Three signatures are left to scan in the system. A blanket scan of our neighbouring class 3 w-space system revealed five signatures, our K162 is one of them, and the ladar site where I successfully ambushed a Brutix is another. But referring to my notes again shows that the system's static wormhole is an exit to null-sec k-space, which isn't particularly enticing, and the lack of signatures combined with the locals gassing, up until a few minutes ago, probably means that there are no other K162s. I've had my fun here, there's nowhere else to go, so I may as well collapse our connection. I can do that, grab a sammich, and return to explore a new constellation.
Orca, Widow, Orca, Orca. Hmm, our wormhole has put on some weight, as it doesn't implode with my last jump in the massive industrial command ship, remaining in a critically destabilised state instead. In some cases this wouldn't be an issue, as such a wormhole could still deter intruders, but as my intent is to kill the connection to explore through its replacement, I kind of need to complete the operation. At least we have a fairly foolproof way of getting rid of critical wormholes.
I swap ships at our tower in to our Devoter heavy interdictor, fit with extra warp disruption field generators, plenty of armour plating, and an oversized propulsion module. Activating the WDFGs drastically reduces the mass of the ship, down to below that of a frigate, whilst the oversized reheat has the opposite effect, increasing the mass to around half that of a battleship. It's a neat effect, and going out light and coming back heavy makes killing obstinate wormholes less risky.
Less risky, not risk-free, as I find out. Even massing under a thousand million kilogrammes, which is pretty light for spaceships, is too much for our wormhole to bear. I jump out of the home system, and the stupid connection throws one final wobbly and gives up the ghost. That's just great. Now I'm isolated from the home system in a heavy interdictor, and I didn't even bother to scan for the exit wormhole in this class 3 system. At least I have a probe launcher fitted to the HIC, anticipating just this kind of situation.
I launch probes and ignore both the ladar site and K162 home. Well, not the K162 home, as it's no longer there. I remember now. And now I get to find out just how tedious it is to scan in a ship lacking any bonuses to scanning strength, looking for a wormhole that is the weakest type of the three possible varieties of static connection. If the Brutix pilot I ambushed earlier were here he may see the funny side. I'm not.
It's good that there aren't many signatures, as scanning can be pretty tedious when it takes so long. But I resolve the wormhole, send the Devoter to it, and exit w-space to appear in a system in the Deklein region. I grab my atlas, check my position, and see that I have this null-sec region to cross, and a second and third null-sec region to pass through, before I can get safely to high-sec and think about returning home. Before the gravity of the situation hits me, the numbers in the local channel spike. Perhaps going from six pilots to thirty isn't much of a spike for null-seccers, but it is unsettling for a w-spacer like me who isn't even used to having a functioning local channel.
Thankfully, the local spike is just a spike. The small fleet—pretty big for me—obviously is just passing through, and local dips back down to three pilots. But it highlights my plight a little, in that I could potentially find myself warping in to such a fleet, and I have no way to defend myself. This will be interesting. First, I may as well scan the system, to see if I can get lucky and find a random intra-k-space wormhole. Three extra signatures give me hope, scanning takes its time, and I'm left with rocks, drones, and a magnetometric site. Okay, I suppose I'm making a break for high-sec.
I set my auto-pilot to guide me the shortest route to safety, which may not be the best route but I honestly don't know much about travelling through space with stargates. I point the Devoter towards the first marked stargate, and start hop, hop, hopping from null-sec system to null-sec system, pretty sure that I'm going to die. I could scan each system as I enter it, looking for that lucky connection, but scanning is slow and doesn't guarantee results, so I consider my time being saved as I count down the twenty-three stargate jumps.
I pass a couple of ships in the first dozen systems, and get shot by some gate rats, but nothing particularly threatening occurs. Hop, hop, hop, from Deklein to Fade. Hop, hop hop, from Fade to Pure Blind. And I stumble in to a usable station, where I take the opportunity to modify my ship's fitting. The armour plates are slowing me down, and I have a different set of modules intended to make travel out of w-space safer. I add to my agility, increase my warp core strength, and undock to continue on my way, immediately appreciating the much-reduced alignment time to enter warp. This is better.
Hop, hop, hop, to EWOK-K, site of the second Death Star, and in to EC-8PR, which sounds familiar for all the wrong reasons. But I am one hop from high-sec, and I warp to the last stargate to jump to Torrinos and the safety of Concord at last. That's the plan, and, as usual, it goes a bit wrong. I don't so much warp to the stargate as to the bubbles that are surrounding it. And it's not just bubbles that are littering the gate, as some pirates are there waiting for unwary pilots such as me. They catch me pretty easily.
I try to get away, but I know I won't. Even if I did, I don't know where I'd go. Maybe I should have diverted through low-sec first, avoiding the obvious choke-point of a high-to-null-sec connection. But what I really think I should have done was realise that my alternative fitting was for surviving low-sec travel, where there are no bubbles, not null-sec, where there are plenty. The extensive armour plating on the original fitting would have my surviving being shot for much longer, and the oversized reheat would let me burn towards the stargate and the safety of the other side without fear of it being shut down by a warp scrambler. The original fitting may have saved me. My panicky modified fitting gets me killed.
Of course, my pod has nowhere to go either, but the bright side is that I make my way from the edge of The Citadel to the heart of The Forge in the blink of an eye. And the cost for the speedy teleport is a new clone, new implants, and a replacement Devoter, costing the corporation the three hundred million ISK we made shooting Sleepers the other day. But it's only ISK. We can always make more. Okay, mission accomplished, if unconventionally and with a couple more explosions than desired. It's time for a sammich.