Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A Brace of Ventures

Sunday.  I've been crawling wspace all weekend, to no avail.  I've seen a lot of probes and a few scouts, and I have seen people doing nothing at POSes.  What I have not seen is sleeper wrecks, or miners, or gassers.  But I keep hoping.

I am now two jumps down the chain from my home system.  My home system connects to our static C4, which connects to a second C4, where I am.  There are many wormholes here.  I've explored a further C4, a C5 (EOL: I stayed only long enough to see nothing happening), and another C5.  Nothing, nothing, nothing.  There's another C5 through a small wormhole.  This is no problem for me, in my Manticore.  I jump.

Dscan from the wormhole shows nothing beyond a POCO.  I am near an outer planet in this system, which has a fair number of signatures.  Only three anoms, though.  System may be inhabited.  Won't find out the truth here.  I bookmark the wormhole, then warp to the inner system to look around.
The system.  My entry on the right.

As I warp across the system, I dscan.  Ventures on scan.  Six of them!  I am in a C5.  C5 plus Ventures almost always means one thing: a core gas site.  There is an ore anom among the three here, but it's in the outer system.  And nobody mines rocks in wspace anyway.  These guys are mining gas.

I work a bit to find a general location for them.  While doing this I see a Flycatcher on scan.  Overwatch?  Unknown.

Then I warp back out to the outer system to refit and launch probes.  My Manticore is currently fit with its general purpose gank fit.  I want the anti-Venture fit: it uses light missiles for better damage against such tiny targets.  It also has two warp scramblers, since one cannot hold a Venture.  Where to refit?  I make a safespot between two moons; that should do.  I check dscan -- clear -- then uncloak and launch my mobile depot.  I hate being exposed!  I also launch probes, then throw them out of the system.

I sit for my tortured minute, nervously watching my dscan for combat probes.  No probes, but I do see a Venture on dscan.  Ooops.  Evidently they are not locals, and are coming from the other signature out here. Will they bug out?

My minute is up.  I swap in the new fit as fast as I can, then grab the depot and cloak.  Safe again!

Range and bearing.  Ready to scan.
I warp to the inner system, to the planet nearest where I think the gas site is.  The Ventures are still there.  Good.  Now I get setup to probe for the gas site.  The range is 2.7 AU.  I set the probes in the correct spot for my 60 degree scan, then start the narrowing.  I get to 5 degrees with surprising ease.

I decide to risk missing the site or having to scan multiple times for a shot at getting it in a single try.  I set my probes to 0.25 AU.  And... I scan.  Ping, ping... a hit!  100% on an Instrumental Core Reservoir!  I recall the probes, and warp to the site... no, wait.  Cancel that warp.

I am looking "down" at the gas site.  (Space has absolute directions.)  Gas sites are aligned up/down, more or less: they are safe to warp into from the sides.  From above in particular, you don't want to warp in at any range for fear of landing in the large cloud.  (Its radius is 50km.)  The gas clouds decloak anything in them.

The only thing really decently far away is the outer system.  So I warp out there to bounce back to the site, at 50km.  I figure to check out what the Ventures are doing and then form a plan of attack.

As I warp back toward the inner system, but still out of range of the site, I dscan and see three Ventures.  Uh oh.  Did they see my probes?  I land in the site (nicely far from the gas), and no Ventures.  Bummer.  I bookmark the gas clouds anyway. 

I warp back to the outer system, and get confusing hits on dscan.  Ventures, then no ventures.  I warp back in.  Same thing.  Eventually I make a safespot right out in the middle of the system, so that I can dscan both out to the outer planet and to the gas site.  I can see the Ventures briefly a few times, but narrow-band dscan shows them not in the gas site.  Spooked, I'd say, but not enough.  They are either warping to and fro among safespots, or possibly cloaking.  Either way, they are still in system.

I'll wait.

I get out my phone and get a game or two of chess in.  Occasionally I dscan and see nothing.  But after a particularly intricate endgame, I dscan again and there they are again.  Narrow band dscan at the cloud: there.  Ha!

I warp back to the gas site, this time at 20km from the site's center.  (I am already far enough away that my angle of approach should be fine.)

I land in the site, and sure enough.  Ventures.  Three are doing something... don't know what... clustered near the edge of the cloud but not moving.  They are about 60km from me.  Perhaps transferring cargo?  Several others seem to be in the middle of the cloud.  And two are orbiting at speed.  I decide to try for an orbiter.  I look at them and find one that seems to be coming around the gas cloud to me.  I wait... he's off to my right a bit.  I start moving that way.  But the cloud is very close... 10km... 6km... I have to slow down, and vector to my right.

Here he comes!  I am close.  But not quite close enough.  I am not going to risk blowing it. 
This guy lived.
OK, I have determined that intercepting a Venture at the edge of a 50km cloud is pretty difficult.  Let's look again at the others.

Those guys in the middle of the cloud... they appear to be right at the center.  This is a huge no-no.  Don't do it Venture people.  Anyway, I check their location using the tactical overlay, and I am right.  They are in the middle.  So, it's an easy approach: bounce off the nearest celestial, then warp straight to the cloud as already bookmarked.  It's a plan!

I warp, then warp again.  The gas will uncloak me; I don't need to do that myself.  So I get ready to hit my sebo and start locking.  The Ventures will all flee, of course.  But I might get two if I am fast.

I land on grid.  I leave warp and the gas uncloaks me.  I start the sebo and then lock the two nearest Ventures.  I turn on both of my warp scramblers, but not the light missiles.  I'll pin one while I shoot another.  The one I am shooting will be able to leave if the pilot is alert.  But I hope he won't be alert.

The plan works.  The one is pinned, and my missiles make short work of the second.  Wow, fast.  I start on the one I have pinned.  Strangely, they are not fleeing.  There's a third Venture still in range, so I lock it.  The first pod flees.  Now the second one dies, and, oops.  I am warp scrambled.

Hmm, I guess it was a trap.  Oh well, no bubble here, not yet.  I'll kill everyone close and then see about escaping.   I open up on the third Venture.  Strangely, none of them are shooting me and I see no drones out.  No damage.  As I check for how I might escape, the one scrambling me warps.  The third one dies.  They are all gone, except one pod.  I kill that.  (It was the one I killed second, I find out in retrospect.)

I check dscan.  Nothing.  OK, safe.  Or safeish -- I am still in a warpable spot they have bookmarked.  But I gather what loot I can carry, which is trivial, and the precious corpse.  Then I warp back home ASAP.  I have a dinner engagement IRL and I must leave in a few minutes.  Back up the chain to home, then I warp to safespot and leave EVE.

I feel good.

A look at the killmails shows another mistake: the Ventures have almost no tank.  No shield extender; no damage control.  Extra hitpoints get you a few extra seconds to react.

No comments:

Post a Comment