Bre logs in and reports that the 850 million isk wormhole… is now occupied. So entrenched have the locals become in the last 20 hours that they’re apparently already running mining operations, as Bre has a Retriever mining barge and Osprey cruiser on scan.
That’s a bit odd, though, since Bre’s combat probes don’t pick up the gravitational signature of an asteroid belt anywhere nearby. She runs a quick scan on the two ships, locating them easily, and warps to their location at range to find the two ships floating in empty space, piloted, and over 80 kilometers from one another.
The whole thing seems decidedly odd. Either one of the ships is a potential victim for Bre’s launcher-equipped Anathema, but the whole thing has the stink of rotten bait about it. She scans for the current exit to high sec while she turns her options over and locates the new tower in the process — goodness but they got that thing up quickly.
Once she has the exit bookmarked, she warps back to the two miners just in time to see a tengu strategic cruiser uncloak about 160 kilometers away from both ships, after which the lot of them warp back to their tower.
Bre’s instincts serve her well, and she heads out of the system and back home with an intact ship, although still annoyed and disappointed that the sale fell through because the buyer couldn’t be arsed to get online and close the deal in less than four days.
Meanwhile, we’ve scanned down our lowsec exit to give our wayward real estate agent a way back in. The system we find ourselves connected to is somewhat terrible, as it connects to the more useful areas of known space only through the infamously gank-tastic system of Old Man Star. This presents no problems for Bre getting home, but it’s not very useful for fitting out our shiny new Tornados. Ah well. What’s in the other direction?
Our other static connection opens into a class two wormhole system with no less than thirty-five anomalies immediately visible on scan, three good-looking radar signatures to sweeten the pot, and home to only a single poorly defended tower that the owners have all but abandoned.
We fire up a flare, pilots assemble, cargo holds are filled to the rim with ammunition, and a fleet forms, consisting of CB, Em, Ichi, Tweed, Shan, and me. Our goal: to hit every possible Sleeper enclave in the system. We pause only once, when the local tower’s forcefield goes offline without warning. It looks like the locals really were leaving, and decided not to take the tower with them, though they did make off with all the gear therein. So strange. You’d think that if you were going to move out of a wormhole, you’d take the 250 million isk tower with you. Apparently not.
Whatever. We don’t have time to ponder the eccentricities of unknown pilots, as there’s money to made and even at 5 to 7 minutes per site, 38 anomalies and signatures still take quite a lot of time to blast to flinders — it’s the most extensive single-session Sleeper flensing any of us have ever undertaken, and we spend the time chatting on voice comms, getting acquainted with our new alliance mate, and staving off boredom.
CB in particular seems to need some kind of adrenaline infusion, as the ‘sit back and let the drones do the work’ style of the Gila cruiser he’s currently trying out really doesn’t seem to suit him. He warps back to our tower for a few minutes and returns with his PvP-equipped Talos battlecruiser. The ship’s oversized guns are a bit too big to reliably track the small sleeper frigates, the capacitor is far too unstable for typical PvE work, and the tank is entirely insufficient when compared to the punishment that Sleepers dish out.
It is, in CB’s own words, “the most fun I’ve had in PvE since I ran that very first sleeper site in a Brutix.” He blazes across the battlefield, microwarpdrive flaring, charging at Sleeper battleships as if he hopes to stave in their hull with the prow of his ship (which, to be fair, seems custom-built for such a tactic), and he only almost dies one time. Maybe twice.[Image by Tweed. Click to embiggen.]
All in all, it’s a good night, and time profitably-spent; the final tally puts our net profit at just over 1.2 billion isk.