No surprises

15th July 2013 – 5.17 pm

I can't see what the C2 pilots are up to any more, so I've taken a bit of a gamble. Their class 2 w-space system connects directly to the same class 3 system our static wormhole leads us to, and I've been watching them swap ships back and forth for some minutes now. Some combat ships looked ready to head to C3a, with Fin in our home system preparing a suitable ship for us to ambush them, but they were swapped for Venture mining frigates. That's when I realised I ought to get back to C3a and launch probes covertly in the tiny system before they leave their tower.

I've got probes launched, but I also notice that the null-sec Buzzard's probes are still in C3a. Presumably the Magnate frigate scout from C2a came this way minutes earlier to check the system for activity, after I saw him scanning the system when I first entered C3a, and surely he can't have missed seeing the probes. So why would they send gassers in under these conditions? The answer is they wouldn't, although I have a different form of the question when the wormhole flares behind me and the Legion and pair of Drakes enter from C2a.

Two Drakes and a Legion jump to class 3 w-space

The strategic cruiser and battlecruisers aren't much of a surprise. The small fleet is what Fin and I were first preparing for, but it's still curious to see them appear and warp away from the wormhole towards a local anomaly, still whilst the Buzzard's probes are visible. This is most rum, but it looks like we've got our targets. Fin prepares our own Legion and warps it to our static wormhole, holding as I create and position myself in a perch overlooking the anomaly with the fleet.

Fleet warps to an anomaly and engages the Sleepers

The null-sec Buzzard blips on scan a couple of times, but he seems less like a scout for a fleet than a lone explorer. I'll ignore him. The Legion is naturally our primary target and in a good position to be engaged. He's concentrated on destroying the Argos guns in the anomaly whilst the Drakes shoot the Sleeper battleship. Getting close to the guns means the Legion's got close to the structure holding the guns. That's a structure my warp drives can lock on to, letting me close the range between us.

Getting closer to the Legion

I warp closer to the Legion, the Drakes staying further away, and the situation looks good. The Legion doesn't look to be moving much, Fin's ready, and I can get close enough to snare our target. I call for Fin to jump in to the system as I approach to warp scrambler range, and for her to warp to me as I decloak. I activate my sensor booster, defences, and aim for a positive target lock. And fail. The Legion warps clear before my sensors even have time to recalibrate from being cloaked. Damn, that was fast.

Only a Drake remains after his colleagues leave, but not for long

One of the Drakes left with the Legion, leaving just the second behind. He's far too far away for me to stop him leaving, but, forgetting about trying to catch the fleeing ships on the wormhole, he's the only target I can see. I engage my micro warp drive and burn hard towards the battlecruiser, getting close enough to start plinking away at its shields, but the ship warps clear before I get within range of my scrambler. Now it's just us and the Sleepers in the site, and before long it's just the Sleepers.

The fleet obviously weren't being as negligent or cavalier about the activity in this system as I thought. They knew of the activity and possible threat in C3a, either from my probes or the Buzzard's, and perhaps even saw my transit in to or out of their system. Even so, sending in ships to shoot Sleepers seems a somewhat short-sighted move, given that they weren't acting as bait, as surely they must have realised they were almost certainly going to be leaving loot behind. They didn't in this case, only because I sprang the ambush quickly, but it still leaves us wondering what will happen next. And what we should do next.

I loiter on the C2 K162 to see if the pilots will collapse their wormhole, but instead they send one of the Drakes back in. Now this will be bait. 'You tell me never to go back', says Fin, and for good reason. We could engage, see what they throw through the wormhole, and disengage or rough it out, but it's smarter to learn from previous experiences than experience them all over again. I watch on d-scan as the Drake takes its time popping a Sleeper battleship and one of the cruisers from the second wave before it forlornly returns to the K162 and jumps home. He doesn't come back.

Stealing some loot for my efforts

That's it, I suppose. We won't find out what surprises were in store for us had we engaged again, and we don't get a kill or suffer a loss. But, in this case, I think not taking the bait was the right choice. And, curiously, the Drake didn't take the time to loot the wrecks of the two Sleepers he popped. That's a bit of an oversight, and I'm happy to go back in this case to correct it for him. No one else has come through the wormhole, so I doubt anyone is watching any more. I warp to the anomaly, pluck the pair of wrecks of their loot, and head back home a whopping ten million ISK richer. Well, it's something to show for the evening.

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