Not quite according to plan

8th February 2011 – 5.46 pm

Didn't I just refuel this tower? Okay, maybe it was a while back, but levels are dropping enough to catch my attention. There is enough fuel for a couple of weeks of continued operation, but it's best to think about getting more now rather than with only a few days in hand, particularly when a convenient exit can't be guaranteed. Glorious leader Fin has started looking for an exit already, the bookmark to our static wormhole in the can, and I go out to help.

I've been in our neighbouring class 3 w-space system before, but much can change in four months. The system is now occupied and, with two piloted ships at the tower, looks active. There is at least one scanning probe in the system that isn't Fin's, and neither of us can be sure where it came from. There is not much we can do about it, though, so we continue looking for the exit wormhole, Fin finding it first. The wormhole leads out to null-sec k-space, hardly good for a visit to the market by itself, and is at the end of its natural lifetime. We'll get nothing done here, so we decide to collapse our static wormhole and hope for a better connection.

As Fin readies the Orca industrial command ship to start destabilising the wormhole, I monitor the tower in the C3. One pilot is now sitting in a Crane transport ship, the other has gone, or is cloaked. Cloaked, it seems, as an Anathema appears at the K162-side of our wormhole as Fin makes her first jump in the Orca. The Anathema jumps through to our class 4 home system, Fin remaining cloaked in the Orca in the C3. It's uncertain if the Anathema pilot saw the Orca at all, and we'd prefer to keep it hidden. Shortly after leaving, the Anathema returns to the C3, moves away from the wormhole, and cloaks. We can't tell if he's warped away or not, but we continue our operation and Fin returns the Orca home, no doubt appearing briefly in space and on any active directional scanner.

I continue to lurk in the C3, where the Anathema decloaks and launches a scanning probe, which I see indirectly from d-scan. I imagine he's waiting for the exit to null-sec to pop and be replaced by a new wormhole. The locals may not be entirely passive, though, as the pilot at the tower swaps the Crane for a Manticore stealth bomber, before disappearing from d-scan. Before the Manticore can reach our wormhole, if indeed he's heading this way, I jump home myself. Fin has another jump to make with the Orca and I want to make sure it is unmolested, so I board my Malediction interceptor and warp back to the wormhole. If the Manticore wants to throw a bomb at the Orca, or even follow it home, I will catch him and make him regret it.

Thankfully, the Orca jumps out and returns without an engagement, and the wormhole now sits below half-mass, right on schedule. One more pair of jumps should see it collapse, with Fin once more in the Orca and me in my Widow black ops ship. This time, we're not worried about an engagement, as we'll simply jump home and have the connection disappear behind us, and any ship small enough to come back with us—and get trapped—will get eaten by drones or torpedoes. Fin's polarisation effect ends, her Orca warps to the wormhole, and I jump my Widow through in preparation. But when Fin jumps in to the C3 we get a scare, the wormhole becoming critically destabilised too early.

It looks like only one of our two ships will make it back home before the wormhole collapses. I volunteer to guide my black ops ship through null-sec, which seems a sensible option, but Fin orders me home. After a bit of discussion I agree to get home and scan a new exit, sending my Widow through the wormhole. I keep my reheat inactive, not thinking the lack of extra mass will make a difference this time but wanting to give us any possible chance of getting both ships home, and the wormhole remains! Quick, jump before it changes its mind! Fin jumps, bringing the Orca home and collapsing the wormhole, not quite according to plan but we have our desired result. Now we can scan for the newly spawned static wormhole, and start all over again.

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