Covert tower siege

6th September 2013 – 5.21 pm

I'm returning to a fairly extensive w-space constellation, but I have no idea what's out there. Earlier, I crossed paths with a few cloaky strategic cruisers but that was about it, which explains how I had the time to scan so far. But I didn't get to the end of the constellation, so as long as the wormholes are still healthy I at least have further to scan, if I don't find any activity. I'd rather have the activity, though.

Nothing is new at home, and diving in to the neighbouring class 3 w-space system sees no obvious change beyond two previously dying wormholes now being dead. I head straight out to low-sec through the static wormhole and across to where I found a K162 from class 2 w-space. That's still there, still healthy, so in I go. Yep, this is about as I remember it. A tower, no ships, and some wormholes. So far so good, I suppose.

Scanning C2a has the same number of signatures as earlier, but let's not move on too hastily. Two of the wormholes I have bookmarked are listed as being EOL, and they should be dead now, which means there are two new signatures. Sure enough, poking around the system with probes resolves two more wormholes for my map, a K162 from more class 2 w-space and a K162 from high-sec empire space. I think I'll see what's new with w-space, and head in to C2e.

Two towers with a lack of ships visibly on my directional scanner is a disappointing result, and my notes made seven months earlier don't even help me locate the towers. Still, the four anomalies and three signatures will make scanning quick, which resolving a gas pocket and second static wormhole that leads to low-sec is. Back to C2a and the known constellation with me. The static wormhole to class 1 w-space is at the end of its life, making me worry that I've perhaps reached a dead end already, but the K162 to C2c is healthy. In I go.

I only scouted this class 2 system briefly earlier, not even locating the towers. And this time one tower has more than just a Cheetah, the covert operations boat being joined by a Mammoth, Iteron, and pod. Are either of the two haulers going to haul? I locate the tower ready to loiter with intent, but only the pod has a pilot. That's odd. I quickly locate the third tower, outside of d-scan range of these two, launch probes covertly in case I need them, and return to the tower with the ships and pod.

Nothing's happening, so I start to scan for more wormholes. There's one, and a gas pocket, and two new contacts under my combat scanning probes. I fling my probes out of the system, hoping they weren't spotted, and update d-scan to see what company I have. Two Hound stealth bombers have appeared and the pod pilot is now in the Mammoth. This is getting interesting. I wouldn't mind being ambushed by two flimsy ships whilst ambushing the hauler, but I may be getting ahead of myself. I'll sit and watch for now.

A pod warps to the tower, boards the Iteron, and starts moving. The Mammoth moves too, and warps out of the tower. But to where? Not a customs office, but another one of this planet's moons. That's curious. I follow and see, hello, a brand new tower erected without my noticing. And now the Mammoth and Iteron seem to be transferring assets from the current to the new, as the pilots upgrade from a medium- to a full-sized tower, potentially giving me nothing to catch. That would be a shame.

Iteron scoops unanchored defences

Ah, the Iteron reappears at the current tower outside of the force field to scoop some of the defences. This is a potential opportunity for me, even with a Hound maybe flying escort, but when I notice that the paired defences above the tower are still operational and include a warp disruption battery I reconsider doing anything quite so rash. But perhaps when the other defences are taken off-line and scooped I can strike.

Mind you, a basic industrial ship is a rather small-value target given what's being moved. But I suppose I don't have much opportunity in what I can catch, as the ships warp from one force field to another. The biggest value item will be the tower itself, so I think if I want to cause any kind of disruption it should be ambushing the ship that scoops that. Sure, they won't need the tower any more, but it has value and the corporation probably would want to reclaim that by selling the tower on the market. I think that's my plan, then. Blow up the tower, sneakily.

Nothing but the bare tower remains

I need to be patient. The hangars are taken off-line, the other defences are scooped, and everything is moved and brought on-line at the new, larger tower. This takes a while, and when the Mammoth makes a couple of trips back to the old tower without taking it off-line itself I have to wonder if they'll just take out most of the fuel and just let it run out of juice, to be collected another day. But it seems not. I suppose the hauler was transferring the strontium and fuel bricks first, as when he comes back a third time the tower starts unanchoring. Ah, great. This will take thirty minutes.

I've waited this long, I won't give up now. Besides, it gives me time to consider the plan. I need to do this right. I can't strike too soon, or the tower won't be scooped in to the hauler. If it's not a neat package in the hauler's hold I won't be able to destroy it, and my time will be wasted. But if I dally too long, the hauler will simply warp away unmolested and my time definitely will have been wasted. What I need is a good position to strike from.

Lining up my attack run

I warp to the old tower, still counting down the time until it can be scooped, and manoeuvre so that my Loki strategic cruiser is sitting in an orthogonal vector to the new tower, which will let me ram the hauler nicely, whilst remaining nicely in warp scrambler range. Now I wait a bit more, keeping d-scan updated. The minutes tick down on the tower, and little changes in the system. In my experience, capsuleers have a good sense of time when it comes to collecting assets, so I don't think there'll be much delay when the tower unanchors completely.

Not long now. Minutes become seconds, and the tower becomes scoopable. The Hound drops off d-scan, which I take to be a positive sign, and not particularly threatening. The Iteron comes back on-line, having disappeared earlier, so it looks like he will collect the tower, not the Mammoth as I suspected. Either works for me. And here he comes. The Iteron warps in, I push my boat stealthily forwards and wait for the tower to disappear. But instead the Iteron warps away without it.

Iteron hauler warps to the unanchored tower

Was that a dry run, in an attempt to flush out potential ambushers? Or was there a legitimate logistics problem? I dunno, but the Iteron returns a minute later. I reset my position and push forwards again. The tower is scooped, it's time to strike. I decloak, activate my micro warp drive, and surge forwards. I get a positive lock before I ram the Iteron, which means my guns are already chattering away, knocking down the hauler's shields, although I manage to bump the Iteron out of alignment before it explodes.

Ambushing the Iteron with a tower in its hold

Tower-carrying Iteron explodes

Scooped tower survives, but not for long

I aim for the pod but it flees easily enough. Not a problem, and I loot and shoot the wreck, the tower surviving the first explosion only long enough to die to my pettiness. Bye bye, tower. Hello, Hound. The stealth bomber decloaks and launches a bomb my way, but all I want to do is catch him too. He's positioned well, though, and I don't stand a chance of closing the distance to catch him with my warp scrambler. I try all the same, but the Hound warps as the bomb explodes, scratching my shields.

Bombed by a Hound to little effect

After all that waiting all I get is a simple kill on a cheap industrial ship. Well, not really. I destroyed the tower, which was my primary aim. Objective achieved! A secondary target would have been nice, but not necessary to have made the wait worthwhile. I have a quick chat with the locals, who really don't seem to mind that I've just cost them 150 million ISK, before heading home. It's later than I think. But at least all the wormholes are still there.

  1. 4 Responses to “Covert tower siege”

  2. It's too bad you didn't have help that day. 30 minutes is plenty of time to get a cloaky hauler of your own in there to scoop. Still, denial of assets like that is always a victory.

    By Gwydion Voleur on Sep 7, 2013

  3. Yeah, it's lonely out in w-space.

    By pjharvey on Sep 7, 2013

  4. Next time you have to record these and put them on YouTube or something, of course, with some editing. :P

    By Dredastttarm on Sep 8, 2013

  5. Editing text is time-consuming enough for me, Dredastttarm.

    By pjharvey on Sep 9, 2013

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed.