Preparing for an ambush

14th July 2013 – 3.59 pm

I'm back in w-space for more abuse. I won't find any in the new pocket of gas at home, except for self-abuse, so I resolve our static wormhole and jump through to the neighbouring class 3 w-space system. Core probes appear on my directional scanner in C3a, but that's it. No tower, no ships, no nothing. I hold on the K162 for a minute, checking my notes whilst waiting to see if the owner of the probes comes my way. It's my fourth visit, the last being fifteen months ago when it was unoccupied and held a static exit to null-sec. This system is sounding tedious already.

Hullo, the probes have disappeared. They are replaced on d-scan by a Magnate, but the frigate doesn't warp to our K162. He must have gone somewhere, as the ship drops off d-scan some seconds later, not to make a reappearance. He's left the system, so if I want to do more than float in space I'd better launch my own probes to scan. I open the system map to pick a suitable planet to warp to so that I can be out of the way to launch probes, but see that the system is actually pretty small and there's nowhere to hide. There's no new occupation either, in that case.

I spew probes from my launcher at the K162, which seems as good a place as any, and blanket the system. Four anomalies isn't much, but the twenty-four signatures may have hidden our K162's appearance, it being little more than noise to the Magnate. With any luck, the scout will bring back a fleet to sweep through the few anomalies, but I'm not sure if I can just sit here to wait and see. I scan. There's lots of rocks and gas floating around, but I eventually get around to resolving a chubby wormhole. I bet it comes from k-space.

A second chubby wormhole is present almost directly above our own K162, giving me some hope of more w-space, and a third wormhole appears under a ship blipping on my combat probes. That's probably given the game away. But I suppose there's little point in being coy about having probes out now, so I finish scanning, ignoring everything but what must be the static exit to null-sec. And indeed the fourth wormhole is. The others are a a K162 from class 2 w-space—neat, and not the k-space connection I was expecting—a K162 from class 3 w-space that's at the end of its life, and the Buzzard covert operations boat came through a K162 from null-sec.

I'll ignore the Buzzard and head to C2a, where presumably the Magnate came from. Given that the frigate left without visiting our wormhole, and that the Buzzard possibly entered through its own newly spawned wormhole, the Magnate scout may think C3a only holds a dying K162 and the static wormhole. Will he think it safe enough to send a fleet it? Maybe. Entering C2a and updating d-scan sees two towers, along with a Heron frigate, Armageddon battleship, and Apocalypse battleship, with no wrecks in the system. Are there pilots?

Locating the towers sees all three ships at one of them, empty. But by the time I've found the towers a Purifier comes on-line at the second of them, the stealth bomber obviously piloted. A second Purifier appears too, perhaps the ship of choice to sleep in, as the pair switch to Drake battlecruisers soon enough. Drakes are suitable for class 3 w-space anomalies, and as a Magnate warps to the tower there may be action ahead of me. Well, us, as in a display of good timing my glorious leader comes on-line.

I update Fin as a Legion strategic cruiser comes on-line at the tower I'm watching, maybe showing that the C2 locals are getting serious. Fin gets one of our Legions out in turn, a couple of systems away, as we think about getting serious too. The Magnate warps away, towards the wormhole to C3a, but I stick to the tower to watch the combat ships. And, a minute later, the Magnate returns. Phew, slow down, C2 pilots, I can't keep up with this whirlwind of activity.

A new contact appears and boards a Venture mining frigate, and is joined by one of the Drakes swapping to a second Venture. Damn. The C3 system is too small to hide to launch probes, and I ignored all of the resource sites in it for being uninteresting. I'll be unable to hunt the Ventures if they are after gas or rocks instead of Sleepers. But it's not yet too late. I surge my cloaky Loki strategic cruiser back towards the wormhole, jump to C3a, and launch probes in to the system, getting them high above the ecliptic plane as soon as I can. Now I'm ready for them. ...if they're coming this way.

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