I’ve never been much for leadership. Since the effective dissolution of Red Cabal, some 6 years ago, I’ve found a certain solace in not being in charge of things. Part of it is certainly a justified lack of faith in my experience, but a significant component is that I derive a great deal of satisfaction from carrying out orders well. While I’m relatively comfortable taking the dubious honor of squad commander to a handful of loyal, close friends, the prospect of being responsible for a small army of unknowns is terrifying. That being said, I do have an acute appreciation for those who are willing to don the gilded chains of Fleet Commander, particularly those that pull from the general militia.

For those unfamiliar with Factional Warfare, here’s how things are organized. As a Gallente pilot I am effectively blue to both the Gallente and Minmatar militia and red to the Caldari and Amarr militias. I say effectively blue because the overview situation is somewhat sub-optimal. While it is easy to get fellow militia members off of your hostiles overview, doing so for your allied militia is an exercise in setting personal standings. Within your militia, some proportion of pilots are members of various corporations and alliances with their own corp/alliance channels, recruitment polices and associated controls. Additionally all militia pilots have access to the general militia channel.

The bulk of your fellow pilots, however, are in the general NPC militia corp. For the Gallente this is the Federal Defense Union, and the barrier for entry into the FDU is effectively non-existent (you need a non-negative standing to the faction). Needless to say this results in spies, lots of them. This is neither good nor bad, it’s just EVE. Unfortunately, it does make FCs justifiably hesitant to draw pilots from the FDU, and people more hesitant to fly their shinies in fleets with FDU members present.

It was in this atmosphere that I found myself piloting an Arbitrator among 20 or so other capsuleers under the excellent command of Yun Kuai. We had spent a significant portion of the roam just looking for targets. Finally the Caldari had responded with a Drake heavy nano fleet which were now perched 100km off gate. As an armor fleet, with very little in the way of fast tackle, rushing them was not an option. We were waiting for a warp-in from one of our recons.

“I can put you right on top of them,” came over the comms. The battle was imminent. My muscles tensed.

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War & Piracy

I docked my pod in Ladistier and had it immediately loaded into the unscratched hull of the Arbitrator I had stationed there. My thoughts lingered on the undock protocols momentarily. I forgot the undock, and moved the comms into attention.

“Did you manage to get out,” I asked over the fleet channel.

“Yeah, I’m fine, bouncing between safes.”

“Okay, I got a new ship, I’m in Lad. Going to power down for a bit till things cool off and then go have a look around.”

I moved the comm to the periphery, brought up the black box recording of the recent fight, and initiated playback.


I am in a Punisher, cutting a curved trajectory toward a caldari state cruiser at 2km per second. My fleet-mate trails behind in an Ishkur. We have joined up with an allied fleet of Federal Defense Union pilots in a Caldari stronghold. Things seem to be going well. I check the progress of the capture drones. 5 minutes on the clock.

A harbinger appears on scan, Aura identifies him as an outlaw. Beyond Divinity corporation. My alert systems come into the foreground. He is disrupting one of the allied pilots.

The Punisher turns on a dime, I set a straight approach vector at the battlecruiser, and leap the distance quickly. My pulse lasers begin to cycle, as does my warp scrambler. His armor is failing.

Alarm systems assault my attention buffer. One, three, four, more… the battlecruisers flood into the complex. System check reveals them all to be Beyond Divinity pilots. I clear my alert buffer and initiate warp… The harby was bait.

The ship jolts as my warp engines are disrupted. A quick systems check reveals I’ve also been webbed. I am flying through molasses, but still making over 700m/s. I think, “there is a chance, I can still get out of range”.

Shields fail, I overheat my microwarp drive, armor fails.


“I shouldn’t have pulled away so hard, my transversal must have dropped hard,” I said to no one in particular. I perused the rest of the kill report, my mind catching on one line.

The line read: Damage taken: 20

I brought the fleet comm back into attention, “So I just lost a trimarked, plated punisher to 20 damage. That was the biggest 20 damage I’ve ever taken,” I couldn’t hold back the laughter.

I calmed myself and set my arbitrator to undock and rendevous with my wing-mate.

We spent the rest of the evening in low sec, without seeing another soul, capturing complexes for the Federation.

Meanwhile, in Villore, a staff of techs looked over the black box recorders in the rest of my ships.

You can’t make an omelette…

I sent another scan ping out to the Old Man Star Gate, which confirmed my previous result. A lone punisher on gate, two Caldari war targets somewhere in system and several of my Gallente allies swarming around. Strategic points had been captured, or would be in a few minutes, there wasn’t much left to do but hunt.

It had been a good day thus far. The militia had captured every site it could in Heydelies, repelling Caldari and Pirate alike. I’d nearly lost a punisher to a rupture earlier in the day, but had managed to escape. No losses, but no kills. I now sat in my trusty vengeance, 100M kilometers off to the side of the gate, watching the lone punisher on scan.

“He’s probably baiting,” I said to myself, “what the hell.” I urged my ship into action and dropped out of warp 20km from the target. Seconds later his propulsion systems were locked down and my guns were biting hard into his thick armor. Meanwhile the superior resistances on my tech II hull were mitigating most of his damage. The fight was over, it was only a matter of time.

“Two targets on grid,” Aura’s voice drew my attention to the local scan as a brutix and a hurricane dropped out of warp on top of me. I checked my own systems. The punisher had me scrambled, there was no escape for me, but his armor was nearly gone.

“Aura overheat everything that does damage,” I shouted as I manually manipulated the power hungry armor repair unit but I found my capacitor reserves dropping much faster than I had expected. Neuts. This was going to go poorly.

I sighed and sat back in my command chair, let the guns run, maybe it’d be enough.

It wasn’t, and in moments I found myself in my pod, looking down at the explosion that was once my ship. I sat in space, hesitating, and one by one the Caldari pilots locked and fired upon my pod. I needed this, I thought to myself, let it go.

A moment of chill ran down my spine.

I gasped for air and sat up in the clone vat, as if awaking from a nightmare.

“Where am I?,” I asked. No one was in the room. I strapped a new neocom onto my wrist.

“Aura, where are we?”

“Mies, Madame. Pend Insurance wishes to inform you that they regret the loss of your ship, and have transferred the agreed upon…”

“Thank you Aura, is the Arbitrator assembled and ready?” I was already in elevator from the medical sector heading to the flight deck.

“Yes Madame.”

“Good, have it prepped for flight. I want to be in space in 5 minutes, and authorize another clone.”

I stood in the elevator in my white clone robe and fuzzy slippers as it silently moved through the station. I brought my left hand up and steadied it. I was shivering with adrenaline, sent coursing through my veins by my confused new body.

The fear was gone. I felt warm.

Taking the Bait

My Incursus sauntered into the docking array at the academy in Couster, it had been a long night moving assets out of Caldari space in preparations for my sabbatical, but everything was now in order. I stepped out into the hangar and gave the order to have the laughably small stock of minerals I had in system contracted to the corporation. Several of our newer pilots were now stepping up into Dominix and every little bit helped.

I took one last look around, jacked back into my pod and gave the command to initiate undock. Moments later I was one dot in the cloud of rookie pilots that typically swarmed around academy stations. New pilots, just having earned their wings, stepping out into the vastness for the first time. Pushing back the nostalgia I visually scanned the scene, and immediately spotted a cargo container.

“Risk Free Ammunition,” it advertised. I sighed deeply.

“Aura who is the owner of that can?”

A Catalyst, sitting 10km off the can flashed in my attention buffer.

“Scan the local area for corp mates,” I said and set my frigate to approach the container.

“Search returned no results,” Aura replied. He was alone, in a destroyer, and looking for a fight.

“Fair enough,” I said to no one in particular as I gave the command for the mover drones to transfer the 100 units of Antimatter Small into my hold. Seconds later my warning systems lit up as the destroyer initiated target lock.

I returned the lock, fired up my afterburner and set the nimble ship on a spiraling approach vector. Win or lose it would be a good test run. I had been flying the tiny ship obsessively for the past few days and it had not failed to impress. Something about it had caught my interest.

It was odd flying a Gallente hull. The flight controls were components of the capsule, not the ship, so aside from the energy weapon hardwiring modifications I’d made, which had no systems to link into on the Gallente ship, they were no different. It just felt different. The ship felt lighter, more agile… and certainly a hell of a lot more fragile, than my stock Punisher. It was an entirely new experience, and I was enjoying it thoroughly.

I leapt across the several kilometer gap rapidly, and at 5k the Catalyst had resolved it’s target lock and unleashed a volley of plasma striping my shields to 50%. Web and scra…

“God Damnit,” I grimaced in my pod. I had been testing the systems out on the local Serpentis population of late, and had regretfully neglected to fit a warp scrambler. I shrugged, I wasn’t looking for a kill anyway, it’d still be a good test. I activated the tracking disruptor for good measure and felt a jolt as my my warp systems went offline and the destroyer’s webbifier came online. It felt like flying through molasses, but I was still maintaing a good pace.

I settled in to a tight 500m orbit and opened up with my blasters. At this range and speed, even with the webbification, the destroyer was struggling to land a hit. Meanwhile my Antimatter rounds were biting heavily into his armor. I pulsed my armor repair unit for good measure and waited. His armor was falling fast.

As his last shred of armor melted away I set my ship to approach and set my guns to overload. He was going to warp out any second, and with no scram I just had to hope the sudden damage spike and a potential bump would suffice. Three volleys later my guns shut down, as his ship entered warp.

“Nice,” came the reply over local com.

“Good fight. Good luck, I hope you find some decent fights,” I replied as my directional scanner came online, but he was already gone.

I waited the mandatory few seconds for the system services monitor to verify that I was not, in fact, a threat, and then set a course for Charmerout to dock up and get some sleep for the night. When I arrived I was greeted by the night shift deck crew.

“We patched up the guns on the Vengeance Madame,” the head tech said as I left my pod, “Focusing matrix was nearly fused to the photonic condenser!”

I nodded like I knew what he was talking about.

“How you liking her madame? She’s a tough little boat.”

“Yeah, she is,” I smiled, “I think I might get her an Ishkur to keep her company.”

Respect the Drones

My punisher hung in space over Aice I, 15km from the thorax, as we had agreed. I had been called away from my new day to day duties, overseeing production security at the Carthum factory to demonstrate frigate vs cruiser tactics to some of our new recruits. If it had been a real fight I wouldn’t have been concerned, but I had agreed not to shoot at my opponent’s drones, a dire mistake in these sorts of fights. I double checked my systems.

“Okay, we fight to the hull,” I said over corp com, “remember to pull your drones off of me after it’s over.” It would be exciting in any case.

“3… 2… 1… Engage!”

I pushed my punisher to full speed and began to spiral in toward the cruiser as it launched a flight of hammerheads and sent them speeding toward me. I gave a sigh of relief, I could handle hammerheads for a while. I hoped they’d have trouble tracking my speedy ship.

At 9km I pushed for a direct approach, and realized my mistake as his railguns sheared off the majority of my shields. “Damnit, too soon.” Hesitation would get you killed, and impatience was no less serious an error, but the mistake had been made and moments later my punisher had settled into a tight 1500m orbit. My medium pulse lasers already tearing through his shields.

The fight was now between me and the drones swarming about my ship, the thorax’s railguns completely useless against my fast orbiting ship. I activated my scrambler for good measure, just incase he had a microwarp drive, and sat back, monitoring my my ship’s armor.

It was a long fight, owed largely to my opponent’s armor repair skills. I hadn’t bothered to mount a repair unit, forgoing it for my usual armor resistance plating and a healthy amount of extra plate. After a few minutes my pulse lasers hit hull and I disengaged, my ship at 15% armor.

“See what I mean about tracking problems? But wow, those hammerheads did a lot better than I thought they would. Good fight,” I said over com. We had all learned valuable lessons.

Several spars later I retired to the corporate headquarters to park my frigate and head back to Amarr space. The exercise was welcome, though, and great fun all around. As my pod mounted in my travel executioner I smiled, pleased at the quality and willingness to learn of our new recruits.

I had picked a good time to come back to the sky.