Salvaging empty space

6th December 2010 – 5.33 pm

Today seems like a good day to bring Constance in to w-space. I am by myself and opportunities for profit or mayhem are reduced, but this way I can still make myself useful. I don't think Constance is quite ready to act as an emergency scanner but getting her in sooner is probably a wise plan. After all, her training can finish whilst in w-space, and once in the system she becomes the anchor I need. But first I must find a way out to rendezvous with her, which probably means using the inevitable low-sec exit our neighbouring class 3 system will provide us with.

The static wormhole I scanned in an otherwise inactive day yesterday is still present, indicating a pleasant lack of visitors. It also precludes my having to scan the home system, which saves a little time. Jumping in to the C3 sees an easily found tower on my directional scanner, and no ships in the system. An initial scan of the system provides a bunch of anomalies, that I bookmark as a reflex action, and my first hit is the static wormhole. Naturally, I am guided out to low-sec empire space, where I find I am only two hops to high-sec and eleven from Jita, which is a good result. The eleven-hop route takes a scenic path through five low-sec systems, but that's no bother.

I go back to the tower in our class 4 w-space home and swap in to my Crane transport ship, heading out to empire space and Jita. The journey is uneventful and quick in the Crane, docking in Jita soon enough. I hit the bustling market to buy a couple of Buzzard covert operations boats, and some basic fittings for both of them. Each boat will have an expanded probe launcher, covert operations cloak, reheat, and nanofibre internal structure fittings, and I have made sure that Constance will have the skills to use them, at least at the most basic level. If I need her to get me back in to w-space then I had better make sure Constance has a high chance of survival herself.

Ships and fittings are bought and stuffed in to the hold of the Crane, now I give Constance directions. I have the bookmarks for the systems and positions of the current wormholes leading to our home system, which I copy to her, along with the location of our tower and a few safe spots in the system. It wouldn't do to guide Constance to our home system then have her wonder where she can park. And with that done I turn my Crane around and head back to the low-sec entrance to w-space. I'll take the Buzzards with me, as I know Constance cannot yet operate the cloaking device, and there's no point risking her in a sub-optimal boat. Instead, I give her a shuttle I have sitting in Jita dock, one of the few ships that Gallente designers got right.

The homewards journey is fine for me, zipping through low-sec systems and returning to w-space without being bothered. But d-scan in the C3 shows me an interesting situation, a Maelstrom battleship and Drake battlecruiser apparently engaging Sleepers. I take care to move away from the wormhole and cloak quickly, getting home as quietly as possible, where I swap ships again, this time for my Manticore stealth bomber. I can't engage the two combat ships, but a more vulnerable pilot may well follow behind them salvaging.

I return to the C3 and sweep the system with d-scan, using the system map and my earlier-made bookmarks of the present anomalies to find where the two ships are. I find one anomaly cleared of Sleeper ships, only wrecks remaining, but the combat ships have already moved on. I bookmark a well-positioned wreck for later reference and warp to the next anomaly, where I find the Maelstrom and Drake. There seems to be only two of them, and they are not looting or salvaging as they go, getting me tingling in expectation of engaging their salvager. But the galaxy is apparently going to disappear briefly, an unscheduled jolt, and it doesn't look like the salvager will appear before then.

The Maelstrom and Drake finish shooting Sleepers in this second anomaly and, instead of calling in or swapping to a salvager, they move to a third. They must have seen the warning of the interruption to the space-time continuum, I'm not sure why they are continuing. But they do. I bookmark a wreck in both the second and third anomalies, watching the combat ships warp away and leave the system—through a fresh wormhole I don't know about, it seems—with a couple of minutes to spare, after which I do the same.

I come back soon after the galaxy is stable again. The home system needs to stabilise before I enter, the familiar sign of a system that hasn't had a capsuleer pass through it since an interruption. I warp back to our static wormhole, curious to see how far its locus has shifted because of the jolt and ready to update my bookmark, before considering whether to jump in to the C3 or not. I know that if I enter first then the other capsuleers won't see the message about the system needing to stabilise, which could alert them to my presence. But I don't think they are yet experienced enough to realise this nugget of information. I jump in, taking two attempts as indeed the system needs to stabilise.

As I expected, the Sleeper wrecks have disappeared. The reset of the galaxy has wiped the presence of any temporary object, denying the other pilots of their loot. Still, they had the time to recover it and chose to continue shooting instead, hopefully making this a lesson to remember. But it hasn't necessarily denied my opportunity to shoot their salvager, which is why I am here. If they didn't know the wrecks would disappear they may well send in the salvager now, before continuing with combat. And, by the appearance of a Cormorant destroyer on d-scan, I may well be right.

I warp to the first anomaly that the pilots cleared and loiter with deadly intent, refreshing d-scan regularly to see the Cormorant still in the system. After a minute or so I wonder if the salvager is actually warping to any of the sites, and switch to my system map to sweep d-scan over my bookmarks to see. The Cormorant is in the second anomaly, a tight five-degree beam showing the ship coincide with my bookmark. I warp to where the wreck once was, not aiming to drop short, unsure where the Cormorant will be in the site. Although I bookmarked a wreck I personally considered to be conveniently placed, it may not coincide with another's opinion. As luck would have it, I drop out of warp almost on top of the Cormorant.

I get my warp disruption modules hot, drop my cloak, and start to get a positive lock on the salvager. As my targeting systems spring to life I get my torpedo launchers hot and wait for the explosions, but all I see is the Cormorant warping away a split-second before I snare him. Damn. Maybe I shouldn't have paused to take the screen grab. I re-activate my cloak and move away from my current position, watching d-scan as the Cormorant disappears from the system. And then a Loki strategic cruiser enters the system, before dropping off d-scan himself. It's probably a cloaky Loki, an intuition that is magnified when the Cormorant returns, for no reason whatsoever—in a system devoid of wrecks—except to bait me.

The Cormorant reappears in the second anomaly and acts innocent, but I am not an idiot. I merely watch as he dangles his worm unpalatably in my general direction, warping away again a couple of minutes later after I refuse to be hooked and caught by a strategic cruiser. The Cormorant once again leaves the system, seen indirectly on d-scan, through a wormhole I still don't know about, and I doubt he's coming back soon. There are no wrecks and, on top of that, they will be expecting an ambush. I may have missed my window of opportunity, but I came surprisingly close to popping a salvager considering there was nothing to salvage, and I managed to cause some consternation at least. For now, I head home and wait for Constance to arrive.

  1. 2 Responses to “Salvaging empty space”

  2. Ye ambushers are so cunning.

    By Ardent Defender on Dec 6, 2010

  3. You betcha.

    By pjharvey on Dec 12, 2010

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