Ending the evening with exploration

26th August 2011 – 5.19 pm

I am about to leave our class 3 neighbouring w-space system when I spot combat probes on my directional scanner. I checked the exit to low-sec one last time, seeing it wobbly and dying but still alive, and was heading home, after attacking an Orca industrial command ship but chased away by a Tengu strategic cruiser and Drake battlecruiser, when the probes appear. I thought I saw only three contacts in this system in total, and all three logged off soon after making it safely back to their tower. But there was a Buzzard covert operations boat amongst them and I can't be sure if that was a fourth contact or one of the pilots that came to protect the Orca.

It seemed a little odd that the locals wouldn't even scan for a new wormhole after my assault on them. They could assume I am a tourist from low-sec, but considering the distinct lack of signatures in the system—there was only a gravimetric site to accompany the two wormholes—it would have been trivial to check. I suppose if the pilots decided to suspend operations for the night it wouldn't really matter if they found the wormhole or not, but I still need to explain the combat probes in the system.

As they are combat probes flying around I resist the temptation to warp somewhere quiet and launch my own probes, as my ship would likely be picked up by the combat probes and give the scout someone to be wary of, or to hunt. Instead I sit on the only wormhole that should attract attention, and that's the K162 leading to our class 4 home. If the scout is local he'll only be looking for and find our wormhole, and if he's not local the EOL exit to low-sec will appeal much less than more w-space to explore. Sure enough, a few short minutes sees a Loki strategic cruiser decloak in front of me and jump through the K162 to our home system. 'Careful now', Mick warns me on hearing this new information, and I interrogate the pilot's systems to see that he is not local to the C3.

There is probably a new wormhole opened in to this system, as it's unlikely a low-sec tourist would jump through a dying wormhole. And now that the scout is out of the system I can launch probes and check for new connections, but I warp away from the wormhole in case the Loki decides to return sooner than expected. A blanket scan of the system shows four signatures now, and my previous scanning and naming of the bookmarks I made makes the new signature obvious. As I resolve the wormhole Mick bets me two million iskies that it's a K162 from low-sec. That's a bet I'll take. C3s connect to low-sec an inordinate number of times, but inbound connections could feasibly be from anywhere, giving me good odds. What I don't expect is to drop out of warp in front of a wormhole from deadly class 6 w-space. No one would have taken that bet.

I may need to be careful. Or maybe not. I haven't seen the cloaky Loki again and with the scout out and about, and presumably reporting no activity, there may be soft targets being careless even in a C6. I jump in to find out. My notes place me in this system twice before, both times around seven months ago, and I have the locations of two towers listed. The notes are now incomplete as my directional scanner shows me four towers, and with them a whole bunch of ships to be found. Some drones on d-scan makes me wonder if there's some activity, but there are no wrecks to be seen. I set about locating the towers and perhaps at the same time the ships.

The first tower I find is empty of ships, and I don't even warp across to take a look. The second has six unpiloted ships sitting inside the shields, the third holds just an unpiloted dreadnought, and the fourth has five more unpiloted ships. I think I've found all the ships d-scan is showing me in the system, making the system inactive and only their Loki scout awake. That is, if the Loki is from this system. I check the corporation information on the fourth tower, which I'm currently floating near, and it doesn't match that of the pilot, but checking the second tower shows a different corporation owner again.

The scout may be from here, but he may also be from another system connecting to this C6. I am tempted to scan for any K162s but the moderately late hour is calling me home, my earlier attack on the Orca mostly sating my desire for some action. I decide on discretion and head homewards, noting the exit to low-sec still clinging desperately to life in the C3, and not bumping in to the Loki on my journey. Our C4 looks empty and there are no probes to be seen on d-scan, so all looks quiet. I hit the sack after a satisfying night of hunting and exploration.

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