Venturing Next Door
Logging in finds Falou once more busy scouting. He’s found we have a K162 leading to a C2 to hunt in, with piloted ships at one of their POSes. Going over to check on it myself, I find a couple haulers with pilots, and a piloted shuttle. I let him finish finding their towers while I watch the pilots, and attempt to will the Badger Mark II to move and collect something. It’s not long when I realize I may have over done it with the willing it to move, as he logs off.
Soon though the pilot in the Bestower moves over to a Ship Maintenance Array, and changes into a Drake. This is promising. I change my view to zoom in on his ship, so I can get an accurate idea of where he’ll head, but something isn’t right. Nothing’s happening. Then I get a notice that my client has disconnected. So I’m going to be clearly visible right outside their POS shield in my Tengu. Great! I log back in as fast as I can, and find myself in warp back to where I last was. I re-engage my cloak, but don’t have very high expectations. At least my ship didn’t get blown into small chunks by the POS guns while I was away.
I land just in time to see him leave the safety of the shield. However, I’m not in time to see which direction, and soon he drops off d-scan. I assume he’s one out the hi-sec static, since I do know it wasn’t in the direction of our home. Where I am at their POS has no planets out of d-scan range, so I can only assume that he’s left, or possibly has a cloak on his ship.
So now I’m left watching the shuttle pilot do nothing. Falou decides he may as well scan for their other static in case it’s useful to us. He warps off to one of the other planets, and prepares to launch his probes. Just then, the Drake reappears on dscan, and soon lands at the POS. The pilot makes another ship change, into a Venture mining frigate. So he’s apparently going to go suck some gas! This is perfect. I zoom in, and get a good idea of where he’ll land when he departs again. I give Falou the area to focus his probes on, since there’s only one planet in that direction, and it’s a little over 13 AU from my location. Since he was planning to scan for a wormhole, he’s got core scanner probes out, not combat, but we’re looking for a Ladar, so it should be fine.
He scans, focusing a little below the plane, and to the left of the planet, and gets a hit on a grav site. The Venture has dropped off d-scan now, so I assume he may have gone out the static. Since there’s no other signature in that direction, we figure maybe there’s one nearer the planet we’re at. He scans there, and finds nothing within 4 AU of the planet. So it’s off to the Grav site, just to check. When I engage my warp drive, I see the destination is 14.9 AU from me…just out of d-scan range. It’s a little PAST the planet, so while the planet itself was within range, I couldn’t see the ship, as it was further out. That’s just brilliant on my part.
Sure enough, as I get closer, a refresh of d-scan has the little mining frigate. So he’s not gassing, but mining rocks in his little ship. Personally, I don’t think it makes for a very good rock miner. Gas it’s excellent, but I’ll take a mining barge or exhumer over it any day. I land on grid and I’m a little too far to zoom in on which rock he’s shooting. I pick one that looks close, and bounce off the planet, warping back to get a better read on his location. Just as I do, he does me a favor by dropping a jet-can. That’s perfect, as I can set a bookmark right to it.
Switching screens, I bring up my trusty HIC pilot and get into the Broadsword. I’m REALLY starting to like this ship. Ventures have a built in +2 warp core stability, and are very small and fast. If the pilot’s not paying attention, Falou and I could still disrupt it’s warp drive, with my scrambler taking care of the +2 bonus, and his disruptor holding it there. However, he’s in a Loki, and I’m in a Tengu, and with our combined locking time, and de-cloaking timer, there’s a good chance the frigate will get away. Not so with the Broadsword. The interdiction bubble will hold it for us with no targeting needed. And the warp stability is useless against the interdiction field.
So we get the third pilot into their system, and lucky enough, the corporate bookmark to the jetcan has shown up for me. It’s still not there for Falou, so the plan will be to warp in the HIC, and hold him, while Falou warps to me. I bounce the Tengu off the planet again, and try planning the warp to land on grid at the same time. So things go pretty much according to plan. I land with the Broadsword, and bring up the bubble, just as he pops out another jet-can of ore. I target him with the broadsword, and get off a couple rounds, just to make sure of getting on the kill-mail, while the Tengu waits out it’s timer from de-cloaking. Once I’ve targeted him again, I fire off a couple rounds of HAM missiles, which take a huge chunk out of it. Falou lands, and I give him time to target, then finish it off with the auto-cannons on the Broadsword. Unfortunately, instead of shooting, apparently Falou hit the cloak button, and didn’t get a shot off.
We all three target the pod, and although he made a little run for the edge of the bubble, it’s soon cracked open, and he’s sent to his clone. Apparently I’m a little over-zealous in shooting the cans, and accidentally shoot the wreck before looting it, so the only reward for out effort is another corps to add to our growing pile. I bring the heavy interdictor back home, and we wait a bit to see if the pilot returns through the hi-sec connection any time soon. After we grow bored of waiting, we decide to close the hole, and after a few Orca trips, seal ourselves off, leaving only the static for fun.