Scanning, roaming, returning

16th October 2010 – 3.20 pm

Roaming w-space ends early, before I've even left the home system. My Manticore stealth bomber drops out of warp in to empty space, the bookmarked location no longer holding a wormhole and being another arbitrary point in space. The bookmarks I copied are no longer current, but instead of scouting I sit and wait at the tower. I learn that a scout became isolated in empire space with the collapse of our static wormhole and a second scout has just scanned a new route for him to return. The second scout is already coming back to the tower with a fresh set of bookmarks for our w-space constellation and I can copy them instead of scanning from scratch.

The returned bookmarks are skeletal, enough to get a pilot from our tower to empire space but little more. It's a enough for our needs, but as no activity is reported along the short route there seems little point in taking my Manticore out for a roam. Instead, I board my Buzzard covert operations boat and head out to see what else I can find. I jump through our static wormhole to a vaguely familiar class 4 w-space system, having been here only two weeks ago. My last visit saw the system hold a K162 to a C5 where I engaged a Hoarder industrial ship that colleagues swiftly popped, but today the C4 seems quiet. I move on to the static connection leading in to a class 1 system.

There is no occupancy in this C1, although intelligence suggests that some jumps occurred earlier and perhaps a K162 remains in the system. I launch probes and start scanning. The signatures of known wormholes are included in the description of each bookmark, so it is easy for a later scout, like me, to ignore them and not duplicate effort. And my effort now isn't wasted, as I manage to find another wormhole in this system almost on top of the exit to high-sec empire space. The K162 comes in from class 2 w-space system, which looks promising, and once I determine that the two final signatures in this C1 are only gravimetric mining sites I jump through the inbound connection.

My directional scanner reports two towers in the C2, and a couple of ships too. It is straightforward to locate the towers, the second one I warp to holding a Tristan frigate and Coercer destroyer inside its shields, both ships piloted. There is no other activity on d-scan so I open up the system map to see where I need to warp to for passive d-scans to cover the rest of the system. Actually, maybe I'll just sit around this planet, what with it being the only one in the system. But even though it seems that I can see the whole system from this lonely planet the star is actually out of d-scan range, which will at least let me launch scanning probes without being detected.

Warping to the only directly navigable point in the solar system out of d-scan range of the two towers plants me directly in to a warp bubble. It seems quite sensible to me for the occupants to have anchored the bubble here, as it is the obvious place for visiting capsuleers to warp to, but without any physical objects to decloak covert ships or anyone monitoring the location the bubble is of limited used beyond being a slight annoyance. It is trivial for me to navigate out of the bubble and launch my probes safely, letting me begin scanning. I'm not expecting to find much in such a small system but, being a class 2 system, there should at least be another outbound connection.

I find and resolve a wormhole to high-sec empire space, along with a few ladar and gravimetric sites. Even when a Buzzard joins the other two ships at the local tower and swaps to a Badger hauler there is not much to get excited about. And with everything scanned I may as well head back and get my Manticore again, giving me some firepower should a capsuleer start to act recklessly. On my way back through the class 1 system I pick up a recruit who has scanned his way in from the high-sec system and is trying to get to our home system. I take pity on this trial-by-scanning and guide him back to our home system, although I abandon him at the wormhole so that he has to find our tower himself. As he is in warp to the tower I am in my Manticore and heading back to the C2.

There are hints of activity in the class 2 upon my return. The Badger is no longer to be seen in the system and the Tristan is gone, leaving the Coercer alone. I assume that the Badger has gone out to high-sec and I lurk with intent on the exit wormhole in the hopes that he returns soon, but I just float in space and watch the wormhole wobble for a while. Luckily, some drama is happening elsewhere, a Legion strategic cruiser and scanning probes seen in our neighbouring C4 system where a corporation fleet is engaging Sleepers. The fleet can overpower a single Legion but they have no tackle to prevent him fleeing, which is where my Manticore can come in handy. I leave the C2 system behind to help look for the Legion.

The Legion leaves the class 4 system and is spotted in the C1, where I am now, but he's not on the wormhole connecting to the C4. A brief sweep with d-scan shows the strategic cruiser's location to be in the middle of space, either in a safe spot or at the exit of a newly spawned wormhole. As the fleet entertains thoughts of trying to scan the Legion's position an alliance member mentions that he 'sold' the C1 system to the Legion pilot earlier and thinks that perhaps he shouldn't now shoot him. I have no qualms about engaging the strategic cruiser, particularly as the system was found on a routine corporate/alliance scanning operation and there is no way I would consider the system to be anyone's to sell for personal gain. But the ethical question combined with logistical considerations gets the fleet turned around and fighting Sleepers again, whilst the lack of other activity causes me to simply head back to the tower to sleep.

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed.