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A cloaky Drake is not a safe Drake

“Hey TG, we have new wormholes!” says noone, as I log into an empty system awaiting a scan.

One of the signatures resolves into our usual static C4, but another is a new Null-security connection – an outbound one.

Jumping in puts me in Perrigen Falls, property of Solar Fleet. A quick check of the map shows a ratting system nearby, so I make the 2 jumps to check it out. I’m greeted by 3 in local, as well as 50 bubbles.

Fortunately, my Nullifier subsystem allows me to shrug them off (though my framerate does not bode so well), and I have a quick scan about. A Carrier is on scan with some wrecks, but he’s already at a POS. Nothing else to be found here, so I head home.

A couple of hours pass and I decide to try my luck again. I jump in to see a Drake ratting on the gate.

So… been here long?

I decide to engage, hoping the bubbles stop him escaping. I decloak, launch drones and… he jumps. Oh yeah, NPCs do not give aggression. Whoops. In my haste to follow, I abandon my Hobgoblins – double whoops!

I decloak first on the other side and wait. The Drake appears 17km away, so I hit approach, light my scram and… he disappears. Cloaked.

Huh.

I burn towards where I think he was, coming up short. I cloak close to where I estimated his position to be. Not 10 seconds later, he appears 3,500m away and initiates a warp to a planet. I follow, holding cloak whilst doing so.

Landing at the planet puts him 5km from me, where he cloaks. He also links “Proteus” in local – that’s not your intel channel, bud. I decloak and burn straight at him. Suddenly, a Drake appears.

Boo, motherfucker

He starts aligning out, but I’ve got him snared now. He’s not even locking me back as I slowly plink away at his buffer.

One shot at a time, the enemy crumbles

It’s taking a while, but his shields are most certainly dropping. He’s probably lighting up his local intel channels, and I’m starting to get wary. Finally, he uses his Afterburner, Web and starts shooting back.

Now the fight is on!

The web is negating my ability to keep up, so I have to cycle my Microwarpdrive, allowing him to hit me harder. As his shields drop, my own shields also drop and I start bleeding armour. Fortunately my repairs are keeping up, but the strain on my cap means I’m now cycling my cap booster. Whoops. Worried about possible reinforcements, I overheat my guns to try and kill him quick.

Lookit dat heat damage

The pilot ejects from his Drake as it hits structure, allowing me to finish it off. Nice to see his warp core stabilizer helping him out there.

His pod is long gone, so I jump back and scoop my drones from before. Re-jumping sees the pilot disappear from local, but his pod remains on my scan. He just logged out with aggression for another 10 minutes.

Probes deployed and narrowed on his position. Got to work fast.

Scan scan scaaaan

I get 100% with the seconds ticking away, and land right on top of a pod, as expected.

‘sup?

One volley later, that pilot is down a 300mil pod. My bad. Never log out in space with aggression, guys.

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Choosing a target

Today sees me logging in first, again. As I start probing, however, a friendly face logs on. Aii is stuck out in highsec, so I need to find a route in!

There’s no inbounds in our home system today, a C5 inbound that appeared during last night’s capital escalations dead by now. Our previous C4 static is also dead, so I wipe corp bookmarks and start anew. It doesn’t take me long to find it, but C4a today is empty with a C4 static itself. Fortunately, C4 statics are pretty easy to scan down, having a unique signature size. I sweep for inbounds, finding none, before scanning and jumping into C4b.

Ah, now we’re getting interesting. A lone Scorpion and POS light my D-Scan up, but warping to the tower reveals the Scorpion empty. Curses. C4b also has a C4 static, so I scan it and jump in, revealing an empty C4c. This one has a C3 static, which usually lead to k-space, so I keep scanning. No inbounds are found, so into C3a I go!

C3a greets me with a Gallente Battleship wreck on scan, along with 4 Ogre IIs and a couple of towers that appear to be offline. The system boasts a Lowsec static and a Black Hole wormhole effect in place.

Warping to one of the towers quickly reveals its reason for being offline. A host of Cruise Missile Batteries and Torpedo Missile Batteries surround the abandoned tower – the defences effectively useless in a Black Hole system, which boosts ship velocities and reduces missile velocities in kind. I start scanning for the seemingly abandoned Ogre IIs, hoping they lead me to the BS wreck. Since the Ogre IIs are unclaimed, I assume that the killers of the Gallente Battleship had to leave in a hurry. Resolving the signature hit, I warp to the drones to see an unspoilt wreck waiting for me!

A check on the owner of the wreck reveals no PvP losses in this system, leading me to believe he lost the Battleship to Sleepers. How embarrassing. The wreck contains a fairly cheap Faction armour repair as well as a Shadow Serpentis energized adaptive nano module, but the rest is standard T2 loot. Not worth a lot, all told, but ISK is ISK!

I scan the low, finding myself in Old Man Star and drop bookmarks for Aii, who promptly comes home. A C3 is scanned in OMS, but it holds nothing of interest. With nothing going on, I log out till the evening.

Constellation as I logged out

Logging back on some hours later has Mick also online. I decide to sit at C4b’s tower, but an online Dominix there simply logs off. Mick goes scouting into C4c, where he notes probes on scan. He scouts further into the system, revealing an Anathema, Nighthawk, 3 Drakes and a lot of wrecks.

Hmm.

The Drakes and Nighthawk are at an anomaly, and the Anathema has cloaked. I swap my Scangu for a Manticore bomber, preferring the “insta-lock-on-decloak” of this ship and head over to join Mick, who is now sitting cloaked 160km off the ratting ships.

Shhh... be very very quiet...

Another alliance member, Rihanna, moves to join us but lacks a suitable cloaky vessel – opting for a PvP fit Loki and sitting in C4b, ready to jump in and help if we engage something.

There’s no chance we can hit the 4 ratting ships, so we decide to wait for their Noctis. Mick deploys probes and resolves a new inbound – presumably the source of these ships. However, a Retriever and Covetor are now on scan, and it isn’t long before Mining Drones are on scan too. Intriguing.

The ratters finish their site, warping towards another. One Drake  warps elsewhere and soon disappears from scan – presumably gone back to their Wormhole. It isn’t long before a Noctis shows up on scan, along with an Imicus frigate.

The Noctis appears to be in an anom we haven’t located, and the Imicus is replaced by  a second Covetor which appears in the same direction as the other 2 mining barges. An Iteron V appears, and locates itself with the miners.

At this point, we have to pick a target.

  • 2 Drakes + Nighthawk at an Anomaly
  • Retriever, 2x Covetors + Iteron Mk V at  a Grav site
  • Noctis at the Anomaly we have bookmarked.
  • Try and snag one of their scouts on a wormhole.

Whichever we pick loses the others, and we have no idea what reinforcements they could have. We have to make it quick. So we obviously pick the Noctis.

After 10 minutes of waiting, the Noctis appears in the Anomaly we’re sitting at cloaked. He’s 160km away, and appears to be unmoving – allowing his Tractor Beams to do the work for him.

There's always someone watching

We let him salvage some wrecks, but he still doesn’t move. This works to our advantage – a moving Noctis is harder to hit than a stationary one.

We bookmark a wreck he tractors to him, and both warp in and engage.

The Noctis is in armour by the time we even notify Rihanna on comms, but it’s dying too fast for her to warp and engage too, so she holds out of system.

A good thing too. The Noctis pops easily, but the pod escapes even my sensor boosted Manticore. I hit the “Loot All” button on the wreck, but my Manticore’s cargo is already bomb laden and I only grab a handful. Mick grabs some more, but he shoots the wreck to deny the rest. As Mick does so, the Nighthawk and Drakes land, but we both easily cloak and warp back off to the tactical. Gone as soon as we appeared.

The Drakes and their mining barges warp back to their Wormhole, which I scout as a C2, whilst the Nighthawk remains in the site. It’s a tempting target, but if it’s running C4s it’ll likely be brick tanked and we simply don’t have the DPS to kill one before its’ allies arrive.

The Drakes return, and one of them starts salvaging, albeit slowly. They’ve probably refit for PvP, but are desperate for some ISK return since we kind of blew it all up.

There’s not a lot else myself and Mick can do at this point, so we head home for the night.