Add skill, hit apply, and quickly! Phew, having an unscheduled lack of net connection for a full weekend drained my skill queue, which threw me in to a mild, uh, feeling of ennui, really. What's a few hours here or there? And even once the net connection was restored I didn't see the point of rushing to add a skill to the queue. It could wait until after I'd cooked, eaten, and let everything settle. Tummy first, skill queue second. I'm pretty sure that's the saying. If not, it will be soon enough, mark my words. But now I'm back in space and looking for some action. There's not been much of that around lately, except for us losing another strategic cruiser to some more competent players. That's only to be expected.
All looks pretty much the same in the home system, with only two new ladar sites for me to activate so that the gas will disperse by itself after a time. I resolve our static wormhole and jump to the neighbouring class 3 w-space system, where my directional scanner shows me nothing. Adjusting it reveals some planets and moons, which I like to see just to check that the scanner's working, but there's nothing of interest nearby. Three planets sit out of range of d-scan, in different directions, so I launch probes and perform a blanket scan of the system. The scan has ships and drones amongst the anomalies and signatures, and the way they are clustered makes it look like they are either together in a site or sitting passively in a tower. I warp across the system to find out.
Mining drones on d-scan could look encouraging, but not without a mining boat to go with them. Instead, I see two Orca industrial command ships, a Nidhoggur carrier, and a Buzzard covert operations boat, along with two towers. There are also plenty of warp bubbles, and it's in one of those where I suspect to find the drones. I warp to the tower that has the drones but no ships and, sure enough, find them stuffed in to a warp bubble that's positioned to catch anyone warping from where I did to the range I did. My interdiction nullified Tengu strategic cruiser doesn't help me here. Still, it is a simple matter to move away from the drones and re-activate my cloak as I ponder the usefulness of an effective bubble trap where no one will see its victims.
Warping to the second tower finds the ships and without my flying in to any other traps, which is a shame for the locals as the pilot in the Buzzard could have maybe spotted me if I had. The other three ships are unpiloted, and probably floating around because there isn't room to store them in the hangars. I see no probes on d-scan, the Buzzard isn't moving, and there are no ships I can't account for. I may as well scan. I bookmark the five anomalies and see the Buzzard go off-line as the first signature resolves to be a wormhole. The second signature is also a wormhole, but there the fun ends, leaving me with a rock site and two useless radar sites.
The static exit to low-sec empire space is accompanied by a K162 from more class 3 w-space, so staying in w-space I jump to C3b. D-scan is clear from the wormhole but there is only one planet in range, giving plenty more space to hold activity. And there may be something to find. My notes put me here a year ago, where I took an opportunistic bombing run at a pair of Dominix battleships, after which I throw a Legion strategic cruiser at them and lose it pitifully. I think that was the day I tried to adopt the credo of 'never go back'. I can't say I listened to myself, though. But I won't be tempted to come back today, as the tower that was here is gone, and although another tower has been constructed in the system there is no one home.
I sift through the thirteen signatures and come across a fat wormhole signature back on the edge of the system I entered to, which I assume to be a K162 and maybe the source of the scout who opened the N968 here. A second wormhole feels like the static connection to null-sec I'm expecting, and after that it's just rocks and gas. I did indeed resolve a K162, but a rather boring one that comes from null-sec. I jump through anyway, to look for a rat, to find myself in a system in the Vale of the Silent region with two other pilots. D-scan shows me two Tengus and plenty of wrecks, so I suppose I've interrupted some simple combat. I normally wouldn't rat with other pilots in the system but I imagine I've scared these two pilots back to their tower. Let me check that.
Yep, the Tengus are huddled inside the force field of a tower in this null-sec system, and are unlikely to come out again until I've left. And as there are rock fields out of d-scan range of this tower I surreptitiously pop a rat before getting out of the Tengus' untousled hair. Checking my atlas shows that there isn't an easy circuit of systems I can make here, so I leave null-sec for w-space, warping across C3a to jump through its static wormhole to more null-sec, this time in the Outer Passage region and by myself. I am happy to spend a minute ratting again, deluding myself in to thinking I'm being productive, but change my mind when I see that Outer Passage is populated by drones. Get bent, Outer Passage. No wonder whoever came here scanned for wormholes.
I jump back to the inactive C3b and back again to C3a, where there are now two piloted Anathema cov-ops boats at the tower. The addition of new contacts interests me, their unwillingness to swap to haulers and collect planet goo disgusts me. I leave them behind and exit to low-sec, appearing in the Khanid region. This is real low-sec too. I'm closer to Aridia than high-sec, and in a dead end. One capsuleer in the system ruins my notion to rat, if only because I can't tell if he's cloaked or docked, so instead I scan. This time, the three extra signatures give me extra wormholes, a K162 from a C3 and a K162 from a C2, along with a magnetometric site. That class 2 w-space system looks good, so I go there first.
D-scan shows me a tower and no ships, and the system map shows me nowhere to hide. I suppose no one's home. I launch probes and scan once more, surprised by the lack of anomalies but ten signatures here. I sift through them, resolving a wormhole just as a ship jumps through, although I'm not quick enough to swap to d-scan to see what it could have been. I don't know if it jumped in and out, or is cloaked or not, and can only assume that it saw my probes, so I carry on regardless. All I know for sure is that the ship appeared briefly on a K162 from class 1 w-space. That's nifty. I also resolve the second static connection, a wormhole to more class 2 w-space, as well as, um, the second static connection again, a wormhole to more class 2 w-space. I think it's a white hole.
I resolve a fourth wormhole as presumably the same ship from before appears under my probes, catching it on d-scan this time as a Buzzard. The fourth wormhole is a K162 from class 4 w-space and the Buzzard is local, now pottering around in the tower here, so I ignore him and go roaming. I'm not going to scan any more but just poke around the systems I've found looking for trouble. There's nothing of interest in C1a, which is a shame, and warping back across C2a has the Buzzard gone from its tower, and probably off-line. C4a is unoccupied and inactive, and I've already decided not to look for more K162s, so it's back to C2a and in to C2b. Still nothing. The system is unusually unoccupied for a C2, and no ships have wandered in from elsewhere. I jump back to C2a and check that C2b and C2c do indeed connect with different wormholes, before exploring through the last wormhole here.
Finally, some pilots. D-scan looked desperately empty from the K162 but warping across the system finds a tower holding a Drake battlecruiser and Tengu, both piloted. A Buzzard buzzes on to d-scan, but I don't know where he is. And although the combat ships here are piloted I doubt I'll catch them doing anything, because even if they decide to move it will probably be forwards through their own static wormhole, rather than limiting themselves to their home system. I could scan, but I'd have to wait until they moved or risk giving away my presence. Mind you, I think the Buzzard's already done that. Okay, I'm going home, particularly as all that's happening here is Penny's getting sleepy.
I jump back to C2a, out to low, and realise there is another wormhole here I forgot about. I can take a quick look through it. Jumping in to C3c has nothing on d-scan, now a core scanning probe, and now five of them. If I could actually catch a cov-ops I'd probably care. Instead, I look for the tower that was here five months ago, finding it in the same place and with an unpiloted Devoter inside its shields, but also with a second tower anchored somewhere. I locate the other tower if only to complete my records and, as there is nothing interesting happening here either, turn around to head home. I pause at the wormhole to low-sec as a Buzzard appears on d-scan, and watch as he drops out of warp on the wormhole and jumps.
Maybe the Buzzard will come back and be polarised. Seeing as how he didn't warp cloaked it's possible I could have a shot at him. It's also possible that he's scouting ahead of a hauler, which would give me a squishy ship to shoot. But it's most probable that he is a tourist who's not going to come back to w-space, although I say that with the benefit of sitting on the wormhole for five minutes apparently waiting for nothing. I jump back to low-sec, see no sign of the Buzzard's pilot, and definitely head home this time.