Disparate roaming

4th September 2010 – 3.47 pm

A corporation fleet is hunting, in the same way that a spider hunts. I turn up to learn that a Buzzard covert operations boat is scanning in our neighbouring class 4 w-space system but doing so from within the safety of his tower, so the small fleet is lurking on our side of the wormhole waiting for him to jump innocently in to an ambush. The combination of a heavy interdictor's warp bubble and interceptor's speed is probably best for catching a cov-ops boat and I offer my services, but as I am the only available capsuleer who can pilot either class of ship I need to make a choice. I launch my Onyx HIC and join a sensor-boosted Jaguar assault ship and Rifter frigate on the wormhole.

The Buzzard will be able to align and warp away quickly, and if it gets time to cloak there will be little chance in catching it. Preventing the cov-ops boat from warping at least gives time for the fast-moving ships to 'bump' and delcoak the Buzzard to gain a positive target lock. Of course, this is all theoretical unless the Buzzard actually jumps through the wormhole in to our system, so it's good that we have eyes in the C4 to monitor the ship. And he sees the Buzzard leave the tower, warping away not to our wormhole but to the class 4 system's static connection, which leads to a C3. He may not have come our way but if he has left his home system then he will certainly come back again.

We move the ambush from our wormhole to the C3 connection in the C4, warping as a squad across the system. Unfortunately, the Buzzard reappearing on the directional scanner shows that the pilot was only reconnoitring the wormhole and not jumping through it. And now we've revealed our intentions and foiled our ambush attempt. I return the Onyx to our tower and swap for my Manticore stealth bomber, ready to roam the current w-space constellation for opportunities.

I warp across our neighbouring C4 to a second connecting C4, jumping in to the system to find no occupancy or activity. The bookmarks I copied from our shared can points me to a wormhole to a class 2 system, which I enter. D-scan shows four active towers in the system along with a Legion strategic cruiser and Impairor frigate. I take time to locate the towers, also finding the Impairor piloted but inert in one of them, and in my warping around the Legion disappears to be replaced on d-scan by a Cormorant destroyer and Sleeper wrecks. I'm in the right ship to surprise a salvager and start a passive scan to try to find the anomaly he is in.

My scan turns up only a single anomaly, which still has Sleepers guarding it. I warp around to mitigate the limited range of the ship's on-board scanner but can find no more sites. Continued checks of d-scan show the Cormorant still to be active but the number of Sleeper wrecks quickly diminishes until no more remain. The salvaging is complete. He must have been in an anomaly that had since despawned. I check the towers in the system and find the Cormorant, the pilot's switching back to the Legion indicating that he was both shooting and salvaging alone. The Legion doesn't leave the tower to enter the final anomaly, leaving this class 2 system fairly dull.

Meanwhile, our colleague in the Jaguar's pursuit of the Buzzard has reaped a kill, the Buzzard pilot's cavalier attitude to cloaking getting his ship destroyed. And another corporation scout, checking a different system, has found a rather formidable fleet. Two Basilisk logistic ships, a Vargur marauder, two Raven battleships, a Tengu strategic cruiser, a Drake battlecruiser, and a Rifter frigate are roaming in another C2 system, the Rifter no doubt acting as bait for the rest of the fleet. Our own scout is a little concerned about making it home but the hostile fleet is luckily heading in a different direction and he exits the system with some alacrity.

The separate paths of exploration have halted and our paths converge towards the home system. There is a last attempt to encourage the neighbouring system pilots to come out and avenge the popping of their Buzzard, a Hurricane battlecruiser sat enticingly on a planet for a Loki strategic cruiser and Falcon recon ship to engage, with my own Falcon lurking nearby as support. But the only reaction we get is the Loki pilot telling our own to 'shoo, bait cane'. I suppose it was a bit obvious. I leave the two of them having a conversation in local and jump back home. I return to the tower and start making some dinner.

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