Followed home

31st July 2014 – 5.40 pm

Back home from our neighbouring class 3 w-space system, dump the meagre loot from the successful Epithal ambush, and warp away to a safe spot to go off-line for the night. At least, that's my intention, until I spot a Helios bearing our neighbours' name on my directional scanner. Maybe I should add insult to injury and try to catch the covert operations boat.

Maybe I should, but it's late, I'm tired, and I don't even know if the Helios remains in our system. His blip on d-scan could have been from him through our static wormhole back to his home. Still, if he saw me return and thinks I'm retiring for the night maybe he'll do something a little careless, like try to collapse the connection between us.

Hmm, killing the wormhole doesn't make too much sense, really. If I'm not going to bother them again, why collapse it? If I am still a threat, why send their Orca industrial command ship my way? Still, I warp towards our static wormhole just in case, and get a good indication that the Helios is here. I think seeing the cov-ops decloak thirty kilometres from the wormhole to launch probes is hard to argue against.

So the scout is in our system, where there are no other wormholes, and he'll want to head home at some point. I think I can spare a few minutes lying in wait whilst he scans, just not in my Proteus. I don't stand a chance catching the Helios in my strategic cruiser, but we have better ships in our tower. I warp across, swap to a Flycatcher interdictor, and warp back to the wormhole, immediately jumping to C3a.

I have no idea if the Helios saw my Proteus enter the tower, the Flycatcher leave, or the same ship under its probes or when I jumped to his home system. Either way, he has to come back through this wormhole at some point or be isolated. I can wait and listen for the wormhole to crackle, not needing to pay too much attention, relying on the interdictor's fast locking time and interdiction sphere launcher to help snare the cov-ops.

I muck around on a second screen as I listen for the wormhole to register a jump, regularly checking d-scan in case some unwanted attention comes my way, but nothing. Nothing, nothing, and more nothing. If the Helios pilot is smart, he'll wait until I get bored, then cross-jump with me as I return home. If he times it right, I'll not stand a chance at catching him, and only risk polarising myself if I even try.

Wait, wait, wait. It clearly doesn't take this long to scan the few signatures in our system, particularly in a dedicated scanning boat, so either I was spotted and the pilot's being cautious, I somehow missed the Helios returning whilst I swapped boats, or he's not planning to come back. Or a new connection has recently opened and he's heading backwards even deeper in to w-space. You never can tell.

Maybe the pilot is considering trying to jump and run. I hope so, as I'm considering getting some sleep, always a good state of mind to be in when loitering on a wormhole in w-space. I think that makes it time to give up and go home, regardless of the location of the Helios. With any luck, the cov-ops pilot will notice and go home himself, leaving us alone.

I jump back through the wormhole, having seen and caught nothing, and hold my session-change cloak. Not a soul. Not on the wormhole, not in space, not even any tell-tale scanning probes or additional signatures. Fair enough. I warp to our tower, swap back to my Proteus, and, well, head back to the wormhole for a final couple of minutes. I hope to see the Helios leave, but still see nothing. Oh well, I'll just keep it in mind that we have a possible scout in the home system, though I doubt he'll be up to much mischief by himself.

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