Dying connections don't lead to dead systems

13th August 2012 – 5.13 pm

W-space has felt quiet lately. Hopefully I can stir up some trouble tonight. Home has me all alone again, and I resolve our static wormhole so I can visit the neighbours. They're out, it seems, as my directional scanner shows a tower and no ships from the K162, and it's looking like I need to go even further afield. I warp out, launch probes, and scan. Eleven anomalies and ten signatures get reduced to two wormholes, but the static exit to low-sec empire space is accompanied only by a K162 also connecting from low-sec. Tonight's adventure doesn't look promising.

I exit w-space to appear in a system in Tash-Murkon, and over eight kilometres from the wormhole, which is interesting but far from a problem. I launch probes and scan, resolving the one extra signature to be another wormhole, but it turns out to be an effective dead end, being a K162 from high-sec that is reaching the end of its life. I am scanning and not ratting because a couple of other pilots are in the system, and one of them is rather full of himself, thinking I'm scanning for his ship. His request for me to recall my probes is more peculiar given that it comes a full minute after I've done so, and am already warping away from the wobbly K162 and back to w-space.

W-space doesn't hold me for long, as I cross C3a and am back in low-sec, now in the Essence region. At least I'm alone and free from douches, letting me rat as I scan. One extra signature and three stray drones keep me amused for a minute or so, the rat battleship and wormhole giving me a positive outlook until I drop out of warp to see the K162 from class 3 w-space on its last legs. W-space is dead again. But with little else to do I poke my prow through the ageing wormhole, just in case I'm missing out on a party. And I may just be, as d-scan shows me a Covetor, Hulk, and cans. Oh my!

The mining barge and exhumer are joined on d-scan by three towers and a Noctis salvager, which soon becomes a Mammoth hauler. I would say there is mining occurring, even if my casual sweep with a narrow d-scan beam is a bit too casual. I didn't see the mining ships coincident with a tower, but I'm also not sure I saw all three towers separately. But whatever, I'm too excited by the prospect of hunting miners to get bogged down in details. I warp out of d-scan range of everything, launch probes, and warp back to start looking for the ships.

Mining in progress is confirmed. A relatively broad d-scan beam spies the Covetor, Hulk, and now three cans not coincident with a tower. I'm hunting. I use my broad d-scan beam to get a rough range on the ships, and warp my cloaky Loki strategic cruiser to a planet to be as close as I can to the ships. Now that my angular tolerances are reduced I get a tighter bearing on the ships, down to five degrees in d-scan, followed by a good approximation on the range. I place the ships just under 4 AU away, and arrange my probes around where I think they are merrily mining away. I'm ready to scan.

I switch out of the system map and get my Loki moving, aligning it very roughly towards the ships so that my time in to warp is reduced, and return to the system map to scan. I call my probes in, get a perfect result on the Covetor and gravimetric site, and, well, wonder briefly where the Hulk has gone. Never mind, the Covetor is there, my probes are recalled, and my Loki is in warp. I bookmark the location of the ship and gravimetric site whilst in warp, update d-scan on a full beam to see the Hulk in the system, then point d-scan on a tight beam directly ahead. The Covetor remains in front of me, so I'm assuming I haven't been spotted and the Hulk's departure is coincidence. I was looking forwards to getting a shot at both ships, and maybe trying my technique of holding down two targets with one point again, but one miner is better than none.

I drop out of warp close to the still-mining Covetor and get to work. I move towards my target, decloak, and burn hard to give the ship a short sharp shock to prevent it aligning away. My sensors recalibrate from being cloaked and I gain a positive lock on the Covetor, letting me disrupt its warp drive and start shooting. The mining barge is flimsier than I'm expecting, disintegrating pretty quickly and exploding in a bright flash, and although I aim for the pod it escapes. All that's left to do is loot and shoot the wreck, reactivating my cloaking once done. This time I leave the cans of ore intact, so that the miners have some means to pay for replacement ships and an incentive to continue being targets in w-space gravimetric sites.

I lurk cloaked near to the cans. I'm really not expecting haulers to come and collect the ore, at least not without an escort, but I've seen some dubious decisions made before. Updating d-scan shows the Hulk to be swapped for a Heron, the frigate launching probes to scan for a new connection. Sorry, chaps, I came through your EOL static wormhole from low-sec, but I dig that you're looking. D-scan also shows me the pod and Mammoth pilot both switching to Drakes, and locating the tower they are in has the battlecruisers stationary and probably launched just an attempt at sabre rattling.

And as the wormhole out of here is EOL it's time for me to go, leaving the locals with their new-found paranoia. I exit w-space, cross low-sec, and get myself home. An unexpected and successful hunt has made an initially drab evening entertaining indeed. W-space isn't always as dead as it looks. Not until I've had my way with it, anyway.

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