We

And so they came,  from all over New Eden, to the gathering.  Such events only happened now and again and they had no official name, no title to go by.  You were told that one was on and you brought the oldest, the youngest, those to remember and those to learn.  At the door to the hall you were asked to find tables not with your own folks but to spread out.  No table was better than the others, no one was ‘above the salt’.

Jake was 15 and had no idea what the hell his grandfather had brought him to.  One day he is working the fields and the next they are on a starship flying to some other planet.  He KNEW his family did not have the money for the tickets but the old man just smiled, first at Jake and then at the travel agent as tickets were issued.  “Sometimes you find a way, boy, other times the way finds you.  Keep your ears open and don’t go embarrassing the family by being too noisy . . . or too quiet.”

Boro had brought a two students and shoved then in separate directions.  “Meet people, come back to me with stories . . . or do not come back”  He then searched the crowd until he found Tanta, standing with some others.  He made a beeline for her, noting that her student, Free, watched all who came near her with laser like attention.  “Madam, my day, no my year, is complete having had a chance to see you in the flesh again.”

“La, and what would you be knowing about my flesh you old reprobate?”  She smiled and stepped in for a hug.  “Now we will not be sitting together but we will meet up afterwards?”

Boro opened his arms wide after hugging her.  “Not even your student could stop me from that appointment.  ”

Mike kept to the sidelines, watching the people and trying to gauge the mood of the room.  What he wanted to say would have to be done right and in keeping with the time and place.  Too long?  too short?  Too academic?

A chime and a calm announcement directed the guests to find seats and to try not to sit with people they knew.  Too late, it was time.

Wait staff took orders and delivered drinks to all the tables as Mike made his way to the center of the room.  “Go ahead, start yer drinking.  This may take a bit and refills will happen as needed.”  Mike smiled,  turning about in place to take in all the guests.  “To me fell the task of the History Toast so we might as well get it over with so the important task of food can be gotten to.”

“Now I knows y’all know history but I am asking you to consider it through a different lens.  We started New Eden broken, scattered, crashing back into chaos and barbarism.  From the ashes of that disaster cam the new Empires.  Amarr built theirs upon the church and slavery and the subjugation of the Minmatar.  As a result the Minmatar were held back and are now just developing their own laws and ways based upon family and tribal lines.   In the meantime the Gallente grew, a democracy and the strongest member of the federation was the Caldari who focused on commerce and power through money.  In the end we came to blows and went our own ways, they becoming the State and we the Federation.  Each Empire has its own ways of doing things, its own ways of deciding what is right and what is wrong.

Problem is . . . ”  Mike paused to take a sip from his own drink.  “They kind of forgot the rest of us.  Thems as what are in power do not relinquish it easily.  Amarr has its own dynasties,  as do Minmatar, Caldari and yes, even we ‘free’ Gallente.  Oh, the powers that be may squabble between themselves.  Some want more power over the common man and others want less but they are pulling on  two ends of the rope we is all tied up with.  No matter who is winning?  We feel the squeeze.  But forgetting us does not mean we go away or that we meekly follow the orders of whichever interchangeable boss is in the power seat this year.”

He turned slowly to look around the room meeting eyes and letting the pause grow.

“Not by  along shot.  This is where you come in.  Where WE come in.  According to legends Gallente society is based on ancient traditions from Earth.  I want to give you six words from that history, three each from two different histories.  Carry these words with you and I will have succeeded in my given task.”

He held the glass high and said in a voice that filled the room.

“Liberté, égalité, fraternité

Now, for those of you not knowing other languages.  Liberty, equality, brotherhood.  We are all free, we are all equal, THEY are not better than you just because they are in power and we are all brethren.  To help one of us is to help a family member, something you do, I would hope.  The other three words? They be in the common tongue.

We the People

Because that is what it is all about.  Us, we the people.  They may be elected, appointed by God, inherited the power, or born into the right tribal line but it don’t matter.  They rule because in the end WE let them.  Until they screw it up.  That is where you come in.  We the people are the corrective force.  We are not organised or even named.  We have no leaders, just maybe a few elders whose voices might carry some weight or deserve some respect.  But if our leaders go astray?  We tug them back into line, one way or another.  You are now part of this, there is no oath to swear, no secret handshake to learn.  By living in New Eden you are one of us.  Hell you even could carry the shame of BEING a politician, we would accept you just the same.

That is it, folks.  History Toast can be long and academic or short and to the point.  Comes down to the second set of three words, in the end.”

Mike raised his glass and looking up said loudly

“We the People”

after a moment the room followed suit.

Mike sat in an empty chair and looked at people he had never met before.  “So, do I order the chicken or the sea bass?”

******************************************************************

Lessons

Madness.  I feel like our real world is descending into it.  I started writing this while watching the US elections but now it feels like that is almost on a backburner if not wrapped in plastic and tucked away.

Nobody gets to rule unless the people let it happen.  Enough revolutions/uprisings of late have shown that to be true.

You count as much as the next person, just don’t stand too close to them.

Health.  Mine is in limbo, if you follow my tweets you will know that my cancer may have moved to the lymphatic system . . . I do another test on that next week.  This puts me in what they are calling these days an immuno-compromised position.  I am playing it safe and keeping fairly home bound with walks along a wide parkway.

I honestly hope that you and yours are healthy and taking the proper steps to stay that way as well.

Madness in maddening times.  Keep your sense of humour and of your humanity.  Don’t give in to the panic, the cabin fever, the hysteria of the media.  Facts, precautions, hope.

But especially the sense of humour.  On twitter I got critiqued for a joke I made, today.  Of the 12 people who disapproved? 11 of them had pronouns in their bio and none of them were Eve players.

Eve players get me.  Well they try anyways.

fly it like you won it

m

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Invites

Mike stepped down from the ship, laughing.  “Damn if that is not a fun little thing to fly.”

“A bit garish there, mon, you really mean it to be so  . . . so  . . . yellow?”  Ev squinted up at it.

“Branding.”  Mike replied.  “But it was a sweet little runner for an abyssal trip, nary a problem or hiccup.”

“Well, you know you best, I s’pose.  But while you was out of the normal sidereal universe there been someone tryin ta find yas.  He make no bones about turnin ova evary stone once you no be answering your own comms.”

Mike grinned guiltily and turned his comm on.  When out on ‘me time’ he often closed all incoming and just focused on the fun he was having.  A lot of the messages were echos of what Ev had told him, others who had been called . . . but the root one was from home.  He cursed to himself and opened the channel.

*Took you long enough*  Cory said  *I was afraid I might have to start tracking down your ex-girlfriends.*

Mike grinned, “Not even Tantas comms has that much spare memmry.  But what are you doing there and is Tanta alright?”

“She is fine, she just set me the task of finding you and letting you know that there will be some sort of gathering and you will be doing the History Toast.  Whatever the hell that means.”

*Means I gots some planning to do and it is time to come home, eh, time to come home.  She give a timeline?”

“One week.  Problems with that?”

Mike laughed.  “One does not have problems with Tantas ‘requests’.  You just make it work.  I will be there in time, I will.  Tell her I said so.”

*Will do, now she has me contacting a LOT of other folks and sending out the invites so I best be . . . .*

“Hold on.  You working for Tanta now?  Free?  What is going on?”

*Yes, we are with Tanta now, will explain when you get here, for securities sake AND I want to see you expression when we tell the story.  One week.*

“One week.”  Mike agreed and closed the channel.

On the other end Cory looked at the ever growing list of contacts he had to make.  Judges, military, churches and farmers and small business owners from planets all across Gallente space and beyond.  No rhyme or reason he could see but it was looking to be a very large gathering.  Always the same format, though.  Eldest, youngest, and leader (Plus ones allowed but please rsvp)  He smiled and got to work.

*********************************************************

Lessons

The other thing about comms is getting folks to answer.  With players all the way around the world?  ya gotta sleep sometime.

Was recording a podcast with Ashterothi yesterday as he ran abyssal sites and it got me back on that play-style again.  To try something new I hit the web for solo frigate abyssal runners that were NOT ones I had done before.

Settled on this one and I DID enjoy it

https://www.eveworkbench.com/fitting/hawk/8e9f4f75-d62c-4906-fdab-08d6cfc59765

yeah I am lazy and run calms, so sue me.

fly it like you won it

m

 

 

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OOC Sock matching

Occasionally I write just to catch up on all of bits and pieces of New Eden. This is one of those posts. A few things to cover in and out of game.

Let’s start with the biggest and most recent. They cancelled Fanfest 2020 in Iceland. With the Covid 19 virus and people getting more nervous travelling? It makes sense.

But.

They skipped last year as well. I hope momentum does not take over and end a venerable Eve tradition. Funny thing is? Some pilots are going to go anyways. Even if there is no fest they can meet up and tour the magical place that is Iceland. If you are one of those going anyways? Talk to folks like Rixx Javix and meet up, sanctioned or no. We are Eve pilots, we adapt and conquer.

Then the mining changes that are just around the bend. This I know less about but if mining or industry is your thing, get out there and read. Oh and industry folks, CSM sounds like they may be doing some industry sessions so you may want to find folks there who may represent you. Dunk Dinkle leaps to mind.

Now the cool ‘out if the blue’ announement. Battleships can now carry a frigate as an escape vessel. Lose one and jump into the second. I REALLY want to see an Alliance Tournament with this mechanic.

K

People were afraid Eve might be stagnating. I must have some different definition for that word.

The surgery went well and I will be in the hospital until Monday.  I miss you all and Eve and especially rookie help chat.

Fly it like you won it.

m

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Spies

They arrived an hour later to find Tanta sitting at a large comm panel.  She stepped aside to let Cory take the control seat and gave him a few simple instructions as to what she wanted.  He grinned and nodded admiring the panel as an antique lovingly cared for.

“Run a sweep, we want to make sure this conversation is private.”

He called up the protocols and whistled.  “Under the wood panels is state of the art?”

“Best we can keep up with, yes, dear.”  Tanta smiled and touched his shoulder.  “What we show on the surface does not always go right to the bone, eh?  Now remember my cues, I ‘spect we will need them, I do.”

Cory nodded and completed the security check.  “Clear as far as I can tell.”  He pointedly looked around the room.

Tanta nodded.  “Part of dusting and cleaning a home includes a good sweep now and again.  This room is clear unless you brought something in yo’self, unless.”

Cory sputtered denials while Tanta and Free laughed.

“Good then.  Open comm one, please.”

The image on the main screen showed the briefing room that Free was very familiar with.  The lights and shadows moved and one voice asked in an exasperated tone.  -Well then who DID convene this meeting?-

Tanta stepped forward and her image appeared in the center of the room where normally agents would be briefed.  “That would me, that would.”

One or two of the shadows gasped and another protested -impossible-

“And yet here I am.  I am calling in favours you owes me.  All of them.”

The room quieted swiftly.

-What do you want, Madam.-

“I wish two of your people to now work for me and mine.  No ties, no restrictions.  I have asked them and they agree so all there is left is for you to give your blessings and it is done, it is.”  She stood looking about the room as though she could see into the shadows.

-Agents of the council never leave.  They are ours until they die.-  The oily voice whispered.

“That sounds like slavery.”  Tanta pursed her lips as though she had bit something sour.  “Are you sure that is what you meant to say?”

-THEY ARE OURS!- The voice yelled back.

Tanta looked to Cory and said “3x”

Cory tapped the keypad and the room changed as the dark pillar where the oily voice came from was suddenly lit . . . and empty.

“Now I knows he does not speak for all of you and now we all knows this room is empty, not a single one of you is here, just as is true for myself.  By your code it takes a majority to pass such a decision and I am willing to have him set down as ‘against my request’.  The question is . . . how will the rest of you decide, how?”

-How did you . . . –  A slightly startled womans voice asked.

“His house 0n the lake has suffered a sudden power outage.  I am sure that it will all be fixed quickly, but for now he will not be joining us.”  Tanta looked straight were the womans voice had come from.  “Now, Valery, how will you be voting?  How?”

The silence stretched for a moment before the womans voice answered her.  -They may go.-

-WHAT? A name drop and a comm closure and you yield?  She is bluffing and you all fold like . . . –  The voice was loud and aggressive and Tanto slowly turned to face the new pillar.

“You have only been on this council a few years, taking the seat from your father.  You may want to think before you say something that cannot be unsaid.”

-I will NOT be bullied by some Gallente Witch with delusions of . . . –  There was a loud thud and then a soft moan.  -My pardon.  I believe I will speak for my son on this matter as he is not well, right now.  Madam, you have my houses assent.  I did hear that the offer was all favours evened?-

She nodded to the pillar and smiled.  “All, we will start with a clean slate moving forward, a clean slate.”

The voice addressed the others of the council.  -I have been a bit in the background, of late, but that does not mean that I am completely gone.  Take a moment, brothers and sisters and consider what we owe her.  Also consider that she probably could arrange power outages for any one of us.  Temporary or otherwise.-

-But that would mean . . . – Another voice protested.

“That I have people within your organisation but you have not managed any in mine.  Yes, that is what it means, it does.  And before you get any idea that this offer is your way to change that?  I will take any actions by you to turn or double agent these two as a direct insult and attack upon me and respond accordingly.”

-For how long will this threat last?- Another voice asked with a subtle tone of derision.

“My health you mean?  Oh, I may not last long but WE will.”  She gestured for Free to join her in the image.  “Speak your mind, child.”

Free looked around the room that had held mystery, her orders to hunt and kill all had come from these people and she felt . . . nothing.  There was no fear, no hesitation, and no need for words.  She just stood slightly behind Tanta and rested one hand on her shoulder, lightly.

-We have already lost, brothers and sisters.  It is now just a question of how hard she needs to hurt us to make us realise it.-

The vote was completed soon after that and the room became silent but Tanta stayed put and asked Cory.  “4R if you please.”

The Fathers voice answered,  =I was wondering if you were bluffing, as my son said.  Now I know.=

“We will be having a small ceremony, tradition and all.  You are invited and you are welcome to bring your son if you think he will learn something from it.  A weeks time?”

=I doubt he will learn but I will bring him just the same.  There is always hope.  Your home?=

“It will be a larger sized gathering, contact when in orbit and we will give directions.”

=I look forward to it.=

Tanta made a closing gesture and Cory shut the comm panel down.  She slumped into a chair and breathed heavily.  Free rushed to her side while Cory touched the buttons that summoned the med staff.  They started to take her back to her room but she stopped them to give one last order.  “Call Emé, he has a week to get here, tell him that he will be doing the History Toast.”

Free nodded, her face full of concern.  Tanta was taken from the room and Free turned to face Cory.  “Did she just . . . .?”

Cory shook his head.  “What the hell are we getting into?”  He sighed and started tracking down Mike.

***********************************************************

Lessons

Spies are a thing in Eve Online (Spais)  Infiltrating another corp can be to betray, rob blind, get inside secrets.  It has been done often and well.  I have been in corps so infiltrated in both directions that battles were arranged up to what both sides would bring for a gud fite.

The best thing is a stringent entry requirement but a decent spy can still get past that.  One corp I was in took a simpler approach.  Trust in assets was not given so there was little or nothing to steal or betray.  But I think the BEST way would be to be so much better than the folks who sent the spy that you were who they now set their loyalty in, giving up or even turning on their former masters.

But how would ever know for sure?  You would not.

The next post, I hope, will be more eve and ships than the last few and then a big one . . . very Free and Tanta and politics.  I was thinking about putting in a disclaimer but . . .nah.

fly it like you won it

m

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Change is Gonna Come

The following afternoon at lunch Tanta asked Free and Cory to stay behind and help clean up.  Relieved dancers whose turn it actually was took the hint and swiftly fled the room. Once it was just the three of them Tanta set out tea and sat, watching them wash, dry, and put away.  Cory seldom had to open more than one cupboard, he had already learned how the kitchen was laid out.  She was more surprised that Free also knew there things went . . . then she remembered Free had spent time with Mike.

When they were done she nodded approval and gestured for them to sit.  “I has a question for the pair of yas, a question.”  she smoothed her dress and met both their eyes in turn.  “Do you want to leave who you work for and join this family, work here, instead?”

Free and Cory looked at each other.  “Madam, we are not allowed to ever . . . ”

“Oh that is what they say.  I asks you before I talks to them.  Iffen you wants I will ask them, nicely.”  Tanta smiled.  “Then if I have to I will be less nice.”  Again she smoothed her dress.  “But I need to know . . . will you come to me and mine if you can?”

Free smiled almost shyly.  “I will not speak for him but I would like nothing more.  But Tanta, nobody ever leaves . . . ”

“That is for Tanta to worry about.  How about you, young man?”

“I am just a tech, Madam.  Not a skilled Operative like Free.  People like me are a dime a dozen.”

“NO.”  Free and Tanta said in unison.  Tanta nodded and Free continued. “We are a team.”

Tanta nodded.  “I read your after action report of the hotel where you thought Eme was.  You were not a just a tech.  Boro noticed you and he tends to think of most people as semi sentient furniture.  It will not be all ‘making tea and cookies’ but we will find things for you to do.”

“Madam, it would be an honour to work with you and yours.”  Cory bowed his head.  “But . . . ”

“No buts, it be settled.  I will make the call in an hour.  Come back here, then, please.”  The manners were there but they both knew an order when they heard it.

________________

Boro was also giving orders but there was no mistaking his imperious tone and the words were not so polite.  “You, call and find me the best female dancers ages 6, 12, and 18 who are proficient in Mendre.  Planetary champion level at the least.  Bring me a list in an hour.  You?  Call the Countess Beatrice Batteuse and tell her I need her to do a favour for me and Madam.  You there, in the back.  A composer, Roc if you can find him, otherwise someone lesser.  Well?  Why are you all still standing there?  Go, go!

_________________

She pulled down a ledger and flicked on a light.  Running her finger down the columns she made a few notes and nodded to herself.

_________________

“She read our after action reports?  But those are . . . ”

“I do not doubt that Tanta did if she days she did.  The reach of that woman is more than just impressive, it is frightening.  This will not be a step down in operations, it will be a step up.”  Free looked out the window.  “It will not be just kill this one, erase that one, though.  Has it occurred to you that we do not actually KNOW what she does?”

“Yes.”  Cory hesitated then went on.  “Doesn’t matter, though.  I will still sign on if she will have me.  But the timing is what bothers me.”

Free nodded.  “Me, too.”

************************************************************

Lessons

Ever see a large Eve corp change management?  Undergo a sea change?  It is unsettling for all concerned but very much so for the rank and file and most of all for anybody new, just coming in.

Businesses, Governmental changes, always questions of what will be different and what will stay, will I fit in to the new plan or is that door opening for more than just the boss?  Some corp/alliance leaderships border on cult status and perhaps with good reason.

As a teacher the change in admin teams is always stressful because you had to find out where the new boundaries were.  I usually found out by blithely crossing them at high speed.

Back to Eve for a moment, I saw a tweet about someone seeing more and more of Pearl Abysses hand in CCPs day to day.  I have not noticed it but then I am old and tend to barely notice when my wife gets a haircut.

Change happens.

fly it like you won it

m

 

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Late night Tea

She woke up in darkness . . .

and pain.

She knew that she could call out and someone would come but it was the middle of the night and she was not ‘there’ yet.  So she lifted herself out of the bed, steadied herself for a moment and then walked down the hall to the kitchen to make some tea.

The kettle was already on and Cory sat at the table working on a video of some sort, frowning and playing an piece back and forth.  He looked up when she stepped into the light and rose to silently hold out a chair for her and then started preparing the tea.

She sat and squinted at him for a moment.  “You is up late, boy.”

“It is quieter and I can get things done.”  Cory shrugged.  “And you are up as well, Madam.  Should I call someone?”

“No. I juss wants some tea and then I will go back to bed.”

He smiled and nodded, he had already touched the button that put the staff on alert but not called them in, yet.  He frowned at the image before him and played it back one more time.  “Chains.”  He went to close the work but she held up a hand.

“Whatchoo workin on that has you so riled?”

He sighed.  “I think Boro challenged me to make a true film from the footage we made while hunting the dealer.”

“Boro no challenged you, he set  a task before you, for you to pick up or set aside.  For all his ego he does see others in lights that they may not see themselves.  He saw something in you, the choices you made.”

“But I never said a word to him, just took the shots and backed up Free.”

“But where you stood, how you chose lighting.  He noted each thing.  Finish the piece . . . ”  She paused for a moment.  “You can show it to him when he comes here.”

Cory stopped for a moment, frozen.  “He is coming here?  When did that happen?”

“In about 5 minutes from now, give me a comm.”

The comm was answered by a flunkie but in the background Boro could be heard.

“Boro, you dere hun?”

*Madam, hearing from you again is a boon I did not expect so soon.  Am I to expect another ‘student’ or are you going to dance for me yourself?*

“The latter, I am afraid.  I must do it soon, before I cannot.  You will have to come here, of course.”

There was a long pause.  *Madam, you know if there is ANYTHING I can . . . *

“All dances end, the music always stops.  Can you make it soon, Boro?”

*-sigh-  as soon as possible Madam, nothing could keep me from this project, nothing at all.  Should I bring anything?  Anyone?*

“It is your project, Boro.  I will dance.  Bring what and who you need.”

*Your student who visited me and her assistant, could you give me their contact?*

“They are here with me, now.  Do you want them for this?”

*Yes, Madam, I do.  I have much to do but I will see you soon, we will contact when in orbit.  Again Madam, anything at all . . . *

“I will see you soon, Boro, it be like old times again.”  She closed the connection and handed the comm back to Cory.

“There, you have a deadline now.  He WILL want to see that piece. He remembers you and Free and he is not one to remember folks lightly.”  She nodded to herself.  “So, you and Free ever more than just colleagues?”

Cory blushed.  “No Madam, I am fairly sure that how some of my predecessors died.”

“Most likely.  But I has to ask.  You has been a perfect gentleman around my students but is that because . . . ”

“If anything I believe I would die even faster than by making a move on Free.  Ruis has explained what ‘guest’ means, here.  I took it to heart.”

Madam chuckled.  “Of all the people to chose to learn manners from, he is not the first choice, he is not.”

“Just the same, I am still here, breathing.”  Cory shrugged.

“Let us keep it that way.  This is a Gallente thing and I know you are not used to our ways, yet.  If the person is of age and he, she, or they are willing?  No words will be said, no actions taken by the house.  Below age or forced and we will not have words.  We will have a funeral.  That clear?”

Cory swallowed and nodded, fairly sure that he now understood what Mike once said when describing Tanta.

 “Close your eyes for a moment and imagine Free alive in the future and still working, having done this for 50 years or more.  She is dangerous now so what will she be then?”

The tech shuddered.  “Why would you want me to imagine that?”

“Because that is who she is going to meet.” 1

She smiled and finished her tea.  “You is a good boy.  You finish that piece and let me have a look at it in the next day or two.  I think I is ready to try ta sleep again.”Cory jumped to his feet to help her up but she waved him back.  “Thank you boy but I no needs that much help, not yet.”

She walked slowly back to her room to find the bedding changed, pain killers and a glass of water at her bedside.  She smiled and took one before climbing back into bed.  Now she could sleep some more.

***********************************************************

Lessons

Changes are coming, Not everybody is happy with them but they will come, just the same.  Dunk is starting to chat with folks about industry.  Mining changes are around the corner and they may be something I have asked for for a while, dynamic mining, take too much and the cupboard does not fully restock.

As for me, personally?  I am waiting on a biopsy but it looks like my cancer is back . . but I am still dancing., just in some pain, now.

fly it like you won it.

m

 

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Evening Time, Holidays Wind Down

Mike sipped his spiced tea and looked out at the night sky from the front porch of the lodge the family had rented for the holidays.  He thought back and tried to remember when they had celebrated in a house and shook his head.  Tanta always loved the season and invited everyone she could to come celebrate.  Family, friends, students current and past, all might come to share in the event.

A lot of the cooking was done by family, each taking turns in the kitchen and turning out a meal, snacks, cookies (Mikes favourite to make)((and eat)).  Those who did not earn a spot in the kitchen helped in other ways, decorations, cleaning, various events and games  . . . the things that tied an extended family together.  They might visit the nearby city and the students would put on a dance recital for a church, hospital, or jail.  (In the last case Ruis or one of the other younger men or women would accompany and keep a firm eye out for anything untoward.)  Tanta was charitable but not foolish.

Free had arrived with her tech, Cory, and was absorbed into the hustle and bustle until she too was part of the family.  She picked up where she left off training the young ladies who might want to defend themselves better and Cory made himself handy wiring and recording and keeping things running smoothly for the touring shows.

The mealtimes were noisy and raucous and almost always delicious.  For Mike and his extended family  the holidays were almost a month long event and while he occasionally left to do his Bus runs he tried to be present as often as possible.  Just because he was there less than usual did not mean that he did not pay attention, though.

The tea had almost cooled to that perfect temperature and he stared up at stars wondering how many of them he had visited.  He heard the door close behind him but no footsteps of a person moving closer.  He smiled “So, what brings you out here, Free?”

“How do you . . . ”  She chopped off the sentence and thought for a moment. “Oh.”

“Yeah, A lack of data sometimes means something as well.  Just because you are not told something does not mean you will not hear it.  How bad is she?”

The long pause confirmed his fears.  ‘They do not know for sure.  But how do you know it is anything at all?”

Mike blinked back tears, still trying to focus on the stars but now they were balls of light, not points.  “A few of the new faces . . . I was not introduced which is odd, so I ran face searches.  Doctors and nurses.  If it was something simple that money could fix then I would be in the loop.  If it was something that required a donor then you would be out on the hunt for a donor,  voluntary or otherwise.  As we are both here . . .”  He shrugged, spilling  a bit of the tea.  Cursing softly he set the cup down and wished for something a bit stronger than tea.

Free handed him the bottle.  “Rum?”

Mike took the bottle and sipped from it slowly, then passed it back.  ‘Thank you.  Has she been making a lot of excuses and reasons for you to be around, lately?”

She stepped up to stand beside him and nodded.

Mike smiled.  “So she decided, then.”

“Decided what?”  Free asked.  At times talking to Mike was difficult as his mind kept jumping subjects.  It all connected, for him, but there were a lot of steps skipped.

Mike shrugged again, “Not my place to say, yet, not my place.  But I am glad Cory could make it.  He seems to fit in nicely.”  He blinked and wiped at his eyes.  “I spent billions over the last month and yet if I could help her . . . if my money could do anything.”

Free laid a hand on his arm and said softer than she had ever spoken before.  “She knows.”

Mike snorted, “Of course she knows, she be Tanta.  And she ain’t dead, yet, she ain’t.  Come on, let’s go inside before they start another round of rumours about you and me.”  He took the bottle back, had a larger swig and gave the stars one last loving look before leading Free back into the noise of the house party.

******************************************************

Lessons

*pic credit to Rixx Javix

A small scare before Christmas.  My mother had a few ‘small heart attacks’.  She is fine now (after surgery) but I consider it a shot across the family bows.

CCP once had roadmaps . . . we could see the general path that they had in mind.Now I feel like we just hop from one thought to the next but never see the steps between.  As a former teacher I used to insist that you show your work.

I hope the holidays were good for you and yours.  One of my promises to myself is to write a bit more.  Mainly Eve but a bit of Elder Scrolls will pop up from time to time.

fly it like you won it,

m

 

 

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Holidays OOC

Gaming companies make a thing about some holidays.  Well the companies that do community engagement do.  Some just add some skins, others a bonus or two and maybe a time limited effect.  Now as you know the main two games that I play (these days) are Eve and Elder Scrolls Online.  One sci fi and one fantasy.

Eve first.  It did a bit of all of the above.  EveVegas was just before Halloween and they announced some new stuff including a modification to how the loot fairy will be working for a week or so . . . everything drops.  Needless to say this has caused a marked increase in pvp kills and probably a marked decrease in shipping (logistics) by those who pay attention to the news.  There has been free sp for making kills and some ‘show up, win a gift’ just for logging in.  All nice, I guess.  But I miss Bloody Omir and an actual event.  Trick or treat would be a possibility for explorers.Invasion of Blood Raiders.  Something.  But something LIVE.  (A guy can dream.)

Elder Scrolls Online.  Halloween in a fantasy setting?  They bring out some time limited achievements, skins for characters, special mounts.  Double exp if you complete a small quest. That sort of thing.  Lots of grind for the achievement and I will readily admit I decided that I wanted the damn hat and title and am doing a bit of grind as I play.  Also nothing ‘Live’ but see, the thing is?  I have not seen a live event in ESO.

Eve spoiled me in a lot of ways as to what a game CAN be, CAN do.  Live events, interaction with the gms or game team.  Lore advanced manually.  I value that far more than a new skin or a minor rule change for a limited time.

In ESO I meet folks and maybe work with them for a mission or two but there is no long term connection.  In Eve?  Trust is given carefully but, as a result, relationships form.  There are folks I have known for YEARS in Eve.  Not corp mates just people who keep in touch in spite of me playing very different than they do.

Holidays, to get back to the topic at hand, are about relationships.  Halloween trick or treating is a neighbourhood thing.  Thanksgiving is family.  Remembrance day?  History of our people. More than anything I want the holiday events to be about connections made, maintained, strengthened.

fly it like you won it

m

 

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Minutia

“Where the hell have you been? ” Scottys voice was a mix of exasperation and relief. “People have been looking for you.”

Mike looked mildly surprised. “Same old same old. Oh a few detours now and agin. Someone wanted help with a pirate, checking some industry, chased a few leads . . . who would be looking for me, anyways?”

Scotty shook his head and grinned. “Coffee? ”

“Always. Of course I did have some light reading to while away the time. Latest meeting minutes from the powers that be came out.”

Scotty changed their path slightly. “Not coffee, then. Something a bit stronger if you are going to talk my ear off.”

Soon they were at a table in a mid class pub. A half empty pitcher and the remains of the food before them. “Usual stakes?” Mike asked as they set their comms face down between them.

“First to pick up buys drinks and food. If it is me, for the pair of us, if it is you . . . ”

“The bar, agreed.” Mike leaned back. “So the minutes came out and already folks wiser than I have parsed, collated, dissected, and dismissed them.”

“So now it is your turn?”

Mike nodded. “Funny thing, I still take the minutes personally. So I read them like they are important to me and mine. I was a bit surprised when the opening salvos hit me so hard though. Usually the first meet and greet is pure fluff. Instead, the opening lines are home work for the next season will be allocated. 80% new pilot retention and 20% vet stagnation.”

Scottys comm buzzed quietly, he glanced towards it and his hand twitched but he did not touch it. They grinned at each other and Mike were filed their drinks and then waved the pitcher at a waitress who nodded from across the pub. “Why the focus on new pilots?”

Mike grimaced. “It is a dirty little secret of pilots that a lot of us do not make it past the first day. Not so much burnout as spontaneous combustion. Hard to keep pilots out there if they quit before they can even get started. So I suppose that makes sense.

CCP Burger brings up the four main focus points for CCP:
1. Stop the bleeding
2. Fix the stupid
3. Excite and teach
4. Incentivize return

I am not sure I agree with the order, I prefer to fix stupidity first.”

Scotty shrugged. “If they leave too fast it won’t matter if you did. Keep them and then mkeep it work for them. Like I first aid. Keeping the patient alive comes first, making them comfortable, second”

“I will take your word for it. So they batted around some of the stupid to show what they meant. Things like taking the mining laser out of the rookie ships because some new pilots get confused by it. Or removing the non ammo oriented civilian weapons because they set up bad habits.” Mike shook his head. “I see what they are trying to do but I despair at the examples that they tossed up.”

Scotty tore eyes from the comm, again buzzing, “Why?”

“Well the rookie ship is meant to do everything, but poorly. It gives incentive to grow, to move on. If they add ammo? It will crash said ammo market as the new folks strip and sell their free ships. Remove the miner and they have no starting actions unless th mining career agent hands one out right at the start. Now I do get that civ devices are lousy when it comes to capsuleer usage but what will replace them, and how?” Mike frowned at his glass, empty again.

Scotty refilled both their glasses and then nodded. “Code law, 99 bugs, fix one and now you have 103 bugs.”

“What they said next had a measure of sense until you thought about it.”

In essence, CCP wants to create a purpose for players in the first 15 minutes of gameplay, and then as the player keeps playing they will be in a tutorial that merges into general gameplay.

Sounds all well and good until you realize that it is a big universe and there is no one ooverriding purpose. We all become pilots for our own reasons. Or we did, once.” Mike looked off into the distance and sighed. “I don’t want to see the sandbox get a railroad.”

The main concern here from the CSM is that the default channels for assistance are toxic and getting the new player into an actual group is better to be done as fast as possible.
CCP Burger says that another point to consider is how to do the handover from the tutorial to player groups. Fleets organized by Greygal (Greetings!) were brought up as an example and that they had the highest retention rate CCP has ever seen.

“So they talked about two very different ways the new pilot gets started. Rookie help channel and Greygals fleets. Now you know I try to be involved with both of them but they be apples and oranges. Greys fleets are small, personal and dammit, fun. Rookie help chat is throwing all the rookies into a box and sometimes having a moderator. The rest of time? Folks like Corporal, addalee, Leucas, myself and others do our best to help but with no tools to eliminate the few toxics that seem to think that Rookie chat is a good place to troll. More ISDs or hand out minor mod power to a few trusted folks would go a long way.”

*zzz zzz zzz*

Mike grinned and waved for another pitcher. “Whoever it is, they iz persistent. So . . . ”

“No, so that was the first day?”

Mike roared with laughter. “That was the first session.”

*******************************************

Lessons,

yeah this may take a couple more posts. I am doing this on a tablet while travelling so I cannot link the minutes or some of the other links like jjns audio version of the minutes

May when I get back home

But for now? Fly it like you won it and managed to get into a redemption road fleet with grey.

m

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Schools

Mike left the lecture hall leaving behind the questions new capsuleers always wanted to ask (but never listened to the answers).  The Dean, as always, was there to thank him and try to talk him into another engagement sometime soon.

Mike begged off of committing right away and looked about trying to make a diplomatic exit.  Then the question was asked . . .

“Who taught you, Mr Azariah?”

Mike paused before answering.  “Everybody, I suppose.  I read a lot and talk to folks and damn if they are not willing to talk back.  I ask questions and collect the answers then tend to check things out for myself.  That way may not be best for everyone but it seems to have worked for me.  There WERE schools back in the day.  Good ones, too.  I deeply regret never managing to get into an Agony Unleashed pvp class.  I did do some work with Open University of Celestial Harknocks  (OUCH). Eve Uni also runs and has for a very long time, classes on various parts of aspects of being a Capsuleer and not all the classes are limited to members only.  They have let me drop in, now and again, to toss in my two isk worth.”

“But there are problems,” Mike said, warming to the subject. “Too popular or not known.  Both ends of that spectrum can be death to a school.  Too popular and you have either classes that are too big or lineups and resentment. Too small and it just seems to be a waste of time for all those mentoring.”

The dean shrugged.  “Both of your problems are more attitudinal than actual.  Small lets you claim elite or personal status.  Large makes you an institution.”

“Yes,”  Mike nodded.  “But then a lot of lifes issues can be seen as ‘attitudinal’ if looked at through the proper lens.  It should never stop folks from trying, though.  I met with the admin of a new school a couple of days back.  There was no problem with attitude, there.  She had a new take on things that I found refreshing.”

***OOC*****

We are the content of this game and for the game to continue and grow we need better quality pilots.”  {Note I am paraphrasing here because I was scribbling notes and talking and I am not a reporter.}

We need more GFs in local, more chatter.  Battles that are not a bling Loki vs a Frigate just because someone has the isk to do so.  We need better quality pilots who can do more than just hit F1 on command.

Starting with a mentoring program but slightly larger goals of setting up a single system RvB arrangement for a forever war in hisec.”

If something like this takes off?  It will be the new Agony Unleashed and I would like to see that.  If it sounds like something you are interested in helping with or learning from?  Well ask and I will point you in the right direction.

***IC***

“So will this school be stealing you away from us?”

Mike laughed.  “I readily admit I would be better suited as a student than a teacher in those classes.  Oh I know a bit here and there but I ain’t no pvp pro.  Don’t you worry, I will be comin ’round lecturin for you just same as I always have.”


Lessons

Schools in Eve are a good way to increase retention and have decent pilots to fly with and against.  We have a wicked learning curve and maybe we should have a few mentors helping with the ascent.

I would like to see CCP support some of these schools but I know that they are afrais of being called on favouritism or aiding and abetting a scam school from getting up and running off with all the assets.  So it is up to us.

If I can help?  I do

fly it like you won it

m

 

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