Ten minutes through a dying wormhole

7th December 2011 – 5.08 pm

Glorious leader Fin's been busy. 'C3 is boring, HS static, exit four from Dodixie', all of which is shorthand to say that the class 3 w-space system beyond our static wormhole holds nothing of interest but leads out to high-sec empire space a few jumps from a trade hub. And not only has she scanned her way through our neighbouring system but Fin's also taken an Orca that way, made the short trip to Dodixie, and brought back an industrial command ship full of fuel. Maybe not fuel in proportion to the needs of the tower, but it's fuel, and lots of it. I'm normally happy just to remember that the tower needs fuel occasionally, and when making a shopping trip always make the mistake of assuming equal volumes of each fuel are consumed in each cycle.

Now Fin is 'puttering towards my can', meaning the jettisoned canister that she's being aiming the interceptor towards for a week or so, hoping finally to stumble elegantly in to the same grid and remove it from our directional scanners for good. That seems as good a hobby as any, and whilst she makes more headway I'll take a shufti in the C3, hoping for some activity now that we are both present. Nothing presents itself from the K162, even the tower out of range of d-scan from here, which Fin has scouted and offers me its location. It's quicker to get the position of the tower from my leader than my notes, although in warp I find out that I was here a mere ten weeks ago and am aiming towards the same moon where a tower was anchored then too.

Still no one is at home in this C3. I launch probes and perform a blanket scan of the system, not really expecting ships or other signs of activity to leap out at me but hoping that perhaps a new wormhole has connected in to here. There's not much hope, with only three signatures in total appearing on my probes—no ships, not even any anomalies—but that leaves one beacon of hope that isn't the K162 home or static exit to high-sec, and Fin didn't mention this single signature that is sticking out like a sore thumb. Maybe because it is a ladar gas harvesting site and about as interesting as actually harvesting gas. It's a strong signature, though, so I take the extra ten seconds required to resolve the site to 100% and bookmark it, before pointing my ship towards the exit wormhole.

Jumping to high-sec has me launching probes again. I don't think I need anything from the market at the moment, although I get this niggling feeling that I should be and occasionally am using consumable items and that this necessitates replacing them, so I launch some scanning probes to take a look around. The only other signature apart from the wormhole I'm sitting on turns out to be another wormhole, a K162 from class 1 w-space, which would be so much more exciting if it weren't reaching the end of its natural lifetime. But as I float a few kilometres away, staring at the wobbly connection, I reason that the C1 probably has this exit to high-sec as a static connection, which if it collapses means a new wormhole to high-sec will open. And as our own exit from w-space connects to high-sec, if I get stuck inside the C1 I should have a fairly comfortable route home, if perhaps lengthy if I am unlucky. I think it's worth a look inside the C1.

Lots of ships greet me in the C1, but for a change they aren't all sitting with drones out on the wormhole I just jumped through. Instead the ships are only viewed indirectly on d-scan, along with a couple of towers. As there are no wrecks to be seen in the system I doubt I'll find the ships anywhere other than the towers, but what I really want to know is if there are any pilots. I bookmark the wormhole and warp away, narrowing down the location of the two towers using d-scan. I note the position of one tower without visiting it, as it holds no ships, the second tower looking like it has them all. All the ships, and no pilots, it seems. Except not all the ships, as broadening d-scan's beam again reveals an Iteron hauler abroad. But where?

The hauler is back at the tower, a second or two after I notice his absence, warping in to the force field from the direction of the inner system. I don't have much time to wonder if perhaps I've missed my shot at a defenceless Iteron collecting planet goo when the ship turns around and fires up its engines. I align to an arbitrary planet simply to get my ship moving and up to speed as I try to gauge the heading of the Iteron. Industrial ships are ponderous movers, the Iteron taking its time to line up to its destination, but when it does it clearly points towards only one planet, and more likely its customs office, before entering warp. My covert Tengu strategic cruiser is right behind it.

I know what I'm doing almost before my thoughts register. If the Iteron is at the customs tower I attack it immediately. This decision is partly because of the uncertainty of remaining life of the wormhole, and partly because if I am too cautious this time I may not get a second chance, the hauler possibly only making this repeat excursion to collect the last of the planet goo. Besides, because of my timing, if I end up on-grid with the Iteron it shouldn't have time to turn around and escape. And indeed, although I drop short of the customs office to see the Iteron there I don't so much wait for the recalibration delay as my Tengu decloaks as wait for the Iteron itself to finish dropping out of warp, its active warp engines generating interference that prevents gaining a positive target lock seconds after my own systems stop complaining.

Popping the Iteron is a formality. The fragile industrial ship is essentially caught before it even exits warp, and pointing in completely the wrong direction to think about escaping. A few volleys of missiles rip down to and through the hauler's hull, ejecting the pilot's pod in to hard vacuum, the speed and violence of which must have disorientated the pilot enough to fumble with his controls. My Tengu locks on to his pod and stops it escaping, needing only few more missiles to crack that open and give me a new corpse for my slowly growing collection. I scoop, loot, and shoot, which takes a little finessing to work out how to cram what planet goo will fit in to my hold and leave the excess to be destroyed in the wreck, then warp cloaked back to the tower.

Nothing's happening at the tower, which isn't surprising given the lack of pilots. And, I suppose, the mysterious disappearance of the only local pilot recently in the system. I would say my work here is done, so I head back to high-sec through the still-available wormhole, warp across to the K162 to the C3, and jump back to w-space. I like not having to use stargates, although I appreciate their immutability. And now that I've selfishly slaughtered a capsuleer by myself it looks like time to collapse our static wormhole and look for more, so that Fin can join in too.

  1. 3 Responses to “Ten minutes through a dying wormhole”

  2. Well it appears you still have not come across my class 3 and I have been there for 60 some odd days, I wonder what the odds are for finding a particular system through the static. I guess one would have to take in to account the number of class 3 wormholes in the game.

    I am currently searching for a replacement system as logistically a nullsec exit is too hard to fuel and get in and out of quickly. I have been waiting for several days since deciding to evacuate for either a hs or ls exit to start moving stuff out. I wonder if you have visited my system in the past but feel hesitant at giving the locus away at the moment, I guess once I am gone I will have to leave something in the system for you if happen across it so you will know that was my system.

    In any event I am down to one noctis so I doubt I will be running sites in that system before I evacuate and wait to find something a bit easier to get in and out of.

    Having been ganked 2 times now in the system I see the preferred method of wh ganking I'd to land a heavy interdictor or 2 on pilots in a anomaly and then bring the pain lol.

    I guess I will leave a anchored can in the system when I go labeled for penny.


    By Zandramus on Dec 7, 2011

  3. This is why I have notes, I can scrabble together some rough metrics!

    We've been in our C4/C3 home for over a year now, and must have visited one class 3 w-space system a day since then, on average. Despite the length of time, that's still only a few hundred systems visited. And considering there are repeat visits during that time, I've maybe visited half the total number of C3s.

    Also, in the past couple of months, the ratio of first visits to repeat visits for C3 systems looks to be about 50/50. Give me another few years and I may find your home system.

    By pjharvey on Dec 8, 2011

  4. We found a nexus class three 2 nights ago in tamo, it had 6 wh's in it along with about 20 gas and rock sites. It took 3 of us to map all of the connections and in all of them there was no one home.

    W-space can get lonely lol...


    By Zandramus on Dec 9, 2011

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