Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Sometimes you just do.

A quick scramble call is made, there's a Rifter in a belt! With lots of laughs and shouts of "I'm going to get there first!" We all quickly undock and race to the belt, to try and tackle this unlucky pilot.

I'm in a Battleship, and I warp in 150km away from the Rifter, while everyone else is warping right on top of the poor fellow. I figure he is either already entering warp, or is about to. I lock, sensor boosters blaring. Guns active, everyone laughing on vent challenging everyone else to tackle him first. Poor bloke never saw it coming. One second, he's ratting in low sec space in a Frigate, the next second, a volley from eight 1400mm artillery cannons comes screaming at him, destroying his ship instantly.

A quick witty comment saves me from the groans of everyone else who wasn't able to get a lock, which was everyone, and the pod is on it's way to wherever the pilot had more ships waiting.

Later on in the day, things have quieted down, and most everyone is away for dinner, or just enjoying a quiet evening of chatting with each other.
I undock as I notice a few known macro haulers in system, and fly to one of my sniper spots. As I start popping the first few haulers that come through the gate, a few more decide to join me, either in sniper battleships or in something close range that can tank the gate guns.

Laughter fills the air as nearly everything that comes through the gate explodes, and we chide each other on the friendly competition. My lock times become legendary for the moment, and we all groan when someone else instantly pops whatever it was that they got their lock on.

The same Rifter pilot as earlier, flies through system, and is unlucky enough to find himself at our gate party. I lock, and he pops. He then spends the next half hour or so, repeatedly coming back in a noob ship, at different distances from the gate, dieing in a hail of weapon fire and laughter from our side.

After we lost count how many times we sent him back for another noob ship, I begin to wonder just why they are doing this. Are they having fun? Did we blow up everything they had and reduced them to nothing? Are they just crazy?
I open up a conversation, and try to start with some small talk.

Unfortunately, the pilot speaks next to no english, but I do find out that he is Russian and poor. For a six day old pilot, ratting in low sec... some call it ballsy, some call it stupid. Either way, I felt a little bad for the guy, and I transfer him 2 million isk, send him a friendly wave, and close convo.

He didn't come back to the gate in a noob ship after that.

Over the last few days, I had noticed another young pilot, albeit a few weeks old, running missions in our low sec home. Generally, these people are probed out and ransomed the first time they are seen. A bit preoccupied with other events, I don't think anyone really was up for probing out a frigate and wasting ammo.

Unfortunate for this pilot, they found themself landing on a gate when I was killing time, sniping haulers. A quick lock, and my guns let loose a mighty roar through space, careening into their craft, destroying it instantly. Another unlucky move for this pilot, they don't warp their pod out instantly, either a bit of disorientation (lag) from their ship exploding, or shock from the loss... this results in them back to the clone vat bay, regaining concious inside of a new body.

A short while later, I notice the pilot in system again. I strike up a conversation, asking if they had implants in their pod, and just general small talk. I also notice that they are in a noob ship, and are staying away from this gate.

I learn that they had implants, but were only cheap +1 attribute implants, and therefore not really an issue. We get to talk about running missions, and skill training, and just general direction as a pilot. Talk turns back around to getting blown up by me, and I make a referrence to the pass that we offer, which allows pilots to run missions in our systems without fear of attack from my corporation.

It isn't very common that we find someone young running lvl 1 missions out in this area, and our standard rates are geared more for the battlecruiser and battleship pilots, not those flying a fully t1 fit frigate. I offer them a substantial discount, and hash out a quick scale to increase as their ship size increases. The next day, they take me up on the offer, and are now able to run missions in the area knowing that there will be no Bastards waiting for them.

Sometimes, you look at a situation, and laugh at the stereotype. I'm a low sec pirate, I'm supposed to be the scum of eve, praying on hapless carebears who find themselves wandering into low sec in search of a mission or some rats that are fabled to be better than highsec. Why do I find myself chatting it up and being friendly with a 3 week old mission runner? Why do I find myself giving away isk, which was hard fought for, to a few day old pilot, who can't speak english?
Every now and then, you find yourself, looking back on a recent kill, and sighing in discontent, at how it was too easy... the pilot had a horrible fitting choice for their ship, and obviously didn't know what they were doing. You strike up a conversation, and give them some pointers on what to train for and what better stuff they could put on their ships.
Every now and then, you find yourself ransoming a young pilot, and then giving the ransom back after you watch the mission rats destroy their ship as you are warping away.

Most people don't understand why. They wonder, how you can be blood thirsty, cold, heartless, and ruthless on a daily basis, and almost randomly turn around and do something like this. Most people just don't understand why.

Sometimes you just do.

Friday, December 26, 2008


I'm sitting deep in space in my Cheetah. The scan is nearly complete, and back up is poised and ready to strike. Our tackle pilots are revving their engines and running final checks on their warp scrambling devices. The big guns are loading ammo into their guns, and their trigger fingers are itching for some action.

The scan finishes, and I give a quick blast out on the comms, "got a hit, warping in now, tackle get ready."

I warp in, and let the boys know I'm in range. The fleet warps in, scrams the target battleship, and damage is poured on. His tank broken in seconds, communications are opened with the pilot of the target ship, and a request for ransom is issued to him.

My ship scanner built into my Cheetah comes back with a report of modules fitted to his ship, and a quick check against the market data flooding into pod, gave me a quick assessment of how much his ship was worth.

The conversation between myself and the target pilot goes something along the lines of this:
me: 60 million and we let your Drake go. You will be free to finish your mission as well.
him: HA! this ship isn't worth that much you noob! and my insurance pays more than the ship costs, learn how to add dumb ass pirates! hahaha
me: I'm sorry you feel that way.

At this point, the conversation ends, and the damage is again put on, destroying the targets ship. Our Interceptor pilot is quick on his toes, and catches the pod before it can warp out. Conversation starts back up with the pilot.
me: 10 million and we'll let your pod go.
him: hahahaha noobs!
me: goodbye.

This time the pilot is removed from our comms channel, and is swiftly podded back to the clone vat bay.

Right now, you might be asking, "why did you ask 60 million for the Drake?"
The ship scanner shows everything you have fitted... including rigs.

This Drake was fitted with approximately 45 million worth of Rigs, as well as a full rack of T2 Heavy Missile Launchers, a full T2 shield tank, and full T2 modules in the lows. The modules and rigs fitted onto his ship alone were worth around 75 million at the time. The ship cost roughly 33 million. Insurance cost was roughly 13 million.

This pilot paid about 115 million or so, to get his ship set up. His insurance paid out somewhere in the ballpark of 35 million. Of course, at first glance, you say, "his ship only cost 33 million, and he got 35 million back for insurance, he made 2 million off of it" which, must have been what he was thinking.

Basic math, however, shows that insurance does not pay for the ship, what it does, is lessens the blow on the wallet. This pilot lost a total of 11 million on the hull of the ship alone. Not to mention the 75 million of fittings he now has to replace.

There still seems to be a lot of violence in the reactions we seem to get when asking for a ransom instead of just blowing up the target instantly. Why we still see responses like "only dumbasses pay ransoms" or "i'll never pay a ransom to pirate scum like you!" confounds me.
I will admit, that there are pirate corps out there, that dishonor ransoms, and this hurts the general pirate public. At the same time, there are many many many pirate corps that honor ransoms.

When you find yourself on the losing end of an engagement with a respectable pirate corp, they aren't going to be asking for a ransom only to blow you up after. This is bad business. If I don't honor a ransom, that person tells their friends, and eventually, word gets around that I don't honor ransoms. So soon, I'll ask for a ransom, and the guy on the other end of the warp scrambler will say "ha! fat chance! you'll just blow me up anyway!" and thus, I'll never see another ransom again.
Now if I always honor ransoms, hopefully someday, everyone will know if they pay a ransom, they will be free to go.

As far as the price goes, it's along the same lines. If I ask for too much, the target wont pay. So it's a business that requires quick math, knowledge of the market above and beyond the average carebear, and people skills. Afterall, I'm sure if I was being ransomed, I would be much more receptive if the guy asking me to pay up wasn't a jerk.

So the next time you find yourself being ransomed, take all things into consideration. Maybe the pirate has scanned your ship and knows exactly what you have fitted, and exactly how much it would cost to replace everything. Then ask yourself again, exactly how much does that insurance pay out actually pay out?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Story of Ralph Wiggum

Flying through the vast regions of Eve, you're bound to run into people that you like, and also don't like. But more importantly, you're going to run into people that don't like you. As a Pirate with -10 standings, I am a favorite target for the vast majority of Eve. In this regard, myself, and friends of mine, have learned a valuable lesson, we fly together, we live together.

Every so often, however, you will find yourself in a precarious position, alone, in hostile territory. And this is the story of the little ship that shouldn't have, but did.

Casual intelligence reported 2 Carriers on scan, along with a Battleship a few jumps away from our home base. Ears picked up by the 3 others online at the time, and we requested more information. After what seemed ages, the intel came down that the Carriers and Battleship were NOT at a celestial, and wrecks were found on a 5 degree scan in the direction of the ships. Quickly thereafter, the pilot giving the intel had to log, saluting and wishing us luck as he left.

A prober logged in in the general area, and quickly began to locate these ships, while we struggled in our home system, with the other 3 members online assembling a fleet and scratching our heads how we would be able to take these mission runners on. Luckily, one of our Dread pilots was logged on, and was itching to get in on the action. I offered to supply the heavy tackle in my Broadsword, aptly named "Ralph Wiggum". We had another recon pilot set up for tackle in his Arazu, that was assembling himself to burn to the target station as well.

While this was going on, some other hostiles had camped themselves right outside the undock of our station, and thought themselves clever, figuring they could pick us off or hold us inside.
Intelligent preparation proved golden as we undocked and warped out to instant bookmarks leaving the pests behind.

Leaving the Arazu pilot behind as he finished up some last minute logistics details for the Dread movement, I rushed ahead in my Broadsword.

2 jumps out of the home system, and 3 jumps away from my destination, I cursed myself when I jumped into a hostile gate camp, full of Interceptors, Command Ships, and miscellaneous other T1 and T2 Cruisers and Battlecruisers. Pure genius words were relayed on vent after I stated my prediciment, "well you can either burn back to the gate or explode, so quit your bitching"

Still holding my cloak, I surveyed my surroundings, and knowing I would not have the assistance of gate guns on my side, I realized, this was likely the end of my Broadsword. Fit with an Afterburner, ready to bust the mission, 15km looked impossibly far away. Turning on the hardeners and Afterburner, I turned towards the gate and said a silent prayer.

Scrammed, and swarmed over with drones, and weapons of all shapes and sizes, I realized that they did not have me webbed, and the gate kept getting closer. A quick survey of the hostile forces on my overview, made me laugh on the inside. ALL of them had agressed me, and there was nothing on the other side to stop me from warping away again. Once in jump range, I saluted at my keyboard and jumped through, my tank not even taxed yet as the big ships were trying to get in range when I jumped out.

I limped my pride back to our home system, warning everyone of the gate camp, and sat in a safe letting my cap and shield regen.

By the time the first probe came back empty (with a volley of "wtf?" on vent) another prober had logged on and was burning towards in a cheetah. Easily clearing the gate camp in a cov ops, he got in to place, and had a scan running quicker than you can say bobs your uncle.

The call was made that they had a hit, and were in position with a warp in, screams for tackle echoed across vent. Thinking out loud, "fuck it, I have to get there" I again started burning towards the destination system, wracking my brain trying to figure out how I was going to get through the gate camp.

I jump through knowing I am landing right in the middle of somewhere I really don't want to be, but blinded by my desperation to make it and tackle at least one of the 2 carriers. I see that I'm pointed in the direction of a planet, and I watch the hostile interceptor reach the opposite side of his orbit, and try to make the warp. Nearly there, when I get pointed by a nearby Cruiser. I instantly turn and burn towards the gate to try and jump back through.

This time, they all agressed again, but I see a web on me. I make it through at slightly under half shields, and about a third of my cap left. On this side, there were a Battlecruiser and another Cruiser waiting for me now. Sandwhiched, I get pumped up and laugh, saying "well I can't get through the gate camp, so I'm just going to ping pong back and forth until I can't make it to the gate anymore and die, get that carrier for me!" I turn back towards the gate, and start my planned ping pong of death.

I jump back into the main blob system again, and do a quick check on what I'm aligned to, if anything. No luck this time, so try to warp to something nearby, stopped again, and boat back to the gate. Back to the almost empty system, locked again by the Battlecruiser, and I jump back into the blob system. I'm almost out of cap, and shields are really starting to dwindle.

LUCK! There's only 2 ships under 20k from me, and I'm pointed towards a celestial. I hit warp, come out of cloak, and watch as everything tries to scramble and lock me. I warp as the Interceptor gets about 30km from me, and the closest ships don't seem to have warp disruptors on! I am amazed at how I got away, and I keep burning as fast as I can to my destination system.

I'm low on cap and my shields aren't coming back nearly fast enough. I think about docking up 1 jump away from the targets and getting back my cap and shields, but when I hear, "there's only 1 wreck left!" I say fuck it, and jump in. I warp in, right as the covert ops cyno pilot is getting into position to bring the Dread in. BAM! Infinite point all over a Naglfar. Neither of them seem to notice me for a few seconds while I pray for cap. Neut towers in the mission are showing me what it looks like to have zero cap, and the Carriers just notice that I'm there. Fighters appear all over me, when the sky lights up with the friendly Moros landing right on top of the Thanatos.

Before the light from the cyno jump fades away, the Arazu lands, and gets a point on both Carriers. The probers rush back to get into ships that can hopefully do some sort of combat and still make it through the gate camp. The Moros locks onto both Carriers, and locks down the Thanatos. Without web support having arrived yet, the Nag slowboats away from the Moros and tries futily to get away.

Fighters are shifted onto the Arazu, and he manages to warp out in structure. Another cycle of the neut towers rock my Broadsword, and turn off my infinite point. I get all the love from the fighters, as well as mission rats, as the Thanatos gets some serious love from the Moros. I warp out with zero cap, and my shields dropping from the mission rats and Thanatos Fighters tearing into me.

The Arazu struggles to get back in to point the Nag, just as it warps away and docks at a station in system. Frustrated, I warp back in with very little cap left, to help bump the Thanatos and keep it from running out of the Moros' weapon range.

The Thanatos hits armor, and we get ready for the tank to kick in, when... his shields go back up ever so sightly. "Is he shield or omni tanked?" we start taking side bets on vent, as we start up a conversation and try to work out a ransom. We are still hoping that the second Carrier comes back to try and help (thus sealing it's doom as well). With no second appearance from the Nag, we all focus on the conversation attempting to secure a Ransom. Afterall, every good pirate knows, a ransom pays more in the wallet than a Carrier kill on the killboard.

In good sport, the Thanatos pilot puts his fighters back on to my Broadsword, no doubt hoping to take at least one of us out, while we see those unhappy words in the conversation "I don't have that much isk" Hey, at least this guy was believable when he said it, swearing at the fact that he wished he had it so he could get away. By this time, not having to run any of my mods for a little while, my cap is secure, and I just sit out the tickling by the fighters.

A second Dread pilot logs on, and gets cyno'd in, sadly with only 1 Carrier to shoot at. Already into structure, and the tank obviously ineffective, the Revelation locks and gets a shot or two off before the Carrier explodes. The Arazu pilot and myself, both lock on and prevent the pod from warping off, hoping to ransom the pod (for obviously less than we were hoping) when POP! the pod disappears and is replaced by a frozen corpse. In my excitement, I fat fingered the F1 and F2 keys, and accidently activated my guns at the same time I activated my scram. *Sigh*

The loot, as suspected, is sub par, a few cap mods surviving, as well as a few fighters, but no where near the isk we were hoping for with the Ransom.

Haulers are brought in as quickly as possible, and the Dreads secured. Unfortunately, the remaining rats were able to take out a few fighters before they were all liberated from space. Nonetheless, we all walked away with some good stories.

My Broadsword, "Ralph Wiggum" has now been idolized in my eyes after that miraculous gate camp escape. This little ship has seen a few engagements that it shouldn't have walked away from, and is starting to get quite a few impressive kills under its belt. An offer was made to purchase the ship from me after a corp mate had lost a Broadsword of their own, but even with an offer a bit over market value, I could not sell this ship. "Ralph Wiggum" will fly with me forever, fate allowing. So if you see me on scan, the thought must run through your head, "He's coming for me." Right before you realize, if you see me on scan, it's already too late.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Search for the Truth

It's a question that has troubled mankind for all existence. What is truth?

After much soul searching, and world travel, I think I have finally figured it out. I used to think that truth was never lieing, always saying what was right. I thought truth was what you could see with your eyes, hear with your ears. And then it hit me, that's exactly what truth is.

Truth is perception. Perception is truth. If I see the snow as white, and the skies as blue, then that's what they are. If you see the snow as brown and the skies as gray, then that's what they are.

It seems as we fly, we live. In Eve, reality is bent slightly, and not everything is how it should be, according to our feelings of truth. That sweet +5 security status doesn't mean you are harmless, and that evel -10 security status doesn't mean you are a cold hearted bastard devoid of emotion.
As the wrecks pile up, from both friend and foe, we look back upon the battlefield with either elation at the thrill of the fight, or scorn towards whichever side decided to bring such uneven odds that the fight was little that, and more of a massacre.

Throughout all of my existence inside of the cruel world that is Eve, I have flown with all types of people. I have done my time in the prison that is High Sec running missions. I have been in that godless free for all that is 0.0 space and fought for sovereignty. As well, of course, I have flown in that gray area known as Low Security, where it seems the law only protects from the most lesser forms of the lawless, and does little to prevent the loss of the unsuspecting. While we have little to show for it other than self boasts and claims, rather than ultra expensive mission running ships which no rat can break, or Outposts and sovereignty of space putting our names on a map, I feel those living in Low Security have much more than either of our comparison's.

If you fly around long enough, you'll meet all kinds of people. Some will claim to be the best pilots in Eve, and some will claim to only do what they need to do to meet their own goals. What I would say, however, is that the most hated pilots of all of New Eden, Low Security Pirates, are without a doubt, hands down, the best pilots in all of Eve. They must dodge the law, as well as rival pirate corporations, anti pirate corporations, and at times, the blobs of 0.0 when they poke their fingers a little too deep in someone else's pie.

Perception may be truth, but it would take eyes and ears tightly shut to anything outside of your own pod to disregard this perception.