Our w-space neighbours are hunting intruders. Not us, I might add, at least not specifically. Although we certainly sparked off the initial hunt, by stealing loot from anomalies they cleared, there appear to be other unwanted pilots now in their class 3 system. And it looks like the increased activity will offer us an opportunity or two for an ambush. An Anathema covert operations boat, seen briefly on my directional scanner, may not be an easy target, as he can warp cloaked. A Magnate frigate, on the other hand, has no such capability, making his appearance on d-scan more interesting. Even without those external ships, the pilots at the active tower are making themselves accidental targets.
One of the locals stows his strategic cruiser in favour of a Cheetah covert operations boat, incautiously crawling out of his tower's shields to launch probes, presumably to look for ships or new connections. It's a shame I'm on the other side of the tower, watching the activity as it unfolds, as the complete lack of defences on the tower makes catching ships wandering outside its force field much more attractive. But there is a planet almost directly oppposite my position and where the Cheetah is. I know the range to the cov-ops boat and so, with a bookmark to my current position, bounce off the planet to drop out of warp as close to the Cheetah's position as I can.
Naturally, the Cheetah has cloaked by now, and my meandering course changes are unsurprisingly ineffective at trying to bump in to the other ship. Even a small volume of space is surprisingly large for two ships to occupy without noticing each other. I bookmark my new location, though, in case the Cheetah foolishly reappears here. And, now that I am on this side of the tower, the Magnate seen only on d-scan so far appears on the other side of the tower. He cannot warp cloaked, as mentioned, so he has to make himself known when reconnoitring the tower, dropping out of warp and cloaking as soon as he lands.
There isn't a convenient planet to bounce off this time to get next to the Magnate, but I can get fairly close. And as he'll have to drop his cloak to initiate warp I may only need to get close enough, not right on top of him. I reposition my Manticore stealth bomber to be as close as I can estimate to the Magnate, and wait. The locals have also seen the frigate appear and look to want to either decloak him or catch him when he has to decloak to leave. One of the two Drake battlecruisers at the tower moves out of the shields, by just a few kilometres, and sits waiting.
I'm not quite sure what the Drake's hoping to achieve, with the missile flight time and lack of warp disruption effects at that range making his ability to target the Magnate, by being out of the tower's shields, rather ineffective. A second Drake is being more active in his efforts. He warps out of the tower, in the opposite direction at first, making me wonder what he's up to, before warping back to sit around thirty kilometres from my cloaked ship. Our guesses seem to be close enough to each other that one of us should be able to catch the Magnate, but I don't fancy my chances when the Drake could equally catch me.
The Magnate decloaks and warps, me not keen to decloak in front of the Drake, the Drake probably not quick enough to stop the frigate from leaving. He changes his own position, apparently guessing that the Magnate came from low-sec empire space, through their static wormhole, and warps to loiter on the connection. I don't think he's right, as the Magnate warped in a different direction, rather suggesting that a new wormhole has opened in to the system. At least it leaves the first Drake alone, still sitting just outside the tower's force field.
There's not much I can do alone, but Fin and Mick are around and have their stealth bombers at the ready. A trio of bombs may put a big enough dent in the battlecruiser that a quick pounding with torpedoes will finish it off. We need to get in position first, and the lack of defences on the tower actually helps them, not providing us with convenient references to bookmark and warp to at ideal bombing range. We also need to be careful for our bombs not to detonate inside the shields, which I have learnt absorbs all the explosion damage. But we only need one pilot to be in position for the others to get close, and Mick gets there pretty quickly.
Our ambush ends before it gets started, the Drake called away just as the other two of us are warping to get in to position. He only goes as far as the exit to low-sec, though, where warping to his position finds the Drake circling the wormhole. We all have this connection bookmarked, making it a better spot to launch an assault, even if it provides just as easy a means for the Drake to evade attack. We are here, ready, and willing, we may as well give it our best shot. We all warp to the wormhole from different directions, dropping out of warp to be in a good bombing range. A little adjustment to individual positions, and making sure we're aligned, and three bombs are launched towards the battlecruiser.
All bombs detonate and the explosions slam in to the Drake's shields. The effect isn't quite as devastating as I was expecting, though, not even knocking the battlecruiser's shields below half, let alone to the peak recharge point for the passive systems. He's not running, either, giving us a target for our torpedoes, and we try to punch the the point home. The Drake launches his drones and targets each of us in turn, as his shields soak up more damage. We are taking him down, but slowly, and Mick has to warp away first to save his Hound. I am targeted next, holding but aligning away as my shields drop quickly. I warp out as I take armour damage and see the second Drake jump back in from low-sec, to add his weapons to the defence of the first. Fin is the last to leave, warping out soon afterwards.
We took our shot, but the Drake was hardy and ready to fight. We got his shields down to about 30% by the end, which is pretty good, even if he would have simply jumped through the wormhole had he been in any serious trouble. We wouldn't have followed in our fragile ships, not being so foolish to get close enough to do so even if we wanted. So we don't get the kill, which was unlikely, but we also get out with no losses and have a bit of a scrap. At the very least it is a good exercise. But now I have other responsibilities to take care of, and jump home to take a break.