Missing ships

8th June 2013 – 3.38 pm

There is more to be explored. The K162 from class 2 w-space has been killed, unlike the Scorpion battleship that was killing it, but that still leaves a K162 from class 5 w-space and our static wormhole. Or, rather, our static wormhole. Glorious leader Fin has already been in to C5a and found little more than an unpiloted space potato. And now she goes to our neighbouring class 3 system to poke around. 'Seven towers, one force field sounds like the makings of a popular video. And it's a Wolf-Rayet system, yay.'

The class of phenomenon in C3a diminishes our Sleeper-fighting capabilities, hence Fin's lack of enthusiasm. I leave her to explore the system rather than stomping all over her spirit as usual, which coincidentally gives me an excuse to see the class 5 system for myself. Sure enough, a tower with an empty Dominix battleship is all C5a obviously holds, and scanning doesn't find any more wormholes leading backwards. Fin knows what she's doing. She's also found a wormhole in C3a, so now I have reason to go forwards and leapfrog past her.

I go to C3a and warp to Fin hoping for more w-space but land next to a K162 from null-sec. I think I'd rather check beyond the static exit to low-sec, so I do. I leave w-space behind, try to keep it in my autocannons this time, and simply scan the system in Kor-Azor for more wormholes. Three additional signatures are resolved to be rocks, Ruins, and a wormhole. Specifically, a K162 from class 1 w-space. That'll do nicely.

My directional scanner is clear from the wormhole in C1a, and exploring finds nothing and no one. There may well be another wormhole or two to find. Scanning the chubbiest of the twenty-three signatures resolves only one K162, from class 5 w-space, through which two towers, three unimportant-looking ships, and loads of drones that obviously don't belong to the two rookie frigates or shuttle appear on d-scan. For all the mess, it looks a bit dull. I suspect there is another K162 from class 5 w-space to find, if it's still around. I imagine the mass-restrictive C1 wormhole would frustrate most C5 corporations, and cause many to collapse their wormholes to look for a better chain.

Before I scan I explore. One tower is naked and empty of ships. The other is, oh, in reinforced mode. That explains the naked tower too, which I suppose is a staging tower for the siegers. The drones are nowhere obvious but, really, who cares about those Gallente sympathisers. There's nothing more to see, so I launch probes and scan. One anomaly, twelve signatures, and, as if by magic, a Loki appears when I call my probes in from their blanket configuration that had them hidden in the outreaches of space.

The strategic cruiser is in the bare tower, which doesn't bode well for me. He will be part of the invading fleet and perhaps think my probes indicate a local trying to escape, or at least be active in a way that should be suppressed. Or maybe he's just updating his skill queue. The Loki turns in to an Orca, which is a pretty benign act, at least according to d-scan. I don't monitor the ship directly as I've warped to a wormhole, a fairly uninteresting K162 from high-sec. It's my probes that tell me the Orca is not at the tower but on its own wormhole.

Orca appears under my probes when resolving a wormhole

The second wormhole, which had the industrial command ship sitting on it, is the C5 K162 as predicted, and being collapsed also as predicted. What I don't know, and can't predict quite so readily, is whether the Loki went off-line or is cloaked and watching the same wormhole. Still, I like a little uncertainty now and again. Maybe he can help me pop that Orca too, when it returns, as I don't think I can destroy one particularly quickly by myself. The Bustard from a few days back took me long enough that I almost needed a break for food, and that was just a transport ship.

My combat scanning probes may have feared the Orca pilot enough not to continue with his operation to collapse the wormhole anyway. The polarisation time passes, and more, and there isn't a subsequent jump. For the second time in an evening it looks like we almost catch a solo pilot attempting to kill a wormhole. And, also for the second time, we fail to catch them in the act. I say 'we', because Fin swings by my way to share in the glory of not blowing up an Orca. Either the pilot has given up, or a strategic cruiser fleet is waiting for me to see what's taking the pilot so long. 'That almost never happens', says Fin, not-so reassuringly.

It makes me feel bad to head back through C1a, across the low-sec system, in to C3a, and through the K162 to C5b that Fin found after I abandoned her, to return to stalking a Hoarder that was sitting piloted in a tower's force field. Fin reasons that doing so will be 'less dangerous to our wallet and closer to home when it does nothing' than poking through the wormhole looking for the Orca, and she's right, of course. But even though the hauler is still in the tower, its orientation is altered. The ship left the safety of the force field and returned during the time Fin came to help me stare at a wormhole, missing the potential kill. I can only apologise. Well, that and watch the ship a little longer. But, of course, it does nothing. Silly Penny. Time for bed.

W-space constellation schematic

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