Collapsing wormholes for profit

20th May 2010 – 7.14 pm

I'm early, but not that early. The previous static wormhole has gone and I delete all my bookmarks to start again. A colleague is out and scanning, helping me to ignore a handful of signatures quickly, and we track down our static wormhole easily enough. The neighbouring class 4 w-space system is occupied and I find the tower thanks to its ideal placement. The tower is on the only moon in the system that is in scan range of every celestial body. It is only when I launch probes and start scanning that I realise there is a second tower in the system. I'll look for it when I'm ready to move on, as there is no activity worth monitoring at the moment.

The system's static wormhole is found and although I suspect there is nothing more of interest a farewell scan reveals a K162. The incoming wormhole is reaching the end of its life so I note its position but move onwards through the static connection in to a class 5 system. The C5 is big and I scan the two outer planets separately from the inner system, using the comparative scanning method to pluck a wormhole from the signatures on my first attempt. I also warp around the system for the directional scanner to get full coverage, finding two towers when I do. There is no activity and only a Scorpion battleship and Mammoth hauler parked in one of the towers. Warping to the wormhole I resolve shows it to be an EOL K162 and I keep looking. A static wormhole to a C2 is found, which is promising, but it too is EOL, which is not. Not much more can be done until this wormhole dies of natural causes, so I head home to be productive elsewhere.

A bit later, I return hoping to find a new wormhole opening in to a class 2 system full of targets, but instead I find that our own static wormhole has been collapsed and scanning has started anew. The neighbouring C4 being occupied and bereft of anomalies was the motivation to collapse our wormhole, when we are looking for Sleepers to engage. Mind you, it seems that our scanning man is currently in a system occupied by pilots with capital ships, which could make us consider collapsing the wormhole again. I stay in the tower for now, but he returns and copies the bookmarks to the shared can with no talk of collapsing our wormhole. I copy the bookmarks to my systems and head out to get acquainted with our neighbourhood.

The connecting C4 is unoccupied, a system we visited some ten weeks earlier. The next system is also unoccupied, and quite peculiar. There are only two planets, the first 0·2 AU from the star and on a normal orbital plane, the second 20·8 AU out and orbiting 90° from the plane. I poke my nose through the null-sec exit here, visiting IMK-K1 in the Tribute region, before continuing through the next wormhole to the system with the capital ships. We have been here before too, about six weeks ago, so I've probably already seen the Rorqual capital industrial ship, Moros dreadnought, and two Chimera carriers that are here. There is also a null-sec exit here, and I briefly find myself in the 4RS-L1 system of the Impass region. I like getting new dots of exploration. There is no activity in w-space though and I take another break.

Later still, we have a fleet. Our situation looks good, if unchanged. Our neighbouring C4 is unoccupied and has some sites of specific Sleeper interest to pillage, with an unoccupied buffer system between us and any potential threat. We should be okay. Our first targets are the two magnetometric sites, and our twin Guardians are fitted with analyser modules to access the artefacts in the sites. It feels like a while since we've fought Sleepers regularly, but they remember me. All of the initial wave rushes to greet my Guardian, hugging me so hard that my shields drop and the armour gets a little crushed. Our capacitor-hungry Abaddons have to beat the Sleepers off with lasers in the end. They were just being friendly, I'm sure. The first wave is defeated. To alert the rest of the Sleepers we need to steal some of their artefacts, so Fin and I put our Guardians to work. Fin's artefact doesn't trigger a new wave of ships, and mine is stubbornly remaining closed.

'Come and open this, would you? I think I loosened the top a little.' The artefact eventually opens, but it isn't until we analyse a third that the Sleepers turn up and we are back in to combat. The third wave arrives spontaneously, bringing four Sleeper battleships to us. I remember from earlier encounters the huge alpha damage the four ships deal and switch off all my reppers in preparation. As soon as a name on the watch list blinks red, signalling incoming damage, I target that ship and activate all my remote repair modules, even switching my repper drones across. As the Sleeper's target is a battlecruiser it will need all the attention it can get. Our pilot is a little inexperienced too and has trouble aligning to warp out, resulting in a fair bit of structure damage as it bleeds through from the armour, but we stay on top of the damage and our ECM kicks in soon enough to regain our advantage in deadspace.

One pilot swaps his combat ship for a specialist analysing frigate, the rest of us move on to the second magnetometric site. The four Sleeper battleships arrive again, but they target one of our own battleships, making their strike much easier to cope with. The analysing frigate has scooped all the artefacts in the first site and comes to clear the second, the fleet moving on to basic anomalies instead. We clear two anomalies after the two magnetometric sites, I return to help with salvaging, and we bring home bundles of loot, including the remains of two deserted Talocan cruisers. The profit for the night is a little over one hundred million ISK each. I've already recovered the cost of losing my Onyx.

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