Missing a miner by moments

4th April 2012 – 5.22 pm

I'm in the home system, in my covert Tengu, and full of bacon. I'm not sure the evening can get much better, but I'll scan anyway. There's nothing out of the ordinary here, almost as if yesterday hadn't happened, leaving me only the static wormhole to resolve. Exploring in to our neighbouring class 3 w-space system has a clear result on my directional scanner, so I launch probes, configure them for a blanket scan of the system, and explore.

D-dscan may be clear of ships and towers, but there is one positive sign of occupancy, as only a single customs office is owned by Interbus. The others are capsuleer-owned. My blanket scan also picks up a ship on the outskirts of the system, where I'm headed now, along with a mere four signatures. There aren't even any anomalies here. In my experience, a system as clean as this almost guarantees the signatures are more wormholes. I find the tower easily enough, which has a piloted Cheetah covert operations boat inside its force field, and it looks to be the same tower that was here five months ago. I was a bit wrapped up in making other deductions to check my notes until now.

I see no probes on d-scan, either from the wormhole or at the tower, and as the four signatures are concentrated around those areas I think it's safe to assume the Cheetah is inactive. I may as well scan whilst he's dozing, particularly as I can complete most of it with my probes out of d-scan range of the tower. As expected, I find wormhole, wormhole, and a lovely ladar site. I don't normally get excited by gas, but the last time I was here I popped an Osprey in a ladar site, so that there's one here this time gives me hope for some kind of ambush. I reconnoitre the site, bookmarking a good monitoring position, then see what wormholes I've uncovered.

One wormhole in this C3 is the static exit to low-sec empire space that I knew I'd find, the other being a dreary K162 from high-sec that is reaching the end of its natural lifetime. So much for more exploring. But I can make the most of stable wormhole, jumping to low-sec to see what I can find there. I appear in empire space in the Derelik region, and as I'm one hop from high-sec and two from null-sec the system will see traffic. I can't rat here, but I can scan. I make a safe spot, launch probes, and see some anomalies that I'll have to ignore and nine signatures. That's quite a few.

Resolving the signatures in low-sec gives me a radar site, wormhole, rocks, rocks, gas, another radar site, a hidden Sansha site, some crappy drones, and more rocks. That's not the best result from nine signatures but I have another wormhole to investigate. As it's an outbound connection to more class 3 w-space, and stable enough that I may have just opened it, this wormhole's certainly got potential. Jumping in sees a core probe on d-scan along with a tower, but no ships. I warp to one edge of the system to launch my own probes, seeing another core probe on d-scan out here, and wonder if maybe someone is monitoring the system to look for new connections opening.

Having my blanket scan pick up a single ship on the other side of the system makes me think that perhaps someone is indeed monitoring the system for new wormholes. I warp across to see what's out here, expecting some medium-sized hull fitted with a probe launcher engaging Sleepers, and instead bumping in to a Retriever mining barge and accompanying jet-can. Time to hunt. The planets are far enough distant that I must be around the one closest to the Retriever, so I start narrowing down his position using d-scan. I get a rough idea of the barge's direction first, switching to check his range so that I can better gauge parallax errors, before refining his position.

The Retriever is just under 2 AU above this planet. I start arranging my probes to scan his position, opting for a tight configuration this time as I am confident about my use of d-scan, particularly over this short range. I falter slightly, but thankfully so, when I remember that a probe's range is its radius and not diameter, correcting this error and repositioning the probes so that I'll actually be scanning for the mining barge and not 2 AU beyond it. Now I'm ready. One final check with d-scan shows the Retriever is still there but, this is unexpected, a Viator transport ship has joined the barge in the site. Maybe I need to be quick.

I call the probes in for a scan and get a solid hit. The Retriever, Viator, and gravimetric site are all picked up by my probes at 100%. I warp to the Retriever's position as I recall my probes, bookmarking it in warp for reference, in case I need to warp out and return, but I warp in to only a rather uninteresting field of rocks. It looks like I dilly-dallied a little too long, either wasting time watching the Cheetah, reconning the ladar site, or fluffing the probes' scanning range here. Or it was just bad luck. The Retriever finished mining, a transport collected the ore, and the operation is over.

I warp back to the inner system and locate the tower, but only in time to see the refinery running. The Retreiver and Viator were on d-scan but have gone off-line, and a Helios cov-ops, either scouting incidentally or watching for new connections, appears and goes off-line too. Ah well, an exciting opportunity ends without an engagement. It's not so bad, as at least I got another chance to practice my scanning skills, and they seem pretty honed still. Now I can be more pedestrian in my scanning, as I launch probes again and take a more thorough look around this C3.

Scanning finds one more gravimetric site, along with four ladar sites and two wormholes. The system's static wormhole leads out to null-sec k-space and, as drearily as C3a, the second wormhole is an EOL K162 also from null-sec. I think I'll treat this as the end of the constellation. I bounce of the tower here to see it still empty, the refinery rumbling along, and head back to low-sec and in to C3a. The Cheetah is still in the tower here and still doing nothing, despite my silently urging it to harvest some gas. What a bore. I'm not waiting for nothing to happen. I jump home and go off-line.

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