Perilous Scouting

“In warp to an Angel Sanctum. Three Navy Issue Ravens on scan.”

“Roger. Fleet align”. The rest of the message was lost in the heat of the moment as I dropped out of warp in the middle of three hostile Navy Ravens.

The warp disruptor flicked out preventing one of the them from warping away. I switched into an orbit just outside neutralizer range, but inside disruption range, and waited…

A few days ago we’d taken a frigate roam out to Wicked Creek to see what we could find. We’d had a little fight with a group that ran because we outnumbered them. Even though we were in frigates and they had a far superior force. We had so much fun there that we decided to head back last night with a slightly different fleet composition. A nice AHAC gang.

Jumping into their systems they had all managed to escape from the Sanctums and Havens they had been running and get their expensive ships secure in POS. There was a bit of smack talk in local, but they weren’t going to come out to play. Oh well. We can try again later.

We jumped into Insmother and started scanning around a couple of constellations. Again with similar results. At one point a Maelstrom just warped as I landed at a Sanctum. Even with the warp speed rigs I wasn’t quite quick enough. We parked the main fleet and split the scouts. I headed off to TRN, three jumps away from the main fleet, as there were a lot of NPC kills reported in the area.

As I jumped through the systems I saw a red that appeared to be following me. Nothing on scan though so I continued to destination. I jumped in and saw a few reds in local. A quick scan revealed three Navy Ravens, drones, and a bunch of wrecks. I popped out a core probe and set it to work…

Two Angel Sanctums showed up and I started warp towards the first. I narrowed the D-scan to 30 degrees, the Ravens were still on scan. I dropped out of warp. Nothing, not even touched. I hit warp for the second Sanctum and narrowed the D-scan further. All three Ravens were still on scan.

“About to land at a Sanctum. There are Navy Ravens on scan at it”

“Roger. Fleet align out, we need to get to the scout”

I dropped out of warp amongst the three ships. Less than 15km from each of them. I instantly locked and pointed one, then burned out to a decent orbit in case they had smart bombs or neutralizers.

“Point on a Raven. Get here quick guys”

I started to take damage. Switching overview tab it was the drones. I started kiting to try and slow down their impact on me. I was still taking damage.

“Taking damage. All three Ravens are still on the field”

The kiting was slowing down the impact but the 15 Warrior IIs chasing me had already burnt through my shields and were chewing away at my armour.

“One jump away.”. This was from out HIC pilot.

I hit structure.

“Having to warp out. I’ll stay as long as I can”

I picked a celestial to warp to and waited as long as I could, warping away with 48% structure left. As I warped the HIC jumped into system. Just too late.

We did pick up a couple of frigate kills, but the disappointment of missing out on the Navy Ravens took the gloss of them.

This episode points out the perils of scouting in a fast ship. Its quite possible to get too far away from backup that all of the good work done in getting a point on something tasty is lost because the backup is too far away.

When roaming I try to stay within a maximum of two jumps from the main fleet. That should give time for someone else with a point to arrive before I get toasted. This was a different case. We had a few scouts out at different distances from the main fleet trying to scan the constellation quickly. The reason for the speed was twofold; one to prevent intel getting all the targets safe, two it was getting late and this was the last chance to get something before going home.

In hindsight having a second tackle a system behind the primary scout with them operating as a team would have meant that we’d have got at least one of the Ravens. This is probably something we should consider in the future.

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