The pair of Succubus-class frigates started locking me as soon as I undocked from the station, the behemoth form of a Nightmare waiting for its tracking systems to line me up.
“Not today boys…” I mutter under in my head as my Manticore class stealth-bomber leapt quickly into the fast dissipating warp-bubble. As my gravimetric scanners announce that we have cleared the station’s massive shadow, I quickly engage the Hunter/Killer’s cloaking device and let my mind drift back over the last few weeks.
The Incursion had surprised everyone, friend and foe alike. Those who still had stomach for the fight dug in, while the rest ran with their tail between their legs, leaving our constellation to the mercy of the invaders. Incursions in 0.0 have a slightly different feel than Empire, more sinister because of the silence it brings to the sub-space networks, and the certainty that Kuvekai’s zombies aren’t the worst things you are liable to meet out here. No through traffic, no ratters, and no one to talk to, other than the warbling call of Kuvekai’s comm-becons. It’s out here that his cyno-jamming tech really becomes a nuisance. Two weeks without a supply drop. No ship replacements, no extra modules, no ammo for two weeks. The last thought caused a chill to crawl down my spine. So I was on patrol in my bomber, looking for action.
Not that there was any action going on in the constellation. At all. No one out here had the backup to really drive Kuvekai away, so no one even tried. The capsuleers whose profession it was to root out and destroy such attacks wouldn’t risk their polished hulls flying out here, as much as I wish they would. The locals just docked up, turned off the Neocom and proceeded to spend their time in more pleasant pursuits, whether it be drinking, gambling, whoring, or in the case of one Achuran crew member, painting. Safe as houses they are here in station, unlike the poor bastards on the colonies spread throughout the system. They don’t stand a chance, not without capsuleer intervention, and that just isn’t in the cards. Too far from Empire to be protected, not far enough to be home to the kind of firepower that could be useful. So I sit here, plugged into this agile machine of alloys and death, sitting, waiting, as powerless as a ghost. It’s not a nice feeling. I can feel the tension in my back where my implants break through my spine, wrist-thick cables attaching me to this wondrous Jovian coffin. The broadcasts from Sansha were starting to get to me… I needed a massage, a drink that didn’t taste like industrial cleaner.
I needed to go back to empire.
The warning the DED sent out saying that they were changing the flight pre-req’s for destroyer and battle cruiser class starships also gave me the perfect excuse to take a bit of time to pick up a few skills I had qualified for. The outer regions were a bit sparse when it came to properly accredited training programs. Lots of fly-by-night flight schools, but they didn’t operate on the capsueer level.
Aligning myself deeper into the constellation, towards the station I have been calling home this month, I began to slow down my thoughts from the blistering pace they were normally operating at. Rather than risk my ship or pod on the trip, I was going to jump clone and you couldn’t jump into another body with your brain running hot. Saying that it tended to scramble things a bit was an understatement. Traveling this way was infinitely faster, not to mention safer than starship travel. The only down side is that you do have to make the trip once, move the body into place before you can reliably bounce between the two, even if they are at far ends of the cluster. Whatever cluster the wormholes fed into was another matter, but as far as this universe was concerned, you could go anywhere. Once that was done it was like the flick of a switch. Close your eyes in Syndicate, wake up in Curse, the Great Wildlands, Stain, Metropolis, The Citadel, Immensea. It wasn’t instantaneous, but it sure seemed that way, and compared to any other form of travel – star flight included – it was. One fresh-faced nurse telling you that you might feel a bit funny as you lay back in the clone-pod, and then another nurse waking you as if from a coma, gently telling you where you are and what day it is. It can down right unsettle a man’s brain to think about it too long. I just lie back, close my eyes and try not to think about zombies and ghosts….



“…so that’s the story. You can see why we don’t want to stick around anymore!”

I was amazed. Not only was this pilot laying out the plans of his alliance to a neutral stranger, but he was telling a known hostile! I had attacked this belt-ratter the night before, coming within a few shots of venting his HAC before his backup arrived to return the favor. I was still kicking myself over the loss of my recon cruiser, but the fight had taught me a few things about their response times and operation patterns.

On the odd chance that I could gain some info, I had struck up a conversation and was amazed when the details of the last few weeks flooded forth. Apparently, he held no ill feelings from the attack (he hadn’t lost anything after all) and was feeling talkative. In the back of my head, I weighed the idea that this was a plant, but the more I listened, the more he seemed to be legit. Over the next few minutes I tried to keep him talking, noting names, dates, locations. On a whim I asked about fittings. I got those too, both his and his FC’s.
I’m sure that the pilot was just being friendly and trying to recruit who he saw as worthy opponents, but wars have been lost thanks to less.
My data-broker fairly beamed when I mailed her the info, immediately diving into the information with relish, firing off a dozen questions about scope, time, and how deep I wanted her to dig. The last question was a formality, since we both knew she would keep digging, whether I told her to or not, until she was satisfied. And she was never satisfied, not until the war was over anyways.
The package came back a few days later, full to bursting with details of combat operations, allies, enemies, and a few dirty little secrets that could be useful.
“That’s wonderful, Tae. Send copies to everyone else and have yourself a drink. You’ve earned it,” I said with a smile. Our teams would make good use of the info, no doubt there. The ice clinked in the glass as I poured myself a rye.
“Here’s to chatterboxes, ” I murmured, raising my glass to my talkative informant.

My burning eyes….

So when I get asked what I am most excited for in the upcoming winter expansion???
CCP’s vague reference, once that I can find, to changes to the recruitment interface.
The corp recruitment boards are stale with few options and settings and setting up cans is hit and miss. My only other choice was the Recruitment channel.
After spending three evenings staring at that wall of ever-changing spam, fishing for the few people that braved the bot-strewn chat channel to look for work, I now know how very much it’s needed.

Not that the spam needs to stop, no its a good way to get a lot of info in a hurry, but I think it needs it own place. You can’t even ask a simple question without it being swept away by the same seven corp ads on auto-repeat. A simple sub-channel would suffice, but the secrecy surrounding makes me hope for better things.
Or maybe not? Maybe the secrecy is to cover a lack of changes? I really hope that isn’t the case, but I’ll keep my faith in the devs for now, the rest of the expansion looks amazing.
Maybe its going to be making the UI pretty and more functional than the plain “spreadsheets-in-space” look? Could we dare hope for a day where we can converse civilly with other recruiters while the spam-bots blabber to each other in the corner?

Every recruiter I know hates that channel. They like their jobs, but that channel is the bane of their existence, more than likely because of the massive timesink that it is (if you want any recruits that is) so anything that makes things quicker or easier is welcome in my books!

Until then, I guess its back into the fires for me. If you’re lurking in Recruitment, wanting to bash your head against a wall…don’t worry you’re not alone.

Shady Business

Independent Black-Ops is my game in the dark skies of New Eden. Independent means not being a part of the major sov-holding alliance scheme. It means not having the ability to field massive blobs of blues at a moments notice, just one titan bridge away.  You get your rag tag bunch of pilots together and look for work. Sometimes its deniable ops….someone needs ganked and the person paying the tab doesn’t want their hands near the knife. Sometimes its guerrilla warfare, going into hostile territory and harassing missioners, ratters and industrials. Sometime it’s running lots of hostile jumps just to light a suicide neutral-cyno. Whatever it is, it usually means that we’re both outnumbered and out gunned.

And people wonder why I love my cloak?

It also means that you have to use any advantage you have. Psychological warfare is as important in these campaigns as physical force. Intelligence becomes more precious than ammo. What you know. What you think they know. What they actually know. It makes people’s heads spin most times, mine included.

But that’s the game.

Whatever you are doing in this murky world though, your people, your corp are the most important resource. If you don’t have crew that you can trust, you’ve already lost. Because this is Eve. And at the end of the day its gonna be your corp mates lighting an emergency cyno, or having your back at a sketchy station. Or chasing down the lucky SOB that got the drop on your ship.

Oh and a final word.

No matter what, as a mercenary, you have to follow the contract. Killboards, pride, and ISK be damned. Finish the contract. Make the hit, honor the ransom, pay the informant.  If you don’t there might not be another one, cause what good is a merc that can’t meet his contract?

Hello world!

Well, I’ve finally gone and done it. I’ve gotten myself a blog to yammer about my self and the crazy shite that me and my mates get up to in Eve Online. Either that or rambling about what I see on the inside of my pod while high on Drop =)

I am currently in the polishing phase of my Eve Fiction Contest story, so you’ll get to read that very soon, I promise.

For now, New Eden…….O7 Fly Reckless