Scouting behind a Buzzard

3rd March 2013 – 3.31 pm

'We have visitors.' At home? I update my directional scanner as my glorious leader welcomes me on-line, and see nothing. Then again, I try to hide as far as from everything as possible precisely to stay off d-scan when coming on-line. I launch probes and prepare to perform a blanket scan of the system as Fin continues. 'Okay, it may have been two hours ago, clearing anomalies, sucking gas.' Bastards. 'And maybe mining. And whoring kill mails.' Oh dear. Fin, where are you?

My leader lost both her Loki strategic cruiser and pod to the intruders, in a sucker punch counter-ambush. Fin missed catching them once, pootled around with industrial matters after they went, and then tried to catch another when they cheekily came back. Of course, they were prepared. Never go back. It could be our corporate motto, but we'd still not pay attention to it. Fin's in high-sec, busying herself with missions for an agent, which gives me greater motivation to find a good exit today.

Scanning the home system finds nothing out of order, apart from our missing anomalies, and the second wormhole even remains. I warp across to see that it comes from class 5 w-space, and that the K162 is now critically unstable. I won't say that makes us safe, but it gives an indication to the fleet's intention not to bring any serious fleet back to our home system. I'll ignore them for now and jump through our static wormhole to the neighbouring class 3 w-space system.

It's my third visit to C3a, the last being almost two years ago apparently not affecting my notes too much. Two towers remain in the same locations, one has moved slightly, and I think it's safe to say the static wormhole exits to high-sec. That's a good omen for a Fin recovery, I would say. A blanket scan of the system reveals five anomalies, six signatures, and no ships, letting me scan in peace. The first wormhole feels high-seccish, a second is chubbier and probably a K162, and after a radar site a third wormhole feels more like high-sec than the first. That just leaves some gas.

The first wormhole is actually a T405 connection to class 4 w-space, which will be good to explore once I've got the high-sec connection. And we have two to choose from, as the chubby wormhole is a K162 from high-sec too. The static exit leads to a system in Essence, many hops from civilised space, and the K162 comes from Domain, which sounds much better. 'They are nearly equidistant from me. Twenty-two and twenty-one jumps.' Oh well. I can't close that distance from here, and Fin isn't feeling perky enough to make the trip. She goes off-line, I go to C4a.

The K162 in C4a is over 4 AU from the nearest planet, and that is the only planet in d-scan range. Launching probes and blanketing the system shows little else, with no occupation, no activity, and four anomalies and eleven signatures to sift through. A conspicuous signature, again over 4 AU from any planet, becomes an obvious wormhole, which shows that if you're a wormhole you shouldn't hide away from planets. Now I scan rocks, gas, a ship—crap, too late to move my probes out of the way too.

I try to get my probes clear anyway, but switching to d-scan sees empty space, so whoever was here is either cloaked or gone. I'll continue scanning. Quelle surprise, a wormhole appears where the ship was. This second wormhole is a weak one, though, and turns out to be the dreaded H900 to class 5 w-space. I'll leave that for now, particularly if the locals suspect a scout will be heading their way. Besides, I have a second class 4 system to explore, through the K162 I resolved first.

Buzzard jumps in to a C4 from a C4

C4b has two canisters on d-scan, nothing else. One planet sits out of d-scan range, a planet without a tower, giving me another K162 to resolve. Fourteen anomalies and nine signatures are whittled down, and I resolve the expected wormhole as a Buzzard covert operations boat jumps in to the system from C4a. Being able to see such ship transits as this is why when the system is unoccupied I lurk near a wormhole. On a pretty secure hunch, I warp towards the wormhole I just resolved as the cov-ops cloaks, and land outside another C4 K162 in time to see the Buzzard jump through.

I ignore the remaining, unscanned signatures, recalling my probes, and follow behind the Buzzard, waiting for a minute so that I'm not too obvious in my actions. C4c has a tower, Buzzard, and Orca industrial command ship on d-scan, which are soon located. The Buzzard is the one I followed. It's probably the same ship my probes picked up on the H900 back in C4a, which means that the pilot saw my probes in C4a and in C4b, which will make her unlikely to do anything rash, like warp around in a basic hauler collecting planet goo.

The Buzzard does little indeed. And if my assumption is correct, and I imagine it is, not having spotted another active pilot so far, that the Buzzard came back from C5a and is not aching to return in a more pointy ship, I think it's safe to say there is little to find down that part of the rabbit hole. Even so, it won't hurt to take a look. I leave the inert Buzzard behind, warp across three class 4 w-space systems, and jump to C5a. Sure enough, nothing. Unoccupied, inactive, empty. I doubt it's even worth scanning for the wormhole to the next system. Okay, game over. And I'm not inserting another coin. Not until tomorrow.

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