Careless Caracal

19th February 2014 – 5.15 pm

A new signature in the home system catches my interest. I was about to head off-line, after not being able to interrupt the EVE University fleet clearing away Sleepers in our neighbouring class 3 system for more than five minutes, but maybe I can find more to do in a different direction. I scan the new signature, resolve the obviously-a-wormhole, and warp to see a K162 from class 2 w-space before me. Looks good, in I go.

Nothing appears on my directional scanner in C2a, but the black hole is pretty obvious in the background. Launching probes and blanketing the system reveals six anomalies, eight signatures, and a distinct lack of ships. One planet lurks out of d-scan range, and at that planet is a single tower, so I scan to see who opened the wormhole to our system. Was it someone local, or a scout from even further back?

I first resolve the static exit to high-sec, which clearly leads to Lonetrek, and, well, that's it for wormholes. I suppose a local pilot scanned, opened both wormholes, then went shopping. Except core probes are now visible on d-scan. That could mean the scout came back, that he hasn't yet finished scanning, or maybe it's one of the two EVE University scouts having come further back looking for the douchebag who interrupted them. If it is, I hope it's the Helios covert operations boat and not the Loki strategic cruiser.

I sit still for a while to monitor any comings and goings, and finally the probes disappear. A ship blips on my combat scanning probes, and switching to d-scan has my first, indirect viewing of an Astero frigate. That's almost interesting, made more interesting by the Astero appearing on the B274 with me. The Sisters of EVE frigate jumps out to high-sec and, anticipating his polarised return, I decloak my Loki and get its systems hot.

Aiming for an Astero frigate

The wormhole crackles seconds later, bringing the Astero back. But, being a frigate, it's pretty agile, even under the influence of a black hole, and the ship evades my attentions easily. Never mind, I jink and cloak, and hold my position as the wormhole crackles a second time. An Ishtar heavy assault cruiser appears from high-sec, warping away to, well, somewhere. I don't know where the Astero went, nor the Ishtar, and there are no new signatures to suggest a new wormhole.

Ishtar HAC jumps in to w-space from high-sec

Drones are launched in C2a. That implies combat. I check the information on the pilots, seeing the capsuleer in the Astero belonging to a state corporation, the one in the Ishtar not. That likely means they are not affiliated, and probably came to this convenient high-sec wormhole by coincidence. Now d-scan is showing me a Sleeper wreck, as well as a Gallente frigate wreck. I imagine that second wreck has been in the system longer than the Ishtar, and that I only didn't see it because I wasn't looking for it. But its presence is interesting.

I locate the frigate wreck in a basic anomaly, its affiliation independent of both other ships somewhere in the system. It's just a hotbed of activity. But the only activity now is the Ishtar, who is most likely in a relic site I've already ignored. I've got nothing better to do, let me hunt him. A crappy mobile tractor unit has been launched too, which whilst meaning I will almost certainly see no loot at least makes for a fatter target for my probes. Or maybe I can ignore the Ishtar, seeing how the high-sec wormhole crackles a third time to bring in to the system a Caracal cruiser.

Caracal enters w-space from high-sec

The Caracal warps to the anomaly holding the frigate wreck, which is probably his. I bet he misgauged the ire the Sleepers can mete, and has come back in what he feels is a ship more appropriate to the task. I'm not convinced, and as I have my probes positioned roughly where I think the Ishtar is, and don't think the Caracal will last long by itself, I decide to continue with my hunt for the HAC. Sadly, the lack of hunting opportunities since Odyssey has dulled my skills somewhat, and it takes two scans to resolve the site holding the Ishtar. By the time I warp in to the site the Ishtar has broken for the wormhole.

Scanning for the Ishtar in a relic site

Never mind, the MTU is still there. Not that I care to try to crack open that solid chunk of unbreakium. Oh, and the Caracal is still wherever the Caracal is too. Not only did he return for more Sleeper punishment, not only was he apparently not concerned by the Ishtar in the same system as him, but he also hasn't been spooked by my combat scanning probes. Maybe I'll see what he's up to. I think I can revise my earlier consideration of his chances of survival too, when I realise the C2 anomaly is not a classic anomaly but an ore site. Yeah, okay, a cruiser should be able to handle the minor Sleepers found in a C2 ore site. But can it handle a Loki?

Caracal in a w-space ore site

I almost consider waiting for the cruiser to clear the Sleepers and come back in a mining barge, just to remember the good old days when pilots mined openly in w-space. But I would rather shoot a ship that can shoot back. I warp in to the site from my perch, approach the Caracal, and skilfully manage to time my ambush so that the last Sleeper frigate pops the moment that I decloak to strike. Nothing unintentional there, nope.

Caracal shoots back at my Loki

The Caracal's shields are strong when I get a positive lock, barely scratched by the Sleepers, but not for long. My autocannons do a good job of stripping the cruiser's shields, and rake through the armour even more effectively, as I manage to keep my target close. It's only when the Caracal is taking structure damage that the pilot thinks to shoot back, but it doesn't really matter. The ship explodes. I aim for the pod, get a positive lock, and crack that open too.

Wreck of the Caracal and the pilot's corpse

It was simple fight against a simple ship, but at least it was a fight. Hopefully it illustrates the dangers of w-space to the pilot too. I scoop the corpse, and loot and shoot the wreck. Now to take a look at the MTU in the relic site. Yep, it's there. Yep, I'll be leaving it. I wander off to finally see where the exit wormhole takes me in Lonetrek, but the connection crackles before I get close enough to jump. The Ishtar returns to w-space, warping back to the relic site. Neat.

Astero in a relic site with Sleepers

The HAC goes to finish the sole remaining Sleeper battleship and, not convinced I can engage him successfully, I get my probes ready to startle him again. They're not needed, though, as a new, full wave of Sleepers does that for me. And, just to end the evening, the Astero makes a final appearance, wandering up to take a look at the mobile tractor unit for himself. Had I expected this I'd have got my Loki much closer. As it is, I'm too far to reasonably engage the frigate, and certainly too far to stop the Astero from warping clear. Either way, the Sleepers look to scare him off after a few seconds, and once more all is quiet. The system has been subdued in to inactivity. It's time to go home, but I'm glad I stayed up a little later than planned.

  1. 3 Responses to “Careless Caracal”

  2. Eve-who research shows that the Astero and Ishtar pilots were at least at one time in the same corp. Which fits with the fact that the Caracal was the odd ship out :)

    By Fenjay on Feb 19, 2014

  3. Thanks, Fenjay!

    But, man, other players doing more research on my kills than I even think to do. More proof that I'm terrible at this game.

    By pjharvey on Feb 20, 2014

  4. I wouldn't say that! Your killboard speaks 100 times louder than mine. I'm of the playstyle that sneaks around and stealthily gathers information more often than shooting people. I'm just glad there is room for that in Eve.

    By Fenjay on Feb 20, 2014

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