Looking for high-sec

2nd July 2010 – 5.17 pm

We're going to roll our hole. Regardless of the ambush of the salvager and the occupancy of the same class 3 w-space system, the lack of decent exit to empire space is feeling restrictive. We want to get out to high-sec space, for a change, to buy some command centres so that we can begin to extract resources from the planets in our system. In the hopes of finding a better exit our static wormhole is being collapsed. The operation runs smoothly again, the wormhole imploding as the Orca industrial command ship returns to our home system. Now it is time to scan, with a couple of us ready to tackle the task.

My first attempt at locating the new static wormhole goes awry. No scan results are returned. I know that the new connection should appear at least this quickly because it has done before. But whilst being fairly compact the disturbingly unchanging orbital positions of the planets doesn't allow a standard probe pattern to blanket the system. I shift my probes slightly and find the new signature, resolving it to locate the static wormhole. Surprisingly, it is over 6 AU from the outer planet, which makes it a fairly good safe spot in itself. I jump through to the C4 system.

The neighbouring system is unoccupied and contains few signatures, enabling its static connection to a C3 to be found promptly. The C3 has a tower in the system but there are no ships to be seen. My colleague finds an exit to low-sec space, which is better than the null-sec exits we had before and, depending on where it leads, could be quite viable for our intentions. A second wormhole is also found in the system, an incoming connection from a class 4 system. I pop in to take a look around. There is an off-line tower in the system and no other signs of occupancy, and scanning reveals loads of anomalies and signatures to resolve. And there is no guarantee of finding another wormhole in here as the pilots who opened the wormhole I came through from the C3 may have collapsed their own static connection, whatever the reason. But I find one, just as I am giving up, although warping to it shows the wormhole to come from a class 5 system, the connection itself reaching the end of its life. I finish my exploration and start to head back.

Corporation and alliance colleagues are already exploiting the exit to low-sec space in the class 3 w-space system. A couple of pilots have even set up an Onyx heavy interdictor and Ishtar heavy assault ship on the wormhole, hoping to catch inquisitive low-sec dwellers. But a deep space scanning probe I spot in the C3 suggests he has drawn some attention from w-space too, particularly when combat scanning probes appear. I warp to the exit wormhole and reduce the range on the directional scanner, showing that all the combat probes are within 1 AU of the wormhole. Although no hostile ships have been seen there is the possibility that an ambush is about to occur. My colleague and I rush back to our tower to change in to combat ships, to be ready to provide assistance if necessary. Fin grabs her Nighthawk command ship, I choose my small but occasionally effective Manticore stealth bomber, quickly refitting a remote sensor damper on the assumption that I will be facing ships that will want to shoot back.

No ships suddenly drop out of warp on the Onyx and, when I return to the C3, no probes are in the system. All looks clear. After a while, core scanning probes are seen on d-scan, but it is unclear what the pilot is looking for. I warp around to the known wormholes we scanned and check for the proximity of the probes. I find the probes getting close to one of the wormholes leading to a C4 system before they disappear and, to my surprise, a Helios appears 30 km from me. And he's not on the wormhole, so he can't jump away! I decloak and lock my systems, also trying to close the distance to him, but I fumble the controls in my haste and fail to get his engines warp scrambled. He warps off, thankfully before he also sees me accidentally launch a bomb instead of activating my cloak. But despite my incompetence in the attack I manage to see in which direction he warps off, and I follow.

I drop out of warp at the ninth planet in the system, only a few kilometres from the Helios covert operations boat, but I don't decloak just yet. From the speed of his boat it looks like he is entering warp again. He may be 'bouncing' off this planet so as to make his whereabouts uncertain if I am slow to follow, and I don't want him to know that I found him quite so quickly. But he doesn't warp off, instead he has activated his micro-warp drive and is burning away from the planet. It looks like it may be possible to bookmark my current position and bounce off a different planet at range to get the drop on him, but he is moving at several kilometres a second and my time spent in warp would probably see him get far out of range. I also don't have any means to slow him down, having refitted my ship with the sensor damper, so any engagement would only see him burn out of range of my warp disruptor before warping away at his leisure. At least it means my earlier fumbling made no difference to the inevitable outcome.

The pilot of the Helios boasts of his speed in the rarely used local channel and our alliance friend sitting on the wormhole starts a conversation with him. It all seems quite pleasant, but there are command centres to be bought and collected. Fin has already packed her Crane transport ship full of loot to be exported and sold and I get back to the tower to cram the last of the loot in to my own Crane. We both head out through w-space to the exit to low-sec, our alliance colleague deflating his HIC's bubble for us as we pass. A couple of jumps gets us in to high-sec space, but a few more low-sec systems are in our way before we empty our holds and buy some command centres. Agile and stealthly Cranes, navigable stargates, and a lack of warp bubbles makes the security differences unnoticable, though.

Our loot is sold, planetary modules are bought and hauled, and we get back to w-space without a hitch. I notice some probes are in our neighbouring C4 system when I pass through it, but the hour is late and it is time to get some sleep. It turns out the probes are a colleague's, exploring the system for himself, so I pay them no more mind. I unload my cargo at our tower and get some rest.

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed.