Not even an Epithal

23rd November 2013 – 3.39 pm

New sites and new signatures are in the home system. The signatures are more pockets of gas, apparently already resolved and bookmarked, and another will be our static wormhole. But that leaves another unaccounted for, so what is it? No, not a white hole, but a K162 from class 5 w-space, which I find out by consulting the corporate bookmarks. Our new recruit has been on-line earlier and has scanned a little bit, which is handy. Warping to the K162 finds it in rude health too, so it may be worth seeing what's on the other side, even if it was opened hours ago.

Two towers, a Dominix battleship, and an Epithal hauler are visible on my directional scanner in C5a, and a magnetar phenomenon is visible in the background of space. Notes, why don't you tell me about the towers. Only one tower from a visit two months ago, you say? Well, who am I to believe: my notes, or d-scan? My notes are pretty reliable; after all, I make them myself. But I have to find some way to resolve this issue.

D-scan says both towers are in the same direction, and where the one tower was previously, so assuming it's not completely lying to me I warp that way. I trust my notes and land near the moon holding the tower I'm expecting to see, which would give me one more to find, but, no, both towers are new. The old one is gone. Sorry, notes, but d-scan wins this round.

Locating the new towers is straightforward enough, and I update my notes to reflect the changes, as I drop outside the tower with the two ships, both piloted. I prefer the look of the Epithal to the Dominix, even if the hauler can be tricked out to thoroughly frustrate the very pilots that give value to industrial activities in dangerous space. Maybe the damage amplification caused by the magnetar can offset the Epithal's evasive capabilities.

Of course, I am jumping the gun a little. Whilst it is reasonable to expect a planet gooing hauler to collect planet goo, he may have already made his rounds. Naturally, that doesn't stop me watching and waiting, and I even remember—on about my third reminder—to orientate myself with the wormhole back home, in case a trip to empire space is attempted. But the Epithal blinks off-line, making these more minutes wasted.

Now what, Penny? Scan backwards in this C5, looking for K162s with an idle Dominix in the system, or head forwards through our static wormhole? Forwards, I think. So I leave the battleship behind, cross the home system, and jump to the class 3 w-space system beyond. A tower and no ships on d-scan is hardly a new experience, neither is having nowhere to hide in a small system. I launch probes at the wormhole, perform a blanket scan, and warp away to locate the tower.

Rogue planet orbits far from the more sociable celestial objects

Oh, zooming out of the system map a little more, in order to arrange my probes at their maximum range, reveals that handy, moonless planet some 76 AU away. That's probably a convenient place outside of d-scan range of any tower where I could launch probes. But never mind, it's done now, and there probably wasn't anyone watching anyway. My probes show me five anomalies, nine signatures, and no ships, and my notes feel better about themselves by pointing me directly towards the tower that was here ten months ago. Good notes, have a biscuit.

Scanning finds gas, data, data, gas, gas, gas, a wormhole, and some more gas. It's a pretty standard result, and checking the wormhole has my jumping to a high-sec system in Devoid. High-sec, but with an Incursion in progress. No, I don't want to join another comms channel, thank you. I quite enjoy the quiet of w-space, where few dare to speak in the local channels, so being thrown in to one that is spat on top of my private channels, sharing none of the settings of those channels, is a little irritating. But it's also easily ignored.

There are plenty of signatures in this high-sec system. Maybe they are Incursion-related, but maybe they aren't. I'll only find out by scanning, so I launch probes and take a look. Combat site, combat site, combat site, combat site, combat site, and the K162 I'm sitting on. I think they actually are Incursion-related, like the majority of the thirty-one anomalies also present. So now what? System hop and scan again, go back to loiter with intent in C5a, or give up early?

I don't care to find K162s in high-sec right now, so system hopping is unattractive. Giving up early is quite tempting, but seems like quitting. No one likes a quitter. So I head back through C3a, across the home system, and take another look in C5a. I update d-scan from the wormhole, see the same Dominix alone in one of the two towers, and jump straight back through the wormhole to our home system, where I find a quiet corner to hide in and go off-line, still not a quitter.

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