Our poppet's on-line, but where? 'Scanning, at home.' Great, let's do it, and get Fin home. A pretty bare home system is livened up by a single extra signature, which even though it's some gas is pretty exciting after having scummy visitors almost strip us clean of any resource. Otherwise it's just us and the static wormhole to class 3 w-space. I pop through to see what today's neighbours are up to.
Ships, towers, and probes, oh my. This system has everything. And a recent visit, only a month earlier, should make finding the Venture mining frigates, Mackinaw and Hulk exhumers, and combat ships easy, as I doubt the tower's been moved for shits and giggles. Actually, before I look for the ships directly I'll warp out to launch my own probes. The ones already in the system are only core probes, so my cloaky Loki strategic cruiser won't be detected when dropping my cloak, and doing so will save time. If there are ships to hunt or not I will have to launch probes anyway, so rather than look first and then warp out and back, I can simply launch probes and warp in.
With my combat probes launched and blanketing the system, I locate the ships. One tower has a Sabre interdictor, Naga battlecruiser, Anathema covert operations boat, and Cheetah covert operations boat, all empty. The second tower has the defenceless ships, with the Mackinaw, Hulk, Venture, and Occator transport, Orca industrial command ship, Rorqual capital industrial ship, Atron frigate, and two shuttles. Four capsuleers are spread amongst these ships. What's more interesting is the one Venture on d-scan not accounted for between the two towers.
A lack of piloted combat ships should make this hunt relatively straightforward, even if the Venture itself is agile and potentially able to warp out before the decloaking recalibration of my targeting systems completes. What more concerns me is the core probes that remain in the system, as seen on my directional scanner. If the scout is paying attention he may well have spotted our K162 newly connecting to this system. Even if he's not paying attention, one has to consider that eventually he'll resolve the K162 as with any other signature, realise the threat the wormhole presents, and inform his mining colleague. So I'd best be quick, I suppose.
I have a rough bearing on the Venture in space, but before I refine my estimate I adjust the range gate on d-scan. I'm too far away, it seems. Or, rather, I could be closer. Closer is good when hunting with d-scan, as azimuth errors increase significantly the further away the target, so I warp my Loki towards what looks to be the closest planet to the Venture. Now I look for him in earnest. Okay, there he is. D-scan is showing the frigate in a five-degree beam, about 2·6 AU distant.
I arrange my probes in that rough volume of space—not that rough, really, given the relative size of space—and check once more that my target is in the same place. Nopers. He's gone. And a Drake battlecruiser is new to d-scan, which is interesting. It's possible that Sleepers have arrived to protect the rocks or gas the Venture was stealing, and the Drake is going to shoo them, so continuing to be optimistic I go for a quick scan whilst the pilot may not be paying attention. It's a good result, the vast pocket of gas in the ladar site being resolved in one scan.
Now to make a tactical bookmark. I got close to the Venture to hunt him, but warping in to a gas site safely, where clouds generally appear above and below the cosmic signature, really shouldn't be done from a high angle. That's no bother, though, even with the site sitting a fair distance below me. I merely warp to a distant planet and back in to the ladar site, so that the few AU below the ecliptic plane the site sits is made insignificant compared to the long distance travelled along the ecliptic plane. Learn your Pythagoras, kids. It helps with internet spaceships.
I don't decloak when warping in to the ladar site, which is good. I make myself a perch, to wait for the Venture to return, or the Drake to arrive, and... that's a point. If the Drake is to clear the Sleepers, where are they? The ladar site is empty of any threat—except for yours truly—which means that the Drake is going to be used for another purpose. Probably the same purpose that the Dominix battleship, Hurricane battlecruiser, and Abaddon battleship also new to d-scan are being prepared for.
The sudden swapping to combat ships cannot be a coincidence. Our K162 must have been spotted, which means that the ships are preparing for a scrap on the wormhole, or, more likely, they are going to collapse the connection so they can continue their isolated operations. Not only will the Venture not be back in the ladar site for a while, if I'm not careful I will be stranded. I could hold, willingly get separated from home, and aim for the Venture, but the destruction of a single mining frigate is hardly worth the inconvenience of getting locked out. I'll go back.
The Drake is sitting on the wormhole as I drop out of warp, joined by a new Rook recon ship. I hold and watch as the battleships warp in, jump to our home system, and return. First pass complete. Now most of their pilots are polarised, and although the Drake isn't he's not much of a threat. I think he's just there to discourage any more jumps from our side, with the Rook looking to keep him safe with its ECM. I'm probably best served returning home now, before an Orca is brought in to sever the connection quickly. I approach the wormhole, decloak, and jump without incident.
It's a shame the locals were scanning. I pretty much had the Venture in my sights. One minute quicker and I may have popped him too. But never mind. The Raven, Dominix, and Abaddon battleships come through our wormhole again, halving the mass of the wormhole. A few minutes' wait, and they are back, this time with the predicted Orca. Without hanging around, the ships return to their class 3 w-space home, and with our wormhole, well, dropping to a critically destabilised mass. Bastards. So much for them doing our job and providing us with a new constellation to roam.