I have a new mail waiting for me today. It seems the pilot I podded, after popping her Manticore stealth bomber, has added me as a contact with terrible standing. Aww, that's so sweet, to know someone out there cares so much. 'We've reached out and touched a fellow capsuleer', says Fin, having received a similar mail. I would be amazed if I haven't made other such enemies already, but what makes this time special is the extra single-click to select 'inform the other person' of the status change. It's the personal touch, the intimacy of the anger and hate, that makes me feel I've finally made a difference.
As one capsuleer hates us, another returns to the fold. A former director of Wormhole Engineers, gone rogue for a short while, is tempted back to a simple w-space life, at least for now, coming to join us in our little class 4 pulsar system. He's quietly sleeping in his pod at the moment, so Fin and I scan our home system to look for activity we can shoot, Sleeper or capsuleer. We both find the static wormhole in our system at the same time, warping and jumping through it to greet our class 3 w-space neighbours.
There are two planets visible on my directional scanner and nothing else, making it convenient to launch probes and move them out of the system in preparation for hunting pilots or sifting through signatures. Opening the system map shows that having two planets on d-scan is actually quite coincidental, given the system is around 120 AU in radius. I even have trouble trying to zoom out my view to see the whole system at once, which I can only do if I minimize some other windows. My notes tell me I've been here before, too, some eight months ago when I jot down that there is some occupation but apparently don't bother to find the tower.
A blanket scan of the system, my probes just about managing to do so, finds fourteen anomalies and three ships. I bookmark the former and go looking for the latter. Oh, hullo, I spy fourteen towers on d-scan when I start warping around. This a silo system, maximising the reactions that can be performed in null-sec space by cramming as many towers in to a single system as possible, all with a convenient, if changing, exit to empire space. No wonder I didn't look for all the towers last time I was here, and I'm not going to do so now. I'll find the ships and leave it at that.
There only appears to be one tower of interest, which doesn't surprise me. A Rorqual capital industrial ship and Dominix battleship sit piloted in what must be the centre of operations, an Anathema covert operatons boat elsewhere seemingly warping between other towers, perhaps configuring or maintaining the silos. Not much is happening here, even when a Noctis salvager appears at the Tower of Interest. There is curious activity at home, though, as combat scanning probes are seen by Fin on d-scan. We consider our options for a while, either looking for the new wormhole that connects to us or setting an ambush with an interceptor, until we realise that it is merely our returned colleague who has woken up and is taking an inventory of the many signatures we have in the home system. Silly us, we're not used to company.
Our best option is to collapse the static wormhole and hope for a more interesting connecting system. It seems that the overall mass of our wormhole, depleted bit-by-bit with each passage of a ship, is rather more variable than it has been, and generally more massive. We are having to push an extra ship or two through to ensure the connection's collapse, although it isn't a particular problem as such. The collapse goes smoothly still, it simply takes a few minutes longer and a bit of care. With a preliminary scan-and-ignore completed the new static wormhole is found immediately, and we are jumping in to another class 3 w-space system.
A Zealot heavy assault ship and tower are both on d-scan from the wormhole, which looks promising, despite there currently being no wrecks visible. But finding the tower shows the Zealot to be unpiloted, and there are no other ships in the system. Scanning reveals six anomalies and nine signatures, the static resolved to be an exit to low-sec space, heading out to the Sinq Laison region and eight jumps to Jita. There are no further wormholes in the C3 and no sign of any activity, so we can either shoot Sleepers or collapse our static connection a second time in the hopes of a hunt.
The collapse is smooth again, even with a similar extra push required, and scouts go scouting. This next C3 is like the previous, though, with a tower and no ships, along with a static exit to low-sec space that leads out to Sinq Laison. The only noteworthy feature is the tower, as it wasn't there on my last visit a month ago. We've collapsed our wormhole twice so far, a third time won't hurt, particularly as we have some momentum going. But the capricious nature of wormhole masses strikes, erring on the lighter side this time and leaving our colleague stranded in the C3 in a battleship. At least we have the exit wormhole scanned, letting him take the easy way to empire space.
We have a new exit to find, and a colleague stranded so soon after returning. The new C3 has a drone on d-scan, which would be more interesting if there were some ships or wrecks to go with it, but there aren't, only a tower with no one home. I locate the tower—and there turn out to be two—whilst Fin scans and resolves a K162 wormhole coming in from low-sec. The exit is in the Domain region and rather far from our stranded battleship, though. The class 3 system's static wormhole is an exit to null-sec k-space, and not much use for us, even if it weren't reaching the end of its natural lifetime.
I note the location of both towers and the system's sleeping status as Fin finds a third wormhole, a second K346 exit to null-sec. It could be interesting, but I would put iskies on the previous wormhole instead having collapsed. I warp out to the bookmarked wormhole and end up in empty space, confirming the collapse of the EOL connection. It must have been at death's door as we found it. There doesn't seem like much more to do. Neither of us wants to collapse our static wormhole a fourth time, only to have to scan yet again, so it looks like it's time for bed. Our colleague will have to spend another night in space dock. I quickly poke my nose through the new exit to null-sec, appearing in the Geminate region for another red dot of exploration, before returning home to get some rest. So many systems, so little activity. Such is w-space life some days.