Scything through low-sec

29th January 2012 – 3.16 pm

I'm looking for someone to shoot. There's no one in the home w-space system but me, and a new signature is just more dumb rocks that I activate and forget about. There being only the one wormhole sends me to our neighbouring class 3 system, which looks initially disappointing. My directional scanner shows me the familiar tower-and-no-ships result that I'm getting used to. But the day is early and an empty system now may hold pilots later, so I scan, looking for extra connections and sites for potential ambushes.

Six anomalies and a dozen signatures hold the normal gas, rocks, and radar sites. What looks like a new signature pops up under my scanning probes, it turning out to be a wormhole getting my hopes up that I'll bump in to activity, but warping to the connection shows it to be a K162 from class 4 w-space that's reaching the end of its natural lifetime. I suppose it isn't a new signature after all, nor is it particularly suitable to explore beyond. Besides the possibility of the wormhole dying and isolating me from the home system, that it is in its death throes suggests that whatever activity opened the wormhole has long since dispersed. I continue scanning.

I resolve two more wormholes, hopefully giving me more options, and I end up with a static exit to low-sec empire space and a second K162 from class 4 w-space, this one stable. I jump to low-sec, bookmarking the exit wormhole in the Placid region for safety, then return to C3a to explore C4b, through the stable wormhole. Except the wormhole I land next to is wobbly, in its EOL stage. In case I've managed to mix up my bookmarks and come to the wrong wormhole I warp to the other C4 K162, finding that EOL too. Okay, both K162s are now on their last legs, so I'm unlikely to find much happening.

It's still worth a look through the newly EOL K162. I have plenty of time to do so, a few hours or so, and there may be an insomniac shooting rocks or collecting planet goo to get himself to sleep. Jumping in sees nothing of interest on d-scan, and although performing a blanket scan of the system reveals four ships they are all empty, the capital ships being too big to stow. The ships are split unevenly across two towers in the system, which I find and note but otherwise ignore, leaving this inactive system behind as I head back to low-sec to scan.

Having six signatures in the low-sec system looks promising. I resolve drones, drones, a Scythe—hullo, what's he up to, I wonder. I don't know much about the ship, interrogating d-scan to find out it's a cruiser, then having my interest piqued when I call up the ship's information panel to see that it has bonuses for mining. It's a rusty Osprey. It's also in an asteroid belt, which makes him really easy to find but also a rather dubious target. A relatively soft target in an obvious location looks like bait to me. But, taking a look around, he has no colleagues in the system, so he's either really good bait or a little oblivious to the risks he's taking.

The Scythe is simply cruising through the belt for now, which isn't suspicious in itself but doesn't make him look particularly vulnerable. Oh, but mining some jaspet does. A Scythe fitted for mining, mining in a low-sec belt. Even if he's bait I may be able to pop him and escape before help comes, or escape myself before I am caught. It's worth a go, at least, and I am out on the prowl. I bookmark the rock the Scythe is cutting through and bounce out of the asteroid belt so I can warp in closer. And on my way out I hit a rock, even if it looks like it is some ten kilometres away at least, and my cloak drops. Maybe that's the end of this ambush.

I warp out of the belt and back in to see the Scythe still mining jaspet, his drones attacking a couple of rat frigates that have turned up. He could still be bait, I suppose, not fleeing as soon as he sees my Tengu strategic cruiser appear ninety kilometres from him, but he continues to mine the rock. I am now twenty kilometres from the Scythe and, thanks again to the rocks, my cloak is dropped. I may as well take my shot. I lock on to the ship, disrupt its warp engines, and start lobbing missiles its way. The Scythe's shields hold up a short while, then the whole boat disintegrates, sending the pod in to space.

I leave the pod alone, not really wanting to take a huge hit to my security status when popping the ship will do, contenting myself with looting what I can from the wreck and shooting that instead. I also pause to pop one of the rat frigates before realising that I am making a target of myself, and decide to warp out. That was short and sweet. And a little sour. My security status has taken a dive! I understand I get penalised for attacking another ship, but it seems a bit harsh to take a second hit for actually destroying it. Is low-sec meant to be like touch football, where pilots operate on the honour system? Shoot but don't kill?

Not only am I punished for destroying a ship I was punished for shooting, Concord have got their knickers in a twist about my shooting the wreck! 'Property damage', they call it. They could at least have warned me, perhaps with an easily ignored and dismissible dialogue box that crops up as I start to shoot the wreck. Low-sec is stupid, I should stick to w-space. Speaking of which, my probes are still somewhere in the system and I have two more signatures to resolve. One is a magnetometric site, the other is a weak wormhole, an outbound connection to class 5 w-space.

I leave low-sec behind me for the C5, finding it empty and inactive. Scanning finds an EOL K162 from class 4 w-space, which is currently the in-vogue wormhole to be seen with, and the static connection to more class 3 w-space. This second C3 is also unoccupied, the known tower from two months ago torn down to leave only a container for bookmarks. I know there's a connection to null-sec k-space to be found but I'm not looking. Maybe I'll come back later to explore further, but for now I am going home for food.

No later exploration for me! Glorious leader Fin is here and we're going to make more iskies. The only change in our neighbouring system is the death of the two EOL K162s, there being still no sign of the locals. We bring out a pair of Tengus to clear a magnetometric site and four anomalies, analysing and salvaging afterwards in a pair of Noctis salvagers, to bring home just shy of three hundred million iskies in profit. That's a pretty good haul for the evening. I wonder if Concord take bribes to fudge security statuses.

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