Black ops in the home system

27th March 2011 – 3.54 pm

I'm hit with a barrage of information as I return to our tower. A wormhole from a class 2 w-space system has connected in to our class 4 home. A Drake battlecruiser is on the K162 of that wormhole. A Harbinger battlecruiser is on the other side of the wormhole, in the C2. Three Tengu strategic cruisers sit piloted at a tower in the C2, but it is doubtful whether they will mobilise. Mick is in his cloaky Loki strategic cruiser keeping an eye on the Harbinger, Fin is in her Tengu strategic cruiser trying to lure the Drake away from the K162 in to a battle it is less likely to win.

Fin succeeds, pulling the Drake away from the wormhole to attack, only to have the Harbinger jump through and engage, and all three Tengus warp from the tower in the C2 to jump through the wormhole too. The Drake has a micro-warp drive fitted and easily catches up with Fin's Tengu, scrambling her warp drive. Unable to flee, and with four more ships adding their focussed firepower towards her, Fin's in trouble.

I need to make a quick choice, and a good choice. One way to shake an attacker off its target is to present greater force, and I have a ship or two I could use to persuade the Drake to disengage. But I know what to do, I have the perfect ship to help here, and it will be the culmination of what even I viewed to be plenty of vanity skill training that hopefully will save our ships. I board my Widow black ops ship—my second Widow, recently recovered, in fact—and warp to the wormhole at range.

There are no warp bubbles, so I drop out of warp far from the threat of the Tengus, although the Harbinger is approaching. The main threat is the Drake, though, and I have to shake it off Fin. I lock the battlecruiser and start firing beams of ECM awesomeness towards the scramming ship, getting a positive jam immediately. Fin's Tengu is no longer pointed, and feeling she is no longer in any great danger Fin continues shooting the now-retreating Drake. I may as well add my cruise missiles to the fray, as I also lock the advancing Harbinger.

Fin may be free from the Drake's tackle, but this is my first time using the Widow's ECM abilities. With suitable training it should be more formidable at holding jams than the Scorpion battleship it's based on, at least at short-to-medium range, but there is no guarantee of maintaining the jam, nor gaining one when it may be critical. I tell Fin to flee, and she does. Mick's Loki hangs around, seeing the apparently wayward Harbinger now taking some abuse from my missiles, as the Drake has retreated to the wormhole.

The Harbinger's armour is being depleted, slowly but surely, and it doesn't look like it is being actively repaired. Even so, I only feel safe because I am far from the wormhole where the four other ships sit, all throwing missiles, and can dictate my own range comfortably enough. The Harbinger is a tempting target, though, and we go for the kill. But the Loki's defences, once overcome, crumple much more quickly than anticipated, and the strategic cruiser explodes in to hundreds of millions of little iskie shards.

Our man's pod warps out unmolested, but the Loki is still a painful loss. Only I am left fighting against the intruders now, and they switch targets to me. But whereas my cruise missiles have reach all the way to the wormhole the heavy missiles used by the Tengus and Drake fall far short of me, leaving my Widow unscathed. I am cautious to watch my range but, whilst in this position, continue firing against the Harbinger. The battlecruiser is below half armour but doesn't seem too bothered, taking time to loot and shoot the Loki's wreck, before retreating to the wormhole and disappearing. And, with that, all the ships jump out of our system.

I'm still in a pretty good ship for the situation, despite the departure of all the hostile ships, although I have to be reminded that I can cloak and monitor the wormhole, which I eventually do. Maybe other ships have similar functionality that I could have used, like my Falcon recon ship's ECM capabilities, but the Widow is imposing as well as effective, with firepower and defences along with ECM and cloaking. I'm glad that I was able to save Fin's Tengu. Losing one strategic cruiser is unfortunate, two would be careless.

There is some activity at the wormhole, but it is awkward to see at the range I'm sitting. A Heron frigate appears from somewhere and none of us really knows whether he's a scout from the C2 or a different system. The combat ships don't make a second appearance for a while, until the Drake pokes his nose through, perhaps to get an update on the situation. I don't fancy getting closer, or encouraging anyone to jump through blindly, and I imagine our opponents are simply happy to have their kill, particularly a strategic cruiser, and will leave us alone as long as we make no threatening movements in their direction.

Satisfied with this assessment, after a period of uneventful monitoring, I align towards our tower, decloak, and enter warp. And as I warp the Harbinger decloaks on the wormhole, perhaps suspecting my re-appearance as a threat. Maybe he doesn't know that my ship cannot warp cloaked, and his persistence on d-scan suggests he is acting as a deterrent for incursions in to their C2, but I pay him no mind. I'm back at our tower and heading for my bed.

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