A tale of two Tengus

8th July 2011 – 5.22 pm

My first day back out in high-sec empire space will be simple enough. Glorious leader Fin has a level 4 agent sitting out in Caldari space somewhere who she wants to introduce me to, which will involve flying shared missions for a while, so I need to move my PvE Tengu strategic cruiser up there. But I will not be leaving w-space behind me either, preferring wormholes to stargates and an empty local channel instead of strange faces staring back at me like ghosts of my victims. A second ship to move to the mission base will therefore be my covert exploration Tengu. And I think that's it.

Having a Tengu for exploration lets me travel light, not needing one ship to scan and at least one more for combat support. My second ship has nominally been a stealth bomber, but I also like having an interceptor around, despite my incompetence in flying one. The Tengu doesn't really replace these two ships, as I am hardly likely to catch other cov-ops boats in the relatively bulky strategic cruiser, even if I've somehow managed to catch two with it already, and the stealth bomber still seems to be rather more deadly. But the Tengu can survive a lot more punishment and should be able to engage more targets in its multi-role capacity, which when based from high-sec space dock makes it almost essential when time is an important factor.

I could, of course, use the single Tengu and swap out the subsystems as and when required, which would save some iskies on a second hull and realise the full potential of the modular construction of strategic cruisers. But living out of a hangar in w-space, where swapping subsystems is not yet possible, has conditioned me in to building a Tengu and believing it to be fixed, which it essentially was when changing it required scanning an exit through multiple w-space systems and finding a convenient and safe station. So it is that I already have the two Tengus, and rather than strip one and swap the modules around I may as well take advantage of the two ships.

We were lucky in getting a good exit to high-sec yesterday for our evacuation, which means I have a straightforward path across regions to drop off Pengu, my Sleeper-shooting Tengu, even if I don't quite fancy making the eighteen hops back again this evening. Instead I join Fin for some missions, to help start building my standing with her agent, and getting some iskies for my efforts too. The missions are bigger and harder than I am used to, being rated at level 4, but even though I remember once being impressed and threatened by rat battleships, my time spent fighting the tougher Sleepers means I don't even bat an eyelid when facing four battleships and half-a-dozen more warp in. My Tengu soaks up their damage and spews enough missiles to chew through their hulls with ease.

A Guristas Extravaganza comes and goes, a second mission has us collect from rats something that I don't really pay attention to, and then the Angel Cartel wants an extravaganza of their own, which we aren't going to refuse. It's all a bit simple, really. The local channel stays quiet despite the people staring at me, I can not only ignore my directional scanner but close it completely, and my Tengu is not worried by any of the rats for the whole evening. And although I wasn't going to make the trip back to our previous night's staging area I would like to get back to MCP, my covert exploration Tengu, in preparation for finding some w-space tomorrow.

I get out of Pengu and, stripped to my pod, make the uneventful journey back down to Amarrian regions. Reunited with MCP I remember to make the tweaks to my fitting I was thinking about, trying to marry speed and damage as best I can, but realising that the Tengu as configured doesn't quite have enough resources to cope with all the modules. But I remember from Fin and Mick's teachings that faction modules are superior to even their Tech II counterparts, and not just in their primary function but also fitting requirements. I check what is available in propulsion modules and see that a faction drive will fit with my modifications and, somehow not as fazed as I used to be about prices, am happy to buy one from a contract.

The only problem with buying a faction item is that even though I can search contracts across known space I can only complete a contract when in the same region as it is offered. I have spotted a bargain and would like to take advantage of it, but that means travelling most of the way back to the mission base, to get closer to the Forge, as naturally the contract is underwritten in Jita. For not wanting to make the first journey this evening the lure of saving iskies on an expensive purchase has me undocking and jumping through stargates again, even knowing that, as inevitably happens, I won't get to my destination before another capsuleer buys the bargain. But I made the journey, I may as well buy my module, and I find a reasonable price for the faction module I am after. I end the night fitting the drive to my Tengu and seeing that everything is working just right. It was worth it.

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