Temporarily trapping a transport

1st August 2013 – 5.37 pm

I'm scanning. Despite an Iteron appearing at the local tower, I doubt our class 3 w-space neighbours will be throwing any more ships at us. Even so, Aii watches the hauler closely as I resolve the handful of signatures in the system. And along with the static exit to low-sec is a K162 from null-sec k-space, which makes me wonder how long that's been there, and whether the locals were content to mine with the wormhole open. Otherwise, there are just data sites to be found and ignored.

Aii and I go our separate ways. A class 2 w-space system connecting in to our home should have a high-sec exit somewhere, which Aii would like to find, and I go out to low-sec to continue exploration in this direction. I exit w-space to appear in a system in Derelik, where a couple of extra signatures resolve to be a couple of extra K162s from class 3 w-space. That gives me at least a couple more systems to explore.

Jumping through one of the K162s puts me in empty space, with my directional scanner clear. My notes from four months ago suggest a tower is around here somewhere, but apparently that corporation has moved on since then, and the system is now unoccupied. I imagine that gives me a wormhole to find, so I launch probes and scan, sifting through the thirteen anomalies and twelve signatures.

I think I've found a K162 but warp to what turns out to be an N968 connection to more class 3 w-space. That's nice, but doesn't explain who opened this system's exit to low-sec, so I keep scanning. This time I actually resolve a K162, from class 2 w-space. That seems like a good way to go, and although there is a ship and tower on d-scan in C2b I doubt the Orca industrial command ship is up to much.

Locating the tower sees the Orca piloted and acting like he's boosting a mining operation, but there are no miners elsewhere in the system to boost. Maybe they got ambushed and the Orca pilot has yet to wake up from the drunken stupor required for remotely boosting a mining operation. Whatever the reason, the Orca's doing nothing, and with more to explore elsewhere, and perhaps only a static wormhole to k-space to find, I head back to C3c and through the N968 to C3d.

A tower, Vulture command ship, Iteron hauler, probes, and drones all look like signs of some kind of activity when seen on d-scan. Locating the tower, moved one moon across since my last visit nine months ago, shows the deficiency in relying on d-scan. Both ships are in the tower's force field, and both ships are lacking a pilot. Who's scanning? Exploring finds a second tower with a Helios, but the covert operations boat is also empty and so probably not the ship scanning. If I can't find the scout, I may as well take a look around myself.

Four anomalies and seven signatures get distilled to three wormholes: a static exit to low-sec, a K162 from class 5 w-space, and a T405 outbound connection to class 4 w-space. C4a sounds good to me, but jumping in sees nothing but anomalies littering space. No occupation, no activity. I don't care to scan, as I still have systems behind me waiting to be explored, so it's back to C3d and in to C5a, where I doubt the pair of frigates on d-scan are doing anything but floating empty in the also-visible tower.

The single other signature in C5a naturally resolves to be a wormhole, where hopefully activity lies behind. It's a K162 from class 2 w-space, but jumping to C2c puts me in clear space again. I suspect the system's second wormhole will lead to null-sec too, given the first connection to class 5 w-space, so I won't be scanning unless given cause. And locating a tower with two cov-ops isn't cause. Both ships may be piloted, but who cares? Not me. I probably couldn't catch them even if the unlikely happened and one left the tower.

Backwards I go, in to C5a, to C3d, C3c, and out to low-sec, where another C3 K162 is waiting for me. Jumping to C3b has another pitiful display on d-scan, with a Sabre and tower, and I doubt a solo interdictor is up to much. I think I'd prefer to read about my previous exploits in this system, when I popped a salvaging destroyer before turning my weapons on a hacking stealth bomber that wasn't sensible enough to flee. And as the Sabre disappears from d-scan moments later it seems like he's gone off-line.

But not so. I warp across the system to explore further and bump not only in to a second tower but the Sabre pilot, who swaps from the interdictor at the second tower to a Viator transport. Now that's interesting. I quickly orientate myself, in case the transport heads not to a customs office but the low-sec wormhole, and my awareness looks to be paying off. The Viator aligns away from the tower towards the wormhole, and warps with me lagging behind the stupidly agile transport.

Viator jumps to low-sec

The Viator is fast and can cloak, and I only just see the ship exit w-space to low-sec by the time my Loki strategic cruiser reaches the wormhole. As I expected this I ignored my standard operation procedure of dropping short of the wormhole and instead landed on top of it, letting me follow the Viator with little delay. Back in low-sec, I decloak as quickly as I can, get my sensor booster active, and see the Viator appear. I aim for the ship, get a positive lock, and disrupt its warp drives and start shooting.

Locking the Viator in low-sec

Naturally, the Viator returns to w-space to try to avoid my attentions, which despite polarising himself is probably a good idea. I jump through the wormhole to give chase, repeating the process that caught me the transport in low-sec, but this time only managing to see the Viator successfully cloak. Well, that was fun. I get a hit to my security status with nothing to show for it. And the Viator can wait for his polarisation to end and try again, only now he knows I'm watching him.

I don't know how it works, but I don't want to continually engage the Viator in low-sec if it means my security status plummets, only to have him return to w-space and evade me. As such, I circle the wormhole waiting for my polarisation to end before exiting to low-sec and warping away. The Viator follows a minute behind me, but I'm already on the K162 to C3a and heading homewards. Well, nearly homewards. I poke out through the K162 to null-sec that I found earlier, hoping to pop some rats to repair my lost security status, but appear in the middle of a warp bubble in a populated system in Cobalt Edge. Okay, I can take the hint. I'll go home and rest. Besides, it's been a full evening already.

W-space constellation schematic

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