11th July 2014 – 5.15 pm

I'm kinda tired already. That doesn't bode well for this evening. And I really think I should endeavour to get our Bustard transport back from high-sec dock. Not for any particular reason, you understand, and certainly not because our tower is now regularly sending notifications complaining that it will throw a hissy fit and go off-line if it doesn't get some more fuel soon. Nope, I just like having the comfort of a Caldari deep space transport in our hangar.

I need to perk up. Let's scan and see what happens. Hey, we have two new signatures in the home system. What are the odds I'll have a K162 from class 2 w-space, giving me a convenient high-sec exit? Both are wormholes, which is a good start, but the odds get slimmer when warping to the first sees a K162 from deadly class 6 w-space, and slimmer still with the other being a K162 from class 5 w-space. Maybe our static wormhole has transmuted overnight in to a C2 connection.

No such luck. I still pick the wormhole to class 3 w-space over the other two, as it is at least guaranteed to exit to k-space. C5a will be my second option, as class 5 systems often have k-space wormholes connecting in to them, and C6a is a last resort. C3a first, though, and updating my directional scanner on our K162 sees a tower with no ships, and my notes tell me the system has a static exit to high-sec. Score!

My notes also list three towers, with one of them being in range. That sounds about right, until I actually read my notes and see that there were seventeen towers last time and I just couldn't be arsed to list them all. Thankfully that's changed, and what I see is now the sole tower, which cuts down on scouting time, and shows the system to be almost certainly inactive. I'll scan the fifteen anomalies and twelve signatures for the exit.

Ignoring all the gas leaves me with three outbound connections, one a T405 to class 4 w-space, a second an N770 to class 5 w-space, and the D845 high-sec exit. I have options when all I want is an exit. The T405 is a poor choice, as the C4 will connect to more w-space, but could then exit to empire space. The N770 is as good a choice as the C5 K162 in the home system. But that D845 looks lovely, right until I jump through it and end up in a system in Placid.

I'm twenty hops to the Bustard, with two unavoidable low-sec jumps. I'm in one big high-sec island, apparently. Maybe I can change that by scanning the one extra signature in the system. It's a wormhole, a K162 from class 1 w-space. A K162 maybe, but the C1 system may well have been found by an empire-space tourist opening a wormhole in to the system. It's got to be worth a look.

In to C1a and I update d-scan to see two towers and no ships, the discovery scanner showing me thirteen anomalies and four signatures. I launch probes and scan, finding one more wormhole, and a high-sec K162 at that. The connection's at the end of its life, though, and can't be entirely trusted. It also comes in from a system in Derelik, twice as far from the Bustard as the system in Placid. That's a long way to bring a slow-moving transport whilst relying on a dying wormhole.

There's nothing else to do but risk the low-sec systems. I head home, drop to a pod, and head out to Placid, where I buy an overpriced shuttle to make travelling a little quicker. I also set the autopilot to take me the shortest route to the Bustard. It will be quicker, and relatively safe in the shuttle. I'll bring the Bustard back the safer route. Well, assuming the two hops in low-sec will be safer than the dozen I'm doing now.

Pirates warp in a different direction to me

A small fleet warps to a gate in one low-sec system as I am heading in a different direction, but otherwise the trip out to the Bustard goes without incident. Let's hope the journey back is just as uneventful. I have a feeling of dread, though, probably caused by knowing that I really have no need at all to get this fuel to our tower, nope. That's a sure sign that a spanner will get thrown in the works.

Jita is busy as usual

The Bustard still has the guns for our dreadnought in it. Those are pretty expensive, so rather than potentially lose them, and to make the most of this journey, I make the short hop to Jita to replace them in the Bustard for more fuel. Now to head back. Hop hoppity hop through stargates, high-sec is easy. The transition to low-sec may not be, and this is where I start to feel a little tension. This tension is not helped when I hop the stargate to low-sec and see a waiting fleet, lots of flashy skulls, and wrecks everywhere.

My situation looks bad. Still, the ships are not close to me, they are all battlecruisers and so not particularly fast or agile, and I have a cloak fitted. I could get out of this, with a bit of patience and time—if it weren't for the wreck sitting under two kilometres from my Bustard, preventing the transport from activating its cloak immediately. Balls. Oh well, let's get it over with.

Jumping in to a camp with little hope of evasion

I decloak and try to align, cloak, whatever, but, of course, I am caught and my warp engines are disrupted. I try to turn back to the stargate, activating my micro warp drive when I see it is not scrambled, but the transport is not known for its speed. This Bustard is also a pre-Kronos build, optimised for cargo space and not yet adapted to survive a good spanking. I am not only going to lose the ship, and all the fuel on board, but I'll probably be roundly mocked for flying with such a poor fitting.

The Bustard explodes. I am prepared for this inevitability and get my pod away cleanly, heading across low-sec towards the wormhole entrance to C3a, but not quite prepared for the repercussions of its loss. Now we have no transport, still no good connection to high-sec or a market hub, and the tower is still not in any way complaining about fuel. I need to consider my options.

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