Running solo, I scan the home system. It's all clear here, just as it looks on the other side of our static connection. My directional scanner shows me nothing of interest in C3a. Well, nothing of direct interest, but I note that the only planet that is in d-scan range is over 6 AU from the wormhole. I've mentioned before how some signatures look wormholey, and this would be one of them, as I don't think signatures for sites appear this far from celestial objects.
Happy to have more information to back up my intuition, I launch probes and scan the system as I check my notes. I've been here three times before, the last being six months ago. The tower is in the same place, which isn't surprising given the Thanatos and Archon carriers the twelve-member corporation have invested in. Neither carrier is piloted at the moment, and nor are the Phobos heavy interdictor and Falcon recon ship, giving me an inactive system to scan. Surprisingly for a system with two captive carriers, there are still eight anomalies to be plundered, but maybe the low membership of the corporation explains that.
I sift through the nine signatures here, finding gas, a wormhole, a really weak wormhole—and I know the static connection here leads to low-sec empire space, so it looks like I have a random outbound connection—a third wormhole almost 6 AU from a planet, some rocks, more gas, and two signatures out in the middle of nowhere that can only be—quelle surprise—two more wormholes. The static exit to low-sec is joined by a K162 from low-sec, a K162 from null-sec, and a dying K162 from null-sec, so thank goodness for the outbound connection to class 5 w-space.
The class 5 system may be more w-space, but it's more inactive w-space. There is a tower here with no ships, and my previous visit lets me know early on that I'm looking for a static connection to another C5. Such is the way of class 5 w-space. I launch probes, blanket the system, and find the tower, getting rather more intimate with it than I appreciate on a first meeting. Thankfully, the tower's pretty bare, which I actually do appreciate on a first meeting, and there's no real consequence to dropping out of warp under ten kilometres from the force field.
I ignore the eleven anomalies here and look for more wormholes in the eight signatures, finding three of them. Along with the static wormhole, I also have an outbound connection to low-sec and what appears to be a standard issue K162 from null-sec. I'm press on to C5b, where one planet with one moon is all that's out of d-scan range from the wormhole, and I soon find that the moon doesn't hold a tower, which puts me back to scanning. The eight anomalies here show that the system must be occasionally visited, but the sixteen signatures are more indicative of the system being unoccupied.
I'm only looking for the first wormhole to get me to more w-space now, which makes the K162 from null-sec a disappointing first find. I keep scanning, down to a really weak second wormhole signature, which I'm guessing leads to class 1 or class 2 w-space. And, given how carefully I hedged my guess, it's no surprise that I drop out of warp in front of a connection to class 1 w-space. That's nifty, and is good enough for me to recall my probes and keep moving forwards. And even though d-scan is again clear from the other side of the wormhole, and there are no anomalies amongst the seven signatures, the two ships that appear on my blanket scan of C1a are interesting! Exploring finds both ships at one of the two towers here, and both unpiloted. This is becoming depressing.
But just as I think I'm scanning to nowhere again, a new contact appears on my probes. It may just be a pod heading out to high-sec, through the wormhole I've resolved and landed on, but it's movement. Then again, the pilot didn't look local, and checking his information makes him seem like a tourist, maybe thinking w-space is safer to explore in a pod than a ship. Either way, I continue scanning, not wanting the constellation to end with a whimper. Thankfully, another really weak signature saves my exploration, and I warp to an L614 outbound connection to class 5 w-space. Isn't this just a lovely little class 1 w-space oasis in the middle of a class 5 w-space chain.
I unintentionally hold on the wormhole for a minute, which lets a Buzzard covert operations boat jump through, and makes me wonder who opened this connection. I've only just got here, and now it looks like the tourist in a pod is actually from the C5 beyond, and there's no way he could have opened the connection from the K162-side. Either way, whoever came this way before me is gone, but maybe I can reap the benefit. I jump in to C5c to see four towers, a Tengu strategic cruiser, and two cov-ops on d-scan, shortly followed by a second Tengu that jumps through the wormhole behind me.
It's easy to find the active tower, as the Tengu coming through the wormhole warps directly towards it. I follow behind and fair near pee myself a little when one of the pilots swaps to a Noctis salvager. I then remember that C1a has no anomalies in it and calm down again. The pilots swap ships here and there before stripping naked and doing absolutely nothing in their three pods. Damn them, damn them all to the hell of infinite w-space scanning. I'm not quite there yet, refusing to scan deeper down this C5 chain, so turn around and head homewards.
With eighteen wormhole bookmarks and none on the k-space side, I don't go straight home but dip in to the many null-sec systems I've found connecting to the w-space constellation. The first is shared with other pilots so I move on to the second, which is more interesting. An Iteron hauler is visible without a tower. I presume its piloted by the capsuleer in the system with me and I start looking for it, but then a Drake battlecruiser appears on d-scan briefly, before it and the pilot disappear from the system. The Iteron's abandoned. It's trivial to scan the ship's position when no one is going to get spooked, letting me find it and wonder what to do. I'm going to shoot it, of course. I don't much care what's inside at this point in the evening, beyond what loot it will drop for me. So shoot the Iteron I do, and recover a few modules and some salvage for my time spent scanning. It'll do, I suppose. Now I can rat a bit.
I could rat, if the Drake apparently didn't have the same idea. There are wrecks galore in each of the rock fields in this null-sec system, which I initially think makes the Drake a little inefficient in popping them all at once. But I notice that I'm in a small ring of systems to navigate and come across the same Drake pilot when I make my way around it, so I imagine he's just doing loops of the ring and creating quite a mess ratting as he goes. I try to do the same but lose interest after one circuit, so head back to w-space and check the next null-sec system along the way home. Or I would if I didn't immediately bump in to a Buzzard sitting on the other side of the wormhole to null-sec.
The Buzzard jumps through to the null-sec system I just left and I flip my ship to follow. I know I'll just get stuck on the null-sec side of the wormhole, having chased a shadow, waiting for a polarisation timer to end, but this is my best shot of the evening at an actual piloted ship, so I'm taking it. And back in null-sec I decloak early and activate my sensor booster, trying to increase my chances as much as I'm hoping for the bit of luck I need. The Buzzard appears, and the Buzzard cloaks and warps clear, giving me the briefest of windows to lock on to his ship. Never mind, even if I had managed to stop him getting clear of the wormhole he would only have had to jump back to leave me unable to give chase.
I cloak and wait for the polarisation effects to dissipate, after which I return to w-space and start heading home again, making diversions through the k-space connections as I go. The K162 from low-sec in C3a takes me to The Citadel, the null-sec connection comes from Curse, and the static exit leads to a low-sec system in Domain. In each case, I'm not alone in the system and don't feel comfortable looking for a rat to shoot, and I jump straight back to w-space. After C3a the only other connection takes me home, where I hide in a corner of the system for the night, where I dream about the amazing time I popped an unpiloted Iteron and chased a Buzzard.