Friday, August 31, 2012

Killing an Orca

A group of enterprising mates have rolled the wormhole yet again. It is time to find something to do. We are hoping for a live target, but those have been scarce the last few days. The static has no active pilots, so a couple of us jump in and start scanning signatures.

This static has a connection to a C2 (c2a) so I focus on finding that while the others scan everything else down. I jump into c2a to find a tower but no pilots. This system should have a connection to lowsec and C2. Lowsec is of little interest at the moment, so while a different scout sorts through the signatures, I go after the C2 and jump into the adjacent C2 (c2b).

We have targets! D-scan shows 2 drakes, a couple of wrecks and an offline tower. The Drakes are running sites. The call goes out that we have potential targets and people start rolling into the static with combat ships to wait.

I move off the wormhole and cloak up and then go check out the farthest planet. Aha! There is an active tower here and a couple of pilots. Now to find the Drakes. It has been a while since I did this and my skills are a bit rusty. It takes longer than it should have, but I locate them just in time to see them salvage the last wreck with the Drake.

The warp to the next site and I follow them at range. I ask for 2 cloaky tacklers to jump in system and move off the wormhole. The last time I tried to tackle a Drake in a covert ops ship, the results were less than satisfactory. Besides, I want both drakes. The rest of the fleet is asked to move into c2a and sit on the c2b wormhole.

The tacklers jump in, burn off the wormhole and cloak up. However, we got unlucky as the drakes noticed them and warp back to the tower. One of the Drake pilots reships to a Buzzard and warps off to a nearby safe and drops probes.The fleet is asked to either cloak in c2a or pull back to the static. We do not want to spook the targets any further. Our patience is going to be tested, but it seems likely we can get a kill if they do not see anyone else.

After 15 minutes of scanning, the Buzzard appears on the wormhole and jumps through. The pilot warps off and in a couple of minutes comes back and jumps back through. He did not deploy any probes and at this point, the only ship visible in the c2a system is a neutral Pilgrim which has logged in during all of this at the local tower.

The Buzzard pilot jumps back into his home system and runs over one of our tacklers who is monitoring the wormhole as he warps off. What an unlucky break! At this point, we assume the gig is up. However, of the 4 active pilots in the POS, 2 of them jump into an Orca. Did he not see us? Is he really going to warp those Orcas to the wormhole to close it?

Anticipation is running high but the minutes drag by. One Orca has aligned but then stopped and the other Orca is just sitting there. Finally, the Buzzard warps off and deploys probes again. Is this a final check before he starts rolling the wormhole? The probes are only out for a couple of minutes and he warps back to the wormhole and jumps.

This time he burns away from the wormhole and decloaks one of our Tengus. DAMN IT! The Tengu recloaks and the Buzzard pilot jumps back home. He had to see us that time. We are certain the gig is up, when both Orcas start moving in different directions with the aligned Orca heading back to the SMA.

Four minutes later, the Buzzard pilot warps back to the wormhole, jumps and then cloaks up on the other side. We have moved all of our pilots back from the wormhole a safe distance this time. The Orca aligns and then warps to the wormhole. We allow him to jump out and when he jumps back, we have 2 heavy tackles waiting on him. They are instructed to tackle and bump but hold attack until the rest of the fleet is in system. Everyone wants in on this kill.

As everyone is jumping into system, a stealth bomber decloaks and starts to attack. We make short work of the Manticore and his pod before killing the Orca. We get the bubble up just moments after the Orca pilot warps his capsule off. Oops! The Buzzard pilot then jumps into system and we lock and kill the Buzzard and give the capsuleer a free trip to k-space as well.

Overall, the killmails showed roughly 1B ISK destroyed. We are dumbfounded that we got a kill at all after he was quick enough to see a Proteus on d-scan and subsequently decloaked two different ships on either side of the wormhole. The Buzzard pilot should check those overview settings, w-space is a dangerous place.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Rape-caging your own POS

I have finished moving in and the time has come to search out new targets. A group of corp mates have just finished rolling the static, so I jump into a scan ship and head out. It is obvious that my scanning skills still need work as a couple of my corpmates find and identify signatures at 2-3 times my speed.

The static system is empty, but the connecting C2 has a tower and 9 Tech2 large warp bubbles on dscan. A Falcon and a Pilgrim are on d-scan but the direction indicates they are probably at the tower. Warping to the tower lands me in one of the warp bubbles. The locals have rape-caged their own tower.

After a couple of minutes I think I have identified a small window in the cage so I start making my way to that spot. As I am exploring this window, the Pilgrim pilot disappears and a Heron warps to the tower and lands in the bubble. I expect him to burn toward the tower, but instead he deploys probes and just sits there scanning. A group of corp mates decide that bombing him will be a fun exercise and they organize a bombing party to kill a Heron. I could once again ask why but I am pretty sure the answer would be, why not. Oh well, this could be entertaining. I half-way expect my corpmates to blow one another up or get popped by the tower. Either will be amusing so I move my scanning ship well out of range.

While my corpmates are burning into position, the Heron returns to the tower. They break off and are about to pull out, when he slow boats back outside the shields and deploys probes again. Two of them are in position so in they go, bombs away. Bomb 1 detonates and bomb 2 explodes? They were both using the same type of bomb so that shouldn't have happened. Oh well! The Heron quickly hurries back into the POS. Some good-natured banter about our fail ambush and everyone heads for home.

However, I still find myself curious about why anyone would rape-cage their own tower. Even with a small window and a warp out point, this move makes no sense to me. Some things will never make sense to me.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Finding a new home

After losing a ship in the ill-fated POS bash, I took the opportunity to clean up my assets list a little. Several days of warping around in hi-sec have my assets better organized but this is quickly getting boring.

I head back into my hostile home and spend a few days observing the change in behavior from the locals. They have added some defenses to the their medium POS. In addition, they appear to be on a heightened alert level due to the events of last weekend.

Overall, I spend six more days in the wormhole and during that time, I do not have a single opportunity to catch anyone in a vulnerable position. The time has come to find a new home.

I have caught up with some old friends from Talocan United and the process of moving into a new wormhole has begun.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Nifty things to do

It is getting late, but there are several people left online and we decide to make one last attempt to find a target. A new static connection is opened and we jump into the static. No one is home but there are a couple of C3 connections and a C5 and a C4.

I jump into the static, and one of the other scouts who was in ahead of me shouts, "I have activation on the c4a, uncloaking, sebo on, ready to engage!" The timing of this was coincidental enough that I ask, are you sure you are sitting on c4a? Once I decloak, he is disappointed to see me instead of a viable target.  It is late and our initial scout mislabeled one of the bookmarks.

We get the bookmarks straightened out and the disappointed scout heads off to c3a, I head into c3b and a couple of other scouts head into the c5. The c3b leads to a c2 which leads to low sec. No other wormholes show up on this route so I head back toward c5a. Meanwhile, the scout in C3a continues to move down that chain.

We continue moving down the chain in separate directions with no one finding a single living soul. The c3a scout is now 3 wormholes deep in that chain and reports that he has found a null sec. He jumps and reports that it is a dead end system deep in AAA space. The next piece of information is that there are all kinds of nifty things to do in this system and he is going to check out a drone enclave. He kills the first battleship and then reports that a lot of crap spawned. Followed immediately by the calm statement that he might be in trouble.

A couple of people scramble from the home system to attempt a rescue. But alas, they are not able to make it the 5 jumps before his ship hits structure and he bails to save skill points. The drones proved to be more than the scouting Legion could handle.

The resulting tirade went something like this. I can't believe I just lost a _beep_  Legion to a _beep_ drone! It's a _beep_beep_ rat for crying out loud! I had it _beep_ webbed and 8 different types of crystals in my hold and still couldn't _beep_ hit it! I loved that _beep_ Legion! [...Pause...] I think I will pull a _beep_  No'Wai! I am _beep_ podding myself to _beep_ Jita, buying an expensive subsystem and putting it in an _beep_ Ibis and going on auto-pilot! I wish I could quit this _beep_ game! It adds nothing to my life. I hate it! [...Disconnect...]

I will own up, I haven't laughed that hard in years! An extreme example of curiosity killing the cat. Fortunately, our friend returned the following evening and we spent some time earning the ISK to replace the Legion. Great times!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

A pirates demise

As soon as I wake up in system, the pirates from the previous evening contact me to let me know they are on the way back to finish the reinforced tower. Something in the back of my mind cautions me tht this is a really bad idea. However, it has been a while since I lost a ship, so why not. At least it will be different from my normal stalking.

I jump into hi-sec and grab a Tornado for the POS bash. Ammo is harder to find than the ship but I am soon heading back into the wormhole. As I join fleet, the timer has about an hour left on it so I prepare to wait.

With only a few minutes left on the timer, the CEO of the wormhole inhabitants warps to the sieged tower. He is quickly locked and scrambled while I am burning to get in range. I am surprised when he melts before I am able to get in range and land a shot. I manage to get on the killmail of an expensive Tengu but have zero damage due to range. Surprisingly, I never saw him activate his active shield module. The pod is quickly dispatched for another big loss.

We loot the wreck and send the faction module to hi-sec before starting to burn down the tower. We have the shields down to 6% when the real fireworks begin. Two Transmission Lost pilots uncloak on the tower and start locking us up. We scramble out of the rape cage, or at least start to scramble as the rest of the Transmission Lost fleet arrives on the tower.

The butt kicking doesn't take long and only a few pilots manage to escape. Unfortunately, I am not one of them. I think our scout on the wormhole fell down on his job. Some advance notice of an incoming fleet would have been nice.

Our group ends up losing 4 ships and 3 pods to the TL fleet and we did not manage to kill any of them. Pirates against TL in the wormhole = pirates ass kicked, twice. However, we destroyed more ISK today than we lost. While TL did not lose anything, the local inhabitants more than made up for it. The evening has ended for me since TL was kind enough to give me a free trip back to k-space. I knew this was a bad idea, but I was correct that it was different from my usual stalking.

With TL making an appearance two nights in a row, it is a pretty safe bet that they are either friends with the locals or being paid protection money. Either way, taking down a tower in this wormhole will be difficult with them in the equation.

1,483,951,626  --tengu
   982,068,737  --pod

Losses - ships
    22,086,752  --firetail
    96,302,218  --tornado
    65,262,061  --hound
  165,484,808  --curse

Losses - pods
  694,975,454 TOTAL

Friday, August 17, 2012

Pirates Invade

The day gets off to a pretty boring start. The locals do not seem the least concerned that I destroyed all their planet drag bubbles yesterday and the only piloted ship is sitting inactive in the POS shields. This is a good time to scan the system and see what has shown up since yesterday.

Scanning reveals a ladar, grav, and 3 wormhole signatures which I resolve and check out. The static to hi-sec dumps me in Villore. The static to C3 shows a tower but no pilots. The other wormhole is a periodic Z647 to C1. Unfortunately, this wormhole has no activity either so I return home to catch up on my reading for a bit.

While I am reading, one of the locals logs in and begins to run a drake through the C1 connection to collapse the connection. This is the first time I have seen them collapsing a wormhole, so I sit back and watch for a while. Maybe he will get caught on the wrong side. Forty minutes later, the wormhole collapses with the pilot on the right side of the wormhole.

The pilot heads back to the tower and gets a dominix and starts the process of collapsing the C3 static. At this point, I perk up a little. Maybe he is getting ready to run the sites or visit the custom offices. Either way, I am hopeful at this point of getting an opportunity for a kill.

While the dominix is in the process of collapsing the C3, a hostile pilot shows up on d-scan. Within a couple of minutes, I am getting hits on a variety of ships that seem to be warping around. Finally, things settle down and local lights up with a ransom demand, "1.5B and it ends now".

I immediately head to my observation post for the undefended tower. Sure enough, there is a small gang here and they have begun erecting a rape cage around the tower. The local pilot is sitting in the tower piloting a Scorpion, but he is not moving or responding to anything at this point.

The invading group appears to be bored pirates from k-space who happened to find the undefended tower and decided to have a little fun. They plop down a huge secure container and start firing away on the tower. The local pilot sits in the shields and starts swapping ships. He eventually hops in a machariel and makes a run for it managing to get away safely before he is tackled. His alt is not so lucky in the rifter and gets killed trying to get away.

The pirates finally reinforce the tower and only a few minutes later, a scout in a cloaky proteus shows up from Transmission Lost. They were just in here a few days ago so that peaks my interest and I check out the static to hi-sec. A few minutes later, a small gang of 2x legions, 1 onyx, 1 falcon, 1 loki and an absolution show up. The pirates, who I am chatting with, decide they are going to engage so I move into position to watch the fireworks.

Sure enough, they soon engage at range on the wormhole with a small fleet of 1 talos, 1 tempest fleet, 1 dominix, 1 vigil. After a longer skirmish than I expected, the talos and tempest fleet warp off and the dominix and vigil are killed by Transmission Lost. The survivors are hopping around the system avoiding the probes for a bit.

After 15-20 minutes of hopping around, the two pirates warp in again on the opposite side of the wormhole at approximately 100k and the Transmission Lost team engages again. By now the TL team is up to 13 pilots and the fleet contains 3 guardians. The pirates kite TL for a while but eventually they have to break off without killing anyone.

Pilots involved in second skirmish

At this point, the pirates request my help. Since they have offered me a great evening of entertainment, I offer some minor assistance which allows them to escape the wormhole with their ships intact. Thanks to yoyo210, the evening turned out to be a little more entertaining normal.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Cleaning Up

D-scan shows no ships and my contact list shows that all known pilots are offline. It is time to go looking for something to do. A scan of the local system shows the two static wormholes and a gravimetric site. Not exactly interesting when there is no one around.

The static to hi-sec looks like it will dump me out in Amarr space. Next up is the static C3. This system is even quieter than the home system with a single tower at the outer planet and only 3 signatures. A ladar, a magneto and the static is a low sec system in Lonetrek with only 3 pilots. None of them are active so I head back to the home wormhole.

There is still no activity in this system so I decide out of sheer boredom to fly around and pop all the anchored warp disruptor bubbles which are at each planet. This amuses me for about 15 minutes and then I am in need of something else to do.

Might as well jump out to hi-sec and see if I guessed the region correctly. Yep! It is Amarr space. The system is the Dakri system and it has a ton of astroid belts. Might as well check to see if a faction spawn is around. I get lucky for once and a True Sansha rat is in the 3rd belt. I make quick work of him and scoop a True Sansha Thermic Plating as a reward. It isn't worth much, but I feel good that I finally found a faction rat in hi-sec.

Since Amarr is only 5 jumps away, I decide to run over to Amarr and post the item for sale before returning to my wormhole for the night. Once I am back it is still quiet so I decide to call it an evening. Hopefully there will be more activity tomorrow.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Oblivious daytripper gets podded

Once again I have logged into my hostile home. First, I activate my cloak and then I hit d-scan which shows and active pilot. Zenass thinks he is being cute by naming his Drake Zenass' Ibis. However, the name immediately gives me access to information about his PvP record.

A check of my system scanner shows an anomaly in system and it is not surprising that d-scan shows the hostile pilot in the same general vicinity. I warp in at range and sure enough he is running the site and looting as he kills.

Since he is tanking the sleepers, I can now say for certain that my cloaky ship does not have sufficient DPS to break him. This overconfident pilot deserves a lesson in the dangers of wormholes but I will not be the one to deliver it. The disadvantage of solo hunting!

Wait a minute, d-scan suddenly shows the locals have warped a Noctis somewhere nearby. That seems odd and suggests they did not know about the Drake pilot. The Noctis disappears a few seconds later and a Marchariel shows up. Then the Marchariel disappears and the Noctis comes back. The Noctis leaves again and returns again and leaves again. Maybe the locals are running sites next door. Meanwhile someone is stealing the sites in their home system and both groups seem oblivious to each other.

If pilots ignore combat ships, I have to conclude that core probes will not scare them. I move to a safe and deploy probes and quickly resolve the static to high sec. While I am in warp to it, two more pilots show up on d-scan with default ship names. I recall probes while in flight and sure enough there is a Catalyst and Ferox sitting on the wormhole to high sec.

While I am watching the two hostile pilots sit on the wormhole, the locals go by with a Falcon, 2 Marchariels and a Tengu. It appears that my guess of them running sites in a neighboring wormhole could be accurate. However, that makes at least 5 of the 6 online pilots actively piloted so I elect not to deploy probes again to find the connection they are using.

Meanwhile, the Catalyst pilot jumps back to high sec and the Ferox pilot joins the Drake in the anomaly. I am still watching the wormhole when the locals land a small fleet on the wormhole. Evidently, they were not as oblivious as I thought. Their fleet consists of an Onyx, Falcon, Vagabond, Drake and a Hurricane.

The bubble goes up on the wormhole and less than 60 seconds later, the hostile Drake pilot lands in the bubble. I expect him to make a run for the wormhole but he instead turns and aligns with a planet. Surely he knows he cannot outrun the Vagabond. Maybe he is hoping to get outside the bubble and escape with his pod. The Onyx pilot realizes what he is doing and drops his bubble to burn closer to the action. The bubble goes back up a few seconds before the Drake explodes leaving the capsuleer trapped in the bubble. A few seconds later, one of the local pilots has the capsule targeted and the hostile capsuleer has been given a free trip back to safer environs.

This leaves the Ferox pilot still in system and a couple of d-scans later I find him sitting off of the first planet. I am expecting him to warp to the wormhole but he continues to simply sit and then surprises me by warping back to the anomaly. At the same time, the locals pack it up and warp everything but a Hurricane back to their tower. Why?

The Ferox finishes off the last ship and then slow boats across the field to loot all the wrecks before warping to the wormhole and exiting to high sec under the watchful eyes of the Hurricane pilot. I can only surmise that a deal was struck with these newbies after killing the Drake.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Conducting and avoiding an ambush

It has been a couple of days since I actively scouted my hostile home. A check of the locals tower shows a couple of pilots but no movement. It is time to do some scanning. A scan of the system shows three signatures and an anomaly. The expected statics and a K162 from dangerous unknown space are resolved.

The B274 appears to lead to Amarr space so I decide to skip investigating since the Amarr still do not like me very much. The C3 static has a couple of towers but no pilots so I return to check out the dangerous unknown. When I arrive, I discover something I missed when I bookmarked it. The wormhole has had its mass critically disrupted. Somehow, I doubt this wormhole is going to be interesting.

While I am trying to figure out my next move, the local pilot who likes to run sites logs in. This could be interesting since there is an anomaly available. Sure enough, he immediately ships into a drake and heads for the anomaly. I find it vaguely troubling that he didn't bother to scan the system before heading out. Maybe I should teach him to be more careful so I head out to the anomaly to scout a positional fix for a Noctis kill.

I check the towers a couple of times while he is killing the sleepers to make sure the other pilots are still inactive. They haven't twitched so I select a wreck when he ships into the expected Noctis and move into position. Since he started very near the wreck I had selected, I briefly consider selecting another wreck but ultimately decide not to over-think it. I want the kill not the sleeper loot.

I burn toward him and let proximity decloak me as I continue burning toward him and ram him to knock him out of any potential alignment while I activate modules and lock him up. Lock? Check! Warp Scrambled? Check! Web? Check! Fire! Fire! Fire! My heart is pounding and I am clicking dscan every 5 seconds.

Shields burned, Armor going down and he is gaining a little distance on me. I activate my afterburner and overheat my scrambler and web just to make sure there is no chance of that happening. And then check dscan again, feeling distinctly uncomfortable that it has been 10 seconds since my last check. The Noctis explodes and I head toward the wreck to loot it satisfied that I executed a flawless ambush. 

Suddenly, the scariest site in Eve appears on my overview. A Helios uncloaks and locks me up from 68 km. While I am not concerned with him killing me, the brazenness is disconcerting. I select the planet closest to my alignment and hit warp.

The first dscan shows nothing, but a second scan a few seconds later lets me know I made a good decision as 5 additional ships including a Devoter are now in range. I double and triple check to make sure my cloak is active and then look up the pilots name.

Interesting, the Helios pilot is a member of Transmission Lost. The last time I encountered these guys was during World War Wormhole when we flew together in defense of the AQUILA INC. home system. I am quite sure they will kill me if I make a mistake. Where are they and where did they come from. My first guess is the static C3 but that is  wrong as I locate their fleet sitting on the B274 from high sec.

As I am watching them from a safe distance, the pilot I believe to be the alt of the pilot I killed either jumps a Hurricane into the wormhole or warped to the wormhole. Either way, it is not his day as the Transmission Lost fleet makes short work of his Hurricane. Since they know I am around and what I am flying, there is nothing to be lost by chatting with them. I strike up a conversation with one of the pilots for a bit before they move on to other targets.

This is what I love about wormholes! You never know who is watching. Always assume someone is out to get you and plan for the worst. I had no idea that the guy I was stalking was also being stalked by someone else. Events like this are why I keep returning to this game when my excitement with other games wears off.

Friday, August 3, 2012

An unproductive roam

I wake up, activate the cloak and check my scanners. Nothing appears in range so I move out to check the locals tower. There are a couple of piloted ships, but they appear to be sleeping.

After moving back out of range of the towers, I deploy some probes and resolve the signatures in system. With only 2 signatures showing, this process doesn't take long and I soon have both the high sec and the C4 connections.

With little interest in high sec, I jump through to the C4. This is a large system with 5 towers but no pilots. I deploy probes to find nothing except a static to C3. Nothing much going on here so I head into the C3.

The C3 look promising as there are 2 haulers, 2 hulks and 3 battlecruisers on d-scan. However, both haulers and and the hulks are piloted but sitting inactive inside the tower which was also on d-scan. This leaves me curious about the 3 battlecruisers.

The system is fairly small but it looks like the far moon of planet IV just might get me out of d-scan range of all 7 ships. A quick trip and sure enough all ships drop off so I deploy probes and move them out of range before returning to the tower and using d-scan to get an approximate fix on the battlecruisers. I suspect they may be sitting on a wormhole since I am not seeing any wrecks. I move my probes in position and get a quick lock.

Sure enough the battlecruisers are sitting on a K162 which leads to null-sec. I wonder if they interrupted a mining operation. Since the locals appear to be sitting out the current activity, I decide to go ahead and find the grav site if it exists. There are 8 signatures in system so I go ahead and resolve 3 wormholes, 2 radars, 1 ladar and 2 grav sites. As I pull probes, the battlecruisers jump through the wormhole into null-sec.

This creates an opportunity to see if the locals will become active again. However, all four of them log about 20 minutes later leaving me with nothing to see. Overall, a fairly uneventful evening so I decide to head back to my hostile home and call it a night.