Scanning goes nowhere

5th July 2011 – 5.56 pm

All is quiet at home, and with only one wormhole to find I jump through to our neighbouring system. My directional scanner shows me two towers in this class 3 w-space system, but no ships that would indicate signs of activity. I launch probes to perform a blanket scan of the system as I warp around to locate the towers, finding four signatures amongst the seven anomalies here. Of the towers, one is owned by a three-member corporation, which makes me think we have good opportunity for mayhem should they turn up, until I find that the second tower is owned by a 150-strong corporation. Neither corporation shares an alliance, but I imagine there must be some kind of agreement to share this system or the smaller tower would have been squished by now.

Of the hundred-and-fifty-three potential pilots in this system there are none around, and I scan to look for wormholes. I resolve the C3's static exit, this one leading out to high-sec empire space, but it is reaching the end of its natural lifetime and not much use to me. But as I am finishing scanning the other two signatures, bookmarking the ladar and gravimetric sites for reference, the wormhole collapses in front of me. That's twice in two days my proximity has killed a wormhole, maybe I have a destabilising influence. At least now I can find a brand new exit to high-sec, or I could if a ship weren't detected by my scanning probes.

Switching scanning panes has d-scan reveal the Orca industrial command ship somewhere in the system, most likely warping from dormancy in to a tower. I am already imagining the sleepy capsuleer loading the Orca with loot and heading out to high-sec via the now-collapsed wormhole, ending up in empty space and so very vulnerable as he turns the sluggish ship around. But it's more likely that he knows the wormhole was due to collapse at around this time and is here to continue operations with a fresh connection, and unfortunately he swaps the Orca for a Buzzard covert operations boat and warps off.

I see no probes being launched in the system and I suppose the pilot went to check the status of the wormhole, but if that's the case I'm not sure why he warps back in to the tower only to bounce right back out to a safe spot. Force of habit, maybe. Now I see probes, and I warp my own scanning boat back towards the K162 home, checking d-scan to see when the probes converge here. I should have time to tell when the Buzzard is likely to visit our C4 and get home to swap my strategic cruiser for an interceptor, the Tengu not really a suitable ship to catch a cov-ops. Sure enough, the probes start to get closer to the wormhole, and I jump back, swap boats, and sit on our static wormhole to wait in ambush.

As is generally the case, I feel like I am waiting for nothing. I know there are few signatures in the C3, and I like to think that many pilots in w-space are at least inquisitive about what lies behind new connections, the presence of a welcoming party still rare enough not to warrant isolationism. But no Buzzard jumps through to my waiting Malediction. I am also aware that only yesterday I missed an opportunity for the sake of five more minutes waiting, but this has to be balanced with being productive. I swap ships again and take my Tengu back in to the C3, but still probes are somewhere in the system and I persuade myself to wait a little longer, returning to idle in my interceptor. But I am being idle and when another few minutes pass without company appearing I take my Tengu to scan for the new wormhole, regardless of the state of the C3 this time.

The Buzzard and Orca are both sitting inside the shields of the tower, probes nowhere to be seen, and I disregard the pilot in order to scan the new exit for myself. If I can find nothing to do here maybe I can look further afield. I exit to empire space through the new wormhole and take a look around the high-sec system I find myself in. Two more wormholes are in this system, one of which is a link between two high-sec systems, which is the first of its kind I've seen. I don't care to jump through it at the moment, not when I have a K162 from class 1 w-space to venture through.

A Primae on d-scan looks quite tempting, the industrial ship designed specifically for planet goo operations, but I find it unpiloted in the local tower. As it turns out the whole system is currently inactive, and a quick scan reveals a K162 coming from class 5 w-space, which may be a source of activity. Or maybe not, as jumping in to the C5 puts me in an unoccupied system, and even though I should expect to find another K162 leading to an occupied origin my scanning probes can see no obvious inbound connections. It's possible that the active pilots collapsed their static wormhole for better opportunities, leaving this dead end for wanderers like me. There's nothing happening tonight, even the pilot in the C3 gone when I pass back through on my way home, and I park my Tengu to get some sleep.

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