Hulks, mining drones, and jet-cans! Returning to w-space to see ships chomping on rocks would normally get my juices flowing and see me launching probes to hunt the exhumers. But this is the home system, and it seems that after Fin and Aii collapsed our static wormhole they decided they'd rather profit from a rich vein or ore than scan their way to empire space. I can't really blame them, and judging by the number of jet-cans scattered around they could probably use another capsuleer to help haul the rocks back to the tower. I am that other capsuleer.
I get invited to the fleet without asking, because that's how we roll, and I'm in warp to the tower as the request comes to haul ore and is answered that I'm on my way. I know that I would probably be performing more of a service if I used my covert Loki strategic cruiser to scan the system first, to confirm that no new wormholes have opened in to our system, but living in w-space tends to make everyone blasé occasionally. Even after only recently losing a billion ISK's of ships to a newly opened wormhole, I swap my Loki for an Orca back at our tower without scanning.
I was going to take a Bustard transport ship to the gravimetric site, but it would take several trips to collect the amount of ore my industrious colleagues have mined. The industrial command ship can carry much more ore in its various hangars and bays, and doubles as a juicy target to potential ambushers. It also gets stuck between tower modules more easily, and cancelling warp and trying to use its sluggish drives to manoeuvre free will still take far too long. Instead, I swap back to my Loki, move out of the pinball zone of continual bumping, and jump back to the Orca. Now I can warp to the mining operation in progress.
The Orca lands, I scoop arkonor and mercoxit by the jet-can, taking care to leave the container subtly labelled 'NOT THIS ONE', and warp out. I suppose we're not being watched, or we'd all be stuck in some heavy interdictor's warp bubble by now. Still, even though some ore remains uncollected, I really think I should scan before making myself stupidly vulnerable a second time. Hmm, that's curious. My combat probes show me ten signatures in the system, and we have eight bookmarked sites and an unresolved static wormhole. Something doesn't add up. I quickly find the wayward signature, and it's a wormhole. I'd best alert the others.
We have two wormholes, and they can't both be the static connection. Unfortunately, I can't tell which is the inevitable K162, as they both seemed chubby when scanning. The only way to tell is to warp to them, which will open our static connection if I choose poorly. And I choose poorly. I drop out of warp first at our C247, but totally guess better the second time and find myself next to a K162 from class 2 w-space. I keep Fin and Aii updated as they draw the mining operation to a close, and hold on the wormhole until all the ore is collected and everyone is safe. Now I can take a look on the other side.
All looks clear. A passive scan of the system is also clear, revealing no anomalies within range. I warp out to explore, finding one tower at one side of the system and a second tower at the other side, but no ships and no obvious activity. Even more curiously, performing a blanket scan shows the system to be entirely bare. The lack of anomalies mirrors the lack of signatures, besides the static connection to our home system and the second static connection, which resolves to be an exit to high-sec. That makes Aii pretty happy, as he is keen to export and process the ore. Fin's also hopeful that the exit leads to 'somewhere with Tengus'.
C2a's exit leads to a system in the Placid region, which Fin describes as being 'the Aridia of high-sec', and about as far from somewhere selling strategic cruisers as we could get through a B274. Even so, we get a little lucky, in that there are stations in the system and are right on the border of Placid, and so connected to contiguous high-sec rather than being in an island. This is all the encouragement it takes for Aii to start hauling ore out of our tower and through the C2. Personally, I'm curious about what happened to whoever opened the wormhole.
Maybe a C2er woke up and wanted to go to empire space, scanning his system but also not being able to discern which static connection was which without visiting them. Also choosing poorly, he opens the wormhole to our system without intending to before leaving through the exit to high-sec and not looking back. It's speculation, but I can't think why a capsuleer would see a pair of Hulks mining and leave them alone. Whatever happened, C2a remains quiet, so I head back and through our static connection to C3a, where Fin has scouted and is scanning.
Our neighbouring class 3 system is unoccupied and inactive, with twenty-one anomalies and twenty-four signatures. We could make some iskies here, if we had our Tengus, and there wasn't a stray wormhole opening in to the constellation. But there could still be shenanigans in other connected systems, and I help with scanning to look for wormholes. I find one, and only one, and that one even turns out to be at the end of its natural lifetime. I leave the static exit to low-sec alone, it not even giving me a new system to explore, and instead sit in C2a watching our ships come in and go out again.
Fin updates her clone in a high-sec station, and she and Aii haul out plenty of ore to be processed. I don't ask what happens to it next, but it's possible the minerals are returned to the tower for the next stage of Project Capitals. I like to leave some element of surprise in my w-space life. After a few round trips, the lazy drone of the wormhole jumps and lack of ambushes makes me sleepy. I make one last tour of C2a, checking both towers and finding them still empty, before letting my colleagues know I'm heading home to get some rest.