Looking for more luck in the hunt tonight has me heading through the only wormhole at home. Our static connection takes me to a class 3 w-space system with a tower and no ships visible on my directional scanner, which neither fills me with nor sinks my expectations. There may be more to see, more to find, or new pilots turning up at any moment. And as my previous visit to C3a, some four months earlier, had me missing a hauler but bagging a more expensive transport I kinda hope someone does come on-line. Until then, I'll scan for wormholes.
The nine anomalies and scan six signatures hold a dying exit to low-sec empire space, but two more wormholes offer potential. One is simply a connection from null-sec, but the other is a K162 from class 4 w-space, which could hold activity. I enter the system to see what's happening, and find in C4a much the same as I left in C3a. An Orca is added to d-scan along with the tower, but I doubt the industrial command ship is piloted.
I locate the tower, confirm the Orca's empty, and spy a familiar name when checking information about the tower. The director of the local corporation is a chap named Von Keigei. Do I know him? Not personally, not yet. Maybe we can be formally introduced today, but if he's not around at the moment then it's likely someone else opened the wormhole to C3a. Scanning the five anomalies and five signatures indeed resolves another wormhole, leading back in to deeper class 4 w-space.
There could be lots of scanning with nothing to show for it this evening. D-scan is clear on the wormhole in C4b, although only a single planet is in range. A tower was elsewhere four months ago, and it remains in the same place, empty. A second tower is almost more interesting, with a bunch of ships inside its force field that would be worth listing were any of them piloted. As it is, I'm stuck with another inactive system holding ten anomalies and a whopping thirty-eight signatures. Tidy up occasionally, guys.
I ignore all but the chubbiest signatures to sift for K162s. The exit-side of the wormhole gives a pretty strong signature, and class 4 w-space is notorious for almost never, if ever, having any random outbound connections. So because I entered the system through its static wormhole, if there are any more wormholes to find they are almost certainly K162s. Being able to ignore all the data and relic sites, having weak signatures and taking an extra scan cycle or two to identify, really can save time. As such, I ignore banks and banks of gas clouds and pluck out, oh great, a K162 from class 5 w-space.
Just as class 4 w-space has a tendency to chain itself together, so does class 5 w-space. Swapping one for the other is no great indication that I'm about to find the end of the constellation. But I've yet to see another pilot, so back I go, deeper in to w-space, hoping to find a target. Ugh, C5a is a black hole system too, making it no surprise to not find any occupation, itself an indication that I have another K162 to find. At least the there are only five signatures with the thirteen anomalies, so I resolve the next wormhole in little time.
The wormhole I resolve doesn't feel particularly chubby, I have to say, and as C5 space can regularly connect to k-space I'm not discounting extra connections this time. And a second wormhole is chubbier, which will be the expected K162. It comes from more class 5 w-space, naturally, but that remains my best choice of direction when the first wormhole turns out to be a C140 exit to low-sec. In to C5b I go, were d-scan shows me a tower and Orca, and a red giant shines down on my boat. Exploration really isn't going well tonight.
Another inactive system, but at least there are few signatures again. The first of the four is a wormhole, a rather depressing K162 from null-sec. Has this whole chain really been opened by a damned tourist, falsely raising my hopes that somewhere in this w-space constellation there is an active pilot? A second wormhole settles my frustration a little, even if it is probably a K162 from yet another C5. Which it isn't. It's a second K162 from null-sec. I have been on a wild goose chase all evening. Thanks, dick.
Trying to make the most of my wasted exploration, I poke out to one of the null-sec systems to rat and scan. I am alone in the system in Scalding Pass, and although I wasn't going to scan I can't help myself when I find a rat battleship to shoot. Two extra signatures resolve to be two wormholes, the rat battleship a wreck, and I am given a less-than-enticing pair of connections. The first is an outbound link to class 3 w-space that is both mass stressed and at the end of its life. I don't fancy getting lost in space so late in the evening, so ignore it for the second. But the other wormhole is an outbound wormhole to more class 5 w-space! I said I don't fancy getting lost in space so late in the evening, dammit.
I scanned it, I may as well look through it. I leave w-space to see what's in C5c, and return to null-sec when d-scan shows me a tower and no ships. That's a good enough look for me. I cross the system in Scalding Pass to return to C5b, and poke out through the other null-sec connection to appear alone in a system in Omist. No scanning this time, just the rats, ma'am. Actually, sod it. Not even the rats any more. I'm not in the mood today. I just turn my boat around and head home, through two C5 and two C4 systems to C3a, and back through our K162, seeing no one on the way.