Easily distracted

21st March 2011 – 5.13 pm

Fin's around again as I turn up at our tower. Is anything happening? 'I am in Amarr.' I'm pretty sure that's not in w-space. Oh, wait, we're missing an Orca, and your Buzzard is unpiloted. I probably should pay more attention to the little details. It seems Fin was trying to collapse our static wormhole to isolate us from neighbours with carriers and dreadnaughts, and she succeeded surprisingly early, requiring her to take the industrial command ship out to empire space. It's up to me to find a new exit for Fin's return.

Thankfully, before she made her last jump, Fin noted all the signature references in the home system, and rattles them off for me. Ignoring those as I scan helps me resolve our new static wormhole nice and quickly, and I jump through to our neighbouring class 3 w-space system in a start to get Fin home again. My mission goes off the rails pretty quickly, though, when my directional scanner shows me nothing more than a Covetor mining barge in the system. Now I'm on the hunt!

I move away from the wormhole and look to get out of d-scan range of the Covetor, so that I can launch combat scanning probes, but only end up warping close to a tower in the system. D-scan shows me more ships too, and I ought to find them to determine how safe it is both to launch probes and assault the miner. Locating the tower is straightforward, where two Tengu strategic cruisers, a Buzzard covert operations boat, and Noctis salvager all sit piloted, scuppering my chance of launching probes undetected.

Maybe I don't need to rely on inattention to launch probes without being seen. It's true that there is no celestial object in the system out of d-scan range of both the tower and the Covetor, but it looks possible that a suitable safe point made between this outer planet and one of the others could place me out of range of all the ships. That would let me launch probes and hunt the Coveter sneakily. At least, it would if the Covetor were still mining. My first warp to attempt to create the safe spot lands at the far planet only to see an empty d-scan result, and the mining barge should certainly be visible if it were still active.

At least with the Covetor gone I can launch probes, even if there may be no point now. I quickly get my combat probes out of the system and re-activate my cloak, then warp back to the tower, where I see a third Tengu joining the Noctis. There are still only four pilots, though, so perhaps the miner has simply bored himself to sleep. Never the less, there still looks to be opportunity for mischief, with the Noctis piloted and the three Tengus warping out of the tower. My probes are already launched, making it trivial to find all the anomalies in the system and the specific one the strategic cruisers are now in.

I warp in to the active anomaly, bookmark a suitably positioned wreck, and head home to swap the Buzzard for my Manticore stealth bomber. I return to the C3, and move away from the wormhole and cloak. I appear to be unnoticed so far. The three Tengus remain on scan, and I waver between warping to the tower to monitor the Noctis and keeping my eyes on the Tengus. I end up warping in to the anomaly, to see if the cruisers leave the anomaly for another, only to see the Noctis warp in as the Tengus warp out. They aren't even waiting for the anomaly to despawn. But my scouting leaves me a hundred kilometres from the Noctis, far from an ideal bombing range.

I already have a bookmark to the cluster of wrecks the Noctis is starting on, and there is a planet opposite me I can bounce off. I warp out, turn around, and warp right back in, aiming to drop short of the Noctis by a mere twenty kilometres. It is potentially close to launch a bomb, but at least I won't have to manoeuvre to get in to range of my warp disruptor. And my navigation systems do a fabulous job, putting me twenty kilometres from the Nocits, and perfectly aligned. As soon as my warp engines cut out I decloak and launch a bomb, gaining a lock on the salvager and pointing and painting it.

The bomb detonates, shredding the armour of the Noctis, and I follow up with torpedoes. A single volley is all that is needed before I am locking the pilot's pod, and a couple more volleys reduce the pod to a corpse. My instinct is to loot the wreck and scoop the corpse, but I fight it and back off instead, re-activating my cloak, fully expecting the Tengus to warp in to rush to the salvager's aid. But my d-scan shows differently, only one Tengu left in the second anomaly, and he soon leaves too. I keep updating d-scan but see no changes, and it looks like they have simply bugged out.

I turn my Manticore around and crawl towards the wreckage. D-scan remains clear as I decloak to scoop the corpse, and loot and shoot the wreck. The systems of the Noctis were still active after the bomb hit too, and its tractor beams brought in two more Sleeper wrecks that were out of range of the explosion. I take a few seconds to loot those wrecks of their Sleeper loot, and a third wreck not too far away, shooting the empty wreckage afterwards, all without any ships warping in to the anomaly. This is turning in to a fairly profitable kill.

A Buzzard finally appears on d-scan, launching probes before disappearing, and I decide discretion is now advisable. I warp to the tower to see what other ship movements are being made, finding a Hawk assault ship, Drake battlecruiser, and Manticore all there now. I imagine the Buzzard pilot is looking for a wormhole that brought me in to their system, but perhaps also the exit to bring their missing pilot's new clone home. Um, that reminds me, I was supposed to be doing that to get Fin home. Maybe I should get back to scanning too.

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