Empty space is quiet space

7th August 2012 – 5.59 pm

Shev's scanning our neighbouring system. 'Seems quiet here', he says, as I join him in an occupied but inactive system. In the bookmarks he's made I spy a connection in addition to the exit to low-sec empire space, and warp to appear next to a K162 from class 2 w-space. Shev's happy to hunt down the last few signatures in C3a, so I jump through the wormhole to see what excitement may wait for us. Not much, really.

One tower is visible on my directional scanner, and a second appears on exploring, but that's down from five towers a year ago and, besides, there are no ships to be seen. It's no wonder no one's home, though. A blanket scan of the system shows it to be barren, the bare minimum two signatures lighting up my probes. I resolve the second signature, having passed through the first, to be an exit to high-sec that is reaching the end of its life. I poke through to be in Metropolis and far from anywhere, and just turn my boat around and return to w-space.

There's not been better luck in the other direction. Shev exits C3a to be in Aridia, and although there was an additional wormhole in the low-sec system it too was EOL. W-space is dead tonight. Maybe we can find a more happening constellation if we collapse our static wormhole and start again. I board an Orca industrial command ship and Shev swaps in to a battleship, and between us we over-stress the wormhole methodically to collapse it without drama. I make the last, destructive trip in the Orca whilst Shev returns to the tower to prepare to scan.

A new static wormhole is resolved, a new neighbouring class 3 system is entered. And, as before, all looks clear. I launch probes and blanket the system, revealing another bare system of one anomaly and four signatures, warping across to the other side of the C3 to look for occupation. I find it too, as well as a Cheetah blipping on to d-scan. The covert operation boat disappears quickly, a second blanket scan missing the ship, and I locate a tower on the opposite edge of the system from the wormhole. No one's home and the Cheetah doesn't reappear, so I start scanning.

I'm expecting to find a K162 amongst the few signatures, partly because systems so empty generally don't have sites for long, and partly to explain the appearance of the cov-ops. But all I resolve is a ladar site, a gravimetric site, and the static exit to high-sec. No more wormholes. The Cheetah remains cloaked or otherwise disappeared, so we're again left with little option but to wait or explore through to empire space. Shev waits, I exit w-space and scan the system in Genesis.

I bounce around rock fields looking for rats as I scan the one additional signature, and have to remember not to engage ratting cruisers in high-sec. The signature turns out to be more disappointing rocks, but rather than admit defeat, and remembering this is high-sec, I hop one system across to try again. Two signatures are in the second system, one of them resolving to be a wormhole, but once again the connection is at the end of its life. But I have a route home should the wormhole die, through high-sec too, so I poke my nose in to the class 2 w-space system.

Combat! Or combat-like activity. Ships and drones appear on d-scan, but no wrecks. Maybe the ships are shooting a tower instead, with two to choose from, but when I find all of the ships but the Orca at one of the towers they are all safely nestled inside the force field. At least they are piloted, I suppose, but it means nothing if all the ships don't leave the tower. I wonder if perhaps they saw me enter the system and bugged out of a site, but the anomalies a passive scan reveals still show no wrecks, and the drones still obviously on d-scan aren't in any of the sites either.

Whatever's happening in this C2 is opaque to me. I think I'm about to find out, as a few ships mill around, but the only ship to warp out of the tower is a Hurricane, and the battlecruiser looks to head towards the EOL exit to high-sec. I follow to see what he does, which is not much. He could be watching to see when the wormhole dies, but he could do that in a cov-ops boat more safely. There really isn't much I can do. If the wormhole dies I'll have to scan and work my way home, and if I tried to engage the Hurricane without a wormhole for either of us to jump through I think I know which of us will be able to scramble more ships to this location the quickest.

I take my leave from C2a, jumping through the dying wormhole back to high-sec. I pause briefly to say hello to some Blood Raiders, but get bored when a few dozen of them chew through my shields. I hop back to the first high-sec system, return to w-space, and get the report from Shev that there's 'not much happening'. No, there isn't. A whole big bowl of nothing is happening tonight, and I'm not in the mood to collapse our wormhole a second time. I head home for an early night, hoping for better opportunity tomorrow.

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