Well, the last several days have certainly been... "interesting."
A few days ago, Kirsa -- the newest pilot to join the Family -- reported having found a Sansha supply depot in Amod. Where I used to base out of while working with the Accord. I used to enjoy flying around the area, and given Reppy's current condition, I thought perhaps it would be worth poking my head in to see if there was anything there that could help her.
It took us several hours, but we eventually managed to bash our way through the outer defenses and make our way all the way into the deadspace complex. There were a number of us there -- Caellach and Leopold in battlecruisers (a Prophecy and a Harbinger respectively), Kirsa in an Arbitrator, Jude and Whit in bombers (Hound and Nemesis, I believe), and I flew the Thorny Rose and handled smaller targets while Heyna acted as a decoy in her Hawk.
In the end, we managed to track down the complex's overseer, a captain by the name of Skomener Effotber, and reduced his Nightmare-class battleship to a smouldering wreck. When we moved to inspect the wreckage and see what we could salvage, we were most surprised to find a specially-modified energized membrane that is worth almost (or over) five hundred million ISK on the contract market. On top of that, I managed to find some things that I hope may be useful to the people working on finding a cure for Reppy's illness; those particular recovered materials have been sent to the proper place.
Yesterday afternoon, Kirsa reported another deadspace complex ripe for the picking down in Gasavak -- this time, one belonging to the Crimson Hand, a group of Blood Raider sympathizers. We couldn't manage to rouse Heyna again, so I got landed with decoy duty in the Thorny Rose while Kirsa, Leo and Milo handled the rest. It took us a while in the last pocket; while I managed to generally keep a good hold of the eyes of most of the Blooders' sentry gunners and the captains of the modified Apocalypse battleships, Milo had a couple close calls with a capacitor-neutralizing attack (as did I, once or twice), and Leo and Kirsa managed to draw the attention of a few of the battleships as well. In the end, the captain in charge of the complex (whose name we were unable to ascertain; his ship only identified himself as a "Crimson Lord") fell to our combined firepower, and like a little pack of vultures, we moved in to see what our prize would be.
I almost rammed my ship into Kirsa's in surprise when Milo let out an excited shout over comms -- his salvage teams had not only managed to recover another modified set of energized plating, but a completely intact blueprint to build an Ashimmu -- the same type of ship I had constructed for Lilly, the one she named Anta. These blueprints run for about two hundred and fifty million on the contract market, and it's rumored that their design has been heavily upgraded within the last couple of weeks.
With Milo scouting, I brought the blueprint and the membrane safely back to Goinard; later in the evening, Naoko picked them up and brought them to Jita to put them up on the market.
And today... well, I've spent a few hours each night throwing probes out in random directions in Goinard and seeing what I could find. I've found and cleared out a few Serpentis sites, but there was this one gravimetric signature that I simply could not pinpoint, no matter how many probes I threw up around it! So, this morning I asked Jude if he could take a stab at it, and with a grin and a nod, he was in the undocking queue before I knew it, and had already pinpointed it for us.
It turned out to have sizeable deposits of Spodumain and Crokite, both very valuable (and rare) ores for this part of the cluster. What happened next, I will never forget:
We had a mining operation in Goinard.
A bunch of flashy outlaw pilots... mining.
And that's not even the best part -- it wasn't just PRELI pilots who were participating as industrial pilots -- we had PRETA pilots helping out too! Jude put a rack of mining lasers on his Maelstrom, Heyna grabbed a Badger, and Anima Arkenath even showed up in a Procurer! (Where she managed to pull that out of, I have no idea, but I suspect Marcus was involved somehow.)
Milo and I were put on site in "freakons" -- him in his Arazu, me in the Innocence -- just in case some passersby thought that the couple of mining barges we had with us would make for an easy evening snack. We didn't have much in the way of trouble until the local troublemakers -- a bunch of obnoxious little bastards who go call themselves "Zawa's Fan Club" -- decided to poke their noses out of the station that we unfortunately share.
Despite all that, we ended up not having to deal with them at all. I think Vaden -- or "Gramps," as we jokingly call him -- undocking his carrier on them might have given them second thoughts about coming to give us any trouble... this time.
We eventually wrapped things up when people started getting tired and needing to go catch some sleep; I stuck around in the Innocence after I docked, then after a little while I got a call for help from Milo over comms. He asked for a Drake when I responded, and that's exactly what he got -- I managed to land on-site in Raeghoscon just in time to rip the hull plating out from under the pod of Milo's attacker with a well-timed volley of heavy missiles.
We attempted to catch a few more unwary pilots, but in the end couldn't find anything, so we just docked up and called it a night; he went to the Skyhook afterward, I believe, but I had some work to do, and a rather desperate desire to take a long bath, so I had to skip.
There's been some progress with Lilly, thankfully; I went to see her last night after we returned from Gasavak, and after a bit of talking, I managed to get her to try out the holographic piano interface that I had dropped off a week or two ago. Much to our surprise... even though she didn't know what she was doing, she still seemed to just... know what to do with it. Perhaps the memory loss isn't total, as I'd hoped -- that she might still have some memories of things, even if they weren't people or places or events, but perhaps something more physical, like playing the piano.
It was wonderful hearing her play again, but... to me, the most important part was that it brought a smile to her face.
And that's why I've been in such a great mood lately, I think. Not just the very successful several days that the Family has had, but that I've also seen Lilly smiling.
I'm glad that some things still make me just as happy as they used to.