Scanning for targets

11th November 2012 – 3.31 pm

Fin's here. What else? Some stale bookmarks, by the looks of it. I transfer my old bookmarks to the appropriate folder, sweep the corporate bookmarks clean, then get a sitrep from my glorious leader. 'Multiple wormholes in C3a, and two probers.' Oh. If Fin's in our neighbouring w-space system then the those corporate bookmarks must have been fresh, and only bore a passing resemblance to my stale ones. Please tell me you have local copies of everything I just deleted. 'Nope.' I'll be scanning, then.

In the vain hope that my stupidity may actually have been good, an unexpected signature pops up in the home system. It's a K162 from class 4 w-space, and I'm pretty sure it wasn't in the slew of bookmarks I deleted. Maybe Fin can scout through the new connection whilst I redo her scouting in the class 3 system, hopefully making up for my incompetence. That's the plan, at least, but the K162 flares as Fin approaches, ejecting a Cheetah in to our system. The covert operations boat warps across to our static connection, which I am now sitting on, and jumps to C3a. That's interesting.

Fin tags the corporation and sits on the wormhole waiting for more transits, whilst I give the Cheetah time to get clear on the other side of our static connection. It may be beneficial for us to make the scouts think we're not home. When the cov-ops has had time to get away, I jump through and see where I am. My directional scanner is clear, with no sign of scanning probes even, and Fin lets me know that the system is unoccupied, followed by intelligence on C4a. A Tengu strategic cruiser is somewhere in the system, whilst a Retriever mining barge sits in a tower's force field. I'll scan C3a until I'm needed.

Gas, gas, gas, rocks, and three wormholes. A static exit to low-sec, a K162 from class 4 w-space, and a K162 from class 2 w-space. Whatever wormhole Fin resolved that was at the end of its life is now dead. I exit w-space to appear in a system in Genesis, bookmark the K162, and return to C3a. I think I'm mostly back to where Fin got to. I warp across the system to explore C2a, where d-scan is clear and only has one planet in range. A passive scan shows me nine anomalies just as the wormhole behind me flares. The Cheetah that left our home system appears and warps immediately away.

My session change cloak was active, and as the Cheetah warped clear I doubt he was following me. He also went to empty space, which suggests he warped to a wormhole, and certainly not a tower. I move away from the wormhole and cloak in time for a second Cheetah to follow behind the first, although he cloaks and I can't tell if he loiters or also warps. His orangeness makes me think he followed the first cov-ops, but I can't be sure. Either way, I warp out, launch probes, and blanket the system. My probes show me seven signatures to go with the anomalies, and my notes tell me I'm looking for an exit to high-sec as the second static connection. They also point me towards a tower, on the far side of the system.

No one's home, and my probes still don't register any ships, so I may as well scan. I resolve the exit to high-sec with my first choice of signature, having seen where the Cheetah warped, and a quick check shows no other wormholes are present. The B274 is EOL, though, and I see no benefit in getting the exit and making myself known to anyone who may be waiting there. But I will wait, as perhaps a squishy ship will be brought back, which I can chase to the wormhole linking to C3a. But I wait, and wait a bit more, and all that happens is a Hawk appears on d-scan.

The assault ship is at the tower. I give up on waiting for the high-sec wormhole to bring a ship to me, and instead watch the Hawk like a, well, inattentive creature, really. The Hawk warps out of the tower whilst I'm distracted, but I glance up in time to see him maybe, possibly heading towards the customs office. That would be weird, so I'm not surprised to see him not there when I check, but warping out of the safety of the tower is weird in itself. I bounce around looking for the Hawk, and when I can't find him at all I check his distance from the tower. It's not far, I should be able to scan him in one hit.

Warping out of d-scan range of the tower lets me launch combat scanning probes without the Hawk seeing me. I return to the tower to confirm the assault ship is still in empty space, cluster my probes at their minimum range around the planet, and scan. 50% strength is not quite good enough to warp to, and a bit of fiddling doesn't improve much on that figure. I launch two more probes, hitting my maximum, and go for a denser arrangement, but even then I can't get more than a 72% return on the Hawk's position. I think he's teasing me. But that's alright, because Fin watches the Retriever warp from the tower in C4a.

I leave the irritating Hawk to remain companionless in space, jumping back to C3a, warping to the home system, and crossing that to jump in to C4a. Fin's already told me that there is nowhere to hide, with the tower out of range from one planet but the Retriever still being visible there, so launching probes will be tricky. I perform a passive scan to look for anomalies that may take me the extra AU needed, but come up empty. This is a clean system. I'll just have to be lucky. I decloak, launch probes, and cloak as I throw them out of the system.

I appear to be lucky. The Retriever doesn't return to the tower, where the Tengu remains piloted but inert, and sits in a pocket of space that likely holds a field of rocks. Now I just have to find it. I get close, narrow down the barge's position using d-scan, and estimate its range just as the Retriever disappears from my five-degree beam. He warps to the tower, but hopefully just because he's full and intends to go back for more rocks. We will him to do it, and wait for his ship to turn around, but the capsuleer chooses sleep instead and goes off-line.

Out of curiosity, I call my probes in for a scan and get a 100% hit on the gravimetric site, which lets me recall them immediately. I warp in to reconnoitre the site, noting that whatever arkanor was present has been chewed up, but it looks like it was in vain. The pilot doesn't return, and the Tengu goes off-line shortly afterwards. If only I hadn't wasted that extra minute on the Hawk, maybe Fin and I could have popped a mining barge. I need to remember that timing is important. But tonight it's game over. There's another class 4 system left unexplored in the constellation, but I would be happy with some rest more than extra scanning.

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