Facing up to the neighbours

5th April 2011 – 5.05 pm

Fin's next door, looking for an exit. Mick's still in empire space, twiddling his thumbs. And I'm scanning for our static wormhole, Fin guiding me to the correct signature to make it quick. I jump in to our neighbouring class 3 w-space system as activity begins, a Dominix battleship warping between the four towers here, according to Fin's directional scanner, before switching to a Manticore stealth bomber and disappearing. All four towers have been found and noted, and I warp to each of them to make my own bookmarks for convenient monitoring. There are other ships around, including carriers, cruisers, and cov-ops, but a Sleipnir is new. The command ship warps in to the third tower as I am making a bookmark and disappears just as quickly, apparently not wanting to be in space long tonight.

Scanning continues as I warp around, Fin finding the static connection, an exit to low-sec empire space. Like yesterday's exit, this wormhole is reaching the end of its natural lifetime, which may not help Mick get home. Fin jumps out to get the destination system, sees it to be far from anywhere, and comes back. Mick's not perturbed by the eighteen hops needed to get here, though, setting his Arazu recon ship's nav-comp to begin the journey. We still have a Manticore in w-space to flush out, although Fin's jumping home doesn't reveal the ship. Still in the C3 myself, I spot a Tengu strategic cruiser appear on d-scan, which I locate at a tower shortly before he warps in the direction of our K162. We may have a fight on our hands.

I warp towards our K162 to follow the Tengu but get there without seeing if the pilot jumped through, or cloaked. Fin is monitoring the home side of our wormhole, though, and reports no jumps, putting the Tengu still in the C3 with me. To sow a little confusion, the Manticore reveals himself and throws a bomb at the wormhole. Luckily, I am on the far side of the connection to the stealth bomber, which although making it difficult at first to see where the bomb is coming from also means that I am not hit when it detonates. I suppose it's possible that the Tengu and Manticore are not affiliated, but it's more likely they are working together and suspect someone of being cloaked on the K162. Regardless of intentions, the Manticore warps off in the direction of a tower.

I watch d-scan to see the Manticore disappear again, and I suspect he's headed back in this direction. I realise that whatever is going to happen I won't do much good in my Buzzard covert operations boat, and I decide to jump home to prepare a more suitable ship. But I also want to see if I can provoke the Manticore, and decloak for a little longer than necessary before passing through the wormhole. My ploy works, the Manticore decloaking again and launching a second bomb. It's an odd tactic, as he must know that I can simply jump away to safety, having a full ten seconds of the bomb's flight to react. In any case, I jump home. And if the Manticore can be provoked so easily maybe we can catch him the next time.

Both Fin and I swap in to our Legion strategic cruisers. We aren't fully expecting to catch a stealth bomber with our Legions but there is still the Tengu somewhere, and if we can draw him in to the battle maybe we can surprise him. Fin jumps in alone first, immediately seeing the Manticore decloak and launch a bomb, along with a Nemesis stealth bomber doing the same. These pilots don't seem too experienced, wasting bombs against ships protected by the session change cloak. As the stealth bombers are warping to and from their tower after each launch Fin sees if she can bump one to decloak it, bouncing off the planet and warping back to the wormhole at range. Her Legion doesn't get close enough to either bomber, though, and when a Loki strategic cruiser is spotted on d-scan she prudently decides to get back to the K162 for safety.

By this time, Mick has made the journey to the low-sec system. Although Fin would like to check the EOL exit wormhole still exists, to let Mick rejoin us, four pilots stop her. The Tengu, Loki, Manticore, and Nemesis all gang up on Fin's Legion, wearing down her armour fairly quickly. I jump in to give assistance just as she jumps home, and I am given a primary target of the Loki to attack. I size up the situation, decloak, and start locking on to the ships, but they all cloak before I can get a positive lock, leaving me nothing to shoot. I start checking d-scan regularly, seeing a Sleipnir reappear at one of the towers moments before having it warp in to attack me. Mick's going to have to scan his way in.

I jump back home before this second engagement really starts. Fin's Legion is low on armour and I don't fancy my chances solo, particularly when the two of us are already outnumbered. Fin completes her repairs and warps back to the wormhole, where we decide to give it another shot. Again, Fin is first to jump, letting me know that 'all four ships are at thirty kilometres', giving us two Sleipnirs and the two bombers this time. I follow in behind to the C3 and note the primary target, moving to engage one of the Sleipnirs. I cycle my neutralisers and activate my launchers, getting my Legion in to a neat orbit around the command ship. But despite my best efforts I am not even scratching the defences of the target. The capacitor-sharing and remote-repairs between the ships is defeating our assault totally. Our own armour is dropping, though, and we have no choice but to retreat again.

On the home side of our wormhole I waste no time in warping back to our tower. Our Legions are weaker in the pulsar system than elsewhere, and already battered from the new assault. I need to repair before thinking about trying again, and it's clear our Legions are not the right choice of ship for this fight. At least Mick has managed to find the right wormhole, having disregarded two other K162s leading in to class 3 w-space, and has made his way home to us. Now we are only slightly outnumbered, even if still on the back foot. We'll need to fight smarter.

  1. 2 Responses to “Facing up to the neighbours”

  2. Part 2 please :)

    By Sauron Bauglir on Apr 6, 2011

  3. Oh, okay, as you asked nicely.

    By pjharvey on Apr 6, 2011

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