Stalking, scanning, and Sleepers

8th January 2012 – 3.19 pm

Fin's watching an Anathema. She's in our neighbouring class 3 w-space system, waiting to see if the piloted covert operations boat will move. I haven't even found our static wormhole yet. I've only just arrived, though, and with a bit of a headache. Fin lets me know the signature identifier of the wormhole to help me along, scanning for it also confirming no new connections have opened in to our system. Jumping to join Fin has my directional scanner show me just how much our neighbours like warp bubbles, Fin already warning me that the tower is quite heavily defended with them.

Warp bubbles are little nuisance to an interdiction nullified strategic cruiser, although there is always the risk of flying in to the heart of the bubble and decloaking on its physical presence, even if the bubble itself has no effect. I drop out of warp outside the tower almost doing that, nestling inside a large bubble but thankfully safely away from the hardware. I give a little shrug and make a bookmark where I sit, figuring it as good a place as any to watch the tower. I get bored of watching a stationary Anathema pretty quickly and, deciding he's not really paying attention, warp out to launch scanning probes.

A blanket scan of the C3 shows me nine anomalies and sixteen signatures, which won't be quick to sift through. Stealth be damned, let the Anathema see my probes! If he tries to set an ambush he'll either be surprised by my Tengu, or Fin's, and if he hides we've lost nothing. I soon resolve the static exit to high-sec empire space but find no other wormholes, only rocks, gas, and radar sites. How dreary, not even a profitable magnetometric site for us to pillage as the Anathema pilot watches on with voyeuristic titillation at the thought of catching a Noctis unawares. Or maybe that's just me.

The exit from the C3 heads out to the Tash-Murkon region, near our carebear industrial base of years ago. Fin gets coy about recognising the system, refusing to tell me why it is so familiar to her. It's best not to pry in to such details, I find, so merely agree that the exit offers a convenient way to realise the profit we made from shooting Sleepers yesterday. As Fin crams loot, salvage, and stolen modules in to a transport I scan the high-sec system in a bid to continue the constellation, doing so by resolving three wormholes. Two are intra-k-space connections, both leading to low-sec empre space, the third a K162 from class 2 w-space.

A K162 from a C2 is encouraging. Class 2 systems have two static connections, one to w-space and one to k-space, so entering from k-space gives me the connection to w-space to find, letting me continue my exploration. Before that, it gives me the C2 itself to explore, and it looks like I could be in for a hunt! Warping to a distant planet, far out of d-scan range, shows me a Retriever mining barge and five mining drones somewhere in the system. I already launched combat scanning probes back in the heart of the system, so once I find the tower also visible on d-scan I will be in a good position to surprise the miner. But there is no miner. The locals are just tarts who like to get a capsuleer's hopes up.

The Retriever sits unpiloted inside the tower's force field, the mining drones littering a warp bubble nearby as part of a trap. Suitably deflated I start scanning, resolving a wormhole on the other side of the system, 115 AU away. I initiate warp and go to get myself a drink as my Tengu crawls across the system, landing near a static connection to class 1 w-space. Hey, a C2 with static connections to high-sec and a C1, that's pushing the envelope, guys! I shouldn't make fun, I didn't stay out of empire space overnight for quite a while during our former corporation's first foray in to w-space. We all have to start somewhere.

I've resolved the static connection class 1 w-space, but the wormhole is reaching the end of its natural lifetime. So I'll have to be quick. I jump in and punch d-scan, seeing nothing but a Hurricane. An adjustment to my scanner still sees the battlecruiser but also now shows there being no wrecks in the system. A third check and the ship's still there, so I move away from the wormhole and cloak, warping away to launch probes, at which point the Hurricane drops off d-scan. I take a look around, finding a tower with a dozen hangars, a dozen arrays, and no one home. Wherever the Hurricane came from and wherever he went will remain a mystery, a dying wormhole waits for no capsuleer.

I return to the C2, then back out to high-sec, where I attempt to pop a few rats to give the tiniest boost to my security status, but warp in to a site only to see a lack of ships. Fin gracefully swaps in to an analysing boat, finished selling loot, and tries to provoke an attack, but all we get are some armour plates to sell for Quafe iskies. Heading back to the C3 finds the Anathema gone, the system empty. We may as well take the opportunity to plunder the three good anomalies here, when the going is good, keeping the wallet plumped up when we can.

We clear three anomalies without trouble, sailing through the C3 sites with an ease of pilots who were engaging Sleepers in a class 4 system the previous day. Salvaging is simple and smooth, no pilots appearing in the system in the short time it takes to sweep up the wrecks, and we bring home a haul of 150 Miskies or so. It's only about a third of what we made yesterday, but a fair result for the effort and time required. We dump the loot in the recently cleared export section of our hangar, before each hiding in a corner of the home system to settle down for the night.

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