Scanning through w-space

10th March 2012 – 3.15 pm

A fresh day brings another chance to look for some fallout. And by 'more' I mean 'our first taste', which isn't quite the same. Getting out to explore is nice and simple in a system with only a known ladar site to act as a distraction from the static wormhole, and I'm soon jumping in to our neighbouring class 3 w-space system to see warp bubbles and nothing more on my directional scanner. I launch probes and arrange them for a blanket scan, but notice on opening the system map that just the one planet with moons lies out of range of d-scan. I warp across as my probes scan the system, landing to see an off-line and already-plundered tower. It's no surprise that I am a day late to this array-popping party.

It's also no surprise to find more than one wormhole in this C3. Whilst class 3 systems seem to attract more than their fair share of connections, the lure of populated towers taken off-line from a lack of fuel pellets has probably motivated many a capsuleer in to opening as many wormholes as possible. It's certainly true of us. I realise early on that I'll find more than the static wormhole here, as the first wormhole I resolve is far too fat to be the expected exit to null-sec k-space. The second wormhole to fall under my probes has the stink of null-sec, though, and even then I find a third wormhole too. Otherwise I'm left with two magnetometric sites, two rock sites, and one gas site.

I leave the null-sec connection alone for now and see what other wormholes I have. I warp to a K162 from class 5 w-space that's at the end of its life, and a K162 from high-sec empire space that has been destabilised to half its mass allowance. Okay, I'll look at the static wormhole, as these other wormholes are doing nothing for me. I exit to null-sec and get my first look at the Cloud Ring nebula from the inside, which is quite stunning. Mind you, I think I prefer being able to see the whole cloud without having to spin around until I'm dizzy enough to puke. Sadly, despite the dozen or so anomalies in this null-sec system that I might like to plunder, there is another pilot here with me. As there are scanning probes visible on d-scan I'll scan too.

All I find in null-sec are three more Serpentis sites, no more wormholes. And despite not wanting to make myself vulnerable in easily found anomalies I probably have time to bounce around the rock fields looking for a suitably big rat to pop, still trying to increase my security status. I find a rat in a battleship at about the same time as a roaming fleet enters the system. I hold my cloak and wait for a minute, watching the passing fleet exit in a different direction, then decloak and turn the rat in to a wreck. I loot the wreck of nothing in particular as a Purifier stealth bomber enters the system, which is nothing to worry about in itself but my meagre mission here is accomplished and I head back to w-space.

There's not much else to do. I poke my nose in to high-sec from C3a, the half-mass wormhole hardly a concern for my cruiser hull, and pop some rats in the Genesis region for a couple of minutes. Now to head home and wait for Fin. Returning to C3a sees an Anathema covert operations boat on d-scan, most likely the scout from null-sec having found the system. That makes this C3 a far less safe place to engage in Sleeper combat, so when Fin arrives we collapse our static wormhole and start scouting from scratch. The new neighbouring C3 has a tower and Crane on d-scan, and locating the tower sees the transport ship piloted but inactive. Warping away to launch probes sees some lonely-looking drones abandoned somewhere in the system but nothing else of interest, and I start scanning.

A signature 6 AU from a planet is a dead giveaway to be a wormhole, and it turns out to be an N968 outbound connection to more class 3 w-space. Fin leapfrogs me in to C3b as I continue scanning C3a, which only gets me gas and an exit to low-sec empire space. Jumping out of w-space lands me in a dead-end low-sec system in the Khanid region, pretty much in the middle-of-nowhere. Naturally, no one shares the system with me, but when I try to pop rats in the two anomalies I detect here I warp in to find nothing but infrastructure. I must have been beaten to the sites. I jump back to w-space and join Fin in C3b, where she has found another N968. It's my turn to leapfrog ahead.

C3c has a tower and Hurricane battlecruiser on d-scan, the ship turning out to be unpiloted, along with some core probes whizzing about the system. I launch my own probes and pass by a gravimetric site to catch a ship sitting on what must be a wormhole. It was, although I was too slow switching to d-scan to detect the class of ship. I resolve the wormhole and warp across to see a K162 from class 5 w-space, from which a second scout must have joined the first, judging by the increase in probes in the system. And, yes, I've accounted for my own probes in my calculation this time. Continued scanning finds the boring exit to high-sec and a T405 outbound wormhole to class 4 w-space. I'll look in to the C4.

D-scan is clear, although there is only one planet in range of the scanner. A blanket scan reveals a lack of occupation, along with seventeen anomalies but only three signatures. I resolve a ladar site and static wormhole to more class 4 w-space. A quick look in C4b shows it to be little different from C4a, it being an unoccupied system with only one planet in d-scan range from the wormhole. The number of signatures and anomalies is inverted, though, and I don't care to sift through so many signatures at this late hour. I'm going home.

I jump back to C4a, then to C3c, at which point I divert briefly to poke my nose in to C5b. Just as I approach the wormhole so does a Cheetah cov-ops. I can't resist taking a shot, so I decloak and try to engage, but he just keeps calm and carries on, jumping through the wormhole. I follow the Cheetah and am thoroughly unsurprised when I fail to snag it in the C5, at which point I cloak and punch d-scan just in case I am about to get a surprise. I kind of do, but only by a second cov-ops jumping in behind me, this one a Buzzard.

The second cov-ops boat warps off too, without my even trying to engage him. That's partly because I am not likely to catch him but mostly because I already cloaked and will suffer a recalibration delay that will see the Buzzard warp clear long before it ends. I was heading home anyway, and now that I've given away my presence for no discernible gain it's probably for the best. I warp back across inactive systems to meet up with Fin in the home system, where we settle down for the night.

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