I'm already in my Manticore and heading to our static wormhole. The connection was scanned a short while back and a scout has found a Cheetah covert operations boat. The cov-ops is just out of the shields of the tower in the neighbouring class 3 w-space system, which is why I am taking my stealth bomber in. Fin isn't far behind me, and scout Mick is coming back to get his own. A trio of bombs should sufficiently surprise the Cheetah pilot. We synchronise our movements to approach from different directions, so that we don't decloak each other, but the pilot's spider-sense must have tingled, as he moves back in to the shields before we are ready.
Missing the Cheetah looks less like an opportunity lost and more a bigger opportunity gained when the pilot swaps in to a Drake battlecruiser, to join a second pilot also in a Drake. The pair warp out and we start to look for them. I run a passive scan in my Manticore from my position at the tower, but they are not in the single anomaly that is returned. I sweep my directional scanner around to get a bearing on the two ships, then adjust the gate to determine the range, seeing them to be close enough for my passive sensors to pick up any anomaly they would be in. They must be in a magnetometric or radar site, and we will need to scan them directly.
Mick returns in his scouting Helios cov-ops, bringing his expert skills to locate the Drakes. I leave the system to get a combat ship ready, choosing a Tengu to go with Fin's, as the C3 holds a pulsar phenomenon that is friendly to the strategic cruiser's shields. Of course, the pulsar will boost the Drakes' shields too, but we have plenty of firepower to inflict on them. We could also take three ships in, if scanning goes well. Our scout is thinking about returning to bring a ship in for combat too, rather than warping the two Tengus in to the site immediately upon resolving it, which seems like a good idea. And with him choosing a Loki strategic cruiser it seems that we have too much firepower, and I swap to my Onyx heavy interdictor instead, to make sure we catch the pods for maximum destruction.
One scan is all it takes to get a positive hit on the Drakes, and our scout gets his probes off d-scan and jumps home. He swaps ships and warps to our wormhole, where my Onyx and Fin's Tengu sit ready. Fin jumps in to the C3, holds her session change cloak, and checks d-scan for the Drakes. Seeing they are still in the site the two of us follow in to the C3 and Mick warps us towards the Drakes, ready to give them a shock. We drop out of warp on top of both of the battlecruisers, mid-combat with the Sleepers, and my warp bubble comfortably encapsulates the two of them. The Drake most hurt by the Sleepers is our first target, and we start shooting.
The Drakes break in different directions. As I follow our primary target Fin swaps her point to the one heading the other way, so that we can keep him for seconds. Except the first Drake's shield isn't dropping anywhere near as quickly as expected, or indeed much at all. Not only is the pulsar a major boost to the passive shield tank of the Drake but the Sleepers stopped shooting him almost the moment we got in to the site. The w-space denizens' new target is Fin's Tengu, and she's in trouble. My choice of the Onyx seemed reasonable before the fight, now it's trapping my partner, preventing her from getting free. It seems my rescue of the Tengu was only temporary, as it explodes on the edge of my bubble.
It's game over for us. One strategic cruiser is down and the damaged Drake is still not below 50% shields, not looking like he's hurting. I drop my bubble, for my benefit mostly as Mick's Loki is already outside its effects, and burn over to Fin's wreck. I loot and shoot the wreck, salvaging what I can from the operation, before warping out behind the Loki. I actually wondered if the Onyx would be the weak link in our assault, relying on its passive tank to last the duration of the combat, but I could have stayed there all day. The tank of the Onyx is similar to but heftier than a Drake's, and I was recharging more quickly than it could be damaged.
I don't think we will underestimate the significance of a pulsar on a passive shield tank again. A Tengu is a big loss to learn that lesson, though. But, as Mick says, we can't win if we don't fight, and if we fight we might lose.