I'll see if I can find more than an errant Loki tonight. Even if I could simply keep track of which wormhole is which would be an improvement over losing the strategic cruiser down the wrong one yesterday. At home it's just me, a few anomalies, and a sole signature that will be our static connection. I resolve it and jump to this evening's neighbouring class 3 w-space system, where my directional scanner shows me the normal sight of a tower and lack of ships.
Warp, launch, blanket. My combat probes reveal thirteen anomalies and eleven signatures, still no ships. I'll be scanning, once I've located the tower, which turns out to have moved since my last visit a year ago to the day. Or I would be scanning, if the time taken to locate the tower hasn't given another scout time to launch probes and get to work. I can see core scanning probes on d-scan now, but a subsequent blanket scan of my own, sensibly hidden from d-scan high above the ecliptic plane, sees no new signatures. Where has the scout come from?
The scout ship blips on d-scan, a Tengu strategic cruiser, and it's not to pass through our K162. I find this out by warping there hoping to catch the Tengu coming back polarised, but instead reach our wormhole in time to see the Tengu appear in front of me and jump through as I watch. That was considerate of him. Now maybe he'll come back polarised and in to my waiting Loki strategic cruiser. I decloak and get ready. And I wait.
I wait a little longer. The minutes tick and pass the limit of the polarisation timer, and I can't help but wonder what the pilot is finding so interesting about our system. It only has one signature, one wormhole, the one the jumped through, so what else is there to do? Maybe this time a new wormhole opened in to our system and the Tengu has actually gone home. Rather than head back to see, I may as well loiter on our K162 and scan this C3 first. I call my probes in and ignore gas, resolve two wormholes, ignore a relic site, and finally ignore two more gas sites just as our K162 crackles with a transit.
That's bad timing. I throw my probes out of the system, having completed their task a second after the wormhole spat a ship back in to the system, so it's probably best to assume the Tengu has seen them. But at least I see in which direction the ship warps, and it looks to be towards one of the two wormholes, a K162 from class 5 w-space as it turns out. Well, rather than follow immediately I consider it prudent to get the low-sec exit, which I do even though the U210 is at the end of its life. A dying connection is better than none.
Having a safety net, albeit one fraying at the edges, I return to C3a and jump to C5a. Nothing is on the other side of the wormhole—at least, not for the first couple of seconds it takes for me to reorientate myself. Before I even get to update d-scan a pair of Drake battlecruisers drop on to the connection to C3a, thankfully not having seen my entrance, given that they jump through immediately. Now I check d-scan, see nothing else, and move from the wormhole to shed my session-change cloak and activate my ship cloak.
I would guess the two Drakes have gone to engage Sleepers in C3a. Before I consider what I can do about that, I ought to see what they can do about what I can do to them, and scout this C5 properly. Exploring finds just the one tower and no other ships or pilots, which makes the Drakes look as vulnerable as Drakes can look. But what can I do? Perhaps not much in my Loki, but another ship could break one of the battlecruisers—if I am able to get it.
I have a suspicion that, being out of their home system, aware of another wormhole, and potentially having seen probes, the two pilots will be updating d-scan regularly. The first test is returning to C3a. I warp to the wormhole, jump through, and confirm the two Drakes are in the system and busy turning Sleepers in to wrecks. Now to move away from the wormhole and gauge the reaction. Move, cloak. The Drakes don't warp to their wormhole home, but neither can I now find them in an anomaly.
The wrecks are in an anomaly, so the Drakes aren't taking refuge in the relic site. Indeed, a bit more d-scanning sees one of the battlecruisers at the system's star, which either indicates the pilots are recharging their shields, or warping around the system as an avoidance measure. I'm guessing the latter. To prove me right, as if proof were needed, a few moments later the two ships warp as one to the wormhole back to their C5 system, and jump through.
The pilots must have been alert to potential threats, and detected my Loki breaking away from the wormhole. But that doesn't mean I can't have a crack at them now. I might not win, but at least the wormhole offers an escape route if I need it. I jump back to C5a, shed my cloak and aim for the closest of the two Drakes, and slump back down in my pod as they both warp clear of the wormhole towards their tower.
Either I procrastinated about engaging the Drakes for a second too long, or I forgot or fumbled the activation of my warp scrambler. Either way, I get a language-independent reply for my failed ambush, which is nice. And I suppose this is game over for now. The locals aren't going to do anything that won't involve being prepared for a solo Loki, and I can't trust the low-sec exit to stick around long enough for me to consider exploring beyond it. That's okay. It's been a short and sweet session, and only really missing an explosion.