Aligned for an exit

20th September 2013 – 5.31 pm

Extra signatures in the home system aren't accompanied by foreign ships. Do they lead somewhere? One leads to gas, the other two to wormholes, plus our static connection. That's good so far. Warping around sees a K162 from class 2 w-space, a K162 from class 3 w-space, and a disappointingly dying static wormhole. It's good that I have alternative options this evening. Neither of the two connecting systems by default offers an auxiliary option but an exit from w-space, so I pick the supposedly softer of the two systems and jump to C2a first.

A tower and shuttle appear when I update my directional scanner on the other side of the wormhole, which seems pretty boring. Noting that it is a different tower from seven months ago doesn't spice up the system either, and although the shuttle is no longer visible within a couple of minutes, having the only ship in the system disappear is hardly the kind of activity I'm looking for. But the wreck of a battlecruiser, seen when adjusting d-scan settings, perhaps indicates that the system's security has been compromised and activity levels subdued. Oh well.

Exploring finds a second tower and still no ships, and a blanket scan has one anomaly and seven signatures. The wreck, looted, floats near a customs office. Is it the result of an ambush gone wrong? Or maybe an ambush gone right, given that the pilot belongs to a state academy. I'm not going to find out, I suppose, so I scan. Four wormholes accompany some relics and a bit of gas, giving me a K162 from null-sec, a K162 from high-sec, the static exit to high-sec that's sitting at half mass, and a K162 from more class 2 w-space. That's a good enough result.

Poking through the half-mass high-sec wormhole plonks me in Domain. In Amarr itself, in fact. No wonder the wormhole has been mass-stressed. I think perhaps I could use it myself, but returning to C2a has a Cyclone appear on d-scan, and maybe the system is no longer safe. The battlecruiser turns out to be at a local tower, so I watch him for a bit, not that I know what the lone ship could do in the system. Neither does he, apparently, and the Cyclone remains content with merely floating. I'll see what's through the other wormholes.

The K162 from high-sec also connects with Domain, and is three hops from Amarr. That would normally be enough to see me flying an Orca out to get fuel, but it seems that having a direct connection to Amarr makes logistics feel too easy. Still, I can't help feeling that space is trying to tell me something, something like 'you need to replace that Legion strategic cruiser that got destroyed recently'. Space should tell me its ideas more clearly at the time and not later the next day. Dumb space.

Engaging a rat battleship in the Cloud Ring region

Back to C2a and out to null-sec space, and the Outer Ring region, where I pop a rat but have no further signatures to scan. That's cool, as I have C2b to explore. D-scan is clear back in w-space, and the one planet out of range holds a tower but no ships. It's a messy system too, discouraging me from scanning with another system connecting to our home system ready and waiting to be visited. I can come back here if I need to.

To C2a, where the Cyclone remains inactive, home, and through the K162 to C3b. Again, d-scan is clear and a single planet sits out of range, holding a tower and no ships. A blanket scan of the system reveals eighteen anomalies and ten signatures, and scanning itself has a covert operations boat appear under my probes. Balls to my bad timing. The wormhole it came from, or went to, is an I182 outbound connection to class 2 w-space too, which could have been good to explore. Still, there are three more wormholes in the system, so even though my probes must have been seen there may be opportunity yet.

Accidentally scanning a covert operations boat on a wormhole

The N968 outbound connection to class 3 w-space is good, the static exit to low-sec expected, and a K162 from class 4 w-space is most likely to hold activity. I jump to C4a, hoping that it's a dead end, and see a tower with no ships on d-scan. And it is a dead end, with just one signature in the system, making it easy to ignore the eighteen anomalies and head right back to C3b. The N968 wormhole now has the best chance of catching ships unawares, and jumping to C3c sees a tower, Rorqual capital industrial ship, and nothing out of range. So much for that hope.

Back to C3b and on to C2c, through the clearly active wormhole. Is anyone waiting for me? Nopers. At least, not that I can see. And nothing is visible on d-scan either. Taking a look around the system finds ships, though, with a Cormorant destroyer, Imicus frigate, and Anathema cov-ops somewhere. Not together, and not at a tower, but somewhere. As I consider scanning their location the Imicus warps to the customs office I just happen to be near to, turns around, and warps away again. Well, thanks for giving me an idea of your location, sir.

I warp away from the ships to launch probes, and find two more towers and a piloted Algos destroyer at one of the towers. That's good to know. I warp away again, this time out of range of any towers and ships, but this time see some wrecks on d-scan. Wrecks won't see me, so I launch probes, hide them and hide me, and change my plan. Instead of looking for the ships I'll look for the wrecks, with the plan of catching the ships when they turn up to claim the loot.

As with most plans of mine, this one does not proceed as expected. I 'hunt' the wrecks, get my probes arrange around them, and wait for the ships to arrive, but none do. I scan anyway, expecting to see a relic or data site, but there's nothing there. Just wrecks. And now fewer wrecks, as they start to disintegrate. Do the ships not want this loot? Have I just wasted my time here? I'd shoot them for this, if they had the common decency to warp under my probes. Still, they must be somewhere, so I warp back to where I first saw them to see if they are still there. Kinda.

All that's left of the ships is the Algos, but at least he's out of the tower and in space. Okay, I'll scan for him instead. And as the other site was left to decay I'm expecting to resolve a wormhole, so I don't take much care in scanning. One rough scan, one finer scan, and I've resolved, huh, the ship and a site. Maybe I should have taken more care after all. I warp in to see the destroyer salvaging some Sleeper wrecks, almost finished. I may have a chance of catching him, even though he may be alerted to my presence and ready to warp clear. What the hell, I've come this far, I'm going to have a go.

Approaching an Algos to spring an ambush

I get close to the Algos, decloak, activate my sensor booster, and burn towards my target. I go for a positive target lock but, damn, the destroyer warps clear before I can stop him. He must have licked the monolith and got smart. But what with my presence probably known in C3b, and being rather lackadaisical by taking two attempts to scan his position, it's perhaps no surprise that the pilot was ready to get clear. Still, I saw other pilots and almost got to shoot one, which seems like a good result given recent days.

Why are monoliths in space always black?

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