Finding the right hole

14th July 2012 – 3.39 pm

Mission: find targets continues where it left off yesterday. I have no support from Fin or Aii at the moment, but that just lets me scout ahead and get in to position for their arrival. I scan the home system, activate a new ladar site, and jump through our static wormhole. The neighbouring class 3 w-space system gives me a dull start, with a tower to see but no ships, and a couple of crashes adds frustration to the dullness. I am able to keep my ship running long enough to ignore rocks and gas, twice, to resolve only the one wormhole, which is a static exit to low-sec empire space.

Leaving w-space puts me in the Solitude region, where scanning holds two extra signatures. Please be kind, low-sec. A ladar site is distinctly uninteresting, but the second signature is thankfully a K162 from more class 3 w-space. That'll do, pig. I'd even jump in and take a look, if my ship didn't crash on approach to the wormhole, and when I get my systems back on-line I hold to check a new contact in low-sec. The capsuleer is from a wormhole corporation and, sure enough, appears by the K162 in a Legion strategic cruiser and jumps to w-space. I give him a minute to get clear of the wormhole, and follow.

All is clear in the C3 on the connection and on my directional scanner. The system map shows me plenty of empty space, so I make a safe spot and launch probes before checking to see if the towers that were here a year ago remain. One does, and it holds a Thanatos carrier and Exequror cruiser, neither piloted. However, four ships light up my combat probes, and I want to find these extra ships. What extra ships, my probes say, after I perform a second blanket scan. I've missed whatever happened, but maybe whoever it was went to low-sec. I plant my ship on the exit wormhole and start to scan.

I ponder the three anomalies and nine signatures in the system and consider the likelihood of there being K162s. I would say so, given that the Legion I saw isn't local. Here's a wormhole now, and a ship sitting on it too, of all the luck. No one comes my way to low-sec, though, and they most likely saw my probes, which is pretty bad timing. And now there are lots of probes on d-scan, which stops me exploring beyond the K162 to class 5 w-space, just in case whoever is scanning happens to be sitting on this connection as they do.

A pod appears on d-scan and, if the pilot's name is accurate, she's local. I warp to the tower to see the pod there, and boarding an Apocalypse battleship. With no second thoughts, the battleship is in warp to low-sec. I wonder if the pilot is moving ships out of w-space, and if we can catch her next export, particularly as Aii has turned up, but before I wonder too much I notice the Legion has reappeared next to me on the exit to low-sec. I suppose he saw the Apocalypse too, which may scupper our attempts at a clean ambush. Then again, we could strike the Legion itself. But as we are trying to get Aii in to a suitable ship the strategic cruiser warps away and cloaks.

Well, I can still hold on the U210 and wait for the pilot local to this C3 to return and hopefully export another ship. Hey, look at this, I've found a new way to wait for nothing to happen. I don't know why it takes so long, as nothing's already happening, but still I wait. I should have my 'mission accomplished' banner raised and be going home by now. But, nope, I continue to wait. And here's Fin to wait with me. Actually, she can make waiting more efficient. Fin comes to monitor low-sec as I check what's happening in the C5.

Jumping in to the system has me unmolested, and d-scan shows me two towers and a Legion. Locating the tower has a Bestower hauler appear, and warping closer to more planets shows there to be at least six towers in the system. The Legion is not the one I've seen already either, so there are certainly a few pilots floating around, and more when an Iteron hauler and second Bestower appear in a different tower. I warp to the wormhole, hoping to catch a hauler heading to empire space, but I see instead a pod of another new contact jump in to the C5 and warp away.

More towers, more ships, more pilots. And more movement. None of it I can reliably follow or catch. It's difficult to see what's happening with nine towers split across three planets, at least one of the three being out of d-scan range at any one time. Fin's moved in to C3b and is sitting on the wormhole to C5a, and she sees a Guardian logistics ship and Legion jump past her, at which point I note that they warp to different towers. There is lots of movement, and we should be able to catch something, but it isn't until a Helios covert operations boat jumps to C3b and warps not towards the exit to low-sec that we realise that perhaps there is another wormhole to find. I should go back and scan again.

Scanning does indeed find another connection, and a promising one at that. The K162 from class 2 w-space will hold a second static wormhole, this one to k-space, and it may well be in that direction the pilots are heading. Not only that, but there is a tower holding a Drake battlecruiser, Kestrel frigate, and Buzzard cov-ops, all piloted, hiding on the edge of the system, so we could even see some action here. I sit on the wormhole to C3b, Fin sits on the other side, and between us we should be able to intercept a C5er. The C2 Drake appears on d-scan and vanishes, perhaps through the same k-space connection, which likely goes to high-sec. I should scan here too.

Four signatures take no time to resolve, giving me two ladar sites and the expected exit to high-sec. No wonder the C5 pilots are coming this way instead of to low-sec. We even have a new contact in a Thrasher destroyer in the tower of the C2 and a Heron frigate scanning. There is plenty happening, we just need to be in the right place. And I don't think we're quite there yet. No obvious contacts are in the high-sec system, the C2 pilots refuse to do anything, and checking the connection to C5a has Fin see a Loki strategic cruiser jumping through the wormhole. We're still looking in the wrong direction!

Another contact in a Legion jumping past Fin and warping away doesn't have it jump to me in the C2, so there must be another wormhole in C3b. I return and scan properly this time, dammit, made easier by warping in readiness to the C5 K162. Not only do I see an Oracle jump in to C3b, but I see which direction the battlecruiser warps away from the wormhole. I've got you now. I position my probes in the direction the Oracle went, and resolve a wormhole in two scans. Curiously, it turns out to be an N968 connection to more class 3 w-space, so either there is a better high-sec connection in C3c, the C5ers don't know about the C2, or there is still another wormhole I haven't found. Spolier alert: it's option c.

Right above the N968 is the missing link, yet another wormhole, this one a K162 leading in directly from high-sec empire space. Fancy that. The connection has even been stressed to half-mass, just as the C5 wormhole now is. The good news is that we've finally found the wormhole the C5ers are using to move ships, no thanks to my lackadaisical scanning. The bad news is that we have no intermediate system or wormhole we can use to ambush them away from their own static connection. Even so, now we know where they are and where they are going. We're going to catch something or die trying.

  1. One Response to “Finding the right hole”

  2. Ooooooooooo can't wait for the next installment".............

    By Barrak on Jul 14, 2012

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