Poking the wasp nest

16th April 2010 – 7.54 pm

The evening starts promisingly. There are lots of bookmarks waiting in the can, tempting me to go roaming in my Manticore stealth bomber again. But warping to our static wormhole reveals that the bookmarks are a day stale, so instead I swap in to my Buzzard scanning boat and start looking for signatures instead of targets. Along with our new static wormhole I find a second wormhole. Thankfully, this incoming wormhole is EOL and won't last long, making it less likely for intruders to use it aggressively against us. I jump through our static wormhole instead, in to an occupied system.

I find our neighbouring system's tower using the directional scanner, seeing a Skiff exhumer and Bustard transport ship sitting motionless inside the shield. I warp around the system to see if there is any activity occurring off d-scan, as the system is large enough for the scanner not to cover everything, and notice that the Bustard is still visible. As the tower is no longer showing on d-scan the Bustard must be in flight. I quickly check the tower again for confirmation that the Bustard has flown the coop before dropping probes and scanning in the likely area he was heading. If he went out, he is likely to be coming back.

The system's static wormhole reveals itself to me soon enough, and whilst I have been scanning I have also formed a fleet with colleagues who turn up. I bookmark the wormhole's location from the scanner, knowing that it will be approximate but not wanting to waste time warping there to get a more accurate position, and warp back to our tower. My Onyx heavy interdictor is launched and ready for me, thanks to the fleet, although I am disappointed to see that this doesn't prevent the HIC's shields being below 20% when boarding, but at least I don't need to scour over all the ships in the hangar to find it. We warp out and jump to the neighbouring system. Unfortunately, the Bustard immediately appears on d-scan, which places it closer to the tower than the outwards wormhole. But maybe it is making multiple trips. I warp the fleet to the other wormhole anyway.

Having the wormhole out of range of the tower on d-scan is an advantage, as we can sit on top of it without being easily noticed. Our reconnaissance man sees the Bustard pilot swap to a Buzzard, though, and that means we'll be noticed and our ambush will fail. But we can still wait on the other side of the wormhole and hope to snare the small ship, so I call for everyone to jump. Two ships falter and don't jump, which will ensure the Buzzard pilot will see them, but I can turn this to our advantage. I send the two that haven't jumped home to our tower. The Buzzard will see them warp off in a different direction, hopefully without knowing that my Onyx and colleague's Nighthawk are waiting on the other side of his exit. And it looks like the plan works.

The wormhole flares, and it is not caused by a friendly ship. Again, there is a pause as what we assume to be the Buzzard's pilot weighs his options. Our systems are hot and waiting for a ship appear to target. His cloak drops and we pounce! But a split-second later and there is nothing to lock on to. This Buzzard pilot is no fool, he has turned his ship away from us and activated his cloak at the same time, probably not even turning on a micro-warp drive to avoid the increased signature radius penalty of using it. He knows he can crawl cloaked out of my HIC's bubble and be safe. Without a fast ship to try to decloak him our ambush fails. Now we ponder our own options.

I wonder if a bomb launched at the wormhole would help decloak the Buzzard when coming home, so Onyx and Nighthawk jump back and a Nemesis stealth bomber is recruited to help us. I have no doubt that my HIC can survive a bomb, and the Nighthawk should be fine. Another flare! A bomb is launched, but in vain, as it turns out our Nighthawk pilot accidentally jumped through the wormhole instead of approaching it. The bomb knocks my shields down to 98%, which is a good test at least. It doesn't look the Buzzard will come back soon, and as we have bungled the operation a little we head back to the tower to relax.

Meanwhile, our scanning man has headed onwards and found an exit to high-sec space, offering the opportunity to buy and sell fuel and modules. A hauler is loaded up and sent out, but a hostile Onyx is spotted in our neighbouring system when it jumps. Our Iteron pilot holds steady with his cloak engaged, a Crane transport ship braving the route to high-sec first, finding it to be clear. Both ships make it out safely.

A little later, I want to see what's occurring, so I take my Manticore in to the next system to loiter on the wormhole heading outwards. A pod jumps in, but is unsurprisingly too agile to be trapped by my Manticore's systems. Maybe I should have realised this and not even tried, hoping for a more enticing target to head my way. Then again, the Crane that comes back is also too agile and evades me, as it goes out and then returns through the wormhole before warping off. I don't want to be caught unawares, so I follow it back to the tower. I see the Crane and Onyx, and a short while later they both warp off. I don't much like the look of provoking an Onyx to loiter on a wormhole my colleagues will want to use soon.

I cautiously warp back to the wormhole where I see the Crane jump back in to this system, but the Onyx is nowhere to be seen. And the wormhole collapses. It is no consolation to think that their Onyx is trapped elsewhere when our own shopping trip is now scuppered. A scanning boat goes out to find the new static wormhole in our neighbouring system, but no new route to empire space is found this late in the evening, leaving our colleagues trapped outside. With any luck this is only a minor delay, but I probably should have left the other capsuleers alone. Or at least been more successful at hunting them.

  1. 2 Responses to “Poking the wasp nest”

  2. I'm really enjoying these detailed accounts your giving. It sounds like a bit of a cat and mouse game - it's pretty difficult to catch Covert Ops and cloaky Transports!

    By Banear on Apr 17, 2010

  3. Thank you. I know I have trouble remaining the comfortable side of brevity, so I am glad that I manage to keep it interesting.

    By pjharvey on Apr 17, 2010

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