There are going to be other pilots in w-space tonight. I can smell it. And that's not just a standard prediction that I occasionally make after what feels like a particularly dry spell, in a bid to play the odds and come out at the end of the evening looking like a prophet. Nope, there's capsuleers out there. I just have to find them.
In fact, I already know one pilot is out and about, as glorious leader Fin is in our neighbouring class 3 w-space system, having already scanned her way from home. I think that makes me technically correct, which is the best kind of correct. I probably shouldn't shoot her, though, and hunting Fin is made trivial when I can simply form a fleet and warp to her position, after following the bookmark breadcrumbs.
But what has Fin found? 'Null static', she says, 'plus one', which hopefully is a better wormhole than the first. I jump to C3a to find out with Fin, noting that this is my fourth visit to the system and the tower remains in the same place from ten months ago. Ignoring the static exit to null-sec, which is easy given its characteristically weak signature strength, we reconnoitre the second wormhole. It's a K162 from high-sec, and one at the end of its life. That's not much good at all.
The w-space constellation has ended early. We could kill our connection and start again, but as the null-sec wormhole possibly remains unopened, and the high-sec K162 is EOL, we could perhaps shoot some Sleepers to continue refilling our wallet. Tourists fom high-sec aren't likely to wander through a dying wormhole, and we can make ourselves safer by sticking to the magnetometric sites that Fin has resolved.
Anomalies can be found passively, which makes ambushes more likely. Magnetometric sites need to be found with scanning probes, which are detected by the directional scanner, at least giving us a chance of having some warning. So that's the plan. To make it safer still, we refit Fin's Tengu strategic cruiser with an analyser module and I take the Golem marauder as usual, for salvaging, so that we will only need to make one pass through the sites, and can flee with loot if necessary.
As with most of our plans, it doesn't quite work beyond the first step. There's a reason why we have dedicated analyser ships, and that's because analysing can be a bit hit-or-miss. The shield on Fin's Tengu is compromised for having fit the analyser, and having only one module installed makes for painfully slow retrieval of Sleeper artefacts. On top of that, I remember why we don't normally bring the Golem in to magnetometric sites when the Sleeper battleships, the marauder's specialty, mock me by easily moving and staying out of torpedo range.
We persevere with the first site, clearing the Sleepers and analysing with the Tengu, but return home to swap to a more suitable two-Tengu configuration for a second. Two Tengus work much better at chewing through the Sleepers without too much trouble, even if it means coming back with a salvager and analyser afterwards. But even then, my access to Tech II analyser modules makes recovering the artefacts a doddle. One pass with the modules cracks most of the containers, and I'm out of the site almost before Fin has got her Noctis salvager in to place.
Salvaging is straightforward, by the looks of it. I drop off the artefacts at the tower and, rather than let Fin take all the risk of staying in the site, get back in to my covert Loki strategic cruiser and return to the site in C3a to shadow her ship. No one interrupts us, though, and the second site is cleared without issue. Two is our limit tonight, if only because of the hassle involved with the first site, but we still have almost three hundred million ISK in loot brought home. So there were no other capsuleers after all, and I'm reminded of why we don't enter magnetometric sites so often. But the fact that they must be found with probes is actually a pretty good reason to consider them more often.