Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Year in the Life of a Faction War Corp

The end of 2011 is nighWow! What a year! Moving from faction war to 0.0 epic titan-killing-fests to low-sec pirating and back to faction war, we've done a lot! It certainly hasn't been boring. This blog post takes a look at what my my corp and I has been through this last year and some of my favorite battles.

The year started off with us in Nisuwa fighting the good fight for the Gallente Federation militia.

Although we had a few visits down to 0.0 in Syndicate, we were lacking targets. The Caldari have not been the same since 2009 when they were winning. With the formation on the MDP and the Gallente fight-back that happened, they have never really recovered.

In February time we got an offer to join CTRL-Q and the Northern Collation so we prepared to move up to the R-P area in Vale of the Silent.

Before we left, Lockouts birthday roam was organised. We went out in HACs and Recons looking for a good fight. We found a pirate battleship camp and thought, why not? As soon as the fight commenced they lit a cyno and dropped some carriers on us (four or five I think). We expected Lock to call bail given we were now fighting BS and multiple carriers with HACs but all we got was....

"Mmmmmmmmmm okay. Primary is........"

What a battle! And we screwed them over quite royally. It took a long time given we were lacking in DPS. In fact it was long enough for people to fly back to base and bring back something more appropriate like neuting ships. But we took them down eventually with only one carrier escaping.

Shortly after that we moved to the NC heartland and over the next few months we did the 0.0 sov holding thing. We thought that there would be lots of PvP.... but there wasn't. We ran Sanctums, we made ISK, we chased reds Benny Hill style and we took part in some massive battles.... which were generally very boring. However, for the first time we were taking part in areas that CCP were mentioning. O2O being their favorite data gathering system during the war on lag. We really were there!

Things like this in O2O were an experience - - Seriously 800 BILLION of losses in one big fight!

But still, two hours staring at the arse of a Titan, someone shouting JUMP!, fire at the primary and hope to get a round off before he dies until you yourself get primaried by 200 Abbadons and die in an uber alpha strike. We did build our own outpost, that was pretty cool!

But by April time, after three months of this 0.0 thing, we were getting bored. Our top FC's were giving some good ideas but were shot down as "You are FW noobs and new to the alliance so don't know anything" but it would seem it was the other way around. We were also losing members as the PvP just wasn't what we wanted. So we sold the station and headed back up to Nisuwa to work out what to do next. Turns out we were bloody lucky. A few weeks later the Russians came stomping through that region and took everything.

May time saw us start to form an alliance with Wolfsbrigade. As we were still sorting the details we had some joint roams. These were interesting as we were both in our respective militias. During one such roam, we encountered a Quam fleet, who are well known as epic hot-droppers. Their fleet was nearly all faction battleships with minimal logistics. Obvious bait was obvious. So we got a bait carrier ready, good old Lock again, and we engaged. We initiated the "hotdrop" hoping they would drop their supers. This actually caused them to drop two normal carriers of their own. This isn't what we wanted. However they couldn't break our carriers reps and we were getting the upper hand in the battle. With their fleet dwindling and both their carriers pointed they were in trouble. We were about to drop a bait dreadnought thinking that would make them drop their supers. But before we could, to save their two carriers, they did the second hot-drop we had been waiting for. As they dropped three Nyx onto the "faction war noobs" we warped in a half a dozen HIC's that had been sat away at a deep-safe. As soon as they had point I dropped fleet along with another guy, joined another fleet and lit my Cyno. Yes we had multiple cyno's ready for them. Now THAT was "hotdrop o'clock" as a Raiden. supercap fleet appeared on field.

There had been a fair bit of smack talk in local up to that point. Suddenly it went silent. Oh how we laughed. I will admit our traps don't go to plan. Sometimes our epic plans result in us all flying back to Nisuwa in pods thinking "Well that didn't go to plan!". But this time, we sat back, lit cigars and pretended to be Hannable Smith.

Anyway, we formed the alliance and move around a bit looking for a decent PvP area. Finally we settled in Kamela after trying Prov and Derelik. We fought around Amamake for a while and the PvP was OK, but GCC mechanics were a pain. As many of us rushed to -10 we lost a few more members who didn't want to be pirate.

Then Incarna was deployed and the brown smelly stuff hit the fan throughout New Eden. We had some people just give up citing CCP neglect of their area of the game and the direction the company was taking. Others just stopped as they couldn't stand the heat their graphics card churned out under Incarna. What ever the varied reasons, we lost some good people. Whilst the summer of unrest kicked off we continued NBSI until most of us were -10 flashy pirates.

At this point I think I must comment on the alliance name..... [.NET]!!!! You know the fallout from Incarna? Well within SoTF it was similar. The CEO's loved the name, Wolfsbrigade apparently was OK with it, SoTF took the piss out of it constantly. I even named our pub quiz team in honor of the alliance name one night.... then had to explain the reason to a Frenchmen, an Iraqi, a Lebanese (is that what you call a guy from Lebanon?), a Scot and a lady from the Ukraine! The wife guessed what it was about anyway. Was fairly funny to hear the quiz master read the team name when we won a round!

June 2011 also saw me start this blog. It's had nearly 9,000 pageviews in the first 6 months which I find rather insane! So thank you all! Surprisingly, the most popular blog entry was one of my pieces of fan fiction about us returning to FW in the Autumn. It was linked on the Eve-O forum in the thread about SoTF returning so that's why I guess it got so many hits. Also the person Googling "Minmatar tits" please get some help!

By July cracks were forming in our Alliance. Wolfsbrigade's more business-like attitude was conflicting with Shadow's "Why make plans, lets get drunk and shoot stuff!" attitude.

By August we were doing our own thing, pirating around Amamake and enjoying frig-fry Fridays. Then the Goons kicked PL out of their home and they ended up in Amamake with their tail between their legs. They were also very bored as PL were dishonouring 1v1's with Titans! Things were a bit more difficult in that area.

September saw us return back to faction war and move back to Nisuwa. Thankfully, a lot of the good members we'd lost in our 9 months of "lets give this a go" came back to the fold. However we are still missing some, I'm looking at you Eelis Kiy (formally of Where the Frack is My Ship? fame and now can be found at The One That Writes)! Actually, where has Karen gone?

October and November were back to normal for us. We were battling squids, pirates and Loren was taxing the squid hi-sec mission runners in the Caldari Militia.

Early December saw a spike in activity as Crucible was released, but still no Eelis.

So my own personal stats for 2011 are:-
  • I've killed 684 ships for a total of 157 billion ISK. 
  • I've lost 73 ships for a total of 6.47 billion ISK.
So in one year we've done faction war, sov holding null sec, back to faction war, bit of NPC 0.0, a NBSI alliance in low sec, a pirate corp in low sec and back to faction war. Faction war is best for us and here is fingers crossed that the 2012 Spring Expansion gives it the loving it deserves.

Happy New Year to you, thanks for reading my blog and I hope you have a great 2012 (whether your fighting with me or against me)!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Destroyers Should Destroy!

The new tier 3 BC's look good and are fun to fly, but they are standard ships. They shoot things in the face and that's really all they do. This got me thinking about "utility ships" and the role of destroyers in Eve.

Destroyers in our time (ie Planet Earth 2011, not New Eden in 22,011 ish) have historically been used to protect "the big guns". Anti-torpedo boat, anti-submarine, anti-missile and anti-aircraft roles are all common for destroyers who's job it is to ensure no harm comes to the carriers and battleships.

Currently in Eve destroyers are anti-frigate ships. Not really the same as what can a frigate do vs a carrier in Eve (yes stealth bombers are frigates, I was talking generally). Are destroyers as useful as they should be? They should be destroying things that are a threat to the big ships.

Under the new Crucible expansion they've had a bit of a buff. But still they are very much anti-frigate ships. I've got a few ideas for some very specific types of T3 Destroyers I'd like to see. Whilst technically what I talk about below are module effects, they should be like covert ops cloaks, bomb launchers or HIC bubbles. You can buy the module, but it'll only work on a specific ship due to the CPU need and the ships role bonus that negates it.

I give you T3 Strategic Destroyers:-

Point Defense Destroyer.
Defender missiles aren't really used much are they? They can only be activated when there is a missile heading directly at your ship itself plus they gimp your own DPS. How about a new destroyer designed to act as point defence for larger ships. A full rack of rocket launchers fitted with defender missiles that go for ANY hostile missile. This includes compact citadel torpedo's launched from fighter-bombers. A few of these around a cap ship could really reduced the incoming DPS of a super attacking it.
If defender missiles are a bit CPU intensive (I'm talking server here not ship CPU) how about lasers? That could look rather cool. A couple of these Destroyers orbiting a battleship or a carrier and red lasers streaking across space taking out incoming missiles.

Tachyon Detection Destroyer
Another T2 Destroyer that can fit a very specific hi-slot module. Tachyon detection grid generator. Looks like a large bubble but doesn't work like one. Instead it decloaks cloaked ships!
Now this would make a massive difference to cloaked ships. From stealth-bombers to transport ships. Gate camps would become a lot more deadly. I'm suggesting this because of the amount of cloaked Drakes, Hurricanes and even Kitsuine's we're seeing.
May be too deadly? How about we nerf it (before it's even been created) so that it does not work on the Covert Ops cloak. So your proper cloaky ships like stealth bombers, recons and transport ships are not effected, but the tard who puts a cloak on a Drake gets what he deserves?

The Anti-Falcon (ECM) Destroyer
A T2 Destroyer with a high sensor strength and a CPU and strength bonus for fitting projected ECCM. Something along the lines of -66% CPU use for projected ECCM and plus 10% per level to strength? A logistics ships just for your fleet mates sensors! One of these can pretty much counter a Falcon. Your average Falcon can jam out three ships. If this destroyer can fit 3 or 4 projected ECCM as well as prop mod and some tank it'll be very useful.

Anti-Drone Destroyer
This one fits a module that reduces a ships drone bandwidth by projecting targeted interference at the same frequency used to communicate with drones. If you have max drones out and you get hit by this weapon a couple of drones will stop responding (as if you warped away). This module should have a long cycle time to prevent it crippling an entire fleets drones on it's own. Also the reduction in bandwidth should only knock of one or two drones from a normal flight of five. When the module stops working the drones wake up and return to their ship (or carry on attacking).

D-Scan Jammer Destroyer
Another T2 destroyer with a special module. This one again looks like a bubble, but all ships inside are hidden from d-scan. Probes still show the ships up, but a simple d-scan won't. 5 enemy targets in system but none on scan. Are they at a deep safe.... are they docked up.... or are they waiting on a gate and hidden by a scan jamming bubble? Now if the bubble also stopped them from appearing in "local" that could be a lot of fun! The bubble also interrupts the ships Neocom link so the pilot vanishes from local!!! This would clearly be a Marmite ship. Some would love the idea of it, others would absolutely hate it! Maybe the "not showing up in local" is a step too far, and just the jamming of D-Scan would be sufficient.

Mobile Cyno Jamming Destoryer
Same bubble principle again. A 20km bubble that stops a cyno from lighting inside it. Worried that your hot-drop might get hot-dropped? Is obvious bait obvious? One of these will help stop said hot-drop landing on your head or even at all. Even better still, warp one onto the top of the obvious bait and fire up the jamming field. Then kill him!

So there you go. A few ideas for very specific fleet ships that rival logistics and ECM boats as a force multiplier and give a return surprise to cloaky-fags and hot-dropoholics.

Monday, December 26, 2011

No Darling, I Cannot Pause It!

After another explanation to the the wife, I'd thought I'd create this handy post for all you guys out there. There's a bit of text and some pictures to keep your woman happy. However, there is a TL;DR version at the bottom.

Why You Cannot Pause Eve Online

To:- My darling wife/girlfriend/fiance/mistress/bit on the side/neighbor I'm porking behind partners back (delete as appropriate)

Many, many computer games can be paused, but Eve Online, aka "that bloody game", is not one of them. This short blog post is especially for you ladies who aren't gamers to explain why we cannot "just pause" Eve Online.

Eve Online (that bloody game) is more about interaction with people, either being nice to them or blowing their hard earned ships into space dust and laughing in their face. You cannot pause people, so you cannot pause Eve. I might be leading a fleet on a roam and have 20 or 30 people hanging on my every word. I might be flying a very expensive ship in combat and if I lose that then I might have to spend hours grinding missions to make the money to buy a new one.

The only way to "pause" the game is to log off, which may give us a chance of losing our ship, or docking up in station. Both of these may or may not be possible. Also we may be already in station awaiting a trap to be sprung, therefore other people are relying on us and if we leave the game they will be disappointed.

So please remember, if we are playing Eve, we cannot just pause it. Leaving the computer could result in us losing our ship requiring hours of work to get another, or even worse it could result in our friends losing their expensive ship.

Of course there are ALWAYS ways to encourage your man to accept he's going lose an expensive ship or piss off his mates, and still be happy to do so. As Captain Jack Sparrow says... it's all about leverage! Now I don't know know exactly how you can persuade your particular man, but mine uses a method similar to the comic below.....

(Actually it's rather scary how close that Roosterteeth comic got to what my wife wears when she wants me off the PC)

TL;DR Version -

To:- The Woman.


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Drackarn 2 - Sleeping with the Enemy (Fan Fiction)

This is part two to this piece here which told how Drackarn became a capsuleer fighting for the Gallente Militia against the Caldari State even though he was a low-paid Caldari factory worker. If you haven't read part 1 then I'd read that before reading this.

The original piece finished off with a joke about how the Caldari Mega-corp executive who made him into a capsuleer cannot be that mad about him fighting against the State, as he will getting business from ship replacements after Drackarn's kills. That got me thinking. Actually what did the Executive really think about the capsuleer he "created" turning against the State. Actually what does Tibus Heth think about it? He seems to be a guy who might get a bit upset about it. But, watchya gonna do?

This story is a bit more..... erm..... "racy" than my past stuff. A lot of my work has included "giggity elements" before but I've left the real detail up to your own imagination and for you to read between the lines. This ones similar but may be has a bit more "detail". It's probably a 15 certificate I suppose ;) Just wonder what the reaction will be from "Geeky perv!" through to "Yeah and?" up to "Hur Hur, Alriiiiight" in a Glen Quagmire styleeeee.

I hope you enjoy.


Lexx was still in the bar when Drackarn got back. His head still damp from showering after leaving his pod. Lexx slid over a datapad, on it were the CONCORD reports of recent capsuleer kills by Shadows of the Federation.

"So gob-shite was in a Manticore then?" she stated. Drackarn smiled.

"Yeah, the dumbass paniked when he saw me, tried to warp off. One volley and he was dead."

"So what was that you mentioned about your past life springing up a year or two ago?" Lexx asked.

Drackarn smiled a wide smile. "Ah yes, someone tried to kill me, permanently, but also gave me one of the best nights of my life. It kicked off just after the formation of the Gallente Militia MDP when we were still living in the system of Nennamalia......."


The Vice-CEO had his head in his hands with his elbows resting on his expensive wooden desk. On a space-station where nearly everything was constructed in metals and plastics, wood and leather were seen as an expensive extravagance.
Everything about this office screamed the same. Paintings and works of art, real live plants, wooden furniture. All natural materials, all highly expensive. The fish-tank in the center of the office with it's rare and beautiful fish cost more than a fitted combat frigate. Huge borderless windows that looked out into space and the planet below.

His PA walked into the office, he heard her heels clicking on the marble floor as she approached. She wasn't looking at him, she was busy with her oversized data-pad. As she neared his desk she looked up and saw the state he was in.

"Sir? What's wrong?"

He said nothing, he simply pressed a button on his datapad. With a buzz the holoprojector activated. There stood a life-sized holgram of Tibus Heth. He didn't look happy.

"I won't bore you with the 'friendly' introduction..." the vice-CEO said, his PA noted the way he said 'friendly', " I've paused it just before the bit I need you to hear" and with that he hit another button. The
holographic Heth roared into life.

"It's a disaster! We had complete control. Old Man Star was locked down tight. Those Gallente bastards were trapped in Villore. Now they are living in OUR systems. It's unacceptable and if you are receiving this message then YOU ARE TO BLAME! There is nothing we can do with the Gallente-born capsuleers, but we can do something with the other races fighting against us. Here is a list of non-Gallente capsuleers who are leading the fightback with this Gallente militia MDP. I've background checked them all. Check the
list, identify why you've got this message, you'll have a connection to one of them, and resolve the problem that YOU created. I will come down with a fury on anyone who doesn't clean up their own mess! I will personally coming to see each of you in....."

And with that the vice-CEO hit a button and the hologram froze.

"I'm in trouble!" the Vice-CEO looked worried.
"When did you receive this?" his PA asked whilst skimming through the list
Heth had attached to his message. She didn't need to get far down the list
until a name sprang out at her.
"Oh" she said.
"I think that's a fracking understatement" The CEO had his head in his
hands again. "The message came two weeks ago."
"Two weeks? Why didn't you tell me?"
"I tried to deal with it myself, quietly."
"How?" The PA sounded worried.
"I flagged him as a high value target, I thought if I did that our own
militia or some pirate would take care of the problem."
The PA looked at him in disbelief. "You put a price on his head? He's a capsuleer. Even if someone sucseeded, he'd be back out in space in a new clone within an hour"
"OK, I know that NOW! I wasn't thinking straight. I don't deal with these capsuleer types. I didn't think!" the vice-CEO's voice was starting to break. "I didn't think!"
"Sir, these capsuleers. They need.... special handling." she paused to think "I have an idea how I could handle it. But I'll want 500 shares for what I'll need to do"
"500!" the vice-CEO was not happy, but he realised he'd have none in a few days anyway. Heth would at the minimum strip him of all his assets and put him to work in a mine somewhere. "OK, you'll get them". She turned to leave.
"Where are you going? I've only got 6 days left before Heth wants results"
The PA turned her head. "As you'll recall sir, I've met this capsuleer before, just before you made him into one. I'm sure I can 'steer' him around" and with that she left.


The Tengu strategic cruiser slipped out of warp at the station. The proximity of the huge mass of the station caused the cloaking field that hid the Tengu to deactivate.

Before the invention of strategic cruisers Mega-corp exec's and their top staff usually travelled in covert-ops ships. However, whilst nimble and hidden, there was always a small chance of getting caught. And frigates like those were very fragile. The Tengu was not only a ship capable of warping whilst cloaked, but had much better defenses and allowed the warp core to be stabilised much more heavily against propulsion jamming. It was a safer ship no doubt. She felt a jolt as it came to a rest in the executive hanger. She picked up her bag and checked its contents as she waited for the all clear to disembark. The outfit she had in the bag cost her nearly a months salary, and she was very well paid. It would all be worth it she thought, if she got those shares. The disembark light lit and with that she made her way to the quarters that she had reserved. She had 4 hours to get ready, and she was planning to use ever minute.


Getting access to the capsuleer deck on Nennemalia station wasn't difficult given her position. Very few people could get access to those decks. The capsuleers themselves, high-level mega-corp employees and also the staff that worked on the deck, serving and entertaining those two elite groups of society. The workers themselves were thoroughly background checked, searched and scanned every time they entered. However, even the Capsuleers and Execs had to walk through the scanners to to be sure. Weapons and anything that could be used as a weapon was strictly forbidden.

She saw him in the bar but didn't approach him. She took a stool at the bar and waited. Several capsuleers approached her, each looking for a good time. She politely refused. She was expecting it, any attractive woman in a capsuleer bar, who wasn't a capsuleer herself, was usually working or looking to snag themselves a rich pod pilot. Finally Drackarn came to the bar to get a round of drinks. She had purposely sat so that when he did come to the bar he would stand next to her.

"Oh my god! Drackarn? Is that you?" she feigned surprise!

"Oh hi.... wow! Sorry I never got your name when we met, I think I was a little shell-shocked."

The PA gave a girly giggle "You certainly were! It's Katherine. Wow it's so good to see you again. So you obviously passed!"

"Yes, first time too. What are you doing out here? A Caldari mega-corp PA on a low-sec station in the war zone?"

"Business" Katherine replied grimly "All boring stuff. The boss gave me the night off. They are all up there on deck 2's executive bar talking business. When they do that I leave them to it. The next best place to be on any station, and some might say THE best in the first place, is the Capsuleer bar. Won't you join me for a drink?"

They spent a long time chatting and catching up. It had been over a year since Drackarn had qualified as a capsuleer and he'd only met Katherine the once. This had been just as he started his capsuleer training which had been paid for by her boss as a reward for Drack rescuing his daughter from a traffic crash.

Whilst there was no day and night on a space station, people who lived on the station stuck to a routine generally. By midnight station time the bar was almost empty.

During the last few hours Katherine had been performing every seduction trick she knew off. During a visit to the toilets she'd undone a few buttons of her blouse, she'd made sure her skirt was riding high as she sat on the stool. She'd touched him on the arm often, she'd played with her hair, she'd bit her lip. Surely she had done enough? It was time to see.

"So, fancy continuing this party back in my quarters?" she purred.

"Sorry" he said. At that point Katherine started to panic, for her plan to work she needed to get him into bed. Was this ex-factory-button-smasher who used to be at the bottom of the corporate food-chain going to reject her? Not only would that put her job in jeopardy when Heth removed her boss, she wouldn't get those 500 shares. She needed those shares desperately.

"I cannot leave this deck. We're in a war-zone remember." Katherine was relieved. Of course.

"But you could come back to mine" he said. Katherine smiled, she'd got him.

Back in Drackarns capsuleer quarters he made some drinks whilst she put on some music. After he passed her a drink she told him to stand by the sofa. She downed her drink in one whilst starting to sway to the music. Slowly and seductively she started to discard her clothes. Soon she was stood before him only in her high heels, stockings and g-string. She pushed her chest out.

"So" she purred "You going to help me with the rest?"

Drackarn smiled. "Well for a start, the heels and the stockings can stay on. But yes, I'll deal with the rest"

"I've really got him" she thought "After tonight the rest will be easy. One secured job and 500 company shares coming up!" and with that she forcefully pushed him onto the sofa and climbed on top him, kissing him deeply.


Next morning she woke in his bed. She was sore, tired and hungover. Drackarn was nowhere to be seen. Her datapad was on the table blinking. He'd left her a message.

Sorry for abandoning you, I was called to a fleet engagement. Hope you are still there when I get back.
Last night was..... amazing!
I hope we can repeat it!


Katherine smiled. "Yes and no" she thought with a smile.

She had a extra long hot shower, capsuleer quarters were one of the few that had access to hot-water showers as opposed to the sonic showers generally used. She thought back to the previous night as the warm water cascaded over her. Oh god! The things she had done! For her plan to work she need Drackarn to want a repeat performance at any cost and no matter what the risk. She had to be the best he'd ever had, a fantasy, something amazing. Her research had been illegal Gallente skin-holo's. She had spent the previous afternoon and evening watching that Gallente filth so she could act it out. She shuck her head thinking about some of the thing she'd done last night vowing never to repeat them.

After the shower she dressed and left a reply.

Last night was unbelievable, and I want seconds you naughty boy!
However I have to return to corporate HQ now. Perhaps you can get away for a night? I understand the difficulties but I've heard you militia capsuleers have no problems visiting stations in Caldari hi-sec, out-running the Navy in a fast ship. Meet me at my corporate HQ in two days and I'll show you last night was just a gentle warm-up!


She re-read the message to check it and sent it. She then left his quarters and headed to her waiting transport.


"You're back!" the vice-CEO said as Katherine entered his office. He looked like he hadn't moved. "The problem isn't dealt with?"

"Not yet sir, two days and it'll be done"

"That's cutting it pretty close! Couldn't you have done something in Nennamalia?"

Katherines eye's narrowed. "You had me followed?" she said accusingly

"Sorry, but I needed to know what was going on. My sources say you spent the night with him, but he's still out there, fighting!"

"Oh and what do your sources suggest I should have done. Slipped some poison into his drink in the public bar. Killed him whilst he's not connected to his pod and therefore prevented him from cloning but making myself the obvious suspect?"

"Sounds a good plan to me... especially for a reward of 500 shares" said the vice-CEO

"Yes and no! Yes, that's how you kill a capsuleer so he doesn't come back. But, no, smuggling any form of poison or toxin onto a capsuleer deck is next to impossible. The security, the scanners, the searches. Anyone trying to WILL be caught! That is unless..... someone very high-up in the owning corporation makes it so. Oh, and on a related note, he'll be in THIS station in 36 hours."

The realisation dawned on the vice-CEO. "How can you be sure he'll come?"

"Trust me. After the other night, he'll be here" smiled Katherine.

The vice-CEO looked apologetic. "So Nennemalia was just a taste to get him hooked. Lure him back here where we can deal with him in our own station without the fall-out? Some might say you've gone above and beyond the call of duty with that."

"Oh" she said "I cannot say it was totally unenjoyable. Plus 500 shares will ease what I suffered with the other bits. Take these. DO NOT, open them. I need them hidden somewhere where I can easily retrieve them on the capsuleer deck after all the scanners. I mean the hidden ones too not just in the entrances to the deck." Katherine handed him two vials.


The next morning she was in the lift to the executive offices planning the night ahead. She expected him to arrive early evening and meet him in the bar. The patsy was all set up. Some idiot Caldari Militia member. She'd payed a girl well to hook up with him, discreetly slip the other vial into his pocket and then make the accusation that she saw him slip something into Drack's drink when the shit hit the fan. She had thought of using the girl to lure Drackarn originally. But she knew she needed a very good reason to lure him back to this station. Her position was the obvious excuse, so she had to do it herself. As long as Drackarn or any other witness didn't see her pour her vial into his drink it would work. Gallente militia capsuleer poisoned on station by Caldari militia member, murderer caught red-handed. Witness saw him do it and there was evidence found on his person. The networks would have a field-day with that story and the damning evidence.

The lift stopped and a young male PA entered. He did a double take at her and smiled. The doors closed and the lift continued. He didn't take his eyes off her until they both left the lift at the main executive floor.

"That was a tad creepy" she thought.

As she walked through the main secretariat she started to feel self conscious. She was sure everyone was looking at her. The men appeared to have looks of lust on their face, the women, looks of disgust.

As she navigated the warren of corridors people paused their conversation until she passed.

She started to get worried. She thought what might be causing this. She could only think of one thing. Tibus Heth had arrived early. With that monster they had created still patrolling the space lanes, he's probably already sacked the Vice-CEO and I'm next. 12 hours, that's all she had needed. Damn it!

She entered the vice-CEO's office. A lot of people were crowded around his desk, she couldn't see anything. She must have been right. Heth must be here early, probably even sat at her ex-bosses desk. Someone noticed her entry and the noisy room went quiet. She moved to the desk and the people parted. Then she saw her boss slumped face down on his desk. An empty vial lay next to his head. One of the two she'd asked him to smuggle onto the capsuleer deck.

"Oh god NO! Why? Why did he do this?" she started to cry. To be honest, it was a put on, she didn't care about the vice-CEO, but she needed to save her own skin.

"Because Heth would have done it anyway tomorrow." The CEO suddenly appeared behind her. She spun around in surprise. He nodded at the crowd that had formed and they filed out of the room, leaving Katherine, her dead boss and the CEO in the room.

"Sir, it makes no sense. We were going to take care of the issue tonight. He didn't have to kill himself."

The CEO looked at her quizzically.

"You haven't seen it" he said with a semi-amused look "Do you have any true friends on this station Miss? Someone who might warn you of something bad"

Katherine's face dropped "No sir, not really. What have I not seen?"

The CEO gestured over to one of the big sofa's and she sat down facing a large vid-screen that had been brought into the office.

"I'm going to show you a short movie now. You are to watch every last second of it. Do you understand me?" the CEO's voice suddenly was full of venom and the last bit was more of a threat than a question.

"Yes........ yes, sir!" Katherine was very worried now. The CEO said "Play" and the vid-screen sprung to life.

Eelis Kiy Productions.... appeared on the screen.
In Association with SOTF Films..... the ticker of Drackarn's corp Katherine thought.
Proudly Presents..... she thought how professional the intro was. What the hell was this about?
The Gallente Militia - Screwing the Caldari War Machine one Slag at a Time!
Katherines blood ran cold.

Suddenly the screen was replaced by a view of her sat at the bar in Nennamalia. It was clearly already later in the evening. Her cleavage was showing and her skirt was hitched high. She looked.... desperate. Security camera footage? It looked to be from a ceiling mounted camera.

Katherine lowered her face into her hands.

"NO!" snapped the CEO "Watch it. Watch EVERY fracking second!"

Katherine looked back at the screen. The view now appeared to be that of Drackarn's own. Did he have a secret camera on his collar? No, the view on screen was what he would be seeing with his own eyes. Can capsuleers use some form of implant that records their own vision? Then she heard herself speak.

"So, fancy continuing this party back in my quarters?"

Oh god she sounded slutty and desperate. Obviously they could record their own hearing too. She would be very careful if she ever met a capsuleer again knowing everything may be recorded!

She gasp in horror. The scene had changed to Dracks quarters. Surely they weren't going to show what happened there! She watched as the movie unfolded. Drack making the drinks followed by her slow striptease and then to her climbing on top of him on the sofa. Then the next ten minutes compressed a whole three hours of carnal lust in. The footage, a mix of hidden cameras and from Drackarn's own point of view, was of excellent quality. It was more graphic than any of the vid-reels she'd watch for her research. Most of the audio was her, she was begging him loudly to do stuff to her that would make a cheap Gallente Pleasure Girl blush.

Finally the movie had nearly finished, she saw the progress bar at the bottom only had a few seconds left, she was glad of that. The last scene showed her on the bed on her hands and knees with Drack behind her, pulling her hair back painfully. She asked him, no, she begged him, to do something to her that was actually illegal in the Amarrian Empire. When he did, she started begging and screaming for more. Drackarn turned his head and looked directly into the hidden camera and gave an exaggerated wink as Katherine let out another scream of pleasure.

The screen went black. Big white lettering appeared on the black background.

What more?

Obviously a joke to her begging cries in the last scene.

Then please see any of the Executive PA's from.....

The mega-corp's logo flashed up filling the screen. The corporation anthem was playing in the background but they had also added a selection of Katherines sound-bites in the background. Her begging voice, pleads, screams, groans and moans all edited in time with the company anthem. The logo hung there clear, bright and loud for nearly half a minute. Katherine knew she was finished.

As you saw. They are REALLY friendly!

Katherine was in tears now, "Where did you get this from?" she sobbed

"It's all over the network. Every major vid site is carrying it, except in Amarrian space of course, but the illegal underground sites are sharing it there I hear. It's number one on the Federations YouHolo site apparently. I'd say the capsuleer saw your entire plan the moment he spotted you and arranged the set up" the CEO said without emotion.

The CEO moved around to stand facing her between the vid-screen and her. She looked up at him with tearful eyes. He reached into his jacket and set something down in front of her. She looked down on the table. It was the other vial.

She sobbed heavily again.

"I hear it's totally painless. Unlike a malfunction with the atmosphere controls leading to a decompression. I've heard that is one of the most painful ways to die. Soft flesh freezing, your blood flash-boiling.... your eyes and lungs exploding. Very nasty."

He turned and left the office.

Katherine stared at the vial in front of her, she had never felt so alone. She had no choice, the corporation had to make her disappear. The vid was bad enough, but the fact the Gallente obviously knew of the assassination attempt, now that could seriously damage the corporation if they ever spilled the beans. So they had given her an "easy" way out. Double suicide would make it easier to stage-manage the press.

She considered her other options. She could call one of the news networks from the desk and tell them the corp was trying to make her commit suicide. But then she'd have to admit why. Life in jail for planning pre-meditated murder was not appealing. Especially as their corp owned the prison facilities.

The escape pod! After the Malkenen incident most high-level Caldari Executives had escape pods installed in their offices just in case any other retired Gallente Admirals in Nyx class supercarriers had the same idea as Noir. The installation was relatively easy as the top executives had offices facing the outside of the station so they could have windows looking  out into space. She looked through the window next to the discreet escape pod access hatch. She saw two corporate interceptors floating there in space. They had thought of that, perhaps even hoping she would use it, then they could suggest the vice-CEO was murdered. Katherine imagined the news feed - "PA who Murdered Mega-Corp Executive Killed Whilst Trying to Flee the Scene".

She sat back down and cried. She had no options, she was dead which ever way she chose. After a few minutes she reached out and picked up the vial and with shaking hands she removed the cap. She didn't know anything about the poison other than it was fast and there was no antidote, and painless according to the CEO.

"Bastard capsuleers" was her last thought as she swallowed the contents of the vial.

If the pain hadn't be so great so that she couldn't coherently think anymore, as the nanites slowly dissolved her insides, her final thought may well have have been something different, such as........... "My CEO lied!"


Lexx looked wide-eyed.

"Wow! I mean I saw the video, but I never knew...... wow!"

"Yup" said Drack "was an an interesting distraction. I mean I knew one day they'd try something. I'd been expecting it from the day I became part of the Gallente Militia. But I didn't expect how they'd try it"

"Well surely it's not over. I mean you are still a capsuleer created by them, you know of the assassination plot AND you made that video! Won't they come after you again"

Drackarn laughed.

"Yes, I thought the same too. So I decided I needed a safeguard. What I did was....."

Both Lexx's and Drack's datapads sounded.

"Caldari militia fleet heading out from Enaluri?"

They both rose from their seats.

"I'll see you in space in 10 Drack said as they both hurried to the lift.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011


No, not the end of the world.... what Eve might have in store for us next year!

2011 is drawing to a close. The 2011 Winter expansion was a success although when you look at it, there wasn't a lot of content in there. I'm hoping 2012 will give us two content heavy expansions as well as all the fixes and improvements we need. It has been said the day of the "Jesus Feature" has ended. But Eve needs expansions with big content. Expansions that fix stuff are popular with current players, but it does little to attract new players and does not make the headlines.
I know people want more Crucible style fixes, so do I, but we need to be careful. We need to retain players AND attract new ones. You are not going to attract new players with fixes (although you might temped ex-players back). You need new content as well.
There needs to be a balance. Fixes to appease the most bitter of bitter-vets and new content to keep others happy and to attract new people to the game.
Below I describe how I'd love to see the theme of the 2012 expansions. Fixes, little things and the like should still feature heavily - but we need some heavy content to make people notice the game. 
Spring 2012
Eve Online - Ger Off My Lawn!
The Spring expansion is about the space we live in. Hi-sec doesn't really need much loving and thus does not really feature in this expansion other than in the risk vs reward balancing. There are two main elements to this expansion. Low-sec and null-sec. Firstly I'll quickly look into null-sec.... erm I don't have a clue. I've lived in NPC 0.0 and sov holding 0.0 but I'm no expert in what needs fixing. In fact I only know it needs fixing as Hilmar's open letter/apology says it needs fixing. And as he said faction war also needs fixing in the same letter (it does!) then I believe him that 0.0 needs fixing! Anyway in the Spring expansion they fix what needed fixing in 0.0 and make the improvements people want but I have no idea what they are. Clear? Super!

OK now onto the other part which is low-sec. Obviously from FW fan boi here I'm going to talk about faction war. So here is how I hope it's going to be....

Low-sec is going to be made more about the Empire wars storyline. However, the changes will effect everyone who lives or does their "thing" in low-sec from industrialists to pirates. As the faction war militias battle for control of low-sec the effects will be felt far and wide. The sovereignty of the system will have consequences for everyone. Basically low-sec becomes, as it should be, "0.0 lite". It is still the Empire's who hold sovereignty in these systems, but it's the players who conquer the system for their Empire. Holding a system results in good stuff for the Empire (militia) who owns it. But it could also effect other players. Just like the outposts from each race focus on a different industry, could the stations be effected by sovereignty? If the Caldari occupy the system the station there gets extra research slots, if the Gallente occupy it then refining and reprocessing fee's are cut. Suddenly non-faction war players who live in low-sec are interested in faction war.

"Mmmmm if I covertly help the Gallente (or Caladari or Minmater or Amarr) I'll make a lot more cash on......"

Also, as was mentioned as a possibility in a recent VandV podcast, the Incursion mechanic is used for faction war. I can see some fantastic ways this could work. Suddenly hi-sec systems bordering the low-sec areas are hit by Faction War Incursions. The aggressing Empire neutralise the defenders NPC Navy leaving the fight to the capsuleers to lead. The agressing militia can make good LP's attacking the sites that now spawn in the enemy's hi-sec incursion systems. But they are vulnerable to the counter attack of the opposing militia.
I asked on the SOTF forum what they wanted to see in 2012 and it was Faction War fixes and also more Faction War fixes. Oh and Eelis wants a "crotch bulge slider". These ideas/fixes have mostly have been shouted from the rooftops for a long time but generally include:-
  • Standings hit for remote repping GCC/-0.5 militia members.
  • Plexing and system capture meaning nothing. Need to make it mean something.
  • Faction War PvP as an ISK sink (Bounties/LP's for offensive plexing?).
  • Issues with LP's for missions against LP's for player kills leading FW to be full of farmers in stealth bombers. Needs rebalance and to reward PvP in FW not carebearing.
  • Faction NPC balance (jamming) in Plex's.
  • Move the story line along.
  • High-Sec FW "Incursions"
  • FW Pacts. "Alliances" using slightly different mechanics (i.e. cannot hold sov in 0.0).
  • Highlight allied militia members (i.e. Gallente-Minmatar and Caldari-Amarr) with colour tags
In the end, all the three categories of space line up as they should. In hi-sec you get X ISK per hour doing "stuff". In low-sec you get X+ ISK for doing the same stuff. In null-sec you get X++ ISK for doing it. The higher the risk the greater the reward.
This could be done in a variety of ways. Prices and taxes for services at stations could relate to the security status. Reprocessing, repairs and the like are linked to the security status. 1.0 systems are hugely expensive (Central London) whilst those in the middle of nowhere in a 0.5 (Norwich) are much cheaper. However, in order to tempt people into lo-sec 0.4 (Grimsby) it is even cheaper still and the risk vs reward becomes tempting. And all the way out in the back of beyond in 0.0 where few people want to go (Boston) the most money can be made.

Yes you can stay relatively safe in hi-sec, but you'll make more money for the same time and effort in low-sec, just with a tad more risk.
Winter 2012
Eve Online - Incarna mk II, We Did It Proper Like This Time!
The original Incarna that kicked off the summer of discontent wasn't really an expansion. It wasn't walking in stations, it was a slow amble in a single room. We know the problems Incarna caused but lets move on. Eve needs Incarna to attract more people to the game.
So, it's December 2012, doesn't look like the planet earth is going to end and proper Incarna is here. The station is open for business. You can wander down the promenade on the Capsuleer decks. Why not visit Drack's bar on level 6 where you can get a beer and watch the Gallente dancers working the poles for tips. Or may be you need to meet the shady capsuleer's from Uppers and Downers in the dark corner. They have some top-of-the-line contraband boosters to sell. Else just hang out and interact with your mates until the scheduled corp fleet in 30 minutes. Could "relaxing" in the bar act like a booster? Think Skyrim and sleeping in a bed to get the rested bonus.
You could visit the lower decks, there are shady people down there who have very rewarding missions to give out.... just don't forget your gun when going down there.
May be you're a bit ISK poor, a trip to the gambling den may sort you out. But if you see S810 jr at the table I'd move along if I were you!
Space Barbie is still here but now has a larger selection of items and more reasonably valued. For a start, new fashion designers have been brought in to "sex up" the clothing line like a British dossier on WMDs. 

Remember the older artwork for Eve, few people wore brown and grey head to toe! Obviously we don't want people walking around in lingerie (OK may be I do) but lets give people some choice. Someone who roleplays as an officer in the Amarr militia is going to dress very differently to someone who rp's as a 0.0 pirate. And of course Gallente outfits are the best.....

Anyway, the NEX store is fixed and properly stocked with a wide range of gear at a range of prices. Think MICRO in MICRO-transaction please CCP. Now people can choose to spend their hard earned cash or hard earned ISK on VANITY items, if they so please. The additional financial stream for CCP is active, giving the company more money and allowing them to move forward towards the future vision of Eve. It also acts as an ISK sink keeping in-game inflation under control for those who want to spunk out on a monocle. That also lets us more easily identify "those type" of people in game!

Customisation generally has also landed with a hefty bump. Want a dancing pole in your CQ (dancer not included, unfortunately)? Want a different paint job on your Scorpion? Corp logo's on your ship and on your clothing? What's that tattoo'd on Tekitha's forehead? Surely that's inappropriate and against the EULA!

So there you go. That's what I want to see in 2012. What about you?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

EVE Blog Banter 31: EVE Online Community Review

"As any games journalist would probably tell you, a true and complete review of a Massively Multiplayer Online game is impossible. MMOs are vast, forever evolving entities with too much content for a single reviewer to produce a fair and accurate review. However, a collection of dedicated bloggers and EVE players (past and present) with a wide range of experience in various aspects of the game might be able to pull it off.

This special 'End of Year' Blog Banter edition aims to be a crowd-sourced game review. Using your gaming knowledge and experience, join the community in writing a fair and qualified review of EVE Online: Crucible. This can be presented in any manner of your choosing, but will ideally include some kind of scoring system.

With each Blog Banter participant reviewing the areas of EVE Online in which they specialise, the result should be a Metacritic-esque and accurate review by the people who know best."

Well, this is going to be a tough one for me. OK my area of Eve is Faction War. But even that area is massive! How do I write a review about Eve-O concentrating on faction war? Who am I writing it for? Someone who has never done faction war or someone who has never played Eve. I know! A Eve vs WoW score battle. Balls! I've been beaten to it - Why EvE Wins by Shalee Lianne @ Living a Lie.

Wow Stan, thanks for setting this one, it's going to be the toughest banter yet I think!

Oh well try this then....


Eve Online : Crucible - Faction War.

Eve is massive. I don't mean that in terms of a massively multiplayer online game. This thing needs it's own classification. It is truly a MMMOG (a massive massively multiplayer online game). With most MMOG there are a handful of classes with a smattering of side proffesions such as mining or crafting. In Eve you can do what you want. It's a true sandbox. This review of Eve has a slant to the Empire Wars in Eve Online which houses a fair sized chunk of the community.

Ease of Getting Into - 3/10

Eve Online is not easy to get into and faction war is even harder.

Character creation is rather nice and the avatar creation can give you an amazing looking character. As there  are none of those pesky classes to worry about, the only thing you really need to think about is creating an awesome looking character!

Then you can run the tutorial missions to learn how to fly your ship.... and there you are. In a universe full of adventure and no-where to go!

This is where you really need to go to the web and do some reading-up on Eve Online. There are many great guides out there and help with the truly mindboggling choices of "careers", skills, ships and equipment out there. I used inverted comments for careers as there are no set classes as I've already said. Want to make a character specialized in asteroid mining? Well you need to train those skills.

Eve is not easy to get into, but if you climb the learning cliff, you'll be glad you did.

To get into Faction War you need standings (reputation) with your chosen Empire. This entails running missions for the correct agents found in space stations. An alternative is to join a play run corporation who already is in faction war. This in itself can be difficult. Meta-gaming is huge in Eve-O and spies and double agents are all the rage. Expect it to be difficult to get into a faction war corporation as a new player.

Overall Eve Online is not an easy game to get into, it does not offer fast "leveling" or instant gratification. 

Faction War is even more difficult to get into if you want to get the best out of it.

Graphics - 8/10

Eve Online has traditionally focused on gameplay as opposed to graphics. Which isn't a bad thing always. I'm always more willing for forgive poor graphics when gameplay rules. But I cannot as easily forgive crap gamplay with pretty graphics. Thankfully Eve's gameplay has been always been king. However, over the last few years Eve had had a pretty serious makeover.

With graphical updates almost twice a year to some element in the game, Eve nicely keeps up with technology without requiring everyone to update their PC every 6-months. This all keeps Eve looking shiny and how many 8 year-old games can say that.

Game Play - 7/10 

This element could easily run away with itself. The impossibly huge amount of things you can do in Eve could never be covered totally. The experience of a miner is different to that of someone running a 3000 person alliance. Even in Faction War, the game play options are immense. So I'll just broadly cover two of the main areas.

Player vs Enemy (PvE)
The PvE experience is pretty repetitive. You can accept missions from agents, but the selection of mission types is rather limited. Mostly they are "fly to this point kill/destroy/face-rape this ship/structure/object and come back here when done. They soon get boring and the objective becomes the rewards you get, not the mission itself.
There is also the joy of "plexing". This is where you capture star systems for your Empire. One of the major game play issues with Faction War is that capturing a system is pointless other than for bragging rights over the other side. It basically entails scanning down a site in a solar system and then orbiting a satilite for 10 to 20 minutes as NPC mobs either shoot at you (if you're capturing the system) or just stare at you (defending the system). 

However, if the enemy militia find you it can suddenly lead to.....

Player vs Player (PvP)
PvP in Eve is brutal. Unlike many MMOG's there are no specific battlegrounds and no safe areas. When you 'die' your ship is utterly destroyed and all your equipment is likely taken by the person that killed you. So unlike other games, you don't always equip your best, rare and valuable equipment. You need to think.
Now many players of MMOG might shriek at the thought of this. But what it results in is that PvP means something. Losing a ship and all the equipment onboard means you'll want to replace it (although most players have a hanger full of ships to choose from. To replace it you'll need money (ISK). To get money you'll either need to do some carebear stuff or blow an enemy up and steal his stuff to use or sell. So the outcome of this? PvP is uber-exciting. In your current MMOG do your hands shake when you in a 1v1? If not, you're doing it wrong.
PvP in Faction War ranges from solo roaming, looking for 1v1's, to large fleet engagements with hundreds of players. These epic fights are rarer these days than in the hay-day of Faction Warfare in 2009, but they are still around.
There are problems with PvP. There are bugs with the criminal system and remote repairs. Plexing doesn't generate as much combat is it should as plexing is relatively meaningless. But on the whole. PvP in Eve Online is perhaps some of the best PvP online.

So overall a lack-luster PvE experience and game-mechanic issues is more than made up for PvP with consequences!

Community - 10/10

One of the greatest things about Eve-O is the community. There is nothing like it out there. Eve-O is a social game. You can play solo but you'll miss out on 90% of the game and 95% in enjoyment. CCP are accesseble, I've had their Facebook page take one of my comments and turn it into a post. On Twitter I've been followed by Dev's and regularly tweet back and forth with them. The forums have devs posting obviously, but most importantly replying.

In the spring on 2011 CCP launched the eagerly awaited Incarna expansion. In hindsight that was a mistake. We all make mistakes, every company makes mistakes, CCP made a mistake. There were player protests across the gaming world, inside Eve itself and also on the internet. The players cared enough about the game not to go "oh sod it, I'll play something else" they spent time and energy campaigning to correct the mistakes. All all credit to CCP who put their hands up and when "Oooops! Yeah messed that up a little bit" and put everything right with Crucible. I'm sure the Sony Online Entertainment executive in charge of the Starwars: Galaxies NCE saw this and went "Ah! THAT'S what I should have done"

And if this wasn't enough, the players each year elect 12 members of the Council of Stella Management. A group of non-CCP players who are flown out to CCP's HQ a few times a year to act as a soundingboard/advisors all covered by a strict non-disclosure agreement.

Eve Online has perhaps the best community both in and out of game of any MMOG out there. No argument!

Longevity - 10/10

Eve has been going eight years. It was 2003 when the game launched. That was the year the space shuttle Columbia broke up on re-entry, the first case of SARS, the Iraq war kicked off, the Governator took office in Calafornia and Concord retired.

There are usually two expansions (free!) per year. These usually contain fixes and improvements plus new content. Faction War itself came from one of these expansions.

As highlight above in "Community", when CCP gets something wrong the players do all they can to encourage CCP to put it right. With such a supportive fan-base, a company that actually listens to the players and fans and a constantly evolving and improving game..... I cannot see Eve Online going anywhere for a long time.

Conclusion 38/50

The scoring doesn't work!!!

When you break it down, you can see cracks in the game. Small issues, bugs, gameplay issues, they are there  like in any other game. However, there is no "other game" that compares to Eve. Look at the game as a whole and its amazing. It's a massive, player driven, open-universe sandbox.

So whilst if you look into just a small area of Eve Online, it looks to be nothing special. However, step back and look at the game as a whole..... it's awesome!

38/50? Bah, scoring fail!


Sorry Stan, my blog attempt doesn't work. I struggled with this one and I think it shows. After writing this, I now can see that you cannot break Eve Online down into 'areas'. What makes this game special is the whole game together and the community. And just to repeat, even with the problems, Eve Online is awesome!

Although not everyone thinks so.....


Other blogs on this -

The Rollercoaster Thrill Ride that is Eve Online, with Cookies, Review by Rixx Javix @ EVEOGANDA
Why EvE Wins by Shalee Lianne @ Living a Lie
The Entire Wormhole That Eve Is by Harrigan Vonstudly @ Gun Turret Diplomacy
EVE Online Community Review by Drackarn @ Sand, Cider and Spaceships
EVE is what the player makes of it by tgl3 @ Through Newb Eyes
Challenge Accepted by Jace Errata @ Year of the Snake
Reviewing EVE Online by Urziel @ Urziel's EVE Chronicle
The Difference is... by Mike Azariah @ Missioneer in EVE
Attempting the impossible by Sessym @ Rants from New Eden
Community Review by Eelis @ The One That Writes (Drack - MY GOD! SHE'S ALIVE!)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Drackarn's Story (Fan Fiction)

.........or "A Funny Thing Happened to me on the Way to the Factory."

In Eve Online I play a Caldari character.... fighting against the Caldari State for the Gallente Federation.

A long time ago we did something on our forum to encourage people to make a post about how your character got to where they are now. For me that took a bit of thinking. I'm Caldari but I'm fighting Caldari. Mmmmmmmm....


Lexx and Drackarn were having a drink at the bar in Nisuwa VII State Protectorate station. It had been a quiet day. Since the major shipbuilders had released their hybrid weapons platform update, the Caldari had been pushed back. For the first time in several years the Gallenete Federation held more of the contested low-security space than the Caldari State. Now the front lines had moved and the Caldari were subdued.

Whilst they were ideally chatting a member of the Caldari Militia walked past.

"Turncloak" he whispered under his breath as he passed, quietly, but just enough to hear.

"What was that about?" Lexx asked.

"Me" Drackarn said with a sigh "Caldari by birth, fighting for the Gallente Federation in the Empire wars. I've been called worse. Want to get a table?"

They both sat down in a booth.

"Thinking about it, you've never told me how you become a Capsuleer and ended up fighting the Caldari State. I'd heard you were just a factory worker for one of the State Mega-Corps before. How did you get from being a worker to a capsuleer?" Lexx asked.

"Well..." Drack started "... it all happened several years ago......"


"Heat in reactor 3 is up a bit" Dantan sounded concerned.
"Not a problem, I've been bring the power level up to compensate for number 5 being offline." Drackarn said whilst checking the read-outs.
"It's within 10% of the automatic shut off. If we're not careful it'll go into emergency mode and we'll both be in the shit."
"It won't, it'll peak in 5% more and then dip"
"If your wrong we're both fired... and in this economy.... hell 7% until shut down. I'm going to take it down a notch!"
"NO! Don't! Trust me, it'll peak. If you turn it down we'll loose the cascade sequence and the power output won't be enough. Trust me" Drackarn sounded confident.
Dantan watch the read outs, he was sweating. 6% to emergency shut down, 5%..... 6%, 7% 9%
"It's cooling!" Dantan sat back in his chair looking incredibly relieved.
Drackarn swung his feet on the console. Tilted his head to Dantan and smugly smiled.

Suddenly the door to the small control room opened. A small weaselly man stood there. Drackarn quickly moved his feet down quickly. The man was known as a subordinate to one of the mega-corp directors, although nobody knew which one. He eyed the two technicians carefully before clearing his throat.

"Production was scheduled to be down 3.48% today due to a reactor being offline. The shift is nearly over and my data shows production was actually 0.2% up on typical. The factory floor states this is because there was no power drop. What's being going on?"
"Well....'s.... " Dantan always stammered around the executives and their staff.
"We squeezed some extra juice from reactors 2 and 4 to compensate. Not something we want to do all the time, but I thought the extra effort would be worth it" stated Drackarn.
The slimy PA eye'd him suspiciously. "OK. Well keep up the good work!" and left.
Drackarn rolled his eyes.
"Think there will be bonus'?" Dantan asked hopefully.
Drackarn flicked a few pages through his monitor. Well looks like they are making generic armour plates and Blackbird hull structures today. That 3.5% extra output should have netted tens of millions extra ISK. So........ NO! Of course we won't. We never do. Mr Slimeball's boss will probably get a huge bonus, a ton of drugs and 18 Gallente pleasure girls to satisfy him in every way possible, twice, hell may be even a third time. What will we get? An expectation that we can do that every time."

Dantan looked thoroughly dejected as the shift change siren sounded.

Drackarn stood and grabbed his coat from the closet in the control room. "Face it mate, it's how the State works. Your either an executive or not. And for all of Tibus Heths bellowing, it's changed frack all in the grand scheme of things". And with that he walked out of the door.

Drackarn jumped on his hover-bike. The weather was wet and freezing, but he couldn't afford a proper car. He even had to spend most of his free time fixing this heap. It took four goes to start the thing on average. It was five that night. After it had finally started he set off and 50 minutes later he was parking it outside his front door. The worker apartment was small and sparcely furnished. Very Caldari. He turned on the small holovid as he entered and nothing happened. He brought his fist down heavily on top of it and it crackled into life. Tibus Heth's face appeared on the screen at some sort rally. Drackarn turned it back off immediately. He went over to his small single bed and laid down, he was mentally exhausted from manually controlling those reactors all day. Although it was still evening he was back at the factory in 6 hours and needed some sleep. He reached under the bad and pulled out a plain glass bottle. He popped the cork and took a swig. The raw alcohol burnt his throat. He placed the bottle back.

"So this is life is it?" he though as he drifted off.


Next morning the bike took 6 attempts to start which included several kicks, a punch and, Drackarn thought, the invention of a band new swear word. Finally it had started and he was on his way to the factory now. Although he really wished he wasn't. It was still dark and very early, his times for the next week where the graveyard shift. It was damp, windy and the sleet was making his face sting.

Ahead he saw the rear lights of a vehicle through the gloom. He slowed down slightly. Soon a long hover-limo emerged from the gloom. No doubt some sleaze-ball Executive. Drack thought about overtaking, but in these conditions he decided against it. He had passed the occasional small transport coming the other way. Visibility was poor. If he caused a crash, being fired would be the least of his worries. He'd heard stories about staff beening blacklisted throughout the State because they pissed off the wrong Executive.

Sudden one of the transports coming the other way swerved and hit the limo in the side. There was a loud bang and a grinding of metal as both vehicles rose in the air. Drackarn banked his bike heavily to avoid the spinning wreckage. He hit a sign at the side of the road and was throw off. He picked himself up and surveyed the scene. The two vehicles lay on their side, twisted together. Small fires had broken out. It was eerily silent. No other vehicles we about.


Drackarn looked around to see where the sound had come from.

Thump! Thump!

He saw a small hand at the rear door of the limo. He raced over and tried the door. It was either locked or jammed. The fires were getting bigger.

Thump! Thump! Thump!

The hand was beating on the window with more urgency. Drackarn picked up a long metal bar that had spilled from the transports load. It bounced off the hardened window and numbed his hands as he swung the bar against it. He tried again with the same effect. He raced around the vehicle and found the drivers door partially open. He wrenched it open, the driver was obviously dead. The passenger compartment was sealed and all power was down, no way to open the doors. No way in. Then he noticed the blaster in a holster at the drivers hip. He grabbed it and went back to the rear of the vehicle. He leveled the gun at a different window, away from where the hand was beating, and pulled the trigger. Nothing.

"Frack, safety!"

Drack had never touched a gun before, he'd only seen them used in holo-vid movies. He fumbled with the safety catch and pulled the trigger again. This time a red bolt sprung from the gun and hit the window. Nothing but a scorch mark. Drackarn fired again, and again, and again. The fires were getting close now.

After half a minute of firing, the gun clicked harmlessly, it's power-cell depleted. The plexi-glass in the window glowed from the heat of the shots, but was still in one piece. He picked up the metal bar again and swung it at the glowing window. This time there was a tiny audible crack. He swung it again and the window burst showering him in fragments of hot glass. Drackarn dropped to his knees and looked inside. There was a small girl, clutching a doll and coughing in the smoke-filled cabin. Drack reached in a grabbed her as the fire started to consume the vehicle. He pulled her free and turned to move away with her clutching his chest. He hadn't gone more than five metres when the wrecked limo exploded.

Drackarn was flung into the air by the force of the blast landing with the girl some distance away. Some how he'd shielded the girl. His vision was going black, his body screamed in pain. The girl was shaking him.

"Citizen?, Citizen!! Are you alright?"

Drackarn, tried to laugh. "Could be worse...." he croaked "....I could be at work". He then passed out.


Minutes, hours, days, weeks. Drackarn had no idea how much time had passed. He thought he was in some of medical bay but he was never conscious long enough to know. He'd heard fragments of conversations during the brief moments he was awake.

".... I have no idea, its most irregular. Usually the corporation lets them go when they are in his condition. Saving them is usually more expensive in medical fee's than recruiting and training a replacement, well, for non-Executive staff anyway. Apparently an Exec is coming to see me tomorrow about him. May be we'll know more then. For now, just make sure he doesn't die."

"Yes sir, he'll more than likely survive. You payed for the best and he is getting the best. For example we've also been able to repair the scar tissue and the......"

"........another week, perhaps ten days. We want him completely sedated for that long. Give the body time to heal. Then once that is done we will......"

".... Really? On HIM! Well I suppose it's possible. But reviewing his background wouldn't that be a waste of money? I mean we can give him the surgery, but can he afford the training? Even if he can afford that, has he got the mental capacity to use it?"
"The funding will be taken care of, but you say it can be done". A new voice!
"Yes, but I want to make it VERY clear. We can do the operation but whether he can ever use them is something out of my control. The procedure is perhaps the most expensive one available and there can be no guarantee's that the person can be successfully taught to use them. Many rich persons have paid for it, only to flunk the training every time they have tried."
"We understand that. Here is corporation authorisation to carry out the procedure and to bill us direct. I assume you have no problem with that."
"Of course not, we aren't going to do credit checks or need a pre-payment from......"


Drackarn woke groggily. He had been moved but the room was dark and he couldn't see anything. He could smell the room was different. The last one was bright and white and smelt of disinfectants all the time. This room was pitch black and smelt... well he'd never smelt anything like it. It was fantastic. The bed felt different too. Comfy and big. He swung his legs off the bed and slowly rose. He felt weak and unsteady. All he could make out was a faint glowing panel on the wall. He made his way slowly to that. A digital readout showed 21:32 - ST. He had no idea what ST meant. The controls below didn't seem to active the rooms lighting. He started off slowly in another direction, hoping to find the lighting controls. He whacked his shins on something!


Suddenly the lights activated. Drackarn blinked as his eyes adjusted. Voice activated lights? He looked around. He was in what looked like a posh hotel room from a movie. Comfy bed, expensive sofa, the biggest holoscreen he'd ever seen, artwork on the walls. A table in the center of the room had a tray of food on it. There was a desk was in one corner covered in books and a computer terminal. In fact there were books stacked all over it. He went over and looked at the covers of some. "Introduction to Warp Theory", "Light Missile Trajectory and Warhead Physics", "Living with Immortality - A Philosophical Guide", "Mindlock - How to Avoid Hell".

"Those are a bit heavy for a hotel read" he thought

A large double door was locked tight. He then tried the single door on the other side of the room. It opened to a bathroom the size of his old apartment! He looked at the shower cubical. It was like nothing he'd ever seen before. Where are the sonic emitters he thought. That funny looking one at the top isn't going to clean a lot. He pressed a button and water gushed from the shower head!

"Holy frack!" Drack exclaimed. He'd only ever seen sonic showers. Water showers were for the rich only.

Ding Ding Ding!

Drackarn returned to the main room to investigate the sound. The three dings sounded again but he couldn't see where it was coming from. They sounded a third time. The large double doors opened slightly.

"Mr Drackarn sir, may I come in?"

"Erm sure"

A woman man entered the room. Drack had worked for the company long enough to spot an Executive PA a mile off. Usually they were best avoided. This one was stunning, she was wearing a short-skirted power-suit. Her expensive high heels clicked on the floor as she entered. The attractiveness of the PA usually was in direct corrolation to the level of the Executive. These guys needed the best PA's around. Finding one which was not only excellent at their job, but was also beautiful was rare. And those few commanded rates only the high-level executives and CEO's would pay. This one clearly worked for someone very high up!

"Thank you sir. I hope you are feeling better. Please sit."
"Yeah, thanks. And the names Drack. Nobody calls me sir!" he laughed.
"Well, might I suggest that you'd better get used to that, sir. Hope you don't mind the intrusion, the motion sensors informed me you were awake. Do you remember what happened to you?"
Drackarn eyed her suspiciously, but let the "sir" comment pass.
"I was on my way to work. There was a traffic accident. The driver of the limo... he was killed. I managed to break a window and pull a little girl out. No idea what happened to the transport driver. Then the limo exploded. Thought I'd wake up dead. I don't suppose I am dead am I? Although this hotel room is so nice I still think I might be in heaven." Drack smiled "Am I close?"
The PA smiled at him.
"Hotel room? Oh yes. Right. Your memory serves you well. I'm afraid the transport driver died in the crash. We think he fell asleep at the controls. Do you know the little girl you rescued?" Drackarn shuck his head.
"That's good. And you never will either. Suffice to say her father is very powerful and very, very rich. He is also very thankful to you for rescuing her."
"So this is my reward is it? A stay in this posh hotel?" Drackarn asked. "Could be worse I suppose! Any chance of getting my bike fixed as well?" He stretched and leaned back into the plush soft sofa bending his head back over the soft luxurious cushions. Suddenly he jerked forward in shock. His hand flew to the back of his neck.
The PA rose out of her chair, both hands outstretched to try and pacify Drack.
"Please sir, calm down. It's alright"
"Sir, it's not a piece of metal. It's an interface socket."
"Sir, please calm down. It's an interface socket..... for a hydrostatic capsule"
Suddenly Drackarn went silent.
"What? Like a capsuleer? Don't be ridiculous! I've never been off-planet never mind flown a starship"
The PA smiled again.
"Computer. Viewport. Open" she spoke out loud.

Drackarn spun around as he heard a mechanical motor engage. At the end of the room a shutter lifted. The view was of the planet below. The realisation hit him. He was in space. He was on a space station in orbit! He walked to the viewport and stared out.

"Oh" is all he could say.

"My employer is grateful. He has paid for your surgery and for all the costs for your capsuleer training and living expenses during that. This is where you are now. These will be your quarters during the training program. An instructor will be along in the morning and your schedule is on the computer terminal over there. My employer cannot help you pass, but he has opened the door for you. He says the debt is paid in full. Good luck sir. I am sure you will do well."

With that she left the room, her heels making the click-click on the floor as she left. Drackarn didn't even acknowledge her. He was just staring out of the window.


"Wow" said Lexx "A real rags to riches story. That was a massive lifestyle change in a short period of time. Do you ever miss your old life?"

Drackarn smiled and picked up his glass of expensive Gallente vodka. He slightly raised it to two beautiful women who were sat at a table across the bar. They returned the gesture and smiled back at him. Drack could see by the look on their faces he could have either of them tonight... or perhaps both.

"No" he finally answered with a laugh.

"OK, but how did you end up here fighting for the Gallente against the State when it was the State that trained you?" Lexx asked.

"Well, after I qualified I ran missions for the State like a good little boy. I was not held in particularly good standings with the Federation at that time. One evening I was drinking in a bar and I bumped into an old friend. He too had taken the capsuleer path and offered me a position in the Capsuleer Corporation he was part of. So I moved over to Gallente space with my Caracal class cruiser and my few possessions. That's where I leant the truth about the Federation. The crap we get fed in the State about the Caldari way being a better system. The Gallente have freedom, choice and the ability to rise to the highest levels never matter what your background. Oh, the Federation is not perfect, not by any means, but it's people have a better life than the 95% of the Caldari society who slave away for the other 5%. I owe the State nothing. Even these implants are simply a payment for services rendered. The life of one small child for one set of implants and a training course! I remember his PA's words "He says the debt is paid in full". No, I am no more part of the Caldari State as I am part of Sansha's Nation. Anyway, as Revelation Space got pulled into the Empire Wars, so did I. I tried to avoid it at first. Mining and running missions for the Sisters of Eve rather than fleeting out of Villore to break the OMS blockades at that time, but in the end I became a Militia combat pilot. And then with merger of the combat wing of -RS- into SOTF, well, you know the rest as well as anyone. And here I am, I might be fighting the Caldari State, but I see it as helping the Caldari people. They are not really living under that system. Federation rule and Federation values can set them all free."

Lexx laughed "I'm not sure your 'sponsor' would agree" she commented.

"Him?" pondered Drack "I've got over 2000 confirmed kills of which most are State Militia. With the replacement ship orders his comapny has had because of me, I would actually think he fracking loves me!". They both laughed.

"To be honest I did have some sort of contact with my old life. It was about two years ago, but that's a story for another time Lexx"

Drackarn got up to leave.

"Where are you going?" Asked Lexx.

"Squid boy over there, the one who made the dig, is paying his bill. I've got some 720mm projectile shells with his name on them!" and with that Drack walked towards the lift to take him down to the ship hanger.

"Time to give my 'sponsor' some more business" he thought.

End of Part 1

(There wasn't going to be a part two but I just had a thought about the 'sponsor' and Tibus Heth.... mmmmmmm.....)