Unexpected visitor

25th September 2010 – 3.07 pm

Marking a different start to today, our scout wants to be caught on a wormhole. He has already explored the w-space constellation extensively but is curious to know how vulnerable his Loki strategic cruiser is when jumping between systems. I already have experience of trying to catch frigates, stealth bombers, and covert operations boats moving away from wormholes and it is not easy when they can cloak. Even with a sensor-boosted stealth bomber or interceptor the cloaking device can activate and be effective too quickly to get a positive lock, baffling my ship's targeting systems. My colleague is rightly confident that his cloaky Loki is safe, even from my Malediction interceptor.

To add some verisimilitude to the exercise I jump through to our adjacent system and adjust my overview to show corporation and fleet pilots. This will let me react naturally to the wormhole's flare as he jumps through and I will be able to select his ship on my overview, as I would any other target, instead of relying on seeing him in space. At least I won't be waiting for three hours only to learn my prey has returned to his tower, my colleague jumping through the wormhole shortly after confirming I'm ready. I get my warp disruption systems hot when I see the flare, just as I would in a live operation, and as soon as the Loki sheds its session change cloak I click like a maniac on the overview. My Malediction is sent on an intercept course, a sneaky press of the control key also modifying one of the clicks to lock on to his ship. Without any fuss I lock and point the Loki, stopping it from cloaking or warping away. That was easy.

Maybe my first success is a fluke. We can easily check as we both need to jump home again anyway. I jump first and prime my systems again, ready for the Loki to try to evade my interceptor. He jumps, I manoeuvre and lock as before, and again snare his ship with what seems like no effort, particularly compared to trying to catch a frigate-sized hull. It looks like the Loki is really easy to catch on a wormhole. My colleague shows his displeasure by playfully firing a volley of 725 mm shells at my tiny Malediction. The damage would normally be mitigated significantly by my interceptor's high transversal speed, as we both know from recent duelling, but this is a simple training exercise and I am not in a speedy orbit around my target. The shells evaporate my interceptor's shields and pulverise the armour, sending two warning alarms blaring at once. Bitterness is never attractive.

I go back to the tower to lick my wounds as others begin to collapse our static wormhole, looking for better opportunities than our neighbouring system currently offers. Ships are passed through the connection to weaken the inter-system link but one jump is unexpected, as an unfamiliar Buzzard is spotted entering our system. The covert operations boat holds its session-change cloak, perhaps a little surprised to see a few battleships loitering on the wormhole, no doubt pondering its options. I warp to the wormhole in time to see the Buzzard decloak and am able to acquire a lock and fire one volley of missiles at the cov-ops boat before it jumps back to the class 4 system. I follow and try to snare it on the other side of the wormhole but am a second too slow. If only it had been a Loki. I sit in the C4 for a minute, watching my directional scanner for any signs of activity but seeing none. I jump back and watch as the wormhole is killed by my colleagues.

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