Nidhoggurs and Naglfars

3rd June 2011 – 7.42 pm

I'm back, and in a stealth bomber. A well-connected w-space constellation must make for ripe hunting grounds, and we have eight systems to roam today. I say 'we' but it is still just me. I'll just have to see what kind of havoc I can wreak by myself for now. Not much initially, it seems, with the neighbouring class 3 system remaining as quiet as earlier. The second C3 connecting in to this one holds activity, even if a Legion strategic cruiser is too much ship for my Manticore to wrassle with.

The Legion is showing on d-scan separate from the tower, making me wonder if a new wormhole has opened in to this system, but for now I warp to the tower to see if any of the locals are active. The Legion is, it seems, warping back in to the tower after presumably launching his probes at a safe-spot. He rejoins a piloted Ferox battlecruiser, and a Tengu comes along shortly too, but it looks like they are scanning only. I leave their passive selves alone and head back through C3a towards the outbound connection to class 4 w-space.

The C4 is unoccupied and I zip through it to the first of two class 5 systems mapped earlier, which is occupied. Warping to the tower even sees active pilots, at least on d-scan. Two Naglfar dreadnoughts are in the system and out of the tower, Sleeper wrecks putting them in a combat site, and I ignore the piloted Proteus strategic cruiser, Catalyst destroyer, and Nidhoggur carrier to find the action. I already have the sole anomaly in this system bookmarked making the Naglfars easy to locate, warping in to take a look at them in battle.

As I warp in to the anomaly, a little close to a structure for comfort, the Nidhoggur follows in behind me. The carrier doesn't stay, though, heading back the way he came immediately. It looks like he only wanted to escalate the Sleeper engagement, bringing in an extra wave of battleships for the dreadnoughts to shoot. It seems that they may have overstretched themselves a little, one Naglfar warping out and the second looking to make a move soon afterwards, but the Sleeper frigates buzzing around the giant ship like gnats have other ideas, scrambling its warp engines. I may actually see a dreadnought explode.

Out come ECM drones from the bay of the desperate Naglfar. Sleepers don't like drones, and they hate ECM, so you can guess what they think of ECM drones. Pop, pop, pop, the frigates are chewing through them surprisingly quickly, but not before the Naglfar gets a lucky jam and is able to warp clear. I'm sure he didn't plan it this way. As the Naglfar takes time back at the tower to repair his ship, I can update now-arrived glorious leader Fin on today's constellation and occupants. She starts making her way over to the C5 I am in, adding a second stealth bomber to form a fleet of two. I am hoping that the Catalyst salvager will come out to clear these Sleeper wrecks, giving us something to shoot.

My hopes of an imminent ambush are dashed when the Naglfar returns to the anomaly with two trailing Nidhoggurs this time, causing a second Sleeper escalation. There are now even more battleships to destroy before they get to salvaging, which will take a while longer. Fin has another idea of how to cause disruption, asking how the wrecks are clustered. There are two approximate clouds of wrecks, distinct enough, Fin confirms with me, for two bombs to destroy almost all of them. Blowing up all the dreadnoughts' profits would certainly be irritating, I'm game! But before Fin can reach me a Tengu strategic cruiser warps in to take care of the Sleeper frigates, and a Drake battlecruiser follows behind to start salvaging wrecks whilst there are still Sleepers to shoot.

The Drake must be tanked well to salvage whilst under fire from the Sleeper guns, but it also means he's taking damage. We may be able to get a lucky kill if we catch him with two bombs at the right time. Or we could aim for the Catalyst after all, which it turns out has gone with the Proteus in to the C4 behind me for some easier kills and salvaging in the anomalies in that unoccupied system. Fin notices the two ships as she makes her way to me and calls me back for a chance at a more suitable target. I leave the Naglfars, Nidhoggurs, Tengu, and Drake alone and warp back to the wormhole to the C4, jumping in and cloaking moments before the Catalyst warps to the same wormhole.

I daren't engage the Catalyst now, as he'll only jump home and warp away, with the rather more dangerous Proteus following closely behind. Instead I watch it, seeing it warp away towards a planet. I call out the direction to Fin and we both follow at different distances. I drop out of warp at zero, Fin at fifty kilometres, both of us guessing wrong as the Catalyst sits stationary out at one hundred kilometres. I warp back to the wormhole to bounce to a better range whilst Fin closes the distance under normal engine speed, but it turns out the Catalyst isn't keen to stay where he is. He warps away from the planet, in a direction unknown, but only to reappear a minute later.

Fin has got close to the destroyer and is ready to engage just as the Catalyst turns tail and runs again, this time back to the wormhole where he jumps in to his C5 home. The Proteus warps in and jumps too, the single Sleeper wreck visible on d-scan suggesting they perhaps detected my Manticore enter the system and don't care to continue their operation with an unknown hostile potentially stalking them. Quite wise too. Rather than follow behind them and try to catch the previous salvaging operation Fin and I decide to leave the C5 occupants alone, as aware pilots are dangerous pilots. Instead we head homewards, seeing no change in the C3 systems, and get some rest. Despite the wealth of systems to explore there has been surprisingly little activity to intercept.

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