Sean wakes me up right after the daily downtime; I log in to email both the corp and our German neighbors, explaining why I suspect we have a pilot lurking around our system, then head off to work. I get a few acknowledgments throughout the day but no new intel, and when I log in that evening I see no emoticon-named ships, and all but one of the four wormhole connections from yesterday are gone, so it’s time to scan.
My, but there are a lot of signatures in the system. Eliminating the ones with which I’m already familiar (the two Radar sites beckon enticingly) still leaves five to resolve. One turns out to be another rare combat site — one requiring archaeological skills to plunder properly, but with the promise of some exciting loot to be found. I bookmark that for later.
The other four unfamiliar signatures turn out to all be wormholes — we seem to be a magnet for traffic the last couple days, and not in a good way: by the time I’m done scanning I can see two separate pairs of ships in our system, running the easier-to-locate combat sites. Grr.
Given the size and number of the ships and the fact that I’m currently on my own, the best I can do it make the pilots’ lives a bit more interesting — by which I mean “annoying”: while they run their (our) combat sites, I call up an alt piloting a gigantic Orca industrial command ship and, with a little help from me in a battleship, quietly collapse all of the exits big enough to admit the ships I currently see in the system. Sorry guys, you’re going to have a lot harder time getting home.
They notice my shenanigans a few minutes later, it seems. I get one “goddammit” in the local comms channel, the system is filled with scanning probes, and a few minutes later the interlopers are gone to Highsec, presumably to beg their corpmates to scan some new path back to the wormhole homes I cut them off from. I don’t bother replying; for one thing, I too am scanning for the new exit from the system (the collapsed one having only been live for a few hours before I squished it with the orca), and chatting with one of the German players who happens to be online.
“Oh,’ he says, “I saw the pilot you mentioned in your email.”
“Really?” I reply. “When was that?”
“I mean…” he corrects his English, “I *see* him. He’s here. I’m looking at him.”
Suffice it to say, I cut my scanning short and get back to the tower to transfer to a pointier ship.
While I wait for my shields to recharge, my German friend fills me in: not knowing that I had already collapsed the new wormhole out to Empire space, he had warped to within about 30 kilometers from its presumed location to check on its stability.
When he dropped out of warp, he found not wormhole, but a Drake battlecruiser floating bemusedly in space where the wormhole had been. Luckily, his cruiser was fit with a cloaking device, and he quickly concealed himself. The drake had not reacted — too busy trying to decide what to do next to pay proper attention to his surroundings.
“Get in close,” I request, “and I’ll warp to your location and say hello.”
“I’m in a little cruiser,” he says, “I’m afraid I can’t take on a drake.”
“Have you anything bigger?”
“Not here,” he replies.
“I’ll see if I can’t keep his attention, then,” I say. “Warping now.”
As before, I land further away from my target then I’d like, and need to burn toward him with a microwarpdrive. My companion holds his drones, though, so the target doesn’t hear the “you’ve got mail… and bullets” warning too soon.
The myrmidon I’m piloting gets in so close I actually bump the other ship a few seconds after I lock him and disable his warp drive, scraping paint off the hulls as I settle in a close orbit and open fire.
We clearly catch the pilot completely unawares; the Drake’s armor is half gone by the time he begins targeting me, and I have to deal with only one flight of missiles before his ship’s hull dissolves around him. The explosion must have disoriented him as well, because I’m able to lock and hold the escape pod as well. A few seconds later, the pilot is waking up in a clone vat back in high security space and, with no intel on our current wormhole exit, shouldn’t be bothering us anymore.
My German cohort and I chat a bit more and he logs for the evening, just as Gor connects. I catch him up on events, then we proceed to exploit the resources of the suddenly-much-quieter system for ourselves, for a change. Two radar sites, one magnometric signature site, and three more… pedestrian anomalies later, and we’re up 300 million isk in profit; a fine ending to a pretty good day in the wormhole.