As I mentioned in recent entries, I needed to buff my bank account. Jumping in my Python--outfitted as my mining ship these days--I headed pretty much straight up above the galactic plane over the Colonia region to a system I had previously been mining for Low Temp Diamonds. Once I got there I pulled up the EDDB.io resource database to search for nearby systems known to have pristine icy ringed planets. I wasn't disappointed. Seriously. A quick 15ly jump away from my current location was a system that had three planets that fit the bill. Now all I had to do was jump in, scan the system and then visit each ringed planet and drop a probe or two. I struck paydirt on the first planet. The ringed gas giant had a grand total of eight Void Opal hotspots. I quickly bookmarked the system on my nav computer and headed for the first hotspot.
At first, it was very frustrating. I typically drop in to a hotspot within about 2 clicks of the spot-center, but on the outside of that point so that my progress is always planetward. This makes it easy to know that I am covering new ground and not circling back on myself. My pulse scanner found four promising rocks very quickly, but when I fired a prospector limpet into each they turned out to be other ores rather than VOpals. But starting with the fifth rock, I was in business. Three hours later my Python was filled to max capacity with 128 tons of Void Opals. Pulling up the Inara.cz resource revealed there was indeed a station in the Colonia region paying top credit for what I was carrying. Four jumps later (sheesh, The Ceti Zorro was HEAVY at this point) I was parking 167 million credits into my bank account, giving me a much better comfort level with 260 million total.
As I cruised out of the mail slot of the station I ran across a couple of commanders who were patrolling the local system. Apparently we have a ganker--Zaphod Hawke--who has been preying on the unsuspecting around here. I hate gankers. They don't deserve to live, period. There simply is no reason for them to exist, in any version of the universe. So, with no other pressing matters at the moment, I headed back to Colonia Dream and thumbed through my fleet specks, musing over which ship I wanted to use to help patrol for the ganker. At first, I thought I'd pull back out my Federation Gunship since it's moderately tanked, has a fighter and is pretty damned agile with all the engineering. Then, I thought my brand new Type-10--which is seriously tanked--but the hardpoints aren't fully engineered yet. I finally settled on the Corvette. I have flown it a lot, but really haven't taken it into a fight yet, so why the hell not?
Now, I'll be the first to admit, my Corvette is not an agile behemoth, although it is fully engineered. Well, I've done what I can with what's available out here. Sadly, the best you can do with armor in Colonia is engineer that stock lightweight alloy and add hull reinforcements. But I've got shields, SCBs and boosters. Oh, and the fighter.
I recently hired Alanis Vaughan-Clayton based on Milani's recommendation. They'd been friends for years, and when Alanis had lamented that she felt things were getting "stale" in the core systems Milani invited her out to Colonia. Alanis has got some piloting chops, to be sure, but I definitely have to give Milani the creds for her engineering skills. Anyway, I buzzed Alanis and told I needed her for a mission.
So, I took The Ceti Vixen out and headed over to Jaques Station where the ganker was last seen. He never showed in the open system, but I started looking at some of the potential areas he might hanging, settling on a tanker location to drop into first. Although he wasn't there, I was immediately met with a distress signal from the tanker. Pirates were coming in to lift cargo from them and they wanted some assistance. I sent acknowledgement that I would repel the pirates. I sent Alanis out in the fighter and I called out "battle stations", and the Vixen dutifully configured herself for a fight.
As successive waves of pirate wings swooped in to have a go at the tanker, Alanis kept them off my tail while I melted their shields with a trio of variously-engineered beams and then pummeled them with the massive multi-cannons. Even Anacondas and Corvettes got chewed up pretty quickly, with only those heavily engineered themselves holding out for more than a minute or two. I found that I could literally go nose-to-nose and get into a slug-fest and barely break a sweat. It wasn't until the final wave of pirates swept in that a pair of Pythons and a Corvette ganged up on me that I finally started taking on damage. Alanis was good, but even the agility of the fighter plus her skills could only help so much. I exhausted my SCBs shortly after blasting one of the Pythons to bits, but the combined beams and cannons of the other two ship were too much for the Vixen. I flipped power equally to shields and engines and boosted away as quickly as possible, Alanis screaming after me. Once I finally put enough distance between us and the pirates I was able to--barely--get the fighter back into the bay and low-wake out. I pulled into Jaques, repaired the ship and got a nice payday of 3 million credits for the trouble.
I may just grab the Type-10 and do the same, just for comparisons. Well, after I finish engineering the hardpoints.