Empty ships, empty space

19th May 2012 – 3.53 pm

All would look harmonious at home but for the stray signature that's ruining my zen garden of anomalies. How unpleasant, it's some gas. I activate the ladar site to start its inevitable decay, before leaving it behind me as I jump to our neighbouring class 3 w-space system for today. All that waits for me beyond the static wormhole is a small canister, and that only on my directional scanner. A single planet sits out of range of d-scan, one that thankfully has moons and so the possibility of hidden occupation, so I launch probes whilst out of view and warp in that direction to see if anyone lurks at the edge of the system.

There is a tower in this C3, one that I warp to directly thanks to my notes from seven months ago, but only an unpiloted Orca industrial command ship sits inside the force field. I also know from the previous visit that the system holds a static exit to low-sec empire space. What I want to know is what else there is to find today. The answer is very little! A blanket scan of the system reveals no anomalies and a mere three signatures, which is hardly worth my time resolving. I do, though, and find I am in a home away from home, with the static wormhole accompanied by a lonely ladar site. And, just like home, I'm running away from here.

Exiting to low-sec puts me in the Kor-Azor region, where no other pilots are in the system. Being in Jeni by myself may be ripe with innuendo, but it also means I can find a rat to pop to increase my security status. And as rats are generally puny I can multi-task and scan at the same time. I launch probes at the wormhole then bounce around the rock fields until I come across a rat battleship, resolving the one extra signature in the system to be a wormhole as I do. And even though some punk enters Jeni—fnarr—as I engage the battleship, he's not going to take the battleship away from me. I align out of the asteroid belt as I chew through the rat's armour, and pop the ship thankfully without being interrupted.

I clear the rocks to re-activate my cloak and warp off to take a look at the wormhole I resolved, landing near a dying K162 from null-sec k-space. It's times like these that I wish there was a way I could flush my waste systems manually in to space. There's not much more to do here. Curiosity leads me to find the pilot lingering in this low-sec system, and seeing he is in an active Iteron hauler makes me both tingle with anticipation of a soft kill and fear for my almost-recovered security status. But it seems the pilot is only bouncing between multiple towers, configuring hangars and performing other menial tasks that look fairly tedious. Best of luck to him.

Another pilot enters the low-sec system and I see a Magnate frigate on d-scan briefly. The pilot leaves again, whilst I am watching the Iteron warp between this tower and that, and although I didn't see any probes I have to admit that I wasn't really watching. In the hopes that he scanned and is now in C3a I warp back to the wormhole and return to w-space. Nothing obvious appears on d-scan, where 'obvious' would be a Magnate and probes, so it looks like it's time to collapse our static wormhole. It's just me at the moment, so I take an Orca through the connection whilst carefully watching over my sums, swapping for a Widow black ops ship to finesse the total mass passed through, and manage to kill the wormhole without isolating myself. Behold the power of maths!

Now I start again. There are still no interloping wormholes in the home system, with just the replacement static connection to find, and I am soon jumping in to the new neighbouring C3. Oh, two Iterons, a Magnate, and a Bestower hauler on d-scan all look rather lovely. There's a tower too, but even if they're all there now they may not be soon. I quickly check my notes to see if I have a short cut to the tower, but the one I have listed from eighteen months ago should be out of range of d-scan. I locate the tower the traditional way, dropping out of warp outside the force field—only just, though—to see none of the four ships piloted. That's such a shame, as they really got my hopes up when entering the system.

I calm myself down and back away from the force field, not thinking a five kilometre gap to be good for my continued health, and get ready to scan. It's a little more involved than the previous C3, with nineteen signatures scattered around four anomalies, and discarding rocks and gas from the results isolates a wormhole. A wormhole that disappears on the next scan. That's a bit harsh, dying rather than being resolved, but I press on regardless. My probes reveal more gas and another wormhole, this one lasting long enough for me get a solid hit, and a second—third? whatever—wormhole also appears. The other signatures all look a bit weak to be wormholes, unless there's an outbound connection amongst them. I'll see what I've already got first.

The dead wormhole was probably the system's static exit to low-sec, replaced by one that is so new it has not yet started its cycle of decay, and the other is a T405 outbound connection to class 4 w-space. That'll do for me, and I continue in to deeper w-space. A tower and whole host of ships appear on d-scan in C4a, which is an encouraging start, with an eclectic mix of strategic cruisers, recon ships, stealth bombers, cruisers, battlecruisers, mining barges, frigates, and logistic ships. Thirteen ships in all, and none of them piloted, which I find out when I locate the tower. And all owned by a corporation of only twenty-three caspuleers, too. I'd expect them to be tidier.

Scanning shows the system to be well kept, even if their hangars aren't, with only three anomalies and four signatures here. I resolve rocks, a static wormhole to class 3 w-space, and a magnetometric site. It's not a great result but it connects me to more w-space, and I jump to C3b. D-scan being clear from the K162 is actually a good result this time, being in range of only one planet in the system. Exploring finds a tower but no ships, and although scanning reveals two wormholes, a dying K162 from class 4 w-space is not much fun. The static connection leads out to a null-sec system in the Venal region, where three other pilots loiter with me.

It's a shame I'm not alone in null-sec, as it stops me ratting, particularly as the system is part of a tetrahedron of interconnected systems I could zip around to maximise my security status gains. Then again, it's not really a shame, as it means I don't waste my time flitting between systems tediously popping a single rat here and there. I would like to increase my security status steadily, but I'm far from dedicated to doing so. Anyway, it looks like I've run out of fifty pence pieces, so it's game over for the night. I return to w-space and bounce off still-empty towers, looking for but finding no change, until I reach the home system, where I hide and go off-line.

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