Death by aggression

6th August 2012 – 5.13 pm

The home system clutter is down to one pocket of gas, which looks much nicer. It is then increased to two pockets of gas as I scan, which is still better than before, and after I activate the new site I jump through the only wormhole to our neighbouring class 3 w-space system. A tower is joined on my directional scanner by some ships for a change, but I suspect the Rorqual capital industrial ship and Archon carrier are unpiloted. Locating the tower shows that indeed they are empty, much like the system itself. A blanket scan reveals one anomaly and four signatures, which is about what I expect for a system with a carrier for support.

Resolving the signatures gives me gas and two wormholes, which is a better result than it sounds. The static exit to low-sec empire space is joined by a K162 from class 2 w-space, but one that is reaching the end of its life. The link to low-class w-space is tempting, though, and all I have to do to mitigate the risk of isolating myself from the home system is use C3a's exit to low-sec, bookmark the way in, and if the EOL wormhole collapses I can still get back. And with my route home almost guaranteed, I can experience the disappointment of jumping in to C2a to appear seven kilometres from the wormhole and sitting on the cosmic signature. Clearly no one has been in this system for a while.

I didn't stay or explore this C2 the last time I was here, when I gave chase to a Magnate from a hostile alliance, with my notes merely suggesting occupation rather than confirming it. I warp around looking for towers and ships, then kick myself when I realise there won't be any pilots and that I'm just wasting time. Still, I warp past a tower, so at least I know there is actual occupation here, I simply don't care to find an empty tower at the moment. I return to C3a through the dying wormhole and head out to low-sec, which is now my current remaining option for adventure.

The low-sec system in Heimatar remains as empty as before, so I warp around rock fields looking for rats as I scan for wormholes. I find a couple of crappy cruisers to pop, and four additional signatures give me one more wormhole. It's a K162 from class 1 w-space, but another connection that's EOL. Still, it's got to be worth a look, so I jump in to C1a. And hello Gila and drones on d-scan, without a tower in sight. A passive scan reveals some anomalies, and locating the Gila in one of them is straightforward. If only I had any confidence in my skills and ability I might be willing to risk my covert Loki strategic cruiser, but an expensive faction cruiser fit for combat is perhaps too much for me to handle. A Rupture basic cruiser, on the other hand, will crumble.

The Rupture joins the Gila in the anomaly, and looks to be looting and salvaging as the Gila shoots the Sleepers. It's a curious choice of salvaging ships, but not one I'll complain about. Maybe the Rupture lets the pilot salvage in the site whilst Sleepers are active, even if limited to C1 anomalies, but it provides some protection. Even so, I assume the Gila will warp to another anomaly and leave the Rupture behind, albeit briefly, giving me a clear shot at some point. But not quite yet, as a new wave of Sleepers warp in. That's okay, as this system is quite large and occupied according to my notes, and it gives me some that I should use to check to see who else is here.

Warping across C1a finds the tower where it was three months ago, empty of other ships and pilots, and tells me that the Gila and Rupture pilots aren't local. That's good to know. I return to the anomaly to watch the two ships, and wait for the last of the Sleepers to be destroyed. And when they are, the Gila, well, just kinda sits there. That's a shame. I consider warping in to ambush the Rupture anyway, hoping that the Gila doesn't have a warp disruptor fitted, but the Sleeper structure is now between me in the cruiser and it doesn't look like I can get close without unwittingly revealing myself first.

Just when I think I won't get lucky the Rupture warps away, in the direction of the wormhole to low-sec. The Gila remains in the anomaly so I follow to the wormhole and see the Rupture just sitting there. Let's see how much attention he's paying. I decloak, lock, and start shooting. The Rupture's shields evaporate with a couple of volleys, but the pilot is paying enough attention to jump out to low-sec. I follow and try to engage in low-sec—forgetting about my security status—but the Rupture aligns and warps out remarkably quickly. I don't even get a positive lock.

I sit on the wormhole and watch as the wormhole flares, the Gila following the Rupture out and warping away. Curiously, the Rupture returns and jumps back to C1a, but with the Gila still in the system I let him go, not wanting to get in to trouble whilst polarised on a wormhole. The Gila docks, does whatever it needs to, and undocks to leave the system. Now by myself again, I poke back in to C1a to see what the Rupture is up to. He's on d-scan from the wormhole, but not in the cleared anomaly. Refining d-scan gets a rough bearing before I realise that the range is probably more the defining factor at the moment, and sure enough the cruiser is an astronomical stone's throw from the wormhole.

The Rupture is so close to the wormhole he should be trivial to scan. I warp out, launch probes, and return to the wormhole in preparation to drop on top of the cruiser, clustering my probes in a tight bundle and aligning in the ship's general direction. He should be trivial to scan, if I didn't bodge the z-axis alignment in my rush. A second scan almost resolves the ship's position, and a third gets a positive hit. I hope the Rupture's not paying attention, as that was an embarrassing display. And he doesn't seem to be, as I drop out of warp to see the Rupture where I scanned him and stationary. I get close, decloak, and burn to bump the cruiser as I wait for the recalibration delay before I can lock. A few seconds later and the Rupture explodes in blue flames, the pod warping clear as it does.

That pod warped away awfully quickly. And the Rupture was rather close to the wormhole. I don't think that the pilot wasn't paying attention, but that he went off-line whilst under a state of aggression and I found his ship in its pocket of space after the emergency warp. If that's the case it also means the pod warped clear in the same manner, and I can find that too. My probes are still launched and available and, sure enough, one scan later gets me warping to where the pod's emergency warp took it. Knowing the pilot's not watching I warp in hot, and before I know it I'm scooping a new corpse in to my hold.

That was fun, if a bit brutal. Now maybe I have to face the consequences, as a Cynabal cruiser blips on d-scan, which is now maybe waiting for me in low-sec. I could wait for the wormhole to die and give me a new exit to use to get home, but that's boring and long-winded. I warp to the wobbly wormhole and jump to low-sec where I am greeted once again by empty space. That's anticlimactic, I suppose. Still, it lets me get home safely whilst still giving me a bit of time to go shopping in nearby Rens. I take out Sleeper loot in my Crane transport ship, buy some new modules and ammunition, and return home. All goes smoothly, and the only sign of danger is when I pass a Drake battlecruiser and Vagabond heavy assault cruiser being shot at by stargate guns, those bad boys.

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