Not safe for Sleepers

16th January 2013 – 5.33 pm

It's a Fin! What's happening, my glorious leader? Not much, not yet. Or maybe it's already kicked off, in the past day or so, as half of our anomalies are missing. Those damned blues. We should seek and destroy them, perhaps through this second wormhole in the home system. I hope it leads to some action, as our static wormhole is at the end of its life and isn't worth the risk to explore beyond. I blame blues for that too. We really ought to consider modifying our NBSI policy to a more flexible SI one.

The K162 at home comes from class 2 w-space, and in the system itself my directional scanner shows me four towers and three ships. Locating the towers turns out to be straightforward in a system with six planets and six moons, so I find out without much delay that the Reaper frigate, Bestower hauler, and Prorator transport are all empty of capsuleers. And a blanket scan reveals a minimalist system, holding two signatures only, the least amount possible in class 2 w-space. One will be the wormhole to our home system, the other the second static connection that leads to k-space. In this case, k-space is high-sec and, naturally, the wormhole is EOL.

We've run out of options early, so it's time to crash our static wormhole. With two of us in massive ships, we will only need two paired trips to collapse the connection, and as we will be out of the home system for little more than ten seconds at a time the risk of isolation is low. That is if we need to kill the link in the first place. It turns out that the short time we spent in C2a was longer than the death rattle of the wormhole. Victory through inaction!

Scanning for the new static connection finds a healthy and stable wormhole, fresh for our comfort, and jumping through sees three drones, one bubble, and nothing else on d-scan. I launch and arrange probes for a blanket scan, whilst seeing from my notes that the system was unoccupied eighteen months ago and holds a static exit to null-sec. One of those nuggets of information has perhaps changed now, as the blanket scan reveals two ships in the system, as well as thirteen anomalies and fourteen signatures. As suspected, the ships are both in a tower around a distant planet, but to my surprise they are both piloted.

The running refinery probably indicates that neither pilot is going to do much for ninety minutes or so, and after that they'll probably just move minerals from one storage bay to another. It's not exactly riveting adventure. There are some nice anomalies in the system, though, and if the locals aren't paying attention then maybe we can steal Sleeper loot from them. The anomalies are far away from the tower too, so bored pilots not wanting to leave the safety of the force field won't notice us. Active pilots from other systems would be more problematic, so before we set ourselves up as targets we consider it prudent to scan C3a for wormholes.

There's one. It's weak, so probably the static exit to null-sec, but a second is chubby and likely a K162. I fling Fin towards it as two more wormholes appear under my probes. Fin's wormhole comes from high-sec, the other two are K162s from null-sec and class 4 w-space. This isn't an anomaly-friendly system right now. We keep exploring. Fin checks out high-sec, and I jump to C4a, which brings back a happy memory. The last time I was in this system I podded an Iteron hauler under the nose of its Golem marauder escort. That was a lot of fun!

C4a holds different occupation today, but still occupation. Occupation and ships. Occupation, ships, and a pilot! But, despite the corporation owning and displaying a Phoenix dreadnought, only a Helios covert operations boat is piloted inside the tower's force field. I ignore the stationary pilot and scan, finding no other wormholes in the few signatures in the system, so head back to C3a and through its static exit to appear in a null-sec system in the Venal region. No one's home, letting me rat and scan, but only the ratting goes to plan. I pop a battleship in a rock field whilst resolving a sole extra signature that turns out to be a magnetometric site. But never mind, as Fin has found a couple of wormholes in high-sec, and they are both K162s from class 1 w-space.

I head out to high-sec, via C3a, and pick one wormhole whilst Fin jumps through the other, and it looks like I chose wisely. A Tengu and tower appear on d-scan, and although there are no wrecks at the moment there may be soon, as locating the tower finds the strategic cruiser piloted and no doubt raring to make a target of itself. No, he isn't, but I like to think positively. Scanning reveals two anomalies and two signatures, the wormhole to high-sec joined by a simple ladar site, leaving me watching a Tengu do nothing. And although Fin hasn't found activity in her C1, she has found a K162 from class 2 w-space. I'd say that's worth leaving this Tengu behind and heading Finwards.

I leapfrog past my glorious leader in to C2b, where d-scan may show me no ships but a tweak reveals Sleeper wrecks. How exciting! A passive scan, however, finds no anomalies, so either the site has despawned and can't be found normally, or the wrecks are in a magnetometric or radar site—judging by the number of wrecks—and will need to be found with scanning probes. That's okay, I have some. I warp out, launch my combat scanning probes, and blanket the system. Four signatures and two ships light up my probes, and I find the ships inside a tower's force field, unpiloted, and the Iteron hauler and Retriever mining barge not looking like they'd have created many Sleeper wrecks.

It's likely that whoever created the wrecks isn't local, and possible that they'll soon be back to loot and salvage. I can find the site once there's a salvaging ship in it, and I can hunt it before then, by 'hunting' the wrecks. I go back to the inner system, get a bearing and range on the wrecks, and arrange my probes around the site. Now I wait. Well, we wait, as Fin is sitting on the wormhole also hoping for a soft target to come our way. Which it doesn't. A few minutes pass and still no ship has come in to the system. I'll go for a scan anyway. If there's a site still there I'll find it, if not then it's doubtful anyone's coming back.

I call my probes in and scan where I think the wrecks are, finding nothing. That's disappointing. More disappointing is then using my probes to scan the four signatures, and resolving only a static exit to high-sec, some rocks, and an EOL K162 from high-sec that probably brought the not-coming-back ships in to this C2. That looks like game over. We head back through C1a, across high-sec space, and in to C3a on our way home, and stumble in to rare w-space conversation. It seems the locals are chatting with... someone. Maybe one of the ships d-scan is showing us.

A Loki strategic cruiser and two Naga battlecruisers are on d-scan in C3a, and not at the tower, whilst a frigate wreck lies a short distance from the high-sec wormhole. The ship names on d-scan look familiar, and I recognise them as from C4a, which is why they are coy when a local admits that there is a C4 K162 in the system. There are two, in fact, but neither Fin or I are about to correct them. It's late, and we're going home.

And just to show that the constellation really wasn't safe for us to engage Sleepers, a Tengu in the home system sitting next to an elite cruiser wreck somewhere in space rams the point home. I should probably care more about where the strategic cruiser and wreck are, as they are not at a planet or moon, and scanning finds no new signatures, but I'm tired. It's time for bed.

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