Sleepers and scanning

10th November 2012 – 3.45 pm

All looks quiet as I come on-line, which is good. A check of the home system shows the static wormhole being the only signature present, which gives me time to fiddle with the medal interface. I don't think we make much use of the ISK-sink, but the brief morale boost a medal can offer is worth a few million ISK here and there. I create the Slippery Eel award, after acknowledging that there's no reason why there should be an option for an eel-shaped medal, or that it needs to be eel-shaped in the first place, and award it to TGL3 for his managing to slip out of the clutches of a hostile fleet. I think saving your ship from certain doom is worth some kind of recognition.

Now to daily exploration. There remains the single signature at home, so I resolve it and jump to our neighbouring class 3 w-space system to see what I can find, or will find me. Not much. My directional scanner is clear from the K162, and although there is a planet with moons 40 AU away, and a moonless planet 50 AU beyond that, there is no occupation and no activity to be discovered. The system seems to be well-visited enough to keep the Sleepers in check, though, as a blanket scan reveals only eight anomalies and ten signatures. And, from a previous visit, I know I'm looking for a static exit to null-sec.

The first signature looks nullish, but it resolves to be a magnetometric site. The second looks nullish too, but this one's just a radar site. This is why I don't much like class 3 w-space systems with static connections to null-sec. Gas gets ignored for a bit, which at least doesn't take as many scans to identify, my glorious leader appears, and I'm back to radar sites and, finally, the static wormhole. Okay, that was fun, let's make some ISK.

We keep C3a's static wormhole unvisited and board our Sleeper ships back in the home system, Fin in her Tengu strategic cruiser and me in the Golem marauder. Maybe I should have bookmarked the magnetometric site after all, but five sweet anomalies should keep us busy and profitable enough. And Fin doesn't mind skipping the magnetometric site either, laughing that she hates 'trying to sell that expensive crap off'. It already takes a while to dump our stored loot on the market without having to worry about more miscellany with nebulous prices, so I see her point.

One, two, three, four anomalies are swept clean simply enough, with no interruptions. It's too easy for Fin, who decides to take her ship off-line at the start of the fifth anomaly, leaving me with the Sleepers to myself. It's all good, though, as she has her fun and returns before I'm swamped with webbing frigates my torpedoes would have little hope of hitting. Five anomalies are cleared, my Golem looting and salvaging as we go, and we get home safely with over a quarter of a billion ISK in loot in my hold. Now we can crash the wormhole and look for a better constellation.

The Golem and Tengu return trip almost counts as a Widow black ops ship, so the collapse of the wormhole starts with Fin jumping back and forth in an Orca. The industrial command ship doesn't drop enough mass through the connection to destabilise it, which makes the calculations easy. Two more fat Orcas will kill it, safely and quickly. I do my trip, Fin does her second trip, and I tell her that the wormhole should go critical on the outwards jump and collapse on her return. 'Should', she says. Okay, will. And it does. I think I'm getting the hang of this.

The wormhole dies on schedule, with both of us at home, and we start exploring afresh. I have an issue with my Loki strategic cruiser's modules locking up, so that I can't deactivate my cloaking device without taking it off-line, and the same for the micro warp drive, which is far from ideal, but as I am able to get probes launched I resolve the new static connection before dealing with crappy Minmatar hardware. I reboot the ship, by stashing it back in the hangar and re-boarding it, perform a systems check, then head to see where the new wormhole leads us.

C3a now is much like C3a before. D-scan is clear, one planet with moons is out of range, as is one planet without moons. I find a tower this time, though, but still with no one home, and a blanket scan reveals five anomalies and five signatures, and one ship. The ship is not on d-scan and disappears from my scanning probes, but a couple of minutes later it is back, and at the far, moonless planet. I warp out there in time to see scanning probes launched, but not in time to see the ship. I relay this information to Fin, who has just had to perform her own ship reboot, and feel a bit stupid when she says, 'yes, that was me'. Right. I am an elite scanner, but I can't put two and two together sometimes.

Phantom ship explained, we get to scanning. The signatures become the U210 static exit to low-sec empire space, a radar site, ladar site, and gravimetric site. Tag-team scanning is quick and easy. The exit leads to Aridia, naturally, where I rat and scan, revealing five more signatures. The first is a K162 from class 1 w-space, which is nice. The second is a wormhole that dies before I reach it. The third is an X702 outbound connection to class 3 w-space, but the fourth is a crappy ladar site that I don't care about. The final signature is skinny, and resolves to be an N432 outbound connection to class 5 w-space. We have plenty to explore.

Fin hits C1a—'seems empty'—and starts scanning as I jump to C3b. Opening the system map gives me a surprise, as I see bookmarks scattered around the system. Are they from yesterday? No, from today. This is C3a. What the hell, w-space, why are you messing with my mind! Nope, it's not w-space, it's me being an idiot. I warped to the wrong wormhole in low-sec. Really, I am good at scanning. Just not at scouting. I return to low-sec, warp to the right wormhole, and actually jump to C3b this time. I needn't have bothered though, as the system is occupied but inactive, and has five signatures that hold just the one wormhole, which is a static exit to low-sec that leads to Aridia, ten hops from the other exit.

I turn around and return through C3b to the first low-sec exit, heading towards the N432. It's late, though, so I doubt I'll be going too far down the chain. Maybe I won't need to. Entering C5a has a tower and ships on d-scan, the Osprey cruiser, two Covetor exhumers, and Bestower hauler looking like lovely targets all, with an Ibis frigate and Anathema covert operations boat joining them. But finding the tower reveals two snippets of intelligence. First, only the Anathema is piloted, which is disappointing. Second, that the position of the tower is peculiar. Around any other planet in the system, the tower would have full d-scan coverage. Around this furthest planet, the planet on the other side of the system is out of d-scan range.

Perhaps the locals, on first moving to w-space, thought that being able to hide from d-scan was important. But hiding in other systems is important. In the home system, you want to be as central as possible, so that you can see as much as possible all the time. It should be taken for granted that if hostiles are around they will have a scout planted outside your tower. Anything you do there will be monitored. Maybe they have their own reasons for putting the tower there, and I don't see them. And I'm just speculating because I don't feel like scanning any more this evening, particularly not after launching my probes covertly at the far planet to see a messy seventeen anomalies and sixteen signatures. I'm going home to sleep.

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