Oodles and oodles of lows

5th January 2012 – 5.34 pm

Raa! In Amarr! The static connection in our neighbouring class 3 w-space system leads to a system in low-sec empire space worthy of shouting, controlled by an empire that also rolls off the tongue, but sadly in the Devoid region which ruins the flow. Never mind, I've popped and podded a poor industrialist trying to collect planet goo in the C3, and now I've left that system behind to see what else I can find. Not more pilots, at least not in this system. That's fine, I'm happy to scan and look for more w-space to roam. But all that's in Raa is a good name, it seems, as the one extra signature my probes reveal turns out to be stupid drones. That's fine too, as the C3 holds a second stable wormhole leading to low-sec, I'll explore through that one instead.

I'm still under Amarr protection after passing through the C3, although this time in the Kador region and twenty-one jumps from Raa. Scanning is more productive here, the two additional signatures both being wormholes, although I still don't find more w-space. Both wormholes are K162s coming from more low-sec systems, one stable and one wobbly and dying. I may as well continue jumping through wormholes, as it's what I do, and it's only stargates I'm wary of. Jumping through the stable K162 puts me in Heimatar, the other side of New Eden, where scanning again finds two extra signatures, two more wormholes. This time I've found some w-space, in the form of a K162 from a class 3 system, although the chain of empire space continues with the other wormhole being a K162 from high-sec.

Entering C3b has ships and three towers appear on my directional scanner, but no wrecks means there is likely no activity to speak of. Still, there are some industrial ships, so maybe I can catch a second planet goo collector. First I need to find the towers, which is made more difficult when there are more than three moons, which C3a was kind enough to limit itself to. Using d-scan finds me the towers, one of which seems to be having some minor configuration changes applied, which is activity but nothing that makes the pilot vulnerable, although an Orca industrial command ship warps in. It looks like he's ferrying ships or modules between towers. Then again, he's not stopping for long, so maybe he's bouncing between towers to keep himself amused.

The two other towers hold a piloted shuttle and Falcon recon ship, and a Viator transport ship that is so slippery that I don't even bother to see if it is piloted. I also notice a Heron frigate appear in the system and launch probes and, although I can't tell where from, the presence of a tourist piques my interest in scanning here myself. I would quite like to catch the frigate when it lands on a wormhole, but scanning seems like a good idea anyway now that the Heron's being so bold about it, as I doubt I'll catch any local ships with an obvious scout throwing scanning probes everywhere.

I warp away, launch probes, and scan. A mere five signatures shouldn't take the Heron long to resolve, but I've seen some slow scanners before. Along with the K162 I entered through I resolve rocks, gas, and two more wormholes. As I scan, a Hawk assault ship appears on d-scan, perhaps looking for the Heron himself, before being replaced by a Manticore stealth bomber that drops off d-scan. I'll bear that in mind. The two wormholes are both K162s, one another link from high-sec, the second coming from class 5 w-space. I'll take a look in the C5, as maybe that's where the Heron's come from, as unlikely as it seems.

The C5 is a small and simple system, with five planets and seven moons all in range of d-scan, showing me at a glance that it is unoccupied. I've had my fill of exploration for this morning and don't bother launcher probes, simply turning around and jumping back to C3b. I have the wormholes mapped, I should be able to catch the Heron on one of them. That is, as long as I guess where he goes and what range he chooses to visit each wormhole. I make the assumption that the pilot came through the high-sec wormhole and will visit the C5 first, so sit my ship near the C5 connection in alignment with the K162 from high-sec, and wait.

Yep, there's the Heron now, investigating the wormhole I'm loitering near, but he's come from a different direction and has landed on top of the link. Damn my failed intuition. I can't catch him from where I am and have to watch as he cloaks, reappearing only to warp away. Hullo, it looked like he warped to a planet that holds two of the towers. I follow behind to find that the Heron's not a tourist at all, but a local pilot. Well, that's good to know, if a bit late to find out. And I can't get excited when the Heron is swapped for an Iteron, as I'll bet that he's only going to take the hauler through the K162 to high-sec, giving him a pretty safe route out of w-space. I've been out here for a while, too, so don't quite fancy waiting for its return, particularly as I'd only have a slim chance of popping it before the session change timer ends to allow it to jump back out to safety.

But a second Orca perks me up. Maybe they want to collapse the wormhole connecting them to the C5. Sure, other pilots here could come to the Orca's aid but it's always worth a shot at such a big target. And the Orca's moving, but sadly towards the K162 from high-sec, probably on a fuel run for the tower. I follow anyway, dropping short to see, oh, how tempting, the Orca has dropped short too. I can't quite tell how far he is from the wormhole, and I would be amazed if I had enough time to shred its impressive armour by the time it could crawl close enough to jump, but I'd be stupid not to give it a go. I decloak, lock the Orca, and start shooting.

I web the Orca to slow its ponderous pace down to a crawl and give it a bump to take it a little off course, but I still only loose a couple of volleys before the massive ship gets close enough to the wormhole to exit the C3. I think I scratched its paint a little. Now I'm heading home for a break. Seeing that the wormhole leading back to low-sec is now reaching the end of its lifetime and probably won't be here later I return to jump out to high-sec, the way the Orca went. It's a twenty-jump trip between this and the other high-sec system, so I don't think I'll travel the long way around just to prod these capsuleers again. I work my way home, through C3b, low-sec, more low-sec, in to a quiet C3a, and back home. I could use a sammich right about now.

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