Editor’s Note: This week we’re featuring Signaleer Xavec who wanted to share another aspect of our Rescue Service.
Earlier this year, Signal Cartel and our Eve Scout Rescue program logged its 1000th successful rescue within just a few days of the 5th anniversary of the founding of Signal Cartel.
Whilst we’re on milestones: last month also marked the 11th anniversary of the Apocrypha expansion, giving us access to a vast, ever switching network of wormholes filled with content of varying levels. Most pilots will work on the reasonable assumption that anyone else in a J-space system is there to turn them into metal scraps and a frozen corpse. A mistake can render you trapped, which might mean you are dead, whether courtesy of some scourge light missiles or the big red self-destruct button. Eve-Scout Rescue exists to help these people escape and save their ship and pod, either through the Eve-Scout Rescue Cache system or the Eve-Scout Rescue Search and Rescue programme.
Sometimes of course, pilots that are lost don’t want to wait to be rescued – understandably they want to play – rescue can take days. Around a fifth of pilots who contact us choose not to wait and take the explosive way back home. Of course some pilots waiting to be rescued aren’t given a choice, being generously sent to their medical clone bay by a passing battleship.
Our systems for rescuing pilots over the years have enabled us to gather some unique data sets which offer a unique insight into the behaviours of pilots in New Eden and Anoikis.
When we close a search and rescue record we also note the reason: hopefully “rescued”, sometimes “destroyed” or “self-destructed”. There is another group though – those who were “helped out by locals”. This group is, perhaps surprisingly, 50% larger than the group who were destroyed by locals. Since Signal Cartel began keeping records, roughly 300 pilots have escaped this way, generously given equipment, or docking & fitting rights, or a bookmark to the nearest wormhole to K-space, courtesy of helpful Eve Online players.
This seems at odds with the reputation of J-space: hostile, unforgiving and deadly. These small acts of kindness and selflessness may embody the values of Eve-Scout and Signal Cartel, but they clearly also embody the values of many of your fellow Eve-Online wormhole residents. They take place with reassuring frequency. For all of the hostility and aggression that Eve is famous for, acts of kindness, generosity and fraternity are all around us. Long may they continue.
Editor’s Note: This week, I thought I’d share, with permission, a story from our EvE-Scout Forums posted by Samuel Triptee. In it, he describes his experience of watching a Search and Rescue effort unfold after jumping into a system that contained a stranded capsuleer.
I very recently stumbled into a system that was on the “rescue list”. What happened within the next few minutes and over a period of about an hour inspired this post.
I’ve had varied experiences in this game, but watching the rescue squad at work was one of the coolest things I’ve seen in New Eden.
When I jumped into the WH (wormhole) system Allison did her normal checklist but added a message concerning a rescue needed for a stranded capsuleer. I started to type a message into alliance chat to ask what to do next and while I was typing a member of the SAR (Search & Rescue) squad PM’d (private message) me. It had to have been less than 2 minutes since I had entered the system. Getting a PM in a WH system seemed a bit suspicious and until I checked the pilot I didn’t answer.
From there the private chat turned into a group chat that was used to communicate between other SAR pilots and myself. I did nothing except sit safe and use my eyes looking for activity. SAR pilots were contacted and immediately started moving toward the rescue system. One of the pilots went at least 30 jumps through some “violent territory” simply to get to the WH entrance. It was cool to see.
I am not going to divulge the number of pilots, or what they actually did. However, I will say that once in the system with the lost capsuleer’s ship the coordination between the SAR pilots was impressive. There was a lead decision maker, but he didn’t need to give directions as everyone knew what to do and did it quickly.
After the current status of the system was determined and preparations were made the lost pilot was contacted and given a couple of options for leaving, or even the option of not leaving at the moment. The decision was totally up to the pilot. I especially applaud the SAR responders at this point because their prep and effort to get to the system could have been all for nothing if the lost pilot had chosen to not take a route out. Kudos!
So… the pilot was contacted and made a choice for exiting the system. The ship left the system under the watchful eyes of SAR pilots…
However, a sad note to all of this is that there had been an “enemy” scout cloaked in the system (probably before I even entered) and when they saw the lost pilot leave system they jumped right after and tackled the ship. I sat off the WH and watched ship after ship jump through and apply tackle, dps, and eventually the kill mail wanabes also jumped to get on the KM (kill mail). It was a sad ending to a great effort.
For those of you yet to see what happens while a rescue is in progress I envy you your first time observations. I do look forward to being a part of another rescue even in a small way and maybe someday I will be able to commit to being a part of the team.
A little over a year ago Thrice Hapus (now Signal Cartel’s CEO) handed the keys to the EvE-Scout Rescue Director’s office to me. Much has happened since then but I have to say the passion and work the members of the ESR team never ceases to amaze me. Many outside of Signal Cartel may not realize how many players and how much effort has gone into our rescue program.
This year was our biggest year yet as we grew our cache numbers to a peak of 2412 systems, 92.7% of Anoikis back in October. The new sharable bookmarks appear to be increasing tending and we’re climbing again, with 86% current coverage.
Arturon Megumi took the time to create a great visualization for us:
Over the course of the year we conducted 415 rescues (202 from rescue caches, 213 Search and Rescue) up from 351 (194 ESRC and 157 SAR) the year previous. Just before I became director we crossed the 500 rescue mark and are now closing in on 1000. Everything comes down to these, Rescues are what the EvE-Scout Rescue Division is all about!
The ESR team consists of two main groups of pilots, our ESR Coordinators and our 911 Operators. When you make a rescue request through our site the call goes out to team of 911 Operators who work to find the best solution for your situation. We currently have over 30 operators active.
The ESR Coordinators are an experienced group of rescue pilots who aid the operators and respond directly when we locate search and rescue systems. Over the course of the year the coordinator team has grown to eight pilots. I believe strongly that while my name is on the door the coordinator team exemplifies the aphorism: “Build a team so strong no one knows who the leader is.” They are all exceptional and most of my job is just keeping the paperwork in order and handing out medals.
Also exceptional is our co-pilot Allison and her creator A Dead Parrot. The rescue program would not have the success it has had without his amazing work. Allison lets our pilots know where rescue caches are, when they need to be tended, when they locate a rescue system, and much, much more. She even has a radio built in!
I’d also like to thank all our devs this year working on the tools that make this program possible: In particular A Dead Parrot, Thrice Hapus, Klensor, Orsel Solette, and Sky Diamond who have put up with our many requests for changes and fixes. Thanks for all your great work!
A big change for our rescue operations was the introduction of sharable bookmarks. In the past there have been a number of attempts to share rescue cache bookmarks but the old voucher system was too limiting for it ever to be practical. When I first saw the proposed new bookmark system I knew it would mean big changes for our operations. In mid November, when the changes became available for testing, myself and some coordinators started testing the system and figuring out how it worked. In late November, before the changes rolled out, I posted a proposal for discussion in our forums based on what we had discovered. There was a lot of discussion following and working from that discussion we rolled out a formal system for sharing our cache bookmarks amongst our cache tenders and to stranded pilots. Since then we’ve continued to refine and improve the system. Tending and rescuing are now faster and easier than ever.
Actions this period: 49672
Pilots Rescued: 415
Accessed cache: 202
Found by Search and Rescue pilots: 213
Signal Cartel Pilots
Maintaining Caches: 418
Participated in rescues: 164
Oldest Rescue Cache
Sown on April 19th, 2018
Tended 56 times by 39 pilots.
Highest Cache Count
2412 (92.7%) on October 28th, 2019
Most Active Day
– October 6th, 2019 (251 tends and 45 sown by 37 pilots, five 911 calls and one rescue)
Editor’s Note:Posted on Reddit as “When a 5 day old newbro makes a name for herself things are going as intended” by BraveLittleSignaleer, I just had to share it here as well. This story truly encapsulates the spirit of Signal Cartel and what we do. It’s an amazing and wonderful thing to see a five day old character who is a new Signaleer embracing our Credo, dropping what they’re doing and helping another capsuleer in need. I honestly don’t know who they are, as they wish to remain anonymous, but I’m a fan and they have my respect. Job well done!
A real life friend joined Eve Online on my recommendation. As soon as she could land she applied to Signal Cartel and was admitted within 24 hours. We started flying together and by day four she was a decently competent explorer. She decided she really wanted to go into wormholes and explore there. This is where she became friends with Allison.
Allison is pretty cool. She helps keep our explorers safe by reminding us to bookmark exits and giving us intel. Allison also happens to be able to tell us if the wormhole we’re in has any Search & Rescue requests pending or if an EVE-Scout Rescue Cache (ESRC) needs to be tended or deployed – “Hope that comes in a box”™.
Our rescuer did what no one her age had ever done in Signal Cartel (she’s fourteen in real life and at that time only five days into the game), which was to perform a successful NPNL rescue (the stranded pilot had No Probes and No Launcher).
Our Signaleer was exploring a C3, looking for Intact Armor Plates, when in local she sees there’s a capsuleer stranded in the hole. The pilot had been rolled in by a collapsed wormhole. She immediately replied with what surely will become an in game legend, “Initiating Operation Hugeroo. Standby.” She immediately fleeted up with the stranded capsuleer and warped him to the exit. Our stranded pilot was very thankful and straight from our Credo our rescuer replied, “Signal Cartel is a service corporation to all of New Eden. In this role, members are encouraged to treat all players with respect regardless of affiliation. In challenging situations, our goal is to look for a graceful resolution and set an example of dignity and friendship through our actions.”
Our rescuer is probably Eve’s youngest billionaire, all funded without losing a single ship, and all done in a free ship that Signal Cartel makes available to its newest and inexperienced Signaleers.
At 20:06 EVE time we received a 911 call from a pilot (we’ll call him Daniel) trapped in a C5. Right off the bat this call was unusual. The first thing I always do when a call comes in is to check our mapping for the wormhole in question to see if we have anything in Tripwire, or recorded by our co-pilot ALLISON. Normally we’re faced with the disappointment of no potential chains at all, in this case we have a HUGE web with a lot of fairly recent connections. Unfortunately all of them were like, C6 > C5 > Null, C4 > Null, C6 > Null, and a lot of those were critical either in mass or time remaining to collapse. This chain was mapped meticulously by Catbriar Chelien earlier in the day, so we had a lot of good intel to help us get there quickly.
I immediately pointed out that we had a chain to the 911 operators channel, and asked if anyone had a way to get to those Null Sec systems (I was deep in my own chain, and not in a particularly null-friendly ship or pod). 911 operator miruxa put out a call in alliance chat in-game for anyone who might be near the Null Sec systems, and Auds Lennelluc and Bang N’ Donk answered the call and raced there while I made contact with the pilot, Daniel.
At this point I learned his ship had been destroyed and he was in a pod with expensive implants, so I told him help was coming but it would take time to scan him out a useful exit, and he should bounce around and make some safes. Thankfully the hole quieted down. Auds and Bang were surprisingly close by and arrived at more or less the same time, one a jump ahead of the other, and started scanning (Bang holding the system the pilot was in, Auds moving out to check the adjacent holes). They soon confirmed that there were no exits to Known space except the three Null systems we knew about. There were so many critical holes, it was too risky to roam too much further looking for more.
My attempts to find an easy-ish, safe-ish route there having failed, I now realized I had to try to get there somehow anyway, as this would take extensive scanning and the chance of some rescuers getting cut off by collapsing holes. Thankfully one of the Null systems in the chain was “only” nine jumps from Thera. I eventually remembered that I kept a jump clone and rescue Astero in Thera, which allowed me to skip the step of having to find Thera from wherever I came out of my chain, and also put me in an empty clone for my mad dash through Null. To my great relief, many of the systems were empty. One was held by Goons, but they gave me no trouble. Another had a 2-person gate camp which was no match for my Astero’s sub-2-second align time, and the next had some bubbles which I was able to cloak and fly out of. Auds had come in from one of the other Null systems and been chased by a Sabre, so I considered my path relatively lucky.
When I got to the pilot’s system we continued scanning, but still found nothing anywhere close by. At this point we decided we’d have to call off the search until new connections formed, and we would ping the pilot in our Stranded Pilot’s Lounge on Discord once we had an exit.
….5 hours later….
Igaze, by this point, had wisely decided we needed more backup and snuck in through Null and installed an alt in the hole, and updated Tripwire with what little had changed. Still nothing useful in the hole itself. Now with 3 rescue pilots logged off in the hole, I felt comfortable going on a longer adventure past the critical holes. I ventured out of the C5 to one of the two neighboring C6’s… through a critical mass hole to another C5 which we had already scanned… in which I found a newly spawned sig — a wormhole! — a C4… which had a C3 and C5 static. At this point I’m confident that the C3 will eventually lead somewhere useful, so I began scanning for it, while alerting Igaze that we might have an usable chain soon. Before I found the C3 I found an unexpected C4, and for some reason go in it. Wouldn’t you know, it’s a shattered system and has a high sec static! After scanning waaaaay too many sigs, I finally found the High Sec static, and double back to make sure I’ve left corp bookmarks all the way down the chain in both directions, so all the rescue pilots can follow the path without needing to scan.
Igaze is already in game, so once I have the chain ready to go he switches to his alt in the system. I ping Bang and Auds, and Bang is available and also logs in (Auds is asleep, which is also why it’s useful to get extra pilots in the system: you never know in what time zone you might need to conduct the rescue). We get in place in the first two systems in the chain, and then ping the pilot. About a half hour later he responds, and logs in and joins our fleet.
At this point we begin the process of leapfrog that it takes to get a stranded pilot down a long chain. Bang will be the target for the pilot to warp to get out of the initial system and from that point will hang back and stay with the pilot as closely as possible, dropping ping bookmarks on each hole (using a technique shared by Igaze at Eve North). Igaze and I will move ahead and provide immediate warp-to points at each wormhole along the way so the pilot can go straight from hole to hole all the way out. We also serve as scouts to make sure the path remains clear ahead.
Daniel warps to Bang and exits the first system, then I’m up next at the far end of the C6. I encounter an unknown battleship when I land on that hole, who accidentally uncloaks me before disappearing, leading to Bang and Daniel having to bounce around a bit while I get back in position, and Igaze jumps into the hole to make sure the other side is clear. Igaze sees the battleship and a Tengu and suspects they’re about to roll the hole, and we all quickly agree to keep going and try to push through. Daniel warps to me and jumps, as Igaze moves on to the following exit. While Daniel is warping to Igaze I’m going two jumps ahead to be ready on the High Sec exit. As I leave the hole where Igaze is waiting and activates my warp to the High Sec one, our fleet chat blows up first with a concern that the pod landed 20km off the hole, then cries of “TENGU!” “BAIL!” It’s too late to stop my warp. Had I not been mid-warp I’d have gone back in and tried to create a distraction. But I’m helpless until I can arrive at my destination on the other side of the system and turn around and come back. By then I figure it’s too late — they’ve either escaped or not, and all I’m going to accomplish by jumping in is get myself polarized and unable to get back to the High Sec hole to complete the rescue should the pod make it through. So I perch on the other side of where they are and ask in chat if they’re OK. It sounds like the Tengu went off momentarily, so they make a run for it.
Unknown to me, Igaze had also jumped just as the Tengu was arriving, so it was up to Bang to distract the Tengu while the pod made a run for it. It’s best experienced in Bang’s own words:
During the event with the Tengu, I happened to have landed a few moments before the pod landed. The second I landed I would have usually burned a bit off the hole so I could cloak just as a general precaution. This time however I didn’t feel I needed to. The immediate threat of the Tengu was in the back of my mind at the time as I thought that since our guy was in a pod he would be more than capable of making it past no problem before the cruiser had any chance of locking him. It was no big deal, there weren’t any bubbles or instant locking ships on scan which would be the most probable threat to him. Besides we had more pressing issues such as the limited time we had to navigate out of the chain. So I thought, what could possibly go wrong if we just ignored the Tengu and continued on? And that’s when our pod landed 20km off the hole…
Panic immediately sets in as the pilot tries to slow boat the 20km to the hole in his pod. Before I could even get the slightest hint of any direction to him to warp off and warp back to me, our Tengu ‘buddy’ decides to plop down right next to our rescuee… The only word I was able to frankly type in the chat was “bail” before the Tengu began to lock and burn towards me. I have no idea how I was able to warp off before he was able to scram me as my reaction time was dulled due to an initial stage of shock whilst trying to communicate to our friend, but somehow either thanks to latency or my 1.5 second align time I was able pull out just as he got a yellow box.
I was hoping the pod would follow suit but for whatever reason, he didn’t warp. So I unintentionally leave him on grid with the Tengu while I bounced to a random planet. Adrenaline finally kicks in as I cloak up during warp, and quickly make a safe. I bounced back to one of the pings I made above the hole, to check and see if he’s still on grid. Much to my dismay he is still on grid and still very much making a run for splash range on the hole.
I began to weigh my options and seriously contemplated for the first time in my career how I would take on a T3 cruiser in my nano fit Astero. Which if you’ve already guessed, the options are essentially zero. My plan was however, to launch ECM drones at the Tengu and pray to Bob that one of them lands a jam while I attempted to bump him away. Fortunately for me though I didn’t have to execute this suicidal plan, as I noticed that the Tengu began to slowly creep towards me. That’s when I realized somewhere along the line I had decloaked. I am assuming it was the customs office but I am honestly unsure as I wasn’t paying very close attention, I obviously had a lot of other things on my mind at the time. So I was essentially sitting up at this ping completely decloaked 160km away, just sitting there doing nothing. The Tengu continued to slow boat towards me for a bit before turning around and firing its prop mod towards the capsule, scramming and webbing it in the process. He didn’t shoot the pod, he only held in place as if to taunt me directly.
The gauntlet was thrown and the stage was set, I mentally prepared myself momentarily before I heard the sound effect of the pod splashing into the wormhole. All of that build up to our seemingly inevitable climax suddenly disappeared in an instant, filling the void with the space equivalent of an awkward silence. The Tengu and I just kind of sat there, before he decided to shamefully warp off. I decided at that point it was best to just scoot on through the hole and into high sec and the rest is history.
Back on the other side of the hole, I (and Igaze, who I don’t know is there) wait for word on the outcome of the confrontation. Finally Daniel says “I made it!”, so I warp to the High Sec exit at zero. I no longer care about getting decloaked, I just need to provide him a perfect warp-in point as soon as I land. The pod arrives, and splashes into High Sec, followed closely by me and Igaze, and we begin our post-rescue celebration (unfortunately without fireworks – CCP Please add a high slot to the Astero just for festival launchers!). Bang thankfully arrives in one piece a little bit later. Our pilot thanks us for the rescue and we chat for a few minutes about wormhole life before going our separate ways, praising Bob that we all miraculously made it both into the system and out of it!