The static exit does indeed lead out to the Syndicate region. I'm slowly getting to grips with the different colours and nebulae visible through wormholes exiting w-space. All I need to do now is find a way to make that information useful. For the moment, though, feeling smug seems to be enough, so I leave the rather sleepy w-space constellation behind me and see what this null-sec system has to offer. And if this doesn't work, our neighbouring class 3 system has a K162 also from null-sec, giving me a second opportunity to find nothing.
This system holds six extra signatures, which seems a decently positive start. But scanning, despite resolving a wormhole on my first choice of signature, only gives me a single connection to continue exploration, the others being combat and data sites. But that one wormhole is all I'll need, or so I think. Warping to it finds an N432 outbound connection to class 5 w-space, which isn't really what I'm after. Sure, it leads to w-space, and, sure, the C5 will have a static wormhole leading to more w-space, but I still feel deflated.
The dumbscovery scanner will be pinging any active pilot in the C5 system the signature of the K162 already, letting them know that something has changed. I am not going to catch anyone by surprise. The same will be true when I resolve and warp to the system's static wormhole, the K162 being pinged to active pilots in the following system, and so on. I was really hoping to find a K162, casually opened and either forgotten about or not known to be open by a pilot coming on-line after it had been done. Hunting through K162s is still far from ideal, but unfortunately it is my best option.
Still, I scanned and warped to this N432, I may as well poke through to see what's there. There may still be pilots sufficiently ignorant of the discovery scanner, even if the odds are greater that active class 5 inhabitants are more likely to be planning the collapse of this wormhole even as I approach it. I jump through to C5c to see, well, not much. My directional scanner highlights a tower somewhere in the system, but there are no ships to be seen. I think that's a good enough look around for me. I don't want to compound my frustration by scanning and not finding any K162s here too.
Back to null-sec, back again to C3a, and across to the K162 from a different null-sec system. This one comes from Stain, and this time a couple of pilots share the system with me. D-scan shows me towers plus a Raven battleship, Noctis salvager, and Reaper frigate, but even though I suspect that my new appearance has probably halted any ratting that was in progress I don't think there was any occurring to begin with. Flipping overview settings and punching d-scan a second time sees no wrecks, although it does highlight a Tengu strategic cruiser that I'm pretty sure wasn't there a few seconds ago.
The Tengu's appearance is almost interesting. I don't think I missed it on the first check of d-scan, which means that one of the two capsuleers in the system must be piloting it. I suppose that makes sense, if the Raven and Noctis aren't in cahoots to make rat iskies. I would ignore the strategic cruiser too and revert to scanning for wormholes, but the ship appears not to be at a tower. My curiosity gets the better of me and, as my presence in the system is already explicit and I don't care to hunt the Tengu tediously with d-scan, I throw my combat scanning probes in the strategic cruiser's general direction to find him.
It takes a couple of scans, done smoothly but without much haste, and the Tengu's position is resolved. I warp to join him, keeping my Loki strategic cruiser cloaked and dropping short, if not too short. I want to be able to pounce if he looks like a genuine target, but keep my distance if it is bait. And I can't really tell. The Tengu is just floating stationary near a planet, piloted but not doing anything. That looks like bait, right up to the point of the ship cloaking.
Maybe it is a more sophisticated kind of bait, where he cannot be found but wants me to drop my cloak to become vulnerable in a bid to find him. A cloaked ship cannot decloak another cloaked ship, but a visible ship can interfere and force a second ship's cloak off-line. I am a little reluctant to lose another ship quite so soon since the others, but I am encouraged by having my colleagues heading my way in pointy ships, and the other pilot in the null-sec system move to a different null-sec system. Now it's just me and the Tengu, which makes it much less likely to be bait. I'll see if I can find it.
I was moving tentatively towards the Tengu when it cloaked, and I think I can replicate that vector, so push my Loki in that direction, drop my cloak, and pulse the micro warp drive. I don't keep the MWD running permanently, as I don't want to overshoot my target, should I find it. I also have to estimate our relative distances, but I am easily distracted and must surely have covered the eighteen-or-so kilometres in separation that we initially started with. And this is assuming the Tengu hasn't moved since cloaking. If he has jinked just a few kilometres, particularly on seeing my Loki, I just won't have a chance of finding him.
I must have gone too far by now, and there's no sign of the Tengu. I tell Fin and Aii that I probably don't have a target when I realise that I bookmarked the Tengu's position when scanning him. That position is kinda rough, in that it will land you within a few kilometres of the point in space, but on a cosmological scale it is like knowing where a single atom is. I decide to make use of it. I set my Loki to align to the bookmark, which flips my ship around—confirming I did indeed burn past the Tengu—and gets me heading towards the Tengu's last known position. If he hasn't moved, this should be enough.
I pulse my MWD again and keep an eye out for a ship decloaking. It takes an embarrassing amount of time, showing just how far I burnt past the right position, before a ship appears. It's the Tengu, it's underneath me, and I've shed its cloak. My sensor booster is active, so I get my targeting systems working as I call for my colleagues to jump and warp to me. The Tengu is locked, I have a warp scrambler hot, and my autocannons start chattering rounds in to the Tengu's shields. And then the Tengu is gone.
The strategic cruiser warps clear moments after I start shooting. My range was good, my weapon systems were operational, the bastard must have fit some warp core stabilisers. And, judging by the comment he throws to us in the local channel, as it looks like he has them fit purely to frustrate other pilots it seems like a dick move. Well, it works, both in frustrating me and making him look like a dick. And that'll be it for me for tonight. I apologise to Fin and Aii for the lack of juicy target, and head home.