Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Second Bubble Camp

It's my second time out with the OUCH crew. I call up the fleet finder and notice we have a fleet up in 8G. "Trout is in CL, requesting permission to join fleet."

"Permission granted. Always room for one more." replies the FC.

"Roger that. Headed to GTAC off 8G gate in CL. Landed, is gate clear to jump through?"

"Affirmative, come on through. When you get here I need you to warp to planet one and warp back to the CL gate. The bubble will catch you and you'll land inside of it. Once inside set your flight systems to keep range on the bubble at 5km. When you reach the edge drop a can." instructed the FC.

"Rodger. Will do. What is the can for?"

"The cans are used to uncloak ships."

Ah! I understood. Cloaking fields only work as long as nothing is to near to the object they are hiding, 2500m I believe is as close as you can get without disrupting the field. Since no one lands inside the bubble in the dead center, then even if they can warp cloaked, they will have the cloak broken when they get sucked into the bubble and land near a can. Quite inventive.

There are about 7 of us sitting on a sucker bubble behind the CL gate in 8G. Our spotter kept calling plus ones as other capsuleers entered the system, but nothing was coming in our direction. The POD is getting somewhat uncomfortable. I shifted from one position to another with no avail.

Time passes with idle chatter between my fellow capsuleers. I keep pretty quite. I'm new and don't know where I'll fit to just listen.

Several more capsuleers enter system but don't come our way. Suddenly a [[ship:Manticore]] shows up on grid.

"He’s got me Locked and painted!" calls out one of our gang. "Missiles incoming. I'm aligning and warping to safe."

I watch as the missiles fly towards him; and I just sit there; wondering if the FC is going to call anything. Nope, nothing. We just sit tight and the Manticore disappears, running off to hide after its failed attack.

...more waiting...

"Rupture coming in from Vol" announces our spotter. We prepare in case we might finally get a kill. In comes the pilot, but not too our bubble. He's headed to a GTAC. One of ours asks the FC if he should attempt to intercept. FC gives the go and off we head trying land on top of him at his TAC. 80km...60km...50km...He’s still there! He hasn't warped back to the gate. The blood rushes in my veins and pounds in my ears. Finally! We will taste blood. My [[ship:Rifter]] screams as it decelerates on target. I spam the lock control cursing the ship’s voice in my head saying my warp field is interfering with my targeting systems. Finally the warp bubble collapses. I'm back in normal space. I jam the target button and here the sweet beeps as it homes in on the Rupture’s signature. I check my overview...NO NO NO NO, I see his velocity spike! And he’s gone in a flash, swallowed up into the safety of his warp tunnel. So close. Oh so close.

We watch as he lands on the CL gate and just sits there. Really?! He's taunting us. We warp back to our bubble....he's still there.


We debate trying to get the jump on him via our own TACs. No, he's too close to the gate. He just wants to tease us. One of the other pilots burns towards him and gives the Rupture a good bump. Nothing. The enemy knows he is safely within jump range of the gate. As long as he doesn't agress he is safe. After several more taunting minutes he finally jumps. Leaving us alone again.

More waiting. This is not quite as exciting as I had expected it. Even the old pros are getting restless, complaining about the lack of traffic. Slowly one by one pilots head off to dock up for the night.

Suddenly my POD systems freeze up. What the?! Then local spikes. 5, 10, 15 pilots jump in at our gate. "Safe! Safe! Safe!" commands the FC. I quickly select a safe spot and order my ship to warp to it. That was close. It was a large fleet, battle cruisers, cruisers, frigates, E-war ships, too large for our now meager gang to handle.

Sitting at our safes we wait for them to leave system. I attempt to pan my camera around, but nothing happens. My POD's screen doesn't change. The image is stuck. I attempt to reboot the interface but nothing happens. At least every other system is functioning. I execute another D-scan to keep an eye on things and notice four [[Sisters’ Combat Probes]]. "Probes on D," I alert the FC. He gives the order to change safes. Thank goodness the rest of my ship still obeys me, even if the camera control circuits are fried; shoddy Minmatar construction.

I warp to another safe. Other pilots are reporting probes on their d-scans; they too begin to warp to new safes. And for ten or fifteen minutes we continue to just bounce between safes. Unfortunately all my safes begin to show at least one probe on D. I remember from earlier that one of my GTACs is a bit too far off the gate and fell off grid. I need a new safe so I risk it.

The ship shudders as it accelerates and the warp coils begin to fold space around me. We slip into the tunnel and begin to warp towards my bookmark. I hope that it's still really off grid. As I approach the end of the tunnel I drop a new bookmark. It lands about 1.2AU from the CL gate. Good. That will work. As soon as the warp bubble collapses I align to my new safe and warp to it. Whew. Their whole fleet showed up on my d-scan when I landed at my TAC. Luckily they were off grid so I got back into warp easily and safely. Now I have another book to keep bouncing between.

We continue this for a while longer hopping that they will get bored. But so far they haven't. Oh well. It's time to stop playing these cat and mouse games. I need some sleep and the only safe way to do that is to power down my ship after a random warp caused by forcing the warp core offline. The collapse of the artificial singularity used to bend space for warping causes the ship to be flung in a random direction. Normally it is simply placed in a low power state when docked or not in use. The complete shutdown is only used when a capsuleer is forced to hide and lie dormant in space. It's the only safety to be had without docking.

I jump to one of my safes and align for the furthest safe from that one that I have. The ship hums as it renters warp. I enter my override code and begin to initiate the forced shut down of the core. Mid-warp the singularity collapses and the ship shakes violently as it’s forced in a new direction. The ships systems begin to power down, diverting all energy to the structural integrity field. After agonizing seconds the warp bubble begins to collapse. I'm spit blackout into normal space. All systems are showing red except for life support. A warp core singularity collapse is quite rough on the ship. We must remain powered down as repairs are made. Safe in the middle of nowhere, with no power output to be scanned down, I shut my eyes to rest.

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