Monday, 1 August 2011

Salute


Laria carefully positioned the frame on the wall of her quarters. Behind the plexglass front was a picture of a Dominix Battleship, guns blazing, its armour glowing from the heat of the ordnance it had absorbed. Beneath the picture was a little title - "Stripey II - 113.07.30". She regarded it for a moment, and took a step to the right, and adjusted the next picture. "Stripey III - 113.07.30". It had been a day both to remember and forget.

Outside, in the docking back of the Republic Fleet station, sat "Stripey IV: Defiant". She had learnt, the hard, slow, embarrassingly stupid way, but she had learnt. And many were the miscreant, foolish and - she had to admit - unlucky foes who would suffer as a result of her hard won knowledge.

Next to the Dominix, dwarfed by the bulk of the battleship, sat the shiny form of a Proteus Strategic Cruiser. Laria peered down from her balcony at it. It was a... problem. She had been lent it. She could, technically, fly it. But she couldn't quite figure out how to fit it out to be effective. Confronted with the choice of rejecting the favour, insulting the lender by simply leaving it in a station and polishing it, and finding a use for it, she had opted for the latter. The mining lasers did look quite... small, on it, though. It was like hitching a knight's charger to the shafts of a cart. But it was, at least, functional. In a way.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Rendezvous


The clamps reached up to the side of the freshly-docked Federation Navy Comet and plucked the capsuleer pod from it, carrying the precious cargo to the side of the bay, where it opened, disgorging the pilot onto the deck. Laria towelled herself off briskly, darting into the transient quarters to find some clothes to put on.  This station was a bit out of the way, and the message from Tiger had been cryptic at best. Still, it was probably romantic. Certainly fun. But she didn’t have very much time, and she didn’t want to keep him waiting.

Flanking the door that Laria emerged from were two security personnel, provided by the Phell clan, or, more specifically, Tiger. The time taken to extract her pod and for her to get presentable had given them more than enough time to reach her. She didn’t quite know why they were necessary, but... he insisted. Still, she set off at a near run, forcing them to scramble to keep up with her. She rounded a corner in the corridor and then something triggered in her mind.  A shadow in the wrong place. There was the sound of a shot, and Laria looked down to see a dart lodged in her stomach. Her vision started to waver and she fell to her knees, faintly hearing the sound of energy weapons discharging around her. The haze was thrown back by a searing pain across her right shoulder, and then the world dissolved into blackness.

Signal to Phell Clan Communication Channel: ++ SECURITY EMERGENCY++ Corvid is down, repeat, Corvid is down ++SECURITY EMERGENCY++

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

OOC: Captain's Quarters

"This ship is not ugly. This ship is NOT ugly."

"So bored. Ship spins itself."

"Look dramatic...two...three..."

"

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Quixotic

It was, on balance, Laria decided, a good thing. Yes, it had begun rather drunkenly, and then it had continued with her accidentally destroying one of his expensive ships, but it seemed to be developing nicely.
She'd worried that he wasn't really appropriate for a sassy adventuress, but then it turned out that he had enemies.
Anyone who had enemies powerful enough that he needed constant bodyguarding (she pushed aside thoughts about how nice a body it was) had surely had adventures, and dark secrets and intrigue. Or at least battles. And someone with enemies mattered.
She wasn't aware that she had any enemies.
This was distinctly worrying. No enemies and a nice, newly-refurbished apartment overlooking the docking bay does not comprise a sassy on-the-edge devil-may-care existence.

Maybe she could borrow some of his enemies? Surely he could spare a couple? 

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Partitioned

Laria opened one eye, thought better of it and closed it. Her head throbbed painfully. This wasn't good. What had she been doing? What had caused her to get so drunk? She could remember... remember...

Oh.

She opened her eyes again, despite the pain. The glasses were still out. It had happened... he'd come back, holding the things she'd given him. The presents...returned. The future taken away from her. She'd had plans, ideas, schemes. Things she wanted to do... together. And they were all lies, built on lies. She'd been... flavour of the month. Nothing more. She felt used. Anger stirred within her, and she used it to haul herself upright.

If that future wasn't available to her, she'd make a new one.

She stood up, and stumbled rather to the mirror. A little red-eyed, mussy-haired and perhaps rather grey-skinned, but presentable enough. Every time he looked at her, from now on, and she would make sure he had plenty of opportunities... every time he looked at her, she would ram down his throat what he had thrown away. Screw him, screw his lies. Whoever it was that he'd gone off to be with, she wasn't worth half what Laria was.

That was it. That was the way to be thinking. And as long as she kept thinking like that, the kicking and screaming and crying and the big empty feeling in her stomach would stay an arm's-length away.

She only had short arms.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Overhaul

This was, Laria decided, the second most exciting time of her life. The first most exciting time had been when she'd first qualified for pod pilot training. This was the second. Or maybe the third - entering Eve University had been a thrill too.

No. This was better. She had new quarters. Admittedly, at this exact moment, they were both semi-decorated and full of boxes containing things that she had ordered. Or, rather, things that she had probably ordered in a rather overenthusiastic and under-considered spending spree. Still, there was a balcony that looked out over the vast docking bay of the station, an entirely separate lounge cum entrance hall, two bathrooms (she wasn't quite sure the circumstances in which she'd need both, but it made for variety) and a kitchen with lots of space for baking.

And all of her new things were here too. The fact that she hadn't, technically, ordered a bed was a minor point when compared to the plate situation. Should nearly a hundred people come to visit, she had enough plates to feed them all.

This was probably an error, and she, rather regretfully, separated two of the plate boxes from the others and put them on the "go back with an apology" pile. And at the same time, she keyed the order for a bed, and then paused before pressing "submit".

Width... length... height... yes, all fine. Why didn't beds come with an "effective HP" measure, though? It would make decisions like this easier.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Notoriety


There were several things that Laria thought she required before she was properly a Sassy Adventuress. Splitting it down, they could be categorized as either (a) sassiness or (b) adventures. She'd been doing quite well with the former - lots of sassy outfits, plans for more sassy quarters, a definitely sass-appropriate boyfriend (the fact that thinking about him made her slightly gooey on the inside, rather that initiating a more casual, devil-may-care, feeling was an incidental detail). She had, however, been rather lacking in the latter.

In fact, it had been a while since she had much in the way of adventures at all, unless "found some more rocks, shot them, refined them, sold them" counted as an adventure, and while definitely rewarding, she didn't recall seeing any holovid dramas, let alone Interstellar Intrigue books, that featured vast amounts of mining.

She needed adventures, and she needed fame, and not of the sort that a regrettable record of Ishkur losses was likely to attract. She needed to be visible.

This definitely required some kind of list, she thought. But what to put on it? She could shoot pirates, possibly. Ideally the sort that weren't paying very much attention and wouldn't shoot back.

And didn't have many friends.

Somehow, "Scourge of pirates that are unpopular with other pirates" didn't really seem like a particularly desirable title.

She needed to do something else. Something spectacular.

Something spectacular and good. The possibility of doing something spectacular and embarrassing was a lurkingly large problem. But what?

Monday, 18 April 2011

OOC: RP Guide #3: How do I RP?

Part 3 of the increasingly less-occasional RP Guide. Thanks for the comments on the last one!

I have a character, with a background. Now what do I do?
"Life in the movie business is like the... is like the beginning of a new love affair: it's full of surprises, and you're constantly getting f*cked." - Fox, Speed-The-Plow
 The simple answer is to start Roleplaying. You may find it best to join a corp that is an "RP corp" - which usually means that all in game channels such as corp and alliance are "In character", often with a secondary "out of character" channel where you can discuss your dog. Another thing to do is to find a channel in which Roleplay takes place, and go there - there are quite a lot, representing bars, clubs, restaurants and other such locations.

Roleplay in EVE essentially breaks down into three types.
  1. Channel Roleplay
  2. Forum Roleplay
  3. Blog Roleplay
In reverse order, with very sketchy details for two of them.

Blog Roleplay
This is a blog. My IC posts represent Blog roleplay. You'll note that it's largely a solo affair, though people do occasionally interact on blogs. It's perhaps best regarded as a complement to other sorts of RP, a way to extend your own character's narrative and something to do at work when you can't RP any of the other ways. 

Using someone else's character in your Blog without their permission is a big no no (though it's obviously OK to mention them, either directly or indirectly. Most people like reading other characters' thoughts about theirs. It's kind of like being in the popular crowd.)

Forum Roleplay
Roleplaying on Forums, natch. Either just making posts that are In Character (this could be regarded as "light" RP) which would be posts that you would make if you weren't an RPer, just omitting all references to your dog (unless you have an IC Slaver dog thing, in which case, knock yourself out), through to expressing opinions that your character has but that you may not share, or using language in an IC way.

Some forum RP is interactive storytelling, with the forum being set in a particular location, and the characters involved taking turns to make posts. This can be fun, but it can also get a bit silly, as it often feels like (or in some cases, there are rules that mandate) there is a minimum acceptable post length. This results in the following style of post:
Laria's brow creases in thought, as she remembers all the previous situations that this issue had presented itself in. She turns and looks out of the window, out onto the blackness of space lit only with the pinpricks of distant stars - at this time of day this side of the station was turned away from both sun and planet, leaving it in shadow and looking out over an empty vista. Still, a decision had to be made, a decision that had ramifications beyond the immediate. With an angry shake of her head, she made it. "No, just a regular portion of fries," she says.
It can also take forever to do anything.

Channel Roleplay


I'm going to write more about this. There are two sorts of RP channels in EVE. There's the sort that is just a communications channel used by the characters. Most people in RP corps use their corp and fleet channels like this. And then there's the sort that represents a particular place.

EVE is not well endowed with facilities for the RPer. There's channels and the character bio, and really that's about it. And both of those have limitations.

Let's talk about RP in a place-bound channel. We'll invent one, called "The Better 'Ole". It's a bar, and not a particularly good one. If it's an open channel, anyone can RP there, though it's worth checking what the setting is to see if it's appropriate for us, and to get a feel for what it's like.

Most people set a MOTD describing the general ambience and environment, so let's invent one.

The Better 'Ole, a bar that has a carefully cultivated atmosphere of seediness, on the back side of an otherwise abandoned station in Hagilur. From the distressed state of the furniture to the surly look on the face of the barman, it's a place for the tough-skinned and tough-livered.
Hey! That sounds like the kind of place that I'd like to RP in! So, how do I get started? Rather than simply type "Hi" into space, I'm going to describe what my character does. With the use of /me, mostly. This is called a "pose".

/me walks into the bar, a look like thunder on her face, her hands gripping the front of her stylishly-tailored leather jacket. She strides up to the counter. "Pator Number One," she orders. "And get a second ready, because I'm going to need it."

We pose in the present tense. A bit weird, but the convention. If there's anyone else in channel and up for RP, they'll probably pose in response, and you can get going.

Here are some tips:
  1. Enter scenes with something to do, or something that you were just doing, or something on your mind. Remember about short-term drivers. Coming into scenes flat leads to the following sorts of RP.
    Me: "Hi"
    Them: "Hi. How're you doing?"
    Me: "Fine. You?"
    Them: "Fine too."
    Me: "Can I have a beer?"
    Them: "Yes. Here is your beer."
    Me: "Do you want a beer too?"

    Neither character has brought anything to the scene, and as a result, it's... well. A little dull. Difficult to get life into it. Something interesting might happen, but it's not a great start. Be aware of what your character is preoccupied with, thinking of, worrying about. Remember previous conversations they've had with the characters involved. Be doing stuff, because even small stuff makes scenes more interesting, and energy at the start of scenes translates into liveliness throughout. Hobbies, projects, shopping trips, all are good for this if you don't have a more strategic short term driver.
  2. One technique that works quite well is to split your poses into three sections. React -> Act -> Prompt. What this means is that the early part of your pose should be responding to what other characters have done (React), doing something new (Act) and then giving other characters something to respond to (Prompt). Let's look at an example.
    Steve The Disposable NPC looks up. "Do you come here often?" he asks.
    Laria Raven smiles wanly. "Oh, I come here quite a lot," she says. She looks over her shoulder at the door, then back to Steve. "Do you attempt to pick up girls here often?" 
    I've colour-coded the sections, though often you combine them. This is a good way to think about poses, because it avoids a) the other players thinking you're ignoring them b) giving them nothing to respond to and c) the scene becoming very static, because there's always progress.
  3. Be careful about shutting down RP. (This is different from having to leave, this is killing a scene). It's difficult, if you've decided that your character is going to be mean to someone and isn't interested in them, but it's really best to try and interact, as a default. And that means giving them something to respond to, something to do. Be a generous roleplayer - RP widely, and with energy and character agendas, and you'll reap the benefits;

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Manifold

Laria looked at the list, on her datapad, and steadily deleted entries until only one remained. Yes, everything hadn't gone exactly to plan, but on the whole she was more than pleased about how things had turned out.

Much more than pleased. Colours seemed more vibrant, the air smelt less of inadequate recycling due to inferior Minmatar environmental technology. She swivelled on her bunk and pulled out a set of dog tags, wrapped the chain around her hand so the tags themselves hung in her palm, and turned back to her datapad. The trouble was, she decided, that she had been focusing all of her efforts in the one direction, and now that she had achieved her goal there, she needed to find some other thing to do. More than one other thing, or the same problem would happen again.

The trouble was, she thought, stroking one of the tags idly with a thumb, that she didn't really /want/ to do anything else. She was full of energy, of ideas for things for them to do together. It was difficult. She had, in fact, constructed three new lists - things to do in public, things to do in private and "other". Admittedly, there weren't any entries in the "other" category yet, but it made Laria feel more comfortable having it as an option.

She looked around her quarters. That was something that could go on a list. She needed to update, expand and improve. Put her own stamp somewhere, a place that she could actually call home.

An idea floated across her mind, and she pushed it away. Too complicated, too soon, too much. Appealing, though.


Thursday, 14 April 2011

OOC: RP Guide #2. Character Creation

Part two in a less-occasional-than-anticipated series.

Hey! I've created my character already, what's this about?
"Your job is to craft my doom, so I am not sure how well I should wish you. But I'm sure we'll have a lot of fun." - Hannibal Lecter, Hannibal.
So, I (or, more likely, someone more persuasive) has convinced you to try roleplaying and, correctly, you have worked out that the first thing you need is a character. EVE Online character creation finishes after you've selected a race, a bloodline and a gender, and pushed and pulled at the character model until you have a portrait you're relatively pleased with.

That's not the kind of character creation I'm talking about here, though it's a start. Before you start roleplaying your character, there's some things you need to consider. What are they like? What have they done? This is usually called a background. Let's look at a typical first stab at one:
I'm a hard-bitten space pilot who's been around the universe and back, seen it all and come back to tell the tale. I'm an Amarrian, who, disgusted with the slave trade, has rebelled and run with the Minmatar for a while till I got recruited by the Caldari State to work there. I've had my heart broken a thousand times and I'm not looking for one thousand and one.
Well, that's certainly atmospheric. The problem is that it's a character at the end of their story, or at least a long way into it. All the dramatic stuff has already happened. When roleplaying, timescales tend to get compressed rather, so three years of RPing a character can be rather more eventful than you would expect three "real" years to be.

TV Series tend to talk about character arcs, and that's a sensible way to look at it. You want to leave some space for the character to develop, to experience, to change, and to do that you need to begin RPing them earlier in their story.

You can take this too far. There's no need to begin /at the very beginning/. Two years of RP before your character learns to talk is going to trend towards the dull, and it's not very easy to picture newborns in control of spaceships.

If you're starting RPing with an existing character, you can probably start a little further along the arc, but if your character is fresh out of school with the ink still drying on her pilot's license then it's probably best to begin her earlier on the arc. Let her have those experiences IC, rather than have her already having done it all.

It's way harder to come back from being a cynical and bitter veteran than it is to get there. Start your characters as enthusiastic, or at least vaguely positive. They'll probably end up as tired and sceptical old codgers anyway, broken in more ways than you can count, so you might as well enjoy playing their descent.

Everyone's Special.
"Y'know, I know there are people who are normal...but I don't know what they do." - Prison Ward Patient, House of Games.
It's important that your character be interesting. Unfortunately, there are lots of ways to do this, and most of them don't work very well.
My character was abused as a child, then ran away to join the circus Guristas. She then abandoned them to go to the Angels and she has big purple eyes and wings and was captured and modified by rogue drones so she gets on really well with them in a kind of hurt/comfort way.
You should regard it as if there are a limited number of "special points" for you to spend on your background. Pick at most two things that are /really unusual/. There are two reasons for this:
  1. Don't break the world, it's not your toy. Remember that the point of all this is to bring the world of New Eden into your game experience. If everybody's character is well outside of the expectation parameters, then the world we end up playing in doesn't resemble the one that we thought we would, and that's disappointing for everyone. By playing someone who fits at least /mostly/ into what would be regarded as exceptional-but-not-unusual, you enhance and strengthen the world, rather than breaking it.
  2. It's a base, not an anchor. Complex and over-dramatic backgrounds become a lead weight around a character's neck. Really, your backstory is the foundation of the character and the roleplay you build, not the be-all and end-all. If you spend more time talking about your background in character than you do making new stories, you've probably got too much background.
What makes characters interesting and special is not what's in their background. It's how they interact with other characters, how their motivations and ambitions affect other people and how other people affect them. It's about the stories you make collaboratively, not the one you made by yourself. When you didn't know what you were doing. And anyway...

Characters never quite come out how you plan them. You can have a strong image of what they're like, and a good solid backstory and yet, when you start RPing them, they aren't what you anticipated. They develop senses of humour you were sure you'd not intended. They go running off after goals you didn't mean for them to pursue. They're supposed to be the silent type but they keep talking. This is OK. As you start to play a character, you'll start to explore what they're like, and find it isn't quite what you imagined when you created them. It's important that you not get locked in to that original expectation, because if you do, then you'll be disappointed, and stop playing them.

I've seen people do that over and over - start new characters, get disappointed, do it again. Same mistake.

There are limits to this. Too much wiggling around and being inconsistent will end up with you being unsure of what your character is, and losing track of them. They'll be... amorphous masses, rather than characters. But a little bit of it is actually more realistic - people are complex, they're variable and they change. Reacting to what happens IC and your character developing and changing is what it's about.

In the end, the choices you make when envisaging your character are less important than the choices you make when RPing them, but it's good to try and set a solid foundation they can grow from. Start them off early in their story, let them change and develop and allow yourself some space to find them and their voice.

But what's my motivation in this scene?
"We're adding a little something to this month's sales contest. As you all know, first prize is a Cadillac Eldorado. Anybody want to see second prize? Second prize is a set of steak knives. Third prize is you're fired." - Blake, Glengarry Glenn Ross
More important than facts about their past is a character's needs, wants, goals, aspirations, fears, neuroses, habits and interests. Let's call these drivers. Drivers can be long or short term, internal (I want to be like /this/) and external (I want to free slaves!), changeable or constant. It's important to realise that small, short term, drivers are more powerful than longer term ones - for example, yes, I want to pass my literature degree, but right now I need the facilities. Negative drivers ("I am scared of being alone") are stronger than positive ones ("I like dancing"). Be aware of what your character's drivers are, and always be looking for new ones. A character with good strong drivers will always have something to do, something to work towards, something to avoid. Characters with agendas (rather than players with agendas - important distinction) are more interesting to RP with than ones without. If you run out of drivers, it's OK to invent some new ones. It's the kind of meta-gaming that's good.

It's even better if some of these drivers conflict. In fact, that's where a lot of interest comes from. "I want to be the best combat pilot in the Universe!" vs "I'm scared when I see a red ship on overview." Internal conflict (within a character)  is, if anything, more interesting than external conflict (between characters). Internal conflict is harder to resolve, but less disruptive. It creates plot that doesn't have limitations.

This may seem like an awful lot to think about, but it quickly becomes instinct. You internalise the character's drivers when playing them in the same way that you do when you read a book. It's just part of getting to know the multi-faceted, deep, character that you've built. Which is kind of where the fun is.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

OOC: RP Guide. Why Roleplay in EVE?

The first in an occasional series about Roleplaying in EVE.

Why should we listen to /you/?
"It shows to go you, you never know who anybody is." - Susan Ricci, The Spanish Prisoner.
Well, the simple answer is that you don't have to, and you probably shouldn't. Nobody made you read the blog (if I'm currently standing behind you with a threatening expression, ignore this bit). I've been an RPer in various forms (Tabletop, Forum, Live Roleplay, Live "action" roleplay, MUSH etc etc) for twenty years, so whilst a relative newcomer to EVE, I do have a little experience elsewhere. Take everything with a pinch of salt. Don't believe anything anyone tells you. If it works for you, then that's great, though I should warn you that the Arti Drake is never likely to be flavour of the month.


Why should I roleplay? I don't even /own/ a wizard hat.
"Everybody makes their own fun. If you don't make it yourself, it isn't fun. It's entertainment." - Ann Black, State and Main.
"EVE is a sandbox", people are fond of saying. What they (often) mean is that there aren't any goals or paths provided - we make our own. We form groups, we set objectives for ourselves and our corporations. We make up activities - the "Low Sec Roam" has no particular genesis in the game itself, it was something that people came up with. What we do has meaning only because we give it meaning, and it has value only in as much as it provides us with enjoyment.

What the game does provide is some tools and resources. And one of these resources is the backstory, in the chronicles and the novels and the text in game (1). This is the world of New Eden.

There's a choice. One can say "Well, that doesn't have anything to do with the game I play," and either consume the backstory as entertainment or ignore it entirely, as you wish. That's fine. But it is intentionally limiting your game. (2)

The other choice is to bring that backstory into how you play EVE, and what you do, and how you interpret what happens. And the way you do that is via roleplay. By creating and playing a character that lives in the world, and by interacting with other characters, you bring the backstory into your game experience. The main game activities remain the same - you mine, you pew-pew, you build, you haul, you trade. But each of them becomes part of the story you and others are telling (though often in a very small way). Roleplay is not an activity done separately from other bits of the game, it's a method of weaving meaning around it.

Saying that EVE is a game about internet spaceships is like saying Hamlet is a play about succession to the throne of Denmark. It's technically true, but it's a very one-levelled approach. From very early on, EVE has been a game featuring spaceships set in the world of New Eden. You can play it how you want. It's a sandbox. But if you want to deepen the game, wrap layers of meaning around it, immerse yourself further in it... then that's why you should roleplay.

(1) I didn't say it was all good. Or any of it good. Your mileage may /definitely/ vary.
(2) Everyone limits their game. The game's way too big to do it all. It's not a bad thing, but one should do so knowing that one is doing it.


The L Word

It was the single most expensive thing Laria had bought that wasn't designed to fly through space, or facilitate flying through space. Quite how the display case worked was beyond her - it was an offshoot of warp technology, she knew, but more than that got complicated quickly.

Still, there it was, in the corner of her quarters, emitting a soft light through the glass box that formed the top part of the device. Beneath was a solid plinth, containing the apparatus that she had been strongly admonished - on pain of unspeakable horribleness - not to fiddle with. It was almost soundless - if she listened very very carefully, she could just hear a faint hum. A lot of money, and a lot of effort, to do a simple thing. Capture a moment. Hold onto it for as long as possible. Preserve it beyond it's normal span. Maybe it was a mistake. Maybe it was better to let things have their cycle, to be formed, to exist, to decay.

Not today, though. Today she would cling to it.

In the display case, held in near stasis, was a single rose.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Keen

Laria looked at the list on the datapad, and with a finger stroked firmly across the touchscreen, scoring through one of the entries.

Probably for the best. Still, it only really left her two candidates, though it was a big universe. She glanced at the door to her quarters, and then decided against it. She wasn't, she decided rather forcefully, upset. It was more... things hadn't exactly been going to plan. Maybe staying in was better than going out. And she had these books to read. "Interstellar Intrigue". It sounded fun.

...

....

Laria set down her datapad. Well. That was... a surprise.

Was that what it meant to be sassy? Maybe one of these other ones would have a clue.

...

"Educational". That was the word. Definitely "educational". Laria pulled up her lists on her datapad, and created a new one. There were more things she needed to get before she was sassy enough to have a book written about /her/.

Though... some of these things did seem... anatomically tricky.


Friday, 8 April 2011

Jolt

High up on the Republic Fleet Testing Facilities station in Gulfonodi, on the capsuleer reserved level, in a standard transient Captain's Quarters, in a bunk, with the covers pulled up over her head, Laria was curled into a little ball, her eyes screwed up and firmly shut.

What had she done? What had she been thinking? She had acted like a... like a... like a fifteen-year-old schoolgirl. That wasn't dignified. It wasn't rational. And it was certainly not, in any conceivable way, sassy. She reluctantly put her head above the covers, only to see the giant poster of Evanda Char staring down at her as if in disapproval. She gave a wail and pulled the covers back up. There. Safety.

Everyone would be laughing at her. Especially Jude. And Vince. And everybody. It had all seemed to be going so well, too. An upsetting and difficult topic of conversation but... good. Communication. Maybe even connection. Laria wailed again and kicked her feet, slamming a toe against the bulkhead and yelping in pain. And she had totally totally ruined it. They would never think of her as a cool stylish adventuress. They would only remember her /blushing/ and /running away/.

There was only one solution she could see. So she couldn't even make a proper list. She was going to hide in her bunk and never ever come out. Ever.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Integrity

Laria was pleased, in general. Everything seemed to be going rather well, at least on the "mining vast quantities of plagioclase" front, and they certainly weren't going badly on the "serving drinks" front either.

There were, of course, a few minor issues. Some of the types that came into the bar stretched "roguish" to breaking point, and she rather felt that her vague "be polite and reclaim them for the side of righteousness" plan was avoiding the issue rather than a cunning solution.

There was also a nagging doubt that itched in the back of her head. This quest for sassiness had really taken shape after her last neural remap, and after she had installed some of her current implants. If her personality, as well as her ability to process information, could be changed via artificial means, and her current body was potentially replaceable at any point, what part of her was... /her/. What part of her was incontestably Laria, rather than Laria+implants, or Laria+boosted intelligence.

And did it actually matter? If she learnt something today, then in a small way that made her a different person from yesterday. If she was forever changing anyway, like a river slowly moving to the sea, then the big changes were just waterfalls. It was still the same river.

Yet... she didn't much like that. It felt too impermanent, too amorphous. There had to be some anchor, somewhere.

She frowned, and kicked back onto her bunk. What she needed was some way to record important parts of who she was. Things that mattered. And then she could always go back and at least touch them, ground herself back in who she was.

Once a week. That was about the right level. She reached for her datapad and allocated a station container to it, naming it "Laria's Hall Of Memories." There. That was a good start, and of course the container was, itself, a memento. "One," she said, aloud. She moved a mining laser that she had kicking about in her "Reprocess" container into it. There. Laria the miner, and the habitual classifier of things. Now, what could she put into it next?

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Daredevil's Lounge Customer Satisfaction Survey



Thank you for your visit to Daredevil's Lounge, and for taking the time to fill out this survey.


1) How did you find the welcome, rating from one to five where one is "very poor/nonexistant" to five "extremely warm and inviting".


2) Please rate the quality of drinks out of five, where one is the lowest and five the highest.


3) Please rate the speed of service out of five, where one is the lowest and five the highest.


4) Please rate the general atmosphere out of five, where one is "poor" and five is "excellent"


5) How likely are you to return to Daredevil's in the next two weeks? Please rate out of five, where one is "very unlikely" and five is "very likely".


6) Would active racing events make you more likely to return? Please rate out of five, where one is "no difference" and five is "definitely".


6a) Do you consider yourself to have a roguish streak? Please rate from one to five where one is "no" and five is "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn."


7) Please use the space below for any further comments.

Hospitality

Working in a bar was... different, Laria considered, laying back on her bunk and staring at the ceiling. She notices a rust line creeping along the join between two of the plates, and fought down the urge to get a step-ladder and some wire wool to polish it away. These quarters were only temporary.

It was nice to get to meet people, though. Even if most of them varied between unscrupulous and downright evil. Perhaps some were merely prisoners of the choices they had made. Perhaps everyone was, in the end. She'd chosen not to do what her parents wanted, to become a capsuleer, to join the University and then to leave. And that had got her here.

And if the people who came into the bar were literally prisoners of those choices, then perhaps all they needed was the opportunity to find another way of life. To leave behind their mistakes and find a new way. It wouldn't be easy, though. It required trust, and that was the scarcest commodity in New Eden. She couldn't go about it in an obvious way. She had to befriend them, be a figure that they could believe in. Prove the benefits of living a good life, show that it could be exciting, profitable.

There. That was it. That was sassiness, surely? Blazing a path through the galaxy, dragging the lost back to the light in her wake. She sat up, quickly, and bumped her head on the shelf above the bunk. Ignoring the pain and the weird flashing in one eye, she got out her datapad. This idea required a list.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Gunplay

Laria switched off the holovid with a frown on her face. Sassy adventuresses were not just sudden death in their spaceships (she shoved aside the thought that most of the "sudden death" that happened in her ship was her own), but also when running through rapidly disintegrating industrial facilities, wielding guns in both hands and simultaneously performing acts of gymnastics.

She was actually pretty good at cartwheels and somersaults, even if she didn't always end up facing the right way. But... she'd never actually handled a firearm. There was a crate of them, rescued from the clutches of the Angel Cartel, somewhere in her "Miscellaneous" station container, but she rather felt that the station authorities would disapprove of her opening it and firing in the hangar. She thumbed the station directory. There! A firing range. With lessons. She was pretty hot with a small blaster turret, and they weren't that dissimilar. How hard could it be?

--

Well! That was an experience. Surely when the instructor said she was "The most dangerous person I've ever seen here" it was some kind of compliment. It was better than being /average/. Still, the banging noises had been surprisingly loud, and her forearms ached quite badly. Perhaps she could be the kind of sassy adventuress that eschewed the use of guns. Maybe /knives/ were more her style? Worth a try, anyway.



OOC: Captain's Quarters & Incarna

I haven't seen anything that puts together what we learned about CQ and Incarna at Fanfest. I attended the Character Creator presentation, the Captain's Quarters Presentation and the Character Creator Round Table, as well as the keynote speech and CCP presents. I'm not sure there's anywhere I could have gone to get more info, but some people probably did!

Here we go: Captain's Quarters.
  • In the summer expansion, we get Captain's Quarters.
  • These represent the transient Captain accommodation you get free with your docking fee.
  • There will be one per race, and which one you're in depends on the controlling race of the station you're docked in (no idea about lowsec player stations, as I don't know how they work).
  • The existing UI is still present, and will load ahead of the CQ, which essentially replaces the ship + hangar view you have at the moment.
  • You will lose the ability to ship spin. It may come back later.
  • Initial features include an Agent Finder (new functionality), Corp Search (revamped existing functionality, including an ability to insta-join the recruiting channel for the corp, or insta-convo an online recruiting agent), a holo screen that shows news and a (configurable) market ticker, a "Planetary Control" screen (no info), a ship fitting thing (no info) and a door that leads to character re-customisation (i.e. clothes, tattoos, hairstyles etc + portrait taking)
  • You will be able to move around freely and sit down, and the camera will move under your control.
  • The reason for this (somewhat limited) functionality is that under the hood, it's quite a lot - ambulation of your character, controls, environment building, interaction with the environment, rendering of your character in game, etc. It's clearly focussed on the new player, though the holo screen is kind of cool for everyone.
  • The CQ at this point is basically entirely client-side, with no communication about your movements or anything to the server.
Iteration #2 of Captain's Quarters will include:
  • The ability to upgrade your quarters to bigger ones.
  • The ability to invite people over. (The technical bit with this is the interaction between characters, because not only does it require swathes of animation, but now the two clients need to talk to a server to communicate this interaction)
  • Possibly some limited customisation of CQ..
Incarna (read "at some point in the future") will include:
  • Establishments. Both NPC and PC controlled establishments, customisable with layout and with corp logos.
  • To go with this: a change to boosters (essentially revamping them entirely), the removal of NPC customs agents and the putting of customs checking into PC hands - essentially, you'll be able to scan people down and, if they're carrying contraband, flag them as smugglers. As a result, trading of illegal goods will be possible in hisec stations but only on a face-to-face basis.
Character Creator Changes:
  • More hairstyles, clothes (in collections) and accessories. Asset creation is actually quite hard, because they really want it to look good.
  • It is intended that it will be possible for there to be limited customisation of clothing, possibly including colour changes (within a limited palette) and putting corp logos onto jackets, etc.
There are some issues about tradeoffs between quality and flexibility that are still very much in flux (see: Height issue). 
The further you get down this list, the more the "will include" has the word "hopefully" and "maybe" attached.

All things that are resellable will be destructable. So, you will be able to sell your jacket, but probably not your tattoo (ouch). (Note: in this way, micro-transaction bought clothes might be regarded as one way mini-plex). There was not much talk about what will be micro-transaction and what will be free and what will be isk-buyable.

There. That's about it. Feel free to ask any questions while my memory is still fresh.

Monday, 28 March 2011

OOC: Fanfest!

I went to fanfest! I had a great time, drunk too much beer, talked too much, danced a bit. (Your definition of dancing and mine may differ).



Will definitely try to get back next year.

Some random thoughts:

  • I hope that the whole plan for Incarna + Smuggling + Contraband + Customs goes through. All of it, and not just some bits, because it made a lot of sense, fit in with the world as I understand it and would possibly give a jolt in the arm to whole sections of the game. 
  • I enjoyed DrE's Economy talk a vast amount, and it's made me interested in trading. I'd be even more interested if we could do options and futures, but as he said when I asked him, it requires Eve to have trust. Not soon, then. :P
  • I was disappointed by seeing a couple of people in the flesh. Shorter than I'd anticipated and... just dudes. And, in one case, a rather disrespectful and condescending dude.
  • I wish there was a high-definition version of the video available.
  • Polar Beer is average.
  • There were too many people at the Party on Top of The World, and it stopped feeling like an EVE event and started to feel like an Icelandic-drunk-teenager event.

Fashion

Luminaire.

Laria felt a catch in her throat as she acknowledged the "Transition Complete" signal from the gate. The wounded heart of the Gallente Federation, and somewhere, deep inside her, still home. She set an elongated course to the one Gallente-controlled station in system, including an extended flypast of Gallente Prime.

Laria and Gallente Prime
The last time she had been here, she had still been undergoing basic pilot training at the University of Caille, now she was returning as a fully-fledged capsuleer. It was a dry, saddening feeling. "Say hello to your prodigal daughter," she thought, gazing at the sun-lit rim of the planet. She let the tiny Ishkur orbit slowly, her camera drone moving lazily around the ship. Caught between the sun and the planet, between here and there... between a child and an adult. She flicked the ship angrily onto a different course. Indecision was next to inaction, to denying responsibility. She would become what she wanted to become, and she would achieve what she wanted to achieve. One step at a time.

Laria over Astin
"How much!" Laria exclaimed, staring at the woman holding up the garment for her.
"Madam will understand, this is made by one of the finest designers..."
Laria waved her hand. "No no. It's a fifth of the cost of a Small Armour Repairer. I was just surprised. I'll have six." This was definitely a new experience. She knew, intellectually, that as a capsuleer she was extremely wealthy, but in general she'd been dividing things into "so cheap I don't have to worry" - food, quarters, etc and "expensive" - new Ishkurs, etc. This was the first time she'd come face to face the realisation that something that had been in the latter category could rapidly move to the former. Still, she had better be careful. There were a lot of shops on the Crystal Boulevard, and that could soon add up to serious money.

---

It was waiting for her when she got back up to the station, some days later. Absurdly, it was on paper - not a datachip, not a download to her pad. On paper. Hand-written. With "Do Not Pass This On" on a sticker on the front. Laria smiled, and carefully secured it in a sealed cannister that not only would be carried /in/ her pod, but had a beacon so that if the absolute worst happened, she still had a chance of finding it. It was much safer than putting it in the hold.

And much more possible, actually. It turned out that there were quite a lot of sassy outfits and items available on the Crystal Boulevard. Almost more than could easily fit in the hold of the small frigate. Maybe she should have brought the industrial. Still. Time to head back. Time to get active.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Expendable

This was all going surprisingly well, Laria thought. Yes, she'd gotten drunk, and yes she'd made a bit of a fool of herself, but nobody seemed to mind drastically, and sassy adventuresses were often having big nights and regretting what they'd done in the morning.

And then, then next time she'd been to Daredevil's, to actually work, it had gone remarkably. She had definitely managed to make several sassy comments. And several embarrassing ones too, but best not to dwell on those.

Laria pulled up her list on her datapad. Well, two items only just makes a list, but it was early days, and auditions for the role of "Nemesis/One True Love" would have to carry on for some time.
  • Candidate Number One. Positives: Reasonably good looking. Has shady past. Owns bar. Negatives: Nice. Doesn't seem to have a very shady present. Poss. too close?
  • Candidate Number Two. Positives: Definitely a villain. Negatives: Almost repulsive. Might be nasty rather than roguish. Slight possibility of kidnap + brainwashing.
Laria put the list away. Not going to get any further with that today. She looked around her quarters and frowned. Cia had expansive, beautiful quarters. And Laria had quarters that looked like she didn't have enough belongings and anyway was only going to be here for a short time.

There was only one thing for it. Another list.
  1. Get larger quarters. (Speak to Cia?)
  2. Move to larger quarters.
  3. Buy nice sassy things to put in quarters.
That seemed reasonable, and postponed the question of what exactly was a sassy item of furniture to a later date. 

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Daring

"What're you doing here, little girl?" A surly voice, with a hint of mockery running around the edges.

Laria frowned, and put a foot forward. "I just want to go about my..." (count 1, count 2, count 3) "...business." She flashed a smile, letting her lips part slightly and her head tip forward. "If you don't..." (count 1, count 2) "...mind."

Suddenly, she stomped her foot on the ground. "No! No no no!" She shoved her hands angrily toward her pockets, missed, and settled for clenching her fists. "It's only a count of one between "don't" and "mind"." She stomped again, for good measure.

She sighed, forcing herself to calm down. "Ok, replay scenario."

The computer displayed a countdown from 5 seconds, while Laria arranged herself back in her initial position. "Focus," she said to herself, a concentrated expression appearing on her face. Just as the countdown reached two, there was a beeping noise. "Stop scenario," she said, heading over the console. New mail! A reply to her advert. She opened it, heart beating.

Hmm.

Not... disappointing, but not cartwheels either. Still, if he had his own bar, it was a decent start. If only she could be sure he'd know the right lines.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Bio

((Here because of stupid character limit in bio))

Not every child of a family with a long tradition in a business revolts and strikes out in her own direction, pursuing her dteams. Even if that's what her family want her to do.

The Ravens have been miners for generations. First as part of the Rowan Mining Corporation, and then, for the last one hundred years, as an independant, the Raven Mining company.

Laria's parents wanted something better, or at least something other, for their only daughter. An actress, perhaps. Or a famous scientist or lawyer or politician. Anything but another miner, infatuated with the lucky strike, desperately seeking the mother lode.

Blood tells, though, and after having qualified for entrance to the University of Caille in secret, Laria set out as an independent miner herself, making her own way in the world she's been immersed in since childhood.

After a few months, her application was accepted by Eve University, where she studied, learnt and flew around with just a few dozen of her closest friends, until itchy feet and a sense of closure caused her to look around and move on.

Drawn to Re-Awakened Technologies Inc by a curious case of hero worship, she applied and was accepted. The year and a half that followed was more or less a happy one, despite the object of her hero worship not really being present. It was during her time with Re-Awakened that, after a meeting in a bar that a corp-mate was caretaking, she started dating the notorious (EDIT: EVIL DUMPING) pirate Vincent Pryce.

A short time later, her heart well and truly broken, she was single again.

After a year and a half in Re-Awakened, she struck out with a few others and helped form the corporation "Stormcrows", moving to Caldari space.

Although not a loyalist corp, over time, it became obvious to her and others that she wasn't the perfect fit there. She showed signs of boredom, including an ill-advised affair with (NAME REMOVED - TOO EMBARRASSING - LZR). It was in a chance encounter between her Stabber cruiser and his large gatecamp that Laria met with Vince again.

What he said to her, or showed her, is unknown, but in a shock move, Laria repudiated the empires and, leaving Stormcrows, joined the Angel Cartel loyalist corp Utopian Research Independent Experimental Laboratories (URIEL). Whatever she's doing there, it appears not to involve much time with rocks and strip mining lasers.

Courtship

The project seemed to be proceeding nicely, Laria decided, taking a gentle sip from her glass of "Pator Number One" and screwing up her face in disgust. That was definitely less awful than last time. In only a few days, she might even have acquired sufficient of a taste of it to not have to spit it out almost immediately.

She did, this time.

So. She had a sassy stance, and a good walk. She was learning to drink an appropriate drink. This was all going very well indeed. What next?

She looked around her quarters, her gaze returning to the large poster of Evanda Char. What did she /do/?

Well. There was the space-spanning, love-hate complex relationship thing. There. That was a thing to do. An epic, world-shaking love affair.

Who with? Laria bit her bottom lip. It had to be someone not... smelly. With a hint of elegance, or at least... she waved a hand, communicating with nobody in particular. With at least /some/ sophistication. And a vocabulary.

No. Nobody. Nobody came to mind. So. She would need to advertise.

Idealistic adventurerss seeks urbane sophisticate with roguish streak for universe-spanning epic. Must bring own drones.


Nearly. But not quite.

Sassy idealistic adventuress seeks urbane sophisticate with roguish streak for universe-spanning epic. Must bring own drones.


There. That was worth risking another mouthful of "Pator Number One" to celebrate.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Barter

Laria was nervous. The noise from the stationside bar leaked through the hatch ahead, almost forcing her back to her quarters. The 'Appy 'Ole was hardly the roughest bar in the universe, but it was significantly more... lively... than the refined wine bars of her previous experience. She took a deep breath, marshalling her thoughts. The bruises on her shins were a testament to the hours of practice she had put into her sassy walk. She thought she had it down pat now. She'd prepared her drink order in advance - nothing would make this go wrong more quickly than her staring blankly at the drinks and mumbling about Quafe, and then she really would have to run back to her quarters and lock herself in and never ever...

Breathe. 

Chin up. Shoulders back. 

Laria strode through the door, glanced around with what she hoped... no, squash that... glanced around nonchalantly and headed for the bar. She leant against it, resting her hand on her hip, one knee slightly bent, just like she practiced. "Straight Pator Number One," she ordered. A tough drink. The barman slid it across the polished metal surface, and Laria managed to react just in time, catching it before it fell off the edge. Close. She knocked it back, and slapped the cup back onto the bar.

Her mouth exploded into a ball of fire. This was horrid! Horrid and painful. She clamped her jaw shut, calling on all her self-control. Tears, unwanted, escaped from the corners of her eyes. A guy stood up, walked towards her. This was it! This was the opportunity! She was going to get a chance to be sassy and cool!

And she was going to totally ruin it all by being unable to speak because her mouth was burning like she'd gulped propellant. Quick. Think! 

Laria blinked back the tears, nodded to the bartender as she pushed herself to a stand, looked at the approaching guy, winked, and headed from the bar, giving all of them a good look at her new walk.

There. That wasn't a total disaster. Laria looked at herself in the mirror, safely back in her quarters, and having rinsed and spat more times than she cared to think. She nodded, and gave a little wry grin. Hey, that looked good too. A little more practice, that was all she needed.

Wait. A gnawing fear tugged at her gut. When she'd winked at the man... prior to her stylish exit... had she winked with the correct eye?



Monday, 14 March 2011

Ambition

The concept of "sassiness", Laria decided. was one that she was still having trouble with. Mining, yes, she could do that. But somehow the hours spent in the night, her Retriever lit with the orange coruscating light of her strip miners, as potentially enthralling as they were, didn't quite seem... well... "Sassy".

Nor did getting assault frigates destroyed, she thought ruefully. That was getting to be a habit, and one she needed to get over in a hurry. Eva wouldn't have thought getting blown up was sassy.

Laria blinked, rapidly. Yes. The outgoing CEO of Re-Awakened Technologies. One of the reasons she had sought out the corporation. /That/ was what it meant to be sassy.

Two hours later, the previously bare wall of her quarters was covered in a near-lifesize poster of Evanda Char in what Laria had judged to be her "sassiest" pose. Well. She still wasn't quite sure what that meant, but Eva at least looked jaunty. Stuck over the bottom of the poster was a note, which read "Be like this!".

Laria posed in front of the mirror. No, that just looked awkward. She shifted. That was no good either, it looked like she had hip pain. One more try. Yes. That was better. Slight undertones of "needing the facilities", but it would do for a base. Provided she didn't have to move. Still, she ticked off "Stand sassily" on her datapad to-do list. Next was "Walk sassily."

Friday, 25 February 2011

OOC: Space Girl


My Mama told me I should never venture into space
But I did, I did, I did
She said no Terran girl could trust the Martian race
But I did, I did, I did
A rocket pilot asked me on a voyage to go
And I was so romantic I couldn't say no
that he was just a servo robot how was I to know?
But I did, I did, I did
She told me never venture out among the asteroids
But I did, I did, I did
She said the milky way was something to avoid
But I did, I did, I did
She said that venus was too hot and saturn not much fun
And bug-eyed monsters tended to be just a trifle dumb
She said i'd need a blaster and I'd need a freezer gun
And I did, I did, I did.
My mama told me never trust a space engineer
But I did, I did, I did.
She said freefall and superdrive would surely cost me dear
And they did, they did, they did.
I've been as far in hyperspace as anybody can
I've travelled through the timewarp in a cycloplan
They say a gal must travel for to find her superman
And I did, I did, I did.
(E. MacColl)

Eliza Carthy/The Imagined Village version on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w7ZgShUIfQc

I want to make an EVE version!!

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Victory

There.

Laria inspected it carefully, prodding at it with an implement. It seemed to be roughly the right dimensions this time. And it was soft, and sprung back after she'd poked it. She sniffed. It smelled pretty good!

She took a step back, cocking her head on one side, unable to prevent the smile spreading across her face. Success! She was a caker now!

Or whatever the word was. Strange customs, strange words.

It was quite large, though. It looked a fairly substantial meal. Laria went back to it and carefully cut a slice from it, marvelling at the way it crumbled around the edges. Extracting the slice from the rest of the cake was more problematic, and the top section came away from the bottom. Still, it was out, and onto the little plate.

The Gallente pilot sat down, and brought the plate towards her. She bent forward, lifted a section of the cake towards her mouth, and took a bite. That was nice! Very nice! Perhaps it could be a little less sweet, but it resembled the other cakes she'd seen, and it tasted like the other cakes she'd eaten.

Laria looked at the large cake on the table, and then around her quarters. Everything was neatly in place, stacked, classified, filed, folded, sorted. She looked back at the cake, and then around the room again.

Suddenly, it seemed a lot emptier than it had before the cake existed.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Message to me

Hello Laria, this is Laria speaking.

Not quite sure why I decided to record a vid-message. It could have been audio only and you could have set up a mirror.

Maybe you don't think that's funny. I do.

Maybe you're sitting there laughing at me. It's difficult to know what pronoun to use. Maybe we're both "I". Maybe you're "you" and you think I'm "you".

Confusing.

I just wanted to leave a message for myself. For there to be some link between me now and me after that wasn't just flesh and blood and some shared quarters.

Maybe you won't care about ships and crew as much as I do. Maybe you won't care about Re-Awakened, about making a good impression, the way I do. I don't know if you're /me/. Or someone else.

And there's only going to be an hour between me recording this and you listening. And I don't know how different I'm going to be. Are we the same person at all? Maybe we'll be the same and it really is just a bit here and a bit there. Or maybe we won't be, and we weren't last time and the fact that I didn't record who I was just covers up how much I changed.

I've been learning to bake cake. Keep doing that, me.

We sacrifice a lot. We get great rewards in return. But with cloning, with this psychological reprogramming... who am I? Who are you?

Try to work on that, a bit, even if you don't care. I do.

Good luck, anyway, Laria.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

New Challenges

It couldn't be that hard, Laria thought, scanning through the instructions on her datapad. It was certainly no harder than refining, and she was good at that - taking raw materials and processing them into something more useful. It didn't even seem as complicated as fabricating modules, and she'd done that in her early training at the University of Caille. With a flick of a finger, she sent the order off for the basic materials, and was rewarded with the chime that indicated their delivery.
Some time later, the fabrication unit beeped to indicate that the unit had been completed. With anticipation, Laria opened the door and carefully removed the finished item. Setting it down on a work surface, she peered at it.
Was it supposed to be black? And wasn't it supposed to be thicker? More... fluffy? She prodded it with an implement. It was supposed to be soft and springy, according to the instructions, but this was hard and crackly - shattering as she poked at it.
Laria stamped a foot in frustration. This was important - important to her and to her new corporation - and it had clearly gone badly wrong. She would never understand this cake thing at all.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

The High Cost Of Living

The last of the armour cladding the Celestis Electronic Warfare Cruiser gave out with a crack that echoed throughout the hull, followed immediately a long, rolling, groan as the structure itself started to absorb punishment. The pilot, Laria Raven, in her capsule, abandoned her attempts to align the ship for warpout, and triggered the evacuation procedures. As the systems of the Celestis wailed a requiem, Laria's pod ejected. She watched the teardrop escape boats peel away from the disintegrating cruiser... one... two... the final one detached and the pilot released the breath she'd been holding. That exhalation was stopped as a stray missile, from friend or foe, she couldn't tell, slammed into the final boat, destroying it in an instant. Laria let out something halfway between a shout and a scream...

And woke up, covered in sweat, in her bunk, in her quarters, tucked safely into the side of the University section at the Pator Technical School in Aldrat. Third night. This one had hit her worse than the other losses, perhaps because the Celestis crew had been with her for a while. There were some pilots who ignored their crew entirely, pretended they didn't exist. There were others who seemed to take the loss of them with less concern than they did the loss of the isk needed to replace the ship. There were times Laria envied them.

But she couldn't be like that. Couldn't ignore the people she worked in such proximity to. She didn't socialise, but she knew them. Knew their names, their faces. They knew her. In the main, she'd noticed, they seemed to regard her as existing halfway between a goddess and a mascot. At the moment, she didn't feel much like either. Just very alone and a long way from home. She slipped out from under the sheet, and walked over to the console, bringing up the latest document. If sleep was denied her, then there were other things to do.

Dear Ms. Hilfwin. It is with deep regret that I write to tell you of the death of your son, Amuld, lost when the escape boat he was on board was destroyed during action against criminals in the Hagilur system. Amuld had served with me with distinction for four months, and will be sadly missed both by me and his fellow crewmates, with whom he was both popular and liked.


There is little that I can say to compensate you for his loss, other than that he was doing something that both he and I believed was necessary and for the good of the Minmatar people and humanity in general.


With sympathy,


Pilot Laria Raven.

80% of it was doing what was necessary. 20% of it, given that she was in the university, was training. Training her. 20% of fifty deaths. Ten human beings died for her training.

Too many.

She'd learnt a lot. An awful lot. And it was not time wasted. But to go on learning. Training. That /would/ be time wasted. And lives wasted.

Time to move on, then. Time to find something that would be 100% needed and wanted and necessary.