Sucking at gas

24th February 2013 – 3.44 pm

'...getting all explodey in the Widow.' Um, what have I stumbled in to? 'Nothing to see here', says Fin, 'and don't look at our recent losses'. I'll try not to, although curiosity gets the better of me and I see the death of my black ops ship. Poor Neko Ninja, my first battleship. It seems Fin took it out to blow up some ships, got ambushed, escaped, and then pushed her luck. I know that feeling. I've lost a number of ships thinking I would be okay. Still, we have another Widow in our hangar, and I'm sure we can get a replacement too if we need it.

I wondered if the events were current, as my directional scanner is showing me a combat scanning probe in our home system, but my glorious leader is scanning as she was telling Aii about her adventure yesterday. So it seems that we're not under attack, which is good. I launch my own probes and blanket the system. I know Fin's scanning, but I prefer to be active, even if it means a little duplication of effort. One new signature turns out to be a pocket of gas, leaving just the static wormhole to resolve so we can move on. Or not.

Aii would like the wormhole to remain closed for now, so that he can suck up some of the gas build-up in the system. That's a fair request, and I recall my probes and head to our tower to swap ships. I take a look in a hangar at what we have available, wondering what ships I've most often ripped to shreds in ladar sites, to get an idea of what works as a gas harvester, as Aii and Fin warp around clearing the minor Sleepers feebly protecting the gas. But I can't do it.

I have a sensation that it's mostly Gallente ships that have been used for harvesting gas, with the Exequror cruiser or Myrmidon battlecruiser excelling at sucking. I'm uncertain of my Gallente ship skills, although I'm confident they exist now, but I also can't see a ship in the hangar that we have definitely used for gassing. I pick an Exequror that we stole, but that's just some rag-tag collection of modules thrown on to a ship, like bubble-and-squeak. Is that how most Gallente fit their ships?

Luckily, a moment of clarity saves me. I don't need to gas just yet. Sleepers are being popped, so I can sweep up. I slip in to a Cormorant destroyer, an old salvager of mine, and warp to where Fin and Aii have just finished clearing a ladar site. Aii has been looting the wrecks, and now I tractor them to me and salvage. It's not as quick in the destroyer as in a dedicated Noctis salvager, but the wrecks are small and not worth much effort. My Cormorant is fine. I take the meagre loot back to the tower and wait for the next site to be cleared, at which point I warp in and warp right back out again. There were only guns in the site, which don't leave wrecks.

No more salvaging, then, but still no gassing. I would like to contribute, but I really can't by sucking gas. I can still help, though. I return to my cloaky Loki strategic cruiser, launch combat scanning probes, and blanket the system. I confirm no new signatures have appeared, ignore everything in the system, and perform repeated scans occasionally. I also make a perch in the active ladar site, where Aii's Myrmidon and Fin's Ferox battlecruisers are sucking up the gas. If a new signature appears I can warn my colleagues.

Colleagues suck gas as I keep watch

Punching the scan button once a minute is not exactly rivetting entertainment, but on reflection it's not much different from scanning my way through an empty w-space constellation. I don't even have the fiddly bits of moving probes around and actually resolving any signatures, or the threat of jumping through wormholes. Not that jumping through an empty w-space constellation is threatening, which I kind of implied. Don't hassle me, I know what I mean.

The first cloud is pulled in to the battlecruisers' holds, not changing in size until the last molecule is harvested. Dumping the gas in the hangar brings the pair of ships back to do the same to the second cloud, and then we all move to a second ladar site. I change pace slightly when I'm told that Sleepers have now appeared in the third gas site, so whilst Aii and Fin harvest more gas I swap my scanning duty for combat duty, boarding a Nighthawk command ship to properly blow the crap out of some Sleepers. This time I even bring the Noctis out to salvage. The drones didn't know what hit them.

Engaging ladar site Sleepers in a Nighthawk command ship

The second site has its gas transferred from space to our hangar, and that's about as much as even my industrial colleagues can take. The third site is left for now, maybe to be cleared another day. And with the home system still clear of new signatures, as confirmed when back in my Loki, I warp to our static wormhole to open the connection to our neighbouring class 3 system. Jumping through even has a Venture mining frigate, Skiff mining barge, and Retriever mining barge all on d-scan. Have our neighbours got the same idea as us? Or are the ships all sat empty in the tower I can also see?

The ships are all floating empty inside the tower's force field. That's a shame. And scanning resolves the usual suspects of sites, with only the static wormhole offering a new system to explore, this one in high-sec empire space. I poke my prow through the wormhole to see where it leads, just in case the connection could be useful, even though I am now the only one of us still on-line, and find myself in the Derelik region, five hops from Rens. Aren't we lucky. It's time for bed. Harvesting gas turned out to be a good choice of activity for the evening, and I'm happy to have contributed ever so slightly.

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