Diverting to high-sec

5th July 2012 – 5.17 pm

There's a Loki launching probes, and it's not mine. Pausing at the wormhole out of this class 2 w-space system to take one last glance at my directional scanner shows me the strategic cruiser new to the system, and that it's launching probes probably makes it covertly configured and not so tough a nut to crack. I was heading home, but I think I can wait and see if the Loki heads this way, particularly as my glorious leader is preparing a ship to greet it with force in the next system. Of course, an ambush would depend on the scout heading in this direction, and as I haven't scanned the current system I'm in I have no idea how many wormholes there are here, or even how many signatures there are that would keep the pilot busy.

There are definitely two wormholes in this w-space system, and not just because I'm in a C2. I'm sitting on one of the static wormholes already, which leads to the C3 that neighbours our home system, and I scanned the second static wormhole when a Cheetah sat on it in plain view for longer than can be considered healthy. Naturally, I didn't catch the covert operations boat, and not just because the wormhole it was on leads to high-sec empire space. The Cheetah disappeared—cloaked or jumped, I can't say—before I even got my probes launched. I just know it was on the wormhole because I scanned that general location anyway.

I mention the Cheetah, as we wait for the Loki, because he's back. I need to sit on the C2's static connection to class 3 w-space to watch for the Loki, but that doesn't stop me swinging d-scan around to check the exit to high-sec from where I am to see if the cov-ops is there again. And I think he is. I use a thirty degree d-scan beam to check, because I'm not opening the system map with the chance of a Loki decloaking near me, and the wormhole is in enough empty space that I only need to be rough. And given the blasé attitude the Cheetah showed the last time it sat on the wormhole, it may be worth warping over there and saying hello to him with my guns.

The Cheetah eventually disappeared the last time, so I ought to be quick. I tell Fin what I'm doing and warp over to the wormhole to high-sec. Sure enough, the Cheetah is sitting near the wormhole, not cloaked and not moving. Maybe he's not paying attention and I can pop him without fuss, or maybe he knows exactly what he's doing and will jump to high-sec at the first sign of trouble. It's kinda hard to tell. I want to try to bump the cov-ops away from the wormhole, to prevent a quick exit, but I don't want to decloak too far away from the ship and give the pilot time to react. I'm probably making this more difficult than it is, though.

I manoeuvre towards the Cheetah and, when close enough, decloak and activate my micro warp drive, hurtling my strategic cruiser towards the tiny boat. I give him a bit of a shunt as I gain a positive target lock, then wait for him to slow down so that my guns can hit him. I have a lot to learn about guns still. But once I have the Cheetah firmly in my sights the autocannons make short work of him, ripping apart the small hull. The Cheetah doesn't escape to high-sec and, despite the reduced session change timer, neither does the pod. My Loki locks on pretty quickly, and the guns are brutal against pods.

Scoop, loot, and shoot. One covert operations cloak goes in to my hold, the other doesn't fit and so is destroyed with the wreck. I have no idea why there are two to recover, and I'm not about to ask questions to a corpse. But it looks like an expensive kill. The Cheetah, its modules, and the implants in the capsuleer's head are estimated at a hundred million ISK, which makes this no disposable scanner for a change. Having left no trace of my ambush I cloak and warp back to the other wormhole, to wait once more for the Loki, wondering how much the other scout saw of the assault as it was happening.

Probes are still in the system as I return to the wormhole, and Fin has our ship-killer Legion strategic cruiser sitting on the other side of the connection. We are ready to hook a bigger fish. The probes disappear, and we wait, and we wait, and we wait. Fin jumps in to the C2 and reveals herself, hoping to provoke a reaction, but none comes. She warps to the connection to high-sec, jumps out of w-space and returns, coming back to the wormhole I'm waiting on, but still nothing. It's a bit disappointing.

That's probably all we're going to see tonight. There was a scout in C3a earlier, along with a stealth bomber, but we've seen nothing of them since we set up our meagre ambush. On a more positive note, checking the exit from the class 3 system shows it to be three hops from Amarr, and Fin has some gas to sell. She takes an Orca out to make us some iskies, and then spends it and more bringing back the industrial command ship full of fuel pellets. We have surplus in our hangar already, but it's wise to make use of good connections when we have them.

I hang around to scout for Fin, taking advantage of her time in high-sec to take a look around C2a, in case more pilots have turned up. The same Retriever mining barge and Prowler transport sit unpiloted in a couple of towers, the third tower remains empty, but I find a fourth tower on the far edge of the system that I hadn't discovered earlier, and it's bristling with ships. Ships, but no pilots. This fourth tower looks to be the home of the Cheetah too, which may explain the casual nature of the pilot in this system. But nothing's happening here and I'm needed in C3a, because Fin's coming home. The Orca returns without seeing any threats, and we get ourselves safely back to the home system for the night.

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