We could probably use some ISK. For that, I have a cunning plan: isolate our system, shoot Sleepers for profit. It's so simple I don't know why anyone else hasn't thought of it. I'm almost worried about sharing this knowledge in case it gets abused, but that's a risk I'll have to take. First, isolate our system. If there's just the static wormhole you could assume that it hasn't been visited and, therefore, has no K162. But that isn't a guarantee, should some other scout have wandered in, taken a dislike to your system, and collapsed their wormhole. So, ideally, we need to scan, resolve the wormhole, and collapse it.
As with pretty much every plan I've ever made when flying a spaceship, I don't even get past the first step cleanly. The home w-space system holds three signatures, two being new and not the static wormhole. In a dramatic break in tradition, I hope that the signatures are gas but, naturally, they turn out to be wormholes. That complicates isolating our system, but I probably shouldn't overlook the possibility of a free roam. Having a couple of K162s connecting to our system offer better opportunities than outbound wormholes at the moment. I'll see what I can find to keep me amused.
One wormhole is being left alone, the K162 from further class 4 w-space having been destabilised to critical levels. The other is a healthy K162 from class 2 w-space. That sounds more suitable, and it should hold a second wormhole that exits to high-sec, which will be useful for retrieving my battered Loki strategic cruiser. Not that I have a contract for it yet. You know, I suspect I'm not going to see that ship again. Never mind.
Jumping to C2a has an interesting sight on my directional scanner: just a Tengu, not a tower in range of the strategic cruiser. Flicking a switch and updating d-scan sees Sleeper wrecks too, which explains the Tengu's presence, but inspecting each anomaly with d-scan doesn't see him in any of them. That's a shame, and warping across the system doesn't get me out of range of the Tengu, as well as bringing three towers, a second Tengu, and a Vulture command ship in to range. Even if I could get the drop on the Tengu, I should probably see if he has any allies available to help him.
Locating the towers has the other two ships in the same one, both piloted, neither really looking like they are doing anything. The first Tengu is here now as well, having left whatever it was he was doing to float idly too. I'm not convinced I was spotted when entering the system, because there was a fair delay between moving from the wormhole and the Tengu exiting whatever site he was in, but I suppose it's a possibility.
As the Tengu is at the tower, and the wormhole is out of range of the tower, simple logic suggests that I should be able to launch scanning probes out of range of any obviously watching ships. I warp back to the other side of the system, see nothing on d-scan, and launch probes, hiding them above the system's ecliptic plane for now. A blanket scan reveals eleven anomalies, seven signatures, and the three ships, but there's not much I can do at the moment but sit and watch.
The three ships do nothing inside the tower's force field, and for long enough to convince me to scan, at least for the site the Tengu was in. I get a good bearing and range on the Sleeper wrecks, call my probes in, and, after a couple of scans, resolve a data site. Warping to the site sees the wrecks unlooted, the databases not hacked, and a single Sleeper battleship moping around. Either I was spotted, or the Tengu is taking a break. Whatever it is, there's not much I can do here. I may as well take a look through our static wormhole.
Back home, across to the C247, and on to C3a, where a tower appears on d-scan with a bunch of ships. There's a fair mix of hull types which, along with a lack of wrecks, almost certainly indicates they aren't all piloted. Locating the tower confirms my suspicion, seeing a capsuleer in the Cheetah covert operations boat only, and with no probes visible I doubt even she is active. I launch probes and scan quickly, the five anomalies and four signatures giving me gas, a static exit to low-sec, and a relic site. The low-sec exit leads to Verge Vendor, where one additional signature resolves to be a data site. It's pretty dull.
I suppose I'll scan C2a properly now, but making my way back to the system has the Tengu visible on d-scan from the wormhole again. I move, cloak, and warp to my perch in the data site only to appear on the edge of a site once more without the strategic cruiser. The one Sleeper battleship has been despatched, but now two of his buddies are here to take revenge. Maybe there is a scout sitting on the wormhole, as his movements are quite coincidental, but the slow exit the first time has me confused.
Ignore the missing Tengu, my glorious leader has arrived. Maybe we should put the initial plan in to action. Collapsing all of the connections isn't much more troublesome than crashing just our own, and at least bouncing between wormholes gives us something to do whilst waiting for polarisation effects to dissipate. Fin tackles the critical K162 first, hopping in to a heavy interdictor fit for the task, and making a return trip. The wormhole lives, which is a shame, but it has lost more mass. We can give it another go shortly.
Now in to the massive ships. As I've just come back from C2a we head towards our static wormhole first. Two big ships go out, two big ships come back. Across to the C2 K162, two big ships go out, one big ship goes back and the wormhole destabilises to half mass. That's not quite what we're expecting, but it's not really unexpected either, and at least it gives us good information. I activate my cloak, orbit the wormhole, and scribble down some maths. It takes a minute, but I think we can do this properly. I jump back, as Fin finishes taking another crack at the C4 K162.
The critical wormhole stays critical after another pass with the HIC. At this point, it may not let a cov-ops through without collapsing, so I think we're okay with leaving it that way. Now for the two wormholes that would be troublesome to leave open. Back to the C247, and out we go and back we come. The wormhole implodes right on schedule. That was the simple one, though. Across to the C2 K162 and out we go. Oops, the wormhole drops to critical levels on my outwards jump. I think that's okay. I did the maths, after all. I reassure Fin, and jump back home. The wormhole dies.
The wormhole dies with Fin, in an Orca industrial command ship, not known for quick warping or focussed scanning, still in C2a. I thought I did the maths! What went wrong? And before I can apologise for not even finding the static exit to high-sec, which would help my glorious leader, Fin gives me a sitrep. 'I have guests.' Maybe there really was a scout sitting on the wormhole to keep the Tengu safe. Or maybe there wasn't. I don't know, because I only saw the two Tengus and a Vulture, which I initially hope Fin will be able to shake off to get safe. Apparently not. Fin's guests are a Purifier stealth bomber, Proteus strategic cruiser, Legion strategic cruiser, Ares interceptor, Arazu recon ship, and Onyx HIC. Where the bloody hell did all those come from?
Wherever the ships came from, they clearly observed our first pair of jumps and were waiting for the second. If my maths had been right they would have been disappointed. But there is the possibility that my maths was right and they sabotaged the calculations by sneaking their own jump through the wormhole. Whatever the case—it was my maths—all I can do is wait for Fin to update me on her status, which ends up with her losing the Orca but getting to high-sec. I could be wrong, but I think losing another expensive ship is not quite what I had in mind for the evening. I feel like a damned jinx right now. I need to get myself together.