That was a lot of food. Too much, some would say, so I'd better get active. Flying internet spaceships burns Calories, right? Whatever, Fin's here, so what's happening? 'Nothing.' Scouting the constellation earlier has apparently come to nought. I ask if we should collapse the connection and start again, only to drop out of warp next to a thumping wormhole, which Fin tells me only needs one more Orca trip to kill. I turn around, head to our tower, and grab an industrial command ship to push through the static connection, bringing it home to indeed signal the collapse of the wormhole.
Another start to scouting has a 'Noctis on d-scan, no wrecks'. A salvager in empty space is an exciting find indeed, so I jump through the replacement wormhole, start a passive scan to look for active anomalies, and update my directional scanner. There is a Noctis, and there are no wrecks, but there is also a tower on d-scan, which dampens my excitement a little. Fin locates the tower easily enough, seeing the salvager floating unpiloted inside its force field, and I check my notes. The tower's in the same place as three months ago, when I was chased to a class 5 w-space system to have the wormhole collapsed behind me.
I think I remember that day, but the appearance of a Prophecy and Ferox on d-scan stops me reminiscing and focuses me on the present. It's possible the two battlecruisers have been gassing, outside of d-scan range, but when neither warps in to the tower that Fin's monitoring it rather appears that they have come to gas, perhaps from another system. But more important than where they are from is where are they now, and that question is surprisingly convenient to answer. Both Fin and I place the battlecruisers near the fifth planet, and when I get closer to locate them precisely with d-scan I see that they are a mere 1 AU distant from the planet, almost to the kilometre. That will make scanning them so very easy.
As I arrange my scanning probes around where the ships are presumably gassing, the Ferox disappears. He remains on d-scan for a short while before dropping out of the system altogether, at which point the Prophecy takes his leave too. I take the opportunity of having no ships around to scan for the site. My probes are already in place, and given warp times to and from the wormhole I may even get a second scan, in case I need to make an adjustment. But, no, the scan is perfect, so I hide my probes again, bookmark the ladar site, and head in to reconnoitre.
I bounce off a planet in the inner system rather than warp in from where I am. My position was good for a scan, but as gas clouds tend to appear above and below the cosmic signature of ladar sites I would be likely to fly straight through one if I entered the site at range. Coming in from the side, on the other hand, almost guarantees I'll stay hidden, which in this case I do. And I see the Ferox return to the ladar site as I get my cloaky Loki strategic cruiser in to position, almost regretting my decision to scan for the site without the ships in it.
My scanning probes could have been spotted by the ships had I scanned with them in the site, but a successful hit would have let us warp directly to either battlecruiser. Now we have to rely on the ships getting close enough to the clouds before we can engage, which I suppose is almost guaranteed, if they intend to suck it in to their holds. Sure enough, the Ferox moves towards one of the clouds, and is soon joined by the Prophecy on its return to the ladar site. During this time, Fin has warped to my position, in her Tengu strategic cruiser, and we look ready to attack. Our tactics are simple: pick a ship and shoot it.
The Ferox continues to move, which is curious, and the Prophecy is stationary. Thinking that my Loki will be faster than the Tengu, I choose the Ferox and offer Fin the other target, which she agrees to. We're ready, so I warp us to the gas cloud. We drop our cloaks as we get close, alerting the pilots of our presence before we can lock but soaking up the recalibration delay that afflicts most decloaking ships anyway, and we both snare our respective targets. I go chasing after the Ferox as Fin flings missiles at the Prophecy, which launches the inevitable ECM drones.
I concentrate on the Ferox, easily keeping pace with it even if my guns are merely scratching the shields at the moment. The Prophecy is taking damage nicely, though, and as its armour drops low it curiously swaps the ECM drones from Fin to me. Whatever he was trying to do, it may have worked. The ECM drones jam my targeting systems, and, even though I manage to bump the Ferox once to knock it out of alignment, a second successful jam sees the Ferox warp clear. And just in time to save it too, as the Prophecy explodes below me, Fin finishing her target off so that its pod and the Ferox disappear out of the ladar site almost in unison.
We got one of the two battlecruisers down, which is a pretty good result, even if neither of them were fit to shoot back. What's not quite so good is that, moments after Fin loots and shoots the wreck, a Typhoon battleship drops out of warp almost on top of her Tengu, gaining a positive lock and preventing her from leaving. A Tornado battlecruiser has also appeared, over a hundred kilometres away. Pursuing the Ferox has taken me away from the action a little, giving me a chance to cloak and be safe. But updating d-scan as I activate my cloaking device sees that Fin's probably in a whole heap of trouble.
I warp out, promising to get a Falcon recon ship from our tower, as a Hurricane battlecruiser and two Guardian logistics ships are also apparently warping in to the ladar site. The Typhoon is neutralising the Tengu's capacitor, dropping Fin's defences, and the additional firepower that comes to seek vengeance for the Prophecy makes short work of the crippled strategic cruiser. I barely make it through the K162 and back to our tower before Fin's warping her pod out of the ladar site.
Popping a Prophecy seemed like a good result until we traded it for a Tengu. Once again, we were blinded by the explosion, temporarily forgetting to keep a wary eye on d-scan for incoming trouble. Had we done that, we would have left the wreck alone instead of becoming one ourselves. We also both froze a little in the gunsights of the Tornado sitting at range, but with more experience our situational awareness will improve and we will react more properly to unexpected threats. For now, we'll just leave the fleet four times our size floating out in space, and call it an early night.