A Carebear’s Tale (Guest Post by Astraea Ala)

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.

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Eyebleed: 29/04/YC113

Xi ‘xar, M-E-A CEO and Cheesecake Fanatic was late.

This did not however prevent our regular Eyebleed Roam from kicking off somewhat early with Volstruis, Sarah and Number 258 crushing an Ishkur that had foolishly entered Ravarin. The M-E-A fleet had already formed and was being led by Volstruis. Whilst waiting for Xi to finish his cheesecake, Jack (famed soloist) pointed a Vengeance in his Jaguar and called for backup. Backup was provided by Talitha and Volstruis with Xi ‘xar, his mouth still full, warping in late and whoring 8% damage on the killmail.

With the formalities and a couple kills out of the way, the fleet was ready to roll. Xi, despite having being appointed (against protests) as FC managed to rally the fleet at a safespot near the Ravarin DED. Suddenly a pilgrim popped up on everyone’s onboard scanners… for some reason, he had warped to the DED at 0 and had decloaked. The M-E-A frigate fleet warped in, pointed the pilgrim and despite heavy neuting and an overwhelming number of drones, scored a spectacular kill. Our thanks go out to Ravin Abai for the fight.  M-E-A is further pleased to report that Ravin joined the Ranks of M-E-A the following day.

Xi, finally finished eating, thereafter led the 6 man frigate fleet to Kourmonen, a popular low security system located a few jumps from Amamake. Although Kourmonen initially appeared quiet, Xzar Fyrarr’s jaguar soon appeared on scan. Xzar gave the M-E-A fleet the run around for a while, but was finally cornered and destroyed.

Activity in Kourmonen soon picked up with a multitude of frigate pilots passing through the system. Considering such, it was decided that the fleet would remain in Kourmonen. Soon enough, two merlins were spotted. Jack and Xi gave chase. Jack, all the while complaining about a lack of teamwork, tore his way through one of the merlins, whilst Xi, Sarah, Tal and Victor finished off the other.

The M-E-A fleet again spread out across the system. Xi deciding to take a short break warped his Jaguar back to the sun at 0. Suddenly, an Ares landed next to him. Xi pointed it, lost point, regained point and, together with Tal and Victor, sent the unfortunate pilot back home in his pod.

Vol, having lost (and having reshipped) his taranis shortly prior, spotted an arbitrator and a vexor jumping into Kourmonen. The pair of ships, clearly looking for a fight, warped to the sun. The M-E-A fleet obliged by destroying the Vexor and, despite a few losses,  finishing off both the the roam and the Arbitrator.

In other news, we are pleased to announce that Jack Tygra has been awarded an Exemplar medal for his excellent solo work in Ravarin.

How to increase your killboard efficiency (which we still don’t care about)

Xi, Amber, Joslin and Jack had been searching for some time for someone to kill. As usual, the low security space surrounding Hek had been filled with Battlecruiser gangs. There were simply no targets to be had. Volstruis had alreadly lost a blackbird and Joslin a griffin. The roam was not looking good. The ECM backbone of our fleet had been broken and we were wandering aimlessly.

We jumped into Dal. There were a good few in local, but nothing on scan. Xi gave the command for the fleet to either safe up and start scanning or to jump from celestial to celestial, looking for targets.

Suddenly, the call came in that a Gila appeared to be ratting at a belt. Xi, piloting a stabber, warped in at 20 and spotted jack landing even closer to the Gila. For a few seconds, the fleet debated the possibility of killing the Gila. With its famous tank and so many in local it was either bait or would be nigh impossible to kill.

Suddenly, Jack’s rifter shot towards the Gila and tackled. Xi, keeping outside of 15 km, pointed and began blasting the Gila with his 220mm Autocannons. The remainder of the fleet warped in. Amber’s vexor launched drones and Joslin opened fire.The debate was over.

Soon enough, Jack’s rifter was torn apart and jack warped his pod to safety. Amber’s vexor followed suit. Jos was neuted and warped out. Xi, pulsing his MWD, managed to maintain range and point, but was losing cap fast. The Gila pilot turned his attention to Xi and began neuting. Xi pulsed out of range. The Gila pulsed back into range and neuted, Xi, pulsed out. Suddently, the Gila launched ECM drones…

It appeared that all was lost. However, as Xi lost point and the Gila began aligning to a safe spot, Joslin warped back in and tackled the Gila. The Gila turned its attention to Jos. Xi, now some distance away, locked the Gila up again overheating his warp disruptor and weapons for the final moments of the fight. A few moments later, the Gila Pilot clearly confused and unable to maintain proper range, found himself in his pod.

Our thanks to the brave Gila pilot.

New Pilots can fight.

MEA has an active policy of enouraging new capsuleers to get out there and pick a fight. Why? Because we are sick of hearing about how newbie pilots cannot make a difference in New Eden.

They might well die, but new capsuleers can fight and have a heck of a lot of fun doing so. Just because you have been told that there is no chance you can win a solo fight without T2 guns and tank (this, unfortunately, mainly due to the general skill level of people partaking in pvp, is likely to be true) there is no reason why you cannot try. Get a couple of friends together and you might even win a fight now and then. In addition, you will quickly learn what it takes to win, how to pick targets and how to minimise losses.  You will learn to pvp  by experimenting and dying, not by sitting in high sec training up for a vagabond.

The following is an extract from an evemail recieved by one of our operatives, who persuaded a new pilot to go pick a fight in Rancer:

So I ninja looted about 2 mil in Rancer near the gates. Sweet.

When I logged back on later, there was a pirate gang camping the gate who told me to pay to pass. I told them I would try to run their blockade and I actually made it though and warped off on the other side. This RaWCT guy was cool so I told him I’ll try again. On my jump back into Rancer he got me. Afterward he called me a good sport and gave me 1mil isk.

So thanks again. That was fun!

The relevant killmail indicates that the newbie pilot, flying in a cheap T1 Rifter, was killed by a -10 sec status pirate using a Tengu, accompanied by a Broadsword. Our brave newbie probably lost approximatley 300 000 isk in the fight. In accordance with the evemail sent to our operative, he gained approximately 3 million isk (10x the cost of his loss).

Well done to Adrian Mal’Doran for fighting the good fight, having fun and even making a profit in the process.

Dameon Diablo – Mise en Abyme applaudes you.

One of our associates reports that during routine operations, she encountered and was pleasantly surprised by a new pod pilot by the name of Dameon Diablo.

Dameon Diablo was contacted by our associate (let’s just call her TX for short) as a part of an ongoing operation by Mise en Abyme which aims to encourage PvP combat amongst rookie pilots (M-E-A actively engages in such activities in order to promote certain aspects of its agenda).

Following the initiation of discussions by TX, Dameon began to show distinct signs of the paranoia which comes with being a pod pilot. TX began discussions regarding PvP, only to be met by responses by Dameon to the effect that he had serious suspicions regarding TX’s motives. None of this was unusual.

However, following some persuasion, TX suggested that Dameon fly into low security space for the sole purpose of gaining combat experience, even if such meant being killed.

Dameon, in a surprise move, accepted the challenge. TX was even more surprised to see Dameon undock in a fitted rifter and start heading to Otou. TX quickly fitted and undocked a rifter in order to encourage the courage that Dameon had shown thus far.

The pair flew through Otou (where no-one responded to TX’s call for a fight), Mirotem and finally, into Rancer, a system famous for its pirate activities.

TX and Dameon both lost their ships in Rancer to an EVE-UNI pilot. Although the loss of a ship can hardly be seen as heroic, the simple and yet profound act of a three day old pod pilot fleeting up with an unknown person, flying into lowsec and getting killed, is heroic.

We applaud you Dameon. Keep up the good work. We sincerely hope that others will follow in your footsteps.