Wednesday, October 2, 2013

A Supply Run Gank

A new day of EVE, and I am hoping for a highsec connection.

My C4 wspace system is two layers deep in wspace.  It has a C3 static, and C3s must have either highsec, lowsec, or nullsec.  C3s with lowsec statics are most probable.  Still, the known data suggest that one in four C3 systems will have a highsec static.

As it happens, we've had a workable highsec link drought for a while.  It's been a week or more, and we've popped more than one wormhole to no avail.  We did get a highsec twice, but both times not contiguous to the main part of highsec.  We're not running a freighter through 5 lowsec systems.  So stuff is piling up, including a bunch of stuff I am hoping to get in.  I want to try doing some reactions.

I sit down to EVE, and log in.  My system has two sigs only, both new.  I warp out from my POS, fire probes, and quickly resolve both.  I'd prefer to fly first to the non-static one, but both have high signature and I cannot tell them apart by their tag.  I guess at which one is static, and fly to the other.  Wrong: static.  Oh well.  I bookmark it and fly to the other.  It's a K162 and I guess from the color it is C2.  I'll investigate here first.  I traverse the wormhole, and consult staticmapper.  I was wrong; it is C3.  Lowsec static.  Lots of sigs, though, so I launch probes.  A long search later and I have found the static, a nullsec connection, and a C4 which I dutifully enter and trigger the few sites in.  No highsec.

I return home, and fly to our static C3, and traverse.  Again, staticmapper tells me I have a lowsec.  Grr.  I search it down anyway.  There are no particularly dangerous wormholes, so it looks like a good place to run some sites.  My man Jayne comes on line, we get coms going, and I update him.  We get our C3 sleeper-killing PVE fleet ready.  Then we go in and smash four Outpost Frontier Strongholds and one Relic site, total haul 230m in blue loot and salvage.

I head offline for a while, to make coffee and re-familiarize myself with the countenance of my wife.  Meanwhile, Jayne is busy popping our static.  When I return in a half hour, he and Hiljah, who has just come online, have bad news: the new C3 is another lowsec static.  Boo.  But there are sigs, so we hope and start resolving them.  I don't even it make it there and it is done: nothing useful.

We back out, and pop it again.  This time, I go in to help resolve sigs, which are numerous.  Again there is a lowsec static.  Boo hoo.  We search and find an EOL C123 (probably C2 by color), not interesting.  A bunch of gas, some relic sites.  A nullsec wormhole.  And finally, my last sig... a highsec!  Hurrah!  I go out for a look and we are 26 jumps to Jita.  Boo!  Well, that is a disappointment.  One hopes for closer.  26 jumps in a freighter (and back) is no fun.

Still, I want my stuff, so I get together a load in Jita, and start my alt out on the long haul.  I have 1.1b on board, so I am little nervous crossing Niarja.  But I don't get ministered to with love, and I keep moving.  Jayne sends his freighter pilot the other way, as well as an expensive Viator load of small valuable stuff.  Now we've got a lot of time while we move stuff.

We're not idle.  Our mains are keeping an eye out in C3a.  I get in my Manticore and start looking for towers.  There is one live one, which I search down and bookmark.

There is activity: first a Viator appears at the highsec and leaves.  Jayne thinks to get his info.  Later a Vexor appears at the highsec wormhole, pops out into highsec, then right back in.  He is polarized.  Hiljah is at the wormhole in a battleship; the Vexor easily warps off.  Hmm, maybe a faster-locking ship would be better.  Still, we get his corp -- DisturbedGamers -- the same as the other guy.  And Jayne sees the direction he warped, and with some messing around with the probe view, affirms that he warped towards the nullsec wormhole.

I re-enter C3a from highsec, so I warp over to the nullsec and go through.  The Vexor is not at the wormhole, but local works here (amazing!).  There is one guy in local, and I get his corp: DisturbedGamers.  Yup, what we are seeing is a handy supply route from null to highsec.  I go back into C3a to watch the hole.

Soon there's a report on our coms: activity at the highsec wormhole.  Someone is coming in.  We wait... and its a Viator.  Same guy as before, probably, returning home.  He cloaks immediately and evades our guy at the highsec.  But Jayne gets his corp and alerts me.

I am about 5000 from the nullsec hole, so I immediately head towards it.  I know cannot get the guy on the C3a side.  The other side is the right place.  If he has help there, I can evade.  If he has no help, I may be able to lock him.  If I lock him, he will have to go back through to C3a and be polarized.  I'd rather he not see me exit ahead of him, or he would be smart not to traverse.  So I uncloak and hit my afterburner.  I beat him to the wormhole and traverse.  I'm in null... and Local is completely empty, except me.  OK: no danger here.  The hunt is on.  I move into a 500m orbit around the wormhole, dropping my session change cloak.  And I turn on my sensor booster.  I will need to be lucky, but there is a solid chance to lock him if his traverse places him within 2000m of the wormhole.

Booomp.  The wormhole pulses and crackles.  He's here.  I've got my control key down and I'm hovering the mouse over the overview... and there he is.  I click, and click, til locking begins.  Then I turn on my warp scrambler and torpedoes.  I set myself to orbit him at 1000.

The lock completes.  Got him!  Now he cannot cloak.  Torpedoes erupt.  He starts moving away from me, away from the hole*.  I remember to turn on my target painter.  He is pulling away from me, to 5000m, so I turn on my afterburner and approach.  And yet he is still gaining!  He pulls to 6000, 7000m.  My scrambler has range of what?  I cannot recall; 8750m is what I remember.  He is almost out of it!  I overheat my afterburner to keep up.  Yet he still gains!  How?  I should be faster!  Will it matter?  He's into armor.  He is at 9500; he can warp now but he is in structure, and boom.  Blown up!

Hands atremble, I start locking the pod.  He can get away I am sure; pods warp almost instantly.  But he won't get away if he delays more than a bit, because of my sebo.  Glory be, I lock him.  Painted and torpedoed and podded.  (In retrospect I realize that he may have intentionally taken the pod express.  No implants.)

Now I circle the wreck, and remember to turn off my heat and afterburner.  I have a look and the loot fairy has smiled.  200m in nice loot has dropped.  I take the small choice bits, and remember to grab the corpse, while I tell the guys to get a transport of some kind out here that can carry 5000m^3.  I am nervous sitting out in space uncloaked until again I realize that the only people in local are me and corpmate Timmay (who had warped to the C3 side of the wormhole during the chase).  Boy, this local is quite the intel tool.

The wreck is 36km from the wormhole.  The chase sure did not seem that far.  Jayne comes out in a Iteron V and bounces off a nearby planet to get to the loot faster.  Since local is still empty, I head back home to drop off loot at our tower.  I don't want get into a fight while carrying a 100m ISK faction smartbomb!

I have a look at my modules while I repair them with nanite paste from the heat damage.  This is when I discover why the enemy was so fast, and why he never warped.  He was fast because he had a microwarp drive.  His drive wasn't shut off because I didn't have a warp scrambler; it's a warp disruptor.  Duh.  Von: in future, please pay more attention to your ride.

We get in and out all our stuff with no further ships sighted.  It is a great team hauling effort, with five of us at one point in various industrials moving as a fleet.  Finally, I undock my mostly empty freighter and turn on autopilot back to Jita, and go to bed.

* This was a tactical mistake.  He should have gone back through the hole.  Although it would polarize him, he would have another good chance to cloak immediately and get away clean.  He could then wait 5 minutes and have another good chance to get away into nullsec.

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