When most people were watching the fireworks on the cool evening of July 4th, Chance Ravinne, stealth bomber extraordinaire, was making his own. His rise to prominence within the EVE community has been nothing if not meteoric. Wingspan TT, the player behind the pilot, has been making gaming videos on YouTube for years, but he found a home among the pilots of New Eden—and built a career out of blowing them up. Where many prefer to beat their chests and flex their muscle flying some of EVE's largest, most expensive ships, Chance prefers the silent approach. He is dagger in the night, the cheetah in the reeds; waiting for that one moment a pilot drops his guard.
His quest for mayhem led him into a wormhole system and Chance wasted no time making his presence known to its dwellers, Lawful Rebellion. Stealth bombers are incredibly fast and slippery, something that Chance was just beginning to explore and push the limits with.
"I was really bad," he told me, chuckling. "If I go watch the videos now, I was doing a really bad job."
"I had been in there a week or so picking off little targets of opportunity."
The alliance that Chance was routinely harassing quickly became aware of the mosquito that had moved into their system. Pilots in wormhole space tend to be incredibly paranoid and meticulous, and the thought that a single pilot was, at any time, watching them from the safety of his cloak was likely unbearable.
"It became pretty obvious to me that they were trying to trap me," Chance said. "I just kept saying 'this is a trap, I'm going to fall for a trap.'"
While flying around the wormhole system that evening on July 4th, he happened upon a lone mining vessel chipping away at an asteroid. Chance, never being one to turn down an opportunity to elicit rage, couldn't resist.
"As soon as I uncloaked a Proteus landed on me."
The trap was sprung. Chance, however, didn't notice. His bloodlust had clouded his vision, and as his first volley of torpedoes collided against the Retriever's hull, the Proteus had ample time to lock Chance and scramble his warp drive. In the breadth of a heartbeat, he had become the victim.
"I was pissed at myself that I fell for such an obvious trap," he said while laughing.
The loss cost him just short of 100 million ISK. Chance was angry and he decided the only cure was revenge.
"I'm going to do this," he said. "I'm going to destroy their alliance. It's just going to take a really long time."
"I had no plan whatsoever."
Months were passing and, during that time, the videos Chance was making regarding his exploits were gaining widespread recognition by the EVE community. He started a small corporation, Wingspan Delivery Services, to provide a face for his stealthy antics. Wingspan was becoming inundated with applications, as pilots far and wide wanted to join him on his covert operations. Don't be fooled by the name, despite their cheerful attitude and cheeky demeanor, the only packages Wingspan Delivery Services actually delivered are torpedoes.
Distracted by his new corporation and the pursuit of their explosive vision, Chance was never afforded the opportunity to exact his revenge until he received a mysterious message.
"One day, some random person IMs me and is like, 'you don't know me, but Lawful Rebellion is in this system,'" he said.
Chance was confused and suspicious, but willing to bite. The mysterious pilot, obviously an alternate character created to talk to him, provided Chance the details and location of a wormhole that would lead him to Lawful Rebellion's home system in J152931.
"So, I went to this system and the hole was there," he said. "I started occupying it again and shooting things, but this time I had a corporation."
Ferrying in as many of his pilots as he could, Chance began a full-scale assault on Lawful Rebellion's system.
The invasion was a staggering failure. Wingspan Delivery Services came against the full might of hardened alliance, losing their ships one by one until every member was forcibly evicted from the wormhole.
"They just wiped us out," Chance said. "Morale was super low. One guy left corp; he was really pissed."
Lawful Rebellion, for a second time, had taught Chance a lesson for poking his torpedoes where they didn't belong. The corporation gave up the assault to lick their wounds and seek easier targets elsewhere.
Roughly two months had passed when Chance Ravinne received a signal he had never expected. Naughty Ninjette, a member of Wingspan Delivery Services, suddenly piped up in the corporation's voice chat server and instructed everyone to make their way to J152931 immediately.
"We get everyone over there," Chance told me. "I warp to him, and I land and I don't even understand what is going on—he's just shooting at stuff."
"I'm zooming out, and I realize that their home POS (Player Owned Starbase) is there but the shield is down."
Some of the biggest failures in EVE Online have been due to forgetfulness. On this fateful evening, Naughty Ninjette just so happened to be watching as the shield protecting Lawful Rebellion's assets evaporated due to lack of fuel. Their home was defenseless and ripe for the picking.
"This is amazing."
Within the hour, Lawful Rebellion's POS was cleaned out, everything stolen and destroyed except for the tower itself. Chance said he and his crew made off with—Chance channelling the late Carl Sagan—billions and billions of ISK. Lawful Rebellion were no where to be found, their home stolen out from under them while they slept.
Chance drafted an evemail, in his typical cheeky fashion, informing Lawful Rebellion that he held no hard feelings over past disputes and, in an effort to bury the hatchet, had delivered an unprecedented number of free torpedoes to their main starbase. The evemail received no reply.
The months that followed were salt on an already sore wound. Lawful Rebellion lost just about everything. As the alliance hemorrhaged members at an alarming rate, Chance decided to pursue an official declaration of war, allowing Wingspan Delivery to attack the alliance even within high-security space. It was the final blow. He logged in one evening to find he had an evemail, it was short and concise.
Even more amusing, was the evemail Chance received from an unknown character days later. Though the mail was brief, the implication was clear.
"Maybe someone was a fan of your videos who was in Lawful Rebellion, someone who may have had access to the reminders for when to fuel their POS?"
"Maybe that person was me?"
Chance would never know. It was evident though, that documenting his exploits in space had paid off. Twice now he has benefitted from overly generous strangers, but whether these two were the same player is impossible to tell. Chance had built a career out of watching and waiting for opportune moments to strike. But in a world as dense as EVE, the most important lesson to learn is that you're not the only one, and today's guardian angels might just be tomorrow's reapers.