There were about 50 minutes left until a great CTA (Call to Action) was scheduled. TEST & Allies were about to go for our Infrastructure Hubs once more on this Sunday. But what would one do in the time beforehand? My doctrine ships where all fitted, insured and ready to be undocked. As a line member and I had nothing more to prepare but to wait for the pings. So I decided to hop into my trusty little Buzzard named “Niña III” – after one of Columbus’ three ships he had on his mission to find a sea passage to India.
I was in search of a passage as well, but rather to a new ground for content into other areas of space. Yes, I’m talking about wormholes. It took me only a few jumps until I found a N432 leading into a class five system. I was about to move on to the next system when I decided for some reason to go in and take a peek instead. C5 Systems are often inhabited.
The Wolf-Rayet Star
And indeed, this wormhole was a special one. If you did not know, wormholes often have unique effects on them that change the attributes of your ship. This one was a Wolf-Rayat Star which increases armor hitpoints and small weapon damage but reduces shield resistances and signature radius. Actually, that’s completely irrelevant to the story, but I thought it can’t hurt that you also learn a bit about the game, right?
Finding the Unexpected
While I was scanning for other wormholes and hacking sites I notice a Fortizar near the sun. No one was docked there yet. But you never know if there are active pilots in wormhole-space or not. I saw more citadels on dscan and a lot of POS towers spread all over the system as well.
An Athanor caught my attention: No option to “warp to” it in the context menu via right click. What trickery is this? I got curious and warped to the moon instead to see what was going on over there. I had a suspicion. A last glimpse at the Fortizar: nobody had logged in while I was scanning. Still cloaked my Buzzard accelerates and drops out of warp a few astronomic units later. Suddenly, I feel my adrenaline level rising.
Accompanied by four containers, the Athanor was just sitting there – unanchored!
Race Against the Clock
There where only twenty minutes left until downtime and the CTA right after. The fleet had already been pinged. I forced myself to calm down and checked dscan again for any sign of activity. This had to be some kind of trap, right?
There was nothing to be seen. I bookmarked the unanchored Athanor. A quick look in the info tab of the structures told me I would need a ship with at least 8.000 m³ space to be able to scoop this. I also bookmarked the cans around the Athanor and dared to have a look at what was in them. Some compressed ore, bulky but also worth quite a bit. Some T1 mining barges and a Venture, probably a gas miner, also some gas. No station modules or much of value – at first glance at least.
In wormholes, the things in a structure won’t be moved to asset safety like in k-space. Instead, it will just drop in containers near the unanchored or destroyed citadel.
I warped back to my ping at the Fortizar – still, nobody docked. If this was a trap, they would have seen me on the grid or at least directional scan for a quite a while now, I was certain. Then I saw the station container right beside the engineering complex. Using the “look at” command my mouth fell open. I did not believe what I saw, but there was no doubt: the Raitaru was unanchored as well!
I figured there was enough time until 11:00 o clock to get at least the structures out and initiated the warp to my exit-bookmark, ready to get in my trusty Impel which I had steered to more than one risky manoeuvre before.
The Calm before the Storm
Right after downtime, the timer for some Fraternity.-iHubs would come out that TEST would be definitely going for. I had to pull this off before that. When I was about to hop into my Impel a member of my corp pinged me in Discord if I was to attend that CTA. I said I was planning to, but got to do something before downtime and quickly explained the situation between clicking the “warp to”-button.
I reached the system with the wormhole about 15 minutes before downtime, Took a deep breath and jumped through.
Nothing on dscan but the structures. No probes, no ships, nothing suspicious. “That’s too good to be true”, I thought. But I had made a decision. Risk vs Reward, I was willing to risk my 300 million Impel for a potential 800 million – or more. And so I decloaked and warped to my bookmark. First things first: The Athanor was my goal as it was the most expensive thing I knew was there. During warp, I spammed spacebar, which is my dscan-button. Still, nothing showing up. The Impel drops out of warp, I right click and select “scoop to fleet hangar”. The Athanor is mine – so good so far. Nothing on dscan yet. Should I keep going? I still have 52.000 m³ left. I warp to the container with the compressed ore. About 80 million in there. I pick up as much as possible but leave enough space for the Raitaru, cocky me!
Suddenly, an Osprey Navy Issue on dscan – a wave of panic rushes over me until I realize it’s my corp mate that covers my attempt to loot. I told him he should bring “something that can kill a dictor.” Because nothing but a faction scram or a bubble could stop my DST anyway. A smile flashes over my face while I pick up the other 8.000 m³ that is the Raitaru. On-grid with the Fortizar – which still has nobody in it.
I align to the exit-wormhole, cycle my Afterburner and enter warp immediately after the cycle ends. Nearly safe. I jump through the wormhole and dock up at the nearest blue Fortizar, unloading my cargo hold. I instal a Jumpclone and use it to go back to our staging. Time to get ready for the CTA. About twenty minutes later, right after downtime, we form Eagles to fight TEST Alliance Please Ignore and their allies again. Like last weekend, we manage to win the timers. As pure F1-monkey in this fight, I wasn’t really able to grasp the lot of it, but according to zKillboard, we lost less ISK than our enemy. OP success, I think and undock again in a Caldari Shuttle.
Risk vs Reward
I rename my ship to “thanks for the fish” while warping back to the system with the wormhole. There were still two mining barges left in one of the station containers that I thought would sell well on the local market. And I planned to get them. Without any cover, I enter the class five again. My bookmarks were still set and the shuttle accelerated quickly towards the can with the barges. I open the first one and select “Launch ship”, swapping shuttle for barge and warp to the next can to scoop more of the ore I could not get with my Impel before. I did not pay much attention to dscan anymore, I was already very, very ISK positive.
And nothing happened while I warped a Covetor out of the wormhole, it’s cargo filled with ore and some gas. A Retriever did follow and I can’t tell which of those barges had the ORE Strip Miners on them, but hell yeah! Those increased the value of the ship quite a bit. One really would not expect that on a T1 barge.
All in all, I walked out of this C5 with nearly two billion in loot. Just because someone had unanchored structures and did not show up to scoop them in time. I’m pretty sure that was a once in an eve-lifetime situation, and I’m super glad I took the risk and went for it.
Four hours later, I received the killmail of my shuttle. Looks like the responsible people found what was left of their belongings. It gave me some giggles and I hope they realize their mistake and learn from it:
Don’t leave your stuff unattended lying around. Especially not the valuable one, even if it’s wormhole space. Chances are that an explorer with the means comes around and picks up your shinies.
Much like Columbus, I did not find what I was originally looking for. But I did find another kind of great value.
Athanor and Ratiaru that will go to my alliance to support the war efforts: about 1,5 billion; Some faction Strip Miners: around 500 million; A great story to tell: priceless.
What was the biggest scoop you managed to do? I would love to hear about them in the comments!