Watching the ships coming in and going out again

15th July 2011 – 5.46 pm

Fin's popping rats, I'm looking for w-space. Scanning the home system in high-sec empire space finds no signatures of interest, and one system across only holds a couple of Gurista hideouts. The third system I scan is more interesting, with two K162s coming from class 2 w-space present. I pick one to explore first, jumping in to have my directional scanner show me a tower but no ships. I launch probes and blanket the system, locating the tower and loitering there in the meantime, confirming no ships to be in this inactive system. My scan reveals loads of signatures, which I quickly sift through to look for obvious wormholes, finding another two to investigate.

The first wormhole is a K162 from class 5 w-space, but reaching the end of its natural lifetime, and although the second wormhole is also EOL its destination of class 1 w-space makes me more comfortable poking my nose through. There are likely to be softer targets in a C1 as well as a more convenient path back to empire space should the wormhole behind me collapse. My luck may be in, as a tower and Badger are visible on d-scan from the wormhole, but I find the hauler sitting unpiloted inside the shields of the super-bubbled tower. A second tower and second ship don't hold any more promise, as the Magnate frigate is also unpiloted. There's no one here.

I head back through C2a, out to empire space, and across to jump in to C2b to be greeted by dozens of ships on d-scan. Perusing the d-scan return shows three active force fields and I start looking for the associated towers. The first tower has sixteen ships floating inside its shields, everything from a shuttle up to battleships, with six hangars for even more ships to be stored, but no pilots. The second tower has a further thirteen ships but still no pilots, and the third shows a rather poor display of only two ships, again with neither piloted. It looks like no one's home, so I launch probes and scan.

My blanket scan of this class 2 w-space system reveals nine anomalies, fives signatures, and no extra ships beyond those in the towers. I move the signatures of all the known ships to my ignored list and scan again to see a new contact appear, frigate-sized. The new ship is hard to discern on d-scan amongst the many unpiloted ships present, but I am able to find the Buzzard covert operations boat at the understocked third tower. I watch him for a couple of minutes but he does nothing, so I get back to scanning the signatures here, resolving two ladar sites and the system's second static wormhole. As the cov-ops boat remains inactive I warp away and jump through the stable wormhole to a class 3 w-space system.

A Tristan frigate, Brutix battlecruiser, and Bestower hauler can be seen on d-scan in the C3, along with two towers. A second scan, once I have moved away from the wormhole and cloaked, has the Brutix replaced by an Imicus frigate, a sure sign of activity! Or maybe delusions, but I'm going with activity for now. I locate the tower and warp there to see the Tristan and Bestower piloted, and as there are scanning probes in the system I assume the Imicus is too. The scanning frigate reveals himself before too long, sitting outside the tower's force field but near some defences. I move my ship towards his position, Fin urging me to take a shot if there are no warp disruption defences, which there aren't, but the Imicus warps away before I am close enough to make up my mind.

I can't see where the Imicus went, so while I have time, and because the system is quite big, I warp off to launch probes. A blanket scan shows there to be only two signatures in the whole system, the locals keeping it clean. As I passed through from a different w-space system I am only interested in the one signature, which will be the static connection. The signature is suitably distant from the tower that I can scan it without alerting the locals, perhaps giving me opportunity to pursue them if they decide to move. I resolve the wormhole and warp to it, but despite it being an exit to low-sec it is reaching the end of its life and is probably not going to be used any more. That's okay, the Imicus should find the K162 back to C2b, and maybe he'll find the exit to high-sec in there for the Bestower to make use of.

After a while, the Imicus returns to the tower. I watch carefully to see if he tells the Bestower about any route to empire space, but all the frigate does is warp away to the C2 K162 again, dropping off d-scan moments later. The Tristan disappears and returns, not heading in any direction I recognise and probably only indicating a shaky grip on reality, and although he soon moves towards a hangar he does nothing else. I wait a little longer, tempted by the hauler eventually doing something. Finally he moves, but he doesn't accelerate to warp speed. The pilot merely moves closer to a hangar and sits there. But the appearance of a new pilot in an Iteron hauler is exciting. Maybe the new pilot will even rush off to collect his planet goo!

Maybe the new pilot didn't mean to turn up at all, as he disappears without ceremony some time later. The Tristan has disappeared again by now, leaving only the Bestower present in the tower here, and I remain unconvinced that he's awake. All is quiet. It would be more economical to stare at a picture of a Bestower than sit outside this tower, and luckily Fin comes to my rescue. She's completed her mission and scanned her way to join me, jumping in to C2b to give a quick slap to a Thorax cruiser greeting her on the wormhole before it evades her and warps clear. I'm leaving this system behind and going back to where the action is.

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