Incidental Ishtar

5th July 2010 – 5.20 pm

W-space beckons me again. I take my collection of bookmarks to wormholes and wander around the neighbourhood to see what's happening. The local cluster seems relatively quiet, including a system I overlooked earlier in the veritable constellation of w-space systems all connecting in to each other today. A Zephyr exploration ship sitting piloted but unmoving in a tower's shields is all I encounter in the first few systems. It is only when I jump out of the class 3 system in to a class 1 where my interest is piqued. An Anathema covert operations boat warps out of the occupiers' tower, looking like it is heading towards the high-sec exit from the system. Its companion, an Orca industrial command ship also from the tower, follows and jumps to high-sec space.

The Orca may be trying to collapse the wormhole, but as it doesn't return within a minute it is more likely that it is exporting loot or looking to import fuel and supplies. Either way, the expensive and vulnerable ship will need to return through this wormhole. And the return journey may need to be soon, as the connection is reaching the end of its life. I jump back a couple of systems and swap in to my Manticore stealth bomber at our tower, coming back to poke the Orca when he returns. The Orca pilot will no doubt just jump back to high-sec, but I can still be a disruption.

Hang on, though, how did an Orca jump through this wormhole in the first place? The system is labelled on the bookmark as a class 1 system, but wormholes connecting to a C1 have mass restrictions that don't allow a ship as big as an Orca through. It turns out to be a misidentification, as the system is actually in class 2 w-space and we aren't suffering from space madness.

It turns out I may not need to be a mere disruption either, as a colleague is happy to try to catch the Orca in an Onyx heavy interdictor's warp bubble. The high-sec wormhole is out of range of the directional scanner from the tower, so if we position the Onyx on the tower's grid—a particular navigational section of space—and activate its bubble the Orca should be pulled out of warp in to harm's way of the Onyx. The Onyx can be fitted with a cloak to prevent aggression from the tower's defences whilst waiting for the Orca's return, and my stealth bomber can sit at the wormhole to high-sec to see the Orca's arrival. I will even be able to warp to my colleague to help shoot the Orca once snared.

I have the locations of the tower and wormhole and prepare a suitable position for my colleague to use to sit in wait, warping from the wormhole to the tower and creating a bookmark along that vector on the tower's grid. A bit of manoeuvring gets the Onyx in position and we wait for the, oh, the wormhole dies of old age, the Orca still outside of the system.

The Anathema seen earlier returns to the system, no doubt called upon to find the new static connection to high-sec to get the Orca back home. We call in our own corporation chum to find the new wormhole too, which he does. Now we get the Onyx in to its new ambush position, using the same method as before. But it is likely that this time our machinations have been seen, particularly as it is only when we are in position that the Anathema is seen jumping out of the system to high-sec space. We loiter anyway, ignoring the returning Anathema and still hoping for the Orca to naively try to get back to its tower, but even after allowing for the sluggish industrial command ship to make the extra jumps to reach its new destination we see no activity. Luckily, another colleague has found a target in an adjacent system.

An Ishtar heavy assault ship is engaging Sleepers in a C1 system. The combat is occurring in an anomaly, making it relatively easy for our expert scan man to locate him, using d-scan and the on-board scanner. We are informed that our man has a good reference to pounce on the Ishtar and that he will warp away so he can warp in to this point, then attack. An ally is nearby and is happy to help, and the Onyx and my Manticore are already in warp to the connecting wormhole. We jump and warp to our colleague just in time to see the Ishtar pop, the Onyx's bubble inflating to capture the pod for a grisly execution. The wreck is looted, drones and corpse scooped to holds, and we clear the pocket happy with our brief but satisfying action.

The C2 system is camped again for a little while, still hoping for the Orca's return, but it remains quiet. The hour is late and the new wormhole will be viable for many more hours yet. We can't stop the Orca's return. Our operation is called off but in good spirits, the application of the plan being smooth and professional. We may have even snared the Orca had the first wormhole not collapsed. We both head home to our tower to get some sleep.

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