It's a full house. Is mining happening? 'It was considered, then we found two wormholes.' My glorious leader is currently in our neighbouring class 3 w-space system, resolving what turns out to be a fresh outbound connection to class 1 w-space, and invites me along to take a look. I ignore the K162 from class 4 w-space in our home system and go to join Fin. Jumping in to C1a has a tower and Buzzard visible on my directional scanner, but I see no probes that would suggest the covert operations boat is active. Even so, I find the Buzzard piloted at the tower—but briefly. He goes off-line soon after my arrival in the system. I suppose I'll scan.
Seven anomalies and six signatures take no time to resolve to be rocks and a static exit to low-sec empire space, the connection taking me out to Lonetrek. The low-sec system is slightly duller than C1a too, with just a ladar site to be found when scanning. And Fin's scanned C3a thoroughly, along with its own low-sec exit system, and there is nothing else to see. We head home, but only after I bounce off the tower in C3a which gets me in range of a strangely familiar jet-can, named so that anyone finding it gets in contact with a certain capsuleer. I did that before, in a different system, and was told it was just a prank being played on him. It's a pretty good prank, and system-spanning it seems, as I've not been in this C3 before. I wonder how many concerned pilots have contacted this poor fellow. Someone should ask him.
Back at home, I learn that the C4 connecting to us has been explored but not scanned. I can scan it! '...because the wormhole is EOL.' Well, a dying wormhole is a good reason to ignore the system, but it leaves us the question of what to do. Do we collapse the wormhole and explore again, or harvest gas? Fin, ever the diploma, says we can do both. So we over stress our wormhole with suitably massive ships, killing it prematurely to give me a new constellation to scan whilst Fin pulls in a cloud or two of fullerites in a ladar site. Everyone's happy.
I resolve the new static wormhole, also confirming no surprises in the home system, and jump to the class 3 system beyond. I see a tower and some ships on d-scan and get closer to see that the Archon carrier and Maller are piloted, the Orca industrial command ship and Absolution command ship not. Opening the system map shows that none of the five planets and seven moons offers anywhere to hide so that I can launch probes. I'll do it quickly, no one will notice. A blanket scan tells me the locals are mucky pups, with fifteen signatures cluttering the system, even if there is only one anomaly. I won't scan just yet, though, in case the ships start moving.
Okay, I'm ignoring the tower. Some core scanning probes have appeared in the system, which makes it look like another pilot has sneaked up. A fresh blanket scan and the same fifteen signatures suggests otherwise, but I can't place the source of the probes. This is why I sit on the K162 and scan, ignoring a couple of mining sites before an occasional check of d-scan shows the other probes gone and a pilot dropped to a pod at the tower. I return to see what's happening, and it's only the Maller pilot having stowed his ship and now aboard the Absolution. But the Archon is abandoned too, in favour of a Dominix battleship, and now a Buzzard warps in to the tower. Damn, I should probably have refrained from scanning when I saw a lack of new signatures. That'll teach me.
More ship changes occur, but I don't pay close enough attention. I'm stuck looking at the Orca after it is moved to a hangar, only for it to now be unpiloted and the pilot missing, as is a second capsuleer. But d-scan helps a bit, showing me a Legion strategic cruiser in the system launching probes. I update Fin about what I'm seeing, as she is still gassing, only to discover that my Tengu's systems have crashed again. Stupid ship. And I know that rebooting will have my strategic cruiser decloak very obviously outside the tower and remain visible in space for at least a minute, but I don't really have any option. I take the Tengu off-line.
I've lost all semblance of being covert. I think I'll just go home and get some sleep, frustrated. And when I get the Tengu back on-line there are predictably some changes in C3a. The Dominix and Armageddon battleships that were at the tower are gone, although less predictably the Legion is back at the tower and being swapped for the Orca. I was thinking I would have a gauntlet to run getting home, the battleships looking to catch and kill me, but as the Orca starts slowing moving I think that perhaps instead the locals are collapsing our connection. D-scan almost confirms it, with the Armageddon sitting on the K162, and instead of the night being over maybe we can actually catch a ship.
I warp to the wormhole, dropping short to keep my cloak, to see the connection flare and Orca warp in. This is actually quite exciting. I've alerted Fin and she's swapping ships as I update her, with the Orca jumping through the wormhole and the Dominix and Armageddon milling around on this side of it. The Orca returns and holds its cloak, the Armageddon curiously cloaks itself, and the Dominix moves away from the wormhole. They probably don't even know Fin's in the other system, as the wormhole is out of range of our tower and the ladar site. So with Fin preparing an Oracle battlecruiser we have the opportunity for a bit of fun, particularly as all these pilots are now polarised and Fin and I aren't, trapping them here and giving us an escape route. Knowing this, when the Orca decloaks so do I, pouncing on it as soon as my sensor recalibration delay allows.
Even better than having an escape route from the Dominix, the battleship warps away from the fight. This is looking better and better, particularly as the Orca is locked and taking damage from my missiles. I burn towards it to bump it, in case it has warp core stabilisers fitted, as the Armageddon reappears on the wormhole. He's not doing anything for the moment, but that's no surprise. After the significant delay of sensor recalibration and the penalty to his scan resolution, the battleship finally locks on to me and starts, oh, sucking my capacitor dry. The Orca warps clear regardless, probably because of some additional warp core strength, so I swap my offensive systems to the Armageddon, just as Fin jumps in and adds her potent ship to the engagement.
The capacitor-neutralising Armageddon is formidable indeed, completely draining me of juice, but it doesn't seem to be capable of doing anything else. And as Fin has plenty of energy to disrupt the warp engines of the battleship, and my launchers need no energy to fire, the Armageddon is going down. We strip its shields, then armour, and rip apart the hull. No help arrives for the battleship, and it explodes beautifully. I aim for the pod, but miss trapping it by a split-second, so 'loot and run' says Fin. Good plan. I loot the wreck of the Armageddon, shooting it too to leave nothing for the locals, and we both jump home, pretty much unscathed.
Well, that was fun and exciting! A great bit of teamwork and communication got us an excellent opportunistic kill, and all off the back of an irritating crash. As it turned out, the Armageddon was fit solely to neut, with no weapons configured, although it had a flight of ECM drones it could have deployed. We couldn't have known that, though, and I'm sure the C3ers could have brought some help to the wormhole, even at range, just to shoo us away. But I like the notion that we are better becoming dastardly pirates, ambushing and assaulting anyone who crosses our path. I know that when I was new in w-space I would be fearful and admiring of us, had I been on the other side of the fight. And rather than going off-line frustrated, I can now sleep peacefully.