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.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

A short revisit to Ninja Salvaging

I've popped into high-sec. For someone living in wormholes for an extensive amount of time, getting out of the dark space to the empire is like leaving a cave. All this light burns my eyes! I thought to myself it's been awhile since I meddled in high-sec business. Time to time I scan for Mobile Tractor Unit kills in the surrounding systems. Some people like to shoot MTUs with shiny ships. I often think of setting up a trap, but it takes a lot of dedication. With watch-list removed, there is no quick way of telling if pilot is logged. It's not a bad thing, I was just not feeling camping for extended period of time. I checked some people I have marked and when I couldn't find them, pondered what I should do next.

Ninja Salvaging is one of the things I like to do during my time in high-sec. I went to my ninja operations system - Agrallarier. My old setup was still there. Some ships requirements has changed. One most important - no more system wide boosts, rendering my Orca command skills useless. It's another good change, even if it had a negative impact on this play-style. After doing a few adjustments, I took my Enyo for a spin. My main downside is that I am too lazy to theory craft and instead play with fittings that are very old. Until circumstances force me to change, I tend to use what has been proven, even if it's not the most optimal and I know it isn't. My weapon of choice: Enyo, backed by 2 Augorors and an Orca on standby. Idea is to get an aggro with Enyo, warp in a single logi ship, get a secondary aggro, bring in a 3rd logi with an Orca. If Enyo + logi dps is not enough by the time Orca enters the grid, I use it to reship to something with more power.

I pop into the first site and immediately get a reaction.

Two Dominixes with their drones can be a pain to handle, but looking more closely, pilots are relatively new and drones are only t1. Besides, these kind of guys are most likely to shoot. Unfortunately nothing more materializes besides a carebear stare. I can only guess his mission running buddy gave a wise advise to let me be.

Soon I run into a carebear who doesn't appreciate me barging in his mission and shooting his MTU while salvaging his wrecks. And he isn't afraid to show what he thinks of unwelcome guests.

Game on. It's my first bait in more than a year. I can feel my skills are rusty, trying to shoot his drones while bringing in the logi. Domi defenses have been dropping slowly, but steadily.

Fight is taking a bit longer than I would like to. Orca is super slow to align and it takes time to go through 3 acceleration gates. The Dominix pilot aggros my logi, so now I have a secondary tackle and can switch the ships. Disadvantage of taking too long to fight, gives time for backup to arrive. I can see a Vexor Navy Issue and a Rattlesnake on short range scan. Dominix is deep in structure so I overheat my guns to finish him off. For a second I think if I should let his backup come and try to save him, because I can swap to a battlecruiser and should be able to take them on, but decide against it, since my Orca is struggling to reach us in this deep mission pocket. Pop goes the Domi.

While loot was nothing spectacular, something much more of value dropped.

I love receiving fan mails. It really shows your efforts to bring entertainment to high-sec are appreciated. Godspeed sunsin depark. May your future mission runs be as joyful as this one.