Looking for the home system

23rd March 2014 – 3.41 pm

It's a different start to my day. I'm in a space station. It's pretty weird. The first order of business is to replace my ship, which is easy logistically, having docked two hops from Jita, but rather difficult when it comes to thinking of a name. I stumble over this all the time, which is why I asked people for suggestions a while back. Thank goodness so many names were suggested, as I've lost a few ships. I pick a runner-up to the competition, adapt it slightly, then send the promised ISK to an unexpecting capsuleer. Now to take Sammich! on its maiden flight.

Now what to do. Fin and HR are around, giving me hope that maybe I have a route home already, but they are busy dealing with a K162 from deadly class 6 w-space in the home system. That's okay, I can wait. In fact, I could probably scan my way back there myself. How hard can it be to find a particular w-space system starting from high-sec empire space?

Okay, it's not that easy to scan my way home in a system with no signatures, but stargates are easy ways to find systems with signatures. I hop one system across and find one, and launching probes to scan it resolves a wormhole. See? Easy. Then again, the wormhole is a dying K162 from class 3 w-space, so that probably won't take me to our class 4 home. But I won't know if I don't look, and a dying wormhole won't faze me today, so in I go.

My directional scanner shows me nothing from the other side of the wormhole, but the local channel has shut the hell up finally, so that's something. I launch probes and don't quite blanket this vast system, but in two attempts I reveal six signatures and three drones, no anomalies, no ships. My notes point me towards a tower that isn't there any more—thanks, notes—and my probes suggest a bunch of structures are 75 AU away. Those structures form an on-line tower, good probes, but without ships in the system there's clearly no one home.

The signatures in this system are mostly gas, but the last one I resolve is a wormhole. It's only a K162 from null-sec, but I'm feeling somewhat aimless this evening so take a look anyway, appearing in a system in Oasa along with one pilot in a pod and no other signatures. Okay, back to high-sec with me, hopping through another stargate to look for more signatures. Here's a couple, resolving to be a data site and a wormhole connecting this high-sec system to another high-sec system. Exploration isn't going so well.

The intra-empire space wormhole takes me to Sinq Laison, where a different signature resolves to be an M555 outbound link to class 5 w-space. It'll do, I suppose, if I somehow pretend the discovery scanner doesn't exist. Not that it matters when jumping in to an unoccupied and inactive system, I suppose. I'll scan. Five anomalies and eleven signatures, but my notes informing me that the static wormhole leads to class 4 w-space. I'm going home!

Resolving the first signature sends me to the E175 static wormhole, and I resolve a second wormhole whilst in warp, an outbound connection to low-sec at the end of its life. Whilst I warp to find that out my probes point to a third wormhole, and once I resolve that I recall my probes rather than continue with this wild goose chase they want to send me on. The third wormhole is only a null-sec K162, after all. And, perhaps more importantly, my colleagues have now scanned their way out of w-space and have a route home for me. I should probably head that way.

Poking out to low-sec takes me to Derelik, twenty hops from the entrance to the home w-space constellation. That's not great, but hardly a chore. I head back to the C5 system and poke through the E175, just in case I got extremely lucky and actually found my way home, but, somehow, I have not. Okay, I'll leave it behind, going back across the C5 and out to high-sec, the system in Sinq Laison fifteen hops from my entrance. Surely I can do better than that.

Back through the wormhole to the system in The Citadel, and my autopilot shows me a nine-hop route all in high-sec space. That'll do, pig. Hop hoppity hop I go through stargates, as Fin and HR call out the plethora of ships that are coming and going through their scanned w-space constellation. It's a bit unnerving, particularly as I'm bringing home a brand new strategic cruiser, but the ships or fleets or whatever they are don't appear to be actually doing much.

I get to the entrance system, warp to the wormhole, and jump. An Augoror is there to greet me on the wormhole in C3a, which would be nice of him if we were allied. But I'm on a high-sec wormhole, there isn't much threat. I am on the cusp of decloaking to engage the cruiser for giggles, when the ship warps away. Maybe it's for the best. Fin and HR are checking the other wormholes now and it all looks clear, and it's not like I'm new at navigating w-space. I get my head in gear and move away from the wormhole, cloak, and warp to our K162. One jump gets me home, and a simple manoeuvre off the wormhole gets me safe. I'm home again.

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