Oracles, Hurricanes, and Stealth Bombers…Oh My!

Cheese and rice what a trip this day has been. I’m going to skip a lot of the usual build up to the action and just dive right in for the most part.

Our C3 neighbors are still connected to our HQ system and Snow and Oz are inside harassing them as is customary. I was fleeted immediately upon logging into the game and brought my Oracle into the system to offer what help I could. The locals have a Loki sitting peacefully in their force-field and we’ve seen a Buzzard zip around once or twice. Much to our amusement the Buzzard attempted to scan our location with a single combat probe. I had parked my Oracle on a hi-sec wormhole connection that Oz had already bubbled up.

About this time we had two Hurricanes and a Falcon jump into the system via the hi-sec wormhole. As soon as the Hurricanes uncloaked I opened fire. The first Hurricane’s shields evaporated in a single volley from my large tachyons. The Falcon immediately cloaked and the two battlecruisers burned their way out of the bubbles and warped off to a safespot, but not without taking a good bit of damage.

Snow probed down one of the safespots the Hurricanes were hiding in, but they weren’t sitting still much. I think they were on edge for some reason. Just as we were about to ambush them at their not-so-safespot, they returned to the hi-sec wormhole. Oz was there this time in his Harbinger to provide some close action support and a webifier. The tachyons began spitting out damage again, although I had been on the move and was slightly out of optimal range. The cloaked Falcon had kept me on my toes and now I was out of position. Oz did what he could and the Oracle blazed away but the Hurricanes managed to get back to the hole safely.

We began to wait again, we still had a Falcon in system, not to mention the local corp who seemed content to sit in the POS’s shields the whole time. As time wore on I got the feeling the Hurricane pilots were on their way back to help their Falcon buddy get out unscathed. No one listened to me though. I was right in the end, although I do wish the timing had been a little different. I had warped around the system for some reason, I can’t remember what it was now. I warped back to resume my vigil over the hi-sec hole but managed to get myself sucked into the bubbles my own corp had placed putting me within 10km of the hole.

Then the wormhole flared. A Maelstrom and a Typhoon instantly decloak and start locking me. I never even got a chance to see the turrets fire. The Oracle disappeared in a brilliant blue blossom and my pod warped for a nearby celestial. The Oracle is a great ship able to do a lot of damage at range while remaining agile and cheap. But it is the epitome of a glass cannon, and arriving at the wormhole just as the enemy corp returned through it was a really unlucky turn of events.

Anyway after retrieving their Falcon, the corp we had been battling moved off. Apparently that was enough discouragement to keep them from exploring the system any further. So we moved on to our next objective. Destroying the local POS. The lone POS in the system had little to no defenses setup and the corp has been itching to get back into worm space for a while. So we began to hatch a scheme to evict the residents from their system. We didn’t want to risk any large ships and so we decided to use a somewhat, unorthodox POS bashing approach.

We all got in frigates.

Confusion was on the menu for today’s local corp. A group of two stealth bombers and one Tristan decloaked at their POS and began attacking their warp scrambling battery. With only cruise missiles as a defense, our tiny fast ships were untouchable for the most part. As long as they didn’t bring out any ships to defend their assets, we were going to slowly grind through them. All without risking more than 50 million isk in the process. We had almost brought the warp scrambler down when a small fleet of ships finally arrived and ruined our fun. But oh what fun we had!

After a quick break I returned and flew to Amarr to fit out a new Purify-i-core stealth bomber that I desperately wanted to try out. I insured the ship, since I wasn’t terribly confident in how it was going to perform and headed off to lo-sec. Right off the bat I find a Retriever mining away in a belt by himself. I’m surprised considering the large number of pilots in local, but the bloodlust and curiosity is high, so I engage anyway. Suddenly a fleet of CONCORD ships arrive. Odd, I’ve never seen CONCORD in lo-sec befo…BOOM!

My ship explodes, and I realize that I, in fact, was not in lo-sec but rather one jump away from lo-sec. Man is that embarrassing. I did get almost half way through the miner’s armor before being ganked by the fun police, so at least the damage output seems promising. I head back to Amarr and refit. This time I do make it to lo-sec and I manage to find a Hoarder sitting, apparently afk, at a planet using my directional scanner. I engage the ship and start to bust through it’s armor in no time. The pilot comes to and starts to burn away. I was a little slow on the uptake and managed to drop my disruptor when he got out of range. Man this is not my day.

All in all an exciting time. The new stealth bomber fit has a lot of potential, but it will take a little more time in the pod before I’m proficient at using it. The future looks bright though. As I’m writing this reports are coming in about further eviction operations and potential moves back to worm space. I must say it feels good to be the attacker in a battle for once.

A Mammoth In My Sights

A funny thing about Eve. Even after spending over a week away from the game, I come back to find I still have 10 days left before Advanced Starship Command is done training to level V. Didn’t I start that a month ago?! I swear those skill queues never seem to finish when I step away from the game for a while.

Apologies again for not posting recently. Like I said some real life responsibilities came up and severely limited game time. I had been able to log on in bits and pieces during the past week, but never for more than half an hour or so at a time. In that time it seemed like lo-sec had all but emptied out. I would take a spin around my local chain and find almost no pilots in any of the systems, and if I did they would be docked up in a station. Frustrating to say the least.

But finally on Saturday I managed to carve out some Eve time, and I knew that the corpmates would be on and inspire me to play for a while. Snow has been scanning the HQ site and has found us a C3 wormhole which she is monitoring. I take the Oracle out for a anti-pirating field trip. My security status is finally below 0.0 and I’d like to spend at least a little time raising it.

Snow reports there is a weakly defended POS in the C3 and only three pilots in the system active. They are apparently running anomalies in there, but having a slightly rough time of it. She watches them sweep an anomaly and then harvest the loot in a destroyer, which speaks to this group’s lack of experience. Oz and I start to get the bloodlust twitch and begin hatching a scheme to snipe the destroyer while Oz cloaks near it in a stealth bomber. He can scoop the loot once the salvager is destroyed and the Drake escorts are occupied with me.

Unfortunately just as we start getting the ball moving the target fleet holes up in their POS shield. We start to play the waiting game, speculating that Oz got caught on the hole before he could cloak, alerting the target of our presence. Regardless Snow continues to spy on them and we continue to wait. Eventually the destroyer pilot swaps ships for a Mammoth industrial ship. This is starting to look promising. If I were a betting man I would say they are hauling up all their anomaly loot for the day and getting ready to sell it. They’ll need a link to high sec and our wormhole just might be it.

I warp my Oracle to about 70 km from the wormhole on the lo-sec side. My sensor boosters are activated and my tachyon lasers are primed and ready. Snow reports the Mammoth has warped out of the POS to one of the planets, maybe to collect PI materials for the trade run. The Drakes remain motionless, hovering near their precious tower. Shortly there after the wormhole flares. The pilot takes his time holding his session cloak after seeing me waiting for him, but it doesn’t matter. He decloaks and I lock him almost instantly. The large laser turrets and heat sinks annihilate the ship in two volleys. Sadly I’m out of practice and only manage a screenshot of the wreck, after Oz had looted it. I’m a little rusty, bare with me.

The pod quickly warps away and Oz runs over to scoop up the 90 million isk in loot. Not bad for two shots! Ah it’s good to be back in the swing of things, although my security status didn’t move in the direction I was hoping it would. Eh, who needs to go to hi-sec anyway?

Looking at a Manticore Through the Scope

I logged into Eve to find the corp comms channel empty. Our bookmarks and message of the day didn’t offer much excitement either. Two grav sites, our static to lo-sec, and a lot of empty space. Well at least I can get my PI responsibilities taken care of without worrying about someone killing me. I notice the scanning report is dated a good five hours ago so I decide to jump into my Anathema before running planetary supplies around to make sure nothing new has popped up.

My scanning reveals two additional wormholes in our HQ system. The first leads to a C4, the second a C5 Magnetar. I scout each system, gathering intel on towers and ships I see around the system. The C4 only has a few signatures in it and one anomaly, so I decide to scan the system down for future use since it appears HQ is this systems static connection for now. I find two grav sites and three wormholes. Geez, no end to the exploration tonight I guess. One wormhole here is going to collapse soon, so I ignore it and explore the neighboring C2 and C4b. I’ve been scanning for almost an hour and a half at this point and I just don’t have the strength left in me to continue. I decide to head back to HQ and move my PI around since neither of the nearby systems seem to be active to any degree.

When I arrive back in the HQ system though I’m greeting with a fleet of scanning probes on my d-scanner. I’m pretty confident I didn’t leave them out, but you never know. No I’m positive, all probes accounted for on my ship and I’m pretty sure I would have noticed a ship moving through the C4. That leads me to believe that this is a visitor from the C5. I move off the wormhole and cloak while spamming the scan button. I’d like to find out what ship I’m dealing with before I decide to log for the night or provoke a fight. The probes mean he probably isn’t monitoring d-scan too closely and my Anathema is likely to be undetected so far.

Finally a Manticore appears on scanner as the probes disappear. It’s about what I’m expecting. A cloaking scout from the C5 (now confirmed because of the prefix in front of his ship’s name which matches the towers in the C5). I warp back to our tower and decide I will try the sniping Oracle fit. I built this ship to take out pesky scout ships on wormholes, this is a great chance to see if it works. His probes are out again and I’m hoping he hasn’t noticed my switch of ships while I rocket towards the C5 connection. I know I’ll never catch him before he goes through the wormhole on our side, so I jump through to the C5 and position myself 70km from the wormhole.

I’ve done a quick recon of the C5 again to make sure no additional pilots or ships have logged on. This is no guarantee mind you, but it gives me enough confidence to at least put the blockade up and give it a shot. My biggest fear at this point is having the Manticore come through the wormhole, see me 70km off the signature, and calling in backup before shedding his session cloak. I don’t think he has any friends online, and he can’t hold his session timer long enough to get an alt on and to my position. Either way I’m aligned to a celestial and ready to warp out of here in a second if things start to smell fishy.

I am nervous. This is a pretty expensive ship to be chasing scouts with, but I want to see how the fit preforms and send a message to our nosy neighbors that we’re not to be taken lightly. The waiting continues and my nerves are starting to fray. My eyes are glued to the directional scanner which fails to report anything new during the five minute long blockade. I’m on the verge of giving up and getting my ship back to the safety of the tower when the wormhole flares signalling the return of the Manticore. I hope.

My sensor boosters have been on the whole time. I charge up my beam lasers and hover my mouse over my overview, waiting for the session cloak to drop so I can pounce on my prey. The directional scanner is still clean, everything is perfect. I couldn’t ask for a better ambush. The session cloak drops and the Manticore immediately begins aligning towards one of his towers. My poor mouse button gets a beating as I spam click the Manticore’s overview icon trying to get a lock, but something’s wrong! The lock won’t hold! I’m not getting dampened or jammed. What is going on?! After about five or six seconds, the Manticore warps away unscathed, much to my disappointment. He had landed very close to the signature of the wormhole preventing him from cloaking as soon as he moved. Everything had gone exactly as I wanted to, but my ship just seemed to forget it’s targeting range!

I warp to my aligned celestial and immediately back to the wormhole at 0km. This is where I’m the most vulnerable. The Oracle has no tank and the time spent near wormholes or stargates are when trouble is a real possibility. I make it back through the wormhole and to my tower without any trouble. But what the heck happened? I check to log and see that it was telling me I wasn’t within targeting range. I can normally lock out to 99km and I was sure the Manticore was only 71km away! I had even checked the Magnetar adjustments before putting the ambush in place. I should have a 0.66 bonus to my…

Oh. That’s not a bonus at all. In fact that math explains exactly why I couldn’t lock the Manticore. I had misread the data table, expecting to see a minus sign in front of anything that would reduce my targeting range. Instead the “bonus” as published by ccp is actually more of a modifier. You’re targeting range is now only 66% of what it normally is. You are not receiving a 66% bonus to your range. That sucks. What an annoying reason for losing a kill. I grumble to myself for being so illiterate, and log off for the night. Hopefully all my scanning will pay off in the long run and someone in the corp will be able to get something productive done. Bob* knows I didn’t.

*For those of you that don’t know, Bob is the god of wormholes. At least that’s what our corp believes. All we do is in Bob’s glory. Actually we have a crazy story about setting up a POS where Bob’s intervention was the only explanation for the tower not being destroyed, but that’s a story for another time.

Wormholes Are Lonely Places

It’s been a while since I’ve had serious contact with my corpmates. Real life comes before Eve, I’m all to familiar with the story. It doesn’t make the empty home system any easier to bare however. I log in to silent comm channels and an almost empty system.

I scan the two unknown signatures down in a few minutes. Our static is situated convientently right on the border of hi-sec space in Minmatar’s Metropolis region, a mere six jumps away from Hek. Great, if the entire Minmatar Navy didn’t have order to shoot me down on site. The half a billion isk worth of sleeper loot sitting in our hangar encourages me to make the trip anyway. After I add one more anomaly’s worth of loot to the bin.

I grab my Legion out of the hangar and warp into the anomaly. The great thing about having a static wormhole right on the border of hi-sec is no one is looking for wormholes there. Experienced pvpers are usually just passing through on the way to empire trade hubs, while less experienced players are just getting their feet wet with low security systems and not especially worried about a wormhole they need to scan down.

Both the anomaly and the selling go off without a hitch. Nuru has logged on at this point, but he is still attending to matters in k-space. I decide to replace my recently lost pair of pilgrims and get it fitted. The hour is late though, and I doubt I have another 40 jumps left in me for another round trip to Amarr. I resign to turn in early in the hopes that working from home tomorrow will allow me some extra time to pick it up soon.