Hitting it big with a Heron

4th August 2013 – 3.35 pm

Pilots or rats, either works for me. No extra signatures in the home system pushes me through our static wormhole to the neighbouring class 3 w-space system, where I see ships. Ships on my directional scanner, but ships all the same. A Nemesis stealth bomber is neither here nor there, but a Maelstrom battleship and four Drake battlecruisers must be up to something. Then again, there aren't any wrecks, so maybe not. Let me find the tower.

I locate the tower and warp to it as a Mammoth hauler appears on d-scan, which looks good to me. But dropping out of warp at the tower has me confused. The only ship piloted is the Nemesis, with not even the newly arrived hauler having a capsuleer aboard. A closer look at the sole piloted ship has it sitting on top of a hangar with the Mammoth nearby, so it seems that the ship has simply been ejected. Seeing as the tower is owned by a six-capsuleer corporation, I imagine the pilot of the Nemesis is trying to show some strength. Or maybe indulging in some light treason.

Nemesis and ejected Mammoth

No more ships are ejected, or warped out of the tower suspiciously, so I explore the system and launch probes. And what the bloody hell? Opening the system map sees a corporate bookmark to the static exit to low-sec. The bookmark isn't in our folder, which must make it belong to our splinter group in class 5 w-space. Sure enough, their constellation links to ours, or ours to theirs, by the way of an N770 outbound link from C3a. That would be more interesting if more pilots were on-line, or I could squeeze a dreadnought through the connecting wormholes. For the moment, I'll treat it as another wormhole.

So our C5 colleagues have been this way and scanned. That was a few hours ago, has anything changed since then? Scanning the handful of signatures suggests so, as I find two more wormholes amongst a couple of pockets of gas. The K162 from high-sec could be convenient, and I let the C5 people know about it, and the C2 K162 gives me more w-space to explore. Jumping to C2a has nothing visible on d-scan, but with only two anomalies and two signatures I suspect there is occupation to find.

Heron caught in its own bubble

Combat probes reveal three ships as well as the signatures, directing me towards a tower. The Iteron hauler is empty, the Drake battlecruiser disappears before I reach the tower, and the Heron is, well, the Heron is stuck in one of its own bubbles outside of the tower. And here's me in warp range of it. I get my Loki closer to the bubbled frigate, and approach slowly to bring my warp scrambler in to range. Nervous about the tower's defences, I decloak, pop the Heron without much fuss, and re-activate my cloak.

Engaging a Heron caught in its own corporation's bubble

Heron explodes in the bubble

A second later I'm decloaking again, having shaken any possible attempt by the tower's defences to lock on to my strategic cruiser, and aim for the pod. But the pilot is awake, getting his pod just out of the bubble and warping to a safe spot above the tower, before returning to the safety of the force field and back in to another Heron. Yeah, it's not much of a kill. I don't even care to loot the wreck, not expecting to find much in it, and don't want to worry about the defences again to try shooting it. That is, not until the pilot boards a Noctis.

I can't pop a Noctis before the tower gets a lock on my ship, and I don't need any more embarrassing strategic cruiser losses to tower defences, but watching the salvager crawl slowly this way is too tempting. I take a careful look at the tower defences and realise, huh, there are no warp disruption batteries. Just a handful of small guns and some ECM arrays. Well then, that's nothing. The worst that happens is I warp clear when jammed. Damn, I should have podded the pilot when I got the chance. Maybe I can do it now.

Noctis pilot moves out of the force field to salvage its Heron wreck

Of course, I'm not that smart sometimes. Not as smart, in fact, as a pilot that gets his Heron stuck in his own corporation's bubble around his own corporation's tower. That's humbling. I wait for the Noctis to get closer, only to watch it come out of the force field and stop. And then the salvager activates its mighty extended tractor beams. Oh, right, Noctes have them. The Heron wreck gets pulled to and is looted and salvaged by the Noctis, which then turns to crawl back in to its force field. At least that's over and I won't kick myself again.

I warp back to a perch above the tower just to get a decent view, and indeed get a good look at the Drake returning, right in to the same bubble that caught the Heron. If I were closer I may put up a fight, but I don't think my autocannons are effective much past two hundred kilometres. The Drake bumbles backwards out of the bubble, and bounces off a safe spot in to the tower. Good job, Penny.

Drake caught in the same bubble; who are these people?

There's one activity I'm good at, and that's scanning. That single other signature in the system is going to get resolved so hard it won't know it's the second static wormhole. Yeah, it's an exit to high-sec, and apparently the route that the locals are using both to fling them in to the bubble around their tower, and to take ships out of w-space. I don't know why. I don't care why. When they return, perhaps polarised, they are in pods and almost impossible to catch.

And the pilots even eventually learn how bubbles work, and start warping directly to a safe spot around the tower instead of getting snared, so my plan to sit in the bubble and catch the next pod fails too. Still, never mind. I got that awesome Heron kill, and no loot to show for it, which is something.

  1. 2 Responses to “Hitting it big with a Heron”

  2. These tales are an inspiration. It seems that w-dwellers are a breed apart. I'm only two days into New Eden but _this_ is what I came for.

    By Jako vanCheung on Aug 6, 2013

  3. Oh yeah. And sometimes I explode two frigates in a single week.

    By pjharvey on Aug 6, 2013

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed.