Archive for the 'Today In Ironfleet' Category

First combat sweep of the day. AC-ME seems to be having trouble making up its mind which new system it’s relocating into, or perhaps they are moving around a lot in an effort to avoid more trouble. So, I was on my way back to Isaziwa from a system where a lot of AC-ME folk were (AFK) last night, when I stumbled upon poor Aktala (again) mining alone in a Retriever mining barge in Oiniken.

At least it was quick:

2008.01.10 20:16:00

Victim: Aktala
Alliance: Independent Faction
Corp: AIHTD Mining and Trade group
Destroyed: Retriever
System: Oiniken
Security: 0.7
Damage Taken: 1725

Involved parties:

Name: Marlenus (laid the final blow)
Security: 1.2
Alliance: NONE
Corp: Ironfleet Towing And Salvage
Ship: Manticore
Weapon: Caldari Navy Wrath Cruise Missile
Damage Done: 1725

Destroyed items:

Expanded Cargohold II

Dropped items:

Strip Miner I, Qty: 2
Expanded Cargohold II

But then I made a regrettable mistake. I was targeting enemy drones, and the wreck, to blow them up, and I must have flailed the overview selection process, because as I was sending away one missile to each targeted item, I realized I’d just launched on Aktala’s pod.

That, I never meant to do. Aktala is a victim of her alliance leadership’s failure to clean up the mess made by one of the alliance members. I didn’t go looking for her, but when I found her while I was hunting AC-ME, I undertook to blow up her ship. I’ve never podded anybody before, and never planned to start with someone who had given me no offense. But, war is hell.

So I watched in modest horror for the many seconds of cruise missile flight time (I was out well past a hundred kilometers) waiting for the pod to warp away. It didn’t:

2008.01.10 20:17:00

Victim: Aktala
Alliance: Independent Faction
Corp: AIHTD Mining and Trade group
Destroyed: Capsule
System: Oiniken
Security: 0.7
Damage Taken: 339

Involved parties:

Name: Marlenus (laid the final blow)
Security: 1.2
Alliance: NONE
Corp: Ironfleet Towing And Salvage
Ship: Manticore
Weapon: Caldari Navy Wrath Cruise Missile
Damage Done: 339

For what it’s worth (not very much, I fear) I sent her a note of apology, after.

I was able to retrieve the Tech II cargo expander from the wreck, but the strip miners wouldn’t fit in the space remaining in my cargo hold, so I had to blow them with the the wreck when I scuttled it.

Today’s visit to Isaziwa was fruitful and exciting.

First, a kill. During my initial combat patrol of the belts, I found an AC-ME Sigil (Amarr Industrial, I had to check) who appeared to be AFK hauler-mining. Did somebody not get the memo about there being a war on?

Amarr haulers are tough, one volley didn’t do the job, I needed a fourth missile:

2008.01.10 00:53:00

Victim: Kevdirs Alarnia
Alliance: Independent Faction
Corp: Advanced Combat Machines and Equipment
Destroyed: Sigil
System: Isaziwa
Security: 0.7
Damage Taken: 2306

Involved parties:

Name: Marlenus (laid the final blow)
Security: 0.0
Alliance: NONE
Corp: Ironfleet Towing And Salvage
Ship: Manticore
Weapon: Caldari Navy Wrath Cruise Missile
Damage Done: 2306

Destroyed items:

Miner II
Azure Plagioclase, Qty: 7403 (Cargo)

Kevdirs Alarnia must have heard the noise (maybe not completely AFK?) because the pod warped away quickly. Then she quickly logged off. A minute later, here’s a new AC-ME login (suspected alt?) Han Taris, undocking from a station in a Ferox. Let’s lob some missiles just to make sure he didn’t forget his tank, shall we?

He didn’t, no point to this, let’s go.

Wait, this earns me smack?

Yes it does, Han Taris is now earnestly informing me that, unless I am a coward, I must return in my stealth bomber and recommence chewing on his tank, presumably until such time as he can assemble a gang of friends who can actually catch me and kill me.

By that measure, I suppose I am a coward, although to be honest I’ve never understood why preserving shareholder value by avoiding pointless unwinnable fights is supposed to be cowardly in this game.

There’s still one belt I haven’t checked, so I go to check it, and find an AC-ME Maulus. I shoot, he leaves.

And that’s the combat report.

No, wait, awhile later I swept the belts and found the Maulus again, this time forming the bait in a trap to be sprung by Dan Lyons in his Crow and one of the INDY Manticore pilots. I left as rapidly as I came, but it was a near thing to be honest, I saw the Crow at a range of under three kilometers as I was warping away.

And that’s the combat report.

Not much to report on the war front yesterday. Things were mostly quiet in the places I patrolled. I did finish blowing up an AC-ME Giant Secure Can that Miss Iron had been shooting at as a gunnery test, but that — needless to say — was not very exciting.

Later I was sitting in a station exchanging a flurry of emails with Chebri on the nature of truth (and boy, was that ever a waste of time, I swear it’s like trying to discuss motorcycle safety with Evel Knievel, or religious freedom with Janet Reno) when Murdock Jones showed up in his Brutix and began to camp for me.

I was getting pretty close to bedtime, so I thought I’d just let him camp while I took care of correspondence, but then TorpedoTed logged in, and Miss Iron, and before I knew it, they had launched a scheme in which Torpedo Ted was the small distracting flashy thing on the line six inches above the bait and Miss Iron was the large bait ball with the hook in it and I was the guy with the stick who was supposed to whack the fish until it stopped twitching.

Long story short, it didn’t work. Jones was a good sport and pleasant company in local, but, as expected, the armor tank on his Brutix was more than my Manticore could bust in a hurry. We were all limited by the ships and hardware that were nearby, and with available hulls we didn’t have anything that could (a) grab him and keep him grabbed long enough for a stealth bomber to kill him or (b) presuming they could grab him, survive long enough while holding him for the the stealth bomber to get the job done.

We ran the routine twice. The second time, lacking the element of surprise, I think we just did it because we were all having fun and Jones hoped we’d mess up fatally. Or perhaps he merely hoped that I would mess up fatally; on the second pass, I think he may have refrained from squishing TorpedoTed like a bug at a moment when it looked like he had the chance to do so.

And then it was bedtime. Thanks, Murdock Jones, for reminding me of why it is that I’ve usually enjoyed having AC-ME in local.

Two incidents tonight, one inconclusive and one that was a net win for Ironfleet.

When I logged in in Rairomon, the system was clear of hostiles. TorpedoTed told me he was a few systems away playing tag with Chebri, who was attempting to probe him out using a Covert Ops frigate. He had also seen an INDY command ship in local, and assumed collaboration with Chebri.

Since I was in an unsuitable ship to engage, I set off for Isaz in a shuttle, waving to TorpedoTed as I passed through the system where he and Chebri were playing. Upon jumping out, I found the command ship in question, lurking by the gate, ready to jump in. I warned TorpedoTed, and he told me not to come back in a combat ship. Instead, we agreed, a combat sweep of Isaziwa, where AC-ME appeared to be, would be more fruitful.

So, stopping at one of my hangars for one of my many spare stealth bombers, I jumped into Isaziwa and warped directly to AC-ME’s favorite belt. Nothing … except fresh cargo cans belonging to a known INDY miner (not AC-ME). I decided to be patient.

My patience was swiftly rewarded when Aktala of AIHTD Mining And Trade Group warped into the belt in a Retriever mining barge and set her strip miners to burning the roids. Now, I’ve seen this person flying a Hulk, so I suppose the Retriever was a concession to the war risk. No matter — a war target is a war target.

Uncloak, launch, boom. One volley is sufficient:

2008.01.08 05:12:00

Victim: Aktala
Alliance: Independent Faction
Corp: AIHTD Mining and Trade group
Destroyed: Retriever
System: Isaziwa
Security: 0.7
Damage Taken: 1825

Involved parties:

Name: Marlenus (laid the final blow)
Security: 0.0
Alliance: NONE
Corp: Ironfleet Towing And Salvage
Ship: Manticore
Weapon: Caldari Navy Wrath Cruise Missile
Damage Done: 1825

Destroyed items:

Expanded Cargohold II
‘Dactyl’ Type-E Asteroid Analyzer

Dropped items:

Strip Miner I, Qty: 2
Expanded Cargohold II

Interestingly, Aktala’s capsule does not warp away. In rapid succession, I targeted and blew up the five cargo cans and three drones left behind. Aktala’s pod is still here. I don’t like the intelligence platform it represents, but I’ve got no particular urge to pod an INDY person who has never offended Ironfleet in any way whatsoever. I’m thinking, “Pod, please go away.”

Sigh, target pod, perhaps that will send a sufficient message. Locking, locking, locking. Lock!

Ah, good, pod is leaving.

After cloaking, I sat looking at the juicy wreck, too far away and in the center of the belt. TorpedoTed, where are you?

The wish being father to the deed, there he comes out of warp in his now-famous +6 Kestrel of awesome destruction. He’s right by the wreck, and he promptly loots two strip miners and a tech two cargo expander. Off he goes to deposit them safely in a hangar. He has the instincts of a salvager, this one.

Hmm, when is the AC-ME response going to arrive?

Torpedo Ted returns. Near simultaneously, Murdock Jones arrives in the same place, in a Brutix. Uh, oh. I see a warp scramble message as I am uncloaking.

Sadly, by the time I drove Murdock Jones away with cruise missiles, he’d reduced TorpedoTed’s Kestrel to scrap. It’s not a big job, and he brought a big enough ship to do it. I saw TorpedoTed’s pod warp away safely, then Murdock went, then in rapid succession Vryder04 and Cordus showed up in Megathron and Drake, respectively.

I, of course, cloaked up and started running silent. They stayed a long time — almost twenty minutes in the case of the Megathron — but the action was over. They didn’t bring out any bait targets for me to shoot at, so I stayed cloaked.

Tally for Ironfleet: One retriever mining barge, three valuable components salvaged.
Tally for AC-ME: One kestrel.

All in all, not a bad night!

After all the excitement yesterday, it took me awhile to process the incoming intel.

It turns out that AC-ME is moving! I can’t really believe it’s in response to the war with Ironfleet, but the explanation to the AC-ME rank and file seems to have been some version of “too many ore thieves in Isaziwa.”

Apparently (and this is unsourced rumor) a number of AC-ME members chose to leave the corp and remain in Isaziwa, rather than join in the exodus.

As for the exodus itself, word “on the street” was that the new home is to be in Rairomon, only six or eight jumps away. When I left Isaziwa following the route proposed by my autopilot, it took me to Oiniken, Ahynada, then through Ahynada to the Tunntaras stargate. Sound familar? The Tun stargate in Ahynada is where Vryder04’s autopiloting Iteron died yesterday. Nice preliminary confirmation on the move intel.

When I arrived in Rairomon for the first time, local lit up with the friendly red stars of AC-ME’s finest. I greeted the assembled (nobody said hello back) and got to work on doing a preliminary military survey.

I do so enjoy a change of scenery!

Never, never, never let anybody tell you that a young character with minimal skillpoints cannot be a useful, even vital, member of your organization.

Yesterday TorpedoTed cast hungry sensors on a loaded AC-ME Iteron V flying outbound from Isaziwa. Apparently, it was on autopilot, with Vryder “Business As Usual” 04 nominally at the controls.

Needless to say, our man chased it into Oiniken and engaged it in his T1 rocket kestrel.

I am unclear on details (especially as to why he did not tackle) but apparently he followed it along its programmed course, shooting rockets like they were cheap, until it popped in Ahynada like a cardboard pinyata.

Much candy fell out:

2008.01.07 01:45:00

Victim: Vryder04
Alliance: Independent Faction
Corp: Advanced Combat Machines and Equipment
Destroyed: Iteron Mark V
System: Ahynada
Security: 0.8
Damage Taken: 2452

Involved parties:

Name: TorpedoTed (laid the final blow)
Security: 0.0
Alliance: NONE
Corp: Ironfleet Towing And Salvage
Ship: Kestrel
Weapon: Phalanx Rocket
Damage Done: 2452

Destroyed items:

Reflective Plating I (Cargo)
Small Ld-Acid Capacitor Battery I (Cargo)
Hardwiring – Inherent Implants ‘Noble’ ZET100 (Cargo)
‘Malkuth’ Assault Missile Launcher I, Qty: 2 (Cargo)
Power Diagnostic System II, Qty: 5 (Cargo)
Small Armor Repairer I, Qty: 25 (Cargo)
Multi Sensor Backup Array I, Qty: 3 (Cargo)
Kestrel, Qty: 5 (Cargo)
Salvager I
Cap Booster 200, Qty: 10 (Cargo)
EP-S Gaussian I Excavation Pulse, Qty: 3 (Cargo)
F-S15 Braced Deflection Shield Matrix, Qty: 3 (Cargo)
Cargohold Optimization I
50mm Reinforced Rolled Tungsten Plates I, Qty: 3 (Cargo)
Snoop Scanner Probe I, Qty: 295 (Cargo)
Medium Hull Repairer I, Qty: 17 (Cargo)
Shield Recharger I, Qty: 12 (Cargo)
Miner I, Qty: 13 (Cargo)
125mm Railgun I
ECM – Spatial Destabilizer I, Qty: 3 (Cargo)
Gallente Mining Laser, Qty: 3 (Cargo)
Small Capacitor Booster I, Qty: 9 (Cargo)
Propulsion Jamming (Cargo)
Bookmark, Qty: 4 (Cargo)
Murky Energy Transmitter I, Qty: 3 (Cargo)
Sansha Ship Log 136423760 (Cargo)
10MN Afterburner I
Thorium Charge S, Qty: 23
Science (Cargo)
Medium Shield Extender I
Phased Weapon Navigation Array Generation Extron
‘Langour’ Drive Disruptor I
Cybernetics, Qty: 2 (Cargo)
Lucent Compound, Qty: 28 (Cargo)
Warp Core Stabilizer I, Qty: 5 (Cargo)
Cap Booster 100, Qty: 40 (Cargo)
Gleaming Alloy, Qty: 44 (Cargo)
Small Rudimentary Energy Destabilizer I (Cargo)
X-Large Shield Booster I, Qty: 3 (Cargo)
Fathom Scanner Probe I, Qty: 306 (Cargo)
Interphase Heat Diffusion Plating (Cargo)
Gallente Frigate (Cargo)
Gallente Shuttle, Qty: 2 (Cargo)
Civilian Shield Booster I (Cargo)
Mining Drone Operation (Cargo)
Large Shield Extender I, Qty: 4 (Cargo)
Marauder Spur (Cargo)
Medium Shield Booster I, Qty: 3 (Cargo)
Civilian Data Interface (Cargo)
Small Tapered Capacitor Infusion I (Cargo)
ECCM – Radar I, Qty: 2 (Cargo)
Tracking Disruptor I, Qty: 2 (Cargo)
Small Energy Transfer Array I, Qty: 15 (Cargo)
Nanomechanical CPU Enhancer I, Qty: 3 (Cargo)
Magnetic Plating I (Cargo)
Signal Distortion Amplifier I, Qty: 4 (Cargo)
Medium Converse I Deflection Catalyzer (Cargo)
Cap Booster 25, Qty: 118 (Cargo)
Small Peroxide I Capacitor Power Cell (Cargo)
Lustering Alloy, Qty: 6 (Cargo)
Serpentis Ship Log 166832001 (Cargo)
ECCM – Omni I, Qty: 5 (Cargo)
‘Malkuth’ Rocket Launcher I (Cargo)
Expanded Cargohold II
Small Hull Repairer I (Cargo)
Photon Scattering Field I, Qty: 6 (Cargo)
ECCM – Gravimetric I, Qty: 2 (Cargo)
Residual Survey Scanner I (Cargo)
Strip Miner I (Cargo)
Local Power Plant Manager: Reaction Shield Power Relay I (Cargo)
Small Shield Extender I, Qty: 3 (Cargo)
Heat Dissipation Field I, Qty: 9 (Cargo)
Small Remote Armor Repair System I (Cargo)
200mm Railgun I, Qty: 3 (Cargo)
Heat Dissipation Amplifier I, Qty: 2 (Cargo)
Ballistic Deflection Field I (Cargo)
Civilian Codebreaker (Cargo)
Stasis Webifier I, Qty: 4 (Cargo)
Motley Compound, Qty: 12 (Cargo)
Large Shield Transporter I, Qty: 4 (Cargo)
R.S. Officer’s Passcard, Qty: 3 (Cargo)
Passive Barrier Compensator I, Qty: 3 (Cargo)

Dropped items:

Drifter Spur, Qty: 3 (Cargo)
Asymmetric Energy Succor I, Qty: 5 (Cargo)
Mining (Cargo)
XeCl Drilling Beam I, Qty: 6 (Cargo)
Explosion Dampening Field I, Qty: 3 (Cargo)
50mm Reinforced Nanofiber Plates I, Qty: 2 (Cargo)
Warded Radar Backup Cluster I (Cargo)
Medium Remote Armor Repair System I, Qty: 2 (Cargo)
Expanded Cargohold I, Qty: 2 (Cargo)
J5b Phased Prototype Warp Inhibitor I, Qty: 2 (Cargo)
Suppressed Targeting System I, Qty: 2 (Cargo)
Hardwiring – Zainou ‘Deadeye’ ZGM1000 (Cargo)
‘Abandon’ Targeting Disruptor I (Cargo)
Sensor Linking (Cargo)
Caldari Cruiser (Cargo)
FZ-3 Subversive Spatial Destabilizer ECM (Cargo)
1MN Afterburner I, Qty: 4 (Cargo)
Medium Graviton Smartbomb I (Cargo)
ECM Burst I, Qty: 4 (Cargo)
Ballistic Control System I (Cargo)
Bookmark, Qty: 4 (Cargo)
50mm Reinforced Crystalline Carbonide Plates I, Qty: 2 (Cargo)
Large Converse I Deflection Catalyzer (Cargo)
Rocket Launcher I, Qty: 6 (Cargo)
Civilian Analyzer (Cargo)
Nanoelectrical Co-Processor I, Qty: 3 (Cargo)
Small Energy Neutralizer I, Qty: 9 (Cargo)
50mm Reinforced Steel Plates I (Cargo)
Metal Scraps, Qty: 40 (Cargo)
Large Asymmetric Barrier Transpositioner I (Cargo)
Heavy Neutron Blaster I (Cargo)
125mm Carbide Railgun I (Cargo)
Medium Armor Repairer I, Qty: 5 (Cargo)
Small Proton Smartbomb I, Qty: 3 (Cargo)
Medium Capacitor Booster I, Qty: 2 (Cargo)
Multispectral Frequency Probe (Cargo)
Civilian Shield Booster I, Qty: 8 (Cargo)
Metallurgy (Cargo)
‘Malkuth’ Standard Missile Launcher I, Qty: 4 (Cargo)
Shield Upgrades (Cargo)
‘Arbalest’ Rocket Launcher I (Cargo)
Cap Booster 50, Qty: 160 (Cargo)
Signal Amplifier I, Qty: 2 (Cargo)
Basic Miner, Qty: 12 (Cargo)
Salvager I (Cargo)
Passive Targeter I, Qty: 3 (Cargo)
Partial Weapon Navigation (Cargo)
Standard Missile Launcher I (Cargo)
Small Capacitor Battery I, Qty: 3 (Cargo)
J5b Phased Prototype Warp Inhibitor I
Explosion Dampening Amplifier I (Cargo)
Beta Hull Mod Reinforced Bulkheads (Cargo)
Energized Reactive Membrane I (Cargo)
Medium Shield Booster II (Cargo)
Expanded Cargohold II, Qty: 4
Small Hull Repairer I, Qty: 12 (Cargo)
Sheen Compound, Qty: 39 (Cargo)
Cargo Scanner I, Qty: 5 (Cargo)
Hardwiring – Zainou ‘Deadeye’ ZML100 (Cargo)
Residual Survey Scanner I, Qty: 3 (Cargo)
Type-D Altered SS Reinforced Bulkheads (Cargo)
Dark Compound, Qty: 20 (Cargo)
200mm Reinforced Titanium Plates I (Cargo)
Large Shield Extender II (Cargo)
Precious Alloy, Qty: 57 (Cargo)
Magnetometric Quest Probe, Qty: 4 (Cargo)
Co-Processor I, Qty: 3 (Cargo)
Survey Scanner I, Qty: 12 (Cargo)
ECM – Multispectral Jammer I (Cargo)
Remote Sensor Booster I, Qty: 3 (Cargo)
Compact ‘Limos’ Assault Missile Bay I, Qty: 2 (Cargo)
Heavy Capacitor Booster II (Cargo)
Conjunctive Ladar ECCM Scanning Array I (Cargo)
Bandit Spur (Cargo)
Magnetometric Sift Probe, Qty: 3 (Cargo)
ECCM Projector I, Qty: 3 (Cargo)
Medium Capacitor Battery I, Qty: 3 (Cargo)
Small Graviton Smartbomb I (Cargo)
100mm Reinforced Steel Plates I, Qty: 3 (Cargo)

Note that five kestrels were among the items destroyed — so Torpedo Ted killed five times his own tonnage in this encounter without even considering the Iteron and all its goods.

And then Vryder04’s pod fell out.

Since we’ve been repeatedly assured by Vryder04 that our war is pointless, that we are accomplishing nothing, and that nothing has changed in AC-ME’s day to day routine because of our activities, apparently TorpedoTed decided that it was time to conduct our war at a higher volume:

2008.01.07 01:46:00

Victim: Vryder04
Alliance: Independent Faction
Corp: Advanced Combat Machines and Equipment
Destroyed: Capsule
System: Ahynada
Security: 0.8
Damage Taken: 406

Involved parties:

Name: TorpedoTed (laid the final blow)
Security: 0.0
Alliance: NONE
Corp: Ironfleet Towing And Salvage
Ship: Kestrel
Weapon: Gremlin Rocket
Damage Done: 406

Ouch. And it had been such a friendly little war up until that moment. Ah, well, c’est la guerre…

Of course there came a great clamor over corp chat for assistance in looting and salvaging the wreck before reinforcements could arrive. TorpedoTed scooped the corpse, and then made many heroic trips to station hauling the highest-value goods in his Kestrel:

TorpedoTed hauling loot from Iteron V

I showed up in my covert ops frigate to help with salvage and take what I could carry, then I left him hauling while I went for a badger (this one) that I had in Paara.

By the time I was ready to jump back into the system, TorpedoTed was calling off the salvage operation and announcing many hostiles in local. I jumped in, found myself under the guns of Phogg in a battleship, and decided that, indeed, it was time to move on to the task of preparing a military answer to the response squadron.

Much of the remaining action took place while I was evading Phogg and swapping out my Badger I for something a bit more combative. TorpedoTed led his pursuers on a merry chase — before all was said and done we saw Chebri in a Slasher and a Raven, we saw Vryder04 back in a Megathron, we saw Murdock Jones in his Enyo, we saw Cordus in a shuttle and then later in his Drake, we saw more of Phogg, and there were others.

Chebri went hard for TorpedoTed, and eventually caught him. Once she caught him, apparently, she didn’t know what to do with him. He was expecting an AC-ME fleet to land on his head, but it wasn’t there, and he was warp scrambled with a speed disadvantage, so what could he do? He turned on his rocket launchers, and kept them on until Chebri warped away in armor.

He chased her. (I love this guy.) Caught up with her at a planet, but she used her speed advantage to stay away from him and disengage.

Somewhere during all this I finally arrived in system with my stealth bomber, and started driving people away from the stargates. Fired many missiles, especially at Murdock Jones, who kept warping away and coming back. At one point he got within 30 KM of me, but he never landed a shot.

For all the missile firing, there weren’t any targets I could effectively engage in the bomber, and the real action was obviously over. Out of curiousity I shot a lot of missiles at the Megathron and the Drake, to see if their tanks were as strong as I expected. Of course, they were.

Eventually I was to the point where there were five or six hostiles on the grid and chasing me (it was hard to say exactly how many, things were busy and I forgot to get a screenie). So I decided it was time to cloak up and disengage.

All in all, a good day at war! I wish I could claim to have had much to do with it, but it was all TorpedoTed’s doing — I provided fireworks display but had nothing to do with any of the day’s actual victories.

For the most part I have avoided reproducing here any private diplomatic correspondence. I see that as both polite, and as being in Ironfleet’s interest.

However, I have and will make exceptions, especially if the correspondence isn’t diplomatic. The ones that open with some version of “are you tired of losing yet?” and offering to accept my surrender? Well, that’s borderline; I could go either way. Those of you sending more respectful diplomatic correspondence will know that I have honored its privacy completely.

The most recent one — from a member of INDY whose role in the alliance is not known to me — will remain private, except for one rather interesting sentence. Remember, I’ve had INDY folk tell me that INDY had nothing to do with Chebri’s war, and there have been unpersuasive arguments to the effect that AC-ME didn’t have much to do with it either. So this, from an INDY person not part of AC-ME, is rather telling:

I must admit, that Chebri can be a little abrasive, but she’s one of us I’m afraid, so we’re duty bound to hunt you down.

Oh really?

I guess Ironfleet’s declaration of war against INDY wasn’t as badly aimed as folks would have me believe.

Whatever was wrong with my internet connection yesterday seems to be just as wrong today. Impatient as I may be to carry the war to the enemy, it looks like patience is being forced upon me. Luckily, the war chest is deep indeed, so I can afford to bide my time.

Today has been a frustrating day. I’d blocked it out in my schedule as a day to tend to war matters.

In the morning, AC-ME had no targets in space, so I fitted some ships and tended to other matters.

Later in the day, my internet connection started to get flaky, dropping me offline every forty seconds or so, or worse, at the end of every third warp. That’s a price I pay for living out in the country for part of the year, but usually it’s not this bad. I suspect my ISP of having worse-than-usual weekend internet congestion today, but it’s also my impression that my disconnect problem has gotten much worse since Trinity.

I waited until evening, then tried again. Utter fail, I must have gotten disconnected a dozen or more times before I’d localized AC-ME’s Saturday evening mining operation.

Once I did, though, I felt like a World War II submarine commander looking through the periscope at a fat and juicy North Atlantic convoy:

AC-ME targets

Mind you, with five visible combat escorts and one known stealth bomber on the grid, I was expecting much the same result as your typical World War II sub commander: a chance to launch a very small number of volleys, take out one non-combatant, and then fight like hell to make it out alive.

Which chance I did not get, because my full-of-fail internet connection chose to fail just as I got within cruise missile range. I was actually trying to decide which non-combatant looked like the faster gank when I got disconnected.

Which means, of course, that from their perspective I uncloaked and warped away. I tried to log back in — even though warping back in uncloaked at that range to an alerted fleet was almost certain suicide — but I got disconnected during my next three login attempts, said several bad words, and started drinking alcohol, instead.

I do want to call special attention to the enemy Manticore pilot who was in space tonight, one Loz Kias. In previous encounters, he’s distinguished himself by his remarkably direct tactic of dialing me up for a private chat and simply asking me where I am. Fair enough — it’s good for a laugh, and I can block him if it gets out of hand, or ignore him if I want to “confirm” his suspicion that I’m AFK.

Tonight, however, he trotted out two new tactics. All’s fair in love and war, I suppose, but didn’t the “spam your intended victim with gang invites and hope he flails his interface while declining them” gain its users something of a reputation for lameness, back when this was a popular tactic in Empire ganking?

After several repetitions I blocked that, so he trotted out what I’m starting to call the “Marvin The Miserable Android Offense”, defined as the attempt to get your opponent to give up by depressing him with the supposed pointlessness and hopelessness of his cause:

Loz Kias > so,
Loz Kias > the notion is,
Loz Kias > where are u?
Marlenus > LOL
Loz Kias > u can loose your ship or…
Loz Kias > stay in isa for a long time
Loz Kias > spending money on the war
Loz Kias > both seem rather pointless to me
Marlenus > I’m sorry my war seems pointless to you …but i’ve documented my reasons in exhaustive detail
Marlenus > This feels like the most public war in the history of EVE
Loz Kias > well…..
Loz Kias > why dont u hand yourself in
Marlenus > Why would I? From where I sit, I’m winning
Loz Kias > no,
Loz Kias > its like, trying to sue microsoft, u my do 5mil worth of dmg to a 12bil corp
Loz Kias > males soo little dif
Marlenus > LOL, do you still think this war is about ISK?
Loz Kias > well isk makes the world go round

“Why dont u hand yourself in?”

I think not.

Late last night, as sensible people were heading to their slumber, I logged into the game for one last combat sweep of the Isaziwa belts.

Only one AC-ME pilot in system, and he was nowhere to be seen in public. But what’s going on the belt at Isaz 13, Belt 1?

Looks like a typical newbie mining operation, one cormorant mining destroyer and one Badger. They are doing it right, the Badger means there won’t be a jet can worth salvaging, time to go home… wait!

Why are there six cargo cans (not jetcans) on my overview? I don’t show secure cans when I’m sweeping the belts, there are too many.

By Jove, it’s the classic newbie mistake. Somebody said “you need to get cans and mine into them so nobody can steal your ore.” So they got cans. Large standard containers. Six of them. No, wait, five larges and a medium.

Bedamned to three year old Gorack in whatever cloaked ship of nightmare he could potentially be hunting me in. Most likely he’s docked up and snoozing. And besides, if this be bait, it’s very well set.

Time to swap into a Badger II, the Iron Extricator will do nicely. Warp to zero on the first can.

ready to start scooping cans

Doh! Of all the stupid mistakes to make while flying a bacon-wrapped snack during wartime! The Iron Extricator’s hold is stuffed clear full of scordite, from some earlier, similar venture.

Dock, unload, undock, return. Let’s double the risk after alerting the miners, shall we?

The badger has gone home, pilot has returned in a Caracal. Hmm, that suggests a desire to shoot at me. Is this lesson in game mechanics going to be punctuated by Concord?

Scoop. Scoop. Scoop.

“Captain, sensors report that we’re being targeted.”

“At ease, sensors, at ease. We’re giving them no excuses, scooping unanchored cans is no crime. Concord will protect us.”

Scoop. Scoop. Scoop. Begin the slow process of aligning for departure.

By now the mining destroyer has dropped into my wake and is bumping me from behind. No effect on my trajectory. The cruiser is hanging off about 15 km. Note that the mining destroyer still has one mining laser active:

chased by a vengeful mining destroyer

I give them about 90 seconds to say or do something, then decide the day’s fun is over.

Warp out, dock, and “Take the loot out of the cargo hold this time you dockside morons!”

Despite the hitches, that’s salvage the way it’s supposed to go.

So, local intelligence in Isaziwa provided Ironfleet High Command (that’s me) with an anonymous tip regarding the whereabouts of an unescorted AC-ME mining barge. AC-ME, it turns out, is not universally loved; we’ve even gotten offers of substantial ISK if certain named members of AC-ME should suffer catastrophic pod failure during these hostilities. (Of course we are not a mercenary corporation per se, but given our war aims, we’ll be happy to do it for free if the fortunes of war provide an opportunity.)

But I digress.

The intelligence review team (also me) was suspicious of a possible trap, but enemy assets in system seemed insufficient to have established an overwhelming trap. Accordingly, I decided to go in hot, do the job, and get out, or at least get cloaked.

I confess I did not know that a Procurer mining barge was so fragile. Poor Garrikk never had a chance — I locked and fired three cruise missiles, but he went “kaboom!” on the second one and the third passed harmlessly through his wreckage. By then I had his jet can targeted, so I blew that {mourn for lost salvage} and cloaked.

As for the trap, it was a bit like stirring a hornet’s nest with a stick. First responders, very fast, were a Drake (piloted by the same Aeternus Kahn who got Miss Iron last night, if I am not mistaken) and a stealth bomber from INDY who got onto grid and then cloaked. Fairly soon Murdock Jones showed up in his assault frigate, and there was a Crow interceptor on grid fairly quick as well.

The Drake took the Procurer loot, the Crow ranged widely about the grid, and the stealth bomber did what I was doing. (Who knows what? It’s very hard to say.)

Murdock Jones went away and came back in another bait ship — a mining cruiser in which he set to mining, trailing one sad small combat drone, like a pheasant dragging a fake broken wing to entice a fox away from her chicks. By now the drake was gone, the Crow was out by the edge of the grid playing tag with the torn fabric of spacetime, and all looked peaceful on grid.

About two games of Pinochle later (we always bring Pinochle cards along for stealth bomber duty) Jones got bored and took his baitship home. And the stealth bomber pilot started messaging me in an attempt to find out whether I was still watching an empty roid belt with him.

As it happens, I was. There’s nothing more peaceful than two opposing stealth bombers cloaked and watching for the other one to do something interesting. It’s very zen.

Eventually he must have had all the zen he could stand, because he uncloaked and left. And the asteroids sailed, serene and unmolested, along their heavenly courses.