Scanning empty space still takes time

3rd May 2012 – 5.32 pm

My little corner of space looks pretty quiet, which is a pleasant start to the evening. Launching scanning probes, blanketing the system, and warping to a more central point shows the home system to be clear of hostile ships and unexpected signatures, which lets me take time to see what else might be happening. It seems that my glorious leader has yet to make it back here after a wormhole collapsed behind her, and is still stuck out in the clamouring hell that is high-sec empire space. That gives me a mission for the evening. I have to get Fin... back to w-space! This is all still in the future, so the reference works.

I scan my way through our static wormhole to appear in a class 3 w-space system far from anything. I am once again on a K162 almost 6 AU from the nearest planet, this one on the opposite side of the planet to the star. Once collapsed, the position of the wormhole will make a pretty good safe spot, particularly as the nearest planet is also the only one in the directional scanner's range. Having a good sense of being hidden, I launch probes and perform a blanket scan of the system. My probes reveal two ships, perhaps at a tower but perhaps not, and I warp towards their rough position to find out one way or the other.

As I cross the system and get in d-scan range of other planets I see that the two ships are a Chimera and Mammoth, and that they are likely both in the tower also on d-scan. I doubt the carrier will be piloted or active, but the hauler could be getting ready to collect planet goo or make a trip to empire space. Locating the tower is straightforward enough. My blanket scan's rough positions for the ships has sent me to the right planet, and d-scan lets me find the moon the tower's anchored to. Unfortunately, all I find is a pair of empty ships. So with no one to chase I bring my probes in to the system and start sifting through the manageable but significant twenty signatures.

One signature far from any planets is, quelle surprise, a wormhole. A second has a ship appear alongside it, which switching to d-scan shows it to be a Proteus strategic cruiser. I sling my probes back out of the system to at least pretend I'm not here, although I realise that any competent pilot has already seen them, and watch d-scan for now. The Proteus disappears and doesn't come to the local tower, and performing regular blanket scans for the next few minutes doesn't show any sign of the ship's return. I suppose I'll get back to scanning. I restart with the signature near the Proteus's appearance, which naturally turns out to be another wormhole.

Warping to the newly resolved wormhole shows it to be the system's static exit to low-sec, which could make the Proteus a tourist from empire space, but he could still easily be a w-space denizen simply travelling through the C3. And resolving a third wormhole near the second almost confirms that the Proteus was coming home, and what a home. I drop out of warp near a K162 from deadly class 6 w-space. As I'm now investigating wormholes I may as well warp to the first that I resolved, which finds me a K162 from high-sec. That could be useful. It also looks like all I'll find here, with only radar and magnetometric sites left to resolve.

I ignore the class 6 system for now, if only because a pilot probably heading that way no doubt saw my scanning probes and I won't be surprising anyone, and jump to high-sec through the K162. I appear in a dead-end system in Derelik, a couple of dozen of hops from anywhere and far from convenient. There are also scanning probes visible on d-scan, so I'm not going to scan if all it will get me is sloppy seconds. I return to C3a and warp across to the static wormhole, jumping to be in the Solitude region. Of course, I'm by myself in the system, so I look for rats, but with only two rock fields in the system the best I can manage is a piddly cruiser. That'll do, pig.

Now I can continue scanning. I could find a shortcut between empire systems, or more w-space to roam. Or, in this case, gas and rats. How disappointing. Still, I'm one hop from a dead end, and as this system is empty it's possible that the dead end is too. Possible, but not the case. Three pilots are in this system off the beaten path. Maybe their presence will stop me ratting but it won't stop me scanning. No, what will stop me scanning is a complete lack of signatures in this system. At least launching probes here is a quick waste of my time. Time to head homewards and, out of curiosity if nothing else, take a peek in the C6.

There's no obvious change in the C3 so I approach the K162 from class 6 w-space and jump. Only a warp bubble appears in d-scan range from in the C6, so I move away from the wormhole and cloak before exploring further. A tower sits on the other side of the system, holding a Typhoon battleship, Zephyr exploration boat, and Buzzard covert operations boat, and judging by their names this is the home system of the Proteus I detected earlier. He's gone now and left no one in his wake, as all three ships are at the tower and unpiloted. I suppose I am not going to find any more wormholes here either, and although I could look I don't think I will. It's been pretty quiet lately, so I'll simply head home and call it a night.

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