Back-and-forth with bait

22nd April 2014 – 5.11 pm

I'm feeling more positive after yesterday's playful encounter. What's up for tonight? A ship in our home system, for a start, which my combat scanning probes inform me of. Warping across from my safe spot lets me see the Golem marauder on my directional scanner, and switching overviews and repeating the scan sees a Sleeper wreck. Just the one wreck, mind you, and now no longer a Golem.

Did I scare the marauder off, or was his ship just not up to the job? I can't believe the latter option, not with only the first Sleeper in the anomaly popped. I find the anomaly, make a perch, and wait a while, pondering the situation. He's back, so say my probes, but d-scan is showing me a Noctis salvager. That's curious. I update my probes and the ship is still somewhere, but the Noctis is gone. Cloaked? No, probably near his wormhole, as it is the salvager my probes are detecting, not the return of the Golem that I assumed.

The Noctis leaves our system. If the pilot's not going to continue here, I'll scan for his wormhole. Calling my probes in to the system is the perfect time for the pilot to return, of course, this time in a Tengu strategic cruiser. I scramble to get my probes out of the system again, no doubt too slowly, but the Tengu persists on d-scan. He's not in the anomaly, or any site, but he does seem to be on our previously scanned static connection. I warp across to take a look.

Bait Tengu near our static wormhole

Well, a pilot called 'Yummy Worm' in a Tengu some seventy kilometres from the wormhole. 'Could be some kind of bait', says a newly arrived HR. Call me suspicious, but I think he's right. I go back to scanning for the apparently new wormhole, resolving it quickly and warping across to see a K162 from class 4 w-space. I don't quite fancy jumping through this one, because if the Tengu is bait then his support fleet will be right on the other side. So what to do?

It's a bit of a stalemate, until Mick arrives. He's always up for a scrap, and knows much more about ships than I ever will. He encourages us to swap ships and I have no hesitation jumping in to a Manticore stealth bomber to see what we can do. My decision to reveal myself on d-scan, indirectly showing the Tengu my intention, is perhaps a bit rash, but at the very least it could spark a reaction. It does. The Tengu aligns away from our wormhole and back to his, warping and jumping as Mick and HR appear at our tower to also swap for much pointier ships.

My Manticore should be safe against whatever is waiting, so I drop my cloak, burn to the K162, and follow a few seconds behind. The wormhole is clear. A Noctis is on d-scan, along with a tower. No Tengu, no support. 'So it was not bait.' Maybe. Maybe not. There's a lot more space outside d-scan range of the wormhole, and as HR joins me in the system I decide to go on a reconnoitre.

Four more towers are in the inner system, one with an empty Charon freighter, another with the Tengu and an also-piloted Cerberus heavy assault cruiser, presumably the support for the bait. One more tower is further distant but with no more ships. The Tengu and Cerberus do nothing, and if it is just them then better timing by us could have got us a couple of kills. But who knows who is watching in w-space?

HR has a new contact at the tower with the Noctis, which warps to the furthest tower. I follow him as the Tengu heads HR's way, and I see the Proteus strategic cruiser get swapped for a Falcon recon ship and warp to a nearby moon lacking a tower. That's initially odd, but it allows the despised ECM boat to cloak and warp elsewhere whilst keeping its vector unknown. Still, there aren't many locations it could be heading, not with HR calling the Tengu being in warp to the wormhole.

Maybe the Tengu was bait after all, and is continuing to be bait, now with greater support. But we feel we're in a better position too, particularly if I hold back in my Manticore and ambush the Falcon as soon as it appears. I make some tactical bookmarks at the wormhole, on the assumption that the Falcon will appear at its optimal range, as Mick jumps from home to engage the Tengu directly.

Ishtar vs. Tengu

Mick's Ishtar HAC and the Tengu trade blows for a short while, before the Cerberus makes an appearance on d-scan. I see it so I call it, still waiting for the Falcon to decloak. Still no Falcon, but a Golem is incoming. A Golem? Who would have expected that? The marauder warps from a different direction, plants himself a healthy distance from any direct threat, and starts firing. 'Hit the Cerberus, with everything', says Mick. Roger that.

Golem warps in to join the fray unexpectedly

Losing the Ishtar

I warp my Manticore in close—too close, I must have given the wrong order—and HR follows suit, but it's too late. Mick admits that he wasn't able to control the range as he wanted, and his Ishtar explodes. HR flees, I fumble with decisions again, taking my Manticore in a stupid direction before being more sensible, suffering a single volley of cruise missile fire from the Golem as a consequence. My shields are stripped, but I get my Manticore safe. And where was the Falcon? It not appearing is almost as annoying as one appearing.

  1. 12 Responses to “Back-and-forth with bait”

  2. Your Ishtar blew it by pulling us off the hole. Had he stayed on the hole with his ARMOR ship in a Pulsar just in case there was anything coming, he would've been better off. Once the Cerberus landed he continued to drive off the hole. 2v1.. and you're still going to drive off the hole, really? Once the Golem landed he was done in a volley or so. That was -1. Our mistake was putting our Golem at exactly 100km off the hole so your Domi's could MJD right on him. We didn't blame you guys for trying for that. Hell, you almost had it. Hero Falcon is a hero though. You guys lost about ~350, but you were about 18% structure away from having about ~2 billion of a kill. Next time if you guys decide fight, fight. Don't trickle in people and "feel it out." Had you thrown the spider Domi's in with the Ishtar, we would've had a real problem and it would've been a better fight.

    By Some guy. on Apr 22, 2014

  3. By the way, your story doesn't do the fight its justice. It was exciting for both sides and there were more ships involved, and the intensity was real. You had the Proteus, Armageddon, Astero, Buzzard all apart of the unfolding drama. If you're going to languish on accounts where you don't come out the victor, you're probably better off just not writing at all about it.

    By Some guy. on Apr 22, 2014

  4. Yeah, Mick acknowledged that he blew this engagement.

    In a different situation, had we dropped a couple of hundred million in battleships through the hole we could have found a dozen T3s decloaking on us. I don't think there is any right way to engage without the benefit of hindsight.

    By pjharvey on Apr 22, 2014

  5. Also by the way, I can only write about what I actually see. And you're missing the second part of the story, due tomorrow, which you've slightly spoilt.

    I'll take your advice on writing under consideration.

    By pjharvey on Apr 22, 2014

  6. Just put a "To be continued..." In next time you have two part story.

    By Grimmash on Apr 22, 2014

  7. I could. I quite like making each tale stand on its own, though, with any follow-up being a nice little surprise.

    As this commentator was there, I kinda expected him to realise perhaps why there was a significant chunk of the story missing.

    By pjharvey on Apr 22, 2014

  8. Nice! Looking forward to reading the conclusion of this epic battle :)

    By The DLT on Apr 22, 2014

  9. You've taken my non-subtle brashness with grace. *tips fedora* I look forward to reading part 2. :) <-- that's a smiley face

    By Some guy. on Apr 22, 2014

  10. Did you see the smiley face I posted? It's right there ^ Here is another one :) The parenthesis is the smile itself.

    By Some guy. on Apr 23, 2014

  11. I definitely fucked up with Isthar at first, for one i didn't actually realize your system was a Pulsar, for another while I'd have prolly been better off staying on wh in the first place i actually dithered a bit and didn't go for pulling away at full speed either, so that was pretty big fail there. (I think, was a while ago so maybe I'm not sure if I got it all right).

    The thing with Domis vs Golem, we could've had it, I think, but execution was kinda crap.
    There was also the fact that Domis weren't fitted quite as they should've been, notably, we knew about the falcon and yet did not take ECCM
    Also HR's domi didn't have a prop mod, so he ended up falling behind/out of range of neuts and RR, tho that probably didn't end up making that much of a difference in the end.

    There's maybe another reason or a few why things ended up not great but it'd prolly just read like (more) excuses so i'll leave it at that.

    GF to all involved. Will try to kill you more effectively next time :)

    By Mick Straih on Apr 23, 2014

  12. Cool fight, I look forward to part two.

    By BayneNothos on Apr 23, 2014

  13. I was asleep, but now I see the smiley face. Smiley faces for everyone!

    I can't find it on my keyboard.

    Also, I forget our own system has a pulsar most of the time.

    By pjharvey on Apr 23, 2014

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