Scanning, hacking, refuelling

8th August 2013 – 5.45 pm

I'm heading home in my heavy interdictor. Heavy with corpses, that is. I drop off the four ex-miners in to our hangar, swap back to my cloaky Loki strategic cruiser, and head back down the chain to where I dropped on them in my Onyx. Passing through our neighbouring class 3 w-space system to reach the class 2 scene of the crime has nothing appear on my directional scanner, which is quite a change from the seven Retrievers I saw the first time I entered the system this evening. You could say I killed the mining operation.

The wormhole in to C2a is one of the system's two static connections. The other I know to lead to high-sec empire space, which I can't say I'm interested in, so instead I'll see what's through the K162 from null-sec in C3a. Null-sec space, that's what. But null-sec space in the Tenal region empty of other capsuleers, which gives me an opportunity to rat to regain some security status. I've been hoping to do this for a few days.

I scan as I rat, finding a ship to pop in a rock field whilst the only other signature in the system resolves to be a combat site of no interest. Not wanting to stop just as I start, I hop through a stargate to a second system and, seeing I'm still alone, continue to rat and scan. I pop a rat, find a combat and relic site each, and move on. Hop and pop, two combat sites. A couple of capsuleers enter the system whilst I'm in the rock field, but I bug out and they leave the system without our paths crossing.

Loki versus null-sec rat battleship

Another stargate hop, another clear system, this time with three signatures. And, thankfully, as I pop another rat, and the first rat battleship I've managed to find so far, I also resolve one of the signatures to be a wormhole. As much as ratting helps my security status, w-space is where I like to be. I warp to the wormhole, identify it as a K162 from class 2 w-space, and jump through, where my directional scanner shows me a tower and no ships. That's okay, as I can resolve the second static wormhole for more w-space exploration.

Phew, I'm glad anomalies don't need to be scanned, as thirty-nine of them would take some time to sift through. Eleven signatures isn't bad, and as it's almost all gas the chubby signatures are quickly ignored to leave me with a couple of wormholes. Another K162 from class 2 w-space would be good if it weren't at the end of its life, and the second static connection, leading to class 5 w-space—the natural pairing for the null-sec connection—has been destabilised and is on the verge of collapse. That's a shame.

I ignore both sickly wormholes in C2b and head back to null-sec, where I have one more system left in the circuit. Hop, pop a rat, no signatures to scan. Okay, time to go home. But only temporarily. The relic site I resolved in null-sec interests me. The hacking mechanic seemed pretty tedious when done in a simple site in high-sec space, and without much reward, so I'm keen to see how it differs in null-sec. Back at our tower, I fit a relic analyser to my Loki and head back to the null-sec system, at which point I see a Buzzard covert operations in C3a, warping from the tower to launch probes. Duly noted, but I don't care right now. I jump to null-sec, hop through a stargate or two, and warp in to take a look at the relics.

Relic site in null-sec

Rather than arbitrarily clicking on every node as quickly as I can, I try to see what's actually happening. Not much, I think. Not that I can really tell, even though I skimmed through a guide to hacking recently. The first can spews loot everywhere, and I grab some salvage parts as the pair of pilots I saw earlier make a return to the same system as me. I move away from the can and cloak, waiting for the two pilots to move on again. I think they want catch me, though, as they don't simply pass through this time. That's okay. I can wait. I know how to wait.

Eventually the pilots move on, and I'm left in the relic site in null-sec by myself. I attempt to hack in to the second can, and manage to fail. A second failed attempt has the can self-destruct too, which would be more disappointing if I'd ever seen good loot in one of them. Instead I move on to the next can, and exercise a little more caution in clicking on every node, doing so just a bit more slowly now. The other cans are hacked without trouble, and I get maybe a hundred million ISK in salvage parts for my troubles. I suppose that's not so bad, but I can't say I'm hooked on the process. In fact, I'd be hard pushed to say anything particularly positive about hacking or the grab for the loot. It just is. Ratting is more engaging, hacking makes more ISK.

Null-sec hacking experience, I'm going back home. The Buzzard that was in C3a has gone, and I wonder if he hit high-sec through C2a. And if he did, will he come back? It's maybe worth a look, so after dropping off my loot I return to a still-quiet C2a to scan. Four anomalies and four signatures take no time to resolve, giving me gas, gas, and the second static connection. The wormhole to high-sec is super-stable too, so it looks like I've only just opened it. I wonder if the miners thought their other wormhole was closed? Either way, I jump through to the get the exit system for safety, appearing in the Domain region six hops from Amarr, and return to C2a.

What now? Ah, I remember that the static low-sec exit in C3a was EOL when I resolved it earlier. Maybe it has now died and been replaced, which was what the Buzzard was looking for. That would give me more to explore, but flying past it sees the wobbly wormhole still very much there. Perhaps I won't ignore that high-sec connection after all. I have some time and an Orca industrial command ship at my disposal, I could buy and sell some goods.

I get home, swap my Loki for the Orca, load it up with all the booty I've stolen and honest loot we've recovered from Sleepers, and head to high-sec. The Buzzard is back in C3a as I pass through, and I can only hope that he doesn't spot me, but C2a remains empty. I get to high-sec, start on the six-hop journey, and luckily manage to cancel it before entering warp to the first stargate. I change my autopilot settings to prefer high-sec, and head off in a different direction for a safer eight-hop journey that doesn't take me straight to low-sec in an expensive industrial ship.

Getting to Amarr, selling and reprocessing loot, and buying fuel blocks is straightforward, as is heading back to the wormhole. But will anyone be waiting for me when I get back to w-space? The high-sec system holding the wormhole holds no capsuleer of note, and jumping to C2a has the wormhole and d-scan clear. I warp to the next wormhole and jump to C3a, where the wormhole is clear, d-scan is clear. One more to go, and I cross C3a to get to our K162, jumping home to see the wormhole is clear, d-scan is clear. I enter warp and return to the tower safely, after a thankfully uneventful trip. I store the fuel blocks, stow the Orca, and go off-line in my Loki. It's been a rather full evening in space.

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