Null-sec Noctis

23rd November 2012 – 5.11 pm

What's been happening, or what's happening now? Nothing. And nothing. But new signatures in the home w-space system could be exciting, particularly with an extra wormhole to go with our static connection, and a new ladar and magnetometric site each. The K162 comes from class 5 w-space and is stressed to its half-mass state, which is interesting by itself, as it suggests plenty of movement, and made more interesting by our static wormhole being healthy. I'm not quite sure why so much mass would be passed through the connection without either travelling further or stealing our Sleepers, unless the wormhole was being collapsed.

I lurk by the K162 for a minute but no ship comes through. I doubt the connection is being collapsed. I'll need to poke my nose in to the system to see what's happening, so that's what I do. Two towers are visible on my directional scanner in C5a, but no ships. Whatever was happening isn't now, or maybe wasn't from here in the first place. I launch probes to scan, revealing fourteen anomalies and six signatures, but find no K162s amongst the usual sites. I suppose the mystery of the half-mass K162 will remain that way. I return home, cross the system, and jump to C3a.

Another tower lacking ships appears on d-scan from our K162 in C3a, so I'll be scanning. Twelve anomalies and fifteen signatures will take a little while to sift through, but it's not too bad. I uncover and ignore rocks, gas, bookmark a tiny wormhole, and go back to ignoring radar and magnetometric sites. Being weak, the sole wormhole will be an exit to null-sec k-space, and as it's my only option I jump through to see where it leads. I appear in a system in the Fade region, along with ten other pilots.

My first instinct is to leave them be, and return to w-space to mind my own business. Even seeing dozens of wrecks of rat ships doesn't motivate me to see what's occurring, as my previous encounters have always involved the locals huddling in their towers until the unknown face leaves the system. The transparent local communication channel makes ambushes a bit harder to pull off. But I stay. A Noctis salvager appears to be sweeping through some of the wrecks, and rather than admit defeat without trying I can at least confirm that the locals are hiding.

A passive scan reveals a healthy nineteen anomalies in the system, but the Noctis is in none of them. I will need to hunt him, which means launching probes. The system is quite small, though, but thanks to a stargate I can get out of d-scan range. I warp to the stargate at range, make a safe spot just off-grid, and then wait for a Hurricane battlecruiser to pass by. I assume the Hurricane used the stargate, as he disappears from d-scan, leaving an empty result again. Now I launch probes, get them clear of the system, and warp back to the wormhole to look for the Noctis.

I got a fairly good idea of where the Noctis was in space before I launched probes, so returning to the wormhole lets me find him again quickly. I get d-scan down to a five degree beam, adjust the range gate to see him sitting a notch under 4 AU distant, and arrange my scanning probes around his position. I'm not quite expecting to catch the ship, or come out of this without a small blob of combat ships dropping on me, but I can try. If the locals are used to null-sec space and the local channel keeping them informed, maybe they aren't expecting my w-space hunting technique. But I dunno, as I don't live in null-sec.

The Noctis announces in the local channel that he's cleared the site. I don't know if he was meant to do that, but I know he's telling a little fib. I have him lined up on d-scan still and can see a few wrecks remaining, so call my probes in for a scan and get a solid 100% hit on my first attempt.

I recall the probes and get my cloaky Loki strategic cruiser in to warp, dropping just shy of the salvager as he tugs a few unlooted cans behind him. Without pause, I decloak, wait for the recalibration delay to end, and unload on the salvager.

My guns rake through the Noctis's shields and in to its armour, as my warp disruptor stops the ship from leaving. I am aware of the other pilots and ships in the system, some of which must be creating the wrecks, so I align my Loki back to the wormhole for a quick exit. But no one comes. I turn my ship back around, pointing towards the Noctis, so that I can loot it when it pops, which it inevitably does. But before I loot, I aim for the pod, and catch it, creating a new corpse for my collection.

I loot, shoot, and scoot. There doesn't look to be anything of interest in the wreck, as it is standard rat loot, and I grab what fits and destroy the rest without really caring. And I consider loitering in the system to gauge the reaction or maybe to scan for more wormholes, but I'm happy with the Noctis kill and don't really want to see if the locals can get organised. I return to w-space, get clear of the wormhole, and realise I left the corpse behind. Not only that, but I didn't bookmark the despawned anomaly, or the Noctis's location, and so I have no way of going back to it. That's fine, and I'm happy to leave a corpse floating in space.

C3a remains empty, and returning home and warping to the K162 sees it is now reaching the end of its life as well as being halved in mass. It must have been stressed many hours earlier. It doesn't stop me taking one last look in the C5 but, unsurprisingly, there is nothing happening. The Noctis kill was good, though, and I'm pleased with taking that and getting an early night. Maybe I'll watch a film.

  1. 3 Responses to “Null-sec Noctis”

  2. It intrigues me that you are so often able to catch the pods after blowing up the ships. How long does your Loki take to lock a pod? Do you think these guys just sit there thinking "wtf?!!" or are they actually trying to warp off but just do it too slowly?

    By Stabs on Nov 24, 2012

  3. Penny has innate +1000mm scan res when locking pods.
    She was catching pods with a Sebo'd Tengu which eft says should take 5s to lock a pod. Loki has better scan res too.
    I guess after blowing up you can't do anything for 2-3s when client's busy putting you in a pod and then people are disoriented and have trouble finding something to warp to fast enough.

    By Mick Straih on Nov 24, 2012

  4. Yeah, I think it's probably a disorientation effect mostly. Bear in mind that I'm eagerly watching the state of the ship, waiting for the explosion, with my control key held down and mouse hovering over the overview. When that pod first appears, I'm targeting it. If the capsuleer isn't ready to warp away immediately, I've probably already caught him.

    By pjharvey on Nov 25, 2012

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