30 January 2009

January Blog Banter: Opportunity or Burden?

Ah, goodie, there is a Blog Banter this month. I do not really know how it works, do I need an invite? I will be inviting myself anyway, and out of character at that.

Firstly, hi Manasi, nice to meet you!

Manasi asks “How do we, EVE bloggers, adapt to changes as they are thrust upon us (speed changes, no more ghost training, all the dev blogs, etc), or as our lives make playing the game different (more time, less time)?”

Quoting from some of my favorite SF series (you get to guess which two), "you can see it as a burden, or as an opportunity." And it is not coincidence, it's fate: changes will always bring a new edge, that you can use -how? It will depend on what you do.

For me, a woman of market, racing and roleplay-lite, I choose to see change as a good thing.

It begins when the change is announced. It is always nice if it is announced, because then you can prepare. CCP will say:
Stuff is going to change, blah blah blah, the following modules are going to suck, and there shall be cool new internet spaceships to play around with.
This means I have to study. If some modules are going to suck, then which ones are going to rock? What are the new spaceships? Where will the blueprints sell? So, step #2 is to follow the news, read other people's blogs (Kirith Kodachi's for example) or to follow the advice of better informed friends (hi demon!). I even logged into Sisi once, because I wanted to know how speed changes would kill my polycardboard-rigged ships.

Then, have a plan, prepare for the change. Scheme, think new tactics, buy modules, stock up on the market (you do not need to be able to fly that battleship to buy it low before and sell it high after...). Go meet the Thukkers, 'cause they are going to have Nomad implants in a few months; get LP with the Sisters. Make new friends in the vicinity of the new regions you want to explore. Go take a snapshot at silly speeds before they slow down. Do your last gate ganks (hi Lucas!). Train skills up so you can drive an Orca, or overheat, or get stoned with the new boosters as soon as they are available.

When the big day comes, regardless of you planning or not, things will be messy but promising. You still have an edge and it will depend on how fast you adapt. Market PvP will be crazy for a few days, but there is lots of ISK there. People out in space will be learning for a few more days, you can spook them with the new scrambler super-powers. So if you are first to market, or first out the dock with the new stuff, you have that edge. Go use and abuse and enjoy it!

Finally, some of the best is the RP that comes with changes. OOC I had a blast reading the news when Empyrean Age was done, IC I was worried sick about my parents in Lumi while I was stranded with the Thukkers, of all people. It was up to CCP to bomb the planet they lived in, they didn't so they lived; I did not join FW, went peacenik instead and since then I have IC-tried to talk my friends out of the war. Lots of RP fun, to see the patriots not figure out what to make of your politics. Speed nerf was tricky, you can't really explain it well in IC.

I guess what I am trying to say, changes bring outside influences to your character. Use them, go with the flow and, if you are daring enough, let the world make decisions for you and then play with the consequences. Come to think about it, the same goes for the modules and ships - outside influences, go with the flow and play with the consequences.

So there, I choose to see change as an opportunity to plan, play and roleplay.

Curtsy, end of banter. Cheers!

Updated: forgot to mention RealLife(tm), but I guess the same applies. Best is when RL changes announce themselves so you can plan, play and roleplay. I once went on vacation to Lag-Lag Land; in the weeks before that we linked with another race team and started to covertly cooperate -imagine Ferrari and McLaren together- so by the time I was away and my season ruined, my team still did OK thanks to Kay. And then we went with the flow, eventually RPing a merger.

Now as for life-changing RealLife(tm) events, like the "Credit Crunch" expansion and RL consequences, I'm ready. I will let you know.

Curtsy, end of banter. Really ;)

28 January 2009

Vroom, vroom

Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines!

We finally got our act together and racing season 7 is about to begin! If you look at the right hand side of this page, the racing calendar should be filling up with the dates, and later with the race locations.

Some interesting stuff this time around:

Rumour has it, Takashi is coming back. He is the Interceptors twice-Champion of S4 and S5 and the cornerstone of the VRT team. The only time anyone beat them was when Takashi stopped racing in S6.

My team, Scuderia Dragonstar, is going very strong and we are ready to defend our S6 win.

No news about Cristina. She is that Sansha girl that shows up a couple of races per season, wins each one in a ship that is supposed to be the opposite of fast, then goes away. Freaky.

We are going to ask for trophies, again. This is silly, if you ask SCC they point you to CONCORD, talk to CONCORD and they say ISD, talk to ISD and, you guessed it... SCC. WE WANT REAL TROPHIES!

Still some changes to come, I think with scores. We will see what happens.

There may be a pre-season race on 1 Feb for rookies to have fun with the vets and learn the moves. Maybe, maybe not -too close.

Party on 8 February 111 at the "Daredevil's Lounge" in-game chat channel. We are starting the season in style!

Update: party has been pushed until 15 February 111. Better avoid being pre-empted by the Alliance tournament, n'est-ce pas?

27 January 2009

I, Clone: Part 1

Welcome Back

The man in the vat stirred as a mash of memories made its way through his subconscious -darkness, scuffle, yelling, people, dark, alley. Clone restoration was supposed to be an everyday procedure, but this one was different -death, sadness, goodbye, team, Victory. Something did not quite fit -reborn, determination, friends, justice. He opened his eyes and could see shapes beyond the vat -sun, fiancée, allure, academy, slave, amarr. Detecting his distress, the vat mercifully shut him off.

Upload: 10% complete. It would take an entire month.

"How do you feel?" asked a soft voice.

He croaked, and was surprised at the sound of his own voice. Trying again, he managed to answer "like shit."

"Good! It means that we are feeling something, and it also means that we are on our way to recovery."

His head hurt and every single part of his body ached. His ears whistled, his head floated in the air, things moved slowly while his own mind was a mess of hastily arranged memories. His brain was tired, as if he had spent a couple of centuries awake. He opened his eyes.

She saw his confused look. "You have to sleep, hon. You are allright and will get better but, right now, you are very tired and we must get you some rest."

What had happened? His thoughts changed faster than he could chase them. He looked at her, then looked around, dazed. With some effort, he could actually focus enough on his surroundings. He was lying in bed in a white room, the nurse standing at his side -how was that side called, right or left?- medical equipment in the room, monitors, subdued beeps pummeling his ears, a door in that corner. A lab coat standing at his side, with a man inside... he looked back at the nurse, attempted a smile but failed.

But she did smile back, and that sweet smile would become his first memory for quite a while. Hello Sugar...

The Coat spoke "I am Dr. Kraak, this is Nurse Martens. First of all, you are in good hands and will make a full recovery. Can you tell us your name?"

The patient looked at him, blankly. Name? Name, name, namenamename... He looked at Sugar, then back at Coat. He had not studied that. That, that was forgotten, irrelevant, lost... But this was an important question, a test of character. He did not want to fail. He focused, then something was on the tip of his tongue. Ken.

"Ken... dar. Ken, dar, Zek. Am Kendar Zek"

The Coat smiled widely "Excellent! Congratulations on a miraculous restoration." He nodded to Sugar who, relieved, entered a code into the bed monitor.

As the patient felt the warm embrace of sedatives, he heard one last thing before falling asleep.

"Welcome back, Mr. Zek."

26 January 2009

Political rant

I once met a man from Amarr,
in the strangest of places - a bar,
they served him a beer,
he replied with a sneer:
"I would rather look from afar."

I met a very interesting person the other night at the Daredevil's Lounge, a commander with the Amarr militia who was with a friend of mine. She shall remain unnamed, for now.

Pleasantries and unpleasantries were exchanged. She sort of made it a point to be rude to almost everyone else in there -she seems to be so very in touch with her phobias. Anyway, things settled down a bit and we had a chance to lament together the killing of innocents, toast to peace and keep chatting.

Eventually conversation went back to politics, onto the "chosen ones," and how it is the natural order of things for one to serve one's betters, yadda yadda yadda, how everyone has his place in God's plan, and how in a couple of centuries everyone will be happy, or else. You know, the typical Holder rant, but the rude version. So I told her how I totally understood that, and that tale about the chosen ones. I think that took her by surprise. The thing is, I truly think some people are chosen and that she is one of them. And it makes me feel so sad for her...

I mean, you go girl. Stand up. Be chosen. Let whoever is in charge tell what to do, you little lemming...

Objects are chosen. If someone wants to pretend she is a chosen cabbage, sitting on the premium shelf looking down on the hydroponics and telling them what to do, I don't really mind. But to push people around and be rude because they won't play veggie with them? It is so difficult to understand, to feel proud of being a thing.

Me? I will be over there with the "choosy ones," any time. I told her, see, where I come from, people from different worlds, with different stories to tell, skills to sell and goals so dissimilar... these people stick together because they choose to, every day. Not because someone is sticking a gun to their face.

That's what makes my people exceptional -our diversity and the fact that we have chosen a common destiny. We may have our differences, but that's what happens to discerning adults who make choices - they do not agree every single time. But the day -and there have been days- when we speak with a single voice? Run for the hills...

Chosen ones? Pffft. Beware the choosy ones.

Anyhow, even if she did not seem to listen I must confess I sort of enjoyed it. How... different. I wonder if I will be meeting her again.

22 January 2009


There is something about the hustle and bustle once you land planetside. This is so especially true in Minmatar worlds...

We were going to the beach.

During the shuttle ride from station down to one of the beautiful Mioar islands in Pator, I had managed to leave my handbag behind. It was likely to be delivered at the hotel anyhow, but that would take hours and, no way I was going to wait inside. So it was off to the small market to get some basics!

The market, a collection of houses on stilts, was a short walk away from the hotel but an entire world apart. It was totally not the aluminium-clean feel of a station, nor was it held together by duct tape; it did not have that phony plastic feeling of the many foreign-owned hotels around. It was real, in its smoky, noisy, messy way, it was totally real. And, real people too, hurrying here and there, letting you know with their elbows that you are on the way, or with their pickpocketing fingers that you have too much money.

Anyhow, no handbag? No problem.

Seafood here -how could there not be?- a row of 'restaurants,' each one roughly the size of your closet. "iced tea, iced tea, would you like some iced tea?" (let me tell you it is not tea and definitely not iced -it is just their way of selling moonshine without a permit. Not that anyone cares anyway.)

Souvenirs of all kinds, wooden, plastic, you name it; relics "this is one of the last remaining from before the Amarr came! Two for one ISK!" hats for the sun that were such a big hit with us foreigners, tannin pills -got my own, thankyouverymuch. And sunglasses, that is what I was after.

"Get you rule-100 sunglasses here! Get your rule-100... lady, how about the coolest sunglasses you have ever worn?"

You have to admit, if there is one icon for the Brutor people from Mioar, it's got to be the sunglasses. It is not just the cartoons and the movies, not the stereotype, it's... it's real! Half of them wear sunglasses even inside and they do look cool. There is something to be said for a people that has lived under the sun since forever: they do know their shades.

But "rule-100?" That was new to me, I visited often and made it a point to get my shades from places like this. I asked the kid, what rule-100 was about.

He looked at me with a mix of surprise and pity, as if I were the village idiot or something. "Ya kidding me? Rule #100, look very cool in sunglasses! Everyone knows that!"

So I decided not to ask any more silly questions, lest I officially became the village idiot. He just threw his head back and laughed, then proceeded to show me his 'officially endorsed' merchandise. Finally, I saw these and fell in love with them...

So here is a holo from the beach with my rule-100's. Wish you were there!

Ship Profile: A Wing and a Prayer

Name: A Wing and a Prayer
Class: T1 Frigate
Manufacturer: Amarr Imperial Navy
Top Speed: 11.9 km/s (pre-nerf)
Warp Speed: 6 AU/s
Align time: 1.2 s
Service: ISGC Seasons 3 (University of Caille), Season 4 (loan to Venture Racing Team)
Status: Lost 5 November 113, racing
Freaky fact: Was part of a subtle revenge plan, called off

The first thing many will point out, yes it is an Amarrian frigate. So what? Well, it is not like the craftmanship compares to a Roden or a Duvolle ride. Amarr Navy? No leather lined passenger seats, little or no ergonomics, some of the trimmings are really, ew, utilitarian like that one handle, or the odd ugly service hatch in plain sight. Zero luxury. Nor does it have the raw engine power on a Boundless or any other Minmatar ship. Can't fit a nice egonics system, even the basic sound system on a Caldari ship will kill the CPU dead on mine; flap, I can't even chat on local without having navi problems.

And you know what? Whatever!

This one is mine mine mine and I love her. Look at her, a golden, shiny, beautiful arrowpoint. Built for speed. A Wing and a Prayer, she is called and... can you see the wing logo on the right side? The name was a good idea at the time, and I still think so. A mix of raw speed and fragile beauty.

See here, the Ammy Navy got a couple of things right. Totally right. The ship herself is very fast, and very light to begin with. Now the armor has been removed in so many places to install racing stuff - you can see the holes and some electronics right inside - yes that is the work of our UC boffins. They took their time to patch her back and in the meantime, I had to race a sieve. Also, there is so much polycardboard inside that you can probably push her around by hand. She has been altered and tweaked so much that by now, she is as close to an interceptor as she can get, while still being T1. She thinks she is an inty, I swear. Did you know she can beat an Ares in a series of short jumps? Of course the Ares will win on the long ones, but still, wicked riding...

The point is, she is the fastest racing frigate, ever. I flew her mostly during season 3 of the ISGC racing league and we won the T1 championship :D We won every single race we flew together... except that exhibition we lost to Tak on season 5 with the navi error. And the S6 one we lost to Kay, on the long jumps. My bad, 'cause she? She is perfect!

21 January 2009


Dear diary:

I found a magnetometric site in high-sec last week. It sucked.

Never again. Never...

(Come on, ISK 80K in stupid loot does not even cover the expense and time it took to find).

19 January 2009

Lagged in Odotte

Somewhere in Odotte. University of Caille Campus Station.
Season 4. Two hours before ISGC race 10.

Locked, scrambled and webbed...

The man continued. "... and so, Miss Delorois, it is important to understand that this is now a team effort. This is no longer about personal ego..."

No, no no no... far worse than scrambled and webbed... Can't run, can't shoot, can't even complain for God's sake!

So I sat still in the chair and smiled. Doctor Juvaan Vesper, PhD, head of the Astronautics Department at the University of Caille, a methodic workhorse, devil of the details, an unstoppable force, had agreed to help out on our little project that season. The University racing team was going pro: Professor Ryder of UC Business School would contribute funds, blueprints, media and PR, Dr. Vesper and UC Astronautics would bring in the technical talent. I had somehow agreed to be caught in between.

And right then... I was finding out exactly how unstoppable Dr. Vesper could be...

"... find that things need to be a little different... the department trains some of the finest minds in the Federation, and we must take care to teach them well... failure to follow proper procedures... terrible mistake... this work represents an excellent opportunity for them... a real-life situation for extra credit"

Oh, come ON! I just want to race the thing, not understand it! Gimme my ship!

Doc Vesper was, of course, the right choice. He ran the Laboratoire Astronautique Gallentoise and his team of undergraduates was better than appearances would suggest, one of the very best. His garagistes worked on everything and anything: mining research, bike repairs, technology concepts for the Navy, pod modifications, airco, whatever you could think about. Also, he knew people, had contacts. I mean, not that people would actually seek him for a chat -oh gosh, no- but he could certainly get his hands on some pretty rare items. Maybe people gave him stuff to make him go away?

Maybe if I give him something he will let me go.

That was it. But what? Looking around his office for inspiration, nothing came to mind. Books, including a copy of Dr. Ishiguro's "Speed," unfinished papers, electronics. A photo of a much younger Doc Vesper, standing proudly with this ancient guy -his dad? grandpa?- in a workshop.

Others were trapped in the office with me, they were coping in their own fashion by either faking interest or discreetly snoozing, but I was the focus of attention while Vesper talked and talked. And talked. No wonder his own people called him 'Lags' behind his back, he could probably make a stone fall asleep. And then talk some more.

That's it! "Would you like some coffee, Doctor Vesper?" I interrupted, still smiling.

"Uh, good idea. Miss Ducasse, one cup with no sugar if you please?" Gina jumped off her seat "I will bring some for everyone..."

No, no, no! -I saw my chance walk away and just knew she was not coming back; I would have done the same- Run, Gina, save yourself!

Doc turned back to me. "You do not seem to understand. Let me explain how this works. While under the care of our team, this is not your ship; it is our ship. We will exercise all due..."

Explain?! Again?!? Kill me, please. Kill. Me. Now.

Time went on. I could hear him talking but I was no longer really listening. It was so hard to stay tuned, with things moving slower and slower and his monologue going on, I could make out individual words but no longer understood the meaning of it all. My eyelids were heavy. I nodded once in a while and responded with a polite "mmhm" or "I understand," just to show I was there.

But I was not. I was free. -We can fly- I was already reviewing the upcoming race in my mind. -We have wings- Sinq Laison, would we race through Rancer again? -We can touch floating dreams- I needed to be quick on my wings. -Call me from... so far...

"Miss Delorois?"

Everyone was looking at me. Had he asked a question? Merde. I gambled my sinking heart on a safe answer - "Yes?"

He did not skip a beat. "As I said, your ship is ready."

"My... ship?"

He looked at the time. "Being fifty-eight minutes to the race start, it is not our ship. It is your ship now."

I got up, thanked him politely and walked to the door. I am free!

"And, Catherine?"

Uh-oh... "Yes?"

"Be careful out there."

"I will. Thank you."

What do you know. He is human after all...

The holo rang. "Lags, was that really necessary?" "Hello, Ryder. What do you mean?" "Do you really have to lecture her like that? She is not one of your guys, you know..." "I know, but in case you have not noticed, she is not the type to be driven by a regular pep talk." "Was that your version of a pep talk?" "If it works, then yes. Look out your own window and tell me when you see her undock." "Actually, she went by a moment ago." "Well, that makes it under seven minutes. That is the fastest anyone has ever bolted out of my office and into space. I think she is going to do great this race."

14 January 2009


Child's play. Is that what people call simple stuff? Sure, as you grow up is becomes easier. But for children, nothing further from the truth: it is serious stuff. For some of them, child's play may mean competition, for others maybe mastery of some art. For a few, child's play is a way to reach out. Because then, you don't play alone...

"Warp speed?"

"Thirteen point five."

"Ha, ha, twenty-two. Gimme."

The Owi card? thought Kena, ouch, I did not see that coming...

The thin sebiestor girl handed over her card with a sad expression on her face. Five more and I am out, she thought.

The other two boys playing with her in the garden, under Eram's warm sunlight, laughed. One of them, Rom, came from a warrior clan. His ancestors had been to all the Republic's wars and maybe all before; many brave Captains had carried his name before him, who knew, maybe all the way back to prehistory. At age 8 and the heir to a proud tradition of ass-kicking, Rom was all about winning. Which in his case meant enjoying seeing others lose.

"I am so going to kick your ass!"

Norri, the son of the local Shaman, was already out of the game. He quipped, "Maybe she will still beat you. That'd be cool." The look he got back from Rom was worth the entire card pack he had just lost, so he would not be going back home defeated. Empty-handed, but not defeated.

"Top speed?"

Kena braced for the inevitable. Five cards and, on top of the stack, one of her favourites was next. As things were going, it was time to say bye-bye... "Eight."

"Uh, seven? You are cheating, let me see!"

Silence. Stunned, she showed him the card: Kayleigh Jamieson, Dragonstar Team Captain. The Kay card. Now I have six again.

As if reading her mind, Rom replied, "OK, your lucky but you are still losing today, Ke-ke. Your turn."

Norri just grinned - he had a good hunch about what was going to happen. He knew all the cards by heart, he had been looking at them for an entire semester. He knew the numbers. He did not enjoy the game of late, not as much as he enjoyed predicting its outcome. He made a bet to himself, and smiled.

Kena looked at the next card. Not today, you bully, not losing today. Had it been Rom's turn, she could have lost it and the game. As it were, it was not his turn... and she knew exactly what to do.

"Gating time."

"Uh, gating time? Who does gating time? These are all the same! I will let you pick another."

Rom knows, haha, oh yes he knows. "Gating. Time."

"Fifteen seconds."

"Twelve. By the way, this one got a special ability: Venture Train!"

Rom's tanned face went red beneath, as he went silent and started counting his cards.

The coolest thing about the Venture Racing Team was its sheer size, and that it had so many great cards. The worst thing about Venture was its size, and that it was vulnerable to this one card. If you had Takashi Kurosawa, their best racer, the special ability allowed you to win any round of Venture cards from the other players, and again and again and again, until a non-Venture card popped up. Like a train. If someone else had Takashi and you had many Venture cards lined up... you were in trouble.

And Rom's cards were all lined up. He finished counting... "thirteen, fourteen, fifteen. There you go." And the game was not fun to him anymore.

Kena suppressed a smile. There is no point in making him any angrier. Oh, but the game had just become interesting. Maybe a little angrier is OK.

"My turn, again. Mass?"

Rom had an assault frigate racer and then two more cards. Not that it mattered. He went ballistic, "You are playing the slaver card, you cheat! I told you guys, no slavers! Those are the rules!"

Norri saw his cue, he would have to get the grown-ups to fix this. Again.

"Uh, this is not a slaver?" She showed him the card with the red-head, "see, Gallente, Scuderia Caille? Hello? Not a slaver!"

"She is! She like, grew up in the Empire and races their ships. My dad says that only two kinds of people who ever live in the Empire: slavers and slaves. She is a slaver! Cheat! You cheat!"

"Is not! Take it back!"

"Is too!"

Cards flew up in the air.

09 January 2009

Speed Fairy was Here

So there I was, learning to drive a CovOps ship.

My first CovOps, the Voilà, was an older Helios model, you know, when they made the Helios off the sleek Maulus hull. Denise from UC had taught me how to drop scan probes and I was happily scanning away in Tash to see how this worked. After a few tries and going from system to system, I finally found what exploration was all about.


Then in Nehkiah, just when I was about to turn back and call it a day -or was it to reprocess the ship and the probes?- a hit. I had found a Bantam-class frigate. Now, a Bantam may not be much to many of you but, to the rookie explorer I was, it meant the world. So I warped.

And the frigate was there. I had found him, pinpointed his safespot and landed right on his face, cloaked! I was so very proud of myself. And then I noticed... it was abandoned. Not only had I found him, but the ship would be mine, mwahaha!

So, being the cautious girl that I am, I bookmarked, docked at a nearby station and came back in my pod to, ahem, retrieve the treasure. I took the ship and docked right back. My preciouss. Inside the station I hopped out of the pod and looked at the wonderful loot that exploration had yielded: a T1-fitted mining Bantam. Nothing in the cargohold.

I repeat. An empty, T1-fitted mining Bantam.

Someone had thought that cheap, awful rag valuable enough to leave hidden in a safespot. Clearly, someone else needed help so much more than myself. Something had to be done.

I had a hangar in station with stuff, so I called an inventory screen. I rummaged through the list until I found brand versions of the stuff he had fitted, mining laser, cargo expanders, scanners. I fitted them but thought, maybe the poor thing can't even fly the ship like this? so I put his T1 modules back, the brand ones in the cargohold and went back once more to the bookmark, to put the ship back. And before ejecting one last thing remained to be done: renaming the ship.

Speed Fairy was Here

It felt good.

05 January 2009

Hi, I am Catherine Delorois and I am a racer

(Sorry about that, haha, I guess I just had to do it ;-)

My friends call me Quintrala or just Quin.

I graduated from the University of Caille Business School with the class of 108 and, two years on, I am having a blast in space. I am still at UC doing graduate study on the rest of the stuff like, shooting straight, flying fast, research, also being captain of the University racing team -I will tell you all about that later- and trading here and there. Running, mostly, but definitely not in a hurry to join the corporate world outside...

Before? I was a "diplo-brat," we moved with dad's posts outside the Fed here and there so I have been around. I grew up in Matar -born there, actually- and Amarr space -teen hell if you ask me- and can still speak some of the local dialects. Mbae tekó, chera'a? Mom & dad are retired and well (no, they have not been mercilessly murdered by pirates - although I would strangle them myself sometimes) and living at a nice safe distance.

I like people and fun. Love the colour red, things that red-shift -things that go very very fast for you doppler-blind,- fast bikes, fast cars, fast spaceships, slow food (Achura food, mmm), fine wine. Red, please, or maybe a glass of Auvergne. Planetside? An occasional holoflick or an interesting read, dancing, biking, open water diving, skiing, sightseeing, meeting interesting people.

And now? Blogging. I read other people's blogs, capsuleers mostly, drop a note or two once in a while and, well, it is about people and fun! Why not try it myself?

So here I go. Happy 111 everyone, and see you around! -Q