Vexing a Vargur

9th April 2012 – 5.46 pm

My glorious leader is glorious. Fin's scanned an exit for me so I can get home. Or maybe she scanned an entrance. An exit for her, an entrance for me? Am I exiting empire space? Whatever, I can get back to w-space. Well, I can get back to w-space if I can get to the low-sec system safely, which isn't guaranteed. I believe I am more scared of low-sec than w-space, which is a little perverse, but I suppose stargates are generally easier to find for most players than wormholes. To help me get past any possible pirates I refit the Devoter heavy interdictor from its wormhole-collapsing fit to one with warp core and agility stabilisers, to escape casual attention, and quickly.

I undock and, look at that, setting my nav-comp to the destination system has it appear only eight hops away. Not only that, but it is eight hops through high-sec empire space with just the final system being low-sec. That's pretty convenient. I'm getting a warm feeling about getting home safely, although it's possible I peed myself in the excitement. I make the transit across high-sec easily enough, consider scouting my way home first before disregarding that idea as ludicrously sensible, and activate the stargate to fling me in to low-sec. All is clear. I warp away from the empty space around the stargate towards the wormhole Fin scanned for me, and jump back to w-space.

My directional scanner is clear from the class 3 w-space system's static connection to low-sec. Almost empty, in fact, as d-scan shows me just the star and first planet in the system. That's fine for me, as it helps to keep my undetected self safe, and I warp across to our K162, where all d-scan shows me there is the second planet in the system. I get the feeling I'll need to take a proper look around at some point. I jump home and warp to our tower without getting molested, where I refit the Devoter to its initial configuration, swap to my covert scanning Tengu strategic cruiser, and get ready to start my evening proper.

Nothing says 'start the evening' like scanning the home system, particularly as anything could have happened in the few hours since Fin found me the way home. And anything has happened, if by 'anything' I mean 'a K162 from class 3 w-space has opened in to our system'. I'm pretty sure that's what I mean. Rather than head back through our static wormhole to the sparse C3a I take a peek through this K162 to C3b, where a Chimera carrier, Orca industrial command ship, and tower all await me. Not on the wormhole, although that would be a neat trick, but somewhere in the system, as d-scan would have it.

There are also three probes visible on d-scan, and now seven, perhaps indicating that a scout is scanning this wormhole. I'll hold here for now to see what information I can get, information like 'this scout is slow', or perhaps 'there are lots of other signatures here'. Whilst I wait for a scout not to show himself I check my notes, which being fourteen months old are probably out of date except for the system holding a static exit to high-sec. Ah, here we go, the probes disappear. A Cheetah covert operations boat decloaks in front of me, near the wormhole, but doesn't jump. Instead, he warps away, and not towards a planet. Perhaps he's a high-sec tourist and is heading back towards the opened static wormhole he came through. That makes it my turn to scan.

A blanket scan of this C3 shows me five anomalies and twelve signatures. Not a huge burden to scan through but enough to get your teeth in to. I pick a signature roughly in the direction where the Cheetah warped to and, yep, resolve the static wormhole. Continued scanning resolves a second and third wormhole, both K162s, one from class 2 w-space and one from class 4 w-space. I warp to the static wormhole to get the exit system in high-sec, but before I jump I see a Vulture command ship on d-scan. I'm sure he wasn't there a minute ago. He's not at the tower, and a quick search places him coincident with the star. That's a curious place for a ship to sit.

I warp to the system's star to see the Vulture there but moving away under full speed in a bid to keep him relatively safe. And now there's a Vargur marauder on d-scan, probably a colleague of the Vulture's, and probably being boosted by the Vulture's warfare links. It's a simple matter to locate the marauder in one of the anomalies here—hey, it's the Cheetah pilot—where I see him shoot ships and, being a marauder, loot and salvage as he goes. Except he's not looting and salvaging, just shooting. It would be peculiar for a marauder not to take advantage of the efficiency the ship class offers, but I won't sniff at a possible salvager ambush. Ah, there we go. Tractor beams activate and wrecks get pulled to the Vargur after all. It looks like he was simply overwhelmed initially by micro-managing his drones against the Sleepers to get involved with salvaging.

I have no shot in the C3. The Vulture is a tough nut to crack, the marauder more so, and a marauder boosted by a command ship will need more than the equivalent of the withering stare my solo covert Tengu can give it. That doesn't mean I can't be disruptive, though. I continue my plan of poking my nose out to high-sec, making my Tengu a little obvious as I do so, where I appear in a high-sec island in the Devoid region. Despite being high-sec, this is actually a worse exit than the low-sec system in the other direction. Still, I was only curious. I jump back to w-space where, mission accomplished, the Vargur is gone. I guess he saw me. He didn't even stop to collect his drones.

With C3b now empty I can explore the other connected systems. C2a has the Vargur on d-scan, along with some other ships that are both industrial and combative. I find the ships divided between two of the three towers here, with only the Vargur piloted and a disappearing Helios cov-ops probably holding the Vulture pilot. I'll ignore them for now, as there isn't much I can do anyway. I jump back to C3b and then in to C4a, where a single tower and Chimera carrier looks pretty dull. I don't bother scanning, instead heading back to C3b, through our home system, and in to C3a, a couple of hours after I thought I'd be returning here.

My notes put me in this system three previous times, the last seven months ago. Opening the system map shows why I saw so little when passing through earlier, as this C3 is vast. A span of 170 AU holds a mere four planets, although there are plenty of moons. Even so, the corporation living here picks the planet with one moon to anchor their tower to. Admittedly, it's never exactly difficult to find a tower, just sometimes time-consuming, but that doesn't mean you have to make it easy. There is an unpiloted Badger hauler in the tower and nothing else, here or in the system. I don't feel like scanning, so I don't. I simply turn around and jump home, happy to be spending the night in w-space again.

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