Wallowing in the aftermath

15th September 2013 – 3.52 pm

Reload, cloak, and jink. The two stealth bombers have been reduced to wrecks, the wrecks to space dust, and one pod to a scooped corpse. The siege of the off-line tower has been defeated. Not that I really cared one way or the other, I just wanted some explosions and popping the two ships was quicker than waiting for the tower to go. Now to see what the pilot in his pod will do, and if that other Manticore will make a reappearance.

I loiter by a canister jettisoned by one of the destroyed ships near the tower. Close enough to engage a ship that comes for it, but not quite so close as to be committed to engaging it. I don't think there is much else threatening in the system, but I'd rather not be surprised by it. And as the pod of the Manticore returns to the off-line tower I have to wonder if there is another ship I'm not aware of.

Pod returns to the tower

The pod moves to nestle right next to the tower, some thirty kilometres from my position near where the stealth bombers were, and makes lazy if tight orbits. I get the feeling he wants me to reveal my cloaky Loki strategic cruiser again. Whether that's to bait me for another ship, or to make sure I'm not near this can, I don't know. I'm not going to do it, though. I have almost no chance of catching the pod before it warps away, so there is little to gain in revealing myself to it. Besides, he's not the boss of me.

A couple of minutes of tower circling has the pod warp away, to space below one of the planets. I imagine he's warped to a wormhole. I watch my directional scanner to see if he disappears, instead noticing a Rapier recon ship in the system, followed by a pair of Imperial Navy Slicer frigates. They're not with the pod, and in the opposite direction, but they convince me to hold my cloak a little longer.

The system could be getting hot. Maybe I should collapse our wormhole. Or not. The Rapier disappeared, which I presumed meant it had cloaked, but now the Slicers are gone too. Maybe they've left the system. I should take a look around. Launching probes will let me drop on top of that pod too, which still lingers on d-scan. An initial blanket scan of the system reveals, bleh, thirty-nine anomalies and thankfully a more manageable twelve signatures. But no ship. The pod has gone. Okay, I'll scan.

I cluster my probes where the pod was and, quelle surprise, I resolve a wormhole. Warping in that direction plonks me next to the system's static exit to low-sec, as I scan where the Rapier roughly was. Yup, there's a second wormhole. This one is a K162 from null-sec, which makes sense. I suppose the null-seccers poked their nose in to the w-space system to look for any obvious prey and, finding none, went back to roaming their normal environment. Still, if I hadn't found the stealth bombers I imagine those ships would have.

Finally, loitering on the low-sec wormhole, waiting for potential ships to return, I check my notes for this w-space system. It's my fifth visit, the last being just under three weeks ago, and it looks like an active tower then is one that the bombers were shooting. The on-line tower now in the system is new. And the ships under my combat probes, returned to a blanket-scanning configuration and occasionally pinged, is a Loki somewhere in the system and a Hound stealth bomber perhaps at the new tower. I should find that.

Locating the tower is straightforward, although the Hound is gone when I get there. But the tower's owner corporation doesn't match that of the stealth bombers I popped. So where are they from, and why would they want to shoot that off-line tower? I don't think I'll find out, and as there are scanning probes in the system—not mine, they are out of range of d-scan—I should concentrate on what's happening now. I warp back to loiter on the low-sec wormhole and wait. And keep on waiting.

Loki jumps past me to low-sec

The probes go, the Loki jumps past me to low-sec. Did he come from null-sec too? I consider scanning and, thinking the Loki isn't coming back, am about to call my probes in to do that when the wormhole crackles to return the Loki to this class 3 system. Only knowing of one other wormhole, I warp to the null-sec K162 to see if the Loki passes me there, but he blips on to d-scan and not on my overview. I have another wormhole to find, so I bring my probes in to find it.

This time I scan thoroughly, ignoring gas and data to resolve just one more wormhole. It's a K162 from class 4 w-space that's at the end of its life. Well, either the Loki came from here or through our home system, and I'm not going through the EOL connection to find out. The evening is winding down, it seems, making this a good time to rat in null-sec and have a look in low-sec.

Popping a rat battleship in null-sec

The null-sec K162 takes me to Oasa, where whoever was passing through before passed through quite successfully, leaving me alone to pop a drone battleship and ignore a combat site as the only other signature in the system. Back in to and across C3a sends me to a low-sec system in Kor-Azor, with no oranges but a handful of criminals in the system, plus some core scanning probes. Maybe it's worth checking that one extra signature, just as pretty much every pilot in the system gets flagged as a criminal.

I always suspected 'GF' was used like that

I guess that was a successful gate camp I witnessed indirectly. It turns out to be more interesting than the EOL K162 from class 3 w-space too, particularly with the post-camp commentary. And although the wormhole is unlikely to die in the few seconds it will take to poke through—I'm not Mick—it's late enough that if it does happen I don't want to be facing a long trip home. I'll just leave it and head home. Still, explosions followed by plenty of waiting and watching is a rare experience. It's EVE Online in reverse.

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