Thursday, 24 April 2014

Day 674 : A Paradise of Perhaps

Canard (n) : an unfounded rumour or story.

Even from two light years away our intrepid colonists must have seen the soft blue-green glow of not one but two worlds with a potential biosphere. One was bound to be viable. Right?

You know what they say about viable colony worlds. They're like buses. You wait ages for one and two arrive at once. They're my target. On arrival I quickly and superficially scan the rest of the system. I'm in a hurry. I'm the worst system surveyor of all time but even here I see hope. The inner system is full of rocky worlds handy for industry and there are enough belts to draw mineral resources from. A pair of gas giants stand sentinel further out into the system, guarding any potential life zones from higher than average impacts from wandering space debris. We're in a cul-de-sac system here, one way in and one way out. In short, we've hit potential space suburbia. Move in, settle down, raise a horde of ravening space maniacs to take the cluster by storm.

Canard VI, Oceanic

A single vast shallow ocean is pulled different ways by a pair of small moons. With the majority of large cyclical storms confined to the polar regions, initial impressions are good. Is it a surfers paradise? Skip a couple of rocks past the gas giants, land them on one side of the equator to make a reef. Spend your days surfing the waves, chilling out, and smoking gene-tech altered kelp.

Is land required for a colony? No. Float one, and roam the world. Dome one for an aquatic, if vulnerable, paradise under the seas. The planet is a little small though, a bit warm. Low pressure and gravity is probably going to make it a little steamy down there. Surfers in facemasks.

There is life down there already. A huge amount of micro organisms, a fair amount of planktonic lifeforms, and a small amount of complex organisms. I'm imagining that some kind of giant cross between a manta ray and a bird hoovering up the air borne life cycle of the local plankton. It's a shame my planetary scanning mechanisms don't reach so far.

In short, it has potential. In the longer term the colony might die from an outbreak of chronic athletes foot. There's a rocky world with a biosphere further up the slope of spacetime. Onwards to our next candidate.

Canard VIII, Temperate

She's a water world, nightly lit by the reflections from a single moon. Fractured land masses resembling island chains thread the seas. Is this a sign of bad tectonics or are we safe? Gravity is lower than normal but high enough to be an advantage rather than a problem. The average temperature is just shy of perfect so I'd expect some of the gaps between the islands to be clogged with ice for half the year. We are, after all, a massive 7 AU from the local star. Some of the highlands might be chilly enough to pose a problem.

Oddly though, most of the indigenous life congregates in the more barren highlands. Most of the obvious vegetation hugs the coast. Something odd is going on here. Perhaps the deep seas are dangerous in some fashion? Perhaps there is something that lives along the coasts that convinces everything else to stay inland.

I fly to the night side of the planet looking for signs of civilisation. Light. There isn't any. It's dark down there. None of the large light sources you'd normally see on an occupied world. In itself that's interesting but I'm grasping at straws now. Perhaps the lack of light is sign of a hidden colony? Perhaps the lack of light discourages whatever lifeform makes the coasts so dangerous from making it's way inland? Perhaps the colony regressed and the light sources they have aren't large enough to register from way up here in the icy black?

In desperation I inspect the land more closely. Is that signs of agriculture or local flora variation? Are those roads or signs of riverine or tectonic action?

I think the time for dreaming is over. In the end I prepare to leave the system with a heavy heart, was the "canard" the potential to settle? Perhaps it was that they had found a home? Perhaps a few did. Perhaps a few of our ancestors descendants are still here, perhaps I couldn't reach them and perhaps they are happier for it. Too much "perhaps" in this study. I'll leave the story of the tribal native hitching a ride to the capsuleer POCO in orbit to another writer. 

Alternatively, knowing our colonists sense of humour, perhaps they couldn't settle because of an indigenous and violent form of giant water fowl. Given the nature of both worlds it wouldn't be such a reach. Perhaps they just ducked this system, and perhaps I just about got my joke in.

EVE Track Of The Day
Turnin' My Heartbeat Up - The M.V.P.'s 

Sustained by my Northern Soul.


This post found me, for various reasons, in the heinous grip of writers block. Thanks must go out to the members of tweetfleet that helped me along with advice. and

Books that also helped:

The Engines of God - Jack McDevitt
The Legacy of Heorot - Niven, Pournelle and Barnes
The Mysterious Island - Jules Verne

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Day 672 : Liminal State

We're around five light years from the EVE Gate now and it's time for a little analysis of my subjects and a little introspection on how I view them.

First, a quick look around the system of Central Point. It's quiet. Like every system I've visited so far on the journey. Capsuleer activity is muted, there are a few stations running but plenty of empty moons. The belts are pristine and chock full enough of interesting amounts of minerals that I almost consider moving here. A man with a mining plan could make a lot out of a system as quiet as this. Even the planets are underused. Half of them still have the infrastructure of the old Interbus customs office racket in orbit. They must have been here for years.

In fact the only activity I really see in space is the presence of the Blood Raiders. I've heard they now hunt for capsuleers in the their pursuit for the red stuff. This is about as clever as it sounds. A craving for rusty water leads them to the only place in the cluster I've ever seen quiet. There's less life here than anywhere else. It's a shame I've no guns on board. I've a inkling to get a rack of hybrid blasters fitted, load them with damp Iron Charges and roar in shouting "hey you guys, here's another mix of water and iron". I'm sure they'd appreciate it.

Planet wise there is nothing to write home about. The only planet you'd consider setting foot on is a barren world about 1.5 AUs out from the star. It's value? You could get a good sun tan before leaving a good looking corpse. I wonder what our ancestors thought when they passed through here, which brings me back to my central theme.

Crossroads are odd places in the minds of humans. The obviously required decision causes our poor monkey brains to overheat when they start over-thinking and begin to ponder all kinds of other decisions and perhaps even the nature of decision. Here we are. East or West? Why West? Why travel at all? What's the purpose of it all? What am I in the grand scheme of things? Hey presto, you've gone from a simple choice of direction to the last stop on the line, Existential Dread, by falling asleep on the philosophy train. Nevertheless I'm going to use this effect. I'm going to consider how I've been thinking about my subjects and lay some ghosts to rest here, burying the criminal corpses of old ideas at a crossroads so that their intellectual shades don't follow me on the rest of my journey.

I've been romanticising the notion of our ancestors in two ways. Firstly, in their identity. I've grouped them into a single tribe. A people of purpose. In fact we have the evidence to suggest they were just as fractious, greedy, opinionated and political as, well, as we are now. The Gallente and Caldari ancestors must have aimed straight at Luminaire, the Amarr for what was Athra, and the Minmatar for what became Pator. I doubt they hung around to enjoy the view. The evidence suggests they knew exactly what they were doing and where they were going. It's not those "successful" colonists that I'm following. It's the ancestors of the smaller groups who either vanished altogether or turned up later in places like Intaki. Particularly the former. The independent explorers who never formed viable colonies after the EVE Gate shut down.  The directness of the larger groups brings me to the next myth I've invested in.

I've been romanticising the colonists mode of travel, imagining rag tag convoys at sub light speed, slowly being whittled down to a hard core of solid explorers by their arduous travails through the void. This didn't happen. I've listened to too many tellings of the chronicle of Old Man Star perhaps. I've made the mistake of thinking that they had less tech than us, when there is evidence to suggest they had more. They terraformed and put up stargates to speed travel after all. They left all this behind for us to find. Additionally they picked home worlds far from the gate. Luminaire is somewhere around 15 light years from the New Eden system. It's unlikely that they'd look at the results of an astronomy survey, pick a planet and think "Hey, brilliant, we'll be there in two or three decades. This was a great idea. To the cryo chambers!". They either had warp capable ships that could sustain indefinite, or long periods of, warp, perhaps at low FTL speeds, or they were able to focus jump drives on natural gravity wells at distances as much as or more accurately than our current technology can. They had something. The dispersal across the cluster doesn't match sub light speeds.

So who am I following? I'm following the independents. I'm following the people who made the journey into the cluster system by system. I'm following the people who named each waypoint on this star road and left the names behind as a story of the experience. I'm following those who vanished afterwards, and along the way I'll think about why.

I look back towards New Eden and see the gate and the star glowing together, distinctly separate even here.

No wonder the Amarr looked at the night sky and dreamed of the distant. Mind you, the Amarr could take significance from just about anything. I hear you can't even do sleight of hand tricks in Amarr cities for fear that it will cause a religious schism or be taken as proof of validity of whatever genocidal, human rights violating idea they come up with next. The muppets. Still, the star and the gate are an inspiring sight, as long as you don't take it too far. I'll bury my mysticism and my annoyance with the Amarr here at this crossroads and keep a smidgen of spirituality for the rest of the trek. Slightly ironic but also vaguely amusing.

In the end it's back to the simple choice. Where next? I decide randomly rather than try and figure out what the travellers would have done. Decision made. It's a short hop as the duck flies to Canard.

EVE Track of the Day

Blowing Up My Mind - The Exciters

(back to rolling down the space lanes to Northern Soul again)

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Day 670: Broken Promises

When the travellers from Earth arrived in the one horse town of New Eden you could have forgiven them for turning around and heading back home. They had whatever they brought with them plus solar power plus whatever they could scavenge from a single barren planet. Let's hope they never had to put down there and build anything. I wonder if they were surprised to find the planet teeming with microorganisms or whether that too was true back in the old Earth system. I can't help but find it odd that we're the only ones out here despite all this low level life on every barren planet you visit. Perhaps our ancestors seeded the entire place. Perhaps space going sentience is rare. Or perhaps we're a blip and some regularly scheduled astronomic event will press the reset button sometime soon. It's nice to think, isn't it?

Anyway, the reason our ancestors stayed you can see in the name of the next system onwards into the cluster. Promised Land.  With whatever telescopes they had they must have seen the squat, cool star and sighed. However they must have also seen the system was chock full of stuff. Unlike New Eden: Planets and belts. Only one light year away. No previous owner. Chain free! Perfect. Who knows what goodies could be hiding in the system? Perhaps one of the planets was viable for terraforming. They were going to be disappointed, but they had named the system anyway and kept it. As I've said before, I like their sense of humour.

Arriving in system you quickly realise that there was to be no settling here. The two Barren planets are on the edge of the system surrounding an already cool sun. The glimmer of hope you get from a close in gas giant possibly providing an inhabitable moon ( not that I can recall any such thing in the cluster but it might be possible) is quashed, again, by the suns reach. The gas giants have icy balls. Even in close.

There is one chance. A Storm planet. While wreathed in permanent violence it sits in a potential garden zone. Perhaps the surface, with a little coaxing, could be viable for a while. Hey, they'd just crossed half a galaxy. Nuking a storm into submission has nothing on it.  Disregarding capsuleer legends about the stormy planet of LV-426 I make the Storm planet my first destination, diving sunwards, looking for traces.

I then leap almost out of pod in fear. The planet is looking back.

 I calm down and salute the Cyclops, climb down from my Solaris moment, mutter something about Sauron and wonder if I can ever fit more genre breaking lack of consistency into one sentence.

According to my instruments this "Violent Wormhole" is tagged

Though the wormhole seems stable, the exotic radicals pouring from the tear imply that using it would be catastrophic.
This is so bizarre for so many reasons that despite the exotic radicals spewing from it (focus on physics, this isn't pouring Amarrian priests out into space) I go in for a closer look. I've forgotten the planet because a brief look at it's statistics reveals you'd need to be a masochist to even go down there once, let alone set up a base there. Suppose you overcame the storm, the storm reflecting off most of the suns heat. You could settle down there and raise huge strong redneck sons who'd never seen the outside and who would snap in standard gravity. Nah.

Things don't get any less spooky by looking around

 I go in for a closer look. I'm seeing hints of Caldari space and I'm seeing hints of Cloud Ring. The wormhole goes further into the cluster? I hit the usual books, by which I mean EVE Travel. It looks like this is a Sansha relic. Intriguing and weird as it is, I've no desire to get turned into a cyber-zombie by the original owners. It's fascinating, unlike the rest of the system but it might be time to do a runner and head off further down the line.

You can imagine the original colonists gathering raw materials here, perhaps doing some repair and patching, but you can't imagine them staying. Even capsuleers haven't done much with the system. Only three planets have customs offices and most of the moons are unused. Central Point with it's choice of direction beckons. It's time to follow the trail again.

EVE Track of the Day

L'Estasi Dell'oro (The Ecstasy of Gold) - Ennio Morricone

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Day 664: The Pilgrim

In the six hundred and odd days I've played EVE there has been one thing I've always meant to do and never done. For various reasons really. Wariness. Fear. Lack of skill. Some more Fear. I've always meant to visit New Eden. Home of the cluster, origin of the cluster if legends are true. Home to the EVE Gate. Coincidentally rumoured to also be home to chock loads of ancient tech style loot. All hidden of course, and that's not really the reason I'm going. But a guy can get lucky, you know?

I guess if you've never been and the pilgrimage is on your cockpit list too, you should probably stop reading right now.

The first task is to pick a ship. A proper explorer would take an exploration ship, a Covert Ops frigate at least if not the Sisters of EVE ships. The latter would fit very well since the Sisters are rumoured to be down at the EVE gate doing whatever it is they do. They've probably used these hulls before. Then again I have my doubts about the Astero and I suspect the Stratios would be like flying a one man honey trap down there. Additionally, in my mind, this "pilgrimage" has more of an aspect of "joyride" than most pilgrims would like. "Tourism" wouldn't be far off the mark. I'm EVEs first tourist. I'm Twoflower in space.

To ameliorate this image and inject a suitable amount of macho bullshit back into the mission I pick a muscle car. The Ares.

It's fast, armoured enough to probably survive an insta locking gate sniper, and red. I keep thinking that it would look good if it had the Gallente shield badge on it but with the shield having a yellow background instead of a green one.

 I've not pimped my ride. This isn't a case of "how fast can you go" it's a case of cheap, suitably amusing, cap stable, 5k per second speed, high warp speed, and manoeuvrability.

The route to the EVE gate is fairly short. Fourteen jumps or so of hi sec and another nine of low sec. Thanks to the Ares I'm at my last hisec waypoint in record time. Along the way I notice that some Amarr stargates have a rotating ring built into them. Given my recent obsession with all things rotaty and ringy I note it down for future inspection.

I arrive at Imya and decide to take a break, I spend this manually flying the Ares round a spike on one of the systems stations. I tell myself this is to test the manoeuvrability of the ship under MWD but mainly it's because my inner RP geek is imagining the stations inhabitants looking on with abject fear at 1.5 million kilos of spaceship travelling at 4km per second less than a kilometer from their windows. It's good practice for the PVP technique of spiralling too. Circling something by clicking halfway into a tangential vector and producing a rough, ever decreasing, circle.

Enough faffing. I check my route. This is when the plan changes. After a few jumps in the systems all have meaningful names. Access, Exit, Gateway, Central Point and Promised Land. There's a story here. I'm going to be here longer than I thought because I'm going to trace the earliest arrivals route out into the cluster and see if I can get a feel for what they might have seen. This is now Space-archaeo-social-anthropology. It also gives me an excuse to roar through the systems at top speed. I'll see them at length on the way back.

On arrival in New Eden the gate isn't hard to miss though I'm briefly confused by the sun having a distant nebula at it's back. That's a messy origin story structure. I turn around and see what I'm really here to see.

The Gate

Apparently over three light years away there isn't any chance of reaching it. There isn't even an indication that it's there in any of the navigational sensors. The rest of the system is as quiet as the grave. A single barren planet without even a moon sits in a tight orbit around the sun. There isn't even a station in the system. Had I been the Amarr, who own this neck of the woods, I'd of dropped a station just for research and the tourist trade. Scratch the latter.

Dscan on the other hand is crowded. While there are only two other pilots in system, on of whom arrived after me, there is evidence, scattered all over the first 100,000km of the system, of other visitors. Cans are anchored everywhere, each bearing a message. Being capsuleers these are the usual variants of "Here I am!", "I am important!", "I was here!". Wolves howling at the moon. Honestly, who would have the gall to believe that others would be that interested in where they've been and what they thought they'd achieved. Er. Lets leave that thought while I finish this informative, and not egotistical at all, post.

I pay attention to local for the first time. There is something odd going on. From the tone of the messages I think these capsuleers are here to do something not too far from worship. Like the Amarr who, along with the other crime of thinking that hoods are a good year round fashion statement, decided that the supernatural is a go-to excuse for doing whatever you want, these capsuleers hold a reverence for the EVE Gate that borders on mysticism. Despite a few attempts to get me involved in their ritual greetings I'm still thinking of announcing that I've filled the hold full of explosives and I'm on a collision course with the gate. Of course I won't get there for several hundreds of millennia but I'm still tempted to say I'll try. I'm immortal. There's bound to be enough TV to keep me entertained for epoch making levels of time. No.

Instead, I'm tempted to leave my own can, undoing all the good work of mocking everyone that I wrote above. The main reason is a can emblazoned with this message

"Know, Pilgrim, that you do not travel alone. Palcus Jan 26, 2007"

For some reason this message resonates. I look around the system and try to think what it must have been like to end up here after a legendary journey. Apart from the gate itself, something of a depressing anti-climax. I like these early, supposedly legendary, colonists. They had balls. They named the system after a garden, origin implied or not. They had a sense of humour. I would have taken one look at the half frosted, half burnt ball of rock in orbit around the sun and said "Guys, wait, I think I forgot something. You go ahead, I'll just nip back and get it and then catch up." Perhaps they had their eyes cast towards further stars. I'm going to follow their route and see what it's like.

Before I go I travel 50,000 km out from the arrival gate and leave my own can, my own message. It's there now if you care to go and find my own identity claim in a bottle. In a highly confused and hypocritical way I leave a token behind, a single Ultraviolet laser charge. Suddenly I'm understanding the "why" of votive offerings that I never really understood from my Archaeological studies. There's a palpable sense of deep humanity here in the emptiness for some reason. Something that almost contrasts the electromagnetic glory of the EVE Gate itself. Something that demands acknowledgement. Here we began.

Having waxed lyrical and morally perjured myself enough for one day, I turn the ship around. Next stop. Promised Land.

EVE Track of the Day

The Eve of the War - Jeff Waynes War of the Worlds

(It works on so many levels! There's also a tenuous joke in the lyrics about my journey here for those that care to figure it out. )

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Day 662 : Game of Cards in a West House Thrones Wing

Yep. It took a few days to get round to writing up the weekend so I leap forward in time once more. Into the "Politics Zone". It's that fun time of year where you get to not vote for everyone you hate, and slightly more importantly get together a crowd of people you do like to make sure CCP don't do one with the game.

Don't worry. This post will be short, fast and nearly painless. Well. It'll hurt me less than it hurts you. Some idiot (me, I ran across it browsing my amazon account) decided to reveal that I could watch all of Grimm online and that I'd never seen it. I need to get back to that.


I'd link you a précis of STV, the Single Transferable Vote system, but my sadism has its limits.

Vote Match is here This will get you started with some ideas.

Nosy Gamer going insane and not only listing but having listened to all the podcasts, producing a great resource along the way


Endorsements are all over the blogosphere and the summaries may tip your hand. Read with bias awareness intact please. Here is a sample of some but not all of the things I read.

The CCP Official Bit

The full official candidate list is here

The actual voting tool is here

If you don't vote then you are being a tool, not using one. Sort it out.

My Endorsements

I have two accounts and I'll vote twice, I'll probably mix the order slightly over the two.


Sugar Kyle

 Low sec, POS use, new player experience, small gang warfare, lots and lots of interesting opinions, runs a great blog, writes great fiction. Still able to apply a little whimsy to the game while ferociously mastering it.

Steve Ronuken

The Industry Adept. The maintainer of His Fuzzworks tools have saved my life in the past and it turns out from interviews that he knows what he is talking about. A regular out of corp social player too.


These candidates represent some or all of the qualities I'm looking for but were trumped by the top two.

Mike Azariah - The casual hi sec player, all round good guy and voice of reason from what I've seen.

Ali Aras - I was seriously impressed with her CSM8 performance for reasons too long to list here. A testament to the power of the newbie everywhere. She now adds experience to an already great CV

Mangala Solaris - Master of RvB, dabbler in everything, experienced on the CSM, interested in more out of corp social tools. Also from Preston so a bit of a pity vote gets added in. Hurrah for Preston Bus Station!

Xander Phoena - His interviews of the CSM candidates last year revealed exactly the kind of mind and desire for EVE that we need on the CSM. It doesn't all have to be about in game experience when you can digest all the relevant information easily and then make experts on it squirm with questions you've devised. Also his temperament may prove amusing.

Jayne Fillon - Basically for the non corp affiliated social content he's devised. A slight wildcard but worth a vote. Also likely a fan of Firefly.

DJ Funky Bacon - Another low sec expert. I had a little disagreement with something he said recently but it doesn't really impact the rest of his expertise so he has made it in anyway. Considering what a grouch I am, this should speak volumes.

Matias Otero - Technically my old boss. Fun Per Hour (TM)


While these guys I either don't agree with or don't represent my gameplay I consider them useful to health of EVE in general. In no particular order.

Corbexx - POS and industry wildcard who I've heard some good things about

Psychotic Monk - While I disagree a lot with some of the things he stands for, he is making sure hi sec does not get stale

Mynnna - While a Goon and in no need of a vote, he is good on the CSM, he is an master of the economy and last but not least a Legend in Lego

James Arget - A Wormholer and so out of my sphere of interest but I've heard good things

corebloodbrothers - A last wildcard, just pipping Progodlegend, he's here for his mention of the initial SP curve.

EVE Track of the Day

Subterranean Homesick Blues - Bob Dylan

Monday, 7 April 2014

Day 659 : The Curmudgeon

There's no mistaking that I'm a bitter and whiny old man that's harder to move than a donkey grazing a marijuana field. It didn't get any better when I turned 40 last year and it's unlikely to get better the more I get stuck in my ways and start refusing to do things I just don't want to do. I look on the bright side. I'm still sociable. I may be an introvert but I have my wits and a modicum of social ability. I use it to my advantage. Rage powered stubbornness will often cut through to the decisions that need making. Sounds like the antithesis of the attitude you need to thrive in EVE. Turns out, not so much.

An extremely bad work week while feeling run down kicked me into rage mode. You've been there. The brutal willingness to cut dead wood just to get along and do what the hell you want. I logged into Cheradenine with a particularly bad attitude. I hadn't done much with the character since Brave moved south spouting fun per hour and a dalliance with null. I don't like null. It's too random for my current skill levels and while it's on my list to fully investigate it one day, today is not that day. I want to mooch around. I want to revel in my misery, I want to poke my nose in where it isn't wanted and I want to discover some stuff that will cheer me right up. Miserable I might be but it isn't my preferred state of being.

I look at doing something brave. Brave have gone. Some Notifications and a quick recce round Barley and the Trail of Tears reveals that pretty much all assets and space have been transferred. Brave are gone. The Logistic exercise in moving back I estimate at somewhere around the "gigantic pain in the arse" level. The old Trail of Tears, the pipe between Barleguet and Stacmon, is quickly becoming a quiet country lane (with occasional Hells Angels on it perhaps). While the locals of Barley are blue to me much of hisec still feels off bounds due to bands of reds hunting stragglers like me. An effort in other words. I'm thinking about logging off when the rage kicks in. I'd put off moving south with Brave and come up with some excuses that I was eloquently talked out of and yet still didn't go. I've not been on my main character that much at all bar a couple of training runs. Basically I've been talking myself out of logging into the main because it begs a question I can't answer. I can answer it now. I shift an unbelievable amount of crap out of Barley and up to Stacmon, marvelling along the way that it's so dull on the Trail. I even pilot an unscrammed Oracle down there just to see what happens. They're surprisingly agile but still a sitting duck. The only entertainment I get is when transporting a bulk load of T1 modules from stripped tackle ships. I'm in an experimental Nereus packed to the gills with shield rep and see a command ship on the gate. He's tried to tackle me a couple of times already. I wonder about gate guns and their increasing damage, flick the ship around and fly right at him. Turns out Ancillary Shield Boosters eat charges for breakfast and then sit around doing nothing for ages while they reload. Sounds like me actually. It did not go well. I didn't stop laughing for five minutes.

I drop corp. Sayonara Brave. It was fun. And then it wasn't. Don't get me wrong, I wish you all the luck in the 'verse down there and one day I'll get to trying this null thing and maybe rejoin. I'll still be recommending you to new people and returning people. It's me. Not you.

I park my lazy arse in a slow low sec system with a few ships after a few minutes marvelling at the luxury of stress-less hi sec flight. I'll sit around and watch what happens. I'm solo and it can be a hard game to play like that. Once I'm up to it I may go back and resume flight testing my frigates. Looks like it's going to be the slowest non-event of EVE weekends ever, akin to my earlier avoidance of my main character. I promptly go out and do more in a couple of days than I've done in a couple of months

I dust off my scanning alt. He's been skill training while pretending he'd never heard of the loot can explosion in exploration sites. The crappiest thing in a game ever, bar Pandas in WoW. 16 days until across the board full scanning skills?! You're kidding me? You're coming with me, pal. He drops corp too.

I zoom around the local belts shooting up Serpentis with idle ease. I'd forgotten what a rack of 200mm railguns on a Thorax will do to NPCs. It's almost funny.

I have a look at moons and then get an idea for the scanning alt. I send him looking for Siphons. After a false start I end up being entertained by how fun it is to take siphoned moon goo out of siphons. Not only do you have the thieving from thieves thing but the whole swooping in and grabbing it is quite fun. It turns out it's even more fun when you get back and realise it was an N64 moon and you're paltry haul is worth ten times what you thought it would be.

Poking around in a system looking at moons turns out to be entertainingly scary when a Goon moon defence op kicks off and there are suddenly over 100 pilots in the system and at least 9 carriers. I sit at a safe cloaky distance. I try to work out what the hell is going on but it's largely beyond me at this distance. I come back with another idea that doesn't work. I torch another industrial trying to steal abandoned drones off the edge of the battle site after things calm down. Warp disruption from the tower apparently. Who knew? Still I've already wandered off with around 10 million in drones so the exercise pays its way.

I manage to grab a Clone Soldier Negotiator tag in a belt somewhere which I take to generally mean "this Thorax has been paid off. Now you can waste it safely by doing something stupid"

While ratting I run across a five day old character wandering the belts of low sec in a Velator. He's apparently unconcerned by the fact that I'm there. Anyone else would instantly teach him some weapon based lessons. I send him a chat invite (which I miss the content of somehow) and a mail warning him about the danger of doing what he is doing. I see him on and off all weekend. I think "good show" and "well done" and "nice courage" and "I'm gonna shoot your ass off next time that happens".

I generally zoom back and forth looking into systems and wondering why. I think I'm nesting. It's scaring me. I form my own corp and call it "Ankh-Morpork Holiday Homes". It cheers me up.

At one point a formerly quiet system erupts as the RvB ganked roam flies through. I say hi and try to get them to fill Local full of dance but I think they're busy. I do talk to Green Gambit who's on duty and who I've talked to before. I realise I'll be able to get in public roams like this easily now. Guilt free mass social events outside corp'. I'll have to get on a Ganked roam soon. I can't do next weekend but it's high up on the list of my things to do. See. I am social after all. Just not every day. I must look into Spectre Fleet too.

I make a whole host of other plans which I promptly forget while still worrying that I appear to be settling. This gets so bad that I take out the scanning alt and run a few Data sites and a Relic site. Can spew. Still more awful than worrying about becoming a fuddy duddy loner in the middle of nowhere. Thank god it's going. Difficult and random I can handle, that's a challenge. Difficult and random because the interface is shit is just unfair. I realise I'm running the sites because I quite like the hacking mini-game.

After a period of idleness I end up escalating a simple combat site. Despite my best intentions I wander low sec doing the next five stages of it. Something goes wrong in the last stage and I end up with a cloud of red crosses sensor dampening me. I could sort this out despite the non PVE nature of the ship I'm in. I could draw out the faster ships and take them out with drones or lucky shots between damps. I could fit ECCM and see if it works. I've never fitted an ECCM module in my life. I don't start now. I divebomb the cloud aiming for the lead dampener. "I'm on the leader" I yell as my Thorax gets utterly toasted. Whoops! Still, funny, and the Thorax was paid off even without the bits and bobs that dropped along the way.

All in all, an entertaining solo weekend. Do what you want to do and damn conventional wisdom and forward planning. If you ever find yourself not doing anything and not logging in because your character "has" to do something then log in and do the opposite. Just go and look at stuff or something. It's a damn game and it's a sandbox. It's gorgeous out there. The only rails you should be building for yourself are 200mm T2 ones to shoot stuff with.

Now I'm off to consider shooting an apparently abandoned POS purely because I've got an Oracle I didn't think I'd have.

EVE Track of the Day

 Go Where You Wanna Go - The Mamas & The Papas