Friday, May 17, 2013

A Friend of the Federation

Watch yourself

From: Avenging-Ace
Sent: 2013.05.18 00:41
To: Araziah,

You're a dishonorable criminal, and you're going to pay for it. You don't know what kind of an enemy you've made.

That I am. Funny thing, space honor is. In space, I can be whoever I want. Today I was a simply a friend of the Gallente Federation, meting out justice to those I deemed worthy of it.

Avenging-Ace was a bit upset over the loss of his Gnosis and Pod. Not even a month had passed since his graduation from the Center for Advanced Studies and induction as a capsuleer. He may have never experienced a loss before. It's better to learn earlier than later about the cold reality that is low security space. I feel no remorse about teaching this lesson. It took quite a bit of careful prodding and poking to lure him out of the safety of the station to engage me. And that's where the story is.

Initially, I was roaming aroud low-sec areas in the Sinq Laison region, looking for some good fights. The problem is the larger entities in the area are usually too big to engage. Eve University pilots are notorious for relying too much on numbers. It's not too difficult to peel off one or two of their smaller tacklers from the main fleet. But seeing as I only saw them crowded around the gate leading to high-sec, attmepting to destroy lone pilots who entered, I didn't have much of a chance to split them up. The united, part of the alliance, Negative Ten. live up to their name. Most of them have a perfect -10.0 security status. They'll attack anything that moves. And they're good at what they do. These two groups were either destroying or scaring off many of those who would make good targets for solo pilots like myself.

I was out in a Bellicose. It's quite fast for a cruiser, hits hard, has decent damage projection, and is often underrated. After hitting a gate camp in Rancer I couldn't get past, I turned around and headed through Miroitem and Thelan, toward a dead-end system, Rorsins. There's not much traffic through Rorsins, so I've often seen miners or other soft targets there. With two others in local with me, I initiated warp to the center of the system to see what was on scan. As I was entering warp, Avenger-Ace decloaked his Gnosis nearby and deployed his drones. I brought my ship to a stop and watched as he warped off to a station. I followed. He docked. I followed. He warped back to collect his combat drones. I followed. I issued a formal invitation to duel, which would exempt us from sentry gun interference. He decline, warped off, and docked back up in the same station. I followed.

Now the Gnosis is a free ship that every capsuleer received as a commemorative gift as part of the YC-115 festivities. It's unique in that it's quite a capable ship in the right hands, but has no prerequisite skills to pilot. Judging by the pilots extremely short employement history, he probably had neither the support skills to fly it effectively nor the sense to fit it properly. I figured it wouldn't be too difficult of a target to catch if only I could engage him out of the range of the sentry guns surrounding stations and stargates.

I waited for a while, then decided to take advantage of his naivete with a little role playing. I'll post a shortened version of the chat logs below for posterity.

Araziah > Avenging-Ace, whatcha doin out here?
Avenging-Ace > What business is it of yours?
Araziah > Well, considering you were cloaking, it's apparent you have something to hide.
Araziah > Especially when you warped off and docked.
Araziah > This is suspicious behaviour, as classified under the Federation Charter, section 12.
Avenging-Ace > I didn't know you were a cop.
Araziah > Such should be investigated by friends of the federation and reported to the appropriate authorities if misconduct is found.
Araziah > So again, I ask you, what is your business in this system?
Avenging-Ace > I don't know what authorities you're referring to, but if it's the ones that weren't present when my companion's ship was blown out of the sky about an hour ago, I don't think I have much to worry about.

It's apparent he was taken aback by my accusation, but he doesn't seem too worried.

Araziah > This does not concern your safety as much as the safety of the federation.
Araziah > You can prove your upright behaviour by engaging in an honorable duel with a friend of the Federation.
Araziah > Otherwise, a bounty will be placed on your head.
Avenging-Ace > Listen, "Araziah" - you don't exactly look like a law-abiding citizen so this whole pep-talk is pretty damn ironic.
Avenging-Ace > What you're doing seems pretty criminal to me.

I admit. I've had my run-ins with the law in the past. But who's to say I'm not clean now?

Araziah > Out here in low-sec, you are still within the Empire's borders, but justice is dispensed by those willing to support the Federation.
Avenging-Ace > I'm sorry, I didn't know cloaking devices were outlawed in Federation space.
Araziah > And if the ends justify the means, we're often given the blind eye.
Araziah > Cloaking devices are perfectly legal on blockade runners and covert ops ships.
Araziah > But when used on other vessels, a permit expidites the clearance process.
Araziah > Hence my initial claim of your suspicious behavior.

Now we're back to where we started.

Avenging-Ace > I already told you. My companion was destroyed. I came here to avoid notice from the thugs surrounding Thelan and Hagilur.
Araziah > And why was your companion destroyed? Was he carrying contraband or acting in a similar fashion to yourself?
Avenging-Ace > Two transport ships carrying vital building materials, shot down for no reason. If it wasn't for my cloaking device, I'd have also been shot down.
Avenging-Ace > We weren't scanned.
Avenging-Ace > Weren't hailed.
Avenging-Ace > Simply engaged, in cold, pirate fashion. Seems pretty common round these parts, wouldn't you say?

Ha! Likely story... Who knows but that he was aiding the local Serpentis scum build out their illegal labratory operations and drug manufacturing process. Even so, we'll give him the benefit of doubt.

Araziah > The resources of the Federation only stretch so far. This area of space is labelled low-security to warn travelers such as yourself.
Avenging-Ace > Understandable.
Avenging-Ace > But one can't avoid crossing certain gates.
Araziah > Highway bandits are a part of life out here, and they will be dealt with accordingly.
Araziah > Kill: MOOXE (Caracal)
Avenging-Ace > Oh they will.
Araziah > One such example.
Araziah > He was harrasing a lone procurer mining ice.
Araziah > I intervened and stopped him in his tracks.
Avenging-Ace > Commendable.
Avenging-Ace > If only you'd have been at the Thelan gate, I may have been spared several million ISK.

See, I am a good citizen! (Although the order of the facts may be a bit mixed up, they all happened in relatively close succession.) Time to deliver the ultimatum.

Araziah > Though seeing as you have not supplied me with sufficient details to clear your name, I must place a bounty on your head.

At this point, I placed a 15 million isk bounty on him. For some reason, people generally go crazy when you've plastered a wanted sign on their portrait for everyone to see. I was counting on that reaction from him.

Araziah > There are 2 ways to clear that bounty: engage in honorable combat
Araziah > ....or wait until you are engaged when you least expect it.
Avenging-Ace > You really just wanna blow holes in my ship?
Avenging-Ace > Is that what this is all about?
Araziah > If you prove yourself worthy, as befits a chivalrous pilot, I will retract the 15 mil bounty.

Oh no! All this work, and he's seen through my thin veneer as a friend of the Federation into the depths of my black pirate heart. One last attempt.

Araziah > As I have told you, as an upholder of the law, Section 12 of the Federation Code leaves me no choice but to act in this manner.
Araziah > The choice is yours, however.
Avenging-Ace > Fine.
Avenging-Ace > My inability to fund my ship's repair will be on your conscience.

At this point, I was floating in space outside the undock area of the station he has been holed up in. He undocks, targets me, and starts closing the distance. He's going for it! Since he doesn't attack at first, I open another duel invitation, which he accepts. I already had his ship locked. I applied my stasis webifier to slow him down and warp scrambler to prevent him from fleeing. He opened fire with his short-ranged blasters and deployed three light tech 1 combat drones. I directed my ship to keep range at a few kilometers from his to avoid taking damage as I returned fire with salvo after salvo of navy heavy assault missiles and a mix of light and medium tech 2 drones. He might have been able to dock, but the station safeties only allow pilots to dock who have cleared 60 seconds without offensive combat actions. By engaging his weapons, he had given me at least 60 seconds to destroy his ship. More than enough.

His shields get ripped to shreds, followed by his armor. And as his hull slowly starts to tear apart under constant pounding from missiles and drones, I cease fire. Seeing as the Gnosis is a limited-edition ship, it's quite valuable, and I thought about attempting to persuade the pilot to leave the ship instead of going down with it, allowing me to board and tuck it away safely in the nearby station. Unfortunately, at the same time, he ceased fire and withdrew his drones as well, leaving me only 60 seconds to set up a ransom. Not enough to do properly. So I resumed fire.

His escape pod appeared on my overview, which my targeting systems took 6 seconds to lock on to. Apparently shocked at his ship exploding, his slow reaction time allowed me to resolve a lock and crack open his pod, ejecting his corpse into the vacuum of space. As is the blessing (or curse) of capsuleers, he awoke in a new clone in a station somewhere across the galaxy.

I attempted to contract his corpse back to him for 15 mil ('so you can reclaim your implants'). He rejected the contract and sent me the mail that started this post. It's most likely just an empty threat. But I'll keep a bit of hope up that somewhere out there is a pilot who will live up to his name and attempt to avenge his loss at the hands of a friend of the Federation.

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