The lemon song

I should have quit you, long time ago.
I wouldn’t be here, my children, down on this killing floor.
I should have listened, baby, to my second mind.
Every time I go away and leave you, darling, you send me the blues way down the line.

Being back in Ishomilken has had it’s ups and it’s downs. The war we have jokingly created with A Band Apart was nothing to be thrilled about; the war is still running, but a lot of enemy pilots have had their stomachs hurting and retreated into the safe harbors, whether in null-sec space or in unknown space. Only Stay Frosty is around, and we’ve been having a couple of tosses each and every way – for every frigate we lose, they lose something as well; as fights should be. Being on the winning side for too long can prove to be very boring, and sometimes when you do lose it will hurt you a lot more than it would hurt someone who’s not as used to winning.

Such a person is myself. Having flown Laura for so long must have wind me up and make me rethink my career choice (I laugh at myself for calling piracy a career) as I have found myself spinning ships and just undocking a losing everything I possibly have in the hangars. The Bastards lounge has been empty for a bit, people being away doing their own thing. Hell, I even had to pour the Scotch myself because Serj Reaper was away for a holiday in the tropical regions in the other side of the galaxy. Things have been stale, so I found a way to entertain me – I started watching records of capsuleer combats and a few videos caught my attention, especially two from the same person – a Stabber- and a Slicer-class hulls.

You see, so far in my piracy you wouldn’t see many ships which preferred kiting as a combat style. Sure, Laura could be fit with a ‘long point’ and those 150 mm rails would hurt as long as I could keep my guns on target but that just wasn’t it… it still felt like scram kiting combat style. After seeing the videos, I moved myself to my favorite thinking spot – the Bastards’ bar.

“Same as usual, Spax?” is the question I always get when I enter. I swear to God I need to start drinking something else. I’m more unpredictable in my hull and fitting choices than in the beverages I indulge.
“No ice this time, Jinx, please.” an odd name our bartender had. It sounded very, very familiar but I just couldn’t place it. As he was pouring my favorite brand, Known Associate, now one of the directors of the Bastards, marched in and made his way to the seat next to time. With a wink and a hidden hand gesture I showed Jinx to bring Known an appletini – a martini made with apple juice.

“Drinking? Again, Spax? I have to admit I am disappointed” he tossed a bait which I gladly took and shrugged off with a very short comeback.
“Not as disappointed as I was when you missed Rixx‘s woman’s, Oma, pod the other night.” I could have said a simple “your mom” but I needed something that cuts deeper. Jinx had delivered his appletini which Known gulped down in a single stroke.
“You ought to be more careful with such hard drinks, you might not end well.” I said while smirking so he can know that the joke is on me this time.

“Are you going to tell me what’s wrong, or should I try guessing. You miss Evati, don’t you?” straight down and up to the point, that’s the kind of man he was. Believe it or not, he hit 100 points.
“Look, Spax, I’m your friend so let me tell you this” he paused to signal Jinx to bring me another double-shot as I was finishing mine ever so increasingly in speed. “At the end of the day, we’re pirates. That means we do what the hell we want to, and if you feel like you’re empty on the inside” he paused again to make sure I understood him, which I did only so well. “You should go and do something you haven’t done already. In case you haven’t noticed, the videos you saw were re-runs, which means someone broadcast them for you. Who do you think was it?” with that line, everything made sense. I strongly feel like there’s nothing this man doesn’t know about me.

“I can’t fly neither the Slicer, nor the Stabber. What kind of a sick joke is it you’re having?” I was trying to keep it cool and lay off the fact he knows me so damn well, but I couldn’t. His reply hit the wire.
“Don’t give me that bullshit, I have been looking over your losses and your kills ever since I joined the Bastards.” before finishing what he had to say, he grabbed the glass, more like snatched it from me, and shot down the double Scotch into his throat. You could see his eyes were burning, but that didn’t stop him from leaving a final word before he stood up.

“I bet a certain Pamela would be more than happy to see you, Spax, go have fun!” the door he left through were shut, but his words remained. After paying Jinx off, I went to the Medical bay and ordered a ticket to Evati.

Advertisements

I can’t quit you babe

I can’t quit you babe
Woman I think I’m gonna put you down for a little while
I can’t quit you babe
I… think I’m gonna put you down for a while
I said you messed up my happy home
Made me mistreat my only child

The last couple of days have been a bit mind changing to me. At first, the pimped out Diane seemed like she would be perfect for the job at hand, but even then it wasn’t quite enough. Some modifications were necessary. I noticed this first when I started looking at the ship-wreck analysis that was coming up after each and every explorer that lost his life to the dreaded Hobgoblins II, The fits people used for exploration were very streamlined – high slots would be filled with a Covert ops cloaking device and a Sisters’ core probe scanning arrays; mid slots were stuffed with a propulsion module, in most cases it would be a 1 MN Microwarp drive, then some Relic and Data analyzers and the rest would be Scanning upgrades; low slots usually had Warp core stabilizers, but some were feeling brave and just had their Cargohold expanders or Nanofiber structures.

How does this affect Diane, you might wonder? Well, I haven’t written down the way she was fit yet, but I might as well. The only things that were changed were the mid and low slots. There isn’t any way to go in the high slots, really, it would just be a Covert ops cloaking device and a Sisters’ core probe launcher. However, while I was still thinking about the process, I decided that I’d like Diane to be sneaky, tanky and pointy! For her mid slots, I opted for a Gistii A-type 1 MN Afterburner, a Khaanid Navy warp scrambler and two Fleeting propulsion inhibitors, just to make sure they don’t get away. The low slots were tanked up with a pair of Corpii A-Type small armor repairers, an Energized adaptive membrane and a Damage control. Some in-depth riggings included a Small anti-explosive pump and two tech 2 Small semiconductor memory cells. That made Diane able to tank 300 DPS for a minute, or tank 120 DPS indefinitely.

One of the first explorers I caught made me realize what needs to be changed as soon as possible. Even though he didn’t manage to warp off, he had three Warp core stabilizers which my Khaanid Navy warp scrambler couldn’t shut down completely. The first change made had to be more scrambling strength, and I decided to sacrifice one of the webs for it, thus the version 2 was fitted with a Khaanid Navy warp scrambler and a tech 2 warp scrambler as well, ensuring that any ship with Warp core strength under 5 would be locked down and immobilized. Remaining web was there just as insurance, so that they most definitely can’t get off.

Even though I did manage to stalk, hunt down and terminate a number of exploration frigates, a few have eluded me as well. Most of it was my fault, but then again, you have those which are very, very careful and as soon as you decloak, they would just warp off. This is possible because it takes 3 seconds for Diane to re-calibrate sensors, then another 3 seconds for her to lock a frigate down. Those 6 seconds can many a times be too long, and a couple of very keen explorers have proven that more than once. In order to cut down the time it takes Diane to lock them down, I’ve decided to swap the last web for a tech 2 Sensor booster module, loaded with Scan resolution scrips. That enabled her to lock them down in 1.5s, which is a significant cut from 3s. Sometimes, it can mean the world.

The final modification was after I realized that these explorers are… well, defenseless. There was absolutely no need for the Astero-type hull to tank almost 300 DPS when the ships it’s designed to catch do exactly 0 DPS. However, what I wanted was to lower the time required to stay uncloaked (essentially while destroying their ships), so I did some more tweaking and removed one of the Corpii A-Type small armor repairers (which are totally awesome, by the way!) and the Energized adaptive membrane, replacing both with two tech 2 Drone damage amplifiers, which increased the damage Hobgoblins II did by a whooping 50%.

So here I am now, sitting with a completely modified Diane, ready to find some more prey and show them how rude low-sec can be. It’s my job as a pirate, is it not?

Awakening

 They say that when humans first stepped into Heaven they sprouted wings and became angels. Immortal. I disagree. We attached wings to ourselves, stormed the gates of Heaven and snatched the immortality from our Maker. Yes, such demeanor suits us better.

The Gallente Federation was supposed to be a Utopia, last place in known Universe where citizens have full freedom. A democracy. I soon learned of its false pretenses. During my military service I fought. I fought every day. Planets were being turned, mountains crushed. There was nothing standing in our way, not even the mighty Caldari State. I was sure we were doing it for the better future. I’ve been told we were doing it for the better future. I’ve been told the same thing every morning, every meal, every training, every time I went to take a crap.

Maker, it was so long ago. I no longer remember where. My brothers and I were at our posts, firing blasters in every direction. We were invading a planet which has no name, only a number. Heh, everything became a number. It’s funny how no longer we give ourselves the freedom to name things we discover. Planet I, planet II, Asteroid belt I, Asteroid belt CXCIX. We were holding hostages. Amarr men, women and children. Our commanding officer was in a meeting, during which there was a cease-fire. We agreed to turn over the hostages, but not to surrender. There was no way out.

I was clueless. We all were. All eight posts were handed at least fifteen hostages to turn over. It all happened so fast. The children ran towards the Caldari military. As soon as they reached the main bulk of the force, blinding rays of light emerged from all sides. The poor people were strapped with thermonuclear devices, and obliterated. There we were, a nation which held to their principles so much. I realized we weren’t fighting for others. We were enforcing democracy. I use to joke now – we were out there, shooting at our enemies, spreading at least 1000 DPS (Democracies per second) on every planet we knew was contested.

My unit got promoted. We were put into special task force and forced into capsuleer training. It turned out we all had the genetic predisposition to be pilots. Wow, a pilot – I often thought. Only the top military can get there. One in a million, they said. That one in a million was me. The others… well, the odds were against them, I guess. During our training we weren’t reading books. We weren’t listening to lectures. We were being force-fed knowledge through neural links. Man, when I think about the headaches. Doing pushups in 50G environment was nothing compared to the pain from data uploads. But I got used to it. We had a new propaganda. We were being told that all our future actions will echo through the universe, and as butterfly wing flaps create small gusts of wind which can grow into a tornado, our actions will ripple and spread.

My fellows, my… brothers, eventually went mad. A couple of them went berserk and attacked our CO. It didn’t look well. As the training progressed, I was getting better and better. My spaceship command, which was trained on the SCS (Spaceship command simulator), was superb. The Gallente Federation has trained me well. It was time. I was bonded with a contract. Medical facilities now produce clones of me. I couldn’t even grasp the complexity of technology used, but I didn’t even try.

Our training regiment’s CO invited me over for a talk. It was a cold and dry day, if I recall correctly. It didn’t smell right. This part of my life is still blurry. I was told that there was one final test. ‘Maker, this is it’ – I thought. The CO told me my previous life is now gone. I am no longer Nemanja Djordjevic, from now on I have no name. No past. My codename is ‘Mr Spaxi’. As words left his mouth and entered my ears, he flung a pistol and shot me directly. I felt no pain, only… shattering. It was like my mind dissolved into the universe and converged again in a single point.

I woke up in a pod. My chrysalis was breaking. A butterfly was set free, and man, was I going to flap my wings!