I have my new toy, a Manticore stealth bomber. Although my skill training coincidentally lets me pilot a stealth bomber, I never really thought I'd buy or fly one, as it is a ship designed and built purely for PvP combat. My PvP skills are lacking, in trained skills as well as personal skills, and this decreases my motivation somewhat to get involved. Given the right opportunity I would probably like to learn the ropes for PvP combat, but my trepidation at meeting new people compounded by a shyness to enter voice communication channels makes flying with a PvP fleet in New Eden unlikely. However, piloting a cloaked stealth bomber to shoot fire-and-forget ordinance at unwitting targets suits my anti-social nature rather well.
It is not just the lower-risk engagements that attracts me to piloting a stealth bomber. With my home firmly out in w-space, I think a stealth bomber is an ideal ship to have available. The logistic problems that wormholes cause makes traditional null-sec engagements unlikely at best, and impossible for practical purposes. A wormhole needs to be found by scanning, it won't remain stable in one place for any decent amount of time, nor will it allow huge amounts of mass to pass through it. All this means that large fleets are not to be found in w-space, with only smaller, skirmish fleets used for Sleeper combat and PvP engagements.
Rather than getting everyone in a battleship and relying on force of numbers, actively intelligent use of ships is required in w-space. It's possible to bring in smaller ships, like interceptors or heavy assault cruisers, and be able to cause havoc, but being a corporation of generally non-aggressive members we don't have the necessary skills to pilot such dedicated ships. At least, not yet. W-space is causing us to make new choices about skill training and direction. Until we have better skills, I have my stealth bomber. I doubt I'll be able to use it effectively, I am not even entirely sure I'll be shooting anything in it, but at the very least it can act as a deterrent.
A stealth bomber showing up on the directional scanner ought to cause some concern for any capsuleers in the system. Or, rather, a stealth bomber decloaking should be a cause for panic, as one seen first on d-scan may indicate an unskilled pilot. Either way, knowing that a bomber may be in the system somewhere should keep capsuleers on their toes. Using the Manticore as a show of force in our home system may be effective, even if it's a little too aggressive to fly it in neighbouring systems without provocation. Having mentioned that, an engineer thinks that the neighbours who collapse a static wormhole may have a cloaked ship sitting on the new exit to k-space. It sounds like a perfect test firing of my new ship.
My skill training in the use of bombs only starts when I am out in high-sec buying the Manticore, although I have adequate skills to pilot the stealth bomber itself. The skill to use bombs doesn't add to their damage though, and this is only really a test firing, even if I perhaps shouldn't be firing at a live target to start with. Then again, each bomb is costing me around one million ISK, so I'd rather not waste them. I've read a bit about the use of stealth bombers, enough to have an idea what to do. When the bomb is launched, it flies 30 km in a straight path before detonating in a large radius explosion. But my lack of experience makes me just as dangerous to myself as to others when firing an unguided weapon.
I drop out of warp a good distance from the exit wormhole, remaining cloaked, no ships showing on the overview. I approach the wormhole slowly, keeping an eye on my range. I've read, and experience shows, that zero-range on wormholes and stargates is not a point but a sphere, although I don't know any more detail than that. I understand that this feature could affect my chance to hit a ship sitting at the wormhole, but for a first firing I won't worry too much about it. As I get within bombing range I get rather nervous with an excitement that PvE combat rarely instils, and I wonder what exactly I will do. I'm not sure if I want to make sure I get a hit, what with this being a test, or if I should warp away immediately. I could stay and lock a lone target, if one appears, to paint, sensor damp and batter it with torpedoes, but that seems like too much to handle for a first flight.
At 30 km out from the wormhole, I decloak and launch a bomb. It slowly heads towards the wormhole as I turn the Manticore around, not warping until I see the huge explosion of the bomb detonating. I hit the wormhole, but no ships are damaged according to my log. I warp away and re-engage the cloak, returning to our home system and the tower. I may not have hit anything, but I navigate through a couple of systems to a target and line up a bomb launch accurately. I declare the first flight of my stealth bomber to be a success, and wonder what mischief I'll get up to in my new toy.