Day 2: Dock it or lose it

The second day. This time I’ve cleared my schedule for the night and should be set for the long haul. Some decent success last night, but hopefully I can eek out at least a repeat performance. I’ll just, join the fleet and … huh.

It seems the alliance isn’t in Caldari space tonight, but out in Amarr space in the Domain region. Heading out that way sounds like a good idea, but on the other hand, there are probably quite a few war targets here in Lonetrek. Besides, Automaton is already sweeping across the region to test that very assumption.

While she does her thing, I head to back to Sobaseki to get my bearings, and cross jump two raptors from pandemic horde. I have no intention in chasing interceptors fluttering about, as I like to participate in activies that I can at least pretend might be successful. Automaton reports a war target (from Test) in Korsiki (which is next to Osmon, a system that sees heavy use from missioners) and that sounds like it has some potential… oh never mind, in an interceptor. This seems to be a common theme;  ceptors everywhere! It is enough to make one contemplate some sort of fast tackle, but that has never been my specialty. For now, I’ll have to give ceptor flutter a pass.

As she heads back towards Soba, she reports a pilot (with less than 1 month time in pod) docked in a station. Probably not worth camping the system in hopes he undocks… moving on. Automaton finds more ceptor flutter before heading out. She is going to tour the backwaters of Lonetrek checking every system with a lvl 4 security agent. I question her sanity, but her silence confirms that isn’t an issue.

Apparently, wondering aimlessly isn’t the most effective hunting technique as she comes up short before heading off to Black Rise. She reports ShanBin Xu in Uuhulanen; a quick check at his profile indicates Dominion Alliance. Well, isn’t that a familiar alliance name. I pull myself away from the bar in Sobaseki, and as I don’t have any issues finding my pod, I figure I’m good to fly.

I fully intended to make a beeline for the region, but I must have passed out a for a little bit sitting in my pod goo. Automaton’s report that ShanBin logged off and no other targets in the constellation (well, except for one incident of ceptor flutter from Test alliance, yet again) wakes me up. Just like her to ruin a good nap with the inconsequential.

As the grogginess fades, I find myself a bit discouraged. I probably shouldn’t have expected to just run into war targets in Caldari space at my pleasure; but I kind of did. Several kill reports are posted in alliance chat for the fleet out in Amarr space, and a tinge of regret creeps into my mood for not racing to join them earlier. They seem to be breaking up, so probably not worth the trip out there at this point.

Automaton finds Hector Bladeder in Oipo, over 6 years in pod and active in null sec gang fleets. She pins down his location to the 4th station, which only has lvl 3 agents. Thirty minutes goes by with no activity, but without better prospects I head out that way (despite not being able to come up with a reason for him to be at that station). I cross jump a Code freighter gank squad in Isanamo, and am surprised to find them set orange. There appears to be some bad blood between Marmites and Code. I’m spared having to think too deeply about that, as Automaton reports yet more ceptor flutter (this time from Pandemic Horde).

A horde pilot enters Oipo and stays around for a while, but Hector goes offline. I figure the horde guy might still be worth the trip, but as I leave Lit and jump into Elonaya, a Merlin takes the jump with me. Unsurprisingly I miss the tackle on the Merlin, but surprisingly he seems to be on auto pilot. The Merlin’s speed (warp and sub-warp) are highlighted in the fact that it took me 6 systems to catch back up with him: Merlin (600k ISK) and pod (empty). As the pod goes squish, the horde pilot in a prospect comes out of the gate and tears off before I can even think about locking it.

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Third kill mark for Negligee III

Hector is back online, and that means I’m kind of stuck in this dead end pocket if I don’t want to tip my hand by showing myself. So, I hang out tethered to a citadel hoping he undocks at some point. Automaton is scanning down a random Orca for some reason and isn’t responding to my simple query of “why?”

I consider pressing the matter, but I find myself moved out of alliance coms into another channel with Murdock Luther and General Marrtok. They want to talk about the loot drama from last night. Some discussion and retelling, but the basic sentiment is that it isn’t the loot culture for the group, and Murdock apologized to us for having to endure that. I wasn’t feeling like I needed an apology and was just hoping this would go away. But, it shouldn’t be a revelation that a group of mercs consider loot distribution to be a big deal. Murdock said he’d bring it up with Tora, and within 24 hours, Lonetrek Salvage and Scrap left the alliance. Apparently a difference in hunting strategy, loot culture, and disagreement over the ban on fighting on the Jita 4-4 undock all added up to incompatibility. There doesn’t seem to be any bad blood over it; just a parting of ways.

The alliance fleet in Amarr has broken up for the night and General Marrtok is back in Caldari space. We talk a bit about our starts in merc life and the glory days of can flipping (before concord changed the criminal status rules). It is weird having someone to small talk with while waiting for targets to do stuff. I wonder if Automaton feels neglected as I haven’t thrown a barb her way in a while. I can’t tell if her silence is an indication of her sulking or of her drowning in apathy.

I give up on Hector, head back to Soba, and manage to cross jump with a Prorator transport class ship. I curse my lack of patience internally and blame Automaton for not scouting ahead outwardly. I can almost hear her shrug through her silence, but she is right. What are the odds I’d have been able to catch a covert ops cloaky ship at the gate?

I take up position at a citadel near the Soba gate in Isanamo as Automaton watches the other side… does this make me a trade hub camper now? I’m surprisingly OK with it either way. I pass the time by picking random war target corps and attempting to do some background research. Maybe I’ll find something useful? It could happen.

A war target capsule is on auto pilot right in front of me. It doesn’t take much effort to make it go squish, and as I can’t think of a reason not to: Pod (empty) While I slow boat over to examine the corpse floating in space, a cloaky Tengu jumps through and I miss tackle. Yep, cloaky stuff is as safe from me as ceptor flutter.

General Murdock says he is heading out to Osmon to check that out and I invite myself along. I’m shocked when he reports finding a Gilia cruiser in Inaya as the area was clear earlier. “That’s how it goes some nights” he claims. True…  should I just have Automaton run loops through all the mission hubs non stop?

General has located the Gilia in a mission, but the target warps off to a station… but he does not dock. He just sits there. We move our ships up to the gate in the neighboring system in hopes of catching him when he returns to Osmon to turn in the mission. But, he isn’t moving and still isn’t docked. Automaton passively targets him and scans out fitting. Confirmation that he has patched his EM hole in his shields so I switch back to scourge missile to apply better damage. He’s still just sitting there.

I ask General if he thinks the guy actually left the controls. It has been a good 10 minutes at this point. General says he is happy to wait, but is happy to go for it too. It is my call. I like to think of myself as patient, but apparently not. Gilia(237m ISK, 4.8m ISK loot) Pod (55m ISK) To add insult to injury, Automaton scanned down the guy’s MTU (8.5m ISK)

giliaAFK.png

Heading back, crossed jump Astero but neither of us got a lock. It is late, and things are slow, so we call it a night. Not a bad ending for the night and I’m grateful General let me invite myself, as he clearly didn’t need my help to shoot an AFK Gilia. Still, I did contribute… or rather Automaton did by scanning down the MTU.

It is going to be hard getting use to flying in a fleet and dealing with conflicting feelings of being a mooch from time to time. Automaton’s silence screams her frustration, but I resent the notion that I mooch off her as she hasn’t killed a ship…ever.

Day 2 Tally:
4 kills, 6 kill reports
2 Ships, 3 pods (2 empty), 1 MTU
2 kill marks

Running Tally: 7/50
7 kills, 15 kill reports
6 ships (1 rookie), 8 pods (7 empty), 1 MTU
4 kill marks

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Day 1: Dampen this!

As I power up my ship’s systems, the date display mocks me more pointedly than Automaton ever did. February 5th. Four days have passed with out any combat activity, much less kills. Fifty kills. I can already feel the tug of my inner oppressiveness fixating.

I can’t just undock and fly into the fray. There is setup for secure com channels, authorization needed for Automaton as a scout, and you know, stuff. I find myself reading the rules again and my stomach turning. The rules are simple and boil down to “be considerate.” A very reasonable thing, and really, it isn’t the prospect of conforming to a dictated code of conduct, but simply the reality that I will have to work with others – that tears at me. I mean I work with Automaton all the time, but it is kind of hard to count that as building up experience in social interactions.

Initially I’m just trying to figure out where my alliance mates are and what the SOP is rather than hunting down targets. I leave Automaton behind to sort herself out, and make my way into Sobaskei as alliance coms warn of a target crashing the gate.

I land with 5 other pilots and we just missed an Enyo. Am I officially a trade hub camper now? The alliance actually does a lot to encourage their pilots to hunt, but when there are over 2 dozen war targets sitting in Jita 4-4 it seems almost neglectful to not try and intercept some of them.

Five minutes later, scouts report a Macherial battle ship attempting to leave Jita VIA the Perimeter gate. I’ve been active less than 7 minutes; the pace is overwhelming. We get waived off in route as the pilot is no longer a valid war target. With over 100 wars there are bound to be some expiring. I wonder if this pilot realizes the margin by which he escaped.

I warp off gate to a citadel and try to help kick start Automaton into her scouting role. She is having trouble interfacing with the alliance channels. Luckily, before I’m saddled with assisting in logistical matters, an Algo destroyer jumps the gate and I take the short warp to join the fight. I make the pod kill. Empty pod, but it is my first kill of the month and first kill as a Marmite.

As I try and contemplate the significance, or lack there of, Automaton finally gets her systems synced up and her standings adjust. She can now see our enemies, and without prompting, begins sweeping across Caldari space.

Her independence is a blessing as a Tengu is caught and ping-ponged across the Jita-Prim system gates. He manages to get his cloak to engage and is lost to us. A few minutes later he reenters Jita from the Niyabainen gate. Comms is full of chuckles as someone proclaims “That cheeky bastard.” Active comms? Camaraderie? Interesting.

Needing to slow the pace down and give myself some time to acclimate to pod life, I pull out towards the Piak mission hub area. Should I tell someone I’m doing that? Sure, why not? “O.k.” … and I got a response. O.K. This can work.

Automaton spots an Arazu in Piak, but is just passing through and at a good speed. I went for it anyway, and they simply cloaked and ignored my feebleness. Alliance comm chatter dies down as the shift change approaches and people begin to go offline.

Three war targets in Litura, and all from the same corp. I start to get excited as this might be something worth … and there they go in shuttles.

I move up to the Litura gate (in Uemi) anyway as it is a good choke point. My overview is different somehow. A blue star, what’s a blue star? My confusion is fleeting as recognition of the alliance symbol crystallizes. I quietly join my fellow Marmite in their gate camp.

garmur.png

I’m luckily spared the awkwardness of trying to interact with my wing mate and develop “camaraderie”, when comms erupts with report of a tackled Obelisk back in Sobaskei. You know, the system I just left. Freighters are even more special than an Orca and I’ve been known to go through some effort for an Orca kill. Freighters can take a while to go down so there is a chance I’ll make it there in time, and maybe I can actually be useful in covering the loot ship or something.  Automaton’s silence once again mocks my rationalization, as apparently I’m already feeling bad about whoring on kill mails I don’t even have.

The enemy pilot, one Obelisk Camel, is very much not flying an Obelisk freighter but a Stratios Cruiser. Obelisk, either in desperation or out of frustration, drops comms leaving his ship unpowered. Due to the disconnect, Kikah is able to hold him long enough for me to steal some of the credit on the kill mail. There is some concern over the likelihood of the escape pod actually escaping while under automated controls and a call for a prober goes out. Three of us hold the ship in place with scrams and disruptors with restraint as we wait for the prober to arrive.

Truth be told, I don’t have much restraint as I do fire off a volley of missiles. You see, the Stratios had begun to regen some shields and … what? I already admitted I failed at the restraint thing. The enemy pilot manages to get back online, and the need for such restraint passes. Stratios (1.3 b ISK, Loot: 884 m ISK) pod (empty).

obeliskCamel.png

There is back and forth over loot distribution which I gladly bail out of, happy to just get on the kill mail. The dispute seems lighthearted on the surface but there is some serious undertones; “well, that just discourages me from fleeting up with you then.” I successfully stay out of it, but I would feel bad taking a cut personally.

Things are a bit slow as the shift change continues and I find myself reflecting on how such a small number of pilots are effectively disrupting the logistics of so many. But, Automaton still not having much patience for my moments of reflection, reports war targets in Litura. I head to the Uemi-Lit gate and once again find myself joining my fellow Marmite silently in a gate camp. I ponder his selection of a Garmur Frig, as I’ve always wanted to try one of those.

Once again I’m spared any awkward attempts at coordination by a war target jumping into us. My combat sensors register the Garmur’s lock well before mine, but I lock and get point as well. He is 15k off and I’m worried he’ll crash the gate. My worries are quickly put to rest as he red boxes me. I approach as explosive rings envelope his shields from my first missile volley. A Celestis cruiser? I make a mental note to look up the ship type.

He is attempting to sensor dampen me and sick drones on the Garmur. Not a bad plan of action really; take me out of the fight and pop the Gurmon. Of course, the sensor dampening doesn’t do anything once I already have lock, and I do. Celestis (26m ISK, 8.5m ISK Loot) He didn’t make much effort to get his empty pod out. I notice a yellow flashy Gaurdian on scene and it appears he is repairing the Gurmur. Is he one of ours? I guess I shouldn’t shoot him.

Celestis.png

My queries are met with confusion. “Not my Guardian.” “A random guardian?” “Maybe it was a blue, they sometimes rep us.” What? Random reps from passing logi on gates? That’s pretty sweet and unexpected. All attempts to give the guy his share of the loot fail as he doesn’t seem to understand what I’m talking about. I wonder if he even realized I was there, but finally my own realization kicks in. There are two people who’s name start with “General.” But, it is quite clear neither of them care about 4 mil isk.

I’m pretty excited about a kill I actually contributed too, but before I can finish that thought, a call goes out for a Phobos, Proteus, and Guardian team that are working in The Forge region. There is a lot of dithering and back and forth about how to bait them but in the end we send me (the new guy in a shield buffer fit Tengu) and a Sacrilege (Active Armor) in as bait with a single neutral Guardian nearby. For back up, we got a Balghorn battleship (as our anti-logi platform) and another Sacrilege.

Automaton’s silence underscored my own personal feelings about using a shield buffer as bait with an armor logi but I’m not going in alone. And that may have been the problem as the enemy ran rather than even thinking about taking the bait. We did grab a rookie ship (and pod) on the way back. The kill-board counts it, but I can’t bring myself to.

Things seem to finally wind down with just a few failed bait attempts and pot shots around Jita and the never ending stream of interceptors streaming down the trade pipe. It is far later than I realized, and I’m overdue. I didn’t call Squeaky to give her a heads up, so there goes all that credit I built up over the last few months for staying home. That didn’t last long.

Determined to find her own prey and actually hunt down a target, Automaton continued to roam the backwaters of Caldari space. And 2 hours later, I was aware of two things: first, you apparently can’t bank credit for being around like a “normal person”; and second, there was a mining barge in space that needed my attention. Procurer (27m ISK, 4m ISK loot) pod (empty).

qzzz

“die with child and parent” – Qzzz LUKA

That might actually be my first pure hate mail. Usually there is at least some discussion point. I’ve always been amused at the expression “your tears fuel my ship”, but never thought of myself as personifying that. But, I’ll abashedly admit, that mail made me down right giddy.

Tally: 3 kills (9 counting empty pods and the rookie ship)

Mindshift

I spent a lot of time leaning against the railing of the balcony in my captain’s quarters staring out at my newly commissioned Negligee III and pondering my new undertaking (50 kills in Feb). Maybe if I had done that less, and did the logistics it wouldn’t have come to this.

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Scanning the mail for the dozenth time. Reading and analyzing the requirements and demands. The price of admission is high, but not wholly unexpected. I can swallow turning over Automaton’s API key without much effort (she hasn’t raised an objection at least). But giving up my API key? There are a lot of private communications and dealings that shouldn’t be exposed. The idea of culling my mail and losing those records in order to keep them private is upsetting. More than a little, but again expected.

How did I get to this point? It was a fairly simple question “how do you intend to achieve these 50 kills?” An obvious question and yet I wasn’t expecting it. I had given no thought on how to actually accomplish my self imposed task. Die’s question was a genuine one and was accompanied with his initial offer to participate in my schemes. Automaton’s silence mocked my lack of forethought and planning. Her support was timid and begrudgingly given.

I wasted the precious weeks of January. I hadn’t scouted new targets; I hadn’t primed the intel streams; I hadn’t even filed the paperwork with Concord for new war declarations. It would be mid February before things would be ready, and the wardec gamble is just that. Fifty kills with that method? Well it has happened, but I’ve only had that kind of payout from it once and it certainly didn’t happen with zero preparation. A more realistic appraisal for business as usual would be a dozen skirmishes with a half dozen kills.

How serious am I about the arbitrary 50? Pretty serious it seems, as I sit here staring at my application. Target corps often ignore wardecs from the bigger merc groups with a simple warning of “stay out of the trade hubs.” However, when SRE B decs them, they send out detailed warnings with our pilot names and ship types, ordering their people to avoid us. Because they know from our kill board we will show up in their home system. The validity of those strategies isn’t really the point, but that they seem to be the default playbook for most groups. Therefore a merc alliance, or rather their kill board and reputation (even if undeserved) for trade hub camping, could act as a cover. But SRE B’s activity and size means she isn’t an attractive acquisition for an alliance.

My colleagues, my brothers and sisters, aren’t so ready to join me this time. They would return to pod life for SRE B glory, but to fly under another’s banner? Under another’s rules and assimilate another’s culture? I can’t blame them for sitting this one out. Yet, one month to check out how the other side lives seems like a thing worth doing. Spectre’s quip of living vicariously through me leaves a lingering smile on my face. I’ll return to SRE B one day, and be welcomed back as if I never left. There is a strength that comes from that.

Truthfully I often share in preconceived perceptions of these mercs with little to no personal knowledge to justify such judgments. Even cultivating that I was somehow a different breed, a better one at that. Trade hub camping or not pulling in 5k kills a month with a 95+% efficiency ratting is a worthy accomplishment SRE B has never dreamed to aspire too. I don’t think that speaks bad of SRE B, just highlights the difference in scale and objectives. After all we accomplished things in SRE B that large merc alliance aren’t able to (or at least don’t get to).

Anyway, that is how I got to this point. This is how I rationalized away my reservations. This is thought process that lead to surrendering my API key (and Automaton’s) and agreeing to follow the beat of someone else’s drum. I mean Feburary is a short month anyhow. This act alone isn’t an act of surrendering my ideals and identity, but I do feel the need to be vigilant against such a thing.

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What will one month as a Marmite be like?

The Recap and Rebirth

This post, is a rather dry retelling of recent past events, and I do apologize and understand if you prefer to skip this particular post and the end to a perfect record. For which I would really like to find an escape goat, but have as of yet not thought of one.

A new war comes to SRE B and one with a purpose, of sorts. The enemy has a particular Nightmare Battleship that it would be better if they didn’t have anymore (one that survived a previous war apparently). A primary target, isn’t a unique thing in our history but it is on the rare side. I’m sure it is no surprise that normally I don’t care what the target is, just that there is one.

Intel is unusually detailed, and that can only be a good thing right?

itnelmap

(Map modified from dotlan)

The war was a rather lengthy war that alternated between lukewarm and ice cold. It was a frustrating war, not just because I had my most expensive losses ever (2 most actually), but because of the mind games involved. At one point we managed to bluff an enemy force that out numbered us in a ratio of 7 to 1 (and boasted several battleships to our cruiser gang), simply by charging at them. They assumed that if we thought we could handle it, then we must have a trick up our selves and ran for it. We had to be ready to go with an instant response fleet to handle their escalation, and needed complicated baiting tactics. But, if we could pull it off an epic battleship brawl was a worthy prize. Log-in traps were setup, but things never really all came together to bring us the brawl we longed for.

In the opening engagements my Tengu went down. It has been over 2 and half years since she was commissioned. She has earned back her cost in loot several times over, and was responsible for scores of kills (108 kills including pods).

I wish I could delve into a detailed post with damage charts, and detailed fleet movements, and chronicle the last glorious moments of my favorite ship. But, really all I got is “I swear I hit dock, and the weapons timer had cleared”. I even heard the automated voice assistant informing my docking request had been accepted, but to my chagrin I hung in space another few seconds. I can’t complain too much, as I’ve certainly been on the benefiting side of such station timing irregularities more than my fair share. Plus, I really was being stupid and cocky to undock and agrees a second time against that fleet. Negligee my Tengu class Strategic cruiser (467 mil isk, 18 mil loot).

Shortly after I fleeted up with Die and between his tempest and my drake we did this (4 kills, no losses):
Rupture Cruiser
Vexor Cruiser
Caracal Cruiser
Arbitrator Cruiser

Several others got away, and lots of taunting and failed baiting on both sides. The next major engagement was far more exciting, and happened more organically as we took on two heavy assault cruisers that were taunting us and enemy reinforced with battleships and cruisers ad hock.

Killed: Nightmare (the nightmare), hurricane, myrmidon, zealot, brutix navy issue.
Forced off (them): Deimos
Forced off (ours): Fleet Issue Tempest
Lost: Tengu (Mine sadly), Thorax
Remaining on grid: A lone underestimated Gila Cruiser
Battle Report

The lone enemy Gilia was left holding the field, but chose not to loot and skedaddled before we could reform. Not sure why we were left the spoils, but we happily looted the entire field. A 2/1 in isk destroyed and the primary target and entire goal of the war achieved (Nightmare destroyed). We were prepared to call this an unqualified success. But, i’d be lying if I said it didn’t sting a little to loose my second major ship in so short a time.

I asked Automaton if it made me petty to dwell over my personal losses and victories over the corp’s but her silence told me she clearly didn’t give a shit. She doesn’t have much patient for my moments of personal reflection. Which I find rather hypocritical of someone who hasn’t spoken a word in over 9 years.

Eventually our target joined with an alliance, and found themselves the target of several active hunting merc groups. The area was just a little too crowded for us, and we bowed out. Telling ourselves we’ll file them away for another day.

Despite being ISK positive, kill positive, and generally controlling the are of operation (when we were active) the war didn’t have a “we won this!” quality to it. Certainly didn’t feel like we lost, just that there was a lot left on the table.

The war shows up as three separate acts due to a break in the middle around the holidays and the war getting transferred to the alliance as a whole when they joined:

1st stage (13 kills and 1.4bil isk to 3 kills and 957mil isk)
2nd stage (2 kills 2.5 mil isk, to 0)
3rd stage (6 kills 272 mil isk, to 0)
Total: 1.7 bil isk and 21 kills to .96 bil isk and 3 kills.

I bemoan the lost opportunity to chronicle in detail the numerous games of cat and mouse, mind games, baiting, taunting, Automaton’s smugness, my bitterness, or the cold shoulder at home for my absenteeism. The good news, besides the bit of credit I may have built up at home for my time out of pod, is I have a new Tengu. Thus begins the story of the third instantiation of my Tengu class ship Negligee. Hopefully she lives longer and does more than the glorious charge of the 2nd, but I doubt I’ll surpass the longevity of the 1st.

To add a driving force I’ve decided quite arbitrary that I will achieve 50 kills in February. A quick look at my kill board stats will show that I have done that in the past (2/38 months of activity). Anyway, maybe this time I can keep a regular log of events.

Stay tuned for the log of Negligee III and her adventures.

Old wounds

Sorting through my collection of modules, ammo, and other assorted items strung across empire space, my mind wanders pondering a conversation I had recently. I’m fairly chatty as mercenary types go, and occasionally spout off at people I recognize in local. A vain attempt trying to pretend I have some social skills, and yet it catches me off guard when others do the same to me.

Ferista Nhey – waves > Myth.
MythBlood – smiles back > Hi Ferista
MythBlood > How’s third shift treating you?
Ferista Nhey > I’m not sure I even know what it is supposed to be like anymore, my time so limited. But it is quiet.
Ferista Nhey > Arranging a mineral trade now.
Ferista Nhey > And heading to pick some up nearby.
MythBlood > That’s the good thing about GRD, it always runs. Somehow it keeps turning out ships, and roaming the war zone.

I can’t think of Gradient without thinking of Salina. When she biomassed herself it nearly destroyed Squeaky… I took it hard as well. I see Ferista is a manager of 3rd shift from her public profile. Salina was 3rd shift. I wonder if Ferista knew her, maybe even managed her. I know Salina got an award, a star of gradient? a rising star? I can’t recall anymore the name; it was important once. Do they ever think of her?

Ferista Nhey > I leave the roaming for those with the aptitude.
Ferista Nhey > But I will always do my best to take care of the other.
MythBlood > I don’t know if it takes a special something to roam, or if it takes something missing where it aught to be to roam.
Ferista Nhey  – smiles> And with that I head out system for a bit.
Ferista Nhey > You’re right, though.
MythBlood > laters

I found myself spiraling down into a depressing sea of emotions I haven’t visited in a long time. Salina died long before she actually committed suicide. She was a walking corpse when we found her during a boarding action in Amamake. I executed her killer on the spot with my side arm. It was an impulsive action that let me cope with what I witnessed, but robbed her a chance at revenge for those same horrors.

I thought getting her into the academy and pod life could bring her back to life or at least restore her humanity. Throw her into the war and let her shoot some Amarr. I would have wanted revenge and did what I could to give Salina that. I know now she didn’t want revenge. She just wanted peace.

I turn my attention back to my assets list.  Well, assets might have been too generous a term. War loot often consists of junk modules and ammo, although there were a few faction modules as well. It would offend my Caldari heritage too much to simply trash it all. If I could ever bother to get it to market there was a good chunk of ISK for the effort.

I find myself starring at a report for a station in Ammold. I don’t dock in Ammold. No matter what the report says, I don’t have assets there. The Night Light, a scimitar logistics class cruiser, is all that remains of Salina. Her legacy. A ship I can’t even pilot, but can’t bring myself to sell. She was given it by Gradient, and was so happy and proud.

I can feel the irrational anger swell within me. I haven’t any right to be angry with her, but that seems better than the alternative. Squeaky let her guilt consume her for far too long. We did all we could, and knowing that there wasn’t any more we could do didn’t stop the guilt from coming. It defied all logic. It just was. Squeaky and I had taken her in to our home, made her family, and loved her as such. Our pleas to the court were rejected, and legally we couldn’t stop her.

Concord is quite clear that every pod pilot has the right to biomass. For society of immortals an option to biomass make sense. The right of choice. I always thought of it as something necessary, that of course had to be. But for one of my own? For Salina? How could they let her do that. She wasn’t in a sound state of mind.

I close the assets interface in a defeated gesture. Hell, with the rate of inflation it might actually be a good investment to leave it all where it is. I haven’t consolidated the horde since that day I got the notice from Concord confirming Salina had indeed carried through with her plans and I now had an inheritance. That’s why there is years worth of this stuff. Maybe if I contract the Night Light back to Gradient I can move on. Get some closure. Maybe someone in Gradient could make a difference with it.

I check the time and realize I’m already late for my dinner engagement. I’ve manage to waste a way the evening without accomplishing anything. Well, not nothing. I did go back and pop that MTU2 from last night.

Another spin at the slot machine. MTU (12.5 m ISK, 1 m ISK loot). I wouldn’t exactly call that a payout, but something I guess.

Locked Out

It has been a while since I’ve updated, and the opportunity to chronicle several engagements has slipped past. But, it hasn’t exactly been an explosion-filled couple of months, and I’ve spent far more time out of pod than in. Looking to adjust that balance I reconnect with Automaton and we head out to find … well, I don’t know what. But something.

SRE B has been enjoying an extended period without wars, and the intel streams will take a while to bring back up from their dormant state. Even if that wasn’t so, Concord requires a 24 hour notice period for wars. I have no intention of clearing out the cobwebs while trolling in a frigate through the war zone. That leaves really only one option, and not surprisingly Automaton is already out scanning down cosmic signatures. I can feel her smugness eking across the cosmos. Fighting the urge to scream “you don’t know me!”, I undock and head out to rendezvous a few systems away where she is already pinpointing the location of a wormhole.

I haven’t had the best of luck lurking in w-space in the past. It just seems to be the ultimate playground for small gang action, and I’ve been having a hard time with my solo trespasses. Well, solo-ish. Automaton is useful, if not actually required, for spelunking into w-space. She just doesn’t count for much once the missiles start flying. Well, she counts. I mean she can provide a warp beacon to bounce off, and she…

I can tell I’ve spent too much time planet side when I start trying not to offend anyone and sugar coat stuff. How hard is it to say “She ain’t a combat pilot”. Anyway, my lack of enthusiasm doesn’t go unnoticed, and Automaton points out the 3 Mobile Tractor Units we have on scan. Those loot slot machines haven’t provided a jackpot for me yet, but I enjoy the gamble.

MTU1 is out in empty space several AU away from anything. MTU2 is a dead space pocket, with no gate and several structures. On warp in, some EM Priestess attempts to spring an ambush on Automaton (and we have no intention of doing some pod pilot’s work and clearing out the area). MTU3 is behind an acceleration gate but with no ships on short range scan. I guess w-space holds more appeal than shooting abandoned MTUs, but we book mark them for later. I make the self-fulfilling prophecy of an MTU kill or two tonight and no other action. Automaton does not seem impressed with my prophetic abilities.

The worm hole appears empty based of the initial d-scan, and I orbit the hole cloaked while Automaton scouts the system. There is an unoccupied citadel at the far end of the system, and an empty POS on this end. No ships, and a handful of cosmic signatures. Automaton brings her probes in close and starts working through the gas and relic sites to get to the static wormholes. A Heron class frigate flies past me and jumps to high sec. I only saw Automaton’s probes on scan, so I guess they had the chain previously scanned out? The pilot is from an active w-hole group and clearly not a resident of this hole.

Figuring it is a good bet the chain is pretty well cleared out, or at the very lest my only hope would be running into a dozen of their T3 cruisers, I have Automaton pull in probes and I continue camping the entrance. Maybe the pilot will come back from a trip to the market with goodies. Automaton heads back into high sec to shadow the pilot, and the minutes tick by.

The pilot isn’t at Hek (the nearest trade hub), and so we abandon the half-baked scheme in favor of fulfilling my prophecy. At the acceleration gate to MTU3 sits two Maelstroms idling at the gate. I swap configuration to my high sec Tengu fit and head for the gate just minutes after they take the gate into a deeper pocket. I’m hoping two battleship pilots will feel overconfident against a lone Tengu cruiser, and after a few pot shots at their MTU maybe they’ll do something one of us will regret.

melatgate

No go. The gate is locked and I sure don’t have a key. I settle for popping MTU1 taking a spin of the slot machine, but no payout (MTU 8.5 m ISK). I didn’t even check whose MTU it was beforehand. In the future I probably should check that before going weapons free.

I ask Automaton if popping the abandoned MTU or getting denied access to an acceleration gate was the most exciting part of the night, but her silence reminds me I’m not as funny as I think I am. With no other prospects other than organizing station hangars, I dock up and call it a night. It occurred to me later that I probably should have told Automaton I was heading in, but then again she can always use the practice scanning cosmic signatures.

Still, I feel a lil bit like an ass.

The New D-Scan

Our war targets are clinging to the hopes that w-space will isolate them from the badies of the universe. Shattering the illusion of saftey is more effort that I original signed up for, but seems like a worthy enough cause. Plus, there is something about the landlords/slavers/leaders (Poll results: 50% slavers, 50% slum lord, 0% security conscience) of this particular w-space system that seems to deserve extra attention. After all Automaton did go through all the effort scanning down the system, so I should probably do something with that.

The only sign of life is a single pilot tethered at the citadel, but she doesn’t stay that way. I take the pilots unfortunate misfortune in choosing that moment to return to active duty as a “welcome to your new home” gift. Retriever (43.8 m ISK) She curiously ejects from the ship before it explodes. A bit odd, but I’ve heard rumors some find it easier to get their escape pod out that way?

Systems powered down, drifting in the void between planets, with nothing but your own thoughts can test anyone’s sanity. Thoughts, welcome and unwelcome alike, come unbidden to me: of her, of us. I’ve spent months cut off from k-space in the past, but this single night of isolation is gnawing at me. Squeaky, I miss you.

Automaton, with her often eerie near clairvoyance understanding,  interrupts my isolation before it overwhelms me. My second victim in the hole isn’t even a member of a capsuleer corporation, but she came from the citadel so her fate is sealed. Retriever (36 m ISK). Again with the minimalist fit and she also ejects when her ship starts to take hull damage.

She request a private coms channel, and we chat briefly. She bemoans her lack of alertness for not using the directional scanner enough despite being specifically warned to watch for me. I  point out the d-scan wouldn’t help much with my covert ops cloak and an untanked retriever.

“I wasn’t allowed to bring my skiff”

 

It seems the landlords”rules” are enforced for all the laborers, and not just our war targets. But despite such distractions, I’ve got business to attend to back in k-space. I bid farewell to Automaton, knowing she’ll stay. I didn’t ask her too, or even desire it, but it would be impossible to talk her out of it.

Refreshed in all the ways that matter, I return to the hole the next night. The system appears quite, and no signs of active life can be found. Powering down I attempt a restful evening alone with my thoughts.  This time trusting in my new found contentment to last.

Automaton, finds a target in an ore laden anomaly, gets the warp-in bookmark setup, and notify’s me. Groggy with sleep, but pleased at the distraction I power up systems and prepare my ship… er what? A private coms request comes in from the pilot.

Well, that means she knows I’m on coms. But how? I’m far outside of her directional scan limits. No, she must be using this to check if I’m offline or not. But she has been in the belt for several minutes, why now? Is she really spamming that request every few second to see if I go active?

Armed with the knowledge that I’m on coms again, the pilot returns to the citadel long before I exit warp. Over the next few days my suspicions are confirmed as miners and “landlords” alike send me private coms requests at regular intervals. Using the system as a replacement for direction scan. Remarkably effective in many ways.

In an attempt to counter act it, I leave myself on coms as much as possible. The miners eventually leave the citadel to do what they do. I let them be. I let complacency build, or so I hope. Several hours later, I make a move for another retriever.

I uncloak and lay waste with a heavy assault missile barrage, and Automaton urgently reports a Tengu undocking from the citadel. D-scan confirms her reports, but the target is already in deep armor. I align to warp out, and an Armageddon battleship is reported undocking as the Tengu lands on grid.

I should have already left, but I’m hear and the target is half hull. I stay a little longer.

“So this is how I loose my Tengu? Over a half fitted Retriever kill?” is the only thoughts I can entertain. I stay too late, and the enemy Tengu pumps missiles into my shields. But the Tengu warped into the center of the anomaly instead of using the Retriever as a beacon. He is too far away to point me, and I overheat my afterburner attempting to keep it that way.

My overview flickers and jumps, and I smash the warp command in repeatedly. The Tengu is 11k off, a mere kilometer away from heated scram range. I feel my heart rate slow, and breathing return to normal as I engage my cloak. Smug with success, I try and pull up the kill report. But, it isn’t there. I got the kill… didn’t I?

Automaton’s not so subtle silence poorly masks her internal dialog of nervous laughter. I did not get the kill. The pilot ejected when in deep hull damage, and I mistakenly took the flicker of the overview updating as the first signs of the ship exploding.

Could I have stayed any longer? How close was it? The damage to the ship was extensive but the citadel is happy to repair it, as I watch from my perch.

2016.06.10.07.11.01.png

I should be happy to be alive, but it is hard to grab onto that emotion in the sea of my disappointment. It was just a retriever kill, not worth this angst or loosing a ship over. But, then why am I in this hole?

Why? To kill that Armageddon. I’ll need some help, but I imagine it will be easy to bait them. The private coms request spam continues over the next few days. But, I’m out of the hole and am loathed to setup a CSPA tax to prevent the “new D-scan” from doing its job. I may have to anyway if it continues.

XxKMinorxX > would you like the video of you running away from me for your blog?
MythBlood > sure would

Still waiting for the video

Automaton, keeping her vigil, reports miners active and scans out an entrance in Minmitar space. It doesn’t take much to talk Die into taking a trip, but we don’t have enough on hand for the Tengu and the Armageddon. We go for a “hit and run” attempt. Retriever (37 m ISK) Sure enough, the Armageddon and Tengu come out to play, but not fast enough.

The “landlord” confirms his schemes for cheap labor, and wants to know when I’m leaving his hole.

XxKMinorxX > i see your still in my wormhole
MythBlood > my wormhole? yes.
XxKMinorxX > my wormhole lol

XxKMinorxX > then why are you in my wormhole hindering my profits? because i brought some cheap labor?
MythBlood > I have the entrance why not use it
XxKMinorxX > true
XxKMinorxX > but you are not engaging any of my boys
MythBlood > that’s not true, that one tonight was in your alliance
XxKMinorxX > they are in my alliance for cheap labor lol

 

The war is over, and a commitment to fighting with the militia has us deployed in the war zone for a few days. The Armageddon, our prize, is destroyed in an unrelated fleet battle. I feel a little sour about that, but it leaves very little reason to return to the hole. Our objectives with the war are over, and there isn’t much point in hanging around.

Then again, there is that Citadel…

Tally:
Kills: 3
Damage (/# of pilots): 58.4 m ISK

Running Tally
Kills: 51
Damage: 2,773 m ISK
Looted: 489 m ISK

The Exodus

The war has been brutally one sided, and those offering help have wavered in their commitment after a single day of occupation. The guardian pilot appears to have left the region, the covert ops T3 cruiser has returned to null sec, the Vindicator battle ship pilot as well is gone. I’m not sure if that result means that occupation was a success or a failure.

Several war targets have taken the offer to relocate to w-space including the CEO. Sadly, as often happens in war the people who are the target aren’t the ones who suffer the most. Without hesitation we hunt the remaining isolated individuals. Perhaps they’ll realize they should be in a different corp.

I might be being a bit too harsh on the enemy leadership. After all they have come up with an alternative for their members, by brokering a deal to join their new found friends in W-Space. Just a few rules (for security):

  • Can’t bring in ships (must come in a shuttle)
  • Not allowed to use scan probes (you might find the exit and leak it)
  • Retriever mining barges provided at Jita sell price (Update: this has been disputed. In some cases ships may have been provided. At least one documented case of selling a retriever for 20 mil ISK is available.)
  • Offensive and tank modules not permitted (mining lasers, mining upgrades, and mining drones only).
  • Ore shall be sold to the w-hole alliance (percentage of estimated value)
  • Full API key required. (assets list, com history, journal, transactions… everything)

As disturbing as handing your full API to anyone, much less an outside entity, is that isn’t the real horror. The reality of these rules are you can’t leave. What do you call a mining work force that you pay below market value and isn’t allowed to leave? Slaves? Indentured servants?

Not exactly the outcome of the war I’d expected and a high price to pay for an illusion of saftey. The greatest gift we could give them is to shatter that illusion. Hopefully triggering the realization that it isn’t worth it.

Automaton jerks me out of my philosophical exploration with a report on our favorite Phobos class heavy interdictor cruiser. He’s back outside the station, and as Die is lurking about nearby maybe it won’t be futile to poke at him a bit. He redboxed me? He never has before, and he doesn’t even have backup this time.

Automaton’s silent retort calls my attention back to the fight, as I kick of my drives and launch missiles. My buffer tank isn’t as large as his, but my damage is higher. We seem to be trading equal in percentage points of buffer in a slow dance circling one another.

Die is on his way hopefully providing the needed damage to break the tank before he can disengage. Undock, a long warp to a gate, jump the gate, then warp 45 AU to combat and all in a lumbering battleship.The Phobos disengages at about 50% into his buffer.

I don’t know if he noticed Die was in system or if simply decided he had enough, but it was a good 40 seconds before Die was able to arrive on grid and another 10 before he could start applying damage. We knocked him down below 40% in the last 10. I regret not having called in Die earlier, but I assumed the Phobos wouldn’t red box. I need to stop making assumptions about enemy behavior.

We head to Eystur, and meet up with Specter in his, now trusty, Atron frigate. A Rupture class cruiser is running a mission in Pator, and we wait while Automaton attempts to scan him down. I settle in for a long wait, but am surprised when three minutes later she has it. Specter heads in first, hopefully unnoticed.

“Let me know when you take the first gate, and I …”

“Got em”

“Will… alright, on my way”

Unfortunately for the ruppy he hadn’t yet cleared the initial pocket and was still at the mission beacon. As I exit warp the Ruppy is 2k outside of heated warp disruption range, and Specter is taking heavy damage. It gets a bit sticky for Specter but I’m able to get the point in time allowing him to escape. Rupture (18.4 m ISK, Loot .9 m ISK) Pod (1.7 m ISK)

The next day the exodus from their HQ continues as more miners head out to w-space. The vulnerability of the few that remain highlighted by their relative availability. The hunt continues.

I Missed the intercept on a Bestower hauler in Eystur, but reacquired him 2 systems away. Chased him to the Rens trade hub, but was just out of reach. He’ll probably come back this way after selling stuff in Rens. But that thought is interrupted when Automaton reports she lost sight of him. He didn’t dock in Rens?

I really need to stop making assumptions on enemy behavior. Locator sows him out beyond Jark  (a choke point that leads to region of high sec surrounded by low and null space). I wait at the gate, and am eventually rewarded for the effort. Bestower (3.6 m ISK) I wish I had managed an intercept in Eystur. Not just because of the bottom line to my wallet, but out of curiosity at what he might be hauling to that isolated area.

Automaton finds an active target one system from the trade and mission hub Hek. Past attempts to spot this guy have proven futile and I concluded that he was cloaked in space while sleeping and is probably doing the same now. I finally learned to disregard my assumptions and thus grabbed him when he jumped in system with a Caracal (34.6 m ISk, Loot 12.2 m ISK) Pod (40k ISK).

Ghost Mime, an old friend is back on comms. After all those years there she is in fleet along with Die. I wonder what Squeaky will have to say about that. The three of us head out after a Procurer last seen in Eystur. Locators are consulted and we send Automaton on ahead of us. While we wait for her to do her job it proves unnecessary. He jumps into us.

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The slaughter was over very quickly. Procurer (28 m ISK, 2 m ISK) That is the quintessential minimalist fit.

Emeral Cool is seen in hek, so we camp the gate in Eystur. Ghost unfortunately looses connection with her pod interface and her ship automatically performs an emergency warp out. Die and I took the Moa down to armor before his MWD cycle carried him to jump range of the gate. We then took a shot at a second war target following in his wake, but their MWD and cloak gate evasion technique was well practiced.

The rest of the night is marked by chasing shuttles around. Lost one in Eystur, and it was located one system out of Hek. Lost the second one in Bei, but the locator came back w-space. If the shuttles weren’t enough of a clue already it was now painfully obvious the entrance to their new home is close by. We know from looking at zKillbaord what their w-system ID is and that it has a static low sec entrance. After entering nearly a dozen wormholes and scanning down nearly 30 signatures we find the system.

Time to shatter that illusion of saftey.

Tally:
Kills: 5
Damage (/# of pilots): 54.2 m ISK
Looted (/# of pilots): 13.1 m ISK

Running Tally
Kills: 48
Damage: 2,715 m ISK
Looted: 489 m ISK

Ocupation

War doesn’t like to be contained and compartmentalized, rather it expands pulling in more corps and alliances. Sometimes that expansion comes with violent explosions, sometimes it is just more noise in the background of meaningless notifications.

A Small Merc group has joined the war offering their assistance to the enemy. Pretty sure they are just noise and we’ll never see them.

Our targets seek refuge at a citadel in the system, and negotiations fail with the citadel owner. War dec goes out. More Mercs join the fray in defense of the citadel owners. Again pretty sure we’ll never see the mercs.

A Null corp in the alliance sends reinforcements to their sister corp. That appears to consist entirely of one guy in a cloaking covert ops ship. Not exactly what I’d call “reinforcements”, and sadly very little chance I’ll ever get to shoot at him.

A W-Space alliance offers assistance and joins the war. They send a single guardian pilot. That is a bit more problematic and the first signs of real help. But not exactly earth shattering.

A friend of one of their members joins the corp and brings a vindicator battle ship “to kill that bitch”. I wouldn’t call the guy with less than a dozen kills and over 50 losses on his record a “ringer”, but am happy for the extra target.

It is late and sleep is overtaking me, but Automaton spots Emerlad Cool in a belt with another mining barge. I’m not surprised to learn it is the same exact same spot as last time. Procurer (38.9 m ISK) Pod(empty) I am however a bit surprised at the use of a scram and web. That would normally imply a trap, but with no real tank fitted and no one in system? The movement towards combat fitting is encouraging.

The next day Automaton spots a Covetor (55.2 m ISK) Pod (empty) who hasn’t got the memo that mining in your sleep is dangerous. Maybe this refresher will help wake him up.

With out a lot of prospects I hang out at the station undock while catching up on some reading and administration stuff. A Thrasher (3.2 m ISK) Pod (empty) gets all kamikaze. I admire the spirit of the charge, but…

Terms have been offered to the enemy, and they don’t seem interested in negotiating peace. I think they are feeling the pressure, but it seems they have decided relocating will solve all their problems. I doubt that, but I’m willing to let them give it a try.

To make some sort of point, all be it I don’t know what that point would be, I fly over to their POS (that lacks any  defensive or offensive modules). I’m a bit curios what they will do when getting a notification that their POS is under attack. Apparently nothing. Automaton wins that bet (didn’t want that ISK anyway).

The coveter pilot tries his hand at mining again with a Procurer as soon as I leave the system. Awake this time and with the long 45 AU warp from the gate he doesn’t have much trouble getting away. Knowing his predictable nature, I power down systems and go off-line at the belt.

The gamble pays off in less than 5 mintues. Procurer (26.2 m ISK, Loot 3.3 m ISK) Pod(empty). They are getting better at the cat and mouse games, but they are still playing the part of the mouse.

A few hours later, and the system has a lot more activity in it. The Vindicator battleship pilot is moving about, a Phobos Heavy Interdictor Class Cruiser is stationary at the top station’s undock, and the Guardian is docked up in the next system. I guess, they will take a turn as the cat after all.

Those are some very sturdy ships, even if you ignore the impressive remote repair abilities of the Guardian, and you really can’t. But what do they expect to kill me with?

I can feel Automaton’s curiosity through her silence. I must admit my own is peaked as well. So, I take a few shots at the Phobos. Nothing. The Phobos just waddles back and forth ignoring me, and no one in the system makes any moves. Time for trash talk?

“This is me biting the bait. If this isn’t what you wanted for your trap what is?”

At this point the Guardian pilot comes into system, and a Frigate Griffin class (Mr. Emerald Cool himself) shows up 200k away and cloaks. After 20 min of red boxing Phobos and forcing him to dock a few times, the only thing that has happened is Emerald swapping to a Moa.


Untitled

I dock up leaving my coms unit on and go about my business.

Phobos pilot is gone when I come back, but the Vindicator is out along with an Arazu recon class cruiser. Oh and that silly Griffin that just wants to watch apparently. The Guardian undocks when I do and we play some station games.

The Vindicator doesn’t have any warp disruption, but has some serious webbing power holding my top velocity to nearly single digits. But, with out the Arazu joining in I just warp off anytime I want. I force the guardian to dock a few times. I warp around trying to separate the arazu from the vindicator but he docks up anytime I focus on him. The only one of them willing to redboxing is the vindicator battleship, and  he just tickles a bit when he shoots.

Despite their complete lack of an offensive punch, the Guardian logistics ship supporting them means I’ll need some support of my own. I resign myself to wait until tomorrow to properly tango with these guys. I’m allowed to use this obvious pun at least once right?

A few minutes later the vindicator pilot is making grand claims in local, that I couldn’t even kill a rookie ship. Ibis (0 ISK)

I post “gf?” in the local com channel, and his corp mate asks a fairly appropriate question: “Dyson what the hell are you doing?”

“I’m drunk and bored”

Didn’t cost him anything so, fair enough. I go back to my “Occupy strategy” (docked and leaving coms open). We’ll see what effect it has had in the morning.

I let Squeaky know I won’t be coming home tonight. She seemed understanding.  It appears Automaton isn’t the only one who can speak volumes with silence. I’m going to pay for this later, the question is “how much?”

Tally:
Kills: 4 (I’m not counting the ibis)
Damage:  123.5 m ISK
Looted: 6.5 m ISK

Running Tally
Kills: 44
Damage: 2,661 m ISK
Looted: 476 m ISK

Running up the Score

My stomach rumbles in protest, but “war target in space ” is all the motivation I need to put off one hunger to satisfy another. I find a lone Retriever mining barge happily munching on some asteroids and unaware of my presence even as I slam heavy assault missiles into his side wall.

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Retriever (71.7 m ISK, Loot 4.5 m ISK) Pod (18.1 m ISK)

The delay has ruined my lunch plans, so I stop by a local bar to see what options I have left to me. At least this time I remembered to let Squeaky know that I won’t make it.

After a less than satisfying “meal”, it appears a venture is hanging out at the top belt. The venture has an amazingly stable warp core, so I had no hope of holding it on grid. Unfortunately for him ventures don’t last long and he was caught flat footed.  Venture (3.5 m ISK, Loot .8 m ISK)

After the afternoon’s harassment the war targets are being more cautious mostly staying docked. Their numbers in local continue to rise and as they peak over a dozen they begin to grow more bold. They aren’t the only ones getting a confidence boost from numbers, as Die is back with Tempest Battleship. 2vs12 is much better than 1vs12 and with the Tempest hopefully we’ll get another shot at that Raven. And if all else fails we do have a backup plan.

We chase a few stragglers around the system and wind up ping ponging back and forth across the Moselgi gate, eventually we get a bit lucky with a thrasher (2 m ISK) pod (73k). Neutral scouts buzz around us taking scans and providing harassing bumps. Die is in the tempest on the other side of the gate and I’m hanging out in system exposed. They know were we are, what we are flying, and our exact fits. They should have all they needed to know to formulate our destruction in detail, but they haven’t figured out the contingency plan yet. So we hold.

After a good hour, of cat and mouse they finally warp their fleet on top of me and overview fills with flashy red symbols. I blap a thasher (3.5 m ISK) of the field while the enemy hesitates. As they finally red box Die jumps the gate and enters the fray. They immediately scramble and flee into warp. A caracal (24.9 m ISK, Loot 4.5m ISK) wasn’t fast enough and soon follows the thrasher.

A strategic destroyer Hectate class shows up late to the fight and Die and I lay into it. He red boxes surprisingly instead of fleeing through the gate. As he commits suicide, Die heads of toward their station in a vain hope of catching something before it can wait out their weapons timer and dock. The Hectate (150 m ISK, Loot 2 m ISK) structure buckles shortly afterwards despite impressive mitigation due to speed and resists.


5

(first bump is the Thrasher, the second the Caracal, and the long trailing end is the slow death of the Hectate)

We’ll it appears we didn’t need our contingency as Die’s presence was enough to send them running; although it isn’t like they didn’t know he was there. Surely they expected to get both of us in that fight, and as such we are a bit surprised at the order to retreat.

We chase some ships back to the Moselgi gate, and a fast moving Moa cruiser taunts us from range. They loose some people and gain some more on comms. There are 15 war targets in the system now, so we pull back to Moselgi with hopes of a fight on the gate rather than the station. They warp nearly a dozen ships anchored around a Domonix battleship to the gate, about the same time we are joined by Spectre in his Atron fast tackle.

As we catch Spectre up on events, we are surprised by a Domonix jumping into us and immediately dropping cloak. He was an easy tackle and all three of us begin peeling his shield and armor away, but the enemy force of a dozen ships holds on the other side of the gate. They just let us shred the Domonix (262.7 m ISK, Loot 10 m ISK) unhindered.

Still no movement from the enemy fleet, so I jump the Tengu through to force the issue tackling the Moa. The enemy scatters and the Moa pulls range, but doesn’t leave just taunting me with his speed. A 4k/s frig is a lot faster than Moa cruiser, so Spectre grabs the tackle for a very satisfying kill. Moa (16.6 m ISK)

They remain docked this time, and there doesn’t seem to be much chance of that changing. We go about our business and leave the area. It is less than an hour before Automaton spots them mining again in the exact same spot in the same belt. Retreiver (33.8 m ISK, 2 m ISK) At this point Emerald Cool must feel like our personal punching bag.

I warp to the top belt in hopes of finding a rat to get my daily bounty from CONCORD, but before I can a war target in a Procurer (41.6 m ISK, Loot 6 m ISK) mining barge lands on top of me. I guess he just wasn’t paying attention, and had a bit of bad luck.

Rimrath brings out a rupture and we play cat and mouse games around the station with the enemy. A venture decides he doesn’t need to worry about us and continues to mine, often flying through our camp at the undock. He tries his luck one too many times however. Venture (1.5 m ISK) Pod (empty)

The enemy cluster up at their home station, and we hang around outside expecting an ambush on Rim’s Rupture that never comes. This annoying neutral Heavy Assault Cruiser Demios keeps bumping me. Automaton links me he his employment history, and  a quick look indicates he was a WT up until a few hours ago. Despite Automaton’s smugness, I take her silent hints and send him a duel request as I pull as much range as I can manage.

He accepts the request, and tries to close the distance under the barrage of my missile launchers. He begins to melt and hesitates too long. By the time he runs for it is far too late. Deimos (311.3 m ISK, Loot 49 m ISK) Pod (594 m ISK). Approaching the dock with his pod rather than warping away proved an expensive lesson for him. The score card was looking good before, but after the Deimos duel the days total is bit obscene.

Sleep calls to us, and the enemy seems to have worked out all of their suicidal tendencies.

Day Tally:
Kills: 14
Damage (/# of pilots): 1,258.05 m ISK
Looted (/# of pilots):  68.6 m ISK

Running Tally
Kills: 40
Damage: 2,538 m ISK
Looted: 469 m ISK