Surprising a salvager

13th May 2010 – 5.26 pm

It's good to be motivated. Our scan man isn't able to return home from empire space using yesterday's route so I can go out to scan for a new route. My newly acquired Sister's scanning probes will come in handy, thanks to the Heron pilot who unwillingly donated them to me. It's getting a little more difficult to find our system's static wormhole, as the Sleepers are gradually moving back in, but find it I do. I jump through to an unoccupied system full of signatures, plucking a wormhole from the list on my first attempt. You have to love my comparison method of scanning. The wormhole turns out to be a K162, not the system's static, so I return to scanning. I find gas, gas, gas—okay, my comparison method isn't that reliable—rocks, and another wormhole. This is the system's static connection, leading to a class 3 system.

The C3 is occupied and there is a Buzzard visible on the directional scanner. As it is visible I am supposing it is not scanning, otherwise it would be cloaked. I warp around and use d-scan to find the tower, whilst my launched probes scan for signatures. I accidentally find a wormhole around the same time I locate the tower. The low-sec exit keeps me scanning, and the Buzzard is indeed in the tower's shields. Further scanning resolves a high-sec exit to empire space, albeit protected by a large warp bubble. I think I'll blow that up. But first I jump to high-sec, dock, and contract a copy of the bookmarks to our scan man. I even remember to bookmark the high-sec side of the wormhole, so I don't need to scan my way back again.

On my return route to our tower I poke my nose in through the K162 in our neighbouring C4 system. The system on the other side is unoccupied, but if the wormhole was opened then there is likely to be another connection in here, so I launch probes and scan. After a previous day's complete mapping of two systems but no resulting fleet to make use of the results I concentrate only on finding wormholes for now, at least until I find some trace of activity. It looks like this system is a dead-end, perhaps the previous visitors collapsing their connection in to here, but the final signature I resolve is a wormhole. But as I don't bookmark the other signatures, only resolving them until I can determine their type, it doesn't take quite as long to reach this point as it could have.

I jump in to an occupied system. Not only is it occupied, but there is an Ishtar heavy assault ship and five battleships on scan, two Typhoons, a Dominix, Scorpion and Armageddon, along with a few Sleeper wrecks. I have found some activity. I locate the two towers in the system—one with a few dormant ships in its shields, the other empty—then set my on-board scanner to passively find anomalies in the system. I wonder what I am going to do when I find this battleship fleet and am almost deterred from looking. But there's no harm in looking, I suppose. Warping to a few anomalies finds the fleet and, impuslively, I bookmark one of the wrecks and warp out to get my Manticore stealth bomber.

Two or three stealth bombers may be able to assault a lone battleship effectively, but I am not quite sure what I hope to achieve with my single Manticore against a squad of four battleships. Never the less, I jump back in to the system and warp to the anomaly they were in. Just before I jumped out when I left, I took care to bookmark the anomaly so that I would not be relying on only the bookmarked wreck as a warp-in point. The cluster of wrecks was quite voluminous and I don't want to be accidentally decloaked on arrival. I drop out of warp at a safe distance from everything, seeing the four battleships huddled together and a Hurricane battlecruiser salvaging the wrecks. I also notice that all of the ships are spider tanking, each running a remote repair module on another to improve efficiency. The Hurricane even has a complement of medium armour maintenance drones active on it.

Dropping a bomb on the battleships would only serve to provoke them, dealing nowhere near enough damage to be a threat. And even without the repper drones on the Hurricane, engaging the battlecruiser would only get me shot by the battleships. But I see an opportunity. The are some distant wrecks that the Hurricane will need to reach and the battleships are pleasantly inert, perhaps unaware of my presence still. If I can catch the Hurricane at one of the distant wrecks I may even be out of range of the battleships' weapons, giving me a little time to go for the kill. The only problem is that my bearing puts me between the battleships and wrecks, where I would rather maximise my distance from them. Every now and again, though, I have a good idea.

I spot a planet almost diametrically opposite my ship from the wreck. With the Hurricane nearly finished where he is I quickly bookmark the furthest wreck, warp to the planet, then warp back to that wreck at range. Because warping at range always puts you short of your destination, I find myself on the other side of the wreck than I was, at a good attitude to approach for a bombing run, and over 100 km away from the battleships. This now looks like a good opportunity.

The Hurricane burns his way to the two remaining wrecks, which gives me time to remember that he will no doubt activate his tractor beam to pull the wrecks to him. I change my vector to fly directly towards the battlecruiser, instead of aiming at the final wreck, and at the right moment I decloak and launch. My bomb glides slowly ahead of me whilst I lock the Hurricane, paint it for a more effective explosion, damp its sensors, and get ready to open fire with torpedoes once the bomb hits. Note that launching torpedoes early only gets them caught in the bomb's explosion, destroying them and negating the first volley. My bomb explodes, dealing the Hurricane a decent amount of damage, and activating my siege launchers knocks out its shields. The battleships don't appear to be alert and moving, this is going well! And then the Hurricane warps off.

In my excitement and anxiety I completely forget to activate the most important module, the warp disruptor. What a tool. But this is why I need to engage to destruction, or I will never learn. I quickly cloak whilst kicking myself and get out of the pocket. The enemy ships may not come looking for me, but the element of surprise is gone and there is not much more I can do alone. Instead, I take out my aggression on the poor warp bubble protecting the high-sec exit wormhole.

My torpedoes are much more effective against this large bubble than the small ones Fin and I destroyed recently, but its stronger defences may negate my extra damage. To continue the extravagant waste of resources against inanimate objects, I launch a bomb against the bubble every time my siege launchers pause firing to reload, which at least stops too much shield regeneration even if it is costly. Eventually the bubble bursts, freeing the wormhole from obstruction and making high-sec trips easier. Mentioning which, I pop out myself to check the market for missile skill books. It is quite serendipitous to find the wormhole leads to an academy system, one that has the missile books for sale. I only need to dock to pick them up, no system jumps required, and I am soon heading back to our tower to take a relaxing bubble bath.

  1. 2 Responses to “Surprising a salvager”

  2. Exciting stuff.

    I don't quite have the skills needed to mess about in high sec but I tried cloaking the other day and it was tremendous fun. (I touristed H-W system in a Tech 1 frigate with a prototype cloak).

    By Stabs on May 14, 2010

  3. Where the current massive war is happening? Wow, I've been reading about that, it must have been quite something to see the fighting, or at least all the numbers in local.

    By pjharvey on May 14, 2010

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