Tracking a pilot to high-sec

25th April 2013 – 5.28 pm

Out for more adventure, wondering what I'll find today. Gas, obviously, but I'm still surprised to see a new pocket before even leaving the home system. It's easily ignored, and I jump to the neighbouring class 3 w-space system to look for actual adventure. A tower with a shuttle and Heron frigate doesn't offer much potential for excitement, but I won't know until I find the ships to see if there are any pilots. My notes kinda help me here, being only ten weeks since my last visit, but there were two towers then and I need to work out which one is missing.

Not many moons scattered around the planets

Ah, opening the system map shows that determining where the tower remains is easier than expected, as there are only four moons spread across nine planets in the whole system. As a result, I can warp directly to the tower to see that neither of the small ships is piloted, and coincidentally bring myself in to d-scan range of a new second tower, again simple to find, but no new ships. Scanning has no anomalies, perhaps the reason why there are no pilots on-line, and ten signatures, reduced to just the one wormhole, which will be the static exit to high-sec empire space. So do I go on a high-sec trek, or collapse our wormhole? I think high-sec, as I can stargate hop if necessary. Here I go!

You know, I really should visit wormholes before solidifying my plans and getting excited about them. Warping to the static connection in C3a finds a less-than-enticing wormhole visibly on its last legs. I'm not going to risk it dying and isolating me from the home system, so it's collapse our wormhole or nothing. I don't have much choice, really, so head home, break out the big ships, and suffer polarisation delays. All goes smoothly, though, and I'm soon back scanning for the replacement connection.

Updating my directional scanner from our K162 in the new C3a gives a clear return, but with only one planet in range. A blanket scan reveals eight anomalies, twenty-six signatures, and no ships, and my notes from two weeks ago tell me there's a static exit to null-sec. This isn't much better than the previous system, but with so many signatures there may be a K162 or two to find. There's one, for example, but it only comes from low-sec and is about as interesting as the second wormhole I resolve, its weak signature clearly marking it as the null-sec exit even if it weren't the only other wormhole in the system.

Out of low-sec and null-sec, low-sec seems like the better option. That is, until I jump through the wormhole and appear in a system in Aridia. The system's called Soliara too, which must be mocking me in some way. Naturally, no one's in the system with me, so I rat as I scan, turning three extra signatures in to two wormholes and a radar site. Let's see what other unfortunate systems connect here. One is a K162 from deadly class 6 w-space, which I can't quite find an excuse to avoid given that the other wormhole is a K162 from class 3 w-space at the end of its life. That's okay, though. I'm sure I'll be fine.

C6a has a tower visible on d-scan from the wormhole, and that's it. No ships, and not even any hangars. A blanket scan shows that someone's active, though, with only four anomalies and four signatures. Maybe the magnetar phenomenon helps. Maybe the system is well-visited by other connecting systems. Maybe the locals have been recently invaded and are in the midst of rebuilding. I don't really care at the moment, and concentrate on scanning instead.

Resolving a wormhole and shuttle together

Balls. I resolve a wormhole just as a shuttle is using it, hardly keeping my scanning activity hidden from anyone even slightly aware of d-scan's functionality. Sure, it's only a shuttle, but the pilot is now unlikely to make a subsequent trip with a hauler full of valuable anything that could get destroyed. Never mind, I warp across to see where the wormhole leads, and drop next to a K162 from more class 6 w-space, pulsating with the thumping that comes from being mass-stressed. Plenty of ships have come this way already.

A second wormhole is near the half-mass K162, this being C6a's static connection to class 3 w-space. The wormhole is healthy, which makes me suspect it's not being used to transport the ships from C6a, but, then again, maybe C3c holds a better exit than Aridia. Wanting to find out is a good excuse not to enter C6b yet, so I jump through the wormhole to C3c and take a look around. D-scan shows me a tower and no ships, and scanning the nine anomalies and seven signatures reveals, great, a pod using a wormhole. Lower profile, Penny!

Now there's a pod on a different wormhole

Curiously, the pod doesn't cross the system but jumps back the way it came, assuming it was heading to C6b. Even more curiously, the wormhole is not the static exit to low-sec, but an N968 connection to more class 3 w-space. I resolve the current system's exit, wanting to see where it leads out of curiosity, and jump through to appear in, huh, Aridia, seven hops from the other exit. Hilarious. No wonder the C6 pilots are presumably going through C3d to move ships. Given that they have a static C6 wormhole, it's probably not even as convoluted as their usual routes.

I head back to C3c and warp across to the N968, jumping through to C3d to see how much better the route can get. Two towers still have no ships visible on d-scan, but maybe if I launch probes one will appear. But I don't think I will scan. My notes from two months ago indicate the system holds a static exit to high-sec, explaining the route being taken by... whoever's taking the route, which now looks to be the Legion new on d-scan. The strategic cruiser warps to the K162 I've not moved from and jumps to C3c. I let him, being in generous mood.

Legion jumps between class 3 w-space systems

Having my combat probes spotted twice probably means I won't get lucky with a soft target coming my way, so after loitering on the wormhole pondering my options and luck for a few minutes I jump back to start heading home. C3c looks clear—well, clear-ish, as a shuttle appears on d-scan and warps to the wormhole. It's Mr Legion again, but it seems he's not clear on what he's doing. The shuttle turns without jumping and heads back the way it came. I'm curious now. I follow behind the shuttle, fashionably late, and can't help but poke my prow in to C6b to see what's there. Ships, that's what.

Thankfully, the ships I see are all on d-scan and not on the wormhole, along with plenty of towers. I count twenty-four towers on d-scan, with some planets out of range, and eleven ships. I don't think it's on to hog all the ships in the constellation, frankly, but I'm not about to argue with eight strategic cruisers, a faction cruiser, and an interceptor. I'll take on the Viator transport, though, but I doubt that will come my way. At least all the ships look to be in one or more of the towers and are not out and about, which gives me ample time to turn around and jump back the way I came, heading home through still-quiet systems after a night of exploration and bad timing.

W-space constellation schematic

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