Minor spoils

6th October 2011 – 5.57 pm

The Drake has left the system. My assault was looking strong until the battlecruiser loosed some ECM drones on me, breaking my lock and letting it warp to safety. Now the ship has dropped off my directional scanner and is probably back in empire space, as it wasn't local to this class 3 w-space system. I sit and watch the remaining Sleeper pop the abandoned drones in the magnetometric site, cloaked and at a safe distance. I think I've seen the last of the Drake, but it reappears on d-scan. Surely it can't be returning to the site, not after being attacked by a strategic cruiser. At least, not without some assurance that it could evade me a second time.

My first thought is that the pilot has picked up a new flight of ECM drones, but that would be a rather simplistic strategy. The Drake could have called upon some allies to watch her back, but that is an unlikely circumstance with the pilot being in a state-owned corporation. Maybe she simply thinks I've had my shot and gone my own way. It's a dangerous assumption to make, but I've seen pilots make worse decisions. For now, I'll just watch what she does. The Drake warps in to the magnetometric site, on top of the cosmic signature, and engages the Sleeper cruiser.

Before the sole Sleeper pops the Drake warps out again, which is odd. I would have thought a Drake with recharged shields would be able to withstand the fire from a single Sleeper cruiser. Indeed, it must have before, when facing more ships. I don't quite know what's happening until the Drake reappears and heads towards the artefacts. It looks like the pilot warped in the first time only to get a better reference in order to warp directly to one of the artefacts, instead of crawling to them slowly. She's come back to claim her loot, not wanting it to be lost to the vacuum. That is good enough motivation to explain her actions, I'm heading in for another shot.

I warp deeper in to the magnetometric site and manoeuvre closer to the Drake, as the Sleeper continues to shoot the battlecruiser and the battlecruiser continues to analyse the artefacts. I drop my cloak, lock on to the Drake, and fire my launchers. The Drake starts shooting too, but not me. She's firing at the cruiser, which has now started picking on me. But's it's just one cruiser, hardly a problem, at least until the Drake rips apart the remnants of the structure holding the Sleeper together, and now it's clear what the Drake's plan is. The cruiser pops, the Drake having worn it down almost to destruction before my attack, and the next wave of Sleepers warps in. Two battleships, two cruisers, and two frigates arrive, and they all go for me.

I could probably take the damage from the Sleepers for a while, perhaps not long enough to destroy the Drake but hopefully long enough for them to switch targets to the Drake, but these Sleepers are not merely damaging my shields. Two of the ships are draining my capacitor, which is dropping pretty rapidly. I may rely on a buffer tank but my warp disruption module and shield hardeners both rely on capacitor juice to keep them running, and without them the Drake can escape and I will take significantly more damage. And without capacitor juice I cannot warp away either, regardless of the state of my drives. I decide discretion is the better part of valour and warp out.

The Drake's plan to bring Sleepers to her rescue is cunning, and she's rightfully pleased with herself, but it is also self-defeating. I don't quite warp out of the site but only to my bookmark a couple of hundred kilometres away, and watch cloaked as the Sleepers change their focus to the Drake. I have been shooed, certainly, but the Drake won't get any of the profit it came back for. It's not long before the battlecruiser also has to exit the site, no more artefacts analysed, and she drops off d-scan once more. I don't see her return.

Excitement over I can finally scan this class 3 w-space system, although exploration has gladly taken a back seat to hunting so far. I'm keen to see where the Drake came from, at least. Along with a ladar and gravimetric site I find the expected two wormholes, but they don't turn out to be the types I expected. The first is the system's static exit to low-sec and as stable as any U210 I've seen. The Drake can't have opened this connection from the other side, and the wormhole looks too pristine for it to have been active since I entered the system. I assume the Drake came from the other wormhole but that is a connection to a class 4 system, and an outbound connection at that.

I have no idea how the Drake got in to this system. It's possible that the wormhole it used has died or been forced closed, although that would be quite the coincidence. Whatever the case, the Drake is gone and I have a C4 to explore, so I leave this C3 behind and jump onwards to dangerous w-space. The system looks familiar, perhaps because I was only here a week ago. My notes don't look like they offer any interesting insights, unsurprising given my rather dull expeditions of late, except that the C4 has a static connection to class 1 w-space. As this system is occupied and empty, much as I found it last week, I launch probes and scan. Once again the wormhole is hiding on the outskirts of the system and I recall my probes once I see it is the P060, as that is all I'm really interested in here.

I jump in to the C1 and, with a clear d-scan, launch probes to perform a blanket scan. There are no anomalies present but two ships somewhere, and I warp off to a distant planet. A Maelstrom battleship and Hurricane battlecruiser appear on d-scan, along with three towers, and I land outside one of them. My suspicion that the ships are unpiloted is unfounded, the Hurricane in this tower certainly having a pilot, but they are blue to our corporation and allies. I don't look for the other two towers or the Maelstrom, merely noting the blue occupation here in my notes as reference for any future visit.

There is no activity in the systems on the way home, the C4 deader than A-line flares with pockets in the knees, and the Drake not having returned to the C3. I warp across to the magnetometric site on my way back to our home system anyway, just to confirm that it has despawned naturally after the Drake poked the cans, and it has gone. But six Sleeper wrecks remain unsalvaged, five unlooted. I could grab that profit for myself.

Just in time glorious leader Fin arrives. She jumps in to a stealth bomber and I a Catalyst destroyer, and I guide her to our static wormhole so she can fly protection to my salvager. The Drake doesn't come back, perhaps because it didn't come from anywhere in the first place and it was all a figment of my imagination, but the loot is real. I recover just over twenty million ISK from the wrecks and get home safely after another night of w-space life.

  1. 7 Responses to “Minor spoils”

  2. It was a nice tactic he used, but somewhat risky too.

    I did something similar in empire once, when I found a gurista complex being run by a navy caracal. It was tanking the rats well, and also tanking several frigates flown by whom I believe were war targets of his.

    I changed the scenario a bit by firing a round of missiles at each of the spawn triggers, flooding the grid with about 60 extra gurista npcs in a matter of seconds. I warped in to finish the next room and steal the escalation, not knowing the fate of the navy caracal. Heh.

    By SFM Hobb3s on Oct 7, 2011

  3. True enough. Unless the pilot has some extra intelligence about Sleeper targeting preference, there was just as much chance they'd go for her and simply accelerate her destruction.

    Good work with the Navy Caracal.

    By pjharvey on Oct 7, 2011

  4. That's it, we're deader than tank tops!

    Cool story though, nice moves by the drake pilot.

    By nullarbor on Oct 7, 2011

  5. Heh, one of my corpmates :)

    Clever Landraar :)

    By Bel Amar on Oct 8, 2011

  6. "Unless the pilot has some extra intelligence about Sleeper targeting preference"

    They switch targets, but nearly always the first target is hit for a reason. Ships with higher DPS or EWAR are shot first. Odds are, the PVP-T3 would be shot in preference to a site Drake.

    I had a similar experience trying to catch Landraar in our static C2. It was a C5/null so I assumed it was a local, but it turned out to be random. It also had about 20 safespots, some of them good ones. Needless to say, I didn't catch it.

    I did however recruit him. So I won, right? :)

    By Khanhrhh on Oct 8, 2011

  7. Hey, thx for the kudos and of course I was rather proud of the move because it was not planned and just came to me in that very instant. Yep, those sleeper BS neut hard as hell and there is no question why they primaried you. You have deprived me of my work & loot, but seen differently, you were lucky because I was in a pure ratting fit. If I had had a point fitted, you would have died rather quickly to the hands of those Sleepers… what a killmail that would have been for me :-)

    By Landraar on Oct 8, 2011

  8. A ship's fit is always a consideration when attacking. In this case, I thought a Drake in a magnetometric site would be unlikely to have a point fitted. It would be easier to run anomalies than that site, which also makes the ship less likely to be bait, as you want bait to be relatively easy to find, and being in the site means there is some expectation of getting all the loot. That would mean an analyser module is fitted, already sacrificing a mid-slot from contributing to the Drake's shield tank. Adding a point as well would make the shield too weak to survive reliably in the magnetometric site.

    I hope that's what I was thinking, anyway. Even so, without knowing for sure it is always a risk when engaging a ratting ship.

    Glorious leader Fin is a fan of recruiting people we shoot. It seems to be a measure of a capsuleer how they react in adversity.

    By pjharvey on Oct 9, 2011

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