Tower prod

13th May 2013 – 5.18 pm

Huh, only three signatures. One of them's our K162 home too, making this class 3 w-space system pretty bare. It's barer since I popped a salvaging destroyer and podded a bystander, but I'm moving on from that. The two other signatures will help, being the typical static exit to low-sec, and a K162 from more class 3 w-space. I'll stick with w-space for now, and jump to C3b, where again I am greeted with seeing a tower and some ships on my directional scanner.

My notes from seven months ago suggest there are two towers in the system, one being out of range, and they are right. The tower in range holds the four ships d-scan shows me, but the Typhoon battleship, Orca industrial command ship, Bestower hauler, and Imicus frigate are all empty of capsuleers. Warping across the system directly to the second tower sees a Buzzard covert operations boat piloted but floating inert inside the force field, and as there is no sign of probes in space I think I can say there is no activity occurring.

Scanning C3b reveals five anomalies and ten signatures, and digging in to those signatures resolves three wormholes. There's the static exit to low-sec again, a K162 from null-sec, and the better option of a K162 from class 4 w-space. Continuing my w-space exploration, I jump to C4a and see another tower and more ships on d-scan. It's busy tonight. Locating the tower finds the ships, which is no surprise given the lack of anomalies a passive scan detects, and two pilots. The tower is also pretty poorly defended.

Bare tower in class 4 w-space system with magnetar phenomenon (not shown)

A couple of shield hardeners protect the tower, which in a class 4 w-space system with a damage-enhancing magnetar phenomenon doesn't seem like a good idea. Well, not by themselves. It's better than nothing, but not by much. A Tengu strategic cruiser and Orca are piloted, with a second Tengu, a Scorpion battleship, Noctis salvager, Probe frigate, and Helios cov-ops floating empty, but as the owner corporation comprises four capsuleers I suppose they couldn't all be controlled at the same time. This doesn't seem like a particularly settled situation.

As I watch, the Tengu is stowed in a hangar, followed by the other ships, until just the Helios and a shuttle are left floating free. And now some defences are brought on-line. I see, the corporation has probably only just moved in to the system and is configuring their newly anchored tower. As a wise wallaby maybe once said, moving day can be a very dangerous day.

Then again, if the pilots have brought everything in with an Orca trip or two, including the ships, maybe I've missed everything. It's worth watching and waiting, though. And here's Fin. I update my glorious leader on the evening's events so far, including the, hullo, it's a small tower lacking serious defences in a C4 magnetar system. Is it worth poking the new tower, given there's an Orca and Tengu in the hangar? 'Maybe, if they have no strontium'. Do you want to come and shoot it? 'Ok.' I was kinda joking, but Fin's pretty awesome.

I want to see what happens when Fin starts a solo assault on a tower, so I loiter outside the tower for a while longer, and watch as both ships warp away, neither towards the wormhole to C3b. The Helios is launching probes somewhere, and core probes at that, and the shuttle is in empty space. I think I'll look for him. The core probes won't detect me, the tower has no active defences, and there's no one to see me, so I simply decloak outside the tower, launch combat scanning probes, and aim for the shuttle.

A couple of scans resolves the shuttle's position and I'm on my way. I drop out of warp with the shuttle sitting near a secure can, apparently none-the-wiser to my scanning, and not particularly alert. I decloak, pop the tiny craft, and pod the pilot back to a clone vat, taking a moment to plink some autocannon rounds off the canister before deciding that I'm never going to crack that open. One down.

Wreck and corpse of the inattentive shuttle pilot

The Helios continues scanning as Fin jumps in to the system in an Armageddon battleship. I don't know what he's scanning for, as I kept my probes out after resolving the shuttle and, having performed a subsequent blanket scan, can see only two signatures in the whole system. I think his attention will be diverted from scanning soon enough anyway. Fin warps to the tower and starts shooting. The shields apparently sit at 60% strength, so the tower really hasn't been here long. 'Mr Helios is here.'

Fin brazenly shoots the undefended tower, whilst its owner watches from inside

What will the local pilot do? 'He's an old pilot, so probably has the skill to waste me', says Fin. Not in an Iteron he won't, but it seems the hauler has been brought out of the hanger because of what's in its hold: more shield hardeners and some EWAR defences. That will slow Fin down. We try to get some colleagues interested, but they haven't scanned an exit from their w-space system yet, and it will probably take too long to get anything worked out. It's not like we're serious about this siege anyway.

The Iteron is put away and a Tengu brought out. To play? Maybe, as a new contact appears and boards a second Tengu. I turned my cloaky Loki strategic around on the sight of the first Tengu, heading home to get a rather more threatening ship, but it will take a couple of minutes. Fin retreats to the wormhole as a precaution, probably wisely. 'The force field is like a high-sec wormhole', she says, noting how the locals won't have far to retreat to be effectively immune from attack. But we're not quite finished yet.

I return in a Legion strategic cruiser, but still covertly configured. We need to lure the Tengus out of the tower far enough to trap one, and we can't do that if they know what they're facing. And now that one of the Tengus has disappeared again, and I pose a credible threat to the other, Fin warps her Armageddon back to the tower, with me behind her. 'I am going to keep shooting him, if it achieves nothing else but disrupting his plan.'

Fin's tower siege provokes a response

And keep shooting she does. '50% shields.' The Tengu responds by moving Fin's way. Align back to the wormhole, Fin, maybe we can draw him further from the force field. But the Tengu isn't stupid. He comes out of the force field enough to start shooting Fin but isn't so cocky as to get close. If this is as good as it gets, it will have to do. I decloak my Legion, lock on to the Tengu, and let it feel the full force of my offensive modules. I even have a web fitted, which slows the Tengu's retreat, but retreat it does, nestling back inside the force field before we can deal any significant damage to it. Our Armageddon's another matter, though.

My Legion cannot stop the Tengu retreating inside the force field

The battleship took a hammering, partly because of the magnetar phenomenon, partly because it is fit for maximum damage output at the expense of defence. But Fin warps clear as the Tengu's lock drops. And that's it for us for tonight. We tested the tower's defences and were shooed, now it's time to go home, repair the battleship, and go off-line. At least we provoked a reaction and had a little fun. I hope the other pilot saw it that way too.

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