Letting a gasser go free

1st September 2011 – 5.08 pm

The Probe's been despatched, the Prophecy isn't likely to move, and Fin's gagging for a target. The frigate was caught in an obvious location, the battlecruiser is piloted but inactive in the local tower, and the rest of the system looks quiet. I'll scan this class 3 w-space system to look for someone new to shoot. There are six signatures in the system and the first one I resolve, right on the outskirts, is a good start to continued hunting, being a K162 from class 2 w-space. The second signature is a second wormhole, a K162 from class 4 w-space. We have options.

An Anathema covert operations boat is a new contact in the system, picked up on my probes and ship-type identified using the directional scanner. I warp to the local tower to see if it is there but don't catch sight, although there are some core scanning probes a little over a hundred kilometres outside the tower's force field. I would assume those belong to the Anathema but I am sure the cov-ops boat had launched combat probes already, not cores. That would mean a second scout is in the system, but I haven't seen one. I am confused. Or maybe just stupid. The second scout, who the combat scanning probes belong to, is me. I can probably ignore them.

I keep scanning to find a magnetometric site, the system's static exit to low-sec empire space, and the final signature turning out to be another wormhole. It's a really weak signature, though, making it an outbound connection to class 1 or class 5 w-space. And warping to the wormhole, once resolved, shows it to connect to a C5. There is plenty of choice for adventure here, and I understand the popped Probe's pilot reluctance to admit how many wormholes there are, as well as why he was keen to find out which system I came from. It's not easy to guess the source of visitors with four extra-system connections all potentially bringing tourists in to your system.

Scanning is complete at about the same time as a new Probe appears in the system. Judging by its default name, it is the same pilot who I popped earlier. He really should christen his ship, and Fin jumps in to the system solely to offer him a little advice, albeit indirectly. I consider trying to shadow him again, giving up after a while not because it would be evil to shoot him twice in one evening but because he logs off. I nearly caught him at our K162, where he finds and chomps the jet-can Fin left, but I was a bit slow and can only watch as he goes to sleep at his tower, still without having changed his Probe's name.

Fin's getting an early night too, for extended values of 'early', and I wouldn't mind getting some shut-eye. But there are still other w-space systems to explore, maybe with soft targets. The least I can do is poke my nose in and see if there is a hauler or two to pop. I start with the wormhole coming from class 2 w-space, the lowest class of available system more likely to contain softer targets, but jumping in sees only a tower on d-scan and no ships. With limited time and two more systems to check I merely turn my ship around and jump back to the C3.

Next stop is the C5, chosen because despite its higher class the wormhole is an outbound connection, giving an element of surprise to my visit. I don't think I can surprise drones, though, which are all I can see on d-scan from the wormhole. Launching probes and blanketing the system reveals only anomalies and signatures, no ships or structures, making it about the same as the last time I was here three months ago. Rather than scan through all the signatures for the static connection to more class 5 w-space I turn back to investigate the class 4 system connecting in to the C3.

The C4 looks empty from the wormhole, but the system is bigger than d-scan's reach. Launching probes and blanketing the system finds two ships amongst the three signatures and two anomalies, and I warp to the tower listed in my notes to see if they are there. They may be, the Cheetah cov-ops boat and Brutix battlecruiser now appearing on d-scan, but the tower isn't where my notes say, apparently getting out-of-date in the past eight months. Sweeping a narrow d-scan beam around to locate the tower gives another interesting result, in that the Brutix is not inside the tower.

I open the system map to locate the Brutix and it looks like he's sitting in one of the two anomalies, but I can't believe a battlecruiser would survive by itself in a class 4 w-space anomaly. Besides, there are no wrecks. It looks like the anomaly is simply coincident with the Brutix's position from where I am, and he's distant enough that I ought to get closer anyway. I try to get a range on the battlecruiser but he has warped from where he was, so I head off to reconnoitre the tower for now, which will get me closer to what is possibly a ladar site the Brutix was in.

The Brutix has warped back to the site by the time I reach the tower, and I am now convinced he is harvesting gas, although I find the Cheetah piloted too. He doesn't look like much of a threat at the moment, I can give the gasser a poke. My probes are already launched, I just need to get a good bearing on the target, and I use my system map and d-scan to do that. I get the battlecruiser's position down to a good accuracy and position my probes as best as I can, and get ready to scan. I push my Tengu in the rough direction of the site, so that the strategic cruiser will enter warp more quickly, saving a precious couple of seconds, and hit scan.

The first return is fair at 50% but far from good enough, so I reposition the probes and scan again. The second hit is both better and worse, a relatively stronger hit but a split result. I am confident I know which of the two mirror images is the true image and position my probes again. The third time's a charm, and I recall the probes and warp to the Brutix's scanned position. I get ready to drop my cloak, warming up my weapons systems, but as I decelerate out of warp the blue cross of an allied pilot is plastered on my target. Balls.

I didn't realise the locals were blue because the Cheetah pilot has a low security status, the yellow skull of piracy obscuring any corporation standing markings. I really wish it wouldn't do that, and this is the turning point that will make me change my overview settings. Whilst it can be good information to know the security status of an individual it is much more important to know how the pilot is regarded by your corporation or alliance. It's also lucky the Brutix pilot doesn't also have a low security status, or I probably would have continued the attack, hence my decision to modify my overview settings.

The pilot doesn't seem to bothered to see a Tengu interrupt his gas harvesting session, even suggesting that he knew I was there and was ready to counter any attack. Whether he's bluffing or not there's little more for me to do here. I may not have found my soft target but I got some more hunting practice, in valuable live conditions. I warp out, make a note in my records that this system is occupied by blues, and head home to sleep.

  1. 2 Responses to “Letting a gasser go free”

  2. Hey man,

    I've been reading your blog for awhile and it's fascinating read. I got one question that popped my mind. You always talk about notes. Can you share how you note each WH and all that action that happened in it. Do you use inside eve notes or some external spreadsheets?

    By Trm on Sep 2, 2011

  3. And give away sensitive information? Never!

    By pjharvey on Sep 2, 2011

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