Missed communication

22nd October 2010 – 5.00 pm

Three of us wait for the wormhole to die. Rather than forcing more mass through it than it can handle the wormhole is about to collapse of old age, and we just watch. I have performed a pre-emptive scan of the system, and when the wormhole dissipates to leave no trace a second scan finds the home system's sole signature. There was hardly a pause between the collapse and new wormhole spawning, making me reflect during the short time resolving the signature about the possibility of a planck limit on anomaly spawns. Perhaps anomalies, wormholes, and other phenomenon can only spawn on certain 'ticks', the time between being void, and in this case the wormhole's collapse happened a moment before the next tick, prompting a new connection almost immediately. And then I am warping to the wormhole and my mind regains its focus on the exploration at hand.

As my colleagues initiate warp to my last-known position I jump through to the new neighbouring class 4 system. I spy on my directional scanner a tower and Tengu strategic cruiser in the system, locating them both together and the cruiser piloted. A Cheetah covert operations boat warps in to join the Tengu at the tower as my colleagues enter the system, but there doesn't seem to be any further activity as we begin to scan. Only three signatures makes scanning quick, the static connection to another C4 found simply. I leave the idling pilots in their tower and move onwards to the next system. I was only in this second C4 four days ago, noting it to be unoccupied and holding a static connection to a C1, the lack of occupation still true and the wormhole found without fuss amongst the bare five signatures.

All the excitement is happening behind me, though. The third signature in the first class 4 system turns out to be a K162 from C2, which my two colleagues decide to investigate only to find a Purifier stealth bomber loitering on the other side. I hope to find occupation in the C1 but it turns out to be dormant, a couple more ships sitting unpiloted in a tower, and more connections only lead to a similarly quiet C2 and high-sec empire space. I abandon my tenacious scanning, no longer able to resist the reports coming back of destroying anchored warp bubbles only for the bubbles to be replaced a minute later, to join a fleet looking to engage other capsuleers for control of the w-space constellation.

I return to our tower and swap the Buzzard covert operations boat for my Onyx heavy interdictor, jumping back to the neighbouring C4 to join a Curse recon ship and Vagabond cruiser. On the other side of the connecting wormhole a Manticore stealth bomber engages a friendly Tengu, launching a bomb towards the ship that has been destroying their warp bubbles. The Tengu naturally survives a single bomb and easily locks, points, and pops the ambitious pilot's Manticore. And a scout of ours inside that system lets us know that there are now stirrings at the local tower. No doubt lured by a potential lone strategic cruiser as a target, ships are being scrambled.

A command ship and heavy interdictor appear to be heading our way, both of which can cause trouble when combined with other combat ships. Reconsidering our overall position I offer to swap my HIC for a Falcon recon ship, its ECM perhaps being more to our benefit, and the small fleet agrees. I head home again and make the change, warping back to the fleet on the wormhole at range, ready to jam the systems of any hostile ship that enters the system. But it looks like the action won't be occurring in this C4, but in the C2 instead. I ask for clarification of where my Falcon is needed but get none. I am left confused.

I know the Falcon will be useless at close range, which is why I didn't warp directly to the wormhole and also why I don't think it wise to jump through to join any action. An ally has experience in losing Falcons this way and I would be foolish not to learn from his mistakes. I thought that agreeing to get the flimsy ECM boat would mean we would engage at favourable distances, but it seems we still field enough variation of ships and configurations that more precise communication is needed. Indeed, I don't even see the command to jump but the fleet slips through the wormhole to the C2 whilst I still try to find out where I should be.

I start moving my Falcon towards the wormhole. I decloak and burn the reheat to get there faster, but a flare on the wormhole causes me to stop and re-activate my cloak. An enemy coming through could easily destroy my ship in seconds and keeping my presence concealed would still give the fleet an advantage. But it is a colleague returning, I don't know why. I decloak and move again, but there is a second flare and again I stop and cloak, moving away again in case I need my ECM. But it is another colleague. I have no idea where I am needed, where I should be, or what is happening, and asking is getting no answers. By the time I get a positive response—told to jump in to the system, an action I have already considered would be suicidal in my current ship—I have retreated away from the wormhole to the optimal range for my ECM modules.

Frustrated, I warp to the homewards K162, jumping and warping to sit in the tower as the fleet records its biggest victory to date. Two Abaddon battleships, a Devoter heavy interdictor, Guardian logistics ship, and Catalyst destroyer all are obliterated for no loss, three pods also spilling corpses in to vacuum. I am bitter about the miscommunications and try to make myself feel useful by going out to empire space, contracting bookmarks to a new recruit who needs the current route to our w-space tower. It doesn't help, just as my mood won't help the continuing combat operation. I return to hide at our tower, turn off all non-essential systems, and get some sleep.

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