There are a couple of cruiser wrecks out there someone, in this class 5 w-space system. The Gila and Osprey got destroyed by forces unknown, and I'm keen to find out if the wrecks were looted by their buddy, who survived in a Ferox battlecruiser. An anomaly is roughly in line to where the wrecks appear on my directional scanner, but that really is only roughly in line. Warping to the anomaly sees no wrecks. But calling in my scanning probes, hidden high above the ecliptic plane for a while now, finds no other sites anywhere near the wrecks, not even a wormhole.
What just happened? It doesn't look like the ships took on Sleepers far above their class, not unless I overlooked not having wrecks on my overview, and it couldn't have been a scrap on a wormhole if there is no wormhole. I suppose it could have been a weird duel between a Gila and Osprey, but if that's the case why warp to a safe spot to have it after sitting at the system's star for ten minutes? I dunno, it's all a bit peculiar. Luckily, I can happily ignore it, as my glorious leader is returning from high-sec empire space to w-space, and is a little concerned about attracting company.
Fin is coming home in an Orca industrial command ship, not renowned for its combat capabilities, and has warped to the entrance to a class 2 w-space system to see a Retribution assault frigate apparently escorting a Mammoth hauler. Fin's not quite sure what to do next. That's okay, I'm just one system away, so return from C5a to C2a and warp to the exit to high-sec to sit on the other side of where the ships are collecting. Now Fin can try to get home. I can try to scare away anyone that tries to give chase, and the worst that will happen is that she'll be forced to jump back to high-sec, which is hardly a big deal.
In she comes. The Orca isn't obviously followed, and I watch as it aligns and warps away to the next wormhole, the one leading home. I sit and wait on the high-sec wormhole. It would be good to know if anyone comes through, I will have time to reach Fin if she is engaged on the next wormhole, and I'd actually like to see if I can catch that Mammoth. Fin jumps home, sees a clear wormhole, and warps towards our tower, just as the high-sec wormhole crackles with a transit.
I hold my cloak, not wanting to startle a pilot that could return to high-sec immediately, and hear a second crackle coming from the wormhole. I assume that the Mammoth has followed its escort, but I assume wrong. The Mammoth indeed appears, and I decloak to attempt my ambush. I don't care about the Retribution, as I will be able to weather whatever attack it can muster, and either destroy that too or evade it in high-sec. But the second ship is not the Retribution. It's a second hauler, an Iteron V. That's a surprise. But it's probably a bigger surprise for them to see my Loki strategic cruiser.
The recalibration delay from being cloaked expires and I target the Mammoth first, the Iteron second. The delay lets the Mammoth warp free, but the Iteron isn't so lucky. I disrupt its warp engines and start shooting, fully expecting it to return through the connection to high-sec, watching it turn towards the wormhole as its shields are evaporated. But the hauler doesn't jump, not even when its armour is depleted. Maybe it is hoping that the newly arrived Retribution, with added Talos battlecruiser support, will shoo me away. Not today, and definitely not on the security of a high-sec exit.
The Iteron V explodes, jettisoning a pod in to space. The ten-second session change timer, my sensor booster, and the ability of autocannons to rip open a pod in one volley combine nicely to create a new corpse for my collection. The Retribution has pulled an Elwood and scarpered back to high-sec, but the Talos has locked on to my Loki and started shooting. Whatever, dude.
I saunter across to the corpse and wreck on the other side of the wormhole as I return fire to the Talos. These battlecruisers are designed to be powerful but brittle, and I would like to test its defences. It does seem a bit squishy. I scoop the corpse, loot some expanded cargoholds—leaving behind the Minmatar fuel blocks that we can't use, and sadly seeing that some customs gantries didn't survive the Iteron's explosion—as the Talos, now lacking any shields, leaves the system for high-sec. That's fair enough. I'm fine, by the way. Just a minor scratch to my shields, sitting pretty at 98% strength.
I shoot the wreck, reload my guns, and move away from the wormhole to reactivate my cloak. That was fun! Any kill on a high-sec wormhole is a good kill, a podding doubly so. And it's good to see that some haulers still need to make fitting choices that effect their survivability. Flying with an escort was a good idea, but perhaps not quite so smoothly executed this time. 'They were making the same calculations as me in the Orca', says Fin. Perhaps they though the escort would follow its charge. 'They were just short a pence.' Ah, they didn't have a Penny on the wormhole. I get it.