Fin's home, but she's left a bit of her brain back in Tash-Murkon. Maybe it's an implant, I'm not paying that much attention. I'm still feeling a bit fuzzy after being thoroughly flummoxed by a subspace scout, as well as ruining a chance of catching a hauler collecting planet goo. Luckily for Fin she doesn't need to retrace the meandering trip she took in her Orca industrial command ship to get home, as I eventually found two more exits to high-sec empire space, one of them actually in the Tash-Murkon region. Of course, if I'd found them before flinging ships in to force fields she wouldn't have had as far to travel, but that's besides the point.
I am pretty much ready to call an end to the night but I hang around, spinning my ship at the tower, as Fin travels through our static connection. Our neighbouring class 3 w-space system holds the most convenient exit for Fin, and is the system where the Buzzard covert operations boat evaded me using black magic, and the activity of earlier makes me want to ensure Fin is safe. She sees a Manticore stealth bomber on d-scan, which is a change to the pod I last saw in that system, and some scanning probes. As Fin relays this information to me the Manticore drops out of warp at our K162 and jumps in to the home system. I recognise the pilot's name too, she's the Buzzard pilot from earlier.
I quickly warp my own Manticore out of the tower and towards our static wormhole, if only to activate my cloaking device and disappear from d-scan. I don't get to the wormhole in time to see the other stealth bomber move away, but hopefully she didn't see me either. I position my own Manticore close enough to the wormhole to decloak and jump through quickly, as Fin continues to watch our K162. The scanning probes in the C3 converge on the K162, then disperse. This is curious activity, as the Buzzard pilot, now in the Manticore, obviously scanned the system earlier—definitely finding our wormhole, or how else could she use it now—so I'm not sure what this new scout is looking for. Maybe he's a tourist from empire space. For now, we ignore him.
The Manticore in our system reveals itself, but only to jump back to the C3. I decloak and follow, updating Fin as to what's happening. I decloak myself on the other side of the wormhole in order to get my systems hot, particularly my sensor booster, and get ready for the Manticore's appearance. She decloaks and moves, I get a positive target lock and disrupt her engines, activating my launchers to send volleys of torpedoes her way. But she's moving quicker than me, much quicker. She must have a micro-warp drive fitted, which will get her out of range of my point before my torpedoes will pop the ship. But I have more than torpedoes at my disposal.
The Manticore is rushing away from me, but I am following and aligned for the chase. Before she is more than a few kilometres away I launch a bomb, knowing that its unguided systems will send it along my current path for ten seconds, at which point it will detonate. And, if my hunch is correct, that will put my target right in the heart of the explosion. I continue firing torpedoes, making little dents in her shields, and Fin swoops in to action to add her warp disruption effects. And just as the Manticore reaches the edge of my point, boom, the bomb explodes and there's no more Manticore!
The signature radius bloom of the MWD made the frigate-sized hull look much bigger to the bomb's explosion, reducing it from almost intact to a smouldering wreck in a single blast. I'm so surprised at the effectiveness of the bomb that I almost forget to lock on to the ejected pilot's pod. But I am perhaps less disorientated than the other Manticore pilot, as her pod doesn't warp away from the wreckage, instead being caught by both me and Fin, and she is turned in to a corpsicle quickly enough. We scoop the corpse, and loot and shoot the wreck, getting three bombs and a covert opertions cloak for our troubles.
That was a fabulous kill, and makes up for the earlier disappointments. Perhaps I should fit an MWD to my own Manticore, so that I can keep up with some ships. But my situational awareness and clever use of what I had fitted got the kill regardless, and excellent teamwork with Fin ensured the Manticore wasn't escaping quite so quickly. All that's left to do now is work out who owns the scanning probes in the system.
A little bit of loitering sees the probes disappear and a Tengu strategic cruiser appear. A Helios also appears, the pilot swapping from the cov-ops boat in to a Hurricane battlecruiser. Fin and I monitor their activity for a little while, easily determining that they are either setting up an ineffectual camp on the exit to high-sec or waiting as protection for their colleague's new clone to come to w-space. There isn't much we can do about ships that can jump out to the safety of high-sec when threatened, so leave them alone. Fin goes to Amarr to collect her brain, and I go back to our tower to finally get some sleep.