Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A long journey home

Our week had been building up to this.  Cassius strolled in casually to the meeting room, ahead of me, a smallish but once empty bar up on the capsuleer decks of mid station of Reynire.  Now filled over capacity with pilots from the assembled corporations of Rote Kapelle.

Truth was Rote Kapelle had been absent from it's adopted home in TXW for close to two and a half months now, working to strew seeds of the revolution from Pure Blind to Providence.  Taking our lumps and giving them against the monolithic NC and New Providence in one place or another.  During these months spirits and morale had been up and down in quick succession but nothing compared to the current feeling in the room.

It wasn't tension but anticipation, for blood, for home, for a fight.  We were all quiet as our leaders and assembled FC's broke the news of our plan to the rank and file, in person this time, ensuring no confusion.  I moved to the back of the room, looking back towards our brief.

"As we stand here, your Remote Repair BS are being delivered to your hangars, from station storage and prepped for combat.  Our token force in TXW will attempt to convince the new locals," smiling a bit at the comment, "into combat.  The rest of the fleet, meaning you, will stand by in Vestouve, with light cap support for backup."  There were some involuntary nods around the room, one of those reflexes you gain from years of briefings.  I was one of the nodders.  I scanned the room quickly with slight embarrassment.  Of course there had been no need to nod, this was hardly the first time we or rather I had heard this plan, but it would be the last.  None had noticed, fortunately enough saving me the casual barbs passed around like candy in these meetings.  When the briefing broke up short seconds after that a light murmur of voices filled the room as the pilots of Rote Kapelle moved towards the doors.

Some had already remotely jacked into their hangars, or comms systems, ordering cargo in or out of their holds, prepping their delivered battleships for combat before arriving at them, joining the fleet, chatting on their communicators.  I stumbled slightly, still getting used to this new clone after my recent clone jump, and my foot careened off the floor from my misstep and then down right on the outside foot of Usagi Tuskino.  I tried to recover some, but my tall frame was already overbalanced, somehow I was able to remain upright although nearly falling into her, I started to apologize quickly.  Looking down to meet her eyes, those shocking blue eyes unnerved me instantly, as every time I saw them, making my already awkward apology stutter from my lips.  She waved dismissively, a small smile sliding over her lips as she moved away, her mind obviously on something else.

Once I stepped from the bar, I grew in confidence with each step closer to my hangar I got.  It was like I could feel the power there.  I set my body more or less on autopilot, moving instinctively, quickly towards my pod and waiting tempest-class Battleship.  The sweet feeling of becoming something greater, bigger looming ahead.  I joined the fleet channel, placing quick orders to move some large cap boosters into the waiting injector, my mind meshing with the comms channel, quiet now, assigning me to the second squad of the first wing of the fleet.

I broke the mental connection and refocused as I entered the room housing my pod, already inside my tempest, only marginally aware of how I got there.  My excitement grew, a smile spreading over my face as I disrobed.  I guess some people said you never got used to submerging in pod fluid, giving up control, that was never true for me.  I had always been a dreamer, meant for something greater, to be something amazing, my voluval mark reinforced the popular view that I was below notice, just another man, ugly man, but inside.  No matter the number of times I had been warned that I was the bloated and stupid rock I had never given up hope, even if their world was the mountain, my hope didn't die.  It was one of the few things that had kept me alive as a slave was this hope, carefully guarding it, clinging to it fearfully like a secret that could be taken away at a moment notice.  It had survived that and still it lived on.


Connecting to a pod was like being reborn into that thing I had always wanted to be, something greater.  While Battleships were ponderous and slow the simple feeling of power could overwhelm the untrained senses.  While I could still feel myself in the pod it was a distant and largely unconscious feeling, I simply was the ship.  I twisted the camera drones around my ship, prepping my guns with Barrage L and powering up all systems.  I had barely settled in when the order to undock came from our FC.  I had already cleared for undock, placing me next in line and then suddenly pushed out of the station.

Relying on drilled in precision I set destination for home, my tempest turning towards the first gate with a touch of my will.  The order to warp was not long in coming, and I was once again one of the first into warp, jetting towards the low security gate ahead, TXW a short 6 jumps away.  I kept my ship on course, laughing at myself as if I was some other person looking back at the meeting in the station.  I thought to myself that surely had not happened to me, it was a memory from another life, filing it away I jumped through the gate on command.

Reports were not encouraging as we made our way, only 5-6 of the new inhabitants were nearby, but our friends in the station as well as pilots on scene had seen none of them in space.  Determined not to waste any further time, our commander pushed us ahead, a very unfortunate Vexor meet it's timely end with a small section of our fleet removing it from space, our large ships near invulnerable for a time against the "peacekeeping" gate guns employed in low sec.

The Concord ding to my security was hardly worth noting, even lower than caring about the loss of life and money for our victim.  We waited briefly in Vestouve hoping for a fight in TXW, but none came.  With assured speed we moved back into TXW, orders already circulating for the formation of another, smaller, nimble fleet to assemble in TXW 8-8.  It was set to leave in 1 hour.

Leaving the pod was another matter entirely, I ended up feeling very alone.  On the floor of the same room, my consciousness collapsed into the small shell that was my body, my thoughts battering around inside my head, as if it was suddenly too small for me.  I dry retched, gripping at the floor, tears filling my eyes as I did.  I struggled to my feet, grabbing a simple towel to wipe the goo from my eyes, already headed to my next ship.  I didn't notice if people saw me, naked, awash in the glow of my hangar, approaching the sleek monstrosity of my Scimitar.  Like the Tempest the Scimitar was powerful in it's own way, able to project shields across the vastness of space, all while moving too fast to follow.  In the shadow of the vast cruiser I left the towel, repeating the process of connecting to the cruiser, as always, opting to spend my time inside the hull of the powerful ship, viewing it as a whole rather than as a simple man.


The hour passed quickly, maybe even too quickly as I scanned the fitting of my ship, making last minute changes and bantering in the new fleet for parts, all the while passing sarcastic we have returned comments into the local FTL channel.  I was slower on the undock this time, forcing my cruiser through the mass of ships at the undock point and then getting it pointed out toward the gate took a bit longer than needed but being back out in space, powerful once again was it's own reward.

The cruiser leaped into warp, feeling even faster and reckless as my blood rose to a near audible hum in the pod of my ship.  Our first challenge was to find a fleet willing to face us.  After several attempts and even more half fights and quick kills, we arrived in MHC, seemingly finding a interested party.  In fact the fleet we were able to find was made up of only CPU/Tabula Rasa, scared to fight against the trappings of their imperialistic and wanton needs, they left the field quickly, leaving their mate to die under our hammer.  Behind us they slunk back to the gate, catching a straggler before we could return to save him.

A few jumps later a hostile force that best matched our own was detected.  We were forced to redeploy hastily, blocking their route.  Our scout reported their fleet launching drones and throwing up a bubble, it was time to fight.  I stretched my will across the fleet, mentally marking members of the fleet to follow through the fight, hoping to catch those in need of repairs before their ships buckled.  We jumped, space buckling at the number of ships moving across space.  We found them in place on the other side, the battle was already on.

Usagi and her blue eyes was one of the first to go down in the fight, her Rook removed from the field before I had finished locking her for repairs, she had been foolish to reveal herself so soon into the fight.  From there things seemed to stabilize.  We were still taking a fair amount of damage, Scimitars burning for range while the rest of our light and speedy fleet attempted to lay down fire on the requested ships.  They were dying, but not fast enough.

FALLGUY was one of the next to go down, his Vagabond crumpling under reps, at the same time my lock failed after another lucky jam from EC-300 drones swarmed around me like insects.  I burned hard, trying to maintain range and escape from under the net of EC drones in vain, they would stay on me for much of the fight, until their owner was removed.  We might have lost a Vagabond but they were dying as well, 0458 proved to be a bloody minute, 4 of their ships lost for just two of ours.  My reps were working overtime to keep BlackFalcon01 alive but another lucky jam and distance allowed him to fall to the guns of our opposition.  But he was the last.  Their heavy ships tanked our fire best they could and disengaged the other side of the gate.  The battle was bloody, but ultimately we were victorious, holding the field

Returning to TXW with half our fleet seemed oddly like a loss.  We had come to expect to lose few ships in a battle, but even so we once again proving ourselves strong and our fight was motivation enough to be stronger.  The bloody fight fresh on our minds moved the CPU gang once again out of our way, despite their now similar numbers.  The rest of the flight home was more or less uneventful, never once stressing our gang to the point our fight had.

Our FC moved the fleet into dock, dismissing us as we entered station.  I sat there for a bit in my Scimitar, spinning camera around the outside of the ship for moments before disconnecting.


Sometimes it's worse than others, and you find yourself on the floor minutes later, coughing, unable to form thoughts, wishing vaguely for just one more moment in the pod.  At least that's how I felt right then, weak, out of sorts, unable to think clearly.  Luckily, my body was moving, working off years of completing the same task, I gripped a new towel and pulled it slowly over my body, cleaning it as I left the ship, the previous towel either removed by some unseen employee hired in one of my smarter moments or swept out into space like so much junk.

I walked into the quiet dressing room in TXW, my mind more or less settled now.  I pushed to get myself through the quick routine of a shower, getting dressed and doing short work on my hair.  I stepped out of my section of the Hangar Bays, long strides taking me the shortest route to the local capsuleer pub we all tended to favor after well just about any fight.  Even pilots who had lost ships had made it there before me, but one knowing look was all it took for almost everyone to understand.  I guess not everyone has such a hard time leaving their pod as I do, but at least they understand it.

I was happy to have missed the "AAR" as our FC's called them where pilots mistakes were pointed out and shamed.  I felt I must have made some, possibly costing people their lives, or ships.  Each loss weighed heavily on my mind as I looked up at the simple cork board in the bar that had hard copies of kills and losses listed.  Right now it was more kills than losses but I felt as if it could change at any moment.  Often times it would be updated before the pilots even returned home from a fight.  Nobody was quite sure who did it or why, but there were plenty of comments tacked to the side of kills before they dropped off the bottom of the board.

A pair of unsolicited shots slid down the bar towards me, I looked up to see smiles all around, I took the first shot quickly, the faint buzzing of responsibility, fatigue and loss slowly wiped from my mind as the smile spread to my lips after a few minutes.  I could barely keep up with some in the bar, but I managed to catch up at the very least... I think.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Pewed right in the face!(again)

We like to eat CSAA
Shortly after we all made it into Provi, let's say about a week and a half, give or take, PL decided to come a-knocking.  While USUALLY we can be counted on to fight just about anything, especially the stupider the odds, engaging in TCU/CSAA fights just aren't our bag baby!

When our friends in Asset Liberation called for our help in defending a POS with said CSAA's we had a chance to chow up but mostly it all just ended up in failure.  Call us out of practice, or blame the evil lag monster, the POS wasn't long for this world.  During the crushing of the CSAA located in KPB, we had some rather bad blows against us, as Alpha and passwords lent PL some easy kills.

In any case, with  that part over leadership made the decision to head back to Syndicate and our old system of TXW.... "soon."  For now we just moved everything out of KPB and have started staging for the move back.  In the meantime all our trouble makers are setting out to go find some of their own trouble!  I immediately headed for Ivar where I had been setting up a place to Ninja-kill missioners and otherwise harass people.

I had specially outfit a Navy Issue Omen to be my go-to people killer after they aggressed me because I needed to find SOMETHING to use that bloody ship for!  Not too long into my playstint this sunday I tracked down a Vargur just finishing a deadspace mission.  I popped in to say hello there in my salvage fit vigil.  First I salvaged a large wreck and then stole a little lootzies to see if I could get a bite.  Yellow box.... and bam, into structure!  Holy crap, praying for a fast align I headed back to the station, making it out in 56% structure in one shot, close one!

I jumped into my ONI, heading back to the Vargur hoping they were still there.  Indeed they were but a painful 35km from my warp in point...  I pushed the AB up to full speed and started taking a near-immediate pounding.  Let's just say the ONI wasn't up to the task but at least it made it out alive, no embarrassing ship loss to post on the alliance kill boards.

I endured the laughter of my target in local, wishing I had brought that Abaddon down from Rens already, having it already fit and ready to go, but I had left it behind shipping other ninja essentials instead.  Oh well.

I logged for a bit and by the time I came back there was no more bear activity in my chosen system, leaving me bored and itching for a fight.  I was just three jumps from Rens and a further 3 from Amamake, a piratey plan formed in my head.  Suicide time!

Well, ok, that's what I call flying into the top belt of Amamake.  I fit a Rifter of the 400mm plate version in Rens quick, insuring it and leaving off the rigs.  Flew straight down to Ama, and on the jump in I barely avoided being squished by the resident's gatecamp.

I warped into the top belt expecting some action but found none, not even after minutes of loitering.  Top belt dissapoints again!

10 minutes of warping around looking for targets revealed a xxxxxXXXXXDeathXXXXXXxxxxxx rifter moving between the belts.  I waited for him in the top belt, about 100-150km off the warp in, Close enough for my AB Rifter to close quickly but far enough away that help warping into the other rifter wouldn't be close enough to matter for a bit.

So the Rifter landed shortly after that and pretty much from the start my plan went downhill.  I zoomed in, noting his 2k+ speed and pegged him for a MWD user.  My web and J5b warp scrambler would take care of that.  As soon as I got into range I knew he was bait and my hunch was correct as a Arazu and Cane landed at the warp in, some 70-80 km from me and this other rifter.

Now the smart thing to do would have been to scramble the other rifter, push range on him, and spank the warp out button, before the Razu and cane closed enough distance to kill me, but who said this was a smart fight?  I wanted to kill that Rifter, so I kept to my fight, eating through his shields and armor as the Cane drew inside range, pelting me with 425mm rounds from about 40-50km eating up my shields and parts of my armor with near hits.  The Arazu landed points on me just as the hostile Rifter popped, and despite my attempts to escape, I was shortly dispatched, my pod speeding free of the encounter.

Hey at least I was able to kill a fully t1 fit rifter before I died!  Anyways, back to Rens and a 15 minute timer later I was back into the area with another Rifter.  Now sadly all the fight seemed to be gone from the system and short of two faction warfare blobs declining to engage each other in the nearby system of Auga there was nothing going on.

I parked my Rifter nearby and intend to re-visit shortly.  That is if I can log in at all this week!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Providence is for Pew!

With the conclusion of our Pure Blind bike ride, the gentle fellows at Rote Kapelle have decided to extend our little field trip and make asses of ourselves in Providence, neatly avoiding the IT blobbing of Syndicate, but hopefully not scaring off any new targets there!

Not the provi you are looking for
So, off to Providence!

Wait no, not that Providence!  It being the preferred freighter to kill during out PB road trip.

Instead we find ourselves deep in one of the arms of Provi, meeting up with our long-time friends in Reaper Industries and their Alliance, Asset Liberation Front.

Yep, that's the one.
Our logistics move was done Friday, Rote Flexing it's Logistics/capital backbone hard to get it done in a single day, with the final movements completed on Saturday.  I was lucky enough to have my stuff moved Friday and be able to move my clone into the new habitat for STIMmyness in QBL, Reapers Junkyard.

As a hello to our new Providence neighbors we departed soon after in a joint fleet of RK/Asset nanoHAC swarm intent on finding some kills.

We steamrolled a bit, starting with this poor Vagabond pilot, who buzzed the station right as the fleet was forming and undocking.  Poor timing and good tackle proved his vaga wasn't long for this world.

Following that we moved out to G7 catching a Rapier, part of the Vagabond's fleet, on the gate out of QBL, turning him into dust just as quick as we could uncloak him.  DACO was thought to be camping along FSW to MH9C area, I had just flown a Cov ops through the area but had been able to sneak past.   However we turned and burned for the bottom pipe, looking to catch the rest of the En Garde fleet, managing only to catch them once they had caught up with a blue fleet... who they were also blue to, damn standings.  HAHAHAHA just kidding, we killed a Drake, then put another deep into armor before it jumped out and nearly got a Drake for our trouble.  Suddenly we were joined by a carrier on the gate, the blues were cross repping the Geddon left on the gate, trying to deny us a rightful kill!  Fairly it was a good attempt, but near 200k damage, a few good bumps, the carrier reps were overcome.

This time we headed back up to pay DACO a visit but they had intel on us by then and had moved out of the way.  We plowed on, heading for R3- on the way back to QBL.... well the round about way back.  En Garde wasn't happy thanks to our previous kills and were happy to provide a response fleet once we jumped into their smallish gang in 1-1I.  We claimed first blood, knocking down a Phantasm, Harbinger, and a fleeing Drake, followed by a brief lul as most of the rest of the En Garde gang warped off.  We looted and pulled range, and they warped back in with support on the other side, they were able to catch Cassius, eventually killing him.  We were still able to skirmish, darting down to score 2 more BC's and a cruiser kill before they had all were able to warp out from our split tackle.

While looting we mostly re-approached gate, just in time for their fleet to come back and neatly split us between N8XA and 1-1I.  I was stuck in 1-1I having moved to range as they started to warp in.  Kakizaki made a costly mistake, staying in one position too, outside of 150km from the gate,a cov ops was able to probe him down, and have the rest of the hostile fleet warp on top of him.  The TS chatter made him realize too late, and his Huginn was downed quickly.  Meanwhile, the half gang on the other side killed a Harbinger and Vexor.  Using a moment their gang left the gate, the rest of our gang moved by and we were all able to depart to QBL with no further kills or losses.  End result was 10 kills to 2 losses in a fun, skirmish engagement, quite the warm welcome to Provi!  I look forward to more fights of the same as the rest of the weekend was uneventful for me.

I flew a Scimitar later in the weekend, but was mostly un-needed as our tanks didn't face a significant threat while I was on the field.  (even though we engaged a Ashimmu gang, well before they ran like hell...)

Hell in a cell, eve-style!

EVE SOB comes up with a great idea, check it out.

Basically the rules are as follows,

- 5M to enter with all ISK going to the Last Frigate flying in fleet (minus fleet referee)
- T1 non faction frigates only with any fittings.
- All entrants join a single fleet and fighting begins when they enter the “CAGE” system
- If you leave the “CAGE” system you are removed from the fleet.
- If you dock in anything in the “CAGE” system you are removed from the fleet.

- If you are in your pod you are removed from the fleet.
- Once removed from the fleet you are out of the fight and no ISK for you.
- Gate crashing the system is allowed and expected.

- No restrictions on implants or boosters.
- Faction/T2 frigates or above are not allowed unless a gate crasher. :)

Fittings are unlimited as warping to fleet member will be allowed and should take care of the cloakers and folks who safe up. The “CAGE” system region will be in LowSec and easy to reach from Null or Empire space. The region will be announced to entrants a week before and the CAGE system 1 hour before the bell.
 Although I am a bit dissapointed I will be unable to find and kill him within the rules of the match, but trust I'll find a way into killing him anyways, better keep an eye out Mr Zombie.

More details will be posted as they come, hopefully this will have another impressive turnout, and more kills this time!  Die once, come back as a spoiler later.