Chase the whale

3rd February 2012 – 5.49 pm

Glorious leader Fin has arrived; what to do, what to do. Well, what to do once I've got all the excitement of two Hulk exhumer kills out of my system. And talking about getting out of the system, I leave the scene of the crime and jump back to the first class 4 w-space system, warp across it, and jump to our neighbouring class 3 system. The unoccupied system remains clear but even though my targets and their colleagues have gone off-line we cannot ignore the incoming connection to this C3 that makes it less safe. Rather than collapse our static wormhole, and deny us the null-sec exit and the ratting possibilities this C3 promises, we decide to collapse the connection between C3a and C4a, taking two Widow black ops ships outside of the home system.

The operation sounded good to start with, but once the wormhole destabilises to half-mass I realise that we are collapsing a wormhole in rather expensive ships, neither of which are fitted with scanning probes, without a guaranteed escape route should something go awry. It seems we've not entirely thought through this plan, giving it the Penny hallmark. Even so, the actual collapse is going to plan, which is a good indicator that Fin is behind the practical aspect of the operation. With one final return trip planned I head home for a scouty Tengu, the strategic cruiser hopefully providing a safety net should the final jump go wrong. Thankfully it doesn't, and we both end up in C3a with the connection to C4a now severed. We can look for the exit to null-sec k-space now and make some ISK and security status gains.

I launch probes and start sifting through the signatures, ignoring rocks, gas, seeing a Probe frigate—that's weird. Actually, no, what's weird is that it's now an Orca industrial command ship. That's quite a transformation. And it's gone. I think I've got a touch of the space madness until the Orca reappears, but I can't pin down the ship as it seems to be in continual warp. I haven't so far tried to hide my probes, being caught somewhat unawares initially, and no doubt the pilot has seen them and is keeping on the move so that I can't interrupt... whatever it is he's doing here. The C3 is unoccupied, only an off-line tower on the outskirts of the system, and as far as I can tell there are no new signatures that would indicate a new wormhole has opened.

The Orca is on and off my probes, in my d-scan boresight and gone. Maybe this capsuleer is a nomad and is wandering system to system, or perhaps has set himself up a floating platform in the Orca for a simple planetary interaction base. I guess that he's perhaps collecting planet goo and stalk one of the customs offices, choosing not to warp between them in a fruitless pursuit this time, and an alerted Fin is back in the system and in a stealth bomber around a different customs office. But my probes have probably worried the Orca in to delaying his plans, as he continues to warp from safe spot to safe spot, the Probe frigate making an occasional appearance, along with a jet-can.

My waiting at the customs office is not going to bring the Orca to me. I bring my probes back in to the system and make a best guess at where I've seen the big ship so far. One scan gets a rough position, a second scan finally gets a 100% hit on the massive Orca, and I get rid of my probes once more as I warp in. The pilot must have seen my probes converge on his position again, as I drop out of warp to see only an abandoned jet-can. Then again, I have found one of his safe spots, and one with something left behind. I remain cloaked, as does Fin, now joining me by the canister, and we can wait here to see if the Orca returns. If he does, we can strike.

Of course, the Orca doesn't return. We can't be that lucky. It appears on d-scan again, giving me a chance to get a good estimate on its bearing and range from d-scan, and although I hope to use that information to use my probes to scan a second safe spot of his the Orca disappears and this time is gone for good. It's quite possible the Probe also seen remains in the system cloaked somewhere, and without a capsuleer name we can neither confirm nor deny that, but he won't be seeing much information either as both Fin and I remain cloaked. Well, I do. Fin's curiosity gets the better of her, and with the Orca looking to be well and truly gone she takes a peek inside the jet-can in the found safe spot. 'Helium. 51,000 units of helium.' That's worth nicking.

We wait a few more minutes, during which I pass the time by finally finding the static exit to null-sec, and Fin heads home to get a Crane transport ship. She returns to the C3, warps to the canister, and transfers the helium to her hold, claiming it as our own. As Fin hauls the twenty million ISK of goods home I poke my nose out to null-sec, finding myself in a system in the Stain region with one other pilot. There are even a few anomalies in the system, but it's all a bit late to do much now. I can't complain. I destroyed two Hulks and chased an Orca. It's been an exciting and productive evening.

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