Empty scanning

23rd October 2012 – 5.58 pm

Mr Onyx from last night has sent me a mail. Apparently, the next connecting system their class 5 w-space home had, after I left and they finished collapsing the wormhole I fled through, led to a C3 with nearly thirty signatures, a static exit to null-sec, and no other wormholes. I already know I was pretty lucky to get that exit to high-sec empire space, and a few hops from an entrance leading to home, but learning this titbit makes me glad I didn't dally. I am also curious, so mail him back, and he's gracious enough to tell me that they indeed had a scout sitting on the wormhole who saw me enter. It seems they considered the wormhole to be too close to collapsing to risk even a heavy interdictor—I've isolated myself that way—but their calculations were more solid on the new connection which they closed behind me. I like how capsuleers out to kill you are often so nice when you're not an active target.

On to this evening, and all is clear at home. The rocks of a gravimetric site have somehow been compressed to become artefacts of a magnetometric site, which is a neat trick, but still I ignore them for the only wormhole in the system. I resolve our static connection and jump through to today's neighbouring class 3 w-space system. My directional scanner shows me six off-line towers scattered amongst nine moons in range, with five of them obvious placeholders and one genuinely derelict. A single planet out of d-scan range holds the currently active tower, but for low levels of activity, as the only two ships inside the force field—an Armageddon battleship and Retribution assault ship—are unpiloted.

The corporation that owns the tower is only four-capsuleer strong, which makes me think the locals could be easy marks. But the pilot who owns the ships belongs to a different corporation within the same alliance, and that one has over eighty members. Pretty sneaky, sis. But with no one home, I'm scanning. Blanketing the system with my probes reveals twenty anomalies and seventeen signatures, so there really is a low level of activity in this C3, and I start sifting through the noise of rocks and gas. A BIG wormhole jumps out at me, but that's just the signature identifier, and the AIG wormhole I also resolve doesn't have the same emphasis. I save some rocks and a gas site in case Aii comes along, then reconnoitre the connections.

A static exit to low-sec is super stable, a good indication that I have just this minute opened it, so it is no surprise that the second wormhole is an outbound link, this one a T405 to class 4 w-space. I press on, in to C4a, and a clear d-scan. A passive scan brings up nine anomalies to bookmark as I warp to the one planet sitting out of range, which doesn't make me expect much. And there isn't much to find, even with an on-line tower anchored to one of the planet's moons. The tower is entirely undefended, and if we had a few more pilots on-line I would probably bring some big ships here to see if the owners cared enough to load up with some strontium clathrates, but with ten members in the ten day old corporation there may not be much to loot. Besides, I'm still scouting solo for the moment, so I launch probes and scan.

My probes show the five signatures to be ladar and radar, gravimetric and whavimetric. No, that last one's a wormhole, but either all the types should rhyme or none at all. If people with nothing better to do with their time can get the 'frill' back, maybe I can persuade someone to bring a greater sense of poetry to the galaxy. I consider raising a bug report, but am immediately distracted when my ship drops out of warp next to a static connection to class 1 w-space. How lovely! Of course, it would be better if the C1 was occupied, or had high-sec tourists being careless, but at least the colours of class 1 w-space mix with the black hole phenomenon to make me think of a gangrenous, bloody anus.

A lack of anomalies in the system makes me think a Merlin swept through here recently, but not an Osprey, as there are fifteen signatures that are mostly rocks and gas. In fact, all rocks and gas, apart from one radar site that may have spawned recently and the static exit to low-sec. Reaching the end of the w-space constellation has me exiting to a low-sec system in The Bleak Lands that hosts faction warfare. I don't intend to do much here but scan for wormholes, and fail in this simple task by merely uncovering a magnetometric site, another Crimson Hand Supply Depot, and a radar site. Maybe the other low-sec system, reached from C3a, will hold more opportunity. I head back that way.

Passing through still-quiet systems lands me in a system in Molden Heath, where again three additional signatures await to disappoint me. This time, along with a radar site, it is Angel rats and their Red Light District and Provisional Outpost that thwart further exploration, but a quiet night is perhaps not such a bad result after last night's excitement. And here's my glorious leader, freshly arrived and looking for fun. I give her a sitrep on our constellation. 'Shall we collapse the static wormhole?' Okay.

I use my recently created tactic of shoving exactly half the wormhole's total allowed mass through first, as a barometer to see how light or chubby the wormhole is, and it works like a charm. After one round trip by both an Orca industrial command ship and Widow black ops ship, both mass-augmented with an active propulsion module, the wormhole doesn't shrink to its half-mass state. This means we can definitely push through an Orca out, in, and out again without the wormhole collapsing, and with confidence that bringing the final ship home will crash the wormhole. So that's what we do, and it all goes to plan. I like it much better when there's less guesswork.

A collapsed static wormhole results in a replacement static wormhole. You can't explain that. But the new opportunity can't be ignored, and we jump through to another class 3 system and I get a little excited. Combat drones, mining drones, ships, and a tower! I calm down pretty quickly when my brain catches up and processes the fact that the Megathron battleship or two Iteron haulers are unlikely to be mining, and that the drones are either abandoned or decoys. Even so, haulers collect planet goo, so Fin and I locate the tower quickly so that whatever hopes we have of a soft kill are dashed as soon as possible. Neither Iteron is piloted.

The Megathron has a capsuleer on board, though, which would be pretty neat if he leaves the tower. And it doesn't look like he will. Whilst we watch and wait, I spin d-scan around to look for the wayward drones, seeing the combat drones in empty space in one direction and the mining drones in another. The combat drones aren't even abandoned in an active anomaly, so we can know who they belong to or how long they've been there without scanning, and I have done enough scanning for this evening. Rather than look for more wormholes, or wait just for the Megathron to inevitably go off-line, it's time to hit the sack.

  1. 2 Responses to “Empty scanning”

  2. …the colours of class 1 w-space mix with the black hole phenomenon to make me think of a gangrenous, bloody anus.

    If that's not bringing poetry back to the galaxy, I don't know what is!

    By ZorkFox on Oct 26, 2012

  3. I try to find the beauty of living in space.

    By pjharvey on Oct 26, 2012

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