Thursday, 10 April 2008

1. In the beginning

I began life as a simple trader, buying and selling Cargohold Expanders and Light Electron Blasters. But life in Jita bored me. There was just not enough of the unknown in Jita to keep a girl like me interested. So one day I came up with a plan to escape the dull monotony that was my life. I had heard rumours of a vast expanse of unpoliced space, where the strong held power, and the weak dared not venture. Great riches were to bound there, not to mention great fame. I imagined there was great beauty to be found there, and strange and wonderful people to encounter that just could not be found in my safe, boring home. I decided to go travelling. I decided to venture to 0.0.

I sat down with a map, and planned a route. I looked at the 0.0 systems near Jita, to see if there was somewhere I could call my home. I intended to move my clone there, and from that point on I would not look back. After a few minutes poring over the map, I settled on the delightfully named system of BWF-ZZ. This was where I would break through the barrier into 0.0. This would mark my escape from my dull existence. I bought a brand new shuttle, christened the HMS Pinafore, made my way to the fringes of Empire controlled space at Oijanen, and prepared to make the jump.

When I arrived in BWF-ZZ, I was initially underwhelmed, but at the same time surprised at the number of people in the system. There were no less than 40 in the local communication channel, which was far more than I was expecting. I had heard that 0.0 was for the most part empty, with not a soul to be seen for many jumps at times. I was expecting to be lonely, but here I found myself with lots of unexpected company. I punched in the coordinates of the station in the system, and activated my warp drive.

Upon dropping out of warp, I noticed several ships orbitting the station. I opened a channel to the station's docking computer and requested permission to dock, as I sat back and awaited the tug. To my shock, I was denied docking access! I had never heard of such a thing happening, and when one of the ships started trying to lock his weapons onto my little shuttle I panicked and
hit the emergency warp button on my control panel. The warp drive took me to a spot in empty space, not far from the stargate, and I queried the other pilots in local as to what had happened.

It turned out that the alliance that controlled the station, R0adkill, only permitted their friends to dock there, and as they didn't know me, I would not be permitted to dock. This was a problem. I knew that 0.0 was dangerous, and I had no desire to wake up in a clone vat back in Jita. I explained to my fellow spacefarers that I was simply an explorer, and that I hoped to make friends. One of them, a delightful young man named Ventro69, offered to give me a helping hand by showing me a Safespot, 73AU from any other objects in the system, and well out of scanner range. At least I would be safe there. However, my experience with the station had left me slightly paranoid, and to my shame I did not trust him. I cautiously warped to him, but at a distance, so he would be unable to kill me. I bookmarked the safespot as soon as I got there, and then decided I did trust Ventro, and approached his ship as a gesture of good faith. At this point I decided that in order for me to get anywhere in this universe, I would need a goal. Then it came to me, I wanted to explore, and the universe is a vast and varied place. I wanted to take it all in. I would visit every system in the known universe, and bookmark a location in each one. I did not know what I would encounter along the way, but I knew it would be a fantastic journey.

I explained this to my corpmates, whom i had kept in touch with, and one of them, Azia Burgi, the famous Cemetary keeper of Molea, was kind enough to compile a list of all the systems in existence, in alphabetical order. She asked only that I send her any corpses I find so that she might give them a proper burial. I happily agreed. With the endorsement and support of my corp, I was suddenly even more excited about my upcoming voyage.

My first proper encounter with another pilot in 0.0 was a delightful one. Ventro was very helpful, and was a man of his word. I appreciated his help, even moreso when he told me he knew of a station in R-6KYM which was open for almost anybody to dock at. I thanked him for this information, and set it as my destination, bid farewell, and went on my way.

Along the way I made a stop off in the low security Empire system of Tasti. My experience so far had told me that it would be useful to have a clone close by at all times, and this was the only station with a clone bay on my way. With it being in Empire space, I was allowed free access, something I had always taken for granted. I moved my clone there, and continued my journey.

I entered the Drone regions. Such a lifeless expanse of space I had never dreamt of. There were Rogue Drones everywhere, some the size of Battleships, though they seemed quite placid. Perhaps they were aware that my little shuttle posed no threat to them. In these regions I did not see another living person for 10 systems, and I felt so alone after all the commotion I was used to in Jita. The solitude began to play tricks with my head. I began to wonder about the stories I'd heard, stories of unscrupulous scum that inhabited 0.0, just waiting to kill any easy target they came across. My shuttle would be a prime target for them, despite my good intentions, and perhaps even moreso because of them. Then I thought about these powerful, yet placid drones. Were they really mindless automatons, or were they in fact able to discern my intentions better than any human pilot? Perhaps these great machines had a soul after all, and perhaps it was not corrupted by the taint of greed, wealth and power that comes with life in lawless space. Whatever the truth of it was, I was sure I would find out.

Eventually, 2 jumps from R-6KYM, I came across an inhabited system. A huge 5 people were in local, waiting to welcome me with open arms. Well, maybe not the last part. But i was ready to embrace them, purely from my starvation from human contact. I'd never realised how much I would miss the noise of Jita. The people inhabiting this system were members of an organisation known as Ethereal Dawn. They ruled this space, and they owned the station I was heading to.
They were able to confirm for me that the station existed, and that I would probably be able to dock there. My heart leapt, and I sped on my way.

Upon jumping into R-6KYM, I was astounded to see another well populated system. 21 people in local made me feel strangely at home. I warped to the station, and tried to dock, but to my dismay I was again denied entry. There seems to be a pattern to these stations, as once again, I was also locked by a pilot who was orbitting the station. I warped to a safespot which I had prepared in advance, and began to speak to the locals about my adventure, and what I had bee told about their station. Sadly, it seems I had been misled. The station, just like the other one, was only accessible to friend of the owners. I began to ask how I could become friends of these powerful people, and also about who they were, and what they did. What was this "Ethereal Dawn", and was it an event to be looked forward to, or dreaded?

As I was in the process of finding out this information, however, an Interceptor flown by a pilot known as Thresh Avery dropped out of warp beside me! My hiding place had been discovered, and I was now being hunted! I immediately started warping all round the system, creating several safespots on my way. Once I had made 4 of them, I started warping around them in a random pattern, sometimes I would be discovered before I moved, but I was able to get away every time. All throughout this game of cat and mouse, I was chatting to the local pilots, who were very nice people, it has to be said. And evetually, a pilot known as x3tr0v informed me that there was an alliance diplomat in a neighbouring system who I could speak to
about getting docking rights. I thanked him, and headed to the gate.

When I got to the gate, x3tr0v was sitting there waiting for me, in his Phobos class Heavy Interdiction Cruiser. I dropped out of warp into a warp scrambling bubble, and was swiftly, and unceremoniously killed.

I coughed up a mouthful of the bittersweet, sticky clone vat goo, and looked around, happy to find myself in Tasti, and not in Jita. I was slightly annoyed at having lost the HMS Pinafore, but I could not hold it against the x3tr0v. He had been very clever in his trap, lulling me into a false sense of security by pretending to be helpful, while I was distracted running away from Thresh and his friends hunting me down in my safespots. Had I been more careful, perhaps I could have avoided being killed, but I learnt a valuable lesson.

I opened up a long distance chat with x3tr0v, to congratulate him on outsmarting me, and also to find out if there was in fact a diplomat in that system, or if it was purely a trap. Turns out it was just a trap, but x3tr0v told me to talk to Thresh, which I did. I had a very nice chat with Thresh, and I can respect the fact that he and his friends were only defending their home. It seems paranoia runs deep in 0.0, and ships are shot first and questions are asked later. Thresh said most alliances would operate this way, and that I would find it difficult to get anybody to trust me. It seemed my voyage would be even more perilous than I had thought a first, but i was undeterred. In fact, I was even more determined to achieve my goals, as the triumph would be even greater in the face of such adversity.

I left my chat with Thresh with a promise that he would speak to his superiors, and see if I could get docking persmission in their space, even if it was only temporary until I had visited all their systems. I was very grateful, as this seemed like it really was all the help Thresh could offer me, and I respected him for being a nice guy about it. However, I now needed a backup plan. I didn;t think it would be wise to try and get past Ethereal Dawn without permission. If they gave it, I could go freely, and if they didn't, it would be disrespectful of me to go against their wishes. Of course, there may come a day when I have to, but perhaps then the situation will be different.

In my days in Jita, I heard about 2 very powerful men who lived in 0.0, each wielding a lot of power, both military and political. These men were named Bob and Bruce. Of the two, Bruce seemed to be liked by more people, and had a reputation for being fair, and giving everyone a fair chance. With this in mind, I decided that I would go and visit Bruce. I knew that he lived in the Fountain region, so I plotted a route to a station with a clone bay that was registered there, in hopes of meeting the great man. This route would take me back through Empire space, allowing me to visit some of those systems on the way. With my 2 plans in place I decided to get some rest. Fountain was 37 jumps away, and tomorrow was another day. Perhaps it would bring me a New Dawn, or perhaps all that awaited me was a series of unfortunate deaths, and the lingering flavour of vat goo. Only time would tell......


Anonymous said...

Funny you mention BRUCE so early on in your travels. Turns out one of them has gone before you to every system. Jeran Tek the explorer's logs can be found here:

I am not he, but merely a friend. Let his accomplishment serve as inspiration, and proof that it CAN be done. :) Good luck!

Ima Lady said...

Yes, I've already been informed of his exploits. However, there is a difference between he and I. He largely flew Covert Ops ships, whereas I will be flying a shuttle at all times.

I would extend my congratulations to him for achieving such a fantastic goal. And I can only hope that my own journey is so successful.

Pádraic Brady (Maugrim McFiriba) said...

Here's to the success of your epic journey ;).