There is only one Orca industrial command ship parked outside our tower, Fin must still be stuck in empire space. Poor glorious leader Fin, I must find a way home for her. I scan for wormholes, looking for today's static connection to a class 3 w-space system, whilst I also declutter a little. I warp around to almost a dozen mining sites, chosen for their low specific value, to activate them such that they will disappear in a few days' time. If we really want to mine ore or harvest gas there will still be plenty around, and of high-value, we simply don't need so many sites in our system. And, in my warping around, scanning reveals three wormholes at home. I'm quietly confident not all of them are our static connection.
The first wormhole I investigate has the signature identifier of 'HFU', which sounds marvellously ominous, and turns out to be a K162 coming from class 3 w-space. The second wormhole is our static connection, and the third another K162, this one from class 2 w-space. This is a rather splendid collection of wormholes, as they will all have at least a second connection leading out to k-space, and the K162s are likely to contain activity. I take a look in the class 2 system first, hoping for softer targets to ease myself in to the evening.
So much for softer targets. My directional scanner shows me a Chimera carrier in the C2, along with two towers. My last visit here was six months ago, where I note the presence of five towers, but not where they are, and nothing else of interest. Assuming no one is in the carrier, the only ship on d-scan, the system looks inactive, at least from my current position, and I launch combat scanning probes to take a look around. The carrier is indeed the only ship in the system, and there is only one anomaly to accompany the two signatures. The signatures are obviously the two static wormholes, one of which I've already passed through, and with no one else around I may as well resolve the second.
Whilst scanning I locate both towers that I have so far seen, confirming the carrier to be unpiloted, but I almost warp directly in to the shields of the other tower. I take care to move away from the tower and make a more appropriate bookmark prevent that happening again. I resolve the second static wormhole here, finding it to be an exit to high-sec empire space that leads out to the Sinq Laison region. The exit system is not exactly close to anywhere, but it is high-sec space. I make a note of high-sec side of the wormhole and head back to w-space, through the C2 to the home system, and on to explore beyond the K162 from C3 space.
A Reaper frigate, Machariel battleship, tower, and some cans litter d-scan in the class 3 system. I warp off to locate the ships before I launch probes, finding a bunch of decloaking cans in warp bubbles around the tower, although none in the bubble I land in, which seems like an oversight. I move away, make a bookmark to avoid the bubble, and take a look around. The Reaper is at the tower, unpiloted, but the Machariel isn't. In fact, the battleship no longer appears to be in the system. For reference, I make a quick scan of this C3, bookmarking twelve anomalies but happy to ignore the many signatures for now, in preference of believing the Machariel has made itself a target elsewhere.
I jump home and check d-scan, but there is no sign of the Machariel. I head onwards through our static connection for the first time today but still don't see him. I imagine he either went to empire space or logged off. The C3 isn't empty just because the Machariel isn't here, though, as I see a Covetor mining barge and an Orca on d-scan, along with core scanning probes. I explore the system, finding a relatively safe spot between the various towers here to launch probes, and perform a blanket scan. Another dozen anomalies are in this C3, and five signatures will make finding a second exit to k-space quicker here than in the other C3. I locate the towers, finding the two ships to be unpiloted, before the lure of a scout distracts me. Scanning probes on d-scan and few signatures to resolve tempts me in to jumping home and planting my Malediction interceptor on the wormhole in wait.
The scout should have jumped in to my ambush by now, as it doesn't take this long to resolve five signatures. Even a dozen anomalies only take a few seconds to bookmark, maybe a couple of minutes if the signature identifiers are also noted. Some scanners are simply insensitive to their unknown stalkers. Indeed, the flare of the wormhole rather catches me by surprise when it finally comes, and looking back up to my display throws me in to a whirl of confusion. A Buzzard covert operations boat is sitting in front of my interceptor, although the flare of the wormhole has barely subsided. I've been checking d-scan every so often here, so that I am not ambushed whilst waiting, but a Buzzard can warp cloaked. I assume he's come from a different direction, as there is no way he'd be visible so quickly after a jump, and has jumped through to the C3. I give chase and follow behind him. Or do I?
Back in the C3 there is no sign of the Buzzard, even after the session change timer must have elapsed and the cloak broken. Some weird effect has just happened, and it looked to be offering me a free shot at a Buzzard in our home system, one which I skilfully ignored by jumping away from it. There's not much I can do but wait a bit longer for the cov-ops to return this way, which thankfully isn't as long as the wait for it to appear the first time. My weapon systems are hot, I'm ready to zoom across and bump the ship to decloak it, but it doesn't even need to decloak to evade my target lock. The Buzzard simply warps away in the direction of its tower. This is very strange.
Never mind. The Buzzard had luck on its side, or maybe I was hallucinating. I can still see the Buzzard on d-scan and no ship changes are made by the pilot, so after a couple of minutes I jump home, swap to my Manticore stealth bomber, and roam in the C2 to see if anyone has woken up. Fin has woken up, which is good, and I give her the system in Sinq Laison that she can use to bring the Orca back home and through the C2, giving me further incentive to ensure no one is active there. Fin starts jumping, I enter the C2 and hit d-scan. A Probe frigate is now visible along with the Chimera, the frigate quickly becoming a Mammoth hauler. I have activity, and activity I may be able to shoot.
I warp to the tower to see the Mammoth bouncing off a hangar, looking like it is trying hard to enter warp and failing. I guess that it is about to warp away to collect planet goo from its customs offices and, gauging the general direction it is pointing, warp my Manticore to intercept it. I manage to choose the wrong customs office, though, and a second attempt to catch the Mammoth has me arriving too late, and d-scan places the hauler now back at the tower. Hoping he is simply dropping off one load before resuming collections I warp back to the tower to see what he does. Except I warp back to the moon and not my bookmark, the bookmark I specifically made to prevent myself bouncing off the tower's force field.
Not only does my Manticore land right on the border of the force field and decloak, I don't notice for ages, too intent on spotting the Mammoth's next move. Luckily, the tower doesn't open fire on me, but the Mammoth pilot has clearly seen my ship. He disappears in a puff of disconnection smoke and leaves me alone in the C2 once again. That was a pretty careless move I made. But at least the system is now officially empty, ready for Fin to bring the Orca home. I jump out to empire space, contract the bookmarks for her, and swap back to my Buzzard to scan the two class 3 systems after my bungling attempts at ambushes.
A pod is visible on d-scan in the C3 through our static connection, that of the Buzzard pilot I ineptly let escape. I pay it no mind as I launch probes and scan. The wormhole is really easy to find here, the other signatures being far too weak to be anything but radar or magnetometric sites. And we get a second exit to high-sec empire space, a rarity. 'If it's in Amarr I might cry', Fin tells me, after making plenty of jumps in the rather ponderous Orca. I pop out to take a look, and the exit system isn't in Amarr, it is a whole three hops away. Maybe I should have been more thorough in scanning first.
The C3 connecting in to our home system remains devoid of activity, and I start sifting through the many signatures here. I resolve a wormhole amongst a wealth of gas, a third exit to high-sec. Fin's return home today is blessed, it seems. This exit leads out to the Genesis region, not exactly close to any of our assets but not overly far either. If only we needed to collect any. Fin's already come through the C2 and got home safely, and that is all I need. Despite the opportunity to visit empire space my general incompetence makes me want an early night, so I head home to the tower and get ready to sleep.