Wormholes, wormholes everywhere

17th January 2014 – 5.53 pm

'Closer to me, by a jump.' Sounds to me like our glorious leader is trying to get Aii home. With any luck, Aii took himself to empire space voluntarily, and he sounds chipper enough, so I focus on what circumstances are in w-space currently. And it seems to be quite a mess, according to Fin. Our neighbouring class 3 system has a whole bunch of wormholes, seven of them, with more wormholes to be found in each connecting system, and still several systems are to be explored. I don't think I can sit idly by with exploration to be done.

My first destination is backwards, through a K162 in the home system to class 4 w-space, where Fin says there are systems as yet unscouted. It may be good to know what's stalking us from behind. Not much yet, with a tower and no ships visible on my directional scanner, but Fin salvaged a Navy Apocalypse battleship in the system earlier. Someone's been around. I imagine this system will remain dormant for now, though, so instead take myself through one of the two wormholes already bookmarked and waiting for me.

Out of a choice of wormholes to class 3 and class 5 w-space, I pick the C3 destination first. Punching d-scan after jumping through the connection sees a tower and no ships, but also a corpse and wreck of a frigate. That's a little unusual, and biomass doesn't last long in space. It must be fairly fresh, if not entirely promising for finding further activity. I locate the tower, and I locate the corpse. It looks to be in orbit around a planet, but is actually next to a customs office.

Magnate wreck and corpse near a w-space customs office

Maybe the frigate was baited in to ambushing a hauler that wasn't actually collecting planet goo. Or maybe he was gooing normally, but the now stupidly buffed hauler had enough defensive and offensive capability to not just withstand the frigate's attack but counter-attack successfully. Of course, that's just conjecture. But I bet it's exactly what happened.

Whatever happened, it has, in fact, happened, and is not happening now. My Womble instincts kick in, and I scoop the corpse and shoot the wreck to leave the system looking tidy again, before launching probes to scan the system. Thirteen anomalies and five signatures only hold one fat signature, which will be the static exit to low-sec that I don't really care about, and the others will either be sites or rubbish outbound wormholes. If it's not a K162 I don't want to find it, not with other, good options still available.

I leave C3b behind, cross C4a, and jump through a K162 to C5a. Now I can see some ships, thankfully on d-scan, as well as four towers. The ships are a bit of a mix, and there are no wrecks, so there's probably nothing happening. But, still. Ships. All but the Arazu are coincident with one of the towers, so I ignore the recon ship to see if there are any pilots. Yes, four, in an Anathema covert operations boat, Curse recon ship, Typhoon battleship, and Proteus strategic cruiser. Could be threatening, less so when doing nothing inside a tower's force field.

I warp away from the tower, launch probes out of d-scan range, and blanket the system. My scan reveals nine anomalies and six signatures, but it's probably worth leaving this system alone instead of scanning. There may be another K162, but I'd rather not give away my presence to the local pilots. I recall my probes and return the way I came, through C4a, in to home, and across to our neighbouring C3a. I pass through C3a to C2a, and out of C2a to high-sec, ignoring the already scouted systems in favour of looking for more wormholes outside of our local constellation.

Aii returns from high-sec, through a different entrance than the one I used, before I manage to launch probes, and sees a Nemesis jump from our home system to C3a. The stealth bomber saw Aii's Viator transport too. Is it time to dangle some bait in front of a pilot? I think so. I head back to C3a, as does Fin, and we sit on the K162 to home as Aii prepares to return to high-sec. We need Aii to do it, to reduce suspicion, and hopefully the Nemesis pilot will think that our colleague simply has confidence in his cloaky transport. Let's see.

Aii warps the Viator to our static wormhole, jumps to C3a, and bungles a little when heading towards high-sec. Intentionally, of course. But no Nemesis appears. Aii docks, pauses meaningfully, and returns to w-space and the home system, and still no stealth bomber. I suppose he wasn't interested, and has moved on. Not like this Helios cov-ops that has appeared in C3a, spewing probes everywhere.

I can't tell where the Helios came from before it cloaks, and although I spot a second Helios on d-scan it too launches probes and disappears before I can get an idea of its direction. I'm tempted to jump home and drop in to an interceptor to wait for these cov-ops boats, particularly with only a Nemesis also on the loose. But I remember the seven wormholes in this system alone, and the increasingly labyrinthine connections spreading out from them. Even when the scouts find our K162, the odds that they'll jump to our system first are slim. I'm not waiting around for nothing. I'll look for other options.

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