Manoeuvring misses the moment

16th December 2011 – 5.01 pm

A stabilising system is an unbothered system, which is how I find home at the start of the evening. If I want bother, I have to look further afield. Scanning reveals five signatures now, looking positively cluttered compared to recent days, and although I get a pang of excitement about maybe a wormhole opening in front of my probes, what looks like a new signature appearing where there wasn't one seconds before, it turns out to be the static connection and I simply wasn't paying enough attention. Otherwise there is only gas, rocks, and more gas to be found, and I activate the sites before jumping through the wormhole to our neighbouring class 3 w-space system.

A tower is visible on my directional scanner in this C3, but nothing more of interest. My notes place me in this system seven months ago, although I have no detail of where the tower may be or what wormhole I'll find, as it seems I was just passing through. That's no problem, finding towers is easy, and once I launch probes I locate and float outside the tower as I scan. Four anomalies and eight signatures will make scanning straightforward, and with no one to help me with Sleeper combat tonight I'll restrict myself to looking for wormholes for further exploration.

There's a wormhole, first hit on my probes. But are there any more? A radar site, second wormhole—so, yes—gas, gas, rocks, and, hmm, I appear to have miscounted. No matter, I have no more signatures to resolve or ignore, leaving me with some rather dull wormholes, it seems. The static connection leads out to low-sec empire space, whilst the second wormhole is a K162 from low-sec, which hardly sets my pulse alight but I work with what I'm given. I exit through the static connection first, appearing in Molden Heath, and I ignore the handful of pilots in the system to launch probes and scan again.

Six signatures is promising, even with one of them being the wormhole back to C3a. Working through them gives me a magnetometric site, radar site, an outbound wormhole to class 3 w-space, a second outbound connection, this one to class 5 w-space, and the last signature is merely gas. Two outbound connections makes me feel lucky, I think I'll poke my nose in to the C5 first. It's more dangerous space, certainly, but will also more likely lead to further w-space, whereas the C3 could terminate to k-space.

The class 5 w-space system looks clear from the K162, letting me launch probes and perform a blanket scan. One ship could be interesting, if I could find it, as it drops off my probes on a second scan and there is no sign of occupation here. Warping around confirms a lack of capsuleer presence and the ship doesn't turn up a second time, but its blip on my probes perhaps indicates I will find more than one wormhole amongst the eleven signatures here. I get scanning, resolving the system's static connection to more class 5 w-space but being left with nothing else looking like a K162, which surely the errant ship must have used to pass through this system. I attribute the ship's appearance as a glitch in my electronics and press on.

Jumping in to the second C5 has a tower but no ships on d-scan, leaving me alone and free to scan once more. Or not so alone, as by the time I've noted the thirteen anomalies and eight signatures here and found the tower there is now a full complement of core scanning probes on d-scan. I go back to the K162 and loiter, hoping to get a look at the ship, but when the probes disappear no ships appears, leaving me apparently in an empty system again. I suppose it's my turn to scan. A K162 from deadly class 6 w-space is ominous, a K162 from null-sec k-space less so, and I'm happy to consider resolving the static connection to even more class 5 w-space the final wormhole I'll find.

Poking my nose in to C5c shows me two ECM drones on d-scan and nothing else. My notes let me know I was here three weeks ago, on another relatively long exploration compared to our usual constellation. The system was unoccupied then and I resolved a static wormhole to C5 w-space, at which point I stopped scanning and turned around. I'll do the same today, exploration taking its time and not finding capsuleers making it seem like I could be doing something more interesting. I'll still head in to the C6 for a look around, though, as there's no point thumbing my nose at already discovered systems. And maybe I've found activity at last.

A Nidhoggur carrier and some combat drones are on d-scan in the C6, along with a Helios covert operations boat, Bestower hauler, and a tower. I run a passive scan, revealing a whopping twenty-nine anomalies, making the system look underutilised, but looking for the tower, moved from my last visit only four months ago, shows the carrier to be there and not with its drones. I don't suppose there is much point scanning the anomalies to see where the combat drones are. Maybe the Nidhoggur pilot saw me enter the system, or he was warned by a scout, the owner of the previously seen probes. Or maybe the drones are nothing to do with tonight's plan for the pilots here, as the complete lack of defences around the tower and the current unanchoring of the sole remaining hangar makes it look like they are moving out.

The Bestower is piloted here too, and with the hangar soon to be scoopable I think it's worth watching and waiting to see what happens. It takes a bit of waiting but the hauler does indeed scoop the hangar once it unanchors, but rather than giving me an immediate target by warping to the wormhole it stalls. A new contact warps in to the tower in a pod, a second in a Cheetah cov-ops, and although the Nidhoggur turns and fires up its engines it's not going anywhere really. The pod hops in to the Helios and warps off, the Cheetah goes off-line, and the Bestower starts to move! No, he's faking it, the hauler just bouncing off the tower a dozen times or more, perhaps trying to tear it down physically. The dented Bestower and passive Nidhoggur are then joined by a Moros dreadnought, leaving me two impossible targets and one obstinately refusing to make himself a target.

Oh, that's interesting. The tower is now being unanchored, which requires it to be first taken off-line. A consequence of this is that the force field necessarily drops, leaving me a Bestower nestled between a dreadnought and carrier. I think I could probably pop it and get away before the big ships can do me too much damage, or even get a positive lock, I just need to get close enough. It's worth a try, so I bounce off a nearby moon and return at range, only to see the Nidhoggur now left alone with the tower. Damn it, what terrible timing! I have been patiently watching the Bestower and urging it to warp to the wormhole, and when I turn my back for a second it does just that.

The hauler is still on d-scan, presumably heading out to wherever to drop off the hangar, so now it's a chase. I surge my Tengu strategic cruiser towards the wormhole back to C5b, the Bestower disappearing from d-scan long before I get there, but jumping has the hauler back on d-scan in C5b. I swing d-scan around and, roughly placing him heading towards C5a, warp to the next wormhole in the route. The Bestower's gone again before I jump and this time I catch no sight of him in the next system. I do all I can think of and warp to the exit to low-sec, jumping out again to no sign of the hauler, not on d-scan and not in the populated local channel.

That's quite disappointing. I put in the time to stalk my target only to end up making a decision to strike that lets him evade me, even if accidentally. I probably came out of w-space the wrong way too, the big ships from the C6 probably needing to head towards the null-sec connection and not low-sec. Even so, I'm glad I pushed deeper in to the constellation, and having the patience to wait for the right moment and the ensuing chase has given me tonight the thrill I seek. And it's a good reminder that I need to look for it, as it is a rare day when the hunt will turn up on my doorstep.

  1. 5 Responses to “Manoeuvring misses the moment”

  2. It's a pity you can't waltz in with a Bustard and scoop up the tower under their noses.

    By Planetary Genocide on Dec 16, 2011

  3. Darn... Would have been a funny scenario decloaking between the carrier and drednaught to pop the hauler with the hangar in it. Though I think he would have come back to pick up the tower when it unanchored in 15 minutes. Unless the carrier was just going to pick it up but that would kinda leave the carrier hanging in the wind for 15 min in class 6 space likely to get ganked by a roving group.


    By Zandramus on Dec 16, 2011

  4. Stealing the tower is the sort of thing I only think about once it's too late.

    By pjharvey on Dec 16, 2011

  5. Nice story = we actually encountered a similar scenario. We had a K162 open to our hole and one of us popped a Bestower warping through our system to our A239. We found the corp in the process of turning off their POS, no bubble but jet cans full of PI and ore. I engaged the haulers but did not have a point so no kill.

    The cans alone were worth lots and I was hauling it out (my guys watched my back) when their helios re-appeard and un-anchored their POS. Now it was just a waiting game, we knew the (pre-Crucible-long) timer. We timed my warp-in with the POS-timer and as soon as it turned to zero I landed and scooped it. Their Iteron also landed and our team got him into structure for his trouble. (still no point, we failed)

    So, 10s of millions in PI, 2 Itty's full of Ore and a Gallente Medium POS. Not a bad heist...

    By Splatus on Dec 16, 2011

  6. Taking down a tower certainly is one of the more vulnerable times for w-space pilots. It's always a thrill to encounter the rare occasion when it happens.

    By pjharvey on Dec 18, 2011

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