Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Vargurs Barge In

It's a snow day here on the East coast of the US of A.  Near blizzard conditions.  I drove home early from work, and the boy is entertaining himself.  What's to be done?  Play EVE, that's what. 

I log in, and our system appears quiescent.  There are three anoms, all of them Frontier Command Posts, same as yesterday.  There are four sigs.  This is one more than I expect, and in any case probably the two wormholes from night are dead.  Time to scan!  I warp out in my Manticore, deploy probes, and start.

Both wormholes are gone which were present last night (our static and a K162).  We had two data sites last night; one has vanished.  So, there should be two sigs.  But there are four.  Hmm.  I find a wormhole, which from its tag is newish, so I guess it must be our static.  I bookmark it, but I don't instantiate it.  It's probably not instantiated and I want to leave us zipped up.  The next sig is a gas site.  OK, cool.  I instantiate it to get the Sleepers coming.  After I get this last sig, maybe I will tap it out.  It depends on what this last one is...

The last sig is a wormhole.  Hmm.  Not expected.  Well, it was around at downtime, so I think it must be some K162.  I warp to it to check it out, and, no.  It is our static.  I blew that call.  Oh well, I might as well go in and check it out.  I burn over to it and enter.

I dscan from the hole, and not much to be seen.  It's a small system, just one tower and no ships on scan.  Wormhol.es reports European time zone, and this appears to be Russians from the Cyrillic I can see as the names of various items on dscan.  I look at anomalies -- a nice set. 

There are five sigs.  I fire probes as I move off the wormhole and throw them out of the system.  There is one planet off scan, so I warp out there to check.  Nothing.  Time to scan.  First I determine which sig is the wormhole I came in.  Ignore it.  The second sig is another wormhole, then gas, radar, and gas.  Only one sig other than our static, and I am guessing the locals are idle.  A perfect system for running sites in, later.  Right now, nobody is on but me.   Time to head home, and check out that other wormhole.

I warp to our our static and jump.  Then I warp again, to the unexplored wormhole signature.  The new wormhole is "dangerous", and yellowish.  Thus it must be C4, and I dub it C4c in my bookmark.  I burn over and enter.  Dscan is clear from the wormhole, no ships or towers.  I bookmark it and get out my probes, then cloak and throw the probes out of the system.  Now time to hunt.  I warp around the rather large system.  In the central system, there is a tower and a Vargur.  Um... what's a Vargur?  I am pretty sure it's a tech 2 battleship of some kind.  Info tells me it's the Minmatar Marauder.  Well, let's see if it is at the tower.  I isolate the planet via dscan, then warp to it, and determine the right moon.  Landing on grid, yes, the Vargur is sitting there.  It is manned, at least.  So there's that.

Almost as soon as I land on grid, the Vargur logs out.  Hmm.  Well, that's a favorable sign; if he is logging out, he may be bringing in some other ship.  A lesser ship... perhaps a hauler... so I wait.  After a few minutes, nobody warps in to the tower, so I figure it was just a logout.  Too bad.  Time to scan the system.  I'll sit at the tower just in case anyone logs in.

The outer system has two planets, with three sigs.  I quickly scan these, which are gas and radar sites.  Then I move to the inner system.  Just as I am scanning the second time, the Vargur warps in again.  Rats!  My probes!  I throw them back out of the system, but it may be too late.  Is it?  No way to tell...

The Vargur sits for a moment, then it aligns and warps.  This is a battleship, so it warps nice and slow.  I get a great view of the direction.  It warped towards the sun, but left of it, and somewhat up.  I call up my map and orient myself.  OK, here's the tower, and there's the sun.  What's left and up?  Oh.  The wormhole to my home system.

What the heck?  Why would the Vargur warp to my system? ... except to run sites.  Can a lone Marauder do that?  Well, I know the answer: yes.  Penny has been writing about it.  Still, doing sites by yourself in an ill-scouted non-zipped system seems pretty stupid to me.  But hey, this is EVE.  So I throw it into warp to the wormhole.  I land, and the Vargur is gone off dscan, so it must have jumped.  I give it a minute to get off the wormhole, and then I follow.

Back home.  It always feels good, knowing that I cannot be cut off here.  Nobody is on the other side of the wormhole, at least nobody I can see.  But I see wrecks on dscan.  And there are two Vargurs now, not just one.  Well, that's somewhat more reasonable for a site-running squad.  But it is still crazy to run sites without operational security.

no hurry
There is nowhere in our system those wrecks could come from except our Frontier Command Posts.  Before I do anything else, I bookmark each one of them.  Now I have a moment, so I focus dscan and find them in the first anom I point at.  I warp to it at 100.  There they are, two Vargurs with two tractor units, killing sleepers.  Killing sleepers slowly.  I am used to the rate my team runs sites at; by comparison, this is glacial.  Well, it gives me time to think.  The first item of business: make a perch. I head away from them and their wreck-ball.

This site is not particularly hard for C4, with max DPS just over 1000, and not much neuting or scramming.  Still, 1000 DPS is more than my Manticore puts out, and indeed more than any ship I have easy access to can do.  I might log an alt, but I am awful at trying to control two ships in PVP, and also, the enemy is in dscan range of my tower.  So it is unlikely to work.  And the same problem holds with calling up Jayne, who might be able to get free.  He'd appear at the tower.

As I am thinking such thoughts, I am counting the wrecks and trying to see if they have salvagers.  They don't.  So this is my plan: wait to see how they will salvage.  Will they cut corners?  Perhaps I can exploit a mistake.  So, I sit and wait.  The last few ships are finally, finally killed.  Then I watch as their tractor slow pulls.

What lurks out there?
A destroyer warps in.  Ah, this is interesting.  Should I attempt it with them guarding it?  I am just pondering that, when one of the two Vargurs warps off.  Where is it?  I don't know.  But not here, and that is what matters.  Against one I might have a chance to kill the destroyer before they get their wits about them.  But before I have to make that decision, the second Vargur warps and disappears off dscan.

It's on.

pitiful loot
The destroyer is sitting still, firing many salvagers.  I warp to within 20km, then close as I watch him go.  There is little point in attacking early; I might as well let him clean the site.  When I am within 8000m, I stop.  He is almost done... and now he has all wrecks under a beam.  It's time.  I set orbit around him at 1000m, then mentally rehearse what I am about to do.  Then I do it: uncloak.  Turn on sebo.  Lock.  Turn on remaining weapons systems.  This all happens in order, and the first round of torps hits him.

I am hitting dscan.  Nothing.  So far, so good.  The second round, and then the third.  Boom.  The pod is ejected, and I try to lock it.  The lock is a second from completing, when he warps off.   No trophy today.

I dscan again (clear), then open the wreck and grab everything.  (The loot fairy has frowned a mighty frown on me today.)  Then I move off and cloak.  I am curious to see whether the Vargurs will warp in.  They don't.  After a short wait, I head over to watch the wormhole.  I guess they left.  I am now expecting a closure attempt.

closing wormholes is all the rage
I watch for a few minutes, and sure enough, wormhole sound.  But it is not an Orca.  It's an Anathema.  Huh.  Scout.  For what?  It moves off and warps.  After a minute, it returns, and a Vargur appears too.  Both of them leave.  I guess the Vargur was hiding in my system, perhaps thinking there were more than one of me.  Perhaps the Anathema flew to make sure the wreck was looted?  I don't know.

A minute later, the second Vargur appears on dscan, then on grid, and it leaves too.  OK, everyone I know about is out.   I keep watching.

The scout comes back in, and cloaks.  What for?  Ah, another wormhole noise.  And finally, the expected Orca comes and goes.  I watch.  I won't attempt to go after it in their system, even though they may possibly be foolish enough to not escort it.  So I will just watch as they operate.  Maybe I will get lucky and they will screw up the math and strand a ship in with me.

Five minutes later, a second pass of the Orca.  Then, five minutes after that, I see the scout on the hole; it leaves.  The Orca enters.  The wormhole is critical.  The Orca makes its final pass, and the wormhole pops.  Goodbye, Vargur people.

Have I written anything about basic opsec for wspace?  Maybe I should.

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