After dealing with the aftermath of the Drifter incursion into the Amarr Empire space and dealing with it admirably, Conall recieved a message on his NeoCom from Sister Alitura seeking his help to respond to a distress call. It seems that a ship called The Damsel had got itself into a spot of trouble after being attacked by an unknown force. After confiming he'll investigate, Conall boarded his Arbitrator class cruiser and set off to find The Damsel.
Arriving in the Arnon system, Conall set warp to the coordinates given for the last known location of The Damsel. As the warp tunnel started to disappate around his ship, the camera drone picked up the carcas of The Damsel, the hull twisted and bent out of shape. Sparks danced along the hull as small explosions from non-critical systems exploded as the fire damage spread across the interiors. Whatever attacked this ship done a thorough job. The electronic pings rattled around the hull of the arbitrator as the scanners worked to obtain as much information as possible and try and locate any survivors located deep within the interior of the hull. There were none. All that was found was a datacore with some encrypted information.
Pulling the camera drone back towards the ship, Conall opened up a comm-link with Sister Alitura and relayed the information obtained. It seems the ship was doing some work of some importance around the system and the Sisters of EVE wanted to know more, Sister Alitura directed Conall to speak with a local undercover CONCORD agent to try and find some more information about The Damsel and it's crew.
After arriving at the deadspace pocket to meet the CONCORD informant, he told Conall that the ship had been registered to a pilot under the name of Marihem Dagan. He suggested that if Conall completed his current assignment to destroy some local pirates harrassing the shipping lanes, he could try and find more information. Conall agreed and set off for the system where the pirates were last located. Quickly upon arriving, the pirates made themselves known. A small contingent of three frigates set upon the cruiser, not realising that it was piloted by a capsuleer. Their blasters opened fire and the clangs of the ammunition resonated across the hull of the Arbitrator - it's nanites quickly absorbing and disappating the impacts and repairing the armor damage. Conall deployed the Arbitrators main defence, it's swarms of drones. Quickly, the pirates were overrun by the small drones orbiting and ripping chunks of the hull off each of the ships. They were no match and quickly succumbed.
Returning to the undercover agent, he thanked Conall for completing his mission and introduced himself as Tevis Jak. Conall was informed that a man with the alias 'Red' had more information about The Damsel and Tevis uploaded the location of Red's hideout to Aura. Conall set off with haste to find 'Red'. The Arbitrator swung round and into the warp tunnel to head off to one of the moons in the system. Upon the warp tunnel collapsing, the camera drone focused on a smoldering wreckage of a habitation module. Holes gouged in the hull and debris and corpses floating around the structure confirmed Conall's suspicions that no one had survived. It seems that whoever done this attack done a proper job and ensured there wasn't going to be any way that anyone could survive the slaughter. The ships scanners pinged to alert Conall that they'd located a corpse matching the description Tevis had provided of 'Red'. Scooping the corpse on board the cargo bay, Conall set course back for Tevis to confirm that this was indeed the 'Red' they were looking for.
Tevis looked over the scanner data and corpse and confirmed it was 'Red' and confirmed that the habitation module looked like it had been attacked by Rogue Drones. He advised to report back to Sister Alitura to let her know of the latest developments. Upon arriving back and sharing the information with Sister Alitura, she confirmed that the datacore recovered from The Damsel and the scanner data from the ship also suggested Rogue Drone involvment. She confirmed they'd located a few survivors from The Damsel and asked for them to be picked up. Conall agreed and set out to perform a few collection jobs of people. After returning the last survivor to Sister Alitura, she suggested that they speak with an agent of the Gallente corporation, CreoDron - Delphine Xarasier.
Arriving in the CreoDrone station, Conall met with Delphine who told him that some of their drones had malfunctioned and they were being quarintined to prevent them escaping, she asked Conall to go into the deadspace site and subdue the drones and bring back any components retrieved so that she could investigate what had caused the drones to stop responding.
Conall reboarded his vessel and undocked and set off for the drone complex. The warp tunnel brought him out at a massive acceleration gate, leading into the complex, and surrounded by CreoDrone guards. The security pass that Conall brought with him activated the acceleration gate. Giant electrical arcs danced across the surface of the gate as the magnetic superstructure came to life, ready to hurl a ship across the vast expanse of space to a secure location. The ships computers interfaced with those of the gate and lined the vessel up to the starting location for the warp. The chatter on the local comms from the fleet commanders wished Conall luck and told him to be careful.
With a lurch, the magnetic field of the gate grabbed onto the hull of the Arbitrator and quickly hurled it to warp speeds and sent it flying the thousands of kilometers into the drone facility. No sooner had the ships engines dropped the induced warp, the ships scanners started to sound at the incoming target locks from around him. It seems the drones didn't welcome the intruder into 'their' space. Conall deployed his fleet of Acolyte drones and began the targeting sequence on the attacking drones. The shields of the Arbitrator started to buzz and crackle as the drones launched their ammunition into the Arbitrator. Thankfully, these drones were just civilian drones and not proper combat drones, as dangerous as these drones were to other civilian ships and structures, to a capsuleer, they were little more than an annoyance. The Acolytes quickly began their attack sequences and shredded the drones to shrapnal. Scanning the wrecks, the valuable components and computers were pulled into the cargo bay to take back to Delphine.
Delphine welcomed Conall back and scoured over the data looking for errors in the programming, loopholes that the drones could exploit and break free of their controlling programs. Delphine confirmed that they had found issued with the components returned, and suggested that Conall seek the assistance of a Caldari scientist, Immuri Asaka, who was studying rogue drones to obtain more information as to how the drones go rogue.
Conall set course for the Caldari State from the Federation and headed to meet Immuri at the Hyasyoda facility in Hatakani. Upon arrival, he was greeted by Immuri who shared that he was working on studying a drone hive that had been forming within the borders of the Caldari State. He said that it was being guarded by the Caldari Navy and was quite safe and suggested that Conall head out and look at the work of the drones while he went over the information provided by Delphine.
Conall took Immuri up on his offer and set off for the rogue drone hive within the constellation. Upon arrival, he was scanned by the Caldari Navy fleet guarding the site and then let through the acceleration gate to be greeted by the sight of a massive drone hive. The superstructure dominating the view of the local space and making the guarding Caldari battleships seem insignificant in comparison. On the fringes of the hive your scanners picked up signals of smaller rogue drones appearing every few minutes. It seems the hive has started production of more drones to shore up it's defences and to start bringing more materials to make more drones. Conall noticed that the only ships present near the hive were the battleships, and while they'd be fantastic at destroying the hive itself, they'd quickly be overwhelmed and ripped to pieces by the smaller, faster and much more agile drones. Once the drones reached a critical mass, they'd overwhelm the battleships and escape the quarintine. Conall quickly powered up his Aribtrators warp drive to return to Immuri and share his concerns.
Immuri shared Conall's concerns and relayed a message to the local commanders of the navy to shore up the fleets composition. Immuri asked Conall to assist the State with an issue that had developed regarding the hive, it seems that some local mercenaries have found out about the hive and were seeking to start attacks on the navy, potentially allowing the drones to escape and to terrorize the local systems. Immuri wanted them assasinated.
Conall headed out and approched the coordinates of the staging post of the mercs. It seems they were forming at a startower and using it as a staging post to launch their attacks. The Arbitrator dropped out of warp about thirty kilometers from the tower and the scanners started locking onto the fleet of mercs around the tower. The scanner picked up a fleet of a half dozen frigates and a couple of destroyers. Conall brought the defensive systems of the vessel online and deployed the drone swarm to take on the frigates. His scanners started alerting him to hostile target locks and incomming missiles. Conall willed the Arbitrator forward and into an orbital path around the control tower as the missiles from the ships started slamming into the hull of the Arbitrator one after the other. The explosions rippled across the hull and was quickly followed by the cackle and hum of the nanites working to repair the damage caused to the impact sites.
The Acolytes meanwhile had locked onto a nearby frigate and were on approach for their attack runs, their targeting systems picking out the vital systems of the ships and sharing amongst the flight of five drones the best attact targest and attack vectors. The first drone reached the Kestrel class frigate and locking onto the shield generators, with a well placed shot, took out the protective shielding, for the second drone to come behind and take out the generator entirely. This left the frigate completly defenceless for the remaining drones to target the power core of the ship and three impacts breached the reactor, causing it to go critical. The Kestrel began spiriling out of control as explosions started to ripple across the hull as system after system began overloading. Before the occupants had a chance to react, the vessel was dead in the water and going critical. The swarm of Acolytes repeated this across the attacking fleet, taking them out one by one. Distress calls went out from the fleet, and reinforcements showed up to try and turn the tide of the battle, but it was hopeless. The ships couldn't put out enough firepower to cause any serious concerns before the drone swarm overwhelmed the ship defences and on by one, the mercs fell.
Triumphant, Conall returned to Immuri to share in the sucess of his attack. Immuri was pleased, but looked concerned. He told Conall that the hive had stepped up production of drones and had reached the point that the local commander couldn't take on the drones any longer and that the Caldari didn't have any other nearby forces to assist in defending the area. Immuri asked Conall if he could assist the commander by taking out the drones to allow the hive to be destroyed by the Caldari fleet. Conall of course accepted this task, as a capsuleer he would rival anything that an empire navy could field and live to tell the tale - even if he died.
Conall headed back to the security checkpoint outside the hive's location, the chatter of the local defence fleet heightened and anxious, knowing that they are facing a potentially dangerous and lethal situation. The acceleration gate latches onto the hull of Conall's Arbitrator and begins the process of throwing it into the drone hive. This is it - Conall has one shot to put an end to the drones and allow the awaiting fleet the opportunity to destroy the hive. As soon as the engines break warp, Conall activates the defence systems of the ship and has his own drone swarm deployed. He burns towards the closest target, getting in range of his targeting systems and initiates the attack run onto his Acolytes. The drones move into formation and their microwarp drives burst into life, propelling them across space towards the swarming mass of drones. Scanners are showing that there are around thirty targets in the area and the activity across the hull of the drone hive suggests that more are likely to be deployed to assist in the defence of the hive. The lasers of the Acolytes light up the area, the red beams cutting a path through space and melting anything that gets in the way. The rogue drones try to lock onto and fire upon the Acolytes, but the superior speed and agility of them means that the rogue drones can only get a hit to connect when the Acolytes have stopped to switch to a new target. One by one, the rogue drones are destroyed and when the final one explodes in a fireball, Conall sends a message to the fleet that the area has been cleared.
Immuri's voice crackles into life over the NeoCom advising Conall that he's been recalled to Sister Alitura and to return as soon as he can. With a tinge of sadness, he thanks Conall for assisting in destroying the hive. Conall knows that the destruction of the hive won't be easy for the man and it'll make his studies much harder going forward. Conall set course back to meet up with Sister Alitura at Arnon.
It seems that while Conall had been investigating leads on the Rogue Drones, the Sisters of EVE had been doing their own investigations and discovered that there was an unusual drone in the area, not matching the descriptions of known Rogue Drones. Sister Alitura wanted Conall to investigate further and track the drone down. She pointed Conall to the location of Wolf Burgan, a pilot who'd seen the drone in his recent travels. Together with Wolf, the men worked out the likely location for the drone and Conall set off to see what he'd find.