A bevy of systems behind us

5th November 2011 – 3.38 pm

The home system looks quiet again. So much time alone at the moment, it could drive a person to space madness. I'd better find some company, maybe bring back a fresh corpse for another tea party. Scanning finds a second signature today as well, and it's not more gas but an extra connection to class 3 w-space. Naturally, the wormhole is a K162 and not outbound, but it's more space to explore. I resolve but don't visit our static wormhole, and jump through the K162 to start this evening's adventure in w-space.

I'll call this system C3b, even though it is the first I visit. I think it makes more sense to give naming priority to the system beyond our static wormhole, for consistency of expectation and to avoid confusion. C3b looks inactive. There are two towers visible on my directional scanner but no hangars, and adjusting my settings sees no force fields either, so they are both off-line. I launch probes and blanket the system as I check my notes for previous visits. Would you look at that, apparently I popped and podded a Helios covert operations boat with my Malediction interceptor on my last visit six months ago. A rare occasion indeed, but I was chasing the Helios through a system that remains unoccupied, and with no ships present it looks like I won't have a repeat performance tonight.

The static wormhole for this class 3 w-space system leads to null-sec k-space, learnt from my previous visit, which doesn't particularly make me want to see it. But as I passed through a K162 to an unoccupied system there is a good chance there is another K162 for me to find, and I start sifting through the twelve signatures looking for it. It will be easy to ignore the K346 intentionally, as the C3-to-null-sec wormhole has a weak signature, letting me focus on the much stronger K162s. And it looks like I've found two, close together, but looks can be deceiving. One of the wormholes is a K162, from class 5 w-space, the other is an N968 outbound connection to further class 3 w-space. A third wormhole is a second N968, and a fourth is a K162 from class 2 w-space. I don't need no stinking null-sec connection.

I have plenty of options for further exploration, two connections here potentially coming from occupied systems, two others leading to hopefully unsuspecting capsuleers going about their planet goo collection. My first stop is the C2, through a K162, looking for softer targets in the lowest-class w-space. The system looks quiet from the wormhole, although some warp bubbles on d-scan suggest occupation, and launching probes and blanketing the system will be the quickest way of looking for ships. I see six in total, in two different locations. There could be two towers or one tower and a fleet out shooting Sleepers. I'm going to find out.

Sadly, there are two towers in the C2. Three, in fact, but around two different planets. At least there are pilots present, an Anathema cov-ops, Nighthawk command ship, and Noctis salvager piloted in one tower, with an empty Orca industrial command ship floating with them. The second tower has only empty ships, a Drake battlecruiser and Buzzard cov-ops boat not worth monitoring at the moment. The Nighthawk and Noctis piloted together look promising, almost like the pilots are about to shoot Sleepers in the system. Or maybe having finished shooting Sleepers, as there is little movement here. But that's okay, the results of my blanket scan let me bookmark all the anomalies here and I can move on to another system, returning if I find nothing else of interest.

I move on, but don't quite make it out of the C2 before I see a ship out of a tower. The Anathema I just left behind has overtaken me in warp and landed on the wormhole, making me glad I rarely warp to zero when scouting. He jumps to the C3 and I wait, long enough for the cov-ops to cloak and warp away but perhaps not long enough for him to have finished launching scanning probes, and I follow, hoping to catch him tangled amongst his probes and unable to cloak. All I see in the C3 is empty space. I hold my session change cloak and update d-scan, waiting to see any sign that the Anathema has moved away from the wormhole, but none comes. I am compelled to move and cloak myself, and it's only once I am twenty kilometres from the wormhole that the Anathema reappears, jumping back to the C2.

Maybe the cov-ops pilot was cloaked on the wormhole the whole time and saw my Tengu leave his system, letting him warn his colleagues of a strategic cruiser on the prowl, or maybe he warped away to reconnoitre the C3 for activity and warped back. It's hard to tell what a cloaked ship is doing. It's probably best I assume the worst and that the C2 pilots know I'm around, which is a bit of a shame, but I have three more systems to explore here. I choose the first N968 I resolved here and warp to and jump through the wormhole to what I dub C3c. Again the system looks quiet until my scanning probes show me five ships around a far planet, which turn out to be four piloted Drakes and an unpiloted Orca all sitting in a tower. They're not moving either, and less so than the pilots in the C2 with their roving Anathema, so I bookmark the three anomalies here and again move on.

Back in C3b I head towards the other N968 and jump to C3d, where from the wormhole d-scan shows me a tower and no ships. It's also a small system, leaving nowhere to hide, and there are only three moons. I can scout everything from where I sit, performing a passive scan to bookmark the six anomalies present and sweeping d-scan around on a narrow beam to locate which of the three moons the tower's anchored to. Then I jump back to the C3 and warp across to the second K162 and jump in to the class 5 w-space system. This C5 is similar to C3d, with two towers, no ships, and nowhere to hide. I don't look for the towers, neither even bothering to scan for anomalies, instead merely jumping back to C3b.

I could be scanning these systems, looking for further wormholes or exits to k-space that would offer additional opportunities to scan, but I'm merely making a first pass at the constellation at the moment. I am more likely to have a successful engagement in w-space, and the only wormholes I'm guaranteed to find in the C2 and both C3s are exits to k-space, where I'd have to spend more time scanning before maybe finding more w-space, and the C5 may not have any more wormholes to find at all. I believe time is of the essence when looking for action, and quickly reconnoitring each system lets me find occupation, pilots, and anomalies without spending any significant time scanning useless gravimetric sites in unoccupied systems.

As it turns out, not much is happening. But there is potential. All four systems connecting to this C3, not counting our own, hold occupation and two of them have piloted ships. There may not be anything happening now but there could be soon, and I am now in a much better position to act, even without having the exit wormholes covered. Having said that, nothing happening now isn't much help at the moment, but instead of sitting outside one of the two towers with pilots I can always head in the other direction. The class 3 w-space system through our static wormhole is still to be explored.

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