I call on Constance again to see about getting me home. Home being our class 4 w-space system with a pulsar phenomenon. Yesterday had our static wormhole opened early by other pilots passing through, and its wobbly death throes didn't look comforting. Today the system looks clear, and in scanning Constance finds only one wormhole, which is a good start. She jumps in to the class 3 system beyond and launches probes to look for the inevitable exit to low-sec empire space.
Armed with only core scanning probes Constance isn't looking for targets, but that doesn't mean she can ignore the presence of other ships. I'm beginning to think that maybe I should have equipped her with combat probes, so that hostile, or at least unknown, ships would be more apparent, as the last situation I need is for her to fly headlong in to trouble. But Constance explores the system whilst scanning, locating two towers. One has four ships, and the three empty haulers and single piloted Helios covert operations boat pose little concern for her safety.
Looking past the rocks and gas resolves a wormhole, naturally leading out to low-sec. Constance jumps out and notes the exit system. Twenty-eight jumps, says Mick. Fourty-two, says Fin. It's not a close exit, but it's not a bad one either. It's only one hop to high-sec, and a second hop finds a system with a station. Constance docks, contracts a copy of the bookmarks, and heads home to hide in a corner of the C4.
I set my auto-pilot and see a trip of thirty-three jumps ahead of me, with a short, four-hop diversion through low-sec. I could wait for a better exit but that may leave me waiting for a while. Besides, better to get back in to the home system and be in a position to scan my way out again than stay in empire space another day. I undock my covert Tengu strategic cruiser and start the journey.
Hopping between stargates is hardly exciting or challenging, and even zipping across low-sec presents no surprises in a covert ship. There are a few wrecks on a couple of the stargates but no one actively waiting for me, at least not that I can see, and I jump in to Hek unscathed. The worst part of the journey is over, crazy low-sec being left behind for the comforting embrace of w-space. I dock in high-sec, copy the bookmarks to my nav-comp, and finish my return home.
The class 3 system looks clear and I think about checking the local tower, but before I assume I'm home safely I make a fly-past of the K162. It's still there, healthy, and lacking pointy ships swarming around it. It looks good to me. I warp across to the tower in the C3 to see there both a Mammoth hauler and Hurricane battlecruiser piloted, shortly followed by a Cheetah cov-ops boat.
Just as I hope my return will see a triumphant ganking of a planet goo industrialist the Mammoth disappears in a puff of disconnection smoke. I think I'll consider myself simply glad to be home, particularly after the long journey to get here. I warp out, jump through the K162, and nod off bathed in the light of a pulsar once more.