Death to the wormhole

8th April 2012 – 3.27 pm

A new day. Nothing's happening in the home system, with the static wormhole being the only changed signature under my probes, which makes a pleasant change. With only one direction to go, I resolve our connection, warp to it, and, um. Oh. The wormhole is groaning like a Fenrir aligning to warp, it already being mass-destabilised, and to a critical degree. How could that be? Mak hasn't jumped her pod through as far as I'm aware. I suppose a passing fleet took exception to the connection and decided to collapse it. And then gave up when it proved too difficult. But if that's the case, where is the fleet? And where is their K162 in to our system?

Nothing's making sense at the moment. It seems plausible that a fleet scouts to empire space, decides they like our system enough to isolate it from the rest of the constellation, and destabilises the wormhole so that no one interrupts them. But interrupts them from what? All of our anomalies seem to be present, or at least enough to suggest no big fleet operation, so it doesn't look like any fleet has blitzed our system. The only explanation that makes sense is that they were interrupted early on, fled homewards, and then both the interlopers and their ambushers collapsed their connections to our system, the interlopers because they wanted a safe system and the ambushers because they didn't want to deal with the critical wormhole in our system.

Whatever's happened, I'm stymied until I can figure out what to do about the critical wormhole myself. I could try to collapse it safely using a heavy interdictor and the curious mass-reducing properties of its warp bubble, but there remains a slight chance of the wormhole collapsing as I jump to the class 3 w-space system, and I have no exit to known space at the moment. I really don't want to scan in a HIC, not having got quite used to dedicated scanning boats, so I think I need to take a scouting boat through first. I'll do that. I'll scout through the C3, resolve the exit wormhole for safety, then collapse our static wormhole with a HIC so that I can have a fresh wormhole and constellation all to myself.

I look in the hangar for a suitably small hull to scout in, but there's not much to choose from. It seems Fin and I are quite settled in our covert Tengu strategic cruisers. There are a couple of Buzzard covert operations boats that would be suitable, both for being low in mass and good at scanning, but neither have rigs fitted. Well, nothing ventured, nothing gained. I'll use my Tengu, and if the wormhole collapses on my outward jump then at least I am in a comfortable ship for the evening. I warp to the wormhole, jump through, and see what happens.

The wormhole is still standing. I also see a Catalyst destroyer, Iteron hauler, and tower on my directional scanner. The tower's in the same location as almost five months ago, when I was last here, but before I drop out of warp there the Catalyst is replaced by a Tengu on d-scan. Unsurprisingly, I find the Tengu piloted at the tower, the hauler sitting empty, and this C3 occupied by reds. We have a grudge with this corporation. Maybe I can score some points with management if this Tengu goes out to shoot Sleepers, and then I shoot his salvager. I don't see that happening, though, not when the Tengu goes off-line shortly after I formulate my devious plan. I'll scan instead.

Scanning my way through seven signatures is hardly a chore, and I resolve rocks, a K162 from class 4 w-space, some gas, the static wormhole to low-sec empire space, and two signatures I've suddenly stopped caring about. I exit to low-sec, appearing in the Placid region and not too close to anywhere. Stupid Gallente regions. Still, there's a good view of the cloud ring and I'm only three hops from high-sec, so it's a pretty good safety net. I jump back to w-space, take an opportunistic look in the C4, then return home when I see a tower and no ships on d-scan. There's no point wasting time scanning here when I could get myself a new system by collapsing our wormhole.

I activate my micro warp drive when jumping home, hoping that little addition of mass will be just enough to kill the connection. But no, I'm going to have to get the HIC out. Fin bought a Devoter and fitted it specifically to collapse critical wormholes, and I have the skills to pilot it. Lots of armour plating, a 100 MN reheat module, and three warp field disruption generators makes it ideal for exiting light and returning heavy. I warp to the wormhole, activate the bubbles, and jump with a ship with its mass reduced to below a kilotonne. Naturally, this is not enough to collapse the wormhole, but keeping the bubbles deflated and activating the oversized reheat on the way back, making the Devoter mass over 70 kt, may do it. Nope. I need another trip.

So far I've pushed my Tengu through the wormhole, once with the MWD engaged and once without, stressing the wormhole for 15 kt and 20 kt respectively. Now I've made a return trip in the Devoter, to stress the wormhole for approximately 70 kt. That's technically more mass than the our wormhole should withstand at critical mass, so I've got a chubby one here. That's not terribly important overall, because two trips with this wormhole-collapsing Devoter should kill our static wormhole when it's critically destabilised, however much mass it has left. And, to prove it, I make one more jump and job's a good 'un! The wormhole is gone.

Sadly, it was just the one more jump that collapses the wormhole, not a round trip. All three warp bubbles were active, the Devoter's mass was below a kilotonne, and even that was enough to kill a wormhole clinging on to life by the barest thread. Bastard. If the wormhole weren't dead, I'd kill it. There's not really much I could have done about that, though, so rather than write an angry letter to the editor of the Space Times I'll just thank myself for scanning—conveniently overlooking the fact that had I not scanned I could have made two return trips with the Devoter and killed the wormhole cleanly—and warp to the exit to low-sec.

I jump to empire space and take a look around. The system that was empty minutes ago is now bustling, a fleet perhaps on a roam through here. They're not on the wormhole and, pointing myself towards the first step to high-sec, they aren't on the stargate I want to use, so I make a run for it. And I run in to the fleet, as they jump to the same system I'm aiming for. I knew it was a possibility and I'll just have to deal with the consequences. I jump past a Raven battleship and Tengu, moments before they jump, and arrive in the next system amidst some other ships. I shed the session change cloak and get the HIC's own cloak active as soon as possible, happy to see the fleet warp off, and not in the direction of my next stargate. I suppose I am a bit scary being unknown and in a HIC in low-sec, or maybe the fleet is already chasing some other pilots.

With no one around to bother me I make it the next two jumps to get to high-sec, where I dock and make myself uncomfortable surrounded by other people. I think about waking Constance up and scanning the new constellation to get me home, but I don't bother. I could probably stand a day out in empire space, and there's little point in getting me home just for the sake of getting me home. Maybe I should have realised that the other day too. I have colleagues and connections. I'll get myself back to the home system tomorrow.

  1. 2 Responses to “Death to the wormhole”

  2. Doesn't take much training, to get a scout alt.
    Wondering why dont have one at home.

    By Ahn Riane on Apr 8, 2012

  3. Ah, that's the reference to Constance, my safety scout. You're right, though, it doesn't take much to get a scanning alt, and having one is almost a necessity in w-space.

    By pjharvey on Apr 8, 2012

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