Rescue #489 complete

The rescue from J1REDACTED was anything but routine. The call came in on 26 November, and was picked up by 911 Operator Shaya Cholmondeley. A Naglfar was adrift in an active C6, and hostiles had already killed his scanning frigate. Shaya tried to guide the Nag pilot to the rescue cache in the system, but the hapless pilot was forced to log out before he was able to locate the cache. Shaya opened a SAR request, kicking it to the Search and Rescue Coordinator Team.

A day later, a different system with a lost capital (J2REDACTED) was located. Emre D Lafisques (no relation to yours truly) and Igaze were scanning the surrounding systems when Emre found himself in J1REDACTED – our Naglfar was located! As an aside, when we thought we located his system, our excited Nag pilot logged in, and was rapidly scanned down. He cloaked up, but came within 2.4 km of a Tungu that was hunting him, but was eventually able to log out safely.

So, with two capital rescues in action, Captain Crinkle and I jumped online to race to the newly located system. By the time we got to the connecting system, the original connection was rolled, and when Emre went to scout the new connection he was rolled out. We reopened the request, and stood down, adrenaline still racing.

A few days later on 2 December, Pod Person entered J1REDACTED and our lost Nag was found again! We asked him to hold tight while we got backup to the system. In real life, I was finishing up orchestra practice for an upcoming Christmas program, and sped home when it was over. Chaim Achasse and Captain Crinkle were already in the chain, and I got online about 45 minutes after the call came in. We all made it there to find a mass-critical, bubbled hole, but we slipped through, hopefully unnoticed by the locals. Captain Crinkle roused DaydreamBeliever from a relaxing evening, and she slipped in as well.

Then, the waiting game began. The locals exhibited excellent hole control, and as soon as wormholes popped, they pushed new ones to mass critical with a rolling Phoenix, then frequently bubbled the hole and their structures.

We caught a good break when a roaming frigate-sized hole to a C2 opened up, and Chaim and I brought in alts. By this time, we had decided that we were just going to have to deal with a mass-critical hole, so our plan was to send scouts through, then send the capital through the hole, which would collapse it behind us. We needed enough pilots in the system that we could send a good-sized scouting party through without worrying about leaving our Nag behind with no scout if something went wrong.

The locals seemed to be from a German corp, but still seemed to have players online most hours of the day. We saw them spool up fleets of 10+ Nestors with Damnation support one day, and their Phoenix was always out rolling holes. A roaming connection to a C2 opened up which looked promising, but it was rolled shut before we were able to use it.

Finally, I logged in on 5 December at about 0400 Eve to an empty system. The new C5 static had just spawned, and Chaim was already online, scouting the C5. It seemed like a good option: it had a very large static connection to nullsec, which happened to be to a quiet system that day. I checked and rechecked the numerous Astrahuses and the Fortizer, and they remained empty. We made the call – it was time to move. We had a list of about 6 alts, so I started opening up private convos, and found one of our client’s alts online. We explained the situation, rechecked the structures and dscanned the entire system, and the Nag pilot logged in. After that it was a breeze. We rechecked each wormhole and warped through, and slipped out without incident. When we hit kspace I locked him up quickly for a firework, but he was anxious to move so we didn’t stick around.

The story didn’t quite end there. I logged into my second pilot back in J1REDACTED, and headed out of the system. Right as I entered the C5, the rolling Phoenix followed me, and I watched him roll the hole from dscan distance. Finally, the wormhole blinked out, and the Phoenix was stuck in the C5 with me. I think moving our capital through the wormhole must have messed up the math for his rolling calculations, and the Phoenix rolled himself out. Oops.

I didn’t stick around – I wanted our other pilots still in J1REDACTED to be able to find a safe exit, so I stayed quiet and headed to Thera.

All in a day’s work for a Signal Cartel pilot.

Rescue from J153449: Double Your Fun!

Check one more and then to bed! I was in J113950 and was doing a last quick check for SAR systems in the wormholes I had scanned down. There was one left, a C5, and the moment I went through I saw the mark in my display saying I’d landed in a SAR system, J153449 to be exact, and the pilot reported it was a capital ship. The hour was late and if I’d had any easy routes to k-space I might have emailed the pilot saying we’d found their system and I’d be back in the morning but I had no routes to k-space other than some unexplored null holes a few jumps away. I put the word out and started scanning to see what I could find to bring in backup.

I found a route through to a C2 and figured that was a good bet as all my other paths went through c4-6’s and had few k-space possibilities and then mostly null sec. A C2 had a much better bet of a high or low sec connection. However J122638, while a c2, had only a NS static and C5 static (and I had come through that). I had seen a couple Astero’s headed through the way I came but they were no particular threat so I scanned on. I found my way to J131852 which had a nice HS static to Bawilan. Score! 

The word went out and Chaim Achasse was 12 jumps out and burned hard to get there while I retraced my path back to the SAR. Much to my surprise when I arrived at the hole in J122638 I found Devoter sitting on top of it. I quickly checked the info and sure enough it was mass critical. Still cloaked I warped to the hole and pounded the jump button, slipping past the roller and back. I warped to a safe then back to the hole to check on it and it was gone. I was alone in the system again with no routes for backup. I was also exhausted so I decided to call it a night. I had been in convo with the pilot so they knew I was there and we were working a route but that it might be a day or two so I headed for bed. He also added he had not one, but two capitals to extract.

Six hour of restless sleep dreaming of wormholes and scanning and I was back up hunting a route. My entrance was still stable so I backtracked through there and started scanning, ultimately finding a route through Etherium Reach. I headed back as I need to log off and get to work but while I was off Captain Crinkle made it in followed by Chaim and Scarsan Stripes. Backup was here and I could relax a bit. 

Throughout the next day we scanned down routes to take. With two capitals this could be interesting. We found some routes but our pilot wasn’t available and some of the systems were pretty active. Plus all the routes were at least two to three jumps to get to k-space. On the upside our locals appeared to be quiet.

Our likely exit was the system’s only static, a C6. That night it got rolled and opened up into a Hard Knocks farm system. More fun! I managed to get in touch with our pilot and determined the times he could be available. It was either going to be very late or very early for most of our crew although Captain Crinkle was well positioned time zone wise.

The next night Chaim, Scars, and I sat outside the static C6 waiting for it to collapse… which it decided to do over an hour late, so while we waited we watched @Johnny-Splunk ‘s stream as he bid farewell to the Raptor. Once it went it down we quickly scanned routes and found a few exits only a couple jumps out. Things were looking good. No response from our guy and I was running out of steam. Two long nights and some illness had taken their toll. I crashed and left things to the rest of the crew.

The rest of the rescue I got from Chaim afterwords, who apparently couldn’t sleep so was up:

The lost pilot made contact with the rescue team slightly before downtime. Chaim messaged to advise that he and Captain Crinkle be in contact after down time to effect the rescue. Once the server came back up, Chaim logged in, followed shortly after by Captain Crinkle and formed a fleet. After scanning the route, the lost pilot was contacted, and told that we were ready.

Once the pilot logged in, Chaim invited both of his pilots to the fleet and warped to them to drop off the exit route bookmarks incase of any issues with hole stability. With two capitals (a Naglfar and an Apostle) we were crossing our fingers we wouldn’t collapse any holes on the way. Captain Crinkle proceeded to scout the next system, and on the “all clear” Chaim fleet-warped himself and the lost pilots to the system exit.

Chaim held position while the pilot jumped through to ensure hole stability for the two capital ships. Once the pilots were through Chaim followed after and Captain Crinkle moved to scout the next system. Again on Captain Crinkle’s “all clear” Chaim fleet-warped the pilots to the next exit and held position while the capital ships went through, following after. This process was followed for one more system, where the pilot was told to warp to Captain Crinkle upon splashing through as he was sitting on the Low Sec exit hole. 

Captain Crinkle scouted the Low Sec system and it was anything but quiet! A titan had been lost there just a week before, which was making Crinkle very nervous about the whole endeavour. But we told our pilot this beforehand, and they agreed to take the risk. As Chaim described, the route until lowsec was as quiet as could be hoped. That all changed when we warped in, with 15 in Local and a dreadnought on dscan. Luckily Crinkle was able to pinpoint it’s position using narrow cone scanning before the rescuee ships arrived, and found a potential NPC station with a clear undock.

Well done to all involved! Captain Crinkle , Scarsan Stripes , Chaim Achasse , and, while he didn’t see any action, Angel Lafisques was there as further backup. We have rescued a few capitals over the last year and half but I believe the is the first double cap!

The Killings at Kurniainen

It was inevitable. I knew it was coming, some day. I just didn’t think some day would be today.

Signal Cartel Fleet School (SCFS) has been flying Sleeper Eradication fleets regularly for some time now, and all in all things have gone very smoothly. Our skills – and our confidence – have grown, which is exactly what SCFS is supposed to do. When we undocked from Zoo I don’t think any of us expected this op to end the way they did.

Things started off routinely enough. We had a C5 wolf rayet with heavy sleeper activity, ripe for eradication. Our j-space entrance was Haras, in The Bleak Lands, 18 jumps from Zoo. It was a long way to travel, but my intel indicated that the C5 was worth it. So we headed to Haras on the shortest route possible.

There was some traffic with us early on – a Stratios here, a Corvus there – but we pushed ahead. When we crossed the border into Metropolis at 20:30, things intensified. D-scan in Avenod showed combat probes, and Captain Davis from No Handlebars Alliance was spotted in a Vedmak. I jumped the fleet from Avenod to Aset and ahead into Isbrabata. This proved to be the beginning of the end.

We were chased through Isbrabata, and I made the decision to push forward into Kurniainen. I’m sure more than a handful of pilots will question whether that was the right decision, but it’s the decision I made. I jumped the fleet through the Isbrabata gate into Kurniainen.

We were met on the other side of the gate by a group of at least seventeen pirates: one Deimos, one Devoter, two Guardians, one Harpy, one Imperial Navy Slicer, one Ishkur, one Legion, one Malediction, one Pacifier, three Retributions, two Vedmaks, one Vengeance, and one Wolf. There were more in-system – I received a report of a smartbomb Proteus safed up near the sun – but I don’t know how many more, and honestly that’s probably for the better.

I don’t know which pirate fired the first shot, and I don’t remember who in the fleet suffered the first hit. I can only confirm that as soon as we jumped into Kurniainen at 20:32, we were engaged in what was for many of us, myself included, our first real PvP encounter.

You can spend days reading and studying, but it doesn’t prepare you for the real thing. I was grateful for the experience of Command0, and turned target calling over to him. Deimos was called as primary, and we started fighting back.

A few of us sustained some pretty heavy damage right away. The Logi cap chain went down, my Guardian pilots were locked, and there was nothing I could do. Quinn was the first casualty at 20:34, followed by Leda at 20:35. Command0 sustained heavy fire, and his Eos succumbed at 20:36.

I assumed the role of target calling. Drones were out, missiles were flying, and all weapons were being fired. My nosferatu and neuts were on, and Auds came on-grid in his scouting ship to try and assist with damps. None of it made a dent in the pirate gang. We continued to take heavy fire and I lost Chaim, Daniel and Sanctus – all in Harbingers – at 20:36, 20:37, and 20:38, respectively.

Two minutes later, my Damnation exploded around me and my pod was ejected. It was her second flight (she still had that ‘new ship smell’), but she Died with Glory™. I stayed on-grid in my pod and continued on.

Alerei’s 1.9bil experimental Proteus fit was the next to go down, followed by Snyypa’s Gnosis and Aleksander’s BNI. Ren-Song’s Guardian finally couldn’t take any more damage, and she exploded at 20:42, followed by Calder’s BNI.

While all this was happening, Fonsui had the wherewithal to scout some safes for the fleet. At 20:43 I gave the order to warp out and safe up. My pod was scrammed and I was down to about 25% hull, but somehow managed to get out and make it to the safe.

We re-grouped at the safe, did a quick damage assessment, and planned a route back to Zoo. I was still under a timer and my mapping was off, so Chaim stepped up as navigator. He found us a route through Sinq Laison, and I led what remained of the fleet home to Zoo.

This fleet ended in an (almost) TPK. But as I sit here in the pilot’s lounge on Level Sixteen, scratching notes on my datapad, you’d never know anything out of the ordinary had happened. The corridors are filled with friendly chatter, pilots are repairing or replacing their ships, and more than a few people are joking about how ‘shiny’ their new clones feel. It’s just a regular day in Signal Cartel.

As I sipped my Caf, I composed and sent the following message to my fleet:

Things did not go as planned today. We did not come home with Sleeper loot, many of us came home without our ships, and some of us woke up in a clone bay. Our zkillboard is bathed in blood, and we had some pretty significant losses. But it was a good day.

We can spend time second-guessing our actions, being salty or sad, or we can be proud that we fought back. This was my first real PvP experience, as it was for many of us. The fleet did not give up – we fought back for as long as we could. We did not roll over and give up, and I am proud of the fact that we engaged.

We did not win this fight, but the fleet can hold its head high, knowing that we did the best we could. There will surely be more fights, and surely more losses. But I know that we will all continue to do the best we can do, supporting each other along the way, because that is who we are. We are Signaleers.

o7

How Coasters became Content in EvE

It was sometime in late February 2018 when I sat in my office at work and got annoyed by the coffee circles on my desk and on papers scattered there. I started to search the web for coasters but could not find any which satisfied my special needs and suddenly I got an idea.

I wanted coasters with the Signal Cartel Alliance logo on it.

So I started another search to see how I could get custom coasters printed. There were not so many hits when I narrowed the search down to custom shaped coasters, but I finally found a print shop which offered them made out of mousepad material at a reasonable rate. In the next few days I asked Mynxee about the copyright situation of our logo, and a friend of mine helped me to meet the requirements of the print shop since I am really bad with Photoshop stuff and the requirement was to have a 1pt pink line along the cutting border.

After a few days I had everything in place and had to decide about the number of coasters to order. The costs were roughly 10€ for a professional checking my image for problems (which was really necessary because I needed three tries to get it right), 10€ for cleaning the machine after printing, and 0.7€ for each coaster. With the basic costs in mind, I decided to order 50 pieces so the price for a single one was in a reasonable range.

Now came the next thing – what would I do with 50 coasters where I needed just a few myself? A Signal Cartel event where these coasters could be handed out to my fellow corpmates!

I thought about what kind of event I would like to see myself and maybe even something different as well. Since we are Signal Cartel and do things differently, I thought about creating a group event where nobody can really win but everybody can participate, like our ESRC and SAR division. Since we already have some ESRC competitions and events, I focused on SAR and came up with the idea of an orchestrated rescue of somebody. Later it turned out that this somebody was me, and I would be kind of locked out of my own story most of the time – haha!

I reached out to Thrice Hapus since my favorite Signal Cartel video is the one about our ESRC division. (It’s so exciting to hear „Base, this is Thrice checking in…“) I only asked who did all the sound and video bits and pieces and wondered if I could get some help from that end. But as soon as I told Thrice about the idea, he explained that the one year anniversary of ESRC was about to come up in March and he was looking for an event to be held at that time. We pulled A Dead Parrot into the story a few days after first contact, and from then on, we chatted daily on Discord, had a few voice calls, and started to work out the story together.

So that’s how content gets created in EvE!

Rescue in J101129: Everyday Hero

A request for help came across the EvE-Scout channel. The stranded pilot (who has asked to remain anonymous) knew the HS/C1 chain to his wormhole. The problem was that the only hole he had bookmarked was the C1/C4 and it would only allow medium-sized ships through it. The only other hole out was a large one to a C3, but its mass was critically destabilized and he had two large ships that needed an exit. He had a way to refit but had no probes or launcher currently fitted and the system did not contain a rescue cache.

Using the known HS/C1 connection, Expert Rescue Pilot Luci Mari-Ni was able to easily locate and enter the stranded pilot’s system. But she was concerned the stranded pilot would be stuck even worse if she went through the destabilized wormhole and collapsed it. The Search and Rescue effort would be considerably more challenging if that occurred.

At the stranded pilot’s request, they rolled the dice, and Luci went through into the C3. The stranded pilot brought one of his large ships through then went back to retrieve the second. It was a tense moment as Luci waited for him to re-emerge from the wormhole before it collapsed. And then the second ship appeared. Hooray!

In the C3 system, there was a rescue cache, from which Luci was able to retrieve a probe launcher and scanner probes. She jettisoned a can with with these items into space for the stranded pilot to pick up. As he did so, she scanned down the system’s LS exit and began scouting in it to see if would be safe. But the stranded pilot soon waved her off; now that he had probes and a launcher, he was no longer stranded and able to scan his own way out to known space. Mission accomplished!

When I learned of the events the next day, I reached out to the rescued pilot for feedback on how the rescue went, as we do on all rescues. Many times we hear nothing back, but this pilot went out of his way to send the following note:

Luci Mari-Ni did not just help, but went above and beyond what I was expecting them to. Great person, great pilot, and helped me out greatly. I can’t begin to thank them enough. Through their service I even donated to your guy’s cause, which is an odd thing for me to do.

To start, I want to say I was skeptical of calling on you folk to help. In a game where trust is rare because anyone can be willing and ready to stab you in the back for the lolz, you hold true to honor and integrity. I heard good things about you, but figured it was old tales of a group that used to help others out and now just uses people to cleverly hunt others. I was wrong. Not only was I helped with saving my two rattles, but the pilot who helped went beyond what they needed to do to make sure I got out safe. They even offered to scout me through LS to HS, but I declined, for their job was done and it was time for me to own up to any potential mistakes that may or may not happen. This one pilot’s actions has now convinced me to not engage knowingly with Signal Cartel. Which is saying something, since everyone is a target or future target.

This is just a day in the life of a Signal Cartel Rescue Pilot. Every rescue is different, and every rescue matters. We have rescue caches in approximately 60% of wormholes, waiting to assist you should you need a launcher and scanner probes. If that won’t help you, we have pilots in space, 24/7 in every time zone, ready to assist you should you become stranded in a wormhole.

Sound like something you’d like to be a part of? Then consider joining with Luci Mari-Ni and our scores of other Rescue Pilots. Start your rescue adventure today!