Saturday, October 4, 2014

A Hit and a Miss

It's the weekend.  The Boy is away, and so I play.  EVE, that is.  I log Von then I log my alt, Otto.  Since I have the two accounts, I try to use the second even when I concentrate mostly on the first.  Often this means ice-mining in highsec while I explore.  But lately I have been logging on Otto in a Hound.  I use him to monitor a wormhole in my home system, and to maybe help trap people at my tower's nasty decloak trap.

Our home system has its normal two connections.  The C5 is getting old, but I have time.  I check out our C4 static first.  We instantiated it last night, and it only has about an hour left.  I explore it down a few layers finding nothing interesting.  In one final system I find a guy idling at his tower in an Occator.  I watch for a few minutes.  Then I realize I can't hang out here for long, and return back up the chain.

Coming back into my system, I see a new sig.  That's interesting, because it is likely to indicate activity.  I scan down the new sig, which is a wormhole as expected.  It is a C2.  I head in to explore.  Meanwhile, I fly Otto over to watch it, in case anyone enters.  They probably already did -- that's why the K162 is there -- but you never know.

In C2a there are four live players at a POS: two in Tengus, another in a tranport, and a scout.  It's always nice to see live players.   But they are not doing anything, so far as I can tell.  After I sit and watch them for five minutes, I give up.  I scan the system down to see what may lie beyond.

Beyond is a highsec exit, which I transit to highsec and bookmark just in case.  Then I return polarized, not fearing that any more.  Another sig is a second C4 connection.  I head further down the chain.

In C4f, I find a guy all by himself, mining gas in a Prospect.  Unfortunately, I assumed the system was empty after seeing all but an outer planet.  I started scanning his sig before flying to the outer planet he is near.  He sees my probes, and aborts to a POS that is also at the outer planet.  I start to scan down the system including the sig he was in.  He is sitting at his POS.  After a while, he gets in an Anathema and goes out to scan.  Presumably he has noticed my new wormhole.

I get a fancy new idea.  Perhaps he will go to my new wormhole predictably.  I am nearly done scanning.   So I scan down the wormhole I entered.  I have already bookmarked the wormhole itself, as a matter of course, when I came in.  But I don't know where its signature is.  Thus the scanning.  I find the signature in one try since I know precisely where it is.  Then I fly to it.  I pull my probes.

Now I watch the enemy probes.  I am waiting for them to vanish.  Eventually they do.  I wait 20 seconds, then I uncloak and turn on my sebo.

I am hoping that he has pulled his probes because he found my wormhole.  (Presumably he should have already scanned down everything else.)  He will want to bookmark the wormhole proper, so I am hoping he'll warp to the sig at zero.  This is the lazy thing to do, but safe 99% of the time.  I hope to be the 1%.  I'll be there at zero.  There is a good chance he'll be uncloaked.  If so, I hope I can lock him before he can warp.

That's the plan.  In fact, nothing happens.  I watch dscan and after about 20 seconds I see him.  We are not near his POS, so I guess he must have exited one of the other wormholes.  Oh well.  I'll have to keep trying this one. 

There are two further systems that he might have exited to: a C1 and a C2.  I randomly choose C2, and keep exploring.  I don't see him there.  There are three guys as a POS, doing laps just inside the force field.  I watch this for some time, then give up.  I re-enter C4f.  I check the POS -- still gone.  Then I check out C1. 

I am warping around C1 to look for towers when I hear wormhole noise.  Alert!  It must be Otto.  I focus on Otto's screen, and I see a Stratios enter.  I like the look of that.  Unlike cloaky T3s, Stratioses cannot be interdiction nullified.  As such, they can blunder into my trap as easily as its normal victims which are covert ops frigates.  I warp Otto back to my perch just off the decloak trap.  I watch for a few minutes but nothing happens.  Oh well. 

I turn back to Von in C1.  There is a guy in a Venture, but he's idle at a POS.  There are some ore anoms, which he might be thinking about mining.  There is no gas, there being just two sigs.  So I wait, to see if he makes a move.

I hear guns.  Eh?  Otto!  My POS guns are firing!  Yes, there's the Stratios.  I uncloak Otto and get his sebo on, then lock the Stratios with shaking hands.  I don't want to miss this.  Locked!  It is dead unless it has warp core stabilization.  I set Otto's orbit at 15km.  I doubt the Stratios can kill me in the short time it has left, but I don't want to find out.

The Stratios attempts to get out of the trap.  It clears the warp bubble, but evidently it does not have warp core stabilization.  I expect the Stratios to lock me, but it does not come before the tower kills it.
Finish him.

I am ready, and immediately lock up the pod.  Pods should be able to flee even a boosted frigate, but I guess he is so flustered from the attack that he dithers that extra second.  Otto locks.  He kills the pod with torpedoes.

Well, score one for little Otto.  Otto the spider, sitting so patiently in his web... Otto grabs the corpse and loots as much as he can from the wreck.  Nice stuff: Coreli A-Type Adaptive Nano Plating.  Loot fairy loves me today.  Then he gets a Coercer to salvage, even though it is T1.  Leaving a wreck in your trap is a red flag.

Then Otto heads back out to sit at the C2 wormhole and watch.  Maybe someone else will come in. 

Back to Von.  The Venture has logged out.  So I head back up.  Back in C4f, I fly to the POS to check and the guy who was there earlier is not there... but his Prospect is on scan!  He'll be in the gas again.  I dscan to verify: yes, in the gas.

I warp out to distant planet to refit to my anti-Venture fitting.  I hate taking the time, but I think it will be necessary.  A Prospect has no built-in warp core stabilization, but I expect it to have two points fitted because it has the low slots for it, and why not?  What else helps it survive?  So I waste two minutes refitting.  Then I fly to the gas site (a vast frontier reservoir) at 20km.

I land on grid, and there he is, 50km away.  There is only one gas cloud, the C28 cloud.  Evidently he has already sucked the C32 cloud entirely.  I watch for a moment to see which way he is moving.  And... he is not moving.  It's hard to believe: he is just sitting there sucking gas.  (Listen, kids, this is a bad way to do it.)  Well, he may not know how to mine safely, but I know how to take advantage of that.  I move straight at him.

This will take a while, so I look around to see if there is any celestial that I might bounce off of.  But there's not.  So I just keep moving at him.  I have to steer up a bit to avoid the cloud, but it's only a mild change of vector.  Won't be long now... 21km...

Closer... closer...

I am almost to warp scrambler range: 15km.  I start to rehearse in my mind what I'll do.  12km.  Suddenly the gas cloud vanishes!  Oh no!  He'll warp for sure.  In desperation, I uncloak and pulse my microwarp, and start locking.  I initiate my scramblers.  I hope that the lock completes and I am in range to scramble.

He vanishes.  What?  Ah, Prospects can cloak.  He's probably warped by now, but I continue in the direction I was hoping for a lucky decloak.  No such luck.  He's gone.

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