Flying through a hostile bubble

1st April 2010 – 5.58 pm

An exit to empire space has been found. Even better, it is only three jumps from Jita. Jita may be a wretched hive of scum and villainy, but it has good shops. And as it is the market capital of Caldari space, I should be able to get a good price on a new Manticore. There is a slight complication of a warp bubble encompassing one of the wormholes, but I'm not too worried about passing through unmonitored bubbles. I jump in to my trusty Crane transport ship and head off. Indeed, there are no hostile ships around the warp bubble—no one on the directional scanner even—and a quick blast of my micro-warp drive sees me clear and warping off cloaked to high-sec space.

As luck would have it, I managed to save my fitting for the Manticore, which makes it easy to view it and buy replacements without having to guess or reconstruct the fitting from basic principles. I really ought to save more fittings, as it makes losing ships rather less awkward, and I need to admit that I will be losing ships. Unsurprisingly, a single station in Jita has everything I need to replace my Manticore, and once it is all loaded in to Tigress III's hold I am off. But whilst I am in Caldari space, I may as well show my face at my much-neglected manufacturing base. I deliver some month-old production jobs and send them to market, and install a couple more jobs that will no doubt gather dust. I would install more but my mineral supplies are running low, and I don't fancy making the trips required to replace them just now. I really should make some time at some point, as even though the income from my industrial arm is relatively minor it is still reassuring to have a profitable trickle of ISK coming in to my wallet every day.

I make sure I remember to re-store my stealth bomber and fittings in to my Crane's hold, after making room for modules to be taken to extra-system markets, and head back to w-space. Once back at the tower I jettison the Manticore and, like a fancy umbrella, it flooms in to full form. I swap Crane for Manticore, and Hold This is born. I grab all my modules and start fitting the bomber, and this is when I realise that my saved fitting, whilst a really good idea, would have been better had it been the most recent version. I ended up fitting different launchers in the old Manticore because of the power grid needs to fit some interesting modules in the mid slots that could actually be brought on-line, and I need to get more of those launchers or face the same grid issues. Oh well, the wormholes are still around, I may as well head back to Jita. The trip will only take five minutes.

Warp bubbles become rather more dangerous when a hostile ship is lurking around them. In this case, I bump in to a Harbinger battlecruiser on the inbound side of the bubbled wormhole, the side without the bubble. This would be really bad, but luckily a colleague is there before me, keeping the Harbinger's attention. The three of us jump through the wormhole in close succession, where I power my Crane through the warp bubble whilst the hostile Harbinger locks me as a target. He gets no shots off and I am able to warp away when I am clear of the wormhole, as I suspect my colleague is pounding the Harbinger's armour with weapon fire. If I were more alert, I would probably have turned around to get a more pointy ship from the tower but, to be honest, I was caught a little unawares and my mind decided that sticking to my plan was best. So it is that I am out in Jita when all the action occurs.

The hostile Harbinger is destroyed, corporation colleagues turning up in sharp ships to send his pod packing. Another kill for our new corporation! Unfortunately, friends of the Harbinger pilot's turn up and my colleagues are caught loitering in the kill-zone for too long. A Rifter frigate, Devoter heavy interdictor, and Sacrilege and Vagabond heavy assault ships bring their firepower down on our ships, destroying and podding a colleague. I am relayed all of this information through the corporation channel, and it makes me a little nervous about coming back through w-space. I wait a little while but don't want to be stuck in high-sec, so start to make a move, hoping to be able to scout the path home before flying headlong in to trouble. I am told that our neighbouring system is clear, so that just leaves the system with the bubble on the wormhole.

I enter w-space and warp to the next wormhole at range. Predictably, I am pulled in to the warp bubble. With several hostile ships still in the bubble I turn to warp away, but before even the agile Crane can enter warp the bubble disappears. It has been unanchored. With my cloak holding and the bubble gone, my anxiety subsides and I cut the warp engines, instead moving away from the wormhole and hostiles under normal power. I identify a Wolf assault ship—a Tech II variant of the Rifter—as well as the Sacrilege and Devoter ships on the wormhole, which makes me a little nervous but it looks like they have had their fun and are leaving. It is clearly not a good idea to dwell in a kill-zone for too long. The warp disruptor module is picked up, and the ships warp off, leaving a clear route home. I make it back to the tower safely.

My new launchers are fitted to the Manticore and I have a suitably fitted stealth bomber again. I take the opportunity to save the revised fitting for future reference, and then jump in to my other ships to save their fittings too. Being able to recall the saved fitting is too convenient a feature to ignore, particularly when living out in w-space where ships go pop every day.

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