Home looks clear. One new signature resolves to be more gas for Aii to harvest, leaving me with the one direction to go. Jumping to the neighbouring class 3 w-space system shows me nothing of interest, with two off-line towers appearing on my directional scanner, and opening the system map revealing no planets sitting out of range. I'll be looking further afield for entertainment tonight, and to do that means launching scanning probes.
Out of habit, I first perform a blanket scan of the system, even keeping my probes hidden despite there being no occupation or activity. I suppose it's possible that a ship will jump in to the system from another wormhole in the time it takes for my probes to perform one scan, but the probability is so slight I don't think I'm saving any time. But I am quite used to interpreting the blanket scan that I would say I benefit from starting my scanning using this method. For whatever reason I do it, my scan reveals five anomalies and eighteen signatures.
The static exit to null-sec k-space, suspected from the lack of occupation, is confirmed by my notes from a visit eight months earlier. I'd best get looking for it, as the K346 signature for the wormhole is weak, and I could be digging for a while. Ah, he's my glorious leader to help. In fact, I make a rougher scan of C3a, looking for chubbier K162s instead, and finding none determine that it's probably safe to clear some anomalies of Sleepers. We won't even have to find the static wormhole, and hopefully won't need to use it.
Back in the home system we swap scanning boats for Sleeper boats, me in the Golem marauder and Fin in her Tengu strategic cruiser, and return to C3a to warp to the first anomaly. And it's only now that I realise the red-shifted light around the black hole dominating the celestial background. Black holes aren't good for missile boats, dramatically reducing their effective ranges, and my Golem already needs a little time to close with some of the Sleepers. Never mind, we're here now. We'll suck it up. Besides, the increased velocity of our ships will let me close the range a little quicker.
Combat seems a little peculiar, as if our ships aren't quite as responsive as normal, which turns out to be because time dilation is in effect, sitting at 80%. I have to wonder what's happening nearby. Or who is nearby. And it makes me glad that w-space is not conventionally connected, as it means we are probably still safe. And we are, at least until the three anomalies of our favoured type are cleared, looted, and salvaged, and we return home potentially 150 Miskies richer. This puts us back to exploring, and we'd still rather not have to find the null-sec wormhole. Instead, we kill our static connection, shoving massive ships back and forth until it implodes through the stress, with both of us in the home system.
Resolving the replacement static wormhole and jumping to the new neighbouring system puts me in a C3 with nothing on d-scan and a black hole pulsating in the distance. Weren't we just here? Thankfully not, as exploring reveals occupation, albeit in the form of a tower without ships. Scanning the five anomalies and eleven signatures for wormholes looks to throw me a bone, but the signature with identifier OUT resolves to be a ladar site instead. I'll file a complaint with trade descriptions later, as gas, rocks, a magnetometric site, static exit to high-sec, and a radar site give way to a juicy K162 from class 4 w-space.
Drawing the short straw, I head to high-sec as Fin jumps past me to C4a. I end up in an uninteresting system in Sinq Laison, Fin trumping me with a Tengu cloaking on the wormhole in the class 4 system. And she corrects me about where I am being dull, pointing out that the system I am in is one hop from market hub Dodixie. Truly my leader is glorious. I return to C3a and warp to C4a's K162, holding in case the Tengu reappears or jumps and we decide to engage it. But it doesn't, so we don't. A pod appears, however, and as we stand no chance of stopping it we magnanimously let it head through C3a to high-sec.
That the pilot of the pod isn't local to C4a gets Fin scanning. As she does, a shuttle appears on d-scan in C3a, another ship agile enough that we are almost forced to ignore it. Well, we ignore the ship, but the pilot I pay attention to. He's red, and interrogating a database shows him to be a member of Reconfiguration Nation, R-NAT. I know some of them, and they tend to be dangerous in numbers. Or they self-destruct on Sleepers. Either way, I'd prefer to ignore them without better intelligence on their movements.
Fin finds a wormhole in C4a. The K162 from class 5 w-space probably leads to R-NAT's home system, either directly or a jump or two further down the rabbit hole. We could poke our noses through to find out, or we could sit on the wormhole and hope to catch an easy mark thinking the route to and from high-sec is clear. That's what I do, Fin wants to be productive, and heads home to throw our recently accumulated loot in to a transport with a plan to sell it in high-sec.
Fin's plan is a good plan, except high-sec is Gallente space, where there are no sanctioned buyers of Sleeper loot. I wouldn't be surprised if they haven't even heard of wormholes yet. My plan isn't even as good as Fin's failing one, as no ships pass me by as I continue to sit patiently on the wormhole connecting C3a with C4a. I could wait here a while longer, or I could go home and get some sleep. It's a no-brainer, really.