Introducing myself to w-space neighbours

31st December 2009 – 5.44 pm

There is a current path out of w-space, but the neighbours may be aggressive. The route back to New Eden leads through an occupied w-space system, and it is reported that the inhabitants are active. I could simply take my Crane through the system, as cloaked and agile it should be able to evade any confrontation, but now that I have a Manticore stealth bomber every situation looks like it could be solved with a bomb. The Manticore has a covert operations cloak, allowing it to warp whilst cloaked, and being based on a frigate hull it is small and agile itself. I can at least reconnoitre in my Manticore the neighbouring system's wormholes.

Jumping through our static wormhole causes some immediate concern, as a Crusader interceptor is sitting on the other side. The interceptor isn't as threatening as it normally would be, as it should be possible to dive back through the wormhole if it engages and tries to disrupt a ship's drives. I warp away to the exit wormhole, alerting the Crusader's pilot to my presence, as I briefly become uncloaked between starting the warp procedure and flicking on my cloak. He knows I'm in the system, but until I decloak he won't know where. Approaching the exit wormhole, I find a Zealot heavy assault ship waiting.

The presence of the two ships on the wormholes looks aggressive to me, although others in my corporation consider it possibly to be a defensive stance. I can understand keeping careful watch on visitors and ensuring they don't have hostile intentions, but gunboat diplomacy doesn't work too well in frontier space, as it could just as easily provoke a response as much as keep the peace. Besides which, these PvP ships are not Concord. I don't think they are sitting on the gateways to prevent fighting, and I would be amazed if they don't open fire on any likely target passing their way. So that only leaves the question of what I should do.

As I ponder my options, the Zealot warps off the exit wormhole. I could approach the wormhole and make good my return to k-space, but I have an unhealthy curiosity in times like this which, coupled with my stealthy cloak, makes me turn around. I warp back to the wormhole home, where I find the Crusader still sitting on the hole and the Zealot now 100 km from it. The Zealot begins to approach the wormhole, presumably to try to flush me out, hoping to get close enough to disrupt my cloaking device. My fear of anything approaching a fair engagement means that I was moving as soon as I dropped out of warp, he's not going to find me so easily. After a short while, the Zealot warps out again, presumably back to the other wormhole. I am left again wondering what to do.

My Manticore is now in a good position, 30 km off the wormhole where the Crusader sits. I am pondering my options. I have only launched one bomb so far, and although it successfully hit a wormhole I have no idea what would happen against a live target. I suppose there is only one way to find out. My carebear self is quite anxious. I am about to perform an overtly hostile and arguably unprovoked attack. And although I am cloaked the bomb has a significant flight time, during which I will be visible and vulnerable, and almost completely inexperienced. Ah well, bombs away! Cloaking device disengaged, bomb launched, I try to watch the ordinance silently sail ahead as I hit the warp drive to escape any repercussions.

Prior to entering warp, the combat log reports a hit! The interceptor only takes 320 damage, perhaps because of its tiny signature radius, I don't know. But I imagine the interceptor pilot knew he would survive a bomb, as he didn't move from his position. Even so, I survive the launch too, warping away successfully and re-engaging the Manticore's cloak. Once again, I am left with the problem of what to do, and this time I am facing definitely aggressive PvP ships and pilots. As it is clear that I will not defeat the Crusader in even an unfair fight, and doubt I'll stand a chance against a HAC, I decide it is time to return to the safety of home. All I need to do is get back through the wormhole, the one I just bombed, with the Crusader sitting on it, which I also just bombed. This could be exciting.

I am not going to mess around this time. I warp to zero on the wormhole and jump through as quickly as I can. The interceptor sees me and, unsurprisingly, pounces. Holy crap, they move fast! Before the system transition is half-complete the Crusader is practically on top of me, and I can see it following me through the wormhole. I am ready on the other side, and as soon as my systems reconfigure after the jump I am warping to the tower, hitting the cloak for good measure. The interceptor tries to stop me but there is little he can do. What he does is change the name of his vessel to 'Hulk' in an effort to disguise his presence on directional scans, but it's not tempting me back out of the tower's shields.

I pretty much realise there is little else I can do now that I've stirred the hornets' nest. I don't want to risk taking the Crane through the system and I have no other PvP ships to take to the fight, even if I had any measurable PvP skills. My main concerns are hoping that I haven't broken any corporation non-aggression policies and that I haven't made travel more dangerous for my colleagues. I probably should have thought my actions through more carefully. It was quite exciting, though, and as the wormhole engineers are becoming more active in presenting a show of force against hostile w-space denizens, any experience is progressive. And I get my first live hit with a Manticore-fired bomb! I can return to New Eden to redeem my Zephyr another day.

  1. 2 Responses to “Introducing myself to w-space neighbours”

  2. You don't need to be un-cloaked for bombs to work, so go ahead and re-cloak as soon as you can.

    However, if you start slinging torps, you will need to be un-cloaked, as any missiles you shoot lose lock when you cloak.

    By Btek on Jan 8, 2010

  3. Hmm, I kind of knew that, but for some reason didn't apply the knowledge. I must have panicked and hit warp to be really safe!

    By pjharvey on Jan 8, 2010

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