Stalking a Sleipnir

17th August 2011 – 5.51 pm

No one follows me in to the class 1 w-space system, and I leave w-space behind as I exit to high-sec empire space. My return to high-sec is brief, however, only long enough to warp across the system to explore through the outbound connection to class 2 w-space I scanned earlier. I get a bit of a start when initially checking my directional scanner in the C2, as seventeen ships are visible in the system, but with a tower also present there is no telling just yet how many of them are piloted. I narrow d-scan's beam and see that all of the ships are coincident with the tower in the system, increasing the likelihood that they are all empty, and I warp in that direction to see how active this C2 is.

As isn't unusual, there are no pilots here. I'm not quite sure why so many ships would be left out of a hangar, particularly as they are all sub-battleship hulls and would hardly take up any room, but an inactive system gives me space to scan and the C2 offers at least one connection to further w-space. A blanket scan of the system shows me no anomalies, only the unpiloted ships, and twenty-five signatures here. It may take a little while to find the wormholes, and judging by all the ladar sites I'm ignoring I think it's safe to say the locals aren't keen on harvesting gas.

The first wormhole I resolve is a connection to more class 2 w-space, which is good enough for me to recall my probes. I don't need to find the second static wormhole here, as it will only lead to k-space, and having entered through an outbound connection there is no guarantee of finding any K162s. Keen to find a pilot making a target of himself I jump in to the second C2. I may be in luck, a tower and lone Iteron hauler appearing on d-scan in C2b, perhaps a pilot preparing to start his planet goo rounds. Or perhaps another empty ship sitting inside the tower's shields. It's back to scanning for me.

A mere eight signatures makes a more thorough scan attractive in this system. The first wormhole I find is a boring K162 from high-sec, the second looks like more class 2 w-space but I see an A239 designation where I expect a D382. Inspecting the wormhole shows it exits to low-sec empire space, which is only slightly more interesting than the K162 I've already found. But the second static wormhole is indeed a D382, and I have another C2 to explore. I recall my probes and approach the wormhole, pausing to punch d-scan one last time and, hullo, a Sleipnir command ship is now in this system.

I brake for Sleipnirs, managing to bring my Tengu to a halt before getting too close to the wormhole for it to disrupt my cloak. A quick adjustment of d-scan reveals Sleeper wrecks appearing now, the Sleipnir out and about and shooting ships that aren't me. This makes him a target, although I don't fancy trying to break the tank of a command ship by myself. My colleagues are fairly distant too, the empire space base I am working out of being in a fairly remote corner of high-sec. If only we were still based in w-space. But with the hopes of a Sleipnir to shoot a small fleet forms and heads my way, leaving me to keep tabs on the target.

Finding anomalies is remarkably easy these days. A single passive scan will pick up every anomaly within 64 AU, all within ten seconds. Of course, I had already launched combat probes and bookmarked the eleven anomalies here on my initial scan, but if I hadn't it would still have been trivial to find the Sleipnir. The bigger problem is warping in to the anomaly without getting decloaked on Sleeper structures. I am familiar with most C3 and C4 anomalies and where their structures are, but not C2 anomalies. Warping in at maximum range is not always guaranteed to land you safely distant from structures, so I try to get as much vertical separation from the anomaly as I can before warping in. And thankfully my method continues to work here.

I watch the Sleipnir finish the anomaly and warp out, looking like he's going towards the wormhole to C2a, but following behind sees no movement through the wormhole and still has the command ship on d-scan. A brief search finds him in a second anomaly, which gives the fleet more time to make the journey. An early scout resolves the wormhole in high-sec empire space, with a little help as I let her know which signature she's looking for, and a second jumps in to C2a to scan for C2b whilst the first swaps ships. She returns to guide the third fleet member to the wormhole, and the two of them jump in to C2a and warp to the scout who is now sitting on the wormhole to C2b. It's all going smoothly so far.

The second anomaly is finished and the Sleipnir has moved to a third. With the fleet forming on the wormhole to this system I warp in to the anomaly to get a good reference to warp to. I bookmark one of the Sleeper wrecks within a few kilometres of the Sleipnir and turn to warp to the K162, to guide my colleagues in to combat, but moments before I warp out the first wave of Sleepers is cleared. A second wave appears, but a short distance from the Sleipnir and it moves to get closer. I cancel warp and hold for a few seconds, waiting for the first Sleeper of the second wave to pop, bookmarking that wreck instead. Now I warp out.

As my warp engines are about to disengage I call for the fleet to jump in and say when ready. The wormhole flares, everyone's happy, we are in warp to the anomaly. Not all our ships are covert, so I drop my own cloak and get my systems hot, not wanting a recalibration delay to cause problems. Within a handful of seconds two covert Tengu strategic cruisers, a Loki strategic cruiser, and Drake battlecruiser surprise the waiting Sleipnir, dropping almost on top of the ship. We lock and point the target, preventing him warping clear, and start raining missiles down on him. It looks like the Sleepers almost beat us to it, and the shield-tanked command ship doesn't last twenty seconds under our combined fire, crumpling far more easily than any of us imagined.

The Sleipnir explodes, the pod warps away cleanly. It is all rather anticlimactic, almost as if we attacked a basic cruiser. But it is a good kill against a combat target, requiring good coordination and scouting. We loot and shoot the wreck, getting a few modules but not much of any value, and leave the remaining Sleepers behind us as the fleet warps back out to empire space. I head to C2c, not having jumped in to the system before spotting the Sleipnir, but a quick reconnaisance finds no ships, and the Quafe Zero is repeating on me again. I need a lie down. I return through w-space the way I came, a couple of minutes behind the fleet high-fiving their way home themselves. We all pass in warp the Sleipnir pilot's pod now comprising the eighteenth vessel in the tower in C2a, answering where he came from, and get back to high-sec without incident.

  1. 4 Responses to “Stalking a Sleipnir”

  2. YAY! Sleipnir down. :D

    By Planetary Genocide on Aug 17, 2011

  3. It was a little squidgy, but satisfying to end successfully.

    By pjharvey on Aug 17, 2011

  4. Have you ever considered getting an alt and training them for an interdictor, to trap pods and larger groups of prey?

    By Marcus McTavish on Aug 19, 2011

  5. I'm not going to run a second account, but we have dictor/hictor pilots all over the place. We get plenty of pods, not to worry. Our ship options were just a bit limited this time by virtue of working out of empire space and being spread far and wide.

    By pjharvey on Aug 19, 2011

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