I know C2a. Not intimately, like we see each other every day, but in reconnoitring the path an Occator transport took, before its warp core-stabilised cheating self escaped my clutches, I entered and scanned the class 2 w-space system. I know it has the two static wormholes, one to the class 4 system home of the Occator and the other an exit to high-sec the transport was using, as well as a K162 from more class 2 w-space. There are also three towers, currently empty of ships. What this means is that I can bypass C2a and head directly to C2b to look for more ships to shoot.
Circumstances don't look promising on entering C2b. Drones don't tend to get abandoned for no reason, so seeing a flight of them in otherwise empty space makes me think that I'm not about to find any active pilots. How right I am. Exploring the system doesn't even find occupation, let alone ships or capsuleers, but that just means I'm back to scanning for wormholes. There should be a wormhole to find too. Well, naturally there is the other static wormhole, which as the first goes to class 2 w-space will lead to low-sec empire space. But as wormholes need to be opened, and this system is unoccupied, someone must have come in to open the wormhole to C2a. I'm looking for a K162.
I look for a K162 amongst the eight anomalies and five signatures, but I don't find one. The low-sec exit is the only signature of interest, and even the level of interest in that wormhole is low. The exit leads to Domain, ten hops to Amarr, with half-a-dozen pilots in the system and no other signatures. That leaves me going back the way I came. I return to C2b, warp and jump to C2a, and head across to the wormhole to C4a. Will someone be waiting for me there, hoping to exact revenge for having the audacity to shoot one of their ships? The pilot of the Occator seemed a little upset after all. But, no. The wormhole is clear, no one is lying in wait, and even the Occator is gone.
The transport could be making another trip to high-sec, but I'm not waiting a second time for him to come back, even if I could add another point or two of warp disruption just to annoy him. I'd rather find a new target, and as I've yet to head through our own static wormhole there could be a target to find. I jump home, warp to the connection, and go through to tonight's neighbouring class 3 w-space system.
A tower is visible on my directional scanner, as is a Dominix battleship. That's rather more ship than I can expect to engage by myself, but as there are no wrecks on d-scan it may not be doing anything anyway. A visit to the system from five months ago sees that the tower is different, and, once I locate the new one and see the Dominix is empty, I'm left scanning the eight anomalies and seven signatures for the static exit to null-sec. I find the characteristically weak signature as expected, as well as a chubbier wormhole. What can it be? Ah, hilarious. It's a K162 from null-sec.
Okay, to null-sec! Through the static wormhole first, to appear in Etherium Reach. The system is empty of pilots, so I rat. It's not empty of signatures, so I also scan. I resolve a wormhole and pop a battleship, warping to the connection to see a Z971 outbound link to class 1 w-space. How lovely, let's see who's inside. A tower and ships light up d-scan, with two Retriever mining barges, a Rorqual capital industrial ship, and three battlecruisers all in the system. It's a shame that d-scan puts all the ships and tower together, but the scanner doesn't show me pilots. Locating and warping to the tower does that, and I see that the two Retrievers are piloted.
Normally, finding a pair of miners in w-space gets me a little excited. Not tonight. The Retrievers are almost certainly back in the force field of their tower because the horrible discovery scanner automatically popped up the new signature of the K162 in this C1 system when I warped to the Z971 in null-sec, immediately alerting the miners to the new threat. And, sure enough, both pilots go off-line within a couple of minutes. How tedious.
Back to null-sec, C3a, and out through the K162 to more null-sec, this time in Stain with two other pilots in the system. I'm ready to ignore this system too, but seeing one extra signature and knowing that scanning whilst cloaked is a relatively safe activity I feel compelled to see if there is another wormhole here. I launch probes and start looking, and at first I think I will resolve a wormhole, what with the covert operations boat sitting on top of the signature. But as a subsequent scan has the cov-ops remain on the signature, rather than jumping or cloaking, and with the signature strength being extremely weak, I suspect what I'm resolving is a relic site.
My combat scanning probes fully resolve the ship before the site, but that's enough for me to warp in and take a look. I aim to get close but not cosy with the ship, just in case of unforeseen trouble, and indeed I warp to a relic site that the Cheetah is currently attempting to loot. I perform a quick sanity check on the pilot, particularly now that two more pilots have turned up in the system, and note that she has no colleagues obviously nearby. It seems that she really is engrossed in analysing the relics. That works for me.
I approach the Cheetah, decloak my Loki strategic cruiser, and get the sensor booster active. The few seconds of sensor recalibration pass and I am able to get a positive target lock on the cov-ops, at which point I scramble its warp drives and start shooting. A few good hits is enough to rip the small ship apart, which wakes the pilot up enough for her to get her pod away cleanly, leaving me a wreck to loot. And it's pretty good loot too, with this perhaps not being her only site of the evening.
I grab the loot and run, but not back to the wormhole. I managed to forget to bookmark it, like a newbie, so have to pick an arbitrary celestial object to warp to before whoever owns the core probes now visible on d-scan has them converge on my position and maybe bring a bigger fish. Once out of the pocket I launch probes and resolve the wormhole back to C3a, enabling me to head home. Taking a look at the kill, now that I'm back in control, sees that the total loss to the pilot is close to a quarter-of-a-billion ISK, with maybe 140 Miskies now in my cargo hold. Easy-mode mining is fun, but easy-mode relic analysis is more profitable.