Going backwards through wormholes

21st May 2010 – 5.22 pm

There is no one here. But maybe there are strangers waiting for me elsewhere. I launch probes from my Buzzard, find our w-space system's static wormhole, and go looking for activity. The neighbouring system is unoccupied and quiet, and scanning soon reveals its own static wormhole. The connection leads to another class 4 system, but the wormhole is reaching the end of its life. I don't want to risk jumping through if I don't have a separate route home, and if it is the only wormhole in the system then this will be my shortest w-space adventure so far. But if this system's static wormhole has been opened, and the system is unoccupied, someone else must have visited here and there could still be a K162 for me to find.

Some extra scanning locates the expected K162, and it is stable too. Knowing that someone must have passed through these systems to open the wormholes gives me hope that I will find some activity, but that I also need to take care. Opening a static connection almost guarantees that nobody will be waiting on the K162 side, but going through a K162 to the static side could present a nasty surprise. In this case, when I jump I find only empty space and a deserted return signal from my direction scanner. I launch probes and start scanning as I confirm that the system is unoccupied, knowing that I am looking for another K162 wormhole to continue my exploration. I find lots of rocks, which I bookmark in case industrialists return to mine, and then the wormhole, a K162 coming in from also dangerous w-space.

The next system looks familiar, being big and having an outer planet orbiting at 90° to the celestial plane, but the system doesn't appear in my records. Again, the system is unoccupied, so again I must be looking for a K162 wormhole. I am going backwards, covering a route already opened by another capsuleer. A k-space visitor is unlikely to scan several systems deep for no reason, so I doubt I am following this path back to an exit to empire space. I must eventually find an occupied system, unless one of the static wormholes along the route has imploded. I continue to scan, sifting through the many signatures to resolve in this system. I look for OIL and find only gas, but am able to pluck a likely signature and resolve a wormhole before long. For the first time on my journey I can recognise the class of system on the other side before jumping. The wormhole leads to 'deadly' w-space, it's a class 6 system.

Out of curiosity I move close to jump through and take a look around. But just as I approach the wormhole a Purifier stealth bomber appears and, well, disappears again. I am afraid I wasn't paying enough attention at that moment and don't know if he jumped in to this system or not. His ship's attitude suggests he did jump in and I simply miss the flare, as there is no flare when he disappears and it would seem more likely that he cloaks and warps away from the wormhole. I wait a few seconds then approach the wormhole and jump myself, I should be relatively safe from a stealth bomber after all. In the C6 there are only a few warp bubbles visible on d-scan, but there are three planets out of range of d-scan. I bookmark this side of the wormhole, for my return, then warp around to look for towers. I don't launch probes, as I don't expect there to be any other wormholes, or any activity I would want to interrupt.

One planet has a tower with three command ships and a dreadnought parked inside its shields, only the Sleipnir command ship being piloted. A second planet has two towers anchored to its moons, with big industrial ships at one and the other showing no signs of activity. The last of the outer planets has three towers, these having strategic cruisers and capital ships scattered lazily around. I'm going home. I have probably found the origin system of today's route through w-space, and there is no sign of life between our home system and theirs. On the return journey I see probes visible on d-scan in the C5 system, and a Manticore rubs shoulders with me on a wormhole but leaves me alone. There is otherwise still no activity, and a final check of the EOL static connection in our neighbouring C4 shows it is still EOL and static.

The home system has no probes visible, so it looks like the K162 leading in to our system has not yet been found, and probably won't be until the EOL connection next door implodes. Indeed, there is not much else to do until the wormhole dies. Although the neighbouring C4 is sufficiently isolated from the only other connecting occupied system for us to fight Sleepers in relative safety, not enough Wormhole Engineers turn up to form a suitable fleet. It remains a pleasantly quiet evening.

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