Pondering the options

24th February 2011 – 5.23 pm

'Anything out and about?', asks Fin. Where do I start? Two ships shooting Sleepers turn out to be tourists from low-sec, running anomalies under the noses of active occupants of our neighbouring class 3 w-space system, who run because they either saw my stealth bomber enter the system or a local interceptor flying around, or maybe they just left because they needed different ships, at which point a strategic cruiser from the C3 occupants continues shooting the Sleepers and hangs around for a short while as a Noctis comes in to salvage, but leaves and lets me pop the salvager right as the tourists return either to engage the strategic cruiser, the salvager, or the Sleepers, and then there's a scrap on the low-sec wormhole when the locals and tourists finally meet. Yes, there has been some activity.

But the earlier activity doesn't guarantee any now. I'm as keen to find out as Fin, though, and jump my Manticore stealth bomber back in to the C3 system to find out. I discover that our K162 has finally been found, a warp bubble anchored seventy kilometres away with a Drake battlecruiser loitering with intent next to it. My Manticore by itself is not much use against a Drake, and adding Fin's to the attack would still not guarantee a kill. But we have bigger ships in the hangar, and we would probably have the advantage over the Drake if he remains the sole sitting duck, although the Tengu strategic cruiser is also visible in the C3 on my directional scanner, perhaps guarding the other wormhole. I wait for the session change timer to end and jump home, warping back to our tower as Fin and I discuss options.

We could jump through in battleships to take potshots at the Drake and see what happens. I'm not too keen to do that, though, as the C3 occupants could warp en masse to the wormhole, making our escape home uncertain. Even if we jumped back to our C4 we could be pursued and our massive ships easily pointed before we enter warp. Still looking for an excuse to use my Widow black ops ship I consider refitting it to use cruise missiles and ECM, until I find we have neither sitting available in our hangar. I also probably need to train the black ops skill a little more, never really believing I would actually use the ship in anger. A Curse recon ship would be put to good use against the active-tanked Tengu, but it would not have much effect on the passive Drake. On the other hand, a Tengu versus the Drake could work well, but not against the Drake and Tengu combined. We just need to be smarter.

Fin boards her Tengu and I swap in to the Curse. We warp out to our static wormhole and I hold on the home side, with Fin jumping through. She can engage the Drake at range and see what it does. Depending on the situation, Fin can jump home and my Curse can hurt whatever follows, or I can follow in to the C3 and be the decisive edge there. It sounds reasonable, we're clear about the eventualities, and my energy neutralisers should even militate against an interceptor causing problems. We're ready to put the plan in to action. Fin jumps through to the C3 and, well, nothing happens. The Drake's gone. Just the warp bubble and a few decloaking cans scattered inside it are visible. There aren't even any ships on d-scan.

As she's there, Fin takes the time to pop the warp bubble. Combat probes appear on d-scan, and the Malediction interceptor we know the C3 occupants have starts warping around again, but even when the bubble is popped nothing is happening. Fin bounces her Tengu off a few planets to get a better idea of what ships are out and about, but they all appear to be coincident with the tower. It doesn't look like we'll be getting a fight after all. We can't really taunt them more than we have, and having shown the Tengu there isn't much possibility of dangling some bait. At least we got to work over some options and possibilities, which keeps our minds active, and at some point we'll find ourselves in a live situation. But, for now, there's not much to do but come home and get some rest.

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