Waiting is time-consuming

28th August 2011 – 3.07 pm

An empty home system is a good start to the day. I always prefer hunting elsewhere, as it gives me somewhere safe to retreat or hide, and having w-space as a home offers at least one wormhole to explore beyond. Today there remains just the one connection at home, and I jump to our neighbouring class 3 system to reconnoitre the constellation. A whole bunch of ships appear on my directional scanner, mostly combat but with a couple of industrial ships, and even some shield maintenance bots. But there are no jet-cans and no wrecks, and I suspect all the ships will be empty at the local tower.

Finding the tower in this C3 is easy, as it hasn't moved since my last visit here about three months ago. Warping to it finds all the ships there, although my guess at them all being empty is a little off as the Blackbird cruiser is piloted, leaving only the shield bots as something of an curiosity. The bots don't appear to have been launched by any ship here, nor are they sitting in an anomaly in the system, unfinished or otherwise. But that only leaves them as unexplained, they aren't interesting in themselves and I ignore them for now.

I am able to warp far enough from the tower to drop off d-scan, which lets me launch scanning probes and blanket the system covertly. Scanning reveals eight anomalies, seven signatures, and the ten ships I've already seen. Except I only saw nine before, the tenth being a new contact arriving at the tower in a covert operations Cheetah. Soon after he appears the Cheetah warps about 3 AU away, launches his own scanning probes, and returns to the tower. Rather than watch the Cheetah scan boringly at the tower I return to the K162 homewards and watch for his scanning probes to see if they get close. Indeed they do, all the probes clustering around the signature before disappearing, so maybe the Cheetah will come and investigate the wormhole to our system.

I jump home, warp my Tengu to our tower, and swap the strategic cruiser for an inteceptor, better for catching a cov-ops. I plonk my Malediction on top of our wormhole and wait. There are few signatures in the C3, and our K162 has definitely been resolved, so the Cheetah shouldn't be long in making an appearance. That is, if he has the explorer spirit in him, rather than simply mapping what connections are coming in and going out of their C3. I wait, and I wait, and I wait. It's good that I have plenty of reading material to keep myself occupied, that and occasionally hitting d-scan to ensure I'm not about to be surprised myself. But I eventually have to admit that the Cheetah's not coming and that I can make better use of my time.

I turn the Malediction around, swap it back for my Tengu at the tower, and return to the wormhole to jump through and scan the C3. But dropping out of warp at the wormhole sees the Cheetah again, now in our home system. He doesn't see my cloaked ship and, soon enough, he cloaks too, but he was only a couple of kilometres from my Tengu. If I can't manoeuvre to decloak the Cheetah from here I should give up flying spaceships. A slight change in attitude and a little acceleration reveals both my Tengu and the Cheetah as we cross paths, and I get my systems hot, waiting the interminable delay from decloaking as my sensors recalibrate.

Somewhat surprisingly, it doesn't seem like I am targeting the Cheetah as much as gaining a reciprocal lock. I think he's going to take me on. That's fine with me, and I disrupt his warp drive and start shooting, knocking down the Cheetah's shields with a couple of hits. Just as I think I'm going to get a quick kill the blighter warps away, most likely having warp core stabilisers fitted. What a disappointment, particularly as his stabilisers would have been no match for my interceptor's systems, had I only waited a couple of minutes longer. But I already had waited a few minutes longer, and more than once. There is a limit to how long I can sit still.

Now that the Cheetah is in our C4 and has to return home I could probably sit still a while longer, but not here. I swap ships again, back in to the Malediction, and jump in to the C3 to sit on the K162 in wait for the Cheetah. I am in d-scan range of his tower, but I already scouted it and, with the Blackbird gone, I think it's safe to assume no one is watching me. At the same time, I ought to assume that the Cheetah inferred my ship swap and disappearance to mean I am ready to jump his ship should it return, and maybe he has more patience than me. He probably has, as I wore my patience out waiting for him the first time. I am kind of hoping his confidence in his warp core stabilisers will make him cocky, though.

After a while of the Cheetah not jumping in to my waiting clutches new contacts appear on d-scan in the C3. A Viator transport ship appears at the tower, as well as a Tengu. The ships aren't a direct threat to my interceptor but both bring a new pilot in to the system, either of who could board a threatening ship or simply scout my position for the Cheetah. I think it's time to head home and take a break. My busy morning of sitting on wormholes draws to a close, with little more than shield damage to a Cheetah to show for it.

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