Monday, April 2, 2012

Tonight We Dine in Wormholes

Even though we're living in Syndicate now, we occasionally will run through our old low sec systems in Placid just to see if we can get a fight.

A corpmate spots a couple Drakes running a mission or exploration complex in a low security system a few jumps from our station in 5-FGQI. No one has scan probes fitted to a combat ship, so I am asked to bring along my Probe since I seem to have a knack for flash scanning. I can't fly Tech2 Covert Ops or Recon ships, so I'm stuck with the Tech1 frigate which has the unfortunate attribute of being unable to warp while cloaked.

Low-sec systems in Placid
Our fleet comprises of a Tengu T3 cruiser, a Brutix battlecruiser, a Harbinger cattlebruiser, a Scorpion battleship, and me in the mighty Probe frigate. We position ourselves in Aunsou on the gate to their system (Cumemare), and I'm asked to jump in to see if I can scan them down. Our Tengu, who originally spotted them, reports that they're gone now--we missed them.

Our Tengu jumps out of Cumemare. I stay here cloaked, monitoring the system and the gate for any activity. A Vagabond heavy assault cruiser shows up on my directional scanner and lands on the Aunsou gate. He holds for a moment while a Wolf assault frigate lands right behind him. They linger for a moment before warping off.

Now a Zealot heavy assault cruiser arrives on the gate. He jumps through into the waiting arms of our fleet. He foolishly attacked one of our fleet members, so he is unable to use the gate for 60 seconds. He blows up and gets his pod away.

Zealot HAC
The Vagabond and Wolf are back on the gate. Vaga is piloting away and seems to be making bookmarks. Our Tengu jumps through to see if he can bait the Vaga. He doesn't bite, but somewhere in here we catch sight of a cloaky Pilgrim Recon cruiser who is in the same corporation as the Vagabond. We have the numbers on them, so we aren't too worried, but more intel is always good.

Vaga is just flying around the gate, doesn't seem too keen on jumping through. He eventually warps off, with his Pilgrim friend to follow. They leave system.

My fleet gets caught up trying to catch some other people in Aunsou, but I'm still scouting around Cumemare, to see if anyone comes out to play. I see a Wolf and Retribution, both Assault Frigates, on my directional scanner and try to locate them. They are in the middle of space somewhere, not at any cosmic anomaly that I've picked up. So I warp away, launch my scan probes out of their range, and try to get a reading.

Wormhole leading to unknown space
First scan only gets about 30% on both ships. Second scan misses them. They seem to have left system. I investigate further, and they were right on top of an Unstable Wormhole! I resolve the signature 100% and bookmark the location. The fleet is excited about fighting some unknown wormhole dwellers, so they all warp to the hole.

I'm the unlucky scout, so they decide to make me enter and see what's on the other side. I jump in, and to my surprise there is a Vagabond, Pilgrim, Wolf, and Retribution all on the hole. Ha! I prime the fleet for the eventual jump in, shed my jump cloak, and activate the wormhole to jump back into known-space.

They all follow.

We tackle and primary the Vagabond while jamming one of the Pilgrims. We are beating them pretty good, but our ignorance of wormhole mechanics is our disadvantage. Unlike jumpgates, wormholes do not have a 60 second aggression lock-out: players can jump through the wormhole whenever they want (but not more than twice in 4 minutes). So they all jump back into their hole, and we are cautious to go in after them--we don't know if any more are waiting for us.

So they send me back in. Once inside, I move away and immediately cloak. No one that I can see is on grid with me, but soon that Vagabond lands on the hole, launches drones, and tries to comb me out. If an object comes within 2500 meters of a cloaked ship, the cloak will deactivate. It is likely that the Pilgrim, hiding with a cloak of his own, saw me jump through and alerted his friends.

A bunch more arrive, and they all orbit the hole, trying to bump me out of cloak. Vaga, Pilgrim, Wolf, Retribution, and now a Firetail frigate. The Firetail comes within 3000 meters, but changes his vector and orbits away.

After a few minutes of trying to find me, they give up and decide to have another go at a brawl. I warn my fleet that they are jumping through. No problem for our guys, and the wormholers leave once again with their tails between their legs. Still no losses for either side.

We are fed up with this game, so we decide to head home. I inform them that there is now a Tengu waiting at the hole with the rest of them, and that seals the deal. Everyone warps off, and a couple of us dock up since it's getting late.

But I'm still in the wormhole.

The enemy fleet jumps in to Cumemare to find us gone, and returns home, warping away to whatever base they have set up (they appeared to be warping to the middle of nowhere, so it is possible that they came through a 2nd wormhole). The Vagabond is still on the portal; I think he can smell me.

I drop cloak and warp to a planet to bounce back to the wormhole. As I am warping, I see a Mobile Warp Disruption Field on my scanner--they are trying to catch me in a bubble! Luckily I warped before the bubble was anchored, so I land right at my destination and hop through, wishing the void "gf".

The Vagabond follows, but he is too slow to lock my tiny frigate, and home I go.

It turns out that the Zealot we killed earlier belonged to this same group of pilots, and he likely forgot about the 60 second aggression rule on gates. Had he not shot at anyone, he would have jumped back through and lived.

It was fun to be cloaked up and watching all this transpire. I might have to look into Covert Ops and Recons soon.

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