From ambushed to ambush

27th July 2013 – 3.21 pm

Aii's home and scanning, and we have new signatures today with at least one other wormhole. As Aii finishes up, I hop past him through a K162 to a class 3 w-space system, hoping to find activity but instead appearing seven kilometres from the wormhole in what looks like an inert system. An earlier visit from a month ago points me towards a tower, owned curiously enough by a Minmatar corporation involved in faction warfare, where no one is home and the only objects in space are drones.

Scanning C3a's fourteen anomalies and nine signatures gives a promising result, resolving wormhole after wormhole and pausing only to ignore a few sites of data and relics. The first is a K162 from high-sec, which interests Aii for export purposes, and jumping through puts me in a system in Metropolis with DUST bunnies everywhere. It doesn't look that convenient to me, so it's good that there are plenty more holes to check. I return to C3a and warp around, finding that I've resolved a dying K162 from class 4 w-space, the static exit to low-sec, a T405 outbound connection to class 4 w-space, and a K162 from low-sec.

I poke through both low-sec wormholes, in case there is an exit better than the high-sec one. The first lands me in Aridia, our second home, and the second a system in Genesis, a dozen hops from Amarr in one direction and Dodixie the other. Aii's happy with that result, even with a few systems to cross through low-sec, but I'm more interested in the T405 I found. I go back to w-space, jump through the T405, and see absolutely nothing on my directional scanner. My notes from four months ago suggest no occupation too, but it seems they are out of date.

Exploring C4a finds a newly erected tower on a distant planet, one with an empty Loki strategic cruiser floating in its force field. So there's occupation after all but still no one home. I'll scan the fifteen anomalies and eleven signatures. Gas, wormhole, Dominix—what? The battleship appears under my probes and on d-scan, and is gone again before I've even thought to get my probes hidden. It would have been too late by that point anyway, but still. Damn, and oops.

Dominix collapsing a wormhole

Naturally, a second wormhole sits roughly where the Dominix appeared, a wormhole that the battleship is perhaps trying to kill. Warping across sees that it is the X844 static connection to more class 4 w-space, so it seems that the neighbours want to be left alone, thank you very much, and they are adamant about it. The Dominix makes another round trip as I drop out of warp, followed by the wormhole crackling again to bring a Loki in to the C4a. Is he fleeing the wormhole's death of come to look for me?

Falcon returns through a critically destabilised wormhole

A couple of minutes passes before the wormhole crackles again, this time shrinking to critical stability. A Falcon recon ship decloaks about twenty kilometres from and burns to the wormhole, jumping through as the Dominix appears and returns the way he came, pulling what remains of the wormhole with him. I can't say I mind, as a new static wormhole will spawn to replace this one. Besides, the first wormhole I resolved is a K162 from class 4 w-space, so I already have options. What I need to worry about is that Loki on the loose.

The new static connection is obvious to find and resolve, and a last poke for K162s finds one more, another one from class 4 w-space. Either one could be the Loki's home, so I'll check both before hitting the static wormhole. Oops. As the Japanese girl said to the Texas businessman, wrong hole. Apparently someone's been watching the probes in C4a and has set up a little trap for a scout, as I appear surrounded by ships. Not particularly threatening ships by themselves, but the Onyx heavy interdictor, Arazu recon ship, Falcon recon ship, and Manticore stealth bombers combine to be somewhat dangerous.

Some unfriendly ships waiting on the other side of a wormhole

Okay, first, bookmark the wormhole. Done. Now to see if I have a clear path to make a break for it. I'd rather get clear in this system and have to get through the camp again than jump back and be polarised with all of them following me. And it looks like I won't be bumping in to anyone, and I could get clear as long as I can move the couple of hundred metres needed before I can activate my cloak. Let's do this.

I move away from the wormhole, pulsing my micro warp drive, and cloak. Do I cloak? Not quite. Now? Yes, now. Or did I? Yes, I did, and then I skilfully managed to deactivate the successfully activated cloak. Latency, thou art a bitch. Right, I'd better abort this attempt to get clear and jump back to C4a whilst I am still in range of the wormhole. It seems to work, too. Maybe the fleet saw me trying to run and didn't expect me to jump, as I get to C4a and move away from the wormhole and cloak with seconds to spare before any of them follow me.

Of course, the fleet does actually follow me, but there's not much they can do about trying to find my Loki. After they realise I've already moved away, and am not foolishly hiding under a session change cloak whilst polarised, they return to their system. To do what, I don't care. I think I'll leave that system alone. Hey, let me take a look through the other C4 K162. Nothing can go wrong with that. Oh, except whilst I am in warp a Mammoth appears on d-scan. Is the hauler local, in the tower? Nope, he's on the K162 I'm aiming for. Hi Mammoth!

Mammoth sitting on a wormhole connecting two class 4 w-space systems

I consider ambushing the hauler right here, but I have no idea which way he's going. As I have the system scanned, and there are no exits to empire space, I may as well watch where he goes. Curiously, he appears to be aligning to the wormhole the Dominix recently collapsed. Not just aligning to it, but warping in that direction. Well, that seems like a good place to catch him, so I follow and drop out of warp where the wormhole was. Now it's just the Mammoth in this empty space. And me.

Mammoth warps to where a wormhole no longer sits

Mammoth with no wormhole to jump through explodes to my autocannon fire

I decloak, and lock and point the Mammoth. A few rounds of autocannon fire shred the hauler, although the pilot isn't so disorientated from not seeing a wormhole to forget to save his pod. I loot and shoot the wreck, finding a bookmark for the killed wormhole in the hold, and muse over how quickly circumstances can change in w-space. It doesn't seem like five minutes ago that I was scrabbling to save my ship from the same fate.

Pod of the destroyed Mammoth flees the way it came

Loki returns to see what a bad job he made of scouting

Having cleaned up after myself, I return to the C4 K162 where the Mammoth came from, and pod fled to, and loiter. The Loki I saw earlier comes through the crackling wormhole, cloaking and, presumably, warping to the site of the ambush to check that the wormhole is indeed gone. Quite how he didn't notice the Dominix actively collapsing it earlier, or that he scouted through a healthy wormhole and returned through one mass-destabilised, I don't know. But it got me a kill, so I don't really care. It's also got late, what with so much scanning, a bit of being chased, and popping a hauler. It's time to go home.

W-space constellation schematic

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