Caught in a bubble

5th February 2012 – 3.03 pm

Another day, another chance to repair my security status. Scanning out of the home system finds a class 3 w-space system with an exit to low-sec empire space, which leads to the Domain region. One pilot shares the system with me, replaced by another, but then I'm alone with some anomalies and I start popping a few rats. Another pilot enters the system within a couple of minutes, though, and I move on. Today I'll loop around low-sec, as the region seems quiet. I manage to get a minute or two by myself in a few systems along my route that lets me pop some rats here and there, but I eventually run out of steam, either with pilots in the system making me too cautious to enter anomalies or a lack of anomalies forcing me to move on.

I make my way home with a fair few small increases in my security status, but still far short of where it was before destroying a single cruiser in low-sec. I'm not impressed with how much time and effort it is taking to gain security status compared with how quick and easy it is to be penalised. And whilst exiting to known space may offer different opportunities occasionally, I know I'll be much more wary about engaging ships there because of the hit my security status will take, compared to the freedom of action available in w-space. If I had to shoot Sleepers for a week for every capsuleer ship I popped, I'd not be doing either. I go off-line for the day having achieved little.

A new day in w-space has evidence that a fleet has passed through the home system. All but one anomaly has been vaporised, leaving little profit for us to realise. If only I could spend iskies to increase my security status, I'd have been out here shooting the Sleepers myself instead of looking for crappy empire rats. Never mind, the fleet has come and gone, not even leaving their K162 to find, so I'm once more jumping through our static wormhole to the neighbouring class 3 system. Hullo, lots of ships and ECM drones could indicate activity, even if they share my directional scanner with a tower. Marauders, battleships, mining barges, and industrials are all visible, but also all coincident with the tower, according to a narrow d-scan beam.

Locating the tower indeed finds all the ships and no pilots, the ECM drones scattered amongst the tower's defences teasingly. Oh well, I'm back to scanning. Launching probes, I bookmark the lone anomaly and poke through the thirteen signatures, which are mostly radar and magnetometric sites, their weak signals making scanning time-consuming today. I find just the one wormhole, an exit to low-sec, and jumping through it puts me in a rather busy system in the Metropolis region. That it is a low-sec island surrounded by high-sec perhaps explains the traffic, but I won't be doing any ratting here.

I make a safe spot in the low-sec system, launch probes, and scan. Ignoring the three anomalies gives me five signatures, four of which are of the 'unknown' type. Whilst in w-space this guarantees finding a wormhole I know that empire space is a cruel mistress, and I resolve three Angel rat bases before finally coming across another wormhole, a K162 from class 2 w-space. That's a good result, as the second static connection in the C2 will lead to more w-space, continuing the constellation further. And I need it too, as the C2 itself is occupied but empty, but thankfully kept tidy. Scanning the six signatures doesn't take long and finds me a connection to more class 2 w-space amongst the rocks and gas.

I jump in to C2b to a clear d-scan result. I launch probes and perform a blanket scan of the system, warping to a distant planet as I arrange the probes. I find the sole ship in the system by serendipitously landing outside a tower moments before my probes give me the same result, the Helios covert operations boat sitting stationary inside the force field. Except it's not inside the force field but far outside of it, and for some reason lodged in a warp bubble. This is convenient, as I warp to the bubble to get close to the Helios, but it is also dangerous, as I am probably in range of the tower defences and I know what happens when a tower gets its grip on a strategic cruiser. But a sitting duck is too tempting to ignore.

I move towards the still-stationary Helios, not concerned about getting trapped in the warp bubble myself, because of the interdiction nullifier subsystem on my Tengu. However, I remain cloaked and cautious, as I don't want to use my micro warp drive and have my signature radius flare up to make my ship easier to lock-on to. I manoeuvre close enough to the Helios before decloaking so that my normal speed will have our ships bump together and prevent mutual cloaking, and wait what feels an age for the recalibration delay to dissipate before locking on to the smaller ship. It still refuses to move as I start shooting, but I'm moving. I pull back from my target, now that the positive lock prevents it cloaking, so that as soon as the poor pilot is thrown in to space I am far enough away to cloak again.

Cloaking breaks any current attempt to lock on to my ship, which I am expecting the automated tower defences to be doing, but it only needs to be for a moment. Lock attempts broken, I decloak again, wait a second time for the recalibration delay, and set my sights on the pod. I get a positive lock and the pod sits nice and still for me whilst I crack it open to get to the frozen corpse inside. I suspect the pilot may have tried to flee but was flummoxed by being in a warp bubble. Now she's ready to be scooped, once I cloak again to keep my Tengu safe from the tower's defences. I make a second approach and scoop the corpse, and loot and shoot the wreck to complete my assault.

That was a pleasant diversion, and I'm glad I was able to avoid the ire of the tower defences. Now I have the ire of my combat scanning probes, as they show me twenty-three anomalies and twenty-seven signatures. A quick look for wormholes finds a nice static connection to class 1 w-space, which makes me forget the rest of the signatures and recall my probes. There's no one to find in the C1, though, and a quick scan only finds two connections to high-sec empire space, one a K162 reaching the end of its life, the other the system's static wormhole. I jump through the static connection to be in the Genesis region, where scanning reveals no more wormholes but a Blood Watch site, where some rats are waiting for me to pop them.

A podding and an increase in my security status, that sounds like a good afternoon to me. Even better, on my way home I spot a canister on d-scan in C2a labelled with a request to contact a specific capsuleer. That's intriguing, I wonder if he's lost and wants help, or is looking to extort the locals for ISK or he'll attack their tower. I think it's worth starting a conversation and seeing what he wants. Nothing, apparently, except for me to shoot the can. 'Friends' of his planted the canister in the system ages ago—in a pretty distant safe spot too, one I have no hope of finding—and he continues to get occasional messages to this day. From people like me, I suppose. He's good natured about it all, at least, so I apologise and let him get back to his business, and I continue on my way home.

  1. 2 Responses to “Caught in a bubble”

  2. This title scared me for a second, I thought you got bubbled in a null anom running Drake or something.

    By Planetary Genocide on Feb 5, 2012

  3. And, as a result, one of my better post titles, I would say.

    By pjharvey on Feb 5, 2012

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