Tuesday, 7 December 2010

An Embarrassing Start

So, things on her first night could have gone a little better.

She realised she was a little rusty - undocking once a week to redistribute planetary production between planets and make a trade run to the nearest trade hub didn't exactly demand much flight technique. Even so, she hadn't realised just how rusty she was, or indeed that even her ships might be a little rusty.

The fact that the Verdigris II, a veteran of many missions in the past, had seized up and frozen so badly it needed a whole systems reboot, had made it painfully obvious. By the time it was done rebooting it was too late to turn on the dual repairing modules. The Ishtar hull had crumpled under the combined firepower of a dozen or so Cartel ships.

Best not to mention that little detail to Nakatre.

And that was how Kayleigh Jamieson-Read found herself in a pod, blushing with embarrassment and waiting to be rescued by a corp mate on her very first night as a Re-Awakened Technologies pilot. Racing star, flying for over 4 years (many of which working for agents throughout New Eden) and here she was, the proverbial damzel in distress. What sort of a first impression was she going to leave on her new corp mates, like this?

Now, two days later, a new shiny Ishtar was ready to go. Older hulls she had brought over from Alenia were undergoing scrutiny by a slew of mechanics. Hopefully she wouldn't embarrass herself quite so badly anytime soon.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Life on Hold

Kayleigh lay draped over Nakatre, wide awake despite the late hour. She lay listening to her wife’s heart beating a regular, soothing rhythm. She couldn’t sleep. Not with her mind working overtime.

It had been seven months since the last of them had been evacuated from J170132, and Kay had warped away one final time from the shimmering wormhole connecting the uncharted system to known space. The eviction Sphere had suffered had been a bigger blow than she had given it credit for at the time. Morale had been low, yes, but she had thought they would soon recover with other projects.

They hadn’t.

Pilots scattered around known space licking their wounds and then little by little began to fade from space. Corporation comms grew increasingly quiet.

After six months or so of living in near isolation up in J170132, with its ever-silent local comms and rare enough sighting of visitors, Kay had found the transition back to bustling Federation space rather jarring. Perhaps that was what had happened to the other Sphere pilots as well.

In the end, the noisy traffic of empire living had been too much to bear and she had joined Nakatre out in low-sec, where at least things were quiet and calm enough to bear.

For a while she had healed by simply spending quality time with her wife, but her continued presence living among Stillwater had started to gnaw at her conscience. It was one thing to accept out of love Nakatre’s choice of lifestyle, and quite another to live among her corp as if she actually approved of it.

The two months spent planetside catching some sun and fresh air had done wonders for her, but had set her mind working again, realising it was about time she stopped wallowing in self-pity and guilt for the events in J170132. She had returned refreshed and ready to get something going in Sphere… only to find that in her absence the corporation had left Nox Draconum alliance and was in the process of downsizing. All her colleagues were transferring to another corporation to try their luck out in null-sec.

Considering how long it had taken her and Sphere to recover from the J170132 setback, the jin-mei wasn’t quite sure setting her heart on holding sovereignty somewhere out where big alliance wars happened on the news was such a good idea at this point in time.

That is what was keeping her up at night: what to do now with her career? She couldn’t just keep living off the small fortune she had amassed (“small” by capsuleer standards only, of course) waiting for Nakatre to come home after a day’s work.

She had narrowed her options down to three. Rejoin the alliance she had helped to start by applying perhaps to Endless Night, where she might fly side by side with Loras and Gareth once again and help Nox thrive, but that would be going back to what she had already done before and which had brought her to this very crossroads. She could also join her previous Sphere colleagues out in lawless space and perhaps write a couple of lines in history books, or just end up losing everything like in J170132. And finally… she could just do something she had never done before, take a stand for a cause, join a bustling corporation, fly with old friends.

And then she realised she ought to discuss her options with Nakatre anyway instead of just letting her mind run in circles and lose sleep over it. Her wife had a capacity for seeing clear through the fog and going straight to the point as it was. Kay blushed, chastising herself in her mind for not thinking of that before. Careful to not wake the sleeping figure, the jin-mei placed a tender kiss on warm skin, then closed her eyes to sleep.

We’ll talk in the morning, love.

Monday, 29 November 2010

The Learning Skill Rant

I was gonna make a rant on the impending disappearance of learning skills from Eve, but then I realised I don't care enough to turn it into an actual rant.

Having said that, I do feel a little cheated with this move. Yes, I know skillpoints get reimbursed and all that, but my main gripe is that I chose to invest time into these skills at a point in my character's life when you're eager to get a gazillion other things done, so you can board more awesome ships, etc. I made a choice to invest time then into something that would only save time in the long run. The fact these skills are going to disappear makes me feel robbed of that time.

Maybe I'm just too set in my ways. Or maybe I'm just bummed that Kay is at a point where I don't quite know what to train next so I'm just passing time by training the longest lvl5 skills I can find on my skill list, and these skill points that I get to reinvest are sort of useless to me, right now.

The points will come in handy, at any rate, for my alt who is scrambling to get into stealthbombers.

Still.. in a way, learning skills were a reflection of a certain playstyle which represents Eve, in my mind. They implied this game was not about instant gratification, so much as it was about patience, planning, and being in this for the long haul.

No biggie, I suppose. It certainly doesn't hurt any of my characters - possibly quite the contrary. Go figure players, for still whining ;)

Thursday, 18 November 2010

New Chargen - 'Cause Everyone Else Is Doing It

A while back, at some point in the two months' break from which I've just resurfaced, one of my friends pointed out to me that a brand new, gorgeous chargen had been made public on SiSi for us to mess around in. Uninspired to play though I might be, I couldn't resist firing up SiSi and messing around with it, especially once I saw some of the attempts posted out there on other blogs.

I naturally dabbled first on Kay, my long-suffering main who has been my face in Eve for about 4 years, 9 months. That's a lot, in my book. In my defense, I was still discovering functionalities so even taking into account that this was still very much the first incarnation of the new chargen, there were more things I could have tweaked that I only found out about a bit later. Anyway, this my first attempt at Kay:

She looks really pretty and I've managed to even make her look a bit shy, which she really ought to, so that's fine. I didn't mean for her to come off more mature than previously but on second thought I found I actually think it fits her well. She was never the most cheerful person in New Eden and she's seen her share of mishaps in her short piloting career. She has grown, and I like that.

My one worry was that I felt I didn't really tweak the base features all that much on her, and still it looked very much like my idea of Kay. So I'm worrying if all jin-mei are going to look the same. Or at best like sisters. Perhaps clothing, height, lighting, pose, all that will differentiate us all enough. Here's hoping, 'cause I don't wanna look like all other jin-meis out there :(

Looks-wise I was not so lucky with Kay's former assistant, a Gallentean Gallente young woman, so much so that I don't even wanna post the picture :/ The single pair of eyebrows available at the time somehow made her look a bit... hm... shall we just say simple? I hope the next incarnation of the chargen will give me more options to tweak her.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Welcome back, Kay! D:

So, I was away from Eve for a while - what, two months or so? - and I recently came back to Tranquility to check things out, reconnect with some people. And this...

... was the welcome I got.


Monday, 26 April 2010

Distress Message

Message intercepted off relay beacon in Amarrian space.
From: Kayleigh Jamieson-Read // Location: Unknown
To: Nakatre Jamieson-Read // Location: [undeciferable]
Message heavily distorted.

[...] under attack. Being watched by Tempest and [...] on all sides. They podded Tor after taking ransom so things aren't [...] all alone in here, now. I need to save something. Going dark until I am [...] killed. Love you.

Friday, 19 March 2010

No Singularity for You!

I remember having this prolonged discussion with Demon Flir – at the time one of my team mates in Scuderia Dragonstar – about the merits of trying out things in SiSi. He often went there; I had never once been to the test server at all.

In a nutshell, my argument was that I was a roleplayer anyway, and if I was going to experience new things in the game, I might as well get to experience them through the eyes of my character, and from that get a reaction I might use in-character. For someone who knows close to nothing about computers and often can’t tell a bug apart from a feature (ha!) it seemed like a waste of time to devote any of my gaming time to a server which is essentially out-of-character all the time, and where what you see might not make it to the game proper in the end.

All this time I’ve been playing Eve, nothing had managed to drag me over to SiSi – not wormholes, not modular ships, not exploration… But along comes planetary interaction and suddenly I’m all curious to see how it works (by the way, thanks Eve Uni for the early video!) and if there’s a way I’m going to use this new nifty feature with or for my corp. So I poked my friend Adri for info and followed her instructions to the letter.

Things started going a bit iffy with the SiSi patch download. It took a couple of tries to get it going, though I blame my router which has been acting a little choosy of late. Once I finally had it, it was the patching process which gave me an error. A second try had the patch thingie telling me I already did have the most current build. Despite that, I tried launching it. Obviously it reported some corrupt or damaged files of some sort or another. Well, then… *shrugs*

I shall take that as a message from the gods that I should just not bother, and I'll keep staying away from SiSi ;) Besides, they say patience is a virtue. I’ll exercise mine in waiting for Tyrannis to arrive in May.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

First Solo

Within the confines of her pod Kayleigh stretched. She liked the quiet days, true, but this endless staring at asteroids bored her to tears. With a sigh, she ran another directional scan around her. Nothing and more nothing.

Over in corporate frequencies there was some idle chatter going on which she didn’t much feel like taking part in. She had been unable to contact Nakatre for a little distraction, either. Kayleigh Jamieson-Read was stuck staring at a Retriever chipping away at rocks through her camera drones. Her strip miners finished a cycle and she watched the indicator for her cargo hold confirm the intake. Almost idly she ran another scan.

It took her a moment to realise something had actually changed. Core probes and a Magnate somewhere out there. Adrenaline immediately kicked in. She aligned the Dantan Express toward the tower and while it accelerated she shut down the strip miners and scooped whatever she could from the jet can, while she warned her corp mates that there was an intruder in their space. Sadly, no one was close enough to help.

The slow barge entered warp without incident. Grey eyes trained on directional scan and refreshing it often, Kayleigh was surprised the Magnate remained uncloaked. What was this guy doing? She kept wondering as she went out of scan range and her home tower materialised ahead of her.

Whatever he was doing, he was unlikely to home in on precisely the asteroid belt where she had been parked, not with core probes, so on impulse she changed ships into a hauler and turned back. It would be just a quick run. She’d be damned if she was going to be bored all that time and then see all her hard work robbed from under her nose.

As quick as she could, she maneuvered to scoop up her can and then realigned back home. Much to her surprise her scanner was still showing the five probes and uncloaked Magnate. Either he was trying to mess with her or – the most likely prospect – he didn’t know what he was doing.

Within minutes, she was boarding the Stalker after securing her cargo of ore. Scowling at her directional scanner, she warped to a safe and cloaked. “Where are you?” she thought to herself in a sing-song voice. It didn’t take her long to pinpoint him around the star. It still puzzled that he would be uncloaked all this time. Biting her lip, she aimed the Hound at the star and warped at range.

The Stalker came out of warp a good 500km away from the Magnate. That was bad. Without breaking cloak she would take forever to catch up to him. She tried anyway, true to the racer in her, and chased after this Von Brimstoner person. When a spatial phenomenon occluded him from sight, she was dismayed. Had he cloaked? Had he warped out? No, her scanner still put him squarely ahead of her somewhere in space. So she kept going and sure enough a few minutes later he reappeared, closer but still impossibly far away.

When next he disappeared from visual, she tried something different. Hoping the glitch was working both ways, she uncloaked and gave her engine a burst. Her lips curled into a smile; much better, now. Once the cycle was almost done she cloaked again. And that’s when the Magnate disappeared from her scanner. She cursed herself for her impatience. She had no doubt spooked her prey.

She warped out, tried several scanning spots but he was gone, either cloaked in hiding or gone back to empire space. After a while, things seemed quiet so she went back to her Retriever and the rock she’d been working on. Assuming all would go back to normal, she lowered her guard and the usual boredom settled back into her.

Not ten minutes after getting settled, she was jarred awake by the arrival of a ship. Another spike of adrenaline coursed through her as she scrambled to align and warp out even before she took a good look at it. A Sigil?! In this place?! As the Dantan Express gained speed she confirmed it; it was Von Brimstoner again.

This time she went straight for the Hound when she reached the ship hangars. She warped at range, cloaked, expecting to find the ship gone… but no! There he was, still in his Sigil and mining with his tiny little mining lasers aimed at the biggest rocks of Spodumain around the place.

The jin-mei hesitated, torn between defending her territory and reluctance to attack a basically unarmed vessel. In the end, she reminded herself that this was their home, their territory, their livelihood. They had paid dearly for the right to it in ships, crew, manpower and hours of patrolling. This man was able to be there in his little ship because she herself had cleared out the local Sleepers before. She started approaching, wary of any rocks that might break her cloak.

“It’s not like he doesn’t know people live here,” she thought to herself. “He saw me. I was in a mining barge. The tower appears on directional scan from the exit mouth. What exactly does he think I warped out for? This is a dangerous place. Not the high-sec he seems to think he’s still flying in.”

Building up her resolve, she did her approach. A simple act of aggression for most people, but something she’d hardly ever done before, much less all on her own. And this guy had no idea what was about to hit him.

At 30km she uncloaked and immediately launched a bomb. Grey eyes glued to the bomb’s trajectory, she maneuvered at the same time to place herself at a favourable orbit. She needn’t have troubled. Her single bomb instantly turned the Sigil into so much twisted metal. She cloaked herself again, eyes on the pod. “Go on, get away from here,” she spoke within her mind, as if he could hear her. And then when he did warp out, she realised he should count himself lucky. If any other of her corp mates had been doing the hunting Von Brimstoner would likely have found his trip home an instantaneous one.

She watched the capsule signature disappear from her directional scanner. “Be smart. Don’t come back.”

Sunday, 24 January 2010

War Ends

Looking back at the past week, Kayleigh had to smile. She had never been in a position where a war had been so profitable for the defending corporation.

No one had even quite figured out why this corporation, Schindler’s Ignore List, had declared a war on SPHERE. The best they had been able to guess was that they might have been spotted at the ice field in Vaurent, all on barges, mindlessly mining ice, and someone might have wanted to have some fun at the expense of clueless miners.

What had happened instead was that all SPHERE pilots had moved over to the facilities on J170132 and throughout the entire week had proceeded to mine, harvest and fight like a well-practiced team, and the corporation would be making a very nice amount of money once she could get all this stuff on the market.

There had been a few exciting moments when, in a bout of cosmic humour, the exit wormhole had connected J170132 first to the very home system of their war targets, then two days later to a system just next-door to them, but even then no action had happened. Even their friends in empire would barely get glimpses of their aggressors in local channels.

Well now the war was drawing to a close, Kayleigh found herself secretly sorry for that, as a number of her corp mates prepared to go back to their usual lives and occupations in empire star systems. She was sure it was about to get a little lonely out here.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

War on Ice?

Kayleigh sighed for what might well have been the hundredth time. Bored, bored bored. Corporate banter could only go so far, after all. Sittting still, staring at the very same huge chunk of ice tended to make people go quiet, most likely out of the same utter boredom she was feeling right now.

She couldn’t for the life of her fathom what made people harvest this for a living. Desperation, likely. She glanced at her own assistant, Laureline, sitting nearby in the Masalle, a Retriever which had started its career belonging to Kay. She as working hard to get a Mackinaw and mine even more ice. Kayleigh might not understand the appeal, but she was sure willing to buy her ice for Sphere’s wormhole control tower.

Another sigh. And then suddenly she noticed the blinking icon informing her a new message had arrived. The jin-mei took her eyes off the static scene outside and opened it. CONCORD? A war dec? She arched her eyebrows, incredulous as she read again to make sure she wasn’t dreaming.

A moment later, she broke silence on corporate comms. “Has anyone else noticed someone declared war on us? Does anyone even know who they are?”

Sunday, 3 January 2010

First Batch

Quintrala often said boosters weren’t really drugs, more like energy drinks. Unfortunately Kayleigh didn’t agree, which was why she was now looking on in dismay while Tor XianKun busied herself onlining and feeding their newest toy. SPHERE was about to make its very first batch of combat boosters.

When the XianKun sisters had seen her look of horror at the new structures – she hadn’t been able to help herself, really – they had patiently explained to her that such boosters were important for pilots in combat. They could mean the difference between life and death. And still Kayleigh swore to herself she’d stay well away from those. She knew they had side effects. She knew they caused addiction. These were not some simple energy drinks.

In the end, she kept her mouth shut and just shrugged. The gesture made plain the words she would not speak to her employer: Do what you will, it’s your corporation, your life.

So she floated in her pod, watching through her camera drone eyes, jaw set in a stubborn face which fortunately no one else could see. Head of logistics or not, I refuse to touch that. I didn’t lecture Nakatre about illegal activities to then turn around the next minute and do it myself. You make it, you sell it, you ruin pilots’ lives if you want. I wash my hands of this whole affair, she thought to herself as the array finally came online and started working.