Collapsing for a better system

21st June 2013 – 5.18 pm

A quick sweep of the home system reveals a new anomaly we can plunder for ISK, but no new signatures. Moving on to the neighbouring class 3 w-space system has nothing visible on d-scan from the wormhole, but I expect that in a system almost 200 AU across. C3a is also fully scanned and mapped from earlier, but still I launch probes. I'd rather do so out here, on the edge of emptiness, than when I get to where I see activity and need to warp away and back again, wasting time. But, as it turns out, there's nothing to see.

The same six unpiloted ships remain unpiloted at the tower, and my probes identify the same signatures as earlier. It looks like I'll be visiting low-sec to scan for more connections. Or, at least, it does until I finally warp to the static wormhole, only to see it in its dying stages. I have run out of options early again, so I suppose I'll be collapsing our static wormhole for a second time today. It can get a little tedious, to be honest.

Some massive ships stress the wormhole until it can take no more, and I end up warping away from empty space in the home system towards our tower. Operation complete, I get back in to my cloaky Loki strategic cruiser and scan once more. Hopefully the third time's the charm. And it very well may be. Updating my directional scanner from the K162 in C3a sees a Mammoth hauler and no tower. A target, how exciting!

The Mammoth disappears on a subsequent update of d-scan, which could mean it's gone through a wormhole, to a different customs office, or back to its tower. I can't warp to an unknown wormhole, and the hauler will be safe inside its tower, so I can only really act on the Mammoth having gone to a customs office. I open the system map, see that three planets are out of d-scan range, and pick the customs office of one of them arbitrarily to warp to.

There's no Mammoth at this customs office, but there's one on d-scan. I don't think I've missed it, as there is also a tower and three more haulers, all Iterons, now on d-scan. I locate the tower at one of the few moons around the planet, but the Mammoth has gone by the time I get there. I would say that's a good sign. I saw the Mammoth out, and it returned to its tower. That it has gone out again is probably a good indicator that the cycle will repeat, the pilot making multiple trips. I just need to be a little patient.

Sure enough, the Mammoth warps back almost before I've tagged the local corporation and bookmarked my position at the tower. I watch carefully and, as expected, the hauler turns back towards the inner system. And, indeed, right back to where it just came from. There she goes again, and I'm following. My Loki makes a tight turn and enters warp responsively, making me confident that I'll catch the Mammoth easily enough. So confident, in fact, that I decloak and get my systems hot at the first sign of the hauler at the customs office.

Ambushing a Mammoth at a customs office

Minmatar haulers really aren't held together well. I think their cargo provides most of the ship's structural integrity. But they are lubricated with plenty of oil, so it seems, judging by the way they explode. Flames everywhere! I aim for the pod but she's already gone, probably blasted in to warp by the explosion, leaving me a couple of expanded cargoholds to loot. I don't think I have any of them.

Flames everywhere!

Mammoth's pod survives its flaming destruction

I shoot the wreck, launch scanning probes, and reload my guns, performing a blanket scan of the system as I warp towards the tower. All looks cool, as I get a conversation request from Elspeth Askold. Why does that name sound familiar? 'Killed by the Tiger Ears.' Ah, I popped a reader. I like pressing the flesh, as it were, even if hers got away from me.

I find it difficult to ambush a friendly pilot twice, more so when they don't leave their tower again. I'm left scanning nineteen anomalies and eight signatures, resolving only a half-mass static exit to low-sec that's of any interest. But I'm not really interested in even that, but I think that's okay. I've had some exploration and a big explosion that I wasn't in the middle of, which makes for a satisfied Penny. I head home happy, to go off-line.

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