Null-sec scanning and ratting

29th May 2012 – 5.20 pm

A bookmark to a supposedly inactive wormhole stares at me from our corporate locations folder. I wonder if it is still inactive, or has been opened and has since died of old age. I'll scan the home system anyway, as you can't assume that other wormholes haven't connected in to the system, and there is only one signature to be seen. That makes it straightforward to check, and I cluster my scanning probes tightly around the pin indicating the location of the bookmark. Scanning the bookmark gets a solid hit, which even though I had to scan anyway still saves me some time. I warp to the wormhole and jump through to see what's out there today.

My directional scanner shows me little in the neighbouring class 3 system, but there is only one planet in range and I have plenty more space to explore. Launching probes and blanketing the system finds no ships, though, only thirteen anomalies and eighteen signatures, which is pretty scruffy for an occupied system. My notes put me here before, some six months earlier, when the C3 was unoccupied and I found a static exit to null-sec k-space. With the wealth of signatures I think it's safe to assume that a corporation hasn't since stuck their tower in to a moon to claim the system. A little warping around confirms a lack of occupation, which gives no one to stalk but means I have no compelling reason to resolve the mining sites.

Sifting through the signatures finds two wormholes. The second is chubby enough to be a K162, and it is, but only a K162 coming from null-sec. The link has also been stressed to half-mass, so whatever wanted to come through here has been and gone already. Otherwise, all the C3 holds is rocks, gas, radar sites. The static wormhole is in pristine condition, in contrast to the K162, looking like I'm the first ship to jump through it. It's hardly a squeeze to get through, not that I'm calling the wormhole a liar, and I exit w-space to be somewhere in the Detorid region, alone. That's just how I like my null-sec.

I think I'll rat. And scan. Scan and rat. I can multi-task. The hard part in ratting is finding a rat, and warping to the various rock fields here should find me a battleship to pop, at which point I just need to activate my offensive systems and orbit the rat. With one eye on the local communication channel for pilots entering the system, I can simultaneously move my probes around and resolve what signatures there are to be found. And I'd better scan, because I've managed to warp to the first rock field without bookmarking the wormhole leading back to C3a. Oops.

I find a rat battleship, resolve the wormhole back to w-space, and find one more signature that turns out to be some dull rocks. Now what to do, what to do. My atlas shows that I am in the middle of a simple ring of null-sec systems, so I could continue ratting. Or I could clear an anomaly or two here for pocket iskies. Or I could collapse our static wormhole and start again. I'm leaning towards starting again, particularly as ratting is dull and I cleared a null-sec anomaly only yesterday. But collapsing a wormhole alone is a little time-consuming, and as I have shown that I can rat and scan I think I'll do a lap of that around this null-sec ring, looking for more w-space as I go.

The next system along is also clear of pilots, so I launch probes and warp to an asteroid field. It looks like a good start to my simple evening, as I land near a rat battleship in this first field, but get there only to see him warp off. That's not playing fair. Never mind, I find a colleague of his in a different rock field, as my probes show me two signatures in the system. The signatures are just a radar and gravimetric site, so I ignore them, loot the battleship wreck, and move on. One more hop sees another pilot in the system, so I waive ratting and concentrate on scanning. One signature could be interesting, although the 'unknown' type doesn't guarantee a wormhole outside of w-space and I end up resolving an Angel Military Ops Complex. That sounds boring.

Another hop has me by myself in space again, so I rat and scan. Three battleships, two cruisers, six anomalies, and only one signature. My covert Tengu strategic cruiser copes with the five rats at once, and the signature resolves to be Independence. What's that? Not a wormhole, that's what. I move on. I reach the last circuit in the system, find a rat battleship in the first field, and my probes show me a promising five signatures. They only turn out to be a radar site, a Cartel Prisoner Retention site, another radar site, rocks, and rocks. Dammit, null-sec is boring. But maybe not that boring, as warping to see what the named site is shows it to be a DED 8/10 complex, which from what little I know about DED complexes means I'm going to die pretty quickly. Abort, abort!

Luckily, there is an acceleration gate between me and doom, so I can turn around and head home without facing a lot of angry rats. I am back to the first null-sec system again, where I pop one final rat and return to w-space without having found another wormhole on my circuit of ratting and scanning. But I've been gone a little while and so, with a surprising amount of optimism, launch probes and perform a fresh blanket scan of C3a. Oh, fun! That looks new, so I resolve the signature with the identifier FUN and find a new wormhole, which is spiffy. Even more spiffy, it's a K162 from class 2 w-space. I'm going in.

A quick check of d-scan has an Orca industrial command ship and Hurricane battleship in the system, along with three towers. Two of the towers are straightforward enough to find, being around planets with single moons. One has the Hurricane unpiloted in its force field, the second is empty. A Cheetah covert operations boat blips on d-scan as I locate the third tower, no doubt the scout who opened the wormhole to C3a, which is the only sign of activity as the Orca floats empty in the final tower. With no one obviously around I warp out, launch probes, and blanket the system. Four signatures are worth resolving, I would say, with my probes also showing one anomaly and the two ships I know about.

I'm expecting to resolve three wormholes here, because of the Cheetah, but I don't. A magnetometric and gravimetric site accompany the two static wormholes, and as the second leads to high-sec empire space I don't think I can reasonably expect to ambush the locals hauling anything through the connection. And as it is still just the Orca and Hurricane on d-scan, with no sign of the scout, it looks like it's time to head home and settle down for the night. But that's okay. After the null-sec ratting my security status is now 0·07, so high my nose is almost bleeding, and I got some w-space exploration to end the evening on. It's been a quiet night, but entertaining enough.

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