It turns out that it requires precisely five and two/thirds salvos of cruise missiles from my stealth bomber to kaboomski a Hulk.

And therein lies a tale. You want to hear it?

Tough shit, I’m telling it anyway.

The day began with a typical recon sweep of the local belts, to see what flotsam and jetsam might have washed in from the vasty depths of space o’er night. Got all the way to the last belt before spotting anything interesting.

What I spotted was something I have not seen in months: an unescorted Hulk, mining merrily into a whole constellation of jet cans. (Usually these days they are mining into a little-buddy hauler, or warping home with each load, or mining somewhere harder to find, like inside a mission space.)

Now, this Hulk looked fairly crunchy; he was flying a full rack of Vespa IIs to deter entrepreneurs more casual than myself. I’ve tasted those drones and I don’t like the flavor much. But they don’t really threaten a tanked hauler, not in the time it takes to scoop a load. And besides, Hulk pilots with itchy trigger fingers are hard to find. So, the fifty-thousand ISK question: does this Guido carry a warp scrambler?

Uncloak, lock, ship scan. Why, no! No, he does not. Of course, now he knows he’s under scrutiny.

Time to dock and swap ships. No point in taking the Crane, tiny cargo hold that it has; might as well take one of the trusty old cheap Badger IIs.

Come out of warp, bump the Hulk, open the first handy can. Jackpot! It’s full (full!) of Plagioclase. So I shove as much as I can into my Badger, look at the rest, jettison my load, and scoop the rest into my jet can and my cargo hold.

Negative response from the Hulk. Set warp for the hangar. Cogitate.

Combat pilots in EVE like to talk about the game of rock/scissors/paper. I know that every encounter in this game has that character, but I feel it acutely in situations like this. Should I keep hauling ore, while he finds a friend or a tackler who could stop me? Or should I recon his reaction, and respond only once I know how he’s going to react?

He’s in a corp, so friends are likely. But, he’s acting a little bit like a victim, so maybe he’s foolish enough to remove ore from an Ironfleet can? I decide it’s time for a stealth bomber flyby at extreme range. If he’s still there, alone, in the Hulk, I can always bring the haulers back into the game. And if he’s gone for backup, I can react to that, or guard the Ironfleet can. Plus, there’s always a chance he’ll be flashing red when I come out of warp, and then I could drive him away.

While warping back, I decide to check local for any intel it may provide. It sounds like he finally noticed me, anyway:

Cyriakus > Marlenus is stealing out of floating containers watch it
Praxis Medden > Everyone fears being robbed from, yet nobody seems to learn to kepp the ore in the cargo
Lemmy Danger > Kill him :-)
idurai > kill them all!

Sadly, there’s no time to chat with my fan club, because just about then my stealth bomber comes rumbling out of warp. Target: 1 Hulk, 50 clicks off the bow. Flashing red.

Well I be damned, he must have flipped the Ironfleet can. “Cruise missiles away!”

I wonder how many salvos I can hit him with before he warps?

Rumble and thump, rumble and thump. Is this turkey never going to leave?

Rumble and thump, rumble and thump.

As I said up top, he went “Kaboom!” after the first two missiles in salvo number six. If he attempted to warp, I couldn’t tell. Maybe he was AFK, maybe he was humping a roid, I dunno. I do know he stopped long enough to pull in his flight of Vespa IIs. Maybe that was his undoing? He should have had plenty of time, but no:

2007.12.16 18:50:00

Victim: Cyriakus
Alliance: NONE
Corp: CMZ Industrial
Destroyed: Hulk
System: [redacted]
Security: 0.7
Damage Taken: 5915

Involved parties:

Name: Marlenus (laid the final blow)
Security: 1.2
Alliance: NONE
Corp: Ironfleet Towing And Salvage
Ship: Manticore
Weapon: Wrath Cruise Missile
Damage Done: 5915

Destroyed items:

Plagioclase, Qty: 21571 (Cargo)
Scordite Mining Crystal II, Qty: 2 (Cargo)
Pyroxeres Mining Crystal II, Qty: 2 (Cargo)
Veldspar Mining Crystal II, Qty: 2 (Cargo)
Vespa II, Qty: 3 (Drone Bay)
Mining Laser Upgrade I
Modulated Strip Miner II

Dropped items:

Residual Survey Scanner I
Power Diagnostic System I
Scordite Mining Crystal II (Cargo)
Pyroxeres Mining Crystal II (Cargo)
Plagioclase Mining Crystal II, Qty: 3
Veldspar Mining Crystal II (Cargo)
Vespa II, Qty: 2 (Drone Bay)
Modulated Strip Miner II, Qty: 2

Now, the trouble with the stealth bomber is, she’s a wallowing pig (sorry dear, I love you anyway) who will never close all that range in time to get the salvage. I’ve got to warp home and come back with a salvage vessel.

Only the Jovians know what eldritch horror of a revenge ship this Hulk pilot keeps handy, so the salvage run is potential suicide. But who cares? The Tinfoil Salvager is fleet, effective, and she’s a freakin’ Kestral, with Tech 1 mods. A good salvager should never be flying more ship than he needs for the job at hand.

Back I went in the Tinfoil Salvager. Coming out of warp, there he is! He’s flying something that’s flashing red at me, but there’s the wreck. Get busy, close on the wreck, look at him. Condor? He’s in a Condor? His revenge ship is a CONDOR?

No matter, I’m still screwed if he’s tackle fitted, this salvage frigate has four salvagers high and I’m fresh out of half-full Quafe bottles to throw out the pee-bottle ejection port at him. Time to open the wreck, and start stuffing loot in my hold. Meanwhile, he’s locked me up and shooting, and my shield is starting to melt. Cargo hold is full, there’s still salvage but oh well, warp!

Made it out without a scratch on the armor, both Modulated Strip Miner IIs safe aboard. Home, dump, back.

Ah, good, he went away. Grab the rest of the loot, start salvaging the wreck. Nice, a pristine Lorentz Fluid, I do love Tech II wrecks. Whoa boys, here he is flashing red! What’s he flying this time?

Iteron V. Guess he decided it was the ore that matters.

Waitaminit, there’s still a lot of ore here. My day’s work is far from over!

Home again, ship swap again. This time I think the Crane’s the thing — big enough to haul some ore if that’s all I find there, shooty enough to eat an Iteron V if he’s foolish enough to still be there. Which, of course, he won’t be.

Only, he was.

“Scramblers on, boys, and crank up that missile launcher! And Navigator? Don’t forget to follow him, we don’t want him steaming out of scrambler range at an embarrassing 119 meters per second!”

Sure enough, there he goes, trying to outrun my blockade runner. As I drop into his wake and start pounding him open one missile at a time, I hear a funny noise. Sort of a “fweet! fweet!” sound.

Can it be? Can this day possibly get any better? Has this optimist really fitted a popgun on his Iteron V?

Why yes! He has! It’s a hauler duel — my favorite thing ever.

Only, he’s outclassed. I’ve got him outgunned and out-tanked by factors of 10 to 1 or better, so it’s over soon. I never even got to turn on my shield booster:

2007.12.16 19:05:00

Victim: Cyriakus
Alliance: NONE
Corp: CMZ Industrial
Destroyed: Iteron Mark V
System: [redacted]
Security: 0.7
Damage Taken: 4519

Involved parties:

Name: Marlenus (laid the final blow)
Security: 1.2
Alliance: NONE
Corp: Ironfleet Towing And Salvage
Ship: Crane
Weapon: Havoc Heavy Missile
Damage Done: 4519

Destroyed items:

Expanded Cargohold I, Qty: 3
125mm Prototype I Gauss Gun
Salvager I
10MN Afterburner I

Dropped items:

Expanded Cargohold I, Qty: 2
Medium F-S9 Regolith Shield Induction
Plutonium Charge S, Qty: 9
Medium Shield Booster I

And that, boys and girls, was the last I saw of of Cyriakus. Then followed the boring part of a successful salvage op — consolidating all the ore into a couple of Ironfleet cans, waiting for agro to expire, bringing out the B.F. Bustard, and hauling the fruits of the op home to the hangar.

The final haul: roughly a fifth of a million units of Plagioclase ore, a pair of Modulated Strip Miner IIs, a pair of Vespa IIs, a handful of mining crystals, and a small assortment of Tech I mods for the fitting hangar. Not a bad morning’s work, if I say so myself.

One Response to “Hulk Down! Hulk Down!”

  1. Havohej says:

    Not bad mate, I lol’d. Quite a bit of gall in that Hulk pilot, even if not the most sense. :)

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