Finding a ship to shoot

2nd November 2012 – 5.36 pm

I could do with finding another ship to shoot. Do you hear that, w-space? All looks clear in the home system, with a a few changes from a couple of days ago. Four sites have dissipated in to the aether and one new signature has cropped up to take their place. It's not a new site but a second wormhole, a K162 from class 2 w-space. That sounds like a good place to start looking for other ships, and I jump through to see what I can find.

My notes have this C2 as a silo system a little over two years ago, but that was then and nothing appears on my directional scanner from the wormhole today. A single planet out of range of d-scan holds the lone tower, and in it is an Orca industrial command ship and shuttle, naturally both unpiloted. Space itself has two anomalies and thirteen signatures, which amongst the radar site, two magnetometric sites, rocks, and gas, are two more wormholes. I'm expecting to find the static exit to high-sec empire space, and trying to learn my lesson from before I pop out to bookmark the other side in case I need a route home.

I exit w-space to appear in the Lonetrek region, and a mere two hops from Jita. I probably should make use of this connection to do some shopping at the busiest trade hub in the galaxy, but I'm lazy and we probably have some tower fuel, so I return to w-space to see where that second wormhole leads. A K162 from more class 2 w-space is pretty neat, and I've already forgotten about that handy route to, uh, Rens, or somewhere. It had four letters, I think. Going with my instincts, I jump to C2b, where a red giant is visible but nothing appears on d-scan.

Launching probes and blanketing the system reveals seven anomalies, six signatures, one tower, and no ships. There's not much to be found, if you don't count the Cheetah that warps to the tower as I loiter outside it, but only to about three hundred kilometres from the force field. The covert operations boat scarpers pretty sharpish too, disappearing from d-scan to remain a mystery as I resolve just one more wormhole, which is the system's static exit to low-sec. Once more, I check the exit, bookmarking the other side of the wormhole in a system in Derelik. And as I'm alone in the system I'll rat. And as I'm ratting, I'll scan. But two extra signatures are just rocks and rats.

Returning to w-space has a bit of excitement on seeing a pod appear in the tower of C2a, particularly as the pilot pops in to a Heron frigate and warps towards what looks like the wormhole heading homewards. I follow, a bit tardily, and only manage to catch up with the Heron's return to the tower, where the ship stares intently at a hangar for a minute, before dropping back to a pod and going off-line. Still, I'm counting that as excitement, considering the past week, and can feel the adrenalin pumping. I use my pent-up energy to jump home and vigorously warp across to our static wormhole, where I enthusiastically enter our neighbouring class 3 system.

A tower on d-scan with a Magnate frigate, Buzzard cov-ops, and Mammoth and Bestower haulers looks promising, and more so when warping to the tower sees all three ships piloted. Three ships? Let me count again. I see, the Buzzard isn't in the tower. I sweep d-scan around looking for him, but can only place him in empty space. Still, he's not cloaking, so maybe he's paying little enough attention that I could catch him. I quickly give up hoping one of the haulers will collect planet goo to warp out and launch probes, returning to the tower to see if I can find that Buzzard.

I get a decent range on the cov-ops boat, and a fair idea of where in space he is, but as the tiny boat is agile and can cloak I see little point in taking the hunt too seriously. I position my probes and scan, getting a decent first hit, where a slight adjustment and second scan lets me bookmark the wormhole the Buzzard is near. I throw my probes out of the system and warp to the wormhole, not knowing if the Buzzard is sitting on it or two hundred kilometres away. Either way, I have options with my combat probes still out and getting eyes on the Buzzard to see where it is.

My scanning didn't find the system's static wormhole but another K162 from class 2 w-space, with the Buzzard sitting right on top of it. That's curious, and gives the cov-ops a really easy escape route, but I'd like to see how alert the pilot is and move closer to give him a poke. He's awake. Decloaking to engage, I get one volley out of my guns before the Buzzard is through the wormhole. I follow and try to continue the engagement, but, as I suspected, the agile ship slinks away from the wormhole and cloaks before I can get close to stopping him.

I may as well take a look around this C2 as I'm here. D-scan is showing me a Tengu strategic cruiser, Orca, Mastodon transport, and two Mammoths, along with two towers that are easy to find, thanks to my notes from a week ago. One Mammoth is empty at one tower, and the other ships are all at the second tower, with the Mastodon and Mammoth piloted. Having the Buzzard draw me in to the system to find planet gooers would be quite serendipitous, but instead I watch the haulers for a couple of minutes until they decide to go off-line. Oh well, I'm calling that the end of exploring and time for sleeps.

First I need to see what waits for me on the wormhole back to C3a. Surely there will be repercussions for trying to explode one of their scouts, and there maybe is, kinda. Jumping through the wormhole sees a change of ships, with a Manticore now visible on d-scan, but a visible stealth bomber is failing at something, and this time it's because he's at the tower and not lurking to bomb me on the wormhole. Still, I actually managed to shoot another ship, so I should call this a victory of sorts. I ignore the unmoving ships in C3a's tower to warp and jump home, where I hide in a corner of the system to get some rest.

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