Saturday, September 30, 2006

And so it begins

I finished preparing my ship, a Vexor. It was loaded with everything I thought I'd need, including extra ammo and some beef jerky. After double-checking it all, I then engaged the map and entered the co-ordinates for New Eden. The list of systems came up on the screen - all 33 of them. It would take me some time to do it, I was sure, but I was ready.

Some of my corp mates joined me at the Teonusude gate in Gelfiven (Molden Heath region) to see me off on my way. It was quite a touching moment, with Marshal Bonesinger, the corp's Director and acting Chief of Support, attacking me with her weapons, while repairing me with her repair drones. I wiped a tear from my eye as they flicked back and forth between the drones providing constant repair, and the furious onslaught of the energy attacks. The show was indeed quite pretty.

Eventually it was time to move on. I activated the jump gate and went through.

I made my way through a couple of systems, all highsec, until I met up with Lt Colonel Kaenon Steel, my SpecOps CO. His farewell of me was to engage in battle! A fitting parting, I thought. My Vexor held its own against his Stabber, but eventually my cap ran dry, so the winner was Kaenon. As you'd expect! It wouldn't be any good me beating the commanding officer of my SpecOps group, would it?

We parted ways, and with a fond wave, I continued on towards New Eden.

Stopping briefly in Abudban, I transferred my clone to that location. I was about to enter lowsec space, Amamake to be exact, and it was time to start the crawling of the clones. Well, that's what I call it... the clones, of course, have to follow me around as I travel. No point dying in some far system when the clone is back at the starting point!

With the clone in place, I continued into Amamake, one of the most dangerous places I'd ever been to in the past. Every time I'd gone there, I'd had my ship destroyed. I wondered if it would be the same this time...

to be continued....

Friday, September 29, 2006

Black Claw's history

As I'm preparing to set out on my journey, my mind wanders back through the various experiences I've had, all of which have led me to today.

I remember the first time I got attacked by a pirate and podkilled.

I had just finished the tutorial and went on a mission. I didn't know the dangers of lowsec space then, and when I received the warning telling me I was entering dangerous territory, I ignored it. How dangerous could it be, right? I mean, it was only a jump or two from the 'beginners area'...

So when that rain of death fell upon my rookie frigate, I sat there, stunned. I didn't even know what was happening! There was a lot of noise, bright lights, and then... silence. My ship had changed shape, and looked like an egg. I didn't know what it was, so I sat there pondering it, trying to work out what had happened, and what was going on. Then there was more noise, another flash, and I reappeared back in the station.

I never saw who attacked me. I sent them a message though, after getting the killmail, and thanked them for the experience of dying. I didn't see the point of yelling abuse at them. Everything is a learning experience, even death, so I thanked them for helping me learn. To my great surprise, they apologised, saying they were testing their weapons. They even sent me 250,000 ISK to cover my losses!

I realised that not all bad guys were that bad.

It's an understanding I've kept hold of ever since, treating them as pilots just like me, making their way through life the best way they know how. Many of them have no morals, however, and so they're the ones who deserve no mercy. Others have become friends, or at least well-respected enemies.

My first corp was discovered by accident. I met someone in the middle of space and helped them destroy some mission drones. In conversation I asked them if they knew of any covert ops corps, as that was what I aspired to. Turned out that he was a member of one! So I joined them and things were going great... for a week.

Their CEO disappeared. Their members started leaving in droves. Their director didn't know what he wanted to do with the corp. So, feeling like a rat hurriedly leaving a sinking ship, I left too.

I did some research for a while, looking for a corp that seemed organised, that had been around for a while, that looked like its CEO wouldn't leave in a hurry.

I found Purify, a roleplaying anti-pirate corp. The website was excellent, and had all kinds of information on it which grabbed me. I wanted to join the good fight!

So I did, and quickly became friends with the CEO, an Amarrian by the name of Praetor Sarum. My enthusiasm was such that he encouraged me, taught me, and led me to grow and believe I was capable of so much more. Thanks to his mentoring, I created the philosophy:
Your destiny is not determined by the skills you have, but by what you choose to do.
- Black Claw
I guess that's partly led me to the path I'm on today....

But on with the story...

I rose through the ranks of the trusted within Purify in a very short time. My enthusiasm led me to be promoted to Recruitment Officer. Praetor Sarum and I often discussed grand strategies, which is one of my favourite subjects. We joked that he would be the 'Emperor' and I would be the quiet voice whispering to him from behind his chair, advising him on what was best to do.

Everyone has a path to follow, however, and Praetor's path was to leave as CEO of Purify. Inside myself, while I was disappointed that I had joined another corp whose CEO decided to leave, I understood his reasons. Those left behind were left to scramble after the pieces, and being the ambitious sort, I tried to become CEO of Purify. But my attempt was unsuccessful.

Praetor was the reason I was in Purify, and without him, I felt the reason was gone. He and I tossed around the idea of starting a new corp together, but he ended up going on some kind of pilgrimage to find himself. So I started a corp by myself.

And thus Black Scorpion Ltd was formed.

From the very beginning of my career, I've been on the receiving end of pirates. My own morals prevent me from turning to the 'dark side' and joining them (I'm too strong-willed to take the easy path), and so the culmination of experiences led me to make an anti-pirate corp.

That was 3 months ago. The corp consisted of just me, until a friend joined two weeks later. By the end of the first month I had only 4 members, despite a vigorous recruitment drive. I knew I was a good recruiter from the success I'd had with Purify, so I suspected the lack of interest was due to the fact I was new, the corp was new, and there were no members in it. Understandable! So I was patient.

In the past 2 months, however, recruitment sky-rocketed! I went from 4 members to having 48 members today. And as I talk to 2 more potential members today, who will bring the membership to 50, I am preparing to set out on my journey of a lifetime.

It's my history and the things that I've done which has led me to doing this. The constant pursuit of pirates has inspired me to head out into the wild, dark wilderness of the stars, to seek pirates wherever they might be. Not just in Molden Heath, but everywhere. The entire galaxy!

Safety. It's an illusion. Right next door to my HQ, even surrounded by corp mates who are far more powerful than I, safety has been an illusion. Death is always just around the corner, the next asteroid belt, or the next gate....

And so I give up the illusion of safety and head out into that wilderness, to do what I can to help spread the word:

Pirates are not wanted!

My corp can look after itself now. I've created a structure for them to work with, that provides leadership and direction. I have a Director who, thankfully, knows what he's doing and has the leadership abilities and enthusiasm that I need in a Director. The corp will grow, expand, develop a reputation and do what it can to 'fight the good fight' against pirates. I created that, and I'm so very proud of its members, and their enthusiasm, their excitement, and their abilities.

But now I move on. Not giving up leadership of the corp, but travelling. The history of my life continues into the future, and I go gladly where it takes me.

Day one - the journey continues

What an amazing day it's been. Nothing has really happened to make it amazing except for the fact that I've made a decision to go travelling, to take the fight against pirates to wherever they might be.

Most pilots like to stay in their own territory. There's a certain element of safety for them to stay in their home space, to always have somewhere to run back to when things get too hot. I'm afraid I've been guilty of that myself, never venturing far from my corp HQ.

But what is safety, really? It's an illusion. You can find safety wherever you go, any station, any highsec system. Territory doesn't matter when it comes down to it, because even in what you think is the safest of locations, something can happen that can shatter your day. And your ship too!

So I'm giving up on the illusion of safety, and going for a journey. I was, of course, inspired by the adventures of INNOMINATE NIGHTMARE and his own adventures around 0.0 space.

My journey will be a little different, however. Where his was simply to travel around the galaxy without venturing into Empire space, mine will be to go everywhere, seeking out pirates and hunt them down.

And see a few interesting things along the way. And make some interesting friends. And write about it!

I'll take some photos to share with you, whenever I see something interesting. I'll talk about the friends I meet, the pirates I get killed by - or who I hopefully kill instead - and the methods I use to do whatever it is I do.

Black Claw is only a few months old. At this moment, I have only 3.5 million skill points, so the journey of exploration, anti-pirating and growth is going to be very interesting. I'm sure there'll be a lot of pain along the way, but that's what you get when you choose the life of anti-pirating.

Now to tell my corp what I plan to do...

I'm quite confident that they'll be able to look after themselves. I know that, being such a young CEO, I 'm actually more of a hindrance to their efforts at engaging the pirates than an asset. Without me, they might stand a better chance at success in their anti-pirate operations!

But just wait 'til I come back from my journey...