Gas has floated out of the home system to be replaced by what I assume are new and almost entirely similar pockets of gas. But assumptions are about as reliable as a Gallente's word, and one of the signatures resolves to be a second wormhole. Where does it come from? I don't think I'll ever know, not when I land in empty space where the wormhole is meant to be. Get bent, dead wormhole, I'll explore through our static connection instead.
A tower, loads of bubbles, and a lack of ships in our neighbouring class 3 w-space system has my launching probes pretty quickly. Scanning will be quick too, with only two anomalies and three signatures. Either that, or because I almost warp in to a defence around the tower, despite my interdiction-nullified cloaky Loki strategic cruiser avoiding all the bubbles easily enough. Without any decloaking canisters scattered around, I almost would have preferred to find myself on the edge of one of the bubbles, but I manage to manoeuvre away from the defence and force field whilst maintaining my cloak.
After my little excitement I get another minor jolt, as the directional scanner is now showing me probes where before there were none. They aren't my probes either, as I know how to hide mine until I'm ready to use them. Still, I can scan quickly, and as there is a scout I think I'll loiter on our K162 as I resolve the couple of unidentified signatures. They're both wormholes, naturally, and one has an Imicus appear under my probes as I resolve it.
The scanning frigate's probes are still visible, assuming they are his I am seeing, so he hasn't left this system. I warp to the wormhole I just resolved to find a K162 from class 4 w-space and no frigate, but did he warp from here or to here? I don't know, but I'm pretty sure he hasn't found our K162 yet so it is seems sensible to head back that way again. Now the probes disappear, and their disappearance brings a Buzzard on d-scan. Were they the covert operations boat's probes after all, and the Imicus has already gone?
With the Buzzard comes a new signature, painfully obvious to anyone with eyes, and right after I've recalled my probes. But still I see it. I miss the mystery there used to be in w-space. I can't rue the changes now, as the Imicus is visible on d-scan, and a hundred kilometres from our K162. Okay, I think he's found it. He's seen the new signature too, as he launches probes and cloaks. This looks like a race, so I relaunch my probes and resolve the new signature, warping to the static wormhole as I do.
Once more I end up in empty space. It must have died and the new wormhole is its replacement, which a little scanning and another warp confirms. I snuggle up to the U210 and wait for the inevitable appearance of the Imicus, but when he obliges me with his presence the frigate is again a hundred kilometres away. Still, it's a pattern, and I suspect I can abuse that. He even speaks in local, to who I don't know, and what I can't tell, and I ignore that to check the vector of the Imicus. It looks like he warped from the C4 K162. That's good information.
I warp to the C4 K162, dropping a hundred kilometres short, aiming to bounce back to the U210 at a similar range and attempt to decloak the Imicus. All goes well until I update d-scan as I turn around. The Imicus is visible. Is he burning to the wormhole our bouncing himself? Bouncing, because the frigate appears almost on top of me. I decloak as the ship decelerates, hoping to soak up the recalibration delay, and activate my offensive systems. But even my sensor-booster Loki isn't quick enough to lock on to the Imicus before it warps clear, back to the low-sec exit, damn him.
The Imicus has escaped my clutches, but I know where he's going. I warp back to the U210 too and, seeing nothing, exit to low-sec. But in low-sec I don't see the pilot's name in the local communication channel. Did he drop short in w-space and cloak? That would be quick thinking. As I consider my options, not particularly wanting to polarise myself right now, a new Imicus appears near the wormhole. Well, I was chasing one, so this will do. I go for a positive lock, but he jumps to C3a before I can do much about it. And, again, I'm not keen on polarising myself, particularly as this Imicus could probably just return to low-sec to get safe. I guess I'll just wait here.
A minute passes and the wormhole crackles. What is w-space bringing me? An Impairor! I target, lock, and shoot the ship, which explodes a little too easily for it to be the hauler or transport I obviously got this rookie frigate confused with, and I feel a bit stupid having shot it. The ejected pod nudges my Loki in defiance as I rifle through the wreckage, despairing at my loss of security status for a civilian gun and mining laser. The pod warps away, I urge myself to learn the ship names a little better, and, with no other transits, finally jump back to w-space.
The wormhole is clear in C3 but there are probes on d-scan. Are they from the low-sec Imicus? I consider loitering on our K162 again, but as I move from the wormhole the Buzzard decloaks and jumps to low-sec. A Buzzard whose pilot has a very familiar name. He's the goit who spoke in local comms earlier. Holy shitsnacks, I really need to start paying better attention. Reviewing my logs sees that the Imicus I chased in w-space is the same one I saw in low-sec—there aren't two—and that I could have tried to catch him polarised on the U210. I'm a damned fool.
The wormhole crackles again, but it's not the Buzzard. Another Impairor comes through, the pilot having been gifted a new one from docking in station, and warps to the C4 K162, presumably jumping when he drops from d-scan. The Buzzard decloaks on the wormhole too, warping to the local tower. That makes sense. I follow behind the Impairor, out of curiosity more than anything, and enter C4a, where a little exploring finds the Imicus floating inside a tower's force field with colleagues. The pilot of the Impairor is now in a Drake battlecruiser, and the Typhoon and Raven battleship, and Cormorant destroyer, are all piloted.
I don't think it matters that I've finally found the source of the earlier activity, not now that I've blown my opportunity on chasing an Imicus and popping a crappy Impairor in the constellation. I really mucked up pilots' names this evening, and I deserve my lack of success because of it. I sit and watch the ships in the tower in C4a for a little while, but once it's pretty obvious they are not about to do anything I turn my ship around and head home.