Ventilating a Vexor

9th June 2010 – 5.23 pm

The previous static wormhole is dead, I must find the new one to begin today's adventure. Jumping through the static wormhole, once resolved, reveals only celestial bodies within range of the directional scanner, plus one giant secure can. I launch probes and prepare to scan, bookmarking the wormhole home before warping to the lone planet having moons which is out of range of d-scan. The planet holds no secrets, the system is unoccupied. With no one here, a bunch of anomalies to clear, and no other wormholes leading in or out, the system looks good for Sleeper operations. However, there is no fleet and I am not expecting one for hours. I look for further exploration by scanning for the system's static wormhole.

I find mostly rocks and gas in my scanning efforts, the diminishing list of gradually weaker signatures suggests I may be looking for a connection to a C5. I resolve the wormhole eventually and find that it does indeed lead to a class 5 w-space system, and I jump through to see two Tengu strategic cruisers on d-scan. The Tech III cruisers are not alone, though, appearing with a host of Sleeper wrecks. I bookmark the return wormhole but don't launch probes yet, instead I use my passive on-board scanner to look for possible anomalies to locate the combat ships. My scanner finds nothing within range of the wormhole and I warp off to look for a tower in this system, finding one at a distant planet. Both Tengu cruisers and the tower share the same name—not just a prefix—and I draw the obvious conclusion that this tower is the base of the ships. There are warp bubbles weakly protecting the tower, so I move away from them and make a bookmark for safer travel should I need to return here later.

A Vexor cruiser joins the two Tengus on d-scan, its incongruity suggesting it as being a salvaging vessel. I return to looking for possible anomalies passively, scanning from a more central location in the system than the wormhole. Two anomalies are revealed, one of which is in the approximate direction of many Sleeper wrecks. I warp to the anomaly and find that, sure enough, this site has been cleared of Sleepers and only wrecks remain. It is time to swap in to something more destructive, my Manticore stealth bomber feeling appropriate. I bookmark two wrecks, one at either end of the cluster to increase my opportunity, and return through the C4 to the corporation tower as quickly as possible. Before I jump out of the system, I make sure to bookmark the second anomaly too.

When I jump back in to the C5 I am careful to move away from the wormhole as covertly as possible. No ships appear on d-scan though, which is good, particularly as the Sleeper wrecks are within d-scan range of the wormhole. I probably remain unnoticed. A quick check of the system map lets me deduce the position of the wrecks in relation to the wormhole's location, and I warp in to the site using the more appropriate wreck's bookmark so that my cloak won't be disrupted. Once in the site, a bit of manoeuvring lets me align my Manticore with the wrecks, ensuring I am in the same approximate vertical position and in a good position to get to most of the wrecks quickly, but without risking being decloaked should another ship warp in. Now I wait.

PvP engagements can seem to be full of contradictions on occasions. I continually impress the importance of quick decisions, yet here I am waiting for a ship to arrive. The truth is that both decisiveness and patience are required. The right opportunity needs to arise or plans will go awry, and waiting for that opportunity often requires patience. In fact, had I been slower in my actions I would perhaps not be sitting in this anomaly waiting for a salvager to turn up, because the anomaly has disappeared. The time it took for me to make the journey home, swap ships, and return has caused the anomaly to despawn, leaving only the wrecks. Had I been slower in my Buzzard the anomaly would not have shown up the on-board scanner results. That the salvager hasn't turned up yet simply makes the opportunity more appealing, as being ambushed in a despawned anomaly with no sign of probes on d-scan will be more unexpected.

As I wait I ponder my options. Launching a bomb would give a strong initial strike but would put me out of range to activate my warp disruptor and the time it takes for me to get within range gives the salvager time to warp out safely. Relying solely on torpedoes, on the other hand, may take too long and give time for reinforcements to arrive and force me to flee. I decide to risk a bomb launch and to concentrate on getting the ship's engines disrupted afterwards.

My patience pays off, as the Vexor finally warps in. Indeed, he warps in to a point that is tantalisingly close to bombing range. I manoeuvre to line him up and get some momentum, taking care to avoid being decloaked by wrecks, and my position looks excellent. I drop my cloak and launch the bomb. Before the bomb explodes I lock the Vexor and start to move closer, trying not to get too excited and get caught in my own bomb blast. The bomb hits, I activate my torpedoes and reheat and burn towards the cruiser all launchers firing, disrupting the target's engines as soon as I am within range. He doesn't warp out! I keep closing on him, torpedoes blasting through his armour, activating all my systems to increase his signature radius and slow down his maximum velocity, and soon enough his hull collapses and the Vexor explodes.

The pilot's pod warps away safely. My continued approach puts me close enough to loot the wreck without much pause, only leaving behind the prototype cloaking device for lack of room in my hold. I move away, re-activate my cloak and, rather than impulsively warping away, I slowly move away from the wreck in an arbitrary direction to see what happens next. A Scorpion warps in to the site and moves around a little, but doesn't have much more to do. As I watch I see what I managed to loot. Oh, right, the loot. It looks like I got a little over-excited again, launching my bomb almost as soon as the Vexor started salvaging. Had I waited a little longer, until he had nearly finished, I could have perhaps had a much more profitable haul. This is a point to remember for future occasions. Even so, three melted nanoribbons is a lucky result.

The Scorpion warps away after a while, disappearing from d-scan shortly afterwards. I warp to the system's tower to see what is happening, finding a Cyclone battleship and Brutix battlecruiser in the shields. It looks like the Brutix will continue the salvaging operation with the Cyclone as protection. The two ships warp off and I head back to the cleared anomaly, presumably following the other two ships. Indeed, the Brutix salvages the rest of the wrecks and the Cyclone sits and watches. Once again I have struck fear in to the hearts of other caspuleers. But even if I had another bomb loaded I wouldn't engage again, as I would not be able to engage to the kill and would only risk my own ship. I instead head home, satisfied with my result.

Jumping through the wormhole to the C4 system shows me where the Scorpion went, as it sits menacingly on the C4-side of the wormhole to their system. I calmly move away from the wormhole and cloak, almost enjoying letting the Scorpion pilot see me. I like that they now know I stayed for so long in their system, making them think that I was ready to strike again. And if they see me leave they may continue that second anomaly as normal, as I noticed more wrecks appear on d-scan before I destroyed their the salvager, which may encourage me to come back. But, for now, I return home and drop off my meagre but satisfying piratical loot.

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