I'm back, with options. The neighbouring occupants could have woken up, a new wormhole could have opened in the constellation, or, most likely, the static exit to high-sec has died and been replaced. Not a bad start is seeing that the K162 from class 4 w-space connecting to our home system has been forced closed, no doubt by the definitely nomadic corporation not liking our system, which will make it much safer for me to kill our own static wormhole. If it comes to that.
In to C3a, where the Iteron hauler from earlier is gone and a Myrmidon battlecruiser has taken its place on my directional scanner. There are no visible wrecks, though, which leaves me checking the towers for the Myrmidon, and that's no easy task. There are seventeen towers in the system and I only know where one of them is. Luckily, that's also where the Myrmidon is, so I warp that way, confirm the ship is piloted, and start loitering.
I stop loitering with it being readily obvious that the battlecruiser's not up to anything, and check the two wormholes I have bookmarked. Both were at the end of their life earlier, and I took quite a break, so it's no surprise to see both the K162 from low-sec and the static exit to high-sec no longer present. That's good, I can scan for the replacement high-sec exit. I warp out of d-scan range of the Myrmidon to launch probes, once again bumping to the two towers on the edge of the system, but this time seeing another ship. It's an Iteron.
I locate both towers, warp to the one holding the hauler, and can't help but watch it for a few minutes, hoping it will collect planet goo with my cloaky Loki strategic cruiser for company. Of course, it doesn't, although the ship flips about its axis as I watch. Apparently that's not a capsuleer-initiated move, and rather indicates prolonged absence of pilot activity, letting me ignore it to scan the obviously new wormhole in the system.
Warping to and jumping through the exit sends me to a system in Derelik. I'm tempted to be hilarious and call it Dullerik, but the three extra signatures in the system hold another wormhole, which, given its weak strength indicates an outbound connection, is actually pretty cool. Well, it used to be, but outbound wormholes are now annoyingly obvious, thanks to the godawful discovery scanner. And I say 'thanks' with huge gobs of sarcasm thrown all over the place. But the X702 wormhole leads back to w-space, a class 3 system, and that's better than high-sec. And you never know, I may get lucky.
D-scan shows me just a few bubbles in C3b. Launching probes and blanketing the system shows me more, with fourteen anomalies, twelve signatures, and five ships dotted around. Warping in the general direction of the ships finds a tower at a far planet, where an Orca industrial command ship, Impairor frigate, shuttle, and Bestower hauler all float sadly empty of any pilots. I start thinking about scanning for wormholes when all those years of maths education starts to pay off. That's only four ships in the tower. My probes are showing me five. One is unaccounted for.
I warp back across the system and see a Drake battlecruiser all by itself, plus some Sleeper wrecks. Now that is interesting. Is the Drake in some trouble, trouble that I can exacerbate? I think he is, given that the ship serendipitously warps to the planet I've happened to land at, no doubt taking a breather from being shot by Sleepers to recharge his shields. And he is actively recharging his shields, so it seems by the frequent blue pulse skittering over the surface of his ship.
A shield-boosted Drake seems like a curious fitting choice, but then it is also a bit weird to use a Drake in wolf rayet system, which this C3 is. Wolf rayet phenomena boost armour and weaken shields, so of course the Drake isn't local. And he's off again, giving me the vector to the anomaly he's in. Or so I think. I warp to the anomaly to find nothing but Sleepers; no Drake, no wrecks. The battlecruiser is elsewhere.
I warp back to our planet of choice and get a bearing on the Drake, who has warped to where the Sleeper wrecks are, only to see the ship disappear from d-scan. He really is having trouble, which really is no surprise. Drakes are shield ships, Sleepers are armour ships—they don't even have shields—so this was never going to go well for him, particularly outside of a standard anomaly. But with the Drake gone I take the opportunity to find his site. Two scans bags it, not bad for resolving a data site, and I bookmark its location and hide my probes again as I see core probes appear in the system. Get bent, discovery scanner.
I make a perch in the data site, just in case the pilots don't realise the significance of the new wormhole opened in to the system, and watch the Drake return. I guess they don't. And he's off again. Clearly the wolf rayet is hurting him, and if only I could tell when he was about to leave I could think about jumping the Drake. Instead, I'm left watching and wondering, and seeing the pilot return in a Raven battleship. It's still a shield-based ship, but now with more shield maybe he can pop the last two ships in the site.
I say the last two ships, but the number of wrecks isn't consistent with an almost-completed data site in class 3 w-space. But it seems that the pilot and his pal in a Cheetah covert operations boat have been here for a while. I realise this when the second of the two Sleeper battleships is popped and another wave doesn't appear, and when a couple of the wrecks in the site disintegrate. It's been two hours since they first warped in to the site. That's bad for them, good for me. I can't believe they'd abandon the loot now.
Indeed they don't leave the site unlooted. Sadly, no Noctis salvager appears to sweep up the wrecks but the Cheetah warps in to hack the data cans, joined shortly afterwards by the combat pilot now re-shipped in to a Buzzard cov-ops. Well, if that's all that's available I'll take what I can get, and if it's a measly cov-ops boat I want it to be destroyed with as much loot in its hold as possible. So I sit and watch for a minute as a couple of data cans are cracked open, then realise I should get in to a better position.
The data cans are near structures, asteroids litter the site, and I need to stay cloaked. I warp cautiously closer, maintaining decent separation from any object that could ruin my surprise, and drop below the main structure so that I can approach the data cans more easily. I let the Buzzard and Cheetah get cosy, crack a couple more cans and grab some loot, before I think about ambushing them. I'll do it now, with two more cans to go. With any luck, they'll be preoccupied with hacking the can to notice my ship immediately, giving me enough time to snag at least one of them.
The ships are close, I'm in range, it's time to reveal myself. But I want to try to be smart again. The Cheetah has been the more successful hacker, so he's the primary target. I'll point my warp scrambler at him, but I'll start shooting the Buzzard first. Hopefully I can catch them sufficiently off-guard and the ships will be flimsy enough that I can pop the Buzzard whilst holding the Cheetah, getting two kills instead of one. It turns out that strategy is a bit fiddly, though, and not ideal when the damned Cheetah cracks the data can just by looking at it.
Both ships are trying to grab loot splatter as I decloak, aware of the space around them, and so clearly spot my Loki decloaking below them. I get a positive lock on the Cheetah and prevent him warping clear, but by the time I get a positive lock on the Buzzard and start shooting he's a second away from warping clear. Never mind, it was a tall order to catch both ships, and I turn my full attention to the Cheetah. Not that popping a cov-ops is particularly difficult, you understand.
A few volleys of autocannon fire has the Cheetah exploding, and the pod doesn't stick around. I loot and shoot the wreck, probably getting the majority of the spoils from the site, and still only coming away with under twenty million ISK in datacores and RAM. No wonder most capsuleers avoid data sites. Still, I get another kill, and despite it being small and inexpensive it was quite nicely worked, even if I do say so myself. It's taken a while, though, which makes it time to go home and get some rest.