Explosions mean success

11th September 2008 – 8.10 am

My new agent in EVE Online was happy to see me, as he had reports of a large object in a deadspace pocket causing some sort of problem for the navy. He doesn't have to ask me twice to take care of the situation before I am jumping in to my pod and requesting clearance to exit dock and enter the space lanes. A quick jump through a stargate and I'm aligning to the deadspace pocket, ready to flick the warp drive active. Within a few seconds the stargate is left millions of kilometres behind me.

Coming out of warp can be disorientating, as the drives disengage and your ship is slowed back down to real-time every object around you appears to zoom in to focus at once. One moment you are smoothly travelling several AU per second, the next you are on the edge of a nebula with a dozen or more hostile ships locking on to you from different directions. It takes time and practice to build the skills needed to take in all the relevant information quickly, discarding low-threat targets to concentrate on the more dangerous ones. Woe betide the inexperienced pilot who locks-on and open-fires on the wrong target, although learning from that kind of mistake is not soon forgotten, if it is survived.

I am continually honing my threat-assessment skills when dropping out of warp, and this time I spot the largest structure in the deadspace pocket quickly. It looks dangerous, with all manner of pointy aerials and other high-tech instrumentation sticking from all of its surfaces. Despite the presence of hostile ships, no doubt guarding my target, my best course of action is to destroy this possible machine of the apocalypse first, letting my shields soak up enemy fire in the process. I lock on to the target, as well as a few others to keep my trigger-happy drones amused, and set the switch on my heavy missiles to maximum kill rate.

Piloting Coiled Snake, my Drake battlecruiser, ever closer to the mysterious yet clearly dangerous structure I hope to get inside the minimum range of its most deadly weapons, whatever they may be, as my missiles eat their way through the shields and down past the armour. With its inevitable destruction at my hands, having ended up so close to the structure I am offered an amazing fireworks display, Coiled Snake almost engulfed by the ensuing fireball of the second biggest explosion I have ever seen!

That's odd, one of my drones is messaging me on the display in my pod. 'Great, kid! Don't get cocky.' Hearing missiles continue to pound on my shields makes me realise its point, and as the ball of flames dissipates a little more I am able to get a better reading on the remaining ships. It doesn't take much to clear the rest of the deadspace pocket, the morale of the enemy clearly shaken by the destruction of their mothership, and I soon find myself heading back to the station, making one hop via the stargate, with a full drone bay.

I report back to my agent with the news of the glorious destruction of the mothership, replete with sound effects and vigorous hand motions, helpfully trying to brighten his dull existence behind a desk with some action. 'That wasn't a mothership.'

'Then what did I just blow up?'

'The space telescope. As luck would have it, that was actually your target.' And with this grateful thanks for a job well done I am hustling back to my pod with a contented smile. With someone behind me calling out 'Did you even read the briefing I gave you?' I jump in to my salvaging Cormorant, renamed the Marquis of Granby, ready to hit the vacuum of space to clear up the mess I left behind and pick out the valuable salvage from the mothership's wreck.

Another successful mission!

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