Now I enter the new system, C3a. My dscan from the wormhole shows two ships and two towers. A Cheetah and a Zephyr. The ships might be interesting, if they are not empty at a tower. They probably are empty at a tower. Still, they might not be. I will find out. I move off the wormhole and cloak.
I raise the system map. My wormhole sits near to the outer edge of the system, between the second most outer planet and the outer planet. The towers are both around the system's outer planet. I warp to the planet to have a look. From closer, I can see that both ships are at one of the towers. That's the one I want. I narrow the search progressively until I find the right moon. I warp in at 100 km.
Both ships are empty. Oh, well. It's what you expect, but even so it's always a small letdown when you find it.
Something is strange... Oh. The tower is reinforced. It has seventeen hours to go. I won't be around then, so I don't see any way to exploit it. But it is unusual, at least. One very rarely finds reinforced towers in wspace. I have seen no signs of a siege, such as ships or probes, and the tower is not bubble-wrapped. So I am not sure what's going on here. I can see, however, that the tower has no defenses at all anchored around it. That's probably why it got reinforced in the first place. Perhaps someone reinforced it trying to draw a fight, and did not stay to finish the job.
Or maybe the aggressors are here, but cloaked and not aggressively using their discovery scanners. Worth keeping in mind.
Then I notice something odd: there are some POS batteries on grid, but they are not in range of the tower. In fact they -- four of them -- are about 150km from it. I look closer, and indeed they are unanchored. Being unanchored means they are free for me (or anyone) to scoop. All I have to do to take them is get here in a ship with enough cargo space to scoop them. The modules are an ECM, two warp scrambler batteries, and one warp disruption battery. Their total worth is not more than a few million ISK each. But still, you almost never see loose wealth sitting around in wspace. I wants it.
My plan is simple: get my alt Otto online, into an Iteron V, and come in here to grab them. They are far enough separated from each other that I will have to bounce a lot. To that end, I bookmark each of the modules. I'll make a nearby safespot as I warp in. But I need to be certain that the system is safe, first, and I have not looked at the whole system. So I warp to the inner system for a look around.
There are two more towers in the inner system, and one ship. I find the one with the ship. Like the outer POS, the ship is empty. And like the outer POS, this one is also reinforced and has nothing anchored. Odd.
In any case, the system has nobody home, at least not that I can tell. That's favorable for my plan to grab and go.
I log Otto then spend a few minutes refitting one of our Iteron Vs for the scoop. I won't need its full cargo capacity, just 16000m^3. So I remove some cargo expanders and put in warp core stabilization. The mids are all fine, so I am ready.
Before Otto leaves my own POS, I want to get Von into position. He will sit on grid with the outer-planet's POS. His dscan there covers the outer planets as well as the wormhole I came in, from C5a. That's where Otto will be coming in from (and leaving to), so it is worth being able to see it.
Von warps back to the outer POS, which I bookmarked earlier. As he gets close, I dscan, and now I see something new. There is a Crane on dscan, as well as a pod. Someone must have just logged in, and is switching ships at one of the POSes. I hope it is the one I am about to get to... and I land on grid. No, it is not. Well, it must be the other POS.
I get up the system map, zoom in, and set to work with scan. My first scan at 180 degrees chops out roughly half the moons. Then I scan at 90 degrees, and to my surprise I see the pod and Crane, but not the other tower.
The pod and the Crane are out in space. Not at the other POS. I forget all about Otto: it's hunting time!
I land on grid, and sure enough they are there, but 100km from me. A pod and Crane, as promised. The Crane has no pilot, evidently just abandoned by the capsuleer in the pod. A pod. Just sitting there. Must kill... then steal Crane.
I look carefully and can see they are close to being in line to an inner planet. It's 20AU, but if I bounce off it and warp back at 100km, I should be pretty close to them.
|A handy point to warp at.|
As I warp back into range, I dscan, and the Crane's still there. But the pod is gone. Instead, there's a corpse. Ah. Evidently this guy managed to trap himself in this system with no scanner and/or probes, and I just so happened to be in the right place at the right time to see his suicide. (That's what I saw change on my overview: pod to a corpse.)
I land on grid, and indeed I am but 10km from the Crane. I quickly move to scoop the corpse, which is quite incriminating if anyone is around to dscan, then recloak. I circle the crane at 7500m. I cannot fly it.
|How pretty EVE is!|
I want it. A crane is worth, oh 130m or so, and who knows what might be in it.
I cannot fly it.
There are three things I might do. I could just blow it up. I could text Jayne and hope he's awake and can bring in one of his characters who can fly a Crane. Or, I could bring an Orca down from my home system to scoop it. Bad idea, too risky.
I text Jayne. He responds almost immediately. He'll come. So, I set my orbit around the Crane at 7500 km. If someone else comes for it in a pod, I'll attack.
Jayne gets online and I get him on coms. I explain the situation, and he gets ready to go. Then he heads out ahead of Otto. (Yes, I still do want those POS modules.) Von sees nothing change; all is well. Jayne gets through C5a, and into the system. I move up to orbit at 2500 while he does this, so he can warp to me at zero. He comes in, warps to me, as I move back. He's into the Crane -- it's fully fit, including covert ops cloak. I see him disappear
Now we grab all four of the POS modules, two each. Then we GTFO. We don't see a soul.
Later, I happen to raise the local chat window to look at a wormhole timing. I see there was a call for help from the Crane's pilot. I rarely see local chat in a timely fashion since I turned off the blinking.
|A call unseen and unheeded.|