Just sittin' on a wormhole, waitin' for polarisation to end. I'm curious to see if the locals of our neighbouring class 3 w-space system will poke their noses through, see what's happening here. I'm not really expecting anything, given that I disrupted their mining operation—admittedly with almost negligible loss to them—but that I did it solo in an interdictor and our K162 is the only other signature in their system apart from their static wormhole may tug at their curiosity.
Sure enough, just as I am about to give up waiting and head back through, the wormhole crackles. A Purifier stealth bomber enters our system, and jumps straight back to C3a. Okay, whatever. Nice scouting. I'll leave it a few more minutes before going back myself, though, in case the Purifier considers waiting on the other side. I don't think he will, not when he didn't even want to explore our system in a covert ship, but it gives me a chance to answer some correspondence.
Nothing else visits us. I'm going back. I'm expecting only to resolve their static wormhole and continue scanning for connections in high-sec empire space, but it's something to do and safer than collapsing the wormhole to start afresh. My directional scanner shows me no obvious change in the system, just the three towers and a Tengu strategic cruiser in range, but all the activity was out by the edge of the system. I warp to the other towers, making a safe spot for launching probes in deep space on the way, and see what's happening.
Two Retriever mining barges are idling in one tower, the Procurer mining barge in a second, along with a Cheetah covert operations boat. The Procurer's not there for long, though, warping away to empty space. There's no ore site in that direction, not that I think he'd start mining again—not without refitting to be bait—and it takes a moment to realise he's probably gone to high-sec. I should scan for that wormhole, I suppose. Or maybe I should scan for the Kryos hauler near my safe spot.
I launch probes and look for the hauler, but my probes come up blank, not even a signature. He can't have been on a wormhole, I don't see why the hauler would need such a safe spot, so I must have seen it mid-warp. And as the high-sec wormhole is close to the outer planet, and the Kryos was spotted nearer the middle of the system, that would mean it was warping to the inner system. I point my Loki strategic cruiser in that direction as I resolve the wormhole.
The hauler is at a sixth tower, easily found, and he's gone again as I get eyes on it. He's headed towards the wormhole I've resolved, which makes sense. He wasn't at the far towers, so he must have entered the system from high-sec when I first spotted him. And now he's going back. Will he return again, and soon, before polarisation effects end? I think it's worth finding out, even with the design decision to let these haulers fit a full rack of warp core stabilisers without affecting their specialised hauling capacity.
I follow the Kryos and see the ship jump through the system's static wormhole to high-sec. I get close to the wormhole and, within a minute, it crackles a second time. I decloak, activate my sensor booster, and immediate regret having done so. But it wasn't a mistake, Penny, you haven't tipped your hand. If it is the Kryos it can hold its session-change cloak for as long as it can, the ship will still be polarised and unable to jump back to the safety of high-sec. Decloaking early consumes the associated recalibration delay. I knew that, I just for a second didn't remember that I knew.
There he is, it is the Kryos. I get a positive target lock, try my best to disrupt his warp engines, and start shooting, pushing forwards to try to bump the ship. And what's this? A Nemesis decloaks twenty kilometres away and starts shooting me. Whatever, I'm on a high-sec wormhole. And the Kryos is made of tinfoil, it seems. I destroy the ship in seconds, aiming for and catching the pod and ripping that apart too. That's a big enough hint for the Nemesis to leave—that and my barely scratched shields—and the second target disappears before the fight even got started.
I scoop the corpse, and shoot the wreck of the hauler. There's no loot, and not because none survived the explosion. There was no cargo, no modules, just a bare ship. That almost suggests this ship was bait, but if it was it was really bad bait. Who tries to lay bait on a high-sec wormhole? In a polarised, unfitted ship? With one stealth bomber for support? These guys, I suppose. Still, I get my second corpse of the evening, and although the cost of both ship kills and poddings barely adds up to a few million ISK, at least I caught them.