No Mammoth, no ghost site

16th February 2014 – 3.33 pm

Two new gas sites should keep Aii happily busy for a little while. Let's see if our static wormhole can do the same for me. Jumping to the neighbouring class 3 w-space system looks pretty ordinary, with a tower and no ships visible on my directional scanner, so I do the ordinary and warp out, launch probes, and perform a blanket scan. Four anomalies and eight signatures, which I soon identify as three wormholes, two gas sites, and a data and relic site each.

One wormhole is the expected static exit to low-sec, which looks like it leads to the Tash-Murkon region, judging by the colours bleeding through. A K162 from class 2 w-space is healthy, and probably where I'll be heading to explore next, once I've swung past the third wormhole, where I see—hello, these colours are unfamiliar. Is that the Cloud Ring in all its glory? Hell yes! Jumping through the K162 from null-sec puts me in the middle of the extraordinary nebula, which is a good find and an amazing view.

I look around for a bit, just taking in the vista, before jumping back to C3a, happy to now have one of the few remaining wormhole colours I've yet to capture. Back to the original plan, but only once I've bounced off the U210 to get an exit that isn't in null-sec. The wormhole indeed takes me to Tash-Murkon, where there are some extra signatures if I need them. Hopefully not, and I return to w-space and warp across to the C2 K162 to look for activity.

A tower and a ship wait for me in C2a, but there are no wrecks to accompany the Ferox on d-scan, so I doubt the battlecruiser is in one of the nineteen anomalies. My notes from nine months ago list three towers in the system, two of them out of range. Wondering if the Ferox is in the third I warp across to see a tower but no ship, but, then, the Ferox has dropped off d-scan completely. That's a shame.

I warp out, launch probes, and blanket the system, picking up seven signatures and a ship somewhere. Exploring finds the other two towers dismantled, and returning to the extant tower holds the ship under my probes, the Mammoth hauler warping away as soon as I manage to get it on to my overview. Where to? Somewhere out of d-scan range, apparently. I take a punt at it warping to a distant customs office, if only because I'd kick myself if it went there and I didn't, but find nothing. Updating my probes, still blanketing the whole system, has the ship gone.

I suspect a wormhole. A quick scan resolves one, and out by the planet the Mammoth warped towards too. It could be the static exit to high-sec, and it could have a Mammoth coming back polarised. What are the odds? I warp across to find out, landing by what turns out to be the static exit to high-sec, leading to somewhere in the Metropolis region most likely, so approach and loiter just in case the rest of my prediction holds true.

Locking on to a Mammoth on a high-sec wormhole

The wormhole crackles with a transit, and a Mammoth decloaks! How about that. I decloak my Loki strategic cruiser, get the sensor booster active, and aim for a positive target lock. I get one too, so I—nope, the lock drops. I try again, get him again, and the lock drops again. The Mammoth warps clear. I have no idea what just happened but I suspect haxxx. I've also blown my chance at catching the hauler. Never mind, nothing more to do here.

Well, there is one more task to do here, and that's to get the high-sec exit. I may as well. I jump out, bookmark the wormhole in Metropolis, and see a Manticore stealth bomber lurking distinctly un-stealth-like on the wormhole. Whatever. I jump back to C2a and hold my position for a minute, but the Manticore doesn't follow. Who'd've thought the stealth bomber wouldn't want to take on a strategic cruiser? Weird.

Manticore sits on a wormhole in high-sec

Scanning the C2 more thoroughly finds a mass-stressed K162 from class 5 w-space, which could be interesting. Jumping through to see a tower and a few ships piques my interest, and although the black hole is not enough to drag my spirit down, locating the tower and finding a lack of pilots is. Back to scanning, and the one anomaly and seven signatures in the system give me four more wormholes to investigate. Sadly, they are just three K162s from null-sec, one at the end of its life, and a K162 from deadly class 6 w-space, also at the end of its life.

Checking the null-sec connections isn't terribly exciting, at least not until I poke through to a system in Malpais where I see a ghost site. That's nifty, and worth exploiting to give meaning to my evening. Sadly, having my Loki lock-up three times on my way home to refit for the ghost site should be taken as the omen of instability that it clearly is. I persevere, though, the vague promise of riches encouragement enough.

Passing a Crane in w-space

On my way back to the null-sec system I even see a Crane transport jump from C5a to C2a as I cloak and move away from the wormhole, but there's not much I can do about that. My warp scrambler has been removed for the ghost site, and the transport is agile and cloaky anyway. I press on, getting to the null-sec system and warping to the ghost site, where I scan the cans to see what goodies they hold. Well, the first can I scan, the second refuses to divulge its information. Yep, my Loki has jiggled its wiring out of place again.

Ghost site in null-sec self-destructs

Knowing that time is of the essence in ghost sites I rush to get my Loki back on-line, but it's not quite fast enough. My ship is back in space and reappears in the ghost site just in time to see all four unhacked and unlooted containers explode in unison. That's just great. At least my ship is in one piece, I suppose. Well, as much as any Minmatar ship can be considered to be in one piece. But I'm a little frustrated. I'm going to home to hide in a corner of the system and whimper.

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