More ratting in null-sec

9th August 2013 – 5.36 pm

A new day, a new adventure. I scan, resolve our static wormhole, and jump to the neighbouring class 3 w-space system. All looks quiet, with my directional scanner showing me nothing, so it's not much of an adventure yet. My notes say C3a was unoccupied a year ago, and as opening the system map sees no planets with moons out of d-scan range I suppose the system is effectively unchanged since my last visit. I also know there is a static wormhole to null-sec to be found, so perhaps I'm just ratting again tonight.

Twelve anomalies and seventeen signatures is plenty, but not too onerous a scanning task for an unoccupied system. The only problem is having to delve down to the weakest signatures to resolve the static wormhole, which means ignoring a lot of gas. I suppose that makes sense, now that rocks have lost their special status and are now mere anomalies. I eventually find the wormhole I'm after, as well as a second weak connection, which is a good sign. I also somehow manage to miss a chubby signature a K162 on coarser scans until the end.

I take the K162 to be a sign of opportunity, but it only is in a roundabout way. The wormhole comes from null-sec, so it's more opportunity for ratting, not w-space exploration. The other weak connection could be good, though, being an outbound link to class 5 w-space. And jumping to C5a to see what I can find has a Prowler transport, Phobos heavy interdictor, and bare tower on d-scan. I move from the wormhole and cloak, wondering if the transport is piloted and a potential target, then sidle back towards the wormhole as a second update of d-scan now sees a Moros dreadnought.

Have the locals already spotted the new connection in to their system and are planning to collapse it? That damned discovery scanner will be the death of me, instead of the unfortunate deaths of other capsuleers. An Orca industrial command ship appears on d-scan too, as well as core scanning probes. As I'm not moving from the wormhole I check my notes, seeing that I was in this system seven weeks ago when it was unoccupied, and although there is a static wormhole to more class 5 w-space I may be forced backwards before I can find that.

Sparse class 5 w-space system

Oh, I remember this system. Opening the system map shows that there are only two planets, one with moons. I doubt I'll be catching that Prowler collecting planet goo. But it makes for a relatively compact system, even if the other planet and star sit out of d-scan range of all the moons. I risk warping away from the wormhole to check for activity and, nope, find nothing else, so even take a minute to locate the tower. I find it, and see that the Moros, Phobos, and newly appeared Buzzard covert operations boat are piloted.

Pilgrim jumps past me to class 3 w-space

The probes have dropped off d-scan. So what now, Mr Buzzard? I dunno about him, but a Pilgrim recon ship passes me back on the wormhole, where I feel a bit safer. He's not local, and could be the source of the probes, and I just watch him go. I don't think my Loki liked its previous fight with a Pilgrim. And he doesn't come back. Neither does the Buzzard make an appearance in this direction. I suppose I should scan forwards or head backwards.

I scan forwards. There are eight anomalies and thirteen signatures clustered nicely around the two celestial objects, and it takes little time before I confirm eleven gas sites, C3a's K162, and the H296 wormhole. Moving on, I jump to C5b, where a tower and no ships, with nothing out of range, means I'm scanning again. Seven anomalies, five signatures, holding a static connection to class 3 w-space. I resolve the static wormhole, as well as a K162 from class 5 w-space, which may be the home of the Pilgrim. I jump through to find out.

C5c has the Buzzard from C5a on d-scan, but I can't tell where he is or why he's not cloaking. He disappears for a minute before returning, perhaps through a K162, considering my notes have this system being unoccupied from six weeks ago. Back on scan, and off again. Maybe he's coming back. Yep, there he is, on the wormhole jumping to C5b. I consider giving chase, but the odds of my catching him are so slight I simply don't have it in me tonight. Instead, I warp around C5c, confirm it remains empty, and head back to C5b without scanning. Whatever the Buzzard found, it didn't seem interesting.

Buzzard passes me through a wormhole

I press on from C5b through its static wormhole to C3b, which looks empty on entry but exploring finds a tower with no one home. Scanning puts this system at the end of the constellation, once again null-terminated, so with exploration over it's time to rat. Where better to start than through C3b's static exit, which takes me a system in Deklein where a Stiletto is the only other ship in the system. The interceptor doesn't stay, though, so I find a rat in a rock field, engage it, and lightly panic as a battlecruiser fleet with support enters the system.

I warp away from the rock field and cloak near the wormhole, hoping the fleet is just passing by, and they are. Returning to the rocks has the rat waiting for me, and I manage to drop his battleship deep in to armour before the fleet returns from wherever they went. I can't be bothered with warping to and fro, so simply align back to the wormhole and hope a cloaky scout isn't already watching, and I wait for the rat to explode before warping at best speed out of the asteroid belt. I have no idea what the fleet is up to, but I wouldn't be surprised if they brake for ratting strategic cruisers.

Mild excitement over, I return to w-space and through C3b, C5b, and C5a to C3a. The K162 from null-sec leads to a system in Impass with a bunch of pilots, probably not passing through, so I ignore them to try C3a's static wormhole instead. I pause briefly when d-scan shows me an Anathema cov-ops and Viator transport in C3a, but I can't place them and don't care to chase cloaky ships at this late hour. I just jump to a system in Outer Ring, see that I'm alone, and look for a good rat to shoot. Is a Serpentis Grand Admiral good enough?

Engaging a rat battleship in null-sec

The battleship isn't so grand as a wreck. And I'm spent. I return to C3a, ignore the scanning Anathema, and jump home. Unsurprisingly, a new signature has popped up, no doubt the source of the new ships, and I resolve it to be a K162 from class 4 w-space. I can't resist a quick nose through the wormhole, but all I find is an unoccupied and empty system, 70 AU across, holding a black hole. I suppose that gives us a little buffer zone, and someone else a chance to scan. I'm too sleepy.

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