The Ventures have fled this class 5 w-space system, but I'm still sitting on the wormhole leading back home. I wasn't able to catch the frigates sucking up gas in a ladar site, not being able to hide from their directional scanners in the small system, but I'm curious to see what happens next. I'm a little surprised that ships weren't brought in to counter my threat. In fact, I'm not sure I should wait on the wormhole, in case the pilots bring back a combat fleet to actively look for me. But before I roam in the opposite direction I'd like to know if I'm being followed.
Nothing comes my way that I can see, and no ships jump through the wormhole. And I am heading back home and through our static wormhole, despite there obviously being a K162 to find in C5a. I see little point in entering a system where the locals will be expecting me. At best, I'll find nothing. At worst, I'll be effectively countered and wake up in a clone vat. So once I am confident that I am not being watched or followed, I leave C5a, and warp across the home system to jump to our neighbouring class 3 w-space system.
A Retriever mining barge, Rifter frigate, and tower all appear on d-scan from the wormhole, and narrowing d-scan's beam shows the ships are probably in the tower. I warp away to launch scanning probes out of d-scan range, only to bump in to a second tower on the edge of the system, along with a Cormorant. The destroyer is unpiloted inside the force field of the tower, and as I don't know the status of the other two ships I decide to launch probes out here anyway.
Performing a blanket scan of the system reveals five anomalies, a mere two signatures, and the three ships, whilst I warp back to locate the first tower. And finding the tower shows that my choice to launch probes at the second could have been wise, as the Retriever is piloted. On the other hand, as there are only two signatures in the system—our K162 and the system's static wormhole—there aren't any mining sites where the Retriever can become a target, so I suppose it doesn't matter after all.
I may as well resolve the static wormhole. Warping to the exit and jumping to low-sec puts me in Aridia, naturally, with one pilot in the system. I ignore him and launch probes to scan, and whilst I whittle down the seven extra signatures a new contact appears. Judging by the name of his battleship, it's a colleague of the gassing Ventures. Sure enough, the Rokh drops out of warp on top of the wormhole I'm loitering on, and jumps to C3a.
The Rokh is a tempting target, particularly a few jumps away from home and so probably without support, but I'm not sure my Loki can take on a battleship by itself. I don't think I'll try today. I feel a bit gutless in not even engaging the Rokh, but the feeling will pass, particularly as I have only recently been reminding myself that my strategic cruiser is not the best ship for every fight. If I had support we could easily have engineered an effective ambush for the battleship. As it is, there's no harm in picking and choosing my fights.
Back to scanning. Amongst some low-sec chaff is a wormhole, and thankfully, after resolving six useless signatures, it's a rather nice K162 from class 2 w-space. I jump back to w-space to continue exploring. D-scan is clear from the wormhole, and warping around finds a tower with no ships. Scanning reveals a lack of anomalies but thirteen signatures, which will hold a connection to more w-space. Discarding the inevitable rocks and gas in this combat-orientated system I pluck two wormholes from the noise, both connecting to more class 2 w-space.
One wormhole heads backwards, the other forwards. I choose backwards first, as the K162 is a better indication of activity, and jump in to a system that my notes tell me holds static connections to class 2 w-space and low-sec empire space. I won't be scanning here, not at this late hour, and simply warp around looking for occupation. I spy a tower and two ships on d-scan, and guess that the tower will be around the planet with most moons. It's a good guess, and although it takes a few seconds longer to find the tower the number of moons hardly conceals it.
The Manticore stealth bomber and Badger hauler at the tower, though, are empty, and I lose interest in this C2. I jump back to C2a and head to C2b, through the static wormhole, in the hopes of finding a ship to shoot before going home. A tower, Imicus frigate, and Bestower hauler look good on d-scan, but not so good on my overview. Both ships are again empty. Despite another wormhole to w-space to find I'm not scanning. I'm getting tired and don't want to make mistakes.
Heading back through low-sec to C3a is uneventful, but jumping through the wormhole sees scanning probes on d-scan in w-space. There are only two signatures in the system, both wormholes, so assuming the scout will come my way makes it worth sticking around for another minute or so. That's assuming the scout can scan and will come my way, though, and when an Anathema from beyond C5a, allied with the Ventures and Rokh, blips on d-scan but doesn't jump to low-sec I realise I'm wasting my time. I warp across C3a, jump through the wormhole home uneventfully, and hide in a corner of the system to go off-line.