Crashing a wormhole crashing

15th January 2014 – 5.16 pm

A short break has my returning to a home w-space system with a distinct shortage of anomalies. I know we were clearing them recently, and made a dent that kept our wallet nice and healthy, but I thought we had a few more in reserve than are now in the system. I suppose it's possible my colleagues continued culling the local fauna in my absence, but I think it's more likely that a passing fleet took an interest in the potential ISK the anomalies represented. At least we made a good profit when we had the opportunity, and there are some left to pillage at our leisure.

No pillaging of Sleeper sites tonight, though, not with my being by myself. I need to look further afield for my entertainment, so launch probes to scan. Old gas sites are gone, new gas sites have appeared—that seems a little redundant, but whatever—a data site is new, and today we have two extra wormholes. Two K162s lead backwards to class 4 and class 3 w-space, plus we have our static connection to class 3 w-space. K162s are better, though. Which one first?

C4a could well be a dead end, so exploring that seems like a good direction to exhaust quickly. And it may well be quick, as jumping in to the system lands me well over eight kilometres from the wormhole locus. It's almost certainly dead here, but is it an end? I launch probes and perform a blanket scan of the system as I warp away to explore. Checking my notes in warp shows that this is my seventh visit to the system, which was unoccupied eight months ago. It's unoccupied now too, which leaves me sifting through the nine anomalies and twelves signatures for K162s. Nope, none. Whoever was here has been and gone, and this is indeed a dead end.

Back home and through the other K162 to C3b, where again my directional scanner is clear from the wormhole. I'm only two kilometres from the locus this time, so I am more optimistic about finding occupation, if not activity, at least until I open the system map to see only one planet and its one moon sits out of d-scan range. Never mind, I can scan for wormholes, and launch probes, blanket the system, and warp to that one moon to—how about that—find an on-line tower. There are no ships or pilots, though, so I am still reduced to scanning.

Plenty of anomalies aren't that interesting, and C3b holds only three signatures to resolve. One is the T405 leading to our home system, one will be the U210 static exit to low-sec empire space, and I'm guessing the third will be a K162. It's a wormhole, anyway, but before I find out where it comes from I get distracted by jumping to low-sec and seeing a lone Buzzard in a system in the Genesis region.

The covert operations boat persists on d-scan, so I launch probes with a hope to catch it in a data or relic site. The Buzzard is definitely in space, but apparently it's in space near a stargate, as the ship and its pilot leaves the system within a few seconds. Never mind. I have probes launched, I may as well scan the four extra signatures present, and although I try to find a rat to pop some minor traffic passing through deters me. Just scanning, then.

Two wormholes, one relic site, one data site. All resolved, the wormholes for exploration, the sites for potential ambushes on unsuspecting pilots. New contacts come and go through the low-sec system, one being the Buzzard passing through in a different direction, another ship looking under my combat scanning probes to perhaps be near the first wormhole. I should investigate. And getting closer sees an Orca on d-scan. Closer still, the industrial command ship is indeed on the wormhole, jumping through as I drop out of warp.

Orca jumps back from low-sec to class 2 w-space

Ah, bad luck, missing an Orca heading in to w-space. I am almost twenty kilometres away from the K162 from a class 2 system, which is too much space to cover even if I decloak my Loki strategic cruiser and burn my micro warp drive. The Orca will have gone by the time I get there, and I would have uncovered myself to any other watching eyes. Still, it's worth getting closer to the wormhole to poke through to C2a, in case any other ships come this way. Speak of the devil, the wormhole crackles.

It's the Orca again! Is he going out to buy or sell more, or—yep, he's crashing the wormhole, as evidenced by his immediate return to C2a. This time I am close enough to follow. Decloak, burn, jump. I'm going in blind, but who cares. I get my bearings as best I can in w-space, seeing the Orca and, hullo, two pods sitting on the wormhole. Is it my birthday already? I suppose the pods are time-sharing the Orca to mitigate polarisation effects, which explains the short time between repeated jumps, but I can think about that later. I decloak and start locking all three targets, one pod warping away quickly, the second missed by my ratting ammunition that I still have carelessly loaded, and the Orca held in place by my warp scrambler and his own polarisation effects.

Orca and two pods waiting to be ambushed on a wormhole

The second pod finally gets ripped apart, so I turn my autocannons on to the Orca. Chewing through the industrial command ship will take a while, and I somehow think I won't be afforded the time I need, and not just because the wormhole crackles again, a little more ominously this time. The Orca's escort appears, a Falcon recon ship. That's not a bad choice, even if it's a frustrating one. I lock on to the Falcon and move my guns towards it instead of the Orca, hoping to remove the recon ship as a threat whilst keeping the whale close with the scrambler, but it's all over.

Falcon and its ECM comes to the Orca's rescue

My target locks drop, the Falcon's ECM working as intended. The Orca still needs to enter warp, though, and I don't give up immediately. As my Loki is reduced to an expensive hauler I move over to scoop my corpse trophy, and hope for the Falcon to drop an ECM cycle, right up to the point when the Orca speeds away from the wormhole. The Falcon has retreated from the wormhole too, maintaining range to protect his ship. I'm not going to be suckered in trying to engage him so far away, not that he wants me to either. I'll show myself out.

Prophecy flies escort for the Orca

I jump back out of w-space to low-sec, and move away from the wormhole and cloak. I stay in the system and near the wormhole for now, not so much to see if I can catch anything else but simply to pose a potential threat to the pilots. They recognise it, naturally, and send a Prophecy battlecruiser out to patrol the wormhole, along with a Tengu strategic cruiser, just to discourage me from interfering further. Sure thing, boys. I just sit at a safe distance and watch as the Orca comes and goes. When the wormhole drops to critical levels the two escorts return to w-space, and behind them the Orca goes. The wormhole goes. And so the Penny goes too.

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