Monday, September 16, 2013

Overthinking an Ambush

Evening comes, the Boy is down, which means one thing.  EVE, eve, eve.  I log my market alt, and see what's up in the Forge -- OK, no ice to mine, boring that.  What about wspace?  I log in Von, and this looks boring too.  There is a new ore anom, to go with one old.  Whoopie.  And a new combat site, or maybe it is old.  Anyway, two combat anoms, which will be nice when a few corpmates show up.  We'll run 'em for cash.  Meanwhile, we have but one sig -- our static.  And I don't want to open it since we will want it closed in an hour or so anyway.  I scan it down and bookmark it.

Hmm, well, I suppose I could kill the sleepers in the new ore anom.  OK, I trigger both anoms, and now it's time to do something else for a while.

Back later, I run the ore anom in a Tengu.  And salvage.  Nothing much.  But at least now there is some ice in Otela.  So, I set the miner out there.  Then I read the web for a while.  Corpmates show up.  Now we are talking, figuratively and literally.  We get our small sleeper killer fleet together, and set off to smash.  We smash.  We loot.  We salvage.  About 200m ISKies, and it is time to think about joining the rest of the EVE universe.

I get in my cloaky Tengu, Artemis, and warp to our static wormhole.  I quickly transit it, and after dscanning shows nothing interesting, I move off the wormhole and fire combat probes.  I am tempted to start scanning right then, but I throw them out of the system.  Then I warp around the system looking for someone to play with.

As soon as I warp into the inner system, I can see there's a tower and there are some ships.  Likely at it.  There are two Retrievers, a Bestower, and Rorqual.  A narrow beam shows they are all four together near one of the planets.  I am considering what to do here.  Should I scan to find the tower?  Scanning is faster, but will give away my presence if they are (a) there and (b) paying attention.  But ships in a force field are useless to me.  Or I can go out there and use dscan to locate the tower, which in this case will take a while because there are a large number of moons.  As I ponder this, I note a bookmark... oh, I have been here before.  It's the tower I can see on dscan.  Well, OK then, problem solved.  I warp to it.

I fly up and, sure enough, there are ships here in the force field.  The good news: they are manned.  The bad news: they are in a force field.  And there is more bad news.  I look at them, using a nice tip I got off some dude at Penny's blog, and sure enough.  They are all three aligned in the cardinal direction, meaning that very likely they have all been idle for some time.  Ships idle for a long time tend to stay idle.  [Update: I searched down the tip, which was posted by BayneNothos, here.  Thanks BayneNothos.]

I tell the corpies this, and they decide to split.  I start scanning the system, figuring that these guys are not paying attention and I do want to know where stuff is.  There are just three sigs present, and I know one of them is my wormhole.  I find a distant wormhole, then I find a wormhole fairly close, when I realize: wait a second... math.

I see four ships on dscan.  I see three ships in the tower.  There is one retriever not accounted for!  Um... oops.  I throw the probes back out of the system.  Then I try to figure out where the Retriever is.  I look at each of three ore sites in the system.  Not at any of them.  Hmm, maybe another tower?  I look around but there is not one.  The retriever then warps into the tower. 

Rats.  Blew a potential ambush from not paying attention.  I assume the guy saw my probes.  If he has a clue, he won't be heading out again.

I fly to the two wormholes to see what they are.  The nearer one is the lowsec static, and the locals have put a warp bubble up at it.  The further one is a K162 from nullsec.  I suppose I can head out to null to do some exploring.

I decide to lurk a while more, just to see what these guys do.  Live pilots, even if in a force field are better than no pilots at all.  I warp back out to watch the tower.  And what to my wondering eyes should appear but... three ships.  Sure enough, one of the Retrievers is out in space.  Again I spin around the narrow beam of my dscan, and this time the first ore site I look at, which is just 2AU from me, there he is.  Can it be this easy?

I warp out.  He's about 120 from me, so I move away to get a good perch.  I cannot look at him  up close from so far, and it looks like he is just sitting idle in space.  That's odd.  There are asteroids all around him, including further along.  So now I have one 151 in about the right line.  Warping to 10 to it should put me in a great position to attack.

I think about it and I am spooked.  It looks too easy and I cannot see why he should be idly sitting there.  Not keen to lose another Tengu.  But I figure, my home is just one jump away.  I look at my wormhole, and -- nice! -- is it 16AU off.  This means I can transit it without being visible on dscan from here.  I can go home and get a stealth bomber.  That way, if it is a trap at least I don't lose too much.

I go home and get my Manticore.  Then I glide back into the system and warp to my perch in the ore anom.  The Retriever is still here.  I head in, warping to 10 from that asteroid.  I end up about 10km off the target.  From here I can see him fine, and I see that he is very close to a very small asteroid, mining it.  So I feel better on that score at least.  We'll soon find out if it is an ambush...

I start in, then I reconsider.  It is important to formulate your bug out plan before you get ambushed.  What's mine?  Er... well I will warp to that celestial.  OK, good enough.  I head in, setting an orbit for 2500m.  At about 4000m, I uncloak, and start locking.  I start getting systems going: warp disruptor, torpedoes, painter.  It all works as you'd expect.  My lock beats his attempt to warp out (if any).  The target is now helpless and my torpedoes pound into him.  Two volleys and he is in structure.  Three and kaboom.  I start locking the pod, but it warps clear.

I stare the wreck in surprise.  There is no loot.  What?  I dscan and there is nothing bad, so I go in just to make sure.  Sure enough.  No loot.  Loot fairy says: try again later.  Oh well.  I warp off, back to my wormhole, to reship.

I don't get lucky in nullsec, but I do find some sites.  Another 60m in various decryptors and salvage.  A nice night.


  1. Maths confuses me sometimes too. Just the small numbers, though.

    It's good to see you got the Retriever in the end. I know it can occasionally seem too good to be true. Thankfully, there are times when it is.

  2. Retrievers are squishy bait *hint hint*