Of course, a very good webpage offers all information I need, namely where to buy a Vulture. And then, a positive surprise: A Vulture is much cheaper than information from websites led me to believe. I have about 39 million Credits left, my Asp in the hangar, and a reasonably equipped Vulture, mostly A-rated. A fantastic ship it is, as the turn rate feels very close to an Eagle, but the two large pulse lasers offer an amazing firepower. As shield I choose a C-rated bi-weave, because with that much maneuverability, I do not count to be in the line of fire for too long, so I might profit from faster shield regeneration. Also, I had believed that the Vulture is of similar size as an Eagle. Quite contrary, the cockpit seems even more spaceous than the Asp´s, with an almost as good all-round view. After a quick test run and a power plant upgrade, all modules run fine at top priority.
My new venture is to finally up my standing with Aisling Duval, the power faction which I swore my allegiance to. Since four weeks have passed by now, rising up to rank 4 will allow me to buy prismatic shields. They essentially behave as a shield of one level higher than they are rated, thus allowing me to have an A6-class shield in the Vulture´s maximum class-5 compartment.
In order to raise rank quickly, I do not want to ship faction material between contolled systems and expansion systems. You only get 10 each half hour, even when you can pay 100.000 Credits to instantly get the next batch of 10. No, my Vulture is THE combat ship, so the natural choice is to undermine a system of an enemy faction. Thanks to a very good faction-specific player community, I can access a Trello-organizer-sheet and instantly know which system is best for this activity: Gui Banni. The same webpage also offers a neat guide on how to undermine.
The itinerary to Gui Banni is about 250 light years. Which means that I need to upgrade to an A-rated frameshift drive (~16 ly per jump), and a dearly recommended fuel scoop instead of armor reinforcement. The travel gets a bit difficult once I encounter an uninhabited system with an unscoopable red star, but thankfully, my fuel tank affords (barely) two jumps in a row and I can circumnavigate any further such obstacle.
Once in Gui Banni, I can experience the amazing power of my class 4 interdictor device, thereby catching ships already from relatively far away. Contrary to assassination-missions, where you have to look out for quite some time for your target, there are more than plenty "alliance"-named vessels, so it never gets boring.
Combat is so easy, after my tedious practice with an Eagle in conflict zones! The only real difficulty arises versus a "deadly"-rated Asp. I don´t get it how those buggers out-turn even the most nimble Vulture, go full frontal and unload a deadly barrage of railguns. This particular one sports in addition some turret scatterguns, which almost shatter my canopy in my endless close-circle dogfight. Of course, I had forgotten that I can almost neutralize turrets with chaff. There is an Orca, which has enough mass and staying power to actually jump away, but not after dropping some alliance-themed cargo. I can bunker four of them, maybe they will also yield merits when I bring them back?
In just one crazy full-night-to-morning game session, I destroy 26 alliance-themed vessels and earn 780 merits, and make my travel back thoise 250 ly to Aisling Duvals realm. This is enough to raise to rank 4 for the next powerplay cycle. Unfortunately, nobody seems to want to buy my alliance themed stolen cargo. It is again only after some internet-research that I realize, this particular cargo is only for faction-specific missions of another power-leader. Sigh. If information would be just a little bit more accessible in the game, just one note in the cargo description, on where you can buy and sell it, would be enough!
Anyways, now I am looking forwards to those prismatic shields!