Interrupting an Iteron

31st August 2010 – 5.24 pm

Sleepers are being ravaged, a corporation fleet of five strategic cruisers blasting their way through anomalies in a class 4 w-space system. It sounds like they have enough firepower, so I get an update on our current constellation. A class 2 system connects in to our home system, also holding an exit to high-sec space only three hops from Jita, whilst beyond our neighbouring C4 is a class 3 system. A Drake battlecruiser was seen earlier at a tower in the C2 and the suggestion of activity is enough to make me investigate. I warp my Buzzard covert operations boat to the K162 wormhole in our system and jump through.

I locate the towers in the class 2 system, seeing two force fields on the directional scanner. I don't find a Drake but there is an Iteron hauler piloted at the tower. And he's outside the shields, unanchoring defences. What an opportunity for destruction, I have no idea why I thought coming in the Buzzard was the better option over a stealth bomber. I have no shot to take in my Buzzard against the hauler and it turns to crawl back in to the tower's shields. But I have created bookmarks to the defences around the tower, not just the side he was visiting this time, and jump back to the home system to swap ships.

The Buzzard is left behind for my Manticore stealth bomber. As I warp to the wormhole I interrupt the corporation's Sleeper operation to see if anyone wants to help bomb the Iteron. Another director is happy to stop shooting Sleepers for a few minutes to blow up a capsuleer's ship and he starts to head home. I have arrived back at the tower in the C2, picking the same array of defences the Iteron was previously at to warp to, knowing that being predictable is an under-acknowledged weakness. And although the Iteron is in the tower's shields he is indeed heading back out to the same array of defences as before, even choosing to crawl the distance in the slow hauler rather than warp away and back again.

My colleague is at our tower and swapping his strategic cruiser for a stealth bomber. He still has to warp to the K162, jump, and warp to my position, and the Iteron pilot has almost grabbed this second defence. I have no idea how many trips the Iteron is going to take, whether he will be doing this for the next hour or if he is finishing after this trip, but I hold the shot as long as I can. I am fairly sure the Iteron will crawl back in to the tower, which gives my colleague a little more time to arrive and means I don't need to attack before the module is unanchored. Better still, the Iteron pilot starts unanchoring another module after the current one is scooped in to his hold. Now we have enough time.

I am joined by the second stealth bomber. Or so he says, I can't actually see him. He reports being only twenty kilometres from the target but twenty kilometres, whilst maybe a little close, is fine for a bomb that explodes thirty kilometres away with a fifteen kilometre blast radius. My colleague aligns, I make sure I'm pointing in the right direction, and we co-ordinate our launch. The bombs sail towards the Iteron, which explodes in two big pops, never going to survive a couple of bomb detonations. The capsuleer's pod sensibly warps immediately away to a celestial object before warping back in to the safety of the tower's shields. It is a good opportunistic kill.

The pod pilot in the tower boards a Buzzard and I watch him for a bit but he isn't likely to come out to play for now. My colleague swaps back to his strategic cruiser and rejoins the rest of the corporation in shooting Sleepers. With all the recent Sleeper operations I am still in the mood to explore and look for more targets, so I jump back home and head in the other direction, through the neighbouring C4 and in to the class 3 system. I am staying in my Manticore for now, hoping that I can be lucky again and not need to scan. The C3 has a tower but apart from a few small ships in the tower's shields the system is quiet.

I check the C2 again for activity, not expecting anything and a little tickled by another colleague's taking advantage of our attack to pilot his Drake in to the C2 to clear some anomalies solo. The tower in the system is empty of pilots. It looks like there is nothing more to do, except I notice the module that the Iteron was unanchoring when we attacked is now unanchored and ready to be picked up, having been left or forgotten by its owner. I need a ship with a hold big enough to carry the defence and I have that in the Crane, which can also cloak and speed along at almost 2 km/s. I swap ships and prepare myself outside the C2 tower.

I line up the Crane transport ship to be parallel with the line of defences, so that I won't be decloaked too early or for too long. I also spot a convenient planet almost in line with my trajectory, which can act as a warp destination if I get in to trouble. I crawl along my path towards the unanchored defence and when almost within scooping range I decloak, hit the micro-warp drive, and scoop the module. Within a couple of seconds I am far enough away from the rest of the defences to re-activate my cloak but I warp away to my safety planet anyway. The gain in ISK for retrieving the module is not worth the cost of the Crane, but the fun in stealing the module is. Now there is nothing more for me to do and I return to the tower to rest.

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