Monday, December 28, 2009

How To Lose a Helios

So this past week, I've discovered the key to losing a Helios completely decked out with all the latest in warpy-cloaky technology.  Apparently, despite my sense of supreme safety and arrogance, it is possible to be chased and killed even while cloaked.

I was minding my own business, flying from station to station, cleaning out my assets list because I was tired of having useless crap strewn throughout the universe.  Those few things that I deemed not useless were in my cargohold as you can see from the kill mail above.  Whilst en route to yet another station, I had noticed that a Taranis was following me for a few systems, but in my self-perceived safety I ignored him and continued on my merry way.

About 5 systems after I first noticed the Taranis, I was mid-warp to another stargate when I got snagged on a bubble.  Not a big deal--I get snagged by bubbles all the time, so I turn for the edge and start moving away still cloaked.  A moment later, that Taranis lands on top of me in the same bubble, forcing me out of my protective invisibility.  I immediately switch on my microwarp drive trying to gain some distance from him, as I have no weapons and my cloak was on cool-down.

Thanks to the MWD, he was able to lock me faster thus removing my ability to cloak altogether.  At this point, I just kept the MWD on and tried to keep away from the Taranis.  He had me pointed, but failed to web me so I still sped along at 2464m/s and I actually seemed to be gaining distance on him.  Volley after volley slammed into me, obliterating my shields and spinning chunks of my armor into the cosmos.  Just as he started to miss most of his volleys on me and my armor was all but gone, I began to hope that I might actually escape.

Sadly, this was not to be the case, as he managed to slam another volley into my structure, obliterating me in that final hit.  I tried to warp out my pod but he pointed me once more, drawing several curses from my lips.  He gibbered something in a strange language in local chat, but I understood what he wanted.  I understood 10 billion ISK and pod.  He had already stolen 40m+ from me, and I had no implants so I welcomed the ion particles from his friend, who had shown up just as my Helios exploded.  As my pod was decimated around me, all went dark.

I awoke on a table somewhere in Aridia, slightly disoriented but remembering everything.  I thanked the technician and donned a robe.  Shaking my head at such a loss, I decided to call it a night and reflect on how to survive that situation next time.

The moral of the story:  Even when cloaked, danger is everywhere.  I think from now on, I will be following the old "warp to a nearby celestial before warping to a gate" even while cloaked.  It's still not perfect, and it still carries risks, but warping gate to gate is too dangerous even cloaked in null sec.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

[OOC] A Whisper in the Silence

My apologies, to my friends and readers, for my absence these past several weeks.  I took a much needed vacation to visit my son for the first time in a year, then followed it up with a lingering illness that even now still taunts me.

As that illness finally begins to dwindle I shall be returning to my pod in short order, probably within the next couple of days.

To my corporation, thank you for your patience and I'm sorry for my extended absence.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Back Alley - Second Day's End

It's been a long 48 hours thus far enveloped in the myriad colors of our little class 1 w-space.  After I discovered the uninhabited system, Casiella gave me the order to stay in it and keep my probes running their locating algorithms until the corporation could establish its presence.  Scanning was an addiction for me according to some of the other corp-mates, and for the most part they were correct.  However, scanning in a wormhole and scanning systems down in high security are a little bit different.

For one, scanning in high-sec gave me fewer places to explore but limitless systems to choose from, whereas in the Back Alley there are many signatures but once discovered they are not quick to change, and I was limited to the one system.  I did get plenty of experience working with combat probes, however, so I have little to complain about aside from the boredom of scanning constantly while waiting out the arrival of Casiella and her small POS equipment.

It only took a couple of hours to get the site set up initially.  After the force field went up, I went to work scanning down the other cosmic signatures present in the area, thankful for the safety as I could not yet cloak.  The rest of the corp took a break in the control tower for a few hours while I sat alone in space.  At first, I was absolutely fine with that, but after completely identifying, bookmarking, and yawning at all of the signatures I began to get a little stir crazy.  I was not permitted to leave the wormhole because at the moment I was still the only scanner, and I had to stay in the case of our known entrance collapsing on us.  I ended up joining the other corp members in the control tower for about an hour just to stretch my muscles a bit.

... 1 Hour Later...

By the time I made it back out into space, a couple more of the corp mates had returned refreshed as well and we chattered excitedly about our new starbase for a few minutes until Casiella re-appeared and continued setting up the position.  She mounted a few more defensive weapons, anchored a few containers, and then had me and Moare assist with the testing of access rights to the starbase equipment.

After it was all set up, systems online and looking in order, I moved in a couple of ships of my own: Delorian, a Procurer, and Serrated Seraphim, a Myrmidon.  The myrm was my first battlecruiser, and had barely survived the previous wormhole experiences she had shared with me, but we were learning and had improved our fit a bit.  The Procurer had never even seen use, though I'd had it for several months.  After moving in my ships, and realizing that no one else was still around, I decided it was the perfect time to go pick up my cloaking skill book and modules.  Forty jumps later I was nestled safely back in the starbase and I decided to get some sleep while I could.

... 6 Hours Later ...

Once all was good and right in the world of Caels, I set off to the nearest gravimetric site in Delorian and landed right on top of several Sleeper frigates and cruisers.  Uh oh!  Bounce, bounce, bounce!  Come on baby, turn around!  The Sleepers had closed on me already, and I imagined their robotic glee and saliva spewing forth in the form of hydraulic leakage as they opened fire.  Searing beams of light leapt at me from several directions and I nearly panicked as I saw my shields vanish instantly and a small portion of my armor melt.

"Warp Drive, Active," came the call from Aura, and we sped off to safety as a final volley of light slammed into my backside disintegrating the remainder of my armor.  Panting into my comms that I was safe, I could just sense the scolding I was about to get from the boss lady.  Maybe she was laughing on the inside or something, because that scolding never came.  All that was said was that all mining ops needed an escort, and she let me off the hook.

After my little debacle, I decided to go back to my Serrated Seraphim and try my hand at defending the other miners.  I warped off to another gravimetric site to find that it was empty, and had Moare warp to me and start chewing rocks.  Then I warped out for a moment to check the status of our wormhole, and warped back in at 100km from the miner.  Casiella retired to the control tower once more, and the miners and I were the only things alive in the Back Alley for a time.

By a time, I mean about 10 minutes, perhaps less.  I noticed a Tengu suddenly pop in on the far side of Moare from me, followed closely by a Stabber, Navy Issue, and then a third ship that I didn't both to get the details on.  "Shit, Moare, get the hell out of there now," I screamed into the comms.  Kiithilurin, swore into his comms as he had just begun to warp to our location.  I was too far out to even try to intervene, and swore again as Moare's Retriever listed to the side and finally crumbled beneath the onslaught.

I warped back to the starbase, arriving only seconds before Moare's pod, and less than a minute before Kiith's pod.  I immediately switched to my Helios, Awkward Glance, and set about launching my combat probes and scanning down the area.  It took me a several minutes to get the different signals pinned, but I could tell we had 5 visitors, 2 of which approached our starbase like curious animals.  I watched as the Tengu and Stabber vanished into a spot I didn't recognize on the solar map, which upon further narrowing revealed a new wormhole.  A Wolf class vessel snooped around our starbase for several minutes before finally vanishing as well, but he had revealed to us that our defenses were not reacting the way they should have.  He had closed within 80km of our starbase and not been targeted by the artillery.

One by one, the signatures disappeared into the newly discovered wormhole, and I spent another 10 minutes or so watching for any signs of life besides our own.  I was also still in the process of learning to use cloaking modules, so I could not yet investigate the new wormhole safely.  We lamented the losses of our two Retrievers and Kiith decided to get some rest.

A short while later, my training on cloaking had finally completed enough that I could use the prototype module I had purchased, and I fit it to my ship.  Immediately, I went to check out the new wormhole and discovered it was a Class 2.  I popped in and took a look around, finding only one other ship in the system, and that one left within a few minutes.  I scanned down the signatures in the system, finding a few combat sites and 2 other cosmic signature that I didn't bother with.  The wormhole to leading back to our space was already disrupted from the group of mercenaries who had violated our retrievers earlier, so I decided that deeper exploration might not be the best idea.

Moare was getting impatient to find something to kill, so I agreed to bring him back to the Class 2 with me and let him blow stuff up.  I stayed in the Awkward Glance just in case we lost the portal, until Moare asked me to grab the Serrated Seraphim and come help him clean up.  He had a launcher but no salvager, and the Myrmidon had a salvager and no launcher.  We decided to forego my scanning speed for the clean up speed, and I brought in the Myrm, and another corp mate joined us in cleaning up sites.  We only found 3 out of the 5 sites still alive, but it was probably for the best, as just as I was cleaning up the salvage from the last site combat probes spread out over Moare's d-scan and he recalled us to the wormhole.

We had a minor issue with the wormhole not wanting to let our friend back through, but eventually he made it through and we all returned to the starbase safely.  I deposited the loot and salvage to the corporate hangar and switched back over to the Awkward Glance to ensure we had no new signatures.  Casiella's ship appeared once more on my comms indicators, and I swallowed hard as I began to tell her of the loss of the Retrievers.  She wasn't very happy with us at all, and proceeded to interrogate us about the how's and why's of the situation.  To my sensibilities, the loss was monetary only and easily replaced, but to her it seemed it was a waste and a loss based on the principles of survival in the wormhole.

We collectively re-iterated our understanding of proper operating procedures, while Moare attempted to shine some light on the stuff that went well that day rather than the losses, but she didn't bite and the subject remained unchanged for a few minutes yet.  Still, we reported our success at the sites, the potential ISK we had earned, and the fact that our starbase wasn't defending itself.

After Casiella determined the problem with the defenses, Chainer finally arrived and provided me with some more entertainment as Moare, Casiella and the others all retired to the tower for the night.  We chatted for a bit before we decided to do some mining.  We searched around the gravimetric sites for a fight, and Chainer allowed me to test my fit against the Sleepers by myself.  For the first time ever I was able to hold my own against 3 frigates and 2 cruisers all alone, inspiring confidence in myself and pride in Chainer.

The battle complete, Chainer warped in his Trash Compactor, a Cormorant with the sole purpose of eating wreckage, and proceeded to clean up the mess.  Then I put Delorian to her first real use, alongside Chainer's Ravenous Muncher, and we mined Arkonor for the better part of a few hours, driving Chainer's sanity to the brink.  He had me switch ships and scan down signatures in the hopes of something to shoot, but failing to find anything new, he decided to spare his mentality and get some rest.  I continued mining alone in the depths of the w-space, surrounded by the blues and oranges of our Cataclysmic Variable, for another hour or so before finally, I needed rest as well.

So the end of the second day was much like the beginning of the first: lonely, peaceful, and breath-taking.  while the w-space life can be boring, I've had great fun with it so far, and I've learned much in a very short amount of time, and I look forward to serving out more time in my capsule.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Cruiser Crunch in W-Space

Well, I had my first foray into the deep, unknown reaches of space tonight. Let me tell you up front that a Sleeper frigate in W-Space is almost the equivalent of a cruiser. Another thing I learned about Sleepers tonight: Guerrilla tactics don't work so well.

With most things in New Eden, if you are taking a lot of punishment and you need a quick repairing break, you can warp away, let your buddies take some aggression, repair a bit, warp back and rejoin the fight and slip amongst the battle unnoticed. Those Sleepers are some smart cookies, though. Even if I was minding my own business--floating around and enjoying the visual spectacles of wormholes--while Chainer Cygnus was shredding through Sleeper armor like an Amarr in a room full of Minmatar children, the Sleepers wanted me dead and they made plenty of fuss about it.

Well, no problem, I can take a few hits from a battleship and 4 frigates. I actually made a half-decent tank for all of about 30 seconds before I'd have to warp back to my wormhole bookmark and spend several minutes repairing my armor and letting my shields power back up a bit. At this point, in most battles, Chainer would have established his superiority and I would have just hopped back into the fray barely noticed by the deadly Sleepers. Wrong! The moment I left warp all eyes turned to me; savages hungry for the kill.

I basically played this game of tag throughout every battle in our little space amongst space, effectively rendering me entirely ineffective. However, I did manage to make myself useful a bit later as the only salvage-capable ship remaining towards the end of the raid, as our pilots started needing rest.

Needless to say, as soon as we evacuated the wormhole, I obtained the skill book for battle cruisers and I'm currently training that to the second tier. I also picked up my first Helios, and fitted it out with a probe launcher and attempted scanning for the first time. It was definitely a different side of piloting, and one that I think I'm going to enjoy immensely. Which is probably for the best because, apparently, Chainer despises the scanning process.

The more time I spend as a capsuleer, the more interesting it gets.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Libraries and Gate Camps and Can Flips, Oh My!

Well, my friends, this weekend was certainly eventful for both me and my Caldari companion, and I'll introduce you to my money maker for the first time.

The Lethal Library

I'll start with her tale, since it is short, and the pain easily sympathized.  Kechara Rye, that silly minx, went and bought herself 13 new skill books all at once.  Millions of ISK spent all in one big shot, she floated on towards the system of purchase in her naked Navitas.  Aura warned her when she went into the system, that it was low security, but what else could she do but retrieve her library from the clutches of pirate space.  Well she could have asked for help, but that's beside the point.

She made it into the system very easily, no problems, no pirates, and she let out a great big sigh as she nestled her Navitas into the station's docking bay.  The dock hands had her 13 skill books all packaged up and ready for pickup.  She double checked her inventory and then sped on her way back towards the safety of high security.  When this was over, she would be very glad to be safe and secure once again.

Kechara didn't like low security one bit.  She didn't like me calling her a carebear either, but if the pod fits...

As she glided back through her warp bubble to the gate that would lead her to safety, Kechara drooled over the hoard of knowledge she would soon be pouring through.  The Navitas dropped out of warp just outside of jump range for the gate, and she moved for it quickly.  Alas, not quickly enough.  Out of nowhere the shots came, slamming into her naked Navitas round after round, shaking the tiny ship so much that she couldn't even get her bearings.  Within moments, the ship was destroyed and her pod floated amidst the wreckage.  Swearing vehemently, she willed her pod back to high sec, where she brought up comms with yours truly and vented quite harshly.

I gave Kechara some advice on trying to run through low sec and survive, and actually got an apology for her loss of temper; shocking from a Caldari, but true none-the-less.  I could feel her pain, especially considering my first trip in a Vexor ended badly with a bit less than 30m ISK lost, but such is life in New Eden and hopefully she has learned from the incident.

Experience Learned is Experience Earned

Shortly before leaving ASPOT, my friend Ralcoss had tugged me out to null sec and given me some very handy advice for traveling in relative safety.  He had me power off my weapons and equip warp stabbers to all of my low slots (5 in the Thorax), and I had already known to turn off my auto target back.  The powering off of the weapons wasn't strictly necessary, but with all those warp stabbers, I didn't have enough power for the rest of my ship.  We weren't interested in a fight; it was all about escape and evasion.

Well, only a few days after Ralcoss' helpful insights, I got to put them to use for myself.  I was trekking my way through Placid's null-sec tracking down a skill book I had purchased.  Enroute to a stargate, I got caught in a warp bubble with lots of pretty, floaty, dead things all around me.  My first act:  In the local comms I shout out, "Someone left their warp bubble out here."  It wasn't an intentional cry for abuse, but in retrospect it was rather humorous.

Moments later, I catch a glimpse of a Helios just before it vanishes behind a cloak.  Ah-hah!  So it's not abandoned...  Let's move!  I immediately set my Thorax to warp to a belt that was out of line with the gate and warp bubble.  Thankfully there was one, otherwise I might have been screwed.  I warped off and laughed quietly to myself as Aura informed me that he was trying to warp scramble me.  As soon as I left warp, I set warp for the gate once more and waved at the Helios as I jumped through.

After jumping, once the systems had all come back online and started showing me my surroundings, I saw several nice flashy red things moving towards me.  Luckily, this was the system in which my precious skill book was waiting and there was only one station.  I managed to swing my ship about and get into warp just as the second volley of shots dropped my shield to about 60% strength.  Once more, I laughed to myself and waved goodbye to my aggressors as my warp bubble enveloped me.

Just for fun, I tossed a jibe into local comms telling them, "nice try!"  I received no response.  After docking and injecting my skill, I decided not to tempt fate and I chatted with some friends for a while before I retired for the evening... well, it was morning in Eve Standard Time, but the beauty of living among the stars is that we set our own biological schedules.

Mining: A Good Day to Die

Greetin's, strangers.  I'm not willin' to impart my real name 'cept to those I trust, but ya can call me L, or whatever the hell ya want.  I mine.  It's a shitty job with no additional benefits, but the pay is very good if'n you know where to look.  Most of the time it's just plain boring, but it is my duty to refill Caels' pockets when 'e goes and gets 'imself blow'd up like a moron.  And don't ya think otherwise, 'e is indeed a moron, but most people seem to like 'im well enough.  Maybe they's morons too, I dunno, and I don't care.

Anyhow, I don't reckon ya'll wanna hear me talk much, but I got me a decent story the past few days, so I'ma flap my gums at ya anyway.  I've been 'round a mite longer than most might think, seein' as this is my first tellin'.

I's out mining, minding my own, when this 'ere thievin' Drake comes and flips my can on me.  Now, I seen 'im coming, an' I towed in all my drones 'cuz I knew what he was after.  I got no weapons fitted to my barge, 'cuz that's jus' stupid, an' I even had myself two little asteroids locked so I couldn't even have locked onto this 'ere freak 'less I wanted.  I also had my can open to me the whole time, so I know 'e didn't pull a fast one on me, but somehow 'e opened fire on me, blow'd up my baby in only a few shots, an' them CONCORD fellas didn't do a thing.

Somehow, 'spite all my precautions, when I tried to rescue what ore I could from 'is clutches, it dinged me red to 'im.  I jus' don't get it.  Anyhow, it don't really matter none, I only spent 3 million on the ship an' equipment an' a million on the insurance for a 5 million payout.  All that together meant I made myself a nice million just from gettin' blow'd up.  Top it off with a boon from the corp when they gave me another barge, fully fitted for free... ahh, a good day to die.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

At Home Among the Stars

My first venture into 0.0 space was rather short, but not a bad turnaround from it.

A corps-mate, Ralcoss, after giving me a short lecture on why my wanting to join some pirate friends was disappointing, was kind enough to drag my sorry pirate-loving arse to ASPOT's little pocket of CVA space.

For clarification, my corporation's philosophy on what makes one a pirate is probably drastically different from that of people who actually call themselves pirates.  According to ASPOT, the unprovoked killing of people in null-sec is piracy, and I will be banished from the corporation if I partake in such activities.  According to the people I wanted run off and play with, namely Casiella, Chainer Cygnus, and Denovin Zyrinax, it's just life in null-sec.  I believe Casiella's exact words were, "I'm not a pirate!  I'm a trader with a pirate's heart... and Chainer is 'unfocused'," to which Chainer only agreed.  I didn't get Denovin's take on it, because he likes to sleep while I'm harassing everyone else in New Eden.  Bastard.  Get a New Eden Life!

Back to the story!  After changing the subject to steer it away from Ralcoss' dissertation on the evils of piracy and the corporation's take on good morals, I convinced Ralcoss to make the 26 jumps or so back to high security to haul me back to null security with him.  He played scout for me as went slowly from system to system, watching for gate camps and reds.  The trip itself was rather uneventful for the most part.  After arriving in 0.0, we only encountered one gate camping blob (my first blob encounter!) in our route.  We ended up docking for about 15 minutes while the camp fire was getting doused and we moved along.

Upon reaching our "pocket" Ralcoss showed me the major POS and stations, as well as a nifty jump bridge that would make the trip a bit easier next time.  After acquiring the passwords and bookmarking locations around the groups of systems, we jumped in on top of a group of pirates.  Two battleships and three frigates against us, a single cruiser and battleship, seemed like a fair fight so we decided to keep on them.

Well, I quickly discovered that when two battleships and three frigates primary a cruiser... it frigging hurts!  Apparently, I was doing more damage than my Dominix counterpart as he had only drones at the time, and I made a good target.  I warped out just as they broke my armor about 50%, and let Ralcoss take some of the heat again.

I warped back in right on top of the frigates and took them out with my drones, as my rail guns weren't posing much of a threat to them at less than 10km.  They fell slowly, but before my shields broke again, and I quickly threw on my afterburners and maneuvered myself around some giant asteroids that were keeping me from the battleships.  At about 50km out I threw my drones forward and discovered my control limit was about 40km.  No big deal, 10km at 380m/s... still waiting... still waiting... damn finally!  Go, go, gadget Hammerheads!

I opened fire as my drones closed in, and I grinned smugly as the other battleship, which had been fending off Ralcoss' drones, exploded and quickly went dark.  Now with 10 drones and my rail guns all over him, the remaining battleship stood little chance.  She went down valiantly, fighting to the death.  I gave them a moment of silence while I bounced from wreck to wreck looting and salvaging.  Having never ratted below 0.5 security before, I had expected much more from the looting and salvaging, but alas it was very similar.

A few moments later, however, the big difference between 0.5 and 0.0 became instantly clear when my neocom blinked at me about a deposit.  I opened up the wallet on the neocom and nearly choked on my pod fluid as I saw a nice fat 950k ISK deposit from bounties.  Null sec rocks!  I can't wait to get some more action, and hopefully some good fights.

I feel that at this time it is probably prudent to give ASPOT the warning that I'm still planning on helping my friends out in their "piracy" endeavors, and I had hoped that I could remain with ASPOT, as I don't consider it piracy.  Since it truly seems to be a problem, then I'm sorry...  You guys have been a fantastic corporation, very helpful and fun, but I'm looking for more activity and to get myself blown up over stupid stuff.  I will keep all of you on my buddy list and I will go out of my way to not have to kill you guys if you wander into BKAT's area, but I can't stop a corporation function, and I won't back out of something I'm already committed to.

I will say this about ASPOT, if you need a friendly corporation with a range of activities and are willing to adhere to the NRDS (Not Red, Don't Shoot) lifestyle even in null-sec, then ASPOT is a great place for you.

To BKAT I present a warning:  I hope you are ready for a fairly active pilot who wants to do just about everything in New Eden.  I'm brash, sometimes crazy, and I love nothing more than spending hours covered in pod fluid with some good people flying nearby, each helping tear a path through the cosmos.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

[Informational] Overview Settings

I'm not going to redo an entire tutorial on how to set up your overview, there are already several in existence that are very in-depth and helpful.  What I am going to do here is talk about an overlooked issue when using the filters and states.  I'm at work right now, so I can't pull up any pretty screenshots and show you, but I will try to add them in for you later.

I'm going to give you the short version first, so as to not bore you with too many details that you may not wish to read...

Short Version:
The wrecks of ships you destroy are tagged as "Pilot is in your alliance" and this state must be checked in the overview settings, under Appearance, if you want to see them.

If you feel like reading the rest of the story, keep reading.

Long Version:

Last night I was setting up my overview with multiple tabs and filtering out things for each tab when I came across a strange problem:  My own wrecks (as in, wrecks that I caused) didn't show up in a tab that I had specifically set them to show in.

I have an enemies tab, in which I want to show only npc enemies, people with bad standings, or even people with neutral standings if I'm in low sec.  But when I'm out ratting, I don't want to switch tabs just to find the wrecks, because salvaging takes time and sometimes more enemies come to pew pew you.  I tried and tried to get the wrecks to show up in this tab as well, but was unsuccessful for a good bit.  Not being able to leave the spot I was at because I needed to keep my wrecks nearby to watch the changes to my overview.

I unchecked, rechecked, asked the bloggers in game, double tabbed, control tabbed, cursed and, an hour later, chose to select all and poof there it was!  I knew it wasn't a GUI issue, so I went through all the blocks and one by one, narrowed down what it was that stole my wrecks from Aura's senses.  It didn't take me terribly long to figure out, but I was highly annoyed by the time I finally did, and of course relieved as well.

I make a post of this because I had searched Google,, Massively, and every other place I could find a tutorial on overview settings and came up with absolutely nothing.  In any case, my problem is solved, and hopefully I can save some other people some time and frustration in the future with this post.

If anyone else has any helpful tips that aren't typically covered in the guides or cover something often overlooked in the overview, please feel free to share.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Vexing the Vexor, Enter the Thorax

Alas, my friends.  A moment of silence for my beloved Vexor...

The sound of space crickets chirping unseen from the nooks and crannies of the ship assaults the peacefulness of the moment.

She lasted mere moments in 0.4 security, a couple of pirates vaporized her hull without a fight.  I escaped with my pod somehow, the pirates either not caring or being distracted by looting her carcass.  There were no comms, no ransom, no demands of any nature, just sudden and painful destruction.  Floating in my pod, out there amidst the endless vacuum of space, I wanted to cry but Aura would have none of it.  She continued feeding me warnings as I slinked away to the nearest high security system.

After docking, I didn't yet have the heart to search the market for another ship, so I crawled off to the cheapest pub I could find on station and proceeded to drown my implants in self-pity.

Two days later, a best estimate, I awoke with a start.  My head pounding, I crawled to the bathroom from my spot on the floor (as I apparently had not even made it to the bed) and purged myself of all that I couldn't even remember drinking and eating.  Hopefully they had tasted better the first time.  A good shower and grooming was first priority for me at that point.

Eyes closed, as much against the light as the water, with the steaming water rolling over my face, I considered my next move.  As far as I could remember, I still had only my pod--and the Velator granted by the insurance company, but I was going to scrap that as soon as feasible.  I considered my training, my recent "discussions" that were more akin to arguments with other pilots as to how best to outfits various ships, and of course, my wallet.

After drawing the shower to a close and drying off, I sat on the bunk and pulled my datapad out of the pile of clothes that marked my 2-day binge.  The screen was intact at least, but with nothing flashing me for attention I was mildly concerned.  I dug through the logs and saw that I had placed a few rather annoying drunken messages in my lover's mailbox, and I sighed knowing that if she chose to speak to me again I would probably not hear the end of it for quite a while.

Backing out of the logs, I moved over into the market window and began looking at my options for a new ship.  I decided to try moving into a Thorax instead of a Vexor this time, and sped a message away to a companion of mine who had helped me fit the Vexor, Chainer Cygnus.  Chainer hadn't claimed to be a Gallente cruiser expert by any means, but he was certainly more knowledgeable than me.

I purchased the Thorax and excitedly boarded it.  I liked my Vexor, as I do most of the Gallente designs, but the Thorax is just damn sexy.  Just sitting in it within my pod, raw and defenseless as it was, made me feel sexier.

After obtaining some of Chainer's helpful hints, as well as some advice from the bloggers' comms, I dug into the wallet and started spreading my remaining wealth all over New Eden.  I have yet to finish picking up all of the items I've reserved, and that will have to happen at some point soon.  I think I will do my ratting and missioning in 0.5 or higher for now, as I am obviously not yet accustomed to the... delicate... way of life in low security, and, admittedly, I want to feel sexier for a while in the Thorax.

Fly safe, my friends, and fly often.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Destroyer Destruction

Another one explodes into thousands of fragments, flames momentarily engulfing my pod before the vacuum sucks out the life-giving oxygen and blackness returns to my vision.  Well damn...  My "Ratalyst" had just kaboomed around me, and for a few moments I just sat there staring into space as the event sank in.  Damn you pirates!  Damn you all!  Of course, they have probably thought the same of me frequently as I swept away their frigates and cleaned up the loot and wreckage.

I had been helping a friend and corpmate, Sasha Ni'vibra, with some level 2 missions.  She was floating about in her battleship for this particular mission, while I played anti-frigate for the ones that got past her sniping.  All had been going well up to that point, with my Catalyst taking very little damage throughout the inter-system runs.  To keep myself near Sasha, and hopefully being a decent personal bodyguard, I was orbiting her at 500 meters, targeting anything that came in range and blowing them up systematically.

Now, keep in mind that I had been dual outfitted for ratting my level 1 missions.  I was running 6 small railguns with a combination of iron and iridium charges, as well as a tractor beam and salvager.  Nothing extraordinary was on my mids or lows, though I had dedicated spots for trying to make my capacitor hold out as well as keeping a little speed on me for keeping range.

During that fateful mission, I had gotten myself caught up in some debris that didn't seem to matter to me at first.  I bounced around it mainly keeping an eye on my overview and capacitor, armor repping as necessary.  The first two waves of pirates went down smoothly and quickly, but the third and fourth waves came on back to back and brought some cruisers with them.

This wasn't my first time against the cruisers, but it was the first time they all decided to go after me at the simultaneously.  There wasn't a whole lot I could do but shoot back and repair as much as my poor Small Armor Repair II Module would allow.  Sasha had thrown her armor repairing drones all over me before my shields melted away, but it still was not enough.

As I watched my armor dip to about 50% strength, I realized it was time to go.  I picked out the nearest station and asked Aura to get me the hell out of there.  After a few moments, I was still drifting between the debris, bouncing in different directions trying to find an exit...  I began to panick.  Armor was all but gone now and my hull started trembling under the force of the impacts.  I screamed at Aura mentally to hurry up and find a way out, but she reported losing control of the ship.  (OOC - Yes, I actually got a message box stating I had lost control of the ship... what the heck was that all about?)

Less than 3 seconds later, the fireworks began in earnest, though briefly.  Thankfully, they focused their attacks on Sasha and turned away from my pod.  I sat there, a blank expression on my face, watching the battle raging on around me as if it were a dream.  After a few more moments, I decided to head back and start outfitting another ship, since Sasha had things well under control.  I picked out a nearby system that would hopefully have most of the stuff I would need, and then bookmarked the battle site so I could come back for my surviving cargo hold.

Well, looky here!  I can fly a cruiser?  I didn't know that!  Ka-ching!  Or rather... clink-clink... as after I purchased myself a Vexor, 10 medium scout drones, some medium railguns (another already learned skill of which I had forgotten) and a couple of other things to balance out my first cruiser fitting, my wallet was looking desperately empty.  After a 5 million ISK donation by Sasha, I had spent 11 million on everything for my shiny new Vexor.

Her maiden voyage was the trek back out to the battle site where she spent an hour cleaning up the loot from the dozens of wrecks, including my own.  Although I had fitted her with a salvager, I was too tired to worry about cleaning out the wrecks entirely.  Amazingly, most of the mids and lows from the Destroyer had survived and will serve to save a few ISK for the moment while I attempt to recover.

Alliterative Allocation:  Catalyst Catastrophe Causes Cruiser Crusade (Sorry, I couldn't resist!)

Monday, October 19, 2009

[OOC] Influences

Greetings to my readers, how few you are, and a quick note about the blog.

Normally, my blog is posted as from Caels' perspective as a narrative.  This will continue to be the case for most of my postings, but I've been inspired by some of my fellow bloggers--such as Shae Tiann, Roc Weiler, and Mike Azariah--to try my hand at writing from the third-person, and a more creative, perspective.

For those who do not follow them regularly, please allow me to sum up the things that, in my opinion, make their writings stand out.

Shae's writing is some of the most creative and visual-inspiring work I have ever read.  It is downright moving.  Roc has a knack for retelling missions from his character's persona and adding in some fun dialog to make the whole mission much more involving and realistic.  Mike likes to share his experiences through very thoughtful and descriptive writing that not only tells a story, but typically expands upon a lesson that he has learned or wants to impress upon his readers.

With my writing, I hope to display a combination of these styles to some degree.  I do not expect to be better than any of them, as I greatly enjoy their writings and doubt I have that much creativity in me.  I do, however, hope that you enjoy my writings.

I do plan on modifying this a bit with actual agent names and full corporation names once I can look them up.

An excerpt from my, as of yet, untitled work-in-progress follows:

Yawning deeply, Caels rolled over slowly, stretching out his limbs and back after his unusually long slumber. He smiled to himself as he brushed up against Kechara, who still slept soundly. ‘How long has it been,’ he wondered, ‘since I was able to share a bed with her?’

Absently brushing a wisp of blonde hair over her small ear, his mind wandered over the events of the past several weeks. An icon flashed several times on his data-pad, drawing him from his reverie. It was a new journal entry from one of his more recent acquaintances in the security field. Another mission he was so urgently needed for—“for what, chasing Gallentean traders out of the area,” he bitterly inquired of his Caldari lover as she stirred.

Caels was normally very even-tempered, but this new string of missions that seemed to revolve only around stamping out the Gallente civilians near his station of choice had him seriously considering relocation. He had hoped things would be different so far from the borders, as he already had belongings scattered throughout twenty systems that he had yet to collect.

This particular agent was very quickly losing patience with him, as he always turned down missions that set him against his own people. Sometimes Caels wondered if the agent found anti-Gallente missions for the sole purpose of harassing him. “Capsuleer Caels Caldanhai,” the agent said stiffly, “we have a new assignment for you… if you aren’t wearing your yellow briefs today.”

“Actually, sir, I’m not wearing any briefs at the moment, not that it’s any of your business,” Caels countered as he stifled another yawn. He attempted to hide his smirk as disgust momentarily flitted over the agent’s features. “What can I do for the great NOH today?”

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

New Eden's Laundry Services

War...  It is a funny thing, at times.  Allow me to take you back in time a few months...

I remember my time in my first real corporation, Pigothy.  The first time we went to war I was still floating around space in a Navitas.

Oh, how war terrified me in those days, and in truth, not all that long ago at all.  A matter of just a few months in the New Eden calendar showed a big change in how I view war.

Pigothy saw war quite often, and rarely of our own making.  Being that we were a small and newly formed corporation, with very few kills and a fair share of publicized deaths, we became a good target for anyone trying to boost their status via brute force.

My first war in Pigothy led to me hiding out in a space station for several weeks.  In retrospect, I am quite surprised that my Caldari lover did not leave me out of disgust.  It wasn't so much fear, but a feeling of uselessness.  What could I do in my tiny, poorly fitted Navitas?  I used the time to immerse myself in my studies.

My second and last war in Pigothy is the one that changed my perspective.  I had learned that death was a part of life as a capsuleer.  During a particularly long-winded war, I grew tired of waiting around a dock while checking the local comms and eyeballing the other station patrons.  My impatience freed me from the needs of my "precious" ship.

I knew they were there.  Several angry red blips on my neocom had alerted me to my enemies presence long before I undocked my Tristan.  I had no idea what kind of ships they were in -- no intel on them at all.  I merely had hoped that they were not camping right outside the hangar doors waiting for some poor fool like me to come zipping out.

Indeed they were.

From the moment I undocked, I willed my ship to warp.  Just as my thrusters began to fire, my speed screeched to nearly a stand-still and I swore to all the gods.  Immediately I threw on my armor repair module as I felt my shields flicker off under fire from 3 of their ships.  Suddenly, my capacitor was dead.  It took me a moment to realize that as I wondered why my armor was breaking apart and scattering into space so quickly.

At this point I decided to try and dock again, willing my ship to turn around as fast as its crippled thrusters would permit.  I crawled slowly -- so very slowly -- back towards the station and pleaded with the computer to allow me entrance.  The answer on my neocom had me cursing again:  "DENIED."

I let out a big sigh just as my Tristan's structure gave way and exploded all around me, my pod ejected swiftly and tried to propel me to safety behind the flash of the Tristan's death.  They were prepared for that too, however, and my thoughts stuttered for only a moment as I saw the pod engulfed in light only nanoseconds before awakening in a cloning vat.

Coughing and spluttering, I realized I ended up where I was trying to get to in my poor Tristan in the first place.  The Brutor staff that assisted me upon my awakening showed me back to the docks and my remaining Catalyst.  I used the Catalyst's link to report back to the corporation about the events, and let them know I was okay, I just needed to take the ultra-express flight back to my home station.

Several of the members were distraught that I had so foolishly thrown myself into their jaws, but I did my best to play it down as no big deal, and entirely of my own doing.  After my display of stupidity, however, I was asked if I wanted to join the war effort.  I hastily accepted and began fitting the Catalyst with the advice of my corp-mates.

Over the next couple of days, we hunted them down for vengeance on my part, for kills scored on the others' parts, and with new allies in tow to help us prove, once and for all, that we were not just a bunch of push-overs just because we did not have hundreds of kills to our names.  This, of course, was hard to maintain because we each had our own duties to attend to in addition to the war.

We went through another quiet period, and I became restless again.  The war effort had slowed to a crawl with the enemy corporation playing hide-and-seek in their home system.  At some point throughout the dragging month-long war, our leadership found a reason to declare war against another corporation.

I loved my time with Pigothy, but I knew I could not financially handle adding another war to my list of things to do.  I needed to recoup some of the money I had lost to the war.  A friend had asked many times over the past couple of weeks for me to join his corporation, which I had kept turning down.  Well, this time I changed my mind and decided that maybe I needed something more stable.

I spent a couple of days closing out my time with Pigothy before joining my current corporation, A Black Spot.  Apparently, war follows me.  Not a week after I joined, we recieved notice from CONCORD that someone wanted us dead.  I thought, 'No big deal, this corporation is used to fighting, since they like to stay in null sec space all the time.'

As it turns out, I was both right and wrong.  There has been battle on both sides, so I have heard.  We lost a few nice ships, though to me everything is nicer than what I have.

Even so, I have been absolutely unaffected by this war.  I've become so complacent in this war that I do not even remember to check the local comms while I run missions across multiple star systems.  Wherever this war is, it seems so far away from me; and even if it were at my hangar door, I think it would change little for me.

I accept death now.  It happens, sometimes frequently, sometimes sporadically, but inevitably it happens.  I am just thankful that I can overcome it by way of cloning.  Ships are simply an investment of time and money.  You may not be able to get the time back, but as long as you did something you enjoy with that time, you don't need it back, just do it again to get the money back.  Then go get yourself killed again, and then feel welcomed to New Eden's wash cycle.  Rinse and repeat as necessary.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Getting Used to Multitasking While Engulfed in Pod Fluid

As a new pilot, I am still learning so much that I tend to get information overload from almost everyone I meet.  This is definitely not a bad thing.

Once safely tucked away in my pod aboard my Catalyst, I tuned into the comms chatter of both my corporation (A Black Spot) and that of my fellow bloggers.  I gave my greetings and the comms revealed only static for a short time.  I suppose everyone was sleeping... or... well, I will leave that up to your imaginations.

In any case, it was not much time before someone I had annoyed a few days ago popped up on the blog-comms and I immediately inundated Alexia Morgan with typical friendly banter.  Then yet another person I had annoyed previously pops into the channel, Mike Azariah.  I do not have a whole lot of experience with corporations, but the amount of chattering between the three of us started to remind me of my corporation when we get going.

While Alexia and Mike were schooling me in the ways of New Eden and casually exchanging blogging advice, my corporation comms start blinking at me, begging my attention.  Well of course I have to give my corporation some love too, so I willed my neocom to break both channels out so I can attempt to carry on two or three conversations in my head.

On the corp side, I was getting Ralcoss to fill in the gaps of my political and historical knowledge of our seemingly cramped universe.  We babbled on about the current state of affairs between the races, and started helping Lordhtin piece together what he had not really known to begin with.

Apparently, I am still having trouble adjusting to my capsuleer capabilities.  During all of the exciting comms chatter, I had completely forgotten that I was running a courier mission and I had spent the better part of 10 minutes bouncing off of a jump gate.

Okay!  Backing out of comms just a bit, I nudged myself through the jump gate and continued my mission.  After setting warp to the next jump gate, I dove back into the conversations, and of course, promptly buffeted against the next gate as well.  I am fairly certain I managed to get through that gate after about 2 minutes, which was an improvement, at the least.

When I noticed a couple of red blips on my neocom only about 15km away, I realized that I needed to get my head back in the mission.  I made a couple of warps, to see if they were following me, and thankfully, they were not.  The appearance of the pirates though certainly got me moving to finish the mission and find a safe spot to dock, even if they did ignore a lowly, poorly fit, Catalyst.

A few jumps later, I was sitting the dock waiting on the agent to come claim his items.  It took him a while to get down to me, but after making him wait I thought it only just.  Suddenly I felt tired and decided I would make the return trip quickly and go find a room somewhere.  On the blog-comms I made a comment that I was bored of the courier missions (because I kept turning down all the pew-pew missions as they were directed against Gallente, I'm no traitor!) and Mike Azariah talked me through finding better agents.

Well damn... thanks Mike!  That, of course, changed my course as I set off for an internal security agent's location.  Once I arrived at the dock, I said my farewells and I crawled out of my pod.  I quickly showered off the pod fluid before collapsing into bed next to a Caldari woman.

Yes, Ralcoss, I "consorted with the enemy"... You are no better, you Amarr serving wretch!  Oh and on a side-note:
Threebius sucks!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


If anyone knows the value of information, capsuleers do.  And to this end I'm going to let you in on a (not so) well-kept secret.  There are literally thousands of screens of intel available about New Eden in the esteemed EVE-Online Blog Pack.

This intelligence initiative is actually what has sparked my interest in revealing my own thoughts, experiences, and general knowledge to the elite capsuleer public.  Please, take a few months to read through the wealth of stories and information available in such high volume that only those with the engineered mind of a capsuleer could possibly grasp it all.

Even for us this is a challenge, but ultimately the rewards far outweigh the time cost.  Not only does this vastly improve our collective intellect, but it also provides a distinct community for all capsuleers to enjoy the stories, experience, and (of course) opinions with one another.

New Face in the Crowd

My greetings to all who call themselves capsuleers. These tidings come from the humble Gallentean standing before you now, one Caels Caldanhai.

Please allow me to enunciate my name, for often others' tongues have awkwardly stumbled across its strange countenance. Caels is one syllable, the 'C' masquerading as the letter 'K' in sound alone, and the remaining rhyming with the word 'ails'. Caldanhai is three syllables: CAL-dan-hai. 'CAL' is the point of emphasis and is pronounced exactly the same as the Terran word 'call', whereas 'dan' is shortened into 'dun', and the letter 'h' in 'hai' is unaspirated entirely leave the last syllable to rhyme with 'eye'.

Ahh, now that we are past the formalities of proper pronunciation, let us move on to who, what, and why I am.

I am a capsuleer, like many who will read this: destined for greatness -- whether in success or failure remains unforeseen. There are many roles in our universe, to which I aspire: everything from mining and industry to ratting, covert ops, and, eventually, commanding my own fleets and perhaps corporations.

'Why do I spread my skills so widely,' one might ask. The answer to that seems simple to me, though it seems lost to most other capsuleers. I do it because I want to do it. It is my driving purpose: this desire to experience life in New Eden from as many perspectives as possible. Even pirating, as distasteful as such acts might be, is not something I am willing to completely disregard as a potential path in my career.

I have been following other capsuleers' written accounts for a few weeks now, and I have decided that this is also another route that interests me. Thank you for your attention (assuming I have held any) and I look forward to working with all of you.