The constellation is mapped once more, and although there is a new signature in the home system it resolves to be mere gas. Pushing in to our neighbouring class 3 w-space system sees a tower and Devoter on my directional scanner, but the heavy interdictor is unpiloted inside the tower's force field and the system is quiet. The static exit to low-sec empire space is now at the end of its life, a wormhole that was EOL is now dead, and I'm left with a healthy K162 from null-sec. The K162 comes from a system in the Fountain region that holds two dozen pilots, which is rather busy for my liking, so I leave it to return to w-space and scan for new wormholes in C3a instead.
As I sift through the inevitable rocks and gas that have accumulated in C3a I wonder why I am even bothering. I am by myself and the constellation is dead, so I should be collapsing our static wormhole to look for better opportunity. And it's a good point, as I can achieve this early enough in the evening to give me plenty of time to explore a new constellation. I jump home, grab an Orca, and push the industrial command ship back and forth through the wormhole until it collapses from the implicit eroticism. Scanning the home system afresh this time finds a second new signature, this one resolving to be another wormhole. I may have found adventure.
Warping to the wormhole finds it to be a K162 from class 4 w-space, and has a Buzzard covert operations boat jumping out of our system. My timing in collapsing our wormhole must have been impeccable, as a minute later and I could have had a fleet swooping down on the Orca. Or maybe a lone cov-ops was watching and wishing he was scouting in a strategic cruiser instead. Either way, I resolve our static connection and make a rough bookmark from the cosmic signature, leaving the expected wormhole unvisited to plunge myself headfirst in to whatever ambush waits for me beyond the monitored K162.
There's nothing obvious on the wormhole in C4a, and only a single tower on d-scan. Locating the tower shows it to be blue owned, and as the Buzzard certainly wasn't allied to our alliance I launch probes and start scanning for K162s. This turns out to be easier than normal, and not because of a lack of signatures but the ship that lights up my combat probes on a first scan. Switching to d-scan has the ship gone, but clustering my probes around where the ship was has a wormhole leap out at me. The K162 from class 2 w-space is my next step in to an ambush.
A Hurricane battlecruiser and Buzzard are on d-scan in C2a, along with a tower, but I see no wrecks and no anomalies. I find the ships and tower together, and even though they are both piloted I don't recognise either of them. I imagine there is still more to find, just not without probes. Scanning again has six signatures to sort through, and there is more to find. A dying K162 comes from high-sec empire space, the second static connection leads out to high-sec—and probably the Verge Vendor region, judging by the nebula colours shining through—and another K162 is healthy and leads me to class 5 w-space when jumping through. Finally, here's the Buzzard pilot, only now he's in a Sacrilege heavy assault ship and has a friend in a Nighthawk command ship to help welcome me.
The two pilots have understandably fallen asleep whilst waiting for me to scan my way three systems deep to reach their ambush. I move away from the wormhole and cloak, getting a good twenty kilometres from the ships before the Nighthawk thinks to launch his drones. And, well, I'm here now, I may as well locate the tower I can see on d-scan. Would you look at that, it's the origin of the Buzzard that I chased all the way over here for no good reason. I don't know what I was expecting, to be honest, apart from an ambush, but at least I didn't do anything stupid purely out of curiosity. Speaking of which, as the Sacrilege and Nighthawk have returned to this tower, rather than waiting to see if one of them will swap for a heavy interdictor I should take this opportunity to get out through a clear wormhole.
Ah, I didn't have to wait for the HIC, as the HIC was waiting for me. I warp out from the tower and jump through the apparently abandoned wormhole in to the waiting embrace of an Onyx, Arazu recon ship, and Helios cov-ops, all from the C5a corporation. And although the Onyx's warp bubble is no impediment to my interdiction-nullified Loki strategic cruiser, I am rather concerned that I have appeared one kilometre from the wormhole and unable to cloak as soon as I move. But I give it a go, once the Helios moves away, and fail miserably to get clear and cloak before getting actively targeted. That's okay, as I have experience of getting caught on wormholes and am prepared. I have the wormhole selected on my overview and, as soon as I know I've been targeted, jump right back to C5a.
I'm polarised and have hostile ships on both sides of the wormhole. I don't stop to see who is following me, as that would serve no purpose, and simply burn away from the wormhole and cloak. It seems my alacrity in escaping caught the waiting ships by surprise, as once again I get a healthy distance away from the wormhole before my ambushers give chase. The Onyx and Arazu try to decloak me but don't get close, even when the Nighthawk and Sacrilege come to help. I plant myself a healthy distance from the wormhole and watch and wait, but I have dinner to cook and could do with getting out of here. Maybe I can disarm them a little.
I make a safe spot in the system, out of d-scan range of the ships, where I launch my combat scanning probes. I throw my probes around the system quite visibly, wondering if the hostile ships will have to split their attention across different exits to give me my way out, but with a paltry two signatures in the system they may have the exit sewn up. Then again, the other signature turns out to be a second wormhole, and although there is a Proteus sitting on it when I warp there the strategic cruiser is barely a threat, because the wormhole is a healthy K162 that comes from high-sec. I can jump right out and be immediately safe!
My only concern with using the K162 to exit C5a safely is that I don't have a different route home yet. But as the locals aren't about to leave the connection to C2a unguarded I don't have much choice. I recall my probes, warp to the K162, and jump past the dozing Proteus now accompanied by a second Arazu. High-sec is safe, but out of habit I still back away from the wormhole and cloak, as the Arazu characteristically for the C5ers follows me too late to watch. Now I can cook. But I'll cook with my Loki cloaked and in a safe spot in the high-sec system in Molden Heath. I'm happy to waste the time of the scout and fleet, and keep them thinking that maybe I'll head back to C5a, with a slim hope the other wormhole clears.
Instead, as I chop vegetables, I call on Constance to get me another entrance to w-space. It's simple enough, and doesn't even need scanning, as the C2 holds a static exit to high-sec that I've already resolved. Constance just needs to jump through it and bookmark the other side. She leaves home, crosses C4a, and warps to the wormhole in C2a, where no ships wait for her or me, but a Drake battlecruiser and Crow interceptor are on the other wormhole along with the Nighthawk. Constance jumps to high-sec, indeed appearing in Verge Vendor, bookmarks the wormhole, and waits for her polarisation timer to finish before heading back home safely. Job's a good 'un.
Now with a beacon in the Verge Vendor region, I make the twenty-six hops through mostly high-sec space to reach the other side of C2a's exit. Jumping back to w-space has no ships on the wormhole and the system clear of all but the Hurricane and Buzzard that were here earlier, giving me a clear route home. I cross C2a, C4a, and return home as I update a newly arrived Shev with the excitement of the evening. I tell him about the constellation behind us and to be wary of the C5, and that we have an unexplored neighbouring C3 if he would like his own adventure.
But, damn, that was an excellent ambush I fell in to. The Buzzard must have waited to see if I'd scan my way back to his system, and got tackling ships hidden on the C2 side of the wormhole in case I panicked and jumped straight back out from the two combat ships in the C5. And when I didn't, the Sacrilege and Nighthawk warped back to the tower probably to make the wormhole look clear and encourage me to return the way I came, which I did. It's almost a shame that their planning and execution were ruined only by a random connection coming in to their system from high-sec, giving me a separate and quite safe way out. It's almost a shame, but it put a smile on my face.