Written as an entry for Crazykinux’s Blog Banter Special Edition: Why we love Eve Online contest. I hope that this illustrates amply why I love Eve. Without further ado, the entry:
“…This is The Scope, and you’re listening to New Eden Today, with Jaqueline DeVries. Our top story this hour… as President Jacus Roden sets out his agenda to combat the “lurking corruption within the Gallente Federation”, a former Exotic Dancer claims that President Roden has had shady dealings with the notorious pleasure hub and casino owner, Kruul. Lindy Lovelips, now an “actress”, claims that Roden confessed his interest in the fellow to her, during a chance encounter…”
All the same, I thought, as I tuned out the latest report on yet another scumbag looking to lead. These politicians are a grimy bunch, for sure. Word is that this one’s a capsuleer. Not that that means anything, these days. It’s not like morality and long life sit well together. Immorality, and immortality. Better bedfellows by far. Still, some of us try to stay clean, to stay true to our word. Lies aren’t good for business, in the main. Not good at all.
I cast my eyes across the screen array, adjusting a buy order and a pair of sell orders. 0.01 isk. Again. The human mind struggles to comprehend more than a thousand of anything, they say. My augmented capsule-brain struggles to comprehend as little as 0.01 isk. Still, of such fractions are my profits made. Of such fractions is my empire made. I started with naught but a stipend from the university. A few small jobs later, I had the makings of my first mill. A couple of investments and a bit of margin trading, and my first bill approached. Now, who knows. Austin Enterprises has plenty, plenty enough for me. The markets of Dodixie, Rens, Hek and Jita have been kind.
The chirrup of an incoming convo focussed my mind. Arthur Miller. Bound to be a pseudonym. I answered nonetheless.
“Mr Austin, sorry to bother you. I was told that you could help. I need a ship and some modules quickly, and the markets have failed me.”
Straight to the point. It’s a good trait in business, bad in politics. I already liked this Miller.
“And what exactly are you looking for, Mr Miller?”
“A Pilgrim. I’ll link the fit I want.”
I scanned the info on the screen. Pricey, but easily sourced. Miller was in a hurry, and people in a hurry mean profit. Big profit.
“250 million isk, Mr Miller. And I’ll have it contracted to you at the hub of your choice within the hour.”
“Thank you, Mr Austin. Hek, if you would.”
“My pleasure, Mr Miller. Austin Enterprises pride ourselves on our promptness. Have a nice day.”
A nice day? With a Pilgrim fit like that, I was certain that he would. Someone else, however, was going to have a rotten old day.
“…and reports continue to flood in of unwarranted and lethal attacks on miners across New Eden, in what is being termed Hulkageddon. It seems that this “event” is being driven by several bands of notorious pirates, who seem to have stopped fighting one another, long enough to turn their malevolent eyes on the industrialists. For more analysis, we go to our piracy correspondent, Leo Theoronis… Leo, what do you have for us?..”
I flicked off the transmissions, as I approached the end of the warp. A fatty procurer and a slowbie retriever were already credited to me for Hulkageddon, but I was after bigger fish. Tommy the Cat is my name, and cats like fish. Yeah, fish! Mineral stuffed fish. Or something. Hey, don’t look at my metaphor funny! But big fish were my aim, so I’d set my sights on a Mackinaw. A big, lumbering exhumer, specialised for Ice ops, a Mack would look good on my killboard. Hence trawling the ice fields. These soft-as-butter mining pansies wouldn’t know what hit ’em!
I’d picked a Mack up on directional as soon as I’d jumped into the system. Pilot name ClaudiusV. Local told me that there were a few other in system with us, but I was banking on them being too chicken-livered to get in my way. The T-Cat’s got a rep, ya know. I figure a bounty of 20mil tells ’em all they need to know about the Cat. Cat’s on the prowl, and you keep outta his way, ya know!
As the warp shadows faded, I saw my fish. Hanging there, chewing ice like some space-stalled bottom feeder. Lovely Mack, the Cat’s got a present for you. I gunned the engines, turning my ‘rax towards him, and closed with a burn of the microwarpdrive. And ordered the ship’s ‘puter to get a lock. My hybrids heated up, ready to fry my fishie.
And then it all went dark. It took me a moment to see it. Hidden there between me and the ice. Silent, deadly. Pilgrim. I didn’t need to look to see what had happened. Neuts. Lots of them. And a ‘grim sat on my behind. Me? The Cat. Dead. In. The. Water.
Fish had a friend, you see. T-Cat had no friend. And soon, T-Cat had no ‘rax no more, neither. Torn to itty bitty space bits by the ‘grim’s Warriors. Damn drones. Damn cloaked ship. Damn.
But hey, ya know, plenty more fish in the sea.
“…as State Executor Heth of the Caldari State responded to the attacks. “This continued violence against Caldari State interests will not be tolerated. Already we have dispatched forces to calm the unrest, and prevent it from spreading. Early information points to the action of Federation agitators stirring trouble, yet again. Lest we forget the actions of the Gallente at Malkalen…”
I stifled the urge to vomit, as Tibus Heth spewed his venom across the ether. A distasteful man, with hateful bigoted blood coursing through every one of his veins. As God is my witness, so I would open those veins and let his foul putrescence spill. But for now, his State is an ally to us; and the glory of the Empire was built upon the swallowing of the bile induced by such as he. Amarr Victor, may God send us victory. And may the lady be by his side. I know that one day there will be a reckoning, a weighing of the lady, Jamyl Sarum, and the faith. But for now, she is Empress, and God walks with her.
I roused myself from my interstellar theological musings, and pulled my focus back to the present. I had a job to do, and it was imperative that I have my wits fully about me. Miller needed to know what I had discovered, and delay would render the information valueless. I checked that the subspace transmissions were appropriately circuitously routed, and engaged the secure channel to him.
“Acturus, report”, Miller’s familiar style. To the point.
“Well, Mr Miller, it seems that the time is right. Our corporation will leave the alliance at exactly 18:00 tomorrow evening. At that time the TCU will go offline. That will leave the system open for you to move in.”
“Excellent, Acturus, excellent. How long will it take the alliance to move to secure the area?”
“I expect them to have their advance party in system within an hour or so, and then a main force to follow a couple of hours later. If you appear opportunistic and weak then they will commit a large proportion of their Caps to the field, in the hope that overwhelming force can be applied. They won’t want to let you take a foothold.”
“You’re sure they won’t suspect anything?”
“Absolutely. I already have the argument set up, our leaving will be seen as a fit of pique, not as a political powerplay. I will make sure that there are no jammers left in system. Have faith, Mr Miller; God will see us victorious.”
“Your God, Arcturus. Not mine. Still, I trust that all will be well. I shall see you when all this is over.”
“Just be sure that you honour our agreement, Miller. It would not do to cross us.”
“Have faith, Arcturus. Goodbye.”
I shook my head slightly as the communication was cut. A deal with the Devil in the name of God. May we be preserved…
“…and in other news, Rassus Ratchet was crowned winner of the latest ISRC series, after a clean sweep of the last 4 races. The Minmatar pilots was “overjoyed and ecstatic to have shown all New Eden my racing prowess” and stated his intent to defend his title in the next series. In entertainment news…”
I shut the thing up. I have a soft spot for racing, but could care less which talentless synth-breasted harpy had won “Molden Heath’s got talent”. The Scope broadcasts kept me entertained during these times, but it was inevitable that they’d play some of the winner’s performance, and I feared for the cleanliness of my pod fluid.
Almost time. I was waiting for their fleet to assemble. They’d realised that we’d made a move on the system pretty quickly, and as Arcturus has said, their advance party had arrived pretty quickly. They’d cleared the system of our pilots; some of my friends were back at their med clones, where conveniently they had proper ships waiting for them. Their SBUs were online and they were gathering forces to reclaim the system. I understood that Arcturus’ argument had gone exactly to plan. They’d not suspected a thing.
So here I was, sat at a deep safe spot, all cloaked and waiting. the word would come, and then we’d rain hell down on them. And about time too, this lot had been a thorn in our side for eighteen months. We’d been losing. Pretty badly. Well, this’d show them.
And there was the word. Barking through my comms, goading me to action. I engaged my warp drive, heading for the spot just above the station that I had been assigned. The fleet interface crackled to life, as my fellows joined me. The station was clear as we arrived, and I kicked the cyno generator into action. I saw a number of my comrades de-cloak and begin their field generation too.
The next five minutes felt as an eternity, as I sat helplessly watching events unfold around me. The enemy arrived, alerted by the lighting of so many beacons, but we were already too many for them. Our bombers and the fighters from the newly arrived carriers ripped into their hulls. We lost a couple of the recons, but we had a fortnight’s supply of them from the trade hubs. The blue ice that Claudius had mined fuelled the Erebus that now jumped through my cynosaural field. I cheered every one of our ships that arrived; I cheered every one of theirs that was destroyed; and I cheered for our plan was working. I was as a child, the Miller-cool act dropped in the excitement of the moment.
After 5 minutes, my field collapsed, and control of the Pilgrim was returned to me. I drifted it away from the fleet, and re-engaged the cloak. I was going to watch the endgame.
Sure enough, the plan worked. They were outgunned, out-flown, and most of all out-thought. They lost 5 cap ships that evening. We lost none. They lost the system, and we gained it. Total victory.
As I turned for home, I let my mind wander. It dreamed of the next plan, and of the next victory.
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