Just about making it home

15th August 2013 – 5.34 pm

I was going to scan, thinking the destruction of a planet-gooing Viator would have subdued the locals, but a pilot at the tower swaps back to his Crane. I can't quite believe a second transport would be thrown in front of my ship, just to see if I was actually out here, and I haven't seen any other new contacts or ship changes that would imply some kind of bait-and-ambush about to happen. Of course, perhaps a replacement for the Viator will be wanted, and even though there may be no more gooing the Crane may exit w-space to buy a new ship. I'll need to scan for whatever wormhole it may use quickly.

One wormhole is resolved, but warping to it finds a dying K162 from class 3 w-space and so is unlikely to be used. A second wormhole is the static exit to low-sec, which is the most probable exit the locals would rely on, if it weren't for the third wormhole being a K162 from high-sec. I won't be catching anything on that wormhole, not easily. And by the time I've finished my simple scanning the Crane is gone. I have no idea where or how, not having crossed paths with it, and the pilot may well have gone off-line. Never mind, let me check the exits.

The high-sec K162 comes from a system in Sinq Laison and is full of bunnies. The low-sec exit leads to, well, I dunno yet, because the Impel transport now on d-scan at the tower in C3b intrigues me more. Is this a new pilot, perhaps unwarned about my presence in the system? I hope so. But the only immediate movement from the ship is to move towards a hangar, where the transport is swapped for a Falcon recon ship, after which the pilot goes off-line. Okay, after that minor diversion I head to the low-sec wormhole and exit to a system in Metropolis. A system in Metropolis that holds the Crane pilot from C3b.

I would be more interested in seeing the Crane pilot in the low-sec system were she not in the agile, stealthy transport ship, and if I hadn't already popped a colleague of hers. If she has any sense, the pilot knows my name and will be quite aware of my presence in the system too. Still, I don't get so many opportunistic kills by assuming competence on the part of my targets, and I jump back to w-space and loiter with intent on the wormhole. But I'm not liking the look of this possible encounter, not with a Pilgrim recon ship visible on d-scan in C3b. I've tangled with one before, and it didn't go well for me.

The Pilgrim is swapped for a Sleipnir command ship, presumably at the tower, which scares me less. I just need to catch and kill the Crane, surviving long enough to make my own escape, and as long as I don't polarise myself on the wormhole that should be easy enough. Speaking of which, the wormhole crackles, signalling a transit occurring. I decloak, get my sensor booster active, and wait for my target to appear. There she is, but in a Helios covert operations boat, not the Crane. Smaller, more agile, just as stealthy, but I give it a go anyway, and get damn close at catching the cov-ops.

Helios jumps to w-space from low-sec

But close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, and the Helios warps back to the tower. I suppose that's my fun over, so I head back to our tower, jumping back to C3a and warping to our curiously destabilised K162. I'm pretty sure I didn't leave it that way, and the sole jump in my Loki strategic cruiser won't have done any damage to the wormhole. What's been happening whilst I was away? As if to answer my question, albeit rather unconvincingly, the wormhole crackles, twice, and an Anathema cov-ops appears in C3 and warps clear, with a Brutix battlecruiser decloaking behind it.

A third wormhole crackle brings a Buzzard cov-ops in to the system, but even this doesn't explain the mass destabilisation of our wormhole. But it turns out I don't have much time for more observation, as the Buzzard and Brutix jump back, to our home system, and the wormhole drops to critical levels. I'd better go back too, before I'm isolated. As I jump, I consider how my Loki would fare against the Brutix. It would be interesting to find out, under other circumstances, and even with the wormhole in a half-mass state I might have engaged the battlecruiser. But I have to accept that a critical wormhole is not a safe place for a fight.

As much as I'd like a scrap, potentially being forced back through our critically destabilised wormhole is a really bad option. The wormhole may collapse, and even if it didn't I'd be polarised and outside of the home system, with known hostile ships available to push more mass through the connection. I take the sensible route and move away from the wormhole and cloak. Seeing the Dominix on d-scan in the home system helps persuade me, although I don't think the other pilots are likely to risk pushing the battleship through the wormhole to collapse it. Well, I don't think so, but the Dominix warps to the wormhole to join the Brutix.

Brutix and Dominix on our critically destabilised wormhole

I think the Dominix is just here to try to scare me. But I'm not leaving. They may not realise I live in this system. Either way, both ships warp away, no doubt to the whatever new wormhole must be in present. And, moments later, the wormhole crackles and brings in a Viator transport, along with the Anathema I saw before. The cov-ops launches probes and warps to the assumed K162, but with our static connection still alive. There doesn't seem to be the final push to collapse it either, although the Dominix remains in the system for a while longer.

Anathema launches probes on our static wormhole

I suppose the pilots were trying to collapse our wormhole to secure the system before stealing our anomalies. And I assume the Anathema scanned for new connections, after the pilots saw me, and when he couldn't find any they had to abandon their operation. A rogue strategic cruiser shouldn't really ruin anyone's fun, but it perhaps can be more hassle than it's worth to deal with an unknown element. Personally, I'm just glad that I got home safely. I also quite like that doing so has perhaps saved our Sleeper loot for another day. Maybe we should collect some more of it soon.

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