It’s late. All the dangerous war targets are logged off and asleep. I decide to pull out one of my Crane blockade runners and run around picking up market orders of valuable war supplies.

After picking up forty or fifty million ISK worth of stuff in Motsu, I head over to Aramachi. As I’m jumping into the system, my clock ticks over to the top of the hour, and my girlfriend calls to me to come watch a TV show with her that’s starting right now!

So, I select a station, select “Dock”, and leave my computer.

You know what happens next. One time in twenty, autodocking fails; I’ve never known why.

Half an hour later, I walk back into my office, where to my horror I see my Crane floating in space. Outside a station. With all kinds of ships around.

I dock hastily. Then somebody, a Caldari militia friendly, convos me. “Dude, what happened, did you fall asleep?”

I explain.

He tells me a Gallente war target in a TII fitted Brutix, one EvilSpork of Invicta, saw my Crane and could not pass up the bait. While intent on blowing up my poor unpiloted crane, EvilSpork got jumped and pwned by the Caldari militia.

Yay, AFK bait-Crane for the win!

Another uneventful war ended — Yorlock and his one-man corp have apparently failed to pay the Ironfleet war bill.

So far as I know, we were only once on the same grid at the same time. I warped to the Tama gate in Nourv to see what was what, flying one of my trusty stealth bombers; seeing no war targets, I hit my cloak and began steaming in a random direction.

After which I glanced back at my overview and there was Yorlock, in a freshly-uncloaked recon ship, drones out, and zooming rapidly in my general direction.

He never got closer than about sixty clicks.

And that was our war. Woo.

Hey, thanks to Eve Tribune for a nice mention in this article on Eve-Blogging:

Ironfleet Salvage and Towing – I love reading about the salvage exploits of the author of this blog, Marlenus, who has made a career out of clearing up the space lanes of New Eden by picking up unsecured cargo cans and wrecks wherever he finds them, regardless who else lays claims to the floating debris. Written half in character and half out of character, he has skill for prose in my opinion.

First blood in VampireZim Vengeance War Number Nine goes to Ironfleet. It happened like this.

For the last week or so there hasn’t been as much of the untouchable CLDRI Hictor/HAC/HAC gatecamp on the Tama gate in Nourv. VampireZim has been seen around Nourv, but he’s mostly been docked and AFK. Ironfleet operations have proceeded more or less normally despite the war.

Then, tonight, when I logged in, I noticed there were three relatively new players in system and flying the hostile CLDRI colors. Hmmm, I wondered to myself, stealth bomber food?

And then RapidTaco called for a fleet in the militia channel. One of the new meats in CLDRI promptly typed his X for a fleet invite. Then another, and another.

Now, I’ve flown with the speedy Mexican snack, and I know his methods. His rally points, in particular, are predictable. Tonight I was at the rally point in my stealth bomber, cloaked, before the CLDRI boys even arrived.

Then two of them arrived. Dragon Halk and Haraol. In Merlins. It was a turkey shoot, a pair of perfect one-volley kills. First Haraol:

2008.07.08 04:09:00

Victim: Haraol
Corp: Caldari State Militia
Alliance: NONE
Faction: Caldari State
Destroyed: Merlin
System: Nourvukaiken
Security: 0.8
Damage Taken: 1378

Involved parties:

Name: Marlenus (laid the final blow)
Security: 1.3
Corp: Ironfleet Towing And Salvage
Alliance: NONE
Faction: Caldari State
Ship: Manticore
Weapon: Caldari Navy Wrath Cruise Missile
Damage Done: 1378

Destroyed items:

Damage Control I
Foxfire Rocket, Qty: 940 (Cargo)
Cap Recharger I
Warp Disruptor I

Dropped items:

Ballistic Control System I
‘Malkuth’ Rocket Launcher I, Qty: 2
Foxfire Rocket, Qty: 60
125mm Railgun I, Qty: 2
Small Shield Extender I
Antimatter Charge S, Qty: 840 (Cargo)
Monopropellant I Hydrazine Boosters
Antimatter Charge S, Qty: 160

Then Dragon Halk:

2008.07.08 04:11:00

Victim: Dragon Halk
Corp: Caldari State Militia
Alliance: NONE
Faction: Caldari State
Destroyed: Merlin
System: Nourvukaiken
Security: 0.8
Damage Taken: 1389

Involved parties:

Name: Marlenus (laid the final blow)
Security: 1.3
Corp: Ironfleet Towing And Salvage
Alliance: NONE
Faction: Caldari State
Ship: Manticore
Weapon: Caldari Navy Wrath Cruise Missile
Damage Done: 1389

Destroyed items:

Ballistic Control System I
Bloodclaw Light Missile, Qty: 40
Bloodclaw Light Missile, Qty: 420 (Cargo)
Standard Missile Launcher I

Dropped items:

Bloodclaw Light Missile, Qty: 40
Monopropellant I Hydrazine Boosters
Small Shield Extender I
Antimatter Charge S, Qty: 1000 (Cargo)
Standard Missile Launcher I
125mm Railgun I

One volley per Merlin, the combat logs looked like this:

Your Caldari Navy Wrath Cruise Missile hits Haraol [CLDRI](Merlin), doing 392.0 damage.
Your Caldari Navy Wrath Cruise Missile hits Haraol [CLDRI](Merlin), doing 458.6 damage.
Your Caldari Navy Wrath Cruise Missile hits Haraol [CLDRI](Merlin), doing 527.9 damage.

And:

Your Caldari Navy Wrath Cruise Missile hits Dragon Halk, doing 392.0 damage.
Your Caldari Navy Wrath Cruise Missile hits Dragon Halk, doing 437.1 damage.
Your Caldari Navy Wrath Cruise Missile hits Dragon Halk, doing 559.9 damage.

After Dragon Hulk went pop, I tried to target pods, but they, sensibly, warped away. About this time a third CLDRI target arrived on grid, but I also noticed that one of the fleet destroyers had closed with me, impeding my ability to recloak. I decided not to get greedy, so I warped out and docked.

Then I got curious — what did the fleet chatter sound like during all of this? I checked, and sure enough, I had some buddies in the fleet. Apparently there was a fair bit of consternation on fleet voice until folks figured out what was happening, after which it was “Merlins? No big deal then.” My buddy likes the blog, so he was kind enough to Evemail me the pertinent snippet of fleet chat. The CLDRI targets are in bold:

Acerbits > wut popped
Cobalt Crimson > who the hell is popping us?
Haraol > wtf
Brother Augustine > WE”VE BEEN COMPROMISED
Oxcidiax > wtf did he self destruct?
Haraol > no
Cobalt Crimson > someone sent cruises at him
Phoenix Red > no he didnt
Phoenix Red > harold pop
Acerbits > marlenus shooting
Darth Mikey > someone’s frig got shot
Brother Augustine > oh my fucking god
Brother Augustine > Marlenus is doing it
Dragon Halk > i just got here and im already dead lol
Cobalt Crimson > 72K off, uncloaked

Of course I’ve sent RapidTaco an explanatory email apologizing for disrupting his fleet operations and explaining the situation. As I told him, it purely sucks that people want to join fleet warfare and then disrupt the war effort by starting internecine corp wars. It’s rather a pity the FW mechanics don’t penalize this in any way. (They don’t; I can confirm that there were no standings hits of any kind for popping two members of CLDRI, a corporate member of the State Protectorate militia.) I would think a state militia would penalize its members for failing to put aside their differences for the duration — but no.

Amusingly, as I sit in station typing this, I am reliably informed that Zim and Max Threat and D34TH are waiting outside in their Onyx (heavy interdictor) and two Ishtars. Sorry boys, I don’t have any ships that can take that on, so you’re wasting your time.

I do find it both amusing and fitting that despite days spent camping the Tama gate in an apparent effort to make it harder for me and Jim Bridger to fly in FW fleets, VampireZim and the CLDRI boys seem never to have considered that their sword cuts two ways. Ironfleet may not be able to engage a Hictor and two HACs, but CLDRI is going to recruit young players, they will be just as susceptible as Ironfleet to suffering a bit of inconvenience forming up in fleets.

In conclusion, I still love my stealth bombers!

Remember Yorlock The Butthurt? This guy? You remember, the guy who wrote: “I am hoping your are exceptionally stupid and continus this conduct.”

Well, that was April. Lotta blustery smack, but then I never heard from him again.

Well, I did once. He saw me in local on June 22 and said:

Yorlock > 10 mil to whioever pods Marlenus
Marlenus > LOL, you still butthurt?
Yorlock > your a smacktard, a thief and a war dec dodger

Which I thought was pretty funny coming from Yorlock, whose outrageous smack has been documented before, and not just in this space. The war dec dodger remark is doubly funny — first because of my unblemished history of employment in Ironfleet, and even moreso because at that very moment, my last war had been the one Ironfleet declared against the INDY Alliance — and won.

It turns out that on June 22, friend Yorlock had just founded (the day before) a one-man corp called Bot Death (ticker: BOT-U).

The news: today’s bundle of junk mail from Concord included a war declaration from Bot Death. Yes, boys and girls, Yorlock is going to try and pod him some thieving smacktard war dec dodging Ironfleet “scumbags”.

We tremble in our pods, we truly do.

Also: good luck with that.

Sadly real life issues have mostly kept me out of the game the last few days, but from my brief logins, it was clear that the Gallente had figured out some clever way to lose track of the NPC Caldari Navy ships, allowing them (the Gallente scum) to dwawdle about in Caldari hisec, popping our militia guys without taking fire of any kind from the Navy. I was not at first too curious about the tactics involved, assuming they’d figured out some unanticipated exploit or loophole that CCP would quickly close. When that did not happen and signs began pointing to CCP condoning the tactics in use, I began paying close attention to the relevant forum posts. Here’s one from Le Skunk that comes at the core Navy vulnerability from several angles and seems ripe with suggestiveness with regard to further research; I’m reprinting it here so that fellow FW people who are not forum warriors can get up to speed on tactical experimentation, even before I get a chance to experiment myself:

*1* THE CHEESE – TESTED in a 0.7 Amarr System on Singularity

1) Jumped in a macherial – undocked from station and hit the mwd

2) If you get to far ahead – they despawn and respawn next to you

3) The fastest ship they had was doing 2.5km/s (the little frigate)

4)so i adjusted my speed to keep the frigate (who i could tank) at about 30km behind me – I steadily increased the distance from the 2 BS spawn to 350km (the cruiser was at about 200km)

Then I stopped my ship – and tanked the frig. The BS headed towards me at about 500m/s. The cruiser at 1200m/s.

ArrowThe point here is the main damage dealers slowboating 350 km towards me. I assume this process (if done in reverse) would enable you to camp the station for around 10 mins before the BS started shooting at you.

IT seems as long as one member of the spawn (the frigate in this case) is close to you – the ENTIRE spawn will not tactical warp.

*2* THE JAM – TESTED ON TRANQUILITY IN 0.7 AMARR SYSTEM

I simply jumped into the system, with an alt in a falcon 200km off the gate.

The alt was not in the militia – so did not warrant his own spawn.

The alt had all amarr racial jams on – and had a good 80% jam rate on the 4 enemy spawned. This meant my main could comfortably tank the enemy. If you keep the BS jammed thats the majority of the damage dealt with.

A couple of non militia noobs in blackbirds could easily keep one guy permasafe from the enemy.

If i knew damage types and all that carebear crap, I could probably have fit a specific tank. A HAC with racial resists should have very little problem.

If you combine this with some remote repping for jam failures, perhaps a damp or two on the actual camping ships, etc you should be able to replicate the ops complaint.

*3* THE DWONES – TESTED ON SINGULARITY IN 0.7 AMARR SYSTEM

I decided to engage the enemy, dropped drones, then mwd’d off as i was taking heavy fire. The enemy did some sort of drone gimp on me – because suddenly the drones dropped dead.

The amarr navy followed me for a bit -then when i got out of range (which would normally trigger a respwan) instead, they went back to where the drones were (they did not tactical warp – they flew) and started popping my drones. This took them a bit of time and gave me a good 2 mins sat still with nobody shooting me (time to camp the station) before they popped the drones then respawned.

*4* THE STATION DEATH – TESTED ON SINGULARITY IN 0.7 AMARR SYSTEM

Farting around trying to find the minimum distance the navy will tactical warp (seems to be about 90km?) I got blown up 190km outside a station.

So i docked, got into a new ship, undocked. And the same spawn where there at 190km. They locked me and started to approach, but did not tactical warp.

I couldnt replicate this however.

So there we go, perhaps some of the above was used in the jita camp. Perhaps many of these were used combined.

Thanks, Le Skunk!

lol missions

Thanks to Mike Seary.

I was bummin’ around when Love Denied came into the State Protectorate militia channel, cursing bitterly and most foul about having lost 250 million ISK due to having fallen asleep at the helm of his rigged Crow interceptor in Komo, only to be popped and podded (with many valuable implants) by a roving gang of (he said) battlecruisers piloted by Gallente scum (although scum was not the word he used. Given his propensity to use female body parts as vile curses, is it any wonder he calls himself Love Denied?)

Onward. I don’t really have any ships handy for slugging it out with enemy battlecruisers, but the theory is, all I really need to do is hold them in place and let the Caldari Navy do the heavy work. I do have a Blackbird with a warp disrupter, put together for just this sort of eventuality. So in it I hopped and headed for Komo.

Komo was showing two war targets in local, one of whom was docked. I waited outside the dock.

He undocked. I locked, warp scrambled, hit the ECM buttons, and opened fire. He shot off about half my shields, broke my lock somehow, and warped to the Motsu gate. I followed.

Arriving there, I found some friendly Caldari militia as well as two more war targets, one of which was a badly battered Megathron. I locked the mega, scrammed-and-jammed him from here to Wednesday, and opened fire. The other two war targets began pummeling me, but they had problems of their own — somewhere in here, one of them wound up in a pod.

Just about then, the Mega (by now well below half structure) came unjammed and began blasting me to hell. Being an utter ECM newb, I completely forgot to mash those buttons again. POP! And I was in a pod, so I left, feeling pretty good about my small contribution to bringing down one very tough battleship.

The nearest ship for looting my wreck was one of my combat Cranes. By the time I got back, the other FW guys were mopping up pods, but there was a flashing red shuttle. Why not? I locked him (which turns out to take about twenty seconds in a blockade runner), warp scrambled him, and blew up his shuttle. He was carrying ten units of Quafe Ultra, but it didn’t survive the carnage.

2008.06.27 21:31

Victim: Planning
Corp: Federal Navy Academy
Alliance: None
Faction: None
Destroyed: Caldari Shuttle
System: Komo
Security: 0.8
Damage Taken: 508

Involved parties:

Name: Marlenus (laid the final blow)
Security: 1.4
Corp: Ironfleet Towing And Salvage
Alliance: Caldari State
Faction: Caldari State
Ship: Crane
Weapon: Caldari Navy Thunderbolt Heavy Missile
Damage Done: 508

Destroyed items:

Quafe Ultra, Qty: 10 (Cargo)

As you can see, he was not a war target, and his security status is 4.9, so I’m not sure what he did in a shuttle to get a general criminal flag. I also have no idea why he didn’t warp away, although I guess maybe he was just watching the carnage and didn’t care about losing his shuttle and his Quafe. This is definately the most bizarre kill I’ve ever gotten in my Crane.

I was able to loot the drops from my Blackbird wreck as well as a few TII pieces from the Megathron, though the guys who had killed it had righteously took most of the goodies and were gone by then. It turns out to have been one heck of a Monsterthron, fully rigged and a mix of T2 and faction fit. I confess to being a little impressed that they brought that monster into Caldari space.

Wrathful Hawk of Warsmiths, one of the other three Caldari militia on the killmail, says my one successful jam cycle saved his Raven, a credit I’ll happily take. All in all, a fun combat and (I think) a very nice use of a fully-insured Blackbird that I fitted with hangar scraps.

The deep space transport is not normally seen flipping cans. It’s slow, and it’s expensive. However, it does have the virtue of being able to empty a jet can in a single trip — a virtue when one has the element of surprise sufficient to take advantage of it.

But I get ahead of myself.

Tonight I was buzzing about in my covert ops frigate, looking for safe spots and war targets and poor lost drones and whatever else might be lurking in the unknown spaces between the planets. It’s one of the most relaxing ways to play eve for me, and is the reason I have yet to purchase a drone in this game.

After one of my scans, I noticed a strong signal for a mining drone, a long way above the ecliptic in a place one would not normally expect to find a mining drone. Probably abandoned by a mission miner, let’s go have a look.

Warped to 10km and found myself right on top of a Hulk, snuggled up against an Omber roid, mining into a jet can. He’s got a full cloud of mining drones out, the sky is full of Thukker Missionary wrecks, and he’s got two buddies in a Drake and an Arbitrator. By some miracle, I did not get decloaked, so I steamed gently out towards open space under cloak while contemplating the tasty tableaux.

The Hulk pilot was in an NPC corp, so I didn’t need to worry about his buddies, unless… could they be playing can ownership games? Nope, the jet can belonged to the Hulk pilot. This should be safe enough. It’s theoretically possible he has a second set of combat drones, plus a warp scrambler, plus a web (to keep me from outrunning his scramble range in the time it takes his drones to eat me), but I’m not too worried. I’m thinking, he’s in deadspace, he’s got friends who cannot help him, he’s probably complacent and half AFK. With good salvage technique, he’ll never ever even get a chance to react.

I had to think this through very carefully, because the only hauler inside of five jumps was one of my expensive Bustard deep space transports. I usually try to avoid getting a criminal flag in that thing. But this setup was just too juicy to ignore. A fully expanded Bustard is a sluggish pig, but this should be doable.

And indeed, it was a picture perfect operation. The Bustard’s warp to “zero” was, as always, at about 2,000 meters, so I approached the can for a few seconds to get within the 1,500m transfer range. As soon as the open button lit up, I used the shiny new “align to” option on the right click menu to align to station. While I waited to align, I opened the Hulk pilot’s can.

Bingo! Nearly full — 29,927 units of Omber. Sweet! Ore goes into the Bustard’s hold, mash the warp button, make a cup of coffee, take a satisfied sip as the Bustard lumbers into warp. Nobody even tried to lock me.

If these operations were always this smooth, I’d be a richer man than I am.

Not too many developments in VampireZim Vengeance War #9. For a corp aligned with the State Protectorate, CLDRI seems to spend a lot of time sitting on the Tama gate in Nour in hictors and hacs. I don’t flatter myself that it’s all for the camping of dear sweet Ironfleet, but if it’s not, then either CLDRI has no real interest in blowing up Gallente scum, or they have a long list of war targets in the State Protectorate and they are just preying on the factional warfare traffic moving in and out of Tama.

I did uncloak in a stealth bomber and bounce some cruise missiles off the shields of one of their HACs at a time when I suspected the lot of ’em of being AFK. That was about as pointless as you’d expect, but it made a nice noise. Sort of like dropping an endless stream of frozen canteloupes onto pavement from about eight stories up, it’s fun even though it doesn’t accomplish anything.

I’ve also been having a TON of fun flying rocket kestrels around in Gallente high sec. Everything would have to be perfect (pod or retriever or T1 hauler, alone, within about 10k of the gate, when I arrive at the gate) to actually get a kill, and that hasn’t happened yet, but many a Gallente pod pilot have made smelly accidents in their pod goo after being unexpectedly attacked in “safe” space. I’ve lost one Kestrel so far (to a brutix and thorax who arrived at a very inopportune moment) but it’s a real rush and I’ll get lucky eventually.

Funny camping story — after one long rocket run down to Villore and back up toward Jita, I docked in the first Caldari Border Zone system I came to, because my girlfriend called me about dinner. One thing led to another, and four hours later when I returned to my keyboard, Zim and two henchmen were trying to camp me into the station.

Somehow I suspect I had more fun that night than they did.

My only other contribution to the Vengeance War has been in the realm of propaganda. Since the Zimster is spending so much time on the Tama gate with his drones out, visibly contributing NOTHING to the State Protectorate war effort, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to launch a giant propaganda can there, alerting the militia folk who pass through to his carrot-juice drinking ways. Nourv is .8 space, so I expect the can to go away fairly fast, but given that Ironfleet has scooped about a thousand of these over the last two years, we can keep the message out there for as long as it takes, or for as long as it still seems funny.