Ah, sweet pulsar home of mine. What better way to celebrate my return than scanning an exit? And whilst I am scanning the home w-space system for the first time in a while I can start easy-mode mining too. There are a bunch of gravimetric and ladar sites cluttering up the system, but this can be rectified by warping in to visit each of them and waiting a few days for them to despawn naturally. Sure, there is less profit in clearing the sites this way, but I feel it's an efficient use of my time.
The home system hasn't got too overgrown with Sleepers in our absence, with only three gravimetric, two ladar, and three radar sites to go with the dozen or so anomalies. There probably have been a number of fleets coming through to reap the profit for themselves, which is only to be expected and fair game. Today there is only one wormhole to find, leading to our neighbouring class 3 w-space system, and I jump in to see only an off-line tower on my directional scanner. Exploring by warping around and with a blanket scan using probes finds two more off-line towers and one on-line, but no ships or pilots. I start scanning.
Twenty-five anomalies is a lot of profit waiting to be salvaged, if only I had a suitable ship and some colleagues to help me. If I can find a good exit to empire space it would help with getting both of those in to w-space, which means finding wormholes. One is sitting almost on top of the K162 I entered the system through, and it is also a K162, but from low-sec empire space. A Buzzard jumps in to the C3 as I am bookmarking the wormhole, followed seconds later by a Cheetah. Both covert operations boats warp off in the direction of another wormhole I am currently resolving, their ships appearing on my combat probes as they presumably jump out of the system. I follow behind, some seconds later, once I fully resolve the wormhole.
My hopes of finding an active w-space system aren't realised, as the cov-ops boats have exited to null-sec k-space, through the C3's static wormhole. At least there is a low-sec connection available to use, as null-sec won't be terribly convenient for moving pilots or ships safely. And there's a second exit to low-sec, the third wormhole in this C3 being another K162 from empire space. I check the exit systems, one of them coming from the Kor-Azor region and far from anywhere. The other exit is equally distant from our assets, throwing me out to the Heimatar region. I'm not keen to travel so far at the moment and, with no one else around, head home to take a break for food.
On my return I find there has been little change. The C3 is still devoid of activity, although one of the K162s from low-sec has died of old age. I took my time eating that sammich. There really isn't much to do except jump to the other low-sec system and scan for more wormholes. At least there is a signature to resolve in the low-sec system, and it's a wormhole. Unfortunately the K162 from class 3 w-space is reaching the end of its natural lifetime, and although a quick poke through sees occupation there is no activity and I jump back to low-sec, exploration ended and wondering what to do.
This low-sec system is empty, not just of useful signatures but also pilots. The local channel shows me no one is around, so it is relatively safe to use the stargates here. I may as well jump one system across and look for more w-space to roam. I make a safe spot where I can launch probes hopefully without interruption before cloaking, and sitting inside a planet looks pretty safe to me. Four signatures looks promising, a wormhole on the first hit more so, but all I get to start with is a K162 coming from more low-sec. Thankfully there is a second wormhole here too, and a K162 from class 2 w-space. I may find soft targets, and there should be a second wormhole leading to more w-space. I can keep exploring.
Fin and I were in this C2 a year ago, when we popped an off-line tower's hangar and maintenance array, grabbing lots of loot for ourselves. The system is occupied again now but inactive. I scan for the second wormhole and find it to lead to another class 2 w-space system, jumping in to again find an occupied but inactive system. Empty space certainly is empty. Scanning resolves gas, a disappearing signature, and static wormholes to low-sec and another C2, but the connection to C2c is EOL. Just a quick peek in to the third class 2 system has d-scan show me a Rattlesnake battleship, Nidhoggur carrier, and Naglfar dreadnought amongst several other combat ships, but no wrecks. A previous visit has my notes give me the location of the tower and a fly-by sees only a Cheetah piloted, making this system rather less interesting than it first seemed.
I go back to previous C2 system and exit to low-sec there, ending up in the Domain region and only five hops to our assets. But getting the ships would require jumping in to low-sec safely, going through a cloud of w-space systems, then the stargate hop in more low-sec, before getting to the neighbouring C3 and then home. I suppose it's possible, but it seems a little convoluted to my puny brain. I am even having trouble picturing the extended constellation as glorious leader Fin sees the shorter Domain route home and is keen to return herself. I try to explain it as best I can before returning through the class 2 systems to low-sec, and continuing my exploration for now through the wormhole connecting two low-sec systems.
I jump from Heimatar to appear in Derelik, again far from anywhere useful. Scanning has four signatures to resolve, only one of which is another wormhole, a K162 from class 3 w-space. Jumping in to the C3 puts me in another system in my notes, a clear d-scan letting me launch probes before warping to the location of what is now an off-line tower. My combat probes show me ships in the system, though, and I soon find a new, on-line tower, with a Heron frigate and Iteron hauler inside the shields and piloted. At last, some capsuleers! I'm not entierly sure I care if they do anything, I'm just glad to see there are still other pilots around.
As it turns out, the Heron is awake, warping out of the tower. He could be heading to the wormhole but warping there myself sees no ship, although he remains visible on d-scan and is launching probes. I work out that he warped to the first planet to launch probes, but only get there in time to see the probes clustered where his ship was. He's now back at the tower and scanning from the safety of the shields. I could wait for him or his colleague to move, but I feel like I've done enough for tonight. I'll help guide Fin home, if I can find her, as the constellation is a little confusing.
I warp back through random wormholes—from this C3 to low-sec, through another wormhole to low-sec, a K162 to a C2, across to the second C2, and back out to low-sec—until I meet up with Fin, who has scanned her way to the wormhole in the Domain region, and I start taking us homewards. Not only do I find my way through the various connections, aided only by a rough and rather inaccurate map I've sketched, but I bring Fin back to our C4 without getting her killed. There's an achievement to be proud of. I can sleep easily tonight, once I get this damned map right.