Catching a Cormorant

16th May 2010 – 5.47 pm

Someone is being nosy. There are probes visible on the directional scanner along with an Arbitrator when I wake up at our tower in w-space. The uncloaked cruiser seems like an odd choice of ship to be scanning in, so it could be a separate vessel. But when I launch my own probes, to try to find where the visitors are coming from, the other probes disappear along with the Arbitrator. I am not sure if this is a juicy target or a lure for a trap. I find our static wormhole and it appears to be the only wormhole in our system. I am now wondering who has opened our wormhole, if it is the only entrance in to our system, as it cannot be opened from the other side. Checking the bookmark can shows nothing recent added, but it is possible that someone simply forgot to copy it across.

A colleague turns up and we head through the static wormhole to scan our way further out and try to find our visitor. The system is big but unoccupied, with plenty of anomalies and signatures. It would be a good system in which to clear Sleepers if we could get a fleet. I manage to locate a wormhole, and as it leads in to a class 2 system it sounds about right for an uncloaked scanner to come from. Jumping through to the C2 shows a tower but no ships, and scanning finds a low-sec exit to empire space and a connection to another C2 system. I jump through to the next C2, which turns out to be vast, the outer planet sitting in a 106 AU orbit. A piloted Helios sits in the shields of a tower in the system and too looks to be scanning. There aren't any signatures to resolve except a wormhole, which leads to another C2. I jump through but only briefly, returning almost immediately when I hear of a Drake battlecruiser appearing in the C4 adjoining our home system.

By the time I am back in our neighbouring system there are now four Drakes and a Tengu strategic cruiser present. None of the systems I have passed through would indicate such a force, suggesting a new connection has opened in to this system. A Cormorant destroyer appears on d-scan, which really makes it seem like the small fleet is here to engage Sleepers with a salvager following behind. The destroyer isn't sitting on a celestial object, but he won't be with the main fleet just yet. I swap to combat probes, move them quickly out of d-scan range, then make use of d-scan to get a good bearing and range on the Cormorant. I am calling for other colleagues who have turned up to get in to combat ships and sit on the other side of our wormhole, ready to jump in and be warped. There is some procrastinating about what ships would be best, but as it looks like we'll be hitting a salvaging boat it really doesn't matter. What matters is time, and I need ships to be ready before I bring my combat probes in to position.

The opportunity passes. Our small fleet sits on our wormhole and I try to get a positive scan on the Cormorant, but he has moved. Perhaps all is not lost. Not only has the Cormorant moved but the Tengu and Drakes have too, suggesting that I have not been spotted but they have completed one anomaly and are moving to the next, the Cormorant going in behind them to clear the Sleeper wrecks. I push my combat probes out of range of scan again and check the system map for all the anomalies in the system. I know that the first one they clear is out of d-scan of my current position but not from the system's static wormhole, I pick one at random and warp to it at range. Bingo! The Cormorant is salvaging alone. I bookmark a wreck he has yet to get to and warp to the wormhole home, calling for everyone to jump and hold. As soon as I drop out of warp at the wormhole I initiate a fleet warp back to the bookmarked wreck, all of our ships getting the signal and rushing across the system for the ambush.

The timing is good, dropping out of warp on top of the Cormorant as he reaches the final wrecks. I am there first in my agile Buzzard, but I am not helpless. I make use of the warp disruptor and rockets that have for a while been fitted on my covert operations scanning boat and stop the Cormorant fleeing as the rest of the fleet arrives to bring significant firepower.

The Cormorant doesn't last long, popping quite nicely and ejecting the pilot's pod in to vacuum. The pod escapes just as four Drakes arrive to see what the fuss is about. I am stuck on a Sleeper structure and am unable to get myself clear quickly enough to loot the wreck, instead deciding to warp the squad out, but it isn't clear if we all make it. A check moments later revelas that everyone is out and safe, although a couple of ships have taken heavy damage. A fleet formed to engage Sleepers is unlikely to have any tackle, so it was probably only manoeuvring around the structure that would have caused problems getting clear. We get a good kill. Now we need to deal with the consequences.

  1. 3 Responses to “Catching a Cormorant”

  2. "...the rest of the fleet arrives to bring significant firepower."

    Still chuckling to myself about this part.

    By Kename Fin on May 17, 2010

  3. I'm not entirely convinced the Cormorant noticed it was under attack up to that point, with my lone rocket launcher striking ineffectually at its shields.

    By pjharvey on May 17, 2010

  4. Heh, Cormorant pilot thought train...

    "Why are my shields stuck at 98%?"

    By Kename Fin on May 18, 2010

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