Scanning only takes me so far

18th September 2013 – 5.58 pm

Do a couple of new signatures in the home system imply I have company? Maybe, as they are both incoming wormholes, one from class 3 w-space and one from class 5 w-space. I don't see many C3 K162s in our system, and is it may well lead to a dead end—or, at least, merely an exit to low-sec—I think I'll look that way before going backwards up a potentially long chain of w-space. So, of course, C3b is unoccupied and inactive, strongly indicating I have another K162 to find here too.

No matter, I can scan. Being in w-space, scanning is what I do. The system is scruffy, a natural condition for its being unoccupied, with twenty-one anomalies and sixteen signatures to sift through. There's so much gas I think I can take my helmet off, as well as the almost-obligatory static exit to low-sec and the second wormhole I expected. The U210 leads to a system in Khanid, one pilot in the system, no other signatures, and the K162 in C3b comes from class 4 w-space. Maybe this won't be a short leg of the constellation after all.

A tower and some handy combat ships that are mostly used against other capsuleers are visible on my directional scanner in this magnetar system. In fact, I wouldn't feel comfortable taking on many of the ships individually, less so with the increased damage from the local phenomenon, so I'm not particularly thrilled to see three Sleeper wrecks in the system. Then again, none of the wrecks are in any of the three anomalies present and neither are the ships, which all look to be coincident on d-scan with the tower. Maybe I can stay and take a look around.

Only a Cheetah covert operations boat is piloted out of the dozen ships at the tower, which makes this system look much less imposing. Even the magic trick of the Cheetah turning in to a Helios cov-ops doesn't faze me now, and with no other changes I warp out, launch probes, and blanket the system. Ten signatures are scattered around but I'm not sure it's worth scanning. The Helios pilot may be paying partial attention and whoever abandoned the Sleeper wrecks has either been scared in to collapsing their wormhole or going off-line, or is patiently waiting to trap someone in an ambush. I think I'll go back and look for activity in another direction.

To C3b, back to the home system, and through the other K162 to C5a. Two towers and a black hole catch my attention, but not as much as the Iteron. I want to see if that hauler is piloted and active, and even though my notes from five months ago don't guide me to the towers finding them is easy. So easy, in fact, that I waste almost no time in finding the hauler floating empty in a force field, letting me get back to some exciting scanning action.

Six signatures give me two wormholes, a pair of K162s from null-sec. One comes in from the Fade region, the other Wicked Creek. It's all very interesting, but pilots in both systems deter me from doing much more than bookmarking the other side of the wormhole and returning to w-space. I still have our neighbouring class 3 system to explore, though, so I'm not abandoning exploration options just yet.

A Drake battlecruiser and Stabber cruiser look like more manageable targets, even if there is a tower and no wrecks on d-scan. And it's my seventh visit to this system, the last being a couple of months ago when we popped an Orca industrial command ship and Skiff in a mining site. They were high-sec tourists, though, and despite having a tower location in my notes I have a feeling there were two towers before. I'd better check that before doing anything rash.

Plenty of green-signatured anomalies

Yep, a second tower is on the edge of the system, where we ambushed the miners before, and as it holds no ships I launch probes out here before heading back to reconnoitre the first tower. The ships are empty, damn them. And damn them harder for having a messy thirty-five anomalies in the system. Eight signatures isn't so bad, even if the only wormhole is the static exit to high-sec, but I still activate all of the anomalies before I leave the system.

And I turn them all in to labels

Ohide, it's Penny! I think that's what the pilots in the system in the Devoid region would say if they'd ever heard of me, but until I achieve notoriety I'll stick with scanning the two extra signatures my probes reveal. The K162 from class 2 w-space at the end of its life doesn't tempt me, but the healthy R943 outbound connection to class 2 w-space certainly does. D-scan is clear on the other side of the wormhole, letting me launch probes, and a blanket scan gives nineteen anomalies, ten signatures, and no ships. That's a shame, but there will be a wormhole to more w-space to find.

Exploring C2a as I arrange my probes has a tower appear on d-scan, along with a Viator transport ship. A new ship in the system indicates activity, so I keep my probes hidden and locate the tower as a matter of priority. A matter of slightly lower priority once I realise that I changed my scanning filter to ignore all the ships basking in the safety of high-sec, but, still, I'm finding that tower. And it turns out that the Viator is piloted anyway, new to the system or not. Now, do I scan, or do I sit and watch the ship.

I sit and watch the ship, of course. That's more a matter of the lateness of the evening than not wanting to spook him with probes. Even should I resolve the next static wormhole I won't have time to do much more than drop on top of a planet gooer, so I simply give Mr Viator five minutes to do something or I'm out of here. So, naturally, I'm out of here five minutes later. But it's five minutes spent winding down and not moving probes around the system map ignoring pockets of gas. Then again, some nights that's all space has to offer.

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