Four systems, one pilot

6th October 2010 – 5.45 pm

Sleepers are exploding in our home system. I consider roaming our w-space constellation for targets instead of joining the corporation fleet to make some iskies but I can't make head nor tail of the bookmarks currently in the shared can, so I launch my Tengu stratetic cruiser and warp in to the action. There are only two Sleeper battleships left in this frontier barracks, which are quickly despatched, but there is another one to clear for a fuller experience, along with a command post. The anomalies are sweeped of Sleeper presence, our salvaging Myrmidon battlecruiser only nearly dying at a couple of points, leaving barely a couple of minutes before our static wormhole is due to collapse.

I board my Buzzard covert operations boat and launch probes, performing a preliminary scan of the whole system and ignoring every result. I sit and wait near the doomed wormhole and watch it end not with a bang but a whimper. A second scan finds the only new signature in the system, which must be the new static wormhole. I resolve the signature and warp to it, jumping through with a colleague for some exploration. The class 4 system now connecting to our own is unoccupied and apparently unpopular, having also been unoccupied six months ago when I last found myself here.

Scanning the C4 soon finds a wormhole on the outer planet, which turns out to be a K162 from a class 5 system. A second wormhole is also resolved, this the system's static connection to another C4. I enter the C5 first, the K162 more suggestive of activity. Checking my notes only brings disappointment, as my previous visit had the system inhabited by supposed allies and checking the last recorded positions of the tower here confirms this. They don't look overtly blue to me, but I suppose they never really have. I assume that only the static wormhole will be of interest and, as I entered through it, leave the way I came to warp across to the second class 4 system.

My scouting colleague is already in the second C4 and has spotted a Badger hauler on his directional scanner, but one he suspects is abandoned. He scans the location of the ship and warps to it, finding it indeed unpiloted. As I am now in this system and scanning he volunteers to drop his ship back at the tower and come to collect the Badger as a gift. I start sifting through rocks and gas to find the static wormhole, again leading to a C4, and my colleague slips his pod in the Badger to find it servicable but empty and unfitted. We both jump out of the system in different directions.

The third C4 in today's w-space constellation has a tower with a handful of ships inside. Thankfully they are all unpiloted, so no one sees my Buzzard get decloaked in the warp bubble anchored near the tower. The system holds no activity, letting me scan freely. There are lots of gravimetric mining sites to be found and I consider fully resolving and bookmarking them, but realise there being so many is probably indicative that the inhabitants aren't miners, giving little chance of ambushing them in such a site. In fact, they don't seem to be active at all in their home system, with plenty of anomalies also present. I concentrate on looking for wormholes, finding the static connection to a class 3 w-space system.

There is little to be seen on d-scan in the C3, although a jet-can labelled 'BMs' is somewhere in the system. It seems odd that bookmarks would be left in an unoccupied system and suspect the distant outer planet holds more than just a few moons in orbit. Warping across the system finds occupation but no inhabitants, only a Thanatos carrier sitting inside a tower's shields. My colleague has returned after taking the claimed Badger to our tower and reports only three signatures in the C3, making this corporation rather more fastidious than the one in the previous C4. And their heightended activity is displayed in the appearance of a Helios covert operations boat at the tower. It's not much, but it's the first sign of life so far tonight.

The local pilot warps away from the tower and launches probes, as seen on d-scan. There are only three signatures to resolve, he should be quick. My colleague and I also have all the signatures scanned and we wonder if we could perhaps catch the Helios. The most likely location for a trap is the K162 leading back to the third C4, as this extra wormhole will be unfamiliar to the Helios pilot and probably more interesting than the static exit to low-sec space. My colleague sits on the C3 side of the wormhole and I jump through to the C4, where I get my systems hot. Actually, I'm not sure a single rocket launcher would get that hot, so maybe I just get my systems lukewarm.

Scanning probes converge on the K162 wormhole but the Helios doesn't jump, only seemingly noting the connection and warping away. I head homewards in case I need to change to a more pointy ship, copying the bookmarks I have made to our can and swapping in to my Manticore stealth bomber. The Helios is reported to have left the C3, which I confirm when I see scanning probes on d-scan in the neighbouring C4. I hold my position in the C4 on the next K162 along the inwards route, assuming the Helios pilot will venture deeper rather than going home.

A careful eye and occasional adjustments to d-scan's range lets me know when the probes are converging on my position, but each time they veer away to scan a different signature. I patiently wait, not revealing my presence, and after a while all the probes get within 1 AU of the wormhole. I get ready, expecting the Helios to turn up and jump, but all that happens is the probes move away to a neutral point in the system. Maybe the Helios warped at range to the wormhole, holding his cloak, to note and bookmark the connection without wanting to jump through directly.

I continue to wait. The probes remain active for a little longer before disappearing, but still the Helios doesn't appear. My colleague reports a flare at the wormhole back in to the class 3 system, the Helios returning home. I warp across the system and jump, but only to see the Helios sitting passively in its tower and the pilot logging off. The only activity in our explored constellation is gone. I head homewards, seeing nothing new in the intermediate systems, and get some rest back at our tower.

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