Firework display in w-space

16th November 2009 – 5.50 pm

Finding myself alone at our tower in w-space encourages me to try find an exit wormhole. Despite my previous poor attempt at scanning, I have a couple of points in my favour from the last time. First, I am on my main rig, with a bigger screen and more suitable input device, which will remove the frustrations of positioning probes accurately and quickly. Second, our C4 w-space system is likely to be empty of any sites of interest, which will make it really quick to narrow down the signals to get to the exit wormhole. I can also use the practice, and it is better to be able to scan my way out myself than rely on colleagues all the time. Boarding a scanning frigate, I move out of the tower's shields and launch some probes.

My initial scan of our home w-space system only shows three signatures, which will speed up the process of finding a way out. Thankfully, using more suitable equipment, I am able to bookmark the first site quite quickly, finding it to be a gravimetric site and thus full of expensive rocks. The second site also turns out to be a gravimetric signature, and I continue scanning it until the signal is also strong enough for me to bookmark. After all, I may need to pass some time mining in those asteroid fields. With only one signal left, it is almost certainly an exit wormhole, although it will itself lead to a C3 w-space system.

Once the remaining signature is scanned down, and indeed revealed to be a wormhole, I recall my scanning probes and head to the anomaly. I hadn't considered that I would also need to scan a second system to find a way back to k-space, our own system not having a static exit from w-space. I may as well visit the adjacent system and see what I can find easily, as I can always pop straight back through the wormhole and start mining if scanning the whole system looks to be a chore. Or, rather, I could do that if I remember to bookmark the other side of the wormhole, which I realise I forget to do only as I am warping to a moon. It is such a newbie mistake. I will at least need to scan my way back to the wormhole leading to the tower.

I warp to a moon because the directional scanner reveals an Abaddon and Absolution in the system, along with a few Sleeper wrecks. Although sitting on the wormhole would let me escape through it quickly, it's a fairly obvious place to be. Suitably positioned, I launch my probes and activate the cloaking device, curious to see how the two ships react. I pick up some cosmic signatures and start trying to resolve them, but the two ships just keep on creating more Sleeper wrecks. Either they are not looking at their d-scanners, or they aren't particularly concerned about core scanner probes showing up. The appearance of an Anathema and Coercer on d-scan suggests that they are quite prepared to put up a fight.

I manage to find a wormhole and pin-point its location, but this one leads to another w-space system, one that not only looks foreboding but has a tower with pirate faction modules anchored to it. I leave the way I came. The wormhole back to the tower is found with a bit more scanning, which lets me feel safer again, as well as what must be an exit to k-space, exactly what I have been looking for. I am curious to learn the security status of the exit system, but don't warp directly to the wormhole, under the assumption that the two capsuleers in the system probably came from there and I may bump in to them if I am not careful.

In hindsight, it seems obvious that the Abaddon and Absolution came from the other connecting w-space system to profit from the sites, in the same way we do. Not only that, but they probably make the assumption that I have entered the system from the wormhole to k-space, and that is why, when I warp to a distance from the wormhole, I find the Absolution waiting for me. It's the field command counterpart to my Damnation, so I know roughly what it is capable of, making it times like these that I feel I should listen to Fin telling me to train in covert operations cloaking devices. My ship cloaks as rapidly as I can command it after dropping out of warp and I wait to see what happens.

The Absolution sits still on the wormhole. It must have seen me warp in. After a short while its radial velocity changes, heading generally towards my position. I point my ship in an orthogonal direction to the Absolution's path and start crawling away, still cloaked. Despite the range at which I warped to the wormhole, and the overall vastness of space, I don't want to be uncloaked by having the Absolution pass too close to me. The wormhole flares, a Purifier appearing on my overview. The Absolution pilot does not warp away, so I assume they are allies. And then something quite odd and unexpected happens.

There is a huge shower of fireworks! An explosion of sparks lights up my display quite impressively. And with that the Purifier is gone. I don't see any shots fired, though, causing me to be somewhat confused at the turn of events. A short while later the Absolution warps off, presumably back to its own system. It is at this point that I think I should work on my ship recognition skills and find some information on the Purifier. Ah, it's a stealth bomber. I quickly deduce that the bomber was called in to try to flush me out, perhaps thinking I was making a break for the wormhole, and what I saw was undoubtedly a bomb explosion, the pilot hoping to catch me in the blast. I must admit that it was awesome seeing the explosion, and may not be something I will get to see benignly too often, but it understandably freaks me out a little.

I don't approach the wormhole in front of me to see where it leads. Despite the Absolution warping off I have no idea if the Purifier stealth bomber is still around and waiting to fire another shot. Instead, I warp straight back to and through the wormhole leading to the corporation tower, quickly getting back in to the safety of the shields. I catch my breath and praise my caution. I think I would be much more panicked if I had realised the function of the Purifier when it first appeared, but at least I wasn't careless enough to make myself easily found. And I got to see a bomb explode! It has been an interesting morning.

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