Two-pronged ambush

12th January 2012 – 5.06 pm

'I just jumped', says my glorious leader as I arrive. I wonder aloud if I startled her, then laugh at my own joke, before launching scanning probes so I can find our static wormhole and join Fin in an occupied but empty class 3 w-space system. It's my third visit to this system, as always counting separate visits as being through distinct wormholes, the last time only a couple of weeks ago. Nothing notable happened then, although it lets me find the tower easily enough, snuggled in a bunch of bubbles. A blanket scan of the C3 reveals ten anomalies and seven signatures, and we start sifting through them to look for targets or iskies.

There are certainly iskies in them thar anomalies, but we should make sure there are no more wormholes connecting in to the system before making ourselves vulnerable. And by scanning we can also look for magnetometric sites, offering considerably more potential profit than the bare anomalies. Wormholes could lead us to targets too, although perhaps not through either of the two K162 connections coming in from null-sec k-space, or the system's static exit to low-sec empire space. The wormholes may only lead to k-space, which isolates us from deeper w-space, but the K162s are a concern, having been opened by curious k-space pilots. A sole magnetometric site is resolved but if we want to pillage it we should make a rudimentary check of the external systems for other pilots.

The low-sec exit leads out to the Genesis region and is bereft of both pilots and signatures. Fin heads out to one of the null-sec systems and reports it as also being empty, but stuffed with anomalies. After yesterday's jaunt in to null-sec anomalies I am happy to give them ago again today, for a continued change of pace and healthy gains in security status. We head home, swap in to our Sleeper Tengu strategic cruisers, and leave w-space for the Feythabolis region in New Eden. Our directional scanners can be mostly ignored for now, both of us admiring a populated local channel keeping us informed, and we warp in to the first anomaly.

My hybrid Drake battlecruiser coped well enough with this type of anomaly yesterday, it should be no surprise that our Tengus are barely being scratched. It's as if we're not being fired at, the active repair systems almost repairing the damage before it even registers. But we don't complete the first anomaly and aim for one that may contain an officer's ship before a new contact appears in the local channel. We align our ships out of the easily found anomaly and, when a Loki strategic cruiser blips on my d-scan, I warp us back to the wormhole.

We sit on the wormhole whilst working out our options. We may not be safe on here, as the connection was opened from this system and it may be known to the pilot, but we are definitely safer than sitting in the anomaly. The Loki appears again and launches combat scanning probes, which is our cue to leave null-sec behind us for now. We warp across the C3, jump home, and nestle in our tower, intending to swap ships to start collapsing our static wormhole and start the evening afresh. 'What if', I say, 'we get an Onyx and Legion and wait for the Loki?' The heavy interdictor will stop the Loki warping and the strategic cruiser could neutralise its defences, perhaps giving a scout looking for a pair of ratting Tengus a bit of a surprise.

The idea sounds a bit stupid to me, but that's because it's my idea. The Loki could be nullified against interdiction, letting it warp through the HIC's bubble, and it's bound to be faster than my Legion, being Minmatar-built. But it won't be faster when cloaked, which it will have to do to avoid us, and at least we'd be out there and taking a shot against another combat ship. Fin agrees with my plan and hops in to the Onyx, offering me the Legion because she says I have 'better combat sense'. Shh, don't anyone tell her it's all bluster!

We return to the C3 and sit on the K162 from null-sec, and wait. There's no point jumping in to null-sec for now, only to appear in the local channel, better to wait for the Loki to come for us. And the wormhole flares, this will be him! We wait a little longer, the Loki holding his session change cloak, but he appears, our warp bubble inflates, and he moves away to cloak. I burn towards to the cloaked Loki's position in my Legion, but realise I haven't got close enough when I am near the edge of the bubble. Fin brings the bubble back down and we get ready to return home, happy to have tried, when a Vagabond cruiser appears from nowhere.

The Vagabond's a target, so in lieu of having a Loki to shoot at I lock on and start firing at the cruiser instead. I don't realise immediately that he is disrupting my warp engines, but I imagine he must have when a Falcon recon ship also decloaks and starts trying to jam me. My lock on the Vagabond drops at about the same time the Loki returns from wherever he warped to, joined by a Tengu also shedding its cloak. I think I missed the wormhole flaring during my pursuit of the Loki, or they all came through together at once. Either way, with the Loki falling in to our trap along with the rest of his fleet, I'm in trouble.

Fin's got clear, warping across the system in the rather underprized Onyx compared to my Legion, but I have little choice. I jump out to null-sec in a bid to escape my fate, only to find the fleet I face isn't stupid, having left a rearguard to deny my retreat. I try to warp clear but the Sabre interdictor, which I think it is on my rushed recognition, easily stops me. As the other ships jump out to join the fun I have one final option. I return to w-space, now polarised, and desperately hope I am pointing in a good direction. And I kind of am, having being spat out of the wormhole pointing almost directly towards a planet. I select one of the moons at random and hit the warp button, hoping I can get up to three-quarters speed before the ship left this side of the wormhole can identify me and lock on. Our lady of fast acceleration, don't fail me now!

My blue bar of warp speed is a sliver away from the three-quarter mark, and I almost think I am in warp, when I get a message that my engines are being disrupted. So close and yet so far. I am going nowhere, outnumbered and outgunned once again, the successful ECM cycles preventing me even returning any target locks. I take a breath, satisfy myself of the situation I am in, and make sure I am aligned to the moon still. And then I eject, armour barely depleted but not wanting to get in to any more trouble by getting caught in a warp bubble. I get my pod out of the pocket, bouncing off the moon before returning to the wormhole home, and join Fin back at the tower. I suppose we'll need to buy a new Legion.

There's not much else we can do now. I would imagine the null-seccers won't be scanning any deeper in to w-space, so we could collapse our wormhole and start again, but doing so without checking the ships have left would still be a risk. We wait a little while and Fin volunteers to take a look in the C3. Jumping through our wormhole has everything look clear, no ships waiting for her, and returning to the K162 only has a few drones floating around. That's odd, I could swear I left a very expensive strategic cruiser there. Oh well, at least the threat is gone. I suppose the lesson here is that individual scouts are more likely in w-space than null-sec, and what we saw was the spearhead of a fleet keeping its forces one jump behind to hide its numbers. I'll remember that. It's too late now to accomplish much else this evening, so we chalk up another loss and bed down for the night.

  1. 8 Responses to “Two-pronged ambush”

  2. Ahh, the good old blob tactics.

    By Planetary Genocide on Jan 12, 2012

  3. Where 'a blob' is 'more ships than we have'.

    By pjharvey on Jan 12, 2012

  4. Is there any other definition?

    By tgl3 on Jan 12, 2012

  5. Well, it's not like they dropped 250 battleships on us.

    By pjharvey on Jan 12, 2012

  6. Bah... Sorry to hear you lost the legion, costly buggers as they are but better to eject or self destruct than to lose the skills as well. It was pretty inevitable on e the disrupted you after polarized. But it sucks none the less.


    By Zandramus on Jan 12, 2012

  7. Well executed from their end, sorry about your ship, at least you got the pod out. I don't know anything about nullsec but I assume that roams always have many ships - unlike WH PvP - or at least can get reinforcements very quickly. Like cockroaches, you see one, you know you have 20 nesting in the wall...

    By Splatus on Jan 12, 2012

  8. It doesn't work in w-space, so it may not come naturally, but in k-space you could have the starmap configured to look for activity, and bring that up as you warp to decide what to do, to watch for traps like this in the future. A bunch of brightly coloured dots nearby (or a cyno beacon) would be a dead giveaway that something is lying in wait.

    By M on Jan 12, 2012

  9. That's a good point about the starmap, M. Being in w-space, I tend to forget about the tools available in k-space, and I could make use of them when available.

    As for the loss, it happens. It's not so much the ISK we'll miss as the lack of a ship-killer until we manage to replace the Legion.

    By pjharvey on Jan 14, 2012

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