Eve Online After-Action Report: The Serpent And The Bird.

This story starts some days before the actual battle.

I am a hauler. I love taking my DST and flying out to Jita to buy a few things, maybe bring back some supplies to the hole and fit out a cheeky ship or two. I’m also easily distracted by fitting, and it tends to come back to bite me on the backside. So there I was; sitting in Jita, buying this and that, maybe refitting an experimental and ill-fated Drake Navy Issue for one-on-one PvP, when the call goes up on voice Comms: “There’s a Nightmare in this hole. Form up, we’re gonna kill it.”

You have not seen someone operate the controls of a corvette so quickly in your life. I was 12 jumps out from our wormhole and every second was torture as I hear all my corpmates X-ing up in fleet and undocking to lay their trap. I arrived one minute too late and shipped into my Prophecy just as they got the kill. One billion isk, not a bad night’s work for those involved. All I could do is say to myself that I would be there for the next one.

Well, the next one came…”There’s a Rattlesnake and a Tengu in this hole. Form up, we’re gonna kill ’em.”

And I was in Jita; in my DST, messing around with fits, 9 jumps out.

You have never seen someone operate the controls of a corvette so quickly in your life…and I got podded by a gate-camp just as I entered the system with the wormhole chain entrance. I was then politely informed that a shuttle would be far faster, which turned out to be true as I dodged the belligerents the second time round and made it into the chain with just enough time to re-ship into my trusty Prophecy and undock in an effort to meet the fleet, who were assembled a few holes over.

The fleet itself was formed organically from what we had at the time, as there were only a few people online when the call went out. More and more people dropped in as the pings were posted and finally we had enough warm bodies to project a tactically complete trap; we had Logi, interdiction, DPS and eyes ready.

The aim was to track the Rattlesnake and its accompanying escort Tengu (who were ostensibly ratting in a neighboring system), and launch an assault when they hit a site.

The problem came when we realised that they had no idea we were coming. Our eyes had lost them in a hole beyond and we didn’t want to spook them by risking having a ship on D-scan; so the fleet waited and mulled their options.

Then, cut to me: minutes late and charging through wormholes like a madman, I symbolically X-ed up in fleet and jumped through into the next system – only to be met with an astero sitting on the other side…which then proceeded to target me. I knew that if this little Astero wasn’t immediately warping out from my Prophecy, then its buddies were on the way, so I immediately started yelling at the fleet, which proceeded to turn ’round and get on grid as ships from New Jovian Exploration Department [NJED] arrived (completely unrelated to our quarry) and proceeded to burn away half my armour before our own percussive diplomacy landed and they bugged out in the face of our fairly sizeable presence.

Our logi patched up my armour and we were together at last, the problem now was that the fleet had left the hole and there were no eyes on the side that contained our prize. We arrived and sat, debating what we should do; whether we should send someone in or just wait. Eventually the decision was made to have our Sabre and Purifier (Flown by Captain Cornfed and Der Schattengeist respectively) jump through to bubble the other side…when a most uncanny thing took place.

Splash. Splash.

Two pulses of the wormhole, meaning that two ships had jumped through and were now sitting cloaked for a maximum of 60 seconds on our side of the hole. They had just cross-jumped our ships.

We all held our breath as we heard confirmation of the bubble going up, waiting for them to pop into our overlay and dumbfounded with disbelief at our luck; then, sure enough, the Rattlesnake and the Tengu decloaked as our interdictor jumped back and popped a second bubble, cutting off their escape on both sides.

Immediately we scrammed their engines, holding them im place while our weapons scoured the large ratting platform and held off the Tengu, which was doling out it’s own dose of hate.

After some time, it became obvious that we were going to bring down the Rattlesnake, so the Tengu chose to break off and jump back through the hole. We all set course to follow, with the spectacular sight of the Rattlesnake’s reactors purging plasma into surrounding space behind us, but we were slow to approach. Only one of us made it through in time: Astronomocat was flying an Astero and quickly jumped through, She burned fast and tackled the bird, holding it long enough for us to catch up, in doing so however, she had little chance of escape and the Astero exploded seconds before the fleet arrived.

After bursting through and scramming the Tengu for a second time, all our weapons trained now upon the formidable ship, but it was more slippery still and tried a last time to evade our grasp, jumping through the wormhole back to where the wreck of its friend now floated listlessly.

But its gambit was no good as one by one, we jumped again, spotting the craft making for the edge of the bubble. It was now only a matter of time as our warp scramblers took hold and the targeting locks snapped into place.

The rest of the story is numbers as our DPS eventually overcame the Tengu’s tank; a cheer went up as an explosion ripped across our screens. Our operation had prevailed, the adrenaline of the moment coursed and as the killmail came in, we only then realised the magnitude of what we had done.

As it turns out, the two ships were blinged quite substantially and after looting, we made off with a few hundred millions in modules.

I won’t be so blatant as to mention the value of the killmail, as doing so feels a little crass, but I will link it below. Definitely worth a look.

So concludes the story of The Serpent And The Bird; a most successful little op.

https://zkillboard.com/related/31001640/202004080200/

Eve Online Will Not Beat Me – Friends Are All You Need

eve online sacrelige spaceship around planet in hisec
Me being a Space Nerd in hisec

Hello space traveller. Me again.

I am the Ex-CEO of Eternal Cosmic Beard Corp, a fairly short lived wormhole corp who started strong and ended with a wimper…mainly because I backed out of the corp with no notice and left it to founder. The members who remained made the best of the situation, but eventually they went on to find homes elsewhere; in an active corp that could help them grow.

I stayed away from Eve for the best part of eight months while I sorted my life out, but I always did feel bad about how I dealt with my part in ECBC; and on reflection, I suppose part of the reason I stayed away for so long is because I felt like I couldn’t face my friends.

In the end, I was completely wrong and would urge people to learn from my mistake.

This is the story of my return:

The pandemic had struck and I found my thoughts turned inwards, to a group of friends I had left behind some months ago. I spent a few days on various projects, but finally I decided to log in to Discord and try to make amends.

I was fairly overwhelmed by the support and understanding I received from the people I had turned my back on, so much so that I felt almost worse; like I had wasted precious time and missed out on treasured experiences because of a flaw within me.

So I had reached out and was incredibly lucky that these amazing people (Lane Davaham and JC Decaux) just let me pick up where I left off.

So I logged in, upgraded to Omega and put in to apply for their new corp (Be Nice inc. [BNYSE]), as a member, with no illusions of grandeur.

Frankly it has been a treat. They are incredibly welcoming to all and have a commitment to letting people choose what they want to do, while providing amazing content in the form of PvP whenever they can get their guns trained on it. I now have the ability to step back and learn, which is what I really need. It is amazing that I have learned more about Eve Online in the last week than I ever did in the months running ECBC, because I can opt in to whatever I like without any pressure and just be there, among like-minded space nerds.

So I have been trying to train into the right ships for wormhole space PvP (Sacrelige best ship), which the corp specialises in, and learning the mechanics of the game in a really meaningful way. Eve is a game that you have to both spend time on your own, figuring out, but you also have to lean on people and their experience and finally, you have to be prepared to undock and lose a lot of isk to learn those hard lessons.

In the end, Eve is a game that brings together a beautifully complex gaming experience and the ability for people to get together and make a tangible difference within their own sphere of influence. It is the only game that has real stakes, adrenaline, beauty and kinship baked into it.

So in short, dear reader, what I have taken from this experience is to trust in the people who trust in you, and to not run from your problems when things get tough. The people who you spend time with care about you and you owe them the truth and your respect. I will do my best not to run foul of these things again, all the while taking part in an experience that is unlike any other.

Oh, and one final oath: Eve Online will not beat me. That will always be true.

Fly safe, because I might be on grid in my buffer-tank Stratios.

For posterity: below is the link to the last article I published on CreatorConsortium under the same heading.

StarFight: Chronicles – Part One – Awaken To Dust

Neko’s eyes flickered open and she squinted as several red lights blinking angrily at her. She could hear nothing but a dull buzz in her ears; she quickly surveyed the information panel of the emergency Lifecapsule she found herself in.

Well that’s a surprise, I’m alive.

The red lights indicated that a number of systems inside the ship were destroyed or broken in some way, but Neko could feel no acceleration, so she assumed the ship must have landed somewhere on the dust-ball of a planet she’d been scanning. Time to think; the Lifecapsule wouldn’t release her until it knew she was safe, so either she would have to wait until the emergency sensors completed their sweep, or she would have to override the controls and just take the chance.

She reached up tentatively to the console and accessed her vitals; the fact that she wasn’t feeling any pain could be misleading, her Lifecapsule would have shot her full of drugs pre-emptively, but sure enough she was pretty much fine: two bones in her left hand were fractured and she was massively bruised on her left side but there was no internal bleeding, no dislocation and no nerve damage. She accessed the emergency sensors and the sweep was stuck on 60 percent; the node must have been damaged, but she knew from her earlier orbital scans that the planet was breathable and the surface gravity was almost one gee.

Nothing for it.

She punched in the override code, every button press was followed by a visual and auditory warning, but with a whine and a pop, the explosive bolts fired and the door flew away, smashing into the far bulkhead and going no further; strong magnets in the door held it firm.

She pushed herself forward and took a sluggish step into the cabin. Her body felt heavy due to painkillers but her mind was sharp enough. She needed to know if the computer was still working; it was dark in the ship, she reached for her mag light but felt only bare thigh, she had forgotten that the Lifecapsule tore every scrap of cloth from anyone inside, to easily access the patient. No problem, her spare was in a compartment on the opposite wall.

Which is now magnetically sealed behind the capsule’s door.

Neko groaned and felt her way towards what she hoped was the cockpit, her night vision was beginning to kick in, but it didn’t have a lot to work with; windows in spaceships are a luxury this model did not possess. Neko cursed her sluggish footsteps as she thunked into a wall, her hands ran over the metallic surface and her finger found a long groove, she pushed hard and after a second the mag-lock released and the door to the cockpit slid open with a grinding noise.

That didn’t sound good.

Red light washed over her as she stepped inside and surveying the scene, she was glad to find it was more or less intact; two bulkheads looked to have buckled slightly, causing control panels and storage compartments alike to burst open, strewing cables, clothes and food all over. Neko waded her way through the morass before her stomach jabbed her mind and she knelt to pick up a ration pack before continuing on.

Neko practically fell into her flight chair, the painkillers seemed to be wearing off and she started to feel like she’d been beaten with an angry stick. Reaching forward she keyed in her passcode before tearing into the ration pack and waiting for the bootup sequence to finish. She was chewing on what seemed to be some dried meat analogue when the computer made a happy sound and the screen flashed up.

Neko made a low whistle as fifty two errors pulsed politely in the top left corner of the screen, she filed through them: Engines, weapons, navigation, most of the sensors, peripheral systems and all but two external cameras were dead. She accessed the functional cameras, the first showed blackness and the next showed her surroundings.

It looked as if she’d crashed belly first into some kind of muddy lake, she swivelled the camera, it would only turn sixty degrees or so but on the edge of it’s vision she could see some sort of thick vegetation. Okay, not such a dust-ball after all. The small yellow sun shone harshly down onto the now drying mud that had piled up in front of the craft. With the realisation that she was in no immediate danger, she slouched back and took another bite of the meat stick while idly keying a few buttons.

Ofcourse the air conditioning is broken.

The ambient temperature prediction was 96 degrees in the next 6 hours due to the sun’s oppressive rays. She was going to boil alive in her own ship unless she got out soon.; at least it looked as if the fission cells were operational, she had years of power if she needed it.

I really hope I don’t.

To be continued! This has been part one of the first chapter of my scifi epic – Starfight: Chronicles. I’ve been working on the setting for quite a few years and I’m happy to finally present it publicly. I’ll be posting more soon!

Rock And A Hard Place – A SciFi Story – Writing Prompt Inspired.

Chief Science Officer Vlarg’s heavy steps resounded on the metal grating of the gangway as she marched hurriedly out onto the main viewing platform. Director Gulurk stood, tentacles held behind her back, looking out from the faint green force bubble which surrounded the criss-cross of scaffolding upon which the platform lay. The stars, which were also tinged green, reflected mystically in her large and beautiful eye. As Vlarg approached, she could see an imperceptible movement in the director’s stance; a flick of her eye downward and across towards her, a carefully hidden flinch that brought her back from whatever far-reaching thought she was previously absorbed in. Gulurk was known for remaining impassive to a fault. Vlarg had always wondered whether her taciturn nature was due to the fact that she was a carefully trained politician who had also served as part of the governmental special forces, or as Vlarg had always suspected: that she held deep and personal secrets hidden far beneath her icy surface.

Vlarg came to a halt a few metres from the director and a heavy silence drew down like a curtain between them. Doubtless the director knew that whenever the Chief Science Officer sought her out, the news was never good and the small data crystal burning a metaphorical hole in Vlarg’s coiled tentacle proved that instinct correct. After letting Vlarg fidget with respectful anxiety for a few minutes, Gulurk finally rounded, and looking through her with a bored expression, she spoke.

“Yes, Chief Science Officer Vlarg?” A tentacle absentmindedly probed into one of the many pockets of her dark long-coat and pulled from it a small silver box.

“I beg your pardon Director, your adjutant was extremely vocal about your wish for solitude – as she always is, but this really could not wait.” Vlarg then brought up the small reddish crystal, its inner glow mingled with the sickly shimmering light around them, dulling the colour of the stone so it appeared to Vlarg like a clot of worry. The director’s gaze flicked impatiently between it and the silver box but it took vlarg a long time to talk; the director was not a person you wanted to give bad news to.

Despite this the director patiently waited, slowly and carefully opening the silver box, then taking a small pinch of a dark substance from within it she touched the fine powder to her nose and instinctively inhaled, her eye never leaving the small crystal.

“You’re going to tell me that the Shudnok have been spotted on The Moon, correct?”

Vlarg’s mouth fell open. “How did you…?”

Without a trace of amusement, the director smiled and closed the little box with a sharp snik. “I have known for weeks. A fleet is on its way from home to deal with them.”

Vlarg was dumbfounded. “You never told me. Why? People have died, Gulurk, we think they have been sabotaging our research. We think they are preparing an invasion force!”

Gulurk laughed condescendingly. “It matters not. This endeavour, though officially sanctioned on paper as a scientific and fact-finding mission about the strange and primitive lifeforms on earth, has always had a much more important, or rather, political goal. The Council are aware of the unique nature of the human species – as you know, they are incredibly warlike, so much so that they rival even the Gahok.”

Vlarg shuddered inwardly at the mention of their species’ greatest enemy. The Dzarr had warred with the Gahok for many centuries and they were a source of almost genetic revulsion amongst their people. The director took note of the shudder and pressed on.

“Yes, indeed, even with the Shudnok on your back doorstep you still react to the great enemy; well so do the council. There are a great many empires among the advanced races in the galaxy. Some of them would work together to better understand the million mysteries recounted by the ancient archivists. Others, like the near-sighted Shudnok, would enact petty campagns of conquest in an attempt to further their immediate goals. Eventually though, all will be consumed by the unquenchable fire of the Gahok hatred for all non-Gahok life.”

Vlarg looked down in confusion and helplessness at the little crystal which, instead of epitomising all her worst fears as a scientist, now represented only another faceless line of data – fully accounted for by the council and their godlike artificial intelligences. She looked up at Gulurk, who was still smiling mirthlessly and anger flashed in her eye as she held out the crystal accusingly. “I have worked tirelessly for days to ensure that all of our data was intact, that the reports my teams have gathered were sound, that I wasn’t going to feed you incorrect information. All because I thought our departments were inseparable and that your time and attention was worth the effort. I thought we trusted each other, and what we were doing here was important; but yet again the political class shows its colours. We’re all just cogs in the machine to you, eh Gulurk?”

The director, who would by rights have been entirely justified in imprisoning the Chief Science Officer for the outburst, merely turned her back and sighed. Vlarg dropped the crystal and stamped on it; a flash of angry red light shone like a beacon for a second. “What has all this to do with the humans? You owe me that much atleast.”

Gulurk wheeled around, now it was her turn for anger. “I owe you nothing. The lives of everyone aboard this station are my responsibility – if you were unable to use your judgement to bring this to me immediately, despite your reservations about my temperament, then that is your affair. I should never have told you, but my affection for you and your hard work over the years tempers the typical demeanour of my office. Have more respect.”

Vlarg withered under the baleful gaze of this creature, who she now realised was entirely alien to her, even though they shared the same mother. “As for the humans; they are a candle in the dark. You can see even now they war amongst themselves – they have only just put flame to chemical powder, creating even the most primitive firearms and yet tens of thousands of them die yearly in pursuit of petty conquest. It never stops and it will never stop with them. Unless they are brought into the galactic community when they are ready.”

Vlarg, though cowed by her sister, could not suppress the rebel inside. “Sounds just like the council to use non-Dzarr lives as a tool to preserve Dzarr supremacy”

Gulurk turned away again. “You know nothing of these matters, they are greater than either of us. Content yourself with your studies sister, now leave me before the arrival of Supremacy Commander Harlorq. The fleet shall rendezvous here before they scour the surface and root out the Shudnok. You would do well to forget all you learned here.”

Director Gulurk said nothing more and did not turn towards her sister again. Vlarg had no other option than to return to the station; the weight of her own obscurity in the face of the Dzarr empire, her own people, would follow her to the end of her days. She would never truly understand the importance of her work on that small base on that small moon.

END

This story was inspired by a writing prompt found on reddit!