Descending in class

3rd September 2013 – 5.57 pm

Standard operating procedure. Launch probes, check home is clear, and resolve our static wormhole. Jumping to the neighbouring class 3 w-space system sees core scanning probes on my directional scanner and nothing else. Core probes don't detect ships, and as I am out of d-scan range of anything obvious I feel safest launching my own probes where I am. Combat probes, naturally. I like seeing who else is in the system with me. Three anomalies, eight signatures, one ship. Let me find it.

Across the system is a single tower holding the Heron frigate, piloted. Maybe he's the active scout, and if he is maybe I can catch him. I just need to work out where he's going to go. That should be simple enough, once I've resolved the signatures in the system and determined where the wormholes are. And in my tricked-out Loki strategic cruiser I should be able to scan faster than the simple frigate. Let's see.

Gas, wormhole, data, really weak wormhole, chubby wormhole, and gas. I've finished and there's no movement yet from the Heron, and although there are also no probes visible we are on the edge of the system. I warp away to check the inner system for signs of active probes—yep, they're still in use—whilst reconnoitring the wormholes. The static exit to low-sec is no surprise, and I jump through to see where it leads, hoping to get a locked-out Aii back home tonight too.

I appear in a system in Genesis, which is quite far from Aii's current location. Mind you, he did get unlucky and was trapped in a C3 with an exit to null-sec. Still, it's an entrance, if he can get here. For now, I return to C3a and check the other chubby wormhole. It's a K162 from null-sec. How lucky can we get? I poke out to take a look and, my goodness, we are lucky. I appear in the Deklein region, the same region as Aii. It's only eleven hops to get here for my colleague, as opposed to the thirty-five or so to get to the low-sec entrance. If nothing else happens tonight, this coincidence will satisfy me.

Back to C3a and to check on the Heron. You know, I think he's moved. The ship seems to be pointed in a different direction, but I could be imagining it. The Heron's certainly not moving now, and his probes are still in space. If they are his probes. Is he not quite finished? Is it worth watching? Probably not, but I do anyway, until Aii returns from null-sec and gets safely home. The Heron is dull, I'm moving on. My first thought is to hit low-sec to continue scanning, but I forget I have that weak wormhole to explore. I'll go there instead.

Huh, the wormhole's an outbound link to deadly class 6 w-space. I wasn't quite expecting that. Still, how bad can it be? Not bad at all, I'd say, not when appearing in the system over five kilometres from the wormhole and with d-scan clear. A blanket scan reveals two anomalies and seven signatures, which is pretty clean, making it more of a surprise that the system is unoccupied. This is easy mode. Scanning finds gas and two wormholes, one leading out to null-sec, the other the static connection to class 5 w-space. I'll stick with w-space.

C5a gives another clear return from d-scan on the wormhole, with one planet out of range. Launch probes, blanket the system, warp out. My probes show me ten anomalies, eight signatures, and one ship, and warping to the first moon of the distant planet drops me outside the force field of a tower. A Helios covert operations boat is on d-scan but not inside the force field. Thankfully, before I get carried away with a hunt, I realise there is also a second tower around the same planet, and it is there where I find the Helios, empty of a capsuleer.

Scanning has the usual sites and just the one wormhole, the system's static connection, which drops down a class again. That suits me, so I press on to C4a, where d-scan shows me a tower but no ships. Tonight's exploration is not inspiring so far, but a visit from a year ago tells me there is a wormhole to more class 4 w-space to find, so the night's not over yet. And that'll be it, the wormhole trivially easy to spot when it is one of two signatures, and I already know about the first of them. But, sadly, it seems exploration is over. The wormhole is at the end of its life.

Popping a rat in Feythabolis

I head back up the chain, from class 4 to class 5 to class 6 w-space, where I detour to the Feythabolis region in null-sec to pop a rat, before a return to w-space and C3a. Still the Heron floats inertly. A second look out to low-sec doesn't give me any options, with the K162 I'm sitting on being the only signature. One last look at the tower has the Heron alluringly swap to a Tengu strategic cruiser, but despite my hopes that the pilot will engage Sleepers in a local anomaly all he does is go off-line in the expensive ship. It frustrates me a bit, the damned tease, and makes me wonder why he was scanning in a frigate. But that's it for tonight, as there's no one to play with.

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