Sunday, 31 October 2010

Achtung Baby!

So I went and lost the Dramiel.

This is the second ship I've lost to a well executed BDEAL ambush. And once again I paid the price for underestimating these guys. I've got their systems bookmarked now which is some consolation, but not worth losing a faction frigate over.

Not that I'm bitter or anything, bastards.

Moving swiftly on in a brand new, and significantly cheaper interceptor, I've been encountering a few scouts from Evoke in the region, which would confirm the announcement that this German alliance previously based in Cloud Ring is coming to play in Providence.

Back when I was in The North, Evoke would regularly come roaming through Deklein in gangs of 20 to 40 sniper HACs and kick our newbie asses. This primarily due to two reasons. Firstly they were better than us, and secondly, their spies had completely infiltrated our organisations. POS passwords, intel channels, comms, you name it, they had it. Basically, they're pretty good.

So are they coming to claim sovereignty in Providence or just looking for good fights? Well, I swung by Assah earlier and did spot some Evoke and Ewoks pilots. A few transport ships came and went, so possible staging post there already, but it's too early to call just yet.

The other big news is that Pandemic Legion are disbanding, allegedly.

I have to say I'm having trouble believing it. After spearing heading the destabilization of The South, and toppling some pretty old and established alliances, I'm having trouble believing they would just sort of give up after losing a few billion in Tech III cruisers to CVA.

I don't know. Maybe they've run their course. I'm not privy to their internal narrative, so perhaps they really are all disheartened, burnt out and just plain had enough of hot dropping super-capitals in Providence for giggles.

On the other hand, their pilots are still hanging out in Assah, sharing the same station as Evoke. So the possibility that the Germans have hired them is one that's probably sending shivers down the collective spines of New Providence right about now...

One last thing to mention. I've been popping into Taz Norlonto now and then, and it's eerily silent, no sign of the Star Fraction at all. No idea where they've got to, but I came across a rather good report by Jade Constantine in the EVE forums, wherein she tells a gripping tale of guerilla warfare fought by the SF in the defence of their station. Now quite often Jade gets bogged down in rather dry idealogical arguments with her opposites, but this particular report is a good one, and well worth a read.

In the meantime, this is Rebecca Aventine somewhere in Providence, signing off.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Bat Home Sold?

So I was trawling various news sources when I happened to notice that two systems in Providence had dropped sovereignty. Previously held by Bat Phone (aka RING) these two systems lay in the former Noir Mercenary Group constellation, next door to recently acquired CVA systems.

It looked worth investigating, and since I had just refitted a second hand Dramiel, it would be a good excuse to test the Angel Cartel frigate's blockade running ability if nothing else.

Entering Providence via Dital, The Dramiel proved it's worth when I encountered a Soda-Lite (sic) gate camp looking for an easy kill. I engaged the MWD and was punched back into my pilot's seat as I accelerated out beyond their reach. A swarm of light drones trailed in my wake, unable to keep up with the sheer velocity this little frigate is capable of.

The campers promptly warped to the next choke-point ahead of me, so I took a detour off the pipe into Daisho Syndicate's constellation and had a snoop around.

It seemed fairly quiet, with perhaps a dozen or so Daisho pilots going about their business. I saw a Rapier and a Hyena on scan a few times, both ships being know for their extended Stasis Webifer range, but they didn't seem to be terribly interested in me and I returned to the main pipe without incident.

By now the way was clear, and I made rapid progress towards my destination, crossing one empty system after another, eventually coming to halt in S9X-AX.

Legio Astartes Arcanum had deployed Sovereignty Blockade Units in this CVA held system, and both the Infrastructure Hub and the Station there were reinforced with timers counting down. No doubt a storm would be coming, but for the time being everything was quiet so I moved further on.

Entering GA9P-0 I found what I had come for. A Swedish alliance known as The Kadeshi (aka THOR) had deployed a TCU, with mere minutes left on it's countdown. And I wasn't the only one who had been drawn here. Aralis the leader of CVA himself, was present in system along with an observer from BDEAL who also seemed to have taken an interest.

I sneaked in to get an look at the Territorial Claim Unit parked above what appeared to be a fairly well armed POS, and managed to engage my ship's cloak before it's weapon systems registered my presence. A few THOR pilots passed in and out of the system, but remained tight-lipped on what had transpired here. Though it seemed obvious that some deal had been struck with Bat Phone.

The background to all this centers around Noir's exit. Upon returning from fulfilling a mercenary contract outside the region, Noir discovered they had been stabbed in the back. The New Providence Holders had given the go ahead to THOR to take over Noir's systems. Unable or unwilling to fight off this attack, Noir decided to spite their former allies by handing everything to CVA.

Being a quite small alliance, Bat Phone's role appears to have been to help THOR snatch sovereignty out from under Aralis's nose, and cement THOR's grip in this stellar pocket. A role I would assume they were well rewarded for. In the meantime this brings THOR's number of systems up to four, and no doubt they'll soon start looking towards taking the two CVA systems next door.

But for now, this is Rebecca Aventine somewhere in Providence, signing off.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Duct Tape Surprise

So I went and bought a Vagabond.

When I took a break from EVE I left Minmatar Cruiser V on the training queue to mature. The idea was to have a ship that was fast enough to get out of trouble, have enough fire-power to do a bit of ratting on the side, and not break the bank.

Knowing me, I'll probably lose it today or tomorrow at some random gate camp.

Boom! Head-shot!

Anyway...

In the red corner operating out of Assah we have Pandemic Legion. I still have no idea why they took an interest in Providence. I'm assuming someone around here hired them but who knows. They seem to be having fun, bless 'em.

In the blue corner we have CVA operating out of Misaba, and now supported by a small coalition of allies. They're beginning to put serious pressure on the systems in the west pipe. Aided by a parting gift from Noir as they exited stage right. Amarr Victor!

In between these two forces is a loose coalition called New Providence, inhabited by mercenaries, pirates, freedom fighters and a surprisingly high number of Tournament fighters, most of whom will shoot you on sight, but hey, it's all good fights.

Meanwhile making a break for sovereignty outside Providence is Circle of Two. Do they intend to retain their systems in the region or have they set their sights on leaving entirely? To be honest I haven't a clue what's going on really.

Oh well, so much for my investigative reporter skills.

So yeah, I was snooping around the west pipe in attempt to recreate my set of Providence bookmarks which, like an idiot I had previously deleted, when I encountered some hot bunny action. Well, credit were it's due, it was actually a Nulli Secunda pilot who gave me the hot tip and directed me to the battle, with the parting shot, “I hope you're wearing clean underpants.”

I was indeed wearing clean underpants, fitted with confidence boosting Improved Cloaking Device II. So I hopped through the gate and twitched my nose at a roaming Heavy Assault Cruiser gang piloted by... ...well, Pink Bunnies. Hailing from Poland, this pirate corp was busy smashing a New Providence response fleet of Drakes. As a Gallente pilot I am of course always, always very happy to see Drakes getting smashed.

Thank you Pink Bunnies.

So I really should mention Chribba. Another parting gift, but this time from the former Ushra'Khan was bestowed upon the legendary pilot. Unity Station at the crossroads of Providence in 9UY4-H is now owned by Chribba's Otherworld Enterprises, and is open for business to all and sundry. Souvenir models of the Veldnaught are available at the gift shop next to the medical centre for all your clone needs. Think of it as the YMCA of Providence, only with scary psychotic room mates.

And in the final news round up I can report that the On The Rocks SBUs outside Taz Norlonto are no longer there, so thumbs up for the Star Fraction. While over in the other end of Providence the Imperial Order SBUs outside Manifest Destiny appear to have been despatched by CVA and allies, though the station itself remains in Imperial Order's possession.

In the meantime this is Rebecca Aventine, somewhere in Providence, signing off.

Friday, 22 October 2010

And She's Back

So I went and reactivated my EVE subscription...

After flying in the NC for a couple of months followed by a break from EVE for another few months, I had finally got the itch to fly internet spaceships again. I prowled around the various EVE related forums, pondering whether to take the plunge again, and discovered a juicy little scandal about none other than my very OWN Alliance.

At first glance it seemed that Test Alliance Please Ignore had uncovered that the OWN leadership was lining it's collective pockets with moon mining profits to the tune of a sweet 150,000,000,000 ISK, while poor OWN peasants in the rank and file had to look to themselves to finance ship losses.

Meanwhile OWN leadership was claiming this was all a psych-op by TEST to troll OWN into fail-cascade, and told OWN pilots to block messages from TEST.

I suspect there's some truth to both sides of this sorry tale.

When Tau Ceti Federation handed over their space to Goon Swarm Federation, a number of smaller alliances such as OWN who were previously guests of TCF came as part of that package. I imagine GSF weren't overjoyed at the thought of having to take all that on. So if some justifiable reason could be found to boot them out, they would not hesitate to do so.

On the other hand, I can personally vouch that there is no shortage of arrogance and self-importance in the OWN Alliance leadership, and I wouldn't be surprised if they were equally corrupt. Still it raises the question whether it's any business of TEST and GSF to know what OWN does with it's virtual money.

Apparently The Mittani thinks it is his business, because a few days later he asked OWN for their directors' APIs so he could audit the alliance. The OWN leadership promptly refused to do so, and told their pilots not to join GSF/TEST fleets. Meanwhile TEST opened it's doors to OWN Corporations and Pilots who wanted to jump boat and remain in Deklein under a new banner.

Anyway...

Before I took a break from EVE I transferred the bulk of my assets out of null-sec, because who knew when I would be coming back. So I no longer had a stake in all of the above drama. Rather, my attention was drawn to the South, because while I had been away massive sweeping changes had taken place.

Atlas, Ushra'Khan and Against All Authorities were all gone. What would New Providence do now that UK and AAA were no longer around to keep order?

I decided if there was a story to tell in Providence, I wanted to be the one to tell it. So I left the North behind me, and plotted a course to my old stomping grounds.

Once upon a time, low-sec scared me. And it was with no small trepidation that I jumped into a 0.4 system from the safety of high-sec. However, in time I learnt my way around low-sec and became confident, even blase about travelling through it.

My experience in the NC had now left me feeling the same way about null-sec. So when my autopilot decided that the best route to my old home of Assah was through Providence null-sec, I figured what the hell and just went with it. Especially since the route it had picked would take me through the Star Fraction's NRDS system, and I was curious to see how things had turned out for them.

Not too well it seemed. Sovereignty Blockage Units had been deployed in YWSO-Z by an alliance called On The Rocks (aka ICE). A few Star Fraction pilots were in system, but nothing like the numbers I had previously been accustomed to seeing. I messaged a pilot I recognised – Claire XXX, and asked how things were going and she gave me an intriguing reply.

It seemed a self appointed entity calling itself the New Providence Council, had decided that YWSO-Z was up for grabs and had directed ICE to take Sovereignty. Claire claimed SF had fought and broken this intruder and chased it back into high-sec. However the SBUs still remained in spite of a truce deal to have them removed.

She hinted a lot more was going on, and offered to do an interview – which may well make the basis of a future post.

Moving on I continued towards Assah, where I received another shock. I remembered Assah as a fairly obscure humble little back-water on the Providence border. It was a place I considered a home from home, a place where 12 in local was considered a crowd.

Today there were over 100 pilots in local.

Not just any 100 either, but 100 of the big bad scary and officially elite pilots of the infamous Pandemic Legion.

Thankfully none of them were on the G5EN-2 Gate, and I managed to sneak into the Ammatar Naval Base without incident. Of course getting out again could prove amusing.

Still one thing's for sure, I'm definitely were the action is...