There's no rest for the wicked. I've come home, after an embarrassingly unsuccessful hunt of ships that can barely shoot back, and sent myself to a quiet corner of the system to go off-line, when a casual updating of my directional scanner shows me a tower. Not our tower, but a tower. I'm pretty sure we haven't configured a second tower in our system, but d-scan is pretty clear on the subject. A tower, with an active force field, ship maintenance array, and corporate hangar array, is on-line around a planet where there should be none.
An alien tower is a concern. I recently repudiated the idea on Twitter that, as a w-space denizen, I felt I 'owned' our system. I don't think we do, but that doesn't mean we're happy to share the space we inhabit. To say the home system is 'ours' is merely to use semantic shorthand. Whilst it is possible to co-exist, given the right circumstances, it can be difficult to know when those circumstances are right.
The new tower may belong to peaceful industrialists, looking only to mine ore, harvest gas, and maybe cull the Sleeper population. Their only care to us could be to try not to annoy us by taking more than they need. On the other hand, this could be the first step in a hostile claim to the system, where the capitalist pig-dogs want the system all to themselves and us out. Considering the tower is small, and cheap, and has no defences, not even shield hardeners, I imagine the former holds over the latter. Even so, and notwithstanding how the corporation managed to find our system, this aggression will not stand.
I get on the bat-phone, and one colleague is handily near a high-sec wormhole through a convenient class 2 w-space system currently connecting to us. TG's even buying a replacement Oracle battlecruiser, just right for shooting big, static objects, even if the circumstances of its being bought are frustrating. He understands the significance of an alien tower in a w-space system and rallies the troops, and although the hour is relatively late and there is a fair journey between our two exit wormholes, a fleet forms to come to our aid.
As the fleet makes its way to the high-sec wormhole, coalescing in the empire space system, I start crashing our static wormhole that leads in the other direction. We don't really need anyone coming in to disrupt a siege, and certainly not from the owners of the hostile tower. But half-way through someone points out that keeping the wormhole alive but in critical condition is probably better, what with it having a static exit to null-sec. There's not much chance of reinforcements arriving through a deep null-sec wormhole. And a critical wormhole won't let many ships through to help, as well as being obvious if someone does collapse it to look for a new one.
New aim: critically destabilise the wormhole. I can do that. A few trips in an Orca industrial command ship will be simple to make. I even spot a Cheetah covert operations boat come to our K162 in C3a when the wormhole sits at half mass, and seeing the wormhole in such a state, and noticing it flare as I enter the system, the pilot thinks better of coming this way. He backs off and cloaks as I return through the wormhole. It's still not at critical mass, though, but that's fine. A round trip with a heavy interdictor, mass-boosted both ways, ensures the wormhole is close to death.
I have a couple of minutes before the fleet arrives. I take the time to make a couple of strategic bookmarks around the hostile tower, in case we need one, before jumping in to my own Oracle to join in with the siege. Battleships, battlecruisers, a strategic cruiser, and a whole bunch of drones, oh yeah. The shields of the hostile tower aren't even at full strength when we start shooting, showing how recently it was brought on-line, and gives us a bit of help. Not that we need it. Once everyone starts shooting, most sooner rather than later, the shields drop steadily. The only question now is if the tower's fuel bay has any strontium.
If the tower is fuelled with strontium, it will enter reinforced mode as the first damage bleeds through the shields to the armour, at 25% shield strength. The fleet will then stay overnight to finish the job the next day, and I'll be preparing bacon sarnies in the morning to feed some hungry men. If the tower is as ramshackle as it looks and there is no strontium, there will be no reinforced mode and we just keep on shooting until it explodes. 40% shields, 30%, 27%, 26%, 25%... 24% shields, oh yeah. We keep shooting.
The armour and structure of the tower is a fraction of the shields, so although we have more shooting to do the second part of the operation will proceed quicker than the first. I don't quite anticipate how quickly, and it's amusing to see the structure tick down almost like a timer, thanks to the damage output of our excellent pilots. Tick, tick, tick, tick, BOOM.
The tower explodes, shortly followed by the CHA and SMA, which only relinquish thirty thousand units of plagioclase, the weirdoes. And there's no sign of anyone turning up to protect their claim. That's a shame, but uncomplicates matters. They came, they mined, they got evicted.
I grab a Bustard transport ship to retrieve the ore for our ship-building projects, rather than letting it go to waste, as the fleet lets off some steam by testing TG's Oracle's tank. 'ST and Mick ... volley me to armour. I'm in a shield tanked Oracle. They then forget their drone aggro.' I'm not quite sure how funny that is, considering how it was a replacement ship bought only an hour or so ago after a previous loss. My laughter was appropriate to whatever the situation merited, I'm sure.
We give TG a ship to protect his pod on the way back through C2a to high-sec, and onwards to their C5 home, as well as plenty of thanks and gratitude for the alacrity with which the visitors were forcibly removed from our system. And now, or, at least, after I check the other corners of the system for errant towers and finding none, I can get some rest.