Taking care not to be caught unawares

3rd April 2010 – 3.16 pm

Our wallets need bolstering, so we head to today's neighbouring w-space system to plunder some Sleeper wrecks. Radar sites are a little too fiddly for tonight's schedule, so we'll stick to clearing basic anomalies. And as if to enforce our time limit for the evening our static wormhole begins its end-of-life decay just before we start, giving us maybe two or three hours before it implodes. Of course, the last time a wormhole was meant to last a couple of hours I end up stranded in high-sec space for a while. At least if the worst happens we have a route to empire space and scanning characters located at our tower to guide us back in through a new path.

The system we are plundering is occupied but quiet, so we'll need to be vigilant about monitoring the directional scanner for signs of activity. There has been no sign of activity all day, but that could simply make it more likely that the occupants will wake up now. To avoid complications of leaving wrecks behind us, and because we have no dedicated salvager pilot at the moment, the salvaging Ishtar heavy assault ship, or 'salvatar', is once again brought in to the field. We plunge in to some anomalous Sleeper combat, and it starts nice and smoothly. The pilot of the Scorpion ECM battleship has to leave for a short while, which turns out to be okay for the last wave of the anomaly but we probably need it back before facing a wave of four Sleeper battleships. To compensate, a Rook is swapped in to the fleet as we move to start the second anomaly.

There is a slight snag as we warp as a fleet to the anomaly, the second Guardian getting stuck on the Sleeper structure in the first site. Even after getting clear her ship bounces back in to the structure, the route to the second anomaly being almost directly along the structure's z-axis, but on a third attempt she gets in to warp. By this time we are cheering for the ECM in the fleet. There was some initial damage from the Sleepers, punching through our minimal shields easily enough, but then the jammers disrupt the Sleepers' systems and the only ordinance doing any damage now is coming from our ships. As a reward, our Rook pilot gets to look like a comet as he flies around with ten maintenance drones trailing behind him.

A Cheetah appears on d-scan. The question is asked if we break off. Bah, a Cheetah can't do anything. 'I'm sure the people we hit thought the same', comes the reply, and he makes a good point. I suppose it may depend on where the Cheetah has come from. If it has come from this system's tower then we may be okay, being able to spot any new ships on d-scan easily enough, but if the Cheetah has come from an external system it could be looking for targets. There are no probes out scanning the system, but it's pointed out that we are at an anomaly and no probes are needed to find anomalies, only the on-board scanner. If the covert operations pilot is smart or experienced he'll know this, and with Sleeper wrecks on d-scan it should be obvious we are in a site of some kind. As we know, and I have found out, locating ships running anomalies is really easy in a cov-ops boat.

The Cheetah is spotted on d-scan again, and then he's gone. We don't know his motives, if he is a solo scanner happy to ignore this system because the anomalies are already being cleared, or part of a larger operation looking for targets to ambush. We decide to be cautious and head home. We clear the anomaly we are in first, the Ishtar grabbing as much loot and salvage as it can, before warping out the moment the last of the Sleepers is destroyed. We leave some wrecks behind rather than trying to get all the loot, as after all any assailants may well wait until the Sleepers are gone and the capsuleers are relaxing, 'like those WHEN pirates did'. Warping back, the end-of-life wormhole is still there, which is maybe a good result of the Cheetah spooking us, and we jump and return to our tower safely with a fair haul of profitable loot. We clear one more anomaly in our home system to complete the evening.

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