“She looks good.” I said to my chief mechanic. “Hopefully she’ll do the intended job.”
“She’ll be treatin’ ye right, lad. None of yer fluff, all yer meat.” my chief mechanic replied.
I had christened her the Kubwa, my first battlecruiser, a Hurricane class ship. The entire fit had been just over 100 million isk, but I figured I should get some solid experience in wormholes before taking my 2 billion isk fit Slepnier in there. My crew was slowly becoming comfortable with that size of ship, but I wouldn’t consider us capable yet.
My old friend Nathan Carver had been involved in a wormhole colony the last few months, their entire existence based in wormhole space. They had several POSes setup, and had regularly made their way into class 6 Sleeper facilities. Meanwhile, their Empire team would transport required goods and materials where needed. The entire colony experiment was thriving well, raking in billions of isk.
The war against the Amarr continued to drain my personal finances, so any quick influx of isk was welcome.
We met in Hek at 20:00 hours.
“Alright, I’ll scan us down something.” Nathan said.
“Sure thing, Nate. I’ll just sit here and look sexy I guess.” I replied. My Hurricane was an artillery fit, six 650 mm IIs at the ready. Complimenting those was a standard missle launcher, and a salvager. “Range and tank were they key”, Nathan had said to me when first discussing this opportunity. “The salvager just makes it easier so we don’t have to keep going back and forth.” he had also mentioned.
It wasn’t the strongest fit Hurricane in the galaxy, but I trusted Nathan’s expertise in this enough to fit accordingly. Now I just had to sit and wait.
I looked at the Tribal Liberation Force channel, keeping my eyes open for any potential threat coming our way. Nathan was no longer military, but I was still a Colonel, and though he had come in his Nighthawk which might make small gangs a little wary, we were anything but untouchable.
“Nice. Nailed it on the first try.” Nathan chimed in within minutes. “Warp to me and let’s take a look.” Soon I was sitting in front of the wormhole. It was a glorious and mesmerizing phenomenon, far more beautiful than I remembered from the wormhole I remembered when rescuing Sam from the fleet of Dreadnoughts. Of course, at that time I was focused on staying alive, not sitting around enjoying the scenery.
We jumped through the wormhole, landing in Amarr space, 31 jumps from our original destination. Fortunately, it was lowsec, or I was sure their militia would’ve responded accordingly to my presence. We returned through the wormhole, as it wasn’t what we were looking for, but I made a bookmark, as the destination would be useful to me over the coming days for quick hit and runs into Amarr space, at least until the wormhole collapsed.
We travelled through a few dead end systems, Nathan explaining the higher probability of not being bothered to me, and we eventually found another cosmic signature.
Warping to the signature, we came across an Orca. It didn’t retreat right away, which left us with the dilemma of whether or not to attack it. Being in high sec, the answer was no, but if the Orca was going into the wormhole, we could get away with it there. A fat bellied Orca always meant isk, though the pirating nature of the attack Nathan was discussing didn’t sit well with me at the time. My friend had changed since leaving the militia.
I opened a conversation with the Orca pilot. Turned out he was just leaving the wormhole, his gang having just made a successful run against the Sleepers. We were welcome to explore if we wanted, but he assured me we wouldn’t find anything.
I relayed this to Nathan, whom decided the pilot might be less than truthful, and we entered the wormhole.
Once on the other side, we quickly warped to different locations, scanning all the while for other capsuleers, as well as the nefarious Sleepers.
“I’ve got a lot of wrecks on scan.” I said, seeing that the Sleepers had indeed encountered the Orca pilot’s friends.
“Roger that. Looks like the Orca pilot was right; this place has been picked clean. Let’s head out.” Nathan said.
Several systems later, Nathan scanned down another wormhole. This time as we arrived, a single Jaguar pilot was sitting in front of it.
After some friendly conversation, it turned out he had been scanning this region as well, but everything had already been scavenged. We invited him to our fleet, but he declined, a little disappointed at having the last several hours looking for a fresh wormhole without success.
We wished him well and continued on our way to the next system on our route.
Sleeper facilities everywhere with plenty of Sleepers to engage. We had them on scan, but before jumping in, Nathan took the time to brief me on our aggression strategy.
After getting charged up about the impending assault, I did one more quick scan of the Sleeper facility, and quickly aborted the warp cycle I had began.
“Abort!” I yelled into comms. Thankfully, Nathan was quick, and prevented his ship from entering warp.
“Two Ravens, a Dominix, and Broadsword just showed up on scan, probably in that Sleeper facility.” I said, thinking how fortunate we had been to have not been caught already engaged when they arrived.
“Dammit!” Nathan said. “I swear it’s not usually like this. Of course, we are only go in one level deep, looking for class 1 and 2. Nobody bothers you when you get to class 4 and higher.”
I looked at my chrono. I had to report for duty in five hours.
“I hate to say it, Nate, but I think I’m gonna have to call it. Gotta report for duty in five hours, so need my beauty sleep. We’ll do this again though, ok?”
“Yeah, we will. Next time we’ll have more luck. That I promise.” Nate replied, anger and disappointment in his voice.
We said our goodbyes, and I docked the Hurricane in Hek, grabbing Vigil I had recently fitted based on a recommendation from General Sasawong, and headed back to Dal.
My engineers were working swiftly at locking down the Major Minmatar Stronghold. They had been attacked recently by the Amarr, and were in need of repair. Failure to do so would result in the Amarr being able to pass through Auga unmolested, and that wasn’t acceptable.
They estimated just over four more minutes to complete their task.
There were a few other TLF pilots in the area with me: a Rifter, a Stabber, and a Reaper of all things. We weren’t working as a fleet; I had scanned down this complex, discovering their communications array had been destroyed, and broadcast its location on the local overview. The other pilots had quickly flocked here for the opportunity to earn some honour through potential battle.
They wouldn’t have to wait long. A single Rifter entered our location, and my HUD immediately flagged him as neutral. In a warzone, neuts were never to be trusted.
Nobody moved towards him, so I took the initiative. After all, it was my engineers aboard the stronghold.
I prepped my single autocannon and missle launcher, launching a lone Warrior II drone to engage him. I had no scambling or webbing capabilities, but if I could frighten him off, that was all I needed really.
Of course, in hindsight, if the sight of the aforementioned ships didn’t scare off a single Rifter, that either meant he had more company coming, or was a complete idiot.
Turned out to be the latter.
My Vigil wasn’t really built for DPS, or tackling, it was strictly a small tank for plexing. Still, with some overheating and the Warrior II, I was slowly taking him down.
What amazed me the most is that he wasn’t leaving, even as he entered hull; nor did he target my drone, at least not until the very end.
He just kept pursuing me, his shots skimming off my shields effortlessly. I was stunned, still anticipating the arrival of more ships, but none came.
His ship exploded, but as I said, no scramming capability, so his pod escaped to fight another day.
Examining his wreck revealed the following:
- 150mm Light Autocannon II
- 5W Infectious Power System Malfunction
- J5b Phased Protoype Warp Scrambler
- Gyrostabilizer II
- Damage Control II
What the hell? Regardless, I was cautiously thankful for the victory, and proceeded to retrieve my engineers.
Just another day of war I suppose.