Back in w-space and looking to see what I can find, I don't even have to wander outside the home system today. Two Moa cruisers, a few drones, and a jet-can are all visible on my directional scanner, once I move from my hiding spot to be closer to the centre of the system. Thar be signs of gas harvesting. Luckily, this is in the home system, so scanning probes are not needed to locate the already-bookmarked ladar site, and I simply warp in to reconnoitre the ships. It all looks simple enough. Two cruisers harvesting gas, a shared jet-can, and drones presumably used to disperse Sleepers, or, perhaps, to decloak particularly inexperienced pilots warping directly to the cosmic signature.
I bookmark the jet-can, retreat to a suitable monitoring point, and warp in to welcome the Moas to our system with all weapon bays open. I believe that's a sign of respect in some cultures, even if it leads to extended and crippling wars. I'll settle for one popped cruiser, to be honest. I lock on to both ships, disrupt the warp drives of one, and start shooting. And I keep shooting until both cruisers warp off, the bastards having fit warp core stabilisers to their ships. Never mind, I can harvest some of the gas myself. And by 'harvest', I mean 'collect what they left behind in this canister'.
I swing past our tower, jump in to a Crane transport ship, and collect the gas after making sure the coast is clear. All looks quiet, but it may not stay that way. I dump the gas in our hangar, get back in to my Tengu and, oop, reconnect to the probes I accidentally abandoned in deep space. That's okay, it saves me having to launch them a second time, and I intend to scan for wormholes now anyway. We have the ladar site, a magnetometric site, our static wormhole, and a K162 wormhole with an Impel transport ship sitting on it as my probes converge on the signature. Sorry, chum, I nabbed your gas.
I swap my obviously insufficient Tengu for a stealth bomber, taking a moment to try to squeeze on more points of warp disruption before realising that my already tightly fit Manticore can't manage it. Okay, so my new choice will also be insufficient to stop stabilised ships from evading me, but it will also hit harder and be cheaper to replace, so I give up reconfiguring it and swing through the ladar site on the way to the K162. The Impel is not to be seen, and the K162 comes from class 5 w-space. Now I wonder what to do. The C5ers are certainly aware of my presence, so I am unlikely to catch them being stupid, which makes me think I should just get back in to my covert scanning Tengu strategic cruiser and head to our neighbouring class 3 system. I'll grab a drink and have a think.
Damn it. I step out of my pod for a minute—yes, we can do that—and I hear the K162 my Manticore's sitting on flare a couple of times. I have no idea what ships came or left the system, which puts me at a disadvantage. I return to my pod to see nothing on d-scan, making my best guess that the C5ers are collapsing their wormhole. I suppose it's worth hanging around here for a few more minutes to see if that's the case. And the K162 flares again, but it doesn't bring a ship massive enough to help destabilise a wormhole. Instead, a Moa returns to the system. Now, I can't quite believe that the capsuleers will think about harvesting gas again, at least not without an escort, so this doesn't smell right. Having the Moa align very slowly away from the wormhole, as if tempting a certain someone to take a shot, is also a rather obvious sign of being bait. You wish, sir!
Still, having admitted that the Moa is obvious bait I am still tempted to take a shot at the cruiser. My notoriously unreliable short-term memory has not quite made my forget about the recent undetermined jumps through the K162, but were they guards or scouts? Either way, it would be close to suicide to engage again in my Tengu, even without its recalibration delay, as I have already seen that I cannot stop the warp-stabilised Moa. But I'm in my Manticore, armed with a much more devastating bomb launcher, torpedoes, and instant target acquisition after decloaking, and I think I have a chance of causing a bit more disruption. I watch as the Moa gets to thirty kilometres from the wormhole before warping back to the ladar site.
I follow behind the Moa, although to my monitoring point a few hundred kilometres distant from the cruiser. It looks like there's not much I can do to start with, as the Moa is nestled in the gas cloud, which decloaks all, and he's probably expecting me. But almost as soon as I think I'm wasting my time the cloud disperses, the final traces pulled in to the Moa's hold. Now I can warp to where the cloud was, having been thoughtful enough to have bookmarked its position, without threat of decloaking. I warp in close to the Moa and watch its next move, which is to manoeuvre enticingly slowly towards the second cloud, tens of kilometres away.
Yes, okay, this is clearly bait. After all, there were two Moas, which easily evaded my Tengu, and now there's only one. But a bomb launch in an agile ship could get a lucky kill, and I'll just warp away if there looks to be trouble I can't handle. I may as well give it a go, particularly as the pilots are probably expecting my Tengu. And so I wait and watch as the Moa continues towards the second gas cloud, until he is a good bombing distance away from me. I align my Manticore, decloak, and launch. I gain a positive target lock on the Moa as the bomb is in flight, so that I can activate my target painter for a bigger bomb blast and prepare torpedoes, and watch as the detonation shreds the Moa's shields, as well as those of a nearby, recently decloaked Manticore.
A stealth bomber is a more suitable target for me to shoot, as I've had good success pitting my own Manticore against them in the past, so I switch focus from the bait Moa. If only I was alert enough to switch my weapon systems too. I point and paint the Manticore, but somehow forget to disengage my torpedoes from the Moa until my new target has hit me with his own bomb. His torpedoes start slamming in to my fragile hull long before I am thinking straight, and with the bomb almost evaporating my shields it doesn't take much encouragement for my Manticore to disintegrate. Oops, I've exploded. I blame my recently reconstructed overview for this, as it is wrongly showing a tackling Helios covert operations boat with a bright red background. It is quite distracting.
Finding myself sitting in my pod rarely fails to enliven me and I warp clear, as a Myrmidon battlecruiser warps in to the ladar site. The Myrmidon is followed by a Sabre interdictor, two Drake battlecruisers, and an Armageddon battleship, all seen on d-scan as I bounce back to our tower, and all presumably champing at the bit to get involved with a Tengu kill. Ha ha, the joke's on them, it was just some idiot in a Manticore! In unrelated news, I think I need to get a new stealth bomber, as mine's gone missing.