Passive-aggressive warfare

So right now, I am waiting in a station. I am waiting in a station in a rookie ship, the one the insurance company gives you when people blow up yours. Like, oh say, the pirates who just destroyed my frigate at a gatecamp. And who are now waiting for me outside the station. Because they did not get my pod.

It works like this: if your ship gets blown up, either by NPCs or by other players, you end up in a pod. If your pod gets blown up, you wake up back at your home station in a clone vat. This is annoying, because a) you have lost your ship and everything else it was fitted with or carrying; b) you have lost your expensive neural implants, which allow you to train skills faster, and which, unlike your ship, can’t be insured; and c) well, they shot you. I mean. Ouch, right?

In high-security space, anyone who shoots you gets almost-but-not-quite-instantly destroyed by CONCORD, the interstellar police force. In low-security space, anyone who shoots you next to a station or a stargate gets targeted by the sentry guns, which, if you’re in a tough enough ship, is really more of a slap on the wrist. (In null-security space, nobody cares who shoots who and you must go cry to an asteroid alone.)

Stargates are the most common places for gangs of pirates to lurk around waiting for unwary travellers, because immediately after coming through a stargate, you’re vulnerable. You have 30 seconds of being cloaked, which means they can see you’re in the system but not where you are or what you’re flying; after that, or as soon as you move or somebody or something gets close to you, the cloak is lifted. You can warp away, but to warp you need to align to the thing you’re warping to, and that takes more time than you usually have. You can jump back through the gate you came through, but you’re out of jump range and need to fly towards it, which also takes time in which you’re being shot at, and usually you’re being shot at a lot because they want your ship to go boom before you can get away.

Being in a small, fast ship means you have a much better chance of getting through a gatecamp intact. That’s how I got away from these people the first time – and then five minutes later, when two of them followed me. I suppose this must have been sort of annoying for them, because when we ended up running into each other half an hour later in a different system (the gods of EVE were against me tonight), they destroyed my ship in about 0.2 seconds.

But they did not get my pod. And pirates quite like to get your pod.

The pirates and me, we’re the only people in this system. They know I’m here, and that I’m flying something they could kill with a flyswatter; I know they’re here, and that they would very much like to destroy my pod and finish the job. But so long as I’m in the station, nobody can shoot anybody.

Mostly, the pirates have stayed in this system. One of them keeps dropping into the station, then out again. A little while ago, they all left and the system was empty except for me and another pilot, not in their corp and seemingly totally unconnected to them… which would have been totally convincing, if said pilot had not been flying with them back at the first gatecamp. I stayed in the station. Sure enough, the pirates all came back a few minutes later. But that was twenty minutes ago; since then, most of them have now drifted away, except for the two who destroyed my ship. Those two, they’re still waiting.

Honestly, I was tempted to log off and go to bed as soon as my pod rocketed to safety; it’s late, and I have some valuable cargo at another station that I need to move to a trade hub, and that’s better done at a time of day when the local systems are a little less pirate-infested. But, now that it’s become so very obvious that these two think we’re playing a waiting game, I just can’t quite bring myself to do it.

That isn’t to say that I intend to leave the station tonight, of course. I have absolutely no intention of leaving the station tonight. I’m still going to log off with my ship docked here… in a little while. Once I’ve brushed my teeth and unpacked the dishwasher and read a couple of chapters of my book.

The pirates are still waiting, you see. And it would be cruel to kill their hope now


1 Response to “Passive-aggressive warfare”

  1. 1 Qintius
    May 7, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    I like the cut of your jibb, missy!

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A new EVE Online player comes to term with spreadsheets, spaceships and the steepest learning curve in MMO history. (SPACESHIPS, you guys!)


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