Bye bye, Drakey. I watched the battlecruiser warp away from the radar site in our neighbouring class 3 w-space system, too nervous to engage it because of its buddy in the Loki strategic cruiser. That doesn't stop me following it home, though. What stops me is that the wormhole it used resolves to be the static exit to low-sec and not a K162 from more w-space. An exit to low-sec with a Slasher sitting on it. The frigate warps before I land, so I can't do anything but watch where it heads and focus my probes in that direction.
Of course, my probes will be visible on the Slasher pilot's directional scanner, so I don't think I have any element of surprise. It's good, in that case, that I follow a ship still not heading to my w-space but to a K162 from high-sec empire space. A particularly stressed wormhole too, sitting at half mass and at the end of its life. I'm happy to ignore the connection by itself, and happier when a third wormhole crops up, this time actually linking w-space systems. The K162 from class 3 w-space is looking good right now.
Jumping to C3b has w-space returning to normal, d-scan showing me a tower and no ships, and no stinking empire space tourists cluttering up the system. The tower is the same from seven months earlier, and scanning through two anomalies and eleven signatures for wormholes finds a couple more. The static exit to low-sec is expected, taking me to Verge Vendor briefly, but the T405 wormhole is a nice surprise, being better than the K162 I was hoping for. I keep going down the rabbit hole, in to C4a.
D-scan is clear from the other side of the T405, and my notes from around six months ago remain relevant. I find a tower where I left it, with a Nidhoggur carrier inside the force field pre-oranged for my convenience. Seven signatures on top of the anomalies provide me with three wormholes, and none this time will lead to k-space. The static connection to class 4 w-space I know about, an EOL K162 from class 5 w-space doesn't look great, but the K162 from more class 4 w-space could hold activity.
Three towers, a Vagabond cruiser, and Rattlesnake battleship are all visible on d-scan in C4c, although a lack of wrecks makes the expensive ships look like window dressing. Having both ships in the one tower makes checking for pilots simpler, and it seems that the 'snake is piloted, for loose definitions of the word. Sure, it has a pilot on board, but I wouldn't call listing its way out of the force field 'piloting'. It looks more like the pilot is drunk and has slumped over the controls, sending the 'snake in motion in some arbitrary direction. Then again, as the battleship is well within range of the tower's defences, I'm not sure it really matters.
A quick calculation of the Rattlesnake's velocity means it would take well over half-an-hour of this poor piloting before I could fairly safely try to ambush the ship. To be honest, I've occasionally waited that long for ships to clear sites and throw a salvager at me, but at least I had a show to watch in the meantime. Hello, is that a change of direction? It is. I would think maybe the pilot burped or farted, shifting the controls slightly at the bodily convulsion, but now the 'snake seems to be pointing towards the wormhole to C4a. That it warps a minute later would suggest so. I follow behind.
The Rattlesnake has indeed warped to the wormhole, kinda. The ship lands a hundred kilometres short of the connection, so is not transiting systems to try to make ISK from another corporation's anomalies, which is a shame. Even more so, the 'snake returns to the tower, swaps to a Taranis, and instead sends the interceptor in to C4a. I dunno why either. Well, there's nothing left to do here, and the odds that the Taranis is sitting on the other side of the wormhole waiting for me are slim, so I jump back the way I came to see... a stealth bomber? That's a neat trick.
The Purifier is not just sitting on the wormhole, he's positioned himself to be right in the middle of it. Precise manoeuvring is a good indication that the pilot is awake, but I want to hold a mirror under his nose. I decloak, lock on to the bomber, and start shooting. I get a few rounds off before the Purifier, still disappointingly intact, jumps to C4c. I follow, knowing I'll be polarised but not really caring, only to see the Purifier get lucky and appear far enough away from the wormhole to cloak immediately. I suppose I'd better cloak too.
Watching d-scan from the wormhole shows the Purifier appear, no doubt at the tower, where he swaps first to a Machariel battleship and then a Rapier recon ship. The Rapier then disappears, presumed cloaked, and his colleague in the Taranis returns from wherever he went. The interceptor doesn't linger on the wormhole but heads straight for the tower, and an Anathema covert operations boat appears somewhere. Okay, nothing is going to happen in this system now, not with so many cloaky ships trying not to bump in to each other.
I still have another w-space system to explore. Indeed, there is a potential chain of w-space available to me, through the static connection in C4a to C4b. Or it would be, if I hadn't got my rough bookmarks mixed up. Because of the spatial difference between cosmic signatures and wormhole loci, it is standard practice to bookmark the cosmic signature from the scan results, warp to that, and create a new bookmark for the wormhole locus, deleting the rough and now-useless signature bookmark in the process. It seems I made a mistake in which signature was which.
Warping to the cosmic signature bookmark for the static wormhole in C4a lands me instead next to the dying K162 for C5a. I used the wrong signature identifier for this wormhole and so deleted the wrong rough bookmark. Of course, I can resolve the wormhole again, and I still know its identifier, which will make the process swift. But I think this mistake is a good sign to call it a night instead.