I was roaming through Tenerifis, trying to give the last Assault Frigate I had staged there a deserving end. Before the truce, Winter Coalition, which I am part of, fought over the space against invading forces of -RZR- and X.I.X. We held our space and kept them at bay for a while, also had some good fights. But eventually TEST did send in reinforcements. Without being able to stand up to their numbers anymore, we had to evacuate.
While dwelling in memories I stumbled over a lone Procurer taking gates. Scram landed but I failed at bumping him and he made it back through with low shields. Very sad, I waited on the gate for my aggression timer to run out, certain the barge would be gone by the time I could jump.
To my surprise, the pilot decided it would be a good idea to come back. He was lucky to spawn too far from me to catch him, but he warped directly to the next gate. I overtook him in warp and gambled he would jump. So did I and waited for him at the other side. He actually jumped into me again. Realising his mistake, he burned back to gate a second time but also sent his drones at me, giving himself an aggression timer and preventing him to jump. His shield was about to break when sudden gate fire caught my attention. A quick glance at local told me it was a hostile.
I hovered over the button and click warp as a Proteus uncloaks in scram range. Did I got baited? No, the newcomer just casually cloaked up again. I cancel the warp. Did that T3 just ignore us? He left the system seconds before the aggressed barge died to my blazing autocannons. The explosion lit the unbelieving smile on my face. I would have been satisfied with the outcome already, but it came even better.
An Unexpected Find
The roam continued. I was looking for a blue structure to repair the heat damage caused by a game of cat and mouse with a local Svipul. About to jump a gate I realized an Apostle and a capsule on dscan in a rather deserted looking system. Only this other pilot was in local with me. Wait, what? If this guy is in his pod, the Apostle must be empty! I double checked dscan and narrowed the ship down to planet three. I would gladly trade my Wolf for a cap, but it was not on grid with a celestial. The pod was still on my scanners. I checked the only citadel in system – an Astrahus. Nothing. The capital would not be able to dock there anyway. Also not a single POS in system. I double, triple checked. What crazy shenanigans where going on here? Then, out of nowhere, the pod warped to the Astrahus and docked up. I ran in case he would try to kill me from the citadels gunner seat. All the time the capital logi remained on my dscan. This left only one conclusion:
The ship must be somewhere near planet three, floating abandoned in space.
Like a madman I started pinging in chat. Since it was still early for our timezone, there where no response for a few seconds that felt like ages. Suddenly in a hurry, I decide to go myself and get combat probes. It where 13 jumps to get into my trusty old Probe, 13 to make it back. I put the plate of my Wolf offline to get better align time and started to burn. In the meantime chatting and explaining what I’ve found. An alliance member starts to help asking around. I ignore a juicy Astero uncloaked on a gate and keep burning.
Finally, we found someone who was able to fly Amarrian capitals and had Jump Drive Calibration at V. I gave them desto while burning back at full speed, hoping the object of desire would still be there when I came back.
Everything went very quick. Still burning, I connected to Mumble. Cynos where being prepared. The capital pilot and scouts where on the way. Three jumps out and I could finally scan for the precious. What would it have fitted? Two jumps. The hold of this thing would have enough space for billions. One jump out. “It might need fuel,” someone said in comms. I jump in system, immediately brake gate cloak, launch probes. Still only the one hostile in space. The same guy I saw earlier in the capsule.
“Cap pilot is six jumps out.” While warping to planet three, I arranged the probes and hit the button. The 50 AU warp seem to take ages. Two seconds later I had it scanned down.
“It’s still there, I’m in warp to it,” I said.
“Four jumps out. Is the cyno ready?”
“Cyno is ready to go.”
“Nora is your warpin.”
“Roger. How is local?”
“One red, nothing on scan.”
Nice indeed. The capital pilot boarded the ship. Only one risky move was left: We had to take one gate in order to be able to jump the FAX into friendly space. But the red in system stayed docked. Meanwhile the gate was guarded too. Our newly obtained cap took the gate and jumped to safety. OP Success!
But who would leave a FAX just like that in space? That, I will keep as a secret. But let me tell you, it’s a great feeling to have “rescued” a ship worth more than a billion from hostile space. A true Eve-Moment. What’s left to do is to find a new home for the little bugger. May the new owner take more care of his ships than the last one did.