So, I was getting bored with the hunting around my usual hangouts. And I saw some assets down in Dodixie that needed my attention. So I packed a few trade goods into my fighting Crane, and set off on a combination hunt and trading expedition.

Part way there, I stopped by the system of Kamio. And cruising belt to belt, I found that there was an active mining corp in system — Rare Earth Elements, LLC [REELC]. Six or eight guys in local at any time — which makes engaging them tricky! — and at least half of those in mining barges. (But remember, I’ve been burned in the past by guys in Retrievers helping my primary target.)

So when I found a Retriever with a mostly-full jet-can out, naturally I flipped it, keeping only what would fit in my Crane. (Long way from home, no backup hauler handy.) But the guy was flying a full rack of mining drones, and he wouldn’t take from my can, so no joy there. I blew the Ironfleet can and moved on.

Actually, I docked; it was time to watch some TV with the girlfriend.

Then a bit later, her phone rang and it was a call she wanted to take. So I sat back down at my computer, and started checking the belts again.

And what’s this? Another REELC Retriever with a chock-full jet can out. How many friends does he have in local? Six? Careful…

Flipped can, loaded up what ore I could fit. This guy is flying combat drones. Started flying away — the urge to pounce is always strongest when the “prey” is seen to be fleeing. And sure enough, he’s locking me!

Truth to tell, I messed up the combat. I had my Ironfleet jetcan locked also, so once his drones started shooting me, I shot back at the barge … but I warp disrupted my own jetcan. If he’d wanted to flee, he might have had time.

But no … I caught him on the next cycle. This might be because my missles were just pecking him. It was the toughest Retriever I’ve ever seen — it seemed to take forever to beat him into rubble. At least three times as many missiles as I usually need for a Retriever. WTF? He actually had time to try to run away from my point, but of course he didn’t have the speed.

And of course, all the while I’m expecting his vengeful buddies to come skidding out of warp, intent on violencing my boat. But finally, he popped. And what’s this in his wreck? Modulated Strip Miner IIs? Tasty!

2011.04.15 03:40:00

Victim: Darrium Sinclairium
Corp: Rare Earth Elements LLC
Alliance: Unknown
Faction: Unknown
Destroyed: Retriever
System: Kamio
Security: 0.7
Damage Taken: 1872

Involved parties:

Name: Marlenus (laid the final blow)
Security: 1.3
Corp: Ironfleet Towing And Salvage
Alliance: NONE
Faction: NONE
Ship: Crane
Weapon: Thunderbolt Precision Heavy Missile
Damage Done: 1858

Name: Guristas Arrogator / Guristas
Damage Done: 14

Destroyed items:

Small Armor Repairer I
Mining Drone I, Qty: 2 (Drone Bay)
Expanded Cargohold I
Plagioclase Mining Crystal I

Dropped items:

Plagioclase, Qty: 6714 (Cargo)
Survey Scanner I
Plagioclase Mining Crystal I
Modulated Strip Miner II, Qty: 2

Scoop, align, blow Ironfleet can full of ore, dock safe. And then it was time to place a stern phone call to the missile compartment. “What were you idiots shooting at him? Spitwads?”

There was an uncomfortable pause. Then “Uh, Captain…”

My mistake. Damn. I’d been stalking a Hulk earlier, and he had TII drones up. That can be dicy, and I often start a fight like that by taking out a drone or three with Precision missiles. Which — you guessed it — were still up the spout for this whole combat. Doh!

This is turning into a pretty good EVE day. While out looking to see if a I could make it a mining barge trifecta, I found a Dread Gurista Arrogator in a .8 system. Two heavy missiles later:

Low-Grade Crystal Delta, I’ll take it!

I never cease to marvel at the power of the “it’s just a helpless hauler” meme. These guys aren’t packing warp disruptors, so what are they expecting to accomplish? Is it just a “Fuck you” gesture?

But I’m getting ahead of myself. I was taking one last belt patrol before calling it a day, when I came upon another Retriever mining barge with a jet can out. I motored over to have a look, and while it wasn’t even close to full, it had more in it than my combat Crane can hold. So, I flipped it into an Ironfleet can.

He instantly jettisoned another can of ore. WTF? If he noticed the old can was gone, why would he jet a new one while I’m sitting right there? (I haven’t quite forgotten just how confusing EVE is when you’re new, and how easy it is to do stupid stuff by accident in the heat of the moment. But it’s been almost five years, so it’s harder and harder to remember.)

Anyway, thank you for all donations! I added the contents of the new can to the old can. Then, seeing no immediate response, I decided to go clean up a couple of his wrecks. That takes a little while, and when I’m done, I decide to wait and see if he’ll jet me a third can of ore after his next mining cycle.

Instead, what do you suppose he did?

Yes, my friends, he launched five drones and sent them to attack me.

Well, after that it was all over but the whooshing and the kaboom:

2011.04.09 23:58:00

Victim: John Brut
Corp: Falcon Prospect
Alliance: Unknown
Faction: Unknown
Destroyed: Retriever
System: [redacted]
Security: 0.7
Damage Taken: 1912

Involved parties:

Name: Marlenus (laid the final blow)
Security: 1.3
Corp: Ironfleet Towing And Salvage
Alliance: NONE
Faction: NONE
Ship: Crane
Weapon: Caldari Navy Thunderbolt Heavy Missile
Damage Done: 1912

Destroyed items:

Residual Survey Scanner I
Medium Cargohold Optimization I, Qty: 3
Co-Processor I
Strip Miner I, Qty: 2
Pyroxeres, Qty: 3048 (Cargo)

Dropped items:

Plagioclase, Qty: 2612 (Cargo)
Mining Laser Upgrade I

When I came back for the second load of ore, he was still sitting there in his pod. Rage-break and he went for a beer?

The targets are harder to find, but they’re still out there.

Today after about ten jumps of hunting roam (which takes a lot of time when you’re checking all belts in a Crane) I found a hapless Retriever pilot parked next to an almost-full (!) can of Pyroxeres.

Well, that spatial navigation hazard had to be fixed, so I put that ore into an Ironfleet can.

He didn’t have me locked and he didn’t have another can out and he wasn’t flying any drones, but he immediately turned flashy red. So, I figure he must have said “Mine mine mine!” in his best Daffy Duck voice, and yoinked some of the ore back into his cargo hold.

Bad idea. Retrievers being what they are, he popped like popcorn. He had just enough time to launch some combat drones and set them on me, but it didn’t do him any good:

2011.04.09 22:05:00

Victim: Mmel
Corp: Elite Institution of Scholars and Sickos
Alliance: Unknown
Faction: Unknown
Destroyed: Retriever
System: [redacted]
Security: 0.7
Damage Taken: 2162

Involved parties:

Name: Marlenus (laid the final blow)
Security: 1.3
Corp: Ironfleet Towing And Salvage
Alliance: NONE
Faction: NONE
Ship: Crane
Weapon: Caldari Navy Thunderbolt Heavy Missile
Damage Done: 2162

Destroyed items:

Solid Pyroxeres, Qty: 2643 (Cargo)
Mining Laser Upgrade I
Concentrated Veldspar, Qty: 376 (Cargo)
Strip Miner I

Dropped items:

Residual Survey Scanner I
Guristas Hellfire Assault Missile, Qty: 1000 (Cargo)
Dread Guristas Copper Tag (Cargo)
Strip Miner I
Guristas Iron Charge S, Qty: 1000 (Cargo)
Quantum Co-Processor I

Note the two bricks of tasty Gurista ammo in the salvage — that’s better loot than Retrievers usually drop.

I was in a system where I’ve operated before, so I had a Badger II handy; that meant I got to take all that lovely ore home, too.

Ironfleet is BACK, people!

Like I said yesterday, I’ve been looking for an ambitious Hulk pilot who wants to shoot at the helpless hauler. And, today I found one.

I had to go hunting, but I found a system with a lot of hulks mining in it, about six jumps from home. Nobody had jet cans out though, so I reverted to Plan B, and spent a little time motoring around cleaning up their wrecks. (This usually doesn’t work … not without the motivation of lost ore to fire the blood … but I’m having to do a lot more of it, since people don’t jetcan mine much any more.)

And then this one guy jetted a whole cargo bay full of ore while I was cleaning up some of the wrecks in his belt. Really? That’s got to be bait, I told myself; he must want me to flip him. I better check out his backup. Nope, he’s alone in system, no corpies standing by. Could he be aggressive enough to think his Tech I drones will toast me?

Let’s see.

So, I motored over there and flipped his can … more ore than will fit in my battle Crane, of course. But I took what I could, and put the rest in an Ironfleet jet can.

Negative response from target. Sigh, oh well. I’ll go stow this and come back, sometimes they get angry and do something foolish when you come back for the second load.

Docked at nearest station. Dumped ore. Check overview before undocking… NO, WAIT! He’s a skull now! Did he really take my ore back?

Let’s go see.

I undocked. When the overview loaded, I see that he’s now got a corp mate in the system, showing in local. Crap! If he gets backup, there’s no chance. But maybe it’s his hauler alt, right? I’ll be careful.

So, back to the belt with me. There he is, one official flashy red hulk, just like I ordered. It’s a sight I have only seen twice before in my Eve career, once in my Crane and once in a bomber. Lock, point, orbit, and start with the heavy missiles. My heart’s in my throat now … where’s his backup, and what are they flying?

He’s only got Hammerhead I drones, which I can tank easily. But he’s a trooper; he sends them out to chew on me. He’s also got some active repair, so it’s going slowly. I’m gaining on his shields, but it’s clear he’s not going to die to the first launcher full of missiles. Where is his backup?

By the time I’m nearly out of missiles, I’m halfway through his armor, but it’s going slowly because I’m still shooting Caldari Navy Thunderbolts — great on shields, not so great on Hulk armor. So, I reload with Havoc Furies, and let fly again.

About this time, he pulls his drones and tries to pop a conversation window with me. Does he want to beg? Or smack? No matter; I need this kill. So I click away the convo request without accepting it. (When I was in the TEARS alliance, they’d have yelled at me for missing a chance to harvest tears … but that’s not why I play.)

Where is his mutherfrackin’ BACKUP? The suspense of waiting for the other shoe to drop is KILLING me.

Unfortunately, the change in ammo was a big mistake. In the time it took me to reload, he got a repair cycle or two in, and so now I’m shooting the wrong ammo type at his shields, and he’s easily outrepping me. So, I reloaded again, back to the Thunderbolts, and by the time I’m done with that reload, he’s all the way back up to half shields. Frick!

By this point, I am starting to think he’s got the worst corpmates ever, because his backup still has not arrived. I’m trying — and mostly failing — to think of a ship his corpmate could be in that I wouldn’t have to run from.

Meanwhile, the slow barrage continues, one heavy missile downrange every 6.34 seconds. Finally he’s into structure. Do I dare break my orbit and close with his soon-to-be wreck … the place where his backup has GOT to land eventually? Answer: whether I dare or not, this is Ironfleet. If I don’t get the loot, it’s only partial credit. There are standards to uphold. So, I broke orbit and started closing, at my majestic 257 meters/second.

Then… finally… came the Earthshattering Kaboom we’ve all been waiting for:

2011.04.07 23:48:00

Victim: Grabarka
Corp: 5 Inch Incorporated
Alliance: Black Core Alliance
Faction: Unknown
Destroyed: Hulk
System: [redacted]
Security: 0.5
Damage Taken: 11537

Involved parties:

Name: Marlenus (laid the final blow)
Security: 1.3
Corp: Ironfleet Towing And Salvage
Alliance: NONE
Faction: NONE
Ship: Crane
Weapon: Caldari Navy Thunderbolt Heavy Missile
Damage Done: 11537

Destroyed items:

Modulated Strip Miner II, Qty: 2
Medium Cargohold Optimization I, Qty: 2
Medium Shield Booster II
Mining Laser Upgrade II
Azure Plagioclase, Qty: 13015 (Cargo)
Micro ‘Vigor’ I Core Augmentation
Hammerhead I, Qty: 3 (Drone Bay)

Dropped items:

Modulated Strip Miner II
Survey Scanner II
Ditrigonal Thermal Barrier Crystallization I
Ballistic Deflection Field I
Hammerhead I, Qty: 2 (Drone Bay)

I was still staring wildly about, twitchy about his backup that never came, as I cruised up to the wreck and looted it. Then I headed for a nice safe dock. Just as the station environment loaded, here comes local:

[23:52:42] Grabarka > Death by Crane….that’s a new one for me.
[23:52:53] Marlenus > ;-) It doesn’t happen often
[23:53:05] Grabarka > haha, true. enjoy the loot :)
[23:53:05] Marlenus > Only the second such kill for Ironfleet in five years of trying
[23:53:17] Marlenus > Thank yous
[23:53:21] Grabarka > I’m going soft. Been in Empire too long.
[23:53:38] Marlenus > I hope Etternus is your hauler alt … I kept expecting reinforcements
[23:53:58] Grabarka > No alts here, just me.
[23:54:17] Grabarka > My corp/alliance is all in Vale…im waiting for transport out there
[23:54:37] Marlenus > corp mate in system didn’t come help you? You need a new corp. {cries}
[23:55:07] Grabarka > Didn’t even notice him. I’m going to yell at him now!
[23:55:24] Marlenus > LOL … no blame if you didn’t yelp timely I guess
[23:56:21] Marlenus > Look for a little blog post on in about an hour … I can’t NOT write this one up
[23:56:36] Grabarka > haha, I look forward to reading it.
[23:56:59] Grabarka > Oh, just watch yourself in Vale. Your on my alliances kill list ;-)
[23:57:09] Marlenus > Fair enough, I wouldn’t have it any other way
[23:58:27] Grabarka > Im very tempted to copy your approach :)
[23:58:39] Grabarka > Was clever. I figured my drones would scare you off.
[23:58:47] Marlenus > It’s hours and hours of dull finding people, to be honest
[23:59:07] Grabarka > I didn’t even shoot you. I shot the can cus I thought it was mine :P
[23:59:30] Marlenus > Ooopsie, I was actually coming back for that ore you know
[23:59:53] Grabarka > hahahaha, now I don’t feel as bad about loosing the hulk. At least they are cheap.
[00:00:10] Marlenus > Yeah, not like they used to be
[00:00:22] Grabarka > very true
[00:00:55] Grabarka > Still laughing about that fight tho…I mean I lost to a f’ing CRANE! My corp is laughing too
[00:01:16] Marlenus > I’m glad you can see the fun, some people don’t. :(
[00:01:21] Grabarka > And this is further proof of why I DO NOT PvP
[00:01:38] Grabarka > I’m glad you’re not a total duche, most ppl are.
[00:01:41] Rui Hoshino > so when did a crane get enough firepower to kill?
[00:01:54] Grabarka > I dont know, wasted my Hulk tho
[00:01:54] Marlenus > One heavy missile launcher, every pertinent skill maxxed, lots of prayer
[00:02:05] Grabarka > haha, and no backup for the hulk
[00:02:12] Rui Hoshino > im sure it was the prayer
[00:02:17] Marlenus > And if the hulk has t2 drones or a tank, it’s a coin flip
[00:04:19] Grabarka > Anyone ahve a Hulk they want to sell cheap? :) And I don’t mean parts Merlenus, I want a whole one :-P
[00:04:27] Marlenus > LOL
[00:04:31] Rui Hoshino > lol
[00:05:58] Marlenus > AFK a bit, I have a “hulk down” blog post to write
[00:05:58] Grabarka > later guys, off to get another one :) Fly safe, except you Mar, you can pop all I want
[00:06:11] Marlenus > ;-)

As you can see, he was surprisingly cool about it. And no blame to his corpie for not coming to his rescue; it sounds like he never spoke up and yelled for help.

Of course the best part for me is “My corp is laughing too” — there’s nothing I like better than creating one of those “WTF?” killmails for somebody who actually uses a killboard and will have to explain it for a few days.

The worst part, though, is that now I want another one. The last Hulk I killed in a Crane was in 2008 — I sure hope I don’t have to wait until 2014 to do this again!

Wow, has it really been eight months?

I’ve been having a bad case of EVE burnout, the worst ever for me. And my log says it’s been 266 days since I’ve blown anybody up.

That. Simply. Will. Not. Do.

So I’ve been back in the game for a few days, and I decided to jump into one of my old combat Cranes and go see if there’s still anybody left in EVE who will fall for the old “helpless hauler” trick.

I went and buzzed a few belts, when what to my wondering eye should appear but a whole 3-man corporation, none of them as old as a week, mining in a Bantam, an Osprey, and a Badger, with lasers shining from all three ships. Could it be that Asteroid Mining Corporation [AM.CO] would give me some sport?

Despite the Badger on the scene, they had a couple of jet cans out with paltry bits of ore. I scooped those.

No response.

They also had a rat wreck there, so I went and looted it. Then the Bantam jetted another can. I went and scooped that.

Finally, some reaction. The Osprey mining cruiser started to lock me up.

I locked him back, which always takes a while in the Crane. Before I’m done, I hear whooshing missiles. Sweet! A customer!

My lock completed, I tried to point him. I get the Concord warning. It’s laggier than I remember — missiles are hitting me for trivial damage, but he’s still not flashy red. That always takes longer than you think, but finally he goes flashy. Pointed! And then I began to piss on him from a height with my heavy missile launcher.

A properly fit Osprey cruiser — especially if in “bait” mode — can give me a serious run. But not one that’s piloted by a three-day-old-pilot and mounting a single afterthought assault missile launcher in mining mode:

2011.04.06 22:17:00

Victim: Kane Redeemer
Corp: Asteroid Mining Corporation
Alliance: Unknown
Faction: Unknown
Destroyed: Osprey
System: [redacted]
Security: 0.7
Damage Taken: 3174

Involved parties:

Name: Marlenus (laid the final blow)
Security: 1.3
Corp: Ironfleet Towing And Salvage
Alliance: NONE
Faction: NONE
Ship: Crane
Weapon: Havoc Fury Heavy Missile
Damage Done: 3172

Name: Guristas Imputor / Guristas
Damage Done: 2

Destroyed items:

75mm Gatling Rail I (Cargo)
Miner II
Warrior I, Qty: 4 (Drone Bay)
Pyroxeres, Qty: 2485 (Cargo)
ECM – Spatial Destabilizer I (Cargo)

Dropped items:

‘Arbalest’ Assault Missile Launcher
Expanded Cargohold II, Qty: 2
Bloodclaw Light Missile, Qty: 19
Small Nosferatu I (Cargo)
Miner II, Qty: 2
Mining Laser Upgrade I
Bloodclaw Light Missile, Qty: 1850 (Cargo)

I never saw the Warriors; my guess is that in the excitement he forgot to launch them — I know I’ve done that! It’s even possible this was his first-ever ship loss, if he was genuinely new to EVE. (But he had good gear for his age, so I’m dubious about that.) To his credit, he did not snivel; he stayed silent in local until I finished blowing the Osprey, then warped away his pod.

It was fun once, but what I want is another ambitious Hulk pilot to play with.

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.)

Jim Bridger, here. Marlenus has already told the story of our Atron gank last night. But I wanted to add the cherry on the top of the sundae. This morning the Atron popped up on the top of my current alliance killboard in the banner showing the five “Most Expensive Kills In The Last Seven Days” listing. Sure, it’s the cheapest of the five, but I’ll take it! (Click image to see full size):

most expensive kills

Well, young Jim Bridger has upheld some of the finest traditions of Steelfleet tonight, even if he does fly for somebody else these days.

The evening did not start well. He shot at something in the Maelstrom. It must have been a stupid shot, because he won’t tell me what he shot at.

He missed. Poof. After insurance, about 30 million ISK down the drain.

We kept hunting. Came upon an Atron in Amarr.

It was just hanging at a stargate, pilot snoozing like they do. Cargo scanner showed a couple of mutherfrackin’ +5 implants and a ton of tags. Market said it was close to a quarter billion ISK in cargo.

Jim said “You wait right here. I’ll be back.”

And he went and got a Thrasher. Atrons can be tough little frigates and he didn’t want to miss this one, so I think he spent six or seven million fitting it out all Tech II. But about five minutes later, he was back. Atron pilot was still snoozing.

One shot, one kill. All goodies dropped, I scooped. I love it when a salvage op comes together:

2010.08.12 03:04:00

Victim: Driver M
Corp: University of Caille
Alliance: Unknown
Faction: Unknown
Destroyed: Atron
System: Amarr
Security: 1.0
Damage Taken: 805

Involved parties:

Name: Jim Bridger (laid the final blow)
Security: 2.7
Corp: Steel Fleet
Alliance: Important Internet Spaceship League
Faction: NONE
Ship: Thrasher
Weapon: 280mm Howitzer Artillery II
Damage Done: 805

Destroyed items:

1MN MicroWarpdrive I
Small Auxiliary Thrusters I, Qty: 3
Overdrive Injector System II

Dropped items:

Small Capacitor Battery II
Overdrive Injector System II
Small Standard Container (Cargo)
Ocular Filter – Improved (In Container)
Republic Fleet High Captain Insignia I, Qty: 84 (In Container)
Republic Fleet Captain Insignia I, Qty: 10 (In Container)
Neural Boost – Improved (In Container)

Jim tells me that the Amarr market buy order offer prices on the loot that dropped was about 242 million ISK. Of course I expect Ironfleet’s cut to arrive any day now…

I like Jim’s opening volley, not bad for a destroyer:

[ 2010.08.12 03:04:07 ] (combat) Your group of 280mm Howitzer Artillery II hits Driver M (Atron), doing 805.6 damage.

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.