Scanning through the w-space constellation

24th July 2012 – 5.46 pm

Returning from a short break planetside I'm keen to see if anything has changed. Mick's gone back to our sister class 5 w-space system for a start, but otherwise space looks just about the same. Fin's roaming through a constellation scanned on Mick's earlier exit, confirming the death of a wormhole, and I scan the home system for safety and resolve a newly created connection. The K162 from class 3 w-space is more interesting to me than the apparently lifeless systems through our static wormhole, so I tell Fin where I'm going and head in to C3b.

My notes tell me of a tower in this C3 from two months ago, and although a tower appears on my directional scanner it looks to be a different one. Thankfully, the new tower is easy to find, being around a planet with a single moon, as I want to get there quickly to see if the Iteron and Badger haulers are piloted or not. And they are, even if not currently moving. I'm happy to sit here and watch them for a bit, in case either capsuleer gets a desperate urge to collect planet goo. But maybe I should be looking elsewhere, as a Myrmidon battlecruiser appears on d-scan but doesn't enter the tower.

The Myrmidon drops off d-scan to be replaced by another Iteron, which is a neat trick if you can pull it off. I suspect a second tower to be in the system out of d-scan range, but the timing of the ship changes doesn't seem right and the appearance of the new Iteron warping in to the tower I'm watching would suggest otherwise too. Fin comes to join me and scouts the outer planets, finding no other towers and no sign of other ships. I would say we have another wormhole to find, which the Myrmidon probably used. Fin and I swap positions, with my glorious leader keeping an eye on the haulers in the tower—or the single hauler, as the Badger and second Iteron have gone off-line—as I warp out to launch probes.

Scanning the outer planets seems safe, with them orbiting out of d-scan range. I resolve two gas sites and a wormhole around the far planet, and a second wormhole and more gas on the next one in. As I check the wormholes I revert my probes to a blanket scanning configuration, which shows me a new ship appear in the system, but it is gone before either Fin or I can spot it on d-scan. The mystery traveller could have appeared from the K162 from class 4 w-space or the static exit to low-sec empire space. Or, when resuming scanning, on the assumption that the remaining hauler is not paying attention, the ship could have come from a K162 from class 5 w-space which is also in the system.

I see the same ship on my probes again, as noted by the signature identifier, a few seconds before I see the ship on my overview. I resolve and warp to a fourth wormhole in time to see the Helios covert operations boat appear on the K162 from more class 4 w-space. The cov-ops jumps and I decide not to follow, and not just because I am too far from the wormhole. I would like to think that the pilot will come back with a different ship if he thinks the system is safe, but I suppose that if the pilot has been paying any attention he'll have seen my probes on d-scan and already think it not safe, even if I don't engage him. Still, the cov-ops would have probably slipped away, and I was rather far from the wormhole to react.

There are a few more signatures to resolve, mostly ladar and radar sites, but also a fifth wormhole. The K162 from class 2 w-space is the last connection to be found, and I recall my probes and ask if Fin's killed the Iteron yet. 'No, I'm still trying to mentally push it out of the shields.' And how's that coming along? 'It is not working.' Mmm. It looks like we missed whatever may have been happening here, making it time to move on and look for other targets. As I've ended up floating next to the C2 K162 I decloak and jump. Fin exits to low-sec through the static wormhole, before returning to C3b and exploring in to C4b.

D-scan is clear from the wormhole, but exploring finds a tower and ships. And some interesting ships at that, with a sole battlecruiser accompanying exhumers, a hauler, and a Helios. But I won't get too excited, as d-scan places all the ships inside the tower, and locating the tower finds only the Helios piloted, which is disappointing. Nothing is happening here, and I doubt anything will happen, so head back to C3b to pick a new system. Fin had less luck, with a tower but no ships to find, although the C4 itself was a curiosity, with twelve planets in a system barely 12 AU across.

I jump in to C4c, wondering if the Helios pilot seen earlier will be laying an ambush or getting comfortable in a hauler, having forgotten about my probes. Looking for occupation I warp to the territorial control unit in the system only to find no tower to go with it, which is peculiar. A bit more exploring locates the tower, hidden away elsewhere, but it only holds an unpiloted shuttle. The tower belongs to the same corporation as the Helios which came this way, so this will be the pilot's home and there is not likely to be another K162 in the system.

I return to C3b and warp to loiter on the K162 to C5a. Fin's scouting the class 5 system and has found capsuleers, but they seem to be playing musical ships with the losers of each round going off-line. What movement there is involves a Buzzard cov-ops and Myrmidon—probably the same I saw on d-scan in C3b—warping away from the tower, but not towards me. I continue to sit next to an unused K162. I ponder if its worth my while exiting to low-sec and monitoring that system, but Fin tells me it was empty, a dead end, and a shithole. Well, Fin actually called it a 'backwater' system, not a shithole, but I understood the subtext.

Fin points out that class 5 w-space systems can be wormhole attractors—much like today's C3b—and that we are unlikely to get anywhere without overtly scanning. So what now? Fin suggests heading back the other way and scan the low-sec and null-sec systems for new wormholes, which seems like a good idea. Low-sec is dull and the 'backwater' system is not worth loitering in, so we pass through C3a and out to null-sec, appearing in a system in the Querious region with two other pilots. Seeing two Nightmare faction battleships on d-scan, along with a couple of towers, immediately makes me think we've interrupted a couple of ratters who will hole up until our intruding selves have left the system.

I perform a passive scan of the null-sec system, highlighting a whole load of anomalies, and locate the towers, where I naturally find the cowering Nightmares. Adjusting d-scan sees a few dozen rat wrecks in the system, and I can even warp in to a completed and now-despawned anomaly that my scan detected to see all the unlooted wrecks left behind. But we're really aren't going to catch the Nightmares being silly, not in a system with a transparent local communication channel. We could scan, but the hour's getting late after exploring through the nexus that is C3b. A unanimous decision says it's time to get some sleep. Instead of seeing it all on d-scan, maybe we can intercept some action tomorrow.

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