A more polite introduction to the neighbours

8th January 2010 – 5.35 pm

The Imicus is out scanning for an exit, but this time I'm not piloting it. Instead, the owner asks if I'd like to tag along and maybe find something to bomb. I like his anti-social approach to w-space, and jump in my Manticore to shadow him. We pop through our local static wormhole in to a class 3 w-space system, and he starts scanning. The first signature he resolves is a wormhole, which may be good for his finding an exit but doesn't help my bombing opportunities. At least the wormhole continues in to w-space, so there is hope yet. I wait as he jumps through to reconnoitre.

On the other side of the wormhole a HAC is spotted by the Imicus pilot. It is likely the same HAC he saw earlier in the class 3 system, leaving some Sleeper wrecks behind. I sit at bombing range on the wormhole, but nothing comes through, so I approach and jump myself. As I re-orientate myself in the new system, a Zealot HAC appears, dropping out of warp at the wormhole. 'Run', suggests the Imicus pilot, warping off quickly. But I'm okay, I'll cloak and set full speed in an arbitrary direction, which should be enough to keep me safe, whilst also allowing me to keep an eye on the Zealot's position. The Zealot soon warps off, probably not because the pilot has places to be, but more because the soft Imicus target is gone and he knows a stealth bomber is lurking nearby.

It turns out that the pilot of the Zealot isn't overtly hostile, as he opens communications in the local channel. In w-space, the local channel offers no information on inhabitants or visitors to any system unless they specifically announce their presence, thus the significance of this pilot's act. He is curious as to our business in the system his corporation has claimed, and offers a bookmark to a wormhole leading to high-sec space, if we are friendly. As a high-sec exit is what my Imicus friend seeks, and we aren't naturally hostile, we let ourselves become known on the local channel, admitting what ships we are in and our intentions.

The Zealot pilot seems convivial enough, even offering to jump out of his HAC and in to something less threatening if it would help with trust. Mind you, he tricks me in to appearing antagonistic towards my Imicus friend, even though I am clearly only defending myself against obviously forthcoming barbs from the scamp. As negotiations proceed, the Imicus continues to scan for the wormhole regardless, finding it just before arrangements are made final. We both warp to the wormhole to investigate its properties, and it does indeed lead out to high-sec New Eden, although the wormhole is approaching the end of its lifetime.

The Zealot pilot, now in a shuttle, informs us that he is letting in a couple of his corporation colleagues, ostensibly for information but I suspect mostly as a warning not to engage them. I sit off the wormhole as a Raven and another ship come in to w-space and warp away. But my friend in the Imicus is unsure about heading back in to New Eden, given the longevity of the wormhole. He wants to conduct some business and come back to w-space, which requires some stability in the wormholes en route. I am not going to get to bomb anything on this trip, and also don't want to end up outside w-space today. I bid good day to the friendly Zealot pilot and head back to our home w-space system and the corporation tower, leaving my colleague free to make his own decision.

I feel a bit guilty having turned up in a Manticore, considering the friendly disposition of our resultant host. On the other hand, our host started out in a Zealot. It is better to appear in a gunboat and swap to a shuttle, than appear in a shuttle and wake up in a clone.

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