Crashing, collapsing, and crashing some more

4th July 2012 – 5.52 pm

Yesterday's tough target was a little too much for me, and tonight I'm hoping for something softer than a salvager escorted among Sleepers. But what's this? My scanning probes are showing me that all our profitable anomalies are gone, and I didn't even get to shoot anyone! Some honeypots they turned out to be. At least Fin and I managed to extract a nice chunk of ISK out of some of them whilst we could. The new signature in the home system isn't even the wormhole of our recent visitors, and just some rocks, so all I can do is press forwards through our static wormhole to look for someone to shoot.

The neighbouring class 3 w-space system looks like any other, with a tower on my directional scanner but no ships in sight. My last visit was only five days ago—that's five days real time, two days Tiger Ears time—so I can reasonably expect the two towers in my notes to be in the same positions. As I check my notes an Impairor appears on d-scan, but by the time I am able to check the nearest tower the frigate has gone. I warp across to the second tower, out of d-scan range, but the Impairor isn't there either. It's definitely time to scan.

This is a huge system. You'd think I'd remember this fact, but I think Aii did all the scanning last time and I just piggy-backed on his work to skip past in to more interesting systems. The 135 AU radius forces me to perform two blanket scans to cover all the space, which today I consider preferable to splitting my probe coverage, and there are only five signatures and a sole anomaly to find. No ships is disappointing, but I'm expecting the Impairor to have passed through, indirectly guiding me to an active system.

I resolve gas, rocks, a wormhole, and what the hell happened to the other signature? Never mind, it is well-established that I can't count, so I'll ignore it, particularly as repeated blanket scans confirm there is nothing more to see here. The one wormhole, which I know leads to high-sec empire space, is disappointing too. I exit w-space anyway, appearing in Devoid and seven hops from Amarr, but I can't think of any reason to go shopping at the moment, and scanning finds just the one weak signature that turns out to be rocks. That was totally worth resolving.

It's been a while since I've resorted to this, but my best option is once again to collapse our static wormhole. I grab an Orca from our tower and throw the industrial command ship this way and that through the connection, hard enough to crash the ship on its return. The only consolation from having to restart the Orca's systems is that by the time I recover and am back on-line my polarisation has dissipated and I can make the second jump. Even better, my glorious leader arrives after the return trip, letting us coordinate one last jump. Fin boards the Orca, I get in to a Widow black ops ship, and we warp out to kill the wormhole.

Collapsing the connection would work better if I could decloak, but my Widow isn't responding. Actually, it is, as my weapons and offensive modules will activate and prepare for target lock, and my reheat refuses to engage because of the active cloak, but at least it is responding. My cloak, however, is stuck on. This is stupid and not helping my mood, but I reboot the ship and try again. Now I can decloak, activate my reheat, and make a final trip through this damnable wormhole. Fin follows me home and the connection implodes, leaving us isolated again.

If only we had some anomalies to burn through, we could get richer, but we're back to exploring. The new wormhole is resolved, and the C3 it leads to has a tower, Hurricane battlecruiser, and Anathema covert operations boat on d-scan. That's better than the previous one. My notes from five weeks ago indicate two towers being here, but they should both be in d-scan range so at least one is gone. Checking the other finds that gone too, so it's all change. Locating the new tower finds the Hurricane piloted, the Anathema disappeared.

I launch probes and perform a blanket scan to see a pretty bare system, holding only three signatures and one anomaly that wasn't here a minute ago. I resolve a wormhole, which I suspect is the static exit to high-sec, and when I go to check it I think the Hurricane is warping out of the tower. Nope, that's me, you idiot, our relative speeds caused by my warping away from the tower. But the wormhole is the static connection, and it's joined by a second wormhole, a rather nifty K162 from class 2 w-space.

I would normally be straight through that C2 K162 and looking for soft targets, but today I take a different route, crashing my ship instead. I find it spices up the normal w-space routine by dropping your cloak and making your otherwise covert scouting blindingly obvious to anyone within d-scan range. But I only do this once, or the novelty wears off, and I return briefly to C3a to see core probes in the system before I jump successfully to C2a. And it's all change in this system too. A single tower from a month ago has become three. Two towers are in range of the wormhole, a third when investigating the first two.

A Retriever mining barge floats unpiloted at one tower, a Prowler transport unpiloted at a second, and no ships at the third means I don't even look for its location, not with a Cheetah on d-scan in empty space. The ship spurns its covert operations designation and declines to cloak, giving me enough time to get an approximate bearing and range, and to decide to launch probes and see if I can catch it. But by the time my probes are ready, after having warped out of range so as not to be quite so obvious, the Cheetah is gone. Cloaked, presumably, as his position seems too far from a celestial object to be anything but a safe spot.

I scan where the Cheetah was anyway, being that stubborn, and pick up a signature. Okay, so the ship was sitting on a wormhole. Finding the connection does me no good now, and not just because it's another exit to high-sec. Engaging on a wormhole to high-sec gives a rather basic escape route to pretty much any ship, so I doubt even a surprised cov-ops boat would have fallen to my Loki. Plus, we have another route to high-sec. 'Feast or famine', says Fin, highlighting the number of convenient routes we've had recently. We've made the most of them, though, which is crucial for w-space living. But with no active pilots in the constellation, too many crashes already, and my exploration itch scratched, I'm calling it a night.

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