I log in to find Gor staring fixedly at a point in space. Not any random point in space, mind you, but a very specific one: the location of our current connection to another class 2 wormhole.
“It won’t die,” he explains. “It’s clearly on its last legs, but that’s been going on for almost four hours and still it won’t die.”
“That happens,” I explain. “But they almost never go very far past four hours. Should be dead soon.”
“So you say.”
Gor’s in the mood to shoot something, but the home system is not obliging, and with the outbound connection shaky, any roaming we do is apt to draw the attention of Saint Murphy and strand us somewhere annoying. So we wait.
I warp out to his location to take my turn in hole watching, and I can see what he means — this wormhole is obviously on its death bed, emitting signals in the radio-spectrum that sound exactly like an aging giant having an asthma attack. I check the timing application we share with the Walrus pilots to see when this hole was first opened, and see we’re almost exactly at the point where a wormhole of this strength should collapse… give or take 20 or 30 minutes.
It’s the ‘should’ that’s troubling; we could crash the hole manually — Gor has an Orca handy — but again we have to look out for Murphy’s Law — it’s no fun plan a mercy killing if the patient dies on you before you’re ready, stranding you in some enemy star system in an industrial command ship with no weaponry to speak of.
Hmm. That analogy kind of got away from me. Where was I?
Right. Staring into space.
Gor heads back to the tower, and I pass the time by discussing an operation that our new alliance is planning for the weekend. In brief, one of the alliance pilots has discovered a corporation living in a wormhole not unlike our own who, for a number of reasons, really deserve to be evicted from the wormhole. I won’t bother going into much detail, but the short version is that the corporation in question is simply too foolish to go on as they are, and our alliance plans to provide them with some learning opportunities. They don’t engage in this kind of activity very regularly, as near as I can tell, but the membership does tend to mobilize when it’s clear that removing a particular group will raise the mean IQ of wormhole dwellers by a number of points. More importantly: they’ve invited our corporation along, even though we aren’t yet full members.
(Veteran EVE players will recognize this as a good old-fashioned “POS Bash”, in which a large fleet comes in and disassembles another group’s tower via the use of that most-efficient of Omnitools, the Bullet.)
Gor’s had the opportunity to participate in those sorts of activities in the distant past, and doesn’t seem keen to jump in on the chance to whittle away at a tower’s force field with 45 million hit points. I, on the other hand, haven’t done anything like this before (and aside from that I’d like us to put our best foot forward with alliance), so I’ve pretty much committed to coming along. The only question is what to bring.
“I’m considering the Typhoon,” I explain to Gor, tapping the scanner again to check on the wormhole.
“A battleship?” Gor sounds a bit incredulous.
“I am able to pilot them,” I counter. “I just…”
“Never do,” Gor finishes. “Isn’t that the one you just use for collapsing wormholes?”
“It can shoot things,” I counter. “I mean, it has got guns on.” I feel I should defend the lone battleship in my personal fleet, but the fact of the matter is I almost never fly the ship, not because it’s not fun (it is) or that it doesn’t do quite a bit of damage (it does), but because it’s frankly the wrong kind of ship for a Class 2. The cruise missile launchers and 1200 millimeter artillery cannons wreak havoc on similarly-sized opponents, but there are damned few of those in the wormholes that we frequent; small cruisers and even smaller frigates are far more common, and fighting them in the ‘phoon is sort of like trying to swat a fly with a telephone pole.
A P.O.S. Bash, on the other hand, would be no problem; the Typhoon’s weaponry is ideal for shooting large targets. Especially large stationary targets.
“I won’t even have to change the fittings much,” I conclude. “Should be pretty painless.”
“At least you’ll have something to shoot,” Gor replies. “Better than we’re doing right now.”
“Yep,” I nod. “Wormhole’s still up.” I tap the scan button and frown. “Although I do have another signature on scan.”
I shake my head, though he can’t see it. “Sleeper anomaly, right here in River City.”
“Ah, I see.”
There’s a pause.
“Can we please kill it?”
I pivot my recon ship back to base and fire up the warp engines. “Let’s find out.”
The sleeper die in good order, Gor get’s his combat fix and logs for the evening, and although the wormhole finally gave its last gasp while we are otherwise occupied, I don’t bother scanning down the replacement connection. Instead, I tuck into a comfy chair at our tower, pull up the schematics for the Typhoon, and start making some alterations…