A little bit of everything

3rd September 2012 – 5.16 pm

Aii's here. Ish. 'I'm in C3a', he says, probably because our rock field has vanished. Only the crappy rocks floated away, though. The high-value rocks were all chewed in to manageable chunks and stored in a new extra-large hangar we had to import specially to hold all the ore, such are the skills of Aii and Fin. 'No pilots, null static.' Okay, that's me caught up, and I jump through our static wormhole to the neighbouring class 3 w-space system to share Aii's fun.

A blanket scan of C3a reveals six signatures and, blimey, thirty-five anomalies. Let's leave the static exit to null-sec k-space closed for now and make some of the profit that the locals clearly don't want, shall we? Aii's happy with that, and although a second wormhole is resolved along with the static connection it clearly is too skinny to be a K162, so we simply leave that also unvisited for now. We head home, swap out scouting strategic cruisers for Sleeper strategic cruisers, and return to C3a to start destroying drones.

I would prefer to be in my Golem marauder for simple Sleeper slaughter, as it makes short work of the battleships and lets us salvage as we shoot. But the system holds a cataclysmic variable star, which reduces the effectiveness of local repair modules whilst boosting remote repairs, so it makes more sense to use our remote-repair Tengus and come back with Noctes. Let's just hope we don't get ambushed. Sticking to anomalies within directional scanner range of the local tower means we see no one obviously coming on-line, and we blast through a puny four anomalies before curiosity over that second wormhole gets the better of me.

We return home, swap to salvagers, and sweep up after our messy selves. We don't do a great job, though, bringing back some pitiful salvage for four sites, even if the basic Sleeper loot remains constant. I suppose we can't really sniff at an easy 150 million ISK in profit. And as we finish our glorious leader appears. I still want to look at that wormhole, but my industrial colleagues have the rock-lust. That's okay, our gravimetric site may be dead, but I saw one in our neighbouring system. I just didn't resolve it. As I'm heading back that way in my covert Loki anyway, I let Fin and Aii prepare their ships as I scan for and bookmark the rock site.

A core gravimetric site gets Fin quite excited, and rather than do the bare minimum I warp in to the site, making additional bookmarks to the most valuable ores. That should keep them busy for a while, so I point my Loki towards the unidentified wormhole. But, as I'm here, I would like to point out that, without any prompting, my mining colleagues naturally follow the reasoning I made in my post about mining outside of the home w-space system. Aii stuffs a Hulk exhumer in to the Orca industrial command ship, to reduce stress on the wormhole, and the boosting Orca is parked away from the miners and aligned to an exit. A scanning probe is also launched and used to monitor for new connections. Mining in other systems is dangerous, but it doesn't stop motivated capsuleers from using an Orca-boosted pair of Hulks.

The wormhole in C3a I resolved earlier is indeed an outbound connection, and a neat link to class 1 w-space too. Jumping through has d-scan empty but for an 'ammo box', and exploring the one planet out of range has three ships in three towers around three moons. In fact, the three ships—an empty shuttle, a piloted Manticore stealth bomber, and a piloted Helios covert operations boat—are all at one tower. A blanket scan confirms just three visible ships in the system, along with three anomalies and five signatures. Three, sir? Nope, definitely five. Maybe the extra two sites have only recently spawned to upset the harmony.

The signatures are clustered in the inner system of this C1, where the ships are on the outskirts, and I can resolve them without my probes appearing on d-scan. Wormhole, rocks, rocks, rocks. The wormhole is an exit to high-sec and, hey Nonni Nonni, takes me to Lonetrek, a few short jumps from Jita. As scanning Nonni finds no signatures I head to Jita to see if I can tweak my Loki's fitting a little. Thirty million ISK in a wasted subsystem and modules later sees me heading home in the same Loki, but with some mining equipment in its hold. I wish there were some way of determining fits virtually, at least when docked in a station with a market, but I suppose computers haven't been invented yet.

Buzzing the C1a tower has the same pilots in slightly different ships, but the system's still dull. I pass through C3a and our busy Hulks, jumping home to drop off the new equipment at our tower and swapping in to a Bustard transport to start hauling the rocks. But warping in to the gravimetric site sees a Heron frigate on d-scan, along with some combat probes. Our mining operation is over, it would seem, but we get our ships home without being interrupted.

I return to C3a in my Loki to look for the Heron, who doesn't seem to be cloaking until I manage to get my combat scanning probes near his location. Aii and Fin bring Iteron haulers in to collect the rest of the ore whilst I keep guard, but the only ship that appears as our rocks get home safely is the Heron again, and this time I'm ready. Well, mostly ready. It takes me a few scans but I am quick enough to locate the frigate and warp to his position. Sadly, my ship is only quick enough in warp to land in time to see newly launched probes warp off from where the Heron must be cloaked. But I'm here now, I can wait.

Fin comes in a stealth bomber and waits with me, and our patience is rewarded as the Heron decloaks once again. This time, however, it is not to switch probes but to warp off. And, with a bit of bad luck, I dropped out of warp within two kilometres of the Heron, so as the frigate appears my cloaking device is interrupted and I appear. My targeting systems suffer the interminable recalibration delay that, despite my curse, actually ends, but the Heron has still warped clear before I can get a positive lock. I see which way it goes, at least, and it looks like he's heading to our K162. In to warp with me!

I don't bother cloaking my Loki, as I doubt there will be much surprise left for the Heron, and I could do without another recalibration delay, so am visible on d-scan as I head directly to our wormhole. The Heron disappears, but I doubt he jumped, even if he didn't know the K162 leads to our home system, as he probably wouldn't leave his probes behind. So, on a whim, I flip my Loki around and, aligning to the safe spot the Heron came from, burn hard away from the wormhole. The basic frigate can't fit a sophisticated cloaking device, so what it can fit will severely limit its speed, and I am hoping that it won't be able to get out of my way in time. But when I reach 125 km I have to admit that I'm not going to bump in to him.

I turn my Loki around and warp towards the static wormhole, cloaking only once I've entered warp. I'd rather not let the Heron know I'll be going back to his safe spot, nor that I've obviously cloaked, just to keep him guessing. But he's not stupid. He is a little relieved, though. Fin sees him decloak 100 km from the wormhole and warp away, and when d-scan shows him safely back in his tower the pilot lets me know just how close I came to finding him. But close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. And with his evading our attention it seems like time to head home for the night, after an entertaining evening of a little bit of everything.

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