Monday, September 30, 2013

Many Connections

Sunday.  The weekend.  The weekend in wspace is always exciting.  There is more activity in general, which means more sites moving around, and more potential for new wormhole connections.  Today has been no different.

Earlier, I logged on in the morning and flew to the old static.  I often just fly to our old wormhole bookmarks as a way to check if they are there or not, and if still there, their EOL and disruption status.  Lo and behold, it was there, even though I had thought it was due to be gone.  Not even EOL.  I have seen this before; very rarely a wormhole will be placed exactly where an older one was, so that the bookmark does not change.  I don't know why it happens; my suspicion is that it is something related to downtime.  Perhaps if a hole expires during downtime there is a bug?  Anyway, seeing as the wormhole was not EOL I transited it and looked.  New system.  Lots of sigs.  I searched it down.

Lowsec static.  This frustrated my plan to get some new stuff into my system from Jita.  Oh well.  There is a second C4 connected, though EOL.  I go in and quickly activate all its sites, and leave.

Throughout the day I am in and out of C3a and two connecting wormholes.  One is a C2: nobody home.  The C4 expires.  Some time after noon, a new C5 connection is made.  I go in to look; they appear to be Russian.  I guess I miss them, though; the system is quiet.  Still, this makes me not very keen to run sites in C3a.  At least not until bedtime in Russia.

I see a couple of explorers, coming from I am not sure where.  Perhaps the C2, though it has gone EOL.  I uncloak to try to kill a Buzzard at the wormhole to lowsec, but he is paying attention and exits.

My Jita alt needs to get up to wspace to move around PI goods.  So I fly him up in a frigate while sitting and watching nothing happen in C3a.  He makes it across lowsec no problem, enters, and -- while traversing from C3 to C4 -- sees a Proteus.  Uh oh.  He warps safely to our tower; the Proteus does not try to lock.  There is a new signature; I infer there is a new wormhole.  I bring in VK to look for it, and scan it down rapidly.  Then I warp to it at 20, to be safe.  There it is: dangerous wspace.  It's reddish, so that means C5.  Hmm, I doubt I'll win any fights with a C5 corp by myself.  Maybe I can ambush them, but then we don't connect anywhere useful.  I notice the wormhole is disrupted.  Hmm.  I am sitting thinking about what that might mean, when the wormhole noise happens.  A battleship comes through, and returns -- and the wormhole collapses.

Jita alt does his PI safely, and leaves.

Later, about 2:30, I think it's late enough in Russia.  So I go in and solo two gas sites in a Drake.  Then I salvage them in Venture (great light salvagers, these).  Nobody attacks me, and I have to leave the computer again.

Evening.  Once again there's a new sig in our system.  Again I find it, and warp to it.  It's a K162, and I think from the look of it, it's a C2.  I am excited: C2s with statics to C4 have highsec as their other connection.  So I go through to see.  Yes, says staticmapper, it is C2.  I don't see anything on dscan; just a few dead towers.  There is only one anom, an ore site, and just three sigs.  It should be easy to find the highsec exit.  So I fire probes and throw them out of the system, while I go to look around.  Warping to the outer planet, I dscan and I see a Venture and an Orca.  OK, that is nice.  Where are they?  There's a tower.  Are the ships occupied?  The planet has 16 moons, so I spin dscan around and quickly narrow it down to one.  Dscan shows only the Orca is there: the Venture must be out in space somewhere!  Target!!  I look around again, but it is not at the ore site and I cannot find it.  So I warp to the tower.  The Venture is there, and an Orca.  Both are manned.  I look at the Venture up close to see where it came from.  Hard to tell -- then I realize I can turn on the new Odyssey "show anoms in space" overlay.  I turn it on: the Venture is pointed directly away from the ore anom.  I must have caught the Venture just returning.  Maybe he will go back?  Or did he notice the wormhole via the black magic of the discovery scanner?

I alert Jayne.  The Orca is a sign that they may be going to try to collapse our connection.  (Although if this is so, why did they instantiate it in the first place?)  So, we prepare for that.  Jayne gets a couple stealth bombers ready to go, sitting at our side of the C2/C4 wormhole.  If the Orca comes through, we will jump on it.  It will go back through the hole, at which point it will be polarized; then we'll see what happens.  Right now it appears to be just two characters, probably one guy playing two alts.

We sit a while.  We sit some more.  Eventually the Venture moves.  It is headed out to... no.  It is going over to the ship maintenance array.  It hits it, bounces, turns around, and then stops.  And it sits.  And sits.  I assume it is going to refit -- maybe to a battleship?  For popping the hole?

No.  It refits to a Retriever.  OK... is he really stupid enough to mine?  The Orca is for fleet-boosting -- except that after Odyssey 1.1, that does not work.  Maybe he does not know that.  Now he sits some more.  We wait.

Sorta looked like this
Finally the Retriever moves.  He is aligning -- I have the camera right on him -- yes, aligning to the ore anom.  We laugh in anticipation.  Jayne swaps a stealth bomber for a dictor with bubbles; he wants a pod.  The Retriever pilot warps, and then I warp to 100km to the site right behind him.  I glide out of warp, and he is there about 70km from me.  I am unnervingly close to some asteroids, but not decloaked.  OK... I pull back the zoom and check out the geometry of our situation.  There is a monster asteroid which, together with the Retriever, is in close to a straight line with a nearby planet.  So, I bookmark the 'roid, warp the planet, and then warp back to the 'roid at what my eyeball asserts is 50km.  50km is just right; I drop out of warp about 12km from the retriever.  It has started mining on a tiny little asteroid.  I move in; Jayne is ready to go.  He crosses the wormhole (which is in dscan range of the ore) and warps to me.

I am still moving in.  I am waiting for any sign that the pilot has seen Jayne.  No sign.  I have been planning to orbit the Retriever, and I have to stop so that it won't decloak me, because I am that close.  Finally after what seems like forever, but is really just a few seconds, I see Jayne landing on grid.  I decloak, and wait for my target locking to recalibrate.  The retriever is caught and scrambled, and pounded.  I notice the warp bubble effect just before we kill him; Jayne has fired it.  Thus the pod is caught and helpless.  We lock and kill it.  Then I loot the wreck (the loot fairy was stingy), and get away, and cloak.

I forgot the corpse.  After consulting with dscan and seeing that nothing obvious is incoming, I move over and grab it.  Then I warp to the tower.  The Orca is gone.

Later, reflecting on the kill, it appears that the player was not really trying for operational security.  The retriever was cheap (though a procurer would have been better), and the pod had no implants at all.  And the pilot's history shows he's probably done this before: he's lost four Retrievers in his system this year, and a Venture, and two pods.  (And also some PI ships.)  Given the highsec access, and the fact that it is, after all, only four Retrievers (and one Venture), I guess the player just considers it a cost of business.  One wonders how much mining time he has gotten in unmolested per loss.

I scan down the system.  I find the highsec static and am eager to get logistics moving from Jita -- but no.  It's highsec, but in Solitude, which is across a long bridge of lowsec and 30 jumps to Jita.  No, thanks.

Our night whimpers out.  There is nothing to do at home, no pilots to hunt here, and the C3 has gone EOL.  Oh well, sometimes EVE is boring but it's all worth it.  Jayne heads to bed.  I go out into lowsec to explore.

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