Temporarily trapping a Tengu

11th September 2010 – 3.07 pm

Some systems seem simply neglected. Jumping in to our neighbouring class 4 w-space system for today brings me to a system I last visited six weeks ago. Not only was it unoccupied then and remains unoccupied now but there are dozens of signatures scattered around the system. My scouting colleague and myself keep the system neglected and instead scan for wormholes, sharing the task of sifting through the signatures. I am able to discount a dozen sites of rocks and gas, and ignore artefacts and databanks, to find a wormhole with the K162 designator. This is a wormhole opened from another system and exiting here, and the colours seeping through suggest the system beyond is a C2. My colleague finds a second wormhole, the system's static connection leading to a C4, and we both jump to scout our different routes.

The class 2 system has a couple of towers, owned by different corporations in different alliances, and one with a sorry excuse for a ship that is an Impairor frigate inside the shields, but there is no sign of activity in the system. Scanning reveals only four signatures, which are easy enough to resolve, finding me a wormhole leading out to high-sec empire space. Jumping through puts me only five hops away from Hek and with little happening elsewhere—my companion scout needing to take a brief break—I make a short diversion to buy some better combat scanning probes and a skill book for a colleague. I return soon enough and travel through the C2 and across our neighbouring C4 to jump in to the connecting class 4 system.

I am thrust in to the system over seven kilometres away from the wormhole, but that's okay because it lets me cloak more easily so that I don't spook the Nighthawk command ship and Tengu strategic cruiser accompanying Sleeper wrecks I spot on the directional scanner. I warp out of d-scan range of the two ships and launch a single probe. I set an initial scan running with the probe set to maximum range, which keeps it out of d-scan range of the targets whilst still quickly locating every anomaly in the system. But the complete lack of anomalies means the ships are fighting Sleepers in a magnetometric or radar site. It is time to put my new combat probes to good use. I swap to and launch the combat probes and then hunt the two ships using d-scan. It takes a couple of attempts but my probes resolve the active magnetometric site and I warp in, only to see the Nighthawk warp out, followed by the Tengu half a minute later.

This C4 is unoccupied so the Nighthawk and Tengu must come from a different system. I keep scanning, hoping to find the wormhole the ships are using, but not before the ships drop off d-scan, probably having left the system. Slow scanning of the ships has blown it again, I just hope I'm at least getting better. I press on scanning the system and find a wormhole, but as it is the system's static connection I disregard it as the source of the targets. I am more likely looking for a K162. A little more scanning finds me the K162, coming from a class 3 w-space system, but I don't need to jump through to find the ships as they are apparently back in the system. With no more wormholes to find in this system, and a fleet forming and almost ready back at our tower, I think I have enough information gathered for us to form a plan. I head home to change ships and join the fleet.

I swap the Buzzard covert operations boat for my new Onyx heavy interdictor, adding its warp bubble to the firepower and utility of the Dominix and two Raven battleships. Bookmarks are shared and the fleet moves out. A discussion of tactics leads to a cunning plan. We assume that the Nighthawk and Tengu have already been alerted to my scanning and are now probably watching d-scan quite alertly. So instead of trying to ambush them directly we will send the battleships in to the site whilst my Onyx warps to the C3 K162. If the targets run they will meet me on the wormhole, where I can trap them in my bubble, on either side, and have the rest of the fleet to join me. It sounds rather sneaky. The fleet is ready, the command is given to jump!

I warp my HIC directly to the C3 wormhole, the rest of the fleet towards to the magnetometric site. As suspected, the targets are prepared for an ambush and clear the site easily, but they are not prepared for my Onyx. A previously unseen Pilgrim recon ship warps to the wormhole but disappears, cloaking quickly, before the Tengu arrives, and I activate the warp bubble to prevent him from leaving as I lock and start shooting the strategic cruiser, calling the rest of the fleet to my position. The Tengu jumps in to the C3 and I follow, re-activating the warp bubble on the other side and again engaging the him. He's trapped. The fleet jumps in to join me and the Tengu looks to be overpowered. He jumps back through the wormhole to the C4 to try to flee and I follow, but I am a second too late in getting my systems activated again, the warp bubble inflating just as the now-polarised Tengu enters warp. 'That was close', the pilot playfully says in the local channel. Yes, it was, and they are still isolated from their home system.

Our fleet guards the C3 K162. My warp bubble is activated, a configuration I personally don't think wise. I am told to keep the bubble up to prevent the ships from using the wormhole but I think it is key to let them reach it and trap them after jumping, using the polarisation effect to our advantage. Keeping the bubble up only means that any ship warping to the wormhole will end up on the outskirts of the bubble and will be able to turn to warp away again. But I keep the bubble activated. The Tengu can be seen on d-scan warping between celestial bodies making him unlikely to be caught. We ponder our options, including collapsing the C3 K162, but after a while both the Tengu and Nighthawk warp at range to the wormhole, avoiding the bubble, and engage us directly. Later reflection makes me suspect that the cloaked Pilgrim crawled away from the wormhole to provide a suitable warp-in position for the two ships to avoid the warp bubble.

The Nighthawk and Tengu target our battleships and fire from medium range. We fire back but our ships are fitted for closer combat, and the strong tanks of the targets combined with their capable firepower forces us to warp away from the wormhole. My Onyx is only scratched but I am no match alone for the two ships and warp away myself. I pick the closest celestial body to warp to and return immediately to the wormhole, moments before the Nighthawk and Tengu land at zero distance and jump through to their home system. I follow and activate my warp bubble, trapping them in what I conisder the ideal position. If they jump back I follow and bubble and the polarisation effects mean they are trapped, and if they don't jump back they are still trapped in the bubble. The fleet warps back to the wormhole and jumps through to continue the attack. But the previous assault by the two targets has vapourised the shields and weakened the armour of our battleships, and it doesn't take much more damage to convince our big ships to retreat.

Everyone jumps back to the C4 again, our battleships to try to flee and the two targets to push their new advantage. The wormhole can hardly take the stress too, our combined mass destabilising the connection to put it on the verge of collapse. In a way we're lucky that we don't isolate any ships in the C3 system but that the targets follow us back cause the destruction of our Dominix in the C4. The pod escapes cleanly. But our ships have all fled and the Nighthawk and Tengu jump home once the polarisation effects dissipate, joined by their Pilgrim. No targets are left in our system but the unstable wormhole and our battered ships stops us following. We lose one ship for no kills.

I feel we lost the fight when the Nighthawk and Tengu warped at range to the wormhole and attacked us. They turned the fight around by being in their optimal range and out of ours. After that, our damaged ships were unable to engage the targets effectively. I still think our best option was to offer the targets access to the wormhole and use the HIC's warp bubble and the wormhole's polarisation to good effect. Indeed, out two best opportunities occurred under those conditions and we were floundering at every other time. Even so, our initial plan was cunning and very nearly caught the Tengu, and it was certainly an exciting fight! Now we head home, repair the battleship damage, and I get some food to replenish my sugar levels.

  1. 2 Responses to “Temporarily trapping a Tengu”

  2. The better plan given the events of things seems obvious.

    How did the Nighthawk first notice you when you warped in on them in the Mag site engaging sleepers in the Buzzard?

    By Ardent Defender on Sep 11, 2010

  3. I imagine the two ships were keeping a watch on d-scan and saw my probes, a couple of scans taking enough time for a vigilant capsuleer to see them.

    By pjharvey on Sep 12, 2010

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed.