Orcas are tempting targets

9th September 2011 – 5.10 pm

Finally my Sleeper Tengu is recovered to w-space. I don't really have a goal for my time any more, so I suppose I'll simply see where my scanning probes take me. They take me first to a new radar site in our home system, which I won't bother visiting. Now they are showing me a new gravimetic site. I will visit this one, activating it so that it will disappear again within a few days. Ah, they've discovered the static wormhole, and it is the only connection here. I press on to explore today's w-space constellation, finding myself in a class 3 system with only two containers and two off-line towers in range of my directional scanner. I'd wager the exit here will lead me to null-sec k-space again.

The derelict towers and defences left behind certainly indicate a system that connects regularly to null-sec, but this may work to our advantage. No occupation and no ships combined with over twenty anomalies makes for a potentially profitable evening, and only the day after we get our Sleeper ships home. I can't assume that the system will remain quiet, though, and I start sifting through the twenty-two signatures here to ensure there is only the one wormhole. Rock and gas sites are ignored until I get to a weak signature that stinks like a null-sec connection, and it is indeed the sole wormhole to be found here. I don't visit the connection, keeping it inactive, and take a couple more minutes to ignore a radar site and bookmark a magnetometric one before heading home. I'll take a break to wait for glorious leader Fin's arrival, at which point maybe we can rake in some iskies.

I return to find myself still alone in w-space. Fin can't be far behind, I'm sure, and I can still make good use of my time. Plenty of ship losses are caused by capsuleers assuming their constellation remains unchanged, but I am not taking that chance. I launch probes and scan our home system, confirming that there are no new signatures, and then jumping to the C3 to do the same there. It's not quite as straightfoward to achieve in the C3 as at home, as we only have seven signatures in our C4 but there are over twenty here, and I didn't bookmark or note all of them from earlier. Even so, at least I counted them all, so if there are still twenty-two I can be confident that all remains the same. Or a couple of ships can appear on a blanket scan of the system, giving a clear indication that there must be a new connection.

Core scanning probes appear in the C3 as I start looking for the new wormhole, resolving it fairly quickly for it being quite a fat signature. I warp across to take a quick peek through what turns out to be a K162 from class 4 w-space, but before I get close enough to jump an Orca industrial command ship jumps and decloaks immediately on entering the system. Pounce! Without a second thought I decloak and burn towards the juicy target, locking, disrupting, and shooting as soon as I can. I am waiting for the Orca to jump back to the C4 to try to evade me, ready to follow behind to continue the assault, but he's just sitting there and taking it.

I can't believe the Orca pilot's dozed off at the controls moments after jumping through a wormhole, and I don't believe it. He's waiting for reinforcements to get organised before drawing me in to a counter-ambush. His ship can take a lot of beating, too, so he probably isn't fretting too much just yet. And, sure enough, as my missiles are still steadily shredding his armour, the Orca jumps through the K162. Of course it's a trap. Of course his buddies are waiting in scary ships for me. Of course I'm going to follow him.

A Phobos heavy interdictor is on the other side of the wormhole and waiting with its warp bubble active. That would seem a little careless, as it traps the damaged Orca too, if it weren't also for the Armageddon battleship, Loki strategic cruiser, and Oneiros logistics ship ready to engage my poor Tengu. That's certainly enough to discourage me from continuing my attack, even without the magnetar phenomenon in the system providing a damage bonus to my four would-be attackers, but a second Loki warps in just to push the point home. Yes, okay, I'll leave your Orca alone.

I wait for the session change timer to end, taking the time to assess the situation, and jump back to the C3 only to find the owner of the scanning probes I detected earlier. They don't belong to a benign covert operations boat, or simple scouting frigate, but a Proteus strategic cruiser, piloted by a red-skulled pirate, and with drones out and ready for me. Escape may not be as simple as I was hoping. At least I am far enough from the wormhole to cloak immediately, and have a clear path to follow away from the wormhole. I move and cloak as soon as possible, not wanting space to get too cluttered with the other ships coming in behind me. The Proteus spots me and tries to follow, burning in my direction as the Phobos appears and bubbles the space around the wormhole in the C3. The chasing Proteus gets close, but not close enough. I warp to safety.

It was obvious what was going to happen but I couldn't let the Orca simply get away. Actually, I suppose I could have, particularly as I have been the victim of an Orca as bait before, but they are such tempting targets. And I can be certain that the pilots didn't know I was there initially either, so it wasn't intentional bait, it just worked out that way. Now that I'm clear I can warp back and see what the capsuleers are up to, as if I need to guess. The C3 is unoccupied and only has an exit to null-sec, so the Orca is being pushed through the wormhole to collapse it. Sure enough, the Orca is back on the K162 and looking vulnerable. A couple of ships jump back and forth, no doubt trying to destabilise the wormhole enough for one more Orca jump to kill the connection, leaving the Orca sitting here waiting for the right moment to return. In fact, it seems like a great time to attack it again, they'll never be expecting this.

I'm kidding. I watch another ship jump out, critically destabilising the wormhole, and then both it and the Orca return to the C4, the wormhole disappearing behind them. It's a little sad, as that's the second time in a couple of weeks that I've caught an Orca on a wormhole I've not been able to pop. I suppose I've been able to survive the counter-attack each time, which is probably more important. I am left alone in the C3, with the same number of signatures as earlier, and Fin's still not turned up. I may as well open the exit to null-sec, as I cannot guarantee that the scanning Proteus hasn't done that already, and explore there. But all I find is a radar site in this system in the Etherium Reach system, nowhere else to explore. I think I'll head home for an early night.

  1. 2 Responses to “Orcas are tempting targets”

  2. ".... great time to attack, they'll never be expecting this".

    You had me up to that point, I was fully expecting you to probably go ahead and do it.

    Was a fun read and even better getaway!

    By Ardent Defender on Sep 12, 2011

  3. Thanks, AD.

    I could have taken a second shot at the Orca, but all it would have had to do was jump back to escape me, and I would need to be a complete idiot to follow an Orca through a potentially collapsing wormhole with no route back and a whole bunch of hostile pilots waiting for me.

    By pjharvey on Sep 13, 2011

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