Sunday, September 13, 2015

When the stars align

In space nobody can hear you celebrate. But inside this white and shiny little frigate were two men—or more correctly, one demi-god and one mortal, one projected as a hologram and one physically present—dancing around in the tight space between the drone bay and the massive container that took up most of the space in the cargo hold.

“Here’s to our first T3-dessie solo kill, Sins! Take that, you fucking Amarrian bastards! Your silly Confessor shredded to scrap metal by the Sister’s little sissy Astero!

I raised my imaginary glass. Man, I was looking forward to getting out of my pod and kick back in the lounge area.

“Hell yeah!”

Bleak Sins, my mechanic and partner in crime, had to shout through the loud terran rock music playing from entertainment system. One time I visited the Eve Gate I found a terran artifact floating in space containing a huge selection of music. I love that old-time stuff. We were shouting and screaming for a couple of minutes, then we docked up to refit a salvager.

“We have a signature ready for fishing in Isenan, boss, remember that!”

I was damned proud of my mechanic. His transformation from a timid mechanic into a mean bastard of a pirate was something to be proud of. It reminded me of my own journey towards the life of freedom.

“Yes, I just want to know it there are some shiny stuff that can be salvaged from this T3 wreck first.”

There was not a lot, to be honest, so off we went to Isenan. And there we found a freshly graduated capsuleer going about his data salvaging, in our very own pre-probed little fish pond. We mopped the dance floor with him and sent him back to his cloning station.

“You know, Sins, let us show him the way of true freedom. I am transferring him 10 million ISK to show him our way of life is good one, a life of choices—your own choices. I am free to take whatever I want. I am free to give back. Nobody tells me anything.”

“You’re a god.”

I didn’t catch the sarcasm.


And then I got a message from one of my planetside enterprises that needed my immediate attention. I ordered my ship to cloak and transferred my consciousness to a planetside neural communication gateway, a so-called Automated Flexible Keyway, often referred to by capsuleers as “being AFK”.

I did not catch the error message my neural interface sent me:
0 @ 64T3

I mentioned some time ago that I was looking forward to waking up in a new clone. That clean shaven chin (not the upper lip, of course!) and the feeling of youth. Beeing 27 again, even though I have aged quite a bit since I became a capsuleer. I hate the headache that follows, and the goo you wake up in is disgusting, but after a spa treatment and some fine dining, I always feel good in a new clone.

But this. This was brutal. This was pure evil. This was punishment for my hubris.

I was not cloaked. I was, according to my systems log, sitting at a gate. While AFK. My long lived and very expensive customized Astero was gone! And my clone with implants. And Sins! Bleak Sins! Where was he? Had he survived?

An Astero that is clearly not cloaked.
I quickly checked my official report from CONCORD’s Loss Matriculation And Investigation League (LOSSMAIL). And thank you holy mother of god or whatever fairy that choose what to survive when spaceships explode: He was alive! *

I opened up my Neocom and quickly sent a message to the capsuleer, Distai, reported to be the cause of my recent loss. Would he be so kind to release my mechanic back to my service?

“Oh sure thing. It's not my place to separate you two. I’ll charge you 10.000 ISK for the release, though.”

Bleak Sins had survived yet another explosion!  And  now he waited for me to be picked up at the Federal Navy Academy in Vitrauze.

I was still butt naked and covered in goo. And I needed a new ship. But, first things first: A shower.

But before the hot water got through the stations subpar plumbing system, I was greeted in the local communications channel by a Yukio Wantanabe. It was the newly graduated capsuleer that I had shot down earlier! He sent me a short message thanking me for my contribution to his career and wondered why all the pirates he meets are so nice? I smiled and thought to myself: It is because we are the truly free capsuleers. I will have to send him a message to tell him that.

The hot water arrived. The cold water knob, however, was tricky and it was a choice between scolding hot or ice cold. Damned Concord plumbing. The local communication channel made a noise again.

“Saftsuze! How are you doing?”

It was Doctor Genocide. Terrible name. Good man. A free man. We shared corp for a short stint in R1FTA, and we have been in multiple communication channels over many years. He continued:

“This is where my medical clone is based!”

“Wow, and you just woke up here as well?”

“Yeah! I was warping out of a fight to a station for repairs as I burnt out my guns, but bounced off some guy; cancelled warp then the call went out to get the fuck out and align to top station…”

I could obviously see where this was going as we were both wearing our new baby skinned clones.

“... and a Proteus point got me, no chance of burning from that one. So, do you have anything in station? ”

I was butt naked. And a quick glance over at the inventory told me I had one Velator.

“Nope. I need to go shopping.”

The station's personal trading interface gave a quick notification about an incoming offer.

“Which do you want?”

In front of me my neural HUD-interface displayed a wide selection of different shiny frigates. I tried to be modest, opting for the Firetail. But a wealthy capsuleer like the Doc won’t let you take the cheap stuff. I could hear the noise from the stations docking drones as my hangar overview presented me with a new ship: A shiny new Garmur was now parked outside my captain's quarters! I ran out on my balcony completely forgetting to even grab a towel. I just hope there were no camera drones around to record my ere… reaction from seeing that ship.

The Friend Ship
“Hey, Doc: I'll send you the report from the Loss Matriculation And Investigation League.”

He laughed. Not a laugh like what you might expect from a person named Doctor Genocide. More like the likeable chap at the pub.

“Cool! I hope you get some good kills in her before she meets her doom!”

And off I went to pick up Bleak Sins in Vitrauze.

Yeah, I never bothered to take that shower. I just jumped straight into the pod goo again.

* I have Bleak Sins registered as a janitor because of a lot less paperwork in regard to work permits and such when crossing the different empire's borders. You won't believe the shit you have to do to bring a licensed mechanic into Caldari space.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

I love the smell of nanite paste in the morning

After an extended vacation on one of my amny planetary spa-installements, I have returned to my trusty Astero together with my mechanic, Bleak Sins. The drone bay is filled to the rim with Hobgoblins and Warriors and we have a route plotted for Thera.

My accountant and procurer of spaceships has been given a shopping list and we are setting up in a cheap hanger container in Thera. From there we will spread our love to the entire cluster with some oldskool fittings of some harmless-looking Rifters and Incursi. We are going back to the roots. Taking a break from the luxury of the Astero and it's wine cellar and jacuzzi and all that jazz.

It is time for grease and plasma and the smell of hot nanite paste on burning auto-cannons and neutron blasters. It is time for that great feeling of waking up in a new clone, all clean shaven and feeling young an fresh again!

In the meantime have a look at the scenery we are enjoying en-route to Thera.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Time and Space Organized

“Ready information evacuation!”

Angelita was shaking heavily.

“What the fuck?”

Sins was probably on his way to the escape pod. But I was worried about my recent work.

“Transmit all work to corp mainframe!”

“We have 10 percent armor left. Fuck the research work. Do it yourself. You’re a capsuleer. I am going to my escape pod. I want to live.”

Sigh. The timid and shaking mechanic I recruited several months ago was no longer a pushover. I liked that. But I was still the captain.

“No! You secure the research now, or I will get a contract out on your sorry ass. I will make sure you get to the pod. Do. It. Now!”

I overheated just about everything I had. I had been taking a bait and now I paid the price. I could have escaped earlier, but I was so close to getting the Ishkur. I had decided to get it and then escape. Bad choice.

“Information secured. I am leaving ship.”

A bright flash. Then everything was quiet. And I was in a warp tunnel.

“Sins? You hear me?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Good to hear your voice, Sins. I’ll get a rescue team to pick you up. Catch an interbus shuttle and meet me back at HQ. And get a new Astero ready.”

I think I heard another of his rapidly increasing amount of sighs on the comms. But it might have been cosmic distortion on the channel.

“Yes, sir.”

2 weeks later. Upper Lip Finesse office somewhere in Placid:

“Your Astero is ready for shipping. And your finance guy tells me to let you know you are running out of ISK with your habit of exploding expensive Asteroes. At this rate you will be broke in a few months.”

Sins sat down in the sofa. The Scope was reporting some news about a Drifter autopsy report in Yulai.

“Bah! Tell him to mind his own busin… Hey, turn that up!”

The broadcast from Yulai was scrambled and the signal lost.

“Wow! Get me linked up to all alternative news channels and give me a report about the status in Yulai. Then fire up the login procedures for the Terran networks Slack and Twitter. I need to get my research published. We need a comprehensive timeline to grasp the magnitude of what is happening now. These Drifters... I wonder...”

Sins sighed and got up from the sofa. 

“I’ll get it for you. By the way, that container with tinfoil you ordered arrived today. It’s in the hangar. To the left. Behind the delivery of books from University of Caille.”

The Monolith in Dead End. I went there just to see it and did not get one single killmail from the trip. Something strange is happening to me.

Monday, May 4, 2015

The Old Man and the Universe

My blood was boiling. And my head spinning. And was not even in my pod. I was at my newly installed study, inside the Angelita - the very customized Astero that Sins had prepared while I was ... ehrm ... incapacitated for a few months by expensive bubbles from Luminaire VI. Or Gallentia as I’ve recently started calling it.

How could this be? How could being in my study be as exciting as a battle? Yes, I was as surprised as Sins. Well, he wasn’t surprised. He was shocked. Almost disappointed and angry, especially when I had asked him to remove one of the jacuzzies from the spa area and instead install an office with the latest technology for historical and scientific research. I could barely convince him by ordering a cryogenic wine cooler for the desk as well. I don't blame him. I was like that when I first discovered the freedom of a pirate's life. And Sins used to be a low rank crew member of an Astero dedicated to archaeology. I had freed him from that. And now he was worried I was giving up life as a pirate. Am I?

No. But I am getting older. Not in the mortal sense. My clone is the same sexy beast. But my mind, my mental state, my consciousness and awareness—my very soul—is getting older. And it has made wonder. Who am I? Why am I? What is the purpose? Until now, my life has been an effortless breeze of enjoyment with no time for questions only craving for more instant gratifications. Be it explosions in space or of the more intimate kind. 

But now I have time. And it is time. It is time to tell the story about me. And my place in this universe. And to do that, I need perspective.


I could hear a yawn from the cargo hold. 

“Yes, boss?”

“Get me a copy of all the official historical records archived in the Imperial libraries, the libraries of The Society of Conscious Thought and try the Jovian Directorate as well.”

“How the fu…”

“Just get it done, will you?”

He grumbled. I think I heard him say something in the line of “You want me to fit that relic analyzer instead of the warp scrambler as well?”

But he was soon out of my mind. I was buried deep in an interesting story about how Quafe once negotiated between the Gallente Federation and the Ammar Empire. I almost wanted to taste that sugary crap. But thankfully I had the new cryogenic wine cooler from Gallentia.

I poured myself a glass of dry bubbles from the foot of the Kaalakiota Mountains and continued on my work.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Just Like Talking to an Angel

“Boss, you've gotta wake up!”

I was receiving strange signals from outer space. But all I could see was a beautiful nebulae. And from it emerged a thousand mining barges. And they were singing with deep voices. “Come with us! You can shoot us all day long! Ravage and pillage our fittings!”

“Boss! Wake up!”

Oh, that beautiful deep humming of mining lasers soon to be shut up and shot down by burning projectiles.

“Boss! Get up now!”

Some ugly bright star appeared from nothing. So bright! Like staring directly into a pair of dual focused lasers.

“Fuck! Get that light out of my eyes!”

“Here, boss, have some synthetic coffee.”

“Where is my bottle!”

I think I said that. That was the intended message. Although it didn't really sound like that.

“I poured it out in the pod goo drain.”

My head was making that structural integrity warning sound. It was ringing in my ears.

“Say what?”

I wanted to kill this person talking to me.

“That was some pristine bubbles from Luminaire, you fuckhead!”

I screamed out the words as I lashed out in the general direction of the light and the ugly voice. I think I lashed out. It sounded more like… No, I was not lashing out against anyone, I was throwing up in the direction of… Well, there are no directions in space. I was in space.

“No, boss, you emptied the last bottle of Luminaire bubbles two weeks ago. You have been drinking the samples of the new product line Saftsuze’s Aftershave with Pro-B Nanite Sexystubs Formula… whitch is basically fifty-fifty alcohol and rocket fuel…”

I got some ugly flashbacks of being utterly sick, undocking in my pod to self destruct just to get a new fresh clone to soak.

“Who are you?”

“It’s me, boss! Blique Cins! Your mechanic!”

I threw up on him.

“By the Amarrian gods, Sins—”

I burped.

“It’s good to see you. Or, at least hear you.”

I squinted. Something was on it’s way up again. I swallowed. And something dawned on me.

“But… didn’t we die?”

“Yes, sir, you did, but I was rearranging inside the container when ship exploded. I hid inside the packed hull repper and managed to slip out just before the guys who looted your ship sent it to the reprocessing plant. I almost ended up as some biological titanium alloy...”

He started laughing.

Fuck me. This guy was laughing. I remembered him puking all over my cargohold before our first expedition. This guy was quality.

“Well, the ship is ready, boss. You wanna undock and selfdestruct again to get you freshened up a bit?”

“What ship? You just told me we exploded!”

“Yes, we did, but I took the liberty to make your second Astero ready for some exploration. I believe she is called Angelita. Remember? You bought her along with Anastasia. I’ve made some custom modifications to her. I think you will like the spa area.”

I think I will.

TLDR OOC: I’ve been away for a while. I am back again.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Do you need my Counsel for Stellar Candidates?

There comes a time when even lurking pirates and lonely scumbags must engage in politics. And that is when the Council of Stellar Management is going to be elected. We need someone to fight for our freedom. To make our beloved low security space attractive to our prey. To lower the obstacles to obtain shakes of adrenaline. And to GET US MORE WHITE CLOTHING!

Anyway, I am going to keep my endorsements here on a separate page, so you can consider it for your own ballot. Please head over and have a look!

That’s all for now. Go shoot down some spaceships while I come up with the next few candidates for the list. Just remember to pick up the goddamn drones after your fight, alright?

Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Prisoner

“Procurer scrambled. Drones deployed. Webs applied. No enemy drones detected. All systems working and so far no need for overheating. Standing by for new orders.”

Bleak Sins was no longer the puking nervous wreck of a mechanic. He had participated in more than 50 kills now. And never experienced one of my inevitable losses. He was certainly a prime candidate for complacency.

“Alright, invite the capsuleer to our negotiations channel and transmit our initial demands.”

The orbit was established and system intelligence reports were favorable for negotiations.

Mr. Todorov, would you please consider to make me an offer?”

I try to keep business meetings polite and formal, but in a friendly manner.

“I don’t know, how much do you want?”

I was about to explain my business model of customer initiative when it comes to suggesting the monetary size of a ransom, but then, out of the blue, my customer turned all sour and started screaming!

“At least stop shooting me when we negotiate! For fucks sake!”

What is it with customers these days? They always want me to stop the treatment while discussing business. The really do not value my time very much! I do not work for free and certainly not without risk! Well, I ordered my drones to chill a bit, and tried to get negotiations on track again. It is risky to let the damage application rest, but the system was still calm, and I had already dealt a decent amount of damage.

“OK, let me make an exception and suggest for you that you pay me 25 million ISK to keep your ship in one piece?”

“If you don’t stop shooting me now you get zero!”

He clearly was stressed as I had already ordered my drones to stand down.

“I have already stopped shooting and you have 10 seconds to comply, sir.”

He returned a condescending hiss.

“Who do you think you are?”

I relaunched my drones.

“I get more money from insurance.”

I sighed and shouted to Sins in the cargo hold: “You hear this guy? He really has a lot of nerves while being punched in the face by hobgoblins, eh?”

“Or he has friends behind the nearest gate” Sins replied.

I was probably wrong about my earlier analysis of Sins potential for complacency. That conclusion should have been reserved for me. He was right. We were running a huge risk here.

Our customer interrupted us with a teasing chant:

“Looser! Looser! You have a small dick!”

I was a bit perplexed. Was this someone I had had intimate relations with? What did he know about my private parts? Was there a hacked camera drone inside my pod? A hacked camera drone lacking the warning text “Objects may appear smaller than they are”?

“Looser! Looser! Looo-oo-oo-oo-oser! You get zero! Better kill me fast, bro!”

Maybe Sins was very right. Maybe there was a hot drop incoming? A cloaky Falcon emerging from the space dust? I was actually attacking as hard as I could, but the Procurer-class mining vessels are known to be slow to explode.

“People are coming” my customer proclaimed and followed up with an evil and mad laughter. “You are so weak, dude! You can’t even kill a defenseless miner! Looser!”

More laughter. His armor was almost gone now.

“Is that all you got?”

He started to remind me of some ancient terran holoreel about some knights and a grail and something. “Hey, Bleak, you getting this? He is starting to become really entertaining!”

“You did hear the part about people coming?”

“Yeah, yeah, Bleak, I heard, but he is bluffing. Trust me.”

“As I might have mentioned for you before, Saftsuze, it is a tiny bit harder for us without instant cloning services to take such information lightly…”

The miner was laughing again. A hollow and eerie laughter.

“How much time is this gonna take you, bro? This is just boring, dude!”

“No, no, no!” I chuckled to myself. “Keep it coming!”

I could see bits of the Procurer falling off now. The drones blasters eating away at the inner workings of his hull. And just as the Procurer exploded I swear I could hear him scream with his twisted voice: “What a moron!”

And then there was just a wreck and a frozen corpse in the asteroid field. And quiet. The beautiful quietness after a battle.

“Look behind you, douche!”

Ouch. My customer had been transferred to a new clone but still connected to the negotiations channel. Dammit.

“Did your dick get bigger?”

I tried to feel it. Not really. About the same.

“No, sir, but it sounds like your did?”

“You are so good at killing miners. A real professional combat capsuleer! Just another looser with issues…”

Ah, my customer was a psychiatrist.

“I must admit I do have my issues. The lack of white clothing in the NES store is one example. It is driving me mad!”

He laughed his evil hollow laugh again. Although it was more like a hiss now.

“No, man, you are just low. You can’t fight real combat capsuleers, so you hunt miners instead. If you had any dignity you would go fight combat capsuleers and not miners. You better use the time here while you can because soon you won’t be so lucky.”

I am always amazed how many of my customers that expect my profession to be so honorable and just.

“But, sir, you must understand I have no dignity. Only freedom.”

“No, sir, you don't have freedom you are a prisoner to your low mind.”

Ouch. That was a bullseye. I think I heard Sins laughing in the cargo hold.

“Ah. You may have a point there, actually.”

I must admit it. I am a prisoner of my low mind. And I love it.

Epilogue OOC:

The above dialogue has been edited for your reading pleasure, but is as accurate as possible in regards to content and meaning in the original chat logs (and my added roleplay with my mechanic aboard my Astero). A few hours later I received a convo when Fox Todorov warped through a system I had parked in, this is the unedited content of that conversation:

Fox Todorov > hey sorry for beeing rude today when you killed me
Fox Todorov > accept my apoligies
Saftsuze > no worries, it provided me some good content for my blog :D
Fox Todorov > hehehe
Fox Todorov > well happy that i helped you in some way then
Fox Todorov > again sorry for beeing rude i just let emotions get the better of me
Fox Todorov > since that was my last ship left :P
Saftsuze > Totally fine. Thats eve. It is about emotions. The sense of loss.
Fox Todorov > well i hope i find a way to get into a new ship since i'm dont to a 100 isk
Fox Todorov > guess i need to buy a vantrue or smth
Fox Todorov > it was stupid of me to forget to insure that proc

HA! I knew it!

Fox Todorov > did you actually get any money out of killing me ?
Fox Todorov > i'm just curius
Saftsuze > a mill or something
Fox Todorov > hah i'm pathetic :D
Saftsuze > nah, youll get the hang of it
Fox Todorov > sry for loosing your time sir
Fox Todorov > and thanks for beeing a good sprot and killing me it helps me in more ways than it looses me isk
Saftsuze > no waste of time for me, this is my job!
Fox Todorov > i guess you are pritty good at it
Fox Todorov > ^ ^
Saftsuze > Well, Ive been doing it my own way for about four years, so im getting the hang of it, yes :)
Fox Todorov > ah i was just stupid enough to let my guard down
Saftsuze > number one: never fly something you cant replace instantly
Fox Todorov > yeah i know that but i didnt had much choise
Fox Todorov > since i was still learning and all that
Fox Todorov > i dicided a few ice could help me get on my feet again
Fox Todorov > but you came and liberated me off of that dream i guess ^ ^
Saftsuze > well, you just gotta get back up on your feet and follow the number one rule
Saftsuze > get help from your corp
Saftsuze > do stuff together with them
Saftsuze > help each other out
Fox Todorov > will do
Todorov > thanks for sharing wisdom with me
Saftsuze > make sure you know about the risks vs. rewards on your activity - take risks, but with insurance of a backuo
Saftsuze > *bakcup
Fox Todorov > yup i just forgot to insure that ship
Fox Todorov > very stupid move by me
Saftsuze > insurance is good, but a backup ship or five is more important
Fox Todorov > will remember that
Fox Todorov > and pls dont write too bad stuff about me in your blog :P
Saftsuze > Nope. It will be funny. And I'll be nice as well :)
Fox Todorov > funny is great
Fox Todorov > i love self irony so i'll just have a cool story for my corp bros
Saftsuze > dont worry, you'll get the chance to be self ironic, theres some material in the chat logs :)