Bumbling behind a Bestower

9th July 2013 – 5.47 pm

All looks clear. What do my probes say, with their greater reach? All looks clear, although there are two extra signatures in the home system. Go get 'em, boys! It's just rocks and gas in equal measure, so home defence can stand down. But let's see if can provoke some external defences, hopefully too late to stop me. I warp to our static wormhole and jump to the neighbouring class 3 w-space system.

My directional scanner shows me a Cheetah, tower, and some bubbles, but there are no probes to indicate the covert operations boat is active. My last visit to the system was eight months ago, and d-scan suggests the tower is in the same location as before, so I warp in the opposite direction to launch probes pre-emptively. The tower is in the same place, with the Cheetah piloted inside its force field, and my blanket scan reveals five anomalies and six signatures. Shall I ignore the pilot and scan? I think it's probably best to. He's not moving, and I'll be quick.

In fact, only one signature has my probes within d-scan range of the tower. Two, I suppose, if you count our K162, which sits maybe a couple of hundred kilometres inside d-scan's limit, but I don't need to resolve that. Not this time. I'm getting pretty reliable at bookmarking the way home. Okay, scanning finds rocks, rocks, a wormhole, a magnetometric site, and a second wormhole, which means it's bye bye Cheetah, as I have somewhere to explore.

Popping out to low-sec first, through C3a's static wormhole, puts me in a rather uninteresting faction warfare system in Metropolis. It's pretty dull, and sends me right back to C3a and warping to the second wormhole. Sadly, the K162 from class 5 w-space is wobbling away at the end of its life. I suppose I'll be scanning low-sec after all. But before I do, I bounce off the tower, partly to check on the Cheetah but mostly to stave off potential polarisation effects. And it's good that I hit the tower, because the Cheetah is now a Bestower.

Swapping boats for a hauler is almost a sure sign that the pilot will be heading out to collect planet goo. It takes him a little while to work up the resolve to do so, maybe downing a few shots helped, and when he does he warps to empty space. That's weird, until I realise that he's warped to safe spot configured to avoid the warp bubbles placed around the tower, and then it becomes weirder. But whatever, I'll catch you in the inner system.

Seeing the Bestower drop off d-scan indicates he's warped to another planet, so I push my pre-aligned Loki strategic cruiser towards an arbitrary customs office and hope to get lucky. Of course, I don't, so I'll have to give chase the hard way, by spinning d-scan around on a tight beam and trying to catch up with the hauler. I spy the Bestower at one planet, but am too slow to see him there. His next destination is revealed within a few seconds of d-scan use, but again I cannot get there before he's left.

The next destination is muddled by having two planets close together, and I manage to pick the wrong one. Well, probably the wrong one, or maybe the Bestower warped before I got there. He's off d-scan now, but having only visited a few planets I have a hunch he's dumping his cargo at the tower and will be back. I warp to an unvisited customs office and wait for his return, but it turns out I chose poorly. The Bestower's back in the inner system but not on my overview, so I am back to chasing him. Chasing and missing, just like before.

He's gone again. Maybe the hauler's got another full load, and maybe not. I wait a minute longer than his previous disappearance before deciding to check on him at the tower. Sure enough, the piloted ship is floating passively inside the force field, apparently finished collecting all the goo he intends too, having successfully, if perhaps ignorantly, evaded my attentions. I'm pretty sure he's not going back out, if only because the pilot's now in an Abaddon battleship. And he's back to doing nothing. As am I.

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