We need ships. Make no mistake, the Tengu, like all strategic cruisers, is a versatile ship and can fulfil plenty of roles more than adequately. But it is a mistake to rely on a single ship when there are more specialised hulls available. If I had my stealth bomber available I probably wouldn't have died to an angry tower, or, if I did, the loss wouldn't have been as embarrassing. An interceptor stands a chance of catching a scout in a covert operations boat. And different types and configurations of strategic cruiser will allow us to engage confidently a wider range of more capable ships, as well as shoot Sleepers for profit. With only my covert Tengu I may be able to scan and assault softer targets, but without more options I may as well be operating from empire space.
So we need ships. I've been looking for a suitable exit since moving back in to the class 4 w-space home system and poo-pooed the routes uncovered for being inconvenient. But now the limitations of relying solely on the scanning Tengu are becoming obvious and I will need to endure whatever path becomes available soon. There is a concern that we are not alone today, though, which could make moving ships hazardous. But a scan of the home system finds only the one wormhole, making it seem safe enough for now, and I jump to our neighbouring class 3 w-space system hoping to get lucky and find a connection to high-sec empire space.
Fourteen anomalies, fourteen signatures, no ships. I confirm the C3 is unoccupied, an empty intermediate system being good for importing ships, and start scanning. A system with K162s from both class 4 and class 5 w-space is not so convenient, however. At least one of the connected systems is active too, even if all I see is an Imicus scouting one of the wormholes. The frigate is unthreatening in itself, but although it could simply be a lone pilot exploring w-space it could just as equally be a scout for a larger fleet looking for targets. And, on top of the two K162s cluttering up the system, the static exit from this C3 leads to null-sec k-space, which is unlikely to offer safe or convenient passage to the high-sec system holding our ships. A Helios covert operations boat even jumps out and returns as I bookmark the wormhole, revealing more activity that we would rather avoid today.
Glorious leader Fin turns up and, thanks to us having left a couple of battleships in our hangar, we can slowly kill our wormhole and look for a better exit, although we will have to take our two battleships through quite a few times. Each paired trip makes us 'effectively one Orca when we go together', according to Fin, making me feel fat and highlighting the utility of actually getting one of the industrial command ships back in to the system. On our trips in to and out of the C3 we spy the Helios again on our directional scanners, sitting on the wormhole to null-sec, and on our next trip a Ferox battlecruiser on the K162 to the other class 4 system. Whether the Ferox is part of a roaming gang or looking to harvest gas in the C3 is unknown, and we successfully collapse our wormhole before we find out.
I scan the home system again and find the new wormhole, although it turns out to be a K162 from class 2 w-space instead. I don't think our static connection can change quite so radically to be an exit wormhole from a system, which means this link has been opened recently. I've already recalled my probes, blindly assuming I still only had the one wormhole to resolve, and rather than relaunching them I jump in to the C2 to take a look around. An Orca and two towers are on d-scan from the K162, and finding one of the towers shows the Orca to be very red indeed. 'They are space bullies', Fin advises me, knowing much more about space politics than me and why our alliance has set this alliance to such a negative standing. This doesn't look like a good system to travel through either.
The C2 may be occupied by a particularly hostile corporation but it is empty of any obvious signs of activity, and being a C2 with a connection to class 4 w-space it is likely the other static wormhole leads to high-sec empire space. It's worth finding that wormhole at least, and scanning soon pulls the B274 out of the bunch of signatures here. Checking the exit puts me in Tash Murkon, a mere six hops from where all our ships are. I would say it's worth trying to bring some ships home. The C2 looks quiet, there are no hostile pilots in the high-sec system, and we really need some ships. And, with a bit of luck, we isolated any scout from the C2 when we collapsed our connection to the C3.
Both Fin and I stow our scanning Tengus at the tower and take disposable frigates to high-sec, soon docking at the station where we dumped our assets when we evacuated previously. The hour is getting late, pretty much limiting us to one trip, so we want to make it count. Fin loads up an Orca with a pair of stealth bombers, our Legion strategic cruiser ship killers, and some other small utility ships, as well as some munitions and other supplies, whilst I make sure my Widow black ops ship is bristling with ECM modules to make it an effective escort. We undock with a tiny fleet worth around two billion ISK and make the journey back to the wormhole.
I warp my Widow ahead of the Orca to scout our route. The high-sec system remains clear of hostile contacts and this side of the wormhole looks clear. I jump in to w-space as Fin drops out of warp, d-scan showing me exactly what I saw when I first entered the system earlier, an Orca and two towers. It looks clear. Fin jumps in and holds her cloak as I warp to the wormhole leading home. Again, it looks clear, and Fin warps as I jump. The home system looks clear, both at the wormhole and on d-scan. Fin jumps in cleanly and initiates warp to the tower. I align and hold until the Orca warps out, then warp out myself, both of us getting to the tower safely.
This is a good result. We have an Orca that can be used to collapse wormholes more efficiently, as can my Widow, as well giving more capacity for recovering further assets and bringing in fuel. We also have more specialised ships for combat against other capsuleers, making us mostly operational. Other ships can be brought back in when the opportunity arises, the pressure to recover them in one go alleviated somewhat now that we have most of what we need. All we really need now are our Sleeper Tengus, so that we can start making iskies again, at which point we'll be pretty much back to normal.