The 47th mission in the Blood-Stained Stars epic arc is named “Chasing Shadows”. The mission is to capture Kritsan Parthus and bring him back for interrogation.
I had some trouble with this mission… resulting in the loss of my Catalyst. Good thing it was insured!
I accepted the mission and flew out to the encounter, and had no trouble eliminating the support ships. Kritsan proved to be more difficult. The notes mentioned he would use a nos (short for Nosferatu, an energy draining weapon). I tried to orbit or keep at a 15 km distance, at the edge of the range of my hybrid turrets, but unfortunately that is within his nos distance, and he drained out my energy. My ship started taking heavy damage, so I fled to the station.
After repairing, I undocked and went back. I charged in a little closer this time, but again had to flee. I stayed a little bit longer this time, and still got away.
The third time, I didn’t flee fast enough… or I stayed a bit too long. BOOM! I found myself warping back to the station in my capsule.
Well… that was a bummer. I tried a different strategy. I got into my Tristan, loaded up 4 drones (my Drones skill is 4 so that’s how many I can control) and 2 light railguns, and went back. This time, I stayed about 20 km away, out of the nos range, and unleashed my drones.
Unfortunately, Kritsan was able to armor tank 4 hobgoblin drones. My drones stripped away his shields, but couldn’t make a dent into his armor. I flew in and engaged from a range of ~7500 km. Even with me firing my light railguns, he was able to repair his armor through my damage.
I pondered for a minute, and then recalled my drones and went back to the station. Time for something different.
OK, not entirely different. As much as I liked the Catalyst, it didn’t have any drone bays. I looked around and saw that a Gallente have a destroyer with drone bays, called the Algos. Heck, why am I not flying that?!
I took some shopping around to get good prices. The Algos ranged from 1.9 million ISK on the low end up to several times that. Saving a few hundred thousand ISK is important to me, so I traveled a bit to get a better deal. Naturally, I checked that my route to the better sale price didn’t take me into low/null sec, but it didn’t.
After I bought the Algos, I immediately insured it and kept shopping for modules. I bought 5 150 mm hybrid turrets, 4 hammerhead drones (a minor upgrade from the hobgoblin drones), a shield booster, an afterburner, and a small armor repairer.
One module I didn’t repurchase was the Micro Auxiliary Power Core. Those are useful, but a bit pricey so I hoped to recover it from the wreckage of my Catalyst.
I undocked a warped back to the encounter. If this attempt didn’t work I wasn’t sure what more I could do without a major upgrade in ship or weapons.
I deployed my drones, but only 3 were able to – it seems my ship doesn’t have enough bandwidth for 4 hammerheads. Argh. Anyway, I targeted Kritsan and engaged the drones. Meanwhile, I drew to 15 km and started firing my 5 hybrid turrets.
It took a while, but my drones and I finally wore him down.
After transferring him into my cargo bay, I looked around for my wrecked Catalyst. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find it, and I know I saw it on a previous trip. Maybe somebody looted it, or wrecks expire after a while. Dang it, I guess I’ll need to buy another Micro Auxiliary Power Core after all.
After selecting to fight with a Gallente commander (loyal to my faction), I received a location on Dagan.
This battle turned out to be easier than Kritsan! Dagan kept me target painted the entire time, but that is more survivable one-on-one than having the ship’s energy drained out.
Eventually I blew up his ship and captured him, and then turned him over to the Sisters of Eve.
I think this epic arc pays pretty well, considering it is doable by new players. I’m sitting at a minor fortune (to me) of just under 11 million ISK. That’s after purchasing an Algos destroyer, dozens of modules and several skill books along the way. Overall, this is fantastic seed money!
I can’t decide what to pursue next. There are several immediate options: exploration, agents, planetary interaction.
I’ve mentioned Exploration, so I will likely spend a little bit of ISK on exploration-related gear and skills, and try that out more. The Imicus, a frigate I received during the tutorial missions, has bonuses for exploration: scan strength bonus plus a codebreaker/analyzer/salvager time bonus. I’ll buy and fit some of those modules and go exploring.
In my travels for the Blood-Stained Stars arc, I came across several agents with Level 1 missions. I know what distribution and security missions are, but found a few mining and R&D agents. So, I plan to try out a few mining and R&D missions to see what those involve.
Another aspect I’m curious about is Planetary Interaction. For about 3 million ISK I can buy an initial set of skillbooks (Interplanetary Consolidation, Command Center Upgrades, Remote Sensing, Planetology; save Advanced Planetology for later if I like it) and try that out too.