Chasing a warp trail

20th August 2014 – 5.35 pm

I've had no connection to space for a while, leaving me rather floating free, not quite sure what to do with myself. I tidied up my pod a bit, which was empowering, and watched some good films involving robots and cyborgs and other heartwarming subjects. I almost got used to gravity, but it all got a bit heavy. Now my connection is back, shaky but back, I'm straight in to space once more.

What's changed? All of the sites I have bookmarked in the home system have disappeared, which is unsurprising considering that I activate them all when scanned, they disappear after three days or so, and I've been gone for longer than that. We have some anomalies, but none of my favoured kind that would let me continue pondering just how bad Oblivion is. There are some new signatures, though, and I launch probes to get back in to a scanning groove.

A gas site looks outstandingly normal, but it's joined by three wormholes, which is a little unusual. One is our static wormhole, of course, which I manage to warp to first despite trying to avoid it by guessing which signature it would be. It takes me a second try to discover that the others are a K162 from class 2 w-space, and a second K162 from class 2 w-space. It looks like I'm going to class 2 w-space.

In to C2a, updating my directional scanner once my cloaky Proteus strategic cruiser has settled from the wormhole transit. Three towers are visible on d-scan, as are an Occator transport and Epithal hauler. A magnetar phenomenon also hangs brightly off in the distance, giving me hope that I can rake through the Epithal's defences should he be out and about. What are the odds?

I start checking my notes, then realise on opening the system map that locating the towers will be quicker manually. C2a is a tiny system, nothing out of range of d-scan, holding a mere five planets, those planets holding a mere five moons. I quickly see that the Occator is at one tower, the Epithal another, and I warp in the direction of the Epithal.

I reach the wrong one of two moons around the planet where I spied the Epithal, and now it doesn't even look like the Epithal is around this planet. The hauler moved whilst I was in warp. I think that means it is active. I sweep d-scan around, narrow the beam, and find the Epithal around a different planet. Not expecting to get there in time, I warp towards that planet's customs office anyway.

Nope, the Epithal's moved on again. I don't know whether he's gone back to the first tower to drop off planet goo, or if he wasn't in that tower to start with and was actually at that planet's customs office when I first spied him, and instead of mechanically returning to where I was, I look for the hauler with d-scan again. The Epithal appears to be with the Occator now. I should pay the pair a visit.

I manage to get my Proteus to the tower where the Occator floats piloted inside the force field, but again there is no Epithal. I narrow d-scan's beam again and start prodding distant customs offices remotely, making a couple of sweeps of the system before realising that maybe I should do a coarser ping to check that the Epithal is still actually in the system. It is not.

It's a shame to miss trying to blow the crap out of a poorly conceptualised specialist hauler, particularly when a magnetar had my back with this one. Never mind, though, there are more planet gooers out there, and I have the scanning probes to help find them. On the assumption that the Occator pilot isn't paying attention, or simply doesn't care, I warp away, launch probes and start scanning.

Thirteen anomalies and seven signatures are crammed in to this small system, and the only wormhole amongst the signature is the second static connection, which exits to high-sec. I leave C2a for a system in Metropolis, nowhere good, with no oranges visible in the system, and two extra signatures that I can't actually bring myself to care about. I'll go back the way I came and explore the other C2 system instead.

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