I'm hoping that scanning early will catch some capsuleers off-guard. There must be pilots out there somewhere, as a whole bunch of the anomalies in our home w-space system have gone missing, I just need to find out where they are all hiding. The pilots are not in our neighbouring class 3 system, though, unless the Orca industrial command ship and Pheonix dreadnought visible on my directional scanner are uncharacteristically the only ships active here. And indeed they are not, both floating empty in the local tower, which remains bristling with defences right where I found it five months ago.
The second tower I have listed in this system is out of range of d-scan. Warping across shows it has been stripped bare, only the tower itself remaining anchored in space, and that the system is inactive. I launch probes and scan, finding the static exit to low-sec empire space in no time, thanks to it being the only other signature here beyond the K162 home. The four anomalies also present could be pillaged for Sleeper loot, but I am still by myself and don't fancy the amount of time it takes a single Tengu strategic cruiser to clear the sites. Jumping out to low-sec puts me in the Kor-Azor region, not too close to high-sec, and there are no other wormholes to find here. I'll have to wait for colleagues to arrive to do something, either shoot Sleepers or collapse the wormhole. I head home and kick back, grabbing a sammich for now.
I'm back, and still by myself. A cursory scan of the home system finds no new signatures and the neighbouring C3 remains just as quiet. I could take another break but it's likely that the lull in activity will see no one turn up. I think I'll collapse the wormhole by myself, using just my Widow. The black ops ship will take more trips than using an Orca, the polarisation time for each return journey adding up, but two weeks of training otherwise useless mining skills is still discouraging me from piloting an industrial command ship, despite all the other useless skills I've spent more time training. Besides, the Widow is more massive than a standard battleship and makes collapsing our static wormhole more attractive anyway. I think I trained useless skills for at least a month to pilot it too. It was worth it.
I start the jumps through our wormhole, keeping a watchful eye on d-scan on both sides as I do, and keeping myself entertained in other ways as I wait for each polarisation effect to dissipate. Out, in, out, in, out, in, uh, out? I can't remember how many jumps I've made. I scribbled down some notes about estimated mass on each pair of jumps and thought I'd crossed off each of the jumps as I made them, but I've lost count. I was also cross-referencing with the elapsed time, but distracting myself has hindered my normally reliable ability to count up to five. Was that the fifth return jump, or just the fourth? The wormhole's still here, but wobbly, and I don't know if it is a bit light and I have my last trip to make, or a bit chubby and I should push a wormhole-collapsing HIC through now. Oh, I'm sure I'll be fine. Out I go.
Okay, that was my sixth trip, the one I shouldn't have made in the Widow, as highlighted by the wormhole collapsing behind me. Sitting in w-space in my half-billion ISK ship not fitted with scanning probes makes me glad I scanned the exit to this system earlier. I'm even more glad to see that wormhole still present, letting me exit to k-space, even if it's low-sec. I make my way to high-sec and think about waking up Constance when glorious leader Fin arrives. My saviour! Fin is happy to scan the new static wormhole and look for a way to get me home, as I stand uncomfortably in a station feeling I should be doing something more than marvelling at my legs.
Fin resolves the new wormhole and jumps in to the connecting C3, happy to learn that the Onyx heavy interdictor, Nighthawk command ship, Tengu, and two Orcas are all empty in a tower. But scanning the system finds a whopping fourty-one signatures to sift through, which makes finding the exit a rather daunting task. Thankfully it only takes resolving thirteen signatures for Fin to find the system's static exit to low-sec, jumping out to put her thirty jumps away from me. But it's not an onerous journey, the whole trip possible through high-sec until reaching the final, dead-end low-sec system. That's a pretty good result, really.
I'm happy Fin didn't have to scan many more signatures before finding the wormhole, particularly as she made a mistake. There aren't fourty-one signatures in the C3, there are forty-one signatures within 8 AU of the star in the C3. More lay hidden beyond the reaches of her default scanning range. Still, that's not really a mistake, not like failing to keep track of such high numbers like a whole five jumps, and getting isolated from the home system. As a result, tonight now involves me making thirty jumps to get home instead of shooting Sleepers to make a profit. I suppose I shouldn't feel guilty as such. After all, we've all been isolated through errors or oversights in the past, and scanning a colleague home is part of w-space life. The time spent warping across systems just feels like wasted opportunity.
The journey through high-sec is unsurprisingly uneventful, warping point-to-point between stargates and activating each in turn. The only possibly troublesome jump is the last, in to low-sec, but the system remains clear of pilots and Fin is keeping an eye on the stargate. She gets Mick home, who also turned up and was only a convenient four hops from returning to w-space, and collects me from my jaunt around empire space in my Widow. I get my expensive ship and stupid self back home, low-sec and the C3 staying empty, but only in time to park and get some rest. There may have been no shooting involved, or much sign of other pilots, but it feels like I've had another adventure.