On Sunday I had some extended free time to play Eve Online so I continued my plan to spend more involved in lowsec. As I hinted at on Thursday, my target system was Evati in Metropolis.
Evati is an interesting system. Ten planets, including 1 plasma and 60 moons make the system a welcoming place to those willing to run more risks than found in Empire space. The nine stations are divided between the Minmatar and the Caldari, with DED having one. For those who don't want to run the risk of running combat missions in lowsec, the Kaalakiota Corporation Warhouse located at Evati IX, Moon 4 contains distribution agents for levels 1-4 to allow for gaining top standings with the Caldari research and development corporation. In addition to the level 4 distribution agent, the system also contains a Kaalakiota Corporation level 4 mining agent and a Boundless Creation level 4 security agent.
As is becoming standard operating procedure, my first objective is to create a basic set of bookmarks in the system. Right now the basic set includes creating a observation bookmark off-grid for each gate, an observation bookmark off-grid for each station, and an instawarp bookmark leading to a point off-grid for each station. With nine stations and five star gates, that's 23 bookmarks. I wanted to spend a lot more time in lowsec. Making that many bookmarks was a good start.
My first step was making the observation bookmarks at the gates. As usual, Rosewalker snuck into the system in a Prowler and warped to another gate and started to work. One of the benefits of doing this is the opportunity to view the traffic coming into and out of the system. Despite the occasional flashy Tengu pass through, I only saw one pilot with a -10 sec status hanging around the gates in a Naga. He didn't have much luck while I watched. Eventually I finished my work at the gates and moved on to the stations.
I must have caught everyone going to dinner because during this time local dropped from 17 down to 6. I only saw action at one station. The Naga pilot, bored camping gates with no traffic passing through, started hanging around gates. Although I did see wrecks, the only shots I saw fired were by the Naga pilot at two frigates that emerged from a station. I was too far from the action to lock the ships, but I did see the Naga have to warp off. I assume the sentry guns at the station drove him off.
After finishing the observation bookmarks came the dangerous task of making the instawarp bookmarks. I like having instawarp bookmarks because they can help me get out of trouble if I emerge from a station when pilots who wish me harm are camped outside. Due to the game mechanics, ships are launched out of stations at full speed and can warp away instantly given a good celestial object or a well placed bookmark. Without something like that, pilots with much more experience have come to bad endings.
When making an instawarp bookmark in a covert ops ship, the most vulnerable time is when the ship is within 2 km of the station and cannot cloak. To minimize the risk, I bring Wandering Rose into the system to watch the outside of the station for any incoming traffic while Rosewalker is in the station. That takes care of most of the risk, but not all.
The big risk is that I enter a station and the pirate is inside the station and follows me out. That actually happened at one station. A member of The Bastards, an infamous pirate alliance, was sitting in the station. My normal procedure is to enter the station, have Wandering Rose check the directional scanner to give the all clear, and then undock quickly and hope that Mr. Pirate doesn't notice me.
I thought I got away clean and was burning away at 3100 m/sec, but when I had gotten about 80 km away from the station a flashy Caldari Navy Hookbill emerged from the station. I immediately cloaked but still sped away from the station at 560 m/sec on a path to make my bookmark. Looking at the pirates actions I could tell he didn't see the type of ship I was flying. Or perhaps he did and my cloaking through him off. But I don't think he saw me as he hung around outside the station for about 2 minutes and then warped off.
I was working on the last of the nine instawarp bookmarks when I saw a very unusual sight pop up in local. A pilot with a sec status of 2.5 showed up and was in The Bastards. I had to make a comment in local and a brief exchange occurred.
[03:02:46] Rosewalker > A member of The Bastards. with positive sec status? That's cheating :)
[03:03:40] CPT ELMY > Early days yet RW :)
[03:04:31] Rosewalker > well, I hope you don't mind if I don't help you out with that little problem
[03:05:42] CPT ELMY > If you've got the choice, it sounds like the right call :)
I know that I should really check the pilot out more, but I was in ships with no guns and The Bastards have a reputation for knowing what they are doing where PvP is concerned, so I just finished making my bookmark and exfiltrated Rosewalker and Wandering Rose back to Bei. I then looked up CPT ELMY and discovered he wasn't kidding. His employment history goes back to 2 August 2003 and given the activity listed he hasn't taken any breaks. He also has a history of being in PvP corporations. Given my lack of PvP ability, he would have eaten me for breakfast and still been hungry.
So I managed to accomplish my objective of setting up all my bookmarks and had my first brushes with one of the pirate alliances I'd heard so much about and lived to tell the tale. Right now I'm doing okay as I prepare the battlespace for future operations. Perhaps I can get over my fear of lowsec yet.