Good bad timing

7th June 2014 – 3.26 pm

Nothing has been scanned yet, and there are two new signatures in the home system. I like a mystery! Aww, a blanket scan shows that both signatures are too weak to be K162 wormholes, which probably helps explain why all our anomalies are still around. They're probably just gas sites. Yep, a vast and minor pocket. Maybe there is more mystery next door, so I resolve our static wormhole and jump to the neighbouring class 3 w-space system.

Two bubbles and three mobile depots appear on my directional scanner, and nothing sits out of range. That's a little disappointing, particularly now that a Buzzard covert operations boat is visible on d-scan. I hold my session-change cloak and keep updating d-scan, and still the Buzzard lingers. Maybe I should just throw probes out and see if I can find his position, particularly if the cov-ops is at one of the mobile depots.

Decloak, launch, blanket. The Buzzard has gone. With any luck, he left before he had a chance of seeing my Loki strategic cruiser appear on d-scan. Or maybe it won't matter. My scan reveals nine anomalies and thirteen signatures, but I concentrate on resolving the mobile depots over finding wormholes, in case the Buzzard reappears. I get lucky, with a mobile depot and wormhole on my first result, but the wormhole's only a static exit to low-sec that's at the end of its life.

Scanning finds a wormhole and Stratios at the same time

My probes focus on a second depot, followed by a Stratios cruiser on a wormhole. That's me rumbled, I suppose. With no point hiding my probes, I drill down to the Stratios, resolving the cruiser and the wormhole it's sitting on at the same time, before throwing my probes out of the system just in case the pilot is slow with d-scan. I warp to the Stratios's position, and end up in empty space. That's a bit rum, as the wormhole surely can't have collapsed. No, the cruiser was in warp, just barely, during my last scan.

I warp instead to the wormhole I resolved, landing next to a K162 from high-sec. The Stratios dropped from d-scan briefly but now is back. Where? Did he go through a wormhole, is he visiting a mobile depot? More interesting than either of those options, the cruiser is in an anomaly. It looks like we have a high-sec tourist to poke with sticks. I warp in to take a look, sure enough seeing the Stratios engaging Sleepers, but he's also nowhere near the anomaly's cosmic signature and is barrelling along at a rate of knots.

Stratios cruiser in a class 3 w-space anomaly

The Stratios will be difficult to catch if he keeps this up. I retreat to a perch and continue to observe his behaviour, seeing the ship pause by one of the Sleeper wrecks. That's slowed him down. Still, he's not guaranteed to stay there, so I have no reliable anchor to warp to to catch him. I'll need to use a cloaky ship, and probably one with a bit more offensive power than my Loki. We have a Legion strategic cruiser that ought to do the job, I just need to go home and get it. I think the ambush is worth a try.

I warp to our K162 and approach it, as I nearly always cautious during system transitions, and update d-scan before jumping home. I immediately cancel my approach. I turn my Loki around and warp back to the perch in the anomaly, not because I think I stand a better chance in my Loki after all, I just want to go back in time to be a spectator, having just seen a small fleet appear in the system. That Stratios is being jumped without my help.

Aftermath of the ambush on the Stratios

I drop out of warp to see the aftermath, a bunch of red skulls in a Curse recon ship, Arazu recon ship, Cerberus heavy assault cruiser, Keres electronic attack frigate, and Scythe logistics cruiser milling around some wrecks. Not the wreck of the Stratios, though, not as far as I can make out. There is a non-Sleeper wreck, but it looks to be that of a Helios cov-ops that perhaps tried to tackle the Stratios and got popped by the Sleepers. I don't know, I wasn't here.

Poor drones

The red skulls don't hang around for long, clearing the pocket by warping towards the star once the ambush is over. The Stratios pilot mourns the loss of his drones, but I imagine he's happy to keep his ship. Me, I'm glad that my timing was both a little off and good. I could have gone in guns blazing in my Loki and got caught in the crossfire. But that's the w-space environment, and it would have been an experience that way too. Now the system is quiet—after a Proteus strategic cruiser comes and goes. Well, as quiet as it was, which is to say: who knows?

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