Is anybody out there?

8th March 2014 – 3.56 pm

All looks clear, but I need to check the new signature in the home system because a couple of old sites are gone. Yesterday's wormhole remains in the same place, and so unopened, making it no surprise that the new signature is not also a wormhole but more gas waiting to be sucked. I'll leave the huffing to others, and open our wormhole.

Jumping to the neighbouring class 3 w-space system gives a nice, reassuring result from updating my directional scanner. Seeing a tower with no ships is almost comforting. I launch probes and blanket the system, revealing nine anomalies, twelve signatures, and no ships, and locate the tower manually, given that my notes, despite being three months old, are out of date.

Poking the signatures for wormholes finds just the one. I'll be heading to low-sec, I suppose. Specifically, low-sec Metropolis, where two extra signatures in the system has my launching probes again. They're both wormholes, nifty. The first is a B449 connection, connecting low- to high-sec, the destination region looking to also be Metropolis. It might be interesting, but the second wormhole is a C3 K162, and w-space trumps an empire connection.

Entering C3b and updating d-scan sees a tower and Osprey cruiser in the system, plus a mobile depot somewhere. Again recent notes don't help me much, the tower having moved from six weeks earlier, but towers aren't difficult to find and I'm soon watching a piloted Osprey do nothing inside the safety of an active force field. I could watch her for a bit, or I could scan whilst she's not paying attention.

Five anomalies and ten signatures appear on a blanket scan of the system, and looking more closely at the Osprey sees no weapons or gas harvesters on the ship. That pretty much guarantees the pilot isn't going to do anything soon, so I sift through the signatures looking for wormholes, finding none. I think I can ignore this system and the Osprey, and head back to low-sec to see where the wormhole to high-sec takes me. To Metropolis, of course, fifteen hops from the other system.

I may as well scan the one extra signature in the high-sec system whilst I'm here and get tonight over with. But let's not be so hasty, Penny. That signature is another wormhole, a K162 from class 2 w-space at that, which looks like an opportunity to find activity. Perking up a little I jump through the connection to C2a, update d-scan, and see multiple towers and multiple ships.

Five towers are dotted around the system, along with a Legion strategic cruiser, Maelstrom battleship, Astero frigate, and Epithal hauler. I narrow d-scan's beam to look for the towers, but when I find them I don't find the ships. That should mean they are out in space, but returning d-scan to a broader beam only finds all but the Maelstrom gone. I think I almost found some activity.

I warp to the one planet sitting outside d-scan range, wondering if the ships have simply moved, but instead four more towers and a bunch of different ships reveal themselves to d-scan. I locate the tower with the squishy industrial ships first, and finding them all to be unpiloted I take a look at the towers holding combat ships.

A Navy Scorpion battleship is unpiloted at one tower, a Tengu strategic cruiser piloted at another, but that doesn't mean much. I'm still missing three ships. I'm not quite sure what a Legion, Astero, and Epithal would be doing to bring them together as a fleet, and it seems that I'm not going to find out tonight either. Maybe they just went off-line at roughly the same time, which seems like as good an explanation as any, particularly given that I'm tired and don't feel like scanning. Mystery solved to my satisfaction, I'm going home.

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