Not getting involved

15th May 2013 – 5.15 pm

I'm back and looking for more than a simple scanning frigate. I won't find that at home, but I was planning to roam the current constellation and probe for new connections, so that's okay. Jumping to our neighbouring class 3 w-space system sees no change, and a blanket scan reveals anomalies, signatures, pretty much what was here before. The numbers match my earlier counts so I am confident nothing new has appeared, which is really why I make a note of such numbers. This leaves me one direction to go, and I exit through the static wormhole to low-sec empire space.

A pilot tagged in orange is in the local communication channel in the low-sec system, but what shade of orange is that? I can't tell if the corporation lives in the C3 behind me or the C5 starting a new arm of the constellation from low-sec, or deeper. No ships register on my directional scanner from C3a's K162, and warping to the N432 wormhole has no change on d-scan. The pilot may be getting drunk in a station, so I ignore him for now and continue my roam in to C5a.

Stiletto interceptor waiting in class 5 w-space on the other side of a low-sec wormhole

Hello, Stiletto interceptor on the K162 in C5a. What to do, what to do. Engage or evade? An update of d-scan sees a Scorpion battleship and Hurricane battlecruiser new to the system, but they aren't on the wormhole yet. Okay, I'll evade if I can, and engage if caught. Move, cloak, jink. No reaction from the Stiletto, which is unexpected, but it gets me safe. I'm curious to see what he's doing here, particularly as the pilot isn't tagged as a corporation in the known constellation, so I loiter at a safe distance for a minute.

Pod from low-sec evades the Stiletto on the wormhole to come home

The wormhole flares and a pod enters C5a from low-sec. The Stiletto stirs but misses stopping Mr Orange from warping clear. So the interceptor is awake, and I stood no chance of catching the pilot returning home. Both are good to know. A Tornado battlecruiser soon warps to the wormhole to join the Stiletto, after which the wormhole flares and a Prowler enters the system. He cloaks, either unfazed by the pilots or, more likely, a colleague of them, and that's the last I see of the transport. I doubt the combat ships are acting as escorts, though, as they stay on the wormhole.

Three battlecruisers warp to the wormhole holding hostile ships

I'm keeping d-scan updated as I sit cloaked near the wormhole, and notice a Hound stealth bomber blip on and off the return. It's not a bombing run that's planned, though, as instead three local battlecruisers—a Drake, Brutix, and Hurricane—warp to the wormhole and engage the ships there. Well, the Drake does, the other two jump immediately to low-sec. Maybe they are watching d-scan more intently than me, perhaps because they don't have eyes directly on the wormhole, and know what's coming.

Battlecruiser battle on a wormhole bordering low-sec

The Drake is left alone for a second, as the Tornado and Stiletto jump to low-sec, no doubt giving chase to the other ships, but only for a second. Two Talos and one Naga battlecruiser all drop on top of the wormhole and give the Drake a fight, forcing the last of the three locals to jump to low-sec as a third Talos and a Proteus strategic cruiser turn up a little late. It must be quite a scrap out there. And back they come, several of the ships now flagged for criminal activities. Fancy that.

Drake is destroyed in the face of overwhelming numbers

The Drake makes a break for it, his buddies dead or fled in low-sec, and naturally doesn't make it with an interceptor on his case. The Drake pops, the pilot ejecting moments early to help him get his pod clear. You know, as interesting as this is to watch, I'm thinking I need a new constellation. All I need to do is get past that Stiletto. That should be easy, right? Maybe. All but the interceptor warp off in a direction suggestive of a new wormhole, and the Stiletto jumps to low-sec. That's actually good.

I approach the wormhole, hoping the interceptor returns early, as that will make him polarised and allow me to exit without being chased. And the Stiletto does come back early. I get ready to jump, just as I realise I could actually engage the Stiletto now, as I could exit without being followed if it went badly, but it's too late. The Stiletto warps off just as I decloak, joining his colleagues, no doubt happy with the Drake kill and not seeing anything on the other side of the wormhole. That works for me too.

I return to low-sec, move away from the clear wormhole, and warp back homewards. Two oranges are in local and, in a fit of feeling uncharacteristically helpful, update them about the situation in C5a. They probably won't believe me, but that's okay. I've given them the information, what they do with it is up to them. I return to w-space, warp across C3a, and get home, where I start to isolate myself from all these shenanigans by throwing big ships through our static connection.

A few jumps later and our wormhole is gone. A new one pops up like a Weeble, and I warp to it and jump through to look for targets more appropriate for a Penny. D-scan is clear from the K162, and my notes point me in a direction opposite to where ships appear on a blanket scan. The tower from eleven months ago has been replaced by another on the other side of the system, but the ships my combat probes detected are all empty and inside the tower. I sift through the fifteen anomalies and twelve signatures to continue my search, and come up with two wormholes.

The static exit to low-sec is ignored in favour of the N968 to more class 3 w-space, and jumping in to C3b looks like I've found something I could shoot at. A Bestower hauler and Skiff mining barge appear on d-scan, along with a couple of towers. All I need is for them to be piloted. And sweeping d-scan around to locate the towers and seeing both of them and the Skiff but not the Bestower makes me think I actually do have a piloted target, one collecting planet goo. Trying to catch gooing in progress is not that easy, though.

D-scan puts the Bestower at the sixth planet, but if I warp there I'll be too late, so I head to the fifth. No, this isn't the hauler's next destination, and I use d-scan again to find the ship is around the first planet now. I still won't catch the ship from here, so pulse d-scan until the Bestower disappears, and as quickly as possible locate its new destination. Third planet. Initiate warp, best speed. I make good time, arriving at the customs office to see the Bestower there, but with engines flaring as the hauler prepares to enter warp. Now I've got it, as I can see directly where the Bestower goes. Back to the first planet? I'm right behind you.

Watching the hauler head to his next—final?—destination

I have plenty of time now. I decloak, burn towards the Bestower, and get all my offensive systems working. I even get close enough to nudge the hauler a little, not that I, oh. I think I did need to bump the Bestower a little harder. Despite my three-point warp scrambler being active on the hauler, it warps clear with little fuss.

Getting a lock on the Bestower, but not for long enough

Oh well, if someone takes the precaution to fit so many warp core stabilisers to his ship there's not much I can do. I follow the Bestower back to one of the towers, where the Skiff joins it and both pilots swap to scanning boats, but I'm not staying. They know I'm here, there's nowhere to hide in the system, and I don't fancy scanning or collapsing any more anyway. I'm going home to get some rest, after a pretty interesting evening.

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