Stealthy bombers

22nd November 2013 – 5.31 pm

Why did we recruit another pilot? It seemed like a good idea at the time, adding to our numbers, making us more capable, but now I've got to find him an entrance and then show him the ropes. Then again, I think he'll be kept occupied if I just show him the drinks cabinet. But an entrance should be easy enough too, with just gas and the static wormhole in the home system. I resolve the connection and jump to our neighbouring class 3 w-space system to see where I am led.

A tower sits on my directional scanner along with, ooh, a Phantasm cruiser. I haven't seen many of them, and maybe none in w-space, but there are no wrecks so I doubt the Phantasm is a valid target at the moment. My notes lead me to the tower, in the same location as from a previous visit eleven months ago, where I see the cruiser is indeed missing a capsuleer. Fair enough. I warp away, launch probes, and perform a blanket scan of the system.

My probes reveal four anomalies and six signatures. Gas, wormhole, gas—and he's my glorious leader. If there's just the one wormhole we may be able to convert the present anomalies in to ISK. So, of course, the next signature is a second wormhole. And there's a third. Never mind. I've resolved the static exit to low-sec, a T405 outbound connection to class 4 w-space, and a K162 also from class 4 w-space. The K162 even has an added Purifier stealth bomber.

Purifier appears near a wormhole to class 4 w-space

The Purifier cloaks and warps as I land near the K162. I don't see his exit vector. I turn my cloaky Loki strategic cruiser around and head towards the low-sec exit, seeing nothing jump when I get there, but I suppose I am rather slower than a stealth bomber. Poking out to low-sec puts me in a faction warfare system in Black Rise, with no oranges in the system. There are core probes, though, but those don't interest me.

I turn back to C3a and warp and jump through the K162 to C4b, where nothing waiting decloaks and d-scan is clear. I take a look around, finding nothing and no one, so launch probes to scan. Again there are four anomalies and six signatures, giving me gas, gas, and an unsurprising wormhole. Curious to see where it comes from I send my Loki in warp towards it whilst I continue scanning, but just as I accelerate away from where I was loitering, the wormhole to C3a crackles, signalling a ship's transit. That's bad timing.

My probes get thrown out of the system in a measure to keep my presence unknown, and I drop out of warp next to a K162 from class 2 w-space in time to see a Manticore jump through ahead of me. The stealth bomber is allied to the Purifier, but alone for the moment, and as it looks like I've found their route, and I am nowhere near close enough to the wormhole to even try to ambush the Manticore, I give it a minute before following to C2a.

Manticore stealth bomber jumps from class 4 to class 2 w-space

D-scan shows me a tower but no ships, but the stealth bombers may well be cloaked elsewhere. Actually, that's pretty likely, particularly as locating the tower shows that this still isn't their home system. Exploring finds no more towers and still no pilots, so I launch probes once more to scan the meagre two anomalies and three signatures. I can only assume that the signatures will all be wormholes: the Y683 I used, the accompanying static exit to high-sec, and a K162. But, no, the third signature is a pocket of gas.

That's peculiar. Where are the stealth bombers from? I resolve the high-sec wormhole and check the exit, appearing in Domain with no oranges and facing a small trek to Amarr. I ignore it and turn around, heading back through C2a and C4b in to C3a, leaving the only other connection as the T405 to C4a. I suppose the other ships could have come from there, even if it's unlikely, so in I go to find out.

Nope, they're not from here either. D-scan is clear from the wormhole, and exploring finds a tower and empty shuttle, still not part of the same corporation as the bombers. This is weird. But whatever, I may as well scan. I warp out, launch probes, and perform a blanket scan of the system in a perfect example of why I take such measures. My probes, nicely hidden out of d-scan range above the ecliptic plane, show me nine anomalies, five signatures, and now two ships.

I warp back towards the tower, cloaked once more, expecting to find an industrial ship, given the chubby size of the new signature. And it is. A Mammoth hauler now sits piloted inside the tower's force field. A newly on-line hauler has got to be worth watching for a few minutes, hoping that he hears the call of the planet goo.

He doesn't hear the call immediately. Nor belatedly. That makes watching the hauler worth it only if you appreciate the design aesthetic of the Minmatar ships. I kinda do, in that I'm continually surprised that they don't vent more gasses, or have girders fly of at the slightest manoeuvre. But that still doesn't really make it worth watching in and of itself. I think it's time to call it a night.

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