Tuesday, May 20, 2014

An Intrusion

It's the weekend.  I killed a pair of miners earlier, something I've never done before.  So I am in a good mood.

I am also in a good mood because I am outside, on a sunny but cool late spring day.  I am watching boys (mostly) playing baseball.  Or a modest approximation of baseball, as played by children of ages seven and eight.

I'm a coach for my team, though not the one who pitches today.  So, when my team is up to bat I coach near first base.  My job is to keep on the boys about paying attention to their running and not the ball.  And running through the bag.  Also, of course, offering positive feedback about their hitting and running as much as is reasonable.  On defense, I have to position several of my players almost every inning, since they have very little idea of where they should be playing.  Then I watch them to make sure they are ready and paying attention.  (Small boys lack much focus, and baseball as played by this age group has much down time.)  And I yell at them to throw to first, remind them of where forced outs are, etc.  I try to encourage them all even when they fail.  It's all very low key.  We are losing 5-2 after the first inning, but that is not really dampening my mood at all.

I am out in the field, watching my guys fail to get another out at first base, although they do try, when I get a text.  I pull out the phone and have a quick look, but I cannot read it at all in this bright sunlight, and I should be paying attention.  After the next hit, there's a delay as the other team gets their next boy up to bat.  I take off my sunglasses and shade my phone with my other hand, and I can read it.  It's Jayne.
Crap.  There's nothing like being helpless as your tower is attacked to spoil the mood.  But I figure it should take the enemy, whoever they are, some time to do serious damage.  My tower is better designed than last time, at least.  It has a mix of small artillery and ECMs, as well as the small amount of other stuff.  And Jayne is there.  Our one guy with Starbase Defense Management is one of his characters, so he can do what he can with the tools there.  (Come Kronos, we're going to have a lot more starbase defenders.)

Meanwhile, the ball game rolls on.  My team is up to bat, bottom of the second.  We get several hits, but the opponents have a couple of good players in the infield.  These kids can actually throw and catch decently, unlike many at their age.  So, combined with my team's underwhelming hitting, they are getting outs.  We don't score at all.  Back into the field, and the last inning repeats itself.  We get one out before the opponent gets their five runs, which is the league's per-inning scoring limit.  And we swap again.  My team is up to bat, and I am near first base in foul territory.  Buzzzt.  A new text arrives.  This time I am right on it.
I feel better.  I have little idea what's going on, but Jayne wouldn't say that unless the enemy were doing something quite inexplicable.  Enough so that I doubt they are serious in attacking.

But back to important spaceship baseball business.  My better hitters are up, including The Boy leading off.  He whacks his usual hit, which is too strong to act like a bunt but too weak to get out of the infield.  As usual, the hit almost reaches third base then dies.  With nobody on base, there is no force-play over there; they have to throw the ball to first base.  The throw is off, and the first baseman has to leave the bag to grab it.  He tries to get back, but The Boy beats him out!  He runs exactly the way we've repeatedly told them: don't look at the ball after you hit it, head down and run run run, hit the bag at full speed, overrun it.  So I am proud.  Ha.  Good times.  Take that, stupid EVE.  The next batter gets a single, then the next gets another hit that makes it slightly out into the outfield.  Balls in the outfield mean the kids are allowed to try for extra bases; The Boy sees this and alertly scoots home.  Yay us.  The rest of the inning goes downhill, with two outs at first and a tag at third (not forced).  We do score another run.  But now we're down 10-4.

Their raps.  This inning we have one of our weaker players playing pitcher.  The "pitcher" at this level does not actually pitch; the other team's coach does that.  But he is allowed to stand at the pitcher's mound.  The pitcher is about the most important defender at this level of baseball, because the majority of hits will be fielded by him.  If he can throw, and the first baseman can catch, you get outs.  If he can't throw, or does not know where to throw, you don't.  In this case, he can't throw effectively.  He gets close on one hit that goes right of the mound, but otherwise is not even getting close to getting outs.  After the other team loads up the bases, he gets confused on two plays and does not get a throw off to anywhere.  They get their five runs.

I like the sound of that.  Evil laughter is unlikely unless there is little real danger.  I am not sure when I can be on, so I don't answer that one.  Baseball ends when it ends, although we do have a time limit on starting innings.

By this time it is clear the other team is just better.  They have slightly worse hitting and much better fielding. We get a few more runs, while they score their five in each inning.  Final score: 20-8.  We do the post game "good sportsmanship" rituals, and I award the game ball to a kid for trying hard and paying attention.  Then most of the kids have to leave.  (Chop chop!  On to the next scheduled item!)

I am still doing the "post game talk with parents" thing, gently encouraging one of my players' Dad to get out and play catch with him.  New text.
That sounds rather final.  Knowing something of how EVE fights go, I doubt there is anything for me to do now.  I have nowhere to be, so I hang out to enjoy the day.  The Boy sucks me into a game of 4 on 4 baseball, kids vs adults (me and three moms).  We have a good time.  There's no hurry to get back in the 'verse, so far as I can tell.

Just as I get home there's a new text:
I go to get online.  But that's another story.


  1. "Come Kronos, we're going to have a lot more starbase defenders."

    You, me and every every other 1/2 competent wormhole corp.

  2. Their attack wasn't QUITE as bad as I initially thought...once I figured out what they were trying to do. But in the end it was still pretty stupid. I think even if I wasn't there, eventually our tower would have gotten lucky enough to kill them.

    1. Please tell me we get to hear your version of the attack. It sounds hilarious.

  3. Ask and you shall receive:

    It is Saturday afternoon, we just got done with an hour and a half bike ride and the kids are in bed now. I log on to see what is up in the 'verse. During my log-in warp I hit d-scan and see several Doms and a few other ships, my heart sinks. I exit warp and my fears are confirmed, 7 Doms are bashing our tower, the other ships are nowhere to be seen. I can see the Doms are spidering (armor), not great news for our tower, but our system is a Pulsar which is bad news for them. I text Von, then check our bookmarks and it looks like it has been scanned down by Von already. I warp to the suspect hole and find the other ships parked there. Jayne parks it 70 off for the rest of the attack to keep eyes on it.

    I get an alt on to keep eyes on our tower. They are still bashing on some guns, but they appear to have just started, 2 guns are incapacitated so far. At this point I check our KB to see if Von got killed earlier, that's when I see his 2 miner kills in our system. I look at the corp, and compare it to the Doms, MATCH...nice one Von...pissed off the wrong group finally.

    I sit there pondering my options and BOOM a Dom blows up and the others warp off. Huh...didn't expect that! My eyes turn to Jayne's screen and here they come to their hole. They have an Eos (booster) and an Augoror among other ships, plenty of time passes for them to heal and nothing happens, they are just sitting there. I expect reinforcements. I notice their hole is disrupted, so that means they probably can't all go back. Then BLURP the wormhole activates and in comes a Helios. Ok...do they really not have our system scanned down. A few minutes later it appears about 250k off our tower. Strange, I wonder what it is doing. Seconds pass and BOOM, our tower pops it. Then BLURP, I see a Malediction come in and later appears about 300 out. Seconds pass and BOOM, it dies too. At this point I express my bemusement to Von via text. BLURP, wormhole again. This time a Malediction...are they going to do it again? Sure enough it appears yet a little further out and sits there. Seconds pass and...nothing. Huh? Oh wait our ECMs are targeting it. I zoom out to get a better overview and figure it out. They are in range of our grouping of ECMs, but out of range of the guns. Not so stupid after all. Lots of activity at the wormhole and many small ships warp to the Malediction. All the ECMs are targeting the distant group. Then the Dom fleet warps back in. They start shooting and I'm getting a little worried again, the ECMs aren't switching...luck?

    At this point I decide to take control of the tower. I am about to redirect the ECMs when I get curious about the guns. I check their stats, they are actually within range of the far group...why aren't they shooting then (I learn later about the auto-engage distance). I take control of a few and target the malediction cause he looks easy to kill. 2 volleys and BOOM, I just pick another target, BOOM. Then that whole far fleet warps off. I send a mwahaha to Von. Then I ECM their Doms. Not 30 seconds passes and I see the Doms aligning...all but one. Then Boom it blows up and the others escape. They appear on Jayne's screen and exit...well most of them...but that is another story.

  4. By now I get the tower attack story and most of its nuances. It's the baseball stuff I'm struggling with.

  5. ........ outside?..... o.0 B-ase Baallll?...... what are these things you speak of? Grats on the improved defenses, nice to see you took some of the suggestions given : D