Warping instead of waiting

18th June 2012 – 5.44 pm

What's in w-space today? Or, more importantly, who? Not Fin, not at the moment, but as we're in the same corporation it's kinda cheating to assert that so confidently. No one in the home system either, at least according to my combat scanning probes. All we have are some more gas clouds. To look for targets I resolve our static wormhole and jump to the neighbouring class 3 w-space system, although a tower with no ships appearing on my directional scanner doesn't give a promising start to my evening's exploration. Then again, my last visit here two months ago had me popping a Tengu with our ship-killer Legion, one strategic cruiser destroying another as it engaged Sleepers solo. Four anomalies are present in the C3 for me to try the same today, but only if a pilot turns up first.

Until a local appears, I'll get myself scanning. Ten signatures don't take long to sift through, even if I take the time to bookmark each site as a possible place of ambush. By the fifth gravimetric site I have to wonder why I'm resolving them all, instead of ignoring them and moving on, because a majority of sites of the same type would logically indicate the least-visited type, and so hardly a likely place to catch a local. But I ignore my genius intellect and resolve them all regardless. I'm smart like that. I'm perked up a little by two wormholes being in the system, but the second is only a K162 from high-sec empire space. The first is, naturally, an exit to low-sec.

I head to low-sec, appearing in a dead end in Kador and by myself. I'll rat and scan, or scan and rat. Or not much of either. One additional signature turns out to be a radar site, and the rock fields here only have puny frigates that are barely worth the cost of missiles it would take to pop them. There are a few anomalies, though, so I warp my way to one of them but turn right around when I get there. A C3er has entered the system. I don't get to see his ship on d-scan, or see if he came or went from w-space, so I warp to the wormhole and jump to C3 to try to work it out.

There are no ships on d-scan in C3a, and holding my session change cloak until it sheds itself has no ships appearing, so the pilot probably isn't trying to hide from me. I would say the pilot came from this system and exited to low-sec, leaving that system using the stargate. Why he didn't use the connection to high-sec is explained by the speed with which he appeared in and exited the w-space system, as he must be using previously created bookmarks and the K162 is a new addition that he's unaware of. Either that, or he really digs Kador. The question now is whether he'll be quick in coming back or not.

Even if the C3er comes back soon, I don't know what he's flying. I think I'd do better to ditch my scanning Tengu and instead lurk in a stealth bomber. Anything I'd engage in a covert scanning Tengu I'd take on in a Manticore, and the same goes for whatever I'd let pass. The Manticore just gives me a quicker locking time in a cheaper ship. I swap ships back at our tower and head out to low-sec where, because the system is a dead end, I loiter cloaked by the only stargate in the system. I may as well identify the ship as soon as I can. That is, if he returns. And if I haven't missed him. Cats need feeding, after all. Um, I mean exotic dancers.

I wait, and wait, and wait. There's not really much more I can do. I suppose I could scan the high-sec system connecting in to C3a, or collapse our static wormhole to start again. So there is more I can do. I'm still ignoring you, brain. But there comes a time when you have to admit nothing's coming. This isn't it. I'm just saying, there comes a time. And it's getting closer. But there's a stargate activation, and there's the same pilot from the C3 appearing in the local communication channel. I get ready to give chase and—no, no, no! Cancel! Cancel! Dammit, cancel!

Well, that was pretty dumb. I didn't engage in front of the gate guns, not being quite that stupid, but I saw the pilot appear in a shuttle and decide that I need to be quick to catch him, so warped to zero on the wormhole. What I should have done was listen to my brain for once, which was telling me that I really won't catch the shuttle, as I should know from experience, so rather than give chase I should just watch and see if the pilot makes himself vulnerable in a different ship. Like, oh, I don't know, maybe a Tengu in an anomaly. It's even the same pilot of the Tengu I popped last time! But, no, I warp to zero, which will decloak me automatically and give away my presence for a stupid shuttle that I won't catch. And, being smart, I was aligned to the wormhole so that I would enter warp immediately. Which I did. So I can't cancel the command.

Not only do I give chase in a rather impetuous manner, but the shuttle pilot is being cautious. He doesn't warp to zero on the wormhole, which would actually be sensible for his agile ship, but he drops out of warp a hundred kilometres shy. So now he can see my stealth bomber sitting on his wormhole home, and I am too far away to do anything about it. My only real option is to burn hard and fast towards the shuttle, hoping he somehow isn't paying attention, and try to engage before his sloth-like reactions kick in. To be fair, I don't do too badly, getting to nearly fifty kilometres from the shuttle before it warps clear. I didn't even target the shuttle, in case a reciprocal target lock alerted the pilot early. But this would be game over.

Fin turns up and I share my embarrassment with her, and we both get to stalking the wormhole. I stay out of low-sec, so that I don't appear in local comms, and we loiter for whatever the pilot will bring back next. And we watch a Prowler transport that appears at the tower, but ultimately does nothing. The shuttle pilot returns, this time in a Tengu looking like it's fit for Sleeper combat, and a second pilot jumps in to the C3 a little while later in a Noctis salvager, which Fin's not alert to on the wormhole and I can do nothing about cloaked outside the tower.

It's a shame about the Noctis, although one has to think that the locals will talk to each other and that it would have had warp core stabilisers fitted for its passage home. What's more of a shame is that I still refuse to think most of the time. The Noctis strips down to a pod and exits to low-sec again, yet still Fin and I wait in our Tengu and Manticore. The locals know about my Manticore, they won't bring in a ship vulnerable to it, but we are one jump away from a hangar full of ships. And a cloaky Legion in particular. So rather than look on wistfully from my stealth bomber at the Legion the C3ers bring in to w-space from low-sec I should have been in the strategic cruiser and blowing the crap out of the other ship.

Silly, silly Penny. My only solace comes from Fin, who tells me that at least I may have educated the locals during my last visit. But that would mean I've taught the wrong people! They should be as resistant to learning as I am, dammit. Maybe jotting down these thoughts will trigger some response the next time I'm in a similar situation, and I'll remember that I have more options than sitting ineffectively in the same ship. Come to think of it, I'm sure I remembered that on my last visit and actually swapped to an effective ship. I think I'm getting stupidlier. More stuper? Whatever. I'll blame it on my recent lack of targets dulling my combat sense. The Tengu at the tower in C3a warps to a safe spot in the system and goes off-line, which seems like a good idea. Time for bed.

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