Three nights ago I hopped into my Orca, plotted a course to the Caldari Militia high sec base of operations, and set off on the journey. My alt flew one jump ahead to keep eyes on the connecting systems as I’d learned the lesson a long time ago that Caldari high sec is not safe for transports. Jita, clear. Sobaseki, clear. Isanamo, clear. Uemisaisen, clear…wait!
With my Orca in warp to the Litiura gate, Endeva popped into local. Despite the populated system, I mashed d-scan furiously. He’d not come from a system ahead, and must have “entered the pipe” from somewhere behind. I landed on the Litiura gate, jumped, and immediately initiated warp for Elonaya. Safely in the warp bubble, though, I see Endeva catching up. Here is where I love/loathe the new warp speed changes:
Endeva beat me to the Elonaya gate. I saw his Astarte as I landed, but he had already pressed the “Jump” button. I wonder if he was cursing or laughing at this point. “Damn, jumped too soon.” or “Damn, he saw what I was in.” I’d be saying one or the other. With Endeva in Elonaya (where my alt was, also in Cal Mil), I docked the Orca in one of the stations in Litura for the time.
Minutes passed with Endeva still in local. I played a game of Hearthstone, still in local. I grabbed a drink, still in local. I checked the sigs in our wormhole, still in local. And then what I was waiting for, he left local: I carefully examined the other pilots in both systems. Any war targets? After all, we had an active war raging in addition to the ever-present FW conflict. Nope. Let’s double-check. Still nope. Undock the Orca and triple-check. Still nope. Align the Orca and quadruple-check. Still nope. Warp the Orca. Penta-check (is that a word?). Both systems remained clear. I warped my alt to the next gate and jumped my Orca through. Imagine my surprise, then, when this happened:
To be clear, Zenofex showed as a neutral until the very instant he scrammed my ship. He showed that way (neutral) on both the overview AND in local. But why? I’m not sure, but his employment history might offer some clues.
As you can see, Zenofex joined Red Dragon Crime Syndicate a full four minutes before he locked my Orca. But this isn’t the only time he’s jumped into and out of RDCS repeatedly. Jump in for 10-30 minutes, jump out. Jump in again, jump out. Does he know something that we don’t know about the time it takes for a person’s “war state” to register across to other people? We’ve seen this at a broader scale…full corporations joining FW sometimes inappropriately show as neutral for up to 24-48 hours.
Naturally I petitioned the loss. I have absolutely no problem with war targets (even Gal Mil ones) patrolling the high sec shipping lanes looking for prey. EVE is not a safe place. EVE is meant to be dangerous. You are never absolutely safe. I like that about the game.
But I’d taken every precaution I could think of to take. Checking the systems ahead of me, going over the local list for any threat, bringing a cloak in case I needed it, using an oversized MWD to make the Orca’s DREADFUL alignment time manageable, etc… And I still died, because I couldn’t see my predator until I’d already become trapped, unable to get away.
CCP apparently agreed with me. A thorough investigation of the server logs pointed out that something was amiss. I didn’t pry with what that might be, but I am curious. Is there a set amount of time after a person joins their corporation before the war state is shown visibly? Does it involve state changes? Multiple state changes? An actual exploit where the new information is suppressed? I didn’t pry. The simple facts remain that my alt was in the system the entire time Zeno was, before and after his corp change. Geary was not, having jumped into Elonaya after Zeno made the change. Both my alt and Geary saw the same thing.
So, if you’re traveling through high sec, keep an eye out. Your “clear local” filled with “neutral pilots” might not be so neutral after all. Cal Mil pilots in particular, add Zenofex to your contact list so you can see him clearly in local with whatever scouts you may be using ahead of the valuables. And if you’ve lost a ship to Zenofex/Endeva in this way, you might want to do what I did and petition CCP for your loss. I’m glad to have Dauntless back in my hangar.