ever you used a power, me! SoE relented, Jedi numbers went through the roof and people left. Apparently it was too easy to become a Jedi and there were too many of them. SoE just stood there going "But, but, but.... you wanted this!"

So, we need to remember that game developers need to be careful, giving the players everything they want can kill the game. They should listen to the players, and CCP do this better than most, but they also need to do whats best for the game overall.

I have no idea if with the wormhole mass-spawn idea if the CSM said "What a great idea!" or whether they said "This is a crock of shit!". However, either way CCP are in no way obligated to take their advice.


All the CSM can, and I am sure do on a constant basis, is to advise on CCP's plans and to give recommendations and ideas. However, when it comes to decision time, its all CCP. They are a games development company, not a democratic government. Blaming the CSM for something CCP do is like blaming the general population for something a government decided on.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

SCASSSS - Legs

Anyone who reads this blog will not be surprised I think the historic clothing for our avatars is a tad boring and certainly there is far too little leg on display. Now I don't want to see avatars just in their underwear, but come on, currently its all a bit straight-laced isn't it? Is this what we space-pirates 20,000 years into the future will be wearing? However, Is this about to change? I saw a Tweet from CCP karkur which led me to this interesting post*.

TL;DR - Following new short dresses in Kronos, that player wants more legs on show and is unhappy the client forces you to wear pants with the dresses! Here is something he mocked up to demonstrate what he is keen on:-


Whilst not going THAT far, CCP karkur points out that there are some changes on the Test Server right now. Here is one of my alts currently. In my fiction she's Drack's lover. Honestly, thats the best clothes available at the time I rolled her:-


Now, after CCP karkur waves her fairy magic wand on SiSi:-



Sorry other Devs, I appreciate you are doing great work on wormmholes.... but CCP karkur just won Hyperion hands down as far as I am concerned! I will be spending AUR in Hyperion... and I have NEVER spent a single AUR on any of my four accounts since that currency was launched!

CCP karkur, keep up the awesome work!



*PS - I agree with the person's OP, but I DO NOT agree with how they behaved further into the thread.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Choices - Part 1

Fiction Friday. Escape pod here if Eve Online fiction is not your thing. I know nothing about wormholes but sounds like CCP are going to upset a lot of those people who do.

I've been reading some good old school horror novels over the last few weeks....


Choices - Part 1
"So, do you think they lived happily ever after?"

Deltes chuckled as he drove down the deserted city road. It was sunset on rest-day and the city was quiet. The odd shuttle and transport could be seen overhead as darkness started taking hold against the bright green of the Gallente nebula that dominated the night sky.


"What are you laughing at?" his girlfriend asked playfully slapping his thigh.

"It was an action movie. The good guy kills the baddies, causes a lot of explosions and saves the hot chick. The majority of the audience don't want to see the action hero sat down after the finale with a wedding planner choosing a colour scheme and dress material!" he laughed.

His girlfriend folded her arms in a mock sulk.

"Next time we're going to see a good old Gallente rom-com!" she moaned "These Matari action movies are all the same! Big guy, with big muscles and a big gun on a big starship, blowing big things up!".

Deltes glanced over at her and smiled. They'd been going out together for almost 6 months and she'd recently moved into his apartment. He lived planet-side on Botane VI and worked for one of the Gallente TV channels as a senior tech. Not the greatest paying job in New Eden but it was enough for a nice apartment and a decent lifestyle. Josvis was a personal assistant to a legal big shot who worked in an advocates firm down-town. They'd met in a bar where both works were having a night out and had bonded over a few vodka and Quafes.

"OK, a chick-flick next time, I promise." he said reaching over and giving her knee a squeeze. A beeping sound drew his attention back to the road.

"What is it?" Josvis asked.

"The vehicle has detected an obstruction in the road ahead. There!" he pointed through the wind-shield.

As they neared the vehicle automatically slowed. Small pin-pricks of light in the distance soon grew to flames as they reached the scene. Two passenger vehicles had collided and were both resting on their roofs. Small fires had broken out on both vehicles and there appeared to be no movement from any of the passengers. The surrounding street was deserted.

"Call the emergency services!" Deltes said to Josvis as he jumped out of his vehicle. He ran to one of the upturned cars and crouched down. He could see two people inside. They appeared to be unconscious. He tried opening the door but the buckled frame of the vehicle made it difficult to open. He pulled harder and the metal started to bend slowly. He could smell the burning electrics.

"Deltes!"

He glanced up and saw his girlfriend had got out of the vehicle. She was looking over nervously but staying by their vehicle.

"Stay back!" he shouted. He knew either vehicle could blow at any time. The liquid-hydrogen fuel-cells used on the planet's vehicles were great sources of clean energy but everyone knew it wasn't the best gas to have leaking near a naked flame. He yanked the door again and it gave way with a screech of grinding metal. He dropped to his knees and pulled out the first occupant. A man who looked like he was in his late 60's. He dragged the unconscious body away before going back to drag the other occupant, a woman in her 30's clear. No sooner had he pulled the woman clear, than the vehicle erupted in flames. The hydrogen gas igniting and sending a roaring plume of blue flame 20 metres into the air. The ignition of the gas knocked Deltes off his feet. He pulled the woman back to the safety of his vehicle and laid her down next to the man. He rose and started to jog towards the other car. There was a loud hiss before that vehicle too erupted into flames. He stopped as the blast wave washed over him and then ran to see if he could rescue the occupants. He couldn't get near due to the heat of the flame. He held a hand up to shield his eyes from the roaring fire but could not see any signs of life or anyway to get near the burning vehicle. Circling around the wreck, he realised it was futile, whoever were in that vehicle, they were gone. He return to his own vehicle where Josvis was checking the old man and the woman. The sounds of sirens in the distance started to get louder.

-o0o-

Eight months later......
Josvis retrieved the large bottle of green juice from the fridge and started to drink from the bottle.

"I don't know how you can drink that!" Deltes said pulling a face, he was leaning in the doorway of the kitchen in just his pyjama bottoms.

"Hey, its good for me and for junior!" she replied patting her bulging stomach. Her heavily pregnant belly stuck out from her white stretched crop-top.

Deltes brushed past her and gave her a kiss on the cheek before grabbing a carton of milk and drinking the contents. He knocked the fridge door closed with his elbow. On the fridge door, the 12" screen showed a letter of commendation from the planetary governor for his actions that night eight months ago. He flicked the screen with his finger and the letter vanished. It was replaced by a news program detailing the latest Gallente Militia victories in Black Rise. Josvis kept putting the letter back on the screen but Deltes would rather forget that night.


It was in the aftermath of that accident that Deltes had really thought about things. The other vehicle, the one he couldn't save, had contained a mother and son. They had been burnt to death in the wreck. The man he had managed to rescued was a wealthy director of a Creodron subsidiary and his trophy wife who was about half his age. Even with a nice reward, Deltes always thought back to the mother and child he hadn't been able to save. The ease at which life could be snuffed out had hit him hard. He'd asked Josvis to marry him the week after the crash and she'd said yes. They'd married two months later before she'd started to show. Junior was a product of some serious love-making in the days following the crash. He'd seen on documentaries about the connection, where there was death, there was also life.

Deltes quickly got showered and changed and gave Josvis a quick kiss as he left the house. He looked back as he climbed into his car at the detached house in the leafy suburb, still not believing it was his. The man he'd saved was both rich and thankful. Whilst Deltes had refused any reward initially, the rich old man was persistent and did not give up. In the end the house had been bought for them and transferred into their names. The deeds were sent as a wedding present. It had been clear, either live in it, or leave it empty. The thankful man was not going to take it back.

As he drove nearer the city centre he was soon stuck in heavy traffic. The only thing he missed about his old apartment was that it was in the centre and a short walk from the speed-shuttle, the underground tram system that connected the city. Now he was stuck with a ninety-minute commute each morning. In a time when starships flew at several times the speed of light and jump drives allowed massive "cities" in space to cross interstellar distances in seconds he was always puzzled why so many cities still relied on wheeled vehicles and roads to get about. The traffic was certainly a pain. However that was the only downside and the new house was a much better location to raise a family.

There was a crunch from behind and the car lurched forward.

"Fracking great!" he thought looking in the rear-view mirror. The driver behind was waving apologetically and pointing to an adjacent off-ramp. Deltes held up a hand to acknowledge and took the exit. It wasn't a proper exit, it appeared to access a small roads maintenance depot, however it would stop them blocking the main road whilst they swapped details. He stop his vehicle at the locked gate at the bottom of the ramp and got out. As he rose he realised the other driver was already at his door. He turned and found a can in his face. A mist sprayed into his nose and mouth and his world went dark.

-o0o-

"Deltes. Wake up Deltes! It is time."

Deltes slowly came around as the voice boomed around him. His head hurt and he felt sick. He struggled to his feet and took in his surroundings. He appeared to be in an old abandoned office. It was dusty and clearly hadn't been used in some time. There were no windows and only a single door. Old computers and yellowed paper covered the filthy desks. A red blinking light high in one corner caught his eye. A security camera was mounted on the wall and tracked him as he moved. It looked new and had probably been installed recently.

"Welcome back. Don't worry, the effects of the drugs will wear off shortly and we can begin." the voice appeared to be coming from speakers near the camera. Again they looked new and recently installed.

"Who are you? Where am I?" Deltes shouted.

"Me? I am nobody. Just a lonely man who wants a question answering. However we'll get onto that shortly. Where are you? You are in an abandoned factory in industrial area B12 on the outskirts of the city."

Deltes concentrated on the voice, he couldn't remember hearing it before.

"A question? What question?" he called out now knowing there was a microphone on the camera.

"Oh the question itself is easy. Why do you make the choices you make? What drives you to chose this over that? A over B or C? Why do you do this when you could do that? Its the answer that is difficult. I doubt even you know yourself, so we have some experiments to try and work out why. I could ask questions but I think scientific experimentation is much better don't you?"

Deltes was now worried. This was no prank, no cheesy game-show. For some reason he'd been grabbed by a lunatic. He tried the door and found it unlocked, he opened it gingerly and found a corridor. White arrows had been recently painted on the floor. He started to follow them down the corridor until they vanished under a closed door. He looked around and saw more cameras pointed at him. Whoever had grabbed him was watching. He opened the door where the arrows vanished under and stepped inside. He couldn't believe what he saw. Two metal bath tubs were located in the middle of the small room. In one was his brother, Agencourt. In the other an unknown man. They were both gagged and chained. Heavy cables snaked into each tub which were half filled with water. A solid white line was drawn in a big circle around the two tubs.

"If you step inside the circle they both die!" the voice boomed from the speakers. Deltes stopped his advance.

"To your left is a console. Go to it.". Deltes walked over to the console. A timer was ticking down, 45 seconds appeared to be left. A large three-way switch was located in the centre and was set in the central position.

"I thought we'd start easy. Obviously you know your own brother so no introduction needed. The other man is a known drug dealer for the Serpentis Syndicate. He is infected with Riccard's Disease and has about a year left to live. However he is happy to keep having unprotected sex with his female Clients who cannot pay any other way, infecting these desperate women with the disease. A thoroughly nasty little man really. When the timer reaches zero the power to those cables will flow and someone will die. Flick the switch to the left, and all the power will be diverted to your brother, flick it to the right and the dealer will get all the power. Don't do anything and they'll both fry. So completely up to you. Make a choice."

Deltes looked first to his brother and then to the man. Both were struggling in their bonds and screaming through the gags. The chains that bound them were securely fixed to the sides of the tubs, there was no way to escape. All they did was slosh the filthy water about. He glanced at the countdown, 15 seconds left. It was not a difficult choice as he flicked the switch.

As the counter reached zero there was a buzzing and the lights in the room dimmed. The man convulsed in the bath sending water splashing everywhere. Sparks and arcs of electricity visibly danced between the chains, the tub and his body. After a couple of seconds the power died. The man lay still, smoke rising from his life-less body.

"Well done, thats the first one complete. This was just a base-line test. You're brother will remain here until you have completed the other experiments. Please follow the arrows and do not step inside the circle, I can still fry your brother if you break the rules!"

Deltes looked again at the body of the man he'd just killed and back to his brother's pleading eyes. He left the room by the back door, following the white arrows.

-o0o-

The next room Deltes entered was similar to the first. This time he found two of his best friends tied to sturdy chairs. Again there was a circle painted on the floor and a control panel set up.

"Now we are getting harder Deltes. I haven't been able to tell which of these two you like the most. I've been watching you and you have tended to treat each of these guys equally. Do you have a favourite Deltes?"

Deltes looked around the room for anything that may save his friends.

"Frack you asshole!" he snarled as he tried to think of a way out of this. His two friends screamed for help behind their gags with eyes wide with terror.

"Same routine here Deltes. Take no action and they both die, and I assure you its a rather horrible death waiting for them. Otherwise flip the switch towards the one you want to save. 20 seconds."

Deltes looked at his friends. He couldn't possibly choose between them. However, if he didn't take action they'd both die. How could he choose? He'd known Muvinare and Orvalone since school. They'd grown up together through junior and senior school and gone to college together. He'd had his first drink with them, they'd both been in the hideout when he had his first kiss with Janninck Jeartlait. His first time off planet and to a space-station was with them. The counter showed five seconds. Deltes screamed and slammed his hands down on top of the switch not intending to push it one way or the other, just to make sure it did move. The switch clicked to the right. A mechanical motor sounded. Deltes looked on in horror as a silver spike started to rise from the floor under Muvinare's chair. It vanished into the bottom of the chair but there was no sound, Deltes assumed the chair had a hole cut in it for this purpose. Muvinare's screams suddenly raised in pitch and he started to struggle. He began to thrash in his chair as much as the tight restraints allowed. After a few seconds his breathing became erratic. Foaming blood bubbled around the gag. Then he convulsed violently, shook for a few seconds and then went still. Deltes watched in horror as Muvinare 's neck bulged and his head flopped backwards. His mouth opened and the gag snapped and fell as the metal spike, covered in gore, emerged from his mouth. Deltes turned and threw up.


"Interesting! That appears you tried to make that choice completely random. Very interesting." the voice came through the speakers.

"Frack you, you sick bastard!" Deltes cried.

"Oh don't be like that Deltes. We have a few more experiments to go yet! Please move to the exit, we must continue!"

To be concluded.......

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Eve Online: Kindergarten

The Mittani has suggested a "newbie" area within Eve Online in his Traffic Control series a few weeks ago.

He points out most MMO have a newbie zone where players are heavily protected and given a shed load of help for the first few levels. I've played a few of MMO's with these zones, and they are helpful. Big yellow arrows pointing "GO HERE NUMPTY!" and lots of hand holding. However, will they help improve the the ratio of players who last more than a few weeks from the currently terribad 1:10?


On my nine days off recently (due to the public holiday here) I tried Star Trek Online and Lord of the Rings Online. Both had newbie zones with LoTRO being the most newbie friendly. It appears the starter zone was tiered into some freaky parallel dimensions! The Newbie zone was in fact like an instance with limited players. That way they could control everything for my first few levels until I was let out into the wild. Not a concept I'd like to see in Eve. I see Eve as a simulator more than a game. I'd hate to see things that are not likely to be possible with a bit of the stretch of a sci-fi imagination. However, I think we could have a newbie area without stretching the willing suspension of disbelief too far.

The easiest would be to have a small cluster of systems cut off from the rest of New Eden. There would be plenty of rats, low level missions and tutorials to get people into the game. The market could be linked to Jita allowing goods to be bought and sold. The security status could be above one resulting in a CONCORD response if you stare at another player too hard. 1.1?


There are two ways to leave the area when you are ready:-

First is a massive one-way startgate. You can leave (after a few obligitory "are you really sure you want to do this?") but never come back. All your stuffz is transfered by Interbus Shipping to one of the current starter stations and then you are on your own.

Second is a limit on time and/or skill points. When you hit a certain limit you are teleported out along with all your stuffz next time you log out after hitting the limit. Would need a way of doing this for people logged out in space too.

Now the question is, will this improve on the 10% of players who stick with the game longer than a month. To be honest I'm not sure what size of impact a newbie zone will have. I have had several characters that I rolled for various roles including mission running and mining and to be honest, I never really experienced grief play as a newer character. Is the lack of a newbie zone and the prevalence of grief play the real reason only 10% who try end up Eve quitting, or is it something else?





P.S. The winner of the ALOD Navy Raven from Monday was Thanatos Marathon for that "We don't need no stinking badgers" video link. Honourable mentions to Shahai Shintaro and Sedul Masterson. Here is the list of what is on it!


Monday, August 4, 2014

500,000

So at some point last night this blog hit 500,000 page views. Fairly big milestone for me anyway!

I thought I'd look back on the ten most popular posts from the blog since I started SCASS:-

PL : WTB New Titan - 9210
Mar 17, 2012, 27 comments
This was immediately after we hopdropped a PL titan in their home system. It got linked by CCP on Facebook with the description "We like stories like these."


Can I Haz Eve Stuffz - 6492
Apr 25, 2012, 17 comments
Another post CCP linked on FB. This one was following up a post from Sindel Pellion about how Razor should make an Eve-O keyboard.

Fanfest 2014 - 12 Steps to Happiness - 3120
Nov 27, 2013, 2 comments
No idea why this had so many direct hits. My 12 pieces of advice for Fanfest. Assume someone linked it somewhere.

I'm Sorry, There is No Excuse.... - 2810
Apr 5, 2012, 3 comments
An old bad, bad joke converted to fit into the Eve Online universe. Someone on Redit linked it there.

300, Loren Gallen, Chuck Norris and Overkill - 2641
Oct 3, 2011, 1 comment
I think this one is highly visited just from search results looking for Chuck Norris Facts even though they are Loren Gallen facts!


Last Night of Freedom - 2184
Aug 23, 2013
The only fictional piece in the top 10. No idea why this one is up here!

The Ridiculously Quick Faction War Guide - 2084
Jul 24, 2012, 5 comments
My original FW guide which has been linked here and there around the interwebz.

Caught! Oh Bugger. Two Close Calls in One Night! - 1765
Aug 29, 2011, 2 comments
Again, not sure why this post is so high. May be some keywords in there bring in a lot of search results?

Eve Online Fanfest 2013. Day 3 - 1417
Apr 28, 2013, 1 comment
Wonder what happened here to make this popular?


Faction War Guide 2013 - 1403
Aug 26, 2013, 8 comments
An updated guide.

So there you have it. To celebrate I'm giving away a special ALOD Raven Navy Issue. This is a shit-fit that has been specifically fitted to check as many boxes from TMC's awful loss of the day "bingo box".....

Triple tanked - Check!
Undersized Tanking Mods - Check!
Concordokken - TBC
Dying to Barges - May be!
Unbonused Guns - Check!
Empty Mids/Lows - Check!
Mixed Guns - Check!
Wrong Damage Mods - Check!
AFK in space - TBC
"Pay to Win" - Nope
"Cap Stability" - Sort of, 3 mins
Wrong Tank Type - Check!
PLEX in cargo - Nope
Undersized Guns - Check!
Dual Tanked - Check!
Hull Tanking - Check!
Office Mods on Sub Cap - Check-ish! (A launcher)
Officer Guns - Check!
Joined Hostile Fleet - TBC
Limited Edition - Nope
Excessive Fitting Mods - Some
Mixed buffer/active - Check!
Extender/plates on Caps - NA
No/Empty Rigs - Check!
Useless Rigs/Modules - Check

112 DPS, 153m/sec with the 10mb AB running, Reps 17hp a sec for armour, 50hp in 28.5 sec for hull and 70hp/sec for shield reps. Oh its a beast!


Its worth  valued at somewhere under 1bn ISK and I've filled the hold with booze and strippers. Just leave a comment somehow referencing the word "badger" below and I'll pick the most random to receive the ALOD ship. And remember to leave a name. I cannot contract anything to "Anonymous".

Extra bonus points if you leave the fit as it is and Leeroy it into someone!