Waiting for a Viator

17th October 2013 – 5.26 pm

My loot from the low-sec data sites isn't great, but it isn't terrible. I've merrily passed some time though, which is the main point of the exercise, I suppose. Now it's back to dock, revert my Loki strategic cruiser's fitting, and a return to w-space. I hop back one low-sec system, warp to the wormhole, and jump to our neighbouring class 3 system. I spy a Viator transport on d-scan now, which may be using the replacement static exit, but I'm wrong on both counts. The dying wormhole is still not dead, and the Viator returns to the tower as I get there, coming in on a vector highly suggestive of bringing back some planet goo. Damn him.

But the Viator isn't finished. I'm distracted by a second contact that I realise I don't care about when the Viator turns and warps out of the tower again. I at least see his destination and try to follow behind, which I suppose I do, just not quickly enough. I catch a glimpse of the transport aligning away from the customs office to head to the next, and I bounce between a couple more customs offices seeing only snatches of the transport each time. The agile blockade runner won't be caught this way. I need to be smarter.

The transport looks to be heading towards one of two planets outside of d-scan range, and rather than follow him directly I aim for the other of the two. With any luck I can get there ready to catch him. And I kinda do. That is to say, I get there ahead of the Viator, but the Viator doesn't follow. It looks like I've missed him. Such as it should be with a blockade runner, really. I sit and pout at the customs office for a bit, forlornly updating d-scan in case the Viator decides to come this way after all, but, actually, he does.

The Viator appears on d-scan. His confidence in not being caught has him warping uncloaked, and that gives me loads of time to get ready. I'm at the customs office he has yet to visit, so using the power of logic I deduce he's going to drop out of warp in front of me, so drop my own cloak and activate the sensor booster in preparation. He may have detected me, as the Viator cloaks and disappears briefly. It does him no good to cloak, though. His confidence also has him warping point-to-point, and dropping out of warp on top of the customs office sheds his ship's cloak automatically.

Locking a gooing Viator outside a customs office in w-space

Closing on the caught gooing Viator

I pounce. I get a positive target lock, preventing his cloaking again, and pulse my micro warp drive to get close enough to the Viator to activate my warp scrambler. I've got him. I snuggle up to the transport as my autocannons start wearing down its shields, the Viator clearly not going anywhere. He aligns away from me as shields and armour are stripped, but that's a precautionary measure to get his pod safe. Sure enough, the transport explodes. Well, it disintegrates more than explodes. Where are my flames?

Not much of an explosion from the Viator's destruction

I aim for the pod, but it is prepared to get clear and does so, leaving me a wreck to loot and shoot. There's a bunch of planet goo sitting in the wreck, too much for me to carry, but I remember someone mentioning to stash any excess back in the customs office for later collection. Thanks, whoever gave that tip, sorry that I forget who. I don't know how customs offices work, never having used one before, but I get the oxygen out of the Viator's wreck, then shoot the wreck.

Hold on. The pod didn't warp back to its tower, but to a nearby moon. It's still on d-scan too. Having seen curious behaviour with previous ambushes I give chase, but thankfully remember that there is a second tower in this system, around this planet, and, specifically, at the moon I am warping towards before I get there, and re-activate my cloak just as I land outside the second tower with the pod in its force field. Okay then, he's safe.

The pod warps back to the first tower and jumps in to another Viator, which really must be too good to be true. So much so that I discount the possibility of a second ambush. I bagged myself one blockade runner kill, that's pretty decent. In fact, considering there may be a second pilot lurking somewhere, and I'm not going to hang around for ages making sure the system is safe this later in the evening, I think I'll just abandon the oxygen too. Maybe if I ever find my way back to this system I can collect it, but probably not. I'll just go home, happy with my kill.

Going back for the oxygen

That's what I tell myself, anyway. I can't resist completing the ambush fully and bringing home my plunder. As soon as I jump to the home system I'm warping to our tower and finding the right ship for the task. In this case, the extra warp core strength of the Bustard transport probably outweighs the stealth and agility of the Crane blockade runner. And it does the trick, although I'm not sure anyone actually watches as I return to C3a and bounce off the customs office as I deftly transfer the oxygen to my hold without pausing, warping back to our K162 and getting home again safely. Job's a good 'un.

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