Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Phoenix and Vulture

It's been a quiet few days for me.  Mainly that is because my main and my second account lesser main are trapped out in highsec.  I have an emergency backup scanner alt on one of my accounts, and he is in my system.  But I dislike trying to scan out using a Heron.  And that's especially true when there are squatters in my wormhole.

Squatters?  Well, perhaps vultures is a better label.  They moved in the day after TNC killed my tower.  I am guessing that someone found the siege underway and decided to set up shop.  However they have not committed firmly to it.  They have a small tower set up at our outer planet, with no hardeners or defenses.

We are not leaving this system, at least not without a fight.  But to get ready for that fight, we need a tower up first.  We need some new ships brought in.  Our existing ships are mostly packed with various stuff that I don't want to PVP with.  So we need a place to put that.  Also, we need the fittings we stripped off of our Ravens and other ships.

To fight the enemy, we need a working tower.  But to get the tower working, we need a lot of bulky parts.  To get in bulky parts, we need some dangerous hauling.  To mitigate the danger, we need characters in cloaky ships watching and guarding wormholes.  So, we have plans to move in characters and lots of replacement stuff.  However, for a couple days EVE has not been cooperating.  Last night our only connection went to nullsec.  I cannot roll our hole without exposing some serious ISK to danger, because our logged-out ships are all packed with stuff.  Indeed, I personally cannot roll our hole at all, by myself.

Tonight our kspace connection goes ls->C3a->C5a->C4b->home.  That's fine for getting in a cloaky ship, and probably also fine for a pod or very nimble frigate.  But it's not the sort of connection you'd want to run an Iteron V or Orca through, especially one stuffed to the gills with expensive POS parts.

When I get home from work, I take the opportunity to get Otto in, though, in a newly bought Cheetah.  There are two lowsec connections into C3a; he uses one about 10 jumps from Jita.  The C3->C5 wormhole is EOL, but he has no trouble.  It's nice to have a scanner back in.  I check around the system, and don't see any of our new enemy.  Then I log Otto out and get busy with my Jita alt buying all sorts of stuff that we will need.  A tower, guns, ECMs, more fuel.  I am trying using buy orders now, trying to save some money.  (I accidentally buy a big chunk of the wrong fuel, then immediately sell it, making a very modest profit.)

Otto is in; Von is not.  I still cannot do very much.  I need my guys and a better connection.  And also I have things to do: dinner, etc.  I go offline for an hour.

First thing I do once back is try to get Von in.  There is a second lowsec connection to C3 that is closest, about 15 jumps away out in Aridia.  I head out, while tweaking market orders on my Jita alt.  I am worried about the EOL wormhole I found earlier, but I don't want to check it out from above since I am busy.  Finally I get out to the right system, only to find out that the lowsec connection wormhole is gone.  Rats.  It's about 30 jumps to the other lowsec wormhole, and given that the EOL one is probably also expired, I am not inclined to try to go there.  I just sit cloaked out in Aridia while I wait for my guys to show up.

Jayne shows up first and tries to get a character who is at Jita in.  This must be via the lowsec wormhole that Otto used.  As he goes there, I log in Otto and search down from above.  And it does indeed turn out that the EOL wormhole has gone poof.   There is good news, though, sort of.  Our static has gone EOL.  Since I have not been watching, I don't know when it did.  I am not even sure it was not EOL when I brought in Otto.  So it might go any time.  But it is most likely to go in a few hours.

Since we cannot pop it, there's nothing to do but wait.  Jayne does a few things then logs off.  I'll text him if we get a good connection before 11:00.  I sit watching the wormhole, but I am paying scant attention.  I am listening to music and reading EVE blogs.  And I fly Von from the rear end of nowhere back to Jita.  Jita is always a good place to base from.

Eventually I pay attention, and our static is gone!  It's just 8:30.  I had not expected that.  It must have been EOL earlier and I just did not notice.  Real alert there, dummkopf.  I deploy probes and start scanning.

C4b has 9 sigs.  The first one I search down is a wormhole.  I warp to it: blue.  That's a C2, and it will have a highsec static.  Bingo.  I search does the other sigs to look for other wormholes.  There is a C3 static, which may or may not lead anywhere useful.  Then there is a second C2 wormhole, so I will have some options.  And there's a bunch of gas and relic sites which I don't resolve.

I head into C2a.  It has ten sigs, six of which turn out to be wormholes.  I came in one.  I find a nullsec link, a highsec that is EOL, another C2, a C1 (I think -- hard to tell them apart from C2), and finally the penultimate sig I scan down is the static highsec.  The final sig is also a wormhole.  I bookmark it for later, then head out into highsec.  Where am I?  Nice: out in the Forge about 6 jumps from Jita.  That'll do quite nicely.  Our new connection is hs->C2a->C4b->C4a.  Not ideal, but much better than average.  I text Jayne.  Timmay showed up while I was scanning, so I link the system in corp chat.  He has a guy to get back in.

I fly Von over and up, leaving him in C4b watching the wormhole to C2a.  Then I wait, keeping eyes on our static with Otto, while people come in.  I don't see anyone.  Jayne gets a blockade runner, and exits out to fly to Jita to pick up our new tower and some fuel to online it.  Timmay takes over scout-duty on our static.  I log in my Jita alt, and start buying stuff.

Jayne gets the tower in, and gets it anchoring.  He also grabs the six large bubbles that TNC had deployed there -- they could not fit them, but unanchored them before leaving as a nice gesture to us.  As the 30 minutes anchoring time tick down, I buy an Orca-load of various stuff to come in: POS parts, fuel, and stront.  I have to cut it down a lot to fit.  But finally I am off.  There's a moment of excitement when Jayne goes to online the tower.  He puts fuel in and does the online command, when a stealth bomber uncloaks.  Luckily, it's not in range to scram (or perhaps has no point) and Jayne gets away without a scratch.  But now we know the enemy is on and watching us.  We'll have to be extra careful moving around stuff.  We put Timmay in a Proteus guarding the static.

My alt brings the Orca across wspace to our system with no problems.  Then he warps to a random celestial at 100 km, and cloaks.  We wait for the tower to online.  Once it does, Jayne and I swap ships so that he's got the Orca and I have just a pod; I pod back out to kspace and head to Jita.  I'll get the Orca out later; for now it's needed to hold and move bulky stuff.  Jayne starts deploying the POS, starting with the ship maintenance array (i.e. ship hangar) and the component assembly array (storage).  Then he deploys a few small guns and other defenses.  The guns have no ammo (oops), and I forgot the neutralizer.  But it is a start.

At Jita, I now buy two new Ravens.  Then I buy fittings for a mostly travel arrangement, enough torps to fire for an hour or two straight from four Ravens, ammo for our POS guns, etc.  All this stuff goes in a freighter.  Also I load in the other POS parts and some more fuel which I had to leave at Jita earlier.  Then I set off for the highsec transfer system.

In our system, the guys are logging in some of the ships we had logged out in safespots.  We need Hiljah for the bash, so we shoot him an email.  I get someone else to watch the C2 wormhole so that I can fly in the two Ravens.  I head to our new tower, which looks awfully empty.  (No more x-large SMA for us.  Our in-system fleet will be minimal.)  Then I pod out to highsec.  When my alt gets there, I spend some time fitting up the Ravens.

There's a bit of excitement: the enemy brings in a blockade runner.  Timmay tries to stop it, but blockade runners are hard to catch.  I had not realized they had explored the wormhole: we've been on it almost all the time.  But it is possible they got to it before I did.  It zooms off to the tower to do who knows what.  Eventually it leaves.

I ferry in the two new Ravens, seeing nothing.  I am actually hoping that the guy in the bomber takes a shot at me, but he doesn't.  I refit back into my Tengu so that I help watch the static.  If they try another run in, perhaps I can lock in time or decloak it.

Hiljah appears, happily. This means our bash will happen.  But before that, we still have over 180000m^3 of stuff to go in.  We also have a bunch of stuff to go out (gas, PI goods, etc.) that was saved from the recent attack.  Hiljah and Jayne each get an alt into an Orca, then head out together, with me escorting.  Orcas warp painfully slowly.  But there is no attack, and they make it safely.  They give their cargo to my alt, and he gives them POS parts and stront.  It does not all fit even in two Orcas, so we have to triage.  Then the guys undock and return to wspace.  (I can now log off my Jita alt and get Otto back on to watch the enemy tower.)  I escort the Orcas back up.  Again the slow transit of wspace is nerve wracking, but no attack comes, and we get to the tower safely.

It's getting late, but everyone will stay until we get that tower in reinforcement.  We all hope it is not stronted and we can kill it.  It takes us quite a while to get our ships together, fitted as we want, etc.  Finally we are ready to go.

We form a small fleet of Ravens and start plonking at the tower.  I have been watching the enemy tower for a while; it has four empty ships in it.  As guys show up, Jayne sees a Nemesis off in space.  I tell him, silly, it's unmanned at the tower.  He says it's not at the tower.  I look again.  He's right -- it is not at the tower.  I was right it is not piloted.  Hiljah starts killing it.  Hey, we can capture it!  Stop!  But it's too late.  Well, at least the enemy does not have it.

(Later, we try to concoct a story as to why anyone would eject from a fitted T2 frigate near, but not within, a force field.  Here's mine: he was about to log off.  He was going to warp back to his tower but then decided to log out in space near his tower, so he could activate his cloak on logon and not be seen warping back into  the tower.  So he warped to ~50 from the tower.  He has become used to ejecting before logging out, and that's what he did, forgetting that he was not within the force field.)

Long story short: no enemy seen, we hammer the enemy tower, and the enemy tower did indeed have stront.  (I bet that is what the blockade runner was for.)  The enemy tower is reinforced; it will come out on Thursday at ~6:00 PM.  We'll see what happens then.
Today it's my system.
We get back to our tower, and people head to bed.  But not me -- there is a POS to put up.  I anchor and online the most important modules, and put ammo in the guns.  It's still not great, but it will have to do until tomorrow.  Gad, what an awful interface.  But I'll admit I kind of like playing internet-spaceship-tinkertoys.


  1. Having set up pos, it feels to me that setting up pos is deliberately dangerous, and that the painful part is just a (fortunate?) side effect.

  2. Parts of it are dangerous, and should be. I.e. loading up the guns with ammo. But mostly it is just tedious but safe. You sit in the bubble. Launch for corp. Move around cube. Anchor (wait a few seconds). Online. Wait 2 minutes. Repeat.

  3. Great stories. You've made my top 5 daily "must read" list. Best of luck back in your home. Can't believe you flew an orca through w-space. Must have been the 10 second warp / 100mn MWD fit that's good for hauling. Keep up the good work.

  4. Nony: we fly in Orcas rarely, preferring Itty Vs. (Of course most of our flying in/out is in Epithals.) But if we have a quiet connection that is short, and we need to get in lots of bulk goods, we will do it. Once you get a tower set up, the only bulky goods that need to come in are POS fuel. However, sometimes you may want to move ships that will fit in an Orca, or gas. Or even ore.

    I usually fly an Orca with 100mn afterburner; it gets into warp in about 20s. One of those we used two days ago does have the 100mn microwarp.

    Orca or Iteron, we escort cargo-haulers using cloaky T2s and T2s, for example Falcons, Tengus, etc. These things can fight, but what is more important is that we have eyes on the wormholes and in the systems we are moving through. If you see anything happening, you don't fly Orcas.

  5. I would've loved to keep that bomber. I thought you were talking about the POS ships, because why would you leave a ship outside the POS. Tunnel vision and trying to be a hero...

  6. just a thought. wsop and all, I love reading the stories, are really do wish you the best of luck, but perhaps a couple days of delay so that any sensitive info (such as not having lots of ammo in the pos) is changed by the time the enemy can read this.