Tussling over a Harpy

15th September 2010 – 5.27 pm

I have a new Harpy. Well, the assault ship is nearly mine, and only nearly new too, I suppose. I can overlook the scorch marks on the armour where the VIN used to be and the rest of the damage will buff out. But I'm getting ahead of myself, as I still need to collect it from near a wormhole in our neighbouring w-space system. My colleague is guarding the frigate in his Arazu recon ship after a minor engagement pops and pods a Hound stealth bomber and forces the Harpy pilot to eject from his ship. I can pilot the assault ship and so I am parking my current ship in a hangar at our tower to return to the class 4 system in my naked pod to claim the Harpy as my own.

As I jump through our static wormhole in to our neighbouring system my colleague is telling me about the Chimera carrier and Hawk assault ship now somewhere on scan. I am entering warp to his position on the wormhole to a class 1 w-space system, where the Harpy sits abandoned, as I learn of the new warp bubble now anchored on that wormhole accompanied by the presence of the carrier's fighter drones. In warp to that location in my pod, I can't help but think that maybe I should have been a bit faster to collect the Harpy. Or a bit slower. Either way, my current speed looks to be getting me in to some trouble.

Luckily, my colleague was entering warp as he relayed the new information to me and I turn out to be travelling to an arbitrary point in space that he passed through during warp, and not the fighter-infested wormhole. I am careful to keep my cool and not warp directly back to the wormhole home, though. My recent jump back-and-forth must have polarised my pod and I won't be able to jump home again for a few minutes. The wormhole itself would be a dangerous place to wait and I am effectively sitting in a safe spot anyway. I stay where I am, checking the directional scanner regularly, waiting for the polarisation effect to dissipate. After a few minutes I warp back to the wormhole, which still has no ships loitering around it, and jump safely home.

Two of us are safe but another colleague is still out in the class 1 system, beyond the now re-bubbled wormhole guarded by an assault ship with a flight of the Chimera's fighter drones. Our colleague is piloting a covert operations boat and has a reasonable chance of cloaking and escaping the bubble, but maybe we can help his chances. Both of us board battleships and warp to our static wormhole, jumping in to the C4 to present bigger and more tangible targets to the inhabitants of the system, hoping to draw them away from the C1 wormhole and to our own. The manoeuvre also serves a dual purpose of starting to destabilise the wormhole, our plan now to collapse it and isolate ourselves once more.

The lure works and attention is shifted from the wormhole to the class 1 system to our static connection. Firbolg and Einherji fighters appear with a Megathron battleship, which sets itself up in a sniping position some two hundred kilometres from the wormhole. I note with interest that pilot of the Hound we popped and podded earlier is now back in the engagement in a Raven battleship. He must have updated his clone and got back to w-space pretty quickly. We sit on the K162 to engage the fighters for as long as our ships' tanks are comfortable before jumping back. It doesn't look like any hostile ships will follow through the wormhole, which is good as we don't have any more pilots to help reinforce our position. But the risk of the hostile ships jumping through in to our system was always small, as it would mean them leaving the carrier's fighters behind.

With no active threat on the C1 wormhole our missing scout is able to pass through the bubble unscathed and returns home without incident. He joins us in a third battleship and we continue to jump in to the C4, engage the hostiles, and jump back, steadily destabilising the wormhole and hoping to knock down a few fighters in the process. The last few jumps are fiddly and we hold in our system whilst permutations are calculated, determining how many more jumps need to be made and whether the extra mass of active micro-warp drives is required. The options are considered, the chances decided, and we each make one last trip. The wormhole collapses on schedule, with all three of our battleships safely in our system. I think the next time a pilot ejects from a ship I'll just blow it up.

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