With the war against Caerelleum Alliance over and a couple visits to w-space under my belt, I'm starting to think about a longer sojourn into the unknown.
A single ship is not sufficient for an extended stay in w-space. A well piloted Marauder might last a couple days but even its considerable cargo bay will run out of space or ammo. So I've accepted that I need my alt to accompany me in something with cargo space... but that rules out the Covert Ops. So how will we do probing effectively? And what if there are others in the system that need killing? If I take my Cerberus which works well against low end Sleepers, it totally gimps me in taking on anything in PvP except the ill-prepared or AFK.
In the end there are two ways to go. Either Kirith in the Dominix and Derranna in a Prowler with a probe launcher is my team, or I go all out and use the Orca.
Mobile Base One
The advantages of the Orca for w-space expeditions is plainly obvious. Kirith can do probing in his Buzzard covert ops frig, and then once safely ensconced in a wormhole system I can use the Orca's ship hanger to store the Buzzard and grab the Cerberus. Hostiles in system, switch to a PvP interceptor or Falcon. You can even modify the ship's fitting in space. Hell, I can even put an assembled battleship in the cargo bay and eject it when in W-space and have Kirith kit it out right there.
To protect the Orca while in space a cloaking device is highly advisable but the other two high slots could be a Warfare Link for shield resistances and a probe launcher for emergencies.
Best of all, even with a battleship in the cargo hold there is still enough room for something else, like say a POS tower.
Immobile Base Two
I know the logisitics of keeping a tower fueled in w-space. But what if the tower was a temporary structure with nothing but a slew of guns for defence? And the Orca can carry a few weeks of fuel?
While risking an 80 million or so tower to a passing gang intent on destroying might seem like a lot, consider the defence it provides the Orca and others using its facilities. A bolt hole to hide from roaming gangs; a place to go AFK from; a place to swap ships or to probe from. For the extra protection it gives to the 600 million + Orca the price tag of 80 million and a few days of fuel seems worth it.
And if I select a Class 1 or 2 w-space system (more on Classes of w-space systems later) that frequently connects to high sec, its feasible that I might be able to get regular refueling runs anyways. If not, just tear down and store in the Orca until I can.
Admittedly there are risks to that plan, but I'm a smart guy and know how to alleiviate many of them with careful use of alts and such.
Even if the expedition is a complete and utter failure, it looks like a lot of fun and not at risk from easy destruction by low sec denziens like a low sec tower would be.
So look out wormhole space, here I come!