Captain’s Log: What the…?

A strange thing has started to happen in STO — I’m actually enjoying ground combat.

I don’t even think I’m doing it right. I love my Engineers, but seriously? Their ground combat abilities are almost completely unappealing. Yay, I can build a bunker anywhere I want! Go forth, my little drone! Who cares. An emphasis on turtling and attrition draws out ground battles far too much. What I really want is to expose my enemies quickly and then disintegrate them with my split-beam rifles.

(In STO, there are few noises more satisfying than “AAHHH–WOOSH” noise of a vaporized enemy. In my heart, only the angry Klingon computer reporting that my enemy’s shields comes close.)

In this regard, I’ve come to appreciate two kit-based engineer abilities — Weapons Malfunction (an expose attack which disables an opponent’s weapon) and Quick Fix (which grants a significant boost to ranged damage output for a short while). Unfortunately, only one Engineer kit has both of these abilities, and its confined to Lt. Commander rank.

My solution? A team of science officers (and several Weapons Malfunctioning engies) expose my enemies, while I crouch and Quick Fix-it-up. It’s a one-trick pony, but it’s damn fun. Especially because my ugly Reman bridge officers creates an inordinate amount of exposed states. I guess his terrible looks frighten the enemy into submission?

But at some point, I should really consider making a science officer.

Foundry Mission: “Old, Unhappy, Far-Off Things”

After several days of tinkering around with the Foundry, I’ve published my first mission — “Old, Unhappy, Far-Off Things.” A training cruiser in the Wolf 359  is attacked by Nausicaan pirates; your ship responds to the hail and quickly figures out that things are not exactly as they seem.

The mission was inspired by one of the first Foundry missions I saw — a  Nausicaan farming mission out of Wolf 359. The Nausicaans are notoriously difficult to find in game, meaning that their kill achievement is all but impossible; a mission farming them was to be expected. But it was out of Wolf 359, the site of the famous first battle between the Federation and the Borg, which compounded the mission’s distaste.

But my interested was piqued, and I decided I’d try to tell a legitimate story about the Nausicaans and Wolf 359. I hope you enjoy.

Captain’s Log: Rebellions

The message came in via encrypted channel, only two days out of space dock. Trajan took all of the appropriate security measures, plus a few extras that he considered necessary — the sound-canceling devices hidden throughout the Cardassian’s ready room weren’t mandated per se, but in this day and age one could never be too certain.

“I trust the shakedown cruise is going well?” Admiral T’Nae inquired, her cold tone belying this opening pleasantry. Even for a Vulcan, her voice was particularly frigid. Trajan replied with a warm smile. “My crew and I thought we were done flying historical reenactments, but the Meridian is slowly growing on me.”

“However,” he added smoothly, “I doubt you called to just ask me that.”

“No, I did not. Are you aware of  ‘the Vault’, commander?”

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I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

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Captain’s Log: There And Back Again

The joy of a lifetime subscription is that you can hop back into a game any time you want; all you need is a desire to return and the time it takes for the game to patch back up.

After a near six-month hiatus,  I decided I’d try out STO again this weekend — and in my case, the patching took quite a bit of time. As I was about to find out, all that downloading meant that the game had improved considerably.

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Sightseeing: Minmatar Sculpture

Minmatar Sculpture
Shortly after the formation of the Minmatar Republic, the government erected this sculpture above their homeworld, Matar. Named “Eternal Torch,” the sculpture represents the everlasting passion and resilient spirit of the Minmatar people.

Having wrapped up with Keita Eslin, I was dispatched to Ammatar space. The ten-jump trip took me through Pator, and this sculpture.

When I first started playing EVE, I felt some sympathy for the Minmatar. After all, they are the oppressed minority of EVE, and they’re freedom fighters, and they’re trying to build a republic. But then I did the Shaman Secrets quest chain. The arc involves destroying the titular shaman’s reputation, then attempting to kidnap him, then kidnaping the shaman’s daughter to gain leverage, all in an effort to desecrate the most sacred Minmatar tradition. Being a latent RPer at heart, I couldn’t bring myself to finish the chain. And considering I had flown across the galaxy to aid the Minmatar, this quest served as a strong reminder that in EVE, no one is the good guy.

Sightseeing: Deltole System

Municipal Junkyard
Deltole/Algintal/Sinq Laison
When the tourist industry in Algintal was in its infancy the local authorities became concerned that the abundance of space debris left by earlier colonists would hurt tourism in the long run. They carried out a hasty cleanup operation of the constellation, collecting most of the debris and dumping it in a remote place in the Deltole system. The intent was always to finish the job later and incinerate the heap, but the authorities have never gotten around to it and the Municipal Junkyard has been left alone for decades now. It is thus the perfect place for smugglers running illegal operations such as forgery.

In an effort to bring the terrorist Dagan to justice, Sister Alitura sent me to Minmatar space to meet the wily Krusal Keita Eslin. En route, I decided to visit the Deltole system’s Municipal Junkyard. Trust Partners, a Thukker tribe corporation, has several agents moored among the garbage. There is probably two dozen disposal units spread out amongst the wrecks; a small profit could be made hauling their garbage contents to the nearest market.

Contested Gallente Skeleton Comet
Deltole/Algintal/Sinq Laison
The Skeleton Comet, a comet that was picked clean during the early stages of Federation space exploration, is one of the many landmarks in Algintal that makes the constellation known as one of the most beautiful places in the whole Federation. While not as spectacular as its more renown cousin the Canyon of Rust the Skeleton Comet still attracted tourists from all over. But in recent years the smuggling cartels operating in the constellation have made the place their own. Driven from their other pirate havens by activists or, more recently, foreign corporations, they have convened here to make the Skeleton Comet their last great bastion of smuggling activity in the constellation. Needless to say, the only tourists now visiting the place are those in search of smuggled goods or illicit affairs.

Yet the Skeleton Comet holds one little-known secret unlocked by those early miners. While drilling in a remote corner of the complex they found ancient relics and definite signs that humans had tread here before, thousands of years earlier. Only recently this startling evidence was analyzed further to corroborate what had until then only existed as rumors whispered in shady mining bars around the Federation. A fascinating story of early settlers in the world of EVE was uncovered, a nation calling itself Yan Jung.

But the intrusion of the smuggling cartels halted further arcaeological diggings, though it is said that the smugglers themselves have been poking around in the old ruins. Some say fabulous discoveries have been made, but the smugglers keep silent on the subject.

Upon jumping through the acceleration gate, this message pops up:
The Skeleton Comet are the skeletal remains of a comet picked clean by Gallente miners in the early days of the Federation.

The remains of the mining equipment are long since gone, used as material in the construction of the safety guardrails running through the comet to make navigation of tourist yachts easier. But the tourist activity has dwindled to almost nothing in recent years, due to the local smugglers using it as their main pirate haven in the constellation.

The site was astounding, but not for the reasons one might think. The comet’s skeleton was rather boring — a twig, or a brown piece of coral, suspended in space — but the space battle raging around it was very exciting.

At least a half dozen capsuleers had converged on the place and were engaging the Serpentis ships in a pitched, but one-sided, battle. There were many unclaimed wrecks floating in space, many of them marked blue and made public by their owners. A swift salvage vessel might be able to make a tidy sum, so long as they avoided the guns on both sides. I suspect that one of the reasons so many capsuleers are fighting their way through the Skeleton Comet is to acquire a key to unlock the Yan Jung relic site, also in the Deltole system…