Two new signatures in the home system today could be interesting. And I'd say two extra wormholes are interesting. Our static connection to class 3 w-space is joined by two K162s, one from a class 4 system and one from a class 5 system. I end my reconnoitring by the C4 K162, so waste no more time warping around and simply jump through to see what I can find. Ships. And wrecks. But no anomalies. And now no Proteus, the strategic cruiser disappearing from my directional scanner to leave the three other strategic cruisers visible, all Tengus. As there aren't any anomalies, and it doesn't take four strategic cruisers to salvage wrecks, I am looking for a radar or magnetometric site, which will mean launching probes. If I am to hunt the ships—or, specifically, the following salvager—I need probes to locate the site.
I don't mind having to find a site under pressure of pilots potentially watching d-scan, as I have a fair bit of success doing that. But it often relies on launching probes covertly, which today is posing a problem. Warping to one side of the system has the Tengus in d-scan range, and crossing to the other side has the tower in range, and the Tengus. It's quite bad luck too, as the nearest planet from this position is 16·5 AU away, and the Tengus are 13·5 AU distant. There's not much I can do about the situation, and I should probably be more concerned about the disappearance of the Proteus than the proximity of the Tengus.
Talk of the devil, the Proteus reappears, just as the Tengus leave. I suspect the ships are not local to this C4, which I deduce from none of the missing ships turning up at the tower. I'm a detective genius. And as the wrecks start being whittled down, it looks like the Proteus is the salvaging ship, in place of a normal Noctis or an old-school destroyer. There's nothing for me to do here but throw my ship in to an unwinnable situation, so I turn around and head back home. I have two more wormholes to explore through.
The class 5 w-space system isn't much better. My notes listing a lack of occupation may be two-and-a-half years old, but they remain current. C5a must see its fair share of visitors, though, as it only holds three anomalies and eight signatures, sifting through which a K162 from class 6 w-space crops up. I resolve two more wormholes amongst the Sleeper noise, but only an exit to low-sec and a K162 from null-sec, neither of which interest me at the moment. Deadly w-space, here I come!
Damn these C6ers and their towers and ships. Eleven ships, comprising strategic cruisers, capitals, and industrials, sit on d-scan along with nine towers. Finding one tower is easy, as it is around a planet with one moon, but that tower lacks any ships. The other eight towers are all around one other planet, and it takes me a while to locate them all with certainty. A slight miscount makes me scratch my head, as I seem to have found nine towers around this planet, until I realise that one of the towers is off-line and can be discounted. And once I correct my mistake I locate all of the ships and realise I don't care a jot for any of them that are piloted. Rather than waste more time here, I head homewards and through our static connection.
Sadness overwhelms me in C3a, as I find myself in an unoccupied and inactive system. A well-trodden unoccupied and inactive system, however, with two anomalies and three signatures waiting to be uncovered, but unoccupied and inactive all the same. The static exit to low-sec is a surprise, the only one I imagine I will get, as I expected the wormhole to take me to null-sec, and as the other signature is a radar site I have no reason to stay in w-space now. I leave through the U210 to arrive in the midst of a damned Incursion, with its stupid additional comms channel, and stupid mixed-up colours. Apparently it's not bad enough that I'm in the stupid Placid region.
Scanning reveals four additional signatures, one of which is a wormhole, whose green sheen doesn't completely obscure the grey of a class 3 K162. I jump through, hoping for something better than C3a. Well, it's occupied, which is something, as a tower and Tengu—named WH-Tengu—appear on d-scan. And wrecks. Sleeper wrecks. A passive scan brings up the anomalies with little fuss, and I'd normally make a crack about there being thirty-one of them, but it looks like the Tengu is doing its best to reduce that number. Or maybe it isn't. I sweep d-scan around on a tight beam looking for the ship and the wrecks, and finally find the wrecks without a ship. I note the anomaly and bring d-scan back to a broad beam, to see a Noctis salvager replacing the Tengu. And in the cleared anomaly.
The Tengu has gone, but I spent a while trying to find the only anomaly with wrecks that I don't know if the ships were swapped or the Tengu remains busy out of d-scan range. I have warped in to the anomaly to line up an ambush on the Noctis, but I'd prefer a Tengu kill. If he's active elsewhere, and flying predictably, I probably have time to get a different ship across here. And as the Noctis is curiously crawling from one group of wrecks to another, some distance away from it, I have time to check the rest of the system. At least, I think I do. Happy with my strategic bookmark in the anomaly, for a quick return and strike at the Noctis, I cross to the other side of the system looking for the Tengu, but finding only a second tower, and maybe a third, with a pair of haulers visible on d-scan. No Tengu.
Back I go to the Noctis. I hope I haven't wasted too much time. And it looks okay when I return to the anomaly. The Noctis has made it to the other wrecks and is salvaging fairly efficiently, but his looting is a little lacking. Cans are scattered around the ship, flotsam from the salvaged Sleeper wrecks. Beacons for my nav-comp. I warp in close to the cans, close to the Noctis, decloaking as my warp engines cut out and getting my systems hot. Lock, point, shoot. I give the Noctis a nudge in case it's thinking about trying to escape, but it isn't really needed. The industrial ship explodes, throwing its pod in to space, a pod that flees without hesitation. That's a shame, but at least my sensor booster was active this time.
I loot and shoot the wreck of the Noctis, as I tend to do, and notice again all the cans scattered around. Cans of Sleeper loot, all nicely clustered close to me. D-scan looks clear, with just the escaped pod looking distinctly unthreatening, so I loot, loot, and loot, grabbing almost thirty million ISK of profit to go with the surviving modules of the Noctis.
I keep d-scan updated, as looting is not a particularly intensive process, and see the pod return to its tower and board a Manticore, the stealth bomber disappearing, cloaking, moments later. I wouldn't mind trying to provoke a counter-attack from a stealth bomber, but despite my best efforts of loitering in the site and, after that gets boring, taking my time approaching the wormhole to return to low-sec, I don't see the Manticore again. I imagine the ship is being used more for the stealth aspect than as a bomber. Still, I've had my fun, after a fair bit of exploration, and am happy to return home with my bounty. I don't even care to check the other systems for new activity, simply going off-line for the night after dumping my loot.