Friday, January 27, 2012

Incarna - Establishments Part 2

This last week had been a nightmare in real life. Work, stress and other problems have seriously impacted my Eve time. I'm hoping to get back to normal next week. Below is a blog post I wrote a while ago and has been sitting as a draft waiting for a time when real life impacts heavily on Eve. Just like this week....

I've mentioned before that whilst I'm a PvP oriented militia pilot and occasional pirate, I would like to see Incarna deployed properly.

Yes, yes! I know that Incarna and walking in stations (WiS) are a dirty words currently. In fact I'm going to see if the phrase "walking in stations" shouted in a Skyrim style works as a Thu'um against CCP staff at fanfest!

But lets forget the original Incarna expansion and the problems that were caused. If we could work towards the future vision of Eve it would be cool....

I've referred to the Incarna I'd like to see before, the piece below is a bit of fiction from my characters perspective if Incarna was deployed properly....

"Docking Request Accepted"

Drackarn's camera drones went blank as his Hurricane class battlecruiser was towed into the station. During docking the camera drones used by capsuleers to "see" retracted into the ship to avoid damage by the stations towing tractor beams. Suddenly there was light again as the camera drones redeployed inside the docking bay. He could see his 'cane hovering in the station hanger. With a simple thought, the camera drones span around his ship at speed, blurring the ship in a manic spin. "Ship spinning" was something many capsuleers did whilst docked in station although the reason for this odd behaviour had never been truly explained. It wasn't truly ship spinning, it was willing the camera drones to orbit the ship at high-speed. This gave the capsuleer, floating in his hydrostatic pod and thus detached from his own physical senses, the image that the ship was indeed spinning at high speed. Some argued it was the sensory overload that was somehow enjoyable, some said it was the rush of perceived speed whilst still in the hydrostatic pod that was pleasurable. Others just thought it was because capsuleers were THAT bored when in a ship and sat docked in station having anything to shoot.

He accessed the station services and paid for some minor repairs to the ship that were caused by him overloading his modules earlier that afternoon. He also refitted the ship ready for the fleet-op scheduled for later. His current fit was for solo roaming, he need a slightly different fit that would be more useful in a fleet situation. He could have done this from his captains quarters but he found it easier and quicker whilst still in his pod and ship. When he had finished, he checked the time. Well over an hour until the fleet was due to assemble, there was time for some R&R so he activated the controls for his pod to transfer over to his captains quarters. His pod detached from the belly of the battlecruiser and gently slid over to a docking station. He braced himself for the flood of sensations as he was slowly disconnected from the pod and his own physical senses came back to life. He blinked his eyes and wiped the pod goo from his face. He hated this bit, it was so undignified! After showering and changing he headed out.

The lifts this high in the station only had 12 levels on them, even though the station had hundreds of decks. The top 6 were inaccessible to Drackarn without a special keycard. They belonged to the mega-corp that owned the station. Those levels were opulent luxury where the mega-corp top exec's worked, lived and enjoyed themselves. The next two were the offices for the capsuleer agents. Drackarn didn't know why they bothered with such large offices as all his dealings with these agents were always over a secure comm line, never face-to-face. The three floors below those were the capsuleers. Living quarters, corporation offices, access to the storage and ship hangers and also the bar, which is where he was heading. The final floor that was accessible from this lift, deck 12, was the security station. It was effectively a barrier between the elite of society and everybody else. To be able to pass from the lower levels of the station you needed to pass through this deck. The lifts were physically separated to ensure nobody could hack them. The main station elevator shafts that covered hundreds of decks terminated at deck 12. Those wanting to reach decks 1 to 11 needed to exit the lift and physically walk cross the security deck. You also needed high-level authorisation which was always triple-checked at a series of gates manned by armed security guards with DNA scanners. An advanced screening system checked all those passing through for guns, knives, explosives, bio-agents and anything that could be used as a weapon. Whilst capsuleers and mega-corp execs and their staff could pass relatively freely, it was almost impossible for anyone else.

The capsuleer bar was fairly full of his fellow corp mates as was always the case before an op. A few other rival corp members huddled together in small groups. If they had met outside the station it would have been a matter of seconds before missiles would be streaking across space and laser fire lit up their hulls. However in the stations capsuleer decks there was strict weapons monitoring. Plus they all knew the risks. Out in-space and hooked up to their hydrostatic pods, death was a minor inconvenience for a capsuleer. Here, with not being plugged into equipment that could take a snapshot of your brain and beam it across space into another clone, death was a bit more permanent.

He noticed Wivers and Xenos Giger from the corporation Uppers n Downers sat in the corner. They had a customer already with them so he grabbed a drink and lent against the bar. After 5 minutes the other guy left and Drackarn took his place opposite Wivers and Xenos.

"Ah Drackarn. Good to see you. The usual?" Wivers asked.
"Aye" replied Drackarn. "12"
"12? Been having fun have we?" Xenos commented.
"Hawk class Assault Frigates mate, been flying them a bit more often lately. Oh and the Cyclone class battlecruiser. And those little blue items of yours do aid the tank rather. I still blame Smo for getting me on these!".
Although Drackarn was talking to them, his attention appeared to be on the scantily-clad Minmatar and Gallente dancers working the poles to the left and right of where they were sitting. Whilst to the casual observer he was simply admiring the female form, what he actually was doing was checking if anyone was taking an unhealthy interest in their transaction.
"Maybe we should be giving Smo some commission then" Wivers  quipped "Standard or Imp?"
"Imp" replied Drack still seemingly enthralled by the dancers. He had noted a few suspect characters, but nobody appeared to be watching him.
Wivers passed a small datapad over and Drackarn entered the details for the transfer of the ISK. Xenos slid over a small discreet packet.
"Enjoy, and remember to recommend us to anyone you kill won't you" Xenos smirked.

As Drackarn got up there was a cheer from the other end of the bar. He glanced over and saw S810 jr at one of the card tables, a throng of people behind him, clearly supporting the winner as always happens when gambling in these bars. Drackarn felt a bit sorry for his opponent who was hunched over and looking rather down and alone. S810 jr was a shark when it came to card games and that poor sap sat opposite would probably be belt ratting in the morning to try and get some ISK back in order to feed himself!

Back at the bar Drackarn noticed Eelis and Lexx sat on a small table near the big holoprojector. They both appeared to be watching something. Drackarn didn't need to look at the screen to know, at this time of day and to have them two so enthralled it had to be the news reports on the "capsuleer cold war" in the Black Rise region. Drackarn chuckled. "Cold war", it was such a stupid term. Whilst it wasn't officially a proper official war with the Gallente and Caldari Navies clashing in epic battles, it was still a war. The Governments of both sides simply rewarded capsuleers for attacking the other side and then just put their hands up to say "Wasn't us, we don't control these capsuleers". The news finished and the credits rolled for a movie. Drack had heard about this new comedy produced by one of the main Gallente holoreel producers, "Where the Frack is my Ship?". Apparently it was about two young booster-heads who had no memory of the night before and were trying to find their misplaced ship with hilarious results. Drack smiled and patted the pocket which held the 12 blue pills he'd just bought.

He finished his drink and left the bar, heading down to the Corporation office on the level below. The name Shadows of the Federation and the corp logo was etched into the frosted glass of the door. Drackarn entered and passed through the reception area into the corp members only section. He found Gallactica accessing one of the stations data consoles.

"What in Black Rise is THAT supposed to be?"
"Oh hi Drack. Just looking at some new furniture for my quarters on the NeX. You like it?"
"I dunno, what's it supposed to be? It looks like a sofa that's been repeatably bumped by a triple-plated Hyperion!"
"It's a Gallente Love-Seat. You see the girl sits there and....."
Drackarn silenced him with a wave of the hand. "Seriously man, I don't need any image of you and some ugly tart, bumping uglies on the universes most ugly sofa! That image is just..... ugly!"
Gallactica just laughed and went back to surfing for furniture.

Drackarn went to the back of the office where windows looked down into the stations central core. The massive open shaft ran the entire length of the station and was over 200m wide. He could look up and see the plexi-steel dome and out into space 12 decks above. A Manticore class stealth-bomber slipped past and into warp as he watched the sun fade from view behind the planet. He could see the edges of the parks on the highest deck levels. Green, wooded areas with plants which of course was a rather expensive luxury on a space station. Artificial weather controls made them rock steadily back and forth in the man-made breeze.

Further down the core things became less luxurious. If he looked down far enough he could just make out the lower levels. Unlike the triple-filtered purified air he was breathing, down at the bottom they'd be lucky to have 21% oxygen. Like any station in the galaxy, the higher up you were in life, the higher up in terms of deck levels which you lived on and did your business. The capsuleers generally were at the upper levels of society. Therefore all capsuleer decks on stations tended to be within the highest 12 levels. The top decks and penthouses where always used by the mega-corp elite, but capsuleers were just below them. In terms of power, and personal wealth there was very little in it. However, all the way down there, all those "norms" slaving away in the bowels of the station.... they would never get to see this high up. Would never breathe such clean air. Would never experience the excesses and luxury that vast quantities of ISK provided.

Drackarn had been down there before. Sometimes it was necessary in order to get a particular item... or to meet a certain contact, one who would never be able to enter the more secure and controlled environment of the capsuleer decks. Some of the more lucrative missions were not handed out by the regular corporation agents, there were some missions that had to be kept "off the books" and couldn't be given through official channels. It was on one of those visits that Drackarn had killed up close and personal for the first time. As a capsuleer he had killed hundreds of thousands of people in his career, may be even millions. A normal battleship, even one with a capsuleer commanding, still needed a substantial crew of thousands. However destroying a battleship in the vast emptiness of space is one thing. It's different when they are 3 feet away and you can see the life drain from their eyes and be able to smell the burnt flesh following a shot from a hand-blaster. He instinctively rubbed his left shoulder. It was strange. Although he'd taken a hit himself in that firefight, the physical body that had suffered the injury had long since been lost. He'd been podded a few times since that day yet whenever he thought about it, his shoulder would ache. The thing was that this current cloned body had never been physically shot. He smiled as he remembered his short stay in the medical bay whilst he was patched up after that fight. "Those nurses love us capsuleers! I will have to swing by Nisuwa soon and see if she's still there.... and her friend" he though.

He heard movement behind him which disturbed his train of thought. Gallactica had stood up and was heading to the door with his jacket swung over his shoulder.

"Coming to blow some shit up?" he asked. "It's time to fleet-up".

Drackarn looked down the station core one last time and turned to follow Gallactica.


*I told you Eelis, I won't stop until you put down that dirty Warhammer (or now lightsaber is it now?) and come back to New Eden.

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