Chasing battleships

15th October 2011 – 3.36 pm

The Sleepers are going at it like rabbits. There are two new signatures in the home system, doubling what was here yesterday. Actually, maybe the Sleepers are only indirectly responsible for the new signatures, as resolving them reveals two wormholes instead of new infestations. Capsuleers are to blame for my extra scanning effort, I must make them pay. The wormholes also both turn out to be K162s from class 5 w-space, still not giving us an outbound connection from our class 4 home, besides the usual static C247. Rather than explore the class 5 systems now I'm heading to the C247 to find the exit from our neighbouring class 3 system, just in case the situation turns sour.

Jumping in to the C3 sees on my directional scanner a tower, Harbinger battlecruiser, and, oh, some Sleeper wrecks. What a pleasant start to the evening's exploration. A passive scan of the system locates six anomalies, one of which the Harbinger is in, but just as I sweep over the right anomaly with d-scan a pod warps past me and jumps through the K162 homewards. That could easily disrupt my stalking almost before it's begun, and sure enough the Harbinger has already bugged out of the anomaly after presumably seeing the pod appear on d-scan. I'd get uncomfortable too. The pod is no threat in itself but could easily relay intelligence about the Harbinger to other pilots, or simply come back in a suitable ship.

Despite the Harbinger leaving the anomaly unfinished I go looking for the battlecruisr. There are two on-line towers and one off-line in the system, finding all three also finding the Harbinger sitting passively inside the force field of one of the active towers. An Anathema covert operations boat keeps flitting on and off d-scan too, with some probes flying around the system. I assume the Anathema is affiliated with the Harbinger, but I don't manage to see it at any point to confirm this. I watch the Harbinger for a while but it doesn't look like he's going anywhere. I consider scanning until I realise I may be missing an opportunity. A pod heading back to our system must be going to one of the C5s, and as the pod was returning naked it could mean ships are being exported. Maybe I can catch one of them heading back out to empire space.

Returning home has a Manticore stealth bomber on d-scan briefly, but as I have no hope of finding that without it wanting to be found I ignore it and begin to investigate the class 5 systems connecting in to us. But moments before I jump in to one of the C5s a Devoter heavy interdictor appears and disappears on d-scan, and it didn't pass me. I warp across to check the second K162 as a colleague arrives, Shev doubling my firepower and giving a second set of eyes to use. I warp him around to the wormholes in our system so he can bookmark them, without either of us having to decloak, and then we sit and watch.

Somewhat problematically, a Loki strategic cruiser decloaks on the K162 we're watching and jumps through to the C5, an indication that maybe the exported ships are being escorted with sufficient protection. Then again, we can watch both wormholes being used in our system and monitor who jumps, so we shouldn't be completely surprised. And as a Curse recon ship jumps out and isn't followed by the Loki, or any other ship, maybe their escort got bored or hungry and is no longer available. We can watch and find out. I sit and watch the C5 K162, Shev warps to the C247 to see what comes through.

The same pilot who left in the Curse returns in a pod, warps to the K162 I'm sitting on, and jumps presumably home. Now we get ready, as we will need to make a quick decision. We have the benefit of knowing a good portion of the route the pilot is taking and can engage in a few places, but we have no idea what ship will be coming next. If indeed any ship is coming next, as it is possible they've finished moving ships and we'll be waiting for—flare! That was quick, but the ship's appearance isn't. A second flare precedes the Proteus strategic cruiser shedding its session change cloak, accompanied by an Armageddon battleship. They both warp to the C247 and jump out, and we let them pass. The Proteus would be a tough kill in itself, two ships is too much for our own covert boats.

Only one pod returns this time, heading back to the C5 and returning shortly after in a Harbinger. That's perhaps not a good choice for us to engage either, as it could probably tank our damage and, as Shev points out, it is probably fit for PvP combat anyway. We let it pass and continue to wait. An encouraging note is that it has so far been the same pilot each time, excepting the Loki. Just one pilot actively moving ships makes it likely we'll not face much opposition, if any, when we choose to engage, only the ship we ambush. If there were more pilots floating around it would be more of a gamble.

After a short wait the pod comes back again, returning along the same path, as predictable as death. We wait again for the next flare, and when it comes an Apocalypse battleship appears and starts aligning to the C247. There is no escort this time and, after my previous successful engagement of a battleship on a wormhole, I make the call to attack. Shev's already moved from our system to the C3, where he is in a better position to engage a ship heading out, and he decloaks and gets ready. I warp behind the Apocalypse, watching it jump to the C3 before decloaking myself and approaching the wormhole. I hold in the home system for now, in case the battleship retreats, but ready to jump in to help Shev with the kill.

Shev locks the Apocalypse and disrupts its warp engines, or at least tries to. The battleship pays him no mind and merely warps away, leaving my colleague a little baffled. It looks like the pilot isn't taking any chances with her exports and has fitted warp core stabilisers to her ships. That's not really playing fair, but at least we gave it a shot. And we can adapt. Once the pod returns and heads back to the C5 Shev swaps some modules around at our tower, adding more warp disruption strength to try to catch the next ship, and we reset our positions to try again. That is on the assumption that the pilot, after being engaged, will come back. And a flare on the wormhole says she is.

Another battleship is being moved, a second Armageddon, and as it aligns and warps to the C247 I tell Shev to get ready. I watch the Armageddon jump to the C3, Shev locks it and prevents it from warping this time, only to see the Proteus reappear. Shev rightfully disengages, jumping through the wormhole as I reactivate my cloak and move away. Rather than rely on warp core stabilisers our target also adapted and brought a friend to ensure her safe travel this time. They're not stupid. It looks like softly softly won't catchee monkey tonight.

  1. 3 Responses to “Chasing battleships”

  2. Nice to read about my self from the other side of the barricade :)

    All i was doing was moving ships from C5 -> C4 -> C3 -> Hsec that day. Curse, pilgrim, apoc, armageddon, harby, omen and maybe something i dont remember.

    I went balls in with the first 2, but i spotted a tengu on D for a sec. So my first BS apoc was fitted with 5 warp core stabs :) :P

    Also after that i had a cloacky proteus guarding me, 8man gang waiting in hsec and 2 ppl in lame ships waiting in C5...

    Your gut was right that day, saved you 2 tengus :)


    By czMulti on Oct 16, 2011

  3. I need to remember other people read this. I hope I don't present my targets in a particularly harsh light.

    It's always interesting to view the situation from the other side, as it often gives insights in to movements and awareness that are otherwise opaque.

    Thanks for stopping by to comment. Maybe I'll bump in to you again. Who knows?

    By pjharvey on Oct 16, 2011

  4. nope dont worry :)

    Just wanted to let you know that we both had our luck that day :)

    By czMulti on Oct 17, 2011

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