Running from an Anathema

4th January 2010 – 5.51 pm

It's another day of scanning an exit for me. The new wormhole in our home system is found quickly enough, and it leads to an expansive w-space system occupied by capsuleers. There are some scary ships sitting around somewhere, but I shan't worry about them just yet, I just want to find a way out. I warp to a relatively safe point in the system and start scanning. My main concern is the lack of a covert operations cloak on my borrowed boat. I can be safely cloaked whilst scanning, and even though the scanning probes will reveal my presence by inference, not being able to remain cloaked whilst warping is worrying.

I never really worried about being cloaked whilst warping before, when I was merely travelling point-to-point in systems. Taking the Crane through low-sec or w-space never concerned me, as I could zip from one wormhole or stargate to the next, dropping out of warp at zero and jumping immediately. Of course, a warp bubble with hostile ships inside poses a credible threat to an uncloaked ship, as my colleague found out, but uncloaked travelling has never really been a problem. Having a known route is advantageous. Uncloaked exploration, on the other hand, is a different matter.

The scanning process may give a 100% reading for a wormhole's location, but the resultant bookmark is unlikely to be at zero point. Warping to a scanning probe's location of a wormhole may not let you jump through without a few more seconds of sub-warp travel, which can be enough to get locked and attacked. On top of that, if the wormhole is at the end of its lifetime, or leading somewhere undesirable, you may not want to jump through it at all. Thus it is necessary to warp to the wormhole's general location first, and examine and bookmark it before deciding to jump through. Dropping out of warp at a new wormhole to make a bookmark and take quick decisions about jumping through it or warping away is made more exciting by being uncloaked and a ready target for any waiting hostile ships.

I find a wormhole in the occupied system and warp to it, at distance, recalling my probes at the same time. The wormhole is clear of ships and looks stable, and that it leads again in to w-space isn't unusual when considering the depth of our own system. I engage the micro-warp drive and push quickly towards jumping through the wormhole. As I get closer, an Anathema appears! My puny borrowed Imicus feels awfully fragile even when cloaked, but in plain sight of another ship I may as well be in my bare pod. It's at times like this I wish I took more time to recognise the ships of New Eden, as a covert operations frigate probably isn't too threatening, but I still run back to the tower rather more quickly than the situation warrants.

Rummaging through the ship hangar for a better scanning boat turns up nothing suitable, so I am stuck without being able to run a covert operations cloaking device whilst scanning. The capsuleer who owns the Imicus appears in the corporation communication channel, and I berate him for not having a cov-ops cloak. 'Some of us aren't deceitful', he cheekily replies. Perhaps, but this is why he gets shot. Yes, I can feel smug and self-righteous even though I've only recently trained up to cloaking IV myself.

I return to the neighbouring system and pass through the second wormhole to continue scanning in the Imicus, a little spooked from the ultimately harmless encounter with the other ship. I find a wormhole in the second system, but this also leads further in to w-space, and I am hoping for an exit in this system, so I keep looking. Keeping an eye on the directional scanner shows that the scary ships seen earlier in the first system are now active in this system, encountering Sleeper sites. Once they leave, a Deimos heavy assault ship apparently comes looking for me, because he is unlikely to be salvaging the wrecks and possibly thinks that I may be looking for his colleagues or to grab the loot from the wrecks myself.

I can't find a further wormhole. Even with a few sites left to scan, I return to the tower. I don't want to be found by a heavy assault ship and have spent plenty of time looking for an exit that isn't forthcoming. I'll have to continue looking for a way out another day.

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