Miners and Sleepers

22nd January 2012 – 3.18 pm

Fin's here but not here, floating in her isolation chamber for a few minutes. I'll scan the home system. A new signature is revealed by my probes, today being a second wormhole for a change, a K162 coming from class 4 w-space. Hoping for some activity I jump through the wormhole to the C4, and get a beautiful sight on my directional scanner. Miners! Three Covetor mining barges have fifteen mining drones flitting about, and a Badger hauler is joined by an Iteron hauler, probably collecting the ore that's been mined. The only disappointing aspect of my arrival is that the wormhole is in d-scan range of all of this, as well as a tower. I may be spotted before I can even launch scanning probes.

I move away from the wormhole and cloak. Watching d-scan for a few seconds looks promising, as the drones do not disappear, which would be the first sign of the miners halting their operation. Still there are Covetors and drones on d-scan, so I open the system map and look for somewhere distant where I can perhaps launch probes without being detected. But warping to a far planet only puts in me range of three more towers, at least one of them holding a pair of combat ships. Even more disappointing than not being able to launch probes to hunt the miners, locating one of the towers shows it to be blue and owned by a corporate ally. Bastards.

Fin's back and being updated about the miners and their status. She wonders how blue they are, and if 'maybe we can change that'. I like my glorious leader's approach to diplomacy, although relaying corporation details has her confirm that we really are quite blue to each other and we can't turn a blind eye this time. That's a shame, but not a terrible outcome, particularly as the Covetors are now warping in to another tower, along with their hauler. Whether this is a delayed reaction to someone having spotted my ship or their mining operation is coming to a natural conclusion I can't say. Just in case, Fin sends a quick message to let them know they are safe to continue.

We may still have a miner to shoot, a Retriever mining barge spotted by Fin in the opposite direction, through our static wormhole. The Retriever is sitting inertly in a tower's shields, though, so not much of a target at the moment, and it doesn't look like he's going to move, no matter how much we will him to do so. There are some good anomalies in this class 3 w-space system, and if we can get rid of the miner one way or another we could reap some benefit. I think that launching scanning probes could scare the miner off-line, letting it serve the purpose of getting rid of him whilst allowing us to look for further wormholes. It almost sounds reasonable, so we both launch probes and scan.

There are only nine signatures in this C3. The first one I resolve is a gravimetric mining site, which I activate out of spite, before finding a magnetometric site that could be good for profit. Fin and I discover a wormhole each at the same time, Fin's being the static exit to low-sec empire space, mine a K162 also from low-sec. Nothing else of interest crops up, so we check our exits. The static wormhole leads to the relatively civilised Domain region, a deformed handful of hops from Amarr. The K162 comes from Aridia. We don't bother scanning low-sec, having all we need for tonight in the C3, and we head home to swap in to our Sleeper Tengu strategic cruisers.

I've definitely checked that the magnetometric site in the C3 is out of d-scan range of the tower this time, making it our first destination. We should be able to slip past an inattentive pilot, clear the site, and sweep up the loot without anyone noticing. Ah, we even get a gift of a Talocan cruiser this time, a neat piece of salvage that we haven't seen in a while. And combat is smooth, Sleepers popped without problems. We salvage and analyse the artefacts before moving on, rather than leaving it all until we get spotted and potentially analysing under duress. We get all our loot home safely and head back to the C3 to clear some plain anomalies, making the most of a decent connection.

I punch d-scan as we return to the C3, to check that the situation remains the same. Nope, now there's a Tengu with the Retriever! That could cause problems. At least, it could if it weren't Fin's Tengu, the one flying a few kilometres off my stubby wing. We're such hardened w-spacers, startled by our own boats. But with the confusion out of the way we can get back to shooting Sleepers, although we need to be wary of d-scan now as all the remaining sites are in range of the tower. And it's good we are paying attention, as in the last wave of the first anomaly the Retriever is swapped for a Scorpion battleship. When the Scorpion is replaced by a Machariel battleship Fin decides it's time to run, so we do.

D-scan turns in to a kaleidoscope of ships as we head home, the Machariel swapped to a Broadsword heavy interdictor as we warp, the Broadsword for a Loki strategic cruiser as we jump. The pilot is probably just toying with us. Fin boards a cloaky ship and heads back to scout, as I hold at our tower ready to board a possible counter-ship we may need. There's nothing to see in the C3, though, the pilot disappeared. We confirm that he's gone off-line, Fin decloaking a couple of times in an attempt to provoke a reaction from anyone else there, and then decide to try again with the anomalies.

Back in our Tengus we finally clear the first anomaly, clear the second anomaly, clear the third anomaly—I'm not entirely convinced that the pilot was watching d-scan, and maybe was checking ship fittings purely coincidentally—and clear the fourth anomaly before having our fill of Sleeper combat. With still no sign of any capsuleer presence we take a pair of Noctis salvagers out to sweep up our mess, clearing two anomalies each and bringing back almost 140 Miskies of loot. Combined with maybe 170 Miskies of loot and artefacts from the magnetometric site, we've done pretty well for ourselves this evening.

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