Caught unawares

15th June 2013 – 3.35 pm

It's just me in space. No, that can't be right. Let me see if someone's through this wormhole the Sleepers kindly left behind. And, you know, I think there is. My directional scanner shows me a tower, an Orca, and some core scanning probes. I shall assume the industrial command ship isn't the active scout, so rather than warp away to the unsurprising sight of an unpiloted Orca in a tower's force field I shall lurk on the wormhole for a minute. Maybe if the scout has seen our K162 pop he'll come and investigate.

I check my notes whilst idling. This is my fifth visit to the class 3 system, the last being seven months earlier. Two towers were in the system back then, and I resolved a static wormhole that exited to high-sec. There's been some change, though. One of the towers definitely isn't where it was, and although the other tower in my notes is out of d-scan range it may be reasonable to assume that's gone too, considering the presence of a newly positioned tower.

Okay, I've orientated myself and the scout hasn't made himself known yet. Indeed, core scanning probes are still whizzing around the system. And as they are core scanning probes, which detect only sites and not ships, I feel comfortable warping away to decloak and launch my own scanning probes. I use the combat type, naturally, launching them in to space and far above the ecliptic plane in order to perform a blanket scan of the system, and returning to loiter on our K162 once done.

A Buzzard covert operations boat appears on d-scan, disappearing a moment later. The probes remain in the system, so I presume the cov-ops pilot was having finger troubles and hasn't left through a different wormhole. Meanwhile, my probes are reporting a lack of anomalies and six signatures scattered around C3a. Any half-decent scout should have noticed a measly five signatures increasing to six mid-scan, so I think my presence is going to be inferred regardless of my actions. And as my combat probes pick up the Buzzard's finger troubles a second time, I may as well scan for the connection the cov-ops has come through.

Sure enough, the signature nearest the fuzzy impression of the Buzzard is a wormhole, a K162 from class 5 w-space. A subsequent blanket scan pretty much confirms there are no more K162s, with no signatures being strong enough to indicate one. The static exit to high-sec will be a mid-strength signature, and it may be worth scanning for if the Buzzard jumps through and returns quickly, polarising himself. And there it is. Good intuition, Penny. But what the hell is this Orca doing on the wormhole with me?!

I'm lurking on the C5 K162 when the Orca jumps from C3a to the class 5 system beyond, and it rather takes me unawares. I am one scan away from resolving the high-sec connection and clearly not paying that much attention to my surroundings. Like a deer in the headlights I kinda freeze, not following the Orca but performing that one last scan for the wormhole. As it turns out, I don't need to chase it. The wormhole flares a second time, the Orca reappears, having destabilised the connection to its half-mass state, and starts aligning away. The Orca wasn't heading home to C5a. The jump came from inside the system!

Orca appears unexpectedly

This is a golden opportunity. I don't know if my cloaky Loki has enough firepower to pop an Orca solo, but the whale is polarised and fully at my mercy. I'd be an idiot not to try! I try to lock on to the aligning Orca, whilst closing the distance between us, repeatedly wondering why my controls aren't responding. Press more buttons! Pull more levers! Dammit, of course, I'm still cloaked. Deactivate the cloak, cadet! Prepare all offensive systems! Lock. Lock. Dammit, lock!

Orca warps away unmolested

But, no, my pitiful situational awareness and the recalibration delay from decloaking thwarts me. The Orca warps clear. But, of course, not before getting a good look at the Loki now sitting decloaked on the wormhole it was trying to collapse. How embarrassing. And here's my glorious leader to hear about the one that got away. Hey, Fin, it was this big! I dunno, maybe I should have realised sooner what was happening. Or I could have been smarter and waited for a subsequent jump, so that I could prepare myself a little better.

Buzzard jumps to class 5 w-space

Still, never mind. I watch as the Buzzard appears on the K162 and jumps to C5a, presumably going home through a wormhole less stable than he left it. Maybe there'll soon be a strategic cruiser fleet on the other side of the K162, waiting for the Orca. Or for me. And even though I doubt the Orca will be making another trip, Fin joins me in C3a just in case it does. My glorious leader finds the local tower, confirms the Orca is still there and piloted—the one time I don't check, it's piloted and active—but not moving. I sit on the C5 K162 and watch as nothing passes me. After a while, we realise we're both staring at the equivalent of empty space. We should do something.

  1. 3 Responses to “Caught unawares”

  2. This is the 2,000th published post on Tiger Ears. I feel like there should be more fireworks.

    By pjharvey on Jun 15, 2013

  3. Congrats on your 2000th post, I for one really enjoy your wormhole fun and adventures.

    Here's to the next 2000, catch you in a wormhole one day.


    By amarrahh on Jun 15, 2013

  4. Thanks, amarrahh. When you catch me, remember to set me free again.

    By pjharvey on Jun 16, 2013

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