16th June 2011 – 5.02 pm

There are lots of wormholes today, and directions to all of them are available in convenient bookmark form. I copy the bookmarks to the nav-comp of my Manticore stealth bomber and go out for a roam. 'But no one in space', Mick tells me as I leave. We'll see about that. Our neighbouring class 3 w-space system is occupied but empty, the outbound connection to a second C3 has a piloted Chimera carrier in a tower but no activity, and I ignore the wormhole to class 5 w-space here to instead jump onwards in to a C6, finding carriers and dreadnoughts and a couple of pilots but nothing happening. But I get pictures of the connections between class 3 with class 6 w-space for my collection of wormhole colours.

One class 5 system connecting in to this C6 is interesting only in that it holds an entirely defenceless tower of a three-member corporation, which makes me wonder how it has survived for so long. None of the three pilots are awake, though, making this C5 enticing but uninvolving for now. A second connection to a C5 in the C6 is unoccupied and empty too, and, heading back to the other connection in the second C3, so is the first C5 we encounter in today's constellation. Yeah, okay, there's no one of note around. I think I'll take a nap.

Feeling a bit groggy still from my afternoon catnap doesn't make for the safest of roams, but I go out again in my stealth bomber to see if I can find any activity in our convoluted chain of w-space. Still no one is around, except for the couple of pilots who look like they leave their ships as often as they leave their tower. The best activity w-space can muster, and it is pretty good, is Mick's return, who comes out in his cloaky Loki strategic cruiser to scan two of the three class 5 systems for their static wormholes, in the hopes of finding more than vacuum.

C5b holds a static connection to class 4 w-space, but the wormhole is reaching the end of its natural lifetime and I'm rarely comfortable jumping through dying links. Mick tries to encourage me by pointing out that his probes can get us back to safety if necessary, adding that it also 'means they won't be expecting us'. He makes a good point, but I sit like a scared girl in the C5 as he pokes his Loki through to take a look around. There are ships, big ships, but nothing particularly happening and we still have another class 5 system to explore for excitement, so we leave the lack of action behind to head in another direction.

An Omen cruiser appearing briefly on Mick's directional scanner in C5c is interesting, and warping around finds him a second Omen and five Moa cruisers, with a couple of jet-cans for company. I think we've stumbled on to a gas harvesting operation, one we could crash. I held back jumping in to the system whilst Mick scouted, and I am already zipping homewards to get an Onyx heavy interdictor back this way for maximum disruption, whilst Mick narrows down the position of the gassers. They are still active by the time I get my Onyx on the wormhole in the C6, where I sit as Mick positions his probes. Within a minute I am called to jump in, and Mick warps us both to a ladar site. We are on!

Sadly, we drop out of warp to see two jet-cans and nothing more, the last Omen disappearing from d-scan even. I suppose with that many ships there was a good chance that one of the pilots would spot the probes in time, even with Mick's keen skills. But we have two cans of gas to collect for ourselves, and again I am heading homewards, this time to bring back a hauler. Mick continues scanning, now that we're rumbled, and finds a K162 coming from class 2 w-space, but the appearance of an Occator transport ship on d-scan shows that this is not the wormhole the gassers came from, and that maybe I don't need to bring the Bustard after all.

The Occator even has a Falcon recon ship as escort, relying on its ECM to keep their hauler safe. It can't keep their gas itself safe, though, as Mick pops one of the cans as an alternative to shooting their ships. He seems to be taking care of business there, so I jump in to my Malediction interceptor and sit on our static wormhole, having seen core scanning probes in C3a, our neighbouring system. I am a little taken by surprise when a Cheetah covert operations boat appears next to me and jumps out, a Cheetah I saw earlier but disregarded as scanning too damned slowly. I follow him through the wormhole but fail to bump his cloaking ship, showing that he doesn't fly as slowly as he scans.

Opportunity missed, I press on and head back towards C5c in case my nippy ship can be of use there. Maybe it can! The wormhole connecting C5c with the C6 flares and, after waiting for the session change timer to expire, an Anathema cov-ops no doubt startled to see my interceptor jumps right back to avoid me. Again, I follow and, again, I fail to lock my target or bump his ship to decloak him, showing that only well-piloted interceptors need to be feared. Meanwhile, Mick has found a pair of K162 wormholes both coming from class 5 w-space in to C5c, one of which is the origin of the gas miners and, now, a Myrmidon battlecruiser.

The Myrmidon is baiting us, I'm sure. He's sitting on his own K162 and moving to engage him must surely be pointless or suicidal. If we attack at range he will be able to jump back home to avoid destruction, and if we get close we'll soon be met by all his colleagues lying in wait on the other side of the wormhole. We have, after all, seen seven piloted ships in total. I head back to cover our exit, not being much use in a fragile interceptor some hundred kilometres from an ambush, only to see the Anathema jump out to the C5. I warped to land far from the wormhole but am in a stupidly fast ship, boosted by the system's black hole, and cover the seventy kilometres in a handful of seconds to jump out before the Anathema has moved. Again he doesn't want to be caught out and jumps back, again I follow, and, yet again, I fail to intercept the ship. I clearly need more practice at this.

I suspect the Anathema to be the scout of the corporation we've interrupted, as the Myrmidon warps to the connection back to the C6. My ship is now polarised, preventing travel back to the C6, which could be trouble if I weren't able to retreat a hundred kilometres in a few seconds, and I sit far from the wormhole just watching the battlecruiser. And now the situation looks a little different. He may be confrontationally trying to block our exit home, but unless all the other pilots are in cloaked ships there will be some travel time involved before they can join in, which could give us opportunity to escape. Mick decides to give him a poke.

The Myrmidon's shields drop quickly but his armour withstands any damage Mick's Loki does, actively repairing itself. There is some to and fro as distances are closed and opened, drones launched and recalled, but it's a stalemate. In case I can make a difference I blast back towards and through the wormhole and head homewards, to get a different ship, but my movement is all it takes for the reinforcements to arrive. Mick jumps out of the C5 as a faction frigate turns up to probably hold him place for the cavalry, and he clears the pocket without much danger. I suppose I won't be needing that bigger ship now either, as I don't think we'll want to get in to a seven against two fight, not when the odds aren't in our favour.

There is a little bit of activity in the systems on our way back home, but we only manage to spook a second gas harvester and get more big and pointy ships out looking for us. I am encouraged to try to engage a Hurricane in my Retribution, but I've already turned my assault ship around and am heading home when the battlecruiser first appears at the tower in C3b. I think I've had enough excitement for one evening.

  1. 2 Responses to “Malinterception”

  2. The Cat, Mouse and Cat game of WH space is just funny in the tactics both sides play. Made quite intriguing by great story telling.

    I'm sure you ended up getting plenty of practice with the interceptor.

    Wondered how it would of turned out if you had actually gotten the hauler to collect the gas?

    By Ardent Defender on Jun 17, 2011

  3. We didn't see hide nor hair of the hauler, sadly. The ECM boat may have made it difficult to pop him anyway.

    Yeah, I got some practice in the interceptor, but it's a little frustrating to continually miss the target. Practice makes perfect, though, and it was amusing to keep bumping in to cov-ops coming and going.

    By pjharvey on Jun 17, 2011

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