Scout in a pod

26th December 2012 – 5.40 pm

I have limited time, so I'll employ some blitz scanning to take me through today's constellation. A new signature in the home system resolving to be a second wormhole is a good start to my exploration, and I may as well jump through the K162 from class 3 w-space to look for some early activity. But appearing over seven kilometres from the wormhole in C3b is a poor omen. At least my notes from a mere five days ago should give me pertinent information about the towers in the system, saving me time having to look for them using my directional scanner, and I indeed locate the two towers in my notes where I left them less than a week ago.

There are, naturally, no ships in the system, either in the towers or vulnerable in space, but that could simply mean that whoever opened the wormhole to our system came through another wormhole to get here. I would say it's worth a poke around the ten anomalies and nine signatures for K162s, and I find one too. Sadly, the K162 from class 5 w-space is not just small and sending out a pounding pulse like an idling steam train, it is tiny and on the verge of collapse. It may take the mass of my Loki strategic cruiser, or it may collapse as I jump through. And as my combat probes sensed no ships whilst scanning, it would appear the wormhole has purposely been left in this condition. Even if the connection survives my transit, there is no guarantee I'll find pilots on the other side.

There's no point getting trapped in a C5, particularly when I don't have an independent route home, so, with the static exit to low-sec also resolved in C3b, I head homewards to see what's happening in the other direction. C3a has an Orca and Badger on d-scan, along with a tower, and although the industrial command ship is almost certainly empty I'm keen to see if the hauler is preparing to collect planet goo. My notes may help with finding him quickly too, as my last visit to the system was only two months ago. I have two towers listed, one of which is out of d-scan range, so I train d-scan on the planet for the one in range and see nothing. Look harder, Homer.

I locate the replacement tower and, whilst in warp, am reminded that this system is where I nearly pop a Daredevil frigate waiting for something on the static exit to high-sec, after I was chased out of a C5 by pilots keen to keep their system free from outsiders. I'll have no such engagement today, as I reach the tower to see neither ship piloted, but curiously orange. Our alliance doesn't much like their alliance, although I can't say why. And with no activity I am back to scanning. Two anomalies and eight signatures hold a wormhole too chubby to be the high-sec connection, as well as a second wormhole that's just right for it. I warp to that one, and exit to appear in a system in the Tash-Murkon region, where a mining operation is in progress but no w-spacers are present. I'll look at that other wormhole.

I return to C3a, warp to the chubby wormhole, and find disappointment in a K162 from high-sec reaching the end of its life. I've run out of w-space, but not scanning opportunity. I return to Tash-Murkon, do my best to ignore the miners, and scan for wormholes. Four extra signatures sounds like enough to hold another wormhole, but I get only a gravimetric site, a Sansha Lookout, Sansha's Nation Occupied Mining Colony, and a radar site. That all sounds fairly dull, but I can't help but take a look at the mining colony. What I find in the 4/10 DED site are rather more petty frigates than I care to handle at one time. I turn my Loki away from the laser show and return to w-space, even if it's just to pass through the constellation and emerge in a low-sec system through C3b's static wormhole.

A faction warfare system in Gallente space isn't particularly thrilling to me, but it's another system to scan, so I launch probes and take a look around. Three extra signatures look... hello, Mr pod pilot. A capsuleer warps to the K162 from C3b and jumps through. I let him go, because pods are almost impossible to catch on wormholes, but note the name. Curiously, he's not orange, which marks him as separate from the corporations whose towers I've encountered in the constellation. He could be from the C5 with the nearly collapsed wormhole, or from a system newly connection to the constellation. Either's possible, but as I have probes in space I may as well scan this system before... hello, the same pilot is back in low-sec. Maybe he's getting rid of some ships from w-space. I should get ready to help.

I shed my cloak and activate my sensor booster. I don't know what I'm facing yet, but I'd rather be prepared and run away than miss a fat target from staying hidden for too long. Unfortunately, and rather bafflingly, the pilot returns to low-sec from C3b in his pod which, naturally, evades my attentions quite easily. Well, it's back to scanning cloaked. Whatever the pilot's doing, he's uncovered my position and knows my hull, so I won't surprise anyone now. Not the Buzzard covert operations boat that jumps from C3b as I'm resolving a magnetometric site, or the Tengu strategic cruiser that follows shortly afterwards, as I resolve a radar site. The Buzzard warps clear immediately, the Tengu lingers a while, but both disappear in the direction of the Dastryns stargate. I can ignore them, though, as the third signature is another wormhole.

An X702 to class 3 w-space is quite a nice find, even if the system on the other side is a standard occupied-but-inactive C3. Four anomalies and ten signatures give me a static exit to low-sec in pristine condition, and a second wormhole that doesn't show up when I warp to it. Never mind, ghost wormhole, as an N968 wormhole to more class 3 w-space has appeared nearby. That'll do. Or maybe it won't. Jumping in to C3d doesn't look promising when all that is on d-scan is a canister labelled 'sucky place'. Maybe the system isn't quite as interesting as the last time I was here, when we chased a Dominix battleship between several wormholes it was trying to collapse simultaneously, but I have run out of time to find out quite why it sucks now. I must get home.

Returning through C3c to low-sec, there doesn't appear to be anyone lurking in wait on the empire-side of the wormhole to C3b. Jumping through sees no ships either, although when I move away from the wormhole and cloak the pilot from earlier, still in his pod, warps to the wormhole. He's not trying to intercept me, though, and simply jumps back to low-sec. Is he scouting? I have no idea. Whatever weirdness he's up to, and I am intrigued, I don't really have time to loiter to find out. I turn my boat to warp to the wormhole home, jump through, and hide before going off-line.

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