Warping in to rocks

30th July 2013 – 5.13 pm

What could be in store for me tonight? New signatures in the home system, how exciting! A second wormhole that's a K162 from class 2 w-space is joined by gas and a third wormhole, a K162 from class 4 w-space. I'll explore C2a first, as it's only polite. But jumping through the K162 gives a poor result, with a couple of rookie frigates and a pair of towers visible on my directional scanner. There is one planet out of d-scan range, but warping that way finds nothing more of interest, with just a canister labelled with what must be a really old football score.

Four anomalies and five signatures hold a high-sec connection, but I don't care to scan for that, not with more w-space systems in other direction already found. I head home and through the second K162, to C4a, where a tower holding a Bestower catches my eye. I may have a hauler to hunt. My notes don't help me locate the tower this time, my last visit being around three years ago, but the locals have had the common decency to erect their home around a planet with a single moon, letting me see quickly that the hauler is unpiloted. And reaching the tower brings the rest of the system in to d-scan range, so I can tell there is no activity. Oh well.

Scanning C4a's five anomalies and four signatures whilst loitering on the wormhole resolves no more wormholes, just gas and a data site, so it looks like I'm finished with this system too. Back home and on to our static wormhole, which hopefully will provide some entertainment. Jumping through to C3a sees six towers, nine ships, and plenty of drones, but no wrecks. Is anything happening? Why yes, Penny. Mining is happening.

Two Retriever mining barges are not only not at one of the towers, but pretty obviously in a nearby ore site. How lovely. Quite why they are mining in an insecure system is beyond me, but more power to their elbows, I say. And my gallivanting around the other w-space systems connected to home has wasted just enough time for Aii to come on-line. Good timing, Aii!

Two Retrievers mining in a w-space ore site

I make a perch in the ore site, seeing the two miners merrily mining away, too far from each other for me to even consider catching both myself, as Aii jumps in to the system and warps to join me in my perch. The only problem is that in my excitement I forgot to properly reconnoitre the miners' positions in space before retreating to my perch. Creating the perch is a necessary step that increases the separation of my ship to theirs enough to allow warp travel, but at the cost of being out of range to zoom my view in to see what the Retrievers are sitting near that would allow my warp drive to lock on to them. I'll just have to guess.

We take a specific miner each as a target, and work out what rock to warp to and at what range so that we get close enough to catch them, and get ourselves coordinated. Aii and I are ready and aligned towards the miners, so in we go. And in my haste to catch the pair I appear to have been a little unfortunate in my choice of rock to warp to. I am not in warp scrambler range, not even close, of the Retriever that's my target. But I'll do my best to catch him anyway. I activate my warp drive and burn towards the miner, and although I bounce off a rock I manage to get close enough to disrupt his warp engines before he can warp away. Okay guns, go for it.

Bouncing off a rock trying to get close to a Retriever

I look behind to see Aii pretty much on top of the other Retriever, his approach apparently having gone a bit better, but not for long. The mining barge warps clear, which Aii attributes to finger troubles activating the wrong module. Never mind, it happens. We gave him a scare at least. My target, however, is going back to his tower in a pod. I would have had him waking up in a clone vat if I had my way, but I wasn't quick enough to catch the ejected pod when his Retriever exploded around him.

One Retriever manages to get clear

The other Retriever isn't so fortunate

One Retriever destroyed, one escaped, both pilots safe. That's cool, as any successful ambush is a good ambush. I loot and shoot the wreck of the destroyed mining barge before clearing the pocket, and we both start locating the six towers in the system to see what happens next. I suspect it will involve scanning.

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