Hi Fin. Those bookmarks are yesterday's, right? 'Yes. I'm just getting started.' Okay, good. They're deleted. I launch my probes in to the home w-space system to join those of my glorious leader, and what I take to be a new gravimetric site actually resolves to be a second wormhole. Our static connection to class 3 w-space is joined today by a K162 from class 5 w-space. As I determine this, Fin jumps ahead to C3a that was being sieged the last time we were there. The sieged tower is unsurprisingly gone, and the invader tower remains, although it is owned by a two-member corporation. Maybe they hired mercenaries to oust the previous occupants, but who cares. I jump backwards to C5a.
Two towers are visible on my directional scanner, with just capital ships visible. I'm not expecting the Revelation dreadnought, Archon carrier, or Chimera carrier to be up to much by themselves, so I take my time exploring, finding the towers, noting the corporations. A single planet out of d-scan range beckons me, but not before a Loki warps in to the tower I'm currently reconnoitring. That planet can wait. The strategic cruiser doesn't pause inside the tower either, warping to a point about two hundred kilometres directly above it to launch a single scanning probe, and disappearing as it cloaks. I ask Fin if we can catch it, and naturally my glorious leader would like to try.
I'm not sure what the Loki will do, and because launching a single probe makes it look like the pilot is only checking for new signatures I turn my own Loki back towards the wormhole to our home system to wait. I'm not there long before the local pilot appears and jumps through to our class 4 system. It's good I didn't loiter outside the tower waiting for it to reappear. I stay on the C5-side of the wormhole for a moment, hoping to catch the Loki tangled in its own probes rather than scare it in to cloaking immediately, but my timing is awry. I jump behind the Loki only to see it cloak and evade me in the simplest manner.
There's not much Fin and I can do for now but pick a wormhole each and watch for the Loki's movement. As Fin's coming through our static connection and I'm on the C5 K162 we are pretty much set, but the Loki just plays it cool, warping away to a distant point to launch scanning probes. He's in no rush. He's waiting for polarisation effects to end, or maybe for friends to arrive. Or, suggests Fin, he fled from me without bookmarking the K162, given that I see the probes clustered around my position, Fin sees nothing on d-scan, and the Loki reappears on the K162 a minute later.
I call Fin over to my position as I give chase, reacting immediately this time, but even though I start to gain a lock on the Loki back in its home system I am not quite quick enough, and am staring at empty space again. 'A bit too slow', he says in the local channel, and I give a particularly unwitty reply, which I would be happy to share had my ship not taken that opportunity to crash, hard, and force me to reboot its systems. I return, a couple of minutes later, to see the Loki circling the wormhole, looking rather bait-ish. I'll take that bait, but there's no point trying just now, as he only needs to cloak to evade me. Instead, I approach and wait until we're close enough to give him a bump. Or I would, if he didn't cloak ten kilometres from me.
We would be back to waiting now, if it weren't for the Legion now on d-scan in C5a. I first take the ship as the Loki having swapped to a less covert strategic cruiser, but the pilot warps to the wormhole to reveal himself as a new contact, and jumps to our home system, where he cloaks. So they have a ship on either side of the wormhole. What they don't know, yet, is that so do we. Either we back off now, or one side or the other is losing a strategic cruiser or two. And, if my flaky systems are any guide, it will be us, as my Loki crashes again. I'd better reboot the stupid ship.
I get my Loki up and running again to have Fin tell me that the Legion in our home system decloaked as soon as I forced my ship off-line, and either cloaked again or jumped through the wormhole. Of course he did. I also see a new ship appear on d-scan, a new contact confirmed when the Retribution assault frigate warps to the wormhole. Tackle. That will make it more awkward to return home, as well as skewing the numbers slightly in their favour. As I can't rely on my ship staying on-line I am happy to find a couch to slouch on, just as long as I can get home. The Retribution starting to make angry orbits around the wormhole isn't helping.
I warp out, make a strategic bookmark for the wormhole, and return to that monitoring position to see a somewhat positive sign. The assault frigate is burning away from the wormhole. That doesn't take him out of the fight, though, as he will get to a position like mine, that will let him warp to the wormhole at a moment's notice. But that moment is all I'll need to jump without him on my back, so I make a break for the wormhole and take myself home. Naturally, the Legion on the other side has decloaked again, waiting for me, being in contact with his colleagues. He decloaked the first time because my reboot looked like I was about to jump.
This time I actually jump, and not only is the Legion ready for my appearance but the wormhole shows its disdain for me, keeping me within two kilometres so that I can't cloak immediately upon moving. Or maybe the wormhole loves me and is giving me a hug. A death hug. Still, I've got to try, so I move away, activate my, uh, well, not even the micro warp drive will activate, as the Legion is fast. I am targeted, scrammed, and being shot at. What now, Penny?
Now I shoot back. I would be a fool to jump back to C5a, polarised and with the Retribution ready to catch me, and I have Fin on this side of the wormhole ready to come to my aid. I turn my ship around, return the Legion's lock, and start shooting. For each blast the Legion's lasers send my way, my autocannons hit him back, and harder. Admittedly, we have home ground advantage with our pulsar helping my shields, and I have to work through the Legion's puny shields to get to its sturdier armour, but I am barely being scratched. And the fight is won when Fin decloaks behind the Legion.
The appearance of a second attacker obviously unnerves the Legion, as he disengages almost immediately, jumping back through the wormhole almost before his colleague in the Loki comes through our way, looking to join the fight. With no Legion to shoot, and no target lock on my ship, I activate my cloak to get safe. The hostile Loki cloaks immediately, no doubt warned to do so by the Legion, and Fin warps clear to leave seemingly empty space around the K162.
I back off from the wormhole to a safe distance and wait for any aggression timer to end. The time ticks away, and as I am ready to hide and go off-line the hostile Loki finally reappears and returns to his home C5. He either had the same idea as me, or was hoping I'd go off-line with aggression so that I could be caught unawares. Either way, he's gone, and I'm going. But whilst waiting I checked my combat log to see just how long the engagement lasted. I have to say, that was a damned thrilling thirty seconds of combat.
Fin saved my bacon just by being there, and in a way it's a bit of a shame we didn't have a proper scrap. But I genuinely enjoyed the feeling of turning around on my aggressor and punching him in the nose. That's how to get rid of sharks, by the way.