Saturday, February 14, 2015

A Relic of Failure

Friday night.  It's US timezone, which tends to be less active.  But I have time, and I am hoping to find something interesting.  I am out in my Manticore, looking for whatever EVE has to show me tonight. 

I jump into C4b.  Dscan from the wormhole is not boring: there is a tractor unit on scan.  There's also a mobile depot, but that is not that unusual.  Nor can a depot pay; even if there was something in it, a depot has a reinforcement mode which has a longer timer than most wormholes.  So, they are hard to kill in wspace.  Few try.  (Occasionally I scan them down and reinforce them, hoping someone else will come along two days later to finish the job.)

But the tractor... that can only mean one thing.  Someone is or was running sites.  If they left for some reason, I can kill the tractor and take whatever is in it.

I move off to orbit the wormhole at 30km, hitting microwarp and cloaking.  Now I set to work trying to find the tractor unit.  If it is old enough, it may be out in space somewhere that I cannot get to with normal scanning.  In that case, I'll have to scan it down with combat probes.  But it may be in an existing site.  It might also be in a sig site, which I can get to in my Manticore, but I'll combat scan for it anyway.

Normally I am faster.  But eventually I get a generally right direction, enough to see an anom which both the tractor and depot appear to be in together.  I confirm it with a five degree dscan.  Yes, they're in an Integrated Terminus.  I warp over for a look.

I land in the site, and I can see that it was being run.  The first two waves of sleepers are gone; the third wave (somewhat reduced) is here.  It's a Sleepless Safeguard -- a nasty ship, which warp scrambles -- along with three of its normal six escort frigates.
What happened here?
The Safeguard makes me start to suspect what happened here: someone got in over his head.  He was running the site and had to bail.  Or indeed, perhaps he could not bail because of the Safeguard, and got himself killed.  But there's no evidence I can see other than the tractor and the depot.  There are no wrecks; whatever happened here, happened at least two hours ago.  The evidence will be locked up in the tractor.

So, it's another tractor problem.  I've encountered this sort of thing before.  How do I kill a tractor unit and then loot it, under the nose of a Sleeper battleship which warp scrambles? 

I have run these sites before, with just me and my alt in Rattlesnakes.  I could do that here.  But I am not too keen to put that much ISK at risk in a completely unscouted system.  Also I ran a Terminus in my home system, which is a pulsar.  (This gives huge capacitor.)  This system -- I check -- has no effect. 

Another thing I might do is hit the site in my site-running Tengu.  This wave does 614 DPS according to eve-survival; that will be reduced a bit by the Tengu's smallish sig and by the lack of three of the frigs.  So I could try that.  But my Tengu relies on shield boosting, and I don't know if I can stay cap stable in here with the Safeguarding nossing me.  Probably not.  Nope, bad idea.

My rattlesnakes have microjumpdrives on them.  These are handy for several things.  But I think they will work here.  Sleepers don't actually warp scramble; they warp disrupt.  Or such has been my observation before.  So microjumpdrives should work.  I think.  I am not totally sure that sleepers don't scramble... about 90% sure... is that enough to risk 500m ISK?

I decide not.  What else can I do?

I recall that CCP recently created medium microjumpdrives, and I recall that we have a PVP Drake.  Let me look at it... aha.  I board it.  It does indeed have a microjumpdrive.  OK, I know it cannot stand up that long against the Safeguard.  But then again, it should not need to.  It should kill the tractor in about a minute, I think.  It has a bit more DPS than my bomber.  Then I can scoop it and go.  Assuming the Safeguard does disrupt, not scramble.  The whole thing should be fast enough that observers won't be able to gank me.

It's a plan.  I tweak the fit to remove the webber (not needed here) and put on a EM ward II.  A bit more hardness does not hurt.  Then I warp to C4b, cross, and warp to the site.

I decide to warp in at 10km, thinking I can slide past the tractor unit as I shoot it so that I can time turning around to be aligned to my wormhole.  The plan is to pop the tractor just as I come back past it, so I can grab and go.

I land on grid.  Then I target the tractor, and open up. 
Shooting the tractor.

My assault missiles crash into the tractor.  I move towards it, and I launch my drones -- warriors -- for extra DPS.  I creep toward the tractor.  I kind of forgot how slow these things are.

The sleepers notice me, and come zooming up.  The frigates web me.  Oops.  I forgot about that too.  I am not sure I can get there in time.  The tractor unit goes into structure, and I am still 8000m from it.  I am taking serious shield damage.  Down to 1/2.

Now the Safeguard is close enough and I hear the sound of warp disruption.  The die is cast: either I can escape or not, according to whether or not this is disruption or scrambling.  We'll see.

The tractor pops, and I am still not close enough to loot it.  I align out to a planet, shields down to 33%.  I hear the low shield warning as I activate the microjumpdrive.  It activates; indeed the warp disruption from the Safeguard was disruption, not scrambling. 
Escaping warp disruption.

Swoosh!  I am now 100km away, well outside of the range of the Safeguard's warp disruption.   I warp to the planet at 100km. 

I can't go back immediately, not with my shields at 25% and the sleepers where I want to be.  Also I need time for my microwarpdrive to cycle.  So I warp to this system's outer planet, making a safespot as I get close.  Then I warp back to the safespot and sit a while.  There's nothing alarming on scan, neither ships nor probes.

After a few minutes, my shields recover to 80% or so.  It's enough.  I warp to the site, this time directly to the tractor's location. 

I land on grid, and open the tractor wreck.  Ah, loot.  Not really very much, but loot all the same.  The sleepers lock me, and warp disrupt me, and start pounding as I grab the loot, then align to the wormhole home.  Then I microjump again, and immediately warp out. 
Exhibit A in my murder investigation.

As I finish warping home, I look at the loot and the killmail for hints as to what happened.  There are several kinds of fittings in the loot, so evidently someone lost his ship in that site.  There are armor parts.  There's a laser and crystals, and drones.  This suggests that the guy was flying a Stratios.  Ouch!


  1. Looking to go around exploring in a stratios myself but even with DCII, EANMx2, deadspace armor repper and 1600mm plate (for more buffer) and a T2 explosive/nanobot rig it only tanks about 200 dps.

  2. The cov ops cloak makes it convenient for exploration, lower skill requirement then getting into the other ships that can fit the same, but why you would attempt a C4 site in one, unless you didn't understand that it was a C4 I don't know.

    Also hope the radio silence is evidence of time spent playing not something worse