There seem to be enough early risers in w-space, so I'm up early too, hoping to catch one out. Here's one already, my glorious leader sucking on the gas cloud in the home system, a Schrödinger's Target. Fin's testing her maximised Venture frigate and has no problems with my exploring, so I scan and find today's wormhole sitting on yesterday's bookmark. Or, rather, yesterday's wormhole still alive, just.
I can wait for the static connection to die. Or I could jump through and take a look around, if my maths is correct and I have a couple of hours left. The neighbouring class 3 system looks like it did yesterday, with an empty Talos battlecruiser sitting in a tower's force field, but my maths is horribly wrong. Decimal addition doesn't work so well for base-twelve calculations. I jump back home and wait for the wormhole to die, which should happen approximately two hours ago.
Waiting for a wormhole to die is a little like waiting for a hauler to collect planet goo, except at least the wormhole will definitely do something. And there she goes. Now to seek and resolve the replacement wormhole, and jump to a new neighbouring C3. A tower and no ships is visible on my directional scanner from the K162, and I warp directly to the tower using my notes from two weeks ago. Ah, yes, the tower with the canisters placed star-wards, which I conveniently avoid. Good notes, have a biscuit.
Scanning reveals three anomalies and thirteen signatures, and although a wormhole crops up early in the results the K162 from deadly class 6 w-space looks ominous. More so because of the ship that appears under my combat scanning probes as I resolve the wormhole, which must surely have implied my presence. Continued scanning resolves a couple more wormholes, but both the static exit to and a K162 from low-sec are at the end of their lives and mostly useless. So much for heading away from the ship that knows I'm here. There's nothing for it but to run headlong in to him.
Jumping in to C6a looks clear, though. Well, on the wormhole, at least, as d-scan shows differently. A Revelation dreadnought, Archon carrier, Chimera carrier, and four Loki strategic cruisers can't be up to nothing without a tower in sight, and a bunch of wrecks shows that there is indeed Sleeper combat happening. It's a shame that their scout must have seen me, right? The one sitting on the wormhole that they know is open, waiting for the pilot they've detected in the neighbouring system. They are watching for that, I have no doubt.
As I move from the wormhole and cloak, a Buzzard covert operations boat blips on scan, nowhere near the wormhole, and the Chimera disappears from the operation. The other boats stay, though, which is fair enough. There are more of them than me, and clearly have the firepower to destroy class 6 Sleeper battleships. I'm small fry. Even so, I look for the anomaly, finding it from one of several thrown up on a passive scan, warp in to make a perch, then explore the rest of the system.
A tower sits out of d-scan range of the Sleeper operation, where more capital ships, the Buzzard, and a Proteus strategic cruiser float inside its force field. There are plenty of pilots available, and some threatening ships, but without more space to explore I may as well watch the show, particularly as the Moros dreadnought warps away from the tower to initiate another escalation in the anomaly. Fin's optimistic about it all, saying that 'we could take the Revelation, but the Lokis and Archon might be a problem'. I think it'll be okay, as they'll just flee back to the tower. Then again, circumstances are going to look better when you're sucking gas from a cloud and not seeing all the ships on your overview.
There's no point bringing Fin my way, as there'll be nothing to shoot. Not without dying. I'll stick around anyway, even though this may take a while. And it's worth staying, if only to see the short work the fleet makes of the Sleeper battleships, really cutting through them and reducing their numbers to one pretty quickly. Just imagine what they'd do to my cloaky Loki. The fleet knows what it's doing too, with the capital escalations, and by keeping one battleship alive for the site to reset tomorrow. They still need to collect their loot, though, but there are ways.
I imagine a Noctis will be brought in under the protection of the fleet, remote repairs been effected to easily counter whatever the sole Sleeper battleship can do. But the locals take a different tack, one pilot swapping to a Scorpion battleship, no doubt to keep the battleship permanently jammed and prevent it from shooting the Noctis in the first place. That works too. It also means that the rest of the fleet can... leave? All of the Lokis, the Archon, the Revelation? Yep, they all warp out once the Scorpion has the battleship jammed and the Noctis is safely salvaging.
I don't quite believe what I'm seeing, but it looks genuine. More so because when another ship warps in it is still not an escort but a second Noctis. Now, of course, ambushing the salvagers will still be risky, as the Scorpion could simply stop its jams and the Sleeper battleship will take out its ire on whoever it fancies, which could be me. But it could also be one of the Noctes, so that shouldn't be an immediate option. And because protecting the salvagers is the priority, I imagine the Scorpion has its mid rack stuffed with ECM modules, without a slot free for a warp disruptor. I should be able to escape. What the hell. I'm going for it.
I warp in, get close to the two salvagers—both next to each other, for maximum vulnerability—and lock on to both. The unlucky first Noctis gets warp scrambled and autocannon fire from my Loki, as the second aligns away from the site and warps clear. I wasn't going to get both, so I don't really mind that. Hell, I didn't think I'd get one, and if I knew two would be here I'd have brought Fin along for the chuckles. And rather than trying to be even vaguely sensible, the Scorpion doesn't attempt to jam my positive lock but instead warps clear himself. See ya, you weirdo.
The first Noctis is clearly considered a goner. Maybe the Scorpion pilot is hoping the Sleeper battleship will chase me off before I can cut through the Noctis's hull. It's a
good thought, but it doesn't work. I shirk off the Sleeper laser fire as I finish off the Noctis, aiming for but missing the ejected pod as the salvager explodes, and I have plenty of shield left to loot not just the Noctis wreck, shooting it afterwards, but also a couple of Sleeper wrecks that are nearby, before the Sleeper battleship's missiles start doing threatening damage. Without any trace of panic—a curious sensation given the class of w-space I'm in, the fleet that was here minutes earlier, and the direct and serious threat my ship should be under right now—I turn my Loki around and warp back to my perch.
The rest of those wrecks look quite tempting from this distance. Each is full of lovely blue loot, and the lone battleship isn't too much of a threat. That Loki that blips on d-scan may be, though, and he could be on the wormhole in C3a waiting for me. Maybe I should cheese it. Warping to the wormhole finds a cheery sight, with a single probe launched nearby, indicating that the Loki is still in this system and looking for new wormholes. Nope, I'm the one whose combat scanning probes were missed by your scout in C3a. I'll show myself out.
I jump to C3a, move away from the clear wormhole and cloak, and sit and watch as the C6ers decide to kill their static connection. It's a shame that, because they connect to class 3 w-space, they can't even use capital ships to crash their wormhole, and they have to use Orca industrial command ships like us normal pilots. It's a little late to be doing this too. I really shouldn't have got the kill, not with my scanning being obvious, or a scout and with enough pilots to escalate the site multiple times being available for one of them to watch a wormhole. That's peculiar behaviour from C6 residents, if you ask me.
It's a good kill all the same, and I'm taking it. I'm not taking much loot home with me, maybe fifty million ISK in total, which is peanuts from a C6 anomaly that was escalated multiple times, but the loot was split across two salvagers, some was destroyed in the wonderful explosion, and I struck soon because I was dumbfounded about actually getting the opportunity. I think it's time for a celebratory sammich!