Bringing back the ore

3rd August 2013 – 3.10 pm

I'm about to turn tail and head home from a disappointing evening when a Retriever warps in to the local tower. Not local to me, but local to the system. I'm in our neighbouring class 3 w-space system, with an exit to null-sec that I would have used were it not dying, and a piloted Helios covert operations boat that I would have podded had I not been looking in the wrong direction. But maybe I can put those disappointments behind me if the mining barge decides to start chomping on rocks.

Ah, the Retriever is stowed in favour of a Cheetah cov-ops, which warps out of the tower and disappears. I would say so long and thanks for all the fish, but a second Retriever appears to replace the first. Do they have particularly comfy bunks, encouraging capsuleers to sleep in them, or am I missing something? I dunno, but right now I am definitely seeing this Retriever get swapped for a much more catchable ship. The Iteron hauler doesn't even sit still but starts aligning for warp! The sad news is that he's not aligning towards a customs office but a K162 that connects from high-sec empire space.

I follow the Iteron anyway, stopping short of the wormhole to hold my cloak. He's gone already, but I have a few minutes spare to wait. Maybe the connection is really convenient and will bring the Iteron back whilst still slightly polarised. And, this is exciting, the wormhole even crackles before long, and even though I don't know if it's the Iteron I decloak and get my offensive systems hot. It's not like sitting on a high-sec wormhole puts me in a dangerous position. Not like that hauler. Oh, Iteron V, it is you! It is you!

Catching a hauler on a high-sec wormhole

My sensor boosted-strategic cruiser gets a positive lock on the tubular hauler and my warp scrambler holds him close. But not too close, Chewy. On the off chance that the pilot isn't quite polarised enough from his quick journey, I burn my micro warp drive and give the Iteron a nice nudge away from the wormhole as my autocannons rip through the shields and start taking chunks out of its armour. That seems to do the trick, as the Iteron on the high-sec wormhole explodes.

Iteron explodes on its high-sec wormhole

The pod gets away, just about, leaving me with a wreck to loot and, well, maybe I won't shoot it. There are a lot of minerals surviving the destruction of the ship, almost a full Iteron V's worth. I think it's worth trying to claim that, despite the logistic trickiness involved, as the locals may not be tempted back out of their tower to give it a go.

I head home, dump my Loki in the hangar like a discarded toy, and board a Bustard transport ship. It has the cargo capacity to carry all the ore, decent shields to withstand a little abuse, and extra warp core strength to evade unwanted attention. And back I go to C3a with all due haste, not wanting to give the locals time to get any ideas.

Looting the Iteron wreck

In C3a I warp directly to the wreck, bookmarked for convenience so that I wouldn't have to crawl from the wormhole. I open the wreck, grab all of the minerals in one go, and align away to enter warp, as quickly as a Bustard can. That's not quick, by the way, and it gives a Manticore stealth bomber time to decloak in an almost-threatening manner, but at fifty kilometres distant it's nothing serious. The Hound stealth bomber that appears alongside the Manticore is less of a threat, as I only see him as my Bustard enters warp.

Stealth bomber not posing much threat to my Bustard

The two stealth bombers may not have been a direct threat at the Iteron's wreck, but I am still being cautious. My rapid transit home and back again has no doubt left me polarised, although I haven't checked the logs to show it, and I don't want to be a sitting duck on the wormhole, so I instead pick a distant planet to warp to. Mind you, I would have done that anyway, as it would deny information as to where I came from. The stealth bombers could catch me up, but not if they think there is an unknown wormhole on the edge of their system.

My ruse seems to work. I bounce off a second planet, checking my logs during warp to determine that my polarisation has worn off, and return to the wormhole to see the Helios and Cheetah back on my directional scanner. Presumably they are the stealth bomber pilots now either considering scanning or given up on recovering their minerals. That suits me, and I jump through the K162 to a clear wormhole, letting me warp back to our tower safely. A hauler kill on a high-sec wormhole and bagging thirty million ISK in minerals for my industrial colleagues has made this a good evening after all.

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