Stupid, stupid, stupid…

I approached the wormhole cloaked and took a reading. My systems reported it as roughly stable and leading to known space. Excellent. The exploration team had been operating in the alien system for almost two hours now, and the wormhole we’d come in through was already beginning to show signs of decay.

“Found another way out, if it comes to that,” I reported on the comms, “says it leads to high-sec, gonna check it out.” I willed my engines into life and eased my anathema closer to the quivering tear in reality, dropped my cloak momentarily and slipped through.

On the other side the sky looked very familiar… familiar.

“Son of a bitch,” I activated the cloaking device as my alarms began to bleat warnings. I was deep in Amarr high security, I was in the Gallente militia, and the navy was on its way.

“Cloaking device has failed Madame, something is jamming us,” Aura said in her usual calm tone as an apocalypse exited warp 40km in front of me. I made a feeble attempt to get back into the wormhole, but it seems that this was also out of the question. I needed to get to low sec, and fast, but wasn’t entirely sure how to get there. I aligned to the only station in system, initiated my warp systems, then closed my eyes, sat back and took a deep breath.

The flimsy anathema pulled itself into warp just as the last of its armor evaporated into space. Moments later my ship was docked and a repair crew was busy putting its armor back on. While the navy may not have liked me, Carthum still owed me some favors.

“Aura dump everything but the cloak and propulsion systems, I’ll have someone come pick them up later. Let’s just see if we can get the ship out of here in one piece.” I remained in my pod, watching with camera drones as the various analysis modules were carefully removed from the hull and stored. Finally, a robotic crane removed the crate from my cargo hold, full of materials and information looted from the sleepers.

I had considered having someone come to pick up the ship as well, but decided against the idea. Without it’s probing systems or analysis modules, and with an empty cargo hold, the anathema was relatively cheap. Most importantly it was fast to align and very fast in warp, and while the navy wouldn’t shoot at my bare capsule, any enemy militia would. I checked my navigation computer, I’d be in low sec in 5 jumps. I could make 5 jumps.

“Bring us out of dock, Aura. Then get us aligned and in warp immediately. I’m locking the first leg of the trip into the autopilot now.”

As I undocked I got the standard message from the navy, they were on their way, but I’d be long gone by the time they arrived. My ship swung around toward the outgoing jumpgate, it’s speed increasing rapidly toward the warp threshold.

And then I hit the station.

I rapidly cancled warp, fired  up the microwarp drive and manuvered manually around the random bit of protrusion in my way, then punched warp again. As my covert ops frigate sublimated around me, I couldn’t stop laughing.

God damn station got me.

I redocked, had my pod loaded into the complmentary imparior,  and made the entire trip back to Gallente space without incident in a rookie ship.

Peace & Quiet

I brought my anathema to a halt ten kilometers from the wormhole and watched as the rest of the fleet began to pour through. The system was scanned, we were the only group around, but I still felt vulnerable as I briefly dropped my cloak. I jettisoned the container of bookmarks, the can clearing my jettison tubes just as my microwarp drive flared into activity.

Moments later I was again safely under the veil of my cloaking device, in warp to my monitoring post while the rest of the team decided which of the locations to explore first.

“Aura, give me a readout of the system properties,” I sighed as the results were posted into my attention buffer. 24 AU in diameter, far too big to monitor with my onboard scanner.

The cloak pulsed, the fragile hull shimmering into visibility for a brief moment, expelling a probe and then vanishing again. Melting into the alien sky.

“Move that probe on top of the raiding group, tightest scan diameter and give me a ping,” I sat back and waited the several seconds for the scan to complete. 4 ships registered, only the ones that belonged there.

“Scanning complete.”

“Good Aura, set the system to ignore those signatures, set the probe on a 64AU wide scan and pull it back out of the system, off axis,” I watched the scanner as the combat probe warped off into the interstellar void. A few moments later the probe came online, nearly 40AU from any marked location in system but still close enough to scan everything important.

“Excellent ping that every few seconds and wake me up if the scan comes up as anything but clean,” I checked the locations of my other probes, “and move the offline combat probes out there as well, keeping formation.”

“Yes Madame, probes in transit” came the reply seconds later.

I kept the system scanner, and comms in my attention, but forgot the rest of the ship systems to free up cortical memory. It would take a few seconds to have remembered if I needed to perform any serious maneuvers, but my ship had no weapons and no chance of being located.

I relaxed in my pod harness, took full control of the camera drones and set about enjoying the view.

Into the Great Unknown (Eve Blog Banter 8)

Welcome to the seventh installment of the EVE Blog Banter , the monthly EVE Online blogging extravaganza created by CrazyKinux. The EVE Blog Banter involves an enthusiastic group of gaming bloggers, a common topic within the realm of EVE Online, and a week to post articles pertaining to the said topic. The resulting articles can either be short or quite extensive, either funny or dead serious, but are always a great fun to read! Any questions about the EVE Blog Banter should be directed here.

This month’s topic comes to us from Ga’len at The Wandering Druid of Tranquility. He asks: “What new game mechanic or mechanics would you like to see created and brought into the EVE Online universe and how would this be incorporated into the current game universe? Be specific and give details, this is not meant to be a ‘nerf this, boost my game play’ post like we see on the EVE forums.

Those of you who know me in game know that I’ve been gone for a long time. I started playing in Beta and a few weeks ago was Ghenna’s 6th birthday in the EVE universe, but I took a bit of a leave of absence for several years, and coming back has been an experience. The game is different, the alliances are different, everything, it seems has changed, and despite my skill points (and the knowledge that Right-Click is the answer to 90% of EVE-related questions) I’m very much a newbie with respect to much of the game. So much has changed, been added, nerfed, tweaked or removed that it really does feel like a new experience… that being said…

“What the hell is that?” I sent the message over the fleet com channel. My systems were buzzing with feedback from the local anomaly, I couldn’t be sure the message went through. My executioner hung in space above a tear in reality.

“It’s a wormhole,” came the static-laden reply, “cropping up all over New Eden these days, though no one is quite sure why.”

I nudged my hull closer to the anomaly and sent my camera drones out wide to get a better look. “Where does it go?”

“This one’s a shortcut to Minmatar space, so nowhere interesting,” Maldred maneuvered her probe next to my hull as several of her scanner probes appeared on-grid and made their way back to her cargo bay. I had been flying with her on and off for the past few days, trying to get a handle on the ins and outs of exploration in New Eden.

“It’s a good find if you need to move something from here to there, will save you some serious time,” she said aligning her ship to the nearest station, “If you need it use it soon though, it won’t be around much longer.”

The hole rippled with energy, even to my untrained eye and without any reasonable scanning equipment I could tell it wasn’t stable.

“I’m going to go get a different ship and head over to another system, try and find one that goes somewhere exciting.”

“Like where?” I asked. I had learned not to worry about asking stupid questions around Maldred, particularly ones pertaining to her profession. She loved to talk.

“W-space, the great unknown. Nothing like being trillions of miles from any system that has a name,” her ship leapt into warp and I turned to follow her back to station, “If you’re excited about this stuff get in now,” she said, “there’s plenty out there that people think is valuable, and where there’s isk to be made nothing will remain unclaimed or unexplored for long. I give it two months before the empires start looking for a way to stabilize them, or God forbid, build jumpgates out there.”

“Given the distances involved that’d be a pretty big jumpgate,” I replied, the static filtering out of my com as my ship left the proximity of the wormhole.

“Yeah, pretty big disaster you mean. Been to the EVE gate lately?”

I hadn’t, though I had been meaning to since arriving back in The Empire. The idea was appealing though, more to me than to Maldred, obviously. I’d been trained as a soldier, and in my military excursions had managed to see a great deal of New Eden. It was the closest thing to exploring the unknown I had ever experienced, and while it would take years of training to get up to her level as an explorer, if the great empires decided to try to colonize this new, unexplored region of space they’d certainly need people in my particular area of expertise.

“If they do, I’ll be there,” I said as my ship eased into the magnetic docking cradle.

“I’m sure you will,” she replied, already undocking in her Helios, “Plying the age old ammunition trade business. Just remember we explorers will always be a couple systems ahead of you, and if you’ve got some spare ammo, don’t go shooting it at us, we’re not interested.”

The Helios swept out of the dock and seconds later was gone. Cloaked, or warped, or both. I couldn’t tell. My pod opened and I disengaged myself from the ship’s systems, but kept my link to the com.

“Don’t worry friend, I use lasers.”