Scan, explore, see what trouble I can find. Sure, I'll probably just run away from it like a scaredy-cat, but that's part of the appeal. Nothing jumps out at me in our neighbouring class 3 w-space system, being empty of occupation and free from activity. That's kind of welcome, once a blanket scan reveals a mere two signatures, which will be the static exit and our own K162 blinking away without shutting up on the discovery scanner. My entrance would have been bloody obvious to anyone had they been here, and just because they are not doesn't make me hate the discovery scanner any less.
C3a has only two signatures, both wormholes, but thirteen anomalies. Even so, I won't make ISK by myself, so I resolve the exit and jump through to look for more wormholes. The destination region looked like Derelik from inside w-space, and it looks even more like Derelik when in low-sec, particularly by the way I am many hops from anywhere of interest. Still, there are some extra signatures to scan, so I launch probes and find gas, relics, a combat site, more relics, and, finally, a wormhole. A weak-as-water wormhole, making it an outbound connection and subject to the usual irritations of the discovery scanner, but it's the only w-space route I currently have.
Warping to the wormhole finds an outbound link to class 5 w-space. The best I can hope for is the system to be unoccupied and holding K162s, which is pretty rubbish but I try to stay positive. D-scan is clear from the wormhole in C5a, and a blanket scan doesn't find much more. One anomaly and three signatures doesn't give much to look through, but three ships could be interesting. Or could have been interesting, without the discovery scanner. Have I mentioned that distasteful feature that is ruining w-space yet?
I locate the tower, which finds the ships. An Orca industrial command ship, Crane transport, and Buzzard covert operations boat, the latter two even piloted. But what does it matter? It doesn't really, so I bring my probes in to scan the other two signatures. A data site and a wormhole, but that will be the system's static connection and so outbound again, propagating the problems of the discovery scanner and fuelling my pessimism for finding any pilots unprepared for a surprise visit.
I press on anyway, trying not to give up quite so easily, and jump in to C5b to another clear d-scan result. A blanket scan reveals four anomalies and six signatures, which isn't much better than C5a, and a lack of ships is certainly not an improvement. My notes from a previous visit also indicate that this class 5 system links to more class 5 w-space. So it goes, and it's just the one wormhole again, pulling me in to C5c. Now I see ships and a tower on d-scan, the Typhoon battleship, Zephyr exploration ship, and two Venture mining frigates making me wonder if I'm about to get lucky or unlucky.
My notes say unlucky, if only because I was here eleven weeks ago and found a static connection to class 6 w-space. Opening the system map makes everything look worse, as I see I'm in d-scan range of just one planet, obviously holding the tower and ships, and that the discovery scanner shows that the K162 I'm on is the only signature near this planet. What a truly stupid feature the discovery scanner is for w-space. I'm supposedly exploring the unknown, but the biggest secrets are blurted out to those not even paying attention at the time.
Of course, the stupidity scanner is also showing me there's only one more signature, making scanning trivial. I suppose I can poke in to C6a, but I doubt I'll go further. But with a d-scan result of a Mammoth and Epithal hauler in deadly w-space, along with a Helios cov-ops, and Chimera carrier, plus a tower that could be listed in my notes from five months ago, maybe I won't have to go further. I warp to the tower to see it in the same place, but with no Epithal. A Tengu strategic cruiser warps in as I arrive, though. Maybe there is more to see in this system.
The hauler's dropped off d-scan too, and there are two planets out of range. I pick one and warp to that planet's customs office on a whim, only to see the Epithal return to d-scan as I enter warp, damn him. Still, I bump in to two more towers in the direction I pick, with some more ships and a couple of extra pilots. I don't much rate my chances of catching the Chimera or the Epithal, though, and less so the Epithal when the pilot drops to a pod and does nothing. Taking myself back to the centre of the system has the Tengu disappeared, and I'm not sure I care where to, giving me no one to catch, let alone chase.
I think that's it for me. I head back through disappointingly linear w-space, bouncing off what towers I found, the only change being the absence of the Crane in C5a, and in to low-sec again. Now alone in the system I look for a rat to pop for minor security status gain, and just as it looks like I'll have to settle for a crappy rat cruiser a battleship warps in to a rock field. That'll do. Or it would, if a new contact didn't enter the system as I start shooting. Still, the other pilot is only in an Imicus frigate, which isn't much of a threat. Indeed, the ship launches probes and starts scanning, making him more of a target.
Do I loiter on the K162 to C3a, clearly the better choice of the two wormholes, or should I monitor the sites in the system? I think the sites are a more likely destination for a roaming Imicus, so warp to the relic site when the probes blink off d-scan. The frigate appears on d-scan seconds before dropping in to the site, and makes a bee-line for the first relic container. He starts hacking away as I get close, but I'm not going to try to catch him myself. My glorious leader has turned up and got in to her fast-locking Flycatcher interdictor. That puppy should be able to stop the Imicus warping away almost instantly.
I call Fin in to the system and to warp to me, just as loot spews from the relic container. I show actual patience this time and wait for Fin to enter the site before I drop my Loki strategic cruiser's cloak, so that I don't spook the Imicus pilot early, but he's clearly aligning out as Fin decelerates. The Imicus leaves before we can stop him. It's a sad day for Penny when we can't even catch a distracted frigate. Ah well, it's back to the rat battleship with me, which I finish off as a second scanning Imicus enters the low-sec system, coinciding with Aii turning up too. Can all three of us catch a frigate together? Is it even worth trying?
We place ourselves around the system, with Fin in one site, Aii on a wormhole, and me wondering what sort of dread pirates we are. Aii reports that the Imicus is visible on d-scan from the wormhole, and staying that way. 'Combat scan him and scare him off?' Sure, why not. Let's get this evening over with. I launch probes and scan without stealth, getting a solid hit soon enough on the ship, and I warp in to a different site. There he is, and I call my colleagues in to my position, but at the worst possible time.
The Imicus has finished with one container and moving with some sense of purpose to the next, pushing him easily out of my warp scrambler range. But with the other ships appearing we have to give it a shot, and this time we are able to gain a positive lock on the Imicus, not that it matters. My warp scrambler can't take effect, the Imicus is far out of my autocannons' optimal range, and although Fin's Flycatcher gets a positive lock too it seems clear that the frigate has a warp core stabiliser fit, given that it warps clear a second later. Ah well. It's not my proudest evening, missing two hacking frigates and only getting a can of overflow loot, but it was a distraction at least.