Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Heart of Gold

I hoped all this was a dream. I was in a lucid sleep, so it was possible. I hoped I was dreaming, right up until I felt the sensation of a latex gloved hand slapping against my cheek. "Cat! Wake up Cat!" a forceful, yet somewhat reassuring voice, said to me. I decided not to open my eyes, and pretend to remain asleep, for I did not yet know where I was and for why. "We know you can hear us, Miss o'Ninetails." The voice spoke again. I slowly allowed my eyes to open, seeing only an unfamiliar room above me. I couldn't turn my head to look around. I realised now, that my entire body was bound to a stretcher.

"Now, now Cat." a voice came from nowhere, "No point in struggling." This was a different voice to the one that awoke me a few moments earlier. "Wh...where am I?" I demanded, my voice sounding much more powerful when I ran this line through my head, but my words were lucky to escape my mouth as anything more than a laboured breath. "As we said Cat, you're safe. You very nearly weren't... but you are now, and that's all that matters," the first voice waxed. I had managed to focus my vision, and turn my head enough to gather enough information to work out where I was. A medical bay, the most advanced I'd ever seen.

"Sorry about the restraints," a man said as he walked around me, looking somewhat nervous. He continued "but you nearly scratched out the eyeballs of two of our medical support staff while you were having a fit. We can't have that now, can we?" I didn't know what was going on, but I felt lightheaded. Had they given me drugs? "You're probably feeling a little funny because of the drugs, Cat. Don't mind if I call you Cat do you?

Strapped to a stretcher, pumped full of drugs, and still unsure of my whereabouts. The apparently kind strangers just adding to my uncertainty of the situation. I heard the door slide open, and a voice ask " I'm Jalo Graydor, Chief Scientist for Rancer Defence League. This is Cat's bed, right?" to which someone applied in the affirmative. I was getting quite restless at this point, and felt I had recovered enough energy to scream "Somebody tell me right now where the hell I am, and what the Jove is going on?!!"

"Well, Miss o'Ninetails," the speaker audibly took a deep breath, "I am just a medical technician, but my employer requested you have the best possible treatment. He found you collapsed outside your hangar and called us right away. If he had been a moment sooner, things might have been gravely different." I was glad for the well-wisher stumbling upon me, but it left an important question unanswered "OK, great," I started, "but that doesn't explain why I collapsed in the first place."

Graydor sheepishly spoke up. "Cat... I mean Miss o'Ninetails, I think I can explain everything." Speaking through gritted teeth, I told him to continue. "Well... On hearing about your illness, I took it upon myself to review the CCTV footage of your quarters before you went to board your new ship. How can I put this...." he trailed off. "Put it bluntly" I spat.

"Well. Erm... That wasn't a milkshake you drunk. It was my latest science project. I feel so guilty, I'm just glad you're OK! Please forgive me" he pleaded with me. I found it funnier than it made me angry, so I told him in no uncertain terms that he would be working very long hours for the next two months. "Medic, one more question for you... Who is your employer, my saviour?"

"Not allowed to answer that, I'm afraid." the medic was smug in saying this, and he continued with "I'm only allowed to give you this message..." he pulled a scrap of paper from his pocket, and held it in front of my eyes.


Get well soon.

- a pirate

Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Through the Looking Glass

Staring at myself in the mirror, not knowing what to think, what to feel. I rubbed my eyes in a vein effort to see more clearly. Everything was a blur right now. What exactly had happened to bring me to this place? I just smiled to my reflection, closed my eyes and shook my head. When I opened my eyes, I noticed a curious thing in the mirror.

One of my larger (and favorite) stickers I'd decorated my office and quarters with, which I'd previously thought to have just patterns and colours, and googly eyes - now made sense to me. "Are... are these instructions?" I wondered to myself. I focused my vision to read more clearly that what was written on my Jabberwocky sticker.

"Beware the Jabberwock, my Cat!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!"

A warning it seemed. I knew to be on my guard. I went to grab myself some strawberry milkshake, but all that was in my chiller was an odd bottle that I didn't recognise. Well, this Cat was pretty thirsty - so down it went! A conglomeration of curious flavours indeed, cherry-tart - which was delicious, custard, pineapple, roast turkey, and even hot buttered toast! I very soon finished it off, silently thanking the kind stranger who had left it in my chiller cabinet for me. "Probably a gift from my administrative staff," I reasoned.

No time to relax though, I made my way to one of my ship hangars, I was excited to try out my new ship - the glorious Merlin class vessel. The only trouble was, now I didn't feel good at all. I moved my keycard to the hangar lock, but before the doors had a chance to hiss their way to being fully open, my legs buckled and I crashed in a heap, hitting my head on the way down. All I knew now was black.

I don't know how long passed before I regained enough composure to try and open my eyes, and to listen to what was happening around me. I could hear the constant beep of a cardiograph, the idle mutterings of people in the background. I opened my eyes, just slightly, but enough to see a shadow looming over me. Soon joined by a group of what I can only assume were people hovering over me.

"It's OK, Cat. You're safe. You're with us now."

Friday, 27 March 2009

The Equilibrium

Hi friends, Cat here. Today we will be wondering if such a thing as a status quo can exist between pirates and the non-pirates? I will seek to explore both sides of the coin in this article. I am known for being a very vocal "anti-pirate" myself, but if there was no piracy, I'd have nothing to complain about. A necessary evil, if you like.

First, let us define piracy in EVE.
Piracy is simply any illegal aggression. If illegal aggression occurs in high-security space, i.e. systems with a sec status of 0.5 or greater, the perpetrator gets a visit from CONCORD, and is very quickly relieved of the ship they were piloting. In lower security systems, there is no CONCORD to interfere. The police are, however, aware of pilots breaking the law in 0.1 to 0.4 systems - and they will adjust the pilots security status accordingly. This is why many pirates are "Flashy Red", because they have committed so many crimes that CONCORD declare open season on them. This happens when your security status drops below -5.

What are the drawbacks of being a pirate?
A pirate, depending on their security status, cannot enter certain high-security solar systems without the faction navies chasing and attacking them. It is possible to evade the navy attacks by either moving about in a capsule, or a fast and agile ship. If a pirates security status drops below -5, they become a viable target anywhere in the game. This means a non-pirate can freely attack, without suffering a security penalty.

What are the benefits of being a pirate?
PvP is more available to you than your average high-sec dweller, and generally it will be against the victims will. This may result in gushes of tears from the hapless traveller, and legend has it that tears are what fuel pirate starships. Once the victim has been destroyed, any loot can be removed from the wreck to be used or sold later.
There are many blogs written by pirates, recounting their tales of misdeeds with fondness. Most are very interesting to read, whereas a blog about how many missions you did, or how much ore you mined is unlikely to receive any repeated traffic.

The Global Criminal Countdown(GCC)
With the exception of 0.0 systems, any illegal violence will result in a fifteen minute timer being applied. Within this timer, sentry guns will fire at you, and if you jump into high-security space, CONCORD will be one of the first things you see.

Where does piracy happen?
Usually in low security systems, to start with. The most frequent places you are at risk from pirates, are stargates, asteroid belts and mission areas. If the pirate has or gets a GCC, they will be targeted and shot at by sentry guns, which are devastating to anything below a battlecruiser.
To avoid sentry fire, many solo or small gang pirates will often scan or probe down their victim, and once destroyed they will retreat to a 'safespot' away from the dangerous station / gate guns.

What is an anti-pirate?
Being an anti-pirate generally means to seek out and destroy the flashy red pirates. There are significantly fewer dedicated anti-pies than there are pirates, there are several alliances dedicated to piracy (Negative Ten, Neo Spartans for example) while I cannot recall any alliances devoted to the destruction of pirates.

What are the wider effects of piracy?
Basically, destroyed ships and products need to be replaced, which helps fuel the market. Any loot that was dropped, or ransoms taken, provide the pirate with ISK to be spent. Pirates can lock down trade routes, such as Rancer - a low security system on the shortest route between Jita and Hek.
Another result of general piracy is that mining nearly never happens in low security systems, without having plenty of friends - preferably having a blue status to the local pirates. If you have this; mining can be very profitable in low security space.
One of the more amusing claims that pirates sometimes make is that they are "cleaning the pool", making reference to Darwin's theories. I am sure that piracy has further effects than those listed above, but those are the main ones.

What can be done about pirates?
Well, you could become an anti-pirate, and go hunt them. You could avoid low-sec, or if you must take a trip there, check the in game map and have the ships &/or pods destroyed in last hour filter turned on, and then keep your wits about you.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Back from Vacation

It's cold in space. I've been vacationing on a tropical planet near to my home of Rancer for the past couple of weeks, and decided to sever all ties to the stars while I was there. It was relaxing for sure, but has left me feeling somewhat empty. While I am rested, I am restless. What will scratch this itch?

I arrived at my office, which was just as lovely as I'd left it. A couple of potential applicants were waiting nervously outside as I went in, I only acknowledged them with a smile. I had business to attend to. The bills had racked up while I was away, these needed settling right away, for I did not want the station security services to evict me. I worked hard to get this office just so, with all the pink, and my precious glitter stickers.

After finishing what seemed like reams of paperwork, I went to turn my attention to the potential recruits that were eagerly waiting for me when I arrived. Unfortunately, I had gotten caught up playing with one of my goggle-eye stickers for longer than I had planned. They'd left. Thankfully, they'd left their applications on the chairs. I checked them over and decided to welcome them into the Rancer Defence League.

With all the paperwork and such chores completed, it was now my duty to patrol Rancer, for at least a little while. My subspace signal relay did report that there were pirates in this system, but didn't give me any more information than that. I first warped to the pirates favorite haunt, the Crielere gate. Not a thing was stirring. No wrecks, corpses, or pirates. Nothing. I smiled to myself, and thought "Wow, this is great, Cat! Rancer Defense League is really cleaning up this system." I was very pleased.

I used the scanner on my trusty Ibis to see if there were any new pirate bases that needed dismantling, but I could not find any. With not much going on, I decided to call it a very short day, and returned to my office to grab a strawberry milkshake. I don't even like strawberry milkshake, but I do like pink!

Apologies for the lack of ship explosions in this entry, I just need to get back on my feet. Expect more explosions soon!

Sunday, 8 March 2009


Good morning, Cat. It had been another restless night in my bunk, tossing and turning, wondering and pondering over how to seek revenge on those merciless pirates. I rose from my makeshift bed in the Roden Shipyards facility in Rancer, and after a brief shower, I checked my communications log. Interesting, someone has applied to join the Rancer Defence Force. Great news!

The applicant was BettyTheGoat. A new pilot, but apparently one that had faced the wrath of evil pirates in this very system. Only a short while after I had made myself available on GalNet communication systems, my newest recruit arrived at the office. I welcomed Betty with open arms, we chatted about the pirates for a moment, and then decided to launch an attack. Betty was flying a Velator, a very classy ship. I was in my trusty Ibis, fitted with two gatling guns. This should be a good fight.

Ready. Betty and I met at a planet, aligned to the Crielere gate together, and once ready we both punched into warp. Betty called our primary target, who we happpened to land right on top of. Our guns smoked into space with the rounds being accurately pointed towards our unfortunate target, who it appeared had already been engaged in some piracy very recently, as the gate guns were hitting him hard. We were chewing through his armor, slowly, but surely. Then something terrible happened.

Going down! Betty reported that her ship was about to be destroyed, and I noticed on my overview that my demise was also to be imminent. The other pirates on the gate had decided to help their distressed colleague. We were both promptly podded, ending up back at our base in Rancer. We wondered what had gone wrong. We decided that it was an incident of bad timing, we would not have been able to defend our ships against that many pirates whatever ships we were flying. We would have to be smart next time.

Chores. I had to get some damned chores done around the station, such as applying glittery stickers that had arrived just today, to everything in my office. They looked so cute! After making my office look even more beautiful, I decided to turn off my comm-pad, and wandered the station looking for somewhere I could get a manicure. My clone doner had not taken care of themselves. Might need to stop of the gym later too.

Looking great. Feeling fine, and the world is mine. Betty was waiting for me when I signed back into my comm-pad, eager to progress up the corporate ladder. A fiesty one, for sure! She had requested that she be made recruitment director, and so I without haste assigned the role of personnel manager to her. She had apparently made a mistake in her request, and suggested that if I trusted her, to make her a director of Rancer Defence Force. It seemed like a reasonable request at the time.

WTF. I'm no longer director of Rancer Defence Force. BettyTheGoat was an infiltrator, revealed to be a spare clone of one of the very pirates in Rancer! I had been the victim of a corporate scam. Thankfully, I had the sense to empty the corporate wallet before assigning Betty any roles. Frankly, I was livid though. This was a sure case of misplaced trust, and it was certainly a lesson to be learned about the internal functions of running a corporation such as mine.
Some time passed. I thought to myself, wondering what to do. I would not let this destroy me, my ideals, or my plans. I went into the stations administrative offices, who informed me there was little I could do to reclaim Rancer Defence Force. In a rage with the poor admin clerk, I yelled at him to "make me a new corp, pronto!" to which he appeared a little uneasy, but he passed me some forms and said "Please just complete these in triplicate, Ms. o'Ninetails." I scribbled my details on the forms in a hurry, and now my new corporation was active. Rancer Defence League was born.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

This Cat has claws!

Wake up, Cat. It was morning, and I was still seething from the pirates that had destroyed my capsule in Rancer, even after I asked them nicely to cease fire. Pirates never listen. Now it was my solemn duty to defend that system against attacks on innocent travellers. I stretched my arms, rubbed my weary eyes, and pulled a thread of sticky gunk from the corner of one of them. I slipped into my brand new capsule, and prepared myself for a trip in my new Ibis. I set my destination - Rancer.

A sea of red. I got visuals back after completing a succesful jump into Rancer, and there must have been 15 pirates on the gate, ready to violence some poor innocent traveler no doubt. Well, not me, not this time. I was too smart for them and engaged my warp drive immediately, heading towards a random planet. I smiled to myself, my plan was all falling into place. I had to find an office here to conduct my business from, although several were out of my price range. I settled on a nice office in a Roden Shipyards facility, and I squealed with delight as I walked in for the first time - for they had already decorated my office to my liking. I had pink wallpaper, and twinkling fairy lights draped around the windows. The piste de résistance was a oversized recliner, with a tigerskin decor. Perfect.

Rancer Defence Force was born. The paperwork was completed, ISK changed hands, and I was now the proud CEO. I announced in the local communication system that Rancer Defence Force was recruiting, for the glorious purpose of defeating pirates, and making Rancer safe again. Well, most of the people that replied were pirates, and I had to tell them where to go. This is a no pirate organisation, buster. It looked like I was alone in my noble quest, for now at least. I knew than the same as I know now, and probably will always, that I can't do this alone. Friends, colleagues, and friendly strangers would all be important to my mission.

Send in the clones. Upgrading to a hardier clone was essential, especially doing the dangerous business of pirate-hunting, so I made sure mine was fully up to date and I also took the time to set my medical clone location to Rancer. I was here to stay, and I didn't want to waste time returning if I got pod killed by ruthless pirates again. Deciding that my first mission should be a reconaisance one, I stuck with the Ibis for this mission.

Undocking. I winced my eyes as the bold sun had caught me off guard - why do only Minmatar wear sunglasses? I could really use some, I thought to myself. Pointing my trusty Ibis (named "Join Rancer Defence Force") towards the Crielere gate, I braced myself. This was going to get rough. I emerged from the warp bubble into an expected swarm of pirates, and I quickly targetted the closest pirate to me. I engaged him. My heart pounded, his shield was already depleted before I had arrived, and now his armor was being eaten away. I couldn't put it all down to me, I think there was some hassle from the sentry guns. And yet he lived.

My shields and armor had been removed from my ship in one blow, and again I found my warp drive deactivated. I braced myself for the sweet silence after the storm, which took an earily long time to come around. My capsule was being missed by ammunition all around, but I could not warp. It took an age for my capsule to be destroyed, and once it was, I was instantly awakened in the station where my new office was. With the local communication channel still active, "GF" I said.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Cat o'Ninetails

My eyes opened. My long and ardiuos training had been completed, and I was now ready for my first ship of many to come. I gazed upon the landing pad of my assigned hangar, and surveyed the majestic exterior of my new ship. Glouriusly glinting and gleaming in the low artificial light, her name was Ibis. I couldn't wait to give her a spin! But first things first - my destination. I decided to chart a course that ended in a system called Hek, and given that I was just a few jumps away in a region called The Forge, this would be a breeze, I thought to myself.

Time to undock, Cat. This new capsule was uncomfortable. It was the first time I'd been inside my "own" capsule, having only used the mock versions in school before. It seemed a bit tight, the fluid a bit cold, and I'm sure there were some imperfections in the shell that I could feel with my feet. Nonetheless, I did not have the time to demand a refund right now. I willed myself to undock, and as if by magic, the great and vast plains of space appeared before me in a light that was somehow diffferent now to the space I remember looking up at as a child, and thinking "one day, Cat."

Get out of my way, noobs! The undock ramp was unusually cluttered with rookie pilots in rookie ships, some might have considered me a rookie pilot - but the difference was that I had business to attend to. Serious business. Why had the manufacturers decided against horns for spaceships? I would be giving mine some serious blasting right now. I did however, eventually manage to tear my ship away from the station, and enter warp towards the next stargate in route. I had noticed that on my destination checklist, there were a small number of low-security systems. I thought about turning back, but it was my duty to go to Hek, and go to Hek I would.

I had some time to relax, as my ship lazily warped towards a gate, activated impulse thrusters to close the distance, rinse, repeat. I wondered what I should do with my career, what goals should I have? What standards and morals should I conform to? These were all important questions that would be answered soon. I noticed the name of the solar system, it was Crielere. There was a mushy novel that I was made to do a report on, in literacy classes of pilot school - a class that most seem to skip - called the Crielere Incident. Some romantic trash about a Caldari woman falling in love with a Gallente boy, it probably wasn't true anyway. I decided to check out this famous station, as I was here anyway. Heh. Two stations right next to each other. Well, enough dilly-dallying, I had work to do. I reactivated the autopilot, and sat back to wonder what the future would bring.

ALERT! I did not have much time to relax and ponder. I had passed through into the 'Rancer' solar system, my ships systems were reporting that I had been locked, and my warp drive had throughly disabled. On my ships overview was just a plethora of angry, flashing red pilot names. My trusty Ibis, that had looked so marvellous just hours earlier, was destroyed in short order. Before I knew what had happened, I noticed my capsule had been warp disrupted as well. "Cease fire!" I barked into the local communication channel, but it fell on deaf ears. Several rounds of white hot ammunition battered the shell of my capsule, more than I'd expect it to withstand. I knew what this meant. I was about to die.

I never liked that capsule anyway. This new one is much better, but I was back where I'd started. I found that the Pend insurance company had deposited a new Ibis into my hangar, I wasn't so pleased with this. I think it was second hand, it definitely wasn't as shiny, and it smelled funny. But a ship is a ship, and it's better than nothing. I decided to power down my ship and hangar systems, to get some rest and seethe about the loss of my capsule. Why didn't they cease fire? Why don't they listen? Damn pirates, the lot of them. "They will rue the day," I thought to myself, "yes... I will make them sorry."

I knew what I had to do. I had found my calling. Time to get some rest.