Thursday, January 30, 2014

An Industrial Relic

It's just Jayne and me on tonight.  There is an K162 wormhole from a C3 in our system.  The C3 system turns out to have a highsec static.  So, I log my Jita alt and fire up the freighter, and we move some PI goods and other odd supplies.  (This takes an hour or so which I won't bother with.)  Logistics completed, we go to check out our static.  It may or may not have already been instantiated.  Regardless, there are no ships to be seen in C4a, and it has very few anoms.  Since we are inclined to zip up and do our own sites anyway, this makes our decision easy.

We get out the Orca and battleships, and proceed to the C3 connection.  One pass through with everyone puts it well beyond half mass.  Then to our static womrhole and do the same.  Now back to the C3, and wait a minute for polarization to abate.  Then I run through, making it critical.  I come back in heavy, but it is not enough mass and the hole does not pop.  Bother.  Well, we'll tidy that up presently with an Onyx.  Meanwhile, back to the other wormhole.  Two battleship passes neatly eliminate it.  Have we become trapped?  We have, in a good way.

Now I go off to get IRL coffee and act like a human being for a while, while Jayne dispatches the C3 and get ready to run some sites.  I come back and get in my Raven, and off we go.  Sites go down quickly enough.  We are throwing out tractor units in each site and salvaging later.  So, with the third and last site gone, I warp to get a salvaging destroyer.

Destroyers used to be the salvager of choice, before the Noctis.  Then they were not, since the Noctis has massive tractor range and they do not.  Now, with Rubicon, destroyers are making a comeback.  The tractor unit automatically gathers all the wrecks; when you get to the site you don't need to tractor anything.  Just warp in, lock up wrecks, and salvage like mad.  I do this in the first site.  In the later two, the tractor units still have not gathered every wreck.  They are slow.  So I end up having to microwarp around a bit in the second, and in the third Jayne brings a Noctis.  But the loot is gathered fast enough, 260m ISKies worth.  Then I'm back to base safe and sound.

What to do?  Well, it's too late to run sites in C4a (once we instantiate it), but we can always hunt.  So, that's what we'll do.  I get in my Manticore; Jayne gets a Hound.  I warp out to scan, quickly resolving the new static.  I carefully align to it, and warp.  You want to go as fast as possible, because now all your potential victims get alerted by the accursed discovery scanner.  (CCP, please remove discovery scanner in wspace.)  Anyway, I get on grid with the new wormhole, then burn over to it as I bookmark it and tell Jayne to warp to me.  Then I cross.

As always, the first thing to do when entering a new wspace system is a dscan.  I do that.  There is an Iteron V on scan, 10 customs offices, and no towers.  OK, we have a victim!  I tell Jayne.  Then I move off the wormhole and cloak, then get busy with dscan.  It is unlikely the Itty V is doing anything other than planet-gooing.  I look at six planets.  Not at any of them.  Wormhole noise -- it's Jayne joining me. At Planet X, I see the Itty V.  Immediately I throw it into warp to the CO at 10km, and I tell Jayne.

I land on grid, and there is the Itty V -- 30km from me.  That's not ideal, but he does not seem to be leaving, so there's still a good chance.  I head toward him.  The CO might uncloak me, so I need to avoid that... and Jayne is saying Oops.  Oops?  Oh.  I see Jayne.  He's not cloaked.  (He warped to the planet and ended up being decloaked by the CO.)

I dither for a moment, then realize I should get uncloaked and fire even if I cannot point.  Maybe the Itty V pilot is AFK or just paralyzed, and even if not, they are pretty slow and weak.  So I uncloak and start locking, but as I do this, the Itty blows up.  Jayne has killed it in a single volley.  (Killmail shows no tank at all.  Ugh.)  The pod is out there, and although I still am not in scrambler range, I start locking it.  Lock completes, and I fire a round of torps at it, but before my torps hit Jayne has beat me again.  Oh well, at least this time I managed to whore on the killmail.  (I guess the fact that I shot at him counts, even though I did zero damage.)

Jayne loots the few modules of any value.  Nothing left but a small amount of low-value PI goods.  Hmm, excitement over.

There being no tower in the inner system, I figure there must be a tower at the outer planet.  So I warp out to have a look.  Maybe someone has not gotten the word.  Dscan shows two towers, one of them with Chinese or Japanese in its name, the other with Cyrillic.  (Odd neighbors.)  There is also a Retriever and some shuttles.  The Retriever makes me hope that we can get another kill, but a check of the anoms in system shows that all of the ore anoms (and there are four) are in the inner system.  So it is going to be at a tower.  Both towers are easily located, there being just two moons.  The Russian tower has the Retriever and empty shuttles.  So I sit and watch for a while.  I hope that the Retriever will do something stupid like warp off to the inner system to mine.  But it does not.  After a few minutes, Jayne wraps up his night and logs off.

I stay watching the tower, while I do stuff on my market alt in the other window.  I get hopeful for a while which a new Retriever logs on.  But it does not do anything.  After a while I decide to explore through this system's static, which links to a C3 system.  The system has only two sigs, so finding it should be easy, and the guys sitting at the tower won't see the probes.  I warp off, fire probes, and quickly scan it down.  Then I warp to it and enter.

C3 is not inspiring.  A quick warp around shows no ships in space, nor wrecks or other interesting objects.  Wormhol.es shows it has a lowsec static, but it is hidden among 10 signatures.  Do I want to scan 10 sigs in my unbonuses Manticore?  Normally I would, but it is getting late for me.  Right now, I don't think it is worth it.  So I return to C4b to sit at the tower.  I'll watch Russians do either nothing at all, or (hopefully) something stupid.  Or, who knows.  Maybe something smart.

When I get back to the tower, one of the Retrievers is gone, swapped for an Orca.  Maybe they are going to try to pop our static!  I log off my market alt and get my combat alt logged on back at our home tower.  If they try to pop the hole without a decent escort, I'll pounce.  But they don't.  The ships just sit there.

Eventually the second retriever turns into a Heron.  This is not unexpected.  They must find our wormhole to pop it.  The Heron warps off into the inner system, and I follow.  I want to know when they start trying to pop, and that will be after they scan it down.  The Heron disappears, as I expect.  But no probes appear.  I am in scan range, so this puzzles me.  After a few minutes, I warp back to the tower to check if the Heron is there.  No.  Well, what could it be doing?

I realize that they have a podded comrade out in kspace, and they will want to get him in.  This may mean they need to scan down C3a.  So I warp to that wormhole again, and cross.  Nothing.  I warp into the inner system for another dscan, and I see probes on scan.  Just three probes, though, not all either.  So the guy must be scanning sigs near to a distant planet.  I warp out there and verify that all eight probes are present.  Then I fire my own probes, and scan down the two sigs.  Luckily, one of them is the system's static lowsec wormhole.  I throw my probes out of the system, then sit and wait.  If that Heron is scanning out, it will have to exit out into lowsec to find out where the wormhole goes.  And then it may come back in polarized.  Or not.  Either way, I have a shot at it.

Sure enough, after another minute or two (this guy does not scan very fast), I see a Heron on dscan.  Then it appears on grid.  It is within scrambler range, and I consider going for it.  But I think not; it can escape out the wormhole.  Better to wait.  The Heron burns over to the wormhole, and out it goes.

Now I uncloak, turn on my sebo, and orbit the wormhole close.  And I dscan to make sure nobody is dropping on me.  They are not.  After perhaps a minute, bwooomp-crackle.  Wormhole noise.  I get ready.  My mouse is poised over the overview to lock this guy.  He uncloaks; yes it is the expected Heron; I start locking.  I turn on my systems, and just as I am about to fire, he's gone.  Rats.

I think he must have cloaked, so I burn towards his last position, although I am pretty unsure about it.  I was not watching.  Not there.  I orbit the wormhole several time at various distances.  Not there.

Eventually I see him on dscan, which I am still doing in case there are locals that I don't know about.  He must have warped off and I somehow missed it.  Oh well.  (He's gotten killed before in a Heron and he was probably stabbed up.)

Well, I won't get him in here any more.  I warp back to the wormhole to C4b and cross.  I'll wait here.  Perhaps he will come.  But after a few minutes of nothing, I realize that I have IRL chores to do before bed, and also in-game chores.  So, I give up on stalking the Heron and warp home.

Coda: This morning Jayne tells me he took another trip in their system in his Hound just to see if they might be there, and found a lone Retriever out mining.  Got it and the pod.  Russian dudes: don't do stuff with wormholes open and unwatched!

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