Nattering with the neighbours

15th February 2011 – 5.36 pm

We may have had visitors. Fin is here and notes that the home system was active earlier, which means we are scanning for more than simply our static wormhole. Thankfully, the wormhole is in a nicely conspicuous location today, near the outer planet where there aren't many other signatures, and is easy to find. But we keep looking, resolving the second wormhole we're expecting to find, a K162. This wormhole connects in from a class 2 w-space system, and its opening indicates activity. I head in to the C2, whilst Fin goes the other direction and through our static connection to the C3.

Jumping through the K162 brings me to a C2 I was last in seven months ago. I noted a lack of occupancy back then, and only an off-line tower in the system shows no overall change, but there is activity. A scattering of scanning probes are visible on my directional scanner. I hope to take advantage of the scout's focus on scanning by launching my own probes undetected, but that's not a guarantee. Even so, a quick blanket scan of the system reveals seventeen anomalies and a bunch of signatures. I would say this C2 is not attended to much, but I imagine our system looks a lot worse at the moment.

As I scan I loiter on the wormhole connecting the C2 to our home system, and an occasional check of d-scan eventually shows the other scout's probes converging on its position. I call Fin back and she swaps to her Crow interceptor, placing it on the K162 in our system, looking to snare the scout as he continues onwards. And he does, a Cheetah covert operations boat soon jumping in to our system. I get ready in case he comes back, decloaking and getting my weapons systems hot, but he evades Fin and warps away. Cov-ops boats can be hard to catch. But I've been caught, at least on d-scan.

A pilot asks on the local channel how long I've been in the pulsar system. One of my first lessons when entering w-space is not to talk on the local channel, and I keep quiet for now. It may seem anti-social, but the general rule is that everyone is out to get you, and even a friendly hello could be the precursor to a heavy assault. I know that from experience. But that doesn't mean there are no genuinely friendly or helpful pilots around, and since we made an attempt to pop the Cheetah I don't think there's much risk in revealing our approach to unprovoked conflict.

The other pilot in the system seems interested in general w-space operations, and not in a way that could undermine our security. It seems she is looking for her own w-space system to occupy, and is currently based in this C2 looking for a decent C4, much like our pulsar system, making use of the static connection to find a new one each day. There are a few questions about how we ousted the previous occupants—about which I exaggerate our involvement somewhat—and what it's like having a static connection to a C3. I chat along, remaining a little wary, until this pilot says goodbye. Her Hurricane battlecruiser appears briefly on d-scan, but I think it's merely her cloak disengaging as she logs off, and I stop trying to scan for her ship.

Fin's Cheetah target talks too, perhaps a colleague of the Hurricane's in the C2, but doesn't go much beyond telling her it was a 'nice effort' at snaring him. We could try again, but we can't be sure if the Cheetah will return, or when, and we could be more productive in other ways. I return home, not expecting to find any more w-space connected to the C2, and through our static connection to the C3. I resolve the same four anomalies that Fin found, and two signatures. Both wormholes, of course. I ignore our K162 wormhole and scan for the C3's static connection, discovering it to be yet another exit to low-sec empire space.

The exit leads to a system one hop from high-sec, and thirteen from seemingly everywhere else. Checking my atlas shows that I am actually sitting in one of a ring of six low-sec systems, and make the short trip around the block for some more red dots of exploration. Back where I started I jump to return to the C3, finding it empty and quiet, and head home, where Fin reports the probes have gone. There's not much more to do, and it's too late to start shooting Sleepers, so we both get an early night.

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