Aii's here but not responding to my pings. I'll follow his bookmark breadcrumbs to our neighbouring class 3 w-space system, which he has kindly left behind. The C3 looks clear from the wormhole, judging by my directional scanner, but an adjustment to show everything and not just occupation and threats has a wreck of a frigate appear. That's curious. A passive scan of the system reveals twelve anomalies, and some fiddling with d-scan puts the wreck in one of them. Warping in to take a look sees the wreck far from the Sleepers, no doubt the frigate having warped in to take a look and not quite expecting such a quick reaction. This way is experience gained.
The wreck is unlooted, and I'm in a relatively robust Loki strategic cruiser, so I get closer and loot and shoot the remains of the ship, opportunistically nabbing some minor loot and tidying up the system. Now there is nothing of interest to see, particularly as exploring shows the tower that was here three months ago has gone off-line without a replacement. Aii returns to tell me he has scanned the outer planet and found some gas and what is probably the static exit to null-sec k-space, and I launch probes to continue where he left off. And as our glorious leader comes on-line—'the frigate was a wreck when I found it, honest!'—I restrict myself to looking for K162s only, as we could make some iskies tonight.
There are no obvious wormholes in C3a, which means no K162s for sure. Neither Aii nor me have visited the exit wormhole, so it could remain closed, although I am a little concerned about where the frigate wreck came from. But no other connections means a relatively safe system, and with five good anomalies and three pilots we should be able to blast through a handful of sites. 'C3a is a wolf rayet' says Aii, as I jump home. Crap, that's what that big glowy ball of light was, I remember now. But there are three of us and it's not like we struggle in class 3 w-space anomalies, so we press on with the plan. Fin and Aii board remote-repair Tengu strategic cruisers, and I get the Golem marauder ready for combat.
Despite the wolf-rayet's boost to Sleeper armour and degradation to our shield systems, Sleeper combat is without much drama. The unified inventory system is the biggest pain, insisting on opening my hold whenever I loot a wreck, forcing me to close the unwanted window every time I loot, showing once more that it clearly wasn't designed with w-spacers in mind, but it's a minor annoyance. Otherwise, our biggest scare is when Fin updates d-scan and a fly lands on her screen. 'I didn't recognise that ship', she says, 'it was pretty big and fast'. We also don't recognise the Legion that decloaks next to us in the fifth anomaly.
The strategic cruiser is a bigger threat than the fly, and as soon as it appears I am springing in to action. I initiate a squad warp to get us all heading back home, although I know that will fail and immediately switch to fumbling with the drone interface to get some ECM drones in to space. I am just about to launch the first flight of ECM drones when the unexpected happens, and I am thrust in to warp away from my colleagues in the two Tengus. This is almost a disaster!
My Golem hull is worth more than a fitted Tengu, and if I include the shield booster the Golem is worth more than both of the Tengus. On top of that, I have over four sites' worth of loot and salvage in my hold. I fully expected to be the primary target and was sure I'd need to save myself, but it's the two Tengus who are warp scrambled and being drained of capacitor juice. If I had realised I would have ordered us all to align homewards instead of warping, giving me time to launch the ECM drones and hopefully break the Legion's lock to get us all out safely. But there's no point heading back now, and as a Loki strategic cruiser appears on d-scan as I approach our K162 I have to focus on actually getting home safely.
Thankfully, the Loki is not sitting on our wormhole, and neither are there any ships waiting for me in the home system. I warp back to our tower, throw the Golem in to a hangar, and prepare a Falcon recon ship for flight. But it's already too late. A Tengu joined the Loki and Legion in the assault, and I don't even have time to point my Falcon towards the wormhole before Aii and Fin are both returning home in pods. Tengus with no capacitor juice are quite flimsy, and judging from the kill report the Legion was purely there to suck their juice and prevent them from running. I'm still not sure why it did not target me.
I get my Falcon to our wormhole anyway, watching for intrusions and acting as protection, as Aii heads back to C3a in his covert Tengu to scout. Probes are now in C3a, and although they must find our wormhole no ship shows itself. Aii scans the hostile Tengu, which is sitting uncloaked on a new K162 from class 3 w-space, but wisely chooses not to provoke a second engagement. Judging by our ambushers, if we went back looking for revenge we'd be outnumbered pretty quickly. It's best just to accept the loss and move on.
There is the usual concern about what more we could have done, and if we were too casual, but I don't think so. A new wormhole opened in to an already-scanned system, bringing in a covert strategic cruiser whilst we were in easily revealed anomalies. That's just the luck of the draw, and unless we hit d-scan in the few seconds that a ship needs to move away from a wormhole and cloak there really isn't much that can be done. Besides, we still brought home quarter-of-a-billion ISK of loot in the Golem, I stole a similar amount a couple of days ago, and our normal operations are padding our export hangar nicely. Even without that, our wallet can take the hit, and the main inconvenience is buying the new ships and bringing them home.
We need new ships, but we can't do much with our current constellation. We are best served by isolating ourselves before we think about doing any more, so with Aii on their wormhole and me watching ours Fin starts pushing an Orca industrial command ship through the wormhole to collapse the static connection. No ship movements are seen, our Orca isn't threatened, and Aii is brought home shortly before Fin over-stresses the connection to kill the wormhole as dead as our Tengus. No? Too Soon?