Chasing frigates

10th July 2010 – 5.20 pm

There is some activity on my way home. I am returning from my scanning exploration that led me to an exit from w-space to low-sec space when I note a change of ships in the class 4 system along my route. The pilot of the Iteron Mark III is now sitting in an Imicus frigate and floating near a can labelled 'BMs d'ici'. It's in French. With nothing better to I quickly warp to our home system and swap from my Buzzard covert operations scanning boat to my Manticore stealth bomber, returning to the C4 see what the Imicus is doing. He's gone.

There are no probes in the system and, moving another system along, none in the class 3 system either. Believing I have today's w-space connections completely mapped out I warp to the exit to low-sec empire space and set up camp, waiting for the Imicus to appear. There is a lot of waiting some days, and I wait, wait, wait. Probes appear on one of my cursory checks of the directional scanner and I get more interested in space again, putting aside the reading material on my secondary computer system for now. I adjust the range of d-scan to see how many probes are close to the wormhole I am sitting on. Four probes are within 2 AU. Now they are within 1 AU. Gone. I get ready in case a ship warps in.

A Probe frigate appears on d-scan, no doubt having recalled his scanning probes, and he predictably enough warps to the wormhole. I already positioned my Manticore within jump range of the wormhole but outside of any likely approach vector, so I won't be decloaked. I also don't engage the Probe, instead letting him jump through the wormhole to the low-sec system. My assumption is that he has no desire to travel through low-sec and is only interested in noting the wormhole's destination. When he comes back his ship will be polarised, leaving him no option to jump to flee my attack and I will have a better chance to destroy his ship.

The wormhole flares shortly after the Probe first jumps, approximately the time it takes for the session change timer to expire. I get my weapon and disruption systems hot and prepare to lock the Probe. The other ship decloaks and I quickly do the same. But my timing is slightly off! In my excitement I pre-empt the second it takes for the cloaking device to de-activate and my systems fail to lock on to the target. By the time I have corrected my error I am fumbling to re-engage my offensive systems, giving the agile Probe frigate time to warp away unharmed. I re-activate my cloak and then kick myself for letting a polarised and surprised target get away because of my error. But I don't sit still.

I check the tower in my current system and the Probe isn't there. And there are scanning probes still in the system. I warp to the connection to the C4 and jump through, positioning myself on the wormhole to try to catch the ship again. I wait a little more and am rewarded as wormhole flares! All my systems are hot when the same Probe decloaks after jumping. I time my own decloaking perfectly and... the Probe warps away before my ship can lock. I don't think I could have timed my ambush better, so it seems that my Manticore cannot lock the Probe before it gets in to warp. At least I can no longer blame myself for missing him the first time.

The Probe is now at the tower in this class 4 system. I head home to rest. But on the way back I note more scanning probes visible in the next system across, our neighbouring C4 system. A Manticore may not be able to lock a frigate but if any ship can it will be my interceptor. I swap to my Malediction and sit on the home side of our static wormhole. Again my patience is rewarded with a flare signaling a ship's entrance to the system. My Malediction is not cloaked, removing any decloaking issues as well as the element of surprise. Well, it still comes as a surprise to the Imicus pilot, seen earlier, who doesn't expect to be greeted by an interceptor.

The Imicus decloaks and heads for the wormhole, my Malediction's weapon systems successfully locking on to the frigate and launching an initial volley of rockets before the ship can jump back. I quickly follow, my own ship still within range of the wormhole. I try to shed my session-change cloak as soon as I can and make my systems hot, but I am a little clumsy and the Imicus warps away. I probably could have caught him but I am satisfied in merely scaring the crap out of the capsuleer and successfully chasing him away. I loiter on the wormhole for a while, in case the Imicus pilot is foolish enough to return, and reducing any polarisation issues I may have, before jumping home and returning to the tower to rest for the night.

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