Setting up for a siege

9th January 2013 – 5.32 pm

It's so early. Can anyone really be awake in w-space? Apart from me, obviously. Maybe, as another scout has opened a wormhole in to our system, the K162 coming from class 2 w-space. Of course, that could have happened hours ago, even last night, with only the wormhole not yet showing signs of fatigue. I jump through to find out if anyone's home, and immediately have a hunch that they're not. My cloaky Loki strategic cruiser appears in the system over eight kilometres from the wormhole and sitting on the connection's deadspace signature.

I've been wrong before, so warp around to explore, even though my directional scanner is showing me two towers and no ships. My last visit to this system was eleven months ago, although I don't remember popping a Noctis salvager with a Tengu strategic cruiser and Manticore stealth bomber, and looking for the locations of the towers shows that all has changed, as well as a third tower cropping up when I get in range. But nothing is happening, that much is clear. I'll leave scanning for now, only taking a minute to bookmark the seventeen anomalies for reference, and instead head back home and through our static connection.

Well, I pause for coffee and cake at home first, which is only civil, and pushes back my visit to our neighbouring class 3 system a little. I don't think it matters, as a tower, territorial control unit, and lack of ships is all d-scan shows me in C3a. Exploring reveals a second tower, and scanning has the usual suspects of sites, with only a static exit to low-sec and a K162 also from low-sec as connections. One wormhole leads to the Genesis region, the other to Domain, but both give me a journey of twenty hops to get to where I want to be. It seems the corporation is getting ready for an operation, and I may want to be there.

I'll check C2a for a better exit. I ignore the new ships in the towers, as I would only waste ammunition on the Proteus strategic cruiser if it did anything, and the Helios covert operations boat and Nemesis stealth bomber will be tricky to catch. If they did anything. Scanning is easy, with only six signatures to check, and although a C2 K162 is neat I am more after the second static connection. And the exit to high-sec could be good, but as it is stressed to half-mass and at the end of its life I'm not keen to trust its continued existence. C2b may actually offer my best option.

A Covetor mining barge lights up d-scan. So does a tower, and the two are coincident, which is disappointing, more so when locating the tower finds the barge unpiloted. Right, I was scanning for an exit anyway. Twenty-one anomalies can be safely ignored for the manageable six signatures, and although the outbound connection to class 4 w-space is alluring it won't get me to k-space as quickly as the K162 from high-sec will. The Helios that jumps past me when I'm not paying full attention would probably agree. And, again, I have a choice of exit, as the second static connection also leads to high-sec. One of the wormholes must offer a better route than through low-sec.

The static exit in C2b doesn't help. I appear in a system in Metropolis, nineteen hops to my destination. But the K162 is an improvement, starting in Sinq Laison and needing only thirteen hops. 'Only' thirteen. Still, this is the one direction that doesn't take me through Tama, although I appear to have swapped that for Old Man Star. I'm sure I'll be okay. Hop, hop, hop, it's all rather straightforward, and I don't even bump in to pirates in Old Man Star, getting me to my destination without fuss. It's a low-sec system with a wormhole connecting to our sister class 5 w-space system.

Meeting new people is more stressful than travelling through low-sec, I find. But I mostly keep my mouth shut and get on with the task in hand. It seems our C5 has connected to a second with some expensive ships floating unsecure in a pair of towers, and plans are afoot to siege the system, making plenty of profit in the process. I have come here to help, but pretty much only because I can pilot a Revelation dreadnought and, with one spare, this may be my first chance to do so. But first, we need to get the logistics sorted out.

The two towers in the neighbouring C5 are scouted, and appropriate strategic bookmarks made, and they are indeed loaded with expensive ships. Strategic cruisers, industrial command ships, a freighter floating free in one, and six capital ships in another. And the system hosts a magnetar phenomenon too, whose bonus to damage will make the siege proceed more quickly.

Of course, we can't just bring in a bunch of capital ships ourselves and hope to get them home the same way, as the wormhole won't take the stress. Not only that, but if the locals have any sense and have strontium in their towers then the siege will last longer than the wormhole anyway. We can't rely solely on our connection. Instead, we're first bringing and configuring our own tower, as a base of operations and haven, so that we can subsist independently of the home system until a new route back is found. To do this, we need haulers.

I can pilot haulers, as long as they are Caldari. That's unfortunate, as the biggest our sister system has available is a Badger Mark II. It seems the Gallente, knowing their place, have bigger industrial ships, all the better for tedious transferring of materiel. Still, we make do. One pilot uses the phallic Iteron hauler, me the Badger, and we take the tower, fuel, defences, and hangars through the wormhole and get our hostile presence in to the target system. This takes a while, as there is a lot to move and we have to be careful with the wormhole polarisation effects, even with a carrier and other combat ships acting as escort.

Unfortunately, the logistics, although necessary, takes a bit longer than I anticipated, and I realise I need to be elsewhere soon. On top of that, I won't be around for the next day or more, which means I won't be available for the actual siege portion of the siege operation. I make my apologies, tell my colleagues to kick some arse, and take my Loki from our C5 back to low-sec, still without having sat in a Revelation. Maybe I could have tried one for size. I'm more concerned with remembering the route home. Hop, hop, hop, and I think this system holds a wormhole to class 2 w-space. Ah, right, the empty Covetor in the tower. Now I just follow the bookmark breadcrumbs home, where I go off-line, wondering how the siege will work out.

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