Countdown to destruction

7th October 2010 – 5.09 pm

I recognise the bookmarks in the can as yesterday's. The static wormhole should be gone by now, which means I need to scan the new one. Only having one signature in the home system makes resolving the wormhole rather easy and I am soon in our neighbouring class 4 w-space system. In the new system the directional scanner only shows a couple of planets and their associated moons, so I move away from the wormhole, launch probes, and cloak. Now I consult my records, finding out I was last in this system ten weeks ago and that it was occupied. I quickly move my probes out of the system and check the location of the tower, before realising it should be within d-scan range. It looks like the inhabitants moved out.

I concentrate on scanning the system, seeing a dozen anomalies and a few more signatures scattered around. I resolve a wormhole within two hits, a K162 coming in from a class 4 system, but it is reaching the end of its natural lifetime and I leave it alone. Continued scanning reveals plenty of gas mining sites but oddly no gravimetric sites, making me wonder if perhaps miners came through the K162 and if perhaps it is worth the risk of the wormhole dying to venture through myself. But there turns out to be a gravimetric site in the system, although only one is still rather unusual, piquing my curiosity. I still haven't found the static connection, though, so I press on, scanning the remaining three signatures.

Ignoring a couple of magnetometric sites brings me down to scanning the final signature in the system which is, quelle surprise, a wormhole. At least I am forced in to being thorough in my scanning. The static connection leads to a class 1 w-space system, which is enticing, but I want to check the system beyond the K162, at least quickly, and jump through the EOL wormhole. My records show I was in this C4 two weeks ago and that it is inhabited by supposed allies. D-scan reveals two towers and as I have two listed in my records—and there is only one ship visible but no wrecks and no jet-cans—I don't even check their locations and head straight back through the wormhole, leaving this blue system alone. I warp across to the connection to the C1 and jump through.

A clear d-scan result lets me launch probes and warp off to look for activity, finding a tower far from the wormhole. At the tower is an unpiloted Probe frigate sitting inside the shields but, rather more interestingly, the tower is in reinforced mode. It has been assaulted recently and with some force. A class 1 w-space system is likely to have a connection to k-space too, which suggests the attackers will be back to finish the job, in about seven hours from now. Sadly, that puts it too late for me or most of the corporation to witness, or join in, and it also means that this system is likely to be inactive for most of that seven hours. I scan more rocks and gas as I look for the next wormhole but there is no point in resolving any mining site for a potential ambush, the inhabitants no doubt too concerned about the imminent vaporisation of their tower to go mining.

The next wormhole is found, indeed a connection to k-space. Jumping through the exit to high-sec empire space places in me in Bomana in the Khanid region. There are no stations in the system and I have to make one hop in order to dock and contract a copy of the bookmarks to a stranded colleague, which will let him return to our tower. I check the market in case it is worth coming out to shop but the constellation does not look like a market hub and I simply turn my Buzzard around and head back to w-space.

I swap the covert operations boat for my Manticore stealth bomber back at our tower and take it out to loiter around the doomed tower in the C1. There is a chance that the inhabitants will want to move some ships out of their hangars and in to empire space, and me an opportunity to catch them and turn their bad day worse, but it is more likely that they have already done this. A bit of futile lurking at the tower turns in to futile lurking at the exit wormhole, hoping instead to catch a high-sec tourist, but when the connection goes EOL I give up on seeing any activity. And with a colleague returned from empire isolation I am encouraged to be productive elsewhere and help shoot some Sleepers to end the evening.

A fleet of strategic cruisers starts to form and my Tengu is ready first. Our neighbouring C4 holds a magnetar phenomenon, increasing inflicted damage, and confident that under such an influence my ship can take on the Sleepers by itself I head out to make a quick start. I am soon joined by my newly returned colleague in his Loki, and another Tengu shortly after that. I wasn't keen on engaging in Sleeper combat today but zooming around in Pengu with HAMs, Sleeper lasers piercing the vacuum all around, is actually really good fun. And I get paid iskies for doing this! The Tengu is beautiful to fly. I end up enjoying the combat so much I clear five anomalies with the fleet before the late hour calls me to rest. I jump home, stow my Tengu, and get some shut-eye.

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