In my time as a capsuleer, I have noticed that there are a number of writings about the adventures of the pilots of New Eden. Through the mist of back and forth bantering about nulsec politics, module changes, new ships, the incompetence of the CSM and the unfairness of the tactics of “blobbing” there are stories of capsuleers out there that gleam bright and true and clear as day in this endless night sky. These stories are the ones that inspire.
Usually, these stories include kills that show daring, tenacity, heroic tackles and wonderous escapes. Inspired by such tales, I figured it was time that I wrote a tale of my own. My tale, however, is different – it starts with this – a lossmail.
I did not kill anyone. I did not escape. There was no honour involved, no daring or heroics. I died a horrible death, alone in the vast emptiness of unknown space…
But let me start at the beginning. For almost a year I have been a member of Mise en Abyme. Despite M-E-A’s requirement that I actively engage in PvP combat, I have refused. It is not that I am afraid, but rather, that I prefer the quiet life of hauler, trader and manufacturer. To maintain my status as a member, I have had to bribed Xi ‘xar with free ships, isk and, on occasion… other things. However, the freedom from regulation, 0% tax rate and other benefits have made up for such necessary bribery and, on occasion, unnecessary indiscretions.
Fantasies aside, let me say this: I am no PvP pilot. I am, quite simply, a carebear. So why am I in M-E-A? Well, I have friends in M-E-A. Friends who are tenacious, daring, reckless and simply, fun to be around. Perhaps I have remained a member merely in order to live vicariously through them. Who knows? Perhaps I do not belong in M-E-A?
But let me begin the story…
A short time ago, Mise en Abyme moved into C3 wormhole with a static low security exit. A large Caldari “dickstar” Tower was donated to the corp and set up by erstwhile member, Horace Weatherspoon. The Tower was fueled and ready.
Now let me just explain something… Mise en Abyme has never been the type of corporation that has a home base. We move around. A lot.
Why Xi ‘xar insists on these movements is, mainly, unknown. Perhaps he grows sick of seeing the same pilots in space around him. Perhaps he seeks betterment through an ever increasing knowledge of surrounding regions and the combative opportunities that such regions have on offer. Perhaps he is on a quest to make central bookmark safespots in every lowsec system in New Eden. Perhaps in his eyes the stars on the other side of the gate are always brighter. Who know? Whatever the reasons, we have followed him on his mad campaigns, through thick and thin, to Metropolis, Sing Liason, Placid and Kor-Azor… and by damn we were going to follow him into this wormhole. M-E-A moved in and declared the Tower “home”.
Xi ‘xar wrote: “Consider the wormhole and the tower located within it as a roaming platform that allows everyone in corp to explore ever-changing lowsec space. Because the static lowsec exit changes reasonably frequently we have at our disposal an ever-changing landscape to explore. Remember when you read the M-E-A recruitment post and it said we were nomadic? Well now we are.”
At first, wormhole life was quiet and filled with logistical nightmares. Members had to move ships into the wormhole and the Tower needed fueling. Members, in a break from their usually combat heavy activities, even began to shoot sleepers and reap the benefits of having isk on tap. But soon, all hell broke loose… the results were wonderful: silence. The echoes of our voices travelling on through space, reaching every solar system, every star and every planet. We were emptiness and blackness: Mise en Abyme – the mirror upon mirror, word within a word, the infinite, the hollow, the Abyss. We had disappeared… but that did not mean we were not “here”. We were simply “everywhere”.
But, almost as suddenly as this vicious campaign began, it was over… the Tower, despite being fully fuelled and stacked to breaking point with ECM and resistance arrays, was to be taken down. Our Wormhole campaign, by reason of the following, was over: “If you are looking for a corp wherein your CEO is willing to partake in administrative tasks, or where you expect the CEO to delegate boring tasks to people and ruin their life, please find another corp. The wormhole simply isn’t M-E-A. It never has been. It never will be. It was a fun experiment. To be perfectly clear, you (and I) should be shooting people in the fucking face, not fucking around with a Tower. Now let’s move on.”
You have to give it to him… Xi does have a way with words.
So we moved. In a flurry of excitement, ships flew out of newly found high and lowsec exits. Everyone was tuned in and happy, getting all this rubbish out of this rubbish wormhole and back to Sing Liason… an old hunting ground and haunt which, according to the majority of ye olde M-E-A pilots, catered for the Corp’s “Golden Era“.
So it went until only Aeron and I remained. Xi ‘xar, Volstruis and all the others had fled the scene of their crimes, taking their ships with them and refusing to partake in any further administrative tasks. Aeron, loaded up with fuel blocks, strontium and bits and pieces of remaining ships, gave me a wave as he left through the static and began the arduous task of transferring the goods to a highsec trade hub while I began the arduous task of waiting for the tower to unanchor.
So there I sat, in a mostly empty Mammoth, bored out of my skull, with no hope of payment for time spent, wondering how to pass the time, wondering if M-E-A was a corp that I belonged in. There I sat. Staring into the Abyss. Waiting for it to stare into me.
And it did.
Something clicks in my mind… Holy Shit Astraea, something is on D-scan! Wake up! WAKE UP!!! I am forced out of my meditative slumber by a helios and something else with “Navy Issue” in its name. Not good. Not good at all!
I begin to align, completely forgetting about my cloak, mistakenly hitting my microwarpdrive and starting to sweat. The helios lands. Seconds later, the Augoror Navy Issue slips onto grid. He’s within 5km of me and I’m in big big trouble. I try to overheat, but remember that I don’t know how…
Dammit! He has me scrambled. My MWD shuts down and I slow boat away from the Tower. Beam lasers begin stripping away my shields. I’m almost into armour when I rip open my console and access the wormhole local channel.
Astraea Ala > “What? No ransom offer?”
Prinzessin Leia > would you pay?
I consider this quite carefully. Should I plead for my life and the safe return of the tower? Surely doing so would be better for M-E-A as a whole? But my negotiation skills fail me – simply put, my aggressors are in the perfect position and I am in the worst position: They have – Highsec access, a mammoth tackled, guns and an unanchoring tower on grid. I have – Absofuckinglutelynothing.
How do you negotiate in such a position?
You don’t negotiate… you plead for a quick and painless death. But suddenly, I realise that I don’t want the tower… what I want is for my attackers to lose the tower… and that is not a matter for negotiation. As I have set out above, the tower was, in effect, already theirs. Now was the time to prove my worth.
Slowly, careful not to bring this to the attention of my attackers, I turn the Mammoth around and start heading back towards the tower. With my MWD shut down and my mammoth moving at ~50m/s I’m going to have to be entertaining for at least 14 minutes…
Astraea Ala > Possibly. Depends on the offer. I would very much like to get this tower out of here… and 14 minutes to negotiate isn’t bad.
Prinzessin Leia > 250 and we give you direct highsec outgoing
Astraea Ala > I’m thinking about it. Oh, and no, I don’t have backup coming. Does that offer include me taking the pos with me?
Prinzessin Leia > If you want to. Take whatever you want.
Time passes. Surprisingly, there is very little shooting going on at this stage. I’m slowly making my way back towards the Tower.
Prinzessin Leia > So come on yes or no?
Astraea Ala > Well, here is the thing. I’m very attached to that tower, but in general, I’m anti ransoms. In addition, there really is no guarantee that you won’t just blow me up anyway. Do you have any kind of record of honouring ransoms?
Prinzessin Leia > Take it with you. it´s your decision. If we kill you now your tower is lost. Just say yes or no. Now. If we kill you later your pos is also gone.
Astraea Ala > but I would be 250mil less rich
Prinzessin Leia > Okay 200m. last word yes or no. NOW
Astraea Ala > I think 100 mil is a better offer
Prinzessin Leia > Nope. POS is worth too much. Just say yes or no. NOW.
Astraea Ala > Well, its free for you
By this stage, I have managed to work myself into a better position. How? By not giving a damn. I don’t care if I lose my ship. I don’t care if I lose the tower (It was free anyway (thanks Horace)). On the other hand, Prizessin Leia is becoming desperate. She has begun issuing ultimatums and, at the same time, dropping her price. She wants that tower, she wants the kill and she wants the ransom…
And then comes the edge I have been searching for…
Prinzessin Leia > Come on I promise we wont kill you.
They are desperate enough to let me pull off my plan.
Prinzessin Leia > 200m.
Astraea Ala > I still think 100 is a better offer. That is 50 for each of you… and the anathema doesn’t even need to whore the mail to feel good.
Prinzessin Leia > 200m.
Astraea Ala > there are some wonderful sites in this wormhole too – it’s a good deal!
Prinzessin Leia > Nope we don’t want this WH.
Astraea Ala > You could sell it.
Prinzessin Leia > Nope.
Astraea Ala > 500mil easy for this w/h.
Prinzessin Leia > We dont want this crap wh.
Prinzessin Leia > 200m go
Astraea Ala > It has a lowsec static. I’m telling you, you could get a damn good price for that.
Prinzessin Leia > I don’t need your wormhole! Just give us 200m and you can go!
Astraea Ala > ok ok
Prinzessin Leia > 200m and we go away
Astraea Ala > Jeez, you drive a hard bargain. What about 150?
Prinzessin Leia > Nope 200m
Prinzessin Leia > NOW
Astraea Ala > The Tower is worth about 290
They start shooting the hell out of me. My shields are gone and I’m dipping deep into hull.
Astraea Ala > Ok ok!
Astraea Ala > Who should I pay?
Prinzessin Leia > Me
Astraea Ala > So 200mil and I get free access to highsec and the tower?
Prinzessin Leia > 200m and we just go away
I decide to take a last chance as I get within 3 km of the tower… I need ten more seconds.
Astraea Ala > I think I’ll take my chances.
The shock takes about 5 seconds to register in their minds.
Prinzessin Leia > then just die!
My recharged shields dissapear. My armour is stripped and my hull begins to leak frozen emptyness….The tower unanchors moments before I scoop it!
Astraea Ala > Lets see… maybe it drops!
Prinzessin Leia > Not dropped
My pod whooshes away from the scene of the battle. It is true, I died. I lost my ship. But I did so with style, attitude and aplomb, mocking my aggressors all the while. Considering that in the end, I lost no more than a few isk and my attackers lost a 250 million isk asset, I have realised that yes, I do belong in M-E-A.