Consciousness was returned to me in the transparent embryonic fluid of a clone preservation vat. This vat, unlike the one Iâ€™d just died in, was sheltered in a station of merciless outlaw space. No going back nowâ€¦
Cleared for publication by: Ander
â€œIâ€™m afraid Iâ€™ll have to go strait to the pod this time. Get me in my Cheetah.â€
â€œRoger. No additional services I presume?â€
I was already in the process of reviewing the status of my ship. â€œNo. Everything looks to be ready. Undock ASAP.â€
â€œWe can get you into the void in two point four mikes. Godspeed.â€
Twenty minutes later I was listening to my fleet commander complain about the ships weâ€™d brought out. Of the six of us most were piloting tech two frigates or cruisers, with one battle cruiser (a Myrmidon) among the lot of us and no battleships. I myself had been displaced from my covert ops ship and tossed in one of the other fleet memberâ€™s rifters. They had been kind enough to throw in a full set of t2 gear with the ship, despite my shameful protests that I couldnâ€™t use most of it.
I was a little chagrined at being replaced as scout by an interceptor. When Iâ€™d told the FC that my probe launcher was offline he must have judged me to be worth more as a paltry tackler. When I told him I could online both the cloak and probe launcher if I offline my stabber and mwd he said I didnâ€™t need a mwd for cov ops. Iâ€™m pretty sure he was convinced at that point that I was completely incompetent. Iâ€™ll admit that I should have dedicated a little more time to learning the intricacies of my ship, but I know from experience how valuable a single burst from a mwd can be to a covert ops pilot.
The FCâ€™s name was Titus and if youâ€™re getting the impression that I hate the guy, Iâ€™d like to make it clear that I donâ€™t. Despite being the type of person that I have a hard time getting along with, he never did anything to actually vex me other than order the ship switch. I took the guyâ€™s attitude and personality in stride, feeling for him only a mild, restrained and slightly amused condescension.
Indulging the impatience of those of us who were ready, Titus declared a destination and set out with two thirds of our gang, leaving myself (searching the market for t1 equipment to replace the t2 stuff I couldnâ€™t use) and the myrm (still on the way to the rally point) behind. I ended up giving up on firepower altogether and undocking with no teeth.
By the time I joined the others at the gate to one of our target alliances home systems I was bleeding from the ears and considering ripping out the auditory input chip from the side of my head. The FC liked to talk. Constantly.
There were about ten hostiles in the target system. Titus and our scout spent a few minutes searching and scanning the system for a suitable target. By declaration of the FC we were a gank squad, due to low firepower, so fair fights were out of the question. Eventually they spotted a target; a Machariel heading out of system alone. To good to be true? Whether or not our fearless leader knew it was a trap, he ordered pursuit, yelling; â€œGet that motherfucker! Make him our bitch!â€
We followed the billion ISK angel faction battleship into one of the dead end pipes branching from its starting point, following the directions of the pilot who first had visual (He took quite a bit of harassment from Titus for not being able to catch up with and tackle the Machariel).
I spotted the red pilots name in the local comms channel a couple of times but never saw him. I donâ€™t remember jumping out of a system that he was still in, but somehow he ended up behind most of us. In a different ship. Our Myrm pilot ran into and engaged the enemy pilot, now in a Megathron, at a gate about two jumps behind myself and some of the others. Naturally, we doubled back to engage.
By the time I got there the second red had jumped in. By the time I had a point on the Megathron there were three. Soon we were overwhelmed. The enemy battleshipâ€™s armor was cracking and boiling when Titus called retreat. The warp bubble of my tiny rifter had already finished compacting the void between my location and destination when, to my bewilderment, the FC yelled that the enemy BS was in structure and ordered us to retreat only when it was destroyed. Despite the slower align times of the other vessels in my group, it seemed that it was a little late to stay for them as well. All of us got away but the myrm. Whether he was popped before or after we all fled I donâ€™t know.
We all spent the next few minutes bouncing between hastily bookmarked safespots. After the system cleared of reds, we stuck around a while longer to be safe.
As dire as our situation was, it was only appropriate that we had a stroke of luck. A 15 strong friendly gang passed through the system and, as it happened, they were hunting the same alliance we were after. Our FC and theirs got in touch and concocted a plan. It was simple. We were the bait (having already stirred up trouble) and they the ambush.
I have a hard time recalling the events that followed. I followed orders, warping here and there, not really attempting to understand the method of the trap we were setting. I let events unfold in the disinterested fashion of an observer with nothing to loose, which, looking back, had been what I was the whole time.
Suddenly I heard Titus yelling; â€œWarp to the gate! Warp to the gate! Warp to the gate!â€ The system had four gates. Luckily I was paying enough attention to track the vector of his Vagabond and there was only one stargate in the cluster it had disappeared to. I hastily activated the warp drive and felt the familiar shudder of reinforced hull being pummeled by the hyper-Newtonian currents of the shell of the warp bubble. Then all was calm as I entered the eye of the storm, approaching a fate of inferno and shrapnel at six AUs per second. If Iâ€™d been thinking I would have done what the FC failed to at this time and called out the targets location, for fear that others had missed it the first time, as I had.
In the same harsh, shuddering fashion as it went in, my little frigate came out of the warp bubble as it collapsed behind me. Two icons appeared on my HUD indicating ships, one purple, the other red, a Rohk. I gave a quick burst to my engines from the mwd, closing the distance between myself and the enemy BS quickly as I established a lock and activated the webber and disruptor. It was undamaged.
â€œGet a point on the Rohk! Get a point on the Rohk!â€ yelled Titus at the rest of us.
â€œOne point on primary.â€ I said, trying to figure out why the shields of the BS were still in perfect condition. There were now several other hostiles in view and the shields of Titusâ€™s HAC were weakened enough to begin letting fragments of metal and energy through to damage the armor beneath.
â€œGet a point on the Rohk! Get a point on the Rohk!â€ I began looking around for a second Rohk, but was quickly distracted as I started taking damage. Drones. I didnâ€™t have many options, so I attempt to outrun them, activating my mwd once again. Whether or not that was a good decision I still donâ€™t know, but it ended with a bang anyway. Soon after the vaga was destroyed (still the only friendly vessel displayed on the overview of my HUD), the quaking and crumbling of the frigate surrounding my fragile pod culminated in a violent explosion. Struggling to fight through the electronic interference of the explosion and ignore the enthusiastic complaints of the FC about the lack of assistance, I warped to the nearest celestial object I could pinpoint. Titus had been podded. As near as I could tell, only one of us escaped with a ship.
I set off for home in my pod, listening to Titus brag from twenty jumps away about how long heâ€™d tanked and complain about the other gang, explaining that their FC had been drunk, and warped them to the wrong gate.
On the way back I saw the beacon Iâ€™d first noticed on the trip the other way. Some sort of historical site dedicated to someone or other. Titus had mentioned that someone else deserved the same honor. Out of curiosity I warped the eighty something AUs to the site. As the warp bubble collapsed a blackened cylinder of scrap metal loomed before me. Some monument, I thought, as I ordered the onboard computer to construct a replica of the giant monstrosity. As the replica spun before me, idle thoughts flicking it this way and that, I realized it was a shape I recognized. The Amarr Titan; Avatar. Of course, I chastised myself. Historic Location: The Remains of Steve.
A gentle awe settled in me as I admired the husk of the gargantuan ship, out-sizing my capsule a billion to one. Currents of electricity still pulsed throughout the hollow interior of the titans famed amarr armor. It looked as though the soft entrails had been incinerated in the blast of its destruction.
In a balance between centrifugal force and its immense gravity, the dead Avatar was orbited by a lone container. The can gave off a signal; â€˜One year later, the great Eve war rages on.â€™
A war Iâ€™m now a part of. However small that part isâ€¦
I thought about the efficiency with which our opponents had just pulverized our little squad and the epic failure on our part, due, to some degree, to the incompetence of our leadership. Not for the first time, the intricacy of New Eden dawned on me. This is a Galaxy in which intelligence, cool headedness, knowledge and experience are tested and rewarded every moment. There is immeasurable cruelty and injustice in the universe, but there can be no better environment to overcome challenge.
Iâ€™ve been reading and thoroughly enjoying eve-pirate for about four months now and when the events above happened I thought it might be a good opportunity to attempt to repay the eve-pirate community for their work. Itâ€™s not much in the way of piracy or heroic/villainous grandeur, but I hope it can be enjoyed none the less.
All forms of criticism are welcome.
All names mentioned in this entry, including my own, are fictional (in game and out).
Firkragg - #1 - 2008-02-29 02:57 -
lol i have a whole host of screen shots with different gangs "posing" in front of steves wreck.
hydrolyzer - #2 - 2008-02-29 03:23 -
i think that rocked.
it didnt get the heart running, but it reminded me of how real EVE can be.
Cpt. Torax - #3 - 2008-03-01 17:02 -
An interesting and enjoyable read,well written. There is an important lesson there also. Good luck with the war, I'm looking forward to more stories like this
Pham Nuuwen - #4 - 2008-08-12 20:20 -
It's funny how about 90% of Fleet Commanders closely follow Titus's profile. But you know what, that's not necessarily a bad thing. They get at least some experience, you get some experience and/or fun, and if they didn't whip together a gang, nobody would have. So it's often a choice between them taking the time and effort for it, or nobody goes at all. And projecting your ships into enemy space is one of the bigtime keys to military success, whether much comes of it or not!