Catching a capsuleer coming home

21st June 2012 – 5.45 pm

I enjoyed hunting the Heron yesterday. Maybe I can find more to shoot today. A new signature at home is a start, and a positive one, as it isn't a dull mining site but a second wormhole. The K162 comes from class 2 w-space, which is tempting enough for me to ignore our static connection for now and jump straight through. All I see from the other side of the wormhole is that I'm in a pretty good safe spot, some 6 AU from the nearest planet, and outside the edge of the system, otherwise I only have notes that are almost two years old. I can be confident that the second static wormhole still leads to high-sec empire space, but I'll have to confirm any current occupation.

It's not just occupation that I find. I warp across the diameter of the system, passing a tower that I see thanks to my directional scanner, to drop out of warp in range of some Sleeper wrecks. The only problem is that I don't, and didn't, see any ships at all. The active anomaly is straightforward enough to find, and warping in sees the wrecks looted but (obviously) not salvaged, along with a Sleeper battleship and two cruisers. Combat occurred within the past couple of hours, but it is stale. Maybe a high-sec tourist came in and nabbed a few quick kills before deciding he'd had enough. I dunno. I've not much else to do but make a note of this, find the tower, and scan, whilst I wait and hope for the activity to resume.

Please, people, tidy up. There may be only seven anomalies in this C2 but there are twenty-six signatures, and I doubt they're all wormholes. Still, I resolve two wormholes with only a little interference from rocks and gas, giving me two K162s, one from high-sec, the other from class 4 w-space. They're both neat for their own reasons, but I prefer w-space and jump in to C4a. A tower with no ships on d-scan is a disappointing result, but pretty standard. A passive scan reveals thirteen anomalies, with none out of range, so beyond locating the tower for reference I'm not staying here, not even to scan.

I return to C2a with nothing still happening, and head home. But as I drop out of warp near the wormhole a Badger appears on d-scan, halting my plans and having me scrambling to get a bearing on the hauler. He looks to be on the exit to high-sec, but is he coming or going? The Badger drops off d-scan soon enough, and I turn around to check the local tower, far out of d-scan range, but see no Badger there. I suppose he was going. Now I just need to know where he was going from. I could perhaps scan this C2 more thoroughly, but with so many signatures and an unknown distance between the exit and a trade hub I don't know how much time I have. I'll assume the Badger came from C4a and head home to swap my scanning boat for a stealth bomber.

No, no stealth bomber for me. It seems a trade hub must be close, because the time it took me to warp to the tower and back, admittedly a fair distance, as well as consider my options, has the Badger reappear on d-scan. I take a chance, which is pretty much my only option anyway, and warp to the K162 from C4a. Unlike the Badger, I'm in luck. The hauler is slowing out of warp on the wormhole as I get there, and jumps through. I decloak and burn hard to the wormhole myself, following the Badger, happy to see my Tengu and micro warp drive responding well.

The Badger hasn't cleared the wormhole by the time I appear in C4a, giving me enough time to decloak, gain a target lock, and disrupt his warp drive. The hauler has little option beyond exploding, and jumps back to C2a. Now he's polarised, and although I will be too I return to the class 2 system to finish the slaughter.

I catch the Badger a second time and quickly reduce it to debris, but only to see the pod warp away, leaving me to loot what is essentially an empty wreck. It seems that the Badger took loot out of w-space to sell, and I can only have missed him in the C4 by a couple of minutes.

But there's more going on here. I was wondering why I didn't see the pilot in the C4 when I was there, and although it possible that he comes on-line, stuffs a hauler full of loot, and uses corporate bookmarks to head straight to high-sec in a matter of minutes, there is a simpler explanation: he's not from C4a and I've got more to find. First, I loot and shoot the wreck, for what it's worth, and consider the pod. He's polarised and stuck in this C2 for a few minutes, but wanting to get home, wherever that is. Had I been smarter, I'd have gone to our tower and grabbed an Onyx heavy interdictor to make his life, well, over, but by the time I think about this the polarisation effect is what's over. I'll only miss the pod and have to swap back to my scanning Tengu. I think my best option is to return to C4a and scan for more wormholes. I get a suspicion I'll find one, although I am also thinking that I won't catch any more pilots, and probably just put myself in danger. Ah well, such is w-space life.

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