Waiting for what doesn't return

9th September 2014 – 5.32 pm

Another day in space. I'm greeted by two new sites, which could ease me in to the evening if it weren't for the extra signature. Probably. I dunno, I've not even launched probes yet. There they go, whizzing off, converging on that... second wormhole. No sites for me tonight, instead I'm going through the K162 from class 5 w-space.

I resolve and bookmark our static wormhole before leaving the home system, jumping to C5a where my directional scanner is swimming in hangars. I think there are ships somewhere too, but who can tell? I switch my overview for a more ship-orientated version and update d-scan again, seeing rather more clearly the Astero frigate, Brutix battlecruiser, Cheetah covert operations boat, Ishtar heavy assault cruiser, Loki strategic cruiser, and Sabre interdictor.

There are no wrecks to be seen, so I am assuming the ships aren't really doing anything. I could find them, and probably will. Despite the billion or so hangars in the system, there are only five active towers, which won't take long to locate. I concentrate on the towers with ships, and find the Cheetah and Astero piloted at one tower, with the Sabre and Ishtar empty alongside them, and the Loki and Brutix piloted at a second tower.

That's all the ships accounted for. Will they do anything? I doubt it, which is why I'm not paying nearly enough attention when the Brutix is apparently swapped for an Iteron V, and am too late to change my view to see where the hauler is accelerating. I take a punt that, with a limited four anomalies and three signatures visible, the Iteron is heading towards our system, perhaps looking to use the exit in C3a, and align and warp to the wormhole ahead of the hauler.

Well, I say 'ahead of the hauler', but what I mean is 'instead of the hauler'. I make it to the wormhole in time to see nothing drop out of warp next to me, with the Iteron still on d-scan. As far as I can tell, the Iteron doesn't even leave the system, sending me back to the tower to loiter a little longer. It's curious that the Iteron is at the tower and now the Loki is not, and that the Loki is not in the system. If I knew any better I'd say the first Iteron jumped out and the Loki was swapped for a second Iteron. But who knows.

This Iteron, original or second, starts moving too. I'm close enough to see where it's headed, which is directly in to a ship maintenance array, repeatedly, for a good minute, until the pilot retakes control of the ship and guides it to rather emptier space inside the tower's force field. Free from obstruction, the ship accelerates in to warp again, making it this time, and heading to a point in space I can't identify. It's definitely not our wormhole, and it's definitely not a celestial object.

I should probably scan for what must be another wormhole. I have a rough vector for the Iteron, letting me scan a bit more quickly. Or it would, if I also had a rough range, which I don't, so it still takes me a few scans to resolve what is indeed another wormhole. It's a K162 from low-sec, Khanid from the colours, dying from its wobble. I won't poke out, but loiter with intent.

An Iteron returning from low-sec can keep my attention for quite a—you know, I should probably scan that other signature, just in case this isn't the right wormhole. I call my probes in, identify yet another wormhole, and realise that it is so far from the vector the Iteron warped that there was a reason why I scanned this signature I'm sitting on in the first place. Still, I've started to scan, I finish scanning. I won't visit the wormhole yet, not with the promise of an Iteron coming home.

Wait, wait, wait. It's been a while since I've done this, and it's comforting to know that all the requisite skill in doing nothing hasn't been lost. I may even be rewarded, as the wormhole eventually crackles with a transit. Is the Iteron about to be surprised? Nope, as a Stiletto decloaks and warps away, presumably to a tower. The interceptor is not quite what I was expecting, and neither was a double jump, a second ship shedding its session-change cloak as I'm starting to relax.

The second ship isn't an Iteron either, but it is an industrial ship, a Viator transport. I doubt I'll be able to catch it, but as my incautiously safe orbit around the wormhole bumps me in to the Viator, unwittingly dropping my cloak, I think I'll try. Nope, it warps, hopefully before my cloak was fully shed, but I bet it saw me. I suppose the jig is up. If it is, the locals don't care, at least not enough not to send the Viator back out to low-sec. I let it jump past me and return to a state of wait. ...ing.

Viator returns to low-sec

Watching d-scan as I listen to the wormhole sees the Stiletto swapped for a Burst frigate, the Burst disappear and a Proteus in its place. The Burst comes back, and comes to the wormhole, jumping to low-sec. Still I wait, still I watch, and there really isn't anything happening. Ah, finally, the wormhole crackles with a transit from low-sec. I perk up, get myself ready to ambush, and see an Anathema cov-ops decloak and warp clear. Why am I still here?

Anathema is the next ship to pass me on the wormhole

I warp to the other wormhole in the system to see what it is, but I'm not particularly enamoured on seeing a dying K162 from null-sec. Taking one last look at the low-sec K162 sees, holy crap, an Archon warping away as I drop out of warp. The carrier probably wasn't brought in from low-sec, as the wormhole, although still dying, remains mass stable. Wherever it came from, it's gone now, perhaps as I should be.

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