Scanning the constellation to nowhere

8th January 2013 – 5.30 pm

It's quiet at home, quiet at the neighbours. Scanning my way through our static wormhole puts me in an unoccupied and inactive class 3 w-space system. My notes point me to a tower from eleven months ago, but warping there finds it off-line and stripped of anything useful, which means I'm scanning the sixteen anomalies and nineteen signatures for more connections. The second signature is a wormhole, which is a good start, but unless there are more I'll only be heading to k-space, so I keep going. Rocks, rocks, more rocks, and one more wormhole, finally. But that's it.

The two wormholes aren't much to get excited about either. One is the static exit to low-sec, and although the other is a K162 from class 5 w-space it is reaching the end of its life and, like the Gallente, can't be trusted. To low I go. And exiting through the static wormhole sends me to the Solitude region, which today isn't living up to its name. A dozen other capsuleers are in the system, and my directional scanner is showing me a Mackinaw exhumer and mining drones. That's not as exciting as it sounds, though, as I imagine the also-present Megathron battleship and Zealot battlecruiser are acting as heavies. Or already shooting the Mackinaw.

I don't quite believe that a Mackinaw would mine openly in a low-sec system, and am keen to see what's actually happening, so I warp out to launch probes in case I need them. A blanket scan reveals a lack of anomalies, a surprising seven signatures, and five ships. Three of the ships look to be together, and in a standard rock belt. I may not have to hunt the miner with much effort after all, but it is looking more like he's not flying solo.

Remembering that Mackinaws used to specialise in ice-mining I warp first to the ice field, and only on finding it empty do I consider standard rock belts. I should probably pay more attention to field notes on ship changes, but I tend to look more at vulnerabilities than mining yields. Warping around the asteroid belts finds me the Mackinaw, and his Megathron and Zealot pals, who are either wondering how to dismiss the warnings about shooting the industrialist or are actually flying escort. And I get here just in time to see the exhumer warp away, apparently startled by the Hurricane battlecruiser that is new to d-scan.

In warps the Hurricane, to see only the Zealot remain in the rock field, and then only for a few seconds. There is no engagement, and the miner and escorts don't return. I'm back to scanning. Those signatures look pretty handy too, as a K162 from class 1 w-space is sweet, and a weak-as-anything wormhole resolves to be an N432 connection to class 5 w-space, looking like its been newly opened by yours truly. The other signatures are standardly boring, but I'm happy with my current options of potentially soft targets and a never-ending chain of C5 w-space to waste an evening scanning through.

Soft targets beat tedious scanning, but only if I find them. Otherwise I'm reduced to tedious scanning anyway. D-scan is clear in C1a from the wormhole, and the one planet out of range holds only bubbles. And although a blanket scan revealing a mere five anomalies suggests pilots come this way frequently, they don't bring mining boats, as the twenty-two signatures attest to. Thankfully, K162s are chubby, and a handful of scans bags me, ugh, a wormhole coming from high-sec. I keep scanning, never one to know when to quit, and am rewarded by a second K162, this one from class 4 w-space.

C4a looks mildly interesting. Two towers are on-line, but there are no ships to be seen. The corporation living here even advertises in its description that 'we are currently looking for miners'. You and me both, sir. They may have found some, judging by the distinct lack of signatures in the system, but I have to keep looking. The K162 to more class 4 w-space is a good place to start, and I ignore the only other signature, a ladar site, to continue backwards through the constellation.

A one-capsuleer corporation owning an undefended tower in class 4 w-space is asking for trouble, even without the unpiloted Tengu strategic cruiser floating temptingly inside the force field. A second tower owned by a seven-capsuleer corporation, this one lacking even hardeners, isn't going to deter opportunistic siegers either. I update my notes, but I doubt they'll stay relevant beyond the next month. Scanning the five signatures finds no more K162s, and with no activity it looks like this leg of the constellation has wasted my time. Such is the way of the scanner.

I head back to low-sec and warp to the N432, jumping in to C5b in the hopes of getting luckier in this direction. An unoccupied w-space system won't do it, and a quick poke for wormholes resolves an outbound connection to class 6 w-space. That's better than a C5 chain, right? Let's find out. A tower and no ships. It's no better than a normal C3, although my notes indicate that this is the system where I ran in to a Revelation dreadnought, which is perhaps one of my favourite tales. I didn't get to explore much eighteen months ago, and I'm not even sure if the same corporation lives here now, but there's no one around to reminisce with anyway.

Thirteen anomalies and eight signatures. I pluck a static connection to class 5 w-space from the signatures, thinking it's a K162, and am happy to recall my probes and continue looking for activity. I don't find it. C5c may be occupied, but again there are no ships and no pilots, but eight anomalies and five signatures is manageable enough to scan and poke through to one more system. And it's another C4, taking me down the classes. Sadly, it's another unoccupied C4, and I've already decided this is my last system for the night, so I don't even launch probes. Take me home, James.

  1. 4 Responses to “Scanning the constellation to nowhere”

  2. Certainly one of the best blogs around, very enjoyable reads (and informative!).

    What do you use for the WH diagrams, by chance?

    By atomicben on Jan 8, 2013

  3. Thanks.

    The diagrams are thrown together with Paint, mostly with copy-and-paste. It can take a little thought to work out how to make them compact, though.

    By pjharvey on Jan 8, 2013

  4. 'we are currently looking for miners'.
    You and me both, sir.

    Brilliant.

    -E

    By Elroy Skimms on Jan 8, 2013

  5. Thanks for the insights, pj! :D

    By atomicben on Jan 11, 2013

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