I've played with the big boys for the past couple of days—or they played with me—but let's see if I can return to being the hunter today. Launching probes and scanning the home system may put me on the back foot already, as seven signatures at home include three that are unexpected. As it turns out, a new pocket of gas is fine, as are some rocks, and although the second wormhole is interesting it is less threatening as a K162 from class 5 w-space from being at the end of its natural lifetime. I think I'll be okay. Forwards!
Jumping to the neighbouring class 3 system looks like I'm back to normal. A tower appears on my directional scanner with a lack of ships. One planet is out of range—60 AU out of range—but it is moonless and so unable to hold further occupation. I'll be scanning. A blanket scan throws up a mere four anomalies and six signatures, which are mostly gas, a static exit to high-sec empire space, and an intriguing second wormhole.
Before I find out where else I may be going, I poke out to high-sec to bookmark the other side of the wormhole. I find myself in the Khanid region, not that I care, before finding myself once more in C3a and in warp towards what turns out to be a K162 from a class 6 system. Apparently I haven't had enough of deadly w-space recently. I'm cool with that. In I go.
Three towers and no ships is a weak result for a C6, although exploring uncovers five more towers and a Brutix. It's possible the battlecruiser is active, if he's sucking up gas in a ladar site, but even though the ship is piloted it is only floating inside a force field that's protecting one of the towers in the system. And as the Brutix has actual guns fitted to his ship, not gas harvesters, I don't imagine the pilot will be active any time soon.
Performing a blanket scan of the system has nothing to find. There may be seven anomalies, but the single signature will be the wormhole that I entered through, putting me in a dead end. And just as I think nothing is going to happen the pilot abandons his Brutix and drops to his pod, warping away before I get a chance to see where he may be going. I have a hunch that the pilot is heading to high-sec, making use of the convenient exit C3a provides. I turn my ship around to see if that's the case.
Although my cloaky Loki strategic cruiser will have a job catching up with the agile pod, all I have to do is exit to high-sec before the pilot uses a stargate and I will be able to spot him in the local communications channel. That's the plan, anyway, but by the time I exit C3a I see no oranges in the high-sec system. I still could have been too slow, as I wasn't terribly fast in reacting, or the pod may not have actually left C6a. Well, there's not much I can do about it now. I may as well make myself a sammich.
Nom nom nom. Hullo, the pod didn't leave the class 6 system. As I munch away on my sammich the wormhole to C3a flares, and an orange pops through. It's the pilot in his pod. Wherever he went before he has finally found his way to high-sec, through the complex series of two wormholes from his tower, and off he warps to a stargate. That's good. As the pilot's in his pod he could be buying a ship to take back to his w-space system. That would make his return worth waiting for, and gives me time to finish my sammich.
The wormhole flares a second time, and a pilot from a corporation I don't recognise exits w-space in a Cheetah covert operations boat. It takes a while for the pilot to drop his session change cloak, and when he does the Cheetah appears almost on top of my Loki, interfering with my active module cloak. As the cov-ops appears, I appear. So much for being covert. The Cheetah pilot waves to me and returns to w-space. And even though he knows I'm here, and what ship I'm in, I won't pass up the opportunity to flounder with targeting systems trying to catch a cov-ops.
I jump back to C3a and naturally miss the Cheetah, as it cloaks immediately, but I had to try. Now I'm wondering where it came from. He could be a new scout from C6a, in a different corporation from the Brutix and pod pilot, or a new connection could have opened in to C3a. It's almost worth scanning again, but I have half a sammich to finish, so I jump back to high-sec and wait for the C6 local to return. At least, until I finish eating and realise I am just sitting in space doing nothing. I'm heading home to go off-line. I suppose I could have done more with my time today, but, to be honest, it has been a pretty relaxing afternoon compared to the past couple of days.