Too much to explore

3rd January 2012 – 5.16 pm

'Finally!' Uh-oh, that sounds ominous. 'You're going to be busy.' Maybe I should pretend I'm only here to update my skill queue, and quietly disappear. My glorious leader is quick to allay my apprehensions, pointing out that half-a-dozen systems all connect to our neighbouring class 3 w-space system, merely giving us too much to explore. Fin is completing her scan of C3a, bookmarking the final wormhole, as I turn up in time for us to share the burden of exploration between us. I grab the bookmark to our static wormhole from our shared can, warp to its reference, and jump to join Fin.

The C3 has an on-line tower, with ships but no pilots, in the same location it was a year ago. The system also has many wormholes, all outbound, connecting mostly to class 4 w-space. And as class 4 w-space inevitably leads to more w-space we have plenty of space ahead of us to scout. I warp to Fin and collect copies of the bookmarks she has so far made, along with a corpse she can't identify, and we split up to take a look around what is likely to be a sprawling constellation. I start by picking the odd-system-out here, apart from the static exit to low-sec, choosing to explore the class 1 w-space system first. And after determining that the exit appears in where else but Aridia, Fin picks the wormhole that leads to what she has decided during scanning as C4d, and we both jump out of the C3 in different directions.

My directional scanner is clear in the C1 from the K162, but the system is 65 AU across, spanning a much greater volume than d-scan can cover. Launching probes and performing a blanket scan shows me three anomalies and eleven signatures, but no ships. I look for and find a tower before settling down to sift through the signatures, resolving a wormhole that disappears by the time I've warped to it. I'm compensated with a new signature that turns out to be the static exit to high-sec empire space, suggesting that the disappearing wormhole was the previous static connection that died of old age waiting for me to resolve it. I didn't think I was that slow a scanner.

There's nothing else of interest in C1a. I jump through the exit to appear in Gallente space, which is also not interesting. There's no point scanning here when there are more systems behind me to explore, so I merely bookmark the high-sec side of the wormhole and jump back to w-space, return to C3a, and choose C4a as my next destination. I don't quite make it through the wormhole before stalling, as I see a Cheetah covert operations boat on d-scan in C3a, and it's launching a probe. The problem is that it could be from anywhere and I am not able to discern the Cheetah's position before it cloaks, so it's best to ignore it for now and move on.

C4a is unoccupied an empty, same as fourteen months ago when I found a static connection to class 5 w-space here. I do so again today, amongst the seven signatures, but all I do is poke my nose in to C5a. When I see no ships and no occupation I turn around, not wanting to be drawn in to following a chain of unoccupied class 5 w-space systems, as tends to be the case once the first is found. Back to C3a and in to C4b with me, where I see ships and three towers on d-scan. My notes put me in this system eighteen months ago, when my notes were not terribly complete, so I locate the towers the old fashioned way, using d-scan.

One tower in C4b has a Proteus strategic cruiser and Purifier stealth bomber piloted, a second a Buzzard cov-ops, two Cheetahs, and an Iteron hauler all piloted. The third tower holds no ships and, apart from two unpiloted carriers, that's all of them accounted for. There is some activity as I am locating the towers but nothing of particular interest. The Purifier drops off d-scan, giving me hope that perhaps he'll try to ambush me, and the Proteus is swapped for a Phantasm cruiser, which would be an excellent trophy to pop, as Fin says, but only if it would venture outside of its tower. I'm guessing it won't, and as much as I could waste the evening hoping for a ship to make itself vulnerable I would prefer to be active.

I warp away from the towers and launch probes, scanning the system's three signatures quickly. I know about the K162 heading back to C3a, the static connection to class 1 w-space is attractive, and the other signature is just some rocks. I recall my probes and, noting no change in the occupants, jump to C1b. Sadly, a couple of stragglers from C4b are not pillaging their way through some simple Sleeper sites in this C1, and it all looks as quiet as the other one. There are bubbles everywhere, though, one on each planet it seems, probably placed to be an irritant to visitors. I imagine it works, too.

Launching probes and scanning sees three signatures and six ships, the ships spread evenly across two towers on the edge of the system, and all lacking pilots. I feel like heading back to C4b to avoid this dullness, but it would be churlish not to resolve the mere three signatures here first. Again, I know about the K162 I came from, leaving rocks and a static exit to more high-sec space. The exit leads to Gallente space, seven hops from the C1a's exit, which apparently is enough to turn my stomach. I'm going to have to call it a night, even with plenty more w-space to explore. Sometimes there's simply too much space to cover before you run out of time to actually accomplish anything.

Fin's been having her own adventure down a different rabbit hole, uncovering more wormholes, including one to class 6 w-space, and finding a Dominix battleship in the midst of collapsing a wormhole. It's a tempting target, but it's no good. I don't want to leak fluids all around my pod. Well, not accidentally. I turn my scouting boat around and head home, noting no change in any of the systems as I pass through, to keep Fin updated. I copy the nineteen wormhole bookmarks made from my half of exploration to our shared can and, oh, before I collapse somewhere I jettison the corpse Fin had in her hold. Ah, it's the blue corpse Fin recovered recently, and not a kill of mine. I'm glad we at least cleared that up.

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