Two-pronged ambush

10th March 2011 – 5.28 pm

Our neighbouring class 3 w-space system was quiet earlier, but there is promise. A scanner showed some signs of activity, albeit not much more than being vaguely conscious, and we have successfully engaged the occupying corporation on a couple of previous occasions. I take my Manticore stealth bomber in to the C3 to reconnoitre, immediately seeing a Tengu strategic cruiser on my directional scanner, but no wrecks, owing to the Tengu sitting inside one of the three towers here. He moves after a while, though, and once he's finished bouncing off a hangar the cruiser warps in the direction of the third tower here, which is out of d-scan range. I prod my Manticore to follow.

The Tengu has moved between towers apparently to join with other pilots. There are two more piloted Tengus at this tower along with, of all ships to see in a class 3 w-space system, a Nidhoggur carrier. I even recognise one of the Tengu pilots from when we popped one of the corporation's Noctis salvagers. But there are no salvagers present at the moment, maybe because there are no wrecks, or any hint of wrecks being created. The ships are simply sitting still, which is rather boring.

I may have been dozing off when one of the Tengus warps away, as I didn't see where he went. Repositioning myself back at the first tower in the inner system finds him again, but only on d-scan, although there are now two added Drake battlecruisers at the tower. I find the Tengu itself to be in the system's sole anomaly, along with a third Drake and two Sleeper wrecks, according to d-scan. As combat will take more than a few minutes I take a moment to find the other ships again out at the third tower, seeing the Nidhoggur now unpiloted, before warping in to the anomaly at a safe range to bookmark a couple of wrecks. Three Tengus and the Drake are now slaughtering Sleepers, and not looting behind them. I think there may be another opportunity for a Noctis kill here.

I warp out of the anomaly, keeping a tight d-scan beam on the site to monitor progress, and align to the bookmarked wreck for a quicker response. No new wrecks appear after a while and one of the Tengus warps out, the other ships remaining. But, one by one, all the ships leave the anomaly. This is looking good. I widen my d-scan beam back to complete coverage, looking for an early sign of the Noctis to appear, but nothing comes soon. It is probable that the pilots are waiting for the anomaly to despawn first, which is why I have taken my Manticore out of the site. A new ship turns up after a short while, although it turns out not to be a Noctis salvager but the Nidhoggur.

A carrier is rather a curious choice for a salvaging ship, but my d-scan beam is still all-encompassing and it only takes a few seconds to realise the Nidhoggur has warped in to the magnetometric site in the system for further Sleeper combat. I warp to the site myself, found during my earlier scanning, as two Tengus join the carrier. I bookmark a couple more wrecks and a suitable position near the Sleeper artefacts, giving me options for ambushing either a salvager or analysing boat. But now that Fin has turned up, and starts preparing a second Manticore to join me, I think we may be able to launch a dual strike.

Whereas the only items of value in anomalies are the wrecks, there are artefacts in magnetometric sites, and those artefacts despawn with the site. That means we can safely loiter inside the magnetometric site and watch closely, as there will be no suspicion of an extra, cloaked presence simply because the site hasn't despawned. It is possible, and likely, that the targets will divide their time between combat and looting, taking their offensive ships out of the site to bring in an analysing boat and a salvager. Fin and I can pick a target each and perhaps get two independent kills, instead of focussing on and getting just the one. That's the idea, at least.

As Fin enters the system the Nidhoggur exits the magnetometric site, which doesn't bode well. It looks like a simple coincidence, though, as the other ships continue shooting the Sleepers. As Fin points out, with a carrier available they may not be too concerned about checking d-scan for intruders. We both are now in the magnetometric site and close to the artefacts, ready for the plundering to begin, and careful to remain sufficiently apart not to get confused and decloak each other. Combat in the magnetometric site completes and one Tengu warps out immediately. A Vagabond cruiser and Thrasher destroyer appear shortly afterwards, the Thrasher moving to the artefacts but the Vagabond's purpose unknown. A Noctis salvager appears on d-scan too, but he doesn't come in to the magnetometric site in good time. A check of d-scan puts him in the anomaly. It's time to split up.

I have a good bookmark to the anomaly, which circumstances haven't let me share with Fin, and I warp there by myself to line up the Noctis. I ask Fin to prepare for a bombing run against the Thrasher, or whichever target she prefers, as I drop out of a warp a little too far from the Noctis than I would prefer. But the salvager isn't moving, making it easy to crawl in to range under cover of my cloak. When I am just about in range I let Fin know she can take her best shot, hoping that our coordinated engagement will prevent ships arriving in time to help or warping away in defence. I decloak, launch my bomb, and lock the Noctis, disrupting its warp engines. The bomb hits, I follow with torpedoes, and one volley is all it takes to obliterate my target. My sensor boosted Manticore locks and points the pod too, soon leaving me with a corpse to scoop, and a wreck to loot and shoot.

Fin takes on the Thrasher back in the magnetometric site, but can't hang around for long because of the guard the destroyer has. Indeed, the Vagabond is able to lock Fin's Manticore before she can warp out of the site, which itself is before the bomb detonates, but the cruiser is out of warp disruption range and Fin clears the site safely. The Thrasher remains intact, though. I warp in to see if I can finish it off, but am warned against trying because of the Vagabond, and when I get to the site I find myself too close to the cruiser to risk an engagement. I merely back away and observe, watching the Thrasher warp out.

We consider taking a two-bomb shot at the Vagabond, seeing how much damage it could take. But before we get organised again a Crow interceptor warps in to the magnetometric site, super-fast and designed to tackle, making any further confrontation rather more dangerous for our Manticores. It looks like we'll just be getting another Noctis notch on our killboard today, which is not to be sneezed at. It was a patient and smooth operation, and one we are pleased with.

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed.