Friday, October 9, 2015

The Raid

Fiction Friday. Escape pod here. I've got some ideas but they need some work and this first week back from holiday has not been the best. This is a start of an older piece I've had for some time in draft. The CCP reveal that Bloody Omir and the Blood Raiders are going to feature this autumn made me think I should get this one finished.

The Raid

The ship compartment was dimly lit and smelt of burnt electronics and oil. Several of the ceiling lights flickered badly either through loose connections or power conduit problems. Everywhere there was bare metal, some of it rusting badly. The hum of the engines was loud and acceleration and deceleration tended to rattle the room. The inertial dampeners were obviously on their last legs. The ship was old, and it was Matari.

Hakar was sat on the floor with his back to the bulkhead, his wife and two children huddled close and sleeping against him. They had escaped and that was the main thing. A brutal war was raging on their planet. Rumours abound that the Amarrians were manipulating both sides. As a Matari low-sec system close to the Amarr Empire it was plausible that they would want to destabilize the planet. Hakar had bartered space on a drop-ship before transferring to the small cargo ship bound for Federation space. The Gallente offered the hope of a new life. It had been a close thing. He'd just paid the First Mate and his family were walking up the boarding ramp when a small group of uniformed men burst into the open-air hanger from the far side. A flash of light from the doorway they just appeared from and they all fell to the floor. A fine red mist ejecting from their backs. The next group through the door wore a very different uniform and carried large calibre weapons. Hakar and his family had sprinted up the ramp as bullets ricocheted around them. The First Mate drawing his sidearm and firing as he back up into the ship himself. Thankfully the invaders didn't have any heavy weaponry set up by then and the drop ship was able to blast off.

He carefully shifted is weight. His arms and legs were becoming numb having the three laying against him. A few more hours and they would be safe, starting a new life in New Edens only true democracy.

They had been on the orbital station less than an hour. Tensions were running high there. You could feel it in the air. The station was supposed to be independent of the war. However with one third of the stations population from one side and a third from the other it was only going to be a matter of time before trouble broke out. He'd found the industrial ship bound for the Federation and bartered passage for him and his family. He'd never known relief like it when the ship finally slipped into warp away from that station.

Hakar had seen enough of war. Too much death. He was tired. He wanted only peace now for him and his family.


"Jump to Siseide complete Captain. All systems green. Cloak has 45 seconds left."

"Ensign, align to the stargate. Warp and approach. Jump as soon as we are in range." the Captain replied.

Captain Burik was a privateer. His Mammoth class industrial ship regularly travelled between the Gallente core worlds and the fringes of Matari space. With Capsuleer freighters handling most of the high-volume bulk trade between the hubs such as Dodixie and Jita, he found the best money for a person like him was between the core worlds and the fringes of empire space. He'd buy Gallente consumers goods and ship them to out-laying planets in Matari low-sec. He'd then buy raw materials cheap there and sell them for a good profit back in the heart of the Federation. Then there were the passengers. Refugees were a more accurate name in reality. Matari space was brutal and there was always wars kicking off. That led to a steady stream of desperate people looking for a better life. Captain Burik wasn't a bad person, he didn't take particular advantage. However he was a businessman. He filled the supply where there was demand. A good number of passengers seriously bumped up his profits for the run back. He also needed the money, the ship was sturdy, but it was also old. He had three or four major repairs needing that he would get done after one more run. However it was after always one more run for the Captain as his exasperated Chief Engineer kept pointing out.

"Speed approaching 70%, prepare for warp." the pilot called out.

On the forward viewer, space appeared to distort as the ship finalised creating the bubble of depleted vacuum around itself and was propelled to faster than light speeds. The starfield blurred as they entered the warp tunnel. The journey itself was sort. It would have been even shorter in ship equipped with a hydrostatic capsule and piloted by a capsuleer. Those immortal starship captains of New Eden were able to push their ships much faster. However the journey to the next stargate, even without man and machine melded, only took 30 seconds. The warp drive could reach a maximum of five times the speed of light. However, under the Chief Engineers advice, they were limiting to 4 until they replaced the primary plasma injectors. As soon as they dropped from the warp tunnel they knew they were in trouble as red lights flashed.

"Captain! Hostiles on grid! We have three frigates and a cruiser. The CONCORD threat indicator shows they are known pirates!"

"What Faction?" the Captain asked nervously.

There were several options in this area. A number of small local pirate factions commonly preyed on shipping. These would generally be less of an issue. They were thieves and would take his cargo and may be rough up some crew but it was unlikely anyone would die if he cooperated. Then there were the big organisations. The Angels owned this territory so were most likely to be the ones burning towards them. Again, they would not be the worse. He'd lose his cargo but he could cover that with what he main on the outward run. Serpentis were unlikely but also a possibility. They knew the same as he did about the lucrative trade run from the Gallente core worlds to Matari low-sec and occasionally send ships far from their usual operating bases to raid the pipe. The outcome would be no better or worse than the Angels or local pirates. There was only one that would spell doom for him and his crew and he thought they should be far enough away from their space. Six systems was surely far enough from the Covenant surely.

"Oh shit." the ensign gasped "Its the Blood Raiders!"

Captain Burik sank visibly in his seat as alarms sounded.

"They are using a warp scrambler on us. Warp drive is offline. Gravimetric forces increasing, its stasis webifiers! Speed down to 25 metres per second Captain!" the pilot called out nervously.

The Captain looked at his screen. Unlike Capsuleer vessels which could navigate much more accurately, his vessel had to drop out of warp 15km from a stargate and travel the rest of the distance on their main sub-light engines. 15km was nothing in astronautic terms. An interceptor could cover that in under two seconds. With the webs on them it would take 10 minutes, plenty of time to be boarded. All was lost. 

The Blood Raiders didn't want the physical cargo, they wanted the people on board. Their goal was in their name. The Captain subtly unclasped the strap on his side arm so it was ready to draw. He'd go down fighting leaving the last bullet for himself. Better that way then ending up on a Raider ship, slowly having the blood drained from your body.


Hakar snapped his eyes open. He had managed to drift off to sleep. The feint sound of an alarm had woken him. He carefully detangled himself from the limbs of his family. There were murmurs but his exhausted wife remained asleep. He walked up to the door and unlocked it. It was an old sliding door covered in rust. Matari engineering was always seen as the most basic in the cluster. He pulled the door back a fraction. The sound of the alarms was louder now. He heard panicked voices and saw crew members running. Placing his hand on the bulkhead he felt the vibration of the ship. Something was wrong. The engines were firing but they were not moving as fast as they should. They were being raided, probably by pirates. Potentially slave traders in this region of space. A young couple couple sprinted past and Hakar saw sheer terror on their faces. He closed the door, locked it and leaned his back against the cold, rusting steel. There were only two possibles that could instill looks of sheer terror like that on hardened space crews. Sansha's Nation was one, but they were far from their space unless they'd entered a system under incursion. The other chilled him to his bones. He gazed at his sleeping family and muttered "The Raiders."

He look around. It wasn't proper passenger quarters, it was a store room. He needed a weapon but had no time and limited selection. He rattled through the containers quickly.

"What are you doing?" his wife asked groggily as he searched through the various crates.

"We have problems. You need to hide with the kids." he whispered not stopping his search.

His wife looked puzzled and then worried as she heard the alarm.

"Slavers?" she whispered.

"Worse!" he replied.


Raysere stepped through the airlock into the Matari ship. His fellow team fell in behind.

"I want everyone alive this time. Anyone who kills unnecessary will find themselves in a bleeding chamber!" he snarled remembering the last raid.

The sterile tanks on his vessel The Red Star were not even 10% full. He'd been given too many green crew. To often they were putting their own safety in front of capturing their prey. Too much of the blood had been split on the deck plates of the ships they had boarded.

More teams followed them through the airlock. Raysere led the way with four-man teams splitting off down pre-determined corridors. They knew the layout of the ship and also knew time was a factor. Leave the crew long enough and they would realise all was lost. They'd start taking their own lives rather than be captured by the Blood Raiders. They needed to be quick before they came to this decision.

He could hear screams and shouts. That was good. There was the occasional sound of laser discharge and projectile weapon fire. They were bad. They needed the crew alive.

Finally the last team peeled off down a side corridor and Raysere and his team was alone. They started to check the various side rooms as they worked towards the bridge. Most of the rooms were small storage lockers and were empty save for a few crates of supplies. They reached a locked door and Raysere smiled. One of hos men approached with a laser cutter. The bright red beam slicing into the steel. It took less than a minute to cut around the lock which fell to the floor with a clatter. Two of his men entered slowly, guns drawn. The room was dark with no lights. There was a crunch as one stepped on fragments of broken glass. He looked down and then suddenly up. He saw the smashed ceiling light and knew what was about to happen. He just never had time to react as Hakar lunged from the dark corner pushing the metal Hakar into the man's neck. He quickly pulled the bar free and a jet of arterial blood arced into the air. Hakar didn't stop, swinging the bar wide and low as the other Raider was turning to see what the noise was. The bar hit him at the back of the knee sweeping him down. He screamed in terror as Hakar brought the bar up in a wide arc and stabbed it deep into his heart. There was a flash of light and Hakar tumbled across the room. Raysere stood in the door, his solid-state laser pistol smoking.

"Check he's dead and search the room. Its unlikely he was alone" Raysere growled.

One of the remaining team went over to the still body of Hakar and rolled him over with his foot.

"You got him good boss. He's a goner!" the man said kicking the body his tone conveying the dissapoint that they had lost a healthy specimen that would have bled well.

"Its OK boss! We've got more 'ere!" another said cheerily from a corner hidden by several stacked storage crates.

Raysere walked over. He saw a pale foot as his vision swept around the make-shift barricade. They were three of them huddled tight in the corner sobbing. One woman, mid thirties he guessed. A daughter, mid-teens and a son, maybe eleven or twelve. He paused looking at the terrified family. He needed blood, however he also needed money. The reports coming in was the holds were full of lumber. Not worth taking. They had captured a lot of passengers though. He did the calculations in his head.

"Take the woman to deck 8" he ordered referring to the sterile deck where they bled out their victims "Blood for the Blood God." the others repeated the phrase automatically. 

"The boy, put him in the locker until we stop by Slaver's Port." The Locker was their nickname for the slave pens in the ship. Raysere knew the boy was too small to make a difference to their blood-stocks. However a young Matari male always got good prices at the slave market.

"Yes sir! Oh, and the girl?" his man asked.

Raysere looked at her and wet his lips by pulling each of them over the other in turn.

"Have her sent to my quarters." he said with a smile.

The men grabbed the screaming family, separating them and dragged them from the room.


Pain. There was only pain and blackness. How long had he been out?

He struggled to his feet and stumbled across the room. His chest burnt and he was struggling to breath. He flipped open a crate, using the shaft of light from the open door to see. It was there, where he'd spotted it earlier. An old Caldari Auto-Aid case. A green light on the exterior showed it was still functioning. He pulled it from the crate and slumped to the floor. Opening the case automatically turned it on and he pulled it onto his lap. A light shone from the open lid bathing him in light.

"Critical injuries. Solid-State laser strike to the chest. Recommend evacuation to suitable trauma centre." it spoke in a robotic voice.

"No evac possible. No assistance possible. Engage category A protocols" he wheezed.

"Acknowledged" the case replied. A pair of robotic limbs unfolded from the case.

"Patient requested to brace. This may be uncomfortable." it continued.

Through the deserted corridors of the Mammoth class industrial a man's scream echoed long and hard.

To be continued........

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Eve Online For Stress Relief (Seriously?)

Kryten - ...Your T count, which is the hologrammatic equivalent of blood pressure, is higher than a hippy on the third day of an open air festival, and if you wish to avoid a gigantic electronic aneurysm, it is imperative that you start on a program of relaxation.
Rimmer - I see, and you thought that the best way for me to start this program of relaxation was to tell me my brains are about to explode. You've got the bedside manner of an abattoir giblet gutter.

Red Dwarf, Season 6, Episode 5 "Rimmerworld"

OK it wasn't exactly like that but it was along those lines. As an overweight gamer in a stressful job/environment and hurtling towards the big "four oh" it wasn't a massive surprise when the doctor told me I had "issues". People have been telling me that for years to be honest, however I think they weren't talking about health issues!

I've got to make some serious changes and its started this week. Sugar is primary and salt is secondary. Fat is tertiary. I had lost 15kg so far this year (I had been concentrating on fat in my diet this year). Over the summer I've put a couple of kilos back on (its 50C outside in the summer, you cannot do anything!). Last night I restarted my nightly walk as its now dropping to below 40C after 7pm so going out for a 3-4km walk doesn't turn you into Bellock from Raiders of the Lost Ark.

So that's the first set of changes. The second is blood pressure which relates to stress which in turn is how this post dovetails into Eve Online.

I PvP mostly solo. A good 1v1 gets my heart racing and my hands shaking. This is great in-game, not so much for my body apparently. I'm told I need to relax and chill more, and shaking hands are apparently not good. So what are my options if I want to still play Eve but need to be less stressed?

Mmmmmmm not sure about that. I hear with all the high-sec griefers it can be stressful? I really have no idea.

Level 4's
Ah, back to how I started in-game all those years ago. I have ships back in high-sec and toons skilled specifically for murdering rats. I could mothball Drack for a bit and play the "level 4 alts". Sounds a bit boring though.


Nah. Not something I'm massively interested in.

Apparently that can be as stressful as PvP with no local and the chance someone can pop out of nowhere and ruin your day.

Heading into unsafe territory and.... wait, yeah thats not going to help!

Mmmmmmm. I hear if you get the right big alliance, null-sec can be safer than high-sec. Watch the intel channels and its hard to DIAF unless you are Awoxxed. Just have what stuffz that I need in null and nothing more so if we lose the outpost it means nothing? I don't know to be honest.

Continue in Faction War
They say "Only the Good Die Young". I'm not good, so should be OK? Mmmm may be not then. One option could be to fly an empty clone and relatively cheap T1 ships and have no **** to give? Fly fits that I don't care if I win or lose. Actually can I even get in that mindset? Can I actually not care if I lose? Even a 9m frigate which is nothing in ISK terms? Not sure I can.

Take a Break
Not something I want to do. I'd much rather find something else less stressful. However it is an option. Apparently the things wrong with me (well the physical ones anyway) are reversible if I work hard. The Doctor told me to go back in two weeks and that if I worked at it my tests might be on the right side of the "OH SHIT!" mark!

I don't know. There has to be something in game for me. Eve Online is not a matter of life and death.....

.... its much more important than that ;)

Anyone got any advice for "low stress"/relaxing Eve Online? Does it exist?

Monday, October 5, 2015

Crimson Harvest - Paint the Space Red!

So CCP have revealed that "The Crimson Harvest" is coming this autumn. CCP Falcon advised Reddit users to "Be Afraid". So what do we know? Well the information on Eve Updates appears to suggest Bloody Omir is coming back after a few years away! Who is Bloody Omir?

OK, here is the abridged history:-

He's the leader of the Blood Raiders. Amarrian with some Caldari ancestry (his mother's father was a squid), he was the product of a very good night an Amarrian Noble had with a high-class 'professional' in Amarrian Low-Sec space.

As a bit of a problem child, he stole and killed animals as many nutters do. His mother could no longer pay the authorities off to look the other way after he stabbed another child. She gave him a lot of money and sent him into Blood Raider space (where she worked previously) to evade justice.

He joined one of the Raider's sects as a runner. However, being a bit of a psycho he quickly worked up the ranks through violence and torture and was soon a High Priest. This gave him his own ship and crew and off he went raiding. He was targeting not only civilians but other Blood Raider sects too. Many of which fell in behind him as he was such a nutter it was a case of better the devil you know! His sect grew as more joined him and his opposition dwindled.

The Blood Raider leadership didn't like his growing power and his unauthorised raiding so sent an assassin to kill him. That assassin failed and Omir wiped out those that sent them (ie the Raider leadership) and assumed ultimate control of the Blood Raiders.

Omir got hold of the prototype Insorum (the cure for Vitoc which the Amarr used to control slaves) and unleashed it on a planet. The slaves, now free of Vitoc, went 'Full Matari' and the death toll was huge as they revolted. This made the Emperor a little bit miffed. A combined Imperial Navy and Capsuleer campaign saw the Blood Raiders get spanked.

Kicked from the Bleak Lands and forced back into Delve the Blood Raiders have been a bit quiet recently (forgetting that bit about keeping the Empire leadershipless and having their puppet Court Chamberlain in charge).

So what are we going to see? I'm guessing CCP will be starting to INCURSION ALL THE THINGS. We'll still see Sansha Incursions but along with Drifter Incursions they'll also be Blood Raider Incursions. All three of these 'pirate' factions are harvesting so stands to reason we'll see similar incursions popping up.

The Blood Raider and Drifters will be picking on the Amarr obviously. Is this the start of the downfall of the Empires? We know CCP's roadmap is about the Empires losing control and the rise of the capsuleers.

Is this the beginning of the end for the four Empires.....?

Sunday, October 4, 2015

SCASSSS - Steady Tiger!

Back from vacation. What did I miss? Ah yes, the BC balancing pass. Wonder if the good old 'cane is getting more use now? Especially with the cool "Blue Tiger" SKIN. Valklear Glory, not as good IMHO!


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Vacation Buzz Kill

Still on holiday and trying to post this via a 7" tablet. Obviously no Eve, however did think about the mission Buzz Kill recently as I was diving!


Sunday, September 27, 2015

SCASSSS - Know Your Carebears

Still on vacation. Here is an old classic by Eelis Kiy of Where the Frack is my Ship? Who sadly no longer playes.

Friday, September 25, 2015

From the Ashes - Part 6

Fiction Friday! Still on holiday so no escape pod as this was queued up over a week ago!

From the Ashes - Part 6

Captain Hoyere's ship slowly orbited the planet. He was down there. The last of them. The man who had ordered his wife to be brutalised and tortured in front of him. The man who had ordered him to be butched and locked in a shell of a body.

The scans showed the villa was well defended. Light missile batteries were concealed around the perimeter and the 25mm railgun emplacements meant anything short of a tank could not hope to lead a ground assault. His cloak would only be partially effective. It would still hide him from most forms of scanning but air friction would mean he would be visible on some spectrums and to the naked eye. He could call this in. He'd had no contact with his department for days. He'd found Zonelle's hiding place by entering a number of his outposts and hacking their computer systems. His unique abilities allowing him to processes terabytes of data and analyse them in seconds. However he didn't want to see Zonelle arrested. His memory of that night was fully restored now. After Ulkka had finished with his wife she was in terrible pain. Zonelle had gone over to comfort her. He had whispered to her it was going to be alright and that it was nearly over. Then he'd looked into Hoyere's eyes, smiled and pulled a knife. He'd rammed it into his wife's belly and twisted it bringing a howl of pain. Hoyere had remembered he'd shook helplessly in his bonds and screamed until his throat was raw. Zonelle had stabbed her twice more, each time cruelly twisting the knife. Hoyere recalled the words Zonelle had spoken before he'd walked out as if nothing had happened.

"Let him watch her bleed out. Once she's dead, 'cell' him and leave them both somewhere obvious."

The Captain in his small ship shook with fury. The small ship accelerated heavily, entering the planet's atmosphere.


Janomeches was flicking through some lurid pictures on his datapad. They had been blackmailing a well know Gallente Holoreel actress after her ex-boyfriend sold them their intimate pictures. As one of the biggest family entertainers in the cluster she was very keen to keep her squeaky clean image as was. The console bleeped again. He looked on the scan, nothing. Why did it keep doing that. He flicked from Gravometric to LADAR scans. Nothing. Just for thoroughness he selected thermal. A red dot appeared on his screen.

"What the...." he growled. Whatever it was it was not showing up on the other scans. He powered up the missile battery as he tried to get a reading on the signature. His orders that morning had been specific, if in doubt fire. They were expecting trouble and if anything approached not broadcasting a friendly signal he was to fire first and ask questions later.

Whatever it was it was moving fast. He didn't have much time. Satisfied it wasn't friendly he slammed his fist down on the fire button. Nothing happened. He looked confused. Why didn't the battery engage? The contact was accelerating, too fast to land safely now. He saw the contact break into three. He slammed the fire button again. In the second before the small ship crashed into the security building and obliterated it and Janomeches he noticed the battery was still set on LADAR scan mode. I couldn't lock the partially cloaked target. An elementary mistake and one he wouldn't have to dwell on for long.

The ejection system had fired Captain Hoyere clear of the blast, the small jets on his chair cushioning his landing. He lept from the ejector seat as the straps disengaged and grabbed his gun, marching towards the villa's main entrance. The railguns on the wall sat still, their command and control system completely destroyed by the impact of his ship. He had expected armed guards pouring out of the residence. Other than the crackle of the fire from the blazing security building it was eerily quiet. He approached the door and held his hand over the lock. The entosis link based interface took microseconds and the door swung open. No guards in defensive positions. Just an empty entrance hall. His scans had showed dozens of people here. Where were they? What were they planning. He continued down the hall, side doors were open and showed empty rooms. Ahead there was the double doors that from his scan appeared to lead to a ballroom or large empty dining room. They were locked. With one punch they flew off their hinges. He stopped a he entered. Confusion assaulted him.

"Maison" he murmured.

Madelanda was hanging in the centre of the room. Metal cables around her wrists and ankles suspended her mid-air like a starfish. She raised her head as she heard the crash of the doors.

"Run Hoyere! Its a trap!" she screamed.

The Captain didn't run. Nor did he move at all. He just looked at her there. She was helplessly suspended in the air. His altered memory played tricks on him. His vision blurred between his dead wife and the woman who had resurrected him, who had cared for him after.

"Put down your gun. With one flick of a switch I can rip off either of her arms or legs. Drop the weapon or I'll start removing limbs." a voice crackled over some hidden speakers. Hoyere paused.

"I'm not joking" the voice snarled. Hoyere heard the faint hum of motors and saw the slight slack in the ropes leading to her legs tighten. Madelanda screamed as she was stretched. Hoyere dropped the gun to the floor with a clatter. Some slack returned to the cables and Madelanda panted heavily.

"Good robot." the voice said.

The door at the end of the long room opened and Zonelle stepped out flanked by two huge men with heavy weapons. He held a control in his hand.

"One wrong move 'tin can' and your little lady here will be torn apart." he said holding up the remote to emphasise the fact.

The two men split off, keeping their huge guns trained on the Captain. He looked at them. Clearly cloned soldiers with forge guns charged and ready to fire. His chassis was tough, but no match for anti-armour heavy weaponry.

"So we find ourselves here again. The Captain, his female and me and a few of my colleagues. I'm getting deja vu, what about you?" Zonelle laughed walking towards the Captain. He stopped beside Madelanda . "However, this time you are not in chains. You have a choice. You can try and stop me. Of course my men have orders to shoot you if you move."

Zonelle pulled his knife from his belt. The silver blade glinted in the bright lights of the room.

"Remember this Captain. Remember how this steel sunk into your pretty wife's flesh. Remember how she screamed?"

Hoyere tensed. He saw both the cloned mercs also tense, their fingers on the triggers. Tactical options flashed up on his HUD. He tried to calculate a way to reach Zonelle. The 20 metres was not far, but every scenario showed that the mercs would have more than enough time to take him out. Zonelle grabbed the edge of Madelanda's dress and pulled hard, ripping it from her.

"Shall we see how long you can last Captain? How long before you kill yourself by trying to stop me?" Zonelle smiled and ran the blade casually over Madelanda's upper leg. She hissed in pain through gritted teeth. Hoyere tensed again as he saw the crimson line form on her leg under the steel as it moved. He focused on the drip of blood from the shallow wound that ran down her pale flesh.

"There was a civilization on ancient Amarr that had a rather nasty execution method. There is no proper transliteration of their name for it. Historians even believe it was the same people that started of the Blood Raider Cult. They would use a knife like this to make small shallow cuts one after another from sunrise to sunset. When they came back the next morning the victim was usually dead. If they were still alive, a very rare case apparently, they would be freed, taking it as a sign. I'm going to give your friend here a taste. 60 minutes only. After that I'll kill her. If you move my men will take you out and I'll continue for the full 12 hours." he sneered. "Try to stop me and you'll sentence her to a slow and horrific death. But can you just stand there for 60 minutes and watch me do this?"

Captain Hoyere tensed again. The nervous mercs twitched as they saw it. He relaxed quickly and tried to think of options. Trying and failing would not be an option, he couldn't let Madelanda be subjected to that. However it appeared to be an impossible task to stop him.

A shrill scream sounded as Zonelle slashed his knife on the sole of Madelanda's foot.

"Oh a sensitive spot." he laughed.

Hoyere moved fast. The boom of the forge guns sounded at the same time. He twisted with one shot going wide. The other struck his shoulder spinning him to the ground. He crashed down and his left arm slid away, detached from his body and crashed into the wall. Green fluids gushed from the mangled mess of his arm. Zonelle and the two mercs approached cautiously. Error messages and critical alerts flashed on Hoyere's HUD. He was in a bad shape.

"Oh dear Captain. You have just sentenced your pretty little lab rat here to a most horrific death." Zonelle sneered. "Only this time after she's dead...." Zonelle stopped abruptly as Hoyere started to convulse. The three men jumped back slightly. A bright white light shot from his failing arm like a torch as other signal lights flashed on and off and his armour opened and closed various hatches in some malfunction. After a few seconds the convulsions stopped.

"Feeling better now Captain?" Zonelle grinned. "Blow his legs off for good measure!" he ordered, stepping back. Neither of his mercenaries moved.

"I gave you an order!"

Both men stood as still as statues. Slowly Captain Hoyere pushed himself up.

"Kill him! Kill him now!" Zonelle screamed still slowly retreating.

The Captain walked to one of the mercs and took the cannon from his unmoving hands as Zonelle looked in disbelief.

"Nanites. All cloned soldiers rely on nanites swarming through their systems. I simply used my link to reprogram a few to go and latch onto the spinal column and release a small charge into their nervous systems. They are paralysed for now."

Zonelle dropped to his knees sobbing.

"Release her now!" Hoyere commanded. Zonelle pulled the remote from his pocket with a shaky hand. He depressed a button and the cuffs holding Madelanda sprang open and she fell to the ground. She quickly retrieved her torn dress and wrapped herself in it.

"I suppose now you are going to tell me to the right thing and arrest this man and hand myself in to face my crimes?" Hoyere said. Whilst the synthesized voice didn't allow for much emotion to come through it still sounded resigned.

Madelanda limped over, her cut foot leaving a blood stain whenever she placed it gingerly on the floor.

"No fracking way!" she hissed.


"So they just vanished?" the Senator asked holding his two clenched fists up and flicking all his fingers out quickly in a burst style.

"I know it looks bad, but yes."

The Senator rolled his eyes. He would have to go back to the military oversight committee and say a seven foot tall robot with one missing arm accompanied by a petite Intaki woman simply walked out of a small battlezone without any transportation and simply vanished.

"At least he saved us on court costs I suppose!" the Senator sighed.

Zonelle was found in the ballroom. His torso was hanging by one arm from one of the metal wires. His other arm and his two legs were found detached on the end of the other three wires. Statements from the members of the organisation they captured stated they found the ballroom sealed, emergency blastdoors installed by Zonelle had been engaged. They reported they heard him screaming as they cut their way in after they saw the robot leaving. Captain Hoyere had apparently strung him up as he had done with Madelanda and left the controls on a long slow retract before sealing the room with the blast doors.

"Can he operate for long with only one arm?" he asked Doctor Arneche who was still mulling the situation over.

"Normally not long. He destroyed his ship in the attack which had all the spares and repair functions. However if he has Madelanda with him and if she is helping him, he could go forever."

"What's his end game then doctor? Everyone who wrong him is now dead. Will he self-terminate? Will he hand himself in? What will he do?"

The Doctor stroked his chin. "I really don't know Senator. Captain Hoyere was a good man, a great police officer and a credit to the Federation. What would I do if I was him? I couldn't possibly guess."


Preralle walked down the line. The girls lined up before him held their heads down as they sobbed.

"For fracks sake Ahrnan these are not what I asked for! They are too old for me to get top price."

The Amarrian leant against the door frame. He shrugged as he chewed on a fat cigar.

"Its what I got. I brought them here as you asked so you can take first pick. I'm a fracking pirate not an order service. These are what we got from the last five ships we intercepted that are close to your requirements. Unless you have the flight-plan of the Colelie Ten School for Girls annual trip you have to make do with what we pick up in our day-to-day raiding."

Preralle spat on the floor. He stopped in front of one sobbing girl. She was slightly shorter than the others. He cupped his hand under her chin and lifted her head up. His thumb stroked her cheek, not to reassure her but the feel how soft it was and thus how much he could charge.

"How old are you?"

"Ffff...fff...ffff...fourteen" she stuttered.

Preralle did the figures in his head. 900 credits a day for a year, 600 credits a day for the year after. He'd be lucky to get 500 a day from her by the time she was sixteen. Just short of quarter of a million credits if she survived the three years. She was the only one of these girls worth it.

"I'll take this one and....."

A heavy stomping made him stop. Ahrnan looked at him questioningly. Both men dropped their hand to their side near their pistols. The heavy footfall stopped outside the door. With a hiss the door opened. Both men gasped as the huge robot stepped in. As soon as they saw the Federal Police badge and the oversized gun it carried they raised their hands in the air.

The robot used its free arm, one that looked out of place with a different colour and a different style to the other, to take a small datapad from a storage space on its leg. It handed it to the nearest girl.

"Follow the directions. There is a ship waiting. Go inside and strap yourselves in. I will be back to take you all home in a few minutes."

The girls didn't need to be told twice and ran crying from the room.

"We'll go quietly!" the Amarrian stuttered.

"No. No you really won't!" the robot replied.

The group of girls skidded to a halt in the long corridor as they heard two thunderous bangs. They looked back just in time to see the robot leave the room and start walking towards them.

"Madelanda power up the ship. I have the girls. We're leaving." the Captain said into his communicator."

The end......?

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Blog Banter 67 - I Am CCP Angry Badger

Welcome to the continuing monthly EVE Blog Banters and our 67th edition! For more details about what the blog banters are please visit the Blog Banter page.

I am CCP X
There has been a catastophic accident in the CCP Offices in the style of the Robbie Coltrane movie "The Pope Must Die". A leftover open bottle of Brennivin hidden behind a filing cabinet from the last Christmas party has mutated and released fumes affecting several senior CCP staff. CCP Chair is now the CEO and CCP Cub is Executive Producer assisted by CCP Kitteh. In a freak accident your player account has just been upgraded to a senior CCP staffer leading a development team! With CCP now led by an inanimate object supported by a very young child and a fluffy cat, there is nothing to stop this from happening!

You are now CCP -Insert Your CCP Name Here- and have a team of developers eagerly awaiting your commands. So CCP X, what are you going to have your team work on?


I Am CCP Angry Badger


Job 1 - WCS
Warp core stabs should be an option for travel fitted ships, industrials, carebears and the like. They should not be an option for Faction War which is supposed to be PvP. Damage nerfs, greater targeting nerfs I don't care. Stabbed Tristans need to be stabbed in the heart! Stabbed Merlins and Punishers swatted with a rolled-up newspaper!

Job 2 - FW Plexing
Ship sizing needs to be looked at. Faction war is now too much about frigates and destroyers (which can in a small fleet complete every plex) these days. We need to look at balancing the plex sizes to encourage larger ships. How about gating large plex to only allow BC and above. Then rebalance victory points. A Novice plex that can be completed in 10 minutes in a partially fit T1 frigate should not get the same number of victory points as a large plex that requires you to risk a BC and takes 30 minutes to complete. Make it so that a BC fleet out for a roam can make the same dent in system capture as the same number of 1m ISK trash-fit T1 frigates. Risk vs Reward.

Job 3 - Bars and Customisable CQ's (Yes, its WiS!!!)
Yes WiS is like Marmite. However there has to be clear benefits to the game and CCP for some limited WiS. Obviously immersion and the future vision of Eve is one. However the main point is bars where you can mingle with other players encourages NeX store sales. The only reason I have spent anything in the NeX store is for screenshots for my fiction. If other players saw my toon I might spend more. More money for CCP equals more money for development and improving the game. Same for customisable CQ's. I get drunk, I buy stupid things when drunk, I certainly would purchase a Big Mouth Billy Bass for my CQ if there was one!

OK that's my team sorted, I'm off down the Celtic Cross!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Blog Banter 67 - I am CCP X

Welcome to the continuing monthly EVE Blog Banters and our 67th edition! For more details about what the blog banters are please visit the Blog Banter page.

I am CCP X

There has been a catastrophic accident in the CCP Offices in the style of the Robbie Coltrane movie "The Pope Must Die". A leftover open bottle of Brennivin hidden behind a filing cabinet from the last Christmas party has mutated and released fumes affecting several senior CCP staff leading to some staffing changes. CCP Chair is now the CEO and CCP Cub is Executive Producer assisted by CCP Kitteh. In a freak accident your player account has just been upgraded to a senior CCP staffer leading a development team! With CCP now led by an inanimate object supported by a very young child and a fluffy cat, there is nothing to stop this from happening!

You are now CCP -Insert Your CCP Name Here- and have a team of developers eagerly awaiting your commands. So CCP X, what are you going to have your team work on?


Sunday, September 20, 2015

SCASSSS - Talking Eve

For this Sunday Short I'd just like to tell you about a time talking about Eve nearly got me into trouble.

I was on my usual packed commuter train going home six or seven years ago. It was rammed and standing room only. My in-game CEO had called me and we were discussing a certain individual in the opposing faction who had been mouthing off. I gave my opinion on the gob-shite...

"Look mate its simple, we just hunt him down and we kill him!"

At that point I note that the entire train carriage has gone deadly quiet and everyone is looking at me. I quickly followed up with:-

"And that's what happens when you mouth-off in the online video game Eve Online."

I didn't get arrested but always wondered if Eve got any new players from that train carriage that night!

Friday, September 18, 2015

From the Ashes - Part 5

Fiction Friday! I'm on holiday so no escape pod as such. Pick something here!

From the Ashes - Part 5

Jorerout flipped the steaks and the juices sizzled down onto the hot coals. He took a long swig of his beer draining the bottle. He looked over the low wall all the way down to the waves crashing on the rocks far below. He dropped the empty bottle and watched in vanish into the foam before returning to the grill. The late afternoon breeze cooled the patio on his cliff top villa. It was the only poperty for miles. He glanced back, his girlfriend was lounging on a bed by the small pool. He licked his lips gazing at her toned and bronzed body. The last nine months had been good. After taking the ten million he had headed out to low-sec and bought a property on a remote planet using fake papers. It was a quiet life but with most of the Federal Police looking for him he needed it to be quiet. Also being out of the way meant everything here was cheap. He could live like a king on his ill-gotten gains for the rest of his life. Prime steaks, exclusive beer and a trophy girlfriend who would do anything providing he kept the flow of jewelry going.

He heard the faint buzzing of the doorbell. As he watch his girl rise and head inside he racked his brain to think who would be calling. He had no neighbours, it was 20 minutes to the nearest town by his small shuttle. May be a delivery, had he ordered anything lately? He waited, after a few minutes and no sign of the girl he started to worry. He was no idiot, the Federal Police were after him and he never truly trusted the Zonelle Syndicate. He was a witness to his ex-partner and his wifes abduction and subsequent ordeal. They may try to cover lose ends. He knew and they knew, if the cops caught him he'd turn witness to get off. He reached into a nearby plant pot and pulled out a plastic bag buried in the dirt. He had hidden pistols all over the house and gardens just in case. He pulled the small gun out and tucked it in the back of his shorts. He was just about to enter the house when his girl stepped out of the darkened door.

"Who was...."

Jorerout stopped as the construct strode into the light. The orange light of the setting sun bright against the silver metal. He saw the Federal Police badge.

"You, leave." the construct said in a robotic voice to the girl. The terrified woman didn't need to be told twice. She ran and vanished inside the house.

Jourout looked at the robot. It was like nothing he'd seen before. AI's couldn't do police work as they couldn't make the decision of a kill order. He saw the huge gun in its hand. It must be remotely piloted.

"Look man, you have got the wrong end of the stick. Hoyere was the one working for Zonelle. He got greedy and asked for more money. Thats when Zonelle taught him a lesson. I just grabbed his money and ran."

"Really?" the robot asked advancing forward. Jourout stepped backwards trying to maintain distance.

"Its the truth. I knew nobody would believe he was working alone so I panicked and took off after stealing the bribe Zonelle had already paid him. Hoyere was the dirty one, that's why they hell celled him!"

Jourout bumped against the low wall next to the grill. His steaks were black now. The robot towered above him. It reached forward and Jourout cringed. Instead of touching him it lifted a bottle from the ice bucket.

"Matari Rust Rinse, you always loved this beer. Its how I knew it was you... partner. The clues pointed to this place but the beer confirmed it. I simply hacked the brewery and cross referenced the deliveries to be sure."

Jourout stood in shock. It couldn't be.

"Hoy?" he asked with a shaking voice.

"Do you know what they did to her Jour? Do you know what those two thugs did to my new wife?" Jourout broke down in sobs unable to answer. 

"It was nothing compared to what that sadistic Caldari bitch inflicted on her in the following hours. You are going to burn in hell for what you did."

The robot grabbed Jourout by the back of his shirt and his belt.

"However first, you are going to get a taste of what is to come!"

"NO!" cried Jourout as Houyere slammed him down on top of the grill and turned the flames to maximum.

The scream was inhuman as Jourout thrashed on the grill. The powerful grip of Hoyere held him there for a full minute. Black smoke rose as his clothes and flesh burnt. Finally Hoyere hoisted the twitching man in the air.

"I think you need to cool down now." Hoyere snarled at the barely conscious man. He swung him over the low wall and let go.

Houyere just regained consciousness as the sea air rushed past him. His blurred vision taking in the foaming rocks rapidly approaching.


"He's dead." Sonnibel said. "Local police found him at 18 hundred hours yesterday. His girlfriend reported some huge robot had burst in and told her to leave."

Zonelle ran his finger over the rim of the whisky glass. He'd been drinking heavily for the last few days.

"How did he die?" he asked trying to sound casual but his voice breaking slightly gave it away.

"Local sources say he's in for autopsy right now but initial thoughts he was held over his own barbeque before being thrown off a cliff."

Zonelle went quiet again. Everyone involved in that night had died a horrific and slow death. Everyone but him and the robot. They still didn't know exactly how the Captain had been reborn as that mechanical monstrosity. Zonelle's criminal organisation had connections and sources, but none well placed enough for him to know the name of the Phoenix program, nevermind any details. He'd placed top priority on finding out about how the robot was created and offered a massive reward for information. The few snippets of intel they'd got were practically worthless.

Another man entered the room. Zonelle and Sonnibel stopped talking and looked at the man.

"Sirs, we've just had a message passed through one of our informants. I don't know what to make of it." he said scratching his head. He passed a datapad to Sonnibel. Zonelle looked on impatiently.

"It would appear the Federal Police would like to talk to us. Apparently the good Captain has gone rogue and they'd like to work with us." Sonnibel stated raising an eyebrow. "They want to meet!"


The Senator looked at the monitor on the desk. The Intaki woman he'd seen around the laboratory looked almost unrecognisable. The stylist was finishing off her hair and makeup.

"This has got to be the worst plan I've ever seen, and on the Senate Military Oversight Panel I've seen a lot!" he grumbled.

Doctor Arneche leaned back in his chair.

"We think its the only way. The AI is clearly unable to stop or encourage the Captain anymore. We have to accept he is in full control. You and I are not going to be able to convince him to stop and turn himself in. Madelanda is now the person he knows best. We've dressed her and got her hair and makeup done to be a close resemblance to his wife. His fractured memory and her close association with him means he might listen. The only option is we use the military to take him out. Thats a billion interstellar credits gone plus potential military loses and collateral damage. So it might be the worst plan you've ever seen but its still the best one we have."

The Senator remained silent. Ever the politician, he knew not to say anything when there was a possibility things could fall apart. If he didn't have to agree to a plan he wouldn't, then he could always claim he was against the 'very bad idea' all along.

The door to the room opened and Madelanda entered. She wore a flowing summer dress and ankle boots. Her hair had been dyed slightly darker than what she had been. She wasn't exactly like Captain Hoyere's deceased wife, but anyone who knew her would make a double take if Madelanda passed them looking like that.

"You can say no Miss." the Senator said heaving his bulky frame from the chair "Nobody is going to think any the less of you if you say no."

The woman nodded and smiled. Yvesque smile back but in his head he was thinking the scientist must be crazy or incredibly brave. When some egghead in the meeting suggested it he'd laughed. When Madelanda had said it was a good idea he'd been stunned. This young woman had just agreed to get between a rampaging robot on a killing spree and the person it wanted to kill the most in the universe.

"I want to do this." she replied confidently.

"It's a massive risk you are taking with your own safety." the Doctor added "It's not just trying to talk Captain Hoyere down, there is also....."

".... approaching the Zonelle crime syndicate and offering myself as protection." she finished for the Doctor. "I know and I want to do it."

The two men nodded.


The cafe was busy. Waitresses hurried between the tables with trays piled high with food.

Sonnibel sat opposite the two. An attractive Intaki woman and a burly Gallentean who made no effort to hide his distaste for a member of the Zonelle organisation. Sonnibel picked up a couple of fries and ate them, thinking whilst he chewed. He spoke after swallowing.

"So let me get this straight. No secret kill-codes, no super EMP based weapons. Just a lab-rat in a dress who will ask this psychotic robot you created to be nice? I have to say I am not confident in your plans."

"I don't give a shit what you think you piece of filth." the officer sat opposite snapped "If it was up to me I'd let the Captain continue and let your boss get what he so richly deserves. The only reason we are talking to you is we don't know where Hoyere is and we don't know where you piece of slime boss is. That makes it difficult to put Madelanda here between them. We are offering you this one chance. You tell us where your boss is and we'll station nearby. When the Captain shows up Madelanda will talk him down and we'll go our separate paths. We will not try to arrest your boss for one solar day. That should give him chance to crawl under another rock."

Sonnibel picked up another fry and slowly chewed it.

"You expect me to believe that the Federal Police will just sit and give us a days grace? I find that hard to believe." he replied.

"Well we don't care what you believe. This isn't a negotiation. We are not trying to come to some mutually beneficial arrangement. We are offering you a one-time deal to have your boss see another day and we get back our badly malfunctioning piece of tech. Madelanda here is the only chance you have. So that's it. Take it or leave it."

"Well its a nice offer but we don't think you can be trusted with the location of our boss and not act on it. I think we'll go with option B." Sonnibel replied smiling.

"Option B?"

"Yes. We blow your surveillance truck parked outside. Shoot down that drone you have circling overhead. Then we put a bullet in your brain plus your two colleagues in the corner and take this woman who you think the robot cares for ourselves."

The officer's eyes shot wide. They knew everything, it was a trap. He went for his gun in his inside pocket as Sonnibel just sat there smiling. The Federal Agent didn't even see the blonde haired waitress lift a gun from the tray and fire it into the back of his head. Madelanda screamed as the agent fell face down onto the table, a gaping hole where the back of his skull once was. The two undercover agents in the corner jumped from their seats as they saw the scene unfold. The boom of the shotgun thundered around the cafe. The panicking diners never saw the man in next booth to the agents unload into the two men. An explosion shattered the window. People stopped to look at the white van burning at the kerbside.

The Senator watched the fireball erupted from the van on the main screen from the orbital command ship. The camera from the drone showed their burning van outside the cafe. A trail of white smoke rose from an adjacent building heading towards the drone. A second later the feed went dead. All around him people were barking orders and shouting commands.

"Alpha team do you have her?" a senior officer shouted next to the Senator. Everyone fell quiet.

"Alpha team respond!"

The speaker crackled into life.

"Building secure. Three agents down. No sign of Madelanda or Zonelle's man. He must have taken her. Please advise command!"

To be concluded....

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Leaving... on a Boeing 777

Its that time of the year again for the "other" holiday. My Spring vacation is Fanfest and return to the UK to do the family thing either side of important internet spaceship stuffz. In order to pacify the Eve Widow and so that I do not instantaneously combust with stress, the second holiday is a relaxing beach holiday. Over the next two weeks it's going to be chilling somewhere less warm (as in it'll be low 30's rather than Middle East 40's) with scuba diving and lounging in the pool with a swim up bar.

Fiction Friday's will continue as I've finished off the last two posts of From the Ashes. The Blog Banter for September will go live on Monday with my own post on Wednesday. Plus a few other short random posts if I have the time!

Fly deadly and I'll be back in a couple of weeks 


Monday, September 14, 2015

Gonna Fleet Like its 2009?

CCP are doing a Battlecruiser balancing pass for the next release. Battlecruisers? What ever happened to them?

I know they didn't go away but they certainly dropped in popularity. I recall back in 2009 the Caldari-Gallente warzone was full of Battlecruiser skirmishes. They were the most popular fleet ship by far and a staple of faction war battles.

Their popularity declined a lot. There were many reasons. Nerfs, the plex system which only allowed BC's to capture large plex, rebalancing and tiericide that gave other classes a new lease of life. Obviously my in-game experience is focused on low-sec faction war, and that really saw a nose dive in BC use. The top killboard stat below is from Oct 2009, the bottom one is Nov 2013. Both had 200 and something kills. Two different ship profiles.

I was surprised that the Drake was still the most popular BC in the stats Fozzie provided.

Drake 37.4%
Myrmidon 17.4%
Hurricane 11.7%
Prophecy 7.4%
Harbinger 7.3%
Ferox 7.3%
Brutix 7.2%
Cyclone 4.3%

I guess people still say yes when asked "Can I Bring a Drake?". The Ferox was no surprise to be down the bottom but I was shocked to see how little the Cyclone was used. I liked using the Cyclone back in the day, when it was still a projectile boat. The balance pass is adding a 25% role bonus to missile velocity. This will give it some more range and with the "above average mobility buff" it might be a choice in the future. However the big issue with my gameplay is that in faction war they can only be used in the large plex. Taking a fleet of BC out means you can only take 25% of the plex type and the one that takes the longest to capture. Compared to a frigate gang that can enter every plex type it makes no sense to take a BC gang out when you cannot get through most gates. 

I'd love to see BC fleets a thing again in faction war, but with current mechanics its not going to happen. I'll watch with interest how the null guys respond to these changes. You can read all about the proposed changes here.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

SCASSSS - Eve Nerds Rule

So I was out and about on Thursday.

Tweetfleet responded in the best fashion!

Friday, September 11, 2015

From the Ashes - Part 4

Friday fiction! Escape pod here!

From the Ashes - Part 4

Hoyere's ship approached the vast stargate. He had a lead on a slave trading and narcotics facility belonging to the Zonelle organisation and was enroute to check it out. It was fronted as a semi-legal cathouse. However, his investigation at the last outpost showed there was a lot more illegal activities there. Most importantly his intel was that Zonelle's 2nd in command, Ulkka, was based at this facility. With Jullynes Duwalle dead and soon to be reported by the local authorities, they'd know at Project Phoenix what he was up to if they didn't already. They would try and stop him. He was supposed to be operating within the law and not pursuing a vendetta across Federation space. He didn't care. He only wanted one thing, those who had hurt him to suffer and die. He knew Ulkka was responsible for something, but the artificial intelligence in his suit was still restricting access to some of his memories.

Space distorted as the artificial wormhole opened up and swallowed his small custom ship. He was catapulted across a vast distance almost instantaneously. Upon entering the new system he rotated the ships camera back to the star he'd just come from and marvelled at the fact it would be over three years for the light that was bouncing off his ship seconds before he jumped to arrive at this same location.

He launched his scan probes and accelerated heavily before activating his cloaking device. He knew they were here somewhere.


"So what are our options?" Senator Yvesque asked from the head of the conference table. The assembled doctors, scientists and technicians all remained silent.

"Come on people. This is a device belonging to the Federation. Its a bit of hardware. A tool. There must be someway to shut it down. Are we sure all the avenues are exhausted?"

Doctor Arneche again explained that all the failsafes were built into the supplementary AI. It should have been able to over-ride Captain Hoyere's own decision making process after they gave it the order. However it had either failed or the Captain had found a way to ignore it.

"Is that even possible?" The Senator asked.

"Theoretically no. However Captain Hoyere is a first. No one has ever been so heavily modified and linked so closely with an AI. Capsuleers come close, but even they are not so closely intertwined. We are learning all the time with this new technology."

The room fell silent again. Nobody had any answers.


Ulkka lay on the bed recovering. That was a good one. The naked man next to her lay motionless, his neck twisted at a fatal angle. Ulkka always cast an eye over the Matari slaves trafficked through the outpost. As Zonelle's number two nobody ever complained when she took one herself and paid a derisory price. The Slavers simply put it down as an additional tax they were forced to pay for using this station as a stopping off post. She would take them to her quarters and use them. They never complained themselves. Ulkka was an attractive Caldari woman and few men would turn her down. The only problem was that these slaves did not know she was nicknamed the Black Widow. Whilst she didn't have the physical strength of the hulking Matari men she took back to her room, she was highly trained in combat. She always went on top and as she neared she'd snap their necks, the rush of the kill and their final perimortem twitching sending her over the edge. She twisted her head to see her communicator flashing red. She'd heard it vibrate several times over the last few minutes. She picked it up wondering if she should kill the person disturbing her when she had her 'do not disturb' highlighted.

"What!" she snapped.

"We have an intruder. They are killing anyone who gets in their way! We've lost nearly 20 men!" a terrified voice shouted down the commlink. Ulkka sat up quickly and grabbed the gun from the side of her bed.

"Where is he?" she demanded.

"It's in your corridor!"

Ulkka jumped at the ear-splitting bang. She looked over at her door. The fist shaped indent in the metal door protruded 30cm into the room. It was impossible, that should have shattered any man's hand. The next punch tore through the tritanium. She gasped as she saw the shining metallic hand start to pull the jagged hole wider. She grabbed a few shreds of discarded underwear and headed to her secondary exit. A small corridor that led to her laboratory. The screeching of tearing metal let her know it was coming. She burst into the labs storage room and slammed her hand on the door release for the main corridor. The door shuddered and made a grinding noise but it did not open. She tried again. The door opened barely an inch. She could see the bright light of the corridor beyond but it would not open further. She then saw the structure of the door was not right. It was buckled like something heavy had slammed into it. The heavy footsteps behind her made her back up the labs storage area. It finally entered the light. A robot, shining silver and holding a gun. The logo on its chest piece clearly showed it was the Federal Police. Ulkka glanced down at her own gun. An Amarrian solid-state laser. A devastating and cruel weapons against human flesh. Against that metal thing, it was useless. She dropped the weapon and placed her hands on her head.

"I give up! You can arrest me. I'm not resisting!" she said with a smile. She knew Zonelle would have her out on bail in hours and then she'd just skip.

The robot with its gun leveled at her and paused. Captain Hoyere looked at her smirk. He'd seen it before. The flashback came, just like before. A screaming woman pulled tight between two men. She was battered and bloodied already. The two men he now knew, and they were now dead. The woman smiled.

"This one burns and causes terrible pain." she said with that smile as she slowly dripped the liquid on the woman's naked form making her thrash and scream. This one..." she held up a different bottle " need to be more careful with as it eats through flesh quickly. For non-vital body areas only." The Caldari woman continued to expertly drip the acids over the screaming woman.

Snapping back to the present Hoyere formulated his next move. Ulkka smiled again as the robot swung the gun away from her direction. Hoyere placed his hand on an adjacent keypad and an eery whitish light shone onto the console. After a few seconds Ulkka stumbled. Was the floor moving? She flinched as the first two shots rang out snapping her eyes shut. When she opened them she saw he had not fired at her. A fine spray of liquid streamed from two storage tanks he'd just shot. He swung the gun back in her direction. She flinched as he fired again. The shots hit the tanks behind her where a viscous green gel was now leaking and pooling on the deck behind her. A final shot sparked against the deck plates, igniting the gel. No fire suppression engaged. She knew that it must have disabled it. She looked for answers as the robot turned and started to walk back to her apartment.

"No! Wait! You cannot do this!" Ulkka screamed as she realised what it had done.

The robot had clearly disabled the fire suppression system and also had hacked the outposts leveling thrusters. It had put the entire outpost on an incline against the artificial gravity. The fiery gel that was slowly flowing towards her proved that. She looked ahead. Her only escape route was back into her quarters. However the robot had expertly punctured the acid tanks. She'd need to run through the mist to get through, she knew that was almost impossible to survive. Unless she was saved in the next few moments, she was going to burn to death one way or another!

"This is illegal!" she screamed at the robots back. It stopped giving Ulkka a hope she'd survive this.

"My name..." the robot paused, not turning " Captain Hoyere." it finished before disappearing into her quarters leaving her alone. She sobbed as she knew help was not coming.

Hoyere stood in the room waiting. He eyed the Matari Brutor on the bed. He'd already scanned him on the way past. Dead, his neck snapped. Other than the dead body on the bed, there was nothing to show these quarters belonged to a sadistic killer. Everything was neat and it looked like any professionals room. A 3D imager rotated scenic pictures of New Caldari.

A couple of minutes later Ulkka entered the room. She was on the floor pulling herself along with her fingers. The skin of her body was a mix of bright red flesh and yellow blisters. She looked up. Her eyes were gone as well as her lips and nose, eaten away by the acid. She crawled using her memory towards the shower cubicle hoping to wash the burning acid off. She made it another metre before she collapsed gasping. She tried to speak but only bloody foam past through her snarling teeth. Then she was still.

Hoyere looked down at the woman responsible for causing so much pain. His bio-sensors showed she was now unconscious and that her life signs were dropping. A single gunshot rang out and then there was silence.


"I still think its a bad idea. Planetside has less escape options!" Zonelle said as he paced up and down sweating.

The room was opulent. Amarrian marble floors were flecked with gold. The furniture was Gallente. Matari tribal art worth millions was dotted around the room. Whilst a casual observer would have noted the lack of Caldari influence it was actually there, you just couldn't see it. The villa's defense system used the best the Caldari had to offer. A Ishukone shield system protected the building from anything short of an orbit bombardment from a dreadnaught. Hidden in bunkers outside railguns and even a small missile battery meant that dropships and armoured ground assaults would be difficult.

"Sir, we need armour piercing rounds against that... thing. We cannot use them on a ship or outpost. That thing is coming for you and it will find you. We need to be somewhere we can tackle it. That means here planetside." his new number two replied.

Zonelle knew he was right but he still felt trapped. Armour piercing rounds on a ship were asking for trouble. There were a hundred and one ways a stray shot could destroy a ship in space.

If only Ulkka was here. He always felt safer when she was around. However she wasn't. She was dead. A semi-liquified lump of flesh on one of his outposts. The reports were laying on the coffee table. Three of the five that put Captain Hoyere in his 'Hell Cell' were dead. Not just dead or executed, they had died horribly. Explosive decompression, cooked slowly in a starship reactor and finally death by acid. How did the Captain plan to end his life? The same way Zonelle had finished of the Captain's wife?

"Have been able to track down that scumbag Jorerout?" he asked referring to Hoyere's ex-partner.

"No sir. He went to ground and hid well after he handed over Hoyere. He was a cop, I'm sure he knows how not to be found. Plus ten mill is enough cash for you to vanish."

"We need to find him." Zonelle growled. "I'm sure that walking Quafe can is leaving me for last. We need to know when Jorerout is down."

To be concluded....

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Sandbox in the Sandpit

Just a reminder that we're having an Eve Online player meetup in Dubai on Friday the 30th October at Nelson's Pub in the Media Rotana Hotel from 6pm.

Its an informal thing. A few Eve Online players meeting and having a drink and a general geek up. The nice people over at Eve Bet are donating some 100m ISK vouchers for all who turn up and also faction cruisers for the first 10. They'll be a couple of PLEX going as well. Really need to poke CCP Guard and see if he can send us anything too! Some in-game codes would be nice right? Pirate Rookie ships are cool right?

There have been about a dozen people showing an interest however I have no idea how many will turn up. There will be at least three as I'll be dragging the "Grrrrrrrrrrrr Goon" from work with me and the wife will be there too!

Hope to see you there if you are in the area!

Monday, September 7, 2015

What Did They Mean By That?

I was talking over the weekend about Fanfest and was asked what Dev's I'd ever spoken to there. I listed a few I've chatted with and the guy was surprised that so many high-profile Dev's which you see on the videos and Dev Blogs are so accessible at Fanfest. Not sure what he was expecting? CCP Seagull surrounded by a personal protection detail? CCP Fozzie having more entourage than Kanye West? Anyway I explained it to him and that the Dev's are amazingly accessible if a little popular at times. 

Hopefully that Fanfest Virgin will pop his cherry next year and see for himself. I did thoroughly recommend the trip to Fanfest.

One follow up question was what was my most memorable chat with a Dev ever? Last Fanfest I had a great chat with CCP Explorer at the charity dinner. Also had a great one with CCP Seagull at the Party on Top of the World. Over the years had plenty of great chats with Devs. Which one stands out?

Thinking about that, one clearly stands out in my mind. However it wasn't a chat. It was one line, and I never utter a word in reply.

It was one evening a couple of years ago at Fanfest. I was stood at the bar in the Celtic Cross chatting with some other Eve nerds. Two Dev's entered the Cross and come over. As far as I could tell they didn't know any of the group, they just wanted a beer from the bar and to say 'Hi!'. Anyway one of the two goes down the line inspecting our badges to see who we are. They don't really say anything, until they get to me. The person looks down at my badge, looks up at me and says.....

"Oh. We know who YOU are!" and moves on to the next in line.

I'm too stunned to say anything because all I can think is "What the hell did they mean by THAT?".

I'm not space-famous. I'm no Rixx Javix or Sindel Pellion. Put me in a line-up and there is no way that any Eve-O Dev could ever pick me out. This crappy little blog also is unlikely to attract any real attention. So what did that Dev mean by that? All I could think was "Uh oh. What did I do?"

To this day I still don't know. I assume it may have been because of one of my infrequent ragey type posts that perhaps upset them? Maybe I strongly disagreed with something they were involved with in game. I have limit recollection of most of the Parties on Top of the World, but pretty sure I have never upset anyone there! Or maybe it's just my crap fiction? Whatever it was, I still think it was not a good "Oh. We know who YOU are!".

So there you are. My most memorable "chat" with a Dev was a single line that left me stood there looking shocked and confused!