Getting home in time

8th January 2014 – 5.23 pm

Fin's on-line with a puppet for company. What's happening? 'Nada. Working on some gas, only the static.' Sounds mellow. My glorious leader tells me that the gas site Sleepers are still alive and invites me to kill them. Can do! It gives me a purpose whilst our static wormhole stays closed, letting Fin huff gas safely, so I head to our tower to find a suitable ship. The Sleepers won't be too tough, and a Nighthawk command ship should do nicely.

I warp in to the gas site, lock on to the cruisers idling around, ignoring a well-positioned Fin a couple of hundred kilometres away, and start shooting. And I do an amazing job of completely ignoring what I'm shooting at. Although I'm not under any real threat, I could probably do better than firing missiles at the Sleepers in the slapdash order I happened to target them. For example, popping those that are webbing my Nighthawk and sucking its capacitor juice would probably make this much easier.

Nighthawk versus Sleepers

There we go. Destroying the last of the Upholder cruisers gets my command ship back up to a good speed, helping to mitigate more of the incoming damage from the remaining four cruisers. No, I wasn't about to explode, but there's no point making circumstances more difficult just because. I finish off the cruisers and warp to the second activated gas site, where some Sleeper frigates wait for me. Combat goes much more smoothly this time, thanks to my paying attention, and because they are only frigates.

Sleepers popped, I swap to a Noctis salvager to clean up. It doesn't take long, and I bring back around fifteen million ISK or so in plunder. Maybe we can buy something extravagant! A frigate, perhaps. Or a micro jump drive. As Fin continues gassing I consider taking our Golem marauder in to an anomaly by itself to see how it fares with its new bastion mode. But despite having a bastion module, and having trained micro jump drive operation to level IV, we have no micro jump drives themselves. Say whaaaaaaat?

I'm going shopping. I warp to our static wormhole, telling Fin that I am opening it, and jump to the neighbouring class 3 w-space system. A couple of canisters are visible on my directional scanner but nothing else, so I launch probes, perform a blanket scan of the system, and warp away to explore. The planet out of d-scan range of the wormhole holds two towers, but there are no ships, which my combat scanning probes confirm. They also reveal twelve anomalies and four signatures. My notes say one of them will be an exit to high-sec. How lovely.

Four signatures, three are chubby. One chubster is our K162, the lean signature is the high-sec connection. Two need to be resolved, and both are gas and nothing to be concerned about. Excellent. I resolve the wormhole, bookmark it, and jump through to appear in a system in Kador, nine hops to Amarr. That's pretty good, but I head home first to get an interceptor. It will be faster.

Zoom! I get to Amarr almost before I remember what I'm doing, buy a few micro jump drives—because why buy one when you can buy three?—and head back the way I came. Zoom! In to C3a, where the dickscovery scanner is showing me no new signatures, yet there are scanning probes visible on d-scan. Core scanning probes too, so they won't detect my interceptor, which is just fine by me. I report back to Fin, jump home, and, well, loiter.

I know I have the MJDs in my hold, and getting them home was my primary aim, but I'm keen to see who's scanning and if they'll come through our wormhole. If it's a scary ship I should be able to evade it, and if it isn't so scary my Malediction has a really good chance at catching it. I'm hoping for my doing the catching, not being the caught. So I sit near the wormhole and wait. And keep on waiting. And wait for longer than it should take for a scout to resolve four signatures, three of them big and easy.

Maybe the scout in C3a has gone to Amarr too. More's the pity, and I can't sit here all day. But just as I am about to give up the wormhole crackles, and I get myself alert and ready. Is it a strategic cruiser? Covert operations boat? Basic scanning frigate? Ah, excellent, a Cheetah! The cov-ops will be tricky to catch, but a worthwhile target, and I'm in the right boat to catch him. I pounce on my target and aim for a positive lock, but he's fleeing, jumping back the way he came. That's fine by me, and I follow.

Cheetah jumps to our home w-space system

I decloak as soon as I appear in C3a, and there's no wait for the Cheetah. He knows he's polarised, unable to jump through this wormhole again, and is aiming to get away as quickly as possible. Unfortunately for him, it's not as quick as a sensor-boosted interceptor with a micro warp drive. I gain a positive lock, scramble his warp engines, and pulse my MWD to get close. The warp scrambler shuts off the Cheetah's MWD, preventing the cov-ops from burning away, and my Malediction has no trouble staying with its target under normal engines.

Malediction intercepting a Cheetah cov-ops

Rockets spew from my launchers towards the trapped Cheetah, desperately trying to pull range but with no means to escape my clutches. I have time to check d-scan for additional contacts, but it's just the two of us. The Cheetah's shields drop, his armour is pulverised, and it seems that both of us are thinking about my catching the pilot's pod. As the cov-ops plunges in to structure damage the pilot ejects. I aim for the pod as my Malediction continues shooting the abandoned ship, but his escape plan works. The pod warps clear, the Cheetah explodes.

Pilot ejects from his doomed Cheetah

Malediction interceptor and the wreck it created

I loot and shoot the wreck of the Cheetah, and turn and burn back towards our K162, jumping home and warping to our tower. That was a nice kill. It's been a while since I even waited for a cov-ops in my Malediction, which generally came to nought anyway, and the improvements to warp speed made for a serendipitous coincidence of timing this evening. That the Cheetah had a warp core stabiliser fit just makes the kill sweeter. And all the waiting makes it time to go off-line. I'll refit the Golem another day. I swap back to my scanning boat and head to a corner of the system, wondering if the Cheetah pilot tried to run by relying on that warp core stabiliser instead of his cloak.

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