N968 appreciation day

10th November 2013 – 3.43 pm

Will I see explosions tonight, Mr W-space? Not at home, unless I take a frigate in to one of our gas pockets, and that is more of a last resort. So it's resolving and jumping through our static wormhole for me, where once in our neighbouring class 3 system I see bugger all. I can't blame my directional scanner for the lack of information, not when one planet is in range, the star is 70 AU away, and it's 90 AU to the other side of the system. Poor d-scan, with its meagre but perfectly acceptable 14 AU reach.

My combat scanning probes extend further than d-scan. Launching them and blanketing the system doesn't reveal any ships, though, just fifty anomalies and twelve signatures. 'Just', right. The lack of ships and abundance of anomalies points to no occupation, and exploring finds none, so I call my probes in to scan. I almost hope I find no more than the static wormhole, what with all of this latent ISK waiting to be released. But there are two more, and I really ought to check them.

The first wormhole is a K162 from class 4 w-space, the second the static exit to low-sec—a mix of Cloud Ring and Verge Vendor suggests it leads to Placid—and the last is an N968 outbound connection to more class 3 w-space. That one's pretty useless, the discovery scanning popping the signature in C3b already. I'll hit the K162. But jumping to C4a spits me over eight kilometres from the wormhole, with a tower and no ships visible on d-scan. I think it's safe to say nothing is happening. This C4 could be a bridging system to activity, though. I launch probes to find out.

Scanning C4a is quick, with fourteen anomalies but only two signatures. I identify the gas pocket within seconds, ignore it with as much a look of disgust on my face as I can muster, and jump back the way I came to head through the N968, instantly regretting not saving a little reserve of disgust for having to do so. And relax. D-scan is clear, and my notes from a recent visit put me in an unoccupied system with a static exit to null-sec. Let me find that.

I find the null-sec exit, along with a newly erected tower. Occupation and inactivity isn't much different from a lack of occupation and inactivity apart from opportunity, and that opportunity presents itself when an Anathema covert operations boat warps in to the tower. I hide my probes, having resolved the wormhole, and watch what the cov-ops does. He warps to a position two hundred kilometres above the tower to launch probes, that's what.

Anathema launching probes far above his tower

I consider scanning the Anathema to surprise him, but the cov-ops cloaks—can they do that?—without even caring to reload his launcher. Whatever, dude. Be a rebel. I'll get back to scanning. All the remaining signatures are chubby, it will be quick. Wormhole, wormhole, gas, wormhole. I think I can ignore the tiny, agile ship in favour of more exploration.

The K346 exits to Fountain, where being alone means I can't resist ratting and scanning, but I identify the one extra signature as a combat site before I find a suitable rat, so abandon that plan to reconnoitre the other wormholes in C3b. N968, N968, and a dying K162 from null-sec. Is there a class 3 w-space system convention happening? I dunno, but pinging d-scan before leaving the system now sees a Noctis in the system. What's a salvager doing with nothing to salvage? Floating in the tower appears to be the answer.

Yes, floating in the tower. I confirm my suspicion by watching the Noctis float in the tower's force field for longer than I really ought before realising I have more systems to explore. I pick the first of the N968s I warped to, destination system designated as C3c, and warp there and jump through. D-scan shows me a tower and no ships, and my overview highlights a customs office in reinforced mode. A bit of exploring gets my hopes up when I see on d-scan a tower and Orca industrial command ship, Mammoth hauler, and Rupture cruiser, but they all turn out to be in the same place, the ships lacking pilots. A second tower elsewhere holds a Bustard, also without a pilot, leaving me scanning for wormholes again.

No anomalies, seven signatures. Three wormholes, some data sites. The static exit to low-sec clearly leads to Lonetrek but is at the end of its life. More interesting is the Helios appearing far above the wormhole to launch probes, but there isn't really much I can do about that except ignore his presence and move on. The Helios has probably come through the K162 from high-sec Verge Vendor, but what the bloody hell is this N968 doing here? Is there one free in every class 3 system this evening? Well, I've found it, I may as well use it. A tower and no ships. Thanks, C3e, you're making a difference.

Helios launches probes far from a wormhole to low-sec

W-space had better perk up or I'm taking my toys and going home. I have another class 3 system to check, so try to retain some kind of optimism, but what are the odds it's going to be better than any of the other class 3 systems I've found so far? I jump back to C3c, C3a, and across to C3b to find out. Two towers with no ships this time. Is that a step up? Maybe not, but exploring finds another tower with a Noctis and a Tengu strategic cruiser, and both are piloted. That's almost exciting.

The presence of pilots is less exciting when I can't see traces of Sleeper combat, when I am reminded that the dumbscovery scanner announced my potential arrival some time ago, and when the Noctis is swapped for a Loki. I watch the two ships for a minute, but I doubt anything more will happen, if anything was happening to start with. I turn around and head home, pausing to see that the Anathema in C3b has turned in to a Drake battlecruiser and is snuggling with the Noctis in their tower. But, despite the promise the pairing holds, all that happens during the time I spend watching is the two of them going off-line. That must have been a fun evening for them. About as fun as mine, I suppose. I'm going home.

W-space constellation schematic

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