Then there were three

13th December 2010 – 5.39 pm

Scanning is done. We have a connection to low-sec empire space through our neighbouring class 3 w-space system. I could have guessed that much. The low-sec exit is only one hop from high-sec, and seven from Amarr, making it convenient for shopping, but I have none to do. There is a chance that a pilot in the C3 can be caught, as he is scanning in a Helios covert operations boat, but Fin thinks otherwise. She reports only two signatures in the whole of the C3 system, and either the pilot is really slow at scanning or not putting his heart in to it. The Helios pilot's disappearance soon afterwards scuppers any thoughts of a scrap, and instead we decide to collapse our static wormhole and hope for a more fruitful connection.

As we manoeuvre massive ships to start stressing the wormhole Fin ponders the position of many class 3 w-space system occupants. 'Exits to high- and null-sec I can understand, but why would anyone want a static wormhole leading out to low-sec?' It's a good question, my only answer being that maybe they want to set up in a C3 but can't find a single one with anything but a static exit to low-sec. My sample size so far suggests that any exit not leading to low-sec from a class 3 system is a rarity, and maybe it is the compromise for settling in a C3. For us, having a static connection to a C3, that almost inevitably leads out to low-sec empire space, mostly means that we rarely have much more w-space to explore than a single system, limiting our options. But at least we can collapse our connection to start again. At least, that's the plan.

We manage to destabilise our static wormhole, but aren't quite able to give it that final shove in to oblivion. But that's okay for now, we can finally get started on clearing the Sleeper presence from our home system, hopefully with little threat from the anyway-empty neighbouring system. We have eight anomalies locally, which offers plenty of opportunity for profit, and our twin Tengu strategic cruisers will be able to blast through them, shields bolstered by the pulsar phenomenon present. As we begin combat, our third splinter group member finally wakes up and asks if we've settled yet. As she is in empire space I give her the name of the system the C3 leads out to, pointing out that she will probably have to scan her way in to us. If we go out to guide her in the destabilised wormhole could collapse behind us. She's okay with that, and starts moving her scanning boat in our direction.

Sleeper combat goes smoothly enough to start with, until Fin's Tengu starts armour-tanking in the second anomaly. She warps out before it gets any more serious, flames licking the hull dramatically. We're not quite sure what happened, and Fin makes sure to repair all the damage back at the tower before rejoining me. I handle three Sleeper battleships whilst Fin repairs, but the scrambling frigates in the final wave of a frontier barracks unsettle me. Webbed and unable to warp away, my Tengu crawls along unable to mitigate much of the damage from the larger ships, and I am glad to see Fin warp back in and fire barrages of precision missiles at the smaller ships to destroy them.

We clear three sites of Sleepers, and loot and salvage the wrecks. Hauling almost four hundred million ISK in loot to the tower makes the combat a good investment of our time. And our third member makes it to the low-sec system and scans a K162 in to w-space, but thinks it the wrong system. She goes back out to empire space and looks again, this time definitely ending in the wrong system, the blue colours of w-space indicating a class 1 or 2 system instead of the class 3 that bridges to our home system. It turns out she was in the right system the first time. Fin sends her pod out through the static connection to act as a beacon to warp to for our missing colleague, shortcutting the scanning process a little. And, with that, we become three independent pilots in the pulsar system.

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