Wormholing

“She looks good.” I said to my chief mechanic. “Hopefully she’ll do the intended job.”

“She’ll be treatin’ ye right, lad. None of yer fluff, all yer meat.” my chief mechanic replied.

I had christened her the Kubwa, my first battlecruiser, a Hurricane class ship. The entire fit had been just over 100 million isk, but I figured I should get some solid experience in wormholes before taking my 2 billion isk fit Slepnier in there. My crew was slowly becoming comfortable with that size of ship, but I wouldn’t consider us capable yet.

My old friend Nathan Carver had been involved in a wormhole colony the last few months, their entire existence based in wormhole space. They had several POSes setup, and had regularly made their way into class 6 Sleeper facilities. Meanwhile, their Empire team would transport required goods and materials where needed. The entire colony experiment was thriving well, raking in billions of isk.

The war against the Amarr continued to drain my personal finances, so any quick influx of isk was welcome.

We met in Hek at 20:00 hours.

“Alright, I’ll scan us down something.” Nathan said.

“Sure thing, Nate. I’ll just sit here and look sexy I guess.” I replied. My Hurricane was an artillery fit, six 650 mm IIs at the ready. Complimenting those was a standard missle launcher, and a salvager. “Range and tank were they key”, Nathan had said to me when first discussing this opportunity. “The salvager just makes it easier so we don’t have to keep going back and forth.” he had also mentioned.

It wasn’t the strongest fit Hurricane in the galaxy, but I trusted Nathan’s expertise in this enough to fit accordingly. Now I just had to sit and wait.

I looked at the Tribal Liberation Force channel, keeping my eyes open for any potential threat coming our way. Nathan was no longer military, but I was still a Colonel, and though he had come in his Nighthawk which might make small gangs a little wary, we were anything but untouchable.

“Nice. Nailed it on the first try.” Nathan chimed in within minutes. “Warp to me and let’s take a look.” Soon I was sitting in front of the wormhole. It was a glorious and mesmerizing phenomenon, far more beautiful than I remembered from the wormhole I remembered when rescuing Sam from the fleet of Dreadnoughts. Of course, at that time I was focused on staying alive, not sitting around enjoying the scenery.

We jumped through the wormhole, landing in Amarr space, 31 jumps from our original destination. Fortunately, it was lowsec, or I was sure their militia would’ve responded accordingly to my presence. We returned through the wormhole, as it wasn’t what we were looking for, but I made a bookmark, as the destination would be useful to me over the coming days for quick hit and runs into Amarr space, at least until the wormhole collapsed.

We travelled through a few dead end systems, Nathan explaining the higher probability of not being bothered to me, and we eventually found another cosmic signature.

Warping to the signature, we came across an Orca. It didn’t retreat right away, which left us with the dilemma of whether or not to attack it. Being in high sec, the answer was no, but if the Orca was going into the wormhole, we could get away with it there. A fat bellied Orca always meant isk, though the pirating nature of the attack Nathan was discussing didn’t sit well with me at the time. My friend had changed since leaving the militia.

I opened a conversation with the Orca pilot. Turned out he was just leaving the wormhole, his gang having just made a successful run against the Sleepers. We were welcome to explore if we wanted, but he assured me we wouldn’t find anything.

I relayed this to Nathan, whom decided the pilot might be less than truthful, and we entered the wormhole.

Once on the other side, we quickly warped to different locations, scanning all the while for other capsuleers, as well as the nefarious Sleepers.

“I’ve got a lot of wrecks on scan.” I said, seeing that the Sleepers had indeed encountered the Orca pilot’s friends.

“Roger that. Looks like the Orca pilot was right; this place has been picked clean. Let’s head out.” Nathan said.

Several systems later, Nathan scanned down another wormhole. This time as we arrived, a single Jaguar pilot was sitting in front of it.

After some friendly conversation, it turned out he had been scanning this region as well, but everything had already been scavenged. We invited him to our fleet, but he declined, a little disappointed at having the last several hours looking for a fresh wormhole without success.

We wished him well and continued on our way to the next system on our route.

Jackpot.

Sleeper facilities everywhere with plenty of Sleepers to engage. We had them on scan, but before jumping in, Nathan took the time to brief me on our aggression strategy.

After getting charged up about the impending assault, I did one more quick scan of the Sleeper facility, and quickly aborted the warp cycle I had began.

“Abort!” I yelled into comms. Thankfully, Nathan was quick, and prevented his ship from entering warp.

“Two Ravens, a Dominix, and Broadsword just showed up on scan, probably in that Sleeper facility.” I said, thinking how fortunate we had been to have not been caught already engaged when they arrived.

“Dammit!” Nathan said. “I swear it’s not usually like this. Of course, we are only go in one level deep, looking for class 1 and 2. Nobody bothers you when you get to class 4 and higher.”

I looked at my chrono. I had to report for duty in five hours.

“I hate to say it, Nate, but I think I’m gonna have to call it. Gotta report for duty in five hours, so need my beauty sleep. We’ll do this again though, ok?”

“Yeah, we will. Next time we’ll have more luck. That I promise.” Nate replied, anger and disappointment in his voice.

We said our goodbyes, and I docked the Hurricane in Hek, grabbing Vigil I had recently fitted based on a recommendation from General Sasawong, and headed back to Dal.

AUGA SYSTEM

My engineers were working swiftly at locking down the Major Minmatar Stronghold. They had been attacked recently by the Amarr, and were in need of repair. Failure to do so would result in the Amarr being able to pass through Auga unmolested, and that wasn’t acceptable.

They estimated just over four more minutes to complete their task.

There were a few other TLF pilots in the area with me: a Rifter, a Stabber, and a Reaper of all things. We weren’t working as a fleet; I had scanned down this complex, discovering their communications array had been destroyed, and broadcast its location on the local overview. The other pilots had quickly flocked here for the opportunity to earn some honour through potential battle.

They wouldn’t have to wait long. A single Rifter entered our location, and my HUD immediately flagged him as neutral. In a warzone, neuts were never to be trusted.

Nobody moved towards him, so I took the initiative. After all, it was my engineers aboard the stronghold.

I prepped my single autocannon and missle launcher, launching a lone Warrior II drone to engage him. I had no scambling or webbing capabilities, but if I could frighten him off, that was all I needed really.

Of course, in hindsight, if the sight of the aforementioned ships didn’t scare off a single Rifter, that either meant he had more company coming, or was a complete idiot.

Turned out to be the latter.

My Vigil wasn’t really built for DPS, or tackling, it was strictly a small tank for plexing. Still, with some overheating and the Warrior II, I was slowly taking him down.

What amazed me the most is that he wasn’t leaving, even as he entered hull; nor did he target my drone, at least not until the very end.

He just kept pursuing me, his shots skimming off my shields effortlessly. I was stunned, still anticipating the arrival of more ships, but none came.

His ship exploded, but as I said, no scramming capability, so his pod escaped to fight another day.

Examining his wreck revealed the following:

  • 150mm Light Autocannon II
  • 5W Infectious Power System Malfunction
  • J5b Phased Protoype Warp Scrambler
  • Gyrostabilizer II
  • Damage Control II

What the hell? Regardless, I was cautiously thankful for the victory, and proceeded to retrieve my engineers.

Just another day of war I suppose.

Faction Warfare 101

I always went back to the basics; returning to the tried and true practices I had learned the hard way, hopefully so I wouldn’t have to painfully repeat them.

I’d been cleaning up my station loft, contemplating my future, which inevitably left me to thinking about my past. 

It was a nice loft, facing the inner hub of Dal station where my room would be cascaded in simulated weather from the central arboretum. No reason you couldn’t have style and functionality, and most decent stations in New Eden were both. The gardens of the central hub covered kilometres, producing more than enough oxygen to sustain life on the facility. It was also a pyschological reassurance; many humanoids had a difficult time living off planet, their bodies not having a clear sense of time passing without night and day. 

It was a “sunny” morning as I was clearing out a dresser drawer, when I came across one of my original lecture drafts for new recruits into the Freeform Industries Academy. Of course, that was before its fateful launch, wherein the corporation suffered the loss of more than 60% of its staff. We never fully recovered from that, at least not while I was still under their employ.

I held the flimsi sheet in the light, reading nostagically.

TLF FACTION WARFARE 101

By now, you’ve finished your basic training or you wouldn’t be here with me. As such, I’m not interested in having my time wasted nor wasting yours, so I’ll cut right to the heart of the matter.

There are several basic tenets to successful warfare campaigning. These are guidelines of course, and you need to be flexible enough to adapt them to your own needs as situations dictate. If war were a static formula, there wouldn’t be a need for free thinkers; we’d just let the AIs do it all.

  1. Never fly into a potential combat situation with implants in your skull. I can’t stress this enough. I’ve heard so many rookie and veteran pilots alike, myself included, curse up a storm when they get podded, losing hundreds of millions of isk in implants.See below for exceptions. *
  2. Always make sure you’re the biggest allowable ship type for a given complex. For example, a minor complex access gate will allow frigates and destroyers, nothing else. That means you should be flying an artillery fit Thrasher into these encounters, as you’ll easily be able to survive, nay destroy, anything you encounter. See below for exceptions. **
  3. Never expect to capture a complex solo. Warfare isn’t a solo sport really; you need to rely on each other for coordinating cover and tactics. Sure, if you’re lucky and happen to be where the action isn’t you can earn a few easy victories for the cause, but generally speaking, you need at least one wingmate.
  4. If you’re assigned to defensive duty, don’t be late. Defensive patrols start at “server up” each and every day. If you’re assigned to border security, make sure you’re on time. Arriving to the party a few hours late is as good as not bothering to come at all. Even three hours in, the Amarr have crashed in on the fun. 
  5. First squad through the gate has the advantage. If you’re already at the bunker proper, your engineers working to sabotage it, your squad has the advantage. Make sure your wingmen are sitting pretty on the entry point to the complex, as all hostile ships will have to warp in to that point. Keep your scanners active, always keep moving, and you should be able to handle just about anything that comes your way with a little teamwork.
  6. Know the hotspots. Never, ever, casually fly through Amamake; that’s just suicide. Know your routes. Do your homework. Use your map filters. Ignorance is as good as death.
  7. Don’t shoot your allies. For Pete’s sake, this isn’t your first time flying! I know they show up as reds on your overview but dammit how hard is it to look and see that those battleships you’re targetting are Minmatar! Think first, shoot second, reload third.
  8. Never trust the militia channel. One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a faction pilot is to communicate your intentions in the militia channel. High Command has been working for over a year now to eliminate the security leaks in the system with no success. You might as well target paint yourself for the Amarr if you broadcast there.
  9. Don’t open plexes in an uncontested system. It’s hard enough securing the vulnerable systems we already have. It drives me insane to see “hotshot” pilots out in uncontested systems, scanning down plexes and opening them. You’re doing the Amarr’s job for them. Stop it. See below for exceptions. ***
  10. Don’t expect to profit from war. While the politicians may, you will not. You won’t get paid much,if at all, you won’t often have time to salvage, and you will lose many ships and crews. War is bloody. That is all.

* Fleet Commanders are an exception to this rule. Often your FC will fly with implants that boost their leadership abilities, thereby benefitting everyone. 

** Depending on your skills and confidence, fly what you know works. Personally, I fly a Firetail during my military operations. This ship is almost unmatched in minor plexes, easily able to outmaneuver any frigates and destroyers you encounter.

*** Securing already open plexes in an uncontested system will prevent the Amarr from doing so. This will offer no victory points to a pilot, but can still be useful.

Well, still valuable starting tips though not as thorough as it could’ve been, in retrospect. I crumbled the document up in my hand, throwing it into the garbage; guess there wouldn’t be a need for it now with the Academy defunct.