Yesterday I inadvertently got involved in a lore quandry. Whether by the wicked auspices of paracetamol and decongestant or by the sheer boredom that was the illness enforced non-combat role, I found myself captivated by the question of the odd cylindrical feature on the Zephyr. I wondered if the same Intaki polymath, Valsas en Dilat, was involved in the creation of the new Sisters of EVE cruiser, the Stratios. I reached out to Rhavas and Mark726 via the ever trusty Twitter, seemingly the linchpin of the EVE community. They revealed that Dilat was a character of some infamy and at some point player controlled. They pointed me at an article which didn't reveal much but which left a teaser at the end: an abandoned research project in 3-IN0V. Gulp. Nullsec. I have no real Nullsec skills yet. I've done a little exploring, taken a few shortcuts and come to a sticky end once or twice. I need to go out there more and yet view the place with some trepidation. Bombs and Bubbles! Insta-death!
Two factors work in my favour. Firstly 3-IN0V is in Syndicate which can not only be fairly sleepy in the UK morning hours, but is also near my home system of Barleguet (Braves reading this : I'll be back out shooting soon, honest. More on that in another post.). In fact 3-IN0V is only 9 jumps away. Secondly the Interceptor rebalance made them able to ignore warp bubbles. I'm trained to IV in Interceptors and have a Taranis docked and almost ready to go. Looks like breakfast entertainment is sorted. It'll give me something to do while I get a mix of olive oil and tea tree oil into my ear canal. It might help the mild infection that is swimmers ear but it makes you smell like a hippys bathroom. Yep, not just got a cold.
In Barleguet I hastily load up the Taranis with bits and bobs. I'm a little shy on ammo but this is a recce so I'm warp stabbed and probably won't get up to much. I fling a few things in the hold as an afterthought. The game is on the minute I undock into a small cloud of Goons. "Punch it Chewie" I mutter, the story driven mission awakening the barely dormant Star Wars fan within. I warp off safely and engage in a few minutes of comedy where I realise just how bloody fast Interceptors are. I blow through a bubble and through a system where Rote Kapelle have something going on. I note that for later reference. There is a name in local that I recognise.
The last three systems are devoid of capsuleers, as is the final destination. Lucky. I get to nose around in peace. On arrival in the system I can instantly see the Abandoned Research Project on the overview. There is nothing on DScan. I warp over to the Project giddily, forgetting my usual caution. It's not abandoned entirely. Serpentis are there. A couple of Battlecruisers and a couple of Battleships. Now, I've been killing Serpentis since day one of my EVE career. I doubt they'll let me just look around. I hastily warp out to the sun, dropping a bookmark along the way which I promptly warp back to. Hanging in space I dig out one of the things I brought with me. A Mobile Depot. Given a minute to anchor it allows me to refit my warp stabilisers with some armor and an ancillary repairer that I also brought with me. Since there isn't a station in system this saves me precious minutes.
Back at the Project I scream in under MWD, maintaining some transversal before arcing around to shoot at the first battle cruiser. The screen fills with the lurid green light of rounds of metal superheated to plasma and magnetically launched slugs. Might as well be tracer fire to my Interceptor which slips between them with ease. I relax and launch the couple of lads I brought along for the ride, they go to work assisting my 75mm guns which might otherwise take a while to deal with ships this big. Hobgoblins. The little tinkers. Always getting into trouble. I'm packing Javelin rounds. Not cost effective but higher damage. I don't have many of them. I wasn't expecting a fight. Cocky, I turn off my UI to get a better look around. "Trust in the force Luke" whispers a ghostly voice as I turn off the Overview.
I'm doing well. In under the guns they can't track me and the lads are filling in the DPS to offset the enemy repair rate while I slowly chew away at them. I turn to orbit the latter half of my opponents and make a mistake. In an instant my shields are gone. I should have manually arced around instead of hitting the orbit command. I slowed to almost nothing as I turned at range from an enemy.
Son of a bitch must pay.
I turn with a thirst on the remaining Serpentis, hurling a few insults and forgetting that I too once loved the old Space Potato hull. I cycle the armour repairer and curse the Serp' for making me waste a charge of nanites.
In the lull following the eradication of the Serpentis menace I regret that I didn't bring a salvaging module. The loot is, frankly, awful. I feel like I've robbed drug addicts rather than the drug dealers. Hey ho. Time to look around.
What's this here? Yet another cylindrical structure. A massive and partially wrecked particle accelerator. I'm no science whizz. I got my science skill kicks from mass producing T2 neutron blasters back in the day and then forgot about it when I learned that firing T2 neutron blasters was a lot more fun. I give the surrounding structures a good sweep, mindful of the early warning notice about radiation but trusting to the gold armour of the Taranis. Up close the station is obviously a wreck. There isn't anyone hiding in the "Broken Metallic Crystal Asteroid" though I wonder what use it served. I can't resist buzzing the surface and flying through the rock arch I find. Dilat isn't here, if indeed he ever was. I hang in the shadow of the rock and wait for someone to uncloak but nothing happens and an empty local is too good to be true. Time to get moving. I'll be back for a longer look at the system once I can get a Cov' Ops ship in place. I know just the pilot for that. My scanning alt, the ridiculously named Wildgun Badstar. The fool.
I set my destination for home. Good ole Barle'. I'm wondering what this all means and what I can do next. The investigation has fallen at the first hurdle. I can get a friend to ingratiate themselves with the Sisters of EVE. An afternoon trawling the Blood Stained Stars should do it. I'll see what happens there. I could buy myself a Stratios. Not a small amount of ISK involved there but it might be worth it to have a look. Again I might have to rely on a friend. Flying a Strat' near home would probably draw every devil this side of hell.
What is the mystery of the cylinder? Is the structure coincidental? Am I almost literally going round in circles? Was some stealth tech' along the lines of guided particle acceleration being researched here? Was Dilat involved? Who the hell is Dilat? Where is that blueberry muffin I was going to have for breakfast? All interesting questions to consider though I fancy I may have accidentally just trod upon the solution to the latter.
I begin the laughably rapid nine jump sequence back home, passing by the earlier name I recognised.
I chose my own adventure, out in the 'verse, checking shit out. EVE. You've got to love it, no matter your approach. Remember that. Remember that when you're missing out on, or losing, stuff for RL reasons. Remember that when EVE fails to support more players in one system than any other MMO could do. Have you used EVE? Have you paid your dues? Yes sir, the check is in the mail.
[ Apologies for the late tangent. angry responses can be directed at Steel, Sheffield, UK. Internet points for recognizing the reference he inspired me to follow ]
EVE Track of the Day
Shockingly none. Go watch this instead.