15th May 2014 – 5.21 pm

Hmm, do I clear that new anomaly in the home system, or explore for opportunity? Let me scan, resolve, and jump through our static wormhole whilst I ponder my decision. Okay, exploring it is! I have exploring to do too, as my directional scanner can only pick up one planet in our neighbouring class 3 w-space system, mostly because the next closest planet is over 50 AU away, the furthest over 140 AU distant. I launch and spread my probes thinly, and perform a muslin scan of the system.

Ten anomalies, seven signatures, no ships. C3a looks pretty bare, although there could be occupation. I warp around to look for towers and find none, leaving me to scan for wormholes. The first comes from a really weak signature, which could be indicative of an exit to null-sec, more so because I realise that all of the signatures are weak. No K162s here, just data and relic sites and expensive gas. And a second wormhole.

The second wormhole is as weak as the first, so on a hunch I warp towards that expecting to land near the K346 exit to null-sec. Nope, this is an outbound connection to class 5 w-space. Well, I've activated it, I ought to jump through it as soon as possible. I ignore C3a's static exit and jump to C5a. Updating d-scan on the other side of the wormhole sees a tower, Iteron hauler, and drone. Locating the tower is easy, being around a planet with one moon, and seeing the hauler unpiloted means I'll be moving on, just as soon as I scan the next wormhole.

My notes from a year ago indicate that the next system will be C5 space too, and with fifteen anomalies but only three signatures my progress will be quick. One signature is a relic site, the other the H296. On to C5b I go, where d-scan shows me five towers and a bunch of ships. They include some big ships. Two Moros dreadnoughts, one Naglfar dreadnought, and a Nidhoggur and Chimera carrier each. Those are escalating ships.

I switch my overview settings and update d-scan. Yep, Sleeper wrecks all over the place. But, damn, this new K162 will be pushed to the scanners of every active pilot soon, assuming they are paying attention. Well, sooner than soon, as there are core scanning probes visible on d-scan now, so the pilots are taking system security seriously. Those massive ships will be able to crash this wormhole with ease too, if they choose to do that.

Loitering on the wormhole for now is probably the best idea, until I get an idea what the locals are going to do. That doesn't mean I can't do anything, though. I bookmark all of the anomalies and look for the wrecks, finding them in one of the sites, along with the Iteron, curiously enough. That's got to be bait, surely. Or perhaps the hauler is collecting planet goo. The anomaly with the Sleeper wrecks is nearly in line with a planet, and I can't differentiate between one and the other.

It makes more sense for the Iteron to be at the customs office around the planet than in the anomaly doing something to Sleeper wrecks. Even though that doesn't stop the ship being bait, because the wormhole is yet to be visibly visited by the locals I think I can at least take a look at the customs office. So I do, where I see no Iteron. Maybe he's moved on, but swinging d-scan around suggests the Iteron really is in the anomaly. That is a bit weird, weird enough for me to leave it alone.

Returning to the wormhole sees no change in the status of the wormhole or the ships in the system. Maybe I can afford at least a look at the Iteron in the anomaly. Or it would, if the Iteron were there, or ever were there. I warp in to see a lack of hauler and a prevalence of Sleepers, clearly escalated in force in reaction to the appearance of capital ships at some point. There's no way the Iteron would survive here, so I have no idea quite what I detected on d-scan.

Back to the wormhole and I loiter. Updating d-scan sees the Iteron back at a tower, and a Zephyr exploration boat now new, probably collecting the Sleeper loot the locals don't want to lose. Massive ships are swapped for less massive ships too, battleships being prepared probably to collapse this unwanted wormhole. That makes sense, because even if a capital ship could kill the wormhole quickly it would be risky to do so without scouting the connecting system first.

A minute passes and the first battleship drops on to the wormhole. As the Scorpion decelerates from warp I take my cue to leave, decloaking my Loki strategic cruiser and jumping back to C5a. That actually turns out to be an interesting choice, as seeing a strategic cruiser jump through the wormhole apparently gives the locals pause for thought. If I'm there, who else is around? A small fleet of strategic cruisers, perhaps, waiting to ambush them? It certainly seems to stop any immediate attempt to destabilise the wormhole.

Buzzard launches probes next to a wormhole in w-space

A Buzzard from C5b decloaks and launches probes in C5a, no doubt wanting to take a good look around. That's cool, there's not much I can do about the covert operations boat anyway. There's also not much I can do about the slow and inevitable death of this wormhole, so I turn around and head homewards. There are, however, only three signatures in C5a, and by the time I make my way back to the K162 to C3a the Buzzard has also found it and warped here. He's moving fast, though, so I won't intercept him on this side of the wormhole.

Buzzard gets clear from the wormhole

I watch the cov-ops jump to C3a and try to time my own following jump so that he doesn't see me on his overview, and may mistake the wormhole activation for his own. I don't think it works, as the Buzzard doesn't pause on the wormhole to launch probes, like he did in the previous system, but aligns and warps away immediately. I watch this wormhole, Fin watches our static wormhole in an interdictor, and unfortunately it's me who sees the Buzzard next. The scout decides seeing my Loki is seeing enough, not bothering to scan any further, and heads back the way he came. I don't give chase, as I couldn't catch him the first time, deciding instead that I've seen enough for tonight too.

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