Another shot at a Noctis

29th August 2014 – 5.30 pm

I locate the tower as the nanite paste repairs the remaining heat damage on my modules. As it turned out, I didn't need to overheat my guns to pop the salvager and the silly mobile tractor unit that stole my plunder, but I couldn't have known that in advance. There were strategic cruisers out and about, creating wrecks for the Noctis, and the Tengus were flanked by fighters from some carrier somewhere. Actually, the Chimera is visible on d-scan, now that I've moved from the wormhole and have increased my directional scanner's range back to its maximum.

D-scan points towards the ninth planet for the tower, and my notes agree, also giving a specific moon from a visit twenty-one months ago. I warp across to that moon, as a good enough starting point, and, hey, it's probably the same tower. The corporation is old enough, I'm just thrown a little by how messy the system is. Holding thirty-three anomalies is an awful lot for a class 3 w-space system, particularly one occupied and that doesn't connect to more w-space but exits to empire space. It's even more, considering the locals have access to the Chimera and strategic cruisers.

Maybe gits like me keep on interrupting their Sleeper time, shooting their salvagers and discouraging them from continuing. Considering that my last visit had my popping two Covetors in my Loki strategic cruiser, even with the mining barges being fifty kilometres apart, back when ore sites were gravimetric signatures that needed scanning probes to be found. And before that, Aii and I popped two Covetors whilst racing against another scanner hunting the same miners in his Legion strategic cruiser. Looking back, it is the same corporation. I think I like visiting this system.

Still, the locals must get their ISK from somewhere. Not from their system, not tonight, but I am curious as to how they can afford all their toys. The Chimera and two Tengus are reduced to a Chimera, Tengu, and Anathema covert operations boat, then the carrier and two Anathemas. One cov-ops warps, returns. The Chimera goes off-line. One Anathema is swapped for a Heron frigate, then Bustard transport, before settling on a Buzzard cov-ops. Maybe the Bustard was a mistake.

A few minutes passes and the Buzzard goes off-line, followed a couple of minutes later by the Anathema. It's just me left in the system, as far as I can tell. Me and a second silly mobile tractor unit that the locals didn't bother to collect. The MTU is simple enough to locate in space, being in an anomaly I have bookmarked, but warping there finds it not worth bothering with. There are four Sleeper cruisers milling about forty kilometres away, three Sleeper guns ready to shoot, and just the one wreck pulled in by the MTU. I don't care to waste so much time and ammunition on a chance of snagging a few million ISK.

Locating the abandoned mobile tractor unit

I leave the MTU and anomaly, warping away to launch probes. Scanning the fourteen signatures, I am not expecting to find any K162s, not with the locals engaged with Sleepers until recently. I find one, though, the static exit to low-sec accompanied by a stable K162 from high-sec. That's not even a wormhole from a dead-end w-space system, but an open leak with potentially anyone coming through at any moment. These guys know how to take risks.

The static exit leads obviously to Aridia, the brown stain seeping through the wormhole like an unfortunate drug side effect. I jump to low-sec, see no one around, and scan the one other signature to resolve a combat site I don't care about. Back to C3a, and across to and through the K162. The system in Metropolis is full of DUST bunnies, eight hops to Rens, and has three other signatures. Scanning finds a combat site, data site, and a wormhole. I was almost hoping for a non-result, just to give me an excuse to go home, but I can poke another system. This wormhole is the same as the one I left, an X702 outbound connection to class 3 w-space. Maybe it too has opportunity on the other side.

Jumping to C3b has nothing interesting to see within d-scan range, which includes the three anomalies and five signatures made plain by the discovery scanner. With only one planet sitting out of range, I won't get my hopes up. I warp away from the wormhole towards the far planet, updating d-scan when closer to see a tower and, hello, a ship. It's a Prowler hauler, which is unlikely to be used to collect planet goo, and if it goes outside the tower it would almost certainly be to head to high-sec. What makes the Prowler even less of a target is its lack of a pilot, made obvious when I locate the tower.

I think I can call it a night. I've had my fun, popping Sleepers, catching a Noctis salvager, and getting frustrated with rubbish structures that don't belong in w-space. It's all entertaining in its way, with interaction with other pilots far surpassing static shooting of structures. I head back to high-sec, across to the wormhole to C3a, and get something of a surprise late addition to my adventure. I'm not really paying attention, not terribly concerned about general travel these days, when I hear the wormhole crackle. It's a Noctis.

A new Noctis is brought home to replace the one I destroyed earlier

It's not just any Noctis jumping through the wormhole to C3a, it's the replacement Noctis being brought home by the new clone of the piloted podded out of the old Noctis. I'm glad I was cavalier in my journey home, warping point-to-point between the wormholes in high-sec to save a few seconds, as it means I can follow behind the Noctis immediately. I don't expect to catch the ship, what with this wormhole connecting w-space with high-sec, but it's worth trying anyway.

I jump to C3a and get ready to pounce on the brand new salvager. He appears, I shed my session cloak and target the Noctis, and he jumps immediately back to high-sec. I don't even get a single shot fired, but I'm still calling this a success. I can't help but imagine how startled the pilot must have been to see me appear and try to catch his return, if he thinks I've been on this wormhole for the past hour waiting specifically for him to return. Nope, pure coincidence, made more brilliant because of it.

Noctis flees my attentions by jumping immediately back to high-sec

I wasn't waiting for the pilot before, there's less point in waiting for him now. The Noctis won't be brought in if the pilot thinks there's any chance I'm still around, and I'm happy to leave him feeling suitably paranoid about the tenacity of some capsuleers in w-space. I warp across the system to our K162, jump home, and hide on the outskirts of our system to go off-line after another fine evening in space.

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