My first Rifter

27th December 2012 – 5.28 pm

Oh my, that's a lot of signatures. Granted, it's not so many when I revert my filter to not show structures, and when I'm no longer looking at all of the many parts and defences of our tower I'm left with just one new signature. That's about right. And, hey, it's a wormhole. Will I make new friends? No, probably not, as all I've found is a dying K162 from class 5 w-space. I've resolved our static connection too, and as that's healthy I think it's a better choice of direction for me. I jump to our neighbouring class 3 system.

A Bestower and Badger is an alluring sight on my directional scanner in C3a, even if they are probably both in the tower also visible. They may not be soon, so I'd like to find them quickly, and turn to my notes. I was last here seven months ago, but interrogating the planet where the tower was sees nothing, and I'll have to take time to locate the new one. It shouldn't be too hard, though, as opening the map shows the system not to be particularly crowded with moons. I've soon found the right planet, and I choose wisely when warping to one of its two moons, so that I'm floating near two piloted industrial ships sitting snuggly inside a force field.

Make that one. I was hoping the haulers would go somewhere, but I didn't really mean to include 'off-line' in my wish. Goodbye, Mr Bestower, but the Badger hangs around a bit longer, and so shall I. Or maybe I could warp out and launch probes in preparation of scanning, in case the hauler heads to a wormhole. I can do that and still maybe not miss the Badger collecting planet goo, by warping to a distant customs office to launch probes. If he comes this way, I'll catch him. Or I'll find a second tower around one of this farthest planet's moons.

Normally, a second tower would make me think twice about launching probes, and I suppose this one does too, in its way. There aren't any ships keeping watch, but it's more the lack of force field that has me transfixed to d-scan. Ship maintenance array, corporate hangar array, no force field. It looks like a legitimate find, and I don't need to launch probes to find it, so I swing my Loki around and send the strategic cruiser over to a nearby moon. Yep, sure enough, that's an off-line tower with intact hangars. And, yet, there is a piloted Badger sitting in an on-line tower deeper in to the system. How rum.

I check the owner corporation of the off-line tower and warp back to see what the Badger's doing. Not much. The pilot is in the same alliance as the off-line tower's corporation, but not the same corporation itself. Maybe that will mean he won't get any alerts when a certain someone starts shooting the structures. I could ponder how such a circumstance as this arises without it being corrected, but I'd rather not waste time. There could be a hauler headed back this way with emergency fuel already. I warp back to the off-line tower, decloak, and start shooting.

I destroy the SMA first, keen to see what ships will be ejected. After a couple of minutes of watching d-scan intently a Drake battlecruiser and Rifter frigate are thrown clear of the explosion. That's not much, but at least it's something. The CHA is next, but just one can of unwanted goods survives, containing a single skill book, some fuel products, and a few rounds of ammunition. Either the tower has already been looted, maybe by the other corporation present, or the owners knew they were leaving and couldn't be bothered to tear down the tower, merely taking most ships out with them. I may as well take the others, now that I've released them.

I drop my Loki back at our tower and make a couple of journeys to collect the Drake and Rifter. The battlecruiser is a decent enough ship, fitted with Tech II modules and missiles. The Rifter is a little more exciting, as I think it's the first one I've ever owned. Or stolen. Or flown. But jumping on board is something of an anticlimax. The frigate is fitted with three warp core stabilisers, two analyser modules, and no weapons. I'm not sure why so much fuss is made of these ships, as I don't see how they can do much damage. Maybe this one is defective. I take it home anyway. One last trip has me collecting all the loot in the can, although 'all the loot' is a bit misleading, and certainly not worth of taking the Bustard transport ship. I could have thrown it in the back of a Crane and still had it rattling around.

All this time, the Badger has been sitting silently in the tower in C3a. I swap back to my Loki and think about watching him, but decide instead to scan. The Badger's not going anywhere. Five anomalies and six signatures give me just the one wormhole, which will be the static exit to high-sec, and I leave w-space to appear in a system in The Citadel, six hops from Jita. I should probably think about what I could buy from the market, but my mind is dull. I'll scan again. Nineteen anomalies? That's a lot for empire space. I could use a suitably fit Drake here, if I had one handy. But the K162 from class 1 w-space catches my attention more than do minor rats.

Three towers and a Raven grace d-scan in C1a, and the mass limits to class 1 w-space mean the battleship must have been built locally. It's not fighting above its weight currently, as d-scan places it coincident with one of the towers. Worse still, the bastard's blue, so I would have ethical difficulties if I wanted to shoot it. Even if he's not now, the Raven has probably been busy, as there are no anomalies in the system, and six signatures don't take long to scan. A K162 from class 2 w-space is a good find, as is a second K162 from class 2 w-space, although a K162 from high-sec at the end of its life isn't quite as appealing.

I go to C2a, as I found it first, but only to see a piloted Hurricane battlecruiser floating inertly next to an Ishkur assault frigate inside a tower's force field. Rather than scan, I go back through C1a to see what C2b has to offer, but that only uncovers a Drake inside a tower, and this battlecruiser isn't even piloted. Still eschewing scanning further, a second look in C2a only has the Hurricane swapped for a Jaguar assault frigate, with still no signs of movement. I think I've had my fun for tonight. It's time for bubbles. Hot and soapy bubbles, not the kind that disrupt warp engines.

I head home through the blue-occupied C1a, across the high-sec system and in to C3a, where the Badger resolutely stays inside his tower. A fly-by of the off-line tower shows it still off-line and getting no loving attention, and I warp back to our K162 and jump home. But it seems we have a visitor. Having abandoned an operation gone awry, a colleague from our sister C5 has popped across to say hello. 'Come to the wormhole', he says. I decloak to welcome to our system his Proteus strategic cruiser, accompanied by a Pilgrim recon ship and Onyx heavy interdictor. But I get this nagging sensation that maybe it was a mistake to do so. It'll pass, I'm sure.

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