A cornucopia of connections

26th November 2010 – 5.32 pm

I'm up early to see if there is a potential route in to this class 4 w-space system from empire space. If I scan an exit out of here there could be a later possibility of getting the tower in and establishing our presence. And I'm not alone today, a second Buzzard covert operations boat appearing on my directional scanner along with some probes. It looks like a wormhole has connected in to this system, which could bring more than a simple cov-ops boat. I launch my own probes to start scanning.

My current set of bookmarks for the system lets me ignore most signatures, leaving only two I don't recognise. The first is the new static wormhole to a class 3 w-space system, the second resolving to be a K162 from a C4. I note the location of the K162 then warp and jump in to the C3 to fulfil my primary objective of finding an exit. I can worry about possible hostilities later, which will only be a concern if a convenient exit can actually be found.

Like previous days, the C3 system holds an off-line tower, and I suspect I will find an exit to low-sec space. And it looks like I've found it straight away, as a wormhole appears almost on top of the one I jump through, but it turns out to be an outbound connection to a C4. It may not be the static wormhole but it is good to find now, rather than potentially ignoring the signature and not knowing of the additional connection. I continue scanning, looking for the system's static wormhole, and find a second link. Again, it's not a static connection but another outbound wormhole, this time to a class 5 w-space system. This C3 seems busy.

More scanning reveals a 3rd wormhole from a C4, then a fourth that's outbound to a C3, a fifth outbound to a C4, and a sixth coming from null-sec space. The seventh wormhole is finally the system's static wormhole, which indeed links to low-sec empire space. I have not known a system to bristle with so many wormholes! The number of connections is unprecedented and could potentially bring a lot of capsuleers in to this nexus, making transport ships more vulnerable, but it also offers options. The low-sec exit system is not too far from our base but will have our ships pass through Tama, which I believe to be a dangerous system to travel through, and encourages me to check the other connections for a better exit.

I have plenty of options to choose to scan a new exit. My first choice is the outbound C3 connection, thinking that the lower-class system is more likely to lead me to empire space. There are plenty of signatures to sift through, and I end up finding a K162 from a class 5 system and a static exit to null-sec space, neither of which looks better than what I've already found. I head back in to the nexus C3 to jump through to one of the outbound C4 systems, but as I am deciding which wormhole to choose a routine check of d-scan reveals a Heron frigate somewhere. A second check still sees the Heron uncloaked, as does a third, and it looks to me like the pilot has been negligent. I am only in a Buzzard myself, but it is fitted with rockets and I may be able to remind the Heron about the benefits of cloaking.

D-scan puts the Heron away from celestial objects, which either places him in a safe spot or on a wormhole. Assuming he's on a wormhole narrows down my search to one of the two wormholes almost on top of each other, but I cannot work out which one. I warp to the K162 home first, dropping my cloak early to shake off the targeting delay on the assumption that the uncloaked Heron pilot also probably isn't watching d-scan. I don't find the ship on the K162, so warp to the other of the two wormholes, where the Heron indeed sits uncloaked. I get my warp disruption modules hot and ready my weapon systems for when I drop out of warp and can use them. I am expecting the Heron to wake up and jump through the wormhole to try to flee, and I am ready to give chase.

I lock the Heron and my rockets start hitting home, making dents in the shields of the frigate. This could be a lengthy and tedious encounter, but as long as I am victorious at the end I'm willing to put in the time. But it's not going to be one-sided, as the Heron has weapons fitted too and returns fire, although I imagine my Buzzard to be hardier than its lesser-engineered relative. The wormhole flares as I expect and I prepare to chase the Heron through to the C4 beyond, but he is still shooting me and can't have jumped. Instead, a Pilgrim recon ship joins in the fight, locking and sending its drones towards me, as a Hound also decloaks to help reduce me to dust.

Okay, I won't win this fight, and I imagine I've just been suckered in to an ambush, but with a calm that surprises me I simply jump through the wormhole. As I regain my senses in the class 4 system I note a lack of ships on my overiew and so move away from the wormhole and cloak, pulsing my reheat as I do, even before the session change timer ends. The wormhole flares behind me as at least one pilot gives chase, but I don't think he was even fast enough to see my ship in the couple of seconds it was visible. I loiter long enough to see the Heron decloak looking for me, and to bookmark the wormhole for reference, before warping away. I want to explore this system anyway, I can easily take my time doing so rather than worrying about getting home just yet.

The class 4 system is unoccupied and only has a few signatures to resolve, letting me find a K162 from a C3 and the static wormhole to a C2 without fuss. The connection to a class 2 system is enticing, as it promises an exit from w-space, and I jump through to take a look. A tower but no ships can be seen on d-scan, but as I move away from the wormhole the connection flares behind me, the Pilgrim from earlier appearing briefly before cloaking. I warp away to launch probes safely and start to scan, paying the recon ship no mind. Only three signatures in the system makes scanning easy again, resolving the static wormholes to be a connection reaching the end of its natural lifetime leading in to a C3 and, rather pleasingly, an exit to high-sec empire space.

Jumping in to high-sec puts me fourteen jumps from our base system, but it is at least a journey through high-sec all the way. I note the system and bookmark the wormhole before jumping back to w-space. I head back to the nexus C3 to investigate the second linked class 4 system. The Hound stealth bomber sits ten kilometres away from one of the wormholes when I jump in to a system, and I wait for the session change timer to end before moving away and cloaking cleanly. I approach the other connections with caution but see no other ships, and am in the second C4 system soon enough.

I've been in this class 4 system before, four months ago, which is the first time I've seen a familiar system since leaving the corporation's class 4 home. It remains unoccupied and holds a static connection to another C4. Rather than delve deeper in to w-space I turn around and aim towards home, the C4 pulsar system, avoiding more ships seen on d-scan to get back safely. There has been plenty to find and we have options. The entrance through the high-sec system is viable but relies on activity dying down, which is likely to happen within a few hours. And if the ousted occupants of the pulsar C4 suddenly resurface there are two more class 4 systems currently connected that I can move to. For now, I send a communication detailing what I've found to my w-space partner and get some rest.

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