Sleepers follow a Heron

21st April 2011 – 5.03 pm

A scout scouts in today's connecting class 3 w-space system, seeing multiple ships on his directional scanner. The presence of combat, industrial, and a mining ship all seem to offer opportunity in their own ways, depending on what they are up to, but locating the tower finds the pilots to be 'blue' to us and, supposedly, friendly. How boring. Scanning the system shows it to hold a couple of exits to high-sec empire space, one the system's static wormhole and the other an inbound K162 connection, which allows some logistics to be performed. I spin my ship for the time being, prompted in to action only when our static connection is collapsed again and my Widow black ops ship is needed.

It turns out that my Widow is rather more than the wormhole can handle, the connection becoming critically unstable on my outward jump. That's not good, as my return will collapse the wormhole, which will leave the Orca isolated from us. The Orca industrial command ship is rather more massive than my Widow, too, so having Fin return first doesn't help, as it only changes who is isolated. But our glorious leader has an idea, sending me out to empire space in my Widow to park it in a station, the nearest one two hops away from the exit. I return without a ship wrapped around me, my naked pod barely registering as a jump through the unstable wormhole, and Fin returns in the Orca to collapse the connection.

We have a spare Widow still in the hangar, so we won't miss having one around, and the stranded Widow can be collected when we next have a convenient exit. It's an elegant solution that keeps everyone together in the home system, and we can look for more adventure without having to worry about bringing anyone back from empire space. And our little system has grown a bit, with Mak returned from an extended absence, and Riyu joining us again for a change of pace. It almost feels crowded. Mick scans our new static wormhole and explores in the class 3 system beyond, reporting a tower and a Heron on d-scan, and the frigate not being at the tower is interesting.

Pilots want to make iskies and our new connecting C3 has enough anomalies to keep us busy, and with the Heron disappearing from d-scan it seems that shooting Sleepers is a good plan. But the Heron shows up again, and Mick is fast at scanning the small ship's position. He warps to find the frigate sitting near a K162 wormhole coming from class 4 w-space, and quite vulnerable. Stealth bombers are scrambled at home, myself and Riyu warping to the C3 and close to Mick's position, as Fin chooses an interceptor for faster target acquisition, to ensure the Heron won't escape.

We hold position and our cloaks waiting for Fin to jump in, as the Heron floats obliviously nearby. As soon as she lands on-grid we will decloak and shoot the living crap out of the Heron. Fin jumps in, is in warp, and there's her interceptor dropping out of warp. We decloak almost as one, lock the Heron, and start shooting. The fragile frigate crumples under the combined assault of four combat ships, and the pilot's pod has nowhere to go when flung in to space with little warning. We scoop, loot, and shoot to leave no trace. It was a brutal assault, but maybe it will teach the careless pilot to check that his cloak is active.

I take the initiative and jump through the wormhole in to the C4, almost disappointed to see there is no counter-ambush waiting for me. An Orca, Heron, and tower are all on d-scan, which I locate soon enough, after which I confirm there is nothing else in the rest of the system. The Heron but not the Orca is piloted, and although the pilot looks active he looks only to be counting ships to help him sleep. He ejects a dozen ships from the hangar, then puts them all back again, settling down for the night to log off in his Heron. All is quiet, I suppose we can make those iskies now.

Our fleet is rejigged, and we fly out to the neighbouring C3 in a Golem marauder, two Tengu strategic cruisers, and a Loki strategic cruiser. The Tengus have been refitted for remote-repair capability, to take advantage of the cataclysmic variable phenomenon in the C3, as well as to help ensure my survival, the required subsystems bought before I threw away lots of ISK on a deadspace x-large booster for the Golem. It would be churlish to complain about colleagues wanting to keep me alive, and I appreciate the shield repairs as we go, not only to relieve the pressure on my ship's capacitor but also to reduce the number of modules I need to keep activating, as I shoot, paint, tractor, loot, and salvage as we storm our way from one anomaly to the next.

We clear all seven of the easy and profitable anomalies of Sleepers in this class 3 system, without even needing to come back to salvage. I don't get much opportunity to test my Gist B-type shield booster, but it certainly looks pretty just being fitted to my ship. We get home with over three hundred million ISK in loot which, along with the Heron podding from earlier, makes for another productive and enjoyable evening.

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