Scanning for and collapsing wormholes

26th March 2010 – 5.32 pm

There is no one around and no bookmarks in the can, so I'll take myself out scanning to see what adventures I can have today. My first adventure is in UI frustration, unfortunately. For convenience, I tend to interact with the virtual spheres of the probes not only to move them around but also to change their scanning ranges. By selecting an edge of the sphere and dragging, the range can be increased or decreased, and if the shift modifier key is held down the ranges change on all active probes instead of just the one. However, sometimes it doesn't work, it only looks like it does. All the spheres visibly change size but when I start the scan the images of all the probes except the one I actually dragged to effect the change pop back to their previous size. For some reason, the change in scan range doesn't work.

It is a simple matter to alter the scan ranges properly, but it takes several seconds for the scan to complete and then I generally have to run a second scan to get the result I initially wanted. The first scan becomes dead time, sitting waiting for a process to finish that I didn't want to start. I could check the ranges of each probe, listed in the scanning window, to ensure the change is reflected across all probes, or just change it directly from the scanning window, selecting multiple probes to change at once through a context menu, but both these options take additional time. Besides, if the scan ranges are not changed the graphics should reflect this and not display erroneous information. It is a minor glitch, but one that wastes my time in an interface that already has its flaws.

When my probe scan ranges are corrected I find our static wormhole quickly enough, jumping through to see a Scorpion, Abaddon, Drake and Rifter on the directional scanner. There are no Sleeper wrecks to be seen, and the system is small like ours—a single 16 AU probe encompasses the whole system—so there is no hiding on d-scan, the wrecks cannot be in a distant anomaly. The ships are either inside a tower's shields or roaming. A quick scan reveals two anomalies and two signatures, as well as the wormhole home, whilst d-scan now shows a Typhoon, Raven, Drake and two Abaddons, all Russians judging by their Cyrillic ship names. I locate the system's occupants' tower using d-scan, and warp to it to find an Abaddon and Drake in its shields, the other ships evidently elsewhere in the system. The Drake promptly warps off, but I don't know where to. And then they all disappear from d-scan, to return within a minute. I'm going to find out what's happening.

A quick scan finds a wormhole in the system. I warp to it, but bouncing off a planet first. As I start at their tower I don't want to drop out of warp on the same line as the other ships, even warping at range to the wormhole. Bumping in to another ship would drop my cloak and end badly for me. And there they are, sitting on the wormhole. They may not know about the wormhole connecting to our home system yet, and although it's flattering to think they are reacting to the appearance of my scanner probes it is more likely that they have been active for a while, in whatever they happen to be doing. Their jumping back and forth through the wormhole indicates that they are involved in more than visiting sites of specific Sleeper interest, but I see no explosions, only wormhole flares.

The wormhole collapses with another ship passing through it and associated flare. I could be wrong, but it looked like it collapsed when someone went through to the other side, not coming back in. Either way, the other ships warp away, no doubt thinking the job's a good 'un. I bounce off a planet back to their tower and, indeed, the ships are all present inside the shields. A Cheetah comes out and starts scanning, no doubt looking for the new static wormhole that has popped in to existence at the other's closure. They must surely find the entrance to our system now too, so it seems like a good time to run home. Then again, it's also a good time to find the new static wormhole myself and explore. The Russians aren't likely to spend all day collapsing wormholes.

I find the new static wormhole and jump through to a lower-class w-space system. I expect the Russians' Cheetah to be here too, and the presence of a good number of probes would indicate that it may not even be just the two of us. The system is occupied, no ships appearing on d-scan, and there are a dozen anomalies and eight signatures to resolve. I resolve a wormhole on my second attempt and find an exit to low-sec space, which is reaching the end of its life. A Helios covert operations boat jumps back from low-sec just as I drop out of warp, and warps off. I find another wormhole, which leads to dangerous w-space, and although I don't think I'll find another, after resolving a single gravimetric, magnetometric, and radar site each the last wormhole is located, also leading to dangerous w-space. There is no convenient exit and, particularly with busy intermediate systems, no good system to raid, so I head home.

Illustrious leader Fin turns up before I get back and I relay my scanning intelligence to her. We decide to destabilise our static wormhole to discourage any attempts to visit us. I make five round trips in a Scorpion battleship, then Fin takes over in an Orca industrial command ship. We collectively push the wormhole until it is 'on the verge of collapse', at which point its size shrinks dramatically, which is pretty neat. The wormhole is left in this highly precarious state, which I consider to be an effective way to prevent incursions. Collapsing the wormhole completely would only spawn another elsewhere in the system, and although it won't lead anywhere until we visit the wormhole we may as well wait to do so until we have a fleet capable of engaging what we may find. Leaving the wormhole on the verge of collapse prevents any sizable force from entering in the first place, and creates a significant risk that any ship jumping through may end up isolated. We return to the tower to relax safely.

  1. 2 Responses to “Scanning for and collapsing wormholes”

  2. verge of collapse - hi bunch of bombers.
    always put eyes to the hole you left open.

    By lol on Jun 28, 2010

  3. I later find this out for myself, daring a destabilised wormhole and popping a Hulk using my Manticore stealth bomber.

    By pjharvey on Jul 2, 2010

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