A “day in the life of” short story told through my eyes as an Eve Online player in late 2012.
We’re waiting a few jumps down the space trade lane for one of our scanners to squawk on coms. I’m parked near a planet in a 0.5 security system, just off-grid from the warp gates in a suicide-gank fit shooter with seven other friendly shooters in fleet. Tonight my weapon of choice is a Dominix. We’re loaded to the teeth with offense, no defensive mods at all. Our guns aren’t even fully loaded as these ships will soon meet their fate as space debris when the gank goes down.
While we’re sitting idle, the scanners are busy, actively sizing up the payload of neutral players passing by in various cargo vessels. We’re just waiting for one of them to call out a target. We have a few haulers and a freighter with us, empty, ready to scoop up the goodies when we crack open a pinata.
Coms are laid back, there’s an ongoing discussion about Twinkies or something, I don’t really know. I’m only half paying attention, listening for a scanner to call a target. All of a sudden we hear the words “check, check”, then silence. “Three billion. A Freighter. Hydrogen Isotops all in one stack”, a scanner calls out. I could literally hear the grin on his face.
Our “bumpers” immediately warp down to the gate. They’re in Machariel’s, pirate battleships purposely fit for bumping into a target and giving it massive inertia out of line with its warp destination, effectively making it impossible for him to leave.
The freighter appears on grid and they begin ramming their ships into him, one after the other, pushing the massive hauler well off the gate. He’s not going anywhere any time soon, but the player just logged out and we don’t have aggression yet. We need to shoot soon before his ship disappears.
After a few solid bumps I hear the call for shooters and we fleet-warp down. Whether the goods get blown up with the freighter or drop like candy is an all-or-nothing roll of the dice since it’s just one stack.
“Drones out!”, the fleet commander yells. “Preheat your guns! 3… 2… 1…, Fire!” We engage our drones and we fire our Heavy Neutron Blasters in unison. Everyone’s flashing red and explosions are going off in every direction as we pop, one by one.
A few seconds later, Kablah! The target freighter rips apart.
At this point I’m in my pod along with all the other shooters as our battleships were systematically disabled and destroyed by CONCORD, the non-player space police. But as a shooter, my job is over.
There’s a freighter wreck on the field and I can see through the explosion it’s solid blue. Jackpot, the loot dropped.
Friendly haulers and our empty freighter are landing at the wreck, spamming their open-cargo and loot buttons. Milliseconds later the wreck goes from full to empty on my overview and our freighter pilot is sounding fat and happy. We have the prize, but it’s still on grid.
Real time begins to dilate. “Align… Align… hurry up and warp already!”, is all I can think. And then it happens… Goonies drop out of warp in Machariel’s of their own and begin ramming our freighter even farther from the gate!
As shooters, we’re helpless to watch as the 15 minute global criminal timer starts trickling down. We’re labeled kill-on-site and stuck in the station or off somewhere in space in escape pods. We can’t reship to help in any way. Some of us still on grid in pods begin to disappear as neutrals give us the clone express. On to the alts!
My main is not far away in a Daredevil, a fast little frigate with advanced stasis webbing capabilities. I quickly ditch the tank for nanofibres in the lows. I’m 11 jumps out, banging through the gates as quick as I can. 3 jumps out, 2 jumps, 1 jump away, finally landing on the gate in no time. No one’s shooting yet as they’re still bumping our guy into harms way.
I enter system and warp to our freighter at zero meters. In my tiny frigate hull, surrounded by enemy battleships and one expensive freighter, everything looks massive. One after another they land their bumps. They’re pushing him away from CONCORD and buying themselves time for their own shooters to arrive so they can 3,2,1 him.
With the help of another teammate, we quickly web down the freighter. It’s not helping with the inertia the bumpers are putting into him, but it seems to be keeping his top speed down, keeping him on grid longer, so we keep at it. Every once in awhile a bumper misses and it looks like the freighter will enter warp. But then another bump lands and the freighter goes flying again.
Are we making it easier for them to bump or slowing down the overall drift and buying time? Unknown. They’re still missing some bumps and there’s debate on coms, but one thing is for sure, we need grid-fu. I burn away from the action and drop a can, desperately trying to keep the grid intact.
We’re hoping they miss the bumps a few times in a row so our webs can get the fat cow into warp, but half an hour goes by and we’re still at it; it’s not looking good. We switch up tactics, only webbing when the freighter pilot calls for it. Still no warp.
Our freighter pilot is beginning to sound a little shaken on coms. He’s calling for friendly bumps from the other direction to cancel some of the inertia, more webs to slow him down, more pilots to reship, and logistics to get in system with armor reps in preparation for the inevitable. They’re bumping him in all directions, but he’s a pro and keeps it cool. At one point he notices the inertia has changed in the direction of the gate. He quickly realigns and enters warp back to zero on the gate. We just bought ourselves more time.
Should he jump through to the other side and try to run before they catch him? Log off and hope to disappear before aggression is established, or stay here to keep trying the warp to the station. At 0.6, the next system is higher security space, but the police aren’t there and the goons might be waiting for us on the other side. No one is in position on the other side and we’re still surrounded by space police here, so we’re safe… for now.
A few seconds pass and it’s too late to jump anyway. Our cash cow is already bouncing off again. He’s well off the gate in no time. Two guardians appear on the field but they’re not blue to us. One of our pilots convos them and finds out they want nothing other than to disrupt this operation. Our spirits are rising. The enemy of our enemy is our friend.
Enemy shooters are arriving. I see a ball of neutrals land close to our man. The grid is getting really crowded. My overview is filling with flashing red followed by explosions in space. New wrecks appear where ships once were. Catalyst down. Talos down. I lock up anything flashing and cycle my guns. My microwarpdrive is overheated and will burn out soon, but it’s all climaxing now. I’m long pointed by a Talos. I hope he uses the guns on me instead of the freighter because I’m feeling invincible as I tear through the field with high transversal on everyone. No one can keep on me for more than a second before CONCORD puts them down.
The frieghter is still in tact, but I hear his warning sirens going off in the background as he announces the shields are gone. We need more logistics ships to appear right now. The two guardians are staggering their reps.
Another group of high damage enemy ships drop out of warp right next to us. I’m red boxed by a catalyst but he’s out of range. Catalyst down. Everything is on fire and exploding all around me. And then it’s over. Freighter down.
But this time, that single stack of cargo went up in smoke.