I'm hoping for a fresh constellation today. Yesterday's had the lingering stench of stagnant, um, vacuum, with all of the dying wormholes littered around. The home system looks clear, and has the static wormhole in the same place as yesterday, but a second wormhole may mean I'm already being watched. The K162 comes from deadly class 6 w-space too, which is ominous. At least both wormholes are healthy. I ignore that other connection for now, opting to explore through to our neighbouring class 3 w-space system instead, so that I can get an exit to empire space should circumstances turn sour. It may also prompt a fleet from C6a to enter our system and start shooting Sleepers whilst I'm away.
Having my directional scanner show me a tower and no ships in C3a is terribly ordinary, and a second scenario for the C6ers occurs to me. It could be that they've already scanned the w-space constellation and taken all the action for themselves, making me simply late again. Maybe, maybe not. I'll carry on regardless until I have definite reason to stop, so warp out, launch probes, and scan. As I get my probes arranged I look for the tower, and find two. There are still no ships, though. And scanning is quick, with a mere three signatures to go with the six anomalies, and I resolve rocks and a static exit to low-sec.
Leaving w-space puts me in the Domain region, a couple of hops to high-sec in one direction, a couple of hops to null-sec in the other. I bookmark this low-sec side of the wormhole and return to w-space, now more content to plunge my ship in to the class 6 system, although the occupants are often more scared of you than you are of them. That's what I like to tell myself. Jumping in to C6a certainly doesn't seem dangerous, with only two off-line towers to see on d-scan and a single planet that's out of range. I don't expect to see any occupation on that distant planet and, warping across, nor do I find it. All is quiet.
Aii appears, is happy to hear about some rock fields at home, and grabs a Hulk exhumer to start chomping on high-grade rocks. I plonk my scouting boat on the wormhole leading back home, giving some early warning to my mining colleague, as I scan the C6. Sifting through the twelve signatures in the system finds rocks and gas, but no more wormholes. All looks clear in this direction for Aii. I jump home, warp across the system, and return to C3a to see if there is any change here. Nope. All looks clear in this direction too.
I leave Aii to his rock collecting, knowing he's big enough to look after himself, and exit w-space again. This time, I scan the low-sec system, where a single additional signature thankfully turns out to be another wormhole. It's a K162 from more class 3 w-space, but that's good enough. I approach and—hello, a Helios covert operations boat is doing the same, but he's less invisible than I am. The Helios jumps and I give chase, burning to the wormhole and following in to C3b. I decloak and ineffectively wave my targeting systems in the direction of the cov-ops, as it warps away easily enough.
It occurs to me—late, naturally—that I probably just gave away my presence to a scout. What I perhaps should have done, knowing how difficult it is to catch a cov-ops, was to let him get safely home, find him, and wait for him to do something stupid. Sure, I had a moment of excitement, but odds are that the system will be devoid of activity now and I've scuppered my chances of getting a soft kill. Silly Penny. Still, it won't stop me looking around, and it seems that this system has gained occupation since my last visit four months ago. I find a tower hidden away in a corner, with a Prorator transport ship in it. It's piloted too, but I don't think that's the same capsuleer who was in the Helios. I should write their names down.
The Helios may have been a scout, but it warped to empty space and not a planet, so maybe it's not a scout from this system. I got a good view of where it warped too. As the Prorator isn't moving I launch probes and start looking for where the cov-ops went. It turns out I got very good view of the direction the Helios warped, as it takes me only two scans to resolve a wormhole. A second wormhole appears under my probes too, and I resolve it because I can. The second wormhole is a K162 from class 2 w-space, which is nifty, and the Helios went to, um, null-sec, through a K162. That's weird. I shall ignore the weirdness and carry on.
Never mind, jumping to C2a has the Helios on d-scan, along with a tower. Then again, finding the tower finds the Helios to be different to the one I chased, so I still have no idea what's going on. Ignore it and carry on! I warp out to launch probes only to see a second tower on d-scan and some drones floating near a customs office. With no apparent awareness that this may be a trap, albeit a rather elaborate one where someone would have to wait patiently for hours whilst remaining on relatively high alert, I decloak and scoop the drones in to my hold. Nothing happens, except that I gain some new robot friends.
As I am decloaked and scooping drones I launch my probes. A blanket scan of the system reveals a fairly empty system, with no anomalies, three signatures, and... two ships? I'd better find this not-a-Helios, and warping to the centre of the system finds a third tower, with a piloted Abaddon battleship in it. He's not moving, though, so I may as well scan the signatures, which gives me a ladar site and wormhole for my collection of useless bookmarks. The wormhole exits to high-sec empire space and is already at half-mass, so probably leads somewhere handy, not that I care to find out for myself.
Nothing is happening. The Abaddon isn't about to shoot the lack of Sleepers in this C2, and doesn't have gas harvesters fitted for sucking up some gas in the ladar site. The Helios drops to a pod and yo-yos in and out of the tower a couple of times, making him harder to catch than in the cov-ops. Heading back the way I came has the Prorator still stationary in the tower, now joined by an equally dull colleague in a shuttle. A poke out to null-sec puts me in the Branch region, but in a system with two other pilots. I won't be ratting, and I don't care to scan now. I'm feeling a little worn down. I cross w-space, low-sec, and return to C3a, which remains empty, and jump home. Aii survived his mining and has dumped a healthy amount of ore in to our hangar, making his evening more productive than mine. There's probably a lesson here, but I choose to ignore it.