All looks clear at home, without even any colleagues around. Scanning picks up a second wormhole, though, and as interesting as a K162 from class 5 w-space could be this one is reaching the end of its natural lifetime. Without knowing how long the wormhole's been open I'm not going to risk even a simple look until I have a known route that will get me home again. Even a mere handful of recent encounters of wormholes dying on me minutes after resolving them, or when trying to jump through one, are enough to discourage me from being too cavalier about ageing connections. Instead, I head to our neighbouring class 3 w-space system, through a nicely stable wormhole.
My directional scanner is clear from the K162 in C3a, and the sole planet out of range shouldn't hold a tower, according to notes from just two months ago. But the tower that should be in range has been taken down cleanly, probably thanks to the static exit to high-sec I know the system has, and warping to the distant planet reveals a new tower has taken its place. There is also a Nemesis stealth bomber at the tower, but it floats unpiloted inside the force field. At least, I think it was inside the force field.
I warp out to launch probes and return to loiter outside the tower, not paying too much attention as I arrange the probes, and my eye is caught by changing numbers on my overview. I am stationary, so relative speeds should not be showing, but the Nemesis is on the move. The stealth bomber is slowing down, so I think it could be some weird lag effect of my dropping out of warp, but switching from the system map to see what's happening has the Nemesis now a hundred kilometres outside of the tower. That's most peculiar, and I even check to see if some wag has named himself 'Nemesis' and I just assumed the ship was empty. But, nope, the empty ship has flung itself out of the tower.
I return to concentrate on the two anomalies and sad-looking two signatures in the system, one of which is our K162 and the other the static connection. Sorry, newly arrived Aii, but your gas is in another w-space system. A Dominix warps in to the local tower, the battleship pilot looking to have just come on-line, and so I hustle to resolve the high-sec exit in the inner system, and then the Nemesis outside of the tower. If the capsuleer is going to try to collect the wayward ship I'd like to be there to surprise him. It takes a couple of scans to get the tiny stealth bomber bookmarked, and when I do I rush home to get a better ship.
The Nemesis is in range of the tower defences, and if I'm going to stupidly lose a ship to them it ought to be cheaper than my Loki strategic cruiser. My own stealth bomber fits the bill, as well as having no recalibration delay when decloaking. I even get home and back to the Nemesis before it's collected. Better still, the pilot Aii and I are now watching swaps to board an Iteron hauler, warping off shortly after to what looks like a customs office. I can engage that without fear of tower reprisals, so follow behind, taking my best guess at which of the tightly clustered planets the local is visiting first.
He went to the first planet, naturally. I drop out of warp to see the Iteron interacting with the customs office, and I do what comes naturally. I decloak, lock on, and start shooting. And I stop shooting after just one volley, as my torpedoes in a system affected by a magnetar phenomenon make short work of a basic hauler. I try to trap the pod but, for some reason, my stealth bomber isn't able to stop it warping back to the tower. Never mind, I loot and shoot the wreck, adding more expanded cargoholds to my expanding collection, before reloading and heading back to the tower to see what happens next.
What happens next is that the pod pilot sees my Manticore crash hard. No system responds to my commands, and no matter what I do I can't restart it. I have to completely power-cycle the ship just to get it going again, which is not only frustrating but makes a mockery of trying to be covert. When I finally return, almost ten minutes later, I ask Aii how visible I was during that time. 'Very', he says. That's just dandy. Still, I don't suppose the local pilot would have been caught unawares twice in the same way, even if several more Iterons appear at the tower sequentially.
Whatever the pilots are doing, they are probably all related and just going through some daily motions. Before long, the original pilot goes off-line, shortly followed by the final Iteron, and we are left alone again. I suppose I'll update my skill queue and head home. There could be more adventure to find through high-sec, but after the frustrating crash I think I'll take popping the Iteron as my fun for the evening.