Missing a Venture's a minor adventure

9th November 2013 – 3.51 pm

There's nothing to update at home, just a refresh of our static wormhole. It's straightforward to resolve, and I jump to the neighbouring class 3 w-space system to start today's adventure. My directional scanner is clear from the K162, and my last visit being only three weeks earlier gives me some notes that should be current, disappointingly telling me that the system is unoccupied. I don't feel like I'm having an adventure yet.

Scanning the system reveals four anomalies and eight signatures, holding nothing of interest but the one wormhole. Even that's not terribly interesting, being the typical exit to low-sec that looks like it leads just as typically to Aridia. But I only have one way to go, so I jump out to, yes, Aridia, where I launch probes to look for more wormholes. At least there are five additional signatures to look through.

The first signature I choose to resolve is a wormhole, as are the second and third. The remaining two signatures are relic sites, but three wormholes is a good result. One is a K162 from class 2 w-space, the second a K162 from class 3 w-space, and the third a K162 from null-sec that's throbbing from having a fair bit of mass thrust in to it. I know the feeling. The destabilised wormhole, despite not connecting w-space, is also the more interesting.

What's caused the mass destabilisation of this K162? Ships, obviously. But what ships? I poke through to find out, appearing in a system in Insmother, but alone. Maybe the one other signature in the system is another wormhole, also destabilised, holding the answer to who's been this way. But scanning the signature, whilst ratting to pass the time, resolves only a combat site. Who knows what's been happening here? Not me, and I doubt I'll find out. I'm heading back to w-space.

He ain't no angel

A return to Aridia and across to the C3 K162, which is more likely a dead end than the C2 K162. Entering C3b and updating d-scan sees a tower with no ships, and a blanket scan sees a pretty bare system, with just one anomaly and two signatures. That gives a good chance that the other signature is also a wormhole, but scanning resolves it to be a pocket of gas. Well, it is a dead end, and knowing so gives me more time to see where C2a can take me.

It all looks a bit bleak in C2a. A black hole is immediately obvious, d-scan is clear, and a blanket scan reveals twenty-three anomalies and thirteen signatures. If it weren't for the ship also under my combat scanning probes I'd be sure the system was unoccupied. Then again, the ship disappears from a subsequent scan and probes that almost certainly aren't mine are visible in space, so I still need to explore. And at least someone else is out there, even if it is likely to be in a covert operations boat.

C2a is occupied. There are two towers on opposite sides of the system, so the abundance of signatures just means the locals are lazy. Or the presence of silos shows they are making ISK from running reactions. Or, you know, both. And in preference to waiting for no pilots to arrive to check on their passive income, I sit my cloaky Loki strategic cruiser on the exit to low-sec as I scan.

Gas. Gas, gas, gas. I could go on, but it's nearly all gas, plus two wormholes. The other static connection leads to more class 2 w-space, but the K162 from class 4 w-space is more interesting. I hope the still-scanning scout is floating outside a tower right now, so that he doesn't see me decloak and jump to C4a, but it probably doesn't matter. D-scan shows me a tower and lone mining drone, and that's all. Perhaps the scout isn't from here, though, so I launch probes to scan.

Wormhole and mining barge, together at last

Four anomalies and three signatures will be quick to check, and I resolve gas and balls—a wormhole is under my probes along with a Retriever, the mining barge appearing on my overview too, as it warps in to the local tower. But did he come from the wormhole, or is the result from the probes just a bit fuzzy? I watch for a bit, having hidden my probes, but the miner doesn't do anything. I assume he's seen my probes, but he could be like too many other pilots and just have come on-line for some peace and quiet.

I finish resolving the wormhole and reconnoitre it, seeing a K162 from class 2 w-space. As it's definitely not the one I came through I take a look at the other side, seeing a two towers and a Procurer mining barge. This second barge is interesting, for the five seconds it stays on d-scan, and exploring the system and finding all the towers has the Procurer definitely gone. I don't think I'll gain from scanning further, so turn my Loki around to head back the way I came.

The Retriever in C4a now has a two-frigate escort of a Daredevil and Magnate, although I'm dubious as to the need of such an escort whilst floating passively inside the security of a tower's force field. But the pilots are taking their duty seriously, sticking by the Procurer's side for as long as they are needed, which means I'm watching nothing happening again. I can do that elsewhere just as easily, so leave them to it.

It's not really been much of an adventure yet. Even exploring C2b, through C2a's static wormhole, finds only empty ships. I'm about to give up, when passing through low-sec sees only two pilots in the system and a Venture mining frigate on d-scan. That may be worth looking for, just for kicks. The Venture seems to be in a standard asteroid belt too, and warping in at range sees him chomping on a rock. Yeah, what the hell, I'll have a crack at him.

Venture risks mining in a low-sec asteroid belt

I check that the two pilots in the system aren't allied, and they don't seem to be, and start my approach on the Venture. Even better, the other pilot leaves the system as I line up the frigate, making this an almost risk-free opportunity. I have to react sooner than I want to, thanks to a rock decloaking me, but it shouldn't be a problem. I light my micro warp drive, activate my sensor booster, and watch the Venture disappear. How rum.

Almost getting a positive lock on the cloaky Venture

He's cloaked, of course. Nothing gets past me. It's a bit sneaky, but I know where he was so just keep burning in that direction, hoping to bump in to him and force his cloak to drop. I even try to be smart and deactivate my MWD after the one pulse, not wanting to overshoot my target, and it all seems to work. I get close enough to reveal the Venture, don't zoom right past him, and, well, almost gain a positive lock. The agile bugger warps off a split-second before I can stop him, all the way to a stargate and out of the system. Still, it was a tiny bit of excitement to end the evening.

W-space constellation schematic

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