Early reconnaissance

3rd December 2012 – 5.56 pm

It's early. I'm going to see if anyone else is active at this time of day. Maybe a sleepy industrialist wants to check on his planet goo, or a solo battlecruiser pilot wants to make some lazy ISK in an anomaly. Or everyone's having a lie-in. It feels that way in the home system, so I resolve the static wormhole and jump to our neighbouring class 3 w-space system to look for other pilots. I won't find them in an unoccupied system, though. My directional scanner is clear from the wormhole, warping around finds no towers or ships, and a blanket scan returns twelve anomalies and seventeen signatures, one of which is a static connection to null-sec. I suppose I'm looking for wormholes.

There doesn't seem to be anything worth finding for a while, until I hit a signature that's too chubby for a null-sec connection and too skinny for a K162. I'd say that's interesting. And, lucky days, it's a V301 wormhole to class 1 w-space. Soft targets, here I come! Or, rather, unoccupied C1 with three anomalies and forty-one signatures, here I come. I try to keep my spirits up, knowing that K162s will appear readily, but when the first wormhole I find is a half-mass static exit to high-sec I feel I am wasting my time. How the wormhole has been opened and destabilised when there are no K162s in the system I'm not sure, but with no occupation or activity I don't care for the current constellation.

I head home, prepare some massive ships, and throw them through our static wormhole. Not literally, of course, as I'm piloting them and sending them out and bringing them back in a controlled manner, and before long I'm back in my cloaky Loki strategic cruiser with a fresh connection to resolve. The replacement wormhole sends me to a new C3a, where d-scan shows me occupation but no activity. It's a step up from the previous neighbour, at least. I launch probes and blanket the system, revealing a manageable but untidy six anomalies and seventeen signatures, and even though I know I'll find a static exit to high-sec empire space there may be more worth uncovering.

Despite ostensibly on early reconnaissance, I can't bring myself to fully resolve all seventeen signatures, so they can be bookmarked, as the last time that resolving a site ahead of a later roam has proven worthwhile has dropped out of my memory. It's a better use of my time to find wormholes to look through more systems for targets, and hunt them directly. I've got good enough with d-scan and my probes for this tactic to work, too. As such, I discard rocks and gas, knowing I could find them later if necessary, and concentrate on resolving the connections.

There's a wormhole, the one with an assault ship sitting on top of it. I don't see what hull the ship is, as the wormhole is out of d-scan range, but now I see a pod flying through the system. And it is through the system, as it disappears from d-scan without warping in to one of the two towers I am trying to monitor as best I can, so I assume the wormhole is active with more than one pilot. It would probably be best to watch that than sit outside the tower, so I warp across to sit besides what turns out to be a K162 from class 5 w-space that's already destabilised to half-mass.

The K162 is missing the assault ship, and unsurprisingly the pod, but as I continue scanning—one wormhole feels like the high-sec static connection, a second and third both like other K162s—the wormhole flares and a Proteus enters C3a. The strategic cruiser cloaks with little delay, which shows me the wormhole is probably monitored and protected, although that doesn't mean I can't try my luck should a hauler appear. If a hauler appears, which it doesn't look like one will. Checking the other wormholes in the system finds the static exit at the end of its life, and maybe not in use, considering the other two are both K162s from high-sec space.

A Legion strategic cruiser blips on d-scan, perhaps another cloaky escort, and this whilst I am reconnoitring one of the K162s, which means I still have no idea which wormhole the C5ers are using. And I probably won't. Warping back to the C5 K162 has it flare not long after I get there, and an Abaddon battleship appears, turns, and jumps back to C5a, destabilising the wormhole to critical levels. The only question now is whether another ship will finish the job. Well, that, and if it will get isolated. And, I suppose, if that potentially isolated ship could be engaged successfully by my Loki. Three questions, then.

I wait and consider the options. I'm not sure how ambushing an isolated ship would work. On the one hand, it should be fit for collapsing a wormhole, and probably prepared to be isolated and running for empire space. On the other hand, if the engagement started to go wrong, for whatever reason, I'd have no wormhole to flee through. But I don't have to worry about that today, as waiting at the wormhole sees no more ships come through, even after any polarisation effects have dissipated, so it seems the C5ers are content with leaving their wormhole in a critical state.

That's fair enough. I think I am content with the state of the constellation. I have an occupied C3 with plenty of sites, and two K162s and perhaps a fresh static connection to high-sec to feed me new scanning opportunities at some point. Just not right now. I'll take a break, grab some food, and come back to see what else I can find.

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