The Fin Report: we're at the end of the universe. My glorious leader is ahead of me and scanning, quite thoroughly, our neighbouring class 3 w-space system. It has 'two exits to low-sec, about four jumps apart, in the arse end of Khanid—one hop from Aridia'. And now the weather forecast: a wormhole will collapse, swiftly followed by a light sprinkling of Sleeper combat. Shooting Sleepers seems like a good option, with an empty constellation and a new ship to do it in, but we'd better do it properly this time, which means isolating ourselves instead of relying on fortune to keep us safe.
Or we could shoot Sleepers in the C3, as it has a couple of magnetometric sites, holding better profit if we can get it, and some anomalies if we get time. Fighting abroad will also keep my attention focussed on my directional scanner, instead of being distracted by shiny objects and moving images. Fin returns home, I grab the bookmarks she copies for me, and we head out in our Sleeper Tengu strategic cruisers, Wooster getting its first taste of combat. Not having been in to the neighbouring system yet, after jumping in I ask Fin if the system is occup—yikes! A Tengu, Nighthawk command ship, and Onyx heavy interdictor show up thankfully not on my overview but on d-scan, accompanied by two Orca industrial command ships, an Impel frigate, and, what a relief, a tower.
Fin's been here and scouted the system, happy to confirm all the ships I see were present earlier, floating unpiloted inside the tower's force field. It was a little startling to see them on d-scan, all the same. But knowing they are empty and, currently, harmless I throw both our ships in to warp towards the first magnetometric site. I feel confident about Sleeper combat in class 3 w-space, although this site doesn't look identical to others we've done recently, and I'm mostly guessing at what ships trigger further waves of Sleepers. I quite like learning by doing, and any threat of an additional wave of ships can be mitigated by sensible target selection.
We still need to warp out once, when the final wave of battleships pummels Fin's Tengu's shields in to submission, but we get clear and repair without hassle. That was mostly my fault, not using the full defensive capability of the Tengu pair, which I'm sure we can correct for the second site. Before we get there we'll clean up this first site, collecting our loot whilst we can, particularly as Fin needs a short break soon. I grab an analysing cruiser, Fin a Noctis salvager, and we sweep up all the Sleeper loot and artefacts in to our holds, all the time watching d-scan for additional threats or danger, all the time seeing none. Our first sortie is a success.
Fin takes a break, I swap boats and take station outside the tower in the C3. I hold there, not paying too much attention to space, merely watching out of the corner of my eye for any obvious changes. Nothing happens by the time my leader is back and I warp home reporting nothing out of the ordinary having occurred. We swap back to Sleeper Tengus and return to the C3 for the second magnetometric site. But when I jump in to the C3 this time d-scan shows me a Loki strategic cruiser and scanning probes in the system. I spin d-scan around and probe the tower, not seeing the Loki there, and advise Fin to hold.
I'm a little late with my communication, as the wormhole flares with Fin's entrance. It's not a problem, she can jump back when the session change timer ends. After my recent transit I am polarised, though, keeping me in this system for now. I don't think I'm in trouble, as the now-despawned magnetometric site will be a suitable place for me to hide in plain sight, particularly as the Loki scout is using core scanning probes which won't detect my ship. I have a little over a minute before I can jump through the wormhole again, so I warp to the empty space that we were fighting in a little while ago, hold for a few long seconds, then return to the wormhole, which now lets me pass through it.
Shall we hunt the Loki? 'Absolutely', says Fin. Okay then! Fin boards a Legion strategic cruiser, one of our ship killers. I waver about boarding the second Legion, as it is not fitted with a cloak, and choose my scanning Tengu instead, both letting us scout whilst still having enough firepower to defeat a single opponent. And Fin sends me in to the C3 to reconnoitre, where I see a bunch of scanning probes but no Loki. We may have a bit of a wait ahead of us. Fin wonders if I was spotted, but I doubt it. I had the session change cloak when I spied the Loki, at which point it was probably focussed on launching probes and not d-scan, after which it was likely arranging the probes in a scanning pattern and actually scanning.
Eventually the probes disappear from d-scan and I tell Fin to get ready, but when the Loki appears it is not at our K162. It looks like the Loki has found one of the other wormholes and, as Fin reported the static connection was reaching the end of its natural lifetime, I warp to the K162 from low-sec to see if can catch the Loki. He's not there and he's back on d-scan, so I warp back to the K162 home in case Fin's about to ambush him. Just as I enter warp the Loki appears on the wormhole I'm leaving, but that turns out to be not such a bad situation. My short sighting of the ship has given me a pilot name as well as showing that the ship is blue. It looks like an allied corporation has found their way in to the same C3 as us.
I relay the information to Fin, who is, like me, a little disappointed that we can't shoot the Loki, and she opens a diplomatic channel to confirm our reciprocal presences in the C3. With the niceties out of the way it's time to see what being blue really means, as we swap back to our Tengus and return to the C3 to clear the Sleepers out of the second magnetometric site, as planned. It seems we won't be blindsided by the blue Loki, perhaps because Fin is talking to the boss-man of her corporation, who has reminded his pilot about checking statuses before engaging. I am invited in to the conversation and we have a pleasant chat about w-space tactics and secrets whilst we finish off the Sleepers, note the Loki's comings and goings, and sweep up the loot from the second site much as we did the first.
The Loki scans, we finish our combat and salvaging, and we get home with bundles of loot without being interrupted. It's been a good evening, even if our target turned out not to be one after all. Over two hundred million iskies of loot, salvage, and artefacts are dumped in to our hangar, ready to be taken out and converted to actual currency when we next get a decent exit. We don't continue from the magnetometric sites in to the anomalies, lacking time, which is a shame as a quick look revealed over forty of them. That's the untidiest occupied system I've seen in a while, but it was to our advantage. A few more nights like this and I won't feel so guilty about losing Pengu.