“All wormholes eventually lead to Aridia”*
Another glorious day in space!
“Not that space in the Aridia sector could be considered glorious, but one has to start somewhere” Pilgrim muttered to himself. Probes had been launched and the ship’s science officer was rapidly returning the results. Pilgrim often did the scanning himself, but he was currently overseeing the pursuit of some Mordus Legion ships. He had heard that some of they carried some pretty impressive blueprints. He just hadn’t managed to find any yet.
The scanning returned 2 wormholes to Lowsec and a bunch of data sites. Pilgrim’s survey of the various asteroid belts turned up nothing so he directed the ship into the first wormhole. There was a “whoosh” and a sensor recalibration. A familiar golden hue. Sensor data comes up…
“Seriously? That lowsec wormhole led to another part of Aridia?” Pilgrim shook his head incredulously. “Oh well, according to the navigation computer, we are only 10 jumps from where we started. We can scan those systems on the way back, and then take the other lowsec wormhole if we don’t find anything else.”
The 10 jumps yielded nothing interesting so Pilgrim ordered the jump through the next Lowsec wormhole. Another “whoosh” and another sensor calibration. A familiar golden hue. Sensor data comes up…
“We are in Khanid, sir. Exactly 6 jumps away from Aridia, in case you are curious” said the smartass navigation officer. Pilgrim chuckled, he was started to like the young officer. He would probably make a good capsuleer.
“Launch probes and scan away, I am going to start checking the asteroid belts.”
At Planet 4, Belt 2, Pilgrim encountered something interesting. It was some kind of clone soldier. The ship had a high bounty and various bulletins had listed its ship tags as being pretty valuable. Not “pay for another Tengu” valuable, but probably “buy a few thousand missiles” valuable. Pilgrim marked the site and continued to check the rest of the belts. A few had some battleships, but none of the Modus Legion ships that he was looking for. Pilgrim reviewed his Overview for the third time just to make sure it was configured to show the new ships.
The scanning results were completed so Pilgrim reviewed the list. There were several data sites, several Blood Outposts, a Blood Watch, and some Rogue Drone sites. Interesting, but not exactly exciting. Still, Pilgrim ordered a Mobile Depot deployed and the ship reconfigured to its standard combat fitting. The crew was getting quite good at this and Pilgrim was pleased with their efficiency.
Once complete, Pilgrim warped the ship to Planet 4, Belt 2. And found nothing. “Where the frak is that clone ship?” Could he have noted the wrong belt? Did the clone ship fly away? Did it move to another belt?
“The sword has been drawn from it’s sheath, I am not returning it until blood has been drawn” Pilgrim said to his crew. “Preferably Blood Raider blood.” With that, Pilgrim warped to the next belt and the next, killing the largest ship he found at each belt. After working his way through the various belts, he came upon the clone soldier ship. Pilgrim checked his coordinates and noted that he was at Planet 3, Belt 2. “Clearly, the clone soldier warped to a different belt after we scouted him.” Pilgrim said. He mentally dared the smartass navigation officer to make a comment, but the officer wisely held his tongue. Perhaps he might actually live long enough to become a capsuleer.
Pilgrim locked onto the clone soldier and accelerated towards him activating missiles. He got off several gratifying rounds before the clone ship finally exploded. Pilgrim looted the wreck and noted the tags. They were worth about 20M ISK. Not bad. But not worth warping though every asteroid belt in the frakking system. Still feeling a bit bloodthirsty, Pilgrim warped to the Blood Watch. He immediately killed the drones that appeared knowing that each destruction would summon more reinforcements. He laughed as they little destroyers failed to penetrate his ships shields. Finally, the commander showed up and Pilgrim dispatched him allowing access to the acceleration gate.
Pilgrim warped though the acceleration gate and immediately targeted the Blood Cathedral. More reinforcements came, but Pilgrim ignored them. Finally he found the supervisor and sent several rounds of missiles his way. The supervisor’s ship exploded in a satisfying burst and an alert message popped up on Pilgrim’s screen. Pilgrim passed the coordinates from the message off to the navigation officer and quickly scanned his overview for a Dark Blood commander. Finding him, Pilgrim locked on and destroyed him before he could escape. Looting his wreck yielded very little so Pilgrim warped away (after dispatching the pesky frigates that kept trying to disable his warp engines).
Arriving at his mobile depot, Pilgrim directed the reconfiguration of his ship to its covert travel mode. After sealing everything up, he directed the navigation officer to follow the coordinates left behind by the Blood supervisor.
“Guess what, ” smirked the navigation officer, “it looks like we are headed back to Aridia sir!”
* I was sure that is a direct Penny quote although I couldn’t quite find it on her website.