Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A tale of two Orcas

With the Noctis popped and looted, the pilot vanishes. He isn't a local to the system, or to any of the current wspace connections we have mapped out, his corp ticker not matching up with any of the known stations. I pop out probes and quickly eliminate the known sigs, finding a new wormhole reasonably quickly. A corp mate jumps through to scout as our little group sits cloaked just off the new k162. The tower is found, the pilot and an ally sitting in Orca industrial ships.

Our scout reports they've both warped in the direction of the hole we're sitting on the other side of. We all hold cloak as both the Orcas appear on our side of the hole then jump back through. Go go! We give chase appearing on the other side with the two whales slowly aligning away. Points are spread and we have them both, the former Noctis pilot is called primary and I actually remember to overload my guns for once. Armor melts away into structure when both ships suddenly disappear, not warp away, just vanish.

There is much confusion and raging as none of us understand what happened, I even evemail the Noctis pilot to find out, normally people are all too happy to boast about their escape and I'll take that if it means learning and adapting to counter it the next time. People wander back to our home system dejected and a little annoyed at the unexpected turn of events.

A short time later while I'm just sitting cloaked at the hole, and my corp mates are again discussing running some sites, the two Orcas appear on my overview.

"They're back, quick back to the hole"

I try to initiate warp to the hole but it doesn't take, one of the Orcas has jumped through collapsing it and leaving our buddy the Noctis pilot trapped here in his Orca. I warp to the bookmark and land right on top of him, locking and pointing him again with another corp member who stuck around as the others start rushing back. We've got him to low structure and someone calls out for us to wait so he can get on the kill, other people are calling for guns to be turned off and against my better judgement I stop shooting...

This is the bit before the low structure bit, which I forgot to screen shot, so imagine this... but with some more shooting.

A few seconds later the Orca disappears... again.

Had we all kept shooting with overloaded guns, at the rate he was dropping I have no doubt we would have killed him. At least the pilot is kind enough to respond to my message (via Evegate).

After a bit of back and forth he went on to explain that if a pilot logs off before any aggression is taken, he will disappear from space after 1 minute no matter what. I had assumed (incorrectly) from reading recent patch notes that getting shot extends the timer by 15 minutes, so logging off isn't going to save your ship any more. However by logging off while still under the jump cloak, and no bubble to aggro him there was no way for us to stop him from disappearing. Which to me seems like a bit of a strange rule, but you work with what you've got, now we know for the future.

While we waited around for a while, it was pretty obvious he wasn't going to log back in any time soon, and we decided to call it a night.

So while it wasn't a happy ending for us, we played some small part in a happy ending for others.

Now I need to find a way back to kspace, I've got some interdictor related skill books to buy.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Not our Noctis

Retrieving the Tengu turned out to be easier than expected. A direct connection to low sec has spawned, the system a solitary low sec in the middle of a dead region. A corp mate scouts me in through the gate, the whole affair quite uneventful.

There is a gas mining operation getting under way, not having the skills (I'll be honest, or interest) in joining in I decide to sit off one of the holes cloaked, at least I can be a watchful set of eyes while we all have a bit of a chat on comms. Once again uneventful, its over sooner than I would have expected, the site completely cleaned out by the Orca boosted (from inside the POS) crew.

"Works out just under 100mil per person" says the man in charge of payouts. Perhaps I should re-evaluate my stance on mining, although there is something about just sitting there with a massive target painted on me, unable to even shoot back, that doesn't sit well with me.

I take a brief break and when I return there is talk of shooting at sleepers in our static c4. While everyone is getting organised I decide to take a quick jump in there with my cloaky Loki to make a few safe spots.

"Have you guys done any sites in here yet?"

"No, we're just about to"

"I see a Noctis and wrecks on scan"

I do a few quick warps around the system checking for other ships, the Noctis may be a great salvager but I'm sure it didn't create those wrecks by itself. I can't see anyone else in the system, and the Noctis is either in a despawned anomaly or a signature site. A corp mate is less than subtle, poking his non-cloaky ship through the wormhole and is painfully obvious on dscan, a few more corpies say they're on their way.

With the element of surprise already gone the instant the Noctis hits dscan, I quickly dump some combat probes and throw them roughly at the planet I think he is near. The wrecks are disappearing rapidly and my time is running out, the first hit barely registers the ship, a quick correction and its stronger but still not there, third times the charm and I'm warping to zero.

I drop cloak just before entering the site, priming my tackle and guns. Watching the ship speed indicator I hit lock as soon as I drop out of warp.

"Point, warp to Mdih"

I micro warp drive my ship straight into the Noctis, you never know when these slippery buggers will have warp stabilizers fit. People are all talking at once on comms, the snagged Noctis asking for a ransom in local and they're encouraging me to take it. I ask for an offer, and he comes back with a paltry 50mil, I counter with 100. Not being used to talking on comms, shooting and negotiating at once I only just manage to deactivate my guns in time, a sliver of structure remaining.

Now I don't know if Fromil had his guns primed already, or if he just doesn't believe in taking prisoners. He came screaming into the site and obliterated what was left of the Noctis with one shot.

The pilot warps out before I can snag the pod and disappears from dscan, now to find where he came from...

Friday, February 24, 2012

Making friends (and not shooting them)

Wandering aimlessly through space can be quite fun, recently I've been doing a fair bit of it.

I took a few Tenal treasure hunting trips inspired by this chap's post. Countless hours can be spent accomplishing nothing, followed by a single site making an instant multi-billionaire. Returning to empire I'd plink away at a few missions for research and development corporations, eventually setting myself up a small (very small) passive income. Then either head back out to Tenal or roam around the ever changing maze that is wormhole space.

The problem with being a solo cloaky wormhole multi-day tripper, aside from having to stop to breathe while saying that, is a lot of the time you don't have the right tool for the job. Hey look a solo Tengu in an anomaly, sure wish those wormholes links from yesterday still existed so I could grab a cap neutralizing gank ship, wait here is a high sec exit, how convenient- 27 jumps?! Screw this I'll just wait till I find a miner/hauler/senior to slap about and rob.

Deciding its time to get back into wormhole space on a more permanent basis. I found a friendly group of folks active around my peak pod time, and after the usual application formalities, API check, previous corp check, comms interview and some risque photos of me flashing a little knee, I was in.

Assembling a Tengu to the corps standard fit makes it the most expensive ship I've ever owned, hopefully the investment can be recouped before exploding gloriously. An entrance to my new home has been scanned out and I make the uneventful journey in my cloaky Loki. The w-space links are buzzing with neutral pilots and I decide to leave the Tengu for another day when I can scan out a less risky route.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A Hulking good time

The locals have been busy in my absence. I've missed another tower being anchored and onlined, several new pilots already sitting snugly inside the shield. I add the new arrivals to my watch list and do a little intel gathering.

Bouncing around between celestials shows a Probe frigate out and about, I seem to be a step behind each warp, finally losing track of them on d-scan. A check back at the new tower shows the latest arrivals appear to be gearing up for a mining operation. Two Hulk mining barges and a Badger Mark II hauler, all piloted within the shield, the similar names of the pilots indicating they belong to the same individual.

I don't have to wait long, the three potential victims all warping out of the tower. My earlier scouting efforts paying off, I follow straight to the grav site. The Probe is also here, I assume he scanned down the site and provided a warp in. The Hulks waste no time, they begin zapping away at an asteroid, a can appearing in the midst of the group, allowing me a convenient bookmark.

The four ships pose somewhat of a dilemma, while I only have a single point fit, I want to kill all of them. Several options occur to me, jumping out to kspace to refit a few more points, look to call in some backup from my short contact list (damn you antisocial tendencies!), point one ship and attempt to bump another. The extra points or backup being the better option, although by this stage the wormhole links I entered by are long since decayed.

Finally I decide a Hulk in warp disruptor range is worth two in the.. not warp disruptor range? I don't know, I've never been very good at deciphering these old phrases. I initiate warp to the can, as soon as the drive engages I drop my cloak, prime my systems and lock up the closest schmuck in a Hulk.

I tear the Hulk to pieces as his companions suddenly remember they left the iron on at their POS, the pod sticking around to watch the flashy lights finds himself snared as well. Nearly 500mil worth of hardware going up in smoke, lamenting the loss of the fancy shield booster, I grab what I can from the wreckage and call it a day.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Careless Covetor

There is a mining barge and canister on scan, and he isn't at the tower bookmark I prepared earlier. I didn't bother bookmarking all the signatures in this system when I was here before, I didn't expect to be back before the connection closed.

To make me further regret my earlier laziness, the solar system is tiny, making it impossible for me to drop probes somewhere they won't be visible on directional scan. Warping off grid from the tower I launch the probes, send them out of the solar system as quickly as possible and re cloak. It doesn't appear that the pilot noticed, I carefully narrow down his rough whereabouts using directional scanner, move the probes roughly into position and hit scan.

The results are in, near miss, I make some slight tweaks to the probes, scanning, success. Warping to the ship at 100km I throw the probes back outside the solar system. The Covetor happily mines away into the can, which I bookmark, grateful not to be decloaked by a nearby rock. Bouncing off the closest celestial before initiate warp directly to the can, decloaking while en route, reloading short range ammo and priming my systems.

Landing 2km's from the Covetor I lock him down and open fire. A nice tight orbit is established as I watch for any signs of the ship attempting to align out, or any allies coming to help. He seems quite content sitting still as my autocannons return his barge to the asteroid belts from whence it came.

The pod remains stationary and I crack it like I'm planning a pod pilot omelet. I do love how we can now see what implants the poor buggers lose. I loot the wreck and while I would love to claim some kind of clever baiting strategy, I warp off leaving the can and corpse floating in space. While cloaked at the local tower tinkering with my overview settings and trying to find the corpse option, before finally remembering its called biomass, my watch list shows the freshly murdered soul disconnect.

Moments later another member of the victims corp connects and appears at the tower in a cheetah covert ops. I watch in dismay as he boards a Harbinger battlecruiser, which I'm not confident in pitting my expensive tech3 cruiser against. I decide to write the corpse and can loot off, and I'm about to my exit wormhole when the pilot suddenly switches ships into a Catalyst destroyer and warps off in the direction of the grav site. A destroyer, I'll take a crack at that.

I make an assumption and warp to zero on the can, decloaking in warp again to let the locking delay do its thing. I land right next to the poor chap and lock him up.

Another ship is returned to the asteroid gods, hopefully appeasing them after these fellows pillaged their holy arkonor.

This pod is on the ball and high-tails it out of there. I take my leave of their hole, abandoning the can there to tempt them once more. I like to think he sat there in the shields, watching, the can taunting him, urging him to rescue the precious minerals, before it finally decayed, rejoining the Covetor and Catalyst.

Damnit, I forgot to overheat my guns again.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Slippery Iteron

Several days spent navigating the tenuous links of wormhole space, poking my head in and out of kspace like some kind of interstellar gopher (mental note: good ship name right there), I online my pod and quickly cloak my Loki in the hopes of going undetected, that is, if there is anyone around to detect me.

The C2 I chose to sleep in having a bevy of good sites and corporation that formed just over a week earlier. With any luck they'll be more active, yet less prepared than a more established wormhole entity. A directional scan reveals a new tower has gone up in the few hours I've been sleeping, damn, opportunity lost. A narrow scan reveals no defenses, an Iteron IV hauler and a cargo can at the new tower.

Warping in to the new tower at range shows it belongs to a different corporation, the Iteron slowly entering the shields near the canister. Saving the location of the can I warp back to the original tower seeing only one occupant I'd observed earlier in his cloaky Loki. My watch list not showing any other members I'd gleaned from killboards. I set myself up in position on the far side of the can so I can align to a safe spot, I sit in wait. It doesn't take long before the hauler moves back towards the edge of the protective shield.

With no online tower defenses to worry about I align to my safe spot, decloak, and locking delay permitting, open fire. He swings around almost immediately, heading back to safety. His shield's drop slower than I would have expected, I'm assuming he is shield tanked to leave low slots free to expand cargo space. One shot to his armor taking half of it, I suddenly lose my lock.

He crawls to shield safety and I initiate warp, humbled by a defenseless space trucker. The other resident warps into the tower in his Loki, the trucker switching to a Cynabal. Grumbling to myself I realise I didn't even overheat my guns, more rust. I forgot the same thing when attacking the Vexor, although fortunately in that case, it wasn't necessary. I could have aligned into him and tried to ram him off course with my microwarp drive, but instead chose the safer option of aligning out. I wonder what was in that can, I should have locked it and shot it as a parting screw you.

The element of surprise well and truly gone, I decide to go check out the neighbouring wormhole I jumped into briefly earlier.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Lowsec, I still like you.

The rust is showing, and not just on my freshly assembled Loki. Fumbling with my scan probes it takes me a while to realise there has been a change to the filter system, causing the signatures to disappear once their type has been resolved, after enabling the filters things go much more smoothly, although I am still quite slow and clumsy resolving each signature.

I've saved the location of two different wormholes and I'm working on a third signature in the system when I notice there is another pilot registered in the local channel. How long has she been there? Is that the same gal from the last lowsec system I was scanning? What was she flying again? Even though I am safely cloaked off grid, I need to remember to pay more attention to these sorts of things.

Directional scanner reports a Vexor and ten scan probes within range, five of them are mine, of the Sister's faction variety, the others however are the generic tech 1 version. Those probes and the cruiser weren't on scan when I arrived, so its a good bet that they belong to the new arrival. Narrowing the range on directional I try to track down the Vexor's location, losing it several times as it warps around. It is good practice however, and judging by how long it takes me to find them each time, shows it is sorely needed.

Finally I have a good bead on her and she appears to be sitting still, whats more interesting is that all the probes are also showing on the narrow angle scan, meaning she is likely at the signature I was just working on. I quickly finish probing it down, revealing a Magnometric site. I initiate a warp to a reasonable distance off the signature, hoping not to be decloaked, and drag my probes outside the range of directional scanner, although by this stage the pilot has had ample time to spot them.

Landing a mere 15km from the Vexor surprises me, was I planning on engaging them? I guess I was, although I hadn't given it a great deal of thought beyond "Lets see if I can locate this mofo for practice".
She is moving away from me at a fair clip, my cloaked ship unable to keep pace with her as she quickly out ranges me.

A quick check of the pilots history shows she is only a few months old, losing a different Vexor at the start of the month, the fit aimed at lowsec exploration. I completely outgun this poor las, even if my tech 3 cruiser is configured primarily as a scan boat. The site's residents are moving to intercept her cruiser and a flight of tech 1 drones are plopped out in response, its only after they start zooming towards the locals that I realise I'm directly inbetween the two sides and stand a fair chance of being decloaked by the mechanical minions, a quick course correction and they end up skirting just under 10km from me.

Watching as the mag site's defense fleet is slowly whittled down, I wonder how I'm going to actually catch this cruiser, my Loki having a substantial locking delay after decloaking and the Vexor cruising around the outskirts of the site far outside my range, as the drones do their dirty work. I try to align myself to where the Vexor is going to be, judging by its speed and orbit but can't quite seem to get it right, before realising that I don't have to chase her, I know exactly where she is going to head.

The prize loot being held within the canister's at the center of the site, she is going to head towards them sooner or later. I work at keeping myself in between them and my intended victim and it isn't long after the locals are dispatched and the drones recalled, that the Vexor's heading changes directly toward me.

Aligning directly towards the cruiser, I wait until she is within 30km before decloaking, activating my micro warp drive and barreling straight towards her. Repeatedly ordering my targeting computer to lock as our ships collide head on. The lock is finally established, disruptor and guns activated as I order a close orbit, her goose is shortly cooked.

I make an attempt to lock down the pod but it zips away post haste, and once again proving that New Eden has the universe's nicest victims, she congratulates me on the kill in local. A private conversation is struck up and I'm more than happy to explain how I snagged her and offer some advice on avoiding the same fate again in the future.

Warping to one of the wormholes I scanned earlier, I can only hope I'll be so friendly and well mannered when I meet my explosive end.