Monday, April 20, 2020

A casual jump, uncasual day

Probably quite a few of us have encountered a ship in space, burning at full speed towards a no particular direction, but mostly outside the direction of any celestial. Usually, it's some speedy small ship with a cap stable fit and MWD on. It can be quite tricky to catch those because you need your own speedy, a much faster ship as, by the time you land on grid, you will have quite some distance to cover in order to catch up. Other times you will find a ship standing in space or slowly moving one direction. Next door to my home system I was watching a couple of guys going about their business. While I was hoping a good target will show up, instead, locals went quiet with one exception. For some reason, a Bifrost just warped to an offline tower and started slowboating.

It was a bit strange, as I was fairly certain locals knew they were not alone as next door was our, very active, home system with a mobilized fleet ganking a carrier a jump away.

Any self-respecting wormhole pilot always checks its surroundings and when you see an active corp next door you are extra cautious. However, it seems not everyone develops self-preservation instincts. Bifrost pilot just kept burning away, despite having a couple of stations to stay docked at. Having watched the pilot all this time, I decided enough was enough. To leave him like this would be going against the code of wormholes if there was such a thing. While Bifrost is not aligned to any particular celestial, I still manage to find a good bounce and interest him with my cloaky Proteus. For the record, my Proteus is 1600 plated and afterburner fit. It is slow. And I mean, really slow. To catch a moving target with it, even going to one direction, is a form of art. After bouncing off the celestial I slowburn perpendicularly towards the target until I am within scram range. Of course, I will not be satisfied with just the ship kill and warp in the Sabre to make sure I get the pod too, in case the pilot wakes up from screeching sound of hull alerts. The ship and the pod go down. Thanks to the "Egg Hunt" event, I net a cool 250mil from implants alone.

You will notice that fit has only two high-grade amulet implants. While I'm not the one to look a gifted horse in the mouth, I highly doubt he just happened to have 2 amulets plugged in. I suspect his "apm" was not high enough to pull everything out in time. In my opinion, pulling implants in combat is such a nonsense mechanic that I can't believe we still have to deal with it. Interestingly, shortly after the gank, I receive the following email.

I don't know about others, but in my experience, you want a gank to be over as quick as possible to avoid becoming ganked yourself. Therefore, in w-space, I'm not in the habit of asking for ransoms from my targets. I was surprised by the question itself as I can't imagine much of ransoming is happening in w-space overall. Besides, I can't scan a pod for implants. so I doubt I would have gotten an offer higher than the value of the Bifrost itself.

When a casual patrol becomes the highlight of the day

I won't lie. It's been a few days since I've been actively scanning and scouting, but apart mining Ventures and scanning Herons, I haven't seen any ships on d-scan. Meanwhile, my corpmates, report a casual RattlesnakeVargur or a Niddhogur. It is easy to be discouraged, but I know better. I know that Bob rewards the patient.

The chain is scanned and there doesn't seem to be much going on. I consider throwing a proposal of rolling the c4 static connection but decide to visit the scanned systems, just in case someone decided it was a good time to shoot sleepers. On these routine checks, you are usually on autopilot. It's like driving a car home from work and wondering how the hell you got here without the memory of driving. I jump, d-scan, launch combats for a blanket scan. If no ships appear, I jump to the next system. Rinse and repeat. I jump to the last system in the mapped chain. D-scan updates and I am met with a confusing result.

The hell is going on here? Random ships on scan, tons of hangar containers floating around? It takes a couple of seconds to come back to my senses. I adjust my poor sitting posture to be slightly less poor, put my eyes closer the directional scanner and make sure I am not imagining things. In the old days, this would be a control tower with a force field, a bubble and a bunch of secure containers. But those days are past and hangar containers littered usually means only one thing - someone just unanchored or destroyed a station. I warp to the Fortizar and find the containers as also the locals, busy warping forth and back. The routine looks like a pod warps to a container, boards the ship, warps back to the station, parks the ship and goes for the next. Ships are mostly t1, with some faction and t2 exceptions. I immediately send a ping and we form up a disposable Cyclone fleet. Suddenly a Thanaots undocks and warps to a container, presumably with an idea to scoop all the loot due to it's enormous cargo bay. A possible capital kill always get's everyone excited. We ping for Drake Navies who still did not leave home in a cyclone and bring a couple of Basilisks just in case. Who knows what locals will do trying to save their carrier.

While the fleet is halfway, I watch the carrier warp to a can, scoop the loot and warp back. I have missed my first chance to tackle it. Thankfully, the carrier does another roundtrip. I decide to act as you can never be sure there will be a third chance. I warp my trusty Proteus to a can, decloak and tackle the carrier.

I only need to keep it for several seconds until the first Sabre lands, followed by a fleet. While the locals helplessly watch through the safety of station windows, we bash the carrier into the scrap and send the pilot on his merry way via pod express. Speaking of pods, this one spared no expense and only flies his carriers in a style of high-grade amulet sets.

As with the Bifrost's pilot, TrippleX Ozzy also did not have enough apm to plug everything out. Still, thanks to the "Egg Hunt", over 800 mil of implants drop. Who am I to complain? While we continue to check out the cans and map the worthwhile loot, a report of a Leshak landing on a wormhole towards our home. The Leshak is promptly tackled, but he is not alone. More and more ships land on the grid. All of a sudden, we have a full-blown fight going on with a SECURITY SQUAD.

Oh man, there is only so much excitement at a time I can handle. Finally we come out on top and force the intruders away, while netting several nice Leshak kills. However, while we were busy battling out with the unexpected 3rd party, the locals did not waste any time and continued with hauling their stuff back to their station. That is until we came back. To be fair, locals did have a chance to buy us out and continue with their looting, but my proposal was met in silence.

Which left us no choice, but play loot pinata, by ejecting bunch of t1 ships and shooting everything in sight, while hauling the expensive stuff out to a convenient high-sec static. As per our corp rules, the content finder gets to keep all the loot. I can't say how much ISK this whole ordeal net me as I honestly lost track of it, but it certainly was not bad for an honest day's work. Bob be praised for these gifts.

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