Indirectly podding a pilot

20th August 2013 – 5.47 pm

I'm looting the wreck of the Tengu when I realise something: I know the escape route of the ejected strategic cruiser pilot. He's a tourist from empire space, come to w-space through a class 1 system connected to this class 2 system. His way to safety must surely be back through C1b, so why am I still here? That's when I realise something else: how the hell am I supposed to catch a fleeing pod?

It would be an exercise in futility to send my own strategic cruiser, in this case a refitted Legion, towards a wormhole in the hopes of catching a pod. It's pretty much impossible to stop a ship jump if it lands on top of the wormhole, and a pod enters warp so quickly that trying to catch it on the other side would be useless. I wouldn't even have a second shot, as I haven't scanned C1b for whatever entrance the pilot came through.

What's weird, though, is that the pod remains in C2a. The pilot's had plenty of time to retreat, so why hasn't he gone through the wormhole yet? And do I still have time to catch him? I may as well try, but not in the Legion. I warp to our K162, jump home, and get back to our tower. I ditch the ship, unrepaired and with expensive plunder still in its hold, to grab Fin's Flycatcher. My glorious leader has fitted the interdictor with sensor boosters that make locking any target almost instant, and the interdiction sphere will stop even a pod from warping. This should do it.

I jump back to C2a, see the pod still visible on my directional scanner, and warp across to the wormhole to C1b. Now I have a slight dilemma. Like I say, I won't be able to catch the pod on the wormhole, and if I wait for it to come to me and hope to jump and launch the interdiction sphere before the pod warps on the other side I may be disappointed. On top of that, I only have one launcher fitted, and the cool-down means I will only be able to have one pod-stopping bubble at a time. That really should be saved for the other side of the wormhole. Even if it means the pod can jump back to C2a that should be okay. It's not like he has another route out of w-space.

So I jump to C1b, decloak, and wait. Now my main problem is knowing what's happening in the class 2 system. I can't see anything using d-scan, and although the wormhole crackling on activation should be the pod coming my way I'd rather not be surprised by a roaming fleet. But the wormhole doesn't crackle, leaving me waiting for longer than I really should. Perhaps the pilot, not used to combat engagements with other capsuleers, fears for his criminal status he's been flagged with, earned by defending himself, and what it means when returning to empire space. I don't blame him, but it gives me another couple of minutes to wait before he possibly comes my way.

The minutes pass, my own criminal flag is dropped, and the wormhole stays quiet. I think I have to admit that the pilot is not coming. He could have seen the Flycatcher on d-scan in C2a and decided not to follow. If he's really smart he could be sat on the other side of the wormhole waiting for the tell-tale activation of my return before he jumps and makes a dash for empire space. Or, and this is just a guess, he didn't bookmark the wormhole in C2a, and is left having to self-destruct his pod to return to civilised space.

Corpse of the tourist Tengu on d-scan

Seeing the pilot's corpse on d-scan in C2a makes me wonder how much time I've spent waiting for nothing, but such is w-space life. And it's not been so long that I don't have time to explore through the other wormholes I resolved before running in to the Tengu. Home I go, get back in to my cloaky Loki strategic cruiser, and once more to C2a. In C2a, I warp to and jump through the K162 from class 4 w-space, the wormhole opened from the other side being the best chance of encountering more activity.

D-scan is clear from the wormhole in C4a, and although only one planet sits out of range it is that planet that holds the occupation. Occupation and a Venture. The mining frigate is piloted and looking quite enticing, but a closer look sees the Venture sitting next to a hangar and pointing directly away from a refinery. I think this industrialist has harvested enough raw materials for this evening and is kicking back with a drink, waiting for the sun to go down. It's going to be a long wait, so I leave him to it and head back to C2a.

The class 2 system has a second connection to class 1 w-space, also an outbound wormhole. I take a look in C1a and find occupation but no ships. A mere three signatures makes scanning almost trivial, but there are no more K162s, just the static exit to high-sec and a bit of gas. I poke my prow out of w-space to see where in high-sec I end up, appearing in a system in the Genesis region, and realise my interest in high-sec pretty much ends at the wormhole's event horizon.

I've exhausted the known connections from the class 2 system, but I have yet to see what's through our own static wormhole. A couple of jumps puts me in C3a, which looks like just about every other class 3 system out there. A tower, no ships. Oh, and this one has a gaping anus of doom pulling me towards it. As much as I'd like to gaze in to the abyss, checking the one planet out of d-scan range finds nothing more than what I've already seen, and as it's late I think I'd rather get some sleep than make up more colourful metaphors for a black hole. Instead of scanning, I turn my ship around and find a quiet corner of our system to hide in for the night.

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