Friday, March 29, 2013

Into The Black - Part 12 - The Battle

Fiction Friday! Escape pod is here with some truly scary mathematics regarding the Caldari Prime titan crash.

Into The Black - Part 12 - The Battle

Dorn, Kara and Asia stared in silence at the view-screen as the bridge crew were shouting over each other. A vast capital-ship battle was raging between the Caldari and the Gallente and they had just jumped into the middle of it.

"We've been uncloaked! Evasive manoeuvres! Can we get back to the gate?" the captain yelled.

"Negative captain, the route is blocked! The gate is behind THAT!" the ensign pointed to the screen which was almost completely filled with dreadnoughts and carriers. A Caldari Navy Phoenix class dreadnought exploded under fire from several the Gallente Moros', lighting up the screen.

"Acknowledged. Set a course for the Villore stargate and get us into warp! We'll make a run for it."

The strategic cruiser started to slowly align. Suddenly threat indicator alarms went off.

"Who's locking us?" asked the Captain. There was no reply.

"Who's locking us ensign?" the captain asked again, louder with more force in his voice.

The young bridge officer turned as if snapped out of a trance.

"Sir? Everyone is sir!"


The Caldari assassin was on the bridge of the Tengu. The small cruiser was weaving around the massive carriers and super carriers who were engaging each other at point blank range. The huge dreadnoughts sat still, the substantial power from their engines diverted to the siege module powering their huge guns and missile launchers, raining death against the enemy capital ships. Battleships manoeuvred slowly around the fight whilst swarms of single pilot fighters and fighter-bombers delivered their deadly ordinance against their adversaries All around ships were ablaze and wrecks slow spun in the void.

Finally the Tengu rounded a Nyx super-carrier and had a line of sight to the Proteus.

"There it is!" the Agent said menacingly.

They could see the Proteus was already caught. A number of Crow class interceptors had warp disruption modules activated against it. It was also surrounded by a mass of graviton beams. The Agent smiled, the Proteus was trapped.

"Excellent. Captain. Initiate a PB manoeuvre onto that Proteus, I'll be in the tube." As she turned to leave he answered.


The bridge went quiet and all eyes fell on the Captain and the Agent.

"Excuse me captain" she said without turning.

"I said no. I don't care what authority you have. I am not risking this ship by engaging a PB manoeuvre on a ship that is under fire by an entire capital task force. I am still captain of this ship and I will not endanger this crew."

The Agent stood their for a few seconds with her back still to the captain. The tension in the room was at breaking point.

"Captain. The State appreciates your concern for your ship and crew. However, you will engage the PB."

"Then you'll just have to replace me." the Captain said smugly folding his arms. The agent still remained facing the door.

"Oh I will if I have to. And I am sure whoever I replace you with will carry out my order without question."

"Is that so? I think you may have underestimated the loyalty of my crew."

"No, I think you have over-estimated the loyalty of your crew. Because I won't just relieve you of command, I'll place you under arrest for treason. You'll be tried and executed the same day. However, with the head of the family a traitor, surely the rest of the family are surely suspect. How long do you think your wife and daughter will last on Tartoken Five Three penal colony?."

The Captains face went red. Everyone on the bridge had heard the rumours about that place. It got its name from the asteroid belt it was located in. Tartoken solar system, planet 5, belt number 3. It had the worst reputation of all the penal colonies in the State. Only the worst of the worst went there and very few ever returned. Those that did spoke of a brutal prison where the guards were no better than the inmates. Whilst there was supposed to be segregation rumours were told of incidents during the frequent riots like urban legends or ghost stories.

"That is of course after I've thoroughly questioned them. I would so enjoy questioning Kia, I might even take a few days doing it."

The face of the captain was now nearly purple at the mention of his daughter.

"I am sure your wife will be happy to confess to anything I suggest as she is forced to watch. Don't you think your wife will admit to anything to get me to stop? I don't think we'd even need a trial. A few days of questioning, a signed confession and straight to Tartoken.  Now I assume you'll take a few seconds more to think about your options, realise you have none and will order the PB manoeuvre. Thank you captain."

With that the agent left the bridge as the Captain sat there in silent rage. Intelligence Officer Garrett had left with her.

"Ma'am, if I may speak freely." he asked.

"You may not." she replied "Send an official order that the captains wife and daughter be detained on suspicion of treason. Have them sent to our secure facility on Vasala to await my questioning."

Garrett stopped in his tracks.

"Surely you don't mean to....."

"Yes I do. And I've also changed my mind on the captains trial and execution even though I am sure he is ordering the PB right now. I will holographically recorded everything that happens whilst interrogating his wife and daughter in ultra-hi-definition. Then I will lock that piss-ant captain in a secure holo-suite and let him live the rest of his life watching it on repeat 24 hours per day."

Garrett felt sick.

"But he was only protecting his crew, the wife is innocent. And the daughter, please ma'am, she's only 17......"

"How is your wife Garrett?" she snapped back. "Because I'm starting to get a bit suspicious of you now in that you are not following my orders."

Garrett fell silent and stopped in his tracks as the agent continued down the corridor.

"Good. And make sure the techs start the daughter on a course of stims as soon as they arrive at the facility. The petite ones pass out too quickly for my liking."


"Tac Station, report!" the captain barked.

"Sir. We're scrammed and webbed by half a dozen interceptors. I cannot count the number of ships firing upon us. However, the friendly fleets logistical projections are massive sir. Shields are holding even under this barrage, never mind the armour. We're OK for now, but we aren't going anywhere."

Asia moved over to a console and typed in some commands. Dorn noticed the Captains disdain in his look. Obviously the Captain wasn't a fan of having this agent on his ship. He turned his attention back to Asia who was chatting to someone on the comm link.

They were in the middle of a pitched battle and this agent appeared to be gossiping with a friend. Dorn shook his head and almost laughed at the absurdity of the situation.

"OK see you soon!" Asia finished on the console and returned back to Kara and Dorn.

"I've booked us some more roomy transport. They'll be here in a minute." she smiled.

"Sir we have an incoming vector!" announced the helmsman. "175 mark 231 intercept in 90 seconds sir. It's friendly, looks like one of the Nyx is on an intercept course!"

Asia nodded at the Captain who for the first time smiled back.

"Sir, erm, we have a second incoming vector. 110 mark 090. It's hostile and will intercept in 30 seconds sir."

The bridge fell quiet.


The Tengu swooped down on the immobilised Proteus.

"PB manoeuvre initiated captain." one of the bridge officers said "Lock on in T-minus 12 seconds. We have a Nyx class super-carrier bearing down on us. They will be on us in 35 seconds."

"Understood" said the captain, his voice one of resignation. "Carry on with PB manoeuvre."

The Tengu rolled over as it approached the Proteus and lined up careful above. Powerful thrusters matched the speed and trajectory of the target vessel before a final boost pushed the two ships together and powerful locking clamps fixed to the other ship.


There was an almighty crash as the two hulls came into contact.

"Sir! A Tengu just bumped us! But.... I....."

"Calm down lad. Report!"

The Ensign double checked his console.

"Sir I cannot get a read on the Tengu. It hit us and vanished from sensors. It's like it cloaked but no cloaking device can operate in that close a proximity."

"No Ensign it cannot. The sensors cannot see it as the computer doesn't see a separate ship. It's latched onto us."

The Captain leaned into his chair to the comm unit built in to the armrest.

"All crew, all crew. Prepare to repel boarders. We are being boarded by hostile forces."

Asia turned to Kara and Dorn.

"Come with me." she said.


The Caldari agent was stood in a clear tube in the upper deck of the Tengu. A countdown flashed before her eyes showing her the progress of the PB or "piggy-back" manoeuvre  This Tengu had been retro fitted with powerful docking clamps and a dozen breach tubes like the one she was stood in currently. The other eleven were occupied by heavily armed soldiers.

The red countdown hit zero as the crash of hulls resonated through the ship. The countdown reset and changed colour, now rather than red it was orange and counting down from 10. At five it turned green, the assassin knew the lasers had cut into the opposing hull and the passageway was pressurised. As the countdown reached one she pulled her two pistols out and braced for the gravity switch. The countdown hit zero and the hatch in the top opened. The gravity inverted in her tube and she plummeted upwards into the hull of the Proteus where it's own artificial gravity pulled her down into the Gallente ship. Before she landed on the deck she had opened fire and killed two Gallente crewmen.

The other soldiers slammed onto the deck either side of her. She tapped her comm link.

"Move out. I need the two fugitives alive. Kill everyone else.


The intruder alert alarm sounded as the three headed down the corridor. Asia was in front with Kara close behind her. Dorn brought up the rear, his pistol in his hand.

Asia stopped at a security station and keyed in a code. The hatch hissed open and revealed a stack of assault rifles in a rack.

She pulled two out and tossed one to Dorn.

"I think you'll need a bit more firepower than that little pea shooter" she said whilst winking. Dorn caught the rifle and slid his pistol into his holster.

"You'd be surprised how many scrapes that this little pea-shooter has got me out of."

"Well make sure its to hand then" Asia smiled, I think we have a few more scrapes to get through yet!"


The Caldari assassin wandered through the ship firing on anyone she saw. Garrett was monitoring her through the security cameras on the Proteus. One of the first actions of the boarding party was to install a transmitter and software virus into the internal security systems of the enemy ship. His datapad lay on the desk with the orders to detain the captains wife and daughter. It had not been sent.

Garrett felt trapped. He had his loyalty to the State but deep down he considered himself a good person fighting for a righteous cause. But this was not the way things should be done. He looked at the screen as the assassin gunned down two more security crew, shooting them in the head as she passed for good measure. He knew disobeying her orders would mean his wife was arrested. This angel of death that was his superior but seemed to thrive on pain and suffering. He watched her progress as she turned a corner and almost collided with a medical technician rushing to help someone. The assassin caught her by the throat and lifted her off the floor with one arm.

"Please.... I...... I'm..... unarmed" the medic gasped.

The assassin grabbed the knife from her belt and punched it into the medics stomach. She released her grip and let the medic fall to the floor. The young Gallentean hit the floor with a thud. Her hands pressing against the knife wound to stop the bleeding. The Caldari then picked up the fallen medi-pack and continued down the corridor tossing the pack into a waste compactor. It took Garrett a second to work out what she had done. Why had she only stabbed the medic rather than shot them in the head like she had the others. Then it hit him. Rather than kill another crew member, she had severely wounded the medic and taken her medical gear. Now any reinforcements chasing would stay and help the injured woman who now was screaming in pain and fear. That would slow down any pursuers. Garrett shook his head at the act. Tactically it was genius but it was also evil and sheer brutality.

Back on the Proteus the assassin checked her wrist mounted computer. She was there.


"Sir we've got reports coming in of casualties throughout the ship."

The Captain sat in his chair wondering what to do. His internal security teams were struggling to contain the heavily armed and armoured boarding party. The proximity warning alarm went off.

"Switch view-screen from front to view to remote camera drones!" the captain ordered.

The screen flashed from a forward facing view to one showing the Proteus locked together with the Tengu. The bridge fell silent as the massive Nyx bore-down on them.


Asia looked through the small viewport in the door, it looked clear. She hit the controls and the door slid open. There in the small modified hanger was the shuttle Dorn and Kara had used to get off the planet earlier.

The three entered the dimly lit room and headed towards the shuttle. As they approached the door slid open to reveal the Caldari assassin stood in the shuttle with her guns pointed.

"Get down!" shouted Asia as she fired at the assassin. The assassin fired back whilst taking cover inside the craft. Asia took position behind some cargo crates and kept firing on the open hatch of the shuttle.

Suddenly there was a terrifying shriek of metal grinding and tearing. The artificial gravity on the Proteus failed and suddenly everyone was tumbling in every direction.

Back on the Tengu it was the same as Garrett tried to hang on to his chair that was now crashing around the ceiling.

Kara and Dorn were holding onto a metal column as the ship rolled over again and again. Lose cargo containers rolled around the hanger and the small shuttle shook violently, held in place by its docking clamps.

Then everything went black.

.... to be continued....

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

This is my Thrasher

"I Loooooove my guns!"
- Charlie Fodder. Clear Skies III

In Eve Online I have a vast choice of ships to to violence other ships with. In fact the only two (combat) sub-capital ships in-game that I cannot fly are the T2 Matari battleships, the Panther Black Ops and the.... erm.... whats their Marauder called? It's something starting with a V isn't it? Just need to get Minmatar battleship from IV to V then I have "unlocked" all the sub-capital combat ships!

Whilst I have a huge selection I could fly, I keep going back to one ship. A ship that I could fly very early on in my piloting career. One of my favourite ships in game. In fact if you are not reading this through a RRS reader and are on the main blog site you can see it flying over my local desert sand dunes in the banner at the top of this page. Yes, it is the Thrasher. THE destroyer in Eve Online.

The Thrasher is a great little ship. It is versatile hard hitting, can tank, can be speedy, although not all at the same time. Also the fits do tend to limit it to either short range or long range and engaging an enemy set up for the opposite means you can easily get into trouble.

I have four or five different fits for the Thrasher with a number of each ready assembled im my hanger of each for quick reshipping. From all of them, I use these three the most.

The Oversized AB
Matari ships generally are fairly fast, but when you stick a 10mn afterburner on a destroyer hull it really does give you a boost. The fit is basically meta artillery cannons in the highs leaving a free slot. Long point, web and 10mn AB in the mediums and a DC and tracking enhancer in the lows. Rigs generally need to be ancillary current routers to get the power grid to fit the oversized afterburner and then any speed increasing rig is good. The trick here is to stay out of the enemy's way and blast them from afar. The web means if anything fast gets in range you can slow it down so you can get out of range. This fit works great on most frigates (they really don't want to run a MWD and get a 500% sig radius increase against artillery cannons do they) and generally works well against other destroyers especially Coercers. Coercers have a real problem tracking you when you are orbiting at speed at 12km. Sniper Cormorants do hurt but you can win even if you end up in structure. I have to give credit to Quake590 for this fit. It was a "How did he do THAT?" loss and a peek at his KB that led me to this fit.

Highs- Your choice of meta 250mm arties, I use 'Scout'. T2 and 280's will not fit
Mediums- T2 warp disruptor, web and a meta 10mn AB
Lows- Tracking Enhancer and Damage Control II
Rigs- Two ACR and Auxiliary Thrusters

EFT Level 5 Stats.
EHP - 5,472
Max Speed - 1658m/s
DPS/Alpha - 137/837

Incredibly fast 1600m/sec and over.
Still does 1600+ even when scrammed.
Hard to hit, hard to catch.
Good DPS with high alpha.
Cap Stable.

Utter glass-cannon, poor tank.
Will die horribly to anything bigger.
Poor tracking at close range

Armour Thrasher
If you have armour implants in your head then this is a tough little nut. I use autocannons along with web and scram. Due to its poor manoeuvrability I tend to use this one to sit on the warp-in inside the plex and snag people as they enter. After the unusual 10mn AB fit this one doesn't look anything special. It's standard Matari, lots of firepower and hope your ship holds to pieces longer than your opponents! The trick here is that most Thrashers tend to be MSE fit. Anyone who isn't flying a damage type bonused ship will load EMP more than likely. And armour tanks just love EMP damage.

Highs- 200mm Autocannons T2
Mediums- Scram, Web and AB
Lows- 400mm plate and EANM
Rigs- Anti-explosive and trimarks

EFT Level 5 Stats.
EHP - 8,775
Max Speed - 615m/s
DPS/Alpha - 262/662

Hits hard.
Good tank especially with armour implants.

Poor optimal range.
Will die to kitey ships if they get range.

Now I don't want to go into this in a lot of detail as this will have its own post on the coming soon (tm) Quantum Cats Syndicate blog. Suffice to say it has a massive alpha, a 2200mm scan resolution and a tank like a wet paperbag. But it sure is fun to sit on gates and wait for Caldari to jump into you. The Cockbag is a one-man gate camp. Fast tackle and DPS on one ship. Most of the time the victim doesn't even move. They hit "Warp to" and as you get the point on them the ship stops. Most people don't react fast enough. Just don't tackle anything bigger than a destroyer as you will die unless the pilot is hideously fail!

Highs- 280mm Artillery Cannons T2's
Mediums- T2 Long point and two T2 Sensor Boosters with scan resolution scripts
Lows- Two T2 Gyrostabilisers
Rigs- Targeting speed rigs

EFT Level 5 Stats.
EHP - 3,509
Max Speed - 338m/s
DPS/Alpha - 280/1754

Massive alpha.

Snail speed. No prop mod!
No tank at all.
Poor tracking at close range.

So there you go, my three favourite Thrasher fits to kill and be killed in. Who needs these fancy new destroyers when you have gin guns! Big ****ing guns with big ****ing shells!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Luminaire Live Event - Titan Faceplant

So at the weekend the NPC Caldari Navy titan that was sat in Gallente space got kerb-stomped in the live event on Friday! For those of you who don't know why there is a Caldari Navy Titan sat in the middle of Gallente high security space or even why there is a planet called Caldari Prime in the middle of it's enemy's space, there is a reason. Whilst I think the commentators did a good job on the stream overall, they didn't really appear to know the background story. The actual background is below and contains spoilers if you haven't read the book "The Empyrean Age" by Tony Gonzales. I'll stick the spoiler explanation bit between two pictures so if you don't want to know the full background, just don't read that bit! I'll do a quick non-spoiler background recap after the screenshot of the titan before the event.

Why the Titan Was There (CONTAINS SPOLIERS):- Originally the Gallente and the Caldari originated from separate temperate planets in the same solar system of Luminaire. Space travel was invented and they said "Hi-didlly-ho neighbourinos!" to each other. As stargates were invented, rapid expansion took place and tensions between the two space-faring civilisations rose. I think the Caldari were part of the Federation at the start but cannot remember. If you really want to know check Mark726's Lore Guide. Either way, a Caldari group attacked an under-sea Gallente city and killed a couple of hundred thousand Gallente. This promptly kicked off the first Gallente/Caldari war. In the end the Gallente kicked the Caldari off Caldari Prime and out of the Luminaire solar system. This forced them to head off into space and to eventually form the Caldari State. As a side point, it was this war that cemented drones as a favourite weapon of the Gallente as they had to invent something to counter the Caldari one-man fighters that were winning the war for the Caldari up to a point! Now fast forward to 5 years ago or so.
Tibus Heth was a grunt at a Caldari factory. He was planning a demonstration/strike. A shadowy and powerful capsuleer known as The Broker helped him and turned his strike into something a bit more. With some clever media manipulation, a bit of blackmail and some underhand dealing, the Broker got Tibus Heth installed as head of the Caldari State! Not bad for a lowly factory worker! The Broker then helped Heth plan a surprise attack on the Gallente Federation after "parking" a Nyx super-carrier into the Ishokune HQ station and making it look like the Federation Navy did it to rile up the Caldari masses. Disabling the Federation 'Tripwire' detection network, the Broker allowed Heth to get a capital strike fleet deep into Federation space, into orbit around Caldari Prime in Luminaire and to land ground troops. Heth then had all the dreadnoughts point their weapons at the Gallente cities on Caldari Prime. This forced the Gallente to accept the invasion or risk the slaughter of millions of their citizens that had settled on Caldari Prime since the first war. The Caldari left the titan in orbit as guarantee of mutually assured destruction should the Gallente try and retake the planet. Basically "You try to take back the planet, our Titan will blap the cities where we're holding millions of your citizens as hostages.". So that's basically the background from my memory.

Non-spoiler background - Caldari and Gallente came from separate planets in same solar system, Luminaire which is now in the heart of the Gallente Federation. The first Gallente/Caldari war resulted in the Gallente stomping the Caldari and forcing them out of the solar system. Years and years later Tibus Heth rose to power and conducted a surprise attack on the Federation. The lightning fast Caldari invasion managed to get sufficient fire-power in orbit around Caldari Prime that the Gallente had to accept the invasion after Heth threatened to nuke the Gallente cities on the planet if they tried and take the planet back (apparently it IS the only way to be sure)!

What has happened recently in the story is that a DUST514 bunny tried to assassinate Tibus Heth. Hethy baby is "a bit crabby" due to his miners disease and has spent the last month or so trying to wipe out the DUST bunnies. This fighting spilled into the Federation and onto Caldari Prime, lots of fighting ensued planet-side. CONCORD came in to inspect what was happening on the planet and the the Caldari blew up the CONCORD ship. This caused escalation and the Gallente brought in a capital fleet. The Caldari got back up in to protect the Titan and that started it all.

This was the live event that CCP warned players that even in a 1.0 security system, you could die horribly. The Caldari cap fleet and Gallente cap fleet piloted by CCP kicked off, then the players kicked off and all hell broke loose.

As a dirty -10 pirate all I could do was watch the live stream as the Caldari titan went down.

Now there are calls that the outcome of this live event was already preordained and the Caldari Titan was going down in a blaze no matter what. Is this right?

Do camels shit in the desert? Abso-bloody-lutely!

On Thursday, as reported over at Poetic Discourse, CCP made a small derp and released sets of DUST maps a day early. These show the Caldari Titan wreckage in the map background, face-planted in the planets surface. The maps also apparently featured bits of burning Titan scattered around. In fact, with the burning Titan in the background, it looked so close to a movie I had to make this.....

Firstly, yes CCP had the story planned. So what? I do think they were a bit cheeky to imply the players in space had chance to influence the outcome (as the commentators suggested several times), it appears that Titan was going down no matter what. May be the DUST battles on the surface may have influenced some other outcome but that titan was going down no what I suspect.

It would have been interesting if the majority of the 1600 players in system had turned up in gank tier 3 battle-cruisers and attacked the Gallente. Two million DPS would have cut through the Gallente fleet in no time! Also did you notice the Caldari titan went down exactly 60 minutes after the first shots were fired? Convenient!

With the above commentary you might think I had beef with CCP for these things. No. Bravo to CCP for doing this. I'm a firm believer that we need CCP to keep pushing underlying story-lines through Eve. 2012 was a very bad year for this and its great to see 2013 is shaping up to be the exact opposite. Sometimes the story needs to be pushed in a certain direction for the greater good, if we let player actions determine every outcome the stories could go nowhere.

Many people shout that its the players that make the content in Eve not CCP. And many times they are right. But how regular and how interesting is our player-created content? What makes the headlines? The Asakia event is the stand-out player created content so far in 2013 but what else do we have? Not a lot. Null-sec is very blue, recent large thefts might be EULA breaking hacks or account sharing, nothing really massively interesting. In fact there are only so many alliance thefts before the story gets boring. Actually apart from Asakia the last six months+ have been a bit boring on the player-driven content. The biggest political story recently, the CFC/HBC were going to have a fight, then they weren't!

We need CCP to keep pushing the main New Eden background story-lines  The live events, the news stories, the chronicles. All these serve to improve and deepen New Eden, especially for us sci-fi geeks! It's good publicity for Eve rather than the more usual "Socio-paths playground" that we usual get.

So yes, player influence on the live event Friday was marginal at best but to be fair if an equally numbered fleet of Wyvern, Chimera and and Phoenix came across a fleet oy Nyx, Thanatos and Moros' in low-sec, what would be the expected outcome? The Gallente capital fleet would pound the Caldari capital fleet as Moros are the best dreadnought, Nyx are the best supercarrier and remote armour reps are more efficient in fleet fights.

So well done CCP and keep it up. But........ still......... imagine what 1500 players in gank tier 3 battlecruisers might have achieved. They could have seriously mixed up CCP's plans!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Into The Black - Part 11 - Back In The Black

Fiction Friday. Escape pod is here to Jester's Trek who has covered what I'll be doing later. Now I have no idea exactly how a -10 will fair in 1.0 hi-sec after DT, CCP are being very tight-lipped about specifics. We know CONCORD are unaffected but will the Faction Police be turned off in Luminaire for the whole day? I have no idea but I'm going there in a cheap clone to find out! Anyway, on with the story.....

Into The Black - Part 11 - Back In The Black

The small Gallente shuttle broke out of the upper atmosphere tracked by the State Navy Tengu. The Caldari assassin watched the sensor readings on her wrist mounted computer from the planet's surface below.

"I want them alive. No mistakes. They are in an unarmed shuttle so be careful" she ordered to the captain in the comm link.

The Agent herself was sat in a cargo rocket on the planets surface. The pursuit of the fugitives through the orbiting customs office had meant she did not have her own craft with her and had to get back the same way she came. With the two fugitives in the Gallente agents ship she couldn't risk having the Tengu send down her own landing craft as it would need to decloak. The countdown on the wall showed the rocket would launch to the customs office in less than a minute. With a two minute trip to the orbiting station the Tengu would pick her up after apprehending the two fugitives  She looked forward to interrogation them both. The small screen of her computer showed that the Tengu was 30km from the shuttle. They were nearly in range.


"What now?" Kara asked as the shuttle left the atmosphere and entered the blackness of space.

"Well, that Gallente woman said she had a ship in orbit but I'm not seeing anything on scan. This ship is just a lander, no warp drive so unless we get picked up we're stuck." replied Dorn.

Ahead of them space appeared to shimmer and a ship appeared.

"That must be them over...." Kara was cut short as Dorn turned the ship hard, the inertial dampeners failing to stop the artificial gravity from asserting G-forces on them as he banked.

"What are you doing?" Kara screamed as she staggered.

"That was a Tengu. It's Caldari! Our support is not...." this time Dorn was cut off as the space in front of him shimmered.

"Now there is our help!" Dorn point out of the view screen at the Proteus strategic cruiser.

Dorn fought the controls to take avoiding action as the space between the two cruisers lit up. The Proteus firing its Hybrid blasters and the Tengu returning fire with heavy assault missiles. Dorn opened the tactical view and saw the Tengu start to make range. Kara leaned over his shoulder.

"Are they running?"

"No. The Tengu's missiles have a lot more range than the Proteus' guns. They are trying to move out of effective range and will bombard them from a distance. The Gallente cannot hit that far out." Dorn concentrated on the monitor. Why wasn't the Proteus chasing the Tengu? If the Tengu got range they would easily win and Dorn and Kara had no chance of getting away with no warp drive.

Suddenly the Proteus turned towards the shuttle. At the same time a third signature appeared on Dorn's scanner.

"Sneaky frog bastards!" Dorn said with a grin. Kara looked at him puzzled.


The Captain of the Tengu was pleased the way things were going. They had got to 23km from the Proteus and the incoming damage had vanished. Their own Nova heavy assault missiles were slowly breaking the Proteus' defences.

"You can tell the agent we should have defeated the enemy in the next 90 seconds and we will then capture the fugitives. See, who needs State agents when you have the Caldari Navy?" the captain smirked.

Intelligence Officer Garrett stayed quiet. He knew something was wrong, that Proteus had let them make range. Any ship based on blaster weaponry would have a micro-warp drive fitted. They were moving far too slowly, something was not right. Far too often the person who things he is easily winning is the one that is about to lose he thought.

"Sir we have another contact, ship decloaking 261 mark 112. 29km range." one of the tactical officers reported.

"It's a....."

The lights and systems on the Tengu's bridge flickered.

"Target lock lost" announced another officer.

"Our micro warp drive just went offline, we're scrambled. It is an Arazu recon ship sir, likely faction fit."

The captains head snapped around to Garrett who showed no apparent response to the captains earlier gloating.

"Tactical Officer? Report!" the captain ordered.

"Sir. Our sensor array is damped down by the enemy recon, we can neither lock the fugatives shuttle, the Proteus or the Arazu to return fire. Our micro warp drive has been scrambled and our base speed will not be enough to catch either. Recommend calling for back up."

The Captains head snapped in Garrett's direction again making sure he wasn't smirking at the trap the captain had walked right into. Garrett sat there with a face of stone.


The small shuttle docked in the modified Proteus and Kara and Dorn were escorted out of the hanger by two armed guards.

Kara physically gasped as she turned a corner in the corridor and came face-to-face with the Gallente agent who she watch get disembowelled half an hour before.

"How.... how...." Kara stammered

The agent smiled. "I am fitted with a cranial implant that transfers my consiousness at the moment of death. As I died on the planet, I was reborn here in a clone revival unit."

Dorn nodded that he understood. It sounded like the capsuleer technology which he had a basic understanding of. The agent led them into the bridge of the Proteus.

The Gallente agent turned to the man sat in the command chair.

"Captain, I think we can head home."

"Yes ma'am." The captain answered. "Tactical. Is that squid Tengu still damped?"

"Yes sir. The Azarzu reports he'd be surprised if he can target his own nose cone. He's also scrammed and is not going anywhere."

"Acknowledged. Send my thanks for his support and that he may disengaged and head for home as soon as we are gone. Engage cloaking device and set a course for the Old Man Star gate. Jump on contact."


The Caldari agent stood by the airlock as the Tengu docked. She had watch the whole fight on her remote screen. She wanted to cut the captains eyes out with her knife there and then replace them with his balls. She knew that whilst she wanted to do that, she also she knew she needed him and the crew on-side for now.

She was onboard in seconds and the strategic cruiser aligned and slipped into warp.

She walked into the bridge and saw the Captain in his chair. He looked worried.

"Report" she said briskly

"We are in warp to the OMS gate. The Gallente Proteus is still on the local net so is still in system. I messaged the fleet, they are setting up in OMS on the inbound gate. We have enough ships to decloak them when they jump through. I've given orders they are to be taken alive and..... that's strange!"

The agent raised a questioning eyebrow.

"The Navy capital ship fleet just left system. I assume they are heading home as they will be little use against a strategic cruiser."

The agent thought about that and decided it was unlikely. They would have remained on standby until the suspects were apprehended. Something major must have happened for them to jump out of the system like that.

"Get is set up off the OMS gate at a short pounce. As soon as that Proteus is decloaked by the proximity of the gate warp and jump." the agent said to the Captain.


Dorn and Kara were sat in the ready-room which was located just off the bridge. The Gallente agent sat relaxed in a large chair, one leg casually draped over an armrest.

"So what are you?" Dorn asked bluntly. Kara shot him a disapproving look.

The Gallente Agent laughed when she saw Kara's angry expression.

"Don't worry, I don't mind. Well Captain as you can probably guess I am an agent of the Gallente Federation. You already know I am fitted with capsuleer style implants. In fact this body is not really mine so your term 'what' is appropriate."

"I assumed that, normal people don't tend to bleed silver." he replied cautiously.

The agent nodded and slid over a datapad, Dorn picked it up. On it was a picture of an older, rather butch woman dressed in army fatigues carrying a plasma rifle. She was posing before the turret of a massive combat tank in a landscape pocketed with scorch-marks.

"Is that your mother?" he asked.

The agent laughed. "No that is the real me!". Dorn looked in shock.

"This body is nothing but a tool captain. My real body is in stasis ready for me to return to. But for now I use these clones. I obviously cannot reveal everything to you as civilians, but you have seen me in action. You know I am not what I appear to be."

"You certainly are not. The outfit gives that away too."

The agent laughed again.

"Captain, you have no need to fear who, or what, I am. Reading the reports on your last few days travels I see you were in a capsuleer bar in Nisuwa. You were around people fitted with implants, walking around in cloned bodies, and remember, bodies they can adjust and change at any time if they so wish."

Dorn pondered what she had said for a few seconds.

"True, but none of those capsuleers could revert me back to a hormone-crazed teenager with a seductive walk and a look in the middle of a combat situation." he said.

"Well there was that lady capsuleer getting the lapdance in the bar that...." Kara started but Dorn playfully swatted her on her arm. She put on a comedy sulky face and Dorn smiled. She smiled back. Suddenly they realised they had held each others gaze slightly too long and turned back to the agent.

"You could have shot me when I appeared in the factory. But you didn't. A beautiful woman dressed in alluring clothing, no man is going to fire first without asking questions. And when I am close, well this body is designed for covert operations. One day I might be fighting on a battlefield, but all battles are not fought with guns, so the next day I might need to seduce an ambassador, or his son, or even his wife. This body is designed so I can achieve what is required. I'm sure you felt it in the factory."

"Yes I did. It was pretty un-nerving to be honest." admitted Dorn "To have those feelings spring up on you in such a dangerous situation."

"Men!" Kara laughed. Asia turned to her and smiled.

"It's not his fault." Asia smiled "This body is designed to help me achieve my goals. It has, shall we say, abilities to distract people in combat, to make them hesitate for that crucial second. As I've already said, not all missions require a gun and dead bodies. Some require a more gentle approach. Say you are the wife of a mega-corp executive. How am I going to get inside his heavily guarded home to hack his safe? How can I convince you to take me home as a friend through all that security?" she continued to look Kara direct in the eyes. A silence fell over the room as the agent continued to stare and smile. Kara looked deep into the agents eyes and felt her heart begin to pound, she felt hot and started to blush as a feeling of pure lust started to wash over her. She was grateful she was wearing a jacket that would hide her breasts and her obvious arousal.

"OK I get your point" Kara said and finally broke eye-contact with the agent. The feelings left her.

"Don't worry, I want do that again. I just wanted you to know it isn't his fault. It is nothing more than clever bio-engineering targeting natural human instincts. If we were in a different time and place just now, and I'd suggested we go back to your bedroom, what would you have said?"

"Yes." Kara shyly admitted.

"And do you jump into bed with every strange women you've just met?"

Kara already had pursed her lips to reply 'no' when Dorn butted in "Well apparently there was this one time at college."

This time it was Kara's turn to swat his arm playfully.

"Ow!" mocked Dorn "But it sounds a pretty big sacrifice, to give up your body and your life and be used that way for the government." Dorn added.

Before Asia could reply the 'prepare for jump' alarm sounded. Dorn was thankful as he saw the look on her face, he'd obviously been right about the sacrifice.

"Shall we go through to the bridge? We're only one jump from the Federation now." Asia asked as she rose from the table. Dorn and Kara nodded and followed her into the bridge as the ship jumped out of Heydilles.

They looked at the blank viewscreen which covered the entire front wall of the bridge. It was normal to be blank at this point, jumping through the artificial wormhole created massive power surges and interference which reset most the ships systems, that is why the startgate projected a temporary cloak to all ships jumping through the gate. It usually took a few seconds for the ship to come back to full readiness. However some times glitches meant that the systems never came back online. Captains and crew called it "The Black Screen of Death" and whilst very rare, it was always a concern.

With a flicker the viewscreen activated, and all hell broke out on the bridge as the space outside was revealed. Officers shouted, alarms sounded and commands were given. In the midst of this flurry of activity Dorn, Kara and Asia just stood there, staring.

"Now, we have a problem." Asia stated as Dorn and Kara stared at the viewscreen in disbelief.

.... To be continued.....

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A Tale of Two Condors

Last night started off badly, I lost a Vengeance against another Vengeance pretty much straight away. His active tank was more than a match for my buffer tank. Next up I managed to lose a Thrasher to a Condor! Now this guy used tactics I have used in the past - kite and damp. I was set up off a faction war acceleration gate hoping to snag any squid who warped to the gate before scanning to see if anyone was in there. Unfortunately this Condor pilot wasn't that dumb and came in at range.

He orbited me with a long point and MWD on at 20km. Along with a remote sensor dampener with a targeting range script I could do nothing but shake my fist at him as he slowly killed me. Now in hindsight there are things I should have done and am pretty much kicking myself I didn't think of them during the fight. How many times in Eve have you been podding home and thought "Wait a bloody minute! If I had done X I might have survived!!!!! IDIOT!!!!".

But I didn't think of it at the time and I was assploded for being a dummy! Bloody Condor!

Anyway its good to see more PvP'rs around given the last couple of months!

I roamed on and found a plexing war target Kestrel nearby after fitting up a new Thrasher. He was a "runner" and didn't want to fight so I set up on the out-gate and used a militia alt to chase him from plex to plex for a while in system. As expected he wasn't interested in PvP, he was a farmer, so in the end he left the system by the only gate. Hey buddy! Surprise!

Oh yes, look at that fit! A proper faction war farmer. I spoke too soon. No point and a multi-spectrum ECM mod fitted.

I went AFK a while and came back a bit later to find a squid in local! Coming to Nisuwa on your own? Will they never learn? I undocked and scanned him down and he appeared to be in a Rifter in a novice plex so I docked up and reshipped to a Merlin before undocking again. As I undocked from the station, what do I see? A flashy orange Caldari Militia Rifter 30km off my starboard bow! I burn towards him, he stays still, I get closer, he stays still. I haven't locked him in case I spook him, and continue to burn. As soon as I get within 10km it is lock, scram, web and FIRE ALL THE THINGS in rapid succession!!!!

He doesn't respond. Is he AFK? No, he's finally locking me back. But he's not returning fire yet? He's half shield and dropping fast! What is he doing?

At about quarter shield he agresses back but it's far too late for him and he goes down. At that point he says in local he forgot he cannot dock in enemy controlled systems. I dock up with his loot with an image of him spamming the dock button and screaming at the monitor.......

So onto my last kill of the night which is the other Condor from this posts title. I found him plexing in a dead end system so set up the same tarp as I did for the Kestrel. I stick Drack in a Thrasher on the other side of the stargate and use an in-militia alt to chase the Condor around the system until he gets the hint and leaves. Gate-fire, decloak, lock, one-volley, lock, one-volley and very quickly there is a wreck and a frozen corpse ready for me to scoop. I note from the notifications that I got almost 10,000 loyalty points from that! I quickly check the kill mail to see if anything juicy dropped expecting a faction micro-warp drive or similar as the kill gave me so many LP's.

No. It wasn't his Condor that got me the 10k LP, it was his pod. He had a full head of five standard grade learning implants valued at over 20m each. But lets return to that Condor fit. Why? Someone please answer me why? It's a zero DPS ship. It has NOS not neuts so he cannot cap anyone out, Condors don't have drones so there is no DPS. He has no disruptor or scram so he cannot act as point for a fleet or buddy. He cannot PvP, he cannot tackle and most importantly, he cannot farm faction war complexes as he cannot kill the rat. The only use I can see for that fit is leeching LP's off a militia mate who is already capturing a plex. Oh there is another use for that fit to be honest, delivering juicy pods to me!

S810! Got another corpse for you!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Things Returning to Normal in the Warzone

Yesterday I was off sick with man-flu. I'm still bad with it so if this blog post makes no sense it's my bunged up head! After sleeping 14 hours straight I dosed up on tablets and logged onto Eve for a bit. Lately I've not been doing too well. I've being dying horribly and missing kills. Probably not a good idea to log on given my state, but I'm not tired any more so might as well do something.

I hope to break my bad spell with killing some squids and not dying in a fire like I have been the last few days. You ever get that? A losing streak in Eve when everything goes badly no matter what you do? I've been dying far too often lately.

Things do not start well, I find a Rifter on an acceleration gate and go for it in my Tristan. A Kestrel lands five seconds later and that's that!

Anyway, I pod home and grab a Thrasher and head out hoping it'll last long enough that I might need to put more ammo in it!

First up is another Thrasher I snag on the gate and pop and also catch his pod. His ship was PvP fit and he had 45m of implants in his head. Nice to see a proper PvP'r about. So one loss and two kills!

Next is an Atron who I am afraid to say was a farmer. No point and a cloaking device fitted. I killed his pod too for flying that abomination! 

Next up I have an Eve Online Kung Fu moment. I'm sat on a gate and I get a Jaguar on scan so get ready. Jag lands and I point him, guns are pre-overheated and he goes down in three just as a Condor lands which I one volley and get his pod just as an Incursus lands which I also grab, kill and pod.

I follow those up with a Rifter and a Dragoon before coming to a sticky end against an Algos. So not doing bad so far, one T1 frigate and one destroyer down for 13 kills. 

I reship and head back to a gate for a spot of camping and a Sacrilege jumps through. HAC verses destroyer won't end well so I warp to station. He follows, starts to bump me, I dock and undock in my own Sacrilege. How he's not going to agress on Nisuwa station is he? I mean that would be just silly. He's waiting for me to agress which means I'll get the station guns. I ask in corp and a fw seconds later I have a Vexor ready to undock. I agress, he agresses back, Vexor undocks and we fight, someone else undocks and see's a fight going on and joins in (he was a blue). The Sacrilege de-agresses so I overheat the missiles and he pops before he can dock.

Finishing off the session I got a Corax, Kestrel and a Hawk with a few of the other QCats who have gathered at acceleration gate.

18 kills, 2 losses and a lot of good fun. In fact Sunday was the most fun I'd had in FW for a while. But the main thing was, nearly all the kills were PvP fit ships! What has happened? I'm guessing this......

With the Caldari losing war zone control level three a lot of the farmers have stopped as its not as profitable any more. Without the farmers and what I guess is burn-out from the Caldari who started plexing back the warzone in January things have now levelled out. System control is 55/46 to the Caldari but it would seem the Gallente are plexing more as we are getting more victory points. Could this be FW now? One side's plexers burn out, the other takes over until they themselves get burnt out? Are we going to see this see-saw back and forth?

Who knows but Sunday was a super day for PvP!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Into The Black - Part 10 - Catfight

Fan Fiction Friday! This weeks escape pod is to the details of this weekends "Deathrace". Sounds a lot of fun and a lot of prizes to be won. Unfortunately for me its on a work night and late in my TZ otherwise I'd be there. Middle East weekends have some good things like I'm off today and you're probably at work. Then there are bad things like Saturday night is early to bed and I'm in the office at 7am on a Sunday whilst you're still in bed, you lucky bar steward!!! Anyway, I recommend you look up the Deathrace page and I will link it again at the bottom of this weeks fiction.

Into The Black - Part 10 - Catfight

The huge robotic arms swung backwards and forwards picking up parts and depositing them elsewhere as the assembly lines rolled forward. The factory was almost entirely automated and self-sufficient requiring no human intervention. The raven-haired Gallente agent walked between the lines, gracefully dodging the swinging machinery with ease, blaster pistol in her hand. She slowed as she reached the area her adversary ad taken cover in.

The blond Caldari agent suddenly sprung from behind the large robotic arm on the assembly line with a scrambler pistol pointed with precision. She fired two shots at the Gallente agent who dived into cover before she reappeared firing her own pistol at the blond Caldari assassin. She sprang up high onto a ledge firing twice more forcing the Caldari agent to first dodge and then somersault backwards over the conveyor belt.

For a neutral observer, the gun battle was as a beautiful spectacle as such things can be. The two assassins danced around each other using their super-human movement. Their actions were fluid, graceful, yet deadly. They each used the swinging machinery to their advantage giving them extra burst of speed and agility as they jumped from one place to another. The fire-fight lasted 2 minutes before both of their pistols clicked empty at the same time. The Gallente agent jumped down into the isle between two of the assembly lines, the Caldari stepped out of the shadow of the huge robotic arm she had taken cover behind. They faced each other on the factory floor, casually tossing their spent pistols to the side.

The Caldari agent smiled sweetly as she drew a wicked combat knife from her belt. The black-haired Gallente agent subtlety nodded and did the same and they slowly walked towards each other.


Dorn ran with Kara in tow following the direction indicator on the device the Gallente agent had given him. Outside the factory the terrain was unlevel with many dips and crests. After 5 minutes following the blinking indicator, he spotted a small shuttle idling in a depression in the landscape. 

The ship must have detected the proximity of the device that he was holding as a door slid opened and a small set of steps descended automatically to the ground. Dorn bounded up the steps two at a time as he heard the engines powering up. The small ship appeared to be designed to make a speedy escape he assumed and the proximity of the device he was holding had triggered a number of initial start-up sequences. A handy vessel to have when you needed to be airborne in the least time possible he thought.

By the time Kara climbed the steps Dorn was already sat in the pilots chair running through the pre-flight checks.

"What about the woman who helped us?" Kara asked concerned.

"Take a look." Dorn nodded to a screen. Kara looked and saw a screen that was apparently hacked into the factories surveillance system. The screen showed a wide angle shot of the factory floor where the two agents were locked in a bitter knife fight.

"That's how she knew we were there. She had access to the local security net." Dorn said as he continued preparing the vessel to leave.

Kara wasn't really listening, she had become hypnotised at the spectacle unfolding on the monitor in front of her.


The blond Caldari agent pulled back as the black-haired Gallente agent swiped the knife at her face. The razor-sharp knife nicked the Caldari agent on the cheek and she instinctively touched her hand to the wound. When she brought it back down she saw the metallic silver liquid that flowed through her veins. If you could call it that, first 'blood' had gone to the Gallente agent.

"Nice move.... sister." The Caldari agent purred.

"Thank you. From the look of what is leaking from your face it would indeed appear we are 'blood' relatives." Asia replied.

"Well I hope you aren't expecting any family favours. I am going to slowly gut you and, if you are still alive after that, I am going to garrotte you with your intestines."

"How are you going to manage that?" Asia purred back "When you have my knife buried to the hilt in your right eye?"

The Caldari smiled and moved forward.

The Gallente agent pressed the attack. Both assassins were experts in hand-to-hand combat. Blows were blocked, knife swipes were dodged and thrusts were parried. Both used a mix of various martial arts to try and land the critical blow on their opponent.The Caldari landed a kick to the Gallente's face causing her to stumble back but as the Caldari pounced she fought back with her own kick to the blonds stomach which caused her to crash into a pillar before she lept forward, knife in hand.

Kara wasn't the only one watching this spectacle remotely. Intelligence Officer Garrett had also hacked into the factory's security cameras and was intently watching this dance of death involving his commanding officer from the orbiting cloaked Tengu.

The Gallente assassin appeared to be getting the upper hand. The Caldari now had shallow cuts on both her upper arm and stomach. The wounds leaked the same metallic silvery liquid which ran in stark contrast down her skin tight black suit. The Gallente agent pressed the attack thinking she had her opponent right where she wanted her, nearly up against the wall. Then she saw her opening, the Caldari agent had dropped her guard on her left side and the opportunity was there. The Gallente aimed her knife for the Caldari's heart and came in with a lightning fast strike. But the blond agent expected this, she had even invited it. In a blur she knocked the brunettes arm high and span her round. The Gallente agent was slammed backwards into the wall with the blond crashing into her, there nose practically touching. The Gallente agents mouth was open in a silent scream, her knife dropped from her now open hand and clattered on the floor. 

The Caldari agent kept her body pressed up against the other woman, holding the Gallente's now limp body tight against the wall. The Caldari's knife was embedded to the hilt in the left side of the Gallente agents stomach.

"Good fight girl.... Good fight." the blond whispered into the ear of the Gallente woman as if she was comforting a child.

"Sorry, but I did promise this." She pulled the knife partially out and then very slowly and deliberately drew it to the right between their bodies. The Gallente's eye's bulged and her mouth opened wide although no scream left her mouth as the Caldari woman slit her stomach open. 


"I don't care what agreements are in place between the mega-corps and the Navy! I want to know what industrial secrets are so important we sent an entire task force two jumps from the Gallente border!" Heth screamed in a rage.

Miss Marisaki, his personal assistant, just stood there waiting for him to finish.

"Yes Executor. I am trying to ascertain that information. However, the Admiral was correct to act when requested as per article 45-62c. A task force can be deployed in an emergency, time-critical situation as it was on request from the CEO without further authorisation."

Heth just sat there fuming. He knew she was right, but it didn't matter. Super-carriers were far too valuable to risk in this situation like this. They claimed the data that the thieves were carrying was critical to the State which allowed the mega-corp CEO make the order to the Navy without approval from Heth under the emergency orders rule. But nobody was telling him what this critical data was that justified such a massive risk. 

"I want the entire board ready for a conference at 1100 hours Miss Marisaki." Heth finally said "And warn them that apologies for absence will be returned with force!"


Kara let out a sob as she saw the scene in the factory unfold. She watched on the small monitor as the Caldari agent stepped back and the Gallente woman slid down the wall slowly, her hands trying to hold her insides in the large wound. Silver liquid flowed through her fingers from her midriff where the Caldari had opened her up hip to hip. She was gasping for breath and clearly in a massive amount of pain. Kara wasn't a doctor but she knew the wound must have been fatal.

The Caldari agent squatted down and had a strange look on her face that took Kara a minute to figure out.

Although they were hundreds of kilometers apart, Kara and Officer Garrett had the same thought at the same instant. The Caldari agent could have easily killed the Gallente agent instantly. But she had chosen to inflict a horrific shallow wound. The Caldari agent was watching the Gallente woman slowly die, and was appearing to enjoy it.

They both watched in horror as the Caldari agent finally took the Gallente womans hands and moved them away from where they were pressing the wound closed. The Gallente agent had not the strength to resist. With no pressure on the wound it opened up, and her life started to slip away faster. The Caldari agent took the other woman's head in her hands and gently kissed her as the Gallente released her last breath. The Caldai agent stood, lingered for a moment over the dead body and then started to stride to the exit door Dorn and Kara had left through.

Kara felt physically sick, she took a few deep breaths and turned to Dorn who was solemnly looking at the monitor.

"If she corners us, and there is no way to escape. You cannot let me be captured. I don't know who that it is, but she is pure evil. You need to promise me she won't take me alive." Kara said and nodded to Dorns hip.

Dorn looked down at the gun strapped to his leg and just nodded in understanding.

Back in high orbit on the Tengu, Officer Garrett simply shut off the monitor showing the factory floor and closed his eyes, trying to comprehend the horror he had just witnessed. 

Nowhere in all his career in the intelligence service had he seen such evil as he had in the last few days. He worked with some of the most ruthless people in the State, but this new agent, there was something seriously wrong with her.


The Caldari agent moved fast through the terrain. Her enhanced vision picking up the trail Dorn and Kara had left in the short grass and shrub. She was energised after the fight. The kill had excited her. She wanted more. Ideally she would have played with that Gallente woman a while longer, she was imaging the things she could have done to her if she'd had the time. But she knew the fugitives were running and couldn't let them get too far ahead so had to kill her much faster than she'd have liked.

The shallow wounds she had received herself had almost entirely healed. The trillions of nanites in her blood stream had closed the wounds and were busy regenerating the flesh and skin. The only evidence now were the thin slices in her clothing and a slight reddening of the skin where the nanites still were patching her up.

The Caldari woman wondered if she'd always been like this? She had difficulty recalling much of her life before the conditioning. Had she'd always fantasised about these things or was it part of her conditioning that released these thoughts from some suppressed, dark corner of her brain? The training she'd received had been intense and had covered multiple interrogation techniques. But she couldn't recall her instructors recommending using industrial robotic arms to slowly stretch the victim as she carefully used her knife on them, as she was imagining doing to Dorn and Kara right now.

She sensed the movement before she heard it. The Caldari agent dropped to the floor as the shuttle roared over her from over the rise. The hot air from the exhausts buffering her body. She stood and watched the small craft head up towards space. The shuttle was clearly Gallente and must have belonged to the agent she had just killed. She it must be a small landing craft similar to the one she had on the Tengu. It was a pretty safe assumption that the fugitives were on that ship.

The assassin surveyed the land around her. Her focus shifted to the infrastructure launch pad, her only way off the planet. She typed some orders for the Tengu captain on her datapad and set off in a fast sprint towards the facility that launched goods to the orbiting customs office for collection by the capsuleers. be continued.....

Here's the link to the Deathrace again plus I've also finished writing this series! The final part will be part 15 which will be posted the last weekend before I set off for Fanfest (I leave the Middle East the previous Thursday before FF to see the family in the UK before heading to Iceland). Good timing eh!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Fear The Kestrel...... OF DOOM!

"She might not look like much, but she's got it where it counts, kid."
- Han Solo, Star Wars - A New Hope

I haven't bothered with T1 frigates much in a long time. If I need a ship to enter novice faction war plex's I'll use a navy faction frigate. Why not?

A couple of weeks ago I exhausted my supply of Hookbills so went through my hanger to see what I had there because I really don't know. Nisuwa, apart from a few small breaks, has been my home in Eve Online since 2009. So I've amassed a lot of ships there. Scrolling through I have a few carriers, a dreadnought, pirate faction battleships, navy faction battleships, a shed ton of BC's, a variety of cruisers including navy and pirate faction, a metric shit-ton of destroyers, and look! I even have some T1 frigates. They appear to be buried under a ton of dust and cobwebs and I've not used these in a while, certainly not since they were revamped last year under the "teiricide" banner.

Needing to get into a novice plex I make an old Kestrel active and see its an old cyno Kestrel from before I had an army of alts to light cyno's. My first job is to strip that out and see what I can bung on it. I know I need to be quick, novice plex close in 10 minutes.

Top rack is easy and I fill it with T2 rocket launchers. For the medium slots I go web and scram, an afterburner and a medium shield extender. In the lows I stick a BCU and then I have only enough CPU left to run the Spectrum 48k game Manic Miner! Nano is an obvious needing no fitting and I just manage to squeeze a meta damage control in after dropping from a T2 to a meta web, leaving me with 0.0 CPU. Now that is a tight fit!

The Kestrel doesn't have a damage type bonus, so I stick in T2 rage high-damage EMP and explosive rockets plus some T2 long range rockets. With the web/scram/AB fit I would have problems with kitey opponents and the javelin class rockets give me a range of 22km which is nearly long point range!

And so with my new T1 frigate ready, I am determined to give it try even if my delivery of new Hookbills arrives.

Kestrel vs Incursus works fine and I easily win my first fight in it.

Next I thought I try against a Hookbill. Now a Kestrel vs a Hookbill should be an easy win for the Hookbill right? An even easier win if said Hookbill is actually armour tanked and the Kestrel pilot assumed a shield tank and is firing EMP rockets? Nope! I'm at 2% armour when he pops!

I get a few kills in the Kestrel and for no loses. Now the easy win is NOTHING to do with my (not) l33t PVP skills or my superior fitting abilities. Guys, when you are in a plex...

1. Spam D-Scan.
2. When you have a potential WT on your gate.... CHANGE AMMO TYPE APPROPRIATELY!
3. Overheat! I will be and my DPS will be up 15%. Shouldn't you do the same?

Unfortunately my victims tend to get as far as 1 on the list. I've had them firing Nova (explosive) rockets which are my highest resist and when I packed up the loot that I scooped none of it is usually heat damaged.

I did get cocky and tried against a Thrasher in a small plex. I was hoping he was AC fit and if I could get out to max range I might be able to kite him. But in the end I'll never know.... as he ran away.

And then there was last night which prompted me to write this piece. There was a Hookbill and an Ishkur (assault frigate) in a plex. I'm in my Kestrel and a corp mate is in his Tristan. Two T1 frigates verses a faction frigate and a T2 frigate. We're in our home system, we could reship, but where is the fun in that? We decide to try it for shits and giggles.

We both land on the gate and activate it, agreeing in corp chat that the Hookbill dies first!

As we enter the plex we find both enemy ships at the warp in. I get a web and scram on the Hookbill and activate the AB hoping it will give me some transversal against the blasters of the other ship. The Hookbill goes down surprisingly fast under both my rockets and the Tristan's drones. He had an invulnerability field and the Tristan was neuting so I guess his hardener may have gone offline. The enemy Ishkur set his drones on me and they start tearing through my shields. With both of our DPS on the Ishkur it pops as I'm in low structure.

Suddenly Merlin!

A war target frigate enters as we finish off the Incursus and we decide to stay and kill him.... oh and that Rifter.... and those other Merlins.... and those Condors too.... and that Griffin.... and that..... oh bugger!

We'd not been watching local during the main fight and it would appear half of the squid militia is landing in our plex.

I align with the AB on but the Rifter has me pointed. I web and scram him and it appears he must have been short point fitted as I manage to get out with smoke billowing from my ship and half a dozen angry squids waving their fists at me. WTB duct tape!

Unfortunately they did manage to snag Kibayasu and killed him with all seven ships.

We ship up to Destroyers and find they have all piled into a novice plex. We go back to the medium and wait. Sure enough once they have captured the novice they land on our gate. A reverse Leeroy Jenkins. 11 of them including 2 Griffin's verses out two destroyers and a Tristan.

Needless to say we got kerb-stomped. I got one Griffin as he landed but then I was jammed by the other and that was that. We headed back to station in our pods and shipped to three cruisers. The squids bailed as we entered the plex. Unfortunately TS wasn't working for me last night, I have some internet issues which means TS either works or it doesn't and if it doesn't it needs a PC restart which I wasn't going to do at coming up to midnight. So I hung around in my cruiser as the other QCats formulated a plan on comms.

Five minutes later and a round of 'GF' in local chat and the system emptying of squids gave me the hint that their plan had worked and I REALLY needed to go to bed!

Monday, March 11, 2013

It's a TARP! Oh, Wait... NO DON'T WAIT!

Saturday morning I logged on for some hot pew-pew action. There wasn't a huge amount going on by the sounds of it. It was early in my TZ meaning that there were still a few of the late-night US contingent on still. There was no proper fleet and we were all dispersed around Northern Black Rise hunting solo and in pairs with the knowledge if anything big showed up we'd have back up nearby. It's called a NAFF, Not a Fleet Fleet.

It worked well that morning as two of our guys got jumped by half a dozen neuts in a faction war plex in Pyne. The QCats were in small ships and the neuts had BC and down, so I jumped into an AHAC and went over to help.

We managed to snag this Stabber Fleet Issue. A fast MWD Hurricane was able to escape our long points as were the rest of their smaller ships.

Next bouncing around solo I tried to get a Imperial Navy Slicer. He was kitey, I was short range AB fit and he came in at range, so was pretty stuck. But that's not what killed me, although now he had me with a long point he could have solo'd me, he decided he needed a blob to complete the kill.

Thankfully some nice person killed him before he had a session change so I got onto his mail. Plus, as a bonus, he had a 30m ISK MWD fitted, so I got a nice trade there in ISK efficiency for my much cheaper Hookbill!

After a bit more chasing faction war pilots who didn't want to fight, I decide to camp a gate as I have some stuff to do on the other PC screen. I selected a dead-end system, put a Cockbag Thrasher on the only gate and waited to hear the gate sound whilst working on the other screen. After a while I hear the gate activate, look at the main screen and there is a squid in local! I get ready and a Tristan decloaks. I lock him, point him and volley one puts him into structure. The pre-overheat on the top rack means volley two comes quickly and puts him in his pod which I also point and kill. I scoop the loot and head back to station to repair the overheat damage on the guns and drop off the loot before returning to the gate to wait for my next customer.

5 minutes later the gate fires again and I turn my attention back to the main screen. Another squid! No, actually it is the same squid. Now I have to think very quickly before he uncloaks. Why would he come back to a gate he knows is camped?

1. He's come back in a ship that can survive the Cockbags initial volley and then counter the 'slow-ass' tracking artilleries?
2. He's come back in a cruiser or similar that can easily take a Thrasher solo?
3. He's dumb enough to come back in a frigate thinking last time he was just unlucky or that I might have moved on in the last 5 minutes?

Whilst I'm wondering whether to wait and try it (if it was option 3) or if I should warp to station (if it was options 1 or 2), there are several more gate fires and the number of war targets in local tells me I may have forgoten that there could be a number 4.

4. He's brought his friends.

I hit warp before anyone uncloaks and head to station. 4v1 in an untanked Thrasher won't end well for me. I dock, swap to a differently fit Thrasher and undock. Outside the station is a Talwar and a Tristan. However the other two are about somewhere in system. A wide D-scan shows a Kestrel and a Merlin on max range. My new Thrasher is AB/AC fit so a fast and kitey Talwar is going to be an issue, never mind the others who would be on scene quickly if I engaged. I dock back up as the Telwar engages from range and undock in a Vexor. The Talwar warps off (sensible guy) and the Tristan takes a flight of light combat drones to the face before deciding that warping off might be a great idea.

I sit there and start D-Scanning the two faction war plex that are open. It would seem their plan was to split up with two taking an open plex each and the other two were probably meant to be trying to keep me pinned in station. Unlucky for them I keep a range of ships in various stations around so I can reship when needed.

The Telwar comes back at range and starts to burn towards me. I align towards him and move slowly. When he gets to 24km he points me and target-paints me before opening up with his missiles. He's now at 20km. I overheat my entire mid-rack and hit the MWD. My lumbering fat green ass is propelled forward thanks to the over-heated MWD and of course, because my webs and scrams are also overheated, I have a nice range bonus to them. I snag him with the scram and double webs. I'm soon at point blank range so stop the overheat, launch drones and open up with the medium blasters. The Tristan is here but I assume the Telwar pilot knew his fate and told him not to bother. The Telwar goes down, I scoop the loot and wait out the aggression timer before docking up and repairing the ship damage.

With their one and only Destroyer dead they have three frigates left. So I jump into a Hookbill and go for the others. First plex I snag their Kestrel and after that local empties of war targets.

Now, anyone who has been reading this blog over the last two weeks knows I've been ranting about the farmers. Cloaking Rifters and cloaky Algos, Daredevils with cloaks, ships with so many stabs they have to wind the window down and throw the ammo at me as their lock range is so short. But this weekend I've not seen as many. I'm not saying they are not still out there, as my CEO Chatgris pointed out, they still are:-

It's just I've not been seeing them. I've been using capsule kills as an indicator of how much farming is going on. Generally farmers don't get their pods out in a hurry. On a normal month I'd usually get between one and three pod kills. The first full month the Caldari hit warzone control level III which was Fenruary I got 11. In the first 9 days of this month I have 8! But hopefully that will now drop off if the farmers aren't bothering with this area now.

In fact the majority of the squids that I have seen this weekend have been PvP fit and are looking for a fight.

May be the farmers are learning not to come to the Nisuwa area and those that do want a fight are replacing them?

Whatever the reason this weekend was low on farmers and high on PvP. Is this a turning point? I can but hope!