Null-sec rats and Sleeper artefacts

9th October 2011 – 3.14 pm

There is still just the one signature at home, I'm liking this ease of scanning. I'm not enjoying quite so much being the only pilot out here, but I never really got the hang of the whole socialising scene. It puts me in a bit of a dilemma, not wanting to be alone but being uncomfortable in company. Now's not the time to dwell on it, I have scouting to perform and maybe other pilots to shoot. Seeing an empty tower on my directional scanner in our neighbouring class 3 w-space system makes me think that maybe I won't have much luck hunting here, and a blanket scan of the system confirms no ships. I locate the tower and drift outside its shields as I sift through the untidy sixteen signatures.

I'm not going to bookmark a bunch of rocks and gas when there are so many signatures in the system. There's no guarantee any pilots will show up, and even if they do they may not even go mining. My time is better spent ignoring the sites for now and concentrating on resolving wormholes, of which I find two. The first is the system's static exit to high-sec empire space, the second a nifty outbound connection to more class 3 w-space. My attention is grabbed by a third wormhole, until I realise it's the K162 heading home, and I finish scanning by ignoring a couple of radar sites and bookmarking a magnetometric site. I jump in to the second C3 to continue exploring.

I've been in this C3 before, some six months ago. Whoever settled here has gone now, and cleanly too. There is no sign of the tower where my notes have it listed, so it doesn't look like the locals were ousted by any visitors coming through their exit wormhole to null-sec k-space. But an unoccupied system means lots of signatures, and I now have another twenty-nine signatures to scan. I'd best get to it if I want to find any action, and I launch probes and get a lucky first hit on a wormhole. The connection is a K162 from class 5 w-space and could be worth scouting if it weren't reaching the end of its natural lifetime. I leave the wormhole alone and start ignoring rocks and gas at best speed.

The second wormhole in C3b feels like the exit to null-sec, and I leave it alone for now. A third wormhole is chubbier, but even though it looks like the K162 comes from class 2 w-space it actually originates in high-sec, which is less interesting. Not finding any more wormholes in this system I jump out to see where I appear in high-sec. It's goram Tash-Murkon. No, wait, the system is Goram in the Tash-Murkon region. I launch probes and scan, finding no anomalies and only one more signature, which I resolve to be a Sansha hideout. How dull. I head back to C3b and warp across to the other exit, jumping out to null-sec.

The null-sec system in Immensea is empty of other pilots, scanning finding four signatures. Dumb rocks appear out here too, but also an Angel fortress and an X702 wormhole, another outbound connection to class 3 w-space. Continuing in to w-space sees three ECM drones on d-scan but nothing else, although a blanket scan sees five ships. The scan places all the ships together, so I am not surprised to find them all unpiloted inside a tower's shields out of d-scan range, and I only have two extra signatures to resolve here. One is a ladar gas harvesting site, the other the system's static exit to low-sec. Hello, Aridia! How lovely to see you, particularly as I have two choices of exits to high-sec behind me, as well as an almost preferable exit to null-sec.

I scan the low-sec system anyway, still looking for action, finding nothing but a blood raider anomaly. I have a choice of what to do, but not really a good ship to do it in now that my Tengu strategic cruiser is fitted for fleet operations. I head home, through still-inactive systems, and tinker with a PvP Drake I have sitting in the hangar, boosting its shield a little at the expense of a warp disruptor module, and head out to null-sec to see what the Angel rats are up to. They are all huddling behind a couple of acceleration gates, apparently, maybe already routed here by other capsuleers. I also manage to shoot the wrong target and get the attention of all the ships in the area, so I concentrate on popping the warp-disrupting frigates before moving to the bigger ships, at which point I need to retreat to recharge my shields.

Fin arrives! Now we have options, and we choose to clear these rats out of the empty null-sec system, for a change of pace from Sleepers. I head back, w-space stays quiet, and we board our Sleeper Tengus for my return to null-sec. We engage the rats again and keep a close watch on the local channel, a much more responsive guide to local population than d-scan, and cautiously align out of the site when a visitor arrives in the system. I return to relying on d-scan and see that the pilot is only in a Bestower, the hauler not a threat, and the pilot is soon gone again from the system, having passed through. Of course, he could let other pilots know we are here, but we'll have time to flee should more ships turn up. None do, just the Bestower a second time, and we clear the site of all the Angel rats, popping them pretty easily.

We still have a bit of time. We head back to w-space and our neighbouring C3 where we warp in to the magnetometric site I bookmarked for a more challenging encounter. Three capacitor-neutralising Sleeper battleships focussed on one of our Tengus is rather more of a threat to our survival than a bunch of rat battleships and cruisers, and they take a lot more damage before popping, even in mere class 3 w-space. We cope, it's nothing we haven't encountered before, but we have to concetrate a bit more, as well as constantly ping d-scan to try to detect any new ships. And I see something new, just not a ship. I realise that my scouting has been substandard again, too keen am I to scan for wormholes, and there is a second tower in this system that I overlooked earlier. I need to be more thorough.

Sleeper combat passes uneventfully, leaving us with wrecks to loot and salvage and artefacts to analyse. We split our efforts, Fin piloting a Noctis salvager and me in an analysing cruiser, and we sweep up all the profit in to our holds. No one is watching, or if they are they don't engage, and we get home safely with around a hundred and thirty million ISK in loot, and probably more than that in Sleeper artefacts. Having only got a few measly million ISK bounties and a handful of interesting looted modules from the null-sec rats I can only think we're doing something wrong out there, but that's okay as w-space is our home. And having explored through several systems, shot some Sleepers, and made a decent profit it's time to hit the sack.

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