Fighting Sleepers by proxy

4th April 2013 – 5.05 pm

Actually, what's the harm in having a quick sweep of the system's signatures? So the static wormhole leads right back to deadly class 6 w-space, after I've just left C6a behind me for this class 5 system. There could still be K162s, and they are pretty chubby. I have a technique of taking the blanket scan results and ignoring any signature below a certain strength, which will leave me with just those signatures that can be identified with generally just a second scan and, more importantly, any possible K162s in the system. I would feel like I've wasted my time getting this far if I didn't at least take a couple of minutes to look for more opportunity.

Okay, there's a wormhole. The Z142 exit to null-sec looks neither like a K162 or the static connection, but that's okay, because the second wormhole I resolve does. The V753 connection to class 6 w-space turns out to be a fairly strong signature, which at least lets me poke in to another deadly w-space system, once I see what this third wormhole is. It's a K162 from class 4 w-space. That's even better, as the wormhole being opened from the other side is the first sign of activity I've found this afternoon.

Jumping to C4a is less than thrilling. I appear over six kilometres from the wormhole, which is rarely a good sign, and exploring the system shows it to be not only inactive but also unoccupied. But that's not so bad, really, as the opened static connection of an unoccupied system implies the presence of a K162. I launch probes to look for it amongst the six anomalies and eleven signatures. And as I'm looking explicitly for a K162 I use my technique again to make scanning quicker, ignoring the weak results and focussing on the strong.

Sure enough, I resolve a K162 without much fuss, one coming from class 3 w-space. And a second K162 pops up, this one from more class 4 w-space. Already I have options, and the possibility of activity. I end up recalling my probes when floating near the C4 K162, so head to C4b first, where appearing over eight kilometres from the wormhole makes me think that perhaps I've come the wrong way. But only for a moment. Punching d-scan shows me three Tengu strategic cruisers in the system, without a tower in sight.

The Tengus are accompanied by many Sleeper wrecks, having me activate my passive scanner immediately, and a Noctis salvager appears. I pick up and bookmark four anomalies in the system, but the Noctis appears to be in none of them, or indeed in d-scan range now, although the Tengus are still close. Opening the system map reveals one planet out of d-scan range of my position, and warping across finds the Noctis, as well as a lack of occupation. The salvager still isn't in an active anomaly, though.

Okay, so the ships aren't local. There is no occupation. This is good, as it makes interpreting d-scan results much easier. That the cleared anomalies have despawned is more awkward, as I will need combat scanning probes to locate a ship in one of the sites. That's not so much of a problem either, thanks to this distant planet. Once the Noctis finishes out here I can use the location to launch probes covertly. For now, I should keep an eye on the Tengus in the middle of the system. At least, I should, if they were still there.

The Tengu fleet has left the system, apparently leaving the Noctis alone. That works for me, thanks chaps. And it leaves me in the middle of the system out of d-scan range of the salvaging Noctis, wondering whether I have time to launch probes here. No, I don't, as the Noctis appears on d-scan as I am trying to decide. Good. I warp out to the distant planet, now bereft of ships within d-scan range, and launch my combat scanning probes, throwing them out of the system and cloaking my Loki strategic cruiser as quickly as I can. Now to hunt the Noctis.

It looks like there are two or three sites full of wrecks I can aim for, so I pick one clump of wrecks where the Noctis isn't and start narrowing down its position in space using d-scan. Hunting wrecks using d-scan is like hunting ships using d-scan, except you need a different overview tab and still can't scan until a ship actually appears in the site. Which the Noctis does, a little sooner than I'm ready. The salvaging ship is a quick worker too, so I either hurry up with finessing d-scan to find this site or switch to locating a different clump of wrecks. Or just be brazen about my intentions.

It looks to still be just the Noctis and me. The Tengus are gone, the system looks clear. The salvager is a fairly chunky ship too, and sweeping up a couple of dozen wrecks—tractoring each to the ship, looting, and working the salvager modules—can easily hold a pilot's attention. I'll assume he's not paying that much attention to d-scan and just go for a rough scan, hoping for the best. I call in my probes and, well, it's a pretty crappy result. My range is poorly gauged, and the Noctis is little more than a red sphere under my probes. But don't stop now! I pull my probes closer to me, scan again, and the industrial ship comes in to focus.

I aligned my Loki roughly in the direction of the Noctis, so am in warp moments after resolving the salvager's location, recalling my probes and bookmarking the scan result a second later. I ping d-scan whilst in warp, hoping that the pilot wasn't watching d-scan, and it looks good. Dropping out of warp near the Noctis gives me a warm feeling inside, although seeing the ship moving makes me wonder if she did indeed see me and is aligned ready for a quick escape. But I am in a good position, with the Noctis moving mostly towards me, so I get closer before decloaking, looking to nudge the salvager a little if necessary.

Noctis comet

Ambushing the unsuspecting Noctis salvager

I easily get a positive lock on the Noctis. A nudge, an active sensor booster, and probably not being expected works wonders. With the salvager in my grasp, my warp scrambler holds it close and I get my autocannons chattering. I watch d-scan for any ships coming my way, almost as much as I watch the shields, armour, and hull of the Noctis get ripped to shreds. The ship explodes, and the ejected pod flees my continued attentions. Oh, that's a lovely sight. So much loot survives the salvager's destruction, all of it transferred in to my own hold for its protection. And there is more loot just lying around in these Sleeper wrecks. I'll have some of that too.

Noctis salvager explodes beautifully

Stealing even more Sleeper loot after the successful ambush

Bouncing in and out of the site gets me close to the the Sleeper battleship wrecks, bagging me some decent booty without spending much time decloaked. Loot, loot, warp. I notice a Drake battlecruiser and Buzzard covert operations boat appear on d-scan. Loot, loot, warp. The Drake doesn't warp to the site of the ambush, so is either salvaging elsewhere or simply trying to be menacing on his K162, maybe waiting for me. I came from a different direction, sir. The cov-ops, meanwhile, launches probes to scan.

I already know where the static wormhole in the system is and, having grabbed the worthwhile loot, I head back that way to go home. I don't know if the Buzzard will lead the fleet this way, and I don't really care at the moment. I've almost two hundred million ISK in stolen loot in my hold and a Noctis kill for my efforts, and was going off-line for a sammich anyway. Let them look for me, if they want. And to think, I almost didn't scan further than C5a.

W-space constellation schematic

  1. 2 Responses to “Fighting Sleepers by proxy”

  2. Awesome, Noctis kill best kill!

    By Kay on Apr 4, 2013

  3. With surviving loot, making it even better!

    By pjharvey on Apr 5, 2013

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