Friday, November 27, 2015

The Jump

Fiction Friday. Escape pod here.

The piece below is based on this week's Blog Banter.

The Jump

Trerron pushed to the front of the murmuring crowd. Dozens of people josseled for a better view. Caldari, Gallente, Matari, Amarrian, every race was represented there. It was beautiful. The vast window looked into space and the massive fleet of ships assembled outside the station. The light show was hypnotic. It would have been a wonderful experience to watch, if the weapons fire wasn't aimed at their citadel with the sole intent of obliterating them. The citadel's massive shields lit up each time a torpedo or laser beam struck it. As one of the top engineers on the station Trerron could see the shields were weakening under the barrage of fire from the dreadnoughts.

"What can we do Trerron?" a voice said to his right.

He turned and looked. Challelle was by his side looking at him. He was surprised. Whilst he hadn't seen her directly, he was too busy pushing through the crowd and looking at the spectacular light-show outside, his subconscious must have noted her and guided him so that he was positioned next to the object of his desire. She even knew his name. He didn't realise she even knew he existed. They both worked at the local Propel Dynamics facility on the citadel. She was in accounts, he was a lead engineer on the laboratory floor. He'd watched her from afar for the last year, never having the guts to approach her. To him, she was the most beautiful woman on the station. Ethnic Gallente with jet black hair and a pale complexion. She was short, but perfectly formed. She always dressed immaculately and her bold make-up made him weak at the knees. She glanced back to the window and he took the opportunity to take her all in. Red high heels, black tights and a short pleated red skirt. Her top was skin tight and transparent black, but the ladies suit jacket she wore on top covered her modesty. It was a tantalising glimpse that sent him into a sweat. Without that jacket her outfit would be totally inappropriate even on a Gallente station. With it, she was professional sexy. Now, after a year of watching her from afar and wanting to speak to her more than anything, he could. All whilst two dozen seiged dreadnoughts and a large support fleet rained destructive fire at them. He felt that fate had given him a wonderful gift and then kicked him in the nuts a seconds later just for shits and giggles. As he stood there dumb-struck, staring at her she turned back and continued.

"Some have left saying they were going to grab a shuttle and make a run for it."

Finally Trerron found his voice.

"There is not a lot we can do. See those there." he said pointing up at a high angle.

Challelle craned her neck and looked at the six specs of fast travelling light. She looked back at Trerron and nodded.

"They are starburst torpedoes fired from our defenses. Their blast radius is large. Probably only tickling those seiged dreadnoughts but they'll rip any shuttle or small craft apart. That's before the idiots in command start firing off any citadel class smart bombs." Trerron sighed. "It would be suicide to undock."

"May be if they warped off quick they would get away?" she asked hopefully.

Trerron shook his head.

"See the flickering light out there that looks a bit like the shield bubble. They are warp disruption fields. Any ship or escape pod is going to have to fly well out of range of those before it can warp. Its suicide to take anything but a capsuleer piloted interceptor frigate which has a specially shielded warp drive. I don't suppose you know a friendly capsuleer here on the station with one?"

She gave a weak smile.

"Best chance might be the escape pods. However they'll only launch as the station gives-way. The warp bubbles and the explosions from the citadel going up and the weapons fire. I'm afraid the odds are not good."

"So that is it then? We're finished? Us? All these people? All these billions of tons of construction? The hundreds of ships and cargo inside? All to be atomised like we never existed?"

Trerron paused.

"Yes. Looks that way I'm afraid. We and everything on this citadel has the life expectancy of a bottle of vodka at a Gallente rockstar's afterparty. Well, expect of course for the....." Trerron trailed off. Deep in thought.

"What?" Challelle asked, a tinge of hope in her voice.

Trerron looked around to see if anyone else had been listening to him, they hadn't. Everyone was busy concentrating on the scene outside. Probably hoping a friendly fleet of capital ships would jump in and save the day. A smile creeped across Trerron's face. He took Challelle's hand and slowly started leading her through the crowd and out of the room without saying anything. She followed.


A few minutes later they were in deck 13. The top deck of the administration offices for the citadel which were now abandoned after everyone had fled. Trerron was stood at a secure maintenance hatch, its control panel had been popped from the wall and was hanging by a mass of wires. Trerron had his datapad connected to various points in the back of the console.

"Were are we going?" Challelle asked worriedly.

"We need to get down to the hangers." Trerron replied not turning his attention from the datapad.

"Why did we come up to the thirteenth deck then?"

Trerron sighed.

"Not the normal hangers. The hangers we need are shielded by a metre thick wall of tritanium that runs around the bottom of the citadel up to deck twelve so they are utterly secure. You cannot get across to these from the bottom decks"

He tried to ignore the fact that in space there was no top, no bottom as there was no up or down. However he didn't want to spend ten minutes arguing astrophysics with her.

"The capsuleer hangers!" she said surprised "You are going to break into a capsuleer hanger!"

"I will, if I can get some quiet to concentrate!" he said.

Challelle fell quiet for a few moments.

"Why didn't we go to deck 12 then? That's the start of the capsuleer's deck. Wouldn't it be easy to get to the hangers from their deck?"

Trerron sighed again.

"Have you ever been to deck 12? I have once for a meeting with the CEO. There is one single bank of lifts that breaks through the reinforced deckplate between 13 and 12. It opens in a secure room with lots of scanners and lots of big men with big guns. Rumour has it that in ceiling hatches there are even more guns controlled by the AI. You need an appointment and they only let you through if you have a invitation and not carrying anything suspicious. Our reason of 'We want to break into a capsuleer's hanger' is not going to work and I doubt the big men with the big guns would stand around and watch me hack the secure door like I'm doing here!"

A beep on his pad cut him off. He disconnected the device and pulled the sliding door open. A set of rungs were set in a conduit rising up.

"We need to climb up about ten metres, then there is a crawl-way access across the blast-shield wall. You ready?" Trerron asked stretching out a hand. Challelle nodded and took his hand.


The ventilation grating fell to the floor with a loud clang. Trerron emerged feet first, dropping the metre and a half to the deck plates. He then helped Challelle down. She had not enjoyed the last twenty minutes. The crawling through maintenance ducts and conduits was tough. He looked at her standing there. Her face was dirty and her usually perfect hair was messed up. Her legs were red from the crawling and her skin showed through where her tights had worn through and ripped at the knees. Were they tights Trerron thought? A woman like Challelle might wear something more racy. Gallente stockings made with imported Amarrian silk. Lace made from.... he shook his head. This was not the time. for one of his regular fantasies about her.

"You OK?" Challelle asked concerned.

"Yeah. You?" he replied blushing.

"Well not sure I'll win any beauty pageants right now but if we can get out of here before the pace blows I'll be happy." she laughed.

Trerron wanted to say something complimentary and witty. He just couldn't think of anything. He looked around at their surroundings. The hanger was immense. Ship modules and components were stacked tens of metres high. Massive secure crates carrying warnings of explosives and ammunition lined the walls. At least if he was wrong they'd not suffer. If this lot went up, they'd never even know about it.

"What now? We find one of those interceptor ships?" she asked.

"Can you fly one?" he asked.

"No! But you can surely? Why else would you bring us here?"

"I cannot fly even a shuttle, never mind an advanced frigate." he laughed.

"So why did you bring us down here?" she said surprised and sounded slightly annoyed.

He turned around looking for something. "There!" he said pointing to a door on the far side of the hanger. They walked over and Trerron opened the door. They both looked in at the massive machine in the circular room.

"So its true." he said marvelling at the sight.

"What's true? What is that?" Challelle asked.

"There were rumours. Like it was some big secret. Apparently capsuleers didn't like the fact their life savings were at such risk in a citadel. Effyr and Co allegedly came up with a solution. These hangers are actually self-contained. Multiple hanger modules fit together so you can have them as small and large as you like. This one is a capsuleer's equipment store. His ships will be in another. When the AI detects the citadel is lost it activates a fail-safe. That thing we're staring at, well it is basically an over-sized jump drive. When the time comes this entire hanger will be jumped to safety." he said, a touch of awe in his voice at the engineering feat required to accomplish something on this scale.

"But what about the warp disruption fields. You said...."

"They are out there. We are in here. The bubbles cannot effect something this shielded. They did it. I cannot believe the rumours are true."

"So we are going to survive?" Challelle said, her voice breaking with emotion. "Where will this take us?"

"Could be anywhere." Trerron replied. "Normal jump drives have a range of around five light-years. However they are restricted by available power and the fact both the departure point and arrival point are never fixed and always moving. Their navi-coms have to update the jump plan several times every millisecond. Avoiding suns and other gravity wells. This one has almost limitless power from the citadel's fusion reactors and is jumping from a static, fixed location to another. No complex re-calculations due to movement of the origin and destination points. I have no idea how far it can jump, but it'll be much father than any carrier, freighter or even titan could ever dream of."

The citadel shook and the lights in the hanger flickered. A loud hum started to emanate from the huge device in front of them as it started to charge.

Challelle turned to him and smiled. "You saved me. You're my hero!"

He smiled, embarrassed. He was a geek, inexperienced with women. He blushed again and looked down at the ground avoiding eye-contact.

"Haven't you seen those cheesy Gallente action holovids?" she said coyly. "You know how they all end right?"

Trerron shrugged and looked confused.

Challelle laughed and moved close. Her delicate perfume enveloped him. She wrapped her hand around the back of his neck pulling him in for the kiss. His first kiss.

The whine of the jump drive reached an almost painful threshold and there was a massive flash of light, then silence.


The drone rumbled along on its rubber wheels. It was an odd looking thing, built for practicality not looks. A robot designed and built by other robots. Four wheels each side of a rectangular base with a double jointed manipulator arm rising from a box in the middle-front. It moved around the various crates and items in the hanger taking the most direct line it could to its destination. The sensors in the hanger had detected the location and dispatched the drone. The AI was simple but it was determined. Nothing should ever upset the client. It knew not why, but it was built into its code so it followed the routine to the later. It didn't know what a capsuleer was. How much immense power and money they commanded. It had its job and it was going to do it.

The drone reached the location which was just outside the door to the jump drive. The manipulator arm started to pick up the scattered items that didn't belong there and deposited them in a small skip on the back of its body. A man's shoe, a shirt, one stocking, a high-heeled shoe, another stocking, a pair of pants with belt. After thirty seconds all the items were picked up. A blue laser scanned the pile on the floor that remained.

..... Scan verified. Organic matter. 145 kilogram total mass. Life-signs none. DNA inconclusive. Non-human. No known life-form. Categorize as deceased unknown organic waste. Clear to proceed on clean-up.....

The manipulator arms on the drone span and a nozzle was selected from the various options. A silver spray ejected from the arm over the mass of red organic waste. Tiny nanites designed to consume organic matter went to work. The pile appeared from a distance to slowly dissolve. Once it was gone the drone retreated. Its job done.

There is a section in the manual for the citadel capsuleer hangers. It warns capsuleers that the jump drive is unshielded and emits a huge radiation pulse when it activates. Shielding the jump drive would limit the range too much. Any organic matter in the hanger will receive a massive dose of ionising radiation, enough the break apart DNA instantaneously and mutate flesh and bone beyond recognition of even medical quality bio-scanners. Under no circumstances should any person, animal or organic material be located in the hanger during its emergency jump unless inside a shielded container. Nothing can possibly survive the jump. A few of the capsuleers have read this. None of them really care.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

BB69 - Yeah! Science B*tch!

Welcome to the continuing monthly EVE Blog Banters and our 69th edition! For more details about
what the blog banters are please visit the Blog Banter page.

Because of Space-Magic
CCP sometimes get stuck between a veldspar 'roid and a hard place when they try to blend realism with sensible game mechanics in our sci-fi simulator. Sometimes they create a scientific answer such as 4th dimensional drag to explain our 'submarines in space'. Other times, not so much. When a null-sec Citadel is destroyed players 'stuffz' is to be magicked to another station. Why should a citadel be different to a titan? Should CCP ensure that 'space magic' always has a plausible explanation or do we need just to say "Well, its only a game!" and engage the willing suspension of disbelief? How should it work when a citadel goes boom, how do we balance risk with reward, and how should any "space-magic" be explained?

BB69 - Yeah! Science B*tch!

CCP has in the past referred to Eve Online not as a game but as a "Sci-Fi Simulator" in their press releases. I think that is a big part of the game. Its not Call of Duty or Fallout where you die and respawn/load saved game. The game mechanics have a scientific explanation. Mostly.

One of the problems with hosting the Blog Banter is that with my posting schedule people beat me to the punch. Rhavas over at Interstellar Privateer has stolen my thunder about wormhole space. Without gates and their fluid routers FTL communications should not work. I'm not 100% sure but I assume our brain scans when we are podded/clone jump travel via the fluid routers. Else how can they get 100 light years almost instantaneously? Fluid Routers explain the space-magic, other games just hope you'll not question.

So onto the crux of the matter. When your citadel in normal space is destroyed the player's stuffz stored there will be transferred to another station by......

Here we have space-magic. Firstly do we need this mechanic? I say yes. Eve is risk verses reward. We want people to use citadels as their "space-home". We want to encourage their use. However, if we let people blow up ALL THE THINGS then many people won't. I do feel we need a mechanic to save a players stuff. Yes if an outpost is captured you 'lose' your stuffz there but the thing is, its impounded. You have the chance to get it back by re-capture, use alts or just sell it via contact to the new owners. However again we could question the lore of this existing mechanic. "Hey guys we have captured the outpost! It is ours now!" - "Great! Can we raid the enemies hangers and steal their stuffz?" - "No, they locked the hanger door on the way out" - "Oh, the sneaky bastards!". What we don't want is for people to go on holiday for two weeks and come back with a sun tan and the discovery that 10 years of Eve Stuffz has been destroyed.

Anyway I need to get onto the mechanics problem of blown up citadel loot. In sov null-sec you are the boss. There is no law. We are the law. So we cannot have any NPC taking control of the site to recover stuffz. In the lore the powerful capsuleer alliances aren't going to let InterBus shoo them away from the spoils or war. In fact why would these NPC corps really care what happens in sov null-sec.

So its onto "YEAH! SCIENCE BITCH!" to explain how we get our stuffz saved. But, how do we explain the transfer of Mr Players stuff from the exploding citadel to another station without using "space magic" and breaking immersion?

My mind goes back to Fanfest.... erm...... damn which was it, I was drinking... could be any then.... 2012? CCP Soundwave, when discussing the POS/space base talks back then, said the line "We'd really like to let you put jump drives on these things". So there is an option. The cargo bays are self contained and shielded areas equipped with a jump drive.

Next problem, range. Your citadel might be out of jump range of the nearest friendly station. OK, say jump range is not limited by technology, but physiology. Several times in the backstory and lore CCP have said what an awful experience jump travel is for humans. If we are jumping non-organic stuff only can we say range is massively increased? Perhaps as citadels don't move and the destination is set in advance they can plot a jump much further as the navi-com has days or weeks to plot a jump between two static points. Your carrier cannot do that as it's always moving and never knows exactly where the cyno will be. A stationary citadel jumping stuff from a fixed point to another fixed point might have a much better range? Power? A citadel has much more power than a capital or super capital allowing it to jump further? There are plenty of explanations why range could be increased through science and not magic.

So my answer to this banter is that there needs to be that 'safety net' for citadels so if you go on holiday you don't come back to find all your stuffz atomised/looted. However it can all be explained by big feck-off jump-drives strapped to the hangers within a shielded environment so even if the citadel is bubbled, when it blows, they can jump. OK, I'm stretching science a bit but its only a game... isn't it?

Monday, November 23, 2015

Blog Banter 69 - Because of Space-Magic

Welcome to the continuing monthly EVE Blog Banters and our 69th edition! For more details about what the blog banters are please visit the Blog Banter page.

Because of Space-Magic

CCP sometimes get stuck between a veldspar 'roid and a hard place when they try to blend realism with sensible game mechanics in our sci-fi simulator. Sometimes they create a scientific answer such as 4th dimensional drag to explain our 'submarines in space'. Other times, not so much. When a null-sec Citadel is destroyed players 'stuffz' is to be magicked to another station. Why should a citadel be different to a titan? Should CCP ensure that 'space magic' always has a plausible explanation or do we need just to say "Well, its only a game!" and engage the willing suspension of disbelief? How should it work when a citadel goes boom, how do we balance risk with reward, and how should any "space-magic" be explained?


Suspension of Belief - Inner Sanctum of the Ninveah
Because of Space-Magic -
Loot Fairy Triumphant (Blog Banter #69) - Interstellar Privater
BB69: It’s Not About Space Magic, it’s About Space Money... - A CARBON Based Life
BB69: Oh, Video Game Magic - Eveoganda
BB 69: Because of Space-Magic!MMO Nomad, confessions of a

Sunday, November 22, 2015

SCASSSS - New Shield Effects

The new shield effects are on Sisi.

Dey purdy!

I like 'emm. I like 'em a lot!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Refit

Fiction Friday. Escape pod here!

I was trying to do this as a entry for the Pod and Planet fiction contest in the Day in the Life category however I ran out of time and didn't make the cut-off date. OK, I ran out of time because of cider. A lot of cider. Also what were the rules on lore in the DitL category? Because for some strange reason our CQ's don't have showers!

The Refit

The two Kestrel class frigates dropped out of warp in close proximity to the station. Their gunmetal grey hulls glinting in the light of the red giant.

As they approached the docking permitter the automated systems took over. Guidance was transferred to docking control and powerful tractor beams locked onto the combat frigates and pulled them in into separate hangers.

Okasa braced himself for the disconnect. It was not a pleasant experience. He felt as if he was falling as the ship's systems were disconnected from his mind one by one. Okasa was a capsuleer fighting for the Caldari State. Encased in a hydrostatic capsule he was at one with the ship, able to control it with his mind. Now following the docking procedure he was being slowly disconnected from it. It was not the awful sensation of when the ship was destroyed. That was always a violent disconnect as the pod ejected from the burning wreckage. However even in a controlled environment it was still unpleasant. A few moments later he felt vulnerable, his pod now fully disconnected and removed from the ship. The olive-green capsule docked with the gantry and slowly opened. Okasa felt the draining fluid rush over his body as his own senses slowly returned to him. The supports holding him in place retracted and he collapsed heaving on the gantry, vomiting up the pod goo from his lungs. A small serving drone waited patiently with warm towels. Okasa struggled to his knees naked. His legs were weak from days suspended inside the capsule. He slowly and unsteadily rose and took a towel, wiping the last of the remnants of the hydrostatic fluid from his face. He wrapped the towel around himself and headed to the shower in the quarters.

An hour later the buzzer went on his door and he opened it to find his wingman there, Shittari. Wingman was a misleading name as Shittari was a woman. She was Intaki, late twenties and like Okasa, a capsuleer of the Caldari State.

"Drink?" she asked. Okasa nodded and stepped into the corridor.

"Cannot ever recall docking here. Is there anywhere good to go?" he asked as they headed for the lift.

"I was here a year ago. Its typical Caldari so don't expect much. The best bar is on deck 9 but its pretty boring. State issue drinks with State issue propaganda and State issue furniture. Hell I think the bartenders are State issue as well. This is not a Frog station I'm afraid. "

In the 'frog' jibe Shittari was referring to the enemy, the Gallente Federation. The one true democracy in the cluster of stars that made up New Eden. The Federation was all about freedom. Freedom and sex, drugs and rock and roll. Caldari society was straight-laced in comparison. Whilst the two fought against the Federation they, like many in the State, they also saw the Federation had its good parts. Bars and entertainment were one of these. The two capsuleers stepped into the lift and the doors hissed closed.

"We should have gone down to Fliet. The State holds that system and its a captured Gallente station there. I hear the nightclubs and bars have been kept the way they were when we took the system and they need to be seen to be believed. Rumors are the top Caldari Navy brass were heading there to blow off steam before they deemed it a security risk. One is a banking station and you know how those finance guys like to party." Shittari said. "They brass were drinking and whoring themselves silly two jumps for Gallente territory so command put a stop to it."

Okasa shrugged.

"Probably would have been more fun, but I needed to dock and this was the closest friendly station. Five or so jumps, whatever it is, was too much especially with the system of Sujerento in the way. Between the damn Frogs occupying it and the capsuleer pirates there it would have likely resulted in a fight. I've heard about this one pirate called PERUNGA. His Incursus is so well tanked and his head so full of armour implants we'll find Tibus Heth before you break through it. I need a drink now not in three days!"

The lift door hissed open and they stepped out into a promenade. Expensive boutique shops and classy restaurants lined the wide street. This far up in the station access was strictly controlled. Only the elite of society were able to enter these levels. CEOs, rock and movie stars, CFOs and of course Capsuleers. Shittari and Okasa stopped and looked across at a bar. A new sign had obviously been erected over the old one. It read "The Crunchy Frog Bar" in bright green neon. A hologram replayed a cartoon cat dropping a frog into a glass of liquid and then downing it. Very un-Caldari like. The two capsuleers glanced at each other unsure of what they were looking at. This was not typical Caldanese. They shrugged in unison and walked over.


The two Militia pilots entered the bar and froze. This was no Caldari bar. Gone were the plain grey walls plastered with propaganda for the State. Gone were the 'grey number 4' heavy duty carpeting tiles. Satin, velvet and lace now dominated in hues of rich red and gold. The harsh florescent lighting was swapped for subtle mood lighting. Gone were the grey glass bottles with their simple white labels behind the bar, replaced with expensive spirits from all around the cluster. No waiters and waitresses in formal subdued Caldari dress. Scantily clad men and women for all races served the busy tables.

"Erm. Well this has changed." Shittari stated as they took an empty booth.

"I cannot believe this is a State station. What the hell is going on here?" Okasa exclaimed in a hushed voice.

A member of staff approached and stood at the end of the booth. He was Caldari and smartly, but provocatively, dressed. Okasa noted his wingman checking him out.

"Good evening and welcome to the Crunchy Frog. Do you have any preference for your serving staff tonight?" he asked. Both capsuleers looked at him opened mouthed.

"We get to chose waiting staff?" Shittari asked incredulously.

"I'll take a dark and dusky Gallente lady and she'll have an oiled up Brutor." Okasa laughed.

"Excellent choice sir." the man replied, nodded and swiftly turned and left.

"Hey, wait. I was joking!" he protested but the man had already gone.

"He wasn't serious was he? What is going on here? Is this some kind of comedy show?"

Okasa shrugged and picked up the datapad on the table which served as a menu. The cocktails appeared to make fun of both sides of the warring factions. Slippery Stabbed Squid, Flattened Frog, Rusty Wreck and Amarrian Bishop Basher were all there. A moment later Shittari kicked him under the table. He looked up. Approaching was a wall of rippling flesh glinting in the lights. The man was a hulking Brutor, his muscles looked like some sort of body builder. He wore what could only be called a loincloth and sandals. Next to him was a beautiful Gallente woman. She wore a tiny black dress and heels. Raven hair fell to her lower back and her make-up was dark and heavy accentuating her sultry looks. As they neared the table they swapped sides so that the man was on Shittari's side and the Gallente woman was on Okasa's. She slipped into the booth and Okasa felt a warm hand on his thigh.

"Hello. My name is Venelles. I'm here to make your night at the Crunchy Frog memorable." she purred in a sultry Caldanese with a definite Gallente twang.

"I'm Okasa and slightly shell-shocked!" he said still taking it all in.

"I can certainly help with that!" Venelles purred and pulled out a small datapad. She held it in front of him and a variety of boosters and pills popped up on screen. "I can really recommend the Cool Blue Pill. It soothes away all the stress however it is best taken at the end of the night when you have sampled all the delights we have to offer."

Okasa scanned the list. As a Caldari Militia Pilot he had used boosters. Chemical stimulants to enhance his combat skills. He'd never touched anything recreational before. He looked over at Shittari hoping she was as shocked as him. He was surprised to find her leaning into the oiled up Brutor running a hand over his well defined pecs and laughing. She was certainly enjoying herself.

"May be just a drink first? Perhaps a... what was it called?" he leant forward and looked at the menu. "A Flattened Frog."

She smiled a smile that could melt any man's heart, nodded and walked towards the bar. Okasa's eye's were drawn to her behind clad in the short black dress. The material was something he'd never seen before. It clung to her every curve yet appeared not to be restrictive. Out of the corner of his eye he saw the Brutor rise and also head to the bar.

"What in New Caldari have we walked into?" he gasped.

She was sat there with a huge smile on her face. "I think I got podded and my consciousness transfer failed. I must be in heaven! Did you see the abs on him!" she said dreamily. "Apparently he has a friend just like him too!"

Okasa picked up the datapad the woman had left and started to flick through the screens. After the drugs were the women availible. After the women were the men. After the men were the simulations. A range of altered reality programs that customers could enter via a neural interface. Okasa had heard about these. You could be a secret agent, a Zero-G handball player or a rock star. The ultimate video game played inside your head.

"He said their are suites at the back for hire. I'm temped to be honest!"

Okasa looked at his wingman in shock. "No! There is seriously something not right here. Its got to be some sort of trap."

Shittari just shrugged and grabbed the pad. She flicked through to the men section and started appraising the options. Okasa saw the Gallente woman and the Brutor heading back with the drinks. His senses were on overdrive. Something was not right here. The woman placed the bright green drink in front of him and slid onto the bench.

"So, see anything you like?" she purred crossing her legs. Okasa swallowed as he saw a brief flash of pale flesh above the lace of her stocking tops.

"Look, I have to ask. What in Divinities Edge is going on here? This place does not belong here on a Caldari station! This is not right."

The woman smiled. "Of course not, but the owner is hardly traditional Caldari. Give me a minute."

Okasa watched her rise and walk off. He turned his attention back to Shittari who was laughing with the oiled up Brutor, a pink cocktail in her hand. He glanced back to see where the Gallente woman had gone. He spotted her in a corner. She was stood in front of another booth. In the shadows Okasa could make out three people. Two scantily clad women and a Caldari man. The man rose and started to walk over towards their booth. The way he moved, the air of confidence he carried made it clear this was another capsuleer. He was not in uniform so probably not military. An independent. He sat across from Okasa.

"So how do you like my bar?" he asked in classic Caldanese.

"Well its very un-Caldari. I'd even goes as far to say its almost Gallente!" Okasa replied.

"Yes, well I'd say I have spent the majority of my life as a capsuleer with the Gallente so I guess it rubs off. To be honest they know how to have a good time."

Okasa narrowed his eyes.

"Some might say that is treasonous."

The man laughed at that.

"Given I fought for the Federal militia for a number of years I'd be surprised if anyone found that to be the most offensive thing I've said or done against the State. A few hundred thousand Caldari deaths surely would be more treasonous?"

Okasa sat there opened mouthed. "Are you joking?" he gasped.

The other man shrugged and pulled out a datapad. He flicked his finger across the display and passed it to Okasa. The Caldari Navy pilot picked it up. It displayed a CONCORD sanctioned database of capsuleer kills. The man sat across from him had over five thousand confirmed kills. For several years it was obvious he'd been with the Gallente Federation, there were hundreds of State Protectorate kills there. About a year ago he'd swapped sides. Now the kills were against the Gallente. He pushed the pad back across the table and crossed his arms.

"Seen the light of your treasonous ways then?" he sneered.

"No. Just that the Caldari were getting better fights around the time I like to be in space."

Okasa shook his head in disbelief.

"You swapped sides in a war as the opportunity for better fights was the other side?" the Navy pilot's jaw actually dropped.

The capsuleer smiled and seemed to consider Okasa's reaction.

"You Navy jocks and your misplaced loyalty. I worked for the Caldari State. I was a factory worker eaking out a megre existence. Fate intervened and I became a capsuleer thanks to a hover-limo crash and the young daughter of a very rich and powerful man. I worked for the Navy for a while as an independent contractor. Then the Sisters, then the Federation. We capsuleers don't belong to one of the Empires, we are an Empire. What are you fighting for? The Caldari way of life? You need to get down planetside and experience Caldari life for yourself. Its shit! Heth was a fracking nutter but he did have a point. Not that matters to us anymore. We are immortal. Empires will rise and fall whilst we look on. This war? The Federation? The State? It matters not. Enjoy life! Enjoy death! That is why I bought this bar when I joined the Caldari Militia."

Okasa just sat there unsure of how to respond. His very soul wanted to scream 'traitor' at him. 'Mercenary'. However much of what he said rang true. He simply picked up his drink and took a big hit. The other capsuleer smiled and pushed a few buttons on his datapad.

"Its a big old universe out there." the capsuleer said finally. "Whether the State or Federation holds Hasmijaala is irrelevant in the big scheme of things. You are a capsuleer. Break free."

From the corner of his eye Okasa saw four women approaching carrying bottles.

"I have to get back. However think about what I have said. You have time. You're immortal. It's a big universe out there. Make sure you sample all the delights. I've made a special selection for you tonight. Have fun."

The capsuleer stood and walked away as the four women arrived. One from each race, each dressed in skimpy underwear, high heels and holding a bottle. He immediately recognised the traditional rice wine the Caldari woman was holding. The Matari woman was holding what appeared to be a large bottle of ale or beer. The Gallente woman, a bottle of clear spirit he didn't recognise, probably the famous Gallente vodka. Finally the Amarrian woman held a bottle of what he guessed was brandy. The Matari woman stepped forward and held out her free hand. He took it and she gently pulled him to his feet.

"Complements of the management." she smiled seductively. "Shall we?"

As he was ushered towards the suites with the four women he glanced over to see what Shittari was doing. She was walking behind them, sandwiched arm-in-arm between two oiled, muscled Brutors.

The next morning Okasa resigned his commission and started to browse through the recruitment adverts of the independent capsuleer corps.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Command Destroyers - Coming Soon (TM).

The new T2 destroyers are sort of on the test server. The ships are visible on the market but there are no sell orders yet. You can see them, just cannot play with them yet. Soon(tm)!

They are tankier than the other destroyers including interdictors but their DPS is weaker. Their main use is that they can fit warfare links and the new Micro Jump Field Generator.

The MJFG appears to be an "interesting" module. Basically it has a 9 second spool up time. Then anything within 6km will be jumped 100km in the direction the Command Destroyer is pointing.

Obviously some of the things you'll be able to do are obvious. Get one of these into a ball of enemy logi and send them away or pounce your fleet mates on top of an unsuspecting enemy.

However there is more. For a start the jump field will teleport bombs in flight and dictor bubbles. With a bit of careful timing (and aiming) you could jump a dictor bubble and a handful of bombs on an enemy 100km away!

Within low-sec and specifically faction war I can see these being used a lot. Warfare Link with a 10% bonus at level 5 skill on a relatively cheap ship that can probably fit in a small plex? Faction warfare fleets are likely to be using these regularly depending on the price. With the other T2 destroyer, the interdictors, being around the 40m ISK mark I assume they'll be around there. Same as a couple of Assault Frigates or three faction frigates.

For me, I want to trust in the rust!

Minmatar Destroyer per Level:
10% bonus to Rocket and Light Missile Damage
4% bonus to shield resists
Command Destroyer per Level:
2% to Siege and Skirmish Warfare link effectiveness
5% reduction in MJFG spool up time
Role: 95% Reduction in Powergrid Requirements for Warfare Links
Role: 50% Reduction in MWD Penalty Signature Bloom
Role: Can fit Micro Jump Field Generators
Role: Can fit one Warfare Link

Full details and attributes in CCP Rise's spreadsheet here.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Your Grid is So Fat....

When the Citadels and Capital changes were announced one thing that people were asking was what is going to happen with 'the grid'. What is the grid? Well its a mysterious bit of CCP "space-magic" that is needed to stop the server-hamsters, and your PC, imploding.

For those who don't know, the client breaks down each solar system into chunks. That is why when you are 1000km off the stargate at your tactical bookmark you cannot see the stargate or anyone near it. Roughly speaking the grid is a 600km square of space. You can stretch the grid by flying off in a direction. For example, one old trick if you got pointed in a faction war plex would be to 'stretch the grid'. If you got tackled, couldn't hit them back but they couldn't break your tank, one option would be to burn out fast and then turn ninety degrees. Whilst the grid would stretch, you cannot see through 'non-gridded' areas of space. Not being able to warp inside a plex to your buddy means it was almost impossible for back-up to find you. If you flew in a straight line the grid would be stretched and even 1000km from the warp in they'd be able to see you. But if you turned the stretched grid into an 'L' shape they couldn't like so:-

Citadels are big, really, really big. They also have a really long targetting range at 250km. A 150km long citadel will therefore have a 650km wide area to target. Bigger than the current TQ grid. A fleet one side of that won't be able to see a fleet on the other side of it even through the Citadel could shoot at both. This is a problem for the proposed carrier squadrons that are supposed to be able to work over that and attacking/defending over separate current sized grids.

CCP said they were making the grids bigger. MUCH bigger. These changes are on SiSi now so I thought I'd have a go even with the warning that all the things are subject to change. I jumped in a Claw and burnt away from station.

So I could still see ships outside the station at over 3000km. I dropped a book mark, warped back to station, refit completely for speed, added high-grade Snakes and went back out in my 7.5km/sec Claw. Warped to bookmark and continued burning. I then went AFK.

I came back half an hour later. I was 25,000km from the station and the ship I'd left on the undock was no longer on my overview. I turned around and headed back. The test ship popped up somewhere around 21,000km. I burnt away, it vanished. I burnt back, it appeared. In the end I found that the grid that time was about 21,500km.

I was experiencing some pretty bad graphical problems. The PC was running like a 80286 and stuttering badly. However that might have not been connected. I am to test it again whilst I'm at the keyboard this time and submit a bug report if I get the same.

There are some bugs still. Reports of missions and faction war plex where you can see the deadspace 'room' (CCP have said they don't want this) and certain stations where nearby POS and all their modules are on grid too. So it needs a bit of work still but super big grids are soon to be a thing. Just think about that....
  • Tactical bookmarks, nearby insta-undocks, pounces and the like could be visible allowing players to burn at the spot.
  • There will be a lot more warping around.
  • Jita!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Friday, November 13, 2015

Pod and Planet - Into the Breach

Friday fiction. Escape pod here.

I've been saving this since early 2015 for a comedy entry for the Pod and Planet fiction contest. Given all this, it's probably going to crash and burn... like any good Matari ship :/

Pod and Planet - Into the Breach

Krar leaned back in the shuttle's passenger seat and glanced at the schematics he'd been sent. The shipyard had some good ideas but it sounded like they were having major problems. Given his recent successes he'd been asked to lend a hand by the fledging Matari government. He was on his way back from a guest lecture at Mikramurka University on Matar. One of his old friends within the Republic's government had asked him to call in at the shipyard and give the team there the benefit of his experience. As the lead designer of the brand new Vigil class frigate he'd be welcomed with open arms he was told.

The journey included a rather unpleasant trip via an acceleration gate into a deadspace pocket. It was quickly over and soon the shuttle docked in the small shipyard and a smartly dressed man was waiting to greet him. He looked to be a Sebiestor, somewhere in his mid-40's and had the look of an intellectual. Krar strode down the ship's boarding ramp and headed to the waiting man.

"Master Engineer Krar I presume?" he asked with a smile and an outstretched arm. "I am Lead Engineer Nerwolfur, head of ship building here. I'd just like to say thank you for stopping off. We all know you have a busy schedule."

Krar smiled and took the man's hand.

"No problem. Always happy to help out. I understand you have been having issues with your new prototype. Can we see it?"

Nerwolfur held out an arm, indicating towards a side door in the hangar and both men started to walk.

"Of course, right this way please. While the computer simulations have shown our designs should be fine, the first few prototypes have suffered, well, a number of mishaps."

Krar nodded. Their modelling software was notoriously poor. If only they could get a copy of the software the Caldari used for testing starship designs; their own version appeared to be able to calculate the rate of rusting of the hull accurately but very little else. The door automatically opened and they stepped into a massive hangar. Inside was a ship that Krar had never seen before. The rear of the ship was unmistakably Matari; a reddish-rust colour with large heatsinks. Parts appeared to be bolted, welded or just strapped to the hull haphazardly. He could have sworn he saw bubble-gum holding some bits together. The front half was completely missing, the area where it should be was surrounded by construction scaffolding.

"What happened?" Krar asked walking towards the half-frigate.

"Well, the front fell off."

"The front fell off?"

"Yes, the front fell off."

"The. Front. Fell. Off?"

"Yes, three times."

Krar shook his head.

"Go on."

"Well you've hopefully seen the design brief we forwarded to you. We are trying to build a speedy missile boat, so we have been using advanced shield technology to keep the armour weight down and the speed up. The first ship was working fine until we tried some live fire exercises. The enhanced shield booster fore-emitters weren't strong enough, so under fire...."

"... the front got crushed as the shield bubble deformed?" Krar finished for him. Nerwolfur nodded. They continued walking along the ship's exterior.

"The second one used a more tapered front-end to allow for shield bubble distortion with stronger emitters built with a locally mined carbon-based alloy. However....."

"When you got near any gravity well such as a planet it deformed due the magnetic qualities of the metal?"

"Yes. That's right. I really wish you'd been part of the team back then. Would have saved us a lot of trouble. Anyway our third attempt was to use a low profile, slim, minimalistic front end with a light-weight tritanium alloy relying on the aft section to house everything."

"I would have thought stability at speed may have been a problem there?" Krar mulled. "Heavy back end and a long light-weight front?"

"Why yes! The first high-speed manoeuvring test in a local asteroid field resulted in the ship spinning out of control and shearing the front off when it clipped a 'roid and then span off into space. We are still looking for it unfortunately."

Krar took a step back and looked up at the half constructed ship. "So you need me to design a front half of this ship that doesn't get crushed, deform, bend, snap or fall off in any way, shape or form?"

Nerwolfur just nodded with a sheepish smile. It hadn't been their proudest moment. "Yes, if you could help us with a design where the front doesn't fall off it would be most helpful."


That night Krar lay in his bunk in the guest quarters reviewing the ship's schematics. The design was for a tough ship with good speed and damage projection. It's just with everything in the back half of the ship, the fore half was always going to be the problem. Generally Matari ships were the no-nonsense ships of New Eden; they might not have been pretty but they got the job done. His preference for a vertical design would have worked well here but they were too far down the line to change the shape. He flicked through the photographs and soon came to the middle test where the mildly magnetic alloy had been used. A video in the files showed another shot as it was being moved. By the time it had got to the other end of the ship hangar, a team of men had to bang the nose section clean. As it had passed by all the other parked ships it had attracted the free bits of rust from them, resulting in 12 gleaming silver coloured Matari ships and one covered with the collective rust of 13! The pile was over three feet deep by the time they had demagnetised the cone and brushed the attracted rust particles off.

He had to find a way to increase the length of the ship by at least the same again otherwise the shield emitters would not work and the manoeuvring of the ship would be compromised. The sound of the general alarm broke his concentration. He jumped from his bunk and hastily pulled on his boots before running towards the Command Centre.

He entered the command and control room within a minute. Nerwolfur was there with a number of others peering over a console.

"Problem?" Krar asked.

"Big ones. Blood Raiders."

Krar went white. Tales of the space-faring fanatics were told to scare naughty children. A pirate clan who didn't steal your cargo, ship or crew, they stole your blood. All of it.


"They are engaging the defence fleet at the acceleration gate. We're losing. It'll be an hour before reinforcements arrive. We're in trouble!"

Krar looked over Nerwolfur's shoulder at the console. The two Rifter class frigates had no chance against the four Raiders.

"Run a level 9 diagnostic on the gate now!" Krar snapped, rushing to another console.

The assembled officers looked at him quizzically.

"NOW!" he shouted "They are not capsuleers, they need full access to the gates navi-com to use it. A diagnostic will disable to gate for 10 minutes to non-capsuleers and buy us some time!"

One of the officers nodded, understanding, and set the diagnostic to run.

"Once they see that they'll be able to jam our controls so we cannot do it again, so we've got ten minutes before we have Raiders kicking the door down to harvest our blood. Fantastic. Wait, what are you doing?" Nerwolfur asked as Krar furiously tapped away at a different console.

"I'm finishing your blasted ship!" Krar snapped.

"It's missing its front half!" one officer exclaimed. "No way you can do it in ten minutes and you cannot fight a Blood Raider attack force with half a ship!"

"We're Matari" Krar growled, not stopping his furious typing. "We're always fighting with half a ship."

Nerwolfur wandered over to see what Krar was doing and looked at the screen as Krar programmed the construction drones and nanite assemblers. "You are using a low density polyethylene-based strip with a powered aluminium coating to hold it together?"

"Yes! We have no time for anything else." Krar snapped. "It'll hold for an hour."

"You cannot be serious!" Nerwolfur groaned, facepalming. "You're taping the ship together!"


The three Blood Raider ships decelerated in a flash of light outside the shipyard as they dropped from light-speed. The fourth ship had been destroyed by the valiant efforts of the Matari defence ships and a third one had suffered armour damage. The Rifters stood no chance outnumbered two to one.

"Report!" the captain of the lead Blood Raider ship snapped.

"The target is dead ahead Captain. An outpost with 52 life signs. The Blood God will be pleased."

"Tactical. Anything?"

"Sir. There appears to be a ship behind the yard, just launched from the dock bay. I'm not getting any details from it though- it's not in the database. It's frigate-sized but an unknown type."

"Relax number one. This is a ship yard, they are likely to have unknown.... what in the splendour of the Blood God is THAT?!" he said, rising from his chair and pointing at the view screen.

The bridge crew all looked towards the view screen. Something was moving from behind the outpost. Long spiked prongs appeared and for a dreadful second they thought it was a Sansha's Nation vessel, but slowly the ship was revealed. The bridge crew paused trying to work out what it was. There was a tense second as they viewed the ship, and then fell about laughing.

"It's... it's.... it's made of scaffold poles!" one officer laughed.

"It's not even half a ship!" another commented between chuckles. "It's still got construction equipment attached to it."

The Captain sat back down chuckling.

"The primary is the flying junk pile. Destroy it Alpha Two. Alpha Four follow us, we're going harvesting!" the Captain said with a smile, trying to maintain his decorum and not break down in laughter at the sight of the Matari ship on the viewer.


"One of the ships is on an intercept. They are locking us!" Nerwolfur said from one of the console stations on the ship.

Krar sat at the captain's chair.

"Lock the frigate to the port that's on the intercept course and load Nova rockets. Lose the thermal cut-off from the shield booster. This is about to get rather interesting" Krar replied in a commanding tone.

The ship rocked as laser fire erupted from one of the Raiders. The other two Raider vessels swung towards the outpost, seemingly ignoring them.

"Ok, fire on our primary and lock up the other two. Let's see if the booster systems on this boat are what we hope." Krar growled.


The atmosphere was relatively relaxed on the bridge of the Raider ship. They could see their wingmen heading to the outpost and the strange ship's rockets were slowly taking their shields down, but as their ship relied on its armour they were not concerned. The Matari's shields were dropping fast from the electromagnetic damage from their laser fire.

"Shields down to 24% on the enemy.... erm... Sir, what should we call it?"

The Captain laughed "Well as we're going to be poking holes in its hull in the next thirty seconds, let's name it 'The Hull Breached' for now."

"That's a good one sir! I'll broadcast that on the local channel." the comms officer replied, laughing.


"Message on the local channel sir."

"Read it!" Krar said while carefully watching the shield readout.

"Dear sub-humans. We don't know if you have named that scaffolding pile with an engine yet, but as it's going to be leaking 'oh-two' in the next minute might we suggest 'The Hull Breached' or simply 'The Breached' would be appropriate."

Krar laughed.

"Shields at 12% sir!" the Tactical Officer called.

"Hit it!" Krar growled.


"It's nearly over Captain. The Matari vessel's shields are at 15%, 12%, 10%... oh... no, that cannot be right!"

The captain of the vessel snapped his attention to his fire control officer.


"The Matari vessel's shields jumped! They are at 84% sir!"

Their low shield alarm sounded on the bridge. The ship shook as the anti-amour rockets pounded into the hull.

"Call our wingmen. We need help" the Captain stated, clearly concerned.


They watched from the command deck on the outpost. The first Raider ship exploded in flames as the other two banked heavily, turning from away from the outpost back towards the prototype ship. They stood as space erupted in a dazzling light show. Laser fire from the two Raiders ships sliced into the Matari prototype. It returned fire, with the explosive tipped rockets exploding in flames against the red hulled ships.

"What's the capacitor status?" Krar called out to the back of the ship.

"23% sir!" the Brutor who was manning the engineering station called out.

The second Blood Raider frigate exploded. It was now one-on-one but they were getting into low power reserves; the shield booster was power hungry and could only be used a couple more times before they ran out of juice. They had little hope of beating the last ship.

"Sir, two more cycles on the booster, then we're dead!"

Krar looked at the tactical officer. "Seriously? No more cap boosters? Engineering, can you get us any power from anywhere?"

The bridge went quiet. Nobody had any ideas.

"Vunstede!" a man called Sissur shouted. The crew looked over at the muscle-bound Brutor female manning the Science And Scanning console, who looked confused as to why someone would think she could help with the capacitor situation.

"I heard your vibrator runs on cap booster 400's right?" Sissur finished.

There was a tense pause and then several men broke into laughter. As soon as they saw the hulking woman's expression they quietened down.

"If we survive this you're going for a long walk in a short airlock!" she replied with a evil grin.

"Open comms!" Krar shouted.

The technician at the Comms Station gave him a thumbs up.

"Dear Amarrian Nut-Jobs. Thank you for testing out our new 'Amarrian Scum Shredder'. Before we kill you all I'd just like to let you know we'll be scooping your frozen corpses and shipping them to the Republic. Pator specifically. We'll display them in the Republic Museum of Matari History as the first victims of this ship. It hasn't been given an official name yet. You referred to it as the 'Hull Breached' a few minutes ago. Given we are busy poking holes in your ships while you can't even get through our shields, I think 'The Breacher' is more appropriate. What do you think?"

The bridge crew watched, holding their breath as the last Raider ship banked hard. There was a flash of light and it warped away.

"They ran! They could have had us, but they ran!" one of the men laughed, pointing at the view screen.

Krar stood and nodded. "Yes they could have. However, winning a fight isn't all 'he who dares wins'. They didn't know our energy reserves are as drained as an Amarrian bishop in a Gallente cat-house! I prefer the term for this victory as 'balls and bullshit'. Set course for station and dock us up Helm, before the tape holding this ship together falls off."

"What do we do with this ship sir? We cannot leave it half built like this! Even if it did perform so well."

"When we dock get the engineers to note the position of the construction scaffold that's attached and get them to manufacture a tritanium alloy version. Set course for the station, I know fifty or so people who owe us a drink! Stand down battle-stations."

There was a cheer and then Vunstede rose from her seat. The crew went silent for a second and then laughed as Sissur sprinted for the exit hotly pursued by the big Brutor woman.

The End.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Citadels and FW

CSM heroine Sugar Kyle has a thread running on the forums regarding Citadels and Faction war here.

Its going to make things interesting. Even for those of you who don't FW, you are probably aware anyway that low-sec stations have a 'lock out' mechanic for us militia members. I cannot dock in any NPC stations in Gallente Militia or Matari Militia held systems as I'm Caldari. If I want to dock in say Nisuwa for example, the Caldari or Amarr militias would need to capture the system or I'd need to drop faction war.

Capturing a station system that is home to an active corp is a big undertaking. As you fight for control the holders can simply reship back in station. The invaders either have to fly or pod/pod express back to their station in another system or set up a POS and load it with fitted ships. If you set up a POS then it's vulnerable to attack and your haulers and indy alts bring stuff there are at risk. It creates great fights but the invaders will be still at a disadvantage.

However, citadels could change all that. What if we placed a Citadel in Nisuwa? We could do it ourselves or use an alt to sneak it under the radar whilst setting it up. Then we could stock it with lots and lots of fitted FW ships. Then invade.

Suddenly the QCats and the other Gallente Corps there would not have the home-field advantage. It would be a level playing field. Or would it be? If our citadel was destroyed out "Stuffz" would be space-magicked away. If we won, the Gallente would be locked out of their station and need alts to recover their items. You could say there are advantages to the invaders in that respect.

Looking at their other advantages we would have them too. We could reship as quick as them. With a clone bay installed we could clone as quick as them. Then we can start camping them in their own system. If they try that with us, our citadel defenses will screw them over.

Suddenly it's hard to hold any system.

A few ideas have been raised to stop this.

Tie Docking Rights of all Structures into Sov.
This is an obvious one. If you cannot dock in the NPC station the enemy hold, you cannot dock in a citadel anchored in the system. This would give the 'home-field' advantage again but also create a big problem. With POS retired you wouldn't be able to have even a staging POS so taking a well defended system would be near impossible.

You cannot anchor a citadel if you don't own the system.
Similar to the above. Easy to get around. Drop it with an alt and allow docking rights for your militia.

I'm not sure there is an answer to this. So far we've not seen a suggestion that wouldn't break something else.

So are we going to see the end of the "fortresses". Station systems held by one Militia for years as it is almost impossible to take from them? When I was in the QCats we referred to "Fortress Nisuwa" and "Fortress Nennamalia". Strategic systems that were very difficult to take given the distance from an enemy station, home to active corps and the fact invaders had to rely on a POS to resupply which required a lot of logistics to keep the fight going. Given the way plex fights are, you need a lot of ships!

Post Citadel expansion will we just drop a Citadel and be able to take systems much easier? Will NPC stations actually fall out of favour given issues with docking rights in enemy held systems and that if your citadel is lost your 'stuffz' is magically transported where you want it?

At the very least the map is going to be re-wrote. Forget the popular NPC station systems, you could make any system your home. Set up buy orders to encourage industrialists to come and stock up your war machine. Move your forward operating base right up to the enemies front door. Want to base out of Kedama? You might be able to after Citadel launches next year.

As it stands at the minute FW is going to to be massively shook up by the introduction of citadels and nobody can predict whether this will be good or bad!

Repeat of the link to the forum thread here if you have any bright ideas.

Monday, November 9, 2015

$150,000 for an Eve-O Novel?

Last week The Mittani started a KickStarter for a Eve-O book about the Fountain War. The book is actually going to be fiction set against the stories of the players who engaged in the war. Sci-Fi non-fiction as Mitten's calls it.

My first thoughts were "HOW MUCH?" when I saw the $150,000 goal. That is a lot of money to ask for. Then I read on. Whilst I'd never heard of Jeff Edwards he is clearly a very accomplished writer. I noted he'd received the Clive Cussler Grandmaster Award for Adventure Writing back in 2008. If you've ever accidentally clicked on my fiction tab above you'll see Clive Cussler is listed at the top as one of my favorite authors. Given that, I've just gone and bought Jeff Edwards novel Angel City Blues to see what he is like.

Back in April last year Andrew Groen asked for $12,500 to fund the Empires of EVE: A History of the Great Wars of EVE Online. He reached that in seven hours. In the end just under $100,000 was pledged. I had no idea that so much had been raised. I saw his talk at Fanfest 2015 and was impressed.

However the Fountain War book isn't going so strong with $30k as I write this and 27 days to go to get the other $150k. 

A few people have been posting that $150,000 is a lot of money. Yes it is. However thinking about it, for a professional author and to get a book created of a standard like The Empyrean Age or Templar One, I'm not sure it is that much. Its broken down on the KickStarter page:-

60% Author Expenses (normally covered by a publishing house)
20% Publishing and Distribution (including editing and proofreading)
10% KS and processing fees
5% to Merchandise
5% to Marketing

When put down like that, it doesn't sound as bad. Actually for a professional author and a proper job, that really does sound about right.

I'm not sure if it's the money putting people off. So what is it? Maybe Grrrrrrrrr Goons?

I avoid the Eve Online forums, I really do. I had a quick visit just now to search for the phrase "Fountain War Book". Before I hop in the shower to try and scrub myself clean, I did find this post where the OP is immediately questioning what support CCP are giving The Mittani. The topic is even entitled "What is CCP giving to The Mittani?"

Is the big problem with this KS campaign the amount of money, the fact it is fiction or is it simply "Grrrrrrrr Goons"? Will that stop it reaching its potential?

I need that shower now after visiting the Eve-O forums, then I'm going to start reading that Jeff Edwards novel I just bought. Then I'll decide whether to join the other 500 or so that have so far backed the KS campaign. Now after doing my research I am more inclined to now that the John Rouke style "HOW MUCH?" has worn off.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

SCASSSS - Space Medic

With the new Raata Sunset skins why not turn your Augoror into a proper space medic?

Someone call for the Waaaaaaaaaaaabulance?

Friday, November 6, 2015

The Journey

Friday fiction time! Escape pod here.

I think I'll put this in as a Pod and Planet entry. It can probably go in the lore category as I'm pretty sure I'm not breaking any canon. The Burning Life tells us the boosters we use in-game are available as narcotics to 'norms' and I just need to remember what that Matari weapon is called! Ah, its not what I thought it was. I'll go simple then!

The Journey

The smartly-suited man sat on the old dusty chair. It looked to be a plastic chair from an old school. The construction lighting in the half built structure was bright white. Plastic sheeting gently swayed from the ceilings. He noisily sucked on the cigar and blew out a cloud of smoke. With no walls and being on what will eventually be the 5th floor of the construction the light breeze quickly dispersed the cigar smoke.

"You know, I don't really blame you." he spoke calmly. "You might have heard some things and thought you knew about me, but the fact is you didn't. Nobody really does. Not you, not the women I share my bed with, not my associates hiding back there in the shadows. You see its been a journey for me to get where I am and I'd like to share that with you tonight."

He took another drag from the cigar and began.

"My earliest memories were not happy ones. My father was a construction worker. Not a rich man and his family, well I never knew them. They had practically disowned him for marrying a Matari immigrant. They were very racist and not what you'd normally expect in Gallente society. So it was me, my father and a cheap apartment in a downtown hab-block. When I was old enough I started to ask about my mother. I was told I was too young to understand and my questions were casually dismissed. By the time I started school I was being bullied. Poor, half-Matari and a single parent family, it was bound to happen. Eventually my father told me my mother was killed in an accident and that was that. The bullying made me tough and I started to fight back. In high-school I finally snapped. Egomo Hitama was his name. Leader of a gang of three other thugs. He thought he was top dog. One day he decided to pick on me. It didn't go well for him. An hour later I was sat in the principal's office battered and bruised. Egomo had gone to the hospital. My father was there and so were the bully's parents, both of them. The Principal was fair and when the snooty bitch started ranting how it was my fault the Principal calmly explained that it was her son who was a known bully. Well that just made her go mad! She started shouting and screaming and saying it had to be my fault. Then she said the line that set me on this journey. 'You only need to look at what happened to his mother to know what kind of boy he is!'. My father jumped up furious, Egomo's dad and the Principal had to restrain him. I just sat there as the grown-ups shouted and struggled.

A few days later I started to look into my mothers past. Have you any idea how much of our lives are available for all to see if someone looks properly? Government records, the GalNet, freedom of information laws and the networks that store information for ever. It soon came apparent why my dad never talked about her. She was a junkie. I found news of arrests and prosecutions in the paper's court session sections. Mindflood, Exile, Blue Pill. She did it all. I went home and confronted my father. We almost came to blows I was so angry. Why didn't he stop her? Why didn't he get her clean? What happened to her? In the end my father opened the small valuables safe and took out an old-style holodisk. He told me he did everything he could to stop my mother from using and tried to save her countless time. With a tear in his eye he said he never, ever gave up on her right to the very end. However she was too far gone. He told me she owed a local gang far too much money and they took her. The amount they wanted for her return was far too much for him to ever be able to pay. He offered them everything he had. He found the holodisk at home after returning from his shift. In the end he went to the Police, however she was never seen again. If I wanted the truth I could watch the holodisk. It also contained the messages back and forth. However he warned me it would also destroy me. I was 18, he said I was a man and could make the choice. He slammed it down on the table, grabbed his coat and left the flat. I looked out the window and saw him cross the street far below to the Thanatos Bar. Man, I miss that dive. Anyway, sitting down on our raggy sofa I stared at the disk. My fathers words swimming through my head.

I made a massive mistake that night. I played the disk. My father had been truthful. The first message from the gang was a simple 'Your wife owes us this much and if you want to see her again pay!'. He said they didn't have that money and offered all they had. Not even a quarter of what she owed. The gang refused and threatened her again. My father offered to pay monthly from his meagre salary cheque. He begged them not to harm her. I sat and cried reading his hearth-felt pleas to the drug pedlars. Towards the end there was a video attachment. I knew I shouldn't open it, but I couldn't stop myself.

It was poor quality. A Matari woman was kneeling on the floor. She was naked and looked completely out of it. Drugged up to the eyeballs. Five or six men where there, their faces hidden by shadows. They used her every way a man could, teasing her with more drugs she'd willingly do anything to obtain. The message finished with one saying the interest on the debt had been paid but the debt itself was outstanding. More begging messages from my father, no interest in negotiating from the gang. The final message was from them 'We know you went to the Police. Game over.'

I ran to the bathroom and threw up. My hands were shaking and my cheeks were an angry red. Tears streaked down my face. Fifteen years ago that gang had abused and killed my mother. That angry young man suddenly had a purpose.

I was able to get a look at the police files. A sympathetic officer understood I needed closure after recently finding out about my mothers death and was happy to take me through the investigation all those years ago. The file was sparse but said it was almost certainly the local Serpentis Syndicate was to blame as no other gangs operated in our area. The Serpentis were very good at holding their territory apparently.

I didn't do well at many things in school however I found I had a natural talent for chemistry. That was my way in. I finished school, moved out of home and got a fake identity from an old contact and used it to get a job in a bar. It wasn't hard as I wanted a dive-bar where my prey would frequent and they were always looking for staff. Its funny when you think about it. An eighteen year old boy going up against the Serpentis. Anyway I started cooking my own product. I made sure I used high quality ingredients. I needed my shit to be better than theirs. I started selling it on the side at the bar at a substantial loss. I knew this would attract the bad guys. Of course it did. Thankfully I was waiting for it and prepared. They sent some low-level thugs. I left one alive, gave him a sample of my product and told him to report back to his bosses. The next day they came. I realised it was the real deal when the bar suddenly emptied. A smartly dressed man entered alone, however I noticed shadows moving in all the exits. He sat at the bar and ordered a Gallente Sunrise. A difficult cocktail but I pulled it off. He then casually placed a Douvalle Labs pistol on the bar top and asked why he should not unload the clip into my face. I told him I was a great cook and could look after myself, as the goons he sent the previous night found out. I said honestly I thought it would be the best way to attract the top guys without too much hassle. He appeared to chew over my reasoning whilst tasting the drink. He had a surprised look on his face as he sampled the cocktail and nodded to himself. He finished the drink in silence, stood and walked out taking his gun with him. Two guys entered the moment he left and took me away with them. I had no idea if I was in or whether they were taking me out back to blow my brains out or to offer me a job. Nothing I could do about it. These weren't simple street thugs. These were professionals. The real deal.

I was driven to the up-market side of town. We entered a property through a secure gate with armoured guards carrying Ishukone assault rifles. The grounds were amazing, but also dotted with more heavily armed guards holding drooling Slaver Hounds on short leashes. If I had even found out about this place there is no way I could have got in myself. However, here I was being driven in by the gang themselves.

The first few days there were a blur. I was the hired help. I had a small lab which I was expected to make high-quality shit for the personal consumption of the top guys and their guests. They didn't want the cheap mass produced poison they peddled to women and kids on the street. I was also expected to man the bar during parties, and there were parties all the time. As time went by I was given more freedom and spent more time in front of the bar than behind it. One day the man who had come to the bar that night came to my room. His name I knew was Tuvan but what I didn't know was who he was other than he was fairly highly up in the food chain. I was playing the long game. I wanted to take the whole lot of them down. I knew he was leadership but not high enough. He took me to a room. I felt sick. It had hardly changed in the 15 years. It was the room from the video. A naked man was tied to a chair. His eyes wide with terror. A white rag stuffed in his mouth stifling his cries. I was told he was a street dealer, skimming money from the organisation. The only thing worse than informing on the Serpentis was stealing their hard-earnt drugs money. I was to punish him. A big Matari hunting knife was handed to me. They probably thought it was funny, give the half-Matari guy a knife from Pator. I knew this was my chance. I could have plunged the knife into his chest, game over. However I needed to show I could be more useful. I told myself this guy was old enough to have been one of the ones in the holovid. That's all I needed. Whether he was or not didn't matter to me. He was a means to an end. After twenty minutes Tuvan said enough and finish it. One of his men had even thrown up. I looked at Tuvan and he looked at me. I was a state, panting, covered in sweat and the man's blood. He gave a smile and the same nod I'd seen at the bar. I'd done a good job.

From then on, I was Serpentis. Whilst I still got behind the bar occasionally when people begged for one of my specials or I cooked up something nice for a special occasion I was beyond that. I was a lieutenant in the biggest crime-syndicate in Gallente space. I played the part. I partied every night, my bed was never empty of a beautiful woman, or women. The money, the power, it was like a drug. I still needed to know how high the local leadership went. I still couldn't take my vengeance yet. So I continued playing the part. I was expected to dole out punishments and became one of the most feared members. One of our own even tried to kill. After what I did to him nobody else tried. I justified everything by thinking I was paying them back, the whole stinking organisation, for what they did to my mother. I never realised what I had become. How deep I was sinking into the filth.

It all came to a head later that year. I was told we were going to a party. Every party had been at the mansion where I lived. I'd not left the estate since arriving. If I thought Tuvan's place was amazing, this other one was fit for an Amarrian Emperor. It had military scale defences and the house itself was the size of an average spaceport. The party was posh. I saw the planetary governor and the chief of police who I reconsigned from the news reports. They had the entire planet in their back pocket. At on point Tuvan came over and ushered me to a side door. Inside the elegant room as a smaller party. My boss led me over to a corner where a man was sat with four scantily clad women. He saw Tuvan approach. He introduced me and the man stood and shook my hand. He introduced himself as Raikanen and welcomed me to his home. He said he'd heard a lot about me and was impressed. We joined them and out of nowhere more girls arrived to ensure we were entertained. Towards the end of the night the girls begged Raikanen to do the 'thing'. He laughed and took his shirt off, flexing his massive muscles making them dance to the delight of the inebriated girls. I looked in stunned silence. The tattoos were familiar to me, I had seen them before. He had been one of the men.

We stayed there that night. I lay awake staring at the ceiling as two beautiful women worked on me. I wasn't really interested. Soon it would all be over, I had found him. The man who ruined my life and my father's, the man who killed my mother. Would soon be dead. However he had to be the last. I needed to track down the others first.

The next morning after breakfast I was escorted to Raikanen's office. It was like a museum with various ancient weapons mounted on the wall and ornate suits of armour from the distant past. Raikanen was seated behind a huge desk and explained to me there was a general problem with many of the men skimming money from the organisation. He had heard how many feared me. He wanted me to lead a small team as their own 'internal affairs'. I was appointed judge, jury and executioner. I had to stop myself from laughing. He'd just given me free reign to explore their entire organisation.

Over the next month profits went up. Not because I was stopping the internal corruption. Well, that's not true, I was indirectly stopping it. Using the holovid I was able to identify three of the others who had collected the 'interest'. I simply planted evidence and then dispensed the justice to them and their families. I didn't need to look for those who were really skimming money. They either stopped or fled after the rumours circulated about what I was doing to the men that I punished. I was the most feared man in the solar system.

The next invite I received to the leaders mansion was to a party in my honour. Whilst Raikanen hadn't named the party "Look as this amazing sadistic brute who has stopped our drug dealers stealing from us party" that's what it was. I partied like it was my last night alive, because that's what I thought it would be. I had a great time and when I was summoned I was giddy. This was it. I was taken back to Raikanen's office and he had a stack of cash for me. I was the prodigal son, so trusted I didn't need an escort. His number one man. He said I could ask for anything. I pointed to Matari short sword on the wall. A vicious weapon that bore Thukker markings. He bounded up and got it down for me. As we was walking me out I grabbed a pole-axe from a display and jammed it between the door handles. He looked stunned and suddenly scared. I ask him if he remembered my mother. The name meant nothing to him. Of course his screams brought security. They hammered on the door as I took my time carefully glancing back at the pole jammed in the door as it flex under the blows. As it cracked I brought the cold steel down into his cold, black heart and twisted. Finally the doors burst open and Tuvan leapt into the room gun drawn with half a dozen others. They froze at the scene in front of them. Me covered in blood holding an ancient Thukker sword deep in the chest of their boss' mutilated corpse. I couldn't be taken alive. I pulled the sword free and faced them down. I screamed at them to come at me. They didn't move. They simply stared at the horrific scene in front of them. The bullets I craved never came. Finally Tuvan spoke. His words were not what I expected. He said he'd get the cleaners to clean up MY office and that he'd come back tomorrow to ensure the organisation had a smooth transition period. They left, closing the doors behind them leaving me standing there like some battle-bloodied tribal warrior. I was stunned. Numb. Walking behind the desk I slumped into the huge chair. How could this happen? I was supposed to be dead. My viciousness and drive had got me to the top of the local Serpentis cell. I was their new leader. Now I can look back I see it. I had become worse than those who had killed my junkie mother. You may ask how did that happen? How can a man who went out to destroy the thing that killed his own mother end up leading it. How can a man who suffered such pain now inflict that same pain on others? I'm not sure I can answer that. Is it the power, respect, fear, money, wealth or the women? Likely all of them, it is no different a drug to any other drug my men sell on the corners of the streets. Perhaps I am just wired differently, a hypocrite of the worse kind. I went on a killing spree to avenge the murder of an innocent by killing more innocents. Whatever the reason, I'm sure it would take a lot of highly paid quacks to explain this.

So here we are at the end. The avenging angel of our story is now the demon. What I set out to destroy, I became. And then you turn up thinking you can sell your poor quality shit on MY streets? Didn't you even think for a moment to find out who this territory belonged to really? To find out what sort of beast I am? Its sad to think you could have avoided this by simply asking any low-life scum in this city about me. You'd have not got the finer details but the abridged version of the story would have been enough I'm sure to have you and your pretty petite girlfriend on the next InterBus shuttle out of here."

He sighed, stretched and rose from the chair. The man tied to another chair struggled as he picked up a bucket from the floor and walked to another chair where a woman was tied facing the man. He dumped the contents of the bucket over the screaming woman. A white rag stifling her protests. A strong smell of chemicals filled the air. The tied man screamed behind his gag, his nostrils flaring and his eyes pleading.

"For your transgression your girlfriend here has to pay the price from the lost business." he stated casually taking a lighter and new cigar from his pocket.

The bound man struggled and rocked the chair screaming loudly through his own gag. The suited man flicked the lighter, lit the cigar and then tossed the lighter at the woman. There was a 'whoomp' sound as the liquid caught. Within a minute her screams had stopped and the only sound was the crackling of the dying flames and the anguished weeping of the bound man. He then picked up a second bucket and poured the contents over him making him scream again.

"And you? Well you have to pay the interest I'm owed."

The suited half-Matari turned and walked away, tossing his cigar over his shoulder. The same 'whoomp' sound came a second later as he vanished into the shadows.