If there's a match for my patience it's my persistence. Fin and I have spent half the evening watching a Hoarder hauler refuse to move, then tried to ambush a Cheetah covert operations boat that didn't want to explore beyond its home system's normal borders, before giving up when the Hoarder seemed to warp past us whilst remaining at the tower. Now the Cheetah is in the tower piloted by the Hoarder capsuleer, leaving doubt as to how many pilots and ships there may actually be active here.
I returned to the tower to find the Cheetah as my last action of the night, but my persistence won't let me actually leave. Despite the crazy level of coincidence required for the unknown hauler to return from low-sec at just the same time as I take one last look at the wormhole, particularly after having waited both at the tower and the wormhole for a fair amount of time already without bumping in to another ship, I warp back to the low-sec wormhole. But I am not just going to sit on the wormhole this time, I jump to low-sec to see if I can spot a familiar name in the local communication channel.
Well, would you look at that. I jump to low-sec at the same time as the mysterious Hoarder returns to the K162. I suppose that's good, in a way, as I honestly had no idea what name I was looking for in local comms, but it's pretty obvious when the ship is two kilometres from you. However, I now have the problem that the Hoarder is jumping in to w-space whilst I am sitting in low-sec, waiting for the session change timer to expire. On top of that, the pilot must know someone has just jumped out of their system, and he will be warping as quickly as possible after he jumps.
I never thought I'd say this, what with it giving a lower chance of catching ships and pods on wormholes, but I am glad of the reduced session change timer. I don't have a drawn-out wait before I can jump back to the C3, and on my return to w-space I decloak and get my sensor booster active immediately. The Hoarder is still aligning to enter warp, but not for long, as I get a positive lock and disrupt his engines. My missiles vaporise the industrial ship's shields, pound through the armour, and disintegrate the hull. The Hoarder explodes.
The pilot really could have escaped. She knows I jumped out to low and that I followed her back, all she had to do was jump back herself and warp clear in low-sec, realising that my ship would be polarised and unable to follow. But I suppose it's always easier to think clearly after the fact. Besides, the pilot isn't disorientated enough to let me catch her pod, and it warps out, towards the local tower. I loot and shoot the wreck, giving me another soft kill of little value, and still no corpse to scoop.
At least the mystery of the missing Hoarder is resolved. The Cheetah pilot scanned the exit to low-sec, returned to the tower, swapped to a second Hoarder, and went out to empire space herself, leaving her colleague in the tower as he was. Our stalking and reconnaissance simply missed the short periods she was in the tower. I take one last look at the tower, seeing the original pilot still in the Cheetah and the escaped pod now in a Tempest battleship, and, with a sense of closure, head home to sleep.