Archive for October, 2007

Storm Trooper Squad Features: Iron Horse

October 25th, 2007 | Category: News

I am interviewing each squad to get a more in-depth look at who they are and what they are made of. I have sent out questionnaires to the Squad Leader for each squad and will feature a different squad each week.

Our first squad is newly reformed, and has taken the initiative with this series of features. And without further a due…Iron Horse.

The first squad in existence, Iron Horse has a long history. They are formerly the “Elite” Squad, wearing the blood red armor, setting them aside as the best of the best.

The squad was disbanded some time back, but has returned with a mission to restore itself to its former glory. The Elite Iron Horse.

Their Motto: “Don’t run…You’ll just die tired.”

Squad Name: Iron Horse

Squad Leader: AlanRJ

Assistant Squad Leader: None

1) History:

A) When did your squad get founded?

The squad was newly reformed on 29th September 2007

B) How has it matured over that time?

As it has only been open for under a month it is hard to answer this one, I will say that it has seen new members and is evolving with more members posting on the story

C) Where do you see it in the future?

To be a very productive squad and for people one day to say that the Iron Horse squad is the best squad within the VE.

2) How would you rate your squads’ activity level?

Presently poor. At the moment most members post on the story once a week. We also have two members one definitely AWOL and the other a possibility.

3) Any funny stories or in-squad jokes about the members?

GK-874 being sent out on an assignment naked. To distract the guards he was sent out to them without his uniform on, sadly he was not wearing anything under the uniform and so he went out to the guards naked. Thankfully they thought he was raving mad and took him inside their base.

4) What is your biggest need right now as a squad?
More productivity from its members

5) What is the coolest thing that has ever happened in your squad?

Having so many members in such a short period of time

6) Which other squad would you most like for your squad to team up with on a story?

Originally coming from the Paladin Squad, it would be really great to have a story interacting both squads.

7) If you had a choice between any superpower in the Star Wars Galaxy, or just to have Carrie Fisher tied up to a floating bed like Jabba the Hutt had (same age as in the movies), which would it be?

Carrie Fisher tied up to a floating bed. – ‘nuff said.

a) Why (or which super power if you answered that way)?

[Not answered, so I refer you to the above ‘nuff said.]

b) Are you married, or a heterosexual female (because this could have a lot to do with your answer) (this is totally optional and will be excluded if you are offended)?

[Again, unanswered, so I refer you to the above ‘nuff said.]

Thank you Alan RJ for the interview. I would warn the other squads that you were coming for their rankings, but that may ruin the element of surprise.

Keep your eyes on Iron Horse as they move to build back up and regain their former position. Good luck to you Iron Horse, and beware all who make enemies of the Vast Empire.

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Naval Ranks: Part One of Three – Enlisted Ranks

October 15th, 2007 | Category: New Recruit Tips,Star Wars Role Playing

Through the life of any Enlisted Imperial Personal in the Imperial Navy, from a Cadet in the Vast Empire Imperial Naval Academy to life in one of the Star fighter Squadrons of the Imperial Navy, a pilot will go through many ranks all with different rewards and responsibilities. When a Person first joins the Imperial Navy, they are entered into the Vast Empire Naval Academy (VENA) and given the rank of Crewman. As a crewman, their responsibilities are entirely based on graduating from the VENA Flight School and then after taking the Aviators Exam, Being placed into a star fighter squadron. They make Six Hundred ICs per month; Five Hundred for having the rank of Crewman, and One Hundred for having the position of a Trainee.

The next step in their career is to take the Aviators Exam, which then sets the first crossroad for their career, the opportunity to skip one rank entirely. It all depends on their grade on the Aviators Exam. If the pilot passes the Exam they earn the rank of Leading Crewman, they are placed into a star fighter squadron, and receive the certificate of (=A=). As a Leading Crewman, their responsibilities are simple, to be active in the squadron and in the Vast Empire as a whole. Their pay is raised from Five Hundred to One Thousand ICs for the increase of rank, and their pay is raised from One hundred to Five Thousand for the increase of position from Trainee to Flight Member. Also Depending on whether or not they are placed into an Elite Squadron also affects their position pay. If they are placed into an Elite Squadron as an Elite Flight Member, their position pay is raised from One Hundred to Seven Thousand Five Hundred.

If they pass the Aviators Exam with Distinction, their rank skips Leading Crewman and jumps directly to Senior Crewman. As a Senior Crewman, their responsibilities also are simple, to again be active in the squadron and in the Vast Empire as a whole. The major difference is in their pay rate. They are paid Two Thousand ICs per months for their rank, though they still have the pay of Five Thousand for being a member of a flight in their squadron.  Also instead of receiving the basic certificate for completing the exam, they receive the Certificate with Distinction, (=*A*=). If the pilot does not pass it with distinction, then they are able to receive the rank of Senior Crewman by showing consistent activity in their squadron. Once the pilot reaches this rank, they have a feel for how things in the Vast Empire and the Imperial Navy function. They then begin their Journey to the ranks of Petty Officers, growing and gaining leadership as they go. In addition, while a Crewman they have the verbal addressing of Crewman or Mr. (or Ms. when it applies)

Once a Senior Crewman gains the experience in their squadron, they are no longer called a rookie pilot, and they begin their journey into the rank of a Petty Officer. This begins with the rank of Petty Officer Second Class. This begins their time where the go from learning the ropes, to teaching them to newcomers. Their responsibilities also shift from learning to being active, story writing for their squadron, and getting in reports weekly. Their Pay rate also changes again, as it does with every rank, the Pay raises to Three Thousand for Rank, with no change to position. In addition, with this rank they gain the ability to take the Senior Aviators Exam. This sets the next crossroad in their path, with another ability to skip a rank.

The Senior Aviators Exam, the second of the VENA exams, gives questions relating to a pilot in a squadron (as apposed to the Aviators Exam, asking questions about basics of the Imperial Navy.) and the Imperial navy. If a pilot passes the Senior Aviators Exam, they receive the rank of Petty Officer First Class, and have the ability show that they have experience in their squadron. In addition, they gain the certificate that goes with completing the Exam, (=SA=). With limited changes in responsibility, the change shows in their pay, where their pay changes to Four Thousand ICs per month for their rank, with again no change in position pay. However, there is always a way to skip this rank, and more onto the next higher rank up the chain.

The rank of Chief Petty Officer is given to those who passed the Senior Aviators Exam with Distinction, and gives them the certificate of (=*SA*=). In addition, this rank can be achieved my showing major amounts of activity while in the rank of Petty Officer First Class. In this rank, there are major changes in responsibility and pay rate. If they only keep the rank, position, and its limited change responsibilities, their pay is raised to Five Thousand for the Rank Pay. However, with the new rank they gain the minimum rank needed to hold the position of Flight Member of a squadron. If this is so, the position pay is dependant on the element of being in an elite squadron or not. If they are not in an Elite Squadron and are a Flight Leader (FL) their pay for position is raised from Five Thousand to Ten Thousand. If though they are in an Elite Squadron and are one of the squadrons Flight Leaders then their pay is raised from Five Thousand to Fifteen thousand for their position. However, while a flight leader is not all about the increase of pay, you now command four other pilots into combat, guiding them with all you have learned. Nevertheless, you are under the watchful eye of your Squadron Commander, who will be there when you are asked something that you do not know. This also requires a more detailed report to be sent, that keeps your Squadrons Executive Officer and Squadron Commander informed in how the Flight is functioning.

The next two ranks are very similar in responsibility and rewards. The Rank of Senior Chief Petty Officer is given to experienced Flight Members and Flight Leaders showing leadership in their Flight. The Pay for a Senior Chief Petty Officer is raised to Six Thousand for the rank pay. Similar to the Rank of Master Chief Petty Officer which is given to Pilots and Flight Leaders who have a long history of leadership and activity. Though the responsibilities only slightly change, the pay raises to Seven Thousand ICs per Month for the rank pay. Nevertheless, as with any rank after taking the Senior Aviators Exam, there is the opportunity for Pilot Skills and Studies. (Also, you can have the verbal addressing of “Master Chief”.) This is the last rank in your time as a Petty Officer, and it makes way for a stronger role in squadron operations, the ranks of the Warrant Officer.

The beginning of your time as a Warrant Officer begins similar to that of a Petty Officer, with the rank of Warrant Officer Second Class. Pilots receive this rank by showing great conduct and activity. In addition, as always there is an increase in your pay rate. It changes from Seven Thousand to Eight Thousand ICs per month for rank pay. Thus, this rank is where your leadership is to show, by going back to the VENA to take a trip on the “Road to the Master Aviator Exam”. It begins with the technical Exams, where you learn the in-depth parts of the equipment you carry and fly; it also includes a section of a Tactical Exam. Then you move into the Leadership Exam, where you show how you would handle leadership situations to the best of your ability. Once the Technical Exams and Leadership Exams are Complete, you have the opportunity to move onto the Master Aviators Exam. This is where you skill as a pilot is tested to extreme levels; its purpose is to see what you know and how you handle situations. Once you complete that, you are awarded the proper certificate and rank.

Depending on if, you pass with distinction or not you go to different ranks, positions, and get different certificates and pay. This is done in a very similar way, if the pilot passes the Master Aviators Exam he/she is moved up one rank, but if he/she passes with distinction, he/she is moved up two. If they pass without distinction, they receive the Master Aviators Exam Certificate, (=MA=), they will be raised to the rank of Warrant Officer First Class, the second highest rank a pilot can receive without commission. At this point, they have to take a leadership position before they can move up any more into the chain of ranks. Also with passing the Master Aviators Exam, they become eligible for the position of Squadron Executive Officer. That would bring your pay rate to, Nine Thousand ICs per month for rank, and again depending on whether they are in an elite squadron or not, Fifteen Thousand for a Non-Elite squadron Twenty-Two Thousand for being the XO of an Elite Squadron. Although there is always the change that happens if they pass the Exam with distinction, If this be the case then their rank will be raised to the highest possible without distinction.

Now, the pilot will look at their career, and they will be at one of their most proud moments. They have reached the point of the highest rank a pilot can receive without commission, Chief Warrant Officer. They can achieve this through activity or distinction in the Master Aviators Exam, and by doing the distinction they earn the certificate of distinction, (=*MA=). At this rank they would already have a leadership position in their squadron, the changes to responsibility would be small, mostly just being a good example for the younger crewmen who will look up to them. They pay again would change though, going up to the Enlisted Maximum Rank Pay of Ten Thousand ICs per month. This is also the time where Command Internships are available, which get future officers out of their squadrons and onto capital ships to learn how to command to the highest ability. Either way, at this point in a pilot’s career, leadership is necessary. They must show massive amounts of activity and leadership to continue on their trail to a Commissioned Officer Rank.

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The Pirate Threat

October 14th, 2007 | Category: News,Star Wars Role Playing

There is a growing danger in the surrounding systems of the Vast Empire. Before you even begin to think it, no, it is not the New Republic or even planetary rebellion; it is the threat of Piracy, and it is beginning to make an impact on Imperial Trade and Transportation. Our systems are not safe from these criminal enterprises trying to make a profit by hijacking cargo and stealing ships. More recently, the Vast Empire’s Trade Convoys have come under siege by Pirate Forces. The allure of credits attracts people to their cause, which in turn costs the Imperial Tax-Payers millions of Credits in rebuilding and replacing ships and cargo. The Vast Empire is being forced to also pay millions of credits in the costs of building defenses for stopping this pirate insurrection. Theses attacks force them to build armed defensive forces on peaceful trading planets, to build space defense fleets orbiting planets with little to use to anyone. They must build these forces only if to keep the imperial presence in the areas. The troubles that these pirates have caused to the Imperial People have only become more visible in the recent weeks

      Recently, a Vast Empire Bulk Transport Convoy, made up entirely of Bulk Freighter Class Transports Crafts, was sent out to go and re-supply Out-laying Imperial Colonies and Outposts. It was scheduled to make a pass of Rakata Prime, when all contact with the Convoy was lost. The last message received from the convoy was an emergency distress signal. It read as following:

     “To any Imperial Friendly ships, this is the Vast Empire Transport Convoy Omega; we are under siege from unknown pirate forces. We are declaring a Code Zero, and are asking for re-enforcements, we are an unarmed convoy and are taking major damage. We have been driven off our original course and we are unsure of our location. Our last known coordinates place us somewhere near the planet ****** *** (location censored from public transmission).

     Though the exact location of this convoy is unknown, as shown above the Vast Empire Naval Command does has a last known location, in which to begin a search for the missing convoy. However, it is unknown how the situation will be handled. Nonetheless, this is just one of many recent pirate attacks in the outlaying systems of the Vast Empire’s Influence. One month ago, a medical supply convoy was attacked and destroyed near Rakata Prime. This leads most to believe that the majority of pirate activity is located in the space near and around Rakata Prime. The problem that faced now is that the area surrounding Rakata Prime is home to Imperial Colonies and Outposts that are in dire need of supply, and these pirate attacks leave the area defenseless to New Republic Expansion. This would throw the balance in the systems, putting power into the hands of the New Republic and Pirate Criminal Enterprises.

     The Vast Empire Imperial Navy declined to give a statement onto how they plan to handle this, but it can be expected that in the coming weeks, ad the attacks continue, action of some kind will be taken. Our Sources in the Vast Empire Imperial Navy tell us that the matter is being discussed inside the leadership of the Imperial Navy, and they may reach a decision very soon, at which time they will release a statement and beginning their operations to handle the situation.

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VE meet VESA

October 14th, 2007 | Category: News

A new group has recently emerged from within the Vast Empire. No, I’m not talking about Iron Horse, or a Galaxies division, or Phantom. I’m talking about the Vast Empire Smokers Association (VESA). The VESA is a collection of a few beings who take a true delight in the offerings of the tobacco plant.

The group has its origins in a handful of troopers who realized they had a common interest and wanted a place to converse about brands, methods and what everyone else is missing out on. It has evolved into a productive and contributing part of the Vast Empire, if not a growing one.

Now how exactly has the VESA contributed to our fine group, you wonder? Well. . . the VESA has added to the VE in a few ways that are very important to improving life in the Vast Empire, at least in the realm of modern comforts. The group is responsible for the introduction of the Imperial Lung Blaster cigarettes as well as the Imperial Zippo. Both are available in large quantities at the Imperial Center Store. (Go. Buy. Now.) Also these members offer a nice, social atmosphere inside #cancer for other carcinogenic enjoyers to relax and unwind over a nice Lung Blaster at the end of a hard day.

We got a chance to talk to a few of the members at the VESA to see what they had up their sleeve next, Imperial cigars? Cigarette holders? Beer cozies?

“Well, we were thinking maybe a VESA condom, we feel that this would really increase our credibility in the health department” Sniping101 was kind enough to share his thoughts. Although we’re not sure he was in any state to legally have thoughts. “I was thinking a VESA walker, like maybe ‘VESA-ST’ or a ‘VESA-AT’, get our logos out there and just all around show our Imperial pride!”  He wouldn’t shut up. “Or maybe a really big, AHGCK!” We finally tasered him.

Finally we caught up with the other members of the VESA board and were able to get some marginally more credible information, not to mention better smelling.

“Well, we’ve been thinking about expanding into liquors and luxury consumables, with the council’s permission of course. We believe that the quality we have brought to the smokes industry should not be exclusive to those who hate their lungs.” Chairman Eviscares informed us.

“Yes, we have some future products in the works, but we’re really waiting to see how people respond to our polling. If there’s enough interest we have a few ideas to take this even further.” Secretary Hashi Shiyun said, batting his eyelashes.

“We don’t want to pursue this if there isn’t any interest though. . .”

“Yes we do!” Snipes woke up.

“. . . So we’d appreciate some feedback on our poll and in person.” Eviscares continued.

Our interviewee’s were at this time whisked away on important army business and the interview could not be continued. However, it seems that in the luxury consumables the great void that has filled the Vast Empires life will soon be filled, viewers willing. So please folks, hit up our poll, and please, please don’t vote no.

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Phantom? Someone call the Ghostbusters!

October 13th, 2007 | Category: News

We can’t have been the only ones that have noticed the recruitment posters popping up in the very darkest corners of the VE bases. At least we hope not, as that might mean Snipes has managed to spike our water again. Bad thing’s happened last time that happened, we still haven’t managed to get the g-string off of the flag pole…

Back to the point. These mysterious leaflets give away very little. They mention little more than a few words about looking out for ‘courageous, fresh and incredibly abled recruits’. Not to mention their somewhat intimidating portrayal of ‘A very rewarding, if dangerous, career boost’. It would be starting to sound like an advert for one of the cheap smutty call lines which are far too common around our office. I mean the office next door. Ahem.

The most revealing piece of information we could find on this advert, was a comlink number. We ran this through the VE’s database of numbers, but it wasn’t linked with any individual, or organization within the military. So we rang it ourselves. A man with a very young voice answered, although he spoke with a calmness that we presumed was way beyond his age. The conversation went a little like this. The man’s words are in italic.

“You’ve rang about the advert yes?”

“Yes”

“Your rank and name, if you please”

“Errm… Lance Corporal Bob Jeffries”

“Alright, now what do you really want?”

“It’s the VET”

“I had a feeling you were going to be calling. I’m not going to tell you much, but be happy I’m actually still speaking to you. We’re an organization known as Phantom, we’re a special ops team involved with many galactic operations. I can’t give you any information on who we are, how many we number, or where we are based. We are however recruiting, and anyone interested in joining us should get their way over to our meeting room. Out”

Harsh words spoken with acid. We had a check around the VE bases we knew of, and could find no such trace of a ‘Phantom Meeting Room’. Our only idea is that he was referring to their conversation topic on our own Comnet. We, for reasons we were somehow expecting, are locked out of it.

So, now is your chance loyal VET readers! For the sake of the VET’s superiority, we are asking the readers out there who feel themselves capable of meeting the Phantom Prequisites to get into their squad topic. We are guessing the recruitment details are within.

Good Luck!

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Imperial Highlander?

October 12th, 2007 | Category: News

You’ve been there before, we all have. You’re hunkered behind a box, defending your objective from an enemy counter attack. You push yourself up to take a shot at the enemy position and you see a man running at you with a sword. You thank your lords for the easy kill and riddle him with blaster bolts and then get back to work.

But there are other times; time you’ve been locked in a hallway with the enemy closing around, one of your number runs out of ammo so they drop their gun, instead pulling a sword out of an unknown but probably moist hiding place, you offer them a blaster pack but they turn it down. Instead they charge into the enemy mass, waving their sword about. Next thing you know half of the enemy are decapitated, the rest have been gored on the end of your friends sword. You suddenly remember that unlucky soul you filled with blaster bolts earlier and you wonder: “What’s the difference?”

Well I’ll tell you what it is: Immortals. That’s right, immortals. Don’t laugh, it’s true. These beings have existed for hundreds of years, possibly thousands. It’s unknown exactly how they are given birth to, but we believe it to be something in the water. These beings exist in a constant state of war-fare with each other, constantly seeking others like them so that they may decapitate them and take their life essence for their own. According to ancient lore when there are but two left they will be drawn together and the winner of that battle will rule the galaxy as a god. Or something. We’re not really good at translation.

Now I know there are questions just bubbling out your little head. Questions like “Well then how are there so many in the Vast Empire, shouldn’t they have all tried to kill each other by now?” The answer to your impertinent question is: “I don’t know.” That is why we took it to the streets and asked a few of these immortals in our midst for reactions.

“Well, you see, we feel that the New Republic is really a bigger deal right now, so we’ve kind of put it off until the Vast Empire rules the galaxy.” Our first anonymous reaction.

“Look, there’s a few of us here and we can help put this galaxy back together, because once there’s just one left it would be a real bummer to rule over a galaxy at war.”

“I. Like. To. Kill. Things.” We’re not sure if this guy was immortal or not, but we liked him anyway.

You heard it here first folks, immortals in our army, trained for thousands of years to kill things mercilessly. Watch your ass New Republic; you might find a sword shoved in it.

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An Imperial Walker for Mako

October 12th, 2007 | Category: News

As you may or may not know, having an Imperial Walker, or AT-AT shows that you are of the elite, and privileged few. These AT-AT’s are bred on Imperial Walker Farms and only the best stock is used for the Empire, the rest are sold to personal troops within the Empire, and the inbred ones are destroyed or de-weaponized and sold cheaply as farm hands to inbred farmers. That way, the inbred stay with the inbred, and the elite premier stay with the elite premier.

AT-AT Farm
One kid has a dream. A dream to become elite, though his upbringing never saw reason to outfit him with his silver spoon. This poor kid has suffered longingly at the devastation caused by jealously watching as the elite roam around in their Imperial Walkers. This will just not do, and so he has decided to do something about it. That kid is Mako Sanguin.

Mako Sanguin is a poor kid from the streets. He is also somewhat new to the VE. His biggest dream is to have an Imperial Walker. His ultimate hope is to breed out the first Imperial Walker and start an Imperial Walker Farm. But he needs IC’s.

Any donation is appreciated, but remember that those things are expensive and hard to get.

Will you help make Mako’s dream come true?

Please send any donations for this cause to Mako Sanguin through the funds wire transfer service in the Galactic Bank. Who knows which one of your IC’s will be the one that solves his dilemma and cures his depression over being without an AT-AT? Thanks so much for your help with this sad disease.

Perhaps, with your charity, this could be Mako in only a few short months.

Mako with your help

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The Brief Journey of a New Recruit

October 08th, 2007 | Category: News

This is a brief story about my own experiences in joining the VE. I will be honest throughout, but will not use names. There will be good, there will be bad, but it will be honest. You may choose to learn from it and help fix the few issues that I have found, or you may ignore it and decide that I am not worth the effort.

I would like to say, though, that my experiences with joining are probably shared by many new recruits. So here it goes.

I was wandering around the net trying to find a good game that would use up some of my time, allow me some creative input, if possible, and not demand too much from me.

I was interested in Star Wars, and was tired of playing Pirate Games. I had applied for Star Wars Combine, but was turned down for what I felt was a stupid reason: I don’t have (at least don’t use) a paid e-mail service. I have one with my Internet account, but by the time I was able to get into it I had already learned the basics of this group.

What I found was not a game, but an RPG story group, the Vast Empire. I was looking for some immediate gratification when roaming the net for a good group, but was willing to give this a few days because I saw that there was some type of economy involved (e.g. the stock market, store, paychecks, etc.) and that thought and effort had been heavily placed in this group.

I was somewhat confused as to what I was supposed to do (ok very confused) but decided to wade through it. I applied, waited, posted, read 20 emails in my box, all the while wondering what I was really supposed to be doing.

I finally found the Echelon training board, and proceeded to post my arrival. Over the next few days I tried to figure out the system. It appeared that I had to go through several ranks, but when I was done I would have a good idea of what I was doing. There would be some type of reference manual that would answer my questions, Mirc would allow real time interaction with people, and there was a storyboard for further character development.

I thought that this was a great idea, and it was just what I needed to get started well. I thought that perhaps we would do a practice story, build our writing skills, and learn the basics. It would be fun, but it would also be a real honor when we graduated, because we would no longer be n00bs. I anticipated my first experiences in Echelon with great hopes and pleasure.

I waited and checked, and checked and waited, and never saw another Echelon post that concerned me, or my next objective. I was disappointed and was close to just dropping the whole thing to go back to something else. At least I knew what to do on my Pirate Games.

After a few communications where I expressed confusion at what I was to do, I was sent an email that said to write a bio, with a link to a great bio for an example. I was thrilled to finally have something to do. I wrote a bio until 3 that morning, even though I had to go to work early the next day. I was excited at finally being able to participate.

The next day or so I was sent an email that said that I had graduated Echelon (even though I had only posted my “reporting for Duty” line, and nothing else) and was now a PFC and assigned to a squad. I had hoped to go through Echelon training, as I felt that it would give me a good understanding of the basics, but I was very excited at finally being a part of VE, even though I still didn’t know what we did.

As I tried to find myself on the squad roster I noticed that there were several squads that didn’t have enough troopers. I wondered why these squads weren’t condensed together to make several fully functional squads, and several empty ones for fill later. Not my concern I guess. I just assumed that there were reasons such as the probability that there could be more stories going on at once.

My first time on the Mirc was confusing at best. There were a few jerks around, and I was being one of them, because when I went in, there were endless streams of baseball talk, haggling of other players, and almost nothing to do with Star Wars or VE. It has since been my experience that this is just the way that the Mirc is, and that SW and VE talk isn’t so prevalent as someone talking about another topic.

The few times there has been VE talk, it has usually surrounded another current or former VE member getting slammed for stuff that probably shouldn’t be said in public, or at least not without them being around to defend themselves. I personally feel that if a member is no longer a member, then their name shouldn’t be brought up for purposes of ragging him/her in the public chat. Again, I am simply voicing my own opinion, and it is not anyone’s responsibility to respond to my own frustrations.

I received an email from my squad leader and later ran into him on the Mirc. Still not quite knowing what to do, I just explored the site, and all of the links, and tried to piece it together. Whenever I had a question, I asked it in the Mirc, and usually got berated for my troubles. This often led to me having brief quarrels with certain members, a few of whom I have since learned are pretty much just jerks anyway, but several of whom I learned were just taking their frustrations about the slightly shoddy system out on the n00b.

Upon my explorations throughout the site, I saw a very frank letter of resignation, in which there was a lot said that perhaps shouldn’t have been, and about five pages of people biting at each other. I didn’t know who any of these people were, but I chocked up my own difficult experiences with getting started to the same troubles that caused this giant argument.

I decided that the people behind VE actually cared about the group, as testified by all of the effort on the site, but that there were a few housekeeping issues and some things had been set aside and forgotten about. There were many pieces to try and figure out about.

I learned that there are whole sections that are unfilled, several squads without enough members, and postings that are a little out of date, and in some cases misleading posts on the homepage.

I learned that you can get IC’s from using Pay Per Click, and that there were only five openings in the VE Today for writers and that they paid 25 IC’s per word.

In the Mirc I was questioning the start of my squads’ story. There was a promised story coming and I was anxious to get into the swing of things on a quick assignment. I was given a Spec Story by one of the few people to be consistently nice to me in the Mirc lobby, and got started quickly, as I knew that I had limited time before my squad story and wanted to get it out of the way. I have written 4 or 5 spec stories now, a total of about 8000 words or so in the three weeks or so that I have been here,

I had had a few compliments on my Bio, and my Spec Story and decided that I could write a decent line of interesting crap every now and then, so I applied for the VE Today. I started at 5 IC’s a word. I was happy to be involved in the group, and that I finally had something to do besides write Spec Stories.

I got to thinking a few days later, after posting a few more stories on VE Today, and remembered the wage that was posted on the homepage. I went to the Mirc silently steaming, and waiting to talk to my boss. I was frustrated that I would be given such a wage per word when the homepage said 25 IC’s! I didn’t even have to follow a link to see the real wages that everyone was getting! Again, the same person who gave me my Spec Assignment steered me to the hidden entries in the ComNet that stated the real rates, and how to get a raise. The system seemed fair, you start out at a low wage, write enough words, you get a raise per word. No problem! You are able to earn increase and promo through doing what you were supposed to do anyway! That was a great idea. My problem wasn’t the wrong wage after all, it was that the article on the homepage said another price, was way outdated and not removed.

Later, I looked into the Engineering Corps, as my Spec Story is for Combat Engineer training and I though the two may be related (again, not enough explanation, and no reference book). I looked through the somewhat stagnant engineering corps, and saw that it was sort of a relic. It is not functional, apparently hasn’t been for some time, and the VE Today is apparently the only still functioning part. Why is it still there? Should it be removed until life can again be breathed into it? Not for me to say.

I have made a few friends here. I like the idea of the VE. It seems like a great big place that everyone can get together and hang out, talk about their favorite subjects, and share in a great experience. I have felt a sense of creativity wake in me that otherwise would have continued to be stifled in lieu of school and family life.

I did have a very tough time trying to get the hang of the system. I have been her for about three weeks and still no squad story. I truly feel that it is likely hard certain members to get motivated to squeeze out a story because they have been here while this Empire has wavered. I do not blame them for their writer’s block, but I assign an equal portion of their lack of a story to everyone in the VE, just like I do with every other problem I see. These “shares of fault” do include me, because, even though I have not been here long, I have not stated my issues with these problems before now.

There were many obstacles that I felt could have been removed or shouldn’t have been there. If it were my VE, I would definitely change some things. Removing out of date items and making it easier for new people to participate would be priority #1, then making the leftovers functional again. But it is not only my VE. I am a part, yes. I like it enough to put up with the troubles, or I wouldn’t be here. But it is your VE too. I would really like to see an honest effort to overhaul the site by everyone. How can the site be better? What were your own experiences? What is good about VE, what could be changed?

What can you personally do to fix it?

It would be a great effort on all involved to overhaul the site. There would be many people who were dissatisfied, but in the end, I think that it would pay off.

It is easy to assign blame. It can always be someone else’s fault. But it is much harder to assume responsibility.

Effectively, any trouble is everyone’s fault, and everyone’s responsibility. If you have had no trouble with the way things go, then this article is not for you. If, on the other hand, if you have ever thought to yourself: “I wish this worked differently,” then this article is for you.

I am hereby formally petitioning a request for all able bodied men and women to come up with a solution to the problem that bothers you most about the VE, and turn it in to the most appropriate ranking member. Notice here that I said “solution to the problem.” Telling someone about a problem never works. They would be crushed under the strain of every member complaining, it would turn into a fuss-fest, and nothing would be solved.

Even though I have only been here for three weeks, and haven’t even started a squad story yet, it is my VE. It is my responsibility, as it is yours, to make it better. So what shall we do? I am willing to help. Thank you for reading, and for caring about your VE.

P.S. I am turning my own solution suggestions in very soon. Thanks.

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Building Contractors Love the Empire?

October 08th, 2007 | Category: News

You’re on a mission, you creep silently through the enemy base, dispatching any soul unlucky enough to cross your path. The halls are dim, the power long since cut by Team Beta, the only light source is the security checkpoint you’re moving towards. Your squad leader calls a halt, you have to find away around the checkpoint. One of your faceless comrades points to the ceiling, your squad leader nods and points at you, you let your weapon drop to your side and move over to the vent, one of your number gives you a boost and you crawl in.

It’s a proven fact that 87.32348% of all missions involving indoor environments enjoy a great reduction in completion time thanks to ventilation systems. Anyone who has been in the Vast Empire Stormtrooper Corps knows this. Every Trooper that has been here for any amount of time has spent a good deal of that time crawling though cramped but conveniently placed ventilation shafts. The convenient placing, size and lack of security equipment in said shafts makes the job of every soldier that has ever had to storm a base just a little bit easier.

Without having to engage the enemy as often or deal with locked doors or having to navigate confusing, winding hallways a missions time can be cut from half a day to a mere pair of hours. Where as all rebel hallways suffer from a lack of directions and guest signs it’s a well known fact that every ventilation system comes complete with maps every few intersections written in an easy to read large print and color coding.

Ventilation shafts have a plethora of methods for use. They can be used to escape imprisonment, get around a secure door, move about a building without alerting the enemy and for throwing really uncomfortable bachelor parties. Such luxuries with the New Republic bases has lead some of our more adventurous troops to attempt similar stunts around the Vast Empire infrastructure. However I feel it is my duty to inform the galaxy that it just doesn’t work the same. Our ventilation shafts are too small for an armored man, the grates are too difficult to get off without ruining the wallpaper and they just weren’t designed to hold that kind of weight, what is most likely to happen should one try it is that they will fall through the ceiling and become lodged in the piece of duct work. This would be awkward to explain should an MP or an officer happen by and could land an unfortunate trooper in the stockade.

Now your average soldier is merely thankful that such vents were so conveniently placed, but how many stop to thank the poor contractor that put it all together? He’s just an average working man (or creature) who may not have been able to pass the physical, or they finished their tour of duty, or possibly even a member of the underground resistance. But whoever they are they are showing their Imperial Pride and doing their part to aide in the march to the core. So next time you see a being walking down the street or in a bar who is obviously not part of the military try to refrain from calling them hippies and berating them for not joining the war effort. Instead buy him a drink and thank him for the color coded maps. Who knows, he might actually know what you’re talking about.

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VE Today – Why Did You Join?

October 06th, 2007 | Category: News,VE Today

– What is the VE Today?

– What does the VE Today mean to you?

– What does the VE Today mean to others?

These questions, and a few others, have been given to your VE Today authors so you, the Vast Empire, may see the personality behind the articles… perhaps put a soul behind the chunks of text you see on a weekly basis.

The questions I asked were the following:

1. Why did you want to join the VE Today?

2. What personal qualities do you have that you believe can benefit the VET?

3. Were there any inspirational individuals that provoked your interest in becoming an article writer?

4. Do you plan to write articles weekly, bi-weekly, or just whenever you get around to it?

5. For those thinking about joining the VET Team, what advice would you give?

6. Do you plan to participate in any of the other VET activities? (Web/Graphics design, etc.)

7. What suggestions do you have that you believe may benefit the VET?

8. What did you eat for breakfast?

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Max Fagron

1. I would like to join the VET to write lighter material, to get a break from day to day squadron writing and to make readers laugh.

2. I think that my writing skill may help the VET and I hope that my strange sense of humor will make people laugh.

3. I think Riqimo (Doc) inspired me wih his funny articles and made me want to write the same.

4. I plan to write at leat once a week, and more if possible.

5. I would say:

“Be funny, be thoughtful, be cool and be a damn good writer!”

6. I’m not sure if my system would support graphics design, but if i can participate in it or anything else of the kind, I will give my utmost.

7. I believe that more comic relief stories would give the VEt a friendlier air, and a story every week about each squad/squadron’s Story Post Site( a sort of “News on the March” sorta thing) and its progress would raise awareness about the big picture of the VE as a whole(especially during stories like Phase II).

8. Weetabix

Jersh

1. To relieve my boredom…. and i have been searching for a place to write about various star wars topics for some time now.

2. My writing skills, as well as an advisor to any real life situations. However I do not reccomend growing close to me 😛 hah, joking

3. Not really, only myself.

4. Once i find a proper subject to speak upon, weekly at the least.

5. Be sure you are ready to commit to the writing. Do not join to just get credits, you should write articles because you WANT to.

6. If they need my skills, yes I will help with what is within my capacity.

7. I do not know the system perfectly well yet, So i have no advice at this time.

8. I do not eat breakfast. It is a meal for the weak.

Sniping101

1. Clever ideas that didn’t have much use elsewhere.

2. All the little things that make me Snipes.

3. Me? Maybe H.S.T, he was quite the journalist.

4. On my own illogical and unknowable schedule

5. Wait for me to dissapear.

6. Who knows.

7. Haven’t been here long enough to have any idea.

8. Green eggs and ham, Sam I Am.

Kanderin Draken

1. Although I like it a little less than storywriting, formal/informal articles are what I’m probably best at writing. Plus I’ve had a lot of free time on my hands, the VET means I always have at least one thing to do.

2. I can get on well with most people, I’m not afraid of working hard, and I’m a decent writer.

3. I’m not sure how big they are over there, but the ‘Kerrang!’ magazine, surprisingly, has some awesome writers. They’re articles are genuinely funny, and the first time I picked up the magazine I was surprised at just how talented they were. It’s what I am for in my writing, a well written piece which makes people laugh.

4.Whenever I get around to it. Some days I have no time whatsoever, some days I have four or five hours free. I’ll do as much as I can.

5. Keep an eye on the comnet. Say if your writing something about a new squad, you should think about the people you want opinions from. If its a Wildcard Squad, Rizzit would probably be the best person for a comment. For the training purposes, probably Cosmic. Don’t run it all on your own opinion basically, make sure you get a range of people’s views.

6. I’m not a very good artist, so I wont be on the designing side. I am learning to code though, so the web might be an option in the time to come.

7. Genuine ranks might go down well. For example, you already have your ‘(VE-Army) Corporal’ tag underneath your avatar, maybe you could add a VET version. It makes the role more distinguishable, which makes it more attractive in turn.

Ranks? Umm…
Coffee boy/girl
Junior Reporter
Reporter
Senior Reporter
Editor
(That took me about twenty seconds to think up, its far from what I’d really consider. Just an example really.)

8. I skipped breakfast this morning. I got up late and had to rush out of the house for college. Nah actually, thats an excuse. Even if I was up on time, I normally skip breakfast. So sue me :p.

Raigen

1. I like to write, and this will give me a chance to jump outside the story writing that we usually do.

2. Good writer(for a public high school student).

3. Karl Marx, George Orwell.

4. Weekly, once I get my internet working.

5. Have a good grasp on essay writing.

6. Graphics design.

7. Have articals presented through a newsletter.

8. Reheated day old domino’s pizza sold at school for lunch.

ZaFo

1. I joined in my sleep it would seem, so my motives are unknown to me. I do enjoy writing and something other than Squad Stories would be a nice change.

2. I’ve been told that when I write, I’ve got a very distinct voice. It’s hard for me to use that voice in Squad Stories (who knows why), but I imagine in article writing it will be easier.

3. Uhh, I’m not to familiar with famous article writers. However, the late Kurt Vonnegut Jr. is source of inspiration for all my writing.

4. We shall see how things go, but It will probably be when I get around to it. Unless I get some awesome idea for a weekly/bi-weekly thing.

5. Speaking English is definitely an asset.

6. I don’t have any graphic designing software. If there are any free ones you know of I’d be willing to get into the long self-teaching process. Graphic designing is always something I wished I could do.

7. None at the time.

8. Ooo, caught me on a good breakfast day. Hash-browns, Eggs and Advil.

C-3PX2

1. To be able to write articles for the VE

2. Major Gaming and Technology, expect to see some articles on that stuff from time to time.

3. IDK 0.o

4. Mostly whenever i can get around to it

5. Be creative, creativity goes along way to making a great article.

6. 0.o Other VET activities, hmm…. probably

7. Add the VET to Imperial Trade :p

8. Bagles and Mountain Dew

*******************************

Thanks to those that joined the VE Today, participated in this questionnaire, and to those who will join the VE Today in the future.

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