Sunday, August 25, 2019

Catching a big fish

Our home system has two statics - a c4 and a c5. I usually prefer to scout the c4 chain as I believe it provides more gank opportunities, while a c5 has a higher chance of finding fleet fights. It's getting late and c4 looks quiet. Being a good scout as I am, I jump into a c5 for a quick look.  A check on the pathfinder shows me there's a new signature in the system. I promptly scan it and check it out. It's a c6 wondering wormhole. The connection starts on our side, meaning it's not a K162. I jump in to take a look. An excitement quickly takes over as I notice Nestors and few additional ships on scan. I move my trusty Porteus and cloak up, ready to investigate. Not long after, locals drop out core scanner probes, indicating I am the first one to open the connection on their side. I do not know if they saw my Proteus on d-scan or not. In any case, there's nothing much I can do about it. I report my findings to a few people on comms and can feel the excitement rising. Nothing piques more interest to wormholers than a possible shiny gank. I decide not to send out the ping yet. After all, the locals might have seen my Proteus on d-scan and whatever activity they had, might stop. I do not warp from the wormhole yet, because I want to keep eyes on the connection. Intelligence is most important in w-space and knowing if they have eyes on our c5 static can make all the difference.

I watch an Astero warp to the wormhole, jump in and after several seconds jump back. I ask for a Sabre pilot to park on the connection. My anticipation is to catch a rolling battleship. There are wrecks present on d-scan which indicate locals have been doing sites before a new signature disrupter their operation. As Sabre pilot is in the warp to the c6, the Astero pilot lands on the wormhole again. Shit. This is really bad timing. Nothing telegraphs hostile intentions more like an interdictor on your home wormhole. Thankfully the Astero pilot does not jump, presumably due to polarization which gives our Sabre pilot time to land and cloak up. Now we just need to wait for that rolling battleship to come in. With another set of eyes on the wormhole, warp to the station to get eyes and get more intel on what is going on. Locals swap some ships around until finally, a Megathron undocks. Nestors are still on the grid at the station, presumably just waiting until the rolling of the wormhole will be done. All of a sudden Chimera undocks. These guys do not plan to waste any time and roll the c6 connection in one big swoop. In addition, the Nestor fleet impatiently warps to an anomaly to continue running sites. I assume I was not spotted after all and locals feel they are alone. That or they are very confident and do not consider my presence a threat.

I scream at comms and ping is sent out. Meanwhile, time is short and few pilots that are online hop into kitchen sink ships just to have something on the grid by the time the carrier lands on the wormhole. The locals take a few precious minutes and finally warp Megathron and Chimera to the connection. I follow in my trusty Proteus. A carrier and a battleship can close the wormhole in 1 jump, therefore I land on 0 to be ready to jump after and tackle to prevent the carrier burning back to his home as long as possible. His friend in Megathron jumps first and probably reports few of our pilots on the connection, therefore the carrier decides not to jump. However, he is not going anywhere either as I tackle him with my Proteus. My hope is to tank long enough for the fleet to arrive.

The trusty Proteus tanks like a boss and manages to hold the carrier until the backup arrives. Now we have a fight brewing. Megathron is destroyed and we start working on the carrier. We know there are still more people in the system aka the Nestor fleet that went to the anomaly. The carrier pilot has probably been screaming for help as we see different ships on d-scan. Our FC makes an intelligent call and orders half the fleet to hold on the other side. We have on-grid enough to tank the dps from the capital ship, but not enough to break his tank either. This should give a fake glimmer of hope for the locals to get out of this situation intact. We patiently wait for locals to send in the help while the current fight is in a stalemate as tanks hold on both sides. We know with certainty that locals do not have eyes on the other side to spot the other half of our fleet, therefore the confidence is high that we will see more ships land on the grid.

A Phoenix dreadnought undocks which probably makes at least half our pilots drool judging by all the excitement ongoing on the comms. Phoenix and few other ships land on grid and we show our trump card and bring in all fleet. With the extra firepower, we manage to break the tanks and kill both capitals.

Not very often one can find such big fish in w-space. Bob has been especially generous this day. As a scout, I net a cool billion of loot. Not bad for a day's work. I consider for a minute to collect the loot in Occator I stole earlier today.  This is a clear sign of Bob almighty at work. May he continue gracing us with his presence.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Wormhole gifts

I like wormholes with high-sec connections. Often wormhole people need to do errands to high-sec and do some shopping which could translate to potential targets. I usually like to park my scout on a high-sec wormhole to observe the traffic for some time. During one of my routine runs, I notice some activity in a wormhole. A C5 with an unusual high-sec connection is bound to have something interesting. While I keep checking d-scan, an Occator - a deep space transport ship appears. The alignment is towards the station, so it must be local. As this is often a go-to ship for wormhole logistics, I patiently wait for it to land on a high-sec connection. Except it doesn't. The ship disappears from 5° d-scan, but it is still visible at 360°. What's going on? I quickly narrow it down on one of the planets. I'll be damned, the guy is doing PI runs in an overly expensive PI ship. I quickly call in a Sabre pilot from our home system while I get eyes on the Occator pilot. Once he enters warp to a next customs office, I tell Sabre pilot the coordinates and we warp at 0. We land on top of the transport ship and engage.

He is going nowhere. However, before we even get to half shields a pod appears on an overview. The transport pilot jumps out of his ship. We struggle to understand the reasoning behind this action. The bubble was up so it's not like he could escape. If he wanted to deny us implant kills, he was not fast enough to plug them out as I quickly locked him up and killed the pod with a set of basic learning implants. One thing, however, the pilot was able to avoid. We decide not to finish off the transport ship and instead take it home.

The Occator now has a new owner that will make sure the ship is used for more appropriate tasks such as transporting pvp gear to provide content to wormhole space. I thank Bob for his gifts. May his blessings continue to aid me.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Here I am

EVE Online. There's a joke that the only way to win at EVE is not to play it. I've been winning for the last year and a half after going out in a glory of blazing fire. But no matter how many or how long breaks I take I always keep coming back. Despite me not logging in I always keep my subs running, at least for my main and a scanner alt. It's sort of my support for the game that always has been such a big part of my life.

I gave a long thought of what I should aim for this time around. Do I want to continue wormhole stalking? While that is indeed fun, I decided to postpone my lonesome warrior style. I believe the social aspect of this game is the number one thing what keeps players logging in, so my first order of business was to find a corp since my old corp has become inactive. Multiboxing is also a very taxing activity so I decided to just stick with my two core accounts and have a more "relaxing gaming experience". Damn it, am I getting old? After some scouting on the forums, I've set my eyes on Epicentre Syndicate [EPSYN]. This corp immediately caught my eyes due to small and medium gangs, chill environment with no mandatory activity (can actually enjoy other games without feeling the guilt of not logging in), a C4 home system with C4 and C5 statics, and *GASP* a scout that finds gank targets gets to keep all the loot. This is one of the most important selling points for me. I haven't done any PVE since 2013 and I do like scouting and finding gank targets. It's my thing. It's been over a month since I joined I can say with confidence it was the right call.

Almost getting reverse ganked

During my usual scouting run, I spot a Tengu doing anomalies in a class 2 wormhole. Getting excited with a target I immediately call for a few guys to help me kill it. While I silently observe our soon to be prey my small fleet is gathering on the wormhole ready to jump in on my mark. After T3 changes I had to make a lot of compromises to my tackle Proteus. I no longer can afford a Microwarpdrive, Sensor Booster, and a Warp Disruptor. This means that I have to go for my targets when they are up close. On a bright side, I can now dish out 600 dps while before my pure tackle Proteus had only two small Smartbombs for dps. So here I am, slowboating towards Tengu, ready to decloak and engage. Suddenly two red Lokis decloak.

Talk about unexpected. I guess someone else had the same idea. I immediately warp back to my vantage point and continue observing. Perhaps there is some potential to gank the gankers? Shortly, a bunch of new ships appear on d-scan and land on grid. I order my fleet to fall back home. We don't have nearly enough people online to challenge the hostile fleet, so I just sit back and enjoy the show. Poor Tengu is about to have his day ruined.

Man, what are the odds? A few minutes later and Holesale would have had quite a few more kills. I guess I can consider myself quite lucky. This is why I love wormhole space. You often never know who else is out there until it's too late. I watch Tengu explode and pilot podded. The hostile fleet sure took their time to kill it, making sure everyone had an opportunity to be on the killmail. Once the action is over we all depart separate ways. Bob sure works in mysterious ways. Today he was feeling generous and let me keep my ship intact. Praise be.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Where did you come from?

The Unknown is my home. One of the advantages of not being tied to one system is that you are not tied to one system. I roam the uncharted space and Bob is my guide. The advantage of nomadic style is that I often find "interesting" systems. And by interesting I mean, with potential targets. While often those systems are empty at the time, I can move in and wait a few days to see if anything will unfold. I settle down in a c4 wormhole with a black hole effect. Owners are quiet so I use the opportunity and scan the chain. I pop into a next door c3 and find an interesting sight.

Wrecks. And when there are wrecks, there are ships. I warp through the system, but nothing else shows up on d-scan. I check the stations and they are empty too. One of two scenarios might just have happened. One, someone was doing sites, saw a hostile ship on d-scan, warped away and logged. Or, someone finished a couple of sites and decided to salvage. I orbit my exit and patiently wait for this someone to comeback. Time passes and the system remains as is. Oh well. I launch my probes and get to scanning. There aren't that many sigs so it doesn't take a long time.

There are 3 connections: a low-sec, a c4 and a c3. I check the low-sec first and my prayers get answered. It has a high-sec gate. I go to the nearest station and setup a courier contract to transport my loot from a previous gank. A cool 300 mil towards my Proteus/Nestors replacement program. Once that is done, I check the c4.

The system is active. I find mining retrievers and a Cormorant which warps to a c3 I just came from.

It's a Dark Skies Dojo. For some reason they have a negative standing to my corp which normally means I should be cautious. However, judging from their killboard they seem to be primarily a US tz corp. There is no point in trying to gank such a small ship in hopes to get some blue loot. I'd rather wait for him to finish salvaging, after which, hopefully he will continue running anoms. Meanwhile I go check out the miners.

Just look at them. I guess everyone has their thing in EVE. At almost 150 million SP I'm not even sure if I can fly a Retriever. I won't deny, looking at these two dudes mining peacefully really makes my finger on a trigger itch. Now that my Proteus actually has dps, I don't even need to bring the Nestors. While tempting, I decide against it. The plan is to wait for the Cormorant to return and see if he feels shooting some more sleepers. If not, I can always pop those Retrievers. It's not like this ore site will be gone anytime soon.

Meanwhile I have my Nestors fleet logged. The system I am staying at is quite small. Locals have their station in the middle between the sun and an outer planet. I had to make a safe near the middle of the system to be outside range. Downside is that most anoms and signatures spawn in the middle, so if I do not log in before locals come online, I risk exposing myself. Upside is that d-scan of the Nestor can see a big part of the system.

An activity at home! From the tag I recognize it's the locals. As expected, it's a poco bash op. The fleet is at planet XI. Now it's time to take a decision. An attack battlecruiser is a nice target. Not particularly shiny, but much better than a Retriever. Since I haven't seen Cormorant return yet, there's no point in waiting anymore. I head home.

I jump back in. Planet XI is out of d-scan range so I am confident I will be able to sneak back in without being spotted. I warp to the customs office, but no ships are present on the overview. Did I get the planet wrong? No, that's not it. They seem to have warped back to the station. An awfully big coincidence if you asked me. Then I watch weird stuff happen. Rook undocks and warps to a safespot somewhere. Same thing with Stratios. A venture undocks and starts scanning the system with core probes. If I didn't know any better I would say they are preparing for me. But that killboard though... It might be a threat for my solo Proteus, but I just can't see them beating my Nestors.

An Oracle and a Tornado warps back to a poco.

Something is definitely up. I decide to go for it anyway. I'm sure my Nestors can handle whatever they throw at me and if there's another hostile entity I haven't seen, then so be it, but I highly doubt it as these shenanigans started as soon as I jumped back to the system. I decloak and attack the Tornado. It pops fast.

No surprise there. It's hard to tank without a single tank module. I still keep my Nestors cloaked. I don't see the need to show my trump card just yet. Let's see what they will bring and if I can get a secondary kill.

Sure enough I now have a Rook jamming me and a Cynabal landing on grid. There is no way I can catch a fast ship such as a Cynabal while my tackle Proteus is being jammed. I decide to warp out, but get pointed. I try to wait a little bit for jamming cycle to drop, but it doesn't seem like I will be able to fire any more shots with the Proteus. It's time to bring in the big guns and save myself. I warp in the Nestors fleet.

I expect to scare the Cynabal off and go home, but instead, upon landing, I manage to lock and scram the faction cruiser with my Nestor. I don't know how it is possible, but it happened.

My only theory is that Sarah got so excited about soon™ Proteus kill that she completely forgot she was flying a kitting ship and 3 hostile battleships landing on top was not enough to wake her up.

Well, that went better than expected. Locals were completely caught off-guard.

So these guys had eyes on every exit, which explains how they saw me jumping in and why they felt so confident to spot any incoming backup. Too bad for them, backup came from within the system. I technically did come from a c4, but not the c4 they are thinking about, but from a c4 that was connected to their system a few days ago.

We exchange a few more words and wish each other good day. What a great sportsmanship. They get my respect with an attitude like that. Many other corps would have just docked up and not left the station, but these guys decided to take a go at it. Sure plan could have been executed better, but it's the effort that counts.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Back to the shadows

I am back to stalking. It's been over 1.5 years since I joined my current corp - Mass Collapse. Unfortunately, good things come to an end and it so happened that the corp disbanded. Apart a few people still flying together, majority moved on. I am not quite yet ready to find a new home and thus decided to get back to my old hobby - wormhole stalking. A lot has changed since then. Most notably, t3 cruiser rebalance made my brick tanked Proteus not so brick tanked, so I did some refitting. On a plus side, my Proteus now has dps. I will now rely on sig tanking with local repair and an afterburner, while still holding a proper tank with 600dps. I am back. Back to the shadows.

I will watch you do logistics.

I will watch you move your ships.

And try to trap unexpected explorers.

I will watch you do exploration sites.

Or run gas sites.

I will watch you taunt local.

I will watch you run combat sites.

And get your rolling battleship ganked.

Make no mistake, I will see you undock.

I will follow you in warp to the last anomaly in the system.

And when I feel the time is right, I will strike.

And I will bring destruction in my wake.

It will all be over in a moment. After which I will disappear in the shadows.

Because I am the shadow.