Wednesday, 31 July 2013

A well executed wormhole gank

Metaphorically, I had a role in the opening scene of a ‘TV murder mystery’.  As the victim.

The Foo corporations currently have 2 wormholes; a C1 wormhole with a highsec static for those that require a highsec connection, and a C2 wormhole with a very good set of PI planets, having static connections to lowsec and another C2 wormhole (generally called C2A).

It was time to take some PI to market, and replenish our reserves.  Before downtime, I scouted out a C2->C2A->Highsec connection, with an easy run to Amarr. 

My primary PI hauler 'doctrine' is that the fewer trips the safer.  Every trip should be as full as I can make it.  Yes that means expanded cargo and rigs.  Previously I tried tanking Iterons in lowsec.  Tried and failed.  Admittedly I was flying lower class iterons back then, but ... it makes no appreciable difference.  Losing a ship in 10 seconds or 12?  My primary 'tank' is the bait ship.  Throw it into the water and see if there are any sharks around to bite it.  Bait ships are not foolproof but better than not having one.

I don't have a lot of pilots available for every run; and even if I did, I would rather fewer trips with more haulers.  That said, my normal process is to run once with a scout/bait first before heading into other systems.

We assemble Iteron Mark V's into a fleet, full of PI and warp as squads to the C2A, then to highsec.
Flying through the C2A, I thought I saw a ship change on dscan, from a wreath to a heron, but I was not sure.  My fleet jumps out into highsec and finds a Flycatcher (Interdicting destroyer) on the hisec side of the wormhole.  Mmm.  No local stations? Scatter ships to a distance from whatever celestial is easiest to find.  This would be a profitable gank.

Ok.  Breathe. Find nearest station.  Jump there, make a red frog contract.  I will fly my own items to the wormhole as they are 'elapsed time critical'. If I dont use the fortunate connections now the chances are it won't be there later.  I generally import ice based fuel components, topped up with cheap PI. I don't fly my own high end PI in highsec to market, I would rather explore my T2 equipment manufacturing business or update PI or ... anything else.  I only have one

Ok.  So I am mildly concerned about that wormhole connection;  I fly my now empty (and largely boring) Iterons off to Amarr and fill up on supplies, wait for downtime and do first life tasks.

After downtime and then some.  Even with extended downtime, I had extra first life tasks.

I swap one pilot out and put a disposable alt pilot into a disposable frigate: t1 frigate with t1 scanner, cloak, afterburner and very basic tank.  The frigate flys the Home->C2->highsec route.  It's clear.  I attempt to fly it back again, but misclick and polarise myself in highsec.  Could be worse.  While waiting the Iterons fleet up and wait on gate 1 system away from our wormholes home.

Ok, polarisation is clear.  Jump through all the way to home.  Nothing unexpected on dscan, nothing found.  Cloak up and orbit nice and close in our home system on the wormhole.

Iteron fleet jump in to the highsec system, jumps into the C2A; all is clear.  Nothing on dscan, but I can't see the K162 home on dscan either.  Warp to the K162.

Oh ... bless it. Bubbles.  Pretty, bubbles.  Deadly bubbles.

Pray, I have a bit in ECM midslot modules; hit them and hope.  Align to 'anything'; afterburners on where fitted.  I have a few Iterons caught in a bubble, 50k from a wormhole.  I am up against a T3 and 4 T2 ships.  Pop. followed by more Pop.

Well done to the hunters; so few of you have the discipline to not grab the first ship you see.  I assume the hunters had a 6th cloaked ship just inside the highsec wormhole, to know when to drop the bubbles.

For the record; Much much more ISK hauled out successfully than I lost (including embedded implants).  I would like to pretend that the losses were trivial.  But a lost hauling run is not just the loss of ship, but also a loss of time.  The loss of cargo, ships, implants bother me somewhat.  That I was caught despite thinking how 'clever' I was with my scout ship bothers me too.  Oh well. Every loss is a learning opportunity.

Notes to learn.
  • I have alternative pilots. No need to haul miscellaneous cargo through wormhole space with +4 implants.  This was a significant part of my loss.
  • Be safe: Set up safe bookmarks with a cloaky frigate.  Ensure I have a cloaky frigate on hand.  Warp to 250k ? 500k? off the wormhole, not in line of the highsec exit.  DScan from this spot.
  • The bait ship should be a hauler, not just a frigate.  I had an Iteron full of bacteria in my fleet, total value of cargo probably worth nearly as much as my cargo expanders.  It would have been an ideal bait ship.


  1. Why don't you use a covops hauler?

  2. Probably because PI stuff is bulky and Iteron Vs can carry 10 times as much as blockade runners.

  3. I am still amazed you would form a fleet of Ity V's in wormhole space. We use covops haulers to transport. It is a bit of extra work but a necessary evil. We also do most of our hauling just after downtime.

  4. First gank in this manner (bubble appearing after the bait ship) we have recieved

    PI out; ice products for fuel back in. Each are very bulky. We have been known to fill a freighter, and then use iterons to haul these items (and others) into our C2.

    It's not just the time taken for the hauling, but also the number of trips. If you take 10 times as many trips to haul, you attract 10 times the attention; increasing the chances and time taken to organise a gank.

    With Iterons, the ship is considered disposable. The Viator however is a more expensive base ship.

    While Covops are definitely safer on the first few trips, as a group we have seen our share of Covops blown up. With the increased trips required, we feel that iteron for hauling is the safer overall option.

    We have hauled freighters full of PI and ice materials before this way; not something I would consider safer with covops.

    Blueprint, sleeper loot, anything with a high value would be hauled more securely.


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