Stalking strategic cruisers

25th September 2010 – 5.36 pm

The new static wormhole leads to a new constellation. All the systems will need to be scanned for wormhole connections in and out, or we could get lucky and find four strategic cruisers engaging Sleepers in our neighbouring system. Checking the directional scanner after jumping through our new static wormhole shows me three Tengus and a Loki, along with a host of Sleeper wrecks. I move away covertly from the wormhole and start a passive scan for anomalies in this system whilst alerting my colleagues of the potential targets.

My scan returns a few anomalies, one of which looks like it holds the cruisers in combat. I warp in, luckily not bouncing off a structure or one of the ships, and relay the information that the cruisers appear to be sharing capacitor or repairs between them. My colleagues in the fleet board suitable ships but the spider-tanking of the targets makes them stronger as a unit. Not that it matters, as the Loki warps off, soon to followed by the Tengus. The Sleeper Argos guns are still present in the anomaly but the strategic cruisers couldn't have been taking too much damage from them, and I don't think I was spotted. Never the less, the four ships disappear from d-scan.

I bookmark a couple of the wrecks in the mostly cleared anomaly anyway and warp out, not wanting to delay the despawning of the anomaly should the Argos guns count as structures. And apparently our targets are expecting the guns to disappear with the rest of the structures, as destroyers enter the system from an unknown wormhole and Sleeper wrecks start to diminish from d-scan. There are four active ships, though, and I don't want to warp to the anomaly until there is a salvager there. I use a tight beam on d-scan to determine when a Cormorant warps in to the anomaly and follow it in, seeing that only wrecks now remain. Wrecks and a Cormorant destroyer.

Hearing that the strategic cruisers had gone and we only face salvagers made choice of ship much easier for my colleagues and a fleet is already waiting on the other side of our wormhole. The Cormorant salvager is relying on tractor beams to move wrecks closer to him, which conveniently lets me move closer to him too. When close enough I call for the fleet to jump in and warp to my position, which they do. An Onyx heavy interdictor drops on top of me and activates its warp bubble, capturing the salvager and letting the fleet pop and pod him easily. I am happy to decloak my fragile ship against an unarmed opponent and help by scooping the corpse and Sleeper loot.

Our attack is felt across the system, the other three salvagers disappearing from d-scan quickly. One comes back and I try to find it with combat probes, not really needing to be coy about our intentions now, but he leaves again. We bring in a battlecruiser to salvage the rest of the wrecks left behind, but only in the one anomaly. It was all I could find coming in so late to the other capsuleers' operation, otherwise we would have assaulted their strategic cruisers.

The other Cormorant appears on d-scan again. I try to track him but it looks like he is warping between celestial bodies, no doubt reconnoitring the system for our presence. I can't catch him as he moves around so I continue my scanning to focus on looking for wormholes. If I can find their entrance perhaps we can trap more of their ships. I resolve the system's static wormhole, leading to another class 4 system, but the targets are unlikely to have travelled backwards through that. Further scanning reveals a K162 from a class 2 system, which is more promising, but entering the system only finds two unpiloted Orca industrial command ships in a tower, a second tower empty of ships, and a Cormorant destroyer and corpse floating somewhere else in the system. This probably isn't the system I'm looking for.

Whilst I am in the C2 a scouting colleague in our neighbouring C4 sees a Tengu, two Loki strategic cruisers, and a Drake battlecruiser on d-scan. They will be our targets. They understandably don't want their efforts going to waste and are providing plenty of firepower in support of their salvaging Drake. Our scout scans and resolves the targets in a despawned anomaly and I return to the system to warp to him, bookmarking a wreck I consider likely to be salvaged last. We both leave the system homewards, my colleague swapping for another of his doomed Dominix battleships and I for a stealth bomber, as the fleet once again prepares to engage strategic cruisers.

I jump back in to the class 4 system and tell the fleet to stand-by. I warp to the bookmarked wreck to provide intelligence on the movement of the targets, taking care to keep a little distance so as not to get decloaked. But my colleagues are really eager to engage, and jump through the wormhole thinking that the targets would be close to my position. In fact, they are still a hundred kilometres away from the final wrecks to be salvaged. There is no way the targets will cover that distance before the session change cloak breaks, and neither can I get close enough to them to allow the fleet to engage.

The session-change cloak fades and our targets see the fleet appear on d-scan, sensibly warping out of the site shortly afterwards. The ambush is slightly bungled but the enthusiasm of the fleet is admirable. We bring our own battlecruiser back in to this system to salvage the six wrecks left behind, as it doesn't look like the strategic cruisers will be coming back again.

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