Looking for targets, finding fuel

16th May 2011 – 5.58 pm

There's no one home and the bookmarks in the can are stale. I'd best delete them and scan afresh. The wormhole sits nice and obvious amongst the two dozen signatures in our w-space system, and looks to be the only one present. I jump through to our neighbouring class 3 system to explore, finding but a single planet within range of my directional scanner on the other side of the wormhole. Having a distant wormhole is great for hunting, giving covert passage between systems, and I can launch probes discreetly immediately. Finding the system to be over 100 AU in diameter is as much an inconvenience as it is a problem. Warp times will be longer, and keeping an eye on any situation is going to be awkward. That is, if there is a situation happening.

I am still able to blanket this C3 with my probes, even if it is almost difficult, and I am a little crestfallen when I discover a complete lack of ships here. There looks to be a tower somewhere, which I warp off to find, and nine signatures keeping the lone anomaly company. The tower is easy enough to find, and at least it is on-line even if empty. I bring my probes back in to the system and arrange them to start sifting through the signatures when a Badger hauler warps in to the tower. Badgers can't warp cloaked, and my probes have only a moment ago told me there were no ships in the system, so I am guessing this pilot has just woken up. I fling my probes back out of the system to hide them, then consider that a hauler may initially check his planet goo situation. I'll want my stealth bomber to shadow the Badger, so recall my probes and head home to swap ships.

By the time I've made the trip across vast swathes of empty space to the K162 and back, making the relatively short hop back home to get my Manticore, the Badger has disappeared. I continue with my assumption that the pilot will start his day collecting planet goo and warp off to try to find him. Locating the hauler at one of the customs offices won't be easy when most planets are out of d-scan range of each other, so I hedge my chances and warp to the inner system, where I can at least monitor four planets indirectly. I don't see a Badger on d-scan when I get close to the star, but a Raven is out and about. I don't see where, and he's definitely not shooting Sleepers in the anomaly, but a second check of d-scan now reveals a jet-can named 'loot'. It seems like an odd choice to me, but perhaps the Raven is harvesting gas. I'll need my Buzzard covert operations boat again to scan his position.

Back in the C3 in my Buzzard, our distant K162 lets me launch probes safely out of d-scan range of just about everything, and I move them out of the system as I warp back towards the star to begin narrowing down the Raven's position. Except once I get to where the Raven was all I can see are different combat scanning probes and a lack of ships. I check to make sure they really aren't my combat probes—and they aren't—before warping to check the tower, where the Raven pilot is now swapped in to a Sigil hauler. Glorious leader Fin wakes up to join me in the C3, her in a stealth bomber in case the Sigil makes a target of himself, but when the hauler warps he heads in a direction I don't recognise. I follow in roughly the same direction, having to land around a celestial object to monitor the ship using d-scan, where I see a Proteus strategic cruiser also appear. Both ships disappear again before too long, without any wrecks being left behind, and I am left wondering what just happened.

Two new pilots arrive at the local tower, in Drake and Harbinger battlecruisers. The Sigil is not to be seen, making me wonder if he exited the system. As I have probes out in the system, and there are others still very much visible, I start looking for a wormhole in case we can catch the hauler on his return, Fin keeping eyes on the tower. I only find two ladar, two gravimetric, and a radar site in the inner system, no wormhole, but it looks like the Raven from earlier probably was harvesting gas. I expand my search to the rest of the system, resolving a K162 coming from high-sec empire space a stone's throw from the tower, and the system's static exit to low-sec a little further afield. I still don't know where the Sigil went, and the C3 has mostly quietened down now. The combat probes persist in the system, though.

Mick turns up and we update him on the situation. With probes out and about, potentially pushing the scout towards our K162, Mick boards an interdictor and sits in wait on the wormhole in our system. Nothing else is happening in the C3, so I go back and join him in my Malediction interceptor. It occurs to me that we could be waiting for no one, particularly if the scout is a tourist from high-sec and wary about delving too deep in to w-space. Having a bit of time on my hands makes me opine about missing the Raven from earlier, a potentially juicy kill ruined by what could be an inexperienced tourist, at which point Fin reminds me that the scout is perhaps in that Proteus briefly seen. That's a good point, it could be a cloaky scout, and it would need more than my tiny interceptor to hurt it. I chuck my Malediction back in our hangar and return to loiter with Mick on our wormhole in my killer Legion strategic crusier.

Despite the activity dying down we have access to a connection to high-sec. It's worth checking the exit to see where it leads, and with still no scout jumping through to our system I take my Legion across the C3 to find out. Jumping out of w-space puts my ship in Gallente territory and apparently only nine hops to Dodixie. It looks like we can buy some fuel, and the relative safety of the high-sec connection encourages Fin to take an Orca industrial command ship out to buy fuel. It's more sluggish to get between destinations, but the volume of fuel and fittings it can hold makes a single trip of the Orca more efficient than multiple trips in a more agile and stealthy Crane transport ship. We should be okay with my Legion as an escort, which for now I keep lazily orbiting the wormhole in high-sec as a warning for approaching pilots, and Mick now in his Arazu recon ship making sure the C3 remains quiet. We may not have engaged any ships, but being able to fill an Orca to restock the tower's fuel supply is a good result.

  1. 2 Responses to “Looking for targets, finding fuel”

  2. Having just read the details of the latest update to be rolled out, will the change to the onboard scanner range affect you at all, and if so how?

    By Eve Scientist on May 17, 2011

  3. It will make finding anomalies a little quicker and easier, but although it is undeniably convenient I don't think the changes are particularly significant. Resolving anomalies passively was never really a challenge beyond getting to the right celestial object to be in range, and a fair number of times your ship would coincidentally be in range to detect it anyway. W-space denizens will remain a danger as much as remain in danger.

    As for locating sites of interest, we will still send ahead scouts in cov-ops to scan systems fully, as we are more concerned about wormholes than simply finding anomalies for Sleeper combat, and the more lucrative sites remain hidden to all but scanning probes.

    By pjharvey on May 17, 2011

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