Waking up in w-space puts me rather an unfamiliar position, and not just relative to the rest of the galaxy. Being away from normal space, and the market, agents and stargates that I have taken for granted so far, I find that I am entirely reliant on my corporation not only to offer some activity but also to keep me alive and safe. I can't remember another point in my time in New Eden—or Paragon City or Azeroth either—where I haven't been able to keep myself amused one way or another. The sensation is a little unsettling but I chose to jump through a wormhole to unknown space for adventure and to help where I could so I will keep a positive attitude.
No one is around when I finally gain awareness of the POS and my surroundings, which leaves me floating in space with nothing normal to do. However, whereas I thought I didn't have scanning capabilities in my Drake battlecruiser that is not entirely true. The probe launcher is merely a different type of launcher module and by modifying my ship's fitting, which is possible at the POS, I can sacrifice one heavy missile launcher to enable me to scan the system for anomalies and, more importantly, wormholes. It's not that I want to leave so soon, particularly without having accomplished anything, but more that if I can find a way in and out of the w-space system myself I can keep myself busy whilst remaining available to help the corporation.
Just as I set-up the new fitting and get a probe launcher installed a corporation colleague arrives. He points out that he has been busy scanning himself and that there are bookmarks kept in the hangar to all the wormholes and anomalies he has scanned down, including an exit. The exit leads to a low-sec system four jumps away from high-sec, which is quite a risky path to take in a sluggish battlecruiser but, like I mention, getting out isn't my priority. Instead, it is suggested that we go through another wormhole, this one leading to a w-space system that is rich in sleeper sites. A two-man fleet is formed, my battlecruiser and his battleship, a bit of refitting follows to allow for mutual remote shield repairing, and we head out to find some sleepers.
I have to admit that I am quite nervous. I am in effectively lawless space with no easy route home and the tales of the sleepers being fiercer and more ruthless combatants than the known races and factions is a concern. But I am also excited to be here, venturing outside of known space with a small group of capsuleers relying on each other. We warp to the wormhole, get sucked through it to another unknown system and head out to the first of the bookmarked sites known to have sleeper activity. Warping in to the complex finds some sleeper sentry guns and a handful of unrecognisable frigates and cruisers, all packing quite a punch.
The combined firepower of our drones is enough to take care of the frigates whilst we focus fire on the sentry guns and cruisers. Although the heavier drones get popped occasionally, the rumour appearing true that sleepers are more aware of multiple and mutable threats, my own light drones stay unscathed, perhaps because of the much lower damage they are capable of dealing. Meanwhile, the sleeper ships are steadily destroyed by our guns and missiles as the sleepers' incoming fire shifts between my Drake and the Dominix, keeping us on our toes as we need to manage what is effectively our combined tank. We are able to withstand the worst, even when sleeper battleships warp in, and the first site is cleared!
As our shields recharge I take time to loot my first sleeper wreckage, if only for the experience and to see what sleepers carry. It looks like some exotic data interface, which I store in my cargo hold to drop off at the POS hangar later. Our shields recharged we warp to hit a second sleeper site. The second site is much the same as the first, but the incoming fire appears to be much more destructive and causes us to warp out for a breather on a couple of occasions. My fleet mate has to leave behind his drones the second time we warp out for respite, which is a small sacrifice, but when we warp back in we are just in time to see them finish off a battleship that was proving quite resilient.
We don't take the time to recover the drones, instead moving to another sleeper site. A third corporation member turns up and joins the fleet for some sleeper hijinks. His additional firepower makes clearing the sleeper sites more efficient, particularly when his long-range gunnery skills destroys distant sentry guns. It is not long before another corporation colleague arrives, this time taking to a salvaging ship to recover all the profit we have so far left behind. She was tickled to see some friendly drones abandoned in the second site and was able to pick them up, which is a fitting conclusion for the sturdy drones that helped us defeat a sleeper battleship.
After the fifth site my time has run short again and I head back to the wormhole to take me back to the POS. Despite the bleak-looking start I have ended up having a fabulous time. Forming a fleet to venture further in to w-space—if meaning can be found in relative positions of w-space—to engage sleepers and loot their arcing wrecks has been quite exciting!