This is my entry for the EVE blogsphere project by CrazyKinux dubbed planetary conquest:
The small arrowhead-shaped craft that is the Aeglos doesn't disturb the currents of light. It just creates a small ripple of light as it comes cloaked out of warp. Like the ripples on the surface of a pool, where a fish swims not too far below, the light from the nearby stars only gets refracted for seconds before growing still again as the craft descends into orbit around the small planetoid.
In the tiny crew-pit of the Cheetah-Type frigate the small crew is bathed in the dim red of the emergency lightning. Their agitation can be seen as their shadows seem to flicker over the bare power cables and rusty engineering tubes that seem to cover the cabin like a spider’s web. Fingers hastily scramble over adjustment knobs making sure all power outputs are in passive mode. All eyes are on the sensor reading displays checking to see if the cloak is holding even with slightly flickering power readings. The planetoid seems to sit peacefully in the darkness of space. A collective sigh of relief can be heard as the readings seem to indicate that the cloak is holding.
That sigh is shattered by a blinking alarm-light: Collision Alert!
"We have a collision warning!" screams Talkyn the lanky Matari crewman responsible for the senor readings. Taryn her brother at the pilot console turns around "Captain! Evasive maneuvers?"
"No it might break our cloak if we go start maneuvering too fast!" Talkyn responds.
A bit of panic can be heard in Taryn voice as he replies to that "I’m not sure about that, but not firing up our maneuvering thrusters will decloak us for sure if we get too near to that ..." his fingers scramble over the sensor adjustments trying to find out what doom might await them so close by. "... that wreck."
"Captain?" Taryn asks not directing that question to anyone in the room in particular but seemingly to the surroundings in general. "Arw captain this is not the time to sleep in the goo of your capsule forgetting about this whole ..."
"Stop bickering and just stop the ship brother," Talkyn interrupts.
Taryn fires up a bit reverse thrust and the frigate slowly begins decreasing its forward velocity with its cloak flickering but holding.
Zargyl would have been nearly totally blind suspended by cables in the viscous liquid that fills the tiny capsule near the main ships cpu were it not for the direct input from all the ships sensors as well as its camera drones fed via implants directly to the neural pathways stimulating sensory input into his brain. Suspended there the Aeglos seems like an extension of his body and he relishes that sensation. It is just as if one could glide on one’s own power freely through the vastness of space with its shining nebulae and glittering stars.
He was just scanning through a Roden Shipyard’s terraforming document - a thesis sponsored by the Jacus Roden fund for advances in terraforming - when the Aeglos came out of warp. Before the crew even registered that they were out of warp he was already recalibrating sensor modules for passive intrusion into the planets cybersphere. The ship might look old, but its scanners, analyzers and codebreakers were not and he was browsing through the planetary newsfeeds before his crew had even established orbit. The news was abuzz with articles about the attack on the planets defenses. The floating cities dotting its surface were still protected by immense shields but the exosphere was full of wrecks from the first attack regardless. Anxiety was high that the satellites forming the defense grid might not be up to the task of repelling a secondary invasion fleet on their own.
Before he could reflect on that he saw the wrecks strewn around with their always decaying orbits. As his faith in his crew was quite high and he felt the crew would just stop the Aeglos and stay in orbit he didn’t initiate any thruster commands himself but instead concentrated on gathering as much data as possible on the planet’s status for later review and hopefully insights into the mood of the populace. As warfare is not all about fleets but information as well he then proceeds to upload a few video clips to a reporter showing the latest inroads his corp had with stemming local Serpentis incursions.
One can only hope that those would help steer the media away from the resent terror. Coverage of things done and small battles one might help alleviate at least a bit of the terror the successfully repelled attack might have instilled in the population.
The word planetary conquest paints quite a vivid picture in my mind. On one hand one full of devastation wrought by battles over supremacy in orbit or battles over who can exploit planetary resources by strip mining and flying off from skyhooks faster. On the other hand there are huge super capital projects like terraforming and colonization, of building skyhooks and whole cities in orbit or on the surface and of setting up defensive satellites to form a defense grid as an added security layer to orbital defense platforms and planetary shields.
I am eagerly looking forward to all of this, especially in the form of player made satellites, defense platforms and skyhooks. Perhaps with skyhooks sprouting various modules from those for docking mining barges and transports to those needed to set up terraforming projects up to those needed to install and build station-like orbital facilities. Skyhooks are probably the "cheaper" way for trade, resource exploitation and exploration. For capital-scale projects like overseeing terraforming endeavors, colonization and governing said planets orbital stations are probably the way to go (they surely can incorporate a splendid view of the planet as well as overviews regarding the various projects).
Planets should as well play a vital part in sovereignty and here (aside from who controls the planets, or who has space superiority in the form of POS’) I would also like to see another, perhaps less epic but still viable variable added as well: the mood of the population: Their preference who should hold sovereignty. Especially when planets boast a huge population their views should and could have an impact as well and thus factor into the formula as well. The above story features someone trying to gauge ("scan") the mood of said planet.
This preference could include many variables and one of those might be capsuleer activity in the surrounding space. E.g. if the population sees capsuleers trying to help them with stemming threats from the various pirate factions or from drones (by ratting and missioning for example) chances are that the population will see them and their alliance in a more positive light. If the population sees capsuleers involved in building infrastructure fro them to use that as well might help. In effect the impact of these activities might help with sov for populations of planets and therefore with system-wide sov itself.
At least it would be a way as well that capsuleers actually living in a system could help/impact on the sov-system.