Heron of happenstance

3rd April 2014 – 5.14 pm

I could use a new skill book. Sure, it's for another skill that I may need at some point in a mythical future where I fly a different ship, but as skill training takes finite time it's best to get this kind of logistics out of the way before I actually need it. In fact, we may have a copy of the book in our hangar, which I'll check once I find out what this new signature in the home system is. Gas. Okay, there's probably no one watching, let me look in our hangar. Nope, not the book I'm after. I'd best get myself to empire space.

With one way to go so far, I jump to our neighbouring class 3 w-space system to see nothing when updating my directional scanner. Opening the system map has nothing out of range too, and an adjustment to d-scan's filter suggests new occupation may be difficult. Counting the off-line towers and counting the moons shows that there are still four more places to anchor a tower, though, the invasion-delaying small towers littering the system not quite covering all options. Still, that doesn't help my finding a skill book, so I launch probes to scan.

A blanket scan reveals a mere three anomalies and seven signatures, and as my notes show the previous occupants were here as late as five weeks ago I have to wonder if they moved out after fully depleting their system and getting bored. Hopefully they've found a new home to plunder. What's here now are five gas sites and one wormhole, which is pretty straightforward. I exit to low-sec, through a brand new, totally stable wormhole to a system in Metropolis, nowhere near any seller of the skill book I'm after. Still, there are two extra signatures to poke.

The low-sec system gives me another wormhole to explore through, not a miraculous connection to another empire system with the required skill book for sale, but a K162 from class 3 w-space. My probes even pick up an industrial ship in the general volume of space near the wormhole, but racing it there doesn't find the hauler. He was probably just crossing the system, warping stargate-to-stargate. I hear some pilots do that. Me, I use wormholes, and jump to C3b.

Ah, I appear in the w-space system around seven kilometres from the wormhole. I doubt anyone has been this way in hours. D-scan is clear too. Launching probes and scanning reveals seven anomalies and fourteen signatures, and some ships. My notes come to my aid, pointing me directly towards a tower I last saw five months ago, where all six ships my probes detected float empty inside a force field. I'm back to scanning for wormholes, and I come up with one. Just the one. A K162 from low-sec Domain.

Exiting w-space again gets me no closer to learning a new skill, and two extra signatures in the low-sec system resolve to give me another wormhole, this one an outbound link to class 3 w-space. Whatever, let's see what I can find. Not much, with d-scan clear from the wormhole, and a blanket scan having no ships, just sixteen anomalies and seven signatures. Two wormholes crop up quickly, a K162 from class 4 w-space and a second coming in from null-sec Catch. A third wormhole is found in the inner system, which interests me until I remember I entered through an outbound connection and I've only found the static exit to low-sec. The dying static exit to low-sec.

A Heron frigate on d-scan spitting probes is interesting. It would be more interesting if it were on my overview, and as I can't tell where it is or where it came from there's not a great deal I can do. HR even reminds me that 'Herons are pretty hard to catch', which is true. I should just explore through the C4 K162, and doing so shows that I am too late. A corpse sits on d-scan without even a wreck, and a blanket scan reveals two signatures too weak for either to be a wormhole. Well, one is the wormhole to C3c I just came through, but the other definitely isn't a K162.

Corpse floating near a rock in w-space

My probes reveal a ship somewhere in the system, but it's not exciting. A shuttle in one of two towers, empty. I poke space with d-scan to see if I can find the corpse, and there it is in an ore site. 'Someone beat you to it.' Yep. Unless I see the Heron, that's all for me for tonight. Back through the wormhole and, hey, there he is. It's the Heron, sat on the wormhole, launching probes. How about that.

Locking the Heron on the wormhole

I pounce, not suffering from recalibration delay from decloaking, but forgetting to activate my sensor booster. The slow lock finally completes on the frigate, and a couple of volleys from my autocannons rip apart the tiny, unresponsive ship, ejecting the pilot's pod in to space. That was quick, but not so quick that I didn't get the sensor booster active, making catching the pod a little smoother. One more volley from my guns and a fresh corpse floats before me.

Heron wreck and corpse

The pilot looks to be from C4a, and I'm not sure if finding him here is coincidental or the obvious place to look. Either way, the Heron was a little tricked out, and the pilot's head had some value plugged in, resulting in a six million ISK ship and forty million ISK in implants destroyed. I'm okay with this result. No skill book, but a little bit of unexpected excitement to end the evening keeps me entertained.

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