Resisting too much wanton destruction

17th August 2013 – 5.19 pm

I'm looking for a target. Nope, nothing in the home system. How about a wormhole? Scanning resolves gas, a wormhole, a data site, more gas, and, just when I think it's me and the static connection, a second wormhole. The K162 from class 4 w-space will do just fine, and I head backwards in the hopes of finding some activity that I can shoot.

C4a turns out to be quite big, some 120 AU across, so the initial clear result on my directional scanner is no indication of activity levels. My notes don't help either, with my previous visit being well over three years ago, so I'm down to some old-fashioned exploring. I launch probes, blanket the system, and warp around updating d-scan. Eleven anomalies, sixteen signatures, and no ships. There are some drones somewhere, but who cares when there's no occupation? Not me.

Actually, the location of the drones turns out to be mildly interesting, as they are sitting in an active gas site. Whether they were used against Sleepers or another capsuleer can't be answered from my limited forensic ability, but perhaps the K162 from class 2 w-space I resolve can help with my investigation. I jump to C2a to see if there are any pilots still active.

D-scan shows me a tower and Falcon recon ship in C2a, and my notes show that I'm back in another system from three years ago, almost to the day this time. I have more exploring to do. Warping around reveals a second tower, this one with a Fleet Issue Hurricane piloted inside its force field, and as I warp out to launch probes I see a pod warp in to join the battlecruiser. I'm too late to stop and see what the new pilot does, so I get my probes in to space as planned before returning to the second tower.

My probes detect fourteen anomalies and nine signatures, and the pod remains a pod when I get back to the tower. And he stays that way. In fact, this C2 is pretty boring. Or it would be, had my thinking that out loud not inspired the pod to board an Impel transport and accelerate out of the tower. He looks to be aiming for one of two closely aligned planets, so I pick one and warp to its customs office, hoping to surprise the gooing transport. But the Impel doesn't appear in front of me. And neither does it visit the other customs office. Instead, it drops off d-scan, no doubt jumped through a wormhole.

A quick scan resolves the wormhole the Impel must have used, it being in almost direct line with the tower and the two suspect planets. Having found the connection I throw my probes back out of the system and return to the tower, where the Impel pilot is back in a pod, the Hurricane remains unmoved, and a new contact has appeared in a Heron. The frigate is swapped for a Bustard, accelerates, and warps out of the tower. He's not heading towards the wormhole, but perhaps he's gone to the first tower, which I still haven't found.

Tower or not, I warp to the customs office just in case, and again don't see the transport collecting planet goo. But d-scan doesn't place him with the Falcon in the first tower either, although he remains on d-scan. That's weird. I manage to locate the Bustard around a different moon using d-scan, and although I warp there a bit too late to catch him I drop next to an off-line tower. I don't know why the pilot would want to come here, but at least it probably wasn't an arbitrary choice.

Back to the second tower and the Impel is back on d-scan. He's not at the tower, so I align my Loki towards the wormhole and, still swinging d-scan around, only realise too late to stop my strategic cruiser that the Impel is around this planet. Dammit, I'm warping to a wormhole when a transport may be gooing. Never mind. I get to the wormhole, bookmark the dying static exit to high-sec, and bounce back to the customs office to see, well, nothing. What a surprise.

More of a surprise is that the Impel is still not back at the second tower. I ping the moons around the planet as smoothly as I can, and see the transport, like the Bustard before it, on a seemingly bare moon. There doesn't even seem to be an off-line tower this time. Intrigued, and not least by the possibility of a transport sitting vulnerable in space, I warp across to take a look. Yep, the Impel is there, having jettisoned something, and not moving. That looks like a sitting duck to me.

Locking on to the Impel transport in w-space

Giving the Impel a big bump

I decloak, get my systems hot, and start shooting once I get a positive lock on the transport. For giggles I get my micro warp drive active and bump the Impel away from its can, and watch as my autocannons quite efficiently strip the ship of its shields and armour. As the Impel explodes I try to catch the pod, but it flees a split-second before I can stop it, but that's okay. The transport is a fairly expensive ship, and I get another couple of expanded cargoholds to line our hangar. But what's in the can? Well, look at that. It's a tower.

Impel explodes in a brilliant flash

It's a tower in a can

I can't quite bring myself to wantonly destroy the quarter-of-a-billion ISK hardware, however much it may burn the locals, not with a slim possibility of being able to collect it myself. It is a slim possibility, though. But if the locals remain even a little concerned about my Loki I stand a chance. I head home, crossing the intervening C4 system, and pluck a cargo-optimised Crane transport out of our hangar. I was considering a Bustard first, for its cargo capacity, but this Crane can carry the tower and I think its stealth capability will be better, particularly if I drop out of warp next to a small flotilla.

I head back to C2a, crossing C4a again, and warp to, well, I don't see a cargo container on d-scan any more. That's not a good sign for claiming the tower as my own, but I warp to its bookmarked position anyway, just to see that, yes, it has gone. Easy come, easy go. I'm not surprised that the locals came back to claim it, but it would have been a great bit of plunder to take home with me. Still, that's probably it for this system, so I turn my Crane around and head home once more.

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