Chasing a chase

14th May 2012 – 5.50 pm

I wonder what delights await beyond our static wormhole today. A K162 connection to class 2 w-space in the home system has already given me a direct line to Amarr for logistics, a missed crack at a Vexor cruiser because of those logistics, and also a missed engagement with a weakened Myrmidon battlecruiser because of my sluggish reactions. That's a lot for our static connection to compete with, but I'm confident it can do us proud. We don't need to rely on no stinking K162s for entertainment. And as soon as I jump in to our neighbouring class 3 system the situation looks promising, with a Tengu strategic cruiser, Prowler transport ship, and tower all visible on my directional scanner.

This being my third visit to the C3, the last one just under six months earlier, it looks like I'll find this tower easily enough. Two are listed in my notes, with only one being in range. The other is—holy cow, it's 95 AU to the farthest planet from here, and that's not the diameter of the system either. No wonder d-scan isn't showing me much beyond the closest planet. If the ships are piloted, it's almost bad luck that the wormhole has opened up in range of this tower. I warp to the location in my notes to see the tower still here and that the Tengu and Prowler are indeed piloted, which gives some hope of activity. I'd better check to see if the other tower is still there too. Give me a minute.

The second tower in my notes is no longer anchored in the system, but at least being all the way out here gives me a chance to launch scanning probes without being spotted. I blanket the system and scan, whilst warping back to the active tower to keep watch on the two piloted ships. Two anomalies and five signatures isn't much to be dotted around a normal system, so seems positively homeopathic in a C3 this vast. But one benefit to having so much space between planets is that I can resolve all these signatures without my probes coming in range of the tower, which covert scanning would probably be more meaningful had a Tengu tourist from high-sec empire space probably not already been less than subtle in here a little earlier.

Maybe little will happen here, if the locals have been alerted to active scouts already, which makes it good that I resolve two wormholes in succession, particularly as one of the wormholes is too weak to be a K162 or U210. I think I've found an outbound connection to more w-space, and just as the Prowler goes off-line. Or maybe he warped, as he reappears as I resolve a third wormhole. Either way, I'll check to see what I've found. The U210 exit to low-sec is obvious, a K162 from class 2 w-space is pretty neat, and the Prowler on d-scan tells me I've missed chasing him collecting planet goo. I need to pay more attention. The third wormhole is an outbound connection to class 5 w-space, which despite extending the constellation will probably only lead to my exploring several more class 5 w-space systems.

I loiter at the local tower for a bit longer, willing the Prowler to continue his planet goo collecting, but he was just teasing me earlier. I'll see what the C5 has to offer, steeling myself for some drawn-out scanning. Instead, I see a Prorator transport, Oneiros logistics ship, Moros dreadnought, Loki strategic cruiser, and pod on d-scan, along with a tower. Perhaps there's not really much I can take a shot at, but pilots don't have to stay in the same ships and any activity is potential for my own activity, so it's worth finding out who's around. And all the ships are piloted, which is interesting for the few seconds it takes for it to register that the tower is bare of defences.

A few unanchored batteries inside the force field indicates that the tower is being configured, and although I like the idea of catching a transport moving defences I don't like the thought of a nippy Loki catching me. I could scan, but there's nowhere to hide in this small system—quite a contrast to the C3 behind me—and as there's still a C2 to explore in the constellation I think I'd rather look there before committing myself here. There's nothing much happening with the tower at the moment anyway. I return to C3a and warp across to the K162 to C2b, jumping through the wormhole to see more action again. W-space is busy tonight.

Hello! Four Tengus, a Legion strategic cruiser, Absolution command ship, and a Noctis salvager all appear on d-scan in C2b. A tower is also visible, but as wrecks and drones litter d-scan it looks like I've found bona fide activity. It's such a shame that this is the time that my system transition lands me under a kilometre from the wormhole. Mind you, the Broadsword heavy interdictor rather spoils the view a little, though, as that seems out of place for a fleet engaging Sleepers, so all may not be as it appears anyway. I move away from the wormhole and cloak as best I can, at which point a Cheetah covert operations boat blips on d-scan along with some scanning probes, and it already looks like the jig is up. Either the fleet knows I'm here and are looking for me, or they will see the unfamiliar Cheetah and its probes themselves and go on the defensive.

I've scanned the system using my on-board scanner to fill my system map with green triangles, but I can't place the fleet or the Noctis in any of those anomalies. A bit more work with d-scan shows the salvager to be bouncing between planets, as are the fleet, and I'm no longer entirely sure if all the ships are affiliated with each other. I chase the Noctis, always one step behind, only getting close enough to see a Tengu in its wake, which I am still assuming to be part of its guard or escort, but could also have the same intentions as me. That would explain the Broadsword's presence in the system.

Whatever dangerous game the ships are playing I have to wonder why I'm joining in. If I catch the Noctis, whether the fleet wants to protect the salvager or not, I will be caught myself. Good point, Penny! Let's go home. An Ashimmu cruiser enters this C2 as I leave, thankfully not through the same wormhole, letting me take a last look through the rest of the constellation before retiring for the evening. C3a has the two ships gone from the tower, a poke in to C5a has no changes visible on d-scan, and jumping home and through the K162 to C2a sees no more tourists from Amarr making obvious targets of themselves. Okay, it's time to get some sleep.

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