I come on-line to look for opportunity. My glorious leader is here already, so has Fin found any? Nope, she's just turned up too, so we scan the home system. Five signatures hold three known sites and the static wormhole, with the remaining signature being some new gas. We resolve the wormhole and jump to our neighbouring class 3 system. A tower and Orca are visible on my directional scanner, the industrial command ship nestled unpiloted inside the tower's force field, which I find from my notes made four months ago. Warping around has nothing interesting out of d-scan range, so we're back to scanning.
Cripes, our probes reveal twenty-two signatures, with six anomalies. I suppose that's not too many, and it's just that I've got quite used to systems with single-digit signatures floating around recently. Fin and I ignore gas, rocks, and radar sites on our quest to find more to explore, and when we resolve two, three, four wormholes the time has come to start visiting them instead of keeping them closed. A K162 from high-sec empire space that's reaching the end of its life may come from Lonetrek, judging by the insipid grey bleeding through the wormhole. A second K162 comes from low-sec, the static exit leads to low-sec, and a third K162 comes from class 4 w-space. It's not terribly inspiring, but we work with what we're given.
The K162 from low-sec comes from Aridia, as Fin discovers, before she jumps through the K162 to high-sec—and the Black Rise region, so Caldari if not Lonetrek itself—and apparently has the wormhole die on her. That's a pain, but at least we have a way back in to w-space already mapped. It just happens to be in Aridia. I take a detour in to C4a, where a Raven battleship and Rorqual capital industrial ship float empty in a tower that's weirdly moved two moons across since I was here ten weeks ago. Scanning the class 4 system has a much more manageable lone anomaly and three signatures to examine, none of which turn out to be further wormholes.
I have nowhere to go but the way I came, and then out to low-sec through C3a's static wormhole. Hello, Aridia! This second exit is not much better for Fin's return than the first. I launch probes and scan, which gets me some anomalies and four extra signatures, all of which are the 'unknown' type and none of which turn out to be wormholes. Empire space is stupid. I'm going to start a campaign to Burn Aridia, beginning now! All I can find to burn is a frigate in a rock field, though, and it's a simple rat. Still, it's a start. I would continue too, but Aii would like to return home after also getting himself isolated, and asks 'can you give Aridia a few more minutes?' It's a reasonable request, so I call a temporary amnesty on the region and return to C3a, although I warn Aii about the significant damage I've already inflicted. 'Mind the flames, aye Penny.'
C3a remains quiet, so I warp across the system to exit through the K162, also to Aridia, but I remember my promise not to burn it for a little while longer. I scan. Three signatures become a radar site, magnetometric site, and a wormhole. It's a K162 from null-sec, but I have nowhere else to go, and it will get me away from Aridia. I jump through the wormhole, appearing in a system in the Venal region with one pilot in the system and core scanning probes on d-scan. I hold on the wormhole for a minute, but the probes go, the pilot goes, and I don't see him pass me. I hope I didn't black out again. It's my turn to scan now. Or scan and rat.
I get to shoot the Loki's guns! It's my first test of the strategic cruiser's weaponry, and my first use of guns that use ammunition. I hope they are point-and-shoot, or I'm not going to get far. Even so, I am in a strategic cruiser, my trained skills are pretty good, so I warp between rock fields until I find a rat battleship, and let loose. As I usually do with the safety of a transparent local channel, I get in to an orbit around the rat, start firing, and then focus on scanning. My ship can take care of itself. I resolve a wormhole and radar site in the system, and am I actually killing this rat? This is embarrassing. Maybe my ship can take care of itself, but it needs to take care of others too, capisce?
My Tengu scanning boat would have ripped through this rat battleship by now. I may have had to change missile types, but I wouldn't be struggling. Of course, I'm not entirely sure what sort of ammunition I should have loaded, and the differences between them are confusing me. I remember seeing a natty chart somewhere that explained the different types, but I'll be buggered if I can find it now. Or, rather, when buying the ammunition. I think I maybe hedged my bets a little and have some rather under-performing ammunition at the moment, which maybe I should correct. Until then, I satisfy myself with popping the cruisers and lesser battleship, leaving the more robust one to rue the loss of its chums.
I leave null-sec through the other wormhole I resolved, licking my wounds and nursing my shame at not knowing how to fly my new and very expensive ship, jumping through a K162 to more class 3 w-space. I remember this system. I chased a hauler through it a year ago, before Mick and I podded two stealth bombers at a wormhole. Good times. Maybe I can be an agent of more mayhem today, as d-scan shows me a tower, two Hurricanes, and a Hoarder. Warping to the tower shows it to be in a rather limited configuration, with only one hangar and no ship array. I don't think this three-member corporation is the same as the one we hassled on our previous visit. And even though the two battlecruisers are empty, the piloted transport is neat.
Stalking the Hoarder would be neater if he actually did something instead of floating inertly in the tower. But I suppose you can't always get what you want. I could be doing something elsewhere, though, so I head homewards. I pass through null-sec and low-sec to get back to C3a, where an Archon carrier now sits piloted at the tower. Well, whoop-de-doo, Mr Archon, but it's too late to be a target now, as the wind is out of my sails. I jump home where, at the end of an unremarkable evening, I am finally productive. Fin and Aii have both made it home, so I make myself useful and help clear the new ladar site of puny Sleepers so that they can harvest the gas. Salvaging even gets a little luck, as we pull in about twelve million ISK! Cor, we won't see evenings like this again soon.