Tuesday, April 15, 2014

An Escape

It's the weekend, and I am on alone.  Time to see what wspace has for me today.  I log on, dscan as soon as possible.  Nothing on scan, which is what I expect out in a distant corner of my system.  There are four sigs on scan, of which two are known gas sites.  Time to fire probes.  Then I warp/cancel to the gas sites to make sure they are still there: yup.  OK, two sigs are unknown.  One will be my static.  What is the other?

Probe, probe.  Quickly I have the first sig, a wormhole.  Now for the other: also a wormhole.  Because there are two, I cannot assume that our static is safely closed.  So I warp to both.  Our static connects to a C4 like it always does.  The extra wormhole is a K162 from another C4.

I check out C4b, through our static, first.  It has a C5 static and is unoccupied.  I leave the static untouched, not wanting to invite undue attention.  Now let me check out upstream.  I return to my system then warp across to the K162, and cross into C4c.  It also has no tower.  But it has some 20 signatures.  Well, time to get probes out and start work.  Whichever explorer instantiated the link from this system to mine must have come from somewhere, so I expect at least two wormholes.

Some time later, I have found many gas sites, and several data/relic sites.  But there is no other wormhole.  Someone must have connected to this system, instantiated its static and then popped the other connection.  Or perhaps it was a later explorer who did it, with a regular wormhole timeout.  This is odd, but it offers the chance for me to run sites alone in safety.  I cannot run anoms alone -- these are C4 sites -- but I can run gas sites (and rocks).  So, I warp home, get into the assault-missile Tengu we have for just this purpose.  Then I return to C4c and start hitting sites.  Also I get my alt into a salvaging destroyer to follow myself around.

An hour later, I have killed 12 gas sites and two rocks, making about 100m in blue loot and salvage.  Not bad.  I head home.  Both characters warp to the C4c->C4a link, and jump, entering my system.

There's a Probe here.  It's about 9000m from me.

Hmm.  I have most of the 100m ISK in loot on the Tengu.  Should I engage?  Why not?  I break cloak and start locking.  The Probe jumps.

Aha.  I know something he does not know: C4c is a cul-de-sac.  There is no way out save through the wormhole I just came through.  (And not only that, he can't know that I know that.)  He won't come back immediately; instead he will at minimum wait for polarization to fade, and he may well scan C4c looking for a way beyond.  But then he will return.  Or maybe log out.  But I think return.

Will you walk into my parlor?
I hasten to my tower, and dump loot.  I don't have a great choice of ships, so I grab our Onyx.  It has a brick tank and of course the bubble will stop a warp off.  Its lock time is not ideal, but it's worth a try.

I warp back to the wormhole, put up the bubble, and sit.

I was wrong in my guess that the pipe downstream was closed.  There is some chance someone will follow behind.  Therefore I reship my alt into a cloaky and put him on our static wormhole to listen.  Now I will know if anyone comes in.

Now I wait.

I hope that the Probe does not try to scan down all the sigs next door, although he might do that looking to avoid coming back this way.  It might be a while.  Fortunately, there's always the Net.  I pull up a browser and start reading EVE blogs and news.

Wormhole noise.

I hide the browser.  It's the upstream wormhole, so, my target.  I figure he will see me, then attempt to jump back through the wormhole and lose me.  So I am ready to jump.

There he is, the Probe.  I try to lock him, but it fails.  He disappears -- he jumped I think.  I jump to follow.  As quickly as possible, I break cloak and put up my bubble.  He's still holding cloak.  OK, I will wait.  I wait.  I wait a while.

Has it been a minute yet?  I raise my local chat: yes, it's been two minutes.  I was wrong about him holding gate cloak.  Now I don't know what happened.  It is possible he did not actually jump, and I just imagined that he did.  Or it is possible that he jumped and very quickly got off the wormhole and cloaked, and I never saw.  On this theory I orbit the wormhole once, but I reveal nothing.  I doubt I will, either, since unlike the last time this happened, this is a frigate.  Even at 1/10 speed it can go pretty far in three minutes.

Well played, Mr. Probe.  (I never caught his name.)

When I tell Jayne about this later, he says I should have taken our Sabre.  What?  We still have our Sabre?  D'oh!!

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