Thrashing a Thrasher

18th August 2011 – 5.45 pm

I'm not even supposed to be here today. I got Constance awake and scanning in a bid to get back home, hopefully now that our camping friends have got bored and moved on to new pastures, but a second wormhole mucks up my plans. The presence of the other wormhole in the home system isn't a spanner in the works as such, but the connection was opened relatively early and the scout from the other system naturally scanned his way through our system. As a result, our static wormhole has also been active for many hours and is reaching the end of its lifetime. It could have a couple of hours of life left but I really don't want to risk getting Constance isolated from home, particularly in such an avoidable circumstance as this, and I ask her to stand down and try again tomorrow.

It's another day scanning in empire space for me. And I have plenty of space to scan before I'm back in w-space. The mission base system has nothing of interest, nor the next system across, nor the third system I scan. Space is looking rather empty of signatures until I enter the fourth system along, where three of them finally greet me. One is a Guristas Hideout, but that's okay because it gives me something to scan and the others will be wormholes, I'm sure. The second signature is indeed a wormhole, a K162 from class 2 w-space, which is lucky because the third is another Gurista hideaway. I warp to the wormhole and leave empire space behind me again, as I jump in.

A Drake battlecruiser and Sleeper wrecks are visible on my directional scanner, which is a splendid start to today's w-space exploration. I initiate a passive scan for anomalies as I consult my notes, finding this to be my second visit to the system and having the location of three towers listed from eleven months ago. The passive scan returns empty, no anomalies found in the system, putting the Drake in what must be a radar or magnetometric site. That means I'll need to scan his location, as glorious leader Fin starts heading my way with the extra firepower we'll need to take down a Drake.

I warp away to see if I can launch probes, and scout the towers whilst I have a little time. One tower is missing, and a second ship sits at one of the remaining ones, an unpiloted Raven battleship. And the Drake warps in to the same tower. This is good, because if the battlecruiser is struggling against the Sleepers I may have time to scan the site whilst he recharges his shields. It will be harder to scan the site than the ship, but as the site is out of d-scan range of the tower I can resolve it without my probes becoming visible to the pilot. I warp back out to be closer to the active site, the Drake also returned, and start narrowing down its location using d-scan.

I place the site around 3·5 AU distant and up and away from the planet I'm not orbiting. I arrange my probes in a tight cluster around where I think the Drake is, just as he warps out again. That's fine, I still have the wrecks for reference, and now that he's gone, and out of d-scan range, I can scan the site itself. I hit scan, shuffle the probes around a bit, and the third time's a charm, getting me a 100% hit on a radar site. My scanning may be a little scruffy but I am able to resolve the site and throw my probes out of the system before I see the Drake again. As I have the radar site bookmarked and still have probes active I blanket the system again. This time I see three ships, and warp to the tower to see if a friend of the Drake has turned up.

It looks like a Vargur marauder is coming out to deal with the bigger Sleepers, but it's just the Drake pilot. He stows the Vargur pretty quickly, swapping it for a Thrasher destroyer instead. It seems he was just looking for a suitable salvager or hacking ship, presumably having finished clearing the Sleepers from the site. I bounce back off the wormhole in to reconnoitre the radar site, happy to know that the site will stay alive no matter what my actions because of the databanks there. And as I warp in so does the Thrasher. I grab a better bookmark, based off one of the wrecks, and bounce back in to get closer, ready for action. Fin still hasn't got to me but I think my Tengu strategic cruiser can handle a destroyer.

I get back in to the radar site in what turns out to be an excellent situation. The Thrasher is salvaging before hacking, burning between wrecks and barely making use of his tractor beams, just sitting at one wreck and waiting for the salvage cycle to succeed before moving to the next. I am close to one of the wrecks along his route, and his path will cause him to burn directly towards me to approach it. This couldn't be much better for my attack. He will be burning straight towards me, the added mass of the active micro warp drive making it harder for him to turn away or warp out successfully. I just have to wait for the right moment.

Here he comes. I hold my cloak until he is moving full pelt towards me, then I spring the trap. I decloak, target, and disrupt his warp engines. The Thrasher turns and attempts to flee as I appear, and probably would have the speed to out-pace me if I hadn't got close enough to activate my web module. But he's trapped and held in place, leaving little option but to feel each volley of missiles slam in to his ship. The Thrasher pops and ejects the pilot's pod in to space, which wastes no time in warping away from dread pirate Penny. I loot and shoot the wreck, getting nothing spectacular but another clean kill. But that's all I'm really after.

The pod sits passively in the local tower. I have time to scan this C2 for its second static wormhole, which should lead to more w-space and perhaps more opportunity for destruction. I resolve the wormhole, a weak signature leading out to class 4 w-space, but before I jump I notice a Tengu now on d-scan. I warp back to the tower but the strategic cruiser's not with the pod pilot. Refining d-scan puts the Tengu within 0·1 AU of the tower, which could put him in a safe spot nearby. Or he could be in the second tower which I knew about but didn't create a bookmark for, idiot. I warp the short distance to another moon and, sure enough, there is the new contact. Excitement over, and not expecting the Tengu to do anything, I warp to the wormhole and jump in to the C4.

There's nothing here. D-scan shows me nothing and, as the system turns out to be tiny, there being only four moons all within range of the wormhole, my scanning probes show me nothing. There were two towers here fifteen months ago but the occupants moved out cleanly since that time, leaving a bare system. The evening's getting late too, so rather than scanning for deeper w-space I turn around and head back to high-sec. Fin and I finally hook up to shoot some Guristas together for a short while, before heading back to the mission base to get some rest. I'll try to get home tomorrow.

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