Life in a Wormhole: Fish or Cut Bait #eveonline

Bre would very much like to sell the wormhole she’s been sitting in for several days and come home, but the buyer and the broker (both in the EU), have trouble coordinating their time with hers, and they finally have to agree on finalizing the sale the next day — an arrangement made much easier to accept thanks to the final offer that ended the bidding: 850 million isk. Bre scans the system and second and then a third time, convinced there’s no way such a great system will stay unoccupied indefinitely, but the horizon looks clear and she logs out for the evening to try to think of something else.

Gor reports the Tornados are cooking in the tower foundry, and I decide to take my mind off the manufacturing process by poking around the connection to our neighboring class two system, which one of the other pilots already opened.

These plans come to a screeching halt when my cloaked Proteus coasts out of warp to see an unknown Buzzard-class covert-ops frigate slide through the hole and into our system. The fragile scout wheels and warps away from the hole as it cloaks, completely unaware of my ship only a few dozen kilometers away.

I let everyone know we have company (including the pilot’s name) and, since the enemy Buzzard is gone, take the opportunity for a little counter-recon by hopping into the other system.

Once again, a covert ops ship brings me up short, as I arrive on the other side of the hole near an uncloaked Helios frigate owned by the same corporation as the Buzzard.

Now, I could decloak and try to target and destroy the Helios, but I don’t waste the time for a number of reasons. First, the Helios is an agile, cloak-capable ship, and the pilot just saw someone jump into his system, so he’s going to be on his guard. Given that, he could either cloak or warp away or both before I could get a lock on the ship. Second: even if by some strange chance I did manage to lock down his warp drive, he could just jump through the wormhole itself and escape to the other side, leaving me trailing in his wake and trying the same thing on the other side with even worse odds of success.

Third: there are a number of pointy ships and a tower on d-scan, and given how active their scouts are, I somehow doubt they’d be slow to come to the Helios pilot’s aid if I make a play here.

Discretion being the better part of recon, I simply wheel my ship around, decloak, and jump back into the home system. I could just as easily have jumped further into enemy territory, but I have a bad feeling about this one, and in EvE, that paranoid feeling you sometimes get is usually right. On the other side of the hole I quickly cloak up and get out to a reasonably ‘safe’ range from the wormhole to observe enemy activity.

Meanwhile, Em has been doing some research on the pilot I reported earlier, and shares what she’s learned while I watch the enemy Helios jump in, cloak, and warp off in the same direction as the Buzzard. It seems the corporation of which both pilots are a member has a rather… impressive record of kills in wormhole space. More importantly, almost none of those kills are solo, and in fact the main combat pilots almost always work in groups of three or four.

More troubling: none of the primary killers are the two pilots I’ve already spotted.

So, either these two pilots are trying to make a name for themselves in a particularly warlike corporation, or (far more likely), they’re scanning and scouting alts, and the dangerous customers are waiting to hear if there’s anything worth shooting at over here.

Something like, say, a shiny Proteus strategic cruiser that the Helios almost ran directly into.

Lo and behold, no sooner have we come to the conclusion these two frigates are not acting alone, then the wormhole flares again and a lone Tengu strategic cruiser fades into view a few dozen klicks away from my cloaked ship. Once in the system, the pilot (who I can’t help but notice is one of the more deadly members of the corporation) proceeds to…

… sit there.

Yup. He’s just sitting there, doing nothing. Stationary, that’s the word.

I’m sure he doesn’t intend to look like a blatantly obvious bait ship, but… yeah. He’s a blatantly obvious bait-ship.

The enemy ploy nearly draws us in, but we resist their wiles.

It can be fun, when encountering a bait ship, to knowingly take the bait and still kill the target, but right now we don’t have very many pilots online, and knowing that the Tengu pilot undoubtly has two or more likely three equally dangerous friends a single wormhole jump away keeps us from doing anything too drastic.

The tengu then decides to warp down to the center of the system, near the sun, where he can be located even more easily.

“He should have named his ship ‘I Am Not Bait. At all.’,” comments CB. “That would have fooled us.”

The Tengu waits a bit longer, then warps back to the wormhole. And sits. Then warps back to the sun. And sits. Then back.

This goes on for a bit.

“He needs to try something new,” says Pax. “Maybe he’ll try taunting us in the Local channel.”

“Does that ever work?” asks CB.

“Sadly, yes,” replies Pax.

It seems our aussie expert is bang-on with his prediction; 30 seconds later, we see the pilot break radio silence and beg us to come out for a fight. We don’t answer, and less than a minute later the Tengu pilot jumps back to his home system, followed shortly thereafter by the Helios and Buzzard.

“Dangerous, but not patient,” Pax observes.

Indeed. In about the time it takes to warp to a tower, switch ships, and warp back to the wormhole, I see another set of flares, and this time the ships coming through are much larger — all piloted by the rest of the hunters we’d suspected were waiting to ambush us if we took the bait. A Dominix, Typhoon, and Raven battleship jump back and forth through the hole to destabilize and destroy our connection, and I count all our previous suspicions confirmed: sometimes too much paranoia is just enough.

We linger in hopes that the pilots screw up the mass calculations for the hole and strand one of their pilots without backup, but the job’s well done, the wormhole collapses with no enemy in sight, and our system is quiet once again. It would have been fun to get into a good fight, but knowingly starting off outnumbered and outgunned only sounds brave and daring if you win.

The rest of the time, it’s just stupid.


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