Leaving for home

4th October 2013 – 5.39 pm

My way home is gone. Well, part of it. Not the important part, I suppose, which would be the wormhole actually leading to the home system, or one directly connecting our constellation. I've merely been isolated from the k-space exit. That this exit is in null-sec doesn't really help, as my way back to it could be fraught with peril. But I'm getting ahead of myself. I need to scan my way out of this class 5 w-space system first.

Actually, I'll give the locals a few minutes to get cosy, perhaps comfortable in thinking their system is secure, in case they were collapsing all their connections as a precursor to other activities. This plan would work better if they hadn't seen me, though. My last-ditch but aborted attempt to flee back to null-sec had my dropping my Loki's cloak, showing the strategic cruiser to anyone who was watching, which, apparently, was at least one of the locals. And they want me out of their system.

No, YOU go out, jerk

Maybe you should have thought about that before collapsing the wormhole I used to get here, dude. Maybe, and I'm spitballing here, if you really wanted me out of your system you could have mentioned the imminent collapse of the wormhole and given a non-binding promise to let me leave safely before finishing the task. Having trapped me here, I feel I have no obligation to the abide by your wishes. I actually think I quite like it here. I may even stay.

Naw, I'm going to leave. But I'll see what the locals do first. They scan their new static connection—dunno if it could possibly be 'for me' as they suggest, considering that they never proffer a fleet invitation or some other way to guide me there—and promptly kill that too. Do they want their system open or isolated? I think they want it closed and free from visitors. Like I say, you should have thought about that before getting rid of my way home. I wait a little longer.

Their replacement static wormhole collapsed, the ships return to the tower and the pilots go off-line, all but one in a Loki. That's disappointing in a way, but it makes my leaving a simpler decision to make and probably safer. It's time to go, and being in a class 5 w-space system, looking for a way back to a specific null-sec system, I could have a long evening of scanning ahead of me. I'd better get to it.

The new replacement wormhole is simple to pluck out of the otherwise unchanging clutch of signatures, and it's nice and chubby for quick scanning. Unfortunately, the chubby signature resolves to be an H296 wormhole, leading to more class 5 w-space. On the one hand, this could lead to a near-perpetual chain of tedium. On the other hand, class 5 systems are prone to occasional random connections from null-sec space. This may actually work in my favour. I jump through to find out.

A tower and Anathema covert operations boat appear on my directional scanner in C5b, which I ignore to launch probes. A blanket scan reveals four anomalies and twelve signatures, and my notes have a happy mention of a static wormhole leading to class 3 w-space. That's handy! I just have to scan this system and the next and I'm guaranteed to be spat out of w-space. Where it spits me is another matter, but at least I have a clear end in sight already.

Better still, amongst the many gas sites are two K162s from null-sec. How lucky can I be? The first takes me to a system in the Malpais region, twenty-three hops from the entrance to C3a in Cobalt Edge. That seems like a bit of a trek through null-sec space, so let me check the other wormhole. In to C5b, out to Vale of the Silent, twenty hops to Cobalt Edge. That's better, but still not great. Then again, it could be much worse.

I have another system to check for wormholes, through C5b's static wormhole to C3b, which could also have null-sec connections. It's worth the time to consider my options. The class 3 system is clear from the C5b's K162, one of the two planets out of d-scan range holding a tower and empty Orca industrial command ship. Five anomalies and thirteen signatures give me three more wormholes, one dead-on-arrival—probably a scanner echo, given its proximity to an active wormhole—the second an unhelpful K162 from class 4 w-space, and the static connection exiting to low-sec.

Two wormholes, only one is real

Despite class 4 systems never connecting to k-space I can't help but poke my nose through to see what's happening. I see a tower, Dominix battleship, and Proteus strategic cruiser on d-scan, but no wrecks. That's good enough for me, so I head back to C3a and out to low-sec and the Everyshore region, over fifty hops to Cobalt Edge. Okay, twenty hops starting in Vale of the Silent it is.

I go back to C5b and pick the right null-sec wormhole to give me the shortest trip home, and start my journey. The systems are empty on the few hops it takes me to reach Tribute, and Goon territory, where being in a new region I scan as I travel for my new project. I find an outbound connection to class 5 w-space that suits me just fine, and I jump through to C5c. I just want a look at the wormhole, but standard operating procedure has my updating d-scan, at which point I see a ship hangar and no active force field. Well, I can hardly stop there, can I?

I brake for unprotected SMAs

Exploring the rest of the system finds no further signs of occupation or activity, which lets me work out some of my frustrations on the hangar. I would say it pops, but it doesn't really. On its destruction, all of whatever ships were stowed in the hangar are packaged in to an undersized container that promptly implodes, leaving me nothing else to shoot and none the wiser as to how much ISK damage I just inflicted. I suppose it doesn't really matter, as I couldn't really have taken any of the ships home with me. Moving on.

It's relaxing, but doesn't get me any loot

Back to null-sec and following the route my autopilot has chosen for me. From Tribute to Venal, across to Tenal, and in to Cobalt Edge, avoiding a Claw interceptor landing on the stargate as I enter the system. I had hoped it would jump, but seeing it loiter had my safety relying on getting my Loki cloaked in time. It seems to work, and I warp to the next stargate in my route, only to find the Claw's friends. The small fleet is having a tussle with some hapless pilot on the stargate, and as I warped directly to the stargate, shedding my cloak as I land, I have little option but to keep going.

Don't mind me, just passing through

I don't go unnoticed, and I drag some of the hostile pilots through to the next system. That's okay, as I'm already cloaked and legging it, not letting my curiosity be my downfall. The ships follow still, but when I get clear at the next stargate they give up the chase. That's probably wise. A couple more uneventful hops get me to C3a's exit system, and I warp to the reassuring sight of a still-present wormhole. I jump through to the unchanged class 3 system and warp my Loki back to our K162, jumping home safe and sound after an interesting evening of alternative survival.

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