Wormhole crashers

13th July 2012 – 5.58 pm

Right, let's find a target or two to shoot. Positive thinking will get us a kill, I'm sure of it. There are no ships and no K162 wormholes in the home system—and I double-check this time—so I head outwards to our neighbouring class 3 w-space system. My directional scanner showing me a tower with no ships is not a great start, but maybe this C3 is simply a stepping stone to where the action is, giving us a staging zone. I'm sticking with this positive thinking malarky, at least until my notes show that I was here four months ago and that the static exit leads to low-sec empire space, at which point I automatically assume I'll find myself in Aridia. No, stop it! I'll find some targets.

My notes also point me towards the tower in the class 3 system, but they really needn't have bothered. Opening the system map to warp to the tower shows the system almost bereft of moons. Only two of the six planets have a moon, and even then it's just the one each. And with the entire system covered by the range of d-scan there really isn't any difficulty in warping directly to the tower. But before I do, I launch probes and start scanning. Sixteen anomalies are bookmarked, in case the locals turn up, and seven signatures are resolved, to give rocks, gas, a radar site, and two wormholes. As the second wormhole is a T405 outbound connection to class 4 w-space, circumstances are improving already.

It just gets better. Jumping in to C4a has a couple of battleships on d-scan, along with a tower and some core probes. I start a passive scan of the system whilst adjusting d-scan to look for wrecks. There are no dead Sleepers yet, and now the ships are changing. A pair of heavy interdictors and a Pilgrim recon ship are somewhere in the system, with no battleships to be seen, and seconds later there are two recon ships and the Onyx. It's all activity, but just nothing I can tackle alone, so I cloak and hold my position on the wormhole for now.

No ships head my way initially, letting me see that my notes for this system are probably useless. My last visit was over two years ago, and it was me that time in the heavy interdictor as I podded a mining Hulk exhumer. It's all change now, and more changes are occurring, presumably at the tower, as nothing has come to this K162 yet. The ships drop off d-scan, so I could take a look around, as it seems that the locals have found something. Probably me, in fact, as an Anathema covert operations boat appears near the K162 and, after a minute's reflection, jumps to C3a.

I don't try to catch the cov-ops this time, trying desperately to learn my many lessons from before about not revealing myself to a slippery target so I can try to catch a stickier one that remains oblivious to my presence. Hoping the Anathema will report back and get some ships in to the C3 to fight the Sleepers, I locate the tower in C4a. And I find it just in time to see the cloaked fleet return, at which point the pilots all swap back to battleships. The Tempest, Armageddon, and Megathron head straight back out of the tower towards the K162. Maybe they are going to shoot Sleepers, and all I have to do now is wait for the Anathema to return and slip in to a Noctis.

W-space life is rarely so generous, and tonight is not an exception. A Scorpion is the last ship to leave the tower, and I follow it to the wormhole only to have the rest of the fleet pass me on their way back to the tower. No Sleepers for them, it looks like, but rather crashing the unwelcome wormhole. This is pretty much confirmed when the Scorpion jumps to C3a, destabilising the wormhole to half-mass, and returns immediately. This isn't much of a threat, as I can leave now and not be followed, with all of the pilots polarised, but maybe we can be a threat to this collapsing operation. 'We', because my glorious leader has arrived.

I give Fin a sitrep, which is quite a burst of information to take in, and we try to work out what we can do. Sadly, it seems we can't do much. If one set of round trips has reduced the wormhole to its half-mass state, then a second set will collapse it. We won't be able to engage the ships on the C3-side of the wormhole, and if we followed we wouldn't be polarised but we would be trapped if the wormhole collapses. Fin has the best suggestion, which is to try to disrupt their mass calculations by passing through a ship or two of our own, and she readies our wormhole-collapsing heavy interdictor to throw a spanner in the works. Our timing may just be a little off, though, as here come the ships again.

The wormhole flares and the Megathron appears before jumping back. Another flare and the wormhole destabilises to critical levels. The Anathema seen earlier takes his cue, and decloaks and returns to the C4, after which an Armageddon sheds its session-change cloak and jumps home. But the wormhole remains. Fin is coming to the C3 to put our plan in to action, maybe now with a chance of isolating one of their ships here, but when the next ship through the wormhole is the Broadsword HIC it looks not only like they know what they're doing but that pushing our Devoter through would only help them in their task.

The Broadsword returns through the wormhole, draining the connection of its remaining mass, and I watch as the implosion leaves nothing for Fin to warp to but empty space. That was almost exciting, I suppose. It was certainly quick. And even though I found some targets I now need to find some more. Sadly, the exit to low-sec leading to the Khanid region doesn't provide any, as the ratting Drake battlecruisers are protected by an acceleration gate, and the system holds no more wormholes. We try to start again, collapsing our own wormhole, but connection issues have Fin struggling to return home from the C3, and if we can't change systems reliably we probably shouldn't be getting in to any fights. We abort the operation for tonight, knowing we'll have a fresh wormhole tomorrow.

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