If at first you don't succeed, shoot something else

16th October 2011 – 3.45 pm

We've taken two shots at a pilot exporting ships and missed the kill on both attempts. The first attempt had the battleship warp clear, probably thanks to warp core stabilisers. The second had a Proteus strategic cruiser turn up to spoil our fun. It looks like our target is one step ahead of us. Even so, whilst she's taking her current ship out to empire space I feel safe to finally take a look in her home system, a class 5 w-space system that today connects in to ours.

There haven't been many other pilots passing through our system, so I'm not expecting a welcoming party when I jump in to the C5. Indeed, the wormhole is clear of obvious threats, even if my directional scanner shows me a bunch of ships somewhere in the system. I suspect they are all sitting inside the tower also shown by d-scan, but I can't tell how many are piloted without locating them, so I warp off to do just that.

Of the seven ships at the tower five are empty, with only the Loki strategic cruiser and Badger hauler piloted. The Loki we saw earlier, apparently acting as escort for the exported ships but now it looks like he's probably eating his tea and unavailable to act menacing. The Badger is a new contact and although not a threat he could be a target, if he hasn't yet collected planet goo today. The Badger is now the focus of my attention. At least, he is until the pod of our previous target warps back in to the tower and collects yet another ship for export.

Shev and I haven't quite given up on our attempts to successfully ambush the exporting pilot. The two previous attempts occurred in our neighbouring class 3 w-space system, and the target may not know that we originate closer to her home system, or that we have the location of the wormhole leading to her C5. The Proteus guard hasn't jumped out of the C3 yet, which means we can engage on the connection between this C5 and our home C4 hopefully without interruption. But not this time, as the pilot boards another Harbinger battlecruiser, a ship we decided not to engage the last time. Maybe it would be good to let it pass too, letting the pilot think we've given up.

The Harbinger warps out, Shev watches it zoom across our system, and I switch my focus back to the Badger. And the hauler's starting to move. I'm already taking a close look at the Badger and I am confident I know where it's going, so I surge my own ship in the direction of a customs office and get ready to engage if I've chosen wisely. I have. The Badger's here and under ten kilometres from me. I decloak as I drop out of warp, soaking up some of the sensor recalibration time, and get my systems hot. I target the Badger, activate my warp disruption module, and watch as missiles fire in to empty space.

The Badger's warped away from me. I know I got a positive lock, as my missiles wouldn't fire without a target, and I know my warp disruptor was active. Maybe these pilots put warp core stabilisers on every ship. That's disappointing. All I can do is cloak again and head back to the tower to see what happens next. And what happens next is that the Badger pilot swaps to a Manticore stealth bomber and warps out of the tower, disappearing from d-scan as his cloak activates. That's interesting, but not much of a threat. I warp across to the wormhole home, thinking I'm following the Manticore, but I see no jump and Shev doesn't see it enter our system either. Maybe he's cloaked here, who can tell? I think it's safe to ignore the Manticore for now.

Our friend is back in her pod and has jumped past Shev in to the C5, where I pick up the contact and watch her warp to the tower. I don't follow but instead monitor her next ship selection using d-scan. An Omen is an interesting choice. A basic cruiser sounds squishy enough for us to pop before help can be warped across a system, and we are both in position to ambush it on a different wormhole than before. Shev's ready and willing, and I call the Omen's jump through the wormhole in to our home C4. Once more, Shev locks the ship, prevents it from warping, and this time he starts doing significant damage to it uninterrupted.

I hold in the C5, decloaked and ready should it jump back to try to evade Shev. She's not running, though, so most of my time is spent updating d-scan and watching for the missing Manticore. The Omen's knocked down to half its armour now and the pummelling continues, and I'm happy for Shev to get the kill alone if he doesn't need help. But he announces he's jammed, his positive lock dropped meaning the Omen can escape freely. I take this as my cue to jump in to help, hoping that I can stop the Omen warping and that it won't be able to split its ECM between two ships, but I'm too late. I get through the wormhole only in time to watch the Omen warp off, leaving its ECM drones behind.

I think it's time to call it a night. The pilot has successfully evaded us three times now, using a different strategy each time. And I even failed to pop a hauler collecting planet goo. Still, it's been a fun game of cat-and-mouse and it was an interesting hunt for the pair of us. We have no kills but also no losses, and I think Shev has had some fun attacking battleships.

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed.