Slow for a scout

8th October 2011 – 3.45 pm

An empty home system sends me scuttling in to our neighbouring class 3 w-space system to explore. An Anathema and Orca are visible on my directional scanner, along with a tower, and although my last visit was ten months ago and apparently too long for my notes to remain pertinent, finding the location of the new tower is simple enough. Dropping out of warp outside the force field shows me the covert operations boat is piloted and the industrial command ship isn't, just as a Buzzard cov-ops boat appears on d-scan. The other ship doesn't warp in to the tower but instead appears as a blip on d-scan, making me think he's not local and I'll have more systems to explore. That's good. I warp away to launch probes so that I can scan the system.

It seems the Buzzard has the same idea as me. As I get to a distant planet and punch d-scan to ensure I'm out of range of any watchful eyes I see the Buzzard and a cluster of probes appear. He has warped to one of the moons here to launch probes, cloaking and moving his probes promptly enough that I don't catch him. Warping to a planet instead of a safe spot is a fair sign that the ship isn't local. I warp to a different moon and launch my own probes to scan, which won't take long, there being only three signatures along with three anomalies, and I already know about the K162 heading home. If I'm quick I can perhaps try to catch the Buzzard as he continues scouting, so I get to work.

The first of the two signatures to resolve stinks like a static exit to null-sec, and I leave it alone for now. The other isn't a wormhole, which I'd expect if the Buzzard is a visitor, but a ladar site. Maybe the Buzzard has come in through the null-sec connection, which narrows his options to continue exploration in to our home system. That suits me, as I see his probes are still out, and I dash home to swap my scanning boat for an interceptor, planting myself on the wormhole in wait for the Buzzard. And I wait, and wait, and wait.

I really should stop doing this. Sitting in an interceptor and waiting for a scout to jump in to my clutches simply doesn't work. For a start, almost no one comes. I can't even tell if the scout is coming my way or not, because I have to sit in a different system and, by myself, have no way of telling if he's still scanning, has gone through a different wormhole, or has left a jet-can for me with a present inside before logging off. And even if the occasional scout jumps through the wormhole I tend to fly off at maximum speed in a direction mostly unrelated to where the ship sheds its session change cloak. But I suppose that also means I need the practice. It would be nice if I could tell if someone was heading my way, though.

I give up on waiting for the scout to come and swap back to my Tengu strategic cruiser to continue exploring through the C3's exit wormhole. Jumping in to the C3 again sees the Buzzard still around, and still not at the tower, before disappearing again. I ignore him and warp to the wormhole, or, rather, I warp to empty space, the wormhole already gone. That's peculiar, although I won't pretend that I am the first pilot to discover any wormhole, particularly in occupied systems. It feels like quite a coincidence that it died so soon after I scanned it, but it's possible. I'll need to scan for the new wormhole now.

A thought occurs to me and I warp to the tower. I hope I didn't miss the Orca collapsing the exit to null-sec! Arriving outside the tower sees the industrial command ship thankfully still unpiloted, so it's unlikely to have been moved recently. I imagine the wormhole simply died of old age. I warp out, relaunch my probes, and resolve the new connection, it being the only new signature here. The static connection indeed leads to null-sec k-space, and I jump out to find myself in the Outer Ring region. I scan here too but find no other signatures, only one anomaly. I consider popping a few rats whilst I'm here, but pilots hopping in and out of the null-sec system, at least one in an agile Dramiel frigate, discourages me from making a target of myself. I simply head back to the C3.

Checking for activity again in w-space finally triggers some neurons, as I notice that the number of hangars doesn't tally with those I've seen at the tower. Sure enough, a better look at d-scan reveals a second tower in this system, which I find easily enough now I know it's here. The Buzzard's appearance can now be explained, as he may well be local, particularly as his scouting coincided with the death of the wormhole. He turned up at about the time the wormhole collapsed of old age, couldn't care about the K162 to our C4, and scanned the new exit to null-sec before disappearing in that direction. It makes sense, even if I can't verify it. That was sloppy scouting by me and I need to be more careful. But it still leaves me with no one around and nothing more to do, so I head home to get an early night.

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