Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Chapter Five Beta

A Brief Guide on How to Run Away, and Other Things to Do In 0.0

Systems with stations in them are obviously the most congregated-upon systems in 0.0. The comfort of having one of those empty white squares on your overview and prealigned to is unsurpassed by most other offers of safety in the otherwise unforgiving expanse of no security space. A large defense gang brings lag, a safespot is cozy - until it's probed out - and a POS is safe - until it's sieged. But a station in your system is just a warp away - eagerly welcoming your ship so that you might cower from the hostile fleet outside or log off without worries after a hard day of grinding ISK out of the callouses and blisters of your hands and the bones of your enemies.

My travels have taught me that 0.0 stations are not the wanderer's friend. What I once assumed to be a boon for all no security inhabitants turns the glowing alliance population centers of my map from a series of hospitable retreats into a fortress line of well-defended obstacles.

No-security station-systems pose a problem for the vagabond because in EVE, if you're not with them you're against them. Since I serve myself and no other, the overwhelming majority of alliance space automatically has a vested interest in seeing me explode.

This has become a major hurdle in my journey into the northern maelstrom of what is going on? and other assorted clusterfscks, because the borders are so muddled I'm tromping through a new alliance's territory every several jumps - meaning a whole new set of defensive patterns to acclimate myself to and learn to circumvent. Luckily, the ever changing alliance tickers are of little consequence to me beyond this, since they all appear to want to kill me.

I bring this up mostly because I found myself unexpectedly caught in a high traffic pipe shortly after entering Morsus Mihi space. While I was somewhat surprised by the number of industrial ships flying about unescorted, I knew every pair of eyes in the constellation was on me - the lone neutral Stabber flitting about their space, aggravatingly ignorant of borders and "proper diplomatic channels." I was a mosquito to them, and they had the flyswatter hidden behind their backs.

As I sat in a safespot, prealigned to the gate that was to whisk Kabbalah and me through intricate and elegant mathematical improbabilties and deliver us to the first station-system on our route, I had a thought. Perhaps I did not need to go this way. Linavin had mentioned earlier that day that my route - while avoiding the worst path north - did not angle west enough to ensure smooth sailing. Given the difficulty this first populated system had given me, I was not looking forward to penetrating the perimeter of the several other such fortified systems on my route.

Keeping a careful eye on local, my ever-running scanner, and my overview, I input new headings and plotted a new course. As Kabbalah performed an admirable hairpin turn at full velocity and launched out of the safespot towards the yellow icon of my new destination gate, local lurched by four or five.

As I arrived at the empty gate and jumped through, I was glad I had the foresight to alter my course. My expected arrival at the other gate had been prepared for, and had I tried to make a run for it I would have most likely been splattered like the mosquito I was, running smack dab into the heavy hitting ships they had jumped through from their station-system. I suppose the annoying insect bumbled off just in time.

The next several systems were dead quiet, until I approached the gate that would angle me northward again and take me to one of the most suspicious systems on my route - a system with several ships, but no station.

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