I had moved out of the friendly C4 with the spiring new w-space alliance and was on my way to a new new system. This time it was a C4/C4 and it had plenty of sites, but the idea was to do the plexing in the static instead of the comfortable familiarity of your own system.
Now I needed to get my Orca with ships and POS in.
C4s that do not have a static C2 or C3 are notoriously hard to find good routes to. At least if you wish to not jump your Orca through Tama and Old Mans Star to get there. C4 logistics makes for a ton of scanning. This is particularly true if you are solo and can't share the burdens with a few corp-mates.
It was getting late, and I really wanted to get situated in this new system. The route that I had found was not pretty, nor simple, but it had to do.
When running a ship that do not have any offensive capabilities at all (well, normally) and can't hide or run away you really need to scout ahead. A single scout can really ruin your day - you want empty systems.
Two systems from my target C4 was this C5 that had been as empty as they normally are. But while C4s can lay untouched and stay clear of incoming wormholes for days, C5s sees much more traffic, and traffic that's of a much more dangerous quality. C5s gets rolled all the time. All the larger w-space entities scan and roam long chains of C5/C6 systems. The chance of one of their forward scouts being the beginning to your end is substantial.
It all comes down to intel. Knowing whats lurks out there. One of the best ways to be sure it's reasonably safe is to spend time in a system. The longer time that have passed without anything on scan, or any new sigs appearing, the better. But spending time was not something I had done this time. I had a forward scout just checking out the system as I jumped the Orca one system at a time.
When i warped the scout through one of the C5 systems I saw a Tengu on scan for a moment. That don't need to mean anything, but it could be worrying. Especially since I found a covert ops from Ash alliance on the WH I was just landing at zero at. What was even worse was that my Orca was already inbound to that very wormhole, and it was going to land any second. To warp the Orca before you had carefully scouted the next hole is obviously not recommended, and not something I normally do, but I was dead tired and was totally off the little game I normally have.
I quickly jump my scout in the hope the scout would follow and not notice the hulk of a ship that was inbound. It jumped, and I got my scout away clean on the other side. The Orca now had to do a 180 at the hole and warp to a celestial to cloak up. From a standstill, my Orca warps in 10 seconds, but boy are those seconds endless when you have hostiles on the other side of the WH! Incredible, I managed to get the Orca away from the WH and safely cloaked up.
This is the time when I broke the second of the holy rules of w-space - patience!
With known activity from a major w-space alliance in the system, and them knowing about me, and possibly the Orca, it was no time to take any risks. Just cloak up, put your head down and wait it out.
For some reason that I really can't explain, I did the opposite. I took gamble on me knowing what they had and that I could outsmart and outrun them. The result was of course disastrous. An fully loaded Orca lost for no good reason.
Here's what happened.
I was cloaked, perfectly safe, in the Orca a few AUs away from the WH which where I previously almost had got the Orca tackled. From here I saw them try and scan me down with combats, and for a second a Cheeta Covert Ops appeared on the Orcas d-scan, just to disappear again. At the same time my scout on the other side saw a WH activation, the Cheeta taking a quick peek and then quickly jump back through the WH (and thus polarizing itself). They where clearly looking for the Orca.
I figured I should seize the opportunity and quickly warp the Orca to the WH, jump through and get away on the other side. I knew the Cheeta was polarized and could not follow, even if I would meet it on the WH with the Orca. Well, the assumption was that the Cheeta was alone, and since I already had seen a Tengu on scan I should have known it was not.
I landed the Orca, all kind of ships materialized and it was all over.
Lessons learnt (again!): don't play when you really want to sleep, and don't force a move when you do not have to, live to fight another day. Patience is golden!