YC 122 New Eden Capsuleer’s Writing Contest

A lot of things have happened since 25 March that I would like to write about but instead I decided to focus on my first ever fiction story. You see, there is an annual Capsuleer’s Writing Contest which I’ve been following for a few years. There were fascinating stories that I enjoyed reading and eventually I thought that I would like to write one myself. It took me two years to gather courage, find time and run out of excuses. Finally, my submission for YC 122 New Eden Capsuleer’s Writing Contest is ready. The story is called The Lesser of Evils. Wish me luck.

An Invisible Enemy

Crumbling Sansha Antiquated Outpost in Jarizza
Derelik Region – Oraron Constellation
Jarizza System

25 March YC 122

Jarizza had just two signatures – one of them was a wormhole and another was Crumbling Sansha Antiquated Outpost.

“What do you think, Aura?” asked I, “Should we go straight to the wormhole or check out that relic site first?”

“Hi-sec relic sites are a waste of time,” replied she. “Even data sites are more profitable here. I would jump through the hole.”

“Yeah, that’s true. On the other hand, we haven’t had much luck in Anoikis. This may not be the most lucrative mission but at least it will pay for that Gallentean sparkling. Besides, I’ve never seen a Sansha outpost.”

“Oh, this one is crumbling and antiquated. If you want to see a real one I can get you in touch with a Sansha agent,” winked Aura.

“No, thank you. I am afraid I am not ready to bend the knee before Master Kuvakei. This individuality thing, you know, still possesses a certain attraction for me.” Continue reading “An Invisible Enemy”

Day Job

Anoikis

25 March YC 122

The last few days I spent jumping from one Anoikis system to another. To my surprise the journey was uneventful in all respects.

For one thing, no one killed me or even tried to. There were no gate camps and no bubbles but even without them entering a new J-space system was one of the most dangerous parts of a journey through Anoikis. That was where I had to appear ‘naked’, without a cloak, even if for the briefest of moments. And it took me some time, after my initial underwhelming performance,  to make sure that that moment was indeed the briefest. Eventually I settled into a routine which was done almost automatically: bookmark the wormhole exit, bring up the system map, choose a celestial, start the warp and activate the cloaking device. All that took less that 15 seconds, so I never lost my gate cloak until I started moving, and after that the CovOps cloaking device made sure that my Buzzard flashed its tender flesh for less than a second. If there were any wannabe hunters, they would have had hard time even acquiring a target lock on me, to say nothing about attacking.

Being not just a traveller but an explorer I was also exposed to a potential assault while I was hacking containers at data and relic sites but that risk too did not materialise. That could probably be explained by an interesting (or, depending on your point of view, boring) fact – I didn’t see many pirate exploration sites where I could have been ambushed. By the way, Aura and I had finally figured out the classification of Anoikis cosmic signatures – if a site had a pirate faction included in its name then it was an unguarded remainder of their base; if a faction was not mentioned, then, no matter how innocent the name sounded, it was a Sleeper camp defended by an armada of bloodthirsty drones. So it happened that most relic and data sites I found were those ‘unprotected’ and ‘forgotten’ Sleeper bases which I, naturally, avoided. Continue reading “Day Job”

The Big Scary Outdoors

Anoikis – Region B-R00005
Constellation B-C00037 – System J150859
Cosmic Signature SEZ-118 – Central Angel Sparking Transmitter

16 March YC 122

After uncloaking I kind of froze, scared to look away from the overview where I expected to see an Astero any second now. I stared at the overview, then ran D-scan, checked overview again, and another D-scan, rotated the camera drones to visually check the surroundings, back to overview… Seconds dropped one by one and morphed into minutes, and I was still waiting, waiting for…

“Boo!” suddenly said Aura.

If I wasn’t suspended in pod goo I would probably jump and injure myself. In reality, I thrashed my arms and legs wildly as if I was drowning, which apparently was entertaining to behold, as Aura laughed heartily.

I’ve stopped my attempts to break out of the capsule and asked indignantly, “Why would you do that? You nearly gave me a heart attack!”

Still snickering, Aura replied, “You should have seen yourself. You looked like a cat who spent all his life in a safety of an apartment and then was suddenly kicked out to the big scary outdoors.” Continue reading “The Big Scary Outdoors”

A Leap of Faith

Anoikis – Region B-R00005
Constellation B-C00037 – System J150859

16 March YC 122

Sisters Core Scanner Probes combined with Buzzard’s Covert Ops bonuses to the probe strength made scanning a walk in the park. Soon my Probe Window showed the following list of signatures, all green:

    • AWS-076 Cosmic Signature  – Data Site – Unsecured Perimeter Comms Relay
    • CGF-120 Cosmic Signature – Relic Site – Forgotten Perimeter Habitation Coils
    • IBA-022 Cosmic Signature – Data Site – Unsecured Perimeter Comms Relay
    • KOA-082 Cosmic Signature – Wormhole – Unstable Wormhole
    • PQR-195 Cosmic Signature – Wormhole – Unstable Wormhole
    • RGO-690 Cosmic Signature – Wormhole – Unstable Wormhole
    • SEZ-118 Cosmic Signature – Data Site – Central Angel Sparking Transmitter
    • WLS-952 Cosmic Signature – Relic Site – Ruined Serpentis Science Outpost

“Righteo,” I rubbed my hands, “Let’s get hacking,” and willed Nosuri to warp to the first data site in the list.

When Aura realised what I intended to do her eyes widened and she screamed, “Abort! Now!” Continue reading “A Leap of Faith”

Box Opening as Community Service

Anoikis – Region B-R00005
Constellation B-C00037 – System J150859

16 March YC 122

“Okay, so you’ve seen Anoikis. What do we do now?” asked Aura.

“Explore it, of course!” exclaimed I.

“Meaning exactly what?”

“Oh, for one thing, it’s full of treasures. Remember you told me about all those unguarded sites that we can hack?”

“Ah, yes, the relic sites!” perked up Aura, “Let’s find them.”

“Yes, let’s do it… oh, wait, I completely forgot about caches.”

“Caches? What caches?” Continue reading “Box Opening as Community Service”

My First Wormhole

The Forge Region – Otsabaira Constellation
Onuse System

16 March YC 122

It’s a story of my life – when I roam through hi-sec looking for relic and data sites I normally get only wormholes; now that I was actually looking for a wormhole all I got was every type of cosmic signature except a wormhole. It took me several jumps until I found what I wanted in Onuse system – three wormhole signatures! There was also a Crumbling Guristas Stone Formation, but I couldn’t care less for those puny remnants of hi-sec pirate bases – Anoikis was waiting for me.

Having scanned down all wormhole signatures, I gathered the probes and warped to the first one. There I was greeted by a sight of a reddish pulsating rift surrounded by a white corona. Neocom said that it was leading to unknown parts of space.

A Wormhole in Onuse
A Wormhole in Onuse

“What does that mean?” whispered I. “I thought that all Anoikis systems were known.”

“It’s an old designation, remaining from the times when wormholes just appeared in New Eden,” Aura whispered back, then looked at me and asked in a normal voice, “Hey, why are we whispering?” Continue reading “My First Wormhole”

Aura Meets Allison

The Forge Region – Onirvura Constellation
Poinen System – Planet IV, Moon 13
Nugoeihuvi Corporation Development Studio

13 March YC 122

“Well, well, well, look who has graced the Caldari soil, or rather,” I tapped the station floor, “metal with his presence!” said I by way of attracting attention of a big man who supervised droids unloading cargo from his ship.

Yakub Albaf turned to me, beamed and gave me his signature bear hug which brought me to the brink of enforced re-cloning.

“Vlad, you rascal! What have you got yourself into again? Why do you need an old tired man to be your courier?” Continue reading “Aura Meets Allison”

I Am a Signaleer

The Forge Region – Onirvura Constellation
Poinen System – Planet IV, Moon 13
Nugoeihuvi Corporation Development Studio

1 March YC 122

“You are now what?” asked Aura, confused.

“A Signaleer,” proudly repeated I.

“A ‘signaleer’? What’s ‘signaleer’? There is no such word in Napanii or any other language I know. And trust me, I know a lot.”

“It is an endonym for members of Signal Cartel,” explained I.

Yes, it so happened that a week after meeting Null Flare I applied for a membership in a capsuleer-owned corporation and three days later my application was approved. At this point you might be thinking that I decided to become a professional pyrotechnic but, in fact, that line that Null fed me about fireworks was just a bait. Admittedly, those guys did some silly things like forming a fleet armed only with firework launchers and ‘attacked’ their war targets (well, maybe not so silly as they also equipped ECM jammers and made sure they could not be targeted). But that was just for fun. The core of their activity was exploration with a special focus on wormholes. Believe me or not, they even provided a free service to the whole New Eden, rescuing capsuleers stranded in wormholes! Continue reading “I Am a Signaleer”

Stuck in a Clone Jump

The Forge Region – Onirvura Constellation
Poinen System – Planet IV, Moon 13
Nugoeihuvi Corporation Development Studio

10 September YC 121

After leaving my body with expensive implants in the safe hands of clone bay workers at Expert Distribution Retail Centre I came to at NOH station and went to the dock to board the capsule. On my way there I woke up Aura to let her know that the clone jump was successful. Before I could utter a single word she overwhelmed me with a stream of blabber.

“Vlad! Where have you been!? Are you okay? What happened!? What took you so long!?”

“Long?” I asked, surprised. “It’s been just half an hour or so.”

“What half an hour? Look at your watch! No, look at the calendar!”

I checked my datapad – it showed 20 February YC 122.

“What the fuck?” muttered I.

At first, I thought there was something wrong with my datapad but then I checked a few GalNet news sites and they all had the same date. That could mean just one thing – my clone jump, instead of minutes, took almost half a year! Continue reading “Stuck in a Clone Jump”