Bad scouting bags a gooer

2nd September 2013 – 5.21 pm

I don't know what to do. I'm not going to sit on this wormhole any longer, that's for sure. Well, no longer than it takes me to work out a plan for the rest of the evening. The locals of this class 3 w-space system are not around, I've got fuel bricks back from Amarr which is only two stargate-hops through the wormhole I'm loitering on, and the occupants behind the fresh C5 K162 probably know I'm here, thanks to a battleship of theirs decloaking me on its way home from high-sec.

Still, I got the fuel home without incident, despite the proliferation of probes after I decided to make the trip, so I should be safe to collapse our wormhole and start again. Or I could see who's this coming through the high-sec wormhole. The connection crackles before I manage to make up my mind what to do, offering a fresh option. Of course, there's little I can do on a link between w-space and high-sec, but if the C5 pilots didn't actually see me and they're bringing a hauler in themselves, I can follow and ambush it.

Nope, not a hauler, a tourist. The pilot is unaffiliated with this C3 and the known pilots from class 5 w-space, so the Anathema covert operations boat is probably just curious to see what's through the wormhole from high-sec. A cloaked strategic cruiser, that's what. But I suppose he doesn't see that. I am waiting for the cov-ops to cloak, or jump back to high-sec, so that I can get on with doing nothing, but it just sits there, prolonging my procrastination. I'll prod him.

Engaging a tourist Anathema

I get closer, hoping to nudge his tiny ship away from the wormhole once I reveal myself, and decloak. Activating my micro warp drive I burn towards the Anathema, soaking up the recalibration delay before my targeting systems can lock on to the ship. Now I'm smoking. Sadly, the Anathema isn't. In my attempt to bump the ship away from the wormhole, the speed of my Loki means my guns are finding it difficult to track the tiny cov-ops. Rather than get a few solid volleys against it, the Anathema suffers only grazes to its shields. I don't even ram the cov-ops that hard, keeping him close enough to the wormhole that he jumps back to the safety of high-sec.

At least I woke the pilot up. This has been a public service ambush. And with that spark of violence, I feel encouraged to poke my prow in to C5b, almost expecting to be ambushed in return by pilots fully anticipating a curious pilot of a cloaky Loki to head their way. In fact, the wormhole is clear in the class 5 system, and there is not a sign of their Loki, Anathema, or Navy Armageddon battleship that I have seen so far. There's just a couple of towers and a Bestower hauler visible on my directional scanner. Still, that could be good.

I locate the tower with the Bestower only to see it empty of a pilot, and distinctly lacking in an orange colouring. Maybe the ships I've seen are not local to this system but are deeper in the constellation. I dunno, the ship naming prefix looks similar, but that could be spoofed. Well, if there's a K162 to find, I shall find the K162. But now a Helios cov-ops has appeared on d-scan, and when it promptly changes in to an Iteron hauler I start to regret warping back to the wormhole to C3a to monitor potential jumps.

There are two towers. Which one is the Iteron at? I try one, picked arbitrarily, and pick correctly. Now, will he collect planet goo? Yes, I think he will. The Iteron is already aligning out of the tower, the only problem being that the ship is aiming for one of two planets that are almost in a direct line with each other from here. I can't tell which customs office the Iteron is aiming for, but I can apply a little sense. Will he visit the first or second planet first? There seems to be a predictable choice, and I could be about to show how being predictable gets pilots killed.

Choosing the right customs office to catch the Iteron

I warp behind the Iteron, indeed choosing the right destination. As my Loki decelerates out of warp I decloak and get the sensor booster active. Now for the guns and warp scrambler, which allow me to target the Iteron and open fire in one smooth action. A few volleys tears the industrial ship open, and the explosion disorientates the ejected pilot enough for me to grab his pod too. One more volley from my autocannons and the ambush is over.

Iteron explodes near a customs office

Scoop, loot, and shoot

Scoop, loot, and shoot. More expanded cargoholds for me! With a twenty million ISK ship and eighty million ISK corpse, I would say it was worth coming in to this system. Just at the right time, too. Now I can scan for that K162. Or maybe I won't. My shenanigans have apparently brought the ships seen earlier back in to the system, with the Anathema, Loki, and Navy Armageddon all visible on d-scan now. Maybe they are local after all, but did they all go off-line and return just because of a careless planet gooer? No, of course not.

I warp back to the wormhole, abandoning plans to scan in favour of getting home safely, only to update d-scan on the wormhole and have the ships disappeared again. The penny drops for Penny. Two towers are in d-scan range of the wormhole, a third tower, where the ships have been all along, is out of range. I simply failed to warp in the direction of the other tower until I wanted to launch probes out of range of the first two. Good scouting, Penny. Still, I got a kill and corpse out of my recklessness. It remains a good result, and I'm happy to head home for the night.

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