Sore Sabre

16th July 2014 – 5.14 pm

No, it's not good enough. I'm not going off-line yet, screw the two systems connecting to us whose occupants can't be arsed to collapse their waveforms to either be active or inactive and not some weird superposition of both. I'll scan at least the class 3 system through our static wormhole, whether someone pays attention to me or not, and with any luck I'll get out of this w-space constellation, across an empire gap, and in to better w-space.

Jumping back to C3a also makes me change my mind immediately, now that I see a Venture mining frigate new to the system on my directional scanner. Just in case he decides to want to suck gas, even in a system that is obviously open to hostile environments, I warp to a distant planet and launch combat scanning probes. My plans change quickly again, when an unknown capsuleer pipes up in the local communication channel.

You know there is, don't be coy

I call up public information on the chatty capsuleer and, yeah, he's not fooling anyone. An eleven year-old pilot and member of IBLAP, he may talk like a newbie but he knows what he's doing. My only concern now is what kind of support he has behind him, and where 'behind him' is. I start scanning, calling my probes in to resolve three wormholes and ignore three gas pockets.

A Venture is on one of the wormholes briefly, whilst I'm scanning it, so I reconnoitre that one first. It's a K162 from more class 3 w-space. Quite why the Venture was on the wormhole I can't say, but maybe I shouldn't go that way myself. That leaves me a K162 from null-sec and static exit to low-sec, and as I'm assuming the IBLAP pilot came in from null-sec I'll be heading to Aridia.

The exit from C3a obviously leads to Aridia, where one pilot and five extra signatures wait for me. The pilot stays hidden as I resolve gas, a wormhole, some relics, more gas, and a combat site, and as there are no stations in the system I'm supposing the pilot will stay hidden as long as I stay in the system. In that case, it's a shame that the wormhole is at the end of its life. It only leads to more low-sec space anyway, so it's no great loss.

Now what to do? Try C3b, I suppose, even if it has been found by the C3a locals. I can still make use of its static exit to look for better w-space. I return to C3a, warp to the wormhole, and maybe I'm a bit late. A Cheetah covert operations boat blips on d-scan, spews probes, and cloaks whilst I am in warp, and when I drop near to the wormhole I can see the Cheetah came from C3b by the probes he's yet to fling off in to some pre-arranged pattern.

Probes spat out on a wormhole in class 3 w-space

Cheetah recalls probes and jumps through the wormhole

Nope, the Cheetah was just taking a peek in this C3 system. The probes disappear from the wormhole, then from d-scan, as they are recalled and the Cheetah jumps back to C3b. I give him a minute to get clear, and follow. Probes are visible in C3b too, perhaps the Cheetah's, and d-scan is clear. I launch my own probes and perform a blanket scan of the system, revealing fourteen anomalies, six signatures, and six ships. I bet they're out by the only planet out of d-scan range. I'm smart like that.

Two towers are on-line, the six ships inside one of them, all unpiloted. I'll scan. Wormhole, relics, gas, wormhole, wormhole. The result looks reasonable, but warping around ruins it a bit. A K162 from null-sec is okay, the static exit to low-sec Metropolis is at the end of its life, and my last hope is a K162 from class 5 w-space. That'll do, I suppose. Uh, where did that Orca come from?

I am still a good distance from the C5 K162 when the industrial command ship appears and jumps through. As it didn't warp here its jump is a clear indication that the wormhole is being forced closed. A little sigh escapes from me, then my breath is held. The Orca is polarised, the wormhole isn't destabilised even to half mass yet. Am I close enough to jump through and catch the massive ship, given it is slow to enter warp? If there are antagonists escorting the Orca I can always escape.

I've not seen any other ships come or go, and just the one pushed through the wormhole. Giving chase has got to be worth a shot, particularly for a fat, expensive target like an Orca. I decloak, burn towards the K162, and jump through. I don't see an Orca on the wormhole with me, but there's a Sabre interdictor on top of the locus. The Orca is visible on d-scan, as is the Cheetah I previously saw and a tower. Only a Sabre? This actually seems like a good opportunity.

Only a Sabre waits on the other side of the wormhole

I move my Proteus strategic cruiser, shedding its session-change cloak, and engage the interdictor. I gain a positive lock easily enough, which he reciprocates, and we start trading shots. Mine hit rather harder than his, and the Sabre jumps through the wormhole to C3b within seconds. I don't even register how much damage I've done so far, although I see that my shields are barely scratched. That's impressive, for an armour boat.

I don't follow the Sabre. He could be deliberately trying to pull me through the wormhole to polarise myself, at which point his support fleet decloaks, which would be a decent trap. I just reload my guns and settle in to an orbit of the wormhole to see what happens. What happens is the wormhole crackles, bringing the Sabre back, at which point he warps away as quickly as his ship can align, sadly a little quicker than I can target his ship.

Sabre returns looking embarrassed

Not embarrassed, angry, dunno why

As the Sabre disappears in to the distance the pilot insults me, critical of my ability to fit my ship properly, apparently. He's just a bit sore, that's all. I stick around the wormhole a little longer, ostensibly trying to avoid polarisation issues, and head back when nothing much happens for a while. The good news is that my Proteus drops the wormhole to half mass as I return to C3b. I like to help in any little way that I can. I feel good about myself. I can head home and sleep well tonight.

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