Vaporising a Viator

8th April 2011 – 5.45 pm

Maybe the Proteus pilot isn't that smart after all. We tried to lure the scanning strategic cruiser in to an ambush using a simple frigate as bait, but despite being able to swat our ship to one side the Proteus simply warped home. My first guess is that he suspected an ambush, and that he would remain hidden at his tower. But Mick is stealthily watching him, and the pilot swaps the Proteus for a Viator transport ship. He returned home after scanning the class 2 w-space system connected in to his home C3, a C2 that has an exit to high-sec empire space. My guess is that he's going to use the exit to sell loot, but that would make him crazy.

I initially credited the pilot with some sense for avoiding the ambush, but now this looks like a significant overestimation of his intuitions. Not only did Fin act as tiny bait, she also locked and attacked his Proteus, in a Heron. Maybe the pilot sees no threat in this, and he's kind of right, but it should at the very least be a warning sign. There is either a lunatic out there ready to attack anything in sight, or a scout trying to catch ships for a bigger fleet. Either way, it's not the time to export loot for sale along a route that is known to be active, exit to high-sec or otherwise. But, then, what do I know?

I was getting ready to hit the sack, but a quick and easy kill cannot be overlooked. I jump back in to my Malediction interceptor and head out, zipping to jump through our static wormhole, warping across the C3, and jumping to the C2. I plant myself on the K162 in the C2, along the route to high-sec, and hold, hoping the pilot is foolish enough to load a Viator with loot and come this way. Fin gets her Flycatcher interdictor ready for its maiden engagement, but just as she jumps in to the C3 the Viator moves, warping away from the tower. And it's heading my way.

Mick follows the Viator in his Loki strategic cruiser, Fin warps as quickly as she can to support my interceptor, and the wormhole I'm sitting on flares. I get my weapon systems hot and wait for the Viator to appear. My wait is surprisingly short, the pilot not even letting the session change timer expire. I am expecting the transport ship to cloak and be agile enough that I will have to be sharp to get the decloaking bump I need to prevent him warping away, but to continue the surprises I gain a positive lock immediately. Warp disruptors take effect without delay, preventing the ship from fleeing, and my rockets start chewing at the Viator's shields. Fin has caught up and is now also on this side of the wormhole, assaulting the transport ship, with a freshly launched warp disruption probe making the pilot's survival unlikely.

The Viator has little chance but to jump back to his home C3. I know this, and I am keeping close watch on the ship whilst having the wormhole selected on my overview. As soon as I see and hear the Viator leave the C2 I am jumping back myself. He's not getting away from me. I drop my cloak on the other side of the wormhole as soon as possible, removing any associated problems with target acquisition, and see the Viator trying to escape. I am able to gain a positive lock a second time without having to decloak the ship, and now he really has nowhere to go. His ship is polarised and can't jump back through the wormhole—although the warp disruption probe makes that an unattractive prospect anyway—and my interceptor has a firm hold on him here.

Fin jumps back and continues the attack, Mick decloaking his Loki to add some serious firepower. The Viator explodes in a satisfying fireball of doom, throwing the pilot's pod right in to the sights of my Malediction. My systems are quick enough to lock the pod and prevent that from escaping too, and am soon scooping a fresh corpse in to my hold. The wreck of the Viator is looted, netting us a few Sleeper artefacts as reward for our superbly executed ambush. It does indeed show the pilot was loading up to sell Sleeper profit in high-sec. How he thought the route was safe is beyond me, and he didn't even seem to want to use the cloaking device he had fitted.

We've lost out too, in a way. Analysis of the wreckage shows that only a fraction of the haulage survives the ship's destruction. The Viator wasn't just carrying a few artefacts but standard Sleeper loot and salvage too, and plenty of it! I estimate just under half-a-billion ISK of loot was destroyed with the ship, with us recovering over two hundred million more. That's quite a loss to suffer, particularly when he should have had at least an inkling that hostile pilots were roaming the w-space constellation. Just a quick check of d-scan when he was flying away from Fin's Heron bait would have seen my Legion strategic cruiser coming for him, and that should have been enough to make him think twice.

Even with the pilot's inattention, I can't underplay the soundness of our operation. Mick scouted the pilot and gave clear communications, and with three of us being available Fin and I were able to pick specialised ships that were perfect for the task. We all knew where we had to be and what we were doing, and we get a rewarding kill as a result.

  1. 2 Responses to “Vaporising a Viator”

  2. Great read, you should have ransomed the guy, eject the ship or die!

    By Lokna Rohgar on Apr 9, 2011

  3. That would involve talking to other pilots, which I prefer to avoid doing.

    By pjharvey on Apr 9, 2011

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