Sunday, August 10, 2014

Birdshot for a Buzzard

It's the weekend.  You know what that means: I get to interact with lots more people than I normally do.  But only if I play during the day.  I am playing during the day.

I log in, and there's a new sig in my system.  I am guessing it is a C2 wormhole.  I deploy probes and find it, also checking that our two gas sites are still where they were (check), and our static is still where it was too.  (Also check.  It's EOL.)  So three of four are known, and the last, when I fly to it, is a wormhole indeed.  However, it goes to C5.  That's the second most likely.

I enter the wormhole and emerge in C5.  No towers, ships or probes on scan, so I move off and fire my own probes.  Then I bookmark the wormhole, start a scan, and start flying around the system.  Two distant planets later, I know there is no occupation here.  I set in to scanning.

Meanwhile, just in case, I log in my alt Otto and sit him in my own system, watching the wormhole from that side.  You never know when someone might come through, EOL wormhole or not.  Or someone might come through the C5 and I might miss it.

Scan, scan.  I find a core gas site, and bookmark it for later.  This system has an unusual number of radar/data sites, which is annoying because they are so hard to scan down.  But I usually scan down all adjacent systems fully, and especially if I am going to have time to get back here more than once during the day.  So, I put my nose to the scanning grindstone.

I find a wormhole to null, and one to C5b.  Then, as I scan a long series of radar sites, I see a Helios on dscan, and then RSS core probes.  I throw my probes out of the system so he cannot see them, even though he should have dscanned and seen them before I ever had a chance to see him.

Maybe I can ambush this guy.  I am in the right ship for it: my Manticore Birdshot, which is fit out with light missiles.  I figure that if he enters C4a (my home system), Otto will hear him.  Then I'll warp to the C5a side, and lurk.  It is likely that he'll find my home boring.  It has two anoms -- both rocks -- and the four sigs previously mentioned including my EOL static.  That's nothing interesting.  So he will return to C5a and that's when I jump him.

Of course, a cloaky scout can typically evade just about anything.  If he is further from 2000m from the wormhole, he can cloak immediately, then warp off or move away.  But there is always the chance that I can get him, and in any case it will give a thrill to both of us.  (Note to CCP: DON'T RUIN THIS.)

But right now, nothing is happening.  The other guy is presumably scanning; his probes are still visible.  After thinking about it a while, I figure I might as well scan.  So I return to what I was doing.

I find one more wormhole (an EOL lowsec), and then a dscan shows three sets of probes.  Mine, the RSS guy, and a new set of Sister's core probes.  I keep scanning.  Eventually the RSS probes disappear.  Then both sets do.

I am down to the last site -- yet another frackin' radar site; there are 9 in all -- when I hear the wormhole noise: bwaaamp!  I perk up.  Both my guys are at a wormhole: Otto in my system and Von at the lowsec.  I don't think it would be the lowsec.  I watch both.  Nothing.  Back and forth.  Nothing.  Hmm.  Strange.

I am about to conclude that it was outbound past Von, and I missed seeing the guy on overview.  But then Otto sees a Buzzard uncloak.  It moves off the C5 wormhole, then turns and heads right back in.

Oops.  Should have warped over immediately.  I warp now to the C5a->C4a connection, at 10km so I will not be uncloaked.  It is probably too late.  But the guy seems to like holding gate cloak, so maybe he will on both sides.

On grid.
I land on grid, and I don't see him.  I should have dscanned as I came, but didn't.  Well, maybe he is here cloaked.  I move directly at the wormhole, thinking to get on my sebo soon.  Then I change my mind.  I think I would rather try to surprise him.  So I orbit at 2500m.  It takes a few seconds, but then I am orbiting at 2600 or so, just beyond decloak range of the wormhole.  I am poised over the overview.

Nothing.  I wonder if he may have warped off already, and hit dscan to see if he might be visible there.  He is visible on dscan... at 3000m!  Oh!  He's on grid!

I am very close to him!  That's great luck!

I have no idea how far he is from the wormhole.  But even if he does cloak, I may be able to decloak him if I can get in close.  So I head right at him.  I've moved away from him (or maybe vice-versa), and am now about 4000m off.  I give it a second to align at him, then uncloak.  Now I start locking him, and I pulse my microwarpdrive to be sure to get on top of him.
On top of him.
I am on him, and he's locked!  Gotcha!  My systems open up, and I keep an eye on where he is.  He cannot microwarp with my scrambler on him, but it is possible that he has an afterburner.  He does not seem to; he moves slightly away from me then I follow.  In any case, he does not have enough time to get far.  Light missiles are plenty sufficient for a light scout like this.  Blammo.
My camera work needs work.

I opt for a screenshot to record the explosion, and this does not help with trying to lock the pod.  I do try to lock the pod anyway, after the inevitable screenshot stutter, but he is fully alert and warps fast enough that I very much doubt I could have got him in any case.

I loot the wreck then head off to circle the wormhole and see if anything interesting happens.  Nope, excitement is over. I do get some nice Sister's probes for my trouble.  Sadly, he had a Sister's probe launcher which blew up. 

I set about writing, with the occasional dscan of the system.  Via dscan, I see a Helios come and sit at the C5b wormhole.  It is there for much more than the 10 seconds that it should need to move off and cloak, or even the ~20 seconds to fire and reload probes.  (And I don't see probes.)  Bait, I think.  So I don't bite.

After a half hour, I decide that the system has cooled down enough that I can probably salvage.  (Yeah, I know it is irrational to risk a podding for such low likely returns.  Not doing it for money.)  Otto gets a salvaging Coercer to do it.  He jumps in, the tractors in the wreck and grinds it in about 30 seconds, then jumps home.  Nobody there on either side.  I don't get anything great, but it's the principle of the thing.

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