No Country For Old MenPosted: 2010-03-23
It was a harrowing end of the week.
I awoke Friday morning to an email to the effect of:
The POS has been attacked, and is sitting in reinforced. Somebody said they have a plan?
As it so often happens, the full story is slightly more complex, but only slightly. While pulling some ore from one of our remaining grav sites, a couple of our miners had gotten surprised by a handful of hostiles. Both were melted pretty quickly and sent packing back to empire by way of a swift podding. The band of hostiles, who had entered the system though a new K162, proceeded then to our POS and after about 3 hours, sent it into reinforced mode.
Getting two pilots killed certainly left us down in terms of raw staff manning the WH, and at present I’m certainly not flying anything with firepower enough to repel anything save a starter frigate. We had no real eyes on the system, although the senior pilots had moved some of their ships to safe areas and logged the characters off. Blake and I, both still at work, started to muse about our possibilities via gChat. We decided that there were only a handful of viable scenarios.
- The reinforced timer was well over twenty four hours. Seeing that, they may have decided the wait was too long. They would lose their connection back to home by then and would have to scan back out.
- They were at a safe in our space, but had logged off to wait out the reinforced timer.
- The fleet went home but left a scanning ship in-system to try facilitate bringing reinforcements back in.
No Country For Old Men is at its heart, to me, about the war of information, but also about desolation. Each character fights for his own goal, but fights alone. I get a similar sensation working in WSpace. You’re out here alone, support is hours away or nonexistent, and somebody’s always looking to blow you into component atoms. The more information you have about your environment and your possible adversaries, the better equipped you are to come out on top.
We had some intelligence, and they had some intelligence. We knew roughly how large the attacking fleet was, where they came from, and what corporation they were with. They knew our corporation, our POS loadout and location. However, they did not know our possible fully-logged-on numbers, or where we may be hiding.
Our first order of business was to assess the situation thoroughly. Unfortunately, a quick tally showed that we had been caught unawares, with limited shield repairing support to be had in our stores. The guys moved some stuff around, and we had an empire link, so I hauled in some extra Strontium to refill our tower. The empire link was not long for this world, so I had to grab the closest possible load, which unfortunately placed my defenseless hauler into a lowsec system.
Getting in was uneventful, no camps were waiting at any gates, and I cruised through. Upon arrival, however, some hostiles showed up in overview and I booked for the station dock. I was able to fill the hold full with shield fuel and waited around for a few minutes, hoping these guys would move elsewhere. Thankfully, when I undocked, they were busy shooting at something else, so I sped out of there with nary a scratch, and made it back safely to our WSpace. But, after that, it was just a waiting game until the POS came out of reinforced mode, so I called it a night.
Saturday afternoon began with much of the same waiting game still in progress, with frequent scans combing the system for suspicious signatures. It was all pretty silent. But, like a shot, it was interrupted.
Probes, we have probes in system guys.
Less than a minute later I was being invited to private chat with a name I was completely unfamiliar with. I hesitated, thinking it might be a tactic to stall or distract me while they loaded in additional ships, but after a few seconds I accepted. I grabbed the information from his name and his title was in Cyrillic. Russians.
Now I was nervous.
I asked if I could do something for him, and no reply came back. And a minute later still no reply back. Did he just want to see if I was away from the keyboard or not? Another fifteen seconds passed. Then thirty. Then another minute. Meanwhile, Blake and Hav were readying the big ships for an emergency wormhole closing. Finally a response came in. I don’t have the log in front of me, but the conversation went similar to as follows:
<JB>Can I help you?
<Russian>Who put your tower in reinforced?
<JB>I’m not sure, I wasn’t here. Why are you asking?
<Russian>It is good to know people who would do such a thing.
After a couple of nervous moments, it turns out they were under attack just then by some unfriendly folks in the currently neighboring WSpace, and were wondering if they might be related or if we had some information that might help them. He said he would speak with the CEO, but getting us reinforcements was probably unlikely as they had problems of their own.
We were wary of the situation in general, so we shared our intelligence and then informed him that we would be promptly closing the wormhole in ten minutes if they hadn’t closed it by then. After he jumped out, I ran over to cover the wormhole while the guys closed it. A couple of flashes later, and it was gone. We closed the rest of the wormholes in-system and sealed ourselves in. I took stock of all the signatures in the system, scanned them down, updated our bookmarks, and left all the sites and ‘holes unactivated.
The evening rolled around, and once our Strontium ran out we got to work repairing the damage. It was a tedious process, due in no small part to our usage of incorrect ship types, but it was all we had in there with us. I ran lookout and scanned down the system continuously for a few hours, but ran out of time as I had a function to attend.
Preparation for these types of events is key. The dangers of wormhole space are many and various, and there are some pretty big corporations out here that want nothing more than to vaporize your property. A full load of Strontium is a hefty deterrent out here, as it can easily outlive even the longest lasting wormhole, making logistics extremely problematic for an invading force. Make no mistake, however. Like Chigurh, if, in wormhole space, somebody wants you dead, they will find a way to make it happen. The only answer is proper defenses, superior numbers, in-place emergency plans and supplies, and last, but certainly not least, a hefty helping of cunning strategy.