Keeping out the neighbours

10th May 2010 – 7.17 pm

I'm curious about what happens after I shoot the miner and collect his ore. I head back to the system in my Buzzard to see if anything is happening, warping to the tower on the outer planet first. I am interested in the tower because it held a piloted Absolution and a second ship, a Hound and then a Probe, and it is the only structure in the system close enough to monitor the gravimetric site the miner was active in. I find some measure of activity, in that the pilot of the Absolution is now in a Purifier stealth bomber and the other pilot a Typhoon battleship. The tower's defences firing on my little Buzzard also make me aware that I am somehow not cloaked. Thankfully, I am able to warp out with only minor armour damage, unlike the last time my scanning boat gets shot by a tower. I think I'll leave that system alone for now.

Probes are seen in our home system. I am asked to look for any new connecting wormholes and a quick scan reveals a K162 has appeared. I jump through to find myself in a class 5 system, occupied and with an unpiloted Raven in the tower's shields. There are no other wormholes in the C5 except their static connecting to us, so I jump home again. The scout from the C5 must have come this way and is likely to be going back again. We may be able to catch him. My Onyx can catch inexperienced cov-ops pilots but it will be only a minor inconvenience to any pilot that knows how to cloak and doesn't panic. Instead, I get my Malediction interceptor out of the hangar. It should be able to lock a frigate-sized hull quickly enough to prevent cloaking, or move swiftly enough to the last known location of a cloaked ship to get within range to force it to drop its cloak. That's the theory, at least, I still don't have much practice.

Fin joins me in her Nighthawk in camping our wormhole. The scanning probes appear again on the directional scanner, suggesting the C5 scout is still in the system. Perhaps he already left the system and returned before I got my interceptor in position, or maybe he didn't leave. Either way, Fin warps her Nighthawk to the C5's K162 to monitor any traffic heading in that direction. A scout of ours jumps in to the C5 system and checks the tower, noting the Raven hasn't moved. The probes disappear from d-scan and we have both the exits covered with sufficiently threatening ships. We get ready, patiently waiting whilst remaining alert for any movement.

Nothing happens for a while. And, indeed, nothing continues to happen. It looks like the scanning pilot from the C5 has greater patience than me as I am close to returning to the tower. However, I raise the issue that once we are gone the C5 residents could be free to clear our local sites, and we would rather that didn't happen. So instead we plan to close the K162 connection to the C5. We should be fairly safe in our calculations of what has passed through the wormhole, as it is new and almost certainly has only had a few return trips of covert operation boats. A few jumps with an Orca should be enough to at least make the wormhole unstable, reducing the likelihood of anyone wanting to jump battleships through.

The final operation of the evening begins. Our Orca industrial command ship warps to the C5 wormhole and jumps through and back again, warping back to the tower to wait for the polarisation effects to dissipate before jumping again. I hold position on our wormhole in my interceptor, but I wonder if the visiting scout realises what is going on and that he could end up isolated from his system. After the second Orca trip I find out, as an Anathema cov-ops boat warps to the C5 wormhole and quickly jumps through. Yes, he recognises the behaviour and realises what is happening, dashing home whilst he still has the opportunity. One more round-trip with the Orca followed by one in a battleship sees the wormhole become critically unstable, leaving it in no fit state for a fleet to jump through. Our operation is successful, and we can rest in relative security.

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