Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Stand and Deliver...

or~ Gunboat Recruitment?

[Heads up, 3,900+ word post follows... told ya my Muse hates me...] 

Mab did a nice short on some of the fun we have been having of late… and, TBH, I have withheld posting on said ‘fun’ until things settled down a bit… or we lost Serenity… whichever came first.

So what is this “fun” I am talking about? For the first time since we started livin in holes, we got seriously camped. We have been camped many a time afore… by a solo PvPer, and by small gangs lookin for that particular flavor of pewage one can only get in holes. This was different… for the first time we had people in the hole who slowly and methodically ramped up the heat, brought in more forces, worked to maintain hole control, etc., etc.

It all started as a normal small gang camp… we had a few ships killed in the hole, not ours, starting with a Cormorant, Arbitrator, Megathron and x2 PODs killed on 01.02.115. Then we had our first losses to the same group, a mixed corp/same Alliance gang, five days later. On 01.06.115 we lost a Talos and a Drake; then five more days pass and on 01.11.115 we lost a POD trying to slip past their hole camp; two days later on 01.13.115 we lost a Talwar and a Corax; then 2 more days and on 01.15.115 we lost, as Mab wrote up and videoed, my Jag and his Ishkur and both our PODs AND they destroyed the HBHI POCO on Planet 1 and started bashing the POCO on P3.

Carebear along with me as I tell you of the thing they did that Mab got peeved about, not pissed off or all “U mad bro?” just really irritated... Something I had not yet seen in our soft spoken Industrialist. Mab is nothing if not a quiet, easy going, logical and very down to Uurth guy, a real joy to fly with and spend time with, but it seems that their transgression… the thing they did what burned his ass, was the attacks on the POCOs.

That hit him right where Industrialists live and for the first time I heard in Mab’s voice, not the tenor of a man doing his just duty, unpleasant though it may be, but I heard an… ‘eagerness’… a taint of the ol ‘Get Some’ spirit that I had never heard afore from Mabrick. They had crossed a line and I knew my friend was gonna Leroy in to those guys bashin’ that POCO where HE had HIS PI ores & products stored… no matter what. Now, while I am not ‘good’ at PvP, I WANT to be good at it… so I am always eager to reship and warp in on em IF there is any chance in Hel that we can get some even if we DIAF doing so. So Mab and I reshipped and… well, he did a very nice little EvE Guide (with movie) on, "How to DIAF" (Do It And Fail).

(Here’s a funny… The fact that they had previously ATTACKED, without provocation or warning, and DESTROYED multiple Space Ships, with the attendant loss of ships, mods, cargo and the uncounted horrible loss of life…  there are ALWAYS crew members, injured or trapped behind sealed airlocks who never make it to the escape pods… But does that fire up our Manager of Industry? Oh no, that’s cost of doing business in Anoikis, in Negative Sec… but to attack the POCOs, where the fruits of his labors are stored… well, HERE is where we Draw the LINE!!! HERE! THIS FAR! NO FARTHER!!  LOL.)

So, starting on the sixth, we lost 6 ships and 3 PODs to these guys “Surely You’re Joking” [HAHA] Alliance, while inflicting horrendous damage on, well, nothing really…. They are an Alliance of 14 corps with 530 members who state upfront that they are… WormholeSpace Mercenaries “Hire us to murder the people you hate.” and you may take it from us, they are as good as their word. How good you ask? Well… once we realized this was not your usual small gang camp we did the usual increased Intel gathering/watch listing/who-the-hell-are-they-and-why-are-they-doing-this’ing shit… We were, of course, worried that they might be working on ‘contract’ as twere, cause if they were then we had unknowingly to us, pissed in somebody’s Wheaties, and well, then it would be all personal an shit… but if they were just, you know, playing EvE, well, that we could understand.

Mab, of course, was concerned about the whole ‘Goons v him’ thing which does carry some weight but personally I dint put that much stock innt as while Goons can ‘afford’ any Merc corp in New Eden, w/ 170 corps and a 9k man Alliance, they are far better served putting their own guys on it than paying someone else to play the game for them. Other than that we have simply not made a ‘lot’ of enemies and none we can think of who would go to that length just to oust us… we’re pretty sure we simply have not had that big an impact on the rest of EvE, but you never know.

So we did what you do in time of war… I upgraded the POS DefCon stance, offlined everything that could be offlined, moved ships n mods n ammo around to prep for the POS going into reinforced. You see when a POS goes into reinforced any Structure or mod that uses CPU goes off line (missiles use CPU hence missiles suck on POSes) and is inaccessible until the POS comes out of reinforced. So our primary storage, a SSA (Ship Assy Array) will go offline… locking up all the ammo and mods. So you prep by having a decent stock of GSC’s in the POS (Giant Secure Cans)…

[NOTE: Do NOT use Jet cans… when you log off you will log back on to NO CANS and all that was in them Gone Forever Clementine… I say this cause I read once of some guys who did just that when they realized, during a bash on their spike, that they were gonna lose access to all their ammo… effin noobs]

You MUST anchor GSCs inside the POS and fill them with ammo, mods, fuel and Stront so you can still get to them after reinforced. Thankfully the SMAs (Ship Maint Arrays) don’t use CPU and so you will have still access to all your ships and be able to refit as needed. Then I took a look at our def mods, started running double-checks on the ammo loadouts in the POS Guns and brought as many more Def mods online as I could…   then we called for help.

We do have a few friends in New Eden, and some as are fairly skilled and quite good at the pew pew game. We huddled over TS discussing reinforcements to bolster defenses, tactics, ship & fits, etc. (I even fitted out a Heavy Neut Bait Phoon I must admit I was dying to try out…) Then as our intel grew and we realized this was not just the 57 man Corp (Inquisition FiS Division, CEO’ed by none other than SynCaine the blogger of “Hardcore Casual”) aggressing us, but instead it was thier Alliance… a 500 man Alliance… a 500 man Wormhole Merc Alliance with a decent kill record… and that sorta changed things. 

For their part they kept ramping up the heat, we woke one day to find bubbles all over the place… several at every POCO, hell one even in sight, and range, of the POS guns… So we ran a ‘PopOp’… brought our Chimera, my Nado and some T3 tackle/DPS flying CAP (Combat Air Patrol) and popped all but a few smalls before we had to lose people to Reality. Then Strigon and I went out, I in my Talwar and he in his Corax… and with the odds and ships now in their favor, we got jumped and killed. Basically during this period we did make what attempts we felt we ‘could’ make to fight back, but in the end we are a small corp alone in a wormhole… and they are a middlin’ large Alliance with far greater assets and manpower than we, even w/ friends, could hope to bring to bear.

We kept waiting for a ransom request or some smack talk either in convo or local or what have you from the campers but na-da. So we decided to open a dialog if possible and ended up w/ our Illustrious CEO in convo w/ the guys on the hole camp. They had really ramped things up. Mab and I had been podded back to hisec, they knew this of course, and that decreases the forces they have to deal with from inside and gives them gank shots at us if we try and come back in. They had a very decent W-space mixed T3/DPS fleet on the hole, multiple bubbles, and were using many probes as cloak breakers (added that one to my tactics book right then and there)…

Anyhoo… there was some back-n-forth, none of it smack which was nice and all in all quite professional (for EvE)… we had talked some moar and they had opined that they felt our POS, the ships they had seen plus POCOs were worth on the low side at least 10B ISK… this was very close (considering we are talking billions here) to what it’s all actually worth and that led to a figure “on a piece of paper slid across the desk and glanced at…" which, TBH we dint have in corp plus all our wallets combined, period. Not then and to PLEX it would have been… prohibitive… talks continue and we began to feel an agreement could be reached, but...

(1) we have never heard of these guys and have no idea of their reputation;
(2) its EvE and lying and deceit is all but required;
(3) there is NO WAY to PROVE that ALL your corpmates, Allies, alts  and OOC chars have actually left the hole, period and;
(4) even if you ‘play’ the honorable game, leaving a logged off cloaky alt inside for a month or two and then “Surprise! We accidentally found you again! Aint that FUN!?!” Is well within the bounds of this game…

Then one of their guys said this:
“Capt. NameWithheld > correct, we will leave and help you patch up some of your security holes.  ...not with manpower but with some debriefing and talking things over.” Very interesting and high level not the usual griefer trolling… then: 
“TheyHidMyName > Would going through Chribba make you feel better?” Hmmm, now that I could buy into as screwing Chribba means screwing yourself in EvE “IF” you are actually trying to build a rep as an Honorable Merc Corp/Alliance… and additionally it was mentioned that: 
Capt. NameWithheld > let it be known that we did not ‘accidentally find you’” 
This was a reference to the fact that Mab is a blogger in the EvE blogshere... I personally found this very interesting as the majority of the corp members involved in our hole were from SynCaine’s corp… then there was this pic sent as ‘proof’… 
Capt. NameWithheld > We have also been watching you for longer than you may realize.
Capt. NameWithheld > (pic link no longer working, glad I saved the pic…) This pic is interesting for two reasons…

Firstly it has Mabrick and Strigon listed as “bloggers” giving moar credence to the “…did not accidentally find you…” statement above but that we were in fact ‘targeted’ due to Mabrick’s… and Strigon’s (LOL, if you only knew Strigon that is a real belly laugh…) bloggin activities.

[An aside, this gives me cause to pause as evidentially “I” am either unknown to this group, hard to understand as Mab and I do post sorta back-n-forth about similar subjects, each other and we both comment on each other’s posts quite a bit, etc., etc.; or my bloggin is of no consequence to them… hmm… or, they just missed me completely and their intel gathering and analysis is… lacking, shall we say?]

And Secondly this pic points out is something which makes me wonder if they felt we were so slack we dint see the kills they made in our hole on the SAME DAY, 01.02.115, that that pic was taken…? Again, the Intel Analysis Group was a little slow on the 2+2=4 there. I mean EVERYONE who lives in holes knows or learns early that there are a few things you ALWAYS do when the buxom, blond Ensign assigned as your valet rolls over and nudges you awake for your duty shift…

(1) make sure your cloak is up;
(2) mash DScan and see what’s seeable out there w/i 14.3 AU of you;
(3) check Comms to see if anyone else is up;
(4) check on any activity in the hole since you were last logged on (IE Dotlan, My EVE, EVE EYE, ZAM and my new fav, "", etc., etc. to see if there were any Player/NPC kills or POD kills in the hole over midwatch. 

When we logged in on 01.02.115, each of us knew within minutes at most that there had been x3 ships and x2 PODs killed in our hole… we also knew exactly when and exactly who was involved, the ships involved and the names/corps/Alliances of both the killers and their prey. We discussed it, and responded in the normal way you can to cloakies in the hole… remained as alert as possible, live by the cloak, make adjustments where needed, and get on with life in the hole… Standard Operating Procedures even when there are no kills the night afore… because you can NEVER ever be really SURE there is no one else in the hole with you… ever… It is Anoikis, It is EvE.

Anyhoo… so we wind up with our CEO inna Nose Bleed Convo w/ someone in the SYJ Alliance leadership. There is a LOT of back-n-forth but we finally reach an agreement inside HBHI that is offered and accepted by SYJ Alliance…  yea, we ransomed. We’re a small corp alone in a hole up against a middling large Merc Alliance. Not a lot of choices there. The ransom allowed us to, in effect, remain viable in our own homehole… they have the assets, manpower, wherewithal and most importantly, the desire, to continue ops until they took us down, plain and simple.

So we had a Gentleman’s Agreement on the table, payment and force withdrawal assurance details were being worked out, a Cease Fire (on the Structures in our hole ONLY, lol) was ordered and even though there was no Cease Fire order on us, we went unmolested about our business and they even gave us a heads up on new sigs popping up in our hole, but that was not just them bein all warm-n-fuzzy, they dint want us mistaking an attack from another source as a break in the accord.

So.. we of course were deep in discussions internally about this and our corp security going-it-alone as ‘twere… and we decided we need to up our game again. We decided to move out of the C3, sell it, the POCOs and the Chimera (offers anyone? The PI in this hole is simply AMAZING, ask Mab and the Chimera has very low lights and was gently used…)(oh and we replaced the POCO on Planet 1… well, we couldn’t let all the Ore and PI Products just go to waste now could Mab?.. I mean we?).   =]

So, we’re going to base out of our HQ in Empire and make plans and preparations for our return to Anoikis. We need to build up ICE prods and fuels, we need to rebuild the corp wallet (for a corp our size, they dint let us off easy…), and we are looking at a faction spike and mebbe faction mods this time. We realized that back in the ol C2 we had it a little better than in the C3…
(1) we were in a much moar active Alliance…
(2) we shared our hole with an Allied corp that also had a well defended POS and…
(3) the C2 was significantly smaller than the C3… and thence much easier to overwatch and control.

We could DScan the WHOLE system from anywhere except the very edges. We had TWO POSes in cross support of each other and two corps also in support of each other. This does not double your effective defenses… it is more geometric than linear.

We agreed that alone HBHI is simply too vulnerable as we are ATM… some changes are in order. So we took down Serenity once again and in a stroke of sheer effin luck had THREE U210s in a row that lead to 1 hop out lowsec systems. ONE hop out to Hisec THREE times. This NEVER happens… Oh we do get 1 hop to Hi holes but mixed in you get 4 Lows to Hi, and 1 Low to 2 Null to 1 Low to Hi and the ever popular 4 Lows to 10 nulls to 3 lows to Hi… sheesh. We full well expected to have to roll the hole, possibly many times, to get everything out, but we’ve done it before. This, however, was moving out the Easy Way.

As most know a trip or even two trips by an industrial through your system may not get noticed… but 4 guys, in four Heavy Haulers (Mastodon, Mammoth, Itty 5, etc.) making MULTIPLE runs as fast as possible from your station to… “Hey! The LOWSEC gate!?!?” “WOO HOO!!! Boys we got Meat on the Table!!!” is the usual reaction followed by a response, on the third or at most fourth run, of “Spike in Local!” and gate camps springin’ up like Daisies inna cow turd.

But… not this time. It was weird man… warping back-n-forth (<- I’m wearin’ that saying out this post aint I?) over and over waiting on the inevitable campers… and… no show. We just kept on a'warping. Finally we knew we were getting close to crit’ing the hole (reaching the holes ‘Critical Mass’ warning), we had made a huge number of jumps and even made an Orca run once, we knew we had to be close… so I jumped one Phoon out… still there, podded back and jumped my Navy Phoon out… still there, podded back and jumped my Mastodon out… still there, podded back and jumped a Mammoth out… still there, podded back and jumped a Wreath out… still there, podded back and jumped my Prowler out… still there… huh. No go…

So I brought my Mastodon BACK in hoping to close it on an inside jump so I dint have to make what would probably be a historic 48 Hisec to 3 Lowsec to 5 Nullsec to 1 Lowsec run back to the new U210… Then I made we-lost-count number of trips in the Mast… out and back… the end guess was nine… 18 back-n-forths (<- there it is again!!) and this was AFTER gods only knows how many other runs that day… it was the Hole That Will Never Close.

Then, out of frustration as I member it, Mab took the Orca off contract and brought it back in… nope, still there… so he loaded up again and jumped out… still there, sheesh. He parked and ‘tracted the Orca back to Strigon and AI said that’s it… Once Mab was back in AI took “Closer” his Fully Plated MWD Domi that has no purpose in life other than to be as big and fat as possible… he went out… still there and came back in… pop.  Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh…. Finally! 

Mab’s latest post is about the sheer butt (and mind) numbing drudge work  of hours of warping back-n-forth moving that much STUFF out, 3 jumps to the first Hisec station and 3 jumps back for another load. I say three jumps because; 1-Hole; 2-Low gate to Hi; and usually 1 more hop to the second Hisec system out with the first station we could stage everything out of… but THIS move, as butt numbing as it was… was sheer joy to me after the last move we did… Mab ever does one of those with us and he’ll learn a whole new meaning of Numb Butt with the added spice of PuckerFactor… sheesh. 

Also, we learned after the agreement went into effect that they were not on contract but they had picked us because we were a ‘small corp with one POS alone in a wormhole’… we were being used for a “Training Op”. The reference to us being targeted because of Mab I believe is because the intel from his blog pointed up the salient facts… small corp alone in a hole. The ONLY thing that would make us a more tempting target would have been a crap fit POS.

Them as follow me might recall a series of posts between me and Stabs over at “StabbedUp” on this IntelSec or Intelligence Security and Blogging in Holes. Starting with his “EVE Online: Hiding” post he and I did a bit of the ol back-n-forth. He did a total of four posts that coincided with a small gang camp in our hole and followed the course and outcome of that from an IntelSec and IntelRep perspective.

One thing this very good series of posts did make clear was… once you have someone’s NAME… an intelligent person can have a whole ‘VERSE of info available for the browsing. If Intelligence Security is a topic you have any interest in I highly suggest you read “Hiding” linked above then “Eve Online: Loose LipsSink Ships” and  “Eve Online:Intelligence on a target corp”… Stabs did a credible job of running down some of the ways Intel can be gathered on anyone in the game as long as you know their NAME…

As far as I am concerned, bloggin does not effectively open us to any moar griefing and targeting than anyone else in EvE. As a matter of fact, as we are a Wormhole corp and spend the vast majority of our time in Anoikis… where Locator Agents respond by saying they can’t find you anywhere… and where the most you can get location-wise is the J# of the last hole I was in or the hole I lost a ship in. Stabs was able to determine what our home hole was by simply looking over the killboards… where we get the most kills and losses is most likely home.

That said, finding a given wormhole is problematic at best. I am not saying it ‘can’t’ be done… there are methods available to them as know the Tao of Holes, they are not sure fire and by no means quick and there are counters we who live in holes can take if we get wind that we are being sought… but, I am of the belief it could be done, just not quickly or easily is all. Which begs the question… who wants to find you BAD enough to go the expense and time needed?

We were told, …we did not ‘accidentally’ find you”… and one of the services SYJ offers is a “Wormhole Locator Service. Tell us who you want to find, and we'll find them and get you an entrance. Simple as that.” I can’t help but wonder if part of that training op was a task to find a particular person in Anoikis… a particular Mabrick mebbe? Hmmmm… I find this very interesting and want to know more… and you know, there is a way we could learn a lot more about this service, and about this Anoikis Merc Alliance…

yes, there surely is a way…   =]

Fly Safe and see you in the Sky  =/|)=


  1. No good blog goes unpunished ^^

  2. Nicely summarized! *LOL* I'll vouch though, it's all true. It's been an AMAZINGLY interesting three weeks.

  3. Yea... I do wonder though, how deeply the blog/grief thing really goes/

    And as the Chieese say... "May you live in INTRESTING times." now we know the meaning... =]

  4. My guess is they stumbled on your wormhole by accident but after that it must have been easy to identify you as a target and decide to set you as a training op.

  5. Raziel, first, welcome to the Blog Shere! always to the good to have another voice at the table, glad you joined the debate.

    As for accidentally... I have thought long and hard on the topic of "finding a specific hole/wormholer"... Stabs and I did a little blogversation (blogvo? blog-convo? Convlog? ??) which got me seriously thinking on the how such a Anoikis system search could be actually done. There have been other corps that have offered Anoikis Locator services... but none I have ever seen proof of...

    As I hinted at at the end of my post... there just may be a way to learn moar about this... =]


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