Reddish blues

11th December 2012 – 5.18 pm

Yesterday's break turned in to a bubble bath and sleep, although not at the same time. I return to space refreshed, and with a new constellation to uncover, for early reconnaissance instead of a late roam. I don't get far to start with, not when finding a pair of Tengu strategic cruisers in the home system, and a bunch of Sleeper wrecks scattered around. The action has come to me today. I have already launched combat scanning probes on the edge of our system, so I have them in a blanket configuration and showing me two signatures and a bunch of anomalies. I am ready to find these ships.

It seems obvious that the two signatures will be our static wormhole and the K162 the intruders have come through, which, combined with new wrecks appearing, means I should find the Tengus in a basic anomaly. But my probes have revealed all the anomalies in the system and my directional scanner is not showing me the ships in any of them. That's odd. I can't see how the second signature can be a Sleeper site, unless someone opened our static connection earlier, collapsed their wormhole to our system, and the C3ers came backwards. But I have to work with what I know, and I know that I'll have to scan for the ships directly.

Or, rather, I'll have to scan for the salvager when he arrives. Wherever the Tengus are, they are in range of our tower, which means I can't swap ships without being obvious on d-scan for a while, and my solo cloaky Loki strategic cruiser won't be a match for two Tengus. But that gives me time, at least, and I have probes already launched and available. I settle down, switch to my salvaging overview, and start hunting the wrecks. I can't resolve the site from the wrecks themselves, but if I know where they are I can scan for the Noctis as soon as it arrives, and use the salvaging ship as a beacon.

Even better, when the Tengus leave I could probably scan for the site directly, without the small fleet being any the wiser. The site should persist for a couple of minutes, letting me resolve its position and recalling my probes without any chance of them being seen. And that's a fine plan, except that scanning resolves nothing. I could have got the range wrong, or the site has despawned quickly. Or I'm dreaming the whole situation. Whatever, I throw my probes back out of the system, but directly upwards so that they can be brought back in to position easily enough, and wait and watch d-scan.

Here comes the Noctis. In to the system, if not the site. There are more wrecks, so he has at least one more site to sweep up first. I can be patient, and I hold in position, updating d-scan to see when he coincides with the wrecks I have in my beam. It takes a few minutes, but there he is. I give him an extra minute to settle down, go back to salvaging and ignoring d-scan, and call my probes in to scan. Whatever I missed the first time, I get a solid hit now on the Noctis, letting me recall my probes and warp in to ambush the salvager. That was the plan, but it seems I didn't let him settle in enough, as someone was clearly watching d-scan intently. There isn't even a Noctis warping away when I get to the site, just abandoned wrecks.

There's not much I can do now but watch and wait once more. I get in to a decent monitoring position in the site and keep d-scan updated. An Arazu recon ship appears, no doubt coming from the other system, and launches a scanning probe. He won't find any other signatures. I'm local. That may confuse him.

The Arazu cloaks, reappears, disappears, and reappears. I suppose he checked through our static connection to look for activity, but I can't really tell just from watching d-scan. What I can tell is that a Falcon recon ship has also been brought in to our system, followed by the reappearance of the Noctis. They want their loot, and are making sure the salvager is protected. I still might take a shot, though. I'm not sure.

The Noctis warps in to the anomaly and, well shit, he's blue. Light blue, but blue. I'm still thinking about shooting him. I may joke about it occasionally, but it's a little rude to clear an allied corporation's sites without permission, and if there's no one home you don't assume permission, you move on. Despite my instincts to shoot first and let someone else resolve political consequences later, I think 'What would Fin do?', and open a communication channel to the Noctis. But this, it seems, is almost more likely to cause a diplomatic incident than shooting the salvager.

The visitors apparently didn't know that this system was blue-occupied, supposedly because they didn't reconnoitre our tower for fear of losing their ships. That is a weak excuse, as is their new intention to move on, considering that they've already finished here. And calling me 'mate' is being deliberately provocative, given past events, and decidedly unfriendly. I don't like the cut of their jib, frankly. Even so, it's no big deal really, so I let them bullshit their way through the conversation, bugger off back to their system, and collapse the connecting wormhole. There is even a hint of an apology right before they leave. But no sooner, I notice, and only a hint. I may have to downgrade their light-blueness to grey.

The only information I actually trust from our supposed allies is that they were in a simple anomaly. I have no idea why my probes refused to detect it, though, but it explains there being only two signatures to resolve. One, now. And I resolve it, and jump to our neighbouring class 3 w-space system hoping to find capsuleers I can shoot without compunction. All I find is an unoccupied system with a static exit to null-sec, and one I visited a mere week ago. Still, the last visit offered a second connection to class 1 w-space, and today it gives me an N968 wormhole to more class 3 w-space, and occupied C3 space at that.

C3b has a tower and a Zephyr on scan, and I don't expect much from an exploration ship, which is good as it is unpiloted. But scanning gives me two more wormholes, although I obviously spook a Drake on the first, as the battlecruiser jumps through as I am scanning the connection. He goes back and is not seen again. The other wormhole is a K162 from deadly class 6 w-space. Maybe I'll poke in to C4a first, being an idiot and all, heading towards active ships instead of a benign connection. C4a doesn't disappoint. Although I'm not directly threatened, a Nemesis stealth bomber gets swapped for a Purifier stealth bomber before disappearing, and an Armageddon battleship is swapped for a Proteus strategic cruiser. They may start looking for me, so maybe I can hide in C6a instead, leaving these C4ers paranoid for now.

The class 6 system has d-scan showing me core scanning probes and nothing else from the wormhole. Exploring reveals little of interest, and a blanket scan returning twenty-two anomalies and thirty-four signatures, whilst not unusual in an unoccupied system, deters me from scanning any further currently. Initial reconnoitring is complete, and I have occupied systems to roam, and more w-space to scan for activity. That should ensure I come back later, and not tomorrow. I head home, hide in a quiet corner, and go off-line to get myself a preparatory sammich.

  1. 3 Responses to “Reddish blues”

  2. Why do all your images say "Hotlinking Denied Original Content at" This is, right? :-)

    By Dersen Lowery on Dec 11, 2012

  3. Ah, better.

    By Dersen Lowery on Dec 11, 2012

  4. Sorry about that. Normal service has been resumed.

    I was mucking around with my htaccess file, trying to stop scumbag scrapers from stealing my content and posting it as their own, and it all got a bit out of hand.

    By pjharvey on Dec 11, 2012

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