Tackling a Tengu

19th June 2011 – 3.37 pm

It's just me, Fin, and some combat probes in our home system today, and the probes are Fin's. I turn up just as our glorious leader has resolved the static wormhole and she warps the two of us in its direction. Having found the wormhole it's only fair that Fin gets first look in our neighbouring class 3 w-space system, and I jump in only after she reports that nothing but a can and warp bubble are visible on her directional scanner. Exploration reveals no towers or ships, and fourteen signatures are scattered around the system with seven anomalies. Tag-team scanning should whittle down those signatures quickly enough.

Most of the signatures in the C3 are clustered around the inner system, which lets me discard a handful of rock and gas sites in one scan, as well as finding me a wormhole. The chubby signature resolves to be the system's static exit to low-sec empire space, which is expected but not terribly exciting. We keep scanning through more rocks, more gas, a couple of radar sites and, oh, a second wormhole. The weak signature makes me think it may be an outbound connection to class 5 space but, giddy up, it actually leads to a class 1 w-space system.

The C1 turns out to be quite dull. There are two off-line towers, no current occupation, and no ships in the system. A blanket scan also reveals a lack of anomalies and some twenty signatures to sift through, which looks a bit boring. I was hoping for some suckers to shoot. I scan anyway, wondering where this C1 will lead me, to find one wormhole. Two wormholes. Three! Three wonderful wormholes! A-ha-ha! We have another static exit to low-sec, a K162 coming from class 2 w-space, and a K162 coming from a class 4 system. There is potential here for adventure.

I jump out to get the low-sec exit system first, which is empty and uninteresting, before exploring through the K162 coming from class 4 w-space. A tower is on d-scan, along with a Mammoth hauler, Iteron hauler, and Crane transport ship. The Crane promptly disappears and I move away from the wormhole to cloak, holding my position for a minute. The Crane doesn't pass me and as the wormhole I'm sitting on is the system's static connection it is reasonable to assume that the pilot's gone planetside for food. Locating the tower shows the two other ships are unpiloted and, although finding a second tower elsewhere in the system, this C4 is empty of activity.

Leaving the C4 behind me for now I cross the C1 in to the C2, where d-scan shows me another tower with a Drake battlecruiser and Buzzard covert operations boat probably sitting inertly inside its shields. I warp towards the planet to find the tower when refreshing d-scan now reveals a second Drake and a Tengu strategic cruiser in the system, along with the lovely sight of Sleeper wrecks. I quickly find the tower, seeing the Drake and Buzzard both piloted and possible additional threats, or targets, and start a passive scan of the system. One anomaly is in range of my on-board scanner and the Drake and Tengu are there. I warp in, bookmark a couple of wrecks, one close to the ships, one in a cluster further away, and head homewards.

Fin's already jumping in to the home system as I leave the anomaly, and we're wondering if we should aim for the Tengu or a possible salvager. I think it depends on how quickly we can cross the two intermediate systems, as there was only one Sleeper battleship and two frigates left in the anomaly, although there could be another wave of Sleepers to come. We should aim for the Tengu to define the ships we take, which will let us easily pop a salvager as second choice if we don't get back in time, and Fin boards her stealthy Legion strategic cruiser and starts making her way back to the C1. I jump home, jettison on the wormhole a copy of the bookmarks to the anomaly, and warp to our tower. Fin grabs the bookmarks on her way out, not having to slow down and so maintaining the slight time advantage from her taking point.

I board my own Legion and turn around for the trip back, letting Fin know which bookmark was close to the two ships. She jumps in to the C1 and warps to the anomaly to see the Sleepers cleared and the two ships sitting idly nearby. Pressing the advantage of having a cloaked attack scout, Fin closes on the Tengu as I drop out of warp at the wormhole to the C1, and she engages our target. I jump in to the system and warp to Fin's position, seeing the Tengu trapped by Fin's Legion, and add my own weapons to the engagement. A Drake warps in to help his Tengu colleague, probably entering warp before my second Legion was spotted, as he bounces right back out of the anomaly, before Fin or I can swap our spare warp disruptor to snare the battlecruiser too.

The Tengu is hurting badly, now taking heavy armour damage. The pilot bails out and warps his pod clear, although his slow alignment almost gets himself caught by our Legions, moments before the Tengu explodes in a blue fireball. This is how our Legions are supposed to work, and they performed brilliantly. It's a little peculiar that we took almost no damage in return, but that's nothing to complain about. We loot and shoot the wreck, and clear the pocket, giving ourselves virtual high-fives as we warp back towards the C1. 'You should go back in a stealth bomber', says Fin. Yeah, that sounds like fun!

We drop the Legions off at our tower and board Manticores, going back to the C1 to see if the locals think we're gone and will salvage what they can from the anomaly. It looks like they may, a Drake warping in to the anomaly from the tower, perhaps as bait, perhaps as protection for a salvager, and warping in myself sees he actually is the salvaging boat. It still seems a bit risky and maybe we should have kept Fin's Legion here and mine in the C1, but our experience has shown that it is often best to leave whilst you are ahead. We try to line up the salvaging Drake for an opportunistic bombing run, but it looks to be using a micro warp drive to move between wrecks and our cloaked bombers can't keep up. It doesn't matter, we got an good kill and it looks like we upset another precious little snowflake who thinks his corporation should be allowed to shoot Sleepers in peace.

Our last act is to bump our Manticores in to each other moments after the Drake leaves the now-empty anomaly, decloaking each other. Trying to align to a fast-moving ship made our flight paths converge, despite starting a good twenty kilometres apart. There's no one to see us, though, and we are turning to leave anyway. The locals don't intercept us on their static connection to the C1, the intermediate systems remain inactive, and we get home safely.

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