I remember now. Aii mentioned finding a second K162 wormhole in our neighbouring system, but left it unvisited as he had to disappear for a while. I have been busy getting ammunition for an exploded Loki through a high-sec connection near Rens, and then a replacement Loki that can use the ammunition through a different high-sec connection near Amarr. Now that I have my strategic cruiser delivered, assembled, and fitted I can continue exploring, with a new system to explore. Let's hope I don't lose Minor Threat as quickly as PewPewlitzer, or I will be naming the next one Lusitania.
Warping to the unscouted K162 shows it to be a connection to more class 3 w-space, and jumping through has only off-line towers visible on my directional scanner. One planet is out of range, though, and warping across the system has ships and a tower appearing. As the Hulk exhumer, Impel transport, and Drake battlecruiser are all clumped around this planet it seems likely that none of them are piloted, which is sadly confirmed when I locate the tower. A refinery is operating, which shows signs of activity, but not particularly recent activity with only twelve minutes left on its clock.
Maybe the refinery will be restarted by a vigilant capsuleer, who will then be tempted once in space to take the Hulk out to collect more ore. If that's the case, I have a short window in which to scan the system looking for rocks. It's a slim hope, but a hope all the same, and I launch my probes. Six anomalies and six signatures won't take time to analyse, and I soon have gas, a wormhole, a magnetometric site, thankfully some rocks, and a radar site bookmarked, all before the refinery finishes processing. Maybe only just, but thirty seconds is thirty seconds and no one's come back to check on it yet.
I'm not really expecting a capsuleer to come and restart the refinery, and definitely not to do anything else if he does come. I wait and watch for a minute or so, but the static wormhole is a more interesting prospect, even if it is only an exit to low-sec empire space. I jump to low-sec to be in a system in Placid that is equidistant, jump-wise, from both high-sec exit systems. That's fairly useless information, but a vaguely interesting pattern. The system looks to be involved in some faction warfare, which would explain the number of pilots here, but I'll just ignore them and scan.
Seven signatures in the low-sec system is a good start. It's even better when three resolve to the 'unknown' type and have similar return strengths, with one of them being the K162 of the C3c I just exited. And just as quickly as my hopes are built, they are dashed. I resolve some dumb Serpentis site, and a dirty site, whatever the hell that is. The other signatures are a radar site, more Serpentis, some drones, and, ah, a wormhole. Thank goodness. And it's a K162 from even more class 3 w-space. It's good we have enough letters of the alphabet to identify up to four systems of the same class.
Entering C3d has a tower on d-scan, and a tower listed in my notes for this system. But the listed tower should be out of d-scan range, so there has been some churn in the past eight months. I locate the tower and note its position, getting bored with its lack of ships to see if the other tower remains. It doesn't, but a new one has popped up a couple of moons across, and this one has ships. Piloted ships. A Tengu strategic cruiser and Catalyst destroyer are paired at the tower, although there aren't any wrecks I can see that suggests the two of them have been busy. But they are awake, or at least the Catalyst is, as he warps off to empty space.
The empty space becomes emptier when the Catalyst drops off d-scan, but I'm not so easily fooled. Even though the planet nearest where he went is within d-scan range, I know sites can spawn beyond there. I warp to get closer and find the Catalyst still in the system but somewhere I can't get to without scanning probes, so I warp away, launch probes, and return. And the Catalyst is back at the tower. Whatever he was doing, it was quick. And now there are more ships on d-scan, if not at the same tower.
A Ferox battlecruiser at the other tower is a nice addition to the small fleet, making me think that perhaps the destroyer just salvaged Sleepers from a ladar site and the Ferox is going to suck up some gas. That would give us a target. I alert Fin, who has appeared, and Aii, who has come back, and they prepare suitable ambushing ships as I continue to scout. More ships appear in the waking system. Now an Oracle battlecruiser is in the first tower, as is a Naga battlecruiser, Bestower hauler, and Iteron hauler, as well as scanning probes being in the system. As quickly as we thought we had a target, it looks like we're not quite prepared for what's here.
The battlecruisers could engage Sleepers in an anomaly, giving us either them or a salvager as a target. The haulers could collect planet goo or make a trip to low-sec. There are possibilities, if only the ships would leave the tower. And one does, the Tengu swapping for a Manticore and the stealth bomber warping away, but a cloaked ship warping to a different bit of empty space to the Catalyst is no help for the hunt. All the other ships just sit in the tower's force field. At least one of them is active, as the probes disappear. I check the wormhole, to see if the scout was looking for it, only to have my ship lock up. I thought we'd fixed this.
I power-cycle my scanning Loki and get my systems back on-line, but knowing that my supposedly covert strategic cruiser would have been painfully visible on d-scan for the minute or two it took to recover. I doubt I'll be catching anyone unawares now—I should just get a Rifter frigate to roam w-space for all the good my covert ships do—so I scan. I learn that the Catalyst went to a gravimetric site, perhaps to clean up some Sleeper wrecks, and the Manticore to a T405 wormhole to class 4 w-space. And if these sites are already known, I am left to wonder why the newly arrived Probe frigate at the tower is scanning them all again.
In a bid to find targets, either in a different system or getting the Manticore to reveal itself, I jump through the outbound connection to C4a. Neither circumstance happens. The Manticore stays hidden, and the C4 with a static wormhole to class 3 w-space remains unoccupied. It was not occupied a year ago either, which seems rum for a well-situated system. Still, the evening's drawn on, what with buying new ships, watching pilots do nothing, and rebooting systems. It's later than I think, and I could be sleeping.
I return to C3d, bounce off the tower, and sit for a bit longer as a new contact in an Iteron appears, followed by a couple of pods. But, naturally, none of the new pilots do anything. I have to wonder why they even come on-line. I leave them and pass back through low-sec, in to C3c—where the refinery has indeed been restarted—and across C3a to get home. At least I have some good news, in that my new Loki has survived its first evening in w-space.