When bait goes bad

21st August 2012 – 5.28 pm

Aii likes the look of the Navy Scorpion. Of course, I tell him about how I engaged the same pilot flying a Navy Raven in the same w-space anomaly not five minutes ago, had to bail out, and that this second battleship is probably bait, but that just makes the encounter more interesting. The bait battleship is probably expecting just me to come back for a second attempt, but Aii is getting a fat and powerful Dominix ready and out to low-sec empire space, connecting to the class 3 w-space system where I'm watching our target. I can tackle the Scorpion with my covert Loki strategic cruiser and Aii can bring the damage. But not quite yet.

I failed in my assault of the Navy Raven because of the Sleepers. A couple of Sleeper battleships in the wave of drones not only piled on the damage to my ship but also sucked my capacitor dry, forcing me to disengage from the Raven when it was taking structure damage. I'd rather not face that onslaught again, and particularly not when facing bait, so I tell Aii to make a safe spot in low-sec and wait for the Scorpion to whittle down the Sleepers a little first. Once the bulk of the Sleeper ships are destroyed I can warp in, tackle the Scorpion, and have Aii warp to me. It's a good plan, right up until an Onyx warps in to the anomaly, on top of the Navy Scorpion, and inflates its warp bubble. I'm pretty sure that's not me in the HIC.

Following behind the heavy interdictor are three Hurricane battlecruisers, a Talos battlecruiser, and a Navy Armageddon battleship. A small and potent fleet like that doesn't worry too much about the Sleepers, nor the Navy Scorpion, and trapped in the bubble their target has nowhere to go. The combined firepower makes short work of the Scorpion and its pod, thanks to the Onyx's warp bubble, and I'm soon left staring at a wreck and corpse left behind by a departing fleet.

On the one hand, I'm a little disappointed that we don't get the Navy Scorpion kill. On the other hand, I'm relieved that I didn't push to engage as soon as Aii was ready, or we'd have been caught in the same bubble by the same fleet, and most likely ended up in new clones like the Scorpion pilot. And just as I'm contemplating all of this, still cloaked at my monitoring point, a new contact in a Cheetah appears in the anomaly. The covert operations boat doesn't seem so covert right now, and the Sleepers are interested in the new ship. So interested that they poke the Cheetah with guns and launchers, exploding it pretty quickly. What I find more amusing is that the pilot is a regular in our corporation's public channel.

That's got to be embarrassing, and more so for being spotted by a third party. After some communication silence, perhaps for intelligence reasons, or maybe because he was too involved in the operation to notice my mocking insults, Tarunik responds. Yes, he got a bit too close to the Sleepers and they decloaked his ship, but it was a small price to pay for getting the drop on their target. He isn't terribly surprised to see that the Navy Scorpion was bait-fit, and is just happy to see a two-and-a-half billion ISK faction-fit battleship with two warp core stabilisers fall to their fleet. Personally, I'm tickled that someone else took bait meant for me, and that they smeared it across the anomaly so easily.

The fleet's Onyx warps in to recover whatever modules of value survived the Cheetah's exploding, and Tarunik's pod and the Onyx exit the site and the system. I saw the way the rest of the fleet left too, and I expect to find a new wormhole in that general direction. That is, if I scan for it, but that seems a bit dangerous. Then again, scanning itself isn't dangerous, only following through a wormhole I know contains a hostile fleet that is also known to be specifically hostile to our own alliance. Scanning by itself will be fine. I launch probes and blanket the system, surprised to see only two signatures in the whole of the C3, if only because I saw a companion of the Navy Scorpion pilot launch his own probes earlier, which I assumed to be an early warning for a second assault.

Surely that scout saw the new wormhole open in to the system, as the single signature doubling to be two would be obvious to even the newest of scanners. What's even more bamboozling is that, when resolved, the wormhole turns out to be a K162 from class 3 w-space that is at the end of its natural life. This is not a new wormhole at all but has been here for at least twelve hours. And yet the pilots were happy to send expensive faction battleships in to a basic anomaly, found without scanning probes, without posting guards or attempting to isolate themselves. I won't say they deserved to lose one of their ships, but they certainly are remarkably casual about w-space life. And kudos to KAIRS for diving through a dying wormhole and popping that bait Navy Scorpion. Someone needed to do it.

Excitement over, Aii goes back to mining in the home system and I return to exploring. There is an outbound connection in the low-sec system that I didn't bother to scan, what with finding the Navy Raven and then Navy Scorpion. Maybe now I can find more targets, although that would depend on finding more wormholes. C3b is empty and unoccupied, so all I'm really expecting to do is resolve its exit to null-sec and rat a bit. But the first wormhole I find doesn't feel nullish, and indeed the T405 leads to class 4 w-space, which will itself lead to more w-space. The prospect of an extended w-space constellation to roam through gets Aii back from mining, and a newly arrived Fin to come along to help scan too.

It all looks promising enough. Curiously unoccupied class 4 w-space leads through an X844 to more class 4 w-space, which is only curiously unoccupied until the constellation takes an unexpected turn through a U574 wormhole to deadly class 6 w-space. Even so, the particular C6 the wormhole leads to is also unoccupied, and scanning finds a static connection to class 5 w-space. And although the C5 is occupied it is currently inactive, and as much as I enjoy scanning I'm not thrilled to face a chain of C5 w-sapce this late in the evening, and definitely not with so many empty systems already behind us. I've had my fun this evening, so turn my boat around and head home.

  1. 11 Responses to “When bait goes bad”

  2. Looks like much fun to watch and not be in the middle of. You definitely live in a different world, and not just for the w-space. There is a single fitting on that Navy Scorpion worth more than my total assets.

    By Jakob on Aug 21, 2012

  3. End's a good 'un. By the way, sometimes naivety of low sec and null sec people in WHs is astonishing. I think that if CCP finally decide to shut off local chat in null and low, we are going to witness a big jump in hi sec missionary career.

    By Gil Roland on Aug 21, 2012

  4. Bait Navy Scorp FTW! Lol Glad we could provide entertainment. Always telling folks to assume in w-space, there is someone cloaked watching you always, how true a statement that was.

    As always, great blog.

    By Nash MacAllister on Aug 21, 2012

  5. I had a similar experience, with a much less impressive target, and much worse outcome. Seems a Loki and I both wanted to kill the same PI hauler, and while I arrived and engaged first, the Loki got both the hauler and my bomber. Looks like timing was on your side in this engagement!

    By Gerandor on Aug 21, 2012

  6. Yep, it was a tricked out battleship, Jakob. As with most bait, the pilot probably thought she had the upper hand and wasn't going to lose it. It was perhaps the first time I've been happy to see those damned KAIRS pilots.

    Thanks, Gil. I hope my twist ending surprised you a little. I like the idea of shutting off local, but also like the idea that w-space is unique in this way.

    It is a bit worrying just how often someone is cloaked and watching you, KAIRS Nash. It's probably safe to assume that if you aren't being attacked it's only because the pilot doesn't have enough back-up at the moment. Thanks for the compliment.

    Luck was on our side this time, Gerandor, but we've been caught up in odd tussles before. Of course, I lost my first covert Loki to a counter-ambush, and there was the time we tried a counter-ambush but only managed to escalate matters. But whatever happens, it's always an adventure, as I'm sure you can appreciate.

    By pjharvey on Aug 21, 2012

  7. Yeah, we found this one while out diving about in HS, don't recall the exact details of the chain I found that Navy Scorp through. Was a good piece of work though, right until the Sleepers decided it was time to reveal my presence (I had been sitting cloaked in the anom with the Navy Scorp ever since I stumbled upon it).

    By Tarunik on Aug 21, 2012

  8. Aren't you glad I baited the hook so well, to give you such a glorious kill?

    By pjharvey on Aug 21, 2012

  9. This is why I love wormhole space. You never know who is watching and what is going to happen next.

    By Bane Nucleus on Aug 21, 2012

  10. "hostile fleet that is also known to be specifically hostile to our own alliance"

    Specifically? nah... that can't be right.

    By Ashimat on Aug 22, 2012

  11. I used to live in that system. Taught me everthing I know. More than a few stories abound from my time there. Shit was so cash. I just nostalgia'd hard.

    By Efraya on Aug 22, 2012

  12. Good point, your highness. I should have phrased it a little differently, and maybe something like 'that is also known from past encounters to be a genuine threat'.

    By pjharvey on Aug 22, 2012

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