A series of unfortunate events

17th May 2010 – 5.49 pm

Destroying a salvager has annoyed a fleet. The Tengu strategic cruiser has found the wormhole connecting to our home system easily enough but it looks like he gets bored quickly and warps off. The four Drake battlecruisers leave the anomaly where we engaged the Cormorant destroyer and jump out of the system. It looks like they've lost interest. I suspect differently, and that they are instead changing ships to rather more dangerous PvP configurations. Seeing a Raven battleship, Armageddon battleship, Phobos heavy interdictor, Hurricane battlecruiser, and Jaguar assault ship appear on the directional scanner confirms my suspicion. Luckily, our own fleet has made it back home safely, with the only ships left in this system having a covert operations cloak fitted.

We've met these people before, too. The corporation is the one whose pilot took it upon himself to bomb our tower to provoke a response, which he gets, and my inexperience gets an Armageddon of ours destroyed. Even if I hopefully know better now, they clearly are well-organised and equipped, and know what they are doing. It was really frustrating that the last time they engaged us we should have been blue to them and not valid targets, if our agreement with the alliance had been honoured, and kind of amusing now that they left the same alliance only a few days previously. Had they still been in it, we wouldn't have attacked their Cormorant salvaging destroyer. But it also means they can shoot us back, and they are looking to do so.

I would probably be safer back home at our tower than in this system. A pair of eyes in this system is valuable if we are to do anything, though, and we have a stealth bomber that is loitering some distance away from our wormhole. He can monitor ship movements and alert us to changing threats. But for me to return I need to run a gauntlet of alert and capable PvP pilots. The Raven, Armageddon and Phobos are on this side of the wormhole, the Jaguar and Hurricane on the other. This won't be easy, but I keep boasting about how to move away from wormholes safely. It's time to put my knowledge in to practice.

Getting to the wormhole is easy enough, finding a clear approach vector that doesn't decloak me. As soon as I jump the wormhole will visibly and audibly flare and there will no doubt be activity and pilots ready to lock and shoot me. I get within jumping distance of the wormole and quickly decloak and jump. Arriving on the other side, I hold my cloak as I find the ships around the wormhole and the best direction to move away from everything so I can activate my cloak immediately and hold it. The wormhole flares again as a ship follows me through. Without delay, I push my ship away from the wormhole, cycle the reheat and engage my cloak. My Buzzard moves quickly away from the wormhole and cloaks as the Phobos heavy interdictor's warp bubble activates, preventing me from warping away. That's okay, I'm safe. I change direction when I am a few kilometres away, just in case someone tries to follow and decloak me, and slowly move out of the Phobos's bubble. I'm clear.

I don't warp out but move away from the wormhole, knowing that the HIC's bubble will prevent any attempt at warping to the wormhole from range. And we need to fight at range to defend. What is needed is a point away from the bubble that we can warp to, and I manoeuvre my Buzzard to get a good position to bookmark for that purpose. Meanwhile, one of the hostile pilots has spoken in our home system local channel, complaining that 'you attacked my alt mofo'. Would sir like some cheese with that whine? I didn't realise you could go around shooting anyone you wanted but everyone else needed permission to shoot you. 'We will crush your POS'. What a terrible bluff. In my experience, those who are capable and motivated in to destroying something aren't likely to announce it first.

I am fairly sure I have the strategy to repel these intruders, we just need to attack from range. But my colleagues are curiously reticent to get in to long-range ships and shoot the attackers, my skills of persuasion not able to convince them of the relative safety in doing so. We end up with a stealth bomber monitoring ships on one side and my Buzzard monitoring ships on the other. After a while of no activity by ourselves, the hostile ships get bored and go home, leaving our own and the neighbouring system. But I am certain they have a scout in our system. They did before, which we nearly kill the last time we encounter this corporation, and it gives a definite advantage to know what ship movements are occuring. I say we need to keep a watch for that scout leaving before we are safe. And then a Hound stealth bomber of theirs comes in to our system.

I wouldn't be surprised if the Hound bombs our tower out of futile spite before running away again. With my combat Buzzard on one side of the wormhole and a stealth bomber on the other, we may be able to trap him. In fact, with the rest of the fleet gone I could probably catch the Hound on the wormhole with my Onyx. I warp back to the tower to change ships, warming up my heavy interdictor in case of a bomb attack. As I am getting coordinated, a Harbinger battlecruiser is spotted on our wormhole and one of our pilots in a Lachesis recon ship engages it. Not wanting to leave our pilot out there alone I warp in to help, and as my Onyx is fitted with short-range heavy assault missiles I drop on to the wormhole. This was a mistake, as our eyes in the neighbouring system announces the return of the battleships. I try to warp out again but the Hurricane has my warp engines disrupted and I cannot flee. In stupid desperation, as the number of ships coming increases, I take my only exit, through the wormhole.

Jumping through the wormhole was my worst possible option, and I feel stupid for doing it. I put myself in a losing position, handing my ship to the incoming battleship fleet. To teach me a lesson, my Onyx is destroyed and, as 'session change in progress' keeps beeping at me, my pod is swiftly despatched too and I wake up as a new clone in a space station. Out in empire space, in dock and not even actually in space for once, I have time to reflect. Actually, I fly my Ibis the few jumps to Jita to buy a new Onyx whilst I reflect. I knew how to engage the enemy with relative safety, yet I got myself rightfully killed.

I know how it happened. I should have fought the attackers at range, and definitely not on the wormhole. It was when the fleet had dispersed that I launched my Onyx, to tackle a lone, small threat. When a different ship turned up I should have changed ships to one with good range, but my own pressure to engage quickly meant I took the wrong ship to the fight. When I was warp-disrupted I should have disengaged by flying away, preferably towards our tower or other celestial object for quick entrance to warp when clear. I would have cleared the range of the disruptor eventually, or drawn the hostile ship away from the wormhole and in to danger himself. Jumping through the wormhole was just plain wrong. Oh well, maybe next time I'll listen to my own advice, and if I lead by example maybe I can get others to follow.

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