I'm launching probes in a system I've already scanned. It's possible there is a new wormhole in the system, but I'm specifically looking for a pod that is somewhere unknown. If he's sitting on a new K162, all the better, as I will get a lock more quickly, even if it gives him an escape route. But it looks like I don't need to be too precise in scanning, as the pod has persisted on my directional scanner at the same time as core scanning probes have been whizzing around the system. Then again, core probes won't even notice a pod. My combat scanning probes will, however.
The core probes belong to an Imicus frigate, which is sitting in the tower local to this class 2 w-space system. I don't think he'll prove much of a threat, even without him looking for the pod, because Fin and I just recently turned his destroyer-flying colleague in to a corpse on a K162 wormhole he was scouting. So I ignore the Imicus, warp out to launch probes, and return to look for that persistent pod. As I say, I'm not using any finesse here, just plonking the probes within 8 AU of the pod and refining his position as if he were just another signature. It almost works.
I get the pod resolved to what looks to be one scan away from bookmarking his position, only for it to disappear on that final scan. Maybe the pod was watching d-scan after all, and was cunning enough to time his movements to thwart my scanning. But that's projecting far too much competence on to my target, and it's just as likely he warped clear for another reason. Indeed, I locate him again, and much quicker this time, as he's warped to one of the two static wormholes in C2a. I go to join him on the B274 to high-sec empire space, where as well as the pod I see an Orca.
The industrial command ship appears on d-scan before my overview, but the two are together at the wormhole. There's no point engaging the delicious target on a high-sec connection, as it will simply jump to Concord-protected safety. But I can watch them warp away, to what looks like empty space. I already know there are no new wormholes, so I bring my probes in again and look for the Orca, which is together with the pod in what must be a safe spot. This time, the fat Orca gives me a solid hit within a couple of scans, and I'm warping towards them immediately.
I drop out of warp almost on top of both the Orca and the pod, and, knowing the agility of the pod and lack thereof of the Orca, I aim for the whale. I get a positive lock, disrupt its warp drive, and call for Fin to warp to my position. My glorious leader has been monitoring one of the other wormholes in the system, but won't want to miss this target. As she warps in the pod warps out, evading my late attempt at locking it, as it seemed to be dallying a bit too much. But also as Fin warps in the Orca blinks out of existence. Well, shit.
It seems that I was seconds too late to stop the Orca from disappearing. I presume the ship pulled the power plugs to go off-line before I could gain a positive target lock, which may have resulted in an aggression timer and given the two of us plenty of time to pop the big ship. Instead, we had a minute to engage, which was barely enough time for Fin to warp to my position. That's unfortunate, and makes me think I should have aimed for the pod first, knowing that the Orca couldn't physically have left before I could have podded the pilot and switched targets. But, realistically, I had no chance of catching the pod so I think I made the right initial decision.
The pod's clear and the Orca is gone. All is not lost, though. I did indeed find the ship in a safe spot, and one that has been used as a stash. A few containers are anchored in this pocket of space, and they are standard containers, not locked. I approach one, open it, and am greeted by a small collection of ammunition and modules. Not much, admittedly, but more than nothing, and we can take what we can carry and destroy what we can't. I fill up my strategic cruiser, and Fin fills hers, although the Tengu can carry a whole can whilst I have to make do with scraps. But we deny the other pilots of what was theirs and get to keep what we can take. This is why you use combat scanning probes in w-space, Mr Imicus.
Job's a good 'un. But there is more space to explore. The C2 has connections going out to a class 1 w-space system and a K162 from more class 2 w-space. There is even a second class 3 system connected from our neighbouring C3, which is one jump backwards from this C2. Naturally, C1a is my first destination, and even though some squishy ships appear on d-scan with a tower, locating them shows they are pilotless and uninteresting. C2b looks better, with a tower and Hulk on d-scan, and even though the exhumer is inside the tower's force field, it's piloted.
There's nowhere to launch probes in C2b, but it doesn't look like the Hulk is paying much attention to anything. Whilst it stays in that state I get probes in and out of the system quickly, returning to loiter outside the tower to see where the Hulk warps. Except it doesn't warp, and stays in a state of not paying much attention to anything, and I get tired or waiting, and tired in general, before long. I recall my probes, jump back to C2a, return to the neighbouring C3a, and take a look in to C3b, where a tower and loads of ships light up d-scan. That looks very interesting.
The ships on d-scan in C3b look much less interesting in person, as they are all inside the tower's force field and unpiloted. I would suppose they are all floating around like that to project a sense of threat, but it doesn't really work on me. And it's late now, so I'm heading home for sleep. I divert in C3a a couple of times, looking beyond the two K162s from null-sec that I resolved earlier to rat, but I find only drones in a system in Etherium Reach through one K162. The system in The Kalevala Expanse has a cloaked pilot that is enough of a credible threat against the minuscule gain ratting affords for me not to bother here either. Still, a podding, hunt, and pillaging of a stash has been fine entertainment indeed.