I'm out for some early reconnaissance again, looking for opportunities now to create mayhem later. I may not need to look far soon, as the home system is getting crowded and may well attract a passing fleet to cull our Sleeper population growth, but today I have to scan my way to our neighbouring class 3 w-space system. And getting in to the C3 has an interesting sight appear immediately on my directional scanner. A Noctis salvager apparently alone in space, with only a jet-can to accompany it. Of course, this is the time I'm spat out under one kilometre from the K162, giving me quite a distance to speed across before I can cloak again, but this is one reason why I fit a micro warp drive. I burn away from the wormhole and cloak, performing a passive scan of the system once hidden again.
My scan reveals eleven anomalies in the system but I can't find the Noctis in any of them. In fact, the Noctis has disappeared from d-scan completely, which at least makes it piloted but has me wondering if I was spotted. I can do little else but explore until I get another sighting of the Noctis. I warp to a distant planet to see a tower on d-scan along with an Exequror cruiser and Impairor frigate, but before I find the tower three Tengu strategic cruisers and a Drake battlecruiser warp nearby, as picked up by d-scan. They are not at the tower but in a nearby anomaly. So I've found the fleet, which may mean the Noctis is salvaging elsewhere, but nowhere I can see. If I can't find him directly I'm best served following combat.
I warp in to the anomaly where the fleet is engaging Sleepers, making myself a suitable point to monitor their progress. It's all rather straightforward, and quite quick, the Sleepers eradicated from this site by the time I've warped back to my monitoring point. There's no sign of the Noctis yet, either in the site or on d-scan, and although I wonder if the combat ships are loitering in the site to guide their salvager here they warp out before the Noctis can be seen. It's not long before the site despawns, leaving just wrecks in space. Juicy. I bet this is what the Noctis has been waiting for. A despawned site may not actually assure no one is waiting in it, but it at least means new visitors won't be able to find the site without using combat probes to scan for the salvaging ship directly. I'm already here, though.
The Noctis appears on d-scan and I get ready. I align my ship towards the wrecks and watch as the salvager warps in. Picking a wreck close to the Noctis's landing point I engage my warp drive and surge forwards, decloaking shortly before landing ten kilometres from my target, getting my weapons systems hot. I lock on to the salvager, disrupt its warp engines, and start shooting. Amusingly, the Noctis continues to salvage as I'm ripping through his fairly sturdy shields, so rather cheekily I open a wreck or two as they pass my Tengu and transfer the contained loot to my hold. This is proper piracy. The Noctis holds out for a short while but inevitably pops, the pod bursting from the wreck in a shower of blue sparks. I'm aligning back to my safe spot as the ship explodes, watching for the fleet to reappear and shoo me away, and I try to stop the pod escaping. The pod flees, and the fleet doesn't return.
If no one's coming to teach me a lesson I have time to look in the wreck of the salvager. Oh, that's lovely. I transfer around a hundred million ISK of Sleeper loot to my hold, popping the Noctis wreck after having done so, making this a better than average kill for me. Judging by the booty it looks like the Noctis was carrying maybe six sites' worth of loot, which is a fair amount to lose. Sadly, also lost was the bulk of the salvage, almost two hundred million ISK turned to dust. Still, it wasn't mine to start with, and you have to break a few eggs to make an omelette. There are also some wrecks left behind, which could net a small profit, and it doesn't look like the fleet is going to claim them with force. I'd better make sure, though.
A Tengu blips on to d-scan briefly, maybe trying to gauge if I am still around, but that's all I see of the fleet. Another site that they were blasting through is clear of Sleepers but otherwise untouched, which leaves even more wrecks for the opportunistic salvager. I launch probes and scan, looking to see how safe it is for me, and resolve five wormholes amongst the fourteen signatures. One wormhole is a K162 from class 4 w-space that's at the end of its life, another a K162 from null-sec k-space that is also EOL. The third wormhole is the static connection to low-sec empire space and quite healthy, and the fourth, a K162 from class 5 w-space, is perhaps the source of the fleet, as it has been destabilised to half-mass already. The fifth wormhole is a stable K162 from null-sec. I'm surprised that a fleet would choose to clear anomalies in such a connected system.
If the fleet scouted and saw all the wormholes they won't know where I've come from, and probably won't even suspect a new wormhole opening in to the C3. And as the fleet is refusing to return, and I am left alone with a couple of despawned sites, I think I'll salvage after all. I jump home and grab a salvaging destroyer from our hangar, favouring agility more than the bonuses of the Noctis, as I won't be able to use tractor beams on the yellow wrecks. I warp to the site of the ambush and sweep up, pathing a course between the wrecks and burning point-to-point reminding me of times before the Noctis. I clear the site of my ambush, and the other site the fleet abandoned, with no sign of any ships, and take home a respectable fifty million ISK of piratical gains, which is pretty good for a reconnaissance jaunt. Now it's time for a celebratory sammich.