Probes come and probes go, but waiting lasts forever

3rd June 2012 – 3.49 pm

I'm on-line and looking for trouble, preferably other people's. Our static wormhole looks to be in the same position as yesterday's, and although I recently stated that confirming this still takes time I was, naturally, making it more difficult for myself. Thankfully I see the error of my ways, and I am warping to the old bookmark as I cluster my probes around it on the system map. If the wormhole is indeed in the same position I will be floating next to it before my probes can resolve it, and if it's coincidentally only nearby I continue to scan the signature. I drop out of warp to see wormhole the devourer sitting where the corpse of the old wormhole would be, if that's how they worked. Which I suppose they don't.

Jumping through to our neighbouring class 3 w-space system has my ship unmolested by the wormhole, as far as I can tell, and I update my directional scanner to see drones. Seven drones are somewhere, and as two are capacitor-draining Infiltrators I suspect foul play. With no ships on d-scan, I am probably turned up too late to get embroiled in whatever action this system has seen. I should take a look around. Well, that was easy, as looking around involved opening the system map to see that this tiny system is only 7·5 AU across, holding four planets and two moons. I would say I've seen all there is to to see here.

I launch probes and scan, revealing four anomalies and eleven signatures. The drones are not in one of the anomalies and, refining the scan a little, are in empty space. Maybe they are in a despawned site, or near where a wormhole once was, but there's no telling how long they've been there. As for what's actually out there, it's mostly rocks and gas, which I happily ignore. The only signatures of interest are a single magnetometric site, that is less appealing without help to clear it, and the system's static exit to high-sec empire space. Okay, those, and a second wormhole is interesting too. What can I say, it was hiding from me.

The second wormhole is a K162 from class 2 w-space, which normally gets me tingling with expectation, but this one is reaching the end of its life and I stop caring. Or do I? With a handy exit to high-sec, I can always pop out of the static wormhole here, bookmark the other side of the connection, and explore the C2 with a way home should the wormhole collapse. All of which would be a great plan if the wormhole out of this C3 weren't also EOL. Still, it's risk a dying wormhole or do nothing, so I forge ahead with my plan. I exit through to the faux high-sec of Aridia—which doesn't give me the best return route—and return to w-space to see what lies behind the wormhole to C2a. Space is the answer. Really, I should have guessed that.

D-scan is clear from the wormhole, with only one planet in range and a 55 AU warp across to the other side of the system. At least there's occupation to be found at the end of the flight, although there are no ships to be seen to indicate activity. No ships, that is, until I warp back to the dying wormhole and see a Nemesis blip on d-scan. I turn around and head back to the tower, marvelling at what little can be achieved during long periods of warp travel, to see if the stealth bomber returns here, but no ship appears. Okay, I'd better leave this dull system alone for now. I warp back across to the wormhole, happy to see it still survive, and jump to C3a.

I hold on the wormhole for a minute, wondering if the Nemesis knows about me, and nothing seems to be waiting. All looks clear, and with no occupation here and two dying wormholes I doubt the Nemesis would loiter here for long. I warp to and scoop the abandoned drones and return home, with a plan to collapse our static wormhole for better opportunities. I prepare one of the Orca industrial command ships for wormhole-collapsing duties and, when sure that I won't be polarised, head to the static connection to start mass-stressing it. And, would you look at that, the first jump in to C3a has core scanning probes visible on d-scan. I find activity just when I don't want it.

I get the Orca home safely and, as I never learn, swap to an interceptor. I plant my Malediction on the static wormhole and wait for whatever scout is now active in C3a to jump in to my ambush. But I have no idea if the scout is coming, or what he's flying, or if he's still active. I am on the wrong side of the wormhole and have no scout of my own to relay any of this information. And so, like almost every other time I've done this, I wait for nothing. I finally decide to jump in to C3a and try to provoke whoever could be there, but doing so sees empty space all around. It would be impossible to unintentionally hide probes in a system this small, so it looks like the scout has come and gone without investigating our wormhole. I'll continue to collapse it.

I take the interceptor home, swap back to the Orca, and make a second jump after my polarisation has expired again. Dammit, the probes are back! I would think someone is toying with me if it weren't for the fact that these are core scanning probes, and so cannot detect ships. Well, the scout's out and about again, and maybe this time will find this wormhole. I go home again, stressing the wormhole to half-mass as I take the Orca back through it, and put my Malediction back on our side of the connection. But now I'm not only waiting blindly for a scout, I'm doing so whilst polarised and behind a wormhole that's throbbing from being destabilised to half-mass. Sod it, I'm going to bed.

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