I'm in my element. Cruising at a pre-determined point in space invisible from military-grade computer tactical overview systems installed on any ship at a known celestial object (though still showing up on their onboard scanners), I'm hunting down a Rupture-class cruiser. My prey is canny, moving around constantly and not staying at any one location long enough for me to warp to his position. Once again I warp in to an asteroid belt, only to see my target warping away. This time, however, my intelligence officer is able to give me a heading, and that way lays just one known item of interest: another asteroid belt. Just moments after our quarry warps out, we're in warp to that belt, hot on his heels--unless he's taking refuge at an unmarked point in space.
I've got him! My target is locked, my warp disruptor is active, my drones deployed. The cruiser's shields buckle under the pounding of my small-but-mighty Taranis, and I watch as my drones and guns bite into his armor...and then stop biting. My Taranis hasn't taken much damage; her small signature is difficult for larger guns to track, and that factor is working in my favor today. I had hoped against hope the Rupture's armor wouldn't be too formidable; although "Ruppies" are known for their sturdy tank, I'd been able to overwhelm such ships in the past, and my netwar officer had reported the pilot of this vessel was inexperienced. Yet as I watch the target's damage indicator on my computer display hold steady at 80% armor, even in the face of two high-tech drones and three high-tech small blasters, I consider the possibility that I might not be able to break his tank before my meager defenses are at last overcome.
But what's this? A Hurricane-class battlecruiser suddenly appears on my tactical overview. A trap! I hastily give the order to warp out, and nevermind the drones. Too late--our warp drive is jammed! Recalling the drones just in case, I engage our microwarpdrive and head in a straight line toward a nearby planet. If I can just get out of jamming range in time, I might still be able to warp out. The microwarpdrive lights my Taranis up like a Christmas tree, and guns which had struggled to lock on to us before now find us with ease. Shields--down. Armor--pfft. Structure taking damage. Just a little farther...just a little farther...still can't warp? Dang.
When the vapor of vented gases clears, I am relieved to find that my ejected capsule picked up the last-issued warp orders and got away before the enemy could lock her. I salute my foes in an open channel; their trap was well-executed and sucked me right in. Even more gallant than I, the enemy commander informed me that he had transferred 10 million ISK to my account to assuage the pain of my loss--as if money could ever make up for the brave crew of the Taranis Qilobite. Still, I keep the ISK; kredits are always welcome in my line of work.
Posting my loss on the corporation killboard, I note, "Rupture was bait."
Ten minutes later, a corp mate posted the loss of his own Taranis to the same pair of villains. Seeing my loss just minutes too late, he added a note of his own to his report: "Rupture was bait."
That Rupture and Hurricane are showing up on my onboard scanner still, a day later. Just how predictable are they? I make contact with my corp mates, and propose we try to turn the trap. One of our grizzled veterans is willing to fly his Malediction-class interceptor over to take the bait, and starts heading my way. As he jumps from system to system, first one corp member then another reports his readiness to take part in the engagement. We gather on the jumpgates leading to our target system.
Finally our Malediction pilot arrives and jumps into the system. He confirms the presence there still of the Rupture and Hurricane. After some time, he manages to narrow the Rupture's location down to a single asteroid belt. By this time six of us are waiting for the call to jump in and assist: another Malediction, a Crow, a Blackbird, a Vexor, and a couple of us in Taranises. The Rupture is identified as our primary target, but a couple of pilots are assigned the task of locking down the Hurricane. The first Malediction warps to the belt...we wait for it...he locks the Rupture and activates one point of warp jamming...the order is given: "Jump in and warp to my position."
"Point." "Point." "Point." Pilots in our squad begin reporting they have added warp jamming strength against the target. The Hurricane hasn't shown up yet. I am astounded at the Rupture's tank; even with a Vexor, two blaster-fit Taranises, three other interceptors, and a Blackbird, his tank is holding. No Hurricane. Finally the Rupture's tank wavers, then collapses as the damage we're inflicting overwhelms his defenses and damage control measures. The Rupture lurches in reaction to a massive outventing of precious air, and drifts dead in space. I don't think the Hurricane is coming. The Rupture pilot tries to escape in his capsule, but one or another of us locks him down, and he was lucky if he had time enough to make his peace with his god before breathing his last.
We jumped the gun, it would seem, tipping our hand to the Hurricane pilot who wisely decided to leave his mate to his own devices. On the losing end of an engagement, our opponents are not quite as gallant as yesterday; I lower the volume of my comms until the worst of the name-calling and cursing passes. In recognition of their courtesy to me yesterday, I turn over to his wingman whatever loot we managed to recover from the Rupture's wreckage in one of the nearby space stations, and welcome the Hurricane pilot's insistence that being wealthy he has no need of any ISK.
I am delighted to find that I got in the lucky final blow against the Rupture. As I post the kill, I smile and add this note: "Rupture was bait."