I'm relatively early to w-space this evening, but my glorious leader is earlier. Fin's gone from home and is in a class 2 system, connecting to our own, leaving our neighbouring class 3 system unexplored. Not for long. I warp across the home system and jump through our static wormhole, updating my directional scanner after the transit to see a well-equipped tower but no ships. My notes from five months ago point also to a second tower, and both of them remain as before, which cuts down exploration time. With no one home, I scan.
The results of sifting through five anomalies and six signatures look good, with gas, rocks, and three wormholes, one of them from a weak signature. The system's static exit to low-sec, leading to Essence, is joined by a K162 from class 4 w-space, and a rather gorgeous-looking V301 connection to class 1 w-space. In the hopes of finding a squishy target, I go to C1a. But a tower and no ships is dull, and twelve anomalies and twenty signatures is quite a handful to scan.
I don't care to find C1a's static exit to low-sec, so concentrate on likely K162s. My plan, like most others, doesn't go so well, as I resolve the static wormhole by accident, and so extend my search naturally to scan the whole system. And, again, my plan goes awry, thanks to dodgy wiring taking the link to my ship down. Thankfully, swearing, power-cycling equipment, and a bit of patience brings everything back on-line after a short while, and I return to find nothing else of interest.
Exiting from C1a puts me in a low-sec system in Aridia, of course, confirming that resolving the wormhole really wasn't worth the effort. I head back to w-space, to C3a, and through the K162 to C4a to look for better luck. The tower is at least accompanied on d-scan by a ship, even if the Orca industrial command ship is almost certainly unpiloted, but I can hope. A blanket scan of the system reveals no anomalies, three signatures, and the Orca, which makes finding out there are no K162s really simple. It's all a bit dull.
I turn around, taking myself home and in to C2a where Fin has scanned. Three wormholes are in the system, including a static exit to high-sec, and one outbound and one inbound wormhole connecting to class 2 w-space. I leapfrog my leader to see what's in C2c, through the K162. A tower, no ships, and nothing out of d-scan range. That'll do, pig. I cross Fin in C2a again to see if anything better is in C2b, and there may be. A tower, Orca, and Magnate frigate doesn't look too promising, but a combat scanning probe briefly appearing on d-scan shows activity.
My notes show change in C2b. Six towers were present five months ago, which shouldn't include the one currently in range. There has either been expansion or a change in ownership, which exploring will help me determine. I locate the new tower, seeing the Magnate piloted and orbiting lazily around the tower inside its force field, and I am stopped from exploring further by a Sabre interdictor warping in, swapping to a Tengu strategic cruiser, and warping back out. Let's see where he went.
There are no more towers in the system beyond the first, but a Corax destroyer is somewhere, the Tengu somewhere else, and I can't pin either of them down in an anomaly. As I am fiddling with d-scan, trying to get a decent bearing whilst occasionally checking to see that both ships still are, in fact, in space, local comms has a pilot pipe up pleading to be left alone. It seems he wandered in, no doubt from the static connection to high-sec I know is here, to see what w-space looked like, and is being hassled in his attempt to get back out.
The Tengu has gone, as has the Corax, and I don't know what ship the panicked pilot is flying, but I take the opportunity to launch probes. And, as the ships have gone from the inner system, warp back to the tower to see what's afoot, nearly bumping in to the Tengu as I do. The strategic cruiser is outside of the force field for some reason, and I think that perhaps he is protecting the Cheetah covert operations boat, which is also out of the shields and launching probes. That is, until both ships have returned to the safety of the force field, at which point I spot the corpse new to d-scan, and see it floating right where the Tengu just was.
The Tengu pilot is back in his Sabre and in space, probably having killed the Corax capsuleer who—accidentally?—warped to the local tower, perhaps to find the other tourist. I call my probes in and scan for the interdictor, correctly assuming he's on the wormhole. I get a solid hit quickly and warp in, seeing the warp disruption probe already launched, but launched too late. The Imicus frigate of the tourist was in warp before the Sabre could get in place, and so drops on top of the wormhole to let the ship jump to safety.
That leaves the Sabre sitting on the wormhole. And although it's a wormhole to high-sec, the Sabre is still a target. I manoeuvre closer to the interdictor, Fin brings her ship in to the system, and together we kick him out to high-sec. I didn't think we'd have a big enough strike to hit the Sabre with enough ferocity to prevent him jumping to avoid us, but we gave it a go. And we push the pilot from his home system, turning the tables on him after picking on a smaller pilot. Yeah, I'd have gone for the Imicus too, so I'm not pretending to be ethically superior. I just like the poetry of the situation.
Now we're at an impasse. The Sabre won't return as long as we're around, and we already know there is a cov-ops available that can watch the wormhole. And even if the pilot jumps back, unless he's really careless, or doesn't know about polarisation, he can simply return to high-sec if he's caught again. I'm not about to waste my time for simple denial tactics, and neither is Fin, so with no fanfare we submerge in to cloaked conditions and head back the way we came.