The second day. This time I’ve cleared my schedule for the night and should be set for the long haul. Some decent success last night, but hopefully I can eek out at least a repeat performance. I’ll just, join the fleet and … huh.
It seems the alliance isn’t in Caldari space tonight, but out in Amarr space in the Domain region. Heading out that way sounds like a good idea, but on the other hand, there are probably quite a few war targets here in Lonetrek. Besides, Automaton is already sweeping across the region to test that very assumption.
While she does her thing, I head to back to Sobaseki to get my bearings, and cross jump two raptors from pandemic horde. I have no intention in chasing interceptors fluttering about, as I like to participate in activies that I can at least pretend might be successful. Automaton reports a war target (from Test) in Korsiki (which is next to Osmon, a system that sees heavy use from missioners) and that sounds like it has some potential… oh never mind, in an interceptor. This seems to be a common theme; ceptors everywhere! It is enough to make one contemplate some sort of fast tackle, but that has never been my specialty. For now, I’ll have to give ceptor flutter a pass.
As she heads back towards Soba, she reports a pilot (with less than 1 month time in pod) docked in a station. Probably not worth camping the system in hopes he undocks… moving on. Automaton finds more ceptor flutter before heading out. She is going to tour the backwaters of Lonetrek checking every system with a lvl 4 security agent. I question her sanity, but her silence confirms that isn’t an issue.
Apparently, wondering aimlessly isn’t the most effective hunting technique as she comes up short before heading off to Black Rise. She reports ShanBin Xu in Uuhulanen; a quick check at his profile indicates Dominion Alliance. Well, isn’t that a familiar alliance name. I pull myself away from the bar in Sobaseki, and as I don’t have any issues finding my pod, I figure I’m good to fly.
I fully intended to make a beeline for the region, but I must have passed out a for a little bit sitting in my pod goo. Automaton’s report that ShanBin logged off and no other targets in the constellation (well, except for one incident of ceptor flutter from Test alliance, yet again) wakes me up. Just like her to ruin a good nap with the inconsequential.
As the grogginess fades, I find myself a bit discouraged. I probably shouldn’t have expected to just run into war targets in Caldari space at my pleasure; but I kind of did. Several kill reports are posted in alliance chat for the fleet out in Amarr space, and a tinge of regret creeps into my mood for not racing to join them earlier. They seem to be breaking up, so probably not worth the trip out there at this point.
Automaton finds Hector Bladeder in Oipo, over 6 years in pod and active in null sec gang fleets. She pins down his location to the 4th station, which only has lvl 3 agents. Thirty minutes goes by with no activity, but without better prospects I head out that way (despite not being able to come up with a reason for him to be at that station). I cross jump a Code freighter gank squad in Isanamo, and am surprised to find them set orange. There appears to be some bad blood between Marmites and Code. I’m spared having to think too deeply about that, as Automaton reports yet more ceptor flutter (this time from Pandemic Horde).
A horde pilot enters Oipo and stays around for a while, but Hector goes offline. I figure the horde guy might still be worth the trip, but as I leave Lit and jump into Elonaya, a Merlin takes the jump with me. Unsurprisingly I miss the tackle on the Merlin, but surprisingly he seems to be on auto pilot. The Merlin’s speed (warp and sub-warp) are highlighted in the fact that it took me 6 systems to catch back up with him: Merlin (600k ISK) and pod (empty). As the pod goes squish, the horde pilot in a prospect comes out of the gate and tears off before I can even think about locking it.
Hector is back online, and that means I’m kind of stuck in this dead end pocket if I don’t want to tip my hand by showing myself. So, I hang out tethered to a citadel hoping he undocks at some point. Automaton is scanning down a random Orca for some reason and isn’t responding to my simple query of “why?”
I consider pressing the matter, but I find myself moved out of alliance coms into another channel with Murdock Luther and General Marrtok. They want to talk about the loot drama from last night. Some discussion and retelling, but the basic sentiment is that it isn’t the loot culture for the group, and Murdock apologized to us for having to endure that. I wasn’t feeling like I needed an apology and was just hoping this would go away. But, it shouldn’t be a revelation that a group of mercs consider loot distribution to be a big deal. Murdock said he’d bring it up with Tora, and within 24 hours, Lonetrek Salvage and Scrap left the alliance. Apparently a difference in hunting strategy, loot culture, and disagreement over the ban on fighting on the Jita 4-4 undock all added up to incompatibility. There doesn’t seem to be any bad blood over it; just a parting of ways.
The alliance fleet in Amarr has broken up for the night and General Marrtok is back in Caldari space. We talk a bit about our starts in merc life and the glory days of can flipping (before concord changed the criminal status rules). It is weird having someone to small talk with while waiting for targets to do stuff. I wonder if Automaton feels neglected as I haven’t thrown a barb her way in a while. I can’t tell if her silence is an indication of her sulking or of her drowning in apathy.
I give up on Hector, head back to Soba, and manage to cross jump with a Prorator transport class ship. I curse my lack of patience internally and blame Automaton for not scouting ahead outwardly. I can almost hear her shrug through her silence, but she is right. What are the odds I’d have been able to catch a covert ops cloaky ship at the gate?
I take up position at a citadel near the Soba gate in Isanamo as Automaton watches the other side… does this make me a trade hub camper now? I’m surprisingly OK with it either way. I pass the time by picking random war target corps and attempting to do some background research. Maybe I’ll find something useful? It could happen.
A war target capsule is on auto pilot right in front of me. It doesn’t take much effort to make it go squish, and as I can’t think of a reason not to: Pod (empty) While I slow boat over to examine the corpse floating in space, a cloaky Tengu jumps through and I miss tackle. Yep, cloaky stuff is as safe from me as ceptor flutter.
General Murdock says he is heading out to Osmon to check that out and I invite myself along. I’m shocked when he reports finding a Gilia cruiser in Inaya as the area was clear earlier. “That’s how it goes some nights” he claims. True… should I just have Automaton run loops through all the mission hubs non stop?
General has located the Gilia in a mission, but the target warps off to a station… but he does not dock. He just sits there. We move our ships up to the gate in the neighboring system in hopes of catching him when he returns to Osmon to turn in the mission. But, he isn’t moving and still isn’t docked. Automaton passively targets him and scans out fitting. Confirmation that he has patched his EM hole in his shields so I switch back to scourge missile to apply better damage. He’s still just sitting there.
I ask General if he thinks the guy actually left the controls. It has been a good 10 minutes at this point. General says he is happy to wait, but is happy to go for it too. It is my call. I like to think of myself as patient, but apparently not. Gilia(237m ISK, 4.8m ISK loot) Pod (55m ISK) To add insult to injury, Automaton scanned down the guy’s MTU (8.5m ISK)
Heading back, crossed jump Astero but neither of us got a lock. It is late, and things are slow, so we call it a night. Not a bad ending for the night and I’m grateful General let me invite myself, as he clearly didn’t need my help to shoot an AFK Gilia. Still, I did contribute… or rather Automaton did by scanning down the MTU.
It is going to be hard getting use to flying in a fleet and dealing with conflicting feelings of being a mooch from time to time. Automaton’s silence screams her frustration, but I resent the notion that I mooch off her as she hasn’t killed a ship…ever.
Day 2 Tally:
4 kills, 6 kill reports
2 Ships, 3 pods (2 empty), 1 MTU
2 kill marks
Running Tally: 7/50
7 kills, 15 kill reports
6 ships (1 rookie), 8 pods (7 empty), 1 MTU
4 kill marks