Swapping w-space for Serpentis rats

23rd February 2012 – 5.54 pm

Wondering what awaits me in w-space today has a weak signature turn in to a wormhole in the home system. Could this finally be a random outbound wormhole in our class 4 w-system that I've yet to find? No, it's a disguised K162, how disappointing. It comes from more class 4 w-space, and I jump through to take a look around, initially seeing nothing on my directional scanner in this wolf-rayet system. The wormhole is only in range of one planet and moon, though, and I imagine there is more to find elsewhere. I warp to the planet, launch probes, and perform a blanket scan of the system.

Exploring the inner system finds a tower new to this system since my last visit three months ago. I imagine the new occupants are industrialists, judging by my probes picking up a mere three signatures but seventeen anomalies, but there is no one home currently. Both of the other signatures are gas harvesting sites, giving me a mapped constellation in this direction. Now to head the other way. I jump home, warp across the system, and enter our neighbouring C3.

The J-number of the system looks familiar, and I have indeed been here before. My last visit was only a week ago, and the one before that was just a day earlier. Even so, there is nothing noteworthy about the system, I simply have the location of the tower listed and know I'm looking for a static exit to low-sec empire space. A blanket scan finds the opposite result here to C4a, giving me three anomalies to ignore and twenty-one signatures to wade through. It's mostly gas too, but there is an extra wormhole hidden amongst it all.

Exiting through the static wormhole puts me in a system in the Solitude region, aptly by myself. Returning to w-space to find the second wormhole is only a K162 from low-sec, and reaching the end of its natural lifetime, I go back to scan the low-sec system in Solitude. My probes pick up no anomalies and one extra signature, which is not a wormhole but a Serpentis site. It's time to get my ratting Drake battlecruiser out here to gain some more security status. I ensure that both systems connecting to our home our quiet before I swap ships, heading back to low-sec content that I shouldn't be unduly interrupted.

I don't find many rats in this site. I have to activate two acceleration gates before I find them, and it looks like they all headed to this back room to gang up on me. I think my Drake won't have any problems, with empire space rats not being Sleepers, but I'm wrong. Two energy neutralising towers and a neutralising battleship suck my capacitor dry, taking my active shield hardeners off-line, and the combined damage of thirty ships takes its toll.

When I realise what's going to happen, shortly before my capacitor is depleted, I stop concentrating on the towers and start shooting the frigates that are scrambling my warp drive. It is only thanks to my noticing the scramblers that I am able to warp back to the wormhole with armour alarms blaring, instead of in a pod and quite embarrassed to have lost a ship to rats. I didn't quite expect such a response from what I thought would be a relatively simple site.

Glorious leader Fin appears in time to kindly pilot a Guardian logistics ship and repair my Drake's armour. We then swap to our Sleeper Tengus and head back to low-sec to mete out punishment on the rats. Naturally, the powerful strategic cruisers make light work of the rats, particularly when paired up, and we even get an escalation to a second site. Sadly, the second site is to be found four jumps away, in a null-sec system in the Syndicate region, and neither of us thinks it wise to attempt to get there and back in our current ships.

Heading home, we make one last check of the class 4 system connecting in to us. A Purifier stealth bomber has appeared in the tower. I watch him at the tower as Fin waits at our K162, but the Purifier's not doing anything. Perhaps he roamed the w-space constellation whilst we were ratting and got bored. He disappears to be replaced a minute later by a new contact in a Tengu, who also does nothing. Fin succinctly claims he's 'just as exciting as the last guy', so rather than waste our time here we head home and get some sleep.

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