Not quite ready for the return

30th September 2013 – 5.17 pm

Let's see what I can get up to today. The recent spate of wormholes connecting to our home system has apparently dried up, leaving me with the one route to go, jumping through our static connection to the neighbouring class 3 w-space system. I won't get up to much mischief here, not with only an off-line tower visible on my directional scanner and the whole of the system being in range. I'll have to look further abroad.

My notes indicate I'm looking for a static exit to null-sec amongst the fifteen anomalies and ten signatures. I ignore gas, relics, data, resolving the wormhole as the final signature. Thanks for that. At least it's obviously the only wormhole in the system, and again I have just the one direction to travel. Out to null-sec with me, and in to a system in Oasa by myself.

Popping drone rats in null-sec Oasa

By myself, you say? I do, Penny. Then I shall rat whilst I scan. Or maybe just find a rat to pop for a gain in security status, given that there are no additional signatures in the system. And, what the hell, as it all looks quiet I shall hop a stargate or two to look for more wormholes rather than turn around, not today fearing what isn't w-space. The next system across is equally empty of pilots and signatures as the first, although I pause to pop another rat, but the next stargate-hop lands me in the middle of a load of warp bubbles.

If a ship is in a warp bubble but not one of the twenty pilots in the system is there to shoot it, is it really caught? Who cares, as my Loki strategic cruiser not only has a covert operations cloak but also the interdiction nullifier subsystem. I point myself towards the next stargate in the little ring of systems I'm travelling through, and enter a cloaked warp without bother. The bubbles on the other stargate impede my exit just as much as my entrance, which is to say not at all.

Maybe I should have stopped in that last system. The locals clearly want to discourage visitors. But never mind, as this next system has two signatures for me to scan, which I do as I also find a rat to pop. One is a combat site, the other a wormhole, an outbound connection to class 5 w-space. On the one hand, an outbound connection guarantees at least one more wormhole to resolve. On the other hand, the discovery scanner will have alerted anyone in the C5 system of my imminent arrival. Really, what's the point of roaming these days?

Not entirely deterred, I jump to C5a to an empty result on d-scan. That's no surprise when opening the system map, seeing one planet in range and the next being over 40 AU distant. I launch probes and perform a blanket scan of the system, revealing ten anomalies, a measly four signatures, and six ships, one of which I can tell is a dreadnought even with my probes set to their coarsest scanning range. I should find them, however obvious this new wormhole must be to anyone who realises the power of the discovery scanner.

Warping towards the centre of the system finds a tower, along with a Scorpion battleship, Navy Raven battleship, Archon carrier, and the Moros dreadnought. But that's four ships. A subsequent blanket scan shows five now, which is still one more than is at the tower. A second Navy Raven soon warps in, though, followed by a third, bringing the number of ships up to six. The newly arrived ships are piloted, naturally, as is the Scorpion. What were they doing? Are there any wrecks from the direction they came?

I see two anomalies in the rough direction the Ravens came from, far out of d-scan range, so I point my Loki towards the planet near them and enter warp. I may need to be quick in identifying the right anomaly and making a perch, because as I enter warp one of the Ravens is swapped for a Noctis salvager. But, reaching the planet, I see no wrecks. And not only are these are the only possible anomalies the Ravens could have come from but the Noctis appears on d-scan. And disappears from d-scan. That's when I remember the previous disappearing ships.

The Noctis has gone through a wormhole, the Ravens having engaged Sleepers in a different w-space system. Being out of range of the tower also means I can scan for the wormhole, where I can wait for the Noctis. Doing so is easy, with one signature around this planet, and warping to the resolved wormhole sees the system's static connection to class 4 w-space. I get close and wait for the Noctis to return. I hope he won't be long.

I could jump to C4a and look for the Noctis, but that doesn't seem like a good idea. Worst case, we could pass each other on the wormhole. And even though that's unlikely, the anomalies have probably despawned by now, and there is no guarantee that I could either launch probes covertly or successfully hunt the salvager in time. But I know the Noctis will be coming back this way, and by staying here I have the option of jumping through the wormhole without polarising myself. On top of that, he'll be jumping back with a cargo hold full of loot. I'm best off waiting here.

I remain cloaked. I don't want to spook the Noctis and have him be prepared to flee, nor to call in reinforcements as he holds his session change cloak. I just have to give the pilot a second to feel comfortable before ambushing him. And I don't have long to wait. The wormhole crackles. I give him the second he needs to see nothing untoward, then shed my cloak at about the same time as the Noctis does. He is trying to enter warp, I am trying to stop him. But even getting my sensor booster active, the recalibration delay from decloaking is apparently enough for the perhaps-modified Noctis to warp clear.

That looks like warp speed to me

That was pretty close. I initially think I couldn't have done better, but second thoughts have my considering the choice to remain cloaked a mistake. Several seconds of recalibration delay are significant, and even if the Noctis had called for support I would have survived the attentions of a battleship or two in the time it takes to destroy a salvager. And, like I said, staying this side of the wormhole meant my chances of getting polarised during the ambush would have been low. Yeah, I probably should have been ready and waiting for that salvager.

  1. 2 Responses to “Not quite ready for the return”

  2. Love the blog. I hope there are changes in futures expansions to give the solo hunter more opportunites... I wont be holding my breath though. Maybe a simple requirement to have probes launched to find out if any new wormholes have opened. To appease the non-WHers keep it as it is in K-space. Not sure if that would be a programming nightmare or not.

    By Nafi on Oct 1, 2013

  3. Thanks, Nafi.

    I'm in favour of removing the discovery scanner from w-space, which would return us to needing probes to see new signatures appearing. I hope it happens.

    By pjharvey on Oct 1, 2013

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