New whale

26th December 2013 – 5.46 pm

I'm aiming for little more than a poke around for now, just testing the waters of, um, space. I think that's a metaphor. Lots of anomalies wait to be exploited in the home system, but they'll have to wait a bit longer, and two unknown signatures give me a pocket of gas to ignore and a second wormhole. The K162 from class 2 w-space looks attractive, and not just because it should have an exit to high-sec empire space. I jump through to see what's happening.

Nothing is happening, by the looks of it, not with a clear directional scanner and my cloaky Loki strategic cruiser appearing over seven kilometres from the wormhole. The system has changed since my last visit, where the locals ambushed a tourist Drake battlecruiser, who we then counter-ambushed. Great days, but it looks like they've moved on. Never mind, I can scan for more wormholes, which will be quick with nine anomalies and a measly three signatures.

A data site is the mysterious third signature, and checking the exit to high-sec sees that it leads to Domain. But where in Domain, as it's a big region. I find out by jumping through, appearing in a system eight hops from Amarr. That's actually pretty close, and probably too good to pass up, particularly in what looks like a quiet afternoon.

I dash home, stow in my Loki what little loot we've yet to sell, and head back across C2a to high-sec. Hop hoppity hop to Amarr, dock, and hit the market. I sell what I brought with me, then spend that ISK and a whole chunk more buying a new Orca to replace the one we lost recently. And, what the hell, I stuff the industrial command ship full of fuel blocks too, because we can always use more fuel.

Bringing a new Orca home through high-sec

Back through high-sec I go, in an expensive, vulnerable ship full of cargo, and in to w-space through the K162 to C2a. D-scan is clear, even if the idiotic discovery scanner is showing me two new signatures that I imagine will not only be wormholes but wormholes that the scouts who opened them really don't want me to know about, and who have a good claim for my not actually knowing about them unless I'm actively looking. But, whatever, I'll make a run for it. I doubt anyone's actually expecting to see me.

I get to our K162, jump, and warp back to the tower without seeing another ship. That's a good result. It would be better had I remembered that the Orca has a ship hangar where I could have carried my Loki back with me, but I'm not too smart and left the strategic cruiser in Amarr. Still, it's just one more trip, so I strip down to my pod and warp out of the tower, in to C2a, past a Manticore on the wormhole.

Jumping past a Manticore on a wormhole

The stealth bomber is orange, so probably local to the class 2 system, but I ignore him as he cloaks or jumps, I can't tell which, and I warp to the high-sec exit. Out I go, hopping through stargates, once more to Amarr. I reunite with my Loki and make the journey back, wondering what I'll encounter in w-space this time, but a bit less concerned now that I'm in my cloaky and interdiction-nullified strategic cruiser. I may even get a kill if the Manticore takes a punt at my bringing in another industrial ship, but only if he looks for me. As I've run out of time, I won't actively be looking for him.

An orange is in the high-sec system holding the C2 K162. Is that the Manticore watching for me? It's a little careless if so, as it alerts me immediately. I warp to the wormhole, which looks clear but is now wobbling at the end of its life. Its age doesn't concern me, so I jump through and update d-scan to see... nothing. The wormhole crackles behind me, though, but only after I've moved and cloaked. Now a Deimos heavy assault cruiser is on d-scan, soon joined by a second.

The Manticore came through the wormhole from high-sec but, not being able to find me, jumps back out again. He was a bit slow. And on the wrong wormhole, really. It was obvious he was in the system, because of the transparent local communications channel, and trying to catch a ship that isn't polarised on a high-sec wormhole is an exercise in futility. Still, what's on our K162? The two HACs, by the looks of d-scan. That's a more sensible location to try to catch someone.

Two heavy assault cruisers apparently waiting for me on the wormhole home

I warp across to take a look at the wormhole. The two HACs are guarding the connection. It's no problem. I can squeeze through and jump past them, so I do, right in to an Onyx heavy interdictor and its bubble. Maybe the locals were hoping I'd bring a fat target home again. Or maybe my Loki is a pretty good target anyway. I move and cloak, pulsing my micro warp drive to increase my separation from the Onyx, and, safe enough, watching as a Deimos comes through the wormhole.

Deimos HACs follow me through to where an Onyx waits

Well, maybe I'm not safe enough, as the HAC burns in my rough direction, despite my jink. I've tried in the past to manoeuvre under normal engines, partly to monitor the wormhole, partly to capture a good image, and doing so occasionally backfires. Today I err on the side of caution and am in warp to a distant point before the Deimos gets too close. Even so, I bounce back to the wormhole, at an actually safe distance, to see the ships have one last attempt to uncover me before wisely jumping back to their C2 home. That makes it time for me to go off-line. As I do, I wonder how much leeway I had in getting the Orca home safely.

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