Scanning, and plundering anomalies

5th March 2010 – 5.46 pm

A Phobos heavy interdictor appears in our home w-space system. It cloaks and starts scanning. I wonder aloud if we should grab a couple of angry ships and set up a trap on our static wormhole, but the minimal engineer presence makes it unlikely that we could break the HIC's tank before it could call for help. And a HIC's call for help could bring some big guns with it. Besides, I am told, it is probably best if he finds our system particularly uninteresting and leaves us alone. The Phobos leaves soon afterwards, perhaps because our system is fairly boring in itself, but I like to think that it was intimidated a little by the presence of my Onyx HIC on his scanners.

It is time to scan for ourselves. It is odd to feel out of practice at scanning, considering I seem to spend most of my time chasing signatures around, but I still forget to bookmark the wormhole home before warping away from it to drop probes today. I like the new feature that remembers the point in space where you enter the w-space system, so even though I don't have the wormhole bookmarked I can still drop probes on top of it to scan it quickly instead of having to resolve every signature until I find the way home. After locating the wormhole home, an initial scan of the system reveals five anomalies and two additional signatures. With one of the signatures being the way home, the other must be another wormhole outwards bound.

The next system along is also bereft of interesting sites, holding only three signatures of its own, two of them being wormholes. Both systems are occupied, explaining their lack of sites and profit-making opportunities, but we have a few anomalies scattered around. If our neighbours remain inactive we may be able to plunder a system of some loot. We head back home to our tower where the engineers form a fleet and get ready to rampage through some Sleeper anomalies. This is apparently my first fleet in my own Guardian since we fled in to high-sec from strategic cruisers, which I realise when I find I have no drones to launch, left to the Sleepers as we ran from bigger trouble.

Having no drones makes piloting a Guardian much easier, as I don't need to target any Sleeper ships and can concentrate fully on keeping our own fleet repaired and energised. I've mentioned before that the squad 'watch list' is invaluable for monitoring incoming damage. Capsuleers' names actively flashing in red when they take hits is a more direct indication of damage than noticing which of the white bars under several icons of targeted ships is perhaps getting slightly more red. But there is something even more obvious than the watch list, and that is the corporation communication channel. I can just read whenever one of the DPS ships is getting hit, and often whilst the Sleeper-fired missile is still in flight and far from its intended target. It is more advance warning than the watch list offers! I only need to watch out for anyone saying 'ouch', 'where have my shields gone', or 'zomg im dead' to know who to repair, although curiously that list is in reverse order of damage taken.

After the troubles and mocking I've received for taking pictures whilst having the responsibility of repping the fleet I try to promise not to take any pictures this time. The hundreds of pictures sitting on my system, discarded in to folders that are likely never to be opened again, also suggest that maybe I take too many. But I have almost no self-control, and I know it. I end up taking some pictures anyway, probably looking just like many other images of our small fleet battling Sleepers in identical anomalies. But the missiles, lasers and explosions can be so pretty, I can't help myself. Fin says that she's the same way, having no self-control herself. 'I keep repping Riyu', our Rook pilot, she shamefully admits. I feel her pain.

We clear five anomalies in our neighbouring system with no problems. The Megathron sitting at the occupied system's tower remains inert the whole time. In case it wakes up and brings friends, our fleet is modified slightly to start with, a Dominix swapped out for an Ishtar heavy assault ship re-fitted for rudimentary salvaging. The modified HAC lets us move between anomalies without leaving any wrecks behind, which an opportunistic capsuleer could pinch if we weren't careful, and loot and salvage is the only means of profit from sites of specific Sleeper interest. Half-way through our run through the system another engineer returns to w-space, one capable of salvaging, so the Ishtar pilot returns to his Dominix for added DPS and we get a dedicated salvager. We continue in this configuration for an anomaly back in our home system too, before calling it a night. The loot is added up and we each receive a share totalling 100 million ISK, which makes it quite a profitable sortie.

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