Blogged by Jay Joringer
The following is taken from Heathrow Airport’s security FAQs:
How do you decide who has to pass through the security scanner?
Our security officers select passengers at random, or when there is a particular security concern (such as the activation of a metal detector).
If I'm asked to pass through the security scanner, can I choose to be screened by an alternative method?
No. If selected, you will not be offered an alternative method of screening. Refusal to be screened will result in you not being allowed to travel.
Do I need to remove my shoes at security?
Only if you’re asked. Some passengers will be asked to remove shoes in order for them to be x-rayed. We can’t comment on the selection criteria.
So, for those who haven’t travelled through Heathrow recently, the security arrangements they have in place are incredibly significant compared to how they used to be a number of years ago. There is the passport check before you pass your luggage/electrical items through the X-ray machines while you pass through the metal detectors. Behind the metal detectors, there are trained security personnel on the lookout for a certain ‘profile’ of person. Then there is a bag search station and body scanner. They say all this is random, but apparently wearing a thick jacket, baseball cap and backpack will particular aforementioned ‘selection criteria’ or ‘security concerns’.
This may all just be speculation on my behalf, but it’s the only way I can explain why Sen was stopped at each of these security points –bag check/body scanner/metal detector- as well as being asked to remove his boots. I wasn’t laughing. Well, much.
On the plane, we were sat next to what you might describe as a portly gentleman with the vague beginnings of a neckbeard. Yeah, it was pretty obvious why he was headed to Iceland, which we confirmed shortly afterwards, and just before Sen uttered the immortal words “you’re not a goon, are you?” His hesitance gave us an answer before he officially confessed it. And while we were at confessions of heinous crimes, he also admitted to being behind the invention and supply of Diamond White cider.
So, as far as making friends and influencing people went, we were off to a good start. A trend that continued when we got off the bus at the hotel. There was a fairly normal looking guy who had gotten off the bus the same time as us. Well, as normal-ish aside from being notably twitchy. He confirmed he was also attending fanfest. Sen responded with; "Cool. Who'd you fly with?"
"Icelandair." Was the witty reply.
So, we left him to it while we went off to explore Reykjavik. Spotting the Harpa centre wasn't difficult. Generally the buildings around the city were drab, pastel coloured and rather plain. Harpa was positively ostentatious by comparison. We bought a couple of tickets for the Eve Symphony and killed the time in between by finding a pub. We unadventurously chose "The English Pub", which unfortunately was a lot like English pubs in that it was showing a football game and it was on so loud that holding a conversation was difficult. It was the Dortmund/Madrid game and the fella next to us got quite excited when Dortmund scored. He was then quick to show us a picture of himself in a Dortmund kit. Apparently, he was a former Icelandic international and used to play for them.
The Eve Symphony turned out to be worthwhile attending, despite the extra cost. The arrangement was quite an achievement and undeniably innovative in places. From a nostalgic point of view, hearing some of the pieces was spine tingling. My only criticism was -and this is a very minor one- that the Eve soundtrack is, in the main, an ambient background soundtrack and I think the concert reflected that, lacking any moments with any real gravitas. That's not to detract from a superb overall performance that I would recommend people watch on youtube if you didn't catch it on the live stream.
Second day was cold. Really damn cold, so I was less than thrilled about standing in a big line outside the Harpa centre waiting for the passes to be handed out. Found out the guys in the queue next to us were a bunch of highsec carebears, two of which were from my town. I couldn't decide whether that was awesome or not. When the group was joined by the Twitchy guy, I confess I was leaning towards 'not'.
The WH round table was pretty awesome, but only in that the Dev's realised just how much interest there was in unknown space. From what they were saying, it sounded like they were so happy with it they weren't planning on doing much except for balancing escalation payments and making it more dangerous and random. Hopefully the numbers that turned up will provoke a little more attention for us WH pilots and give the environment a little love (and new content *fingers crossed*), but I can't see it happening too soon. Other than that, we learned that the original name for the Venture Frigate was in fact the Dasher. Glad they changed that one.
On my wanderings around Harpa, I spotted the sign up table for various events. Despite Sen expressing his dislike for what was available, I thought the poker tournament would be a laugh and signed up for that and the combined Eve/Dust 514 tournament since there was a sign up sheet for individual players who hadn't pre-organised a team, which was aptly named "People With No Friends."
I think the less said about the poker tournament, the better. I didn't check what was happening on the other table but I may have been the first one out. The next day was the start of the PvP tournament though and a Canadian we had a cup of tea with the night before promised to teabag me in Dust as he was on one of the teams. Given my performance in the poker, I was determined not to let that happen. Team No Friends was in the last match up of the first round against "Littlefinger kills Joffrey/Catlyn becomes a Zombie" which was basically Pandemic Legion trying to ruin Game of Thrones for anyone that hadn't read/watched that far yet.
Their teamleader hijacked the mic and called all his guys over. Once huddled, they were talking tactics - arranging squads composed of heavies and assault suits and another squad with logistics backing them up. And I know this because they gathered in an area that was convenient for me to eavesdrop on their preparations.
This information was all relayed to Team No Friends when it assembled. At the very least, there were 5 guys there who had never played Dust before. As luck would have it, the CEO of Dust Uni was on our side and was happy to give them a crash course. None of us seriously expected to get out of the first round, but with some good organisation and probably quite a lot of ignorance, we proceeded to punish PL for including plot spoilers in their team name. There were raucous cheers after the first and then the second wins, and rightly so. Team Littlefinger didn't even run us close and No Friends had exceeded all expectations, including our own.
Between out rounds, I watched team Chronos dispatch Designed to Hurt. DTH's eve pilots were apparently carried through their first round by their Dust mercs, but this time both sides of their team were getting bent over and ridden like ponies. I went over to the Eve screens to see what was going on and saw their guys undocking individually and trying to solo the enemy fleet. Not only that, one guy was fitting a Dragoon with lasers and missile launchers before he warped in by himself. Instead of trying to give himself a chance, he just sat still while he locked up targets and died. The pilot was none other than the Twitchy guy. I spread my hands in disbelief of such piloting ineptitude and the guy next to me even told me he'd been doing that all match. One of the Devs even noticed our discussion and stepped over and said "You know what's the best thing? The other team thing they're pretty good. They don't realise that these guys just don't know what they're doing."
Up next for us were Haggis Reloaded. I'm not certain of who they were, but there was a reasonable amount of goons watching them. One of the Dust rookies took it upon himself to do the team pep talk.
"More of the same, guys, more of the same."
"Er, what did we do the first time?"
"I don't know! But more of whatever it was!"
I'd watched Team Haggis in the previous round and they also won quite convincingly. They were certainly going to be a much more difficult prospect that Team Littlefinger. At least, so I thought. The No Friends steamroller charged right over the stunned Team Haggis in the first bout, at which point I had a realisation. One that I relayed to the rest of the team and their new found self-belief: "Guys, you know what this means? One more win and free beer."
Suddenly there was a glint in everyone's eye and a reason to win. Haggis put up much more of a fight this time, taking an initial lead on damage to our MCC. We had no intention of letting this fight go to a decider round though and reorganised our squads before counterattacking the null cannons and eventually securing an advantage. In the end, it was a lot closer than the previous rounds, but no friends were victorious. This time the cheer was replaced by a new battlecry "Free Beer!"
The next day, No Friends faced Team Chronos who we later discovered contain 3 members of the Council of Planetary Management, which were chosen not by a vote, but by CCP as outstanding players. It showed. The self belief that No Friends had accumulated began to melt away as Chronos showed their dominance, but we didn't go down without a fight. It was always going to be too much to ask of a pick up group to fend off such well organised competition, but we'd already secured second place and more importantly, free beer.
Sadly, during the prize collection, we were can flipped in real life. Beer can flipped. Some of the guys made off with the crates instead of allowing me to distribute the beers among everyone.
No free beer.
Not for me at least.
But, on the last night of fanfest, the unlikeliest of saviours crossed my path - The Twitchy Guy. After regaling them with my glories in the tournament and then my subsequent predicament. he and his equally useless cohorts told us about the pubcrawl on the previous night. Apparently, some particularly unscrupulous pilot had stolen one of the Dev's jackets, which happened to contain all his free beer tokens. They were sure to mention that it wasn't them... just before offering me a handful of beer tokens. All in all, a very satisfactory end to a good weekend.