Glorious leader Fin has scanned the home system by the time I come on-line. There's nothing new to be found, and even the untouched static connection from yesterday is in the same place. We give the command to touch C247, and jump through to an occupied but inactive class 3 w-space system. A tower sits on a far planet, with a Nidhoggur carrier unpiloted inside the force field and Buzzard covert operations boat wreck outside, Fin's pod warping away a little embarrassedly.
Fin tidies up the mess she made as I scan the system's five anomalies and eight signatures. C3a holds a static exit to high-sec, which will help with getting a replacement ship for Fin, and is easily resolved. It doesn't look like there are any K162s to be found, and the high-sec wormhole being super-stable supports this notion, but a second wormhole appears under my probes anyway. Ah, but it's a weak signature and so another outbound connection. This bodes well for tonight's exploration.
Popping to high-sec first gets this evening's exit, which is in The Forge but a little out of the way, before warping to the second wormhole in C3a. It's an N770 to class 5 w-space. In I go. My directional scanner shows me a tower and no ships, and no hangars either, which seems threadbare for living in dangerous w-space. The six anomalies and seven signatures reduce to the H296 static connection to more class 5 w-space, and I press on to see a tower and Orca industrial command ship on d-scan in C5b. Be still my beating heart.
The single tower is a step down from a year ago, when there were four, no doubt on the only four moons in the system. Scanning C5b resolves three wormholes amongst the handful of signatures, the static connection to more class 5 w-space, a K162 from deadly class 6 w-space, and a dying K162 coming from low-sec empire space. My choice of direction is obvious and, I must say, magnetars look pretty sexy when bathed in the red of a C6 system. The Thanatos on d-scan doesn't, not with the tower to accompany it. I don't think the carrier gets out much either, when a passive scan sprinkles the system map with thirty-four anomalies. I can fix that, but I'd better scan first, if I don't want labels obscuring my interface.
Actually, first I want to get a good view of the second planet in the system. It's a lava planet, and perhaps the only named planet in all w-space, Eyjafjallajokull. I've seen it before, but it's still interesting to visit it again. And to capture the planet with the magnetar in the background looks really cool, even if it takes me fifteen minutes and being shot at by C6 anomaly Sleepers to get my ship in to the right position. It's worth it for the result.
Scanning for K162s finds one, but before I leave I make good on my intention to activate all the anomalies. Oh, my poor capacitor. But it's done, so I move on. And that's weird, as the wormhole is another outbound connection to class 5 w-space, just like the static connection. But I suppose that can happen, so I jump through and, uh, hmm. That tower and Orca look familiar, as do the bookmarks now highlighted in my folder. I may well have gone in the wrong direction by mistake. Never mind. And as I scanned the K162 in C6a, I may as well use it. I head back, warp to the right wormhole, and return to class 5 w-space anyway, just this time through a K162.
It's all a bit bland in C5d. No occupation, no activity, and scanning the sixteen signatures finds no K162s. I nearly saved myself some time heading the wrong way, if only I'd have admitted defeat and continued in that direction. I do now, back through C6a, C5b, and in to C5c, which is pretty much the same as C5d's unoccupied emptiness but with the guarantee of another wormhole to find. The static connection is yet another H296, pushing me to C5e, where a tower, Orca, and pod on d-scan assures at least one pilot is doing nothing. That deep space scanning probe is a concern, though.
Depending on whether I am the pilot who opened the wormhole I came through or not could determine how long my entrance goes unnoticed. If I opened the wormhole and the owner of the probe sees the new signature, it could be short-lived indeed. The appearance on d-scan of an Archon carrier makes me think the wormhole's death will be sooner rather than later, but when the pod jumps in to a Viator transport my curiosity is piqued. There are no hangars at this bare tower, so the transport must have come from one of the bigger ships. I have to see what's happening.
All three ships are piloted, and there's no movement suggesting the K162 is about to be crashed. In fact, the Archon goes off-line. And nothing is happening, not at the tower or the rest of the system. I consider not scanning, but the temptation of the Orca hitting the static wormhole for whatever reason is too much to ignore, so I launch probes and scan. As I do, a Legion strategic cruiser warps in to the tower and a Cheetah is spotted by my probes, no doubt spewing out his probes on wormhole. I concentrate my scanning where the cov-ops is and indeed resolve a wormhole. The odd bit is that the wormhole is the H296 out of the system.
It's already getting late, thanks to my sightseeing of Eyjafjallajokull, so don't want to dive any deeper down this never-ending chain of class 5 w-space. But as I turn my boat around the H296 flares, bringing another Cheetah in to the system. If ships are being moved maybe I can wait a little longer, particularly as Fin is finished buying and selling and is coming my way as quickly as she can. And, dammit, there goes the Orca. It warps to the wormhole in front of me and jumps through. Should I go for it? 'Yes', says Fin, although personally I'm a little concerned about that Legion, and how very long it would take my one ship to strip the Orca's armour. I fear I'd only end up polarised and at the mercy of the strategic cruiser.
Even so, I give chase to the Orca and get it quite wrong. I manage to jump to C5f in time to decloak and attempt to the lock the Orca a split-second before it enters warp, letting him see my transit and my Loki strategic cruiser decloak, all without being directly threatened. But let's look at the positives: I may now be baited, and Fin is coming to provide some surprise support for me. And I get to look around C5f, at least using d-scan from the wormhole, and I can see another bare tower in the direction the Orca warped, with a Mammoth hauler with it. Ah, the locals are moving systems, hence the movements and minimal tower configurations.
At first, I think the corporation is moving from C5f backwards to C5e, but that notion's dispelled when an update to d-scan in C5f shows a hangar being anchored. I guess they're moving this way, which may well mean the Orca won't be coming back through the wormhole. That's a shame. But there are ships that have to be moved in still, and here they come. The Cheetah returns first, which I let pass for being nearly impossible to stop anyway, after which a couple more flares from the wormhole brings the Legion I already saw. But two flares for one Legion? No, two flares for two Legions.
One Legion I could probably hold and annoy for a bit, with Fin heading my way, but two of them would rip my cloaky Loki apart before help could arrive. Or, at least, force me to disengage. More ships pass me by. Finally, Fin arrives, and my glorious leader sits on the wormhole in C5e to watch d-scan for more ships. As she does that, it seems like a fair idea to scan C5f for the static connection, in case supplies are being brought in from k-space too. But just as I engage my warp drive, Fin says that a 'Moros and Archon are on d-scan' in C5e. Abort warp, abort warp! If the dreadnought or carrier come this way, the wormhole will die and I'll be trapped in a hideous C5 chain forever.
I jump back to C5e, as a precaution, and reconnoitre the tower and, when seeing neither capital ship there, the K162 home. It remains stable. It looks like the big ships have gone off-line again. So all is quiet. Just the small tower is left, and that could be disposable. Then again, it is now off-line and being unanchored, and that Viator hasn't gone to C5f yet. They're going to take it with them, and in the transport. This is our last chance at catching someone, and it's not going to be easy.
Fin and I warp to the tower and get close, made easier by the Viator accidentally revealing himself a few minutes early. We watch the timer count down and prepare for the transport to decloak in order to scoop the unanchored tower in to his hold, and pounce as soon as the target appears. But he's quick. Decloak, scoop, cloak. My sensor recalibration doesn't even end before the Viator is gone, only appearing on d-scan as he transits the wormhole, fast enough for us not to even bother to give chase. Still, it was worth a shot, but that looks like it for activity in the constellation. Time to go home. I really hope no one's killed a wormhole behind me this time.