Exploration and ships but nothing to show for it

5th August 2012 – 3.39 pm

I'm a bit sleepy, and w-space looks the same. I'm alone in the home system and there is no constellation mapped. The situation changes a little when I launch probes to scan, and one extra signature becomes three. It's not that the signatures appear, more that a couple of bookmarks get deleted. I note that some of our anomalies have gone missing and so check to see if the two radar sites have also been plundered, and they have, which gives me two more signatures than expected. And even though they didn't appear mid-scan, they both resolve to be wormholes.

Our static connection to class 3 w-space is joined by a K162 from class 4 w-space, and a K162 from class 2 w-space. As I end up scanning and reconnoitring outside the connection to C2a I head that way first, jumping in to a clear result on my directional scanner. Exploring the system finds a tower on a far planet, which holds a Rokh battleship and Loki strategic cruiser, both piloted. A lack of anomalies returned on a passive scan has me unexcited to see the pilots, but the Rokh gets swapped for an Osprey cruiser and I perk up again. Maybe some low-level mining is about to happen.

I warp away and launch probes out of d-scan range of the tower, and return to see what the cruiser will do. Sadly, the Osprey is swapped back for the Rokh within a couple of minutes, and for a few seconds I'm left watching the two initial ships. It's not for long, though, because the Loki warps out of the tower, and towards the wormhole leading to our home system. I can tell by how quickly the ship drops off d-scan that it is a cloaky Loki, so he is scouting or roaming and not about to present a tempting target for me. I warp to the wormhole anyway, curious to see what he is up to, and although I miss his jump to the home system a short wait has him return to this C2.

The Loki moves from the wormhole and cloaks, and that's the last I see of him. I warp back to the tower but the strategic cruiser doesn't return, and my probes still in their blanket scanning configuration don't show any further activity. As the Rokh continues to show no movement I see no reason to scan the system, and although a cloaky Loki may well be roaming the constellation ahead of me I decide to see what's happening in the other two systems connected to our home. Heading back and in to C4a leads nowhere, with two towers and no ships in the system, and no further K162s to resolve amongst the eight signatures. That leaves our neighbouring C3.

It's my sixth visit to C3a, the last being two months ago. The tower in my notes is still here, which I suppose shouldn't be surprising given the two carriers they have floating in the force field, along with a Phobos heavy interdictor. None of the ships are piloted, though, and I am scanning for more connections again. Twenty-two anomalies stand in stark contrast to the two bare systems behind me, as well as the mere five signatures present. And of those five signatures only one isn't a wormhole. I ignore the rocks and warp around, avoiding the known static exit to low-sec empire space but bookmarking a K162 from class 3 w-space and a K162 from high-sec.

I approach the K162 from high-sec, intending to jump through and get the safety-net bookmark of the other side, when the wormhole flares. A Viator appears and cloaks, presumably warping across C3a towards our system, given that the pilot comes from C4a. I've tried to catch cloaky transports before and they are pretty slippery, so I let him go without a chase and stick with the plan. If I'm lucky I can catch that pilot a bit later, if he gets sloppy. I exit to high-sec, find myself in the Everyshore region and quite a journey to anywhere convenient, and return to w-space to take a look in C3b.

A tower and two Bestowers is a good-looking d-scan result. Even better, locating the tower has both haulers piloted. But I imagine that the Bestowers have collected planet goo by now, and if they are going anywhere it will be to low-sec, not through the wormhole connecting to C3a. If I want to catch these pilots, if they move, I'll need to scan the system. I warp out, launch probes, and start scanning whilst keeping an eye on the haulers. I ignore some rocks and gas and resolve a wormhole, which looks good to me, and recall my probes as my glorious leader comes on-line. Hi Fin!

I give Fin a sitrep, which is pretty verbose for a lack of anything actually happening, and Fin scouts C4a for a potential pilot. All looks quiet, but with Fin here we may be able to tempt the cloaky Loki in to engaging one of us. I start to head back towards the home system, but first bouncing off the static exit to low-sec in C3b for reference. Oh, this is embarrassing. 'Did you eject?', says Fin, but it's not quite that bad. The U210 is actually a K162 from class 5 w-space and not the static connection at all.

Having a new system to explore is too tempting to pass by, so I poke my nose in to see ships and two towers on d-scan. The ships are all around one easy-to-find tower, where I can see the Orca industrial command ship floating empty, and the two Nemesis stealth bombers, Buzzard covert operations boat, and Federation Navy Comet all piloted. I would imagine these pilots have popped an industrial ship in C3b already, or their presence is keeping the Bestowers in the tower. Whatever the case, there is no movement in either system.

I leave C5a and C3b behind me, and spot a Buzzard in C3a on d-scan as I enter. The Buzzard jumps or cloaks, and Fin soon confirms that it headed to C4a before disappearing. But that's about it. The Buzzard doesn't appear at the tower, there's no one from w-space in the high-sec system when I check, and trying to poke the C2ers only has me warp past the tower to find it now empty. After some initial promise, and a handful of connected w-space systems to roam, there really hasn't been much to do.

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