Archive for November, 2009

From The Ashes

Posted in Chronicle with tags , on November 18, 2009 by Baa

I knocked on the door and waited.

I’d never been in this part of the station before so hoped I’d found the right place. Strictly speaking, with no docking rights, I was supposed to be confined to the docking ring. A few ISK here and there seemed to work though, and I was pretty sure I wasn’t followed. The door opened, and I was ushered inside.

I nodded to my fellow CEOs as I entered the low room. Why do stations always have places like this, low ceilings and minimal lighting.

“Gentlemen”, a voice came from the shadow, “you understand that I am here in only a semi-official capacity. That none of this is on the record?”

Mumbles to the affirmative came from the assembled group.

“We agree in principle to your rental of this system. This to be confirmed by a full meeting of my council and after the deposit of the agreed sum. We will provide you access to our live intelligence feed but apart from that you are on your own.

“Aside from that, I have been request to ask you not to aggress your former alliance members.”, there was a slight hesitation, “Of course, now that I’ve passed on the message it’s entirely up to you how you proceed”.

It hadn’t taken long. A couple of days after the collapse of the old alliance and new one sprung into life. Well, in actuality it was an old one that was resurrected with a different set of members, but the end result was the same.

Contact was made with the large alliance who owned the space we are currently in regarding the situation in general, how we could normalise relations between ourselves and them, and what we could do about having somewhere to call home. The end result was an agreement to rent a system, and eventually the station it contained. This would be at a hefty monthly fee, with an amount payable now to cover to the end of the month.

So more fees, payable now. I’d asked for the money back from our previous alliance and was told “sure”. So far nothing has materialised so I’m not holding out any hope for it. The only way to pay it was to sell some stuff and make a personal donation. I think I’m about even with the corp now, it having bought my Orca.

So looking forward we have a solid alliance, containing people we can trust, in a decent system in 0.0 with ongoing rights to exploit it. The only complication is that, with the publicity around the demise of the previous alliance, a bunch of reds have decided to take a bit more interest in our system making mining and ratting a little risky. Combined with the fact that the other corporations are still re-locating it looks as though paying the next bill could be interesting.

Betrayal

Posted in Chronicle with tags , , on November 16, 2009 by Baa

I thumbed the comms link again

“You do not have access to that channel”, came the response. I tried the intel channel

“You do not have access to that channel”

Then I saw the blinking of the mailbox.

“The alliance thanks you for your contribution, but regrets to inform you that your corporations goals are no longer compatible with our own.”

“Hmm”, I thought, “I bet they are happy with the contribution. Happy with the money we just paid them to help with the rent too.”

I tried to connect with the alliance CEO.

“Communications with this individual are blocked.”

This had all started a couple of days earlier. The latest alliance bill due in a couple of weeks, but this time it was decided to collect the money early. A simple calculation of x million per corporation member. No real problems with that, an houring ratting or mining each would earn that. The only complication being the short notice. There were only two days to raise it.

The first hint of trouble was that 24 hours before the deadline. Suddenly the systems were full of neutrals. The problem with that being that I needed to move the ore to sell it to be able to pay the bill. It wouldn’t be safe to move it with that many potential hostiles around.

I looked again. Hang on, most of these neutrals. No, all of these neutrals, belonged to other corporations in our alliance. A quick check. We were still in the alliance. Why weren’t these guys. I jumped into the alliance chat,

“What is going on?”.

“A number of corporations have been kicked from the alliance for non-payment of dues?”, was the response.

“Erm, but they aren’t due until tomorrow are they?”

“Well no, but they’ve been kicked anyway”.

I tried to contact a couple of the CEOs of the kicked corporations. So a conference call was underway. With going into detail it seems that the alliance CEO had decided to kick out a number of corporations because they hadn’t paid. When it was explained that the money wasn’t due until the next day he’d apparently said it was just a mistake and it would all be rectified if they just reapplied. Needless to say the general feeling wasn’t good. This sort of mistake could hamper us consolidating our position.

A conversation was had concerning the leadership of the alliance and that perhaps it would be better to make a change to someone that wouldn’t make these sorts of mistakes. The other CEOs would be sounded out about how they would feel about it. Nothing would be done yet though.

There were now reds in cluster and, with the uncertain nature position of most of our allies, flushing them wasn’t going to happen. This meant no opportunity to move the ore. Which meant that the corporation would be short of funds for its portion of the bill. I checked my balance, chatted with the COO, and combined with what was currently in the corp we’d have just enough. I paid the bill then, with downtime approaching, I logged off.

I came back a number of hours later and dropped straight in the alliance directors chat channel. I saw the end of a conversation.

“They were asking me about sponsoring a different corporation as executor”

“That’s it! I’ve had enough. It’s over. I’m disbanding the alliance”

Seconds later the mail icon blinked. The alliance mail tab had gone and there was a message saying the the war that we’d been in as part of the alliance, was over. I checked the corporation details and there it was. We were no longer in an alliance.

I asked what had happened. No reply.

I got in contact with a number of the other CEOs. They were out of the alliance as well. Everyone.

So here we are stuck in a station in nullsec, with no docking rights and well over a billion ISK worth of ships and equipment. We are also broke, all of our ISK is tied up in assets or ore. Oh and we are quite a few million ISK out of pocket to an alliance that we are no longer a member of Still, it could be worse. Most of the decent pilots in our former alliance are in the same boat. Time to see what we can do together about saving something from the situation.

Training update : Bombs away!

Posted in Character with tags on November 12, 2009 by Baa

Bomb deployment is now finally trained. I’ve gone for three levels at a start as they squeeze in in under a day fairly easily. I’ll wait to use them before seeing if it’s worth training any more levels.

Now a bit of industry training before making a push to better equip my combat ships. Hull and Weapon Upgrades V after a week of mining related goodness.

Maybe I should start a real alt. I’ll leave that till the new year. My main will be one year old then and we should be over the immediate aftermath of Dominion.

Intercept!

Posted in Chronicle with tags on November 12, 2009 by Baa

“Mayday! Mayday! Under attack. Its a Retribution. Please He…….”

Comms fell silent.

I pointed the interceptor ‘Gesture of Disdain’ towards the gate to see if I could find the assailant. Jumping through all I found was the wreck of the cruiser.

We had the usual irritants in our constellation. They were hopping around, in mostly cloaked ships, trying to pick of the unwary or terminally stupid. Eventually a fleet was formed and we set about clearing them out.

Looking at the fleet make up I picked a Taranis as my weapon for the day. Its fast locking abilities would be needed with the rest of the fleet being primarily T1 cruisers.

The fleet was split between systems, as were the reds. I was hopping between safe spots in our gateway system, keeping out of harms way whilst waiting for a location to go to. The reds had a Sabre with a bubble up on the gate to our main system.

Suddenly they dropped the bubble, as reported by our cloaked FC, and began jumping through the gate. I moved to the gate and started a close orbit. Suddenly more ships started entering the system, neutrals. Local climbed 10 .. 20 .. 30 .. 32. Damn that’s a lot of ships. I bailed from the gate and went back to safe hopping.

The neutrals were from a corporation that used to occupy these systems. From the reports of ship types from the FC this was a show of strength. We decided not to engage with the current fleet, no sense in giving easy kills.

The neutrals moved from one system to another. Sitting outside each station for a few minutes before moving on. Then, not having found any targets, they jumped out.

The one thing that it had done was force the reds to hit their own safe spots. They were blind, just able to report on the systems they were in.

A fleet member moved to the other side of the gate in a cruiser and was engaged by two reds. An assault ship and a recon. The Mayday went out and I burned for the gate ready to jump in to help.

“Popped and podded”

I jumped through with the FC. We could see the wreck but the assailants were long gone.

“Engaged Arbitrator outside station”, came the call from another cruiser pilot.

I selected to warp to the cruiser at 0 and my interceptor flashed through space.

“Taking damage.”

“Hold on till we get there.”

Dropping out of warp I was 28 km from the target. I quickly hit the MWD and started closing the distance priming my warp disruptor and blasters. I waited until inside disruptor range and started to target the assault ship. Locked, disrupted and my guns barked into life. I might waste a few rounds until I got into effective range of the Null ammo but I wasn’t worried about that. I dropped my drones and they joined in.

As I settled into a close orbit an enemy Recon appeared and both it and the locked Arbitrator started raining fire down on my ship. The Arbitrator’s shields were down and armour rapidly disappearing. Mine were too. This was going to be touch and go. The Arbi went into hull and the structure began to collapse. My armour disappeared and I picked a tactical warp point and hit my drive. Just as I aligned the Arbitrator exploded and my warp got me away from the recon.

Seeing his friend was no more, the recon pilot warped off.

The reds started leaving system. I quickly picked up my drones and we followed them out. They hopped around a little and we almost had them on a couple of gates but, in the end, they left the constellation and we could resume normal operations.

It had taken a little while to get the fleet together, and the attendance wasn’t good considering the number of alliance pilots online, but we’d had another success. Hopefully this and the previous ones will embolden some of our other pilots to join up. The more we have the less chance you have of being the one that loses a ship.

As a bonus I had the kill mail. Looking at it I not only got the last shot but also did the most damage. That’s the first real combat I’ve done in the Taranis and it turned out pretty well. It’s nice to know that I only need to worry once I’m into structure. I just need to fit a couple of rigs. Any suggestions?

Sacrilege

Posted in Chronicle with tags on November 11, 2009 by Baa

Warping towards the gate to our home system I breathed a sigh of relief. The new ship had made it here pretty well. A little combat test along the way and the everything clicked into place. Crew and machine operating in tandem.

There is it was again though. That nagging signal on the system transponder. The Pilgrim pilot was here, cloaked, waiting.

I jumped back into the our home system with my alliance fleet mates. The Pilgrim had been following us and other members of his corporation were reported in nearby systems. I quickly docked and switched to a full PVP fit.

“Fancy baiting them?”, came the call from the FC.

“No problem. I’ll find a belt to rat in”

I aligned the ship, now with 3 huge plates fitted, and warped to a belt. A red appeared in the system. Not the Pilgrim pilot but another old friend.

Chatter on the Intel channel indicated that the Pilgrim and a Proteous were two systems away.

I sat there waiting. Suddenly a Sacrilege warped in and locked me. Almost instantly missiles began flooding my way. I locked him and engaged my warp disruptor, sending a simple “Engaged. Sacrilege”, on the Fleet channel.

Within seconds I was joined by the rest of our fleet; two Vagabonds, a Damnation and an Onyx. More points hit the Sacrilege and drones, missiles, and my own anti matter charges, flooded towards it. Two more reds appeared in system. He was going to have friends soon. With unbelievable ease his shields diminished, armour plate boiled away, and the vulnerable structure was revealed. The ship collapsed sending debris flying into the void.

“Ready. Bubble up”, from the FC.

The Pilgrim and Proteus both flashed in. Seeing there friend’s pod leaving the scene they neglected to hang around, warping off before the Onyx pilot could establish the warp disruption bubble.

“Sorry about that. I was configured for a point”.

“Nevermind. We got a kill and they are unlikely to be back for a little while”.

We docked up and took a few hours well deserved R&R. This new ship was working out pretty well.

Training plans

Posted in Character with tags on November 10, 2009 by Baa

Is it me or are training plans difficult to follow. Always, when I get part way along, another set of skills becomes more interesting. Its all I can do to stay my hand and not inject a couple of short skills into the front of the queue to deal with an apparent immediate need.

Of course the need is never really that immediate, well unless there is a sudden influx of recruits and I need to bolster my corporation management skills, but the temptation is still there. I think its that as the character develops the skills take longer to train, the rewards take longer to attain, and there’s that desire to get back to the early days when you’d pick up new skills every hour. Now, although there are those new skills just out of reach, it requires a long level 4 or level 5 to unlock them.

Anyway, its under now 2 days before another new skill is available and I’ll be able to finally fit the Nemesis as it is intended rather than as a sneaky torpedo boat. After that it looks like 2 days 10 hours on Metallurgy and Refinery Efficiency to open up 3 more crystals. Then back to support skills. The long awaited Hull Upgrades 5.

I could plan further ahead. Thats going to be the next two weeks though and will have a decent short and long term benefits.

To See A Pilgrim

Posted in Chronicle with tags on November 10, 2009 by Baa

I looked again at the directions, then at the portal in front of me. ‘Eschew Quality Parts’ the sign read. Someone had a sense of humour, or an unfortunate name. I walked in.

‘How can I help you?’. The person behind the counter never looked up. Then again, I’m not sure that the ancient looking life-support body had that range of movement.

‘Blasters. Large ones’

‘How many?’, the voice didn’t sound natural either. It sounded a little too clear.

‘Six’. I said hopefully. Actually I wasn’t that hopeful, I’d been all over the station and there weren’t any to be found.

‘Two’

‘Damn. It’ll have to be rails then. Large ones’

A manipulator extended from the body with a transpad attached. ‘Six large railguns. Authorise here’

I checked over the order and touched my thumb to the port ion the pad. A split second later the screen flashed green.

‘Deliver them to Bay 12 please’

I’d bought a brand new Megathron intending to fit it out with blasters. Sadly there weren’t enough to make it worth while, so I fitted it with some rails for sniping and a compromise tank for the journey back home. The hold was jammed full of various parts to allow for swapping between PVP and PVE fits.

I exited the station and aligned to the exit gate. The huge ship moved slowly around so I took the time to sort out the weapon configuration and load the rails. It was going to be fun to see these in action. Eventually aligned the warp drive engaged and the journey home began.

One jump. Two. Three. No one on scan. Wait a minute. A red in system. I hold the cloak and wait. As time ticks by I check the pilot information. Hmmm .. he’s one of the bunch that has been harassing us in our home constellation. Then, before my cloak drops he’s gone.

I align and warp again. Firing a quick message about the red into our intel channel. I hit the gate and jump. The red is in system but not on scan. I start the sequence to get to the next gate as I do this my cloak drops and suddenly there he is. Under 10km away a Pilgrim de-cloaks, locks me and I see the warp engines go offline. Oh well, this is going to be fun.

A flight of Hammerhead II drones spit forth from the enemy ship and start attacking my shields. I release a flight of my own and the battle ensues. My targetting computer eventually gets a lock and I trigger the rails. 425mm anti-matter charges hurtle towards him. Though at this range and his speed I’ll be lucky to hit, if only there had been blasters.

I fire of a message to the intel channel. ‘Pilgrim engaged. He has me scrambled. Any help appreciated’.

I checked my drones. Only 3 left. I popped another 2 out and set them on him. His drones are through my shield now and slowly eating into my armour. I start to repair.

Word came from the intel channel. “How are you doing?”

I checked. The repper was keeping up with the drone damage. “No problems here.”

I looked around, he was kiting my drones. That was keeping him from targetting me with anything though. Suddenly he slowed just as my guns cycled and pow! No shields left.

The dance continued. His drones slowly eating into my armour, me popping out more drones as he destroyed them. Then I got another good shot on him and half his armour disappeared. The count in system went up by two and two ships flashed in to help me. The Pilgrim warped.

“Looks like planet II”. One of my gang warped after him.

I scooped up the T2 drones he’d left behind. They’d deactivated next to me the moment he’d warped. A good exchange for the ones he’d shot.

“Got him uncloaked and pointed”.

We warped to the location.  Targetted and opened fire. The Pilgrim pilot engaged his ECM, broke the lock on the warp disruptor, and warped off again. We tried to pin him down but he’d cloaked and hadn’t repeated the earlier mistake of warping to the destination at 0.

He was still in system though and, as we resumed the trip home, he seemed to be tracking us looking for another opportunity