You can’t put a price on friendship, unless your name is Samantha Myth, in which case a friendship is worth just shy of 300 billion ISK. For 16 months, Samantha pretended to be a member of the Amamake Police, a group of EVE Online’s most elite pirates. He fought and bled beside them, gained their trust and friendship, and, just when the moment was right, betrayed them. A 300 billion ISK reward isn’t great for 16 months of work, but Samantha didn’t do it for the money. He did it for the story.
In May of 2017, Tikktokk Tokkzikk, one of the most notable members of the Amamake Police, logged in and a friend immediately messaged him.
“Is this a joke?” They wrote and linked to a Reddit thread. In that thread, Samantha Myth detailed his elaborate heist, how he exploited Tikktokk’s trust and had stolen his pride and joy, a one of a kind ship that Tikktokk had become famous for piloting. And everyone in EVE found out before he did.
“Honestly, at that moment, I wasn’t sure if it was a joke or not,” Tikktokk tells me. “For us, something like this is just unthinkable.”
Dogs of war
The Amamake Police aren’t your regular band of savage criminals. They are combat junkies—unrivalled warriors chasing the elusive high of combat. Death in EVE Online is a whole lot more than a slap on the wrist like in other MMOs. When your ship explodes, it’s gone for good. Months of work can evaporate in the resounding blast of a heavy assault missile.
That’s why so many new pilots experience ‘the shakes’ the first time they find themselves locked in combat. And the Amamake Police chase that feeling to the extreme. If adrenaline is their drug, then Alliance Tournament ships are the needle. “A lot of people are very risk-averse and will try to fly as cheap as possible, and we’re the opposite. We try to fly as expensive as possible just for the hell of it,” Tikktokk explains. “We are just a group of friends who have played together for several years, and we trust each other.”
When a team of pilots wins the Alliance Tournament—EVE’s world championships for PvP—their prize is a fleet of 50 Alliance Tournament (AT) ships, one of a kind frigates and cruisers that will never be manufactured again. These ships are a symbol of a pilot’s skill on the battlefield, but they’re also like a collector’s item, with players happily buying them from the winning team for hundreds of billions of ISK each. They’re so rare, even EVE’s devastating supercapital Titans cost less. The Amamake Police don’t just collect them to keep in their hangars as a trophy, however. They fly them in combat, like driving a ‘67 Camaro in a demolition derby. “I’ve been chasing that high for a while,” Tikktokk confesses. “I’ve been slowly upgrading my ship to more expensive stuff just to get the shakes.
Tikktokk’s AT ship, a Chremoas frigate, was remarkable for another reason entirely: It has over 400 killmarks on it. Introduced to EVE in 2015, killmarks are a visible tally of total number of killing blows a vessel had delivered over its lifetime. Having a few killmarks on a ship is pretty common, a hundred is plausible—but 400 and on an extremely rare ship like an AT frigate? Tikktokk’s Chremoas is nothing short of legendary. “The Chremoas is replaceable, but the killmarks, they’re very unique,” Tikktokk tells me. “I was so proud of those. I had 400 kills with that ship that I’ve survived.”
As Samantha explains in his Reddit thread, he was attracted to these expensive ships and dreamed of stealing one. Nearly 16 months before the heist, he parked a relatively cheap Keres, an electronic warfare frigate that can jam enemy ships, in Amamake and waited for his opportunity to make an introduction. After a week, Samantha got his chance when another Amamake Police pilot, Casper24, came asking in a public chat channel for comrades to help him take down a rival gang. “I swiftly piped up ‘My Keres is at your command good sir,’ Samantha writes. “Good fights ensued and I was in! I was in the big boys club!”
How to lose friends
A month later, and Samantha reached the inner circle of Amamake Police by providing intel that was instrumental in bringing down a rival’s AT ship—a staggering 130 billion ISK loss. “From that point I was no longer just a random pubbie, I was a King Of Lamaa, an Officer of the Amamake PD,” Samantha writes.
Now that he was in, it was time to begin working on the heist. As Tikktokk mentions, the Amamake Police are a tightknit group who trust one another completely. Samantha says its a bond that runs so deep that Amamake Police pilots trade their AT ships around like a “cheap joint.” But in order to get an AT ship, protocol required giving one in turn.
In an email, Samantha tells me that he pretended to save up for several months to afford one, but in actuality had a “trust fund” from a previous scam that he used to purchase a 90 billion ISK Whiptail. With an AT frigate to call his own, Samantha’s next move was a stroke of genius. “I then did probably the scariest thing I have ever done in my EVE career,” he writes. “I traded Tikktokk Tokkzikk my shiny new Whiptail and asked for nothing in return, breaking the trend of mutual trades.”
Samantha’s gambit worked. Tikktokk borrowed the ship and common courtesy now dictated that he repay the favor in kind. A few weeks later, after Tikktokk returned the Whiptail, Samantha asked to borrow his legendary Chremoas. “The contract went up and I had my rental Chremoas for the next week,” Samantha writes.
Then two days later, he decided to see how far he could exploit that trust. “I was hanging out in Amamake with Casper24 and the rest of the gang, I decided to push my luck asking if I could [borrow his] Imp [another, equally expensive AT frigate].”
Casper parted with the ship without demanding another AT frigate of equal value, believing that he could trust Samantha to take good care of it. Then Samantha took it even further, asking another Amamake Police pilot to borrow their jump freighter, a massive and very expensive hauler that can travel between systems without using a stargate. Hours later, he was safely docked up in EVE’s largest trade hub, Jita, with 300 billion ISK worth of ships.
It wasn’t until Thursday that Tikktokk realized he would likely never see his baby again. Despite some kind words that Samantha left, the betrayal stung. “I actually didn’t even think about the Chremoas at the time,” he tells me. “I was just sad about losing a friendship. This guy had been flying with me for 16 months, and he’s probably the guy I’ve flown most with in the past year or so. He’s one of the few people who I actually really enjoyed playing with, we shared the same style. I like to do really silly stuff and I quickly get bored, so I move from activity from activity. He shared that passion, or pretended to—I don’t know anymore.”
Con after con
It’s hard not to sympathize with him, either. While some scams are for revenge, and others offer lucrative payouts, Samantha’s 300 billion ISK haul is rather underwhelming for the 16 months of effort. While the EVE community appears to appreciate the dedication to the con, it’s evident that Tikktokk’s loss struck a nerve.
“This is the saddest Eve thing I've ever read,” writes MephMitchell on Reddit. “He traded fun in EVE with a good group of people for five minutes of EVE fame.”
It’s here where the normal EVE scam story would end. But, despite being hardened killers, Tikktokk and the Amamake Police’s devotion to the art of war inspire respect from the EVE community. As I was writing this story, Tikktokk messaged me to give me an update.
A few good men
Days after Samantha’s heist, Tikktokk was saddened to see his Chremoas and Casper24’s Imp for sale on the EVE forums. At the price Samantha was asking, and with the comments filling up with bidders, it seemed like all hope was lost. That’s when Casper24 reached out to Chribba, EVE’s most trustworthy trade broker, who agreed to start a fundraising campaign to help Tikktokk get his ship back. Then, on the final day of the campaign, the Chremoas was sold off to a random bidder.
Tikktokk was positive he’d never see it again until he got a message from a random stranger named Kobald Simbian who had just bought his Chremoas with 400 killmarks on it. Perhaps one of the few good people in EVE, Kobald offered to trade Tikktokk his old Chremoas back in exchange for another one. With the money Chribba and Casper had raised, a new Chremoas was bought off the market and after a trade, Tikktokk was back in possession of his prized ship.
“Samantha Myth has shown me the dangers of trust, but also the power of friendship,” Tikktokk writes in a Reddit post updating everyone on the situation. “Long term friends can stab you in the back at any moment without reason or consequences. At the same time, those who have the opportunity to, but choose not, have proven [themselves] to be true friends who I hope to keep in contact with long after EVE Online shuts down.”
I ask Tikktokk if he’ll ever lend out that Chremoas again. “I probably won’t be giving it out,” he laughs. “But that’s not so much about the fear of losing the ship, but fear of losing another friend. That’s what affected me the most.”
I messaged Samantha Myth to see how he feels about everything. “I would like to say that we could still be friends,” he responds. “He is a guy that sees EVE how I see it, as the most complex game of chess in the world. You make enemies on the chess board, but the best players (and he is one of the best players) are able to stand up from it and shake hands after all is said and done, no matter what happened on the board.”
Tikktokk tells me that while he might not harbor a personal grudge against Samantha, it’ll be a cold day in hell before he ever calls him a friend. “You can scam people, we don’t really mind that. But if you scam your friends, don’t expect people to be happy about it.”