Only shadows of ships

30th January 2013 – 5.44 pm

No new signatures crop up to tease me today, giving me a simple route from home to our neighbouring class 3 w-space system. And even in C3a w-space looks empty and isolated, with my directional scanner showing me nothing of interest. Launching probes and performing a blanket scan of the system doesn't offer any more signs of activity, as the three anomalies and nine signatures aren't joined by any ships, and there aren't even any structures that would hint at occupation. Whichever corporation was here on my last visit, five months ago, has moved out cleanly.

I suppose I'm scanning for wormholes, and the K162 from class 2 w-space that I find would be much more attractive were it not at the end of its life. Thankfully, a healthy K162 from class 4 w-space gives me for the first time in what seems like ages more w-space to explore without having to cross k-space. The rest of the signatures are just rocks and gas, which I ignore, and the static exit to low-sec, leading to a system in The Forge. And with a route home from empire space I decide that the dying wormhole to C2a is probably worth risking a quick jump in and back.

Two towers, eight ships, and a whole bunch of drones on d-scan isn't fooling me, not with there being some bubbles and a distinct lack of wrecks. I would say the drones have been scattered around the bubbles to create a decloaking trap for unwary pilots. I don't really want to spend longer than necessary in this system, because of the dying wormhole, and as d-scan is showing all the ships to likely be in the tower I'm ready to turn around, until I realise that only one planet is within d-scan range. There may be more to see.

I warp across the system, aiming for the most distant planet, updating d-scan as I pass through the centre of the system, and regret that I can't brake mid-warp when I see a Mammoth surrounded by empty space. I drop out of warp at the far planet, where I find I no longer care about discovering a second tower, and turn my Loki around. But by the time I return to the inner system the hauler has gone. As I didn't pass the Mammoth en route, the most obvious place to look for it is at the first two towers near the wormhole, and I head in that direction.

Drone bubble trap outside a w-space tower

Sure enough, the Mammoth is at one of the towers, which is indeed protected by drone-filled bubble traps, but I don't think the hauler was out collecting planet goo. The ship now floats near a silo, and although I know little about industry any more, and planet goo in particular, I suspect the hauler has returned from empire space with some gas to fuel reaction processes. I doubt the Mammoth will be leaving the tower again soon, and if he does I'll need to scan for the wormhole he'll use. I'm not going to do that, though, as I am still aware of the EOL wormhole, so instead head back to C3a and towards the more healthy connection to C4a.

A tower, Iteron hauler, and Helios covert operations boat appear on d-scan in the class 4 system, and adjusting my settings shows an interesting result of wrecks of both an advanced cruiser and a Sleeper. The wreck can wait for now, as seeing if the hauler is piloted is my first priority. Without any notes to help me I have to locate the tower the old-fashioned way, which takes a minute or so, and I soon find the tower, but not the Iteron. It doesn't really matter, as circumstances turn out, because the local corporation is blue—not that this distinction seems to matter to some.

Capsuleer and Sleeper wreck in w-space

I can take a moment to look for that wreck now. I am curious to see if the pilot simply got careless and overestimated his solo capability, and more curious to see if any modules survive in the wreck. Of course, I also don't want to turn one wreck in to two, but I won't know the situation until I can get a look at the wreck. Assuming the wreck is in a basic anomaly I perform a passive scan of the system, revealing twelve anomalies, and warp in to where it looks like the wreck is. And I warp directly in to a Sleeper structure, decloaking my ship for the two waiting Sleeper battleships. This isn't going according to plan.

I manage to turn around and warp out of the site before I catch the Sleepers' attention and become that second wreck I was worried about. I don't go back, and not because I don't think I can do so safely but because the wreck I hope to find wasn't in the site. I take another look around the system using d-scan, and although I can locate the wreck with some degree of accuracy it doesn't appear to be in an anomaly. Maybe it's in a radar or magnetometric site. That's cool, I can scan for that.

I launch probes and blanket the system, more as a habit than a necessity, and poke around the twelve signatures. None of the signatures are anywhere near the wreck, which makes it effectively untraceable, but I'm happy to ignore it when I resolve a K162 from a class 2 system. More w-space to explore is always good. Jumping in to C2b looks decidedly ordinary, though, with two towers and no ships on d-scan. But my opinion changes a little on warping around, as nine more towers light up d-scan, and opening the system map shows there to be only eleven moons available. This is a saturated system.

Along with the towers are ships, with a Wolf assault ship, Sabre interdictor, Tengu strategic cruiser, Drake battlecruiser, and Iteron hauler scattered around. I locate the tower with the Iteron first, the softest ship in the system, to find the hauler empty, and as there are no wrecks in the system I don't care too much about the others. That is until they drop off d-scan moments later. Dropping off d-scan means the ships are not in range, and the only destinations out of range in this system are the two towers elsewhere and the wormhole.

I warp back to my route homewards and find the wormhole clear of any ships. I doubt the locals would be waiting on the other side of the wormhole from me, given that they were out of d-scan range when I entered the system, so it looks like all the ships went through a different wormhole. Whatever reasons they had, I would rather head home to sleep than stalk ships I am unlikely to engage by choice. I return to C4a, across to C3a, and return home to end another night without being molested or doing any molesting. I must try harder.

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