Sucked in to a new constellation

18th October 2012 – 5.35 pm

Who can collapse a static wormhole and resist looking through the new one? Not me! I was going to take a break, but the temptation of missing a planet goo-collecting hauler being wildly reckless in the new w-space constellation is too much to bear, so I swap back to my cloaky Loki strategic cruiser, launch probes, and resolve the replacement connection. Jumping through puts me in a different class 3 w-space system, and one with ships and a tower visible on my directional scanner from the K162. There are no haulers, but the Chimera carrier, Golem marauder, and Thorax cruiser are probably not all unpiloted.

Adjusting d-scan's settings sees no wrecks, and opening the system map shows the problem that if the Thorax is sucking gas then I won't be able to hide from his own d-scanner, as the system is too small. But I should locate the tower first to determine if there are any pilots, which is a straightforward task, and I see all three ships have capsuleers aboard. The tower's defences are also somewhat incapacitated, which isn't too surprising given that the system has a static exit to high-sec empire space, and that this isn't the same tower that was here ten weeks ago. There has undoubtedly been some kind of spat in recent weeks.

The Chimera is close to the edge of the tower's force field and perhaps intending to bring some of the incapacitated defences back on-line. Probably not soon, though, and even if he did there isn't much I could do about it alone. I watch the Golem and Thorax for a couple of minutes, hoping they become active, during which time I perform a passive scan of the system, but they don't move an inch. The passive scan reveals sixteen anomalies, and one of them is perhaps out of d-scan range of the tower, which gives me an idea. I warp out there, bookmarking a spot outside of the anomaly as I decelerate from warp, only to see that I am still visible on d-scan to the tower, so still not able to launch probes covertly. It was a neat idea all the same.

If I'm going to be seen, I may as well just go ahead and scan. The pilots may not be paying attention anyway, and finding some gas pockets now would be beneficial should the pilots become alert later. I launch probes with gay abandon, and start resolving the twelve signatures they reveal. One rock site, two gas sites, one magnetometric and radar site each, and three wormholes are all resolved and bookmarked, at which point I decide the other three weak signatures don't need to waste my time. I have more space to explore, but only a little. The static exit to high-sec is joined by a K162 from low-sec, and thankfully more w-space with an N968 outbound connection to a class 3 system. I'll go there.

C3b looks interesting, with seven ships on d-scan, three of them haulers, along with a tower and a couple of cans. My notes are a year old and creaking with the age, not pointing me towards a tower holding these ships, but in spinning d-scan around looking for it I spot an errant Iteron hauler at a planet. Or, I suppose, at a customs office. I spool up my warp drives to intercept it, before realising it won't be at the customs office for long and cut my engines when a second narrow d-scan beam shows it moved on. Instead, I warp to where it has gone, hoping I'll get there in time at least to see it warp to its next destination.

Sadly, the Iteron is gone before I get to the customs office, but I soon find it again. This time, I am in a direct line between its last destination and its next, which could give me time to catch up. Or I could simply jump ahead one more planet, as the he's gone from the third planet to the fourth, skipped the fifth, perhaps because it holds the tower and was his first destination, and is heading towards the sixth. I don't follow behind the Iteron but warp to the customs office around the seventh planet instead.

I get to the customs office anticipating the hauler's appearance but with no Iteron in sight, and although he's also not on d-scan the hauler gets in range soon enough. I get ready, expecting the ship to drop out of warp close to me, and... nothing. The Iteron remains on d-scan but he doesn't come to the customs office, and it shouldn't take this long for even a slow industrial ship to get here. I imagine this has something to do with the second tower that d-scan is showing me out here, which has an Orca industrial command ship in it. I sweep the moons with d-scan and find the tower together with the Iteron, and warping there has the pilot stow the hauler and swap to sit in the Orca. I think I missed him.

Brief hunt over, I return to looking for the first tower, which is easily found. Only the Tengu strategic cruiser and Cheetah covert operations boat there are piloted, the battleship and other two haulers empty. And I've run out of time. This was only meant to be a quick look around a new constellation for a soft target anyway, and I nearly did get to shoot a pilot collecting planet goo, but for a matter of a minute or so. For now, I'm heading home to have some food, but there is more constellation to uncover later, hopefully with added opportunity.

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