I submitted this by email, but I will also post it here for general reading:
The following is a dramatization of actual events.
(June 5, 2016)
Day 155, YC 118 - 13:43 Hrs
Solitude Region, Goins Constellation, Vecodie system, Planet II
Federal Intelligence Office Testing Facilities
“Ugh, why do Fed stations have to smell like that?”
Enntis Mitri and Chris Cairney watched as Enarisil rubs at his nose and gags a little, silently. Enntis just smiles ruefully and holds out a hand as though proffering an open door to Chris.
“New clone?” Chris enquires.
“Yeah,” quirks Enarisil, his head cocked to the side like a dog hearing a new sound, “Why do you ask?”
The three are sitting around a low, spartan steel table bolted to the floor in the cafeteria. The seating is functional metal benches, also secured in case of loss of gravity. Their metal coffee cups clink when they set them down. Everything has been scrubbed over long practice until every exposed metal surface has a natural burnish.
“It’s the hydroxyacetic in the cleaners they use. Intelligence depot like this one, they make the junior ranks clean. The CO and reporting officers can dock them pay or deny leave if they don’t do a good job.” Chris points at a young man cleaning a ventilation grate nearby with a small single-sided bristle brush.
Enntis steps in, “See, you have all the memories of your meat body and whatever other clones you’ve worn before, but this one is still shiny. All those olfactory receptors are factory fresh, so to speak. So smells are sharper, lights are brighter, and sex feels amazing.”
“You’re Amarrian, right?” Enntis probes.
Enarisil smirks, “How’d you know?”
“Face like a toe.”
Chris puts a hand on Enarisil’s shoulder, “Seriously, last time you cloned it was into an Amarrian station, I’d bet. Surrounded by smells and sights and sounds you’re used to. It makes it easier. Gallente military outposts aren’t exactly vacationland for you, and unlike the rest of Gallentean life, they’re not designed to be comfortable.”
Enntis stands and looks at his infocom, “C’mon, we’re going to be late for class.”
The three stand and gather their data pads and jackets. As they do a squadron of young Gallentean pilots wander in to the cafeteria, looking bored, hungry, and horny. One woman, red of hair and thick of thigh, gives Enntis a look-over that would parboil an egg.
Another, his jacket open and dog-tags hanging out over his tank top, lifts a cybernetic arm in a rude gesture.
All three stop and turn to look at the young soldier. The rank on his epaulets is a single thin, green bar and a down-turned chevron.
Chris smiles, “What did you say to me, cadet?”
The cyborg repeats the gesture, “Get spaced, canner. When we die, it counts for something.”
The three capsuleers look at each other for a second and between them, their eyes fall on Enntis. He rolls his eyes and shrugs.
“Canner. Never heard that one before. Care to explain.”
The other gallente pilots fall into a lazy-looking semi-circle around the rude cadet, as if to watch. While they look relaxed, the senior pilots keep their heads down and focused on their tables while obviously listening, and the less subtle watch as though expecting a fight.
“Yeah,” starts the boisterous one, “Because you’re packed into those capsules with biofluid like so much canned meat and grease. Flying can of spam. Canner.”
This gets a few laughs, and Enarisil nods and smiles to Chris, who returns the smile enthusiastically, “That’s actually pretty clever.”
Enntis nods, “Okay. So what’s that make you?”
The cadet puffs up with bravado, “It makes me–”
“Expendable,” Enntis finishes for him.
A sudden deathly quiet falls over the room. Even the sounds in the kitchen dull for a minute, as the line cooks look out through the serving port to watch.
Enntis continues, his voice intentionally low and disarming, “For the record, it still hurts when we die. We can just do it more often. I don’t know if that arm is a battle replacement or cosmetic, but losing an arm is just as traumatic. Maybe you need to talk to somebody about it.”
He turns and looks at Chris and Enarisil, “C’mon guys, we’re late for class.”
As the three of them leave the room the redhead watches Enntis with a smile that would make an Amarrian holder give up slavery.
Six minutes later they are walking through the doors of an appropriated Gallentean corporate office on the corporate levels of the station. Here the accoutrements are a little nicer and someone has thoughtfully put out diffusers scented lightly of cold water and cucumber. There are even a few plants - real ones, even.
Hanging from the walls, placed strategically around the walls of the office rooms, are gold pennants with a shield bearing a small golden sparrow taking flight on a field of black. The alliance banner of the Ivy League.
Standing at the front of the room, before a legitimate slate blackboard, is a tall and extremely slender Amarrian man with ornamental cranial finial plating. His eyes are rheumy and white, but he navigates the room like a sighted man.
“Welcome to class, you three. Take a seat.”
He walks over to a small control pad and gestures, holographic letters filling the air behind him with the words ‘Introduction to Fleets’.
"Hello everyone, my name is Jurius Doctor and I’ll be your instructor today. The purpose of today’s class is to orient you on the essentials of fleet navigation, communication, combat, and support. Today’s class should take approximately two hours, followed by a small outing. I will be providing you with new ships for this excursion, which are yours to keep or repurpose when we’re done. I am joined today by senior Unistas Kora K and Marc Gussif who will be assisting.
“I know it’s unconventional but before we begin I’d like to do a quick roll call. Call me old fashioned. I’ll read out the names and you raise your hand if you’re here.”
“Krektogar Garkros… am I pronouncing that right? Good.”
“Boozeplz Saissore… Is that seriously your name? Alright.”
“… and Belter Karan.”
Jurius swipes a hand through the air, dismissing the roll call sheet and picks up a piece of chalk. He begins diagramming a celestial and some intercept paths with small triangular icons to represent frigates engaged in combat.
Marc Gussif, an intense looking Caldari capsuleer, watches the classroom with attention and notes who is paying attention. Though his eyes also dart to the chalk board, occasionally nodding.
“… and so, let’s start with a discussion of engagement tactics and fleet communications.”
Several hours later the class are standing in a loose formation on the primary flight deck of the station. The space is a vaulted chamber big enough to hold three cities stacked one on top of the other. Long tritanium and durasteel catwalks connect to the moored destroyers, cruisers, and battlecruisers hovering above them like faintly humming juggernauts.
They are standing on the lowest deck, where frigates come in to land at designated drop-points. To the left, rows upon rows of corvettes stretch out in neat rank and file by empire type. Velators make up the majority, with a number of Ibis, Reapers, and Impairors set aside for visitors.
“Alright, class. Today we’re going to be doing something a little different.”
As Jurius speaks, facing the class, the decking behind him parts with a whir of machinery and a familiar yellow vessel hoves into view from beneath the decking. The Venture mining frigate. Its long, industrial nacelles bearing boxy, hardened ore containers with hardpoints worked into the frame for direct attachment of mining lasers for a faster feed.
“Uh, boss? I thought that I signed up for a fleet class. I didn’t think it was going to be a mining fleet.”
Jurius watches the student impassively for a moment or two. He looks at the infocom on his wrist and then folds his hands in front of his belt. He waits, with the patience most teachers seem to learn. There are a few laughs.
As he says this, automated arming systems rise from beneath the deck and begin fitting the Venture with FEDCAF advanced Light Neutron Blasters and Roden Shipyards BZ-10 magnetometric sensor cluster packages deployed in attachment pods to the underside of the fuselage. Two Hobgoblin class light combat drones fly out of a nearby bay and dock with the mining frigate, following a pre-programmed course.
“Class, who can tell me what makes the Venture mining frigate great?”
Three hands immediately go up, Kora just shakes her head.
Chris, “It comes in sunshine yellow?”
“That is nice, true. You.”
Archie, “It looks better if you beat it up a bit?”
“Not quite. Saissore.”
“Its defensive compliment includes a hardened FTL drive with magnetic stabilization so it’s harder to scramble or disrupt. Also, ample shield generation and drones.”
“Good answers, Saissore. Well done. And who can tell me why that makes the Venture fun for shooting at people?”
Enntis chuckles, “Because if they try to shoot at you, just warp off and come back.”
"Good, good. That’s precisely right. And that, my good students, is what will be happening today. We will be going out for a quick roam to see if we can find any pirates or ill-intentioned capsuleers. If we find someone, we will engage. As this will be a proper fleet, we will have some help.
“Jerrard, Gol-gogoth, and Belter. You’re in logi. Get in those bursts. The rest of you, myself included, will be in Ventures. Kora will be joining us shortly in her own vessel.”
“What’s our destination?” a few call out as they climb to their frigates.
“Sir, long range scans show a Brutix attacking a pirate stronghold. Looks like he’s just cleaning up.” Kora K, in her Punisher Amarr combat frigate, reports from her scouting position.
“Alright, folks. Who can tell me about the Brutix?”
“Enarisil here, sir. Brutix. Gallente combat battlecruiser. Heavily advantaged for ranged fire dominance. Heavy armor plating, and active armor repair systems. Moderate drone compliment, but can field a full flight of five medium and light drones.”
“Well done, Enarisil. Well covered. What we’re going to do is Kora’s going to get tackle, we’re going to jump through, and warp immediately to Kora. When we land, everyone is going to put out drones, lock target, and orbit at a distance of 500m with propulsion modules on. The objective is to get close enough to outpace his guns, get under his fire suppression, and kill him before his drones can take any of us out. Clear?”
Everyone reports back their clear and ready codes.
“Logi, you three maintain distance and kite, provide shield reps if called for. Broadcast early and often, and if you’re in trouble, bounce and come back.”
Jurius looks through his ships sensors to the other floating mining vessels, laughs to himself, and smiles.
“Alright Kora, go.”
In the adjacent system of Heydieles, Kora warps in on the target with her Punisher, locking a warp disruptor on the target and firing all lasers, afterburner lit and orbiting close.
Jurius grins, “Gate is green, gate is green. Jump, jump, jump.”
The Brutix pilot, a seasoned veteran hardened by combat, Lee Pellion of Sovetsky Soyuz, R.E.V.O.L.U.T.I.O.N Alliance, locked his warp scrambler on Kora’s Punisher as he launches drones, expecting to make easy an escape until he sees the numbers in local start to climb.
This isn’t his first rodeo, and he’s escaped big fights, won some, and lost others. He fires his guns on Kora, but his turrets can’t track fast enough.
Then he looks through his sensor logs as little yellow ships start to land on field. He opens comms, openly laughing.
“Hahaha. What the ■■■■? Ventures. Ventures? Okay then.”
The hoots and whoops an cries of elation fill communication for the fleet as thirteen Ventures, a Punisher, and a small swarm of drones chew through the Brutix in under two minutes.
Sometimes learning to fly in EVE University is an academic exercise.
Sometimes, it’s just fun.
Killmail here: https://zkillboard.com/kill/54440656/