Tussling with a Tengu

21st May 2011 – 3.21 pm

The system is disconnected from the imposing class 2 w-space inhabitants, and both of our ships made it home safely. The same cannot be said of their ships, even if it is only a sole covert operations boat that is now isolated. And judging by the fact that it is launching probes it has no current route out of here. The capsuleers from the class 2 w-space system may have opened their static wormhole in to our home, but they didn't look any further. I already know where our own static wormhole is, and I'm going to show that just because we collapsed their wormhole it doesn't mean we don't look for fights. I swap the Widow black ops ship for my Malediction interceptor and zoom to the wormhole, jumping through to wait on the other side for the Buzzard to come through.

Fin is in two minds about joining me to ambush the Buzzard. Bringing a heavy interdictor would give us a much better opportunity to catch the cloaking scout, but she is concerned about making such overt moves. I can see her point, even if the scout only has one possible direction to travel, but my main concern is the potential occupation in our neighbouring class 3 system. I may have found the wormhole but I hadn't looked any further until now, and there is a tower visible on my directional scanner. Thankfully, there aren't any ships on d-scan, which although it doesn't guarantee there are none in the system at least keeps my presence unknown for now.

The Buzzard predictably comes through the wormhole, looking for an exit to k-space so he can find a path back to his home system. As soon as the wormhole flares I am ready, systems hot. I miss getting an initial target lock, the Buzzard cloaking immediately, but my interceptor flashes towards the cov-ops boat and bumps it, interfering with the operation of the cloak and giving me a second chance. A split-second before I gain positive lock and start disrupting its warp engines the Buzzard warps away, leaving me all fired up with nothing to fire at.

We may have a third chance of catching the Buzzard. Although we haven't mapped this C3 yet Mick has turned up and is only too happy to scan for the exit wormhole. It's a race between the Buzzard and Mick's Loki now, as our target tries to escape w-space and we try to stop him. Mick's scanning is good and he resolves a wormhole quickly, but as he is in warp he notices that the other set of scanning probes has disappeared from the system. And, sure enough, the Buzzard gets to the wormhole leading out to low-sec, jumps through, and warps away before my Malediction catches up. Mick and I sit on the wormhole in low-sec wondering what to do next. Maybe we can shoot that Tengu.

A strategic cruiser has dropped out of warp about ten kilometres from us, perhaps having scanned the wormhole, and looks a little unsure what to make of the the Loki and Malediction apparently guarding it. I'm not quite sure what to do either, and there are a few seconds where we just stare at each other. Apparently Mick wasn't wondering, and was quickly checking the pilot's credentials and looking for any of his colleagues in this low-sec system, before locking and attacking our new target. Given this positive move I lock the Tengu too, to add what little I can to the assault. Warp engines disrupted, the Tengu has little option but to jump in to w-space, placing him squarely on our turf.

We jump back to continue attacking the Tengu. I drop my session change cloak as soon as I can and try to lock the Tengu, but it must have the covert reconfiguration subsystem, as it cloaks and foils my targeting systems. I surge my Malediction towards the Tengu but fail to bump the cruiser, a ship somewhat larger and less agile than a Buzzard, making me a bad interceptor pilot. Once again, we are left sitting at a wormhole wondering what to do next. Waiting seems like a good idea. The Tengu pilot is not local to this C3 and didn't act like he expected to be jumping in to w-space at all. There is a good chance he will be heading back through the wormhole to low-sec empire space, and if he does we will be waiting.

I don't think I want to wait in my Malediction for the Tengu. It may help us catch the strategic cruiser but it may not help us destroy it. I have a much better ship stowed in our hangar, and I head home quickly to board my Legion, so I can use one strategic cruiser to catch another. Along with Mick's Loki we should now have enough firepower, as long as we can catch it, which is where Fin comes in. We no longer have to worry too much about showing our intentions, as the Tengu knows we're here and aggressive, so she brings the Onyx heavy interdictor to loiter on the w-space connection to low-sec. I jump my Legion out of the system and in to empire space, as we aren't likely to catch the Tengu as it crawls cloaked through the warp bubble, making sitting in wait on the other side of the wormhole my best option to engage.

The low-sec system is nice and empty, making waiting less stressful. Only one other pilot is present and, from d-scan, it looks like he's in a Jaguar assault ship. He's noticed me too, and my ship, telling me in the local channel 'I hope it's a missile one'. Why's that? 'Because, to coin a phrase, all Amarr are cap-heavy pieces of shit.' He seems alright, this Jaguar pilot. We have a little chat, and although he suspects me of being in the system to hunt he doesn't think my security status reflects that. I'm not quite sure how to say that null-sec kills don't affect status without my sounding like an arse, so I simply smile and let him draw his own conclusions. He leaves the system soon enough, and it's just me sitting on the wormhole.

It looks like the Tengu is biding its time, and just as we start to wonder once more what we can do the answer comes that we can shoot him! The wormhole flares and the Tengu appears in front of me. Whether he was expecting to see my Legion or not is immaterial, I have a positive lock and am hitting his shields hard and draining his capacitor. Mick and Fin jump out to join the assault, but not long before the Tengu makes a second last-ditch attempt to evade us, once more jumping in to w-space. We follow, knowing he will be polarised and have nowhere left to run, but again he cloaks and, now without an interceptor and the Onyx's bubble activating a second too late, he escapes.

Maybe we should have kept the Onyx on the w-space side of the wormhole. Its infini-point and missile launchers would certainly help the attack anywhere, but the bubble cannot be used in empire space. Leaving it in w-space would have encased the Tengu when it jumped back, although we weren't expecting that it would. Either way, it remains in the C3 and with only one way out, which returns us to a state of waiting. The only question for us now is where to wait. We could be here a while, particularly as a good option for the Tengu is to hide somewhere safe and do something else for a couple of hours, so we try to make the exit look more appealing.

Not polarised myself, having only jumped in to w-space, I jump back to low-sec to loiter once more on the wormhole. The system remains quiet, and my presence cannot be gauged by the Tengu. Mick and Fin disperse, Fin jumping home and swapping the Onyx for her own interceptor, us thinking it a better choice in both w-space and low-sec for snaring the Tengu, and Mick loiters here and there in his cloaky Loki. If the Tengu jumps out now, Mick will join me and Fin will jump in and warp to the wormhole to catch the Tengu on its next expected return.

We're waiting a long while this time. Only the lure of the strategic cruiser kill, made more tempting by the rate at which its shields dropped, keeps us engaged. And our patience is rewarded, as eventually the Tengu shows himself again, jumping out to low-sec. I see the pilot appear in the local communication channel before the wormhole even flares, but I pounce on the Tengu when it appears once more, draining its capacitor and dropping the cruiser in to armour with my missiles. He once more returns to w-space, and both Mick and I follow as Fin is warping across the C3 to make sure we don't miss the kill this time, but Mick calls out hostiles approaching.

I am back in the C3 and have missed locking the Tengu before it cloaks again, making me wonder how he doesn't manage to do so out in low-sec to escape. Fin has turned her Crow around and is warping back to our K162 after seeing multiple wormhole flares, many more than expected for me, Mick, and the Tengu. And now I see the Drakes too, the battlecruisers decloaking and targeting me, getting point on my ship and preventing my own escape. The Tengu has gone, I don't fancy my chances against multiple Drakes, so I take the route left open to me and jump through the wormhole out to low-sec.

Another Drake waits for me in low-sec, but too far from the wormhole to disrupt my warp engines. Knowing I am now polarised, and can't jump back through the wormhole, I disregard the session change timer and initiate warp, hoping that I am quick enough for none of the other Drakes to follow and catch me. I enter warp and breathe a sigh of relief, before making a safe spot and hiding there as the rest of the Drakes return from w-space and, after a few minutes, are joined by their colleague in the Tengu. It looks like he was first waiting for us to leave and, when we didn't, took no chances and called in the cavalry to get him out of w-space safely.

It seems I was too intent in attacking the Tengu and failed to notice all the other pilots enter the low-sec system, and it was down to Mick that we all manage to keep our ships safe from the counter-attack. The Drakes are not here to hunt us down, though, only to rescue their own pilot. As soon as the Tengu is out of w-space and warping to the stargate the ships start leaving the system, until once more only Mick and I are left. It was close. If only we had been able to snare the Tengu in w-space we would have got another decent kill. As it turns out, we end the evening as we started it, running away from bigger trouble than we expected.

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