Bumping in to a Badger

26th October 2013 – 3.44 pm

Safe and sound, away from home. The K162 from class 4 w-space, some fifty kilometres away, remains inactive for the past few minutes, the fleet I jumped in to not sending out another search party. I still need to treat the constellation with care, but it poses no immediate or obvious threat, beyond its innate connection. Of course, the strategic cruiser I initially grappled with wasn't obvious either, neither was the fleet sitting on the other side of the wormhole, but those are just details of living in w-space. I'm sure I'll be fine.

For now, I'll check this class 3 system's exit to null-sec. The K346 looks like it may have a mix of the distant Kor-Azor and The Kalevala Expanse nebulae, but jumping through lands me in the Delve region, with Kor-Azor in the background but mixed in with Stain. Still, it bags me another image for my collection, which I'm pleased with, and I continue to learn my wormhole colours. The system itself is empty, at least to start with, and also a minute later when the four pilots simply pass through, so I'll find a rat to pop for a gain in security status and scan the three extra signatures.

That's not very papal-like behaviour, if you don't mind my saying

I find the Blood Pope, who's actually a bit of a dick, but I don't get to kill him. There's a chance of my salvation yet, all thanks to a pilot entering the system in a Vagabond heavy assault cruiser. He's followed by an orange pilot, which is curious. I'm pretty sure I didn't tag the fleet from the C4, so does this mean the pilot's from C3b? The corporation seems to match, but when the pilot disappears again from the system and he doesn't jump past my cloaky Loki strategic cruiser, now back on the K162, I have to wonder what he's up to. Maybe he's found a convenient ratting route, or perhaps there are more wormholes in the system. Oh, right. I was scanning.

Yep, there's a wormhole, amongst the combat sites, and although it's a connection to class 1 w-space it's a pity it's a Z791 outbound wormhole and not a K162. I wouldn't be surprised if the wormhole were already being scanned from the other side. Still, I've found it, I'll take a look. Jumping to C1a and updating my directional scanner sees nothing, so maybe there is no one to see. I launch probes, perform a blanket scan, and explore the space d-scan doesn't cover. Ten anomalies, four signatures, no ships. A pair of towers sit on-line but empty on the edge of the system, and the signatures hold two gas sites and a static exit to Tash-Murkon, four hops to Amarr. That's good for this system, irrelevant to me. I head back.

Out to null-sec, and in and across C3b to our home system. All looks quiet still, so I keep moving and take my first look through our static wormhole at our neighbouring C3. A tower, no ships, and a black hole. And it's a messy system too, with twenty-one anomalies. If I remember, I'll activate all of those before I leave, just to clean up. Actually, no, I'll only activate the combat sites, leaving the locals a sack of rocks. But, hullo, a Buzzard is now on d-scan, and apparently at the tower. I'd better find it.

The covert operations boat transforms in to a stealth bomber and disappears by the time I reach the tower, but that's cool. I've found the tower and, by doing so, can see how to get out of d-scan range of it. All of the planets are in range, but one rock site, spawned beyond the furthest planet, is just out of d-scan range. What a great place for me to launch probes, so I do just that, re-cloaking before returning to loiter outside the tower, as I scan the seven signatures. My notes even give me a boost by telling me I'm looking for another exit to null-sec, woo!

The K346 is easily found, as it's the only signature weak enough on the results of my blanket scan, so I focus on that one first. Done. What else is there? Gas, naturally, and three more wormholes. Sounds good. But null-sec first. Right, what does this look like? Let me consult the table on approach. Branch, I'm guessing, as the boring background radiation is strong enough to form a ring around the edge of the wormhole from certain angles. Out I go and, oh yeah, welcome to Branch.

It's not an actual welcome to Branch, the six pilots in the system probably rushing back to whatever tower they feel safest in, seeing as there are dozens of rat wrecks littering d-scan and an Ishtar heavy assault cruiser somewhere. I'll leave them to it, and go back to reconnoitre the other wormholes in C3a. One is a T405 outbound connection to class 4 w-space, another a low-sec K162 obviously from Lonetrek, the third a K162 from null-sec that a Helios cov-ops warps away from as I land. It's good I got here a few seconds too late, as you need to be cautious of those little buggers, I hear.

The second null-sec connection itself looks pretty nondescript, and jumping through has my appearing in Esoteria. No wonder I didn't recognise it. More pilots are in the system, with more ratting, and more holing up in a tower as I scarily appear unannounced in the local channel. No matter, as there are no signatures either. Back I go, and the T405 wormhole should be my next obvious choice of destination, but the Helios at large and the obnoxious discovery scanner makes my chances of finding activity in that direction rather low. I'll check low-sec for wormholes instead.

Badger drops on to the wormhole I've just jumped through

This is Lonetrek alright, and that's a Badger landing on the wormhole moments after I move away from the wormhole and cloak. This looks like good timing, but I'm actually feeling a little unlucky, as I'm pretty sure I know how this will work out already. The hauler jumps to w-space, I follow behind him, and as I get a positive lock, disrupt the hauler's warp engines, and start shooting, the Badger returns to low-sec where I am unable to follow, having polarised myself. And that's exactly how it goes.

Badger jumps back to low-sec to evade my Loki

I loiter for a bit, try to deduce where the Badger was going, but can't really work it out with any certainty. It's probably not local to this C3, surely can't be travelling through our home system, and although the chances of it travelling backwards through the T405 are slim it remains a possibility. Wherever it came from, and wherever it is going, the Badger isn't coming back this way any time soon. Or maybe she is.

Just as I make up my mind to look in C4a, the wormhole from Lonetrek crackles and the Badger makes another attempt at getting past my Loki. It's actually pretty easy when I'm not expecting it and have recalibration delay from decloaking to soak up. I watch the Badger warp away from my attentions, and although I am quick in opening the system map to try to locate the right wormhole I don't spin the map enough to find it. Instead, the least likely wormhole is pulled in to view and I warp to our own K162, scratching my head in confusion as I jump home.

Nope, the Badger didn't come this way. At least, I can't believe it did. I return to C3a, and warp across and jump through the T405, the route maybe scouted by the Helios. But despite there being a tower and Bestower on d-scan, the hauler is unpiloted and it and the tower are unaffiliated with the Badger. Back to C3a and to the low-sec K162, where I re-open the system map. A bit more of a tilt brings the wormhole from null-sec in to frame, just above and somewhat beyond our K162. I can let this one slide. I've explored, engaged a Tengu, escaped a fleet, and gathered two more wormhole colours. It's been another full day.

W-space constellation schematic

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