Comedy of errors

12th February 2011 – 3.18 pm

Fin's out exploring, and with the bookmark to our static wormhole in our shared can I think I'll join her. There are two towers in our neighbouring class 3 w-space system today, and a couple of ships visible on our directional scanners. Fin has found one tower, making the Drake battlecruiser and Catalyst destroyer probably at the second. But only the Catalyst is there, the Drake being elsewhere in the system. I warp to a planet distant from the towers, dropping off d-scan to launch combat scanning probes. A blanket scan of the system, with a 64 AU range on the probes, reveals eighteen anomalies and nine signatures in the system. The Drake is probably in one of those anomalies.

The Drake is, in fact, back at the second tower, but not for long. He warps out again, and now a closer inspection of d-scan reveals a Sleeper wreck in the system, but just the one. I sweep d-scan around, passing it over each bookmarked anomaly until the wreck coincides with one of them. Warping in to that anomaly indeed finds the wreck, but no Drake. Perhaps the pilot is warping between towers looking for different fittings before he comes to continue this anomaly. I loiter here, whilst Fin returns home to refit both of our Tengu strategic cruisers. Normally used against Sleepers themselves, they need to be modified with a warp disruption module, at least, to engage another capsuleer.

Circumstances change when the wreck I am looking at decays in the void. The Sleeper ship was destroyed two hours earlier, not recently. I check the two towers in the system and the Drake is not at either of them, yet still on d-scan. I sweep d-scan around again and locate the Drake in another anomaly, which I warp to and confirm he's in combat. Now there is a new wreck, which I bookmark for a reference point close to his ship, and he promptly loots and salvages whilst continuing to shoot the other Sleepers. The salvaging as he fights is probably what has made it difficult to ascertain his actions so far, the lack of wrecks on d-scan being deceptive. But now we have our target.

I warp back to our K162 wormhole home. Fin can jump in and I can fling her towards the Drake, jump home for my Tengu, and return to help finish off the battlecruiser. We get as far as step two before the plan goes awry, as the Drake warps out. It looks like he was vigiliant with his own checks of d-scan and bugged out when the Tengu appeared. We're not giving up just yet, not without firm proof that he's seen us, and Fin warps her Tengu to the planet out of d-scan range of the towers and the anomaly, lurking quietly in the outer reaches of the system as I return not in my Tengu but still in my Buzzard covert operations boat for further reconnaissance.

My first destination is one of the local towers, where the Drake is now sitting. He looks spooked, as there is now a Magnate scanning frigate piloted and the Drake pilot is activating a refinery. But maybe I am making an assumption, as the Drake warps out again, and not to a celestial object as a relatively safe means of quickly checking d-scan, but to the anomaly. We're on again. Fin doesn't have a bookmark to the anomaly, having warped in and out rather quickly, so I warp to her position and slingshot her Drakewards a second time. But, again, the Drake is not in the anomaly by the time she gets there. And, again, she warps back to the safe planet whilst we work out what to do. This time, Fin makes sure to create a bookmark for a more rapid entrance the next time.

I warp around to find where the Drake is and what he's up to. He's not at either tower, but still visible on d-scan. I check the anomaly and he's there—again! He has drones out and is happily shooting Sleepers. I don't believe he has actually seen Fin's Tengu yet, as no one would be so casual about warping in and out of Sleeper combat whilst hunted. And the light dawns on me. The first anomaly I entered was the one with the single Sleeper wreck. Thinking it to be the active anomaly, where the Drake would return, I made a bookmark to the anomaly's cosmic signature, the wreck, and a safe spot away from the signature and structures. When the wreck decayed and a second anomaly was seen to be active I made a couple more bookmarks, of a new wreck and a safe spot in the anomaly. I thought my labelling was clear which ones were for which anomaly, but apparently I managed to confuse myself. Now I am also confusing Fin.

I call Fin in to the anomaly where the Drake continues shooting Sleepers. But I merely say 'warp in'. Knowing that I inadvertently sent her to the wrong anomaly before, and believing that her bookmark would be to that anomaly—which it probably is—Fin warps to my position. I, on the other hand, have made the assumption that my first slingshot sent Fin to the wrong anomaly but the second was good, which means her bookmark is good, and I am assuming that's where she will land. It only takes a couple of seconds to realise we are both making assumptions, and that Fin will land not at a bookmarked location but ten kilometres from my Buzzard, which is unfortunate, as I am a good hundred kilometres from our target Drake. Even a rather slow recall of drones and retreat, during which Fin closes the gap to seventy kilometres, sees the Drake escape unharmed.

Now the pilot definitely is spooked. He returns to his tower and logs off, making it clear that he really didn't spot us earlier. It's not surprising, given my rather amateur guidance. We should have got a relatively easy Drake kill in our Tengus, as the opportunity was obvious, but my carelessness with naming bookmarks and poor communications fluffs the hunt. I should have made sure the bookmarks for the inactive anomaly were kept separate from the relevant ones, or labelled more clearly. I also should have been clear with my directive for Fin to warp in, as the confusion could have been cleared up before she entered warp. Our mistakes now will only make us more effective in future, though, and the hunt itself was exciting.

  1. 4 Responses to “Comedy of errors”

  2. Ok, now I am really confused. Am I warping to the first or the second anomaly to the left? And do you remember where I parked as I seem to be completely turned around.

    By Kename Fin on Feb 13, 2011

  3. Excuse my noobness, but what does "fling her towards the Drake" mean? Exchange of bookmarks?
    On a different note: your blog is the reason I'm scared to enter WH space. With people like you guys in there, it just doesn't seem worth the risk. Keep going! :-)

    By Mack on Feb 14, 2011

  4. Exchanging bookmarks can be a tedious process at the best of times, so squad mechanics can be used to make it quicker.

    We make a fleet, consisting of Fin as squad member and me as squad commander. As the squad commander I can warp the squad as a whole to a selected item, such as a bookmark. In this case, once squad warp is initiated, I cancel my own warp engines, thereby 'flinging' Fin onwards to the bookmarked anomaly whilst I stay where I am.

    W-space isn't so bad, really. Plenty of pilots go about their business without harming anyone. And we could always use more targets.

    By pjharvey on Feb 14, 2011

  5. I really preferred my previous visual image of being tossed around the solar system by a very muscular Penny. Rather not unlike giants using sheep as ballistic missiles against... well anything.

    To expand on Penny's comments about entering WH space. One thing is constant and sure - you will lose ships. You will lose pods, implants and possibly towers, arrays and corporations. At the risk of sounding sophomoric, we have all lost ships due in part to our residence in wormholes and have come to accept it as a part of life.

    On the flip side, the expanded adventure, limited in part only by your imagination, skills and friends is phenomenal. It is not unlike the "Choose Your Own Adventure" series of books where each wormhole is a jump forward or backwards through a large 2500-page book.

    If you are seriously considering visiting a wormhole, give us a shout, let us know and we will give you a discount on your first podding. Er, visit. Right, I meant visit.

    By Kename Fin on Feb 15, 2011

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