From a tower to Sleepers

16th January 2011 – 3.48 pm

Silly Penny. The heavy missile skill training to level V has completed, but apparently I don't have the specialisation book to hand. I was only out in empire space buying skill books yesterday! I thought I already had the book, though, having stocked up a while back on missile specialisations I was aiming for. But apparently not. At least wanting the book gives me an excuse to scan for today's exit, not that I really need an excuse. I launch probes, resolve our static wormhole, and jump in to our neighbouring class 3 w-space system.

Nothing has changed in this C3 in the seven weeks since I was last here, it remaining unoccupied and inactive. There is an off-line tower visible on my directional scanner, which jibes with my notes, until I realise that the one in my notes is around a planet out of range of d-scan. I warp off to find the off-line tower still there, making there two abandoned towers here now, which is an interesting change, this C3 apparently having a high attrition rate. But as I'm not planning to move in it doesn't really matter, and I scan for the exit to low-sec.

I am happy to be looking for low-sec empire space today. Whilst it may not guarantee a convenient exit it still gives better odds than an exit to null-sec k-space would. And scanning should be quick, only seven signatures to resolve or discard, along with thirteen anomalies. The signatures turn out to be a magnetometric, radar, gravimetric, and two ladar sites, along with the wormhole home and the static connection out to low-sec empire space. Sadly, the wormhole leads to the Aridia region, deep in low-sec and far from any academy selling skill books. I turn around and head home, having to wait at least one more day to fit Tech II heavy missile launchers.

Glorious leader Fin turns up and we look at our options. There are anomalies to shoot, at home and in the C3, but neither of us are wanting for iskies at the moment. We can still shoot something, though, as the abandoned tower remains in our home system, making us look messy. We can at least give it a poke and see if we have the firepower to take the tower down. I can even pilot an Amarr battleship, albeit at a basic level, but climbing in to one shows that my laser skills are limited to cruiser-size weapons, making the battleship little more than an expensive and cramped hauler with my pod in it. My best choice is my more expensive and ammunition-hungry Widow black ops ship. Fin, however, has prepared for this day and can not only pilot the battleship but also fire its guns.

We board our ships and warp to the abandoned tower to begin shooting. I have packed my cargo hold with torpedoes, although I quickly realise that running out of spare ammunition is only half the problem, as my launchers also need to be reloaded regularly. Having to pay attention and restart firing, or see our combined damage drop significantly, gets a little tedious, but at least it keeps my attention, letting me hit d-scan to check that we aren't about to be ambushed. And once we're in a steady rhythm we get a puppet out in another battleship to add to our firepower. But still it doesn't feel enough.

Certainly, shooting a tower is going to be slow. Shooting one with three battleships is going to take quite a while. And although we're making progress we are also fighting the pulsar in our system, increasing the capacity of the tower's shield and, by extension, its recharge rate. We may be able to chip away at the shields given enough time, but we may not be able to push past the peak recharge point in our current configuration, needing at least one more pilot to make a proper attempt. We abandon our attempt early, so as not to waste too many torpedoes for no result, and decide that perhaps shooting Sleepers for iskies would be a better use of our time.

Rather than heading through to plunder the C3's anomalies we collapse our static wormhole to isolate ourselves. We probably ought to have done that before shooting the tower, really, but better late than never. The Sleepers we'll engage will be those at home, more than a dozen anomalies cluttering our system providing ample opportunity to profit. Battleships are swapped for strategic cruisers and we glide through three frontier barracks anomalies without any trouble, and once more enjoy the ease of salvaging that the Noctis provides. Almost three hundred million ISK of loot is returned to our tower, making the evening relatively productive in the end.

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