Looking for a Drake

27th December 2013 – 5.36 pm

Hello, there are people on-line. What could they possibly want? To come home, it seems. My glorious leader is trapped in high-sec—'thankfully not through death and vat rebirth'—and would like to get home again. 'I could use an entrance.' I'm on it, boss. The start is easy too, with just our static wormhole in the home system, making it straightforward to take the first jump to our neighbouring class 3 w-space system.

My directional scanner is clear from our K162 in C3a, and launching probes and performing a blanket scan of the system reveals ten anomalies, nine signatures, and one ship. I would like to find that ship. This is my seventh visit to the system and my sixth had a tower roughly where the ship's signature sits under my probes, so I warp to where the tower was to find that I am indeed where the tower was, not where the current tower is. The on-line tower is only one moon across, though, and d-scan is already showing me the Incursus frigate, which is not a surprise to find unpiloted.

Time to scan. The signatures are all gas but for two wormholes, the static exit to low-sec and a K162 from null-sec. The K162 is not much of an alternative, either for further exploration or for bringing Fin home, so I dip in to low-sec Domain to provide a bookmark beacon, and consider my options. The handful of signatures in this low-sec system seem like the best place to start looking for more wormholes, and scanning them finds two, plus two combat sites that I ignore.

Scouting the two wormholes gives me an easy choice between the K162 from class 2 w-space and the X702 outbound connection to class 3 w-space, even if the X702 weren't at the end of its life. I know I repeat myself, but it's ridiculous how a potentially unknown outbound wormhole should provide less opportunity than a known-to-be-open K162. It would be like pilots of cloaked ships appearing in the w-space local channel, but other ships only being seen if d-scan is manually updated.

In to C2a, where two crappy rookie frigates fail to interest me on d-scan, and the tower is easy to find with only four planets and six moons in range. One planet is out of range, letting me get my hopes up for another tower holding more ships and some pilots, but there's just a warp bubble somewhere. I'll scan. The mucky pups have data and relic sites everywhere, wasting my time scanning their weak signatures, and the only other wormhole amongst the three anomalies and seventeen signatures is the second static wormhole. It leads to more class 2 w-space.

C2b isn't much different to C2a on first blush, except its missing even the crappy ships and a tower. Looking closer sees that it is unoccupied and, from my notes, probably has a static exit to null-sec. That will make the other wormhole connect to class 5 or 6 w-space. Still, I can poke around for other wormholes, and scanning resolves four of them. The two static wormholes, the other going to a C5 system, are joined by an outbound link to class 1 w-space that would look much better as a K162, as would the second Z647.

I work with what I've got, and pick one of the wormholes and jump through. D-scan is clear, a black hole lurks in the background, and exploring finds no occupation or activity. That should be good enough for me, but I can't resist scanning anyway. Three wormholes here, a K162 from null-sec, another from high-sec, and a static exit to null-sec. Nothing interesting. Back a system and in to C1b. Or that's the plan. A Drake on d-scan stops me before I jump back to C2b, the appearance of the battlecruiser again making me glad I don't warp point-to-point when scouting w-space, allowing my cloak to hold before each jump.

A sweep of d-scan doesn't find the Drake in an anomaly, and now that there is also a Sleeper wreck it seems he is engaging the w-space drones in a data or relic site. That will need to be scanned. Or, I suppose, the Drake will, appearing much fatter under my combat scanning probes than the site will. Either way, it's time to hunt, so I warp out of d-scan range, re-launch probes, and send them high above the ecliptic plane so that the Drake's pilot won't be able to detect them.

Fin's made it home, and so prepares a ship as I narrow down the location of the Drake in space. I manage to get a decent bearing on the battlecruiser, and gauge its range with a bit of a pointless, interface-forced AU-to-kilometre conversion, and naturally get it a bit wrong. Not too wrong, thankfully, so that when Fin gets her ship on the wormhole connecting to this system and I call my probes in to scan the Drake, I get a solid hit. The site is a bit fuzzy, but that is expected and somewhat irrelevant. I recall my probes and throw my cloaky Loki in to warp.

Good combat scan on the Drake

We have already decided that, to minimise the chances of being spotted, I would send my strategic cruiser in to engage the Drake ahead of Fin's appearance. As it turns out, even that plan isn't enough to catch a pilot watching d-scan with a vigilance that sees my probes during their single scan cycle. I warp only to a site with a single Sleeper ship, some wrecks, and a few data cans. The Drake is gone.

Class 2 w-space data site without the expected Drake

I imagine the Drake was a tourist from high-sec, particularly as warping to that K162 in C1a has the wormhole pounding in its half-mass state, which it wasn't when I scouted it a few minutes earlier. Never mind, the hunt was a minor bit of fun and helps keep my skills somewhat honed, even if a successful ambush would have been better. And considering the state of w-space, I don't think the evening will get better. I'd rather end on a high note than press on and lessen the experience. I ignore C1b and just turn my Loki around to head home with Fin.

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