Bouncing battleship

28th October 2011 – 5.41 pm

Activate! Setting some gas to self-destruct is more boring than it sounds, merely warping in to the new ladar site in the home system for it to decay a within the next few days. There's a second new signature to be resolved too, which turns out to be a magnetometric site and one that I'll keep for later. Whether Fin and I'll get a chance to clear the Sleepers from it is another matter, particularly as I am tending to be alone for longer, but it's good profit if we can realise it. And until Fin turns up I may as well resolve the static wormhole and explore our neighbouring class 3 w-space system.

Seven ships are visible on my directional scanner, from an Abaddon battleship down to a Navitas frigate, along with a couple of towers. My last visit to this system was some ten months earlier, when there were three towers and a static exit to null-sec k-space. There have been some changes since then, but one of the towers looks to be around the same planet at least. And there is a third tower still, as accidentally warping to the wrong planet brings me in to d-scan range of it, which has three more ships sitting unpiloted in its force field. Finding the right planet finds most of the other ships, the Abaddon, Navitas, and an Occator transport ship piloted, whilst an Eris interdictor sits alone and empty in the final tower I find.

A passive scan of this class 3 system has already shown me sixteen anomalies rich with potential loot, but none of the ships present are looking to rake it in. There's not much I can do about it by myself either, so I warp out to a distant planet to launch probes and see what else there is to find here. In the short time it takes me to warp out, launch my probes, and warp back to the tower the Abaddon has gone, which gives me one less possible target. And although the Occator moves just prior to my beginning to scan, he only coasts downwards to start a refinery at the tower. I don't imagine he'll do much more until that process finishes, over an hour later. I'll scan.

The nine signatures here don't take long to sift through, revealing a couple of magnetometric sites, some gas, a radar site, a wormhole with the stink of null-sec all over it, a few rocks, and two more wormholes to finish. The weak wormhole signature indeed is the static connection, the other two being a K162 from high-sec empire space that's been mass-stressed and is reaching the end of its natural lifetime, and a K162 from low-sec. Despite the two additional wormholes here scanning has turned out to be rather dull. I jump out to low sec, appearing as the only pilot in this system in the Molden Heath region, where scanning finds no extra signatures, so I jump back to w-space to head across to the exit to null-sec. I stop before I get to the wormhole, as the Abaddon is back and apparently out of the tower.

I start looking for the errant battleship, presuming him to be in an anomaly and seeming like I have found him in one. But my first guess is wrong, the anomaly not holding the Abaddon, and I kick myself for not bookmarking the ladar site earlier, in case the pilot's harvesting gas. I warp back out to the distant planet to relaunch scanning probes, in case I need them, but by the time I return to the inner system I can no longer see the Abaddon anywhere. I return to my previous plan and head to the wormhole to null-sec, where again the battleship appears on d-scan. I'm not sure where he could be that would put his ship out of d-scan range of the tower but in d-scan range of the wormhole, but I sweep my scanner around again to try to find him. I think he's at a planet. That is easy to check, and I warp in to take a look.

Sure enough, the Abaddon is here, and looking vulnerable. But he's a battleship and my strategic cruiser is covertly configured. I begin an approach that will settle me in to a tight orbit anyway, as I consider my chances of victory—and survival—but no sooner do I try to interrogate the ship for pilot information than I see it warp away, directly towards another planet. Of course, that other planet is where his tower is, and I follow to the tower to find him once again safely nestled inside the force field. I also get a chance to investigate the pilot, finding him to be a veteran capsuleer and probably quite skilled in the use of a battleship. I probably wouldn't get the kill against his Abaddon by myself, and as he has two pilots he could call on for support I also may not get away if I engaged. That doesn't stop me watching him still.

I hold station outside the tower, close enough to see exactly what the Abaddon does and to see what vector he will fly out on, if any. But all he does is get close to a hangar before looping lazily around an empty hauler, and disappearing off-line once more. It looks like nothing much will be happening in this system tonight. Nor will I be venturing deeper in to w-space, as a visit to null-sec beyond the wormhole puts me in to an otherwise empty system in the Etherium Reach region, where scanning finds only a dull drone site. Even consulting my atlas shows the system itself to be uninteresting, leaving me little option but to head back to w-space and the home system, where I settle down for the night.

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