Archive for the 'Ship Losses' Category

On May the 29th, 2006 (being eight years and roughly four months ago) I lost my first ship in PvP “combat” when I took a cruiser into lowsec for reasons that seemed sufficient. I think it may have been in Horkkisen, but memory is fuzzy and I no longer have the killmail. The bloody-handed pirates who did the deed? Them I remember; it was Swiftness and Omae Gaw’d.

History, they say, doesn’t really repeat itself; but sometimes it echoes. Last night I lost a ship for the first time in 1027 days, to a gang of The Trolls From Tunttaras. Here’s how it went down.

One of my time-killing hobbies in EVE is to run a series of high-sec belts in a fast ship, just to look for Dread Gurista pirates. You find them more often than you would think, and they have a chance to drop some really nice loot. It’s no way to spend a day, but one run through a system in a fast ship before bedtime makes a relaxing way to unwind, sometimes.

Since I’m refitting all my ships, I fitted up a deluxe ride for this project. It’s a Cerberus with rapid light missile launchers. This Cerb (probably the first one I ever bought) is so old it’s got Large rigs fitted; as you children may not remember, there was a time when there were just “rigs” and when the rig sizing was introduced, all the existing rigs were sized as “large” even if they were installed in a cruiser or frigate. You can’t fit a large rig in a cruiser today, but a pre-change cruiser can still have the ones it used to have, and many of my ships are like that. This Cerb is one of those. Rigged and fitted and crewed by me, the light missiles have a 117km range, which is conveniently close to the Cerb’s 118km lock range. I fitted it with an MWD and a long point and a modest shield tank, but mostly for missile gank damage against small and medium targets. It’s not intended for any serious PvP, but it might work for ganking any small flashy reds who accidentally found themselves on the same grid with me.

Ironfleet headquarters is in Eitu, so for the maiden voyage of the new fit I cruised the Eitu belts. Nothing found, as expected. Then, fueled by optimism and alcohol, I decided to jump over the wall into Horkkisen and check *those* belts, too.

This was not as crazy as it sounds. Absent a big gate camp, which is not usually present, I should have been able to get into the belts unmolested. Warping from belt to belt at random ranges between 50 and 100km, I was unlikely to land on a gank squad. They could chase me all day, but how likely were they to get within point range? The Cerb on MWD is a speedy thing; it won’t outrun a truly fast ship but I should have plenty of time and opportunity to disengage if I accidentally land on a grid with hostiles.

That was the theory. And it worked just fine. I actually think it’s a pretty good theory. But alcohol, remember? Eventually I found a Gurista battleship. I decided to nuke it from range, just for the lulz and sec-status improvement. That went smoothly.

And then the part that doesn’t make as much sense. Just the usual suspects in local, I haven’t seen a one of them, they are all slumbering in station, right? Of course I haven’t so much as opened my directional scanner to confirm this comfortable theory, but despite that, I not only loosed my salvage drones (new! shiny! like!) on the wreck, but I scooped in to loot the can.

That? That was stupid. If I’d stayed at range and kept moving, I’d have been fine. But instead, three pirates landed on my head. I never had a chance after that. Against a Vigilant, a Proteus, and an Arazu, there was nothing to be done, even if I’d been fit for a fight. One launcher full of light missiles barely scratched the armor tank on the Vigilant, and then it was over. They were kind enough to compliment my tank, after, and I told them the kill was nicely done. As indeed it was. Sure, I was overpowered, but that’s how to win at EVE; and they were nimble enough to put their gang on top of me with no warning just as soon as I stopped skipping. That, too, is how to win at EVE:

2014.09.20 03:49:00

Victim: Marlenus
Corp: Ironfleet Towing And Salvage
Alliance: Unknown
Faction: Unknown
Destroyed: Cerberus
System: Horkkisen
Security: 0.4
Damage Taken: 9086

Involved parties:

Name: Who Man (laid the final blow)
Security: 1.40
Corp: The Trolls from Tunttaras
Alliance: Bad-Intentions
Faction: None
Ship: Vigilant
Weapon: Heavy Electron Blaster II
Damage Done: 5475

Name: Juggerr
Security: -0.4
Corp: The Trolls from Tunttaras
Alliance: Bad-Intentions
Faction: None
Ship: Arazu
Weapon: Arazu
Damage Done: 2074

Name: Guristas Destructor / Guristas
Damage Done: 984

Name: Broem
Security: -1.6
Corp: Spanked and Straddled
Alliance: Bad-Intentions
Faction: None
Ship: Proteus
Weapon: Proteus
Damage Done: 553

Destroyed items:

Damage Control II
Metal Scraps, Qty: 2 (Cargo)
Rapid Light Missile Launcher II
Antimatter Charge S, Qty: 100 (Cargo)
Rapid Light Missile Launcher II
Rapid Light Missile Launcher II
Large Hydraulic Bay Thrusters I
Large Rocket Fuel Cache Partition I
Ballistic Control System II
Rapid Light Missile Launcher II
10MN Microwarpdrive II

Dropped items:

Ballistic Control System II
‘Arbalest’ Cruise Launcher I (Cargo)
Metal Scraps (Cargo)
Salvage Drone I, Qty: 3 (Drone Bay)
Salvage Drone I, Qty: 17 (Cargo)
Caldari Navy Scourge Light Missile, Qty: 1520 (Cargo)
Medium Shield Booster II
Warp Disruptor II
Mjolnir Cruise Missile, Qty: 100 (Cargo)
Rapid Light Missile Launcher II
Medium Peroxide Capacitor Power Cell (Cargo)
EM Ward Amplifier II
Ballistic Control System II
Shield Boost Amplifier II
Tripped Power Circuit, Qty: 4 (Cargo)
Rapid Light Missile Launcher II

A look at their killboard tells me they are resident(ish) in Horkkisen, and they do a lot of this sort of thing. There’s clearly been some combat-power-inflation in the past couple of years; when I left the game, that would have been a formidable and unusual gang to encounter in a backwater dead-end lowsec system.

On the bright side, I have three more Cerb hulls in the hangar, and a jammed-full fittings bin. So the sting of the loss is strictly emotional. Economically, I could do this every night for quite awhile. Rest assured, I do NOT plan to do that…

P.S. Just to test the nifty new partial-payout bounty system, I went ahead and put a minimum bounty on The Trolls. I’m 100% clear that it won’t bring them any extra fights — not unless it was a lot larger! — but it strikes me as a cheap way to receive notice of any misfortunes they may suffer in the near future.

Does anybody remember this post, in which I describe the very first time Ironfleet Towing And Salvage ever came into serious conflict with another EVE player?

One of my friends (and partners in that particular “crime”) described our salvage operation against that POS as “throwing rocks through window panes”. We didn’t know what we were doing, we didn’t get any loot, but we did a lot of damage and enjoyed watching POS modules blowing up really good.

Well, late yesterday, Ironfleet Towing And Salvage returned to its roots … with a vengeance. I lost a ship, too … the first one in almost two years (710 days, to be precise — although Jim Bridger lost plenty during that time, during his leave of absence from Ironfleet to go play in 0.0.)

This story really begins last night. The last thing the Empress and I did before we logged off was to find and survey a new Class 1 wormhole. At that time, there were two active towers in there, both belonging to A Very Cynacle Alliance [AVCA]. And in those towers, there was one live pilot (name of “paragous”) just sitting inside one of the towers (for at least an hour) in a Probe named Anal. (Original, huh?)

Well, life happens. Fast forward 20 hours or so, and when I logged in today…guess how many force fields were on scan? Still two towers, only one force field. Woah, Nelly!

After a quick bit of zipping to my bookmarks, this is what met my wondering eye:

a fat target in w-space -- lookit them hangars and arrays!

Would you look at all those fat hangars! Just sitting there!

However, there is the little problem of the active pilot, one moon over on the same planet, in easy D-scan range.

But, how active is he, really? He seems to be perma-logged in here, but I’ve never seen him move. And he’s what, 10 months old? In a Probe? I’ve got to wonder how scary he’ll be in truth. But, on the third hand, hello, tissue paper bomber?

It doesn’t matter. I’ve got to see what’s inside some of those lovely hangars.

But first, some preparation. I should at least probe down the exit to highsec, so that if I get anything hugely valuable, I’ll be able extricate it to safety. And for that matter, if I liberate some tasty ship hulls, I’ll want to be able to go dock my bomber and come back for them (depending on the level of local opposition).

So, there was some nattering and probing time lost here. And maybe it wasn’t as discrete as it should have been, because right when I was about to uncloak and start torping POS facilities, the Probe shows up.

OK, I can wait. He goes away again.

So I uncloaked and started demolishing the Corporate Hangar Array. It goes smoothly enough, but as I’m into the structure, I see the Probe vanish from d-scan and be replaced with a Hurricane. Shite, he’s reshipped into a bomber killer!

At this point the array goes boom and drops two cans. I just have time to open them and look inside (a bunch of reaction compounds I don’t recognize, some POS fuel, no mods of any kind) when the Hurricane arrives on grid.

I boogied…and came right back cloaked, of course.

The Hurricane sat right on the cans, like a broody hen sitting on her eggs.

There followed some fair few minutes of me thinking, and him sitting. My thoughts were running to the bad odds of bomber versus alert battlecruiser, and my countervailing advantages (mostly, skill points).

Finally I decided, well, I’ve got about sixty klicks of torp range on this beast, and there’s no way a 10-month-old character is going to be fit to reach out and touch me at that range. So, I lined up, uncloaked, and started sending torps down range. This first time, I don’t touch my afterburners; I just stay aligned and see what he does.

Of course, he charges. Turns out he’s MWD-fit and packing autocannons. I let him get close enough to launch drones and tickle me with the ACs in deep falloff before I warped out. He, in turn, took several volleys of torps, which hit him for about 2.5k per volley. But he’s fit to tank Sleepers, clearly, because he can take it for a little while at least.

So this time when I came right back, I set up out in a distant orbit, and turned on my afterburner when I uncloaked. Could he close with me? About the time I got through his shields, he decided not to find out; instead, he warped off, giving me the chance to switch targets and blow up the mobile lab. Yay! A can fell out.

Whoops, the Hurricane is back, and close! Time to bounce.

And again, I came back cloaked, picked my range, and drove him away with torpedoes. Then I blew up the ship maintenance array. Out fell a Hulk — which I don’t have the skills to fly — plus two destroyers, several frigates, and a shuttle. Not the ships I would have rather seen, but still, not bad.

But the Hurricane is back, and this time, he wants to kite me. He’s running straight away, and although at first it seems like I can dictate the distance, eventually he pulls out of torp range.

And then, I have to confess, I don’t understand quite what happened next. From a distance of about 90KM, he appeared to enter warp, and then landed pretty much right on my head.

I’m NOT a PvP god. There are many better than me. So I don’t mind admitting, I’m not entirely sure how that was accomplished.

Possibility 1: A failure of situational awareness on my part. Could he have actually gotten out to 150+ clicks from me, and I just think he was closer? And then he warped to a tactical bookmark after cleverly leading me right over it? I suppose it’s possible; I was pretty busy and my adrenaline was up. But man-o-man, I don’t think he got that far from me at any time.

Possibility 2: I’ve seen some amazing things done with on-grid warps, using the assistance of a probing covert ops ship. So, when a Covert Ops probes you down, can he then fleet-warp his buddy to the probed location, even if the warp is shorter than 150KM? I’ve played with combat covops warps, but I never tried that, and do not know the answer. I know I never saw probes on my d-scan, but I can’t say I was watching carefully enough for that to be dispositive. Certainly there was no sign of a third pilot in local at any time, but a careful covert pilot doesn’t leave much spoor.

No matter. I popped.


2011.04.29 01:23:00

Victim: Marlenus
Corp: Ironfleet Towing And Salvage
Alliance: Unknown
Faction: Unknown
Destroyed: Manticore
System: J105700
Security: -1.0
Damage Taken: 1321

Involved parties:

Name: paragous (laid the final blow)
Security: 0.1
Corp: Unfortunate Enterprises
Alliance: A Very Cynacle Alliance
Faction: NONE
Ship: Hurricane
Weapon: 425mm AutoCannon II
Damage Done: 1321

Destroyed items:

Caldari Navy Juggernaut Torpedo, Qty: 111 (Cargo)
Dual Light Beam Laser I (Cargo)
‘Skadi’ Coolant System I (Cargo)
Gamma S (Cargo)
Core Scanner Probe I, Qty: 3 (Cargo)
Caldari Navy Juggernaut Torpedo, Qty: 22
Small Warhead Calefaction Catalyst II
Multifrequency S (Cargo)
Ultraviolet S (Cargo)
Target Painter II
Medium Pulse Laser I (Cargo)
Covert Ops Cloaking Device II
Large Auxiliary Thrusters I
Coreli C-Type 1MN Afterburner

Dropped items:

‘Shade’ I White Noise ECM (Cargo)
Core Probe Launcher I
Ballistic Control System II, Qty: 2
Dual Light Pulse Laser I (Cargo)
Juggernaut Torpedo, Qty: 928 (Cargo)
Caldari Navy Juggernaut Torpedo, Qty: 11
Warp Disruptor II
Phased Weapon Navigation Array Generation Extron
Core Scanner Probe I, Qty: 8
Guristas Ship Log 180983465 (Cargo)
Ultraviolet S (Cargo)
‘Arbalest’ Siege Missile Launcher, Qty: 3

That was an old bomber, too — so old it would have been fitted with cruise launchers, back in the day. See the large rig it had? Oh well, fly it like you stole it…

Moving on. I said “Nicely done” in local, got a “gf” in return. This while my pod is warping to a planet with the hurricane in hot pursuit.

And then, I bounced right back to the tower. Where, you will recall, there were two destroyers and three loot cans.

I am determined to salvage what I can out of this expensive combat lesson.

So, I land on the tower. There’s a dessie in boarding range, so I board it. Hurricane is not visible. The two cans of reaction goos are right there, but I’m interested in whatever dropped from the lab. It’s a few clicks too far away to scoop, so I start motoring over there.

Damn this destroyer, it’s fit for gas mining only — three gas suckers high, and no other mods at all. So it’s a wallowing pigdog. But it gets me to the lab can.

Which I opened. And saw row after row after row of lovely blueprints:

blueprints, lovely blueprints

( click pic for a larger view )

Scoop like you’ve never scooped before, Marlenus! Because that damned Hurricane is back on the grid.

And, I’m out! I wish I’d had time to pop that loose Hulk before I lost the bomber, but I’m just me, I can’t do everything.

So, I jumped out to high sec and docked my blueprints. Then, it was time for dinner and some TV with my girl.

Hours pass.

I watch TV. The Empress sits in space, watching the two towers. When I get back to the computer, she reports that my Hurricane pilot (or somebody) vanished the Hulk and the frigates, then went back to his functioning tower, got back in his Probe, and is hanging in his accustomed spot.

But the defunct POS? Is still defunct. And still has those three manufacturing arrays…

What this job needs is a Drake.

Unfortunately, my only Drake is in my corporate hangar, 28 jumps away. And I haven’t flown it in two years; it will need refitting. Jim Bridger, now Jim has Drakes out the ass … but most of them are down in 0.0, or various resupply centers at the edges of 0.0.

I think about going to a minor market hub about 10 jumps away, but I know that will be frustrating and slow. Faster, I decided, to eat the 28 jumps, fit in my stupidly well-stocked Ironfleet hangar, and jump 28 jumps back. Maybe by then the Probe/Hurricane pilot will have logged off for the night?

And so it proved. About the time I was halfway back, he logged.

A lot of jumps later, I’m back on the defunct tower, shooting arrays:

shooting assembly arrays

The popping goes without incident. The ammo array drops another nice set of original blueprints:

more blueprints, yay yay

The equipment assembly array drops three jetcans full of minerals, mostly low-end, plus a couple of module blueprints. I grabbed the Megacyte, some Noxium, and the blueprints:

minerals and more blueprints

Sadly, the drone assembly array dropped nothing.

Since there was not a peep in local, and I brought along a thousand spare missiles…what the heck! I went ahead and blew up all of the defensive arrays. Here’s the last one going “Kaboom”:

defense arrays go boom

And then, a good day’s salvaging work done, it was time for bed.

I haven’t run the numbers on the facilities I blew up, or tried to price my trove of not-very-expensive but nicely-researched blueprints. (Yes, they are all originals; or it least, every one I’ve clicked on so far has been both original and heavily-researched.) Did it sting to lose the bomber? Yup. But would I have done anything different? Tactically, sure. But all in all, it was an operation in the best spirit of Ironfleet … I had to do it.

I leave you with a final look at the structure kills on my combat log:

stuff I killed

Jim Bridger here.

Just a quick battle report from 0.0 for my high sec friends. Tonight I was in the best fight of my EVE life, and got on the killmail for a Titan.

I’m going to leave the politics entirely out of this report. You can find that other places. I expect ISD will have a news report tomorrow, and there will probably be a COAD thread soon if there isn’t one already.

I’m sitting in a station when word comes in that a neighboring alliance has come into our system with a fleet of about ten battleships and is sitting outside our station. Our FC scrambles a handful of people to respond from one system over, while he and I and a few others undock to engage the battleships and get them aggressed and bubbled.

I was in a Drake and our repping was largely armor. So, predictably, my Drake was first primaried, and popped quickly. I was not podded, and managed to redock.

Meanwhile, our fleet was wiping the floor with the invaders.

Then their falcon uncloaked about 80 kilometers away from the station. Just as I’m undocking in a Blackbird (it was handy), there arose a mighty and unexpected shout: “Holy shit, an Erebus!” A moment later: “And an Avatar!” Yup, there were two Titans on the field.

Well, if that didn’t make the shit hit the fan. You have no idea. Our FC began shouting all kinds of orders. Bubbles were ordered, communications systems were activated, allies were alerted, everybody within twenty jumps who might possibly be interested in cooperating with us for a few minutes to get on this killmail was summoned. All this was a bit above my pay grade; I jammed the Falcon (who still had a cyno up), motored over to it, and helped kill it. Then I went to get in a battleship.

By the time I got back, things were getting hot and heavy. There was a lot of screaming and shouting. By now there are three enemy carriers on the field in addition to the two Titans. But we’ve got them all surrounded by a huge swathe of bubbles, we’ve destroyed every shred of support, and we are popping every hostile cyno ship just as fast as it appears. I am not really a battleship pilot (my large gun skills are lacking) so I’m in a half-assed T1-fit artillery Typhoon set up to support some recent alliance sovereignty ops.

We are popping carriers. Slowly. It’s exciting. Enemy support shows up now and again, has to be dealt with. We are taking losses from Titan guns and smartbombs, the hostile carrier fighters are doing some damage, but bottom line, we are holding the field and cleaning up. Alliance mates and friendlies keep pouring in. We keep pouring on the fire.

When the last carrier pops, both Titan pilots logged out. Then it got real exciting, as the cry went up to bring all capitals to the field, put everything in siege mode, overload all guns, pour max damage on the Avatar, and try to kill in the fifteen minutes before its logoffski could save it.

Here is a picture of the Avatar under fire, courtesy of one of the corps in our Alliance:

Surprisingly little enemy support showed up during the 15 minutes. It was very close, but we killed the Titan with 54 seconds to spare. I burned out my guns near the end, but I wound up showing up on the killmail with 1% of the damage (55,205 points to be precise). I am sharing the glory with 144 other people.

It was by far my best EVE fleet fight ever. Not only was it my first Titan killmail, I got on three carrier killmails (also my first ever) and got the final flow on the Falcon that brought in the Titans. Plus, I got on quite a few other killmails for the night, and all I lost was the initial Drake. It was the most fun I’ve ever had in an EVE fleet.

P.S. The looting and salvage was excellent, although I did not personally get my salvager onto any of the capital wrecks. (Picture me making a sad panda face.)

In order, about a week or so ago, one of the guys in Jim Bridger’s alliance tried to organize a freighter gank. Too many 0.0 ratters with security status to burn, so they all got in battleships, came to high sec, found the right freighter, and so forth. Semi-comedic errors were made, and ultimately they failed to deliver enough DPS to the target. But hey, it put ideas in old Jim’s head.

And then, of course, there was the big story a few days ago about the Kestral that got popped in Jita with 74 Plex on board. (22 billion ISK, six and a half years of game time, $1,200 U.S. dollars. On autopilot. Piloted — if you can call it that — by the CEO of an alliance at war. Durr….)

Now there are ideas in EVERYBODY’S head.

So there’s a public jump clone facility in the corridor outside the Ironfleet hangars in our main base near Jita. It’s dusty and mostly unused, but yesterday it made a funny whiirr-thump, whiirr-thump noise as I was drinking my afternoon coffee and perusing my copy of The Citadel Times. About ten minutes later, Jim Bridger walked into my office like he hadn’t been gone for a year, sat down on my couch, put his goopy wrinkled bare clonefeet up on my desk, and spoke a line from an ancient Arth movie: “Cletus, I’m bored.”

It turned out he was feeling the weight of his security status and wanted to engage the services of Ironfleet Towing and Salvage to do a spot of loot pickup, just in case he should “accidentally” get a little bit twitchy with his artilleries somewhere in high security space. He’s got a Maelstrom with eight very large artillery cannons (somebody once said you could fire a Volkswaagon out of one, but I don’t know what that is, some kind of pre-space Arth personnel transporter I think) and Jim is a master with an artillery cannon. He’s of the opinion that he could one-volley the average hauler on autopilot, and all he needs to do is find one loaded with appropriately valuable cargoes. It’s a little bit shady, but hey, there’s a space recession going on, or didn’t you hear?

So I had the hangar crew dust off an old Bustard I like to call the “Grab ‘n Go” and spent much of the day following Jim around while he scanned the cargos of autopiloting Badger IIs. He didn’t find the perfect one, but he did dock up and switch into a cheap Thrasher named Popcorn (nothing but T1 guns and T1 gyros) when he found a shuttle sitting neglected in space in Jita. The pilot was sound asleep, slumped forward with his face mashed against the forward view port, drool and snot kinda oozing across the plexi; and a cargo scan revealed one implant aboard worth about 20 times the ship Jim was flying.

Jim’s trigger finger twitched when it shouldn’t have ought to have:

2010.08.11 00:34

Victim: terror generation
Corp: The Last Crusaders
Alliance: None
Faction: NONE
Destroyed: Gallente Shuttle
System: Jita
Security: 0.9
Damage Taken: 557

Involved parties:

Name: Jim Bridger (laid the final blow)
Security: 4.0
Corp: Steel Fleet
Alliance: Important Internet Spaceship League
Faction: NONE
Ship: Thrasher
Weapon: 250mm Light Gallium I Cannon
Damage Done: 557

Destroyed items:

Hardwiring – Zainou ‘Gypsy’ KMB-50 (Cargo)

Sadly, the implant did not survive the ensuing kaboomski event.

Dear Marlenus:

Having a great time in Steel Fleet. Got in a little tussle last night in low sec while covering a corp cargo operation. Lost my first Claw. And we lost a Jaguar. But we killed a polycarb rigged Curse and a Cerberus and kept the bogies away from the cargo, so we’re calling it a win.

Was a little dismayed to learn that one of my new corpies has eighty interceptors in his hangar. I might be needing that shipment a little sooner than we thought.

Wish you were here —

Jim Bridger

It’s been a busy couple of days in Greater Mars.

You remember Greater Mars — that’s the POS that Ironfleet uses in w-space, courtesy of the lady I like to call The Empress (not her real name).

Well, Greater Mars has been kind of a bust ever since Apocrypha 1.1 came out. When they reduced the number of Gravimetric spawns to improve wormhole navigation, they seem to have tweaked some of the other spawn mechanics as well. Before that patch, we got a radar spawn about once a week, a couple of ladar spawns a week, and 1-2 Cosmic Anomalies a day. In the month (ish) since the expansion? Wormholes, a couple of ladar spawns, a couple of grav spawns. That’s it. Zero radar, zero mag, many fewer ladar, and astronomically fewer (but richer) grav spawns. Maybe two Cosmic Anomalies. Pretty much, nothing.

The upshot of all of this was that there wasn’t anything to do in there. Before 1.1, just clearing the guards for the grav sites took an hour or two a day, and made enough sleeper salvage to pay the POS fuel bill. Post 1.1, Dingo did some AFK gas mining, and that was it. I didn’t have ore mining gear in there, there were no sleepers to kill, and the POS was not paying for its upkeep.

So, I was thinking about having The Empress take it down. But, you know, we probably took a dozen hauler loads of stuff in there, and 15 or 20 ships of various kinds. Taking it down? A huge pain. It was easier to keep fueling the thing, and hope we’d just been getting a bad run of spawning luck. Perhaps the random number generator has just been hating us. It’s also the case that, by spending less time in there, it’s possible we missed some spawns that got found and run by visitors we never saw. So, I was waffling.

Then two days ago, the Empress logged in to find her POS in reinforced mode, with all her guns and facilities either incapacitated or offlined. WTF?

She had emails from Concord indicating that five pilots spent eight and a half hours burning everything down and putting the tower in reinforced mode. The good news: she’d stoked the (small Minmatar) tower with as much Strontium Clathrates as it would hold. We can only imagine (with pleasure) their frustrated groaning when they were presented with a reinforced timer with 41 hours on its clock.

At that point, we had a tricky decision to make. Can this tower be saved? For offensive modules, it only had three guns, a web, and a warp disruptor, all now incapacitated and in need of lengthy repair. With the tower in reinforced, the web and warp disruptor couldn’t be put back into service, and there isn’t enough power on a small tower to mount serious defensive armaments. Worse yet, the corporate hangar array was offline — which meant that none of the goods could be removed. There wasn’t anything too valuable…except Dingo’s gas, and quite a lot Sleeper salvage, and a fairly big pile of expensive T2 fittings. Too much to give away without a fight.

The ship maintenance array stays online in reinforced, apparently, and it contained many ships: a drake, some Caracals, Buzzard and Manticore, some Ospreys, some Thrashers and Rifters for Jim Bridger, half a dozen haulers, and at least a dozen miscellaneous frigates. These, at least, we could remove.

The Empress decided to evacuate what she could (the expensive ships) and then mount the best possible defense, with an eye toward removing the goods from the hangar array (if necessary, while under fire) after the tower came out of reinforced. She was hopeful that the aggressors wouldn’t be back — logistics in wormholes being what they are — but given their initial determination, not hopeful enough.

Complicating all of this was the fact that I, Marlenus, was in my Dodixie jump clone, because TEARS has a new war declaration against it that went active at the same time. So, I wasn’t free to vanish into Greater Mars to help with the defense, nor could I (well, I could have, but I didn’t want to) ask my TEARS peeps to help me mount a defense fleet.

So. The Empress. First thing she did was scan out the wormhole de jour. It was ugly — dropping into Minmatar space way the-Hek-and-gone out there, literally. (Coming from Jita it’s a dozen jumps past Hek.) Ah, well, that’s a logistics problem for another day. She ferried all the combat ships out to high sec and parked them.

Then, she jumped in an Osprey and started repping the guns. That took most of a day, but she got them all back in operation. She was starting on the web and the disruptor (although they can’t be turned back on due to no CPU from the reinforced tower) when the aggressors came back.

A word about the aggressors: They were a collection of pilots from the Rogue Windz Interprizes LLC [ROWIN], in the Blue Sun Trust alliance, led by their CEO, Icuwarrior. Pretty cool guys, mostly, although the Empress did get some drunken and belligerent mails from a Drake pilot, one Jlee, after Dingo Indere accidentally decloaked him at a planet. (Dingo was in his unarmed gas-mining Badger II and thought he was dead, but Jlee apparently thought it was a trap and warped away in alarm. Then Jlee started drunkmailing. It was pretty funny. Sample: “you know that pos well go down so you what to get all you can out so get what you what out and yes i know”.)

Anyway, when they came back and started shooting at The Empresses’ guns, she was apalled to see that the guns were not reliably shooting back. We’re still not sure why not — they’re supposed to shoot at anybody with a standing of 1.0 or lower. Once she set that number to 10, that problem went away. The guns started shooting. But that’s going to be hard on friends and allies who may stumble in from time to time.

And then the fun started. She got to “control” the guns — something she’d never done before. So, she began shooting at Icuwarrior (in his Navy Raven), one Vaderrr (in a Minnie battlecruiser) and their friend JleePlus in a Prophecy, who was apparently the go-fer who brought replacement ammo.

For guns, all she had was two small artillery batteries and one medium. That was enough to melt the Prophecy if it didn’t drop ammo and scoot — so that’s what it did.

The battlecruiser was a bit trickier. At first, six or eight salvos was enough to put the BC in deep armor and make it warp away for awhile. Eventually, though, Vaderrr figured out how to keep his transversal high enough to thwart the medium gun, and he could tank the smalls for quite awhile. He’d still warp away, but not often enough to prevent him from doing a lot of damage.

The Navy Raven was a tough nut. Although its tank couldn’t handle all three guns forever, it could handle them for a long long time. I’d say it had to warp out maybe three times, over twice that many hours — not counting other times it left briefly (for more torps?) when its tank was not in question.

Yes, I did say six hours. These three pilots warped in and out for six hours — and shot at the three guns when they were present — for six hours. Once the first gun went down, so did any hope of hurting them, but The Empress kept at it, catching Vaderrr several times when he got bored or lazy and forgot to orbit. But, eventually, all the POS guns were once again incapacitated.

The Empress, meanwhile, was learning to shoot POS guns. Icuwarrior started with some drones (and apparently resupplied them once) but those, The Empress figured out, can be instapopped by a lucky hit from small tower artillery. All it takes is ammo and patience and luck and time.

During this time, there were various exchanges and communiques. Early in the festivities, Jim Bridger flew out in a rifter and attempted to tackle the Navy Raven, thinking that if he could just hold it there while the guns chewed on it….

Jim is an enthusiastic young pilot, but his career has been mostly spent in high sec. He forgot about the humble smart-bomb. Popped and podded before he ever knew what hit him. Bummer.

On the bright side, that put him back near Jita. The Empress, meanwhile, looked at all the newly available power on her POS (what with all the CPU-using facilities being offline) and placed an order for six new guns and plenty of ammo. Which Jim, after buying a new clone, dutifully bought and ferried about thirty jumps to the station nearest the wormhole. (Jim is in TEARS. There’s a war on. This was hazardous, though ultimately uneventful, work.)

At some point during the six hours of gun-reshooting, Icuwarrior delivered a friendly (in tone) communique. He was complimentary about the defensive efforts, but stated “the second the tower comes out of reinforced there will be a heavy DPS Alliance fleet sitting here to finish the work. You can keep wasting time, ISK and effort trying to keep it alive but this tower is toast. Much better weps today BTW.”

We knew they’d had five pilots in system the day before. Three pilots spent six hours shooting three guns. Would they have bothered if they could get an Alliance fleet to do it the easy way? We were skeptical. Adding to the skepticism, at some point during the six hours, the wormhole expired and a new one spawned — this time, to a station deep in Khanid space, dozens of jumps from the wormhole ROWIN came in through. What alliance is going to send a battleship fleet dozens of jumps to burn down an empty tower in near-worthless w-space?

No, The Empress figured they were hoping to do the job themselves, or with a few additional pilots. (There were hints on scan that they had a few other people hanging around in the system, logging in and out, who would presumably hang around for another day. These included Jlee, the drunken Drake pilot, and possibly a couple others.) In conversation with Icuwarrior, he indicated that his organization had another wormhole system, of the same class as Greater Mars, that they considered “a gold mine” and defended with three large faction towers. Even adjusting for possible boasting, this offered a hint of the motive for the attack. But the promised heavy DPS fleet seemed unlikely, so she decided to defend against the visible threat, as best she might.

Eventually, Icuwarrior and Vaderrr logged off, their work done. Jlee and possibly other pilots were still in system (sometimes being seen warping in and cloaking) so The Empress knew she was under observation. (Just to drive home the point, Miss Plus sent Evemail: “I see you.”) But still, what could The Empress do? She’d been playing for about fourteen hours at that point, and she was tired and sleepy, but she had Jim Bridger’s boatload of new guns to play with. She ended up staying up about three hours past her usual bedtime, but she got six new guns anchored, and online and stocked with ammo. Then, she crashed.

After five hours of sleep, she woke up and got back in the Osprey. She had at that point two medium and four small guns — twice the armament that she started with. She was able to offline the ship maintenance array (after dumping a cloud of cheap frigates out of it) and get enough power to online the original medium gun (giving her three of them). No sooner had she gotten it online, then a new pilot (Asahi Halycon) uncloaked in a Dominix and started pounding torpedoes toward the guns.

The Empress took control of all three medium guns. In three salvos, the Dominix had to warp away.

And that was the pattern all the long day. The Empress ran around in her repping Osprey, repairing up the other four incapacitated modules; but it was slow work because, from time to time, Asahi and/or Vaderrr (now in a battleship also) would uncloak and attack. They now, however, always had to warp away before they could do any serious damage. Which The Empress took to be an endorsement of her new micro-deathstar configuration.

Finally, after a long and boring day, the reinforced clock started to tick its last. Every known member of ROWIN was logging in, except Icuwarrior the CEO. She assumed they were waiting for him.

The tower came out of reinforced. She was amazed to discover that you can’t online modules at that point — you have to wait until the shields regen from 25% to 50%, or until you can rep them up. She wasn’t in a position to do that. But, now, she could remove things from the Corporate Hangar Array.

Everything of value, it turns out, fit in Jim’s hauler, the one he brought the new guns in. So she loaded him up.

Icuwarrior logged in. There was a disturbance in the force. Three battleships plus at least one Drake, plus perhaps two or three other ships, type unknown. Could they do a rolling thunder attack, retreating in turn to self-repair? Spider tank? The Empress was concerned but confident, now that she had enough firepower to make battleships warp out. It might be ugly, but these boys would get a fight, even if they got their as-yet-unseen heavy DPS fleet.

The Empress bounced to the wormhole to check for a bubble. Clear. She gave Jim the order to run for it with the last of the loot. He warped to the bubble. She bounced back to the POS.

Jim arrived at the wormhole. At 6,000 meters and spinning, due to the odd wormhole approach/bounce physics.

Jump range is 5,000 meters. And guess what was waiting for Jim? Icuwarrior in his Navy Raven, and Miss Plus in another Drake. There were drones out.

Jim did all he could do in his butt-slow Minmatar industrial. He gave the command to approach the gate, he turned on his shield booster, and he began to spam the jump button. By now, he was taking fire and well into armor.

It’s possible there was praying. Jim says he was just cussing.

Then “Phase change is already in progress”. Yes! He was through, with nothing worse than a twenty-five-thousand ISK armor repair bill.

Icuwarrior said “nice work”, The Empress said “Thanks, that was the last load of sleeper loot” or words to that effect, and Icuwarrior said: “Relax and get some sleep.”

The Empress: “What? After all this, you’re not going to bring it?”

Icuwarrior: “We are outta here… our heavy DPS guys say it’s too far from their wormhole. We were hoping for a closer access point….”

And thus did two hard day’s defense work pay off. Too much nut for the local forces to crack, not enough value to justify bringing in the heavy hitters, if they ever existed. Wormhole design at its finest.

Further pleasantries were exchanged — the ROWIN guys gave Jim Bridger back his corpse out in high sec — and that was that. It was over, not with a bang, but with a whimper.

Why did The Empress fight so hard for an unprofitable POS in low-quality w-space, one we were thinking of taking down anyway? Sheer cussedness, mostly. True, there was that one load of fairly expensive fitting gear and sleeper loot (including a bunch of that gas that Dingo harvested), but more important to her was (1) the opportunity to learn by experience a bunch of POS warfare mechanics, and (2) that peculiar EVE unwillingness to give the other guy the satisfaction of a victory. Unless they come back in force another day, The Empress has won. That was worth two long hard days of POS defense.

As of now, the tower is back above 50% and refilled with stront and fuel, the hangar arrays are offline, and the defensive modules are all online and working. We’ve got the world’s smallest deathstar — it’s cute, like a ninja hamster or something. But, half a billion ISK worth of ships and gear is now buried deep in Minmatar and Amarr space (to be recovered via tedious AFK hauling, some other day, after the war unless the Empress does it herself). My guess is that the Empress will leave the tower up for a couple weeks at least, but will probably tear it down eventually, to be replaced by a more robust medium tower placed deeper in w-space, next time.

Lost a gank Caracal cruiser today in a pickup Alliance group. Guy had a wormhole with a Catalyst destroyer in it, we jumped in with several small ships, found what amounted to a bait camp. We were chewing up the bait drake rather nicely when several of his friends arrived. I was on the wormhole when they primaried me, but lost my ship when I flailed the interface and failed to jump in time. No big, it was cheap and fully insured.

Later, I was in a Buzzard, looking for targets for a larger gang. Found a wormhole that seemed to have transitory targets, so I scanned out the deeper wormhole they were traveling into. That was interesting.

In there, they had a Thanatos carrier that was piloted, had fighters out, and was sitting outside a well-defended POS. They also had at least five or six other active pilots. An Imicus nearly caught me when we both bounced to zero on the same planet (he was 3,500 meters away and didn’t decloak me) and by the time I decided to leave, they’d put an Onyx heavy interdictor on the exit wormhole. When I jumped through, they had a Hurricane waiting on the other side. None of this was sufficient to catch my Buzzard covert ops ship, but it was an impressive display of the “Unwelcome” mat.

There’s a young Ironfleet member named Dingo Indere (I think he might be some sort of distaff cousin of Jim Bridger’s) whose only joy in EVE is to mine for gas in a Badger II. AFK. In w-space.

There’s a certain Leroy Jenkins logic to the whole thing. He’s got 900k skill points, he flies a Badger II that costs what, 200k ISK? And he loads it up with modules that reduce his scannable signature down to the size of a frigate. A new clone costs him forty thousand ISK when he gets podded. And even at the current low prices, every gas cloud is worth millions of ISK, for close to zero effort.

He’s had great success, too; I think he’s cleared at least half a dozen Ladar sites without ever encountering hostile action.

Usually, though, he mines late at night, in the quiet hours before the server goes down. Today he tried it bright and early on a Friday morning, which is not quite so quiet. Thus, when I logged in, I had this in my corporate losses window:

2009.05.08 18:09:00

Victim: Dingo Indere
Corp: Ironfleet Towing And Salvage
Alliance: Tear Extraction And Reclamation Service
Faction: NONE
Destroyed: Badger Mark II
System: J235321
Security: 0.0
Damage Taken: 2505

Involved parties:

Name: The Grum (laid the final blow)
Security: -1.3
Corp: Apocalypse Enterprises
Alliance: Chain of Chaos
Faction: NONE
Ship: Vagabond
Weapon: 220mm Vulcan AutoCannon II
Damage Done: 2505

Destroyed items:

Warded Gravimetric Backup Cluster I, Qty: 2
Gravimetric Positional ECCM Sensor System I, Qty: 3
Gas Cloud Harvester I
Fullerite-C50, Qty: 1500 (Cargo)
Core Scanner Probe I, Qty: 20 (Cargo)
‘Dactyl’ Type-E Asteroid Analyzer

Dropped items:

Warded Gravimetric Backup Cluster I
Deep Space Scanner Probe I, Qty: 3 (Cargo)
Gravimetric Positional ECCM Sensor System I, Qty: 2
Expanded Probe Launcher I
Combat Scanner Probe I, Qty: 10 (Cargo)
Deep Space Scanner Probe I, Qty: 5

2009.05.08 18:10:00

Victim: Dingo Indere
Corp: Ironfleet Towing And Salvage
Alliance: Tear Extraction And Reclamation Service
Faction: NONE
Destroyed: Capsule
System: J235321
Security: 0.0
Damage Taken: 320

Involved parties:

Name: The Grum (laid the final blow)
Security: -1.3
Corp: Apocalypse Enterprises
Alliance: Chain of Chaos
Faction: NONE
Ship: Vagabond
Weapon: Hobgoblin I
Damage Done: 320

He says it tickled a bit, getting podded; but was, overall, more fun than the week he spent as the designated target drone when The Empress Of Greater Mars was learning how to shoot her POS guns.

By now he’s probably right back out there in another Badger, harvesting 10 units of gas per minute and watching those foul Amarr slave-porn holoreels on his pod viewer.

It had to happen sometime. Perhaps it was inevitable, then, that it should happen on the day that I was burbling happily about the profits to be had in w-space.

During the day, today, I spent quite a lot of time probing down all the signatures in Greater Mars. In the process, I discovered that all the fresh grav sites had small Sleeper spawns waiting to be harvested; and I also determined that there were a number of new Cosmic Anomalies to stomp flat. So, I dug out the Drake and started with the easy stuff, stomping Sleeper frigates and the odd cruiser, while the Empress of Greater Mars cleaned up the loot and salvage in a tiny frigate of her own.

I think we’d killed five, maybe six, sets of Sleeper frigates and cruisers when it happened. I was clicking the directional scanner frequently; she was (supposedly) probing to watch for new ships in the system. Apparently, mistakes were made. Somebody got careless.

Surprise was total.

She saw it first — a Broadsword heavy interdictor skidding out of warp right on our heads. Bad news. She attempted to boogie.

My Drake, on the other hand, wasn’t going anywhere. There was a bubbly thing. I’m very vague on the technology used by heavy interdictors, but I’m pretty aware that once they grab you, you stay grabbed. On the third hand, by reputation they have fearsome tank but limited ganking power. My Drake, on the fourth hand, has a bit more gank than your average Drake; so I figured my only (weak) hope was to stay and slug it out. Maybe the pilot is underskilled, maybe by some miracle he’s flying alone, maybe I’ll get lucky. So I turned on my warp disruptor, launched my drones (Yay! I remembered my drone bay for once!) and attempted (without much optimism) to punch my way out of trouble.

The Empress, meanwhile, did not succeed in her first warp attempt, but she was making a klick a second in velocity; her second warp attempt worked, so she zoomed home to her fortress of solitude. With, she estimates, 6-8 million in Sleeper loot in her cargo hold. So, at least the ratting effort was not lost.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, it wasn’t going very well for Our Hero. The big problem was, it wasn’t very likely that somebody would be roaming alone in w-space in a Broadsword. As soon as I got fully engaged with the Broadsword, an Ishtar heavy assault cruiser showed up and popped a full load of Guarde II sentry drones. My tank, which had been doing fine up until that point, was suddenly and painfully evaporating.

I decided to shift my full attentions to the Ishtar, and managed to chew a respectable hole through its armor; it all happened very fast, but I’d say I got into the bottom third. It was no good though; I was surrounded, pinned down, outnumbered, and outgunned:

2009.03.28 04:34:00

Victim: Marlenus
Corp: Ironfleet Towing And Salvage
Alliance: Tear Extraction And Reclamation Service
Faction: NONE
Destroyed: Drake
System: J235321
Security: 0.0
Damage Taken: 37868

Involved parties:

Name: Haffrage (laid the final blow)
Security: 3.1
Corp: Sharks With Frickin’ Laser Beams
Alliance: NONE
Faction: NONE
Ship: Ishtar
Weapon: Garde II
Damage Done: 17798

Name: Oneiric Missile / Unknown
Damage Done: 15059

Name: Troubadour
Security: -0.4
Corp: Sharks With Frickin’ Laser Beams
Alliance: NONE
Faction: NONE
Ship: Broadsword
Weapon: Broadsword
Damage Done: 5011

Destroyed items:

Caldari Navy Scourge Heavy Missile, Qty: 21 (Cargo)
Ballistic Control System II, Qty: 3
Damage Control II
Scourge Precision Heavy Missile, Qty: 500 (Cargo)
Anti-Thermal Screen Reinforcer I
Sensor Booster II
Targeting Range (Cargo)
Heavy Missile Launcher II, Qty: 4
Scourge Heavy Missile, Qty: 20

Dropped items:

V-M15 Braced Multispectral Shield Matrix
Scourge Fury Heavy Missile, Qty: 500 (Cargo)
Scourge Heavy Missile, Qty: 313 (Cargo)
Viscoelastic EM Ward Salubrity I
Scan Resolution, Qty: 2 (Cargo)
J5 Prototype Warp Disruptor I
Targeting Range (Cargo)
Heavy Missile Launcher II, Qty: 3
Large C5-L Emergency Shield Overload I
Scourge Heavy Missile, Qty: 50
Large F-S9 Regolith Shield Induction

Worse yet, once my Drake popped, the heavy interdictor voodoo continued to work its magic, and my pod experienced some difficulties leaving the scene. There was a brief lull, which eventually (I’m slow) suggested to me that they might be offering to take a ransom; but by the time I figured out what comms channel they were using (local, as it happened, which is not something I tend to monitor in w-space) I just had time to type a “LOLno” before they blew me back to my clone vat in a hail of autocannon rounds.

2009.03.28 04:36:00

Victim: Marlenus
Corp: Ironfleet Towing And Salvage
Alliance: Tear Extraction And Reclamation Service
Faction: NONE
Destroyed: Capsule
System: J235321
Security: 0.0
Damage Taken: 390

Involved parties:

Name: Troubadour (laid the final blow)
Security: -0.4
Corp: Sharks With Frickin’ Laser Beams
Alliance: NONE
Faction: NONE
Ship: Broadsword
Weapon: 220mm Vulcan AutoCannon II
Damage Done: 253

Name: Haffrage
Security: 3.1
Corp: Sharks With Frickin’ Laser Beams
Alliance: NONE
Faction: NONE
Ship: Ishtar
Weapon: Ishtar
Damage Done: 137

The ransom offer, in any case, was too high; they wanted 100 million, which is two or three times what the cheap metal in my head was worth. Nor would I have paid in any case; I resolved early in my EVE career never to pay a pirate, and I’ve not yet been tempted to abandon that principle.

And so I was podded, for the first time in more than nine months, and possibly (I say because I might have forgotten one or two that predate the corporate loss history screen) for only the third time in my EVE career. I seem to have the good luck (or bad) of being caught mostly by skilled professionals. Nine months ago, in Faction Warfare, it was Friedrick Psitalon of the Dead Parrot Shop [FOOM] who did the dirty deed; this time, it was Troubadour and Haffrage (with eight and a half years of combined EVE experience between them) of that notorious pirate crew with the coolest corporation name in the game, Sharks With Frickin’ Laser Beams.

If I’ve got to lose — and paranoid though I am, everybody has to lose sometime — I’m always delighted when it’s to somebody older, richer, and more famous (or infamous, that works too). The Sharks will do.

One fun final note. Remember the Empress of Greater Mars, cowering beneath the protection of her POS bubble with my loot? She tells me that a few short minutes later, Troubadour in the Broadsword dropped out of warp and just about collided with one of her POS guns. He wasted NO time in warping away again — but the guns fired once, so at least we can hope he got his teeth rattled and his paint job chipped, compliments of the Empress’s lovingly hand-polished Illudium Pew-36 Explosive Space Modulators.

So there I was, chilling in some random-number system in Querious. It was a pipe system, two stargates and no redeeming virtues. But I’d seen some poor shmoe get pwned in an interceptor at one of the gates, and there were several other wrecks there as well. So I waited until I was alone in the system (which took awhile) and drifted in on the wrecks, uncloaking at the last minute for a spot of loot-and-salvage.

I’d done fairly well, picked up some Tech II rig parts and some basic fittings, when local jumped by one, then two. I was enduring a little bit of client-side lag due to a poor internet connection, so the gatefire was delayed by a few heartbeats. I tried to warp as soon as I heard the gatefire, but somehow, I was too slow:

(notify) Warping to MKD-O8 IX
(notify) You are within a warp disruption zone. Get 20000.0 meters from Warp Disrupt Probe to warp.

Crap! What’s a Heretic? It must be an interdictor, to launch a bubble that fast, yes?

Panic time. Time, in fact, to signal the engine room for full military power, to turn on the shield booster, and, most importantly, to find something more-or-less in front of me to get aligned to.

There’s an asteroid belt. And that’s the sound of rockets hitting me, crap! Align, try to warp again.

(notify) Warping to MKD-O8 IX – Asteroid Belt 1
(notify) You are within a warp disruption zone. Get 20000.0 meters from Warp Disrupt Probe to warp.

Crap! More rockets, but they aren’t really my worry. Was that more gatefire? I’m not sure, but there’s another ship on my overview now. Warp, dammit!

Rumble rumble rumble whooooooshh! The sweetest sound I ever did hear.

I’m cloaked, I’m warping, I’m safe…

Er, did I say “safe”?

I’m in warp to an asteroid belt, the only thing in that direction. In a Prowler transport. Cloaked. Warping to … uh … uhm … am I warping to zero?

I’m about to die a miserable wretched asteroid-humping death, I can feel it.

Come out of warp, bounce right off some fat golden omber roids. Decloaked, of course. And, yup, there’s Barry Cuda in the Heretic. I’m trying to warp to a random planet, this time at a random distance. He’s RIGHT THERE, but when I mash my cloak button, I start to cloak. And then I’m in warp, and this time, I am safe, he’ll never find me now.

After my heart stopped pounding, I commented in local:

Marlenus > Well, that got my blood moving
BlackHelmetMan > Mine too
BlackHelmetMan > Are you filled with candy? :p
Marlenus > Sadly, no
Marlenus > Empty and looking for a score
BlackHelmetMan > oh :( We thought “yay faction loot”
Marlenus > LOL iwish
Marlenus > Have a look at my blog — — for a view of the humble life of a salvager. ;-)
BlackHelmetMan > will do, its the least I can do after trying to kill you
Marlenus > I’m just glad you didn’t quite pull it off
Marlenus > Slippery, that’s my motto
BlackHelmetMan > if I didn’t get put outside 30km from you I would’ve had you :p
Marlenus > I cannot argue with your assessment
BlackHelmetMan > oh well, win some you lose som, GL

I’m assuming BlackHelmetMan was in the other ship that I never saw, presumably with the DPS for killing what his friend Barry catches.

Turns out, they were gentlemen of adventure (as tourists were called in a better age) just like me.