Chasing gets me chased

30th December 2011 – 5.36 pm

I'm out for a quick poke around w-space, to see if anyone is being careless. Not at home they're not, where all is as expected. I resolve our static wormhole and jump through. The neighbouring class 3 system looks imposing, with three stealth bombers and one well-equipped tower visible on my directional scanner. Then again, a visible stealth bomber can't be that imposing unless it appears unexpectedly in front of you. Or behind you, I suppose. My point is that as they are persisting on d-scan then they are probably not piloted. What is more interesting, however, is that I am in d-scan range of only one planet, the second planet of the system. That suggests a curious system.

Opening the system map shows how curious the system is. Comprising just two planets, the system's only moons are around this second one, and the inner, bare planet is almost hugging the star some 20 AU away. It's an unusual system, but an easy one to scout. I can even warp away and launch probes out of range of the tower, just in case the Hound or either of the Nemesis stealth bombers is piloted. Performing a blanket scan reveals only the three ships I already know about, along with three anomalies and twelve signatures. I warp back to the second planet and locate the tower, with its eight hangars and five ship arrays, to see my initial assumption was right and that the ships are empty, letting me settle down to scan.

Wormhole, gas, rocks, rocks, ship—hullo. I swish my probes out of the system and back in to a blanket scanning configuration, and by the time I've done that the ship is gone. I was leaving the resolved wormhole unvisited for the time being, preferring to monitor the tower, but now I'm going to take a look. Unsurprisingly enough, it is a K162, so opened from the other side and most likely the source of the ship. The wormhole opens in from class 4 w-space but is quite wobbly, reaching the end of its natural lifetime, so I am not keen to venture through. Rather than return to the local tower I stay to loiter here, just in case a C4 dweller is looking to force the collapse of the wormhole early. I wouldn't mind getting temporarily isolated from the home system if it means I get to shoot an Orca.

No industrial command ship appears from the C4, not after any potential polarisation timer ends, and not after I complete a thorough scan of this C3. I find mostly rocks and gas, with a single magnetometric site that could be of interest later, and only one other wormhole. I check the second wormhole, at the risk of warping past a hauler returning from a quick last trip to market, to drop out of warp next to an exit to low-sec. I could now head back to wait on the wormhole from the C4 but I suspect that a pilot has either already returned, and I detected his jump home, or is still out. I jump through the wormhole to low-sec to see what's out there.

I appear in the Genesis region, two other pilots in the low-sec system with me. One of the pilots is called Scanny McGee and belongs to a w-space corporation, so I suspect I've found my scanner probe blip. I move away from the wormhole and cloak, shortly after which Scanny appears in his Helios and jumps in to the C3. I decloak and follow behind, knowing that covert operations boats are difficult to catch in normal circumstances, more so when not in a suitable boat, and almost impossible when piloted competently. Sure enough, Scanny McGee moves away from the wormhole and cloaks with what looks like practiced ease, leaving me nothing to aim for.

I warp across the system to the K162 he'll presumably be heading for, keeping my Tengu decloaked if only because there seems little point in trying to hide my intentions now. The Helios indeed appears in front of my ship again and jumps through to the C4, and again I follow. We re-enact the previous wormhole scene but this time in dangerous w-space, his cloaking and my burning and failing to bump in to his tiny ship, it probably entering warp before I'm even close. Now I cloak, as I punch d-scan and check the results. There's a tower, a Badger hauler, and a Legion strategic cruiser. I wonder if that Legion will respond to—yep, here he is, dropping out of warp on the wormhole.

The Legion starts orbiting the wormhole, most likely trying to get lucky and decloak me. I am ready to risk the EOL wormhole collapsing by staying here for four minutes more, preferring to shirk off any polarisation effects that may work to my disadvantage if I jump back too early and am caught than lose my ship stupidly, when in his bid to uncover me the Legion unwisely moves too far from the wormhole to jump quickly. I take the opportunity to decloak and jump back to the C3, glad that I weighed the risks and assessed the situation, as I am spat out well under two kilometres from the wormhole. But the Legion's errant movements have given me plenty of time to move clear of the wormhole and cloak safely, at which point I order full stop and sit to monitor the connection.

The wormhole flares behind me, after a longer period of time than I was expecting. It is not the Legion that has followed me but a new contact in a Loki strategic cruiser, presumably with the Legion still sitting on the other side of the wormhole for maximum threat. He seems confident about the life left in the dying connection, or knows he has an exit and can be guided back home, but isn't straying far from it. I do nothing but watch and wait, and after a while the Loki returns to the C4. It looks like the system is clear again and I doubt any other ships will venture through that connection.

I bounce off the tower in this C3, seeing no change from earlier, before heading to low-sec to scan. The only wormhole I find in the low-sec system is also EOL and not worth the trouble of exploring beyond, and my little two-pronged chase has sated my appetite for excitement for now, so I feel no need to shoot rats in either the magnetometric or radar site I also resolve. One last look at the tower in the C3 and the K162 from the C4 shows no change in the status of either, so I jump home and go off-line to grab a bite to eat.

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