Friday, September 19, 2014

A Fight Declined

It's corp night -- the one night a week we all try to be on together to earn space-bucks via PVE.  Or to do PVP, if we find something we can kill.  But tonight, we're looking for PVE.  We have not done any casual cleaning out of our system since Hyperion, since it is never zipped up to our knowledge.  If we want safety, we have to pop wormholes, and that's not a casual thing.

But tonight we have all of us on, each with two or more alts, in many battleships.  We've got just two sigs: our two statics.  We've scouted out the systems our statics connect to; they are apparently idle.  So we are popping holes.  We'll commence with sleeper-killing shortly.

After numerous passes, we end up massing both wormholes deep into critical but not entirely poofed.  So I am in an Onyx, delivering the coups de grace.  First, the H900.  In and out. And... wait for it... nothing.  It's still there.  Magic Eight ball says try again later.  Now over to the X877: in and out, and ... wait for it... poof!  Have I become trapped?  No; the rest of EVE is trapped out.  Except for this H900.  Let's do something about that.  I warp to the H900.

In warp, a check of my discovery scanner has me alert.  There are three sigs.  That is, by my count, one too many.   We're on coms so I alert the guys.  I consider finishing off the H900, but then realize that if I do, any interlopers might search it down and warp to it, scotching our work.  I dscan, but no probes or scouts are visible.  Still... popping it is a bad idea.  So I just warp back to our POS.

In warp, I dscan again, still looking for probes.  I see a scout instead, a Buzzard.  Well, that answers the question about what the new sig is.

Jayne scans it down.  He warps a cloaky scout to watch it.

Meanwhile, I have landed on grid at our POS.  We start discussing the situation.  Should we fly straight over to the new wormhole and pop it ASAP?  That's what I propose.  It's risky, but I feel that the risk is acceptable.  I get in my hole-popper Scorpion.  But before we get organized, there's a new wrinkle.

There's a wreck on grid at our POS.  What happened?  Evidently the Buzzard blundered into my decloak trap and got killed.  (Here is the killmail.)  I did not see the Buzzard or the pod, but it must have been just now.  Jayne suggests our Sabre, and I agree.  If the pod warps around at all, I can get to the new wormhole in time to kill him.

I get in our Sabre, then warp straight to the new wormhole.  I am decelerating out of warp, at about 100000km off, when Jayne reports the pod on grid.  It lingers just a moment... I am landing.  It jumps.  I jump.  My plan is to immediately break cloak and get a bubble up, and my sebo on.  Then we'll see if I can get him.

My plan does not survive, for there is contact with an enemy.  There are several ships here.  (The ship types don't register.  Wish I'd taken a screenshot, but I didn't.)  I am slightly outside of jump range back, about 6000m from the wormhole.  But my situation won't improve by sitting here.  I immediately head back to the wormhole, firing a warp bubble off.  Nobody locks me until I jump back home.

Immediately upon loading grid back home, I warp to our tower.  The enemy jump behind me, but they are a bit slow, and interdictors warp pretty fast.  Just as I head into warp I see one of them.  Then I am out.

That didn't go how I thought it would.

Jayne reports they've entered our system in an Eos and a Phantasm.  (Eh?)  They sit at the wormhole.

Now, obviously our six battleships and assorted support ships can smash that.  But also obviously they have seen us at our tower, and know more or less our number.  And we have no idea what's on their side of the wormhole.  I only saw a few ships when I was there, but that was then.  There could be an entire T3 fleet over there by now.

I stick by my cardinal rule of wspace: never engage at a wormhole unless you have eyes on the other side.  We don't, so we sit.  A Manticore comes in, moves off and cloaks.  So I get in my bomber and spend some time hiding at our decloak trap, just in case.  But after a few minutes, it does not get trapped.

We'd like to engage, so we need eyes on the other side and ideally, an idea of where they came from.  Eyes on their tower would be nice.  We decide to send someone through in a scout.  Timmay?  Not so keen to die.  I will do it.  I return to our POS and get in my Buzzard, which I rarely use any more.  I strip off a few unnecessary fittings just in case, then warp straight to the wormhole.

I land, and the enemy cannot lock me.  I jump.  On the other side are a heavy interdictor of some kind -- his bubble is up -- and a light drone boat.  (Again, sorry no pictures and I was too busy to notice.)  I zoom out and study the bubble just a moment, then rotate and order a move towards the closest edge of the bubble.  Then a second later, I cloak, and pulse my microwarpdrive.  The pulse carries me out to the edge of the bubble, and into the clear.  It looks like they are not chasing, so I linger while moving off.  Then I can see the drone boat coming at me fast, so I warp off to the sun at 100km.

After a further warp to a planet, I fire my probes and get busy searching down the system.  I find a tower, but it is not their tower.  They must have come from further upstream.  I find two nullsec wormholes, a C2, and an EOL C5.

As I do this, the enemy get bored and leave.  I am off looking at a wormhole when they do this, so I don't see where they went.

It may be safe at this point to pop the wormhole.  But maybe not.  And it's getting late enough that we call it a night.  Guys start logging off.

I head into the C2, but it's not where they are from.  I am left guessing that they were from null, or possibly the C5 that is EOL.  (They might know its timing.)

When I return home, I am followed almost immediately across the wormhole by their Manticore, but escape easily.  This shows they are watching.  I warp to our tower and sit AFK for a while.

Later, I'm on alone.  A lone Jaguar appears on our wormhole and sits there, orbiting.  Evidently he's hoping for a fight.  But I am not interested.  I don't have any decent one-on-one matchups for that.  And even if I did, once again I don't know what's on the the other side.  Sorry, fellow.

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