Straight-line scanning

23rd December 2011 – 5.57 pm

An empty home system is a good place to start an evening's quiet exploration. Rocks and gas that appeared earlier in the week have dissipated, leaving me with some newly clustered rocks to ignore and a static wormhole to jump through. The designation of our neighbouring class 3 w-space system looks familiar, but thankfully only looks it, being merely similar to the J-number of a system from yesterday and actually new to me. I can see three containers on my directional scanner and nothing else, so I launch probes and perform a blanket scan of the system.

I suspect there is a tower at the edge of the system, out of range of d-scan, warping in that direction already as my scanning probes show me six ships that my first pulse of d-scan didn't detect. I normally warp to the planet and locate the moon around which the tower is anchored from there, as it offers the best angular separation of each moon, but the outer planet in this system has only two moons, not only giving good odds that I'll pick the right one initially but also confirming where the tower is anchored should my guess be incorrect. This time I'm right, but I nearly pay for my good guess by bumping in to a defence, dropping out of warp under five kilometres from it.

There is no one here to see if I decloak, though, all the ships floating unpiloted in the tower's force field. I would still have needed to reactivate my cloak to avoid the tower's defences, but letting other pilots know you are in the system is generally a bad idea when planning an ambush. Not always, but generally. With no one home I start sifting through the eighteen signatures here, bookmarking the two anomalies first. It's mostly rocks out here, the only wormhole I find being the system's static exit to low-sec empire space.

I jump out of w-space to take a look around, appearing in an empty system in the Essence region, scanning revealing two additional signatures. Resolving the signatures gets me even more rocks, like I'm in desperate need of them, and a second wormhole, this one an outbound connection to class 3 w-space. In I go. There are plenty of ships to see on d-scan in this second C3 but no wrecks or jet-cans that would indicate activity. I locate the two towers here, one holding nine of the ships, the other holding a single Badger hauler, no pilots to be seen at either. Pausing only to wonder why an eight-capsuleer corporation would have nine ships not kept securely in one of their three hangars, I warp out to launch scanning probes.

Eight anomalies, five signatures, and no unaccounted for ships are revealed by a blanket scan of C3b. Again, I find mostly rocks, with a touch of gas, and just the one wormhole, this time an exit to high-sec. I keep moving forwards, jumping out to the Tash-Murkon region, where scanning has only one other signature to resolve, a base for Sansha rats. Exploration ends along a simple chain of w-space and empire space. Heading home unsurprisingly sees no change in C3b—a system I left two minutes earlier—the low-sec system remaining mostly quiet, and C3a sleepy. I jump home, swap to a Drake battlecruiser at our tower, and head back out to low-sec to shoot some rats.

I am only engaging a few Serpentis pirates in an anomaly, but it will help repair a bit of the loss taken to my security status when engaging the shuttle in low-sec yesterday. I also need to take care that I don't become a target myself. There are two pilots in the system with me, both of them in a militia. I don't know how the militia operate but I would be amazed if they don't take pot-shots at non-militia targets. So far they seem to be keeping away but I am quite aware of how easy I am to find in the anomaly, not even needing scanning probes to resolve my position.

More pilots arrive in the system, a Nemesis stealth bomber appears then disappears on d-scan, and now I see an Ishkur assault ship and Catalyst destroyer nearby. It's possible the stealth bomber has scouted my position and is keeping tabs on me, ready to call in the other ships. And it's just as possible I'm being paranoid and that the ships are busy shooting each other. Even so, I'm not here for any great purpose and don't want to lose a ship from my being reckless. I feel I've shot enough rats for today and warp out of the anomaly, sparing the rest of the Serpentis for the sake of myself, and return to w-space to settle down for the night.

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