Scanning, stalking, sitting

26th July 2010 – 5.04 pm

There's no one around, no bookmarks in the can, it looks like I'm going out to scan. I mistake some asteroids for a wormhole but cover up my error by never mentioning it to anyone and finding our system's static connection. Jumping to the class 4 w-space system beyond shows me a tower and two Mammoth industrial ships on the directional scanner. Locating the tower reveals both ships to be unsurprisingly inside the shields, along with a Navy Issue Megathron battleship which I apparently overlooked when scrolling through the d-scan return. All three ships are piloted. Switching to the system map to start scanning is interesting, as it shows only four moons amongst all nine of the planets in the system. There is not much choice when planting a tower in here.

Our neighbouring system is also rather compact. It seems like it has been months since I last scanned an entire system without having to cover at least one planet separately. This lets me use my comparison method of finding wormholes more reliably. And find one I do, a static connection to a C3. Exploring the class 3 system finds an abandoned tower and no other signs of life. There are plenty of anomalies and a handful of signatures present, and ignoring a few rocks gets me the next connection along today's route. Warping to the wormhole shows it to be a K162, an incoming connection, the colours seeping through telling me it links from a class 4 system. I continue my scan but, as I lurk at the K162, an Anathema covert operations boat jumps in from the C4.

'8'. The Anathema pilot talks in the rarely used local channel. 'Do you really need that many probes?' Well, no, but I am assuming the presence of a second scanner is adding his probes in to the system along with mine. The Anathema pilot is making a poor assumption. I ignore him for now and find a second wormhole in the system, an exit to null-sec k-space. I jump through to find myself again in the Malpais region, this time in the L05-LN system. Checking my atlas shows the system to be part of a dead end constellation and I take advantage of this to do a loop of the systems to increase the number of red dots of visitation on my star map before heading back to w-space.

I warp to the K162 in the class 3 system and jump in to the incoming C4. I am not surprised to see a tower on d-scan, but there are no ships. As I am recombobulating myself after the jump in to a new system—checking local space and d-scan, moving away from the wormhole and cloaking, bookmarking the way home—the wormhole behind me flares and the sarcastic Anathema from earlier reappears and warps away. He doesn't cloak and I try to find the tower, assuming that he is now sitting inside its shields. I find the tower and the Anathema pilot, but it is a second tower, one without an active force field. It looks like he's setting it up! This means he is uncloaked and unprotected, ripe for shooting.

I pilot my Buzzard away from the tower a little so that I get in to long enough range for my warp engines to operate, and warp to one of the off-line defence batteries. But as I drop out of warp the Anathema disappears. He is still on d-scan and I track him down to the primary tower that I first noticed when entering the system. He may not be finished with the other tower and now I have a good bookmark to its location, it is time to head back home and swap in to my Manticore stealth bomber.

Jumping back through the w-space systems shows more activity in our neighbouring C4 system, with four cov-ops ships now loitering in the tower. I still leave them alone, focussing instead on the potential target further out. But I relay the information home anyway, as we shouldn't be caught unawares, and an ally happily puts his Onyx heavy interdictor on our static wormhole, hoping to catch an unsuspecting scout. I board my Manticore, copy the bookmarks I have made to our shared can, and head back out through the scanned systems to where the Anathema sits. And still he sits, inside the safety of the on-line and shielded tower. I wait.

I wait a little longer. I wait hoping that he will want to configure something at the other tower, tweak a setting or just gaze at his shiny rod in space, but he doesn't move. But that may be okay, as the Onyx pilot has just shot at a Helios cov-ops. The Helios easily jumped back through our static wormhole to his C4 but, considering the number of pilots seen from that system, I suspect trouble may be brewing.

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