Sticking to one system to hunt

20th June 2012 – 5.16 pm

The gas is gone again, only to replaced by more gas. Not much more, just a token pocket of gas, to give the impression we're more industrial than we actually are. And we have two wormholes again. I like that, and going with the change of pace I ignore our static connection and jump through the K162 to class 5 w-space. The J-number of this C5 seems familiar, but I don't think one visit two years ago really strikes a chord with me. I'm just seeing patterns, which is about all I'm seeing. I don't think anyone's been this way for hours. I'll take a look around all the same, but apart from a tower on a distant planet there's nothing in the system. I won't scan, just head home and through our static connection after all.

Two canisters are on my directional scanner from the K162 in C3a, which are probably related to the two off-line towers. And as the single planet out of d-scan range doesn't hold an active tower, I launch probes and scan in this desolate system. Two rather obvious wormholes resolve from signatures more than 4 AU from planets, and a couple more subtle connections appear in the middle the of system. For those playing at home, that's four wormholes. I have a K162 from high-sec empire space, a static exit to low-sec, a K162 from null-sec k-space, and—oh, what larks!—a K162 from deadly class 6 w-space. There is one of each security level of space, and the w-space version is a C6.

My options may be limited to leaving w-space or entering the C6, but before I make my choice I am reminded of the option of staying here, when a Heron appears on d-scan and launches probes. I don't see where the Heron starts his adventure, as I am in the system map orientating myself to the various wormholes I've resolved, but I should be able to track him across this C3 now. That is, once he finishes scanning. There may be only seven signatures here, but the Heron is a simple scanning frigate. The ship itself lacks some of the more sophisticated equipment for quicker scanning, and the pilot probably isn't fully trained yet either. I could be waiting a little while. But I'll wait, even for a pop at a Heron.

La la la, the probes come and the probes go until, finally, the Heron decloaks. I spin d-scan around and detect the frigate at the exit to low-sec. I throw my Tengu strategic cruiser in to warp, hoping I can be quick enough, but land by the wormhole with no Heron in sight. I work d-scan again and have the Heron near the C6 connection. Again, I give chase, but now I'm thinking I should have just stayed still. I am one step behind the Heron as it surveys the wormholes its resolved, and I should just stop and sit. The Heron visits the null-sec connection as I wonder which wormhole he's likely to jump through after visiting them all. He perhaps wants more w-space, and as the C6 is more scary than our own C4, he'll probably use our K162 first. I'll wait there.

The Heron drops off d-scan, so either I'm wrong or he's gone to reconnoitre the K162 from high-sec, which is quite distant. Sure enough, a minute later the Heron's back on d-scan and dropping out of warp on our K162. Good choice, sir. Madam, even. She's close to the wormhole and looking to jump, but maybe not quite close enough. Perhaps she bookmarked the cosmic signature from the scan result, not realising it differs from the locus of the wormhole itself. That works to my advantage, so I decloak, lock on to the Heron, and start shooting. She's clearly flustered, as a probe is accidentally pooped out of a launcher, but even a webbed frigate can cover a kilometre or two soon enough. She jumps through the K162 as I'm stripping her armour. That's okay, I can follow.

I jump to the home system and shed my session change cloak immediately, getting all my systems hot and waiting. The Heron bides its time. But she has to decloak eventually. Sensibly, she tries to run here, rather than jump right back and be in the same position but also polarised, and evades my targeting systems by cloaking. But I point my ship towards her last known position, pulse my micro warp drive, and bump in to her. Her cloak de-activates and I start to target as, aligned in preparation, she warps away. I see where she goes, and make a mistake in following her.

Warping to the planet is a fair idea, giving chase to my prey, but the frigate is faster than me. If she thinks I'm following she could feasibly bounce off the planet back to the wormhole and jump through before I'm half-way back myself, and so easily evade me through my own impetuous nature. I kick myself, turn around, and warp back to the wormhole. There's no Heron here, so I jump. There's no Heron here either. I wait for a minute but she's not holding her session change cloak as a bluff. She could be cloaked and pulling away from the wormhole until I can do nothing to her when she decloaks, or, more realistically, she bounced off the planet in our home system to another planet, not the wormhole, and is still in the C4. That makes more sense.

What also makes sense is the Heron being from low-sec, which is where I first placed the frigate when it was warping around the wormholes. Warping to visit the K162 from high-sec would have been unnecessary too had she come from there. So rather than wait on our K162 for the Heron to return I think my best plan is to sit on the U210 and surprise her there. All I have to do is wait a bit longer. And after a bit longer the Heron is back on d-scan. I narrow the beam and point it at our K162, but the Heron disappears. A wider d-scan beam has the Heron still in range, so it is warping somewhere, just not on a direct line to this wormhole. I point d-scan at the C6 K162 and see the Heron appear there. Okay, I'll go there.

The Heron is gone by the time I reach the K162 to C6a, but rather than make another mistake I simply sit C3-side. The Heron didn't see me on our home K162, nor on the C6 K162, so is probably thinking she's shaken my tail. That should work to my advantage. And it's not long before the wormhole in front of me flares. I decloak, get my systems ready, and realise I have decloaked my half-billion ISK cruiser in front of a C6 K162 with no real idea of what's just jumped through. I'm hoping it's the Heron, and thankfully it is. I gain another positive lock and start shooting again, this time with the frigate at half shields and armour, and probably polarised for another minute and unable to escape through the wormhole.

Popping the Heron is the inevitable result of my getting hold of her in this situation. And I catch her pod as it is ejected too, vicious pirate that I am turning her in to a corpse. Maybe I should feel guilty, particularly as there is an astrometric pinpointing skill book in the wreck, and I pitted my strategic cruiser against a frigate, but I don't. That's how I hunt in w-space. I scanned, reconnoitred, made good use of d-scan, and was patient. For my efforts I got an interesting and rewarding hunt, along with a new corpse for my collection. I scoop, loot, and shoot.

And with a bit of time left in the evening decide to see what the Heron found in the C6: two towers with a couple of dreadnoughts, a carrier, and some shuttles floating empty inside the force fields. Also like the Heron, I go back the way I came, but without someone waiting for me on the other side of the wormhole. I head home and bed down for the night, after a satisfying evening.

  1. 2 Responses to “Sticking to one system to hunt”

  2. you know I ignored your blog most of the time up until you posted this. i don't know why but that pic with the small containers caught my eye while zapping thru the recent blog entries in my rss feed reader and now what can I say except for this: i had a good read while reading this article and the one you posted today (the one with the badger)... slowly i'm even learning to understand what it must be like in w-space although i've never been in a wormhole before.

    i guess thats what you blogging folks are looking forward to: more serious readers ;) you've got one more now.

    By Big El on Jun 21, 2012

  3. It's good to have you aboard, Big El.

    By pjharvey on Jun 24, 2012

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