Sunday, June 21, 2015

Being chased by pirates

Messing with end of life wormholes

I was looking around unknown space, visiting systems in hope of finding a target. I end up finding a high-sec connection. It so happens that at the same time I spot someone doing some logistics ops.

I see an Occator. He warps to a station so I guess it's sort of moving out op and not a refuel run at the hub. I stick around and observe. Soon he comes back and jumps in. I don't want to follow just yet. I give him some time and go in when I think he has already warped off. There are several connections. Unfortunately, he disappears from scan before I can pinpoint his location, but quickly visiting all connections, I find out that Occator pilot is from null, sitting back at the pos. I guess the op is over.

The wormhole is also end of life. I bring out my Dominixes just in case it collapses. I set them to orbit the wormhole cloaked and start scanning the high-sec to see if there are any interesting connections. I find a c2. It is also EOL. I decide to have a quick peek anyways. I have had bad experiences in the past, having wormhole collapse on me and leaving me stranded. However, this time my Dominixes are in high-sec and my cloaky Proteus can easily find its way out. I immediately get excited once I'm in.

A lot of wrecks on scan. Which is great, but it seems I just missed the farmers. There are no ships on scan, so I assume they just finished the site. I warp to the outer planets and find active ships at the tower. Nothing fancy, just a Raven and a Noctis idling. For some reason they are in no rush to reap the rewards of the site. Signature is also despawned, so to get a salvager I would need to scan him. Which is always a risk of me being exposed. I would rather wait, but the wormhole being at the end of life, I might not have much time. While I was thinking my next steps, I see an interesting sight on the Dominix screen.

A fleet of transport ships just came out of wormhole and warped away to the station. I decide to go back and set up a trap. I was thinking of settling near nullsec wormhole and try to catch them on the way back. I have to act fast though, before they came back. I quickly decloak my Domi fleet and go in. Except that only 2 Domis were accepted and remaining one was denied access. Great Scott. Wormhole has collapsed. Talk about bad luck.

A long journey back home

Now I have two Dominixes stranded in the wormhole. I was smart enough to jump in first with Domi, that had probe scanner in cargohold, but not smart, or patient enough to wait and let my scout Proteus go in first. I know it will be a pain to look out for a new exit in a Dominix. Especially when c3 has a null-sec static. There is one k-space active connection to the wormhole. It's the same null system I was going to setup a trap. I refit to interdiction nullifier and get on my way to save my potatoe ships.

I really dislike null-sec. For some reason, I feel more comfortable in pirate infested low-sec than null. While traveling, I see a lot of bubbles and a lot of blobs. Some more bubbles and some more blobs. The fleet sizes that passed me got me really nervous. A lot of small and fast ships, traveling same direction and trying to catch that lonely Proteus on the way. I had some really close calls. Proteus is not exactly fastest aligning ship so I almost got decloaked on few occasions. But I made it. In half an hour I was back in the same system with my battleships.

It was clear that there was 0 chance I could get my Domis alive through null-sec. I needed a high-sec or low-sec exit. And, of course, there is none when you need it. I started scanning. A desparate scanning if you will. I wanted to get my gang back together before day ended.

I managed to get a low-sec connection. It was not helpful as it was too far away. I kept scanning and found few more low-sec connections. 16 jumps was the closest I could get. 10 of them is through low-sec. Instead of shipping my 2 Dominixes to high-sec, I decided to get remaining one from high-sec to low-sec. I got a cloak and a microwarpdrive. I should be fine.

The chase

The journey was even more stressful than in null. I was traveling through Easily Excited area. It's a well known pirate corp. But I was born and raised in low-sec, I was confident I could make it.

I go in and, as expected, first gate is a gate camp. For pirates to see a Dominix Navy Issue jump in is like a hot juicy steak for hungry hounds. They will want it and they will want it bad.

This time, steak was doing mwd+cloak trick. I warped safely few systems, but I had all gang chase after me. Soon I started to see interceptors catching up with me, thanks to slow warp of battleships. It was getting really stressful. Every time I got away, they would have full fleet waiting on the next gate to try again. Fast lockers, fast ships, just waiting for me to make a mistake. I have to admit, I panicked and midway warped to station instead. I still had 6 jumps to go and I was not sure I could make it till the end. I warped to 0, which is big mistake. I could end up 2km off the station and get tackled before I could get into docking range. Thankfully, I was lucky enough to drop to 0.

I went afk for a bit, trying to bore pirates. After awhile they got tired and all of them left the system, apart one guy, that was docked with me. I know he was waiting for me and probably others ready too. It was getting late, so I decided to continue with my trip. Sure enough, smell of steak undocking got to them and within minutes we were back again where we left off - them trying to decloak and tackle my Dominix.

Their killboard is always active. Are they really that hungry for a Dominix Navy Issue to chase 7 jumps out? I guess there is always room for a steak.

I taunt them in local. If they have chased my so far, smalk talking in local won't make it any worse. Of course they would feel very rewarded if they got me. I would. I'm at my last gate. I land and think if I should jump or not. Warping to bookmark is a bit more distracting than spamming warp button to anther gate. I might delay half a second, which could be enough for them to get me. I decide to warp to station. This time I had my scout sitting on undock. They did not even tackle me, they were so confident I will jump in as I always did.

I taunt them some more, while safely sitting at the station. I have scout watching them. Had they taken more seriously in decloaking part, they should have a dedicated ship for that, like full speed fitted Dramiel for instance. If they had, I probably would be writing a different story. But as expected, they gave up just after few minutes. They saw that I had eyes on them and my ship escaping for last several jumps did not boost the morale. Soon my Dominixes were reunited and I settled-in in a new home.

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