Staying home for Sleepers

7th January 2012 – 3.35 pm

'I've missed two cov-ops', Fin says with a sad face, as I arrive in the home system. Hah, that's nothing, I've missed dozens! They're tricky little buggers, disappearing from sight and sensors with their cloaking devices, small and agile hulls entering warp within moments, barely giving a zippy fast-locking interceptor a chance to catch them, let alone any ship bigger and slower. I think the few covert operations boats I've caught were snared more by pilot error or poor judgement on the other's behalf than my own skill. The few I recall losing myself were definitely lost by pilot error. Missing them is nothing to be ashamed of.

In other news, my glorious leader has collapsed a wormhole by herself, the K162 from class 5 w-space gone before I can even find it. The C5 was empty and unoccupied, but could easily have brought ships from further afield in to our system and posed problems. And this is the difference between us. We can both miss catching cov-ops on wormholes, but only Fin would have the nous to collapse the connection. I'd have left it. Maybe once I'm more comfortable in an Orca I'll feel okay using the industrial command ship's bulk to over-stress wormholes, but for now I still worry about getting caught and getting Fin's ship destroyed.

It looks like I'll have a chance to get more experience in an Orca sooner than expected. Fin's already scouted our neighbouring class 3 w-space system and, apart from the passing scanners, found it boring, despite all the ships present. Maybe not so much boring as tedious. The ten ships are floating empty inside the tower, and there are far too many signatures to have to sift through for the effort to be able to offer any commensurate reward. Rather than spend so much time working through the signatures we think we'll be better served by collapsing the wormhole and making profit from the anomalies in the home system for a change.

Two Orcas make quick work of our static wormhole's mass allowance, only one polarisation timer needing to be waited to decay before we are isolated once more. Now we can board our Sleeper Tengu strategic cruisers and start to make some profit. It's been a while since we've engaged Sleepers in the home system, external fleets having made more ISK from our own anomalies than we have. And I'm well aware that the last time we boarded Sleeper Tengus mine was a different and much more battle-scarred boat. I'll be paying rather more attention to my surroundings today.

As we blast our way through waves and waves of ships, I have to wonder why I ever thought Sleeper combat was dull. I'm diligently watching my directional scanner for unexpected or hostile ships, tagging Sleeper ships so that we combine our firepower effectively, plotting a course for our remote-repair Tengu train, keeping our velocity high against hard-hitting battleships, slowing down for the fast-moving scramming frigates so that the slower cruisers don't get in range in time to repair them before they pop to make them much more difficult to destroy, speeding up again once the frigates are despatched, bookmarking a suitable wreck for later salvaging, noting which anomaly we are in to remove it from the scan results, and all whilst keeping in communication with Fin. It can all get a bit tense. No wonder I wasn't being so diligent with d-scan before, as I suppose not updating it every few seconds can relieve some of the pressure. But it also relieved me of my ship.

Four anomalies are cleared without problems or interruptions, but still we haven't made any profit. It's not a simple matter of shooting Sleepers for their bounties, as they have none. We need to loot and salvage the wrecks for our efforts to count for anything. After all, a couple of fleets didn't quite realise the profit from anomalies in our system, being rudely interrupted whilst salvaging. Even then, with the wrecks looted and salvaged, we still won't have made any ISK until we safely export the loot to empire space, which poses its own risks. But we can concentrate on salvaging for now, both of us swapping to Noctis salvagers to sweep two sites each.

No one was stalking us. At least, no one who wanted to show themselves. We both clear the Sleeper wrecks from two anomalies and return to the tower unmolested. Fin makes out like a bandit tonight. Despite the blue loot the Sleepers carry being identical in each site, and so each of us bringing back the same amount, Fin's salvaging success means she brings back 80% more profit than I do. It all goes in to the same pot, but it illustrates how much effect luck can have. We stow a respectable 440 Miskies of loot in to our hangar and settle down for the night, after a successful evening of not get killed.

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