Monday, November 16, 2009

The Back Alley - Second Day's End

It's been a long 48 hours thus far enveloped in the myriad colors of our little class 1 w-space.  After I discovered the uninhabited system, Casiella gave me the order to stay in it and keep my probes running their locating algorithms until the corporation could establish its presence.  Scanning was an addiction for me according to some of the other corp-mates, and for the most part they were correct.  However, scanning in a wormhole and scanning systems down in high security are a little bit different.

For one, scanning in high-sec gave me fewer places to explore but limitless systems to choose from, whereas in the Back Alley there are many signatures but once discovered they are not quick to change, and I was limited to the one system.  I did get plenty of experience working with combat probes, however, so I have little to complain about aside from the boredom of scanning constantly while waiting out the arrival of Casiella and her small POS equipment.

It only took a couple of hours to get the site set up initially.  After the force field went up, I went to work scanning down the other cosmic signatures present in the area, thankful for the safety as I could not yet cloak.  The rest of the corp took a break in the control tower for a few hours while I sat alone in space.  At first, I was absolutely fine with that, but after completely identifying, bookmarking, and yawning at all of the signatures I began to get a little stir crazy.  I was not permitted to leave the wormhole because at the moment I was still the only scanner, and I had to stay in the case of our known entrance collapsing on us.  I ended up joining the other corp members in the control tower for about an hour just to stretch my muscles a bit.

... 1 Hour Later...

By the time I made it back out into space, a couple more of the corp mates had returned refreshed as well and we chattered excitedly about our new starbase for a few minutes until Casiella re-appeared and continued setting up the position.  She mounted a few more defensive weapons, anchored a few containers, and then had me and Moare assist with the testing of access rights to the starbase equipment.

After it was all set up, systems online and looking in order, I moved in a couple of ships of my own: Delorian, a Procurer, and Serrated Seraphim, a Myrmidon.  The myrm was my first battlecruiser, and had barely survived the previous wormhole experiences she had shared with me, but we were learning and had improved our fit a bit.  The Procurer had never even seen use, though I'd had it for several months.  After moving in my ships, and realizing that no one else was still around, I decided it was the perfect time to go pick up my cloaking skill book and modules.  Forty jumps later I was nestled safely back in the starbase and I decided to get some sleep while I could.

... 6 Hours Later ...

Once all was good and right in the world of Caels, I set off to the nearest gravimetric site in Delorian and landed right on top of several Sleeper frigates and cruisers.  Uh oh!  Bounce, bounce, bounce!  Come on baby, turn around!  The Sleepers had closed on me already, and I imagined their robotic glee and saliva spewing forth in the form of hydraulic leakage as they opened fire.  Searing beams of light leapt at me from several directions and I nearly panicked as I saw my shields vanish instantly and a small portion of my armor melt.

"Warp Drive, Active," came the call from Aura, and we sped off to safety as a final volley of light slammed into my backside disintegrating the remainder of my armor.  Panting into my comms that I was safe, I could just sense the scolding I was about to get from the boss lady.  Maybe she was laughing on the inside or something, because that scolding never came.  All that was said was that all mining ops needed an escort, and she let me off the hook.

After my little debacle, I decided to go back to my Serrated Seraphim and try my hand at defending the other miners.  I warped off to another gravimetric site to find that it was empty, and had Moare warp to me and start chewing rocks.  Then I warped out for a moment to check the status of our wormhole, and warped back in at 100km from the miner.  Casiella retired to the control tower once more, and the miners and I were the only things alive in the Back Alley for a time.

By a time, I mean about 10 minutes, perhaps less.  I noticed a Tengu suddenly pop in on the far side of Moare from me, followed closely by a Stabber, Navy Issue, and then a third ship that I didn't both to get the details on.  "Shit, Moare, get the hell out of there now," I screamed into the comms.  Kiithilurin, swore into his comms as he had just begun to warp to our location.  I was too far out to even try to intervene, and swore again as Moare's Retriever listed to the side and finally crumbled beneath the onslaught.

I warped back to the starbase, arriving only seconds before Moare's pod, and less than a minute before Kiith's pod.  I immediately switched to my Helios, Awkward Glance, and set about launching my combat probes and scanning down the area.  It took me a several minutes to get the different signals pinned, but I could tell we had 5 visitors, 2 of which approached our starbase like curious animals.  I watched as the Tengu and Stabber vanished into a spot I didn't recognize on the solar map, which upon further narrowing revealed a new wormhole.  A Wolf class vessel snooped around our starbase for several minutes before finally vanishing as well, but he had revealed to us that our defenses were not reacting the way they should have.  He had closed within 80km of our starbase and not been targeted by the artillery.

One by one, the signatures disappeared into the newly discovered wormhole, and I spent another 10 minutes or so watching for any signs of life besides our own.  I was also still in the process of learning to use cloaking modules, so I could not yet investigate the new wormhole safely.  We lamented the losses of our two Retrievers and Kiith decided to get some rest.

A short while later, my training on cloaking had finally completed enough that I could use the prototype module I had purchased, and I fit it to my ship.  Immediately, I went to check out the new wormhole and discovered it was a Class 2.  I popped in and took a look around, finding only one other ship in the system, and that one left within a few minutes.  I scanned down the signatures in the system, finding a few combat sites and 2 other cosmic signature that I didn't bother with.  The wormhole to leading back to our space was already disrupted from the group of mercenaries who had violated our retrievers earlier, so I decided that deeper exploration might not be the best idea.

Moare was getting impatient to find something to kill, so I agreed to bring him back to the Class 2 with me and let him blow stuff up.  I stayed in the Awkward Glance just in case we lost the portal, until Moare asked me to grab the Serrated Seraphim and come help him clean up.  He had a launcher but no salvager, and the Myrmidon had a salvager and no launcher.  We decided to forego my scanning speed for the clean up speed, and I brought in the Myrm, and another corp mate joined us in cleaning up sites.  We only found 3 out of the 5 sites still alive, but it was probably for the best, as just as I was cleaning up the salvage from the last site combat probes spread out over Moare's d-scan and he recalled us to the wormhole.

We had a minor issue with the wormhole not wanting to let our friend back through, but eventually he made it through and we all returned to the starbase safely.  I deposited the loot and salvage to the corporate hangar and switched back over to the Awkward Glance to ensure we had no new signatures.  Casiella's ship appeared once more on my comms indicators, and I swallowed hard as I began to tell her of the loss of the Retrievers.  She wasn't very happy with us at all, and proceeded to interrogate us about the how's and why's of the situation.  To my sensibilities, the loss was monetary only and easily replaced, but to her it seemed it was a waste and a loss based on the principles of survival in the wormhole.

We collectively re-iterated our understanding of proper operating procedures, while Moare attempted to shine some light on the stuff that went well that day rather than the losses, but she didn't bite and the subject remained unchanged for a few minutes yet.  Still, we reported our success at the sites, the potential ISK we had earned, and the fact that our starbase wasn't defending itself.

After Casiella determined the problem with the defenses, Chainer finally arrived and provided me with some more entertainment as Moare, Casiella and the others all retired to the tower for the night.  We chatted for a bit before we decided to do some mining.  We searched around the gravimetric sites for a fight, and Chainer allowed me to test my fit against the Sleepers by myself.  For the first time ever I was able to hold my own against 3 frigates and 2 cruisers all alone, inspiring confidence in myself and pride in Chainer.

The battle complete, Chainer warped in his Trash Compactor, a Cormorant with the sole purpose of eating wreckage, and proceeded to clean up the mess.  Then I put Delorian to her first real use, alongside Chainer's Ravenous Muncher, and we mined Arkonor for the better part of a few hours, driving Chainer's sanity to the brink.  He had me switch ships and scan down signatures in the hopes of something to shoot, but failing to find anything new, he decided to spare his mentality and get some rest.  I continued mining alone in the depths of the w-space, surrounded by the blues and oranges of our Cataclysmic Variable, for another hour or so before finally, I needed rest as well.

So the end of the second day was much like the beginning of the first: lonely, peaceful, and breath-taking.  while the w-space life can be boring, I've had great fun with it so far, and I've learned much in a very short amount of time, and I look forward to serving out more time in my capsule.


  1. No but we were scared, none-the-less. The boss lady is god.

  2. hopefully your guy's class 1 has a class 2/3 static wormhole in it? Class 1s are solo guys are wasting effort, and earning probably 1/3-1/5 of the isk you could be making from just a class 2...:(