Twin Drakes from low-sec

16th December 2010 – 5.32 pm

With the threat of the harmless gas miner out of the way I can get back to scanning and exploration. Finding a wormhole in the neighbouring class 3 w-space system should be easy, as I got close to resolving one when scanning the ladar site holding the Ferox. I still have a bookmark to the wreck of the Badger hauler I popped, and positioning some scanning probes around that area indeed returns a wormhole signature. Naturally, it's an exit to low-sec empire space. But it is also pristine, not yet having begun its cycle of decay, making me think that perhaps the occupants haven't yet scanned their way out and the miner's new clone doesn't have a way home. That's a shame.

Apart from the system's static wormhole there are quite a few signatures in the C3. Most of them are mining sites, either gas or rock, and I don't consider them worthy of bookmarking, mostly because it would be an exceptional fool to continue mining in a hostile system, even if he could get back home, although I bookmark a few anyway out of sheer optimism. Only one anomaly is waiting to be found, and I resolve no more wormholes in or out. All that is left to explore is the exit to low-sec, which throws me in to the Derelik region, far from anywhere useful. The low-sec system is close to a couple of dead ends, though, and I visit them for red dots of exploration before returning home and taking a break.

A little later, I go back to the class 3 system, again in my Manticore stealth bomber. The Proteus strategic cruiser has gone from the tower, replaced by two Tengu strategic cruisers to sit passively next to the unpiloted Falcon. Both combat and core scanning probes are visible on my directional scanner, and a Drake battlecruiser is in the system outside of the tower. I can't believe the Drake is mining, gas or otherwise, but it is possible he is clearing a mining site of Sleepers. The lack of wrecks on d-scan suggests he has only just started, if that's what he's doing, but switching to the system map and sweeping d-scan around puts the Drake coincident with the exit wormhole. I warp at range to the wormhole to take a look.

The Drake is indeed at the wormhole, close enough to jump back to low-sec at any moment. He doesn't belong to the local corporation and may well be scanning. And although he's sitting on top of a wormhole, allowing him to flee, I could still engage him to see how much attention he's paying to his surroundings. But first I shall refit my Manticore, not needing a sensor booster or warp scrambler for this attack. I jump home, the connecting wormhole far out of range of the exit in the C3, and swap a couple of modules around, fitting remote sensor dampers with range reduction scripts. I can remain a threat for longer if the Drake can't target me and shoot back, although I am fully expecting him to jump to low-sec before he gets in to any real danger.

I return to the class 3 system and warp at range to the exit wormhole again. I manoeuvre to get in to an appropriate range, which I gauge to be about thirty-eight kilometres, and decloak and launch a bomb. I've put the Drake on the edge of the bomb's explosion radius whilst maximising my distance from him, and I follow with a target lock and damping its sensors, waiting for the bomb to detonate before launching torpedoes. It's a solid hit, fully catching the Drake in the explosion, and he doesn't return fire. But a second Drake decloaks and gets a positive lock on my Manticore. I could put a single sensor damper on each of the two battlecruisers, but as the bomb barely made a dent in the Drake's shields, and my torpedoes aren't going to be quick in finishing him off, I choose simply to warp away.

I make a clean break and reactivate my cloak, heading back to the wormhole to monitor the Drakes' reactions, bouncing off a planet first to be in a less predictable vector. In retrospect, I should have known there were two Drakes, as the pilot of the Drake I bombed is different from the pilot of the Drake I first saw, but it makes no odds. It looks like the two capsuleers are come from low-sec and looking for a cheap fight. They sit at the wormhole, close enough to jump away if presented with any real threat, and don't look to want to encroach in to the system any further. It's possible they were hoping to clear some anomalies in this system, and perhaps the two Tengu cruisers on d-scan made them think twice. But when the Tengus disappear the Drakes apparently get bored and jump out of the system, taking their scanning probes with them.

Excitement over, and with Fin now available, our best option is to collapse our static wormhole and look for adventure through a different connection. Our previous attempts cause us to ponder mass calculations and ship rotations again, coming up with a new schedule to cause the wormhole to dissipate. The calculations prove smooth and we have a new wormhole to resolve, Fin asking me 'please do not find the same system', as happened the last time we collapse a wormhole. The connection is scanned and the class 3 system beyond is thankfully different, although obviously contains an exit to low-sec empire space.

As Fin finds the connection to low-sec I explore the C3 itself, finding a couple of towers anchored to a moon of an outer planet. There are no ships in the system, though. Three anomalies and six signatures makes scanning quick, which is as much a relief as resolving a second wormhole, giving us more to explore. The wormhole is a K162 coming from a class 5 w-space system, the C5 turning out to be occupied but inactive, and although the connection we passed through is the system's static wormhole Fin's tenacious scanning finds a further wormhole in the system, another K162. We jump in to the class 4 system, heading deeper in to w-space, but find no occupation, suggesting another K162 waits to be found.

The K162 is resolved, leading in to the C4 from a C2. The class 2 system is occupied, three towers each holding piloted ships, but nothing fancy. An Iteron hauler is at one tower, a Drake battlecruiser and Buzzard covert operations ship at another, and Heron frigate at the third. None of them appear active, though, and it looks like nothing is going to happen. It is also getting late and we are far from the home system, so we turn around and head back the way we came. We may not have found much activity in our exploration but the extended constellation makes a decent change from the normal connection to a single class 3 system leading out to low-sec.

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed.