Scanning with a purpose

29th September 2012 – 3.45 pm

My glorious leader is collapsing our static wormhole as I come on-line, rubbing sleep from my eyes. 'The neighbouring system has a static connection to null-sec, and is full of towers and probes.' That sounds like a good reason to look for better opportunity through a different static wormhole, and once I'm alert enough I board a Widow black ops ship to help collapse the current connection. But my outward jump shows that the wormhole is a bit light, as it destabilises to critical levels early. The wormhole definitely won't survive Fin's Orca's return, and as the industrial command ship is fit for scanning and my Widow isn't the best option is to continue with the plan. I return home, and the wormhole collapses. Even though it's expected, that's not good. I need to initiate Operation: Rescue Fin!

Operation: Rescue Fin sounds dramatic, but it really just means an evening of scanning for the two of us. Fin has to find her way out of the class 3 system, scanning in an Orca—'it's always an adventure'—and I need to find her a way back in to our home system. Given the vagaries of w-space connections, this probably won't be a smooth process. I start by ditching the Widow back at our tower for the covert Loki strategic cruiser that is currently my scanning boat of choice, and launch probes to looking for the new static wormhole. It's easily resolved, as there are only two signatures and the other is a known gravimetric site, and I take my first step on another odyssey through w-space.

I was last in C3a a month ago, when I podded a Heron frigate using speed instead of a cloaking device to avoid attention, which didn't quite work as planned. The tower is still here, and a static exit to low-sec empire space may be a step up from null-sec, but ideally we're both looking for additional wormholes that will let us avoid as many dangerous stargates as possible. I ignore the piloted Cheetah covert operations boat in the local tower and start sifting through the six anomalies and nine signatures. Rocks, rocks, rocks, gas, a magnetometric site, probes appearing on my directional scanner suggesting a second scout, wormhole, wormhole, wormhole. This looks promising.

The static exit to low-sec is expected, a K162 from class 5 w-space may lead to additional empire connections, and a K162 from low-sec offers another chance at getting Fin home easily, particularly as she's got lucky and found her own low-sec connection. Naturally, Fin's K162 comes from the Aridia region, but we're not so lucky that one of mine does too. The K162 in C3a comes from Heimatar, which isn't good, and the static exit leads to Khanid and is not much better. But as I'm alone in the system in Khanid I take a moment to rat. Rat and scan, in fact, and I check the three additional signatures whilst popping rat cruisers.

Two radar sites are ignored and a wormhole resolved, which turns out to be an N944 link to more low-sec, but it leads to the Metropolis region and is more remote to Fin than the other two systems. I hop back to through the wormhole, in to C3a, and see what is happening in C5a. A Buzzard cov-ops, a tower, and some ECM drones abandoned in an anomaly light up d-scan, and locating the tower sees the Buzzard floating empty. Scanning reveals three anomalies and fourteen signatures, the only one of interest being a chubby wormhole that exits to null-sec.

The connection leads to Esoteria, a region that clearly few capsuleers understand, as I am alone in the system and can rat and scan again. Ratting finds a few cruisers, but even though the system holds a healthy eight signatures I find only rocks, and a suspicious number of magnetometric sites. I suspect hacks, but there's only one radar site. I pop my rats and head back to w-space, through C5a, across C3a, and out the K162 to scan the other low-sec system. My probes perhaps interrupt the ratting Drake battlecruiser and Gila cruiser, but that's their problem. I'm only looking for wormholes anyway, and I find one too.

A K162 from class 2 w-space is pretty neat, although as I'm sitting on its static connection to k-space any luck I'll have will involve heading through its second static wormhole to get closer to Fin. A tower and no ships provides no distraction for my scanning, which is good given the system is a complete mess. Any corporation that lets thirty-five anomalies and twenty-eight signatures accumulate needs their w-space licence revoked, frankly. Still, a couple of early hits on wormholes spurs me on with scanning, and although I ignore the C5 K162 for now the outbound connection to another C2 gives me hope of a better empire link. I recall my probes and jump.

A Rokh battleship, Naga battlecruiser, Manticore stealth bomber, and Apocalypse battleship appear on d-scan along with a tower, which I should probably find before scanning. Locating the tower and ships turns out to be trivial to accomplish, as opening the system map shows me one of the simplest systems I've ever encountered. The star is orbited by two planets, only one of which has a moon, and the whole system is a mere 5 AU in radius. It's no wonder that the tower is in the same place as my previous visit two years ago, because whether it's the same tower or not there simply isn't anywhere else it can be anchored.

A visit to the tower shows the four ships to be unpiloted, and a blanket scan reveals nineteen anomalies and twenty-two signatures. It's a bit messy, but in a system so small the signatures are so closely packed together that identifying their type is almost trivial. The first wormhole I resolve is a static exit to high-sec, which I check immediately, leading me to a system in the Kador region. It's still far from Fin, who has scanned through her own C2 systems to appear in a high-sec system in the Black Rise region, but twenty-two jumps that don't leave high-sec looks pretty good right now. I think that'll do.

The route back from this high-sec entrance is not exactly straightforward, as it involves several w-space and a couple of low-sec systems, but no stargates out of high-sec are involved. That drastically reduces the chances of running directly in to trouble. And as I head home I can confirm that all the wormholes remain healthy and stable, and that the w-space systems lack activity. It will take a bit of time, but it looks like Fin's coming home. I'm home already, and sleepy, so I hide in a corner of the system and go off-line.

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