Friday, August 1, 2014

A Hunt in my Mind

There's a new sig in the home system.  I scan it down; wormhole.  I fly over and the reddish color tells me its a C6, even without having to get info.  Hmm.  Well, that's one avenue to explore.  But first I want to hit up the constellation from last night.  Last night we scanned a pretty big chain, and it was quite playerless.  I hope that perhaps this morning I can find someone to kill.

Probes!
I warp to our static, checking its timing as I go.  I still have four hours at least, and it is not into EOL yet.  OK.  C4b has no tower; it's a C4 with C5 static and few of them are occupied.  I dscan anyway; nothing there.  All right.  I warp over to a wormhole to C4c, but it has evaporated overnight.  Well, I know I scanned down the C5 static because I got info on it last night when I first got there, and saw the "only just begun" wormhole message.  So I fly straight there.  The wormhole is still there, and I jump.

C5a shows some promise: there are probes on scan.  Well, where there are probes there is usually a probing frigate.  And as it happens, I am in my new Manticore, Birdshot.  It is specifically designed to attack Ventures, having a sebo, two warp scramblers, and light missiles instead of torpedoes.  (I fit it up after my disastrous recent trade of a Venture for a Tengu.)  Although designed for Ventures, Birdshot should also be pretty good at killing probing frigates.  Ideally, to attack a probing frigate I would be able to drop a scrambler for something else, probably a second sebo.  But it's good enough.  I am guessing that the probes are from a non-local scout, perhaps come down from the C6 and trying to scan outward.  Maybe I can catch him.  The hunt is on!

This system had three wormholes as of last night: the one I came in, a C5 connection, and its own static connection to C3.  I figure the scout will know that the system has a C3 static, so he'll be looking for that.  So, I fly to the C3 myself.  I'll get in there and set up to ambush.

First!
I do not land right on the C3 wormhole, even though I warped to the bookmark at zero.  This only happens when the wormhole existed at the last downtime but has not been instantiated since.  This is a good sign; it means the scout has not found the way out.  I fly over and jump.  On the C3a side, I appear 8200m from the wormhole.  This is the same thing: this side has not been instantiated yet today either.  Again, a good sign, although expected.

A quick recon of C3a shows that whoever lives here is not around, or at least not in uncloaked ships or at their towers.  So I feel pretty safe in heading back to the C3a->C5a wormhole.  I orbit it at 2500m, far enough to be cloaked but close enough to scramble a scout.

This is a viable possible ambush.  By no means guaranteed; in fast it is unlikely to work as it is.  Most scouts will be T2 frigs with covert ops cloaks, and they move off and cloak in an instant.  Ideally I want to be uncloaked with my sebo on when the scout comes through, and I want to know what it is.  So I want eyes on the other side of the wormhole.  Well, that's what my second account is for.

I get my alt, Otto, online.  He's in a Cheetah scanning frigate, very hard to catch.  I warp Otto across my home system and jump into C4b.

My plan is to go straight for C5a.  I dscan; there's an Astero.  Huh?  I hit warp to.  As I align (and cloak), the Astero lands and tries for me.  As I said before, it's hard to lock frigates with covert ops cloaks, unless they get unlucky and start too close to the wormhole to cloak.  I cloak, and he misses.  But this concerns me.  This must be the guy whose probes I saw.  My guess that he was going out seems to be wrong.  He came this way.  I want to cancel warp to see what he does, but I am in warp before I think of it.

Otto lands on the C5 wormhole, but instead of jumping I burn off the wormhole and cloak.  I want eyes on this system, to see what the Astero does.  But even though I am in dscan range of my static wormhole, my dscan shows my model of what's going on to be wrong: there is a lone Sabre on scan.  A Sabre?  Uh oh... that's a scout hunter that works.  A second dscan shows a Sabre and a Purifier, both with the same "ship tag", matching that of the Astero.  Double uh oh.  A three man hunting force like that can pretty easily bag both my ships.  And I don't think it came from C5a.  I think it came from C6a, so they are probably going to try to ambush me on the way back in to my system.

I don't have any good way to get back in, either, to get eyes on.  But I do have one information advantage: I know when my now-EOL wormhole will go away, and I have hours.  So, I'll just be really, really boring.  Boringness is not ideal from CCP's point of view, but whatever.  I have real work to do anyway.

Sometime in wspace, it turns out that the hunt you thought was happening wasn't.  And sometimes, it turns out that you are yourself being hunted and didn't know it.  Turnout is fair play.

(As I write this, I see a Buzzard on the C4b->C4a wormhole, and it jumps.  Same tag.  So, I am probably safe to leave now.  No need to be hasty, though.  Later, I see a second Buzzard jump.  Man, these guys have manpower.  I'll just sit here quietly.)

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