Staying out for a salvager

2nd July 2011 – 3.09 pm

Intelligence puts our lingering hostiles out of our home w-space system, and hopefully it is safe to go back. But getting home is not as simple as scanning from empire space, because to reach a specific w-space system you need to scan from the inside out. This is why Constance is sitting undisturbed in her Buzzard covert operations boat in our home system, and I wake her up to scan an exit for me to return through. And scanning looks to be pretty simple again, a wormhole found on the outskirts of our system as a first hit.

Warping to the wormhole doesn't put Constance at a connection to class 3 w-space, though, instead she is staring in to the blister of a K162 from class 6 w-space. Although not an impediment to returning home, the connection to the C6 may result in my sitting inside our shields for the rest of the evening, avoiding any large fleet the C6 potentially holds. Instead of going home I thank Constance and let her get back to watching vids, as I spend another day out in empire space.

As it is in w-space, my routine begins by scanning the system I'm in. Unlike w-space, there is no guarantee of finding a wormhole, and I have to jump to and scan four systems before I find my first wormhole of the evening, and even this one is reaching the end of its natural lifetime. Being in a combat scanning boat and facing a K162 coming from class 2 w-space I am happy to jump through the EOL wormhole to take a look in the system. After all, this is probably one of the C2's static wormholes and, as it leads out to high-sec empire space, should it collapse it will be replaced by another I can resolve and exit through.

It looks like my choice to enter the system could prove fruitful, as already my directional scanner is showing me an Abaddon battleship in the system with some Sleeper wrecks. A passive scan and tight d-scan beam finds the anomaly easily enough and, hullo, a Noctis salvager is warping in already. I align to the anomaly and start updating d-scan regularly, watching for signs of the Abaddon leaving. My strategic cruiser doesn't have the high alpha strike of a stealth bomber, and although I could probably survive a battleship's attentions long enough to pop a Noctis, and no doubt outrun it should it also have a warp disruptor fitted, I haven't had this Tengu long and would rather not challenge it quite yet.

My luck is in. First the Abaddon's drones disappear from d-scan, then the battleship itself warps out of the anomaly, all noted from d-scan. Already aligned, I am in warp to the anomaly immediately, hoping to strike before the efficient salvaging ship can finish and exit itself. I hold my cloak until almost out of warp, only doing so when confirming that I am already close enough to engage the Noctis, revealing myself as my warp engines cut out. Within seconds the Noctis is locked, pointed, and missiles are slamming in to its hull. The pilot's pod warps through the exploding hull, easily evading my Tengu's relatively sluggish targeting systems, and I am left surrounded by wrecks.

I ambushed the salvager a little too quickly, before he'd really got started, leaving me nothing to loot from the wreck of the Noctis. I consider grabbing some of the loot from the Sleeper wrecks but realise that this is a C2 system and it's perhaps not worth the effort, particularly if a retaliatory strike could be heading my way. I haven't even stopped to look around this system yet, only entering a couple of minutes ago, so I re-activate my cloak and warp off to find the local tower. And at the tower is the escaped pod, a second Noctis, and a Purifier stealth bomber. A Drake battlecruiser warps in seconds after I arrive, perhaps returning from looking for me.

The Purifier and Drake warp out, the other Noctis not being used, and it looks to me like the battlecruiser will be salvaging with a little extra protection from the stealth bomber. That's cool, I'm more than happy with my little hit-and-run, and head back to the wormhole to return to empire space. Shortly after I jump out the wormhole flares behind me, and I wait to see a shuttle appear before returning directly to the C2. I imagine he just came to check that I was out of their system, which he could confirm with my presence in the high-sec system's local communication channel.

I leave the wormhole behind me as I warp to the first stargate on the short trip back to my mission base, another successful sortie in my scanning Tengu complete. And with any luck this will be the last night I spend in dock, as I will again look to return to the home w-space system tomorrow. It's been a productive break out in empire space, but it's just not the same as operating from a tower in w-space with my friends.

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