Running out of steam

29th May 2011 – 5.56 pm

Glorious leader Fin is on her way to Jita, flying on autopilot, to collect and assemble newly delivered Legion strategic cruiser subsystems. She interrupts her relaxation to briefly update me, saying there are no new wormholes in our neighbouring class 3 w-space system and that the Helios covert operations boat there has been sitting stationary at the tower for a while. Fin then tempts me to join her in Jita, as a second replacement Legion and its subsystems also awaits. That sounds like a good idea, so I strip down to my pod and head out to empire space.

Travelling through high-sec is peaceful, until I reach Jita. I have to close the local communication channel to ignore the continuous scrolling of scams, which thankfully is easy enough to do. I dock, collect the subsystems, and assemble the Legion, then recall the improved fitting from earlier fights, and losses, and buy what I need from the market. Fin does the same, but for our cloaked variant. Before long I am heading homewards again, where along the way a Rupture cruiser takes an interest in me, locking my Legion shortly before I warp to the next gate. I pay him no mind.

The connection between the C3 and high-sec is reaching the end of its natural lifetime when I pass through, but we should have at least a couple of hours left to make use of it. And warping homewards across the C3 sees two Helios cov-ops on my directional scanner, indicating some change in activity levels. I drop off the Legion at our hangar, swap to my Manticore stealth bomber, and return to the C3 to loiter at the local tower. All has changed in the couple of minutes it has taken me to change ships, the two pilots now in a battlecruiser each, a Harbinger and a Drake. But before Fin and I get too excited about testing our new Legions they change again, getting back in to their Helios boats and warping away.

I mention this to Fin, who relays information to me that apparently Mick saw the same ships warp out of the tower to land at a hundred kilometres from the system's star, where they launched probes. I like predictable pilots, it makes them so easy to catch, and I send my Manticore off towards the star to land in approximately the same place. I don't see a Helios when I drop out of warp, and pushing forwards a little doesn't bump me in to anyone, but I only need to wait a couple of seconds longer to see a Helios decloak voluntarily and start launching probes. Under ten kilometres from my target, I turn around and strike.

I drop my cloak and activate my weapons systems, relying only on torpedoes as I am too close for a bomb launch. The Helios cannot cloak to evade my target lock, his own probes interfering with the cloak even if he had lightning reflexes, and torpedoes start firing towards the cov-ops boat. I surge forwards, giving chase as the Helios burns away from me, and his light ship just has the edge. I can't quite keep up, watching as the cov-ops increases the distance between our two ships, but my torpedoes continue to strip away his shields. I only need to stay with him a bit longer to get the kill.

The separation between our ships gets close to severing the warp disruption effect I'm imposing on my target, but it is my capacitor being drained of its juice that lets the Helios escape. The micro warp drive is too much of a burden on the capacitor to sustain such a chase for long, its primary use after all being to get me out of trouble, not continue headlong in to it. With no juice, the drive shuts down and my ship drops to a crawl, seeing the Helios surge away and enter warp. It was close, but I miss the kill. And in return a Drake looks to be coming out to shoo me away, I'd better re-activate my cloak and hide.

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