Leaving the back door open

20th April 2013 – 3.19 pm

Steal in to a system, pop a bleary-eyed planet-gooer, and come home for crumpets. Good plan, Penny! Let's make it happen. And it looks like this will be easier than I expected, as glorious leader Fin has scanned even earlier than I'm awake, leaving me a bookmark to our as-yet unopened static wormhole. I'll still scan anyway, just to make sure no one's sneaking up on me, and it's good that I do. A new signature has appeared in the home system, which resolves to be a wormhole. And as Fin bookmarked our static wormhole I know for certain which wormhole must be the K162, so warp directly to it to see it come from class 2 w-space.

The C2 system, on account of it connecting to our class 4 home, will have a second static wormhole that exits to high-sec, which could be useful. As the wormhole opened after Fin scanned, it may even have current activity. That makes it a better first choice of system to explore, so I approach the wormhole and jump through to C2a. I'm spat out a disappointing 7·6 km from the wormhole, which I've often taken as a sign of inactivity, but I think the most I can infer is that the connection itself has not been used recently, if that. My directional scanner is showing me a Tengu strategic cruiser, Anathema covert operations boat, and a tower, but no wrecks or probes. Maybe there's no one home.

Locating the tower takes a little longer than looking at my notes, as a previous visit takes me to the right planet but wrong moon. It's a minor hitch, though, and soon I am floating outside a force field looking at a piloted Tengu and empty Anathema. I'm also now in d-scan range of a second tower, but no more ships, and have finally noticed the black hole lurking menacingly below. Not that any of this matters. The system is small enough that I can't get out of range of the Tengu to launch probes, and although the sole piloted ship isn't moving I don't want to announce my presence so obviously and ensure he won't move.

Hello, a second Tengu warps in to the tower, looking like he's come from the wormhole to our home system. Been exploring, have we? With any luck, I passed him with the same amount of notice as he passed me. So what now, scout? ...nothing? Really? Really. That's unfortunate, as it makes me suspect there is nothing of interest through our static wormhole either. But I'll take a look anyway, as nothing is happening here.

All is clear from the K162 in C3a. Exploring finds a tower with some ships big and small, but only a Helios cov-ops piloted. I don't care so much about spooking an inattentive scout as much as a potential target, so launch probes and sift through the four anomalies and eight signatures to ignore the usual rocks and gas, and resolve three wormholes. The static exit to high-sec empire space is obvious, the second is chubby and must be a K162, but the third is weaker than the mid-strength static wormhole. That's an outbound connection if ever I scanned one. But that K162 interests me too, coming from class 2 w-space and hinting at activity having been opened from the other side. In I go.

Six kilometres from the wormhole this time, with two towers and two mining drones visible on d-scan. It's looking quiet, and my notes from twenty months ago give static connections to class 3 w-space and high-sec, which doesn't give me much to find. I could scan for K162s, but that outbound connection in C3a is calling me now. I head back that way, warp to what turns out to be a T405 connection to class 4 w-space, and jump through to see what's on the other side.

D-scan's not so friendly looking at first blush, with some big ships, combat ships, and combat scanning probes in the system. But the carriers are unlikely to be active, the big industrial ships are hardly a threat, and the smaller industrial ships could be the targets I'm looking for. The Falcon recon ship by itself is hardly a threat by itself either. And my notes indicate that I, perhaps as the other scout, am looking for a static connection to more class 4 w-space. How I don't miss the days of our old C4/C4 home system.

Locating the tower sees the ships all lacking capsuleers, making the scout possibly external to C4a. I can't worry about him for the moment, and launch my own probes quickly and, holy crap, reveal twenty-eight anomalies and twenty signatures. The occupants have two carriers, and a capital industrial ship, but what do they use them for? Do they just sit in them and make engine noises? Whatever, I'm scanning. A K162 from class 2 w-space would be more attractive were it not at the end of its life, as proven by resolving an attractive, stable K162 from class 2 w-space. A third wormhole is a C4 K162 that is EOL, making it less enticing than the C2 version. The static wormhole to class 4 w-space finishes my poke for wormholes, but that too is EOL, giving me one way to go.

C2b has a clear result from d-scan, but a messy twenty signatures popping up on a passive scan. This is my sixth visit to the system, the last being around a week ago, where I noted a tower and nothing else of interest. The tower's still there, holds an empty Orca industrial command ship and Archon carrier, and I'm tempted to consider the constellation mapped, as I know the type of the second static wormhole. I suppose it won't do any harm to poke for K162s, so I launch probes and, well, manage to find the exit to high-sec. Still, it's the first exit I actually warp to, so I jump out to see where it leads. Appearing in Domain, five jumps from Amarr, is a nice result, although the DUST bunnies clutter up the system channel a little. And that's lunch.

Back to C2b, across to C4a, ignore the EOL wormholes to return to C3a, where checking the tower sees the Helios pilot now gone, presumably off-line. I have the static exit bookmarked but unvisited, so take a small diversion and jump to a system in Solitude, the middle of nowhere. Being alone in the system I can't resist scanning whilst popping a few rats, but the five extra signatures don't offer new wormholes. But it does remind me that I wanted to clean up some of the systems. I'm not going back to C2d, but C4a is only one hop away, and messier, so jump in to the system and flex my capacitor.

Bookmarked anomalies in class 4 w-space

...become activated anomalies

Bookmarks turn to labels, and I turn to the wormhole. In to C3a, across to the home system, and a last look to see what the pilots in C2a are up to. And I don't even need to leave home to find out. They're stealing out loot, that's what they're up to. Four Tengus and a Noctis salvager are on d-scan in our home system, plus a combat scanning probe. I start looking for the ships but can't locate them in any of the anomalies, although one has a handful of wrecks in it. Two Tengus look to be near the Noctis, nowhere near the wrecks, and the other Tengus are elsewhere. Sweeping d-scan around doesn't offer me many clues as to what they are doing apart from perhaps warping between safe spots. Before I can think too hard about it, the ships leave the system.

Perhaps I could have warped to the C2 K162 in the hopes of snaring the Noctis as it passed me, but that so rarely happens that I have not incorporated it as standard operating procedure yet. Maybe I should. Warp to the fleet's exit first, then assess the situation. Still, it seems the fleet was paying attention and were alert enough to potential threats, including any coming through the static wormhole of the system they were in. Even if I had stayed to watch them earlier, I may not have been able to catch their salvager anyway. I would say my time was better spent exploring than waiting.

Helios scout jumps back to class 2 w-space

As if to prove my point, a Helios disappears through the K162 to C2a, briefly revealing their watchful eyes. Good job, chaps. And as if there was any doubt that it's sammich time, the wormhole is promptly crashed by Dominix battleships, leaving me once again in empty space.

W-space constellation schematic

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