To rat or to, uh, sleep?

11th March 2012 – 3.59 pm

Fin's just jumped through our static wormhole when I arrive. I warp across the home system to join my glorious leader in seeing what w-space has in store for us today. A familiar system waits beyond the wormhole, it being my fourth visit here, with the last only six weeks ago. Fin is already sitting outside the local tower, ignoring an unpiloted Buzzard covert operations boat to watch a Thanatos carrier, one piloted by a capsuleer who seems familiar to us both but neither of us can place him. We can't have crossed paths directly the last time I was here, as my notes tell no story, so maybe we just watched him doze inside his tower's force field then too.

I warp away from the tower, out of range of the pilot's directional scanner, and launch scanning probes. Blanketing the system reveals four signatures and three anomalies, which perhaps we could steal if the carrier pilot isn't paying attention, and start to resolve the three signatures far enough from the tower for my probes to remain hidden. Apart from our K162, I find a wormhole and a gravimetric site, and as I move my probes to the centre of the system to resolve the final signature the Thanatos goes off-line. I won't need to be quick about this after all. The last signature is a second wormhole, an N968 outbound connection to more class 3 w-space, which makes the first wormhole the system's static exit to low-sec empire space. And that's all there is to find here.

Poking through to low-sec finds me alone in a system in Placid region, which looks dull enough to send me right back to w-space and to the N968. Jumping in to C3b has a tower, Buzzard, and scanning probes visible on d-scan, followed by no probes and two Buzzards. A third update of d-scan has a few probes return and one of the Buzzards disappear, showing the scout to be quite active. Before I'm discovered, I launch my own probes, throw them out of the system, and get clear of the wormhole. I locate the tower and perform a blanket scan of the system, at which point a Russian Tengu strategic cruiser appears on d-scan. As this C3 has an exit to null-sec k-space it's probably best to assume that the Tengu has come from there and that our constellation isn't that safe any more. Fin and I return home to collapse our wormhole and look for a better opportunity.

Getting rid of our wormhole is straightfoward, kind of. I suppose we collapse it without complication, but no matter how many times we do it another one pops up to replace it. Sleeper technology is rather coy, though. The wormhole isn't like those birthday candles that re-light themselves, as the wormhole doesn't flare up in the same place as we collapse it but rather plays hard to get, having us chase the new connection around the system first. I suppose at least when we catch it we get more than a kiss, thrusting our ships right in to the heart of the open and welcoming hole so that it flutters with the sensation. And so we penetrate the milky-grey barrier to enter a new class 3 system.

The replacement C3a is empty and unoccupied, all of the system visible on d-scan from the K162. Not much waits for us either, merely five anomalies and two signatures. The second signature is a static exit to low-sec, which naturally leads to the Aridia region. Unsurprisingly, I'm alone in this system and so I launch scanning probes to take a look around. Four extra signatures sound good, but only give me two ladar sites, some ruins full of crappy drones, and a K162 from class 1 w-space that's at the end of its life. I take a quick look in to the C1 anyway, to satisfy my curiosity, appearing in the system in d-scan range of a tower and no ships. I'm satisfied. I jump back to low-sec and look for some rats to pop.

The anomalies in this low-sec system look pretty good. More than my covert Tengu can handle, at least. I need a different ship if I'm to get some decent increases to my security status for a change, so head home and get a Drake battlecruiser out of the hangar. Getting back to low-sec has me still alone and the rats still there, so I get to blowing them all up. It takes a while, but that's okay, as I'll gain status with each quarter-hour I'm here. Well, it's not really okay, as I'm neglecting Fin and her immaculate security status, who has taken the time to check adjacent low-sec systems for interesting wormholes and finding none, and is now sitting back at our tower with little to do.

I'm getting some good ratting done here, even if I'm not hopping between systems to maximise my gains, and there are more anomalies to plough through. But I could be much more productive teaming up with Fin and hitting the Sleepers in w-space. I think I'll have to accept I'll turn pirate one day, with a yellow skull emblazoned to my ship, as I doubt I'll be able to repair the unduly harsh punishments for daring to attack capsuleer-piloted ships in low-sec. I leave the rats behind and head back home, swapping to a Sleeper Tengu to pair with Fin's, and we jump to C3a to make rather more profit than I was achieving solo.

We only clear two anomalies before I start spacing out from the late hour, which is a dangerous state to be in, so we grab a Noctis salvager each and sweep up our mess. We rake in 170 Miskies from the two sites, which makes the few million I made in empire space look pretty pathetic. Yellow-skulled pirate and rich, with kills to my name, or poor and law-abiding, with lots of tedious ratting under my belt. It doesn't seem that hard a choice, really.

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