Empty ships and Sleeper explosions yesterday. What today? For a start, a second wormhole in the home system crops up in my scanning results, giving me a class 2 w-space system to explore beyond the K162. And jumping through sees a small fleet on my directional scanner. A peculiar fleet, though, as the two Guardian logistic ships, Damnation command ship, Brutix battlecruiser, and Broadsword heavy interdictor seem a little mismatched.
The fleet certainly isn't out shooting Sleepers, and I don't even bother checking for wrecks, but they seem a little skewed away from damage and towards support to be particularly effective against other ships. But what do I know? The most I can tell at the moment is that they aren't at a tower, or this K162. Sweeping d-scan around has a curious result too, as it looks like the ships are at a nearby planet. But warping there finds nothing.
A second d-scan sweep shows the ships to be between the planet and wormhole to our home system, which cannot be coincidence. Now, I could warp backwards and forwards and eventually, if slowly, find the grid the ships occupy, but that seems remarkably tedious considering I would not engage the ships directly even when I find them, not by myself. Instead, I leave them to their whatever it is they're doing, and warp off to look for occupation and launch scanning probes.
Two towers are elsewhere in the system, with no one home. The system is occupied by reds too, which is a little foreboding. My combat scanning probes also detect six anomalies, three signatures, and the ships I've already seen. As the only signature out by the wormhole home is the wormhole home, I warp back there to see if the fleet is now sitting on it, but they are still in space. Empty space, I now know. That's weird.
I resolve the other two signatures discreetly, which turn out to be a radar site and static exit to high-sec empire space, before turning my probes to find the ships. I'm intrigued. It's not hard to complete quickly, and I recall my probes and am soon in and out of warp to see the ships all piloted, all stationary, and all doing nothing. They aren't even performing manoeuvres, which is pretty much what I expected.
The Brutix warped away as I landed, so I turn my cloaky Loki strategic cruiser towards the high-sec wormhole, getting the exit and looking for the battlecruiser at the same time. There's no Brutix on d-scan in range of the towers, and no Brutix or other reds in the system in Solitude either. Back to C2a, and warping past the towers sees a new Proteus strategic cruiser and Heron frigate, but they're doing about as much as the mystery fleet and I don't care to watch static.
An Abaddon battleship appears on d-scan at the second tower, warps to the first, and then to the fleet. I follow behind and see it be just as active as the support ships, which is simply fascinating. I'm going home. But as I drop out of warp near the wormhole the fleet disappears from d-scan. That's fancy timing. I hold for a minute to see if—the wormhole flares, and a Loki comes through, red, from our home system. A second flare and third, and another Loki and a Proteus return too as an Armageddon appears on d-scan. The battleship drops on top of the wormhole and jumps as a Loki launches scanning probes.
Okay, it all makes sense now. The fleet sent cloaky scouts ahead, all in dangerous strategic cruisers, whilst the support fleet held in a (not particularly) safe spot waiting to be called in to action. Evidently, the scouts found nothing and have returned with the intention of collapsing their static connection, hoping for better luck in a different w-space constellation. Two more Armageddons warp to the wormhole to help with its inevitable collapse, so it looks like I really should leave soon.
I wait for the two ships to jump out and back, making them polarised and limiting the number of ships that can actively follow me, before jumping home. The Proteus gives chase ambivalently, giving me plenty of time to move away from the wormhole and cloak safely, and I sit off the wormhole and watch as it is slowly closed.
It takes a little while, needing three trips with a heavy interdictor to collapse the critically destabilised wormhole, but eventually the connection disappears. Bye bye, reds. Better luck with the next wormhole. And, I suppose, it's bye bye from me too for now. If the reds found no targets, neither will I. I may as well take a break, grab a sammich, and hope for change by the time I return.