Scary ships and stealing scanners

3rd July 2010 – 3.26 pm

We only have two systems to explore currently, I am told. Our static connection leads in to a class 4 system as usual, but that system's static wormhole is at the end of its natural life and prevents us looking further afield for action or an exit. I go out to take a look anyway, because I'm nosy and I like keeping records. Yikes, jumping in to the class 4 system and checking the directional scanner brings up all sorts of scary ships. There is a Widow black ops ship, a carrier or two, and, well, I don't really care about what the dozens of others are after seeing those first ones. I've been in this system before, too. Some two months ago I jumped in to this system and in my notes I wrote 'scary ships'. That sounds about right. I distinctly remember the Widow.

I check my notes to see where the towers in the system are. Or, rather, were. Either I made my notes hastily before or the towers have been moved around. Considering the population of the system, and the addition of a new tower, I will consider my records to be correct but out-of-date. I'll take time to find the towers and note their new positions. In pointing d-scan all over the place I find an interesting return signal, a Helios covert operations boat sitting uncloaked apparently around a moon. I warp to the moon to take a look and, indeed, the boat is floating passively in space. It looks like a target to me and I dash back to our tower to swap in to my Manticore stealth bomber.

After three client crashes when jumping back in to the neighbouring C4, apparently caused by calling up the system map, I am finally ready to ambush the Helios, if a little irritated by the interruptions and wondering if the pilot of the Helios has caught my Manticore on d-scan as a result. I am calling up the system map so that I can 'bounce' off a certain planet towards the moon the Helios is orbiting, which will let me drop out of warp a little closer. The Helios is a couple of hundred kilometres from the moon and I don't want to spend too long crawling cloaked towards it. I manage to close the distance a little but only then do I realise the Helios is unpiloted. There is no ambush here. But there is a free ship.

We have a capsuleer who can pilot the Helios boat. I ask him if he would like a free ship, as I manoeuvre my Manticore closer to the Helios. I aim to get within ten kilometres of the boat, placing it between my ship and the wormhole home. This will give my colleague's pod a position to warp to and jump straight in to the Helios. Another colleague gets in to a combat ship to provide some support in case this abandoned ship is a trap, but it looks clear. The pod warps in, boards the Helios, and starts flying away. And then the boat cloaks. It is not just a Helios that we've stolen, it is a fully fitted Helios with Tech II modules and Sisters scanning probes.

My colleagues head home, I stay out in the system in my stealth bomber. I won't be scanning and any cloaked ship with a functional d-scan will serve my purpose of finding the towers in the system. I find one tower and a bubble trap that is actually effective this time, but I am able to move out of the bubble littered with small cans and re-activate my cloak without trouble. There are some big ships at the tower, including a carrier, but no pilots are present and my decloaking goes unnoticed. The second and third towers are not noteworthy, apart from their locations, and the fourth is only worth noting because it has a shuttle and Condor frigate floating some distance outside of its shields, both unpiloted. With no pilots in the tower I lower myself to vandalism and pop both ships, destroying the wrecks as well so as to leave no trace. I nab a cluster of faction rockets from the Condor's wreck first, though.

The final tower in the system has the most threatening ships, including the Widow, a Naglfar dreadnought, some strategic cruisers, and several more ships scattered around. I make sure my notes accurately reflect the locations of the towers and head back to the first, where the only pilots in the system have been seen so far. Whilst looking for the towers the static wormhole in the system collapsed of old age and our own scan man came out to find the new one, which he does. He continues in to the connecting class 3 system and finds an exit to empire space. I grab the bookmarks, wait pointlessly on a wormhole for an opportunity for an ambush, wasting a colleague's time too, and then wander in to the C3 to see what's happening there.

A capsuleer is in a tower in the C3 system, in an Exequror cruiser. It is possible he will go out mining for gas, becoming a target. Again, I waste time lingering outside the tower waiting for activity, only seeing the pilot change from his cruiser in to a Hurricane battlecruiser and float passively. A colleague, the same one who wasted time with me waiting for the previous lack of an ambush, scans the sole signature in the system and bookmarks the ladar site once resolved, but her effort again leads to nothing as the pilot in the Hurricane doesn't budge. A check of the outer planets finds a second tower in the C3, at which a second pilot gets in to an Anathema covert operations boat and starts to scan the system. After plenty of wasted time there is little interest in trying to catch a mosquito of a ship and I simply amuse myself by trying to follow him.

The Anathema and probes disappear from d-scan. I warp to the wormhole leading back in to the C4 system to find no trace of the ship. Jumping through, I see no probes on d-scan in the C4 either and I think that maybe the pilot headed through their own static wormhole to empire space. But then he pipes up in the local channel. 'Man, ever hear of an SMA?', the ship maintenance array being where capsuleers in w-space store their ships. But not the capsuleers in this C4 system, with the previously noted dozens of ships left floating around inside the shields of various towers. 'That's just sloppy'. I have to agree with him, as he jumps back to his system and warps home to his tower. It's getting late, so I do the same, returning home to rest for the night.

  1. 2 Responses to “Scary ships and stealing scanners”

  2. That story is eerily similar to an experience my corp had a couple days ago... We found a similar system, though a C3, with about a hundred ships floating inside a POS bubble, including a Chimera and Phoenix. A warp bubble at 0 with the newly-becoming-popular-for-wormholes-TCU, were included as well. A Condor was sitting outside the bubble, which we stole rather than blow up (though we blow it up later while screwing around in our own system). We ended up collapsing the hole and our Orca pilot called out something similar to your pilot about the SMA. Screenshot on my blog. Good times! :D

    By Caer Blai on Jul 4, 2010

  3. It's a good picture you got. I haven't been to C3 J103326 before, according to my notes, and it certainly has more ships than the system here. I'll keep an eye out for it, though.

    It looks like leaving lots of ships lying around may be a trend in the making.

    By pjharvey on Jul 4, 2010

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