Waiting for a second shot

1st November 2011 – 5.06 pm

I've been a whirlwind of activity so far tonight. At least, as far as New Eden and w-space are concerned. Popping a Noctis salvager within minutes of scanning my way out of our home system, and bagging some jettisoned Sleeper loot for my efforts, is about as efficient as I could get. It still leaves me wanting to explore our neighouring class 3 w-space system, as well as monitoring what happens to the rest of the ships there, whose combat with the Sleepers I rudely interrupted.

It soon becomes clear that the interrupted capsuleers are not hanging around, abandoning their combat and some drones to leave the C3. I suppose that's perhaps an unintentional benefit of ambushing ships in a strategic cruiser, in that it is a more aggressive show of force, one with unknown numbers behind it, than a flimsy stealth bomber which can be more easily countered and is unlikely to be the spearhead of a fleet. I warp in to the anomaly just to make sure the ships are gone, and see their drones float forlornly near some Sleepers. I would say they're not coming back.

I finally glance across at my notes for this system, to find that I have been here before, five months ago. I have two towers listed and am guaranteed a static exit to low-sec empire space to be available. I imagine the ships I spooked are not local to this class 3 system and warp off to check the second tower, currently out of range of my directional scanner, to confirm this. Instead I learn that the second tower is no longer present, even if the first tower remains in its listed location. Not only that, but a Nighthawk command ship has turned up at that tower, giving me a new contact.

The Nighthawk may only just have woken up and not been privy to my recent ambush, popping the wreck of the Noctis leaving no direct evidence, but he'll no doubt be curious as to why there are Sleeper wrecks and stranded drones in his system. I doubt I'll catch this pilot doing anything stupid. Or, at least, reckless, as scanning in Nighthawk seems to border on the stupid as far as I'm concerned, as I watch the command ship crawl slowly out of the tower's shields, launch scanning probes, and crawl back in. I'm sure I've seen a Nighthawk scan before but I don't think it was in this system. Maybe there are benefits to doing so that I am overlooking.

With the Nighthawk scanning, and only using core scanning probes that won't detect my ship, he may be distracted enough to let me scan at the same time. I could as a minimum launch my own probes and see what signatures there are here, and I warp away to drop off d-scan to do so. My combat probes show me eight signatures I have so far been unaware of, already knowing about the drones and nine anomalies here, as well as the Nighthawk, which is the only visible ship in the system. I don't scan quite yet, but when the pilot swaps command ship for shuttle, warps to our K162, and returns apparently disappointed, swapping back to his Nighthawk and launching scanning probes a second time, I think that maybe he's not the fastest scanner in w-space.

Whilst the other pilot concentrates on finding his static wormhole I sift through the signatures here, also looking for wormholes. I find one as chubby as our own K162, which is probably where the other fleet came from, and a second chubby signature feels subtly different enough to probably be the static exit. The other signatures are too weak to be obvious wormholes and I ignore them for now, preferring to try to stay covert by minimising the time my probes are visible. The Nighthawk makes another false start in his search for the static wormhole, locating on his second attempt the other K162, which comes from class 5 w-space, and having to launch probes again. Third time's a charm, and his shuttle zooms to the exit to low-sec with me behind him. I just watch him exit and wait for his return, which doesn't come soon.

When enough time has passed to ensure the pilot isn't simply waiting for polarisation effects to dissipate, I jump through the exit to end up in the Everyshore region, and close to Dodixie. Maybe the pilot took a shuttle out to buy a new ship, one that I can surprise on its return. I could also maybe sell some Sleeper loot on an expired contract, our previous industrial connection having apparently retired, but I'm rather keen to see if I can get a second kill tonight. I loiter in low-sec and hear the wormhole flare, but without a ship having passed me in low-sec. The ship is coming from w-space. It is a pod of a pilot in the same corporation as the Noctis I popped, and maybe he's heading to Dodixie to buy a replacement salvager. That would be fun to shoot on its way back.

Encouraged by having two potential returning targets I hold on the K162 in the low-sec system and wait. And wait, and wait, and wait. I suppose they have to get to market, buy and fit the ships, maybe not with all the required modules available in the one system, and then make the return journey. Wait, wait, wait. It seems to take much longer than it should, and maybe they aren't coming back. Wait, wait, wait. Ah, game on! There's the Nighthawk pilot in the local communication channel, I wonder what ship he's bringing back with him. Oop, abort, abort, it's a Devoter heavy interdictor. I know that Onyx HICs have hefty shields and although different races have different ship configurations, I imagine the HIC's role demands a sturdy tank as a basic requirement. I won't be popping that.

I'm still left waiting for what hopefully will be a defenceless Noctis to return. But if the pilot was paying any kind of attention, both to the aftermath of the attack and his journey out of w-space, he would have seen his colleague's ambusher in the low-sec system and smelt a rat. If he is bringing a ship back it won't be innocently. I could do with being on the w-space side of the wormhole, at least to disguise my presence, and probably not in my Tengu. I risk the couple of minutes it takes to get home and swap ships for my Manticore stealth bomber to set myself up in a more appropriate position to wait for this second pilot's return.

My waiting at the wormhole is broken briefly by the reappearance of the new Devoter, coming back to the exit to low-sec for some reason. He jumps out and returns, making his presence obvious when a Crane follows behind him to the local tower. The HIC was playing guard to the transport ship, which is cautious but maybe overly so in the case of the Crane, which really shouldn't have any trouble negotiating low-sec and w-space by itself. But it's not a long wait before the wormhole flares a second time and a Noctis sheds its session-change cloak with gay abandon. I shed my own cloak, revelling in the lack of recalibration delay, and gain a positive lock on the Noctis within a couple of seconds. I activate my warp disruptor and target painter, and watch my first volley of torpedoes strip the salvager of its shields. Sadly, the second volley doesn't even fire.

The Noctis warps away safely, undoubtedly having warp core stabilisers fitted as a precaution against another single-ship ambush. That was sensible, and I was pretty dumb. I could easily have anticipated such a travelling configuration of the new ship and countered it with a minor refitting of my own, to prevent even the stabilised ship from evading my clutches. I have to wonder why I didn't make such a simple change when I was only expecting to engage a defenceless industrial ship in the first place. Not only that, but I fail to think about chasing the Noctis across to the K162 to class 5 w-space, where maybe I could have got a second shot. Despite my quick start it has been a long, slow evening, and maybe I'm just a bit tired. I should go home and get some rest.

  1. 5 Responses to “Waiting for a second shot”

  2. I was thinking about you the other day when some invaders rudely ran all of my anomalies whilst I was asleep. Though when you do happen across my class three I will be interested to see your description of the system.

    Sounds like you are at least having fun, I am experiencing the same issues as you though with my brother 3 timezones away I am finding myself left to my own devices and all alone in the wh on most evenings.

    Last night I did have some fun dual boxing a couple of stealth bombers out the 0.0 static in ore npc space though not enough to find an unsuspecting solo ratter.


    By Zandramus on Nov 1, 2011

  3. As far as I can tell you still haven't run across the class 4 that I used to live in. I haven't been able to go through all of your blog posts though.

    By Planetary Genocide on Nov 2, 2011

  4. Would you recognise your systems from my descriptions, though? I tend not to mention system numbers or where active towers are anchored. And, believe it or not, I try not to include every detail I find, like off-line towers or stranded cans.

    Living out in w-space makes for some lonely times on occasion, Zandramus, but the adventures to be had when pilots are out and about easily make up for it.

    By pjharvey on Nov 2, 2011

  5. I have my system set up a specific way, and have removed an old tower that was there so I should be able to recognize your description of it. I imagine you will get a chuckle when you dscan the system.


    By Zandramus on Nov 2, 2011

  6. Well, that's intrigued me. I hope I stumble across it now.

    By pjharvey on Nov 2, 2011

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