Uncovered by a cov-ops

2nd June 2013 – 3.33 pm

Spies! In my channel! Kickity-kick, spies no more. I bet they are responsible for the new lack of anomalies in the home system, indirectly of course. But that's cool. We've just recently cleaned up the most profitable of the home anomalies, raking in the ISK from them quite deliberately before another ransacking fleet came flying through, so all they've done is clear up the system for us a bit. Thanks, chaps. Apart from that, there is only the static wormhole of interest, so whoever came through is thoroughly gone.

Exploring through our wormhole has my directional scanner showing me nothing from the K162, with one planet sitting out of range. A passive scan revealing nineteen anomalies says that the system is unoccupied. My notes say that planet holds occupation, if it hasn't moved from six months earlier. And my notes are right again. Have another biscuit. There are no ships, though, and no one home, so I launch probes and sift through the mere nine signatures.

A skinny wormhole is a nice find, and the chubby one will be the static exit to low-sec. That's it for wormholes, and as the U210 takes me to uninteresting Tash-Murkon I stick with w-space and warp to the other wormhole in C3a, a neat-looking V301 outbound connection to a class 1 system. Neat-looking, but probably still terminating the constellation.

One salvage drone is visible on d-scan in C1a, and it isn't in one of the four anomalies present. I'm not really interested in the drone in itself, though, so I launch probes, blanket the system, and warp off to explore. Twelves signatures, two towers, no ships. And two wormholes, the static exit to high-sec being disappointingly joined by a K162 coming also from high-sec empire space, and being at the end of its life.

Sansha's rat battleship in low-sec

Eschewing high-sec for low, I return through C3a to the system in Tash-Murkon to scan. Being by myself lets me rat too, and I pop a juicy rat battleship foolishly carrying an armour repairer blueprint copy in its hold whilst resolving what turns out to be an X702 wormhole. Finished with this system, I jump to C3b where core scanning probes are already on d-scan. Has this K162 already been noticed as new? That could put a crimp in my plans to ambush whoever may be here.

My notes suggest three towers sit on a distant planet, but now there is only one, and still there are no ships to be seen. At least the probes in the system don't belong to anyone watching intently for new connections opening, and there may well be a K162 amongst the three anomalies and six signatures my blanket scan reveals. And a ship? I think I may have warped away from the K162 at the wrong time, as it looks like whatever scout was scanning has found the wormhole I came through and used it himself. Maybe I can get back in time to see his return, and maybe catch him polarised.

Actually, it's just as possible, and maybe more likely, that the scout went through this system's static exit to high-sec, but I only know of the one wormhole so far, so it makes sense to wait there. And to scan whilst I wait, to increase my options. Sure enough a wormhole crops up almost on top of the low-sec K162, just as the K162 flares. A Cheetah appears, which I would let cloak and warp without even trying to stop him, with covert operations boats being notoriously slippery, if it weren't for the cov-ops almost bumping in to my strategic cruiser, stopping me being cloaky in my Loki.

Bumped by a Cheetah on a wormhole

We're both visible and relatively vulnerable, so I get my sensor booster active and futilely try to gain a target lock on the Cheetah as my sensor systems recalibrate from being cloaked. But I get a positive lock, the Cheetah choosing a curious path of running straight through my ship and the wormhole instead of trying to get clear to cloak. He has speed on his side, though, and is already out of warp scrambler range. But he still can't cloak, not whilst targeted, so I get my own micro warp drive hot and burn towards the Cheetah, autocannons chattering tentatively towards the cov-ops.

I'm not quick enough. Or he's quicker. Either way, the Cheetah enters warp before I can get close enough to shut down his drives. I could follow him, if I thought it was worth it, and if I had that other wormhole resolved by now. Which I don't, and I don't. One more scan gets the wormhole in to focus, however, and my curiosity as to where it leads is enough to get me warping in that direction. It's only a K162 from null-sec k-space, though, which is pretty boring as wormholes go.

I continue scanning C3b and resolve two more wormholes. Another dull null-sec connection destabilised to half mass accompanies the static wormhole, the most interesting aspect of my finds being that the high-sec exit is a mere three hops from C3a's low-sec entrance. And, yeah, that's not particularly interesting. Preferring wormholes to stargates, I turn around and head home through w-space, having found little but quiet systems. But loosing a few rounds towards a stray cov-ops spiced up an otherwise ordinary evening's exploration.

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