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Station Spinning

*checks Eve Blogs for the day*
Rixx Javix: Warning Signs
*looks at unfinished post just station-spinning on desktop as .rtf file*
…ok, ok, I’ll get back to it.

Update: Rixx added me to his (admittedly extensive) blog roll. Guess I really don’t have a choice now. 🙂

Dust and Echoes

In ancient mythology, long-lost to the tides of history, there is a war-god, a deity of thunder and lightning; whose name was bestowed upon one of the earliest orbital bombardment systems. The formal term is a ‘Long-rod kinetic energy impactor’. They are a specialty of the Caldari armed forces. Simple enough in concept, really: take a metal bar, put some fins on one end and a rudimentary guidance system on the other. Gravity does the hard work, it doesn’t even need that much of a propulsion kick. Depending on the size, they can turn a ground combat vehicle into a flattened beer-can or cause a planetary extinction event.
I chose something in the middle.

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Re-Incarnation

Today, the guns are silent. Or at least as quiet as it ever gets in New Eden. With the release of the new Carbon character creator, the regular Eve Online shenanigans were briefly set aside in favor of generating new, frequently hilarious character portraits. As more and more members of the Gentlemens’ Agreement finalized their new avatars, a few insights emerged.
More people are roleplayers than they care to admit.
Even if they don’t talk ‘in character’ over comms, a lot of players on our Mumble, at least, were concerned with getting the right ‘look’ for their character. In a game where everyone is represented by a few dozen otherwise indistinguishable ship models, the Character Portrait is where we express our individuality (or love of Conan O’Brian). Players were upset that they could no longer hood their Amarr. Sunglasses were being discussed. Portraits replaced silhouettes as drugged out hippies, distinguished captains, and more emerged from the Carbon process.
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The first warning of the attack I had was a shudder rocking through the station, dangerously upsetting the cross-loading of the heavy torpedoes. I’d docked up in the PNQY station to exchange ammunition; substituting some of my incendiary plasma warheads for more precise, for ground attack anyways, kinetic penetrators. But when the entire gigatonne station rang like a struck gong, I pulled my attention away from the magazine waldoes to focus on the grander situation.
The local hypercomm node had shot up by two hundred users. Regional intel channels were awash with reports from covert ops craft in observation points around the system. A single hostile CovOps had lit a cyno gen, and a two-hundred strong force of hostile battleships had been bridged in by enemy titans. A second cyno went up as I watched, and the enemy capital fleet emerged to pound the system infrastructure hub.
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One small step

The ink wasn’t even dry on the contract before I was given a tasking. The Praxis Initiative, some ‘ruddy good chaps’ with the Gentleman’s Agreement alliance had been one of the ‘short-list’ corporations I was looking at, were looking for a few good pilots to aid in pacification actions in and around the Fountain Region. Conversations I’d had with them were generally positive; and I made it abundantly clear, I was a Widow pilot first and foremost. I received high level assurances that I would be more than welcome.
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…And we’re back

The Concord station in the Friggi system was an unwanted layover; but when the Empires-spanning police organization gives you an invitation to stop by and talk, even a demigod like myself gets the hint. The local detachment had a problem, and word came that I was going to be passing through; so the constable commed me. I settled into a lazy-seeming orbit outside of warp-scrambler range, decloaked and moving fast enough to immediately leap into warp before sending the my holographic avatar into the stations’ public comms network. While some little fleshbag clerk put me on hold, I started cycling my torpedo launchers through test cycles; not exactly subtle, but it got the station chief on the line quickly.
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Schedual Slip

What can I say? Working retail this time of year sucks.

The shore of the cosmic ocean

A week-long shakedown cruise now lay in my wake; every system save two had been tested rigorously, and only one had failed to meet design specs. The yard dogs back at Jita 4-4 were more than eager to assist my service drones in correcting the fault, a glitch in the interface between the portside secondary thruster #3 plenum magshielding and the cloaking system. Once I pointed out that a battleship with a bad thruster array was still faster than the civilian insystem transports they’d be using to go planetside on their next downcycle, the foreman even offered to do the job pro bono. Much to the relief of the other residents of the hab block that found a cranky battleship with an active targeting array floating outside their viewports.
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“And so it begins”

People who’ve never felt its caress against their skin speak authoritatively of the ‘cold’ of space. That near-perfect vacuum of the void between the planets isn’t cold; it’s simply nothing. With no medium to conduct heat into, the biggest problem faced by a functional starship is keeping cool. With no vulnerable organics on board, I cycled all my internal spaces down to death pressure. No atmospheric pressure to violently outgas, no oxygen to support combustion; a ship was simply safer without humans aboard. A thought, and the holographic avatar I used to communicate with organics opened a communications channel with the traffic control network and dock controllers simultaneously. It didn’t take more than a couple of seconds to secure clearance; jettison my umbilicals, and maneuver into my slot in the undock queue.
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Four questions were once put to me by an Amarrian pilot I flew with back in my early days. I don’t know precisely what he meant by them; but as I prepare for this transition in my life, I’ve found they help to focus my meditations while I await final flight clearance. The first two I’ve already stored and made accessible on the cluster datanet; perhaps they’re of some interest to someone. The last two, though, are too interconnected to separate. ‘Who do you serve? Who do you trust?’
Loyalty and trust are two things that come hard to capsuleers. Immortal demigods of the spaceways, our egos and paranoia are the stuff of legend. Arrogance has razed continents, boredom has engulfed whole quadrants in the flames of war. So what can inspire loyalty? When you’re embodied in a starship that costs the ransom of nations, why should you trust?
To draw my loyalty, an organization must, first and foremost, be realistic. Two-pilot corporations that intend to take sovereignty in lawless space aren’t being optimistic, they’re being delusional. Fleet commanders who’d rather fight to the last when outnumbered 20:1 than retreat and conserve resources when there’s no hope of a strategic victory let alone a tactical one, are being psychotic. Inspiring loyalty means being worthy of it. A person who’d order an army to their deaths simply because they can should never gain that army to begin with.
Flying tight on the wing of Loyalty is camaraderie. Do I like the people I’m flying with? Do they like me? Do we have similar senses of humor, similar interests? As they say in the State; a happy employee is a productive employee. Tasked to guard a mining operation of people one doesn’t care for, ones’ mind is likely to wander to more pleasant pursuits and perhaps be a little inattentive; where an engaged pilot would be alert. If I’m to be asked to risk ship and pod to defend others, they’d best not be people I’d be happier to see dead.
From this springs trust. Trust that the Fleet Commander ordering a last stand is buying time for an evacuation or reinforcements. Trust that the CEO isn’t going to raid the corporate accounts for laughs. Trust that the person lighting a cyno for me isn’t dropping me into a trap. Trust that the pilot on my wing is going to fight beside me, rather than against me.
Who do I serve? I serve those who serve the greater good rather than their own. Who do I trust? I trust those who show trust in me.