Tag Archives: Tengu

The Fall of Whiskey Tengu Foxtrot

Health Warning: If you are one of those people who gets angry reading about people doing stupid things, click on a link to another site or something quick, as gross and obvious stupidity follows and I wouldn’t want to be responsible for undoing the effects of your blood pressure medication or anything.

Do you ever have one of those moments when you’re about to do something stupid, and you know in your gut that you shouldn’t do it… but something else in your brain tells you to go ahead and do it anyway…. and you do it?


Lucky you.

This happens to me every so often, and it is often accompanied by some sort of minor disaster.

In my youth, I let it talk me into doing things in real life.

  • Please put that Energizer Bunny init on all the office computers! Everybody will think it is hilarious! (It locked up all the machines for an hour when it was set off, with that pink bunny banging its drum across people’s screens the whole time, until we turned off all the computers at the same time.)
  • Push harder on that chip! Don’t worry about the pins, they will slide into the socket! (Except that pin on the end, which broke off when I tried to bend it back into shape.)
  • Screw it, just add more solder, that will get things done. (Behold the Gateway Arch rendered in the scale of a now dead motherboard!
  • You’re in a hurry, just take the daughter board off without unhooking that ribbon cable. It won’t rip or anything! (Ripped it, naturally.)
  • Go ahead, date a co-worker or a customer! That will never make the workplace awkward! (Can I setup my desk in the men’s room so I can hide in there permanently?)
  • Wait until the project meeting and tear apart the product managers totally unrealistic schedule right there in front of his boss and his boss’s boss. (Had an interview with his wife at another company a few years later. Being a team player came up a lot. I did not get that job.)
  • There is only an inch and a half of Ouzo left in the bottle, just finish it off! (I only know what people at that party told me later.)

That is what I call my dumb brain, though you might as easily equate it with the devil on my shoulder whisper in my ear.

As I have grown older, I have learned to listen to the other part of my brain, the part warning me not to do (or say) stupid things.  That is my smart brain.  It knows actions have consequences and can assess whether I want to pay the consequences pretty accurately.

So these days, in real life, dumb brain’s influence is limited to minor things, like ordering appetizers at restaurants where I know I probably wouldn’t be able to finish my entree if that were the only food I was allowed all day.

But in video games… well, what are the real consequences?  It is just a game, right?  Plus, sometimes dumb brain sends me off to do things that end up being a huge amount of fun.  Of course, sometimes I’m totally screwed.

I was back in Deklein for the night.  We had been given permission to go rat if we wanted.  That had been expressly forbidden since the deployment to Delve, and I wanted to rat to make up some of the ISK I spent buying ships and such in Delve.

I wasn’t running out of money or anything, but I do like to keep a pretty deep reserve in addition to the cash I am buying and selling with daily.  And I was edging down to that mental line that separates that from the reserves.  But a few anomalies would set that straight.

I clone jumped back to my home system, only to find a red in local.  No ratting for me.  I at least know better than that.  The intel channel then announced the presence of my red, which wasn’t a big help.

And I was hungry for a bit of ISK and I had just clone jumped across the galaxy and was stuck in Deklein for 24 hours until I could clone jump back.

This is where the part of my brain that wants to protect me told me to just log off and call it.  But I didn’t want the night to be a waste.

So I undocked, hit the safe POS, then hit the gate to the adjacent system, which is also a prime spot for ratting.

As I jumped into the next system, hanging in space not 10km from me was a red.  The overview said it was a Purifier.

My the smart part of my brain is telling me to either burn back to the gate and jump or to hit the safe POS in the system.  But the message is the same, avoid contact at all cost.

Dumb brain is in action though.  After a few seconds it matches up “Purifier” with “stealth bomber” and says, “It is a glass cannon! You can kill that, no problem!”

Smart brain is saying, “No! You suck at PvP!  You WILL find a way to screw this up!”

Dumb brain counters with, “There is only one red in system.  Come on, it will be easy!  Just light it up!”

Smart brain brings up the chart.

Still applies to me…

Dumb brain says, in that Kent Dorfman voice, “This is going to be great!” (Though usually it sounds more like Larry Kroger’s conscience.)

Smart brain, realizing my internal discourse had devolved into movie quotes at this point, starts to throw out, “It’s a trap!” but it is too late.  I’ve already broken cloak and started to lock up the Purifier, which is still just sitting there.

And, for a few seconds, it seems like things are going to work out.  I have the target painter on him.  My missiles are tearing him up pretty quickly.  The main worry in my mind at that moment is that he is just going to warp away.  All he has done is warp scramble me.  It is like he wants to hold me there or something.

Then, of course, the red from the other system jumps in.  It is a Gila, a faction cruiser.  He locks me up and starts tearing me up and I know already this is going to end badly.  The Purifier warps off just as somebody in the intel channel mentions that this new red is the alt of the first and he has just popped into the system.

Yes indeed, it was a trap.

Okay, I was at least smart enough to turn on hardeners and the shield booster, maybe I will live long enough to get help.  On a normal night, this system is alive with blues.  Tonight though, it seems like everybody has deployed to Delve and almost nobody has come back to rat.  I ask for help giving system in gate on the intel channel, which is not the right channel to use and which really only serves to broadcast my stupidity to the maximum number of people possible.

So I’ve got the ship in motion, I’m wondering if I can make it back to the gate, but then realize that the aggression timer is now on so I cannot get out that way, when I notice that I am already taking damage in armor.  I got there awfully quickly.  Locking up the Gila seems like a waste of time at that point, but it isn’t like I am doing anything else, so I give it a shot.

And then I am into hull and then sitting there in my pod, which also gets locked and destroyed, something that at least gets me back to Delve.  So long Tengu!

Whiskey Tengu Foxtrot in happier times

At about this point somebody responds to my call for help, but I tell them it is no longer required as I am dead.

Fortunately my alliance leader was there, the only other person in the system in which I got killed.  He didn’t know who I was before then. He certainly does now.  He was able to console me by telling to “grow a fucking brain” and to read the damn intel channel.  I’ll probably get a reprimand sent to my corp CEO for public display of stupidity.  Of course, my corp CEO only knows who I am because I was the guy bitching about wanting to make back some money ratting.

Clearly I am winning popularity contests all over space!

Just one of those days in EVE.

Fortunately, I can afford to replace the Tengu.  Frankly, if I got off my butt and sold some of the stuff I have cluttering hangers in high sec space, I could replace it a few times over.

No, the major cost of this was being stupid in public yet again.

I can at least serve as a warning to others I suppose.

It was all kind of like this, except the ship cost a lot more and theoretically I should know better.

The Return of Whiskey Tengu Foxtrot

For ratting in null sec, Gaff told me that the Tengu is unparalleled.  And so my Tengu strategic cruiser, which had been sitting in my hanger since early 2010, got shipped out to 0.0 space.  It was time to blow off the dust and actually use it.

Ratting, the hunting of NPC pirates (rats, which distinguishes them from actual player pirates) in space, has changed some since I last pursued it.  In fact, the last time ratting was an activity I pursued in and of itself was probably back when I started playing EVE (back in 2006) as a way to make a bit of money with my second post-Ibis frigate.

My first post-Ibis frigate was destroyed when the very first mission I drew was the tier 1 version of Worlds Collide, which turned out to be a quick death for my ship.

Back then it was simply a matter of jumping around between asteroid belts looking for rats, then killing and looting them.  And that is still a viable plan, especially in null sec, where a belt rat spawn will occasionally include a special ship that will drop faction items.

The downside of belt rats is that the spawn rate can be slow, there are only so many asteroid belts in any given star system, a lot of the spawns can be tiny crap, and even one ship can usually blow through all the belts before anything respawns, so if there are two or more people looking to rat to get that special drop, it can be a slow way to accomplish anything.

So at some point… I forget the expansion… CCP put in anomalies.  I most likely do not remember when because I ignored them.  I was running missions, mining, building stuff, and doing tech II research.  I didn’t need anomalies.

Now, however, they are of interest.

Anomalies are essentially concentrations of pirate NPCs in a star system that you can find with your ship’s scanner.  The size and quality of such concentrations depends on the quality and level to which a system, in null sec at least, has been upgraded. (I do not understand the whole “upgrade” thing, but that is for another day.)

These concentrations are in regular space, unlike some missions which occur in deadspace, which is instanced, and are effectively mini-missions.  You scan, you select one from the list your scanner shows (and they come in multiple flavors… though foresaken hubs are the best bang for the buck I am told, if you have the right ship), warp to the one you picked, and then say hello to your new friends.

Guristas waiting for a train...

Of course, they have been sitting around waiting for something to do, so are probably happy to see you.

Continue reading

Lighting the Cynosural Field

It was time to get myself back to Deklein in null sec… you know, before we lose it all… and Gaff set up a way for me to get some more ships out there.

Originally I had set up a courier contract with one of our guys who flies a jump freighter between empire space and null sec.  However, I had just missed his last trip out and so my stuff was going to sit until enough stuff accumulated to make the trip again.  That could end up being a week or two.

Gaff got one of our corp mates with a super carrier (a very big ship… bigger than a carrier) to jump out to empire space to pick up some of my stuff.  I just had to help in getting it to me.

I must digress for a moment to bring up how travel works in EVE Online.  Please check the comments for people correcting me on this, as it is extremely likely I am wrong on many points.

Within a solar system, you move short distances with the drives built into your ship and travel at speeds best measured in meters per second.  My freighter can go something like 80 m/s, while my Rifter, which is fitted for speed with an afterburner and a booster can easily hit 3,500 m/s (and can run at that speed forever).  In addition, there are microwarp drives, which speed you up even more, but which consume a lot of energy, usually more than your ship systems can provide.

To move long distances, like from planet to planet or off to a distant asteroid field, you use the warp drive in your ship.  While the previous drive lets you just… well… go… the warp drive needs a target.  It is very fast, covering astronomical unit distances in seconds.

Warp drives, and disrupting them, is often the key to small battles.  Warp drives allow you to escape battle quite quickly.  They do need a bit of time to set up and you have to have a target and you must align to that target before you can jump.  In that time somebody who is after you can use a warp disruptor fitted to their ship to basically turn off your warp drive.  Then you have to stay and fight, usually at bad odds.  That is what happened to me the other day.  There are also warp bubbles and interdictors and heavy interdictors (which are completely different) cloaking devices and the like which all make low sec and null sec… interesting.

To move between system you need to use a jump gate.  There are at least one, and often two or three, jump gates in any system in EVE Online, from empire to null sec.

Jump Gate in Action

This is how EVE explains away traveling interstellar distances.  Gates are natural choke points in the game, and the “gate camp,” hanging around a gate waiting for a target of opportunity is probably as old as the game itself. (Who set up the first gate camp in EVE?)  All that warp stopping stuff comes into play around gates as when you jump into a gate, you are too far away from it to jump right back out, so you must warp or fight if caught.

And then there are capital ships.

Capital ships cannot use jump gates.  Instead, they have built-in jump drives which cover interstellar distances, but which  need special fuel and a target to which to jump.

So to get the supercarrier out to pick up my stuff, I had to setup a target.  But first I had to get my stuff to another system.  A low sec system, so there was danger involved, though I was covered by a corp mate who scouted for me.

The Station for my Stuff

Once my stuff was in place, I was given a Kestral and sent out to be the jump target, which meant activating a cynosural field.

Flying the Kestral out of the Station

Gaff had the foresight to tell me to train that (so I could be target boy for him, but it is all good) so I was able to light it up.

Kestral and Cyno Field

The cyno field lit, the super carrier soon hove into view and docked in the station.

Looks like a Nyx

And then I learned something new!  Once you fire up the cyno field, it runs for 10 minutes.  During that time you are stuck there… and in this case, in a low sec system… sitting outside of a station with a great big flare announcing your presence.

Waiting for the timer to run down

The corp mate who set me up with the Kestral was astute enough to only load it with enough fuel for on 10 minute cycle.  If you forget to turn the field generator off and you have enough fuel, you will find yourself waiting out another 10 minute cycle.  So I was only hanging out in space for 10 minutes.

After that it was back to the station, where I gave back the Kestral, handed over my stuff, which included a Tengu, a Hulk, and my Crane blockade runner along with some fittings.  I had the two ships broken down to be carried one at a time in the Crane, in case I ended up having to sneak them into null sec. (A task for which the Crane was built.)

Then, quicker than I could switch jump clones (because I always forget I have to pause skill training to do so… and why is there no “resume skill training” button?) everything was waiting for me out in null sec.

Tengu in Null Sec

I can now haul and mine as well as finally doing something with that Tengu.  I bought the ship nearly two years ago and it has sat in my hanger ever since.  Hopefully, all of that will lead to some more ISK coming my way, as I seem to be spending far more than I am making of late.

And I have a new career ahead of me lighting cynosural fields for jump targets.

Whiskey Tengu Foxtrot?

What to do with all that ISK I have in my wallet?

A few weeks back I was sitting in EVE Online.  Star Trek Online was down and I had had all of the WoW I could take for the day.  So there I was in New Eden wondering what to do.

I started thinking about one of my predictions for 2010, that strategic cruisers would become a common sight.  Of course, some people objected to that right away, saying that they were already a common sight in their neck of the woods.  That area is usually called 0.0 space, and my friend Meclin did confirm that the tech 3 ships were in fact not a unique sight out there.

I had never seen one however.  But then I, like a majority of EVE players, never go into 0.0 space, so I would dispute that they are a common sight.  I see most every ship hovering around Amarr station, so that is my measure for what is a common sight and what is not.

Of course, sitting there with no real plan and a bunch of ISK, I figured that I could make my prediction come true by buying my own strategic cruiser.  Money + boredom = expensive new experiment!

The first thing I needed was the basic skill. Easy and not too expensive:

Caldari Strategic Cruiser – 1,350,000 ISK

You only need the first level of skill to qualify for the ship.  That takes just a few minutes.

And then there was the ship itself.  The Caldari strategic cruiser is called the Tengu, which is what lead to the title of the post.

Tengu: 207,000,000 ISK

So I rushed off to assemble the new ship to see what it looked like.  Only there was a problem.

You can’t just fly the ship without its subsystems.  Heck, you cannot even assemble the ship.  You get this message.

There were subsystems available, but of course that requires more skills.

I had to run off and buy those.  They were 4,500,000 ISK each, and I needed five.

  • Caldari Defensive Subsystem
  • Caldari Electronics Subsystem
  • Caldari Engineering Subsystem
  • Caldari Offensive Subsystem
  • Caldari Propulsion Subsystem

This is how it goes with me and EVE.  Every impulse buy inevitably requires me to come up with at least another skill and some additional equipment to support the purchase.

The skills were quick.  I injected all five and queued up the first level for each, then went to Amarr to look for subsystems.  All the subsystems for the Tengu were available, but which to choose?

Fortunately in EVE most buying decisions are not irreversible.  Very few items are “bind on equip” if you will.  Ships, ship fittings, and the like can be repackaged and resold on the market.  So I picked five likely looking fittings without much in the way of research, dropping about 120,000,000 ISK in the process.

I was then able to assemble the ship.

Now I just had to activate the ship and take her out for a spin.  But when moving my pod to the ship I got one last warning.

Oh yeah, if the ship gets blown up, you lose some of your subsystem skill points.  Something of a dis-incentive to train them to level five I suppose.

But, at last, I was able to get into space with the Tengu.

Ship Name: Whiskey Tengu Foxtrt

Like a lot of Caldari ships, her beauty is more in her technical specifications than in her appearance.

Only then did I start looking at possible fittings for the Tengu.  It looks like I’ll need to work on my heavy missiles skills so I can mount tech II launchers, since the Tengu is limited to cruiser/battlecruiser modules.

Another hobby ship with which to tinker.  Time to get out EVEMon and the EVE Fitting Tool to plot out a possible level 4 mission runner fit.