Covert Tengu versus covert Tengu, round two

21st March 2012 – 5.58 pm

I need to ditch yesterday's stolen loot. I suppose I could claim it wasn't stolen as such, as it all came from wrecks in our home system, but I don't think the fleet that actually shot the Sleepers, and lost a salvager, would see it that way. I didn't stop at our tower to empty my hold at the end of last night, if only to deny the fleet any more information about me, but I really better not explore today's w-space constellation whilst carrying a couple of hundred million ISK in loot. I imagine the fleet has gone by now but I launch probes and scan before visiting the tower, just in case a new fleet has turned up. All looks clear, so I pop to the tower and clear my hold, but there are three new signatures in the system.

I resolve some gas, a new magnetometric site, and a second wormhole, which turns out to be a K162 from class 5 w-space. I jump in to see how safe our constellation is likely to be at the moment, as my glorious leader had a wormhole collapse behind her as she exported some loot the other day. I need to get her back from Amarr space, which will be easier if there aren't dangerous pilots flying around. There is little to see in the C5 from where I appear on the wormhole, but a territorial control unit implies occupation. My notes have two towers listed from three months ago, unsurprisingly out by the TCU, making them easy to find again.

The first tower in this C5 is heavily bubble-trapped and has no ships in it, and the second tower is pretty much the same but acts as the ship store. There are strategic cruisers, dreadnoughts, carriers, battleships, and industrial ships scattered here and there inside the force field, but only a Loki strategic cruiser is piloted. I imagine that ship holds the scout that opened the connection to our home system. It all looks benign enough for now, although I'm aware that circumstances can change quickly, so I head home to explore through our static wormhole.

Oh my. Three Covetor mining barges, an Orca, and two canisters are visible on my directional scanner, which all looks rather like a mining operation in action. All except for the lack of mining drones and there also being a tower on d-scan. I won't assume anything until I find the tower, which is straightforward, and I see all the ships sadly nestled safely inside the force field. They are all piloted, however, which makes me wonder if I was spotted entering the system or if the operation recently came to a natural conclusion. By the way one of the pilots swaps to an Iteron hauler, warps out towards where the two jet-cans appear to be floating in empty space, and returns before I can cluster my combat scanning probes around the vague position I could only guess at from his exit vector, I would think the operation has finished naturally.

I have no miners to hunt in our neighbouring class 3 w-space system, which is a shame. At least it lets me scan, and scan in a relatively empty system when the active pilots go off-line after a couple of minutes. One pilot remains, boarding a Buzzard covert operations boat and scanning, and I think it's safe to ignore him. My probes find the gravimetric site the miners must have been in, which I bookmark in case they come back after a power nap, along with some gas, more rocks, a static exit to low-sec empire space, and the Buzzard sitting on a second wormhole. I warp to see an N968 outbound connection to more class 3 w-space but no Buzzard, and assume the pilot jumped to the other system. He's free to scan there, as I have Fin to get home. I warp across the system and exit to low-sec.

The wormhole shows grey colours on the other side, making it no surprise to appear in the dreary nebula of the Lonetrek region. The route from Fin to here isn't great but at least it's not Aridia. There may be another option too, as the second C3 will have another k-space connection. It's worth seeing if that will provide a better route home. I return to w-space and enter C3b, giving me a clear d-scan. If the Buzzard's here he's hiding well, as I can't even see his scanning probes. Knowing the wormhole is known, I warp out to launch probes, which bumps me in to a tower. Warping in the opposite direction bumps me in to a second tower, this one with a host of ships lying unpiloted inside the shields. I'll just launch probes in range of a tower, I suppose.

So many anomalies, so few signatures. I'm glad the ratio is in favour of anomalies, as resolving five signatures is easier than forty. I find rocks, a static exit to low-sec, a neat K162 from class 2 w-space, and some gas. I check the exit system to find myself in far less conveniently positioned system in the Molden Heath region, so return to w-space to explore the class 2 system. That too will have a k-space connection, making it worth exploring beyond exploration itself. Hullo, a Tengu cloaks on the wormhole as I approach it, cloaked myself. I hold for now, waiting to see if the ship will launch probes and start scanning or return through the wormhole. Maybe he scouted through here earlier and was just looking for new pilots, as the strategic cruiser reappears a minute later, jumping through the wormhole back to the C2.

Not long ago I had an opportunity to pit my covert Tengu against another covert Tengu, only to see the other ship warp away most likely because of fitted warp core stabilisers. Today it looks like I have a second opportunity to test my ship. I follow behind the Tengu, decloaking and getting my weapons hot on the other side of the wormhole, pouncing on the other ship as it sheds its session change cloak. I disrupt his warp engines, slow his speed to a crawl, and start slamming missiles in to his shields. His rather buffed shields. This Tengu isn't running, which is good. He's holding his ground and fighting back, which is just dandy with me. It's that he's knocking down my shields quicker than I can deplete his own which is the problem this time.

I keep d-scan updated and see no reinforcements coming. I also keep shooting in the hopes that some hitherto unknown quirk of my defensive systems will kick in and be more effective after a minute of exchanged fire. Of course, no such quirk manifests and my shields continue to drop faster than my opponent's. Thankfully, I have maintained some kind of awareness and haven't been pulled away from the wormhole. Acknowledging defeat, I jump back to C3b to disengage. The other ship doesn't follow and I am free to lick my wounds and consider my fitting. Maybe the other chap has extra shield extenders or hardeners in place of my stasis webifier or sensor booster, which certainly would increase his ship's hardiness. Or maybe he's squeezed an extra missile launcher hardpoint in. Whatever, I am happy with my all-purpose design and probably won't change it just to be better able to deal with the occasional strategic cruiser scout.

Wounds licked, I check my notes for that C2 and see I was there six months ago, which lets me know it holds a static exit to high-sec. That could be useful. Not knowing what waits for me, but hopeful that I could probably evade it, I jump back to the C2 to scan. Nothing sits on the wormhole as I enter, and nothing appears as I warp cleanly away. Launching probes and exploring finds two towers gone and one remaining, right before my Tengu's systems crash outside the tower holding two pilots. I come back to a still-intact ship, at which point scanning finds two anomalies and four signatures. And my Tengu crashes again. I thought I'd fixed this.

I get back on-line to at least resolve the connection to high-sec, to help Fin get home. I exit to find myself in the Tash-Murkon region, which would be much more convenient if Fin hadn't already made her way almost to the Lonetrek entrance by now. Wormhole connections are pretty fickle, so neither of us are particularly bothered by this situation. Fin even dodges past an eight-pilot gate camp on her way to the low-sec entrance, returning home along one route as I return home along another. There are apparently no repercussions planned for my having attacked the Tengu a few minutes earlier, as the wormholes stay clear, and we both get back to the home system without seeing another ship. But with the late hour that's about all we can manage. We park and go off-line at the end of another day.

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed.