'Ceptors are scary

6th May 2014 – 5.40 pm

Checking the exit to low-sec takes me to a system in Metropolis, where there is no sign of the Astero frigate or any other members of his corporation. They've definitely moved out of today's neighbouring class 3 w-space system, with a little help from us. There are a couple of other pilots, though, or at least a fairly constant trickle of ships coming and going, which stops my ratting. A few extra signatures in the system is enough to encourage me to scan.

Wormhole, combat site, wormhole. The wormholes are both K162s from class 3 w-space, one healthy and one at the end of its life. I wonder if the C3a corporation just wanted a change of scenery, rather than leaving w-space or shifting classes. Curious to see if I'd bump in to a familiar frigate, I jump to C3b, though the healthy K162, and update my directional scanner. Nothing is within range of my scanner, but I see a Wolf-Rayet phenomenon in the system. That can be an attractive feature, I suppose.

I launch probes and perform a blanket scan of C3b, revealing ten anomalies, five signatures, and no ships. Exploring finds one tower on the edge of the system, where there is obviously no one home and it doesn't belong to the C3a corporation. It would have been more of a surprise if they had moved here, frankly. I'm pretty much just following standard operating procedures for scouting w-space.

I don't so much sift through the signatures as get a perfect result, calling my probes in to a nominal spread and identifying the U210 and four gas sites with a single scan. Of course, I entered the system through the U210, backwards, placing me in a dead end. No activity and no K162s, I return to the U210 and jump back to low-sec.

A quick peek in to C3c has a clear d-scan result and one planet out of range, the dying connection convincing me to rely solely on my combat scanning probes instead of straying from the wormhole. Three anomalies and six signatures, but a whopping twenty-six ships. Then again, twenty-six ships all out of d-scan range, when there is only one planet out of d-scan range. I think it's safe to say they are all empty and floating inside the force field of a tower. But I can't leave it to assumption.

Warping to the far planet sees a force field appear on d-scan, along with all of the ships, mostly industrial. The collection includes Venture mining frigates, and as there is a sole ore site near this planet I point d-scan in a tight beam towards it before looking for the tower. Nothing there. I look for the tower. All the ships are present, none hold pilots. I think I can ignore this system.

Back to low-sec, across to C3a, and home, heading backwards again through a K162 to class 5 w-space where three null-sec connections were found earlier. HR has gone through one of them and is scanning, so I go through another, appearing in a system in Tenerifis holding two dozen other capsuleers along with a Leviathan titan. I've seen one of those before, and the presence of a Crow interceptor is enough to dissuade me from staying long. Nasty little buggers, those.

I head to join HR, who found an N432 outbound connection to more class 5 w-space in the system in Etherium Reach, and is monitoring a scout or two through the wormhole. I loiter on the null-sec side of the wormhole as he identifies a Legion strategic cruiser which he hopes to bait in to engaging him. Just before HR decloaks his own, a Tengu strategic cruiser blips on d-scan, giving us two potential hostiles.

We're both cloaky, they're both cloaky, and there isn't a brick of a Proteus strategic cruiser to deal with. It could be an interesting fight. But they may well have more piloted ships available in reserve, where we are somewhat lacking. We sit on either side of the wormhole in silence for a bit. I realise I could perhaps rat whilst HR continues monitoring the activity in C5b, so I warp to a rock field and start shooting at some drones.

Ratting in Etherium Reach

Yep, C5b is too hot for us, a Stiletto interceptor appearing somewhere in the system enough to convince us of this. If nothing else, that gives the other side at least one extra pilot. HR bugs out, back to null-sec and warping past me, as I continue to whittle down the drone's armour, on his way home. I finish off the rat, thankfully not interrupted by a new pilot in the system, and follow behind my colleague.

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