Thursday, February 27, 2014

Killing a Tractor

I've just sat down at the computer, after having decided to wait for an EOL wormhole to die.  That did not go so well -- it turns out the wormhole must have been very freshly EOL when I found it.  So I waited about four hours for it to die.  But finally it is gone, and I will have a new static wormhole to explore through.  First things first: must find it.  I am in my Manticore in case there is someone I can attack in the new system-to-be.  I launch probes, and quickly pick out the new sig from among the three gas sites we have.

Now I align to the signature, and make sure I am up to speed.  Then I warp.  I want there to be the minimum amount of time possible between my instantiating the wormhole and my being through it.  I land on grid, and I cross.  Let's see if there's anything interesting.

Usually, there is not anything interesting.  I've had a whole week of nothing.  But this time, there is.  There is a tower and four ships: Rattlesnake, Tengu, Noctis, and Probe.  That might not be anything by itself.  but there are also sleeper wrecks.

Spider tanking
I burn off the wormhole, not forgetting to bookmark it.  Then I get dscan up and get a general bearing on the anom where the wrecks are.  Then I narrow it.  I miss on the first two tried -- several anoms are quite close together -- but on the third try I am in a Frontier Command Post, along with the Rattlesnake and Tengu.  I warped to 100km, and they are almost exactly 100km from me.  Actually a bit further: I cannot look at either of them.  But I can look at one of their wrecks, which I do so I can see them better.  It's a spider setup.

At this point, if Jayne were around, I'd try to gank them.  A couple battleships with heavy neuts... But Jayne is asleep.  Hiljah has one character logged on, but he's AFK.  So, it's just me.  Being just me, I doubt I can gank this pair.  But the Noctis (and lack of mobile tractor unit) give me hope.  Let's hang out, make a perch, and see how these guys do salvaging.

Faster, please.
I head away from the pair to make my perch.  This takes time as they oh so slowly kill the sleeper wave.  I finally get out so that all of the wrecks are at least 150 from me, and I make my perch.  And finally the spider pair kill the last sleeper.  But wait, it's not the last.  That was wave two.  Here's wave three: three battleships and four cruisers.  Ugh, this is taking too long.  I check the clock.  It's already 11:30.  I go to bed at midnight.  Hurry up you guys!  I want to kill you sooner rather than later!

There's time, so I decide to locate the tower.  This turns out to be almost trivial: it's at a planet with just one moon.  I warp over and land on grid.  The Noctis is there, but unmanned.  The Probe is also there, and it is manned.  The name of the pilot suggests it's an alt of one of the spider-tankers.  So, I have the feeling that this is just one guy, or maybe two.  Having seen what there is to see, I warp back over to my perch.

The last sleeper wave is slowly getting killed.  Finally, it's over.  (Whew.)  The Rattlesnake and Tengu warp off -- but not before deploying a tractor unit.  It starts pulling in wrecks.  Ugh.  Well, that they have a Noctis out at all suggests they mean to use it.  So I am still hopeful.  And that they left suggests they might be getting it now.  I am watching dscan like a hawk.  But the Noctis does not appear on my grid.  Instead, I see a new small sleeper wreck appear.

Well, evidently they have decided to run another site.  I warp to the tower: no, not here.  I spin around dscan and find them in a new anom.  I warp over to it at 100km.  Four wrecks, so I know it is right.  But they are not here.  Where are they?  I look around.  Back at the tower.

Evidently they have just noticed the new sig in the system.  This may be because the first anom despawned.  (I am still holding to my theory that new sigs are not pushed, but there is an update when sites go away.)  In any case, something has spooked them.  Let's see what they do.  I warp back to the perch, keeping an eye on dscan.

I expect to see probes of some kind.  But after a minute or two, no probes.  Instead, I see a new sleeper wreck.  Surprise.  They've gone back to ratting without determining the threat level.

This would be great if I had a fleet to drop on them.  But instead it causes me a problem.  I want to be in bed in 15 minutes.  Given how long the last site took, I don't have time to wait around for them to get around to using that Noctis.  I want to get things done now, so I can do my PI and log off.  So... I think it's time to go after the tractor.

Unfortunately, the Snake and Tengu are just within dscan range.  So, unless they are totally clueless, they'll see me.  Either ship can easily drive me off.  But I think the odds are good I'll have some time before they notice, and my recollection is it does not take that must time to kill a tractor.  If they reship, that's more time I have.  Or if they waffle on attacking me because they have no information.  I think it's worth a shot.

Predamaged.  Nice.
First, I get set.  I set my dscan range to 11 AU.  This is just shorter than the distance to the other anom; this way I get warning of them moving.  Then, I warp in from my perch to 30km from the tractor.  I set an orbit at 25km, uncloak, lock it, and open fire on it.

I am a bit surprised to see it has significant armor damage already.  That's helpful.  It takes only two volleys to smash the shields and another for the armor.  Wow, this is going much faster than I thought.  I turn on my afterburner and head straight for the tractor.  Is it going to pop in three volleys?  No -- it's got a lot of structure.  My next volley destroys perhaps 1/8 of the structure.  Well, at least it won't die before I get close.  I set an orbit for 5km, then set to watching dscan.
Im in ur base killin ur tractor

The first few dscans I make are clear.  But then I see the Rattlesnake and Tengu, and this calls for a decision.  I could bail now, on the theory they are coming to get me.  But the POS is close, and I expect them to bail to the POS if they see anything untoward, and only then decide what to do.  So I decide to push it.  Let's see if they land on grid.  If they do, I'll bail.  Meanwhile, I am killing their tractor.

Seconds tick away, with my volleys every 8 of them.  Still nothing on grid.  Still nothing.... and boom.  Tractor killed.  I swoop in and grab the loot from the wreck.  Mmm, 36m ISK worth of blue loot.  Then I warp off ASAP.  I could stick around and pop wrecks if I was mean, but I'm not really.

Now I am done.  I'd like to stick around and perhaps ninja-salvage until they do something.  But I have no time for that.  It's PI, and logoffski for me.
Loot fairy: you're all right

All told, killing the tractor took 10 volleys of Caldari Navy Scourge torpedoes.  My cycle time is 8.25 seconds; thus, the total time spent killing the thing after uncloaking was about 75 seconds.

They could have shooed me off with either of their ships, but they did not.  Why?  To understand it, I think it helps to see it from their perspective.  There they are running sites, when all of sudden, they see a Manticore on scan.  OK, they bail and get safe at the POS.   Manticore still on scan -- evidently it is not just briefly seen moving off of a wormhole  Where is it?  It takes a while to locate; presumably they think to look at their tractor, and they see I am in that site.  Do they attack?  Seems obvious except they don't know I am alone.  For all they know, I am bait.  This stays their hand just long enough.  Maybe they even decide to go for it with a PVP ship or two, but by that time, I am gone.

Of course, the proper way to run sites is to keep updating your discovery scanner and bug out ASAP whenever you see a new signature.

1 comment:

  1. Nice post as usual. You've got so much content I can hardly keep up!

    ReplyDelete