Manoeuvring around a Machariel

6th July 2010 – 5.34 pm

W-space is well-connected again today. There are plenty of bookmarks to copy in to my nav-comp, which means I can leave behind my Buzzard scanning boat and head out to roam in my Manticore stealth bomber instead. I warp to our home system's static wormhole and jump through to start looking for activity.

Our neighbouring class 4 system is unoccupied and quiet, only an abandoned tower floating around the outer planet showing any residual signs of capsuleer presence. I move onwards through the system's static connection in to a C5, another empty system, and then again through an incoming K162 to another C5 system. Again, the system is unoccupied and, again, I jump through a K162 in to C5 system. This time my directional scanner shows me a tower, along with a mining drone somewhere. The drone is not accompanied by any ships so I assume it to be lost or abandoned. I find the tower and with it a complete lack of activity, moving on to check the incoming connection from a C6. The wormhole has collapsed, the bookmark no longer relevant, and I retrace my jumps back through the class 5 systems.

The first C5 has a static connection to a C3 I jump through. I see two Sleeper wrecks and two drones on d-scan, which I assume to be left from the solo Tengu a colleague earlier chased away from an anomaly. Moving away from the wormhole I activate my on-board scanner to resolve nearby anomalies passively, in case any ships return. As the scan progresses I check my notes. They show that I have visited this system before, about five months ago, and that the system is occupied, but not where the tower is. Before I can locate the tower d-scan reveals an Abaddon and Machariel in the system. A couple of anomalies are returned by my scanner and a quick check with d-scan shows the two ships to be in one of them.

I recognise the Abaddon as an Amarr battleship, as I've flown with a few of the capacitor-greedy blighters, but the Machariel is new to me. It sounds like a speedy frigate for some reason, but I don't know why it would be fighting Sleepers. I have already alerted my colleagues about the presence of the two ships and the Machariel has got some attention. A small fleet forms and options are discussed. I am asked to find out if any other ships are in the system and, given the location by our scan man, I check the occupants' tower. There are no more ships or pilots visible and warping in to the anomaly finds the two ships in combat with Sleepers, apparently unaware of my presence. I also see that the Machariel is actually a battleship. I don't think I've seen one before.

I take care in my Manticore not to get decloaked by the other capsuleers or the Sleepers, but note that I am sitting between our targets and the wormhole. I need to manoeuvre around the ships to provide a better warp-in reference for my colleagues. Warping in at range to a reference point always drops the ship short, never long, so I have to position the targets between me and the wormhole for the best opportunity of a successful ambush. There are no planets to bounce off, so I crawl under the ships to get in to a good position. As I manoeuvre the Manticore I relay information about the Sleeper combat, the indigenous ships being destroyed quickly in this C3 system by the capsuleer battleships. But today our timing is good, the urgency imparted working to our benefit in two ways.

First, our Dominix battleship warps in to the anomaly moments before the final Sleeper is destroyed, catching both the Machariel and Abaddon at just the right moment. Second, our pilot's rush to engage before the rest of the fleet is ready means that the Abaddon and Machariel are less likely to flee immediately, letting him get warp disruptor modules active and holding the ships in time for our Rook to enter the system and warp to the anomaly. The Rook recon ship targets the battleships and applies its ECM to jam their targeting systems, which takes the pressure off the Dominix, now quite badly damaged, and also allows my stealth bomber to decloak and engage. I activate my warp disruptor and target painter, and loose volleys of torpedoes at the Machariel, our primary target, as our Harbinger follows in to the anomaly to provide more firepower.

As the Machariel starts to take heavy damage the Abaddon manages to warp away, perhaps some minor confusion about warp disruption targets freeing him for just long enough to escape. The Machariel has no such luck. The battleship explodes soon after the Abaddon leaves and I am even able to snare its pod. The pilot wakes up in a clone in some station. We quickly loot the ship and scoop the corpse, the combat ships clearing the pocket and leaving the system. I remain, able to cloak, and reconnoitre the tower. The Abaddon is sitting inside the tower's shields, unmoving. We could salvage. There are no other ships in the system, the anomaly is out of d-scan range of the tower, and I have eyes at the tower. If there is any threatening activity I would give plenty of warning to allow our salvager to leave safely.

A couple of salvaging destroyers are piloted by my colleagues back to the anomaly in the C3. I monitor the Abaddon pilot but he remains apparently inactive as the salvagers loot and clear the wrecks, reaping all the profit for ourselves. The salvagers finish and exit the system before any activity is seen, the Abaddon pilot swapping ships for a Magnate scanning boat. I imagine he is going to scan an exit to k-space to enable his colleague's return. There is a brief period where we try to snare the Magnate, or the presumably returning pilot, but I need to take a break and there is no saying how long it will be before anyone uses the new wormhole.

As I head home to our tower I am told more details about the Machariel. It is no ordinary battleship but a faction variant! I am amazed to see that we destroyed almost 900 million ISK of ship and fittings, which certainly explains why it was our primary target. It is perhaps best that I didn't know this initially, as I probably would have got awfully nervous, but destroying a Machariel is quite a catch. It has been a good day.

  1. 3 Responses to “Manoeuvring around a Machariel”

  2. Heh, i thought Machariel is a frig first time i saw the name too, not sure why.

    By Mick Straih on Jul 7, 2010

  3. Oooo, nice snag! You have no idea how jealous I am of the lack of an informative local you all have in WH space.

    As far as thinking a Machariel is a frigate, I guess it kind of sounds like Dramiel, which definitely sounds frigatey, sort of. A reasonably fit one can also be extremely agile and move over 2km/s, so they aren't your stereotypical battleship either.

    By Arrhidaeus on Jul 7, 2010

  4. Thanks!

    The quiet local is a gift. I can only think that it hasn't been implemented elsewhere yet, even in a limited form, because a populated local channel is seen as an integral warning system for k-space systems. The potential for massive fleets to wreak havoc before they are noticed must be too great a consideration, whereas w-space self-limits to smaller skirmishes because of the logistics of wormholes.

    By pjharvey on Jul 10, 2010

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