I want to get back to exploring. Running missions isn't rewarding for me, and not just in terms of ISK. I could get myself a new Buzzard covert operations boat to scan with whilst taking a break in high-sec empire space, but there are logistic problems when using stations. Docking adds a session change timer, during which it isn't possible to change ships. Warping and jumping between systems already takes time, and an extra thirty seconds when changing ships could mean the difference between catching the target and it blissfully going free. And besides being frustrating mid-hunt, it's tedious to do nothing for half-a-minute.
This extra delay isn't a problem when using a tower, as you warp in, change ships, and warp out, so using a Buzzard and swapping to a stealth bomber or other combat ship has never been a particular drag, but I can imagine the delay will become untenable when I am looking for a quick turnaround to try to catch a miner or salvager. Or, I suppose if I'm feeling daring, combat ships. It looks like I have the motivation to finally splash out on a covert strategic cruiser scouting boat.
I already have a rough configuration for a cov-ops Tengu, even if sacrificing a launcher to make room for a cloaking device was apparently an afterthought. I understand that it won't have the firepower or tank of a dedicated combat ship but it should still be quite capable to assault smaller ships, and certainly careless industrialists, all with the capability to scan in to and out of w-space in a single boat. I almost accept its rather ugly subsystem configuration because of its adaptability. Now I just need to find some w-space.
Not wanting to start scanning in Jita I start making my way back towards my mission base, picking an arbitrary system along the way to test my new Tengu's abilities. I resolve a couple of magnetometric sites first, but get lucky with a wormhole being in the system. The connection turns out to be a K162 from class 1 w-space, and reaching the end of its natural lifetime. I normally leave dying wormholes alone but, as I am in a scanning boat, the C1 likely has a static exit to high-sec, and I am not really risking getting isolated from any particular home, I jump in to take a look.
Two Iteron haulers are in the system, according to my directional scanner, along with an on-line tower. Finding the tower finds the ships, but both are unpiloted and unlikely to go out collecting planet goo. I notice a couple of scanning probes on d-scan now, so it's possible there is another wormhole to find. Scanning only reveals two signatures, though, the wormhole I jumped through and a ladar gas harvesting site. A bit more exploration finds a second tower, the piloted Helios cov-ops boat inside its shields probably the owner of the probes and likely to be checking to see if the static connection has collapsed of old age and been replaced with a new one. I doubt I'll see much action here soon.
I jump back to high-sec and hop across to an adjacent system to scan again. I am lucky to find another wormhole, but again it is reaching the end of its life. There is also a Maelstrom battleship sitting on the wormhole to class 3 w-space, which warps away a few seconds after I land cloaked. I wonder if there are any ships on the other side of the wormhole and jump in to take a look, but find only empty space. It's w-space I've visited before too, and although I jumped through an connection outbound from empire space this C3 apparently also has a static exit to high-sec, giving me a good exit should the wormhole die behind me. I take a look around.
The tower I have listed in my notes has been moved or replaced, and there is no one at home. Scanning reveals no anomalies and five signatures, which are mostly ladar sites. This system is rather dull too at the moment. I go back the way I came and make one more hop to take me to my mission base, where I launch probes and scan high-sec space a third time. Another wormhole presents itself, this one a stable K162 from class 2 w-space. I jump in, move away from the wormhole, and cloak, at which point a Mammoth hauler drops on top of the wormhole, loiters a while, and jumps out to high-sec. That could be interesting.
I reconnoitre the C2 to find one anomaly, seven signatures, and two ships. An unpiloted shuttle and piloted Tengu are inside the shields of a local tower, but the pilot of the Tengu doesn't look active. Knowing the proximity of the exit to high-sec to Jita I return to the wormhole, waiting for the Mammoth to return. I am hoping he is going on a simple shopping trip and will come back soon, when he will ignore the session change timer on seeing empty w-space and try to warp to his tower. Even with a few seconds of recalibration delay I may be able to decloak, lock, and disrupt the warp engines of the hauler before it can align and accelerate, and with the session change timer active it won't be able to escape back to high-sec.
My plan sounds viable, certainly enough to keep me waiting at the wormhole for the Mammoth for quite a while, but it seems his shopping trip is either more complicated than a simple fuel run or he is shunning Jita. I suppose at least this is a successful, if partial, return to w-space, waiting for a nebulous someone to jump in to a dubious ambush. My Tengu gets a test run too, and probably for the best that only its scanning capabilities are exercised on its maiden voyage. For today, I simply jump back to high-sec and park in a station for the night, ready to go exploring again tomorrow.