Making up the loss

7th May 2011 – 3.38 pm

It's time to collapse our static wormhole. Not much else is going to happen in our neighbouring class 3 w-space system today. At least, not now our Legion strategic cruisers have been destroyed in a skilful bait operation, which also initially catches the locals. It is perhaps a little risky to push an Orca industrial command ship through our wormhole in to that hot C3 but our chances of survival will be helped by the ambushers probably not yet realising we are from a different system. It won't take long for them to find out, though, and they may well scan for our wormhole to potentially cause more trouble.

As more security for the Orca I plant my Widow black ops ship a distance from the wormhole, ready to jam any pilot that may follow Fin home, hopefully to keep her free to warp. 'I probably shouldn't mention the Onyx', she tells me. No, please don't. I muse aloud about whether an Orca or bubbled Onyx would be the faster ship as Fin reports scanning probes zipping around in the C3 as she makes the second trip. The third requires both the Orca and my Widow to effect the collapse, so I warp back to our tower and then directly to the wormhole, which is quicker than crawling the distance under cloak, even with the Widow moving faster cloaked than not.

I jump in to the C3 as Fin's Orca drops out of warp, wanting to spend as little time as possible in the hot system. My session change timer ends, I jump back, and the wormhole shrinks to become critically unstable. Perfect. Fin follows me back and the wormhole disappears, a hostile pilot spotted briefly in the C3 just as the Orca jumps home. Whether he had only just turned up or was watching the collapse is uncertain, but it doesn't matter. We're isolated again. The question is, what to do next? We've lost our Legions and need to replace them, which means finding an exit and making more ISK from Sleepers, so we may as well open our new static wormhole and see what's in the next C3. And we don't need Legions to pop mining barges or salvagers, so we may even get lucky.

Scanning finds the new wormhole and I jump through to take a peak at what waits on the other side. I see a tower and Rupture cruiser on d-scan, and a tight beam suggests they share a location. The class 3 system is too small to hide from d-scan anywhere, so I locate the tower before deciding whether to launch probes or not. I find the Rupture piloted inside the tower's shields, prompting me to start a passive scan of the system, even if the ship looks inactive. I warp away from the tower to repeat the passive scan and get full coverage of the system, finding only one anomaly in total.

Despite our loss earlier I am wondering if we can lure the pilot out in to an ambush. We could send a Heron frigate in to the system to look like a newbie scanner, whilst have a bigger ship waiting on our wormhole to catch and pop the cruiser. Of course, this depends on the pilot being attentive, not swapping ships, and the Heron surviving long enough for the ambusher to arrive. If the pilot's not paying attention he won't even see our bait. If he swaps ships then our own choice of ambusher could be poor. And if the Heron pops too quickly he could warp away with a kill and no loss. But we'll give it a go anyway.

Because we have a new-found passion for losing strategic cruisers I board my Tengu and fit it with a warp disruptor, which hopefully should be powerful enough to kill whatever the pilot may bring to pop the Heron. The frigate is chosen so that the Rupture will be more then enough firepower, us effectively relying on his laziness not to swap ships. And to give her more survival time Fin drops on to a celestial far from the zero point. As for the pilot paying attention there is not much we can do. Or so it seems. Fin gets in the role of a newbie by using the same method technique as Mick did previously, 'accidentally' warping to the tower. Her uncloaked ship must appear on the overview for several seconds as she pretends to panic and turn around, so that our target doesn't even need to check d-scan to notice activity. Still he doesn't move. I don't think he's awake.

As the local is refusing to come out to play, maybe slumped drunk over his controls, we could probably steal the sole anomaly in this system from him. A single distracted pilot is probably not much of a threat for a Golem marauder and Tengu, but even so I ask Fin to take care watching d-scan for any changes. I will be checking too, but I know that looting and salvaging can be fiddly and not give me quite as much time to be vigilant for threats. We swap ships at our tower and Fin warps out ahead of me. The first battleship appears some distance outside of my torpedo range, so Fin closes with it a little first before calling me in to warp to her position.

'Oh, I almost passed out', Fin tells me as I enter warp, 'I saw a Golem'. Her careful monitoring of d-scan sees only my ship, but a change is a change. I have often checked d-scan to see a Tengu appear in the system, my simple mind taking a second or more to realise it's actually part of my fleet. But we're good, it's just us and the Rupture, and a few Sleepers. We shoot, loot, and salvage, getting home without a change in status of the C3 and with just under seventy million iskies in profit. That's got to be close to the cost of two new Legions, almost balancing out our evening perfectly.

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