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Norrin Ellis
Venture Racing
Posted - 2011.06.02 22:11:00 - [1]

This thread will contain posts from my blog related to my management role with Venture Racing Team. For more information on racing, please check out the New Eden Racing Association.


As I continue to get Venture's affairs in order after the long hiatus, I routinely come across old records, often with notes scribbled in the margins by Kendar Zek. Some files indicated that Kendar was beginning work on a plan to produce frigates in-house, so I asked Takashi if he could help track down any blueprints that his partner might have misplaced. Takashi was fairly certain that anything of the sort would've been left with one of our affiliates, Aurora Speed, for safekeeping.

After a few days of waiting, contracts from Aurora began showing up for me. Kendar seems to have had some strange ideas about which frigates the team would need. More surprising than what he did have in the collection was what he didn't have: no Executioner, Rifter, or Vigil blueprints. I'm not sure what to make of it. Was he planning to produce ships as a means of income rather than as racing stock, or had he simply not gotten around to starting work on the most popular frigates in the league?

More importantly, I received contracts for more than just blueprints. Kendar apparently left some of his own ships with Aurora, and they have been locked in the same hangars for years, untouched aside from the standard maintenance. I giggled when I saw a contract for a Velator-class frigate. This one doesn't appear to be the same ship from the Season 3 race in Domain, but it is named for the original, presumably a replica. Perhaps when I get around to checking the ship's logs, I'll find some useful information about her.

The crown jewel of Venture relics has also been uncovered, sitting quietly in a Caldari Business Tribunal station. I now have in my possession the Independent Achura, an Atron-class frigate renamed in Season 4 as part of a sponsorship deal. The ship itself predates the formation of the team; it is the original racing vessel flown by Kendar Zek. Rather than hiring a courier to deliver her back to Fricoure, I took the liberty of fetching her myself. I almost feel guilty putting her to space again, as I think perhaps she should be a museum piece.

Surprisingly, the Independent Achura isn't quite fit for racing. Her rigs are standard racing gear, but the cloaking device and warp core stabilizers lead me to believe that perhaps her captain had other uses for her off the track.

Norrin Ellis
Venture Racing
Posted - 2011.06.05 05:39:00 - [2]


The past week has been rather exciting. I've been spending a lot of time aboard the Victory. I remember my last summer cruise as a cadet aboard this ship. That's when I met Kendar Zek, and though I wasn't exactly a race enthusiast at the time, I believe my short time with the crew ultimately laid the foundation for where I am today. I would've laughed if anyone had told me at the time that someday I'd be her captain. Nevertheless, here I am, taking a much keener interest in all things Venture than I ever did back then.

I've learned a great deal in the ship's racing museum about VRT and our old rivals. There's quite a bit of Dragonstar memorabilia, no doubt collected during Mr. Zek's engagement to Kayleigh Jamieson. I think some of it is not so much about commemorating the sport as much as celebrating a friend, and I wonder if many people were really meant to see it. For now, I don't think I'll be opening the ship for public viewing, though I may invite special guests to check out the unfinished work of a fellow whose shoes I feel less fit to fill every day.

The refit is going slowly. I wrestled with the idea of making any modifications whatsoever. Takashi was Mr. Zek's best friend and partner in racing, and he didn't change a thing while the ship was in his care. Of course, he didn't fly it, either, as far as I know. The cloaking device, smartbombs, and ECM burst systems give me the impression that Mr. Zek might have intended to risk the ship outside of CONCORD's jurisdiction. I have no such intention, so I've got her stripped down to basics until I figure out how best to dress her up again.

We staged up in Stacmon to wait for the starting location for the Placid race. As it happened, we were in the right system and simply had to change stations. A reporter from Racing Insider magazine dropped by to speak with us, so Takashi and I took a few minutes to answer her questions. Apparently, we're on the cover of this month's issue. I don't know if I'm prepared to be a celebrity. I certainly don't do anything exciting. Perhaps no one needs to know just how much of my job involves spreadsheets and flowcharts.

The track layout threw us off balance with something new: a nullsec route. To my knowledge, no one at Venture had ever planned for it. I've gone through some old logs since the race, and everyone always seemed reasonably certain that nullsec was off limits during a race. Perhaps it's time to throw away the old book and write a new one. In the heat of the moment, Takashi asked me to make the decision whether to take the plunge or reroute, and from the tranquility of my docked ship, I dropped the ball. Any decision would have been fine. I could've said to take the long route to avoid risking the fleet or take the short route for the best odds against the clock, and the team would've instantly complied. Instead, I said, "You're the captain, Tak. It's your call."

To be fair, Takashi is the captain, and it is his call. His call, however, was to ask me to make the call from my God's-eye perch, and my indecisiveness led to indecisiveness on the track. I have no doubt that my waffling cost Takashi first place. In the future, I'll simply have to make quick decisions and live with the results.

On the whole, Lady Luck conspired to hand us some solid finishes, but she's a fickle mistress, and I don't really want to rely on her too much going forward.

Boma Airaken
Seekers of a Silent Paradise
Posted - 2011.06.05 21:51:00 - [3]

I was seriously considering disbanding Celestial Imperative yesterday when all of a sudden Koronakesh linked me the profile of the Independent Achura. My jaw dropped. I cannot believe that thing still exists. Anyways, it was so awesome to see it is still around. Be careful with that relic.

Norrin Ellis
Venture Racing
Posted - 2011.06.14 23:18:00 - [4]


Domain was rough for all of us. I had known throughout the week that Takashi would be unavailable for the event, tied up with some planetside business. Immediately after the race in Placid, I notified Graelyn that the burden of running point would likely fall to him, to which he responded with his customary groan. Neon, being our most experienced frigate pilot, was also aware that he may find himself at the head of the Venture pack. It's safe to say, however, that everyone is most comfortable with Takashi driving the team, and he's so reliable that nobody gives much serious thought to ever having to fill his shoes. This strikes me as a failure of the Venture system; it's always good business practice to know how to do your boss's job, just in case.

For my part, I showed up dead tired in Domain. Normally, I'm staged in the correct region the night before the race, ready to receive the starting location and get in position as quickly as possible. A late night handling some personal matters and a trek from Kor-Azor back home to Sinq Laison left me too sleepy to make the trip back out to Domain. I was hauling a pair of Comets in an Iteron IV that needed to be delivered after the race, which made the journey exceptionally slow, so I docked up somewhere around the Gallente-Caldari border zone to catch a brief nap. I was tempted to go straight back to bed after handling the necessities of race fees and registrations, but I'm not one to leave the team hanging when the going gets tough.

Talk of postponement due to the prospect of low turnout gave me a glimmer of hope that I might soon be sound asleep, and as much as I personally favored a delay that would allow us to return to the field later with our captain at the helm, I had to concede that my personal preferences and team interests cannot supersede what's best for the whole; the race must go on. Sadly, Graelyn was nowhere to be found, and I held out hope for his arrival so long that I didn't turn in fees until about four minutes prior to the official start time. Though our team comprised four of the nine racers on the field, two frigates and two assault ships, our lack of any interceptors was a definite disadvantage. I took comfort in the fact that the even breakdown amongst classes, three pilots in each, assured us quality placements in the classes where we did field racers.

After a rushed run through our pre-flight checklist, I reminded everyone of their obligations should they find themselves on point. Most likely, the responsibility was going to be on Neon's shoulders, as it indeed was throughout most of the race, but anything can happen out there. I served as the de facto captain, despite not being on the track, but aside from answering some minor questions from Neon, he did a wonderful job of handling most everything himself. We focused on quality procedure, and I'm proud to say that we ran a solid formation throughout the race without incurring any penalties. This is really what I look for in my final analysis. Technique can be improved to reduce overall finish times, but sloppy procedure is a hard habit to squash, so I'm incredibly thankful that the team flies by the book.

We are once again beneficiaries of another pilot's disqualification. While I do hate to see any racer disqualified after running a fine race, Nicoletta Mithra's misfortune has allowed two of our assault ship pilots, Saikoyu and Koronakesh, to tie for first place individual standings. Because Scuderia Caille earns no points as a team this race, we have also regained a narrow lead in the team standings, offsetting our absence from the class in Placid. Neon continues to hang onto first place for himself and the team in the frigate class, as well. The hand of fate leaves us trailing in the interceptor class, but I have full confidence in our pilots' ability to bounce back from the points deficit.

Perhaps the most exciting part of the week has been the return of Thulla Icin to our roster, along with a new rookie, Solstice Exocet. I'm always overjoyed when one of the family comes home, and it's good to see that even our newest members are sharing the Venture vision with their fellow pilots. I'll have to remember to thank Miranda for encouraging Solstice to join the family. In the meantime, I now find myself scribbling some of my own notes in the margins of Venture history. I can see why Mr. Zek is always smiling in the photos I've seen. He had the best job in the cluster.

Norrin Ellis
Venture Racing
Posted - 2011.08.17 22:23:00 - [5]

Bumps in the Road

I remember a time when life was easy. Sometimes I think about moving back home to Gallente Prime and living out the rest of my days much the same as my youth, pampered and privileged. My personal life and business affairs have suffered several nasty setbacks recently, which is precisely why I haven't made the time to say much about it for quite some time. Five regular season races and two exhibition events have come and gone, and I find myself struggling to keep my spirits up.

My parents continue to pressure me to start a family of my own, and most days I feel that I'm letting them down, thanks to my dismal luck with the fairer sex. After a brief diversion in a modeling contest, I found myself rather enchanted by a young lady I met during the competition. We shared a few laughs, and she even visited the family estate with me for about a week. Mom absolutely adored her and missed no opportunity to remind me to treat her properly. Despite my best efforts, however, we parted company at the end of that week and haven't spoken much since. I wouldn't necessarily say I'm heartbroken about it, but I would've liked for things to turn out differently.

The team is in a strong financial position. We currently hold enough cash on hand to cover the promised 1 billion ISK in bonuses plus the usual 200 million ISK carryover to next season, even after accounting for projected race fees throughout the rest of the season. Unfortunately, our numbers have dwindled as the season has worn on. Personal issues have kept several of our pilots away from the track, including Neon. Takashi and Saikoyu diligently show up and fight for every point, and we're making the most of the resources we have. Somehow, though, I feel that I've done a disservice to the Venture legacy by failing to field overwhelming numbers.

The setbacks sting. I often wonder why life can't be simple and trouble-free. Perhaps overcoming these little hurdles are the victories that really matter, though. The team and I can only hope to keep moving forward and, win or lose, finish the race with dignity.


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