Zoohen Fireworks

Editor’s Note: This is an after action report (AAR) by Signaleer Sloopy Noopers for an in corp Fireworks event held on March 28th, 2020.

Sloopy Noopers

When times are dark the best defense we have is each other, and what better way to celebrate this than to get together and make a proper racket! This was the idea at the core of the fireworks in Zoohen on the 28th of March. No one was getting a send off, there was no national holiday or historical event to mark, it was simply a celebration of the companionship we can offer through this unique community.

I started my day by stocking up on supplies and purchasing a ship for the finale of the event. Using a number of alts to haul these through High Security space, a chore which took considerably longer than expected (more on that later), I deposited the required goods at our offices in Zoohen.

The plan was to make a ship go boom towards the end of the event. With this in mind the ship in question had to be of appropriate size and pretty enough to mark this particular celebration. I’d decided that this should be a battleship, what with these being the biggest ships available in High Sec, so I opted for an Armageddon. These are, in my opinion, a very attractive looking ship and I had a couple of swanky skins knocking about in my hanger.

What this button? Sporting the Lava Core skin!
Katherine Skysong

Having not flown anything larger than a cruiser since my mission running days, long before I joined Signal Cartel, I’d forgotten how slow and cumbersome these ships were, a situation made worse by my decision to haul this through over twenty systems using a very, very low skilled alpha alt. The journey was painful!

Having extracted myself from J-Space for the first time in eight weeks, I clone jumped to Zoohen, and prepared for the festivities. I always enjoy the build up to an event, watching corp members slowly filling up local and the last minute planning is strangely exciting. Katherine Skysong was good enough to set up a fleet for the event. After begging up some extra supplies from some lovely Signaleers, it was time to go!

As I undocked I saw my overview was already populated with a number of eager Signaleers who were getting the show started. Eager to get into the thick of it myself, I set a course to orbit my corp mates. However, having completely forgotten how slow an unfitted battleship actual was, I started my crawl towards the party at a speed comparable to an asthmatic slug and promptly got caught in the station structure. After some off-comms, family unfriendly language, I managed to cajole my lead footed ride free of the station and headed out with all launchers blazing!

It wasn’t long before my overview was a sea of purple fleet-mates and the fireworks were coming thick and fast. As I crawled my way further out into space more and more Signaleers appeared and I quickly found myself targeted multiple times. Someone decided to web my ship, as if I needed slowing down any further! Effectively immobile I took the opportunity to take my time getting images.

After around an hour of bangs, whizzes, and chatting in comms, it seemed time to blow my Armageddon and free myself into a more agile ship. I jettisoned what was left of my fireworks, set the two minute timer, and readied myself to pop out in the Navitas I’d stowed in my frigate escape bay. Sadly I didn’t catch the exact moment my ship blew, but below is the last photo as the explosions started.

Finally as the celebrations came to a conclusion and people started signing off from comms, I headed for home and fired off a few final pretties.

This gathering was a massive amount of fun and a very welcome distraction from the events currently consuming everyday life. It was a pleasure to see so many fellow Signaleers together, a rare event due to the nature of exploration. Hopefully more events will come in the near future to bring us all together again!

Lowsec Incident and Its Associated Diplomacy: A Noob’s Perspective

Editor’s Note: This week we’re featuring Signaleer peike with a noob’s perspective on our Credo and a Lowsec incident.

peike

Hello fellow Signal Cartel members! I wanted to take some time (out of the game?) to share a recent experience I had in the low security system of Vecamia; a 0.4 system. But first, a little bit about my EvE background.

I began playing EvE Online back in 2010. My first encounter with an aggressive force was with two Aussie gankers. As it turned out, we became fast friends, both in game and in real life. I was a miner by both trade and race and they weren’t, simple as that. However, I soon discovered I loved being a ‘Care Bear’ and yet, I had this overwhelming desire to explore our galaxy. So, being the Noob that I was, I decided to take my nice Navitas into the unknown.

Navitas

The date was 2010 June 14 and after a wonderful and delightful trip, I ended up in a ‘wonderful’ little system called 8KE-YS, a -0.05 system in Etherium Reach. Needless to say, as soon as I emerged from the gate, I was vaporized in a flash. We all know the routine; warp scrambled, followed by endless pounding until there was, quite simply, nothing left. Even my capsule was destroyed, all in under a minute; like that, in a flash, I was gone, only to re-spawn in my home base of Cistuvaert in Verge Vendor. That was my last adventure into the unknown for a very long time.

Fast forward to today, on a routine cargo run to pick up 100 new core probe launchers from Tarta in Concord Territory to Shera, which is part of the Amarr Empire. The route would take 18 jumps via Highsec, but I decided to take the short route by way of Vecamia, only 4 jumps. As I laid in my course and clicked the jump button I thought how cool it was that I’m restocking my supply of probe launchers for stranded pilots in the unknown sections of wormhole space. Moreover, how wonderful it was to be part of an organization with such a rich history as Signal Cartel and EvE-Scout.

As I approached the Vecamia gate I noticed a ship with a solid-red colored box containing a little pirate banner inside of it, sitting not too far from the gate. It was then that I was beginning to realize that this trip might not have a very pleasant outcome. Indeed, I had already selected the jump button as I left the DED facility at Tarta, so there was no way to abort the jump, even though I attempted in vain to do so. This is the point when your mind begins to accelerate and a million thoughts run simultaneously. Indeed, I thought it was one of MECH 1000‘s crew (Vecamia pretty much belongs to them) and MECH and I go back a bit; he often doesn’t bother me unless I do something stupid. I often test ship fittings and weapons in ‘his’ system by Ratting the NPC pirates that live there.

On the other side of the Vecamia gate I did a quick D-Scan. There were ships that I did not recognize as belonging to MECH 1000’s crew and a quick look at Local comms indicated others were in the system. I realized that I only had one shot at getting through – hit the jump button for the next gate and hope that I can cloak before they target me. However, the campers were strategically placed around me and I had little hope. Indeed my Viator, the USC Shadow Fox, met its fate. Perhaps miraculously, my little pod did not. Indeed, the pod seemingly executed my last command to jump to the gate that leads to the 0.5 system of Cleyd. Upon entering the system, I realized that there was no reason to proceed with the mission since the Shadow Fox had been reduced to a pile of twisted aluminum and composite fragments. So, I limped back through the Cleyd/Vecamia gate and docked up at the nearest station; back into the system that I lost my beloved Shadow Fox.

Viator

I sat in the station, pondering my options and feeling a bit sorry for myself for losing my ship while also feeling a certain self-loathing for trying to save time by jumping through Lowsec during a high-risk time frame, I knew better. In any event, I began plotting my next course of action; how to get back to Tarta without getting killed. There were two possibilities, the first, cross back through the Vecamia/Tarta gate and hope that the campers had left (they hadn’t). The second option would be to plot and execute a course that would take me from Vecamia to Jita to Tarta. This route would take approximately 30 jumps and with Signal Cartel’s current War-Dec status this could be as perilous as simply attempting to jump back though the Vecamia/Tarta gate. There was also a third option, one that doesn’t seem as realistic as the other options; namely, to shut down for the day and remain docked until I could safely get out. While I was contemplating these options, it was then that the first strange event happened.

Suddenly, A private comm sprang to life, ‘would you like to accept a private conversation’ or whatever it states. Figuring that this was my killer’s chance to gloat and taunt me about his victory, I decided to accept figuring that I might be able to plead with him to let me pass through the gate unscathed. Pleading is something that I don’t relish in the slightest, however in the world of diplomacy, sometimes it’s the only sane option. I reluctantly clicked ‘Accept.’

Surprisingly, (I was truly shocked) the following message lit up my screen (names have been redacted for security and privacy reasons):

XXXX > Hey we didn’t realize you were EVE-Scout until after you popped. I have nothing but respect for you guys. Would you allow me to SRP a portion of your ship as a way of showing respect?

peike > Thanks! No partial needed. If you want you can make a donation to Eve-Scout. It was a good fight. And remember, if you ever get trapped in Wormhole space, give us a shout.

XXXX > I insist man, I make it a point to NOT shoot you guys.

XXXX > I feel pretty terrible about it tbh

Johnny-Splunk

At this point, I wasn’t sure what to do. On one hand, I was amazed that this pilot, a pilot who destroyed my ship and almost killed me, was apologizing, let along offering to help rebuild the Shadow Fox through a reparation, I thought WOW! On the other hand, are EvE-Scouts even allowed to accept such a reparation? There seems to be a very narrow interpretation between what is, and isn’t, allowed with regard to the Credo on many issues. Thus, I decided to reach out on the Alliance comm to Eve-Scout’s seniors to confer with them and see what is, or is not, allowed. To my amazement, the person who responded to my hail was none other than, Johnny Splunk. He replied, ‘yep’ it’s okay to accept such a reparation.

However, when I returned to accept the offer, my terminator was gone and the comm channel closed. I thought to myself, wow, if only I had accepted, or at the very least, asked him to please hold on a second while I checked. I wondered if I had angered him or, as we sometimes say in America, ‘dissed’ (street slang for disrespecting someone) him for not accepting. Had I made a new enemy? My answer would quickly be answered, at least in part.

Suddenly, my private comm sprang to life once again, this time though, it wasn’t from my terminator, rather it was from MECH 1000:

MECH 1000 > o/
MECH 1000 > Kill: * (Ashimmu)

peike > Hello Mech 1000

MECH 1000 > Kill: * (Loki)
MECH 1000 > hello
MECH 1000 > after they killed you

peike > They didn’t get the pod. Only the ship, this time.
peike > it was a good fight.

MECH 1000 > well, you can feel redeemed ! lol they lost a lot more
MECH 1000 > o/
MECH 1000 > GL

peike > I wondered what happened to them. They disappeared.

After an analysis of the situation via zKillboard, it became clear that MECH 1000 hadn’t actually killed my terminator, rather, he killed part of my terminator’s alliance team. This actually made me rather sad. In a strange sense, I am appreciative of MECH 1000’s revenge on my behalf, but it was unsolicited. Of course our universe is a very dog eat dog world. Nevertheless, I am very sorry for what happened to my terminator. In other, respects, I feel that I was indirectly responsible for part of his alliance’s demise.

Why you ask? Well, this is where diplomacy comes into play and why we must very carefully attempt to study all variables. Indeed, this is one reason our Credo is written in the manner that it is. Every decision that we make has multiple possible outcomes; it is as though our lives are but one stop in a massive algorithm through which all flows. Consider the following questions:

  • Did my returning to Vecamia have any bearing on the outcome?
  • Did the conversation that was initiated between my terminator and myself create the opportunity for his alliance’s partial demise?
  • Did my delay in answering him, while I was checking with Johnny allow for the attack?

The answer is, maybe to some extent. It’s true that he initiated the conversation between he and I. It’s also true that MECH 1000’s crew doesn’t play favorites with anyone, including me. One could argue that my terminator was in the wrong place at the wrong time, just as I was shortly before. The moral of this story is that for every action there is a consequence. This is one of the main reasons why Signal Cartel remains neutral in the galaxy.

Fly Safe Everyone.

Pax,
~peike

Signal Cartel/EvE-Scout

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

How Coasters became Content in EvE

It was sometime in late February 2018 when I sat in my office at work and got annoyed by the coffee circles on my desk and on papers scattered there. I started to search the web for coasters but could not find any which satisfied my special needs and suddenly I got an idea.

I wanted coasters with the Signal Cartel Alliance logo on it.

So I started another search to see how I could get custom coasters printed. There were not so many hits when I narrowed the search down to custom shaped coasters, but I finally found a print shop which offered them made out of mousepad material at a reasonable rate. In the next few days I asked Mynxee about the copyright situation of our logo, and a friend of mine helped me to meet the requirements of the print shop since I am really bad with Photoshop stuff and the requirement was to have a 1pt pink line along the cutting border.

After a few days I had everything in place and had to decide about the number of coasters to order. The costs were roughly 10€ for a professional checking my image for problems (which was really necessary because I needed three tries to get it right), 10€ for cleaning the machine after printing, and 0.7€ for each coaster. With the basic costs in mind, I decided to order 50 pieces so the price for a single one was in a reasonable range.

Now came the next thing – what would I do with 50 coasters where I needed just a few myself? A Signal Cartel event where these coasters could be handed out to my fellow corpmates!

I thought about what kind of event I would like to see myself and maybe even something different as well. Since we are Signal Cartel and do things differently, I thought about creating a group event where nobody can really win but everybody can participate, like our ESRC and SAR division. Since we already have some ESRC competitions and events, I focused on SAR and came up with the idea of an orchestrated rescue of somebody. Later it turned out that this somebody was me, and I would be kind of locked out of my own story most of the time – haha!

I reached out to Thrice Hapus since my favorite Signal Cartel video is the one about our ESRC division. (It’s so exciting to hear „Base, this is Thrice checking in…“) I only asked who did all the sound and video bits and pieces and wondered if I could get some help from that end. But as soon as I told Thrice about the idea, he explained that the one year anniversary of ESRC was about to come up in March and he was looking for an event to be held at that time. We pulled A Dead Parrot into the story a few days after first contact, and from then on, we chatted daily on Discord, had a few voice calls, and started to work out the story together.

So that’s how content gets created in EvE!

Happy Third Birthday, Signal Cartel!

Signal Cartel turns three years old in a few days. To my delight and amazement, we are not just surviving but thriving despite playing EVE in a very different way from most everyone else.

A Brief History. Johnny Splunk and G8keeper, who co-founded the EvE-Scout corp when Thera was introduced to the game, approached me about serving as CEO for an exploration corp based on the principles of peaceful exploration and what is now our Credo. Looking for something different to do in New Eden and knowing them from having worked as a Thera scout for a short time, I said yes. After a lot of intense preliminary work to get our ducks in a row, Signal Cartel was founded on 2015.01.20 and officially open for business on 2015.01.31. Our alliance, EvE-Scout Enclave, was formed on 2015.01.23 to house the two corps and our logistics corp, EvE-Scout Logistics. In the interest of administrative simplicity, we are a closed alliance which does not accept other corps.

This past weekend, we enjoyed our Third Birthday Fleet, planned and FC’d by the remarkable Johnny Splunk (watch his Twitch channel for exploration adventures, quirky humor, and a great community) on his well known alt Carrie Frog. About 50 of us formed up in Thera, then departed in our signature swarm of Griffins, fitted with hugs (festival launchers and fireworks/snowballs) and ECM (for self defense). Destination: Lanngisi, with the FC expertly guiding our new players about fleet protocols and mechanics along the way.

Photo by Lucas Ballard

Of course, we announced ourselves and our birthday messages in Local at every jump, and when we could, “hugged” folks on the gate with our fireworks and snowballs. I was kept busy during the entire fleet doing random draws of fleet member names to give away many excellent items donated by our members. Among the items were Asteros, implants, Geckos, ISK, Stratioses, Spectral Shift and other SKINs, exploration modules, a fitted Tengu, and even a fully fitted Chimera!!!

Once in Lanngisi, we were instructed to entosis the new Project Discovery monument there. This yielded various items and our FC assisted folks as they puzzled out what the information we gleaned from these items could mean. (Some of us already knew what this was about, but no spoilers ruined it for those who didn’t.)

Photo by Lucas Ballard

Eventually the puzzle revealed our next destination. Being in low sec and requiring a route of several low sec systems, scouts were deployed and travel was much more tightly managed by our FC to ensure that everyone arrived safely. As  often happens to our fleets, it appeared we were being tailed by someone, presumably to inform a gate camp further along our route. We did encounter a few gate camps, but our FC provided calm guidance to our nervous newer players. We arrived at our destination relatively intact (I think we lost one or two people to campers but those folks soon reshipped and caught back up with us).

Upon our arrival, the FC warped us to a landmark and directed us to entosis the structure there. As we landed on grid, we were delighted to see an Astrahus bearing our alliance logo, which factored into a strategy for entosising relatively safely in this low sec system. Those who could not entosis spent the time regaling us with fireworks and snowballs,  checking out our Astrahus, and taking pictures.

Photo by Razorien

But our FC had something even more exciting planned. When our entosising tasks were done, he hinted at next steps in solving the puzzle we were working on. Then everyone’s attention was directed to our freeported Astrahus, where Johnny Splunk himself undocked in an Erebus, a Titan class ship. There was shock and awe on comms, especially among our many new players who’d never seen such a thing in game before. The Erebus had been donated by our long-time member Dinic, who amazingly revealed later that he had earned the entire cost of the ship from exploration activities! Such beautiful synergy!

Photo by Aamish MacTavish

Our FC informed us we would be bridged to another system, then explained how bridging works and instructed everyone in what to do when the bridge went up. The bridging went fairly smoothly, with most of the fleet getting through on the first go. One or two people had glitches but finally made it through subsequent bridges. Once we were all in the destination system — at yet another EvE-Scout Enclave Astrahus! — our FC provided more hints and guidance for solving the next step in the puzzle. At that point the fleet had been going for about three hours so it was decided to call it and leave everyone to finish up the rest of the puzzle on their own. If they manage to do so, they will be have everything they need to build their own Neural Lace ‘Blackglass’ Net Intrusion 920-40 implant (spoiler alert; don’t click the link if you want to solve the puzzle for yourself!), which offers substantial buffs when used in conjunction with a ‘Zeugma’ Integrated Analyzer.

We celebrated with a mass display of hugs on the Astrahus, while several of us shared on comms their feelings about the day’s fleet experience and their experience in Signal Cartel. For myself and Johnny as leaders of Signal Cartel, these comments were so heart-warming. It is extremely fulfilling to make an idea real in EVE and to grow a community of like-minded pilots who have both a sustaining mission and a cultural focus. As I tell my members, though: we are all torchbearers for the Signal Cartel way of life. Our light is burning brighter than ever and I am humbled and honored every day by the good work and solidarity of our dedicated pilots. So, to them I say thank you and here’s to another three years!

Enjoy more fabulous fleet pictures captured by Aamish MacTavish,  Lucas Ballard, Razorien, and Tamayo.