Cry ‘Havoc!’

“Cry ‘Havoc!’, and let slip the dogs of war.”
-Mark Antony, Act 3, Scene 1 in Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare

Void Raven

I love to shower. The gushing sound, the warm water striking the top of my head and then cascading down over my body and the steam swirling in the enclosed space, softening sharp angles, all combine to transport me away, if only temporarily, to somewhere quiescent and removed from the concerns of daily life. Finally washed free of viscous pod goo, I turn off the water and reach for the towel on the heating rack through lingering steam. Warm, luxurious fluffiness envelopes me. The soothing sensation of toweling continues to distract me from the real world, repelling an unease that has been building insidiously within me over the past several months.

A short time later, I’m dressed again, and my anxieties slowly make their return. I need another distraction; something fun and entertaining.

“I wonder if there are any Signaleers hanging out at the bar tonight? I’ll head down there for a drink and some laughs”, I think as I look out the window at the giant nebula so prominent in my home system.

The station orbiting Zoohen III is owned and administered by the Amarr Theology Council Tribunal, the last great vestige of the religious sect that once ruled the Amarrian empire and they enforce strict moral policies. Unsurprisingly then, given the stultifying environment, there are only a handful of official bars and they adhere strictly to rules that serve solely to curtail enjoyment. Thus, I prefer the lively, unregistered underground bars that do their best to remain “under-the-radar”. But I am not completely naïve. Patronizing these establishments carries some risk – they are outside the capsuleer zones and in the baseliner districts, where capsuleers must tread more cautiously, and there is also the possibility that there are informants that provide information to the authorities that is useful in conducting raids of such places.

Arriving at the pub, I don’t immediately see anyone I recognize from Signal Cartel. It’s a great little place, with low lighting and strings of small colored lights hanging from the ceiling and walls and draped over an assortment of eclectic decorations and other accessories strewn about. A guitarist is playing in the corner. There are always some baseliners present here and even though the pod connection ports on my body are hidden by my clothing – so that I don’t stand out as a capsuleer – they can tell. I think it’s just the way I carry myself.

In this pub, capsuleers are usually tolerated, so long as we try to blend in and don’t flaunt our privileged position. Tonight, though is different. As I walk past one of the tables, an elderly man stands up in front of me, blocking my way with an outstretched arm to my chest.

“My son. My son…”, he begins. I know what is coming next. “He… he died on a ship piloted by one of your kind.” He narrows his eyes. “I hate you all”, he says venomously.

I look straight ahead, silent. His friends quickly pull him back down into his seat. One of them whispers something into his ear. No-one wants a confrontation here that will bring in the authorities. As I continue to walk past him, he spits onto my boots and makes a universally recognizable rude gesture with both his hands.

A little shaken, I sit down at the bar counter and, on the other side, Tharu walks over.

“Hey Void… sorry about that. How’s it going otherwise? What brings you in tonight?”

I like Tharu, he’s unpretentious and genuinely friendly to capsuleers; he doesn’t harbor the loathing for us that so many baseliners, like the man earlier, do. I can’t fault them really; we do leave the death of innocents in the wake of our vanity. But we also defend New Eden and all her inhabitants against deadly threats. A matter that has been welling inside me of late.

“Yeah…don’t worry about that guy. Doing okay thanks, Tharu. You? I lost a Helios today so I had to come back to re-ship. Where’s everyone tonight?”

“Out tending and sowing – it’s Crinklefest II”, he replies.

“Oh yeah, right. I should be doing that too. But I’m here now; I’ll just stay for a drink or two and then go out tomorrow.”

“Sorry about the ship, Void. I know it’s hard for you when that happens. So… whiskey then?” he asks.

“Yup”, I reply. I always have a whiskey after losing a ship. In remembrance of my crew – whom I have failed. It’s an insignificant, ultimately meaningless gesture, but it’s my tradition. My way of saying sorry and goodbye.

“You know, you don’t look like you’re doing okay. Sure everything’s fine?” Tharu is also perceptive.

“Well… honestly, I’m becoming more concerned about the future.”

“Oooooh… deep stuff there, Void. But if you capsuleers are beginning to feel uneasy about the future, well then…”, he trails off.

“So, what is it about the future that concerns you?”, a voice says to my left.

Startled, I turn to look at the stranger sitting next to me. She’s drinking a beer and staring straight ahead.

“Do you always listen in on the conversations of others?” I ask.

She turns to look at me. As jet-black as my hair is, hers shimmers in juxtaposition, like we are opposing pieces on a chessboard. Her hair frames a face of ochre clay with bangs falling over her eyebrows. Absurdly luminous eyes study me intently. A ‘Y’ shaped scar runs from her top lip to the base of her nose and a single, dark tattooed stripe runs from her forehead over her right eye, curving off over her cheekbone towards her ear. A small sparkle emanates from her left earlobe. She takes a sip of her beer. An inscription is tattooed on her forearm, but I can’t make it out in the light.

“T’alisque Agittain ”, she says. “Fellow Signaleer. Just joined Signal Cartel and still finding my way around. Pleasure to make your acquaintance, Void Raven.”

“Wha… What?” I stammer. “How do you… how do you know my name and that I’m in Signal Cartel?”

She shrugs her shoulders, “Read your recent interview with Katia Sae and saw your picture. And heard you talking to Tharu about Crinklefest II.”

I nod my head sheepishly as I feel the heat flush across my face.

T’alisque smiles and says, “Has anyone ever told you that you blush in Triglavian Red, Void Raven?”

“No. And you can just call me Void.”

“Hmm… not sure I will. Thing is, I like your full name. Got a shadowy ring to it. But my name, on the other hand, is a mouthful – so I just go by T’ali. What do you do here?”

“SAR stuff; exploration – and a little research on wormholes, Drifters and Trigs on the side.”

“Okay, that’s great. Me, I like fleets. Taking the fight to the sleepers. Logi or DPS. So now, with introductions out of the way, I’m still curious – what about the future concerns you?”

“Well… where to start? Things have become way more unsettled in New Eden over the past year. You know, first it was the discovery of abyssal space, then came the Triglavian Invasions in – of all places – high sec, followed by the Drifter Invasions in null, which then experiences a black out, because the Secure Commerce Commission can’t keep their damn fluid router network up. And now we have emerging conduits and Trig patrols springing up everywhere. Oh, and don’t forget that the Trigs are fond of the word ‘extirpation’. What I’m saying is things are more freaking chaotic. And it concerns me… a lot. Frightens me, even.”

I stop to catch my breath. T’ali is just looking at me, beer in hand. Her tattoo is more visible now and I notice it is written in a language unfamiliar to me.

“Huh. Well, aren’t you just a regular little ray of starlight, Void Raven? Tell me, are you always like this? Because if you are, I’ll have to do my drinking with other Signaleers, okay? You do know the Drifters have gone back to their filthy, stinking Hives and the null blackout is over, right? Shouldn’t that count as good news?”

“How can we be sure the Drifters won’t come back, in even greater numbers and with more force? And they say null could blackout again without notice”, I grumble.

T’ali nods her head, “Hmmm… fair point”, and then continues, “Listen – first, don’t panic okay? We’ve got this covered – us capsuleers, including you. We may not have all the answers yet, but we’ve always come through before when faced with threats and we’ll do so again. Sure, the threats today may seem more acute, but we’ll just up our game to match theirs. We will need to fight though… I think there’s no getting around that. It does seem like there’s a storm brewing on the horizon. Everyone will have to do their bit – the industrial class will build the machines of war and the warrior class will rain havoc upon the enemy. And so on, you know.”

T’ali checks the time. “Oh… shoot… I’ve got to run. Say, I just had an idea. I need to buy an Augeror in Dodixie for a sleeper fleet tomorrow. With the current wardec, I could use someone to scout ahead for me on the way back. You interested, Void Raven?”

“I just showered a little over an hour ago to clean off pod goo”, I say. T’ali raises her eyebrows.

“Okay, sure, I’ll scout for you, T’ali. And it’s Void”, I say – again.

“Great! Let’s go. I’ll meet you outside Zoo and we can fleet up.”

We get up to leave, and T’ali suddenly grabs my arm.

“Oh, by the way, I saw you glance a few times at the tattoo on my arm. Want to know what it says? Here, take a look.” She steps closer, holding out her forearm for me to read the tattoo.

“’Si vis pacem, para bellum.’ Well, it sounds good I guess, but I have no idea what it means”, I say.

T’ali looks me directly in the eyes, and replies, “It’s a very ancient language and it means ‘If you want peace, prepare for war’, Void Raven.”

A Note from a Former Signaleer

Editor’s Note: Thrice Hapus, our CEO, received this email and wanted to share it (with Felippe’s permission). This served as an excellent reminder of the long-term impact a corporation can have on its members, even after they move on to experience other parts of New Eden.

To all who help train and mentor new players within this great game, We salute you! o7

Dear Thrice,

I write to share my joy. This evening I completed my first Silent Battleground.

Felippe en Distel

I’ve been jumping into wormholes for quite a while, and I wondered whether I’d ever see one, but now I have. It was in a Class 5 shattered system ( J004998 ) that I entered from Syndicate space, and I just barely scanned it down with a probe strength of 104.2. Actually, I almost didn’t try. As I was scanning down the hole, I saw a Buzzard and then a Draugur on d-scan, and having never even known the Trigs have a command Dessie, I had resigned myself to moving on to the next hole. Probably those folks are running the Silent Battleground, let them do their thing. But… I had my probes out already, might as well see if I can get the Battleground to 100%, right?

So using a cube arrangement and after some fine adjustment of the probes, I managed to scan it down. And since I scanned it down, I figured I might as well warp in cloaked, take a look. I had never even seen the thing before. So I warped in cloaked… and there were all the cans, untouched. Now I get paranoid. What about those other ships on dscan? Are they hunting explorers? The Buzzard is probably paper tanked, but I’m worried about the Dessie. Do I take the chance? I looked at my empty hold, and that made my decision easier. Worst case, I’ve got a spare Blackglass and Zeugma waiting for me in GE-8JV. If I get ambushed, at least I gave it a shot.

And for the next 35 minutes, I was wired, hacking cans and spamming d-scan, just waiting for the ambush. What I didn’t know beforehand is that some of the loot is bulky, 10m3 a piece. Around 15 minutes in, I had to start making decisions about what I could fit in my hold, and Kenny Rogers starts singing in my head (“you never count your money while you’re sittin at the table / there’ll be time enough for counting when the dealin’s done”). And I keep chugging through the cans. I remember the wiki page saying that 3 explorers can finish the site before it despawns, and I’ll be proud if I can finish half. My phone buzzes, I turn it over so I don’t get distracted, and I keep spamming d-scan.

Maybe these are the kind of explorer hunters that let you finish a site, and then blap you. Maybe I should leave a can unhacked and warp off. But what kind of twisted person waits 35 minutes for someone to finish the site? And if they had the skills to scan it down, they would probably be running it themselves. So I hack the last can, then go back and grab a few more datacores I had jettisoned, so that my hold is completely full now. Before I warp off, I cloak up, pump up my graphics settings and snap a few pictures and decide I need to share my joy.

And I know that I would have never been able to do this if not for my time in Signal Cartel. Here I am with proper skills, experience, and equipment to pull this off. So I must express my profound gratitude to you and the other Signaleers with whom I’ve exchanged knowledge and with whom I share the spirit of exploration.

As I write, I’m still cloaked up in the wormhole, my fear that someone is camping one or more of the exits (only 3 ways out) gradually fading. Maybe I’ll try the Low Sec exit and hope it’s something pleasant like Vecamia. I suppose you’ll be able to tell the outcome from my killboard in the morning.

Yours in space,

Felippe en Distel

Initiating Operation Hugeroo

Editor’s Note: Posted on Reddit as “When a 5 day old newbro makes a name for herself things are going as intended” by BraveLittleSignaleer, I just had to share it here as well. This story truly encapsulates the spirit of Signal Cartel and what we do. It’s an amazing and wonderful thing to see a five day old character who is a new Signaleer embracing our Credo, dropping what they’re doing and helping another capsuleer in need. I honestly don’t know who they are, as they wish to remain anonymous, but I’m a fan and they have my respect. Job well done!

As reported by BraveLittleSignaleer (with some wordsmithing):

A real life friend joined Eve Online on my recommendation. As soon as she could land she applied to Signal Cartel and was admitted within 24 hours. We started flying together and by day four she was a decently competent explorer. She decided she really wanted to go into wormholes and explore there. This is where she became friends with Allison.

Allison is pretty cool. She helps keep our explorers safe by reminding us to bookmark exits and giving us intel. Allison also happens to be able to tell us if the wormhole we’re in has any Search & Rescue requests pending or if an EVE-Scout Rescue Cache (ESRC) needs to be tended or deployed – “Hope that comes in a box”™.

Our rescuer did what no one her age had ever done in Signal Cartel (she’s fourteen in real life and at that time only five days into the game), which was to perform a successful NPNL rescue (the stranded pilot had No Probes and No Launcher).

Our Signaleer was exploring a C3, looking for Intact Armor Plates, when in local she sees there’s a capsuleer stranded in the hole. The pilot had been rolled in by a collapsed wormhole. She immediately replied with what surely will become an in game legend, “Initiating Operation Hugeroo. Standby.” She immediately fleeted up with the stranded capsuleer and warped him to the exit. Our stranded pilot was very thankful and straight from our Credo our rescuer replied, “Signal Cartel is a service corporation to all of New Eden. In this role, members are encouraged to treat all players with respect regardless of affiliation. In challenging situations, our goal is to look for a graceful resolution and set an example of dignity and friendship through our actions.”

Our rescuer is probably Eve’s youngest billionaire, all funded without losing a single ship, and all done in a free ship that Signal Cartel makes available to its newest and inexperienced Signaleers.

Signaleer Void Raven

Editor’s Note: Another in character interview in our Signaleer Series!

Void Raven

Void Raven

Void Raven enters the small, and evidently popular, pub on the Perkone station in Saisio. She has intentionally arrived a little early for the interview, so as to find suitable seating and create a good first impression by not being late. She waits a few moments for her eyes to adjust to the low lighting and then looks around. There is no free seating at the bar counter, and there are only a few tables, most of which are occupied. Void finds an empty table in the far corner, sits down and confirms on her neuro-occular display that she is indeed early. Relieved that so far things are going as planned, she orders a drink and glances around the pub’s interior.

Tapestries, similar in style to the artwork in the Achur cultural center she visited enroute to the pub, line the walls. Dark wood paneling softly reflects the muted light from frosted-glass wall sconces. Planet VIII looms large in the window on the opposite side of the pub. By chance, today is also the peak of the Potan meteor shower in Saisio, and Planet VIII is putting on quite a show as hundreds of meteors plunge into its atmosphere, spawning the trails of light that betray the end of their long journey through space. Pleasantly fragrant, but unfamiliar, aromas drift around Void and her stomach rumbles in response.

When her drink arrives, she orders some Achur-style food, but immediately regrets doing so when the server walks off, as she realizes that eating during an interview at which she will be doing most of the talking is probably not a good idea. Void’s thoughts turn to the upcoming interview. She reaches out to her drink and endlessly rotates the glass with her fingers, her gaze fixed on her hand. The chatter and murmur of conversation among the other patrons dissolves into the background as doubts creep into her mind. What had she been thinking when she signed up for this? A young capsuleer with no experience to speak of and a troubled past – what could she possibly say that would be of interest to anyone? Her leg bounces up and down on the ball of her foot.

“Void Raven?”

Void gives a jolt as she hears her name spoken and her stomach tightens when she looks up to see Katia Sae standing in front of her. She takes a deep breath and stands up quickly to greet her, bumping the table and spilling half her drink.

“Katia! How… how long have you been standing there? Sorry, I was just…”

Void takes a few more breaths and continues, “What a pleasure and honor it is to finally meet you in person, Katia. And I also just want to say congratulations on your inspirational achievement. Thanks for suggesting this pub as the place to meet. It’s perfect. As I mentioned to you, I feel so much more at ease in casual settings. But, even so, I’m… uh… I’m so darn nervous right now. I mean, I’ve never been interviewed before. See, I decided on this white blouse in case I start sweating. It won’t show sweat as a darker top would. Did I just say that? Please tell me this isn’t already part of the interview. Okay, okay, I need to calm down. Umm… can I get you something from the bar?”

As they sit down, Void gestures at the food she ordered earlier and says, “I wasn’t thinking. Like I said – first interview. Help yourself if you would like any, Katia.”

Smiling in understanding, Katia waves off the offered selection, “I completely understand. Would you believe my nerves still get the best of me during interviews? You’d think it would get easier with experience, but I’d rather face down a Loki on gate than talk to a reporter.”

After some pleasant conversation that relaxed them both, Katia steered the conversation to the interview.

“Tell me why you became a capsuleer?”

Void’s face hardens upon hearing the question. She mops up the spill on the table from earlier with her napkin, as if hoping that a delay in answering would make the question go away. But it hangs in the air, waiting patiently.

“Now, this is going to unearth some difficult memories for me. So, let’s see how it goes. I became a capsuleer to escape from a troubled upbringing and avoid an adverse future. I grew up in Gallente lowsec. In an environment that was not really…uh…supportive of a great childhood. I was exposed to…to a way of life that, had I fallen into it, would have left me disillusioned and, sort of, drained of any goodness. Instead, I would have been filled with an unquenchable rage as I selfishly blamed the whole of New Eden and everyone in it for my situation. An outcome which would have, you know, been to the detriment of others as…as their paths crossed my own in that sinister future. You see, my mother Black Raven took some bad turns early in her life that she wasn’t able to recover from. I didn’t want a repeat of that, so I left home for capsuleer school and for what I hoped would be a fresh start.”

Void loses her composure a little. Shaking her head she looks down at the floor and continues, softer than before, “I’m sorry, Katia. I do want to share my past with Signal Cartel. I owe that to everyone; you…you have all been so welcoming. But I’m unable to go into more detail about it today. Maybe some other time. Umm… suffice it to say that a little over five years ago, I guess fate interceded on my behalf, and then in 03 this year I graduated from capsuleer school with a deep fondness for exploration, but no idea of where to go next.”

Void’s translucent grey-white eyes come alive as she continues, “But then, serendipitously, news broke of a new statue in Saisio, which, sort of, spoke to me with unusual clarity when I read the inscription on it. I mean, that star in your hand, Katia, it lit the way for me to find Signal Cartel. And today I’m…uh…so grateful to be here and to be able to contribute to New Eden in a positive way to counterbalance the…the darkness that surrounds us all.”

Void hesitates for a moment; reflective. One hand is wrapped around the fist of the other in front of her. She seems undecided about her next utterance, but then says, “Okay, the Credo demands that I be honest and forthcoming. Fine. I question whether I didn’t perhaps become a capsuleer for the sole purpose of gaining ‘immortality’ and so not grow old as just another invisible and miserable baseliner. So I could rise above the wretched masses. The reason I gave earlier is then no more than a rationalization to avoid confronting the unpleasant implications of that. I mean, do I harbor a veiled desire for superiority or supremacy over others? By the Sisters, I truly hope not. I’m left wondering what it says about me that I might unconsciously hunger for immortality.”

Void takes a sip of her drink.

Blushing slightly on hearing the Saisio monument reference, Katia still found herself embrassed by the attention, which she knew didn’t make sense. Prior to the interview, Katia had a feeling Void’s story would be an interesting one to hear. Not wanting to pressure her further she went on to the next question. “What is your background as a pilot? Did you jump right into exploration, start in the military, hired by a corporation, or something else?”

“So, I have no real piloting background to speak of, having only recently graduated. I mentioned my innate love of exploration earlier; I’m drawn to see what lies beyond the figurative horizon. And then the next one. I don’t know… maybe my desire to explore comes from an unconscious need to keep ahead of the shadows of my childhood.”

”What attracted you to explore New Eden? Do you have a goal, have you achieved it? If not, are you still working towards it?”

“I don’t have a particular goal. Well okay. I’m Gallente. So, maybe the pursuit of individual freedom? Umm…I love to get lost in the beauty of New Eden and simply let it wash over me. To admire the… the background tapestry of whatever system I’m in. There are many locations of historical significance to investigate and learn about and I’m only just starting to… uh… scratch the surface with this. The adrenaline rush of hacking ancient and long forgotten relic and data sites in Anoikis is, kind of, borderline addictive. I am the hunted in the natural order of things and, counterintuitively, I find that exhilarating and liberating, you know.“

Void suddenly laughs and says, “Oh, speaking of hacking reminds me of a story. Do we have time? Yes? Great! Once, when I was super focused on hacking a site and all was deathly quiet, Allison, probably because she was bored, simulated herself dropping some… umm… plates or glasses or something and they shattered in a sudden explosion of noise. I almost died of fright. I mean, I came close to having a heart attack, which is no joke. As you know, Katia, the clone retrainsplantation process is initialized upon detection of a pod breach. An in-pod coronary does not exactly meet that requirement. She apologized, sweet AI that she is, so we’re still friends.”

Void takes another sip of her drink and continues, “Tending and sowing rescue caches and Thera wormhole scanning are intrinsically rewarding activities. I also recently finished assisting ARC on an unidentified wormhole research project in Drifter Hive Systems. So, for me, there is no end goal or destination. It’s all about the journey into what the future may bring.”

Void takes a pause, then says, “Katia, am I rambling too much? I mean, it’s all sort of stream-of-consciousness at this point, isn’t it? I’m too serious, right? Maybe my goal should be: ‘Be less serious’. Or I could aim for off-beat.”

”You’re doing great, no worries at all. I really want these interviews to be as much as you are comfortable sharing. So, let’s continue with your favorite ship. Do you have a favorite and if so, why?

“Oh, that’s easy. My favorite ship is simply the one I’m in at the time. Out in the void, we’re… umm… at one with our ships and they protect us from the ravages of hostile space. It’s not a… a symbiotic relationship, since that would imply two separate entities interacting. No, we are truly one. In this way every ship earns favorite status from me.”

Void smiles and continues, “But I see you want more than that. Okay, just between you and me, my Astero and Helios occupy a special place in my heart. They both carry the name Raven’s Pride. You know, the elegant lines of the Astero and the… umm… graceful sweep of the curved semicircular structures toward the aft of the ship, holding within them that ethereal veil of light cast by the inset lights, captured and held my gaze from the first moment I saw one. The Helios has its own, different form of beauty. I recall another Signaleer say of the Helios, ‘If you can free your mind of symmetry, beauty will rush in to fill the gap.’”

”During your travels, what has been the most interesting fact, amazing sight, or other aspect of New Eden that has surprised you?”

• “The overwhelming extent of New Eden and Anoikis. 7,805 known systems. How many unknown to us?”
• “The catastrophically damaged Jove Observatories. Enigmatic and haunting.”
• “The 24/7 hustle and bustle of the ships of powerful commercial interests centered on Jita 4-4.”
• “The Sisters of Eve Flotillas in the Drifter Hive Systems. Although a beautiful sight and a reassuring presence, they leave a faint scent of mystery in their wake.”
• “The Shattered Wormhole systems. I shudder at the power that caused such devastation.”
• “The labored, deep breathing of end-of-life wormholes. Such a creepy sound can signal only impending death.”
• “The Katia Sae Monument in Saisio. Where would I be today without it?”

Katia continued despite her involuntary blush, ”What have you learned or what advice would you give to someone interested in exploring New Eden?

“Jump right in and go for it. Yet, patience is a virtue. In New Eden, you can see and do quite a lot with quite a little, really.”

”Do you have a favorite image that you wouldn’t mind me posting and sharing from your explorations?

“These photos of the SOE Flotilla in Vidette are currently among my favorites.”

“That’s it, you did great Void, thanks so much for taking time out from your explorations and I certainly wish you well on your journey.”

“Katia, thank-you for this opportunity to tell you and Signal Cartel a little bit more about myself. You know, as nervous as I was at the start of the interview, I enjoyed it. At times it was even cathartic. I hope you and your readers enjoy it too. But now I really do need to leave so I can put on a fresh blouse.”

Void finishes the last of her drink and she and Katia rise to leave the pub.

Magnificent Magnate – A Painting

Editor’s Note: This week we’re featuring Kamiti Arcamer’s art work. Hope you enjoy and I hope too we’ll see more from her and other Signaleers in the future.


Kamiti Arcamer

Dreams have lead me to the stars and yet beyond
always searching, never finding the dreams I had been sold
in depths even angels fear to tread my awakening dawned
I seek my own dreams, my own muse, my own stories to be told.

Proudly,
Kamiti Arcamer