Catching a Keres

25th April 2010 – 3.21 pm

I'm going to rewire my brain. It must have been over a year since I took advantage of neural remapping, when it first became available, and I hoped that I wasn't making any stupid choices at the time because of the restriction of only being able to remap your neurons once a year. I am fairly sure that I tried to keep a balanced set of attributes before, as I was moving in to industry but still wanted to run combat missions, although I reduced my seemingly less desirable charisma. It was shortly afterwards that the corporation moved in to w-space and my plans changed, and I even trained my charisma-dependent leadership skills quite heavily. Oh well.

I am again on the cusp of a new change, the harsh environment of w-space letting the yarrbear inside me flourish, and I have a good idea that my skill training will involve pointy ships and supporting combat skills for the forseeable future. Checking the range of most likely skills I am to train I can see which attributes are most important whilst I have the neural remapping screen displayed. I still have some leadership skills to train, but they are relatively minor and short-term plans compared to all the other skills I hope to learn, and it turns out that my current neural map looks mostly adequate. I make a few tentative changes to primary attributes, and then hastily apply the changes when a Hulk has been spotted in a neighbouring system and I need to make a quick ship change in to my Onyx. I'm sure my brain will be fine.

I understand the need for haste when on the hunt, so I don't worry about wasting time copying the current bookmarks for wormholes, I know I can make them as I go. The fleet is warped to our static wormhole, which I bookmark moments before I jump through and bookmark the other side. We warp to the next wormhole, which again I bookmark, and this is where we hold. Our scan man is in the next system looking for the Hulk, but it has gone. He moves to the next system across and so we jump, bookmark, and are warped to the next wormhole along, holding on this side again. My Onyx heavy interdictor sits on the wormhole with a Zealot heavy assault ship. Our Arazu combat recon ship, fitted with a covert operations cloak, jumps through to help provide quick assistance to our scanner. I put my HIC's bubble up to cover the wormhole, and we wait.

There are no signs of ships in the w-space system our two colleagues are in, not even at the tower there. But that's okay, because a Keres electronic attack ship warps directly to my side of the wormhole. The Keres bounces off my bubble, putting him too far from the wormhole to jump through, and I lock and start firing, as does the Zealot. The Keres is quickly popped, and the wormhole gets a few heavy missiles for its troubles, mostly because it has a larger signature radius than a pod and in my eagerness to be a dastardly pirate I target the wrong object on my overview. I can pretend it was a warning shot across the bow of the pod, which my ship finally locks on to and helps destroy with the Zealot. The Zealot pilot then asks permission to engage the Keres, hoping that he'll get a positive response.

We loot the wreck of the Keres, but as we are unlikely to bring a salvager out here for the sake of a frigate-sized hull it is decided to destroy the wreck. A wreck on a wormhole looks ominous and perhaps we don't want to show overt signs of a battle. I scare the crap out of the Zealot pilot as missiles fly and explode unexpectedly close to his ship, thankfully for him blowing up the wreck, as I take the initiative whilst the conversation about whether or not to destroy the wreck concludes. There are no other movements we can see, except a Helios covert operations boat sitting outside a high-sec exit. He doesn't look like he is going to enter, and doesn't belong to a corporation living in our current connected system of w-space. We head home, happy with our single kill.

Hunting capsuleers doesn't earn much ISK, so we head out to shoot some Sleepers. The salvage and loot from the Sleeper sites can be highly profitable, which helps to keep us active out in w-space and provide new and replacement ships and clones for us all. It has been a while since we've lost a ship to Sleepers, but it nearly happens this evening. The alpha strike of several Sleeper battleships can be quite heavy, and our reliance on ECM to reduce incoming damage can make us a little complacent. My twin Guardian gets targeted by a new wave of Sleepers and sees its shields and armour drop to nothing within seconds. I am activating and switching all my reppers to my twin as fast as I can, as well as my maintenance drones, but it doesn't seem to be helping. I'm too slow!

An emergency warp is initiated, to protect the Guardian which is now at 40% structure, but thankfully my systems are pulling her back from the brink, bringing half her armour back. It's best to be safe and we warp out to recover and repair. I am reassured that it wasn't my fault, but I can't help feeling responsible. At least we all work well as a squad and the situation is recovered. We shortly warp back in to the site and exact our revenge on the Sleepers, as well as more in other sites, with no more near-losses. It has been a good evening overall, starting with the accidental snaring of the Keres and ending with almost a hundred million ISK of profit deposited in to each of our wallets from Sleeper loot.

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