Maybe I'll get to shoot another ship today. That is, if I remember how. It seems like w-space has been pretty quiet of late and not offering much in the way of targets. You've got to keep your optimism up, though. My glorious leader is here to help too, having just turned up, so we scan our way out of the home system to look for action. That action may end up being some shooting, but of Sleepers and not other capsuleers. Home is bristling with anomalies now, which would be good to reap some profit from, but I'd like to keep that as plan B for now, at least until we exhaust our hunting possibilities.
Our neighbouring class 3 w-space system looks like fulfilling my desire without much roaming. A tower is visible on my directional scanner, as is a Proteus strategic cruiser named 'Qwib's Sleeper Eater'. Except for the lack of Sleeper wrecks, I'm feeling pretty positive here. I get my on-board scanner working as I move away from the wormhole, showing me a healthy sixteen anomalies, then warp off to locate the tower so that I can determine for sure what the Proteus is up to. And, sadly, it's doing nothing. The strategic cruiser floats unpiloted inside the tower's force field.
So there's no hunting the Proteus, but the sixteen anomalies are attractive. The sites in this class 3 system are easier and, because of that, quicker to clear, which gives a better sense of progress than in our class 4 home. We can make more iskies at home, but clearing six anomalies instead of three can feel more of an accomplishment. Engaging Sleepers in a C3 also means I can pilot the Golem marauder again, which is always an uncommon pleasure. Before we bring expensive ships in to the system, however, we should ensure it's relatively safe.
Launching probes and scanning finds seven signatures, which will make confirming a lack of additional wormholes straightforward. Actually resolving three wormholes makes it more difficult, without resorting to denial. We don't really have the option of leaving the connections unvisited and hopefully closed, as they are likely K162s and already open in to the system. Sleeper combat won't be happening here today. Along with the static exit to low-sec empire space, we find a K162 from null-sec k-space, and a K162 from class 4 w-space. Fin goes nullwards, I head to C4a.
D-scan is clear in the class 4 system, but this is with only the tenth planet in range and a system radius of almost 70 AU. I have much more to see, but get carried away when I fly almost face first in to a tower's defences. Luckily the tower is owned by a corporation blue to us, so even though I back away quickly and re-activate my cloak I probably wouldn't have got blown up by the automated defences. The unpiloted Phoenix dreadnought in the tower is the only sign of other ships in the system, and scanning finds no further wormholes, so I head back the way I came.
Fin found one other pilot in the null-sec system before returning to C3 and jumping through the static connection, where she naturally appeared in Aridia. Ah, our home away from home. There are scanning probes in the system, prompting Fin to get back to our tower and swap in to an interceptor, planting it on the U210 to wait for the scout. I think I'm instilling her with bad habits. Thankfully, there are two of us today, so I grab a stealth bomber and exit to low-sec, so that I can see if we're waiting for nothing. And it seems that we are. The pilot Fin spotted scanning is no longer in the system. At least we know.
Pilots come and go from the low-sec system, but it's the second whose name Fin recognises. 'That's the one.' That's a shame, because d-scan is showing him in a Zealot heavy assault ship, which doesn't sound like a scanning boat to me. I would say he's come from another w-space system, has scanned low-sec, and is passing the time shooting some rats. But they're not rats in an anomaly, there being only one, even though wrecks are being generated somewhere. Fin is confident our capacitor-neutralising Legion strategic cruiser would give us a good crack at the Zealot, so we both swap ships again. Fin boards the Legion as I get back in to my scanning Tengu strategic cruiser to locate our target.
The Zealot's still in the system when I return, so I warp out, launch probes, and start looking for him. I am hunting with d-scan, keeping my probes hidden for now, so as not to spook the target, but just as I am getting a bearing on the ship he leaves the system. Maybe a couple of extra pilots in low-sec is enough to concern the Zealot. Even so, whatever site he was in is under 1 AU from where I'm positioned, and the rough bearing I have is probably enough to find the site given its proximity. Whilst the pilot's gone, I'll scan where he was. A couple of scans later and I have a ladar site bookmarked. I throw my probes back out of the system and warp in to take a look, seconds before the same pilot returns to the system.
That was good timing. I resolved the site, hid my probes, and got in to position all without the target's being aware. Maybe I'm getting my mojo back. I don't see his ship yet. Ah, there he is, right in front of me, in a Pilgrim. The recon ship decloaks in the site and starts moving towards a container. I'm not sure how a fight with a Pilgrim will go, and Fin says the Legion's neuts won't be as effective against it, but she persuades me to engage. She's good like that. I warp in, decloak, and have drones swarming around me pretty quickly. 'Watch out for the drones', Fin says. Right, got it.
Fin jumps in from w-space and warps to join me, and it's great to have the two of us fighting together again. Apart from anything else, it means that when the Pilgrim abandons his first flight of drones and launches the inevitable ECM flight, we don't lose our target. 'ECM drones on me, make sure you've got point.' We leave the Pilgrim mostly alone for now, just Fin's neuts draining its capacitor dry as we pop, pop, pop the ECM drones. They break my lock once, but Fin keeps the Pilgrim in place. The drones move across to Fin and break her lock next, but I'm back on the Pilgrim and keeping its warp engines disrupted. And he's carrying only one flight of ECM drones.
'Okay, concentrate on the Pilgrim now', says Fin, and I turn my launchers towards the recon ship. Its shields are gone, but I don't think it had any to start with, and we start wearing down its armour. Once the neutralisers are back in to full swing after the dropped lock from the ECM cycle we start chewing in to the armour properly. It doesn't take much convincing after that for the Pilgrim to explode, and so happy am I with the kill that I forget to capture an image of the explosion, or the pod warping away. That's okay, it was a fun and interesting fight. 'gf's are exchanged in local, we loot the wreck of the Pilgrim, and we all hide in our separate corners of the system.
We didn't aim for the pod. It's probably not as necessary to corpsify our target as in w-space, and I didn't want to take the punitive hit to my security status. I remain in positive numbers after the kill too, which is a fair result, probably because the Pilgrim fought back. And as for making iskies, the faction armour repair module is worth a couple of C3 anomalies. Fun, excitement, and ISK, what more could we ask for?
The ex-Pilgrim pilot lingers in the system, seemingly waiting for his global criminal cool-down to disappear. I'm not sure why he does that, because wormholes don't care about criminals passing through them, thank goodness, until he eventually leaves, at which point I scan for his wormhole and find none. He's not from w-space after all. So w-space remains quiet and free of targets for another day, but we get our hunt and kill all the same. It's been a good evening.