Ready to cause mischief

26th June 2010 – 3.03 pm

For an early start I follow our scan man scanning. Our own static wormhole is found and jumped through in to an occupied but inactive system, where I barely have time to resolve a couple of sites before I am hauled by squad warp to a wormhole the scan man has found. I make a bookmark to the wormhole and warp off to locate the tower for my notes and later convenience. But it looks like a pilot has woken up, as a Hulk exhumer appears at the tower. He doesn't stay for long, warping away in his Hulk in a direction the scan man thinks is familiar. Indeed, scan man is at that moment resolving the gravimetric site the Hulk has just entered, and one more scan later he has warped in to the same site and bookmarked the Hulk's new jet-can.

I am already back at our tower and swapped in to my Onyx heavy interdictor, the first sight of the Hulk warping out getting us ready to cause mischief. Unfortunately, the Hulk warps out of the gravimetric site almost as quickly as it warped in, most likely catching a glimpse of the scanning probes all around him. He is found back at his tower, sitting inside its shields, where he remains. I get back in to my Buzzard and move on, following scan man in to the next system. Perhaps the Hulk pilot will relax after a while and return to mine, where we can catch him on our return journey.

The next system along is rather plain, an unoccupied system with a single anomaly. Discarding lots of signatures that only identify rocks and gas prompts me to check the weakest signature in the system, which turns out to be a static connection to a scary class 6 system. I jump through and check my directional scanner. I see ships, drones, defences, arrays, and a tower, but no force field. That's an interesting result and is worth closer inspection. I don't launch probes but instead rely on d-scan to find more information. Around one planet I find a moon holding a bunch of containers, another moon with drones and other objects, and a third moon having the unshielded tower, where two Buzzard covert operation ships are loitering.

A cursory check of the rest of the system finds more towers, mostly on-line and protected but one abandoned entirely. Despite all the towers there are only a few ships and maybe three or four pilots active in the system. Returning to the unshielded tower now finds a Badger industrial ship moving items around, either at the tower or removing them to elsewhere. The soft targets and lack of pilots in the system looks to offer a potential massacre. Intelligence has already been shared with my colleague, we have an alliance member also available to help, and we form a plan. A recon ship will enter the C6 and continue monitoring ship movements whilst I head back to our tower to bring the Onyx here, and our alliance chum is happy to bring a stealth bomber along to initiate the ambush. The stealth bomber will lock and disrupt the industrial ship, at which point I'll jump in to the system in my Onyx and trap the ship and pod for maximum destruction.

I swap ships and plant myself on the wormhole leading in to the C6, ready to jump. I keep a watchful eye on d-scan too, just in case someone comes from another direction. The recon ship is in position and doesn't appear to have been spotted when he jumped in and cloaked, and the stealth bomber is almost there. The Badger has been replaced with an Iteron industrial ship, which appears to be simply sitting at the tower. I have a bookmark to the tower and one of the arrays and could jump and warp directly to its position, but am told to wait for the bomber to get a positive lock and point on the target. I am getting antsy, sensing the Iteron is going to finish loading and leave soon, and that I could probably drop on top of him before he manages to align and warp out, even if he is watching d-scan, but I hold my position.

The stealth bomber arrives and closes on the hauler, but the Iteron turns and warps out. We all keep our positions, hoping that it will return, but when the two Buzzards move away and cloak it seems that the opportunity has passed. Getting a positive lock and point on the target before jumping in a ship that cannot cloak is good strategy but time is always a factor in PvP, whether needing to wait for a target to arrive or needing to act immediately to prevent it leaving. In this case, I think it was a valid risk to jump the Onyx in early and rely on the hauler being too sluggish to react in time. But we don't know. We also don't know for sure if the hauler isn't coming back, nor do we know what the Hulk is doing.

I request the stealth bomber holds his position and watches for the hauler to return. I stay where I am on the wormhole to the C6, and our man in the Pilgrim recon ship heads back to the C4 to see if the Hulk pilot has convinced himself it is safe to mine again. At least we have the pilots available to keep our options open. Sadly, all is quiet. The Hulk pilot is not around and the hauler has not returned. The operation is ended. We return home without an engagement, but we also all return home safely and with more experience. There may not have been explosions but it has been an interesting start to the day.

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