Following a frigate

17th February 2012 – 5.48 pm

I'm home, safe, and sitting on a K162. I've kind of been chased out of the class 5 w-space system connecting to our home, but only after almost destroying one of their strategic cruisers in transit. The death of the Noctis salvager was just fate, and I had to shoot it to get through the wormhole to the Tengu. But some rather more agile tacklers appear at the stripped-down tower and I thought it best for my health to return home. That's not stopping me watching the connection for more movement, though, least of all to see if the pilots will come looking for us. I sit and wait for a while but it instead seems that we have succeeded in blocking their route, and that no other ships will come this way. Now glorious leader Fin and I can take a second look in the other direction.

Fin's got herself in to a stealth bomber, lined up on the K162 for an opportunistic bombing run, and stays there in the Manticore as I scout the class 3 w-space system in my covert Tengu. The Vagabond cruiser remains at the tower as it did earlier, doing nothing, but a new contact has appeared in a Heron frigate, and he's moving. The ship is outside the shields of one of the three towers in the system and is launching probes. I am too far to try to catch him and and he cloaks before I get in range to cause mischief, but the frigate cannot fit a covert operations cloak and will need to show himself when he warps.

I estimate the last-known position of the Heron as best I can and move closer, opening my system map to orientate myself with the direction the two wormholes here lie in. I call Fin over and ask her to sit near our K162, in-line with the planet holding the tower, so that she has a good chance of catching the Heron if it tries to visit our home system. And there he is, and there he goes. He decloaks and is warping to our K162, probably the first wormhole his scanning probes resolve, and I tell Fin to get ready. I follow behind the Heron, choosing to drop far short of the wormhole, which seems to be a common manoeuvre of ships that can't warp cloaked.

Sure enough, the Heron drops out of warp far from our K162, and although I am nearby I am not close enough to guarantee catching the ship. My systems will suffer a recalibration delay when I decloak, and without locking on to the ship I will need to rely on physical proximity to prevent the Heron from cloaking and moving slowly away. I push my Tengu towards the Heron, judging the best time to decloak so that I can burn and bump in to the frigate whilst my sensors recalibrate, only to see the Heron keep its distance. The ship's moving away from me and towards our wormhole. And towards Fin.

I suggest not using a bomb launch, as the frigate could probably enter warp before the bomb detonates at the end of its ten-second flight. The stealth bomber has quick-locking systems that don't suffer a penalty when decloaking, and we only need a positive lock for the Heron to be ours to destroy. Sadly, the frigate cloaks after ten kilometres or so, before either of us are in optimal positions. And cloaked ships can no longer interfere with other cloaked ships, so even though I am close I cannot sneak up and surprise our target. But I think I'm close enough and pointing in the right direction to risk showing myself.

I decloak and burn through empty space. A couple of seconds pass but my aim was good, as the Heron appears when my Tengu speeds a couple of kilometres above it and disrupts its cloak. I try to perform a barrel roll to get myself back pointing at the frigate as I gain a target lock, Fin now decloaking to join the fun but still too far to get her warp disruptor active. It's okay, I manage to lock on to the Heron and missiles spew from my launchers. The frigate's shields drop quickly but, to my disappointment, the ship warps clear. What went wrong? I don't think I suffered finger trouble, so I think all it could be is that the Heron has warp core stabilisers fitted. That's such a shame.

The Heron's slipped past us, but it was a good hunt. I return to the tower, where the Heron fled to, and sit cloaked watching the pilot. It's not likely that he'll come out again but it's best not to assume. Besides, there's a second wormhole here for the local capsuleer to explore, that of the static exit to low-sec empire space. And it looks like he's found it, as the Heron warps in that direction. Fin has moved to the exit wormhole and I am following behind the Heron, but when we get there we see no sign of the frigate. All is explained a minute later when the ship returns from low-sec, having landed on top of the wormhole and gone out to reconnoitre the exit.

I should have known better, as the pilot has show typical behaviour, in my experience. I ought to have gone directly to the wormhole instead of second-guessing myself and dropping short again. As it is, the Heron is free to return from low-sec and warp back to his tower unmolested. Of course, we'd have needed both my and Fin's ships disrupting the frigate's warp engines, if he has warp core stabilisers fitted as suspected, but we could have been in a good position to do that. And now we've missed our shot. Never mind, we got to engage some big and expensive ships, and chased a smaller ship around a w-space system. It's been a pretty decent night.

  1. 3 Responses to “Following a frigate”

  2. I know that most people tell you to fit mods that allows you to get into warp faster on scanning and CovOps frigs... But I always put warp stabs there anyway. I think that once you're locked you are dead without them.

    And a crafty,evil person will always find a way to get me locked!

    By Akely on Feb 18, 2012

  3. That kind of makes sense, particularly if you never plan to lock-on to any other ship.

    W-space has bubbles, though, and stabs won't help you in them. Being faster and more agile ends up being a better choice in that situation, so that you can jink after cloaking and potentially avoid getting bumped by a ceptor.

    By pjharvey on Feb 19, 2012

  4. We have a proverb over here:

    "What we don't get at the swings we get at the carousels."

    So yeah.

    By Akely on Feb 20, 2012

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