A miner's life is short

24th May 2010 – 5.48 pm

Space doesn't exist. There may be the occasional molecule of gas floating around aimlessly in the void, but quite how nothing, the vast emptiness of vacuum, can be claimed to be something I'm not sure. Or the server is down. And luckily it is just a server problem, leaving the philosophical musings to be cast aside in favour of flying internet spaceships through wormholes. Having distracted myself I am not the first engineer in our system. Our scout has even already found our static wormhole and jumped through, noting that the wormhole didn't have to stabilise and that another capsuleer must have entered the system before him. The system is unoccupied, which suggests that whoever has come through is likely to come back. I convince another colleague of this and we jump in to a Malediction interceptor and Lachesis recon ship to stalk the connecting wormhole.

It seems reasonable to assume that we'll meet a capsuleer coming the other way. The system reboot was not long ago and to scan a route out and get home so quickly would be quite impressive. The presence of a scanner in the next system along gets me excited, but our scout reports him as belonging to the corporation in that system and unlikley to be travelling our way. We may be waiting for nothing, but at least I am tickled when our scout continues through the class 2 system in to a C1 and finds an exit to low-sec space to a system called Arshat. That must have been the unfortunate result of holding a competition where the winner gets to name a system. Even more interesting is when our scout reports two Hulk exhumers and jet-cans present in the C2. He uses his skills to locate them in a gravimetric site, the rest of us prepare for more unfair destruction.

I return to the tower to get in to my Onyx heavy interdictor, am joined by a Nighthawk command ship, and jump to our neighbouring system and warp to its static wormhole where the Lachesis still waits for action. Our scout gets some bookmarks, jettisons them for us to copy after he jumps back to where we loiter, and goes back to the tower himself to change to a Myrmidon battlecruiser. During this time we discuss a plan. The wormhole is out of range of the Hulk's directional scanner, making our entrance easier, but the two ships are not sitting next to each other. Our scout got bookmarks for a can next to each Hulk, as well as manoeuvring to get a spot between the two ships. It is possible that I can drop my Onyx between them and capture both in my bubble. But I don't like the thought of missing both by trying this. Instead, I will drop on top of the first Hulk and as we pop and pod him the Lachesis will prevent the second from escaping until I can move my ship and bubble across. The plan sounds good, we're all on the wormhole, and we jump.

Everyone is through to the C2, squad warp is initiated to the first Hulk. We are out of d-scan range, so they cannot see us coming just as we cannot see if they are still there. But they are still there, as we drop out of warp on top of one of the pair of exhumers. I activate my warp bubble and we start shooting the first ship, the Lachesis joining in but moving towards the second Hulk already. I have my second, scripted bubble locked on to the second Hulk to stop him warping away too. The first Hulk explodes quickly and his pod is held in my bubble. There was brief talk earlier of ransoms, but first we must capture the second Hulk. Unfortunately, excitement overcomes the senses and a couple of pilots don't realise that the Onyx's bubble is not encasing the second Hulk and they fire upon the ship. I start moving, podding the first pilot as I do, making the executive decision to forgo the ransom rather than risking his escape too as he shifts ever closer to the bubble's edge. But my moving is in vain, as the call to stop firing comes too late and the Hulk explodes. The second pod warps away cleanly, evading attempts to target its tiny structure. Now to clean up.

We ought to get out of the pocket quickly. There are three corporations present in this system and a Tengu strategic cruiser was spotted at one of the towers. But there is a surprising amount of ore to be collected and we are in a fairly strong fleet. The intermediate system between the ore and our home system is unoccupied, so hauling our spoils is not going to be too dangerous, as long as it can be picked up safely. The combat ships stay in the system, two in the gravimetric site and one at the wormhole, and I take my Onyx home to swap it for a Bustard transport ship. There is talk about collecting the ore from the mining site and jettisoning it on the other side of the wormhole, letting us clear the pocket more quickly, but that sounds like a way for the Bustard to get polarised from quick multiple trips through the wormhole and point out that it would probably be quicker to haul it home anyway, which is what we do. A second character grabs an Iteron Mk V industrial ship to help with the haul, although it still takes several trips to collect it all.

In total, we haul over 210,000 cubic metres of ore back to our tower, split evenly by volume between spodumain and jaspet. It is an impressive amount to have mined, and certainly a huge amount to collect for our short time spent in the gravimetric site.

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