Mimicking a Probe

29th June 2011 – 5.29 pm

Despite resolving a wormhole, scanning in high-sec gets off to a disappointing start. The wormhole is a K162 from class 2 w-space and reaching the end of its natural lifetime, and even though I'm happy to take a look inside in my scanning Tengu strategic cruiser I find it's the same system and wormhole that I left behind me yesterday. And I deleted all my relevant bookmarks for this system prior to scanning anew today. I'm not going to wait in here for nothing to happen again, so head back out to empire space, hop one system across, and look for fresh connections.

The system adjacent to my mission base holds promise. One wormhole is a stable K162 from class 2 w-space but my first jump will be through the second, a random outbound connection to a C2, as it offers more connections to find and a greater chance of surprising the locals. As it turns out, there are no locals awake to surprise, only an empty tower, so I launch probes and begin to scan. I resolve a gravimetric site, radar site, a small ship, and, hold on, I need to check my directional scanner. D-scan is now picking up an Anathema covert operations boat, and a Probe frigate has appeared in the system too, both of which launch probes.

I imagine a new connection has opened in to this C2, and as there are already a dozen scanning probes flying around I don't worry about mine being visible, as they may be lost in the noise. I keep scanning, looking for the wormhole that brought the two scouts here, and resolve the system's static exit to high-sec space, which doesn't get me closer to targets. A second wormhole of a K162 from class 2 w-space looks a likely origin of these two boats and I loiter there for a while, but only to see the Anathema drop out of warp a hundred kilometres from the connection before cloaking. Surely if he's from the C2 beyond he wouldn't be checking the wormhole from a distance. More curiously, I don't know why he wouldn't be warping cloaked, but I am grateful for his visibility.

The third wormhole in this C2 is the second static connection, leading to class 4 w-space. It looks like I have the wormholes here mapped and recall my probes as I check d-scan to see the Anathema and Probe warping to what looks like the other connections here, including the one from high-sec that I recently opened. I don't jump yet, not wanting to give away my position or ship class, but on reflection I realise that I am hardly likely to be able to catch a cov-ops boat, or even a cloaking frigate. I get ready to jump in to the C4 to explore more w-space when the Anathema warps in uncloaked and jumps through himself.

Not expecting to catch the boat but intrigued to see what will happen I follow the Anathema in to the C4 and hold my session change cloak. The cov-ops boat is sitting just off the wormhole, not moving, and to my delight he jettisons a can. The can will be close enough to his ship to prevent him cloaking, which now gives me a solid opportunity to intercept him. I break the session change cloak and target the Anathema, getting a positive lock and engaging all my weapons systems. The ship cannot cloak or warp away and is hit hard by my missiles, popping pretty quickly. The pilot's pod gets away cleanly, leaving me a wreck to loot and shoot, nabbing me some more scanning probes for my efforts.

Not a minute later, the Probe follows in behind. Feeling rather headstrong after nabbing the cov-ops boat I decloak and try to lock on to the simple frigate, but as I now have the addition of the recalibration delay to contend with the Probe warps away before my systems are even ready to target it. Perhaps I should have remained hidden, but at least now I think I realise the events that led to my catching the cov-ops. The two pilots are clearly from this system and no doubt working together, the Anathema returning home first. What I am supposing is that the Probe signalled his intention to return and asked for something, perhaps additional bookmarks, to be dropped for him. The Anathema took my jump behind him to be his colleague, a reasonable assumption that he didn't verify, and jettisoned the can for him not knowing what a deadly obstacle it would turn out to be. The chain of events certainly sounds reasonable.

I have my kill, I should probably turn around and explore in the other direction. But as both the pod and Probe warped towards the same planet, and there is a tower on d-scan, this must be their home system. That there are more ships on d-scan tempts me to stay longer, whereas they should probably be telling me to leave while I can, and I warp towards the planet to locate the tower, wondering what repercussions are in store for me after my opportunistic attack.

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