Black Hole Sleepers

24th November 2013 – 3.43 pm

An early start has me hopeful of catching a careless pilot off-guard and producing explosions. With any luck, that careless pilot won't even be me. The bookmarks I can see look stale, so that one extra signature in the home system may not be a wormhole. But it is, a K162 from class 4 w-space, and potentially interesting, given that it is sitting in its half-mass state.

No, it really isn't interesting. Jumping to C4a has my appearing over six kilometres from the wormhole, a general indication of no recent activity; updating my directional scanner sees no towers or ships; and there's a black hole looming ominously in the distance. My notes from a little over a year ago suggest that there is occupation, itself pretty dull, being five blue towers, but that has gone too. No one else has moved in, which isn't a surprise for a black hole system, leaving me to scan the twenty-six anomalies and sixteen signatures for wormholes.

Being class 4 w-space, therefore almost never holding random outbound connections, if ever, and having coming through the static connection, the only wormholes I will find will be K162s. That makes checking for other connections nice and easy. Filter out all but the chubby signatures and wave probes in their rough positions. Nope, no K162s here, the system is a dead end. Whoever came this way must have killed their connection, unimpressed with the black hole.

Then again, whoever came this way must have used the wormhole to our home system a fair bit, stressed as it is to half mass, so maybe we have a good connection to empire space currently. I can check that. Curiously, though, our static wormhole is in good health, unstressed by ship transits, which suggests that the movements through the half-mass wormhole didn't continue this way. And our system looks intact. That's a bit weird. I dunno what's happened, but I don't think it really matters either. Onwards to C3a.

Still nothing. This time I appear in the system eight kilometres from the wormhole, so even though there is a tower visible on d-scan it is no surprise to see a lack of ships to go with it. A visit from a month ago has the tower probably in the same place, so I warp out, launch probes, and blanket the system. A healthy sixteen anomalies could be good for making ISK, if the only wormhole amongst the seven signatures is the static exit to null-sec. But, balls, warping to the tower only now sees the black hole in this system too.

Never mind the black hole, the first wormhole I find has a chubby signature, so it's a K162 and not the null-sec connection. The second feels like the K346, but a third wormhole spells the end of the ISK dream in this C3. But we can still make some profit, as Fin starts collapsing our static wormhole to give us the anomalies in C4a to clear of Sleepers. It's still a black hole system, but probably less of an inconvenience than in this system. At least the C4 anomalies would put us both in Tengu strategic cruisers, needing to salvage separately, rather than struggle to get a sluggish Golem marauder in range of Sleepers in C3 anomalies, cursed by the torpedo range reduction of the black hole.

I reconnoitre the connections as Fin pushes big ships through our wormhole. One K162 comes from class 3 w-space, the other from class 2 w-space. Both are at the end of their natural lifetimes. That's no guarantee of safety, though, and even though the wormholes are wobbly I can't resist poking through to C2a to prove how dangerous relying on an EOL wormhole can be. Not particularly dangerous, as it turns out. There are two towers and some ships in C2a, but finding them doesn't find any pilots. I turn around and leave for C3a whilst I still can.

Back home and Fin finishes crashing our wormhole. Now for some Sleeper action in a black hole class 4 w-space system. It all looks the same on a repeat visit, and we warp to the first anomaly. The reduced flight time of our missiles is a little frustrating, but the increased speed of our ships lets us get in to range without too much wasted time. What's a bit worse is the latency we're experiencing with our ship systems. Seeing my launchers cycle without any missiles firing, only for ten volleys to launch at once is a little frustrating.

Tengus launching missiles with a black hole in the background

We press on through the first anomaly and in to a second, but the latency issues get too much for an already less-than-engrossing activity to be tolerable. I give up once the second anomaly is cleared of Sleepers, and we ditch our Tengus for Noctis salvagers, heading back only to loot and salvage the wrecks we made. A little over two hundred million ISK of loot is stashed in our tower, which is a decent result, even if it's a shame that technical issues stop us making more. But that's better than other pilots stopping us, I suppose. Maybe we can do more later.

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