Riddle me this

28th August 2012 – 5.09 pm

Aii and Fin aren't collapsing the K162 from class 4 w-space in our home system just because they can. As Aii was cleaning up some gravimetric site Sleepers in that system Fin spotted a pod jump through the wormhole to our home system and warp towards the empire space exit in our neighbouring class 3 system. My colleagues are collapsing the wormhole with the intention to isolate the pod pilot from his home system for kicks and giggles. I think we can go further than that, and set up an ambush to catch the unsuspecting pilot's return. 'Good idea', says Fin. 'Which side of our static wormhole should we sit on, home or in the C3?'. Oh, neither. That would give the pilot an escape route. Let's wait where he can't simply run away from us.

Just because the wormhole is collapsed doesn't mean bookmarks vanish. Or, indeed, that the pilot realises what we've done. We can plant ships where the K162 used to be and our target will warp straight in to our ambush, with nowhere for him to go. Add a warp bubble to the mix and we can even stop him trying to return the way he came. This stops the potential confusion and coordination of multiple wormhole jumps, whilst still being able to put ourselves where we know the pilot will be travelling. Even better, the collapsed K162 is out of range of our static wormhole, so the returning pilot's directional scanner won't show him any information, if he bothers to check before warping. All we need to do now is work out what ships we use to spring the ambush.

Aii volunteers to pilot an Onyx heavy interdictor, which gives us the warp bubble in a convenient, heavily tanked package. Fin boards a ship-killing Legion strategic cruiser, so that its capacitor-neutralising capabilities can be brought to bear on any actively tanked ship. I stay in my covert Loki strategic cruiser and sit on our own K162 in the neighbouring C3, to give us early warning about the pilot's return and what he's flying. We're just expecting the one pilot to come our way, and to return not in his pod but a ship brought from empire space. At least, we're hoping he'll return. And as the exit is quite a few hops from any trade hub we may have a bit of a wait. So we wait.

Wait, waitily wait. Finally, a Drake appears on d-scan in C3a, causing me to interrupt Fin half-way through an anecdote and alert her and Aii as the battlecruiser drops on to the K162 and jumps to the home system. She'll pay for that rude timing. My colleagues get ready to receive the Drake, I count to ten and follow in behind, hopefully leaving enough time for the target to have warped clear. It looks good, with the Drake not on the wormhole, but I don't continue following it. I instead head directly to our tower, where I swap my Loki for a Widow, wanting the significantly increased firepower of the black ops ship against the Drake. This is another good reason why we had someone watching for the pilot's return.

Have Fin and Aii trapped the Drake? 'Got her.' Okay, I'm on my way. I turn the Widow towards our trap, dropping out of warp where the K162 used to be and at the edge of the Onyx's warp bubble. What's worse than finding your wormhole home collapsed? Finding an Onyx, Legion, and Widow where it used to be, waiting for you. 'Here come the torps', says Aii, as I lock on to the Drake and start taking massive chunks out of its considerable shields. I even remember that the Widow has formidable ECM systems, and attempt to jam the Drake to make the engagement even more one-sided. But the Widow's torpedoes are persuasive enough, not taking long to convince the Drake to explode.

Trapped in the bubble, the pilot has nowhere to go, and we crack open her pod to get to its meaty centre. We scoop the corpse, loot the wreck of the Drake, but shoot nothing. Aii brings a Noctis to salvage the wreck, gaining us maximum profit from what turned out to be an excellent ambush impeccably executed. We even had some room to manoeuvre, as the Onyx and Legion could have held whatever ship returned long enough for me to pick up a good counter from our tower, which just happened to be a torpedo battleship in this case. But just as we are tidying up and enjoying the thrill of the kill, Aii spots a Kestrel jumping through our static wormhole and warping away.

Surely the frigate can't be a second pilot returning, but just in case I warp myself back to where the K162 was, once again in my cloaky Loki. I drop out of warp in to empty space that's actually empty, as the Kestrel hasn't appeared. Fin scrambles her Flycatcher interdictor to join me, and as she appears I warp towards the nearest planet, where it looks like the Kestrel headed. And I think it did, but only as a waypoint. My Loki enters warp just as the Kestrel appears at the non-wormhole, flying right towards our Flycatcher.

I'm too late to stop my ship warping out, and although I turn around and head back as soon as I can the Kestrel has evaded Fin and warped clear. Knowing time is of the essence, I rush my Loki to our wormhole, not even dropping short as a precaution this time, and jump to C3a. I decloak and get my systems hot, updating d-scan as I do, but the Kestrel is nowhere to be seen. It looks like it got the hell out of our way as soon as it could, and although it seemed to be a bit too fast it is a frigate with a head start. Fin jumps to the C3 and warps to the exit to high-sec, dropping an interdiction sphere to hopefully catch the Kestrel should we be wrong and it's still not clear. And Aii has got back in the Onyx and comes to aid me on our K162.

That's not Aii. He said he was jumping, but he knows better than to hold his session change cloak when being actively aggressive. The second flare of the wormhole all but confirms the first was the Kestrel only just making it here, so it's no surprise to see the frigate appear and attempt to flee. But Aii made it through the connection just in time, and inflates his warp bubble to disable the Kestrel's warp engines, as I lock on and start shooting. A second pod is thrown in to space, and although I hold it for a few seconds to give Aii a chance to lock on I am acutely aware of the wormhole the pilot can jump through to evade us for now. I let loose with my guns, and loot, scoop, and shoot the second ship to fall in to our ambush, albeit rather more messily.

The second ship, but not the second pilot. It takes a minute for me to realise whose corpse I've scooped, and my thought processes are helped along by Fin saying 'I can't believe she came back'. It was the Drake pilot, still trying to get home. And I think I know why. So what's worse than finding your wormhole home collapsed and getting podded by the Onyx, Legion, and Widow waiting for you where it used to be? Not actually realising your wormhole has been collapsed, thinking instead that you got caught by a drag bubble, and returning in a second ship to try again. The pilot bounced off a planet not to confuse us but as a doomed attempt to avoid our ambush and make it back to her wormhole. Dying to the same ambush twice in fifteen minutes can't be a good feeling.

  1. 9 Responses to “Riddle me this”

  2. Reading things like this keeps on making me want to move to W-Space. Though I do think Ill be holding out for a fair while longer. Only having 10m skillpoints, I think I may find it a bit difficult.

    By Dischordant on Aug 28, 2012

  3. Some people think that bubbles can drag you out of mid-warp.

    Let's hope he/she at least remembered to get a new clone.

    By Ashimat on Aug 28, 2012

  4. That's a nice kill. Pair of them actually. That pilot's probably still wondering exactly what happened.

    By Gerandor on Aug 28, 2012

  5. 10 million skill points should be plenty, Discho. You could take some tentative steps by scanning empire and poking through any wormholes you find, just to get a feel. Then look for w-space corporations that are recruiting. Our public channel is 'basket', fyi.

    I dunno if she remembered to replace her clone, but her head was empty the second time, your majesty.

    Thanks, Ger. I do wonder if she worked it out.

    By pjharvey on Aug 28, 2012

  6. Nice read as always.

    Keep it up and stay out of my class 5 please.

    By Max on Aug 29, 2012

  7. nice blog entry (as always)

    btw, maybe I didn't get that right, but please don't call Ashi "your majesty", it is already hard to fulfill all of his wishes ;-)

    By Qumar on Aug 29, 2012

  8. Thanks, Max. Which is your class 5 system? I only ask so I know which one to avoid.

    And, Qumar, Ashimat has been insistent that she's just a figurehead, so I can't see how she has any wishes to fulfil. Unless... she's been lying to me!

    By pjharvey on Aug 29, 2012

  9. @PJ, it's probably enough, but when I do go, I'll probably be wanting to go it solo w/ my 2 accounts. I've got enough holes in my current skills on both accounts that I'd probably have issues trying to move in permanently. I do poke into any WH I end up scanning down, and have gotten lucky with miners to blow up before.

    By Dischordant on Aug 31, 2012

  10. Mmm, juicy miners. Yes, more skill points, or at least more focussed skill points, will definitely be good to strike it out alone. I was assuming you'd be looking to join a corporation.

    By pjharvey on Sep 1, 2012

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