25 March YC 122
The last few days I spent jumping from one Anoikis system to another. To my surprise the journey was uneventful in all respects.
For one thing, no one killed me or even tried to. There were no gate camps and no bubbles but even without them entering a new J-space system was one of the most dangerous parts of a journey through Anoikis. That was where I had to appear ‘naked’, without a cloak, even if for the briefest of moments. And it took me some time, after my initial underwhelming performance, to make sure that that moment was indeed the briefest. Eventually I settled into a routine which was done almost automatically: bookmark the wormhole exit, bring up the system map, choose a celestial, start the warp and activate the cloaking device. All that took less that 15 seconds, so I never lost my gate cloak until I started moving, and after that the CovOps cloaking device made sure that my Buzzard flashed its tender flesh for less than a second. If there were any wannabe hunters, they would have had hard time even acquiring a target lock on me, to say nothing about attacking.
Being not just a traveller but an explorer I was also exposed to a potential assault while I was hacking containers at data and relic sites but that risk too did not materialise. That could probably be explained by an interesting (or, depending on your point of view, boring) fact – I didn’t see many pirate exploration sites where I could have been ambushed. By the way, Aura and I had finally figured out the classification of Anoikis cosmic signatures – if a site had a pirate faction included in its name then it was an unguarded remainder of their base; if a faction was not mentioned, then, no matter how innocent the name sounded, it was a Sleeper camp defended by an armada of bloodthirsty drones. So it happened that most relic and data sites I found were those ‘unprotected’ and ‘forgotten’ Sleeper bases which I, naturally, avoided.
Having checked my travel logs I actually found the reason why the pirate sites were so rare – only 20% of Anoikis systems that I visited were class 3 or below. As you probably know, pirates did not build their bases in ‘dangerous’ or ‘deadly’ J-space systems, that is to say, class 4, 5 and 6, so I didn’t really have a good chance to find them in my travels. Obviously, if I picked only wormholes which led to ‘unknown’ space, then I would see more action, but my main goal that time was not income but service. Every Anoikis system, regardless of its class should have a rescue cache which requires either tending or sowing. Also, the list of stranded pilots provided by Allison showed that most of them were stuck in higher-class systems. For those reasons I didn’t try to cherry-pick wormholes based on their classification but simply jumped through the first one I scanned down.
You might think that at least I kept myself busy maintaining the rescue caches. Ha, I wish! It turned out that in half the systems I visited rescue caches had already been tended by other Signaleers in the last 24 hours. And for that there was no reasonable explanation – it was just pure blind luck which turned her back on me. According to corp stats, every day our members visited about 10% of all known Anoikis systems which meant that every time I jumped through a wormhole I should have had 90% chance of finding a system which required my attention. But in reality, as I said, it was 50-50 for me.
There was actually one lower-class system where I found four relic sites. I scanned them down, then deployed combat probes to check for other ships and abandoned drones. Finding nothing except structures belonging to a corporation with a funny name ’30 Minutes away from Keyboard’, I warped to the first site with an intent to hack the hell out of it. And you know what, as soon as I uncloaked, my D-scan showed an Astero in space. Having pretty high align time and no defences, I chose to concede the ground, cloaked up and warped back to my safe spot. And then the D-scan show began. Firstly, instead of Astero I saw an Anathema. Then there was a Megathron. And some time later a couple of Apocalypses showed up. The battleships were flying all over the place; I could only guess what they were up to. I decided to check on Anathema and after playing with the D-scan cone (I didn’t want to scare it away with my combat probes) I narrowed its location down to one of the relic sites. Still cloaked, I warped to that site and established an observation post at a safe distance from all the rubbish floating there. I was interested to see if Astero decided to hunt Anathema and what would come out of it. All I saw in the next 10 minutes was the sight of Anathema, piloted by Alexa Khashour from 30 Minutes away from Keyboard, hacking one by one the containers that could have been mine if I wasn’t so scared of being attacked. The only highlight was an explosion of one of the cans when Anathema bungled the hack. Realising that that was all the entertainment I was going to get I decided to leave for greener pastures. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the only remaining wormhole in the system was the static leading to low-sec. That’s when I finally understood why all those battleships were bouncing across the system like crazy – they were rolling the wormholes!
Having no other choice, I decanted myself into a k-space system, Soliara, the only other inhabitant of which was Jasmine Charante from the same 30 Minutes away from Keyboard corp. While I was scanning the signatures, Jasmine disappeared leaving the place all to myself. My scanning revealed that Soliara was once a location of Regional Blood Raider Data Fortress. Now it was completely abandoned and I warped there to rummage in the remains. My hacking produced only a meagre million kredits but, as an old Caldari proverb goes, if there is no catch even a crayfish is a fish. Having cleared out the fortress I jumped back into Anoikis and continued my search for caches and treasures.
After a few jumps through dangerous and deadly unknown space I again found myself in low-sec. The place was called Gomati and it had an abandoned Regional Sansha Command Center. Checking the local channel I found only one other capsuleer who got his licence just 3 weeks ago. Wondering what that greenhorn was doing in low-sec I warped to the Command Center, uncloaked and started checking containers with my cargo scanner. Before I finished scanning the first can, a Probe-class frigate appeared in my D-scan window. Cursing myself for recklessness I cloaked up and warped back to the safe spot. For a few minutes I D-scanned the surroundings but didn’t detect any activity. Eventually I got bored, deployed the combat probes and spread them across the system. By the time I got the results of the scan, the local channel showed that I was the only remaining pilot in the system. Chuckling softly, I collected the probes and went back to the data site which yielded 4 million kredits worth of loot.
Gomati didn’t contain any wormholes except the one through which I entered it so I jumped through a star gate to a hi-sec system Jarizza. Its security level was high – 0.8 – so I felt pretty safe but that’s where things went terribly wrong.