Anathema to w-space exploration

24th March 2014 – 5.40 pm

I'm starting from scratch. All the old, known sites have disappeared from the home system, new signatures have appeared, and no one is around. What have I got in the system with me? A bit of gas, some relics, and one wormhole. Well, maybe our neighbouring class 3 w-space system has more to offer. But not according to my directional scanner, which shows me nothing from the K162.

A blanket scan of C3a reveals a ship somewhere. The signature is pretty strong, though, so it's probably an Orca industrial command ship floating empty in a tower's force field. Warping towards the signature has d-scan show me an Orca and tower, and getting closer still has my overview say the Orca's empty. Penny. She's so hot right now. Penny.

Scanning the system has just the one wormhole, nothing else of interest, and it looks like I'm heading to null-sec. Or not, not with the bastard K346 at the end of its life. Instead, it looks like I'm heading to class 4 w-space, grabbing some massive ships, and shoving them through a wormhole to collapse it, whilst trying to fill the wasted time in-between jumps caused by polarisation.

Out I go in our own Orca, and back I come. Even the Orca warps to and from our tower faster than the five minutes of polarisation, so I loiter for a while before sending a Widow black ops ship in to C3a and straight back home again. The wormhole drops to its half-mass state, I stay in the Widow. Minutes pass, I make another trip, leaving me just needing one more round trip in the Orca to finish the process.

Anathema enters our system from class 3 w-space

Hullo, the wormhole crackles, bringing an Anathema covert operations boat to our system. The cov-ops cloaks, but will he scan? More to the point, what can I do about this intruder? My polarisation effects are over, so I could collapse the wormhole and perhaps isolate the scout from his system, but that seems rather pointless. He'll just scan his way out and be a bit frustrated. Better if I could catch him and destroy his ship.

I know that there's nowhere for the Anathema to go but back to his home C3, through the only wormhole in our system, which gives me an obvious place to loiter. Not in a Widow, though. I have to swap ships, which presents two problems. First, what ship do I want? My interceptor springs to mind first, but maybe I could use an interdictor to make the capture easier for me. Okay, that was relatively simple after all. The second problem is more awkward: how do I get to our tower, swap ships, and get back and through the wormhole without the Anathema noticing?

My Widow is cloaked near the wormhole but, weirdly for a black ops ship, cannot warp cloaked. I still can't see probes in the system, so there's no guarantee the Anathema has actually moved too far away. Somewhat more problematic, the wormhole is just out of d-scan range of the wormhole. Even if I keep d-scan updated, there will be time when I won't be able to tell if the Anathema leaves the system. Well, I either try to catch the cov-ops or collapse our wormhole, and one task is intrinsically more appealing than the other.

I align to the tower, decloak, warp. I swap to a Flycatcher and warp back to the wormhole post-haste, jumping to C3a on contact. Now I wait. I didn't see the Anathema blip on d-scan in the home system, I don't see it on d-scan in this system. Of course, the tower in C3a is not within d-scan's range either, which makes it difficult to tell if the scout's come back even if he's now idling in his tower. I could warp closer to check, but that would mean leaving the wormhole, and potentially missing my one opportunity to catch the cov-ops.

Waiting on the K162 in a Flycatcher interdictor

Wait, wait, wait. It's quite possible the Anathema saw my Widow, moved back to the wormhole, and left our system already. It's also possible that he spent a few minutes locating our tower before launching probes to scan for K162s, and will come back disappointed. Whilst I've nothing better to do than ponder possibilities, it could be that the pilot saw my Flycatcher jump through the wormhole and is waiting in the hopes that I get so bored I quit waiting for him and jump back home, at which point he can cross-jump safely. The longer I wait, the more I lean towards that likelihood.

Still I wait. I can be quite stubborn sometimes. Really quite stubborn. I could have collapsed the wormhole, explored and scanned another boring class 3 system, and collapsed a second wormhole in the time I've waited. Just be glad I can compress time in text. Still I have no idea where the Anathema is, but at least the discovery scanner shows me that the K346 has died of old age, replaced by a new one. Of course it does, because why shouldn't I know about unknown cosmic signatures without warping to them or scanning them with probes?

I think it's time to give up on waiting, Penny, cut your losses. Okay, Penny, you're probably right. I jump home to a clear-looking wormhole, and a clear-looking d-scan. I hold on the wormhole for a moment, wondering if the Anathema will break for his home system, but nothing happens. I warp to our tower and swap back to my scouting Loki strategic cruiser, wondering what to do next. I could collapse our wormhole and start again, or scan the replacement K346. Maybe that would have been a good idea an hour ago, but there seems little point now. I just grab an Orca, finish off the wormhole, and hide in a corner of the system to go off-line.

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