A nullsec exit and a vigilant Mackinaw pilot ...

... or, in other words: why there is a huge difference between 10 and 11 kilometers. Sigh. And it all started out so good.

Powering up my systems earlier today I find myself alone in our home system Zero. Or, to be more precise, there are no signs of anybody else being there besides me. Corp chat is empty, and so is d-scan.

Checking the wormhole bookmarks of the previous evening I discover that our static has reopened to a new chain. Well, somebody has to start mapping out the new connections, and since I am already here ... let's go.

Alfa and Bravo are empty. Not entirely, but there is nothing here to hold my interest. A few offline POSes without anything valuable to steal to rescue from the cold void and one active one without player activity.

Bravo has a nullsec static and a few incoming K162s from other w-space systems. I bookmark all of them for later use and head into nullsec, eager to find some ratting carebears or the occasional mining crew without backup. Or even better some other PvPers willing to give me a good fight.

Upon leaving w-space my ship's communication systems automatically connect to the local stargate system. Two other pilots in local, and d-scan is showing ... a Typhoon and a Magnate.

Interesting. A ratter on his way to a belt? A mission or anomaly runner? Not wanting to startle my potentially risk-adverse opponent, I jump back into w-space while asking a corpmate on comms whether or not he would be up to join me.

He is in, and after waiting the obligatory three five minutes to account for polarization, I return to nullsec with a slightly elevated heart rate.

The Typhoon is gone, but has been replaced by a Mackinaw. Piloted by the same pilot.

I cloak up again and warp to a random planet, using my d-scan to narrow down his position. He seems to be at a POS ... not a good sign in general, but since he just changed ships he might just be there for a quick stop.

And I am right, he powers up his engines only after a brief moment of sitting under his POS shields. His vector seems to lead to .. a belt. Showtime.

I warp in a 100km, crossing fingers that the belt's layout would allow me to leave hyperspace away from any physical objects that might decloak my ship.

Checking my surroundings, I relax ... no object closer than 30km, and the Mackinaw is sitting in the middle of the belt, surrounded by wrecks most probably left by the Typhoon a few minutes ago.

At the same time, my corpmate has arrived at the K346 hole leading from Bravo to Golf. I bookmark one of the wrecks next to the Mackinaw to get a warpin point and leave grid. I smile. This will be an easy kill. What could possibly go wrong?

Aligning back to the belt, I direct Aura to warp to the bookmarked wreck at zero. Ten seconds before I land I manually disengage my cloaking device to give my targeting system enough time to recalibrate. I land, almost on top of him.

Only 13km. Overheat MWD, overheat scram, approach. Giving my corpmate the go. 12km, 11km, yes, we have him, we .... OH FUCK NO, HE WARPS!

I am speechless. What just happened? Warp core stabs? Or did I miss my window? Checking fraps I grudgingly realize it is the latter ... he really managed to slip away in that small window of time between me landing and crossing the distance of 3km with an overheated microwarpdrive. As much as I love to fly armor boats, there are times ... but nevermind.

Well, at least everything up to the point of the actual engagement worked perfectly. Scanning the chain, finding a target, stalking him and pinpointing his location, getting a good an actually not that good warpin ... sigh again. The kill itself wouldn't have been that great an accomplishment, but it would have been a nice conclusion to all that buildup.

Next time, I promise.

Logging for now, need some sleep.



  1. Shame about the Mackinaw.

    Just for information, so you don't get in to trouble, wormhole polarisation last for five minutes from the first jump. We timed it.

    1. Thanks. That would have led to an unexpected loss somewhere down the road .. appreciate it.

    2. We long thought it was four minutes from the second jump, probably based off common wisdom. That was back in the days of a thirty-second session-change timer and was a good enough approximation. It caught me out when I was a few seconds early to the wormhole when trying to collapse it. I checked my logs, thinking I should have been able to jump, and realised our timings were off.

      I mention this to a colleague and postulate that the timing is more likely five minutes, given thirty seconds out and back from the old days, and within a short time we both confirmed that it was five minutes and was based from the first jump through a wormhole. It's helped tighten up our collapsing operations nicely.