Sleepers and slow interception

10th May 2011 – 5.05 pm

All is quiet, despite others being here. W-space seems sleepy today, and even taking my stealth bomber for a roam in our neighbouring class 3 system doesn't wake anyone up. There are two towers in the C3 but a lack of ships, and no one is stirring. With a bit of prodding I wake glorious leader Fin up, so that we can at least take Tengu and Golem out to clear the two anomalies in the C3. My marauder gets a nice boost from the pulsar in the system, increasing my capacitor enough for the ship to be stable running my x-large booster constantly. And with my booster on all the time I no longer have to concern myself with incoming damage, easily absorbing anything the Sleepers can throw at me whilst I concentrate on looting and salvaging.

As well as affecting capacitors, the pulsar phenomenon also reduces armour resistances and increases the signature radius of ships, which becomes a big help shooting torpedoes at Sleepers. Sleeper ships don't have shields and rely on armour as their main protection, and there is probably some fancy maths that explains why torpedoes like hitting targets with a bigger signature radius. Fin says that watching my Golem's torpedoes slam in to the Sleepers 'is like watching a Great White shark take bites out of surfers'. It is quite impressive, but I'm not convinced I'm hitting harder than usual, my logs indicating similar damage seen when engaging Sleepers in normal systems.

No one wakes up in the class 3 system whilst we reduce the two anomalies to vacuum, my Golem scooping all that can be salvaged from the wrecks in to its hold as we go. We get home with over a hundred and fifty million iskies in profit, which is pretty good from only two sites. Now we collapse our wormhole to look for new targets, hopefully capsuleer ones this time. As tends to be the case when my Golem has been taken out on a sortie, the collapse is smooth with just the Orca industrial command ship used. I perform a pre-emptive scan and ignore of all the sites at home, letting me see the newly spawned wormhole signature easily. I resolve the signature, warp to the wormhole, and jump.

A tower and no ships once again doesn't look promising, although it's possible the locals are off shooting Sleepers or mining outside the range of my directional scanner. I launch probes and blanket the system, an initial scan returning two anomalies, four signatures, and no ships. It's all quiet again. A wormhole is almost on top of our K162, and it is not the system's static connection but a second K162, this one coming in from high-sec empire space. There won't be any tourists coming in to liven up our evening, though, as the wormhole is reaching the end of its natural lifetime. We continue scanning to resolve a gravimetric mining site and the static wormhole, also a connection to high-sec space and one that's healthy.

Thoughts of clearing the anomalies in this C3 are purged when we realise there is a phenomenon in this system too, this one not the helpful pulsar but a Wolf-Rayet star. The Wolf-Rayet phenomenon gives significant penalties to shield systems and boosts to armour, which we could probably overcome but it strikes me as rather masochistic to attempt when we don't need to. Instead, we export our stored Sleeper loot to empire space, NPC buyers of such items present in the exit system in the Kor-Azor region, after which we collapse our wormhole a second time.

Mick comes back from making a sammich to help with scanning the new wormhole. He resolves the wormhole, calls me in so I can grab a bookmark, and jumps to the third class 3 w-space system of the evening. He immediately spies a Helios covert operations boat on d-scan, prompting me to dash back to our tower to swap to my Malediction interceptor, hoping the Helios will come this way. But Mick thinks the scanning boat may actually be sat in a planet's orbit, which would let us catch him before he even jumps. I stick with my plan to get the interceptor to our wormhole, so that Mick can locate the Helios and I can swoop in to ensure we catch him, but before I make it back to our static wormhole Mick has the cov-ops in his sights.

Mick's Loki strategic cruiser dropped out of warp on top of a scanning probe launched by the Helios, which decloaks him and gives little option but to engage. He has the cov-ops locked and pointed, and is holding the ship for me to warp to him, ostensibly so that my interceptor can catch the pod too, but also because we like to share the fun in popping ships. But the Helios pilot wakes up and starts moving. In case the target has warp core stabilisers fitted, and some do, Mick stops dilly-dallying and destroys the Helios. He catches the pod too, even without my interceptor, and introduces a capsuleer to hard vacuum. I finally get my sluggish Malediction to his position to see only the aftermath of the violence.

It's a neat little kill, and shows that you really can't be complacent when it comes to simple matters like launching probes. Mick explores the system whilst I try in vain to recover the stranded probes, learning that the Helios is not from this system, perhaps giving us a new w-space system to find. But it's already late and I doubt the colleagues of the Helios will be innocently coming out to play when they learn that we podded one of their number. We also need to find the wormhole leading to their system first, and there are quite a few signatures to sift through. I turn my Malediction around and head home, to get some rest.

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed.