Ensuring a return to the home system

24th March 2010 – 5.46 pm

An unoccupied class 5 w-space system beckons our fleet to pillage it of profit, but sadly we don't have enough time to dedicate to the challenge. Instead, we'll plunder the neighbouring class 4 system, flying with an Ishtar heavy assault ship fitted for salvaging to speed along our progress. We warp to the adjoining wormhole and jump through. The system may be unoccupied but there are a few wormholes littered around carelessly, so the directional scanner needs to be monitored vigilantly. It would be careless to be ambushed by an evident threat.

The fleet warps in to a magnetometric site, containing Sleeper artefacts. Although it is a shame to see all the artefacts go to waste, we are only here to take advantage of the greater number of defenders the Sleepers employ to protect their secrets. More Sleeper ships means more loot and salvage, which means more profit. But to get all the ships appearing we need to analyse the contents of at least one of the artefacts, which sends a signal that causes further waves of Sleepers to warp in, and so a Guardian is refitted with an analyser module. And seeing the bounty that is gathered from the artefact convinces us that perhaps we should not let the other artefacts go to waste.

Combat is straightforward enough, even if the Sleepers warp in at long ranges in different directions. The Guardians need to ensure the battleship and HAC are kept within range for energy transfers and remote armour repairs, but there are no complications. The Ishtar pilot soon warps away on completion of the site to swap in to a specialist-fitted frigate to analyse the rest of the artefacts, the rest of us warp off to tackle the Sleepers in an anomaly in the meantime. Even missing a ship from our small fleet, the anomaly is dealt with smoothly. The only problem is that I find myself feeling wooly, which dulls my senses a little and can't be good for w-space adventures. Clearing this anomaly will be my last participation for the evening. The Ishtar pilot returns to help finish off the Sleepers and clear up by salvaging behind us, and we prepare to warp back home. But it seems that a pilot has become unexpectedly unavailable.

My Guardian gets targeted in the final wave of the anomaly and takes some armour damage that remains unrepaired. We survive easily enough against the one or two Sleepers that remain, but my companion Guardian going missing makes it difficult to bring her home again. It would be simple if we were in our own system, as the squad leader could warp the fleet back to the tower, but although we can lead the Guardian to a wormhole we cannot make it jump. With my unrepaired armour I realise the situation is amiss, so I cancel the fleet warp and collect the drones that the other Guardian hasn't been available to recall, then I shake the wool from my head and start thinking.

I jump back to our home system and warp to the tower, swapping in to a Buzzard covert operations boat and jumping back to the adrift Guardian. If the worst happens, I can stay in the system and scan our way out to empire space, which will let us be guided back in to our home system more easily. But even before then I ought to get the Guardian safe, as sitting AFK on a wormhole presents a bit too much of a target. I ask for and get promoted to squad leader, which with the Guardian still in the fleet lets me warp it away safely. I also make a couple of safe spots and take the Guardian to one of them, making us difficult to find. The other offers an escape route. I'm not sure how long I can wait, but at least we are relatively safe.

Luckily, the pilot returns before it gets too late and we are able to warp and jump back home without any further danger. Even if it is inconvenient, it is interesting to be presented with these logistic complications of w-space life and having to find the best solutions. It certainly keeps us active.

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