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:
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.
Corp: Ironfleet Towing And Salvage
Damage Taken: 1321
Name: paragous (laid the final blow)
Corp: Unfortunate Enterprises
Alliance: A Very Cynacle Alliance
Weapon: 425mm AutoCannon II
Damage Done: 1321
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
‘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:
( 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.
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:
The popping goes without incident. The ammo array drops another nice set of original blueprints:
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:
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”:
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: