Targeted for destruction

25th June 2011 – 3.54 pm

Taking my replacement stealth bomber out for a roam looks like it may get an early kill, until the Tengu strategic cruiser I shadow across a couple of anomalies turns out to be blue to our corporation. His yellow skull of piracy masked the blue square of chuminess, which whilst a little frustrating makes me glad I interrogated the pilot's information as I waited for him to switch to a salvaging boat. I stop following him covertly and head home, not even bothering to scan for the new wormhole, as it will only lead to a blue system.

After grabbing a sammich I go for another roam, but all looks quiet. There isn't even a blue pilot to practice following in our neighbouring class 3 w-space system, and the low-sec exit system and the C1 connecting from that are empty too. I swap the Manticore for my Drake battlecruiser to shoot some rats in low-sec for a while. The puppet turns up and needs to get back to the home system, having been sent unceremoniously to a new clone yesterday, and I am happy to guide him to each wormhole in turn. And, as Mick is also around, once the puppet gets home and is replaced by Fin we can head in to the inactive C3 to shoot some Sleepers for profit.

Fin and Mick board their Tengus, me my Golem marauder, and we jump in to the C3 to start making iskies. The first anomaly we warp in to has no Argos guns, which is peculiar but works to our advantage, and we happily clear the site of Sleepers taking less damage than normal. The second site is populated normally, but about half-way through clearing it we realise we are not alone. Combat scanning probes appear on our directional scanners, and a Legion strategic cruiser shows briefly too. Mick immediately pulls us out of the anomaly and, as a precaution, I make a safe spot as we are in mid-warp.

We land in the planet's orbit and disperse without a second thought, me to the safe spot, Fin off to make her own, and Mick bravely warping to our K162 to reconnoitre its safety. He says the wormhole is clear, as is the home system, but quickly corrects himself when multiple hostile contacts are made and he realises he's caught in a warp bubble anchored to the static wormhole. I am luckily able to cancel the warp command a second before my Golem's drives engage, ready to flee homewards, and now Fin and I are heading to low-sec where we hope we can make the one jump to the safety of high-sec without trouble. Again it looks clear, but again looks can be deceiving.

Fin jumps through a clear wormhole to report it also clear in the low-sec system. I send my Golem towards the wormhole in the hopes of it remaining clear, but I drop on top of the wormhole to find a Tengu now there and Fin reporting a Legion appearing in low-sec. I know my bulky battleship won't be able to get back in to warp to evade the strategic cruiser in the C3 and so plunge my Golem through the wormhole in the slim hope that I can somehow escape on the other side. But with a Legion waiting for me, and the Tengu somehow not being fooled by a ship jumping through a wormhole, my Golem is locked and its drives disrupted before I can enter warp. It is, of course, all over bar the shooting, a Megathron battleship and Falcon recon ship visible on d-scan in the C3, and Mick having reported an Arazu recon ship in the home system too.

I'm not going down without a fight, loosing my Golem's full might against the Legion. I have no idea if I can break its tank before I am dead but it is the first target I can lock and it will feel the weight of my weapons. All the while I am aligned to a stargate and hitting warp, in case of mistakes, but when the rest of the hostile fleet jumps out to join in the massacre I can do little but prepare to get my pod to safety. And it is a massacre, a one-sided slaughter involving little risk regardless of the hollow 'gf's given in the local channel, as the Falcon successfully jams my systems and another ship drains my capacitor dry. I can't defend myself or shoot back and simply watch as my ship explodes around me.

I didn't stop pounding 'warp', my pod getting away from the fleet almost instantly, and I don't look back. I make it to high-sec and, with little direction to follow, set a path to an old mission and manufacturing base in The Citadel. Mick didn't get clear, falling foul on the bubbled wormhole at home. Fin managed to escape, either because of the sensor recalibration delay preventing the Legion from stopping her, or because my Golem was given priority targeting. But we are all now isolated from the home system. We also note that our assailants are the same pilots from yesterday, ambushing Fin and an ally and denying access back to our system for the night.

It's a little worrying that the same fleet has attacked us on two consecutive days, particularly as it looks like they came from our home system. It's possible that a wormhole coincidentally connected them to us again, but it is also possible that they decided to target us specifically. Without knowing what happened for sure I am not going back to our C4 tonight, particularly as they previously waited patiently for pilots to return to catch them a second time. The best we can hope for is that they will move on soon enough, if they did indeed loiter overnight in our system. But for now I think it's time to leave it all behind me and take a break.

  1. 9 Responses to “Targeted for destruction”

  2. A few blog entries ago, you mentioned that there was a scanning boat that just disappeared. I don't remember the circumstances, but could these guys be related to that missing ship?

    If so, the other crew probably knows your active hours, and may hound you for a while.

    By M on Jun 27, 2011

  3. Stupid Leader Fin was slow on the uptake and failed to get you all out safely. :(

    Knowing this was coming and must say that Penny manages to take a sad tale of relative incompetence and inject excitement and power. I felt like the victim of abuse, unable to break the cycle of violence and spiralling ever closer to vicious clone renewal.

    By Kename Fin on Jun 27, 2011

  4. Honestly, you made a mistake; unless possibly you're in one of the NPC corps, you should always have your overview set up to screen out friendlies. If you don't know how, check the EUNI wiki - there's a guide there.

    Shooting blues never ends well. Trust me. ;-)

    By Mark Raynor on Jun 27, 2011

  5. Pretty terrible blow u suffered there... nicely put into words tho' - grats on that! I hope you get back well into your home system.
    Maybe this was the answer to the prayers of all those Noctis pilots you shot down until now... :)

    By Mis'tral on Jun 27, 2011

  6. You're right, Mark, and I have my overview configured not to show corporation and fleet members, or allies. The Tengu I found was only light-blue, more of an acquaintance than ally, and not yet excluded from my overview. I'm pretty sure we could have talked our way out of that shooting match.

    By pjharvey on Jun 28, 2011

  7. Glorious leader Fin is being too hard on herself, as there is no one to blame for our loss here. It was simply a nicely executed w-space ambush we were on the wrong end of.

    The sad part is we maybe could have got clear, although I cut the details out of the post for brevity and pacing. Mick had scanned and found the new wormhole in the C3, which indeed led to a (light) blue system, a C2 with an exit to high-sec. It seemed irrelevant at the time, so he didn't drop the bookmarks back at our tower and neither Fin nor I asked for them. But had we had those bookmarks we could have exited the C3 to the C2 and then to high-sec, which our ambushers may not have known about. On the other hand, it's also possible they had scanned that too and had a ship covering the wormhole there, but it was an option that wasn't even available to us because of our complacency.

    Like I say, it was no one's fault. But if I am a little short with newbies, or experienced pilots, not remembering to drop updated bookmarks for others to use, this is why. It not only has us duplicate scanning efforts but may close off options that can save a fleet.

    And, yes, Mis'tral, this could be karma for all the salvagers I've popped. But I'll be back!

    By pjharvey on Jun 28, 2011

  8. Although this was a sad story, it was a good read. I would be interested in reading another blog about what you could have done better to protect yourselves. Reading your story makes me think of all the possible ways that things might go wrong for new wormhole explorers like myself. What did this group do different from the rest? Could you have used different ships or fittings to protect yourselves? So many questions...

    By Jay on Jun 29, 2011

  9. Unfortunately most of the fights in wh's are ganks. All the fun is in the scouting and stalking of the targets, once you're on grid with them and have them tackled its pretty much a case of finishing them off... unless it turns out to be a trap of course :p

    I would personally recommend using drakes for running c3 sites. 3 pilots can run 5 drakes and a salvager which does a site in 6-8 minutes with only about 400mil isk on the field. With a 4th/5th pilot you keep the # of drakes the same but have logi/ecm ships on standby in case you get jumped. Of course that assumes that everyone is at least dual boxing which I guess not everyone does.

    By kryn on Jun 30, 2011

  10. The thrill is definitely in the hunt, which I have written about before. I don't bemoan bringing more and bigger ships to the fight, as that is the easiest way to ensure victory. I can appreciate the ideals behind duels and respect that, but I am hunting in w-space and looking for a kill or protecting our space, testing my skills in ambushing my opponent rather than in combat itself.

    As for running C3 anomalies with Drakes, it's certainly fair advice but, as you already note, not everyone is willing to dual-box. I also find that salvaging is rather labour intensive, and it seems to me you'd either have to wait for salvaging to finish before moving on, sacrifice some attention to combat, or drastically slow down salvaging and leave the salvager rather more vulnerable as a result.

    Either way, we certainly found value running different ship classes against Sleepers. Having a Golem alongside the Tengu made a noticeable difference against the Sleeper battleships, the torpedoes taking out chunks of armour with each hit and positively chewing through their hulls. Fin even timed us in a standard anomaly, and the Golem made combat about 10% faster. On top of that 10%, salvaging was completed at the same time, which was a significant time and risk saving.

    And although fielding Drakes reduces the ISK at risk during each operation, there is something to be said for splashing out on flashier hardware. Flying a Drake doesn't compare to a Tengu, and I got a real feel of destruction and utility in the Golem. It's fulfilling to splash out on fancy items sometimes, as long as you can afford it.

    By pjharvey on Jul 1, 2011

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