Collapsing and coming home

2nd October 2012 – 5.51 pm

No visitors, no colleagues, no bookmarks. There are five new signatures in the home w-space system, though, giving me three wormholes, a spot of gas, and a magnetometric site. And a Cheetah covert operations boat blips under my probes and on my directional scanner as I resolve the final signature. I imagine the scout has come from the healthy K162 from class 5 w-space, and not the K162 from class 4 w-space that's at the end of its life, so rather than poke directly in to C5a and show myself so soon I'll head to our neighbouring class 3 system and see what I can find there first.

Or maybe I won't. Our static connection is also EOL, no doubt opened earlier by the pilots coming from C4a, and I'm not about to risk isolating myself from home. Instead, I loiter by the K162 to C5a and see if anyone comes though, perhaps seeing the EOL wormholes and thinking they're safe to plunder our anomalies. I catch up on my reading for a bit and, when no one else comes by for a while, wonder if the Cheetah was actually making a repeat visit, hoping our static connection had collapsed and returning disappointed when seeing it hadn't. Let me take a look.

Groovy. I drop out of warp in to empty space where our static wormhole used to be, which means a new one has spawned somewhere else. I launch probes and scan, resolving the new connection, and jump through the fresh wormhole to explore the constellation. A tower and two Tengus are visible on d-scan from the K162 in C3a, but there are no wrecks. My notes from four months ago point me to a tower that is no longer there, but locating the current tower isn't difficult in a system where the moons are scattered lightly between the planets. Both strategic cruisers are in the tower's force field, and both are empty of pilots, so I can slow down a bit.

My glorious leader appears, and after I give her a sitrep she confirms that the C4 K162 in the home system is also gone. I suppose they were opened close in time to each other. I scan C3a in the mean time, bookmarking seven anomalies and sifting mostly gas out of the eleven signatures, with a few rocks for texture, to resolve the single wormhole. The static exit to low-sec empire space leads me to the Essence region, where the only other pilot in the system leaves as I arrive to let me rat and scan. One extra signature turns out to be just a Serpentis site, making it quite a dull end to the constellation.

Fin has found a stealth bomber turn in to a shuttle in C5a, which is probably the same pilot from the earlier Cheetah, but we can't be sure. 'Want to close the C5?', she says. We could do, and even though I probably won't feel like doing much afterwards an isolated w-space system is a good w-space system. I return home and ditch my scanning boat for one of the Orca industrial command ships we have. Fin boards the other and we bounce the pair of them between the two wormholes, mass-stressing both efficiently. But tolerances bite us in the arse in both cases. The C5 K162 destabilises critically without collapsing, which we can overcome with a heavy interdictor simply enough, but having our static wormhole collapse early isn't as easy to correct.

This time I am stuck in the Orca in C3a without a wormhole home. At least I have the exit to low-sec resolved already, and don't need to scan in the Orca, so I just have to warp my way to empire space. Even better, the low-sec exit is a single hop from contiguous high-sec, making it trivial to get the Orca relatively safe. Now I just have to figure out where to go. I choose an old manufacturing base that is nearby, where I dock and wonder why my ship floats in the station yet I can walk freely as if under the effects of gravity.

Fin finishes collapsing the C5 K162, scans the home system for the replacement static wormhole, and jumps to the new C3a to find the next exit. It doesn't take long, and we are blessed with a static exit to high-sec, one that is nineteen hops from where I parked but high-sec all the way. I start making my way to the exit system as Fin says she's 'scanning high'. That's okay, I tell her, as I'm piloting the Orca drunk.

My route to the exit system has me pass right through Amarr, which in an Orca seems like an opportunity too good to pass up. I could buy some capital components, but I don't trust myself to get the right items, so instead Fin asks me to buy some fuel pellets. In fact, she links the fuel pellets for me, so that there is even less chance of something going awry. I make a slight detour to a station, stuff the Orca full of fuel, and head back on my way. It's slow going in the whale, but uneventful. I make it to the exit system and finally see a wormhole again.

I jump to w-space, cross the empty class 3 system, and make it home without any drama. I top up the tower with fuel, dump the excess in storage, and swap back to my covert Loki strategic cruiser. The long trip back through high-sec in the Orca has taken its time, and as the new constellation hasn't given us any targets it's time to hide in a quiet corner and go to sleep.

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed.