Escape through null-sec

31st August 2013 – 3.23 pm

I'm waiting near a wormhole. I may be polarised, but I haven't checked yet. I've been more concerned with evading a couple of assault frigates, who worryingly seem to be more than a match for my strategic cruiser. But at least I have a cloaking device. I can watch from a safe distance the Wolf and Enyo buzz around looking for me whilst I consider my options. Well, as I came in through that wormhole, I'm probably heading back through that wormhole. It's not my fault I blew up a couple of their ships and sent a pilot to the cloning vats.

Safe in class 5 w-space, just about

I'm no longer polarised. I barely suffered any effects anyway, thanks to my use of the directional scanner to predict what was going to happen and jumping early to ambush a potential target. And I think the pair in front of me have made a mistake, having both ships on this side of the wormhole. That means they have to give chase when I jump, instead of having someone ready on either side and communicating any change. Still, that works for me, so when I feel ready I move towards the wormhole, break my cloak, and, well, try to jump to the class 2 w-space system.

I've had sammich breaks shorter than this session change. Something is awry with this C2, and it's causing some kind of time dilation. But eventually I make it through the wormhole, and the other side looks clear until I try to move and cloak. The Enyo doesn't really appear and lock me but apparently did so a short time ago. And, again, the pair make a careless mistake, as the Wolf follows behind. I would want to be on this kill too, I suppose, but it has cleared my secondary escape route. I throw a few volleys of autocannon fire in the rough direction of the Enyo, the rounds flying in to empty space, before jumping back through the wormhole to C5a.

By 'secondary escape route' I of course mean the system I was just stuck in. But at least the session change is smooth, and I move way from the wormhole and cloak before the assault frigates can stop me. I'm safe for a bit longer, at least as long as my polarisation timer, but I don't think it's worth risking my Loki through that laggy wormhole again. I'd rather go off-line in this system and have to work my way home another day than make an expensive error in judgment.

If I'm going to stay here, I may as well scan. I am confident this is the home of the assault frigates, and it's quite possible that I am in the start of a short chain of w-space, but if I get probes whizzing around the system I may at least distract the local fauna. Actually, maybe I won't, not with the discovery scanner quite obviously not showing them any new signatures. But if there is a second wormhole I may be able to split their attention.

There are five signatures. How many are wormholes? Gas, hello wormhole!, gas, gas, and, of course, the static wormhole I'm currently avoiding. The second wormhole is both awkward and welcoming, being a K162 from null-sec k-space that's been critically destabilised. It's an exit, and I have an entrance back home in another system, but the entrance is in high-sec empire space and I haven't had particularly good luck traversing the boundaries of different sec-spaces. The wormhole is also likely to collapse, which could mean no one would be able to follow me, or I wouldn't be able to come back. Either, really.

I pop back to the C2 wormhole to see my two new friends still loitering there. That makes the null-sec wormhole my best option, and warping across and getting in to jump range has no ships buzzing around. I decloak and jump. Thrown smoothly in to a system in Cache, I move and cloak without problem, thirty-four hops from the high-sec system that leads back home. I'm sure I've been in worse positions.

Enyo checks that I came this way

The Enyo joins me in null-sec briefly, checking to see that my ship blipping on d-scan was a jump in this direction, quite obvious thanks to us both appearing in the populated local comms channel, before ignoring me and going home. Okay, it's time to rat and scan. Oh, there are no other signatures in this system, so I'll just rat and move on. I set my autopilot for the high-sec system, as I may as well head in the right direction whilst trying to scan for a wormhole short-cut. There's no point getting further away.

Ratting in null-sec

One hop across there are still no signatures to resolve, and I abandon my plan to rat without scanning. The journey is far enough already, I don't need to lengthen it artificially. Another hop gives one signature that resolves to be a data site. Hop, three signatures, no wormholes. Hop, relics. Hop, huh. 214 pilots in the system. One signature, too. Be good, signature. Nope, no wormhole. But so many supercarriers picked up by my combat probes. I've got to take a look at these.

Supercapital shipss in null-sec

Supercapital ships engaging their jump drives

This is not a sight I see every day, and it's quite impressive. More so when they start activating their jump drives to traverse light years without using stargates or wormholes. And as they move on so do I, but using mundane technology to get to a merely adjacent system. A Condor frigate is above the stargate, which is curious, but I wisely hold my session change cloak as a small cruiser fleet warps on to the gate, joined by the Condor, and they move on.

Four signatures still don't give me a wormhole, and it looks like I'll be hopping stargates all the way to high-sec. That seems okay, except for the transition from null-sec to low-sec. A mere thirteen pilots are in the barrier system, but I bet some of them are pirates stalking the gate. Well, I have combat probes, I can take an accurate look at what's there without having to get close. I cluster my probes around the stargate and scan. A handful of ships and some drones. It doesn't seem so bad, and as I have a good scan result I choose to warp at range to one of the ships.

Avoiding a drag bubble on the border of null- and low-sec space

That's definitely a good result. Warping at range to the ship puts me only twenty kilometres from the stargate, and far from the drag bubbles positioned to pull ships far from jump range of the gate. Of course, the bubbles wouldn't have affected my interdiction-nullified Loki anyway, which makes null-sec travel safer, as I see when a frigate gets dragged in to the bubbles and routinely popped by a waiting pirate. Me, I coast towards the stargate and jump to low-sec.

Twenty-one more hops and I can get almost home, with only a one-system low-sec island to navigate. Part of me wants to adjust my autopilot to avoid low-sec now, as it would be careless, and almost inevitable, to be caught in a gate camp between high-sec systems after having worked my way from null-sec to here. But I'm feeling confident, and a bit lazy. It's late, and I don't fancy whatever wild diversion the autopilot would take me on to avoid that one system, so I press on. And, a bit anticlimactically, it's fine.

I pass through the island and back to high-sec without incident, and hop, hop, hop through high-sec stargates simply enough, until I find myself once again directed by a bookmark to a wormhole. It's the K162 to C3a, our neighbouring system, which is as quiet as I left it earlier. It's been quite a journey for me to get back here, and quite an adventure tonight. Some exploration, small skirmishes, and actual threat, but the only explosions coming from other ships. That's the way I like it.

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