Taking the bait

13th April 2010 – 5.46 pm

A Retriever mining barge has been spotted. It is in a medium bubble and obviously bait, but the possibility of heading in to a trap hasn't stopped me taking a look before. Some colleagues are pondering bumping the Retriever out of the bubble, perhaps to recover it, I'm only thinking of bombing it. I get my Manticore stealth bomber ready and, when the scan man returns, copy the bookmarks to my systems, ready to warp off for adventure.

Today's neighbouring system is occupied. The tower has a Buzzard, Badger II, Moa, Iteron V, and Viator all in the shields, the first three of which being piloted, and there is nothing else showing on the directional scanner. Onwards! I jump in to a class 5 w-space system, which is completely empty. Onwards in to another completely empty system, and then another. If it weren't for our neighbouring system being occupied we could have a bounty of systems and sites to choose to plunder. I jump in to the occupied class 3 system holding the mining barge bait.

The Retriever and mining drones appear immediately on d-scan, clearly presenting a tempting target for others. A Retriever by itself is not suspicious, as it could easily be sitting inside a tower's shields, but having the mining drones visible makes it look like a miner is active. I am not worried that this kind of bait will make me waste time when out scanning normally. I always scout out the locations of towers when entering a system, as it best gives an accurate count of active ships within the system. I am not initially given the location of the tower in this system, but they are easy enough to find. I warp to a central position in the system and prepare to use d-scan to narrow down the moons it could be anchored to. As luck would have it, the arbitrary moon I warp to holds the tower, no searching required.

And there's the Retriever and the drones, sitting in a warp bubble some distance away from the tower's shields. I bounce off the bubble but my cloak holds, and I move away and around the bubble in to a better position. There are no other ships at the tower or visible on d-scan, all is quiet in the system. I manoeuvre my Manticore to get in to an optimal attitude for a bomb launch, taking my time rather than rushing. An empty mining barge is even easier to hit than one being piloted. One last check that d-scan is empty and my bomb is launched. It glides gracefully in to the warp bubble, exploding beautifully to destroy all five drones and the mining barge in a single blast.

Blowing up the bait is hardly an accomplishment, but gratifying all the same. And I always like explosions. Besides, there seems to be no point in using bait if no one bites. With the system quiet, and now void of other ships, I navigate my way back through the network of wormholes towards home. I call up a few articles to read on the journey, casually checking the overview and hitting d-scan around wormholes and system transitions. I know that w-space isn't safe, even when cloaked, and that there is no way to know what is waiting on the other side of a wormhole, even if it happened to be clear two minutes ago. I have stumbled in to and set-up my own traps based on that. Yet I am remarkably calm about travelling through w-space now.

I wouldn't say I am blasé about life in w-space, or the dangers it poses, more that I am comfortable with them. Nearly all my time is now spent in w-space, either cloaked and careful to remain unnoticed, or in a fleet with good information about who and what are in adjacent systems. And all the time the directional scanner is my friend, letting me see what is and isn't in the system. I feel experienced.

Back at the tower, the corporation gets a small fleet together to hack some Sleeper databanks, fending off the Sleepers as we do it. I get the privilege of being able to get my gorgeous Damnation out of the hangar to pilot it in to the radar site. I fit my command ship with a codebreaker module with the intent to provoke the Sleeper reinforcements when opening the databases. Before even that we get an escalation, as there are two Sleeper battleships present in the site when we warp in, and a deserted Talocan cruiser. We shoot, I hack, and the Sleepers are destroyed. I warp out and return in a Merlin rigged to hack, recovering the rest of the databases whilst someone else salvages the wrecks. We take home a pretty good haul, ending what has been a good evening.

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