Looking the wrong way

30th May 2012 – 5.39 pm

Will anything happen today? Fin's here, for a start, and our shared bookmarks folder looks to hold the locations of K162s from both class 2 and class 5 w-space. I get a sitrep from my glorious leader, who is now in the C2. 'The C5 has a Mastodon putting up a tower.' Nifty. I'm assuming that's the transport ship and not Fin discovering a new civilisation using mammals to construct places of worship. Either way, it's got to be worth a look. I swap my scanning boat for a Manticore, modifying the stealth bomber's fitting to squeeze a couple of extra points of warp disruption on it, hoping to counter the transport ship's boosted warp core strength, and head to C5a to see what's happening.

There's no Mastodon on my directional scanner from the wormhole, but there are ships. I can see a Thanatos carrier, Prowler transport, Orca industrial command ship, Moros dreadnought, and Charon freighter, which are all pretty big and expensive. There are also two towers, both of which Fin found, and she points me towards them. One tower has the dreadnought, freighter, and carrier, the other the Orca and Prowler. Only the Prowler is piloted, and he's the capsuleer configuring this second tower. He's doing everything whilst remaining comfortable inside the force field, though, bringing one defence on-line after another, in-between sips of his gin and tonic. I doubt he'll do anything particularly stupid for a while.

Meanwhile, Fin's found a second class 2 w-space system connected to the first, and points out that our neighbouring class 3 system is yet to be visited. That's all the prompting I need to leave this dull C5 behind me. I return home, swap back to my Tengu strategic cruiser, and warp to and jump through the static wormhole. D-scan shows me a Drake and some drones, but there are no wrecks, and I can also see an Impel transport and a tower. It's possible the battlecruiser is engaging Sleepers, but I think it more likely to be sitting in the tower. I perform a passive scan of the system anyway, just in case the Drake is particularly hardened and having a go, and see sixteen anomalies here, fourteen of them our favoured type. It's beautiful.

Erk! As I admire the state of the anomalies the Impel disappears off d-scan. I'm missing activity! I pull my socks up and locate the tower. I find the Drake in the tower, piloted but inactive, which tells me the drones are strays, elsewhere in the system and belonging to no ships. Poor drones. Let's hope they become self-aware. And let's hope I don't drift any closer to this tower. Dropping out of warp puts me within ten kilometres of the force field, which isn't dangerous but is far from comfortable. I bounce off a nearby moon to get to a better monitoring position, just as the Impel returns from wherever it went.

I get back to the tower in time to see the Impel disappear again. He warps off to empty space, and I am quick enough with d-scan's range gate to determine he warped to around 7–8 AU from the tower, towards and below the fifth planet in this system. That's good enough for me. I wait until the transport drops off d-scan and bring my probes in to find the wormhole. There are a few signatures in that volume of space, but I pluck the wormhole out of the fourteen signatures in the system thanks to my scouting. It's a bit weak, though, making me think it leads to high-sec empire space. I warp to find out that, yes, it connects to high-sec, of all the luck. At least I resolved the wormhole before the Impel returned, which he does a minute later.

I consider bubbling the wormhole, which could impede the Impel enough to have a good shot. But the wormhole is in d-scan range of the tower and so any anchoring and the bubble itself should be obvious. Besides which, we lost our only bubble, as the C5ers from a previous night popped it when we left it in space to inconvenience them. That'll teach us. I could get my stealth bomber anyway, but damn that shortened session change timer! There's almost no time to catch a ship on a wormhole these days, all because some impatient capsuleers who have access to space stations want to admire their ship collections more quickly. Wormholes aren't like stargates, as you're spat out the other side within range to jump right back. There's no long crawl required to retreat the way you came. Then again, I suppose there is also no traffic control preventing jumps when you have aggression, so there are balances.

I return home and swap back to the Manticore, even though I know I'm on a fool's errand. I take the stealth bomber to C3a and plonk it on the exit to high-sec, and wait for the Impel. I may have enough time to lock on to the ship before it can jump back to the safety of Concord-patrolled high-sec, but I can at least try to be disruptive. Wait, wait, wait. And now a Buzzard covert operations boat appears on d-scan and launches a combat scanning probe in plain sight. Damn amateurs, they ruin it for the rest of us. He disappears and I get back to waiting, which is a fancy term for doing nothing, until the Buzzard reappears on d-scan. And stays on d-scan. And is still on d-scan. You know, I think he's local.

Adjusting d-scan and pointing it towards the tower shows the cov-ops to be there. That would explain his lacking the desire to stay hidden, but I'm not retracting my insult. Now the Buzzard is swapped for a Manticore of his own, which may mean he's found our K162 and is going to explore. Good, as that means I can leave this waiting game and try to catch the stealth bomber. I warp homewards, holding on the wormhole as the Manticore blips off d-scan, and hope he's coming my way. Fin returns from her scouting, and missing a hauler returning from somewhere, to sit in wait on the other side of the wormhole in a Flycatcher interdictor. Now we're both waiting.

The Manticore appears on d-scan again, then is off once more. Where he goes, nobody knows. I haven't actually scanned this C3 either, only having found the wormhole the Impel was using, so it's quite possible the Manticore has headed in a direction of greater opportunity, although how he managed to find it with just one probe escapes me. I think he's not going anywhere. At least we haven't spent this time waiting for a ship we can't catch, only one we can't see, but the evening's pretty much over. Fin stows her interdictor and goes off-line. I take my Manticore for a look through the constellation my leader uncovered behind us.

I find I'm actually a little unsettled by roaming through unknown systems in a ship without probes. I suppose I haven't done this in a while, and as Fin is now off-line I make sure each wormhole back the way I came is available, in case of oversights when copying them. But besides my own vulnerability there is not much to see. C2a has a tower and no pilots, C2b has a tower and the Mammoth that Fin found and watched for a bit, but by the time I find the tower the Mammoth has gone off-line itself. I suppose that's it for tonight. I turn around and head home to sleep. It hasn't been a bad evening overall. We found ourselves in the right places, it just happened to be at the wrong times.

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