Resolving the Prophecy

31st July 2011 – 3.29 pm

Chomping down a sammich makes the rumblings in my tummy as quiet as those in w-space currently. Roaming through our scanned constellation finds our neighbouring class 4 system empty, and the C5 next along the route quiet, as a new Tengu strategic cruiser appears at the tower only to log off again within a couple of minutes. The second C4 in our constellation has a pilot awake, and even though he's tantalisingly piloting a Covetor mining barge this system has been fully scanned already and there are no gravimetric sites to be found. I suspect this Covetor's going nowhere for now. A second pilot arrives, boards a Scorpion battleship, and, well, sits there doing nothing. I'm moving on.

I've caught up with Mick on his own roam, and we share the scouting duties between us as we pass through empty class 2 w-space to another boring C4. We scan the system, having reached the previous limit of our exploration, and a wormhole to more class 4 w-space is resolved. Jumping in finds a tower but no ships, and we easily scan through the four signatures to find another static connection to a class 4 w-space system. We continue jumping through today's chain of wormholes to be presented with empty space again, but only within directional scanner-range of the K162. Performing a blanket scan of the system reveals three ships amongst a large number of anomalies and a bunch of signatures.

Warping around locates the three ships, an Iteron hauler sitting unpiloted at a tower along with two piloted Covetors. I keep eyes on the ships as Mick discreetly scans for mining sites and wormholes out of d-scan range of the tower. He resolves one of each, the wormhole being the system's static connection to class 3 w-space. The Covetors aren't moving, so we will, jumping in to the C3 to see a tower, Hurricane, Prophecy, and Noctis salvager on d-scan. There are no wrecks within range, so it doesn't seem likely that the two battlecruisers are shooting Sleepers, but they both drop off d-scan, putting them elsewhere in the system.

Locating the tower in the C3 finds the Hurricane returned from wherever he has been, with the Prophecy still at large. I sweep d-scan around to get a bearing on him, soon placing him in apparently empty space. There are no wrecks and a canister hasn't been jettisoned, and even though he may be harvesting gas he could just as well be camping a wormhole. Either way, to get to him I will need to use combat probes to scan his position, and checking the system map shows the C3 to be too small to get out of d-scan range of both the Prophecy and the tower. But the Hurricane pilot has swapped to a Cheetah covert operations boat and has disappeared, and as the K162 we entered through is out of d-scan range of the Prophecy but not the now-empty tower I warp there to launch probes.

With my probes thrown far out of the system I can get to the task of positioning their virtual boxes around where I think the Prophecy is. I return to get as close to the battlecruiser as the planets will allow and start refining my d-scan search for the ship. He warps out at one point, back to the tower, where Mick confirms the ship has gas harvester modules fitted. It looks like we have a target. As a Tengu is boarded to swat the ladar site Sleepers, Mick heads homewards to collect a couple more colleagues who would like to join in with slaughtering a gas miner. The three ships start making their way towards us, but as we have scanned ourselves deeper in to the constellation since the earlier bookmarks were copied Mick has to guide them from the half-way point.

It's a fair few jumps between this class 3 w-space system and the C5 bivouac, which takes some time to traverse. Thankfully, this time lets the Tengu clear the Sleepers for the Prophecy to return to sucking gas in to his hold. We also can talk strategy. We know there is a second pilot available, and we know that if we all drop on top of the Prophecy the second pilot won't dare come to engage us, particularly as we will have a heavy interdictor for trapping pods. But if I hit the Prophecy alone in my scanning Tengu then maybe we'll provoke a response. It's not likely, which is why I'll be calling the fleet to jump in and warp to my position when the Prophecy hits structure, so we can bubble the ship and ensure a podding today.

We have our plan, the fleet is sitting on the wormhole, and my probes are positioned. I punch 'scan', my probes give me a lovely 100% hit, and I warp in to greet the battlecruiser with missiles. The Prophecy is snared, not breaking my warp disruption effect and not shooting back. This looks like it will be easy, although it takes a bit of shooting to break through the ship's armour. The Tengu doesn't come to the pilot's aid, however, which is a little disappointing, and as the Prophecy's armour drops below 10% I call the ship as being in structure, signalling the fleet to jump and warp. But it's too late.

The Prophecy's armour may be strong but its hull is made of paper. One more volley is all it takes to blast completely through the structure and shower my ship with debris, and despite trying to get a lock I watch impotently as the pod warps away from my clutches. All I can do is apologise to my colleagues, but they are good-natured about the situation, happy with the kill and more disappointed that we once again couldn't lure out a bigger target. We loiter for a bit but only get a verbal response, and I have to rely on my translator to understand the Russian. 'Run now and wait for revenge', I think is directed our way, which it looks like we're doing, but with no more targets there is little else to do but head homewards.

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