Avoiding an easy ambush

9th September 2013 – 5.29 pm

A new signature in the home system today is a treat. It seems like a while since something unexpected appeared under my probes, but as it looks a bit weak I don't think there's much reason to get excited. It's probably just some relics or a data site. I resolve it anyway, as I need to know what to do with the site, and, I'll be jiggered, it is a wormhole. Permission to get excited granted!

The K162 from class 4 w-space is healthy, but the state of the system behind it doesn't look good. A tower appears on my directional scanner with a single ship, and I doubt the Archon carrier is up to much by itself. At least I can silently mock the silly placement of the tower. Only two of the six planets in C4a are mutually out of d-scan range, but the occupants have anchored the tower to one of them. Well, it's your choice to let me be able to warp out of range to launch probes, so thanks for that.

I launch probes, blanket the system, and locate the tower. There's no need to mark the locals orange because they are already flagged as red, presumably because we need to punish bad tower placement. I'll get on that, as soon as someone turns up. For now, I'll whizz through the five anomalies and three signatures, giving me a K162 from class 2 w-space heading further backwards through the constellation.

D-scan is clear in C2a, and one of the two planets out of range holds two towers lacking ships or pilots. Scanning the few anomalies and signatures resolves two more wormholes, and although I expect one to lead to high-sec empire space, because of the connection to class 4 w-space, I instead find an exit to low-sec. That will make the outbound connection to more class 2 w-space the other static connection, and I mark my notes appropriately.

Checking the exit lands me in the Molden Heath region, and although there are a bunch of signatures to scan I have more w-space behind me to explore first. Back I go, and on to C2b, where I appear 8·5 km from the wormhole. That's not a good sign. I doubt the Sabre interdictor on d-scan is doing anything but floating empty inside the also-visible tower. Still, my notes from a little over a year ago indicate static connections to class 1 w-space and high-sec, so it's worth a poke around.

Five anomalies, seven signatures. Gas, gas, gas, data, wormhole, wormhole. I wonder what they can be. I coincidentally warp to the wormhole to C1a first, so plough straight it, where I see a tower, some drones, much dullness. Launching probes and blanketing the system reveals six anomalies, eight signatures, and, hello, a ship. It looks to be at the edge of the system, and hopefully it isn't with a tower. And I suppose it isn't, as the Bestower is actually with two towers.

Still, the Bestower is piloted, which could mean he is itching to collect planet goo. Or he's fast asleep. It's hard to tell when looking at a metallic hull. And as a subsequent blanket scan sees a second ship I think I'll look for that. Warping to the centre of the system doesn't find anything, though, where I was hoping for a new arrival at the first tower, so I head back to the second tower to watch the Bestower again. At least, that's the plan.

I drop out of warp outside an empty tower. The Bestower has gone. But what kind of gone? Refreshing my probes has a ship somewhere, so he may be gone collecting planet goo and not gone off-line. That would be terrible timing on my part, so of course I warp back to the inner system to see, well, it's not the Bestower, but an Iteron is somewhere. It's not at the first tower, and spinning d-scan around suggests he is indeed gooing, but can I catch up with him?

I warp to the customs office where d-scan pinged the Iteron but, naturally, he's gone by the time I get there. I look around again, but it seems I've missed him. The only customs office out of range of the inner system is back near the second tower, and heading that way has the Iteron not at the office but, as d-scan shows, at the tower where the Bestower was. It looks like my timing is off tonight.

My timing is really off, because it's also the tower where the Iteron was by the time I get there. It seems the hauler was simply stuffed to the gills with goo and merely dumping a load before going back for more. Here I go again. And here I come back again, barely seeing the Iteron on d-scan in the centre of the system before he's disappeared back to the tower, where at last I catch up with him. At least I confirm that it's the same pilot from the Bestower. Just to prove it, the Iteron is stowed and the Bestower comes back out of the hangar.

Maybe all is not lost. I have missed the Iteron, but another scan sees that mysterious second ship back in the system. I warp to the first tower to see what's going on, only to see the damned Bestower on d-scan back gooing! I swear this pilot has psychic powers, or anti-cloak technology. I don't give up, though, even when I get to the customs office just in time to see the hauler warp back to his tower. I'll wait here, maybe he'll be back for more. Or not. And now I'll give up, as the mystery ship pings on d-scan this time, and it's just a stupid shuttle. Sod the pair of you. I'll scan my way out of here.

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