Last week in w-space: the tale of the two careless Drakes

The day had started slow, as any good Sunday should. I had started to map the beginnings of our chain right after breakfast and had returned in the afternoon to check out the individual systems in the chain for PvP opportunities.

Apart from a few Russian carebears hiding under their POS shields in Alfa and a small German corp doing the same just with more expensive ships in Bravo we found .. nothing.

Well, to be fair it should be said that when we first came into their system, the Russians were not hiding anywhere. Instead they were busy salvaging sleeper wrecks at numerous locations. Unfortunatly their pilots were paying too much attention at the wrong time, and only our failed attempt to relieve a particular Noctis of her heavy burden of salvaged goodies resulted in the 'hiding under POS shields' part.

Without having anything to shoot, we placed scouts next to all detected towers and decided to focus on the 20+ sleeper sites in Alfa. PvE was not something I was looking forward to at that time, and so I logged shortly after that the second site to deal with various things that waited for me in real life.

When I returned after dinner, the situation had changed. All sites had been cleared in the meantime, and two Drakes had just been detected on d-scan in Bravo. Only minutes later, our scout reported sleeper wrecks and a Noctis appearing on scan as well. Our interested was peaked.

A fleet was formed, and a couple of DPS ships, a dictor and a few covops scouts headed out in the direction of Bravo. Since that system bordered on hisec, our primary goal was to prevent out prey to escape into CONCORD protected space.

The fact that the hisec exit inside Bravo was outside of d-scan range of any combat site made for an easy decision, and leaving a cloaked scout behind to make sure the Drakes would be spotted when trying to escape this way, we jumped into Bravo and warped to the hisec hole.

A bubble was deployed, and we waited patiently.

Our scout back in Alfa reported no activity, and a second scout now placed in the middle of Bravo in d-scan range of all combat sites told us both Drakes and the Noctis were still shooting/salvaging sleepers. Either they had not seen us warping across the system, or they didn't care. One minute, two minutes, three minutes. Nothing changed. And then, one lonely Drake was detected by (short-range) d-scan, seamingly enroute to the hisec exit. With comm chatter now reduced to a minimum, we preheated points and prop modules and waited for the Drake to appear on-grid.

Which it did. Points were called, and a few moments later the passive tank of the Caldari battlecruiser was overwhelmed by our combined firepower. Its pilot however was quick on his feet and did manage to leave the bubble during the short period of time his tank was able to withstand the incoming bombardment, and the pod warped away.

Now the hunt was on. Intel showed us that the second Drake seemed to warp from safespot to safespot and that the Noctis had cloaked up after warping towards cluster VI. The pod was somewhere around too, but we wanted the other Drake first. Disregarding the Noctis and the pod, we started to look for the Drake with narrow-angled d-scan sweeps. It soon became appearant that the Drake wasn't using safespots but instead bounced between planets. We split up and warped to different planets and customs offices, and only a few minutes after realizing that we actually managed to get on grid with him before he warped off again.

While aligning to his assumed destination, we were suddenly fleet-warped to a location in the same direction. Our FC had found the pod of the first Drake at a combat site just in line with the fleeing Drake. Not really keen on engaging C4 sleepers in our PvP ships, the pod was killed on the spot without waiting for everybody to get a lockon. Immediatly after that, everybody was fleet-warped again, this time to the destination of the second Drake.

We found it trying to align to yet another planet. The following fight proved to be as onesided as the first one. This time, however, we did get the pod.

So two Drakes and two pods down. One Noctis to go, supposedly cloaked up next to a celestial body in the VI cluster. Warping to the planet, the customs office and the moons at different ranges, we tried our best to decloak him, but without actually knowing where he went exactly it soon became obvious
that this was leading us nowhere. After ten minutes, we called it a day and went back home.

It would have been nice to get either the Russians or the Germans interested into a little PvP, but during all that they hadn't stirred. Well, at least we got both Drakes. Not really a good fight, but nevertheless a perfect opportunity to improve ourselves in regards to both trapping and chasing down PvE ships.

Op success. Next time, I have something with people that shoot back at us. I promise.


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