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!
It had been a busy day and Bob provided me with the just the right distraction to take my mind off it. I was relaxing and reading a few things when at 0024:
Chaim Achasse and I were both available although I was conveniently placed in Zoohen, two jumps from Heorah, the beginning of the chain in. I headed out and seven minutes after Aldar Roanaok located the system I was there with Chaim hot on my heels. With three of us in we started checking routes. Chaim and Aldar both had some things to look after so I contacted the pilot and started scanning.
I opened a channel to the pilot and I confirmed they were in a dreadnought so we needed Very Large holes all the way out. C5 rescues rarely give a known space exit without having to work for it and that doubles when it’s a capital ship. While I scanned I chatted with the pilot and he asked if we could bring some supplies in since he had a mobile depot. I contacted Angel Lafisques and they went to work figuring out how to get 1000m3+ of gear through a frigate hole as we needed a capital sized MicroWarpdrive. That would give us the option to roll holes if we couldn’t find a reasonable route easily.
While Angel worked his way out of the wormhole he was in and headed for Jita I continued to scan. By 0249 I decided Bob was messing with us. I had scanned down a large tree of connections and the only exits we had for a capital were five jumps out, eol, AND mass critical. On top of that they both apparently had Goons on the other side. They likely had moved a fleet through or were moving supplies for their war.
In the meantime Angel had bought the supplies in a Sunesis that she fitted for cargo. While she was on the way to our high sec entrance it collapsed so I had to find another entrance for her. Fortunately got another high sec and by 0342 or so Angel was transferring an MWD, cloak, probes, probe launcher, and fireworks to our pilot. She then headed out again to swap the Sunesis for a Pacifier. It as getting late at this point and we had no routes so decided to call it until the next day.
The next day our pilot wasn’t available however we kept scanning and maintaining known space routes for our pilots. Aldar had been rolled out the night before so I went about finding a route for him. Diving down a long chain I reached known space, and headed back. I immediately noted the route had been destabilized and started moving fast. One system away I miss-clicked and ended up going back one system. Waiting for the polarization timer to expire I watched two luxury yachts collapse the hole. Now I was rolled out.
That night Angel got to work and found us another route in. I brought both my main and my friend, Thera Gaze, back just to be sure. It’s very nerve wracking on a big SAR to be down to two pilots in system. As Angel also brought a friend we were up to five, plus we left a note for Aldar about the current route. Our pilot was not available so we called it a night.
Friday dawned and Chaim had time to dive into scanning and at 1639 EVE he found a VL route of three jumps and out to null sec. Our pilot wanted to bring a cyno friend to the target system so we provided the info and waited for the friend to make it over. That worked out well as it meant everything came together right when I had time.
We formed a fleet and Chaim headed for the first system in the route to make sure it was clear. Things were clear in the start system so our pilot logged in and warped to me. A few minutes later he was on the hole, Naglfar’s are sloooooow. We splashed through and I warped on to the next wormhole while Chaim checked the next system.
Some long warps and we had him into null sec. As he had found he didn’t have any fuel to jump I quickly made an unaligned safe for him and he warped to me and parked. I wished him well and headed back for the safety of Anoikis.
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.