Hitting another hauler

12th November 2012 – 5.18 pm

I wonder if my glorious leader has forgotten about my egregious bookmark deletions yesterday. 'Please don't strand me!' Maybe not. Then again, maybe she's just referring to the wormhole collapsing she's mid-way through. 'I put an Orca and Widow through. C3a is a null static system.' I'm sure we can find better than that. Warping to the wormhole sees that the trips by the industrial command ship and black ops ship have not destabilised the wormhole yet, which is good. Two more fat Orcas will kill the connection safely. We grab one each, each make a return trip, and watch the wormhole die. It couldn't be easier.

We should be starting again, but are both a bit distracted by conversations happening around us. Even so, I notice a Nemesis stealth bomber pop up on my directional scanner in the home system, which shouldn't be here, and I determine to find out where it came from. Launching probes and scanning unsurprisingly finds an unexpected signature, above our two mining sites and replacement static wormhole, and it resolves to be a K162 from class 5 w-space. I loiter by the K162 to see who else will appear, as Fin monitors our static connection, a wormhole the Nemesis and C5 locals probably don't know about yet, seeing as we just killed the previous one.

No one comes from C5a, no one leaves our home system. Shall I get myself killed? 'Sure. I will check C3a.' Good. Splitting up is always a good plan, as it halves the pain. Jumping in to C5a and punching d-scan gives the impression of lots of ships floating around, but a second check shows that it's actually lots of hangars and only nine ships. Still, that's nine ships amongst three towers, which is worth investigating, considering one ship has already been seen as active. A check of my notes shows that Fin and I podded a Cheetah covert operations boat in this system about a year ago, when there was one tower present, so it's all change.

The towers are new, but not hard to find. Despite there being several planets with multiple moons, each of the three towers is sitting around a planet with a single moon. That makes them trivial to locate, as well as reconnoitre from a distance. I can see one tower has no ships, a second has most of the ships, and a third has two ships. I warp to the more populated tower, given that there is an industrial ship there, and see two Helios cov-ops ships and an Iteron hauler piloted, and an Orca empty. But before I move on to check the third tower a Mammoth warps in to this tower. It may be worth watching this one.

The hauler looks like he's just come back from a customs office, which is either good or bad. Good, because he could be going out again, and bad because he may be finished. It's good. I am not watching for long when the Mammoth flips on its axis and accelerates back the way it came, aligning to a nearby customs office. I align my cloaky Loki strategic cruiser in preparation, wondering if the active pilots here may be ready to offer an escort to their industrial colleague, but leave those thoughts outside the tower as I enter warp a second after the Mammoth.

Haulers aren't so agile. I drop out of warp at the customs office to see the Mammoth there, and decloak, absorb the recalibration delay, and burn towards my target before it has decelerated out of warp speed. I get a positive lock, disrupt the engines, and start shooting the Mammoth as I give it more than a gentle nudge out of any alignment it hasn't had time to achieve. A few shots later and the hauler explodes, and although I aim for the pod it gets clear, leaving me to collect a couple more expanded cargoholds for my collection.

I shoot the wreck, because I can, and return to lurk outside the second tower again. The pod moves to a hangar, boards a Hound, and then does nothing with the stealth bomber. I think it's a comfort ship. Even so, I call Fin back from watching stationary industrial ships in C3a in case we have a bit of cat-and-mouse to play with the C5 locals. As she makes her way across two systems I check the third tower, seeing another empty Orca floating near a piloted Armageddon battleship and Loki. But the second tower still holds more interest, so I warp back there to see what's happening.

The Iteron moves, and I am excited to think it will be bait for a piddly stealth bomber to cover. I could handle that alone, and with Fin's aid we could easily get a couple more kills. Instead, the Iteron goes to one of the many hangars and swaps to a different Iteron. I can't say why. Meanwhile, a new contact in a Rifter warps in to the tower, slamming in to a Helios, before swapping to its own Helios and warping out. Fin loiters outside the third tower, where the Armageddon pilot swaps to a Magnate frigate, then an Apocalypse battleship, down to a pod, and in to a Ferox battlecruiser. An unfitted Ferox battlecruiser.

More ship changes happen at the second tower, and I note them down for a while. But, really, they are just ship changes, with the occasional cloaky ship warping away but not to the wormhole, and I lose interest pretty quickly in the details. I don't think they are even trying to confuse us, just doing busywork, the w-space equivalent of ship spinning. Essentially, ships come, are swapped, and ships go. And we're going too. Fin's bored of watching an unfitted Ferox do nothing, and I'm bored of watching so much nothing happening. I dunno, you blow up one hauler and capsuleers get all defensive.

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