Opportunistic looting in w-space

4th April 2010 – 3.23 pm

Scan man goes out to scan, warping to our static wormhole. I've just turned up and am looking for adventure so ask if I can come along. 'I thought you'd want to'. I warp to his position and we both jump through to today's neighbouring system. Let's off-road! It looks like our arrival spooks a Proteus strategic cruiser too, seen on d-scan along with some Sleeper wrecks before it disappears. A tower is found in the system, its shields holding an Orca and Retriever, and a second tower just has a shuttle visible. The Proteus is elsewhere. With only two signatures to scan here it should be easy enough to trace.

I manage to choose the radar site to resolve, our scan man finding the system's static wormhole. I get a good enough scan to bookmark the radar site anyway whilst my colleague warps to the wormhole and jumps. The Proteus is in the next system somewhere. I go to the outwards wormhole myself and jump, and am rather more impressed by the Chimera carrier, Moros dreadnought, and Rorqual all on d-scan. And I would go looking for them if my cat hadn't just brought in a live mouse. Luckily, the mouse is cornered and I can scoop him up away from Panda-cat, returning him to his natural habitat of 'outside' where Panda will probably just hunt him again, but there's not much more I can do. So I begin my hunt for the capital ships, finding them at a tower protected by four large bubbles. There is a companion tower around the same planet, but no ships are present there.

There is still no sign of the Proteus, and my scanning colleague has moved in to two new systems whilst I've been dealing with cats and ogling capitals. He's quick. He also returns home, having mapped out the current connected systems and finding few opportunities for us to profit, particularly with the intimidating intermediate systems. On his way back to our tower he spots a Drake on the outside of our home wormhole, although it poses no problems for his getting back safely. I jump back and warp to range, spotting it too. The Drake is about thirty kilometres from the wormhole and circling it, which seems odd. Maybe it's acting as bait, but I don't know for what. The Proteus is in the system again, so perhaps the Drake is acting as an early warning system, monitoring ships coming through from our system.

The Drake probably doesn't know I am in the system, having seen our Cheetah return. I look for the Proteus. There are no anomalies in the system, so I can't rely on my on-board systems, but I have the radar site scanned and bookmarked from earlier, so there is no need to drop scanning probes and alert the ships of my presence. I warp to the radar site, holding my cloak, and find the Proteus taking quite a pounding from the Sleepers there. It looks like he is hacking in to the databanks whilst tanking the Sleeper damage, more interested in the data than the Sleepers themselves. It makes me wonder if I could steal some of the loot for myself. More importantly, if I can do it without dying. Whilst the idea appeals to me, the Proteus seems sufficiently close to the wrecks that I would be risking a lot to try to loot them, even if he has no warp scrambling systems fitted. I settle down to watch his progress for now.

A new wave of Sleeper ships arrives during a hacking attempt of the Proteus, and the three battleships, seven cruisers and five frigates are enough to chase the Proteus away, after which it drops off d-scan. The Drake disappears too. On reflection and discussion with my colleague, we probably could have engaged the Drake successfully, even if it would have called the Proteus in as reinforcements. We were just a bit trepidatious for some reason. Now the system is clear, it's just me and the Sleepers in the radar site. And some unlooted wrecks.

Like an idiot, I make a grab for one of the wrecks, warping off with some loot in my hold as all the Sleepers start flashing red as they lock on to my flimsy Buzzard. Like a bigger idiot, I go back for more. I am able to hold my cloak until I am in range to loot the wreck, at which point I initiate warp out of the site and quickly transfer the loot in to my hold as my drive engages. I manage to get the contents of three wrecks before deciding I am pushing my luck, the Sleeper frigates getting ever closer each time I decloak, and I return safely to our tower. The six million ISK of loot is probably not worth risking a ship that's worth over three times as much, but the thrill certainly is.

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