Stalking a Stabber

28th June 2013 – 5.41 pm

'Fleet me.' This had better not be a trap. Of course, it's my glorious leader asking for the fleet, but maybe she's been turned and is giving me up to a group of disgruntled planet-gooing industrialists in battle Badgers. Not that living in w-space has heightened my paranoia at all, nopers. And, actually, I quite like the thought of pitting my Loki strategic cruiser against some hardened haulers. I send Fin the fleet invitation and hope for the best. 'There may be a Fleet Issue Stabber.' Oh. I suppose that's good too.

Fin's trying to track down the cruiser through our static wormhole, in the neighbouring class 3 w-space system. There's a tower with no ships floating inside its force field, but the Stabber is persisting on her directional scanner. Fin's just not sure where. 'Still trying to locate.' Maybe I can help. I send my ship to and through the wormhole, move and cloak, and warp to a distant planet. Yep, I'm out of d-scan range of the Stabber, so I launch probes, throw them out of the system, and cloak again.

I perform a blanket scan of C3a as I warp back to the inner system, towards a planet Fin indicates is probably close to the Stabber, just to see what's out there. Four anomalies, six signatures, and two ships. The Vexor cruiser is new, but not for long. Whether he is local and was swapping skills, from elsewhere and passing through, or aligned with the Stabber we can't tell. If he's not with the Stabber then our cover may have been incidentally blown. That would be more disappointing had Fin's Loki not decided now is a good time to need a reboot.

Fin has to go off-line, sending her cloak off-line and making her Loki visible to anyone in d-scan range. If the Stabber's paying any attention then he knows there are other ships around. Still, he remains in space and it would be churlish not to at least see if I can find him. I sweep d-scan around in diminishing beam widths until I've got a good bearing, and start adjusting the range gate as Fin comes back on-line. Warp to me, Fin, and align to the seventh planet. She does. I'm ready.

Scanning a Stabber in empty space

I call my probes in and scan for the Stabber. It's a good result, although the cruiser is now apparently in empty space, no wormhole, no site. It looks like bait now, but I have recalled my probes and am sending us in to warp anyway. But we are only warping to the empty space the Stabber was in, now without even the Stabber. He clearly either saw Fin or the Vexor and decided to stay out to taunt us, judging by the renaming of his ship. Seriously, w-spacers don't use the local channel.

W-spacers don't use local

Never mind, hunting the Stabber was still good practice, and I found him in one scan too. But what now? We should probably collapse our wormhole and start again, and Fin agrees. Another ship name change by the Stabber taunts us a second time, but it's not working. With any luck, he'll think we're still out there looking for him for the rest of the evening. A couple of paired trips through our wormhole, plus a final one with a heavy interdictor, kills the wormhole, isolating us once more.

Isolated and ready to explore, or isolated for Sleeper combat? We have four good anomalies in the home system, and although we got a bit complacent with trying to profit from our home system, a few passing plunderers, plus a couple of poor ship losses costing plenty, have made us aware of what we're missing. Rather than look for action elsewhere, we can create our own here. One last and negative check for new signatures is made, and Fin and I swap to our Sleeper Tengu strategic cruisers.

Twin Tengus in twin starlight

We're back in to a neat groove with our class 4 w-space anomalies. Sleepers come and Sleepers are turned to wrecks, and we're just passing through, launchers firing. A second pass through each anomaly, this time in Noctis salvagers, clears up all the debris and turns it in to four hundred million ISK of potential profit. That's a pretty good result, and we get to go off-line in an almost-empty system, looking decidedly unwelcoming to visitors.

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