Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Spooking a Vargur

It's the AM, and I am out hunting in my Manticore.  Bookmarks from last night are valid; my system has only its static wormhole.  I cross into an eerily deserted C4b.  Most systems in wspace have customs offices at each planet, usually player-owned but sometimes Interbus.  Rarely you see systems like this one, with no COs at all.  Such systems are rarely occupied, and this is no exception.

This system is not scanned.  I guess my colleague just instatiated our own wormhole, per company policy, but did not cross.  OK, I can work with that.  I purge the old bookmarks from last night's roam, and realize too late I also deleted the bookmark to the wormhole in my system.  Oh well, have to re-do that one later.  I deploy probes and get cracking.  There are two other wormholes incident.  One is to C2, the other to C5.  I go to C2a first, since that will get me a highsec access just in case something happens.

C2a is quite dull.  But I do get my highsec.  I wait outside five minutes.  Then I come back in.  This system has a couple wormhole connections, but I think I will try the C5 from C4b next.  I am hoping to ninja mine core gas if I cannot find anyone, and it is closer to home.  I warp across C2a, jump back into C4b, then cross to the wormhole and jump.

C5a has one tower, and dscan shows nobody around.  I check the system size: medium.  Everything is in range except one outer planet which has no moons and no sigs.  Nothing to find there.  OK, I'll scan.  I move off the wormhole, fire probes, then cloak.  Now I get busy scanning.

My first order of business is to check for core gas sites. There are two sigs out of the nine that are appropriately low in signature.  (You can tell this by the size of their sig-bubble; lower signatures have bigger bubbles.)  I ignore all the other sigs, then scan down these two.  The first is a data site: ignored.  The second is another data site.  Ignored.

There's no good gas.  But there are still the other seven sigs.  I'll look for more wormholes.  I de-ignore everything, then re-ignore the two data sites.  There's a few of the sites that got scanned down into points incidental to the earlier scanning.  So I start with these.  Since I was scanning using 4AU probe distance, I should be able to use 1 AU on these.

The first sig is a wormhole, which I warp to.  It is a nullsec.  This opens a new possible activity: maybe I will ghostbust later.  I sit at the wormhole while continuing to scan.  There's a low-value gas site -- ignore.

There is a second wormhole which I almost get on the first try.  As the second scan runs, I notice there is a Heron on grid.  My torps won't do much to him, particularly if he moves.  Even so, I can kill him if I get close and he just sits there.  I am cloaked, of course, and I am 20km off the wormhole.  So I cannot close quickly.  But I start heading at him anyway, on the off chance that he's an idiot and just sits there uncloaked until I crawl into scrambler range.  But before I get more than a few thousand meters, he cloaks.  He seems to have come in from nullsec.  Strange that I did not hear it.  Hmm.  Well, it's too late to hide my probes; unless he's an idiot he knows someone is around.  I'll keep scanning.

The remaining sigs go down quickly.  I find the static, which is both EOL and highly disrupted.  (Won't be going there.)  I find a connection to further C5 space.  And then I find two more nullsec wormholes.

I occasionally dscan, trying to see if there are probes out from the Heron.  Strangely, I never see any.  However I do see a new ship on dscan: a Vargur.  Is it at the tower?  It appears to be.  But it disappears while I am still finding the tower among a swirl of moons.  I have my dscan range reduced to find the tower, so I try again using max range: nothing.  The Vargur is no longer in system, or else it cloaked.  It probably logged out.  I bookmark the tower anyway, just in case.  I am hoping the Vargur logged out and I will see an Epithal or something else I can gank log in.  But this does not happen.

After a few minutes of lurking about, I guess the Vargur pilot is not logging back in.  What should I do with myself?  Well, I have a route to nullsec, so maybe I'll do some ghostbusting.  With three different null possibilities, at least one should lead to a nice idle area of null.  So, I warp to the first nullsec wormhole to pop out and look around.

I pop out.  The first thing I notice is one guy in local.  Boo.  But I also notice there is a ghost site.

The local is probably idle, explaining his non-running of the ghost site.  Or perhaps he simply has anoms off and has not noticed it yet.  Or, perhaps he's an explorer in a light ship.  That Heron I saw, maybe.  Those seem like the most likely possibilities.

Ghost sites are quite variable, but some have some very nice treasure.  I want it.  Should I wait out my polarization?  I figure being faster to return is worth the small risk of being killed because polarized, so I duck back into C5a immediately.  There's nobody waiting there, and I warp back to C4b, and then home to C4a.  Then I reship into my ghostbusting Tengu.  I have to pause to re-scan my wormhole out, but this is easy since its 3D location is shown on my system map.  Then I fly to the wormhole, remember to bookmark it, and traverse, again risking polarization.  Then back into C5a, and across to the nullsec exit.

Out in null, the guy is still in local.  I move off the wormhole, fire probes, and cloak.  These are combat probes, loaded back when I scanned in my system.  I doubt I will be able to find this guy, or I will find him at a tower.  If he is at a tower he is probably idle/AFK, I can run the ghost site fairly safely. But if he is exploring or otherwise not AFK, I hope that my probes will scare him off.  So I want them to be seen.  I don't do anything tricky; I first cover the whole system with 32AU probe distance.  There's a ship close to a planet.

At first I think the ship is right at the planet, i.e. in a POS.  So I consider centering at the planet.  But then I realize it is a bit too far out for that to be likely.  So I center on the hit, and scan again.  I get 100%.  It's a Vargur.  Huh?  That can't be a coincidence.  I think to dscan, and sure enough there's a Vargur on dscan, with the same ship name as I saw in C5a.  Aha.  He's from C5, then, not a local.

I can't see what he's doing here; no site appears on my list.  I bookmark him, and consider warping over for a look.  But I certainly cannot gank him and it is very unlikely that I can prevail against whatever he is doing there.  (Later I realize I missed his site, a DED level 8 Serpentis somethingorother, because I had only Ships selected for display on my scanner.)  But a Vargur is unlikely to come and gank me in the ghost site.  Should I run it with him here?

As I consider that, I move the probes up above the system and into a blanket-scanning configuration.  (Here's a link to Penny on how to perform a blanket scan.)  Then I scan again.  Ah.  The Vargur is gone.  It came from the wspace system connected via the wormhole I am orbiting at 20km.  It is still in Local.  Therefore it must have cloaked up in the system.

The wormhole sounds.  I watch.  A Heron appears, then immediately returns into wspace.  That's odd.  I probe-scan again, and once again I see a ship signature: the Vargur.
I see you.  You can't see me.  Except on Local.
What's he doing?  Dscan shows the Vargur.  Then I see it on grid.  It lands on the wormhole, and bwoomp, I am alone.  (This whole guaranteed-safe-by-infallible Local thing is really nice, except that how in blazes does anybody hunt out here?)  The Heron must have been a scout to make sure the wormhole was clear on both sides.

Ha ha!  My probes did just what I had hoped.  I love it when a plan comes together.

Now I warp to the ghost site.  En route I uncloak and get my tank turned on.  I land on grid, and get into the normal tempo of the thing, scanning the cans and then going to the best one first.  I add an occasional extra glance at Local.  Nobody appears.  I get two cans, with one low-value blueprint each, before the Serpentis come.
Ghost site go boom.
I also discover something I had not realized: the range on my Data Analyzer II is 6000m.  That doesn't seem like much but it is a significant help in these sites, because time is limited and you are decelerating when you come up to a can.

Then I head out into null.  After a successful ghostbusting run, I return to find the guy in the system again.  This time I just warp past as fast as I can.  I'm not mean, just greedy.

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