Continuing where we left off

31st May 2011 – 5.22 pm

The fleet and its bait are gone. Fin supposes a new wormhole has entered in to our neighbouring system, catching us by surprise. This is why Fin's the brains of the operation, I was just singing happy tunes in my head. Now that I can again come out of the protection of our tower's shields I bring my Buzzard covert operations boat to the class 3 w-space system to scan for the new wormhole. I don't suspect we'll be heading in to it for any confrontations, but knowing its location will let us keep tabs on the occupants and their hostile intentions. But maybe not even that, as the appearance of an Orca industrial command ship on our directional scanners suggests they are in the process of collapsing their wormhole.

It is easier to locate an Orca than a wormhole when scanning with combat probes, and the ship doesn't seem particularly keen to jump home. I suspect it to be more bait, hoping to attract the kind of idiot who would strike against such a tempting target when their presence is already known. They kind of do, as I suppose I am scanning the Orca's position, even if indirectly, but I have learnt my lesson. I'm scanning to resolve the wormhole, not to plan a counter-attack against a known stronger force. As suspected, I get a positive scan result on the Orca before the wormhole, but I imagine they are coincident and warp close to its position to reconnoitre.

The new wormhole is a K162 coming in from class 4 w-space, but the Orca isn't here. He is still on d-scan, though, making me wonder what he's doing. I can only assume he warped to a safe spot whilst a few more ships were experimentally pushed through the connection, to tip it to the point of collapse before the Orca returns to definitely finish the job. I have arrived to see the wormhole critically unstable, and if that isn't a clear sign that the hostiles are finished with this system then the Orca warping in, jumping home, and the wormhole collapsing certainly is. Good, now Fin and I can get back to ambushing the locals in the C3 ourselves. It looks like we have the opportunity too, a Drake out and about in the system.

I can only assume that the occupants in the C3 were aware of the hostile fleet themselves, either observing in their own cov-ops boats or inferring it all on d-scan. I would say that they had cov-ops out and watching the fleet leave and collapse their wormhole, because nothing else beyond sheer foolhardiness can explain why one of their pilots is now in his Drake shooting Sleepers in the anomaly left unfinished by the bait Drake. I suppose they want to capitalise on the loot and salvage left behind. I can also only assume that they think my earlier pursuit of their Helios cov-ops in my Manticore stealth bomber is a threat that has also left the system with the fleet. They'd be wrong, of course, but let's not tell them just yet.

Fin and I plan to assault the Drake, much as was our initial plan against the bait. I send myself home to swap ships again, undecided about whether to bring a second Legion strategic cruiser or the Sacrilege heavy assault ship, whilst Fin monitors the battlecruiser in the anomaly. Our plans change slightly when a Nighthawk command ship warps in to help the Drake, but the two ships are far apart and as long as we can tank the damage from the Nighthawk we can stick with our original plan to engage the Drake. But as the anomaly was already half-completed it doesn't take long to finish the job, and once the Sleepers are gone so are the Drake and Nighthawk.

The wrecks are left behind in the anomaly, unlooted and waiting to be salvaged. A Raven battleship is unlikely to be commissioned as a salvager, so when Fin mentions its arrival in the anomaly I make my choice of ship, boarding my Manticore once more. I suspect the Raven is a bouncer, making sure the site is safe before the salvager turns up. And I am in warp to our static wormhole, confident about what is to happen next, when a Noctis salvager warps in to start stripping the wrecks in to their component parts. I jump in to the C3, warp to the bookmarked anomaly, and land under forty kilometres from our new and wonderfully soft target. Even better, the Raven has left him all alone.

I close on the Noctis, holding my cloak, planning a bomb launch to be followed with torpedoes. Fin is cloaked in the anomaly and keeping a watchful eye on d-scan as the kilometres to my target tick steadily down. At twenty-five kilometres I decloak, launch my bomb, and gain a positive target lock. I paint the target and disrupt his warp engines, my momentum getting me in to range before the Noctis probably knows what's happening. Your ship is being destroyed, sir, that's what's happening. The bomb hits hard, my Manticore spews torpedoes, and I am locking on to the pilot's pod ejected from the wreck of the Noctis. A split-second separates the pilot from life and death, and this time he warps clear.

I loot and shoot the wreck, getting a fairly decent thirty million ISK for my efforts, and my Manticore is cloaked again. Disappeared from view, I warp to the tower to see what repercussions we can expect. Maybe some, maybe none, it's hard to say. The four pilots present suit up in a Proteus strategic cruiser, Hyperion battleship, and the Nighthawk and Drake, but they aren't making any movements. It doesn't matter. We've got our kill, it's getting late, we're heading home to rest.

It was an odd decision to continue with the unfinished anomaly, even though it looked like the main threat had not only left the system but severed their connection. The locals must have either known about our own connection, should have identified me separately from the hostile fleet, or at least not left the vulnerable Noctis alone. It's to our benefit, though, so I won't complain. After nearly losing the Sacrilege, or even a Legion, I am happy to end the evening with a kill and no losses.

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