Bagging some bubbles

2nd February 2013 – 3.25 pm

The wormhole should have died by now. That our static connection will collapse and sever the link to the rest of the scanned constellation could be seen as unfortunate. But w-space life is based on ephemeral connections, and without them the rich experience of new systems to explore and roam would be lost. A dead static wormhole leads to a replacement wormhole, and new opportunity.

I don't even have to do all the scanning this time either. Aii is on-line and has already resolved our new static connection, as well as a stray second signature in the home system, a K162 from class 6 w-space. Aii's in our neighbouring C3, leaving the deadly connection untouched for now. I think that's my cue to explore through the K162. 'There may be a Loki from there on the prowl', Aii warns me. But I'm in my own strategic cruiser, I think I'll be okay.

Jumping in to C6a is rather anti-climactic. It generally is, from experience, which is why I don't really get jittery about it any more. The wormhole doesn't have any obvious ships waiting for me, and, curiously for a class 6 w-space system, my directional scanner is clear of ships and towers. Then again, the system is almost 100 AU across, which gives plenty of space for pilots to hide from a 14 AU range scanner. I warp out, launch probes, and perform a blanket scan.

Hedgehog tower in class 6 w-space

Fourteen anomalies, five signatures, two towers, no ships. One of the towers has a few defences scattered around, the other looks more sensibly constructed. Resolving the handful of signatures for K162s finds three of them, plus a pocket of gas, which should give me options. Two K162s come from class 5 w-space, one from a class 3 system. I jump to C3b first only because I land there last, and not because I'm trying to avoid the higher class of w-space. Don't judge me.

A tower, Helios, and Buzzard pop up on d-scan in C3b. A lack of scanning probes makes me think the two covert operations boats aren't active, but you never can tell. Then again, if they were active I'd expect them to be cloaked. Either way, it's all change since my last visit. I attribute that entirely to my popping a Hulk exhumer and then stealing some defences some twenty-one months ago. Maybe I should have left the defences, because now I have to locate a new tower. I swear I don't always consider the consequences of my actions.

Locating the tower locates the two ships, which are surprisingly both piloted. I doubt they are up to much, though, and spending a couple of minutes watching them doesn't change my mind. I leave C3b behind me, without scanning, to see what class 5 w-space can offer instead. Glorious leader Fin has come on-line and followed my trail in to C6a, diverting from there to C5a, where there are too many towers to bother counting them, so I warp across to the K162 leading to the arbitrarily named C5b, and jump through.

An Orca industrial command ship and Archon carrier can't be up to much in a class 5 w-space system by themselves, and I have a hunch I'll find them both in one or more of the three towers d-scan is also showing me. I'm not expecting much, so when locating the tower I should probably be thankful for the excitement of warping directly in to the middle of a warp bubble, bumping my prow on to the bubble's hardware itself. Evasive manoeuvres, ensign! Increase separation, re-activate cloak!

Bumping in to the hardware of a mobile warp bubble

It isn't much of a panic to get safe, I suppose, but it needed to be done before I was noticed by the tower defences. And now that I'm safe I get to ponder a riddle: when is a bubble not a bubble? When it's not inflated. That's unusual, and maybe a mere oversight by whoever planted the bubble. But I can scoop this and keep it for myself. I've already shown that I can decloak and be safe for a few seconds, and once the bubble is scooped I can re-activate my cloak immediately, as the impediment to cloaking will be in my hold. There's no one around to see what I'm doing, so I go for it.

Bagging me a bubble

I line up my Loki to the bubble, keep watch on my range, and when close enough and my cloak drops, scoop the bubble. Job's a good 'un. It probably won't fetch us much ISK, but denying the locals of their hardware is reward in itself. Oh, right, the locals. The Orca and Archon are unpiloted, what a surprise, etc., and scanning has one anomaly and three signatures, none of which resolve to be a wormhole. Fin comes to join me from the other C5, scooping a second unanchored bubble around the same tower where I got mine, but a couple of bubbles looks to be about all we'll get from seven w-space systems. It's all looking a bit dull again. Maybe the cov-ops in C3b have woken up. Let me check.

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