Missing mining by moments

19th September 2014 – 5.27 pm

Well, ain't this place a geographical oddity? Exploring through a K162 wormhole from low-sec takes me to a class 2 w-space system with only two planets, anomalies scattered between them, but one planet hogging all of the signatures. It's a curious sight indeed. My directional scanner is clear of just about everything, with no towers or ships visible, but there is one mining drone abandoned out here. What are the odds that there is more to see elsewhere, when there isn't much elsewhere out there?

Rather odd class 2 w-space system

I launch probes and perform a blanket scan of the system. Along with the ten anomalies, five signatures, and lone drone, are two more drones and four ships. That's worth taking a look at, and I warp to the centre of the system where d-scan shows me two Venture mining frigates and two more mining drones, making me lose interest in the Drake battlecruiser, Merlin frigate, and tower. A pair of mining drones and some mining frigates could indicate activity.

Switching to the system map, I sweep d-scan around the anomalies, not really taking care to distinguish between combat and ore sites, and see one Venture with the two drones in otherwise empty space. That will be an ore site, one I want to visit. I surge my Proteus strategic cruiser in to warp towards the site holding the Venture, not particularly bothered by the minor threat posed by a Drake to my Proteus, and drop out of warp a healthy distance from an active miner. How exciting!

Dropping in to a rock field to see an active Venture

Not wanting to waste any time, I bookmark the rock the Venture and its little minions is chomping away on, bounce back to the perch I made on the way in to the site, and warp to get nice and close to the miner. Ah, no no no, as I decelerate the drones are recalled, which is not a positive sight, but an indication that the mining has come to an end. Or, at least, a brief pause as a full cargo is dropped off at the tower.

I hold my cloak, not wanting to spook a pilot obviously at the controls and preparing to leave, particularly one in an agile frigate that can escape my attentions with relative ease. If I am lucky, this is just a short break and the Venture will come back for more crunchy ore, and I keep my position as the Venture warps out of the site back towards the closest planet. At least he's local.

Getting to the arkonor as the Venture decides to leave

I flip my attention between the arkonor rock in front of me, mere kilometres away, and d-scan, which shows me, huh, an Iteron V hauler in the system. Should I be waiting in this site, or looking for the tower or other wormholes? If the Venture comes back then so can I, directly to this rock now that I have its positioned bookmarked, and it looks like it's worth finding the tower. I warp to the planet and search for the right moon.

The Iteron has disappeared from d-scan, and from my probes. What it was doing and where it came from will remain unknown for now. Locating the tower finds the Venture there, relaxing, and finally getting eyes on the other ships shows them to be empty. Damn, that means I was a few seconds too late to ambush a lone miner. Or maybe I am in time to catch something bigger.

The pilot swaps the Venture for the Drake, making me wonder, hope even, that he will head out to clear another ore site of Sleepers. There were wrecks in the site he just left, and I doubt he made them in the Venture. Mind you, they were also unlooted and unsalvaged, so it's not like the pilot engages Sleepers for the loot, and with more arkonor to collect in the first site there seems little point in making a second site ready. Indeed, after a short wait, the Drake blinks off-line. So close, but I wasn't quite in the right place at the right time.

Little profit, little activity

18th September 2014 – 5.40 pm

I have a bit of me time to start the evening. There are anomalies piling up in the home system and just the two signatures. Launching probes to scan resolves our static wormhole as the only connection, the other signature being a gas site. Our system is isolated, letting me take time to consider what to do. Glancing over the anomalies sees a couple of my favoured type, and, hey, a ghost site. I've not noticed one of them for a while. I've not really cared about them for a while either.

The ghost site is almost tempting to clear, but the race to click as fast as possible across unintuitive glyphs with no logical way of determining a safe path is not particularly appealing to me. That the loot needs to be dragged to a trade hub and contracted for sale makes it less desirable, and that there may not be any decent loot just seals the deal. I'll get the Golem marauder out to clear the two anomalies for actual and predictable gains in ISK.

I've not really watched any films that I have an strong urge to discuss with a vacuum, so my mind is mostly a blank as I pop Sleepers and salvage the wrecks a silly mobile tractor unit drags close to me. At least my view is clearer than my mind, not having been dropped in to a blinding cloud in this anomaly. I actually have a pretty view of the system, the star glinting off in the distance, the pulsar providing a secondary light source.

Launching cruise missiles at Sleepers from a Golem

The view in the anomaly may be good, but the haul from the Sleepers is distinctly average, pulling around 155 Miskies from two sites. Let's see if the constellation deals me a better hand. I swap back to my Proteus strategic cruiser and warp to our wormhole, jumping through to see what the neighbouring class 3 w-space system has to offer. A tower and Moa cruiser, and bugger all else.

My directional scanner shows me the occupation and ship, the discovery scanner ruins the mystery of there being no anomalies and three signatures. The one planet in d-scan range will hold the tower and ship, as the only signature in range is our K162. I warp to the centre of the system to get closer to the other two signatures, just in case there actually is something out there, but see nothing else when updating d-scan.

No surprises from the discovery scanner

I launch probes whilst out of range of the Moa, although I'm not really sure why I need to. Even if the ship is piloted, what's he going to do? One of the signatures will be the static wormhole, which according to my notes will exit to low-sec, the other isn't likely to see the Moa active. Even if it's a gas site, Venture mining frigates have made cruisers expensive and inefficient for gas harvesting, and there's no way a standard cruiser could survive a w-space relic or data site.

Locating the tower for reference actually finds the Moa piloted. I still don't know what he's planning to do, and a blanket scan of the system shows that the mystery signature clearly isn't a K162. I resolve it anyway, along with the static wormhole, not bothering to be sneaky about it in a system where there are no secrets. It's a relic site. I think I'll leave, look for better opportunity elsewhere, and I warp to the wormhole to see an exit to Sinq Laison. Through I go.

I appear in low-sec in Rancer. I've heard of this system, and if I've heard of a low-sec system it is probably for the wrong reasons. Three corpses on d-scan corroborate my opinion. Still, I'm not about to use any stargates, so I should be okay. I launch probes to see how many wormholes the seven additional signatures hold, which turns out to be three. One is a crappy K162 from more low-sec space, a second is a nifty K162 from class 2 w-space, and the third is an uninspiring X702 outbound connection to more class 3 w-space.

I may have opened the X702, as it looks particularly stable, so I best use it before the discovery scanner makes its signature known to everyone on the other side. That turns out to be no one. At least, no one obvious, as d-scan is clear from the K162. Launching probes and blanketing the system doesn't find any ships, leaving me the seven anomalies and fifteen signatures that I could already somehow see without probes.

Return to the Sucky Place container

Some structures appear out by a far planet in C3b, which are worth investigating for occupation. Crossing the system and updating d-scan doesn't see a tower, but it does see a familiar object, a canister labelled 'sucky place'. I remember this system, and checking my notes confirms that I was here only a few days ago. Yep, no occupation, a static wormhole to low-sec, and a canister of truth. This is a sucky place. A quick look for K162s resolves two wormholes, the non-static connection being a K162 from class 2 w-space, but one at the end of its life. I'll leave that alone and instead explore through the healthy C2 K162 in the low-sec system behind me.

Mission: Anomalous

17th September 2014 – 5.54 pm

We have more anomalies than I almost know what to do with. There are a handful of good ones too, but what can I do with them? I've finished my review of Oblivion, unless I want to mention the bombastic score too, but I think I've done enough. I suppose it depends on what these other two signatures are that have popped up overnight. I launch probes and scan, resolving gas and more gas to go with the rest of the gas accumulating in our system. I should probably generate some ISK for our operations.

Just gas and the static wormhole

To the tower, in to the Golem marauder, and out to the first anomaly of the evening. Rewatching Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol the other day, I couldn't help but wonder why it was revealed that Hendriks went to the meeting in the Burj Khalifa with a mask on. It was established that Wistrom, his right-hand man and choice for the disguise, hadn't met their contact, Moreau, otherwise the duped meeting with the M:I squad wouldn't have worked. Surely Hendriks knew that, so why disguise himself as Wistrom?

I can understand Hendriks perhaps not wanting to wander around without a disguise, because of his high profile status. I can almost understand him not wanting to send Wistrom to the meeting unsupervised, because of the high stakes in what was involved, although you'd think he'd trust his right-hand man more. But if you are Hendriks wanting to make sure you got the right materials, weren't double-crossed, and weren't recognised, why disguise yourself as your known accomplice? Wistrom essentially attracted just as much attention as Hendriks.

Golem marauder busy with Sleepers

It would have made more sense for Hendriks to turn up wearing a completely neutral disguise, because he wouldn't have been tracked and Moreau wouldn't have noticed. Or wear a neutral disguise and pretend to be Wistrom's right-hand man for the deal, to be there, be represented, and still go unnoticed. It seems that the reveal of the mask was there solely to have one used in a manner that didn't spoil the plot by being entirely overused, as in M:I 2, and tucked away at the end of an action sequence in the hopes of its not making any sense going unnoticed. Maybe I'm missing something.

Two anomalies are cleared of Sleepers, and their wrecks are looted and salvaged to bring back a fair 170 Miskies of plunder. That's not bad. The first anomaly even had my Golem not sitting in a blinding fog bank, letting me enjoy the view. It was almost a pleasant experience. Now to poke our neighbouring class 3 w-space system in my Proteus strategic cruiser, see what's happening in today's local constellation.

Jumping to C3a has my directional scanner showing me nothing, although opening the system map and seeing just how much space there is between the planets makes the negative result less surprising. One planet is in range, and the system is 125 AU across. There doesn't look to be much too see overall, which there isn't, but the eight anomalies and six signatures are spread over so much volume that it feels like less. I launch probes and perform a blanket scan to see if I can add any ships to the signatures, and I can't. There aren't even any structures, none at all, so the system is unoccupied.

Lots of empty space in this class 3 w-space system

I scan. Gas, wormhole, wormhole, relics, and a wormhole. There's a lot of space between our K162 and the wormholes, and as there's no occupation to watch I am in warp to each connection as soon as it is resolved. A K162 from class 4 w-space could be interesting, the static exit to low-sec obviously leads to Domain, and a K162 from class 2 w-space would be much more attractive if it weren't at the end of its life. Never mind, I pop out to Domain to bookmark the K162 in low-sec, duly noting the three extra signatures should I need more to scan, then back to C3a and across to see what's waiting for me in C4a.

My goodness, it's the nexus of w-space: J100001. Naturally, there is a tower lacking ships visible on d-scan, and although a big cluster of green highlights fourteen anomalies there are only two signatures present. Maybe the other one is a K162. I warp away from the wormhole and tower, launch probes, and blanket the system. Nope, the other signature is weak, clearly not a K162. Curious, and because it's just one, I identify the signature as gas. There's nothing else to do in this system, and I head back to low-sec to see what the signatures are there. Back through a now-dying C247 to C3a, a clear indication that I'm hours late to whatever activity there might have been.

Three extra signatures in low-sec, three wormholes resolved. I warp to the first, wondering how many will be a result of the explosion of empire-empire connections tonight, and drop out of warp next to, huh, another K162 from deadly class 6 w-space. These seem more frequent too. The second wormhole is an N944 to more low-sec, leading to Essence from the colours, and relatively useless. The last is a K162 from class 5 w-space. Not great options, but I work with what I've got.

Plenty of anomalies and signatures in the unoccupied class 6 w-space system

In to C5a and d-scan is clear, a blanket scan revealing seventeen anomalies and ten signatures. Again there are no ships and no structures. I've done enough here. Back to low-sec, across to the other K162, and in to C6a. D-scan is clear, and I have to page my way through fifty-six anomalies to see the fourteen signatures, lack of ships, and sole structure somewhere in the system. That ain't no on-line tower. I'm not finding anything tonight, it seems. Not with this attitude, at least, the attitude of going home to get some sleep.

Bumbling through minor activity

16th September 2014 – 5.25 pm

To high-sec to scan, back to the plan. Four signatures wait to be poked, four wormholes get returned as results. One is skinny, making it an outbound link, three feel pretty normal for K162s. Warping around sends me to a K162 from class 2 w-space, one from class 3 w-space, another from class 2 w-space, and the skinny wormhole is an M555 connection to class 5 w-space, one that is at the end of its life. The outbound link wouldn't have help much hope for finding activity anyway, and three K162s should give me plenty to do in the little time I have left.

I hit C3b first, with its potential for being an immediate dead end. Jumping to w-space and updating my directional scanner sees the usual tower lacking ships, and warping across the system to launch probes has my stumbling in to a second tower, this one with ships. The Exequror cruiser and Catalyst destroyer give me hopes that something interesting is happening, perhaps a gas site being cleared, and salvaged of Sleeper wrecks. But those days are gone, now that we have Venture mining frigates and Noctis salvagers. Well, I suppose the silly mobile tractor unit has seen the resurgence of destroyers sweeping up wrecks, but I wouldn't call it salvaging.

Regardless of their past uses, the ships still may hold pilots. Locating the tower is straightforward, giving little time for my optimism to build and so giving less of a drop to disappointment to find both ships empty. Now to find somewhere to launch probes and perform a blanket scan of the system. Two anomalies, six signatures, no other ships than those I've seen. A poke for possible K162s has one of the signatures being far from any planet and an obvious wormhole, and, because there are only six signatures, a check of the weaker signatures picks up a second wormhole too. The K162 is a dying connection from class 2 w-space and not worth risking isolation over, the second is a V301 outbound link to class 1 w-space. That'll do.

Messy class 1 w-space system

Entering C1a and updating d-scan sees nothing, but the already-udpating-without-asking discovery scanner is trying to induce an epileptic fit in me. Sixty anomalies are pinged to my interface, which are sixty anomalies I'm not bookmarking without good reason. Blanketing the system sees a ship hiding amongst the anomalies and signatures, sending me in to warp in its general direction, only to find a Cheetah covert operations boat empty inside a tower's force field. I think I can call this system scouted, not caring to scan for possible K162s at this late hour when I have two more behind me in high-sec.

Back to C3b, to high-sec, to C2a, where a black hole welcomes me to the system. D-scan shows me a tower and one pitiful shuttle as the only ship visible, and the system map only highlights how small and uninteresting the system is. Well, except for this Manticore stealth bomber that decloaks next to the wormhole and jumps to high-sec. That's mildly interesting, but even if it returns polarised it will be able to cloak immediately to avoid the speculative attentions of my Proteus strategic cruiser. The Manticore doesn't even need to cloak to avoid me, not when it doesn't return before I get bored and wander off.

Manticore jumps past me to high-sec

Scanning C2a for potential wormholes, wondering if the Manticore has reported the constellation to remain quiet to active colleagues behind him, is easy in a system with five signatures, two of them chubby. There are no K162s. It's possible the Manticore came through the second static wormhole, opened by someone else, causing me to resolve the other signatures to find and warp to the wormhole. My timing's a little bad, as the shuttle on d-scan is now a Venture, making me wonder if the shuttle was piloted all along, and if I should have resolved that gas site instead of ignoring it.

I bounce off the O477 wormhole to class 3 w-space to locate the tower, not finding the Venture in the process. I can't find him in space either, but my probes will be able to, if I hadn't recalled them when I thought I'd finished with scanning. I relaunch my probes, knowing that I can't get out of d-scan range of the ship, and throw them out of the system to hide them, by which point the Venture has returned to the tower. That was quick, but maybe he's just steeling himself to the task of sucking on gas. I loiter with intent, but I get the impression that the Venture pilot is not going to do anything, mostly by the way he goes off-line. Never mind, my time is up anyway.

Out to high-sec, across to C3a's K162, and in to C3a, where a ship sits near the wormhole. It's only a Heron frigate, but it's still a ship, and one that shouldn't need much encouragement from my Proteus to explode. I shed my session-change cloak, lock on to the Heron, and start shooting the frigate. Well, missing. It seems that even approaching the ship under normal speed in a black hole system is enough to cause my blasters' tracking to be skewed.

Stumbling in to a Heron idling on a wormhole

Wreck and corpse of newbie Heron pilot

I bring my ship to a full stop, bringing the Heron's existence to the same with a tiny explosion. Grabbing for the pod catches that, and one more volley of blaster fire cracks that open too. Bagging a Heron on a wormhole is not much of a kill, but I'll take it. I scoop the corpse, and loot and shoot the wreck, at which point Fin tells me the pilot is 'not even a month old'. Oops. Well, welcome to w-space, I'm going to home to sleep.

Black hole Imicus

15th September 2014 – 5.35 pm

Mission accomplished. A scant twenty minutes or so since coming on-line has seen me brutally destroy a rookie frigate with extreme prejudice—albeit without a pilot—and find a route back to our w-space home for my glorious leader. I think I'm doing pretty well so far this evening, and although the wormholes behind me in our neighbouring class 3 system are all close to collapsing I can see a few extra signatures to investigate in this high-sec system in The Citadel.

I am about to shed my cloak, always activated on any wormhole, even in high-sec, to deny information to other pilots, when the K162 from C3a crackles with a transit. Who is that, and what are they doing? I doubt the dying wormholes would be used, and neither would the critically unstable K162 from class 5 w-space. I take a peek at the local communication channel, rather filled with pilots in this relatively safe system, and see an orange. Is the capsuleer a newly woken occupant of C3a? And would I even recognise the corporation if I saw its name?

Thankfully, any intelligence I need to bring to bear on the situation is negated by the ship jumped through the wormhole decloaking before too long. It's an Imicus scanning frigate, piloted by an orange, and almost certainly an occupant of C3a. I can't do much to him in high-sec, but happily he turns around and jumps right back to his home system.

Normally, I wouldn't stand much chance in catching such a frigate as the Imicus, not whilst in my Proteus strategic cruiser. It doesn't normally stop me, and won't this time either, but I'm feeling more optimistic about this chase. For a start, the Imicus will be polarised, so if I catch him he will stay caught. Better still, I stand an improved chance of catching the Imicus because of the agility-sapping black hole in C3a. Even a frigate turns slowly under a strong gravitational pull.

I chase the frigate through the wormhole, decloaking immediately after my jump and getting my offensive systems hot in anticipation of the Imicus's re-appearance. There he is, and with my targeting systems twitching I start to gain a positive lock on the slowly turning frigate. The seconds tick down on the targeting timer, the Imicus turns, turns, and I gain a positive lock as the frigate simultaneously enters warp. Damn.

Trying to catch an Imicus in a black-hole system

The Imicus snatched away from my attentions warps towards the tower in C3a. I follow, cloaked, to see two Imicuses inside the force field. One warps back towards the wormhole, the other blinks off-line. I head back to the wormhole too, not really expecting to catch a ship but curious to see what it does. I dunno, jump out, perhaps, or cloak. Either way, the smaller ship reaches the wormhole before me and does what it does under the coarse watch of d-scan.

I loiter with intent, which is w-space code for wasting time, until Fin makes her way to the high-sec system. That was quick, and I see her enter C3a and follow her to our K162, if only because it feels like a long while since I've not wanted to shoot a ship I've seen in w-space. Fin busies herself with whatever administration tasks she gets up to that I should probably understand. I should probably see if I can find us some targets. I turn my Proteus towards the exit to high-sec, where I can scan the signatures there for wormholes.

Finding a way home for Fin

14th September 2014 – 3.41 pm

I return after a little time away exploring what is new and currently relevant in the world of SF, and quasi-stalking Christopher Priest, to see the return of my glorious leader. Almost. Fin has got herself shut out of our home w-space system, and rather than waste time trying to find a route home the hard way has taken to spending copious amounts of ISK on a marauder to earn an order of magnitude less ISK clearing missions efficiently. Before Fin suffers too much from the space madness, I should work on getting her home.

The home system has a bunch of new anomalies spawned that I can do something with soon, plus three unidentified signatures. And a ship, according to my combat scanning probes. A visitor! The ship's signature looks quite chunky, giving me hopes of catching something significant, until I get within directional-scanner range of the ship. It's just an Ibis rookie frigate. I dunno what it's doing here, but Fin's already urging me to kill it. Okay, then.

I scan, roughly, because I don't care if I scare the rookie frigate away, and get a solid hit within three scans. I hide my probes—now that I've found it I don't want to lose it carelessly—and warp across to the Ibis. It's empty. Fair enough, and it will be emptier in a few seconds. I decloak, take care of the dread Ibis threat to our homesystem security, and get back to scanning. The signatures are just gas and our static wormhole, which I warp to and jump through.

Overpowering the unpiloted Ibis in my Proteus

Updating d-scan on our K162 in the neighbouring class 3 system shows me a tower but no ships, and I can see a black hole ominously puckering at me in the background of space. The system is small, and as the tower is not around the planet nearest to our K162 it's obvious I won't be able to get out of range of it, so I simply launch probes at the wormhole. Performing a blanket scan reveals seven anomalies and seven signatures, and my notes tell me the system holds a static exit to high-sec. That bodes well for getting Fin home.

Scanning gives me a couple of gas sites; a mid-strength wormhole that I take to be the static connection; a second wormhole; a third that is obviously a wormhole before I even identify it, given how high above the ecliptic plane its signature is; and a fourth wormhole. C3a is more connected than I expected. The dying T405 to class 4 w-space is mildly interesting but not worth using, a tiny K162 from class 5 w-space is clearly on the verge of collapse, a second T405 is also at the end of its life, which makes me wonder about the health of the exit to high-sec. Hey, it's fine. Fancy that.

The exit to high-sec also looks like it leads to The Citadel, which is confirmed by jumping through, landing me in a system a mere nine hops to Amarr, where Fin is, and six to Jita, where pilots can buy anything they want. Do I want to buy anything? Maybe, I can never remember, but Fin's happy at the convenience of the exit. 'Holy cow and sweet' is not really an expression I'm familiar with, but it sounds positive. 'On my way', she says, completing a good start to the evening.

Taking it out on a wormhole

13th September 2014 – 3.35 pm

A new signature in the home system is a rather unfortunate find. I may be coming back from a lacklustre scouting expedition, but I am returning feeling a little tired and wanting to head off-line. I know that I will be absent for a few days from now, though, and if this is a new pocket of gas I'd prefer it to be activated and gone on my return.

The signature certainly smells like gas when I perform a blanket scan of our home system, although I have to admit that I scout on instinct more than pure numbers. That perhaps explains why the signature resolves not to be gas but a newly spawned wormhole. I warp my Proteus strategic cruiser across to the connection, landing to see a K162 from class 3 w-space that I've probably got time to poke.

Jumping to C3b immediately sees a pulsar like our own. I think I'm in the wrong boat for this connection, but only if I get in to a fight. There is a ship visible on my directional scanner too. Only a Buzzard, though. If a covert operations boat can give me a run for my ISK, even shield tanked in a pulsar w-space system, then I need to rethink my fitting strategies.

The Buzzard is on d-scan with no sign of a tower. There's no sign that he's cloaking any time soon either, which is curious. The cov-ops remains on d-scan, remains on d-scan, and continues to remain on d-scan. Maybe I should launch probes and scan for his position. Or maybe the Buzzard will come to me, as I see the ship drop on to the wormhole and jump to our home system.

Watching a Buzzard jump past me to our home system

I'm clearly tired, because I know, given that my session-change cloak from the jump is still active, that I will be polarised if I chase the Buzzard through the wormhole. I know that the Buzzard will be able to evade the attentions of my relatively slow-locking Proteus without any troubles. I know that, because I've just missed another cov-ops in another system, and that one didn't cloak when it warped clear, so even if this one can't it won't matter.

Even knowing the disadvantages I face, my optimism is piqued by my fatigue affecting my reasoning capabilities. I jump back to our home system, polarising my hull, and decloak my polarised ship immediately, making myself vulnerable to get my weapon systems hot in a bid to make the Buzzard, a ship vastly less expensive than my own, potentially vulnerable.

The cov-ops doesn't shed his session-change cloak, but sits, weighing his options. He's going to run, it seems, and not jump. I get my targeting systems working, obtain a positive target lock, and start shooting. I'm shooting the wormhole, but that's got to be a little intimidating, surely. If you run, so the message will be heard, I will destroy your way home. Or the Buzzard will warp clear easily, leaving me to reload my guns on an empty wormhole. My polarised hull is okay with this.

I think I can leave my adventure here, at this point. There's little need to embarrass myself further, even when the Buzzard returns to the wormhole and jumps back to C3b just as my aggression timer ticks down, simultaneously announcing the end of my polarisation. I'm not chasing him again, but at least he's gone from our system.

Having a crack at a cov-ops

12th September 2014 – 5.59 pm

Let's off-road! I swap back from Sleeper combat to my scouting Proteus strategic cruiser, sending it directly towards our static wormhole, which I hope I'm opening. Kinda. I'd rather it had been closed whilst I was shooting Sleepers, but not many newly opened wormholes catch other pilots unawares these days. Mind you, I don't suppose stale wormholes serve that purpose either, and finding targets is more about luck and other people's carelessness than anything. Yeah, let's off-road!

Jumping to the neighbouring class 3 w-space system doesn't see much more than bubbles on my directional scanner from the K162, although one object that catches my eye is a canister labelled 'sucky place'. That's a promising start to tonight's exploration. As there are no ships and no towers within d-scan range, I launch probes at the wormhole and perform a blanket scan of the system, revealing six anomalies, fourteen signatures, and no ships. Canister, I agree with you so far.

Sucky Place

My notes for this system date back over two-and-a-half years, when there was no occupation and a static exit to low-sec. Adjusting my filter, I can see a lot of structures under my probes, but they are all clustered around the closest planet, easily covered by d-scan. The bubbles will be left over from an abandoned tower, I imagine. Swapping d-scan filters sees the off-line tower and defences, which I ignore. I also ignore the combat scanning probe on d-scan, once I realise it is mine. Our K162 is almost 6 AU from the nearest planet and high above the ecliptic plane, coincidentally keeping one of my probes in range.

There's no one else around to see my probe, luckily, so I call them in and start to scan. The system holds its allotted gas clouds, plus a few data and relic sites, and a single wormhole. I suppose I'm heading to low-sec to continue my adventure, and low-sec Lonetrek it seems, the greyness an obvious indicator of the Caldari region. The wormhole is in pristine condition too, having only just been opened by me. No one has been this way for over a day.

Exiting to low-sec gets me four hops away from Jita, which would be vaguely alluring if I weren't in low-sec and sharing the system with a dozen other capsuleers all probably wanting to kill me. Or maybe they're not, what with this being a dead-end system, and unlikely to provide much traffic for gate campers. Still, we have plenty of fuel for now, I can wait for a high-sec connection, and I can't think of anything else I want to buy.

There are two extra signatures to keep me engaged. Scanning them resolves two wormholes too. One is a K162 from deadly class 6 w-space—again?—the other an N944 wormhole to further low-sec space. I thought deja vu was meant to be interesting. Well, I'll hit C6a, why not. In I go, and I appear back in w-space just over eight kilometres from the wormhole, a reasonable sign of inactivity. Even so, there are core scanning probes visible on d-scan. Nothing else, mind you, and only one planet out of range.

Over eight kilometres from a wormhole used to be a sign

As the probes are of the core variety, and won't detect my ship, I decloak, launch my combat scanning probes, and blanket the system. Twenty anomalies, fourteen signatures, no ships. My last visit was eight months ago, when there was no occupation and I resolved a static wormhole to class 4 w-space. Checking my probes for structures finds one, and just the one, a warp bubble. There is still no occupation.

Rather than scan to another empty system, I simply wait on the wormhole for a potential scout to pass me by. The probes disappear from d-scan, but no ships come my way. Not for a minute, anyway, at which point a Helios materialises on my overview. I look for him and find the covert operations boat crawling towards the wormhole. I won't catch the tiny ship, of course, but I will try. I will try on his return.

Trying to ambush a Helios on a wormhole

The Helios exits C6a for low-sec Lonetrek, at which point I throw a small amount of caution to the solar breeze and decloak my Proteus in anticipation of the cov-ops's return. The wormhole crackles once more, and here we go. And there he goes, the Helios aligning and, with a pop of his drive, accelerates in to warp barely fazed by my presence. Never mind, it was worth a go, particularly at this late hour when I'm unlikely to find anything else. As I've alerted whoever was active in this chain of my presence, I also have a convenient excuse to turn around and go home.

Pulling in profit from Sleepers

11th September 2014 – 5.51 pm

How closed is our system? It looks pretty closed to me at first glance, the silly discovery scanner showing me two signatures amongst the anomalies I'm already eyeing up. Those will be the relic site I scanned yesterday and today's static wormhole to class 3 w-space. I launch probes anyway, because I'll want to know the location of today's wormhole at some point, and initiating warp to the bookmarked relic site confirms its persistence.

Our system is closed. I'll be clearing those two anomalies, in that case. I resolve the new wormhole, and take my Proteus strategic cruiser in to our tower's force field, having already warped to a safe spot on-grid with the tower in anticipation. Swapping to the Golem marauder, I make a systems check and take one last look at the silly discovery scanner, refreshed from the session change. All is clear. I warp in to the first anomaly, drop the equally silly mobile tractor unit, and start shooting Sleepers for profit.

It is finally revealed at the end of Oblivion that Jack Harper and Victoria were on a mission that was diverted to investigate what turns out to be the Tet. Their spaceship gets to the Tet, yet only the two of them are awake. The rest of the crew aren't woken up and remain in stasis. Why? That would be like Neil and Buzz getting in to the Moon's orbit and letting Michael have a lie in, because he's just been working so hard, the little dear. Admittedly, the Tet is a secondary objective, but if you have a spaceship full of trained personnel, you want them awake and alert before you reach that objective.

Shooting even more Sleepers in the Golem

The first anomaly is cleared of Sleepers, the last two wrecks left behind for the purposes of efficiency and safety. I can sweep them up later in a cheap salvaging destroyer, instead of waiting another couple of minutes in a rather expensive marauder for the silly MTU to bring the wrecks closer. I'd rather fly a Noctis salvager, of course. Or, indeed, have the challenge of pathing through an entire field of wrecks in a destroyer not bonussed for salvaging. Those were the days.

These days, I have my hold of loot and salvage in the Golem, and, again for safety, I warp back to the tower and drop the potential ISK in to a hangar before for safe keeping. The system is still closed, giving me opportunity to clear the second site as well. Remembering to activate the bastion module on the marauder before too long gives me a better chance of surviving this opportunity too, which is nice.

The spaceship gets pulled towards the Tet. Jack says that full retro thrust isn't stopping them, and because they can't escape the pull he decides to jettison the sleeping quarters. Why, Jack? Because the bigger, more massive part of the ship will be able to escape by being thrown back merely from detonating some separation charges? Yeah, I'm sure that it won't just continue drifting towards the Tet itself, or that the Tet will ignore it and only pull in the cockpit module.

The tactic used made more sense in Pitch Black, where Fry had her motives right: jettison the sleepy heads in the back to die like dogs in order to give her a significantly better chance of survival. If Jack wanted to get rid of the dead weight to give his command module more chance of surviving that would be interesting. But expecting the jettisoned part of the ship to evade the Tet's attention makes no sense, and not just because the Tet has no reason to know which part of the ship jettisoned the other.

Salvaging rogue wrecks in a destroyer

The second site is cleared much like the first, most of the loot and salvage taken back to our tower with the Golem. I store the plunder with the rest, resupply the marauder's ammunition, and swap to my Cormorant destroyer, an elegant salvager for a more civilised age. I sweep up the last two Sleeper battleship wrecks in the two anomalies, and tot up the profit for the evening. It's a good haul, made better by the finishing sweep, bagging me close to two hundred million ISK for the two sites. I'm happy with that.

Plenty of ships and nothing I can do about it

10th September 2014 – 5.31 pm

Pumped from watching ships go through a wormhole with nothing I could do about it, I head back home and across to our neighbouring class 3 w-space system to see what else I can watch without getting involved. Pinging my directional scanner from our K162 in C3a sees ships and towers, but no wrecks. Perhaps the Hyperion battleship, Loki and Proteus strategic cruisers, Vexor Navy Issue and Thorax cruisers, and Magnate frigate aren't doing anything.

A lack of activity seems likely, given the near lack of anything out there for them to do. One planet is in range, the second in the system, and the first planet is 24 AU away, almost hugging the star. That's pretty much it. No wonder the towers and ships are all nearby. The silly discovery scanner shows me only three anomalies, three signatures. I'd be surprised if anything was happening.

Two planets only in this class 3 w-space system

Okay, I'm surprised. The Proteus disappears from d-scan and drones pop up. That must be happening outside of a force field, but where? Poking each anomaly with d-scan sees nothing at all. One signature is our K162, a second the static wormhole for this system, and I suppose the third could be a site. It would be a rarity to find ships clearing a relic or data site, and there are still no wrecks visible.

I point d-scan at the planet. All the towers, none of the ships. They are all out in space, perhaps at a wormhole, waiting for someone. I can make an educated guess, and start hunting the fleet with d-scan, after warping to the centre of the system to launch probes. I narrow down the fleet's position in space to within five degrees on d-scan, and gauge their range at, well, 4·9 AU from a planet almost certainly makes it a wormhole. Plus there are still no wrecks.

On top of the ships and drones, I note the presence of two large warp bubbles and one medium one, which are almost guaranteed to be draped over the wormhole to snare anyone wanting to use the wormhole. They will also catch my Proteus if I try warping in, which with drones around could be trouble for me. I need to take care. I call my probes in to scan, mostly out of curiosity, and see nothing. I've got the range of the probes wrong, a careless mistake but relatively harmless in this circumstance. The fleet clearly are prepared for an intruder, it's not like I'll be a massive surprise for them. I reposition my probes and scan again, a little more casually.

Scanning the fleet on the wormhole

I've resolved all the ships in the fleet, its drones, and the wormhole its sitting on. Now what? I could warp in, but I will get dragged in to a bubble and possibly decloaked. Balls to it, I'll locate the towers, do a bit of scouting. That makes for a good adventure. My notes help a bit, my last visit only being a week ago, although I still need to find a new tower erected since then. That done, though, I wonder what to do next. And whose probes those are on d-scan.

What the hell, I'll scan that other signature. It's another wormhole, sans fleet, letting me warp freely to it and see the static exit to Aridia. Well, what a choice, Aridia or getting caught by a fleet. Ah, what the second level of hell, I'll warp to the fleet. Rather than warp to the wormhole, though, I'll warp to a ship that may perhaps not be inside the bubbles. I choose you, Hyperion Innerzone Shipping Edition! Sure enough, I am dragged to the edge of one of the warp bubbles, but thankfully not in to one of the three canisters strategically placed to catch curious fools.

Fleet sits in wait on a wormhole from high-sec Domain

The large warp bubbles are nice and big, which only helps me now because all of the ships in the fleet are kilometres away from my cloaked Proteus, which can stay cloaked as I crawl away from the bubbles and further from the fleet. They are crowding a K162 wormhole from high-sec Domain, by the looks of it, perhaps even from Amarr considering the attention they are paying. At first glance, there is not much I can do. Looking a little closer, there still isn't, really.

I could try to crawl in to the bubble, decloak to get the fleet's attention, and hopefully unexpectedly aim only for the Magnate, hoping to crack it open before it panic-jumps to high-sec, before doing that myself. However, this wormhole would then be my only entrance back to w-space, I would certainly have their attention, and all for a crappy frigate kill. That's if I can crawl through the bubbles and fleet to get in range of the Magnate and wormhole in the first place. I dare say it's not worth trying.

Hyperion Innerzone Edition

Thankfully, to stop me thinking further about being stupid, the Magnate bounces around the three bubbles, out of jump range of the wormhole. If I didn't know any better, I'd say he was unanchoring the hardware in preparation of the fleet standing down. It certainly looks that way, and even if they aren't going straight away I can safely say I won't be using this K162, and probably not the static wormhole either, not if this is the locals' response. Maybe if they had more to play with at home they wouldn't get so bored. Never mind, it's late, and I've seen plenty of ships whizzing around tonight, even if I've not really done owt.