Hello, I have an invitation to join a fleet, from party unknown. What the hell, I accept, mysterious stranger. I make sure my cloaky Loki strategic cruiser is pointed in some arbitrary direction and moving at full speed before I do, on the unlikely chance that the fleet is in the home system, the even more unlikely chance that the pilots know me, and that they are about to drop ships on top of my location. Nope, it's a mistake, I'm sure, as the fleet isn't in the system and the other pilots are talking about piratical deeds. It doesn't take long for the Classy Gentlemans Corporation to twig that I'm not meant to be in their fleet, even if I shouldn't have been there in the first place, so once again flying solo it's on to business.
Nothing new at home sends me quickly to our neighbouring class 3 w-space system, where the typical tower with no visible ships appears on my directional scanner from the other side of the wormhole. My sixth visit to the system, I soon confirm the tower as being in the same spot as three months earlier, and I know I'm looking for a standard exit to low-sec empire space. And I am looking for it, with no one in this system. My scanning probes whiz around the eight anomalies and eleven signatures, picking up gas, more gas, and, well, the important signatures are the two wormholes. One is the pristine static connection to low-sec, and the other is less interesting, somehow, being a K162 from null-sec.
Heading to low-sec puts me in a system in Metropolis. Dullopolis, more like. Scanning finds one extra signature, which is a wormhole, but a sucky wormhole. Some connections suck more than others, and this is a K162 from null-sec leading in to low-sec, so it sucks pretty hard. Still, I guess I'm going to null-sec, so I suck it up and, actually, no. I'm going home, to collapse our static connection. A couple of big ships later and core scanning probes appear on d-scan in C3a, but there's not much I care to do about them at the moment, and I trust our newly unhealthy wormhole to deter intruders at this point. It seems to work, as I Orca the wormhole to death and verb the English language in to submission simultaneously.
Starting afresh, jumping to the new C3a has nothing appear on d-scan, which could be worse than before if it weren't for the two planets sitting out of range. A blanket scan reveals a ship somewhere too, but it turns out to be a Thanatos carrier, unpiloted of course, inside a tower's force field. I keep scanning my way further from the home system, and pluck a wormhole from the four anomalies and twenty signatures present. It's chubby too, so not the expected static exit to high-sec, and warping its way plants me next to an N968 outbound connection to more class 3 w-space. I'm tempted to ignore the rest of the C3a and move onwards, so that's what I do.
C3b is the same deal as C3a. Clear d-scan, two planets out of range. The only change is that lack of a carrier sitting inside the distant tower, and a reduction in the number of signatures to sift through. Three wormholes crop up in the scanning results, one weak enough to be an outbound link again. The static exit to low-sec leads to Domain, I don't care to see where the K162 from high-sec was opened from, and the weak wormhole is a lovely connection to class 2 w-space. I'll go that way.
The class 2 system has a tower and ships visible on d-scan for a change, but all four are logistics ships—a Basilisk, Oneiros, and two Scimitars—so unless the pilots intend to bore Sleepers to death I doubt anything is happening. A blanket scan reveals thirteen anomalies, seventeen signatures, and just those four ships, and as they all turn out to be unsurprisingly empty I'm back to looking for wormholes. I find the standard two for class 2 w-space, with connections to another C2 and a low-sec system giving me an easy choice, even if the exit weren't at the end of its life.
A tower and no ships in C2b feels like a step backwards, but there's a continuous amount of pilots, I suppose. A visit from two months earlier informs me of the location of two towers and the static connections to class 3 w-space and high-sec empire space, but a third tower crops up too. I think maybe I missed it on my last visit, where I spooked a couple of Drake battlecruisers out of a radar site, who then came back and baited me in to an ambush I was thankfully prepared for. There's no one home today, so I launch probes, resolve both wormholes from the seven signatures, and poke my nose in to C3b if only because I've come this far.
Probes and a pod is a weird combination to see on d-scan, particularly with no tower to accompany them. Immediately curious, I launch my combat scanning probes to look for the pod, but he's not staying still. Giving up on chasing such a small target I revert to performing a blanket scan of the system, which reveals too many anomalies and signatures to care about scanning deeper. There are two ships somewhere, though, so expecting to find a tower and the pod I warp across the system instead to see a lack of tower and an Imicus. What's more peculiar is that the frigate is lacking a pilot, and, judging by its name, the same pilot who's currently warping around in his pod.
I'm not shooting an empty ship, despite my growing need for explosions. There doesn't seem much point, for a start. More importantly, the pilot may return to it, which would make the ship a rather more valid target than an empty one, even if still just a frigate. The pod disappears from my probes, perhaps thwarting my intentions, but I give him a minute and he returns.
A minute longer and he appears near the Imicus, but, at 170 km, a little too far to re-board his ship. He's also a little far to engage, until I realise that I still have combat scanning probes available to use and that he certainly is above the 150 km range required for warp engine use. I also know exactly where the pod is, making scanning him a trivial exercise.
I bring my probes in from their blanket scanning configuration, cluster them at minimum range around the planet the pod, the Imicus, and myself are all sitting on, and scan. Sure enough, I resolve the pod's position. A quick warp later and I'm decloaking and brutally executing a capsuleer who maybe just got lost in w-space and didn't know how to get back to his ship.
Maybe he just needed to be told that if he couldn't warp to his ship directly then bookmarking its location and warping to the bookmark works wonders, in the same way as it does for wormholes. But I don't find this out, because so much scanning can addles one's mind, and I shot first and didn't even ask questions later. One of these days I may be amiable and helpful. Just not today.
Of course, much like a god, a corpse has no need for a starship, so I warp back to the Imicus and blow that up too, looting what little can be found in the wreck before also destroying the wreck. I'm a real terror of w-space.