Bombing a Bhaalgorn

27th September 2010 – 5.52 pm

The strategic cruisers have made a strategic withdrawal but there are other systems to explore. One of the class 4 w-space systems we have a connection to holds a tower, which seems like a good place to look for some more activity. Jumping in to the system sees a Drake battlecruiser on the directional scanner along with a Sleeper wreck. I doubt the Drake is in an anomaly by himself and it is more likely that the pilot is shooing Sleepers from a gravimetric or ladar mining site. I won't find the mining site in my Manticore stealth bomber, as it isn't fitted with a probe launcher, but it looks I wouldn't catch the Drake anyway as the wreck disappears, indicating the battlecruiser is its own salvager.

I warp to the tower in the system and am there when the Drake returns. He changes to a Harbinger battlecruiser and I wonder if he will begin, or continue, mining gas, but my colleague, also sneakily cloaked at the tower, notes the guns fitted to the Harbinger. Swapping battlecruisers looks to have been a mistake anyway, as the capsuleer switches ships again, this time to a Helios covert operations boat. The Helios warps away and drops off d-scan, either having jumped out or cloaked somewhere, making the system a little too quiet. Rather than loitering here I leave the system myself, heading instead to the class 2 w-space system where I saw a Cormorant destroyer and corpse on d-scan earlier.

I don't see the Cormorant on d-scan any more, but there are now some rather more aggressive ships to replace it. A pair of assault ships in a Hawk and Harpy are seen with a Broadsword, along with a Bhaalgorn. I remember seeing Bhaalgorns in the recent alliance tournament, understanding it to be a really expensive faction battleship, and am as impressed to see one in space as I was the Machariel we popped. That is, if I actually get to see it I'll be impressed.

When I was in this system earlier I took the opportunity to scan the Cormorant floating in space and was able to bookmark its location before rushing back to try to ambush some different ships. With no recourse to scanning for the new ships I warp to my bookmarked location, so that I will at least find out about the Cormorant itself. I am quite taken aback to drop out of warp not only to find the four combat ships but to see them fighting! I have no idea what is happening or who is shooting what and, most importantly, how long the fight will continue.

Since our stalking operation ended corporation pilots seem rather inactive in our home system, with only my scouting colleague appearing active two systems away from me and also not in an entirely appropriate ship. Whatever these targets are doing they will be finished before a corporation fleet can be scrambled. I manoeuvre my stealth bomber and align to prepare to launch a bomb, hoping to add to the mayhem and hopefully pop a weakened ship without too much risk to myself. I have no information on the status of the ships, and can't get any whilst remaining cloaked, so decide to take my opportunistic shot as soon as possible. A little over twenty kilometres away from the action is good enough, and I align and launch my bomb.

I turn my Manticore directly away from the targets as soon as the bomb is launched, watching it glide silently towards the four fighting ships. It is only now I am reminded of two titbits of information. First, the re-activation delay of the covert operations cloaking device on a Manticore is relatively long. Second, a Broadsword is a heavy interdictor. The Harpy or Hawk, I can't tell which, quickly locks my Manticore before I can re-cloak, which then prevents me from cloaking at all, as the HIC's warp bubble inflates and nearly encaspulates me. My experience telling me to move away is all that lets me evade any warp disruption effects and warp away safely, activating my cloak as soon as I am again able.

I was so keen to see the explosions that I barely manage to get my ship out safely. And, as usual in situations where the outcome is uncertain, I don't pause to grab an image of bombing the Bhaalgorn. There is only the one explosion, that of the bomb, and it turns out that the ships are only engaged in friendly duelling. I suppose they are responsible for the Cormorant and corpse being here earlier and are using the location as a convenient safe-spot, one I just happened to scan down when they were busy elsewhere. But despite not popping any of the ships I manage to cause some mayhem, even if only for a moment. It turns out that I picked the perfect moment to launch the bomb, the Bhaalgorn having just lost its shields. I didn't do much damage but the faction battleship's pilot was put in to a state of mild panic.

The pilots are good sports about the interruption, even if they don't catch my Manticore and shoot the crap out of me. And that's what I like about capsuleers. Even though we regularly engage in life-or-death combat any loss is recoverable, each clone is just another incarnation, and there is no need to get angry or bitter. That's not to say life isn't precious, it most certainly is precious and should be fought for and protected to the best of our ability, but ships and clones are, ultimately, resources. It is difficult to understand when new to capsuleer life, and I know my attitude has changed only since adapting to w-space, but it is better to appreciate the wonders of being than get weighed down by the burden of loss, particularly potential loss. We are immortal, we are capsuleers.

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