Changing plans

2nd June 2010 – 7.24 pm

Being by myself, it looks like I'm scanning. There are bookmarks in our shared can but warping to the first leaves me floating in empty space, so they are not current. I launch probes, find the static wormhole elsewhere, and jump through. The directional scanner shows only celestial bodies in the new system and I bookmark the wormhole home and launch probes in preparation. There is one planet out of range of d-scan and it has twenty-seven moons, which looks like a good place for a tower to hide, but warping out there reveals the system to be unoccupied. I start scanning.

Only two anomalies are present along with a handful of other signatures, but judging by the return strengths of the signals this system is probably only good for mining. I resolve a few likely signals and unsurprisingly find rocks and gas, leaving only weaker signals that suggest I am perhaps going to find a wormhole to a class 5 w-space system. And that's what I find, a static connection to a C5. I bookmark the wormhole's position and jump through to another unoccupied system. Unlike the C4, this system has plenty of anomalies and signatures. I start scanning, ignoring more rocks and gas mining sites, but the wormhole is proving elusive.

My time spent chasing signatures gets me musing about the current situation. Although it is possible that the C5's static connection will lead somewhere interesting, it could also lead further in to dangerous or deadly w-space territory. As our neighbourhood stands currently, we are linked to two unoccupied systems with no other incoming wormholes, which sounds ideal for clearing the couple of anomalies in our neighbouring C4, or tackling the more challenging sites in the C5. We may not have a route to empire space but the possibility of raking in profit unmolested should be considered. I recall my probes without finding the static connection in the C5, leaving it closed, and return home to the tower. I copy the bookmarks in to our shared can and then write a bulletin explaining the situation, recommending either leaving the C5 unexplored or collapsing our static connection for better prospects. Then I take a break.

I return to find the C5 being scanned thoroughly, which is a little disappointing to be apparently ignored, but it is hardly within my authority to prevent exploration. We're in luck too, the C5 holding a static high-sec exit and a connection to a class 2 w-space system. We may no longer be nicely isolated but at least we haven't opened up a wormhole to a populated C5 or C6 system. In fact, the scout finds a Covetor and Hulk mining in the C2, the jet-cans also present on d-scan indicating activity. He investigates further to find two towers in the system, one with an unpiloted Drake sitting in its shields, and the mining barges elsewhere. I get my Onyx heavy interdictor warmed up and move it to the C5 system, where my bookmarked exploration ended earlier.

The scout tries to find the miners, launching probes out of d-scan range of them before returning to get a distance and bearing using d-scan. With a good idea of their location, he returns to the wormhole and jumps through to give me its position. I am now sitting on the connection to the C2 and the scout jumps back to resolve the gravimetric site. He finds it, warps there and sees the Hulk and Covetor mining different rocks, quite far apart. The scout bookmarks jet-cans for both ships and as he warps home to change ships we formulate a plan. I'll drop my Onyx on the Hulk and the scout, now in a Myrmidon battlecruiser, will warp to the Covetor. If we so decide, my Onyx can hold the pod of the probably higher-skill character in the Hulk for ransom. We have separate targets but bookmarks for both, and are sitting ready on the other side of the C2.

We jump in to the C2 system and I engage my engines to warp to the Hulk. But my colleague points out that the Hulk has left, only the Covetor remaining according to d-scan. I cancel warp quickly and start warping to the Covetor's position instead, assuming the Hulk is not returning. The Covetor remains when we drop out of warp and I activate my warp bubble. The mining barge launches some scout drones against me but they are barely a threat, and the Covetor quickly pops. The pilot is podded without thought. There is not much loot in the barge's wreck and only kernite ore is found in the can nearby. It's a weak result.

I grab what little loot there is, shoot the wreck and the can of ore, scoop the corpse and now-unowned drones, and leave the pocket. There is no counter-attack and we make it back to the tower safely. I swap back to my Buzzard scanning boat and return to the system, surprised to see one of the cans we left has disappeared. A Nemesis stealth bomber is seen briefly on d-scan, although its affiliation does not match the local corporation or that of the miners. I launch probes to scan the system and find a high-sec exit to empire space, along with an EOL connection to a C3 system. I risk the C3 connection but only find an unoccupied system. Wherever the miners came from, they are probably not coming back for their ore. All systems are quiet, so I go home.

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