Wormholes or nothing

4th November 2013 – 5.41 pm

No change at home has my ignoring what I already know about, resolving our static wormhole, and jumping to the neighbouring class 3 w-space system to see what's shaking. Nothing within range of my directional scanner, and perhaps nothing at all with only two planets out of range. Launching probes to perform a blanket scan of the system reveals a whopping zero anomalies and five signatures, and although exploring finds a tower there are no ships to be seen. It's not the most exciting start to an evening I've ever had.

I don't suppose the lack of ships matters too much, not with so few signatures and a dumbscovery scanner popping new ones up as they appear, like when wormholes open. Besides, scanning resolves four wormholes, giving a complete lack of sites. That's actually not too surprising. The system is already as empty as a bachelor's fridge, and I imagine the locals would get rid of the wormholes too, if they could. But it means I have almost no hope of catching anyone here, as there is nowhere to catch them. I'll reconnoitre the wormholes.

The static exit to low-sec takes me to a system in Kor-Azor, close to nowhere, with no one around, and holding one extra signature. It's a K162 from more class 3 w-space, which I can't resist jumping through, where, yep, that looks like combat happening. But what kind of combat? D-scan is showing me four Tengu strategic cruisers, an Armageddon and Megathron battleship, Prophecy battlecruiser, Manticore stealth bomber, Scimitar logistics ship, and a Viator transport, all without the force field of an active tower.

I can't see any wrecks, and the ships aren't in any of the anomalies. Sweeping d-scan around clarifies matters when I see all the of ships coincident with a planet. They must be shooting an off-line tower, which would explain the mix of ships, including the transport, which is probably hauling ammunition for the combat ships. I find the fleet, confirm they are shooting an off-line tower, and explore the rest of the system to look for current occupation. Nothing.

The fleet isn't local, so the response time will be low, but I'm not convinced I can do anything anyway. The one ship that is perhaps vulnerable to my lone Loki strategic cruiser is the Manticore, but even that could be protected by the Scimitar, and that's not taking in to account whether these ships are fit only for shooting a tower. Even if only a couple have warp disruptors fitted I would be taking a serious risk trying to pop the stealth bomber, and it's not worth losing my Loki over what is really only a minor kill.

Fleet taking down an off-line tower

I watch the fleet a little longer, if only because it's the most activity I've felt I've seen in a while, before heading back to low-sec and C3a to pick another wormhole. A K162 from high-sec connects in from The Citadel, where there are signatures to scan but I want to see what the other wormholes are in C3a. A K162 from class 2 w-space looks good to me, and almost as good is the I182 outbound connection to class 2 w-space. But the K162 is the clearly better option, as arse-backwards as that sounds.

Jumping to C2a has nothing visible on d-scan but a territorial control unit anchored somewhere. I launch probes, perform a blanket scan, and warp towards the TCU. I drop out of warp next to a tower, my probes showing me one anomaly, five signatures, and the two ships I can now see: an empty Orca industrial command ship and a piloted but inactive Heron frigate. I'll scan. Going with the all-or-nothing theme for tonight, one gas site sits amongst three wormholes. I leave the unmoving Heron to see what they are.

The static exit to high-sec is a good sight, as it clearly leads to Verge Vendor, giving me another destination region for my collection. But that's just one wormhole, the others are, oh, K162s from null-sec and high-sec, which is pretty crappy after all. But never mind, as a Helios appears on d-scan as I am warping around, and the covert operations boat looks to be local and at the tower. But will it do anything, or has it returned from somewhere? Returned, I would guess, if going off-line within a minute is any gauge. Back to the wormholes.

I get another good sight when inspecting the K162 from null-sec, as it doesn't match any wormholes I've so far captured images from. Jumping out takes me to The Kalevala Expanse, letting me cross that region off my list, and I'm even alone in the system with one additional signature. I can rat and scan, resulting in some pocket ISK for the rat's bounty and an N432 wormhole leading to class 5 w-space. Well, it's an okay result, I suppose.

Entering C5a has d-scan clear and a black hole tugging at my ship, and although a blanket scan revealing twenty-eight anomalies and nineteen signatures looks bleak there is a ship somewhere too. It's a Prorator transport, in an otherwise bare tower, probably just here to collect planet goo. The transport is empty, so I'm left scanning again, a previous visit identifying the static wormhole as an H296 to further class 5 w-space. I think that's all I'm going to find too, until the last two signatures after all the gas gives me the static connection and one more wormhole. It also leads to class 5 w-space, but through a K162. There's hope for this evening yet.

And my hopes are dashed. D-scan is clear, and I'm spat in to the system over six kilometres from the wormhole. Exploring and scanning finds a tower, thirteen anomalies, and ten signatures, and although I start poking for wormholes I fear I'm starting to lose my optimistic attitude. One wormhole appears under my probes, but it's only a K162 from null-sec, and from Perrigen Falls, judging by the A-shape view of Malpais. I ignore it, head back to C5a and through the H296 to C5c, where I perk up again on seeing a tower, Retriever mining barge, and Augoror cruiser on d-scan.

Ah, I remember the days when I'd get a thrill jumping in to a system through a newly opened wormhole and seeing a mining barge on d-scan. That's the only reason I perk up, because once I remember the discovery scanner I realise that the Retriever pilot has probably already scuttled back to his tower. At least my bitterness subsides when I notice that there aren't actually any ore sites in this system, so I probably haven't been thwarted by the discovery scanner this time, maybe just bad timing, as the mining barge is at the tower, piloted, and staring at a running refinery. Still, that just leaves me with little to do but scan further, and I think I can leave that until tomorrow. Maybe there will be other pilots I can actually interrupt around then.

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