This adventure starts with a Venture. The cute, little Outer Ring Excavations’ mining frigate introduced in the Retribution changes was conspicuously present on the directional scan the second time. The brief blip of an Anathema with the same ship name on the first scan led to the quick deduction that, having scanned the system, the pilot was off to mine something. [Such are the rapid leaps of intellect common in premiere wormhole pilots.] I also decided that it was my duty to shoot it as I have never shot a Venture before – nor had I even seen one.
The standard recce indicated one tower and one viable anchorage for it within range. Warping to 100 km gave me enough time to get the inhabitant’s corporation information, set their status to orange and look-up what exactly a Venture had going for it. The corporation was small, not in an alliance and relatively new. The tower was fairly simple but with adequate defenses. The Venture is a nimble little squirt with an inherent +2 warp strength. The last point was one that I have to admit I glossed over and likely would have cost me a kill if I was actually good enough to get close to the ship.
As it was, I was able land, bookmark a vantage point and see the little ship zip off toward empty space. All of the planets were behind me so I knew it would be close. Using dscan I quickly established it was around 3 AU away from my present position. With a little fiddling with the the dscan I then narrowed the field down to a 15° field in a southwest direction slightly above the plane of the elliptic. Since their location was still within dscan range, I warped to the lone planet out of range and quickly launched my probes, reloaded and warped back into position at the tower.
A second Venture now connected and warped out from the tower to join the second one. This was just getting better and better. I reconfirmed their direction and moved into map mode to shift my probes out around the system to keep them off dscan while I positioned them for the eventual scan to resolve their position. I was fully expecting to either lock and resolve the Ventures or the gravimetric site they were in. I used the various probe sizes to confirm that I was placing my probes in the correct positons. One set to 1 AU and one set to 2 AU let me know that the third probe was set at 0.5 AU and centered at 3 AU which should be nearly on top of the site and ships. With the first two probes and the last two probes reset to 1 AU, re-centered them around my central reference probe and overlapped to get as much coverage as possible.
The time had come to scan and attack. I gleefully hit the scan and watched nothing happen. I hit scan again and began to have a sinking feeling. As nothing continues to happen, I realise that my systems must have had a severe dysfunction and none of the controls will work. Working quickly, I set about off-lining and restarting the whole system so that I can avoid frightening off or even alerting the miners in their little Ventures.
I know that when there is a system failure like this and my pod cannot maintain the necessary connections to the ship’s equipment, certain inevitable things happen. The emergency warp system kicks in and my ship does a nice quantum mechanical dance into oblivion [assuming I have not been engaged or engaging in combat activities]. The upside to all of this is that when I need to be disconnected for some me time, my ship is relatively safe from dastardly deeds done by nefarious netizens needing maternal ministrations. The downside is that power is no longer supplied to ship modules that need capacitor and thus shut off. This is by-and-large what is known as a “good thing”, except such times as one might be stealthily trying to scan down a target to kill. Then it all goes bad as the cloak shuts off and you warp before disappearing. This is a really long-winded, Penny-esque way of saying, “Crap, disconnected and now that I am visible my change to kill my targets will be gone.”
I get a connection re-established and quickly cloak, reconnect to my probes and check dscan. I still see two Ventures and they are still in the same spot. Surely they will be warping to safety now. No? Well bless my Sisters probe launcher, they must have missed seeing my ship on dscan. My probes are all reset to their original positions as I did not actually scan and hence cause them to move. I set about quickly repositioning them and getting ready to scan, swoop and kill!
I get the probes placed and somewhat in the right position (I will admit to rushing this part as I felt frustrated at having to do it a second time) and hit scan. Nothing. Wait, there is something – a very real lack of CONNECTION! It seems my systems are completely unreliable and not worth the exorbitant prices I paid that Minmatar mechanic to install them.
I take a much more leisurely pace in getting everything reconnected as I can only assume that they have by now been easily alerted to my presence. I get visuals, cloak, get my probes and notice that the tower is still empty. The Ventures must have just logged off when they saw a Loki strategic cruiser on dscan. Except they show up on dscan. Another Minmatar glitch?
Hitting dscan several more times again indicated the presence of the ships, in roughly the same place as before. My second thought at this point is that having alerted them to my presence, I have set myself up for a trap. They likely have called in their reinforcements and are gleefully plotting my demise. Momentarily worried, I review the stats for the Venture and notice for the first time that they have warp strength of 2 inherent in their hull. [Leave it to those Outer Rim folks to make my life more difficult.] This meant I would have to be quick on the kill or they would be away and safe.
I quickly assess my situation and decide at this point to just scan the system blatantly as I have been on dscan so much as to nearly shout in local, “Look – An Incompetent Hunter Has Stumbled Into Your System!” I resolve the location where the Ventures are. It turns out there is only the one site and it is a Ladar gas site. So they are harvesting fullerene gasses and not rocks [bumping might be more difficult]. The system has a static high and a couple of other things that were not important enough to register on my long term memory.
I decide to see what the Ventures are up to and warp out to the Ladar. Just as I head off, two tiny little mining frigates land in the tower’s force field. The Ventures have come back. I arrive at the Ladar and notice that it is fully stocked with Sleeper drones. There are eight Sleeper cruisers moving around, waiting for their chance to shoot some wormhole pilots. I can sympathise with them. Moving off to 200km from the gas clouds, I set up a tactical bookmark and head back to the tower to recon.
The Ventures have parked themselves over near a Corporate Hangar Array and are not moving. I sit and observe them for about 30 mins while washing the inside of my pod. At this point I figure they are a member of that group of wormhole dwellers that enjoy idling in their towers for long periods of time. They are very good at it and I opt to head back home and get some rest. I will leave Penny a note and maybe they will go out and play for her to kill.