Aiming for an Imicus

31st December 2013 – 5.23 pm

I don't disappear immediately, but instead loiter on the K162 from class 4 w-space for a while. The residents may be collapsing their connection to this class 3 system I returned to, but it's entirely possible that they didn't know I was stalking them, and I'd rather make sure that they complete the collapse instead of changing their minds and deciding to stalk me back. The appearance of a Broadsword heavy interdictor next through the wormhole clearly indicates that my decloaking to jump past their battleship came as something of a surprise to the pilots.

Broadsword protects the wormhole being collapsed

Of course, a HIC is a normal ship to use to help finish off stubborn wormholes, so its presence could be standard operating procedure. What makes its appearance now unusual is that the wormhole is not in its critically unstable state. The HIC is not here to safely implode the wormhole, it's here because of me. As if to confirm my guess, the HIC inflates its warp bubble around the wormhole. It's rather ineffective without other ships trying to decloak my Loki strategic cruiser, but it seems that the Broadsword is merely trying to protect the operation, and isn't part of an attempt to actually hunt me. That's just fine, chaps.

The battleships jump through the wormhole and back again, dropping the connection to critical levels, at which point the HIC's bubble deflates and the Broadsword returns to the class 4 system, dragging the last of the wormhole's mass with it. All's well. They don't have a stalker, and I don't have a fleet behind me to worry about. Well, not all is well, I suppose. I clearly came as a surprise to those pilots, but only by sneaking through a K162. If only outbound wormholes still had that level of opportunity for surprise.

Yes, I'm again whining about the discovery scanner, but somewhat relevantly. I have exhausted the K162's in this system, and am left with a T405 outbound link to another class 4 system. All I am expecting from exploring is that the wormhole will already be known about. And, sure enough, jumping to C4a sees core probes on my directional scanner. I should probably just give up now, but I am nothing if not stubborn. I move from the wormhole, cloak, and wait to see what comes my way.

The probes disappear from d-scan, replaced by a Helios covert operations boat and Imicus frigate, both scanning ships, neither coming past me. I can only assume that this wormhole is yet to be scouted, and that it will be scouted, so rather than do anything rash I continue loitering with intent near the K162. A bit of waiting sees the Imicus's return to d-scan, and the ship persists on d-scan for long enough for me to try to find him in space. He's not at the star, or at a planet. It seems like the frigate is in empty space, maybe another wormhole. Ah, now he's on my overview. He's at this wormhole.

In fact, the Imicus is making his first visit to this K162, evidenced by the ship dropping a decent amount short of the wormhole's locus, after no doubt having warped directly to the cosmic signature. That's good for me, hopefully bad for him. Not expecting to get a shot at anything bigger, I make my move, decloaking and getting my sensor booster active. And fumbling everything else.

Locking on to a scouting Imicus frigate

The frigate is a little out of range of my warp scrambler, being on the other side of the wormhole to me. I want to close that range to prevent him warping away, not realising that his instinct is likely to be to do that himself, as he'll head towards the wormhole. My first mistake, then, is to activate my micro warp drive. My Loki accelerates hard as I gain a positive lock, making the shots of my now-firing autocannons glance off the tiny ship.

Were I moving a bit slower I would have ripped the Imicus apart by now. As it is, the frigate is just missing its shields. My speed also doesn't so much close the distance between our two ships as carry me past the Imicus, his heading to the wormhole and now my zooming away from it. And as the Imicus jumps through to evade my attention a vagary of the navigation system hits me: I stop trying to approach the ship that is no longer present, gliding to a halt in the direction I'm moving. That direction is away from the wormhole.

So it is that I am over seven kilometres from the wormhole a vulnerable frigate has just jumped through. I turn, pulse my micro warp drive again, and burn to the wormhole as quickly as I can, jumping as soon as I am in range. Where's the Imicus? I decloak and wait for him. But I wait longer than the session change cloak lasts and there is still no sign. Smart capsuleer, moving and cloaking as soon as he could. But his ship can't warp cloaked, and as he's not visible on d-scan he hasn't moved from this spot. I'll just have to make it look like I've lost interest.

I cloak, jinking as I do, making it look like I've given up. And there he is. The Imicus reappears and jumps back to C4a, and this time I've not strayed too far from the wormhole. I follow immediately, decloaking on the other side—after seeing no new ships on my overview, hopefully making my polarised state not too threatening—and aim for a positive target lock on the fleeing Imicus.

Attempting to get a positive target lock on the Imicus

Close, but no cigar. The Imicus warps clear a split-second before my warp scrambler can stop him. Never mind, they are nimble little buggers. And I imagine that's the extent of the excitement to be had in this system, and now probably the constellation, given that the locals must have scanned ahead already. Out of curiosity, I warp to the one planet out of d-scan range, where the Imicus headed, to locate the inevitable local tower, seeing a Tengu strategic cruiser piloted, and Keres electronic attack ship empty. It looks like I got lucky, but the pilot of the Tengu is the same pilot from the Imicus, merely swapped ships. Okay, I'm finished here for now. Time to go home for a sammich.

W-space constellation schematic

  1. 2 Responses to “Aiming for an Imicus”

  2. An as fitting place as anywhere else, to say Happy New Year to you Penny and thank for your great writings, I truly enjoy your stories, extremely well written and with great content. May I one day run into you in our never-ending hints in the formerly Unknown space!
    Big fan, Egil

    By Egil Kolsto on Jan 1, 2014

  3. Thanks, Dr Egil! Happy New Year to you, and all other capsuleers too.

    By pjharvey on Jan 1, 2014

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