Hit and run

21st April 2013 – 3.11 pm

Many wormholes died to bring us this cleaner constellation. The K162 in to our home w-space system was killed, murdered, I suppose, but the others have no doubt passed away from natural causes by now. It's not wormhole life I'm looking for, but capsuleer life. Glorious leader Fin comes on-line as I blanket the home system, looking for new connections and finding none, before heading out to see what new shape and activity the constellation has.

There is no change at the tower in our neighbouring class 3 system, and the K162 from class 2 w-space although not dead is at the end of its life. I have no idea how long it will last, so look in another direction. That other direction takes me through the outbound connection to class 4 w-space, in to C4a, where out of four wormholes three were EOL earlier. Those three are gone, which I am assuming without checking, but the K162 from class 2 w-space lives and is healthy. With nothing happening in C4a, I jump to C2d.

The wormhole is alive and well, but the system isn't. There's nothing and no one of interest to keep me here. Thankfully, I realise that of the three wormholes that are now dead in C4a one is the static connection. That gives me a replacement static connection to scan for, which will lead to more class 4 w-space and, if necessary from there, more w-space. I drop back a system, launch probes and scan, and resolve and jump through the wormhole to C4b.

Two towers, no ships. My directional scanner shows me little improvement in circumstances, but I know I have more w-space to move to. Launching probes and blanketing the system reveals three anomalies and seven signatures, out of which the sole wormhole is too weak to lead to another C4, but not so weak as to connect to class 5 w-space. I suspect, but don't voice, a C2 wormhole, and am happy to see just such a static connection when I warp to it, finished with scanning. Well, I am finished, someone else isn't, as core probes are now visible. Whatever, other scanner, I'm moving on.

Cheetah jumps in to the class 2 w-space system

A tower and no ships appear on d-scan in C2e, so I sit on the wormhole as I scan, because of the probes behind me. Four anomalies and six signatures are reduced to a ladar site, radar site, rocks, and the two static wormholes, as the wormhole flares behind me to bring a Cheetah covert operations boat in to the system. This is why I sat on the wormhole. I let the cov-ops go, not having much chance of catching it, and finish resolving the second static wormhole. The Cheetah finds that one pretty quickly, warping to the exit to high-sec and leaving w-space shortly after I reach the wormhole myself.

The Cheetah's left w-space, but if he comes back he could be in trouble. His ship will be polarised and, knowing this, and having the high-sec wormhole as an escape route myself, I get close, decloak, and prepare as many offensive systems as I have buttons for. Nothing happens immediately, but I can wait another couple of minutes and still catch him polarised. If he comes back. Which he doesn't. Well, that's that, I suppose. Maybe he's gone back to his carebearing ways after a short jaunt exploring w-space. Me, I'll continue exploring, through the second static wormhole, in to C4c.

D-scan is clear. Blanketing the system has four anomalies and four signatures appear, out of which the static wormhole is easily resolved, allowing me to move on to C4d. And activity! Six Tengu strategic cruisers, a Loki strategic cruiser, Navy Scorpion battleship, and Noctis salvager all light up d-scan with no trace of a tower. Passively scanning the system has me bookmarking five anomalies, as the Noctis and Loki disappear, to be replaced by an extra Tengu. But there was a Noctis, which gives me hope that I can ambush the salvager at some point.

The whole system is in range of the wormhole and there's no tower in sight, which may be good, I'm not sure. The fleet isn't in an anomaly, although there are plenty of wrecks around, which probably means I have to launch probes to find them. Thankfully, the ships are on one side of the system, far enough away from one planet to let me launch probes covertly, which I do quickly and quietly, throwing them out of the system once done. Fifteen signatures join the handful of anomalies, and I get a rough bearing on the ships. There's no Noctis, so I'll hunt the ships and not the wrecks, to find them directly, as the battleship will give me a fat target to aim for.

Tengu fleet engages Sleepers in class 4 w-space anomalies

Oh, it looks like the fleet is now in a standard anomaly, and I may not need my probes after all. That's better, as it lets me remain covert. I locate the fleet, warp in, and start shadowing them. They chew through Sleepers pretty quickly, and I follow them to second, third, and fourth anomaly, creating a perch in each that allows me to watch them at a distance, whilst still pinging d-scan in case the Noctis returns. When it's clear the fleet is staying in basic anomalies I warp back out of range, cluster my probes above me, and recall them whilst I remember.

The fleet moves to the fifth anomaly, which is around the planet where I shuffled my probes in and out of my launcher, putting them out of d-scan range of the other sites. I make a perch in that anomaly but return to the first site I know about, definitely not wanting to miss the Noctis. I know where the ships are, and what they are doing, so they're not going to surprise me. I'm almost tempted to loot some of the wrecks, but if I get my timing wrong I'll be spotted, and a looted wreck will give the game away. I'm not here for the ISK, but for the explosions, so suppress my base urge for petty larceny.

Wait, wait, wait. Maybe they don't want the loot, and just want to see the Sleepers burn. Hmm, a Tengu and Orca industrial command ship on d-scan are a curious pair. And there's the Noctis. Now I have a tricky decision to make, fighting against my bloodlust to see how much loot I can wait for the salvager to collect before I strike. My decision is made easier by the Noctis first visiting one, maybe two sites that I came in too late to find, before I finally get my eyes on him, warping to the centre of the cleared anomaly I'm waiting in. Just a little longer, Penny, then you can shoot him.

Noctis arrives in the cleared anomaly to begin salvaging

I continue watching d-scan, and the other Tengus return to clump together... somewhere. D-scan definitely puts them somewhere other than the wormhole I entered through, so I'm supposing they are sitting on their own K162 along with the Orca. And, judging by the movements of the Noctis, it doesn't look like the salvager is dropping off each site's haul at the Orca before moving to the next cleared anomaly. That's good, as it gives him a belly of loot. And I know there are more sites to clear after this one. Yes, watch and learn, see his behaviour, and get it right in the next site with even more loot to steal. I like this idea.

The Orca disappears, the Tengus remain in the system. That concerns me a little. They are not with the Noctis, but they may come to his aid. I may not have time to loot, if I even manage to destroy the Noctis. But I'll get a shot, I'm sure of that. The Noctis isn't doing anything special or different, just moving between the wrecks and looting and salvaging. I'll get him in the next site. This one is cleared, the Noctis warps away, and I move to my next perch. But, again, I practice patience, and let him drag even more loot to him, and salvage more wrecks, before I warp in for the kill.

Ambushing the salvaging Noctis

I'm going in. I get close, decloak, and get my systems hot as I burn even closer to the salvager. I get a positive lock, disrupt the Noctis's warp engines, and start spewing autocannon rounds in to my target. Not wanting to take any chances with my timing, I overheat my guns on their first cycle, wanting this to be over as quickly as possible. This is normally not required against industrial ships that can't shoot back, but this one has friends nearby. Pointy friends. I have no idea how long it will take the Tengus to get here, if they come, but I'd rather get this over with.

Salvaging Noctis explodes in a ball of flames

Shields die, armour drops, the hull disintegrates. I aim for the pod of the Noctis, if only because I can crack them open with one shot, but he flees. And the Tengus arrive. I'm opening the wreck as my overview starts filling up, and I see ships decelerating from warp dangerously close to me. Thank goodness for the 'loot all' option. Spong! Done. No dragging items across, no ambiguity, just grab everything and run. And run I do. Or, at least, try. The Tengus are well and truly locked on to my Loki and have started to inflict damage, which isn't a good sign.

Tengus warp in to wreak their revenge on my destroying their salvager

I aim to get back to my perch as the Tengus plink away at my shields, not caring to pop the wreck of the Noctis, and have deactivated my micro warp drive already in the hopes that my alignment time won't be adversely affected. Of course, that means nothing if my warp engines are disrupted, but they aren't. I turn, accelerate, warp. I get clear of the six angry Tengus, chuckling to myself as I activate my cloak, nice and safe a few hundred kilometres away, looking at the 190 million ISK of loot and salvage now sitting in my hold.

One looted Noctis wreck and five ineffective Tengus

Time to bug out. There's little point basking in the warmth of a successful ambush and escape without actually escaping properly. The fleet may not know about the wormhole I used to get here, but that doesn't mean they won't find it soon. I should get home. But, as it turns out, they do know about that wormhole, as it leads to their home system, which I find out jumping through it and seeing the pod of the ex-Noctis pilot on d-scan. That's rum.

So the fleet stayed in the system to protect the Noctis, but without providing any direct protection. I popped it before they could prevent it, after all. And they weren't sitting on their wormhole either, to detect transitions directly, but somewhere else. Okay, that keeps them safer, but I don't see how it helps. Minimal deterrence, and no warp disruptors so no revenge. I just waltzed away. After stealing the loot too, mind you. Knowing all this makes the kill sweeter.

Anyway, I'm not going to dally now. I warp my way across w-space systems, jumping through wormholes, to make it home, happy that we have a few systems' buffer between us and them. Hi Fin, I'm home. Thanks for getting fuel through one of the high-sec exits. I brought loot. It's ours now. 'It was nice of them to collect it for us. We should send them a thank-you note.' Maybe tomorrow. It was a long wait for the ambush, and worth it, but now I should get some rest.

  1. 8 Responses to “Hit and run”

  2. So over the past couple of days there has been a C6 system in which I had a choice of two unprotected Noctis salvagers, in their home system, and popping one, when there were enough pilots available to protect them; a C2 system that comes to our C4 home for the Sleepers, and bugs out when they spot me entering from another direction, keeping all their ships and loot safe; and a C4 going to another C4, not monitoring even their own connection, and keeping their pilots in the system but separate from their salvager, who I successfully ambush. That's a nice spread of w-space classes and experiences.

    By pjharvey on Apr 21, 2013

  3. Nice bag! The more I play Eve, the more I find the number one skill in the game is patience. You waited for a good time to act, and the Tengus couldn't wait to move on. Really highlights your name of Tigerears... Patient, calm and observant until the odds are in your favor!

    By Von on Apr 22, 2013

  4. Can you link killmails on those Noctises? I am curious to see how they are fit.

    By Von Keigai on Apr 23, 2013

  5. http://eve-kill.net/?a=kill_detail&kll_id=16750224

    Enjoy. Penny, if this gives too much away, PLEASE feel free to delete. OPSEC is important!

    By Von on Apr 24, 2013

  6. As I expected: shit fit. This is kind of what I expected given their shit fleet security.

    Well, maybe not quite shit fit, but weak. One does not need cargo expanders to hold sleeper loot. There is at least a DC, but it should be a DC II -- that change alone would add 3000 EHP. And Noctises have huge capacitors -- you don't need a regenerator; that should be a shield extender or hardener.

    Does it make a difference? Well, especially if your doctrine is to salvage solo with overwatch in the same system (but off grid), then yeah. The first Noctis Penny killed has EHP of 15700 (w/ all Vs, which is unrealistic but easy to compare); her Loki is probably doing around 450 DPS. This gives it 35 seconds to live once she has locked and opened fire. My preferred Noctis has 27100 EHP; that gives me 60 seconds. The very minimum I'd expect help to come in would be 30 seconds, and more likely a minute. (This is why you need on-grid escort, not off-grid overwatch.)

    The second Noctis is weird: it has 8 salvager IIs! I can only speculate that those advanced large sleeper wrecks are so hard to salvage that it makes sense to have 2 Nocti, with one purely dedicated to salvage. (Can that be true? I'd think that salvager IIs with 3 salvage rigs would tear through anything.) But in any case, the absence of any damage control is just criminal. This fit has 11000 EHP -- just 24 seconds! The choice of Inertial Stabilizers is weak; if you get jumped by someone like Penny, you won't have the time to align and warp. Either salvage aligned (which requires tractors, but not inertial stabs), or forget about warping in time and rely on tank + overwatch. The midslots also leave me cold. Use a dedicated ship for analysis, not a Noctis.

    By Von Keigai on Apr 24, 2013

  7. You're different people?

    By pjharvey on Apr 24, 2013

  8. OPSEC is hardly important when dealing with a salvager kill from six weeks ago that's easily found on a public killboard, but thanks for considering it, Von 1.

    As for the fits themselves, yeah, I can't argue with the points you make, Von 2. I can question how many different plurals you can make of Noctis, though.

    By pjharvey on Apr 24, 2013

  9. Ah, a spelling consistency flame! I love it.

    "Von" is not me. A funny coincidence that two Vons happen to have starting commenting to your blog at the same time.

    By Von Keigai on Apr 24, 2013

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