Recouping a mineral loss

10th May 2014 – 3.05 pm

Two signatures at home surely hold a K162 between them. In fact, they are both K162 wormholes, one coming in from class 4 w-space, the other class 2 w-space. Let's see what's in C2a first. Updating my directional scanner from the other side of the wormhole sees a tower, Tengu strategic cruiser, and Prowler transport somewhere in the system. A subsequent update no longer sees the Prowler.

One planet is out of d-scan range of the wormhole, so I warp my cloaky Loki strategic cruiser to its customs office on the hope of seeing the transport collecting goo, noticing the Tengu drop from d-scan as I accelerate. No ships are out here, and as I'm out of range of anyone I launch probes and perform a blanket scan of the system. Eleven anomalies—all ore sites—and three signatures are all that's out there, so I locate the tower and determine to resolve the two unknown signatures.

Refreshing my blanket scan as I locate the tower sees two ships in the system, although switching to d-scan only registers the Prowler. The transport goes again. I catch up with it when I locate the tower, the transport now nestled inside the force field and apparently idling. Maybe some movement is occurring between here and high-sec, which is where the second static wormhole will lead. As the Prowler continues to now do nothing I call my probes in and scan.

One wormhole, one gas site. The high-sec connection exits to The Forge, not close to Jita, with two pilots in the system, neither affiliated with the C2 corporation. Four extra signatures have my launching probes to scan them, and I take my Loki in to an anomaly to pop some frigates as I do. The signatures are nothing special—combat site, gas, combat site, relics—and the swarm of frigates embarrasses my strategic cruiser in to warping clear. There's little point wasting booster charges on minor rats.

Back to C2a, where d-scan shows me the Tengu and not the Prowler, which is curious. Neither ship came to high-sec, so I don't know where they are going or what they are doing. But never mind, I jump home and warp across to go through the K162 to C4a. D-scan is clear, a blanket scan reveals anomalies and signatures but no ships, and exploring doesn't find any occupation. The only wormhole amongst the sites is a K162 from more class 2 w-space, so that's the way to go.

D-scan is clear once more, this time from the wormhole in C2b, though there's lots of space it doesn't cover. There's not much in that space—hence the name—with no anomalies and four signatures, but a blanket scan with combat probes also picks up two ships. I don't suppose they can be up to much, though, and locating the tower they are in sees an Iteron V hauler and Ferox battlecruiser both piloted, both doing nothing. I may as well scan.

Wormhole, gas, wormhole. The static exit to high-sec is at the end of its life, also leading to The Forge. The exit is fourteen hops from the one from C2a, and only two hops from Jita. I'm surprised the wormhole isn't also mass-stressed. The second wormhole is a K162 from high-sec, Domain obviously on the other side by the golden colours. It would be amazing if this wormhole were a good connection to Amarr. But before I find out, the wormhole crackles as I approach it.

Full stop. Whoever just came through the wormhole is holding his session change cloak. I can't reveal myself too early, not on a high-sec wormhole, so I wait. When I see the Iteron decloak I wait a little longer, not because I am afraid of the ship but because I have a definite plan. I want to be sure the pilot has issued the command to enter warp. When this is done, it is not possible to escape through a wormhole without countermanding the first command. If the pilot is flustered, he may realise this only too late.

Ambushing an Iteron on a high-sec wormhole

The Iteron's moving is my cue to strike. I decloak, activate my sensor booster, and wait what seems like an age before the recalibration delay from decloaking completes. Now I can lock on to my target and start shooting, overheating my guns for maximum effect and disrupting the Iteron's warp engines. Actually, maybe the disruption could have waited, as now he is not accelerating to warp. It doesn't seem like it matters, as the Iteron is ripped apart pretty quickly, exploding in a shower of flames.

Iteron explodes on a high-sec wormhole

The pilot's pod is ejected clear of the wreck, but is not clear of my Loki. He's suffering from a new session change timer, giving him ten seconds before he can jump to high-sec. He's better off warping clear, because I can target a pod and crack it open in less than ten seconds, which I go on to prove, completing another successful ambush on a high-sec wormhole. Right time, right place.

Wreck of Iteron and corpse of pilot

I scoop the corpse, and loot and, well, don't shoot the wreck. There is a nice chunk of minerals that has survived the explosion, most of them being what Fin was trying to bring home yesterday. How lucky that someone else sacrifices their hauler so that our loss can be mostly recouped. That is, if I can get back here to claim the minerals as my own. It doesn't seem too difficult, because how hard can it be to avoid dying on a high-sec wormhole?

I head home to get a hauler, jumping to class 4 w-space and being confused when I can't warp directly to our tower, mostly because this isn't the home system, that being another system up the chain. No problem, I cross what I now realise to be C4a, jump home, and now realise my dreams of warping to our tower. I look for a Kryos, the silly ships being cheap with plentiful storage and an uncanny ability to fit as many warp core stabilisers as you like. Oh, right, it got destroyed by a couple of low-sec pilots. I suppose I'll take the Bustard transport instead.

Sacrilege follows me out of the home system

Out of home to C4a, and across to C2b. Except, as I accelerate in to warp, the wormhole back to the home system crackles, a Sacrilege heavy assault cruiser appearing. Where did he come from? I ponder that as I warp across the system, jumping to C2b on landing, because going back seems more awkward than pressing forwards. No ship follows me as I warp to the wreck on the high-sec wormhole and loot the minerals—having vastly over-estimated the volume they would take up. But now what?

Looted the Iteron wreck in a Bustard

I could go back the way I came and trust that the Bustard's inherent warp-core stability will save me, but the Sacrilege could have friends, and why risk the transport for the sake of convenience and some crappy minerals? I jump through the K162 to high-sec to ponder my situation in a position of greater relative security. Hey, I'm in high-sec, and this high-sec system connects to the high-sec system that leads in to C2a. If he's waiting for me, the HAC will be doing so between C2b and home. I doubt he'll expect me to cross his home system and jump in behind his position.

Twenty-four hops, though. That's a lot of travelling. Still, what else am I going to do? I set my autopilot to show me the route, and start hopping stargates. It's tedious but somewhat necessary, and probably a long enough journey that whatever ships may have been waiting for me have likely all given up and gone home by now. But I complete my trip, warp to the wormhole leading in to w-space that I found much earlier, and cross C2a and jump home with no interruption. I deposit the minerals at our tower, clamber back in to my Loki, and don't even look to see if anyone was waiting for me. It would be a bit silly to become entangled in an ambush I was trying to avoid. Instead, I simply head off-line after another successful evening in w-space.

W-space constellation schematic

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