Simple scanning

17th October 2010 – 3.28 pm

Some cryptic bookmarks are available but I may not need to decipher them. There is chatter in the corporation channel about collapsing the static wormhole, which would thankfully make the current bookmarks obsolete. A new constellation would open up to be explored where the creation of bookmarks could be better supervised for clarity of abbreviated information. The only problem is that although we have enough capsuleers and ships to throw through the wormhole we don't have much expertise in ensuring they all end up on the right side once the connection is collapsed.

Our normal overseer in wormhole collapse is stranded in empire space but he is willing to talk us through collapsing the wormhole. And by 'us' I mean 'not me'. I trust my colleague's calculations but am less certain about all our recent recruits' communication skills, particularly when some confuse wormholes with systems. The guidance will rely on solid communication and getting unreliable messages about who is where because of a wormhole/system fuzziness will only confuse. Communication skills and uncertainty about terms and definitions can be improved, but not before we throw battleships with abandon through our wormhole. I shall merely view this operation from a distance and make notes for later.

To everyone's relief the collapse of the wormhole goes smoothly, if a little slowly, and I flick the systems of my Buzzard covert operations boat in to life again. The scanning probes are already in the system and have performed a preliminary scan before the wormhole was killed, and now a second scan will reveal the new signatures since then, which will only be the respawned static wormhole. Resolving a single signature is simple and I warp to and jump through the wormhole in to a class 4 w-space system. I've been here before, four months ago, and it remains a quiet, unoccupied system. There are six anomalies and five signatures present, giving us some Sleepers to shoot and little scanning to complete, which is good.

I go looking for the system's static wormhole and soon resolve a link to a C1, which gives me warm feelings about finding soft targets. Of course, the class of w-space system is solely a reflection of the level of danger the indigenous Sleepers present, although there is a general correlation between capsuleer threat and w-space system class. Only the stronger and better skilled pilots set themselves up to face the greatest Sleeper forces. The class 1 system is not likely to hold anyone too powerful, and not being able to squeeze a battleship through its static connection effectively limits possible external threats. But all I see on the directional scanner is a tower and a Crane transport ship.

Locating the tower also finds the Crane sitting unpiloted inside the shields. But there is another ship that my glance at d-scan missed, the wreck of a covert operations boat floating outside the tower. I suppose someone forgot to activate their cloak and the tower's defences punished the lapse of procedure. Their loss is my gain, as I think I'll loot the wreck. It would be embarrassing to muck it up and leave a second wreck close to the first, but I've done this enough times not to make a mess of it. I grab some Sisters core scanning probes, an expanded probe launcher, and a couple of coprocessors, the latter suggesting the pilot lacked some skills to fit the boat adequately.

Checking the rest of the system finds it otherwise empty and inactive, and launching probes reveals only three signatures to resolve. Two wormholes are found by myself and a second corporation scout—one a static exit to high-sec empire space and the other a K162 coming in from a high-sec island—as Russian scanning probes appear on d-scan. There's not much I can do about them directly, so I head out through the static connection, dock, and contract a copy of the bookmarks I've made to our stranded colleague. But on my return in to w-space an Imicus is uncloaked near the wormhole, and I take an opportunistic shot in my armed Buzzard. The Imicus reacts quickly, moving to and jumping through the wormhole back to empire space before even the first rocket hits. It's a moment of excitement, though.

I return home to copy to our shared can the bookmarks mapping the w-space constellation, and swap in to my Manticore stealth bomber. I head back to the C1 and lurk around the high-sec wormhole, waiting for nothing to arrive, until a second stranded colleague finds his way to us and I pop out to guide him home. As we jump back to w-space the wormhole enters its end-of-life state, which will no doubt discourage high-sec tourists from entering, sending me homewards. To end the evening, the few anomalies in our neighbouring C4 are cleared with a fleet of four strategic cruisers. No hitches and no surprises makes us eighty million ISK richer after loot and salvage is recovered, letting me sleep peacefully.

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