Dots, loops, and spheres

9th July 2010 – 5.48 pm

There are some bookmarks dropped in the can, begging me to take them and go roaming in my stealth bomber. I launch the Manticore, ensure I have a suitable configuration loaded to pick on the weak and defenceless, and head out. A call went out earlier to try to irritate the pilot of a carrier by bombing his fighters and although the opportunity appears to be gone I am keen to see what other ships may be around. Going through the K162 wormhole to an incoming class 3 w-space system seems like a good start.

My goodness, this system is vast. The wormhole I jump through is on the outskirts of the system and is 125 AU from the star. Warping the 175 AU across the system, even in a covert operations boat at a speedy 13·5 AU/s, must be what it feels like to warp in normal systems in an Orca. I finally am able to find four towers lurking around one planet in the system but there is no activity. There are two wormholes in this system, one to a different class 4 system than our own and the other incoming from a class 5 system. I check the class 4 system first.

The C4 appears unscanned. I take care to bookmark this side of the wormhole before warping off but find no occupancy and no activity. As I am in my stealth bomber I have no probe launcher fitted and my only option is to jump back to the C3, moving on from there to the incoming C5. The C5 is much the same as the C4, unscanned, unoccupied, and inactive. I jump back to the C3, spend a month warping to the wormhole I first came through, and return home. There is still the home system's static wormhole to check. Jumping through gets the same result of an otherwise unscanned system. It looks like my stealth bomber is the wrong ship to pilot at the moment.

Learning that our scan man is one system ahead through our neighbouring C4 system I take a break to get a snack, in case my sugar levels fall dangerously low. Once I am full of sweet goodness again I swap ships to my Buzzard and go back through the incoming wormhole from the C3 and scan in a different direction, splitting our efforts and extending our exploration. With three wormholes, and maybe also an exit to empire space that I've ignored so far from a lack of interest, it seems safe to assume that this system has been thoroughly scanned. I jump through to the connecting C4 to begin scanning a fresh system.

I already know the C4 is unoccupied, making it relatively safe to launch probes at the wormhole once a quick check of the directional scanner is performed. There are only a few signatures to resolve, and some anomalies that can be ignored, although I only find the static connection when it is the final signature. The wormhole leads to another C4, and I jump through to another unoccupied system ready to be scanned. And I think I finally understand the new scanning interface's seemingly arbitrary selection of signatures that it highlights on each scan.

Since Tyrannis deployed, the scanning interface highlights multiple signatures after each scan, but the signatures selected in this way don't seem to follow a pattern at first. However, it looks like any signature that resolves to a single point or a ring is highlighted and those that are too fuzzy and can only be displayed as a general sphere are not. I imagine this change is meant to highlight the more determinate signatures on each scan result. Understanding this change certainly helps recognise and interpret the scan results more quickly, but only once the apparently arbitrary nature of the selection is realised. Deducing the new behaviour should now make my scanning more effective.

Back to scanning, it is nice to find a wormhole in this C4 on my first pick. It makes me feel competent. Again, I am led to another static C4 connection. Jumping through finds occupancy this time and I wait to launch probes until I have found both towers in the system. A Megathron battleship is unpiloted at one tower and a Covetor mining barge and Imicus frigate are piloted at the second. I quite like the idea of the Covetor getting ready to go mining and I quickly try to scan for any suitable gravimetric sites whilst he's idling. Instead of mining sites I find two wormholes almost on top of each other, making me reflect on all the times I have scanned for wormholes and only found rocks. But more wormholes are good too.

One wormhole comes in from a class 2 w-space system, the other is a static connection to a C3. There are no gravimetric mining sites in this C4 so I jump through to the C2 to explore some more. An initial d-scan reading reveals three towers in this class 2 system and a few ships, but there are no drones, cans, or wrecks, and I am getting a little far from home to be effective so don't look any further. I go back to the C4 and through to the C3, finding a single tower and half-a-dozen ships. I go looking for this tower and although I find two pilots in the shields I also see nothing much happening and leave the system the way I came.

I check on the Imicus and Covetor in the C4 but they are still exactly as I left them earlier. I have a string of jumps through unoccupied systems and then a long warp across the C3 before I am home again. It is another night of lots of connected systems but little activity. It is interesting to explore all these systems and be nosy towards other corporations, but finding such long chains of connected systems takes enough time that it is not possible to fully explore the systems and also act on the intelligence gathered. I wasn't even able to find the end of the route tonight, even looking in only one of the two directions afforded us. But it was another interesting evening of exploration and that is often enough to keep me entertained.

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