Year 115 as marked by the Yoiul Convention began with fire. At the end of YC 114, Hiigaran Bounty Hunters, Inc. (HBHI) had finished constructing a Chimera in our C3 wormhole. This made us a target. Capsuleers who were and are members of the alliance Surely You're Joking (HAHA, but they use SYJ internally) decided they needed to destroy our carrier. They needed no more incentive than my writing about it. They hunted down our system and setup a permanent presence to record our schedules and decide how best to entice our carrier onto the field of battle.
There was no battle. For all our aspirations, HBHI might as well be Brave Newbies. Our combat experience was limited, and about all we could do against much more experienced capsuleers was to die in a fire. We paid ransom to get them to leave us alone. This they did for five billion ISK. It took all our corporate liquid assets and considerable personal assets to pay, but we paid it.
Then we left the C3. It was a marked system. We knew that once extortion is paid, it is only a matter of time before the extortioners come back asking for more. We packed up everything and in three long days flew it out of Anoikis. That was a hard decision, but not as hard as the next one we had to make.
HBHI had been part of a defunct wormhole alliance for most of their time in Anoikis. They were looking to change that by joining a new alliance. The biggest obstacle to our joining others was our size. At about a dozen capsuleers, most alliances don't even want to talk to you. It's not a "what can we do for you" proposition from their point of view. It's a "what can you do for us" one. But interestingly enough, SYJ was willing to take us on.
So about a month after we moved out of the C3, we moved into SYJ's C6 with the rest of the 700 pilot strong alliance - though I never saw more than about 40. The first couple of month's there were grand. We had fleet fights on the static. We escalated sleeper sites galore. I made enough ISK to increase my personal fleet from one Proteus to three Proteus and a Tengu. Along the way I added an Oracle and a Phobos, though I lost the Tengu on our static. All in all it was a good time. In May, June and July I wracked up over 20 billion ISK in destroyed ships and equipment flying with SYJ.
But as with all good things, they have to come to an end. Our constant 40 pilot fleets got SYJ labeled the Goons of Anoikis. Our adversaries disappeared when they say us coming. Probably the last straw was when SYJ was paid to take down TLC. It was an inside job, most are, but it made SYJ pariahs of Anoikis. At least that's my view of it. I wasn't involved in that operation personally. For me the fun had ended some weeks before when SYJ had become an EST centric alliance and began starting ops when I wasn't even off work. But now that no one was having fun, alliance leadership decided it was time for a change.
Initially the alliance was going to break into 20 pilot fleets and go roaming. We'd run sleeper sites in other C6 worm hole systems. They were mostly now abandoned anyway. It would be lucrative. But that was evidently too boring for them - or more likely didn't make enough ISK. Our capital pilots, who'd always rather thought of themselves as the elite of SYJ, started talking about desires to fly super capitals. The next thing HBHI knew we were being told to pack up and head for Stain - for fun and PvP.
So I decided what the hell, why not? It was time I found out what that null-sec thing was like anyway. I was also willing to learn PvP. Well, in a word I didn't. It was boring. First of all, I didn't think moon POS bashing was real PvP. I could have done that in Anoikis, though we did get one "good" fight out of it. Then our opposition, Strictly Unprofessional (UNPRO) started camping our clone station hard. It was turning into a really good brouhaha! I lost two bombers to that camp and would have lost more. It was actually fun!
But then it stopped. UNPRO failscaded - or something. The next thing I knew, five of the former UNPRO corporations were set blue to the alliance. Four of them later joined SYJ; I'm not sure about the fifth. Hell, I'm not really even certain of the total number. What I am certain about is that the fun stopped and it was leadership's fault in my opinion. All the PvP operations shifted to low-sec and were run out of Amarr, but we were expected to be ready to jump clone back to Stain in a heart beat to defend moon POSes. Oh sure, there were a few Caracal roams in Stain but a) I couldn't fly the fit and b) there was no one to fight.
The last straw I suppose was when alliance leadership decided we were moving to another part of NPC null that had better moons. It seems SYJ now wants to become a non-sov holding null-sec alliance (and that's not my opinion, it's something I heard from a capital pilot.) There would be PvP - for awhile. Then it'd be the same old shit on a different day - support fleet so a capital pilot could get his ricks off. And all along the way I'd be constantly told what a crap PvPer I was and blah, blah, blah. What a circle jerk. Perhaps it always was and I just didn't want to see it.
That's when I decided enough was enough (both in game and RL) and moved back to high-sec to prepare for the imminent release of Rubicon. That started off well, but the constant war declarations against SYJ from mostly high-sec war-dec corporations were really putting a cramp in my mission running style. So I decided I needed to go back to an NPC corporation where I could have fun with my new Kronos and make ISK running level IV security missions and making Stratios cruisers.
Oddly enough, I've seen more potential PvP while doing high-sec missions than in Stain after the bluing started. I had a run in with a Malediction before I joined Alliastra, and just this past Saturday a Hurricane warped into the mission I was running and started to shoot my tractor unit. I calmly took my loot out of it and scooped it to my cargo hold. Then I sat there and let the remaining four rat battleships shoot me. Everything else had been cleared from space. I salvage as I go. He hung around waiting for what I don't know. I could have tanked the rats forever. But he was flashy yellow and I was feeling froggy, so I targeted him. He took off like I'd thrown boiling water on him.
And that's what CY 115 was like for me. It started off very hopeful and fun, went bad and then picked up again. I suppose that's the greatest risk one takes when hitching themselves to the aspirations of others. Whatever the result, the one thing I know for certain is that API checks work both ways. If there is one overarching lesson I've learned this year, it's to be very careful before joining someone else's crusade. Take your time. Check them out. Don't jump on board simply because it's offered. I'll no doubt go back to null-sec some day. I still need to know what that's all about. But it'll be with a group of people I've vetted and know get enjoyment from doing the sort of things I want to do. And no one will be anyone's means to an end in that group. Of that you can be certain.
PS: Happy New Year