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.

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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?

Good times, bad times

In the days of my youth, I was told what it means to be a man,
Now I’ve reached that age, I’ve tried to do all those things the best I can.
No matter how I try, I find my way into the same old jam.

Diane, warp to Uuna gate at close range, please”
While I was undocking from the station it felt odd. The shroud of loneliness engulfed me when I realized that I won’t be with my boys for a while. “It’s for the best” was my only way to comfort the splitting pain in the heart. “Warp drive active, Spaxi, you might want to cloak up” She’s quite a lady, Diane. The idea behind this AI was to make sure she’s as accustomed to what we’re going to do. We spent two weeks a while ago in Bosbogger training for this day. She knew exactly what to say, do and look out for and that made her a valuable asset.

After jumping into Uuna, while still cloaked up from the gate use, I spent a bit of time adjusting the controls while Diane was handling the probe scanner. “Three unknown signatures, Spaxi, I’ll begin probing them down for you” She took control of the scanning systems, while I launched probes and initiated warp towards one of my safe spots cloaking up in the meantime. Discretion was the key to this operation – the minute people knew what I’m up to, they’d be suspicious. Spaxi, I have probed down two data sites and one relic site. They seem to be of Gurista origin”

It was time for me to take control of everything. Manual style. Old school. First things first – setting up TACs. For me, TACs are spots which are more than 150 km away from the derelict cans inside the sites. Making a TAC meant warping to the site at 100 km, warping back to the place you came from, then warping back to the 100 km mark at additional 100 km, which should always place me at least 150 km away from any can. That being said, I caught prey even without making a TAC.

The first data site I warped to was a very small one; all of the cans were very close to the signal origin, so warping to it at 0 km would mean that you’d land next to them. Warping to 10 km seemed like a good idea, especially since I noticed previously on D-scan a Magnate-type and an Astero-type hull with additional 8 core scanner probe Is and 8 sisters’ core scanner probes in space.

In retrospect, warping to 10 km to the first data site was a wonderful idea. Luckily enough, after exiting the warp I was located 5 km away from the Magnate-type hull who was already trying to hack the can next to him. “Diane, be ready to lock him up as soon as you can, please” The prey was completely unaware of what was about to happen to him, and as I hit approach the pieces were already in place. As soon as the distance between the two of us was under 2500 m, my ship decloaked automatically and I turned the propulsion module, the brand new, shiny Gistii A-Type 1 MN afterburner, and slammed my ship into his, which sent him spiraling around, unable to punch the warp because he couldn’t align. Diane followed through with a lock up, and he was scrammed with 5 points, ensuring he couldn’t get away even if he wanted. Hobgoblin IIs took flight from the drone bay, and shredded his ship first, and then the wreck of the ship. We didn’t want any evidence left. The loot he dropped wasn’t all that much, but it was a good start of the day. “Diane, cloak up, and warp us off to the safe spot” It was necessary to clear the grid as soon as possible, so I could continue making TACs.

It would seem that it was completely worth the effort of making these TACs, because very soon after the previous catch, the Astero-type hull was located by Diane who was constantly D-scanning towards the TACs we made which meant that as soon as a ship would decloak inside one of the spots, we would locate him and the chase would be on. This one was inside a relic site, one of the profitable sites in Low-security space.

When I warped to the relic site TAC, the Astero was buzzing around, probably using Cargo scanner module to determine what was inside the cans. At one time, he approached a can and on my overview I could see that he has begun hacking the node. Diane already knew what to do, and I didn’t need to tell her again. It didn’t take long for me to align the ship towards the can and warp us to 10 km. Why 10 km, you might ask – that’s because I noticed he was orbiting, not sitting still, so I wanted to intercept his orbit while approaching him. Needless to say, that didn’t work out well. Approach – decloak and try to bump, “Fuck!” I exclaimed, as while Diane was waiting for the ship’s targeting systems to re-calibrate after decloaking, the target cloaked up and I thought he was long gone. In an effort to fool him, I aligned the ship to a gate and stayed visible so that he can see me warping off. However, all is well when it ends well – this got me inside 2500 km from him and he decloaked. Diane reacted immediately, I fucking love her, I swear to God, and locked him up while putting the sweet, sweet 5 points of warp disruption on his warp core. I laid down a stasis web on his propulsion, but he launched Warrior II-type drones to try and shake me off, but to no avail. Remember those 2 Centii A-Type small armor repairers? Yup. Hobgoblin IIs made short work of him, as he didn’t tank the Astero and another wreck was in front of my eyes, full of delicious, delicious modules and salvage to pillage. “Damn it, the Sisters’ core probe launcher got destroyed” was a cry of frustration when I realized that a 50M ISK module got lost in the space dust. “We’ll get it next time, Spaxi” Diane comforted me, as we destroyed the wreck and went on to a safe spot to count or spoils of combat.

Just as I thought that we’re done with this system, I noticed a familiar name in system – Boji PissAll“I know this guy… that’s Oma Lorche’s scanning accomplice!” An evil grin, one I never had I think followed through those thoughts, and Diane made me as happy as a child when given candy, when she reported a Helios-type hull on D-scan at the same relic spot the Astero lost his composure. The hunt that followed was as easy as destroying a Stay Frosty combat frigate. The routine followed – warp to TAC; wait for him to start hacking the can; warp to can; decloak, lock up, scram, web and launch drones (or as I like to say – unzip and let rip!). This relic site had yielded another wreck and I felt like I haven’t in a long time. It wasn’t the adrenaline rush of fighting outnumbered or outgunned, it wasn’t the feeling of superiority over another capsuleer. It was like… building a desk. You do some planning, you get your tools ready and get to work. After it’s built, you take a look at it and you feel… proud. I felt proud. Being a pirate took a whole new meaning, and for once in a while, I was fulfilled.

Babe I’m gonna leave you

Babe, baby, baby, I’m Gonna Leave You.
I said baby, you know I’m gonna leave you.
I’ll leave you in the summertime,
Leave you when the summer comes a-rollin’
Leave you when the summer comes along.

Thrill of the hunt is one of the feelings I have gone and forgotten in the past days. I often find myself sitting at the Bastards’ lounge, sipping whiskey and listening to some Led Zeppelin instead of going out and being there. For the past year, I’ve spent my time learning every nut and cranny of frigate-size hulls, adapting myself to new environment I found myself in. To be quite honest, I completely stopped remembering my past life. A flash back into the war-torn planets during sleep is all I get. The carnage is burnt deeply inside me, and I can’t let go.

The immortality we were given has it’s down sides. At first, every moment I spent taking Mary and Laura out for a spin was well spent; now, not so much. I haven’t properly introduced you to Rose, my Federation navy Comet’s ship computer, but she’s kept me company past few weeks. At least when my wife, Mrs Spaxina is away on Jita business trips. Man, she’s a catch. Quite recently she picked up on flying transport ships which can cloak up and she’s been a doll helping me move the loot I pillaged during the month.

As I was sipping the last drop from the dirt-etched glass at the lousy Chief executive pub, I realized what’s been missing from my life – thrill. But not any kind of the thrill; the one you get blasting some hard rock music while stalking a prey, hoping that he’s not suspecting anything and when he’s least hoping, you pounce – and make him pay for dropping his guard. All the fights I had were pretty straightforward – the way Rose was setup made her pretty hard to take out in a 1v1 fight, which I always hope to achieve. Then it hit me. Smashing the glass on the floor was the way for me to shout out Eureka! to the entire bar, as I left it to prepare for something that I should’ve done a long time ago.

After contacting Spaxina via coms and having her come to Chief station, I set out to my hangar to revise on all the ships and modules I have with me right now. Without much consideration, after blowing up last Rose, I moved all of the modules I had to a single container and passed the over to Spaxina, who was coming in hot with some new goodies. A passionate kiss which was ended abruptly when she asked me if I have the ISK and the goods was as sweet as it could be. I still get a boner thinking about it. When I replied that I’d like to get my shipment as well, she smirked and revealed what was behind her.

A brand new Astero-type hull, just recently manufactured and a cargo container right next to it. Sweet, I thought to myself and proceeded to open it up. My eyes glared as the modules inside revealed themselves. A Sisters’ core probe launcher, fully loaded with 8 Sisters’ core scanning probes; one Gistii-1MN afterburner, a Khanid Navy warp scrambler and two sweet, sweet Corpii A-Type small armor repairers. The feeling was glorious. Never have I spent that much ISK on a single ship and I felt no regret. Spaxina had to run back to Jita and sell all of the modules I had her take, and I was off on my own to play with my new toys. A couple of hours after, Diane was all fit up and tweaked around. It was time to set out on my goal – a nomadic life-style, with no boundaries. It was time to explore the entirety of New Eden with Diane, but not in a way you think. It was time to stalk and prey on those who expect it the least – the explorers!

Ishomilken choir

Bloody hell, it’s been long since I’ve put pen to the paper and wrote anything in my diary. I guess I’m the old-school type – the development of technology almost put paper out of use, but it’s something that lasts. Not forever, per say, but it’s real, more than anything else that’s digital.

Ever since I got my QUORN tag stripped and promoted to BSTRD, stuff has been happening at a faster pace than usual. Our new CEO, codename Nashh Kadavr, has had some ideas about taking a holiday that we all gladly agreed upon in the ‘corporation’ meeting. It was up to me and my fellow Known Associate to scout the area out, and after we did, the Bastards moved in for a vacation in Ishomilken.

During our regular ‘patrol duty’ we were waiting for our scout (who was Nashh, best scout ever) to report about system next door, Uuna. Ships were orbiting the Uuna gate while a QUORN, codenamed Derothar transmitted over comms that his ship computer had spotted a named ship in space, hull-type Retriever – a mining barge. I was chilling with Mary doing the routine stuff, but once we got that little snippet of information, I employed Mary to do a full detailed D-Scanner search and she did. The named Retriever’s direction was known and he was either at a station or in an asteroid belt near it. Feeling lucky, I took the ship command in,switched to manual piloting and warped to the asteroid belt.

The unsuspecting mining barge appeared right next to my ship as I landed out of warp, during which I pre-overheated the mid slots so I can make sure the tackle lands as soon as possible. Not more than a second later, the Retriever-type hull was pointed and webbed, while I relayed information about it over comms. As soon as possible, Known Associate and Derothar landed right next to me and assisted by providing additional points and webs. Realizing what a perfect opportunity this was, I told them to use EWAR only and no DPS while I was slowly taking away the thickness of his armour. CEO Nashh landed, and a direct link was established with the poor soul.

Sadly, my link to the communications array was malfunctioning, so it was up to someone else to negotiate the terms with the caught capsuleer. We established that he belongs to a rival pirate corporation called ‘Stay Frosty’ and suggested that he should sing a song for us, in order to save his ship to what he almost instantly agreed. Seems like we’re starting a choir section in this area! I thought and giggled, however, what happened next blew us off completely. It turned out this capsuleer was a professional New Eden singer and he was more than happy to let us hear his majestic voice. Boy, was it majestic. The Bastards in fleet were overwhelmed by epicness of his singing abilities and decided to let him in on some ISK. Some pirates we are, giving other people ISK. Be honest, you want to give him ISK as well. Go and do it. Now.

Audio transmition recording: https://soundcloud.com/knownassociate/kedrick-ransom