Catching up with a customs collection

24th July 2013 – 5.21 pm

I've not been out early in a while. Maybe industrialists are sneaking around, hoping to avoid attention. Let's see. Or I would, if our static wormhole lived long enough for me to warp to it. But I suppose having it die now is better than having to wait longer for it to collapse, and the new signature appears quickly enough. I resolve the replacement wormhole, and warp to and jump through it to our neighbouring class 3 w-space system.

My directional scanner shows me nothing from our K162. Combat scanning probes reveal rather more, including ships and drones on top of the eight anomalies and ten signatures. Exploring pulls the ships in to range along with four towers, and although there are a few mining drones visible no ore sites are in range. I check the one rock field that is present in the system and find nothing, although doing so gets me in range of the some more abandoned drones.

Maybe the pilots have been startled back to their towers. I locate all four, all around the same planet, and see a Scythe cruiser and shuttle in one tower, an Orca industrial command ship, Iteron hauler, and Helios covert operations boat in a second, with the other two towers empty of ships. And, sadly, all the ships are empty of capsuleers. It's all quiet, so I scan, knowing that today we have another exit to high-sec through our neighbouring system. And although a second wormhole crops up in my scanning result it's just a K162 from null-sec. I'm going to high-sec.

Getting the high-sec exit lands me in a system in Derelik. Dullerik, more like. Am I right? The null-sec system may offer better opportunity, so I jump back to C3a and warp across the system to the K162, exiting to be in the Impass region. There are pilots in the system too, with rat wrecks and mining drones visible on d-scan, although the locals all scurry away from ore and combat sites to their tower like cockroaches exposed to the light.

Ore abandoned by carebear null-seccers

The ships are easy to find huddled together in a single tower, although one of the miners drops to a pod and warps away. She comes back a minute later, having presumably reconnoitred the ore site for whatever reason, and jumps back in to an exhumer. And, of course, does nothing else. Okay, dull-sec—see what I did there?—I guess I'll have to go back to high-sec to scan. Actually, before I leave, I'll pop those dozen jet-cans of ore left in the rock field. If you're not going to collect or protect them I have no problem being disruptive in this manner. At least the rats in the field want a fight.

Popping the ore cans in the abandoned null-sec ore site

Right, back to and across w-space, and out to high-sec, where this time I launch probes to scan. Four extra signatures result in only one wormhole resolved, although finding a K162 from class 2 w-space is a good result. D-scan is clear from the other side of the wormhole, even if my scanner is not, with thirty anomalies and seven signatures. One planet sitting out of range holds a tower and Magnate, the frigate piloted and perhaps scanning, as I now see a few probes on d-scan. Maybe I can resolve the system's other static wormhole before the Magnate, and catch it there.

Or perhaps I can watch the Iteron come on-line and warp in to the tower. Go on, collect some planet goo. I dare you. But the hauler doesn't move. So did he come on-line, or return from a wormhole. I should probably scan after all. Whizzing probes around finds a wormhole near the tower, which would be a possibility for the Iteron's movement were it not a K162 from class 4 w-space, and at the end of its lifetime. Hitting the centre of the system with my probes resolves gas, gas, gas, and what must be the static wormhole.

I warp to check the resolved wormhole, dropping out of warp next to a disappointingly dying static connection to class 4 w-space, and update d-scan to see the Iteron is now out of the tower. It's possible he's heading out to high-sec, but d-scan says otherwise. He's collecting planet goo, and I'm missing it! I narrow d-scan's beam and interrogate each planet as I swing the beam around, finding the Iteron within a handful of seconds and surging my Loki strategic cruiser in to warp. I even get to the customs office in time to see the Iteron, but he's unsurprisingly already aligning to warp.

Catching up with an Iteron at a customs office

I could pounce now, but I can see that the hauler is not headed back to the tower. He's off to the next customs office. I can catch him trivially there, leaving little point in trying now. I simply align towards his next destination, ensure that the hauler warps that way, and follow behind.

Ambushing the Iteron at its next stop

Sure enough, I drop out of warp to see the Iteron still decelerating as it approaches the customs office. Getting in position so quickly makes it a simple matter to ambush the sluggish industrial ship. I even manage to catch and crack open the pod. Scoop, loot, shoot. Job's a good 'un.

Gooing Iteron explodes

Wreck and corpse of destroyed Iteron

That was a good result. I managed to scan and reconnoitre the system, and still catch the Iteron collecting planet goo. The kill makes up for the dying wormholes making this C2 a dead end, even if it means I am still stuck with nowhere else to go but home. That's okay. I can grab a post-kill sammich and come back later, when the static wormhole will have died and been replaced, giving me a new opportunity for exploration.

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