Friday, August 26, 2016

Hitting the jackpot

I remember my trip to Las Vegas which happened almost 10 years ago. I was amazed by all the slot machines. Put in the coin, pull the lever, watch the reel spin and hope for some kind of combo. I spent few pennies on those, but moved straight for the poker tables instead, where after a couple of hands I went three-way all in and took the pot. There were a lot of angry looks when I stood up and left the table with all the winnings. Stalking wormholes can be a lot like a casino where checking d-scan is like pulling a lever at the slot machine. It returns mostly nothing, but once in a while you get something. Of course you try to increase your odds, by picking the right system in the first place.

I log in and get pleasantly surprised to see the chain scanned out few jumps out. Though my messenger staying quiet, I assume there hasn't been anything interesting. Trey is sitting in corp chat, but seems to be afk. Well, no biggie. Since I just logged, I might do a quick scouting of the neighboring systems. I jump to a c4 static. It's a pulsar. My attention gets caught by the fact that there are no anomalies. These guys keep the place tidy. I start thinking if this system would be a suitable new home. I haven't seen any activity in our c4 for a couple of days. Even if the wormhole is pulsar, which is not very suitable for my armor fleet, we should still manage to kill some shitty Rattlesnake that, I am convinced, farms this system. And indeed, upon checking the killboard of the locals, I find 6 Rattlesnake losses in June. The wormhole is inhabited by a small Russian corp and looks like their timezone matches my prime time.

While I'm busy doing the background check, I notice a Buzzard undock from an Astrahus and warp to a c4. Not our c4, but theirs static. I don't pay much attention as I am confident the guy does exactly the same thing I did - checking active connections. I keep eyes on the station and slowly burn away to make enough distance for a perch. I expect the Buzzard to come back anytime, swap for a Rattlesnake and go clear the only Ore site in the system or something. But the Buzzard never returns. Instead, a Golem appears on the overview.

Holy shit. An actual marauder just appeared on my overview. I get excited like a little girl. Surely there's a reason for this ship to undock. Even if it just docks back up, my mind is already made up. This is our new home. I start pinging my partner.

Zosius: golem at station, in our c4 static
Zosius: no anoms. i think we found our new home

Unfortunately Trey seems to be afk. I carefully watch the Golem. What will he do? Where will he warp? There are no anomalies in the system. There are several signatures, but I don't have them scanned out. Suddenly...

A second Golem appears. One Marauder is enough to get me excited, but two can make me wet. I start pinging like crazy.

Zosius: 2 golems. holy crap

I need my partner. Ganking two Golems in a pulsar system can be a challenge. If they focus fire on one of the Nestors I could have trouble tanking, but with "neutgeddon" on my side, I still feel confident I can take them on without too big of a risk. While I draw a battleplan in my head, one more ship appears on the overview.

A third Golem undocks. I don't think I have ever seen more than two Marauders in one spot. I just couldn't believe this is happening. Is Bob playing tricks on me?

Zosius: holy fuck. 3 golems sitting at the station

No life signs from Trey. My camera loses tracking and I watch the ships warp to the direction of some signature. I'm not sure what to do. 3 Golems can dish out a lot of pain on a battleship with the reduced resists. I need my partner, but no matter how much I ping, I just can't get an answer. I decide that I will scan the Marauders out. Even if they bail, this is hands down our new home. We will take the shot. If not today, then tomorrow.

The scanning goes without a hitch. System is rather small, but I manage to launch the probes outside the d-scan range and get a warpable result in one try.

Jesus, just look at that overview. I kinda don't expect I can take them on without losses alone. There are, of course, people eager to help me, but there are no active connections to the empire and there's no way to find one in time and unnoticed. No, this is a sign from Bob. It's the ultimate gift. I must take it or die trying. In the worst case, they carry a point and I will lose my fleet. In the shit case, I will be forced out of grid, but still manage to warp out ships that enter structure. In the good case, I will tackle two Marauders and the third will warp away. Best case, they will tank and fight until one of them dies and then I will kill the whole three. I decide to go in. No way I'm letting this opportunity go.

As expected, once I make my move and get a positive tackle on two of  the Marauders, the third one warps away. The fight for the right to live starts.

I manage to keep the Armageddon alive through the focus fire while putting neuting pressure on the Golems. Managing reps and constantly cycling scrambler to test if ships have not yet exited the bastion mode takes its toll. I mess up the locking sequence and split neuts and dps on both Marauders. Luckily, it's enough and soon I see a first explosion.

And then another.

There it goes. Over 5 bil in smoke. This time the loot fairy is in especially bad mood. While I get a modest 600mil drop out of first Golem, I get a meager 100mil out of the second one. And if that wasn't enough, here's the saddest part of the story:

Almost 1 billion loot drops in total, but gets scooped by an mtu. Sometimes you just don't have the luxury to focus an mtu first. I force it open. In the end, out of all the faction and deadspace modules, I end up with only one a-type medium shield booster. RIP the shinies. But as I always say - it's never about the money. It's about the journey. While it might not be a jackpot when it comes to isk, it sure is in the essence of the hunt.


  1. Very well done. Congrats.

  2. Remember when I commented on that Orca pilot you missed a few weeks ago that was hauling out loot when we popped him? I said he wasn't very careful, and who knows why he used an orca to haul with. He is one of the Golem pilots. Good thing to know for next time we roll into them, nice find!

    1. What an interesting observation! This makes the encounter all the more special. I have one more post to write about these guys and this gives me some new insights :)

    2. Aren't wormholes special that way? Big fan of your blog, once we ran into you and joined up along with Scary Wormhole People to fight some russian pilots, killed a hyperion I believe before their fleet docked up. Since then I've been hooked on your posts, keep writing!

    3. Glad to hear you are enjoying. thanks

  3. Ozymandias SpariousAugust 27, 2016 at 9:24 PM