Incidental null-sec ratting

10th January 2012 – 5.54 pm

Early exploration finds the home system clear, but not recently. Most of our anomalies are missing, no doubt purged by a passing fleet. Still, even if we don't get the profit from the indigenous Sleepers the system looks much tidier this way, leaving me with only a new ladar site to activate and the static wormhole. Jumping in to our neighbouring class 3 w-space system sees a tower and no ships on my directional scanner, just right for an initial snoop around. A blanket scan of the system confirms no ships, and reveals a single anomaly amongst the eighteen signatures. Start sifting, Penny.

A lack of anomalies but many signatures would suggest to me that the locals are not industrialists, so I am not going to bother bookmarking all the sites holding gas and rocks. I'll restrict myself to combat sites and wormholes. And I find the first wormhole on the third signature, the second on the sixth, and the third on the ninth. I'm beginning to sense a pattern here, ignoring two mining sites to find a wormhole, but I also feel it won't hold for long. Indeed not, there being no more wormholes to uncover, but a single magnetometric site may be useful to bookmark in case of later ambushes or we want to realise its profit ourselves.

The wormholes I resolve are a static connection to low-sec empire space, a dying K162 from high-sec, and a healthy K162 from null-sec. How disappointing. But a lack of w-space connections in w-space doesn't end my exploration, and I jump out to low-sec to scan the system in the Derelik region. A Buzzard covert operations boat is also in the system launching its own scanning probes, one of two other pilots here, which I ignore for now. A couple of extra signatures resolve to a magnetometric site and a K162 from class 3 w-space that's reaching the end of its natural lifetime and probably not worth exploring.

The Buzzard's probes are gone, as is one of the pilots from low-sec, so I am thankfully not tempted to wait to try to catch the cov-ops. But jumping back to C3a sees the ship moving away from the wormhole, so I try to engage, but cov-ops are difficult enough to catch in an interceptor and rather more so without a specialist ship. The Buzzard simply cloaks and my attempt fails. Never mind. I wonder if the pilot came from null-sec and, as I'm heading that way anyway, head across the C3 and through the K162 to find out. There's no one else out here in this system in the Tenal region, so I suppose the Buzzard pilot originates from the other direction.

Whilst in null-sec I launch probes and scan, finding no signatures beyond the wormhole I'm sitting on but plenty of anomalies. With the availability of the local channel to alert me to threats, and weaker rats than in w-space, I head home and swap my scanning boat for a Drake battlecruiser, returning to the null-sec system to pop some rats for giggles. I pick an anomaly mostly at random and start popping Gurista rats without much trouble, looting but not salvaging as I go, hoping for some interesting loot but getting none. I don't really understand null-sec.

A pilot appears in the local channel, signifying his arrival in the system. I feel free to ignore him, recognising the Buzzard pilot from earlier, confident my Drake could handle itself well enough against the sole cov-ops. He returns to the C3 within a minute. I pop, pop, pop more rats until a little while later a new contact appears in the system, the second pilot from low-sec earlier. I update d-scan and notice that she's in an Arazu recon ship, a rather more threatening vessel, and I warp out of the all-too-easily found anomaly.

I resist the natural urge to flee to the wormhole, as this is undoubtedly where the Arazu is, and instead bounce around the system making a couple of safe spots. Once made, I sit in one and go off-line. The pilot probably won't leave me alone, but I can probably bore her away. I busy myself elsewhere for a while, returning once more to an empty system. I break for the wormhole but realise that I remain in an empty null-sec system with a bunch of anomalies. I also see the significant jumps in security status the combat has so far endowed me with, so point my Drake back towards an anomaly and continue popping rats.

I clear the anomaly, Gurista ships individually no match for Sleeper ships, my Drake handling them pretty well, although there are enough that I warp out a couple of times to recharge my shields. I pop the final ship and reload my launchers to find a handful of missiles left in my hold, which is more down to luck than skilful logistics. The system remains empty so, with nothing left to shoot, I warp back to the wormhole and jump in to w-space. C3a looks clear, and I wait for the session change timer to end before moving on. The wormhole home looks clear, and I jump home and warp to the tower without being molested. I suppose I didn't explore so much, but it's been a productive afternoon all the same.

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