The Killings at Kurniainen

It was inevitable. I knew it was coming, some day. I just didn’t think some day would be today.

Signal Cartel Fleet School (SCFS) has been flying Sleeper Eradication fleets regularly for some time now, and all in all things have gone very smoothly. Our skills – and our confidence – have grown, which is exactly what SCFS is supposed to do. When we undocked from Zoo I don’t think any of us expected this op to end the way they did.

Things started off routinely enough. We had a C5 wolf rayet with heavy sleeper activity, ripe for eradication. Our j-space entrance was Haras, in The Bleak Lands, 18 jumps from Zoo. It was a long way to travel, but my intel indicated that the C5 was worth it. So we headed to Haras on the shortest route possible.

There was some traffic with us early on – a Stratios here, a Corvus there – but we pushed ahead. When we crossed the border into Metropolis at 20:30, things intensified. D-scan in Avenod showed combat probes, and Captain Davis from No Handlebars Alliance was spotted in a Vedmak. I jumped the fleet from Avenod to Aset and ahead into Isbrabata. This proved to be the beginning of the end.

We were chased through Isbrabata, and I made the decision to push forward into Kurniainen. I’m sure more than a handful of pilots will question whether that was the right decision, but it’s the decision I made. I jumped the fleet through the Isbrabata gate into Kurniainen.

We were met on the other side of the gate by a group of at least seventeen pirates: one Deimos, one Devoter, two Guardians, one Harpy, one Imperial Navy Slicer, one Ishkur, one Legion, one Malediction, one Pacifier, three Retributions, two Vedmaks, one Vengeance, and one Wolf. There were more in-system – I received a report of a smartbomb Proteus safed up near the sun – but I don’t know how many more, and honestly that’s probably for the better.

I don’t know which pirate fired the first shot, and I don’t remember who in the fleet suffered the first hit. I can only confirm that as soon as we jumped into Kurniainen at 20:32, we were engaged in what was for many of us, myself included, our first real PvP encounter.

You can spend days reading and studying, but it doesn’t prepare you for the real thing. I was grateful for the experience of Command0, and turned target calling over to him. Deimos was called as primary, and we started fighting back.

A few of us sustained some pretty heavy damage right away. The Logi cap chain went down, my Guardian pilots were locked, and there was nothing I could do. Quinn was the first casualty at 20:34, followed by Leda at 20:35. Command0 sustained heavy fire, and his Eos succumbed at 20:36.

I assumed the role of target calling. Drones were out, missiles were flying, and all weapons were being fired. My nosferatu and neuts were on, and Auds came on-grid in his scouting ship to try and assist with damps. None of it made a dent in the pirate gang. We continued to take heavy fire and I lost Chaim, Daniel and Sanctus – all in Harbingers – at 20:36, 20:37, and 20:38, respectively.

Two minutes later, my Damnation exploded around me and my pod was ejected. It was her second flight (she still had that ‘new ship smell’), but she Died with Glory™. I stayed on-grid in my pod and continued on.

Alerei’s 1.9bil experimental Proteus fit was the next to go down, followed by Snyypa’s Gnosis and Aleksander’s BNI. Ren-Song’s Guardian finally couldn’t take any more damage, and she exploded at 20:42, followed by Calder’s BNI.

While all this was happening, Fonsui had the wherewithal to scout some safes for the fleet. At 20:43 I gave the order to warp out and safe up. My pod was scrammed and I was down to about 25% hull, but somehow managed to get out and make it to the safe.

We re-grouped at the safe, did a quick damage assessment, and planned a route back to Zoo. I was still under a timer and my mapping was off, so Chaim stepped up as navigator. He found us a route through Sinq Laison, and I led what remained of the fleet home to Zoo.

This fleet ended in an (almost) TPK. But as I sit here in the pilot’s lounge on Level Sixteen, scratching notes on my datapad, you’d never know anything out of the ordinary had happened. The corridors are filled with friendly chatter, pilots are repairing or replacing their ships, and more than a few people are joking about how ‘shiny’ their new clones feel. It’s just a regular day in Signal Cartel.

As I sipped my Caf, I composed and sent the following message to my fleet:

Things did not go as planned today. We did not come home with Sleeper loot, many of us came home without our ships, and some of us woke up in a clone bay. Our zkillboard is bathed in blood, and we had some pretty significant losses. But it was a good day.

We can spend time second-guessing our actions, being salty or sad, or we can be proud that we fought back. This was my first real PvP experience, as it was for many of us. The fleet did not give up – we fought back for as long as we could. We did not roll over and give up, and I am proud of the fact that we engaged.

We did not win this fight, but the fleet can hold its head high, knowing that we did the best we could. There will surely be more fights, and surely more losses. But I know that we will all continue to do the best we can do, supporting each other along the way, because that is who we are. We are Signaleers.

o7

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!