Training in diplomacy

7th January 2013 – 5.26 pm

It's cold in space, and there's a cold in Penny. I'll restrict myself to light-duty w-spacing tonight, nothing too strenuous or stressful. And, just for once, I'd quite like circumstances to go according to plan at least for a few minutes, to make it feel like I have some semblance of control over my destiny. But updating my directional scanner, moments after waking up in the home system, shows me Sleeper wrecks here and there. There's no rest for the wicked.

Two jet-cans also on d-scan suggest that maybe I'll be spared the excitement of the hunt, as if I've already startled a salvager mid-sweep. Then again, warping towards the inner system sees two Tengu strategic cruisers, that I'm pretty sure are not me, along with more wrecks and another canister. But I suppose this hunt will be relatively light duty, as the ships are in a standard anomaly and I will probably be aiming for a basic salvaging ship without an escort.

I activate my ship's on-board scanner, passively resolving all of the active anomalies in the home system, and start looking for the Tengus in order to shadow them. I won't be able to switch to one of our ship killers whilst the targets are in d-scan range of our tower, but I'll be able to make strategic bookmarks that will let me pounce on the salvager when he arrives. Or maybe I'll just bang my head against my console, when warping in to the anomaly shows the Tengus are blues.

I consider trying to kill the blues anyway, but a wave of tolerance sweeps over me and I open a conversation to one of the pilots. I'm not expecting much, not after the last blues were uncommonly rude to supposed allies, and simply point out that it is inconsiderate to clear anomalies in a blue system without permission. And I get a reply. He hadn't scouted our tower and so didn't realise we were blues, and just wanted to make a bit of profit before hitting the sack.

Didn't scout the tower? That's alien behaviour to me. But at least the pilot seems contrite, and isn't spouting bogus excuses one after the other, making this sound more like a genuine misunderstanding. It's still a little frustrating, but it's not really a situation worth getting vexed over. I tell the pilot, as I swap to a salvaging destroyer at our tower, that I'm taking one site's worth of loot, but that it's cool for him to salvage the others he's already completed. I'd rather not lose all the profit in our system, and I don't want him to go home empty handed either.

My patience with blues is wearing a little thin. I'll either have to start ignoring specific alliance-alliance standings, honouring corporation-corporation standings only; demote corporations who are plainly rude; or just shoot anyone who looks like a target and deal with the consequences separately. For now, I speed my Cormorant between the wrecks, sweeping about eighty million ISK of profit in to my hold, before returning to my cloaky Loki strategic cruiser and watching the blue Noctis salvager on d-scan.

Before he leaves, the blue pilot tells me that his class 2 w-space system connects to high-sec, and offers me the route to empire space. That could be handy, and I thank him for the information, almost feeling the warm glow of trying to be diplomatic. But I don't really need a high-sec connection at the moment, and scan the home system to head through our static wormhole to the neighbouring class 3 system. Here we go, back to normality, with a tower and no ships on d-scan from the K162 in C3a. I'm used to this.

One anomaly and five signatures give way to rocks, gas, a static exit to a low-sec system in Derelik, and a T405 wormhole to class 4 w-space. C4a doesn't offer much more, as twenty-seven anomalies on a passive scan has me guess correctly that the system is unoccupied. There's further scanning, though, as a static connection to more class 4 w-space awaits amongst the eighteen signatures. I find it with little fuss and jump onwards, ever onwards.

D-scan remains clear, and opening the system map shows no planets are out of range. Another unoccupied system gives me many more anomalies and signatures to wade through, and once all the chubby signatures are ignored as rocks and gas I have a task ahead of me to find the static wormhole. It is the penultimate signature of twenty-four that resolves to be the H900 connection to class 5 w-space, and with only one more to go I resolve the last signature too. I dunno why, as it's obviously not a wormhole, but maybe I get some satisfaction in knowing I've ignored yet another magnetometric site. Yeah, I don't.

I've scanned it, so I may as well check it. Jumping in to C5a has core probes on d-scan, but nothing else. Five anomalies on a passive scan hint at occupation, but apparently the system is just well-visited, as evidenced by the other active scout. I notice that this system, like the previous C4, holds a black hole. Maybe black hole systems are particularly unpopular with pilots, perhaps because of their effect on missile systems. I dunno. As one scout is active, I launch probes to see what chore awaits. Twelve signatures. That's not bad. I can at least take a look for K162s.

I like how K162s are so easy to spot. I'm not such a fan of how Z142 connections to null-sec look like K162s, though. But the second wormhole-like signature is actually a K162, this one coming from class 6 w-space. This will probably be my last stop, so I jump through hoping to find something happening, and not being in luck. A tower, no ships. No interest. More happened at home with a blue pilot than I've encountered through a handful of external w-space systems. Still, I suppose it hasn't been a strenuous evening, and I should be thankful for that.

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