Friday, February 27, 2015

The Starburst Coders - Part 3

Fiction Friday. Escape pod here!

There is a new novella PDF available. I've basically taken the old Jita Ripper series and put it all together and added the missing chapters which were covered by normal blog entries for the in-game events.

The Starburst Coders - Part 3

Chigas looked at the feed from the security cameras. The three men had cut through the main blast-doors and were cutting into the second security door. That one wouldn't take as long and they'd soon be at the final door. 30 minutes and that would be it. He analyzed the situation. Three trained mercs, possibly agents of another empire, against him and a civilian. He could get one, he might get lucky and neutralize two. He didn't think he'd manage all three. Plus that was assuming a straight firefight where they had to come through a choke-point. These guys might simply toss in a couple of concussion grenades and simply walk in. They'd kill him and then torture Sawara as they had done to Aibi until she sent the Starbursts re-ordering the attack. Operation Cleansing Fire would kill half a billion people on Gallente Prime and many times that number when the Gallente retaliated against the State. It was a hopeless situation. Chigas leaned back in his chair and closed his eyes, thinking. There was an option. The unspoken agreement. The coders must not fall into enemy hands no matter what.

Chigas walked into the comms room. Sawara was still sat in her chair looking worried as the cutting laser created a red ring around the door. The red wire was still connected to the socket behind her right ear. Chigas walked to the door and looked through the reinforced window. The men were there behind the cutting laser. He knocked on the window with the butt of his gun. He sought out the man he assumed was the leader and locked eyes with him. Chigas made the military hand-signal of "watch me". He walked back over to the comms console. Sawara watched him nervously wondering what he was up to. Chigas could see the leaders face in the window looking in curiously. Sawara questioned Chigas what he was doing. Chigas just walked behind her and grabbed her by the hair. Sawara cried out in shock and pain. In one fluid movement Chigas drew his pistol, placed it against the side of her head and fired. The report was deafening in the confined room. The left side of Sawara's head erupted. Blood, skull fragments and bits of brain flew against the wall. Chigas took the gun and emptied the clip into the console. He looked up to the window. The leader looked at him impassively. A slight nod followed, perhaps a military sign of respect for doing what he had to do, and then he turned and walked away. The laser cutting through the door stopped and the room fell quiet.

"Are you OK?" Sawara asked sticking her head into the security office.

It made Chigas jump and return to reality.

"Yeah. Just trying to come up with a master plan to save our asses."

Sawara went quiet. "Pity there is no code word for 'come and save our asses' otherwise we could send a Starburst."

Chigas smiled and then suddenly looked serious. She was right, the only communication they could send was Starbursts due the dampening fields around the station. However there was no way they could convey the situation to an Agent. All the orders were three word phrases linked to memorized operations."

He smiled and lent over the terminal. He could still receive data on the network even if he couldn't send it. He pulled up the entertainment listings for the New Caldari Prime holo-channels. Sawara looked over his shoulder.

"The holo-guide. Movies section? Are you seriously planning on watching something later?" she asked "You haven't forgotten about the three goons out there that are trying to kill us? Is there a good rom-com on?" she asked a bit sarcastically.

"Give me a minute, I need to find a movie. I have an idea, you have access to the agent identifiers and go-codes right?"

Sawara looked at his strangely. "Yes, but without the project code words I cannot give any useful message. Unless Command sent the three words, its useless. Even if we say 'help under attack' the agent will not act unless it matches an known op in his inventory."

"I know, and like I said I have an idea. Get the medical kit from the wall in the Comms Room." Chigas replied.

"Are you hurt?" she asked concerned.

"No, its for you. Now get going we've not got much time!"

Sawara looked confused but raced off to grab the medical kit as Chigas browsed through the movie listings for the day trying to find something.


A few minutes later Chigas was set up in the Comms Room. The glowing molten ring around the door was almost complete. Sawara was locked in the side office. Away from the potential fire fight. He leveled his gun at the door. He had thought about shooting out the console, but he was limited on rounds. He couldn't be sure of doing enough damage to make it unrepairable.

A large round section of the heavy steel door fell inwards with a crash and Chigas tensed. His tunnel vision concentrating down the iron sights of his pistol through the smoking hole.

Two round objects were thrown into the room and Chigas looked at them.

"Well, shit. I fracking called that!" he muttered a second before the stun grenades exploded.

The next thing Chigas knew was a stinging slap to the face that brought him round. He was tied to a chair. Sawara was next to him similarly restrained. The effects of the concussion grenade made his head ache. He didn't know how long he'd been out. The glowing metal around where they had cut the door told him it hadn't been long. Maybe a couple of minutes.

"Our lady here says that only you know the unlock code." the leader said pointing at the console screen. 'Enter Passcode' blinked on the red background.

"Yes. I had her set up the encryption then made her look away as I typed in the passcode. She has no idea."

The leader looked at him with a funny smile.

"Then you'd better tell us before we convince you to tell us." one of the other men sneered taking an aggressive step forward. The leader put his hand on the goons chest.

"Cool it soldier. There is no point, he wants us to waste or time. There is a reason we did it this way round. This little thorn in our side is an experienced field agent. He's run the numbers, haven't you? In a little over fifteen minutes the return shuttle will be over-due. Nobody is likely to panic at that point. Fifteen minutes after that we can assume alarm bells are going to start to ring and a Crow class interceptor will be launched from the station. That will be another five minutes total before a Navy Capsuleer is reporting to command that both shuttles are still here. Within ten minutes a unit of Marines will be asking us some really difficult and probing questions. We are not going to break an agent in the forty-five minutes we have left." The leader stated.

The other two looked worried.

"Best we can do is give it 30 minutes on the woman whilst he is made to watch and hope he cracks. Then we can get out of here. You!" he said to one of the men. "See if you can hack the shuttle and get it out of here on autopilot. At least the scout might think it was lost between here and the station. That might buy us enough time."

The man nodded and jogged back towards the exit. The leader pulled out the pliers from his pocket. They were still bloody from their last use.

"Right, lets see if we can persuade you to unlock the console." the leader sneered to Chigas. "I'm pretty sure you're trained to hold out but lets see if you can watch your partner her take it."

"You won't make it in time if you do her the same way as you the other. You really don't know what you are doing. Take off these cuffs and I'll show you how you do it to her properly." Chigas said nonchalantly.

"Oh really? You'll torture her for us?"


The leader put the pliers down on the side and pulled his gun out aiming at Chigas. He looked at his remaining man.

"Uncuff him." He said to his comrade. The man looked at the leader incredulously. "Do it, I'm calling this assholes bluff! Uncuff him!"

The other man uncuffed Chigas as the leader kept his gun trained on him. Chigas slowly rose not making any sudden movements, he took the pliers from the desk and walked over to Sawara who was begging him not to do it. Chigas took her left hand which was tied to the chair and grabbed her little finger.

"You just ripped them off quickly last time. That's like taking off a plaster." he said in an instructing tone gripping Sawar's fingernail with the pliers as she cried for him to stop. "You need to do it slowly and at an angle, twisting as you go."

Sawar's scream hurt their ears as Chigas slowly ripped the nail out, working it from side to side, taking his time. Sawar was panting hard between sobs when he finished. Tears streamed down her face. Her screams returned as he slowly worked on the next finger. She was begging him to stop as he dropped the second bloody nail onto the floor.

"Enough." barked the leader. "Man you really are one sick puppy. Your file was right, you'll do anything for the State. I get it, this isn't going to work, plus her screams are hurting my ears. So stop."

Chigas shrugged and back off slightly nearer the console.

The sound of a gunshot echoed down the corridor. All of them glanced down but couldn't see anything.

"Go check!" the leader said to the remaining man who grabbed his carbine and headed out of the Comms Room. A tense minute later another single shot rang out.

Chigas backed up to the desk fully and sat down on top of it smiling. The leader training his gun on him whilst giving nervous glances back down the empty corridor.

"We all have ops like this. Don't worry about it."

"Shut up!" the leader snapped.

"I'm sure your command will understand. Occasional things get fracked up. Its not your fault. You know what they say, no plan makes it past first contact with the enemy."

"Shut up!" the leader snapped again stepping forward and jabbing the gun in Chigas face. "Say one more thing, one more thing and I'll spread your brains over the wall! In fact I might just do that now!"

"Fine, but I really think you should be pointing the gun at that guy." he said nodding over to the door. The leader span around bringing his gun to bare. As he spun he realized the school-boy error he'd made. Chigas reached underneath and grabbed his back-up gun that he had taped under the desk earlier. He had already fired before the leader could react. His shoulder went limp as the hybrid round burst through it and he dropped the gun as he fell to the deck. A second shot from Chigas shattered his knee. He went for the fallen gun with his one remaining good arm but Chigas put a round through his palm.

"Stay!" he said moving over to Sawara and releasing her from her bonds. She stood and held her lip bloodied fingers in front of her face. She poked them with her other hand.

"How long will that local anesthetic last that you dosed me up with?" she asked continued poking her numb fingers with her right hand.

"Long enough to get you back to station and to a medical bay. Good acting by the way, those screams were eerily realistic."

Sawara took a little bow. "Well I was part of the amateur dramatics group at university." she said.

"Come on, we need to identify ourselves as friendlies to our friendly neighborhood assassin before he takes us down too!"


"War is Coming - The Luminaire Hijack? That awful B-movie made by the Gallente?" Chigas' boss asked with a laugh. Chigas was being debriefed at the Navy Intelligence office several hours later.

"Yes. We needed to send a Starburst but only had three words. 'Channel 623 2100' was enough to identify that movie. It worked didn't it? The agent realized that just as in that bad movie, a secret government listening post had been compromised."

His boss nodded. "You can probably guess our surprise as our local deep-cover counter-intelligence agent contacted us out of the blue suggesting that the Starburst facility had been compromised and our people taken hostage. He was already in orbit so we simply sent him the data he needed. He got the location, access codes and the files on the four of you to make sure he didn't take you down by mistake. As it turns out between you and him we didn't need the Marine unit we also sent. They were disappointed to arrive late and find most the bad guys dead!"

"How is my coder?" Chigas asked.

His boss laughed again.

"Apparently the local anesthetic from the med kit you dosed her fingers up with was wearing off by the time she got to the station's sick-bay. The nurses report they learned fourteen new swearwords used to describe someone called Chigas. Apparently the re-grafted nails were a success and she's fine now. Twenty minutes relatively light pain compared to what she would have got is all she suffered."

Chigas smiled.

"What about our 'special' guest?" he asked.

His boss turned and flicked on a large view screen. The leader of the intruders was strapped to a medal chair in an interrogation room. His shoulder, knee and hand were bandaged. Needles connected to hoses were being placed in various veins in his arms.

"He's just getting comfortable. Don't worry, he'll be telling us all about who he is, why he wanted to start all-out war with the Gallente and who he works for. I read your report, I let our men down there know what he did to our people and your counterpart's wife. I'm sure they are going to take very, very special care of him."

The boss shut off the screen just as the intruder let out a blood-curdling scream of agony.

The end.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A Very Rough Noobie Guide to Guns in Eve Online

I heard a few conversations over the weekend and thought I'd do a quick guide to weapon systems in Eve Online. Well guns anyway. If you know your Eve weapons go here instead as this is a very basic introduction to guns. If you know the difference between a blaster and a railgun head over there and see who to vote for in CSM X. Voting is now open!

Most ship hulls give a boost to a certain weapon type. This might be damage, range, tracking or such. Its usually a very good idea to fit the type of weapons to your ship that get a boost. Also generally small guns go on frigates and destroyers, mediums go on cruisers and most battlecruisers and large guns go on battleships and one specific line of Battlecrusiers*

Blasters (Hybrid)
Think of Blasters as the sawn-off shotguns of Eve Online. Short range, massive damage, useless at long range. You can use ammo to improve range a bit but generally if you cannot get near to your target you are buggered. You do thermal and kinetic damage with blasters. Hybrid weapons only take five seconds to reload compared with 10 seconds for all other weapons systems. Using a Merlin for comparison.

Short Range/High DPS Ammo - 1.7km optimal, 3.2km max effective, 168 DPS
Long Range/Low DPS Ammo - 3.1km optimal, 7.5km max effective, 120 DPS

Autocannons (Projectile)
The MAC10 or Uzi 9mm of Eve Online. High damage, but short range for this to be truly effective. They are able to hit further out than Blasters but with poorer accuracy. Pretty much spray-and-pray time. Autocannons have a wide range of ammo that means you can select a specific damage type. Using a Rifter for comparison.

Short Range/High DPS Ammo - 0.8km optimal, 8km max effective, 120 DPS
Long Range/Low DPS Ammo - 1.5km optimal, 15km max effective, 86 DPS

Pulse Lasers (Energy)
Whilst a short-range weapon, these have better range than blasters or autocannons but less DPS. Using a Punisher for comparison.

Short Range/High DPS Ammo - 4km optimal, 7km max effective, 135 DPS
Long Range/Low DPS Ammo - 11km optimal, 14km max effective, 96 DPS

Railguns (Hybrid)
The assault rifle of New Eden. Mid to long range. Hybrid weapons only take five seconds to reload compared with 10 seconds for all other guns. Using a Merlin for comparison.

Short Range/High DPS Ammo - 4.5km optimal, 12km max effective, 100 DPS
Long Range/Low DPS Ammo - 32km optimal, 39km max effective, 58 DPS

Artillery Cannons (Projectile)
The Sniper Rifle of Eve. Long range, massive damage, long time between shots, useless in close combat range. Using a Rifter for comparison.

Short Range/High DPS Ammo - 3.7km optimal, 20km max effective, 95 DPS
Long Range/Low DPS Ammo - 27km optimal, 43km max effective, 54 DPS 

Beam Lasers (Energy)
Something Carebears use. I have no idea! Using a Punisher for comparison.

Short Range/High DPS Ammo - 4.1km optimal, 7.2km max effective, 126 DPS
Long Range/Low DPS Ammo - 29km optimal, 32km max effective, 72 DPS


Hybrid Charges Hybrid charges are used in both blasters and railguns and generally do Kinetic and Thermal damage. Anti-Matter is one of the most popular high DPS ammo for T1 guns. It reduces range by 50% but hits hard. However as T2 ammo is so good for hybrids you don't really need Faction.

For T2, Void is the close-range ammo and Null for longer range. Personally I only ever tend to use Void with Null in the hold in case my target gets a bit of range and I need to hit further out.

Void - High DPS, Short Range, Kinetic and Thermal Damage
Null - Lower DPS, Long Range, Kinetic and Thermal Damage

Faction Antimatter - High DPS, Short Range, Kinetic and Thermal Damage

T1 wise faction antimatter is the de-facto close range ammo choice. T2 ammo for railguns again give you a short range and long range ammo choice.

Javelin (T2) - High DPS, Short Range, Kinetic and Thermal Damage
Spike (T2) - Lower DPS, Long Range, Kinetic and Thermal Damage

Faction ammo is always useful with projectiles. Phased Plasma is a good all-round choice if you don't know what you are engaging. It is short-range and high Kinetic/Thermal damage. If you know your enemies hole (steady) you can swap to EMP for EM damage or Fusion for Explosive. Remember these are all short-ranged, high DPS ammo. Titanium-Sabot is a useful ammo to carry as it gives good range and improves tracking with a corresponding drop in damage output, small arties should hit disruptor kiters with it. I personally feel T2 projectile ammo is not worth it. Hail and Barrage are OK for autocannons. Tremor for artillery cannons is not great due to the huge tracking debuff. As Charlie Fodder said "To be used on stationary targets only".

Hail (T2 Autocannon) - High DPS, Short Range, Reduced Tracking, Kinetic and Explosive Damage
Barrage (T2 Autocannon) - Lower DPS, Longer Range, Reduced Tracking, Kinetic and Explosive Damage

Quake (T2 Artillery) - High DPS, Short Range, Bonus to Tracking, Kinetic and Explosive Damage
Tremor (T2 Artillery) - Lower DPS, Long Range, Huge debuff to Tracking, Kinetic and Explosive Damage

Faction Phased Plasma - High DPS, Short Range, Mostly thermal with some Kinetic Damage
Faction EMP - High DPS, Short Range, Mostly EM damage with some Kinetic/Explosive Damage
Faction Fusion - High DPS, Short Range, Mostly Explosive with some Kinetic
Faction Titanium Sabot - Mid DPS, Mid Range, Bonus to Tracking Speed, Kinetic and Explosive Damage

Imperial Navy Multifrequency is a good choice for everyday use. Other than that.... find another guide. I really am bad at lasooors :/

* Yes this is Eve. You can experiment and have good success at swapping gun sizes and types. The AC Ferox, the Artillery Tristan, the small gun Vexor. Yes, with the right hull and fit autocannons can be a kiting weapon. The above are the guidelines GENERALLY for new players. Eve always has plenty of exceptions!

P.S. Yes the Beam Lasers comment is a bit of a troll but you have to admit they are more popular with mission runners than PvPrs generally speaking.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Risk Adverse Bar Stewards

Is it just me, or are low-sec PvP'rs becoming more risk adverse? I seem to be seeing more and more of these guys looking for easy kills with minimum risk. I've had a bad day at work so this is a full bodied whine post. Get some cheese and biscuits and I'll begin.

1. The Faction Vs T1

This is what kicked this blog post off. I was deplexing Hasmijala at the weekend in my trusty Fat Man (Tristan). I got a Federation Navy Comet on scan so aligned out. He entered the plex and I warped to station, jumped into a Republic Fleet Firetail and went back. Soon as he got me on scan....

He left system before I could say WTF. He clearly was roaming looking to gank T1 frigates in plex but was not prepared to take on anything above T1. I was going to be warping into him and he was in a Comet! He could have sat on the warp in, drones out. I was dubious I could take that in a Firetail but was willing to give it a go, but nope!

2. The Slicer

Ah, the ideal ship for the risk-adverse PvP'r. A fast kitey ship with massive GTFO-ability. Orbit at 20km and plink away at your unfortunate target with your crap DPS as you long point them. If they appear to be hurting you even from this range you can simply burn out of point range and warp off. Oh yes, and remember if you've had them tied down for three minutes tickling them and their mates arrive you MUST cry in local about them bringing friends. Ignore the fact that you've been engaging them so long they could have got their back-up to fly freighters through three system in that time. Just cry in local and burn away at speed.

3. The Blob.

I was solo in a plex yesterday in an Algos. I got an Atron on scan. Wouldn't be much of a fight. He didn't come in. A minute later a Cormorant landed. Corm and Atron vs Algos. Worth a try. 2 v 1 could be fun. If the Corm was rail I might have a chance even out numbered. If he was blaster then I'd DIAF. I waited, I waited some more and then waited a bit longer. They were sat on the gate clearly but not coming in? Then my short scan showed they didn't want a 2 v 1....

Cormorant, Atron... and..... AtronAtronAtronAtronIncursusOneIForgot

Once they were 8 v 1 they came in and I left undertaking the Brave Sir Robin Manoeuvre (RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY!)

4. The Alts

Either cloaked inside the plex or at a pounce. Usually can be spotted in local by having similar names. Issue is when they are not on scan and the person has had the forethought not to name their characters almost the same. The 1v1 soon becomes a 2v1 early in the fight. Of course killing them both is one of the best things you can do in game.

May be I had a bad weekend? May be I'm just mad, bro given that my PvP was fracked over. Anyone else seeing this? Does no one solo just like a good old 1v1 brawl these days?

Sunday, February 22, 2015

SCASSSS - The Ripper Cover

I got Rixx Javix to do me a commision last week. I'm turning an old fiction series I did a few years ago into a PDF booklet and needed a cover. I said just simple. Jita 4-4. spaceships, blood splatter, title. The I got this back! Wow.... all I can say on the matter!

SCASSSS - Stands for Sand, Cider and Spaceships Special Sunday Short. I originally started these when I made the blog list on Jester's Trek. Technically I didn't meet his requirements of a post every other day as I posted three times a week. Jester's Trek is now dark but I still continue these sort posts on a Sunday.

Friday, February 20, 2015

The Starburst Coders - Part 2

Fiction Friday! Escape pod here.

The Starburst Coders - Part 2

At the entry to the central control room they found Ranta. He lay blocking the final thick single-person security door which was half open. The window in the heavy metal door was almost totally obscured by dried blood. Chigas had his gun drawn as he pushed the door open fully. He noticed Aibi straight away. She was in her chair at the communications desk. She was either unconscious or dead, the front of her top was caked in blood. Nobody else appeared to be in the room.

"Stay back." he yelled down to Sawara who was at the bottom of the corridor.

He checked Ranta and found his face was smashed in and there was a deep indent in his skull. He was very dead. Stepping over the body of Ranta and into the communications room he went to check on Aibi. She was also dead, gunshot to the stomach. He noticed the thin red wire snaking from the console, over her shoulder and the plug had been pulled out and was resting just outside the discreet socket behind her ear. She had been jacked-in just before and they'd unplugged her when they killed her. Her wrists and ankles were taped to the chair and her finger tips were a mess of ruined flesh. It looked like they'd been stuck by a lump-hammer. Chigas reviewed the console and found it was locked by a passcode. He checked the other terminals but everything was password protected. He didn't have access to this system. A scream across the room made him swing his gun towards the sound. Sawara stood there looking at Aibi in shock.

"I told you to stay back!" Chigas said solemnly.

"Is she.......?"

"Yes she's dead. She was jacked into the system and they tortured her. They unplugged her then killed her. I need you to unlock the system."

Sawara went over to the nearest terminal and tried to log in.

"I'm locked out. Aibi must have been forced to place an encoded lock to restrict access."

Chigas swore. 

"We need to know exactly what happened here." he said.

Both of them moved over to the small office off the main communications room. This was where Chigas usually spent most of the shift. In one corner was a small printer. Generally in New Eden paper was not used. Datapads, holograms and mobile communications had superseded hardcopies a thousand years ago. However when the power went down a hard copy was invaluable to review what had been happening up to that point. This printer activated once per hour and printed out all the log entries for that timeframe. Chigas picked up the last few sheets. The first two showed nothing out of the ordinary. The third logged the supply shuttle arriving and docking. Then it was logged that the the main door was opened. A serious breech of protocol. The main blast door was never supposed to be opened when the supply ship was there. Nobody but the two coders and their minders should even have entered the facilities. More mundane log entries. Chigas' eyes narrowed when he saw the next few lines.

"It looks like they came on the supply shuttle. For some reason they were let in. Then six starbursts were sent."

"Six?" Sawara gasped. Two in a single twelve hour shift was a very busy shift normally."

"I think we can assume that those transmissions are not going to be helpful to the State. We need to find out what was sent and send a cancel order."

"Can we call for help?" Sawara asked hopefully.

"No. There is a dampening field around this facility. The only communications that work are Starbursts."

Chigas took a seat at his desk. He logged onto the security system. He brought up the camera view of the entry room. The three men were there setting something up on a tripod. It looked like a long gun.

"What are they doing?" asked Sawara.

"Its an Amarrian built laser-cutter. We have got an hour to fix this mess otherwise we're going to have company."

He opened the archive folder and played the entry hall footage from three hours ago. The security cameras recorded everything on the outpost. The two watched in silence as the screen showed four men unloading the cargo crates and water buts by the blast door. Chigas noted one discreetly placing the charges for the bomb that was meant to kill them. One of the men then started to talking into the comm panel by the door. With no sound on the security feed it was strange to watch in silence. One of the men looked at the camera directly, not bothering to hide his face. These men didn't care if they were identified. More shouting into the comm panel as two of the men vanished back to the supply ship docked at the end of the docking arm. A few seconds later they reappeared. A struggling woman beside them. More shouting and the third man produced a large knife. The one by the comms panel backed off. Apparently the conversation was over. 

Chigas knew what was happening. The woman was leverage against his counter-part. What would he have done it it was his wife between the two men? Would he have capitulated if he was watching this on screen and someone was threatening Uunse?

A minute later the security blast doors opened and Ranta exited, his hands up as two of the intruders pointed guns at him. He was frisked and his gun taken from him. Who was the woman Chigas thought? Ranta's wife? Grown-up daughter? A lover? The six people vanished into the Facility, Ranta with his hands on his head. Chigas flicked the feed to the communications room. Aibi was there looking frantically out of the window in the locked door. Its what Chigas would have done. Told her to lock herself in the room and not come out whatever happened. He flicked the feed to the corridor camera. The six had stopped by the second security door. It was obvious an argument had broken out. Probably Ranta refusing to open it. Lying that he didn't have access now, making something up about activating a nonexistent lock-down alarm or something. Chigas watched as one of the men, the one who had been communicating via the comms panel, pulled his gun out. He calmly shot the woman in the upper thigh. Chigas winced as he saw her go down clutching her leg in agony. Ranta lost it and was swiftly put down by the butt of a rifle to the back. The woman was writhing on the floor screaming. Blood was pumping from the hole in her leg. Chigas knew they had forced Ranta's hand. The woman, whoever she was, was bleeding out on the floor. She needed to get to the medical bay soon or she would be dead. The medical bay, which was on the other side of the door. Ranta rose from the floor defeated and opened the door. Chigas paused the playback.

"You shouldn't watch this." he said to Sawara.

"No. I want to see. These are the men that are trying to get me. I deserve to know what's coming for me." she said defiantly.

Chigas resumed the video. As Ranta opened the door the man who still had his gun out put two more shots into the womans chest. She stopped moving as a struggling Ranta was held by the other two men screaming. The group continued, dragging the dead woman's body with them. The pool of blood by the door is what Chigas had already seen, where the men made the bloody footprints as they left the secure area. Chigas swapped the feed to the camera covering the Communications Room door. These guys obviously had intel on the place he was sure now. They knew back there that the final door could only be opened from inside so the woman was no longer a bargaining chip. The two watched as the man who was presumably the leader shouted into the comms panel on the door. Aibi was frantic the other side. The men started slamming Ranta's face into the door's small window. The silent feedback showed Aibi screaming for them to stop. Finally she broke and opened the door. The men swarmed into the room. Ranta was dropped onto the floor barely conscience. The leader noticed how he'd fallen and took hold of the heavy metal security door. He heaved against it, slamming it against Ranta's head. Ranta convulsed and stopped moving as his head was partially crushed between the heavy door and its frame.

Chigas swapped the feed to the wide-angle camera of the communications room. They watched as Aibi was forced into the chair and bound to the arm supports. One man took the neural interface lead and plugged it into her head by force. The leader set a datapad down in front of her. The angle prevented Chigas and Sawara seeing what was displayed to her. Aibi was shaking her head and crying, obviously refusing to send the message or messages. More shouting followed by a slap from the leader. Finally he pulled a pair of pliers from his pocket. He grabbed her left hand and used the pliers to rip off a fingernail. Even though the playback was silent, Chigas thought for a second he could actually hear Aibi's howl of agony as he watched on the screen. A second and third finger quickly followed. As he closed the pliers around the end of one of the fingers he'd previously ripped the nail from, her head flew back and her mouth opened in another silent scream. The effort on the mans face was clear as he crushed her finger tip turning it into a bloody pulp. She still held strong, even spitting in his face when he faced her. She was rewarded with another backhanded slap before he finished off the other nails of her left hand before crushing each of her fingers above the last knuckle. Chigas was impressed with her resolve. He had got halfway through her right hand before she passed out from the pain. They had obviously come prepared as they jabbed a stim-stick into her upper arm. She immediately woke, the cocktail of drugs bringing her around and heightening her senses so that her damage hands would hurt even more. Chigas could only imagine the pain she was in as her saw her whip her head back and scream at the top of her lungs.

When her head came back forward she was nodding and sobbing. They'd broken her. Chigas didn't judge. The woman was a civilian. She wasn't trained to withstand that. She focused on the datapad. Her eyes capturing the orders and encoding it via her brain implant. The leader changed the datapad five more times, swiching to different messages Chigas assumed. Eventually he picked it up and placed it back in his pocket and unplugged her implant cable. Aibi's head hung forward as she sobbed. The leader took his pistol and shot her twice in the stomach. Her body shook with each impact. Chigas glowered at the screen. He could have done her in the heart or the head. No, he was mad she made him work for it so had decided to make it slow and painful. She would take a while to die from those wounds and every second would be agony for her. Chigas started to imagine what he'd do to that bastard if he got his hands on him.

"Spin it back. Back to where he was flicking through the datapad." Sawara said suddenly.

Chigas rewound it to where Aibi had started nodding.

"There!" Sawara point on the screen.

Chigas looked carefully. Behind Aibi there was a glass fronted cabinet containing computer equipment. The datapads reflection was feintly visible. Chigas zoomed in and enhanced. 

"Bravo, nine, zulu, echo, four. Cleansing fire. Gamma, gamma, four, two, seven."

Chigas' blood ran cold. Sawara read the next message. The term "cleansing fire" was mentioned in all six.

"Whatever Cleansing Fire is, its what they wanted to activate. The first part of the code is the agent identifier, the last bit is the go code."

"Operation Cleansing Fire is a last resort program against the Gallente." Chigas said "If full-scale war to break-out and we were about to lose, it was to be our parting gift to them. Six sleeper agents, hidden in the six largest cities on Gallente Prime. Each with a compact fission bomb. Projected casualties around 500 million. The devastation was hoped to distract the frogs long enough for remnants of the State to flee and hide deep in null-sec."

"But we are not at full-scale war with the Gallente!" Sawara stated.

"We will be, unless we can send the abort codes. Not even CONCORD would stop the Gallente from invading after that loss of life. We need...."

Chigas's voice trailed back as he turned his attention back to the screen. The video had been re-playing from where the codes had been revealed and it now had reached the point where the men had left. Chigas noticed something and zoomed the camera close into Aibi.

"Oh no. She was still alive when they left her. You can see how she's twitching. The bastards left her like that." gasped Sawara.

"That's not twitching." Chigas said. "Each finger is moving in turn and repeating a sequence. Six, one, three, two, one. She keeps repeating that sequence on each of her fingers."

Suddenly Sawara dashed out of the room. Chigas sprang up to follow. She went to the comms console and gingerly took the interface plug from Aibi's lifeless shoulder. She plugged herself in and leaned over the console. Just using her mind '61321' appeared in red digits on screen followed by "System Unlocked" and the screen going green.

Chigas stepped back knowing that Sawara was working to undo what had been done. He moved Ranta's body and secured the Comms Room door knowing the intruders would soon be through the main blast doors. They still might not be able to stop it. There were three of them and only one of him and he was down to his last magazine. They would capture Sawara, torture her and get her to resend the code. Then they would kill her and there would be nobody to stop them.

Chigas froze. His mind going back to the meeting with his boss. The question that he asked Chigas with regard to his last mission as an operative. He'd had to kill a Caldari citizen, a young woman who had done nothing wrong technically. "Would you do it again?" his bosses voice echoed around his head. Chigas glanced over at Sawara who was concentrating on sending out new Starbursts cancelling the orders to nuke the Gallente cities that would start a devastating war. For the good of the State he could put an end to the threat in a matter of minutes. He just had to simply shoot her in the head once she was finished. With no coder, no more Starbursts could be sent.

He started to contemplate the word 'simply'.

To be concluded....

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Four Weeks to Fanfest

The countdown is on like Donkey Kong. It's sort of even less time for me as I use Fanfest to travel back to England from the Middle East to see family and friends. I fly in three weeks and one day back to Blighty!

I think this is Fanfest number four for me. I also think the last Fanfest advice post was November 2013 so time for another post? If you are going and this is your first, here are things I think are helpful!

1. Clothing
Icelandic weather is very changeable. I'm also used to a minimum of 13oC. Layers are key! It can be snowing a blizzard one minute and nice warm sunshine the next. Also consider your footwear. You could be walking through snow to get to the Harpa! Iceland is certainly not the place of Matari high-fashion I can assure you...

2. Booze
As I've said in previous posts similar to this, stock up as you land. Supermarkets do not sell drink. Only special shops do. There is a massive booze shop in the baggage reclaim area. Get it there!

3. Airport Transfers
The airport is a long way from Reykjavik. Unless there is a group its going to cost you. Get the FlyBus. A nice modern coach with free Wifi for the 40 minute journey.

4. Cash isn't Hugely Important
Whilst I take some ISK (yes, Icelandic money is called ISK. No, seriously!) Iceland is the most card friendly place I've ever been. The Party on Top of the World usually makes for an interesting bank statement! There is talk that cards now need 'Chip and Pin' technology in Iceland so best make sure your plastic is compatible!

5. The Showers are Lava Powered!
Seriously! Iceland has one of the highest percentages of renewable energy in the world. Then again they are living on top of a massive volcano! The hot water is basically spring water heated by lava. It has a bit of a sulphurous smell but its all good. Also the hot water can be HOT so be careful.

6. Celtic Cross is THE Place to be Wednesday Night
It started as the #tweetfleet meet but now is just generally the pub a lot of Eve players migrate to on the Wednesday night. Fire these co-ords into Google Maps or Earth 64.146681, -21.930276. Get there early, its very popular and soon the doors become like Jita in 2009. One in, one out.

7. Registration
Previous years registration has opened Thursday morning. Many Fanfest veterans have "fond" memories of the human line that snakes for miles (not quite but it feels like it) out of the Harpa and outside into the freezing rain. This year CCP has said they'll open registration all week. So if you get there early it might be worth heading down and getting your pass before the queues.

8. Round Tables
Whilst the main presentations and talks have plenty of capacity, the roundtables can be packed. It could potentially be worse this year as the Eve Keynote is before the roundtables. Therefore more people might want to attend if something is revealed in the keynote that directly impacts them. If you really want to make sure you don't miss a roundtable, get there early.

9. Do NOT Rely on the Harpa WiFi
CCP kindly provide free WiFi at Fanfest (or did in previous years, I assume they will again). Many people rely on this for keeping in touch with other Fanfest attendees. "If your going to that I'm going to this. Send me a message when you get out and we'll meet up". Great idea.... only the Harpa has 1000+ geeks in it all with a smartphone, a tablet, a laptop, a smart-watch, etc, etc. It can get very difficult at times to maintain a connection or get data through. They may have upgraded recently, but beware of relying on the WiFi.

10. Plan Ahead
Fanfest can actually be grueling. Finishing at the Harpa at 6pm or later and then restarting an hour or two later for the nights events. Make sure you plan for the three S's (****, shower, shave) and to eat! I always try and book a hotel less than a 10 minute walk these days.

11. Experience ALL THE THINGS at Least Once
Do the Golden Circle. Do the CEO Dinner. Do the Pub Crawl with a Dev. Do the Blue Lagoon. This year I'm skipping the Golden Circle as did that last year. I am doing the CEO dinner as I did Sindel's last year. Its the second year in a row I'm not doing the official pub crawl. Doing some small gang roaming to harass the large fleets out in Reykjavik town centre! I am doing the Blue Lagoon!

12. Pack for the Blue Lagoon
You can hire a towel but obviously a good idea to take your own. A waterproof camera is also a good idea so you can capture a few hundred space-nerds, almost naked, drinking in the run-off from a geothermal power station. Mmmmmm "The Blue Lagoon" does sound better than that description I just typed, that's why I don't work in advertising. Remember you'll have damp swimwear so a plastic bag for them is a good idea.

13. Rest on Sunday
If you've done Fanfest right you don't want to travel on the Sunday. Relax in the Blue Lagoon and then chill for the day. Leave the stress of traveling until the Monday!

14. Enjoy
Fanfest is a very friendly place. In-game rivalries are forgotten and friends are made. Have a drink, talk to strangers who are passionate about important internet spaceships and enjoy the experience!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Who Are The Drifters?

So we know the Drifters are Jove-like but with more implants and technological modifications rather than their traditional bio modifications. Their technology is on a par with Jove (a battleship that hits you for 250,000 omni damage) and their scanning beams are the same as the Seekers (which are a race that split from the Jove). 

During my runs in the last few days I've been listening to the Hydrostatic lore panel. My god, I thought I was a Eve geek! Compared to those guys I know nothing... however thats not going to stop me speculating on here and stealing some of their ideas!If you have two hours here it is and forget the rest of this post as they say it a lot better than I could:-

So taking in a few of their theories and some of my own ideas I think there are a few possibilities who these Drifter dudes are...

1. They are the third Jovian bloodline
Whilst all the races had three bloodlines the Jove only had two when they were in-game as a race. Are the Drifters the third Jove bloodline? Have they been hiding for centuries and not revealing themselves.

2. They are not Jove-like, they ARE the Jove.
We've not seen the Jove for years. Whose to say these are not the Jove who over the last few years have been working with implants to stave off the Jovian disease? Why call them Drifters? Well the big boom in Jove space may have destroyed pretty much most of the Jove and their home. The Jove are now homeless. The Jove are now Drifters?

3. They are the Modern Day Talocan
The Talocan are an ancient race of humans. Evidence of their existence can be found all over wormhole space. Did the race die out? Or did they move? We have no idea where Wormhole space is in relation to New Eden. The new 100 systems including Thera shows we know bugger all about space and wormholes. What if the Talocan simply moved to another wormhole cluster we have not discovered yet. Caroline's Star going pop has brought them back to see WTF is going on here.

4. They are Unsleepy Sleepers
These guys could be Sleepers who have left their cryo tube and the AI construct in which they live in and have come to normal space to see whats up. A massive explosion in their brothers and sisters space means they have woken up. Not a massive stretch to think you cannot call a Sleeper who isn't sleeping a Sleeper (OK now MY head hurts). Simply - Drifters are Sleepers who are awake in normal space drifting about.

They are probably more but those are the best possibilities. Why are they here? Time will tell.

The best explanation I have heard is the one right at the end of the lore panel said by Anteovnuecci I think. Something along the lines of The Other (the AI construct that escaped the Sleeper AI realm and got into the Amarr Empress' head during clone transfer) is now a massive threat to the Sleepers. The Sansha destroyed the Jove's Dyson Sphere or a star or something (hence Caroline's Star) perhaps with the help/under the control of the Other(s). The remnants of the Jove are banding together with the Sleepers and the Drifters to counter the threat of the Other(s). However the threat is a big problem as of right now its the Amarr and the biggest military force in New Eden. This is before you think that if the Amarr say the Jove/Drifters/Sleepers are the threat all of New Eden, will everyone join forces as they are more likely to believe the Empress than these Sleepers/Drifters/Jove/Badgers.

We do know things are about to change.

- Guristas are going to 'invent' cloning from range (Eve Valerye)
- Immortal Soldiers are about to change (DUST514 to Legion)
- Capsuleers are going to get stargate technology.

And who better to give all that than the Jove?

Sunday, February 15, 2015

SCASSSS - Drifter Pilots

The Drifter Battleships are very much like the Sleepers we are seeing in normal space currently. They even do the exact same scanning thing.

But unlike the Sleeper drones, these have pilots!

They will see you... soon....

Friday, February 13, 2015

The Starburst Coders – Part 1

Fiction Friday. Escape pod here. This is another three part story. Sorry. I start with the intention of doing it as a single piece then the damn thing runs away from me and I’m close to ten thousand words before I know it.

The Starburst Coders – Part 1

The blue-grey shuttle craft dropped out of warp close to the station. A flash of light marking its return to sub-light speeds. The pilot established the comm-link with the immense starbase and transmitted his docking request and his clearance codes. A few seconds later permission was granted. The ship shuddered as a tractor beam locked onto the small craft and Chigas shut down the engines. The shuttle was pulled into a small private hanger away from the main hanger.

Chigas stepped from the shuttle into the small hanger. He saw the twin 25mm railguns tracking him from their mount in the corner. He approached the security post. A heavily armored trooper sat behind a shimmering forcefield. The man indicated to the draw sticking out from the armoured desk. Chigas took his blaster pistol from his shoulder holster and placed it in the draw. Next he reached around to the small of his back retrieving the small composite Matari autopistol. Finally he bend down and removed the small knife from his ankle. He dropped the weapons into the draw which retracted back into the security station. Chigas stepped into the small room adjacent and two scanning drones hover over to him from their alcoves set into the wall. Thin lasers emitted from the drones scanned over him, covering from head to foot. Finally the other door opened and he stepped into the lift.

It stopped and the doors opened into a small reception. A lady at a desk smiled as he entered.

"Welcome back Chigas. He's expecting you, go right in." she said with a smile.

Chigas smiled at her and nodded, pushing through the large swinging door and entering his bosses office. The balding, overweight man behind the large desk rose as he entered.

"Welcome back and good job Chigas." he said shaking his hand and then motioning him to sit.

"Thank you sir."

“You think those frog bastards will have any clue what happened to their listening post?” he chuckled.

“I think we’ll find Tibus Heth before they find that listening post.” Chigas replied.

His boss opened a draw in the desk and pulled out a bottle of whisky and two glasses. He poured a healthy measure of the strong Minmatar drink and handed one to Chigas.

"I've got your request for a transfer here." his boss said after taking a drink. "You'd like something a bit closer to home?"

"Yes sir. Uunse is pregnant and working away is going to be a strain. After over twenty years in the field, I think I need to let some of our rising stars take over." he said with a chuckle.

His boss picked up his datapad and swiped a finger across it.

"State Navy at 18. Intelligence office at 23. Field agent at 26. Field ops-manager at 35. Now something closer to home?" his boss mulled. "Your last mission as a field operative. Tell me about it."

Chigas went quiet for a moment. Recalling that last mission. The last time he'd personally taken a life. That operation had led to him requesting a transfer. The counter-intelligence command wasn't prepared to lose him. He became the operations manager in the field. Assisting the field agents from nearby but not getting his hands dirty.

"Doesn't the file tell you everything?" Chigas asked.

"I'd like to hear it from you." his boss replied.

"It was five years ago. The Empyrean War had been raging and the system of Old Man Star had changed hands a few times. Each time the State or the Federation conquered the solar system they tried to move colonists and business in to stake their claim. It was a mess. Both sides agreed to set up official Embassies on the station to cater for our own citizens no matter who held the system at the time. It was a rare moment of co-operation between us. Anyway, intelligence got a sniff something was up. One of our junior staff at the OMS embassy had started an affair with someone at the Gallente Embassy. Apparently they had met at some official function held by the Quafe Corporation which was trying to build bridges between us. Anyway they'd fallen in love, or more likely lust and Command decided it was too much of a risk to let them continue. I was sent in to deal with the situation to ensure we were not compromised."

"What happened?"

"I dealt with the situation." Chigas replied curtly.

His boss sighed. "Sorry Chigas, but I need you give the details. This is pertinent to your transfer."

Chigas took a sip of the Matari whisky.

"My orders were clear. I followed the targets to a hotel they used. I slipped a view-bug under the door and watched until they were asleep. Ops hacked the door remotely. Taking a Gallente issue pistol I shot the Gallente officer in the temple at point-blank range. As our girl woke from the sound of the shot I already had the belt from his trousers. I wrapped it around her neck and strangled her. The local police report was that it was a kinky game in bed between lovers gone very wrong. He'd accidentally killed her during the act and then taken his own life in remorse. A clean job. Well, the Gallente suspected it was us, but were likely to have intervened themselves in the near future, although they may have handled it differently. May be. I don’t know. Those Black Eagles might have done it the same way as us. In the end the problem just went away."

"Then you requested a transfer out of the field?"

"I was 35 and my knee hurt." Chigas said somewhat sarcastically.

"You didn't agree with your orders that night did you?"

"No. It was the wrong call. She could have been recalled back to New Caldari. There were options. If she needed to be permanently retired then it would have been easy to slip her a sedative and push her unconscious body from an airlock. She was a young woman, a Caldari citizen, who had done nothing wrong but fall in love. She died slowly and in terror as a stranger strangled her on a bed next to her boyfriend whose brains were leaking over the pillow next to her."

"Would you do it again?"

"If I was ordered to. Yes." Chigas admitted.

"Excellent. What do you know about the Starburst Communications System?"

"FTL short message communications system. Uses a subspace field to cover the entire Cluster in a matter of seconds. Cannot be traced to the origin or destination making it ideal for clandestine operations. It radiates from a central point so any empire monitoring it has no idea if it is meant for their space or not. Short coded messages only. Usually sent to deep cover operatives and field agents who do not have access to communications or are in danger of being traced."

"Thats what most agents know. What isn't known is that the transmitter is here in New Caldari. Obviously this system needs to be secure. Anyone could give orders to our agents and they would carry them out without question including against us. We have two coders. Citizens who are fitted with a unique brain implant. Only they can jack into the system, take the order from Command over the secure line, code it and sent it as a Starburst to agents scattered light-years away. These are some of the most valuable assets in the State. They are also completely unknown to all but a few. However we cannot take a chance. Each Coder is assigned an individual protector."

"24/7 protection? I was looking for something a bit more nine to five?"

"It is not 24/7. These assets are worthless when not in the facility. They work 12 hour shifts. You meet one here in the secure hanger, escort them to the facility, watch them as they work and return them to the secure hanger here. Shift done. It is not 9 to 5 but it's the closest you are going to get here."

Chigas nodded in agreement.


Eight months later.......

Chigas glanced at his watch. She was late. He saw a figure approaching.

"I know Mr Grumpy, but I'm here now!" she said with a smile.

He grimaced and walked up the ramp to the shuttle.

"Look I'm sorry. I overslept a bit." she apologized as they strapped themselves into their seats.

"Have a baby. They are excellent barriers to over sleeping." he replied. He’d not been getting anywhere near enough sleep since his wife had given birth.

Sawara smiled at him knowing the grumpy exterior was just an act. They had actually become friends over the last eight months. The shuttle swung out of the station and burnt away. The planet of New Caldari shining bright on their starboard side. The flight to the facility was just under forty minutes. The tiny two-person shuttle didn't have a warp drive and was designed for station-to-ship and station-to-surface transport. Soon they came upon the facility. It was smaller than an outpost but bigger than a satellite. The logos of Channel 47 were plastered all over it. The news channel was a small broadcaster on New Caldari with a feed to Caldari Prime, it was also a front for the Caldari Intelligence service. This facility was registered as a backup transmitter for the western hemisphere of the planet. In reality it was home of the Starburst Transmitter.

Chigas swung the shuttle around and slowly approached the docking arm. The facility was too small to have a proper hanger so the shuttles docked against a hammer-head style arm that held the craft and allowed access to the airlock. Chigas saw the other shuttle was still docked, the other Coder and her babysitter hadn't left yet.

Skillfully Chigas docked the shuttle against the arm and they both unbuckled their belts. After exiting the shuttle they proceeded down the docking arm towards the entry bay. A large room with a pair of heavy blast doors. They could see Ranta and Aibi approaching.

"Hi you two, fancy meeting you here." Aibi laughed as she did every time they passed, twice a day. The two girls broke off to talk as did the men.

"All OK." Chigas asked.

"All is well other than the supplies haven't been delivered yet. We're running a bit low so take it easy. I'll have a word when I dock up and see what's happening. With my luck they'll be here for my damn shift." Ranta grumbled.

The facility needed basic supplies for the round the clock shifts. Food, water, towels and the like. These were delivered to the entry room but not beyond. It was the responsibility of the agent to move them inside the secure facility. It was a standing joke as Chigas tended to find them waiting for him when he arrived. The unwritten rule being if you find the crates stacked by the blast door when you arrive then you need to carry them inside and restock.

Chigas turned his attention back to the two women.

"Oh thank you. I owe you one." Sawara said as they said their goodbyes.

As Chigas and Sawara walked towards the blast doors Chigas raised a questioning eyebrow at her last statement.

"There is a concert I want to see to tomorrow but the timings are bad. Aibi said I could start an hour early tomorrow so I'd be back in time for the concert."

Chigas narrowed his eyes.

"Yeah, yeah Mr Grumpy. Breaking the schedule I know. You just will have to get out of bed an hour early." she smiled.

Chigas shook his head slowly as he held his hand under the DNA scanner and then tapped a code into the door. With a rumble the blast doors parted and they entered the facility. The doors slowly closed behind them, sealing them in.


23 hours later.....

Chigas and Sawara walked down the docking arm towards the blast doors after docking the shuttle with the facility. Chigas noted the supply crates stacked by the door with two four gallon water butts. Typical, it was his turn again.

Suddenly a man walked past the end of the corridor in the entry bay. He was dressed completely in black and was wearing a mask and combat boots. Instinctively Chigas grabbed Sawara pulling her behind him and going for his gun. Sawara let out a sharp yelp in surprise as he grabbed her causing the intruder to turn quickly. The two men locked eyes. The intruder had an Ishukone carbine hung over his chest. There was a seconds pause as both men froze before they both went for their weapons. Chigas was quicker as he was already reaching for his pistol. In one fluid motion he drew and put a bullet in the intruders forehead. He turned back intending to get back to the shuttle to escape as a shot rang out. Another man had exited the other shuttle and was firing down at them. They were trapped. Chigas spun Sawara behind him again to protect her and returned fire whilst backing up into the entry room of the facility. The constant stream of shots kept the other intruder from getting a clear shot. Chigas scooped the carbine from the man he'd killed and continued to steadily fire at the entry to the other shuttle keeping the other pinned down as they reached the blast door. He scanned his free hand and punched the code whilst still firing. The LED read-out on the gun showed he had eight shots left as he pushed Sawara through the opening blast doors. He backed up into the secure area of the facility with 2 shots left. When he stopped firing the other intruder came out gun blazing. The blast door was closing, but too slowly. Chigas then noticed the strange black boxes with antennae on the back of both the four-gallon water butts. He made an assumption and fired the last two bullets into the water barrels. A fireball erupted blocking the approaching intruder. As the door was almost closed as the fireball dissipated and Chigas saw two more men exit the shuttle.

"What was that!" Sawara screamed.

"A bomb. Your concert saved us. Those water butts were filled with an explosive chemical. We arrived early and they weren't ready. If we'd come an hour later I assume they'd have detonated as we got to the door and torched us both."

"Why? Why would they want to kill us?" Sawara still hysterical shouted.

"At a guess. To stop you undoing what they have done." Chigas said pulling his back-up gun from the back of his pants.

"What have they done?" asked Sawara calming down.

"I don't know, but they have already been inside here to do it and were waiting to kill us before leaving." Chigas replied. “Only you can send Starbursts if something has happened to Aibi.”

"How do you know they got in? The doors were closed!"

Chigas looked down. Sawara followed his gaze. On the white deck plates there were bloodied footprints exiting the facility through the blast door. He looked behind her and she turned around. At the next door there was a large pool of blood on the floor and bloodied handprints on the handle.

"Come on. We need to find out what happened to Ranta and Aibi." he said solemnly. Sawara didn't press it but she could tell by the tone of his voice he didn't expect to like what he found.

To be continued...

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

To Kill a Drifter Battleship

First off a warning, now their super-weapon is active do not try this in a sub-cap when they hit TQ. Unless CCP nerf them in the next week you will die.

So over the weekend I tried to kill a Drifter battleship. With the next releases feature page up the Drifters as a faction have been revealed. They are Jove like but nobody really knows who or what they are. Options include an ancient offshoot of the Jove race or a type of Sleeper who aren't very sleepy (thanks to Migui X'hyrrn on Twitter for that description)!

Anyway after my Vindicator and Kronos were both alpha'd by their superweapon I thought I'd try a capital. So I made up a ratting Archon without really knowing how you fit a ratting Archon. I was only going after one battleship on the test server so decided anything would do.

I found the Drifter battleship at the Unidentified Wormhole on the overview as normal. These spawn in systems with Unidentified Structures and can be warped to immediately as they are a Celestial Beacon.

He was sat there so I launched a flight of fighters and attacked. The Drifter Battleship is fast. Even when webbed it was doing 800m/sec and soon got to its optimal of 19km. Out of range of my web it sped up to 2000 m/sec and started orbiting me.

Its speed is a problem. Fighters and heavy drones struggle to keep up. I deployed sentries and they did the trick.

They hit hard. 1000 to 5000 was the normal damage I was seeing. It may have two weapon systems as I was seeing two damage strikes together often. As I said on Monday it has a blue shield which you need to take down first. Once the blue shield is down it fires a target breaker and you need to relock. Once the regular shields are under 50%, it gets mad bro. It hit my Archon which had 80% resists for over 132,000 damage in one shot! Thats why my battleships were popping every time I fought one of these!

Once the shields are down it soon dies in a glorious green fireball. No loot? NO LOOT AFTER ALL THAT?

Next I tried something different. I soon found blap dreadnoughts are not very effective. I hit with my first shot and the Drifter immediately fired its super weapon and hit me for 250,055 damage. Ouch. However for a capital thats nothing and soon repped it up. Problem was  my blasters couldn't track them. They are too fast in orbiting for capital turrets to track even with two tracking computers with speed scripts. Seriously I didn't land another shot. They don't point so I went back and swapped back to the Archon.

So in summary, and remember this is still on the test server, Sentry Archon works well. Drones and fighters have trouble keeping up with 2k second. Battleships will get popped by the superweapon!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Drifter Battleship = Nasty

As I posted in yesterdays short, the Drifter battleship is on the test server, and its nasty!

Spawning at the Unidentified Wormholes that can be found in systems with Unidentified Structures they appear to be guarding the data transmitters. I assume these Unidentified Structures are gathering data and the structures at the wormhole are sending that data through to wormhole space. Some have said they have seen Drifters at the Unidentified Structure but I've only seen the Seekers there so far.

Anyway, onto these BS. When you target one you'll find its shield bar is blue!

If you shoot that, it'll start shooting back. Hard. 1-4k per hit is normal. They are well armed.

Once the blue shield is down it fires off a target breaker so you will lose lock at this point. Once you are through its regular shields (cannot remember if after the blue shield there is more) then is gets pissed.

Its 'super weapon' hits hard. I'm talking 30-50k in one hit and thats just what I've experienced. Others have said up to 88k. I tried a well fit Vindicator. That was one-shotted by the super weapon. Sorry about the resolution below but that was a single volley at 38k and something. As you can see the Drifter BS are also very keen on this scanning lark too.

Next I tried a dual plated Kronos in bastion mode with T2 Trimarks and a high-grade Slave set. A 50k volley moved me from Bastion mode into capsule mode. I logged on the next day and built a 250,000 EHP Navy Apocalypse. A ship so tanky that surely it can withstand the Drifter 'superweapon'.

Undocked to try it out.....

.... and the Unidentified Wormhole sites and the Drifter BS appears to have stopped spawning since Saturday night.

Anyway I've used the time until they return to build a Drifter killing Archon. 1k dps and 2.2m EHP. Come on you Sleeper/Jove asshats.... where are you now....... I'm waiting for you......

Sunday, February 8, 2015

SCASSSS - Sleeper Stations and Drifter Battleships

So these Sleeper/Jove stations in known space are HUGE! Here is the one in Nisuwa on the Test Server.

How huge?

Now we have unidentified wormholes spawning is systems with these stations on SiSi too.

These wormholes are guarded by Drifter battleships.

Be careful. I tried to kill one with a Vindicator and then with a Kronos. They hit for 2k normally. Once you take down their shield its 30-50k in one hit! Detailed post tomorrow!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Abuse of Power

Fiction Friday! Escape pod here if Eve Online Fiction is not your thing.

Its a slightly longer one today. Its not really long enough for a two parter but at 3700 words its longer than my usual target of two and a half. Also adult theme today! You have been warned.

Abuse of Power

Eurnkar sat in the tiny cell. The forcefield containing him into the eight foot by eight foot brig emitted a feint green glow. He held his head in his hands. How could he have been so stupid? He was a drone controller on a Dominix class battleship, part of a brand new crew on the recently constructed starship. During the last engagement he'd launched only four of the drones during a flight change. Five Hobgoblin class combat drones had re-docked but he'd sent out only four Warrior class high-speed intercept drones out in their place. He must have simply not clicked the last button in the sequence correctly and didn't notice as he was too busy ensuing the returning drones were ready for redeployment if needed. He had only noticed the mistake at the end of the battle. The four drones were recalled by the Captain and had docked. Eurnkar thought one must have been destroyed in the fight. Then he'd seen it still in its launch tube, armed and activated, just not launched. Security had appeared a few minutes later and dragged him here to the brig. The Executive Officer had then been down a few hours later. Charges of dereliction of duty and putting the ship at risk were being considered. His wife had been down too but she had not brought their young son. She didn't want him to see his father locked up like this. Eurnkar tapped the padded bench he was sat on with his outstretched finger. One, two, three, four, five times. Why did he not do that properly when it mattered. How could not pressing a button right make him end up in here?


Lalie stood at the door to the office waiting. It eventually opened and she stepped in. Commander Abora was sat behind his desk. He motioned for her to sit as he tapped away at a datapad. She took the seat, sitting up straight as the ships Executive Officer finished off. He finally put the datapad down.

"What can I do for you?" he asked in an authoritative tone.

Lalie took a breathe.

"My husband, Commander. He is not a bad man. He made a mistake. He does not deserve to be locked up."

The XO placed his fingers under his chin as if chewing her words.

"I agree. However it is the Captain's decision not mine. I am simply following orders."

Lalie fought back a tear.

"Is there nothing you can do?" she asked. Her voice almost breaking. "Can I speak to the Captain?"

"No, it is not possible for you to speak to the Captain. Empyrean's never speak to anyone but the XO I'm afraid. Is there anything I can do? Yes, potentially. However you have to look at it from my point of view. Your husband put the ship at risk and our Captain is furious. Why should I put myself into the firing line for him? Why should I risk my career for your husband? I've had this new position for less than a month, why go against my superiors wishes so early on in our professional relationship? What do I get out of it for the risk I would take in supporting him?"

Lalie desperately thought of a reason. For her husband who was not a bad man? For her so she would not be a single mother? For their young son who would miss his father as he grew? She didn't see how any of those reasons would matter to a career starship officer with no family of his own. He was right. The ship and its crew were new. Everyone was looking to make a good impression on their superiors at this time.

"You need to remember that Empyrean's don't really care for our lives. They are immortals and we are nothing more than numbers or statistics along side the ships power output and its CPU rating. Seriously, your husband is lucky to be in that brig. I wouldn't put it past one of these capsuleers to flush a member of crew out of an airlock when they frack up like that one of these days."

Lalie let out a sob. Abora rose from his chair and walked around the desk. He perched himself on the corner of the desk near her.

"So you are saying there is no hope and you won't do anything? There isn't much time left!" she cried.

Abora nodded. It was 13:00 ship time and they were scheduled to dock at a space station at 12:00 next day, a little under 23 hours. In space, the ships Captain had supreme power. He could marry crew, he could jail crew. In war time he could even have them executed. In space they were judge, jury and jailer. However, once docked in a station the laws of the owning empire took over. As they were docking in a Caldari owned station Eurnkar would be transferred to the station's jail and charged in accordance with Caldari State law. Endangering a starship was a big charge especially in the State. It was common knowledge that it carried an almost mandatory 10-year prison sentence. There were no juries in Caldari justice, just a panel of judges. The 10-year sentence was usually carried out with hard labour on an asteroid penal colony. Not many people could cope with that sentence.

"I'm not saying that." Abora said. "What I am saying is that right now I don't see why I should stick my neck out for your husband. However, I am open to you making your case. Who knows, if you make a very, very good case I might change my mind and have him set free. Shall we say dinner tonight in my quarters. 20:00 hours and we'll see how persuasive you are?" he smirked.

Lalie just looked back at him in shock. Did he actually just suggest that?

"Do you mean......"

Abora held his hands up.

"I don't mean anything. I am simply giving you opportunity to convince me to save your husband. I'd be the one taking the risk in speaking to the Captain to ask him to free your husband after being in this job for only a few weeks. You'll need to be very convincing tonight to make me even think of taking that risk." he leaned forward and brushed a strand of hair from her face, tucking it behind her ear. "However if you don't then Eurnkar is going to be cutting raw veldspar from a 'roid for the next 10 years whilst trying to avoid gang-rape in the showers each night. I know it will be difficult for you too, but a very attractive woman like yourself should be able to find gainful employment to support you and your son whilst you wait the decade for him to get out."

Lalie just sat there ready to cry. She fought the tears. She wasn't going to show weakness to this bastard.

"I'm sorry but I need to start my rounds. Was there anything else?"

Lalie was too stunned to reply. She just slowly shook her head.

"Alright then. Until 8pm." he smiled as she stood and slowly walked from his office almost in a trance.


Eurnkar's face lit up as his wife entered the brig. He jumped off the bed and stood by the forcefield.

"How are you?" She asked quietly.

"Well the conversation leaves a lot to be desired" he said sweeping an arm at the empty cell "But I'm OK."

"Eurn....." Lalie's voice trailed off.

"Look, there are things you need to do before we dock. Empty our joint account and put it in your old one. The Caldari could confiscate everything so get it out. Next revert to your maiden name and file for divorce..."

"NO!" She screamed "What are you talking about?"

"Darling. I love you but we need to be sensible. I'm finished. I need to ensure you and Sham will be OK and you need to do these things. By starting divorce now, the tribunal is likely to let you keep the assets."

Lalie started to cry.

"I won't divorce you! I will wait for you!"

"No you won't. We both know it will be me who enters that asteroid penal colony but it won't be me who leaves. He might look like me, he might sound like me, but he won't be me. We all know what happens in those places. Sham needs a father figure, you need a husband. Do not waste a decade of your lives waiting for whatever, if anything of me, survives that place." He said sadly dropping his head.

Lalie finally broke down, started to cry and ran from the brig. The guard behind the desk looked up briefly as she disappeared through the door and went back to his report.

Lalie sat on the bed in their quarters alone. She had asked a friend to look after her son. She didn't want him to see her like this.

They knew the risks in the life they took, especially living on a battleship. However those risks were always measured. On a capsuleer piloted battleship within empire space it was relatively safe. If something went badly wrong there was time to get to the escape pods. They were working on a two-year plan. By that time Eurnkar would have earned enough to keep them going for a long time. Capsuleer crewing paid the best crew rates in New Eden by a magnitude. The problem was people couldn't quit. They loved the money it brought and always did 'just one more tour' until they finally died in a fireball. Not them. They would stick to the two-year plan and then Eurnkar would take a less risky posting and whilst their income would dip, they already had plenty of savings. Now the two-year plan was looking like a ten-year sentence. Her husband was right. He wouldn't be the same man after that sentence. Suicide rates for men released from asteroid penal colonies was through the roof. The media made a constant thing out of it, campaigning for reform. The only suicide rate that was higher was with those still serving their sentence. It was easy to end your life in a hazardous asteroid mine.

She cried more as she thought about the conversation with the XO. Nobody was prepared to save her husband. That sleazy asshole would, for a high price. Whilst he never actually said it out loud she knew what he meant. Could she do that to save her husband? She thought what he would have said if she had told him. "Hi deary hows the cell? Apparently I can make all this go away by sleeping with your boss. You don't mind if I use that Gallente underwear you bought be for Night of the Lovers last year do you?" She knew he'd rather take the ten-year sentence than have the XO blackmail his wife into sleeping with him.

She picked up a photo frame on the side of the bed. The 3D images rotated in a familiar sequence. Their family in happier times. She cried hard for an hour.

Once she had cried out fully she took a deep breath. Decision made. She knew what she had to do. No matter how distasteful she found it, she needed to save her husband and keep her family together. She stood and straightened her clothes before moving to the dressing area. Pulling the top draw open she burrowed through the piles of boring everyday clothes. Finally she saw what she was looking for at the very back. A small shining strap of electric-red satin against expensive black lace. She started to pull the rarely-used articles of clothing out.


Commander Abora looked at himself in the mirror. His dress uniform looked good on him. Just what was needed for tonight's entertainment. The dinner was keeping warm under large silver serving platters. He'd excused the waiting staff and told them they were not needed. He was now all alone, smart in his uniform with a rich meal waiting. He glanced at his watch, 19:55. He knew she'd come, the alternative was too horrid for her he was sure.

A few seconds after his watch showed 20:00 the buzzer to his door went. He paused, smiling. Finally he opened the door. Lalie was stood there in a long black satin evening gown. He'd seen it before, at a ceremonial dinner dance the Captain held for the crew on their first week. That's where he had first noticed her and he'd been waiting for opportunity since that night to have her. He never imagined her husband would make such a massive mistake so quickly into their first tour together. It was fate.

"Lalie, you look divine." Abora said taking her hand and kissing it.

She smiled back weakly as he led her into his quarters. He flicked the "Do not disturb" button on the door controls discretely as she walked past. He pulled out the chair at the dining table and she sat down. As she did the split in her dress opened up. Abora smiled as he saw the lace top of her black stockings, a red satin strap of a suspender belt holding them up. He took his seat.

"I must say I approve of your outfit." he said taking a napkin and folding into his nap. "I do like Gallente lingerie".

"I thought you might." she said, a hint of venom sneaking into her voice.

He tried to make polite small talk as they ate. Rather as he ate and she slowly picked at the food not really interested. The Matari beef fillet was exquisite but she hardly tasted it. She did partake of the Amarrian wine though, steeling herself of what was to come. The short, curt answers she gave to his questions did not make for a flowing conversation and the awkward silence prevailed.

"Look Commander. Shall we just cut to the chase?" she sighed as he inquired if she would like some coffee to finish. "You made it pretty clear the only way I will be able to save my husband is by sleeping with you. So if its all the same to you I'd rather get it all over and done with."

He smiled at her directness, nodded and stood. She watched him walk around the table but she didn't move, she stayed seated and looking ahead. He moved behind her and bent down, kissing the side of her neck. She tilted her head to allow him better access. He continued to kiss her neck as he reached down and ran his hand into the slit of her dress, first gently touching the black lace of her stocking tops and then stroking the silky flesh of her inner thigh.

"Are you sure you want to do this?" he whispered in her ear.

She hesitated a second. "Yes." she lied.

With her consent given, his free hand he reached up and started to slowly pull the zipper of her dress down her back.


Commander Abora lay back on his elbow and watched her dress from his bunk with a smile on his face. The white sheet was draped around his waist. She didn't take long to be respectable again. She had kept the stockings and suspenders on at his request. She adjusted the slightly twisted stockings and zipped her dress up and slipped into her shoes.

"I'll head to operations in half an hour and order your husband to be released. I'll deal with our capsuleer when he raises it."

She just nodded. She had said very little since he first unzipped that dress. She had been a willing partner in the events that unfolded, if not really that enthusiastic. He expected as much and whilst the moans, sighs and noises of pleasure she made were clearly forced he didn't really care. She knew she had to perform even if she was not happy doing so. He hoped his hidden camera got some good shots. Another video to add to the library.

"I enjoyed tonight. I hope we can repeat it again some time." he grinned.

Her face flashed with fury but then suddenly softened. He knew that she wanted to scream at him. To call him all the names in New Eden. Saying she might have agreed to the events what occurred but that was to save her husband and she'd never ever touch him again. However, she couldn't say any of it. Not yet. Not until her husband was free. She just had to smile and nod which she did.

As she was finishing dressing the door to his quarters hissed opened. He looked at the open door in curiosity. It should not have done that especially with the do not disturb on. He pulled on his dress pants that were rumpled on the floor next to the bed and stuck his head out of his quarters. All the other doors along the corridor were also open. A few heads of other officers poked out wondering too what was going on. A pinging sound distracted him. He heard it all around. The sound of dozens of datapads going off at the same time echoing down the corridor. A priority e-message. As it wasn't him sending it, so it must be the Captain, the only other who could send such a message. Abora returned inside and picked up his datapad. He saw Lalie already reading hers, her datapad must have been in her clutch bag. She appeared to have a half smile on her face. Abora shrugged and opened the message on his own datapad to see what the Captain thought was so urgent.

10:53 13-1-117
From - The Captain
To - All Crew
Subject - Chain of Command

On a battleship it is important we have a strict chain of command. Lives depend on it. It is also important that those in that chain are respected and trustworthy. Throwing a crewman into the brig, blaming it on the Captain and then using that scenario to blackmail his wife into sleeping with you does not command respect.

"Oh shit!" Abora muttered as he went white, all the colour draining from his face as he realised he was in big trouble. How did the Capsuleer know. Where there cameras in his quarters? Hidden microphones? Did Lalie tell him? If so why did she go through with it? No, the crew have no contact with the Empyrean. There must have been a hidden microphone or something.

Following events overnight the orders below are in force with immediate effect.

1. Drone Technician First Class Eurnkar is to be released from the brig and reinstated immediately.
2. Repair crews should review drone control station B4. They will find a loose connection in the launch controls for tube 5. This is to be repaired immediately.
3. Our Tactical Officer, Lieutenant Commander Hakeem is hereby promoted to the rank of Commander. He is to assume the position of Executive Officer immediately. Please extend your congratulations to an exemplary officer on a well deserved promotion.
4. Commander Abora is hereby stripped of all rank.
5. Mr Abora has no rights on this ship. He is a non-person and therefore no criminal charges can or will be brought against anyone who wrongs him.
6. All doors on the ship are sealed open and the escape pods are disabled.
7. We have an hour before we reach the dock.
8. Happy hunting crew.

Abora turned to Lalie who stood there smiling with her hands on her hips. Crew members stuck together like the officers stuck together the two groups didn't always get on together. There was absolutely no way that right now, throughout this ship that people were not reading that with rage. In fact they were probably already forming gangs together to come for him.

"Help me" he pleaded.

"You know what, right now I don't see why I should stick my neck out for you." she sneared, almost mirroring his own words from earlier that day.

Raised voices could be heard from down the corridor. Shouts and yells growing louder.

"That was quick. They don't sound like officers to me. That sounds very much like an angry mob. We are close to the forward hybrid hardpoints, perhaps gunnery crew?" Lalie stated. "Yes, I think they would be the closest don't you Mr Abora? They could easily be here in 30 seconds."

Abora let out a sob.

"If you excuse me, I'm going to see my husband to beg for forgiveness for what I had to do last night given everyone now knows. I trust you'll remember what you said about what might happen to him on that asteroid penal colony. I got a feeling in a minute you'll be wishing it was you backed in a corner in the showers on that colony rather than being here and taking whats coming for you."

Abora stood open mouthed as she exited the room. She stopped, looked down the corridor. She turned back to face Abora and pointed at him with an outstretched arm. He wondered what she was doing. Then the angry mob charged past her, turning sharply into his quarters, following her directions. He backed against the wall. Space-dogs he'd called them in the past. Career crewers who had served years in deep space. Hardened, tough and currently looking to dole out their version of justice, outraged at the acts committed against one of their own. Each carried a heavy wrench or metal bar. They slowly advanced on him as he dropped to his knees and pathetically begged for forgiveness.

That was the last Lalie saw of him. In fact is was the last they saw of many of the crew. It was hours later after they had been reunited that Eurnkar discovered the equivalent money of ten years of his salary had been deposited into their account. That was the last time they ever set foot on a Capsuleers ship.

The end.