Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Thievery and Torpedo's - A story about a stolen freighter and a destroyed carrier

The story below is one that I originally posted first a half year ago at Reddit:
This story happened at the end of January 2012.
We were a medium sized corporation living in 'wormhole space'.
Wormhole space is something special in EVE. Where normal solar systems are connected by stargates; wormhole space is not. It is (obviously) connected by wormholes.
Wormholes spawn at a random location, lead to a random destination and have a maximum lifetime of 16 or 24 (most common) hours. Next to that, they are limited by the size of the ship that can travel trough them and limited by the total amount of mass that can travel trough them. At the end of their timer or when the maximum mass is reached, a wormhole will collapse.
Now wormhole space solar systems have next to the random spawning wormholes also one or more 'static wormholes'. Static wormholes allways lead to the same class destination, not the same system. And just like other wormholes, they will spawn in random locations.
Wormhole space classes in general scale from C1 to C6 in size, where a C6 has the most dangerous and deadly PvE content in the game and a C1 can be lived in by fairly new players.
We lived in a C5 wormhole, with a C5 static. This means that our static wormhole would allways lead to another C5 if we wanted a way in or out. Getting ships, fuel, ammo and other resources in and materials, harvested minerals and gasses and other stuff out was a time consuming and tendentious task. We would need someone to probe down our static wormhole (and possible other random holes that connected from our space into others, or incoming wormholes), open it, check if the other side was safe for traveling trough and continue probing there if it was, until we had a route to 'normal space' and we could fly in and out our stuff.
Recently I checked my old mails on one of my EVE Online accounts from that time, and found nummerous shopping lists for stuff that certain players needed. We would often mail everyone about stuff we needed or store it in a central place (forum, etc) so others could take note of that and bring it in when we were sleeping and they found a viable route.
So, one day; we had a wormhole to nullsec space. Now in 'normal space' in EVE, there are 'security levels' in each solar system (in wormholes it's allways -1.0, the lowest you can have).
The security level of a system tells you how much NPC police (CONCORD and regional navy) involvement there is. There is 'highsec' space (0.5 - 1.0), 'lowsec' space (0.1-0.4) and 'nullsec' space (-1.0 - 0.0).
After wormhole space, nullsec space is one of the most dangerous areas of the game, and it's where the big alliances roam around, fight over system control and protect their precious resources. To get an idea, all colored space on this map is nullsec and owned by various alliances. The rest is either nullsec owned by NPC's, lowsec or highsec space.
Now this nullsec space we connected to was owned by SOLAR WING. A quite big Russian alliance, part of a bigger Russian coalition holding - at that time - a massive part of nullsec space (they recently lost all or almost all of their space). Thanks to them being almost completely Russian, time was on our side (in Russia it would have been something around 5:02 in the night, depending on location - I believe Russia has multiple timezones) and there was only one other player in the system.
We scouted the system and found an online control tower (a player build structure that acts as a base - example image of another tower here). Inside this tower were 3 things that catched our interest. A Russian player that, according to his profile, had the appropiate roles to configure the control tower, but seemed fairly new. A Nidhoggur, wich is a carrier class ship of the Minmatar race and a Charon, wich is a freighter of the Caldari race.
We decided to play around with him a bit. The control tower seemed to have no defences at all so we decloaked a stealth bomber and flew at high speed into the forcefield, trying to reach one of the big ships in a hope to bump them a bit out.
Offcourse this did not work for a number of reasons. The stealth bomber was much to small, the ships were far inside the forcefield and we bumped off at high speed and returned.
The player inside the forcefield on the other hand got scared. He must have had the idea that we had the rights to enter his forcefield, because he changed the control tower settings to not allow any members inside at all.
This had a couple of results. He was bumped out, and once he realized his mistake he instantly logged off. But also the Charon and the Nidhoggur were bumped out. They flew off at a very high speed, without a player controlling them in it.
After some discussion we decided to probe down the Charon and steal it. I was the only capable Charon pilot back then, and one of my other corp members was our specialist in probing. He found the ship while it was still moving at over 3000 m/s; unable to catch up fast enough to get into it.
He kept flying behind it until it came to an almost stop. I warped to him, entered the Charon, warped to our wormhole entrance, jumped in and stored it in our starbase. First 900m ISK (the price of freighers back then, now they are around 1.4b) in the pocket.
Next we had the Nidhoggur. What to do with it? We had no pilot able to fly the thing (one of our members was one week off) and leaving it here someone could find and board it or the Russians could come and recover it. We decided to destroy it and take the loot that it would drop.
With a bunch of random ships we destroyed the Nidhoggur and stole the loot wich had a total value of around 250m ISK, giving us a total of over 1.1b.
On our trip back to our wormhole, it became unstable because of all the mass that traveled trough. We decided to jump our biggest battleship back in as the latest ship, and the wormhole collapsed behind him. No trails left behind.
Now this was nice, but more imporant, it was our first carrier kill; and when looking at the killmail, you could not tell if there was someone in it or not. It gave us bragging rights for months towards the rest of the alliance / corporation.
A year later we happened to join a rivaling Russian alliance, and this carrier kill with a bunch of random not-really-suitable ships was impressive enough to help us inside, especially because it was their bigest enemy.
We never heard about this incident again, but I can only imagine that the fairly new member living in that tower was scared for losing his position. By logging off and warning noone, he might have saved himself and noone might have found out what happened - until someone reads this and remembers missing his carrier.
As allways in EVE, little actions can have quite big consequences - and this time in our favor.
Fly safe o7

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