Trying to stay unseen

12th September 2011 – 5.19 pm

There are supposedly even more pilots in our home system now, and even if they are friendly they are nowhere to be seen. I feel their presence, if not see their ships, as someone has left bookmarks in our shared can, pointing me towards our neighbouring class 3 w-space system. I copy them across to the nav-comp of my covert Tengu strategic cruiser and head out to explore. My directional scanner is clear from the K162 in the C3, and warping to the local tower sees a Cheetah covert operations boat only briefly, as the pilot calls it a night and disappears. The system seems dead.

The system is not all that is dead here. Two wormholes were scanned in this system earlier and were apparently reaching the end of their natural lifetimes when resolved. Now, a few hours later, both of them are gone. Finding the new static exit to high-sec empire space gives me a reason to scan the system, but doing so doesn't reveal any other wormholes. Jumping out to high-sec puts me in the Sinq Laison region, which is close to Dodixie and maybe good for importing some more fuel, which glorious leader Fin would know about better than me. A simple scan in the high-sec system finds no other connections beyond the K162 I'm sitting on, so I head back to w-space and our home system.

Fin indeed thinks we could get some fuel in easily, and takes a Bustard transport ship out to empire space so we can resupply our tower. I help in my own way, scanning the home system as a defensive measure, looking for any unexpected inbound connections. I find one, too. A K162 from class 2 w-space has appeared, one that I had better investigate to ensure Fin can get home safely with no surprises. I warp back to our tower to copy a bookmark to the wormhole in to our shared can, for easy reference when Fin returns, and swap to a stealth bomber. I'm not expecting to scan the C2 and just need an agile and covert ship to let me reconnoitre for now.

I jump in to the C2 and immediately see a threat. A Drake battlecruiser loiters eighty kilometres from the wormhole and, if he's fulfilling his responsibility adequately, must have seen me enter the system. I hold my session change cloak for now but the Drake doesn't blink, so I take the initiative and move away from the wormhole and cloak. Only once I have been identified does the Drake warp away and although I imagine there is no hunting to be done here there is certainly activity to be monitored. As long as the locals stay in this system we'll be fine, but if they enter our own we will need to be ready.

D-scan shows me the Drake still somewhere in the C2, along with two towers and a couple of Mammoth haulers. I locate the towers, one heavily protected by warp bubbles, to find the Mammoths unpiloted. But I think there is activity in the bubbled tower, as a Manticore appears on d-scan before disappearing again. I imagine the stealth bomber has gone to wait to ambush me, but I ignore him for now. I explore the further reaches of the system, finding no other towers but perhaps a second Drake. He appears to be sitting in empty space, my assumption being that he's monitoring a second wormhole. Or maybe it's the same Drake warping between the two static connections. I should have paid more attention to the battlecruiser's name when I first saw it.

Fin makes it home without hassle. Our neighbouring C3 remains quiet and she doesn't flush out the Manticore at large. We try a bit harder and Fin plants an interceptor on the K162 to the C2, hoping the bomber will be tempted enough to engage, but there is no sign of him. A new contact appears at the bubbled tower and I warp there to monitor his activity. The pilot boards an Onyx heavy interdictor, a threatening ship indeed, and Fin asks me to 'holler if he warps'. He warps, I holler, Fin backs off from the wormhole, but only to a safer distance. It's okay, though, as the Onyx warped in a different direction, his destination unknown as I still only have the one reference point here, that of the wormhole home.

There are definitely two Drakes warping around this C2, but where they are and where they are going I have no idea. The Manticore resurfaces to swap to a third Drake and warps off to join his colleagues, which includes the Onyx, and Fin reminds me that there is a distinct possibility that I wasn't spotted. Either that, or my direction of travel is too uncertain for the locals. Maybe they think I am an empire space tourist, coming in from a different wormhole, and that I'll be heading back that way, trying to catch me there. It's a fair assumption to make, but if that's the case it is a little careless not to at least put a scout on the wormhole where I was first spotted.

Fin decides to start stressing the wormhole connecting our two systems, bringing an Orca industrial command ship out to begin collapsing the link. As she warps to the wormhole a third Mammoth appears in the system, which looks good to me. But the pilot immediately swaps the hauler for a second HIC, his Broadsword warping out of the tower straight away. Fin naturally starts to get jittery, but the HIC again doesn't head our way, and one round-trip with the Orca is made. It's only then that we realise that the hour is late and that if even if we collapse the wormhole we won't be doing anything else, and there no longer seems any point in taking the risk to do so, particularly as the C2 pilots don't seem to want to come to our system.

D-scan can now detect an Onyx, Broadsword, Drake, and Crow interceptor in the C2, all in the same spot in empty space, and perhaps on a wormhole suitable for ambushes. They won't get any opportunities from us, as we ignore their C2 for the comfort of our C4. We can't even be sure we got the attention of the locals in the C2. We simply leave them chasing their tails and get some sleep.

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