Monday, October 1, 2012

Breaking news : Ancillary Shield boosters causing uncounted crew deaths

"... And this just in. On call we have a Professor of applied shielding and engineering at the School of Applied Knowledge, as well  as a crew member from a Caldari Merlin Frigate piloted by an undisclosed capsuleer." Both men nod, the professor's circular glasses glinting in a in the reflected studio lights. The crewman looks around a bit nervously, the light glinting off a deep puckered scar along his cheek. The Anchor turns to the audience, smiling and steeping his fingers. "To get you caught up, it appears the despite all the so-called safety precautions deployed with newer systems into the," he raises his hands, quoting, " exclusive capsuleer market, there still remains some defects." He lowers his hands, turning back to regard the two men to his right.

"Now, reports are coming in from various crews that the new module line called," He consults his notes for a second before looking back up. "The Ancillary Shield booster or, in capsuleer slang, the 'ASB,' class of shield repair systems, are not working as intended and have been the root cause for more than one crew death since they have been used, over the last few months."

The Professor couldn't keep his silence and burst into the conversation, his slightly nasal voice fitting his scholarly look perfectly. "These are nothing but rumors. These modules are used on a day to day basis elsewhere, besides on capsuleer ships. They operate well within normal parameters even under extreme stress. Their effectiveness has been proven time and again even with their short deployment time. It's not like we just released these modules without testing them." His fingers tapped a staccato beat into the wooden desk of the Anchor, staring intently out at the camera's. Apparently completely oblivious to the crewman's growing agitation next to him.

The anchor nodded, continuing, "Well apparently these modules aren't as reliable as you make out. For instance, just this past week, we received this video from an anonymous source. This is from another capsuleer Merlin frigate, apparently fit with not one but two of the ASB modules." The video feed cuts to the inside of the frigate, a single man hunched over the control console of the ASB, while warning alarms went off through the ship, the faint sound of discharging blasters color the scene. The Anchor continues, in voice overlay of the video. The Professor tries to interject a few times but is muted out over the voice overlay, his instance that even fitting 8 ASB wouldn't cause a catastrophic falure, left unheard.

"The ship was apparently under attack by an Enyo class Gallente frigate" The Anchor's voice sneers out the name of the Gallente ship, doesn't attempt to keep his opinion of that race silent. "Now the interesting part is coming up, apparently the Merlin's two ASB, seen in to the right of the engineer were set into overload by the capsuleer in a defiant attempt to keep his ship alive." Previously inactive circuits light up on the screen to the right of the engineer, his back to the video stream. The capsuleer commands overrode the safety parameters of the ship, squeezing out a few more precent from each booster.

"Now everything seems to be okay, but if you look at the lower right side of the engineer..." A small yellow box highlights a power transformer built into each ASB that moves the power between the loaded capacitor boosters and the shield boosting device. "The transfer bus operating under the strain will begin to show signs of wear." Both transfer bus appear to heat, with small lightning like arcs connecting with the floor close to the engineer. The Engineer spins around to see the module begin to fail. "Now here is where we see catastrophic failure in both modules, quite frankly the following scene is not pretty, please pay attention."

The module bursts, shooting shrapnel through the compartment, several pieces hitting, passing through, the already retreating Engineer, arcs of electricity following in their wake as the cap charges continue to discharge into the interior of the room. The arcs catch the engineer just above his rib cage, sending him flying to into a nearby chair, toppling it. The Engineer tries to push himself up, a black scorch mark the size of a fist on his chest. His other wounds are bleeding now, turning his uniform red. He collapses, just as other crew charge into the now dead quiet room. The video cuts as the other crew reach him...

The Professor has gone a whole new shade of sickly greeny pale at the grisly images. His mouth working soundlessly as he attempts to process the information, refute it somehow. The crewman leans forward, his face red with anger, nodding, looking away from the feed. "That's not even a bad overload. These modules are rated to be used in overload settings for quite some time before burning out and everything the manuals say indicates they will burn out to an inoperable state just like the rest of the modules that those eggers can use." His voice raising as he talks, overcoming his fear of speaking. "Not just EXPLODE because they are under some stress." He looks at the camera, his eyes red and partly tear filled, his story coming out in a quick burst. "I was on a Maelstrom down in Molden Heath, when our dual X-Large ASB's failed the resultant explosion killed 9 people including the engineer and disabled other critical systems." He trails off, his haunted eyes re-living the carnage. "I wasn't able to get clear either, I lost a chunk of my left leg and" His hands move up to the scar on his face. "And this, for my service." He shakes his head, looking down.

The Anchor saw his chance and took it. "Now if I'm not mistaken CONCORD and the manufacturers are supposed to set the safety limits on new devices, pass basic and advanced load testing to make sure things like this don't happen on our ships let alone capsuleer ships..." The Engineer glared at the anchor, knowing he was getting baited, but unable to stop his reply.

"Yeah fat lot of good those bastards are doing. These modules are killing people all the time, capsuleers don't care and the manufacturers always blame the engineers for some faulty process!" The crewman's knuckles are white, gripping his knee's. "It's utter bullshit, these things are dangerous, we inspected our ASB upon delivery, and even the chief engineer didn't like how they looked. Their construction is set in a way to maximize the power gained from each charge, but at the expense of crew safety in every way." He was shouting at the end, leaning forward towards the Anchor who just sat there with the same mute smile on his lips. "They have no shunt to safely ground failures, and in the case of an emergency, they have no power overrides or shut downs built in. These things would reduce the effectiveness of each module, and it's not like the capsuleers want that! Hell they double up on the modules, flipping them both on at the same time, doubling their inductance issues, it's no WONDER they explode!"

The Anchor interrupts, being sent new information via the teleprompter. "It seems as if these modules are still undergoing CONCORD testing, and they are finding some of the same problems, including catastrophic failures." The Professor is leaning back in his chair now, watching the conversation with some interest. A new graphic fills the screen showing a percent chance the modules critically fail with testing being done by CONCORD, the percent is 3%. The Anchor leans forward more, capturing the attention of the audience as the camera switches back to him, focused now so the Crewman and professor can't be seen in the shot. "CONCORD estimates they will have a fix in line by sometime around December this year, that's more than 2 months from now! How many more lives will be lost to these modules in the meantime?" The camera shifts quickly over to the crewman as he surges to his feet.

"I'm for damn sure not going to wait for those CONCORD fools to fix this for me. I'll never go back out on one of those damned capsuleer death-traps, I'd rather be a slave than killed by my own equipment! I'll stick to crewing a nice armor ship or a mining barge, somewhere that I can at least trust the ships equipment to run properly!"

The crewman looks poised to say more but the Anchor, upstaged, nods once and the feed cuts to a new starsi commercial. A small link appears beneath the commercial in the typical "would you like to know more style.

Would you like to know more? ((CCP is planning to nerf the ASB in the upcoming patch for winter, the provided link gives more information on the planned nerf.))

1 comment:

  1. Awesome! You rock my friend, nicely done. I actually cringed a few times, been there done that. My poor sodden crew! lol