Ruining a repping

6th July 2013 – 3.15 pm

I have time for a quick scoot through the w-space constellation, once I've uncovered it. But the home system needs a little attention first, as a research job has finished and needs updating. I can do that, I think. A quick scan shows no unexpected signatures, so it's safe to warp in to our force field and take care of business. And although it's been a while, and I need a few tries to figure out the interface, the necessary blueprint is put back in for further material efficiency research. Job done, I head to our static wormhole and beyond.

The neighbouring class 3 system looks clear from the K162, according to my directional scanner, with two planets sitting out of range. I launch probes, blanket the system, and warp around exploring, uncovering a tower with no one home, and ten anomalies and eleven signatures. As the local corporation only comprises five capsuleers I don't suppose the odds are high that I'll be seeing any of them soon, so I sift through the signatures for wormholes.

Gas, a radar site, rocks, rocks, gas, wormhole, radar site, radar site, gas, and a final wicked red-headed step-child of w-space that is another radar site. Just the single wormhole makes it the inevitable static exit to low-sec empire space, and naturally it takes me to Aridia. What a cliché. Scanning the low-sec system has two extra signatures. I wonder if either has another unfortunate corporation connecting to Aridia? The Blood Raiders in one site look local, and although the second signature is a wormhole it doesn't bring capsuleers here but possibly takes me to them. It's an X702 outbound connection to class 3 w-space.

A K162 implies activity, but also that the wormhole is known to be open. An outbound connection may lead to nothing, but if it leads to pilots they may not be aware of the connection. Jumping from low-sec to C3b has nothing appear on d-scan but several planets out of range, and a blanket scan gives me a rather interesting result. The three anomalies and five signatures suggest some level of occupation, but it's the twenty-odd ships that catch my attention. Surely they can't all be piloted or active. I need to find them to find out, so head in their direction.

Three towers are split across a couple of planets, with an Orca industrial command ship in one of two towers around one planet, and all of the other ships at the third tower. Let me check them first. And despite the number of ships only one looks to be piloted, an Osprey cruiser, but even then it takes me a little while to interpret what I'm seeing. All of the empty ships are floating inside the bare tower, whilst the Osprey is outside and throwing shield energy towards the tower itself. Now isn't that interesting. How can I catch him?

Osprey boosting a tower's shields

The Osprey is booking it and on an eccentric orbit, not being overly casual about his being vulnerable, so moving under cloak towards him would be futile. I'll try to predict his orbit and get in to position, which may be aided by bouncing off a far planet to try to intercept the cruiser on the other side of the tower. It's worth a go, and the complete lack of defences on the tower and near-lack of other active pilots—the Orca warps to this tower and back to the other, not being swapped for another ship—makes an attempted ambush almost risk-free.

Orca drops off another empty ship

I pick a suitable moon on the other side of the tower, warp to it and bounce back, and float in wait for the Osprey. It looks like the cruiser is coming my way, but I'll have a short wait and now the Orca is back. That could be bad news, what with the plethora of ships, including battlecruisers and strategic cruisers, ready to be boarded to counter my ambush. But that would rely on the pilots being aware and ready to respond quickly, and as the Orca dumps a Noctis salvager in to the tower I'm guessing the pair are generally distracted by their tasks in hand.

Getting close to the repping Osprey

There's no time to consider the Orca, though. The Osprey is now under twenty kilometres from me and closing, bringing it in to warp scramble range. I shift my focus to the cruiser and move towards him, trying to gauge when to drop my cloak. I don't think the timing is too critical, not with a potential six seconds of recalibration delay that can be soaked up by micro warp drive-burning towards the Osprey, but I don't want to make a silly mistake. As the Osprey continues to edge closer, with my cloaky Loki strategic cruiser just inside its orbit, I wait until it is inside my warp scrambler's range before springing the ambush.

Locking on to the Osprey

Decloak, burn, and get every system hot. The Osprey doesn't react before I can gain a positive lock, at which point my scrambler is preventing his warp drives from kicking in. My autocannons start knocking down the Osprey's shields as I pay a little attention to d-scan and more attention to my overview, but no new ships are boarded to come to the Osprey's aid. And, for a ship designed to repair others, naturally the cruiser can't withstand a little abuse without outside help. The ship explodes.

Osprey needs shields badly

The pilot is at least alert enough to get his pod clear, sensibly warping to a distant planet rather than feebly attempting to go straight back to the tower's force field. I'm left alone to loot and shoot the wreck, and to target the tower briefly to see how ailing it is. The tower's shields sit at about 70% strength, which isn't bad. I would say that this is a new installation rather than one that's been assaulted, hence all the ships being brought across. And talking of ships, I notice the Orca pilot is now sitting in a Hurricane battlecruiser in this bare tower.

I don't much care about the Hurricane. I've reloaded my guns, peeked at the tower's health, and so re-activate my cloak to hide once more, moving off in an arbitrary direction. In fact, I shall move away in a less arbitrary direction and head for the wormhole. The pod pilot is now in a scanning boat and both pilots are aware of my presence. I can't do much more here, and what few signatures there are probably only hold another exit to low-sec. I've had some fun, got a kill, so I may as well head home for a celebratory sammich. I can always come back later.

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