Spooking ships

21st March 2013 – 5.34 pm

I come on-line just as Fin drops out of warp at our static wormhole. I jump in to the fleet and warp towards my glorious leader, as she jumps to our neighbouring class 3 w-space system. Fin sees an Orca industrial command ship, a shuttle, and five towers on her directional scanner, and has intel on the system holding a static exit to high-sec empire space. 'We can get Aii back', she says. Back? Here was only just here. 'You know Aii.'

I jump to C3a to join Fin, warp to a distant planet not holding any towers, and launch scanning probes. Performing a blanket scan of the system gives an interesting result, with five ships lighting up my combat probes. I'm sure there were just two a moment ago. I check and double-check that the extra ships aren't ghost signatures, caused by awkward positioning of my probes, but there are five ships detected. Warping back to the inner system sees two of them, an Imicus frigate and Badger hauler, but before I can pin them down using d-scan they are gone. My probes now show two ships in the system.

Along with the ships in flux, my combat scanning probes revealed four anomalies and five signatures, which will take no time to scan. A K162 wormhole from class 2 w-space would be much more attractive if it weren't so tiny, destabilised as it is to critical levels, and the static exit to high-sec is obvious when I resolve it owing to its signature strength. And, whilst I scan, an Imicus is somewhere, gone, somewhere, gone. Another wormhole could help us find it, although the K162 from null-sec is not as much fun as if it had been another w-space link.

Imicus appears near the high-sec wormhole in class 3 w-space

The Imicus is back again, but where? I find the frigate as I reconnoitre the wormhole to high-sec, seeing the Imicus near and approaching the wormhole. I can't tell how far he is from jumping so let him exit rather than reveal myself a moment before he escapes naturally, and instead loiter with vicious intent on the assumption the pilot will return moments later, his ship polarised. Fin has got a heavy interdictor ready to help catch him, and hearing that the Imicus has exited the system warps across to cover the wormhole.

Huh, there were five ships before, and I only ever saw four of them. Or so I thought, I suppose. Updating d-scan whilst on the wormhole—we may have a safe exit to high-sec, but it remains prudent to know what's coming before it gets to you—sees another Imicus in the system. It doesn't really matter where he is, although I warp away from the wormhole to find him bouncing between the towers, as both of our ships, decloaked and ready to strike, are obvious on d-scan to anyone in range. The second Imicus is likely to have relayed our position to the first Imicus, which has so far stayed in high-sec.

I may as well see where the high-sec wormhole leads, to check for the presence of the first Imicus and to identify the route home for Aii. I appear in a system in The Citadel, where over a hundred dust bunnies are making everything messy. There's one orange in local too, and it's our Imicus pilot decidedly not making himself a target. If he's not inclined to play with us, and who can blame him, I may as well scan. And amongst the many, many miners and their helper drones is one extra signature, which resolves to be a wormhole. It's a K162 from class 2 w-space too, which is nice.

Knowing that C2b will have another w-space connection, if not activity itself, I ignore the Imicus and jump to see what I can find. D-scan is clear from the other side of the wormhole, but my notes from eight months ago suggest occupation and a wormhole to class 3 w-space waiting to be scanned. I launch probes, blanket the system, and warp off to explore. I don't find the towers, but I do see two Drake battlecruisers, a flight of drones, and a whole bunch of Sleeper wrecks on d-scan. My blanket scan indicates that there isn't any more activity to find, so rather than look for towers I look for the Drakes.

The battlecruiser pair aren't in the sole anomaly in the system, and the number of Sleeper wrecks indicates they are in a site. My blanket scan has a fuzzy signature that gives me a pretty good bearing and range for the ships, so, with a minor adjustment, I cluster my probes around that signature in tight formation and scan. I get a good result. Not great, but definitely good. I warp in to what turns out to be a radar site, aiming to drop far short to reconnoitre only for now, to see a distinct lack of Drakes when I get there.

Resolving two Drakes in a class 2 w-space radar site

My one, quick scan has spooked the pilots, who must have been watching d-scan quite closely to have reacted so rapidly. The site isn't cleared of Sleepers, and loitering for a couple of minutes doesn't have the battlecruisers return to continue. On top of that, calling for Fin to bring a heavy duty ship to the C2b K162 wormhole in high-sec has her scare away a Venture mining frigate new to C3a as she passes through. It doesn't look like it's going to be our evening.

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