Early uncovering of the constellation

3rd November 2012 – 3.44 pm

I'm out for early reconnaissance. Well, not early, really, but earlier than normal. It's still reconnaissance. But perhaps not until I've left the home system, so with all looking clear I resolve our static wormhole and jump to the neighbouring class 3 w-space system. My directional scanner shows me nothing of interest from the K162 in C3a, letting me launch probes again and blanket the system. Four anomalies and six signatures indicate either an occupied or often-visited system, and my notes point me to occupation that remains since my last visit a year ago.

No one's home, so I scan. One ladar site, one gravimetric site, and three wormholes is a decent result. Or it would be, if the static exit to low-sec weren't joined by a K162 also from low-sec and a K162 from class 2 w-space that's on its last legs. Checking the exits has me in the comforting bosom of Aridia through the K162, where it looks like a Pilgrim recon ship is ratting, and across C3a and through the static connection I appear in a system in Domain. And with the exits covered, giving me a route home, I poke through the dying wormhole to C2a.

A tower is visible on d-scan, in the same way ships aren't, and as I am spat in to the system over five kilometres from the wormhole I simply turn back to C3a. Wondering if the Pilgrim is still ratting, giving me a potential target, I return to Aridia, but to an empty system. Damn the local channel for making occupation obvious. But now the system has no other pilots I can rat myself, scanning to pass the time. Scanning finds one other signature, which is resolved to be a K162 from class 2 w-space before I find a suitable rat to pop. I abandon saving my security status for now, and dive back to w-space.

As with C2a, C2b has a tower and no ships on d-scan, and my cloaky Loki strategic cruiser appearing far from the wormhole, over seven kilometres away this time. But unlike C2a, the second static connection waiting to be found is the w-space connection, not the k-space one, and could be worth looking for. Two anomalies and three signatures makes finding it easy too, and I am soon jumping through another connection to class 2 w-space. C2c follows the pattern of having a tower and no ships on d-scan, and my notes make it a rough system to live in, with static connections to class 5 w-space and null-sec.

Six anomalies are accompanied by eleven signatures, all weak. Naturally, I resolve all the radar and magnetometric sites before either wormhole, which sucks up my time, but as I resolve them I may as well poke in to C5a. And I see gassing in action! I think! Two Maller cruisers, an Impel transport, two Hurricane battlecruisers, and a Brutix and Cyclone battlecruiser each are all on d-scan without a tower in sight. A minor adjustment also shows two medium Sleeper wrecks, which should be about right for a ladar site, and I'm not quite sure what else such a collection of ships could be doing in a class 5 site if not sucking up gas.

And now a Cheetah blips on d-scan. The presence of the covert operations boat could mean that the wormhole I've opened has already been spotted, alerting the gassers to bug out. I'll assume otherwise for now, particularly as a canister gets jettisoned and labelled with the current time. I warp out, launch probes, and warp across to check the local tower, which my notes from four weeks ago point me to. It's still there, and has a Noctis salvager and Purifier stealth bomber inside the force field, but no other pilots. It's time to find the gassers.

Warping back to the inner system has a disappointing result. The Cyclone is the only ship that remains on d-scan, and even then only for a few seconds. I suppose I must have been spotted, because even if four battlecruisers and two cruisers can really suck up the gas that quickly they'd move to a new site, and not disappear. And they do disappear, as a return to the tower shows the same two unpiloted ships as before, so it looks like the gassers weren't local.

My probes, already launched, show me sixteen anomalies and twenty-five signatures, and with that many to sift through, coupled with the fleet's knowledge that I'm here, means I'm not scanning for their system now. I can do that later, perhaps, or just come back to look for the C5's static connection to class 3 w-space to continue the constellation. Now it's time for food. I'll return later, to roam through the systems my early reconnaissance has uncovered.

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