As my remaining two readers may recall, most of my Wormhole posts start with “and then I opened our new connection“. This post is no different.
The adventure starts when I jump into our newly-spawned C3 neighbor and to my dismay find that it is a “shattered hole”. For you sad k-space dwellers, Shattered Systems have more variety of anomalies and signatures, ice belts but no moons to anchor a POS on and of course you can’t park a Citadel there either. CCP went back to the whole concept that WH space was designed for transient occupation at best. Its also a riskier hunting ground since they – generally – have more connections are are quite big, something can easily hide off-Dscan for example.
Well, since I need an export route, I start scanning and swiftly find not just one but two High Sec exits among a number of gas sites plus a single hacking site. Of course, I scan everything down to 100% and make bookmarks and exit with one of my two characters to highsec for “pop-up navigation” as SCUBA divers call this practice. Here, I spot Core Probes 1, a T1 Exploration frigate and a Gnosis Battlecruiser. While the T1 frigate is the most likely ship to scan down the hole in search for hacking sites however, the Gnosis also has the same scanning and hacking bonus and could in theory be used as a hacking boat, I just have have never seen it used for that it in Wormhole space. A Gnosis is a little bit of a “master of none” and mostly used as overtanked bait ship. But hey, what do I know. I hold in the C3 and wait what happens next.
Randomly, real life intrudes for 5 minutes and I don’t hear the hole transit; when I return to my computer I see the same Gnosis and his Core Probes 1 inside “my” C3. Now then! Status = Happening!
I am a little unsure what I should do next. Normally, I’d wait until a hacking ship finds the the Relic or Data site and starts on a can, in deep concentration, the screen covered by the puzzle. But a Gnosis could also run sleeper sites (risky) or scout for a route. In addition, I know he is a slow scanner and this C3 is big, I don’t know who else is watching the same action and getting twitchy fingers. I decide to d-scan him down and jump him where he stands. If he is bait, so be it. If not, I have enough firepower in my two boats to make him go dead. If other hunters are around then Bob Willed It.
Unsurprising, I find him at a shattered planet surrounded by his probes. Experienced scanners make safe spots but I guess he is a little new to the thing. Good for me, my Proteus approaches and is getting ready to to engage the MWD for proper “ramming speed”.
The subsequent tackle is textbook perfect and I jump my alt back in from High Sec and into the fight. In the meantime, my target has launched drones and starts shooting at me. That was expected and not a big deal, my tackling Proteus has plenty of HP and its now a race who can burn the other down quicker, me in 2 cruisers or he in a Battlecruiser.
My alt lands on grid, targets the Gnosis and lets his 5 Hammerheads play. To conserve capacitor, I choose not to add a second point (the Proteus has faction scram) but engage 2 energy neutralizers. I am not quite sure what my target is shooting (Gnosis’ have weird a weird bonus, it could be anything) but in general, a target with an empty capacitor is better than one with a full one. Everything is working to plan when he all of a sudden warps off, leaving his T1 drones behind. How did he escape? Did he have 3 (!) stabilizers fitted?
Turns out, while I brought my Stratios alt, I goofed and turned the MWD off on my tackling Proteus. With his prop mod on, the Gnosis simply moved out of my range. The screenshot below shows it perfectly – he moves at 453m/s while I am at 155. My Stratios was in range but not adding webs or scram to conserve Cap was simply a mistake. He is gone.
But wait, not quite. He is still on Dscan, evidently bouncing around the system, trying to stay a moving target. All hunters know, wounded prey runs the same way back that it came. I race my Stratios to the High Entrance and launch a Mobile Warp Disruptor from my cargohold; it takes 120 seconds to anchor, I pray to Bob that my target is too frazzled to realize that he is technically home free.
Turns out, he hadn’t bookmarked the exit and is busy scanning again with his Core Probes 1. He can’t cloak, we know he doesn’t use safe spots (and I have combat probes just in case) and he isn’t fast. I follow his movement on D-scan and find him in an Ore site (smart move, tbh, there could be sleepers that he can tank but I may have issues with). My bubble is coming online and I land at the site where I saw him last. He isn’t there but I hold cloaked. If my calculation is correct, he bounces around and he’ll be back in short time.
And yes, there he is, fortuitously landing at 10km off my cloaked Proteus. All I need to do is to repeat my maneuver from earlier but this time not let him out of scram range. If at first you don’t succeed….
Notice that this time, my MWD stays on, Cap be damned (and yes, I have an injector, so I am good). Also, my Alt isn’t taking chances, the Gnosis is webbed and he is not going anywhere fast. His boat explodes, the pod warps off and I chase after it, hoping he gets caught in my bubble after all. But he warped somewhere else.
In /local, I offer the customary “gf” which is reciprocated. On a whim, I ask if he needs an exit and he confirms. I invite him to my fleet and advise him to warp to me
Epigene > warp to me
Epigene > youlll be in a bubble but ok
Epigene > taking bubble down
Epigene > just slowboat to hole
Spyder Comyn > have a good night guys
Epigene > you too mate. you good? not newb?
Spyder Comyn > nah, returning from a break
Spyder Comyn > been on and off for 10 years
Epigene > alright 🙂 let me know if you are interested in more WH stuff
Epigene > fly dangerously
Of course, while warping to me, he lands just as my bubble collapses. He has 30km or so to slowboat toward the hole watched by my two characters. Killing him here would be trivial but it would involve rescinding on my word. Not going to happen.
He jumps to high sec and safety and I remove him from the fleet. He isn’t new so I don’t feel the urge to pay for his boat (thankfully, it was more expensive than my usual diet of T1 Exploration Frigates).
Overall, a fun night (for me), I made mistakes but managed to correct them when Bob gave me a second chance. Maybe at some day in the very distant future, I get good at this game. Not holding my breath, though.