A Quiet Morning
I’m home in the Alliance wormhole again. I have a couple of hours to kill before I go to work so I log the accounts on and do a brief ship scan noting the anomalies. I get into the ships and prep for a quiet morning of Sleeper-bashing.
My latest predatory trip has made me complacent. When in our home wormhole I feel safe. Obviously so because it is on the way to the first anomaly that I notice several ships on D-Scan. Hulk, Retriever, Covetor, Iteron, Harbinger, Abbadon. And a lot of mining drones. Cursing myself for my ineptitude and praying that the invaders are lax on directional scanning I take the ships back to the station. I try to take a wide detour in an attempt as to stay off their scanners.
Placing myself in their situation I assume they will have a scout at our POS. Therefore I switch one character to a Badger and log the other off. With the third one, a cloaked Manticore, I try to passively scan down the site the gang is in.
As luck has it they are in a Gravimetric site that is stored within the Corporation Bookmarks. I silently thank CCP and scanning corpmates and warp to it at 100 kilometers range. I exit warp about three kilometers from a huge asteroid. Just a nudge further and I would have de-cloaked. Luck.
I turn on the overlay and bring up the mining Overview setting. I zoom out and try to get an idea on the sites makeup and where the miners are. There, all together in a lose formation with the cover ships at the edges. And not one of them is moving. The fighting ships are sitting close to the miners they protect. Perfect for me and my bombs.
Mechanics. Sometimes it’s a must
I usually think of bombs launch window as about 25-45 kilometers. The bomb travels 30 kilometers before exploding, with a radius of 15 kilometers. When one has time to prepare it is dead simple to get the center on a target, especially if they do not move.
Setting up for a launch inside an asteroid field can be tricky though. It is usually not a problem getting to a launch spot. Any spot 30 kilometers from the target will do. Getting there is just a question of getting from your initial position to the launch spot without de-cloaking. Often a quick bookmarking of a suitable object – such as an asteroid or cargo container – followed by one or more quick warps to a suitable celestial body and warp back to said bookmark at range is enough to get into a good spot. But having the Abaddon and Harbinger on grid complicates things. Not much effort is required for them to burn towards me and slap a warp disruptor on me. So the spot I choose is one that allows me to fly towards the targets, launch the bomb, target a planet 20 degrees to the right of my path so I can warp to it right after launch.
As I set up to start the bomb run I suddenly realize I have a knowledge gap regarding my bombs behavior after launch. I do know that if the ship that launches the bomb is destroyed before the bomb detonates it disarms itself. But what happens if I warp and leave the grid before it explodes? I quickly decide I will stay on grid until it explodes. The key decision factor is that I deem it possible to get several targets within the bombs effect volume. I’m not going to waste this opportunity. I make a note to research how this works later.
Goggles on, chocks away
32 kilometers from the sweet-spot I’ve chosen I come to a complete stop. The sweet-spot is a cargo container the Industrial ship is grabbing the jettisoned ore out of. I watch my directional scanner and see the ship pop up. It is on the way in. Somewhere in the back of my mind I think “that was quick” as the time it took for the Iteron to get out of the hole, dump the ore and back in again was quite short. I brush the thought aside as the Iteron lands near the cargo container. I start moving and drop my cloak at 30, launch the bomb and align to the planet. As soon as the bomb goes off I hit warp. I do have time to see a bunch of drones explode along with at least two ships.
On the way to the planet I have a few seconds to think. I realize, or at least think I do, why such a big fleet has entered the hole. The static out for the night lead to Dodixie and I figure such a populated system might have something to do with it. So when landing at the planet I instantly warp to the HiSec hole at 30, hoping I can get another launch opportunity at the lumbering giants. They’ll probably jump at zero to the hole, but I might get lucky. I hit my scan button for a minute before I realize that they already gone through or they are bolder than I figured. Or very dumb. I warp inwards again and soon pick the fleet up on D-Scan. I get them in around the same direction as before, so I warp back to the mining site. It is empty apart from two wrecks and one mining drone which I dispatch of as fast as I can. I scan and find the ships in the general direction of a nearby planet. This is puzzling. Are they really that stupid? I warp towards the planet and while in warp I get a conversation request from someone. I assume it is from one of the pilots in the mining fleet and contrary to standard procedure I accept.
Since I am trying to find them I play dumb (I know, I know) stalling for time. And a little into the convo I realize that he pilot is actually not scared. He is more miffed I attacked without provocation. And just as I am to tell him I live here and therefore all that he can see and scan is mine I find them. At a tower. And it is not one of ours.
What I learned:
- Bombs launched will go off after ten seconds weather you leave grid or not. As long as the launching ship is active the bomb will explode.
- Use your painters! (I forgot.) More than two ships where in the blast radius so perhaps I could have got more. If you have target painters and have decided to stay on grid you should target and paint as many ships you can. It probably pays off to do some research on which types of ships to paint, but Retrievers, Covetors and industrials generally do not need to be painted. I suggest using Pyfa to test this.